Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.
Are grains really the enemy? Who better a person to ask than a guy who’s interviewed hundreds of health leaders from around the world and walks his talk when it comes health and nutrition. His answer wasn’t quite what we expected! Hence why we loved it and it’s this weeks 2 minute gem.
Abel James is the founder of ‘The Fat Burning Man’ show. A health and wellness podcast that’s hit No.1 in eight different countries on iTunes and gets over a whopping 500,000 downloads each month! It was fantastic to get the laid back Abel on the show today to share with us his own personal weight loss story, his discoveries, the trial and errors and the applied wisdom of others.
To sum up Abel James in his own words: My goal is to create a place where people can have spirited discussions and debate about issues that truly matter – not just fat loss and fitness, but ultimately health and quality of life. I also feel obligated to expose the truth about nutrition, fitness, and health so that people are no longer reliant upon deceptive marketing practices, misleading corporate propaganda, and powerful special interests that have accelerated the worldwide obesity epidemic and health crisis.
Full Interview: Lessons Learned From Becoming The Fat Burning Man
In This Episode:
Abel’s journey from being overweight to becoming the ‘Fat Burning Man’
What the body building industry taught him about weight loss
Guy Lawrence: This is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition and welcome to today’s Health Sessions.
So, as you can see, if you’re watching this in video, I’m standing here at Mcmahons Pool here in Sydney, which is a pearl of a location and I quite often find myself jumping in first thing in the morning. The water is cold here in winter in Sydney, although the sun’s shining, but it’s a great way to start the day nonetheless.
Anyway, on to today’s guest. I might be a little bit biased but I think this show today is fantastic and we’ve got an awesome guest for you. And he has a podcast himself, and I reckon he has one of the smoothest voices that is just designed for podcasts and radio, I tell ya. And that might even give you a clue already.
Stu often says I’ve got a face for radio, but I don’t know if I’ll take that as a compliment. But anyway. So, our guest today is Abel James, AKA the Fat-Burning Man. And if you are new to this podcast, definitely check it out. I’ve been listening to them for years. And Abel has had some fantastic guests on the show, as you can imagine, when you’ve been doing a podcast for over four years.
And we were really keen to get him on the show and share his experiences with us, because, you know, once you’ve interviewed that many people and some absolutely great health leaders around the world, you’re gonna pick up on what they say, their experience, and how you apply it in your own life. And we’re really keen to find out from Abel why he does, you know, because he’s covered, obviously, topics on mindset, health, nutrition, exercise, and what are the pearls of wisdom has he gone and taken over the years of experience and applied it. And some of the stuff what he doesn’t take, you know, take on board as well.
So, Abel shares all of that with us today, including his own story. Because Abel was once overweight. He’s looking a very, very fit boy at the moment, just from changing his nutrition.
So, anyway, that’s what you’re going to get out of today’s show and it’s a great one. So, it’s a pleasure to have Abel on.
And also, I ask for reviews, you know, leave us a review on iTunes if you’re enjoying the show. Subscribe, five-star it. You know, let us know where in the world you’re listening to these podcasts. I think we’re in 32 countries at the moment or maybe even more getting downloaded. So it’s pretty cool. And we always love to hear from you, so, yeah, jump on board and of course drop us an email back at 180Nutrition.com or .com.au now.
So, let’s go over to Abel. Enjoy the show.
Stuart Cooke: Guy, over to you.
Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke, as always. Hey Stewie.
Stuart Cooke: Hello, mate.
Guy Lawrence: And our fantastic guest today is Abel James. Abel, welcome to the show.
Abel James: Thanks so much for having me.
Guy Lawrence: Now, you will have to forgive us this morning, mate. It is very early in Sydney. So, I’ve never seen Stu up at this time of the morning, I think, so it will be interesting to see how he responds.
I’m just kidding. Come on.
Yeah, look, obviously we are big fans of your podcast. It’s great to have a fellow podcaster on. And what we were curious about, just to get the ball rolling, is I guess a little bit about your journey and what got you into podcasting and what let you to that. Because you’ve been doing it awhile now.
Abel James: Yeah. Well, the podcast itself kind of comes out, or it comes somewhat naturally, because I’m a musician and have been doing that for a very long time. So, you know, I had a blog, and this was, I guess, like, four years ago when I first started Fat-Burning Man.
But before that I worked as a consultant with some companies in the food and beverage industry right after I got out of college. And so I’d actually been blogging about health for many years before that, but anonymously. My site was called Honest Abe’s Tips. And it was a picture of, like, this digitized Abe Lincoln peeking out from behind the laptop.
But then with Fat-Burning Man, I realized that when I went through my own struggles with health, basically, I got fat and old and sick in my early 20s and didn’t want to keep being that way. So I kind of turned things around and found that it was a lot easier and more straight-forward and simpler than almost anything I’d ever read had made it out to be, you know, in the fitness magazines and the media. Even some of the science.
And so I started this up and realized that, you know, if I were looking at a fitness book or a fitness blog or something like that, first thing I’d do is, like, turn around, look at who’s writing it. Like: Are these people actually living it? Are they following their own advice?
And so I figured, you know, it’s the internet. Let’s just put it all right out there. And so I came up with this ridiculous Fat-Burning Man, like superhero type thing and just wanted to make it about being positive and showing that you can be happy and healthy at the same time. Because so much of the messaging, especially then, but still now, is that you need to be hungry and miserable and punish yourself. But you really can have a more holistic approach. So, that’s what I try to do.
Guy Lawrence: Did you ever imagine the Fat-Building Man would take you on this journey to where it is today? You know, when you started.
Abel James: You know, it’s so funny. Because now it kind of sneaks up on you a little bit. You know, like, I was just out at a health food store here in Tennessee and like within five seconds of walking in, someone’s like, “Abel! Hi!” We just moved here and that just happened in, like, New Orleans, in California. And so I don’t even realize how many people are listening but I’m so glad that they are, because when I first started it was just me talking into a microphone and hoping that people would listen and trying to get this message out there that was different and still is kind of different.
Because most of the stuff you find in health, and I’ve had to learn this the hard way, is not health information. It’s marketing propaganda. You know, designed to sell you supplements, shakes, consumables. Whatever they’re selling you is usually kind of, like, disguised in something that’s information. And that information is hurting people.
So, I wanted to just be totally open about all this and say, like, “These are the things that we think might be right, but we’re probably wrong about a bunch of stuff. But that’s definitely wrong over there.”
Guy Lawrence: That’s awesome. That’s awesome.
Stuart Cooke: So, when you mentioned that in your early days you were fat and sick and things just weren’t working out for you, do you think that was particularly diet-based?
Abel James: Yes. Absolutely. Because basically what happened is I grew up, my mom is a holistic nurse practitioner and an herbalist, and I was raised eating from the back yard. And we had fish sticks and stuff like that, too, sometimes, but it was; I had a very strong education in eating naturally, from the real world, back then.
And then, for me, like every teenager who wants to prove that there’s a better world out there than the one that they came from or whatever, to pay off my loans I got this big, fancy job in consulting and I got this big, fancy insurance that came along with the consulting job. And I’m just like, “All right. I’m gonna find the best doctor and listen to his advice and take his drugs and do his thing.”
And so I did that, and it was… You know, when I first walked in, he’s like, “What is the family history?” And I said, well, you know, there’s thyroid problems, most people gain weight as they age, my grandmother has high blood pressure, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
They looked at my blood and they’re just, like, “OK, well, we need to put you on a low-fat diet right away.” And, you know, zero dietary cholesterol and the whole… you guys are familiar with how that works, I’m sure.
And so I got that whole spiel and I’m like, OK. Well, if that’s gonna help me live longer, help my heart be healthy, and basically guarantee that I’m doing the right thing, then let’s do it.
Except it didn’t really work out that way. You know, for the first time in my life… I was always athletic and I love fitness and just getting outside, going for hikes or runs or mountain-biking. Whatever. And so I never really had a problem with weight. And all of a sudden, it’s creeping up, and it wasn’t until my boss made fun of me for being fat that I realized that I was, like, “Oh. This is fat.”
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. “There’s a problem.”
Abel James: And I wasn’t, like, massively overweight. But if you imagine me with less muscle and 20 pounds of flab, then all of sudden you kind of look like someone who’s much older than you actually are. And certainly not thriving anymore. Not athletic.
And I always want to be the best at whatever, so I had to turn that around.
Guy Lawrence: Was there any, like, little tipping points with books or information that made you sort of go, “I’ve really got to start delving into this” and looking down that path?
Abel James: Well, yeah. For me… So, I’m pretty narrow-focused a lot of the time and my focus then, when I first got into it, it was my first job, you know. My first real in-the-workforce job. I worked with my dad growing up and in restaurants and stuff. But this was the first thing I was taking seriously. And so I just wanted to pay down my debt as quickly as I could so that I could be free to do whatever more passion-based stuff.
And then I, basically, like, a little bit at a time saw that it wasn’t working. But I had outsourced it from my own brain, you know? I had always focused on being fit and athletic and running a lot, whatever. But it kind of like got away from me, because I was working so hard doing something else that was kind of like stealing my attention. And then it wasn’t until that comment and a couple of other things happened that I was just, like, “Oh. I guess I’ve got to focus on this.”
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: So, for all of our listeners, and your listeners as well, what did you focus on and what did you change?
Abel James: Well, it was interesting, because I grew up, my brother is about five years older than me, and I watched him go from… he’s a little bit obsessive and he watched Pumping Iron, the Arnold Schwarzenegger bodybuilding classic movie of the ’70s. He watched that for the first time, and I watched him over the next few months go from 155 pounds to well over 200; up to 220 of just solid, massive muscle.
So, that; it was in the back of my mind. I think sometimes you need something crazy like that. You need to see it happen in front of you before you really believe that it’s possible. You know what I mean? And so I hid that in back of my mind.
And so I always knew that you could do stuff that didn’t make any sense and it would kind of work out. And he did a lot of things that, dietary-wise, who knows what he was eating but it certainly wasn’t healthy. It was very different from the foods that we were eating.
But it was more generous with fat and protein and lower on carbs and kind of like counter to everything that I was told was healthy. And so I saw that whatever I was doing was not working. So I needed to do something different. And I was just like, well, why don’t I just flip it on its head and get some of the fats up there again and take down the carbs, take down the processed food, just kind of look at… I was looking at ketosis, cyclical ketogenic dieting that the bodybuilders were doing in the ’60s and ’70s, and it was like, you know they’re eating 26 eggs a day. Or drinking two gallons of milk a day. Or just chugging heavy cream. And getting down to 3 percent body fat. And for someone who had too much body fat, I’m like, “That’s interesting. I gotta try that.”
Stuart Cooke: Absolutely.
Guy Lawrence: It happened for us the same, because I worked with mainly people with cancer about 10 years ago and I used to do the weight-training programs for them. And it literally started from a bodybuilders’ diet. They got them on a ketogenic diet and weight-training, and that was the first time I was exposed to a high-fat diet, and back then I saw the results too. You know, it was quite remarkable, and their health, everything gets turned on its head overnight and you’re, like, “My God, I’ve got to tell the world.”
Abel James: It’s very bizarre. Because it should kill you, right? According to everything that the doctors tell you. That should just put you straight into a stretcher or a coffin or whatever.
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.
Abel James: But oftentimes it does the opposite.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. So, with all your guests and podcasts, there’s all these amazing people you’ve interviewed and things like that. Any pearls of wisdom that have stood out or guests that have jumped out at you? It’s probably quite a big question but…
Abel James: I look for the things that… Well, I should just say, even the people who come on my show, which are, like, curated (to a certain extent), by me, they have to go through some sort of vetting process. They love to disagree about a lot of things. And for me I just try to keep it on point, step aside. I’m not gonna be combative even if I disagree with what they’re saying. I think it’s really important to see the richness of experience in people who are getting results.
And so I look for the things that they agree about. And there are very few. But number one is that everyone should be eating more leafy green vegetables and colorful vegetables, especially the non-starchy kind. And almost everyone agrees on that. Pretty much 100 percent.
Yet, almost nobody does it. Even the people who are, like, super paleo and super healthy or whatever. They’re more, usually, obsessed with the latest gadget, pill, carb-backloading approach, like new things that… I just had Kiefer on, I have a lot of people on with kind of like new spins on whatever. And so people get obsessed with, like, the new spin instead of having a salad. Which is like… So, one of the things that I try to do is encourage people to do the simple things that we already know, because it’s really easy to ignore that.
Or, if you go and you’re paleo and you’re really excited about it and you’re getting all these results and you’re doing CrossFit and then you go and get a paleo treat or whatever from the grocery store, because now you can find those, at least in America. And, you know, all of a sudden you take down 25 grams of sugar without even realizing it. But it’s “totally paleo” because it has honey in it. Wait a second!
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, half a jar.
Abel James: That kind of goes against the whole thing. So, I try to make it simple for people and more habit-based. More like, my background’s in brain science and psychology so I try and take it from that angle where, like, you guys know: If you’re training people or if you want to achieve something in your own life, it’s not really about the information that you have as much as, are you doing it. Right? So, I really try to focus on getting people to do it, making that easier and more simple.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. You always find you can go on these crazy paths and you always get back to basics. Just keep it very simple.
Stuart Cooke: I think those basics generally come back to how our grandparents ate as well. It’s, like, super simple, really.
Abel James: It was wonderful. Beautifully simple.
Stuart Cooke: It’s it? Yeah. It couldn’t be more simple, yet in other respects it couldn’t be more complex with all this crazy info out there.
Abel James: Especially today.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Totally. So, over here we had quite an interesting article that came out in the Sydney Morning Herald about grains and bread and how everybody’s becoming more resistant to gluten and they’ve got intolerances and sensitivities to everything under the sun.
In your opinion, are grains the enemy?
Abel James: That’s a great question. I think they’re one of the enemies, yes. But that’s more a function of the fact that we’re eating grains in a way that we never ate grains before than the fact that they’re grains, if that makes sense. So, what I mean by that is if you take a chicken and then breed it to have certain characteristics like having breasts so large that it topples over or breaks its legs like most of the turkeys and poultry we have and then you inject it with a bunch of antibiotics and, you know, feed it with poison and whatever else. It’s not the same chicken that our ancestors would be eating.
And if you take wheat and, over the course of time, you breed it to make sure that it’s well-adapted for transport, ready for harvest months before it would have been otherwise, and basically mutate it and change it into something that it wasn’t before, it’s not the same wheat either.
And so what we do with that wheat, for example, is then, if that weren’t bad enough, kind of like mutating this thing into something that’s bred not for your health but for basically industrial efficiency, then you throw it through all these industrial processes, like grinding it into this really, really fine powder and not allowing it to ferment on the stalk, which releases enzymes to make it digestible, and then you let it fester on a shelf and get old or whatever, but it’s so irradiated and processed that you barely notice that the food is so spoiled.
It’s not the same thing as eating wild rice like Native Americans did here, especially in the Southwest. And you can you still, though, my wife is from Arizona, so we go there quite often, you can go and get, like, Native American wild rice and eat that.
So, if you compare that to, like, Uncle Ben’s rice, a brand we have here which is basically like processed white rice, not the same thing. So, we do eat some grains, but it’s in an entirely different way than almost everyone else eats grains these days.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, totally. No, that’s a good point. I read, a few years back, a book called Wheat Belly, and it really does kind of open the lid on the wheat industry. And, crikey, you really do think twice.
Abel James: It’s hard to get away from them.
Stuart Cooke: Very, very hard to get away from them. Unless, of course, you eat like your grandparents ate and then it’s actually a little easier to get away from… putting labels on vegetables.
Guy Lawrence: What are your thoughts on… Because I struggle with wheat and gluten and a big thing for me has been looking at food sensitivities over the years, and allergies. What are your thoughts on that? Have you personally looked into that?
Abel James: I have. It’s interesting because we don’t know how reliable it is. Especially… food allergy testing is one thing, but food sensitivity testing is quite another. And so for me, there are so many different variables but I’m trying to get better and better.
And a few years ago I had… Probably about two years ago, at this point, I remember I talked about food sensitivity on the podcast with Dave Asprey, the Bulletproof Executive guy, who just loves testing of all kinds. And so we went through various things that I was supposedly reacting to. I did the tests again about a year after that and most of the things had gone down. A couple of them stayed up. And then there was a new one, like pinto beans or something else I “highly reacted” to. Whatever.
And there were some other unfortunate ones that were, like, paleo foods. Like olives. Olive oil. And honey. From the first test. Those seemed to kind of stay elevated. And then I took it again about three, four weeks ago and I’m reactive to almost nothing now.
So, from my own personal experience, it’s been interesting to look at that because I love science, I love numbers, I love personal experimentation. And I don’t know what’s going on with that. I can say that I’m pretty happy about it, but I don’t know if it kind of like invalidates the tests that were done before. Because one of the arguments against it is that it kind of just counts the stuff you’re eating too much of anyway.
Guy Lawrence: When, like, the olive oil and honey came up on the test, did you then avoid those foods?
Abel James: I did. I avoided them, not completely, because it’s really hard to eat a salad anywhere that’s not your own home without olive oil or GMO oil or whatever else. And so basically if someone knows that you’re paleo or gluten-free or healthy-conscious, then they’re giving you honey and olive oil and… mushrooms was another one that came up.
Yeah, so, kind of bizarre things, especially considering how healthy those things are normally and how much they would be included in almost any meal that you eat out. You don’t really think about not eating something like mushrooms, right? Or olives. But once you have to look for that, it’s in everything. You can’t believe it. It’s just hard to get away from.
But, yeah, I definitely; I went from eating those things on purpose to eating less of them or basically not forcing myself to eat those foods anymore. And that seemed to do the trick.
But gluten is one that we’re not really sure if it’s the gluten itself or just the wheat being so manipulated and so low-quality that that’s hurting us. But there’s something in modern wheat that’s terrible for us. It might be the gluten. Some people are definitely allergic to it, flat out. Other people are kind of reactive to it or whatever. But I just avoid it, pretty much at all costs.
Guy Lawrence: It’s interesting. Like, Stewie, had the short straw when it came to sensitivities tests. He came up eggs, glaringly.
Abel James: Oh, no.
Stuart Cooke: One of these things. And I was loving my eggs. I’d eat two, three, four, five a day, which is great. But then I also do wonder whether worrying about the foods that you shouldn’t be eating, worrying about all these crazy diets, you know, does more hard than good. Can it actually then evoke food sensitivities because your cortisone levels are going crazy.
Abel James: Right.
Stuart Cooke: You know, it’s just insane. I’m wondering, from your perspective, how important do you think it is to try and unplug or really work on stress management as part of your kind of holistic approach to health?
Abel James: I think it’s the number one thing that people don’t really talk about. Because it’s not that sexy to say, “Sleep. Go to sleep early.”
“Don’t get stressed out. Meditate. Chill out. Take a walk. Take a vacation.” It’s really easy to say those things. But it’s like eating a salad, right? We all know that that’s exactly what we should be doing. The problem is that we’re not doing it.
And so, yeah, I mean, one of our secrets, why we “look and feel so great all the time and always have this energy” is because we go to sleep, like, way earlier than most other people. And we take flak from it sometimes.
But, at the same time, when you show up to a… So, we go to a lot of, like, health masterminds and stuff like that with a lot of the other big names in the field. Stuff like that. And I can tell you, these people are just, like, running themselves into the ground, a lot of the time. And they’re not really sleeping. They’re kind of compensating.
And we’re ready to rock, and usually, like, we’ll go out and party and hang out with all these people because it’s so much fun. We don’t really get to do it that often. And so you see just the huge tax that running; that basically doing too many things at the same time doesn’t matter who you are, what you do, if you’re in health or not, it’s beating you up and it will get the best of you at some point.
And so the really boring things that we do every day are the things that really matter. So, like, for instance, my wife and I, we wake up every morning, we do Qigong. We’ve been doing that now for a few years, I guess.
Guy Lawrence: Can you explain that?
Abel James: Qigong, or yoga, which is like tai chi, and so it’s basically fluid, kind of almost active stretching type movements. Balance and stretching. And then we meditate for, not necessarily very long, 10, 20, minutes. But we do it every single day. And we tend to wake up fairly early and we go to bed early as well. With some exceptions, but not very often.
And it’s the things that you do every day, if you’re in the habit of slumping on the couch after a hard day of work and then you have a beer or two every night, that’s a lot of beer. It compounds.
But if you, every night, you have tea or something like that or you just relax, you have a glass of water, you hang out, you relax, you slow down, you get some sleep. And then on the weekends you go out and you have too much wine or you have a few beers, totally different thing. You’ll probably get away with it, because it’s not the thing that you’re doing every day. Right? That’s the exception.
So, you have to kind of like train into yourself the right habits that are automatic that aren’t getting the best of you. And part of that is definitely tuning down the stress. Because we’re all, like, with the amount of technology that’s around us these days, we’re all totally cranked out of our minds.
Stuart Cooke: We’re plugged in, aren’t we?
Guy Lawrence. Massively.
Stuart Cooke: Do you sleep well?
Abel James: Thank you for asking. What a sweet question. I’ve been doing interviews all day and that’s the sweetest question I’ve gotten.
Stuart Cooke: This is the million dollar question.
Abel James: Yes. I didn’t used to. I used to have a lot of trouble sleeping, especially staying asleep around the morning. It was like I would wake up, it didn’t matter how late I had stayed up the night before… As a musician, my gigs would start at midnight and I’d have to play under three or something and then go to bed at 4. But I’d always wake up at 6 or 7 and again at 8:30, even if I was trying to sleep it through.
But these days, I think a lot of it has to do with how we time our carbs and starches, which is almost always in the evening. And we eat very lightly or kind of like fast most of the day and then we have a big feast at night, pretty much.
And so we have a compressed eating window. And saving the brunt of our calories and food for the evening seems to slow you down and put you in digestion mode at the right time, especially if you are staying… There are other things where we stay away from alcohol most of the time. On the weekends we go out, have some fun, whatever. But pretty much every weeknight we’re not letting that disrupt our sleep. Because science shows that there’s no getting away from it. If you drink alcohol, it’s disrupting your sleep patterns for sure.
And if you stay up certain nights really late and other nights try to go to sleep early, that messes with your clock, too. So we stay on a nice, steady clip of sleeping and waking up in the morning.
And I don’t do well on very little sleep. I’ve always know that about myself. I think it’s one of the reasons that I do well, succeed, is because it’s something I’m obsessed about. Other guys, like, as a musician, you go on tour or whatever, other guys are staying up all night. It doesn’t really seem to be a problem. It is a problem, like, if they actually looked at it, but it affects other people less than it affected me, it seems like. So, I’ve always just made that the one thing that I do. I sleep, and it’s important.
Stuart Cooke: Any particular gems or strategies or hacks that you can share with everybody right now?
Guy Lawrence: You love the sleep topic.
Stuart Cooke: Well, I, crikey… this is my topic. And I’m fanatical about sleep. But always interested in, you know, it could be the tiniest little thing that you do that makes the hugest difference, and of course sleep is the number one. You can be eating like an absolute prince, but if you don’t sleep, then you’re not recovering or restoring; all of those things.
So, any little gems that you could share with us right now to say, “These worked for me”?
Abel James: Well, I think you touched on something that’s really important. Sleep should be time for recovery. And what that means to me is that almost every day I do kind of like micro-exercise, where I’ll do five to 10 minutes of an exercise pretty much every day except for Sunday. And I put that in the morning. So, I do my exercise like first thing, gets my blood flowing, and by the end of the day I’m tired and I want to go to sleep. And so I honor that.
If you try to force it and crack work out, that’s another thing that’s really important. It’s like, I work hard but I’m almost always off of communication by, like, 7 or 8. Usually before that. I shut my laptop. I’m not checking; I don’t have notifications on my phone. That’s a pretty big one, too. Or on my computer. My email comes in; I don’t know. I have to go in and check it. I’m not having all these things that are, like, “bloop, blop, bloop,” no matter what time of day or night it is. That’s really important.
And staying away from technology in the evening is really useful. So, one of the things I do is play guitar or play piano or sing. Do something that’s right-brainish. Gets you into that flow, that relaxed state, that’s kind of sleepy and dreamy. It’s just like perfect timing to kind of lead you into going to sleep.
Guy Lawrence: What kind of… Just touch on exercise. What kind of philosophies do you abide by, then? What do you incorporate in your week?
Abel James: Well, I used to run marathons.
Guy Lawrence: All right. Wow!
Abel James: I’ve always been a runner of some kind. I was never great, but I was always good. It was something I did more for meditation. I didn’t call it that back then, but I’d run outside and I’d get into this state, that the only way I can describe it, is meditative, for sure.
So, I used to do a lot of exercise. And I raced mountain bikes when I was younger and stuff. Now, I’ve found that exercise is something that I do as a habit, not as something that I kind of, like, force in there, if that makes sense.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Abel James: So, at this point it’s pretty much automatic, that in the morning I’m going to be doing something.
On Mondays I do monster lifts, which isn’t anything too crazy. It’s basically just like I have a couple of dumbbells …
I always work out at home, I don’t really go to gyms, because our nearest health food store is in a different time zone. Like, we’re out here in the middle of the woods, so, I don’t really have any other choice.
So, I’ve got a couple of 52-pound dumbbells, free weights, and I use those to do squats and some dead lifts and maybe a couple of other little exercises, some presses or whatever, on Mondays.
Or I might do a kettlebell workout on that day. But every Monday I’m hitting it, I’m making myself sore, and then I’m going to go and crush a bunch of work, my worst work, I put that all on Monday.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Abel James: So, it’s just one of those days, it’s just like, “All right, we’re getting it!”
And then, maybe on Tuesday, then I would do something that’s a little bit less intense, like yoga-type moves, some holds, focusing more on balance and mobility.
And then on Wednesday, I might do a very intense sprint workout. That’s what I did today. Which is, basically just like tabatas. So, you do 20 seconds on, all-out exercise that’s intense. So, I’ll do sprints or burpees. So you do that 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off. Repeat it ten times. You’re done in five minutes.
Guy Lawrence: Oh yeah.
Abel James: And if you’re not smoked by the end of it, you’re doing it wrong.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Right. That’s perfect.
Abel James: It’s the week, … sorry, go ahead.
Stuart Cooke: It’s just interesting, you know, there are a lot of people now kind of almost ingrained to think, “Well, I’ve got to go to the gym every day and I’ve got to stay in the gym for two hours. And I’m on that treadmill and I’m watching TV and you know, that’s me, done.”
But like you said, you can do this in five minutes. You know, I do a little kettlebell burpee workout and I can do that in about six minutes and I’m toast. Done. But yeah, massive effects on how you feel later on in the day.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. But it’s bringing it back to making sure your sleep’s dialed in and your nutrition is dialed in.
Abel James: Right.
Guy Lawrence: And then you can spend the time enjoying your life outside of these things, instead of obsessing about them all.
Abel James: Yeah. The simple things. It’s is just kind of … get your calendar in order. Grab a hold of that thing. Shake it around a little bit, if you need to, and then put the right things in, especially in the morning. That’s, I think, from a habit point of view. It’s like, if you’re forcing yourself to go to the gym every day, for two hours, and go on a treadmill, which almost nobody likes.
Guy Lawrence: Oh yeah.
Abel James: That’s why you watch TV, because you’re so just bored. Then it’s hard to believe that that’s sustainable. It’s hard to believe that you’re going to be able to do that for the rest of your life.
It might work, kind of. But if you can’t do it for a really long time, if you don’t love to do it, you’re going to stop at some point. Then you’re going to fall off the wagon. Get out of shape. Then it’s really hard to get back in shape.
So, like, make this … if you can do your workout in six minutes, do it! I mean I’m a “health guy” or whatever and that’s exactly what I do.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Abel James: I think that it’s the best to know that science supports that too, right?
Stuart Cooke: It does. Yeah, that’s right.
Abel James: I’d much rather; I like running, but to be perfectly honest, if I can do it in five minutes instead of three hours, I’m going with five minutes.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Every time.
Guy Lawrence: I think you touched on something else as well. It’s important you’ve got to enjoy it. Just do something you love doing. I think that’s so important psychologically, as well, so you can go and do it again.
I worked in a gym for a long time and I found people who forced themselves through the door, just staying there for so long, just like a diet per se, as well. And then they would drop off at the other end and everything they gained, what they’d struggled to gain, it comes back anyway.
Abel James: And it’s heartbreaking, right?
Guy Lawrence: Ah, yeah.
Abel James: When you know what works. You know they know what works, too. But sometimes it’s just; it all goes away.
Guy Lawrence: Yup.
Abel James: It’s a bummer to see that.
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.
So, moving on, we mentioned your book “The Wild Diet.” Can you tell us a little bit about it? Because it’s launched I’m thinking a few months now.
Abel James: Yes. Yeah. It’s been out for about a month now. It’s called “The Wild Diet” basically, because what we have in most societies now is this industrialized food system that is feeding us junk food, processed food, and junk food disguised as health food. And so a lot of people are getting burned by that.
On the other side of that, we have kind of like this wild world. The opposite of industrialized domesticated. You know, where animals, if you choose to eat them, are raised eating the diets that are natural to them in nature.
So, cows are eating grass, for example. So you eat grass-fed, pasture-raised animals.
Your getting heirloom and heritage varieties of seeds, nuts, plants, as much as you can, because those things are inherently designed by nature, generally most healthy for our bodies at this point. We’re well-adapted to eat things we’ve been eating for a long time in the form that they used to be.
And sometimes that can be hard to find. You know, like finding wheat strains, for example. Finding really traditional sourdough breads, made with an ancient variety of wheat, is something you need to try to do. You need to look for it or whatever. But it can be done.
And so, “The Wild Diet” is basically trying to … I come from the paleo world in a lot of ways. But paleo as a theme has kind of subsumed a lot of other movements.
Guy Lawrence: Yup.
Abel James: It kind of like absorbed them, right? Like the eat local movement, the low-carb movement. And so, I’m somewhere in between all these.
And one of the problems, it’s exciting but, one of the problems with like, paleo, for example, is that it’s gotten so big and so many people have heard about it, that the marketers know that it’s a hot market and so they’re starting to flood the market with a bunch of “paleo health foods.” And a lot of people are getting the wrong idea about what that means.
You can’t just go to McDonald’s and get a hamburger or three hamburgers, throw away the bun and call it paleo, right? If you’re doing it right.
So, I felt like I needed that other word that hadn’t been poisoned yet. So, I wanted to come up with “wild.”
And basically it’s just a … it’s more of a philosophy on how to eat and live than it is about some crazy dogmatic diet. It’s basically like: Here’s everything that you need to know to actually do this, in a simple fun book.
And so, I basically wrote it according to what my community and fans and followers liked and wanted to listen to and then we filled it up with some of the best recipes we’ve ever made. So …
Guy Lawrence: Good one, yeah.
Abel James: … it’s a fun book.
Guy Lawrence: But it’s a bit of a big task putting a book together I can imagine, right?
Abel James: Oh, boy. It’s the worst possible thing you can do for your health, is write a health book.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
So, given the fact then that you’ve got all this knowledge and you’ve put it into this book, this fantastic resource for everyone, the million-dollar question is, what have you eaten today?
Abel James: Oh, good one. So, that’s the question that I can almost not even ask on my show, because a lot of people are so embarrassed about what they actually do.
So, I started the morning with supplements. A lot of them are herbs and adaptogens, you know, like rhodiola is one of my favorites. And fermented cod liver oil I usually have in the morning, because it’s a nice little dose of fat and kind of like front-loads lot of nutrition. Vitamin D is something I take pretty much every day. So, I’ll take that in the morning as well.
And then I made myself … well, every morning I wake up, drink a big glass of water, I usually keep that going throughout the day. So, lots of hydration.
And I had … this is my sixth interview today.
Stuart Cooke: Oh, crikey.
Abel James: And I have two more after this.
Guy Lawrence: Oh, wow.
Abel James: So, on interview days I generally fast until the evening. Sometimes until the afternoon, depends if I have the time or the breaks.
So, I make myself my own, like, usually I roast the coffee about once a week, so I’ll make some French press coffee and then I’ll fill it up with a tablespoon or two of heavy cream or some sort of fat. Which gives me some interest, right? I like drinking that with my coffee and I might have some coconut oil with it or medium-chain triglycides or other fat that I put in there.
So, that’s what I had today and I’ve had, I think, two cups of coffee with probably about three tablespoons of heavy cream, pasture-raised. And then right before this interview I felt like I wanted something and so my wife made an awesome green smoothie, which we have almost every day.
That’s usually how I break my fast, is by having basically a blended-up salad. But you can pick the right thing so it tastes really good.
So, it’s got like three different types of greens in it. It’s got strawberries. It has chia seeds and flax, so it’s full of omegas, the right kinds of fats, and plenty of fiber. So, I hit that with some coconut on top, some shredded coconut, because it’s nice to chew on something.
And that’s all I’ve eaten today.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fantastic.
Abel James: Tonight I think we’re going to have a big steak and probably a big salad and maybe a side of red rice, I think we have some going. And we have some soup. Some bone broth that we made, that’s left over, that we’re just going to heat up and some of that too and probably some really tasty chocolate or some of Alison’s homemade cookies for dessert.
Stuart Cooke: Wow. It’s almost breakfast time and you are making me hungry.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: That is fantastic.
Guy Lawrence: That’s awesome. Mate, we have a couple of wrap-up questions for the podcast.
Abel James: Hit it.
Guy Lawrence: And first one is, are there any books that you’ve read that have been a great influence in your life?
Abel James: “Chi Running” by Danny Dreyer. He’s one of my past guests. That’s one of the most underrated books there is I think.
It’s about how to incorporate symmetry and balance into your movements. Specifically for running, but it really applies to almost everything using, you know, ancient … I’ve seen a lot of similar things in Taoist textbooks and certainly like the tai chi and things like that.
That’s an awesome book. It’s called “Chi Running.” Danny Dreyer’s the writer who’s been on my show.
Guy Lawrence: We’ll include it in the show notes. Yeah. Fantastic.
Abel James: Yeah. That one’s great.
The “Perfect Health Diet” is done by Paul Jaminet. It came out a few years ago; another just wonderfully researched book.
And Paul … I was fortunate to hang out with him a bunch of times and kind of become friends with him. And he’s not your typical health professional, in the sense that he’s not really interested in any of the marketing or whatever. He likes research and he likes the science.
And so I really like that book too, the “Perfect Health Diet.”
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. Perfect. I’ll check them out. I haven’t seen any of those two.
And last one is, and this is a pearler. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Abel James: I worked with this Russian guy when I worked at restaurants growing up. And on one catering gig, he just messed up royally. I don’t know what happened exactly, but the boss was really pissed off and this guy was not having a good time. And then he just kind of like turned to me and I’m 14 years old or whatever and he’s this massive Russian guy and he’s just like, “Every kick in the butt is a step forward.”
This is how it started off and you could tell that he didn’t care at all. He was going to have a great day no matter what. And after I kind of like saw that happen and I was like, “All right. That’s cool.” The way that he handled that, I want to be able to handle something like that …
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Take it on the chin and move on.
Abel James: … when the world comes crashing down on me someday.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, that works. That’s fantastic.
Guy Lawrence: Awesome, mate. And is there anything coming up in the future, Abel? Anything you’d like to share? Any exciting projects?
Abel James: Sure. Yeah. We’re excited about … well, we decided basically that, this is my wife and I, this is something that we’re just going to do, you know. We’re going to make this our … we’ve been doing it full-time for a while, but we weren’t sure exactly if we wanted to do apps or you know some other type of publishing or helping publish other people or whatever. But we decided to make the blog and the podcast and our new video series kind of our main thing.
So, we just recorded a huge cooking class, that we invite all these cameras into our kitchen. We set up a bunch of GoPros and other cameras. And so, it’s like documentary-quality. Just hanging out with us in the kitchen learning how to cook things quickly and easily.
And so, it’s called The Wild Diet Cooking Class and you can find that at: FatBurningMan.com/cooking.
So that’s just one of the things, but if you go to FatBurningMan.com and sign up for the newsletter, we’re planning to come out with cool stuff like that every few months or so and just keep a steady clip of like, “You guys want to learn more about ketosis? All right. We’ll do this class.”
Stuart Cooke: Perfect
Abel James: And keep that going.
Yeah. So, it’s been fun. It’s a lot of work, but after taking about a year off traveling the world and going to Australia, which is loads of fun, it’s been really cool to come back with a renewed passion and focus.
Guy Lawrence: That’s awesome, mate and for your book, “The Wild Diet” as well, go back to FatBurningMan.com, as well?
Abel James: You can actually, if you want to see that, you can go to: WildDietBook.com.
Guy Lawrence: Okay. There you go and we’ll put a link in the show notes, as well. Brilliant.
Abel James: Right on. Thank.
Guy Lawrence: Abel, thanks so much for coming on the show. That was a treat. And I have no doubt everyone listening to this will get a heap out of that. That was awesome.
Abel James: Awesome. Yeah. What a pleasure. Thank you for having me.
Stuart Cooke: No problems and we really appreciate it. And you enjoy the rest of the day. Good luck with your interviews and enjoy that meal. Sounds delicious.
Abel James: Thank you so much. You guys have a great day.
Guy Lawrence: Thanks, Abel.
Stuart Cooke: Thank you buddy. Take care. Bye, bye.
Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on youriPhone HERE.
There’s no doubt about it, the paleo diet certainly has divided opinion (especially if you listen to the media)! We ask Marlies Hobbs, what are the biggest misconceptions when it comes to the world of paleo. Can you guess what they are?
If you like inspirational stories, then this one is for you, as we have on todays show Marlies, who is the co-founder of the Paleo Café along with her husband, Jai. She had a great career in law and threw it all in to start the Paleo Café.
After the birth of her dairy-intolerant son Troy, she had a new outlook on life and a sincere appreciation for the effects of food on our physical (and mental) health. After making massive changes in their own life when it come to the foods they ate and the direct impact it had on their health, what follows is a fantastic journey of courage and commitment as they set out to create a paleo cafe lifestyle revolution! Enjoy… Guy
Full Interview with Marlies Hobbs: Why I Risked It All To Start The Paleo Cafe
In this episode we talk about:
Why she quit her secure job in law to start a cafe revolution
The greatest lessons she’s learned about the paleo diet
How she handles her hashimoto disease through food
Why gut health is a main priority
The Food Strategies she uses for her children
How she lost 8kg in weight by making simple dietary changes
Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions.
Today, I’m sitting in the Paleo Café in Bondi Junction, Sydney, and this is place where myself and Stu like to try and have our business meetings so we can rely upon the food. But it’s also very relevant to today’s guest.
Now, I do wonder if people get the feeling, you know, sometimes their career is not serving them what they want to do or they’re trying to have more purpose and meaning to it all, I guess. What they’re trying to do with their life, even, in general. I know I certainly had that before starting 180 Nutrition and wanted to make a difference.
And, you know, today’s guest is no exception. So, if you like inspirational stories, this one’s for you, because we have on the show today Marlies Hobbs, who is the co-founder of the Paleo Café along with her husband, Jai. And she decided one day to give it up; all her job security. She had a great career in law and threw it all in to start the Paleo Café.
And so why did she do this? You know, it takes massive courage and dedication, that’s for sure. And obviously a lot of passion. But in a nutshell, they’d just had a newborn son, Troy, and when he was born he was suffering acid reflux for many, many months. He was vomiting a lot and it was causing multiple problems, obviously, to them and they were very worried about him. And they realized that; eventually they found out that he was dairy intolerant, and then they started looking into other foods that might be causing problems, not only to their son Troy but to their own health as well.
And she stumbled across the book The Paleo Diet by Loren Cordain and started applying the principles for that. Within five weeks, she’d dropped 8 kilos. Her digestive problems improved and Jai also lost a lot of weight as well and realized they wanted to make a difference in the food industry. And in 2012, the first Paleo Café was born. And it’s now 2015, as I’m saying this, and I think there’s 14 or 15 Paleo Cafes now across Australia, which are awesome. So if you’re in the neighborhood certainly check them out.
I don’t know about you, but if you are needing be inspired and motivated to make change, you’ll get a lot out of this episode today with Marlies. She explains it all, and of course her own health journey as well. It was fantastic to have her on the show.
We also get a lot of emails as well with people asking us, “How do I drop the last five kilos? How do I lose weight? How do I get around bloating?” You know there’s a lot of misinformation out there. So, obviously, with these podcasts and everything that we do, we get comments coming back every week, so we’ve put a quiz together. It’s very simple. You just go in and answer the multiple choice surveys and from that we can then give you content regarding what your answers were.
And some of the biggest roadblocks that we find are, you know, misinformation, people can’t lose the last five kilograms, and also they struggle sticking to their diet in general. So we’ve addressed all these issues and put them into some great information. All you need to do is go back to 180nutrition.com.au and take the quiz and go from there, basically.
But also give us some feedback on what you think of the videos. We’d love to hear from them. And everyone’s that been leaving reviews on iTunes over the last few weeks, really appreciate it. Keep them coming, if you haven’t. It only takes two minutes to do. It gives us good feedback, it helps with our rankings, and it helps us reach more people and it allows us to continue to get awesome guests so we can share them with you and you can listen to them on the podcast. So, head over to iTunes, five-star it, subscribe, leave a review, and it’s always appreciated and we love getting the feedback and thanks again for people who have left them; it’s greatly appreciated.
Anyway, I’m gonna start talking. Let’s go over to Marlies Hobbs. Enjoy.
Hi, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke, as always. Hi, Stuart.
Stuart Cooke: Hello, mate.
Guy Lawrence: And our lovely guest today is Marlies Hobbs. Marlies, welcome to the show.
Marlies Hobbs: Thank you for having me.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, no, fantastic. We’ve got some awesome things to cover today. Everything paleo and the Paleo Café. But before we start any of that, would you mind sharing us a little bit about yourself and your journey prior to moving into the Paleo Café world?
Marlies Hobbs: Yeah, sure. So, basically, I grew up in Cairns, went to law school, and was practicing as a planning and environment lawyer until I had my first son Troy. And he was born really sick with a dairy intolerance. And it was through that experience that I really learned the profound effects of food on the body as well as the mind.
And at the time I was suffering from acne, digestion problems, fluid retention. Having issues with XXbloating?? 0:04:48.000XX. And I certainly didn’t wake refreshed. So, I had some health issues which I had just accepted as normal, but I guess being awoken to the impact of food on the body.
I had a bit of curiosity there, and Jai, my husband, was actually enjoying his CrossFit and his CrossFit coach told him about the paleo diet and Jai was really keen to give that a go.
And at the time, I was very skeptical. I had just gone through hell and back with my son. He was basically; he screamed for the first four and a half months of his life. You know, he was vomited and pooing blood. It was, like, a very traumatic time. He woke every hour throughout the night. I basically didn’t sleep.
And so, as we were coming out of that struggle, and Troy had been prescribed a dairy-free formula, because basically I had lost my milk because of the stress that that had put on my body and whatnot.
I guess I was really not in a position to want to try any new diets. I just really wanted to, I guess, rejuvenate. But he brought home The Paleo Diet by Loren Cordain and I read the first chapter and it suggested all these possibilities to actually heal myself from many of the health complaints that I was experiencing. So, it was at that point that I was prepared to give it a go. And we, as a family, gave it a go. Jai lose 10 kilos. I lost eight kilos. My skin cleared up in about six weeks. My digestion problems went away after about three. And we had energy. We had learned about a new way of looking at life. You know, getting out in the park and how great that is for us as a family. And actually stopping and laying there on the grass and appreciating all the gifts that Mother Nature has for us.
So, it was through that experience with Troy, and my health issues and Jai’s performance and fitness goals, that led us to the paleo diet. And it just completely changed our lives.
Guy Lawrence: Was that the first time you ever considered nutrition as therapeutical for the body, as well, as a healing? Because, you know, you see so many people out there that completely overlook what they put in their mouths daily, or they don’t have that connection yet. So, was that the first time for you?
Marlies Hobbs: Absolutely. Up until that point in time, I had really thought that I was healthy, you know. I didn’t eat fast food too often and I mostly cooked at home. It was spaghetti bolognaise and, you know, curries with rice. And I was healthy! I had XXmilo? Merlot? 0:07:30.000XX and milk and whatnot.
But I thought that I was really healthy. I’d have a muesli bar XXtechnical glitch 0:07:45.000XX and all these healthy things, they weren’t XXtechnical glitch 0:07:45.000XX until I actually became healthy.
Stuart Cooke: Just thinking about your transition to the paleo diet, and it’s amazing to see that you do change your diet and you can really make some amazing changes to your health, but what triggered that spark in you to say, “I’m gonna take this to as many people as I can. I’m gonna set up my own chain of Paleo Cafés”?
Marlies Hobbs: So, it was basically; I remember the moment. One day I walked in the house with a bag full of groceries and products and literally I had been out for a few hours just to get a few things, because I had to jump from health food store to supermarket to health food store asking everyone, every shop, “I need coconut oil. I need XXflax seed? 0:08:41.000XX, I need this.” And they all looked at me like I was crazy. And I was XXyou’re never gonna ??XXX. You know?
And I said to Jai, “Oh, wouldn’t it be good if there was just one place where you could go and get all your products in one place, get a meal, you know, still socialize and have a meal out with your friends without feeling like a crazy person asking for every ingredient in every dish and then basically not being able to eat anything. So, you know it was quite isolating.
And then I figure out, also, we were gonna have a XXtype? 0:09:13.000XX I was a lawyer and I’m going back to work as a lawyer and Jai had his own XXbuyer?? businessXX. We had no time to always prepare every meal every night. But takeaway just wasn’t an option, unless it was a hot chook that we had to prepare ourselves, which is pretty easy. But otherwise there just really was no takeaway convenient meal option for us.
And there’s where the ready-made meal idea came in, where you could pack and it’s ready-made there, so that you could grab them on your way home and enjoy those without compromising your health.
So, that’s sort of where I was thinking wouldn’t it be great to have this type of business. And he goes, “Well, that would be quite a good idea.” And the next day he registered the business name. Paleo Café just seemed to make sense. We didn’t give it too much thought. It just made sense to us at that time.
And I was so intrigued by the whole idea and I still worked as a lawyer until three weeks before opening the first café. Every night before I would go to bed I would research supplies, research products, research recipes and develop menus. I was recruiting people from all over the world, which ended up being a bit of a mistake, but that’s another story.
You know, I was absolutely making this happen. And franchising as such wasn’t in mind in the beginning. It was just a concept, and it was something that we wanted for ourselves that we continued to employ this lifestyle. And I had planned to keep working as a lawyer, but it wasn’t until everyone became so intrigued and so much inquiring, so much interaction, I couldn’t keep up with that as well as managing staff and having a job and having a baby.
So, I cried my last day at work, the whole day I cried, because I was like, “What have I done? I’ve worked there and I was working my way up the chain.” And, “Oh she threw this away to open a café.” People literally said they thought I was absolutely crazy.
It just sort of happened, I suppose.
Guy Lawrence: That’s so inspiring. That’s awesome. So, how long did it take you from when you registered the name Paleo Café; you know, Jai got; you guys got inspired to your first Paleo Café opening. How long was that period of time?
Marlies Hobbs: We registered the business name in around April 2012 and we opened the first café in October.
Guy Lawrence: Oh, wow.
Marlies Hobbs: So, the end of October 2012.
Guy Lawrence: Wow. That’s fantastic. That’s amazing.
Stuart Cooke: Wow, that’s quick. That’s super quick.
Marlies Hobbs: And people had no idea. My only hospitality job was a pub when I was teen. It was just passion and determination and vision.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, exactly. Go on, Stu.
Stuart Cooke: I was just gonna ask what the biggest challenges were that you faced during that setup period.
Marlies Hobbs: Probably finding the right staff. And I guess my lack of hospitality experience sort of led my down paths sometimes that may not have been the right path. And I know I believe that there’s no such thing as a mistake. You know? You have to learn your lessons in life to keep striding ahead. So, but basically, I sort of had this misconception that you had to have paleo-experienced chefs and whatnot to run an effective Paleo Café. So, I recruited someone from XXIslands?? Irons? 0:12:57.000XX. And that came with a lot of expense and challenges. And, yeah, that’s a whole ’nother story. But it didn’t quite work out.
And so as far as getting the right staff, but without; as a leader, you have paleo recipes and it’s got to be run like a business and you’re the passion. And so I guess making sure that you have the right staff with the right amount of hospitality experience and they share you vision. You know, that was probably the biggest challenge was getting everyone on board. I guess there was probably a lot of lack of confidence in us in the beginning, by our staff. “These people are crazy!” You know. “XXWhere’s their experience in business? 0:13:42.000XX What do they know about food? And there they are telling me to make these crazy recipes and serve these drinks and know we’re bucking every rule and trend in our café environment.” I think they just thought we were nuts.
And certainly the business went gangbusters initially and then one the XX????XX went through a bit of a lull, and it was then that we learnt, I guess, the hardest lessons and the best lessons. And so we had to obviously change staff and change the way that we looked at our business and the way that we. . . yeah. Viewed customer demands when it came to the interaction. We sort of really grew. So, we re-recruited. We had a very clear strategy from that point in time. And so we launched from there.
But obviously there’s some supplier complications, you know. Sometimes things are easier to source than others and freight to Cairns was challenging. But I suppose, yeah, the biggest challenge, and I think it’s common for any business, is having the right people on the bus and getting the wrong people off the bus is probably one of the biggest challenges. And then the next one obviously goes to the roots of our business, which is making sure that people understand what work they’re doing, why we’re doing it, and why XXit’s important 0:15:05.000XX. You know, XXaudio glitchXX.
Guy Lawrence: I’m sorry it just stopped on you slightly on the end there. But how many Paleo Cafes do you have now, Marlies?
Marlies Hobbs: So, there is currently 14 open and we have a 15th café opening in Canberra in the next couple of months.
Guy Lawrence: Wow. Fantastic. So, the next question that rings a bell is, and it’s almost a tongue-twister: How does the Paleo Café define paleo?
Marlies Hobbs: I try and explain to people that fundamentally it’s living and eating as Mother Nature intended, which means a good variety of seafood, meat, eggs, fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and berries. And avoiding dairy, grains, legumes, and sugar and preservatives.
But we also try and make people appreciate that it’s just; it’s even more simple than that. It’s just eating real food, unprocessed food, avoiding chemicals. And it’s just a matter of really listening to your body, your individual body, and working out exactly what works for you.
For Jai, he can tolerate some amounts of dairy and whey, whereas for my that’s what causes my adult acne. So, you just have to appreciate that everybody is unique and you have to, I guess, really invest your energy in understanding your body fully and getting whatever tests you need to to make sure that you’re nourishing your body the way that it needs to be nourished to, I guess, experience optimal health.
Stuart Cooke: And what do you think the biggest misconceptions are out there at the moment about paleo? Because it’s a term that we’re seeing quite a lot in the press lately as well, you know. So many people gravitate and embrace it, but you also get the other side as well. So, what are those misconceptions that you hear predominantly?
Marlies Hobbs: Yeah, there’s quite a few misconceptions. The common ones are that it’s like a meat, protein heavy diet. That it’s hard. That it’s unsustainable. That it doesn’t taste great, you know. I mean, like it’s super-healthy, you’re eating rabbit food, so to speak.
And I find with all those misconceptions, just to touch of some of the answers, and a lot are being by XX??? 0:17:39.000XX before me that in terms of it being difficult, it’s just cooking simple ingredients. So you can make it as difficult or as easy as you like. Your traditional barbecue steak or salad and XXroast with baked potato?? 0:17:54.000XX. It’s perfectly paleo. And likewise you could make the make fabulous raw desserts or slow-cooked meals full of herbs and spices.
So, you can really make it as hard or simple as you like. In terms of the “expensive” argument, when you eat paleo, your body very much self-regulates, as you guys would know. And so, you know, you don’t find yourself snacking. And so whilst you’re buying premium ingredients, you’re barely eating three meals a day, generally. Some people even sustain themselves on two, depending on if they’re doing intermittent fasting or whatever is working for them based on their level of activity and their, I guess, own individual body.
But essentially, you’re buying a lot less food but you’re consuming quality ingredients. You’re feeling satisfied for longer. So you’re nourishing; you’re putting the right fuel into your body rather than empty fillers that really just make you fat and make you hungry; make you eat more.
So, in terms of, in regard to the expense, and certainly, I can’t see how anyone could imagine that eating beautiful, fresh, seasonal produce and premium meat and healthy fats with lovely herbs and spices where you can even concede that you would be sacrificing on taste. Like, nothing tastes better. And I think once you wean yourself off the traditional foods and the sugar and salt-laden foods, your taste buds adjust and you really appreciate the quality of the food that you’re eating.
And fruit and vegetables have never tasted better to you once you’ve adjusted in that way.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. That is massive. Especially the sugar thing. People don’t appreciate that. If you’ve got sugar in your diet and you’ve had it; so many people have had sugar in their diet their whole life and have never had a life without sugar. And until you get off that, you can’t really taste the appreciation of good food. You know?
And, yeah, I always remember many, many years ago when I sort of changed all my health journey. And my flatmate at the time, this is going back seven or eight years, he had the biggest sugar tooth. And he accidentally tried my full-cream natural yogurt by mistake thinking it was like his sugar vanilla loaded. And he almost spat it out. He said, “Oh, my God, that’s disgusting! What’s going on?” And that was just a classic example.
Marlies Hobbs: I suppose with the meat question, certainly, that comes up a lot, too. And, you know, that’s a misconception I suppose. Plant foods should be the greatest source of food that you’re consuming. Your food should predominantly be coming from plant foods. Then animal foods and then herbs and spices to bring it all together. And your healthy fats are incorporated into plant foods and animal foods.
So, it’s trying to eat a nice, balanced meal, you know. Eat some proteins and carbohydrates and some healthy fats. So, it’s definitely not a plate full of ribs, you know?
Guy Lawrence: And that’s another thing, Stu even stressed this as well, we have vegetables with every meal. Even when I make a smoothie, like if I’m rushing out the door and I’m throwing in some 180, I’ll always put spinach or cucumber or just something green in there as well to bring that in, you know, if you’ve got two minutes.
Marlies Hobbs: Absolutely. And I think that’s what; people are so stuck in their ways about this is typical breakfast meal, this is a typical lunch meal, and this is a typical dinner meal. It’s all just fuel. And so you basically have a fridge full of fresh, beautiful ingredients, paleo-friendly ingredients, and you’d be surprised what goes in what.
This morning I felt like chocolate mousse for breakfast. So I had banana, cacao, and a little bit of coconut milk, avocado, and blended it all together and topped it with some raspberries and blueberries. And who would have thought you could have a healthy chocolate mousse for breakfast?
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, that’s beautiful.
Stuart Cooke: Well, I had a whole bowl of steamed green vegetables covered in olive oil, salt, and pepper, topped with a huge can of sardines. So, you know, who would ever want to eat that for breakfast? But I gravitate to that kind of stuff. I love it. Because, to me, those vibrant colours, that green. I mean, that just says “life.” And irrespective of the paleo naysayers, you cannot argue that eliminating crappy food from your diet is anything but a great idea.
Marlies Hobbs: Definitely.
Guy Lawrence: On your journey, Marlies, which foods do you find have caused more problems for you in the past?
Marlies Hobbs: I have recently learned that Hashimoto’s Disease runs in my family, and I just recently, after the Thr1ve conference that I saw you guys at, I went and flew back down and saw Dr. John Hart from Elevate Health Clinic.
Stuart Cooke: Oh, did you?
Marlies Hobbs: Yeah. He is amazing.
Stuart Cooke: He’s awesome, isn’t he?
Marlies Hobbs: He’s a genius. And I took my mum along who has already been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s. And sadly it was confirmed that I also have Hashimoto’s Disease. And it’s a very hereditary thing and it’s a thing that is more common in women than men. And I suppose it didn’t come as a huge shock and it’s probably something that triggered my health issues all those years ago before I found paleo. And certainly paleo put a lot of my symptoms in remission. So, I’m lucky that I found paleo when I did. And it’s actually sustained my hormone levels to a fairly healthy level.
So, for me, paleo is my diet for life. And certainly gluten is a huge factor for people with Hashimoto’s autoimmune disease. And from what I understand, in America alone, there’s 50 million and growing people with autoimmune disease. So, so many people have autoimmune disease and they don’t even realize it. They just accept their symptoms as normal and they’re completely not. They don’t know what it feels like to feel great.
And most illnesses start in the gut, due to leaky gut. And diet and lifestyle factors including stress, the predominant cause is a leaky gut, which lead to things like autoimmune disease, and autoimmune disease then can lead to more chronic disease and cancer and whatnot.
So, it’s very much; I think gluten is a huge problem, right along with sugar. Dairy, for people that can’t tolerate it, so I’ve just had all my food intolerance testing done and I’m just waiting for my results to come back. And John gives you this great report which basically gives you a column of all the foods that your body can tolerate. All the foods that you’re mildly intolerant to. And foods that you’re severely intolerant to.
So, there might be some foods within paleo, because of my Hashimoto’s condition, that I actually should be avoiding. So, it’s just; I guess investing the money to understand your body to the best extent possible so that you can really create a diet and lifestyle to suit your individual body.
Because, at the end of the day, what’s anything worth if you’re not living an optimal life with health and happiness?
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Absolutely.
I’ll just add to that as well. We had John Hart on the podcast and so anyone listening to this, check him out, he’s an amazing guy. And, like you said, he’s worth flying from anywhere in the country to go and see him in Sydney. He’s that good.
But I would add to that as well, even if the price or whatever scares people, to get these tests done originally, just try cutting out these trigger foods for a month and see how you feel. See what happens. You know, that’s the basic way.
Stuart Cooke: Just thinking about, like, the food sensitivity, if I’m curious about your; the Paleo Café, I don’t really know a great deal about the paleo diet, but I do love my milky teas and things like that. Can I wander into the Paleo Café and get a nice cup of tea with cow’s milk in it?
Marlies Hobbs: Yeah, you can. And it was a difficult decision when we opened. But obviously paleo-primal. Paleo is, obviously, avoids dairy. Primal, a lot of people are happy to have some dairy in their diets.
And so, like I said, Jai can tolerate it. For me, I have to listen to my body. And we serve almond and coconut milk for people that are like myself. And that can be difficult to find, but for the people that can tolerate dairy and are looking for that, then we do have dairy options. But all our food is dairy-free.
Stuart Cooke: Got it.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.
And I think it’s a great thing, even if a normal cup of tea and you’ve got dairy and it brings someone in off the street and puts them in this environment for the first time. And they’re looking at the menus, looking at their other options, that’s awesome. That’s the thumbs up because you’re creating a new way of thinking for these people that come in as well. And, yeah, I’m all for that. Definitely.
Marlies Hobbs: I think that XXaudio glitch 0:27:30.000XX certainly XXaudio glitchXX a lot of awareness around paleo at all when we very first opened the first Paleo Café. It sort of all happened collectively in the last sort of couple of years. And we just; we wouldn’t have been able to have a sustainable business at all if we limited our market any more than what we already had.
So; and, you know, if you are OK with dairy and you know that you’re OK with dairy, then, like Mark Sisson said at the conference, see what you can get away with.
Stuart Cooke: Exactly right.
Guy Lawrence: But there are so many options. We have our business meetings in Bondi Junction all the time in the Paleo Café, and it’s a great choice. But I generally gravitate to the Bulletproof coffee myself. There’s a bit of dairy in that but it sits with me fine.
Marlies Hobbs: Yeah, and, look, a lot of people are fine. And I think that if you’ve got a very healthy gut, flora and whatnot, and you’re not experiencing any leaky gut, you know, there’s plenty of people that are OK with it. I think it’s just a matter of, you know, it takes a lot of effort to get yourself to that really healthy point and making sure that you don’t have leaky gut.
And when you get there, then you can experiment. But until you get there, I think it’s really important to take your health seriously. And you will have to sacrifice and avoid some things to get your body functioning as it should be. And then you can play around with those.
Stuart Cooke: Exactly. Yeah. No, it is right, and it brings me back to that food sensitivity testing. You know, that’s so vital. You may not know that you have got a sensitivity or an allergy or an intolerance to a certain food that you’re including every single day. And that might just be pushing you into weight issues, sleep, energy, you know: allergies. All of the above.
And these tests, you know, they’re inexpensive, they’re quick, but I think so worthwhile. I absolutely. . . You know, I live by the results of mine or our food sensitivity tests and it’s great. I feel so much better for it.
Marlies Hobbs: What testing did you guys get, just as a matter of interest?
Stuart Cooke: Food Detective. It’s called a Food Detective test and it was a prick of blood from the finger and then it gets shaken into a vial, wait for 20 minutes, pour it over in this little tray with a series of dots, and each dot represents a food type. So, you’ve got, like, a tray with dots and then you have a card and all those dots are numbered, so 1 might be dairy, 2 might be wheat. And when you pour the liquid over that is mixed with your blood, that has sat for 20 minutes, those dots will darken the more sensitive you are to a food. So, you know, in literally 30 minutes’ time I knew that I had issues to kind of three or four things. And so I pulled back on those and I noticed radical health changes.
Marlies Hobbs: Do you mind sharing what they were?
Stuart Cooke: Eggs.
Guy Lawrence: Eggs is a big one for you.
Stuart Cooke: Eggs was huge. And I, you know, I was eating four eggs a day and loving it, but just something wasn’t right with me and it was wrecking my skin and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what it was.
Shellfish came up, strangely enough. Yeah, shellfish, eggs. Walnuts were in there as another one. I used to have a handful of walnuts. So I changed to pecans now. Great. No problems whatsoever. And mild wheat.
Guy Lawrence: I mean, you avoid gluten anyway, really.
Stuart Cooke: I do. But, you know what, 30 minutes, and I just culled eggs completely for six months. And I feel so much better now. And every now and again I’ll have the odd one, but I won’t go gangbusters like I was before. Crikey, I ate huge amounts of eggs each week, because I thought, well, it’s a superfood.
Marlies Hobbs: Yeah, absolutely. And they are great, but if there is an underlying issue that you need to heal, then certainly I understand that I will have to go onto the paleo protocol, the autoimmune protocol, shortly. And eggs go for awhile. So, yeah, and it’s not because eggs aren’t great. It’s just that our; there are certain proteins that if you have leaky gut, or if you experience an issue, to let that leaky gut heal, you need to refrain from eating certain foods.
And, I mean, we haven’t really gone into detail about sugar and grains and gluten and chemicals. But I think we’re all fairly savvy enough now to know that they’re not good for us and why. But, you know, just making that awareness that it’s even beyond the foods that you’ll find in the paleo food pyramid, it’s a matter of really understanding your body and making sure that you have got perfect gut health, or as close to it as possible. Because, you know, the whole gut-brain connection. And certainly something I experienced, you know, when my gut flora is compromised, it causes me a lot of challenges academically and to function. Like, my productivity really drops. My creativity drops. I get fatigue.
So, it’s all connected, you know. Gut health and brain health is very much. I’ve definitely experienced first-hand the connection there. And it’s so fundamental to get your gut health right if you want to feel happy, feel healthy, and have energy and longevity.
You know, like, I’m determined; I look at John and he’s a real inspiration, you know. He is gonna just XX??? 0:33:32.000XXX by the look of him. XX????XXX. And that’s what you want. You want to be functioning and fun of vitality until the end.
And that’s why, I guess, my goal for myself and also to teach that to my children. I don’t want them to accept the way things were going. You know? That basically obesity, diabetes, heart disease, all just part of life. That is not part of life. That is not what was intended for us. And you have the choice to shape your future, your health, and your longevity and how much quality of life you have for your entire life.
Stuart Cooke: You completely do. And I love the fact that we have such a powerful medium in the forms of food. You know, nutrition, as a strategy for health moving forward. And for all of those people that are, you know, on the fence with the paleo, the primal, the whole-food diet, I just remember that, you know, when I started out on this journey, I thought, “God, this is so hard. What am I gonna eat? I can’t eat my sandwiches. Can’t eat pasta. Can’t eat any of these things.” Walking around the supermarket and going, “Oh, I can’t eat any of that.”
It took about a month and then you realize that there’s so much to each. But it’s just the good stuff. And then I look at the central aisles at the supermarket. It’s like cat food. Why would I ever gravitate to any of that rubbish? Because I know how it will make me feel.
And there’s so much wonderful stuff. So, sure, you’re meals aren’t conventional anymore, but I look it as, you know, food is information. Food is fuel. And what do I want to do today? Right? I’m going to be a bit more active, well I might mix up a few more carbs, but every single food or meal for me is about getting as many nutrients into my body as I can, because I’m thinking, “What is my body gonna do with those nutrients?” And whether it’s herbs and spices, fats and oils, beautiful fruits and vegetables, all these wonderful meats. You know, it is an opportunity to refuel, rebuild, repair. And I love that kind of stuff.
And now, like I said, I wander around the supermarket and I’m so sad for the people that don’t understand, because they could feel amazing. We have the tools.
Guy Lawrence: And, again, for anyone listening to this, that might seem completely overwhelming because you can look at it all as too much information and you just shut down and go, “You know what? I’ll figure it out next month. I’m too busy.”
But even just try changing one meal a day to something. And just start from that and just point yourself in the right direction and walk forward with it.
Marlies Hobbs: Jai and I fell on and off the wagon quite a few times when we first adopted the lifestyle. We were fairly strict for sort of like six weeks. And then my skin cleared up and I was like, “Yeah!” Then I’d have a little sip of that milkshake that I missed. Oh, my skin would just break out. And I would literally feel the fluid just stick to me in an instant. And then you’re like, “Yeah. That didn’t really work great.” And then you don’t do it again for awhile. And then you feel really brave and good and you have another little go of something.
And your body tells you. So I think if you give yourself the chance to eliminate in whatever XXextreme sense? 0:37:07.000XX that you go with, you know, if you’re really listening to your body and you persist with it, and you take small steps or a big one if you’re prepared to do like a Whole30 challenge or whatnot, it’s just a matter of moving in the right direction, however fast you can do that. You know?
And common sense tells us the answer. There’s some people who are too stressed, they’re too depressed, maybe they’re under financial difficulties, they have kids that just got bad habits to eating and their arguments just aren’t worth it to them. You know? So people have lots of reasons not to do this. But no one can really sensibly argue with the philosophy, I don’t think.
Especially if you take the view that we all have to be just very much educated about our own bodies and listen to our bodies. And they tell a lot more than what people realize when they start listening. You know, like being depressed or having financial issues or having kids stuck with bad habits, I know, and believe me I understand, I’ve got two children myself, and even Troy who has been brought up on a paleo diet, he still challenges me because he’s surrounded by kids that eat candy or everyone else has vegemite sandwiches and why does have; today he’s got pork chop and broccoli and sweet potato chips. And he’s just; he’s really going through a troublesome phase at the moment, because he’s looking at the muesli bars and the sandwiches and he’s like, “Why am I getting this?” But I just explained to him, and yes, it won’t be easy in the beginning, but if you understand where you’re going with it and why you’re doing it, you know, you break habits with children if you eliminate the bad foods and you always offer them the good foods and you get them involved and you get them helping. You know, Troy was pretty happy about having chocolate mousse for breakfast this morning. Get them involved and you make them understand where food comes from, that it comes from nature, not from a box, and you get them in there cooking and make it a bit interactive. Yes, it takes effort, but it’s better than obesity or diabetes.
Stuart Cooke: That’s right. It’s worth it in the long run. And, you know, I’ve got three young girls and if I ever hear any issues from them where food is concerned, I’ll give them a couple of options. “Do you want healthy option one or healthy option two?” And they’ll always gravitate to one. And they think they’ve won.
Marlies Hobbs: That’s great. Good. Exactly. I do the same thing with Troy, and that’s exactly right. And, you know, you always just have to keep improvising and trying to educate subtly along the way. And like depression, there’s a huge link between depression and gut health and whatnot as well. So, you know, personal body image and all that type of thing.
So, people don’t appreciate, I don’t think, how powerful changing your diet and lifestyle. It’s not just about losing weight. It’s about a new lifestyle. It’s about a new appreciation of your body. Self-love. And a whole healthy relationship with yourself and food.
And that’s very empowering. You feel free. You know, so many people are currently addicted to so many foods, they are under the spell of some foods. And that’s not an enjoyable place to be. And I know, I didn’t realize until I came out of it, how bad it was. And so empowering to look at it, like you said, walk past those aisles in the supermarket and go, “Ugh, those poor people that are putting that horrible stuff into their bodies. They just don’t understand.” And it’s very empowering. It’s not a chore. It’s not a diet. It’s a lifestyle, and you feel so much better for it.
Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. I was, just to get back to your son, and we mentioned a little bit of food there as well. Now, I don’t know how old your boys are, but our girls get invited to lots of parties. You know, every weekend: “Come to the party. Come to the party.” There will be a whole table full of crap, sweets and lollies and sodas and stuff like that.
Now, I have a strategy that I use when I take them to the parties prior to that. But I wondered what your thoughts were. Is there anything that you do for your boys before you get to the party, or do you just let them go gangbusters on whatever they want?
Marlies Hobbs: It’s a hard thing, and I’m just trying to feel my way all the time. You know, obviously there’s no bad foods at our house. So, Troy predominantly eats paleo. So, if, on occasion, he has something outside of that space and whatnot, I’m not gonna have a meltdown over it. Because it’s just not worth it, you know. And I think the more of an issue you make it, the more they sort of resent and resist you. But I basically try and make sure that he’s fairly full before we go to a party. So, he’s not going there starving. And often he doesn’t; he likes playing. He likes being out and about.
When he was younger, he used to just: hand in icing, sugar, cake. It was a big joke. Everyone would be like, “Oh, watch out for Troy! He’s been unleashed. There’s the sugar!” And he would just literally go for that cake.
And it was a bit embarrassing, because everyone would have their snicker, “Oh, those parents. He never has sugar and when he gets to a party. . .”
Stuart Cooke: He makes up for it.
Marlies Hobbs: Yeah. If you can’t find him, he’s probably looking for the lolly bowl, you know. But he’s really come out of that phase. And now he really; and our friends are very accommodating with us, too. And I’ve seen a really healthy shift. We will go parties, they’ll have some unhealthy food option, but Troy just doesn’t really go for them anymore.
And, yeah, they have barbecues or roast meat and veggies and stuff. We’re very lucky. We have very considerate family and friends. I guess they’re probably moving in that direction themselves anyway. But when they know we’re coming, they sort of do allow for us a bit. And we just try not to put a big emphasis on food. So many people live from meal to meal like it’s the highlight of their day. To me, it’s just fuel. You’re a bit hungry, you’ve got to get energy, you eat some good food, and then you move on to doing some fun stuff. Like, some people just sit around all day, “Oh, what are we gonna do? Where are we gonna go next for a meal?” And they sit and eat and they sit around and hibernate until the next meal and it’s a sure way to health issues, I suppose.
Guy Lawrence: How old is Troy, Marlies?
Marlies Hobbs: So, Troy will be turning 4 in June. And Zac’s 8 months.
Guy Lawrence: Right. OK. Because I don’t have kids yet, but I imagine it’s much easier to bring them up with this lifestyle than you converting yourself and then having a 10-year-old you’re trying to convert. Maybe get off the sugar and lollies that they’re eating all the time.
Marlies Hobbs: It would be very hard. And it would take very much a lot of determination, I think, and very much getting rid of everything in the house and really having a really well-explained approach to what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. Get them involved and get them involved with the cooking.
You know, there will be different approaches for different families. You know, maybe a gentle approach they don’t notice, and other families it might be like a pretty cold turkey approach, you know.
And I think you just have to work out what can you handle? What is manageable for you as a family? And I think sometimes the stress can be worse than some of the bad foods so you need to balance it out. And do it in a way that’s not going to cause too much stress on you and your family.
Guy Lawrence: Like World War III.
Stuart Cooke: And I think that, you know, kids are so impressionable, too. You know, they look at their parents and they want to emulate what their parents are doing. So if their parents have got healthy habits, then it’s gonna rub off on the kids anyway, which is a good thing.
Marlies Hobbs: Definitely.
Guy Lawrence: Why do you think kids’ menus in cafés. . . You know, being a café owner, why do you think the kids’ menus in cafés and restaurants are so poor in general?
Guy Lawrence: Every time I eat out, I always look.
Stuart Cooke: Fish and chips. Schnitzel and chips. XXBagel?? 0:45:49.000XX and chips.
Guy Lawrence: Ice cream and soda.
Marlies Hobbs: And the thing is, I think my observation, anyway, with Troy especially, is that they are very impressionable and their taste buds are; those foods are as addictive to them as they are for us. Probably more so addictive to them. Because they don’t understand the difference between. . . Like, I try to educate Troy about, you know, a treat or “good food” and “bad food,” we talk about a lot.
And they don’t; he understands that and we talk about that a lot and he; they don’t understand the adverse effects on their health, I suppose, of the bad foods. They just taste good. They trigger all sorts of emotions and addictions in them. And so when they’ve had them once, their, like, radar is going. So if you go to a restaurant and they’re like, “Oh, you can have steak and vegetables or you can fish and chips.” Pretty much you will rarely find a kid that hasn’t been under the spell once they’ve tasted the saltiness of those fish and chips. It’s very difficult to make them choose the healthy option.
So, I think that’s probably why the menus are the way they are. Because they’re trying to please. And they’re the only foods that the kids will be ordering. And the parents are out for dinner; they just want to have a pleasant meal and they don’t feel like arguing and having a tantrum at the table because they’re trying to order steak and vegetables, if that’s even on option, than the fish and chips. So, for ease and also it’s price. It costs nothing to deep fry some disgusting, processed nuggets and chips. But it costs money to put a nice piece of steak or meat and some vegetables on a plate. It’s all fresh and it’s prepared by the chef. Whereas they’re not just dumped into a deep fryer and slapped on a plate.
So, there are the reasons. And it’s devastating, really. And I think the only real answer. . . Like, for us, when we go out, we don’t tell Troy if there’s a kids’ menus. We often just order either another meal for him or we order something that’s too big for me to eat and he eats; we get another plate and he eats what I eat.
And on occasion when we have allowed him; there’s been times where a family member is gonna have fish and chips and he loves it, like any other kid, he loves it, but he actually feels really sick afterwards. The oil from the batter, from the deep fryer, often he’ll vomit because he’s just so nut familiar with having that in his stomach.
So, yeah, I guess that’s my real take on it.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: No, absolutely. There’s some great pointers there as well. Like, you can you always order a meal and split it. That’s kind of what we do. We order an adult meal and we order a couple of extra plates and we divvy it up that way for the kids. And there’s generally more options as well for them, as opposed to this little miniscule XXparty 0:49:11.000XX menu, which is never gonna be great in the first place.
Marlies Hobbs: Yeah, like when you order a meal and then you order a side of vegetables or a side of vegetables and a salad and then you share it amongst yourselves, it’s pretty much not too much more expensive than ordering a kids’ meal when you do it that way. And everyone ends up happy and healthy. But it definitely does take effort to make sure that you have foresight. Because as soon as they spot that kids’ menu with all of those chips and stuff, it’s over. It’s over for you.
Stuart Cooke: Game over.
Marlies Hobbs: Yeah. Game over. Game over. So, you really have to have a strategy.
Guy Lawrence: Would you, because I know you have a book as well, Marlies, and is there any kids’ menus in that? I haven’t seen the book. But would that be an option for parents?
Marlies Hobbs: Yeah. I’ve got a kids’ section in there, a Paleo for Families section in there. And it gives some great tips about things we’ve spoken about. About parties and whatnot. And also has some great little meals and treats and whatnot, and even ones that you can get the kids involved in. Even the chocolate mousse recipe that Troy loves.
Stuart Cooke: Got is. So, is it predominantly a cookbook or have you got a whole heap of other stuff in there as well?
Marlies Hobbs: Yeah, it’s a Paleo Café lifestyle and cookbook, so the first sections are about the diet and the lifestyle. Just a very nice, simple, gentle introduction. You know: It’s not only technical and complicated so it’s very much a nice; like, people have always complimented us on the information. It’s what you need to know without it feeling too daunting, I suppose. And then it’s got over 130 recipes in there.
Yeah. And we get great feedback all the time on the recipes. Because they’ve been created, obviously, in our cafes and had to be produced at quite a large scale in pretty short time frames. Everything’s very economical, generally, in terms of cost and time to prepare. So, there’s some really great practical recipes. You don’t see these two page long lists of ingredients and whatnot. It’s fairly practical in that sense.
Guy Lawrence: Sounds like my kind of book.
Stuart Cooke: And if I didn’t live near a Paleo Café, where could I grab that book?
Marlies Hobbs: You can get it online from our website, www.Paleo-Cafe.com.au.
Guy Lawrence: We can link to that. I’m just curious: What’s your favorite dish in there?
Marlies Hobbs: My favorite dish in the cookbook. I absolutely love, and obviously I’m from Cairns and mangos are beautiful here; we have a delicious mango avocado macadamia nut salad, which I really love. It’s a favorite. It’s been on the menu a few times at the Paleo Café. It’s just actually gone out because mangoes have gone out of season. But that’s probably one of my favorites. And it was on the menu when the café very first opened here in Cairns.
Stuart Cooke: In the next edition, perhaps you can get my sardine breakfast surprise in there.
Marlies Hobbs: Yes. Yes. I’m going to have to taste test it first.
Guy Lawrence: You need to put that right on the back page, hidden somewhere.
Stuart Cooke: That’s right. Save the best to last.
Marlies Hobbs: I’m gonna have to give it a go.
Guy Lawrence: I can’t. I can’t do sardines.
Stuart Cooke: Just got a couple more questions, Marlies. Where are you going to take the Paleo Café brand? How big is this going to be?
Marlies Hobbs: I suppose the sky is the limit when it comes to the paleo café brand. And we definitely have a few different things that we’re looking at at the moment, you know, to try and. . . I guess our primary goal is to spread the message about the benefits of the paleo lifestyle to as many people as possible. And that’s through the cafés, through collaborations, through our website, through our publications. And hopefully in the near future a recipe app which is nice and simple for people to access right off their phones.
We XXaudio glitch 0:53:27.000XX so we can basically gauge the market and move in the directions that we need to move, I suppose, to do the best we can in the environment that we have.
And definitely XXaudio glitch 0:53:38.000XX making sure we can reach the masses and making sure that we can educate people why they are coming to Paleo Café as opposed to another café. And there are things that we are sort of trying to achieve through education online and obviously it’s great to have opportunities like this one to share our message as well.
Guy Lawrence: Awesome. Awesome.
Stuart Cooke: It’s exciting times!
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. There’s a lot going on.
So, Marlies, we always finish with a wrap-up question, the same one every week. It’s one of my favorites. And that is: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Marlies Hobbs: I suppose it’s a very broad application but basically everyone just needs to believe in the beauty of your dreams, whether that’s in relation to your own personal health. Some type of, I guess, performance goal or even in business. You know: Believe in the beauty of your dreams and if you’re passionate about something, just go for it.
And the other thing would be definitely to look after your body because it’s the only place that you have to life.
Stuart Cooke: I like it. It’s true.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, that’s so true. We spread that message every week ourselves. Yeah. Fantastic.
And if anyone listening to this, I guess the website would be the best place to get more of you guys and the Paleo Café to find out if they’re in their local area and more about the book, right?
Marlies Hobbs: Yeah. The books on there and all the local cafés are listed there as well on the website. And we obviously have Facebook pages as well for the respective cafés as well the head office business.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Brilliant. Well, we’ll XXlink to all that 0:55:19.000XX when the podcast goes out anyway. And then, yeah, that was fantastic. Thank you so much for coming on the show, Marlies. We really appreciate your time.
Marlies Hobbs: Thank you so much.
Stuart Cooke: It was great. So much information. I think people will get so much out of this as well. Thank you again.
Marlies Hobbs: I really appreciate it. I always love chatting to you both.
Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on youriPhone HERE.
This week our special guest is paleo chef, bestselling author and TV personality Pete Evans. He has been bringing some much needed awareness here to the Australian public in terms of nutrition, along with his recently released new program ‘The Paleo Way’.
Pete’s career has moved from the kitchen into the lounge room with many TV appearances including Lifestyle Channel’s Home show, Postcards from Home, FISH, My Kitchen Rules, Moveable Feast, and his latest The Paleo Way… stay tuned for Food is Medicine which is in pre production now!
It’s safe to say he knows his stuff, with over 10 bestselling cookbooks inspiring individuals and families in their kitchens around the world.
The Full Interview with Chef Pete Evans
In this episode we talk about:
Why Pete embraced the paleo diet and lifestyle
How he felt by being voted the second worst diet, only to be pipped at the post by the ‘drink your own urine’ diet
How eats and travels on the road when traveling
His thoughts on the 80/20 rule of good/bad food and when to apply it
Why he felt like crap when first starting the paleo diet
Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence from 180 Nutrition, and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. Our fantastic guest today is Pete Evans. Now, if you haven’t heard of Pete, I’d be very surprised. Well, at least here in Australia anyway.
But Pete Evans is an Australian chef. He’s a best-selling author. And also a bit of TV celebrity, especially well-known for My Kitchen Rules.
It was awesome to have Pete on the podcast today. He’s very clear. He’s a very sincere and passionate person. As you could say, he’s a little bit of a nutritional crusader at the moment, and certainly making people think twice about what they put on their plate and how it’s affecting their overall health in the long-term, which I think is fantastic, you know. And that’s the very reasons why we’ve put these podcasts out there in the first place.
I have no doubt you’re gonna get a lot out of this episode. Pete’s a top guy with a top message, and it’s 40 minutes of great content, so please enjoy.
As always, we’re on iTunes. If you could just take two minutes and leave us a review, we really appreciate it. You know, we want to get this message out there ourselves, and by leaving us reviews, it certainly helps with iTunes rankings and more and more people find us and enjoy it.
I always wish I had these podcasts for myself five years ago when I first started my health journey. You know, it’s a great excuse to hang out with some of the best, we feel, thought leaders in the world, as they share their story with us. So, yeah. That’s why we do it. We love it. And I have no doubt you’re gonna enjoy this episode today.
And, of course, come back to 180Nutrition.com.au. We have a massive amount of resources in there, including a free ebook, recipes, and, of course, videos if you want to see us actually in person chatting.
Anyway, enjoy the show. This is fantastic.
Stuart Cooke: Let’s do it.
Guy Lawrence: OK, hi. This is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke as always. Hey, Stu. And our fantastic guest today is Pete Evans. Pete, welcome to the show, mate.
Pete Evans: Hi, fellows. Thanks for having me on. What an honor.
Guy Lawrence: No worries, dude. Every time I log into my Facebook I seem to see you in a different country, state, city. Do you ever have any quiet time? Like, you’re very busy at the moment.
Pete Evans: I am busy, but I guess it’s all part of the journey at the moment. I love it. I have the best job in the world, because I was actually speaking to Luke Hines, which is one of my business partners on the Paleo Way, and doing the tour and we also do the 10-week program. And we had dinner last night and I said, it’s not a job when you love what you do.
But to answer your question, I have amazing down time with my family. But even that is quite active. I mean, we love to go surfing, we like to go skiing, we like to go fishing, we like to cook together. We are active people, but we know how to switch off as well.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. Mate, the way we always kick off the show is generally just to get a little bit of insight about, you know, our guests that come on. And we’d love to hear a little bit of your journey from being a restaurateur to being a TV host and then actually now you could say a paleo crusader, which is fantastic in creating all this awareness.
How did it all start for Pete?
Pete Evans: Well. Mum and Dad thought that they’d have another child. I think I was a mistake, but I’m glad they had it. Really, I’ve always had a passion for cooking and I’ve always had a passion for health and nutrition. That’s something that I’ve had from quite an early age as a teenager, in school. And I always knew that I; my passion for health and nutrition nearly outweighed my passion for cooking. But one thing led to another and the cooking side took over for quite a period of time for a couple of decades.
And it wasn’t until about four years ago that I thought, you know what, there’s something pulling me back into the health and nutrition side of things. So I started researching it and I discovered paleo, and I thought, you know what? This makes a lot of sense. So I implemented it on my own self and my family through my partner Nicola.
And we just saw amazing results and I dug a little bit deeper and we both did a health course out of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York, New York. And we studied a hundred different dietary theories. And paleo still made the most sense to me. And I thought, well, this is; it’s working for us. It makes so much sense on a planetary scale as well for what we can do for the land as far as that sustainable way of eating goes. Now, let’s try to find some holes in it. And I dug as deep as I could, because I thought, if I’m gonna come out publicly with this, then how am I gonna get shot down? Because I know that I’m a little bit of a target.
And you know what? It was; I still have yet to find anybody that has adopted this way of life for 10, 15, however many years and had a negative result from it. And I’m talking about people who adopted it; they’re doing it 90 to 100 percent of their lives. They’ve actually made a conscious decision that they won’t be consuming certain food items, and embracing others.
And, for me, it’s evidence enough that this works, especially in today’s day and age where people can be very vocal about what works and what doesn’t. And you see it on my Facebook. I mean, I really have had no one in hundreds of thousands of comments say that it hasn’t worked for them. Except for outside organizations saying that it’s dangerous. And I’m, like, well, I hear you and understand that you might believe it is, from your own education, but show me some evidence that it’s hurting people. And no one can offer me that evidence.
So, it’s a fantastic way of life, I believe, that is helping a lot of people. Is it a cure for everything? No. I’ve never said that. But it is benefiting a lot of people? Yes it is. And that is undeniable.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, I certainly agree, Pete. I had a massive paradigm shift about eight to nine years ago and I used to work with people with chronic diseases and mainly people with cancer. And what I didn’t realize was, it was mainly the paleo diet that they were using as part of a tool to sort of help nurture these people through a recovery process. And I was seeing things that challenged every belief first-hand, you know?
Pete Evans: And I think what you’ve just said there, it’s a tool. It’s not the be all and end all. You can eat all the paleo food in the world, but if you’ve got a terrible relationship, if you don’t move your body or you move your body too much or you’re not getting enough sleep or you’ve got a job that you dislike, I mean, you will still suffer, or you can still suffer, disease.
But paleo is one good tool. And it’s an amazing tool to have at your disposal to, I guess, get your diet under control. And then hopefully then it opens you up and gives you enough energy to start to look at the other things that may need tightening up as well.
So, I see paleo as a bit of a gateway. I see it as something very tangible for people to make simple changes in their life. Sometimes people might be at a job that they’re stuck in for a year because they’re in a contract. They might be in a relationship because of children that they may not be able to remove themselves from or change. Financial situations. Emotional situations. All of this. Whereas what we can definitely change on a daily basis is what we put into our mouth. And that’s why I say this always: It’s a gateway into better health.
Guy Lawrence: Great starting point. The food you can control, ultimately.
Stuart Cooke: It certainly makes sense.
Pete Evans: Well, it’s the only thing you can… It’s the one thing you can control, unless you’re a child, or unless you are in the care of others. And that’s why I’m very passionate about children’s education and teaching parents about this, because really the children have no choice and if they are fed a poor diet for a period of time while they’re younger, it may make it harder for them to make changes down the track if they’ve got certain addictions or certain emotional reward systems set up for certain foods.
And I could talk about this for hours, but I know you’ve got to have questions, so…
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Well, we definitely go into the kids a little later as well. But I was particularly interested, first up, in discussing the Paleo Way. So, I’ve seen they’ve got Channel 7 airing the program and also you’ve got some amazing online educational course as well.
Guy Lawrence: And you’re on tour as well, aren’t you, Pete?
Stuart Cooke: You’re on tour! Crikey.
Pete Evans: Well, yeah. Um. I made a conscious decision a couple of years ago when I came out, with paleo, if you want to call it, that my vision or my goal was to turn paleo into a household name in Australia and New Zealand. That was something that I believed I could do using (audio glitch), but it is what it is, just through my media profile.
I should have put out that my intent was to push paleo into mainstream and to make it into a household name in a positive light. Lesson learned. Because it’s definitely become something that people talk about that’s become part of our popular culture, I daresay, through the work that I’ve done, and many of my peers.
Now, the tour is something where; we did the tour last year and I brought Nora Gedgaudas out, who is one of my mentors, and she’s a powerhouse of information. And she’s got a heart of gold and a brain that matches.
And what I wanted to do was do a tour where we present the science. And it was very difficult for us to do that in a four-hour forum. I said to Nora, I said, “Can you condense it into three and a half hours?” And she’s like, I’ll do my best.
And for a lot of people it was overwhelming because I think they were coming to learn how to cook, but we gave; and Nora’s goal is to give people a paradigm shift with enough information that they go, “OK. I get it.” That was my vision was, let’s present the facts in the first tour last year. Let’s get the science out there. Let’s show people that this isn’t quackery. This is actually well-researched and here’s the science and the peer reviews and all the stuff to back it up.
And this year I thought, let’s give them the fundamental tools to adopt a paleo lifestyle for themselves and their families. And I’ve structured it in a way that we talk about budget home cooking; things we can do and have on the table in 10 to 15 minutes. Maybe 20 minutes tops.
The healing properties of bone broths and fermented vegetables. Let’s talk about getting offal into people’s diet where, especially in this culture and this country, where it seems so foreign to us whereas if we went back three generations, it would be something that was standard as part of our weekly diet.
So, it’s about incorporating these simple and, I guess, ancient, cooking techniques and ideas and philosophies and bringing it into 2015 in a way that’s accessible and affordable and a lot of fun.
Luke Hines, who I mentioned before, is on tour with me so he talks about his own journey with depression and anxiety and how changing his diet and changing the way he moved helped him a great deal. And I’ve got special guests that appear with me all around the country. So, for instance, today I’m speaking in Perth. I’ve got Dr. Libby who is a fantastic woman who’s done 48 years of university study, I’ve got Charlotte Carr who’s a mother who’s helped her child through autism with diet. We’ve got Helen Padarin who is a naturopath who works for the Mindd Foundation whose sole purpose is to help children and families that suffer behavioural disorders.
And I’m also up on stage with, I don’t even know anymore; there’s that many people… Um… And it’s been brilliant. We’re seeing about 10,000 people around Australia and New Zealand over a two-month period. And they all, at the end of it, get the 10-week program that we designed.
And the 10-week program, I tried to do it as cheap as possible so it was accessible for pretty much anyone in the country. It’s $10 a week. Ten a week or 99 bucks, as a one-off payment.
I’d give it away for free if I could, but I’ve spoke to people that said, if you give it, people won’t even do it, because they won’t value it.
Stuart Cooke: Correct.
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.
Pete Evans: So, and I think this is key: I think people need to put a value on their health and be invested in their health. So, I’ve tried to keep it as cheap as possible. And it’s a brilliant program. So, as part of it, we’ve got meal plans, shopping lists, fitness programs with Luke, we’ve got Nora’s information each week, I’ve got a very dear friend of mine, Trevor Hendy, who is seven-time world champion athlete in Ironman who has spent the last 25 years working on mind-body-spirit. So, he’s in there teaching people about how to make powerful decisions and why we sabotage ourselves sometimes.
And I’ve also got interviews with leading experts from around the world. So, each week they’re getting another bite of the bigger picture of what paleo is. For me, when I talk about paleo, I always think first and foremost that it’s for individual health. So, anyone that wants to learn more because they are suffering ill health or they want to feel better, it’s a great place. But then I talk about the power that they have to influence their family, their friends, their community. And then it goes into the thing that I’m most passionate about, apart from children’s health, is about how we grow our food. How we move that food around the country. Can we start doing local abattoirs instead of sending the cattle to mass slaughterhouses by road train. And all these type of things. And can we use the beautiful land that we have in this country for better use instead of some of the products that we’re growing that serve us; well, actually harming us.
I mean that, I just drove up from my property in the Tweed up to; out to Townsville, I mean up to Wombury? Worongary? [:15:10.6] and just saw how much sugar cane is growing. So I looked up, I Googled it, I said, “How much sugar cane is growing in Queensland.” There’s 6,500 families, all with 65 hectares, that grow sugar cane and I thought, “Wow. That’s a lot of land that is …
Stuart Cook: That is a lot of land.
Pete Evans: That is used for a product that we know is a known poison for our bodies. That is causing us major health issues. And I just kept thinking imagine if they planted broccoli on that, imagine if they planted kale on that, imagine if they used that for pasteurized chickens that were producing eggs and also imagine if they brought cattle into that, that were grass-fed. I mean, I’m not an agriculturist. That’s not my specialty. But I look at these things from a common sense point of view and think how much usable land are we using in this country to grow things that serve us; that don’t serve us.
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.
Stuart Cook: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: But sugar is such a big industry, isn’t it. Where we had Damon Gameau come on the podcast a couple of weeks back and you know, you see the effect first-hand of what he was explaining what happened to him on his three-month experiment with the sugar and I see around with people all the time. It’s incredible.
Pete Evans: Yeah, he’s a beautiful man and he’s going to change so many lives and we’re thrilled to have him as part of one of our health crusaders in the country. I mean, his story is wonderful and he sacrificed his own health for it.
I thought about doing that a few years ago and I thought, “I don’t want to sacrifice my health.” I’m going to try to do it in a way that I don’t get sick.
Stuart Cook: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Go for it Stu.
Stuart Cook: I was just interested in, on your journey, what have been the biggest dietary misconceptions that you’ve uncovered? Any that have really kind of just switched that light bulb on for you, that you want to tell everybody.
Pete Evans: Well, for me it’s, I haven’t discovered anything and I’d like to make that perfectly clear that this is not my idea.
Stuart Cook: Yeah.
Pete Evans: The, you know, the work of so many well respected scientists and researchers and professors and doctors and health crusaders themselves, I mean, I’m standing on their shoulders and I’m trying to elevate all of their work into a greater audience. So, I don’t; I haven’t discovered anything.
I’ve discovered my own health benefits from it and how much clearer I am. How much happier I am. How much more energized I am. I can see the different results in my own children. I can see the results in my mother. I can see it in my partner. My dad is coming to the seminar this year. He refused to come last year, because he thought he would be bored shitless. But now he’s interested. My brother’s coming along this year. I mean, it’s a powerful thing.
But I think one of the things that I’m passionate about at the moment is the next generation and the coming generations. And I have recently put a book together with Charlotte Carr, who as I mentioned before, has helped her child and her family along with adopting paleo and Helen Padarin, who I also mentioned before, a naturopath, who works with the Mindd Foundation.
So, I asked these ladies if we could put a book together called The Paleo Way for New Mums, Babies and Toddlers, because I’ve never seen anything on the market like this and it just makes so much sense for me that we need this information out there and Sally Fallon. I’m a huge fan of her work with Nourishing Traditions and I met her last year and I look at the work she’s done in this field and I was really quite impressed with what she’s been able to achieve. So, I thought, how can we repackage that in a way that’s timeless for 2015 and onwards?
So, we’ve created this book and it’s fascinating. We just had a email come yesterday from the Dietitians Association of Australia basically giving us a warning and saying; We heard you’ve got this book coming out and the World Health Organization has issued a statement that said, that if babies cannot accept breast milk, then the only thing they advise them to have is formula.
Now, this is the statement that came from us, from the Dietitians Associations of Australia, they’re saying that we need to be very careful with any information that we put out there, because we’ve got a baby broth formula for parents that do not want to give their children vegetable oils, which are contained in baby food formulas. The parents that don’t want to feed their children high fructose corn syrup, which is; these two ingredients are the first two that are listed on most baby food formulas and then there’s soy protein and then there’s a whole lot of other emulsifiers and God knows what, that are in there.
So, through the experience of Helen and the Weston A. Price Foundation, which is Sally Fallon, we’ve discovered, and this is what Charlotte used for her child, they’ve created this broth that basically mimics as close as possible to breast milk. Now, we always advocate that breast milk is best, but we’re also discovering that more and more children are intolerant to it. We’re discovering that more and more children are intolerant to dairy. So, and we’re discovering that people do not want to feed their children frankenfoods.
So, we’ve got; the girls have created this alternative, which has got chicken broth in it or bone broth and it’s also got livers in there and it’s also got coconut oil, so we’re getting the MCTs into there. We’ve got probiotic in there as well. So, it’s closely mimicking it and we never say that it’s better than breast milk, of course we’re never going to say that. You would be an idiot to even think that. But surely somebody with common sense would understand that formula that’s got …
Guy Lawrence: Corn syrup and vegetable …
Pete Evans: … known toxic and harmful properties. This could be a healthier option or at least an alternative for people that have half a brain that have done some research and decided that, “You know what? Maybe there’s an alternative out there.” So, this is going to be interesting to see how this pans out in the media. We’ve already got quite a bit of flak and the book isn’t even out there.
Guy Lawrence: When does the book come out, Pete?
Pete Evans: It comes out in a couple of weeks, …
Guy Lawrence: Okay.
Pete Evans: …yeah, mid-March. But we’ve got beautiful dietitians, accredited practicing dietitians, that are working on it, looking these formulas and breaking them down inyo s nutritional viewpoint for us. So, we’ve got charts comparing formula sold in supermarkets compared to this one. And you know what, it has it stacking up a lot better than formula without all the crap in it.
So, it’s going to be very interesting.
Guy Lawrence: That will be interesting. Absolutely. Yeah.
Stuart Cook: Well, I guess it’s great to be able to actually get something in there in the very conception of your child’s life, when they are succumbed to so many potential toxins and, like you said, treats and sweets. We’re trying to wean them on to sugary foods and sweet fruits and things like that. Yeah. It’s very interesting.
We, I mean, you mentioned the critics there as well and one of our questions was, what do you say to the critics out there? Because we roared with laugher as the paleo diet was XXpipped to the Post 23:33.7XX by the drink-you-own-urine diet.
Guy Lawrence: Yes.
Stuart Cook: It’s absurd. How do you handle that?
Pete Evans: Personally, I don’t let it get to me.
Stuart Cook: Yeah.
Pete Evans: Because I understand where they’re coming from. I do and they’re coming from a place of fear.
Stuart Cook: Right.
Pete Evans: And you can only put yourself in their shoes and understand that they’re just protecting themselves and their organization and their beliefs. Because it is their belief system, that they’ve been to university, they’ve been force-fed a whole lot of information which current science and research are saying that potentially is not the right information.
Now, you could imagine if you went to university for four years or six years or even eight years and you were part of this, I guess, machine and all of a sudden you’re looking at; I’ll use myself as an example, because that seems to be where a lot of the critiques are coming.
You see a person that’s a chef promoting a way of life that flies in the face of everything that you’ve learned.
Stuart Cook: Right.
Pete Evans: Of course you’re going to get upset. Of course you’re going to defend what you’ve been taught. Of course you’re going to think that this is quackery. Of course you’re going to be up in arms and feel like this person, this chef out there, could be potentially causing harm to the greater population. So, I understand them and I feel their frustration and I feel for them and this is why I’ve never, now I’ve made the decision I’m not going to fight anything.
Stuart Cook: No.
Pete Evans: I’m not going to. I mean, I had a couple of issues over the last few years when I’ve stood my ground because someone has actually, I think, the one time I actually fought back or said something was when someone called me a fuckwit on my own page. And that was what they said: “You are a fuckwit!” And I looked at who it was and I noticed it was a dietitian and I went … how … you know, if that’s the best; if that’s what you think, you know, well let’s put it back and I write a little piece and I said, “Why is your organization not looking at GMOs? Why are they not promoting organics? Why are they not trying to get; look at what we’re feeding our agriculture? Are we feeding them genetically modified soil? Why are we not; why when you talk about overconsumption of meat you never difference between grass-fed and grain-fed? Why is it that children are getting sicker and sicker as in each generation comes? Why you associated and have money coming in from multi-national food corporations? Is there not a conflict of interest?”
So, I just put the question out there, you know, because I took offence of that. Just, you know, I think …
Guy Lawrence: Yes, of course.
Pete Evans: … name called and I just said, “Why?” Because I see the DAA as a major powerful force of change for this country and there’s 6,000 members for them. I mean, imagine if they united together to ask these questions, to put pressure on to their governments, to put pressure on to the supermarkets, to put pressure on the school, schooling systems, the canteen system. Could you imagine this organization that has this much power and is viewed as something that a well-respected organization, imagine if they put their weight behind something.
Now, I’ve never seen them do this. Now, I could be wrong, but I’m trying to encourage them, that they have this power. And unfortunately I fear that if they don’t change and start to address some of these things, then they will become irrelevant because; and it’s not a goal of mine. I would love nothing more than the DAA or even the Heart Foundation to work together with other health professionals and actually come around the table and say, “You know what? Well, let’s work together for a better Australia.” But unfortunately their mantra is “everything in moderation.”
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Pete Evans: And I just don’t think that is the right philosophy. I mean, you have to look at the guidelines that are out there for a healthy Australia and the question that I always have is, “Is that the healthiest guidelines that we could possibly put into schools?” Is that the healthiest guidelines that we should be educating for every person in this country?
Because we know that it’s not. So, what not put the optimum out there so that people know this is the optimum and then people can make their own choice from there.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Did you think the change will come from that level? Or do you think it’s going to just come from the grass roots level and word of mouth and people leading by example? I mean, because that’s where it’s at, at the moment.
Pete Evans: Ideally, I would love for it to come from a unified force. I really do and I mean, that’s the dream it for it to change from a government level, from a national health society level, a unified level, you know what “this is the new research, you know, let’s adapt” and there should never be blame or I told you so’s or this, that and the other. It should be, “You know what? This is the current research. This is what’s happening in other parts of the world; where in other parts of the world have taken fluoride out of the water in lots of countries and reversed it. Should we revisit that in this country? Should we look at the saturated fat? Does that lead to chronic heart disease, because other parts of the world are reversing their guidelines for that? Should we be changing that?
Will it happen with multi-national food corporations, with their tentacles involved in these organizations? I doubt that it will happen. If they can remove that funding, then I believe it can happen. But, and this is the interesting thing, because I dare say there’s a huge grass-roots movement happening.
Now what will happen soon, I believe, is that the multi national food corporations will start to put out products that are inline with Paleo or ketogenic or low-carb, high fat or …
Stuart Cook: Yeah.
Pete Evans: …or primal or banting; whatever you want to call it. They’re going to start saying that the dollars are in this new area. So, I wouldn’t doubt that Kellogg’s will start putting a paleo muesli out there next year. I wouldn’t doubt that we’re starting to see lard or tallow start to appear on supermarket shelves in the next five years. And then I think you will see that when they’ve got money to be made out of this, that you will see it start to change through these associations. But I dare say that the grass-roots movement will be the catalyst for this.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Yeah. I just hope if we do start seeing the bigger commercial companies putting out these products out they are authentic and not just jumping on the gluten-free, the low-calorie, low-fat and everything that we’re seeing at the moment.
Pete Evans: Well, you know what? To answer that, I think people are becoming more and more savvy and more and more educated, so I don’t think; put it this way, if they put out a paleo muesli and it’s full of sugar and crap or sweetness and it’s, you know it’s still going to jack you up and it’s not organic, then that might have appeal to the people that aren’t really up-to-date with the research. You know what I mean?
Guy Lawrence: Yep. Yep.
Pete Evans: Whereas the people that are hard core or are early adopters of this will see through that and go, “You know what? It’s still not good enough.” So, at the end of the day it’s probably, even if we can get the mass public to start eating that way even if it’s not the ultimate, at least it’s probably better than what they’ve had.
Guy Lawrence: True. Yep.
Pete Evans: And I don’t think, you know, we’re not set up for 100 percent of Australia to turn paleo tomorrow. It would be a disaster, you know, because we don’t have the resources for it. But I see this as a growing movement and I say this as it’s happening exactly as it’s meant to be happening with the people adopting it as they are adopting it. Because we couldn’t sustain it if everyone did it tomorrow, but we can adapt to it as more people come to it.
Stuart Cook: What have you found to be the biggest hurdles for the newbies to paleo?
Pete Evans: The biggest hurdles I find is, they’re not doing it 100 percent.
Stuart Cook: Right.
Pete Evans: I noticed that with my, with the 10-week program.
Stuart Cook: Yep.
Pete Evans: And I think there’s an expectation that 40 years of eating a poor diet is going to be fixed within two weeks.
Stuart Cook: Right.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Pete Evans: And I think that is; I think we live in a society where we think that we can take a pill or we can change a habit and we will see, decades of poorer choices fixed in a minute and it isn’t like that and how I like to describe it when I talk about this is: I’ve been doing this for four years and I feel better now than I did a year ago and last year I felt better than I did the previous year.
Stuart Cook: Right.
Pete Evans: But after six weeks of eating Paleo, I felt like I was superman, you know. But for the first three or four weeks I felt like, I felt crap, because I was going through a detox and my body was switching over its fuel source and I hadn’t had a great diet for a decade or two prior to that. But I definitely had a diet better than a lot of people that come to this.
You know, I wasn’t 40 kilos overweight. I wasn’t Type 2 diabetic. I wasn’t; I didn’t have insulin resistance. I didn’t have autoimmune disease.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Pete Evans: I know we have a lot of these people that adopt this and expect results overnight and I think that’s a misconception. I think that’s why I say it’s a lifestyle. I’ll never say it a diet, because once; and you can’t do it 80/20 if you’ve got an autoimmune disease. You can’t do it 80/20 and expect great results if you’re Type 2 diabetic. It’s like saying to an alcoholic, “You can have a drink every Friday night.”
Stuart Cook: Yeah.
Pete Evans: Yeah, the 80/20 rule.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cook: Yeah.
Pete Evans: You just can’t do it if you’ve got anxiety or depression, 80/20’s not going to cut it for you if you want true freedom. I’m not saying you’ve got to do it 100 percent for the rest of your life, but you have to give yourself a period of time where, you know, if you’re strict with this, because you do want to reap the benefits and we know now that gluten can stay in your system for up to six months. So, if you’ve got an issue with that, whether it’s mental or physical, and you ate your piece of cake, you know after you’ve done this for a month that could have affected you for the next month or two.
Guy Lawrence: That incredible, isn’t it, you know. I know it’s very hard to relate though, because people if they’ve got health issues. They’ve never; they’ve never really put the connection together, you know, how the effective of the food can be and I think that it can be such a massive change for them at first and you’ve got to embrace it whole heartily and actually be around peer groups though that encourage you to continue that way. Because I used to see a lot of family and friends be sincere, but they’d be sincerely wrong, because if their health wasn’t great they would want to feed them with foods, with cake and things that would …
Pete Evans: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: That would always set them back and you know, there are so many aspects to it as well, which it; it can be tough. It can be tough. But worth it, you know.
Yeah. Go ahead, you look like you’re going to say something Stu.
Stuart Cook: Well, I was just thinking about the beautiful foods that the paleo diet offers. Now, I get jabbed a little bit because I’m a huge fan of liver and I have it regularly for breakfast and love it. I wondered what your “go to” paleo super foods were; perhaps the paleo foods, the whole foods that you gravitated to more, more so than any others. Any special favorites of yours?
Pete Evans: Yeah. I guess it’s changed over the four years and I probably eat simpler now than I ever have. I think when I first started out, I think when I talked about activated XXunintelligibleXX [:36:52.3] I was on XXunintelligibleXX [:36:56.1] so I was eating almonds and everything. I was eating coconut chunks. I was having spirulina and grains and all these sorts of stuff. I, my diet now is a lot simpler. One: I don’t really need to snack and number two is I’m cooking a lot less and a lot simpler food. I guess offal and bone marrow has taken a larger place in my diet these days and my body loves it. The bone broths, I’m constantly cooking with them and using them in so many different preparations from soups, to curries, to braises, to bolognaise sauces for the kids. I’m sliding it in everywhere. Vegetables, I’m eating a hell of a lot of them these days. I’m eating less steak than I ever have. I’m eating different parts of animals and the seafood is a little bit more varied now these days, as well.
Superfoods, I would say offal is one of the superfoods and I don’t like to use that word too much, but put it this way, in my pantry I don’t have any superfoods as such that you would see at a health food store.
Stuart Cook: Right.
Pete Evans: My superfoods would be in my freezer. Which would be my marrows, my brains.
Stuart Cook: Yeah.
Pete Evans: The livers, the stocks or the broths, some organic berries in there and that’s about it and I guess the ultimate superfood for us is the fermented vegetables that I love creating and different flavors each week and my kids love it these days and it’s on every meal of theirs. I’m excited about that, because it’s such a cheap option for people. And it’s exciting because you start to become, you start to crave it; those sour flavor and the acidic flavors from fermented foods and if I don’t have it on my plate, then my plate feels empty …
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Pete Evans: … these days. It feels like it’s a bit undressed so to speak.
Guy Lawrence: We always have a few questions we asked everyone towards the end of the show.
Pete Evans: Yep.
Guy Lawrence: But I’ll ask you one which will lead into one we always ask, so I’m interested, you know, how you structure your food around traveling?
Pete Evans: Sure.
Guy Lawrence: And then can you tell us what you ate yesterday?
Pete Evans: Yeah. Sure. I actually flew Sydney to Perth yesterday and it’s a great, great, great question because the poor flight attendant was so worried that I didn’t eat on the plane. Even though he didn’t see that while we were taking off I had a huge, beautiful salad. It was full to the brim of, I had a whole avocado, I had zucchini, cucumbers, carrots in there, red cabbage. Just a fantastic, huge amount of salad with a quarter of a roast chicken in there and heaps of fermented vegetables and I guess to give you an idea, it was twice as much as what anyone else on the plane ate. But that was my one meal, which got me through to dinner last night.
And last night I went and saw a friend of mine, he’s an oyster shucker, and I had a couple dozen oysters at his restaurant and they’re expensive, but it’s an indulgence, but he shucks them to order for me. His name’s Jerry Fraser out in Perth. He’s like a father figure to me and we always have a good time.
And then I went back to the hotel and I had some short ribs with some fermented vegetables and what else was on the table? Some asparagus with olives and activated almonds. I consult for a hotel in Perth called Fraser Suites and the restaurant called Heirloom. So, and because I spend a lot of time in Perth and I went to this hotel and I said, “Can I do your menu for you?” And it’s 95 percent paleo. So, and the restaurant was full. I never advertise it. It’s just for the hotel guests really, but people can pop in and eat it. We don’t even promote that it is paleo. It’s just good honest food and there is bone marrow on the menu. There’s grass-fed meat. Here’s organic chicken. There’s wild caught seafood with fermented vegetables you can order as a side.
So, that was my day on a plate and I had a beautiful bottle of kefir that I got from Orchid Street. It was a turmeric and alkalized water kefir, with some cayenne pepper in it. It was awesome.
Now, when I travel interstate I usually don’t eat or I’ll take something, maybe some macadamia nuts. But when I travel internationally to and from my locations, I always; exactly like what I did yesterday. You can travel internationally with your own food. So, recently I went to the United States and I took half a roasted chicken. I took two avocados, two cucumbers, two carrots, a little bag of macadamia nuts and some fermented veg, some sauerkraut, but you have to tip out the liquid from the sauerkraut before you hop on the plane, because they don’t let liquids through over 50 mils.
So I sit here on the plane and as soon as we take off in the air, I sit down, I have a big meal and then I watch a movie or two and then I sleep and then; I have to forgo the Tupperware container or whatever I’ve had or I give it a rinse in the bathroom and repack it in my bag and hopefully they don’t quarantine it and they haven’t yet. And that’s the same thing when I come back from America or the U.S. or the UK. I go to Whole Foods and I stock up on some good quality paté or some food and I pack my own food.
Guy Lawrence: Great. Yeah.
Pete Evans: You know that you’re eating organic or grass-fed or organic veg, and you know, it’s so simple these days when I do it.
A friend of mine that runs the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Joshua Rosenthal, who’s a brilliant man with a massive vision of change for the world and the first thing that we learn in the modules is: don’t be afraid to fit out. He said it’s the most empowering thing that you can do for yourself, because most of society want to fit in like sheep, basically.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cook: Yeah.
Pete Evans: They don’t want to be seen as being different from anybody else and you know, I’m very proud to fit out on a plane and eat food that is going to benefit me and hopefully not make me feel like crap when I hop off the plane.
Guy Lawrence: That’s a great saying, “fit out.” Yeah, I love that.
Pete Evans: Fit out.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fantastic. That almost answers our last question to a degree; which is, we always ask this on our guests. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Pete Evans: My best piece of advice was actually something my grade 10 math teacher said to me. He said, “Pete, you’ll be successful at anything you choose to do in your life.”
And even to this day it’s still the most powerful statement that anyone has ever said to me and I pray every day that he said that to each and every student that he taught. Because he made me feel special and unique and I just wonder how many parents say that to their children. I wonder how many teachers of children say that to people. I wonder how many nurses might say it to their patients or doctors might say it. You know, just that one bit of encouragement and belief that this person had in me changed my whole life and changed my whole outlook and so, my bit of piece of advice that I can give everybody is to plant the seeds of belief in another human being I think is the most powerful thing you can do.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fantastic. Yeah, belief’s a huge thing.
Stuart Cook: Wise words. Yeah. Absolutely.
Guy Lawrence: Stu?
Stuart Cook: Brilliant. Yeah, I just wondered what the, you know, what does the future hold for Pete Evans? What have you got coming up; we’ve spoken about your books, right now?
Pete Evans: Well, if I don’t end up dead from a conspiracy theorist, I’ve always; I said to my mum last year, “If I go missing for some reason or I have a very strange accident, you know it probably wasn’t an accident.” Because we are definitely ruffling some major feathers here and there’s billions and trillions of dollars at stake if people adopt this way of life that will be lost through certain aid; agribusiness or multi-national food corporations and pharmaceutical companies. I mean think about the impact that this could have. It’s actually quite terrifying if you think about it a little bit. So, if I can keep running and keep doing this, then just more of the same, I mean more of the same.
I mean recently I released a cookbook three months ago called Family Food and to give you the impact that has had in Australia, it’s become the number 1 selling lifestyle book. It’s superseded any other book over the last couple of years with the volume that it sold in the last three months.
Now, I think there’s 150,000 copies out in Australia. Now, if I think about that as a family food book, so you’d have to think that at least there’s a mum and a dad and 1 child, so three people with this book, so that’s half a million people; let’s round it out, which is maybe 1 to 2 percent of the populations have now got access to a book and they’re aware of it that it’s a grain-free, dairy-free, sugar-free book.
So, I plan on just releasing more of this information in a way and my job is to, is not to present so much of the science behind it, but to give people the practical tools that they can put into their life. As a chef I think that’s my purposes. Let’s take the information and put it into beautiful recipes that people want to cook at home. Because really you can know all of this, but if you don’t cook it and put it into practice, then what point is it. Actions speak louder than words.
So, more books, improving my program, Next year we’re going to do a tour, we’re talking about belief systems, so there’ll be no cooking involved and I’ve got a lineup of speakers from around the world that I want to bring to talk about breaking addictions, self love, self worth, fear, get rid of fears and understand how to make these positive decisions in life and how to goal set.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Pete Evans: This sort of stuff excites me. Hopefully spending a lot more time with my children and my partner. We just bought a farm, so that’s part of my next journey; how to become pretty much self-sufficient so I know exactly where my food is coming from. And hopefully through that we’ll get a TV series that I can create about this. About how to grow your own food and how to live sustainably.
I want to live off the land. I want to remove myself as much as I can from the current food system, if I can. Just so I can trust where the food is coming from.
And I’m also filming a documentary at the moment called, “Food is Medicine” that I’ve been putting together for the last year and a half and I’ve got another year and a half of filming for that. I very much like Damon Gameau’s sugar film.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Pete Evans: I want to show the positive stories of using food as medicine and I think it will be a powerful catalyst for change. I’ve got a beautiful storyteller, documentary filmmaker that is doing this for us and it will be challenging for a lot of people to see the information that we present, but it will also be awe inspiring as well. So, I’m looking forward to seeing the end result of that, but yet I’m in no rush to put that out. Everything’s happening as it’s meant to be happening.
Guy Lawrence: That’s fantastic Pete. Good on you, mate.
For everyone listening to this, where’s the best place to get more of Pete Evens?
Pete Evans: My Facebook is probably the best. I’m active on that daily. It’s Chef Pete Evens or Pete Evens Chef, I don’t even know. And if anyone wants to do the 10-week program and I’m not here to sell anything, but it’s ThePaleoWay.com. But it does have the resources in there and the tools for people to implement change in their lives.
And I just want to give you guys a round of applause for what you’re doing, because it is a joint effort here, there’s many of us spreading the medicine as I like to call it and we’re reaching a different variety of people, each in their own unique way and unified way we’re so much stronger.
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely and we appreciate it Pete. You know, it’s affected my life dramatically over the years. I’ve seen it first-hand affecting others and we just feel we need to be pushing out and we have been for the last four years.
Stuart Cook: Just spread the word. Yeah, that’s it.
Guy Lawrence: And we really appreciate your coming on the show mate. That was fantastic. Thank you so much.
Angela:Thanks to the awesome Alison at Paleo Foodies for this great muffin recipe. Muffins are a great one to make in bulk as an easy go-to snack. Much better than the store bought ones full of bad oils, sugar and wheat. Enjoy her high protein, sugar-free, gluten-free, paleo version…
Alison: It’s always handy to have a few healthy snacks in the pantry for when you need some pre-workout fuel or just feel like a healthy snack between meals. Healthy muffins are one of my go-to’s, and I recently discovered how well 180 Nutrition Superfood Protein goes in my base muffin recipe. I absolutely love berries and ricotta together, so I tried a berry and ricotta combo using coconut protein. They were delicious!
Can our love of sugar be killing us? Everybody loves sugar and this love may be one of the main causes for Western societies many health problems. It’s easy to see why the Paleo diet and a Paleo way of eating has become increasingly popular over recent years, and this is what Dr. Robert Lustig believes.
On May 26 2009, Lustig who is a lecturer at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine gave a lecture titled “Sugar: The Bitter Truth” in which he described sugar as poison and that it is the likely cause of many western diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and several cancers. I began to see how his paradigm and the paradigm of the Paleo Diet coincide.
To clarify Dr. Lustig’s position, he doesn’t state that all sugar is bad. After all, sugar is a carbohydrate that is found in fruit (fructose). Rather, the sugar he considers poison is refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Refined sugar is made up of a molecule of the carbohydrate glucose, bonded to a molecule of the carbohydrate fructose in a 50/50 ratio. Fructose is almost twice as sweet as glucose, so the more fructose a product has, the sweeter it is. The ratio of high fructose corn syrup is 55% fructose to 45 % glucose. Because each of these sugars ends up as glucose and fructose in our guts, our bodies react the same way to both, and the physiological effects are identical.
The basic idea behind the paleo diet is that food production has evolved much faster than our bodies have. Therefore, paleo people say, we should try to mimic the eating habits of our ancient ancestors, sticking to lean meats and vegetables and skipping bread, artificial sweeteners and alcohol. Devotees say they lose weight and feel great.
“It works for many people, particularly if you hold onto a lot of belly fat,” said Chicago nutrition consultant Sherry Belcher.
She says the diet also can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as offer other health benefits.
“Removing any and all of these [nonpaleo] foods will have nothing but a positive effect on the body,” said Sheena Lawrick, a former Olympian and coach at Windy City CrossFit in Lakeview, where members are encouraged to combine a paleo diet with their workouts. Lawrick also notes that paleo isn’t so much about counting calories — it’s about feeding your body good food.
“A well-respected nutrition expert once told me, ‘Food is fuel, food is not reward.’ That stuck with me,” said Jon Callahan, 39, of Andersonville, whose whole family — including his wife and three children, ages 3, 5 and 8 — eats paleo. Callahan says he is sharper and has more energy since shifting to a paleo diet two years ago.