Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.
Guy: Make no mistake, the importance of gut health is becoming more paramount than ever and it’s something I believe should not be ignored. So who better to ask than a board-certified neurologist who truly understands the gut, brain and health connection!
Our fantastic guest today is Dr David Perlmutter. He is here to discuss his brand new book ‘Brain Maker’ – The Power Of Microbes to Heal & Protect Your Brain For Life.
The cornerstone of Dr. Perlmutter’s unique approach to neurological disorders is founded in the principles of preventive medicine. He has brought to the public awareness a rich understanding that challenging brain problems including Alzheimer’s disease, other forms of dementia, depression, and ADHD may very well be prevented with lifestyle changes including a gluten free, low carbohydrate, higher fat diet coupled with aerobic exercise.
Full Interview: The Key to a Healthy Gut Microbiome & the ‘Brain Maker’
In This Episode:
Why gut health and microbiome is critical for long lasting health
The quick ‘checklist’ to see if you have a healthy gut
What to eat daily to nurture your gut health
David’s daily routines to stay on top of gut & microbiome health
Guy:Hey, guys. This is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition. Welcome to today’s health sessions. This is a podcast I certainly thoroughly enjoyed recording and it’s one I’m definitely going to listen to again. There’s a lot of information on here that I’ll need to go over, but ultimately, I think it’s a podcast that if you take the time to understand what’s been spoken about and actually apply the things that are said, it can make a dramatic change to one’s health, to your own life and of course your longevity and quality of life moving forward. I think it’s that big a topic. The topic at hand is going to be pretty much with the microbiome, gut health. Our awesome guest today is Dr. David Perlmutter.
If you’re unaware of David, David is a board-certified neurologist and a fellow of the American College of Nutrition. I almost didn’t get my words out there. He’s been interviewed by many national syndicated radios and television programs, including Larry King Live, CNN, Fox News, Fox and Friends, the Today’s Show. He’s been on Oprah, Dr. Oz, the CBS Early Show. He is actually medical advisor to the Dr. Oz Show. Yes, we were very grateful for David to come on and give up an hour of his time and share his absolute wealth of knowledge with us today. He’s written a couple of awesome books in Grain Brain. He’s got a brand-new book out called the Brain Maker which is what we generally talk about today. That’s obviously the brain and gut connection.
The cornerstone of Dr. Perlmutter’s approach to neurological disorders has been founded in the principles of you could say preventative medicine, which is why we’re super excited to have him on. He has brought public awareness now to a rich understanding that challenging brain [00:02:00] problems include Alzheimer’s disease, other forms of dementia, depression, ADHD may very well be prevented … All these things with lifestyle changes. Think about that for a moment, including a gluten-free, low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet, coupled with exercise and aerobic exercise.
Anyway, strap yourself in. This is fantastic. For all you guys listening in the USA, if you haven’t heard, you might have heard me speaking on a couple of podcasts, but 180 Nutrition and now superfoods are now available across America wide which is super exciting for us. If you haven’t heard about it, you can literally just go back to 180nutrition.com and it’s a very simple way of replacing bad meal choices. If you’re stuck and you’re not sure what to do, we encourage a smoothie and a scoop of 180 with other things. It’s the easiest way to get nutrient-dense foods and fiber-rich foods really quickly. All you have to do is go back to 180nutrition.com and check it out. Let’s go over to David Perlmutter. Enjoy.
Hi. This is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined by Stuart Cooke. Hi, Stewie.
Stuart:Hello, Guy. How are you?
Guy:Our fantastic guest today is Dr. David Perlmutter. David, welcome to the show.
David:I’m delighted to be here, gentlemen.
Guy:It’s fantastic. We’ve been following your work for some time now and be able to expose us to the Aussie audience, I’m very excited about. With that mind, would you mind, for our listeners if they haven’t been exposed to your work before, just sharing a little bit about yourself and what you do?
David:I’d be delighted. I’m a brain specialist. I’m a neurologist, and that probably doesn’t explain what I do. I’m very much involved in various lifestyle factors as they affect the brain, as they affect human physiology, and really have begun exploring well beyond the brain, [00:04:00] what are we doing to ourselves in terms of the foods that we eat, both positive and negative? More recently, how are our food choices and other lifestyle choices affecting the microbiome, affecting the 100 trillion organisms that live within us because we now recognize that those organisms are playing a pivotal role in terms of determining whether we are healthy or not. That’s pretty much in a nutshell what I do.
Guy:There you go.
Stuart:Fantastic. We first heard about you, David, when you wrote the book, Grain Brain which was fantastic. For me, I think it was important because we heard a lot of stories and press about grains and how they’re making us fat and they’re ruining our health. Other ways made the connection of it’s grains … I’m okay with grains. I don’t get any gut ache. I don’t get any gastrointestinal issues, but I never thought about it from a brain perspective. I just wondered if you could share just a little bit about why you wrote Grain Brain, what inspired you to write it?
David:Stuart, the real impetus behind Grain Brain was for the very first time, I thought it was critical for a brain specialist to take a position of prevention, of looking at the idea that these devastating brain conditions that I’m dealing with on a daily basis, autistic children, adults with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, MS, you name it, that some of these issues are preventable, and that really flies in the face of pretty much mainstream doctrine. It is going against the grain, if you will which it seems to fit. It became very clear to me that our best peer-reviewed, well-respected literature [00:06:00] has been publishing information not only about gluten but about more generally, carbohydrates and sugar for a couple of decades, and no one has paid any attention.
It’s been published, but I really found that somebody needed to step forward and make that information known to the general public. I began implementing these practices in my clinical practice in treating patients day to day and began seeing really remarkable results. That is what got behind me writing the book, Grain Brain, really exploring how sugar, carbohydrates and gluten are absolutely toxic for the brain. Ultimately that book was translated into 27 languages and is published worldwide. The message has really gotten out there. I’m very proud of that. These are people reading the book that I will never see and yet, I know the information that they’re gleaning from reading this book is going to help them, and it makes me feel good at the end of the day in terms of what I’m doing.
Guy:Yeah, that’s fantastic.
Guy:Awesome. It’s interesting about grains because people seem to have a real emotional attachment to sugar and grains. The moment you ask them to start cutting down, reducing, removing, it can be quite challenging.
David:People have a religious connection to grain. It’s in the Bible. Give us this day our daily bread. For somebody to come along and say, you know, maybe that’s not what you should be eating, it challenges people on multiple levels. Number one, bread and carbs and grains are absolutely comfort foods that we all love. We all got rewarded as children by having a cookie or a piece of cake on your birthday. We love those foods. We love sugar. We are genetically designed to seek out sugar. It’s allowed us to survive.
The reality of the situation is we’ve got to take a more human approach to this in terms of our higher level of understanding and recognize that we [00:08:00] as a species have never consumed this level of sugar and carbohydrates, and that gluten-containing foods are in fact challenging to our health in terms of amping up inflammation, which is the cornerstone of the diseases I mentioned: Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, autism, even cancer and coronary artery disease. In that sentence, we’ve covered a lot of territory.
You mentioned grains, and I want to be very clear. There are plenty of grains that are around that are not necessarily containing gluten; and therefore, my argument against them doesn’t stem from the fact that they contain this toxic protein called gluten but rather because they’re a very concentrated source of carbohydrate. Rice, for example, is gluten-free and you could have a little bit of rice. There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of rice, but you have to factor the carb content of that serving of rice into your daily carbohydrate load and don’t overdo it. I’m not coming down on grains across the board, but I’m really calling attention to the fact that these grain-based foods are generally super concentrated in terms of sugar and carbs.
Guy:I understand your carbohydrate tolerance. You answered the next question where I was going to speak, like, should we limit it to all grains or just the heavily refined and processed carbohydrate kind of …
David:See answer above.
Guy:Yeah, there you go.
Stuart:What about the [high street 00:09:28] gluten-free alternatives where people are saying, well, look, it’s grain-free, gluten-free?
David:Again, Stuart, exactly my point. People walk down the gluten-free aisle thinking, hey, I’ve got an open dance card here. It’s gluten-free. How about it? That opens the door to the gluten-free pasta, pizza, bread, you name it, flour to make products, cookies, crackers and you name it. Again, the issue is that one of the most devastating things that’s happening to humans today [00:10:00] is that our blood sugar is rising. There is a very direct correlation between even minimal elevations of blood sugar and risk for dementia. That was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in September of 2013 where they demonstrated that even subtle elevations of blood sugar well below being diabetic are associated with a profound risk of basically losing your marbles.
Please understand, when we’re talking about Alzheimer’s and dementia, there is no treatment available for that issue. Having said that, then this whole notion of prevention and preventive medicine as it relates to the brain really takes on a much more powerful meaning and urgency.
Guy:Would glycation pop in there as well then where you’re speaking … Would that all stem then from the processed carbs and the fact the brain is …
David:That’s right. Guy, you bring up a very good point, and that is this process of glycation. Just for your viewers, let me just indicate what that is. Glycation is a biochemical term that deals with how simple sugars actually bind to proteins. That’s a normal process, but when it gets out of hand, it changes the shape of proteins, amps up inflammation and amps up what are called free radical production.
We measure glycation really very simply in the clinic, and I’m certain that’s done worldwide, by looking at a blood test called A1C, hemoglobin A1C. Diabetics are very familiar with this term, because it’s a marker of the average blood sugar. A1C is a marker of the rate at which sugar is binding to protein. The higher your sugar, the more readily that process happens. What we’ve seen published in the journal, Neurology, is a perfect correlation between levels of A1C or measures of glycation [00:12:00] and the rate at which the brain shrinks on an annual basis. There’s a perfect correlation then between higher levels of blood sugar through glycation that you bring to our attention and the rate at which your brain will shrink.
Well, you don’t want your brain to shrink, I can clue you. A smaller brain is not a good thing. That said, you’ve got to do everything you can, and that is to limit your carbs and limit your sugar. What does it mean? It means a plate that is mostly vegetables, above ground, nutrient-dense, colorful, fiber-rich vegetables, as well as foods that actually are higher in fat. That means foods like olive oil. If you’re not a vegetarian, that would be fish, chicken, beef that is preferably not grain-fed but grass-fed, fish that is wild as opposed to being farm-raised, like the chicken being free range.
This is the way that we actually give ourselves calories in the form of fat calories that will help us lose weight, help reduce inflammation, help reduce this process of glycation that we just talked about, and in the long run, pave the way for both a better brain but also a better immune system and really better health all around.
Guy:That’s a fantastic description of glycation as well. I appreciate it. Would you recommend everyone to go and get that tested once?
David:Yes, absolutely. In fact, in Grain Brain, I present a chart that demonstrates what I just talked about, the degree of glycation plotted against the shrinkage of the brain’s memory center called the hippocampus. In our clinic, hemoglobin A1C is absolutely a standard test just like fasting blood sugar, and also fasting insulin, the degree of insulin in your body. The level of insulin in your body is really a marker as to how much you’ve challenged your body with sugar and carbohydrates in the past. You want to keep [00:14:00] insulin levels really low.
When insulin levels start to climb, it’s an indication that your cells are becoming less responsive to insulin, and that is the harbinger for becoming a diabetic. Why am I fixated on that? It’s because once you are a diabetic type 2, you have quadrupled your risk for Alzheimer’s. That’s why this is so darn important.
Guy:They start just growing and growing, especially with diabetes as well.
Stuart:In terms of the growing number of people that are suffering neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and the like, is it too late for those guys or can they …
David:Not at all. I recently gave a presentation with the director of the Alzheimer’s Research Program at UCLA here in the states. We gave a talk, an evening talk at a place called the Buck Institute. This individual, Dr. Dale Bredesen, is actually using a low-carbohydrate diet, gluten-free, normalizing vitamin D levels, getting people to exercise, and actually put together a program of 36 different interventions, has now reversed Alzheimer’s in 9 out of 10 of his original patients. Only 10 patients, it’s not a large number, I admit that, but it is a start.
We are in western cultures so wedded to the notion of monotherapy; meaning, one drug for one problem. You say high blood pressure; I give you a drug. You say diabetes; here’s a pill. You say Alzheimer’s; here’s a pill. Well, the truth of the matter is there is no pill, despite the fact that there’s something on the market, but there isn’t a pill that will cure Alzheimer’s or even have any significant effect on treating the disease and its symptoms. That’s where we are as we have this conversation.
Now, it looks like the work [00:16:00] of Dr. Bredesen is showing that Alzheimer’s is a multifactorial event, and that to cure it or at least turn it around, you have to hit this problem from multiple angles at the same time. It’s happening. It’s not happening through somebody owning the rights to a specific medication.
Stuart:That’s fantastic. That’s radical.
David:I’ll send you the link to the lecture that we gave.
Stuart:Yeah. That was my next question. I would love to find out.
David:Consider it done.
Stuart:Thank you. In your new book, Brain Maker, you dig even deeper and talk about the connection between the gut and the brain. I wondered if you could share a little bit about that as well, please.
David:I will. Let me just take a step back. Last weekend, I went to University of California San Diego, and I met with, of all people, an astrophysicist who is actually studying the microbiome. If you think a neurologist paying attention to the gut is a stretch, how about an astrophysicist? It turns out that he is probably one of the most schooled individuals on the planet in terms of using a supercomputer technology to analyze data, and they drafted him there to look at data that deals with the microbiome in that they have probably the world’s most well-respected microbiome researchers there. They brought Dr. Larry Smarr on board to help Rob Knight really work with the data.
The things going on in the gut in terms of just the information are breathtaking for sure. We now understand that in one gram, that’s one-fifth of a teaspoon of fecal material, there are 100 million terabytes of information. This is a very intense area of research just because of the sheer amount of data [00:18:00] and information that it contains.
We recognize that these 100 trillion organisms that live within each and every one of us have a direct role to play in the health and functionality of the brain, moment to moment. They manufacture what are called the neurotransmitters. They aid in the body’s ability to make things like serotonin and dopamine and GABA. They directly influence the level of inflammation in the body. As I talked to you about earlier, inflammation is the cornerstone of things like Parkinson’s, MS, Alzheimer’s and even autism. The gut bacteria regulate that, and so it’s really very, very important to look at the possibilities in terms of affecting brain health by looking at the gut bacteria.
Having said that, one of the patients that I talk about in Brain Maker, a patient with multiple sclerosis named Carlos came to me and his history, aside from the fact that he couldn’t walk because of his MS was really very profound in that he had been challenged with respect to his gut with multiple courses of aggressive antibiotics. Why would I be interested in that? I’m interested because the gut bacteria control what’s called immunity, and MS is an autoimmune condition. At that point, I began reviewing research by a Dr. Thomas Borody who happens to be in Australia.
What Dr. Borody did, who is a gastroenterologist, a gut specialist, is he performed a technique on patients called fecal transplant where he took the fecal material with the bacteria from healthy individuals and transplanted that into people with various illnesses. Lo and behold, he noted some dramatic improvements in patients with multiple sclerosis. Think about that: [00:20:00] Fecal transplantation for patients with MS. His reports are published in the journal, Gastroenterology. I sent my patient Carlos to England. He had a series of fecal transplants and regained the ability to walk without a cane. He sent me a video, and I have that video on my website. This is a real person who underwent this procedure.
I just took it to the nth degree. The question was how do we relate the gut to the brain? Now we’ve realized how intimately involved brain health and brain dynamics are with respect to things that are going on in the intestines. It’s a very empowering time.
Guy:Yeah, that’s huge. Regarding gut health, and let’s say somebody is listening to this and they’re relatively healthy and they’re going about their day, but they might be curious to know if their gut integrity is good or isn’t. Are there telltale signs that your gut might not be quite right?
David:Absolutely. As a matter of fact, if you turn to page 17 in Brain Maker, I have a list of over 20 questions that you can ask yourself to determine if in fact you are at risk for having a disturbance of your gut bacteria. There are laboratory studies available of course, but these questions are things like were you born be C-section? Did you have your tonsils out as a child? Do you take antibiotics fairly frequently? Are you taking non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs for inflammation? Are you on an acid blocking drug? Do you have an inflammatory condition of your bowel? Are you suffering from depression? Are you more than 20 pounds overweight?
The reason these questions actually have traction when it comes to their inference with reference to the gut is because these are situations which really point a finger at disturbance of the gut bacteria. I open the book with those questions [00:22:00] because many people are going to answer a positive on multiple parameters and then I indicate to them that that’s not uncommon, but the rest of the book, the rest of the 80,000 words is all about, okay, we’ve all made mistakes in our lives. We all have taken antibiotics. Many of our parents had our ear tubes put in or we were born by C-section or who knows what? The important empowering part about the rest of that book, Brain Maker, is, okay, we messed up. How do you fix it?
That’s what I really spend a lot of time doing in that book, and that is talking about those foods that need to come off the table, those foods that you need to put on the table, fermented foods, for example, that are rich in good bacteria: foods like kimchi and cultured yogurt and fermented vegetables, sauerkraut, for example. How do you choose a good probiotic supplement? What about prebiotics? What about this type of fiber that we consume that actually nurtures the good gut bacteria within us? That’s contained in various foods like jicama, Mexican yam, Jerusalem artichoke, asparagus, garlic, onions, leeks, dandelion greens, etc. These are foods that are really rich in a specific type of fiber that then goes ahead and amplifies the growth of the good bacteria in your gut.
I really wanted to write that book in a very empowering way for all of us living in western cultures where we’ve messed up. The evidence is really quite clear when you look at the microbiome, at the gut bacteria in western cultures and compare what those bacteria look like with more agrarian or more rural cultures, less developed countries.
Stuart:We’ve gone to page 17 and we’ve filled out the checklist and now we’re concerned. How can we test [00:24:00] the diversity or the quality of our gut bacteria?
David:That’s a very good question. There are tests that are available and they are improving year by year, and you can have them done. I’m not sure what you have available to yourselves in Australia, but there are several companies that make those tests available here. The real issue though is I don’t think we yet know specifically what a healthy microbiome should look like. We know the broad strokes. We know that there are ratios between two of the larger groups of organisms called Firmicutes and Bacteroidete that tend to be associated with things like diabetes and obesity, etc. We really don’t know what it means to have a good microbiome.
One thing that’s really quite clear is that one of the best attributes for your microbiome is diversity. When you look at rural African population microbiome compared to westernized microbiome, the main thing that really jumps out at you is the lack of diversity in our type of microbiome, the lack of parasites, the lack of a large array of different organisms. You may have raised your eyebrows when I said a lack of parasites, but it turns out that we have lived quite comfortably with a wide array of parasites throughout our existence on this planet.
There is something called the old friend hypothesis, which means that we’ve had these bugs inside of us for a long time and not only have we developed tolerance to things like parasites, but we’ve actually been able to work with them and live with them in such a way that parasites and various worrisome bacteria actually contribute to our health. When we sterilize the gut with over-usage of [00:26:00] antibiotics, for example, we set the stage for some significant imbalances in terms of our metabolism. As we sterilize the gut with antibiotics, we favor the overgrowth of bacteria, for example, that can make us fat.
Why do you think it is since the 1950s we’ve been feeding cattle with antibiotics? Because it changes their gut bacteria. It makes them fat. Farmers who raise those animals make more money because the animals are bigger and they’re selling them by the pound.
Guy:Another question popped in. I don’t know if it’s a stupid question or not. Do you think we’ve become too hygienic as well? If we shower …
David:No question. That is called the hygiene hypothesis. I think that it really has been validated. That was first proposed in 1986 when it got its name. It holds that our obsession with hygiene … I paraphrase a little bit … Our overdoing with hygiene, the sterilization of the human body and all that’s within it, has really paved the way for us to have so much allergic disease, autoimmune diseases, what are called atopic diseases, skin-related issues.
We understand, for example, that autism is an inflammatory condition and really correlates quite nicely with changes in the gut bacteria. There’s an absolute signature or fingerprint of the gut bacteria that correlates with autism. Now there are even researchers in Canada, Dr. Derrick MacFabe is one … I’ve interviewed him … who correlate these changes in bacterial organisms in the gut of autistic children with changes in certain chemicals that have a very important role to play in terms of how the brain works.
This is the hygiene hypothesis. It’s time that we let our kids get dirty and stop washing their hands every time they walk down the [00:28:00] aisle in the grocery store and recognize that we’ve lived in an environment that’s exposed us to these organisms for two million years. It has a lot of merit, the hygiene hypothesis.
Guy:Sorry, Stuart. Another question that did pop in there at the same time.
David:Take your time.
Guy:Stress, worry and anxiety because you feel that in the gut when you’re … Have there been studies if that affects microbiome?
David:Without a doubt. I actually have written about these in Brain Maker. It goes both ways. We know that stress increases the adrenal gland’s production of a chemical called cortisol. Cortisol ultimately begins in the brain. When the brain experiences stress and the hypothalamic-pituitary axis is turned on and that stimulates the adrenal glands from make cortisol. Cortisol does several important things. It is one of our hormones that allows us to be more adaptable momentarily to stress but the downsides of cortisol are many. It increases the leakiness of the gut, and therefore increases the level of inflammation in the body. It actually changes the gut bacteria and allows overgrowth of certain organisms, some of which are not actually even bacteria but even yeast. In addition, cortisol plays back and has a very detrimental role on the brain’s memory center.
By the same token, we know that gut-related issues are front and center now in looking at things like depression. We now understand, for example, that depression is a disease characterized by higher levels of inflammatory markers specifically coming from the gut. Think about that. There is a chemical called LPS or lipopolysaccharide. [00:30:00] That chemical is only found normally in the gut to any significant degree. It is actually part of the cell wall of what are called gram-negative bacteria that live in the gut. When the gut is permeable, then that LPS makes its way out of the gut and you can measure it in the bloodstream.
There’s a very profound correlation between elevation of LPS and major depression. We see this correlation with major depression and gut leakiness and gut inflammation, and it really starts to make a lot of sense when we see such common events of depression in individuals with inflammatory bowel disease like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s.
Stuart:Back to the balance of the microbiome so gut bacteria. What three culprits, what would be your top three culprits that really upset the balance?
David:Number one would be antibiotics. We are so aggressively using antibiotics in western cultures. I think every major medical journal is really calling our attention to that. The World Health Organization ranks antibiotics among the top three major health threats to the world health of this decade. Antibiotics change the gut bacteria. They change the way that bacteria respond to antibiotics, in the future making it more likely that we’ll have antibiotic resistance, making it more difficult to treat bacterial infections when they should be treated. I think that we really have just begun to understand the devastating role of antibiotics in terms of changing the gut bacteria. The over-usage of antibiotics in children has been associated with their increased risk of things like type 1 diabetes, asthma, [00:32:00] allergic diseases.
You asked for three. The other big player I think would be Cesarean section. C-sections are depriving children of their initial microbiome because understand that when you’re born through the birth canal, right at that moment, you are being inoculated with bacteria, bacteria that then serve as the focal point for your first microbiome. When you bypass that experience, you are born basically with the microbiome that’s made of whatever bacteria happen to be on the surgeon’s hands or in the operating room at that time. Interestingly enough, children born by C-section who don’t have that right microbiome have a dramatically increased risk for type 1 diabetes, celiac disease, autism, ADHD and even becoming obese when they become adults.
We’re just beginning to understand really what an important event that is, and that is when you’re born that you receive genetic information from your mother that is what we call horizontally transferred as opposed to the vertical transfer from mom and dad in terms of their genome. Understand that you’re not just getting the bacteria but you’re getting the bacterial DNA. When you get your arms around the idea that 99% of the DNA in your body is bacteria contained in your microbiome, then the whole process of being born through the birth canal really takes on a very, very new meaning, doesn’t it?
Stuart:It does. It’s massive.
Guy:The thing, again, they almost can be beyond our control as well. Like you mentioned, it could have been given antibiotics as a kid and C-section. I just want to make a point that when you start to repair these things, [00:34:00] it’s not a short-term fix, I’m guessing, that it takes time to repair the gut. If somebody is listening …
David:In our practice, we see improvements happening very quickly. We often see people get improvements in as little as a couple of weeks, especially children. They seem to turn around so quickly. The truth of the matter is that we now see literature that indicates that antibiotics, each time you take them, change your gut bacteria permanently. There may not be a total reversal that’s possible based upon some of our lifestyle choices. That said, we are now seeing some really impressive results from what’s called fecal transplantation where you put in to the gut healthy bacteria from a healthy individual.
One researcher, Dr. Max Nieuwdorp in Amsterdam has recently presented his treatment of 250 type 2 diabetics, giving them fecal transplant, and he basically reversed their diabetes by changing their gut bacteria. It’s pretty profound.
Stuart:It’s quite a hot topic over here, fecal transplants. They ran a story a few weeks ago of a chap who was suffering from an autoimmune disease and he first went out of country and received the fecal transplant and his improvements were off the scale, but he put on huge amounts of weight. He was a skinny guy.
David:It’s not the first time it’s happened. Actually, the main use of fecal transplantation is for the treatment of a bacterial infection called Clostridium difficile or C. diff. Here in America, that’s a disease situation that affects 500,000 American [00:36:00] every year and kills 30,000. The antibiotic cocktails that are used for C. diff. are about 26% to 28% effective. Fecal transplantation is about 96% effective. There was recently a publication of a woman with C. diff. and she elected to undergo fecal transplantation and chose her daughter as the donor. Unfortunately, her daughter was very big. Immediately following the fecal transplantation, this woman gained an enormous amount of weight. I think something in the neighborhood of 40 pounds very quickly.
You’re right. It calls to our attention the work by Dr. Jeffrey Gordon here in the states who has demonstrated in laboratory animals that when you take human fecal material from an obese person and transplant that into a healthy laboratory animal, that animal suddenly gets fat even though you didn’t change its food. We’re beginning to understand the very important role of the gut microbiome in terms of regulating our metabolism, in terms of our extraction of calories from the food that we eat.
So many people tell me, you know, Doc, I am so careful with what I eat and I just can’t lose weight. The reason is because through their years of eating improperly, of having antibiotics, etc., they’ve created a microbiome that is really very adept at extracting calories from food. One of the biggest culprits, for example, is sugar. Sugar will dramatically change the microbiome. What do people do? They begin drinking sugarless, artificially sweetened beverages. It turns out that the weight gain from artificially sweetened beverages is profound and in fact, the risk of type 2 diabetes is much higher in people consuming artificially sweetened drinks than those who drink sugar sweetened drinks.
I’m not arguing in favor of drinking [00:38:00] sugar sweetened beverages. I’m simply saying that there’s no free ride here. What researchers in Israel just published was the explanation. The explanation as you would expect is that artificial sweeteners dramatically change the microbiome. They set up a situation of higher levels of certain bacteria that will extract more calories and will also help code for inflammation. There’s no free ride. You’ve got to eat right. You’ve got to get back to eating the types of foods that will nurture a good microbiome.
Guy:Do you think the local doctor or GP is going to start looking at microbiome in the near future? Because there’s only an antibiotic that gets prescribed when you go there, you’re not feeling well or you get a cut …
David:No, I don’t think so.
Guy:You don’t think so?
David:No. I wish it were. I wish that were the case. Next month, I’m chairing an international symposium on the microbiome with leaders in the field from all over the world, well-respected individuals. The people who are going to attend are really a very few group … a small group … It’s be a big group, but these are people who are really highly motivated to stay ahead of trends, and by and large, this is going to take a long time to filter down to general medicine. It just isn’t going to happen any time soon.
Guy:Proactive approach always seems to be the way.
David:You got it.
Stuart:Say I wanted to be a bit proactive right now and I’m going to jot down to the chemist and think, right, I’m going to ask them for their top pre- or probiotics. Is it a waste of time?
David:No, I don’t think so, especially as it relates to prebiotics. You can’t go wrong by increasing your consumption of fiber, but prebiotic is a special type of fiber that in fact nurtures the gut bacteria. [00:40:00] You can go to your chemist and in fact, they may very well sell you a wonderful prebiotic that’s made from, for example, Acacia gum or pectin or something like that. There happen to be some pretty darn good probiotics on the market as well. I think there are certain things that you have to look for. I’ve written about them in my book. There are certain species I think that are well-studied and there are five specific species that I talk about in the book like Lactobacillus plantarum, Bifidobacterium longum, Lactobacillus brevis, etc.
The point is, hey, we have more than 10,000 different species living within us, so it’s hard to say what’s best. We do know that some of these species have been aggressively studied and do good things in the gut with research now coming out indicating that interventional studies, in other words where they give certain bacteria to people, there are changes that are measurable. Let me tell you about one interesting study that was just published.
A group of 75 children were given a specific probiotic for the first six months of their life; it’s called Lactobacillus rhamnosus. They followed these kids for the next 13 years. What they found was that the children who had received the probiotic, half the group, none of them developed either ADHD or a form of autism. Whereas the group that did not receive the probiotic, there was a rate of autism or ADHD of about 14.2%. What does it say? It says that balancing the gut helps do good things. This study took 13 years to complete, maybe another year or two to publish, but we’re getting to the point where we’re seeing interventional trials of specific organisms having positive effects [00:42:00] on humans. I think that’s what the future is going to open up with. I think we’re going to see much more of that.
Guy:Definitely. Even from us, we’ve been involved in the health industry for quite some time and we’ve seen microbiome, gut health, more and more information is coming out.
David:Yes, you are. It’s time. It’s really going to be very, very empowering.
Guy:Yeah, it’s become a hot topic. Look, I’m aware of the time, David. We have a couple of questions that we ask everyone on the show that they can be non-nutrition-related, anything.
David:Is this the bonus round?
Guy:This is the bonus round, man.
Stuart:I just wanted to pop in, Guy, just before you hit those last ones. I was interested, David, as to do you have a tailored personal daily routine specifically to nurture your microbiome?
David:Yes. It’s what works for me. I’m super careful about what I eat. The truth of the matter is I am at risk for Alzheimer’s. My dad passed away about two months ago with Alzheimer’s so I know I’m at risk. Probably one of the most important nutritional things I do is exercise. It’s nutrition for the soul. I guess I have a little leeway there. It’s really good for the microbiome as well. It really helps protect the ability of that LPS from damaging … ultimately leading to damage to the brain. Exercise actually increases the growth of new brain cells through something called BDNF. My dad is very low in carbohydrate, extremely low in sugar. I use a lot of prebiotic fiber, 15, 20 grams a day. I take a strong probiotic, vitamin D, vitamin E, fish oil, a multivitamin, a B complex. You didn’t ask about supplements but I just toss that in for the heck of it.
I generally, for me, do well with only two meals a [00:44:00] day. I don’t yet know who wrote down that you have to have three meals a day or the world would come to an end, but somebody must have obviously. Because I like the fact that I haven’t eaten from dinner until I have either a later breakfast or an early lunch the next day. That sometimes can be as long as 12 to 15 hours of not eating. It works really well for me because as I wake up in the morning, my brain is sharp and I never really liked exercising with food in my belly. A lot of people have breakfast and go to the gym. Fine. It doesn’t work for me. I like to go to the gym on an empty stomach and then have lunch and then dinner.
Stuart:That’s excellent. Does the type of exercise make any difference to the way you feel?
David:Well, sure it does. The type of exercise I really gravitate to is aerobic because as I talked about in Grain Brain, aerobic exercise is the type of exercise that actually will turn on the genes that will code for this BDNF chemical that will allow you to grow your brain cells. That’s what the studies at University of Pittsburgh have demonstrated. You really need to do aerobics. I do a lot of stretching and I lift weights as well. I think those are good for you, good for a person. I’m prone to back issues. I do a whole routine for my back. The one thing that it’s inviolate in terms of my routine is the aerobics part.
Guy:Fantastic. I appreciate that. That’s awesome. Back to bonus round, have you read any books that have had a great impact on your life that you’d like to share?
David:I have. From a medical perspective, there’s a couple of good books by Gary Taubes called Good Calories, Bad Calories, and another one called Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It. I would recommend the latter, Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It [00:46:00] because it is so clear in terms of mechanisms that relate to sugar and weight gain and inflammation.
I’ve read Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse on a number of occasions. I think it has resonated with me on a personal level in terms of my life journey, one of the most perhaps influential books for me. Pardon me?
Guy:Fantastic. You’re not the first person to say that book as well.
David:In fact, I just looked at it earlier today. I love books. I don’t know if you could see [crosstalk 00:46:41]. A lot of people these days send me their books to review so I’ll write a comment on them. I’ve got this really great conduit of new books coming to me, two and three a day now, which is really great. I really am fortunate because I get to see a lot of books before they’re actually even published. I reviewed a book today from a Harvard researcher on what is it that makes us hungry and what to do about it, a really incredible book.
I recently reviewed a book by Dr. Frank Lipman talking about the 10 things to do to stay healthy. Really it was The 10 Things That Make Us Fat and Grow Old, is the title. It isn’t out yet, but I read that book this morning, a very, very powerful, clean-cut, straightforward information that’s totally in line with current science.
There’s another really good book I would encourage people to look at called The Disease Delusion, and it’s written by Dr. Jeffrey Bland. It really is an important book because it talks about where we are in terms of how medicine is practiced, how we look at patients and really paints a good picture in terms of what medicine could look like in the [00:48:00] future. I’d encourage your viewers to take a look at that book.
Guy:Fantastic. We certainly encourage Brain Maker as well which [crosstalk 00:48:07].
David:Thank you. I appreciate it.
Guy:Last question: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
David:My dad used to say no matter how … As you go through life, my friend, let this be your goal. Keep your eye upon the donut and not upon the hole. It always worked for me.
Stuart:I like it.
David:There’s one other, I don’t know if it’s advice, but a statement that was made by Maurice Maeterlinck, a Belgian Nobel Laureate. I first read this when I was visiting a friend, Dr. Amar Bose. He’s the one who has Bose audio, the headphones and speakers. He took me to his laboratory in Massachusetts and I was very impressed, but then we went into his office and on his glass door was the following quote by Maurice Maeterlinck: At every crossway on the road that leads to the future, each progressive spirit is confronted by a thousand men appointed to defend the past. That always meant a lot to me because Dr. Bose really went against the system as he created his audio products. People said it couldn’t be done. You can’t cancel sound, on and on.
I really know what it’s like to be opposed by a thousand men appointed to defend the past because the stuff that we talk about is not status quo. It’s not what everyone is doing. I’m grateful for that. I think that it hopefully is ahead of the curve. Time will tell. We’ll see where we go. When maybe the three of us have a conversation in a couple of years, we’ll see where we are.
Guy:Yeah. Fantastic. We really appreciate it. For anyone listening to this who would like to get more of you, where would be the best place [00:50:00] to go online?
David:My website is drperlmutter.com. That’s D-R, Perlmutter, P-E-R-L-M-U-T-T-E-R, dot-com. Facebook I post every day. Oddly enough, David Perlmutter MD. My books are in Australia. They’re around the world so people can read my books if they like as well.
Guy:Yeah, fantastic. Greatly appreciate you coming on the show today and showing your knowledge and time with us and the listeners.
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 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:
Abel’s journey from being overweight to becoming the ‘Fat Burning Man’
What the body building industry taught him about weight loss
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.
Anyway, 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.
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.
Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on youriPhone HERE.
This week our special guest is paleo chef, bestselling author and TV personality Pete Evans. He has been bringing some much needed awareness here to the Australian public in terms of nutrition, along with his recently released new program ‘The Paleo Way’.
Pete’s career has moved from the kitchen into the lounge room with many TV appearances including Lifestyle Channel’s Home show, Postcards from Home, FISH, My Kitchen Rules, Moveable Feast, and his latest The Paleo Way… stay tuned for Food is Medicine which is in pre production now!
It’s safe to say he knows his stuff, with over 10 bestselling cookbooks inspiring individuals and families in their kitchens around the world.
The Full Interview with Chef Pete Evans
In this episode we talk about:
Why Pete embraced the paleo diet and lifestyle
How he felt by being voted the second worst diet, only to be pipped at the post by the ‘drink your own urine’ diet
How eats and travels on the road when traveling
His thoughts on the 80/20 rule of good/bad food and when to apply it
Why he felt like crap when first starting the paleo diet
Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence from 180 Nutrition, and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. Our fantastic guest today is Pete Evans. Now, if you haven’t heard of Pete, I’d be very surprised. Well, at least here in Australia anyway.
But Pete Evans is an Australian chef. He’s a best-selling author. And also a bit of TV celebrity, especially well-known for My Kitchen Rules.
It was awesome to have Pete on the podcast today. He’s very clear. He’s a very sincere and passionate person. As you could say, he’s a little bit of a nutritional crusader at the moment, and certainly making people think twice about what they put on their plate and how it’s affecting their overall health in the long-term, which I think is fantastic, you know. And that’s the very reasons why we’ve put these podcasts out there in the first place.
I have no doubt you’re gonna get a lot out of this episode. Pete’s a top guy with a top message, and it’s 40 minutes of great content, so please enjoy.
As always, we’re on iTunes. If you could just take two minutes and leave us a review, we really appreciate it. You know, we want to get this message out there ourselves, and by leaving us reviews, it certainly helps with iTunes rankings and more and more people find us and enjoy it.
I always wish I had these podcasts for myself five years ago when I first started my health journey. You know, it’s a great excuse to hang out with some of the best, we feel, thought leaders in the world, as they share their story with us. So, yeah. That’s why we do it. We love it. And I have no doubt you’re gonna enjoy this episode today.
And, of course, come back to 180Nutrition.com.au. We have a massive amount of resources in there, including a free ebook, recipes, and, of course, videos if you want to see us actually in person chatting.
Anyway, enjoy the show. This is fantastic.
Stuart Cooke: Let’s do it.
Guy Lawrence: OK, hi. This is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke as always. Hey, Stu. And our fantastic guest today is Pete Evans. Pete, welcome to the show, mate.
Pete Evans: Hi, fellows. Thanks for having me on. What an honor.
Guy Lawrence: No worries, dude. Every time I log into my Facebook I seem to see you in a different country, state, city. Do you ever have any quiet time? Like, you’re very busy at the moment.
Pete Evans: I am busy, but I guess it’s all part of the journey at the moment. I love it. I have the best job in the world, because I was actually speaking to Luke Hines, which is one of my business partners on the Paleo Way, and doing the tour and we also do the 10-week program. And we had dinner last night and I said, it’s not a job when you love what you do.
But to answer your question, I have amazing down time with my family. But even that is quite active. I mean, we love to go surfing, we like to go skiing, we like to go fishing, we like to cook together. We are active people, but we know how to switch off as well.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. Mate, the way we always kick off the show is generally just to get a little bit of insight about, you know, our guests that come on. And we’d love to hear a little bit of your journey from being a restaurateur to being a TV host and then actually now you could say a paleo crusader, which is fantastic in creating all this awareness.
How did it all start for Pete?
Pete Evans: Well. Mum and Dad thought that they’d have another child. I think I was a mistake, but I’m glad they had it. Really, I’ve always had a passion for cooking and I’ve always had a passion for health and nutrition. That’s something that I’ve had from quite an early age as a teenager, in school. And I always knew that I; my passion for health and nutrition nearly outweighed my passion for cooking. But one thing led to another and the cooking side took over for quite a period of time for a couple of decades.
And it wasn’t until about four years ago that I thought, you know what, there’s something pulling me back into the health and nutrition side of things. So I started researching it and I discovered paleo, and I thought, you know what? This makes a lot of sense. So I implemented it on my own self and my family through my partner Nicola.
And we just saw amazing results and I dug a little bit deeper and we both did a health course out of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York, New York. And we studied a hundred different dietary theories. And paleo still made the most sense to me. And I thought, well, this is; it’s working for us. It makes so much sense on a planetary scale as well for what we can do for the land as far as that sustainable way of eating goes. Now, let’s try to find some holes in it. And I dug as deep as I could, because I thought, if I’m gonna come out publicly with this, then how am I gonna get shot down? Because I know that I’m a little bit of a target.
And you know what? It was; I still have yet to find anybody that has adopted this way of life for 10, 15, however many years and had a negative result from it. And I’m talking about people who adopted it; they’re doing it 90 to 100 percent of their lives. They’ve actually made a conscious decision that they won’t be consuming certain food items, and embracing others.
And, for me, it’s evidence enough that this works, especially in today’s day and age where people can be very vocal about what works and what doesn’t. And you see it on my Facebook. I mean, I really have had no one in hundreds of thousands of comments say that it hasn’t worked for them. Except for outside organizations saying that it’s dangerous. And I’m, like, well, I hear you and understand that you might believe it is, from your own education, but show me some evidence that it’s hurting people. And no one can offer me that evidence.
So, it’s a fantastic way of life, I believe, that is helping a lot of people. Is it a cure for everything? No. I’ve never said that. But it is benefiting a lot of people? Yes it is. And that is undeniable.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, I certainly agree, Pete. I had a massive paradigm shift about eight to nine years ago and I used to work with people with chronic diseases and mainly people with cancer. And what I didn’t realize was, it was mainly the paleo diet that they were using as part of a tool to sort of help nurture these people through a recovery process. And I was seeing things that challenged every belief first-hand, you know?
Pete Evans: And I think what you’ve just said there, it’s a tool. It’s not the be all and end all. You can eat all the paleo food in the world, but if you’ve got a terrible relationship, if you don’t move your body or you move your body too much or you’re not getting enough sleep or you’ve got a job that you dislike, I mean, you will still suffer, or you can still suffer, disease.
But paleo is one good tool. And it’s an amazing tool to have at your disposal to, I guess, get your diet under control. And then hopefully then it opens you up and gives you enough energy to start to look at the other things that may need tightening up as well.
So, I see paleo as a bit of a gateway. I see it as something very tangible for people to make simple changes in their life. Sometimes people might be at a job that they’re stuck in for a year because they’re in a contract. They might be in a relationship because of children that they may not be able to remove themselves from or change. Financial situations. Emotional situations. All of this. Whereas what we can definitely change on a daily basis is what we put into our mouth. And that’s why I say this always: It’s a gateway into better health.
Guy Lawrence: Great starting point. The food you can control, ultimately.
Stuart Cooke: It certainly makes sense.
Pete Evans: Well, it’s the only thing you can… It’s the one thing you can control, unless you’re a child, or unless you are in the care of others. And that’s why I’m very passionate about children’s education and teaching parents about this, because really the children have no choice and if they are fed a poor diet for a period of time while they’re younger, it may make it harder for them to make changes down the track if they’ve got certain addictions or certain emotional reward systems set up for certain foods.
And I could talk about this for hours, but I know you’ve got to have questions, so…
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Well, we definitely go into the kids a little later as well. But I was particularly interested, first up, in discussing the Paleo Way. So, I’ve seen they’ve got Channel 7 airing the program and also you’ve got some amazing online educational course as well.
Guy Lawrence: And you’re on tour as well, aren’t you, Pete?
Stuart Cooke: You’re on tour! Crikey.
Pete Evans: Well, yeah. Um. I made a conscious decision a couple of years ago when I came out, with paleo, if you want to call it, that my vision or my goal was to turn paleo into a household name in Australia and New Zealand. That was something that I believed I could do using (audio glitch), but it is what it is, just through my media profile.
I should have put out that my intent was to push paleo into mainstream and to make it into a household name in a positive light. Lesson learned. Because it’s definitely become something that people talk about that’s become part of our popular culture, I daresay, through the work that I’ve done, and many of my peers.
Now, the tour is something where; we did the tour last year and I brought Nora Gedgaudas out, who is one of my mentors, and she’s a powerhouse of information. And she’s got a heart of gold and a brain that matches.
And what I wanted to do was do a tour where we present the science. And it was very difficult for us to do that in a four-hour forum. I said to Nora, I said, “Can you condense it into three and a half hours?” And she’s like, I’ll do my best.
And for a lot of people it was overwhelming because I think they were coming to learn how to cook, but we gave; and Nora’s goal is to give people a paradigm shift with enough information that they go, “OK. I get it.” That was my vision was, let’s present the facts in the first tour last year. Let’s get the science out there. Let’s show people that this isn’t quackery. This is actually well-researched and here’s the science and the peer reviews and all the stuff to back it up.
And this year I thought, let’s give them the fundamental tools to adopt a paleo lifestyle for themselves and their families. And I’ve structured it in a way that we talk about budget home cooking; things we can do and have on the table in 10 to 15 minutes. Maybe 20 minutes tops.
The healing properties of bone broths and fermented vegetables. Let’s talk about getting offal into people’s diet where, especially in this culture and this country, where it seems so foreign to us whereas if we went back three generations, it would be something that was standard as part of our weekly diet.
So, it’s about incorporating these simple and, I guess, ancient, cooking techniques and ideas and philosophies and bringing it into 2015 in a way that’s accessible and affordable and a lot of fun.
Luke Hines, who I mentioned before, is on tour with me so he talks about his own journey with depression and anxiety and how changing his diet and changing the way he moved helped him a great deal. And I’ve got special guests that appear with me all around the country. So, for instance, today I’m speaking in Perth. I’ve got Dr. Libby who is a fantastic woman who’s done 48 years of university study, I’ve got Charlotte Carr who’s a mother who’s helped her child through autism with diet. We’ve got Helen Padarin who is a naturopath who works for the Mindd Foundation whose sole purpose is to help children and families that suffer behavioural disorders.
And I’m also up on stage with, I don’t even know anymore; there’s that many people… Um… And it’s been brilliant. We’re seeing about 10,000 people around Australia and New Zealand over a two-month period. And they all, at the end of it, get the 10-week program that we designed.
And the 10-week program, I tried to do it as cheap as possible so it was accessible for pretty much anyone in the country. It’s $10 a week. Ten a week or 99 bucks, as a one-off payment.
I’d give it away for free if I could, but I’ve spoke to people that said, if you give it, people won’t even do it, because they won’t value it.
Stuart Cooke: Correct.
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.
Pete Evans: So, and I think this is key: I think people need to put a value on their health and be invested in their health. So, I’ve tried to keep it as cheap as possible. And it’s a brilliant program. So, as part of it, we’ve got meal plans, shopping lists, fitness programs with Luke, we’ve got Nora’s information each week, I’ve got a very dear friend of mine, Trevor Hendy, who is seven-time world champion athlete in Ironman who has spent the last 25 years working on mind-body-spirit. So, he’s in there teaching people about how to make powerful decisions and why we sabotage ourselves sometimes.
And I’ve also got interviews with leading experts from around the world. So, each week they’re getting another bite of the bigger picture of what paleo is. For me, when I talk about paleo, I always think first and foremost that it’s for individual health. So, anyone that wants to learn more because they are suffering ill health or they want to feel better, it’s a great place. But then I talk about the power that they have to influence their family, their friends, their community. And then it goes into the thing that I’m most passionate about, apart from children’s health, is about how we grow our food. How we move that food around the country. Can we start doing local abattoirs instead of sending the cattle to mass slaughterhouses by road train. And all these type of things. And can we use the beautiful land that we have in this country for better use instead of some of the products that we’re growing that serve us; well, actually harming us.
I mean that, I just drove up from my property in the Tweed up to; out to Townsville, I mean up to Wombury? Worongary? [:15:10.6] and just saw how much sugar cane is growing. So I looked up, I Googled it, I said, “How much sugar cane is growing in Queensland.” There’s 6,500 families, all with 65 hectares, that grow sugar cane and I thought, “Wow. That’s a lot of land that is …
Stuart Cook: That is a lot of land.
Pete Evans: That is used for a product that we know is a known poison for our bodies. That is causing us major health issues. And I just kept thinking imagine if they planted broccoli on that, imagine if they planted kale on that, imagine if they used that for pasteurized chickens that were producing eggs and also imagine if they brought cattle into that, that were grass-fed. I mean, I’m not an agriculturist. That’s not my specialty. But I look at these things from a common sense point of view and think how much usable land are we using in this country to grow things that serve us; that don’t serve us.
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.
Stuart Cook: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: But sugar is such a big industry, isn’t it. Where we had Damon Gameau come on the podcast a couple of weeks back and you know, you see the effect first-hand of what he was explaining what happened to him on his three-month experiment with the sugar and I see around with people all the time. It’s incredible.
Pete Evans: Yeah, he’s a beautiful man and he’s going to change so many lives and we’re thrilled to have him as part of one of our health crusaders in the country. I mean, his story is wonderful and he sacrificed his own health for it.
I thought about doing that a few years ago and I thought, “I don’t want to sacrifice my health.” I’m going to try to do it in a way that I don’t get sick.
Stuart Cook: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Go for it Stu.
Stuart Cook: I was just interested in, on your journey, what have been the biggest dietary misconceptions that you’ve uncovered? Any that have really kind of just switched that light bulb on for you, that you want to tell everybody.
Pete Evans: Well, for me it’s, I haven’t discovered anything and I’d like to make that perfectly clear that this is not my idea.
Stuart Cook: Yeah.
Pete Evans: The, you know, the work of so many well respected scientists and researchers and professors and doctors and health crusaders themselves, I mean, I’m standing on their shoulders and I’m trying to elevate all of their work into a greater audience. So, I don’t; I haven’t discovered anything.
I’ve discovered my own health benefits from it and how much clearer I am. How much happier I am. How much more energized I am. I can see the different results in my own children. I can see the results in my mother. I can see it in my partner. My dad is coming to the seminar this year. He refused to come last year, because he thought he would be bored shitless. But now he’s interested. My brother’s coming along this year. I mean, it’s a powerful thing.
But I think one of the things that I’m passionate about at the moment is the next generation and the coming generations. And I have recently put a book together with Charlotte Carr, who as I mentioned before, has helped her child and her family along with adopting paleo and Helen Padarin, who I also mentioned before, a naturopath, who works with the Mindd Foundation.
So, I asked these ladies if we could put a book together called The Paleo Way for New Mums, Babies and Toddlers, because I’ve never seen anything on the market like this and it just makes so much sense for me that we need this information out there and Sally Fallon. I’m a huge fan of her work with Nourishing Traditions and I met her last year and I look at the work she’s done in this field and I was really quite impressed with what she’s been able to achieve. So, I thought, how can we repackage that in a way that’s timeless for 2015 and onwards?
So, we’ve created this book and it’s fascinating. We just had a email come yesterday from the Dietitians Association of Australia basically giving us a warning and saying; We heard you’ve got this book coming out and the World Health Organization has issued a statement that said, that if babies cannot accept breast milk, then the only thing they advise them to have is formula.
Now, this is the statement that came from us, from the Dietitians Associations of Australia, they’re saying that we need to be very careful with any information that we put out there, because we’ve got a baby broth formula for parents that do not want to give their children vegetable oils, which are contained in baby food formulas. The parents that don’t want to feed their children high fructose corn syrup, which is; these two ingredients are the first two that are listed on most baby food formulas and then there’s soy protein and then there’s a whole lot of other emulsifiers and God knows what, that are in there.
So, through the experience of Helen and the Weston A. Price Foundation, which is Sally Fallon, we’ve discovered, and this is what Charlotte used for her child, they’ve created this broth that basically mimics as close as possible to breast milk. Now, we always advocate that breast milk is best, but we’re also discovering that more and more children are intolerant to it. We’re discovering that more and more children are intolerant to dairy. So, and we’re discovering that people do not want to feed their children frankenfoods.
So, we’ve got; the girls have created this alternative, which has got chicken broth in it or bone broth and it’s also got livers in there and it’s also got coconut oil, so we’re getting the MCTs into there. We’ve got probiotic in there as well. So, it’s closely mimicking it and we never say that it’s better than breast milk, of course we’re never going to say that. You would be an idiot to even think that. But surely somebody with common sense would understand that formula that’s got …
Guy Lawrence: Corn syrup and vegetable …
Pete Evans: … known toxic and harmful properties. This could be a healthier option or at least an alternative for people that have half a brain that have done some research and decided that, “You know what? Maybe there’s an alternative out there.” So, this is going to be interesting to see how this pans out in the media. We’ve already got quite a bit of flak and the book isn’t even out there.
Guy Lawrence: When does the book come out, Pete?
Pete Evans: It comes out in a couple of weeks, …
Guy Lawrence: Okay.
Pete Evans: …yeah, mid-March. But we’ve got beautiful dietitians, accredited practicing dietitians, that are working on it, looking these formulas and breaking them down inyo s nutritional viewpoint for us. So, we’ve got charts comparing formula sold in supermarkets compared to this one. And you know what, it has it stacking up a lot better than formula without all the crap in it.
So, it’s going to be very interesting.
Guy Lawrence: That will be interesting. Absolutely. Yeah.
Stuart Cook: Well, I guess it’s great to be able to actually get something in there in the very conception of your child’s life, when they are succumbed to so many potential toxins and, like you said, treats and sweets. We’re trying to wean them on to sugary foods and sweet fruits and things like that. Yeah. It’s very interesting.
We, I mean, you mentioned the critics there as well and one of our questions was, what do you say to the critics out there? Because we roared with laugher as the paleo diet was XXpipped to the Post 23:33.7XX by the drink-you-own-urine diet.
Guy Lawrence: Yes.
Stuart Cook: It’s absurd. How do you handle that?
Pete Evans: Personally, I don’t let it get to me.
Stuart Cook: Yeah.
Pete Evans: Because I understand where they’re coming from. I do and they’re coming from a place of fear.
Stuart Cook: Right.
Pete Evans: And you can only put yourself in their shoes and understand that they’re just protecting themselves and their organization and their beliefs. Because it is their belief system, that they’ve been to university, they’ve been force-fed a whole lot of information which current science and research are saying that potentially is not the right information.
Now, you could imagine if you went to university for four years or six years or even eight years and you were part of this, I guess, machine and all of a sudden you’re looking at; I’ll use myself as an example, because that seems to be where a lot of the critiques are coming.
You see a person that’s a chef promoting a way of life that flies in the face of everything that you’ve learned.
Stuart Cook: Right.
Pete Evans: Of course you’re going to get upset. Of course you’re going to defend what you’ve been taught. Of course you’re going to think that this is quackery. Of course you’re going to be up in arms and feel like this person, this chef out there, could be potentially causing harm to the greater population. So, I understand them and I feel their frustration and I feel for them and this is why I’ve never, now I’ve made the decision I’m not going to fight anything.
Stuart Cook: No.
Pete Evans: I’m not going to. I mean, I had a couple of issues over the last few years when I’ve stood my ground because someone has actually, I think, the one time I actually fought back or said something was when someone called me a fuckwit on my own page. And that was what they said: “You are a fuckwit!” And I looked at who it was and I noticed it was a dietitian and I went … how … you know, if that’s the best; if that’s what you think, you know, well let’s put it back and I write a little piece and I said, “Why is your organization not looking at GMOs? Why are they not promoting organics? Why are they not trying to get; look at what we’re feeding our agriculture? Are we feeding them genetically modified soil? Why are we not; why when you talk about overconsumption of meat you never difference between grass-fed and grain-fed? Why is it that children are getting sicker and sicker as in each generation comes? Why you associated and have money coming in from multi-national food corporations? Is there not a conflict of interest?”
So, I just put the question out there, you know, because I took offence of that. Just, you know, I think …
Guy Lawrence: Yes, of course.
Pete Evans: … name called and I just said, “Why?” Because I see the DAA as a major powerful force of change for this country and there’s 6,000 members for them. I mean, imagine if they united together to ask these questions, to put pressure on to their governments, to put pressure on to the supermarkets, to put pressure on the school, schooling systems, the canteen system. Could you imagine this organization that has this much power and is viewed as something that a well-respected organization, imagine if they put their weight behind something.
Now, I’ve never seen them do this. Now, I could be wrong, but I’m trying to encourage them, that they have this power. And unfortunately I fear that if they don’t change and start to address some of these things, then they will become irrelevant because; and it’s not a goal of mine. I would love nothing more than the DAA or even the Heart Foundation to work together with other health professionals and actually come around the table and say, “You know what? Well, let’s work together for a better Australia.” But unfortunately their mantra is “everything in moderation.”
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Pete Evans: And I just don’t think that is the right philosophy. I mean, you have to look at the guidelines that are out there for a healthy Australia and the question that I always have is, “Is that the healthiest guidelines that we could possibly put into schools?” Is that the healthiest guidelines that we should be educating for every person in this country?
Because we know that it’s not. So, what not put the optimum out there so that people know this is the optimum and then people can make their own choice from there.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Did you think the change will come from that level? Or do you think it’s going to just come from the grass roots level and word of mouth and people leading by example? I mean, because that’s where it’s at, at the moment.
Pete Evans: Ideally, I would love for it to come from a unified force. I really do and I mean, that’s the dream it for it to change from a government level, from a national health society level, a unified level, you know what “this is the new research, you know, let’s adapt” and there should never be blame or I told you so’s or this, that and the other. It should be, “You know what? This is the current research. This is what’s happening in other parts of the world; where in other parts of the world have taken fluoride out of the water in lots of countries and reversed it. Should we revisit that in this country? Should we look at the saturated fat? Does that lead to chronic heart disease, because other parts of the world are reversing their guidelines for that? Should we be changing that?
Will it happen with multi-national food corporations, with their tentacles involved in these organizations? I doubt that it will happen. If they can remove that funding, then I believe it can happen. But, and this is the interesting thing, because I dare say there’s a huge grass-roots movement happening.
Now what will happen soon, I believe, is that the multi national food corporations will start to put out products that are inline with Paleo or ketogenic or low-carb, high fat or …
Stuart Cook: Yeah.
Pete Evans: …or primal or banting; whatever you want to call it. They’re going to start saying that the dollars are in this new area. So, I wouldn’t doubt that Kellogg’s will start putting a paleo muesli out there next year. I wouldn’t doubt that we’re starting to see lard or tallow start to appear on supermarket shelves in the next five years. And then I think you will see that when they’ve got money to be made out of this, that you will see it start to change through these associations. But I dare say that the grass-roots movement will be the catalyst for this.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Yeah. I just hope if we do start seeing the bigger commercial companies putting out these products out they are authentic and not just jumping on the gluten-free, the low-calorie, low-fat and everything that we’re seeing at the moment.
Pete Evans: Well, you know what? To answer that, I think people are becoming more and more savvy and more and more educated, so I don’t think; put it this way, if they put out a paleo muesli and it’s full of sugar and crap or sweetness and it’s, you know it’s still going to jack you up and it’s not organic, then that might have appeal to the people that aren’t really up-to-date with the research. You know what I mean?
Guy Lawrence: Yep. Yep.
Pete Evans: Whereas the people that are hard core or are early adopters of this will see through that and go, “You know what? It’s still not good enough.” So, at the end of the day it’s probably, even if we can get the mass public to start eating that way even if it’s not the ultimate, at least it’s probably better than what they’ve had.
Guy Lawrence: True. Yep.
Pete Evans: And I don’t think, you know, we’re not set up for 100 percent of Australia to turn paleo tomorrow. It would be a disaster, you know, because we don’t have the resources for it. But I see this as a growing movement and I say this as it’s happening exactly as it’s meant to be happening with the people adopting it as they are adopting it. Because we couldn’t sustain it if everyone did it tomorrow, but we can adapt to it as more people come to it.
Stuart Cook: What have you found to be the biggest hurdles for the newbies to paleo?
Pete Evans: The biggest hurdles I find is, they’re not doing it 100 percent.
Stuart Cook: Right.
Pete Evans: I noticed that with my, with the 10-week program.
Stuart Cook: Yep.
Pete Evans: And I think there’s an expectation that 40 years of eating a poor diet is going to be fixed within two weeks.
Stuart Cook: Right.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Pete Evans: And I think that is; I think we live in a society where we think that we can take a pill or we can change a habit and we will see, decades of poorer choices fixed in a minute and it isn’t like that and how I like to describe it when I talk about this is: I’ve been doing this for four years and I feel better now than I did a year ago and last year I felt better than I did the previous year.
Stuart Cook: Right.
Pete Evans: But after six weeks of eating Paleo, I felt like I was superman, you know. But for the first three or four weeks I felt like, I felt crap, because I was going through a detox and my body was switching over its fuel source and I hadn’t had a great diet for a decade or two prior to that. But I definitely had a diet better than a lot of people that come to this.
You know, I wasn’t 40 kilos overweight. I wasn’t Type 2 diabetic. I wasn’t; I didn’t have insulin resistance. I didn’t have autoimmune disease.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Pete Evans: I know we have a lot of these people that adopt this and expect results overnight and I think that’s a misconception. I think that’s why I say it’s a lifestyle. I’ll never say it a diet, because once; and you can’t do it 80/20 if you’ve got an autoimmune disease. You can’t do it 80/20 and expect great results if you’re Type 2 diabetic. It’s like saying to an alcoholic, “You can have a drink every Friday night.”
Stuart Cook: Yeah.
Pete Evans: Yeah, the 80/20 rule.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cook: Yeah.
Pete Evans: You just can’t do it if you’ve got anxiety or depression, 80/20’s not going to cut it for you if you want true freedom. I’m not saying you’ve got to do it 100 percent for the rest of your life, but you have to give yourself a period of time where, you know, if you’re strict with this, because you do want to reap the benefits and we know now that gluten can stay in your system for up to six months. So, if you’ve got an issue with that, whether it’s mental or physical, and you ate your piece of cake, you know after you’ve done this for a month that could have affected you for the next month or two.
Guy Lawrence: That incredible, isn’t it, you know. I know it’s very hard to relate though, because people if they’ve got health issues. They’ve never; they’ve never really put the connection together, you know, how the effective of the food can be and I think that it can be such a massive change for them at first and you’ve got to embrace it whole heartily and actually be around peer groups though that encourage you to continue that way. Because I used to see a lot of family and friends be sincere, but they’d be sincerely wrong, because if their health wasn’t great they would want to feed them with foods, with cake and things that would …
Pete Evans: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: That would always set them back and you know, there are so many aspects to it as well, which it; it can be tough. It can be tough. But worth it, you know.
Yeah. Go ahead, you look like you’re going to say something Stu.
Stuart Cook: Well, I was just thinking about the beautiful foods that the paleo diet offers. Now, I get jabbed a little bit because I’m a huge fan of liver and I have it regularly for breakfast and love it. I wondered what your “go to” paleo super foods were; perhaps the paleo foods, the whole foods that you gravitated to more, more so than any others. Any special favorites of yours?
Pete Evans: Yeah. I guess it’s changed over the four years and I probably eat simpler now than I ever have. I think when I first started out, I think when I talked about activated XXunintelligibleXX [:36:52.3] I was on XXunintelligibleXX [:36:56.1] so I was eating almonds and everything. I was eating coconut chunks. I was having spirulina and grains and all these sorts of stuff. I, my diet now is a lot simpler. One: I don’t really need to snack and number two is I’m cooking a lot less and a lot simpler food. I guess offal and bone marrow has taken a larger place in my diet these days and my body loves it. The bone broths, I’m constantly cooking with them and using them in so many different preparations from soups, to curries, to braises, to bolognaise sauces for the kids. I’m sliding it in everywhere. Vegetables, I’m eating a hell of a lot of them these days. I’m eating less steak than I ever have. I’m eating different parts of animals and the seafood is a little bit more varied now these days, as well.
Superfoods, I would say offal is one of the superfoods and I don’t like to use that word too much, but put it this way, in my pantry I don’t have any superfoods as such that you would see at a health food store.
Stuart Cook: Right.
Pete Evans: My superfoods would be in my freezer. Which would be my marrows, my brains.
Stuart Cook: Yeah.
Pete Evans: The livers, the stocks or the broths, some organic berries in there and that’s about it and I guess the ultimate superfood for us is the fermented vegetables that I love creating and different flavors each week and my kids love it these days and it’s on every meal of theirs. I’m excited about that, because it’s such a cheap option for people. And it’s exciting because you start to become, you start to crave it; those sour flavor and the acidic flavors from fermented foods and if I don’t have it on my plate, then my plate feels empty …
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Pete Evans: … these days. It feels like it’s a bit undressed so to speak.
Guy Lawrence: We always have a few questions we asked everyone towards the end of the show.
Pete Evans: Yep.
Guy Lawrence: But I’ll ask you one which will lead into one we always ask, so I’m interested, you know, how you structure your food around traveling?
Pete Evans: Sure.
Guy Lawrence: And then can you tell us what you ate yesterday?
Pete Evans: Yeah. Sure. I actually flew Sydney to Perth yesterday and it’s a great, great, great question because the poor flight attendant was so worried that I didn’t eat on the plane. Even though he didn’t see that while we were taking off I had a huge, beautiful salad. It was full to the brim of, I had a whole avocado, I had zucchini, cucumbers, carrots in there, red cabbage. Just a fantastic, huge amount of salad with a quarter of a roast chicken in there and heaps of fermented vegetables and I guess to give you an idea, it was twice as much as what anyone else on the plane ate. But that was my one meal, which got me through to dinner last night.
And last night I went and saw a friend of mine, he’s an oyster shucker, and I had a couple dozen oysters at his restaurant and they’re expensive, but it’s an indulgence, but he shucks them to order for me. His name’s Jerry Fraser out in Perth. He’s like a father figure to me and we always have a good time.
And then I went back to the hotel and I had some short ribs with some fermented vegetables and what else was on the table? Some asparagus with olives and activated almonds. I consult for a hotel in Perth called Fraser Suites and the restaurant called Heirloom. So, and because I spend a lot of time in Perth and I went to this hotel and I said, “Can I do your menu for you?” And it’s 95 percent paleo. So, and the restaurant was full. I never advertise it. It’s just for the hotel guests really, but people can pop in and eat it. We don’t even promote that it is paleo. It’s just good honest food and there is bone marrow on the menu. There’s grass-fed meat. Here’s organic chicken. There’s wild caught seafood with fermented vegetables you can order as a side.
So, that was my day on a plate and I had a beautiful bottle of kefir that I got from Orchid Street. It was a turmeric and alkalized water kefir, with some cayenne pepper in it. It was awesome.
Now, when I travel interstate I usually don’t eat or I’ll take something, maybe some macadamia nuts. But when I travel internationally to and from my locations, I always; exactly like what I did yesterday. You can travel internationally with your own food. So, recently I went to the United States and I took half a roasted chicken. I took two avocados, two cucumbers, two carrots, a little bag of macadamia nuts and some fermented veg, some sauerkraut, but you have to tip out the liquid from the sauerkraut before you hop on the plane, because they don’t let liquids through over 50 mils.
So I sit here on the plane and as soon as we take off in the air, I sit down, I have a big meal and then I watch a movie or two and then I sleep and then; I have to forgo the Tupperware container or whatever I’ve had or I give it a rinse in the bathroom and repack it in my bag and hopefully they don’t quarantine it and they haven’t yet. And that’s the same thing when I come back from America or the U.S. or the UK. I go to Whole Foods and I stock up on some good quality paté or some food and I pack my own food.
Guy Lawrence: Great. Yeah.
Pete Evans: You know that you’re eating organic or grass-fed or organic veg, and you know, it’s so simple these days when I do it.
A friend of mine that runs the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Joshua Rosenthal, who’s a brilliant man with a massive vision of change for the world and the first thing that we learn in the modules is: don’t be afraid to fit out. He said it’s the most empowering thing that you can do for yourself, because most of society want to fit in like sheep, basically.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cook: Yeah.
Pete Evans: They don’t want to be seen as being different from anybody else and you know, I’m very proud to fit out on a plane and eat food that is going to benefit me and hopefully not make me feel like crap when I hop off the plane.
Guy Lawrence: That’s a great saying, “fit out.” Yeah, I love that.
Pete Evans: Fit out.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fantastic. That almost answers our last question to a degree; which is, we always ask this on our guests. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Pete Evans: My best piece of advice was actually something my grade 10 math teacher said to me. He said, “Pete, you’ll be successful at anything you choose to do in your life.”
And even to this day it’s still the most powerful statement that anyone has ever said to me and I pray every day that he said that to each and every student that he taught. Because he made me feel special and unique and I just wonder how many parents say that to their children. I wonder how many teachers of children say that to people. I wonder how many nurses might say it to their patients or doctors might say it. You know, just that one bit of encouragement and belief that this person had in me changed my whole life and changed my whole outlook and so, my bit of piece of advice that I can give everybody is to plant the seeds of belief in another human being I think is the most powerful thing you can do.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fantastic. Yeah, belief’s a huge thing.
Stuart Cook: Wise words. Yeah. Absolutely.
Guy Lawrence: Stu?
Stuart Cook: Brilliant. Yeah, I just wondered what the, you know, what does the future hold for Pete Evans? What have you got coming up; we’ve spoken about your books, right now?
Pete Evans: Well, if I don’t end up dead from a conspiracy theorist, I’ve always; I said to my mum last year, “If I go missing for some reason or I have a very strange accident, you know it probably wasn’t an accident.” Because we are definitely ruffling some major feathers here and there’s billions and trillions of dollars at stake if people adopt this way of life that will be lost through certain aid; agribusiness or multi-national food corporations and pharmaceutical companies. I mean think about the impact that this could have. It’s actually quite terrifying if you think about it a little bit. So, if I can keep running and keep doing this, then just more of the same, I mean more of the same.
I mean recently I released a cookbook three months ago called Family Food and to give you the impact that has had in Australia, it’s become the number 1 selling lifestyle book. It’s superseded any other book over the last couple of years with the volume that it sold in the last three months.
Now, I think there’s 150,000 copies out in Australia. Now, if I think about that as a family food book, so you’d have to think that at least there’s a mum and a dad and 1 child, so three people with this book, so that’s half a million people; let’s round it out, which is maybe 1 to 2 percent of the populations have now got access to a book and they’re aware of it that it’s a grain-free, dairy-free, sugar-free book.
So, I plan on just releasing more of this information in a way and my job is to, is not to present so much of the science behind it, but to give people the practical tools that they can put into their life. As a chef I think that’s my purposes. Let’s take the information and put it into beautiful recipes that people want to cook at home. Because really you can know all of this, but if you don’t cook it and put it into practice, then what point is it. Actions speak louder than words.
So, more books, improving my program, Next year we’re going to do a tour, we’re talking about belief systems, so there’ll be no cooking involved and I’ve got a lineup of speakers from around the world that I want to bring to talk about breaking addictions, self love, self worth, fear, get rid of fears and understand how to make these positive decisions in life and how to goal set.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Pete Evans: This sort of stuff excites me. Hopefully spending a lot more time with my children and my partner. We just bought a farm, so that’s part of my next journey; how to become pretty much self-sufficient so I know exactly where my food is coming from. And hopefully through that we’ll get a TV series that I can create about this. About how to grow your own food and how to live sustainably.
I want to live off the land. I want to remove myself as much as I can from the current food system, if I can. Just so I can trust where the food is coming from.
And I’m also filming a documentary at the moment called, “Food is Medicine” that I’ve been putting together for the last year and a half and I’ve got another year and a half of filming for that. I very much like Damon Gameau’s sugar film.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Pete Evans: I want to show the positive stories of using food as medicine and I think it will be a powerful catalyst for change. I’ve got a beautiful storyteller, documentary filmmaker that is doing this for us and it will be challenging for a lot of people to see the information that we present, but it will also be awe inspiring as well. So, I’m looking forward to seeing the end result of that, but yet I’m in no rush to put that out. Everything’s happening as it’s meant to be happening.
Guy Lawrence: That’s fantastic Pete. Good on you, mate.
For everyone listening to this, where’s the best place to get more of Pete Evens?
Pete Evans: My Facebook is probably the best. I’m active on that daily. It’s Chef Pete Evens or Pete Evens Chef, I don’t even know. And if anyone wants to do the 10-week program and I’m not here to sell anything, but it’s ThePaleoWay.com. But it does have the resources in there and the tools for people to implement change in their lives.
And I just want to give you guys a round of applause for what you’re doing, because it is a joint effort here, there’s many of us spreading the medicine as I like to call it and we’re reaching a different variety of people, each in their own unique way and unified way we’re so much stronger.
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely and we appreciate it Pete. You know, it’s affected my life dramatically over the years. I’ve seen it first-hand affecting others and we just feel we need to be pushing out and we have been for the last four years.
Stuart Cook: Just spread the word. Yeah, that’s it.
Guy Lawrence: And we really appreciate your coming on the show mate. That was fantastic. Thank you so much.
After such an experience, the last thing I wanted to do was jump straight back into planet normal. Joe, Mike and myself had all agreed a mini vacation was needed.
The next day when we got back to London, we were to book a flight. So the only question we had to answer was, where? In true putting it out there to the universe style, we were not getting caught up on the details like accommodation, transport, what to do etc. We just wanted warm European weather, clear blue seas and somewhere where none of us had been before. Google presented images of Dubrovnik, Croatia to us. We booked a flight and flew out the next morning and spent the next six days there.
It was an amazing city with amazing people (hope you guys are well!) and was the perfect tonic for me, as we slowed down to take the lessons onboard that mother ayahuasca had presented that night. More
This is the full interview with Sweet Poison Author David Gillespie. He is s a recovering corporate lawyer and has deciphered the latest medical findings on diet and weight gain. In his own words he says that what he found was chilling.
Did you enjoy the interview with David Gillespie? Has it made you think differently regarding sugar or fructose? Would love to hear you thoughts in the Facebook comments section below… Guy
David Gillespie: The transcript
Guy Lawrence: I’m Guy Lawrence. This is Stuart Cooke. And our special guest today is no other than David Gillespie.
David Gillespie: G’Day.
Guy Lawrence: Thanks for joining us David. Really appreciate it.
Now, I thought the best place to start would be from the beginning, and I know for any of our viewers that don’t know who you are, could you just sort of tell a bit about yourself; your story and how you came to writing about sugar in the first place; I’d love to know that.
David Gillespie: OK. So, I guess I should start out by saying I’m not a nutritionist or doctor or a biochemist or any of that sort of stuff. So, I’m phenomenally unqualified to talk to anybody about any of that stuff, but because I’m a lawyer it’s not gonna stop me.
I came to this because I spent most of my life getting fat, not intentionally, but every year I was a kilo or two heavier and, you know, I guess about almost 10 years ago now, I weighed in at 130-odd kilos, which put me well and truly into obese category.
And I thought when my wife rather inconsiderably announced that our fifth child was going to be our fifth and sixth children, that it was time to do something about it because I wasn’t coping with the four we had, who were all under the age of 9, let alone adding twin babies to that. And so, I thought, you know what, I need to understand how the human body works. I can’t believe that we don’t know how it works. It’s just obviously the case that I’m misunderstanding something.
So; and there was just the logical part to it as well which I didn’t get, which is you look around the planet, you see every other animal on the planet controls its weight the same way it controls its height, on auto-pilot, and there’s no gyms for monkeys, there’s no tigers on Jenny Craig, you know, they all work without willpower, on auto-pilot and the only exception to that seems to be us and any animal unfortunate enough to be fed by us.
So, I thought: I must be misunderstanding something. So, I went looking for the evidence and what I found was that there was very little evidence for what we are normally told to do about weight; that is: Stop being fat and exercise more.
But, there was an entirely different stream of evidence concerning sugar and in particular a part of sugar called fructose, which is one half of table sugar, which appeared to have significant dire metabolic effects, not just making us fat but lots of other stuff that we’re gonna talk about probably today.
What I thought was, well, you know, if that’s right, all I’ve gotta do to fix my weight problem is stop eating sugar. And, well, I can do that. It sounded a lot easier than it ended up being but I thought I can do that and I did and I dropped 40 kilos, got to this weight, which is in the mid 80s, and have stayed eating for the last 10 years without being on a diet. Which to me is pretty incredible since before this, you know, I just had look at a packet of Tim Tams and I’d be putting on weight.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: When you decided to lose the weight and make a change, was sugar the first thing you looked at or did you sort of. . .?
David Gillespie: Oh no. No, I didn’t, I didn’t, I didn’t know where to start. The only relevant training I have is gathering evidence and so where I started was to look at what the official line was. So, I went to the National Health and Medical Research Council, which are the people who determine the Australian Healthy Eating Guidelines, and I looked at what they say you should do to lose weight. And I thought: I’m not gonna go to a diet company or anything like that; I’ll just go to the people whose job this is. And I went looking at what they said and I thought: I can see what they say sounds very similar to what diet companies tell you to do. But I thought maybe there’s something missing that I’m not getting in the details. So, using the only relevant skill I had, which is to gather evidence, I then started looking at the evidence behind the statements.
So, what was the evidence behind the statement that fat makes you fat? What was the evidence behind the statement that exercise would make you thin? And I kept looking at evidence which referred to early evidence, which referred to early evidence, which referred to earlier evidence, and all the way back to evidence in the 1950s which essentially amounted to a great big guess.
I wasn’t at all satisfied with that, but in reading through that stuff I came across other evidence which hadn’t been referred to, but which was just as good a pedigree and this is from the London School of Nutrition, a fellow by the name of John Yudkin did some work on sugars in the 1950s and because of some political fighting it turned out his message got drowned out by a different message from the United States about fats.
Guy Lawrence: Interesting, because the first time I heard about really starting to look at sugar, from my own personal health, would have been about five years ago and I was involved with a small group of people that were helping people with chronic disease and a lot of them had cancer and by that time they had been established about seven years and they were saying that they probably had over a thousand people go through their doors and they were using nutrition and weight training, of all things, to help them.
But the first thing they eliminated from their diet was sugar and that was the sort of first time I sort of heard of anything like that. I only raised this because it made me start to think about, you know, sugar, what I’m eating, and things like that. And I’d love to hear your thoughts on, I guess, you know, on the defects of sugar, fructose and overall health, as well as what you sort of learned from your journey for our listeners.
David Gillespie: Well, I started out on it just through sheer vanity and wanting to not be apathetic. I thought that if I lost the weight I’d be more able to cope with young kids and probably be healthier. But now what I found since that, and I mean that’s where I started but I kept reading and I kept looking and I just kept finding more and more things linked back to this really unusual molecule in our diet, fructose.
Now it might even sound really weird to say that fructose is an unusual molecule in our diet. It is, after all, in fruit. So it’s; people say: “Oh, it’s natural, you know, can’t possibly be anything wrong with it.” It is natural but it’s not natural in the kind of quantities we’re consuming it and we’re not getting it from fruit. We’re getting it from sugar. And that’s the bit that a lot of people don’t connect that it is one-half of sugar.
And this molecule was very, very rare in the human diet until around about 1820. You might ask yourself: What happened in 1820? Something that people have been trying to do for a good half a century happened in 1820, which was that we finally cracked the problem of producing sugar, the stuff we have on the table, in commercial quantities. And the search for “white gold” and that was what it was literally called, “white gold,” had been on for half a century.
It is an extraordinary difficult thing to do and I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to make sugar. It isn’t simply a case of squeezing out a bit of sugar cane. It’s an extremely complicated process and involves a lot of steps and a lot of chemicals and every single step can go very, very wrong. But they managed to finally nail the process in the 1820s and then sugar went from being an extremely rare thing that only really the rich could afford to something that everybody could afford and that was added to more and more foods on a continuous basis.
Now, when I talk about sugar, people think I’m talking about chocolates and soft drinks and so on. I am; they obviously contain sugar, but much more dangerous is the sugar embedded in foods which you wouldn’t even think about containing sugar. You know, things with Heart Foundation ticks that are 30 percent sugar or 70 percent sugar, things that are being sold to us as health food that have loads of sugar in them. Why do they have loads of sugar? Because that “white gold” makes products with it in sell better than products without. So, this molecule we are spectacularly uninvolved to deal with; are you guys both still there?
Guy Lawrence & Stuart Cooke: Yeah, yeah we’re still here. I’m recording your . . . Your picture’s frozen but we’re still here.
David Gillespie: OK. Anyway, so this molecule; we have no real evolutionary background for it because the only sugar that we’ve really evolved to deal with in insufficient quantities, is our primary source of fuel, which is glucose. Everything we eat ultimately ends up in our body as glucose. Glucose is our fuel. Every single cell in our body can use it. It is the primary and only fuel for our brain, which consumes 25 percent of our energy.
So, it is a very, very important molecule in the human body and in any mammal. But fructose has no purpose whatsoever. It turns out, we just shovel it straight to the liver, none of our cells can deal with it at all and the liver just converts it immediately to fat. And that isn’t, it turns out, why we’re fat because of eating fructose; it’s just the start of a process which actually got quite interesting when I dived into the evidence; which is that that fat ends up wrapped around the liver, ultimately giving us something called “fatty liver disease” which now affects 1 in 3 of us, up from almost none of us 40 years ago. It now affects 1 in 10 teenage children. This is a chronic disease that can ultimately lead to cirrhosis of the liver and cancer of the liver.
And that fat wrapped around the liver affects our insulin sensitivity. In doing so it affects our appetite control and that’s how it makes us fat. It isn’t that the fructose is converted to fat, which that in itself makes us fat, it’s that it is converted to fat which becomes visceral fat wrapped around our internal organs, which increases our degree of insulin resistance. Ultimately that cascades through to Type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, chronic kidney disease, hypertension, heart disease, and the list goes on and on and on.
So, you know why getting fat on this stuff is a very, very fortunate thing because it gives us some visible warning that it’s happening.
Guy Lawrence: How; given that it’s everywhere and in so many foods that we’re unaware of; how would you recommend cutting it out? What should we do?
David Gillespie: Well, the first thing is: Listen to your taste. You can taste it. It’s not; if a food tastes sweet, then it contains fructose. You can be absolutely certain of that. And so you can taste it. And that’s the really good news is if you pay attention and listen for the taste that’s sweet, if you like, you can detect it.
The other is, start to get use to where it’s likely to be. So, be suspicious of all processed foods; have a look at processed food, look at the ingredient list; if sugar’s in there put it back on the shelf. It’s as simple as that. If it’s something you really, really must have then find the variant of whatever product it is that has the lowest amount of sugar and preferably aim for less than 3 grams to 100 of added sugar.
Do that and you’ll be fine. And people initially say, when they start this process, they say: “Wow, I just did what you said, and, you know what? There’s nothing in my supermarket that satisfies those criteria. That’s disturbing in itself, is there’s nothing in the supermarket that doesn’t have less than 3 percent added sugar. But there are things. In every food category there are things. And I’ve prepared lists and so on and some of them are in some of my books that go through that and rank them and show you which brands have the lower amounts of sugar. But the easiest way to do it is just to eat whole food.
I’m only talking about sugar added to food. So, eat whole fruit. Eat whole vegetables. Eat milk; dairy, eggs: whole food. Some will be required. And if you do want to eat processed food, then that’s when you need to get careful.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, OK, even when you cook your own meals, at least you start to know what’s going in them. I mean. . .
David Gillespie: I mean, if you add sugar, you’ll be aware of it. You know, you can’t accidentally pour sugar into a meal.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, absolutely. What’s your thoughts on people that say, you know, you need sugar for energy?
David Gillespie: We do. You need glucose for energy. So, remember that sugar is half glucose and half fructose. And you do need glucose for energy. As I said before, your brain runs on nothing else. And if you don’t eat something that can be converted to glucose, it will convert protein to glucose.
So, you do need glucose. You are a machine that runs on fuel. The fuel glucose. But that’s not the same as table sugar. Table sugar is only half glucose. The other half is this fructose stuff.
And some people say, yeah, but don’t I need the glucose half of it? No. Because everything you eat, ultimately, gets converted to glucose. And so you don’t need to eat sugar to get the glucose.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, and I think that’s where a lot of the confusion can lie.
Stuart Cooke: I think especially in energy and sports drinks and gels as well where people think that they need that added burst of sugar, which if I, just thinking back to my childhood day, I used to drink Lucozade, and I think that is one of the only drinks at the time that is glucose-based, right?
David Gillespie: That’s right. It’s only glucose-based. And it’s used for glucose tolerance tests even today in hospitals, because it’s the only drink you can use that is sweetened only with glucose. And so it’s a great sports drink because it’s only sweetened with glucose.
Stuart Cooke: Right. Perfect.
Stuart Cooke: So, your comments on fruit. So, I guess number one: Is fruit the enemy? Should be eating it? How much should we be eating?
David Gillespie: There’s no need to eat it. If you want to eat it, then treat it like what it is, which is nature’s dessert. So, you know, rare. You could have up to two whole pieces of fruit a day if you wanted to. Personally, I don’t eat any unless it’s offered to me. I don’t go out of my way to consume it. There’s nothing you can get in fruit that you can’t get in an equivalent vegetable without a whole lot less fructose.
But that being said, if you really like fruit, there’s no reason to not eat it. And if you’re going to eat fruit, then I’d veer toward things that are higher in fiber and lower in fructose such as all of the berries: raspberries, blueberries, strawberries. They’re all great choices and I’d steer away from things which are high in fructose and low in fiber like the three most popular fruits on sale in Australia today, which are: apples, bananas, and grapes.
So, those are the ones that I would be tending toward. But even there, have them. If you’re going to eat them as whole fruit, then go for it. If that’s your only source of fructose in a day, you’re not doing yourself any harm.
Stuart Cooke: OK. It’s amazing how your palate changes over time as well when you do eliminate sugar, because I used to devour bananas and now I can barely stomach them because they are so sweet.
David Gillespie: And that’s exactly right. I used to think bananas were the most boring fruit in the world. Completely tasteless, powdery fruit, why would anyone eat them? And now, you’re right, I have one and it’s like dessert to me. It is massively sweet. And so that palate changes is really an important part of knowing when you’re off sugar.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, absolutely. And I look at it exactly the same, you know. I like to think I’m on top of my nutrition and my food and I have a piece of fruit and I thoroughly enjoy it. But I generally don’t have 10 apples and a fruit juice in the morning.
David Gillespie: And if you did sit down and eat 10 apples, you wouldn’t be eating much else. You really wouldn’t. That’s a lot of fruit. But you could drink the juice of 10 apples very easily and still have a meal.
Guy Lawrence: That’s right. Absolutely. Yeah.
David Gillespie: So it’s only when we juice it; all juicing is really just extracting the sugar and throwing away everything else. There’s no reason to ever consume juice. It’s just soft drink.
Stuart Cooke: Another question I wanted to raise, because, you know, I follow Sarah Wilson’s blog as well, and saw an interview with you on there awhile back. I think it was an audio podcast. And there was just a stream of heated discussions afterwards with different people coming in, and arguments.
So I just wanted to raise, you know, where do the arguments lie, and why is there the critics out there that are against, basically, the whole fructose thing?
David Gillespie: This is very threatening to some very lucrative XXrulers of gold?XX. It’s a very threatening message. It is not called “white gold” for nothing. Processed food companies add sugar to food because they know it sells more with it. They don’t want to have to remove it. That’s why it’s not part of the accreditation for the Heart Foundation tick. It’s not even a criteria. They don’t even pay any attention to it at all. Because if they did, almost nothing would receive a tick.
So, the thing about sugar is that it moves a lot of product and there are a lot of people whose money depends on continuing to move that product. And those companies have put a lot of effort into muddying the water, into putting confusing science out there, to mounting clandestine lobbying.
And the process is almost identical to what the tobacco lobby undertook in the ’60s and ’70s. Almost identical. Sponsoring dubious science, having scientists on the payroll to do weird studies that if you design it just the right way it will come out showing that smoking’s all right. Recruiting; well, with smoking it was recruiting doctors. Now it’s more recruiting dieticians. But it’s the same basic plan.
Guy Lawrence: Well, certainly speaking for myself, you know, the moment I stopped putting sugar in my body I definitely noticed the difference. Even allergies went over time and things like that that I had before.
David Gillespie: Yeah. You’ll find most people report a whole series of things that are seemingly unrelated to sugar. And the interesting thing is, a lot of them can be traced back through sound biochemical processes to an explanation from fructose.
Some can’t. I still can’t explain why a lot of people report massive improvements in eczema. I don’t know why that is. But when people quite sugar, their eczema goes, even if they’ve had chronic eczema their entire life. It goes. And I don’t know what that is. I’ve looked and looked and looked. But, you know, that’s one that I can’t explain.
But a lot of them you can trace back biochemically to why they found it different.
Stuart Cooke: I got a question from Susie Lee, via our Facebook channel as well, and I think it relates a little bit to probably ourselves as well, or especially Guy and myself. Susie was wondering if you ever felt pressured into eating sugar. How do you avoid the awkward family gatherings where sugar is everywhere? Because I know the way that Guy and I, myself, present ourselves, sometimes we feel ostracized in the way that we behave in social gatherings.
David Gillespie: You know what? At the start, that was a problem. Now, obviously, the best way to fix that is write a book about it and then no one offers you sugar ever again. In fact, people tend not to eat sugar in your presence.
But, at the start, absolutely. And I found the easiest way to get around the awkwardness of it is to not make a fuss about. Just, you know, if there’s something you can eat, eat it. If there isn’t, don’t eat. Wait till you get home and find something to eat. Don’t make a big fuss about: “Oh, have you go something that hasn’t got sugar in it?” You know? Just pay attention and pretty quickly you just fit right in.
The people who find it most difficult, and this was me right at the start, is people who say, “I really wouldn’t mind; have you got a version of that without sugar?” And then people think you are a real pain.
Stuart Cooke: The awkward moments come, though. You can be at a birthday party or something and the cake comes ’round and I’m thinking, “If I eat this, I’m gonna have a stinkin’ headache later.” You know?
David Gillespie: You know, my strategy for that is: Find someone who’s still eating sugar and chop a bit off their piece of cake and have it just so that you can be part of it. You make a wish for the person and so on. And you’re not gonna eat the rest.
Stuart Cooke: Fair enough. We got another Facebook question that came in as well. It was: “I’d like to know what is worse: sugar or sweeteners and the use of macrosweeteners like honey, agave, dates, etcetera in cooking.” Are they OK or are they just heightening our tastes for more sugar?
David Gillespie: OK. So, honey and agave and, what was the other one? Dates? All of those sorts of things are just expensive ways to white sugar. So, you’re not changing anything by switching from sugar to honey. Honey is still half fructose. In fact, when sugar was first discovered, it was called “honey without bees.” Because the only kind of sugar we had before that was honey.
So, it’s; you’re not changing anything by switching to agave. Agave, dates, etcetera are about 60 to 70 percent fructose. So, those are not substitutes for sugar. They are sugar.
Other things, artificial sweeteners and such, are better-known for high-intensity sweeteners and you get into the whole artificial-natural debate. High-intensity sweeteners like stevia, sucralose, aspartame, things like Splenda and so on; those things are referred to as methadone for sugar addicts. So, they are great to get you off the addiction.
I developed quite a serious habit with artificially sweetened soft drinks while I was going through the withdrawal phase, which can last two to four weeks, or, in some people’s cases, even months.
And the interesting thing, though, is, as you were saying before, Stuart, about the palate change is that as you start to go though the withdrawal, those things become less and less appealing. And the reason for that is they start to taste less and less like sugar. At the start, they taste just like sugar. A barely detectable difference.
By the end of withdrawal, they start to taste very much like a chemical. And you find yourself really not enjoying it much at all. And I got to the point, probably around the three- or four-week mark, where I was having these things and thinking, “You know what? I think I’d rather just have a fizzy water than this stuff, because it’s just not tasting very nice.”
And so it’s not like I read the science and decided to not consume them. Because the science is a bit iffy either way. There’s plenty of science that says they’re perfectly safe. There’s plenty of science that says they’re not, depending on who’s paid for the study. If the sugar industry paid for it or the people making the substance paid for it.
But I prefer to take the view, you know, using it during withdrawal is not gonna kill you. And it does help you get through withdrawal.
Guy Lawrence: If someone walked up to you on the street and said, you know, I was a big sugar eater; should I go cold turkey or should I wean off it? What would you say to them?
David Gillespie: Look, I think weaning off is just pure torture. I think you’d have to have extraordinary reserves of willpower to be doing that. And what that would require is correctly identifying every bit of sugar in your diet and then systematically removing a percentage of it every day. Five percent, 10 percent, whatever, and ensuring that you stick to that.
To me, that would be torture. But that’s just me. Some people tell me that that’s exactly what they need and it worked great for them. Most people who are successful at this, though, tell me that the way they do it is they go cold turkey. And they just have a great big bin of all their favorite foods and then the next morning, they’re off. And they don’t go near it again until they no longer have the cravings.
And believe me, it is a withdrawal. It is very much like withdrawal from smoking. I have never smoked, so I can’t tell you from personal experience, but people who have given up smoking and given up sugar tell me the experience is almost identical. You can an intense period of cravings, you get the mood swings, you get the depression, you get the headaches. Except that with sugar, the cravings feel like hunger so that you are constantly hungry, or at least you think you are. But the reality is that you’re not. That’s just how your body knows to get you to eat sugar.
Stuart Cooke: And another question popped in regarding the sweetness. Coconut sugar. Have you done anything. . .
David Gillespie: It’s just sugar. Another way to spend a lot of money on sugar.
Stuart Cooke: Because I see that flying around a lot at the moment, coconut sugar, you know.
David Gillespie: Coconut everything. I mean, the only thing out of a coconut that is good is oil. And that’s an entirely different topic for another day.
Stuart Cooke: We won’t broach that right now.
We’d like to steer it over a little bit into children. Obviously, you’ve got a big clan. I’ve got three children too. So, I’m very interested in steering them on the right track. Do you have any recommendations, perhaps, for lunch boxes? Because lots of people struggle with this because of all of the kiddie snacks out there, I guess, with yoghurts, obviously fruit, raisins; little boxes of raisins, and sandwiches and the like. What would you recommend for a really simple child’s lunchbox?
David Gillespie: The first thing is that you are going to be almost; it’s almost impossible to buy pre-packaged anything for children that isn’t full of sugar. So, right away you’ve got a difficulty in that whatever you put in their lunchbox, you’re gonna be making. And the only choice for you is how much effort do you want to put into making it.
Now, I put out a recipe book earlier this year. And a lot of people said, “Why do you even need a recipe book if you’re off sugar? Surely you don’t even want cakes and stuff.” One of the big motivations for it is for kids’ lunchboxes. Kids still need stuff in their lunchboxes and so we created recipes just using dextrose, which is the glucose half of sugar. So, just glucose as the sweetener. And these are recipes for things like cake and biscuits and the things kids have in their lunchboxes.
And what Lizzie does, my wife, is make those; cook up a big batch of that sort of stuff on the weekends, cling-wrap portions of it, and freeze it. And then, when it comes to dealing out lunchboxes, she just reaches into the freezer and plunks it in.
And that’s the way to deal with. There really is no other efficient way to do it. The other thing you can do is just get really good at making sandwiches, putting whole fruit in there has obviously not changed. Put a banana in if you want. Just don’t put dried fruit, juices, or packaged processed food. And anything else goes.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, right. Because the thing is with kids is you’ve got same problem with adults with the parties and they’re gonna go to these things and sugar’s everywhere.
David Gillespie: Look, and there’s nothing you can do about that and nor should you try. I have a rule in this house which is: “Party food is for parties.” So, it’s not for every minute of every hour of every day. It’s for parties. And our kids go to parties with kids in their class and they’ll eat sugar and that’s just the way it is. But their exposure to sugar is infinitesimally small compared to all of their peers.
And the interesting thing is that if they do eat sugar, pig out at a party, they often come home with a hangover. And this really surprised me. And I’m not joking when I call it a hangover. It is like an adult with an alcohol hangover. They have headaches. They start saying things like, “Never again.” You know? Are really genuinely meaning it. Until the next time.
And it’s really interesting to watch. And also their capacity to eat it is also limited by the fact that they don’t eat it all the time.
Stuart Cooke: That is a good point. . . . I’ve got a little trick. I’ve got three girls and I give them a nice bowl of porridge before they go out the door so they’re not. . .
David Gillespie: That’s a good trick. I wish I’d thought of that. That is a good trick. Fill them up before they get there.
Stuart Cooke: Exactly right. Yeah. It does help.
I’ve got a few kind of miscellaneous questions as well. And I might jump into the top one, Guy, if you don’t mind.
Guy Lawrence: Go for it.
Stuart Cooke: Your thoughts on bread- and wheat-based products, given the high glycemic load.
David Gillespie: I don’t pay a lot of attention to glycemic index or glycemic load. I think they’re nonsense terms. I don’t think they’re helpful at all for anyone who’s not diabetic. And even for people who are diabetic, I’m not entirely certain they’re very helpful.
The way our body deals with carbohydrate is with a glycemic response. That is, we release insulin to use the glucose that’s in our blood. Now, the efficiency of that response is measured by the degree to which we’ve impaired our insulin response by consuming fructose.
So, yes, someone who has spent their entire life, like me, consuming fructose, has probably seriously damaged their glycemic response. And it may take a long time to repair that damage. And so you might want to be cautious about carbohydrates.
The interesting thing that I have found is, once you give up the sugar, carbohydrates are a far less enticing thing. You don’t find yourself craving carbs anywhere near as much as you did before. And that’s probably because there’s a lot of sugar addiction involved in the process.
I am working on research on the degree to which we should be worried about carbs, and even proteins like gluten that you find in bread, and fibers. And, ultimately, that will turn into a book, I suspect.
But for the moment, I would say: Do what most people do, which is break the addiction first. Break the addiction. Then you can start to make seriously sensible choices about what you choose to put in your mouth. Because one thing people who do break the addiction find is they fill up quickly. So, once they have a functioning appetite control system, they find themselves not able to eat anywhere near as much as they used to be able to get through. And I used to; I found that, too. You’d sit down to a meal that you previously would have knocked back, no worries at all, and you start getting a half or two-thirds of the way through and thinking, “Oh, I really can’t finish this. I’m really full.”
And that’s just your hormones working; your appetite control system working. And when that starts happening, people start saying, you know, with that happening, I’ve got to be really choosy about what I put in my mouth, because I know my appetite control system’s not gonna let me put that much of anything in my mouth. So, if I have this big slice of dextrose cake for afternoon tea or this big bit of cheesecake for afternoon tea, I know that I’m not gonna fit my dinner in. And then it’s a balance between what’s for dinner and do I really like it or do I prefer it over this piece of cake.
So, people find themselves starting to make choices about what they put in their mouth. And a lot of people start doing things like saying, “You know what? I just don’t get that much out of carbs anymore. And I find when I’m not eating them, I feel better. So I won’t eat them that much.”
Stuart Cooke: Would it be possible for our audience who may be a little confused just to kind of loosely run through what you might perhaps eat in a day.
David Gillespie: Sure. So, let’s talk about today. I started today, my 12-year-old boy very helpfully cooked me some bacon and eggs this morning. That was a nice bit of meal: bacon with all the fat still on and an egg. And then I’ve just had lunch, which was I some leftover mince on toast, basically. And the toast was sourdough bread that my wife made a day or two ago. Now, the reason she’s making bread is just to avoid the seed oils, which is a topic for another day. But it also helps you avoid sugar.
And for dinner; what will dinner be? Well, tonight it’s likely going to be some sort of pasta and meat sauce, I suspect.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, right, OK.
David Gillespie: That’s not our typical; that’s just because of Friday night. Normally it’s some sort of meat and veg kind of fare.
Stuart Cooke: Got it. OK.
Guy Lawrence: I have another question that popped in there and we haven’t got it down, only because I CrossFit. You know, I love my exercise. But from reading your books as well, you discuss the topic of weight loss and exercise and the relationship there.
I’d love you just to share your views on that, because, you know, from what I find, when I train more, my appetite goes up and I generally et more food and if I’m not careful I can eat the wrong foods, you know, and that’s what I’ve seen from my experience over the years, especially working as a fitness trainer. But I’d just love you to share that with us a little bit for people.
David Gillespie: Well, when you expend more calories doing anything, if you spend Saturday out in the yard working, whereas you normally sit at a desk, you’ll eat more on Saturday. Your body is a complex machine that measures the amount of energy you burn and the amount that you consume and make sure it stays in balance.
And the same goes for exercise. It doesn’t matter if you’re out mowing the lawn or doing exercise in a gym. If you burn more energy, your body will ask you to eat more food. In other words, it will increase your appetite. And that’s not a bad thing at all. That’s a perfectly good thing and perfectly normal thing.
The problem is when the appetite control system is broken, and that’s what fructose does. It messes with the hormones that control how much we eat. And it just knocks your system up, just a fraction, not much, just a tiny little bit, maybe a quarter of a Monte Carlo biscuit’s worth.
But you do that every day for years, end-on-end cumulatively, and you start to get the kind of weight gain that you are seeing in the Australian population.
Guy Lawrence: And so for anyone listening to this that’s thinking of putting their runners on tomorrow and going for a run, that eat sugar and fructose as well, they should be given the fructose up first. Which sounds. . .
David Gillespie: The thing about exercise, people think that I’ve got something against exercise. And I have nothing against exercise. Do it if you feel like it. And the reality is that since I’ve lost the weight, I feel like doing it a lot more than I did before. And a lot of people report that, which is after they lose the weight they exercise more than they ever did before. Not because of the weight; just because they feel like doing it more.
And so if you feel like doing it, if you really enjoy it, then keep doing it. If you’re doing it because you think you’ll lose weight doing it, don’t bother.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, that’s fair enough. It’s funny because I train constantly. Most days. But I do it because I mentally feel fantastic after it, you know? That’s what drives me to do it.
David Gillespie: My 16-year-old boy, he’s a rower. He trains 40 hours a week. OK? He is an exercise nutbag. He does it because he loves it. Not because he wants to lose weight.
Guy Lawrence: That’s a good point.
Stuart Cooke: That’s right, and that’s kind of what we tell lots of people, too. There are so many benefits from cardiovascular. Feel good. It’s your own time as well. You’re there and you can process thoughts and get through anything that might be on your mind. But as a tool for weight loss, I do struggle to see the connection as well. But see what happens.
I’m just wondering about the future for David Gillespie at the moment. What does the future hold? You mentioned the possibility of another book? What’s in the pipeline?
David Gillespie: Well, one of the things that I’m doing at the moment is I’m really focusing on is, I put a book out earlier this year called Toxic Oil, which is about the dangers of vegetable oils. And by “dangers” I mean they are even more insidiously dangerous than the sugar. At least you can taste sugar. You can’t taste these oils, and they’re added to every food on the supermarket shelf.
And there’s clear evidence that they double the rate of cancer in humans. And when we’re seeing the phenomenal increase in rates of cancer that we’re currently seeing, it scares me. I know a lot of people now who have cancer, who are suffering from it. And I really want that message to get out there loud and clear.
So, I am focusing on that and I will focus on that in the immediate future.
Next year I have a book coming out on a completely unrelated topic, which I’ll reveal more about towards the end of the year. It’s nothing to do with nutrition. And we’ll see where go from there.
But as I said to you before, one of my areas of focus at the moment is the whole, I guess the “bread cortex,” if you want; the gluten, fiber, carb question. Are any of these things bad, good, indifferent for us?
Stuart Cooke: Definitely. I’ve just read a very interesting book about that, so I’d love for you to put your spin in the way that you write as well and research and resource. I’d be very interested.
David Gillespie: It is interesting.
Stuart Cooke: Oh, it is. It will stir up our household as well because I’ve been though Sweet Poison two or three times and Toxic Oil and our cupboard seems to be changing from month to month, and it’s a topic of discussion.
David Gillespie: Well, it’s probably going backwards in time. If you follow what I say in Toxic Oil, you’ll find yourself making most of what you eat and, really, your cupboard starting to consist of mostly raw ingredients.
Guy Lawrence: Exactly. You know, the one thing I wanted to add as well, because, you know, I’m single. I live by myself. And it’s very easy for me to, if I do shop, I can just get whatever. But once families are involved, you know, it’s amazing. And I’m sure that day will come for me and it’s gonna be a whole new challenge.
David Gillespie: You need a partner that’s going to help. People tell me it’s very, very difficult to go it alone on this, you know? Very difficult for you to just decide, “Well, I’m gonna do this,” and the rest of the family will just keep eating a normal, modern diet. That’s very difficult to do. So you need to have everybody working on the same page.
But, look, the good news is you’re not going to do yourself any harm at all by doing this, and you learn an amazing set of new skills. If you’d said to me, two years ago, “You are going to be cooking the only bread you eat,” I would have laughed at you. Because that sounded like way too much effort. But the reality is that that’s what we’re doing now. And the end result is we eat a lot less bread because if you’ve got to cook it yourself, you’re not gonna eat that much of it.
Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. We’re almost reconnecting with skills that have been lost along the way and we’re actually learning how to eat again.
David Gillespie: We’re also learning that it isn’t that hard. A lot of these things sound daunting if you’ve never done it. But once you have done it, you find it’s actually just not that hard.
Guy Lawrence: Any other questions?
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, I’m just gonna ask a little bit of a wrap-up question, really, and we ask all of our guests this and I’m guessing that I probably know the answer. But if you can offer a single piece of advice for optimum health and wellness, what would it be?
David Gillespie: Don’t eat sugar. But, look, if you really want to be super duper well and avoid just about every chronic disease in modern society, then don’t eat sugar or vegetable oil.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, right. OK. Perfect.
Guy Lawrence: Perfect answer.
Stuart Cooke: And for anybody that would like to get hold of your books or find more about the resource, where can they connect with you?
David Gillespie: Well, look, if they want my books, they go to a bookstore. My books will be available just about anyplace that sells books. If they want the books signed by me, they can buy them from my website, but they’re a lot more expensive that way. If you don’t care, then your average bookstore or supermarket is a good place.
If you want to connect with a community of people who are like-minded, then the very best place is the Facebook page Sweet Poison, which I think has 49,000 people on it. And they are all gung-ho. Get on there with any question; they’ll answer it, and if they can’t, I will.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, fantastic. I went through the forums the other day and I was surprised at the amount of engagement in there. The numbers are voluminous, and it’s a really community as well. Fantastic.
David Gillespie: And very knowledgeable. I mean, these people know their stuff. You know, people put stuff up on Facebook. . . I check it every day to see if there’s anything getting missed or where people are not getting the answers that they need and that almost never happens. Everyone else is already well and truly there and giving them everything they need to know.
Stuart Cooke: Fantastic. You’re making a lot of people aware of what they should be putting in their mouth, David, which is a great thing.
Guy Lawrence: OK. All right. Well, look, thank you so much for sharing your time and also writing these great books as well. And we hope to have you back on the show in the not-too-distant future talking about the oils.
There’s a reason we call Stu ‘The Whippet’. He’s a sprightly fellow, however, hopefully not for much longer.
After doing CrossFit for the last six months Stu’s become so lean that ocean swimming (a favourite pass time of his) has become more like taking an ice bath and each session is getting notably shorter due to the poor Stu being unbearably cold.
So in this edition of 180 seconds or less, we join Khan and Stu on the couch and chat about Stu’s new dietary and strength training endeavor, in which he’s looking to put his days of Whippetry behind him and become more of a Rottweiler, or better yet Great Dane.
The diet is based on the “Bigger Smaller Bigger” plan, put together by fitness and nutrition experts Dr John Beradi, Martin Rooney and Nate Green. They claim it helped Green pack on a massive 20lbs in 28 days, so we’re looking forward to seeing what it does for Stu!
Snatch The CrossFit Monkey idolises his fellow 180 Nutrition sponsored athletes. After seeing the Australian CrossFit champion Chad Mackay squat with one arm after shoulder surgery, Snatch wanted to emulate his hero!
After his first workout ‘Fran’ being a very impressive 2 minutes 34 seconds, Snatch’s confidence his high. With wild instincts coursing through his veins being fresh out of the jungle, we still feel we need to keep his ego in check and improve his table manners…
You can follow Snatch’s journey to the 2013 CrossFit Games here.
Mate: So you can actually compete against each other in CrossFit?
Me: Yep…Pretty cool hey!
Mate: So what exactly will you be doing?
Me: Well, I’m not really sure. But somewhere along the lines of running, jumping, throwing weights around…You know, the usual…
Mate: Umm, that’s about as clear as mud.
So what is CrossFit? This is a question I get asked often. After my competition last weekend the question I get now is…Well what’s this CrossFit competition thing you did then?
I’m still trying to answer both so I thought I’d put this post together.
If you have been following my crossfit journey, a few months back I mentioned that my coach Cassie had entered myself and Stu into our first CrossFit competition at CrossFit Feel Good in Sydney. Well that day had finally come. More
What is CrossFit? I’m still struggling with this question when I get asked. But when I tell people the first thing I do in the morning is check the CrossFit Bare website to see what today’s WOD is, I usually get two responses that go something like this:
Uh? Don’t you think that’s a little obsessive? What’s wrong with you mun!
Wow…Really! What’s a WOD? Tell me more…
This post is dedicated to the latter…
Guy: Hi this is Guy of 180 Nutrition and today on my crossfit journey I wanted to take you through a typical WOD which is a workout of the day here at crossfit Bare. Now, wht’s inspired this is that Cassie my coach has just entered me into a competition in October. Now, A – I never thought I’d be doing that and B- it’s not as daunting as it sounds as it’s divided into three categories which is intermediate, advanced and also there is a beginner category for somebody like myself which is definitely where I’ll start. What we have here is the whiteboard which is the cornerstop of crossfit. Everyday we walk in here and this displays the workout of the day. So what’s on here today is what our fellow crossfitter Khan or KP as he’s known as has written for us. The idea is that this is scaled from beginner, intermediate or advanced and we just wanted to show you the different things that we can do so crossfit can cater for anyone.
Khan: How are you going guys, alrighty so like with any class we’re going to start off with a warm up today and our warm up is going to be broken down into two components. We’ve got the initial two minutes of double unders and single skips which guy is going to kindly demo for us in a moment followed by a bit of mobility with the spiderman complex followed by pass throughs. These are basically going to prep the joints, prep the body for the movements to come. Alright Guy, let’s go.
Guy: Nice t-shirt mate…
Khan: So Guy’s got the rope here and we’re going to start with the single unders followed by the double unders. Its the same sort of movement just a vary degree of the exercise. So we’ve got the beginner, Guy’s kindly de-robing for us there (nice t-shirt mate). So he’s going to start off with some single unders which is just a basic skip, one jump one rotation of the rope. Now the more advanced version of the exercise is the double under as just as it sounds it’s going to be one jump but two rotations of the rope… Ideally you’ll go a little bit longer than that though… beautiful. Alright from here were going to go straight into the spiderman complex. So Guy is going to drop down and start for us. Now you’ll notice what he is doing is opening up the hips here, we’re going to have squats, we’re going to have cleans, we’re going to have box jumps later on in the workout so we want the hips nice and open nice and mobilised beforehand. So dropping nice and low here, we’re gonna drop the inside arm down as well. Beautiful Guy, we’ll hold that for a little longer though, now we’re going to swap legs. Just do some little circles with the back leg here to really open up that hip joint. Beautiful from here we go on to the pass through, we’re going to use a dowel for the pass throughs, and this one’s to open up the shoulder joint. There you have it guys, that’s going to be the standard warm up that we start up with for most workouts.
Alright, next up in the workout is going to be a strength component and our life for today is going to be the clean. We have got 4 different types of the clean to cater to 4 different types of athlete. First up we’re going to have Guy run through the med ball clean which is the beginner version of the exercise and then we are going to have Josh who you may remember from the last video that we made go through the hand clean, power clean and squat clean.
Part 1 – Med ball cleans
Coming over to Guy first, now Guy is going to demonstrate the medball clean, very nice Guy. Then we have josh over here, Josh, nice shirt mate. Now Josh is avery strong guy and this is light weight for him and he’s just going to use the weight at this level to demonstrate perfect technique. OK Josh so take it away with the hang clean, beautiful. And now for the power clean, so he’s going from the ground this time, very nice, one more. And lastly the squat clean, this is the most advanced version of the exercise which Josh makes look very easy there.
Alrighty, next up we’ve got the workout of the day or the WOD as it’s written. Now you’ll see that we’ve got three different WOD’s written up, they are all basically the same workout just three different levels. We’ve got level 1 which is the beginner version of the workout, level 2 which is the intermediate version and level 3 which is the RX or as prescribed version for the advanced athletes. Now Josh, Guy and myself are going to run you through each of the three different exercises and each of the different levels.
Part 2 – Box jump
Guy: OK, so I’m basically going to do the level 1 step-up, which is essentially a step up and if we wanted to take that a little bit further we could take that into a box jump. Josh is going to show us a level 2 box jump look like.
Josh: Jump up, full extension and off, up, extend and off
Guy: And Khan, 30 inch box jump
Khan: then come into full extension at the top, down and up.
Part 3 – Front squat
Josh: Ok guys hey it’s Josh. I’m going to be coaching Guy and Khan through the squat so we’re going to be going from the beginner level which is the air squat, I’m going to show you the goblet squat and the the front squat. So first of the all the coaching point for guy is weight on heels, heels heels heels. We’re going to sit back, arse back and squat through. You’ll see how his hip crease goes below the knee, perfect nice.
For the goblet squat, use a kettlebell or a dumbbell, hold it high and pull the belly button towards the spine. Sitting back, heels, heels heels, perfect Josh (LOL).
Use that front rack position with high elbows. Perfect, well done.
Part 4 – Gymnastic rings
Guy: Now we are on to the last part of our WOD. We’ve covered the power and we’ve covered the strength, and now we are into the back section of the gym which is the gymnastics component. We are now going to show you three ways to essentially master the muscle up. I’m going to show you level one which is simply a ring row.
So that’s the first exercise to master. Now if you come over this way, we have Josh who’s going to show us level two.
Josh: we are going to do a pull up first. There is the strict pullup or the Kipling pull up. After that we do is move onto ring dips. So I get myself nice and stable and use what’s called a hollow body position. With the hollow body dip down and up, down and up.
Guy: essentially, these two movements have to be mastered before we move onto level three, which is the muscle up. And mister KP himself is going to demonstrate that for us.
Khan: we are doing a strict muscle up today cause we don’t have much room to do a kip muscle up. This is harder than the kip muscle up.
So bum on the ground, hands turned out sitting in a nice L position like this. Then we are going to turn the hands in whilst pulling ourselves up, and the muscle up is going to look something like this.
And up onto the rings like so, finishing in the top of the ring position. And then back down, hands out at the bottom, and back up like so. You can see how the initial part of the movement is a pull, and the second part of the movement is a ring dip. And that’s why we master the other to levels before we master the muscle up.
Guy: Khan has made that look very easy, which is essentially a very difficult exercise to master, believe me!
Khan: thanks mate.
Guy: So we’ve just gone through the three levels of the workout and after the WOD itself we always finish off on a bonus and a mobility and I’ll let Khan explain that before we finish up.
Khan: Thanks Guy, so the bonus we’re generally going to work on a bit of skill or a little bit core. Today we’ve got three different exercises to run through and then mobility we’re going to roll out the quads. Mobility is something that Guy is going to cover in another installment for you Guys.
Guy: So essentially that’s normally the last five minutes and have a bit of a cha,t and hang out and high five ourselves of how wonderful we’ve done through the workout over the last 45 minutes or so. So as you can see it can all be completely scaled and can be done by a variety of people so I’m just going to continue and try and master these for the competition in October, which I’ sure we’ll cover later in the blog. Until the next time, I hope you learned something from today, thanks.