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I Ate 5,000 Calories of Saturated Fat a Day. This Is What Happened…


The above video is 3:49 minutes long.

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


sami inkinen
We chat to Sami Inkinen, a world class triathlete and tech entrepreneur. Whilst we don’t encourage anyone to eat 5000 calories of saturated fat a day, we feel it’s a very important message that Sami shares with us.

Sami and his wife Meredith recently did a phenomenal achievement, where they physically rowed from California to Hawaii. It took them 45 days straight rowing, up to 18 hours a day, and some days they didn’t even get any sleep.

Awesome achievement, but more importantly was the message behind it, as they did it without the use of any sugar and sports gels, pushing the message that you don’t need sugar to power the body daily, not even as a world-class athlete.

So they did it running on, yes, about 70 to 75 percent fat on each meal, and we were very keen to get him on the show and pick his brains about this, because there are so many things we can learn from it.

Full Interview with Sami Inkinen, World Class Ironman


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In this episode we talk about:

  • How he ended up being involved in the documentary Cereal Killers Two – Run on Fat
  • Why he decided to embark on his toughest challenge yet, rowing to Hawaii from San Francisco
  • How they prepared for their meals. Sami was eating a whopping 8,000 calories a day!
  • The effects of eating 5000 calories of saturated fat a day whilst rowing
  • What he uses instead of sports drinks
  • What Sami eats in a typical day
  • And much much more…

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Get More of Sami Inkinen Here:

Sami Inkinen Transcript

Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence with 180 Nutrition and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. Our special guest today is Sami Inkinen. Now, Sami has achieved some remarkable things in life, including he’s a world-class triathlete, he’s a tech entrepreneur, and him and his wife did a phenomenal achievement recently which is they basically physically rowed from California to Hawaii. Took them 45 days rowing up to 18 hours a day straight, and some days they didn’t even get any sleep.

Awesome achievement, but more importantly was the message behind it, because they did it without the use of sugar and gels and basically pushing the message that you don’t need sugar to power the body daily, not even as a world-class athlete like that.

So they did it running on, yes, about 70 to 75 percent fat on each meal, and we were very keen, obviously, to get him on the show and pick his brains about this, because there are so many things we can learn from it. He also shares many other things as well, which is fantastic, and it was an awesome podcast. I have no doubt you’ll get lots out of this today whether you’re an athlete or not. It was just brilliant.

Of course, if you are listening to this through iTunes, hit the subscribe button, leave a review, all very appreciated. A, it’s nice to know that you’re enjoying our podcasts, but B, it helps spread the word by simply subscribing or leaving a review more people can find us and more people can listen and more people can benefit from the message that we are putting out there to the world which we feel is very necessary.

And, of course, come back to our website, 180nutrition.com.au, where we’ve got a heap of resources including a free ebook which is a great place to start if you find all this information a little bit overwhelming. Anyway, enjoy the show. This one’s awesome. Cheers.

Guy Lawrence: Okay, hey, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke, as always. Hi, Stu.

Stuart Cooke: Hello.

Guy Lawrence: And our awesome guest today is Sami Inkinen. Sami, welcome to the show.

Sami Inkinen: Thanks very much. Excited to be a part of your show.

Guy Lawrence: Oh, mate, that’s awesome. Me and Stu have been very excited today, because it’s certainly a topic I think we thrive on, especially when it comes to sports as well, and it’s clear that you’re a guy that doesn’t do things by half-measures, you know, and just to, I guess, for the people who are listening to sum it up in a short way, you’re a world-class athlete, you’re a tech entrepreneur, and you’ve just gone and done something with your wife recently which is a phenomenal achievement and which I’m looking forward to getting sucked in with everyone.

But just to kick start the conversation, mate, would you mind just sharing a little bit about your background? And even, you know, how you ended up in San Francisco in the first place, because you’re from Finland.

Sami Inkinen: Yeah, so I was born and raised and brainwashed in Finland. Grew up about 200 miles, so 300 kilometers, from Helsinki on a farm, a chicken farm, but I wasn’t really a farm boy, I was more into computers, so as soon as I got out of the farm, I studied physics at a university in Finland and got into software and computers early in my life. Started on company in Europe and then in 2003, which seems like a long time ago now, about 12 years ago, I came here to San Francisco Bay Area in the U.S. to attend Stanford Business School and, you know, I’ve been here ever since.

Guy Lawrence: Are you missing the cold weather? I’m assuming it can get quite cold in Finland as well, right?

Sami Inkinen: You know, there’s a reason why I stayed here.

Guy Lawrence: Go on, Stu. You look like you’re going to say something.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, so we’ve been following a little bit of your background, Sami, as well, and realized that you did extremely well in the triathlete Ironman scene as well, but then made it to the big screen. I was just wondering how that happened? What happened there?

Sami Inkinen: Big screen as in…

Guy Lawrence: Cereal Killers 2.

Stuart Cooke: The movies.

Sami Inkinen: Well, first of all, I have, quite honestly, zero interest in promoting myself for the sake of promoting myself. However, given that I thought that I was kind of a poster boy for healthy living because of my crazy amount of endurance training and, what I thought, healthy living, regardless of that kind of lifestyle, I found out that I was pre-diabetic a couple of years ago, and I got ridiculously frustrated that, “How is this possible that it happens to me? And if it happens to me with that kind of lifestyle and a focus on exercise and, what I thought, healthy eating, what are the chances that an average person can avoid that sort of health issue?”

And the answer is, “Fat chance.” There’s no chance, so I wanted to do anything and everything I can to promote the message around healthy diet and healthy nutrition and, therefore, I was more than happy to lend my own crazy adventures and experiences for the benefit of others.

And I think that was the reason why I ended up teaming up or helping Donal O’Neill who has produced these two movies, Cereal Killers and Cereal Killers 2, so that was the background story. So I thought whatever I do and what I did with my wife, if it can help other people to avoid what was happening to me health wise, it would be worth the embarrassing exposure on the screen.

Guy Lawrence: Did it take you awhile? Was that the wakeup moment? Because I know you mentioned, like you said, you were going to be prediabetic and did you instantly look into increasing fats? Like, how did that message sink in to you, because there are so many people resistant to that message to this day and don’t even, won’t even consider it, you know? How did it work for you? Who did you discover to make you think differently about that?

Sami Inkinen: Well, first of all, I, obviously, it was almost like driving a car to a rock wall 100 kilometers an hour when I really thought it’s impossible that I would get sick or, more importantly, it would be impossible that someone like me would become diabetic or prediabetic with the kind of lifestyle that I was living, so it was really kind of a stopping moment for me.

And, of course, as a computer scientist, the first place that I went was online, so I started reading a lot and, unfortunately, spending time on, kind of, research databases like PubMed isn’t a very effective way of educating yourself because there’s so much science as well as bad science that you could spend the rest of your life reading research reports and still just be confused.

So I think the best sources for me were books and, you know, there’s a number of books, but I think one of the better overviews was the book written by Gary Taubes called Good Calories, Bad Calories.

Stuart Cooke: Yes.

Sami Inkinen: You know, it was just one of the information sources that I relied on and we talked with a number of physicians and scientists directly, but that was definitely one of the more transformational books for me.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, it’s a very in-depth book, too, and certainly recommended to everyone, yeah. So, let’s, talking about the challenge, can you explain a little bit about the synopsis and what you and Meredith achieved? What you did?

Sami Inkinen: Yes.

Guy Lawrence: And, as well, who came up with it? You know? Why that challenge?

Sami Inkinen: Well, yeah, first of all, Meredith, my wife and I, we decided to row completely unsupported with no past rowing experience in a, kind of, special adult rowing boat from California to Hawaii across the Pacific Ocean about 2400, 2500 miles. Well we ended up rowing 2,750 completely unsupported this past summer, so we just finished a few months ago.

I’d love to blame my wife for the crazy idea, but I think I was the person who initially got inspired and got this idea and the initial inspiration came from the book called Unbroken, which actually it was just turned into a movie about six months ago, but in this book a second World War Air Force pilot was shot down above the Pacific Ocean and he floated across the Pacific Ocean in a life raft, and I just thought that experience was so amazing and I didn’t want to be in a life raft, but just to experience the wilderness of the Pacific Ocean, so that was kind of a seed in my mind, and I thought, “For once in my lifetime, I want to experience the craziness of the Pacific Ocean.”

So that was the initial inspiration, but then we wanted to turn this crazy expedition into something that would benefit others as well, so we wanted to combine it with this message of, “Sugar is dangerous and more likely than not the processed carbohydrates are dangerous to you as well,” and so we wanted to do this adventure, an expedition, with absolutely no sugar and practically no carbohydrate as well, and that’s what we did.

Guy Lawrence: It was amazing. Was it harder than you thought? Or was it what you expected, you know, or, like, especially if you’ve never done something like that before. I can’t…I struggle to envision being on a boat for 45 days like that.
Sami Inkinen: Yeah. So I grew up in Finland not far from lakes and we had a small summer cottage by a lake, but I have to say I know why oceans are called oceans and not lakes. It’s a completely different environment, and, as you mentioned, neither Meredith nor myself had any experience with oceans. We aren’t sailors. We’ve done nothing related to oceans and we weren’t rowers, either, so to answer your question, we really didn’t have any expectations, because we had never experienced this environment before and we went from zero to sixty miles an hour in many ways in six months.

So six months before the launch, we started to train rowing. We started to train about survival in ocean environments, so we did massive amounts of survival training, navigation training, seamanship, and all these things that you really don’t worry about when you don’t know about sailing boats or anything, getting radio, you know, license and certificates, and understand how you use radios and all these things, so it all happened in six months.

Quite frankly we, I think we had, we didn’t really expect much because we had no idea what this is going to be like, and this may sound really crazy, but we didn’t even spend a single night in our boat until the first night. We slept in the boat, but we kind of slept in a very, sort of, calm condition, so for better or worse, we had a lot of first time experiences once we got out there, which may not sound like the perfect way of preparing for something like this.

Stuart Cooke: Tell us about motivation. With all that prep work that you did for the other elements of the boat, I mean, what, direct, physically stay motivated for that length of time, how is this possible?

Sami Inkinen: Well, first of all, the motivation for this draw was really twofold. One was, we both think that pushing your physical and mental limits is just kind of a full human experience, so we like pushing ourselves beyond what you would expect to be normal, and we find that it’s a very rewarding way of living your life, and you learn all kinds of interesting things about yourself and human life.

And then the second thing is really this motivation to bring awareness, build awareness, around the danger of sugar and processed carbohydrates. Those were kind of driving forces for us. But once you’re out there, the good news is, there’s no turning back, so the only way to get out is to freaking keep rowing.

And we kept rowing up to 18 hours a day, so you can’t really turn back. You really simply can’t, because of the winds and everything, so the only way to get out of the boat is to row to Hawaii, which we thought might take two months.

But then on a more practical level, you really have to focus on the process at the very moment, and you know, this applies to other things is life, but you can’t let your mind get into, kind of, “What is it going to be when we finish? Or what is it going to be…?”

You may be able to think that when you go for a sixty-minute run or a three-hour bike ride, but when you’re there for two months rowing eighteen hours a day, you have to focus on the moment, otherwise, you’ll mentally fall apart and you’re on the ground in pieces, so you focus on the moment and then, you know, like eating an elephant. How do you eat an elephant? You eat it one bite at a time.

Guy Lawrence (simultaneously): One bite at a time.

Sami Inkinen: Yes, you really focus on these micro small milestones, whether that’s your two-hour shift, and you take a five-minute break, maybe it’s a little drinking or maybe it’s your lunch break or something like that, so those two things, like, focus on the moment and then, you know, you have this, sort of small bit-sized chunks that you focus on as opposed to, “Oh, in a month’s time we might finish.”

Stuart Cooke: That’s right.

Guy Lawrence: Well, that’s just getting done, isn’t it? Do you meditate outside or, as in outside the rowing, do you do meditation…?

Sami Inkinen: Yeah, I actually…yeah, I started mindfulness meditation practice about two years ago and so did my wife, so I do a couple of minutes every morning the moment I wake up, and frankly we had plenty of time to practice activity-based meditation on the boat. It was actually interesting and powerful to try that during the row, which really helps you to focus on the moment and the sensation and this kind of related to how can you stay focused? It’s obviously uncomfortable for the most part, you know?

Your ass is hurting, your hands are hurting, you’re tired, but there’s nothing more powerful than embracing that pain and discomfort, because once you, sort of, give in and embrace and recognize that feeling, nothing can break you, but as long as you keep, sort of, fighting and bitching to yourself, like, “Oh, my god, my ass is hurting. Oh, my god, I’m tired,” the feeling just sort of escalates in your brain, but the moment you’re like, “I’m hurting. I’m feeling it. It’s uncomfortable, but I’m in it and I’m embracing it,” it’s like, “All right, so what’s worse? It can’t get any worse. You’re in it.”

So, there are a lot of mental lessons that I think are applicable to…

Guy Lawrence: Day-to-day life. Yeah.

Sami Inkinen: Yeah. Day-to-day life at your office or your exercise, so, you know, relationship with people and all other things.

Guy Lawrence: Amazing. Yeah. Something else occurred to me as well, because they say traveling with your partner is the best way to test the relationship, you know, and being in a rowing boat would certainly test that, you know, for me, but obviously it went good, you know? It’s incredible. Yeah.

Sami Inkinen: Yeah, we’re still married, so… You can see I still have the ring, so all went well, but, no, absolutely, it’s a… Not only was it an amazing test, but also an amazing experience that we’ll share for the rest of our lives, and fortunately it turned out positively from a relationship perspective.

Guy Lawrence: Go on, Stu. Go on.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, I was just wondering how you felt when you got off the boat, I mean, what were your feelings and how did you feel?

Sami Inkinen: Well, emotionally, I, and I think my wife as well, we cried a lot immediately after, so it was just, kind of, a big emotional moment to come out. Physically, so we had a doctor who did a quick checkup right after who actually has worked with a number of ocean rowers and her immediate comment was, “I can’t believe how healthy you guys look.” Like, nothing crazy, no crazy inflammation going on.

I had blood work done just a couple of days after the row and, like, we were incredibly healthy from the perspective of inflammation, hormonal markers, and other things, so other than, especially with myself losing a lot of, or having a lot of muscle atrophy in the muscles we didn’t use, which is completely natural, nothing to do with your diet, it’s just if you don’t use those muscles…Other than that, I was feeling incredibly well and within just a couple of days I felt like I was completely back, too.

It took several weeks to build the muscle mass back to some of the muscles that were really… because I didn’t really even stand, I didn’t do anything weight-bearing for two months, so other than that…

Guy Lawrence: So, just upper body, yeah…

Sami Inkinen: Yeah and, you know, rowing is, you do use your legs and low body, kind of like a squat movement, still, you don’t even stand or carry your body weight. There’s a lot of muscle and soft tissue that’s completely unused, and I lost a lot of that, so, like, walking was difficult coming off the boat.

Guy Lawrence: Just to touch back on the diet, because, you know, obviously you’ve changed your diet dramatically. Could you explain what your diet used to look like as a triathlete and what it looks like now, especially preparing and on the boat? The differences you made?

Sami Inkinen: Yeah. So, first of all, I did start changing my diet quite significantly before the row and I’ve raced as a triathlete following graphically similar diet I followed on the boat, but for almost twenty years I followed what I thought was a perfectly healthy diet and the diet that’s promoted by, you know, most governments, including the United States, including Finland, which, to me, was anything that was low-fat or no fat was healthy and, you know, I tried to eat fresh foods, but I ate a lot of packaged foods as well.

So my diet was extremely low fat. I tried to eat whole grains, obviously, not crap, and just a very low-fat diet. Low-fat, I thought it was good, and if it said no fat, it was great, so whether it was bread or skim milk or low-fat cheese or low-fat mayo, you name it, that’s what I was eating. And then, you know, the more I read about sports performance books, it was always, like, “Oh, you have to carb-load and that’s high-octane fuel,” you know, to put it simply, I was on an extremely high-carbohydrate diet, mostly whole grains, grains, vegetables, and all the meat that I was eating, it was super low-fat, so chicken, turkey, no skin, low-fat beef, that was my diet, and I followed that about twenty years.

I kept myself reasonably lean and my race weight low, but it required a ridiculous amount of willpower. We’ve seen what a lot of athletes are capable of doing, but 99 percent of the population just can’t do that and it’s not fun to apply 95 percent of your willpower 300 days a year to just always eat less than you would like to eat.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Yeah, and then moving to the boat, because we watched the documentary a few days ago and what was clear is you were meticulous about, you know, the amount of calories and the amount of fat you ate and the way you set your meals up. Would you mind explaining a little bit about that for us as well, because that was fascinating I thought.

Sami Inkinen: On the boat?

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, for the boat, yeah.

Sami Inkinen: Yeah. Well, first of all, obviously, when you’re in the middle of the Pacific Ocean there’s no eat stations like in a triathlon race, so there’s no convenience stores or grocery stores that you can stop by when you get hungry or realize that, holy crap, you don’t have enough protein or this or that, so we had to be careful, and even our diet, at least by traditional standards, was very extreme, we want it to also be very scientific about preparing, because we knew that if something goes wrong, whether it’s food-related or something else, we just can’t; there’s no way, no helicopter is going to drop us extra food or extra sodium or extra this or that, so that was one of the reasons we were very, like, everything was calculated, measured, weighed, and we knew then what we have on the boat is sufficient.

But what we ate at the high level, we only tried to pack and eat real whole foods, so in as natural form as possible. That was one. Two, it was extremely low-carbohydrate diet from a macronutrient perspective, so caloric-wise my carbohydrate calories were somewhere between five and ten, around maybe nine percent of calories was carbohydrates. Protein, I think, was about fifteen percent, up to fifteen percent, so it leaves 75 percent to 80 percent of calories from fat, so, you know, I ate probably 5000 calories of fat every day, of which most was saturated fat, so if you want to shock a cardiologist, that’s a pretty good line, “Yeah, I ate 5000 calories of saturated fat for two months, almost two months.”

Stuart Cooke: So, a typical meal for you on the boat would’ve been what?

Sami Inkinen: Yeah, so, and we packed pretty simple, not too much variety, so consequently I was practically eating the same stuff every day. So my breakfast was often salmon or tuna with craploads of olive oil and maybe some macadamia nuts.

My lunch was typically freeze-dried beef that was maybe like 70 percent fat calorically and 30 percent protein mixed with a little bit of freeze-dried vegetables and then I just mixed with water and it became like, you know, like a fresh food, and then I threw in, again, crazy amounts of olive oil into it and salt that had extra potassium and then some seasoning, maybe some olives, so it was kind of a… wasn’t very appetizing-looking necessarily, but I loved it, so that was the reason why I keep so much…

Guy Lawrence: And it was practical.

Sami Inkinen: Yeah, very practical, and we didn’t have to cook anything. We didn’t have to boil water. I didn’t boil water. I boiled water a single time just as an experiment in the first few days, but that was all. So that was kind of my lunch most days.

And then I wasn’t, because we ate very high fat, we were very fat-adapted, so we didn’t have to be eating every 45 minutes, every hour, so sometimes I’d have five, six, seven, hours between meals, but nuts were my favorite snacks. Nuts, coconut butter, and then different nut butters, so macadamia… I had plenty of macadamia nuts, almonds… so that was kind of a typical meal kind of setup.

Guy Lawrence: Were you, do you know if you were in ketosis the whole time or coming in and out? Did you have a doctor on that at all or…?

Sami Inkinen: Yeah. I did measure my ketones along the way. With hindsight, I overate a little bit protein to be in optimal ketosis, so that’s my understanding, that I ate a little bit too much protein, which flipped me out of a perfect zone, but I was definitely on ketosis. I don’t know deep I was, because I didn’t measure that frequently and my personal experience is that if you measure your ketones right after workout, I notice that my ketones actually go down right after the workout, so you give it a couple of hours after that and then they kind of come to the equilibrium of whatever they are and, you know, I was, usually when I measured it was right after my rowing, so…

Guy Lawrence: Do you still eat this way, in terms of the proportions, fat and carbs, or do you…?

Sami Inkinen: Yes.

Guy Lawrence: Every day, training or not?

Sami Inkinen: Yes.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, okay.

Sami Inkinen: The only difference is I have way more fresh food, so, and the fresh food is mainly green leafy vegetables, which weren’t available and I really missed those, so I eat a lot of those, but in terms of the macronutrient composition, I’m, let’s see, yeah, probably five percent carbohydrates, maybe ten, fifteen percent protein, and the rest is fat.

Guy Lawrence: There you go.

Stuart Cooke: Wow. And do you think that this way of eating is beneficial for everyone?

Sami Inkinen: Well, first of all, people look for shortcuts and for simple sound bites like…

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Sami Inkinen: One size does not fit all, so my recommendation when people come to me is, unless I have time to spend, like, two, three hours with someone to talk about XXtheir ???XX [0:26:21] is buy real, whole foods and cook at home. You’re probably better off not buying grains and, yeah, lots of carbohydrates, so that’s my advice to everyone, and if you buy real, whole foods and cook at home, you can’t go wrong, and if you limit carbohydrates, you’re probably better off. Beyond that, it’s kind of an individual situation and it depends on what your health standard is. If you are completely healthy now, you exercise a lot, you’re very carbohydrate-tolerant, insulin sensitive, you may be able to lead a happily healthy life with reasonable amount of stuff that might kill someone else.
So, I don’t, like, one size fits all in this kind of a one sound bite, it just, that’s for people looking for shortcuts and simple answers. There’s no simple answers other than eat real whole foods and cook at home and everything else after that you have to be quite nuanced…

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. A lot of self-experimentation.

Stuart Cooke: I’m guessing then if you retired from sports tomorrow, you would continue to eat this way.

Sami Inkinen: Oh, absolutely, yeah. The way I eat, well, first of all, I think a healthy foundation in your body is an absolutely foundation for sports performance. So, you can’t start from the performance angle first and say, “Hey, why don’t I eat something that makes me somehow, like, really good at sports.” Well, that’s somehow that makes you really good at sports is something that optimizes your general health, because then you recover best, you can train hardest, so I don’t really see those as mutually exclusive, sports performance and health.

Then race time eating or race time nutrition might be different, because you may not be able to, you know, take a plate and take a frying pan and start preparing meals if you’re in the middle of a race, so a race is a different situation but in terms of health and sports performance, it’s tough for me to make the case that they would be mutually exclusive so the answer is, “Yes.”

I want to be as healthy as possible, because that makes me the best possible athlete as well.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, because that’s a focus you don’t see a lot, but athletes do, like, you know, the health sort of becomes a far distant second and that’s all about how can I perform better and achieve more and consequently health would suffer. Like, even with yourself, the change the diet now, have you noticed differences with injuries and things and just with the body itself? Can you put more demands on it the way you’re doing it?
Sami Inkinen: Yeah. Well, this is kind of an n equals one experiment so this is just a personal. It’s anecdotal and those who want to rip apart everyone’s opinions and comments will certainly rip apart my comment, but the thing that I don’t have, which is a good thing, one is, I have much less, knock on wood, but I feel like I don’t get sick at all now. So I used to have my sore throat and sinus and this and that all the time. That’s one.

Two, I don’t have, like, sort of inflammation nagging injuries. I used to have Achilles and shoulder and this and that, lower back and this and that, all the time. I don’t have those at all.

And then anecdotally, I feel that I recover much better, so those are the things that…It appears to me that have significantly improved when I got off the super high-carbohydrate, low fat diet, and then just overall feeling is like, you know, I’m not thinking about really food much at all. I’m not obsessed about always trying to eat ten percent less than I wanted, so I can focus on life rather than, “Oh, I need to be on this athlete diet which sucks all the time.”

Guy Lawrence: I know, we now a few, I mean, you know, a good endurance athlete as well, and they get ravenous, like, you know, they’d eat a loaf of banana bread in seconds, you know, and then they come out and it’s like, “Wow. That can’t be helpful.”
Stuart Cooke: So, we’ve touched a little bit on food, I’m interested to know your thoughts on sports drinks.

Sami Inkinen: Sports drinks?

Stuart Cooke: Sports drinks, yeah. So I guess, what did you drink while you were on the row and perhaps, historically, what did you used to drink when you were training as to what you might drink now?

Sami Inkinen: Yeah. So our sports drink of choice on the boat was water which was made out of ocean water with our desalinator, so we, you know, carrying the amount of water that you need for two months when you are sweating, rowing eighteen hours a day, obviously, which people used to do, the few crazy individuals who did this before, solar panels and desalinators, the rowing boats were gigantic because they had to carry all their water through the whole thing.

Guy Lawrence: All their water. Yeah.

Sami Inkinen: So, we were drinking ocean water, which was desalinated, no sodium, and we had zero electrolyte solutions whatsoever on the boat which probably could be surprising to people. So our sports electrolyte solution of choice was table salt.

Guy Lawrence: Plain old table salt.

Sami Inkinen: Yeah. We had table salt that had, you know, added potassium, but you know, it’s a grocery store product that you buy. That was the only thing that we had. We also had a magnesium tablets, but the only reason we had that was because all the beef that, and the meat, that we ate was dehydrated and it was treated in a way that it had lower amounts of magnesium that you would otherwise find, so we had that just in case that we wouldn’t have muscle cramps, but that’s all.

And, like I said, we had no aid station, we had no sports stores, so we were absolutely confident that the real whole foods based diet, regardless of our eighteen hours of exercise a day, is completely efficient, so I guess long story short to answer your question, we were able to exercise eighteen hours a day with zero sports drinks and eighteen hours a day, I burn about the same amount of calories as running two marathons each day for 45 days non-stop.

Guy Lawrence: That’s amazing, man.

Sami Inkinen: That doesn’t make it science, but it’s not a very good headline for a sports drink marketer.

Guy Lawrence: Do you ever get people just going, “Oh, that’s rubbish, “or disbelief or…what’s the reaction being… for you achieving this in the sports fraternity especially, you know? Like, because it’s so against everything we’ve told.

Sami Inkinen: I don’t know. I don’t really care. I mean, I let others judge and form their opinions and, if somebody doesn’t believe in what we did or that might be the right way to eat or drink or hydrate yourself then that’s their choice. Yeah, but your question of what do I have now, so if I go to a four or five-hour bike ride, I just have water in my bottle, but I usually try to make sure that I have, like, lots of salt before. I might throw in some table salt into my water bottles in my bike, and then, once I finish, I have extra salt to swallow.
So you certainly need the sodium, but I’m just conscious of that if I do something that is more than two hours and it’s hot and I know that I’m going to be sweating, yeah, I kind of buffer a little bit, but I don’t run out of sodium.

Guy Lawrence: Amazing. And just one question that I really wanted to touch on while we’ve got you on the show, Sami, is just for the listeners out there regarding your training, could you share with us now even when you’re leading up to an event or something what a typical training day and a typical training week would look like? The amount of volume you would do in that?

Sami Inkinen: Yeah. Well, it obviously depends on what I’m preparing for, but looking at the last five, even ten years of my training log, it’s… overall volume is the same, the content just changes, but weekdays, I usually work out between 50 and 90 minutes per day. You know, maybe an average of an hour a day, and then the weekend, either for training or social reasons, I do a longer, usually it’s a bike ride that’s anywhere between three and five hours, more often three to four hours, so if you do the math, I mean the second day might be another one or two-hour bike ride or run or something, but you know I end up training about ten hours a week, week in, week out, and you know, I love exercising so that’s one of the reasons.

It’s my way of, like, clearing my mind, and if I’m training for an event it’s much more focused, so there’s more high-intensity and that’s sort of thing, but the hours I’d say… eight to eleven hours a week. It’s difficult to find a week that’s out of those parameters for less than eleven hours, and then you know, I might sometimes more strength-training, sometimes less, but that’s kind of the setup.

So when I say one-hour day, so it could be a recovery workout where I go and ride about a bike for 50 minutes. Super easy, so that’s almost like doing nothing for me, but it counts as a one-hour workout, so another one-hour workout might be ten times one-minute all out, warm out, cool down, so once again it’s one hour, so it’s again, it’s an hour, but you know, it really depends on what I do there, but I’m so used to exercise that I kind of end up spending the one hour every morning just to get out there and do something and, yeah, but what you do within an hour makes a huge difference.

Guy Lawrence: Oh, yeah.

Stuart Cooke: It does, it does. One question as well, Sami, that we ask everybody, and I know we’ve got thousands of people that would love to know, a typical daily diet for you. What have you eaten today?

Sami Inkinen: What have I had today? Probably the most dangerous, no question about, answer, because everyone always asks, “So what do you eat exactly?” I always try to avoid going into details, because then people either want to copy, they’ll want to rip it apart, so I’ve always tried to avoid, like, posting somewhere, like, “Here’s exactly what I eat.” Not because there’s anything scandalous or anything, but, again, people are looking for this, like…

Guy Lawrence: Magic fix?

Sami Inkinen: …sound bite, like one size fits all, but typically I eat, before workout, I probably have, like four or five hundred calories of fat and, practically speaking, that’s usually coconut butter or coconut oil in a tea or coffee or butter so that was the case this morning as well, so, I mean, I don’t count the calories, but just to give you a sense of, like…

Guy Lawrence: Guestimate, yeah.

Sami Inkinen: You know, a crapload of fat with a drink, and you know it’s pretty fast to digest and it doesn’t feel like it’s in your stomach if you go and work out, so that’s… Then right after workout, I usually have a little bit of a protein, so this could be three to five eggs, fried with top fat again, butter usually, in a pan, depending how busy I am. My lunch is usually a salad, so it looks like it’s lots of salad, but it’s lots of greens and then with a little bit of protein, so that could be a salmon or ground beef and then a lot of olive oil or butter or some sort of mayo.

Snacks oftentimes it’s some sort of meat or sausage or almonds or macadamia nuts and then dinner is even a, you know, a bowl that you would usually feed a horse from. That kind of size full of greens that I may sauté in a pan with a bunch of butter or just like put in, like, it’s gigantic and then again with some kind of protein. It could be shrimps or fish or grass with beef or more butter. I usually drink water, but I might have almond milk, just for the heck of it, maybe some frozen berries after that, like blueberries or something like that. Nothing too scientific.

Stuart Cooke: Sounds delicious.

Guy Lawrence: That’s awesome. Mate, we’ve got one more question that we always ask everyone on the podcast as well and it can be related to anything, but what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Sami Inkinen: That someone has given to me?

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Sami Inkinen: Oh… happy wife, happy life. It sounds like a cliché, but once you’ve been married for a few years you realize that it’s so true.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: That’s a great answer.

Stuart Cooke: I hear where you’re coming from, Sami, with that one.

Guy Lawrence: Just to wrap it up, what does the future hold for Sami Inkinen? Any more challenges ahead or anything in the pipeline?

Sami Inkinen: Well I’m working very hard on my MacBook Air, just kind of on the technology side of things, but athletically I’m doing the eight-day mountain biking stage race in South Africa in March called Cape Epic, so it’s, you know, five to seven hours on the bike each day for eight days. So that’s coming up in less than two months, so two months’ time. Excited about that, so that’s my athletic in the horizon, so I’d better get myself on the bike.

Stuart Cooke: My word, I’ve been a mountain biker all my life, I would shudder at the thought of undertaking something like that, so I would… We’ll keep an eye on that one, for sure.

Guy Lawrence: Definitely! And for them listening to this, Sami, if they want to, you know, track your progress or follow you, do you have a website or a blog they can check out at all or a URL?

Sami Inkinen: Yeah, well maybe a couple of things, the row, if you’re interested in learning more about the row, we have a website called Fat Chance Row, fatchancerow.org, so you can go there and read a little bit about the background and we raised money for a non-profit and we are still doing that, so if you want to support, none of the money comes to us, it goes directly to the non-profit. So that’s one, and then, if you want to follow me on Twitter, one way to follow what I might be up to, is just my first name, last name on Twitter, so S, A, M, I, I,N, K, I, N, E, N, Sami Inkinen on Twitter, and you know I sometimes blog on my website, but it’s not too frequent so…

Guy Lawrence: No worries. We’ll put the appropriate links to that on the show anyway and help spread the word. Thanks, Sami, thanks so much for coming on the show. That was awesome and I have no doubt everyone is going to get a lot out of that today.

Stuart Cooke: I think so, very, very inspiring. Really appreciate the time, Sami.

Sami Inkinen: Yeah. My pleasure, so thanks so much, guys.

Guy Lawrence: Thanks, Sami.

Stuart Cooke: No problem.

Guy Lawrence: Appreciate it. Cheers.

Stuart Cooke: Cheers.

Why I Felt Like Crap When Starting the Paleo Diet with Chef Pete Evans

The above video is 2 minutes 36 seconds long.

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

chef pete evansThis 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


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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
  • And much much more…

CLICK HERE for all Episodes of 180TV

Get More of Chef Pete Evans & The Paleo Way Here:

Full Pete Evans Transcript

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.

Pete Evans: We did it finally.

Stuart Cook: We got it through.

Pete Evans: Thanks guys.

Guy Lawrence: Good on you, Pete. Thanks mate.

Pete Evans: See ya.

Stuart Cook: Bye.

View all our podcast guests here

My Formula For a Long & Happy Life – With Paleo & Primal Expert Mark Sisson

The above video is 3:53 minutes long.

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


mark sissonThis week we have the fantastic paleo and primal expert Mark Sisson. He is a best selling author and runs the hugely successful blog ‘Mark’s Daily Apple’.

His experience and knowledge is exceptional, as he shares with us (in the above short video) how he defines what it takes to live a happy, healthy and active life whilst getting the most out of each day.

In the full interview below we dig deep into the world of Mark Sisson; from endurance athlete to the primal lifestyle, his exercise routines, his simple philosophies he applies to make the most out of each day and much more. And most of all how you can apply them into your life.

If you are loving the podcast’s or/& they are inspiring your health journey, we’d love to hear from you! Simply drop us an email or leave a review on our iTunes :)

Full Interview with paleo expert Mark Sisson


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In this episode we talk about:

  • Mark’s journey from an elite carb-loading athlete to living the paleo way
  • What exactly the primal blueprint is
  • How to define what it takes to achieve amazing health
  • Why exercise for weight loss is not a great weight loss strategy
  • What a typical week of exercise looks like for Mark Sisson
  • What Mark eats in a day
  • And much much more…

CLICK HERE for all Episodes of the 180 Podcast

Get More of Mark Sisson Here:

Mark Sisson Transcript

Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence from 180 Nutrition, and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. Our fantastic guest today is paleo and primal legend Mark Sisson, a former marathon runner and triathlete in his early days, came on to make his mission to empower 10 million people in the primal lifestyle, pretty much worldwide.

He started his blog in 2006 and he’s now going on, I think, reaching over 150,000 people come to his website a day. Yes.

And he’s also the author of a very best-selling book, The Primal Blueprint.

Now, I’ve been following Mark for awhile, many years, including on my own health journey, and it was fantastic get him on the podcast today. He’s an all-around top guy, very humble, very down-to-earth, and a lot of fun, too. And it was just great to be able to pick his brain on so much. For, you know, I think 45 minutes for the show.

It’s all well and good to have knowledge, but, you know, experience is priceless, I think, and Mark’s certainly got a lot of that. You know, as he said on the show, he’s 61 years old, you know, he looks half his age, he’ll put most people half his age to shame, you know. Just in fantastic condition and a fantastic representative of what good healthy living is. But also not taking it all too seriously, to a degree, and having fun along the way.

Anyway, this was a stellar podcast and I have no doubt you will get a lot out of it today. As always, you know, if you’re enjoying our shows on iTunes, please leave us a review. Hit the five stars. Subscribe. They all add up and they all make a difference in helping us get the word out there with these podcasts that we do, because we know we’re reaching a lot of your guys now.

Also, we are on social media: Facebook, Instagram. Get involved. It’s all under 180Nutrition. And, of course, come back to our website. If you’ve got no idea where to start, these podcasts are a great place, but also we’ve got a free ebook we give away and that’s a great place to start, too. And that’s on 180Nutrition.com.au.

And, yeah, enjoy the show. If you’re enjoying it, also drop us an email. It’s great to hear from you. And we get a lot of emails coming in every week now, and keep them coming because we love to hear from you.

Anyway, enough of me rambling. Let’s get on to the show and over to Mark Sisson. Enjoy.

OK, hi, I’m Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke, as always. Hey, Stu.

Stuart Cooke: Hello, mate.

Guy Lawrence: And our fantastic guest today is Mark Sisson. Mark, welcome to the show. Thanks for coming on.

Mark Sisson: Thanks for having me! It’s great to be here.

Guy Lawrence: It’s great. Over here in Australia at the moment there’s a bit of a buzz going on because you’re coming over next month. Is this the first time you’ve been to Australia, or have you been here before?

Mark Sisson: No, I’ve been there. I’ve been to Sydney a couple of times. I’ve been to Perth twice. So, I feel like I’ve been on both ends of the continent. Now I need to do something in the center at some point.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, it’s excellent. And Manly, it’s a beautiful place, and I’m sure we will talk a bit more about that through the show as well. But where I was interested to kick off, Mark, is that you’ve affected so many people’s lives through their own health journey over the years, including mine as well, and myself and Stu were chatting and we are intrigued to hear a little bit more about your journey. You know, from back to your endurance athlete days to the transition to primal and everything. How did it all sort of happen and come about?

Mark Sisson: Well, it was a long process. And it was an evolution, for sure. I started out as an endurance athlete and was a fairly decent marathon runner in the ’70s and then became a triathlete in the early part of the ’80s, doing Ironman events and such.

And I wanted to do all the right things. I researched heavily into what it would take to be as fast as I could get, and to be as healthy as I could stay, and how best to fuel my body, and, you know, the conventional wisdom of the day was: train hard and long and eat lots of carbohydrates. Cross your fingers and hope that you get faster and win some races.

And I did get faster and I did win some races, but my health suffered tremendously, and over the years; I had to retire quite early from competition because of injuries because of inflammation and –itises and some other; some lingering sinus infections and a whole host of maladies. And I thought, “This isn’t right. I’m trying to be healthy and I’m trying to do the right things. I work hard. I’m following all the best advice. Why am I not healthy?”

And I just sort of dedicated the rest of my life to looking at ways that I could be as strong, fit, lean, happy, healthy as possible with the least amount of pain, suffering, sacrifice, discipline, calorie counting, and portion control.

And that really led me to discovering that fats were not the enemy. I increased the amount of fat in my diet. I discovered that I could get fit on much less training if I just trained smarter and not harder. I discovered eventually that if I gave up grains, my inflammation went away. And so the osteoarthritis that had pretty much taken me out of the elite marathon division; that went away.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, I had in my gut that had really run my life for almost forty years, that went away. And it was really quite a revelation that, wow, by just changing a few things in the diet and by altering how much exercise I did and maybe getting a little bit more sun exposure to make some more vitamin D, I didn’t get sick as often, and all these things started to come into place, and it really created the template for what I now call the Primal Blueprint, which is my strategy for living an awesome life.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fantastic. Stu?

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, before we get into the Primal Blueprint, I’m interesting in asking how does Mark Sisson define good health? Because I think we’re all in different stages on our health journey. And some people have just succumbed to the idea, “Well, I’m getting older, I’m not gonna be as fit and as strong, I’m gonna get more sick.” What’s good health mean to you?

Mark Sisson: Well, I think out of the blocks, the most important part of life is to be content, to be fulfilled, to be happy, to wake up every morning with a sense of purpose and excitement for what the day’s going to bring.

And in order to get to that point, I think you have to be in a position where you’re not in chronic pain, where you have enough energy that gets you through the day while you’re not moody or depressed. So all of the sort of things that comprise what I would call health in general go far beyond not being sick. They actually would comprise, again, like: How do I live an awesome life? How can I take what I have, whether it’s given to me by my familial genes or whether I’ve brought it on myself through inappropriate lifestyle choices over the past few decades, how can I today extract the most possible out of my life that gives me peace and contentment and enjoyment and fulfillment.

And, you know, it always comes back to: It starts with taking care of what you eat. How you eat is sort of how it manifests in your body composition. So, if you’re overweight you’re not gonna enjoy life as much as if you’ve arrived in an ideal body composition. If you’re in pain from inflammation and you can correct that through how you eat, then you won’t spend much of your waking day, you know, lost in that tunnel vision that has you focused on the pain and not all the wonderful things in life that are happening around you. Does that make sense?

Stuart Cooke: That makes perfect sense. Absolutely. I think that everybody is entitled to experience good health, and we’ve got so many mixed messages at the moment and we’re confused about so many areas, whether it be food or lifestyle choices, that I think we just…

Mark Sisson: Yeah. People want to do the right thing. They’re just confused and frustrated because over the years what they’ve been told was the right thing, in many cases by their governmental agencies or by their physicians’ boards or whatever, you know, haven’t necessarily reflected the truth.

And I’ve sort of made it my mission to identify some of these choices that people can make that are more likely to create a positive outcome if they engage in these activities. So, it may be something as simple as: “Well, I was told my whole life to avoid fat and to base my diet on complex carbohydrates.” Well, if that’s working for you, there’s a good reason, because now there’s a lot of research that suggests fat is not the enemy, that healthy fats are actually beneficial and good, and that you might be better-served by cutting out some of the sources or carbohydrate in your diet, because maybe that’s what’s causing you to gain weight or to become inflammation or to have; or to become inflamed, or to have pain throughout your body or skin issues or whatever.

And as we know, there’s; I sort of represent, I guess, the epitome of a healthy 61-year-old guy. You know, I’ve got my little issues that I’m always trying to deal with. Everybody’s issue is like really important to them, right?

Stuart Cooke: Exactly right.

Mark Sisson: So, yeah. So, we’ve all got our little Achilles issues, you know.

Stuart Cooke: I love that. And I’m always of the opinion that if you want something to change then, you have to change something. Otherwise, you’re probably going to experience the same result moving forward.

Mark Sisson: And that’s the beauty of what we do in the paleo and primal movement is we overlay a template which suggests that there are some obvious changes that you can make to your lifestyle and to your diet. But at some point, it’s incumbent upon you to learn enough about your own particular set of circumstances that you can start to experiment with, and we call it “tinkering at the margin.”

Am I somebody who can handle maybe a little bit more carbohydrate than the other person? Am I somebody who can’t exercise too much or I’ll tear up my muscle tissue? I am somebody who needs nine hours of sleep instead of seven and a half. And the are all sort of the; these are the fine-tuning points that I think are really critical for people to, when you’re being mindful about your life and mindful about your health, then they start to pay attention: “What happens if I stay up too late and don’t get enough sleep?” “What happens if I overeat?” “What happens if I exercise too hard or I’m training for a marathon and I overdid it?”

And just being aware is like key point number one. And then, like you see, then, from there, you can make the changes in order to derive the change that you’re thinking.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, absolutely. And we call that, or we refer to that as the “sweet spot.” Everybody’s got to find their sweet spot; find out what works for them. And, yeah, and turn the dial. If it doesn’t quite work, then experiment with the N equals 1, see what works for you, keep going, keep going. And when you find your sweet spot, then you’ve kind of got a blueprint for the rest of your life. Or at least for then.

Mark Sisson: And that’s another part of this that I think is really so awesome is that so many people who encounter a paleo friend who’s had some results or somebody who’s gone primal and has lost weight or gotten off the meds and they start to see what is possible, they quickly realize that this is a sustainable lifestyle. That this isn’t just something you do for 30 days because you have to grind it out and you have to sacrifice and struggle to get it done. This is so easy when you incorporate some of these simple changes in your life. You get pretty quickly: Wow! I can do this for the rest of my life.

And that’s so freeing and so empowering to have that sense.

Stuart Cooke: That’s right. Absolutely. Working towards long-lasting health as opposed to a 30-day quick fix diet which is, again, gonna yo-yo you up and down on your health and weight.

Guy Lawrence: And like you said, as well, I think it all comes back down to initial awareness, because so many people are unconsciously doing the wrong things and they’re not even aware that it’s affecting them so greatly.

And just even being able to put that on their map. You know, we spoke to a couple of friends yesterday, Mark, and said you were coming on the show today and they were trying to understand, I guess, if you were to do an elevator pitch to what the primal philosophies were, because they said, “Well, what does it mean to be primal?”

How would you sum that up to anyone listening to this?

Mark Sisson: You know, I sum it up differently every time, because it always, depending on the context, what I do with the Primal Blueprint is I allow people to affect their own health by decisions they make in their lives.

And by that I mean, at a deeper level, we each have this genetic recipe within us; this DNA recipe that wants us to be strong and lean and fit and happy and healthy. We were born with this recipe that builds that type of a body.

But a recipe, these genes, depend on inputs, from food, from exercise, from sleep, from all these things that turn the genes on or off. You want to turn on the genes that build muscle or do you want to turn on the genes that store fat? It’s all within your power. You can choose the inputs that flip those switches.

So, the Primal Blueprint is really about uncovering these hidden genetic switches that we all have in a way that manifests the body and the feeling and the presence that we all want to have in life; that we all sort of not just dreamed of but sort of subconsciously know is our birthright. And so the Primal Blueprint really is about it’s an empowering lifestyle that allows you to access the best possible health with the least amount of sacrifice and discipline.

Guy Lawrence: That’s a good point as well. The least amount of sacrifice.

Stuart Cooke: Who would not want that? Absolutely.

Mark Sisson: That must have been a long elevator ride, right? That was probably 40 floors.

Stuart Cooke: You’re on the top floor right now.

So, we’re very excited, then, that you’re bringing those philosophies and we’ve got a heap of other speakers as well coming over to the Primal Symposium very shortly in Manly. For everyone out there that isn’t too sure about what this is all about, what can we expect over the course of the weekend?

Mark Sisson: Yeah, so, the Thr1ve.me event is, it’s about three days of fun, and three days of getting back to understanding what enjoying life is really about, from all aspects. So, we are gonna talk about how to dial in the diet. And everyone who shows up, I suspect will have some experience, or not, with paleo eating or with the Primal Blueprint or that way, or low-carb.

We’re gonna tweak it. We’re gonna help you dial it in. We’re gonna talk about some of the strategies that you can use in your own experiment. We’re going to have some of the best speakers in the world, and presenters, with regard to body movement. So, we’ve got people who are gonna show you how to do Olympic lifts, if that’s something you want to do, in soft of a CrossFit genre.

On the other hand, we have people who are experts in body weight exercises. So, if all you ever want to do is go out in your back yard and do squats and lunges and dips and do it in a way that’s going to generate 80 percent of all that’s possible for you physically, we’ll have people there doing that.

We have the world’s preeminent expert on play, Darryl Edwards. Darryl’s been at eight of my events.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, we know Darryl.

Mark Sisson: Yeah. And Darryl is; he’s crazy in the funnest way possible. He basically embodies what it means to go through life with a sense of play in everything you do. And it doesn’t just mean, you know, dancing around and jumping around and acting crazy or playing games. It’s how to get that playful mindset in your work experience. Or, you know, family setting, where maybe there’s a little bit more play that would be required. Or, not required but be very helpful in bringing everybody together.

We have cooking demonstrations. So, people who are really interested in how to prepare the best possible paleo or primal meals will learn how to cook. It’s really all aspects of a primal lifestyle that we’re going to cover so that when you leave, at the end of the weekend, you’ll go: “Wow. No I really; I’m excited about what I can do with my own life to get to the next level.” Whatever that is. You may be just starting. You could get to the next level. You may already be well advanced in your paleo and primal living. But there’s always the next rung. There’s always something that’s the next level of excitement and anticipation, and that’s really what I want for everybody who attends.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, Absolutely. It’s going to be fantastic. I mean, we will be there; we’re looking forward to it.

Stuart Cooke: Oh, I can’t wait to get there after that description. I’m going now. Fantastic.

Guy Lawrence: So, like, with Josh from Thr1ve, he’s doing awesome things over there, especially creating awareness as well through his cafeterias and the food and everything he presents. And how did you guys connect… This is a two-fold question: How did you guys connect, and, secondly, are you seeing the same things in America with that change as well?

Mark Sisson: Well, how we connected was, he came to one of my events. So, I had an event in Tulum, Mexico a year and half ago, and it was very much like the Thr1ve event will be in Manly. He brought some of his company’s employees; it was to not just understand a little bit more about this primal lifestyle but it was probably a team-building exercise as well.

They had the best time. They had such a good time he came to me and said: How can I; I want to do something like this in Manly.” So, he had such a good time at our event he said I want to do this in Australia.

So, that’s how we met.

Now, when you ask, is there something like this in the U.S., what do you mean?

Guy Lawrence: In terms of awareness and accessibility to foods with the cafes and the change coming.

Mark Sisson: Yeah, so, I’m finding that Australia is ahead of the curve on a per capita basis, by far, than the U.S. I mean, I would say that Australia on a per capita basis probably has more awareness of the paleo ancestral lifestyle than any other country that I’ve encountered.

That’s very excited. So, you have a number of restaurants that are opening that are offering up this type of fare that isn’t just food that fits the primal or paleo parameters, but it tastes great, so anybody can eat there. You know? That’s the irony here is that you walk into these restaurants and go… I don’t want to walk into a restaurant just because it’s a health food place, you know. I want good food. I mean, I make a point of saying every bite of food I put in my mouth, I want to enjoy.

So, if you tell me it’s healthy but it doesn’t taste very good, I don’t want it. I’ve got no reason to eat it. This is about extracting all of the joy out of life that you can, and part of that for me means I want to enjoy every bite of food that I eat. And when I’ve had enough, I want to be willing to push it away and say, “You know what? That was awesome. I don’t need another bite. I don’t need to fill myself up. There will be more food around the corner.”

That’s sort of what some of your restaurants in Australia are starting to do. We’re starting to do it in the U.S. as well. And I’m actually launching a restaurant franchise concept in about six months in the U.S. as well.

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.

Mark Sisson: Yeah. Having said that, you know, we’re looking to expand the paleo world in the U.S. and it’s; we’re doing a good job but I do think we need to do a better job. I think, you know, we’ve got such great science behind what we’re doing. And the people who are in are all in.

So, we’ve got a culture thing where, you know, giving up the cinnamon buns and giving up the pizza, all that stuff, is kind of a tough ask for a lot of people.

Guy Lawrence: That’s fantastic. We are blessed here, especially in Sydney, you know. I can think of a couple of handfuls of places constantly where I can go and eat paleo very accessible.

Stuart Cooke: Just thinking out loud as well, you mentioned that your restaurant chain, I was thinking for your logo it could be a great big curvature kind of M, you know, golden kind of shape. I could work.

Guy Lawrence: For “Mark,” yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Change the color.

Mark Sisson: It could work.

I don’t have the legal budget to do that.

Stuart Cooke: OK. Just a thought.

I’d love to just get a little bit more specific now around health. I’ve got a few questions that I know everybody would be keen to hear your answer from.

If I wanted to make some simple changes right now, like today, that could have dramatic effect on my health, coming from, let’s say I’m following a standard Australian or American diet, what do you think I could do right now?

Mark Sisson: Well, the first thing you can do, and I think everybody knows this intuitively, is get rid of the sugar in your diet. So, that means getting rid of all of the sugary drinks. You know: the sodas, the soft drinks, the sweetened teas, even the juices, because a lot of those contain a tremendous amount of sugar. Certainly the desserts: the pies, the cakes, the cookies, biscuits, all of the really; it’s really obvious stuff to a lot of people. They know what to omit.

So, that’s the first thing. And a lot can be accomplished with that. I mean, you can really be well on your way to whatever weight loss program that you’re embarking on, regardless of whether it’s paleo or primal or vegetarian or vegan. If you got rid of the sugary stuff, you’d be way ahead of the game.

The next thing would be to get rid of the industrial seed oils. So, you get rid of processed foods that contain soybean oil, corn oil, canola. You know, things like that that are very; they are very highly inflammatory so a lot of people are probably carrying around a lot of extra weight in the form of water that they’ve retained because their entire body is inflamed as a result of their diet.
That’s point number two. And then following that I’d get rid of the processed carbohydrates. So, a lot of the grain-based flours, particularly gluten. I mean, I just think; I’m of the opinion that gluten benefits no one. There are some people who can maybe get away with a little wheat once in awhile. But it doesn’t mean it’s good for them. It just means it’s not killing them immediately.

And then there are a lot of people on the spectrum who are egregiously harmed by wheat and by other forms of grain. And I was one.

And you mentioned earlier, people are sometimes insensitive to what it is that’s causing problems with them, and they don’t get that the sodas that they’re drinking are causing inflammation, or actually helping to lead them into a Type 2 diabetic situation.

I was of the opinion for the longest time that whole grains were healthy, and I, even as I got into my research, started evolving my own diet, I kept grains in for a long time. I was doing research on how phytate bind with minerals and prevent the intake of minerals and how lectins have problems with the lining of the gut and how gluten was bad for people with celiac.

But, you know, I did all this research and yet I was continuing to eat grains in my diet. And my wife one day said, why don’t you just do a 30-day experiment and give up the grains? And that’s what changed my life. That’s really; that’s when the arthritis went away, that’s when the irritable bowel syndrome disappeared, that’s when the upper respiratory tract infections went away. That’s when so many of these minor issues that I thought; and, Stuart, you mentioned earlier that, you know, well, we assume that because we’re getting older, these must be normal and natural. Well, I assumed that, you know, I was already in my mid- to late-40s. I said, “Well, that’s probably a normal part of getting old.” And I assume that I was going to have to live with that. And all that stuff kind of disappeared when I gave up the grains. And I thought, wow, if I’m defending my right to eat grains so aggressively, in the face of what I know, imagine how many people out there are assuming that grains are benign and harmless and aren’t affecting them who might be tremendously benefitted by giving up grains.

So, sort of, what I say to everybody is, look, if that’s still a part of your diet and you still have some issues, why would you not want to do a 30-day experiment? Just cut out the grains for 30 days, there’s plenty of other foods you can eat. I mean, I don’t lack for choices on my list of foods to eat. But cut out the grains and notice what happens. Notice if your arthritis clears up or your pains go away or you lose some weight more effortlessly. Or your skin clears up.

There are a lot of things that are potentially being affected by this high-grain diet that so many people have.

Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. Sugar. Processed vegetable oils. And, again, those processed carbohydrates as well.

Like you said, try it. See how you feel after 30 days. Do a self-experiment.

Mark Sisson: Yeah. People say, “Well, what can I eat?” And I go, well, you can eat beef, pork, lamb, chicken. You know: duck, goose, turkey. You can eat ostrich. You can eat croc. You can eat… And then you can eat all the vegetables, all the fruit, nuts, lots of healthy fats, butter. You know: bacon. It’s a pretty inviting way to eat food.

Stuart Cooke: You could always try and eat real food.

The thing I like about that is that when you do start to eliminate a lot of the processed foods, you almost reconnect yourself to the kitchen and to the ritual of cooking, and I think that is something that we are slowly losing through generations as we are kind of subject to so many of these convenience foods.

Mark Sisson: Yeah. I mean, it’s; we have a section on my website, on Mark’s Daily Apple, on every Saturday is a recipe. I have published three of my own cookbooks and three other cookbooks by other authors because these are so; these cookbooks are so popular. And figuring out how we can find ways to prepare real food in ways that are tasty and exciting, you know, it’s fun. I mean, it really is. It actually reconnects people with the kitchen.

Guy Lawrence: You know, you hear more and more of these stories as well, because you triggered them up when you were still training and reluctant to get off the grains. We had Sami Inkinen, the triathlete who rowed from San Fran to Hawaii, on our podcast last week.

Mark Sisson: Yeah, rowed meaning r-o-w-e-d. Not r-o-d-e, but yeah.

Guy: Yeah, that’s right. Sorry, it’s my Welsh accent, eh?

But, you know, he was saying he was close to becoming a Type 2 diabetic and he thought he was in the prime of his life. And the moment he cut out the grains and the sugars and increased his fats and trained his body that way, amazing.

Mark Sisson: Oh, and Sami’s; he’s just an incredible all-around guy. I’ve known him for a bunch of years. We’ve become good friends. And I watched him train for this event that he did with his wife, rowing from San Francisco to Hawaii.

But in the process he thought, oh, I haven’t done a triathlon for awhile, I’ll jump in the Wildflower Triathlon, which is a half Ironman distance, just as part of my training. And he won it outright. And he won it on a low-carb, high-fat, almost ketogenic training strategy.

And he’s a great example of somebody who’s taken the information, because he comes from a sort of a techie background as well, he’s very into the details and very into the minutia. And so he’s embraced this way of living and now, not just for himself and his wife, but for other people. He’s got basically a foundation that’s trying to help fight Type 2 diabetes.

And we’re all trying to kind of just allow the rest of the world to see what; how easy this is and let them in on our secret. Because it really is. It feels sometimes like it is a secret, like: “How come you guys don’t know this? We’re having so much fun here! We’re enjoying life so much doing this, and all you miserable guys out there just slogging along.” And I feel bad. I’m very empathetic. But that’s kind of how I feel sometimes. Like, we have this great secret. How come more people aren’t receptive?

Guy Lawrence: That’s so true. Yeah. Because when we question ourselves, “Are we in this bubble? Do not people…”

Stuart Cooke: We liken it; we’ve raised this before, but we liken it to the film The Matrix where Neo takes this pill and all of a sudden he’s in this completely different world and he realizes that everybody else are cooped up in this little bubble, and that’s not the real world at all. It’s insane.

But, yeah, spreading the word, it’s so important. And especially loving what Sami had done from his podcast and the amount of fat that he was consuming and being so amazingly healthy and coming out of that row with such a low level of inflammation as well, it really does kind of give an upper cut to this low-fat dogma that we’ve been plagued with for so many years.

Guy Lawrence: Well, while we’re on that kind of topic, then, which kind of leads into the next question, Stu, I’m gonna pinch it. But regarding exercise for weight loss. I’d love to hear your thoughts on that, Mark, from your point of view. Because obviously it’s one…

Mark Sisson: Sure. So, the major sort of overriding principle, if there is one, of the Primal Blueprint, is that humans are born to be really good at burning fat. We evolved in two and half million years of human evolution to be able to go long periods of time without eating, because that was just sort of what the environment offered up to us was sometimes nothing. So, this ability to store fat effectively, and then to be able to access and burn it as fuel effective, when there was no other food around.

This is a skill that we all have in our DNA. It’s hard-wired in our DNA. We are born with this ability to be good at burning fat. But very quickly in our lives, we sort of override that with access to cheap carbohydrates at every single meal. So, the body goes, “Well, I don’t need to store fat or I don’t need to burn fat if I’ve got this carbohydrate; this ongoing carbohydrate blood sugar drip coming in from every couple of hours all day long from food.”

So, the body starts to take the excess calories, store those as fat, finds out that it never really has to burn the fat because there’s always gonna be new sources of carbohydrate coming in. Glucose is toxic in large quantities, so the body is trying to get rid of the glucose by burning it. And if it can’t burn it, then it will store it as fat. Fat is a site where a lot of glucose winds up in a lot of people.

So, where was I going with that? What was the question again?

Guy Lawrence: Weight loss and exercise.

Stuart Cooke: Exercise purely for weight loss.

Mark Sisson: Yeah. So, the basic principle then, to be able to burn stored body fat, leads to the first paradigm, which is that you don’t even need to exercise to burn off your stored body fat. Because if you are able to be good at accessing this stored body fat, then your body’s gonna take whatever calories it needs to get from 9 o’clock in the morning until 1 o’clock in the afternoon, it’ll take it from your belly or your thighs or your hips. And it doesn’t require that it come from a plate of food.

And that’s a beautiful skill to develop: this ability to be able to burn off stored body fat 24 hours a day.

Now, if you get into that space and then you’ll trend toward your ideal body composition. You’ll always trend toward burning off the extra unused, unwanted body fat and coming down to that body that you need.

So, that, almost in and of itself, obviates the need to have to go out and burn 800 calories on the treadmill every single day. And what it means is that exercise is actually not a very good way to lose weight. It’s actually a terrible way to lose weight, when you think about it, because a lot of times when people are doing a lot of work on the treadmill and they’re burning; or, on the road, or riding a bike, or on the elliptical, or whatever it is they’re doing, and they’re counting calories, if they haven’t become good at burning fat yet, all they’re doing is burning sugar. They’re burning stored glycogen in their muscles.

Now, what happens as a result of that is they get home from the workout and the brain goes, “Wait. We just ran out of glycogen. The first thing we have to do is refill all of glycogen storage. Especially if this fool’s gonna try it again tomorrow.”

So, the body gets into this terrible spiral where you work hard, you sweat a lot, you burn a lot of calories, but your appetite goes up because you haven’t become good at burning fat. And so you overeat. You tend to slightly overcompensate and for a lot of people that means that, you know, you’re four or five years into an exercise program and you still have the same 25 pounds to lose.

It’s very depressing to watch people, and it’s very common, very depressing, to watch people at the gym every day. And you know they’re working hard and they’re trying to do the work. But they haven’t got; they haven’t handled the first order of business, which is to convert your fuel partitioning away from being sugar-dependent into becoming what we call a “fat-burning beast.” Become good at burning fat, 24 hours a day.

So, you’re burning fat. So, if you skip a meal, no problem, nothing happens to your blood sugar, your energy levels stay even, your body just derives that energy from the fat stored in your body. And it doesn’t mean you get hungry. All these wonderful things start to happen as you become good at burning fat. You become less dependent on blood sugar to run the brain. Because when you become fat-adapted, you become keto-adapted, and the brain runs really well on ketones. And ketones are a natural byproduct of burning fat.

So, all of these wonderful things happen: the appetite self-regulates. Now you don’t get ravenous and overeat at a meal because you were so hungry you didn’t know when to stop. Now your appetite says, “You know what? This is great. This is just enough food. I’ll push the plate away. I’m done. I’ll save it for later.”

And that’s; so, it all come back to this sort of primary skill in the Primal Blueprint which is being good at burning fat.

Guy Lawrence: Do you know what? I adopted that way of life, Mark, about nine years ago and prior to that I wasn’t even aware of how much the food was affecting my mood, my day, the way, when I exercised, my recovery. Everything. And it transformed my life. And people really need to get that, you know. It’s huge.

And we raise the question as well, not to deter anyone from exercise, because I exercise every day; I love it. But it makes me feel great and I do it for many other reasons. But weight loss is not; doesn’t enter my brain at all.

Mark Sisson: Yeah, so, good point. So, you know, I have an exercise plan, and I say you should find ways to move around a lot at a low level of activity. But the movement is more for your muscles, your pliability of the muscles, for your insulin sensitivity, which is coming as a result of moving the muscles. And you don’t need to count calories. Because, again, we’re not looking at exercise as a means of sweating off fat or burning away fat. We’re looking at exercise as a way of maintaining strength and flexibility and conditioning and so if you could find ways to move around, walking becomes one of the best exercises you can do. If you can get to the gym twice a week and do a high-intensity, full-body routine where you are working your arms and upper back and core and your legs. Twice a week is all you need, because once you’ve become good at accessing stored body fat and you realize you don’t need to burn off calories, then you realize also that you don’t need to do that much work to stay strong and flexible and well-balanced and all of the things that we’re looking for.
So, I’m a big fan of exercise and I do love to exercise, still, but I also try to find ways to play. So, for me, like, my biggest exercise day is Sundays when I play Ultimate Frisbee with my buddies; my mates down the road. We; there’s two hours of sprinting. And it’s the hardest workout I do all week. But at no point during the game do I look at my watch and go, “Oh, my God, when’s it gonna be over?” If I ever look at my watch it’s like, “Oh, crap, we only have 20 minutes left.” You know? It’s so much fun.

That’s how I see exercise and play coming together in a way that, yeah.

Guy Lawrence: What would your weekly exercise routine look like on a typical week if you’re at home?

Mark Sisson: So, Sundays, two hours of Ultimate. Mondays I might do an easy stationary bike ride, just mostly because the sprinting on the Ultimate is tough on my 61-year-old joints. So I’ll do maybe an easy bike ride then.

Tuesdays I might do a full-body routine. So, it’s gonna be pushups, pull-ups, dips, squats, lunges, things like that. So, I might do that Tuesday and Friday or Tuesday and Saturday.

Wednesday I might go for a paddle. I do a stand-up paddle for an hour and a half. And that’s a nice, fun aerobic activity that builds tremendous core and, same thing, the whole time I’m doing it, I’m usually with a friend or two, and we’re chatting away and we’re aiming for a point three or four miles out, but we’re still having fun and chasing dolphins and doing all this stuff and never thinking, “When’s it gonna be over?” You just think, “Wow! This is so cool. We’re out in the ocean, it’s the middle of the day, we’re getting vitamin D, we’re hanging out with the dolphins or the whales, it’s spectacular. And it’s, oh, by the way, it’s a killer workout.

It just leaves; I’ve got abs at my age that I wished I’d had when I was in my teens, because the paddling is such a good core exercise.

Guy Lawrence: I love being in the ocean as well. We live by the ocean ourselves here in Sydney and it’s just magical.

Mark Sisson: Yeah. Yeah.

And then I might do a hike one day. I might get on the bike and do intervals. Or, I have… Do you know what a VersaClimber is?

Stuart Cooke: No.

Mark Sisson: A VersaClimber is a rail with handles; it’s got handles, you know, feet and arm holds you can climb. So I might do an intense interval workout on that. I’ve got one in my garage. And I can be on that thing warmed up, do an amazing interval workout to where I am, as you would say, truly knackered, and then cool down and be off in 22 minutes, because it’s just so effective a piece of equipment.

So, you know, I don’t… The old days of going out for a five-hour bike ride and all that stuff and just struggling, those don’t appeal to me anymore. So, the most I’ll do is maybe an hour and a half paddle, or something like that, or an hour and a half hike. Otherwise, it’s short, it’s sweet, and sometimes intense.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fantastic. Awesome.

Stuart Cooke: Well, you’ve just made me feel very lazy. I’m going to have to do something.

So what about vices? Do you have any vices? You know, that you’ll sneak a piece of pie here and there?

Mark Sisson: Well, you know, I don’t completely shun desserts. My thing on desserts is: All I need is a bite or two to get a sense of what it is. So, the idea of having giant piece of cheesecake or, we were at a, my daughter had a birthday the other night, we were in a restaurant, and they brought out some baklava. And I had to have a bite of that, even though it contained sugar and a little bit of wheat. But, you know, one bite was all I needed and it was like, OK, this is spectacular. But the alternative to that would have been to spend just three more minutes devouring the entire thing and then being left with and achy gut, a racing heart, sweating, and I probably wouldn’t be able to sleep.

And so it’s really knowing what you can get away with. I mean, that’s sort of the; I hate to put it in those terms but some people can get away with a lot. There are some people who are allergic to peanuts, can’t get away with one tiny piece of peanut. So, you know, there’s… And with regard to the desserts, I just; I don’t like feeling of excess sugar in my system. I clean myself out so much that it just doesn’t feel good. And it’s certainly not worth the three minutes of gustatory pleasure sorting it out over the next five hours.

You know, I used to drink two glasses of wine a night for a long time. And I’m on record with the primal movement as saying, “You know, wine’s not bad.” Of the alcoholic choices, wine is probably the least offensive.

But recently I sort of gave up drinking two glasses of wine a night. I might have one glass a week now. Because I think it serves me well. I probably sleep better as a result of not doing that. So, I’ve given that up.

You know, otherwise, you know, no real “vices.” I mean, not to speak of.

Stuart Cooke: That’s great. And like you said, even with the wine, it’s pulling back to your sweet spot and turning the dial and just finding out what works for you.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, absolutely.

Stuart Cooke: Because we’re all so radically different.

Guy Lawrence: Do you find; how do you keep things primal when you’re traveling, Mark? Like, do you find that easy? Difficult?

Mark Sisson: Yeah, I do. I do find it easy. I think you do the best you can, for one. That’s all you can do. But my life doesn’t revolve around grass-fed beef and wild line-caught salmon. I’ll eat a nice steak in a restaurant if it’s been grain-fed. It is what it is. You know, I’m not; it still, in my world, better than a bowl of spaghetti with some kind of sugary; or a sauce made with canola oil or something like that.

So, it’s just a matter of degree. And it’s a matter of the context in which you find yourself.

So, there’s not a restaurant in the world that I can’t go into and find something delicious to eat, even if I have to ask the waiter to go back and have a few words with the chef.

But, you know, that’s… and when I travel, I don’t exercise that much if I can’t get near a gym, or if I don’t have a chance to exercise. Because I know, I have trust, that my body is not going to fall apart because I missed a workout. And the older I’ve gotten, the more I realize that, wow, I probably worked out way too much, even as recently as five years ago. And sometimes I go into the gym now and I might do 50 pushups, 10 pull-ups, 40 pushups, 10 pull-ups, 30 pushups, eight pull-ups, and go, “I’m done.” I don’t need to; I’m as pumped as I’m gonna get and anything more than this is just gonna be killing time and talking to other people in the gym.

The reality is it doesn’t take that much work, once you’ve achieved a level of fitness, it doesn’t take that much work to maintain it. And that’s really part of the beauty of the human body. The body doesn’t want to make that many changes.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, maintenance, isn’t it? I think, like, in terms of traveling, it’s just making the most of what you’ve got with the environment where you are and once you’re tuned into it, like you said, it becomes straight-forward.

Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. And especially where food is concerned, because we do live in this world now where we’ve got so many convenient choices when on the road, and I think just a little bit of understanding about the foods that serve us and the foods that don’t. But like you said, you can eat anywhere, and you generally get a good-quality protein and some veggies in most places.

Mark Sisson: You’re good to go! That’s all you need. Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: That’s it.

Mark Sisson: You know, what I find about traveling, probably the one thing that concerns me the most when I travel is sleep. And that’s, you know, so when I come to Oz I’m gonna be, you know, very diligent about how I orchestrate my sleep cycles during the transition, starting with leaving the LAX airport at 10:30 at night, how I spend the next 16 hours.

But also when I get to the hotel. I’ll look at the quality of the curtains and how much I can black them out at night, or how much light comes in from behind the curtains. I’ll look at the noise outside the window and whether or not there are going to be garbage trucks at 4 a.m. underneath my window.

I will literally look at the air-conditioning system, not for how cold it makes a room, but the kind of noise that it makes as a gray noise. And if it’s; I’ve been known to do this. If it’s too much, I’ll put a towel over the vent and I’ll put shoes on it and I’ll temper the whole thing because I want to orchestrate my sleep to approximate, as much as I can, what I’m used to at home.

And so sometimes for me that becomes; the biggest challenge is to sleep.

Stuart Cooke: Well, that’s it. If sleep falls down then everything falls down. Any particular supplements that you would take with you to help sleep at all?

Mark Sisson: You know, I do take melatonin. I take melatonin to adjust to wherever I’m going to be. So, whenever I travel, whenever I arrive at a new country, particularly. In the U.S., three time zones is nothing. I adapt to that immediately. But, you know, six or eight or nine time zones, a lot of times what I’ll do is I will arrive, I’ll maybe go for a long walk or do some kind of a bike ride or some workout, just to get my blood pumping and to get adapted to the air or whatever. I’ll do whatever it takes to stay up until it’s bedtime in the new time zone. So, I won’t take a nap. The worst thing you can do when you travel across time zones is take a nap. Because the body thinks, “Oh, this must be nighttime.”

But as it’s time to, if I’ve stayed up; and it could be 8:30 or a quarter to 9. You know, just enough time to be able to start to adapt immediately to the new time zone, I’ll pop a melatonin. Probably 6 milligrams of melatonin the first night. And I’ll do that maybe an hour before the time I plan on hitting the pillow. And so the melatonin helps to reset the internal clock.

Again, having black-out curtains and having the room be the right configuration to be able to sleep helps.

And I find that sometimes by the next day, I’m adapted, adjusted to the new time zone.

Stuart Cooke: And with everything that you’ve got going on as well, I mean, surely you’d have a busy mind. You’ve got so much on your plate. How do you switch that off at nighttime?

Mark Sisson: When you find out, Stuart, you let me know. Find a good way to do that.

Stuart Cooke: I’ve asked everybody.

Mark Sisson: That’s another tough one. That’s a really rough one, because I do have a difficult time.

Now, most recently, for the last month and a half, I’m fortunate enough to have a pool and a Jacuzzi outside my living room. And a fire pit. So, my wife and I, we stop watching TV around 9:30, a quarter to 10, I keep my pool around 52 degrees; it’s very cold in Fahrenheit, and so I’ll go dip in the pool, spend as much time as I can in that cold, cold, cold water, and then get in the Jacuzzi and hang out for 15 minutes while the fire pit is casting a yellow-orange glow. And then we go right to bed.

And that’s been almost like a drug for me. It’s crazy how effective that is in turning off the noise, the monkey chatter, and being tired, but in a good way. Not beat-up tired but just feeling like when you hit the pillow: “Wow. That hormetic shock of the cold, cold, cold, being in there for a long time, and then bringing the body temperature up with the Jacuzzi.

And, you know, people say, well, I can’t afford that. Well, you can afford a cold shower. And there’s some ways you can play around with that if you want to do that. You can change the light bulbs in your reading lamps to get a yellow light.

But I found the combination of the cold therapy and the yellow light coming from a fire, from a fireplace, has such a calming effect on me that the monkey noise, the monkey chatter, has diminished substantially and I go to sleep just like that.

Stuart Cooke: Perfect. Yeah. I actually find the orange glasses as well that block out the blue like from any devices that we may have work in an unusually calming way as well, which is, again, just another tactic that works for me and you’ve just got to find that sweet spot. But sleep, absolutely. I love talking about sleep. I really do.

Mark Sisson: It’s like this thing that no one dares to talk about if they’re anyway involved in production, productivity, and athletics or whatever. It’s “Oh, I get by on four hours or four and a half or five hours.” Oh, man. I was like, I rejoice in the amount of sleep I get and I’m proud of it.

Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. I’m working on getting more every day. That’s for sure.

So, we’ve just got one question we always ask our guests and I’m sure you’ve been asked this a million times.

Guy Lawrence: Two questions.

Stuart Cooke: What have you eaten today?

Mark Sisson: So, today… I usually don’t eat until about 1 o’clock in the afternoon. So, I get up, I have a cup of coffee when I get up, so I have a big cup of rich dark coffee with a little dollop of heavy cream in it. And don’t tell anybody, but a teaspoon of sugar. Actual sugar.

Guy Lawrence: All right.

Mark Sisson: We won’t tell anybody. No, but, I mean, it’s really about the dose. It’s the only sugar I have all day and that’s when it is and it makes the coffee a very pleasant, pleasurable experience.
Today, for lunch, I had a giant salad. We call it a “big-ass salad” here in the U.S. That’s my term. So that was 10 or 15 different types of vegetables with a dressing based in olive oil, but also avocado, a whole avocado in the salad. And then tuna was my protein of choice.

I did have two bites of something before that. I had a; I’m involved in a bar manufacturing startup company called Exo. They’re making bars out of cricket protein powder. Have you heard of it?

Stuart Cooke: I have, yeah.

Mark Sisson: So, I’m on their board and I’m an investor in the company and they sent me their new flavor, which is I said they needed to be higher protein and higher fat. It is off-the-charts good. I can’t wait for this to be on the market. It’s a great tasting bar and it’s really exciting.

Stuart Cooke: Is it crunchy?

Mark Sisson: So, the thing about cricket protein powder is it’s been so ground up, finely ground up, you could not tell the difference between a jar of cricket protein powder and a jar of whey protein isolate. You can’t visually tell. The mouth feels no different. So, the only crunch in there are the nuts. So, it’s fantastic.

So, anyway, I had the salad. I’m meeting some friends in town tonight at a new franchise restaurant in town. I guarantee you I’ll have a steak and some grilled vegetables on the side. And that will be it. I might have a handful of berries this afternoon as a snack. And that’s pretty much an average day for me.

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. And, mate, the last question we always ask everyone, and this could be non-nutritional related, anything. It’s: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Mark Sisson: Well, the best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is to invest in yourself. And for a lot of people, that means education, it means, in my case, where I’m going with this is: Your job is to take care of your health. That’s your number one job. Where you go to work for eight hours a day is a secondary job. That’s almost a part-time job. Your full-time job is taking care of your health. And the more you can learn, the more you can invest today, in yourself, whether it’s education; it could be investing in a business that you’re building, because that’s what I did. I invested back in my own business to grow the brand of primal.

And, for a lot of people, it can be simply investing in your health. Like, the more money I spend on good food to feed my body and nourish my body, the less chance there is that when I’m in my 60s or 70s or 80s I’ll be sick and then having to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and countless hours of agony combatting something that I could have easily not gotten because I paid attention and I invested in myself at an early age.

Stuart Cooke: That’s good advice. Absolutely. Get stuck in. No one should be more invested than you, I think. Not your health care providers…

Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.

Mark Sisson: Yeah. Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: We need to know what works for us.

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic, mate. You know, for anyone who hasn’t heard of you, Mark, which I struggle to find, but if that’s the case where can they get more of Mark Sisson? Mark’s Daily Apple is the best place to?

Mark Sisson: Yeah, MarksDailyApple.com is the blog. And everything I’ve ever said I’ve said there. I’ll say it in different ways and different venues, but it’s really the place to start.

PrimalBlueprint.com is my commerce site where you can buy my books. You can also buy them on Amazon, of course. But my books and some of the supplements that we make that are very tuned into the primal lifestyle.

And, yeah, those two sites, Mark’s Daily Apple and Primal Blueprint, are the main go-tos.

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. We’ll link to them under the show notes and everything. And, Mark, thanks for coming on the show. That was awesome. We really appreciate it.

Mark Sisson: It’s my pleasure. Great hanging out with you guys.

Stuart Cooke: Brilliant. Brilliant. And cannot wait to see you in a couple of weeks when you’re over here.

Mark Sisson: Yeah, likewise. That’ll be fun. It’s coming up very soon, too.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, it is.

Guy Lawrence: Very soon. Three weeks. It’ll be awesome.
Good on you, Mark. Thank you very much.

Mark Sisson: Thank you.

Stuart Cooke: Thank you, buddy.

Grant Hilliard: Why the Term ‘Free Range’ Is Meaningless

The video above is 2 minutes 55 seconds long

Guy: Ever wanted to lift the vail up to see what is actually going on with our meat supply? If you do then read on as today we are joined by Grant Hilliard, the founder of Feather and Bone, an ethical meat provider from sustainably raised animals.

If you are wondering what the terms ‘organic’ and ‘free range’ actually mean,  or who’s the producer and if all meats created equal… Then this episode is for you.

Full Grant Hilliard Interview: Why The Meat You Eat Matters

downloaditunesIn this episode we talk about:-

  • What questions we should be asking our local butcher
  • The quality of supermarket meats
  • What the terms ‘organic & free range’ actually mean
  • What goes into the average sausage
  • Tips to buying sustainable meat on a budget
  • And much much more…

CLICK HERE for all Episodes of 180TV

Want to know more about Grant and Feather & Bone?

Got any questions for us? We’d love to hear them in the comments below… Guy

Grant Hilliard of Feather & Bone Transcription

Intro: Brought to you by 180nutrition.com.au. Welcome to the Health Sessions podcast. With each episode we cut to the chase as we hang out with real people with real results.
Guy Lawrence: This is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition and welcome to the Health Sessions. Today our awesome guest is Grant Hilliard of Feather and Bone. So strap yourselves in for this one, because it is information packed. Absolutely. Now Feather and Bone, in a nutshell, are providers of meat, right? And they are seriously passionate about where their food comes from and how it’s grown, you know, something that we can easily overlook when it’s, you know, from the paddock to the plate and don’t give it a second thought.
And walk into any supermarket and just assume the meat is of the highest quality. So, as you can imagine, I had a lot of questions for him, you know? What they do, they essentially source directly and exclusively from producers that are committed to nurturing the health of the land and the plants and the animals it sustains, you know?
So, it’s actually from the soil all the way through to the animal to then how that animal we digest ourselves. Big topic and very political, as you can imagine, you know, questions that we cover: Who is the producer? You know, how do they grow, harvest, and transport their produce? You know, does this journey to your plate enhance sustainability and genetic diversity as well as your taste buds? Now that is a mouthful of a big question, I know, but we cover a lot, and I got a lot out of it, and I’m certainly going to be delving into this topic a lot more myself.
And if you are listening to this through iTunes, obviously let us know if you’re enjoying the podcast by placing a review within iTunes. It takes two minutes. We really appreciate it, you know. We put these podcasts out every week and we reach a lot of people, but it’s always awesome to get that feedback as well knowing that, you know, we’re out there reaching you guys and you’re learning a lot from it, so, yeah, always great to hear from you.
Anything else? Probably not, so let’s go over to Grant and, yeah, strap yourself in and enjoy the show. Awesome.
Guy Lawrence: All right. Let’s roll. Hey, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined today with Mr. Stuart Cooke as always, and our special guest today is Grant Hilliard. Grant, welcome. Thanks for coming on the show.
Grant Hilliard: Hello. How are you?
Guy Lawrence: Excellent.
Grant Hilliard: Planes, as well.
Guy Lawrence: Welcome to Sydney planes. I know we can hear them.
Grant Hilliard: That’s right. That one’s going somewhere special.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, I used to live in Newtown, and it would affect the TV every time an airplane would fly over.
Grant Hilliard: XXThe industrial section of?XX [0:02:54]
Guy Lawrence: Very excited about today’s topic. I think our listeners are going to get a massive amount out of it. Especially, you know, talking about from the paddock to the plate. I think it’s something that a lot of people don’t think about, you know? So I’m looking forward to delving into it.

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So just to get the ball rolling, mate, can you explain a little bit about Feather and Bone and your journey? What it took you to start it all up…
Grant Hilliard: Yeah. So Feather and Bone is, we’re a wholesale and retail butcher shop, essentially, very much an old-school butcher that we operate within really sort of quite specific parameters. The meat we source, it’s; we’re concentrating on a range of things.
The first of those was genetic diversity. So we’re very much interested in fostering farmers and working with farmers that are working with all the breeds of animals and that concern extends, obviously, to plant crops as well. What we’re looking at at the moment is a radical reduction in the variety of food stuffs that is available to us and a preponderance of the people who own the few that are left. It’s very important, I think, that we maintain all the breeds of livestock, because, in a sense, that’s our common inheritance, humanity’s common inheritance. All of those breeds have been developed over many centuries, and it’s really important that we still get to share them.
(Plane noise)
I’ll let that go over.
Guy Lawrence: That’s cool.
Stuart Cooke: Awesome.
Grant Hilliard: So part of it is to source animals that are growing that way, and one of the issues around that is that they might often take longer to grow or for some other reason are more difficult to grow, so you have to reward the grower often in increased price, but that goes with two other things, which is that all the animals be sourced or grown outside without questions. That’s not just an idea of free range, that is pasture-raised livestock. At all times.
A lot is heard about free range at the moment. We, sort of, don’t use the term so much anymore, because it’s been devalued. What we’re really interested in is pasture-raised produce, and that really distinguishes what we buy from what might otherwise be called free range.
I should note there that there’s no real enforceable standard for free range at the moment, but the A Triple C, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, is working on a standard that will actually have enforceable regulations that can govern what can be called free range and what can’t, which is a very welcome step as far as we’re concerned in the regulatory field.
It’s been a very important area for government to be involved in. So, we work directly with farmers. We don’t deal with third parties and so that means that we visit every farm that we source from and, I think, we’ve probably visited well over fifty different farms in the last eight years and maybe close to a hundred farm visits, because we go back to farms year after year and it’s through going back to farms that you really start to see the development of what they’re trying to do.
I suppose while we set out looking to source animals that were, say, with genetic diversity, what we’re now really focused on is sourcing animals that come from farms where soil fertility is the critical issue and that is achieved through natural means, so grazing stock can be used really, really strategically to generate carbon in the soil and join the right humus and, by increasing carbon in the soil, you dramatically increase water holding capacity and that’s critical.
In Australia we’ve lost 80 percent of carbon in the soil since white people got here, which basically means that we can hold about 80 percent less water in the soil than we used to be able to hold. Now that’s why we can’t, you know, in a landscape that’s got minimal water and irregular and unreliable rainfall, that is a critical issue.
We’ve drained water out of the landscape and it goes straight into creeks, straight into rivers and finishes up in the ocean which is not where you need it, you know? And they take the topsoil with it importantly, so we’re working with farmers that grow top soil. That’s the essence of what we do.
Stuart Cooke: So outside of the soil, quality of the soil, how do the standards of raising cattle in Australia vary?
Grant Hilliard: Well, I mean, about half of the cattle in Australia are grass-fed. We only source grass-fed animals, but there’s grass-fed and grass-fed, and it’s a difficult distinction to make, but what you’re always after is diversity, so the pastures that we look for and the farms that we look for have thirty, forty, fifty different varieties of grasses and perennials and forbs and bitter herbs in that pasture.
And what you’ll find is that the cattle or the sheep or whatever ruminant that it is, any grass-feeder, will select, actively select from that field at different times which matches what their requirements are, so they’re very, sort of, canny and skilled at knowing what they need, you know? It’s the thing that probably humans have lost to some extent because of the abundance that’s available to us, but animals are very sort of key, able to do that.
Guy Lawrence: Is there much of a difference between grass-fed than grass-finished, like, because I hear the terms flying around.
Grant Hilliard: Yeah. There’s a sort of a strange thing in Australia where if an animal is not fed for 100 days on grass, you can’t; I’m sorry, I’ll start again. If an animal is fed for less than 100 days on grain, you’re not even allowed to call it grain-fed, you have to call it grass-fed.
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Grant Hilliard: It’s a weird thing, so a lot of people who buy grass-fed beef, in fact, may be buying beef that’s been fed for up to 100 days on grain.
Stuart Cooke: Wow.
Grant Hilliard: Because it used to be that the value was in grain-fed beef, so to try and stop people sort of giving grain for one day and saying that they were selling grain-fed beef, they said, “Okay, well, it has to be at least fed for three months on grain.”
Guy Lawrence: Okay, and how much do you think that affects the quality of the meat from a grain-fed source to a grass-fed source?
Grant Hilliard: A number of things happen when you feed cattle grain. I mean, they can accommodate it, but as a ruminant, they’re perfectly designed to metabolize the nutrient that they find in complex pasture into body mass. What we like to think, and what we would encourage people who are buying meat to think, is that a good animal represents a concentration of all the goodness of good soil.
And really that’s just sun, effectively, so you’ve taken the energy of the sun that’s been metabolized into grass, the grass is being metabolized into meat, and that’s going to be metabolized into you, so you want to make sure all of those choices are as good as they can be.
So you want to eat an animal that’s at the absolute peak of its health. Now, one thing that happens with grain is that they actually get quite sick as they change over to grain and it produces… A ruminant should be at a neutral ph. What high levels of XX?XX [0:10:20] is that they produce an acid gut, and so most grain-fed animals are suffering from acidosis all the time. Presumably, you want an animal that’s in balance.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Absolutely.

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Grant Hilliard: For his sake and also for your sake, you know? I mean, it’s a very direct translation that the thing that you take into your body becomes you as well. It works at a metaphorical level, of course, but it also works at a very literal level, and so that’s why we’re looking for farms where the nutritional plane is as high as it can possible be.
Guy Lawrence: Do farms vary a lot then? Like, is everyone trying to…
Grant Hilliard: They do, and because it depends on how you maintain, you know, there’s a million ways to farm, and some better than others, and the ones we focus on are the ones that are actively growing soil, developing soil fertility through natural means.
Guy Lawrence: Okay. I’m just getting my head around it. So it all starts with the soil? Then transfers to the animal?
Grant Hilliard: Absolutely.
Guy Lawrence: And then the animal transfers to us, in a nutshell.
Grant Hilliard: Absolutely. We are very much part of that cycle. We’re not the end of that cycle, either. We are…it’s a feedback loop. The more you eat of this, you stimulate productions so the farmers are encouraged through this, you know, this form of consumption can go and grow more.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right.
Grant Hilliard: They’re the farmers that we want to have operating in Australia. The ones that are storing more water and storing more carbon and increasing soil fertility through natural means. The rest can, you know…the rest are in a downward spiral effectively, because most farming essentially requires increasing inputs to maintain outputs, and in essence that is an unsustainable system. What you need is a system where the input level actually reduces over time to either static or increasing outputs, and that is a sustainable system. I mean, we talk about sustainable farming, it’s a really clear way of thinking about it.
Guy Lawrence: Could every farmer out here change their mindset and work toward this, or are there bigger hurdles and logistics beyond that that they just couldn’t do…?
Grant Hilliard: Oh, well, they can, I mean, what they might find initially is that they’re going to have reduced outputs initially, and that’s quite scary and so that transition might be really hard to manage, and so yeah, it requires the confidence, really, to pursue it, but if you’re in it for the long haul, and let’s hope most of our farmers are, hopefully, they’re looking at increased production with low input costs, and I think that’s what’s going to become, you know, probably the end of grain-fed beef. You simply won’t be able to grow grain in one place with all the inputs that that requires.
Stuart Cooke: I was kind of interested actually, just to jump a few questions down, Guy, in light of what you’ve been telling us, Grant, what questions should we be asking our local butcher?
Grant Hilliard: Customers should be able, I mean, a butcher should be able to tell you where the animal came from.
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Grant Hilliard: Which farm it came from.
Stuart Cooke: Got it.
Grant Hilliard: Generally, what they’ll say to you is, “It came from XXCurrimundi?? or XX [0:13:24] but what they mean by that is that it, that’s where it was killed. Which is a totally different story. XXIt happens with?XX [0:13:31] wholesalers as well. They sell meat. They grade their own meat and they buy from the sale yards and they buy from suppliers all around the place, and then they only sell it. The difference in what we do is that we’re buying directly from producers rather than…the abattoirs are really there to do a service kill and so they provide a service, which is slaughtering the animal in a facility which is certified for human consumption, basically. The food authority licenses them, licenses us, licenses all the restaurants that we eat at. It’s the same body that does all the certifications.
So, ask that question, “Which farm?” And if they don’t know which farm, you know, then they’ll never know what the history of that animal is. Was it given antibiotics at any time? Was it given growth hormones at any time? When it was grass-fed, was it XXset stockXX [0:14:30] that is, was it just left in a field for an extended period of time or was it actively moved on to fresh grass every single day? I mean, what was the agricultural, you know, sort of process that boarded from embryo to here? And it’s a long process that can be up to three years.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, it makes it so just really a generalized question about the origins of the meat will give you insight into the knowledge of your butcher?
Grant Hilliard: Well, that’s right, and they should be able to answer those questions and most retailers are fairly skilled at sort of trying to work out what it is that you’re after, whether it be organic or free range and will just say, “Oh, it’s free range, of course it is, madam.” You want it to be free range? It’s free range.
Stuart Cooke: It’s whatever you want it to be. So what do those terms actually mean, organic and free range?
Grant Hilliard: Well, organic is a full certification system and there are a number of bodies in Australia which license to give organic certification. Most people would be familiar with the bud logo, the little curly logo, and that’s the BFA, or Biological Farmers of Australia, that’s their symbol.
But there’s ACO and so there’s about four bodies that certify in Australia, or actually five, there’s one that just operates in Tasmania as well. They do independent audits of the farm. They look at their buying records, their selling records, and come and go through everything that they do to make sure that they’re adhering to a certain set of guidelines.
Now while, you know, organic is important up to a point, we certainly stock a lot of organic meat here, we’re more focused on the particularities of the farm, so I suppose, for us, we’re having to independently order to some extent, but I think it’s a very valuable tool if faced with no other information.
And maybe if it’s just a self-serve thing, no one’s there to give you any other information about the meat that’s in front of you, at least when you buy something that’s been certified organic you can be sure of the whole range of things: that it hasn’t been medicated, that it hasn’t’ received antibiotics, that there are certain welfare things that are looked after there, that there are certain, you know, it’s a whole range of things within the standard that ensure, and if it does have another input, for instance, in the case of pigs or chickens where they’re eating, they are eating grain, because they’re not a ruminant, they’re an omnivore, that that input is also certified organic as well.
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Grant Hilliard: And that they’re processed in organic facilities. So, most abattoirs will do an organic kill, but they do it at the beginning of the day and then they do the so called conventional kill after that.
Guy Lawrence: And the term free range then, does that give them actually free range as well to say what they want?
Grant Hilliard: You would hope so. That’s absolutely the case. It’s really a meaningless term at the moment., so free to range on pasture is what sort of like to see, but stocking density then becomes the issue. It’s like anything, you know, yes, you could have 5,000 chickens on grain field. It wouldn’t be grain for very long, because they’ll eat, chickens eat a lot of grass, actually, but they also get through it. You need to rotate them, so it’s very hard for any certification system to deal with the nuance of stocking densities.
And in a good season, you know, you can carry a lot more of any particular animal in that area, and in a bad season, you know, you might find that, for instance, 1500 birds per hectare is what they’re probably going to go with as legally enforceable number, maximum number for free range eggs. No that could be great in the right season, but in a poor season, for instance, one of our growers runs 15 birds per hectare and the drought was so long that by the end of the drought 15 birds per hectare was too much for that area.
No how can any certification system deal with that sort of level of nuance? That’s very difficult, so what you really need are farms that are highly responsive to the conditions of the season. Which they all are, it’s got to be said, every farmer is, but the…you’ve got to create the conditions that allow the animals to thrive in all seasons, and what tends to happen is that most farmers overstock when the season is good. The season dries up. They’re all forced to sell their stock because they’ve got nothing to feed them, unless they want to buy in lots and lots of hay, and then the market just plummets.
And so they’re buying at the top of the market, selling at the bottom of the market, I mean, that’s not a very good way to run a business. So we don’t tend to sort of run on market prices. We agree the price with the grower, and that is a sustainable price for them to stay in business and year after year, and that’s we pay irrespective of what the season does.
So it’s better for the grower. It’s better for us. And it’s usually over the odds, but at least then it guarantees what we’re getting and it’s a guarantee for the grower as well, and you don’t get into this sort of cut throat thing, “Well, sorry, the lamb prices dropped this week so I’m only going to give you 40 cents less a kilo.” I mean, what’s that? But most commodity growers, that’s exactly the position they’re in. They’re price takers, not price setters.
You’ve got to get into a relationship where your farms become as much price setters as you are. We don’t see ourselves as clients of them; we see ourselves as working with the farmers to make this stock available.
Stuart Cooke: Does that level of connection and relationship exist in the supermarket chains where meat is concerned?
Grant Hilliard: No, not really. I mean, the supermarket chains are buying, as you can imagine, enormous quantities of meat and, you know, one of their growers is a biodynamic, a certified biodynamic grower. He sells a certain amount of his lamb XXor finish up in a collar shopXX [0:20:21] you never know which one and it won’t even be identified as organic. It’s just, it’s sold in the main area. Yeah, so if he has any extra stock it won’t be his best stuff, that’s got to be said. But there are two things. One is that you can never repeat the experience, so, because it’s only marked by the abattoir that it was processed at, say, XX?XX [0:20:43] you won’t be able to repeat that experience next time you go into the shop. And two, they don’t age the meat at all. It’s killed, sliced, packed, and they try to sell it as quickly as they can.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Production…
Guy Lawrence: I know so many people they don’t even think twice they just go in and buy a lump of meat in the supermarket. It’s there, it’s packaged, you know, it’s cheap, and then they go home and eat it without even considering where it’s come from or what it’s done.
And, obviously, me and Stu are very passionate about our health, and we’re always investigating and talking and holding podcasts like this and, you know, the biggest hurdle I’ll hear off every single person is almost like, “You know, organic, yeah, it’s expensive. Does it really make a difference?”

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I guess my question would be: Is it a more cost-effective way, or an answer I could say to these people who go, “Look.” You know?
Grant Hilliard: “I can’t afford that.”
Guy Lawrence: The ones that say that, yeah.
Grant Hilliard: Yeah, well, there are two ways to approach that question. The first is that if you’re always expecting to eat chicken breast or eye fillet all the time, you won’t be able to afford organic or really well-grown meat, but then again think of it this way: the eye fillet on beef is about one-and-a-half percent of its total body weight which gives you an idea how often you should eat it.
Stuart Cooke: Right. Yeah, okay.
Grant Hilliard: Where’s all that eye fillet coming from? What’s happening to the other 98.5 percent of the body? So, you have to work with producers. I mean, it’s a very recent thing where we think we can just go and pick the eyes out of things and leave the rest lying around. I mean that’s a sense of abundance which we need to really reevaluate and recalibrate.
It’s certainly, you know, our parents and, depending on your age, our parents or our grandparents certainly would have had that recalibration. You ate everything and that’s just the way it was, you know? Shoulder today, breast tomorrow, and at one stage on a very special day you ate some fillet or some loin. You don’t every day.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Nose to tail. Tips then perhaps for buying like organic sustainable produce on a budget. What could we do?
Grant Hilliard: Well, you buy what are called secondary cuts, but the, you know, if you look at something like beef blade which is cut from shoulder, you know, we’ll sell that that’s been dry aged on the bone for four weeks at the same price as it would cost for yearling that was put in plastic the day it was killed.
To me, it’s a lot better value to buy a fantastic animal and the distinction here is that most beef in Australia is yearling beef. It’s sold at 14 months old which is essentially teenager or young teenager. It’s not a lot of growing so it’s a high return in terms of kilogram to the grower, but it’s sort of at a certain size but it’s not at a certain quality.
So whenever you reduce something to purely, you know, you’re only going to get paid on the kilograms that you supply, you withdraw all the ideas of quality that might surround that and or qualities and I suppose that’s what I’m interested in. I’m interested in the qualities of things and how they attach to the whole body and that’s what we buy, the whole body that arrives here. It’s our job to break it up to sell the whole carcass. That’s our job. That shouldn’t be the abattoir’s job. It shouldn’t be the grower’s job. It should be our job. So we look for qualities of things and the quality takes care of itself.
Guy Lawrence: Is all pork created equally? We’re quite involved with the CrossFit community and everyone loves bacon, and I always see these arguments coming up from whether we should be eating bacon or not or the sources it comes from. What’s your thought on that?
Grant Hilliard: Well, like chickens or poultry, generally, pigs are the most abused of farm animals, and in Australia around 98 percent of pigs are grown in intensive conditions, and to me that’s an unethical position to take. I just don’t think we should be eating pigs that are grown in that way. I don’t think we should be eating chickens that grown in that way, either.
It’s interesting how we’re focused on chickens. Pigs are, not to be unfair to chickens, which I love, but pigs are highly intelligent, sentient, that have really complex familial structures and they are literally tortured. I mean it is a release for them to die in those conditions. If you’ve ever seen pigs outside, and very few people have, I mean, we have no picture of what a herd of pigs looks like outside, because they’re just nonexistent. We source from maybe six farms right through New South Wales that grow all their pigs outside, but I think most of your viewers, I’d be surprised if more than two percent have actually seen a herd of pigs outside, more than one or two at a time.
And you know, they’re fantastic creatures, absolutely brilliant creatures, but you’ve got to grow them like that and in terms of cured goods, well, you know, curing is a really particular thing and it’s a great way of extending the life of something, but if…it’s all about balance, isn’t it? Some bacon is fine, but it’s quite a salty product, I mean, that’s how it’s cured, so you need to put it in balance. I wouldn’t eat bacon every morning, for instance.
Stuart Cooke: Would there be a vast difference in quality from a butcher bought to supermarket bought perhaps?
Grant Hilliard: Probably not, on the whole, I mean, most of it is coming from the same peeps.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, okay. I just, it’s unusual to, obviously, when you’re buying from a butcher you buy your meat and your goods and it’s packed up and you go home and cook it, but when you go to the supermarket you actually get to see all the ingredients that are in there on the package and sugar, of all things, makes its way into…
Grant Hilliard: Well, salt and sugar is a very traditional curing combination, usually in a ratio of three to one…
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Grant Hilliard: Before refrigeration, we had to do things to maintain the life of food stuffs. If you going to kill a whole animal, you’re not going to eat it that day, so what’re you going to do with the rest of it? And we cured, we brined, we smoked, we stored things under fat comfit, all of those techniques are very good ways to maintain the life of something, but you want to balance that.
I mean, I think probably in tougher climates than ours, traditionally that’s all you would have eaten in the winter months because there would be very little fresh stuff around and, you know, you’d killed the pig in light autumn and then you eat it slowly all the way through winter. That was traditionally how you did it. You’d eat the liver on the first day and then the last thing would probably be the cured leg about six months later.
Guy Lawrence: There you go, yeah. We don’t do that now, do we?
Stuart Cooke: Well, it does actually sound like a quite tasty existence.
Grant Hilliard: It’s not bad at all. I mean, it just means that you’re being, by necessity, you’re being more responsive to the season because that was more available to you, and it’s sort of a commonplace and sort of a cliché really, but I mean, to eat seasonally is really the secret of it all, and there will be times when, you know, the seasons aren’t favorable that, you know, quality will drop. There will be times that you’ll be absolutely reveling in excess which is where preserving comes in. And not just for meat, but you know, jams and everything else, all of that summer abundance. What’re you going to do?
Stuart Cooke: I have a question regarding…
Grant Hilliard:…tomatoes XX… winter?XX [0:28:34] It comes out of that tradition. That’s the tradition that we’re interested in.
Stuart Cooke: Got a question regarding the humble sausage, and so traditionally people think, “Well, your sausage is just your rubbish. It’s, you know, it’s all the rubbish meat and it’s pushed together into the sausage machine and, you know, you have them every now and again, but it’s certainly not quality meat.” What’s your take on that? What goes into the average sausage?
Grant Hilliard: The average sausage? Probably not what you’d want to eat. I mean XXit costs 99XX [0:29:13] a kilo. What could it possibly be?
Guy Lawrence: I do wonder.
Grant Hilliard: XX?XX [0:29:20] the refuse. We put shoulder meat, so it’s predominantly shoulder meat from the pig, you know, and obviously trim from when we’re cutting up the rest of the animal, but it’s a particular ratio of fat to lean. We don’t do emulsified sausages, so you can actually XXaudio outXX [0:29:38] it’s really clear what’s meat and what’s fat.
With an emulsified sausage, which is most sausages, where it’s so fine that it’s actually, it has no grain, that could be anything, and we don’t put preservatives in our sausages and we don’t, equally, we don’t…we use salt as a preservative, but that’s all and we hand grind, you know, we just hand grind spices and, you know, we charge four times the price of a $4.99 sausage, but then we’re not using grain in it, either. There are no fillers in our sausages, so, you know, a lot of people will say you need some sort of rice flour or something to make it stick together, but that’s…In our experience that’s not the case.
If you’ve got the right meat and the right balance of lean and fat, it sticks together fine. Grain’s just a very cheap way of bulking out a sausage with water, because you make, basically, porridge and put that in.
Guy Lawrence: It just comes back to following the source, doesn’t it? You know, it all just comes back to following the source of where it comes from, doesn’t it?
Grant Hilliard: Yeah, that’s right. And, I mean, we would welcome anybody to walk through our production area and see how we make anything. We run sausage classes and, you know, the way we teach people to make sausages is the way we do them ourselves, and there are no secrets in it. It’s just using good quality produce and grinding spices to order. I mean 95 percent of sausages are just made…you buy a packet mix which has the grain in it. It already has all the spices, so-called the Mexican mix or whatever, and it will just say, “Tip this in 15 kilos of meat and 20 liters of water and there’s your sausage.”
I mean, that’s an industrial way of making sausage, so if that’s a sausage you want to…
Guy Lawrence: …choose.
Grant Hilliard: I mean, it won’t cost much.
Guy Lawrence: No. Not for me.
Grant Hilliard: Well, no, most people just say, “Oh, just give those to kids.” I mean, are you kidding?
Stuart Cooke: I know, yeah.
Grant Hilliard: Kids and old people should be getting the best of nutrition, not the worst.
Stuart Cooke: You raise a very good point, because, of course, the Australian barbecue is a weekly thing. You go down, you buy the cheapest package of sausages you can and a billion white rolls and off you go. You’ve got a good day ahead of you.
Guy Lawrence: Throw in a few beans.
Grant Hilliard: That’s about the social activity of it, and you know, the wonderful thing about food is that it is the locus for that sort of activity and provides a focus that’s why you can pretty much discuss anything when food is the basis of it.
You can talk about soil fertility. You can talk about genetic diversity. You can talk about how families come together on Sundays for barbecues, I mean, it’s a key social, you know, thing that holds everything together.
Stuart Cooke: It is.

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Grant Hilliard: Our argument would be that you take that very seriously and you eat things that you know that…where respect is embedded in the process. Trouble is that most of our food production, all respect has been drained out of it.
And dignity really, you know, there’s no respect in a shed of pigs, 300 pigs lined up where they can’t turn around. That’s not a respectful existence.
Stuart Cooke: No.
Guy Lawrence: I noticed that you’re moving on to the topic of fat as well. I noticed on your website you sell a great range of quality fats and beef drippings and things like that, and it’s interesting because everyone…we’ve been indoctrinated with the low fat message. Do you find people are coming in and consuming these fats and are more educated to the fact that having these quality fats in their diet is they’re going to benefit from them?
Grant Hilliard: Certainly, I mean, a lot of the paleo, I suppose, within the paleo community and other communities that are interested in bone broths and fats, you know, we can’t keep up with the demand for bones for broths and we, especially beef and veal, we usually have a bit of lamb left over, so you know, if people want to make broths in lamb that’s a good way to go because the beef broths, the beef stock, you know, bones go very quickly.
And, yeah, we render our own as well. So we render beef fat and we render leaf lard, which is the kidney fat in pigs which is a different quality of fat and we like XX?XX [0:34:09] as well…
Guy Lawrence: Do you use the fats off the top of the bone broth as well?
Grant Hilliard: At the moment we can’t make bone broth because we haven’t got a commercial kitchen.
Guy Lawrence: Right.
Grant Hilliard: But we’re between kitchens really. We’d like to be able to do it in time, but we’re not in the position to at the moment, but we’ve got still fats that we rendered at the last time we were in a commercial kitchen. We hire on basically irregularly, so.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.
Grant Hilliard: But we’d love to be able to produce, you know, more stocks and bone brothers and do all those things for people.
Stuart Cooke: So what particular fats would you personally cook with given your knowledge and understanding?
Grant Hilliard: Well I sort of use, you know, we use whatever sort of appropriate to the dish, really, so you know, most things will render enough fat. You know, I also use oils like olive oil occasionally and beef fat and lard, you know. So, it really depends on the dish you’re cooking.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Grant Hilliard: You want something that’s sort of complementary. I mean they can be quite strongly flavored as well. It depends on how you purify it, but if you’re after the full flavor of it, and the full mineralization of it, and that’s what you’re hoping to get from those bones, so to go back to that idea of young animals, they just can’t put enough in their bones in that period of time to get much out of them.
So, and you hear it on the saw when you use the saw on the animals that we buy, which are two-and-a-half, three years old, the saw absolutely screams because the density of those bones. With yearling beef it just goes through like butter.
Guy Lawrence / Stuart Cooke: Wow.
Grant Hilliard: Which is a really good measure of how dense the bone is on the animal that’s a year older.
Stuart Cooke: Have you seen any trends in meat or cuts in particular over the last year or so?
Grant Hilliard: Well, people are much more willing to eat, you know, so-called secondary cuts and briskets and XXchuck?XX [0:35:56] and things like that, you know? And that’s fantastic for us, because when you’ve got whole bodies, you’ve got a lot of it.
Stuart Cooke: And how about the offal? Is that…?
Grant Hilliard: Yeah, we sell a lot of offal as well, you know, and offal is a bit tricky, because it’s, despite the fact that we buy whole animals only, it’s still really hard to get the offal from those animals all the time.
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Grant Hilliard: Just because of the nature of the abattoir system really. We can reliably get about half of it.
Stuart Cooke: Okay.
Grant Hilliard: And most of that’s, you know, things like organic veal liver, organic beef liver, really good quality, you know, liver is really such a fantastic sort of source of nutrient. You don’t need much of it.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Grant Hilliard: Make sure it’s from the highest quality animal possible.
Stuart Cooke: Well, I always purchase liver from my local butchers and I seem to be the only person that does that.
Guy Lawrence: I think you’re the only person that has it for breakfast as well, Stu.
Stuart Cooke: It’s affordable. It’s nutritious. Yeah, it’s my go to. I love it.
Guy Lawrence: A few spices and it tastes beautiful.
Grant Hilliard: Well, you know 50 grams goes a long way.
Stuart Cooke: It does. It really does.
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely. Just before we wrap up, Grant, we always ask a question on our podcast and it can be non-nutritional related or anything, but it’s, “What’s the single best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?”
Grant Hilliard: I did see that on your list of questions yesterday and I thought, “I should think about that.” I had a lot on last night. I was making ham glaze last night so I sort of didn’t get to it. Best piece of advice that I’ve been given? Well…given as opposed to necessarily taken?
Guy Lawrence: Or both, yeah.
Grant Hilliard: It’s to remain open to the possibility that the way you thought about something is completely wrong and that there are a million ways to do things really. I mean, I think, you know, we all should be in a position where we can continue to learn, and keeping your mind in a position where it’s ready to accept that is the hardest thing to do and, at least I find it so, anyway, but it’s the ting that I’d like to be able to do. This business has, you know, certainly made me more humble about that.
You know, there are people out there with huge banks of knowledge and vast resources of information and care and passion and being able to recognize those people and give them a voice, in a sense, through what we do is really sort of, you know, rewarding, so, and it’s only because of a curiosity that really started this business. It certainly wasn’t started as a commercial enterprise and it still struggling to work out how it can be.
But it’s a business founded on ideas and the idea being that there’s got to be a better way to source and grow meat and better for yourself but also better for the country that we’re in, and you know, feeding people is, and water security and food security are the two most important things that we have and all need to be concerned about, so being open to the natural ways of solving those problems is the most important thing that we confront at the moment.
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely. A question just sprung in there, and I can’t remember if we mentioned it or not. If everyone decided tomorrow, had an epiphany and went, “You know what? I’m just going to eat grass fed. I want to eat sustainable meat.” Would Australia be able to cope or…?
Grant Hilliard: Yes, it would, I mean, it would actually, it would make it easier for most farmers, because at the moment they’re sort of tied into a commodity market which only rewards a certain set of parameters that don’t actually suit sustainable production, so it’s always working against the best way to farm in a way.
So, it would have a profound impact and a very positive impact.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. Well, we’re going to keep pushing the message anyway. That’s for sure. And, if anyone wants to hear more about Feather and Bone and…just go to the website?
Grant Hilliard: Yeah. We’re just in the throes of building a new one so in about three weeks’ time, two weeks’ time, there’ll be a completely new website which will hopefully have a lot more of the, you know, photographs and information from the farms that we visit, because over that time and all those farm visits we’ve got a massive bank of documentary material that I think a lot of people would find extremely interesting, and the current website doesn’t really make that available, so, you know, it’s a way of accessing the people who are growing your food.
Stuart Cooke: Perfect. Well, we’ll put all that information up in our supporting materials section on the website and punch some traffic there, so hopefully more people can get to understand and appreciate what you’re doing.
Grant Hilliard: Okay. Well thanks very much.
Guy Lawrence: Awesome. Thanks to have us on.
Stuart Cooke: Thank you so much for your time again, yeah. You’re a wealth of knowledge and some real, really valuable chunks of information there as well which we’re really looking forward to sharing.
Grant Hilliard: Appreciate it.
Guy Lawrence: Cheers, Grant.
Outro: Thanks for listening to our show The Health Sessions. If you would like more information on anything health from our blog, free eBook or podcasts, simply visit 180nutrition.com.au. Also, if you have any questions or topics you’d like us to see cover in future episodes, we’d really love to hear from you. Simply drop us an email to info@180nutrition.com.au, and if you listen to us through iTunes and enjoy the show, we’d really appreciate a review in the review section. So, until next time, wherever you are in the world, have a fantastic week.

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Sarah Wilson: My Trick to Quitting Sugar

The video above is 2 minutes 51 seconds long

Guy: Our special guest this week is Sarah Wilson. Her impressive resume includes author of the Australian and UK best-sellers I Quit Sugar and I Quit Sugar For Life (with I Quit Sugar becoming a New York Times best-seller this year).

Sarah has a journalism career that has spanned 20 years, across television, radio, magazines, newspapers and online. She’s also the former editor of Cosmopolitan magazine and was the host of the first series of MasterChef Australia, the highest rating show in Australian TV history.

The Full Sarah Wilson IQS Interview

downloaditunesIn this episode we talk about:-

  • What inspired Sarah to quit sugar in the first place
  • The amazing health transformations she’s seen from quitting sugar
  • How she handles being in the public eye when it comes to her eating
  • The state of school canteens and what we can do about it
  • How Sarah manages stress with her hectic schedule
  • What her daily routines look like
  • And much much more…

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Want to know more about Sarah Wilson?

Got any questions for us? We’d love to hear them in the comments below… Guy

Sarah Wilson Interview Transcription

Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition, and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. Our lovely guest today is Sarah Wilson. Now, if you don’t know who Sarah Wilson is, in a nutshell she’s a New York Times bestselling author. She’s a blogger and a wellness coach. She has a career in journalism that’s spanned over twenty years, which is pretty amazing, across television, radio, magazines, newspaper, and, of course, online. She’s also the former editor of the Cosmopolitan magazine.

So an exceptionally impressive career and she’s now doing fantastic things, including the whole I Quit Sugar movement which, of course, myself and Stu are massive fans of and I have no doubt you’re going to get a lot out of this interview today. She’s a very positive, high-energy, and all around down-to-earth great girl, so it was just, yeah, just a pleasure to be able to interview her today.

If you are listening to this through iTunes, I know I ask, but please, hey, leave a little review. It’ll only take two minutes to do. It just helps us with our rankings on iTunes and, obviously, get the word out there with this message that we’re doing. And, of course, you know, if you are listening to it on iTunes, come over to our blog, because you get to see our pretty faces, because we do these in video as well, which is 180nutrition.com.au.

Anyway, enough of me, let’s go over to Sarah and talk everything about Sarah, her journey, and, of course, sugar. Enjoy.

Stuart Cooke: So, how we doing, Guy? We ready?

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, let’s do it. Okay. I’m Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke, as always, and our lovely guest today is Sarah Wilson. Sarah, welcome to the podcast.

Sarah Wilson: Thank you very much for having me. I’m looking forward to it.

Guy Lawrence: Us, too. We; I was just saying to Stu the other day, you know, we, I was, stumbled across your blog, it must have been many years ago, and I remember at the time you were actually either about to quit sugar or you were; you had quit sugar and you’d written about it, and I was thinking, “Finally somebody’s bringing this message to light.”

And to see you, you know, you go on and inspire so many people with what I think is an amazing message is fantastic. So I thought just for our listeners, just in case they don’t know any part of that journey or story, would you mind just sharing a little bit about it…

Sarah Wilson: Yeah. Absolutely.

Guy Lawrence: What even inspired you to quit sugar in the first place?

Sarah Wilson: Yeah. So, I do remember, actually, you interacting with me on the blog back in those days, sort of piping in and sharing your thoughts, so that’s been a long time coming, us actually having this conversation. So, yeah, as you know, I quit sugar because, as a journalist at the time, I actually had to write a column about something, and I was short of a topic. That’s kind of the lame reason.

The real reason is that I knew that I had to do it. It was hanging over my head. And it’s just sort of really a funny thing now, I can spot a person who is ready to quit sugar and somebody who’s not these days, because I remind myself of what I was like back then, and I’d been talking about it for ages. I, I’ll get on to the health reasons in a moment, but I had a bunch of health reasons for needing to, and I’d been told by a number of doctors I needed to do it, but really it was just this feeling: “I’m over it. I know that sugar is the reason I’m feeling baseline crap.”

You know? And I could make up all these other kinds of excuses, but it really did stem down to this thing, so when I had the excuse of a deadline to make it happen, I kind of jumped at it. So I was very fortunate, from that point of view. Not so fortunate, because I had, and still have, an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s, which is thyroid disease. I had a really bad case of it. I was editing a magazine, Cosmopolitan, and felt very unwell for adrenal issues, all of that kind of stuff, and soon wound up not being able to walk or work for nine months, and this is before, between Cosmopolitan and before hosting Master Chef, so it’s in that sort of this wasteland period.

And, you know, doctors had told me, and naturopaths and so on, “Look, you should probably try to quit sugar, you know, blood sugar issues are really bad when you’ve got, you know, sort of hormone issues.” So I gave it a go, and I was really resistant to it, but eventually, yes, all these factors coincided, and I thought, “I’d better do this. I’ve really got to do it.”

So, I set out to do it, as you’ll remember, a blog post and also a column for one of the newspaper magazines, which gave me a great reason to go and do it, and I certainly, that certainly helped, but I decided to do it just for two weeks. I didn’t want to commit too heavily, because I was petrified of the idea of it, and so I thought, “Two weeks. We’ll just give it a go, and we’ll see if it works.”

I felt much better even after two weeks. I had incredible results. I’m sounding like I’m about to sell you some steak knives, but I literally, my skin was the first thing to change, and that’s what most people who have done the program report is that their skin changes. So my skin suddenly just softened. Both wrinkles and pimples just kind of backed off, and my vanity, I suppose, meant that I was willing to keep going and going. That’s how I’m here today: I just kept going and going.

It turned into some e-books, as you know, and then a publisher approached me. It turned into some print books and now, of course, an online program and a business with fifteen staff and on it goes.

Stuart Cooke: Wow.

Guy Lawrence: Did you find it hard at the time? Like, you see people falling off the bandwagon when they…

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: They go around, “I’m cutting out sugar!” And then three days later they’re getting a headache and they’re XXgnawing on it all over?XX [0:05:42] again. Did you? No problem?

Sarah Wilson: Well, I found it harder than most people do, because of the autoimmune disease. The thing about Hashimoto’s is that blood sugar, well, there’s two things. Your thyroid can affect blood sugar and insulin levels and then, obviously, blood sugar spikes and then insulin levels then destroy the thyroid. So I was in this vicious cycle, it made it very difficult to quit sugar. So anyone with an autoimmune disease, particular thyroid disease, if you’re having a hard time quitting sugar it’s normal.

It puts me in good stead, because if I can do it, you know, anyone can do it. So I had a really tough time with it, but what I did was I researched it very, very heavily. I’m a bit of a science nerd, and I went out there, and I know you guys have done the same thing, I looked into all the science, and as a journalist I got access to the big voices in this kind of realm, and I was able to meet them and do an interview with them and ask them the questions that, you know, everybody else was asking me on the blog.

So; and I continue to do that today. So that helped me develop a kind of a way of doing it that was less painful than it needed to be, and, of course, as you guys know, the trick, if I was to boil it down to something, is replacing sugar with fat, like, so that I turned my body into a sugar-guzzling machine to a stable fat and protein and real food burning machine, which is a much even energy kind of fire.

So that’s essentially what I did, and so it was a gradual process, and my eight-week program is eight weeks because I researched that that was how long it took, but I also do it in a way, as I said, that I gradually replace things, and I gradually morph your body so that your metabolism recalibrates.

You go cold turkey, it recalibrates and you come out the other end being kind of sensible about sugar. You know what I mean?

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Sarah Wilson: I mean, you can actually have a little bit from time to time.

Guy Lawrence: Absolutely, yeah.

Sarah Wilson: I’m not somebody that says, “Never eat it again.” Because I just think that that’s, like, asking for trouble. That’s the whole premise of the diet industry, the idea that you stop yourself consistently. You restrain yourself. That doesn’t work. We’re humans. We want to reach out and touch things and try things. Like, once my body recalibrated, I didn’t have that visceral need, you know?

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, that’s right. It wasn’t that burning craving.

Sarah Wilson: I’m actually cool about it now.

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.

Sarah Wilson: Yeah, exactly.

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Stuart Cooke: I’m intrigued as to whether you have any more health transformations that you may have witnessed around quitting sugar. You know, aside of, kind of, weight loss.

Sarah Wilson: Yeah, well from my point of view, I’m probably the best example, because I prefer to work from an N equals 1 perspective in many ways, and I want everybody to work from that perspective, that is, use their own body as an experiment to see if it works for you. So, from my point of view, I’ve reduced my medication from the highest dosage of Thyroxine down to the minimum dosage, and I cut that in half, so I have half of that every day. My thyroid antibodies are back in an absolute normal range. I’ve got no inflammation.

I have bad days probably once a week where I’m inflamed and I’m hurting and it’s generally I know what it is. It’ll be something that I’ve done, you know, like I’ve overdone it one sugar. I’ve overdone it on alcohol. You know, when I say I’ve overdone it, I’m talking two glasses instead of one glass.

Stuart Cooke: Couple of glasses…

Sarah Wilson: Yeah, yeah, and the main thing is lack of sleep or stress. If I’ve really been pushing it really hard, you know, traveling and, or that kind of thing. So I used to have six days a week where I was like that, now I have one day a week where I’m like that. So, I also now menstruate again, so I didn’t menstruate for five years, and about six months ago my period came back, so for me, I actually think, and for any woman I think it’s the best kind of, you know, canary down a mineshaft, you know, sort of thing. It really does tell you that things are back on track. That’s been a really big thing for me.

Guy Lawrence: I think, as well, with what you’re highlighting, as well, it just goes to show, right, that, you know, by quitting sugar it’s a lifelong journey, and the fact that your health is still improving over time and everything’s coming back into working order, like, and it’s, you know, like you said, you’ve been doing this for four years, would it be?

Sarah Wilson: Yeah, four years. It’s a little under four years. It’ll be four years in January. But, yeah, the point I often make to people is that you’re not going to cure an autoimmune disease and, in fact, most diseases aren’t curable. They’re manageable. You modulate and you manage, and, for me, it keeps me honest.

So, without my disease I wouldn’t know when I’m on the right track, to be honest, because I kind of bludgeon my way through things. I’ve got lots of energy or, at least, you know, at sort of, at the core of me, the ability to go do things, and I’ll push myself too hard, and I’ll do the wrong things, and it is my disease that brings me back into myself and gets me real again, and keeps me well in a broader sense.

So, you know, it’s not something I’m going to cure. It’s something I’m going to manage. That’s something I really want to impress upon people, but back to your question, Stuart, just other stories, I’ll tell you a couple of areas that I still get a lot of feedback on.

Obviously weight loss and, you know, some people, most people basically, I don’t focus on weight loss, but what happens is that when you XXaudio problemXX [0:11:00] your appetite mechanism and your appetite hormones, which is what happens when you go from being a sugar-burning machine to more of a fat-burning machine, your appetite kicks back into gear, you just start eating what your body needs, right?

So then your body goes into the right space, the right weight, and for some people that means losing no weight. Some people it means losing the visceral fat, but not the rest of the fat. Other people it means putting on weight and for most people it does mean losing weight, and so we have people who have lost, I think the most is 48 kilos across eighteen months, which I find far healthier. And that’s just from cutting out sugar and then of course it does escalate because not only are you cutting out sugar, you cut out processed food, don’t you? Because when you quit sugar, you quit processed food, but you also have more energy so then you start exercising, and so it does all speed up a little bit.
So, you know, I’d be lying if I said it was all to do with sugar, but it’s all the repercussions of quitting sugar. Some other areas that I’m getting some really lovely feedback on is PCOS, so Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, and I have met so many young women who have been told they’re never going to have children, who’ve had real problems with their period, and they’ve quit sugar and what do you know, six months later they’re pregnant. You know?

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Sarah Wilson: And this has happened time and time again and, of course, those people do come out of the woodwork. I’m doing an event somewhere, they take the time and care to come meet me and show me their baby and that kind of thing, but the stories are out there is, I guess, the point there.

The other thing I’m getting a lot of, a lot lately, actually, is middle-aged men and older men, many men in their 60s predominantly, who have quit sugar mostly because their daughter or their wife has told them they had to.

Stuart Cooke: That’d be right.

Sarah Wilson: Yeah, yeah. They’ve done it and, generally, because, not because I pointed it out to them. They’ve watched a documentary, generally, where it’s a middle-aged man telling them all about it, but they’ve swung around to it, tried out my program and lost some weight, but then XXobviously?XX [0:12:59] have come off their cholesterol medication because they’ve basically got rid of all their cholesterol problems.

Which is funny, because you guys know the deal, I promote eating saturated fat and, what do you know, eat more saturated fat, eat less sugar, your cholesterol sorts itself out. So, that’s a really big one, is the cholesterol thing, and what I like about that is that it’s generally the most skeptical part of the demographic, do you know what I mean? Report these results.

Guy Lawrence: Absolutely, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, I changed my father’s diet on the basis of a telephone call and realized he was on statin drugs and also drugs for type 2 diabetes, and so I asked him to keep a food diary for a couple of weeks and realized that the foods, the very foods that he was being advised to eat, were shocking.

Sarah Wilson: Yeah. Margarine.

Guy Lawrence: Oh, yeah!

Stuart Cooke: That was in there. That was one of them. So, I sent him back a few thoughts and ideas, and I wrote a meal plan, and he ran that for a month and went back to the doctors, and they said, “You have improved out of sight. We’re going to take you off your meds.”

Sarah Wilson: “What happened?”

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, exactly, “What are you doing?” And he said, “Well, I’m doing this,” and the doctor said, “Well, keep doing it. It’s working for you.”

Sarah Wilson: That’s what I’m getting feedback on, as well, is that doctors who have been skeptical and, “God, something’s going on here.” And, you know, again, I sound like I’m about to sell steak knives at the end, but the thing that I can say is that I was skeptical that just changing your diet could actually have such a big impact in what is a relatively short period of time.

Now, you know, you can, I mean, I’ve heard of, yeah, things being reversed in a couple of weeks and, you know, the aim shouldn’t emphasize being about reversing or coming off medication, that’s not the aim. The aim is just wellness in general and getting back to good, sound eating patterns that are sustainable. So, and then you’re body works itself out, but our bodies are desperate to work themselves out.

And if it’s food, bad food choices that are holding us back, often it’s a really simple equation, you know? It’s a simple solution. Sorry, all good. So, one of the most wonderful things is, you know, food can actually make a difference, and so many consumers of health and food products are feeling powerless at the moment, but you know that you can actually make these simple changes and actually do something about it without the government guidelines, without some big new drug, you know?

I think it’s one of those empowering things we can do.

Guy Lawrence: Do you think this message will ever go truly mainstream?

Sarah Wilson: Yeah, I don’t know that it’ll happen soon. I think it’s going to speed up very, very quickly, because social media allows us to expose Big Food’s sticky fingers in the pie, and that’s the biggest hindrance is without a doubt Big Food, because that’s controlling what’s happening at a government level. It’s controlling what’s happening with the marketing of food, but it’s also controlling the availability of the foods and so on. So, I think that’s probably the biggest thing.

But what’s happening is that consumers, as we were just saying, are essentially empowered, and they can do something about this themselves, you know? So, it is speeding up. People are getting more and more informed. Online communities are making all this information accessible. The science is rolling in to back what we’ve been talking about for the last four years. It’s uncanny, you know?

Just the other day, you know, what was it? The WHO regulations, for instance, have come out with exactly the same kind of prescription as I’ve been saying for the last four years. Now obviously they’re drawing on the same science I was drawing on, but they’re now confirming that that science is sound, you know?

Stuart Cooke: Interesting.

Sarah Wilson: And, you know, I think, you know, the fasting thing, you know, backing, I mean, allowing time between meals, not snacking all the time, snacking being part of the sugar industry’s message, that’s just rolled out, you know, sort of, last week, you know, this new science showing that fasting between meals and not having five, six meals a day is the way to go.

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So, I think the science is catching up and media is getting on board. Not so much in Australia. Australian media is still very skeptical, but in the US and the UK, they are totally on board with this. Particularly the UK.

So, you know, they’re looking for these positive messages on the side of the consumer.

Stuart Cooke: Have you experienced any resistance or a great deal of resistance for the IQS message?

Sarah Wilson: Yeah…not a great deal and I think it’s because of the way that I try to deliver the information. I don’t get Draconian. I try to be inclusive and, also, I’m a bit of a bitch in this sort of area in terms of media and getting slapped around and so on, and some of your listeners might be aware of the opinion pages in the Herald Sun in Melbourne, Andrew Bolt. I used to share a page with him, you know? Writing opinions and that was at a young age. This was, you know, fifteen years ago, and so I’ve been kind of doing this kind of thing writing about stuff, poking my head up, for a long time.

And so I really do believe that the best way to go about this kind of stuff is to be the message, and so I just be my message. I live my life. I give out the N equals 1 thing, you know, here I am being a guinea pig, trying things out, and if you’re interested join me on the ride. I think, yes, unfortunately the most resistance I get, apart from; literally there’s only really one troll that I have, and if I mentioned his name I’m sure you guys would know him well, because he does the rounds… I can tell by your laugh that you know who I’m talking about.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Sarah Wilson: Let’s call him DD.

Stuart Cooke: Okay.

Sarah Wilson: Unfortunately, the most resistance is from dieticians, and I get it. They’ve got turf that they are feeling quite protective about. They’ve studied extensively and, you know…

Stuart Cooke: Oh, okay, you’re back. Sorry. I don’t know…

Sarah Wilson: I don’t know what happened there.

Stuart Cooke: Must have been the troll.

Sarah Wilson: That’s right. That’s right. Anyway, as I was saying, I’ve XXtold the dieticiansXX [0:19:31] and where they’re at, and I think that my end, at the moment, is to kind of find a common ground, because I think this issue is too important to have, you know, wars on Facebook and to have slinging matches. I’m not into that. I’m really not into it, and so I made a decision just recently that, you know, that’s not the way XXI’m getting paidXX [0:19:50] It’s not what I’m going to engage with, and I would rather be more inclusive, so I reckon that will probably turn out well, but, yes, I’ve had some interesting phone calls from some soft drink manufacturers wanting to meet up with me, you know, to hear about their latest campaign and so on.

So, a few things like that, but no, I don’t XXcop itXX [0:20:12] very harshly at all, and I think it is because I choose to ignore it.

Stuart Cooke: I think so, yeah. The way you deliver it as well. It has to be, it’s, I guess from the very essence of I Quit Sugar rather than You Must Quit Sugar.

Sarah Wilson: Exactly! Right, thank you for pointing that out, yeah.

Guy Lawrence: Can you tell us about your school canteens campaign that you’ve got going on at the moment?

Sarah Wilson: Yeah, yeah. Well, it’s basically, in a nutshell, we’ve got a situation in Australia where all the states and territories have slightly different laws but they’re much the same, and they’re out of step with the Australian dietary guidelines, which is an absolutely ridiculous state of affairs.

So, the Australian dietary guidelines last year changed, as you guys would know, to basically frame sugar in the same light as salt, alcohol, and, let me see, saturated fat, which is something to be limited. The school canteen guidelines have, however, not been updated for eleven years, and so you’ve got this scenario where you’re allowed as much sugar as you want in school canteen menus.

So, we’ve got this situation where full cream, you know, plain milk is given an amber light and in a lot of schools they just don’t even allow full-cream dairy, right? They just don’t allow full-cream version. So, plain, healthy full-cream milk they don’t allow it. While on the other hand, low-fat, sweetened strawberry milk has a green lighting, because of the fact that sugar is totally ignored in these guidelines.

We also have a scenario where Kellogg’s Cocoa Pop liquid breakfast, which by the way, doesn’t have anything resembling a Cocoa Pop in it’s just a whole heap of sugar and inulin, which is, of course, a sugar, and I think it’s something like 30 percent sugar, it’s allowed into canteens. It’s got an amber rating. Paddle Pops. Amber.

You also have Tiny Teddies. So, Tiny Teddies, if you eat eight biscuits, you know, chocolate covered Tiny Teddies, absolutely fine. However, if you go nine, it becomes a red-rated food, which just means that parents and canteen managers and teachers just have absolutely no idea what’s going on.

So it’s an absolute XXshnozzelXX [0:22:33] and all we’re doing is we’re simply saying the canteen guidelines need to be updated. We need to know who’s in charge of these guidelines. We need to get a proper group of people on board who can actually create better guidelines and they need to be in line with the Australian dietary guidelines.

So, we’ve put together a campaign just to get 10,000 signatures. We’ve got two members of parliament who are raising it in parliament, XXgetting it all kind of actionedXX [0:22:59] We’re hoping it’ll change in New South Wales. We’re rolling it out in New South Wales and then we’ll expand it to the rest of Australia. So, we’re doing that.

At the same time, we’re trying to connect these amazing stories of canteens, I mean, we’re coming across canteens, for instance, this one in Canberra where there’s only 100 students, but each class takes turns cooking the food for the entire school that day.

Stuart Cooke: Wow.

Guy Lawrence: No way.

Sarah Wilson: Yeah, so that’s amazing. We’re coming…The Hunter Region north of Sydney is incredible. There’s a whole range of schools doing really, really clever projects along these lines. So, essentially, there are amazing stories of small communities taking over the school canteen.

Then, on the other hand, you’ve got canteens where, I’m not joking, they are so lacking in funding, their canteen is the size of a toilet, and they’ve got a deep fryer, a pie warmer, and a deep freezer, and they sell pies, dim sims, and Paddle Pops and that’s it. So, that’s happening around Australia and we’re hoping that we can connect the two kind of, you know, extremes and, hopefully, you know, we can use the community to help each other out.

Stuart Cooke: You’d almost want to point the finger, as well, at the companies that are manufacturing children’s foods. Like, when did a, when, when is a food, just a child’s food? Essentially, it’s party food.

Sarah Wilson: Yeah, I know. I know, if you just put lots of sugar in it, it becomes a children’s food. What’s worse, Stuart, and you’ve picked up on something here, is that, you know, manufacturers aren’t stupid. They’ve worked out that parents are feeling very guilty and unsure about what to feed their kids and so you’d probably go to a supermarket, and you’ll notice that there’s these logos on foods…

So, let’s get outside the canteen sphere, but just, you know, the sort of foods that parents put into the kids’ lunch boxes. You’ll notice that there’s always different random labels that, what, they’ve got ticks and things like that…

Stuart Cooke: That’s right.

Sarah Wilson: …that says it’s lunchbox approved and canteen approved. You know what? They’re not.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Who approved this?

Sarah Wilson: These companies completely make it up. You go onto the Arnott’s website and there’s an admission on there that, “We have come up with our own little logo, blah, blah, blah.” Who allowed them to do that? Well, you know, they’re allowed to because nobody’s policing this, and it’s just ridiculous. So, that’s another aspect of what we’ll be working on as well.

We’re exposing all of these things and, you know, when there’s 15 of me, I mean, I’ve got 15 staff that I think we need to replicate ourselves. We’ll just move on to these issues one by one by one.

Stuart Cooke: Perfect. So, so important. So, so, outside of your current petitioning, like, how can we get involved as parents. I mean, I’ve got three little girls, and we prep, you know, like mad men every week and weekdays cutting and chopping and preparing and bagging, but what can we do outside of…?

Sarah Wilson: Well, I think, I mean look, I think doing that, getting your kids involved in what you’re doing is a really, really important one because when kids are involved that they want to eat that they’re preparing, and I think, I think taking more time. I, we promote doing Sunday cook up. It’s really like a hobby and people really love it once they’re shown things to do.

That’s what I do. Every Sunday, because I’ve gone to the markets on Sunday, it’s usually Sunday by the time I kind of get round to sort of cooking up the veggies and preparing things, maybe making a few muffins and things like that, it’s just doing that and doping it with the kids. Taking the time. Instead of going to the shopping mall, take the time, it only needs to be an hour, to prepare things.

I think the other thing is, I would say, don’t demonize sugar with kids. Don’t even mention sugar. Do you know what I mean? So that it doesn’t have to be an issue. You just start putting good food in front of them.

In terms of getting involved with this campaign, I think the best idea is just to follow us at iquitsugar.com, because we’re regularly updating. On Facebook is where we’re kind of doing a lot about communications, and we’ll be updating everybody on when we move on to other states and territories. We’re sharing and we’re collating all the stories. So, if you’ve got feedback or ideas or whatever, you know, feel free to connect with us, because we are actually siphoning all the information together, and we’re passing it on to Ryan Parks, he’s the opposition member for, the opposition minister for education here in New South Wales , and, you know, a number of other parliamentarians. So we are sharing it around so that they’re getting the picture. So, yeah, that’s probably the other way just to getting involved.

Stuart Cooke: Okay. Great. Look forward to following the progress. That’s going to be fantastic.

Sarah Wilson: Well, thank you, yeah.

Stuart Cooke: So, we’ve got a few miscellaneous questions here, as well. Obviously, we’ve had heaps of questions from our followers, too. I’ve got a question about public scrutiny. I mean, you’re in the public eye. You’re out and about. How does your status affect you?

Sarah Wilson: What happens when I get sprung…eating a Krispy Kreme doughnut?

Stuart Cooke: Exactly.

Guy Lawrence: yes.

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Sarah Wilson: Well, I’m really just transparent about things, because if I lived to try and just sort of, you know, look glowy-skinned all the time and, you know, like I do in the photos where I’ve had hair and makeup done and good lighting hen I’d be pretty miserable and a boring person to be around, and I’d probably never leave the house quite frankly, just because I’d be too busy applying mascara, but I, well, you know what my big thing is be your message.

My message is is to be just really authentic. I eat sugar. I eat dark chocolate, you know? I, you know, I love dark chocolate. I eat fruit. I’ll try a bit of birthday cake. I’ll have a little sliver if it’s somebody’s birthday and it’s a special occasion, but I can stop myself after a very small sliver and I, you know, I’m really not fussed by it. So, that side of things I just think I’m better off showing people that I’m kind of cool with it all. I’ve never been put up or, you know, questioned on it, because I think, again, if you live out that message of just being cool with it then everyone just goes, “Oh, it’s not a big deal.” You know?

And, in terms of just, let me see, I don’t recall that much scrutiny. I don’t know whether I’ve got blinkers on, but I just go about my own thing. Yeah. I get stopped on the street a lot, especially these days because of Instagram and Instagram is just going great. I think people are used to seeing me not wearing the makeup and things and generally wearing my green shorts out hiking. I’ll be in the bizzarest place and, you know, and someone will come up, “Are you Sarah…?” And then people want to tell me about their health complaints or whatever it might be and ask, and drill me on whether they’re allowed to eat this or that.

And, look, my staff, kind of, “God, how do you deal with that side of things?” But you know what? I actually think it’s one of the best sides of it. It’s, you know, it’s real. It’s grass roots, and this is where people’s concerns are. It’s in the minutiae. This is what life’s about, you know? Our grandmothers used to talk aver the back fence, and I share things in such a way where I think people do feel that they’re able to come up and share their story and, you know, social media has been very good to me, and so I, you know, paying it back in a way.

Guy Lawrence: It’s a very powerful way. Yeah. Absolutely.

Stuart Cooke: It’s the virtual back fence, I think.

Sarah Wilson: yeah. Exactly.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Sarah Wilson: So, look, it’s not a bad price to pay for this sort of built up a following and whatever. No, it’s, I don’t care about, I guess, I’m 40 and I don’t care about public scrutiny. I got over that. It’s one of the great things about getting older, and I love what I do, and I believe in what I do. That sounds very Pollyanna-ish, but I can honestly say that it’s got a big part to do with the fact that I don’t get upset by, you know, what people said or rumours or anything like that.

Guy Lawrence: I’ve got a question for you, as well, Sarah, about, you know, you’re very, clearly you’re very busy, you know, like you say. I see you on social media everywhere, like, you’re here, there, and you know, you’re in Melbourne and you’re out doing whatever. How do you handle the stress of it all? Like, you know, because you’re running a big company, as well, you know. You’re dealing with your Hashimoto’s and so, outside of a diet, is there any other things that you do to aid that?

Sarah Wilson: Yeah. I do. There’s a few things. You’ve got to create your own boundaries, especially when you work online and when you work for yourself, and that’s something that I talk about a lot is you’ve just got to get really fair with our own boundaries. As much as I would love to just work 24/7, and I have that natural tendency to do that, I pull myself back.

I have one day off a week in addition to the weekends. I have the weekends so that I’m around family and friends when they’re having time off, and I have a day off. Usually a Thursday where I catch up on things, you know? I also take a deep breath and so some days it’s just resting, because sometimes my thyroid will just go, “All right. It’s Thursday. We’re allowed to collapse now.” Or I’ll just do reading, you know? It’s when I do all my deep reading.

Away from the office, I’ll go to the beach, or I’ll, you know, I’ll sit up high on the couch in the sun, and I’ll just get through a whole heap of reading and deep thinking. That’s something I do. I meditate. That’s absolutely…

Guy Lawrence: I was just about to ask that, actually, “Do you meditate?”

Sarah Wilson: I do. I meditate. I try to do it twice a day. It’s generally once a day. I do it after exercise. I have a very, let me see, a strong morning routine, and that’s really key. So, no matter how I’m feeling, I always get up and I do exercise straight away. So, I don’t muck around. There’s no fretting about with finding my drink bottle and my perfect gym gear. I just get out the door and, you know, I’ll swim. I’ll mix it up. Swim, yoga, a bit of weights, but I only sort of, you know, I do, I don’t know, 14 to 18 laps. I walk to and from the pool, and I walk to and from work or ride. So I do exercise every day. It’s in the morning.

Then I meditate. Try to do it in sun, outside, just to get that vitamin D, and it’s just kind of getting a grounding to my day so that I feel like I own a part of myself in my day. That’s really, really important. And then I’m going through my day mindfully. I make much better decisions. I hire good staff, as a result. I communicate with my staff in such a way that it’s efficient. Not always, you know. This is the aim.

And I say no to a lot of things that just don’t feel right, and also, I’ve learned to listen to my gut. I was always so head orientated. Everything was about working out, you know, those decisions, and I think one of the things about quitting sugar is you get really clear on your priorities and your sense of self and that’s really aided me, both from a health perspective, but also from a business perspective.

So, yeah, I try not to think about it too much. I think, you know, nobody’s ever going to find perfect balance, so I’ve given up on that, and what I do, oh, the other thing I do is I go away on weekends. I try to get out into the bush. That’s my big…

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, fantastic.

Sarah Wilson: So you probably noticed that I’m always out there XXclackingXX [0:33:55]

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, I think I saw something on Instagram flying though the other day that you’re out and about.

Sarah Wilson: Yeah, yeah. About every second weekend, I’ll go for a hike somewhere and, you know, it’ll be for an hour or it’ll be for five hours. I just, it’s just about being in dirt and getting a rhythm going and my thoughts just cascade and I daydream and, you know, that kind of thing is just…It’s great that I’ve learned that that is what works for me, You know? And I think it works for a lot of people to be honest. Getting out in nature.

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Guy Lawrence: Oh, definitely, yeah, especially when you’re working in such a creative environment like yourself, as well, really feeds that. Massively.

Stuart Cooke: It sounds very much like your lifestyle, Guy, while I’m here beavering away on the business.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. I would never do that to you, Stu. I am always physically working the same time you do, mate. I promise.

Stuart Cooke: What a lie. I’ve got a question. I’m going to apologize before I ask it, but what have you eaten today? I’m sorry again.

Sarah Wilson: That’s a good question. I always ask people that, too. It’s a good one. Okay, prepare yourselves. All right. I was going to say that I’m holier than thou, because at the moment I am making recipes for my next cookbook, so this morning I had a number of gelatin gummy things, strawberry and rosemary flavored. So I had those, and I also had, ah, you’ll like this. I had one of your little protein bar things.

Guy Lawrence: Oh, did you?

Sarah Wilson: Yeah, and I’m not just saying that. I actually did, because they’re in my desk at the moment to try, and so I had one of those. That was my breakfast, but generally it’s a bit more, it’s more robust in the sense that it’s like I’ll have some eggs and some vegetables, generally.

Black coffee. I’m a bit addicted to coffee at the moment. I’m just allowing that to slide for a bit, you know? I’ll get off it soon, but for now it’s just something that I’m…

Guy Lawrence: I love coffee.

Sarah Wilson: I love it, too. And then lunch was, let me see…We have a wonderful kitchen here that I built in the office, and everyone cooks their lunch here, and we also share our food. We’ve all got, you know, communal XXhalloumiXX [0:36:10], communal eggs, and communal kale. We’ve got a veggie garden on the roof.

So I had just stir-fried in some coconut oil, you know, sautéed, beans, snow peas…I had some mustard greens. tomato, avocado, some of my liver that I’ve made for my next cookbook, and I actually warmed that through it, and it’s something so rich and so paleo. It’s just making me cringe. And then I put on top of it some special kimchi that I’ve made as well, mixed that through it, and then I had a, also, a polenta muffin that one of the girls made in the office with that. So that was lunch.

Stuart Cooke: Okay, well you’re certainly not on a diet.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Sarah Wilson: No, I’ve never been able to do restrictive eating of any kind.

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. It’s the best way. We got, actually, we got to, just to wrap up on a couple of Facebook questions we’ve put out with Facebook, and the first one leads into this. It’s from XXCarrie Ann CaldwellXX [0:37:15] “What are the correct portion sizes for foods that we can still gain all the nutrition required from it? It can be easy to overeat on a healthy diet due to not knowing this.”

Sarah Wilson: Okay. Yeah. I get asked this a little bit, so we put together obviously menu plans and also write recipes for a living, so the way that I work and it works out really well, because we get a dietician to actually break down our meal plans and make sure they’re nutritionally sound and they’re within the guidelines. I firstly work with vegetables so, you know, as Michael Pollan says, “Eat food. Mostly plants.” So I work from vegetables, green vegetables, outwards, so I try to get six to seven serves of veggies. Personally, I try to get even more than that, but seven or eight serves of veggies a day. On the meal plans it says six or seven, so it’s more than the Australian dietary guidelines.

So that means eating vegetables at breakfast, which I find really easy to do, because I’m not eating huge amounts of sugary carbohydrates. Then you’ve got to eat something else, don’t you? So, you know, spinach, frozen peas, you know, some eggs. That kind of thing.
So I work from that framework and then I insert protein at every meal, so usually meat once a day, sometimes twice a day, but not huge quantities, so right about 150 grams, and it’s about the size of your palm is what you should be working to. I often, sometimes I just use meat for the flavoring, so use, you know, beef broth or bacon or something like that just to get the meat flavoring there. You don’t need it every meal, but I will put some sort of protein: eggs, cheese, I use some legumes, but I’m a bit funny about it unless they’re prepared properly I don’t do it from a tin, I try to do it myself for that reason. I do them in bulk, have them in my freezer XX?XX [0:39:12]

And then add fat. Always add fat, because all those leafy greens and the protein that you’re eating are fat soluble only, so vitamins A, E, K, and D, and all of the enzymes in meat need fat for you to actually benefit from it, so I put a good, in my mind, I go, “All right, a tablespoon of fat.” So it’ll come from olive oil. It’ll come from butter. It’ll come from cheese or avocado, and I just make sure that that’s I the mix.

And, so, yeah, that’s just my formula. I mix up, sort of, red meat and a bit of fish and a bit of chicken, yeah.

Guy Lawrence: That will definitely answer her question. Stu?

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, so, found on Facebook from XXDepar Gopinith [0:39:58] “How do you keep yourself from completely falling off the wagon after you completed the eight-week program?” And I just wanted to expand a little bit on the wagon, when does the wagon not become the wagon anymore? I, when do you stop craving these foods and start looking at them more like cat food?

Sarah Wilson: I don’t think you ever start looking at the cat food, because I think, you know, we’re programmed to see sugary food as a treat, as nurturing, smelling great, all that kind of thing, so no, that never happens and I said before when it comes to illness you manage it, and so for me, look, I don’t like to term things in terms of coming off or on the wagon. You see so you come off sugar and it basically gives you the experience of life without sugar.

Now at the end of eight weeks you can then choose what you want to do next, and my advice is to really listen to your body because your body is in a great space where it can actually tell you what it needs. Now, if say, two months down the track, you know, you eat a bit of sugar, and then you eat a bit more, because it is addictive, and you start eating more and more, and you’re back at square one.

Well, first of all, I’ll say you’re not back to square one, because you can’t unlearn this stuff. You’re always going to think twice before you have a juice, right? You’re never going back to drinking apple juice again when you know it’s nine teaspoons of sugar and, you know, of course there’s other things we turn to in moments of weakness, muffins and whatever it might be, chocolate. So what I try to say is just, is once you find yourself slipping like that, you don’t have to do a big XX?XX [0:41:34] again. You don’t have to go back to the beginning. Our bodies detox best with real food, so just commit. The next day and this is to eating, not the next day, your next meal, eating a good proper meal, so it’s not about dieting or starting diet and it’s all got to begin again, it’s just starting with good food again.

So, that’s what I do. I have moments where my hormones are playing up and I’m craving all of that kind of thing, and I might eat a couple pieces too many of my dark chocolate, you know? What I’ll do is that night I’ll have a really good meal, and I have my go-to meal is a pork chop, steamed veggies with heated olive oil, and even if I’m traveling, because often these things happen when I’m traveling because I’ve been out of whack, I’ll just go to a bar or a pub or a whatever and you can generally find some grill meat, steamed veggies and lots of olive oil, recalibrates me. I’m sorted. I feel completely balanced again, so that’s my trick.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, fantastic.

Stuart Cooke: That’s awesome.

Guy Lawrence: That’s awesome. I think the only question we’ve got left here, Sarah, is we’ve got a question that we ask everyone on our podcast every week, and I don’t know if you got it, but it’s what’s the best single piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Sarah Wilson: Okay, well, can I give two?

Stuart Cooke: Oh, yeah, sure.

Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.

Sarah Wilson: One is more of a XXlifestyle?XX [0:42:57] and one’s a food one. The food one would be just eat real food. That’s become our kind of mantra, and I know that Michael Pollan’s got a lot to do with that particular framework, and I just think that that’s what it comes down to. At the end of the day, just eat real food, and actually a girlfriend really introduced that to me back… I used to model back in caveman days, a long time ago, and there’s a girl who actually said to me, “You know what? if it’s nutritious, I put it in my mouth.”

And back then avocados we all thought they were bad for you because they’re full of fat, and she said, “Avocados are nutritious. I eat them.” And I was like, “Huh, okay, that makes sense.” And she and I still talk about that, actually. She’s a journalist as well.

The other one is something I picked up from mountain bike riding. One of you is into mountain bike riding?

Guy Lawrence: Stu.

Stuart Cooke: It’s me.

Sarah Wilson: I knew that, yeah. I used to do a lot of, kind of, you know, off road bit of racing and 24-hour and that kind of stuff, and I used to kind of marvel at the way that if there was a gap this big, ten centimeters big between two rocks my wheel would just go there. I didn’t have to think about it.

And so my koan mantra came out of that, and it’s, and I can’t remember who told me this, but I sort of now adopted it as my own. Where the mind goes the energy flows. If your mind goes to going between those two rocks, the wheel will just go there, and it’s the same with everything. If your mind goes to, you know, thinking about a certain thing, everything will start to flow there, and I guess I apply it to my business, I apply it to health, I apply it…

Stuart Cooke: We’re all at the mercy of Skype, I think.

Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.

Stuart Cooke: It’s all good.

Guy Lawrence: How about the mercy of XX?XX [0:44:45]

Sarah Wilson: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Exactly. So then just as a wrap up, I guess, what’s next for Sarah Wilson and where can we get more of Sarah Wilson?

Sarah Wilson: Okay, I don’t know if you want more of Sarah Wilson. Okay, at the moment I’m working on my third print book. It’s a bit of an extravaganza, but that might be out for some time. We’ve got our next online program with I Quit Sugar starting end of January. We do it then because nobody thinks about quitting sugar or anything until after Australia Day. So, if people want to join us on that, you can actually register already at our website. We’ve got a green smoothie cookbook that’s just come out, so anyone who’s wanting to move into that area…as you guys know, I advocate smoothies but not juices for reasons that I explain in the book.

And, look, we’re only doing a couple of things, obviously this canteen project is a really big one that is close to my heart, and we’re going to be doing a few more road shows. So stay tuned for that one, especially if you live in a regional town. We’re going to be doing some, sort of a competition where, you know, I’ll be going out to sort of a regional area and using it as a way for that area to maybe raise some funds for something that’s really important and food-related a bit.

As well as New Zealand, we’re heading to New Zealand, I hope fairly soon as well, because we’ve got a huge community over there. Those guys over there are just totally into all of this stuff, which is great.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Fantastic. Our wonderful neighbors.

Sarah Wilson: Yeah, yeah. I’m a big fan.

Guy Lawrence: Thank you so much for joining us, Sarah. That was just fantastic, and I’ve no doubt lots of people are going to benefit a lot from that conversation for sure.

Sarah Wilson: Thank you. Thank you very much for the time. I really appreciate it. I have enjoyed finally chatting to you guys.

Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.

Stuart Cooke: We’re out in the neighborhood, so…We’ve passed shoulders so many times. It’s great to say hi.

Sarah Wilson: And please drop into IQS headquarters anytime and come and have a cup of tea.

Guy Lawrence: Will do, will do.

Sarah Wilson: See you guys.

Guy Lawrence: Thanks a lot, Sarah.

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7 Exercise & Fat Burning Myths Exposed

exercise & fat burning myths

Guy: Working in the fitness industry for almost 10 years, I would get exposed to hundreds of people each week. It was during this time that I got to understand the public perception of the exercise and fitness world.

Being in the firing line every day I got to cut through the noise, confusion and misconceptions of it all and felt inspired to write this post. So if you find yourself practicing any of the below, maybe it’s time to rethink your strategy.

exercise myths sit ups1. Sit-ups Burn Belly Fat

I can’t tell you how many people would be doing sit-ups, medball twists and crunches because they wanted their stomach and obliques (side ab’s) flat and toned. I know many athletes and weightlifters that have abs popping without doing a single sit-up. Why is this you may ask? Drum roll please… It’s because they understand nutrition, reduce inflammation and work with fundamental exercises that activate the core. Crunches give you strong abdominals, the fat that sits on top of that is a whole different story. If this sounds a little foreign to you and you want to learn more, download our free eBook here.

exercise myths running weightloss2. Running for Weight Loss

It’s a common sight, people pounding the streets or spending hours on the treadmill with weight loss as their goal. At first glance this seems like the right thing to do, but the simple answer is this – if you are running for weight loss, your diet is wrong.

So with this golden nugget of information, the first place you should start is the kitchen. Don’t believe me? Watch this short clip with Professor of Exercise and Sports Science, Tim Noakes, as we ask him what he thinks about running for weight loss.

exercise myths weight lifting3. Lifting Weights Make You Bulky

This is the greatest fear with women but I would see it with men occasionally too who don’t want bulky thighs and giant biceps! If only it was that easy. Lifting weights is one of the best strategies for increasing metabolism, toning the body, steadying blood sugars and burning body fat. Did you know fat occupies 4 to 5 times more space than muscle? If you exchanged 5kg of body fat for 5kg of muscle you would reduce your body size and have a more toned definition. This is why weighing scales should only be used to weigh your suitcase when you are going on holidays. Learn more reasons why weights are awesome here.

exercise myths carb loading4. You Need to Carb Load

This is the strategy we are taught as fitness trainers and is even more applicable to endurance athletes. Ramp up those carb’s to get you through your workout. The short answer to this is that there are many studies showing that fat adapted athletes respond better than carb loaders. Carb’s are reduced and natural fats are increased with some of the benefits of delivering quicker recovery times, reduced inflammation, less injuries, steady long lasting energy and reduced excess body fat. If you want the more scientific answer, listen to our full interview with running legend Professor Tim Noakes here.

exercise myths overtraining5. Spend Hours in the Gym to Get Fit & Buff

There’s a big perception that more exercise means more results, whether it be muscle building or weight loss. That is so simplistic it’s not funny as there are so many variables at play. There really is a minimum effective dose when it comes to results, and with the multitude of factors in place like nutrition (yes that means eating real foods and avoiding marketing fads), intensity, variation, recovery periods, sleep, type of exercise etc, you must have a clear understanding of all of these to realise your own true potential. They say a six pack is made in the kitchen, and I tend to agree with this. If you understand and implement all the other factors you’ll be the envy of all your friends in half the time :)

exercise myths exercise machine6. The Single Best Exercise for Weight Loss

This kind of marketing drives me nuts. I’m all for educating people and simplifying things so it’s digestible and easier to understand, but TV and dodgy advertising tends to skew the message. I would get constantly asked what the best exercise for weight loss was, and my answer would always be the same… ‘do you want the fluffy chocolate covered strawberry answer, or do you want the facts? Sorry to tell you that there is no single best exercise for weight loss… But if you want just the straight facts then watch this short video (2 ½ mins) with us and Australian Institute of Kettlebells founder Dan Henderson.

exercise myths yoga7. Yoga is for Women, Vegan’s & Tree Huggers

Being a male yoga fan, I had to include this one as I swear some of my mates think that I’m the only guy (pun intended) in the class breathing through one nostril and visualising flowers. To all the guys out there who are reading this, get in there as you are missing out! Especially if you’re an athlete or take your sport seriously, as I’ve seen many of them greatly improve their flexibility and mobility. Personally I practice two to three times a week and mine has gone through the roof. Physically and mentally I’ve found this the perfect counter-balance to the intensive training I do and it compliments it perfectly. There is also magic to be found in a Yin style class (i’m addicted), and I would urge anyone with high workout routines to check them out too. Yoga’s popularity over the years has grown massively for a reason, so don’t let the ego get in the way ;) Watch this 2 min clip with ex army officer Duncan Peak why athletes benefit from yoga.

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Top 9 Most Shocking Nutritional Myths

nutritional lies

Guy: This could also have easily been my top twenty, but for the purpose of readability I’ve kept it to nine. Everything I’ve listed here, I had bought into growing up and thought I was living a normal ‘healthy’ lifestyle.

In my early twenties though, all the signs were starting to appear that my health wasn’t great; Massive energy swings each day, weight gain, fatigue, sinus issues, blood sugar problems to name a few. I was fed up and decided to do something about it.

I’ve adjusted my diet over the last eight years and being close to forty years old, I have never felt better! Whether you agree with the points I’ve listed or not is fine, but if you are not totally happy with your health, energy or weight then maybe it’s worth taking a look at. From my experience it worked for me and I’ve seen it time and time again with others; what you put in your mouth on a daily basis has a massive effect on your long term health.

food myths food pyramid1. Follow the Healthy Food Pyramid

Does anyone actually listen to this? If you listen to the pyramid then half your daily diet would be wheat, grains, rice, pasta, cereals (gluten) etc. Yet these foods will respond in your body just like sugar does and send your insulin sky high. This has serious long term negative effects. If I followed this protocol I would be fat and in danger of becoming a diabetic! And this is just the tip of the iceberg. They say if you turn the food pyramid upside down you would be better off. A little simplistic I know, but I tend to agree.

food myths obesity2. Obesity is From Overeating & Being Lazy

This one frustrates me, especially coming from a background as a fitness trainer. I’ve witnessed so many people struggling with their weight yet they are on a constant diet. It’s as if their life is one big diet but they keep stacking on the kilo’s. We hear of weight issues and obesity rates rising and the message remains the same - eat less and exercise more. I feel this is so simplistic and off the mark. Most people who’s weight or health is suffering are following the shockingly wrong nutritional guidelines I’ve listed here. By doing this, it will lead to low grade inflammation which causes a host of problems over time. Hormonal disfunction kicks in including insulin and leptin, thyroid issues to name a few. Then there are digestive issues with gut bacteria, candida and leaky gut with many studies showing how this hugely affects our body weight. The body is so complex we are forever learning about it, and biggest loser lifestyle with weight loss shakes and restricted calories is not the answer.

food myths low fat3. Eat a Low Fat Diet for Long Lasting Heart Health

Like so many people, I grew up avoiding fat as I had it drummed into me that too much fat will clog your arteries, cause heart disease and have you keeling over forty years young! This one makes me angry, as fat is seriously critical for amazing health, including brain function, energy and processing fat soluble vitamins A,D,E,K. For years now I have made sure I have an abundance of quality fats with every meal (note: not all fats are created equal). By doing this, every aspect of my health has improved. If you want to know more on fats, this is a great place to start Click Here.

food_myths artificial sweeteners4. Use Artificial Sweeteners Like Aspartame & Sucralose

Let’s pull out the sugar and use chemicals instead… who’s bright idea was this? Personally I seriously avoid this stuff! Found in many ‘diet’ soft drinks and even weight loss shakes along with so called ‘health foods’. Yet there’s much evidence now showing that this stuff ruins gut health which of course leads to a host of health issues including weight gain. Go figure!  The harsh reality is that it’s super cheap to produce, and with slick marketing there much profit to be had. (You can read more on this here)

food myths vegatable oils5. Use Industrial Vegetable Oils & Trans fats Instead of Saturated Fats

I avoid these at all costs. They go rancid easily and break down into free radicals when heated and many of them are hydrogenated and become unstable. I believe this damages cell function and causes inflammation. They are also high in omega 6, which most people over consume, when we actually need more omega 3’s which can be found in quality saturated fats. Amazingly processed vegetable oils can be found in most packaged high street supermarket foods. It might seem like a tiny amount on the ingredients label, but it quickly adds up! Remember this mantra and you can’t go to far wrong; #JERF… Just Eat Real Food.

food myths time magazine6. Saturated Fat Will Cause Heart Disease

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who grew up with a fat phobia, and it took me a while to get my head around the fact that the very thing I was avoiding was the thing that my body seriously needs. This has been a heated and contested area but I believe that saturated fat is critical for health and the brain. Even Time Magazine recently had a knob of butter on the front cover and announced they had got it wrong (yay!).  If you are worried about heart health and cholesterol, worry about man made fats along with foods that cause inflammation, which is what I have removed from my diet. I eat saturated fat every day. (Learn more here.)

food myths sugar7. We Need Sugar For Energy

I live a very active lifestyle and keep my sugar intake very low. As far as I’m concerned we are better off without it! Sugar is insidious and is found in almost all foods in commercial supermarkets. It also comes in many forms which can create a lot of confusion. It’s easy to say that this is an empty calorie and can be ‘burned off’, but this doesn’t take fructose into consideration, which is 50% of table sugar and comes with it’s own host of problems. From what I’ve seen, too much of the sweet stuff will definitely take it’s toll on health. I would seriously consider getting this stuff out of your diet. (learn more on fructose here)

food myths breakfast cereal8. Start the Day with ‘Healthy’ Breakfast Cereal

I Grew up on this stuff. But the reality is, no amount of mass media marketing will convince me breakfast cereals should be a staple in the human diet these days. Highly processed carbs that feed the appetite but not the body, with many loaded with sugar too! These will also be doing your blood sugar level no favours and you’ll be wondering why you’re hungry in an hour after eating it. If time is of the issue in the morning, make a simple 180 smoothie with 1/2 avocado, 180 Natural Protein Superfood, berries & ice. Giving you all the essentials fats, vitamins, minerals, proteins and fibrous carbs you need in one simple hit! Delicious.

food myths margarine9. Use Margarine Instead of Butter

It was someone’s bright idea to replace butter (which is rich in the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K and the minerals magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus and selenium, all essential for good health) with margarine.  The latter is made from refined vegetable oils (high in Omega 6 which cause inflammation in the body), which are neutralised, bleached, filtered and deodorised and turned into a spreadable forms by a chemical process called hydrogenation as they are not naturally solid at room temperature. It is also fortified with artificial colourings and flavourings. Does this sound right to you? Seriously, this stuff does not go in my body and it saddens me to see others eating this and thinking they are doing the right thing.

How Meditation Cured My Wolf of Wall Street Lifestyle

Tom Cronin

 

The above video is 3 minutes long.

Imagine living the lifestyle of Jordan Belfort of the Wolf of Wall Street… it would be no surprise if you didn’t last to long! That’s how our special guest for the show this week, Tom Cronin once lived. He openly shares with us how this lifestyle led to depression, anxiety and ill health whilst being told he can’t be cured and would need anti-depressants. Tom searched for other means and found meditation, and he hasn’t looked back since.

Tom Cronin Full Interview

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Tom Cronin is the founder of the Stillness Project. He has been teaching meditation for many years now and has inspired thousands of people all over the world as a teacher, author and keynote speaker to unlock peoples stillness and calm with meditation.

He has been featured on national TV in Australia, The Sydney Morning Herald, Huffington Post and Vogue magazine to name a few.

downloaditunesIn this episode we talk about:-

  • Yes, people out there live like Jordan Belfort did!
  • The one style of mediation that Tom now uses for effectiveness
  • What meditation is and where it originated
  • How to quieten a really busy mind
  • Why stress can be so damaging and how to overcome it
  • How to start a daily meditation practice when it feels all too hard
  • And much much more…

CLICK HERE for all Episodes of 180TV

Want to know more about Tom Cronin?

Enjoy the interview or got any questions for Tom or us? We’d love to hear them in the comments below… Guy

Transcription

Guy

Hey, this Guy of 180 Nutrition and welcome to the Health Sessions. You know, we cover a lot of subjects on our podcast, obviously, regarding health and most of it revolves around nutrition and a little bit about exercise. But one thing we’ve been keen to delve into as well is, obviously, the power of the mind and stress and how that can affect the body as well.
And so we’re very excited to have Tom Cronin on the show today talking about meditation, something that I grapple with a lot and it doesn’t come easy to me. So, we are very excited to have Tom on.

Now, Tom has been teaching meditation for many years. He’s inspired literally thousands and thousands of people all over the world as a meditational teacher and author and a keynote speaker. And he’s all about unlocking people’s stillness and calmness with meditation. He’s a fantastic guy, too.

He’s featured on the national TV for Australia, Sydney Morning Herald, Huffington Post, and Vogue magazine as well, to name a few.

Tom has an amazing story, too. He was a bonds trader in his early 20s and earning a massive amount of money and he said he’d compared his life very similar to the Wolf of Wall Street. So, you can only imagine he wasn’t going to last too long living that lifestyle. And, yes, he burnt out and then turned to meditation and has been teaching that for over 10 years.

So, I’m sure you’re going to get a massive amount out of this today, just as much as myself and Stu did.

If you are listening to this through iTunes, please leave a review. It takes two minutes to do. We know we’re reaching a lot of people out there, and, yeah, any feedback, fantastic. And the iTunes reviews help us get found easier and help us continue to get this good word out there of all the work we do. And, of course, come over to our website, 180Nutrition.com.au. We’ve got heaps of free stuff on there, too, and massive more amount of resources to help you get fitter and healthier every day. So, anyway, let’s go over to Tom, and enjoy the show. Awesome. Let’s get into it, hey?

Tom

Yeah, let’s do it!
Guy

So, I’m Guy Lawrence. I’m joined by Stuart Cooke, as always. Hey, Stewie.

Stuart

Hi.

Guy

And our awesome guest today is Mr. Tom Cronin. Tom, welcome.

Tom

Hey, everyone. Great to be here.

Guy

Fantastic. I’m very excited about this topic today. It absolutely fascinates me. But before we dig into the world of meditation, because I know Stewie’s keen on this one, too, can you share us your journey to what led you to being heavily involved in medication? Because it’s an awesome, inspiring story, I think.

Tom

Yeah. People seem to like this story. You know, the story started a long time ago, actually, when I was in finance. I started out as a broker when I was 19 years old and I just walked in off the street, basically, was looking for a job before I went to uni and didn’t really expect to be in finance at all.

I was gonna be a journalist, the Macquarie Uni, I had a few months to fill in before I went off to do my degree. And, you know, this was back in the late ’80s and the finance industry was booming. I was the old Gordon Gekko Wolf of Wall Street type. You know, you hear of Bonfire of the Vanities and Masters of the Universe and they were really expanding the bond market. And I took a job as a trainee.

It was crazy times, you know? I was on really big salaries really quickly. They gave us corporate expense accounts where we just basically were told, “Take clients out.” Which, our clients were the bankers. The traders. And our job was to basically entertain them and inspire them to do business with you. And our job was to XXclear their risk 0:03:41.000XX in the day and there was like a lot of turnover, you know, multiple millions and billions of dollars worth of bonds.

And I was young, you know, and we were just like young kids off the block doing crazy stuff. So, if anyone’s seen Wolf of Wall Street, the movie, it was literally like that. It was really, seriously like that. He started in 1987, the same year as me. He was 22. I was 19. We both started in 1987, and it was crazy times. We were doing crazy things.

And what happened with me successively over the years was I went further down that path of doing crazy stuff and getting way off track. And that let to symptoms.

Any time you start doing things that aren’t really aligned with natural law or aligned with harmony and peace, then you’re gonna get symptoms like the little red light on the dashboard. And I started getting insomnia and anxiety and then, you know, I kept doing the same thing over and over again. Eventually it really exacerbated into these full-blown panic attacks and depression.

And, again, I still didn’t stop. I was still doing the same thing. You know: doing some crazy stuff. I don’t want to go into too much detail. But, you know, let’s just say there was very little sleep, lots of late nights, and really high-energy work. And then that manifested further because, you know, the symptoms will just exacerbate if you don’t change tack.

And I kept doing the same thing and eventually I got agoraphobia. So, I couldn’t leave the house. I was just like ridiculous fear and panic and depression and I was a basket case.
I managed to get out of the house and down to the doctor’s, one day where I was having, like, a full-blown meltdown, and the doctor said, “Look. This is what’s happening. You need to take pharmaceuticals, we’ll send you to the top psychiatrist. And I went into the top psychiatrist and, to be honest with you, I wasn’t impressed. His diagnosis was, “Hey, you’re a stressful person by nature. We need to put you on antidepressants.”

I didn’t buy that. It was something in me. I didn’t know anything about what was happening to me, but I just didn’t buy that diagnosis. It was the most demoralizing thing I’d ever heard in my life, to be honest with you.

And I kind of was, like, sentenced to a lifetime of antidepressants. Now, I just didn’t feel like that was right. So, I started looking into alternatives. And, you know, I just knew I had to start doing something with my mind. And I knew some mind control was needed. So I looked into meditation. I didn’t know anything about meditation, but I just, back in those days, there was no internet. This was in 1996. And I had to get the big yellow pages book out, you know? We use these as door stoppers to stop the wind from shutting the front door.

So I’m going through the yellow pages looking for meditation. And I just rang all these different numbers. And went to different XX???? talks 0:06:11.000XX and different sessions and eventually I just found one that I really connected with. It was very science-based. It was very quick. Very powerful. Very effective.

So, that’s really what I did is I learned that technique of meditation. It was like a XXVedic meditation 0:06:25.000XX; transcendental meditation style. That’s what I’ve been teaching that same technique for the last many, many years now and practicing that technique for the last 18 years.

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Guy

Did you have to hit rock bottom before you started looking into alternative means? Like, is that a normal case scenario?

Tom

Only for stubborn, pig-headed people like myself. I’m a Scorpio so it’s my natural nature to be stubborn and pig-headed and, you know, most people ideally wouldn’t want to have to get to that point.

And, you know, we can get hints. We can get little hints, little guidance, from our body, from nature. Little messages come through each day. But, you know, for me, I was just ignoring them, that’s all. I was given those hints years before. And I could have done something different, but like Einstein’s definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over again expecting different a different result. And eventually I got insanity.

Stuart

Wow

Guy

Fantastic

Tom

But, you know, that was the best thing for me. I was the sort of guy who had to get really slapped in the face for me to listen.

Guy

But you knew they were warning signs at the time? So, you just, like, “Well, whatever.” Just brush it off?

Tom

I thought it was normal to lie in bed two hours before falling asleep and then wake up at 3 a.m. in the morning, wide awake, with insomnia. You know, I just lived with that for years.
Going home at 3, 4 in the morning, guys around me, colleagues, sleeping under the desk and wearing the same clothes the next day at work because they’ve been at a bar or nightclub; strip club, whatever, until 4 or 5 in the morning, going to work for two hours, XXsleeping 0:08:00.000XX, and start the day again. Well, that was normal for us.

Guy

That’s incredible.

Stuart

So, for everyone out there that isn’t completely familiar with meditation, what; how would you define meditation and where did it originate from?
Tom

That’s a good question. Where it originated from, we’ll start with that one. I mean, no one; it’s just so far back that no one really can definitively say. I mean, a lot of the origins are looking like India. I mean, to honest with you, I’m not an authority on the origins of meditation, but it looks like it has come from, you know, thousands and thousands of years ago. I mean, I’ve got texts like the Bagavad Gita was supposedly written somewhere around between 2000 B.C. and 5000 B.C. And they start the Bagavad Gita talking about, you know, ancient times. You know? That they were using these practices.

So, it could go back as far as 10,000 years. They would talk about enlightened ages and golden ages, XXaudio problem 0:09:03.000XX of enlightenment. Many, many thousands of years ago.

And, like quite often happens, knowledge gets lost. It gets diluted as it gets passed down. And so it eroded.

But, you know, that’s looking like the origins of this sort of style. And for meditation, it really can be so diverse. You know, I practice a particular style of meditation using mantras. And what I do is, to make things simple for people, I condense it down into four distinct categories.

And you’ve got concentration meditations where almost you’re putting mindfulness in this category, when you’re using your mind to concentrate, focus on one particular point. And it’s about honing that attention into one specific target, which might be a breath, it might be a third eye, it might be a candle. Whatever it is.

Then you’ve got the contemplation meditation. So, this is where you’ve got some guidance going on. You’ve got someone taking you through a sequence, someone talking to you, someone really in the background or some music in the background doing something for you; going through your chakras.

So, in the contemplation, you’re still engaged in the mind. The mind is still active. There’s still movement within the mind. There’s still fluctuations. And because of that, there’s still going to be fluctuations within the body and movements within the body.
And you’ve got chanting meditations, which are like chanting things out loud: XX“om dimashiba, om dimashiba, om dimashiba, hari hari om, hari hari om, hari hari om.” 0:10:30.000XX

Chanting meditations, they can be sort of bringing the attention down to a single point by saying something out loud. There’s still activity. You’re verbalizing something. You’re thinking something. There’s some movement. There’s some movement going on.

 

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Guy

Something that sprang to mind, it might seem like a big question: What’s the purpose of the outcome of meditations? It is simply to still the mind?

Tom

You know, it can come from so many different things. It can have so many different objectives. And it’s going to depend on each individual person. Someone might want to have a connection to God. I can have four people come to me on a weekend course and say, “I just want to get rid of anxiety.” One might say, “I just want to sleep better.”

One might say, “I want to experience my higher self.” One might say, “I want to dissolve my ego and become one with the field of the cosmos.” I can teach all four of them the same course, slightly skew the dialogue, and they will all get exactly what they were looking for.

Guy

There you go.

Tom

And you can have someone start with, take for me, personally, my example: I started wanting to get rid of anxiety and depression. So, there was a pain point I wanted to be removed. Like, a splinter is in my foot. I wanted to tend to that and get the point out.

But now, after 20 years, my purpose of meditation isn’t to get rid of anxiety/depression. That went after weeks. Now, why do I meditate? Why do I sit down each day to meditate? To me, it’s the experience, the oneness, the feeling of oneness to merge with that cosmos. To merge with that universality. To experience the ultimate essence and define my ultimate truth. And to remove the layers of illusion and ignorance.

Guy

There you go. That’s very different than just removing anxiety, isn’t it?
Do you think everybody should be meditating, Tom?

Tom

That’s a really good question. I think everyone would benefit from meditating, absolutely. I think the planet would be an incredibly different place if we all meditated. And that’s my goal. My inspiration is to inspire one billion people to meditate daily.
I know we’d have a lot less angst, a lot less suffering, a lot less fear, a lot less anger, if we were meditating. But I don’t believe in “shoulds” or “shouldn’ts.” It’s something that we need to find our own way.

Stuart

So, where would be the best place to start if you were completely new to the concept of meditation. What would I do? Where would I go?

Tom

Just give me a call.

Stuart

We’ll put your local number on the site.

Tom

Don’t do that! There’s so many different ways to start. You know, some people say, the technique that I teach, they think it’s an intense practice, because it’s all about transcending. And this is one of the four ones that I didn’t get to finish. There was the three categories that I gave you: concentration, contemplation, chanting. But the fourth one is the one I’ve been doing for 20 years, and it’s a very different practice. And it’s a transcending style meditation using mantras.

You know, these mantras are repeated internally, quietly inside your head. And the mantra is like the carrot in front of the donkey. It’s a very effective mechanism to still the mind because the natural soothing quality of that sound.

And once we understand the nature of the mind, you’ll understand why this meditation technique is a very effective style of meditating, because the mind is always looking for something that’s charming.

The mind is like a little kid, right? You put a little boy, 4 years old, in the corner and he will get bored very quickly. Because he’s looking for something to entertain him. He’s fascinated by things. He wants to explore. And so that will boy will get bored of sitting still and he will start to wander.

And that’s like the mind. It will get bored of sitting still and it will start to wander, because it’s looking for something charming, and thinking is an incredibly charming proposition for the mind.

But when we introduce a sound to repeat effortlessly over and over again, the mantra, the mind finds this really charming. It’s so fascinating. We call these bija mantras, b-i-j-a, and they’re seed mantras that take the mind away from the gross expressed state down into the subtler states. And the mind will do that because of the natural charming quality of those mantras.

And eventually the mind will transcend thought altogether. And when the mind transcends thought, that is the mind has now gone to a place where it’s conscious and awake, but there’s no more fluctuations of the mind.

And the reason the mind will go there and stay there is because it’s found the ultimate source of bliss and charm, and that’s what we call true consciousness.

Stuart

The chatter stops.

Tom

The chatter stops.

Guy

Is that like; I’ve read that it’s just like a muscle. Is it that like a daily practice thing that you have to do to get better at it?

Tom

No. No. I’ve had people start transcending in the first week. If you were doing concentration meditation, that is a muscle that you need to flex. That will require effort. When you’re lifting a weight, which is a good analogy, thanks for using that; when you’re lifting a weight, you need to develop a muscle so that you can lift that weight more easily. And the same thing with concentration is that you’re forcing something to do something that it doesn’t want to do. The mind does not want to stay still, and you need to use force and a concentration meditation to get that mind to do something that it’s not trained to do or doesn’t want to do. Just as lifting the weight is a force. It’s a friction.

But in transcending style meditations, we don’t use force, we don’t use effort, we don’t try. It’s actually the complete opposite. It’s a gentle idea that we entertain inside our mind. We’re happy to surrender that mantra at any given point in time, because when the mind gets close to transcendence, it will go, “I don’t need this mantra anymore. I found something even more entertaining than the repetition and sound, and that’s pure consciousness. It’s so beautiful. It’s so blissful. I’ll just be residing here in this nectar of oceanic awareness.”

 

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Stuart

“Well, I certainly want some of that.”
Well, that does sound very appealing.

Tom

Yeah. It’s; there’s this beautiful realm that people don’t know exists behind the mind. You know, I just had a group of people from all over the world: Colombia, Brazil, Canada, USA, England, Australia, on retreat in Maui. They’d never meditated before, most of these people. And they were immersing themselves in such mind-blowing richness and beauty and glory and magnificence. There were realms that they were accessing they never knew existed before. And that’s because we used a simple vehicle, which is the mantra, to get into that space.

Guy

Like, because you, Stu, you admitted yourself, you’ve got a very active mind, right?
Stuart Cooke: I have such a busy mind. Like, such a busy mind. It doesn’t switch off, you know. I can wake up at 3 o’clock in the morning and I feel like I’ve just come out of a board meeting. I’m wired, thinking about a billion things.

And, you know, I have given meditation a go. But, crikey, it’s like I’m sitting in a cinema and everyone’s talking at the same time. You know, I really, really, really struggle. And so, you know, where would I go, because I’m guessing you’ve probably dealt with a billion people like me.

Tom

Yeah. Again, it comes back to, you know, what do you want to experience? You can start with simple apps like, you know, there are some apps out there where you can do some guided meditations. But, for me, personally, you can fluff around at the edges, dither and dather for 12 months, 24 months, trying meditations that are gonna be really difficult and really challenging, you’ll not really feel like you’re getting anywhere.

Or you can cut straight to the chase and do the meditation that I suggest that everyone should be doing, and it’s probably the most popular meditation that’s spreading across the world. It’s the one Oprah does. It’s the one Hugh Jackman does. The one Ellen DeGeneres does. It’s the one I’ve been doing for 20 years.

Why have I been doing it for 20 years? Because I’ve done all the research, I’ve tried all the meditations, for me, personally, and it’s not for everyone. Some meditations are gonna be better for other people, but for me personally, and for the students I’ve taught, I’ve never seen better results than the technique I teach. And that’s a transcending style meditation using mantras.

Now, if you’re telling me, “Look, Tom, I want to go off into a monastery in the Himalayas for the next 15 years. I don’t want to have to talk to anyone. I don’t want to be successful. I don’t want to have to have a girlfriend. I don’t want to have a mortgage. I don’t want to be dynamic. What do you suggest I do?” I’d say, “Don’t do my meditation.”

Because when you do this meditation, you will be so; you will start to become so successful and so drawn to doing amazing things in the world. This is an integrative meditation practice. You’ll get creative impulses that will blow you away where you’re, like, “God, I just can’t believe I had that idea. I’ve got to go and do something about that.” Whereas the renunciant concentration meditations are much more conducive to concentration meditations and much more conducive to that.

I just want to be; I want solitude. I want stillness. I want silence. I want to recluse from the world. And there’s something really beautiful about that practice. I don’t think it’s for you right now, personally, but if you wanted to do that, I would recommend a concentration meditation.

Stuart

Yeah, right.

Tom

And so it really depends what you want out of life, where you want to go, what you’re trying to achieve. If you want to dissolve stress, trying to sit in a chair and focus on your chakras, it’s going to be really hard work. With that said, focusing on your chakras is a really good meditation. But if you want to remove stress, you need to get deep levels of rest where your mind has become still, and metabolically your body’s dropped into a state of rest that’s equivalent to four times deeper than sleep. Then you need to do the transcending style meditations; the ones I teach.

Guy

You’d better do it, Stu.

Stuart

Well, I’m sold. Crikey.

Guy

You quickly mentioned chakras as well. Can you explain what that term means?

Tom

Yeah. I mean, we have many, many chakras through the body but we have seven main chakras. You’ve got your third eye, your throat, your crown chakra, your heart chakra, solar plexus. In every chakra, and then your base chakra. And so we’ve got all these different points, I guess, energy points, that are through our body and certain practices of meditation are about putting your attention on those energy points and clearing that point and seeing that it’s awakened.

In our world that we’re in in Sydney here and Western lifestyle, we’re quite dominant in our base chakra. So, the base chakra is all about survival, it’s about procreation, it’s about money. And that’s why we have a very grounded base chakra based, sort of focusing on XXtech? Tax? (audio glitch) 0:21:17.000XX and money so much in our lives. Whereas things like a heart chakra, where we just love unconditionally, we just love so openly, without fear, without conditions. It’s a totally different experience.

So, we don’t have very open heart chakras. Our crown chakra, our third eye chakra, is quite closed, because of stress and the nature of being obsessed about the base chakra.
So, for me, I was very base chakra dominant for a long time of my life. It’s taken me a long time to start opening up the other chakras. But, you know, I don’t teach a lot around that. It’s not my sort of niche. But it’s just something I’m aware of.

Guy Lawrence: A thought popped in as well, just we’re rewinding back a bit with the meditation. Like, if there’s somebody listening to this and, you know, the idea of meditation’s great, yeah, I want to do it. But, like you said, every time they go to sit down they get flustered and just move on.

And so, like, looking at it from a nutritional aspect, we hold clean eating workshops. And yet, even though we’re trying to teach people how to eat for life, we embrace them in a 30-day challenge. And we say, “Guys. Start with 30 days, commit to 30 days, and hopefully you’re gonna change enough habits to then go on and start eating better for your life.” You know? Could that work the same with your course of meditation, if we said, like, “Let’s do a 30-day challenge and then let’s see how we feel after that.” And then hopefully we’re gonna get the bug and, you know, keep going.
Tom

Yeah. Look, it’s interesting when you bring the word “challenge” and meditation together. I do have a 21-day program, which is my online meditation program. But I really like to let people do their own research. And I think that’s ultimately the best way for people to get results is that I’m gonna teach you a technique and this technique is gonna really change your life quite quickly. You’re gonna notice significant differences.

Now, a student said to me, “Oh, I dropped off my meditation. I’ve really noticed a difference.” I said, “Great. That’s fantastic. I’m happy that you dropped off your meditation, because now you have relativity and you can see through your own personal research what life’s like when you meditate and what life’s like when you don’t meditate.”
Now, if life’s better when you meditate, there’s your research. And if you don’t want to do it after that, then that’s fine. But you’d ask yourself why would you not want to do it.
Stuart

I think that answers my geek question, because I was going to ask how I could measure the effectiveness of it, either through. . .

 

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Tom

Yeah, it’s a good question. The difference will be for different people; the measurement for different people. Like, for me, what I noticed was I started sleeping immediately, as opposed to waiting one to two hours. That was the immediate effect within the first few days was that I would fall asleep when I put my head on the pillow. I thought, “Wow! That’s insane. I never had that for 10 years.”

Other people might go, “I get this euphoria. I get this blissfulness.” Other people I know, they started crying, because they were releasing emotions of sadness that were in their body. There’s a lot of purification that goes on when you start meditating.

So, the effectiveness of it will depend upon that person, the stress that’s in that individual, the stress that needs to come out of that individual, some get heightened euphoria, some get sexually aroused, some get the ability to sleep really well, some just feel light and blissful. Some feel quite uncomfortable, because they might have a lot of stuff inside, a lot of anger that they haven’t released. It’s sort of, “ahhhh,” coming out.

Guy

Just a release.

Tom

Yeah. Usually, the effectiveness will be measured by the sensations that they’re getting.

Guy 

Right.

Stuart

I guess everyone’s different so you will know if you feel different.

Tom

Yeah, absolutely. I had one client just recently that, there as a couple, a married couple, and they both learned with me. And the wife was just, like, “Oh, my God! This is amazing. I can’t believe it. This is like the best thing I’ve ever done. I just can’t believe how incredible I feel.” That was, like, two weeks later. The husband was completely the opposite. He was like down in the dumps, angry with the world, bitching and just gnarly as all heck. And I had a session with him and what had happened was that this person, all their life, had never been able to find their voice. I mean, just being pushed and shoved and accepted that. And meditation says, “That’s not your truth.”

Guy

Right.

Tom

And if that’s not your truth, you need to find your truth. And all of a sudden all that anger and all that being oppressed all his life, as a kid, was coming out. And so his experience was totally different. And yet they were doing exactly the same technique and the same course.

Stuart

That’s fascinating.

Guy

How much do you think stress affects our health, then, Tom? I mean, obviously you’ve been through a lot of stress. There’s a lot of stressed people out there. A lot of people holding things in, exactly like you said. And now they’ve got their voice. I mean, do you think that directly affects people’s health in a big way?

Tom

Yeah. I mean, Bruce Lipton, who’s the professor at Stanford University Medical School, he said in one of his papers that 95 percent of all sickness is a product of stress. And you can put that down to impaired vision; not eyesight, but impaired vision, awareness, in making poor decisions.
Because when you’re stressed, your brain operates in a completely different way. You go from being intuitive and creative and wise to just operating from primal survival. When you’re stressed, your metabolic rate changes. Your blood pressure changes. Your cholesterol levels change. I mean, when you’re stressed, everything becomes imbalanced. Everything becomes enormous. I’d say stress is one of the biggest killers we’ve got in our society. And the biggest negative impacts.

Because when you’re stressed, what do you do? You start drinking alcohol. When you’re stressed, you start smoking cigarettes. When you’re stressed, you start taking drugs. When you’re stressed, you eat shit food. I mean, it affects us in every single way in our life.

Guy

Definitely.

Stuart

So, what specific factors do you think, Tom, would inhibit meditation? I’m thinking of, well: Is it too noisy? Is it too light? You know. Are there too many distractions?

Tom

Time of day.

Stuart

Exactly. Because we’ll all be in these very different scenarios in our lives. What should we be wary of?

Tom

Um. You know, it’s gonna be almost impossible in our life, in the cities that we live in, to find a completely quiet space. Obviously, noise is gonna be one of the greatest challenges. It’s very distracting for people when there’s noise in the background.

But what we teach with this technique is that if you’re on a bus and there’s someone talking in front of you to their partner, there’s someone behind you on the phone, and there’s someone next to you listening to music on their headphones, you’re still in your headspace and you’re still thinking.
So, if you’ve got a mantra to repeat, you can repeat that mantra regardless, wherever you are. And that will, in effect, be a meditation. I used to meditate on the train nearly every day going to work.

So, noise isn’t really; it can be a distraction. I know being down at the beach where there’s waves moving around, people walking by, there’s some wind, I’m probably gonna have less a deep meditation than if I’m in a really quiet room or a quiet parked car.

Anywhere there’s limited movement, limited activity, limited noise, then it’s going to be more conducive to a meditation, particularly for beginners. But for more advanced people, you can meditate anywhere. I can meditate at a football game and still be OK.

Stuart

Oh, wow.

Tom

Yeah. You just learn to bring your awareness inward, through the training. But in the beginning, you know, there’s a lot of; your senses are continuously going externally, looking for the source of the noise or the smell or the feeling.

Guy

Another question that popped in there, and this seems, probably, a bit contradictory, but, like, if there’s a very busy person, and for this set amount of time you can shorten the meditation, are you going to get the same effect from five minutes as 20? Or does it vary?
Because I know, like, if you started meditating, Stu, the first thing you’d ask is, “Well, how long would I have to do it for?”

Stuart

Minimum effective dose.

Tom

There’s a lot of fancy gadgets coming out these days: five-minute meditations, one-minute meditations. It’s great that we pause. You know, it’s really important that we pause through the day. I think, depending on the meditation style, if you’re gonna do a deep, transcending-style meditation, minimum is 20 minutes. I mean, I don’t recommend you need more than 20. But 20 minutes, you know, 15 to 20 minutes. Under 15, you’re kind of not having enough time to XXdig inside 0:29:55.000XX your nervous system, to wind down the mind.

You know, we have such stimulated nervous systems, such stimulated minds, that it’s really just not enough time to get into those deeper states. I mean, that said, you can get into transcendence within three minutes. I’ve seen my students who come into my courses and come to my Monday night sessions and I have a look around the room and I can see them dropped into deep states within the first five minutes. But I think, for the rebalancing process to really take effect, I’d like to see 20 minutes for the meditation practice.

Guy

There you go. Is there a best time of day to do or do you just fit it in when you can or. . .”

Tom

Ideally, do one before breakfast and one; anytime, I’d say, between lunchtime and dinnertime. Ideally, I like between 3 and 6 o’clock is a nice time. Three and 7 o’clock in the afternoon is a good time. Before dinner.
And, again, it depends on your meditation. See, the transcending style meditation that I teach, the level of rest is so profoundly deep, it’s equivalent to about four hours’ sleep. A deep meditation; 20-minute meditation.

So, ideally you wouldn’t do that before bedtime, because if you had an equivalent of four hours’ sleep at 9 o’clock at night then it’s going to affect your deep sleep session. But if you’re gonna do, like we do a guided meditation before all the kids’ bed, so my family will all sit on the sofa at 8:30 before the kids are about to go to bed and we’ll put on one of my guided meditations and we’ll all sit there with a blanket and listen to 10 minutes of my guided meditation and what that does for the kids is it just XXde-excites? 0:31:26.000XX their nervous system after watching TV. It’s a lot of stimulation with the music and ads and all that sort of stuff going on on TV for 12-year-old kids’ nervous system. So we wind them down with a guided meditation before bed. And that’s a really effective thing to do. So, it depends on the meditation.

Stuart

It just reminded me of, you know, I said I don’t meditate. I have tried meditation once and I went to a; I was given a voucher for a class on; for this little place in Bondi. And I’m not the most open-minded sort of guy, so I thought, you know, OK, I will give it a go, but, you know, I don’t expect anything to come from it. And now I just remember sitting in this class with a lady; I was actually the only guy there and there were about 12 others in there and this lady was telling me to picture myself as a flower all curled up. And upstairs in this, I think it was like in a youth center, there was like junior karate. And every kind of three seconds, one of these chaps would be thrown on the; slammed on the floor. And I’m just trying to picture myself as a flower.

And then there was another guy outside tuning up his Harley-Davidson motorcycle. It was just; it was like a comedy for me, and that was my first experience and I thought, “You know, I don’t know whether this is for me or not.”

But I can see, through what you’ve told me, that that probably wasn’t the best experience and it’s something that I would really benefit from looking into.

Tom

Yeah. Yeah. It’s just, we can’t judge all meditation on that one experience. There are certainly other ways to do it.

Stuart

Are there any factors that could enhance that? I mean, can I drink a cup of chamomile tea and slide into meditation a little easier?

Tom

Definitely, lead-up to meditation is important. You know, you guys have come to my Monday night meditations and you’ll notice, you know, I turn off the overhead lights. I put candles on. We light incense. So, I deal with all five senses. I put on some nice, quiet music.

So, as soon as you walk in you’re getting a sense of your nervous system calming down. Your nervous system’s being prepared for something. I talk softly so you’re hearing soft voices. And it’s really a nice prelude, so people tend to go quite deep in those sessions. And that’s because I’ve prepared their physical body, their nervous system, their mind, for a deeper experience.

And we can do that on our own at home. You know, if you’ve been running around all day, just been shopping and being up at the XX junction wall? 0:34:15.000XX and you’ve been listening to the radio and having heaps of meetings all day and then you suddenly sit in a chair and start meditating, it’s gonna take you a lot longer than if you actually just: Take some time preparing your room, putting on some nice music, lighting some candles, getting some incense out, do some gentle breathing, maybe do a bit of yoga. And then you start your meditation. It’s going to be like a completely different experience.

 

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Guy

You’ve got to work at it, right? It’s not like: “Ah, let me finish this action movie and then, XXfeck it?? I figure?? 0:34:41.000XX, I’ve got to fly to my 10-minute meditation time and then. . .”

Tom

You can still do that. I mean, if you’re pushed for time, it’s still worth doing that. But if do it for a little bit of time, it’s the prep. Not every one is going to have time for the prep. So, it’s one of those things. . . Or the space for it. You know, you just get on a bus and all of a sudden you start meditating. You haven’t got time to light candles and sit them in front of you and burn some incense.

So, you know, there are certain times you just aren’t gonna do it. But it does; I think it does help.

Stuart

Have you ever meditated; you said you’ve meditated on the way to work. Have you ever missed your stop on the bus or the train?

Tom

I have, yes. I ended up; I was supposed to go to Martin Place. I ended up at Town Hall and Central. I told my work that’s why I was a little bit late that day.

Stuart

I’m guessing you probably don’t promote meditation while driving.

Tom

It’s not a good idea, no.

Guy

What; like, we ocean swim a lot. And I do a bit of yoga a couple of times a week as well. Is that a form of meditation?

Tom

Oh, yes, definitely. You know, anything that’s repetitive. Walking can be meditation. Swimming is a really meditative practice, particularly doing laps in a pool, looking at that little black line below you, it’s “breath, one, two, three, four, breathe, one, two, three, four, breathe.” It’s definitely a meditation.

What you’re not gonna get is metabolic rest. OK? So, mentally it is definitely a meditation. But physically, you’re not gonna have metabolic rest. So, in stillness, when the mind is still, and not moving in transcendence, your physical body’s oxygen requirement is almost zero, and it’s been proven metabolically that you are about four times metabolically deeper in rest than you would be in a deep sleep.

Guy

Wow. That’s incredible.

Stuart

I’m looking forward to getting into this. That’s for sure.

Tom

This is where the repair happens. So, the body is this incredible organism that has this intelligence within it that it will repair. It will operate and function at the highest level. We have sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. It’s a beautiful design by nature. We’re just not getting the levels of rest that are appropriate enough to get that deep healing process activated. And that’s what happens in meditation.

Like, for me, OK, I had anxiety, I had depression, I had insomnia, I had agoraphobia. Huge levels of distortion. Constantly getting sick. I didn’t have to take tablets. I didn’t have to see doctors. I didn’t have to see therapists. I just simply put my body in a deep level of rest twice a day, morning and evening. I had all the anomalies. I started producing serotonin, oxytocin, reduced adrenaline, norepinephrine, cortisol. I started healing on every level; started getting rest. And it was just a natural mechanism in my body to do that.

Guy

I’m inspired. I want to do it. I think high-end athletes would benefit greatly from this.

Tom

Yeah. A lot of high-level athletes are now starting to realize the power of meditation.

Guy

When you describe it like that, yeah.

Tom

Yeah. Yeah. It surprises people when I talk about it on a physical level, but it is just as much, if not more, a physical practice than it is a spiritual and mental one.

Stuart

What are your thoughts on the plethora of iPhone apps and gadgets out there? Is it something that we should be doing on our own, or can we plug in to technology?

Guy

XXFinding Real Bits?? 0:38:12.000XX is another one as well, isn’t it?

Tom

I mean, everything’s relevant. We’ve got technologies causing a lot of our problems in the world today, with stress levels and our constant attachment to acquiring information. But it’s also gonna be the source of the solution to the problem.

By my online program, I can now get meditation to people all over the world. I have people every day emailing us from Mexico, Kenya, Venezuela, and even a remote XXGalapagos? 0:38:45.000XX north of Finland. Some woman said, “You know, you’ve changed my life. You’ve taught me how to meditate.” And that’s because what I teach in person I can now deliver to the masses through digital format. And we couldn’t do that less than 10 years ago.

Stuart

Yeah. It wouldn’t work so well as like a bulk mail-out, would it?

Tom

What’s that?

Stuart

A bulk mail-out wouldn’t work quite as well.

Guy

Yeah, sending fliers out to Venezuela.

Tom

Oh, that’s right. Exactly. Yeah.

Guy

Mate, we got an Instagram question pop up and I thought, ah, this one’s a good one: What were the key lessons that you learnt, allowing you to improve your meditative experiences?

Tom

That’s a good question. Well, I’ll answer that in regards to my specific practice. And one of the things that was most relevant for my practice, which is different from a concentration meditation, but for a transcending style meditation, using a mantra, one of the most important things that I was taught that helped me refine that practice was to not hold onto the mantra as a clear, firm pronunciation, but to very effortlessly entertain it as a faint idea so that as the mind is moving toward the transcendent state, toward stillness, it’s able to surrender the attachment to the sound and let it go. So, if you hold onto that as the clear pronunciation, then the mind is attached to the repetition sound, which means the mind is moving constantly.

Guy

Could you be stressing yourself out to think that you’re getting the mantra right or wrong? The pronunciation?

Tom

Absolutely. That’s why we emphasize, and that’s why it’s important to do a course where you get guidance. I highly recommend for anyone that, this is the big challenge people have is that they’re trying to do meditation on their own. It’s probably the most important thing you can do. And yet we’re reluctant to get authorities to guide us in that space.

And it’s really important that you have someone to assist you in your meditation practice, because not only do you want to make sure that you understand the process very well, and understand why you’re gonna have certain sensations or why you’re gonna have certain experiences that might be a little bit challenging at times. But you’re talking about your unconsciousness here. And everything that you do in life is gonna flow from your consciousness.

And we go to chiropractors, we go to doctors, we go to dentists, we go to mechanics to fix our car. We see professionals in every area of life except for our mind.

Stuart

Yeah. The most important part as well.

Tom

The most important part.

Guy

Hey, Tom, yes, good point. We ask one question on the show at the end, every guest. And I can just see Stewie’s face. His brain is working overtime.

This gold. I mean, we’ll be talking about this for weeks after, Tom.
So, what’s the single best piece of advice you’ve ever been given.

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Tom

Yeah. That’s a really good question. I would have to reference a book, it was a reference from a book called Emmanuel’s Book. And I don’t know if it’s advice as opposed to an insight, but I probably take it as an insight. And that is that ultimately, beyond all the thoughts, all the seeming conditions of what I perceive myself to be, there is the subtle essence of who I am. My ultimate truth.

Is it, “I’m love?” And all I need to do is embody that. And when I’m embodying that as my ultimate truth in every moment, then that’s what we call in Sanskrit “moksha.” Freedom. That is true freedom. There is no circumstance you can’t feel liberated in when you’re just embodying the truth of who you are. And that’s love.

Guy

Fantastic answer.

Did it take you a long time to; like, if somebody had that to you when you were in your stock-trading days, bond-trading days, you know, probably wouldn’t have registered the same as to the Tom of today, right?

Tom

There’s a reason for that in that knowledge gets superseded by our experience. So, you can have a concept in your head, but if your experience isn’t aligned with that concept, then your experience will override the concept. So, if your concept is, “I’m peace and love,” but if you’re stressed to the hilt, you’ve been up all night doing cocaine and drinking bourbon, and you wake up and you say as an affirmation, “I’m peace and love,” or, “I’m the light.” Your experience will tell you a different story.

And when you’re driving to work in your BMW and there’s a traffic jam and you’re late for a boardroom meeting and a lot of things depend upon this and you’re really stressed and you’re hammering the steering wheel, cussing and cursing, listening to some, you know, hard-core metal music, it doesn’t matter what that concept is. You could have little Post It notes written all over your car on the dashboard saying, “Hey, I’m peace and love.” We need our experience to align with the concepts. And it took me a long time for my physical body to be purified of the imbalances so that I could start to feel that.

So, now my feeling is aligned with the concept.

Guy

That makes so much sense when you put it like that, Tom. It really does.

Tom

You know, I had a guy at work had heard a lot about the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. And this guy, like, he was a stress bag. A typical broker, just as I was. And he said, “I really want to read this Power of Now. It sounds really good. It’s something I think I should read.” I said, “Sure. I’ll lend it to you.” And I lent it to him. And he wasn’t a meditator, and I knew that he was gonna struggle with that book because if you don’t know how to still the mind or if the mind isn’t naturally, spontaneously living in the now, then (and the mind doesn’t really like to live in the now. It’s in the future and in the past; it’s forecasting and remembering).

And he got about a third of the way through the book and gave it back to me and he said, “You know what? I kind of get what he’s talking about, but I don’t get it.” And that’s because his experience was invalidating the content in the book. He didn’t know how to live in the now, because his mind was always in the future and the past. Without meditation, it’s almost; I’d almost say it’s a great book to read after you’ve been meditating.

Guy

Right. And be present. It’s funny you say that, because I’ve read a book, and I’ve gone, “What the hell are they on about?” And picked it up five years later and it’s a completely different book. Even though it’s the same book.

Tom

Yeah. Absolutely.

Guy

That’s awesome. Any last words, Stu?

Stuart

Well, I just need your phone number.

Tom

I’ll answer it in a second and I’m coming to see you.

Guy

Where can we get more Tom Cronin for our listeners, Tom?

Tom

The best place to probably go is to the Stillness Project. And the Stillness Project really is a movement we’ve created. Its foundation is to inspire a billion people to meditate daily. Because we see the power of meditation when we incorporate that in their lives. Everything changes. And if we get more people meditating, we’re gonna have a better planet.

So, the Stillness Project is about that. It incorporates retreats, digital programs, digital mentoring, live mentoring, live programs. They can get most of what they need to find about me at the Stillness Project.

Guy

Awesome. We’ll drop a link below anyway on our website.

Tom

It’s StillnessProject.com.

Guy

Excellent. Fantastic.

That was awesome, mate. Thank you so much for coming on the show, Tom.

Stuart

Thank you so much for your time. This stuff, I can see now, it’s critical to mind, body, spirit, holistic health and wellness. I look forward to finding out more and experiencing more. Put it that way.

Tom

Nice stuff guys, Thank you.

Guy

Thanks, Tom.

Stuart

Thank you, buddy.

Guy

Cheers, mate.

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Dr Terry Wahls: Reversing chronic disease through diet


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

downloaditunesListen to Stitcher

In this weeks episode:-

  • Internet fame with her famous Ted Talks: Minding my Mitochondria Over 1.3 million views on youtube & counting!
  • From relying on a wheelchair to being able to bike ride 18 miles! The steps Dr Terry Wahls takes to help overcome her battle with MS (multiple sclerosis)  [03:12]
  • What is mitochondria & why it’s so important [06:10]
  • What she was eating before MS & how much her diet has changed [07:30]
  • Why Dr Terry Wahls decided to seek alternative means to conventional medicine [09:10]
  • Her thoughts on being a vegetarian [16:20]
  • Why inactivity is deadly [19:15]
  • This is a must: Dr Wahls’ single piece of advice for optimum health/wellness [28:30]
  • and much more…

Dr Terry Wahls is a clinical professor of medicine. In addition to being a doctor, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2000.

By 2003 it had transitioned to secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. She underwent chemotherapy in an attempt to slow the disease and began using a wheelchair because of weakness in her back muscles. In her own words she says it was clear: eventually she would become bedridden by her disease.

To cut a very long story short, she ended up redesigning her diet for her condition so that she was getting those important nutrients not from supplements but from the foods she ate & created a new food plan.

The results stunned her physician, her family, and herself: within a year, she was able to walk through the hospital without a cane and even complete an 18-mile bicycle tour.

If you would like to learn more about Dr Terry Wahls, click here.

Over 1.3 million views on youtube & counting! You can watch the Ted Talks Minding my Mitochondria here.

You can view all Health Session episodes here.

Did you enjoy the interview with Dr Terry Wahls? Would love to hear you thoughts in the Facebook comments section below… Guy
 
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Dr Terry Wahls: The transcript

[intro]

Guy Lawrence: Brought to you by 180nutrition.com.au. Welcome to the Health Sessions podcast. In each episode, we cut to the chase as we hang out with real people with real results.

Hey, this is Guy Lawrence with 180- Nutrition and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. Our special guest today is Dr. Terry Wahls. If you haven’t heard of her, she’s a clinical professor of medicine. In addition to being a doctor, she was actually diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2000.

By 2003, the transition into secondary progressive multiple sclerosis, get my words out, she underwent chemotherapy in an attempt to slow the disease and began using a wheelchair because, simply, the weakness, and her back muscles had just disintegrated.

And, in her own words, she says it was clear eventually she would become bedridden by her disease. To cut a very long story short, she ended up redesigning her diet for her condition so that she was getting, simply, important nutrients not from supplements but from the very foods she ate and created a new food plan around this.

Over a period of time, the results stunned her physician, her family, and herself, she said. Within a year, she was able to walk through the hospital without a cane and even completed an 18-mile bicycle tour.

Dr Terry WahlsAnd, I just think that the story is fantastic, you know, and whether you have MS or not or chronic disease or you’re, you know, in the best shape of your life, I think the overall message within this conversation is fantastic and it’ll definitely make you think twice about what you have for breakfast tomorrow morning.

As always, you know, if you’ve got any questions just drop us a line to HYPERLINK “mailto:info@180nutrition.com.au” info@180nutrition.com.au and, yeah, any shares or reviews are greatly appreciated. Until the next time, enjoy the show. Thank you.

Awesome. Awesome. Well, I’ll start with the introduction. This is Guy Lawrence and, of course, we’re joined by Stuart Cooke and our lovely guest today is Dr. Terry Wahls. Thank you so much for joining us.

Dr. Terry Wahls: Yes.

Guy Lawrence: I have to say, I was just checking your YouTube TED talks video just now and I didn’t realize, but you have reached over 1.25 million people now with that…

Dr. Terry Wahls: Yes.

Guy Lawrence: …that talk, that’s a lot of people you’ve touched. Did you expect it to go as viral as it has when you did that?

Dr. Terry Wahls: Well, I wasn’t expecting a million. I was hoping, you know, I’d get a 100,000 or so, yet, when I last looked it was about 1.3 million. So, I’m very pleased.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. That’s amazing. Normally, it’s a double rainbow or something like that that tends to go viral and finally it’s something with a stronger message, so that’s awesome. So, what we’d thought we’d do just to start, Dr. Wahls, was…

Dr. Terry Wahls: Yes?

Guy Lawrence: …you know, we want to expose you to an audience over here in Australia, so could you basically share with us your story? Because we think it’s just incredible.

Dr. Terry Wahls: So, I’m a clinical professor of medicine here at the University of Iowa. In 2000, I was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. That was on the basis of a problem with foot drop and stumbling and abnormal MRI with lesions in my spinal cord, a history of optic neuritis ten years earlier, and oligo bands in the spinal fluid.

I went to the Cleveland Clinic, an international MS center, for a second opinion. They agreed that I had multiple sclerosis. At that time it was called relapsing-remitting, which meant that you have intermittent episodes that are acutely worse.

They advised me to take disease-modifying drugs and so I took a daily injection of Copaxone. Over the next three years, I had just one episode of worsening or one relapse, so I’d be considered a success, but the problem was I was gradually deteriorating and it was becoming difficult to have, to sit up in my office chair, my desk chair, because of back fatigue.

My physicians suggested that I get a XX?XX [0:04:39] inclined wheelchair because of the worsening back fatigue and that I take medication known as Novantrone and they told me that my disease had transitioned to secondary progressive MS.

And so I did that and, at that time, that’s when I realized that I wanted to do my own reading, my own research, to try to figure out what else I could do, and so I began searching pubmed.gov, reading the latest research, and I retaught myself a bunch of brain biology, immunology, and gradually began to add some vitamins and supplements to help my mitochondria, because I decided that mitochondria were key into my progressive brain disorders happen.

And the vitamins and supplements maybe slowed down the steepness of my decline, but they didn’t stop my decline. By the summer of 2007, I could walk short distances, two canes. I could not sit up in a standard chair. I had to be in a recliner or in bed, and that’s when I discovered the Institute for Functional Medicine, which is an organization which is committed to using the latest basic science to treat chronic diseases.

I can hear you. Can you hear me?

Guy Lawrence: Yes, I can. Well, it’s okay. Let’s proceed with the audio like this. I think this will be fine.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Absolutely.

Guy Lawrence: So, I was interested, Dr. Wahls, in, I guess, mitochondria. So, for our audience, I wondered if you could just explain that, please. What is mitochondria?

Dr. Terry Wahls: Yes. So, mitochondria are, about 1.5 billion years ago, large bacteria swallowed up little bacteria that were capable of creating energy using oxygen, and that increased the efficiency of those bigger bacteria so that they were able to become multicellular which then eventually became animals and then became mammal and then became primate and then us, of course.

All of our cells rely on these little mitochondria to generate energy more efficiently to run the chemistry of those cells. So our brains are critically dependent on mitochondria. All of our other organs, you know, our muscles, hearts, glands are also dependent on the mitochondria.

Guy Lawrence: Right. Got it. So, essentially, like a battery for our cells.

Dr. Terry Wahls: A battery for the cells.

Guy Lawrence: Yep. All right. The next question I have here would be what you’re eating prior to being diagnosed with MS to what you’re eating now, and how much has that varied?

Dr. Terry Wahls: For years, maybe a decade, I’d been a vegetarian. I was eating lots of vegetables, some rice, and legumes. Then I began eating some fish, still a lot of vegetables, a lot of grain and legumes. I did not have a lot of junk food, just not a lot of processed foods. I was eating most of my meals at home.

When I was diagnosed with MS, I continued to be mostly vegetarian, although I did eat some fish. Then in 2002, I began a paleo diet after reading Loren Cordain’s book and began eating meat. I was eating, you know, vegetables, fruit, meat, but I continued my decline.

2003, I hit the wheelchair, you know, and continued to decline. In 2007, I had a long list of nutrients that were critical for my brain and reorganized my dietary choices to maximize the nutrients for my brain.

And when I created that structure, that’s when there was a dramatic improvement in my function and health.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Right. The other thing that fascinated me as well was the fact that many people don’t look to seek alternative means to improve their condition, like, and just accept, I guess, “This is how it is. This is all we can do for you.”

So, my question would be what made you decide to really seek alternative matters to overcoming MS? Especially through the food you ate?

Dr. Terry Wahls: So, the first seven years I took straight conventional medicine, latest drugs from the top researchers in the country, but when I got into my wheelchair in 2004, that’s when I decided that it was clear that I was likely going to become bedridden by my disease, and at that time I began reading the science myself, slowly piecing together the fact that maybe some vitamins and supplements might be helpful, that maybe mitochondria were very important to the disease and no one was yet talking about that in the MS research community.

And then when I discovered functional medicine, that just deepened my understanding of what the latest science was saying about autoimmune types of diseases and XXthat I was launched and on my wayXX [0:10:18]

Guy Lawrence: How many vegetables do you eat a day now? Do you eat to get the quantities in, because you mention a lot of…

Dr. Terry Wahls: So I would say nine to twelve cups of vegetables a day.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. That’s a lot, and do you juice any of that?

Dr. Terry Wahls: Wow, that’s a lot, but these are XXaudio breaks upXX [0:10:38] So, I will have smoothies where I put my vegetables and some fruit in this high-powered blender I call a Vitamix. It blends everything, all the fiber is still in the juice, and so I’ll drink that smoothie, you know, 18 to 24 ounces of all of that.

I’ll have huge salads, maybe six cups of salad greens every day, and a lot of non-starchy vegetables with that.

Guy Lawrence: Are there any other dietary considerations to take in, you know, I’m just thinking for anybody listening to this with MS. I mean, because obviously, we’ve got chocolate, coffee, alcohol, all these little crazy things like that.

Dr. Terry Wahls: So I’m going to step back a bit. The structure that I teach is three cups of green leaves, three cups of sulphur-rich vegetables that I get out of the cabbage family, onions, XX?XX [0:11:39] mushrooms, three cups of bright colors, and the easiest way to determine that is the vegetable or plant colored all the way through? Eat protein, high-quality protein, preferably animal protein as much as desired, have some seaweed on a regular basis.

If you’re going to have coffee or tea, a couple of cups are fine. You can have herbal teas as desired. A glass of wine every day would be fine. I would specifically avoid gluten grains, dairy, and eggs.

That also means avoiding beer.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right, and why seaweed?

Dr. Terry Wahls: Seaweed for the iodine, selenium, and other trace minerals.

Guy Lawrence: Okay. Okay. And the next question I have for you was the diet you prescribe, would that, sort of, help anyone, even if they didn’t have MS but had other chronic diseases? I mean…

Dr. Terry Wahls: You know, in the hundreds of people I’ve seen in my clinics and the hundreds of followers that I have, I see people being helped with traumatic brain injury, psychological problems like depression, anxiety, bipolar, schizophrenia, and then we see diabetes, heart disease, obesity being helped, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel, inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis, eczema, allergies, asthma.

So, I’d say, in general, if you have a chronic disease, feeding your mitochondria and feeding your cells will have the effect of reducing your symptoms, improving your function and your quality of life.

Guy Lawrence: Okay, and for anyone that is actually just, you know, is healthy and is happy with their health as well, I’m sure, eating like this would benefit them as well. I’m assuming.

Dr. Terry Wahls: Yes. I’ve had a couple of athletes contact me and tell me that their athletic performance has improved markedly.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, okay. That’s interesting. Yeah. IN your view then, as well, a question I was really was keen to ask, how much of the diet is contributing to chronic disease in the first place do you think? And even with your own condition, from MS, do you think that food is a big player in that?

Dr. Terry Wahls: I think food is a huge player. The chronic diseases that we have are a reflection of how your unique and my unique DNA interacts with my choices around food, the toxins to which I’ve been exposed, my exercise level, and my social/spiritual life, but the vast majority of all of this will be the food choices that we make.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right, and why do you think the fact that most people don’t turn to food initially, like, it just baffles me, personally, you know? I think…

Dr. Terry Wahls: We’re addicted. We are very much addicted to white flour, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, that when you take that food in it stimulates the dopamine receptors, you release more dopamine in your brain, it enhances your pleasure.

We are addicted to those XXsphereXX [0:15:15] spikes. It becomes very difficult for them to select vegetables, berries, meats, other foods that are health promoting, and instead we do what rats do. They will starve themselves eating the sugar and white flour and kill themselves from the micronutrient starvation. We are absolutely doing that as well.

Guy Lawrence: You know, if somebody wanted to change their diet, should they just go cold turkey and start cutting out the things you mentioned, you know, the sugar, the grains, the gluten, or should they…

Dr. Terry Wahls: If you go cold turkey, you’re going to be going through withdrawal, and that’s going to feel very uncomfortable. If you wind down the bad food as you wind up the good food, that’s less uncomfortable, and, in general, I counsel people that this is a family decision. You’re going to be much more successful if you negotiate the pace of these changes with the whole family.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, fair enough. Then you mentioned, as well, the fact that you were a vegetarian at one point, as well, and I’m always interested in this topic in particular because I know one of the arguments is about the fact that you don’t get your essential fatty acids from animal sources.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on…what your thoughts are about, you know, fat in the diet.

Dr. Terry Wahls: My brain and your brain is 60 to 70 percent fat, and without cholesterol you have a hard time making healthy cell membranes, you have a hard time making hormones. We need cholesterol. We need to manufacture cholesterol. We need a lot of fats in the omega-3 variety, the docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), in order to make the XXmylanXX [0:17:16] structures in the brain.

We need a lot of fat to make all those things happen, and, unfortunately, fat has been so demonized that many, many people are relatively starved for these very essential brain nutrients with negative health consequences.

Guy Lawrence: And what would a vegetarian do then to get those essential fatty acids in?

Dr. Terry Wahls: Well, they’ll have to take in a tremendous amount of ALA, alpha-Linolenic acid. That’s in flax, walnuts, but the body will have to convert that to DHA, which is what your brain needs. That is a complicated step and we can make about five to seven percent of the vegetarian omega-3 into the form that we use in our brain.

And you could also project that those of us with a chronic brain problem probably have enzymes that are even less efficient than those conversions, and so I think it’s very concerning for people with a brain problem or a heart problem. Are they getting enough of these health-promoting omega-3s?

And particularly the animal form? That’s the form that your brain and your heart need.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, absolutely, and what about things like ghee and coconut oil?

Dr. Terry Wahls: So, that, ghee is a butter that has been clarified so the milk proteins are out of it. It’s a saturated fat. Coconut oil is a saturated fat. And both of those fats, I think, can be quite health-promoting. You certainly want to have organic sources for both of those fats.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, fair enough, fair enough. The next topic I wanted to cover with you, Dr. Wahls, was exercise. The first question, I guess, does exercise help MS and even people with chronic disease?

Dr. Terry Wahls: Tremendous number of studies that show that strength-training and aerobic-training, either, or, and both, are very helpful for multiple sclerosis, helpful for fibromyalgia, heart disease, depression, basically any chronic health problem.

Our brain expects us to move. In prehistoric times, men would move six to nine miles a day and women two to three. So inactivity is deadly.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. I think it’s deadly to the mind as well as the body.

Dr. Terry Wahls: Absolutely.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, yeah, which is so important, you know, especially when you’re suffering with some sort of chronic disease, if it isn’t enough just trying to deal with that as well and then if you’re not moving, I’m sure the mind can, you can manifest all sorts of problems through your thoughts.

Were you exercising before? Before you were diagnosed with MS?

Dr. Terry Wahls: So, before I went to medical school, I was big in tae kwon do. I competed nationally and was very much an athlete. During medical school, I still did tae kwon do. I ran. I did biking, cross-country skiing. When I was diagnosed with MS, I knew that exercise would be critical to maintain function as long as possible, so I worked out every day doing strength and aerobic training.

As I got more and more disabled, I could do less and less. In 2007, I could do about ten minutes of exercise. If I did more than that, I was flat out exhausted for four or five hours, but I exercised every day, and I still exercise every day.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, and you do resistance-training in amongst that as well?

Dr. Terry Wahls: Yes. So, right now I’m doing pilates, biking, swimming, and I lift free weights.

Guy Lawrence: That’s fantastic. That’s amazing, and did you ever expect to be getting to this point when you, you know, were in a wheelchair?

Dr. Terry Wahls: You know, when I tell the story of how I got my bike down and decided to try for my first bike ride, my family came out, and we had this pow wow, would they helped me bike ride? And they decided that, yes, they would, and my kids, one ran on the right; one ran on the left, and my spouse biked behind me.

And I still get tears in my eyes talking about that because I had fully accepted that I would never have that come back in my life, but instead, you know, I’m biking. I’ve been able to do 18-mile bicycle rides. I’m lifting weights.

You know, I’m still not normal. My gait, in the morning, looks normal, but by the afternoon you can probably tell that it’s not normal. Standing for a lecture, I can do that for an hour. I cannot do that for two hours. I can walk a mile. I can’t walk longer than that. So I still have a ways to go to be normal, but I’m getting my life back, where, if I hadn’t made these interventions, I would be bedridden by now. Absolutely, I would be bedridden.

Guy Lawrence: But not only that, you’ve not only, you know, changed, turned your life around, you know, you’re touching so many people now with your story, which is a credit to what you’re doing, so, I just think that’s awesome. That really is.

Dr. Terry Wahls: I’m very grateful to have my life back.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, I can imagine. I can imagine. With all this information, what do you think the future holds for medicine itself?

Dr. Terry Wahls: I think if physicians don’t get on board with realizing drugs are not the solution, it’s teaching people that lifestyle is how we create health, that teaching people how to eat a nutrient-dense diet, moving their bodies, meditating, creating spiritual and social harmony in their lives…If physicians won’t get on board, realizing that that is how you treat chronic disease, we will be replaced by another profession that understands that.

And so I’m encouraged that there are more and more young physicians and more medical schools embracing functional medicine, thinking that lifestyle interventions are going to be key, but that is the future. I’m not sure which profession is going to be at the cutting edge of that, however.

Guy Lawrence: yeah, fair enough, and do you think drug companies inhibit this message?

Dr. Terry Wahls: Well, there’s a lot of money to be made with drugs, procedures, quick fixes. That’s what’s funding the research. It’s very difficult to get research that looks at medicine from a systems standpoint.

I mean, you and I, we are incredibly complicated biochemical systems, and, when we’re chronically ill, multiple parts of that system are screwed up, wrong, not working well, so, if you want to restore health, you try to correct as many systems as possible.

That’s a very messy research design. That’s not what’s being funded by our basic science institutes in any of our countries. So the type of research that I’m doing, which is a much more complex systems approach, it’s very hard to get funding for it. It is outside the mainstream paradigm, but that is the future. We have to do systems biology. We have to do systematic repair of these broken thought systems.

Guy Lawrence: If, for people that are listening to this now, obviously outside of the States and they have MS, where would be, what would be the best thing for them to start, the best place to start for them?

Dr. Terry Wahls: Well, I’d tell them to go to my website, terrywahls.com, and I have a lot of information there. I have books. I have lectures. I have stuff that you can download and see virtually, so you can still get it even there in Australia. We have newsletters. I have my current book. We’ll have a new book coming out next spring, The Wahls Protocol.

So I’m working very hard at putting this information out to the public. At the same time, I’m doing these scientific studies testing my intervention, showing that it’s safe and effective, and we’re getting ready to launch the next study.

So I try to do things in parallel, create tools for the public, and create the science for my medical colleagues.

Guy Lawrence: That’s fantastic. Did you have a video? I notice you had a video series on there as well, so I’m guessing people can, you know, get there and start watching these things and take actions right away.

Dr. Terry Wahls: Absolutely, I think it’s very helpful.

Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.

Dr. Terry Wahls: People need to understand the why. Why it makes sense to give up food that you love. Why it makes sense to do the work of exercising in order to stay motivated to sustain these very uncomfortable changes.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, I think it’s very important, as well, to have some kind of support network behind you when doing this, as well. You know, get support of the family and then make the decision to actually say, “I’m going to do this and not deviate and, sort of, try not to get distracted with many other things.”

Because there’s so much information out there, as well, and it can pull you in all sorts of directions without actually, I guess, it confuses the matter, you know? We tend to have a habit of doing that, human beings, for some reason.

Have you got anything in the pipeline for the future?

Dr. Terry Wahls: Well, we have the book, The Wahls Protocol. I’m working on that. That will be released March 3rd, so that’s coming up really fairly soon. I will be going to the Ancestral Health Symposium in August, presenting some of our research there. We’ll actually talk about two of our studies there. That will be a lot of fun.

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.

Dr. Terry Wahls: And we are writing up and submitting our research findings, so, again, making good progress there.

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic, and I’ve got one last question for you, Dr. Wahls, and it’s a question we ask everyone that comes on our podcast, and that would be, if you could offer a single piece of advice for optimum health and wellness, what would that be?

Dr. Terry Wahls: Eat a lot more vegetables. Ditch the junk food.

Guy Lawrence: Eat a lot more vegetables. Ditch the junk food. Absolutely. Absolutely. I actually had a nice big salad for breakfast this morning with a little bit of grass-fed steak on it, so I’m quite proud of myself.

Dr. Terry Wahls: Perfect.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. For sure.

Dr. Terry Wahls: That’s my perfect breakfast as well.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. I’ve been doing that a lot recently and I definitely feel good about it. Just to mention your website as well, so the URL is?

Dr. Terry Wahls: Terry. T. E. R. R. Y. Wahls. W. A. H. L. S. dot com. When people go there, do sign up for the newsletter, which goes out every, once or twice a month. We have a lot of videos and there’s a lot of educational material right there.

Guy Lawrence: Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. I’ll put the appropriate links on our website, too, and when we send that out.

Dr. Terry Wahls: Thank you much.

Guy Lawrence: Thank you for your time. Apologies for the technical errors. I have no idea what happened there. it, yeah, that’s the first time that it’s done that for us, so we’ll look into it.

Dr. Terry Wahls: All right. Thank you much.

Guy Lawrence: You’re welcome. Thank you.

Dr. Terry Wahls: Bye, bye.

Guy Lawrence: Bye, bye.

Thanks for listening to our show The Health Sessions. If you would like more information on anything health from our blog, free eBook, or podcasts, simply visit 180nutrition.com.au. Also, if you have any questions or topics you’d like us to see cover in future episodes, we would really love to hear from you. Simply drop us an email to info@180nutrition.com.au. And if you’re listening to us on iTunes and enjoyed the show, we’d really appreciate a review in the review section. Until the next time, wherever you are in the world, have a fantastic week.

Learn the secrets to a healthy gut

180 Nutrition Podcast

Podcast Episode #1

180podcast

By Guy Lawrence

Welcome to our very first official podcast: The Health Sessions.

In this episode we focus on gut health, where I chat to the other half of 180 Nutrition Stuart Cooke and interview the CEO of Progurt, Robert Beson.

Download or subscribe to us on iTunes here.

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