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Are Grains Really The Enemy? With Abel James…

The above video is 2:38 minutes long.

Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.

Are grains really the enemy? Who better a person to ask than a guy who’s interviewed hundreds of health leaders from around the world and walks his talk when it comes health and nutrition. His answer wasn’t quite what we expected! Hence why we loved it and it’s this weeks 2 minute gem.

abel james fat burning man
Abel James is the founder of ‘The Fat Burning Man’ show. A health and wellness podcast that’s hit No.1 in eight different countries on iTunes and gets over a whopping 500,000 downloads each month! It was fantastic to get the laid back Abel on the show today to share with us his own personal weight loss story, his discoveries, the trial and errors and the applied wisdom of others.

To sum up Abel James in his own words: My goal is to create a place where people can have spirited discussions and debate about issues that truly matter – not just fat loss and fitness, but ultimately health and quality of life. I also feel obligated to expose the truth about nutrition, fitness, and health so that people are no longer reliant upon deceptive marketing practices, misleading corporate propaganda, and powerful special interests that have accelerated the worldwide obesity epidemic and health crisis.

Full Interview: Lessons Learned From Becoming The Fat Burning Man


In This Episode:

downloaditunesListen to Stitcher

  • Abel’s journey from being overweight to becoming the ‘Fat Burning Man’
  • What the body building industry taught him about weight loss
  • His thoughts on grains and which ones he eats
  • How to manufacture a great nights sleep!
  • His exercise routines & eating philosophies
  • Abel’s favourite books:
    Chi Running by Danny Dreyer & Perfect Health Diet by Paul Jaminet
  • And much much more…

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Full Transcript

Guy Lawrence: This is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition and welcome to today’s Health Sessions.

So, as you can see, if you’re watching this in video, I’m standing here at Mcmahons Pool here in Sydney, which is a pearl of a location and I quite often find myself jumping in first thing in the morning. The water is cold here in winter in Sydney, although the sun’s shining, but it’s a great way to start the day nonetheless.

abel jamesAnyway, on to today’s guest. I might be a little bit biased but I think this show today is fantastic and we’ve got an awesome guest for you. And he has a podcast himself, and I reckon he has one of the smoothest voices that is just designed for podcasts and radio, I tell ya. And that might even give you a clue already.

Stu often says I’ve got a face for radio, but I don’t know if I’ll take that as a compliment. But anyway. So, our guest today is Abel James, AKA the Fat-Burning Man. And if you are new to this podcast, definitely check it out. I’ve been listening to them for years. And Abel has had some fantastic guests on the show, as you can imagine, when you’ve been doing a podcast for over four years.

And we were really keen to get him on the show and share his experiences with us, because, you know, once you’ve interviewed that many people and some absolutely great health leaders around the world, you’re gonna pick up on what they say, their experience, and how you apply it in your own life. And we’re really keen to find out from Abel why he does, you know, because he’s covered, obviously, topics on mindset, health, nutrition, exercise, and what are the pearls of wisdom has he gone and taken over the years of experience and applied it. And some of the stuff what he doesn’t take, you know, take on board as well.

So, Abel shares all of that with us today, including his own story. Because Abel was once overweight. He’s looking a very, very fit boy at the moment, just from changing his nutrition.

So, anyway, that’s what you’re going to get out of today’s show and it’s a great one. So, it’s a pleasure to have Abel on.

And also, I ask for reviews, you know, leave us a review on iTunes if you’re enjoying the show. Subscribe, five-star it. You know, let us know where in the world you’re listening to these podcasts. I think we’re in 32 countries at the moment or maybe even more getting downloaded. So it’s pretty cool. And we always love to hear from you, so, yeah, jump on board and of course drop us an email back at 180Nutrition.com or .com.au now.

So, let’s go over to Abel. Enjoy the show.

Stuart Cooke: Guy, over to you.

Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke, as always. Hey Stewie.

Stuart Cooke: Hello, mate.

Guy Lawrence: And our fantastic guest today is Abel James. Abel, welcome to the show.

Abel James: Thanks so much for having me.

Guy Lawrence: Now, you will have to forgive us this morning, mate. It is very early in Sydney. So, I’ve never seen Stu up at this time of the morning, I think, so it will be interesting to see how he responds.

I’m just kidding. Come on.

Yeah, look, obviously we are big fans of your podcast. It’s great to have a fellow podcaster on. And what we were curious about, just to get the ball rolling, is I guess a little bit about your journey and what got you into podcasting and what let you to that. Because you’ve been doing it awhile now.

Abel James: Yeah. Well, the podcast itself kind of comes out, or it comes somewhat naturally, because I’m a musician and have been doing that for a very long time. So, you know, I had a blog, and this was, I guess, like, four years ago when I first started Fat-Burning Man.

But before that I worked as a consultant with some companies in the food and beverage industry right after I got out of college. And so I’d actually been blogging about health for many years before that, but anonymously. My site was called Honest Abe’s Tips. And it was a picture of, like, this digitized Abe Lincoln peeking out from behind the laptop.

But then with Fat-Burning Man, I realized that when I went through my own struggles with health, basically, I got fat and old and sick in my early 20s and didn’t want to keep being that way. So I kind of turned things around and found that it was a lot easier and more straight-forward and simpler than almost anything I’d ever read had made it out to be, you know, in the fitness magazines and the media. Even some of the science.

And so I started this up and realized that, you know, if I were looking at a fitness book or a fitness blog or something like that, first thing I’d do is, like, turn around, look at who’s writing it. Like: Are these people actually living it? Are they following their own advice?

And so I figured, you know, it’s the internet. Let’s just put it all right out there. And so I came up with this ridiculous Fat-Burning Man, like superhero type thing and just wanted to make it about being positive and showing that you can be happy and healthy at the same time. Because so much of the messaging, especially then, but still now, is that you need to be hungry and miserable and punish yourself. But you really can have a more holistic approach. So, that’s what I try to do.

Guy Lawrence: Did you ever imagine the Fat-Building Man would take you on this journey to where it is today? You know, when you started.

Abel James: You know, it’s so funny. Because now it kind of sneaks up on you a little bit. You know, like, I was just out at a health food store here in Tennessee and like within five seconds of walking in, someone’s like, “Abel! Hi!” We just moved here and that just happened in, like, New Orleans, in California. And so I don’t even realize how many people are listening but I’m so glad that they are, because when I first started it was just me talking into a microphone and hoping that people would listen and trying to get this message out there that was different and still is kind of different.

Because most of the stuff you find in health, and I’ve had to learn this the hard way, is not health information. It’s marketing propaganda. You know, designed to sell you supplements, shakes, consumables. Whatever they’re selling you is usually kind of, like, disguised in something that’s information. And that information is hurting people.

So, I wanted to just be totally open about all this and say, like, “These are the things that we think might be right, but we’re probably wrong about a bunch of stuff. But that’s definitely wrong over there.”

Guy Lawrence: That’s awesome. That’s awesome.

Stuart Cooke: So, when you mentioned that in your early days you were fat and sick and things just weren’t working out for you, do you think that was particularly diet-based?

Abel James: Yes. Absolutely. Because basically what happened is I grew up, my mom is a holistic nurse practitioner and an herbalist, and I was raised eating from the back yard. And we had fish sticks and stuff like that, too, sometimes, but it was; I had a very strong education in eating naturally, from the real world, back then.

And then, for me, like every teenager who wants to prove that there’s a better world out there than the one that they came from or whatever, to pay off my loans I got this big, fancy job in consulting and I got this big, fancy insurance that came along with the consulting job. And I’m just like, “All right. I’m gonna find the best doctor and listen to his advice and take his drugs and do his thing.”

And so I did that, and it was… You know, when I first walked in, he’s like, “What is the family history?” And I said, well, you know, there’s thyroid problems, most people gain weight as they age, my grandmother has high blood pressure, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

They looked at my blood and they’re just, like, “OK, well, we need to put you on a low-fat diet right away.” And, you know, zero dietary cholesterol and the whole… you guys are familiar with how that works, I’m sure.

And so I got that whole spiel and I’m like, OK. Well, if that’s gonna help me live longer, help my heart be healthy, and basically guarantee that I’m doing the right thing, then let’s do it.

Except it didn’t really work out that way. You know, for the first time in my life… I was always athletic and I love fitness and just getting outside, going for hikes or runs or mountain-biking. Whatever. And so I never really had a problem with weight. And all of a sudden, it’s creeping up, and it wasn’t until my boss made fun of me for being fat that I realized that I was, like, “Oh. This is fat.”

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. “There’s a problem.”

Abel James: And I wasn’t, like, massively overweight. But if you imagine me with less muscle and 20 pounds of flab, then all of sudden you kind of look like someone who’s much older than you actually are. And certainly not thriving anymore. Not athletic.

And I always want to be the best at whatever, so I had to turn that around.

Guy Lawrence: Was there any, like, little tipping points with books or information that made you sort of go, “I’ve really got to start delving into this” and looking down that path?

Abel James: Well, yeah. For me… So, I’m pretty narrow-focused a lot of the time and my focus then, when I first got into it, it was my first job, you know. My first real in-the-workforce job. I worked with my dad growing up and in restaurants and stuff. But this was the first thing I was taking seriously. And so I just wanted to pay down my debt as quickly as I could so that I could be free to do whatever more passion-based stuff.

And then I, basically, like, a little bit at a time saw that it wasn’t working. But I had outsourced it from my own brain, you know? I had always focused on being fit and athletic and running a lot, whatever. But it kind of like got away from me, because I was working so hard doing something else that was kind of like stealing my attention. And then it wasn’t until that comment and a couple of other things happened that I was just, like, “Oh. I guess I’ve got to focus on this.”

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: So, for all of our listeners, and your listeners as well, what did you focus on and what did you change?

Abel James: Well, it was interesting, because I grew up, my brother is about five years older than me, and I watched him go from… he’s a little bit obsessive and he watched Pumping Iron, the Arnold Schwarzenegger bodybuilding classic movie of the ’70s. He watched that for the first time, and I watched him over the next few months go from 155 pounds to well over 200; up to 220 of just solid, massive muscle.

So, that; it was in the back of my mind. I think sometimes you need something crazy like that. You need to see it happen in front of you before you really believe that it’s possible. You know what I mean? And so I hid that in back of my mind.

And so I always knew that you could do stuff that didn’t make any sense and it would kind of work out. And he did a lot of things that, dietary-wise, who knows what he was eating but it certainly wasn’t healthy. It was very different from the foods that we were eating.

But it was more generous with fat and protein and lower on carbs and kind of like counter to everything that I was told was healthy. And so I saw that whatever I was doing was not working. So I needed to do something different. And I was just like, well, why don’t I just flip it on its head and get some of the fats up there again and take down the carbs, take down the processed food, just kind of look at… I was looking at ketosis, cyclical ketogenic dieting that the bodybuilders were doing in the ’60s and ’70s, and it was like, you know they’re eating 26 eggs a day. Or drinking two gallons of milk a day. Or just chugging heavy cream. And getting down to 3 percent body fat. And for someone who had too much body fat, I’m like, “That’s interesting. I gotta try that.”

Stuart Cooke: Absolutely.

Guy Lawrence: It happened for us the same, because I worked with mainly people with cancer about 10 years ago and I used to do the weight-training programs for them. And it literally started from a bodybuilders’ diet. They got them on a ketogenic diet and weight-training, and that was the first time I was exposed to a high-fat diet, and back then I saw the results too. You know, it was quite remarkable, and their health, everything gets turned on its head overnight and you’re, like, “My God, I’ve got to tell the world.”

Abel James: It’s very bizarre. Because it should kill you, right? According to everything that the doctors tell you. That should just put you straight into a stretcher or a coffin or whatever.

Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.

Abel James: But oftentimes it does the opposite.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. So, with all your guests and podcasts, there’s all these amazing people you’ve interviewed and things like that. Any pearls of wisdom that have stood out or guests that have jumped out at you? It’s probably quite a big question but…

Abel James: I look for the things that… Well, I should just say, even the people who come on my show, which are, like, curated (to a certain extent), by me, they have to go through some sort of vetting process. They love to disagree about a lot of things. And for me I just try to keep it on point, step aside. I’m not gonna be combative even if I disagree with what they’re saying. I think it’s really important to see the richness of experience in people who are getting results.

And so I look for the things that they agree about. And there are very few. But number one is that everyone should be eating more leafy green vegetables and colorful vegetables, especially the non-starchy kind. And almost everyone agrees on that. Pretty much 100 percent.

Yet, almost nobody does it. Even the people who are, like, super paleo and super healthy or whatever. They’re more, usually, obsessed with the latest gadget, pill, carb-backloading approach, like new things that… I just had Kiefer on, I have a lot of people on with kind of like new spins on whatever. And so people get obsessed with, like, the new spin instead of having a salad. Which is like… So, one of the things that I try to do is encourage people to do the simple things that we already know, because it’s really easy to ignore that.

Or, if you go and you’re paleo and you’re really excited about it and you’re getting all these results and you’re doing CrossFit and then you go and get a paleo treat or whatever from the grocery store, because now you can find those, at least in America. And, you know, all of a sudden you take down 25 grams of sugar without even realizing it. But it’s “totally paleo” because it has honey in it. Wait a second!

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, half a jar.

Abel James: That kind of goes against the whole thing. So, I try to make it simple for people and more habit-based. More like, my background’s in brain science and psychology so I try and take it from that angle where, like, you guys know: If you’re training people or if you want to achieve something in your own life, it’s not really about the information that you have as much as, are you doing it. Right? So, I really try to focus on getting people to do it, making that easier and more simple.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. You always find you can go on these crazy paths and you always get back to basics. Just keep it very simple.

Stuart Cooke: I think those basics generally come back to how our grandparents ate as well. It’s, like, super simple, really.

Abel James: It was wonderful. Beautifully simple.

Stuart Cooke: It’s it? Yeah. It couldn’t be more simple, yet in other respects it couldn’t be more complex with all this crazy info out there.

Abel James: Especially today.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Totally. So, over here we had quite an interesting article that came out in the Sydney Morning Herald about grains and bread and how everybody’s becoming more resistant to gluten and they’ve got intolerances and sensitivities to everything under the sun.

In your opinion, are grains the enemy?

Abel James: That’s a great question. I think they’re one of the enemies, yes. But that’s more a function of the fact that we’re eating grains in a way that we never ate grains before than the fact that they’re grains, if that makes sense. So, what I mean by that is if you take a chicken and then breed it to have certain characteristics like having breasts so large that it topples over or breaks its legs like most of the turkeys and poultry we have and then you inject it with a bunch of antibiotics and, you know, feed it with poison and whatever else. It’s not the same chicken that our ancestors would be eating.

And if you take wheat and, over the course of time, you breed it to make sure that it’s well-adapted for transport, ready for harvest months before it would have been otherwise, and basically mutate it and change it into something that it wasn’t before, it’s not the same wheat either.

And so what we do with that wheat, for example, is then, if that weren’t bad enough, kind of like mutating this thing into something that’s bred not for your health but for basically industrial efficiency, then you throw it through all these industrial processes, like grinding it into this really, really fine powder and not allowing it to ferment on the stalk, which releases enzymes to make it digestible, and then you let it fester on a shelf and get old or whatever, but it’s so irradiated and processed that you barely notice that the food is so spoiled.

It’s not the same thing as eating wild rice like Native Americans did here, especially in the Southwest. And you can you still, though, my wife is from Arizona, so we go there quite often, you can go and get, like, Native American wild rice and eat that.

So, if you compare that to, like, Uncle Ben’s rice, a brand we have here which is basically like processed white rice, not the same thing. So, we do eat some grains, but it’s in an entirely different way than almost everyone else eats grains these days.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, totally. No, that’s a good point. I read, a few years back, a book called Wheat Belly, and it really does kind of open the lid on the wheat industry. And, crikey, you really do think twice.

Abel James: It’s hard to get away from them.

Stuart Cooke: Very, very hard to get away from them. Unless, of course, you eat like your grandparents ate and then it’s actually a little easier to get away from… putting labels on vegetables.

Guy Lawrence: What are your thoughts on… Because I struggle with wheat and gluten and a big thing for me has been looking at food sensitivities over the years, and allergies. What are your thoughts on that? Have you personally looked into that?

Abel James: I have. It’s interesting because we don’t know how reliable it is. Especially… food allergy testing is one thing, but food sensitivity testing is quite another. And so for me, there are so many different variables but I’m trying to get better and better.

And a few years ago I had… Probably about two years ago, at this point, I remember I talked about food sensitivity on the podcast with Dave Asprey, the Bulletproof Executive guy, who just loves testing of all kinds. And so we went through various things that I was supposedly reacting to. I did the tests again about a year after that and most of the things had gone down. A couple of them stayed up. And then there was a new one, like pinto beans or something else I “highly reacted” to. Whatever.

And there were some other unfortunate ones that were, like, paleo foods. Like olives. Olive oil. And honey. From the first test. Those seemed to kind of stay elevated. And then I took it again about three, four weeks ago and I’m reactive to almost nothing now.
So, from my own personal experience, it’s been interesting to look at that because I love science, I love numbers, I love personal experimentation. And I don’t know what’s going on with that. I can say that I’m pretty happy about it, but I don’t know if it kind of like invalidates the tests that were done before. Because one of the arguments against it is that it kind of just counts the stuff you’re eating too much of anyway.

Guy Lawrence: When, like, the olive oil and honey came up on the test, did you then avoid those foods?

Abel James: I did. I avoided them, not completely, because it’s really hard to eat a salad anywhere that’s not your own home without olive oil or GMO oil or whatever else. And so basically if someone knows that you’re paleo or gluten-free or healthy-conscious, then they’re giving you honey and olive oil and… mushrooms was another one that came up.

Yeah, so, kind of bizarre things, especially considering how healthy those things are normally and how much they would be included in almost any meal that you eat out. You don’t really think about not eating something like mushrooms, right? Or olives. But once you have to look for that, it’s in everything. You can’t believe it. It’s just hard to get away from.

But, yeah, I definitely; I went from eating those things on purpose to eating less of them or basically not forcing myself to eat those foods anymore. And that seemed to do the trick.

But gluten is one that we’re not really sure if it’s the gluten itself or just the wheat being so manipulated and so low-quality that that’s hurting us. But there’s something in modern wheat that’s terrible for us. It might be the gluten. Some people are definitely allergic to it, flat out. Other people are kind of reactive to it or whatever. But I just avoid it, pretty much at all costs.

Guy Lawrence: It’s interesting. Like, Stewie, had the short straw when it came to sensitivities tests. He came up eggs, glaringly.

Abel James: Oh, no.

Stuart Cooke: One of these things. And I was loving my eggs. I’d eat two, three, four, five a day, which is great. But then I also do wonder whether worrying about the foods that you shouldn’t be eating, worrying about all these crazy diets, you know, does more hard than good. Can it actually then evoke food sensitivities because your cortisone levels are going crazy.

Abel James: Right.

Stuart Cooke: You know, it’s just insane. I’m wondering, from your perspective, how important do you think it is to try and unplug or really work on stress management as part of your kind of holistic approach to health?

Abel James: I think it’s the number one thing that people don’t really talk about. Because it’s not that sexy to say, “Sleep. Go to sleep early.”

“Don’t get stressed out. Meditate. Chill out. Take a walk. Take a vacation.” It’s really easy to say those things. But it’s like eating a salad, right? We all know that that’s exactly what we should be doing. The problem is that we’re not doing it.

And so, yeah, I mean, one of our secrets, why we “look and feel so great all the time and always have this energy” is because we go to sleep, like, way earlier than most other people. And we take flak from it sometimes.

But, at the same time, when you show up to a… So, we go to a lot of, like, health masterminds and stuff like that with a lot of the other big names in the field. Stuff like that. And I can tell you, these people are just, like, running themselves into the ground, a lot of the time. And they’re not really sleeping. They’re kind of compensating.

And we’re ready to rock, and usually, like, we’ll go out and party and hang out with all these people because it’s so much fun. We don’t really get to do it that often. And so you see just the huge tax that running; that basically doing too many things at the same time doesn’t matter who you are, what you do, if you’re in health or not, it’s beating you up and it will get the best of you at some point.

And so the really boring things that we do every day are the things that really matter. So, like, for instance, my wife and I, we wake up every morning, we do Qigong. We’ve been doing that now for a few years, I guess.

Guy Lawrence: Can you explain that?

Abel James: Qigong, or yoga, which is like tai chi, and so it’s basically fluid, kind of almost active stretching type movements. Balance and stretching. And then we meditate for, not necessarily very long, 10, 20, minutes. But we do it every single day. And we tend to wake up fairly early and we go to bed early as well. With some exceptions, but not very often.

And it’s the things that you do every day, if you’re in the habit of slumping on the couch after a hard day of work and then you have a beer or two every night, that’s a lot of beer. It compounds.

But if you, every night, you have tea or something like that or you just relax, you have a glass of water, you hang out, you relax, you slow down, you get some sleep. And then on the weekends you go out and you have too much wine or you have a few beers, totally different thing. You’ll probably get away with it, because it’s not the thing that you’re doing every day. Right? That’s the exception.

So, you have to kind of like train into yourself the right habits that are automatic that aren’t getting the best of you. And part of that is definitely tuning down the stress. Because we’re all, like, with the amount of technology that’s around us these days, we’re all totally cranked out of our minds.

Stuart Cooke: We’re plugged in, aren’t we?

Guy Lawrence. Massively.

Stuart Cooke: Do you sleep well?

Abel James: Thank you for asking. What a sweet question. I’ve been doing interviews all day and that’s the sweetest question I’ve gotten.

Stuart Cooke: This is the million dollar question.

Abel James: Yes. I didn’t used to. I used to have a lot of trouble sleeping, especially staying asleep around the morning. It was like I would wake up, it didn’t matter how late I had stayed up the night before… As a musician, my gigs would start at midnight and I’d have to play under three or something and then go to bed at 4. But I’d always wake up at 6 or 7 and again at 8:30, even if I was trying to sleep it through.

But these days, I think a lot of it has to do with how we time our carbs and starches, which is almost always in the evening. And we eat very lightly or kind of like fast most of the day and then we have a big feast at night, pretty much.

And so we have a compressed eating window. And saving the brunt of our calories and food for the evening seems to slow you down and put you in digestion mode at the right time, especially if you are staying… There are other things where we stay away from alcohol most of the time. On the weekends we go out, have some fun, whatever. But pretty much every weeknight we’re not letting that disrupt our sleep. Because science shows that there’s no getting away from it. If you drink alcohol, it’s disrupting your sleep patterns for sure.

And if you stay up certain nights really late and other nights try to go to sleep early, that messes with your clock, too. So we stay on a nice, steady clip of sleeping and waking up in the morning.

And I don’t do well on very little sleep. I’ve always know that about myself. I think it’s one of the reasons that I do well, succeed, is because it’s something I’m obsessed about. Other guys, like, as a musician, you go on tour or whatever, other guys are staying up all night. It doesn’t really seem to be a problem. It is a problem, like, if they actually looked at it, but it affects other people less than it affected me, it seems like. So, I’ve always just made that the one thing that I do. I sleep, and it’s important.

Stuart Cooke: Any particular gems or strategies or hacks that you can share with everybody right now?

Guy Lawrence: You love the sleep topic.

Stuart Cooke: Well, I, crikey… this is my topic. And I’m fanatical about sleep. But always interested in, you know, it could be the tiniest little thing that you do that makes the hugest difference, and of course sleep is the number one. You can be eating like an absolute prince, but if you don’t sleep, then you’re not recovering or restoring; all of those things.

So, any little gems that you could share with us right now to say, “These worked for me”?

Abel James: Well, I think you touched on something that’s really important. Sleep should be time for recovery. And what that means to me is that almost every day I do kind of like micro-exercise, where I’ll do five to 10 minutes of an exercise pretty much every day except for Sunday. And I put that in the morning. So, I do my exercise like first thing, gets my blood flowing, and by the end of the day I’m tired and I want to go to sleep. And so I honor that.

If you try to force it and crack work out, that’s another thing that’s really important. It’s like, I work hard but I’m almost always off of communication by, like, 7 or 8. Usually before that. I shut my laptop. I’m not checking; I don’t have notifications on my phone. That’s a pretty big one, too. Or on my computer. My email comes in; I don’t know. I have to go in and check it. I’m not having all these things that are, like, “bloop, blop, bloop,” no matter what time of day or night it is. That’s really important.
And staying away from technology in the evening is really useful. So, one of the things I do is play guitar or play piano or sing. Do something that’s right-brainish. Gets you into that flow, that relaxed state, that’s kind of sleepy and dreamy. It’s just like perfect timing to kind of lead you into going to sleep.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, right. Perfect.

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Guy Lawrence: What kind of… Just touch on exercise. What kind of philosophies do you abide by, then? What do you incorporate in your week?

Abel James: Well, I used to run marathons.

Guy Lawrence: All right. Wow!

Abel James: I’ve always been a runner of some kind. I was never great, but I was always good. It was something I did more for meditation. I didn’t call it that back then, but I’d run outside and I’d get into this state, that the only way I can describe it, is meditative, for sure.

So, I used to do a lot of exercise. And I raced mountain bikes when I was younger and stuff. Now, I’ve found that exercise is something that I do as a habit, not as something that I kind of, like, force in there, if that makes sense.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Abel James: So, at this point it’s pretty much automatic, that in the morning I’m going to be doing something.

On Mondays I do monster lifts, which isn’t anything too crazy. It’s basically just like I have a couple of dumbbells …

I always work out at home, I don’t really go to gyms, because our nearest health food store is in a different time zone. Like, we’re out here in the middle of the woods, so, I don’t really have any other choice.

So, I’ve got a couple of 52-pound dumbbells, free weights, and I use those to do squats and some dead lifts and maybe a couple of other little exercises, some presses or whatever, on Mondays.
Or I might do a kettlebell workout on that day. But every Monday I’m hitting it, I’m making myself sore, and then I’m going to go and crush a bunch of work, my worst work, I put that all on Monday.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Abel James: So, it’s just one of those days, it’s just like, “All right, we’re getting it!”

And then, maybe on Tuesday, then I would do something that’s a little bit less intense, like yoga-type moves, some holds, focusing more on balance and mobility.

And then on Wednesday, I might do a very intense sprint workout. That’s what I did today. Which is, basically just like tabatas. So, you do 20 seconds on, all-out exercise that’s intense. So, I’ll do sprints or burpees. So you do that 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off. Repeat it ten times. You’re done in five minutes.

Guy Lawrence: Oh yeah.

Abel James: And if you’re not smoked by the end of it, you’re doing it wrong.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Right. That’s perfect.

Abel James: It’s the week, … sorry, go ahead.

Stuart Cooke: It’s just interesting, you know, there are a lot of people now kind of almost ingrained to think, “Well, I’ve got to go to the gym every day and I’ve got to stay in the gym for two hours. And I’m on that treadmill and I’m watching TV and you know, that’s me, done.”

But like you said, you can do this in five minutes. You know, I do a little kettlebell burpee workout and I can do that in about six minutes and I’m toast. Done. But yeah, massive effects on how you feel later on in the day.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. But it’s bringing it back to making sure your sleep’s dialed in and your nutrition is dialed in.

Abel James: Right.

Guy Lawrence: And then you can spend the time enjoying your life outside of these things, instead of obsessing about them all.

Abel James: Yeah. The simple things. It’s is just kind of … get your calendar in order. Grab a hold of that thing. Shake it around a little bit, if you need to, and then put the right things in, especially in the morning. That’s, I think, from a habit point of view. It’s like, if you’re forcing yourself to go to the gym every day, for two hours, and go on a treadmill, which almost nobody likes.

Guy Lawrence: Oh yeah.

Abel James: That’s why you watch TV, because you’re so just bored. Then it’s hard to believe that that’s sustainable. It’s hard to believe that you’re going to be able to do that for the rest of your life.

It might work, kind of. But if you can’t do it for a really long time, if you don’t love to do it, you’re going to stop at some point. Then you’re going to fall off the wagon. Get out of shape. Then it’s really hard to get back in shape.

So, like, make this … if you can do your workout in six minutes, do it! I mean I’m a “health guy” or whatever and that’s exactly what I do.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Abel James: I think that it’s the best to know that science supports that too, right?

Stuart Cooke: It does. Yeah, that’s right.

Abel James: I’d much rather; I like running, but to be perfectly honest, if I can do it in five minutes instead of three hours, I’m going with five minutes.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Every time.

Guy Lawrence: I think you touched on something else as well. It’s important you’ve got to enjoy it. Just do something you love doing. I think that’s so important psychologically, as well, so you can go and do it again.

I worked in a gym for a long time and I found people who forced themselves through the door, just staying there for so long, just like a diet per se, as well. And then they would drop off at the other end and everything they gained, what they’d struggled to gain, it comes back anyway.

Abel James: And it’s heartbreaking, right?

Guy Lawrence: Ah, yeah.

Abel James: When you know what works. You know they know what works, too. But sometimes it’s just; it all goes away.

Guy Lawrence: Yup.

Abel James: It’s a bummer to see that.

Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.

So, moving on, we mentioned your book “The Wild Diet.” Can you tell us a little bit about it? Because it’s launched I’m thinking a few months now.

Abel James: Yes. Yeah. It’s been out for about a month now. It’s called “The Wild Diet” basically, because what we have in most societies now is this industrialized food system that is feeding us junk food, processed food, and junk food disguised as health food. And so a lot of people are getting burned by that.

On the other side of that, we have kind of like this wild world. The opposite of industrialized domesticated. You know, where animals, if you choose to eat them, are raised eating the diets that are natural to them in nature.

So, cows are eating grass, for example. So you eat grass-fed, pasture-raised animals.

Your getting heirloom and heritage varieties of seeds, nuts, plants, as much as you can, because those things are inherently designed by nature, generally most healthy for our bodies at this point. We’re well-adapted to eat things we’ve been eating for a long time in the form that they used to be.

And sometimes that can be hard to find. You know, like finding wheat strains, for example. Finding really traditional sourdough breads, made with an ancient variety of wheat, is something you need to try to do. You need to look for it or whatever. But it can be done.

And so, “The Wild Diet” is basically trying to … I come from the paleo world in a lot of ways. But paleo as a theme has kind of subsumed a lot of other movements.

Guy Lawrence: Yup.

Abel James: It kind of like absorbed them, right? Like the eat local movement, the low-carb movement. And so, I’m somewhere in between all these.

And one of the problems, it’s exciting but, one of the problems with like, paleo, for example, is that it’s gotten so big and so many people have heard about it, that the marketers know that it’s a hot market and so they’re starting to flood the market with a bunch of “paleo health foods.” And a lot of people are getting the wrong idea about what that means.

You can’t just go to McDonald’s and get a hamburger or three hamburgers, throw away the bun and call it paleo, right? If you’re doing it right.

So, I felt like I needed that other word that hadn’t been poisoned yet. So, I wanted to come up with “wild.”

And basically it’s just a … it’s more of a philosophy on how to eat and live than it is about some crazy dogmatic diet. It’s basically like: Here’s everything that you need to know to actually do this, in a simple fun book.

And so, I basically wrote it according to what my community and fans and followers liked and wanted to listen to and then we filled it up with some of the best recipes we’ve ever made. So …

Guy Lawrence: Good one, yeah.

Abel James: … it’s a fun book.

Guy Lawrence: But it’s a bit of a big task putting a book together I can imagine, right?

Abel James: Oh, boy. It’s the worst possible thing you can do for your health, is write a health book.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

So, given the fact then that you’ve got all this knowledge and you’ve put it into this book, this fantastic resource for everyone, the million-dollar question is, what have you eaten today?

Abel James: Oh, good one. So, that’s the question that I can almost not even ask on my show, because a lot of people are so embarrassed about what they actually do.

So, I started the morning with supplements. A lot of them are herbs and adaptogens, you know, like rhodiola is one of my favorites. And fermented cod liver oil I usually have in the morning, because it’s a nice little dose of fat and kind of like front-loads lot of nutrition. Vitamin D is something I take pretty much every day. So, I’ll take that in the morning as well.

And then I made myself … well, every morning I wake up, drink a big glass of water, I usually keep that going throughout the day. So, lots of hydration.

And I had … this is my sixth interview today.

Stuart Cooke: Oh, crikey.

Abel James: And I have two more after this.

Guy Lawrence: Oh, wow.

Abel James: So, on interview days I generally fast until the evening. Sometimes until the afternoon, depends if I have the time or the breaks.

So, I make myself my own, like, usually I roast the coffee about once a week, so I’ll make some French press coffee and then I’ll fill it up with a tablespoon or two of heavy cream or some sort of fat. Which gives me some interest, right? I like drinking that with my coffee and I might have some coconut oil with it or medium-chain triglycides or other fat that I put in there.

So, that’s what I had today and I’ve had, I think, two cups of coffee with probably about three tablespoons of heavy cream, pasture-raised. And then right before this interview I felt like I wanted something and so my wife made an awesome green smoothie, which we have almost every day.

That’s usually how I break my fast, is by having basically a blended-up salad. But you can pick the right thing so it tastes really good.

So, it’s got like three different types of greens in it. It’s got strawberries. It has chia seeds and flax, so it’s full of omegas, the right kinds of fats, and plenty of fiber. So, I hit that with some coconut on top, some shredded coconut, because it’s nice to chew on something.

And that’s all I’ve eaten today.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fantastic.

Abel James: Tonight I think we’re going to have a big steak and probably a big salad and maybe a side of red rice, I think we have some going. And we have some soup. Some bone broth that we made, that’s left over, that we’re just going to heat up and some of that too and probably some really tasty chocolate or some of Alison’s homemade cookies for dessert.

Stuart Cooke: Wow. It’s almost breakfast time and you are making me hungry.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: That is fantastic.

Guy Lawrence: That’s awesome. Mate, we have a couple of wrap-up questions for the podcast.

Abel James: Hit it.

Guy Lawrence: And first one is, are there any books that you’ve read that have been a great influence in your life?

Abel James: “Chi Running” by Danny Dreyer. He’s one of my past guests. That’s one of the most underrated books there is I think.

It’s about how to incorporate symmetry and balance into your movements. Specifically for running, but it really applies to almost everything using, you know, ancient … I’ve seen a lot of similar things in Taoist textbooks and certainly like the tai chi and things like that.

That’s an awesome book. It’s called “Chi Running.” Danny Dreyer’s the writer who’s been on my show.

Guy Lawrence: We’ll include it in the show notes. Yeah. Fantastic.

Abel James: Yeah. That one’s great.

The “Perfect Health Diet” is done by Paul Jaminet. It came out a few years ago; another just wonderfully researched book.

And Paul … I was fortunate to hang out with him a bunch of times and kind of become friends with him. And he’s not your typical health professional, in the sense that he’s not really interested in any of the marketing or whatever. He likes research and he likes the science.

And so I really like that book too, the “Perfect Health Diet.”

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. Perfect. I’ll check them out. I haven’t seen any of those two.

And last one is, and this is a pearler. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Abel James: I worked with this Russian guy when I worked at restaurants growing up. And on one catering gig, he just messed up royally. I don’t know what happened exactly, but the boss was really pissed off and this guy was not having a good time. And then he just kind of like turned to me and I’m 14 years old or whatever and he’s this massive Russian guy and he’s just like, “Every kick in the butt is a step forward.”

This is how it started off and you could tell that he didn’t care at all. He was going to have a great day no matter what. And after I kind of like saw that happen and I was like, “All right. That’s cool.” The way that he handled that, I want to be able to handle something like that …

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Take it on the chin and move on.

Abel James: … when the world comes crashing down on me someday.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, that works. That’s fantastic.

Guy Lawrence: Awesome, mate. And is there anything coming up in the future, Abel? Anything you’d like to share? Any exciting projects?

Abel James: Sure. Yeah. We’re excited about … well, we decided basically that, this is my wife and I, this is something that we’re just going to do, you know. We’re going to make this our … we’ve been doing it full-time for a while, but we weren’t sure exactly if we wanted to do apps or you know some other type of publishing or helping publish other people or whatever. But we decided to make the blog and the podcast and our new video series kind of our main thing.

So, we just recorded a huge cooking class, that we invite all these cameras into our kitchen. We set up a bunch of GoPros and other cameras. And so, it’s like documentary-quality. Just hanging out with us in the kitchen learning how to cook things quickly and easily.

And so, it’s called The Wild Diet Cooking Class and you can find that at: FatBurningMan.com/cooking.

So that’s just one of the things, but if you go to FatBurningMan.com and sign up for the newsletter, we’re planning to come out with cool stuff like that every few months or so and just keep a steady clip of like, “You guys want to learn more about ketosis? All right. We’ll do this class.”

Stuart Cooke: Perfect

Abel James: And keep that going.

Yeah. So, it’s been fun. It’s a lot of work, but after taking about a year off traveling the world and going to Australia, which is loads of fun, it’s been really cool to come back with a renewed passion and focus.

Guy Lawrence: That’s awesome, mate and for your book, “The Wild Diet” as well, go back to FatBurningMan.com, as well?

Abel James: You can actually, if you want to see that, you can go to: WildDietBook.com.

Guy Lawrence: Okay. There you go and we’ll put a link in the show notes, as well. Brilliant.

Abel James: Right on. Thank.

Guy Lawrence: Abel, thanks so much for coming on the show. That was a treat. And I have no doubt everyone listening to this will get a heap out of that. That was awesome.

Abel James: Awesome. Yeah. What a pleasure. Thank you for having me.

Stuart Cooke: No problems and we really appreciate it. And you enjoy the rest of the day. Good luck with your interviews and enjoy that meal. Sounds delicious.

Abel James: Thank you so much. You guys have a great day.

Guy Lawrence: Thanks, Abel.

Stuart Cooke: Thank you buddy. Take care. Bye, bye.

Abel James: All right, just like you.

Guy Lawrence: Bye.

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Supreme health is only ONE CHANGE away! 2 Minutes with Dave Asprey


By Guy Lawrence

We ask Dave Asprey (aka The Bullet Proof Executive), what would be the one single piece of advice you would give someone for optimum health/wellness. This is a must as it’s not what you think it’s going to be!

You can watch the full Dave Asprey: The Bullet Proof Executive interview here.

 

Did you enjoy this? Do you agree with Dave Asprey or have any stories to share? Love to hear your thoughts below… Guy

Dave Asprey: The Bulletproof Executive


You can listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.

downloaditunesIn this weeks episode:-

  • Dave reveals his personal health journey & how he lost 100lbs [04:15]
  • What Dave eat’s in a day & why he doesn’t eat all morning sometimes [14:45]
  • The Bulletproof Diet. Why bulletproof coffee & intermittent fasting is so effective for health & longevity [20:10]
  • The fine line between CrossFit, exercise & overtraining [39:40]
  • Why he wrote the Better Baby Book [47:15]
  • This is a must: Dave’s single piece of advice for optimum health/wellness [55:10]
  • and much more…

dave_aspreyDave Asprey aka The Bullet Proof Executive is one exceptionally smart man. On top of that he’s a really great guy too! He shares with us his journey from being 297lbs (134kg) in weight to then hacking his health for the fastest & most effective results possible.

He’s also single handily changed the way I drink my coffee (& many others) in the morning. If you haven’t heard of the bulletproof coffee with MCT oil and grass-fed butter (yes you read that right), then it’s only a matter of time before you do! Guy

If you would like to learn more about Dave Asprey and the bullet proof diet, click here.

You can buy bullet proof coffee in Australia here.

Further reading: Better Baby Book

You can view all Health Session episodes here.

Did you enjoy the interview with Dave Asprey? Would love to hear you thoughts in the Facebook comments section below… Guy

 Dave Asprey: The bulletproof executive transcript

Guy Lawrence: I’m Guy Lawrence. This is Stuart Cooke. And our very special guest today is Mr. Dave Asprey. Mate, thanks for joining us. I really appreciate the time.

Dave Asprey: You’ve got it. I’m really glad to be here. I’m a huge fan of Australia. Love visiting.

Guy Lawrence: We’re in heaven over here. We both live near the ocean and we feel blessed, that’s for sure. Definitely.

Stuart Cooke: We certainly do. We make the most of it.

We’ve immersed ourselves in all things Bulletproof over the last month or so, because we knew that we’d be chatting to you. And I had a little bit of a question and a realization that you know a lot of stuff. A lot of stuff. And I think that if Google were a person, I think that person would be Dave Asprey. Have you figured out a way to connect to Google from your mind to kind of pull in this information? It’s insane.

Dave Asprey: Yeah, it’s actually this thing right here, see? It’s got a little Google USB port for the head and you just do that and. . . no. This is actually the upgraded focus Brain Trainer. It teaches you to move blood to the front of your head. But I haven’t got the Google direct connect, but I’ve often wished for just a docking station for whatever my PDA at the time is. It used to be a Palm Pilot. Now it’s an iPad or whatever. Samsung NX, I guess.

Stuart Cooke: I’m sure in the future it will all be very Matrix-style and we’ll dock ourselves into something. But let’s see what happens.

Guy Lawrence: Well, me and Stewie sat down the other day and we thought, Dave’s coming on the show, and what should we ask him? We had so many questions for you and so we’re gonna try to condense it and obviously for our listeners as well. And I thought we could start from the beginning, because I was listening to your Joe Rogan show, I think it was the first one, literally last week, and . . . listening to the Joe Rogan show and you mentioned that you were nearly 300 pounds overweight, which I didn’t realize.

Dave Asprey: I wasn’t 300 pounds overweight. I was 300 pounds in total; only a hundred pounds overweight. If I was 300 pounds overweight there’d be, like, stretch marks on my forehead.

Guy Lawrence: Fair enough.

Dave Asprey: I only have stretch marks around my midsection and, like, here. I do have a lot of stretch marks, but I got them when I was 16. It was no good.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, so I guess the question; the first question would be: Can you tell us about that journey from being overweight to where you are today, so people get to know a little bit about Dave if they’re not sure who you are.

Dave Asprey: Sure. It’s kind of funny, but I was just fat as a kid. And I never knew why. In fact, I always figured it was because I was too lazy or I ate too much; I didn’t have enough willpower or something like that.

And it got really bad. By the time I was done with my first four years of university, I was 297 pounds. I’d had three knee surgeries. I had arthritis in my knees when I was 14. And I was on antibiotics about once a month for 15 years straight for chronic sinusitis and strep throat and things like that.

I had nosebleeds five, 10 times a day, was pretty common. And I bruised easily and I still had played soccer for 13 years. I used to be a kind of competitive cyclist. But I was always fat. And it was kind of like, “Whatever. What can you do about it?”

And it was in my mid-20s I got really serious. Like: “This is enough.” And I started working out like six days a week, an hour and a half a day, 45 minutes of cardio, 45 minutes of weights. And the cardio was with a backpack full of bricks on a 15-degree incline, going up, not running but walking, enough that you’re panting like crazy.

And I never lost the weight. Got strong. Didn’t lose the weight. And I kept having the same problems. You know: bad skin, zits, body odor, just the whole nine yards. “What’s going on here?”

So I decided that I was gonna be a biohacker. I also noticed along the way here that my brain was failing. And this, maybe, is what really put a nail in that decision.

I was working at a company called 3Com in Silicon Valley. This was one of the pioneers in the networking business. It was 3Com or Cisco was gonna win and, well, Cisco won. But at the time, those were the two dominant players.

I would sit in meetings, and after the meeting, I would think, “I don’t really know what happened in there. I’m a zombie.” I’m sure I was there; people didn’t tell me I fell asleep but I’m pretty sure I was asleep. So, whatever.

And I got so concerned about this that I took out disability insurance at 26. Because I was scared: Like, how am I gonna make ends meet if I can’t work? I’m young. I should be in my prime and I think something’s wrong, but maybe it’s just me.
So I started measuring my performance on this simple solitaire game you can play on your computer called Freestyle. And I would plot it. And some days, the data showed I was a zombie. And it’s really liberating to have zombie data, because when you get that data it tells you that it’s not all in your head, so you can actually have a view of yourself.

That’s what we call self-awareness, really, but it was data-driven self-awareness. And what that did for me was it let me say, “All right. Now I need to attack a problem.” And being a computer hacker by trade, you know, I helped to create modern cloud computing; not like Al Gore created the Internet but, you know, I was at the company that created cloud computing called Exodus Communications and played a key role there.
So, given this whole: “How do you hack it? How do you get around it? How do you engineer a solution to a new problem?” I said, “All right. My brain is dead, so I’m gonna start taking smart drugs.” And it worked! I actually got my brain back enough that I could start upgrading the rest of my body.

And we go 15 years later, I’ve spent the last 10 years as president, chairman, or board member of an anti-aging research and non-profit group called Silicon Valley Health Institute. I’ve had a chance to talk to more than a hundred anti-aging doctors and researchers and physicians, and, kind of, people leading their field to understand what’s going on in the human body, what’s going on in the mind, how does the nervous system work, how does biochemistry work, how does the cell membrane affect things, what are neurotransmitters.

Not from a medical perspective. I’m married to a doctor and she knows more about the tibia, fibula, and the neck bone’s connected to the ankle bone stuff than I ever will, to be perfectly honest. But when it comes to hacking these systems to get the outcome you want, without knowing every intermediate step, which we don’t know in the human body. . . And, by the way, when you’re troubleshooting a complex cloud computing system, you don’t know every step in the middle either. You have to hypothesize and test.

So, that’s what I started doing with an N equals 1 experiment on myself way before Quantified Self was cool.

Guy Lawrence: That’s awesome. So, I guess, in a nutshell, that’s biohacking? Self-experimentation, to a degree?

Dave Asprey: There is two parts of it. There’s the Quantified Self angle, which isn’t really biohacking. This is kind of common. You get devices like this. This is a watch, although the battery’s dead, and it monitors your heart rate without a chest strap. And I’m actually; I’m a CTO of this company. It’s called Basis. And I usually only just wear it for show and it’s not that useful as a daily-wear watch. It’s not waterproof, for one thing. A slight problem. But it’s a cool gadget.

So, there’s also those scales where you weigh yourself every day. They upload to the web. And sleep monitors. I’m looking at; this is prototype one from a company called BEdit, which I’m super-excited about; I’m starting to work with those guys.
So, there’s all these devices that can tell you what’s going on in your body. Because, honestly, unless you’re a very unusual person, you probably suck at knowing what’s going on inside your biology.

You can teach yourself what’s going on. So, there’s this whole cognitive feedback loop where you’re, like, “OK, if I, at the end of the day or the week or the month, I look at what I did, I can learn more, and I can make a decision to do something different.”

The thing I discovered after doing that for a long time is that my intent and my decision would be: I’m gonna do acts to improve my health. Let’s say I’m not gonna eat bagels this week. Well, then, you’re in a meeting, halfway through the week, and you’re kinda tired and you’re kinda hungry and somehow you convince yourself that it’s a great idea to take a bite of that bagel. And then you go, “Damn it! I ate a bagel! I’m a failure. I’m a bad person.”

What’s going on there is a core part of biohacking. It’s that there’s parts of your nervous system way faster than your conscious thinking. And if you don’t manage those parts of your nervous system, they’ll convince you to eat the bagel. But it’s not actually you eating the bagel. It’s an avatar in your head eating the bagel. Right?

So, that’s what’s going on. And you can train that part of the body. It’s just like you train an animal. And the liberation that comes from understanding that when crazy thoughts pop into your head, or behaviours that are really not the behaviours that you intended, happen, that it’s a part of your automated defense systems of your body that are driving those behaviours, not your conscious decisions. And it’s also a sign, if you’re doing those things, that you need to learn how to manage the unconscious parts of your body, because that’s where all the trouble happens.

And the three kinds of trouble are really, really obvious. You’ll see these in any dog. Number one is: “Oh, look! Food! I’ll eat it. It doesn’t matter if it’s cat poop. It might be food. I’m gonna eat that, too.” Right?

Then you go, “All right. What else does a dog do? “Oh, look! A stick!” And distractibility; you’re all over the place.

And the final one, which is maybe my favorite, is, “Oh, look! A leg! I’ll go hump it.”

Those are the behaviours that get most people in trouble most of the time, and they’re all unconscious, high-speed behaviours that happen way faster than you can think about it and go: “Actually, come to think of it, I don’t want to hump that leg.” Your body’s already like, “Yeah, do it!” And it’s convincing you that you should do it. Well, that’s your body misbehaving. You’ve got to tell the body to behave itself.

Stuart Cooke: How would you; you have a lot of stuff going on in your life, I’m guessing. You know: with work and commitments and Bulletproof. Family. You know, a lot of stuff going on. How do you disconnect from that to rest and calm yourself, in the nighttime, you know, just to sleep.

Dave Asprey: Well, if you’re watching the video, let’s see. See that device back there? I connect my head up to it. OK. Not the one with all the dials and gauges. But the laptop, underneath them. That’s a neuro-feedback system. So I actually will play my brainwaves back to myself. You get the brainwaves from the head, and then you actually turn it into sounds and you play the sounds back to you.

So, my brain, even though it’s pretty darn highly trained; I’ve done this 40 years, the “Zen in 7 Days”-type thing and I have 40YearsOfZen.com. And things like that. So, I’m more aware than the average guy, but I’m sure there’s people that are more aware than I am. I just cheated. I didn’t spend an hour a day mediating for 40 years to get there. I spent a week hooked up to expensive computers.

But this is kind of a junior version of that, and what I’m doing there is I’m laying down on the floor, sitting in a chair, and just listening. And I hear music. And then the music kind of has static. And the static is happening when my brain is flopping from one state to another.

And the brain doesn’t like static very much. So, it’s says, “Oh, wait. I was flopping.” And it stops flopping around and it calms down. That’s one thing I might do to disconnect.

The other thing is, I have a 6-year-old and a 3-year-old and my computer would, like, break half the stuff from my office if I told it out of all this stuff it’s stuck to. But if I turned it around, you’d be seeing my office, my biohacking lab here, there’s a deck overlooking a little pond, and a forest surrounds me. So, I go out, I have lunch with my kids. I work from home. I work really hard. I work long hours. I’m up late at night. I’m talking with people. This is my fourth podcast today.

Guy Lawrence: Really? Wow.

Dave Asprey: Oh, yeah. And you can see my energy level. I’m doing pretty good, right?

Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.
Dave Asprey: This is a guy who used to have chronic fatigue syndrome, Lyme Disease, small intestine bacteria overgrowth, mercury toxicity, obesity, pre-diabetes, really thick blood and high risk for a stroke and heart attack. Right?

If I can do this, imagine what you guys can do, because you’re nowhere near as screwed up as I used to be.

Guy Lawrence: Your days are packed, right? And everyone complains about short of time, they make bad food choices, there’s a million things of why they can’t look after their health. If you’re so busy, what do you eat through the day as well? How do you stay on top of that?

Dave Asprey: Number one, snacking is for people who are starving. You don’t need to snack if your body is well-fed. So, for breakfast this morning I had Bulletproof coffee made with upgraded coffee beans, which, by the way, you can buy in Australia. We actually have them stocked there now. And it’s OptimOZ is the name of the company.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, we know Leon.

Dave Asprey: He’s totally Bulletproof. He’s an awesome dude.
So, definitely check out OptimOZ. You get the beans there. And does it really matter, the beans? Actually, it does. If it didn’t, I wouldn’t make the darn things. Like, I’m not interested, and certainly not in the business of making stuff that’s, like, “Oh, yeah, everyone else has that but I have it, too.” I try to find things that are unique and that work really effectively. And most of the world. . . Actually, that’s not true. Europe and Asia have certain standards for coffee that other countries don’t have. So, while we’re getting poor-quality coffee that affects your brain thought.

So, you start Bulletproof coffee, the beans, grass-fed butter, and, by the way, there’s awesome grass-fed butter available in Australia. When I was there, I found three or four different brands when I looked around. I thought that was kind of cool. And it was really good, too.

And then, from there, I added Upgraded Collagen, which is a protein supplement that I make. I don’t always put that in in the morning. Usually I just do Bulletproof intermittent fasting, which is just the coffee, MCT oil, upgraded MCT, upgraded coffee, and butter.

Some days, because I worked out two days ago, I’ve gotta have a little extra protein. I’ll do that.

Lunch, I had a salad with a ton of guacamole. Slide a little salad dressing on it, made from scratch, relatively easy to make. Immersion blender, sliced-up cucumbers, and some cold salmon left over from either last night or this morning. So, basically, it’s salmon salad.

And that was around 1:30. And then I haven’t had any snacks. That would be completely like; I don’t even want to have a snack. I’d get tired if I had a snack.
So, I will get again. . . Let’s see. It’s 5:30 my time. I’ll have dinner around 6:30 and it will probably be like a steak or a hamburger, a bunch of vegetables prepared from the Upgraded Chef book, which is basically a soup. I’ll put a bunch of steamed vegetables, a bunch of butter, MCT, blend it with some spices, and maybe some other vegetables or some other side dish. I’m not sure. I’m not gonna be cooking that dinner.

If I was cooking it, I could have it on the table within 20 minutes of starting to cook, and that would be the biggest meal of the day. Lunch was a five-minute meal. Breakfast was a five-minute meal.

Stuart Cooke: Pretty quick. So, starches, grains at all?

Dave Asprey: Probably not today. If I was gonna have any kind of starch, it would be at the evening meal. And, grains, the only grain I would touch would be white rice. The rest of the grains, honestly, if you can afford it, don’t eat them. They are not gonna make you live longer. They are not good for your health.

Stuart Cooke: And even these new “wonder grains,” the, like quinoa, I guess, that they are saying is kind of this fantastic health-giving grain?

Dave Asprey: Are those the same people that said soy was a fantastic, health-giving food?

Stuart Cooke: Could be. Could well be.

Dave Asprey: Here’s the thing. It doesn’t have strict gluten in it, but if you were a seed, let’s say, who evolved as a seed. Your function is to not be food for animals because then you don’t get to sprout. Your function is to sprout. Your function is not to spoil, because there’s a lot of bacterial and fungal pressure on carbohydrate sources.

So, basically, everyone wants to get what’s in you. So, do you just sit there and die and then not evolve as a species and become extinct, or do you develop natural pesticides and coat yourself in them, which make animal sick if they eat too much of you and repel other invaders?

Well, that would be what we call “whole grains.” So, grains have phytic acid and they have a whole bunch of other defense systems, mostly lectin-based, which is a kind of protein that sticks; a kind of sugar that sticks to. . . I’m sorry; I have it backwards. It’s a kind of protein that sticks to a sugar that lines your cells. And it’s a problem.

So, if you were to eat a legume or a grain, what you’d want to do is you want to soak it for a long time and then you want to sprout it a little bit to deactivate most of the defense systems.

But, honestly, even if you do that, you’re still getting a lot of starch. It’s gonna raise your insulin. It’s gonna raise your blood glucose levels higher than you want. So, why don’t you just eat white rice, which is the least toxic of all of the grains? Don’t eat it all the time. Not for breakfast. Eat it a couple of times a week on a Bulletproof diet once a week. Like, have a day where you eat a lot of starch to refuel so you don’t get adrenal stress from being always in fat-burning mode.

But you want to be in fat-burning mode a couple of days a week, at minimum.

Guy Lawrence: I’ve got a question for you, Dave, and I’m sort of jumping forward a bit, but with the Bulletproof coffee, because I’ve been doing that now probably for a month. I’ve been putting the MCT on in and the grass-fed butter in the morning and I put it up on Facebook and the first thing, question, was, you know, “Why?” And they were, like, “Why MCT oil? Why intermittent fasting?” So, I thought I’d ask you that question so you could explain it, because you’ll explain it a lot better than I would.

Dave Asprey: All right. First, intermittent fasting is well-established to change your genetic expression in such a way that it replicates long-lived animals. So, basically, if you want to live a long time, you at least want to make an animal live a long time, you cut back on the number of calories they eat, and they live longer.

That’s true for humans, too, and there’s a group of people, some of whom are my friends, who have gone on those radical, low-calorie diets and they walk around looking like sticks and they’re super-thin. And I don’t actually advocate that in the slightest. But it is an anti-aging sort of proposed technique.

You can get most of the same benefits of doing that by just not eating for 18 hours a day.

Now, if you’re like I was in my; when I was 25 or 28, the idea of not eating for 18 hours was repellant and offensive, because it would disable me. I used to, like, stop meetings at 11:45. “Sorry, guys. I know that the meeting goes till lunch, but if I don’t have lunch right now, I’m gonna kill one of you and eat your arm.”

And, literally, I would just stand up and walk out. And people were, like, “Are we gonna finish the meeting?” And I was, like, “Sorry. I don’t really care because I’m not here.”

Guy Lawrence: “I have to eat.”

Dave Asprey: Yeah. And now I’m like, 18 hours, whatever. I can go 24, 36. It’s really not a big deal. At 36 hours I’m gonna be kind of hungry, a little tired, but it’s not gonna kill me.

And what’s going on there, with intermittent fasting, is that you’re telling your body, “OK, there’s no food here, so you might as well take all this stuff you’re ready to digest food and use it to clean yourself out.” It’s a processed called autophagy. And it turns on.

So, you get some real benefits, including weight loss, that come just from intermittent fasting. The down side is that people who live a high-intensity life like I do, or even just people who have kids and a job, OK, you’re gonna end your 18 hours right at about 2 o’clock in the afternoon. So, the time when you’re coldest and tiredest is right in the middle of your workday. And you’re gonna be cranky. So, people can’t stick with it.

What I did with Bulletproof intermittent fasting is I said, well, let’s look at what fasting really does. It turns off the protein digestion and the sugar digestion cycles. But if you eat only pure fat, which, in this case, with coffee, what happens is that your body thinks you’re still fasting but you get all the energy from the fat. So, you get this laser focus; this amazing energy.

And why grass-fed butter and MCT oil? Let’s talk first about inflammation. Inflammation is a major issue in human performance. If you’re inflamed, you’re less likely to perform well and you’re more likely to get sick. In fact, you might just be sick, which itself can be a cause of inflammation.
So, when you eat butter from grass-fed cows, you’re getting a short-chain fatty acid called butyric acid. It’s shown in publicly available studies to decrease brain inflammation. When you have a decrease in brain inflammation, your brain can actually conduct the electricity faster. You think faster.

Butyric acid also is one of the things that cures your gut. So, this is just a normal thing butter does, but short-chain fatty acids help to keep the gut lining intact. So, people who practice this Bulletproof intermittent fasting and put grass-fed butter in their coffee are getting the benefits of the grass-fed butter.

And then we have the benefits of coffee oils themselves. You need to brew your coffee using the upgraded beans without a paper filter. This means a French press, a gold filter in your coffee maker or espresso. Coffee oils themselves are anti-inflammatory for two different inflammation pathways in the brain. So, you’re using coffee as like a performance-enhancing kind of herbal thing.

And you do that and, to cap it all off, you add upgraded MCT oil. Upgraded MCT oil does something kind of magic. It’s six times stronger than coconut oil in terms of this one effect. And the effect is that normally we burn sugar all the time. And it takes 26 steps to turn sugar in your diet into ATP or the fuel in your cells. It takes three steps to turn the MCT oil into ATP energy in your cells. MCT goes to BHB and then it goes to co-enzyme A and then it goes straight to ATP.

What this means is, think about, like, a hybrid car. You have an electric motor and a gas motor. And you’re the same way. You can run on fat and you can run on sugar. Well, if you want to be most powerful, you should metabolically be flexible to work either one when your body needs it, or even, better yet, to burn both at the same time.

So, when you’re drinking this cup of coffee, you’re seriously hacking your brain. You’re turning off inflammation. You’re giving it an addition energy source it didn’t have before. And you’re telling your body and your brain, including your stomach, like: “Hey, it’s time to take a break here.”

So, it’s having the benefits of intermittent fasting without paying the price. In this case, you can have your butter and eat it, too.

Stuart Cooke: Wow. That’s insane. Now, I have to confess, and I don’t know how this is gonna go down, but I have never had a cup of coffee in my life, ever.

Dave Asprey: Why’d you let him on the podcast?

Guy Lawrence: I’ve been putting cups of coffee in front of him: “Mate, you’ve gotta try this. This changed the way I drink coffee forever.” And he. . .

Stuart Cooke: And another confession, Guy, I’ve been sneaking some of your MCT oil into my smoothie that I’ve been making ‘round at your place.

Dave Asprey: I do that all the time. MCT in smoothies is awesome. And if you want to, like, rock your world, make guacamole. Just mash up avocados and squirt MCT in it and mash it up some more. It changes the mouth feel of foods without changing the flavor. It’s phenomenal. I put it in everything. I pour it on my vegetables. I don’t like going without it.

Stuart Cooke: We do that. I had a whole avocado coconut oil smoothie just before we came on here. But I am intrigued to want to try a cup of your Bulletproof coffee now that you’ve explained exactly what’s happening with it.

Dave Asprey: There are, I would say, I know probably a hundred people who didn’t drink coffee who decided to try coffee as a nutritional supplement, essentially. Where they were saying, OK, green tea has certain known effects. Well, coffee does, too.

And what no one talks about is that coffee is the number one source of antioxidants in most of the Western world. It blows wine out of the water. If you’re going around having a glass of red, nice Australian wine thinking it’s for the antioxidants, like, seriously, have two espresso shots and you’ll have, like, 17 cups of wine worth of antioxidants. It’s that big of a difference.
Guy Lawrence: Is that right?

Dave Asprey: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: How does that stack up against green tea as an antioxidant?

Dave Asprey: It dominates green tea. Green tea’s number two but coffee wins.

Guy Lawrence: There you go. OK.

Stuart Cooke: All right. You know what you’re going to be doing tomorrow, Guy. You’re going to be making two cups of coffee and I think I’ll record myself drinking my very first cup of coffee and we’ll put it out across Facebook.

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.

Dave Asprey: That’s gonna be cool. I really want, not just to have you drink it, I want a recording of you 30 seconds to an hour after you drink it going, “Whoa!” And here’s warning: Well, actually, you already take MCT oil. You’ll be fine. There are a group of people who have to start out with just a teaspoon of MCT oil until they get used to it, because their body is turned off metabolically that if you turn everything on all at once, they get, like, they feel sweaty and hot and it’s a little bit uncomfortable.

Stuart Cooke: Oh, OK. OK. And I hear that loose bowels as well, if you’re not used to this kind of stuff? I mean, it will clean you out that way?

Dave Asprey: We call it “Disaster Pants.”

Stuart Cooke: Right. OK.

Stuart Cooke: If you take too much of it and you’ve never had it before, it’s bad. In fact, there’s a reporter from Yahoo! News, really awesome woman, super into Bulletproof, and I’m not gonna name her because, well, I said “Yahoo! News”; maybe it’s too late. But she ignored the warning, being kind of a Bulletproof mindset, said, I’m, like, “Start slowly!” And she took like a half a cup of MCT oil in her first coffee. Which is a big dose. I think that would affect me and I kind of take the stuff all the time. And she said, “Ah, I felt kind of strange afterward.” And at the end of her story she kind of reported that.

But, yeah, that’s what happens if you take too much. So, it’s a really powerful thing. It’s like the octane booster stuff you can put in your car. You can buy it at the automotive store and you put it in the tank and it raises. . . Well, if you only put that in your gas tank, well, you’re gonna start your car up and it will shoot out the back. It’s the same idea.

Stuart Cooke: I’m going to shop for a man nappy this afternoon. And then I’ll come round, I’ll be very prepared at Guy’s place.

Guy Lawrence: I like that you’re trying it at my place, not yours.

Stuart Cooke: I’ve got kids here. I don’t want to mess the toilet.

Dave Asprey: You already put it in your smoothies. You’ll be fine.

Guy Lawrence: We should give that a go.

Stuart Cooke: We are; Guy and myself, we’re very focused on nutrition and we’re gonna hit you with the million dollar question of cause. Which is kind of crazy. But in a nutshell, why are getting fatter?

Dave Asprey: There’s a lot going on there.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Dave Asprey: The short answer is, we could blame Apple; the computers. They seem responsible for lots of environmental ills. So. . .

Stuart Cooke: OK. Let’s blame them.

Dave Asprey: I’m only saying that in jest. There’s many different factors involved. But one of them actually is your electronic devices. And it has to do with circadian rhythm and how you go to sleep and how well you sleep and your melatonin levels.

Stuart Cooke: Very interesting. We’ve done a bit of research into EMR and EMF as well, and being aware that we’re living in an environment now where we are exposed to wifi and stuff like that and how that can mess up with your natural rhythms of your body. So, I can certainly understand where you’re coming from there.

Dave Asprey: That’s a part of it. I don’t think EMF is necessarily the top thing that makes us fat. It increases myological stress. And stress does cause weight gain.

But it’s actually the light that comes off these devices. One of the things I do with my Bulletproof coaching clients, and part of what I do is I set aside time every week and I have a set of coaching clients around the globe and I just do it over Skype, but we talk about, like, hedge fund managers and entrepreneurs and CEOs and people who are really into high performance and occasionally like a pro athlete or someone.

But it’s usually people who are really, like, “How do I have the energy and the focus to just go all day long and to manage all these stresses in life?” And it’s always sleep that’s a problem when we start our sessions. And then we hack that first.

So, staring at a bright light, including your iPhone screen, including your computer, at night, after the sun goes down, really jacks up your biological systems. You don’t make melatonin for four hours after you look at a bright light, even if you get up in the middle of the night, you flip on the lights to go the to bathroom, flip ‘em off, you’re done. You’re not making melatonin again that night. And that’s a problem.

So, in our house, we have a light in our bathroom, and this is something I carry on the website, but it’s a light that doesn’t emit any blue spectrum. It’s like a yellow bulb. And when you turn that on, you don’t hurt your melatonin.

When I’m here in my office at night, I have software that turns down the intensity and changes the color spectrum. But it’s not enough. Either I wear orange glasses or I do this.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah! Right. OK.

I’ve seen the orange glasses, and I’m aware of the blue light, and. . . Yeah, insane. So, where would we get the glasses from and how would we wear them?

Dave Asprey: The cheapest glasses are laser protection goggles made by Uvex on Amazon. I have a pair right by my bed so I’m not gonna, like, disconnect from the headphones and grab them. Normally they’re on my desk.

And you just wear them after the sun goes down. You don’t have to wear them every night. But you really will sleep better.

And the other thing is, turn off the LEDs in your room. Every single LED, whatever color, but especially blue and green. Put black tape over them. The curtains, if there’s light coming around, get another curtain to put over the top of that. You should be able to open your eyes at night and not see anything. When you do that, you will sleep profoundly.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. That’s insane. Sleep has been a big topic, I think, especially for us. Me in particularly because I have; my sleep has been shot for the last five years. But I think I’ve been through a journey where we’ve looked at magnesium. We’ve looked at melatonin supplementation as well. We’ve looked at EMF; moving the bed, you know, outside of heavy fields.

But it was only the other night that I thought, you know, I reckon it might be down to my sinuses. Because I was a mouth-breather at night. And I thought, wow, that’s really insane. And I have quite a clear nose, and when I lay down, my nose gets quite stuffy and I breathe through my mouth. So, I did a little experiment last night and bought a nasal decongestant and blast it up each nostril. Super clear. Went down and had a great night’s sleep. Which is insane.

Dave Asprey: You need to do an allergy, like a blood allergy panel. If this is happening when you lie down but not the rest of the time. . . What’s your comforter made out of? How old is it? Do you have a dust mite cover on your bed? And maybe you have an allergy to dust mites. But environmental allergies will decimate your sleep. And so will food allergies. You could have a dairy intolerance or something. And if you’re eating dairy protein and you shouldn’t be, that would cause your sinuses to be more congested.

But I see this all the time. In fact, even for me this was a problem about 18 months ago. My wife is from Sweden and they sleep with these ridiculously thick, like, sheet things but they’re; I grew up in a desert. I sleep with, like, a sheet and a blanket like a civilized person. But these Vikings, I tell ya, featherduster things. Whatever. So, I noticed she fluffed it. I was, like, “Bleh! What is that?” She said, “Oh, these don’t ever go bad. These feather things are good forever.” Like, it’s 20 years old, get it out of here and let’s try it without. And my sleep quality improved, too.

So, check out your mattress. And they have these, like, closed-cell, hypoallergenic covers. Totally get one of those. Put an air filter in your room. And see what happens. You might be amazed.

But that’s not why we’re all fat. It’s only a part of it.

You’ve got to read my sleep-hacking post. There’s a bunch more stuff like that.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, I’ve been through them and we’re gonna be pushing it out to our readers. Because I know that sleep is a huge thing.

Guy Lawrence: But would it be fair to say, than, that if your sleep falls apart then that’s the base of; that’s gonna cause all the other problems as well. Because if you’re not sleeping well and you’re tired, you’re gonna start making wrong decisions as well, aren’t you?

Dave Asprey: Well, not necessarily. I did two years where I ate 4,000 calories a day. I didn’t exercise at all. And I slept five hours or less per night every night. In fact, sometimes only two hours.

And I actually grew a six-pack during that time. And I don’t think I made bad decisions.

You can train yourself to, as you go through stress conditioning, to make great decisions while you’re tired. And one of the things that’s really strange is that a lot of what happens when you’re operating in a tired state is that that dog in your body that I was referencing earlier; it’s worried. It’s like, “Oh, my God! I’m tired. I’m gonna die.” And it has this little: “Go to sleep! Aaa!”

So, there’s a lot of, like, nervous energy that comes from being tired that’s unnecessary. It’s when you train that part of your nervous system to basically accept the fact that you’re tired and you’re not gonna die, you’re still gonna do what needs doing and you’re gonna to go to sleep, that’s what happens in boot camp in the military. That’s one of the reasons that they torture you like that, so you realize, yeah, you can function at the level you need to function, even if you’re really tired. And when you realize that, the stress of being tired, not the stress of not getting enough sleep, but actually just the worry about the state, goes away and suddenly your performance goes up dramatically. And I’ve certainly done that.

Stuart Cooke: So, how many hours a night would you get of quality sleep?

Dave Asprey: I get about five hours a night, usually. Lately, in the last six months, I’m doing an experiment. I’m like, OK, maybe I really do need more. So, I’ve gotten my average up to five hours and 57 minutes over the past six months. I have a little monitoring device.

Stuart Cooke: I was gonna say, can you be a little bit more precise in that timing?

Guy Lawrence: Would you increase that sleep if people are exercising a lot?

Dave Asprey: Oh, absolutely. One of the reasons that I’m a huge fan of the exercise protocols on the Bulletproof Executive, which are based largely on Body By Science by Doug McGuff is, well, I don’t really have a lot of recovery time. So, I’m going to, after this, after we’re done here, I’m gonna go up and have dinner with the kids, play with the kids, spend some quality time with my wife, and around 9 p.m. I’m gonna come back here and I have another three hours of stuff scheduled. And then I’m probably gonna write something and I’ll go to bed around 2 and I’ll wake up around 7:30 or 8.

And I do this over and over and over and over. So, what was your original question? I forget.

Guy Lawrence: Increasing sleep with exercise.

Dave Asprey: So, basically, if I work out, I’m gonna have to add at least an hour to that. So what I’ll do today is I’ll probably stand on my whole-body vibration platform (I have an Ultra Vibe) and that’s gonna get my lymphatic circulation going, it’s gonna get all the muscles firing, more so than a walk for an hour would, really. Because 30 times a second, my body’s doing this.

And while I’m doing that, I can relax, I can close my eyes, or, heck, I can watch something on TV if I want to, like it’s totally free time.

But I’m only gonna lift weights once this week.

Stuart Cooke: So, for those of us that don’t have access to a system like you just explained, is there anything that we can do that will simulate the effects?

Dave Asprey: Well, the rebounder, the old little trampoline that you jump on? It’s a really good detoxing thing. It’s good strengthening. It keeps your bones strong. The problem is, you’re gonna do one a second. I’m doing 30 a second. So, you might want to rebound for a half-hour or something.

Guy Lawrence: Three days.

Stuart Cooke: That’s awesome. Guy, I think why don’t we go into the overtraining as well.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, sure, absolutely. Because that was another question. You know, I CrossFit a fair bit. I see guys that do a lot of training. A lot. And I’m always conscious of where’s that line between exercise for, you know, athleticism, and then also overtraining, and, you know, doing yourself more harm than good long-term. What would your take on that be?

Dave Asprey: I love the intensity of CrossFit. I don’t like the frequency of CrossFit.

And it’s so easy to make a daily habit, and so I totally understand why you’d want to do that. And when I used to exercise six days a week, that made it really easy because you just do it every day. It’s much harder to stick with something you do once or twice a week. It requires a calendar and scheduling and an amount of self-discipline a lot of people don’t have.

So, with CrossFit, I see this very often in my clients. In fact, one of them who lives in Australia was getting ready to compete in the CrossFit Games and just, like, lost his mojo. Like, his passion for life was going down. And he’s a pretty high-performance guy. And I said, “Look. Your sleep quality is disrupted.” One of things that comes from overtraining is completely useless sleep and not very much of it.

And I said, “Why don’t you just get a cortisol panel? Like, get a blood test. And let’s see. I can predict what’s gonna happen here.” And he got it and his cortisol was sky-high. So he backed off on his number of workouts and his zest for life returned very quickly. It helps, too; he had made a mistake some people make on the Bulletproof Diet. They go low-carb and they feel so amazing when they’re eating just the meat, vegetables, and 60 percent fat, maybe, from the healthy kinds of fat. You just have just this Bulletproof state. It feels so amazing when you get there.

The problem is, you stay in it. He wasn’t doing the carbohydrate refueling that I recommend for guys at least once a week. If you’re lifting heavy during CrossFit, you probably need to do that twice a week. And there’s some people who try to stay in ketosis all the time and do CrossFit and your adrenals are not gonna like that eventually.

So, it’s a dangerous thing to be overtrained. It’s no different to overtrain than it is to starve yourself by not eating enough of the right food or to be under, like, huge amounts of emotional stress. Even, like, a divorce or, you know, your house burning down or something like that. The level of stress your body goes under, it doesn’t matter if it comes from exercise or nutrition or factors emotionally around you. You have a bucket of stress you can handle every day, and we measure that in adrenal reserve.
So, if you’re gonna kind of beat the crap out of your body by overtraining at that level, you need to support your adrenals first and foremost. Number one recommendation: a teaspoon, maybe half a teaspoon, of salt in the morning. Sea salt in a glass of water, right as soon as you wake up.

And that sounds a little weird, but when you wake up, here’s what happens in your body. This is not what happens up here. This is what happens in a mammal; the dog inside you. So, your eyes open and it says: “I’m gonna have to get out of bed. If I stand up real quick, there might not be enough blood pressure, so there won’t be blood in the brain. If that happens, I’ll fall down and hit my head on a rock and a tiger will eat me. Then I would die. That would suck.” So, it’s an emergency situation.

So, immediately the adrenals turn on. They create cortisol and adrenaline and the cortisol is working really hard to raise potassium like it does in the morning to lower potassium, which happens in morning. Well, if you give it the sodium that it’s trying to do, it stops freaking out and at that point you’ve saved that adrenal reserve for later in the day to handle other stressors in life.

And this is a really powerful technique. And it’s something they use for people who have dysfunctional adrenal glands. But you can use it even if you have functioning adrenal glands to give yourself more kick later in the day.

The down side? If you have too much salt in the morning, it’s gonna give you Disaster Pants. So, start with half. . .

Guy Lawrence: So, if you up the salt and up the MCT if you haven’t done it before, then you’re in for a treat.

Dave Asprey: Pretty much the worst of all is if you do salts; a ton of salts, a ton of MCT, maybe some extra magnesium, and then stand on the whole-body vibration platform.

Stuart Cooke: That is fascinating. So, you take the salt before you get out of bed, so you’d have it by your bedside table?

Dave Asprey: That is the most ideal way to do it but then you have to think ahead. I just kind of wake up in the morning and I pop a handful of amino acids and stuff like that. I throw some salt in the hand and swallow it.

Guy Lawrence: Bang. Fantastic.

Stuart Cooke: So, you’re talking about popping salt and amino acids. Supplementation. I hear on the grapevine that you supplement quite well, and in the past you have taken quite a lot of supplements. What do you currently take?

Dave Asprey: It’s kind of a long list, still. At the height at my, kind of, anti-aging and also recovery regimen, recovering from years of my body not working very, I took 187 capsules a day.

Guy Lawrence: Wow.

Dave Asprey: Yeah. So, I think I had Ray Kurzweil by two capsules or something. This famous inventor who also has an anti-aging program and all.

And that requires a certain amount of organization and planning, and it also is kind of expensive. But what I do now is I have kind of three groupings a day. There’s one in the morning, because there’s things that work best on an empty stomach or things where it doesn’t matter. So, I take those when I first wake up.

Then there’s a group of things that you take with a meal. And if I’m on the road, I’ll take them usually with dinner. If I’m at home, I’ll usually take them with lunch. It doesn’t really matter.

And those are things that are gonna upset your stomach if you take them on an empty stomach, or things that require fat in order to be absorbed. And then the final thing is right before bed I take another small handful of pills. And these are things that enhance sleep and recovery. So, kind of in reverse order. At night, I would take GABA, theanine, magnesium, vitamin C, and glutathione; the liposomal form, in fact, that I was squirting in before the show. The stuff; upgraded glutathione.

Guy Lawrence: I’ve got that. Yeah, I take that, yeah.

Dave Asprey: Yeah, and it doesn’t taste great. I’m working on making it taste better.

Guy Lawrence: It’s interesting taste. The first time I had a shot of that under my tongue, I was, like, “Whoa! That’s pretty. . .”

Stuart Cooke: Well, the smell is pretty extreme. It smells powerful.

Dave Asprey: It’s a sulfur-bearing molecule. It is made out of sulfur and it is not pleasant-tasting, but I don’t know if either of you felt really strong effects from it. A lot of people really notice it. And I even know a nationally renowned author who’s a shaman and writes about shamanic experiences in Peru and things like that who uses glutathione regularly because he can get into those really advanced meditation states better for it.

So, I have no doubt in my mind that glutathione enhances cognitive function and there’s lots of studies about that. So, it also works for detox reasons. And we live in a world full of chemicals that cavemen didn’t deal with, so the idea that I’m gonna get my vitamins from my foods, great, just get your toxins from Mother Nature and you’ll be perfectly balanced. Not gonna happen.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, well, cognitive function I guess, Guy, try a couple of sprays tomorrow. See what happens. See how that works for us.

We had a question regarding a book that you’ve written as well. And kind of moving forward a little bit. It’s a babies book. Now, I’ve got three kids who have got lots of friends with books. There it is.

Dave Asprey: I don’t know if you can see it.

Stuart Cooke: I can see it.

Dave Asprey: There we go. No, that’s not my wife, by the way. Stock photos. Wiley, my publisher, was evil about that. They’re like, “No.” I’m like, “You haven’t even seen the photos!” They said, “We don’t care. We always use stock photos.”

Stuart Cooke: I wondered if you could just briefly explain what the book is about, as well, for our audience.

Dave Asprey: Sure. The Better Baby Book (by the way, BetterBabyBook.com would be the place to go to learn more) is what my wife and I did to reverse her infertility. When she was 35, she was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome and told she wouldn’t be able to have kids. We had our first child at 39 and our second at 42 without any fertility treatments other than what’s in the book.

And what’s in the book is how do you use food and the environment to change the way your body reacts and to change even the genetic expression of your children.
We learned, about 15 years ago, that the environment changes your genetic expression and those changes are inheritable. We learned then and then no one ever said what to do with that information. So, I went out and, as a biohacker, we compiled 1300 references to all sorts of things you could do to decrease inappropriate inflammation, to reduce the chances of autoimmune problems, and to increase pregnancy health.

And our midwife, who has delivered 700 kids, said of Lana; she said, “You have the healthiest maternal tissues of any woman of any age I’ve ever worked with.” This is to a 42-year-old woman. Which is pretty amazing, because she’s delivered babies from 24-year-olds quite frequently.
So, to be able to have that healthy of a pregnancy blew our midwife away and she convinced us to write the book about all the things we had done to give our kids every advantage that was already theirs. We just wanted to maximize the chances of what was already them, just giving them the opportunity to express it.

The results have been really profound and there’s lots of women now who visit my wife for her coaching practice over Skype. She helps women with fertility and with pregnancy know what to eat and know what to do and look at their progesterone and estrogen levels and things like that.

And I wrote this book because my goal is for there to be 10,000 less children with autism as a result of the program in the book. And I wrote it before The Bulletproof Executive, which is the book I’ve been itching to write. But I wrote this because, honestly, you have the most leverage. The younger you are when you start biohacking or optimizing systems and looking at how the environment affects you, the more leverage you have. So, preventing problems in the womb has the highest leverage. Trying to take a 90-year-old person and make them young again is a lot more work, a lot more pain, a lot more money, and a lot harder to do than taking a baby and just helping them form properly in the first place. That’s why I put so much energy and about four years into writing this book.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, fantastic. We saw the little video, I can’t remember, you were talking on a microphone and you mentioned the book and it’s just fascinating stuff. And one thing that intrigued me as well is what you feed your kids as well. Because I think so many parents struggle with that. And what we see, isn’t it, Stu, you know obviously you see it a lot more as well with. . . It’s amazing.

Dave Asprey: It depends when you start. So, my wife, I mentioned she’s Swedish, so sardines are a treat or chicken liver. So, when you eat things; at least when the mother eats things, the baby gets a taste for them later in life. And when you feed them to children when they’re very young, they get used to it.

So, my kids, they eat meat, they eat lamb, and they eat beef, and they love avocados. And vegetables are something you eat raw or cooked; it doesn’t really matter. I don’t get away with cutting any vegetable we eat without them walking into the kitchen and saying, “Can I have some of that?”

So, cauliflower’s good, broccoli’s good, all of that, because it’s just food. There’s no discussion about it.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right.

Dave Asprey: And if they say, “I don’t like that,” at the table, then: “OK, that’s fine. But it’s what we’re having for dinner. You don’t have to eat it.” “I want something else!” “Well, actually, that’s not what we’re having for dinner.”

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, that’s how it is.

Dave Asprey: They’ve never left the table; they’ve never left the table hungry. They think about it, they decide what to do, and there was one time, my 3-year-old, he’s a boy, so he’s a bit more strong-willed. And he said, you know, like, “OK, fine. I’m going.” And an hour later: “I’m hungry!” “You’re gonna be hungry till morning.” That was the last time he ever did that.
So, honestly, your kids, if they eat normal foods; normal on a Western diet, they’re starving inside. Literally, they have food cravings all the time caused by the foods they’re eating. So, they have a desperate need to eat. And of course they want to eat things that are gonna give them the most glucose and the most fat, because that’s what the liver uses to remove toxins from the body. You want to oxidize something, you need the fuel, and those are the two fuel sources. Protein’s crappy fuel. It makes more toxins in the liver than it takes out.

So, when you get to that perspective and you realize how hungry your kids are like that, number one, give them fat. They’ll calm down and stop misbehaving so much. Butter? Yes. MCT oil? Absolutely, my kids get MCT oil. And they go to school and all their friends are eating snacks and my kids are like, “I guess we’ll have a snack.” But they don’t snack at home. They don’t need snacks. And that’s amazing.

But when they’re properly fed, they behave really well and they focus and when you’re a parent, it doesn’t matter if your kids misbehave a little while. If you’re on path to making them have the biochemistry so they can focus and behave, then deal with it. When they say, “I don’t like it,” say, “Great! We’ll take it away and you’ll be hungry.” They’ll learn to like it pretty fast.

Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. We’re on a campaign to completely eradicate wheat. It’s time. It has to happen. I watched a podcast of yours a few weeks ago with the chap who wrote Wheat Belly and it was just. . .

Dave Asprey: Dr. Davis! He’s a great guy.

Stuart Cooke: Fascinating.

Dave Asprey: Yeah, and look at his credentials. I mean, Track Your Plaque. That guy’s a leading cardiologist. He’s not messing around in that book. And he’s right. It’s not just about getting fat or getting autoimmunity. It’s about your brain. Wheat makes you stupid.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. And it’s a tricky one, so we’re gonna be tackling that over the course of the next month or so. But when we’ve nailed that one, and we’re not too far away, I think we’ll be well on the way to good times.

Dave Asprey: It helps. Just watch out. It’s not something to take out gradually. It’s crack. It’s an opiate substance, the way it’s digested. So, it turns into something called a gluteomorphin and when you have wheat one day, even just one bite, “Oh, it’s Saturday. We’ll celebrate. We’re just gonna have a little pizza. Just one slice.” Right? The next day, the little Labrador in your head’s gonna say, “You know what? I’m starving because I need more wheat and I’m addicted to the stuff. I think it would be a good idea to have just one more piece.”

And you’ll convince yourself, because of that input, that it’s time to have just one more piece, and you’ll be just like someone who’s shooting heroin in their arm. “Oh, yeah, I’m giving it up this time. I’m sure I’m done.” And then later they end up with this. It’s because of that same process. So, go cold turkey, take lots of L-glutamine; the amino acid. That’ll help you to deal with the food cravings you’re gonna get for three days. And then you’re done detoxing and then wheat is not food after that anymore.

Stuart Cooke: Perfect tip. Fantastic.

Guy Lawrence: How are we doing for time?

Stuart Cooke: We’re absolutely mindful of your time, so I guess, Guy, if you’ve got. . .

Guy Lawrence: We’ll do a wrap-up question; a question we’re gonna ask on every podcast: If you could offer a single piece of advice for optimum health wellness, what would that be? For everyone listening to this.

Dave Asprey: Learn forgiveness.

Guy Lawrence: Learn forgiveness.

Dave Asprey: Yep. It is a very difficult skill to master. It’s easy to say, “I forgive you.” It’s very hard to actually do the biological activity of forgiveness and to neurologically forgive someone and to really let go. But when you learn to do that, and you practice it, which is how you learn or, better yet, if you do some neurofeedback that teaches you forgiveness, but this kind of thing lets you stop carrying a stress burden for all sorts of stuff that you don’t even know you’re carrying.

So, if you had an invisible backpack full of stones on, you would never know you had it, because it’s invisible to you. And the grudges you hold and the ill will towards others that you hold; it holds you back. It keeps you from performing at the level you can be. And it takes quality of life away from you, but it’s invisible.
So, when you learn how to do this, suddenly you’re, like, “Oh, my God. I’m not carrying whatever that heavy thing was anymore.” And certainly I’ve spent an enormous amount of time working on that myself. And one of the reasons, you were asking: How can I perform like this and still see my kids and do the things I do? It’s because I’ve done a lot of forgiveness work.

So, Bulletproof Diet, yes, Bulletproof coffee, lifesaving, lifechanging, all those things. But at the end of the day, before any of that, practice forgiveness.

Stuart Cooke: That’s perfect.

Guy Lawrence: Perfect answer, mate.

Stuart Cooke: So, Guy, you need to forgive me as I steal half of your MCT oil tomorrow for our experiment.

Dave Asprey: There’s a way to make this forgiveness easier. When he’s not looking, put four times extra in his coffee and see what happens.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Exactly.

Dave, thanks so much for your time. If anyone wants to learn more about what you do, where’s the best place for them to go, mate?

Dave Asprey: Check out BulletproofExec.com. All the info on the site’s free. It’s there. A quarter-million words. It’s there as a public service. You know, I’m grateful for all the cool stuff that’s happened in my life and I’d like to help other people do it, too.

Also, I’m hoping to make a trip out to Australia sometime in the next six months or so, so when I know that’s coming together I’ll let you guys know.

Guy Lawrence: Please do. Please do. Fantastic.

Thanks for your time.

Dave Asprey: Have a great day.

Stuart Cooke: Thank you, Dave. Speak to you soon.