Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on youriPhone HERE.
We chat to Sami Inkinen, a world class triathlete and tech entrepreneur. Whilst we don’t encourage anyone to eat 5000 calories of saturated fat a day, we feel it’s a very important message that Sami shares with us.
Sami and his wife Meredith recently did a phenomenal achievement, where they physically rowed from California to Hawaii. It took them 45 days straight rowing, up to 18 hours a day, and some days they didn’t even get any sleep.
Awesome achievement, but more importantly was the message behind it, as they did it without the use of any sugar and sports gels, pushing the message that you don’t need sugar to power the body daily, not even as a world-class athlete.
So they did it running on, yes, about 70 to 75 percent fat on each meal, and we were very keen to get him on the show and pick his brains about this, because there are so many things we can learn from it.
Full Interview with Sami Inkinen, World Class Ironman
In this episode we talk about:
How he ended up being involved in the documentary Cereal Killers Two – Run on Fat
Why he decided to embark on his toughest challenge yet, rowing to Hawaii from San Francisco
How they prepared for their meals. Sami was eating a whopping 8,000 calories a day!
The effects of eating 5000 calories of saturated fat a day whilst rowing
Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence with 180 Nutrition and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. Our special guest today is Sami Inkinen. Now, Sami has achieved some remarkable things in life, including he’s a world-class triathlete, he’s a tech entrepreneur, and him and his wife did a phenomenal achievement recently which is they basically physically rowed from California to Hawaii. Took them 45 days rowing up to 18 hours a day straight, and some days they didn’t even get any sleep.
Awesome achievement, but more importantly was the message behind it, because they did it without the use of sugar and gels and basically pushing the message that you don’t need sugar to power the body daily, not even as a world-class athlete like that.
So they did it running on, yes, about 70 to 75 percent fat on each meal, and we were very keen, obviously, to get him on the show and pick his brains about this, because there are so many things we can learn from it. He also shares many other things as well, which is fantastic, and it was an awesome podcast. I have no doubt you’ll get lots out of this today whether you’re an athlete or not. It was just brilliant.
Of course, if you are listening to this through iTunes, hit the subscribe button, leave a review, all very appreciated. A, it’s nice to know that you’re enjoying our podcasts, but B, it helps spread the word by simply subscribing or leaving a review more people can find us and more people can listen and more people can benefit from the message that we are putting out there to the world which we feel is very necessary.
And, of course, come back to our website, 180nutrition.com.au, where we’ve got a heap of resources including a free ebook which is a great place to start if you find all this information a little bit overwhelming. Anyway, enjoy the show. This one’s awesome. Cheers.
Guy Lawrence: Okay, hey, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke, as always. Hi, Stu.
Stuart Cooke: Hello.
Guy Lawrence: And our awesome guest today is Sami Inkinen. Sami, welcome to the show.
Sami Inkinen: Thanks very much. Excited to be a part of your show.
Guy Lawrence: Oh, mate, that’s awesome. Me and Stu have been very excited today, because it’s certainly a topic I think we thrive on, especially when it comes to sports as well, and it’s clear that you’re a guy that doesn’t do things by half-measures, you know, and just to, I guess, for the people who are listening to sum it up in a short way, you’re a world-class athlete, you’re a tech entrepreneur, and you’ve just gone and done something with your wife recently which is a phenomenal achievement and which I’m looking forward to getting sucked in with everyone.
But just to kick start the conversation, mate, would you mind just sharing a little bit about your background? And even, you know, how you ended up in San Francisco in the first place, because you’re from Finland.
Sami Inkinen: Yeah, so I was born and raised and brainwashed in Finland. Grew up about 200 miles, so 300 kilometers, from Helsinki on a farm, a chicken farm, but I wasn’t really a farm boy, I was more into computers, so as soon as I got out of the farm, I studied physics at a university in Finland and got into software and computers early in my life. Started on company in Europe and then in 2003, which seems like a long time ago now, about 12 years ago, I came here to San Francisco Bay Area in the U.S. to attend Stanford Business School and, you know, I’ve been here ever since.
Guy Lawrence: Are you missing the cold weather? I’m assuming it can get quite cold in Finland as well, right?
Sami Inkinen: You know, there’s a reason why I stayed here.
Guy Lawrence: Go on, Stu. You look like you’re going to say something.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, so we’ve been following a little bit of your background, Sami, as well, and realized that you did extremely well in the triathlete Ironman scene as well, but then made it to the big screen. I was just wondering how that happened? What happened there?
Sami Inkinen: Big screen as in…
Guy Lawrence: Cereal Killers 2.
Stuart Cooke: The movies.
Sami Inkinen: Well, first of all, I have, quite honestly, zero interest in promoting myself for the sake of promoting myself. However, given that I thought that I was kind of a poster boy for healthy living because of my crazy amount of endurance training and, what I thought, healthy living, regardless of that kind of lifestyle, I found out that I was pre-diabetic a couple of years ago, and I got ridiculously frustrated that, “How is this possible that it happens to me? And if it happens to me with that kind of lifestyle and a focus on exercise and, what I thought, healthy eating, what are the chances that an average person can avoid that sort of health issue?”
And the answer is, “Fat chance.” There’s no chance, so I wanted to do anything and everything I can to promote the message around healthy diet and healthy nutrition and, therefore, I was more than happy to lend my own crazy adventures and experiences for the benefit of others.
And I think that was the reason why I ended up teaming up or helping Donal O’Neill who has produced these two movies, Cereal Killers and Cereal Killers 2, so that was the background story. So I thought whatever I do and what I did with my wife, if it can help other people to avoid what was happening to me health wise, it would be worth the embarrassing exposure on the screen.
Guy Lawrence: Did it take you awhile? Was that the wakeup moment? Because I know you mentioned, like you said, you were going to be prediabetic and did you instantly look into increasing fats? Like, how did that message sink in to you, because there are so many people resistant to that message to this day and don’t even, won’t even consider it, you know? How did it work for you? Who did you discover to make you think differently about that?
Sami Inkinen: Well, first of all, I, obviously, it was almost like driving a car to a rock wall 100 kilometers an hour when I really thought it’s impossible that I would get sick or, more importantly, it would be impossible that someone like me would become diabetic or prediabetic with the kind of lifestyle that I was living, so it was really kind of a stopping moment for me.
And, of course, as a computer scientist, the first place that I went was online, so I started reading a lot and, unfortunately, spending time on, kind of, research databases like PubMed isn’t a very effective way of educating yourself because there’s so much science as well as bad science that you could spend the rest of your life reading research reports and still just be confused.
So I think the best sources for me were books and, you know, there’s a number of books, but I think one of the better overviews was the book written by Gary Taubes called Good Calories, Bad Calories.
Stuart Cooke: Yes.
Sami Inkinen: You know, it was just one of the information sources that I relied on and we talked with a number of physicians and scientists directly, but that was definitely one of the more transformational books for me.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, it’s a very in-depth book, too, and certainly recommended to everyone, yeah. So, let’s, talking about the challenge, can you explain a little bit about the synopsis and what you and Meredith achieved? What you did?
Sami Inkinen: Yes.
Guy Lawrence: And, as well, who came up with it? You know? Why that challenge?
Sami Inkinen: Well, yeah, first of all, Meredith, my wife and I, we decided to row completely unsupported with no past rowing experience in a, kind of, special adult rowing boat from California to Hawaii across the Pacific Ocean about 2400, 2500 miles. Well we ended up rowing 2,750 completely unsupported this past summer, so we just finished a few months ago.
I’d love to blame my wife for the crazy idea, but I think I was the person who initially got inspired and got this idea and the initial inspiration came from the book called Unbroken, which actually it was just turned into a movie about six months ago, but in this book a second World War Air Force pilot was shot down above the Pacific Ocean and he floated across the Pacific Ocean in a life raft, and I just thought that experience was so amazing and I didn’t want to be in a life raft, but just to experience the wilderness of the Pacific Ocean, so that was kind of a seed in my mind, and I thought, “For once in my lifetime, I want to experience the craziness of the Pacific Ocean.”
So that was the initial inspiration, but then we wanted to turn this crazy expedition into something that would benefit others as well, so we wanted to combine it with this message of, “Sugar is dangerous and more likely than not the processed carbohydrates are dangerous to you as well,” and so we wanted to do this adventure, an expedition, with absolutely no sugar and practically no carbohydrate as well, and that’s what we did.
Guy Lawrence: It was amazing. Was it harder than you thought? Or was it what you expected, you know, or, like, especially if you’ve never done something like that before. I can’t…I struggle to envision being on a boat for 45 days like that.
Sami Inkinen: Yeah. So I grew up in Finland not far from lakes and we had a small summer cottage by a lake, but I have to say I know why oceans are called oceans and not lakes. It’s a completely different environment, and, as you mentioned, neither Meredith nor myself had any experience with oceans. We aren’t sailors. We’ve done nothing related to oceans and we weren’t rowers, either, so to answer your question, we really didn’t have any expectations, because we had never experienced this environment before and we went from zero to sixty miles an hour in many ways in six months.
So six months before the launch, we started to train rowing. We started to train about survival in ocean environments, so we did massive amounts of survival training, navigation training, seamanship, and all these things that you really don’t worry about when you don’t know about sailing boats or anything, getting radio, you know, license and certificates, and understand how you use radios and all these things, so it all happened in six months.
Quite frankly we, I think we had, we didn’t really expect much because we had no idea what this is going to be like, and this may sound really crazy, but we didn’t even spend a single night in our boat until the first night. We slept in the boat, but we kind of slept in a very, sort of, calm condition, so for better or worse, we had a lot of first time experiences once we got out there, which may not sound like the perfect way of preparing for something like this.
Stuart Cooke: Tell us about motivation. With all that prep work that you did for the other elements of the boat, I mean, what, direct, physically stay motivated for that length of time, how is this possible?
Sami Inkinen: Well, first of all, the motivation for this draw was really twofold. One was, we both think that pushing your physical and mental limits is just kind of a full human experience, so we like pushing ourselves beyond what you would expect to be normal, and we find that it’s a very rewarding way of living your life, and you learn all kinds of interesting things about yourself and human life.
And then the second thing is really this motivation to bring awareness, build awareness, around the danger of sugar and processed carbohydrates. Those were kind of driving forces for us. But once you’re out there, the good news is, there’s no turning back, so the only way to get out is to freaking keep rowing.
And we kept rowing up to 18 hours a day, so you can’t really turn back. You really simply can’t, because of the winds and everything, so the only way to get out of the boat is to row to Hawaii, which we thought might take two months.
But then on a more practical level, you really have to focus on the process at the very moment, and you know, this applies to other things is life, but you can’t let your mind get into, kind of, “What is it going to be when we finish? Or what is it going to be…?”
You may be able to think that when you go for a sixty-minute run or a three-hour bike ride, but when you’re there for two months rowing eighteen hours a day, you have to focus on the moment, otherwise, you’ll mentally fall apart and you’re on the ground in pieces, so you focus on the moment and then, you know, like eating an elephant. How do you eat an elephant? You eat it one bite at a time.
Guy Lawrence (simultaneously): One bite at a time.
Sami Inkinen: Yes, you really focus on these micro small milestones, whether that’s your two-hour shift, and you take a five-minute break, maybe it’s a little drinking or maybe it’s your lunch break or something like that, so those two things, like, focus on the moment and then, you know, you have this, sort of small bit-sized chunks that you focus on as opposed to, “Oh, in a month’s time we might finish.”
Stuart Cooke: That’s right.
Guy Lawrence: Well, that’s just getting done, isn’t it? Do you meditate outside or, as in outside the rowing, do you do meditation…?
Sami Inkinen: Yeah, I actually…yeah, I started mindfulness meditation practice about two years ago and so did my wife, so I do a couple of minutes every morning the moment I wake up, and frankly we had plenty of time to practice activity-based meditation on the boat. It was actually interesting and powerful to try that during the row, which really helps you to focus on the moment and the sensation and this kind of related to how can you stay focused? It’s obviously uncomfortable for the most part, you know?
Your ass is hurting, your hands are hurting, you’re tired, but there’s nothing more powerful than embracing that pain and discomfort, because once you, sort of, give in and embrace and recognize that feeling, nothing can break you, but as long as you keep, sort of, fighting and bitching to yourself, like, “Oh, my god, my ass is hurting. Oh, my god, I’m tired,” the feeling just sort of escalates in your brain, but the moment you’re like, “I’m hurting. I’m feeling it. It’s uncomfortable, but I’m in it and I’m embracing it,” it’s like, “All right, so what’s worse? It can’t get any worse. You’re in it.”
So, there are a lot of mental lessons that I think are applicable to…
Guy Lawrence: Day-to-day life. Yeah.
Sami Inkinen: Yeah. Day-to-day life at your office or your exercise, so, you know, relationship with people and all other things.
Guy Lawrence: Amazing. Yeah. Something else occurred to me as well, because they say traveling with your partner is the best way to test the relationship, you know, and being in a rowing boat would certainly test that, you know, for me, but obviously it went good, you know? It’s incredible. Yeah.
Sami Inkinen: Yeah, we’re still married, so… You can see I still have the ring, so all went well, but, no, absolutely, it’s a… Not only was it an amazing test, but also an amazing experience that we’ll share for the rest of our lives, and fortunately it turned out positively from a relationship perspective.
Guy Lawrence: Go on, Stu. Go on.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, I was just wondering how you felt when you got off the boat, I mean, what were your feelings and how did you feel?
Sami Inkinen: Well, emotionally, I, and I think my wife as well, we cried a lot immediately after, so it was just, kind of, a big emotional moment to come out. Physically, so we had a doctor who did a quick checkup right after who actually has worked with a number of ocean rowers and her immediate comment was, “I can’t believe how healthy you guys look.” Like, nothing crazy, no crazy inflammation going on.
I had blood work done just a couple of days after the row and, like, we were incredibly healthy from the perspective of inflammation, hormonal markers, and other things, so other than, especially with myself losing a lot of, or having a lot of muscle atrophy in the muscles we didn’t use, which is completely natural, nothing to do with your diet, it’s just if you don’t use those muscles…Other than that, I was feeling incredibly well and within just a couple of days I felt like I was completely back, too.
It took several weeks to build the muscle mass back to some of the muscles that were really… because I didn’t really even stand, I didn’t do anything weight-bearing for two months, so other than that…
Guy Lawrence: So, just upper body, yeah…
Sami Inkinen: Yeah and, you know, rowing is, you do use your legs and low body, kind of like a squat movement, still, you don’t even stand or carry your body weight. There’s a lot of muscle and soft tissue that’s completely unused, and I lost a lot of that, so, like, walking was difficult coming off the boat.
Guy Lawrence: Just to touch back on the diet, because, you know, obviously you’ve changed your diet dramatically. Could you explain what your diet used to look like as a triathlete and what it looks like now, especially preparing and on the boat? The differences you made?
Sami Inkinen: Yeah. So, first of all, I did start changing my diet quite significantly before the row and I’ve raced as a triathlete following graphically similar diet I followed on the boat, but for almost twenty years I followed what I thought was a perfectly healthy diet and the diet that’s promoted by, you know, most governments, including the United States, including Finland, which, to me, was anything that was low-fat or no fat was healthy and, you know, I tried to eat fresh foods, but I ate a lot of packaged foods as well.
So my diet was extremely low fat. I tried to eat whole grains, obviously, not crap, and just a very low-fat diet. Low-fat, I thought it was good, and if it said no fat, it was great, so whether it was bread or skim milk or low-fat cheese or low-fat mayo, you name it, that’s what I was eating. And then, you know, the more I read about sports performance books, it was always, like, “Oh, you have to carb-load and that’s high-octane fuel,” you know, to put it simply, I was on an extremely high-carbohydrate diet, mostly whole grains, grains, vegetables, and all the meat that I was eating, it was super low-fat, so chicken, turkey, no skin, low-fat beef, that was my diet, and I followed that about twenty years.
I kept myself reasonably lean and my race weight low, but it required a ridiculous amount of willpower. We’ve seen what a lot of athletes are capable of doing, but 99 percent of the population just can’t do that and it’s not fun to apply 95 percent of your willpower 300 days a year to just always eat less than you would like to eat.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Yeah, and then moving to the boat, because we watched the documentary a few days ago and what was clear is you were meticulous about, you know, the amount of calories and the amount of fat you ate and the way you set your meals up. Would you mind explaining a little bit about that for us as well, because that was fascinating I thought.
Sami Inkinen: On the boat?
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, for the boat, yeah.
Sami Inkinen: Yeah. Well, first of all, obviously, when you’re in the middle of the Pacific Ocean there’s no eat stations like in a triathlon race, so there’s no convenience stores or grocery stores that you can stop by when you get hungry or realize that, holy crap, you don’t have enough protein or this or that, so we had to be careful, and even our diet, at least by traditional standards, was very extreme, we want it to also be very scientific about preparing, because we knew that if something goes wrong, whether it’s food-related or something else, we just can’t; there’s no way, no helicopter is going to drop us extra food or extra sodium or extra this or that, so that was one of the reasons we were very, like, everything was calculated, measured, weighed, and we knew then what we have on the boat is sufficient.
But what we ate at the high level, we only tried to pack and eat real whole foods, so in as natural form as possible. That was one. Two, it was extremely low-carbohydrate diet from a macronutrient perspective, so caloric-wise my carbohydrate calories were somewhere between five and ten, around maybe nine percent of calories was carbohydrates. Protein, I think, was about fifteen percent, up to fifteen percent, so it leaves 75 percent to 80 percent of calories from fat, so, you know, I ate probably 5000 calories of fat every day, of which most was saturated fat, so if you want to shock a cardiologist, that’s a pretty good line, “Yeah, I ate 5000 calories of saturated fat for two months, almost two months.”
Stuart Cooke: So, a typical meal for you on the boat would’ve been what?
Sami Inkinen: Yeah, so, and we packed pretty simple, not too much variety, so consequently I was practically eating the same stuff every day. So my breakfast was often salmon or tuna with craploads of olive oil and maybe some macadamia nuts.
My lunch was typically freeze-dried beef that was maybe like 70 percent fat calorically and 30 percent protein mixed with a little bit of freeze-dried vegetables and then I just mixed with water and it became like, you know, like a fresh food, and then I threw in, again, crazy amounts of olive oil into it and salt that had extra potassium and then some seasoning, maybe some olives, so it was kind of a… wasn’t very appetizing-looking necessarily, but I loved it, so that was the reason why I keep so much…
Guy Lawrence: And it was practical.
Sami Inkinen: Yeah, very practical, and we didn’t have to cook anything. We didn’t have to boil water. I didn’t boil water. I boiled water a single time just as an experiment in the first few days, but that was all. So that was kind of my lunch most days.
And then I wasn’t, because we ate very high fat, we were very fat-adapted, so we didn’t have to be eating every 45 minutes, every hour, so sometimes I’d have five, six, seven, hours between meals, but nuts were my favorite snacks. Nuts, coconut butter, and then different nut butters, so macadamia… I had plenty of macadamia nuts, almonds… so that was kind of a typical meal kind of setup.
Guy Lawrence: Were you, do you know if you were in ketosis the whole time or coming in and out? Did you have a doctor on that at all or…?
Sami Inkinen: Yeah. I did measure my ketones along the way. With hindsight, I overate a little bit protein to be in optimal ketosis, so that’s my understanding, that I ate a little bit too much protein, which flipped me out of a perfect zone, but I was definitely on ketosis. I don’t know deep I was, because I didn’t measure that frequently and my personal experience is that if you measure your ketones right after workout, I notice that my ketones actually go down right after the workout, so you give it a couple of hours after that and then they kind of come to the equilibrium of whatever they are and, you know, I was, usually when I measured it was right after my rowing, so…
Guy Lawrence: Do you still eat this way, in terms of the proportions, fat and carbs, or do you…?
Sami Inkinen: Yes.
Guy Lawrence: Every day, training or not?
Sami Inkinen: Yes.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, okay.
Sami Inkinen: The only difference is I have way more fresh food, so, and the fresh food is mainly green leafy vegetables, which weren’t available and I really missed those, so I eat a lot of those, but in terms of the macronutrient composition, I’m, let’s see, yeah, probably five percent carbohydrates, maybe ten, fifteen percent protein, and the rest is fat.
Guy Lawrence: There you go.
Stuart Cooke: Wow. And do you think that this way of eating is beneficial for everyone?
Sami Inkinen: Well, first of all, people look for shortcuts and for simple sound bites like…
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Sami Inkinen: One size does not fit all, so my recommendation when people come to me is, unless I have time to spend, like, two, three hours with someone to talk about XXtheir ???XX [0:26:21] is buy real, whole foods and cook at home. You’re probably better off not buying grains and, yeah, lots of carbohydrates, so that’s my advice to everyone, and if you buy real, whole foods and cook at home, you can’t go wrong, and if you limit carbohydrates, you’re probably better off. Beyond that, it’s kind of an individual situation and it depends on what your health standard is. If you are completely healthy now, you exercise a lot, you’re very carbohydrate-tolerant, insulin sensitive, you may be able to lead a happily healthy life with reasonable amount of stuff that might kill someone else.
So, I don’t, like, one size fits all in this kind of a one sound bite, it just, that’s for people looking for shortcuts and simple answers. There’s no simple answers other than eat real whole foods and cook at home and everything else after that you have to be quite nuanced…
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. A lot of self-experimentation.
Stuart Cooke: I’m guessing then if you retired from sports tomorrow, you would continue to eat this way.
Sami Inkinen: Oh, absolutely, yeah. The way I eat, well, first of all, I think a healthy foundation in your body is an absolutely foundation for sports performance. So, you can’t start from the performance angle first and say, “Hey, why don’t I eat something that makes me somehow, like, really good at sports.” Well, that’s somehow that makes you really good at sports is something that optimizes your general health, because then you recover best, you can train hardest, so I don’t really see those as mutually exclusive, sports performance and health.
Then race time eating or race time nutrition might be different, because you may not be able to, you know, take a plate and take a frying pan and start preparing meals if you’re in the middle of a race, so a race is a different situation but in terms of health and sports performance, it’s tough for me to make the case that they would be mutually exclusive so the answer is, “Yes.”
I want to be as healthy as possible, because that makes me the best possible athlete as well.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, because that’s a focus you don’t see a lot, but athletes do, like, you know, the health sort of becomes a far distant second and that’s all about how can I perform better and achieve more and consequently health would suffer. Like, even with yourself, the change the diet now, have you noticed differences with injuries and things and just with the body itself? Can you put more demands on it the way you’re doing it?
Sami Inkinen: Yeah. Well, this is kind of an n equals one experiment so this is just a personal. It’s anecdotal and those who want to rip apart everyone’s opinions and comments will certainly rip apart my comment, but the thing that I don’t have, which is a good thing, one is, I have much less, knock on wood, but I feel like I don’t get sick at all now. So I used to have my sore throat and sinus and this and that all the time. That’s one.
Two, I don’t have, like, sort of inflammation nagging injuries. I used to have Achilles and shoulder and this and that, lower back and this and that, all the time. I don’t have those at all.
And then anecdotally, I feel that I recover much better, so those are the things that…It appears to me that have significantly improved when I got off the super high-carbohydrate, low fat diet, and then just overall feeling is like, you know, I’m not thinking about really food much at all. I’m not obsessed about always trying to eat ten percent less than I wanted, so I can focus on life rather than, “Oh, I need to be on this athlete diet which sucks all the time.”
Guy Lawrence: I know, we now a few, I mean, you know, a good endurance athlete as well, and they get ravenous, like, you know, they’d eat a loaf of banana bread in seconds, you know, and then they come out and it’s like, “Wow. That can’t be helpful.”
Stuart Cooke: So, we’ve touched a little bit on food, I’m interested to know your thoughts on sports drinks.
Sami Inkinen: Sports drinks?
Stuart Cooke: Sports drinks, yeah. So I guess, what did you drink while you were on the row and perhaps, historically, what did you used to drink when you were training as to what you might drink now?
Sami Inkinen: Yeah. So our sports drink of choice on the boat was water which was made out of ocean water with our desalinator, so we, you know, carrying the amount of water that you need for two months when you are sweating, rowing eighteen hours a day, obviously, which people used to do, the few crazy individuals who did this before, solar panels and desalinators, the rowing boats were gigantic because they had to carry all their water through the whole thing.
Guy Lawrence: All their water. Yeah.
Sami Inkinen: So, we were drinking ocean water, which was desalinated, no sodium, and we had zero electrolyte solutions whatsoever on the boat which probably could be surprising to people. So our sports electrolyte solution of choice was table salt.
Guy Lawrence: Plain old table salt.
Sami Inkinen: Yeah. We had table salt that had, you know, added potassium, but you know, it’s a grocery store product that you buy. That was the only thing that we had. We also had a magnesium tablets, but the only reason we had that was because all the beef that, and the meat, that we ate was dehydrated and it was treated in a way that it had lower amounts of magnesium that you would otherwise find, so we had that just in case that we wouldn’t have muscle cramps, but that’s all.
And, like I said, we had no aid station, we had no sports stores, so we were absolutely confident that the real whole foods based diet, regardless of our eighteen hours of exercise a day, is completely efficient, so I guess long story short to answer your question, we were able to exercise eighteen hours a day with zero sports drinks and eighteen hours a day, I burn about the same amount of calories as running two marathons each day for 45 days non-stop.
Guy Lawrence: That’s amazing, man.
Sami Inkinen: That doesn’t make it science, but it’s not a very good headline for a sports drink marketer.
Guy Lawrence: Do you ever get people just going, “Oh, that’s rubbish, “or disbelief or…what’s the reaction being… for you achieving this in the sports fraternity especially, you know? Like, because it’s so against everything we’ve told.
Sami Inkinen: I don’t know. I don’t really care. I mean, I let others judge and form their opinions and, if somebody doesn’t believe in what we did or that might be the right way to eat or drink or hydrate yourself then that’s their choice. Yeah, but your question of what do I have now, so if I go to a four or five-hour bike ride, I just have water in my bottle, but I usually try to make sure that I have, like, lots of salt before. I might throw in some table salt into my water bottles in my bike, and then, once I finish, I have extra salt to swallow.
So you certainly need the sodium, but I’m just conscious of that if I do something that is more than two hours and it’s hot and I know that I’m going to be sweating, yeah, I kind of buffer a little bit, but I don’t run out of sodium.
Guy Lawrence: Amazing. And just one question that I really wanted to touch on while we’ve got you on the show, Sami, is just for the listeners out there regarding your training, could you share with us now even when you’re leading up to an event or something what a typical training day and a typical training week would look like? The amount of volume you would do in that?
Sami Inkinen: Yeah. Well, it obviously depends on what I’m preparing for, but looking at the last five, even ten years of my training log, it’s… overall volume is the same, the content just changes, but weekdays, I usually work out between 50 and 90 minutes per day. You know, maybe an average of an hour a day, and then the weekend, either for training or social reasons, I do a longer, usually it’s a bike ride that’s anywhere between three and five hours, more often three to four hours, so if you do the math, I mean the second day might be another one or two-hour bike ride or run or something, but you know I end up training about ten hours a week, week in, week out, and you know, I love exercising so that’s one of the reasons.
It’s my way of, like, clearing my mind, and if I’m training for an event it’s much more focused, so there’s more high-intensity and that’s sort of thing, but the hours I’d say… eight to eleven hours a week. It’s difficult to find a week that’s out of those parameters for less than eleven hours, and then you know, I might sometimes more strength-training, sometimes less, but that’s kind of the setup.
So when I say one-hour day, so it could be a recovery workout where I go and ride about a bike for 50 minutes. Super easy, so that’s almost like doing nothing for me, but it counts as a one-hour workout, so another one-hour workout might be ten times one-minute all out, warm out, cool down, so once again it’s one hour, so it’s again, it’s an hour, but you know, it really depends on what I do there, but I’m so used to exercise that I kind of end up spending the one hour every morning just to get out there and do something and, yeah, but what you do within an hour makes a huge difference.
Guy Lawrence: Oh, yeah.
Stuart Cooke: It does, it does. One question as well, Sami, that we ask everybody, and I know we’ve got thousands of people that would love to know, a typical daily diet for you. What have you eaten today?
Sami Inkinen: What have I had today? Probably the most dangerous, no question about, answer, because everyone always asks, “So what do you eat exactly?” I always try to avoid going into details, because then people either want to copy, they’ll want to rip it apart, so I’ve always tried to avoid, like, posting somewhere, like, “Here’s exactly what I eat.” Not because there’s anything scandalous or anything, but, again, people are looking for this, like…
Guy Lawrence: Magic fix?
Sami Inkinen: …sound bite, like one size fits all, but typically I eat, before workout, I probably have, like four or five hundred calories of fat and, practically speaking, that’s usually coconut butter or coconut oil in a tea or coffee or butter so that was the case this morning as well, so, I mean, I don’t count the calories, but just to give you a sense of, like…
Guy Lawrence: Guestimate, yeah.
Sami Inkinen: You know, a crapload of fat with a drink, and you know it’s pretty fast to digest and it doesn’t feel like it’s in your stomach if you go and work out, so that’s… Then right after workout, I usually have a little bit of a protein, so this could be three to five eggs, fried with top fat again, butter usually, in a pan, depending how busy I am. My lunch is usually a salad, so it looks like it’s lots of salad, but it’s lots of greens and then with a little bit of protein, so that could be a salmon or ground beef and then a lot of olive oil or butter or some sort of mayo.
Snacks oftentimes it’s some sort of meat or sausage or almonds or macadamia nuts and then dinner is even a, you know, a bowl that you would usually feed a horse from. That kind of size full of greens that I may sauté in a pan with a bunch of butter or just like put in, like, it’s gigantic and then again with some kind of protein. It could be shrimps or fish or grass with beef or more butter. I usually drink water, but I might have almond milk, just for the heck of it, maybe some frozen berries after that, like blueberries or something like that. Nothing too scientific.
Stuart Cooke: Sounds delicious.
Guy Lawrence: That’s awesome. Mate, we’ve got one more question that we always ask everyone on the podcast as well and it can be related to anything, but what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Sami Inkinen: That someone has given to me?
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Sami Inkinen: Oh… happy wife, happy life. It sounds like a cliché, but once you’ve been married for a few years you realize that it’s so true.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: That’s a great answer.
Stuart Cooke: I hear where you’re coming from, Sami, with that one.
Guy Lawrence: Just to wrap it up, what does the future hold for Sami Inkinen? Any more challenges ahead or anything in the pipeline?
Sami Inkinen: Well I’m working very hard on my MacBook Air, just kind of on the technology side of things, but athletically I’m doing the eight-day mountain biking stage race in South Africa in March called Cape Epic, so it’s, you know, five to seven hours on the bike each day for eight days. So that’s coming up in less than two months, so two months’ time. Excited about that, so that’s my athletic in the horizon, so I’d better get myself on the bike.
Stuart Cooke: My word, I’ve been a mountain biker all my life, I would shudder at the thought of undertaking something like that, so I would… We’ll keep an eye on that one, for sure.
Guy Lawrence: Definitely! And for them listening to this, Sami, if they want to, you know, track your progress or follow you, do you have a website or a blog they can check out at all or a URL?
Sami Inkinen: Yeah, well maybe a couple of things, the row, if you’re interested in learning more about the row, we have a website called Fat Chance Row, fatchancerow.org, so you can go there and read a little bit about the background and we raised money for a non-profit and we are still doing that, so if you want to support, none of the money comes to us, it goes directly to the non-profit. So that’s one, and then, if you want to follow me on Twitter, one way to follow what I might be up to, is just my first name, last name on Twitter, so S, A, M, I, I,N, K, I, N, E, N, Sami Inkinen on Twitter, and you know I sometimes blog on my website, but it’s not too frequent so…
Guy Lawrence: No worries. We’ll put the appropriate links to that on the show anyway and help spread the word. Thanks, Sami, thanks so much for coming on the show. That was awesome and I have no doubt everyone is going to get a lot out of that today.
Stuart Cooke: I think so, very, very inspiring. Really appreciate the time, Sami.
Sami Inkinen: Yeah. My pleasure, so thanks so much, guys.
Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.
Guy:Do you remember the movie The Secret? Ever since that movie came out people were talking about creating their reality and attracting riches beyond their wildest dreams! All a bit woo woo?
Well who better person to ask than a neuroscientist and psychologist who studies brain function and how it interacts with the world. In other words, he shares with us how our thoughts and subconscious beliefs play a big role in the quality of our experience of life!
Our special guest today is Dr Jeffrey Fannin. He holds a Ph.D. in Psychology, an MBA and a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications. He is the founder and executive director for the Center for Cognitive Enhancement and Thought Genius, LLC.
Dr. Fannin has extensive experience training the brain for optimal brain performance working with head trauma, stroke, chronic pain, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD), anxiety disorders, depression, trauma recovery. His research and experience also extends into high performance training, such as: personal achievement, performance brainmapping for sports, enhancing leadership skills through brainwave entrainment; improving brain function and to enhance mental and emotional dexterity and personal transformation.
Full Interview: Tapping into the Law of Attraction, Subconscious Beliefs & Maximising Brain Power
In This Episode:
Where to start if you struggle with meditation
How we create our daily reality with our thoughts
How to calm down anxiety and mind chatter
How to create energy coherence throughout the body to feel energised
What brain mapping over 3000 advanced meditators over the last 3 years has taught him
Hey, this is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition and welcome to today’s health sessions. We have an awesome guest for you today and his name is Dr. Jeffrey Fannin. Now, he’s the founder and executive director for the Center of Cognitive Enhancement and Thought Genius. Now, he’s also an international authority and speaker in the field of neuroscience research. In a nutshell, he’s a brain expert and understands the brain, how it operates. He has extensive experience training the brain essentially for optimal brain performance and he’s been doing this for 17 years.
It’s a podcast you’re going to have to hang on to your hats to a little bit and if it was the first time we had a brain expert on. Now, in a nutshell, he’s been working with people from such as like head traumas, attention deficit disorders, ADD, ADHD, anxiety disorders, depression, trauma recovery. He’s then worked on the other end of the scale for high performance training such as personal achievement, personal performance, brain mapping for sports, enhancing leadership skills and all this is through brain entrainment.
I have to say this is a podcast that goes in every direction totally and this one I’m definitely going to listen to again just to fully understand everything that was spoken about today. All I say is just keep an open mind and just absorb it and see how you go. There’s a lot of practical advice in there too.
Just to give a bit of background, I first met Dr. Fannin. I actually had a brain mapping consultation with him. I was fortunate enough to be in a Dr. Joe Dispenza workshop now a few months ago and if you’re not familiar who Dr. Joe Dispenza is, we actually interviewed him on the podcast a few months ago as well. I highly recommend you check that out because it’s going to be quite a correlation into today’s episode. Essentially, we went to basically a meditation boot camp, if you like, for four and a half days and they brought a team of scientists [00:02:00] in and measured the activity of the brain and the coherence and what was going on within the body. That was Dr. Fannin’s role so I got to know him them and then I’d have consultations since. It’s just been blowing me away with the information I’ve learned from it and now I’m just trying to bring it back in and apply it to my daily life because that’s what we want to do. You want to try and be the best version of yourself and move forward with that.
If ever you’re wondering why we think negative thoughts, why we can be in a state of anxiety half the time, why do we do the things we do even though we don’t want to be doing them and we have bad habits and all sorts and all sorts and react to situations when we don’t necessarily want to, then Dr. Jeff Fannin is going to certainly explain a lot of that today.
Strap yourself in and enjoy. All right, let’s go ahead to Dr. Jeff Fannin.
Hi, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke as always. Hi Stuart.
Stu: Hello mate.
Guy: And our fanstastic guest today is Dr. Jeffrey Fannin. Jeffrey, welcome to the show.
Jeff: Hi, it’s a pleasure to be here. Thank you so much for having me on.
Guy: It’s greatly appreciated. Now you’re actually our first brain specialist so I think you need to go easy on us a little bit today, okay?
Jeff: I’ll try and do that, yeah.
Guy: It does get me thinking, if you sat in an airplane next to a complete stranger and they asked you what you did for a living, how would you answer that?
Jeff: That happens to me more frequently than you think. We might be at a dinner party or on an airplane or something like that and it always gets around to what do you do. I used to answer that in a variety of ways and I’ve tried to simplify it. Now I explain to people I’m a neuroscientist. Then they get this deer in the headlights look, just like oh my good, this guy’s reading my brain. Then they want to know more about that and so we ensue with that conversation. What does [00:04:00] that mean exactly?
We measure brainwave activity and we do that through brain mapping. We do an EEG, electroencephalogram, and then we will convert that into a quantitative EEG which means that we look at all these little heads and the colors on there tells us what’s going on in the brain. With these consults that I do everyday for people all around the world that have been to one of Dr. Joe Dispenza’s events and we do brain mapping on them and then I can do an interpretation. We use a GoToMeeting like what we’re doing on Skype here. I bring up their brain map and I can show them here’s what’s working for you, here’s what’s not working for you.
We even have a lot of signatures from people who are highly intuitive and I’ll show them that signature and ask them a question, do you think that you’re intuitive and the stories I get after that are just amazing. Well, yeah, it comes out in this way and that way and so I’ll show them the pattern of here’s the part that is what we call clairsentient or you know things about people but you don’t know how you know it. Then I’ll show them the signature on the other side of the brain of this is when people are able to interpret other people’s emotional states and you can do that quite readily. Then they’ll have a lot of stories about that.
Everybody has that ability. The question is do people tend to cultivate that and so with these meditators that we work with all around the world, the one thing that I’m finding that’s really fascinating to me is when we look at their brain map that there are these markers. There’s about 12 markers and we see a great deal in consistency. Over the last three years that we’ve measured them [00:06:00] at these events, probably close to 3,000 people, and talking with them we see the same kinds of signatures. Some are more defined than other but these people have the same markers and those markers really are the starting point where the magic begins to happen for a lot of these people.
We measure people who have actually inter-dimensional experiences. They have beings that visit them during these events. We have a lot of people who have been able to do healing. We’ve got a lot of stories in Dr. Joe’s book You Are the Placebo: Making Your Mind Matter and a bunch of brain cases in there where people have gotten rid of brain tumors, people who have lessened the effects of Parkinson’s disease or Hashimoto’s disease. Over the years, we hear a lot of that going on.
Guy: To pull it back a bit from that just to get a bit of background on what you do. I know you’ve been doing this a long time. I think it’s about 17 years.
Jeff: Yeah, over 17 years now.
Guy: We’re always interested to find out a little bit about the journey because I knew you used to be a pilot. Is that correct?
Jeff: That’s true. In fact my keen ambition for a long time was to be an astronaut. At one time I had an appointment to the US Air Force Academy. My cousin was a former governor and senator of Arizona where I live. I didn’t live in Arizona at that time but my grades were good enough to capture an appointment to the Air Force Academy. Then the Vietnam War is [00:08:00] pretty heavy during that time. I didn’t know if I really wanted to be in the military. I want to be an astronaut. That was pretty clear from the time I was about nine or ten years old. I wrote letters to the Mercury astronauts back then. They actually sent me letters back. Their secretaries probably signed them but I cherish them and had a little scrapbook with their pictures and followed all the Mercury stuff.
When it got to the point of having to decide whether I was going to go into the Air Force Academy I didn’t know if I really wanted to have a career in the military. I ended up … They had a banquet where we got a chance to talk to a lot of the cadets and whatnot there. They explained what goes on. I got some bad advice from my father. He was on a submarine during World War II and he wanted me to go in the navy. I didn’t really want to be in service at all but decided that I was going to opt out of going to the academy. Then I went the long way around and became a pilot and used to fly tours of Grand Canyon, Lake Tahoe, Monument Valley, fire attack to the forest service, doing all of that. Then got my self to the airlines from that job and was with US Air and flying the tours and stuff like that.
Then I came around to getting a career in the airlines and got on with US Air and stayed there for a few years. I was based in Los Angeles, at LAX, living in Phoenix. Some people commute an hour to work in their car. I would go to the airport, get up the cockpit and the jump seat and commute an hour to work that [00:10:00] way. When they started having layoffs in the early ‘90s and my seniority number was in the middle of the stack so the first layoff that dropped me to the bottom of the stack and that was no fun because then I’d have to almost everyday go over to LAX and sit in the pilot lounge for several days in case they needed another crew and then you’d have to go out. It was just skuzzy that way.
Then they had another layoff and that dropped me out of the system. At that point I knew it’d be at least two or three years with the way the airline industry was going there in the ‘90s before I could get back in. At that time I decided I really want to follow more of this brain activity. A lot of guys that I would fly with, they said, I love flying with you because it’s like going to a Tony Robbins seminar in the cockpit because we’d talk about all this stuff that I was so passionate about and learning. That’s when I went back and got my PhD in psychology and then decided to go down this track and learned about brain mapping. After I got my PhD and started working with people and doing counseling and I decided there’s a lot of these people, they don’t really want to get well so I’m going to work with high performance with authors, professional athletes, people like that.
That was good and they’re a real quirky bunch. They want to do it but they don’t want to anybody to know they’re doing it.
Guy: Like it’s a secret weapon or something.
Jeff: Yeah, exactly. That’s exactly the way. If I’ve got an edge I don’t want you to know that I got an edge which is really interesting point of view. Anyway, from there I learned more about brain mapping and that really flipped my switch because the more [00:12:00] I learned about it the more I found out that there was to know and went down that road and then eventually met up with Dr. Dispenza. When we first got together it’s really a funny story of how we did get together. That I was speaking at an event of another friend of mind, Greg Reid, that does Secret Knock. He would bring me in periodically, still does, to do what I call brain magic from the stage.
We would put somebody’s brain live up on a big screen and I would show how they change subconscious belief patterns instantly and be able to show a whole bunch of different things. We would always have fun with that. While I was doing one of these, afterwards Doug caught my attention. He said, hey, come here. I need to talk to you. We started talking about the brain and what it does. Somehow we got on a subject of people that I wanted to meet and I said I have two people on the top of my list. One is Gregg Braden and the other is Dr. Joe Dispenza. I really want to meet these guys. He says, well I do work with Dr. Joe. He says, maybe we could get together on a Skype call or something. That sounded a lot to me like have your people call my people and we’ll do lunch kind of thing but it actually happened.
We got together and talked and Joe invited me up to the Seattle area. He was having a training with a bunch of his instructors. We started doing brain maps on all of them and I’m sitting there telling him all about these things that I could see on the screen. Then later that night when we’re having dinner, he said I’d been looking for somebody like you for three years.
I left out a piece of the story that’s really quite amusing here. That at the time I was actually reading Dr. Joe’s book, the Breaking the Habit of Being [00:14:00] Yourself and just mesmerized by the book. I had given Doug some of the papers that we had published from work that we had done at West Point which is another amusing thing that here I would have gone to the Air Force Academy and done that. Then I end up roundabout getting involved with a research team of Arizona State University and going to West Point and teaching them how to use their brains.
Guy: Wow, that’s quite a journey.
Jeff: Anyway, back to the story. Dr. Joe went to Doug and he was reading some of these papers that we published. He says, I don’t care what you have to do. Get me an appointment with this guy. I was doing the same thing. I went to Doug and I said Doug, you got to get me an appointment with him. This book is fascinating. Here we were both trying to connect then we connected and I went up to Seattle. From there he was getting ready to do one of his advanced meditative events here in Arizona so we hooked up with that. We didn’t even know whether we could measure anything. We just thought, hey, let’s get it a try so we did and we thought we measured something. Then the next event we did another one, we found more and more and more and so this thing has evolved to the point where it’s not uncommon for us to have 650 people in the room and I was brain mapping about 350 of those people during a five-day event.
Stu: You’ve spoken about the brain mapping and all of the analysis and the reporting that you would undergo while you’re doing that. Is that neurofeedback? Is that how you’d term …
Jeff: No, that’s very different. The brain mapping, you’re just measuring what’s going on in the brain under different conditions. Neurofeedback is when we are training the brain. Let’s suppose that we [00:16:00] see a very high elevation at some point in the brain. Let’s say it’s in the back of the brain, we see a lot of beta. That’s usually a pattern that’s consistent with anxiety. If we want to reduce that anxiety, we will set up a protocol to train the brain. We put the electrodes on the head and now with a lot of stuff we do, we put the cap on the head like we’re doing the brain mapping but we’re doing the brain training where we can train 5700 variables all at once.
You have to understand one of the basic elements of the brain. We have our thinking cortex, or the thinking part of our brain, it processes information at 40 bits per second. When you look at the subcortex, the subcortical region of the brain, it can process 40 million bits per second.
Guy: When you say subcortex, is that like the subconsciousness?
Jeff: That’s right, yeah. You can think of it that way. It can process a lot of information that we are not aware of. When we’re training the brain, let’s imagine that my finger here is like a thermometer of information going up and down. We have all of that high beta in the back of the brain that is consistent with the anxiety. We would then put a threshold on that so that would be where that tops out kind of like right there. Then if we want the brain to produce more of whatever it is, every time it goes above the threshold we’ll give it a reward. Every time it stays, if we wanted to produce less, every time it stays below that, then we’ll give the reward. The question is, what is the reward?
We can give it sound, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding kind of thing. There’s a part of the brain called the nucleus accumbens and that’s how we learn everything. If this then this. That’s how we learned. Night follows day. Our brain [00:18:00] is very simplistic in that process. When the brain is producing these frequencies and we give it this reward, ding, ding, ding, ding, every time it stays below the threshold, the brain goes oh, okay, I’m going to do that and so it does it over and over and over and over and over again. That’s called operant conditioning.
What that does in the brain is it causes new dendrites to form and new neural pathways developed. That’s what is rewiring the brain. It’s the same thing as when you create a habit. They say it takes 21 days to create a habit. It takes 21 days for those neural pathways to entropy or to stop working.
Stu: Nowadays, we’re living in a society where we got signals coming from everywhere. We’ve got internet and mobile phone and constant chatter in our brains and a lot of us becoming more anxious and you’ve probably heard the term monkey mind, this endlessly chattering of the mind, never shuts off. How can we use your strategies to tackle this?
Because I know that sleep, for instance, can be an issue for people where their brains just don’t shut off and also mood, things like that. What can you do?
Jeff: Let’s talk about the two separate issues there. Let’s talk about the sleep first because that affects a lot of people. I think first of all, we’re … Let me put the sleep aside and lay some groundwork here. I think what happens with a lot of people, like you say we live in a society now where a lot of information is coming at us. Everybody’s got all kinds of gadgets that they use. Our brain is now evolving to a new element.
What happens is with all of that information that’s coming to us, we haven’t learned how to manage that information and so that’s why my [00:20:00] book coming out is called Help! My Thoughts Are Holding Me Hostage. That’s also the name of my radio show that I have recently.
The point being is as our brains are evolving to a new element, getting into the sleep issue for sure here. When we see a lot of activity in the front part of the brain, in what we call delta. The brain is producing a lot of frequencies all the time. Delta, theta, alpha, beta, a lot of people have heard those but they are faster in frequency. For example, when delta is the dominant factor that’s when you’re asleep. Here you are trying to get to sleep and you have all these beta or delta activity in the front, that’s when people’s sleep is disrupted. Their brain, that monkey mind in the brain so there you have busy mind, tossing and turning, they can’t shut some of that stuff off.
With the brain training or the neurofeedback that we use, we train the neurons to stop doing that and move towards normal and then they sleep better or they get rid of restless legs syndrome, stuff like that.
Stu: Is that a lengthy process of training or is it something that you can do quite quickly?
Jeff: The answer to that is yes. It depends on what modality that …
Stu: All of the above.
Jeff: Yeah. It’s like is it nature or is it nurture and scientifically, we know the answer to that is yes. It is both nature and nurture. To answer specifically your question, how long does it take, if we’re using neurofeedback only, then we find that it’s usually a four to five month process so when we’re working with sleep issues or attention deficit disorder or anxiety depression.
Neurofeedback has been around basically since the ‘60s [00:22:00] in working with that and now we’re coming into an era of energy-medicine integration and so we’re working a lot with stuff like that. Some of the research that we have been doing recently and seeing elements of the brain change very quickly. Meditation is another thing that people are able to change these elements to their brain.
I’ll give you an example of some of the things that we have done just in the way of research. We would find people … I had a person that we did an experiment with. She had a lot of that beta in the back of the brain, a lot of anxiety and stuff like that. We did a 30-day process with this person. Had her meditate for roughly 30 minutes a day doing … She would average that. Some days were longer meditation, some days were shorter, but as an average 30 minutes every day for 30 days and then we asked her to use what’s called a focused intention. She would at some point in her meditate … Well let me back up a little bit.
There is a process that Dr. Joe teaches about pulling energy up through the energy centers of the body, what we would call the chakras if you will. You pull this energy with this breathing technique up through your body and hold the energy there and then the energy is able to do things in your body. She would do maybe five or six of those breathing techniques before she started her meditation. Then at some point in her meditation she would use the intention. She would visualize the red areas in the back of her brain and we had her, just give her brain very simple instructions and that’s the intention. I would prefer the red to be green.
I didn’t say, okay, [00:24:00] I want to nucleus accumbens to do this and go in through the chiasm. It didn’t have to do that. Very simple instruction, I prefer the red to be green. We brain mapped her in 30 days later, after she had done that done that for 30 days and guess what, the red is green and her anxiety was reduced.
Stu: Do you … Sorry, guy, just one quickie. Do you support your techniques with any nutritional or supplements during this process?
Jeff: Absolutely. Nutrition is so vital in all of this. We’re starting to see where people are enhancing their internal capabilities. Let me come back to that particular issue but I need to lay some more groundwork. Guy looks like he’s going to explode if we don’t let him ask the question in.
Guy: The only point I was going to raise was, there’s a lot of people who might be suffering anxiety or monkey mind, can’t switch off. Actually to get them to sit down for even five minutes to just be still is a massive task. Because then the [crosstalk 00:25:16]
Jeff: That’s what I’m going to share with you, some other information. We just finished doing a six month-long project with a group called access consciousness. If people aren’t familiar with that, go google that and you’ll see that for 20 plus years they’ve been out there working with people in order to do a process called the bars.
Now I have never heard of this process called the bars. Again, I was doing my thing at Greg Reid and the Secret Knock and when I showed up and they are big fans of this and so Greg’s wife, Allen said, “Oh, oh you’re here. We got to connect you up with Gary and Dane and you’ve got [00:26:00] to do this brain map on the bars.” It’s like, “Okay, all right, yeah, that’s good, fine. I’ll do it.”
I’d never heard of that and so we did the brain maps on a few people that were having their bars run and then I was supposed to speak about it at 8:00 the next morning. Well, that’s kind of a dangerous proposition. Measuring something you’ve never measured before and then you’re going to get up on stage in front of 300 people and you’re going to talk about it, you know, when I’ve never heard of this thing.
By the time I get back to the hotel after dinner and stuff it was kind of late and I was tired. I need my full brain faculties to do that. We processed it and by 3 in the morning, I’m looking at this stuff and my jaw is just dropping. I’m going, whoa, brains of my world don’t do this. There is something up here. That’s when I measured it in a whole bunch of different ways, then got up and talked about it. I was just so excited. There’s a YouTube of me out there talking about that, that’s really amazing. From that we decided to do this full out, full blown study at a very high level and we’ve just gotten that.
This bars process they use acupressure so they put their fingers on the head and the acupressure causes the energy in the brain to begin to move and flow. Everybody has areas that get blocked but the energy is not flowing and that’s what slows down some of these process. Now as we look at energy medicine and energy healing and energy psychology, that’s the kind of stuff that we’re dealing with, we found that people’s energy align a great deal and some of these elements that we would see in their brain maps would disappear like in an hour and a half. [00:28:00] Now explain that to me.
When you’re talking about energy, that’s what’s going on in the brain. There’s a graphic that I use in a lot of my lectures and it’s called the thalamic gate. At the top of the thalamus and the brain is a little almond shaped thing right in the center of the brain and it regulates a lot of the frequencies that go on in our brain, in our body. At the top of the thalamus there’s a set of what’s called reticular cells. These reticular cells, a function of that is to allow cells to bind to the top of the thalamus so that other cells can then, like axonal columnar cells can develop out of that through the cortex up through from a subcortex into the thinking part of the brain and it comes out right here, the top center of our head which is basically the crown chakra.
What tends to happen here is that we look at energy in the field, in the morphogenetic field, the collective unconscious, whatever you want to call it. We call that oscillation. That energy is vibrating. We live in a vibrational universe and we are vibrational beings. This energy then comes down through the crown chakra, through the thalamic gate, gets into the thalamus and then it begins to resonate. That’s the energy in the cells of our body so there’s communication that goes on. When people have energy that is not flowing or that is blocked, that’s where we find that disease occurs. All disease is nothing more than disregulated energy. When you line the energy and the brain knows how to regulate itself then you get that regulation flowing then these conditions that we see, why is it that people that come to these events … one guy had a brain tumor and he’d been to two events and then he went [00:30:00] to have his brain scanned again at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
When they came back in to give him the results, they said we can find no trace of the tumor and they said, come back in a couple more intervals and they still couldn’t find it. Why people get rid of the affects of Parkinson’s disease? We’ve seen brain elements change to help brain injury. I worked with professional athletes, football players in particular, that have brain injuries and we’re seeing some amazing changes on that. We’re moving into a new era where it’s going to change the way we understand healing in the world.
Stu: I just had a thought that occurred to me when you were speaking about the energy and how it moves from the top of the head all the way down to the different states of the body. Can we disrupt that energy flow with modern day devices? For instance …
Jeff: Yes, actually that does happen. I was doing some work with a physicist, Yury Kronn, and we were looking at cellphone emissions. The interesting thing about the cellphone industry is that you have usually three or four transmitters in the phone and they only have to report the lowest emission from any four of those so the other three could be very high.
He has developed a process where he can infuse subtle energy into like a sticker and we measure this subtle energy in a lot of different components. When you look at subtle energy and what is subtle energy, it is the energy that is really … that commands of the universe. When you see these pictures of a galaxy [00:32:00] and the galaxy is spinning, what makes the galaxy move? It’s subtle energy. The universe is made up of total subtle energy.
One little demonstration that I do all the time is, and it’s sitting on the corner of my desk, is a Tesla globe where you put your fingers on that and you get all these sparks that are going on in there. If I take a CFL light bulb and I hold it away from the globe where the energy is, that light bulb with light up. What causes that to light up? It is subtle energy and so we are part of that energy field. You and I are connected through quantum entanglement. We are part of each other and so it’s that. I’ve always wondered how when you watch a flock of birds or a school of fish and they’re all going along and now all of a sudden they change direction. How do they do that?
Is it the lead fish goes I’m turning left now and shoosh, off they go? No, it is the vibration in the field. Now let me add something to that and that is, how do we create our own reality because that’s all part of this? Again, in a lot of my lectures I talk about your thoughts. If you have a thought whether it’s a wanted thought or an unwanted thought, it doesn’t matter, the principle is the same. If you have a thought and you hold that thought for 17 seconds and that thought has a vibration energy to it, the law of attraction says that other energy that is like that will be attracted to it. Thoughts begin to come in. If I’m having a negative thought, an unwanted thought and I keep thinking about it, that’s … I’ll give you an illustration here in a second but if you hold that for 17 seconds, 17 more seconds, 17, you get to 68 [00:34:00] seconds. It now has amassed enough energy through a principle that’s called constructive interference that amassed enough energy that it can now affect particle matter. That is how we create our own reality.
Whatever your intention, whatever you’re putting out there, let’s say for example, I’m driving down the highway and I’m in this energy field of content and happiness and love and joy and feeling good and some knucklehead cuts me off. Now I’m vibrating angry energy and I’ve dropped down here. If I’m holding that energy for 68 seconds and I go back to the office and I’m telling the people here, this guy cut me off and I got so angry, he doesn’t even belong on the road.
Now I’ve held it for several hours and I go home and my wife’s fixing dinner and she says, could you go to the store and pick up a few items for me? It’s like, yeah, okay, it gives me more time to think about this knucklehead. I go to the store, get three items and I pick up the three items and go up to the register. Now I’ve been doing this, vibrating this for several hours and I get up to the cash register and there’s a guy in front of me in the express line that has 38 items. Coincidence, not hardly. That’s the energy that I have attracted to myself and I start attracting and we start living these patterns over and over again depending on what we think about if we just understand the principle, if I start changing my thought patterns I will change what happens to me.
You talk to people who maybe have an intention, they want more money and so they’re thinking consciously, I want more money, I want more money, I want more money. They’re putting that in the field and maybe they have a subconscious belief that says you don’t deserve more money. That’s what actually being broadcast in the field and their energy is not lined up so they’re not attracting [00:36:00] the things that they actually desire. Then there are those people who can line that up and it’s like wow, their life is magic, and it’s because they had learned how to manage this energy, not only physiologically in their body but through the thought processes and how to interact with the universal field. That makes sense to you?
Guy: It does. That’s like the scientific version of [crosstalk 00:36:24] … Go on, Stu.
Stu: If I was to sum that up, would it be we really should try and think happy thoughts?
Jeff: In a perfect world that would be great but that’s not what really happens. Seventy-five percent of our thoughts are negative. I don’t know if you knew that or not but …
Guy: We’ve got a question right here because I read somewhere that we have over 50,000 thoughts a day.
Jeff: Well, it’s actually higher than that. It’s more like 600,000. It’s more like what you have consciously aware of.
Guy: Wow, and then the majority are repetitive and negative.
Jeff: Yeah and they’re playing all the time and they’re in your subconscious so how do those get there? A belief is nothing more than a thought that you have over and over again. As you keep having those thoughts, that becomes ingrained or implanted in your subconscious and those are the things … If you want to know what’s on your subsconscious mind, look at your behavior. If it’s like, whoa, I have this behavior I don’t like. Well, that’s probably what your subconscious is about.
Now we have a device, I sent it to the other room, but it’s a headband that when you put it on, it has four electrodes, two in the front and then two behind your ears. All you have to do is think about something and it will let you know what your subconscious perception of that is and also what your emotions are, whether you have positive or [00:38:00] negative emotion.
We use this a lot with a program that we’re doing with Midwestern University Medical University and working with veterans that have PTSD and traumatic brain injury, also first responders and professional athletes that have injury. We can help them see what that is and you can literally use this to help train your brain.
Are you familiar with Mind Movies? Have you ever heard of Mind Movies?
Guy: I’ve heard of it.
Jeff: Natalie Ledwell is one of the founders of Mind Movies and it’s like vision boards on steroids. When we set somebody up with one of these, we also set them up with a subscription to the Mind Movies so you can have your own pictures, sayings, your own video and create a mind movie so that like when I meditate I will watch my mind movie before I go into meditation and then after I come out.
We’ve got some scientific brain maps of people one of the first times that we encountered this. We do like … some of the people we measured at Dr. Joe’s events, we’ll do pre and post so before the event begins and then we measure them again afterwards and look at the changes in their brain. We’re doing one of these pre and post readings with this gal and seeing the EEG going all over the place just like oh-oh, what’s wrong with that. It must be a bad electrode or what. I’m fiddling with stuff and then afterwards, I got her out in the outside of the room there and asked her, I said, “Tell me about what was happening there,” and she says, “Oh, I was just thinking about my mind movie.”
She wasn’t actually watching it, she was thinking about it and it was so real to her she was having that [00:40:00] experience while we were mapping her brain. Now we have literally thousands of those where we have measured people going through that process and so there’s a great deal of power and energy in the brain that happens when you are focusing on this. If a person wants to begin to train their brain, that’s why we now have these tools.
Another one that we’re working on is this guy right here. It’s a 16-channel that will allow people to do brain mapping and brain training from their smartphone, their tablet, or their computer anywhere in the world.
Stu: If I wanted to do that at home and let’s just say I ordered a rogue kit off the internet, could I potentially do more harm than good?
Stu: I’m sitting there and I’m putting this thing on and all of a sudden, I wet my pants, I don’t know why.
Jeff: Or you start quacking like a duck. That could be a little unnerving. Anything that you can train you can untrain and that’s what we call neuroplasticy in the brain. With the training that we teach the brain, I mean you can train yourself with bad habits. You know anybody that has bad habits? Yeah, we all know people. How did they get the bad habits? They train themselves. Can they train themselves out of a bad habit?
Yeah. I don’t know that you would get to the point of putting one of these on and wetting your pants. Here’s what happens when we’re working with that. We create what’s called a protocol or a set of instructions of what we want the brain to do. Maybe this is improving memory or improving your sleep or something like that. There’s a set of instructions that we create for the [00:42:00] brain.
When you put one of these devices on and then you select the brain training side of the application, it’s then going to go into a learning mode. You select learning mode. Imagine that there is cube in a tunnel and it’s suspended in space and what you want that cube to do is you want it to rotate counterclockwise. That’s the event that we want to have happen. You put it in learning mode and you’re thinking about rotate counterclockwise, rotate counterclockwise, and then you could set up neutral where it’s not doing anything.
Then you go into … It takes about eight seconds for your brain to learn that. It records the brain patterns of what you’re doing and then when you select the training mode and you start thinking about, I want that cube to rotate so you’re focusing on the cube and all of a sudden it will start to rotate counterclockwise and then you can control it, go neutral and it will stop.
Now I want it to rotate the other way or I want it to go in and out of the tunnel or I want it to disappear. You can create all of those conditions. We have the ability now to measure things in the brain and put them into a practical application. That’s where we are in the technological field of learning how to train our brains where you can begin to understand, what are some of the subconscious patterns that I’m feeding my brain? How can I train it to do higher and better things? How can I create a better reality for myself? How can I sleep better? How can … you know?
Going back to your question about nutrition, if you’re feeding your body really crappie stuff, guess what you’re going to get? A bunch of blockages and it’s going to cause the cells to react in a certain way. Eating healthy, having good [00:44:00] supplements, there is good food and then there is not so good food. You don’t want to live on a diet of, pardon the commercial here, you don’t want to live on a diet of Twinkies, probably not going to help you. You need a little more protein than just those carbs there or the sugar, so having that balanced nutrition is going to make a big difference.
Much of what we were thought about nutrition, when I was growing up the pyramid and the food groups and all of that, we didn’t know any better and so …
Stu: No, we didn’t. We like to use the power of our brain in this company at least and we turn that pyramid by just sheer thought upside down, so all the good stuff’s at the top and all the bad stuff’s at the bottom.
Just thinking about, if I’m at home right now, we’ve got our listeners out there and they just want to be, they want to be the best person of themselves or the best version of themselves should I say. I’ve listened to what you said about the subconscious mind and the ability that we can have to change these thoughts and try and become happier. What can I do at home? Almost like a hack or practical tools that I can apply perhaps everyday without having access to machinery, services and the like. Is there anything that I can do? You touched on meditation before.
Jeff: Meditation is one of the best things that you can do and there’s a lot of different ways to meditate out there. Some may get you a little further along. I think since we worked with thousands of advanced meditators over the last three years, we’re beginning to understand more about that. There’s a process called [00:46:00] mindfulness and there’s some book out there about mindfulness and if you can start to live present in the moment, that’s one of the best things that you can do. Also, be aware of your thoughts.
Am I getting caught up in these thought loops or can I break that pattern and say, no, I don’t want to be thinking about that because I know what the effect of that is going to have so I’m going to think more about … and let me give you some additional information here. We talked earlier about the negative thoughts and it’s important that people understand that the contrast in the world is very important, the yin and the yang kind of thing.
When we have negative thoughts, that’s really helping us because we understand what it is we don’t want which then allows us to put our emphasis or our focus on what we do want but you’ve got to have the contrast in order to do that. The contrast gives us focus and if people understand that basic principle then when you start having these thoughts about what you don’t want in your life then step back and say, okay, if that’s what I don’t want, then what is it I do want? Oh, this is what I do want.
Then you start putting that energy into that and that’s what’s going to be begin to materialize in the world.
Stu: I understand.
Guy: The first thing is for you to be aware.
Jeff: You don’t need a gadget to do that.
Guy: Nearly every person I speak to though, Jeff, and if meditation comes up in the topic, nearly every person I speak to are pretty much having struggle with it.
Jeff: They don’t know how to meditate.
Guy: And to sit down for even, like you said, five minutes. What would your tip be for that? Even just to go this is what you need to do for five minutes a day to start, whatever.
Jeff: It’s like training a dog. You want the dog to sit and stay. In the very first part, you have to teach the dog to sit, right? Put your butt down on the [00:48:00] floor here and then it’s like stay and then you walk a little ways away. Sit, stay, and then after doing that again and again and again and again, the dog finally gets the idea of sit and stay.
Your brain is no different than that. You get into a meditation and you get all of this stuff going on and it’s like teaching your brain, sit, stay. No, we don’t do that. Quiet, quiet, and if you could only hold it for five seconds, great then the next time hold it for 10 seconds, 20 seconds, a minute and that’s how people build up their ability and at the same time trying to understand, okay, that business in my brain, all of that information that’s going on, I want that to be quiet.
Give your brain simple instructions, I would prefer when I’m in this meditation so you’re getting down and you’re actually cycling between theta and alpha. Theta is a very creative state, alpha is what we call sensorial rest where you are alert, that you are aware of what’s going on. We teach people how to cycle between theta and alpha. As they do that over and over and over again, new dendrites form, new pathways develop and that’s then what fires. People can do that at home if they’re willing to put in the work. Some people say I can’t do it. Yeah, you got decades of your brain running wild so wild dog, horse, wild brain, same thing.
Guy: Is there an optimum time to do it?
Jeff: I’m sorry?
Guy: Is there an optimum time to do it like get up first thing in the morning or it doesn’t matter what time if you want to just …
Jeff: It doesn’t matter. You do it multiple times a day, the morning … I prefer to do mine in the morning because I’m better. When I get 9, [00:50:00] 10:00 at night, I’m like a NiCad battery, I just kind of and I’d sleep. Yeah, I’m done. I usually will get up 3:34 in the morning and meditate for two hours. I never could do that before.
My brain, talking about all this beta in the back of the brain, my brain was like that. I didn’t even know what quiet was until I trained that out of my brain and now I have the ability to be quiet for long periods of time and be able to experience the value of connecting with the universe to find out what I want to find out.
Stu: You mentioned, you touched before on supplementation to help your brain state. Would you recommend any particular supplementation?
Jeff: There’s the two key factors that will help, are melatonin and serotonin. You take a little bit of melatonin at night, that can help and the one thing that I think messes people up when they’re dealing with that is they think more is better. It’s like, well, I’m not getting the effect I want. Three milligrams is about the max you want to take, less is better.
If you’re still awake after 30 minutes, you’re not getting drowsy, then take a little bit less, take half of that and that will help. Serotonin should be taken in the day, that’s what’s going to help you perform better as you go along. You want antioxidants, fish oil and stuff like that. Paying attention to what your body needs. Now some people really should go to their physician and have their blood drawn and look, see if they have any deficiency in zinc or some of the minerals because this is about bringing [00:52:00] your body and your nutrition into alignment so that that’s the way you live everyday and staying in balances.
This is all about staying in balance about not only the energy in your body but help the cells of your body by eating right and exercising. It doesn’t take a lot.
Stu: That’s right. If you’re talking about drawing blood as well and looking for deficiencies, it might be worthy to run a hormone panel on your blood as well because your hormones are going to participate.
Jeff: Absolutely. You can have all kinds of things that are out of balance and so if people recognize, the key here is to get both my body, my brain aligned with energy so that I can interact with the energy field around me. Everybody has the ability for intuition and that’s one of the things we see in the brain mapping, people who are highly intuitive because they do exactly that. They care about their nutrition, they care about the bodies, they do what they need to do to sleep well, to meditate, to stay in balance, they know when they’re out of balance, what to do to get back in balance, how to get grounded, there’s all of those kinds of things.
Stu: Got it. To you what strategies do you personally implement yourself to stay on top of brain health?
Jeff: I eat a lot of Twinkies and chocolate.
Stu: Perfect, we’ll stop there.
Jeff: No. Actually, I listen to my body and it will tell me what it is that I need and so a lot of it is just some education, basic education, of nutrition and things like that. Now I’m getting older, I just turned 65 [00:54:00] this year and so testosterone tends to be an element. I take a supplement that I get at Costco that deals with testosterone supplementation so I’m not dragging myself around all day feeling tired and lethargic. That really helps and it also has a lot of the B vitamins, B6, B12, be healthy. That’s in there as well.
Those kinds of things are really helpful and at different stages of life you might need different things or different conditions depending on how far out of balance you are. I’m not on any kind of medication. The only thing I take are these supplements and they work well for me. Other supplements people might need but it’s about being aware. If you’re not aware of those things, go to a naturopath and have them give you some instruction on it.
Guy: Do you ever get stressed these days, Jeff?
Jeff: Everybody gets stressed and it’s not a question of whether you’re going to get stressed or not. It’s a question of what do you do about it when it does happen. What happens in your brain is when you get into a stressful mode, your brain starts to produce more cortisol and then your memory, you think your memory is going and stuff like that and it’s all … Again, it’s when I experience stress it’s usually because I’m not grounded so I know the process I need to do and I can do it within a matter of three or four minutes, go through this process, get grounded and then I can get back.
Some people don’t believe in this but I do because I experience it quite a lot with people that I work with that there are what I call energy vampires out there. If my energy is [00:56:00] up here and the vibration of that energy is love, contentment, joy, bliss, all of that and that’s where I live in that range, there are people who come in that are down here in the worry, anger, fear stuff, and they like to draw off that energy of people who are in that higher energy level.
Guy: They complain all the time.
Jeff: Yeah. If you’re around that for a while you feel depleted or that person leaves you and you go, wow, they just sucked the life right out of me. Well, yeah, exactly. You have to know how to get one that’s beginning to happen to you, how to get grounded, how to pull the energy in, how to coalesce the energy, not only from outside of us in the field but pull it up through the body and you can do that in a matter of a few minutes and you’re right back on and you’re charged.
Stu: We’ve spoken a lot about nutrition and strategies to improve the mindset, what about exercise? Because I have heard that exercise can be perhaps one of the greatest strategies when tackling depression for instance.
Jeff: Yeah. When you do that … Talking specifically about depression, very often in the front of the brain we’ll see a lot of alpha and that’s what we call familial depression. When you’re walking and that causes the endorphins to kick in, and up here in the left front part of the brain, that’s where our pleasure centers are so, even just walking, exercising, walking in a treadmill, whatever it is, it will get endorphins to fire and you’ll start to feel good.
Stu: Right, so really, get moving.
Jeff: Yeah. Get moving, get out there, get … It affects, the muscles get stronger, you’re able to … That is [00:58:00] very, very important. Again, we’re talking about balance. You can over exercise. For me to go out and train like some of the professional athletes that we work with, that’s not a good idea for me. For them, that works great because their body is in a fine tuned mechanism and just the littlest changes in their exercise can have big consequences in their performance, in their ability.
For me, if I don’t do anything, well, I’m just asking for trouble because the energy is not going to get regulated. I’m not going to get that flow of energy in my body and so it’s knowing really what exercise is going to do good for you and what you’re going to be good at. What you enjoy. I love to play racquetball. I don’t do much of that anymore just because I don’t have time. It’s not because I don’t love it but I’m very busy in the things that we do but I can get out and walk and so I do that.
Stu: Perfect. Excellent.
Guy: Yeah. Wow. I guess the take home message for today’s podcast is listening to your inner self, isn’t it and creating balance within the body to have the harmony and not be influenced by external factors.
Stu: Start small as well. Many of us have, we got busy lives, we got busy minds as a consequence of that but if, like you said, we can just take perhaps just five minutes out of our day just to try and quiet down the monkey in the mind. Spend a little bit of time working ourselves.
Guy: I like the dog analogy, that’s great.
Jeff: Yea and a lot of it is get some education. Find out what this is. If you want to know how to do that, start with mindfulness. Watch some of the videos that are out there and get some books, there are plenty of them, to know how to be present in the moment when you’re washing dishes or when you’re [01:00:00] at work, whatever it is that you’re doing. That will make a huge difference in helping train your mind day after day.
It’s like you can’t go do one pushup and say, okay, well, I’m fit now, I don’t have to do that again. It’s got to become a lifestyle. It’s going to be how much do you want to be in balance or do you like letting your brain run you instead of you running your brain. You create the reality that you want, so if you don’t like your life, then my advice is look at what you’re doing and how you’re doing it because you’re the one that’s creating it.
The only person that’s responsible for the life that you don’t like is you.
Guy: Yeah. That would be hard to hear for a lot of people, I reckon.
Jeff: It is. It was hard for me to learn that concept and then say, whoa, I’m the one responsible for that. No way. Those people think that life is happening to them rather than them creating it. We are creators. We are here to create, to learn how to create and when you begin to understand all of the universal laws and components that go along with that that we’ve talked about in this podcast, then you start to change your reality and life starts to get better, things start showing up.
I love to play this game with the universe when I go out somewhere and if my energy is aligned, I want that parking space so just as I’m puling in, somebody is pulling out or the space closes the door is empty. You probably all had that kind of experience. What if you could do that with intention? What if you could do that all the time? What if you could create all of the things that you want to attract whether it’s the love of your life or you want to attract more things? This is about learning how to command the laws of the universe. If [01:02:00] that’s what you want to do then that’s why you’re here.
Guy: Fantastic. I love the parking spot too. I often try that and it does work.
Stu: You’ve got a motor bike, Guy. It’s easier for you. You might think that you’re commanding this parking spot but there are just more little spots that bikes can slip into.
Guy: Rock star parking.
Stu: You’re cheating yourself.
Guy: I’m fully aware of the time, Jeff. We’re coming to the end of the show but we ask a question with every guest and that is, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Jeff: The best piece of advice that I was ever given was I’ve had a mindset, a thought of the way that I was raised and the way a lot of people are raised is, you got to do more. I would take my boat down to the stream, not literally, this is figuratively, and put it in there and start paddling up stream, thinking harder and faster was the way to get where I wanted to go when really the best advice that I got was just stop paddling. Go with the flow.
I don’t have to turn my boat around. It will turn itself around and then I start going with the flow of the energy and that was the best advice that I ever received and really started me thinking about how I’m living my life.
Stu: I like it, makes sense. Go with the flow.
Jeff: Go with the flow.
Guy: Yeah. Struggle is not there. If anyone is listening to this and they want to find out more about what you do, Jeff, where would be the best place to go?
Jeff: Website, we have a lot of information there, thoughtgenius.com. That’s a good place. I have a book coming out real soon. Help! My Thoughts Are Holding Hostage. You can go to the Voice America channel. I’m on the empowerment channel on voiceamerica.com and my radio show is the same name. There’s a bunch of this kind of information shows [01:04:00] out there, it’s free. All you have to do is log on there. You could get an app from the app store for Voice America and listen.
They have a bunch of channels on wellness and health and finance and I just happen to be on the empowerment channel with Help! My Thoughts Are Holding Me Hostage.
Guy: Fantastic. We’re linked to all the show notes anyway when we put this up in the new year. Awesome. Thank you so much for your time today. That was absolutely fascinating. I’m definitely going to relisten to this and take that information again.
Jeff: Thanks for having me on. You guys are awesome. I really appreciate it.
Stu: No problems. I really appreciate your time and hopefully, we’ll connect with you in the future.
Jeff: Absolutely. I’m happy to do this anytime with you guys, you’re fun.
Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.
Guy: Make no mistake, the importance of gut health is becoming more paramount than ever and it’s something I believe should not be ignored. So who better to ask than a board-certified neurologist who truly understands the gut, brain and health connection!
Our fantastic guest today is Dr David Perlmutter. He is here to discuss his brand new book ‘Brain Maker’ – The Power Of Microbes to Heal & Protect Your Brain For Life.
The cornerstone of Dr. Perlmutter’s unique approach to neurological disorders is founded in the principles of preventive medicine. He has brought to the public awareness a rich understanding that challenging brain problems including Alzheimer’s disease, other forms of dementia, depression, and ADHD may very well be prevented with lifestyle changes including a gluten free, low carbohydrate, higher fat diet coupled with aerobic exercise.
Full Interview: The Key to a Healthy Gut Microbiome & the ‘Brain Maker’
In This Episode:
Why gut health and microbiome is critical for long lasting health
The quick ‘checklist’ to see if you have a healthy gut
What to eat daily to nurture your gut health
David’s daily routines to stay on top of gut & microbiome health
Guy:Hey, guys. This is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition. Welcome to today’s health sessions. This is a podcast I certainly thoroughly enjoyed recording and it’s one I’m definitely going to listen to again. There’s a lot of information on here that I’ll need to go over, but ultimately, I think it’s a podcast that if you take the time to understand what’s been spoken about and actually apply the things that are said, it can make a dramatic change to one’s health, to your own life and of course your longevity and quality of life moving forward. I think it’s that big a topic. The topic at hand is going to be pretty much with the microbiome, gut health. Our awesome guest today is Dr. David Perlmutter.
If you’re unaware of David, David is a board-certified neurologist and a fellow of the American College of Nutrition. I almost didn’t get my words out there. He’s been interviewed by many national syndicated radios and television programs, including Larry King Live, CNN, Fox News, Fox and Friends, the Today’s Show. He’s been on Oprah, Dr. Oz, the CBS Early Show. He is actually medical advisor to the Dr. Oz Show. Yes, we were very grateful for David to come on and give up an hour of his time and share his absolute wealth of knowledge with us today. He’s written a couple of awesome books in Grain Brain. He’s got a brand-new book out called the Brain Maker which is what we generally talk about today. That’s obviously the brain and gut connection.
The cornerstone of Dr. Perlmutter’s approach to neurological disorders has been founded in the principles of you could say preventative medicine, which is why we’re super excited to have him on. He has brought public awareness now to a rich understanding that challenging brain [00:02:00] problems include Alzheimer’s disease, other forms of dementia, depression, ADHD may very well be prevented … All these things with lifestyle changes. Think about that for a moment, including a gluten-free, low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet, coupled with exercise and aerobic exercise.
Anyway, strap yourself in. This is fantastic. For all you guys listening in the USA, if you haven’t heard, you might have heard me speaking on a couple of podcasts, but 180 Nutrition and now superfoods are now available across America wide which is super exciting for us. If you haven’t heard about it, you can literally just go back to 180nutrition.com and it’s a very simple way of replacing bad meal choices. If you’re stuck and you’re not sure what to do, we encourage a smoothie and a scoop of 180 with other things. It’s the easiest way to get nutrient-dense foods and fiber-rich foods really quickly. All you have to do is go back to 180nutrition.com and check it out. Let’s go over to David Perlmutter. Enjoy.
Hi. This is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined by Stuart Cooke. Hi, Stewie.
Stuart:Hello, Guy. How are you?
Guy:Our fantastic guest today is Dr. David Perlmutter. David, welcome to the show.
David:I’m delighted to be here, gentlemen.
Guy:It’s fantastic. We’ve been following your work for some time now and be able to expose us to the Aussie audience, I’m very excited about. With that mind, would you mind, for our listeners if they haven’t been exposed to your work before, just sharing a little bit about yourself and what you do?
David:I’d be delighted. I’m a brain specialist. I’m a neurologist, and that probably doesn’t explain what I do. I’m very much involved in various lifestyle factors as they affect the brain, as they affect human physiology, and really have begun exploring well beyond the brain, [00:04:00] what are we doing to ourselves in terms of the foods that we eat, both positive and negative? More recently, how are our food choices and other lifestyle choices affecting the microbiome, affecting the 100 trillion organisms that live within us because we now recognize that those organisms are playing a pivotal role in terms of determining whether we are healthy or not. That’s pretty much in a nutshell what I do.
Guy:There you go.
Stuart:Fantastic. We first heard about you, David, when you wrote the book, Grain Brain which was fantastic. For me, I think it was important because we heard a lot of stories and press about grains and how they’re making us fat and they’re ruining our health. Other ways made the connection of it’s grains … I’m okay with grains. I don’t get any gut ache. I don’t get any gastrointestinal issues, but I never thought about it from a brain perspective. I just wondered if you could share just a little bit about why you wrote Grain Brain, what inspired you to write it?
David:Stuart, the real impetus behind Grain Brain was for the very first time, I thought it was critical for a brain specialist to take a position of prevention, of looking at the idea that these devastating brain conditions that I’m dealing with on a daily basis, autistic children, adults with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, MS, you name it, that some of these issues are preventable, and that really flies in the face of pretty much mainstream doctrine. It is going against the grain, if you will which it seems to fit. It became very clear to me that our best peer-reviewed, well-respected literature [00:06:00] has been publishing information not only about gluten but about more generally, carbohydrates and sugar for a couple of decades, and no one has paid any attention.
It’s been published, but I really found that somebody needed to step forward and make that information known to the general public. I began implementing these practices in my clinical practice in treating patients day to day and began seeing really remarkable results. That is what got behind me writing the book, Grain Brain, really exploring how sugar, carbohydrates and gluten are absolutely toxic for the brain. Ultimately that book was translated into 27 languages and is published worldwide. The message has really gotten out there. I’m very proud of that. These are people reading the book that I will never see and yet, I know the information that they’re gleaning from reading this book is going to help them, and it makes me feel good at the end of the day in terms of what I’m doing.
Guy:Yeah, that’s fantastic.
Guy:Awesome. It’s interesting about grains because people seem to have a real emotional attachment to sugar and grains. The moment you ask them to start cutting down, reducing, removing, it can be quite challenging.
David:People have a religious connection to grain. It’s in the Bible. Give us this day our daily bread. For somebody to come along and say, you know, maybe that’s not what you should be eating, it challenges people on multiple levels. Number one, bread and carbs and grains are absolutely comfort foods that we all love. We all got rewarded as children by having a cookie or a piece of cake on your birthday. We love those foods. We love sugar. We are genetically designed to seek out sugar. It’s allowed us to survive.
The reality of the situation is we’ve got to take a more human approach to this in terms of our higher level of understanding and recognize that we [00:08:00] as a species have never consumed this level of sugar and carbohydrates, and that gluten-containing foods are in fact challenging to our health in terms of amping up inflammation, which is the cornerstone of the diseases I mentioned: Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, autism, even cancer and coronary artery disease. In that sentence, we’ve covered a lot of territory.
You mentioned grains, and I want to be very clear. There are plenty of grains that are around that are not necessarily containing gluten; and therefore, my argument against them doesn’t stem from the fact that they contain this toxic protein called gluten but rather because they’re a very concentrated source of carbohydrate. Rice, for example, is gluten-free and you could have a little bit of rice. There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of rice, but you have to factor the carb content of that serving of rice into your daily carbohydrate load and don’t overdo it. I’m not coming down on grains across the board, but I’m really calling attention to the fact that these grain-based foods are generally super concentrated in terms of sugar and carbs.
Guy:I understand your carbohydrate tolerance. You answered the next question where I was going to speak, like, should we limit it to all grains or just the heavily refined and processed carbohydrate kind of …
David:See answer above.
Guy:Yeah, there you go.
Stuart:What about the [high street 00:09:28] gluten-free alternatives where people are saying, well, look, it’s grain-free, gluten-free?
David:Again, Stuart, exactly my point. People walk down the gluten-free aisle thinking, hey, I’ve got an open dance card here. It’s gluten-free. How about it? That opens the door to the gluten-free pasta, pizza, bread, you name it, flour to make products, cookies, crackers and you name it. Again, the issue is that one of the most devastating things that’s happening to humans today [00:10:00] is that our blood sugar is rising. There is a very direct correlation between even minimal elevations of blood sugar and risk for dementia. That was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in September of 2013 where they demonstrated that even subtle elevations of blood sugar well below being diabetic are associated with a profound risk of basically losing your marbles.
Please understand, when we’re talking about Alzheimer’s and dementia, there is no treatment available for that issue. Having said that, then this whole notion of prevention and preventive medicine as it relates to the brain really takes on a much more powerful meaning and urgency.
Guy:Would glycation pop in there as well then where you’re speaking … Would that all stem then from the processed carbs and the fact the brain is …
David:That’s right. Guy, you bring up a very good point, and that is this process of glycation. Just for your viewers, let me just indicate what that is. Glycation is a biochemical term that deals with how simple sugars actually bind to proteins. That’s a normal process, but when it gets out of hand, it changes the shape of proteins, amps up inflammation and amps up what are called free radical production.
We measure glycation really very simply in the clinic, and I’m certain that’s done worldwide, by looking at a blood test called A1C, hemoglobin A1C. Diabetics are very familiar with this term, because it’s a marker of the average blood sugar. A1C is a marker of the rate at which sugar is binding to protein. The higher your sugar, the more readily that process happens. What we’ve seen published in the journal, Neurology, is a perfect correlation between levels of A1C or measures of glycation [00:12:00] and the rate at which the brain shrinks on an annual basis. There’s a perfect correlation then between higher levels of blood sugar through glycation that you bring to our attention and the rate at which your brain will shrink.
Well, you don’t want your brain to shrink, I can clue you. A smaller brain is not a good thing. That said, you’ve got to do everything you can, and that is to limit your carbs and limit your sugar. What does it mean? It means a plate that is mostly vegetables, above ground, nutrient-dense, colorful, fiber-rich vegetables, as well as foods that actually are higher in fat. That means foods like olive oil. If you’re not a vegetarian, that would be fish, chicken, beef that is preferably not grain-fed but grass-fed, fish that is wild as opposed to being farm-raised, like the chicken being free range.
This is the way that we actually give ourselves calories in the form of fat calories that will help us lose weight, help reduce inflammation, help reduce this process of glycation that we just talked about, and in the long run, pave the way for both a better brain but also a better immune system and really better health all around.
Guy:That’s a fantastic description of glycation as well. I appreciate it. Would you recommend everyone to go and get that tested once?
David:Yes, absolutely. In fact, in Grain Brain, I present a chart that demonstrates what I just talked about, the degree of glycation plotted against the shrinkage of the brain’s memory center called the hippocampus. In our clinic, hemoglobin A1C is absolutely a standard test just like fasting blood sugar, and also fasting insulin, the degree of insulin in your body. The level of insulin in your body is really a marker as to how much you’ve challenged your body with sugar and carbohydrates in the past. You want to keep [00:14:00] insulin levels really low.
When insulin levels start to climb, it’s an indication that your cells are becoming less responsive to insulin, and that is the harbinger for becoming a diabetic. Why am I fixated on that? It’s because once you are a diabetic type 2, you have quadrupled your risk for Alzheimer’s. That’s why this is so darn important.
Guy:They start just growing and growing, especially with diabetes as well.
Stuart:In terms of the growing number of people that are suffering neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and the like, is it too late for those guys or can they …
David:Not at all. I recently gave a presentation with the director of the Alzheimer’s Research Program at UCLA here in the states. We gave a talk, an evening talk at a place called the Buck Institute. This individual, Dr. Dale Bredesen, is actually using a low-carbohydrate diet, gluten-free, normalizing vitamin D levels, getting people to exercise, and actually put together a program of 36 different interventions, has now reversed Alzheimer’s in 9 out of 10 of his original patients. Only 10 patients, it’s not a large number, I admit that, but it is a start.
We are in western cultures so wedded to the notion of monotherapy; meaning, one drug for one problem. You say high blood pressure; I give you a drug. You say diabetes; here’s a pill. You say Alzheimer’s; here’s a pill. Well, the truth of the matter is there is no pill, despite the fact that there’s something on the market, but there isn’t a pill that will cure Alzheimer’s or even have any significant effect on treating the disease and its symptoms. That’s where we are as we have this conversation.
Now, it looks like the work [00:16:00] of Dr. Bredesen is showing that Alzheimer’s is a multifactorial event, and that to cure it or at least turn it around, you have to hit this problem from multiple angles at the same time. It’s happening. It’s not happening through somebody owning the rights to a specific medication.
Stuart:That’s fantastic. That’s radical.
David:I’ll send you the link to the lecture that we gave.
Stuart:Yeah. That was my next question. I would love to find out.
David:Consider it done.
Stuart:Thank you. In your new book, Brain Maker, you dig even deeper and talk about the connection between the gut and the brain. I wondered if you could share a little bit about that as well, please.
David:I will. Let me just take a step back. Last weekend, I went to University of California San Diego, and I met with, of all people, an astrophysicist who is actually studying the microbiome. If you think a neurologist paying attention to the gut is a stretch, how about an astrophysicist? It turns out that he is probably one of the most schooled individuals on the planet in terms of using a supercomputer technology to analyze data, and they drafted him there to look at data that deals with the microbiome in that they have probably the world’s most well-respected microbiome researchers there. They brought Dr. Larry Smarr on board to help Rob Knight really work with the data.
The things going on in the gut in terms of just the information are breathtaking for sure. We now understand that in one gram, that’s one-fifth of a teaspoon of fecal material, there are 100 million terabytes of information. This is a very intense area of research just because of the sheer amount of data [00:18:00] and information that it contains.
We recognize that these 100 trillion organisms that live within each and every one of us have a direct role to play in the health and functionality of the brain, moment to moment. They manufacture what are called the neurotransmitters. They aid in the body’s ability to make things like serotonin and dopamine and GABA. They directly influence the level of inflammation in the body. As I talked to you about earlier, inflammation is the cornerstone of things like Parkinson’s, MS, Alzheimer’s and even autism. The gut bacteria regulate that, and so it’s really very, very important to look at the possibilities in terms of affecting brain health by looking at the gut bacteria.
Having said that, one of the patients that I talk about in Brain Maker, a patient with multiple sclerosis named Carlos came to me and his history, aside from the fact that he couldn’t walk because of his MS was really very profound in that he had been challenged with respect to his gut with multiple courses of aggressive antibiotics. Why would I be interested in that? I’m interested because the gut bacteria control what’s called immunity, and MS is an autoimmune condition. At that point, I began reviewing research by a Dr. Thomas Borody who happens to be in Australia.
What Dr. Borody did, who is a gastroenterologist, a gut specialist, is he performed a technique on patients called fecal transplant where he took the fecal material with the bacteria from healthy individuals and transplanted that into people with various illnesses. Lo and behold, he noted some dramatic improvements in patients with multiple sclerosis. Think about that: [00:20:00] Fecal transplantation for patients with MS. His reports are published in the journal, Gastroenterology. I sent my patient Carlos to England. He had a series of fecal transplants and regained the ability to walk without a cane. He sent me a video, and I have that video on my website. This is a real person who underwent this procedure.
I just took it to the nth degree. The question was how do we relate the gut to the brain? Now we’ve realized how intimately involved brain health and brain dynamics are with respect to things that are going on in the intestines. It’s a very empowering time.
Guy:Yeah, that’s huge. Regarding gut health, and let’s say somebody is listening to this and they’re relatively healthy and they’re going about their day, but they might be curious to know if their gut integrity is good or isn’t. Are there telltale signs that your gut might not be quite right?
David:Absolutely. As a matter of fact, if you turn to page 17 in Brain Maker, I have a list of over 20 questions that you can ask yourself to determine if in fact you are at risk for having a disturbance of your gut bacteria. There are laboratory studies available of course, but these questions are things like were you born be C-section? Did you have your tonsils out as a child? Do you take antibiotics fairly frequently? Are you taking non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs for inflammation? Are you on an acid blocking drug? Do you have an inflammatory condition of your bowel? Are you suffering from depression? Are you more than 20 pounds overweight?
The reason these questions actually have traction when it comes to their inference with reference to the gut is because these are situations which really point a finger at disturbance of the gut bacteria. I open the book with those questions [00:22:00] because many people are going to answer a positive on multiple parameters and then I indicate to them that that’s not uncommon, but the rest of the book, the rest of the 80,000 words is all about, okay, we’ve all made mistakes in our lives. We all have taken antibiotics. Many of our parents had our ear tubes put in or we were born by C-section or who knows what? The important empowering part about the rest of that book, Brain Maker, is, okay, we messed up. How do you fix it?
That’s what I really spend a lot of time doing in that book, and that is talking about those foods that need to come off the table, those foods that you need to put on the table, fermented foods, for example, that are rich in good bacteria: foods like kimchi and cultured yogurt and fermented vegetables, sauerkraut, for example. How do you choose a good probiotic supplement? What about prebiotics? What about this type of fiber that we consume that actually nurtures the good gut bacteria within us? That’s contained in various foods like jicama, Mexican yam, Jerusalem artichoke, asparagus, garlic, onions, leeks, dandelion greens, etc. These are foods that are really rich in a specific type of fiber that then goes ahead and amplifies the growth of the good bacteria in your gut.
I really wanted to write that book in a very empowering way for all of us living in western cultures where we’ve messed up. The evidence is really quite clear when you look at the microbiome, at the gut bacteria in western cultures and compare what those bacteria look like with more agrarian or more rural cultures, less developed countries.
Stuart:We’ve gone to page 17 and we’ve filled out the checklist and now we’re concerned. How can we test [00:24:00] the diversity or the quality of our gut bacteria?
David:That’s a very good question. There are tests that are available and they are improving year by year, and you can have them done. I’m not sure what you have available to yourselves in Australia, but there are several companies that make those tests available here. The real issue though is I don’t think we yet know specifically what a healthy microbiome should look like. We know the broad strokes. We know that there are ratios between two of the larger groups of organisms called Firmicutes and Bacteroidete that tend to be associated with things like diabetes and obesity, etc. We really don’t know what it means to have a good microbiome.
One thing that’s really quite clear is that one of the best attributes for your microbiome is diversity. When you look at rural African population microbiome compared to westernized microbiome, the main thing that really jumps out at you is the lack of diversity in our type of microbiome, the lack of parasites, the lack of a large array of different organisms. You may have raised your eyebrows when I said a lack of parasites, but it turns out that we have lived quite comfortably with a wide array of parasites throughout our existence on this planet.
There is something called the old friend hypothesis, which means that we’ve had these bugs inside of us for a long time and not only have we developed tolerance to things like parasites, but we’ve actually been able to work with them and live with them in such a way that parasites and various worrisome bacteria actually contribute to our health. When we sterilize the gut with over-usage of [00:26:00] antibiotics, for example, we set the stage for some significant imbalances in terms of our metabolism. As we sterilize the gut with antibiotics, we favor the overgrowth of bacteria, for example, that can make us fat.
Why do you think it is since the 1950s we’ve been feeding cattle with antibiotics? Because it changes their gut bacteria. It makes them fat. Farmers who raise those animals make more money because the animals are bigger and they’re selling them by the pound.
Guy:Another question popped in. I don’t know if it’s a stupid question or not. Do you think we’ve become too hygienic as well? If we shower …
David:No question. That is called the hygiene hypothesis. I think that it really has been validated. That was first proposed in 1986 when it got its name. It holds that our obsession with hygiene … I paraphrase a little bit … Our overdoing with hygiene, the sterilization of the human body and all that’s within it, has really paved the way for us to have so much allergic disease, autoimmune diseases, what are called atopic diseases, skin-related issues.
We understand, for example, that autism is an inflammatory condition and really correlates quite nicely with changes in the gut bacteria. There’s an absolute signature or fingerprint of the gut bacteria that correlates with autism. Now there are even researchers in Canada, Dr. Derrick MacFabe is one … I’ve interviewed him … who correlate these changes in bacterial organisms in the gut of autistic children with changes in certain chemicals that have a very important role to play in terms of how the brain works.
This is the hygiene hypothesis. It’s time that we let our kids get dirty and stop washing their hands every time they walk down the [00:28:00] aisle in the grocery store and recognize that we’ve lived in an environment that’s exposed us to these organisms for two million years. It has a lot of merit, the hygiene hypothesis.
Guy:Sorry, Stuart. Another question that did pop in there at the same time.
David:Take your time.
Guy:Stress, worry and anxiety because you feel that in the gut when you’re … Have there been studies if that affects microbiome?
David:Without a doubt. I actually have written about these in Brain Maker. It goes both ways. We know that stress increases the adrenal gland’s production of a chemical called cortisol. Cortisol ultimately begins in the brain. When the brain experiences stress and the hypothalamic-pituitary axis is turned on and that stimulates the adrenal glands from make cortisol. Cortisol does several important things. It is one of our hormones that allows us to be more adaptable momentarily to stress but the downsides of cortisol are many. It increases the leakiness of the gut, and therefore increases the level of inflammation in the body. It actually changes the gut bacteria and allows overgrowth of certain organisms, some of which are not actually even bacteria but even yeast. In addition, cortisol plays back and has a very detrimental role on the brain’s memory center.
By the same token, we know that gut-related issues are front and center now in looking at things like depression. We now understand, for example, that depression is a disease characterized by higher levels of inflammatory markers specifically coming from the gut. Think about that. There is a chemical called LPS or lipopolysaccharide. [00:30:00] That chemical is only found normally in the gut to any significant degree. It is actually part of the cell wall of what are called gram-negative bacteria that live in the gut. When the gut is permeable, then that LPS makes its way out of the gut and you can measure it in the bloodstream.
There’s a very profound correlation between elevation of LPS and major depression. We see this correlation with major depression and gut leakiness and gut inflammation, and it really starts to make a lot of sense when we see such common events of depression in individuals with inflammatory bowel disease like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s.
Stuart:Back to the balance of the microbiome so gut bacteria. What three culprits, what would be your top three culprits that really upset the balance?
David:Number one would be antibiotics. We are so aggressively using antibiotics in western cultures. I think every major medical journal is really calling our attention to that. The World Health Organization ranks antibiotics among the top three major health threats to the world health of this decade. Antibiotics change the gut bacteria. They change the way that bacteria respond to antibiotics, in the future making it more likely that we’ll have antibiotic resistance, making it more difficult to treat bacterial infections when they should be treated. I think that we really have just begun to understand the devastating role of antibiotics in terms of changing the gut bacteria. The over-usage of antibiotics in children has been associated with their increased risk of things like type 1 diabetes, asthma, [00:32:00] allergic diseases.
You asked for three. The other big player I think would be Cesarean section. C-sections are depriving children of their initial microbiome because understand that when you’re born through the birth canal, right at that moment, you are being inoculated with bacteria, bacteria that then serve as the focal point for your first microbiome. When you bypass that experience, you are born basically with the microbiome that’s made of whatever bacteria happen to be on the surgeon’s hands or in the operating room at that time. Interestingly enough, children born by C-section who don’t have that right microbiome have a dramatically increased risk for type 1 diabetes, celiac disease, autism, ADHD and even becoming obese when they become adults.
We’re just beginning to understand really what an important event that is, and that is when you’re born that you receive genetic information from your mother that is what we call horizontally transferred as opposed to the vertical transfer from mom and dad in terms of their genome. Understand that you’re not just getting the bacteria but you’re getting the bacterial DNA. When you get your arms around the idea that 99% of the DNA in your body is bacteria contained in your microbiome, then the whole process of being born through the birth canal really takes on a very, very new meaning, doesn’t it?
Stuart:It does. It’s massive.
Guy:The thing, again, they almost can be beyond our control as well. Like you mentioned, it could have been given antibiotics as a kid and C-section. I just want to make a point that when you start to repair these things, [00:34:00] it’s not a short-term fix, I’m guessing, that it takes time to repair the gut. If somebody is listening …
David:In our practice, we see improvements happening very quickly. We often see people get improvements in as little as a couple of weeks, especially children. They seem to turn around so quickly. The truth of the matter is that we now see literature that indicates that antibiotics, each time you take them, change your gut bacteria permanently. There may not be a total reversal that’s possible based upon some of our lifestyle choices. That said, we are now seeing some really impressive results from what’s called fecal transplantation where you put in to the gut healthy bacteria from a healthy individual.
One researcher, Dr. Max Nieuwdorp in Amsterdam has recently presented his treatment of 250 type 2 diabetics, giving them fecal transplant, and he basically reversed their diabetes by changing their gut bacteria. It’s pretty profound.
Stuart:It’s quite a hot topic over here, fecal transplants. They ran a story a few weeks ago of a chap who was suffering from an autoimmune disease and he first went out of country and received the fecal transplant and his improvements were off the scale, but he put on huge amounts of weight. He was a skinny guy.
David:It’s not the first time it’s happened. Actually, the main use of fecal transplantation is for the treatment of a bacterial infection called Clostridium difficile or C. diff. Here in America, that’s a disease situation that affects 500,000 American [00:36:00] every year and kills 30,000. The antibiotic cocktails that are used for C. diff. are about 26% to 28% effective. Fecal transplantation is about 96% effective. There was recently a publication of a woman with C. diff. and she elected to undergo fecal transplantation and chose her daughter as the donor. Unfortunately, her daughter was very big. Immediately following the fecal transplantation, this woman gained an enormous amount of weight. I think something in the neighborhood of 40 pounds very quickly.
You’re right. It calls to our attention the work by Dr. Jeffrey Gordon here in the states who has demonstrated in laboratory animals that when you take human fecal material from an obese person and transplant that into a healthy laboratory animal, that animal suddenly gets fat even though you didn’t change its food. We’re beginning to understand the very important role of the gut microbiome in terms of regulating our metabolism, in terms of our extraction of calories from the food that we eat.
So many people tell me, you know, Doc, I am so careful with what I eat and I just can’t lose weight. The reason is because through their years of eating improperly, of having antibiotics, etc., they’ve created a microbiome that is really very adept at extracting calories from food. One of the biggest culprits, for example, is sugar. Sugar will dramatically change the microbiome. What do people do? They begin drinking sugarless, artificially sweetened beverages. It turns out that the weight gain from artificially sweetened beverages is profound and in fact, the risk of type 2 diabetes is much higher in people consuming artificially sweetened drinks than those who drink sugar sweetened drinks.
I’m not arguing in favor of drinking [00:38:00] sugar sweetened beverages. I’m simply saying that there’s no free ride here. What researchers in Israel just published was the explanation. The explanation as you would expect is that artificial sweeteners dramatically change the microbiome. They set up a situation of higher levels of certain bacteria that will extract more calories and will also help code for inflammation. There’s no free ride. You’ve got to eat right. You’ve got to get back to eating the types of foods that will nurture a good microbiome.
Guy:Do you think the local doctor or GP is going to start looking at microbiome in the near future? Because there’s only an antibiotic that gets prescribed when you go there, you’re not feeling well or you get a cut …
David:No, I don’t think so.
Guy:You don’t think so?
David:No. I wish it were. I wish that were the case. Next month, I’m chairing an international symposium on the microbiome with leaders in the field from all over the world, well-respected individuals. The people who are going to attend are really a very few group … a small group … It’s be a big group, but these are people who are really highly motivated to stay ahead of trends, and by and large, this is going to take a long time to filter down to general medicine. It just isn’t going to happen any time soon.
Guy:Proactive approach always seems to be the way.
David:You got it.
Stuart:Say I wanted to be a bit proactive right now and I’m going to jot down to the chemist and think, right, I’m going to ask them for their top pre- or probiotics. Is it a waste of time?
David:No, I don’t think so, especially as it relates to prebiotics. You can’t go wrong by increasing your consumption of fiber, but prebiotic is a special type of fiber that in fact nurtures the gut bacteria. [00:40:00] You can go to your chemist and in fact, they may very well sell you a wonderful prebiotic that’s made from, for example, Acacia gum or pectin or something like that. There happen to be some pretty darn good probiotics on the market as well. I think there are certain things that you have to look for. I’ve written about them in my book. There are certain species I think that are well-studied and there are five specific species that I talk about in the book like Lactobacillus plantarum, Bifidobacterium longum, Lactobacillus brevis, etc.
The point is, hey, we have more than 10,000 different species living within us, so it’s hard to say what’s best. We do know that some of these species have been aggressively studied and do good things in the gut with research now coming out indicating that interventional studies, in other words where they give certain bacteria to people, there are changes that are measurable. Let me tell you about one interesting study that was just published.
A group of 75 children were given a specific probiotic for the first six months of their life; it’s called Lactobacillus rhamnosus. They followed these kids for the next 13 years. What they found was that the children who had received the probiotic, half the group, none of them developed either ADHD or a form of autism. Whereas the group that did not receive the probiotic, there was a rate of autism or ADHD of about 14.2%. What does it say? It says that balancing the gut helps do good things. This study took 13 years to complete, maybe another year or two to publish, but we’re getting to the point where we’re seeing interventional trials of specific organisms having positive effects [00:42:00] on humans. I think that’s what the future is going to open up with. I think we’re going to see much more of that.
Guy:Definitely. Even from us, we’ve been involved in the health industry for quite some time and we’ve seen microbiome, gut health, more and more information is coming out.
David:Yes, you are. It’s time. It’s really going to be very, very empowering.
Guy:Yeah, it’s become a hot topic. Look, I’m aware of the time, David. We have a couple of questions that we ask everyone on the show that they can be non-nutrition-related, anything.
David:Is this the bonus round?
Guy:This is the bonus round, man.
Stuart:I just wanted to pop in, Guy, just before you hit those last ones. I was interested, David, as to do you have a tailored personal daily routine specifically to nurture your microbiome?
David:Yes. It’s what works for me. I’m super careful about what I eat. The truth of the matter is I am at risk for Alzheimer’s. My dad passed away about two months ago with Alzheimer’s so I know I’m at risk. Probably one of the most important nutritional things I do is exercise. It’s nutrition for the soul. I guess I have a little leeway there. It’s really good for the microbiome as well. It really helps protect the ability of that LPS from damaging … ultimately leading to damage to the brain. Exercise actually increases the growth of new brain cells through something called BDNF. My dad is very low in carbohydrate, extremely low in sugar. I use a lot of prebiotic fiber, 15, 20 grams a day. I take a strong probiotic, vitamin D, vitamin E, fish oil, a multivitamin, a B complex. You didn’t ask about supplements but I just toss that in for the heck of it.
I generally, for me, do well with only two meals a [00:44:00] day. I don’t yet know who wrote down that you have to have three meals a day or the world would come to an end, but somebody must have obviously. Because I like the fact that I haven’t eaten from dinner until I have either a later breakfast or an early lunch the next day. That sometimes can be as long as 12 to 15 hours of not eating. It works really well for me because as I wake up in the morning, my brain is sharp and I never really liked exercising with food in my belly. A lot of people have breakfast and go to the gym. Fine. It doesn’t work for me. I like to go to the gym on an empty stomach and then have lunch and then dinner.
Stuart:That’s excellent. Does the type of exercise make any difference to the way you feel?
David:Well, sure it does. The type of exercise I really gravitate to is aerobic because as I talked about in Grain Brain, aerobic exercise is the type of exercise that actually will turn on the genes that will code for this BDNF chemical that will allow you to grow your brain cells. That’s what the studies at University of Pittsburgh have demonstrated. You really need to do aerobics. I do a lot of stretching and I lift weights as well. I think those are good for you, good for a person. I’m prone to back issues. I do a whole routine for my back. The one thing that it’s inviolate in terms of my routine is the aerobics part.
Guy:Fantastic. I appreciate that. That’s awesome. Back to bonus round, have you read any books that have had a great impact on your life that you’d like to share?
David:I have. From a medical perspective, there’s a couple of good books by Gary Taubes called Good Calories, Bad Calories, and another one called Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It. I would recommend the latter, Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It [00:46:00] because it is so clear in terms of mechanisms that relate to sugar and weight gain and inflammation.
I’ve read Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse on a number of occasions. I think it has resonated with me on a personal level in terms of my life journey, one of the most perhaps influential books for me. Pardon me?
Guy:Fantastic. You’re not the first person to say that book as well.
David:In fact, I just looked at it earlier today. I love books. I don’t know if you could see [crosstalk 00:46:41]. A lot of people these days send me their books to review so I’ll write a comment on them. I’ve got this really great conduit of new books coming to me, two and three a day now, which is really great. I really am fortunate because I get to see a lot of books before they’re actually even published. I reviewed a book today from a Harvard researcher on what is it that makes us hungry and what to do about it, a really incredible book.
I recently reviewed a book by Dr. Frank Lipman talking about the 10 things to do to stay healthy. Really it was The 10 Things That Make Us Fat and Grow Old, is the title. It isn’t out yet, but I read that book this morning, a very, very powerful, clean-cut, straightforward information that’s totally in line with current science.
There’s another really good book I would encourage people to look at called The Disease Delusion, and it’s written by Dr. Jeffrey Bland. It really is an important book because it talks about where we are in terms of how medicine is practiced, how we look at patients and really paints a good picture in terms of what medicine could look like in the [00:48:00] future. I’d encourage your viewers to take a look at that book.
Guy:Fantastic. We certainly encourage Brain Maker as well which [crosstalk 00:48:07].
David:Thank you. I appreciate it.
Guy:Last question: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
David:My dad used to say no matter how … As you go through life, my friend, let this be your goal. Keep your eye upon the donut and not upon the hole. It always worked for me.
Stuart:I like it.
David:There’s one other, I don’t know if it’s advice, but a statement that was made by Maurice Maeterlinck, a Belgian Nobel Laureate. I first read this when I was visiting a friend, Dr. Amar Bose. He’s the one who has Bose audio, the headphones and speakers. He took me to his laboratory in Massachusetts and I was very impressed, but then we went into his office and on his glass door was the following quote by Maurice Maeterlinck: At every crossway on the road that leads to the future, each progressive spirit is confronted by a thousand men appointed to defend the past. That always meant a lot to me because Dr. Bose really went against the system as he created his audio products. People said it couldn’t be done. You can’t cancel sound, on and on.
I really know what it’s like to be opposed by a thousand men appointed to defend the past because the stuff that we talk about is not status quo. It’s not what everyone is doing. I’m grateful for that. I think that it hopefully is ahead of the curve. Time will tell. We’ll see where we go. When maybe the three of us have a conversation in a couple of years, we’ll see where we are.
Guy:Yeah. Fantastic. We really appreciate it. For anyone listening to this who would like to get more of you, where would be the best place [00:50:00] to go online?
David:My website is drperlmutter.com. That’s D-R, Perlmutter, P-E-R-L-M-U-T-T-E-R, dot-com. Facebook I post every day. Oddly enough, David Perlmutter MD. My books are in Australia. They’re around the world so people can read my books if they like as well.
Guy:Yeah, fantastic. Greatly appreciate you coming on the show today and showing your knowledge and time with us and the listeners.
Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.
Are grains really the enemy? Who better a person to ask than a guy who’s interviewed hundreds of health leaders from around the world and walks his talk when it comes health and nutrition. His answer wasn’t quite what we expected! Hence why we loved it and it’s this weeks 2 minute gem.
Abel James is the founder of ‘The Fat Burning Man’ show. A health and wellness podcast that’s hit No.1 in eight different countries on iTunes and gets over a whopping 500,000 downloads each month! It was fantastic to get the laid back Abel on the show today to share with us his own personal weight loss story, his discoveries, the trial and errors and the applied wisdom of others.
To sum up Abel James in his own words: My goal is to create a place where people can have spirited discussions and debate about issues that truly matter – not just fat loss and fitness, but ultimately health and quality of life. I also feel obligated to expose the truth about nutrition, fitness, and health so that people are no longer reliant upon deceptive marketing practices, misleading corporate propaganda, and powerful special interests that have accelerated the worldwide obesity epidemic and health crisis.
Full Interview: Lessons Learned From Becoming The Fat Burning Man
In This Episode:
Abel’s journey from being overweight to becoming the ‘Fat Burning Man’
What the body building industry taught him about weight loss
Guy Lawrence: This is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition and welcome to today’s Health Sessions.
So, as you can see, if you’re watching this in video, I’m standing here at Mcmahons Pool here in Sydney, which is a pearl of a location and I quite often find myself jumping in first thing in the morning. The water is cold here in winter in Sydney, although the sun’s shining, but it’s a great way to start the day nonetheless.
Anyway, on to today’s guest. I might be a little bit biased but I think this show today is fantastic and we’ve got an awesome guest for you. And he has a podcast himself, and I reckon he has one of the smoothest voices that is just designed for podcasts and radio, I tell ya. And that might even give you a clue already.
Stu often says I’ve got a face for radio, but I don’t know if I’ll take that as a compliment. But anyway. So, our guest today is Abel James, AKA the Fat-Burning Man. And if you are new to this podcast, definitely check it out. I’ve been listening to them for years. And Abel has had some fantastic guests on the show, as you can imagine, when you’ve been doing a podcast for over four years.
And we were really keen to get him on the show and share his experiences with us, because, you know, once you’ve interviewed that many people and some absolutely great health leaders around the world, you’re gonna pick up on what they say, their experience, and how you apply it in your own life. And we’re really keen to find out from Abel why he does, you know, because he’s covered, obviously, topics on mindset, health, nutrition, exercise, and what are the pearls of wisdom has he gone and taken over the years of experience and applied it. And some of the stuff what he doesn’t take, you know, take on board as well.
So, Abel shares all of that with us today, including his own story. Because Abel was once overweight. He’s looking a very, very fit boy at the moment, just from changing his nutrition.
So, anyway, that’s what you’re going to get out of today’s show and it’s a great one. So, it’s a pleasure to have Abel on.
And also, I ask for reviews, you know, leave us a review on iTunes if you’re enjoying the show. Subscribe, five-star it. You know, let us know where in the world you’re listening to these podcasts. I think we’re in 32 countries at the moment or maybe even more getting downloaded. So it’s pretty cool. And we always love to hear from you, so, yeah, jump on board and of course drop us an email back at 180Nutrition.com or .com.au now.
So, let’s go over to Abel. Enjoy the show.
Stuart Cooke: Guy, over to you.
Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke, as always. Hey Stewie.
Stuart Cooke: Hello, mate.
Guy Lawrence: And our fantastic guest today is Abel James. Abel, welcome to the show.
Abel James: Thanks so much for having me.
Guy Lawrence: Now, you will have to forgive us this morning, mate. It is very early in Sydney. So, I’ve never seen Stu up at this time of the morning, I think, so it will be interesting to see how he responds.
I’m just kidding. Come on.
Yeah, look, obviously we are big fans of your podcast. It’s great to have a fellow podcaster on. And what we were curious about, just to get the ball rolling, is I guess a little bit about your journey and what got you into podcasting and what let you to that. Because you’ve been doing it awhile now.
Abel James: Yeah. Well, the podcast itself kind of comes out, or it comes somewhat naturally, because I’m a musician and have been doing that for a very long time. So, you know, I had a blog, and this was, I guess, like, four years ago when I first started Fat-Burning Man.
But before that I worked as a consultant with some companies in the food and beverage industry right after I got out of college. And so I’d actually been blogging about health for many years before that, but anonymously. My site was called Honest Abe’s Tips. And it was a picture of, like, this digitized Abe Lincoln peeking out from behind the laptop.
But then with Fat-Burning Man, I realized that when I went through my own struggles with health, basically, I got fat and old and sick in my early 20s and didn’t want to keep being that way. So I kind of turned things around and found that it was a lot easier and more straight-forward and simpler than almost anything I’d ever read had made it out to be, you know, in the fitness magazines and the media. Even some of the science.
And so I started this up and realized that, you know, if I were looking at a fitness book or a fitness blog or something like that, first thing I’d do is, like, turn around, look at who’s writing it. Like: Are these people actually living it? Are they following their own advice?
And so I figured, you know, it’s the internet. Let’s just put it all right out there. And so I came up with this ridiculous Fat-Burning Man, like superhero type thing and just wanted to make it about being positive and showing that you can be happy and healthy at the same time. Because so much of the messaging, especially then, but still now, is that you need to be hungry and miserable and punish yourself. But you really can have a more holistic approach. So, that’s what I try to do.
Guy Lawrence: Did you ever imagine the Fat-Building Man would take you on this journey to where it is today? You know, when you started.
Abel James: You know, it’s so funny. Because now it kind of sneaks up on you a little bit. You know, like, I was just out at a health food store here in Tennessee and like within five seconds of walking in, someone’s like, “Abel! Hi!” We just moved here and that just happened in, like, New Orleans, in California. And so I don’t even realize how many people are listening but I’m so glad that they are, because when I first started it was just me talking into a microphone and hoping that people would listen and trying to get this message out there that was different and still is kind of different.
Because most of the stuff you find in health, and I’ve had to learn this the hard way, is not health information. It’s marketing propaganda. You know, designed to sell you supplements, shakes, consumables. Whatever they’re selling you is usually kind of, like, disguised in something that’s information. And that information is hurting people.
So, I wanted to just be totally open about all this and say, like, “These are the things that we think might be right, but we’re probably wrong about a bunch of stuff. But that’s definitely wrong over there.”
Guy Lawrence: That’s awesome. That’s awesome.
Stuart Cooke: So, when you mentioned that in your early days you were fat and sick and things just weren’t working out for you, do you think that was particularly diet-based?
Abel James: Yes. Absolutely. Because basically what happened is I grew up, my mom is a holistic nurse practitioner and an herbalist, and I was raised eating from the back yard. And we had fish sticks and stuff like that, too, sometimes, but it was; I had a very strong education in eating naturally, from the real world, back then.
And then, for me, like every teenager who wants to prove that there’s a better world out there than the one that they came from or whatever, to pay off my loans I got this big, fancy job in consulting and I got this big, fancy insurance that came along with the consulting job. And I’m just like, “All right. I’m gonna find the best doctor and listen to his advice and take his drugs and do his thing.”
And so I did that, and it was… You know, when I first walked in, he’s like, “What is the family history?” And I said, well, you know, there’s thyroid problems, most people gain weight as they age, my grandmother has high blood pressure, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
They looked at my blood and they’re just, like, “OK, well, we need to put you on a low-fat diet right away.” And, you know, zero dietary cholesterol and the whole… you guys are familiar with how that works, I’m sure.
And so I got that whole spiel and I’m like, OK. Well, if that’s gonna help me live longer, help my heart be healthy, and basically guarantee that I’m doing the right thing, then let’s do it.
Except it didn’t really work out that way. You know, for the first time in my life… I was always athletic and I love fitness and just getting outside, going for hikes or runs or mountain-biking. Whatever. And so I never really had a problem with weight. And all of a sudden, it’s creeping up, and it wasn’t until my boss made fun of me for being fat that I realized that I was, like, “Oh. This is fat.”
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. “There’s a problem.”
Abel James: And I wasn’t, like, massively overweight. But if you imagine me with less muscle and 20 pounds of flab, then all of sudden you kind of look like someone who’s much older than you actually are. And certainly not thriving anymore. Not athletic.
And I always want to be the best at whatever, so I had to turn that around.
Guy Lawrence: Was there any, like, little tipping points with books or information that made you sort of go, “I’ve really got to start delving into this” and looking down that path?
Abel James: Well, yeah. For me… So, I’m pretty narrow-focused a lot of the time and my focus then, when I first got into it, it was my first job, you know. My first real in-the-workforce job. I worked with my dad growing up and in restaurants and stuff. But this was the first thing I was taking seriously. And so I just wanted to pay down my debt as quickly as I could so that I could be free to do whatever more passion-based stuff.
And then I, basically, like, a little bit at a time saw that it wasn’t working. But I had outsourced it from my own brain, you know? I had always focused on being fit and athletic and running a lot, whatever. But it kind of like got away from me, because I was working so hard doing something else that was kind of like stealing my attention. And then it wasn’t until that comment and a couple of other things happened that I was just, like, “Oh. I guess I’ve got to focus on this.”
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: So, for all of our listeners, and your listeners as well, what did you focus on and what did you change?
Abel James: Well, it was interesting, because I grew up, my brother is about five years older than me, and I watched him go from… he’s a little bit obsessive and he watched Pumping Iron, the Arnold Schwarzenegger bodybuilding classic movie of the ’70s. He watched that for the first time, and I watched him over the next few months go from 155 pounds to well over 200; up to 220 of just solid, massive muscle.
So, that; it was in the back of my mind. I think sometimes you need something crazy like that. You need to see it happen in front of you before you really believe that it’s possible. You know what I mean? And so I hid that in back of my mind.
And so I always knew that you could do stuff that didn’t make any sense and it would kind of work out. And he did a lot of things that, dietary-wise, who knows what he was eating but it certainly wasn’t healthy. It was very different from the foods that we were eating.
But it was more generous with fat and protein and lower on carbs and kind of like counter to everything that I was told was healthy. And so I saw that whatever I was doing was not working. So I needed to do something different. And I was just like, well, why don’t I just flip it on its head and get some of the fats up there again and take down the carbs, take down the processed food, just kind of look at… I was looking at ketosis, cyclical ketogenic dieting that the bodybuilders were doing in the ’60s and ’70s, and it was like, you know they’re eating 26 eggs a day. Or drinking two gallons of milk a day. Or just chugging heavy cream. And getting down to 3 percent body fat. And for someone who had too much body fat, I’m like, “That’s interesting. I gotta try that.”
Stuart Cooke: Absolutely.
Guy Lawrence: It happened for us the same, because I worked with mainly people with cancer about 10 years ago and I used to do the weight-training programs for them. And it literally started from a bodybuilders’ diet. They got them on a ketogenic diet and weight-training, and that was the first time I was exposed to a high-fat diet, and back then I saw the results too. You know, it was quite remarkable, and their health, everything gets turned on its head overnight and you’re, like, “My God, I’ve got to tell the world.”
Abel James: It’s very bizarre. Because it should kill you, right? According to everything that the doctors tell you. That should just put you straight into a stretcher or a coffin or whatever.
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.
Abel James: But oftentimes it does the opposite.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. So, with all your guests and podcasts, there’s all these amazing people you’ve interviewed and things like that. Any pearls of wisdom that have stood out or guests that have jumped out at you? It’s probably quite a big question but…
Abel James: I look for the things that… Well, I should just say, even the people who come on my show, which are, like, curated (to a certain extent), by me, they have to go through some sort of vetting process. They love to disagree about a lot of things. And for me I just try to keep it on point, step aside. I’m not gonna be combative even if I disagree with what they’re saying. I think it’s really important to see the richness of experience in people who are getting results.
And so I look for the things that they agree about. And there are very few. But number one is that everyone should be eating more leafy green vegetables and colorful vegetables, especially the non-starchy kind. And almost everyone agrees on that. Pretty much 100 percent.
Yet, almost nobody does it. Even the people who are, like, super paleo and super healthy or whatever. They’re more, usually, obsessed with the latest gadget, pill, carb-backloading approach, like new things that… I just had Kiefer on, I have a lot of people on with kind of like new spins on whatever. And so people get obsessed with, like, the new spin instead of having a salad. Which is like… So, one of the things that I try to do is encourage people to do the simple things that we already know, because it’s really easy to ignore that.
Or, if you go and you’re paleo and you’re really excited about it and you’re getting all these results and you’re doing CrossFit and then you go and get a paleo treat or whatever from the grocery store, because now you can find those, at least in America. And, you know, all of a sudden you take down 25 grams of sugar without even realizing it. But it’s “totally paleo” because it has honey in it. Wait a second!
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, half a jar.
Abel James: That kind of goes against the whole thing. So, I try to make it simple for people and more habit-based. More like, my background’s in brain science and psychology so I try and take it from that angle where, like, you guys know: If you’re training people or if you want to achieve something in your own life, it’s not really about the information that you have as much as, are you doing it. Right? So, I really try to focus on getting people to do it, making that easier and more simple.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. You always find you can go on these crazy paths and you always get back to basics. Just keep it very simple.
Stuart Cooke: I think those basics generally come back to how our grandparents ate as well. It’s, like, super simple, really.
Abel James: It was wonderful. Beautifully simple.
Stuart Cooke: It’s it? Yeah. It couldn’t be more simple, yet in other respects it couldn’t be more complex with all this crazy info out there.
Abel James: Especially today.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Totally. So, over here we had quite an interesting article that came out in the Sydney Morning Herald about grains and bread and how everybody’s becoming more resistant to gluten and they’ve got intolerances and sensitivities to everything under the sun.
In your opinion, are grains the enemy?
Abel James: That’s a great question. I think they’re one of the enemies, yes. But that’s more a function of the fact that we’re eating grains in a way that we never ate grains before than the fact that they’re grains, if that makes sense. So, what I mean by that is if you take a chicken and then breed it to have certain characteristics like having breasts so large that it topples over or breaks its legs like most of the turkeys and poultry we have and then you inject it with a bunch of antibiotics and, you know, feed it with poison and whatever else. It’s not the same chicken that our ancestors would be eating.
And if you take wheat and, over the course of time, you breed it to make sure that it’s well-adapted for transport, ready for harvest months before it would have been otherwise, and basically mutate it and change it into something that it wasn’t before, it’s not the same wheat either.
And so what we do with that wheat, for example, is then, if that weren’t bad enough, kind of like mutating this thing into something that’s bred not for your health but for basically industrial efficiency, then you throw it through all these industrial processes, like grinding it into this really, really fine powder and not allowing it to ferment on the stalk, which releases enzymes to make it digestible, and then you let it fester on a shelf and get old or whatever, but it’s so irradiated and processed that you barely notice that the food is so spoiled.
It’s not the same thing as eating wild rice like Native Americans did here, especially in the Southwest. And you can you still, though, my wife is from Arizona, so we go there quite often, you can go and get, like, Native American wild rice and eat that.
So, if you compare that to, like, Uncle Ben’s rice, a brand we have here which is basically like processed white rice, not the same thing. So, we do eat some grains, but it’s in an entirely different way than almost everyone else eats grains these days.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, totally. No, that’s a good point. I read, a few years back, a book called Wheat Belly, and it really does kind of open the lid on the wheat industry. And, crikey, you really do think twice.
Abel James: It’s hard to get away from them.
Stuart Cooke: Very, very hard to get away from them. Unless, of course, you eat like your grandparents ate and then it’s actually a little easier to get away from… putting labels on vegetables.
Guy Lawrence: What are your thoughts on… Because I struggle with wheat and gluten and a big thing for me has been looking at food sensitivities over the years, and allergies. What are your thoughts on that? Have you personally looked into that?
Abel James: I have. It’s interesting because we don’t know how reliable it is. Especially… food allergy testing is one thing, but food sensitivity testing is quite another. And so for me, there are so many different variables but I’m trying to get better and better.
And a few years ago I had… Probably about two years ago, at this point, I remember I talked about food sensitivity on the podcast with Dave Asprey, the Bulletproof Executive guy, who just loves testing of all kinds. And so we went through various things that I was supposedly reacting to. I did the tests again about a year after that and most of the things had gone down. A couple of them stayed up. And then there was a new one, like pinto beans or something else I “highly reacted” to. Whatever.
And there were some other unfortunate ones that were, like, paleo foods. Like olives. Olive oil. And honey. From the first test. Those seemed to kind of stay elevated. And then I took it again about three, four weeks ago and I’m reactive to almost nothing now.
So, from my own personal experience, it’s been interesting to look at that because I love science, I love numbers, I love personal experimentation. And I don’t know what’s going on with that. I can say that I’m pretty happy about it, but I don’t know if it kind of like invalidates the tests that were done before. Because one of the arguments against it is that it kind of just counts the stuff you’re eating too much of anyway.
Guy Lawrence: When, like, the olive oil and honey came up on the test, did you then avoid those foods?
Abel James: I did. I avoided them, not completely, because it’s really hard to eat a salad anywhere that’s not your own home without olive oil or GMO oil or whatever else. And so basically if someone knows that you’re paleo or gluten-free or healthy-conscious, then they’re giving you honey and olive oil and… mushrooms was another one that came up.
Yeah, so, kind of bizarre things, especially considering how healthy those things are normally and how much they would be included in almost any meal that you eat out. You don’t really think about not eating something like mushrooms, right? Or olives. But once you have to look for that, it’s in everything. You can’t believe it. It’s just hard to get away from.
But, yeah, I definitely; I went from eating those things on purpose to eating less of them or basically not forcing myself to eat those foods anymore. And that seemed to do the trick.
But gluten is one that we’re not really sure if it’s the gluten itself or just the wheat being so manipulated and so low-quality that that’s hurting us. But there’s something in modern wheat that’s terrible for us. It might be the gluten. Some people are definitely allergic to it, flat out. Other people are kind of reactive to it or whatever. But I just avoid it, pretty much at all costs.
Guy Lawrence: It’s interesting. Like, Stewie, had the short straw when it came to sensitivities tests. He came up eggs, glaringly.
Abel James: Oh, no.
Stuart Cooke: One of these things. And I was loving my eggs. I’d eat two, three, four, five a day, which is great. But then I also do wonder whether worrying about the foods that you shouldn’t be eating, worrying about all these crazy diets, you know, does more hard than good. Can it actually then evoke food sensitivities because your cortisone levels are going crazy.
Abel James: Right.
Stuart Cooke: You know, it’s just insane. I’m wondering, from your perspective, how important do you think it is to try and unplug or really work on stress management as part of your kind of holistic approach to health?
Abel James: I think it’s the number one thing that people don’t really talk about. Because it’s not that sexy to say, “Sleep. Go to sleep early.”
“Don’t get stressed out. Meditate. Chill out. Take a walk. Take a vacation.” It’s really easy to say those things. But it’s like eating a salad, right? We all know that that’s exactly what we should be doing. The problem is that we’re not doing it.
And so, yeah, I mean, one of our secrets, why we “look and feel so great all the time and always have this energy” is because we go to sleep, like, way earlier than most other people. And we take flak from it sometimes.
But, at the same time, when you show up to a… So, we go to a lot of, like, health masterminds and stuff like that with a lot of the other big names in the field. Stuff like that. And I can tell you, these people are just, like, running themselves into the ground, a lot of the time. And they’re not really sleeping. They’re kind of compensating.
And we’re ready to rock, and usually, like, we’ll go out and party and hang out with all these people because it’s so much fun. We don’t really get to do it that often. And so you see just the huge tax that running; that basically doing too many things at the same time doesn’t matter who you are, what you do, if you’re in health or not, it’s beating you up and it will get the best of you at some point.
And so the really boring things that we do every day are the things that really matter. So, like, for instance, my wife and I, we wake up every morning, we do Qigong. We’ve been doing that now for a few years, I guess.
Guy Lawrence: Can you explain that?
Abel James: Qigong, or yoga, which is like tai chi, and so it’s basically fluid, kind of almost active stretching type movements. Balance and stretching. And then we meditate for, not necessarily very long, 10, 20, minutes. But we do it every single day. And we tend to wake up fairly early and we go to bed early as well. With some exceptions, but not very often.
And it’s the things that you do every day, if you’re in the habit of slumping on the couch after a hard day of work and then you have a beer or two every night, that’s a lot of beer. It compounds.
But if you, every night, you have tea or something like that or you just relax, you have a glass of water, you hang out, you relax, you slow down, you get some sleep. And then on the weekends you go out and you have too much wine or you have a few beers, totally different thing. You’ll probably get away with it, because it’s not the thing that you’re doing every day. Right? That’s the exception.
So, you have to kind of like train into yourself the right habits that are automatic that aren’t getting the best of you. And part of that is definitely tuning down the stress. Because we’re all, like, with the amount of technology that’s around us these days, we’re all totally cranked out of our minds.
Stuart Cooke: We’re plugged in, aren’t we?
Guy Lawrence. Massively.
Stuart Cooke: Do you sleep well?
Abel James: Thank you for asking. What a sweet question. I’ve been doing interviews all day and that’s the sweetest question I’ve gotten.
Stuart Cooke: This is the million dollar question.
Abel James: Yes. I didn’t used to. I used to have a lot of trouble sleeping, especially staying asleep around the morning. It was like I would wake up, it didn’t matter how late I had stayed up the night before… As a musician, my gigs would start at midnight and I’d have to play under three or something and then go to bed at 4. But I’d always wake up at 6 or 7 and again at 8:30, even if I was trying to sleep it through.
But these days, I think a lot of it has to do with how we time our carbs and starches, which is almost always in the evening. And we eat very lightly or kind of like fast most of the day and then we have a big feast at night, pretty much.
And so we have a compressed eating window. And saving the brunt of our calories and food for the evening seems to slow you down and put you in digestion mode at the right time, especially if you are staying… There are other things where we stay away from alcohol most of the time. On the weekends we go out, have some fun, whatever. But pretty much every weeknight we’re not letting that disrupt our sleep. Because science shows that there’s no getting away from it. If you drink alcohol, it’s disrupting your sleep patterns for sure.
And if you stay up certain nights really late and other nights try to go to sleep early, that messes with your clock, too. So we stay on a nice, steady clip of sleeping and waking up in the morning.
And I don’t do well on very little sleep. I’ve always know that about myself. I think it’s one of the reasons that I do well, succeed, is because it’s something I’m obsessed about. Other guys, like, as a musician, you go on tour or whatever, other guys are staying up all night. It doesn’t really seem to be a problem. It is a problem, like, if they actually looked at it, but it affects other people less than it affected me, it seems like. So, I’ve always just made that the one thing that I do. I sleep, and it’s important.
Stuart Cooke: Any particular gems or strategies or hacks that you can share with everybody right now?
Guy Lawrence: You love the sleep topic.
Stuart Cooke: Well, I, crikey… this is my topic. And I’m fanatical about sleep. But always interested in, you know, it could be the tiniest little thing that you do that makes the hugest difference, and of course sleep is the number one. You can be eating like an absolute prince, but if you don’t sleep, then you’re not recovering or restoring; all of those things.
So, any little gems that you could share with us right now to say, “These worked for me”?
Abel James: Well, I think you touched on something that’s really important. Sleep should be time for recovery. And what that means to me is that almost every day I do kind of like micro-exercise, where I’ll do five to 10 minutes of an exercise pretty much every day except for Sunday. And I put that in the morning. So, I do my exercise like first thing, gets my blood flowing, and by the end of the day I’m tired and I want to go to sleep. And so I honor that.
If you try to force it and crack work out, that’s another thing that’s really important. It’s like, I work hard but I’m almost always off of communication by, like, 7 or 8. Usually before that. I shut my laptop. I’m not checking; I don’t have notifications on my phone. That’s a pretty big one, too. Or on my computer. My email comes in; I don’t know. I have to go in and check it. I’m not having all these things that are, like, “bloop, blop, bloop,” no matter what time of day or night it is. That’s really important.
And staying away from technology in the evening is really useful. So, one of the things I do is play guitar or play piano or sing. Do something that’s right-brainish. Gets you into that flow, that relaxed state, that’s kind of sleepy and dreamy. It’s just like perfect timing to kind of lead you into going to sleep.
Guy Lawrence: What kind of… Just touch on exercise. What kind of philosophies do you abide by, then? What do you incorporate in your week?
Abel James: Well, I used to run marathons.
Guy Lawrence: All right. Wow!
Abel James: I’ve always been a runner of some kind. I was never great, but I was always good. It was something I did more for meditation. I didn’t call it that back then, but I’d run outside and I’d get into this state, that the only way I can describe it, is meditative, for sure.
So, I used to do a lot of exercise. And I raced mountain bikes when I was younger and stuff. Now, I’ve found that exercise is something that I do as a habit, not as something that I kind of, like, force in there, if that makes sense.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Abel James: So, at this point it’s pretty much automatic, that in the morning I’m going to be doing something.
On Mondays I do monster lifts, which isn’t anything too crazy. It’s basically just like I have a couple of dumbbells …
I always work out at home, I don’t really go to gyms, because our nearest health food store is in a different time zone. Like, we’re out here in the middle of the woods, so, I don’t really have any other choice.
So, I’ve got a couple of 52-pound dumbbells, free weights, and I use those to do squats and some dead lifts and maybe a couple of other little exercises, some presses or whatever, on Mondays.
Or I might do a kettlebell workout on that day. But every Monday I’m hitting it, I’m making myself sore, and then I’m going to go and crush a bunch of work, my worst work, I put that all on Monday.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Abel James: So, it’s just one of those days, it’s just like, “All right, we’re getting it!”
And then, maybe on Tuesday, then I would do something that’s a little bit less intense, like yoga-type moves, some holds, focusing more on balance and mobility.
And then on Wednesday, I might do a very intense sprint workout. That’s what I did today. Which is, basically just like tabatas. So, you do 20 seconds on, all-out exercise that’s intense. So, I’ll do sprints or burpees. So you do that 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off. Repeat it ten times. You’re done in five minutes.
Guy Lawrence: Oh yeah.
Abel James: And if you’re not smoked by the end of it, you’re doing it wrong.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Right. That’s perfect.
Abel James: It’s the week, … sorry, go ahead.
Stuart Cooke: It’s just interesting, you know, there are a lot of people now kind of almost ingrained to think, “Well, I’ve got to go to the gym every day and I’ve got to stay in the gym for two hours. And I’m on that treadmill and I’m watching TV and you know, that’s me, done.”
But like you said, you can do this in five minutes. You know, I do a little kettlebell burpee workout and I can do that in about six minutes and I’m toast. Done. But yeah, massive effects on how you feel later on in the day.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. But it’s bringing it back to making sure your sleep’s dialed in and your nutrition is dialed in.
Abel James: Right.
Guy Lawrence: And then you can spend the time enjoying your life outside of these things, instead of obsessing about them all.
Abel James: Yeah. The simple things. It’s is just kind of … get your calendar in order. Grab a hold of that thing. Shake it around a little bit, if you need to, and then put the right things in, especially in the morning. That’s, I think, from a habit point of view. It’s like, if you’re forcing yourself to go to the gym every day, for two hours, and go on a treadmill, which almost nobody likes.
Guy Lawrence: Oh yeah.
Abel James: That’s why you watch TV, because you’re so just bored. Then it’s hard to believe that that’s sustainable. It’s hard to believe that you’re going to be able to do that for the rest of your life.
It might work, kind of. But if you can’t do it for a really long time, if you don’t love to do it, you’re going to stop at some point. Then you’re going to fall off the wagon. Get out of shape. Then it’s really hard to get back in shape.
So, like, make this … if you can do your workout in six minutes, do it! I mean I’m a “health guy” or whatever and that’s exactly what I do.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Abel James: I think that it’s the best to know that science supports that too, right?
Stuart Cooke: It does. Yeah, that’s right.
Abel James: I’d much rather; I like running, but to be perfectly honest, if I can do it in five minutes instead of three hours, I’m going with five minutes.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Every time.
Guy Lawrence: I think you touched on something else as well. It’s important you’ve got to enjoy it. Just do something you love doing. I think that’s so important psychologically, as well, so you can go and do it again.
I worked in a gym for a long time and I found people who forced themselves through the door, just staying there for so long, just like a diet per se, as well. And then they would drop off at the other end and everything they gained, what they’d struggled to gain, it comes back anyway.
Abel James: And it’s heartbreaking, right?
Guy Lawrence: Ah, yeah.
Abel James: When you know what works. You know they know what works, too. But sometimes it’s just; it all goes away.
Guy Lawrence: Yup.
Abel James: It’s a bummer to see that.
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.
So, moving on, we mentioned your book “The Wild Diet.” Can you tell us a little bit about it? Because it’s launched I’m thinking a few months now.
Abel James: Yes. Yeah. It’s been out for about a month now. It’s called “The Wild Diet” basically, because what we have in most societies now is this industrialized food system that is feeding us junk food, processed food, and junk food disguised as health food. And so a lot of people are getting burned by that.
On the other side of that, we have kind of like this wild world. The opposite of industrialized domesticated. You know, where animals, if you choose to eat them, are raised eating the diets that are natural to them in nature.
So, cows are eating grass, for example. So you eat grass-fed, pasture-raised animals.
Your getting heirloom and heritage varieties of seeds, nuts, plants, as much as you can, because those things are inherently designed by nature, generally most healthy for our bodies at this point. We’re well-adapted to eat things we’ve been eating for a long time in the form that they used to be.
And sometimes that can be hard to find. You know, like finding wheat strains, for example. Finding really traditional sourdough breads, made with an ancient variety of wheat, is something you need to try to do. You need to look for it or whatever. But it can be done.
And so, “The Wild Diet” is basically trying to … I come from the paleo world in a lot of ways. But paleo as a theme has kind of subsumed a lot of other movements.
Guy Lawrence: Yup.
Abel James: It kind of like absorbed them, right? Like the eat local movement, the low-carb movement. And so, I’m somewhere in between all these.
And one of the problems, it’s exciting but, one of the problems with like, paleo, for example, is that it’s gotten so big and so many people have heard about it, that the marketers know that it’s a hot market and so they’re starting to flood the market with a bunch of “paleo health foods.” And a lot of people are getting the wrong idea about what that means.
You can’t just go to McDonald’s and get a hamburger or three hamburgers, throw away the bun and call it paleo, right? If you’re doing it right.
So, I felt like I needed that other word that hadn’t been poisoned yet. So, I wanted to come up with “wild.”
And basically it’s just a … it’s more of a philosophy on how to eat and live than it is about some crazy dogmatic diet. It’s basically like: Here’s everything that you need to know to actually do this, in a simple fun book.
And so, I basically wrote it according to what my community and fans and followers liked and wanted to listen to and then we filled it up with some of the best recipes we’ve ever made. So …
Guy Lawrence: Good one, yeah.
Abel James: … it’s a fun book.
Guy Lawrence: But it’s a bit of a big task putting a book together I can imagine, right?
Abel James: Oh, boy. It’s the worst possible thing you can do for your health, is write a health book.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
So, given the fact then that you’ve got all this knowledge and you’ve put it into this book, this fantastic resource for everyone, the million-dollar question is, what have you eaten today?
Abel James: Oh, good one. So, that’s the question that I can almost not even ask on my show, because a lot of people are so embarrassed about what they actually do.
So, I started the morning with supplements. A lot of them are herbs and adaptogens, you know, like rhodiola is one of my favorites. And fermented cod liver oil I usually have in the morning, because it’s a nice little dose of fat and kind of like front-loads lot of nutrition. Vitamin D is something I take pretty much every day. So, I’ll take that in the morning as well.
And then I made myself … well, every morning I wake up, drink a big glass of water, I usually keep that going throughout the day. So, lots of hydration.
And I had … this is my sixth interview today.
Stuart Cooke: Oh, crikey.
Abel James: And I have two more after this.
Guy Lawrence: Oh, wow.
Abel James: So, on interview days I generally fast until the evening. Sometimes until the afternoon, depends if I have the time or the breaks.
So, I make myself my own, like, usually I roast the coffee about once a week, so I’ll make some French press coffee and then I’ll fill it up with a tablespoon or two of heavy cream or some sort of fat. Which gives me some interest, right? I like drinking that with my coffee and I might have some coconut oil with it or medium-chain triglycides or other fat that I put in there.
So, that’s what I had today and I’ve had, I think, two cups of coffee with probably about three tablespoons of heavy cream, pasture-raised. And then right before this interview I felt like I wanted something and so my wife made an awesome green smoothie, which we have almost every day.
That’s usually how I break my fast, is by having basically a blended-up salad. But you can pick the right thing so it tastes really good.
So, it’s got like three different types of greens in it. It’s got strawberries. It has chia seeds and flax, so it’s full of omegas, the right kinds of fats, and plenty of fiber. So, I hit that with some coconut on top, some shredded coconut, because it’s nice to chew on something.
And that’s all I’ve eaten today.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fantastic.
Abel James: Tonight I think we’re going to have a big steak and probably a big salad and maybe a side of red rice, I think we have some going. And we have some soup. Some bone broth that we made, that’s left over, that we’re just going to heat up and some of that too and probably some really tasty chocolate or some of Alison’s homemade cookies for dessert.
Stuart Cooke: Wow. It’s almost breakfast time and you are making me hungry.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: That is fantastic.
Guy Lawrence: That’s awesome. Mate, we have a couple of wrap-up questions for the podcast.
Abel James: Hit it.
Guy Lawrence: And first one is, are there any books that you’ve read that have been a great influence in your life?
Abel James: “Chi Running” by Danny Dreyer. He’s one of my past guests. That’s one of the most underrated books there is I think.
It’s about how to incorporate symmetry and balance into your movements. Specifically for running, but it really applies to almost everything using, you know, ancient … I’ve seen a lot of similar things in Taoist textbooks and certainly like the tai chi and things like that.
That’s an awesome book. It’s called “Chi Running.” Danny Dreyer’s the writer who’s been on my show.
Guy Lawrence: We’ll include it in the show notes. Yeah. Fantastic.
Abel James: Yeah. That one’s great.
The “Perfect Health Diet” is done by Paul Jaminet. It came out a few years ago; another just wonderfully researched book.
And Paul … I was fortunate to hang out with him a bunch of times and kind of become friends with him. And he’s not your typical health professional, in the sense that he’s not really interested in any of the marketing or whatever. He likes research and he likes the science.
And so I really like that book too, the “Perfect Health Diet.”
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. Perfect. I’ll check them out. I haven’t seen any of those two.
And last one is, and this is a pearler. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Abel James: I worked with this Russian guy when I worked at restaurants growing up. And on one catering gig, he just messed up royally. I don’t know what happened exactly, but the boss was really pissed off and this guy was not having a good time. And then he just kind of like turned to me and I’m 14 years old or whatever and he’s this massive Russian guy and he’s just like, “Every kick in the butt is a step forward.”
This is how it started off and you could tell that he didn’t care at all. He was going to have a great day no matter what. And after I kind of like saw that happen and I was like, “All right. That’s cool.” The way that he handled that, I want to be able to handle something like that …
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Take it on the chin and move on.
Abel James: … when the world comes crashing down on me someday.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, that works. That’s fantastic.
Guy Lawrence: Awesome, mate. And is there anything coming up in the future, Abel? Anything you’d like to share? Any exciting projects?
Abel James: Sure. Yeah. We’re excited about … well, we decided basically that, this is my wife and I, this is something that we’re just going to do, you know. We’re going to make this our … we’ve been doing it full-time for a while, but we weren’t sure exactly if we wanted to do apps or you know some other type of publishing or helping publish other people or whatever. But we decided to make the blog and the podcast and our new video series kind of our main thing.
So, we just recorded a huge cooking class, that we invite all these cameras into our kitchen. We set up a bunch of GoPros and other cameras. And so, it’s like documentary-quality. Just hanging out with us in the kitchen learning how to cook things quickly and easily.
And so, it’s called The Wild Diet Cooking Class and you can find that at: FatBurningMan.com/cooking.
So that’s just one of the things, but if you go to FatBurningMan.com and sign up for the newsletter, we’re planning to come out with cool stuff like that every few months or so and just keep a steady clip of like, “You guys want to learn more about ketosis? All right. We’ll do this class.”
Stuart Cooke: Perfect
Abel James: And keep that going.
Yeah. So, it’s been fun. It’s a lot of work, but after taking about a year off traveling the world and going to Australia, which is loads of fun, it’s been really cool to come back with a renewed passion and focus.
Guy Lawrence: That’s awesome, mate and for your book, “The Wild Diet” as well, go back to FatBurningMan.com, as well?
Abel James: You can actually, if you want to see that, you can go to: WildDietBook.com.
Guy Lawrence: Okay. There you go and we’ll put a link in the show notes, as well. Brilliant.
Abel James: Right on. Thank.
Guy Lawrence: Abel, thanks so much for coming on the show. That was a treat. And I have no doubt everyone listening to this will get a heap out of that. That was awesome.
Abel James: Awesome. Yeah. What a pleasure. Thank you for having me.
Stuart Cooke: No problems and we really appreciate it. And you enjoy the rest of the day. Good luck with your interviews and enjoy that meal. Sounds delicious.
Abel James: Thank you so much. You guys have a great day.
Guy Lawrence: Thanks, Abel.
Stuart Cooke: Thank you buddy. Take care. Bye, bye.
Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.
How do you put a claim like this into a short video (above)? In all honesty you can’t, but hopefully it will whet the appetite enough for you to dig deeper and listen to the full fascinating interview with investigative journalist and NYT bestselling author Nina Teicholz.
In 2014, Nina released her book ‘The Big Fat Surprise’ that was nine years in the making. Within the book she reveals the unthinkable: that everything we thought we knew about dietary fats is wrong.
The book received rave reviews including:
“Most memorable healthcare book of 2014″ – Forbes.com
Full Interview: A Big Fat Surprise! Why I Eat Saturated Fat & Exercise Less
Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions.
So, if you’re watching this in video you can see it’s a beautiful day here in Sydney as I stand on my local Maroubra Beach and I might even be tempted to get a wave a little bit later, as well, but on to today’s guest.
We have the fantastic Nina Teicholz today. So, if you’re unfamiliar with Nina, she is an investigative journalist and she spent the last nine years putting a book together that was released in 2014 called “The Big Fat Surprise.” It hit The New York Times bestsellers list as well, which is an awesome achievement.
So, if you’re wondering what Nina’s all about, well the title of the book is a slight giveaway, but yes, dietary fat. And if you’ve been frustrated over the years, like myself and Stu, about the mixed messages of nutrition and what the hell’s going on, Nina sets the record straight today. Especially when it comes to what fats we should be eating, what fats we should be avoiding and even the whole debate around vegetable oils, which I avoid like the plague anyways. I don’t even debate about it anymore.
So, there’s gems of information.
Now, I must admit, I didn’t know a great deal about Nina, but she came highly recommended and this is the first time I met on this podcast today and I thought she was an absolute rock star. She was awesome. And yeah, it was a pleasure interviewing her and yeah, you’ll get a lot out of it.
Stick with it, because it’s action-packed and it’s probably a podcast I’m going to listen to twice, just to make sure I understand all the information.
Last, but not least, I know I ask every episode, but if you could leave a review for us. If you’re enjoying these podcasts and you get something out of it, all I ask is that you leave a review. Five star it and subscribe to it. This is going to help other people reach this information too so they can benefit from it as well.
One of my ambitions is to get the Health Sessions into the top ten on iTunes, in the health and fitness space and I really need your help to do that. So, we’re definitely gathering momentum. We’re moving up the charts and this would mean a lot to us if you just took two minutes to do that.
Anyway, let’s go on to Nina. It’s an awesome podcast. Enjoy.
Guy Lawrence: Hi, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke. Hi, Stewie.
Stuart Cooke: Hello buddy.
Guy Lawrence: And our lovely guest today is Nina Teicholz. Nina, welcome to the show.
Nina Teicholz: Thanks for having me. It’s good to be here.
Guy Lawrence: It’s awesome. Very excited about today. It’s a topic that definitely fascinates us. We’ve had various people coming on the show, talking about all things, fat especially, and looking forward to getting your collective experience over the years and being able to share it with us and our audience. Yeah, it’s going to be awesome. So, it’s much appreciated, Nina.
So, just to get the show started and the ball rolling, would you mind just sharing a little bit about yourself, what you do and your own personal journey for everyone?
Nina Teicholz: Right. Well, I’m a journalist. I’ve been a journalist for decades. I live in New York City. And about a decade ago I sort of plunged into this whole area of nutrition.
And that started because I was doing a series of investigative food pieces for Gourmet Magazine, which is a food magazine in the states. And I was assigned to do a story about trans fats, which are now famous, but back then nobody really knew about it. I wrote this story that kind of broke that whole topic open in the U.S. That led to a book contract and I started writing a book about trans fats.
And then I realized that there was this whole, huge, untold story about dietary fat in general and how our nutrition polices seemed to have gotten it terribly wrong. And then after that it was decade of reading every single nutrition science study I could get my hands on and just doing this, like, deep dive into nutrition science. At the end of which I wrote this book called, or I came out with a book that was published last year, called “The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet.”
That book has been controversial, but also successful. It became a bestseller internationally in, you know, it really was the first book to really make the case for why not only fat was good for health, but saturated fat. You know, in butter, dairy, meat, cheese, the kind of fat in animal foods was not bad for health.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Nina Teicholz: And maybe those foods were even good for health. So, that, of course, turns everything know upside down on its head. So…
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Absolutely.
Stuart Cooke: Fantastic.
So, just thinking then, Nina, that you’re completely absorbed in research and medical studies and things like that. At what point during that journey did you question what you were eating?
Nina Teicholz: Well, I started out as a, you know, what I call a near-vegetarian. Since I was in my late teens I had basically, like most American women, I had eaten a pretty low-fat diet, very nervous about eating any kind of fat at all. And I hadn’t eaten red meat in decades. I had like, little bits of chicken and fish. And I was, you know, I was a good deal fatter than I am now. But I also used to just exercise manically. I use to, really, for an hour a day, I would bike or run and I still wasn’t particularly slim.
So, when I started this book, it took me, I would say, a few years until I started really believing what I was reading. Which is to say, that fat wasn’t bad for health and I started to eat more fat.
And then I started to; like, I would say it took me a good five years before I would; I could actually cook a piece of red meat. Like, buy a piece of raw red meat and taste it, because I just hadn’t, you know, all I had in my; I’d only had vegetarian cookbooks and it just seemed; it was like a foreign thing to me.
But, I’m not one of these people, like, I know you probably have listeners who they just like they see the light from one day to the next and they can radically remake their whole diet and that was not me. It just took a long time for me to make that transition.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. In a way it’s such a big topic to get your head around in the first place, because we’ve been told the low-fat message, well, I have my whole life, you know. And when I first started hearing this myself, I was like, “Really? Come on. No way.” But then over the years, you know, I applied it and it’s changed my life, really.
So, what I’m intrigued in as well, if you wouldn’t mind sharing with us, Nina, is how did we end up demonizing fat in the first place?
Nina Teicholz: Well, that really goes back to the 1950s. I mean, there was always this idea that fat would make you fattening, because fat calories are more; they’re more densely packed. And there’s nine calories per gram of fat and there’s only four or five in carbohydrates.
So, there was always this idea that maybe fatty foods would also make you fat. But it really didn’t get going as official policy that all experts believe; it started in the 1950s and I have to back up a little bit if you don’t mind?
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Go for it.
Nina Teicholz: I mean, it actually started with saturated fat, right? It wasn’t; it all started with the idea that saturated fat and cholesterol were bad, would give you heart disease. And that really started the 1950s.
It’s a story that I tell in my book, it’s been told by others, how a pathologist from the University of Minnesota named Ancel Keys, developed this hypothesis. He called it his diet-heart hypothesis, that if you eating too much saturated fat and cholesterol it would clog your arteries and give you a heart attack.
And this was in response to the fact that there was really a panic in the United States over the rising tide of heart disease, which had come from pretty much out of nowhere. Very, very few cases in the early 1900s and then it became the number one killer. And our president, Eisenhower, himself, had a heart attack in 1955; was out of the Oval Office, out of the White House for 10 days.
So, the whole nation was in a panic and into that steps this Ancel Keys with his idea. It wasn’t the only idea out there, but he was this very aggressive kind of outsized personality, with this unshakable faith in his own beliefs and he kind of elbowed his way to the top.
So, the very first recommendations for telling people to avoid animal foods, saturated fats and cholesterol, in order to reduce their heart attack risk, those were published in 1961 by the American Heart Association, which was the premier group on heart disease at the time, still is. But at that point there was nobody else.
And so, that started in 1961. Then by 1970 they’re saying, “Well, its not just saturated fat. It’s all fat, because if you reduce fat in general that’s likely to keep calories low.” That was always the argument. That somehow it would just keep calories low and so that was probably a good idea to avoid fat all together. That started in 1970.
Then you see this low-fat diet, which, you know, there’s no evidence. There was no clinical trials. There’s no evidence at all. It just was like; kind of this idea that people had. That was adopted by the U.S. government in 1980, so then it became federal policy.
The whole government is kind of cranking out this idea and all its programs are conforming with it and then throughout the ’80s you see it spreading around the world. So, it spreads to your country. It spreads to Great Britain. It spreads everywhere. And then all Western countries follow the U.S. and our advice.
So, that’s how we got into this whole mess.
Stuart Cooke: Wow.
Nina Teicholz: And, you know, it’s; now we’re starting to get out of it. But it’s been decades in the making.
Stuart Cooke: Crikey. It’s ludicrous when you think about it based upon zero, I guess, concrete medical knowledge at all. I’m just; I’m intrigued about the studies that are set up, that guide us on this journey. I mean, how are these nutritional studies, I guess, initiated? And it seems that they can be so easily biased. Is that true?
Nina Teicholz: Oh, you know that is such a huge topic.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Nina Teicholz: I mean, there are thousands of nutritionists studies and we all know what it’s like to feel like be whip-sawed by the latest study and how do you make sense of them? How do you put them in perspective? Is really the question. What do you make of the latest mouse study to come out?
So, the way it all began was with the study that was done by Ancel Keys, called the “Seven Countries Study.”
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Nina Teicholz: And that was done on nearly 12,000 men, men only, in seven countries, mainly Europe, but also the U.S. and Japan. And that was a study; it’s called an epidemiological study; and that’s the key thing to know about it. It’s the kind of study that can show an association, but not causation.
So, it can show; it looks at your diet, and usually these studies they test diet just once and they ask you, “What did you eat in the last 24 hours?” You know how well you can remember that, right? And then 10 years later they come back and see if you’ve died of a heart attack or what’s happened to you.
So, even in the best of studies where let’s say they ask you three times what you at in the last 24 hours or they try to confirm what you say with what they measure; maybe they measure your diet. But even in the best of those studies, they can still only show association.
So, let’s say they find, as Ancel Keys did in that first epidemiological study, let’s say they find that you don’t eat very much saturated fat and if you’re one of those people, you tend to live longer. But not eating a lot of animal foods, you know, in post World War II, let’s say Greece or Italy or Yugoslavia, which is what Ancel Keys discovered; that was; those people were also, they were poverty-stricken people, devastated by World War II. They also didn’t eat a lot of sugar.
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Nina Teicholz: Right? Because they didn’t have it. But; so you don’t know, was it the sugar? Was it the fat? An epidemiological study can never tell you. Or is it something you didn’t even think to measure? Was it the absence of magnesium in the soil? Was it your, you know, now is it your internet use? Is it your exposure to plastic? You don’t know all those things you can’t think to measure. You’ll never know in an epidemiological study.
But that was, that Seven Countries Study was the basis of that original American Heart Association recommendation and it’s also been the basis of a lot of other bad advice that’s based on these kinds of studies that only show association.
So, the better kind of data is called a clinical trial, where you taka a group of people and you divide them into two groups and you give one group this kind of, you know, a high-fat diet; the other group a low-fat diet and you see; everything about those groups is the same. It’s what’s called “controlling.” You’re controlling for internet use, for magnesium in the soil, or whatever. You take them in the same city; you assume they’ve got the same exposure to all that stuff, so you don’t have to worry about it. You just can measure the effect of the diet or you know, give one a drug and the other not a drug.
So, clinical trials are the kinds of studies that can provide rigorous evidence. And, you know, that they’re harder to do. They are expensive. It’s expensive to feed people. It’s expensive to; you know, usually the good clinical trials really control the diet all day long. It’s best if you do them on institutionalized people, where you can totally control the diet.
But there are clinical trials out there now; now there are after all these years, and you know, all those clinical trials show first, you know, one that saturated fats does not cause heart disease, does not cause any kind of disease, and that the low-fat diet that we embarked upon, when it was finally tested in big clinical trials, was shown to be either, at best, totally ineffective and at worst, it looks like it could very likely provokes heart disease by creating worsened blood lipids.
Stuart Cooke: Wow.
Nina Teicholz: So, but, those clinical trials, when they eventually came out it was sort of too late, because the official dogma had already charged ahead.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Crikey. Yeah. We’re still seeing an absolute barrage of low-fat goods on the shelves and that message is still loud and proud. People are still completely fearful of fat. It’s insane, isn’t it?
Nina Teicholz: Yeah. I don’t know what the official recommendations are in Australia, but I know in the U.S. they’ve tried to back off the low-fat diet. Like they don’t include that language anymore.
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Nina Teicholz: But they still model all their diets as being low-fat. Low-fat is sort of defined as anywhere between 25 and 30, 35 percent of calories is fat.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, okay.
Nina Teicholz: You know, before the low-fat diet we were; all our countries were eating 40, 45 percent fat.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Nina Teicholz: So, we’ve really dramatically reduced our fat intake. But, you know, our officials just can’t; it’s hard for them to back out of it. It’s just our; all of our food supplies are based on the low-fat diet. I mean, all of our cattle has been bred to be leaner for instance, you know, amongst many other things.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. From over the years of what I’ve seen as well, even if people adopt a higher-fat diet, there’s still a huge amount of confusion about fats themselves.
Nina Teicholz: Right.
Guy Lawrence: So, I’d love to get a little bit of clarity on that today as well. Like for vegetable oils for instance. You know, where did vegetable oils come from and the idea of them being healthy, when, you know, when I avoid them like the plague.
Nina Teicholz: Well that’s another amazing story and I’m not flogging my book, but it’s only place where the history of vegetable oils is really set out. And I just couldn’t believe what I’ve discovered about them. I mean, so the basic thing to know it that they didn’t exist as a foodstuff until really the early 1900s.
Before 1900, the only fats that were really used, well at least in America, I don’t know about Australia, but were butter and lard. Around the world it was butter and lard were the main fats that were used in cooking. And there was some olive oil in Italy, you know, in the Mediterranean.
But that starts later then you think, actually. And before that all oils were used; they were used for industrial uses. They were used to make soap. There were a lot of uses of oils, but it was not for eating.
And then; and so the very first oils introduced for eating, just as plain oils, they didn’t come around; in the U.S. they were introduced in bottles in the 1940s and before that they had; oils are unstable, you know, and they oxidize and they go rancid and they won’t last in shelves.
So, before that, in 1911, in the U.S. at least, they were introduced as like a kind of imitation lard. It was called Crisco that we have. And that they harden the oils through a process called hydrogenation and that produces trans fats. Which is why we all know about that now.
But that was first invented to make those oils stable, to harden them, so that they don’t oxidize and grow rancid.
So, that’s when they came into our food supply. That industry, the vegetable oil industry includes some of the biggest companies in the world now; ADM, Monsanto, Cargill, IOI Loders Croklaan. I don’t know if those are familiar names to you, but they’re huge companies. And they from the very; from the 1940s on, they figured out how to influence; like for instance, they were hugely influential in launching the American Heart Association. Which then wound up recommending vegetable oils for health. Because …
So, if you get rid of the saturated fats, what do you replace them with? You replace them with unsaturated fats and that’s vegetable oils.
So, these companies got their products recommended for fighting heart disease, basically. And they did that by infiltrating into our most trusted institutions, including the American Heart Association and also the National Institute of Health. And that’s why we think vegetable oils are good for health.
I mean, the main argument was that they lower your total… and originally it was they lower your total cholesterol. And then we could measure other things like LDL and HDL, the argument was they can lower your LDL cholesterol and therefore they fight heart disease. Well, I mean, that whole cholesterol story turns out not to be so simplistic.
So, that’s how they came into the food supply and that’s how they came to be viewed as healthy.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah and did it in everything. Like when you walk into the local supermarket, well the commercial supermarkets, I should say; they’re in so many foods.
Stuart Cooke: Well, yeah, 99 percent, I think, of our processed and packaged foods will contain them in some way, shape or form which is kind of crazy. And you touched a little bit on trans fats as well earlier; Nina and I wonder whether you could just talk a little bit about that today? Because that is, that’s a phrase that is quite fearful over here and I know on the packaging at least a lot of the manufacturers are very proud to say, “zero trans fat.” So, what exactly is it?
Nina Teicholz: Well, so when those vegetables oils are hardened, that process that I just mentioned called hydrogenation, that’s just an industrial process and one of the side effects of that process is it creates some amount of trans fats in that hardened vegetable oil, right? You harden the vegetable oil so it can be used precisely as you say in those packaged goods, right?
So, a lightly hydrogenated oil would become; be used as the basis of like a frosting or something. A soft, creamy substance. And the more; if you create; a more highly hydrogenated oil containing more trans fats would be used to say make the hard chocolate coating of a candy or something.
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Nina Teicholz: So, you have varying amounts of trans fats in all of those hardened vegetable oils that are the backbone of our food industry.
Trans fats, you know, from that very first introduction of Crisco imitation lard that they were always in there and scientists kind of knew about it and were worried about it, from the 1970s on. But it really wasn’t until they were; really didn’t become exposed and known until the early 1990s. And it turns out that they slightly raise your LDL cholesterol. I mean, that’s; that was the evidence that upon which trans fats were kind of hanged by various expert agencies.
Trans fats are not good for health probably, but not for that reason. I mean, I think their effect on LDL is very minimal. They also seem to interfere with the functioning of your cell membranes. They kind of lodge themselves into critical key spots in every single one of your cell membranes. And they increase calcification of cells.
So, definitely trans fats are not a good thing. They were kind of condemned, I think, for the wrong reason. But, you know, the main issue now is like, what’s replacing trans fats? So, if you get rid of partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, what replaces them? And my worry is that they’re just being… in restaurants, which used to use these hydrogenated oils in their fryers.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Nina Teicholz: Again, they were hydrogenated to be stable. That means not to create oxidation products when heated. So, in this country at least, restaurants are going back to using just regular old non-hydrogenated oils, which are toxic where they’re heated.
They create these hundreds of oxidation products and they create massive inflammation in the body, I mean, there’s all kinds of very worrisome health effects of those non-hydrogenated regular vegetable oils.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Nina Teicholz: They’re also inventing new oils. There’s something called, interesterified oil that they’re inventing to try to use instead of these trans fats oils. So, the trans-free options are to me, like, equally worrisome or if not more so. And, you know, what should be happening is just to return to butter and lard. That’s what we used to use.
Stuart Cooke: Yup.
Nina Teicholz: That’s what we used to use. Those are solid, stable fats that … and tallow, McDonalds used to fry their French fries in tallow. They’re solid and they’re stable and they don’t oxidize and they don’t go rancid.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Nina Teicholz: And that’s what we should return to. But we can’t, because we’re; there’s this taboo around saturated fats that we can’t use them.
Guy Lawrence: Wow. That’s incredible, isn’t it? I was going to say with the next question, like to just to simplify everything we’ve just discussed for the listeners, is like, what fats would you eat and what fats would you avoid? Like from everyday to …
Nina Teicholz: You should cook with stable natural fats. Lard. Butter. Ghee.
Guy Lawrence: Ghee.
Nina Teicholz: Coconut oil. Tallow if you have it. Those are stable. They’re natural. They’re the fats that we’ve always cooked with throughout human history.
If you want an oil for your salad dressing or whatever, olive oil, which; olive oil is better than vegetable oils. The reason is that olive oil is what’s called monounsaturated. It only has one double bond that could react with oxygen. Vegetable oils are polyunsaturated, meaning they have multiple double bonds. Every single one of those double bonds can react with oxygen. So, you want to just keep your double bonds low and that means using olive oil in favor of those other vegetable oils.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fantastic.
Nina Teicholz: Is that enough?
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. That’s good advice.
So, you touched upon the olive oil as well and I’m just thinking about, you know, in our society today we’ve got a diet for everything. You know we’ve got Paleo diet, low carb/high fat, Mediterranean; crikey there’s so many. With the research that you’ve done, are any of these existing diets close to optimal for long-term health?
Nina Teicholz: You know, I think; so, looking at the clinical trial research again, that kind of good rigorous data …
Stuart Cooke: Yup.
Nina Teicholz: It’s strongly supports a lower carb/higher fat diet for better health. That diet is better at fighting helping people lose weight, at keeping their blood glucose steady and under control, which is how you keep diabetes; prevent diabetes or keep diabetes under control and also for improving cardiovascular risk. The majority of cardiovascular risk factors seem better on that diet. So, that’s a diet with anywhere from 45 to 80 percent fat even and carbohydrates, you know, 20 to 40 percent carbohydrates.
I mean, people really respond to diets differently.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Nina Teicholz: And so, your nutrition needs are different if you’re young, if you’re a child, if you’re elderly. It’s just so important to know that people respond differently to different diets. But; and critically it depends on whether or not your metabolism has kind of tipped over into this unhealthy state.
So, if you’re obese or if you have diabetes or if you have, are fighting heart disease, you are more sensitive to carbohydrates. So, your tolerance for them is lower. If you’re healthy, if you look like you guys, your tolerance is higher for carbs. If you’re active and you’re burning calories a lot, your tolerance is higher.
So, you know, you have to kind of adjust your nutrition plan based on that. But, you know, I think that one of the key things to realize is to eat a higher fat diet you have to eat, and if you want your fats to be natural, based in natural real foods, you just; it has to be a diet that’s higher in animal foods.
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Nina Teicholz: You know, that’s again why; it’s one of the reasons why meat, butter, dairy, eggs, cheese is important to have in any kind of diet. The other reason is, is those are the foods where, you know, the majority of nutrients are, like almost all nutrients are, that you need for good health. And that’s not true in plant foods. It’s very hard to get the nutrition you need on a plant-based diet.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah and this is coming from someone that was a vegetarian, like you said as well.
Nina Teicholz: Yeah. Oh my God, you know, I had anemia. I had; most of my young adulthood I had anemia and all kinds of health issues that I had no idea were based on nutrition, but seem to have been now that they’re resolved.
Stuart Cooke: Wow.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Wow. And just to tie up the fat thing and I know because one question we get asked a lot, “Well, how much fat do I eat?” So, what would a plate look like for you at a meal? Could it be as simple as you cook your veg, you have your steak and then you put a big knob of butter on it kind of thing to have the dietary fat for that meal? What would your advice be?
Nina Teicholz: Yeah. I mean, that sounds like a great dinner to me. I mean, I’ve heard various ways of explaining it to people, you know. Like, half your calories should come from animal foods and half the volume on your plate should come from plant foods. Or what did somebody else say? Eat meat; eat animal foods until you are full and then have some fruits and vegetables.
Guy Lawrence: Wow.
Nina Teicholz: You know, I think, yeah I think like visually if you think like half your plate is being; having animals foods on it, like eggs, meat, diary and then the other half being salad greens, you know, fruits and things. That’s probably a pretty healthy diet.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Just keeping it simple.
Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. So, just thinking now then based upon where we are right now, with all the information that’s coming from, you know, the government, the doctors, you know, health advisors. So, if I go to the doctor’s and the doctor says, “Look, you know, you need to get in better shape. I need you to adopt a low-fat diet.” Now, that’s hugely confusing for me now with this barrage of information, new information that’s come out, saying the complete opposite. So, where would I start if I come back from the doctors with that info?
Nina Teicholz: Right. Well, first you sign up for your podcast.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: That’s a good one.
Guy Lawrence: We send it to so many people and friends, you know, who have had that message.
Nina Teicholz: Yeah. And then you send your doctor my book or you send him your podcast. I mean, this is; I mean it is confusing. I think that until the paradigm shifts and our expert advice shifts, we’re going to live; we’re all going to live with this kind of cognitive dissonance between what our doctors say, who, you know, by the way have; most doctors, at least in America have about one hour out of their entire, what, seven-year education is at one hour or one day is devoted to nutrition. Really, they don’t know about nutrition. Even though if you look at polls, most people get their dietary advice from their doctor. So, that’s unfortunate.
But you really do have to become a little bit of an independent thinker, I think, on this subject. You know, especially if you feel like if the low-fat diet isn’t working for you, then there’s your own; I mean, in nutrition everybody is their own “n=1” experiment, right?
Stuart Cooke: Yup. Yeah.
Nina Teicholz: You know, you can go on a low-fat diet and see if it works for you over time. And then if it doesn’t you can go back to your doctor and say, “You know, that really didn’t work.” And he’ll say, “Well, you didn’t exercise enough and you didn’t lower your fat enough.”
Stuart Cooke: Yup.
Nina Teicholz: And you can try that advise and see if it works for you. Or you can go on a higher-fat diet and see how well that works.
I mean, I just think that this is a field where there is a kind of alternative view and you have to kind of wean yourself from expert advice in this field. Because the expert advice is really misinformed and it’s entrenched. So; and I think that’s not going to change any time.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. It’s a huge topic and its, yeah, which; you touched on exercise as well. So, question would be, exercise and heart disease are highly related, you know, heart disease and prevention. What’s your thoughts on that?
Nina Teicholz: You know, the recommendations for exercise are mainly based on this idea of burning calories, right? And that’s all based on this idea that weight, your weight, is determined by your calories in, how much you eat, subtracted by your calories out, how much you exercise.
And so, that’s why their recommendations are, you know, burn as many calories as you can. Or, you know, exercise an hour a day to burn calories.
But it just turns out that, you know, weight is not so simply regulated by calories in versus calories out. And we all know, like, I could probably go to a meal with you guys and you’d probably eat a massive amount of food and I’d be sitting there eating like, nothing and thinking, “Why are these guys so slim?” I mean, we all know people for whom that’s true and we all know fat people who just don’t seem to eat very much and we assume that they’re all, you know, stuffing themselves with ice cream every night. But that’s not necessarily true.
The experiments on exercise are uniquely depressing. I mean, they show that when; here’s the most depressing one I’ve ever read, which is kind of emblematic of the whole field, which is, they took a group of people. They had half of them do nothing. The other half trained for marathons for an entire year. They ran like a hundred miles a week, at the end of which the groups were the same in weight. The marathoners hadn’t lost any weight or any more compared to the controlled group. And that was, because when you exercise a lot, you get hungry and then your body, well, your body’s not an idiot, it knows; like it just wants, you know it will make you hungrier and then you’ll eat more and then you’ll replace the calories that you burn.
So, that kind of aerobic exercise does not seem to be effective and there’s a lot of studies like that. I mean, I’m sure you’ve talked about it on your program, the kind of exercise that seems to be supported by better evidence is, like, intense exercise, like, lifting weights or doing sprints or you know, really intense exercise that changes your actual muscles at a cellular level, will actually change their sensitivity to insulin.
Which is totally fascinating. But you don’t have to do a ton of that exercise, you can just do like 15 minutes of it, of intense exercise, and that seems to make, you know, enough of a difference to have an impact.
Stuart Cooke: Perfect. Perfect. Yeah, I have a little 6-minute workout that I do couple of times a week and I’m done and dusted in 6 minutes, but it knocks me sideways. But I feel great for it and I sleep better afterwards and I don’t have to spend hours in the gym on a treadmill.
Nina Teicholz: It’s too bad you’re so obese, really. Obviously it’s not working.
Stuart Cooke: I know. Well, you can’t really see the full body …
Guy Lawrence: Stu, I tell you, as I’ve mentioned on many podcasts, Stu’s body fat is probably at about 8 percent, right? I mean, he eats like a horse, like I can’t keep; like he probably eats physically twice the amount of food I do in a day. It’s incredible. I don’t know how he does it or what he does, but …
Stuart Cooke: Well, it is interesting because we had some genetic testing done on the both of us and our makeup is so very, very different. And it really is a slap in the face for everybody who counts calories, because we are so uniquely different. I couldn’t put on weight if I tried and I have tried. Whereas it’s the opposite for Guy. So, it really does, you know, take a little bit of a mind shift to think, “Well, perhaps it isn’t just about what I’m eating.” Because our bodies are kind of chemical machines rather than just, you know, adhering to the simple principles of energy in/energy out. So …
Nina Teicholz: That’s great.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Nina Teicholz: For women, I would say for women, especially women, you know, of a certain age like me, you know, then there’s other factors; your hormones become involved.
Stuart Cooke: Yes.
Nina Teicholz: I mean, your fat in technical terms, your fat deposition is controlled by your hormones, right?
Stuart Cooke: Yup.
Nina Teicholz: And the reason that carbohydrates fatten you up more is that they trigger the release of a hormone called insulin, right?
Stuart Cooke: Yup.
Nina Teicholz: And then when you get to be my age your hormones change and it becomes; and so that also messes with your fat deposition and then you have to, you have to make adjustments or figure that out. But I mean all of that just shows you that fat is controlled. The deposition of your fat on your body is controlled by your hormones. Insulin is one of those hormones and other hormones have an effect as well.
So, it’s really not about the number of calories that you eat.
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Nina Teicholz: One of the great things about eating a higher-fat diet is it just; you don’t have to count calories. Which is like such an enslaving, awful way to live. You know, you can just eat until you’re full. All the tests on the so-called Atkins diet, all the formal scientific experiments, they don’t tell the people to control calories. That diet works even without counting calories. So …
Stuart Cooke: Yup.
Nina Teicholz: And that’s a fundamental thing, because that is a terrible way to live. Like where you’re counting the number of calories in your toothpaste, because like, you know, you’re just; you’re, I mean, you’re like, “I’m never going to get back in that dress.”
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. The other …
Stuart Cooke: I was just thinking that’s just a perfect product; just low-carbohydrate toothpaste. Why didn’t we think of that? We’d make a fortune.
Nina Teicholz: If you’re counting calories.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. True. True.
Guy Lawrence: And the other thing we see all the time as well, is that when people are counting calories, a lot of the calories they’re indiscriminate about what they eat. Like, there’s no nutrients in to them whatsoever except glucose half the time, you know. It’s just processed carbs and they keep to that. I often wonder what that would be doing to you know, the gut health, the inflammation and all these knock-on effects that are coming from that as well. It’s huge.
Nina Teicholz: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. And just supports; we certainly don’t push the calorie-counting message, that’s for sure.
Stuart Cooke: So, given the fact then, Nina, that you’ve written this amazing book and you’ve just got a wealth of knowledge and it’s a question now that we ask everybody on our show and if you don’t mind and I apologize in advance; can you tell us what you ate today?
Nina Teicholz: Sure. I don’t mind. It’s not very interesting. Let’s see, I two fried eggs for breakfast.
Stuart Cooke: Yup.
Nina Teicholz: I drink a lot of coffee. And then I had a huge bowl of full-fat cottage cheese with walnuts and some raisins for lunch. And I haven’t had dinner yet, because I’m here in California. I don’t know what time it is there, but I haven’t had dinner yet.
Stuart Cooke: Right. Okay.
Nina Teicholz: That’s it.
Guy Lawrence: Perfect. There you go.
Stuart Cooke: Fantastic.
Guy Lawrence: And just touching on that, another thought that came in, because for anyone listening to this that is still eating a low-fat diet, you know, what would you advise them in terms of what you found on transition, you know, to allowing the body to adapt and utilize fat more as a fuel?
Nina Teicholz: Well, so a few things; one is that if you’re transitioning to eating more red meat, if you haven’t eaten red meat in a long time you don’t have a lot of the enzymes that you need to digest it and it does take awhile to build those enzymes back up. So, that’s kind of a slow transition.
The other thing is that typically when people switch to a higher-fat diet, I’m talking about like an Atkins diet that’s quite high in fat, there’s a transition period during which you feel awful. And one of the problems with a bunch of these trials on the Atkins diet is they were like, “Oh, let’s test it for three weeks.” And everybody feels horrible during those three weeks. And they’re like, “Oh, that diet must not work.”
But you have to test it for a longer period of time, because there is this transition period. Your enzymes are changing; your regulatory pathways; your metabolism is changing; you’re switching to burning fat rather than glucose as fuel. That takes time and there are resources to try to help you make that transition without suffering too much.
You know, you’re supposed to drink bone broth and have more sodium and you know, there’s various things that you can do to try to replenish some of the nutrients that are depleted. And you know there’s books; I can recommend a book about that. But you have to get through that transition period and then you start feeling better. That’s the crucial thing.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fantastic. Yeah I just wanted her to touch on that.
And we have a couple of wrap up questions that we ask on the show every week and one was what Stewie just asked for, what you ate today?
Another one is, what books have influenced you the most or what would you recommend to people and this can be outside the nutrition or anything. Is there any that spring to mind?
Nina Teicholz: Well, I haven’t read anything other than nutrition for so long. I feel like, oh yeah, there was probably “Catcher On The Rye” back when I read other kinds of things. But, you know, in nutrition the most important writer in nutrition in my view is Gary Taubes. His book, “Good Calories, Get Bad Calories,” is like the Bible, I think, of this whole field. I think it’s, you know, fantastic. It’s; my book covers a lot that same territory, but it’s maybe a little bit lighter and also covers some other things.
So, yeah, I think that’s the most important book I can think of in this field. He also wrote a book called, “Why We Get Fat.” That’s a little more user-friendly.
Yeah, and then you know, Jane Austin. Read about human nature. Never gets better than that.
Stuart Cooke: Perfect. That’s excellent.
Guy Lawrence: Excellent. And the last one, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Nina Teicholz: Oh, you know I get asked this and then I’m like, “I don’t know anything about; I don’t know how to live.” I don’t know. Actually I just don’t know how to answer that.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Nina Teicholz: I think that maybe in this field, for this audience, the point about taking care of your sleep. I’m a chronic insomniac; I’ve been for years. And that so interferes with your weight, and your ability to function and I’m just getting my sleep in order and I would say, yeah, attention to your sleep. It’s just as important as what you eat.
Guy Lawrence: Perfect and we certainly agree with that one.
Stuart Cooke: That is excellent advice. I am absolutely consumed by all things sleep right now. So, in another conservation, I could chew your ear off about that topic.
Nina Teicholz: Oh, I would really like that. I would really love to hear actually what you know.
Stuart Cooke: Likewise.
Nina Teicholz: It’s a whole; that’s another topic where, you know, where you go to your doctor and what they say is so unhelpful, you know.
Stuart Cooke: Absolutely.
Nina Teicholz: And what you find on the internet is largely unhelpful and it’s hard to find your way to good information. So …
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, they’re all alike. I’m been; I have been infatuated by this probably for the last two years and I’ve read a billion books and a million podcasts. And yeah, I’ve got all these strategies as well that are just like gold and I know now that if I do this thing I’ll have a better nights sleep and it just works. So, yeah …
Nina Teicholz: Thank goodness.
Guy Lawrence: Can you share with us tip, Stu for anyone that’s listening out there.
Stuart Cooke: Okay. One tip; I’ll give you two tips.
Guy Lawrence: There you go.
Stuart Cooke: Blue light and devices wreck sleep, because it interrupts with the body’s production of melatonin. So, if you’re staring at a laptop at 9 o’clock at night and then expect yourself to go into a blissful sleep, it won’t happen.
So, I’ve just been; I wear these blue light blocking glasses. You know, I look like a construction worker. But, crikey, you put them on and ten minutes later you feel sleepy. It’s that crazy.
Nina Teicholz: Wow.
Stuart Cooke: And so, yeah, for me it’s kind of devices off at kind of 6 p.m. and then I try and get into more of a sleep routine where I read and listen to music and prepare myself for sleep wearing those glasses. So, that works.
And the other thing, is a little bit of carbohydrate-cycling. So, following a reasonably low-carbohydrate diet, I tend to have most of my carbohydrates at night before I go to bed. And that really helps with insulin and puts the body in this sleepy state and helps me stay asleep during the night.
So, I find that if I restrict my carbohydrates in the meal at night and just have, I’m going to say carbohydrates, but I’m thinking more of the starchy carbohydrates. So like, sweet potato, things, you know, outside of just the veggies. It works. So, a baked potato, with like guacamole on it; a steak, some veggies covered in olive oil; is my go-to-sleep meal.
We have that on a Monday evening almost religiously and I get the best sleep on Monday night. I just do. So, I’ve been researching a little bit more about that; just about starch and stuff like that and how that plays with our sleep.
Nina Teicholz: All right, I’m signing up for your pod. I’m …
Stuart Cooke: No problem.
Nina Teicholz: Those are great ideas. I’ve heard them, but I mean, that is; really sounds very smart and you’re right. If you can encapsulate that advice and get it out to people, that’s incredible service. So, sign me up.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.
Stuart Cooke: All right and thank you.
Guy Lawrence: That’s a good one, Stu. That’s awesome.
And so, what does the future hold for you, Nina? Anything exciting coming up?
Nina Teicholz: No. I hope to be; have a very dull life and get a lot of sleep. But I am; I’m particularly interested in trying to change the actual nutrition policy, you know, that exists, so that; which is so influential. That’s why your doctor gives you the wrong advice, is that they get their recommendations straight from the government and that’s also true in Australia, I know.
So, I think that that needs to change and I’m hoping to work to try to move that along. And basically, you know, nutrition reform. I mean, it’s one thing to write a book, but then you just have to get that message out there. So, I’m working on that.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. And for everyone listening to this, where is the best to go to get more of you so that you; your website?
Nina Teicholz: I do you have a website.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Nina Teicholz: It’s not so active, but there’s a lot of information there, which is: www.thebigfatsurprise.com.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. And they’d be able to get your book from there too or just on Amazon?
Nina Teicholz: Yes. I think it should still be on Amazon. There’s actually a new version that’s being sold in the UK without the thousands of footnotes at the back. So, that’s; might even be considered beach reading, because it’s a light enough book to carry with you.
Guy Lawrence: Well, Stewie’s going through it at the moment, I’m waiting for him to finish and then I’m going to be reading it.
Nina Teicholz: Oh, good.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fantastic.
Nina Teicholz: Great. Well, it’s lovely to talk to you both.
Guy Lawrence: Thank you so much for coming on this show, Nina. That was an awesome and yeah, everyone’s going to get so much out of it. That’s brilliant.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. It’s been a pleasure. Thank you again, Nina.
Guy Lawrence: Thanks, Nina.
Nina Teicholz: It’s really been great to talk to you.
Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.
Do diets really work long-term? With every weight loss plan, diet calorie counting and exercise regimes out there all claiming small miracles, it can be challenging to figure out what we should really be doing! So who better to ask than a man who lost over 100kg’s without dieting.
And from the words of Ray Martin (A Current Affair TV Program) “He lost more than 100 kilos (220 lbs) without diets or surgery, now meet the man who says we can all melt fat using the power of our minds”
Yes, this week our special guest is Jon Gabriel, which I honestly believe is one of the most inspiring transformational journeys I have ever heard! Jon’s story has been featured on A Current Affair and Today/Tonight in Australia. His success in helping others lose weight has also been discussed on many popular talk shows in the U.S., including The Jane Pauley Show, Hard Copy and Entertainment Tonight.
Full Interview with John Gabriel: How I lost Over 100kg Without Dieting Using These Techniques
In this episode we talk about:
Why diets never work long term
How the body fat just ‘melted’ off him when he applied certain techniques
The best place to start if you are always struggling to lose weight
Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. Today I’m standing at Coogee Beach and that building right behind me is Coogee Surf Club. And believe it or not, that’s where it all began for 180 Nutrition now over five years ago with me and Stu.
And I thought I’d bring the introduction here today, because when we started I had no idea where 180 was going to lead to and what was to follow. And it’s quite a special moment for us, because we’re literally about to launch into the USA. And I never in a million years thought that was going to happen when we started a conversation just over five years ago.
So, from probably about the second week of August, you’ll be able to head to 180nutrition.com for you to listen to this in America and our superfoods are going to be available in America. So, that’s really exciting and a really big deal for us.
So, if you’re over there, check it out.
Anyway, on to today’s guest.
Today’s guest is Jon Gabriel and I reckon this is probably the most transformational story I’ve ever heard and one maybe the internet has ever seen. The guy was weighing in at 186 kilos at one stage in his life and he said he had tried every diet under the sun. It wasn’t that he was lazy, he was just struggling; he even went and saw Dr. Atkins at one point and he feared for his health. And if you see him today, ten years on, the guy’s got a six-pack and looks fantastic. I mean it’s incredible.
And what made Jon’s story even more exceptionable was that, basically, fate intervened with him one day and he should have been on the flight from Newark to San Francisco back on September 11, 2001, yes the terrorist attacks, and he missed the flight and he should have been on it and he said everything changed from then because he realized he’d been gifted a second chance in life. And he moved himself and his family to Australia. And then the weight just started to fall off. And a big part of that was using visualization techniques and meditation and, I guess, letting go of a lot of self-beliefs.
But I guarantee from listening to this episode today, you will be inspired to meditate. You know, if it’s something; like, for me, it’s always been a bit of a task, but I’m fully embracing it at the moment and loving it, only because I’m starting to “get it.” And from this episode, you know, you’re going to be sitting there, getting up an extra hour early in the morning, I promise you.
And last, but not least, before we get on to Jon a big thank you for everyone that’s leaving reviews on iTunes. Please let us know if you’re getting something out of this podcast, leave us a review. Tell us a little bit about your story. It’s awesome to hear them. We know these podcasts are making a big difference in people’s lives. And it’s just wonderful to hear it and know that we’re getting our message out to as many people as possible.
So, if you get the chance leave us a review.
Anyway, let’s go over to Jon Gabriel. This one’s awesome.
[text on screen]: 180 Nutrition
Guy Lawrence: Hi, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke as always. Hi, Stuie.
Stuart Cooke: Hello mate.
Guy Lawrence: And our fantastic guest today is Jon Gabriel. Jon, welcome to the show, mate. Really appreciate your coming on.
Jon Gabriel: Great to be here, Guy. Thanks.
Guy Lawrence: We actually had James Colquhoun on our podcast recently and for anyone listening to this, he’s the man behind Food Matters and Hungry for Change, the awesome documentaries. And we asked him actually, “Of all the people that you’ve met and interviewed, who’s been some of your most inspiring? And he instantly said, “Jon Gabriel.”
Jon Gabriel: Wow.
Guy Lawrence: So, we’re very honored to …
Jon Gabriel: That’s a huge compliment.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. So, we’re very honored to have you here, mate.
Jon Gabriel: Awesome.
Guy Lawrence: So, could you, just to kick start the show, I guess, yeah, share a little bit about your amazing story. Your journey from where you started, what you used to do, too.
Jon Gabriel: Yeah. Sure. So, I used to be over 400 pounds or 180-some-odd kilos and I was working on Wall Street. I was stressed out. I felt like I was killing myself. I felt like I was on a treadmill that was just going too fast.
And I got off of that treadmill and over a two-and-a-half-year period I lost a hundred kilos, or 220 pounds, without restrictive dieting. That is: without forcing myself to eat less or forcefully denying myself and without killing myself with exercise. It was almost as if the weight had just totally melted off of me.
And because of the way the weight melted off of me, I knew I had a really powerful message for the world. And I wrote about how I did it in a book called, “The Gabriel Method.” And “The Gabriel Method” touched a chord with a lot of people that had been trying to lose weight by dieting and have not been successful. And the book went on to get translated into 16 languages and is in 60 countries and a bestseller in several languages.
And we went on to create this whole process of losing weight by what we call getting the body to want to be thin rather than forcing. And even today, there’s; a lot of the information that we put out is similar to what other people are putting out, at least from a nutritional standpoint. There’s like a convergence going on in terms of: You need to take care of your digestion and you need to nourish your body properly and how healthy fats. . . And all this kind of stuff.
But nobody, even today, and this is now ten years down the road, we published The Gabriel Method in 2007, but I lost the weight in 2004. So, it’s been; I’ve been out there now over ten years.
I still don’t hear anybody talking about losing weight by getting your body to want to be thin. I hear people talk about speeding up your metabolism and cutting carbs and healing your digestion and reducing stress, but I never, ever, ever, hear anybody talk about getting your body to want to be thin.
So, our whole focus is the science and study of getting your body to want to be thin, because as in my case and now thousand of people all over the world, when you get your body to actually want to be thin, you’re not at war anymore. You don’t have to; you don’t need to know how many calories you should have in a day. You don’t need to know whether or not you should eat in the morning or in the afternoon or whether you should intermittent fasting or eat every two hours.
You don’t need those rules anymore. Your body does the accounting by itself, because you become, in essence, a naturally thin person. So, that’s what we’re trying to do, is turn people into naturally thin people.
Stuart Cooke: How did you arrive at that solution, Jon? Like where was the light bulb moment?
Jon Gabriel: Right. So, it was; basically it was through my life experience. So, what happened was I was sort of a naturally thin person back in like 1990. I was about the same weight as I am now. I was athletic and I ate a healthy diet. But I didn’t have to ever make an effort to keep maintaining my weight. I was like most people or many people that we know.
And I moved to New York. I started working on Wall Street. Really high-stress job. Working my butt off. Try to make ends meet. Blah, blah, blah.
And as soon as I moved I started gaining weight. And I gained maybe five or ten pounds the first year, five or ten pounds the second year, and I didn’t think too much about it. But then by the third or fourth year I was looking at, you know, I was 220, 250 pounds. A hundred kilos.
And so, that’s the first time I decided that I’m going to do something about it. And I did what everybody does, which was go on a diet. Because this is what we’re taught, right? It’s calories in, calories out, just cut your calories. So, I went on a diet and I lost a little bit of weight and then I’m fighting cravings left and right and I gain it back.
And then I went on this process over an 11-year period, where I went on every diet I could find. And every diet I went on followed the same approach. I would lose five or ten pounds through sheer brute force restriction willpower over a one-month period and then I’d come to this place where I couldn’t take it any more and have a huge binge. I’d gain that ten pounds back, literally, Guy and Stu. And when I say I gained that ten pounds back in a day, two days max. I am not exaggerating, I mean …
Stuart Cooke: Wow.
Jon Gabriel: Boom! It would come back and then a week later I’d be five pounds heavier than when I even started that diet.
So, I went on this process where I lost ten pounds, gained fifteen pounds, lost ten pounds, gained fifteen pounds over a ten-year period till I was over 400 pounds.
Stuart Cooke: Wow.
Jon Gabriel: And when I say I did everything, I met with Dr. Atkins, face-to-face for a month. He’s not alive anymore, obviously. But he was living in New York and so was I, and I met with him every Monday morning at 7 o’clock and I spent three or four thousand dollars with him. And in the end, I’m sitting in his office and he’s reading all my test scores. I’m borderline Type 2 diabetic and insulin resistant, metabolic syndrome, cholesterol through the roof, high blood pressure like you wouldn’t believe, all this stuff. And he just looks at me and he goes, “What are you doing? You’re killing yourself.”
Stuart Cooke: Wow.
Jon Gabriel: And I’m thinking to myself: Is that really the best that you can do, Dr. Atkins? You know, you’ve written this book called The Atkins Diet; 30 million people are on the Atkins Diet. I’m going to you face-to-face and the best that you can do is yell at me? Like, I’m going to lose weight because you’re ashamed of me or like you’re shaming me into losing weight? Like I don’t have enough motivation? I had fitness trainers at six in the morning. I would wake up with fitness trainers.
The important message with me is that I was a disciplined, hardworking person and I think that’s true of most people that gain weight. We have this stereotype, you know, where people are weak and lazy.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: But that’s not the case. What happens, I discovered, is there’s like this switch that goes off in your body where there’s the feedback regulating mechanisms that naturally regulate your body weight get completely out of whack and you have this unregulated mechanism where you just keep gaining and gaining and you’re hungry all the time.
And so, yeah, I would go on these diets, but at 11 o’clock at night if I didn’t have my carbs, you know, donuts, pizzas, whatever, I couldn’t sleep. So, then I’d have to eat that.
So, you know, this thing goes on and it’s not about being weak or lazy or undisciplined or trying hard or any of these things. And you go to the doctor and he goes, “Well, you should just eat less.”
And I remember walking into so many different doctors’ offices and they’d just look at me and they’d just give me this look, like, you know, “Oh, this guy doesn’t care about himself.”
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, as if you don’t care, yeah.
Jon Gabriel: Yeah. “Oh, well, you should just eat less.” And that’s what doctors are saying.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: It is kindergarten medicine. It flies in the face of hormonal molecular biology as we understand it today; it flies in the face of it. There is switch that goes off. I lived through it.
So, when I recognized, and the turning point for me was in 2001 I realized that for whatever reason, my body wanted to be fat and as long as it wanted to be fat there was nothing I could do to stop it. And I stopped dieting. I stopped this whole craziness and I just started researching everything I could about the hormones and the biology of weight. And I had a solid foundation in molecular biology from the University of Pennsylvania because I’d gone to the Wharton School of Business, but I wanted to be a doctor too, so I took all the pre-med courses of organic chemistry, molecular biology and all these.
So, I had enough of a foundation to read the researchers’ reports and make sense of it. And I studied and studied and I realized there were a lot of components to it. The biggest thing I studied was stress and the hormonal biology and the biochemistry of stress and what I discovered is that stress sometimes causes the exact same chemistry as a famine.
So, if you were in a famine you would have certain changes in your chemistry. So, your triglycerides would elevate and your cortisol levels would elevate. Certain proinflammatory cytokines would elevate and all these things are the exact same things that happen when you’re in a famine and you’re chronically hungry all the time. And what it is, is a signal to your brain that you’re in a famine.
So, what happens is your brain gets tricked by other stresses into activating the famine mechanism and it becomes this unregulated thing. Because if you were, if you were in a famine in real life you’d have all these stresses. Your brain would go, “Oh, we’re in a famine and we need to eat and eat and eat.” Then you’d eat and you wouldn’t be in a famine anymore. You wouldn’t have the stress anymore and you wouldn’t be signaled anymore.
But if the stress is coming from something other than a famine, but it’s causing the same biology as the famine …
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, right.
Jon Gabriel: It’s like the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. Like, I once saw this National Geography thing with these sharks and this shark had had its belly cut open and its intestines were coming out, but it was a feeding frenzy, and the shark was eating its own intestines. So, it’s like, you know like, one side doesn’t …
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: You know, it’s like one part of your brain doesn’t know what the other part is doing, you know. And this is what people are living through. They’re living through this situation where one part of the brain is not responding properly to outside stresses.
So, what I started to do was look at all the different stresses that can cause this trigger to go off. And so, it turns out there’s a number of stresses and that’s what we published in The Gabriel Method. And some of them are physical and some of them are emotional.
So, if you’re in chronic emotional stress all the time, you’re pumping out proinflammatory cytokine cortisol, the same way you were in a famine in certain instances, not for everybody and we can talk about that, but for certain people it’s the same.
If your digestion is off and you’ve got leaky gut, you’re pumping out proinflamm; you’re pumping out toxins into your bloodstream, which is activating your immune system and causing a low-grade chronic inflammatory XXtechnical glitchXX [:12:40.0] it’s the same as famine. If your triglycerides are elevated because of certain processed foods you’re eating, it’s the same as famine.
So, the key is to change your biology so that your brain is not whacked out anymore and getting miscommunication. And then what happens (and this is what happen for me and this is what happens with the people we work with) it’s like imagine this scenario: You’ve got 200 pounds of excess weight on you. Your brain, because it’s whacked out because of the chemistry, thinks you have zero fat, right? So, you’re eating and eating and eating. And this is what’s going on with people. And then all of a sudden one day imagine you wake up and your brain is getting an accurate assessment of how much weight you have on you and your brain says, “Oh my God, we’ve got 200 pounds of excess weight. This is crazy!” And then what happens is you just start losing weight like crazy. So, I just stopped being hungry.
What I did is, I moved to western Australia. I started growing my own food. I started meditating. I started visualizing. I started taking lots of probiotics and digestive enzymes. Taking super greens with protein powers and smoothies and all this kind of stuff. And all of the stresses that were causing this went away and the weight started to melt off me and I wasn’t even trying to lose weight at that point. I just couldn’t; I just had given up on life kind of.
In my job, I couldn’t work anymore. I was just totally at a breaking point and I just wanted to take care of myself for a little while.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: But the weight started to melt off of me. Melt off of me. And this is; and then it just totally melted off of me, all of it, and I’ve been the same weight now for ten years and I never, ever diet. It’s just that I know how to take care of the communication mechanism that causes your brain to listen properly to the amount of fat that you have. And that’s what I do when I work with people.
And the most overriding comment that I get from people when I work with them and these are people that have been serial dieting for 30 years and might have 50 or 100 kilos or 200 pounds to lose, they say; they go, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’m just not that hungry anymore. You know, you tell me to eat a good breakfast. I can’t eat a good breakfast and I’m not hungry after lunch. Should I still eat every two hours?” No! You have changed. You’ve got it. Your chemistry has changed. Let your body lose weight. Let your body do the accounting now. Your body is your own best friend right now. Let it lose weight.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: Get your body to want to be thin; you lose weight sustainably.
Stuart Cooke: Fascinating.
Guy Lawrence: Did you have to reach a finite tipping point? Like a breaking point? Because we find that with many people that it’s almost like something has to become unbearable and then they snap.
Jon Gabriel: It’s like a perfect storm. It was like a perfect storm for me.
So, I was at 400 pounds. I was working three jobs on Wall Street, you know, I was running three companies on Wall Street and so I was working around the clock. So, one of them was a; just a brokerage company that had 16 brokers working for me. Another one was a startup online company and another one was an online overnight trading company. So, I was getting up every two hours to check the markets.
So, this was what I was doing. I was just racing and racing and racing, but at the same time carrying 200 extra pounds on me.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: So, I felt like I couldn’t go any further. Then I was almost on one of the planes that crashed in XX2011 – misspoke. Edit? 0:15:34.000XX and I just said, “I’m on borrowed time right now. I almost died. Life’s giving me a second chance and here I am killing myself. I’m just going to take a step back.”
And I sold my business. I moved to western Australia. I bought a piece of land. On 12 acres I started growing my own food and I just started living day-to-day. I figured; okay, it didn’t cost me much to buy the property, because currency was real strong for the U.S. dollar back then; this was some time ago. And property prices were really, really cheap in western Australia back then. So, it cost me; it cost me almost; it cost me $75,000, something like that, to buy this property.
You know, it was like; and I just; I said, “Okay. I have a place to live and I have some food, because it’s growing outside. So, today’s taken care of.” And I started living just one day at a time, saying, “Okay. I have a place to stay.” And as I was saying; I used to say to myself, “Okay. Air is free. I have a place to stay.”
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: “And I have food and water. So, today is taken care of.” And that was how I lived my life. And as I was doing that, it just; I didn’t; I wasn’t even trying. I still had; like I still would buy chocolate, eat pizza and all things that you can’t eat because they’ve got fructose and they’ve got; they’re insulin resisting. You know, all the things, but I still ate them and I was losing weight. And then eventually I lost my cravings for them entirely, because my body just kept going healthier and healthier. But it came from a very organic place.
So, when I tell people I lost weight without dieting, they’re like, “Oh, I bet if you measured your calories…” I’m, like, I didn’t measure my calories. I started; my body wanted to let go of weight, I started being less hungry and started craving healthier foods. Eventually I started having enough energy to exercise and so I started riding my bike.
You know, it just all happened from a very organic place by taking care of the chemistry that communicates your brain to your body.
Guy Lawrence: Wow. So, another question that popped in. So, for anyone listening to this who is struggling to lose weight and, “I’ve tried everything,” you know. Where would be the best place to start for them?
Jon Gabriel: So, the first thing you have to understand is that there’s reasons, there’s certain reasons why your body wants to hold on to weight. It comes from a confusion of survive; it comes from your body accidently activating a survival program. So, holding onto weight is a survival program. It protects us against famines when we’re living outdoors. And our body has a switch that activates that survival program. The stresses in your life can trip that switch.
So, the first place to look when you’re trying to lose weight isn’t necessarily how many cupcakes you’re having or any of these other things or how often you’re exercising; those things come into play, but the first thing to do is look and say, “What is the stresses (stress or stresses or stressors) that are tricking my body into activating this fat program?” That’s the first place you have to look.
So, it could be your digestion. And the way that; the clues to that are: “When did I start gaining weight?” So, sometimes people tell me, and I deal with people that have had serious, serious weight issues, lifetime weight issues. They tell me it all started when, for example, God forbid, they were abused as a kid, right? And that’s a trauma that causes stress. It causes chemistry.
Now, if you don’t relieve that trauma and make your body feel like you’re in a safe place, then dieting isn’t going to work. Because as soon as you lose a little bit of weight your body’s going to be like, “Well, no, we need that weight.” It’s a protection, you know, so you have to deal with that.
It could have been when you had a nasal infection. You started taking antibiotics. And then if you look at that and so you took antibiotics for a month or whatever, your friendly bacteria is destroyed. So, if your friendly bacteria is destroyed, that causes an inflammatory stress in your body. So, now we have to heal your digestion.
It could be that you just have too many toxins in your body and you need to detoxify. It could be you’re not sleeping well; you have sleep apnea. That’s a really big one.
You know, one thing we think; you know, you take a guy who’s three, four hundred pounds, work him real hard and he’s trying to exercise; he’s exhausted, he’s trying to eat well and you’re trying; and he goes to a fitness trainer or doctor or whatever and then they say, “Well, you need to exercise more. You need to exercise seven days a week.”
Well, really what he needs to do is sleep. And he’s not sleeping because he has sleep apnea. Because the weight of his neck is choking off his, you know, his windpipe, so he’s not getting into a deep sleep.
Guy Lawrence: Wow.
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Jon Gabriel: That’s causing a chronic low-grade stress. It’s activating his inflammatory hormones and also his cortisol levels and that’s activating this fat program. He needs to get a CPAP machine to learn how to sleep.
If you’re chronically stressed all the time, he needs to learn how to meditate. If you’ve been emotionally abused you need to work through that emotional abuse.
So, you need to focus on the root issue. And the key to finding the root issue is always going back to finding the trigger of “when I started gaining weight?”
So, when you go back there, it’s the first thing I always ask people, “When did you start gaining weight?” and we talk about that. I don’t talk about what they’re eating. I don’t care what they’re eating.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: I want to find out when they started gaining weight. “When I started having kids. When I was in a divorce. When I got married. When my parents separated. When I started working on Wall Street.” Whatever the thing is, we need to go to there. We need to work through that.
So, the first place you always have to look is: what is the trigger, because there’s always a trigger, that’s causing this miscommunication with your body.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah that’s fantastic advice, mate. It’s so difficult to get our message through. Like, you know I worked as a fitness trainer for ten years and that’s why we started 180. Because, you know, I wanted to try and put out the beliefs out there. What I truly felt to be doing including, like, these podcasts and stuff. But when you’ve got; when you’re getting bombarded by the calorie in/calorie out, the diet message like you’re saying “flogging yourself” harder and harder at the gym and sleep comes into the problem. It’s really hard to cut through all that nonsense.
Jon Gabriel: When I work with my coaching people, I’ll work with people that have had a lifetime of weight issues and they feel like they’re failures. They feel like they’re sabotaging. But it’s not any of those things. The approach has failed them. The irresponsible way that we’ve looked at the data that’s out there and analyzed it and our lack of ability to respond to the current; to the new information, is what’s failing them. Not themselves.
So, I will talk; there are people that I have worked with, where I say, “I do not want to talk about food or exercise.” For months, we’ll go three months and then I’ll say, “Okay, now let’s talk about food.” And then we’ll do that for a couple of months and then I’ll say, “Okay, now let’s talk about exercise.” And we’ll do that for a couple of months and then I’ll say, “Okay, now you’re in a situation where you can expect to lose weight.” And they go: Poof! 80 pounds gone within two months. Boom! And stays off. Stays off!
Guy Lawrence: Incredible.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. It’s amazing.
Jon Gabriel: It’s the exact opposite of the diet. So, a diet, you lose weight real quick; 20 pounds in 20 days. And then your metabolism slows. You further activate that famine response, which was already activated for some other stress, right? So, you further activate that. You go to war with your body. You’re fighting cravings all the time. And boom! You gain it back.
This, maybe you’ll do this groundwork, you know. I call it; you pay it forward. You do this groundwork to get to reverse the insulin resistance, the leptin resistance, the inflammation, the cortisol, the mindset, the nutrition. You do all these things in reverse and then you just go, poof! And the weight starts falling off.
And for me, too, when I lost the weight and kept it off; I didn’t lose weight quickly in the beginning, I lost weight really slowly and then it started to speed up and at the end I was losing weight like crazy, because my body became very efficient at burning fat. All the issues were gone. The weight wanted to let go. I had so much energy to exercise and it just; it was like this accelerated thing and that’s what happens with the people that we work with, it’s the exact opposite.
There’s this transition period, where you’ve got to do the work and then poof! The weight falls off.
Stuart Cooke: It’s amazing, because I think the majority of people immediately would assume that, “Well, I have to eat less.”
Jon Gabriel: Right.
Stuart Cooke: And then given what you’ve been telling us that would put enough stress on your body. Just the sheer worry about not knowing …
Jon Gabriel: It’s not just the worry. Think about this for a second. So, remember I said that sometimes the stresses in your life trick your brain into activating the famine response, right?
So, picture this scenario. You’re worried about making ends meet or your digestion is messed up, you’re not getting sleep; whatever it is. But you’ve got stress hormones that are communicating to your brain, your survival brain, not your conscious brain, but your survival brain, which is what’s in charge, that you’re in a famine, right?
So, your brain thinks you’re in a famine and then you go on a diet. What happens? You’re already; your brain already thinks you’re in famine and now you’re in a real famine …
Stuart Cooke: That’s right. Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: … and then you go to war with your body. And that’s why diets don’t work. There’s an inherent conflict of interest, because you’re not working with your body.
So, I’ll give you a perfect example of eating less with someone I just talked to just yesterday. So, we’d been working together for a few months and she says to me, “You know, I’m just not hungry. After lunch, I’m just not hungry anymore and I’m losing weight.” Is what she says and for a long time and she goes, “And something weird is happening. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. But if I do eat at night, I know I’m not that hungry, but if I do eat a certain amount or whatever, I start getting really hot and I sweat and I don’t know what’s wrong.” And I said, “Your body doesn’t want weight right now, which is why you’re not hungry.”
So, yeah, you have to eat less but you’ve got to want your body to want that so your body’s not hungry. Your body wants to lose weight, so you’re not hungry. And if you do eat, your metabolism speeds up so that you burn that food before you go to sleep. That’s what’s happening.
Stuart Cooke: Unbelievable.
Jon Gabriel: Your body just doesn’t want the weight anymore. That’s the way you lose weight sustainably. Get your body to not want the weight anymore.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.
Stuart Cooke: Brilliant. Fantastic. Tell us a little bit about meditation, because you touched on it earlier. Is that like an integral part of stress management?
Jon Gabriel: Yeah. So, meditation and also what I call “visualization,” which to me is targeted meditation, is really, really important and so incredibly useful, because it rewires your brain chemistry so that you’re not pumping out stress hormones all the time.
So, if you look at the way brain chemistry works, the more you do something, the more it reinforces the signal so you’re going to do it more. That’s how habits are created. But thoughts are the same.
So, if you’re thinking fearful thoughts all day, what’s happening is there’s a signal going to the limbic part of your brain, activating a part of your brain called the amygdala, which is the seed of aggression and fear, which then pumps out inflammatory hormones and stress hormones. And so, what’s happening is the more you do that the more it gets reinforced.
So, you’ve got this unregulated feedback thing that’s pumping out stress, causing stressful thoughts. Pumping out stress, causing stressful thoughts. And if you were to actually trace the chemistry of that part of your brain, it becomes a stress-producing factory or a stress hormone-producing factory, which basically is like taking a weight loss drug all day. It’s like, if you were inter. . . Or a weight gain drug.
So, if you were intravenously tied to a weight hormone that causes you to gain weight and it’s pumping into you all day, you’re just going to get heavier and heavier. This is what’s happening with people.
So, how do you break that?
Well, when you meditate, even though if you’re only mediating only for like ten minutes a day, you start activating, creating inroads to activating areas that make you feel safe and relaxed and connected. And it’s not just for those ten minutes. It’s for the whole; it’s for the rest of the day and then evidently over time, it becomes all the time.
So, it’s just like the same as if you were to work out 20 minutes, three times a week, you’d be stronger all the time. Not just when you’re working out. If you meditate every morning for 10, 20 minutes, you then change your chemistry all day so that you’re not producing those stress hormones.
Guy Lawrence: Okay.
Jon Gabriel: So, that’s really, really powerful. And then when you use visualization, you actually get your mind and body to communicate. So, anything you imagine doing; if you imagine the weight melting off your body, if you imagine yourself craving healthy live fruit or going to the gym or doing well at business or any of these things. When you’re in that meditative state, your mind is very powerful and you become much more able to achieve your goals.
And by achieving your goals, not just weight loss goals, but other goals, sometimes it helps with weight loss too, because if you’re worried about finances, for example, and you’re able to use visualization to help improve your business and to have a good meeting and be successful, then you’re not worried anymore. There’s less stress and the weight comes off.
If you imagine yourself eating healthy foods, then you’re more likely to eat them. If you imagine yourself going to the gym, you’re more likely to do it. Many studies have shown that when you practice, rehearse mentally something, especially when you’re in a meditative state; you’re going to do it. It’s how you create habits.
So, we’ve incorporated meditation and visualization. That’s like the framework to get your mind and body to work together.
Guy Lawrence: So, just for people to visualize it …
Jon Gabriel: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: …you know, I’m thinking meditation is almost like a pressure cooker scenario, where you’re releasing the lid off it and allowing pressure to come.
Jon Gabriel: That’s one way to look at it. I would also look at it as it’s also creating a different connection so that you never even go into that pressure cooker.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: So, on the one hand you’re letting off the pressure, but you’re also connecting in another way so that you’re never even creating the pressure.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, perfect.
Jon Gabriel: So, like, you’re waiting in a bank line, right? And you’re late for work and you get to this; you’re pumping out stress hormones. But what you find, if you do meditate on a regular basis, is you’re not doing that anymore. You’re late for work or whatever, you recognize, “Look, I’m in a line. I’m going to be to work. I’m going to explain this to my boss. There’s nothing I can do about it now.” You don’t have that pressure any more. You give into the outside world, maybe doing whatever it’s doing.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah and you’re in the moment. So, with meditation, Jon, it’s a word that I hear get flung around a lot, and visualization and it’s something that I’ve always grappled with, as well. There’s things I grasp and just run with, you know, in areas of my life and I probably speak for Stu as well. So, for people listening to this, and I know a lot of people that fall in and out of meditation constantly, you know, as in they’ll do it for a week and then they don’t do it for six months. And then all of a sudden it builds up, you know. What would be; like if you could give three tips, like, what would be the simplest way for …
Jon Gabriel: So, I’ll tell you how I started and I get every…
Guy Lawrence: Okay, perfect.
Jon Gabriel: You want; the key is you want to become addicted to it. But there’s a lot, there’s a long road to get there, right? So, what I did was I listened to a meditation every day. It was a 20-minute meditation. I listened to it every day for about two years. Eventually, I would get; when I started doing the meditation I would just get this incredible bliss and relaxation, like, you’re sitting there and you’re not fidgeting anymore, And you’re not trying; like most people; that’s the other thing, it’s very paradoxical in the sense that if you try to concentrate you actually take yourself out of the meditation. Do you see what I’m saying?
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: So, its like, you know, it’s like they teach you in martial arts, if you’re tense and you’re using muscle, you’re not going to be as effective as if you’re relaxed and you have sensitivity and you can move fast and you can think clearly. It’s the exact; as soon as you start trying you get discouraged, you get out of the meditation, and then you give up.
So, what I tell people, I’ve created seven- to ten-minute visualizations. It couldn’t be easier. They’re seven to ten minutes long. I say you have it all set up in your room. You do it as soon as you wake up.
So, you wake up. You don’t check Facebook and then do the meditation. You wake up. You press the button. You close your eyes. And the most important thing is, you let your mind wander. You don’t try to get; so if I say, “Imagine the weight melting off. Imagine yourself.” You don’t try. You just let your mind wander and you just sit there for the ten minutes or seven minutes.
Because what happen eventually; number one: you don’t give up, because you’re not getting discouraged. You’re not thinking, “It’s not working, my mind’s wandering.”
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: You’re not trying. You’re not taking yourself out of the meditation. But something takes over where all of a sudden you’re, you know, your mind’s going “mee-mee-mee-mee-mee,” then all of a sudden you go “meep” and you are there. And it feels; it’s just like, you know, if you think about it all the best experiences you can have are experiences when you’re just there; your mind isn’t doing it.
So, if you’re getting the best message in the world, you might start out, your message therapist is saying, “How’s your day? Blah, blah, blah.” “Oh, yeah, blah, blah, blah.” Then all of a sudden, you know, 20 minutes into it, she’s working on your back and your shoulders, and you’re just like “ah…”, right? Your mind’s not wandering.
You know, if you’re making love and it’s amazing, “ah…” Your mind’s not wandering. Like if you’re having; like if you’re sky diving or skiing or snowboarding …
Guy Lawrence: Surfing. I think of surfing.
Jon Gabriel: …surfing, your mind’s not wandering, right? You’re watching the best sports event, you know, it’s 30 seconds left; your mind’s not wandering. You’re just right there.
So, every great experience that you have across the board has one thing in common. You are just right there. And what happens, you can’t create it with meditation, but it creates you. It takes you over.
You don’t ever know when it’s going to happen and I’ve been mediating for years now and I never know when it’s going to happen. I’m always surprised every time. It’s like “mee mee mee mee mee and tomorrow I’ve got to call this guy” and all of a sudden I go. . .
Stuart Cooke: Boom.
Jon Gabriel: And you’re like; it’s like you’re plugged in.
Do you remember Star Wars; the first Star Wars episode?
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: And C3PO? I don’t know if remember, like in the video he goes, …
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: “If you don’t mind sir, I’ll just turn off.” And he just goes …
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: That’s what it is. It’s like you go “whoop.” And you just; it’s almost like, you feel like you’re being plugged into a source of energy. Where you’re just energized and focused and you feel it and then it permeates your day where you feel this bliss, you know, all throughout the day. And then you’re hooked.
Stuart Cooke: I hope I can work at that. I’ll have to work at that. For me, I liken it to looking at a TV shop with 20 different TVs and they’re all playing different stations. And I’m looking here and here and here. All these conservations coming in, so I need to …
Jon Gabriel: Yeah. All right. But listen to your languaging. You say, “I have to work at that.” And even that is going to take you out of meditation. So, rather than say, “I have to work at that.” just say, “I’m going to listen to that every morning.”
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Jon Gabriel: Just press the button every morning.
So, I take; when I work with people, I take that feeling of that activity out of it. So, all you have to do is press the button every morning. Even if you’re just lying in bed, it’s best if you’re sitting up, but you just press the button every morning until once you become hooked you’re; that’s it. You never have to worry again, because you’re going to do it.
Like I don’t have to go, “Ah…” Like, if with yoga, for example, I have to go, “Ah, I’ve got to do yoga.” You know.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: But there’s some people that are hooked on yoga. You know, they’re going to do their two hours in the morning, because they love it and I’ve never getting that. I will never get to that place. I hate it, hate it, hate it and it’s just that it.
But you can get to that place with meditation. Where, like, for me, I’m hooked. I don’t have to think, “Ah, I have to meditate today.” I sit up and it just comes in and then you’re just; you have this ability to focus and imagine how your day’s going to work out. And you find this correlation between what you imagine happening and what happens in real life. It’s just uncanny.
When you’re, like, a business meeting, you want to do really well. You imagine it and all this light coming out and people just spellbound and it happens. It’s just a cause and effect relationship that’s unreal.
So, it’s like this mechanism. You imagine the weight melting off your body and it happens.
And you know for me I imagined myself, when I was 400 pounds. If you’ve ever seen my before and after pictures, I imagined myself with tight skin and stomach muscles. And everybody thinks those pictures are PhotoShopped. I even; I went back to the lady that took them, just recently we created another video, where we videoed me getting pictures again and had her swear that they weren’t Photo. . . They’re not PhotoShopped.
Like, there’s probably a lot of reasons why that happened, but one of them was, I imagine; really, really, really focused and just tight, healthy and it just, it happened. You know, and I just, I don’t know how much of that is in the mind, but I don’t want to discount the mind either. Because I think the mind is so much powerful than we can even imagine.
We can even, you know, there’s studies with the mind right now, where they did this placebo study with cancer patients, right? Where they wanted to test a form of chemotherapy. So, one group got the real chemotherapy and one group didn’t get chemotherapy, but they thought they got chemotherapy. The group that didn’t get chemotherapy, but thought they got chemotherapy, 30 percent of them lost their hair.
Stuart Cooke: Oh boy, oh boy.
Guy Lawrence: Wow!
Jon Gabriel: 30 percent! We didn’t, we have no idea how powerful our minds are.
Stuart Cooke: It’s hugely powerful, isn’t it. It’s unbelievable.
Jon Gabriel: And everybody’s, nobody’s looking at that. And I’m like why are we not looking at this? But when you apply it the other way, rather than getting you, tricking you into losing your hair, you can apply it the other way into getting you to be thin and fit and successful. And so, that’s what we do with our meditations and our visualizations, is we apply that power in the right direction.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Jon, listening to you just makes me want to do it. You know, like it’s phenomenal.
So, again for anyone listening to this and going, “Well, I’m going to have a crack at this.” and they’ve not done it before. What would be a good amount of time to start with to make it a habit? So, I remember you saying to once, “make it a habit first,” right?
Jon Gabriel: Five to seven minutes. So, but you need; I suggest you need to; you listen to something. Like, we have, we have lots of visualizations that are seven minutes long. Just keep listening to it until you become addicted to it until you can feel the energy, because you feel the vibration, because you feel the calmness and you can feel why it’s working. And that can take six months to a year and then you’re like, “Oh, I get this. I really, really get this. I see why I can’t wait to do this again.”
When you’re there, you do it on your own. But until then, press the button. Don’t work at it. Don’t try. But just press the button every day. Make a commitment to pressing the button first and just sitting there for seven minutes every single day until you become addicted.
And believe me, it’s easier than becoming addicted to yoga, because you don’t have to do anything but sit. You just sit instead of feeling that intense pain that you …
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Well, what we can do, like, if you’ve got visualization techniques for people that we can link to the show notes for this so when they listen to this they can come and check it out.
Jon Gabriel: We have some free visualizations, you know, on our site and we have; we’ve got a support group with 40 visualizations in there …
Guy Lawrence: Wow.
Jon Gabriel: … that, you know, I keep making new ones and that you can join and have a; you can join for free for 30 days. So you can literally, you can join this support group for free and download all 40 visualizations and then cancel the next day.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: You know, like, we want to give these out. I want the world to; I want people; I feel like it’s a blessing to, for me and I wouldn’t be able to do what I did unless I, this happened to me where I became addicted to this; to mediating and visualizing in it. I just want that for the rest of the world you know.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Brilliant.
Stuart Cooke: I had a question now to shift this over to about parents and children.
Jon Gabriel: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Because I’m a dad myself and I take my girls to school every day and I have noticed that there are kids now that are carrying a lot of weight and parents are looking frazzled as well. You know, they’re plugged into the grind.
Jon Gabriel: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Any particular strategies for the parent perhaps who are struggling?
Jon Gabriel: Well, you know we wrote a book. I wrote a book with a pediatrician, named Patricia Riba, named “Fit Kids”. Specifically, I’m the Gabriel Method to kids.
But it’s the same thing. You’ve got to look at causing the chronic low-grade inflammatory stress that’s causing them to gain weight.
So, let’s talk about some of the things. Kids have stresses in school. They have bullying in school. There’s abuse that goes on. There’s nutritional depletion. So, the foods that we’re eating are so full of; so devoid of nutrition that they’re getting nutritionally deplete. And of course, all the chemical changes that take place when you eat all the junk food, that’s a big deal.
The toxins. There’s so many toxins in our food.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: And toxins can cause you to gain weight; then all the toxins of the medications. We’re living in this culture where it’s just expected that we medicate our kids and there’s something like; there’s something like 70 more vaccinations that we give our kids than we had when we were growing up.
Stuart Cooke: Right
Jon Gabriel: So, including a vaccination for hepatitis the second a kid is born. Why you have to get a vaccination for hepatitis the second someone’s born is beyond my imagination. But if you think about what a vaccination is designed to do; it’s designed to cause you to evoke an inflammatory response.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: That’s what it’s designed to do. Which is fine every once in a while. We did it. We had vaccinations. We had our vaccination schedule for our measles and our whatever. But now you’ve got vaccination schedules for itchy knees, I mean, for anything. You know, 200; some statistic by the time you’re three you’ve had like 70 or 100 vaccinations.
So, if you’re constantly injecting substances into your kid all day long and if you look at the childhood obesity; if you look at a graph of how childhood obesity has grown over, since 1990 when we started accelerating the vaccination schedule, it’s pretty much the same exponential curve as the rate of which vaccinations have grown.
So, I don’t want to just dis vaccinations. That’s a heated discussion. But you need to look at the inflammatory consciences from a weight perspective and you need to balance how that’s going; how frequently you have them and do you need every single one of them always.
Is everything life-threatening, that you have to do that? And what are the consequences? And so, that’s one thing.
Another is just other medications. Antidepressants can cause you to gain weight. And maybe; and sometimes the answer when you have depression is you don’t have the right gut flora. There’s a lot of studies to show that.
So, we’re not taking care of the gut flora of our kids. We’re pumping them with medications that cause inflammation. We’re giving them food that has no nutrition. They’re in stressful environments. They’re emotionally abused, you know, we all suffer; that’s there too.
So, you need to look at all those different things with the kid and you need to approach it that way. Because if you don’t approach it that way and just say, “Okay, eat less cupcakes.”
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: You get into this situation where the kid feels shame. The kids; it’s a futile effort that’s destined for failure and then it makes the kid feel like a failure.
Stuart Cooke: That’s right.
Jon Gabriel: You’ve got to give the kid a fighting chance by reducing the chemistry that’s causing them to want to eat chronically. You’ve got to nourish them. You’ve got to heal their digestion. Help detoxify their bodies. Help reduce stress.
We do a lot of visualizations for kids that are really good. There’s one called “The Dreaming Tree.” Another one called, “The Magic Carpet Ride.” “The Ride of the Blue Clan.” Cave Clan I think it’s called, something like that. We just have all these different stories that we tell the kids to reduce those things. And you’ve got to look at the medications that you’re putting in you kids and the frequency. And you’ve got to make an informed decision about which ones are the most important and when to do it. You have to be active and proactive with your kids.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Perfect.
Guy Lawrence: Go on, Stu.
Stuart Cooke: What sounds like the key word is “stress.” Whether it be from toxins, you know, the environment. Whether it’s from our gut. You know, everything.
Jon Gabriel: And that’s not what we’re doing. We’re just saying, “Okay, how may calories?” I remember the lady that we wrote this book with, Patricia Riba. She talks about this 4-year-old kid that carries a cup wherever she goes. And it turns out that she does that because the nutritionist said, “Only eat this much food.” So, she has this cup wherever she goes and she’s just this, you know, poor little 4-year-old kid.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: And whose fault is that; that she’s in a situation, we’re putting it on her. Like that she’s eating too much.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: And you, you know, you have to live through it too. So, like, when I was living this thing, where I was hungry, hungry, hungry all the time and now I’m not. You know that you’ve got to get to that place.
You don’t just take a kid who’s hungry all the time and deficient in so many nutrients and so much; and their gut flora is so messed up, and they’re so insulin resistant or leptin resistant that they’re hungry all the time. You don’t take a kid like that and say, “just eat this much food” and shame them all the time. You’ve got to address the real issues. So irresponsible, because if you look at the research that’s out there; so irresponsible not to be doing that.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, such a huge topic. I mean, do you hold hope for the future, Jon, in the whole?
Jon Gabriel: Yeah, I do, because I see like a convergence of information. I see people, I see people; parents are getting educated.
I mean if I look at my support group, we’ve got a private forum where people may ask stuff and I’ll be; it’s like a Facebook forum. So, I’ll see it on my feed and I’ll think, “Oh, I’ve got to get back to that man to answer that question.” I go back two hours later and there are better answers than I could give. More informed answers.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.
Jon Gabriel: I thought, okay. These are parents. These are people that had weight issues. These people are very into it. You give people a direction to heal themselves and it starts to work for them. And they’re like, “Screw this, I want to know” and they’re taking their health in their own hands.
So, there’s a convergence and a spreading of people that are taking their health in their own hands and sharing information. And that is hope for the future. That’s real hope.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fantastic, fantastic.
Mate, we have a few questions we ask everyone on the podcast as we go towards the end and I’m going to bring in one more as well, ask three. But do you; what is your daily routine, like non-negotiable practices that you’ve kind of brought in over the years now?
Jon Gabriel: So, I don’t have many non-negotiable. I meditate every morning; that’s non-negotiable. I won’t start my day without mediating. I do this meditation and as soon as I know I’m ready, I ask for guidance. I ask my higher self to guide me throughout the day and work through me. Once I know I’ve made that connection, because that’s one of the things meditation I feel does is it helps you connect with your higher power. So, that’s non-negotiable. I’m not going to start my day.
So, like if I’ve got to wake up at 4 o’clock in the morning to catch a flight, I’m going to wake at 3 o’clock and meditate. I remember, I remember I was, I was with my video editor somewhere and I had to pick him up at 6 o’clock in the morning and I was looking for him and getting lost. So, it was like 6:10, 6:20 and the guy who’s with him said, “You think Jon didn’t wake up? He fell asleep?” He said, “No man. Jon’s been up for three hours. He’s been mediating for three hours”
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: And it was true. I had meditated; I had gotten up hours before and meditated. That’s non-negotiable for me. I love it.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: I have to do it that. The other thing is I nourish my body. I don’t focus too much on; I don’t have a rhythm of I have to eat breakfast at a certain time or lunch at a certain time or don’t eat this, don’t eat that. But I will have super greens. I will have smoothies. I will have green juices. I’ll have salads. I’ll have sprouts. I’ll have fermented foods. I will eat lots of really nutritious foods and I’ll focus on the adding of those things.
And the other things you can’t eat after a while. You know, when your body gets really, really healthy you cannot eat junk food. And that’s a beautiful place to be, because it’s very different than fighting junk food.
So, those are probably the two non-negotiables. I’m going to do my meditation every day and I’m going to nourish my body really well every day. Those are non-negotiables.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.
Stuart Cooke: And what about, we always say, “motion equals emotion” and we love to get off our seats.
Jon Gabriel: Yeah, yeah. So, we didn’t talk about exercise. So, let’s talk about exercise for a moment.
Guy Lawrence: Sure. Go for it.
Jon Gabriel: From the perspective of survival. So, how fat or thin your body wants to be and remember how we talked about how you’ve got this sort of survival program in you to force you to gain weight if you’re in a famine, right? You’ve got another survival program in you that forces you to get thin if your body thinks that you need to be thin in order to be safe. I call it the “get thinner, get eaten” adaptation. And so, let’s imagine, so when you get the theory of it then exercise, how to apply it to exercise, is automatic. It just makes sense.
So, the theory is that if you were; if you want to get; if you were living thousands of years ago in an island, where let’s say where you had all the food in the world. It’s all healthy and real live fruit. You can eat all you want. So, you’re not having a famine, right? So, you don’t have that famine stress saying, “Hey, we need to hold to the weight.” And it’s warm; so you don’t need weight for, to hold on to, you know, protect you from the elements. So, you don’t have those stresses that would make your body want to be fat.
And let’s imagine that you lived outdoors, in the jungle, 10,000 years ago and every couple of times a week tigers would run out and they would chase you. And if you weren’t lightning fast, you were dead, right?
Now, that’s a different stress. It is a stress too, but it’s not a chronic low-grade inflammatory stress. It’s a 30-second life or death stress. That 30-second life or death stress changes your body’s chemistry. It makes you very sensitive to the hormone leptin and you start melting fat, because your body says, “Hang on. Forget about everything. If we’re not thin, we’re dead.”
And so, you can replicate that with exercise. And the way to replicate that with exercise isn’t the traditional 40-minute power walk, seven times a week. Because if you were living outdoors and chased by a bear all of sudden, you wouldn’t got for a 40-minute power walk, right?
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: You would run for 10 to 20, 30-second maximum, and you would either be eaten or you were dead.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: Now, so, if you apply that to exercise, what works really, really well is, let’s say you’re gone for a 20-minute walk or whatever, walk leisurely and enjoy it. But every once in a while, for just ten seconds, move as fast as humanly possible and imagine you’re being chased by something. It’s life or death. Because your brain doesn’t know, the survival brain doesn’t know there’s been a real or imagined experience. You imagine that, the weight just melts off of you.
And you don’t have to do this. It’s not about calories in/calories out. It’s about getting your body to want to be thin. So, that actual 30 seconds, you’re not burning much calories in that 30 seconds, but the hormonal changes that take place are forever, because your body goes, “Stop everything. If we’re not thin, we’re dead.”
So, that’s the way to apply it and you, and so when I work with people, I say, “Do this a couple of times a week. Two times, three times max. Exercise for a maximum of 10, 20 minutes, but within that period you need the ten seconds all out.”
And so, when you look at also the high intensity types of workouts that they have, they measure the on and the off, so 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off or a minute sprint, minute rest. I don’t care how long you rest. I don’t care about keeping your heart at a minimum heart rate or a fat burning range, I don’t care any of that. I don’t care about fat burning during the exercise. I just care that when you do that ten-second sprint or 20 second, you are life or death. You are all out, because that’s what’s going to create this specific stress that’s going to make your body say, “We need to be thin.” And it’s all about getting your body to want to be thin.
Stuart Cooke: Excellent.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.
Stuart Cooke: Perfect.
Guy Lawrence: Mate, we have one more question that we ask everyone on this show. And what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Jon Gabriel: To follow your heart. Because I think there’s a part of us that knows why we’re here and knows our life’s purpose. Knows the future. Knows all of that. It’s communicated through our heart.
And a lot of times we don’t want to listen now, we want to listen to this and it says, “No, no, no. We don’t have time for that. We got other things we’ve got to worry about. Blah, blah, blah.” It’s got all those voices, “I’m going to take care of you, blah, blah, blah.”
But this other voice is going to always push you in the right place at the time. And so I say, whenever you can listen to that voice.
Guy Lawrence: Now, that’s perfect advice and that’s something I can relate to, mate. I think, yeah, fantastic.
Jon Gabriel: Awesome.
Guy Lawrence: Jon thanks so much for it all. So one last thing.
Jon Gabriel: Oh, yeah.
Guy Lawrence: Where can people get more of Jon Gabriel.
Jon Gabriel: Yeah. You just go to TheGabrielMethod.com. So: TheGabrielMethod.com. There’s hundreds of pages of free information and we’re always doing, like, we’re doing a meditation for weight loss challenge coming up and we’ve got all kinds of visualizations you can listen to and podcast information. So, it’s a good place to check out.
Guy Lawrence: Awesome. We’ll link on the show notes as well.
Jon, thank you so much for coming on the show …
Jon Gabriel: My pleasure.
Stuart Cooke: Yes, thank you. A wealth of information and I just cannot wait to share it. Thank you so much.
Jon Gabriel: Excellent.
Guy Lawrence: Good luck to you Jon. Thank you very much.
Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on youriPhone HERE.
We love getting peoples perspectives on health and nutrition, especially when they’ve interviewed dozens of health leaders around the world, then made two inspiring documentaries that go on to transform and enhance the lives of millions of people!
Our fantastic guest this week is James Colquhoun, the man behind the fabulous movies ‘Food Matters’ and ‘Hungry For Change’. We ask James in the above short video, what three food hacks would you suggest we could do right now to improve our future health? I bet you can’t guess what they are!
Below is the full interview with James, where he shares with us his personal story regarding his dads illness of chronic fatigue syndrome and how he took massive action to intervene. Because he couldn’t get his father to read about nutrition and natural health, he figured he could probably convince him to watch a film on the subject. What follows is a journey of transformation, inspiration and two internationally acclaimed widely popular documentaries.
Full Interview with James Colquhoun: Why Food Matters & I’m Hungry For Change
In this episode we talk about:
Why he spent his entire savings on making the movie ‘Food Matters’
The ‘tipping points’ that inspired his dad to turn his health around
The most amazing transformational story he has ever seen!
The foods he goes out of his way to avoid and why
Why he created a ‘Netflix’ for health & wellness – FMTV
Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. Today is a beautiful day here in Sydney and I’m at my local Maroubra Beach, so I thought I’d bring my introduction outside. As you can see it’s just stunning here.
I’m fresh back off a Joe Dispenza workshop over the weekend in Melbourne.
Now, if you’re not aware of Dr. Joe Dispenza, we interviewed him on the podcast a couple of weeks ago and I highly recommend you check him out. And if you get a chance to attend one of his workshops, it’s a must. It was phenomenal. It was probably one of the best experiences, when it comes to workshops I’ve ever had, and he really puts the science behind the “woo woo” as he puts it in terms of meditation, understanding the brain, and being able to better our lives with the thoughts we think and how we move forward with that.
So, yeah, I highly recommend you check that out.
So, anyway, moving on to today’s guest. Well, we’ve got a pearler for you today.
So, I’m sure you can all share these experiences. You know, when you decide to make the change you voraciously change your habits through the foods you eat, the exercises you do and you get rid of the low-fat diet. You cut the processed foods out and you can see all the changes happening to yourself. And of course, you then want to go on and tell the world.
I know I did, anyway, with my family and friends. But when you go and share this with them, you find half the time they might as well be wearing earplugs, because the words never seem to go in and of course, they’re on their own journeys too and have to make the changes for themselves.
To take that to the next level with today’s guest, he shares with us how his father started to become very ill and of course wanted to change the way he ate and the way he looked at his health. It was very difficult.
So, what did he decide to go and do? Well, he went and decided to go and make a documentary and spent the next two years and his entire life savings and pumped it all into this documentary.
And yes, our special guest today is James Colquhoun and he’s the creator of the documentary Food Matters. He is one inspirational guy and of course, he went on then and made Hungry for Change.
We delve deep into everything behind what James went and did. Why he did it in depth. And of course, he got to then go on and experience interviewing some of the best thought leaders in health around the world and put them into a documentary. And of course, apply that in his own life.
So, we get into his daily routines. What he does. The best tips he’s learned and practical applications of what we can bring into our everyday life, as well.
One thing was clear with James is that he is a very, very, very upbeat inspirational guy. You’re going to get lots out of this today.
It was just a pleasure to have him on the show.
Now, you may recall, as well, a couple of months ago, if you have been following us for a long time; we actually sent out an email asking you what your biggest challenges are, just to get some feedback. We have been listening. We had an awesome response and we’ve been behind the scenes, me and Stu, for the last couple of months, actually, putting them into a quiz, if you like, and putting videos behind it so that you can discover what your number one roadblock is.
So, if you’re struggling to drop the last five kilos. If you’re, how can we say, if you’re struggling to stick to the diet. Or if you’re confused, you get it, but you don’t get it. You know that sugar’s not good. We should be eating more fat. But you know there’s still lots of areas that you’re trying to plug and trying to figure out. And that’s half the reason why we put this information together. But obviously, we want everyone to get a crystal clear understanding.
So, that’s going to be on our home page of our website, 180nutrition.com.au. It’s going to go live very shortly, maybe even by the time you listen to this podcast. But I highly recommend check it out.
And of course, if you do have those relatives that are struggling with their own journey, send them to this, because it’s a nice message and they’ll be able to get a lot of clarification on being able to take the right steps moving forward.
Anyway, so, that’s at 180nutrition.com.au and of course, if you’re listening to this through iTunes, leave a review, subscribe to us, five star. It’s really greatly appreciated.
Anyway, let’s go over to our awesome guest today, James Colquhoun. Thank you.
Guy Lawrence: Hi, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke, as always. Hi Stuart.
Stuart Cooke: Hello mate.
Guy Lawrence: And our fantastic guest today is James Colquhoun. James, welcome. Did I pronounce your surname correct that time?
James Colquhoun: You got it spot on. Perfect.
Guy Lawrence: Perfect. Yeah, thanks mate. Look, I’m very excited to discuss all the work you’ve done over the years, which is obviously the documentaries, and I just think it’s absolutely fantastic what you’re doing.
But we always start the show, mate, just to get a little bit about your own journey, I guess, just for our listeners, to fill them in a bit. I mean, have you always been into making documentaries in nutrition or did that sort of evolve along the way?
James Colquhoun: Well, it’s actually really far from it and I think that’s common with a lot of people I speak to about their journeys into health and nutrition, is they were on a completely different trajectory before something happened; a sort of catalyst. And for a lot of people it’s illness in the family and that was certainly the case for us.
But, you know, I was a ship’s officer, driving high-speed passenger ferries, container ships, tankards…
Guy Lawrence: Oh, wow.
James Colquhoun: Private yachts. Worked for two of the top ten wealthiest people in the world for about three years, driving their big toys around. And got to see first-hand that all the money and all the freedom in the world doesn’t altogether mean happiness and health.
And these people struggle with some serious health conditions. And it was funny, but at the same time my dad was unwell, on a lot of medications and I was like, how come there’s this block for healing? How come people can’t get well?
So, this spurred a little bit of an interest in nutrition and personal development. Understanding more about how I could be healthy or how I could help my dad. And out of nowhere I started becoming interested in health and nutrition. Went to a few seminars; namely saw that big American guy with a thick accent, Tony Robbins.
Guy Lawrence: Of course. Yeah.
James Colquhoun: He had a day in his program, in the early, 2000s, when I went and saw it, on health and nutrition, which talked a lot about alkalizing and cleansing and topics I’ve never heard before, and started implementing some of that into my life. Sort of started to steer the ship in a bit of a different direction, so to speak.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And that thing that fascinates me as well is that you went out and actually made a documentary to create change. I mean, most people struggle to even just implement change in their own, in themselves, let alone actually go out and do something.
Stuart Cooke: Where did that idea come about? I mean, crikey, I get that you’ve; you’ve embraced this new world, this health and wellness and you start to attach yourself to the power of, you know, food can have on the way that; on our well-being. But what inspired you to go, “Right! I’m going to make a movie.” Because that isn’t something that Joe Public would do generally.
James Colquhoun: Well, I think; that’s a good question. And it just came about from having studied nutrition and seeing that we could make an impact in my father’s health and then thinking further beyond that.
“Well, how can we influence my dad?” I think that was one of the biggest questions we had. And when we were sending him books, it didn’t really work. We were sending him articles by email, “Hey, check out this research. Check out this latest information about vitamin B3 or about detoxification.” And, you know, that didn’t seem to work either.
And then we thought, “Well, how could we help him?” We thought, “What about a documentary? What about a good film?” Because for me, at the time, I was learning a lot from documentaries and I thought, “What if that could help my dad?” And we started looking at what documentaries existed around health, nutrition, cleansing. You know, empowering your own immune system to heal itself. And also covered a lot of the topics about the pharmaceutical industry and the agricultural industry.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
James Colquhoun: And none really existed at the time that covered all those topics and I think that was something that sort of spurred a thought in our minds that said, why don’t we look to see if we could create something to help influence my father and then also help reach more people with that same message.
Guy Lawrence: Did it take a while to get the message across to your dad, you know, from the early days? Or was he very open to it all?
James Colquhoun: Well, you know, early days he was not at all open to it. I mean, he was; every time we’d send him something or we’d send a book across, my mom would read it enthusiastically and then he would always disbelieve it. He would go, “No. I trust my doctors.” He was suffering from severe chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, anxiety; he was on six different medications and he was practically bedridden for about five years.
And the medical profession, the best that they could offer him was a continuing juggling or a mixing up of his cocktail of medications, basically.
Stuart Cooke: Right.
James Colquhoun: Saying, “Let’s go up on this one and down on this one. Well, let’s introduce this new one, which has more side effects. Or we’ll have this other drug come in.” And they were basically saying, “One day we may find the correct cocktail of medications that will have you at some level of health. But we can’t guarantee that you’ll ever actually be cured from this.”
And you know, for him and a lot of people out there that suffer from chronic conditions of lifestyle; anything from cancer, heart disease, diabetes, depression, mental illness; especially things that are called a syndrome, like chronic fatigue syndrome, for instance. It means that we don’t really know what causes it. We don’t really know how to fix it.
And even a lot of these chronic illnesses I just listed off, they’re sort of; you’re not given much hope from the mainstream medical fraternity and to me that’s frustrating. Because we know for a fact that many of these diseases are caused by diet and lifestyle-related elements.
We know that food toxicity, lifestyle habits, how you handle stress, etc. play a deep part in these particular illnesses and that’s been proven now. However, we don’t acknowledge their part in getting rid of them and to me that’s ludicrous. It’s like, how can you acknowledge that there’s a causative element and yet there is no curative element to that.
So, basically, we know these factors play a part, but when you get sick, “Let’s not worry about them too much; let’s just focus on drugging you.”
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
James Colquhoun: Which basically causes toxicity of the body, toxicity to the liver. And, you know, it’s a tricky situation from there.
Guy Lawrence: Another thought that popped in for me and I know a lot of people could relate to this, is that; you know, even happened with my own family is, sometimes you can get very frustrated because you’re trying to get a message across to somebody that; whose illness could be getting worse and they just; they don’t want to listen or they don’t want to know and what’s very hard is to get that message across. But there’s normally a snap, a tipping point or something that goes “ah” and then all of a sudden they let the whole information in. Like what was the case for your dad?
James Colquhoun: Yeah. Sure. Before I go on, I just lost your video there, Guy.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, I know. It’s just spinning around. I’ll have to stick a nice, good looking shot next to us all and play that.
James Colquhoun: Sorry. You know, it was really tricky for my dad, in that, he did have that turning point and he did have that catalyst. And for him it was a unique one and I bet it’s different for everybody. It might be a thought of not being around for your grandchildren. It might be, you know, it might be the thought that you might not make it yourself or get to achieve some of the goals in your life. Or it might not be that you have to have the physical health and the abundance of energy in order to be able to do the things that you want to do on a day-to-day basis.
But for my dad, some of the information that really shocked him was, one of the particular drugs he was on, which was a brand leader of antidepressants, called; it’s an SSRI antidepressant called Prozac. And that was a blockbuster drug for the company who made it. And they were coming out with a new version of the drug.
And when you come out with a new version of a drug, you have to say, when you put the patent application in to renew the patent, you have to say how it’s better than the existing drug.
So, what they do it they tinker with the molecular structure of the drug. Make a few improvements, a few changes and then say, “It’s better than the previous one, because of this, this and this.”
And one of the things my dad was suffering from was some really severe side effects. One of which was like suicidal thoughts and it was completely out of character for him. I mean, he had thoughts about taking his own life and that was something we knew wasn’t him. We knew it was the drugs, but he didn’t really believe that, and he thought it was because of his ill state of health.
And what happened was when Prozac was coming out with this new drug called, “Prozac(R).” At the time they said it will not cause the suicidal effects of the previous drug. And they had denied that for ten years.
Stuart Cooke: Oh boy.
James Colquhoun: They denied it. They denied millions of cases of payouts. They denied the fact that there were many cases in the U.S. where young kids had been put on these drugs and committed suicide and they said it had nothing to do with these drugs. And yet they had discovered later on that it did cause suicidal effects in some people, which meant many of them went on to take their lives.
And to me that’s; that was to me and to my father as well, a huge loss of trust, I think, in the medical fraternity, because the veil was lifted and he was able to see that there was such an economic confluence of events that happened in the background of that industry that caused these sorts of things to get passed over.
And I think, you know, when you start to look at where the money flows, you start to see a topic for what it really is. And when you look into the pharmaceutical industry and when you look into the agrichemical or the agribusiness industry, you start to see a really clear picture that it’s money that drives policy. And you have this revolving door syndrome between the regulatory body and also the industry. And they collude together in order to benefit shareholder outcome, but not so much patient outcome.
So, for my dad it was that big veil was lifted and he was like, “Oh my goodness. I have lost trust in the medical profession.” And that’s a huge thing to instill in somebody.
You know, you and I can’t do that around the dinner table with our uncles or aunties, because they just shoo it off and say, “Thanks, Stu. Thanks Guy. I appreciate your advice. I’m going to stick with my doctor.”
But if you think about sitting them down to watch a film, they can’t deny when you have MDs, you know, naturopathic doctors, medical researchers, journalists from around the world, all agreeing that there is this egregious aspect to the way that these particular industries are run and their outcome is not really focused on patient outcomes. They’re focused on profit.
And once you can get that clarity, then you can start to make decisions; like, “OK, well, this drug might be important because it’s short-term life saving.” The drugs have to be treated like a crutch. You know, you use it until the limb’s better and then you throw it out.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
James Colquhoun: But all the drugs that the drug companies are making these days are actually focused on, you know, white, wealthy, middle to upper class people that have diseases that are caused by what they eat.
So, they’re never going to be cured by the drug, but they have to take them for life. And that’s the perfect customer, if you think about it from a drug company. So, for me that was my dad’s big shift and we helped him, in a three-month period, go off all his medication. And he went on to a cleaned-up version of a diet; an upgraded diet. And in a matter of three months he lost 25 kilograms. He was off all six medications. He was practically back to perfect health after five years overweight, sick and on all these meds and offered no hope.
And so, that was another awakening for him and he’s like, “OK, I’m fully on board. This is amazing.” And he sort of helped us finish the film. We borrowed 50 grand from him. “Bank of Roy,” we call it, and finished the Food Matters film off and it then went to actually premiere in a cinema in Sydney and then went on to be seen by tens of millions of people the world over. It’s in multiple languages now. So, very grateful for this chance.
Guy Lawrence: That’s phenomenal. Look, just for the listeners, having watched Food Matters, what’s the basic concept of it?
James Colquhoun: Well, Food Matters; the basic concept is food is better medicine than drugs and you’re the best nutritionist and the best doctor that you can get is you. And that is; that’s it in a nutshell.
And I think the whole movie just goes to prove that nature has provided so much abundance and so many answers and yet we’ve confused it. We’ve made it difficult. We said, “No. No, nature doesn’t have those answers. The answer lies in this special chemical made-up formula.”
And really, all these manmade chemicals practically came about post World War II and to me that’s crazy, because World War II is not that long ago. I mean, we have great grandparents that were in that war. And so, that’s one and a half generations.
So, basically, in that time we have gone from everything prior to that, practically everything, was certified organic or not certified, it was organic. There was no or very little toxic chemicals that existed. There was a period around World War I/World War II where we were experimenting with some, but on a wide scale it didn’t really happen.
Post World War II, we started releasing wholesale into the environment over 44,000 manmade chemicals and we took the chemicals that we were using for warfare and we put them into completely unrelated uses. Like, if this chemical can kill people, we could use it in smaller doses to kill bugs or to control insects. And to me that’s a bit scary, because that’s your food. That’s what sustains you and it allowed us to do agriculture.
But then we use chemicals in so many different ways; skin care, food products, additives, preservatives, colors, flavorings. And we’ve really made a massive mistake. It’s been a huge, it’s been a huge experiment on our population and you know, maybe after a hundred million years, we might be able to evolve, to be able of digest some of those toxic chemicals. But the story of humanity is that we’ve never, we’ve never had them in our diet. We’ve never had in our lives. So, we shouldn’t have them now, is what I believe.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, that’s terrifying.
Stuart Cooke: I do wonder in a hundred years’ time we’re going to look at us, back at ourselves and think, “What on earth were we thinking?” Like, “This is ludicrous!”
James Colquhoun: Yeah, yeah. I think, I think that’s hindsight always.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
James Colquhoun: We’re always going to have that perspective. We have that prospective on our lives too. We look back five years in our lives, “What were we thinking?” You know, we might be 20 years from now looking back, you know.
But I think it’s just really having a sit-down, getting the facts right and having a look at it and saying, “Hang on, this is not really adding value to our society.” It’s really adding value to some of the big multi-national corporations that have patents on that technology. So, really …
Stuart Cooke: That’s right.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: There’s certainly not a huge amount of cash to be made from being healthy, from some people’s perspective.
James Colquhoun: Well, good health makes a lot of sense, but it doesn’t make a lot of dollars.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
James Colquhoun: That’s from the Food Matters film, Andrew Saul, and it’s true. It’s a hundred percent true.
Stuart Cooke: So, just thinking about the principles of the movie and everything that you’ve learned during your father’s journey as well and you know, million dollar question, what three things could I do for me, myself, right now, to improve the future of my health?
James Colquhoun: Sure. You know, it’s always; you know one of the hardest things when you make a film is take 40 hours of footage and then take it down to 90 minutes.
Guy Lawrence: Wow!
James Colquhoun: That’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. Then you’ve got to go from 90 minutes down to 90 seconds …
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
James Colquhoun: … and that’s so infinitely impossible. But it’s part of the film process and you do it. And I guess that’s what life hacks are about too.
It’s like, how can we take this infinite knowledge and try to condense it down and it’s not an easy thing. But one of the focus; the focus of the films is really about adding in these healthy foods and focusing less on taking out, although that can be very important; but focusing on adding in.
And if I think about three things, the first thing that comes to mind would be hydration. Most of us are hydrated at some level, varying from dehydration to chronic dehydration.
You know, Dr. Batmanghelidj is an eminent doctor and researcher in the hydration space. And he was an Iranian doctor that got locked up in Iran and had only water to help heal patients he was dealing with in the hospital that he was also locked up with. And he started to do a lot of research in his life about it and it’s become foundational for a lot of other research that’s happened. But hydration, with either some sort of structured hydration or just good quality water, spring or filtered water. Drinking a lot of that.
And what water helps to do is it helps to flush the body, it helps to move things out and it solves one of the biggest problems, which is constipation. I mean, it’s something that many people don’t talk about.
Stuart Cooke: That’s right.
James Colquhoun: But regularly detoxifying your system, that’s one of the main elimination channels. I mean you’ve got the skin and sweat. Then you’ve got the bowels and then you’ve got urine. They’re the major ways that we shed and eliminate and process and get rid of toxins in the body.
You know, with a newborn baby coming into this world, having over 200 manmade chemicals already in its system, that’s a study coming from the Environmental Workers Group in the U.S.; you know, these are chemicals that have even been banned for 50 years, like some of the DDTs and PCBs. They’re still in women’s breast milk to this day.
Stuart Cooke: My word.
James Colquhoun: So, we have this level of toxicity that’s just now the new set point.
So, you want to assist your body, not just from a detoxification perspective, but from also from an energy perspective. When you’re properly hydrated the blood cells can bounce along and move through the blood freely. A lot of your blood and your lymph system is all regulated by how hydrated you are and especially goes for a lot of the organs as well.
So, hydration; you know you can grate a bit of ginger and squeeze a bit on ginger into it, fresh ginger, and then a little bit of lime or lemon juice in some water. That’s a really great way to hydrate.
So, the first thing is hydration. Probably the second thing, I would say, is greens. Getting enough green plant food can be super powerful. It doesn’t matter what diet you do, vegan, pesca, lacto-ovo vegetarian or whether you’re paleo or whether you’re low carb/high fat or high fat/low carb or whatever you do, it doesn’t matter.
Greens are still some incredible goodness from Mother Nature and it’s in the way that they concentrate sunlight and concentrate it in chlorophyll. And when you consume greens, either through green juice or some sort of green powder that you can mix into water or you have sautéed greens or however you do it, you’re adding that concentrated sunlight into your diet. And that helps to alkalize and cleanse your blood. A lot of the bitter greens can be fantastic as well.
You know, it’s not a coincidence that in folklore they say, “bitter medicine,” because a lot of the bitter foods that you find in nature have stronger medicinal capabilities. And if you think about how a culture consumed food, there was this scale. There was this like everyday foods. Then there’s like sort of super foods or more powerful foods. And then there’s like medicinal foods.
And even in that is psychotropic drugs. They would have rituals where they would take certain types, either a brew or some sort of hard cider that they would make or some sort of; or even mushrooms, or some certain things. But tribally, if you just look at a tribal culture, they have this big array of foods and some of them would have up to 300 different species of plant and animal foods that they would be consuming.
Now, we’re down, stuck on this tent, we’ve got like iceberg lettuce; like next to nothing, you know.
So, try to get as many different types of greens; bitter greens. You know, get into your garden. Pick your weeds, I mean, you know: dandelion. You can also pick lots of different things, gotu kola sometimes is growing in people’s backyards.
Try to identify what some of the local green soft leafy herbs that you can have in your diet. You know, throw five or six different types of herbs into a salad, juice soft herbs, juice green vegetables, put them in a smoothie, however. Just try to get move of that green plant food into your diet and that will help.
Again, like the hydration helps to clean your blood and keep it alkalized and help to keep the cells energized. And if you look at blood from somebody who’s dehydrated and over-acidic, you’ll see you can identify their blood very clearly. And if you look at somebody who’s very well hydrated and someone who has a lot of greens, regardless of what they have in the other percentage of their diet, you’re still going to notice a very different quality of blood. If you look at the quality of blood, I can guarantee that will be who you are as a person; whether you’re more energetic and alive or more dead and sloth-like.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Oxidative stress and inflammation spring to mind straight from that.
James Colquhoun: Spot on. Spot on.
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.
James Colquhoun: So, that’s two. Sorry.
Guy Lawrence: That’s two. There’s one more. Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: I’m hanging out for number three.
James Colquhoun: Three I would have to say would be fermented foods. I mean, fermented foods is the most epic fail that humanity ever made. It’s not that it was a fail, I mean, it was; ultimately they did it to preserve food. And so, they succeeded at that. It wasn’t an epic fail, it was mostly an epic success, really. But what was funny was that they didn’t realize how; the effect on health that those cultured foods would have.
And so, you know, the process of fermentation was they were controlling some bacterial fermentation from the environment in order to be able to preserve foods, such as cabbage made into sauerkraut. Or, you know, milk fermented into a kefir or into a hard cheese. Or you look at cultured veggies, cultured pickle from Japan. You’ve got the cultured condiments from India, the pickled vegetables. Tomato sauce or catsup in the States is originally a fermented food. You look at dill pickles.
And there’s always this history of consuming fermented foods with cooked foods.
And, you know, it was a fantastic thing that we did that as humanity to preserve foods.
But one of the most incredible things that we’re discovering more and more about now, especially as we start research more about the microbiome and the make up of the bacteria in the gut and how powerful that is for our immunity. And that even when a child comes out through the birth canal, that fluid that coats its mouth and then goes into the gut or if you take some of that fluid and put it on there, if there’s a different style of birth, that’s its first shot. That’s its flu shot. I mean, that should really be the only flu shot it gets. And then you can top that flu shot off with more cultured bacteria.
Now, most of the fermented foods are either wild ferments or they have been inoculated with a veggie culture starter. But we’re moving; more research now showing that the human bacteria can be very powerful in that fermentation process.
So, yeah, but fermented foods have a strong history for humanity and I think they’re one of the most healthful things that we can have. Every time I have a cooked food, I try to get a fermented condiment there with it.
So, of those three things: hydration, greens, and fermented foods, I think it’s super important.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fantastic.
Stuart Cooke: That’s excellent and I wouldn’t have expected that answer. Because things like sugar and vegetable oils, you know, are buzzwords and everybody thinks, “Oh crikey! I’ve got to do that.” But as simple as hydration. And I wonder how many people listening to this, right now, will pause it and rush off and get a glass of water and just stop to think about, “It makes perfect sense.”
Guy Lawrence: And put some greens in it.
Stuart Cooke: That’s right.
James Colquhoun: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: So, a couple of things, questions, occurred with Food Matters. Did; what was the; how was it received when it first came out? Did you have any criticism around it, because it was such a strong topic as well? Or did everyone just embrace it?
James Colquhoun: You know, it’s a great; it’s a good question. I often get that question. And I; to be honest I was really shocked, because we really had a very hard go at the pharmaceutical and agricultural industry. We were calling out particular drugs. We were referencing companies that were involved in this sort of deception of the human population. And part of me was a little bit, I guess, worried about what was going to happen. And another part of me said, “Why should I even care about it? This is the truth. Let’s get it out there.”
I think I was inspired by Michael Moore, because here’s the gentleman that made a movie about the then president of the United States of America, ripping to shreds every policy decision he’d ever made in his tenure and then getting broad, full theatrical distribution in the US.
And to me that marked a massive shift in an era where cinéma vérité or free cinema was now allowed. I’d imagine if Michael Moore was 20 years earlier, he probably would have been shot or taken out by the CIA.
I sort of felt protected by him. It was as if Michael Moore was my bodyguard. I’m like, if somebody came for me, I’d just call Michael Moore and say, “Do you want to make a film about this?” So I think that’s the problem now is that if anybody tried to attack us, that’s just great material.
I mean, if you had a pharmaceutical company try to say, hang on, this is litigious, or take us down, or buy us out, I mean, there’s another documentary and then they’re going to be put into a whole media spin.
So, I guess we didn’t really receive any lashback. One thing was we were booked during a press tour once in the U.S. to go on GMA, or Good Morning America. It’s America’s largest, most-watched breakfast show. And it got cancelled the night before.
And the producer loved the film. Was really batting for us. Absolutely wanted us on. And then she; legal went over it and basically canned it, because, they didn’t say, but because she said “it came from legal,” my guess was because a lot of the advertisements they run in between there are for drug companies.
So, we’re gonna go on and say, “Hey, food’s better medicine than drugs,” and it’s gonna cut to a break and it’s gonna say, “Take Zoloft.” And that would not be great for advertisers.
So, that’s probably the only thing that was quite subdued. But we have not really got the film onto many mainstream broadcasts. I mean, it’s been on some of; our films have on Jetstar or Singapore Airlines or we’ve also been broadcast into 33 French-speaking countries and we also channel in New Zealand.
But as far as TV and mainstream media, not a whole lot. It’s been very much more of an underground movement.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. And do you have any estimates how much that’s been viewed over the years; how many people that’s reached now?
James Colquhoun: I’ve made a few guesstimates. Certainly over 10 million would be on the lower side. I mean, just looking at the Netflix stats alone, there are 630,000 ratings of the film. And Netflix don’t share view data. So, if 1 in 10 rated a film, for instance, that’s 6.3 million on Netflix alone. And just through our websites and a lot of the community screenings all around the world. And the free screenings events that we run on our site has done a few million views over the last few years through those events. So, yeah, I’d say. . .
Guy Lawrence: Well done. That’s amazing.
So, then you go on and decide to make a second movie.
James Colquhoun: After Food Matters, we wanted to make another one. We saw through my dad’s transformation that one of the biggest things people noticed was how well he looked and how young he looked and how he’d lost so much weight. They never went and asked, “How did you get off the drugs?” It was like it was a taboo question. And it’s like religion and politics; cancer. You can’t talk about these things at the dinner table.
So, family would always go, “Wow, you look great. You’ve lost a lot of weight.” And then had Laurentine and I think more about well, we are really, as a culture, attracted to being healthy, to looking fit, to looking trim. And that’s a big thing that people strive for. And yet, statistics show that we’re getting fatter and fatter, as a society. I mean, obesity, especially in our younger population, teenage kids, is skyrocketing in the U.S. and Australia and most of the Western developed world, for that matter.
And we’re spending more than ever on diets. There’s $80 billion a year spent on diet and diet-related products in the U.S. This is like: sugar-free, fat-free, cleanse programs, fat pills, weight-loss surgery. I mean, it’s a huge industry. And yet, if you look at the statistics, that amount of spending is having zero to no impact on obesity statistics.
So, how, if we’re spending that much money a year, can we be getting bad results? I mean, surely there is some huge flaw in our thinking around this issue. Which is a hugely important issue, because obesity is the number one leading cause of death. And you think, well, hang on; how is that possible? Well, if you do the research, it’s because it’s the largest precursor to most chronic illness. So when you’re obese or overweight, the chances of heart disease or cancer or diabetes skyrocket. So, you become the biggest risk factor for those illnesses, and that’s the biggest gateway to a lot of those problems through obesity.
So, we started looking into it and then saw that, you know, a lot of what is promoted as a way to lose weight was very; did a lot of damage to the body; wasn’t helpful or healthy long-term. And we just wanted to uncover a lot of those issues and then try to set the record straight and say, well, what do we know about the human body, how can we handle these weight and body transformation issues in a healthy way. And then we interviewed a lot of people who had had success in that and were doing it in a good way. And that became Hungry for Change.
Guy Lawrence: Hungry for Change. Awesome.
Stuart Cooke: With those two movies, then, in mind, do you have, like, a standout transformational story?
James Colquhoun: The biggest one by far is Jon Gabriel in Hungry for Change. I mean, that guy. He’s, luckily, now, the godfather to my son. He lives about a 45-minute drive from here. And so I’m super lucky to have him locally, because he’s from the states originally.
But Jon lost over 200 pounds over about a three- or four-year period and was able to keep it off for seven years. And that’s going from morbidly obese. You know, most people don’t even have that much weight. They don’t even weigh that to start with, let alone losing that much weight.
So, Jon is incredible in that he really brought together two disparate elements, I guess, in health and nutrition. One was the mind and one was the body. So, everyone was focusing on this. Like, “Have your lemon detox drink, eat nothing for 30 days, or juice for 30 days straight.” I mean, some of these are good ideas; some of these are crazy ideas. “And then you’ll lose weight.”
But not many other people were going, “Hang on. What’s the emotional component? How can we look at using meditation or visualization to reduce stress in the body. Or, how can we, like elite athletes do, use the power of visualization to visualize the exact outcome you want?
So, athletes would visualize running that hundred-meter sprint or they would even visualize doing that big aerial maneuver. Or they used the power of this visualization to enhance their performance.
And there’s actually a lot of science showing that when you visualize something in a really powerful way, your body is actually twitching its muscles as if it was doing that action as well, whether you’re jumping high to do a slam dunk or something.
So, Jon took that knowledge and put it into body transformation. So, he would create visualization, guided visualization programs, where imagining the body, the perfect body you want, walking along the beach with the body. Being in that body, like creating a vision of you in that body.
And it sounds a bit crazy, but the subconscious mind is so powerful that it’s put to work in so many different ways. It subtly starts to regulate appetite, hunger, secretion of fluids by certain organs in the body. All these processes that are happening because of that visualization.
And he’s living proof of it and he’s helped thousands of people as well go through this process. So, if you’re looking to have extra strength or to lose extra weight, incorporating some sort of visualization to it might sound strange, but’s it’s actually an awesome secret that most people aren’t fully embracing.
And even just from the stress reduction perspective, we’re so on-edge and we’re so over-stimulated with a lot of foods that we eat that having that relaxation element and having really high, dense nutrient foods so your body is actually getting the omega-3s and the essential fatty acids and the proteins and the grains that it needs. That combined is an unbeatable combination. And Jon’s living proof of that.
Stuart Cooke: That’s; it’s such an unbelievable thought that the power of our mind. . . I mean, stress can have more of an impact than bad food.
James Colquhoun: Yep. Yep. Exactly.
Guy Lawrence: We’ve actually got Dr. Joe Dispenza coming up on our podcast next week. And I’m looking forward to delving into that topic, because that’s exactly what he’s about, for sure.
James Colquhoun: Before the next question, on that stress-food relationship, I think what’s really important to just bring up quickly about that is, you’re spot-on. If you’re stressed about what you’re eating, or if you’re like “I can’t eat this” or “I can’t eat that” or “I can only have this much of that,” that stress is actually doing damage to the body as well.
So, you know, Jon’s program and what we advocate in Hungry for Change as well is, like, let go of the stress in our food. Even though you might want to aspire to eat that perfect diet, don’t worry if you slip up and have some gluten every now and then. Or “I had a grain.” You know. Don’t freak out about it. Allow yourself to eat as best as you can when you can, and if you slip up, just make peace with that and acknowledge that there’s an element of biochemical reaction when you eat food, but also there’s the biochemical reaction when you think thoughts. So, really create a relaxed environment around food. Always, hopefully, sit down to eat, spend a few minutes just being still before you start eating. Eat in a relaxed way and your body will produce better results for you.
Guy Lawrence: And slow down, yeah.
Stuart Cooke: That’s helpful. And like you said, thinking and preparing for your body to digest and absorb it. Because you can be in another mindset, texting, watching TV, shouting at the kids, and your body isn’t ready to grab all of the good stuff.
James Colquhoun: They say that, you know, well, we’ve figured out that digestion doesn’t happen in the gut. It starts in the mouth, right? So the chewing and swallowing. But it starts before that. It starts when you see, when you smell the food.
But I think if you look at some of the longest-lived, healthiest people in the world, they sit down for hour, two-hour lunches. They’ve probably got multi-generations around the table. They laugh. They relax. The either some sort of prayer or some sort of gratitude before they eat. You know, all these really traditional people have it dialed, and the more we get back to that simple way, or try to incorporate some of those simple, ancient. . . You know, it’s Stone Age technology that’s gonna help overcome all the problems in the world. It’s just about how do we take that Stone Age technology, these ancient ideas, and bring them into everyday life? And I think those little rituals are super powerful.
Guy Lawrence: Awesome. You mentioned something regarding certain foods you wouldn’t eat. What foods would you go out of your way to avoid at all costs?
James Colquhoun: Foods I would avoid at all costs. I think, wherever possible, and I don’t want to say that I avoid everything at all costs, because sometimes you will eat something at the bar and it’s got hydrogenated vegetable oils. And it’s like, “Oh, shit.” I discovered that afterwards. You go to a health food store and eat something you think’s health food, then it’s got agave syrup in there as a sweetener, which I’m not huge on, even though that was a big fad awhile ago.
So, you know, but I would say that some of the things that I really go out of my way to avoid, wherever possible: vegetable oils. Like, you know, vegetable oils go rancid in the body; cause all sorts of havoc. They’re a new food. They’re a modern food. We were never designed to really process vegetable oils in that way.
Good quality oils are great. Some cold-pressed olive oil, some other cold-pressed oils that are very stable: avocado oil, things like that are OK. Then really good butters; ghee. We need good fats. Cod liver oil. That sort of thing is fantastic. But these highly unstable, easily-turned-rancid vegetable oils, we have to get that out. That’s, for me, that’s an “out.”
Other things that I really try to avoid but never avoid completely are things like grains. You know, I do have some grains in my diet. I go out of my way to properly prepare them, either soaking or fermenting. But, you know, as a general rule I really try to steer clear of a lot of the white, fluffy, floury products. I think they’re usually detrimental to health. Everybody, at some level, has a sensitivity to gluten and grains, and you may be a little bit or you may be a lot. Right up here’s celiac.
So I think that avoiding or reducing them as much as possible is helpful. If you are gonna have them in your diet, try to get really ancient forms of these grains, either einkorn XXor earhorn wheat 0:42:32.000XX or an emmer wheat. And then soak, ferment, do all those sorts of things. And that’s how we always used to do it. Again, Stone Age technology is gonna solve it all.
And try to get the non-hybridized original version of it. I mean, wheat was like eight foot tall. Now it’s like that tall and it’s got crazy amounts of bushels on it. They just come and harvest that shit up. Mix it in. The more gluten the better, because gluten makes it fluffy, because gluten is glue. It’s essentially a glue. That’s why you knead it and it gets all sticky and gluey and stretchy. Gluten is the glue in bread and we’ve become addicted to that fluffy white carbohydrate.
So, if you’re going to have any sorts of grains, get back to the original. That’s what I am about. So, those two. What else would I avoid at all costs?
I think one of the other things I would really focus on is, when I consume animal products, to make sure wherever possible they’re organic, fed their natural diet, which could be grass or other things. And free-roaming and humanely raised.
Because any animal product, whether it’s a good-quality, grass-fed butter, or a meat, or a chicken, or fish, when it’s reared in a natural way it’s fine. But when it’s unnaturally raised or fed hormones or antibiotics or fed only corn, wheat, and soy, then those animals get sick. They also concentrate a lot of the pesticides and the toxins in that food into their body. Because toxins are lipophilic; they’re fat-loving. So toxins always attract to fat. So, if you have adipose tissue or fat tissue if your gut, or cellulite in your thighs, and you squeeze it together; you see all that. That’s fat tissue, and it’s often trapped toxins, and they say water detoxing can get rid of that.
If you’re eating a sick animal that’s been having a lot of foods that have been grown with pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, then it’s concentrating those pesticides in its body. And then you’re eating a concentrated version of that toxicity.
So, any fat products, animal products, a lot have a high percentage of fat, good-quality fats, most of them, if they’ve been eating a good diet. But you also think about nuts and seeds which also have a high percentage of fat. You want to make sure those products, or I want to make sure those products, I, personally, are as organic as possible so that they’re not concentrating any toxins unnecessarily that I’m introducing into my diet.
So, I think those three things are the rules for me.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fantastic. And when you think about the amount of people that actually eat them, mainly. You know, the foods that you go out of your way to avoid as well.
James Colquhoun: Yeah, XXunknown 0:44:57.000XX
Guy Lawrence: Unfortunately, yeah. Go ahead, Stu.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, so, I was quite excited just for you to touch on FMTV. Now, this is something that, when I heard about what it was, got super excited. Without giving it away, joined up and spent months watching all this awesome stuff.
So, I wondered if you could just tell us a little bit about what FMTV is.
James Colquhoun: Cool. Cool. Well, since producing Food Matters and Hungry for Change, we just dropped it, a lot of the film industry, the way the we distributed those titles, we didn’t go to the festivals. We didn’t do theatrical distribution. We bypassed a lot of the majors and got to our audience. And that pissed a lot of people off. A lot of the studios and that.
But it’s created a huge surgence in filmmakers that are basically disrupting the system. They’re splitting up their rights, they’re assigning rights differently, they’re maintaining their rights to distribute their film on their website. I think it’s fantastic that that’s happening, because the power’s shifting back to the content producers.
Now, there’s still a big issue in that for each film that’s made, for every Food Matters or Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, or Carb-Loaded, or Hungry for Change, or Fed Up, or Food, Inc., there’s a hundred other films that are awesomely well-produced, made by budding filmmakers that have put together great content, that don’t get picked up by iTunes or Netflix or Hulu or Amazon Prime or any of these platforms.
And over the years, I would freely consult with a lot of these filmmakers and just give them; I’ll have a call with them for a couple of hours and just tell them everything I learned. Because I want. . . every. . . a rising tide floats all boats, and the more films in this genre that are succeeding, the better it is for everybody, because the message is getting out. It’s about creating that XXWin-A-Thon 0:46:42.000XX environment, I call it.
And so I would consult with all these filmmakers and they’d come back to me a year later and they wouldn’t have fully implemented their process or they wouldn’t have done it right, and they’d be asking me more questions again. And I got a little bit, not frustrated, but I got upset that a lot of these companies were not taking these films on board, or they would get knocked back by distributors.
So, I had a thought about bringing all this content together in one space and essentially creating a Netflix but for health and wellness. So, a home for all this information around nutrition, health, natural medicine, peak performance, transforming your body, meditation, mind-body, life purpose, like some of big questions around: How can we be the best human we can be? Whether you’re a mother, or an elite athlete, the knowledge is really similar.
And then: How can we have recipe videos from some of these experts showing up some of this content? How can we have some cool exercise and yoga and stretching and back strengthening and more power exercises? How can we have all that in one place, and using this new form of media that is taking over the world? I mean, you look at what industry terms SVOD, or Subscription Video On Demand, it’s exploded. I mean, Netflix went from no digital to like over 50 million subscribers in the last eight years, I think.
Stuart Cooke: Is that right?
James Colquhoun: Yeah, so they are absolutely crushing it. And to me that says two things: one is people want to consume content differently. If they want to watch a TV series, they just want to watch it back-to-back and watch all 20 episodes. That’s like, binge TV they’ve basically given rise to.
But another part of that equation is that I think it’s most of the world putting a hand up and saying, “I don’t want ads anymore. I don’t want to watch this b.s. on TV in between the program I’m trying to watch. I don’t want to be sold on a drug. I don’t want to be sold on Coke. I don’t want to be sold on fast food or Carl’s Jr. or In-N-Out burger or McDonald’s. I want to watch what I want to watch, when I want to watch it, and I don’t want to be disrupted.”
And to me, that’s awesome. Because I’ve always hated disruption advertising. And, you know, I think that Netflix, in a way, has helped to pave a new movement of watching the content when you want. So, FMTV was born out of that, which stands for Food Matters Television. And it’s on FMTV.com, and it launched March last year, so it’s been going for just over a year, and we’ve had over a million view of content in the channel. We’ve got subscribers all around the world. And we’re developing for new platforms. We’re in Roku, which is like an Apple TV in American, and that’s in 10 million homes there. And really trying to help filmmakers that aren’t getting great distribution, plus also help people like you and I that are always thirsty for more knowledge and more information but want it in an entertaining way, where it’s fun to sit down and watch something, bring it together, and help get the message to more people and hopefully create more of a groundswell around this important knowledge.
Stuart Cooke: Brilliant.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, that’s awesome. We subscribe, and we love it. And we’d certainly recommend anyone listening to this, check it out. FMTV. It’s a great one-stop shop.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, I was just; I actually loved the mastery, from Food Matters, so you get to delve into more of the individual interviews and learn about that, and just, yeah. It blew me away. That kind of stuff really, really interests me.
James Colquhoun: Yeah, there’s so much great content that you have leave out of a film. And I’ve encouraged a lot of filmmakers that we’ve signed to FMTV to give us their outtakes; to give us the extended interviews. And we get them up there as well, because people watch the film and they get inspired and they go watch the whole interview with, like, XXDr. Ed Lorsoro 0:50:27.000XX and they’ll go watch the whole interview with Gary Tubbs or they’ll go watch the whole interview with whoever. And they’re like, whoa, this is a totally new depth of knowledge that got brushed over in the film, but in that interview they give you information that’s a lot more applicable.
So, yeah, I like that, too, so that’s fun.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, that’s brilliant, James.
We actually ask a couple of questions on the show every week, before we wrap up, and the first one is: What did you eat yesterday?
James Colquhoun: OK. Cool, cool. For breakfast, I had some sautéed greens and I had a cabbage that was sitting in the fridge, almost turning itself into sauerkraut. So, it was getting old so I ripped a few of the sheets off, chopped the core out, chopped it up into chunks, got some Swiss chard, chopped it, lots of fresh herbs from the garden; got mint and basil.
And with the cruciferous vegetables, like cabbage, you’ve either got to ferment it or steam or fry it, because the goitrogenic effects of the cruciferous vegetable. So, watch out for; they’re the most powerful vegetables we know, like broccoli, kale, cabbage, Romanesque, these sorts of vegetables, are better and more easily digested when they’re slightly cooked.
So, I took some of those greens, fried them all up in a pan, had some soft-boiled eggs. I love soft-boiled eggs; I know some people don’t like them. They’re one of nature’s perfect foods. And make sure to keep the yolks slightly undercooked where possible, because that’s where, contrary to popular belief about eating only the whites, you know, the yolk is where the nutrition is. I mean, that’s where the really powerful DHA and EPA, the essentially fatty acids that drive all sorts of processes in your body, especially in brain function, they’re in there, and they get damaged by heat, so having them slightly undercooked is a good idea.
I also had some breakfast meats, which I don’t do that often, but it was a Sunday morning. And so I had some organic, free-range bacon in there as well. So, that’s something that’s new for me. I started introducing, like, liver meats and organ meats as well. I didn’t have any of them for breakfast though. I didn’t have any toast or gluten. It was just basically greens.
To me, greens, eggs, and then some sort of protein source, so it could be a quinoa or it could be some sort of meat or something, that’s a really filling, super-hearty breakfast. And if you get that, you’re gonna have less blood sugar issues at 10, 11, 12 o’clock. If you wake up and have jam on toast, it’s basically rocket fuel on rocket fuel. So, your blood sugar goes “bang” and down.
So, that was breakfast. What did I have for lunch? What did I have for lunch? I can’t remember. If it comes to me, I’ll remember it. I had a smoothie in the afternoon and it was one that I don’t have often, but I’d bought some pineapples; were available, so I put a little bit of pineapple in a blender and then I put lots and lots of coconut; the creamed coconut. Not coconut cream in a can, but creamed coconuts. So, it’s like they take the whole coconut, they make it into almost like an almond butter cream. It’s ridiculous. Everybody should be on that. So I put heaps of that in. And then I put some coconut milk in as well. And watch out for all the additives and that sort of stuff. You want to try to find one that doesn’t have any of the guar gums or anything like that in there.
Then some ice, maca powder, whole hemp seeds (which are illegal for human consumption in Australia and New Zealand, so I didn’t say that. This was a facial mask, actually, that I made). So, what else did I put in there? That was about it, actually. So, it was like piña colada, really. Oh, actually, I put tahini in there as well, which is milled up sesame seeds. A little bit of that in there. Whizzed that up and it was absolutely amazing. I mean, I always, like, wing it with my smoothies. I’m not a recipe sort of guy, but that was one of the better ones that I’ve made in awhile.
Stuart Cooke: So, was it one or two shots of vodka in there?
James Colquhoun: There was none.
Then I went around to my dad’s place and got a haircut yesterday afternoon. And I had a beer with him at sunset, which was really nice. It was a hand-crafted, three-ingredient IPA from a U.S. brewery. So, always make sure your beers have three or less ingredients. Ideally just three. You can’t really have less than three ingredients. And that’s a German rule, 1846, der Reinheitsgebot, make sure you always try to have German beers if you’re having any.
And for dinner, I actually had a lamb curry, which I made from scratch. And it was like, we had made the recipe in the office the week before. We were doing some filming. And it was so delicious I wanted to make it at home. So I made that from scratch and we had lamb curry with rice.
And to healthify that sort of dish, what we do is have, like, three or four big, heaping tablespoons of sauerkraut on there. So, you’re getting that fermented food with the cooked food. And then also we made another fermented side, which was yogurt with, like, turmeric in there, which is good for inflammation, and fresh cucumber chopped up. And if you don’t do any organic dairy yogurt, you can always have a coconut yogurt in there as well, so it’s no dairy.
And, to me, I still get to have that beautiful, rich, delicious meal, but then have the sauerkraut or the yogurt; any of those fermented sides. Even mix it. I’m not a mixing guy. I like to piece it together. But that was my day. I still don’t remember what I had for lunch, actually.
Guy Lawrence: Maybe you skipped it because your breakfast was so nourishing.
James Colquhoun: Yeah, it was a big, late breakfast. Maybe it was just the smoothie, actually. Yeah, that was yesterday.
Guy Lawrence: That’s awesome, mate.
And the last question is: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
This generally stumps everyone.
James Colquhoun: Yeah. It’s a tough one, because I try to think, well, was it nutrition-based, or is it life based. I mean, you said “best advice.” That’s just wide.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, anything.
James Colquhoun: I think it’s probably from the big man Tony Robbins again, who I admire his work. He XXcollates? Curates? Creates? some of the best personal work 0:56:55.000XX on the planet, and peak performance work on the planet as well.
And, to me, his statement, “take massive action,” is so simple, but it’s super radical. I mean, you think about that all of us have so many ideas in our day-to-day life. I mean, you guys started an awesome company, you’re getting great information out there; that started as an idea.
I mean, all of us have, and I know you guys probably have another 30 or 50 ideas that you’re thinking about right now. And so am I. So, it’s taking those ideas, distilling it down to your top two or three, and then not thinking about it anymore. Just going and doing it. And, to me, a lot of the things where I’ve had success in my life was from taking massive action, whether that’s learning about a new piece of nutritional information or whether that’s learning about something where you want to have an impact or do some philanthropic work or something. It’s about taking massive action.
It might seem like a little bit of a copout, that statement, but to me that’s a really important element of my life. I think if you learn something and you want to do it, just go do it. And have a blatant disregard for the resources that you have on hand at the time. So, I think people then go, “Well, I can’t take action because of this.” And that’s just b.s. Again, act as if that’s not an issue. You know what I mean? Just go for it. And you find the resources, you find the way, you make it happen; possible.
And with just about everything I’ve done in the last seven or eight years, after completing it, if you’d asked me, would you have done that knowing how difficult it is, it’s like, I probably wouldn’t have started.
Guy Lawrence: No way, yeah.
James Colquhoun: And I think that’s true for everybody. And if you think about that, then it makes that statement even more powerful, which is “take massive action.” Because you realize that had you stalled any longer or had you had hindsight, you probably wouldn’t have done it. So, you’ve got to do it.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. It was the same with us. Like, we had nothing when we started. We had no idea what we were doing. But we were passionate and had the intention of getting out there.
Stuart Cooke: That’s right. And I remember reading a book by Richard Branson, and that was his driver. It was: Just do it. Get on with it, and do it. Create the problem, and then something will happen. Because there’s an energy there already.
James Colquhoun: Yeah. Yeah. He did it in a massive way. I love his work as well. “Let’s negotiate a lease of an aircraft!” It’s like, what? Are you kidding me?
And that’s the sort of thing. I think even with the TV station, like, “Let’s create a subscription TV service.” It’s like, well, how do you do that? We’ll need a contract to sign content. OK, let’s do that. Then you need a delivery platform. All right. Let’s build that.
It was like, we had no idea. We just built it from scratch. And now we have an awesome team in here that’s acquiring content. We’re speaking to the biggest distribution companies in the world. They’re based in New York, in L.A. We’re speaking with Jamie Oliver’s team and all these people about signing this content, and we’ve basically made this idea up 12 months ago, 18 months ago, and put it on a contract. And I think that; I don’t think anybody would; I mean, that’s how most businesses start. How most ideas start is it’s just something you’ve created a vision in your mind and you went and did it.
And I think that everyone will acknowledge, like you guys are now, and like I am here, is that if you go back 12 months, eight months, you know, we didn’t have a clue. And it’s that learning. Now I know about contracts. Now our team knows about contracts. You learn more about how to do it. That’s the fun.
Stuart Cooke: That’s brilliant, mate.
Guy Lawrence: And so with all that in mind, what’s next for you guys at Food Matters? Is there anything in the pipeline?
James Colquhoun: There’s a few things in the pipeline. You know, one of the things that, a core message; if I could show you into the kitchen, just around here in the office, we’ve got a poster here, it’s our guiding principle, really, which is how can we help share this life-saving message with more people?
So, I think we’re constantly looking, thinking about that, and musing on it, and thinking, well, how can we; what’s the next step for sharing this message? FMTV was a big deal, it took a lot of our focus, and now, you know, we’re focusing on some more things but we have some food products coming out this year. You know, we’ve got a whole food vitamin C powder, which is awesome because vitamin C’s such a critical nutrient and there’s so many awesome plant-based sources of that, and yet there’s very few quick powder drink mixes you can take. We’re one of the only animals that don’t produce our own vitamin C, so it’s important for us to get it from our diet, and that’s great for stress and all sorts of other things. And energy and mood.
So, there’s a few other products we have coming out like a chocolate and a protein and an update greens in new packaging. I’m looking at that calendar here. We’re working to help create a curated selection of the top sort of 30 or 50 products that Laurentine and I and the team here at Food Matters use on a regular basis and making that available in a store environment where people can just pick them up and stock their kitchen up. So, if you’re either coming at this fresh or you’re some sort of gastronomic guru, sort of get a little bit of a distillation of the years of research we’ve been doing. Plus, that’s been; our research has always been based on tapping into experts who have been doing years more research than us. And then saying, here are top sort of 50 products that we have in our house or in our kitchen and sort of helping recommend.
And it’s a tricky line to walk because we’ve been so heavily education-based, now that we have products it’s like, hang on, people are going to think we’re biased. But I’m just going to hold a pure intention and say, look, these are the products that we use. If you’re gonna have these products, then these are the ones we recommend.
It’s sort of like, you know, you’re welcome to buy it and you’re entirely welcome to go into a corner store and buy something different. I don’t really care. It’s more just about putting that out there, so we’re gonna get more of that out there.
And we’re working on a transformational program, like a 28-day challenge. Like Food Matters challenge or like a mind-body or a whole body challenge. We take people for 28 days and hold their hair through, like, breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, exercise, movement, meditation, visualization, mind-body work, and sort of put together a 28-day program and help take people through a process and set them up for some healthy habits for life, because it’s a big challenge that people have and it’s something we want to have a deeper impact with the people that we get to reach. So, that’s on the pipeline for now.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Busy boy.
Guy Lawrence: That was fantastic, James. And, look, for anyone listening to this, where would be the best place for them to go to start if they’re not familiar with Food Matters, Hungry for Change, FMTV. Like, on the web?
James Colquhoun: Sure. I think FoodMatters.tv. That’s the hub; that’s the home. Go there. You know, jump on our newsletter list. Check out all the articles and the recipes that we have on the page.
But probably before that I would recommend watching the films. I think the films have this ability to just crack you open. And we all know when we watch a great documentary about a topic we knew nothing about, be it genetically modified organisms or even something completely unrelated, it just completely opens you up. You learn so much in such a short period of time.
So, I actually think if you’re starting here, if you’ve watched some great documentaries, go and watch five or 10 or 15 documentaries. It’s like doing a condensed nutrition and life degree, almost, because you’re getting curated knowledge from great filmmakers. So I’d suggest jumping on FMTV, which is FMTV.com. We have a 10-day trial there as well, a free trial, so you can register as a user and get 10 days free. And you can cancel within those 10 days. So, go in for 10 days to a movie marathon. Watch one a day for 10 days. And then you can absolutely cancel and it doesn’t cost you anything. Or stay in. It’s like $7.95 a month or $79 a year. So, really quite affordable.
And, you know, I guarantee that if you watch 10 or 20 films in there, I will guarantee you’ll have a shift in your perspective on life. And some of the big ones in there right now, I just jotted a few down here, are: E-motion, The Connection, Super Juice Me. Carb-Loaded is a great one about the whole paleo carb question. It’s a fantastic film. Perfect human diet is another one I think your viewers would really enjoy. There’s some great docs in there. Some of the life purpose ones, check on them, like The Shift or even The Connection documentary, the power of the mind-body, watch them and you will not be the same again, I guarantee it. You will be a different person. And that’s an exciting prospect. I mean, nothing’s more powerful than that. I love them.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, well, mate, that’s brilliant. We’ll link to all the show notes anyway, so anyone that comes in can read the transcript, they’ll be able to click through and check everything out. And may their journey begin there if it hasn’t already, which is fantastic.
So, James, we really appreciate you coming on the show today. That was mindblowing. That was awesome. And, yeah, I have no doubt everyone who listens to this is gonna get very inspired very quickly.
Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. Yeah. There were some huge nuggets of inspiration in there as well. Take-home things. I just love that you can dial in for an hour, listen to a podcast wherever you are, and just empower yourself with this knowledge. Just do it. Start somewhere.
James Colquhoun: Keep up the great work, guy. Great chatting, Guy. Awesome, Stu.
Guy Lawrence: Thanks, James. Speak soon. Bye-bye mate.
Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on youriPhone HERE.
Can’t stick to your diet or tired of falling off the band-wagon? Sick of procrastination and want to kick some serious goals but not sure how? If you answered yes to any of these then this episode is for you.
Dr Joe Dispenza shares with us his personal journey which is probably one of the most inspiring, humbling and transformational life changing stories you’ll ever hear.
He suffered an horrific bike accident at the age of 23 years, then was left with a choice of major surgery and potentially spending the rest of his days in a wheelchair. The steps he takes and what follows will leave your breathless.
From his remarkable recovery, Dr Joe Dispenza has dedicated the last 25 years to helping others achieve the life they truly want, and it all starts from here… understanding our brain and realising our true potential.
Guy Lawrence: Hi, this is Guy Lawrence and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. We’ve got a fantastic guest in store for you today and his name is Dr. Joe Dispenza. And he’s certainly been a bit of a hero of mine over the years, so, it was just awesome to have him on the show and be able to chat and spend some time with him.
If you’re not familiar with his work, he first sprang onto the scene in 2004 and he was one of the scientists featured in the award winning film “What the Bleep Do We Know!?” Now, if you haven’t seen that, it’s a great place to start and go and check it out.
And then he’s gone on to become a best-selling author. He’s written three books: “Evolve Your Brain” and then followed by “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself.” And his latest book, which is called “You Are the Placebo,” hit the New York Times Bestseller list within a week of its release, back a couple of years ago.
So, already you can start to see what his work will be all about. As a teacher and lecturer, Dr. Joe has been invited to speak in more than 27 countries. You know, how to go on about educating thousands of people and how they can rewire their brains and recondition their bodies to make long-lasting changes. That stuff sounds good to me, I can tell ya.
And as a researcher, Dr. Joe explores the science behind spontaneous remissions and how people heal themselves of chronic conditions and even terminal diseases. And he shares his own personal journey on this as well, which is just fascinating and you don’t want to miss it.
He’s more recently began partnering with other scientists to perform extensive research on the effects of meditation, which during his advanced workshops. And yes, I will be attending his workshop here in Melbourne, next month in June. So, I think it’s June the 19th. So, if you’re hearing this before then and want to come along, it will be definitely awesome to see you there.
We always get asked where’s the best place to start on this, on your health journey, if it all seems a little bit overwhelming. You know, we generally tell people to start with our ebook. It can be downloaded. It’s completely free. It’s 26 pages long, outlining all the principles that we feel you should apply in bringing to your everyday life over time. And that’s on 180nutrition.com.au. Consume that information.
Then we’ve got our nourishing natural superfood plans. What we suggest for them is to actually just replace a bad food choice, you know, when you’re convenient, you’re stuck in a jam.
So, you want something easily to rely on, because we promote the message about just eating real food and being able to cut out as much processed foods as possible and our nourishing superfood blends are a fantastic tool to help you implement and do that.
You know, I mix mine in a smoothie most mornings, with avocado and berries, and that’ll keep me going all morning.
And then the third place, of course, is explore our blog. All the articles and of course these podcasts, where you can listen to on your way to work, you know, walking the dog, whatever it is.
And, yeah, and let us know how do you listen to yours. Are you enjoying them? Give us some feedback. Leave us a review on iTunes. Tell us what you think. We really appreciate it. We’d really love to hear from you. And, yeah, I look forward to it.
So, let’s go over to Dr. Joe Dispenza. You’re going to thoroughly enjoy this.
Stuart Cooke: Brilliant. Look forward to it.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.
Hi, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke, as always. Good morning, Stu.
Stuart Cooke: Hello mate. How are you?
Guy Lawrence: And our fantastic guest today is Dr. Joe Dispenza and I should say, good evening. Welcome to the show.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: Thank you. I’m happy to be with you two.
Guy Lawrence: Really appreciate it, Joe. This is a topic that I’m absolutely fascinated with and very excited about today. I’ve been currently reading your book, “Evolve Your Brain” and actually been mesmerized by your story at the beginning, back from your triathlete days. It’s unbelievable. So, I thought that would be a great place to start and if you’d mind just sharing with our listeners a little bit about what you do and also that story as well, because it’s fantastic.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: Sure. Well, that’s probably the toughest out of my three books to start with, so you’re a brave mate.
Well, I never planned on doing any of this. I never planned on teaching or lecturing publicly, or writing books.
In 1986 I was in a triathlon in Palm Springs, California. I was on the biking portion of the race and I was making a turn and I was passing two bikers on the turn and there was a police officer on the corner and he was pointing at me and he was telling me to make this turn. And as, you know, I passed the two bikers, to merge onto the next road, he had his back to the oncoming traffic. So, when I made the turn a four-wheel drive vehicle, an SUV going very fast, kind of basically catapulted me out of my bike and dragged me down the road a little bit. I wound up breaking six vertebrae and my spine.
When you land that hard on your back or on your butt, the columns of the vertebrae are blocks and when there’s that kind of compressive force they kind of compress. So, I had broken the eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth thoracic vertebrae and the first lumbar vertebrae. And when you compress those vertebrae, bone fragments have to go somewhere and in my case they went back onto my spinal cord.
One of the vertebrae, the eighth thoracic vertebrae, was more than 60 percent collapsed. But the arch, where the spinal cord passes through, broke like a pretzel and so I had cord compression.
So, anyway, a typical surgery in something like that is called the Harrington rod surgery. I had four opinions from four of the leading surgeons in southern California and they were adamant that I should have the surgery.
They basically cut off the back parts of your vertebrae and in my case it would be from the base of my neck to the base of my spine and then screw in these, the stainless steel rods, to kind of cantilever and pull the spinal column off the cord and then take some bone fragments from your hip and paste it over the top and hope for the best.
For me personally it’s just; I just couldn’t make that decision. And after about a week of back and forth, deciding if I should have the surgery, I decided finally to not have the surgery.
And I began this journey, where I just thought that there was some connection between the mind and body and that there’s an intelligence that’s giving us life, that if we could connect with and give it a plan or a template or design and then surrender that creation to a greater mind and allow it to organize it in a way that’s right for us, maybe it could begin to do the healing for me.
And so, I wanted to make contact with this intelligence and I just said, “I’m not going to let any thoughts slip by my awareness that I don’t want to experience.” It sounds really easy when you say it intellectually, but I went through hell because I couldn’t get my mind to do what I wanted it to do. I kept focusing on what I didn’t want to have happen, instead of what I did want to have happening.
Six weeks it took me to finally really settle down and start really noticing some changes and all of a sudden I started to notice that my body started getting better. The moment I noticed those changes I knew that I had done something properly and I just basically made a deal with myself, that if I was ever able to walk again, I’d spend the rest of my life studying the mind/body connection and mind over matter.
I walked back into my life in 10 weeks and was back doing races at 12 and seeing patients.
Guy Lawrence: Twelve weeks.
Stuart Cooke: Wow.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: Wow. That’s a huge decision. I mean, at the time, were you feeling pressure to have the surgery or was it? I mean, it’s …
Dr. Joe Dispenza: Well, this is not any; I would; if I saw those x-rays and I saw the scans and it was a patient of mine, I would have told them to have the surgery. But this was me, you know, and I wasn’t so quick to make that decision.
But, you know, after the fourth opinion from the fourth surgeon, I just realized that I did not want to spend the rest of my life on living on addictive medications or living in a wheelchair and that I was going to roll the dice. I was going to take a chance.
One of the doctors thought I had post-traumatic stress disorder, that I hit my head or something was wrong, because nobody decides against surgery like; with the type of injuries that I had. But I just thought, “Well, I’m going to take a chance.” I think I was young enough and probably innocent enough in a lot of ways and I’m a pragmatist, you know, I believe in practical applications. So, it wasn’t just a philosophy. I just wanted to see if it could work.
Guy Lawrence: Wow. So, with that recovery, was meditation a big part of that?
Dr. Joe Dispenza: Yeah. Yeah
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: You know, if I’m going to make contact with that intelligence that’s keeping our heart beating and digesting our food and organizing all of these functions, it’s giving us life. Consciousness is awareness and awareness is paying attention and so, if this consciousness is giving us life and it’s paying attention to our thoughts and our feelings and our behavior.
So, I reasoned that just like, you know, when you know someone’s present with you or conscious with you, they’re paying attention, that if I was going to really make contact with this intelligence I’d have to close my eyes and eliminate the external environment. I’d have to forget about the pain and paralysis in my body and I’d have to get beyond time and I’d have to start really believing in my inner world more than I was believing in my outer world.
And just like when you know when someone’s present with you, if this consciousness needs direction and it needs orders and it needs a plan and you start you start reconstructing your vertebrae and you start thinking about living in a wheelchair or should you sell your home. The moment you do that, you’ve lost your attention and it’s not a complete image for this intelligence.
So, it would take me three hours every day to reconstruct my vertebrae and that was; I just kept starting and then I would find my mind wandering to other things and I knew that the design wasn’t complete. So, I’d go back and start again and it took me a lot of time to finally really anchor myself into my; into my brain.
Guy Lawrence: Your rhythm. Yeah. That’s just fantastic and inspiring, Joe. Stu, you look like you’re about to say something.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. It’s almost like; we’ve got a question about self-sabotage. You know, where health is concern. Because we deal with lots of people who are trying to get healthy and happy and live long and happy lives. But they’re constantly self-sabotaging and by no; I guess by no fault of their own, but it’s just the way that they’re programmed. You know, they fall off the wagon. You know, they’re smoking, drinking; perhaps they can’t give these things up. Why do we find this so hard?
Dr. Joe Dispenza: Ah, well I can answer that very simply.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: The hardest part about change, without a doubt, and I talk about this in my last book, “Placebo,” the hardest part about change is not making the same choices you did the day before.
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: The moment you decide to no longer think the same way, make the same choice, behave the same way, have the same experience or live by the same emotion, get ready, because it’s going to feel uncomfortable. It’s going to feel unfamiliar. You are stepping into the river of change and the moment people start noticing that it doesn’t feel good, they won’t want to go back to do the very things that make them feel good again. Which is, they want to return back to their same chemical state.
Going from the old self to the new self, crossing that river of change, is the biological, it is the neurological, it is the chemical, it is the hormonal, it is the genetic death of the old self. And most people, they’ll say, “Yeah, yeah. I want to create a new life.” But they cling to the familiar self and its emotion so much, that the moment they stop feeling the same way as they always do, it starts feeling uncomfortable, the body, which is 95 percent of who we are, as the body is the mind, starts to send signals back to the brain, that says, “Start tomorrow. This doesn’t feel right. You’ll never change. It’s too much like …”
Come on, that’s the body sending signals back to the brain. So, that, then the person listens to that voice, that thought, that sub-vocalization, as if it’s true. And that thought will always lead to the same choice, which will lead to the same behavior, which will create the same experience, and it will produce the same feeling and they will say, “This feels right.” No, no, no. That feels familiar.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: And people don’t believe that they can go from here to here, because when they’re in that unknown, when they’re in that void, they can’t predict their future. So, the moment they can’t predict their future, they go back to what they know.
Stuart Cooke: Of course.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: You know, the best way to predict your future is to create it, right? But not in the known, but in the unknown. So, when you get comfortable in the unknown and you’re willing to keep your vision on the other side, whatever that new self is; whether it looks a certain way, whether it feels a certain way, whether there’s a certain amount of success, whatever that model that your brain can create. If you don’t keep that vision alive, and that vision isn’t real, you are going to always return back to the old self. So, self-sabotage really is returning back to what feels familiar, because at least you can predict that. People would rather hold on to their guilt, because if they didn’t feel guilty, they didn’t know who they would be, you know, and it just kind of …
Stuart Cooke: That’s right.
Guy Lawrence: It’s just crazy. A question that popped in then, is that when you’re creating the vision of your future, like, is there like a muscle that you have to train to keep on track, almost having faith that the outcome going to be there? Because …
Dr. Joe Dispenza: That’s a great question. Number one: my definition of faith is just believing in thought more than anything else. Period.
Guy Lawrence: Yup.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: And so, everybody already knows how to do this. I mean, again, I talked about this in my latest book, “The Placebo.” Because you’re either going to be defined by a vision of the future or you’re going to be defined by the memory of the past in the self. So, the old self is connected to the past and so, everybody already knows how to do this.
Everybody has already done something great in their life. And when they’ve done something great in their life, they sat down and they said, “What do I want? Who do I want to be? How can I get there?” And your brain starts creating pictures and images. That’s called an “intention.”
Once you get clear on that intention and the vision gets more real, you start to feel an emotion. You start getting excited and you start getting enthusiastic. You get inspired. It’s that combination of a clear intention and an elevated emotion that begins to cause the body to live in the future, than live in the past. And we’ll talk about this at the event in Melbourne. We go at great lengths to be able to explain this.
So, then, the moment you are in that new state of being, you start thinking about the choices you’re going to make. The things you’re going to do. The experiences that you want and how those feel. You get clear on that vision. And every day, like a garden, you keep feeding it. You keep giving it water. You keep giving it life.
Then there’s times in our life where we say we’re going to do something and we don’t actually succeed at that. And the reason being is because there’s not enough time. We got busy. We got in an argument with somebody. You don’t feel like it. And whenever you use feelings as a barometer for change, we’ll always talk ourselves out of possibility. Because the moment we don’t feel like doing it, we’re returning back to the old self.
So, the person who arrives at their goal, at their vision, it’s because that vision is their compass. That’s where they’re going. And because they can hold that vision clear in their mind, they’re going to make choices consistent with that vision.
They’re also going to get clear on the choices they’re not going to make. They’re going to review the behaviors they’re not going to demonstrate. They’re going to get very, very clear on the experiences they have to stay away from and the emotions that bring them to a lower denominator.
So, we already know how to do this. It’s just that most people get to distracted by meaningless things and then they say, “Ah, well, I’ve got to deal with this.” And then the moment they get emotional and the moment they’ve got to deal with something that’s less important, the vision disappears. Because the very definition of an emotion is: “something from the past.”
So, the moment they feel emotional or upset, they’re looking at their future through the lens of the past and will never see that future any longer.
Guy Lawrence: There you go. Yeah. Stu?
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. It’s fascinating, fascinating stuff. And you mentioned in your book about the placebo and we had a question about the placebo effect and how powerful this can be, because we interviewed a chap last week and he told us a story about; was it a cancer patient, was that, Guy?
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, you’re referring to Jon Gabriel, right?
Stuart Cooke: Yes. Yes, exactly right. So, can you just outline that again, Guy? Just so …
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. So, basically, Jon Gabriel is a gentleman that lost I think over 200 pounds and he gained a lot of weight and then he finally started visualizing the fat falling off him and he actually got back, and he’s got these before and after photos that nobody actually believes are true. They’re that fantastic.
And he was talking about placebo, because he said there were studies with cancer patients. They split the group in half and they gave chemotherapy to only half the group and then a placebo chemo to the other half. And they said, the placebo, 30 percent of them still lost their hair. So, that was kind of wild …
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. So …
Dr. Joe Dispenza: That’s actually not the placebo, that’s called the “nocebo.”
Guy Lawrence: Right, okay.
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: The nocebo is, instead of getting a positive effect from an inert substance, you’re actually experiencing the side effects because you believe you’re going to get the side effects of something that is a drug, but actually is an inert substance.
Guy Lawrence: Right.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: So, there’s also a study that shows that more than 40 percent of people that are on their way to their first chemotherapy treatment and told that they’re going to get nauseous at their chemotherapy treatment. They get nauseous on the drive over to their chemotherapy.
Guy Lawrence: Wow.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: In anticipation of the effect.
Stuart Cooke: So, with that in mind, can we think ourselves healthy, if the mind is that powerful?
Dr. Joe Dispenza: Okay, I’m going to answer it on two levels, okay?
Stuart Cooke: Okay.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: You tell me how you can give someone a sugar pill, a saline injection or perform some false surgery or procedure and a certain percentage of those people will accept, believe and surrender to the thought that they’re getting the real substance or treatment, without any analysis. And they begin to program their autonomic nervous system to make the exact pharmacy of chemicals of the substance that they think they’re taking.
So, is it the inert substance that’s doing the healing or the body’s innate ability? So, think about this.
Guy Lawrence: Wow.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: Eight-one percent of people who are in a depression study that are given a placebo, 81 percent will get better from the placebo. So, they’re making their own pharmacy of antidepressants. More than 50 percent of the people that are in studies for pain, that are being condition and they’re getting saline injections and not having any pain, they’re making their own morphine by thought alone.
So, then, it’s not the substance, it’s not the inert substance that’s doing the healing, the pill represents the potential in the quantum field called “getting healthy.” The moment that person thinks about that possibility of getting better and they combine it with an emotion of gratitude or joy or hope, the combination of the clear intention and the elevated emotion is the exact combination that causes the person to move from living in their past to living in their future.
So, we have done extensive studies to prove that you can heal by thought alone and that’s what the book is about and we teach people how to do it. Because once you understand how the placebo works and you understand the science behind it, why would you need the pill if you could teach the person do the exact same thing?
But instead of putting their faith in something outside of them, to put it inside of them, select a unknown element in the quantum field, revisit that unknown until they make it known and begin to change their biology by thought alone. And we’ve proven with brain scans and everything else that it’s absolutely possible.
So, that’s point number one.
Point number two; think about this. It’s a scientific fact that the hormones of stress push the genetic buttons that create disease. That’s facts. Seventy percent of the culture lives in stress the majority of their time.
So, now, it’s a fact then that you can begin to think about your problems, you can think about something that happened in your past or you can worry about something in your future and you can turn on the stress response just by thought alone.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: So, if you turn on the stress response just by thought alone and the hormones of stress can make you sick, then your thoughts can make you sick. So, if it’s possible that your thought can make you sick, is it possible that your thoughts can make you well?
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: That’s the same exact thing.
Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. And I watched one of your TEDx talks and I think the term was meta-cognition, where you were then thinking about the situation that you were in and how you were responding and that was having a dramatic effect on the way that your body perceived the situation, as well.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: Sure. I mean, think about this. The concept of metacognition means that you can think about what you are thinking about. You can observe how you’re acting. You can pay attention to how you’re feeling. And because of the size of the frontal lobe, 40 percent of our brain, that’s the crowing achievement of the human being. That’s the observer. That’s the creative center.
The fact that you can observe that means that you’re no longer the self. It means your conscience is observing the self. And because that ability allows us to modify who we are, so that we can do a better job the next time. Which means if you’re not modifying your behavior to do a better job the next time, then you’re clearly not evolving and you’re acting more animal and less divine. Yeah?
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: So, how can we; with so many distractions going on in the world, right, you know, everywhere you go you’ve got distractions bombarded at you; so, how can you practice and truly remain present in the moment with so many interruptions happening? You know, I think, like there’s so many people, and I catch myself drifting all the time, half the time I say, “Whoa. Come back. Be present. Be here now.” You know, it’s very difficult.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: So, I’m so glad that you’re coming to the workshop, Guy, because you will not leave that workshop without knowing how to be present. It turns out that paying attention is being present and it’s a skill, just like golf or tennis. The more you practice it, the better you are at it.
Now, your brain’s job is to create coherence between what’s going on in your outer world and what’s going on in your inner world. That’s the brain’s job.
So, you’ve got technology, you’ve got school, you’ve got demands, you’ve got all these things. You’ve got clients. All these things are happening and your brain is trying to create balance between everything that’s going on and control it.
Well, that’s fine if you’re living your life and you’ve got a lot of activities, but if you keep doing that over a period of time, you will shorten your attention span, because that’s what a habit is.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: You keep practicing something over and over again, your attention span will get shorter and shorter, because that’s what you’re doing.
In order for you to truly make an impression in changing your biology by thought alone, the first step is becoming present. And we teach our students, without a doubt, how to find what we call the “sweet spot” of the generous present moment. And if you keep practicing it, sooner or later you will know when you’re there and when you’re not. And if you keep practicing that, it should become a skill just like golf or tennis.
Guy Lawrence: Got it.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: Or it should come as natural as it is to lose your attention span.
Guy Lawrence: Okay.
Stuart Cooke: Are these practices applicable to children, because children now are being born into a world with a billion distractions.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: Yeah. I mean, I just did an interview today talking about children and their brains are so neuroplastic. I have a problem with technology and children, because it turns out that when children play a video game, or they blow up somebody in the video game or they conquer a whole nation or they break through the next level. The moment they do that, their brain releases enormous amounts of dopamine and dopamine is the pleasure chemical.
So, when you release all this dopamine into the brain, the release of that much dopamine begins to desensitize the receptor sites in the brain. Which means, the next time they play they have to play a little longer or play a little harder, because it takes more dopamine the next time you turn on the receptor sites.
So, over time we start recalibrating the pleasure centers to a higher level and in the absence of that stimulation children can’t find pleasure in anything. It’s called anhedonia.
So, you say to the kid, “Hey, why don’t you go take the dog for a walk,” or, “We’re going to see your grandmother.” or “Hey, let’s go watch the sunset.” and they say, “Boring.” You know, because why? Because they had just over-stimulated their brain to such a degree that in the absence of that stimulation they can’t get their brain to turn on.
Now, when you’re talking about learning, now in a school setting, learning should be a reward in and of itself. But if the child’s brain has been over-stimulated, and they can’t get their brain to work when they’re in class, they will act out or get in trouble, because that’s the only way they’ll get their brain to turn on, because the rush of adrenaline begins to wake their brain up.
Well, in the end, if you keep turning on those adrenal mechanisms, the blood flow goes to the hindbrain instead of the forebrain and you wind up with attention problems and learning problems.
And so, I’m not a big fan of technology when it comes to video gaming, because if you look at a kid and you see them video gaming, they’ll have this kind of withdrawn look on their face because their brain is way out of chemical balance.
And so, when we fast-forward 20 years later and the child now has to face some rough emotional conditions in their life and they don’t know how to work with their own emotional state, they’re going to look for something outside of them to change how they feel inside of them. And that’s when addictions start to become trouble.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Wow.
Stuart Cooke: That’s fascinating. Wow. Atari have a lot to answer for in my childhood, that’s all I can say.
So, I know we’re pretty tight on time, I just wondered if you could just give us a little insight into your workshops that Guy’s fortunate enough to be attending.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: Sure. I mean, I only go where I’m invited and the reason that I’m doing workshops pretty much right now around the world is because I think it’s a time in history where it’s not enough to know. I think it’s a time in history to know how. And after the movie “What the Bleep” the most common question I was asked over and over again is: “Great information, but how do you do it?”
So, we teach these workshops around the world where people retreat from their lives for a couple of days. They remove the constant stimulation in their external environment that reminds them of who they think they are. They separate themselves from the people they know, the places they know, the things they do at the exact same time, long enough for them to learn vital information about possibility.
So, we combine principles of quantum physics, neuroscience, psychoneuroimmunology, epigenetics, to show people how they can take their power back and begin to produce greater effects in their own lives and their brain and in their life.
So, we teach quite a bit of techniques for them to really begin to make those changes. In the workshop I’m doing in Melbourne in June, those people will learn quite a bit and they’ll have plenty of opportunity to practice all the things that we teach.
Nothing in my workshops are left to conjecture or dogma or superstition. There’s all scientific basis behind it
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: Because once people understand what they’re doing and why they’re doing it, the “how” becomes easier and they can assign more meaning behind it.
After the event in Melbourne, for those people we’re doing an advanced workshop on the …
Guy Lawrence: The Sunshine Soast.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: The Sunshine Coast and I’m bringing my team of scientists. We’re going to measure brain wave function. We’re going measure heart rate variability. We’re going to be measuring the energy of the room and the energy around people’s bodies and we’re going to show how powerful they are, because we want people to see that if you walk in one way, you can walk out another way.
Guy Lawrence: That’s fantastic. I’m so excited. I’m really looking forward to it and I think it’s June the 19th, the one in Melbourne I’m going to. So, if you’re listening to this before, then definitely come and check it out.
Look, a couple of other questions that occurred to me before we wrap it up. One is the discussion with, when it comes to athletes, because we actually deal; our podcasts gets listened by a lot of people that do CrossFit and elite end performance. And there’s always just slight variables that seem to cut between first, second, third, fourth, fifth; like, these guys are so phenomenal.
From your experience and what you know, the power of thought and attention applied there, like how much of that would that play in outcome of the; between winning and coming in second, do you think?
Dr. Joe Dispenza: It has everything to do with the outcome. It does. We can; I’ve worked with so many professional athletes and I can show you that you can take a person who’s never played the piano before and you can teach them one-handed finger exercises, scales and chords. They can practice for two hours a day for five days and at the end of five days you can scan their brain and they’ll have new circuits that grow on their opposite side of the brain.
It makes sense. You learn something new. You make new connections. You get some instruction. You get your body involved. Experience enriches the brain. You pay attention to what you do. You have to pay attention, repeat it. You’re going to grow new circuits on the opposite side of the brain.
Well, you can take another person, have them close their eyes and mentally rehearse playing those scales and chords for two hours a day for five days. At the end of the five days, their brain is going to look like they’ve been playing the piano for five days and they never lifted a finger.
Now, what that means is, their brain is beginning to change and they’re beginning to install the hardware in their brain to look like their experience has already happened. In other words, you’re changing your brain to do the activity better.
You take that person that’s never played the piano, you put them in front of the piano and they can play the piano, because now the hardware program is turning into a software program.
Why is that important for athletes? Because the more circuits you have in place, the more you can get your behaviors to match your intention. Point number one.
Point number two: You can take a group of people and you can have them pull a spring for an hour a day for four weeks. At the end of four weeks, 30 percent increase in muscle strength. You know the physiology behind that?
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: Muscles will break down and they grow back bigger. Proteins change.
You can take another group of people and have them close their eyes and mentally rehearse pulling that spring and saying “harder, stronger,” never lifting a finger. At the end of four weeks they have 22 percent increase in muscle strength just by thought alone.
Stuart Cooke: Oh, wow.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: So, the body begins to respond to the mind by mental rehearsal.
So, we work with; I don’t care if they’re Tour de France cyclists or professional golfers, the mental game in rehearsing the activity; rehearsal begins to align the brain and body into the future.
And any great athlete will tell you, when they are getting ready for an activity, they’re reviewing what they’re doing enough times and when they get in there, they’re no longer thinking about what they’re doing, they’re going to let their body take over, because their brain and body have been primed into the activity.
Guy Lawrence: There you go. That’s fantastic. And would you sit there and mediate on that and just visualize it over and over, I’m thinking? Or would that be something you just run over your head as you’re …
Dr. Joe Dispenza: Oh, no, I mean, there’s a CrossFit activity and you’re doing pull ups or you’re doing clings or whatever it is. The more the person can rehearse lifting that weight and begin to feel how much it’s going to weigh and what’s going to happen if their body wobbles and how they have to straighten it out and how they have to set themselves and you can take them through every single step. Pause. Breathe. Hold. Now exert. Come on keep exerting. And you get the person involved in it mentally; they will get their behaviors to match their intentions when they actually do the activity, because they’re loading the brain and body for the event.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fantastic. That’s just fantastic.
And just to wrap it up, we actually ask a question to all our guests that come on every week and the one question is, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Dr. Joe Dispenza: The best piece of advice?
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: Without a doubt, we’re a work in progress; make time for yourself. If you don’t make time for yourself, no one else will.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: XXunintelligibleXX [:34:20.1] with us all.
Stuart Cooke: That makes sense.
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely. And if anyone listening to this that wants to get obviously more of Dr. Joe Dispenza, where would be the best place to send them, Joe?
Dr. Joe Dispenza: Ah, just my website: DrJoeDispenza.com. I mean we have all our events and all the resources and everything we’re doing pretty much around the world.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic and we’ll put links to all the show once we get this transcribed so people can read it as well and we’ll push this out and hopefully see a few more people come down in Melbourne as well.
Fantastic. Really appreciate your time, Joe. That was awesome.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: Yeah. A pleasure meeting you guys.
Stuart Cooke: Thanks, Joe.
Guy Lawrence: Thank you. Bye, bye.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: All right. Keep up the good work.
This week we welcome musician Wes Carr to the show. Wes has an amazing story to share with us as he’s been on quite a journey.
Wes openly speaks to us about his battle with depression and anxiety, and how he’s been using nutrition and meditation with great success to help combat these in his everyday life over the last few years.
If you’re not familiar with Wes Carr, yes, he’s a musician here in Australia. He’s worked alongside icons like Paul Mac, Missy Higgins, Don Walker, and Andrew Farris from INXS to name a few.
If you enjoy inspiring and transformational stories, then this podcast is for you!
Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence from 180 Nutrition, and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. You know, thinking back a couple of years ago I was sitting in a friend’s car and they played me song and the song was called Blood and Bone. And little did I know that musician would end up on our podcast a couple of years later.
Yes, his name is Wes Carr and even more so little did I know that he had an amazing story to share with us and he’s been on quite a journey. If you’re not familiar with Wes Carr, he’s a musician here in Australia. He’s also worked alongside icons like Paul Mac, Missy Higgins, Don Walker, and Andrew Farris from INXS to name a few.
Pretty amazing resume. But Wes actually has openly spoke about his battle with depression and anxiety, and he comes on the show today to share with us about using nutrition and meditation to help combat those things and bring them to his everyday life.
And I have to say about Wes, he’s one very positive, happy, great guy, and it was a pleasure to have him on the show today and, yeah, you’re gonna get lots out of this.
Also, Wes is actually touring around Australia at the moment. His tour is called Here Comes the Sun: A Journey Through Songs and Memoirs of George Harrison. And I will be definitely checking it out myself. So, if you want to go and see Wes in person, after this podcast, now is the time to do it.
As always, if you’re listening to this podcast, a little bit of feedback is always great to hear from you. Simply drop us an email: 180Nutrition.com.au. And also a review is a great way through iTunes. It takes two minutes to do. Hit the Subscribe and five-star as well. Really appreciate it. Get feedback that way, but it also helps us with our rankings and we know that you’re enjoying these podcasts as well and we can reach more people.
And it’s fantastic and I feel very blessed to be doing these podcasts with such amazing people. And I have no doubt you’re going to enjoy this podcast along with many others today as well.
So, yeah, let’s go over to Wes Carr. Enjoy.
All right, let’s start, eh? Let’s rock and roll; excuse the pun, Wes.
So, hey, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke, as always. Hey, Stu. And our fantastic guest today is Wes Carr. Wes, welcome to the show, mate.
Wes Carr: Thanks, guys. Thanks very much.
Guy Lawrence: Wes, I was thinking we’ve had athletes, triathlons, CrossFitters, naturopaths, doctors. And we had a chef last week; Pete Evans came on. And you’re our first musician, mate.
Wes Carr: I am?
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. And we’re very excited about that. So, every podcast, mate, what we do is get some; just tell us a little bit about your journey, what you do, before we get on to the health topic of everything, which we’re excited to talk to you about. Can you just tell us a little bit about, I guess, your music journey? You know; when did all that start?
Wes Carr: Yeah. Look, I started sort of singing and dancing and performing when I was I think about 2 years old. I put on the Michael Jackson album Thriller like every ’80s child and went nuts, basically.
And that was it, really, and then I kind of decided to start writing at about 12. I picked up the guitar and I just wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote, basically was obsessed with music, really, all the way through my; all the way up until sort of, yeah, now, really. I mean, I’ve always been a musician and entered Australian Idol in 2008. And basically I’ve been in bands and I’ve been in the industry for 10, 12 years and I’ve been in a band Ben Gillies from Silverchair; that was probably the most profile I’ve had before Australian Idol.
And then when I entered that competition it was kind of frowned upon back then, in the industry, because it sort has this sort of stigma that anyone who goes into those shows, they don’t have much experience. Whereas I had quite a lot of experience in the lead-up to something like that.
And it was really me just kind of throwing caution at the wind and just sort of experimenting with a whole different mentality about going about doing things. And I kind of foresaw that the old mentality in the music industry that they still kind of bash these days is that, you know, you have to be laying in the gutter to sort of make it in the industry. You know? You’re gonna have to pay your dues and all that bullshit.
And I understand it in a certain respect, because you do need to have a sense of yourself and you do need to know a bit more about your craft than just wanting to be famous. But for me, I’ve never really wanted to be, kind of, you know, famous for just being famous. It was more about going onto the short and basically just releasing everything that I had under my belt for the last 15 years of my experience.
And that’s all I did. And I was fortunate enough to go on and win the show and be known for winning Australian Idol, which then I discovered that was a little bit of a struggle, because being known for winning something like Australian Idol, you become “that guy from that show” more than that guy who writes this song or that guy who… So, it’s a big leap; you sort of throw a lot of stuff out the window whilst doing it, but at the end of the day it gives you a leg up in the public arena and you get to have a stance, a voice that’s to what you love doing, I suppose.
So, you know, I’m grateful for it but it has been quite a long journey, I suppose, finding my way through it all and seeing what it means, you know? And now seven years later I’m sort of looking back at it all and really sort of saying, you know, most of it’s bullshit, really, but (really, it is) but you get to find a sense of yourself and you get to find; it’s all about you, really. I mean, at the end of the day we’re all here to sort of learn and grow and fully experience; constantly change and experience new things. And that was sort of what I did, and met a lot of cool, interesting people along the way, you know?
And I’ve done that, I’ve worked with a lot of people, I’ve been over to L.A. I’ve worked with Joe Cocker. This was all before Idol, you know. I worked with a lot of different, amazing famous, very famous, acts and people that I’ve met before and after. And they’ve all taught me many things along the way and, you know, now it’s all; now I’m sitting here talking to you guys.
Stuart Cooke: I actually watched, strangely enough, that was the only Australian Idol I’ve ever watched. And I watched it from Day 1 all the way through to the finals. So I know a little bit about your journey on there. And we were engrossed as a family sitting there, and you get so dialed in.
But I was intrigued that, so, from Australian Idol seven years ago to now the Paleo Way with Pete Evans and Nora Gedgaudas. How did that ever come about?
Wes Carr: I lived next door to a mate of mine who’s a really good friend of mine now whose name is Dino Gladstone or Dean Gladstone; they call him Dino on the show, which is Bondi Rescue, which he’s famous for. I lived next door to him in… I’m not gonna give his address out.
And this was sort of straight after the show. Or kind of two years after the show, really, and I’d been on tour for two years, basically drunk, I think, everyone in Bondi’s body weight in vodka on tour.
And I’d been pretty much partying kind of all the way through that and just playing shows. You know how it is. It’s just sort of becomes like a novelty; it just becomes a joke, really, of like how much alcohol is on the rider and everything at the end of the day, after massive shows and things. It is kind of; I don’t know. I just exhausted myself, I think. I just tried to be something that I really wasn’t, in a way. I learned a lot of that through that mentality. So, when I met Dino he kind of steered me in a different direction. I started training with him and just hanging out a bit more, talking to him.
And he introduced me to a book called Primal Body, Primal Mind. And I read a bit of that and I remember him giving it to me, actually, we were on the Cooper Park stairs, which is probably the worst, or some of the worst stairs you can run up and down in Sydney. They are like the “death stairs,” I call them.
And we were training one day and he gave me this book and I read a bit of it and it just kind of opened my eyes up. And then he really just changed my whole perception on food and what food does. It’s like, I had grew up in a household where I don’t think I ever once thought about food as being medicine or anything to do with anything other than being tasty. That was basically what my education of food was. Because growing up in Adelaide, working-class Adelaide, you just don’t think about these things. You just sort of go to school and come home and drink your Farmers Union iced coffee and…
What I used to do XXJohnny in town/talent school in ?? 0:10:00.000XX as a kid and I was XXon the team/a teen??XX in Adelaide and all that stuff. So, we set up a schedule of going from school to the city five nights a week, and every night we’d have McDonald’s for dinner. I mean, that’s kind of what you did. It was cheap, easy, no one ever really thought about it, it was just the way it was. You know?
So, getting back to Dino, like, that was just an explosion for me to finally go, “Wow, OK?” He didn’t eat grains and all this sort of stuff. What the hell is all this about? And he was making these smoothies and just really into his food and talking about food. And when he spoke about his food, he lit up and it was like; it was just this amazing kind of person; he just kind of became this other person. It was great to see. I thought, God, there’s something in this.
And that was about six years ago, I think. Five years ago.
Guy Lawrence: What made you open to that, you know?
Wes Carr: I think because I really admired Dino for his energy. He has a real just this enigmatic energy that when he talks, you know there’s something in here because he’s so, not “obsessed” is the wrong word, but so; he just loves what he does. You know? All those guys down there do, you know? That’s why they do what they do is they…
But, you know, I think for me that they’re just really good inspirations and really good role models for people, especially like me who came after having all-nighters and just boozed, basically, and destroyed, and running around the world catching flights going… And then also having a disposition to anxiety and depression, which I think I was just trying to numb myself with XXaudio glitch 0:12:04.000XX and everything else that was going on with the prescription pills and everything.
And then he just sort of; and slowly but surely I started waking up to the fact that, “Oh, wow! This does really work.” And it took a very long time because I was the only person in my camp that when we went on holidays and things I’d bring my own food in an Esky and I’d basically just copy what Dino used to do. And I bought what Dino bought and everything that Dino did, I just basically mirrored for awhile until I started getting a little bit more like, “OK, there’s something in this.” I don’t know how it’s going to be sustainable because it was really expensive back then, even four or five years ago, it was quite expensive. These days it’s becoming more mainstream and hopefully it becomes more mainstream so the price is lower and there’s markets and there’s a lot more avenues now, but it took a long time to kind of start working up to this, I think, a long time ago.
I mean, paleo wasn’t in the mainstream psyche at the time. It was just the word that I don’t really understand, you know? It was just a lifestyle choice for me that I seem to resonate with.
Guy Lawrence: Have you always suffered from anxiety and depression? You mentioned it. Or was that something that was fueled from the public eye?
Wes Carr: No. I always had a disposition to severe anxiety. It’s more like terror. I’ve never really had it diagnosed properly, I don’t think, because it sort of shifts around a bit, you know? There’s anxiety attacks, there’s the depression, and then there’s the obsessive thinking that…
I was just talking to a; I was just on the Paleo Way tour in Cairns, I was talking to a little boy, a very inspirational little boy who had changed his diet and has changed his life. But he has obsessive compulsive disorder and what he described basically, when I have my, what I sort of call “episode” where I sort of; I’ve got this one terror thought that I can’t get out of my head and it just kind of goes around and around and around and around. And it just becomes more and more and more and more, I suppose, violent, in my head.
And I basically can’t move. I just can’t get out of the house. I can’t do anything. It cripples me inside and outside.
And so I’ve always had that, and that sort of got worse and worse and worse over the years. And that’s just sort of, it comes in sort of stages maybe twice a year or once every two years. It doesn’t really matter when it comes. It just hits like a freight train when it does.
But I’ve recently realized, my wife’s done the XXINN course 0:15:07.000XX, and my little man has had trouble with sensory processing and all that when he was born. And it’s all to do with gut, really. I mean, that’s your biggest brain in your body. You know?
And so for me to constantly be aware of that and keep on the path of trying to change my gut bacteria and giving it the right foods, then I can change my brain. And then I can work on my thoughts.
But when it’s physical, I feel like you struggle with the thoughts. So you’ve got to kind of treat your physical and then treat your psychological and then it will start working all in all.
Sometimes I don’t really treat my physical well and I sort of shift backwards and forwards, because it is a big step and it’s also a very; you’ve got to be very highly committed to it in quite a strict manner to be able to repair your body and have that mentality. It’s like a mantra. You’ve got to have that mentality every day, all the time, you’ve got to wake up and…
Guy Lawrence: It takes work, doesn’t it?
Wes Carr: It just takes a lot of work. At the moment, I’m trying to get off the caffeine. You know? I’ve been an avid tea drinker for ever since I can remember. And I love my cup of tea in the morning, but then it’s got more caffeine in it than coffee, they say. And it acts differently in the body. But still, and I’ve been 10 days off the caffeine, that’s the last thing I probably need to get off of.
And, for me, I feel even better clarity of mind and able to keep up with a 2-year-old sometimes. It’s still a lot better than walking around with this kind of fake energy for awhile.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. It must have been great for you to meet Nora on the Paleo Way after reading the book as well and being able to spend some time with her.
Wes Carr: Yeah, it was a bit of trick, really. It was quite strange. You know, sometimes you sort of get exposed to these people and all of a sudden, bang, they’re in your life. It’s just bizarre. That happened with Joe Cocker and myself. My dad used to do these really bad Joe Cocker impersonations at Christmas time and then all of a sudden there I am meeting him and going over. So, yeah.
It’s happened most of my life. It’s sort of funny. It’s like whoever I think about sometimes they turn up in my life, which is, yeah…
Guy Lawrence: Oh, it’s great. But even to share your story. Because the Paleo Way was a successful tool, clearly. I mean, I went to the Sydney one and I think there was 1110 people there or something.
Wes Carr: Yeah. It’s been nuts. I mean, I think for me to watch it on the outskirts this time around; I was on the first one and then my wife’s on the second one here, and I’m playing at it and playing music. You know, I think for me, watching it all evolve into the mainstream, it’s like we’re saying the world’s flat again. Like, the media have responded in such an aggressive fashion. And it’s just so unfair because it’s just not; it’s not at all controversial when you look at what you’re saying and whatever everybody’s saying with the paleo lifestyle. It’s just pretty bloody simple really.
But then you’ve got to look at all the publications that are writing these things and what their alliances are. You know?
Guy Lawrence: But I think it’s a big shift mentally for people as well. Like, I was in the same boat as you whereas I grew up without a second thought about food. And you almost have to have a bit of a nudge, if you like, by the universe or whatever it is, pain, or whatever it may be, before you look into these kind of; look at the food that you eat and how it applies to your own health.
I think it can be quite a bit ask for people at times, even though it is actually quite simple really.
Wes Carr: Yeah, I think it is a big ask. I mean, I always look at my mum and God bless my mum. I always look at her for examples as to how I suppose 90 percent of the psyche of the public think, because mum’s from Adelaide, she’s been in suburbia all her life, and she’s read the news, watched the news on the telly, and goes to work. And that’s her sort of everything.
But that’s kind of what people do, I suppose. They get up, they read the paper, they read “fear, fear, fear, fear, fear.” They go to work. They just eat whatever they can, because it’s quick and easy and cheap. Then come home. They watch the news. “Fear, fear, fear, fear, fear.” They go to sleep. And then they get up and repeat.
And then on the weekends they have; they go away with the family or something and they recharge and then back. And it’s the same old routine. And it’s just a treadmill. And it’s a little bit insane. Well, a whole lot of insane. But, you know, I think if you can just break away from that and just be aware of one thing or change just one thing about your life that you kind of think “I could do away with that” and just slowly chip away at your so-called routine and start reading a book or just go out for a walk in the sunshine at lunch break and not sit at your desk eating.
Just something really simple that changes that routine. You start becoming a little bit; that little hole that you’re looking through starts becoming a little wider and wider and wider. And if you’re looking through a small hole, you’re gonna only see through that small hole. But if you start looking through, you start breaking that hole apart, a little bit by little bit, you start seeing a little bit more of the entirety of what’s going on around you and what’s happening, you know?
And there is a lot more happening in the world or a lot more awareness going on than there’s ever been because of such readily communication that we’re all involved in and where we are and the Internet and where we log on.
A lot of people read Facebook now as the newspaper, more so, instead of XXsubtext?? 0:22:03.000XX
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. I think the average person logs in, I think it’s five times a day, to Facebook? It’s something like that.
Wes Carr: Yeah, so, it’s in your phone. I mean, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was 15 times a day, to be honest. Because you’re on your phone and you’re on the bus, you’re on Facebook. You’re waiting on the bus… Like, I mean, I look around at a café and there’s people just on their phones, you know?
It’s a little worrying, but, you know, as long as they’re kind of, I don’t know, reading something that’s sort of expanding their minds instead of “the dog did a poo on my lawn this morning” or something, you know. Some weird… If they’re reading something of worth, then I agree with the communication. But the irony is that we’ve got so much communication now that nobody; it feels like nobody’s really communicating.
And it takes people like a Pete Evans or somebody to kind of put their hand up and say, look, you know, what’s going on over here? I mean, a lot of people are calling him “evangelical” or whatever, but maybe that’s what’s needed at the moment to sort of get through, penetrate through to the mainstream. You know?
The media are only going to report and laugh about it. It’s become a bit like the court jesters back in the medieval times, the media, I think. So I think, you know, that’s the thing.
Guy Lawrence: The great thing with Pete is that he’s making people think about what they’re eating.
Wes Carr: That’s right. And I think that’s all he wants. I mean, he’s not the devil and all this other stuff; all this rubbish that’s coming out. It’s just ridiculous. If people could think about just; if people could think why; what’s the agenda with the newspaper? Why are they writing this stuff? Why are they bullying these people? They’re just basically trying to spread some love into the world. You know? That’s basically what it all is. That’s what I believe.
Stuart Cooke: It’s not as if he’s pushing a potato juice diet. You know?
Wes Carr: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: It makes perfect sense. He’s really pushing what our grandparents used to eat before everything got screwy.
Wes Carr: Absolutely. That’s all it is, you know? That’s all it is. It’s just what our grandparents used to eat. And, you know, it’s deemed like they’re running around saying it’s gonna kill a baby, which is just absolutely ridiculous. You know? My boy grew up on the food and he’s the smartest kid I’ve ever known. I may be biased, but he really is. He’s two and a half and he’s talking whole sentences because his brain’s had the good fats, and it’s just bloody common sense, to be honest.
And, for me, getting back to my journey with it all, it’s like, you know, for me, a big thing is meditation. I mean, it’s more about, for me, it’s more about the soul and looking after your body, but also what comes; what’s around your body, you know?
And that’s who we are really, I think.
Stuart Cooke: I’ve heard the term “spiritual transformation” in some of media articles that I was reading prior to the interview. Is that something that you could explain a little for us?
Wes Carr: That’s funny because I never read anything about that.
Guy Lawrence: The media are at it again!
Stuart Cooke: They are. They are.
Wes Carr: Oh, well. As long as I’m not; you know XXa killer?? 0:25:39.000XX or something, I’m good.
Yeah, look, you know. For me, that’s another thing that came around about five years ago was transcendental meditation. I just; I had always really thought about meditation as being a bit, sort of “girly.” A little bit like, “Oh, what do you want to do that for? Sitting around and just kind of, yeah right.”
And I suppose I’ve been meditating anyway while playing music. That’s a meditation, absolutely. When you’re on stage it feels like you’ve disappeared for an hour and a half and then come back and when you get off stage you’re back there again and it takes you awhile to come down from being on stage.
But, yeah, that is a mediation as well. But for me, transcendental meditation, when I first did it, I went and saw a really amazing person called Carol Maher in Sydney and she taught; she gave me a sound, a mantra, and I just; she just sort of said, now just sit there. And she kind of integrated it into my psyche or system or whatever. You know?
And I just started kind of saying this word over and over again, and, man, it was like; I don’t know. I think David Lynch has the best analogy, which is he just sort of says it’s like standing in a lift and having the lift ropes being cut and you sort of free-fall down the shaft of the lift.
And it’s a bit like that. You just sort of, you kind of close up…
Stuart Cooke: How often do you meditate?
Wes Carr: It’s meant to be twice a day. So…
Guy Lawrence: For how long?
Wes Carr: Well, I do a thing called the Flying Sutras as well, which takes another 10 minutes on my 20 minutes. So, it’s an half an hour a day, morning and night. So, I get up early to do it. I have to get up early, really, to do it. Otherwise, I just can’t do it.
And then the night time’s a little bit harder to fit in with babies and everything else. But I still try to get into it, even if it’s just before I sleep. But it does help me a lot to balance my life, I think.
And some days, it’s funny because you start off with a mantra and you think, “I’m just going to really concentrate on a mantra.” And then boom, you’re off. And you’ve just got about 600 things that you discover that’s in your head that needs to be kind of almost like washed away.
Guy Lawrence: Like hitting the Reset button, is it, would you say?
Wes Carr: Yeah. It’s like; they say it’s like a bath-clean mind or a shower-clean mind. It’s funny, you know. As soon as you go into a meditation state, you realize how much is built up in your mind that you don’t know is there until you look within.
And once you look in, you see it all lined up all in a row and it feels like you need to deal with that stuff before you start with your everyday stuff.
And that’s what a lot of people don’t realize that there’s a lot of stuff going in your mind on a subconscious level or whatever it is under the surface that hasn’t been dealt with yet.
So, that’s why a lot of people feel stressed without knowing that they feel stressed. Or, I’m sorry, without knowing what it is that they’re stressed out about.
Guy Lawrence: Did you have coaching for a long time, Wes, or was this something you just pick up? Because I often hear people talk about meditation. But I don’t see many people that are actually habitually doing it on a regular basis.
Wes Carr: Yeah. I noticed that my life becomes a lot more powerful when I do it a lot more than if I skip a few or whatever and all of that.
I seem to go off on tangents or I start a song and don’t finish it. And I’m over here and I’m over there and I’m doing this and I’ve got 300 things going all at once. But if I just stop for that minute. And actually people say, “Oh, where do you get the time to do hours worth of meditation every day, morning and night?” And it’s like, well, I… Sometimes I don’t. But when I do do it I find that I achieve more. It’s like “do less, achieve more.” It’s that Tao Te Ching thing.
But a lot of people don’t trust that. They think that if you run around frantically and try to achieve more, you get more. And that’s not the way it is. It’s like, you know, you’ve got to give a little to get a little. You know? That’s the kind of thing; I think that’s what meditation’s all about. It makes you realize that if your mind’s right, you can sort of achieve anything, really. But you’ve got to take the time to practice it.
And it kind of makes your life feel better and then everyone else around you. You know? Because then you’re a little bit more relaxed so then it’s sort of a bit more…
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fascinating.
Wes Carr: I think we’re taught to sort of get up and go, like, from the word “go,” you know, from school. I remember: “Work hard. Everything’s hard. You have to work at it. Work, work, work. Hard, hard, hard.” This, that, and the other. Fourteen hours a day. Come home, collapse, get up, do it again, eat shit food.
All of this stuff is just like, from birth. So, you know, if you kind of can wake a up a little around 30 or so is a good age to do it. You kind of come in, reprogram it all and start going, “Hey, well that didn’t really work for me.” Because it doesn’t really work. This all hard work. This whole mentality of pushing shit up a hill all the time. You’ve got to just sort of, yeah, think about it a bit more, you know?
Guy Lawrence: Oh, definitely. It’s funny enough. Myself and Stu did a talk at the Mark Sisson event two weeks ago, the Primal. And one of the things then, as well, I think was a major factor that we ended up talking about was about finding your purpose and passion in life and actually… because then it doesn’t feel like hard work. If you can start to find more purpose with what you’re doing every day, I think it’s a huge thing for your own sanity and health overall. Because it’s gonna wear you down. It has to.
Wes Carr: And it gives you the ease, so therefore the hard work, yeah, like you said, it doesn’t feel like hard work. It probably is hard work to work at it but it doesn’t feel like that, you know? And it gives you the ease to then go and achieve something of a standard that you’re happy with and not just kind of stuck behind a…
Guy Lawrence: Massively.
So, with everything you’ve sort of learned on your own journey so far, Wes, what would your advice to be to anyone that could be listening to this that is suffering from anxiety and depression? Like, what have been the key points for you that you could pass on to those people?
Wes Carr: I think; I read somewhere that Maharishi, actually, the guy who made transcendental meditation famous, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who was famous through; George Harrison went and got him; basically made him a world-famous guy overnight.
He said: When you experience fear and experience anxiety or anything like that, it’s actually the release of it. So, you’re releasing something within, that’s embedded within you, and if you just let it be released, you let it go, if you can let it go, it will go, it will subside, “all things must pass.” Which is a George Harrison quote.
Everything; it’s not going to be like this for the rest of your life. It feels like that way, and God, don’t I know that, where I couldn’t; I was so debilitated in my mind that that was it for me. I was fed up. The last experience or episode I had was really the one that was really the most violent one. It was something that I just could not escape.
And even if you looked at me you probably wouldn’t have known anything was going on. I had to fly to Groote Eylandt, of all places, on a tiny little plane from Sydney at the time and I was in desperate, desperate need of help somewhere. And I thought, “This is it. This is never gonna go away. And my worst terrors and fears are just going to be realized.”
And I now know that, you know, for me, I’m not anti-medication. I’m pro information. I’m not anti anything. If you need that, for the interim, do it, because it then will get your synapses working better. The Eastern and Western philosophies should mesh together. We should all have; if we have the Western philosophies of medication and all of that sort of stuff, we’ve got to have the Eastern where it’s the natural, and, I think, still, to this day, very progressive way of looking at things.
But if we have those both working together, which I’ve done, it helps you; it gives you so much more power. The Eastern philosophies give you so much more power and confidence to then go and become a natural healer or to heal naturally. It can really change your brain. It can reprogram your brain just by one happy thought in the morning.
It does work. You can get out of your funk. You can get out of your deep, darkest place. It’s a very, very easy thing to do but it doesn’t sound very easy when you’re in there. But just trust me. You can do it, just by one little thought: changing your routine, making a different; going to work a different way or go for a swim in the mornings or go to the ocean or go for a walk on the beach or something like that that changes; gets you out of your routine. Gets you out of your funk.
But, you know, in saying that, there are people out there who are chemically; there’s chemical and things out of balance or whatever, which I’ve had as well, and you probably do need some sort of help there, professional help that needs to be guided.
But be aware of the negativity, too, that comes with it. Because it’s not negative. You’re not crazy. I don’t believe anyone’s crazy. I think it’s just an issue with either their health or their backgrounds or something that you can reprogram very easily. We are all very intelligent machines and spiritual beings.
Stuart Cooke: We’re all capable of being happy and healthy. And I was interested in your comment before about the connection of the gut health to brain health. And so I was just wondering what strategies would you implement then from a nutritional perspective to nourish your gut?
Wes Carr: Well, I; this is my just repeating my wife, Pete, Nora, all the guys who are on the Paleo Way tour at the moment. Helen Padarin. It’s that, and I do struggle with this too, because my ego and my rock ’n’ roll background goes, “Bloody hell! This is all bullshit!”
But then my common sense kicks in and goes, “No, it’s not.” You know?
And it is. Fermented foods. A little bit every day, with every meal. Bone broth, which is amazing for you, for anything. Anything. Bone broths are just, like, the best. Fermented foods. You know: good fats. I don’t eat any legumes. Granted, I’m just basically rattling off the paleo diet. But really that’s all, for me, that’s what works the most. And small amount of meat and high; a lot of greens, basically, that’s all I eat, really. I go for the greens. Kale. I love kale. And just super… And green smoothies. Anything green and changing meat up every day. I’m just gonna have lamb, fish, beef, you know. Diversity. And just make it interesting.
And it’s pretty easy, really. And it’s pretty damn basic, too, I think.
Stuart Cooke: How empowering then is this, really, considering now that you can apply everything that you’ve learned to your son? Because I’ve got three daughters and they’re young and I think about what I ate when I was young. And we didn’t know. We lived in a society; we just didn’t know. It was microwaved TV dinners, fast food, sodas, McDonald’s. We were kids of the ’80s, you know.
Guy Lawrence: Exactly right.
Stuart Cooke: We can think about food as information. Food is ultimately nourishing. And we can help these guys grow in ways that we didn’t have access to years ago. So, any particulars for your child’s diet that you pull in every day as a staple?
Wes Carr: Yeah. For me, with the little man, Charlie has been; I mean, she’s got a book coming out soon. The Bubba Yum Yum book that’s the most controversial bloody book this side… in Australia, which basically just has nutrition. It’s unbelievable.
So, yeah, for me, I just think that… He just eats basically what I eat, but on a smaller scale, really. And he has a tiny bit of fermented foods, he has bone broths, he has; just meat once or twice a day. His gut is absolutely; we’re always trying to fit his gut because he just has sensory processing disorders and he was born on spectrum and he stimming and everything when he was born, which means they were showing a lot of signs of being autistic.
So, we went down this path very happily and very readily when we were advised to. I’d already known about it from my introduction from Dino anyway, so it wasn’t really hard for us to do it. But it really worked for him. He couldn’t take mum’s breast milk. So that was very traumatic for Charlie. And then we went through a whole bunch of different problems with him, formulas, and we just realized that all these formulas had, like, toxic crap in them. You know? It’s just junk. And it just makes him full. It doesn’t give him any actual nutrition at all, value at all, I don’t think. Corn syrup and all this other stuff.
So, you know, for us that’s when we found the Weston A. Price and we started making our own formula. And it really worked for him. And that’s when it started; and he loved it. And I just seems good for him. It seemed better for him than, say, your formula you get off your shelf that’s been in a tin for the last how every many years with whatever crawling all over it.
So, I mean, “breast is always best,” they say, but this was the second option that we thought would be great for him. They’re saying it’s too much vitamin A and all that, but that’s only synthetic vitamin A. It’s not natural vitamin A in all this stuff. So, there’s a lot of loopholes that the media have run with that have given it a very dark start and made it have a stigma around it because it’s new and; “new” in inverted commas, which it was only being used in the 1930s and ’40s by our grandparents as a staple diet for kids.
So, it’s funny, and it’s been published over 500,000 times, this recipe. It’s not actually a “new” recipe.
Stuart Cooke: It’s that new!
Wes Carr: It’s that new, man! It’s hilarious how; I don’t know what’s going on in Australia at the moment, but there’s a bit of a shakeup there. Don’t get me started with the indigenous communities. But, you know, I think in Australia we really have to start bloody getting up, world, and waking up a little bit and just realizing that the world is changing and it’s happening for the better.
And there is a beautiful, very non-aggressive revolution going on in the food industry and that’s our future and that’s our kids’ future.
Guy Lawrence: And ultimately what we want to do is be the best version of ourselves that we can be, and it we can do that through food, then why wouldn’t we?
Wes Carr: Absolutely. I mean, we are what we eat, isn’t it? Or we are what we absorb.
Stuart Cooke: It is completely. Where our kids are concerned, too, I mean, we’re great proponents of, regardless of who you are or what you do, we should generally eat the same things, but the volumes will change. So, you know, if you’re a super athlete then you’re gonna eat a little bit more.
Wes Carr: It’s a fine reality, isn’t it? Absolutely. It’s all about your individual needs, you know? That’s what it’s all about. I mean, what works for me doesn’t necessarily work for you.
But in saying that, the awareness, it’s all about being aware of what you’re eating and aware of who you are. You know? And why we’re here and all that.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. But I generally think, as well, the thirst for knowledge from general people is definitely there, because we’ve been at this for five years, roughly. When we started, people were: “What the hell are you two banging on about?”
And now it’s a completely different story. The podcast gets downloaded by the thousands and the content gets read all the time. There’s an awareness happening and the shift is coming, for sure.
Wes Carr: Right. And the people are just sick of the same old thing that’s making them sick. And I think it’s incredible, actually. I believe in consciousness and the collectively consciousness as a whole. And if you do really watch trends and how they evolve, it’s amazing how, when; you become a new person by just being in a different city, because of the consciousness around you. You tap into them. And if you’re more sensitive to energy or whatever it is, if you’re more sensitive to that, you become more aware more quickly.
But there’s the other people that are on to a different train of thought or a different vibration or whatever who it takes awhile. But then once the media start reporting it, it’s en masse consciousness. And then all of a sudden, that’s when everybody’s making up their own minds. And I know a lot of people that aren’t necessarily what you’d call “leading edge” or “hipster” or whatever the trendy word is.
I know a lot of people who are reading the papers these days and going; and making up their own minds for the first time. Because some of it’s absolutely ridiculous.
So, it’s great that they’re reporting all this stuff, because it’s just making all the awareness become a lot more mainstream and people are making up their own minds and thinking about it anyway, even if it is a fearful campaign or whatever that they run with just eating good food. But it makes people more aware of what they’re eating. I think that’s what I’m trying to say. And that’s great. The mainstream is starting to wake up. And that’s when you get a real revolution with everything is when Mr. Barryman, the guy who’s working on construction in Blacktown, is thinking about the healthy option for lunch. That’s when we’re really kicking goals.
Guy Lawrence: That’ll be the day. For sure, mate.
We’ve got a couple of questions we always ask at the end of our podcasts, and one of them is; the first one’s a very simple one. And it’s breakfast. What would you have eaten today, or let’s say yesterday. What did you eat yesterday, mate? Just to give people a rundown of the food.
Wes Carr: We’ve got some fermented cabbage in the fridge, so I; what did I eat for… I can’t remember. I had some sausage. I had some chili. Pork. Gluten-free sausages from our lovely butcher, GRUB.
Stuart Cooke: We know GRUB. Dominic?
Wes Carr: Dommy, yeah, he’s a good mate of mine. And I had some sausages and some fermented foods and some; I just had some kale. I just heat the kale up a little bit because raw kale sometimes…
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, yeah. I know what you’re talking about.
Wes Carr: And then I didn’t eat very much yesterday because I just; and then I had a green smoothie. I went and got a green smoothie with my little man. I don’t know why; I just had to kill some time. And we got back and I cooked up some chops for the little man. He loves his lamb chops. I think I had a chop and a bit of fermented food; a bit of fermented cabbage. Just a little bit again. And what else did I have? I didn’t really eat much yesterday, to be honest. I was so busy.
And then I had some slow-cooked bolognaise. My wife and I put a bolognaise on in the morning and we had it slow-cooking all day. And then we had that for dinner. With kale again, and some veggies. And I don’t think I had any fermented food that night, but I had some veggies and a bit of bolognaise.
And, yeah, the thing is when you’re on a high-fat diet, you don’t kind of seem to need to eat more when you’re really nailing it. It’s like when you first start going paleo, start changing your diet, you kind of feel like you need to eat a lot more than you should. Because I think, you know, I think sugar does that to you. It’s like you’re just insatiable. But once you sort of start getting used to not having too much sugar and not having too much caffeine and all this sort of stuff, you kind of don’t crave too much food. You just sort of have a big meal at the start of the day and then maybe a little bit in the afternoon and a little bit at night. You know? That’s kind of what we’re doing.
Stuart Cooke: I think so. I think you’re getting more nutrients as well out of the food that you’re eating, so you’re satisfied on a deeper level.
Wes Carr: That’s true. And I think the trick is, if you buy big bulk of mince and a chicken for your week, you put your bolognaise on the slow cooker for a day and you’ve got masses of food there left over for you, so that lasts a whole week.
And then sausages for; we’ve got a little 2-year-old so he loves his sausages and his lamb chops and things. So, put them on for lunch and then you have your bolognaise leftovers for either breakfast or for dinner. If you can stomach meat in the morning or not.
And then if you put a chicken on, you eat your chicken for dinner and then you put the bones, you make a broth out of the bones, if it’s… I’m talking organic, locally source sort of meat, not just… especially with chicken, you know. I think, anyway. Especially if you’re making bone broths out of the bones, you’ve got to have healthy chicken.
And then you’ve got your bone broth for four or five days as well, so you’ve got a broth with every meal. Like, I mean, your broth in the morning’s probably the best way to go, to wake up and to have a broth. I think that’s kind of a really good thing to do.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. I have a lot of bone broth.
Wes Carr: Yeah, it just gives you a clarity of mind. And, I don’t know, it does something to your whole system. It’s like having a coffee, I would say.
Guy Lawrence: It just comes back to educating yourself on why you’re doing these things and then learning the new habits that you can employ in replacing the old. And this stuff becomes quite simple to apply.
Wes Carr: And don’t beat yourself up if it’s taking too long to do that, too. I mean, everybody kind of says, “I don’t believe in this whole; I’d fall off the wagon.” Don’t fall off the wagon. Because as soon as you do that, you fall off the wagon.
So, it’s all about just changing one meal a day. Change one meal a day for a start. That’s what I did.
Guy Lawrence: That’s what we say. Absolutely.
Stuart Cooke: Start with breakfast because there’s normally a sugar anyway.
Wes Carr: Yeah. Yeah. It is absolutely horrible. And you wake up feeling so; you wake up feeling really tired and get more stuff that’s gonna make them feel even worse.
Stuart Cooke: You’ve been though the night, you’ve fasted, your body’s ready for nutrients, yet sometimes your Coco Pops just don’t cut it for you.
Guy Lawrence: So, Wes, we’ve got one more question for you, buddy. And it’s a simple one. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Wes Carr: Best piece of advice… OK. Best piece of advice… They’re all; they’re all some kind of XXrock dogs? Rock gods? 0:53:59.000XX; they’re all liars.
There’s one bit of advice; you know what comes to mind? I think it’s; what comes to mind is not an advice as such. It’s basically a mentality. And that’s; I really like the mentality of the Tao Te Ching. It’s a really great; I’m into Wayne Dyer and I don’t listen to music anymore. I listen to audiobooks.
And Wayne Dyer has got a great one, what is it? Oh, man. Let me have a look. It’s a Tao Te Ching translated, for anybody to understand. And, for me, that really resonated with me because of the fact of it’s a real mentality and you can apply it to your life every day.
And you actually trip yourself up every day if you get right down to it, because the ego runs rampant for everyone. You know, we’ve all got this massive ego that we need to appease on a day-to-day basis. But if you start becoming, to use that word again, aware of your ego, you start sort of stripping away that layer of your life. And you start to realize that all your needs that you think you need, you don’t need. And you don’t need anything other than a good diet, obviously. And a healthy mind.
And when you start sort of stripping away all the, I suppose, the noise in your life and all those things that you think you need, you start becoming a lot more calmer but also a lot more aware of what’s going on around you.
So, it’s Change You Thoughts and Change your Life is the book. But it’s a translation of the Tao Te Ching. It’s the Wayne Dyer translation.
Guy Lawrence: I’ve actually listened to that as well, yeah.
Wes Carr: And I was just really; it was really great. I think every kind of bit of advice for life is in it, really. It kind of does hit the nail on the head a lot, with everything. It kind of has it all in there.
And then he sort of thinks; I suppose say “thank you” a lot more. Be grateful. And be grateful for where you are in life and what you do, I suppose. And everything’s a service. As a musician, I’m just in the business of being of service, you know, as a musician. I think that gets lost a bit in the music industry. I think everybody’s out for themselves. But it is. It’s just a service. You know. You’re just a vessel that music’s coming through you. It’s nothing that, kind of, special.
You know? You’re giving something over. I think you’ve got to look at life like that. Just be grateful for who you are and where you are at the moment.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic, mate. And if anyone wants to get more of Wes Carr, where’s the best place to go?
Wes Carr: I’ve got a mailing list on my website. And I’m putting a weekly Wes Wednesday every Wednesday. In the afternoon, I send out just a little quote with a little thing every day about my; I don’t know. An experience I’ve had that week or just a quote that I’ve seen or heard of. Or talking to a dude on the street and he said this and I found it interesting. It’s just a little one-page thing to get you through the week. And it’s on my website WesCarr.com.au. And if you sign up to the mailing list, I send one every Wednesday.
And updates about where I’ll be and my shows and everything are all intertwined on the Wes Wednesday; what is it? Weekly Wes…
Guy Lawrence: The Weekly Wes Wednesday.
Wes Carr: I might have to change that.
Guy Lawrence: www…
Stuart Cooke: But you’ll have to change it to Thursday. It’s easier to pronounce.
Guy Lawrence: That’s brilliant, Wes. We’ll put the links under the show notes and everything, anyway, for people to be able to check out when we put the podcast out.
Wes Carr: Perfect. Yeah. Also, I just, on my Facebook I put videos up and everything, too. But, yeah, it’s all happening on my mailing list at the moment.
Guy Lawrence: Wes, we really appreciate your time. Thanks for coming on the podcast. That was fantastic.
Wes Carr: Thank you, guys. Thank you so much.
Guy Lawrence: And I have no doubt people are gonna get a lot out of it. Awesome.
Angela: A healthy version of the classic cheesecake. Gluten free, plenty of good fats, protein, antioxidants and fibre. Do yourself a favour and give it a go!
Angeline: I love watching food shows, it’s definitely one of my guilty pleasures and I find a lot of inspiration from watching them. But what I get a kick out if doing is making naughty treats and desserts not so naughty and making them healthy and guilt free!
A typical cheesecake contains digestive biscuits for the base which contain a lot of sugar, vegetable oil and wheat which we know is bad news for our tummies and general health so instead I use 180 Nutrition coconut protein powder which is sugar free, a great source of fibre and has a lovely coconut flavour. For the main cheesecake component I made my own organic cream cheese which is simply made from hanging 1kg of organic yogurt wrapped in a muslin cloth for 12-24 hours and your left with an amazing little ball of homemade cream cheese that is made from organic milk so no nasty hormones or antibiotics in sight!
You are saving yourself at least a 1000 calories by making my version of a cheesecake and you are definitely not losing out on flavour as this dessert is a winner!
300g cream cheese, at room temperature (I made my own)
1/2 cup granulated stevia/ Norbu sweetener
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs, at room temperature
100g frozen blueberries, slightly thawed.
Place the almond meal, desiccated coconut and protein powder in a bowl. Add butter and combine.
Press biscuit like mixture over base of a 24cm round cake pan with a removable base. Refrigerate until required.
Preheat oven 180C.
Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add stevia and vanilla extract, then beat until combined. Add eggs, one at a time and beating between additions, until fully combined. Pour mixture over biscuit base. Add frozen blueberries, then swirl to combine.
Bake for 30 minutes or until just set with a slight wobble in the centre. Cool in oven with the door ajar, then refrigerate for 2 hours.
Cut cheesecake into slices and divide among serving plates.
You can find more awesome recipes here and you can follow Angeline here.