Lynda: It’s a common problem that most avoid talking about. I on the other hand, love discussing constipation, particularly because it can be a big indicator of your current health. Constipation has many causes, from poor diet and fluid intake to the presence of a pathogen (bacteria, fungi), emotional imbalance and so on.
This article will focus on “WHAT YOU CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT RIGHT NOW” and delve into causes at a later date.
Here Are My Top 15 Ways To Get The Bowels Moving…
1) Express Yourself – Holding onto past memories or emotions can lead to anxiety and amplify stress. During stressful times it is common to hold onto our poo as well. In Chinese medicine the large intestine AKA our garbage collector, and the lungs when out of balance are associated with an inability to grieve and let go. As a result our bowel movements become sluggish and we store and recycle our waste, collecting toxins, bad breath and all sorts of funky conditions along the way.
2) Fibre - Every meal should contain a portion of fibrous food such as brussel sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, chia seeds, ground flax seeds, berries and avocado. Fibre helps move waste through our digestive system and is also food for your gut bacteria. A healthy, diverse gut flora is important for regular bowel movements.
3) Prebiotics, Resistant Starch & Probiotics – These guys are food and fertilizer for gut bacteria. Stimulating their growth and encouraging regular bowel movements. Good sources are asparagus, artichokes, green (raw) banana, brown rice (that has cooled down), kombucha, fermented vegetables, sauerkraut, kimchi and apple cider vinegar. Gradually include probiotics such as fermented veggies, sauerkraut and kimchi otherwise you might experience digestive upset such as wind while the gut adjusts to a new bacterial environment. Start with 1 tsp with meals, increasing to 1 tbsp.
4) Water – Purified water has the power to nudge poo out from your colon. The amount will depend on your activity levels but as a general rule aim for 1.5 litres daily. Add ¼ tsp of Himalayan salt to your water to enhance absorption. Fluids should be warm or room temperature. Warmth loosens, unblocks and welcomes muscle relaxation. Cold seizes and constricts.
5) Routine – Routine can dramatically improve constipation. To promote a healthy evacuation, you’re morning may look like this; 1tbsp of apple cider vinegar in warm water upon rising, followed by a smoothie rich in fats and fibre. Relax for 15 minutes post brekky, calmly plan your day ahead, read a blog post or engage in calm conversation. I stand following brekkie and read a blog post. Standing helps move things along faster than sitting.
6) Herbs & Spices – Certain herbs and spices nourish the organs of digestion and elimination, such as the liver, kidneys, stomach and spleen. This in turn improves overall breakdown of foods and can dislodge the waste that clings to your intestinal walls. Add them to your meals, smoothies, tea, slow cooking and salads daily. My favourites are turmeric, cayenne, ginger, oregano, black pepper, rosemary, coriander seeds, cloves and cumin.
7) Yin Yoga – Yin Yoga works on improving the health of organs, bones, joints, connective tissue, fascia and mind and incorporates breathwork. A class that works on the lungs and large intestine is a good example of how yin can unlock constipated colon doors. If you have been holding onto grief and are unable to let go and move forward in life, supporting these organs can dramatically change this current reality.
8) Standing Desks – Sitting, particularly after eating can slow digestion down because it compresses the abdominal organs. Sluggish digestion, can lead to constipation and an imbalance in your gut microbiome (gut flora), according to Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease. Try standing or using a standing desk post meals instead.
9) Breathwork – When the flow of breath is laboured or short. It is physically impossible to let go. The mind becomes agitated, stress and anxiety are amplified and not enough “life-force”, space and nutrients get to areas in your body like your digestive system. Without breath, there is tension, blockage and resistance. 10 minutes of breathwork daily can help regulate bowel movements. I find deep belly breathing to be most helpful.
10) Apple Cider Vinegar – Apple Cider Vinegar improves the production of stomach acid, which means a more effective breakdown and absorption of foods and better elimination of waste. Aim for 1 tbsp of ACV in warm water upon rising or 10 minutes before meals.
11) Healthy Fats – Our intestinal cell walls are made up of fat, therefore they need fats to function well. Healthy fats such as coconut, olive and macadamia oil, avocado, oily fish, butter, nuts and seeds lubricate the bowels and help move waste through the colon.
12) Ileocecal Valve Massage – Sometimes the ileocecal valve, located between the small intestine and large intestine does not work well, which can lead to a backlog of poo in the small intestine and constipation. Dr David Williams explains how to massage reflex points to improve its function here.
13) Magnesium – Magnesium is a muscle, (intestinal wall muscles included) and nervous system relaxant, making it perfect for constipation, stress and anxiety. I use magnesium bisglycinate as it is absorbed well and therefore gets to the areas I want to target before conducting its magic.
14) Avoid excessive protein - Stick to a palm portion of quality protein per meal. Undigested protein can putrefy (rot) in the bowel and stimulate the growth of bacteria. This toxicity can over-burden the liver, reducing it’s ability to effectively remove toxins and metabolic waste from the body. This can lead to chronic disease. Excess protein can also over-tax the stomach, reducing its ability to produce enough stomach acid to digest and use nutrients well.
15. Squat or use a squatting platform - When we use the common seated toilet we push poo up, against gravity. Squatting or using a squat platform such as Squatty Potty allows for a more natural angle and pressure. This straightens the anorectal angle and unkinks the sigmoid colon and creates an easier passage for poo to leave the colon.
This list is not conclusive. No doubt you have some pearlers that have helped you regulate your BM’s? Please leave a comment below I would love to hear how you have successfully grooved the poo :)
This article is brought to you by Lynda. She is a fully qualified Naturopath and Nutritionist with over 13 years of experience in the health industry. Lynda specialises in detoxification and weight loss. She has extensive experience in running healthy, effective and sustainable weight loss programs and has expertise in investigating and treating the underlying causes of weight gain and metabolic problems. If you would like to book a consultation with Lynda, CLICK HERE
There has been an increased demand for organic cacao powder over the last couple of years. This has been credited to the health benefits that this powder which has been christened the phrase “super food of the Gods” has. It is worth noting that the powder in its organic form has many benefits to the body.
The most essential element that is extremely important to the body and is in abundance in raw cacao is a range of antioxidants. Perhaps the significance of cacao can be summed up by the fact that even with the deficiencies in modern diets; cacao powder has been established to possess the highest concentration of magnesium. This is largely deficient in other meals. The benefits are especially more profound for women.
The Top Five Health Benefits of Cacao Powder Include:
1. Can Assist In Weight loss
Cacao powder has a rich presence of both chromium and coumarin supplements. These are extremely useful as they aid in the digestion process in breaking down the fats that would normally have accumulated. The breakdown is essential in ensuring that your weight is well maintained at all times.
2. Better Skin Tone
A research that was conducted by the Journal of Nutrition found that women who used organic cacao powder had a better skin tone that was suppler and had better moisture composition. This is in addition to being comparatively creamier and smoother to the skin by women who did not use the powder. This has been credited to the presence of flavonoids which works by absorbing ultra violet rays in the right amounts and thus causing the skin to glow. This will consequently lead to the skin having a more radiant and appealing skin.
3. Healthier Teeth
Enhances the prevention of cavities. The presence of cavities in the teeth can be some of the worst possible experiences owing to the pain that they come with. Streptococci refers to a strain of bacteria that is responsible for causing tooth decay and this is broken down by a compound present in cacao powder called theobromine. It is this breakdown that eliminates any traces of the bacteria even in small amounts and thus prevents tooth decay at all times while keeping the gums healthy.
4. Helps Regulate Blood Sugar Levels
Promotes the regulation of the blood sugar levels to a healthy rate. An inadequacy or lack of regulation in the blood sugar levels will lead to the individual contracting diabetes. Cacao powder is rich in chromium which has been found to be naturally efficient in the regulation of the blood sugar. This is achieved by increasing the working efficiency of the pancreas by virtue of the supplements. This is highly important.
5. Improves Muscular Function Including Digestion
Promotes the working of the muscles, the digestive tract system and the cardiovascular system. This health benefit is even more significant putting into consideration the emergence of a number of lifestyle diseases. The magnesium mineral aids this by relaxing the muscles of the body with the benefit of promoting their efficiency. The bowel movement is also made better due to the strengthening of the peristalsis. The heart benefits since the pumping of blood is made easier by the elimination of rancid which causes an inflammation and thus inhibits the process.
Organic cacao powder also tastes great and is with no artificial additives of any kind. Fantastic to add in your smoothies or making healthy recipes. The benefits are endless and offers the body a healthier and better feel!
Guy: With all the years I’ve been working in the health and wellness space, there’s been one thing that has stood out over time. Yes, I believe one of the corner stones of great health is the integrity of the your gut. Not the most glamorous answer I know, but one you seriously don’t want to overlook. Some estimates say that bacteria in our gut outnumber our own human cells 10:1 in our body!
Whether you want to lose weight, recover faster from exercise, increase energy, elevate mood etc, then gut health is worth delving into and applying these simple strategies below.
Welcome to the world of ‘microbiome’. Over to Lynda…
Lynda: What is the gut “microbiome” you ask? Put simply its the trillions of microscopic bacteria that live within your gastrointestinal tract.
Why is it so important to nourish and have a wide variety of gut microbiome? There are many reasons. I have touched on some of these below:
A healthy, diverse microbiome protects you from harmful bacteria, fungus and viruses.
90% of our the body’s serotonin is made in the gut. Serotonin is affected by the health of your microbiome and is responsible for a healthy mood, sense of calm, optimism, sleep and appetite.
Gut bacteria produce and respond to other chemicals that the brain uses which regulate sleep, stress and relaxation such as melatonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, acetylcholine and GABA.
They produce short chain fatty acids (SCFA’s) which promote weight loss, ward off inflammation, protect against colon cancer and are crucial for overall good intestinal health.
They improve the strength and health of your intestinal walls, prevent leaky gut and reduce inflammation by maintaining the tight junctions between the cells in the lining of these walls.
A balanced gut microbiome helps avoid unhealthy weight gain.
Helps to break down toxins and improve the absorption of nutrients from the food you eat.
Helps prevent or reduce nasty symptoms of autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and lupus.
The following are my top 5 gut loving foods. Those that can be easily added to your daily diet…
Don’t be put off by the fancy word. Simply put, polyphenols are compounds found mostly in colourful fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, nuts, seeds, red wine, green and black tea. Polyphenols ensure that the balance of your gut microbiome is maintained. They reduce inflammation and improve overall metabolism, especially of sugar (glucose) and fats (lipids). This enhances the quality of your health and prevents disease.
Polyphenols contain antibiotic properties and each polyphenol acts as its own prebiotic, promoting growth of healthy gut bacteria. When the cell of a bacteria breaks down it releases a toxin. Polyphenols communicate with your microbiome, reducing the growth of these toxin containing bacteria.
You can find polyphenols in the following foods and beverages:
Nuts and seeds: almonds, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, chestnuts, flaxseeds
Beverages: cocoa, green, black, white tea, red wine
Olive oil and olives
Prebiotics are generally the non digestible, plant fibers found in food. They are the foods that feed and nourish the friendly bacteria already present in your gut.
Inulin is the main prebiotic compound found in foods such as asparagus, onions, garlic, and artichokes. Other forms of prebiotics are fructo-oligosaccharides, galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), xylo-oligosaccharides (XOS) and arabinogalactans.
Inulin and GOS have much positive research behind it and are shown to prevent bacterial imbalances in the gut, leaky gut, obesity and its complications.
Foods rich in prebiotic fiber are asparagus, leeks, onions, radishes, tomatoes, garlic, artichoke, carrots, kiwi fruit.
Resistant starch is a form of natural prebiotic that is digested by our good bacteria many hours after eating. As the name states this form of starch is resistant to digestion in the stomach and small intestine. It instead reaches the large intestine intact and goes on to feed our good bacteria. RS contain mostly unusable calories and create little or no insulin or blood glucose spikes.
Good RS sources are boiled potatoes and brown rice, that have been cooled down, cannellini beans, black beans that have been cooled down, green (unripe) bananas and plantains. I like to add 1 tsp of organic green banana flour (I use the brand Absolute Organic which is easy to find) to my smoothies or I recommend that people have 2 tbsp of an RS source for lunch or dinner to cultivate a healthy, well balanced microbiome.
3. Probiotic rich foods
Probiotics are the living bacteria that restore and renew our microbiome. They reduce inflammation in the intestines, improve the quality of the gut and reduce absorption of toxins.
Poor bacterial balance in your gut microbiome can lead to inflammation and can affect your body composition and metabolism in various ways. Any imbalance weakens your gut barrier and leads to an increase in inflammation. Weight control and blood sugar regulation is dependent on a good balance of gut microflora.
Fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, kimchee, fermented vegetables, yoghurt and kefir are natural probiotics. They contain their own living cultures of bacteria, which nourish the healthy bacteria in your microbiome.
4. Healthy fats
Your cell walls are made up of fat so in order to do their jobs they need healthy fats such as nuts, nut butters (almond, cashew, macadamia), seeds, seed butters, avocado, oily fish, flaxseeds and olive oil.
Having healthy cells ensures that you are the best version of your inherited genes because whatever enters your cells affects your DNA. Unhealthy fats such as vegetable oils feed the harmful bacteria, the microbes that ignite inflammation, encourage your body to store fat and produce toxins.
Omega 3s, particularly from oily fish reduce gut inflammation and repair the mucosal cells of the digestive system. Gut mucosal cells are damaged easily because they regenerate very quickly- within a 24 hour cycle. They need a constant flow of good nutrition to support their rapid turnover and prevent damage.
5. Apple cider vinegar
Your microbiome and stomach acid stimulate your small intestine to produce the enzymes needed to break down nutrients from the food you eat. If you have an unbalanced or unhealthy microbiome or low stomach acid this important signal is not given and digestion is compromised. You will absorb less fabulous nutrients from your food and if leaky gut is present, undigested food may pass through the intestinal wall causing inflammation.
A simple way to improve your stomach acid is to use Apple Cider Vinegar. I dilute 1 tbsp of this household favourite, in water before most meals and use it as my staple vinegar whenever vinegar is called for in a recipe. Salads, slow cooking, sauces.
In a Nutshell
There is overwhelming evidence to suggest that poor food choices such as too many processed carbohydrates and unhealthy fats cause disruption in your gut microbiome. So opt for fibrous foods rich in colour, packed full of the ammunition your gut flora needs to ensure you flourish.
A simple option if you are low on time or stuck for choices would be to replace a poor meal choice, like toast & cereal etc with a high fibre 180 Natural Protein Smoothie. Simply mix it with water, a little avocado for extra healthy fats and some low GI fruit like berries which are also rich in antioxidants.
Your gut has the power, it just needs the right environment and your help. Feed it well, save yourself a motza of money by avoiding illness and medications and use your hard earned cash on a holiday instead :)
If you want to delve into t your gut health further, you can start by having it assessed with these tests here.
Lynda is a fully qualified Naturopath and Nutritionist with over 13 years of experience in the health industry.
Lynda specialises in detoxification and weight loss. She has extensive experience in running healthy, effective and sustainable weight loss programs and has expertise in investigating and treating the underlying causes of weight gain and metabolic problems.
If you would like to book a consultation with Lynda, CLICK HERE
Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on youriPhone HERE.
This week we have the fantastic paleo and primal expert Mark Sisson. He is a best selling author and runs the hugely successful blog ‘Mark’s Daily Apple’.
His experience and knowledge is exceptional, as he shares with us (in the above short video) how he defines what it takes to live a happy, healthy and active life whilst getting the most out of each day.
In the full interview below we dig deep into the world of Mark Sisson; from endurance athlete to the primal lifestyle, his exercise routines, his simple philosophies he applies to make the most out of each day and much more. And most of all how you can apply them into your life.
If you are loving the podcast’s or/& they are inspiring your health journey, we’d love to hear from you! Simply drop us an email or leave a review on our iTunes :)
Full Interview with paleo expert Mark Sisson
In this episode we talk about:
Mark’s journey from an elite carb-loading athlete to living the paleo way
What exactly the primal blueprint is
How to define what it takes to achieve amazing health
Why exercise for weight loss is not a great weight loss strategy
What a typical week of exercise looks like for Mark Sisson
Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence from 180 Nutrition, and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. Our fantastic guest today is paleo and primal legend Mark Sisson, a former marathon runner and triathlete in his early days, came on to make his mission to empower 10 million people in the primal lifestyle, pretty much worldwide.
He started his blog in 2006 and he’s now going on, I think, reaching over 150,000 people come to his website a day. Yes.
And he’s also the author of a very best-selling book, The Primal Blueprint.
Now, I’ve been following Mark for awhile, many years, including on my own health journey, and it was fantastic get him on the podcast today. He’s an all-around top guy, very humble, very down-to-earth, and a lot of fun, too. And it was just great to be able to pick his brain on so much. For, you know, I think 45 minutes for the show.
It’s all well and good to have knowledge, but, you know, experience is priceless, I think, and Mark’s certainly got a lot of that. You know, as he said on the show, he’s 61 years old, you know, he looks half his age, he’ll put most people half his age to shame, you know. Just in fantastic condition and a fantastic representative of what good healthy living is. But also not taking it all too seriously, to a degree, and having fun along the way.
Anyway, this was a stellar podcast and I have no doubt you will get a lot out of it today. As always, you know, if you’re enjoying our shows on iTunes, please leave us a review. Hit the five stars. Subscribe. They all add up and they all make a difference in helping us get the word out there with these podcasts that we do, because we know we’re reaching a lot of your guys now.
Also, we are on social media: Facebook, Instagram. Get involved. It’s all under 180Nutrition. And, of course, come back to our website. If you’ve got no idea where to start, these podcasts are a great place, but also we’ve got a free ebook we give away and that’s a great place to start, too. And that’s on 180Nutrition.com.au.
And, yeah, enjoy the show. If you’re enjoying it, also drop us an email. It’s great to hear from you. And we get a lot of emails coming in every week now, and keep them coming because we love to hear from you.
Anyway, enough of me rambling. Let’s get on to the show and over to Mark Sisson. Enjoy.
OK, hi, I’m Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke, as always. Hey, Stu.
Stuart Cooke: Hello, mate.
Guy Lawrence: And our fantastic guest today is Mark Sisson. Mark, welcome to the show. Thanks for coming on.
Mark Sisson: Thanks for having me! It’s great to be here.
Guy Lawrence: It’s great. Over here in Australia at the moment there’s a bit of a buzz going on because you’re coming over next month. Is this the first time you’ve been to Australia, or have you been here before?
Mark Sisson: No, I’ve been there. I’ve been to Sydney a couple of times. I’ve been to Perth twice. So, I feel like I’ve been on both ends of the continent. Now I need to do something in the center at some point.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, it’s excellent. And Manly, it’s a beautiful place, and I’m sure we will talk a bit more about that through the show as well. But where I was interested to kick off, Mark, is that you’ve affected so many people’s lives through their own health journey over the years, including mine as well, and myself and Stu were chatting and we are intrigued to hear a little bit more about your journey. You know, from back to your endurance athlete days to the transition to primal and everything. How did it all sort of happen and come about?
Mark Sisson: Well, it was a long process. And it was an evolution, for sure. I started out as an endurance athlete and was a fairly decent marathon runner in the ’70s and then became a triathlete in the early part of the ’80s, doing Ironman events and such.
And I wanted to do all the right things. I researched heavily into what it would take to be as fast as I could get, and to be as healthy as I could stay, and how best to fuel my body, and, you know, the conventional wisdom of the day was: train hard and long and eat lots of carbohydrates. Cross your fingers and hope that you get faster and win some races.
And I did get faster and I did win some races, but my health suffered tremendously, and over the years; I had to retire quite early from competition because of injuries because of inflammation and –itises and some other; some lingering sinus infections and a whole host of maladies. And I thought, “This isn’t right. I’m trying to be healthy and I’m trying to do the right things. I work hard. I’m following all the best advice. Why am I not healthy?”
And I just sort of dedicated the rest of my life to looking at ways that I could be as strong, fit, lean, happy, healthy as possible with the least amount of pain, suffering, sacrifice, discipline, calorie counting, and portion control.
And that really led me to discovering that fats were not the enemy. I increased the amount of fat in my diet. I discovered that I could get fit on much less training if I just trained smarter and not harder. I discovered eventually that if I gave up grains, my inflammation went away. And so the osteoarthritis that had pretty much taken me out of the elite marathon division; that went away.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome, I had in my gut that had really run my life for almost forty years, that went away. And it was really quite a revelation that, wow, by just changing a few things in the diet and by altering how much exercise I did and maybe getting a little bit more sun exposure to make some more vitamin D, I didn’t get sick as often, and all these things started to come into place, and it really created the template for what I now call the Primal Blueprint, which is my strategy for living an awesome life.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fantastic. Stu?
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, before we get into the Primal Blueprint, I’m interesting in asking how does Mark Sisson define good health? Because I think we’re all in different stages on our health journey. And some people have just succumbed to the idea, “Well, I’m getting older, I’m not gonna be as fit and as strong, I’m gonna get more sick.” What’s good health mean to you?
Mark Sisson: Well, I think out of the blocks, the most important part of life is to be content, to be fulfilled, to be happy, to wake up every morning with a sense of purpose and excitement for what the day’s going to bring.
And in order to get to that point, I think you have to be in a position where you’re not in chronic pain, where you have enough energy that gets you through the day while you’re not moody or depressed. So all of the sort of things that comprise what I would call health in general go far beyond not being sick. They actually would comprise, again, like: How do I live an awesome life? How can I take what I have, whether it’s given to me by my familial genes or whether I’ve brought it on myself through inappropriate lifestyle choices over the past few decades, how can I today extract the most possible out of my life that gives me peace and contentment and enjoyment and fulfillment.
And, you know, it always comes back to: It starts with taking care of what you eat. How you eat is sort of how it manifests in your body composition. So, if you’re overweight you’re not gonna enjoy life as much as if you’ve arrived in an ideal body composition. If you’re in pain from inflammation and you can correct that through how you eat, then you won’t spend much of your waking day, you know, lost in that tunnel vision that has you focused on the pain and not all the wonderful things in life that are happening around you. Does that make sense?
Stuart Cooke: That makes perfect sense. Absolutely. I think that everybody is entitled to experience good health, and we’ve got so many mixed messages at the moment and we’re confused about so many areas, whether it be food or lifestyle choices, that I think we just…
Mark Sisson: Yeah. People want to do the right thing. They’re just confused and frustrated because over the years what they’ve been told was the right thing, in many cases by their governmental agencies or by their physicians’ boards or whatever, you know, haven’t necessarily reflected the truth.
And I’ve sort of made it my mission to identify some of these choices that people can make that are more likely to create a positive outcome if they engage in these activities. So, it may be something as simple as: “Well, I was told my whole life to avoid fat and to base my diet on complex carbohydrates.” Well, if that’s working for you, there’s a good reason, because now there’s a lot of research that suggests fat is not the enemy, that healthy fats are actually beneficial and good, and that you might be better-served by cutting out some of the sources or carbohydrate in your diet, because maybe that’s what’s causing you to gain weight or to become inflammation or to have; or to become inflamed, or to have pain throughout your body or skin issues or whatever.
And as we know, there’s; I sort of represent, I guess, the epitome of a healthy 61-year-old guy. You know, I’ve got my little issues that I’m always trying to deal with. Everybody’s issue is like really important to them, right?
Stuart Cooke: Exactly right.
Mark Sisson: So, yeah. So, we’ve all got our little Achilles issues, you know.
Stuart Cooke: I love that. And I’m always of the opinion that if you want something to change then, you have to change something. Otherwise, you’re probably going to experience the same result moving forward.
Mark Sisson: And that’s the beauty of what we do in the paleo and primal movement is we overlay a template which suggests that there are some obvious changes that you can make to your lifestyle and to your diet. But at some point, it’s incumbent upon you to learn enough about your own particular set of circumstances that you can start to experiment with, and we call it “tinkering at the margin.”
Am I somebody who can handle maybe a little bit more carbohydrate than the other person? Am I somebody who can’t exercise too much or I’ll tear up my muscle tissue? I am somebody who needs nine hours of sleep instead of seven and a half. And the are all sort of the; these are the fine-tuning points that I think are really critical for people to, when you’re being mindful about your life and mindful about your health, then they start to pay attention: “What happens if I stay up too late and don’t get enough sleep?” “What happens if I overeat?” “What happens if I exercise too hard or I’m training for a marathon and I overdid it?”
And just being aware is like key point number one. And then, like you see, then, from there, you can make the changes in order to derive the change that you’re thinking.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, absolutely. And we call that, or we refer to that as the “sweet spot.” Everybody’s got to find their sweet spot; find out what works for them. And, yeah, and turn the dial. If it doesn’t quite work, then experiment with the N equals 1, see what works for you, keep going, keep going. And when you find your sweet spot, then you’ve kind of got a blueprint for the rest of your life. Or at least for then.
Mark Sisson: And that’s another part of this that I think is really so awesome is that so many people who encounter a paleo friend who’s had some results or somebody who’s gone primal and has lost weight or gotten off the meds and they start to see what is possible, they quickly realize that this is a sustainable lifestyle. That this isn’t just something you do for 30 days because you have to grind it out and you have to sacrifice and struggle to get it done. This is so easy when you incorporate some of these simple changes in your life. You get pretty quickly: Wow! I can do this for the rest of my life.
And that’s so freeing and so empowering to have that sense.
Stuart Cooke: That’s right. Absolutely. Working towards long-lasting health as opposed to a 30-day quick fix diet which is, again, gonna yo-yo you up and down on your health and weight.
Guy Lawrence: And like you said, as well, I think it all comes back down to initial awareness, because so many people are unconsciously doing the wrong things and they’re not even aware that it’s affecting them so greatly.
And just even being able to put that on their map. You know, we spoke to a couple of friends yesterday, Mark, and said you were coming on the show today and they were trying to understand, I guess, if you were to do an elevator pitch to what the primal philosophies were, because they said, “Well, what does it mean to be primal?”
How would you sum that up to anyone listening to this?
Mark Sisson: You know, I sum it up differently every time, because it always, depending on the context, what I do with the Primal Blueprint is I allow people to affect their own health by decisions they make in their lives.
And by that I mean, at a deeper level, we each have this genetic recipe within us; this DNA recipe that wants us to be strong and lean and fit and happy and healthy. We were born with this recipe that builds that type of a body.
But a recipe, these genes, depend on inputs, from food, from exercise, from sleep, from all these things that turn the genes on or off. You want to turn on the genes that build muscle or do you want to turn on the genes that store fat? It’s all within your power. You can choose the inputs that flip those switches.
So, the Primal Blueprint is really about uncovering these hidden genetic switches that we all have in a way that manifests the body and the feeling and the presence that we all want to have in life; that we all sort of not just dreamed of but sort of subconsciously know is our birthright. And so the Primal Blueprint really is about it’s an empowering lifestyle that allows you to access the best possible health with the least amount of sacrifice and discipline.
Guy Lawrence: That’s a good point as well. The least amount of sacrifice.
Stuart Cooke: Who would not want that? Absolutely.
Mark Sisson: That must have been a long elevator ride, right? That was probably 40 floors.
Stuart Cooke: You’re on the top floor right now.
So, we’re very excited, then, that you’re bringing those philosophies and we’ve got a heap of other speakers as well coming over to the Primal Symposium very shortly in Manly. For everyone out there that isn’t too sure about what this is all about, what can we expect over the course of the weekend?
Mark Sisson: Yeah, so, the Thr1ve.me event is, it’s about three days of fun, and three days of getting back to understanding what enjoying life is really about, from all aspects. So, we are gonna talk about how to dial in the diet. And everyone who shows up, I suspect will have some experience, or not, with paleo eating or with the Primal Blueprint or that way, or low-carb.
We’re gonna tweak it. We’re gonna help you dial it in. We’re gonna talk about some of the strategies that you can use in your own experiment. We’re going to have some of the best speakers in the world, and presenters, with regard to body movement. So, we’ve got people who are gonna show you how to do Olympic lifts, if that’s something you want to do, in soft of a CrossFit genre.
On the other hand, we have people who are experts in body weight exercises. So, if all you ever want to do is go out in your back yard and do squats and lunges and dips and do it in a way that’s going to generate 80 percent of all that’s possible for you physically, we’ll have people there doing that.
We have the world’s preeminent expert on play, Darryl Edwards. Darryl’s been at eight of my events.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, we know Darryl.
Mark Sisson: Yeah. And Darryl is; he’s crazy in the funnest way possible. He basically embodies what it means to go through life with a sense of play in everything you do. And it doesn’t just mean, you know, dancing around and jumping around and acting crazy or playing games. It’s how to get that playful mindset in your work experience. Or, you know, family setting, where maybe there’s a little bit more play that would be required. Or, not required but be very helpful in bringing everybody together.
We have cooking demonstrations. So, people who are really interested in how to prepare the best possible paleo or primal meals will learn how to cook. It’s really all aspects of a primal lifestyle that we’re going to cover so that when you leave, at the end of the weekend, you’ll go: “Wow. No I really; I’m excited about what I can do with my own life to get to the next level.” Whatever that is. You may be just starting. You could get to the next level. You may already be well advanced in your paleo and primal living. But there’s always the next rung. There’s always something that’s the next level of excitement and anticipation, and that’s really what I want for everybody who attends.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, Absolutely. It’s going to be fantastic. I mean, we will be there; we’re looking forward to it.
Stuart Cooke: Oh, I can’t wait to get there after that description. I’m going now. Fantastic.
Guy Lawrence: So, like, with Josh from Thr1ve, he’s doing awesome things over there, especially creating awareness as well through his cafeterias and the food and everything he presents. And how did you guys connect… This is a two-fold question: How did you guys connect, and, secondly, are you seeing the same things in America with that change as well?
Mark Sisson: Well, how we connected was, he came to one of my events. So, I had an event in Tulum, Mexico a year and half ago, and it was very much like the Thr1ve event will be in Manly. He brought some of his company’s employees; it was to not just understand a little bit more about this primal lifestyle but it was probably a team-building exercise as well.
They had the best time. They had such a good time he came to me and said: How can I; I want to do something like this in Manly.” So, he had such a good time at our event he said I want to do this in Australia.
So, that’s how we met.
Now, when you ask, is there something like this in the U.S., what do you mean?
Guy Lawrence: In terms of awareness and accessibility to foods with the cafes and the change coming.
Mark Sisson: Yeah, so, I’m finding that Australia is ahead of the curve on a per capita basis, by far, than the U.S. I mean, I would say that Australia on a per capita basis probably has more awareness of the paleo ancestral lifestyle than any other country that I’ve encountered.
That’s very excited. So, you have a number of restaurants that are opening that are offering up this type of fare that isn’t just food that fits the primal or paleo parameters, but it tastes great, so anybody can eat there. You know? That’s the irony here is that you walk into these restaurants and go… I don’t want to walk into a restaurant just because it’s a health food place, you know. I want good food. I mean, I make a point of saying every bite of food I put in my mouth, I want to enjoy.
So, if you tell me it’s healthy but it doesn’t taste very good, I don’t want it. I’ve got no reason to eat it. This is about extracting all of the joy out of life that you can, and part of that for me means I want to enjoy every bite of food that I eat. And when I’ve had enough, I want to be willing to push it away and say, “You know what? That was awesome. I don’t need another bite. I don’t need to fill myself up. There will be more food around the corner.”
That’s sort of what some of your restaurants in Australia are starting to do. We’re starting to do it in the U.S. as well. And I’m actually launching a restaurant franchise concept in about six months in the U.S. as well.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.
Mark Sisson: Yeah. Having said that, you know, we’re looking to expand the paleo world in the U.S. and it’s; we’re doing a good job but I do think we need to do a better job. I think, you know, we’ve got such great science behind what we’re doing. And the people who are in are all in.
So, we’ve got a culture thing where, you know, giving up the cinnamon buns and giving up the pizza, all that stuff, is kind of a tough ask for a lot of people.
Guy Lawrence: That’s fantastic. We are blessed here, especially in Sydney, you know. I can think of a couple of handfuls of places constantly where I can go and eat paleo very accessible.
Stuart Cooke: Just thinking out loud as well, you mentioned that your restaurant chain, I was thinking for your logo it could be a great big curvature kind of M, you know, golden kind of shape. I could work.
Guy Lawrence: For “Mark,” yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Change the color.
Mark Sisson: It could work.
I don’t have the legal budget to do that.
Stuart Cooke: OK. Just a thought.
I’d love to just get a little bit more specific now around health. I’ve got a few questions that I know everybody would be keen to hear your answer from.
If I wanted to make some simple changes right now, like today, that could have dramatic effect on my health, coming from, let’s say I’m following a standard Australian or American diet, what do you think I could do right now?
Mark Sisson: Well, the first thing you can do, and I think everybody knows this intuitively, is get rid of the sugar in your diet. So, that means getting rid of all of the sugary drinks. You know: the sodas, the soft drinks, the sweetened teas, even the juices, because a lot of those contain a tremendous amount of sugar. Certainly the desserts: the pies, the cakes, the cookies, biscuits, all of the really; it’s really obvious stuff to a lot of people. They know what to omit.
So, that’s the first thing. And a lot can be accomplished with that. I mean, you can really be well on your way to whatever weight loss program that you’re embarking on, regardless of whether it’s paleo or primal or vegetarian or vegan. If you got rid of the sugary stuff, you’d be way ahead of the game.
The next thing would be to get rid of the industrial seed oils. So, you get rid of processed foods that contain soybean oil, corn oil, canola. You know, things like that that are very; they are very highly inflammatory so a lot of people are probably carrying around a lot of extra weight in the form of water that they’ve retained because their entire body is inflamed as a result of their diet.
That’s point number two. And then following that I’d get rid of the processed carbohydrates. So, a lot of the grain-based flours, particularly gluten. I mean, I just think; I’m of the opinion that gluten benefits no one. There are some people who can maybe get away with a little wheat once in awhile. But it doesn’t mean it’s good for them. It just means it’s not killing them immediately.
And then there are a lot of people on the spectrum who are egregiously harmed by wheat and by other forms of grain. And I was one.
And you mentioned earlier, people are sometimes insensitive to what it is that’s causing problems with them, and they don’t get that the sodas that they’re drinking are causing inflammation, or actually helping to lead them into a Type 2 diabetic situation.
I was of the opinion for the longest time that whole grains were healthy, and I, even as I got into my research, started evolving my own diet, I kept grains in for a long time. I was doing research on how phytate bind with minerals and prevent the intake of minerals and how lectins have problems with the lining of the gut and how gluten was bad for people with celiac.
But, you know, I did all this research and yet I was continuing to eat grains in my diet. And my wife one day said, why don’t you just do a 30-day experiment and give up the grains? And that’s what changed my life. That’s really; that’s when the arthritis went away, that’s when the irritable bowel syndrome disappeared, that’s when the upper respiratory tract infections went away. That’s when so many of these minor issues that I thought; and, Stuart, you mentioned earlier that, you know, well, we assume that because we’re getting older, these must be normal and natural. Well, I assumed that, you know, I was already in my mid- to late-40s. I said, “Well, that’s probably a normal part of getting old.” And I assume that I was going to have to live with that. And all that stuff kind of disappeared when I gave up the grains. And I thought, wow, if I’m defending my right to eat grains so aggressively, in the face of what I know, imagine how many people out there are assuming that grains are benign and harmless and aren’t affecting them who might be tremendously benefitted by giving up grains.
So, sort of, what I say to everybody is, look, if that’s still a part of your diet and you still have some issues, why would you not want to do a 30-day experiment? Just cut out the grains for 30 days, there’s plenty of other foods you can eat. I mean, I don’t lack for choices on my list of foods to eat. But cut out the grains and notice what happens. Notice if your arthritis clears up or your pains go away or you lose some weight more effortlessly. Or your skin clears up.
There are a lot of things that are potentially being affected by this high-grain diet that so many people have.
Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. Sugar. Processed vegetable oils. And, again, those processed carbohydrates as well.
Like you said, try it. See how you feel after 30 days. Do a self-experiment.
Mark Sisson: Yeah. People say, “Well, what can I eat?” And I go, well, you can eat beef, pork, lamb, chicken. You know: duck, goose, turkey. You can eat ostrich. You can eat croc. You can eat… And then you can eat all the vegetables, all the fruit, nuts, lots of healthy fats, butter. You know: bacon. It’s a pretty inviting way to eat food.
Stuart Cooke: You could always try and eat real food.
The thing I like about that is that when you do start to eliminate a lot of the processed foods, you almost reconnect yourself to the kitchen and to the ritual of cooking, and I think that is something that we are slowly losing through generations as we are kind of subject to so many of these convenience foods.
Mark Sisson: Yeah. I mean, it’s; we have a section on my website, on Mark’s Daily Apple, on every Saturday is a recipe. I have published three of my own cookbooks and three other cookbooks by other authors because these are so; these cookbooks are so popular. And figuring out how we can find ways to prepare real food in ways that are tasty and exciting, you know, it’s fun. I mean, it really is. It actually reconnects people with the kitchen.
Guy Lawrence: You know, you hear more and more of these stories as well, because you triggered them up when you were still training and reluctant to get off the grains. We had Sami Inkinen, the triathlete who rowed from San Fran to Hawaii, on our podcast last week.
Mark Sisson: Yeah, rowed meaning r-o-w-e-d. Not r-o-d-e, but yeah.
Guy: Yeah, that’s right. Sorry, it’s my Welsh accent, eh?
But, you know, he was saying he was close to becoming a Type 2 diabetic and he thought he was in the prime of his life. And the moment he cut out the grains and the sugars and increased his fats and trained his body that way, amazing.
Mark Sisson: Oh, and Sami’s; he’s just an incredible all-around guy. I’ve known him for a bunch of years. We’ve become good friends. And I watched him train for this event that he did with his wife, rowing from San Francisco to Hawaii.
But in the process he thought, oh, I haven’t done a triathlon for awhile, I’ll jump in the Wildflower Triathlon, which is a half Ironman distance, just as part of my training. And he won it outright. And he won it on a low-carb, high-fat, almost ketogenic training strategy.
And he’s a great example of somebody who’s taken the information, because he comes from a sort of a techie background as well, he’s very into the details and very into the minutia. And so he’s embraced this way of living and now, not just for himself and his wife, but for other people. He’s got basically a foundation that’s trying to help fight Type 2 diabetes.
And we’re all trying to kind of just allow the rest of the world to see what; how easy this is and let them in on our secret. Because it really is. It feels sometimes like it is a secret, like: “How come you guys don’t know this? We’re having so much fun here! We’re enjoying life so much doing this, and all you miserable guys out there just slogging along.” And I feel bad. I’m very empathetic. But that’s kind of how I feel sometimes. Like, we have this great secret. How come more people aren’t receptive?
Guy Lawrence: That’s so true. Yeah. Because when we question ourselves, “Are we in this bubble? Do not people…”
Stuart Cooke: We liken it; we’ve raised this before, but we liken it to the film The Matrix where Neo takes this pill and all of a sudden he’s in this completely different world and he realizes that everybody else are cooped up in this little bubble, and that’s not the real world at all. It’s insane.
But, yeah, spreading the word, it’s so important. And especially loving what Sami had done from his podcast and the amount of fat that he was consuming and being so amazingly healthy and coming out of that row with such a low level of inflammation as well, it really does kind of give an upper cut to this low-fat dogma that we’ve been plagued with for so many years.
Guy Lawrence: Well, while we’re on that kind of topic, then, which kind of leads into the next question, Stu, I’m gonna pinch it. But regarding exercise for weight loss. I’d love to hear your thoughts on that, Mark, from your point of view. Because obviously it’s one…
Mark Sisson: Sure. So, the major sort of overriding principle, if there is one, of the Primal Blueprint, is that humans are born to be really good at burning fat. We evolved in two and half million years of human evolution to be able to go long periods of time without eating, because that was just sort of what the environment offered up to us was sometimes nothing. So, this ability to store fat effectively, and then to be able to access and burn it as fuel effective, when there was no other food around.
This is a skill that we all have in our DNA. It’s hard-wired in our DNA. We are born with this ability to be good at burning fat. But very quickly in our lives, we sort of override that with access to cheap carbohydrates at every single meal. So, the body goes, “Well, I don’t need to store fat or I don’t need to burn fat if I’ve got this carbohydrate; this ongoing carbohydrate blood sugar drip coming in from every couple of hours all day long from food.”
So, the body starts to take the excess calories, store those as fat, finds out that it never really has to burn the fat because there’s always gonna be new sources of carbohydrate coming in. Glucose is toxic in large quantities, so the body is trying to get rid of the glucose by burning it. And if it can’t burn it, then it will store it as fat. Fat is a site where a lot of glucose winds up in a lot of people.
So, where was I going with that? What was the question again?
Guy Lawrence: Weight loss and exercise.
Stuart Cooke: Exercise purely for weight loss.
Mark Sisson: Yeah. So, the basic principle then, to be able to burn stored body fat, leads to the first paradigm, which is that you don’t even need to exercise to burn off your stored body fat. Because if you are able to be good at accessing this stored body fat, then your body’s gonna take whatever calories it needs to get from 9 o’clock in the morning until 1 o’clock in the afternoon, it’ll take it from your belly or your thighs or your hips. And it doesn’t require that it come from a plate of food.
And that’s a beautiful skill to develop: this ability to be able to burn off stored body fat 24 hours a day.
Now, if you get into that space and then you’ll trend toward your ideal body composition. You’ll always trend toward burning off the extra unused, unwanted body fat and coming down to that body that you need.
So, that, almost in and of itself, obviates the need to have to go out and burn 800 calories on the treadmill every single day. And what it means is that exercise is actually not a very good way to lose weight. It’s actually a terrible way to lose weight, when you think about it, because a lot of times when people are doing a lot of work on the treadmill and they’re burning; or, on the road, or riding a bike, or on the elliptical, or whatever it is they’re doing, and they’re counting calories, if they haven’t become good at burning fat yet, all they’re doing is burning sugar. They’re burning stored glycogen in their muscles.
Now, what happens as a result of that is they get home from the workout and the brain goes, “Wait. We just ran out of glycogen. The first thing we have to do is refill all of glycogen storage. Especially if this fool’s gonna try it again tomorrow.”
So, the body gets into this terrible spiral where you work hard, you sweat a lot, you burn a lot of calories, but your appetite goes up because you haven’t become good at burning fat. And so you overeat. You tend to slightly overcompensate and for a lot of people that means that, you know, you’re four or five years into an exercise program and you still have the same 25 pounds to lose.
It’s very depressing to watch people, and it’s very common, very depressing, to watch people at the gym every day. And you know they’re working hard and they’re trying to do the work. But they haven’t got; they haven’t handled the first order of business, which is to convert your fuel partitioning away from being sugar-dependent into becoming what we call a “fat-burning beast.” Become good at burning fat, 24 hours a day.
So, you’re burning fat. So, if you skip a meal, no problem, nothing happens to your blood sugar, your energy levels stay even, your body just derives that energy from the fat stored in your body. And it doesn’t mean you get hungry. All these wonderful things start to happen as you become good at burning fat. You become less dependent on blood sugar to run the brain. Because when you become fat-adapted, you become keto-adapted, and the brain runs really well on ketones. And ketones are a natural byproduct of burning fat.
So, all of these wonderful things happen: the appetite self-regulates. Now you don’t get ravenous and overeat at a meal because you were so hungry you didn’t know when to stop. Now your appetite says, “You know what? This is great. This is just enough food. I’ll push the plate away. I’m done. I’ll save it for later.”
And that’s; so, it all come back to this sort of primary skill in the Primal Blueprint which is being good at burning fat.
Guy Lawrence: Do you know what? I adopted that way of life, Mark, about nine years ago and prior to that I wasn’t even aware of how much the food was affecting my mood, my day, the way, when I exercised, my recovery. Everything. And it transformed my life. And people really need to get that, you know. It’s huge.
And we raise the question as well, not to deter anyone from exercise, because I exercise every day; I love it. But it makes me feel great and I do it for many other reasons. But weight loss is not; doesn’t enter my brain at all.
Mark Sisson: Yeah, so, good point. So, you know, I have an exercise plan, and I say you should find ways to move around a lot at a low level of activity. But the movement is more for your muscles, your pliability of the muscles, for your insulin sensitivity, which is coming as a result of moving the muscles. And you don’t need to count calories. Because, again, we’re not looking at exercise as a means of sweating off fat or burning away fat. We’re looking at exercise as a way of maintaining strength and flexibility and conditioning and so if you could find ways to move around, walking becomes one of the best exercises you can do. If you can get to the gym twice a week and do a high-intensity, full-body routine where you are working your arms and upper back and core and your legs. Twice a week is all you need, because once you’ve become good at accessing stored body fat and you realize you don’t need to burn off calories, then you realize also that you don’t need to do that much work to stay strong and flexible and well-balanced and all of the things that we’re looking for.
So, I’m a big fan of exercise and I do love to exercise, still, but I also try to find ways to play. So, for me, like, my biggest exercise day is Sundays when I play Ultimate Frisbee with my buddies; my mates down the road. We; there’s two hours of sprinting. And it’s the hardest workout I do all week. But at no point during the game do I look at my watch and go, “Oh, my God, when’s it gonna be over?” If I ever look at my watch it’s like, “Oh, crap, we only have 20 minutes left.” You know? It’s so much fun.
That’s how I see exercise and play coming together in a way that, yeah.
Guy Lawrence: What would your weekly exercise routine look like on a typical week if you’re at home?
Mark Sisson: So, Sundays, two hours of Ultimate. Mondays I might do an easy stationary bike ride, just mostly because the sprinting on the Ultimate is tough on my 61-year-old joints. So I’ll do maybe an easy bike ride then.
Tuesdays I might do a full-body routine. So, it’s gonna be pushups, pull-ups, dips, squats, lunges, things like that. So, I might do that Tuesday and Friday or Tuesday and Saturday.
Wednesday I might go for a paddle. I do a stand-up paddle for an hour and a half. And that’s a nice, fun aerobic activity that builds tremendous core and, same thing, the whole time I’m doing it, I’m usually with a friend or two, and we’re chatting away and we’re aiming for a point three or four miles out, but we’re still having fun and chasing dolphins and doing all this stuff and never thinking, “When’s it gonna be over?” You just think, “Wow! This is so cool. We’re out in the ocean, it’s the middle of the day, we’re getting vitamin D, we’re hanging out with the dolphins or the whales, it’s spectacular. And it’s, oh, by the way, it’s a killer workout.
It just leaves; I’ve got abs at my age that I wished I’d had when I was in my teens, because the paddling is such a good core exercise.
Guy Lawrence: I love being in the ocean as well. We live by the ocean ourselves here in Sydney and it’s just magical.
Mark Sisson: Yeah. Yeah.
And then I might do a hike one day. I might get on the bike and do intervals. Or, I have… Do you know what a VersaClimber is?
Stuart Cooke: No.
Mark Sisson: A VersaClimber is a rail with handles; it’s got handles, you know, feet and arm holds you can climb. So I might do an intense interval workout on that. I’ve got one in my garage. And I can be on that thing warmed up, do an amazing interval workout to where I am, as you would say, truly knackered, and then cool down and be off in 22 minutes, because it’s just so effective a piece of equipment.
So, you know, I don’t… The old days of going out for a five-hour bike ride and all that stuff and just struggling, those don’t appeal to me anymore. So, the most I’ll do is maybe an hour and a half paddle, or something like that, or an hour and a half hike. Otherwise, it’s short, it’s sweet, and sometimes intense.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fantastic. Awesome.
Stuart Cooke: Well, you’ve just made me feel very lazy. I’m going to have to do something.
So what about vices? Do you have any vices? You know, that you’ll sneak a piece of pie here and there?
Mark Sisson: Well, you know, I don’t completely shun desserts. My thing on desserts is: All I need is a bite or two to get a sense of what it is. So, the idea of having giant piece of cheesecake or, we were at a, my daughter had a birthday the other night, we were in a restaurant, and they brought out some baklava. And I had to have a bite of that, even though it contained sugar and a little bit of wheat. But, you know, one bite was all I needed and it was like, OK, this is spectacular. But the alternative to that would have been to spend just three more minutes devouring the entire thing and then being left with and achy gut, a racing heart, sweating, and I probably wouldn’t be able to sleep.
And so it’s really knowing what you can get away with. I mean, that’s sort of the; I hate to put it in those terms but some people can get away with a lot. There are some people who are allergic to peanuts, can’t get away with one tiny piece of peanut. So, you know, there’s… And with regard to the desserts, I just; I don’t like feeling of excess sugar in my system. I clean myself out so much that it just doesn’t feel good. And it’s certainly not worth the three minutes of gustatory pleasure sorting it out over the next five hours.
You know, I used to drink two glasses of wine a night for a long time. And I’m on record with the primal movement as saying, “You know, wine’s not bad.” Of the alcoholic choices, wine is probably the least offensive.
But recently I sort of gave up drinking two glasses of wine a night. I might have one glass a week now. Because I think it serves me well. I probably sleep better as a result of not doing that. So, I’ve given that up.
You know, otherwise, you know, no real “vices.” I mean, not to speak of.
Stuart Cooke: That’s great. And like you said, even with the wine, it’s pulling back to your sweet spot and turning the dial and just finding out what works for you.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, absolutely.
Stuart Cooke: Because we’re all so radically different.
Guy Lawrence: Do you find; how do you keep things primal when you’re traveling, Mark? Like, do you find that easy? Difficult?
Mark Sisson: Yeah, I do. I do find it easy. I think you do the best you can, for one. That’s all you can do. But my life doesn’t revolve around grass-fed beef and wild line-caught salmon. I’ll eat a nice steak in a restaurant if it’s been grain-fed. It is what it is. You know, I’m not; it still, in my world, better than a bowl of spaghetti with some kind of sugary; or a sauce made with canola oil or something like that.
So, it’s just a matter of degree. And it’s a matter of the context in which you find yourself.
So, there’s not a restaurant in the world that I can’t go into and find something delicious to eat, even if I have to ask the waiter to go back and have a few words with the chef.
But, you know, that’s… and when I travel, I don’t exercise that much if I can’t get near a gym, or if I don’t have a chance to exercise. Because I know, I have trust, that my body is not going to fall apart because I missed a workout. And the older I’ve gotten, the more I realize that, wow, I probably worked out way too much, even as recently as five years ago. And sometimes I go into the gym now and I might do 50 pushups, 10 pull-ups, 40 pushups, 10 pull-ups, 30 pushups, eight pull-ups, and go, “I’m done.” I don’t need to; I’m as pumped as I’m gonna get and anything more than this is just gonna be killing time and talking to other people in the gym.
The reality is it doesn’t take that much work, once you’ve achieved a level of fitness, it doesn’t take that much work to maintain it. And that’s really part of the beauty of the human body. The body doesn’t want to make that many changes.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, maintenance, isn’t it? I think, like, in terms of traveling, it’s just making the most of what you’ve got with the environment where you are and once you’re tuned into it, like you said, it becomes straight-forward.
Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. And especially where food is concerned, because we do live in this world now where we’ve got so many convenient choices when on the road, and I think just a little bit of understanding about the foods that serve us and the foods that don’t. But like you said, you can eat anywhere, and you generally get a good-quality protein and some veggies in most places.
Mark Sisson: You’re good to go! That’s all you need. Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: That’s it.
Mark Sisson: You know, what I find about traveling, probably the one thing that concerns me the most when I travel is sleep. And that’s, you know, so when I come to Oz I’m gonna be, you know, very diligent about how I orchestrate my sleep cycles during the transition, starting with leaving the LAX airport at 10:30 at night, how I spend the next 16 hours.
But also when I get to the hotel. I’ll look at the quality of the curtains and how much I can black them out at night, or how much light comes in from behind the curtains. I’ll look at the noise outside the window and whether or not there are going to be garbage trucks at 4 a.m. underneath my window.
I will literally look at the air-conditioning system, not for how cold it makes a room, but the kind of noise that it makes as a gray noise. And if it’s; I’ve been known to do this. If it’s too much, I’ll put a towel over the vent and I’ll put shoes on it and I’ll temper the whole thing because I want to orchestrate my sleep to approximate, as much as I can, what I’m used to at home.
And so sometimes for me that becomes; the biggest challenge is to sleep.
Stuart Cooke: Well, that’s it. If sleep falls down then everything falls down. Any particular supplements that you would take with you to help sleep at all?
Mark Sisson: You know, I do take melatonin. I take melatonin to adjust to wherever I’m going to be. So, whenever I travel, whenever I arrive at a new country, particularly. In the U.S., three time zones is nothing. I adapt to that immediately. But, you know, six or eight or nine time zones, a lot of times what I’ll do is I will arrive, I’ll maybe go for a long walk or do some kind of a bike ride or some workout, just to get my blood pumping and to get adapted to the air or whatever. I’ll do whatever it takes to stay up until it’s bedtime in the new time zone. So, I won’t take a nap. The worst thing you can do when you travel across time zones is take a nap. Because the body thinks, “Oh, this must be nighttime.”
But as it’s time to, if I’ve stayed up; and it could be 8:30 or a quarter to 9. You know, just enough time to be able to start to adapt immediately to the new time zone, I’ll pop a melatonin. Probably 6 milligrams of melatonin the first night. And I’ll do that maybe an hour before the time I plan on hitting the pillow. And so the melatonin helps to reset the internal clock.
Again, having black-out curtains and having the room be the right configuration to be able to sleep helps.
And I find that sometimes by the next day, I’m adapted, adjusted to the new time zone.
Stuart Cooke: And with everything that you’ve got going on as well, I mean, surely you’d have a busy mind. You’ve got so much on your plate. How do you switch that off at nighttime?
Mark Sisson: When you find out, Stuart, you let me know. Find a good way to do that.
Stuart Cooke: I’ve asked everybody.
Mark Sisson: That’s another tough one. That’s a really rough one, because I do have a difficult time.
Now, most recently, for the last month and a half, I’m fortunate enough to have a pool and a Jacuzzi outside my living room. And a fire pit. So, my wife and I, we stop watching TV around 9:30, a quarter to 10, I keep my pool around 52 degrees; it’s very cold in Fahrenheit, and so I’ll go dip in the pool, spend as much time as I can in that cold, cold, cold water, and then get in the Jacuzzi and hang out for 15 minutes while the fire pit is casting a yellow-orange glow. And then we go right to bed.
And that’s been almost like a drug for me. It’s crazy how effective that is in turning off the noise, the monkey chatter, and being tired, but in a good way. Not beat-up tired but just feeling like when you hit the pillow: “Wow. That hormetic shock of the cold, cold, cold, being in there for a long time, and then bringing the body temperature up with the Jacuzzi.
And, you know, people say, well, I can’t afford that. Well, you can afford a cold shower. And there’s some ways you can play around with that if you want to do that. You can change the light bulbs in your reading lamps to get a yellow light.
But I found the combination of the cold therapy and the yellow light coming from a fire, from a fireplace, has such a calming effect on me that the monkey noise, the monkey chatter, has diminished substantially and I go to sleep just like that.
Stuart Cooke: Perfect. Yeah. I actually find the orange glasses as well that block out the blue like from any devices that we may have work in an unusually calming way as well, which is, again, just another tactic that works for me and you’ve just got to find that sweet spot. But sleep, absolutely. I love talking about sleep. I really do.
Mark Sisson: It’s like this thing that no one dares to talk about if they’re anyway involved in production, productivity, and athletics or whatever. It’s “Oh, I get by on four hours or four and a half or five hours.” Oh, man. I was like, I rejoice in the amount of sleep I get and I’m proud of it.
Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. I’m working on getting more every day. That’s for sure.
So, we’ve just got one question we always ask our guests and I’m sure you’ve been asked this a million times.
Guy Lawrence: Two questions.
Stuart Cooke: What have you eaten today?
Mark Sisson: So, today… I usually don’t eat until about 1 o’clock in the afternoon. So, I get up, I have a cup of coffee when I get up, so I have a big cup of rich dark coffee with a little dollop of heavy cream in it. And don’t tell anybody, but a teaspoon of sugar. Actual sugar.
Guy Lawrence: All right.
Mark Sisson: We won’t tell anybody. No, but, I mean, it’s really about the dose. It’s the only sugar I have all day and that’s when it is and it makes the coffee a very pleasant, pleasurable experience.
Today, for lunch, I had a giant salad. We call it a “big-ass salad” here in the U.S. That’s my term. So that was 10 or 15 different types of vegetables with a dressing based in olive oil, but also avocado, a whole avocado in the salad. And then tuna was my protein of choice.
I did have two bites of something before that. I had a; I’m involved in a bar manufacturing startup company called Exo. They’re making bars out of cricket protein powder. Have you heard of it?
Stuart Cooke: I have, yeah.
Mark Sisson: So, I’m on their board and I’m an investor in the company and they sent me their new flavor, which is I said they needed to be higher protein and higher fat. It is off-the-charts good. I can’t wait for this to be on the market. It’s a great tasting bar and it’s really exciting.
Stuart Cooke: Is it crunchy?
Mark Sisson: So, the thing about cricket protein powder is it’s been so ground up, finely ground up, you could not tell the difference between a jar of cricket protein powder and a jar of whey protein isolate. You can’t visually tell. The mouth feels no different. So, the only crunch in there are the nuts. So, it’s fantastic.
So, anyway, I had the salad. I’m meeting some friends in town tonight at a new franchise restaurant in town. I guarantee you I’ll have a steak and some grilled vegetables on the side. And that will be it. I might have a handful of berries this afternoon as a snack. And that’s pretty much an average day for me.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. And, mate, the last question we always ask everyone, and this could be non-nutritional related, anything. It’s: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Mark Sisson: Well, the best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is to invest in yourself. And for a lot of people, that means education, it means, in my case, where I’m going with this is: Your job is to take care of your health. That’s your number one job. Where you go to work for eight hours a day is a secondary job. That’s almost a part-time job. Your full-time job is taking care of your health. And the more you can learn, the more you can invest today, in yourself, whether it’s education; it could be investing in a business that you’re building, because that’s what I did. I invested back in my own business to grow the brand of primal.
And, for a lot of people, it can be simply investing in your health. Like, the more money I spend on good food to feed my body and nourish my body, the less chance there is that when I’m in my 60s or 70s or 80s I’ll be sick and then having to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and countless hours of agony combatting something that I could have easily not gotten because I paid attention and I invested in myself at an early age.
Stuart Cooke: That’s good advice. Absolutely. Get stuck in. No one should be more invested than you, I think. Not your health care providers…
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.
Mark Sisson: Yeah. Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: We need to know what works for us.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic, mate. You know, for anyone who hasn’t heard of you, Mark, which I struggle to find, but if that’s the case where can they get more of Mark Sisson? Mark’s Daily Apple is the best place to?
Mark Sisson: Yeah, MarksDailyApple.com is the blog. And everything I’ve ever said I’ve said there. I’ll say it in different ways and different venues, but it’s really the place to start.
PrimalBlueprint.com is my commerce site where you can buy my books. You can also buy them on Amazon, of course. But my books and some of the supplements that we make that are very tuned into the primal lifestyle.
And, yeah, those two sites, Mark’s Daily Apple and Primal Blueprint, are the main go-tos.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. We’ll link to them under the show notes and everything. And, Mark, thanks for coming on the show. That was awesome. We really appreciate it.
Mark Sisson: It’s my pleasure. Great hanging out with you guys.
Stuart Cooke: Brilliant. Brilliant. And cannot wait to see you in a couple of weeks when you’re over here.
Mark Sisson: Yeah, likewise. That’ll be fun. It’s coming up very soon, too.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, it is.
Guy Lawrence: Very soon. Three weeks. It’ll be awesome.
Good on you, Mark. Thank you very much.
Today we welcome back best selling author & podcasting superstar Jimmy Moore, as we talk about his new book ‘Keto Clarity’. Have you looked at a low-carb diet simply as a means to lose weight? What if you learned that combining a low-carb nutritional approach with a high fat intake produces a powerful therapeutic effect on a wide variety of health conditions that most people think requires medication to control? That’s what Keto Clarity is all about.
Join as we get down to the knitty gritty stuff regarding fat, ketosis and low carb living.
Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition, and welcome to another episode of The Health Sessions.
Our special guest today is no other than best-selling author Mr. Jimmy Moore. Now, he’s here to talk about his new book, Keto Clarity. And Jimmy’s wealth of knowledge when it comes to ketosis and low-carbohydrate is outstanding and we really dig deep today into covering all the myths and misconception that we might hear in the media as well regarding: “Low-carbohydrate diets are dangerous, we shouldn’t be doing it, and it’s all fad,” and everything else.
Jimmy’s story is exceptional. We’re gonna hear it straight from him in a moment. But, in a nutshell, he was over 200 kilograms in weight at one stage and was following a low-fat diet, tried many fad diets, was getting larger and larger by the year. And so once he sort of really understood low-carbohydrate living, bringing in; measuring ketones in the blood and going into ketosis, then he managed to drop all that weight and now lives a very happy, healthy life.
And this book, I think, is very important and needs to be written, you know, and to get a really clear understanding of what exactly low-carbohydrate and ketosis is and what the relationships are. Because they do differ, actually.
You know, I learned a heap from this podcast today and I have no doubt you will enjoy it.
As always, if you are listening to this through iTunes, and you enjoy our podcast, we’d love you to leave a review for us. It simply helps, A, give us feedback, where we can improve as well but also the fact that it helps with rankings and helps get our podcast and our message out there. Because me and Stu certainly believe that everyone should be, you know, at least listening to these podcasts, because I think our message is so important and we want people to truly understand what good health and nutrition is.
Anyway, I’m gonna stop talking. And let’s get over to Jimmy Moore and chat about his new book, Keto Clarity. Awesome.
All right. Let’s get into it. Hey. So, I’m Guy Lawrence, I’m joined with Mr. Stuart Cooke, as always, and our superstar podcasting low-carb special guest expert today is, Mr. Jimmy Moore.
Stuart Cooke: He’s behind you.
Jimmy Moore: I’m looking for him. I don’t know who you’re talking about.
What’s up, guys? How are you all?
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. Thanks for coming back on the show.
Jimmy Moore: Thank you. I love this show.
Guy Lawrence: Last time, you were obviously talking about your book, Cholesterol Clarity, and we were very keen to have you back on today to talk about Keto Clarity, your new book.
But I was actually reading it a couple of days ago about your story and I’ve gotta be honest; I felt your pain that you were going through and frustration coming out. And it’s so inspiring to what you’ve actually gone on and done from that and turned it into something amazing.
So, I figured before we kicked off into the book, can you just tell people, especially for all our new listeners who haven’t heard the last show, who’s Jimmy Moore, a little bit about that. Because it’s phenomenal, I think.
Jimmy Moore: Sure. Go back and listen. (I’m just kidding!).
So, back in 2003, I was a 410-pound man. So, what’s that? Just over 200 kilo. It’s a lot of man; let’s put it that way.
Guy Lawrence: That’s incredible.
Jimmy Moore: And I was wearing, you know, humongous shirts, humongous pairs of pants, ripping them every week. I was on three prescription medications for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, breathing medication.
I was 32 years old, you guys. And I’m a tall guy, but 400-plus pounds is not healthy on anybody.
And that’s where I found myself. And I had tried low-fat diet after low-fat diet and all of them had always failed me. And I defaulted to low-fat because we know that when you want to lose weight, people say cut your fat down, cut your calories down, and then exercise on the treadmill for an hour a day. And that’s how you magically lose weight.
Well, unfortunately, that magic pill doesn’t work for everybody.
So, my mother-in-law, for Christmas that year, had bought me a diet book. Yes. Mother-in-laws are wonderful about giving not-so-subtle hints to their son-in-laws that they’re fat.
Guy Lawrence: Very straight to the point, that present, mate.
Jimmy Moore: Absolutely. And she’s a sweetheart lady, so I definitely am very thankful that she gave me the book that she did at Christmas 2003, because it was not a low-fat diet book like all the ones I’d gotten before. It was one about this diet that I had not really tried before: a low-carb, high-fat diet. It was the Atkins Diet.
And I read that book, and I’m thinking, “Man, this guy is wackadoodle. How in the world do you energize your body when you don’t eat a lot of carbs?” That didn’t make sense to me.
And then the fat thing? I was looking at it and going, “Doesn’t he know that raises your cholesterol and clogs your arteries and you’re gonna keel over of a heart attack?”
But, guys, I think the breaking point for me was I was 400-plus pounds. That was reality. I was on three prescription medications. That was reality. I was ripping pants that were size 62-inch. That was reality. I needed to do something.
And I had tried literally everything but this, so what the heck? Let’s give it a whirl.
So, I made it my New Year’s resolution, 2004, to lose weight. And I started January 1st, 2004, lost 30 pounds the first month. What’s that? About 13, 14 kilo. And then the second month I was so energetic at that point I could really feel the effects of what I now know is keto-adaptation. And I had to start exercising. So, I added a little bit of exercise, which, for a 380-pounder at that point, meant walking about 10 minutes on a treadmill at three miles an hour, which was a lot of work. I tell people I was lifting weights. It was my body weight.
And I lost another 40 pounds that second month. By the end of a hundred days I lost a total of a hundred pounds. And I knew at that point there was something special about this. And, unlike any other diet I had ever been on in my entire life, I had no hunger, I was not craving anything. By the end of that hundred days, I had really become fully keto-adapted and able to sustain myself and do quite well without worrying about all that processed carbs that I used to eat.
So, it was a total transformation, not just physically but here. I mean, I remember there was a mantra. I didn’t tell this story last time I was on. There was a mantra I did to try to help myself overcome my carbohydrate cravings, and I made the mantra: “sugar is rat poison.”
So, if you think something is rat poison in your mind, are you going to eat it? No.
And so, after awhile, I honestly believed anything sugary was rat poison.
Guy Lawrence: That is a very good mantra.
Jimmy Moore: Yeah. I mean, it tricked my brain into thinking, “That is not a good thing to consume.” I now call those things “food-like products.” Not real food.
“Just eat real food” does the same thing. But having that negative imagery with this thing that I thought I could never live without was so vital. By the end of the year, I did end up losing 180 total pounds and it kind of kicked me off to the man you know me as today.
I started my blog in 2005 and that rose me to prominence that this guy said, “Hey, you should be a podcaster.” So now I have one of the biggest podcasts in the world on health. The Livin’ La Vida Lo Carb show. And, yeah. I mean, I’m gonna keep doing this for as long as the good Lord gives me breath to breathe.
Guy Lawrence: That’s awesome. That’s awesome.
How many podcast are you up to now, Jimmy? Just for people to know.
Jimmy Moore: So, on the Livin’ La Vida Low Carb show, it’s over 850 episodes. I’ve interviewed well over 900 guests from around the world, literally. All the experts that you can possibly think of have been on that show. And I do several other podcasts as well.
So, all in all, well over a thousand episodes that I’ve done combined with all of my work. It’s really humbling when you start thinking about, “Whoa! A thousand episodes!”
What episode is this? What episode are you guys on?
Guy Lawrence: We’re up to about 25. We do them once a fortnight.
Jimmy Moore: Nice.
Guy Lawrence: Sometimes that goes over to once every three weeks, depending on work outside of running the 180 business. But we just have literally converted our website over. We’ve been spending a lot of time on that. And we really want to start bringing these back in a minimum once a fortnight.
Guy Lawrence: It’s really hard, if you’re not consistent, you know. And if you get like a good schedule. Plus, you start saying, “OK. I just talked to the Jimmy Moore guy. That was so exciting. I want to do another one.” And so you have this passion and zeal wanting to do more.
Because when I first started my show, it was once a week. And the people were like, “Oh, we want to hear more.” So I went to twice a week. And now: “We want to hear more.” And so I went three times. “And we want to. . .” And I’m like, “I’m not going any more than three times a week.”
Guy Lawrence: It’s amazing. Because we appreciate it. I mean, what people don’t know is that you actually inspired me to start podcasting when I met you in Sydney last time. We had this conversation. And it’s like, “Right. We’re gonna do it.”
And then we came back to our studio and did a podcast. And then we switched into making a video podcast as well. And, yeah, love it. But I can appreciate it, because we now realize how much work goes into it, just per episode. So, what you’ve done is phenomenal, and I certainly hope that people appreciate that. Incredible.
But let’s crack open the new book. So: Keto Clarity. This is a two-fold question. Why did you write the book? And, B, could you explain to people what ketosis is, if they’re not sure? I thought that would be a good place to start.
Jimmy Moore: So, yeah, so, why write the book? Quite frankly, the book has never existed before. We’ve had lots of books about weight loss and ketogenic diets. Thank you, Dr. Atkins. Thank you, Protein Power. You know, some of the ones that have been out there for a long time.
And then we’ve had a few others that talk about the treatment of epilepsy, which we’ve long known is one of the strong benefits of a ketogenic diet on health. But that’s it. And you’ve never really seen any kind of practical guide as to: Here’s how you get into ketosis and then once you’re there, here’s how you stay in it. And then if you can’t get there, here are some of the problems you’re probably doing trying to get there.
So, we tried to make like a step-by-step guide: This is how you do it. Because that’s never been written before.
I was, quite frankly, shocked, you know, when I was doing my research for the book that, hey, nobody’s ever written a practical how-to on ketogenic diets before. And then all in one place talking about the totality of health benefits that come from eating this way. It goes well beyond weight loss. Well beyond epilepsy. Which, those two things we have very strong evidence for. But there are so many other things that I’m just really excited about, and some research that’s coming.
So, that’s why Keto Clarity was born, and now that the baby’s out there, it’s really done very well, because it is unlike anything that’s ever been out there on the market before. And in fact, I was just checking before we came on the air: It’s the No. 1 nutrition book in Australia right now, on Amazon.
Guy Lawrence: There you go! That’s awesome.
Jimmy Moore: So, I’m proud of my Aussie friends.
Guy Lawrence: And it’s a beautiful book. Like, it’s so well laid-out. And I love the way that you go the, you know, there were 22 food people you had on board as well, and all the way through each chapter, you know, everything is reinforcing your message as you go through the book. And it does make it very clear to understand.
Jimmy Moore: Thank you. Yeah, we tried to do the same format. Cholesterol Clarity, when I talked to you guys last year, that was kind of the: All right. Let’s prove the concept that people will like this format, with the moment of clarity, quotes from the different experts, and then my co-authors Dr. Eric Westman, a very respected researcher and clinician with low-carb diets, and he did little doctor’s notes throughout.
And in Cholesterol Clarity, it was funny because he didn’t give a whole lot of input on Cholesterol Clarity, as much as he did with Keto Clarity. Because he’s just one of the foremost authorities on the world on ketosis. And so I really relied heavily on him, especially in those science chapters.
You’ll notice at the beginning of Chapter 16, we tell you: This is how you read scientific papers and which ones are more important as we see these headlines in the newspaper, and I know you guys have it there in Australia: “Red Meat Causes Cancer!” “Avoid the Atkins Diet Like The Plague!” And then you go and look and it’s a mouse study. So, a mouse study doesn’t do a whole lot unless you’re Mighty Mouse. And unless you’re going around saying, “Here I come to save the day!” you’re not going to have any application for your body.
So, you have to figure it out for yourself. Look for the randomized control clinical trials. Those are the ones that are really the gold standard. Unfortunately, they’re not using that standard of science on ketogenic diets. So, that is coming. In the coming years, we’ll see more and more. But right now it’s few and far between seeing those kinds of studies.
Now, you asked earlier, “What is ketosis?” That is a great question, Guy!
So, ketosis, in a nutshell, and just to keep it real simple for people, most people walking around, about 99 percent of the world’s population, are sugar burners. So, carbohydrates become the primary fuel source for their body. And then that’s what most people think of when they say, you know: “How do you fuel your body?” How do you. . . That’s why athletes carb up. Because that’s the fuel for their body.
Well, that’s if you’re a sugar burner. But ketosis shifts your body from being a sugar burner over being a fat burner. And so how do you do that? You have to eliminate the sources of sugar, and in this case it’s glucose in your body.
So, what raises glucose in the body? Oh, yeah! Carbohydrates is like the biggest way to raise glucose. So, if you lower those down, and it’s not gonna be the same amount for everybody, but if you lower them down to your personal tolerance level (and we show you how to do that in the book; how to figure out that number), and then moderate down the amount of protein. . . This is a biggie. This is probably the biggest mistake most people make on a low-carb diet is they forget, if you eat too much protein, more than your body can use, there’s this long G-word we talk about in the book called gluconeogenesis.
And that’s just a fancy-schmancy word for: if you eat a lot of protein, your liver is going to turn that protein into, guess what? Glucose. So, when glucose is high, ketones cannot be produced. So, eliminate the carbs to your personal tolerance level, moderate down your protein to your individualize threshold level. And then, guess what? All that’s left is fat to eat. So, you’re eating monounsaturated fats and saturated fats and, of course, the omega-3 fats are in there. Definitely not drinking vegetable oil. We talked about that in Cholesterol Clarity, why that’s a very bad idea.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, don’t do that.
Jimmy Moore: And so if you do all those things, you’re going to be shifting your body from using sugar and carbohydrates as the primary fuel source to being a fat and ketone burner, and that’s being in a state of nutritional ketosis.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.
Stuart Cooke: I just; I’m intrigued, Jimmy, about your keto journey. Any “aha” moments along the way. You know: How did you find it? What were the pitfalls? Because I think the common perception over here is, to people that don’t know a great deal about it, that it’s a wacky diet. It makes your breath smell. And, you know, it’s crazy.
So, what was your journey like?
Jimmy Moore: Yeah. So, I’ve been low-carb, you heard my story at the beginning, you know, for a very long time. And low-carb; a lot of people have made low-carb and ketogenic synonymous. They are not. You have to really get sophisticated, and we can talk about that here in a second, but my journey looking into ketosis really, really seriously actually began reading a book called The Art and Science of Low-Carbohydrate Performance. It’s by these two very famous medical researchers in the low-carb realm, Dr. Jeff Volek and Dr. Steve Phinney, and they really outlined, you know: Look. If you want to get into a state of nutritional ketosis, you have to start measuring for blood ketones (and I had never heard of blood ketones before; I always thought, ketones, you pee on a stick and it turns pink or purple. That’s ketosis). But there’s much more sophisticated ways to measure now.
So, I read that book and I thought, well, dang. And I was struggling a little bit at the time, as you guys know. So, I was like, “Hmm. Maybe I should give this a go and do an experiment and, well, what the heck, I’m a blogger, let’s do it publicly.”
So, May of 2012 I started on my nutritional ketosis N equals 1 experiment. We give a whole chapter in the book about how that went and the results. But I started, and what I found was, I was not in ketosis when I started. Even though my carbs were low, I was not eating enough fat. That was a big mistake. I was eating too much protein, thinking that chicken breast was a health food. It is not. I was probably indulging in some low-carb snacks, counting the net carbs and not the total carbs. I am, like, adamant now: You have to count every single carbohydrate you put in your mouth, I don’t care if it’s made out of fiber or not, to be intellectually honest with your personal tolerance level, you have to count it all. And some people will be, like, “Well, fiber you get to subtract it because it doesn’t impact your blood sugar as much.” That’s true, but it still impacts. Even though it’s slower, it still has an impact.
So, if we’re looking at carbohydrate tolerance levels, you have to be really honest with yourself and say, “Hey, look. Thirty grams is 30 grams. And that’s what I’m gonna count.”
So, that was kind of the start of my journey and so I started bringing my carbs down pretty; I pretty much knew where my carb tolerance was. It was the protein that really had to come down, down, down, until I found that sweet spot for me and then added in more fat.
I was probably eating 55 or 60 percent fat, which by all definitions would be a high-fat diet. But I found it wasn’t enough. I needed to get close to 80 to 85 percent fat in my diet before I finally saw the ketones show up in the blood that then gave me all the health benefits that I was looking for.
Guy Lawrence: There you go. Now, I imagine that would vary from person to person, right?
Jimmy Moore: Absolutely. And we explain this in Keto Clarity. Please do not try to mimic what Jimmy Moore did. Because you may not have the crazy, messed-up metabolism that I did, being a former 400-pounder.
My wife Christine, actually, she did a nutritional ketosis for a month just to kind of “let’s test and see where you are.” Her macros came in at right around 55 percent fat instead of the 85 that I was doing. And then about 30 percent protein, which I was doing about 12 percent protein. And then 15 percent carbohydrate for her, and I was doing about; what was it? About 3 percent carbohydrate for me. And she got higher ketone levels than I did. On a totally different macronutrient ratio.
Guy Lawrence: Wow. Who do you think should; anyone listening to this, you know, if ketosis is a new paradigm they haven’t thought about before, like, who should consider ketosis, Jimmy? Do you think it’s for everyone? Does it fit all? What’s your standpoint on that?
Jimmy Moore: I think everybody should at least try it one time, just to see what it feels like. You know, certainly if whatever you’re doing now is giving you optimal results in your health, Jimmy Moore is gonna be the first one to step up and say, “Dude. Why would you stop?” Unless you’re a girl. Then I’d say, “Dudette, why would you stop?” Keep doing whatever it is that’s giving you that optimal health.
But unfortunately, you guys, you know most people aren’t healthy. More people aren’t experiencing that optimal health and they’re looking for some kind of modality that might give them that.
So, that’s the cool thing about ketosis. And, you know, if it’s all about weight loss, certainly it is a great benefits to go ketogenic to lose weight. But don’t do it just to lose weight. There are some many more benefits, and I’ve often told people: I would eat ketogenic if I never lost another pound, just for the brain health benefits. Because your brain is so optimized when you eat this way, because the brain loves fat and ketones. It thrives on those. And so if you’re depriving your body of fat, which then, in turn, is depriving your body of ketones, guess what? You’re bringing on early-onset of some of these neurodegenerative disease like dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s. We’re actually finding ketosis helps with all of those things, improve them, and even prevent them from happening to begin with.
Guy Lawrence: Exactly. It’s funny, because the whole keto thing for me, like I first heard about it when; I was just telling a story because I did a talk in Tasmania, the weekend, about how 180 Nutrition got off the ground. And it was being exposed to a charity that was helping people with cancer. And when I got up there, you know, there were about 35 people in the room. All had serious issues of cancer, you know, from brain tumor to breast cancer to skin cancer. You name it. And the first thing they did was put them on a ketogenic diet. I hadn’t even heard the terms back then.
And I got frustrated, because I was seeing the results from these guys and how it was helping them. And that doesn’t get recommended even to this day, still, by doctors.
Jimmy Moore: Yeah. Unfortunately, it’s a fringe thing, and I just got back from a huge paleo conference here in America called the Ancestral Health Symposium. And I was a moderator on a panel there that we talked about this very topic, Guy, of ketogenic diets and cancer. And even the practitioners on the panel were still real hesitant about saying too much too soon about it, that, “Well, we don’t really know the mechanism. We just know that it does put people on the right path to maybe not use as much chemo.”
And, you know, it’s certainly something that I would love to see more randomized control clinical trials on. It’s just when you talk about something like cancer, you know, they kind of look at ketogenic diets as the last resort after you’ve done all these chemicals and everything trying to get the cancer, and I’m certainly not bemoaning any oncologist who’s doing that; they’re trying to save their patient’s life. But I wonder, I just wonder: are we promoting that they should just eat, eat, eat whatever, which is what I’ve heard. I’ve got some family members that actually have cancer and they’re told, “Just eat whatever. If it’s Twizzlers, if it’s, you know, Coca-Cola, just get calories in your mouth.”
That is a horrible, horrible message. Why wouldn’t you want to at least starve those cancer cells of what it thrives on, and that’s sugar? Don’t feed it sugar. And then you give your body a fighting chance to maybe not have to go through as many chemotherapies as you otherwise would.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. It’s frustrating. It’s frustrating.
Stuart Cooke: So, where would be the best place to start a keto journey? Would we have to go to the doctors first and get our bloods checked and get some markers as a starting point? Or do we just dive into your book and just go for that?
Jimmy Moore: Well, I’m not a; I often tell people I’m not an MD, RD, Ph.D., or any D after my name. I’m just a Joe Schmo out here that lost some weight and got his health back and now is kind of a; I consider myself like an empowered patient trying to be a patient advocate of helping people grab back control of their own health.
I know we talked about this with Cholesterol Clarity. People have abdicated their responsibility for their health to that man in the white coat. And they’ve said, “OK. Whatever that person says for me to do, I’m gonna do in my health,” not realizing that person has no training in nutrition, really no education in how to deal with formulating a really good diet.
And so I definitely would not make any recommendations for anybody. Definitely consult your physician if you have any questions. But this book is ready-made for somebody to test on themselves and try and just see how you do. I mean, there’s certainly no harm, because guess what? We’re talking about real food. That’s it. We’re not talking about some wacky green tea supplement or raspberry ketones or any kind of weird things that are out there in our mainstream culture. We’re talking about eating bacon and eggs cooked in butter for breakfast.
Guy Lawrence: I’ve got to ask you a question as well, Jimmy, just for the listeners. Because for so many people it’s so hard to get their head around that they can eat fat. Like, as a natural fat. We’re not talking about the homogenized or the manmade fats or whatever.
You know, just to hear it from you, how much fat can somebody eat, if it’s natural?
Jimmy Moore: So, yeah. Trust me, Guy. This was the hardest chapter in the whole book to write, because I know people are fat-phobic. In Australia, in America, and around the world we grew up propagandized that fat’s gonna make you fat, fat’s gonna clog your arteries. It’s just like when I saw the Atkins diet for the first time I’m like, “Man, this guy is wacked out. What are you talking about eating all that fat?”
And I think how much is enough will depend on your satiety signal. I think first we need to dial in those things that are making you hungry, so, that’s the carbohydrates in excess and that’s the protein in excess. So, you dial those in to your personal tolerance and your individualized threshold levels and then what we say in the book is: Eat saturated and monounsaturated fats primarily. So, that’s: butter, coconut oil, meats, cheese, cream, avocado, avocado oil, macadamia nut oil, all those kinds of fats. You eat those to satiety.
So, when you bring down the things that would drive your hunger, it may not take as much fat to make you satiated. And one of the cool things about ketosis is it gives you a natural satiety. But you get that satiety because you’re eating enough fat.
So, what we tell people is limit the carbs, moderate the protein, but then have fats to your satiety signals. So, you kind of learn, “Oh! This is what my body’s supposed to feel like. I’m not supposed to be hungry and jittery at 10 o’clock in the morning. And after I just ate two hours before that nice bowl of oatmeal with margarine in it and a glass of orange juice, and I’m wondering why I’m hungry so soon.
Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. It makes perfect sense. Eat till you’re full. Your body will tell you when it’s full. I guess our body is smart enough to let us know when we’ve had enough.
Jimmy Moore: Well, and one of the quotes that my co-author gave in the book, Dr. Eric Westman, he said in Asian countries, they have kind of this old proverb of: “Eat till you’re 80 percent full.” So, you’re not stuffing yourself but you’re kind of getting to that imaginary point: “Oh, I’m at 79.9 percent.” No, I’m just kidding.
So, you get to that imaginary point in your brain of, “OK, I’m satisfied. I don’t need any more food.” And that’s a beautiful place. And the cool thing about this way of eating is you’ll feel satisfied and you’ll be able to go hours upon hours after finishing your meal without feeling hungry again.
How many people walk around in this world, they eat breakfast at 7 a.m. and they go, “Hmm, I wonder what I’m gonna have for lunch?” While they’re still eating their breakfast.
Stuart Cooke: “I know. We’re so focused on that.”
Jimmy Moore: That happens all the time. We are so “breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack, midnight snack.” And we’ve got to get out of the mentality you need to eat that much. Even the dieticians promote that: “Oh, you need to keep your blood sugar under control and keep it nice and steady throughout the day, so eat little small meals every couple of hours.” And I’m going, “No! I eat one to two times a day, and that’s it. I don’t need to eat any more.” And do you know how freeing it is to not have to eat constantly? It’s great.
Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. It’s liberating. We’re just following the carbohydrate train, aren’t we? Up and down and up and down. That’s what we’re doing.
Jimmy Moore: Yep. A rollercoaster ride.
Stuart Cooke: So, tell us about the; you mentioned the ketone sticks originally. Perhaps they weren’t the best way to measure our levels. So, what do we do now?
Jimmy Moore: So, as I was mentioning the Volek and Phinney book, they talked about this thing called blood ketones. But let’s back up and let’s explain why urine ketones aren’t that great.
So, the keto sticks are traditional. You pee on the stick. It’s a little container of 50 of them for about 15 U.S. dollars. And you pee on the stick, it turns pink to purple, and when you first start off, that’s probably a good way to measure for ketosis. Now, the name of the ketone body in the urine is called acetoacetate. OK? So, what you’re detecting is the ketone body, acetoacetate, spilling over into the urine. All right. Great. It’s changing a color. I’m in ketosis.
But then something interesting happens when you are in this ketosis for a couple of weeks. Suddenly, you pee on the stick and guess what? There’s no change. And you haven’t had carbs and you’ve moderated your protein and you’re doing all the great things and suddenly there’s no more acetoacetate. What’s going on?
Well, acetoacetate actually gets converted once you become keto-adapted, and there is this adaptation period of a couple of weeks to four weeks in some people. For 410-pound Jimmy Moore, probably two or three months. But you have this adaptation period. And once you become adapted that acetoacetate then turns into the blood ketone. And that’s called betahydroxybuterate.
And so that’s why measuring for blood ketones, like Volek and Phinney talked about, is so critically important.
Now, you guys are really lucky there in Australia because you have a meter called FreeStyle Optium. It’s the exact same one we have here in America called Precision Xtra but the strips for your FreeStyle Optium are like 70 cents Australian dollars. Here in America, those same strips are about 4, 5, 6 dollars apiece. And so it can be very expensive. There are different ways, and I’ve tried to work with the company to get them to get on the bandwagon of nutritional ketosis.
And it’s funny: now that they book’s out there, people are starting to call the company that makes them, and they’re, like, “You know we want these strips but we can’t spend $5 apiece. What can you do?” And when I tried to convince them there’s a market out here for it, they were like: “Oh, all we care about are diabetics, for this thing called diabetic ketoacidosis.” They were not at all interested in people wanting to do nutritional ketosis.
So, I’m hoping with all those tens of thousands of books that are out there now that people will flood them with calls and say, “Hey, we want this.” Because, quite frankly, they’re just being idiots leaving money on the table because it’s a great business opportunity for them to expand their market.
Guy Lawrence: And I think just; you triggered something saying “ketoacidosis.” That’s another thing people get confused with.
Jimmy Moore: Let me explain that one in a minute. Let me finish the ketones story, because there’s one other ketone body in the body that you need to be aware of. But the blood ketones, Volek and Phinney say, should be between .5 and 3.0. When I first started my experiment: .3.
So, I was below the level of ketosis. I’m like: Hmm. Now we’re getting somewhere as to why I was struggling.
So I started testing that. So, now there are some really interesting ones that have come along measuring for the third ketone body that’s in the breath is called acetone, and there’s actually only one meter right now, it’s this guy that has epilepsy, he lives; he’s an engineer, of all things, that lives in Sweden. And he wanted to; he didn’t like the messiness of peeing on a stick and he didn’t like the prick and the very expensiveness of measuring for blood ketones. So, he went and tried to find a breath ketone meter. He couldn’t find one. So, he made one. He’s an engineer, and he called it Ketonix, K-e-t-o-n-i-x, and he started sharing it with his friends: “Hey, check this out” and they wanted one. And then they wanted one and their friends wanted one. So he’s like, “Well, maybe I should make this into a business.”
So, now Ketonix.com is out there. Right now, he’s the only commercially available breath ketone meter on the market. But there are a lot more on the way. There’s one in Arizona here in America that’s working on a breath ketone meter that she’s trying to get FDA approval for. And then in Japan, on your side of the world, they’re actually working on an iPhone app that you would connect to your iPhone and you blow into it and it’ll give you a breath ketone reading. And the breath ketones correlate pretty well to betahydroxybuterate in the blood.
So, those are the three was that you test for ketones. And if you don’t know where you stand, you really can’t tell if you’re in ketosis or not. Don’t assume, just because you’re eating low-carb, that you’re in ketosis.
Guy Lawrence: Is it something you would probably measure for a month and then after that you wouldn’t know when you’re in ketosis, or is this something you would keep monitoring?
Jimmy Moore: Well, you know, I monitored day and night and sometimes every hour on the hour for a whole year, just to kind of see. But, yeah, you’re right, Guy. After awhile, after about two or three months, I knew when I was in ketosis. And pretty much within a few tenths of a millimolar, I could predict what my blood ketones were.
And so people are like, “Well, I can’t afford to do the testing every day like you did.” And so one of the strategies that we came up with, if you don’t find the breath meter very desirable, if you want to test for blood and really get accuracy, test eight times in a month. So, sometime during the first week that you’re doing this, test in the morning. Sometime in the first week you’re doing this, test at night at least four hours after you ate or drank anything. OK?
So, then you do that over a four-week period and you see the curve. You see, you know, are you making progress or is it going down or is it just saying the same. And then you can make adjustments from there. But that’s a good cheaper way to see where you stand.
I don’t think you have to be obsessive about testing, but if you don’t test at least a little, you have no idea how well you’re doing.
Stuart Cooke: Yes. You need a starting point. And how easy is it to be knocked out of ketosis and then perhaps get back in, if, for instance you have a cheat meal?
Jimmy Moore: Yeah. And it doesn’t need to take a cheat meal for somebody like me who’s really sensitive to carbohydrates. You know, I could have a 12-ounce steak and that gluconeogenesis will kick in and I’m out of ketosis. And it’s not a big deal when you’ve been in ketosis awhile and you get out of it because of the higher protein or higher carb meal. It takes about two to three days and I’m right back in again. So, it’s not that long adaptation. Once you’re in, you’re pretty much gonna stay in, unless you had like a 500 grams of carb whatever cheat. That might take a little while to recover from.
Now, you mentioned diabetic ketoacidosis versus ketosis. I definitely want to address this, because you might have noticed in the book, it didn’t say it just once or twice or three times; I think we ended up doing it about seven total times, because we’re like, we wanted to slap you over the head with it to know this is an important topic.
So, people might be going, well, I’ve heard ketosis is dangerous. Well, ketosis and nutritional ketosis like we’re talking about in the book is absolutely not dangerous. It cannot harm you. There’s no harm in being in a state of ketosis. What is the harm is for Type 1 diabetics and those Type 2 diabetics with no beta cell function – in other words, they don’t make any insulin at all – so, those are the only two people, two groups, that need to work about diabetic ketoacidosis. But catch this: The hallmark of diabetic ketoacidosis is very high levels of blood sugar and very, very high levels of blood ketones.
So, for a Type 1 diabetic or a Type 2 without beta cell function, let’s say they have a high-carb meal but they don’t shoot themselves with insulin. What’s gonna happen? Predictably, their blood sugar will go way up, well over 240 milligrams per deciliter, in American terms, and that’s not good. But then the body thinks it’s starving. So then it starts raising blood ketone levels in parallel with that high blood sugar level and you have these humongous rises in the blood ketones, upwards of 15 to 20 millimolar, on the blood ketone meter. That’s a dangerous state.
Guess what? If you make any insulin at all, you can never, ever, ever, ever – did I say “ever”? – EVER get to that point.
Now, you guys know I tested day and night and sometimes every hour on the hour. The highest reading I’ve ever seen is 6.7 on that blood ketone meter, but here’s the kicker. My blood sugar at the same time: 62. Which is extremely low; it’s really, really good.
So, this is really just distortions by people who want to try to discredit ketosis. I know ketosis and ketoacidosis sound the same, but they are two totally metabolically, diametrically opposed states. And diabetic ketoacidosis can only happen in the presence of a high-carb, not low-carb, diet.
Stuart Cooke: Bingo.
Guy Lawrence: No, it’s good. Because I hear it. Definitely.
Which direction do you want to go, Stu?
Stuart Cooke: You know, I had a question. You touched upon diseases of the brain. And I have a friend who is very dear to me who has just been diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s Disease. Now, I am aware that, you know, high-fat diet, ketosis, would be completely alien. And this person would just be following a conventional diet. You know: processed carbohydrates. Where would we start if we were to suggest anything at all?
Jimmy Moore: So, we actually have a few pretty decent studies of about a year that. . . a very high-fat, very low-carb diet, which would be ketogenic, would help with people with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s. You know, coconut oil, adding coconut oil to their diet is probably a great first start. One of my experts in the book is Dr. Mary Newport, and she put her husband Steve, who had Alzheimer’s disease; early onset Alzheimer’s disease, that’s what she started with. She didn’t change his diet. She kept his oatmeal and everything. But she just started adding coconut oil and MCT oil to his oatmeal.
Stuart Cooke: Was that the study where he was drawing the clocks?
Jimmy Moore: Yes. That’s exactly right. Same one.
And so she started doing that and then slowly he started getting better. And then she and I talked on my podcast, and I said, well, have you thought about maybe reducing down the carbohydrates. So, she started doing that and he saw tremendous benefits starting to happen there, and improvements in his health. That would certainly be applicable, I would think, to any neurodegenerative disease: Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s; any of those.
So, it’s definitely worth a shot to try to increase the fat and lower the carbs somehow. I’m certainly not giving medical advice, but if that was my family member, I would immediately say, “Hey, can I take control of the diet just for a little while?” And try it, because there’s certainly no harm in doing real food. And they try to put all these drugs to combat these diseases when maybe it’s not a drug deficiency; maybe it’s a fat deficiency, and too much carbs.
Stuart Cooke: No, that’s great. And it makes so much sense to provide your body with such a fantastic source of fuel for the brain in a time when I think we’ve gone through a prolonged period of too much starvation for the body because we just don’t get all these nutrients on a conventional diet.
Jimmy Moore: Literally starving your brain. And, you know, people are like, well, aren’t you worried about heart disease with the saturated fat? And I’m like, “You know what? I’m over that. I care about my brain health too much to deprive my body of saturated fat.” Did you know you have 25 percent of all the fat in your body is right there. Right there in your head. And so they don’t call us “fatheads” for no good reason. I mean, we are fatheads. And guess what? If you’re not feeding your body that fat that it needs to have raw materials to fuel that brain, why are we surprised when people start getting dementia? Why are we surprised when you start having those senior moments. Now, we laugh about those in our culture. It’s not funny.
And then, you know, we just had a very tragic death of Robin Williams, a great entertainer. I wonder: Was his brain fat-deprived? It got him to be so depressed that it got him to kill himself.
You know, there are things we’ve got to talk about, and I think ketosis is a big part of the answer to that.
Stuart Cooke: Absolutely right. I’ve got; just had another thought popped into my head when we were talking about fat as well. Gallbladder. So, my friend’s had his gallbladder removed. It’s quite common.
Jimmy Moore: Do you know when?
Stuart Cooke: Recently.
Jimmy Moore: OK. Real recently. OK.
Stuart Cooke: So, he has been told, “You’ve got to steer clear of fat.”
Jimmy Moore: That’s what they say.
Stuart Cooke: That’s what they say. So, what’s your take on that?
Jimmy Moore: So, my wife Christine actually; let me see if I can get Christine to make a cameo. Come here, Christine. I want everybody to see. See, she’s never on, like, my video podcast that I do so I want to show; are you. . . There she is. OK. She’s like brushing her hair back. It’s like nighttime here in America, so. . .
All right. Come to the camera. She’s coming. There is the beautiful part of Jimmy Moore.
Stuart Cooke: Hi, Christine, how are you?
Guy Lawrence: Hi, Christine.
Jimmy Moore: They’re saying hello.
Jimmy Moore: Say hi.
Jimmy Moore: All right, cool. Bye, honey.
So, she, in 2000; your gallbladder. . .
Jimmy Moore: Had it taken out and it took. . .
Christine: About a year for me to be able to start eating fat again. Is that what you wanted to know?
Jimmy Moore: Yeah. So, she had to build up an adaptation to the fat again, and it was a slow journey, right?
Christine: Yeah. I found that if I ate too much, too quickly, my liver didn’t know how much bile to produce and so after awhile your body just knows how much bile to produce once you’ve been eating this way awhile.
Jimmy Moore: And now the woman eats more fat, almost, than I do sometimes. She loves, what is it? Five slices of bacon for breakfast in the morning.
Christine: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Bacon every day.
Jimmy Moore: Thank you, honey.
Christine: You’re welcome.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. So, it’s a process, right?
Jimmy Moore: It’s a process. And about a year later, she was able to ramp her fat back up. And I’d say she probably now eats about 55, 60 percent of her diet is fat, whereas maybe that year, like your friend, Stu, probably 25 percent, 30 percent the first year and you just kind of like work your way up to get back to that level again.
So, I don’t think it’s a forever and ever you have to eat low-fat and avoid fat like the plague. You need fat. Fat is one of the macronutrients that is essential. So, that’s why they talk about essential fatty acids. They talk about essential protein. Guess what? There’s no essential carbohydrates.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Absolutely right. That’s awesome advice. And it’s just, yeah, I’m so intrigued to look at conventional advice and then talk to people who are just questioning this. Because, you know, we’re all so very different and perhaps, you know, we can just dial in to these little intricacies that will take us on a better health journey.
Jimmy Moore: Right. You guys realize you got like an exclusive. I’ve never had Christine come up on any podcast.
Guy Lawrence: That’s awesome.
Jimmy Moore: You’re special, man!
Stuart Cooke: I feel special.
Guy Lawrence: Definitely. Just to tie it up, we won’t take too much more of your time, but I saw you put out a blog post a couple of days ago regarding what a journalist had been writing about ketosis and the diet and with the claims. And I thought, you know what? That would be really just a couple of good points to touch on because that’s what we’re hearing all the time. So, pull a couple of the claims up and I thought you could address them on the podcast.
And one of them, the first claim was: Your brain and muscles need carbs to function.
Jimmy Moore: That is what they say, isn’t it? In fact, they claim needs 130 grams at least of carbohydrate a day. And you know what I say, Guy? They’re 100 percent exactly right. Dot, dot, dot. . . if you’re a sugar-burner. Because if you’re burning sugar for fuel, your brain does need that. Otherwise, you’re gonna be starving it of the glucose that it needs. Because the brain can function on glucose or fat and ketones.
So, if you’re a sugar-burner, you’d better darn well be getting plenty of carbohydrates in your diet. Otherwise, your brain’s gonna be going; you know, people kind of get that foggy brain and they’re going, “Oh, why do I feel kinda cranky?” That’s it. You’re stuck in sugar brain. So, you’ve got to feed it sugar to make it happy. That’s why when people say, “Well, I didn’t do well on low-carb diet, and I added back carbs and I felt better,” I’m like, “Yeah, because you never fully made the switch over to being a fat-burner.”
So, when you’re a fat-burner, that is idiotic advice to tell people to eat that many carbohydrates, because that is counterproductive to making the ketones.
So, you can choose: sugar-burner or fat-burner. And if you’re a fat burner you’re gonna, you know, fuel your brain with fat and ketones. If you’re a sugar-burner, you’re gonna do it with carbs.
Guy Lawrence: And I think, as well, if somebody; a lot of people have been a carb-burner their whole life. You know? And if the body’s gonna adjust, it’s not gonna happen overnight like if you’re been doing it for the last. . .
Jimmy Moore: Two to four weeks for a lot of people, right around two to four weeks.
Guy Lawrence: Another claim was: Low-carb diets eliminate entire food groups.
Jimmy Moore: You know I love this one, Guy, because they never say anything about vegans removing whole food groups. And I would argue whole food groups that are nutrient-dense foods they should be eating. So, yeah, this is; and then they consider, like, whole grains being a food group. Whole grains are not a food anything. I don’t consider them a human food. You have to highly process grains in order for them to even be humanly consumable. And so that’s one of the things that they’re talking about removing whole food groups.
But here’s the kicker. You’re not really removing anything. You’re just limiting to your personal tolerance levels, but you’re not removing. I mean, I still have 30 grams of carbohydrate. Is that “removing” the food group of carbohydrate? No. It’s just limiting it down, knowing that I have a certain tolerance level. These people say, “Well, just eat everything in balance.” I’m like, “How much arsenic do I have in balance?”
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Exactly.
Guy Lawrence: Well-addressed. And the last claim was: Don’t do a low-carb diet for more than six months.
I hear these things as well.
Jimmy Moore: I know. And these are things that are put out there in our culture, and this was a very prominent article on a website, Philly.com, I think it’s associated with the Philadelphia Inquirer, which is a major newspaper here in America. I actually wrote to this journalist, by the way, after this, and I said, “You know, if you want the truth, I’m happy to talk to you about what a true low-carb ketogenic diet is.” But I never heard back from her. And didn’t expect to.
I later found out a lot of her posts are pro-vegan. So, take that for what it is.
So, no more than six months. I’m thinking, so at the end of six months of being on low-carb diet and I’m seeing great results and getting great health, then how am I supposed to eat? What’s my next step? If I’m thriving in that state of eating, why would I change?
It’s a logical question to ask. Now, if you’re not seeing results after six months, by golly, change. Do something different. But if you’re seeing results and improvements in your health and your weight, why would you change anything?
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Absolutely.
Stuart Cooke: Perfect sense. It makes sense.
So, what’s next for Jimmy? Any more clarity books?
Jimmy Moore: Jimmy needs a break from writing, because he wrote two books in one year. That was a lot, you guys.
So, I actually did just sign a contract with my publisher for a follow-up to Keto Clarity that I’m gonna collaborate with this American blogger and Author named Maria Emmerich. Do you guys know her?
Guy Lawrence: I haven’t heard of her name, no.
Jimmy Moore: Ah. Well, you’re gonna find out about her. She was one of my experts in Keto Clarity and so we quoted her throughout the book, but my publisher said, hey, we’d love to have a cookbook. And I’m going, “Do you know how Jimmy cooks? He takes a bowl and he throws stuff in the bowl here and there and I don’t measure anything.” Like a quarter cup of this and a teaspoon of this. I don’t use this at all. This is not something I would use.
And so Maria does. Maria is really good at. . . doing all those measurements and taking beautiful pictures. So, we both are very enthusiastic about ketogenic diets. So, we’re gonna collaborate on a ketogenic diet cookbook that will be coming out sometime around summer; next summer.
So, that’s kind of the next one. Not as much writing for me for that book as it has been the last two books.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. I can imagine. And you’re coming to Australia soon, right, as well?
Jimmy Moore: I am. The low-carb Down Under tour is coming back, and we’re actually gonna go to a lot more cities this time than we did the last time. We’re definitely gonna hit all the biggies: Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, the Gold Coast this time. We’re gonna go to Tassie this time. (Tasmania, for my American friends.) Perth this time.
So, we’re definitely gonna try to hit, like, all the major ones. But that’ll be in the month of November. And, in fact, before I come over to Australia, on the way over, I’m gonna stop in New Zealand with Grant Schofield and his group and do a talk in Auckland, New Zealand on like that Thursday night before.
So, definitely check out my social media stuff and we’ll share all about that real soon.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, definitely. And keep us posted, because we’ll share across our channels as well once we get closer to the date.
Jimmy Moore: Awesome. Thank you.
Guy Lawrence: And in the meantime, if anyone wants to get more of Jimmy Moore, where do they go? Jimmy?
Jimmy Moore: “More of Jimmy Moore.” I love saying that. “More of Moore.”
Well, so, the book, Keto Clarity, if you’re interested in that, we have a website KetoClarity.com. We have all kinds of media pages. We have a sample chapter from the book. I think the introduction is the sample chapter of the book. And then I did the audiobook to my book as well. It’ll be on Audible real soon, but we have a sample of that. I believe it’s chapter one. We have the sample of where I actually did the reading. When you’re a podcaster, people want to hear your voice. So, I did the reading of that.
And then if you want to find out more about my work, it’s LivinLaVidaLowCarb.com or if you Google “Jimmy Moore,” it should be everything on the front page is all my stuff.
Guy Lawrence: Awesome. Mate, that was brilliant. You are such a wealth of knowledge.
Jimmy Moore: Thank you.
Stuart Cooke: Yep. Absolutely. Fantastic. We’ve learned so much and we can’t wait to share it as well. It’s gonna be great.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. Awesome. Thank you so much, Jimmy, for your time, mate. And look forward to seeing you when you get to Australia.
Jimmy Moore: We will see you guys in Oz, man. Rock it!
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, thank you so much. You can hear me, Guy?
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. Everything’s clear. Everything’s good. So fingers crossed, no technical issues and we’ll be awake.
Stuart Cooke: So, I feel like I’m going to, I feel like I’m about to speak to a movie star.
Donal O’Neill: So do I.
Stuart Cooke: All right. Yeah, you must be talking about Guy.
Guy Lawrence: Well, so let’s start.
Stuart Cooke: Okay, fantastic.
Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence, and welcome to Episode 20 of the podcasts. I just checked, and we’ve got Mr. Stuart Cooke, as always, and our special guest today is Mr. Donal O’Neill, the man behind the movie Cereal Killers. Donal, thanks for joining us, mate.
Donal O’Neill: Thanks for having me.
Guy Lawrence: I just want to clarify some numbers, well, just if people hadn’t heard of your movie Cereal Killers, we aren’t talking about Hannibal Lecter or anything, are we? We’re actually talking about more the breakfast cereal, you know, because…
Donal O’Neill: Yeah, we’re talking much more; much more dangerous than Hannibal Lecter.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Exactly, I have no doubt in it. I have no doubt, and look, just to get the ball rolling, you know, can you just tell us a little bit about yourself and, before we get stuck into the movie, what led you to actually making it, as well. Just give us a little bit of a background.
Donal O’Neill: Sure. Well, I probably, probably the first thing my mum would say is that I was an inquisitive little bugger as a kid, so, I’m now 42 years old. Several years ago my dad had a heart attack. I come from a family of lean, very athletic men, who don’t really put on weight and have never abused themselves, but we get sick. We get heart disease and diabetes, and, when I discovered that, I guess, I rolled up a lot of the energy I had and a lot of the passion that I developed over the years as an athlete and everything else I’ve ever done, and I just set out on a journey to discover what the hell happened, and, once I started that journey, it kind of snowballed.
And, as I said, I’ve always been a very inquisitive person, it kind of turned to anger, the more information that I unearthed, the more determined I got to get the story out. That’s just the nature of me. You know, back in Ireland, I’m probably known for establishing what would be the equivalent in Australia of the AFLPA. So I set up the players union for Gaelic football, so I do like to confront and challenge convention.
If I see something that I believe in, I’ll push for it. I didn’t intend to push this hard, but here we are, and, obviously, the movie’s been released in December, and it’s gone great. We had a tremendous reception in Australia and that continues. Australia is topping our charts for online screenings at the moment.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.
Stuart Cooke: Wow.
Guy Lawrence: Because the movie is no, I mean, it’s no small project, mate, you know, it’s a big, bug task to put that together. When did you start? Like, when did you set out to make it?
Donal O’Neill: Well, like said to some people just yesterday, it’s probably taken about three years. I can do the next one in about three months, but I can tell you, I had XXfrogsXX [0:03:28] along the way, guys. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, which was actually an enormous help. I got, I ran into many roadblocks.
Probably the smoothest process, once the story and the screening, sorry, the filming, I knew exactly what I wanted to capture, but once you move into post-production in a movie, that’s where the magic and the madness happens, and we ran into some problems there.
But the delays that we encountered, you know, to an outsider it might look like this whole thing was planned and the timing was beautiful, but I just started. I just kept going, and then I just decided to put it out there, and “let’s stop,” but, you know, it was very, very fortuitous in many ways, because we had stopped filming when Dr. Peter Brukner contacted us and really got behind the movie and right then introduced us to Shane Watson, Dave Warner, and Usman Khawaja who will be well-known to your Australian listeners.
And, you know, at that point you’ve got an editor and director saying, “Oh, you can’t really cut them in. The movie’s done,” and I’m like, “Well, I don’t know anything about movies, so I’m telling you these guys are going in the movie, one way or the other.”
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.
Donal O’Neill: So, I just kept breaking rules, I guess, ignoring the laws of filmmaking and eventually we got there, but it was, it was great fun. It was a great journey and something tells me it’s probably on the start.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. I think so. Have you been, have the Carbivores contacted you? Have you been hit by any kind of negativity from the other train of thought? You know? The Bread Munchers?
Donal O’Neill: It’s kind of bizarre. The first, kind of, negative slant that I’ve seen actually came from Ireland just yesterday, but we’re great at that. I mean, we love it. We love a kind of good/bad news story, let’s be honest. When it’s raining outside, you don’t want too much good news, you know.
Stuart Cooke: Is that right?
Donal O’Neill: It’s been absolutely incredible. People have been very, very generous with their commentary, and I, honestly, I had no idea how it was going to be received. When we went to Melbourne for the premiere there, it was very interesting. We had a couple of hundred people and to watch it with a crowd, to see how they reacted to various parts of the movie was very interesting for me, because at this stage I’ve seen it 200 times and I’ve been through editing. It’s a big thing.
Guy Lawrence: Could you, just for anyone listening to this that hasn’t seen the movie, could you just sum it up in a nutshell, what it’s about essentially?
Donal O’Neill: Yeah, well, what I did was I went on a journey to see if I could affectively hack my genes using food as the instrument and, like I mentioned earlier, coming from a family with a history of heart disease and diabetes, I wanted to see if there was an intervention I could create for myself that would help me drop dead healthy, and I researched that for, sort of, two years and the conclusion I came to was that a very high fat diet, naturally occurring fats, of course, was probably a pretty good starting point.
So, I teamed up with Prof. Tim Noakes and kept trying for 28 days I had a diet consisting of 70 percent fat. I ate about 25 eggs a week, a kilo macadamia nuts, two kilos of beef, and full-fat everything. No wheat or sugar.
And I did that under full medical supervision, so I got my blood panels done before and after, during, etc., etc. We just sat back to see what would happen and along the way we discussed the issue of, let’s say, conventional wisdom as it relates to things like cholesterol and diabetes and fat and carbohydrates, you know, Tim Noakes, Dr. John Briffa, Peter Brukner and others and that’s pretty good.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, and I have to say, mate, you, you know, you did a stellar job. We were both discussing the movie and I think you simplified the message fantastically, as well, and as far as I’m concerned, there’s not a person that would not benefit watching this movie. I think it’s a must, you know, and people are not just putting that connection together at all about the damage and effects of sugars and carbohydrates in their diet, you know. It’s just, it’s incredible. It just amazes me that that’s not there.
Donal O’Neill: It’s interesting for me. I was back in Australia for the premiere. I haven’t been down in seven years and you could just see people getting bigger, and you can see the damage, I mean, it’s like everywhere.
I mean, Ireland, the U.K., it’s just the enemy. I think we’re about to XXpepXX [0:08:10] England for the first time in anything by becoming more obese and unhealthy than them, but, which, you know, it’s very, very sad to see, but I’ve worked with the big food companies. We’ve tried to engage some of them, like Kellogg’s, for the movie, and they wouldn’t even return our calls. They know what they’re doing.
I mean, don’t make any mistake about that, and I know they know what they’re doing, and they certainly know. I mean, the general public doesn’t really know, but when you have, you know, X billion dollars in advertising media telling you one thing, it’s very, very difficult for XXmatchesXX [0:08:43] to break through against that, and particularly when you have an XXundergrowingXX [0:08:51] war that’s absolutely ongoing, and some of the trends and some of the tactics that I saw.
I mean, they would shock you, but I could’ve made ten documentaries, but the trick for me was to try to write The Sun newspaper as opposed to The Times because there’s all the medical information is there, I just tried to make something as an average guy and try to make it accessible to, you know, the man on the street.
Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. Well, it definitely worked. It’s so watchable and so beautifully laid out that it just made perfect sense. I’ve watched it twice, and I shall watch it again. It’s awesome.
Donal O’Neill: Thank you.
Guy Lawrence: What, Tim Noakes, like, he’s a hero of ours. We think Tim’s awesome. When did you first get in touch with Tim? Did you, is it, as it, you went down the rabbit hole looking into the whole high-fat diet and came across Tim?
Donal O’Neill: Yeah, you know, it’s funny, when you just put things out there. I’ve been doing my research. I’ve been sort of mentioning to some people that, you know, I’d written a book, and I thought, “This isn’t enough.”
I’m going to, I didn’t publish it, I said, “I’m going to take this further, and I started to tell some people I was planning to make a movie. And people say, “Well, why did you make and kept thinking this was all planned and, again, it wasn’t. This was fortuitous.
I mean, I actually thought that if I’m going to film this, I don’t think anybody wants to see dreary wet Ireland XXon a health show?XX[0:10:13] I’m a marketing person, and I thought, “If I’m going to film this, I might as well do it somewhere beautiful, because I’m going to be doing it for a month, and that’ll just make it easier to watch.”
So that was the level of, I guess, stupidity I was operating at. It was that simple, and I’d come to Cape Town for something else and, you know, coming from a sports background myself, it just stunned me that there was a sports scientist in this country who was, like, a household name. I was going to dinner parties and people were arguing over Tim Noakes and du, du, du, du, du, and I thought, “I suppose I’d better contact Tim Noakes.”
I emailed him out of the blue, I mean, he hadn’t broken out yet in a big way on that whole issue. He had just kind of raised his head above the pulpit, and he invited me in and his generosity with his resources, his knowledge, his time, with everything, was just incredible, and as soon as he opened the door, you know, I just grabbed the director and camera man and I put them on a plane and I said, “We’re going to do this now,” and the director was like, “Well, we need preproduction,” and I said, “Well, there is no preproduction. We start in about two weeks’ time.”
Stuart Cooke: That’s right.
Guy Lawrence: XXBest way. Best way.XX [0:11:25]
Donal O’Neill: I don’t know what I’m doing type thing, but, yeah, the director Yolanda Barker is a young Irish lady, and she did a phenomenal job, and Raja Nundlall, the D. P. is, he does a lot of work with Ireland as an actual broadcaster so, to be honest, they carried me through it. I just sort of said, “Roll the cameras and off we go.”
The rest was in large part due to the like of Tim Noakes and John Briffa.
Stuart Cooke: Fantastic. It was great to see the Aussie cricketers, as well, as, you know, sporting professionals, you know, trying and benefitting from this approach, as well. What do you think about other sports? Do you think this will follow on?
Donal O’Neill: We were just discussing this yesterday, in fac. I believe one sport that will benefit enormously is golf.
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Donal O’Neill: Because, as you well know, one of the things that, I think, really the first thing that anybody notices if they move to a high-fat, low-carb diet and they consume real food is a stabilization in energy levels, and I think it’s possibly too late for my own golfing career, but I can see a sport, like golf, where the guys are out there for five, five-and-a-half hours plodding along. It’s got to be a significant benefit for their concentration, because one slip can cost you a hell of a lot.
I think that’s one sport that could benefit enormously. OI mean, obviously, the endurance sports are already benefitting and, you know, guys like Timmy Olson that I’ve been in touch with, the ultra-endurance athlete in the U.S., their stories are just staggering, and I go back to cricket…
Guy Lawrence: Cricket, yeah, yeah, yeah…
Guy Lawrence: The other thing I wanted to clarify, as well, that was mentioned, Peter Brukner, he’s the Australian cricket team nutritionist, that’s right, yeah?
Donal O’Neill: He’s the team doctor.
Guy Lawrence: Team doctor, okay, so he’s been advising the cricketers on the high-fat diet, essentially.
Donal O’Neill: Well, it’s interesting. Peter was with Liverpool Football Club prior to the Australian cricketers, but he’d only really adopted this mantra himself around the time that he was leaving Liverpool, but, you know, he’s got a big presence in football, so, you know, he’s going to have an impact on what he’s achieving with the cricketers. It’s going to start to filter, right?
And, like I mentioned, when we’ve got the L.A. Lakers stateside and guys like Timmy Olson and then Peter Brukner advising athletes in Australia and the U.K. It’s going to happen. I have no doubt.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, that’s awesome. That’s awesome. So where to from here? You’re essentially going to the States to promote the movie; to the L.A. Lakers, do you have anything else in the pipeline coming up or are you just going to keep like you’ve been doing and just see what happens as you go?
Donal O’Neill: Yeah, kind of making it up as we go along, but it’s been; I think someone’s writing the story over my shoulder, because the reason we’re going to the U.S. is pretty interesting. We’d obviously put the movie up on Kickstarter mid last year and off the back of that one particular person who had missed the Kickstarter XXget?XX [0:14:40] was a gentleman called Sami Inkinen. Sami is an incredible individual. He is a world Iron Man age group champion. He’s about 38, 39. He’s also a spectacularly successful software entrepreneur and he’s based out of San Francisco.
So he contacted me out of the blue and just said, “I’m going to help.” I guess, you know, this guy won Ironman on a diet of fat, so he knows, and he’s now in a position where he’s using his resources and his expertise to start to preach this message.
He’s somebody that’s going to, you know, probably emerge as a pretty big player in this whole XXaction?XX [0:15:21] in my opinion, because it’s great having all the medics and all of that, opinion is very, very valuable, but what we must understand, we have to take the fight to the food companies on their turf. I mean, when Coca Cola issued a press release about their anti-obesity campaign and that goes worldwide in 50 countries simultaneously, and you have, you know, people responding to that. Coke still controlled the pitch.
So, the real food movement needs people who understand the mechanics of business and commerce, or how to raise awareness, sustain it, and how to get a message out that’s consistent and tight. That hasn’t happened yet. That’s what I see happening next. It’s starting to emerge, but it really requires a collaborative effort, and you need somebody with all the resources and all the ability to lead something like that, and Sami is such a guy. I cannot wait to spend some time with him in California and see what he’s got planned, but there’s definitely more to come.
Stuart Cooke: That’s exciting. Very exciting. I was just wanting to shift over to diet and exercise, just at the moment, and I was intrigued by your change in nature and take on the exercise you do in the movie. Was that eight minutes per week?
Donal O’Neill: It was, yes.
Stuart Cooke: Are you still doing eight minutes per week, or have you changed, you changed what you’re doing since then?
Donal O’Neill: No, I probably do a bit more, but what I do, that was eight minutes of, let’s say, cardio work. I trained with very, very high intensity for very, very short periods of time like that and then, probably 90 percent of my time is spent on mobility, so I studied pilates and yoga and lot of this stuff, and obviously I was an athlete and a conditioning coach, so I’m a big believer in movement, but the, like, I’ll turn 43 this year, so, what I noticed when I got to about 37, I certainly noticed that, “Oh, if I don’t change something, I’m probably going to start to dip here,” but my body feels much better than it did five years ago, and that’s, I think, down to diet, number one, and number two, I’m just training much smarter.
You know, for a guy in particular, the stuff that gets left off the table, because most diet books are written for women, are things like testosterone, you know, like a high-carbohydrate diet would dip your testosterone as would endurance training, so everything I do I do to solicit a metabolic response from my body, so I’m always looking to, sort of, hack the hormones as opposed to you’re looking at exactly what’s on the plate or how long am I exercising for.
I did a lot of that research along the way, too, but I’ve been in sports for 30, 35 years, and that’s my natural playground, but even in my days as an international athlete six sprints would have been a complete session, so I’ve come full-circle. Obviously, I wouldn’t be capable of doing the level of training I did back then, either, but I just like to train smart, move smart, and eat smart.
Guy Lawrence: Do you lift weights at all, Donal?
Donal O’Neill: I do lift some weights, but I do a lot of body work and I actually train on the mountain here in Cape Town, so a lot of proprioception work. I train, literally, in the trees. We’ve got a guy here XXaudio distortedXX [0:18:58] so, you know, we’re up on fallen trees sort of eight feet above the ground and we’ve got a big log on our shoulders and I work with the pilates and yoga experts here.
So we’ve been creating our own, well, what we’re calling the Strong Man Plan, which we’ll release the end of this year, so I’ve pulled everything together because I’ve probably put about over a hundred guys through it now, and the results you see are fantastic, particularly for guys when they get past 40. The stuff you used to do doesn’t work, and the worst thing you can do is jogging, because you’re going to drop your testosterone further. You’re going to really not do much good at all. I have a very big interest in getting guys strong and healthy through middle-age, and that’s kind of what my focus is now.
Stuart Cooke: When did you say this program is going to be rolled out over here?
Donal O’Neill: We’re going to roll it out, it’s probably three or four months away. I’ll let you know, but it’s just pulling in all the research I conducted for the movie and, you know, pointing it directly at men, because I think there’s a serious gap for blokes over 40, and I’m just fed up looking at mates of mine putting on their old rugby or football shorts and starting to go out jogging and, you know, eating their Special K breakfast. I mean, it’s a road to nowhere.
Things like sex drive, you know, you start eating a high-fat diet your testosterone is going to get pumped. You start to train without creating too much cortisol in the body, and if you train smart, you know, and you engage the glutes and the big muscle groups with compound movements, you get another shot of testosterone there, so I call them your man markers, so, everything that makes you a bloke can be buffered by smart diet food and movement.
Guy Lawrence: It’s interesting though, that most people, like you say, hit the streets to start running, you know, and, you know…
Stuart Cooke: Just conventional device, right? That’s it. I’ve got to run and I’ve got to limit my calories. That’s the only way I’m going to get slim.
Donal O’Neill: Yeah, I mean, but if you go to the start of any 10 k race, you’ll see fit guys with little pot bellies, you know. It’s a, that’s just how it is, and that’s the body’s hormonal response, you know, it’s not good for the body’s muscular gears, let’s say. It’s like going through the gears of a car. You know, if you’re jogging, the hormonal response in the body is whatever. You know, you get to sprinting and lifting, you’re into fourth gear and that’s when you get the testosterone and the lipolytic hormones releasing into the system. The rewards are tremendous, but, again, slightly counterintuitive, because you can’t do that stuff for a long time.
And one of the other things that frustrates me is that people are advising guys to go out there and sprint, because sprinting is a pretty tough regimen. We’ve created sequences of exercises that are safe and can be done and are very, very affective, because injury is the other thing you’ve got to avoid, which then goes back to the high fat and the lower inflammation in the body.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, especially if you’re, like you say, on a high-carb diet and you go high inflammation. You’re going to pull a hammy in seconds.
Stuart Cooke: But also those that are lean, because I’m naturally very lean. Impossible to put on weight, but that doesn’t mean for one second I’m healthy inside, and so that’s also a great message to push as well.
Donal O’Neill: Well, I mean, that’s exactly where I was starting. That’s the story of my family, the men in my family, so people perceive, you know, okay, generally speaking, it may be correct, but generality doesn’t work. I mean, health is like politics. It’s related to the individual and that’s why people vote best in their political beliefs and how they impact them, and they tend to eat on the same basis what’s really a zero foundation.
Guy Lawrence: How many calories a day were you eating in the movie?
Donal O’Neill: I was up near 4,000 a day, probably about 37, 38. I was stuffing myself. I mean, I was not hungry, I was doing it for the team, as they say, but I’m probably two kilos heavier than when we’ve stopped filming and I eat probably 20, 25 percent less. The more I was eating, it was just stripping me.
Back to the question about sports, I mean, I was a high-jumper and, you know, any sport that has a strong reliance on weight, I mean, if I was jumping, obviously, to be lifting off with two kilos less…On a similar, actually, an improved strength profile would be a phenomenal asset. So, that’s, you know, they’re obviously niche sports, but some of the track and field events, you might see some serious benefits for those athletes.
We’re working with some of the cage fighters here in South Africa at the moment, the mixed martial artists. One of the guys here, he’s stripping 12 kilos coming into a bout. So, that weakens the system, and they know it does. If they can find a way to walk around a train even, you know, two, three, four kilos less than they normally would be, that’s two, three, four kilos less than they’ve got to cut, and that can be beneficial.
We’ve also done some work with the lead Gaelic footballers who are now in a position where they can maintain their championship playing weight with no effort, so they can train and bulk and strengthen up, but they’re not carrying any additional weight to slow them.
Guy Lawrence: Do you think more endurance athletes will jump on board with this?
Donal O’Neill: Yeah. I think there’s a story there. I mean, we connected with the 2008 Olympic triathlon champion and he ate like that. If you sit with Tim Noakes, he’ll tell you about Paula Newby-Fraser who was the greatest triathlete of all time, arguably, South African, nine-time, I think, nine-time Hawaii Iron Man winner, and you know, she ate like this. That’s going back 20 years.
Guy Lawrence: I remember you saying that, yeah.
Donal O’Neill: It’s been there and it’s been used as a tactic, and it just, of course, elite athletes who think they’re on to something they’re not necessarily going to tell you. [AUDIO COMPLETELY DISTORTS] [0:25:42] Athletes identify what their, no pun intended, their sweet spot is for carb intake, because I think for a lot of sports, that will be a requirement to cycle carbs and to time them effectively. That’s what we’re going to see. They’re going to run with the clean foods. They’ll enjoy the anti-inflammatory benefits and whatnot, the cardiovascular benefits.
Noakes is saying, and he’s apologizing to athletes he advised who he believes have gone on and developed diabetes in particular because of the very high-carb sugar content diets that they have been on. I think it’s a fascinating area, and it’s, you know, the research that Tim’s doing in South Africa at the moment, is, I believe the first major study into high-fat for ultra-endurance athletes, so that’s pretty impressive.
Guy Lawrence: Is that right?
Stuart Cooke: Wow. What about the other end of the scale? Children? What would your advice be to, you know, parents who’ve got their own tribe and are currently feeding them the conventional way?
Donal O’Neill: You know, I mean, the results speak for themselves. You know, I can speak about Ireland and I’ve looked at the stats in Australia, and they’re just shocking. It doesn’t work and, you know, for kids, the first thing you’ve got to do is try and limit the sugar intake, because one of the things that I noticed in my research was, you know, Phillip Morris when the heat came on big tobacco in the early ’90s, they started to buy out food companies, the FMCG companies that kicked out crap back then.
And they identified, I mean they’re a brilliantly sinister company, they identified that the sugar trap is very much the same as nicotine. Get them young. Get them hooked on for life. Cereal companies know that. You know, you get on the cereal bandwagon and off you go. You’re on it for life typically.
So, the message for parents has to be the same as it is for adults. Let them eat what you eat, and I think any smart parent has always known that. If the parents aren’t eating correctly in the first instance, then you’re off to a bad start.
I’ve seen kids, I mean, you can see it happening. I’ve seen kids three, four years of age who have never had sugar. I mean parents are just feeding them real food. And you’ve got fantastic little kids running around, I mean, just apparently healthy. Absolutely sparkling with health. My own mate down in Australia…traveled to Australia after college. He stayed there. He’s got two young boys now, and I’ve watched what he’s done with them. You know, it’s eggs for breakfast and real food and Greek yogurt. Farmers Union has the best Greek yogurt I can find in Australia. It’s superb stuff.
The produce in Australia is amazing. I mean, you can do this. I always like to look at, you know, people like to say, “Oh, it’s expensive,” but, you know, eggs aren’t really expensive anywhere. Meat is actually, compared to everything else, it’s actually a pretty good value in Australia. Lamb is cheap.
Stuart Cooke: Absolutely, and, you know, medical bills are more expensive than a box of eggs you know, if you want to go down that route. It’s just crazy thought.
Donal O’Neill: Yeah. Exactly. We’re looking at some project, maybe try and do something specifically for children, movie-related, which would be fantastic, because, whatever, adults can make up their own mind, but you know children are absolutely driven. Exposure to sports stars is hugely important which is why I absolutely wanted to roll the cameras again and get Watson, Warner, and Khawaja in there.
We’re talking to the guys doing screenings down in India where diabetes is just an explosion, but the only thing bigger than that in India is cricket, so a guy like Watson stands up and tells children to eat something, you know they’re going to listen. He might just break though, and you’ll certainly break through with an elite athlete sooner than you will with a medical message to parents.
You know, that’s all good stuff, but the power of celebrity is going to pay an important role in this. I think Damon Gameau’s movie that’s coming out later this year called That Sugar Movie is going to be a phenomenal addition to the debate. He was at the screening in Melbourne, and I can’t wait to see what he’s doing with his movie. It’s going to be superb.
Stuart Cooke: It certainly will be.
Guy Lawrence: You just need the right people endorsing the right things, don’t you, at the end of the day, which sadly happens to be happening?
Donal O’Neill: Yeah, yeah. You know, we interviewed the chairman of the British Egg Council, not in the final cut of the movie, but I think their entire budget for the year to represent the industry is one million pounds. You couldn’t buy a couple of ads on Channel 4.
Stuart Cooke: No.
Donal O’Neill: He made the point that it’s just impossible, so what do you do? You’ve got to think outside the box. You’ve got to look for endorsements from celebrities and people who have access to the media that can get the message out. Otherwise, the bombardment of those billions of dollars that are telling you one thing are pretty hard to counter.
Guy Lawrence: Oh, massively. Massively. Absolutely.
I had another question for you, Donal. Ketosis. You’re permanently in ketosis now? Or you, um, don’t measure?
Donal O’Neill: No, I’m not. I don’t measure it. You know, there are guys who know a hundred times more about this stuff than me. I mean, we’ve got Robert Lustig and Steve Phinney hosting our screenings in San Francisco now next week, and then Mark Sisson is hosting us in L.A.
But, I operate on feel. I mean, I got to the point where I just know what my body wants.
Yesterday, for example, I was about to take down a large pig. I just needed bacon in my life. I just give my body what it wants, when it wants it. So, you know, I eat a very low-carb diet, a lot of fat, but am I in ketosis constantly? No. I’m not.
I’ll have an odd beer, and, you know, some carbs now and then. But I know when I need them and I just listen to my body.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fantastic.
Stuart Cooke: What do you say to those people that insist on counting calories without, you know, the whole lecture? I mean, is there any light that you could guide them to that might just, kind of, start the process?
Donal O’Neill: Well, you know, one of the more ridiculous reasons for making the movie for me as well is just so I wouldn’t have to get into the debate. I feel like walking around with a DVD in the market and just giving them to people, because I was getting jumped at dinner before. It was just bizarre.
So, people get very, very protective about their diet. It is like a religious belief or a political belief but they don’t know what they’re talking about. I mean, I they haven’t done the research.
You know, I was somebody who carb-loaded and did everything, you know, I thought was right for a long, long time. And I had to come in with an open mind to research and the movie. I didn’t know that what I would find was what I would find. But, you know, if you don’t have an open mind to these things, then you’re probably somebody who isn’t gonna give it a chance.
And, to be honest, I never raise the issue with anybody. If somebody wants to talk about it, that’s fine. But I’m not like some evangelist running around looking over people’s shoulders at the dinner plate.
I’d rather just slip a DVD into their pocket and leave them to it, because people have to find their own way.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, of course.
Donal O’Neill: Ultimately, we’re all on our own.
Stuart Cooke: Yep. If I decided to undertake this diet tomorrow, would you recommend that I undergo any testing at all, as you did?
Donal O’Neill: I think it’s; tests are useful for a number of reasons. I mean, first and foremost, psychologically. Because then you feel like you’re committed to something. And when you start; even if you start to write down what you eat, you start to eat healthier. That’s been proven time and again.
So, you take very small steps to make quite a big difference, but what; if you can get the right tests, yes. And you need you HDL, your LDL, and absolutely your triglycerides, your HbA1c is another very important mark. If you can get those, absolutely. But obviously something like HbA1c is a three-month marker. So, you need to give it some time before you revisit that one.
But you would see results within, probably, four to six weeks.
And; you would see them first around your waist. I dropped a buddy of mine off to the airport last night and he’s a businessman in London and every suit he owns he’s had to have it taken in several inches. He just can’t believe it. And this guy was an elite rower who continued to thrash himself in the gym. And just had bit of a, what you would call a “wheat belly.” But it’s gone. And, you know, he was stunned by it.
And, I think, counting of calories; some people like to do that. There’s a lot of tech out there that helps you do it. If that’s your thing, by all means, go on; do it. But, you know, my recommended caloric intake was about 2,800 calories. I had more, almost a thousand calories a day in excess, through the course of filming, lost weight; gained muscle. Go figure.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, right. You can’t argue with that.
Guy Lawrence: I think testing, as well, helps for people. Because some people are so fearful of fat. You see it all the time, you know. And just to have something behind them so they can embrace it for a month and see what happens. You know? You can’t about it half-assed, as well, and still eat your bread and just increase your fat a bit.
Donal O’Neill: Yeah. Yeah. Some people do that, but, you know; if you’re gonna take one foodstuff out of your diet and get an immediate result, it probably is bread, because it’s something that people tend to overeat. Certainly, in Ireland.
So, I’ve watched guys just take out bread drop enormous amount of weight because they ate half a loaf a day. So, where you’re starting from will determine where you’re gonna get to, I suppose, with specific types of, let’s say, “dietary edits.”
But, you know, I really enjoy working with guys who have been sportsmen, and who are now longer in shape, because someone who has been there. . . When the body clicks and it gets it, you’ve got them, I mean, and they just stick with it because once you start to feel good, I mean, the body remembers that feeling. There’s no going back.
My old brother is 47 and he’s back to his elite football-playing weight. And, you know, he’s a guy who he’ll have a drink once a day. I mean, he’s like that. He doesn’t really deprive himself. But, you know, he just kind of stopped eating bread and just made a few tweaks, and, bang, there he goes.
So, you know, everybody’s different. You can just; once you find your own sweet spot, just run with it.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, absolutely. And; well, what would you. . . If somebody stopped you on the stress who had statins and was asking you questions, what would you say to them? What would your piece of advice be, if he’s on statin drugs; cholesterol drugs?
Donal O’Neill: I mean, the statin thing is; it’s pretty unbelievable to me, what big pharma has done there. And one of the key pieces of research I unearthed was the fact that the pharmaceutical companies have spent in excess of 10 billion U.S. dollars to try to find a drug that would safely raise HDL cholesterol. They haven’t succeeded, but I wanted them to succeed, because I wanted to see what their ad agency was gonna do. “OK, guys, we know we have been lowering your cholesterol for years; we’ve got a great idea: We’re gonna raise it.”
So, yeah. They didn’t achieve that, but. . . That would have been very, very exciting. So, I mean, you’ve got the conventional cardiologists and experts who say, “Yeah, statins could save your life.” And there’s absolutely an anti-inflammatory aspect to statins that provides benefit in the immediate aftermath of a cardiac event. But do they prevent it? Based on the research I’ve seen and, you know, now you’ve got cardiologists like Dr. Aseem Malhotra and Paul Davis and the rest who are steadfast against them as a preventative, too.
I think, you know, the thought leaders in the cardiac world are in a much better position to assess that than me. But I believe them and they’re saying statins are not the way forward.
Guy Lawrence: Definitely.
Stuart Cooke: I’ve got. . .
Guy Lawrence: Oh, go one, Stu.
Stuart Cooke: Well, I was just wondering how we could help spread the message. What could we do?
Donal O’Neill: Well, I mean, I think you’re doing a great job already. The work you’re doing is tremendous. I mean, it’s great to have guys like yourself who are clearly very savvy in the Internet environment, because we’re a David to an enormous Goliath and I the real foods message needs coordination and collaboration. And, you know, these types of podcasts and recordings and everything else you’re doing is enormously beneficial.
Obviously, we went with Yekra to distribute the movie because it enabled hosts like yourselves to present the movie for screening directly from your website and your Facebook page and whatnot.
So, we’ve been trying to get some viralality into the marketing of the movie, because our advertising budget is about zero. So, it’s, you know, not the cleverest thing in the world to launch a movie without a budget, but here we are.
But, you know, even if we had a couple of million dollars, it probably wouldn’t make that much of a difference because you’re operating against such a vast war chest on the other side that to break through is very, very tough. So, I think it’s just a question of continuing to tell the truth and to present the facts and get what success you can.
Guy Lawrence: I think the power of social media can be phenomenal, to, you know. And by getting bits of information out like this, and getting them out there, and people talking. You know, it certainly does make a difference to some people, that’s for sure.
Donal O’Neill: It definitely helps. Later today, I’m on with Ireland’s biggest commercial radio station, so that’s; but this is as important as that, it’s because this type of engagement that alerted mainstream media, because I told them all we were coming and they just completely ignored me.
So, you know, you’ve got to bite your lip and march on and try and make some noise and just wait for the pickup. So, thanks for supporting us.
Guy Lawrence: Oh, man. I think it’s awesome. I absolutely loved it.
We always end on a wrap-up question. And this can be non-nutrition related. What’s the single best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Donal O’Neill: “Don’t do it.”
When I hear that, that is just music to my ears. And I’m out of the blocks. And that’s probably the most consistent piece of advice I got when I started this project. So, that might sound negative but that’s when you know you’re either crazy or your might be onto something, when people are steadfast against what you’re doing, for no other reason than they can’t get their head around it.
But it’s starting to become a really good idea.
Stuart Cooke: It’s working for you. I’d keep at it.
Guy Lawrence: Just keep doing it. Keep doing it.
And for us Aussies, mate, how can we get more of Donal O’Neill? Where is the best place to go?
Donal O’Neill: Obviously, we’re on Facebook: CerealKillersMovie. We’ve got the website at CerealKillersMovie.com. And everything will kind of flow from those channels.
We put up a blog to support the movie called Let Fat By Thy Medicine. We have some articles up there. But we’re gonna just keep pushing the Internet presence and using some of the expertise I’ve picked up along the way in my days with the online gambling industry. So, yeah, it’s gonna be very much pumping the online channels. And I think we get the movie onto Netflix; iTunes, in due course and then we’re looking towards television.
But we are; we’re gonna try to pitch a TV show into Australia this year. So, we’ll see how that goes. But I just want to keep the projects coming and keep the message coming, because one movie isn’t gonna approve to much. It’s the start.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, look, this movie needed to be made and you did an awesome job and we really appreciate your time for coming on the show. And we will be pushing this message constantly as well, man, and continuing to get it out there.
Donal O’Neill: Much, much appreciated, and thanks for having me.
Hands up who loves avocados, as we certainly do! If you’ve been following us on our blog for a while, you would certainly know that we are big fans of getting all the healthy fats and nutritional benefits an avocado has to offer! I eat at least one whole avocado a day and they are the first ingredient to go into my 180 Protein Smoothie, giving it the thick creaminess one should never deprive themselves of when hitting their breakfast fix.
Aside from all that, though, what else is behind our love affair with the fair avocado? Here are 5 things you may not know about avocados… More
This is the full interview with Sweet Poison Author David Gillespie. He is s a recovering corporate lawyer and has deciphered the latest medical findings on diet and weight gain. In his own words he says that what he found was chilling.
Did you enjoy the interview with David Gillespie? Has it made you think differently regarding sugar or fructose? Would love to hear you thoughts in the Facebook comments section below… Guy
David Gillespie: The transcript
Guy Lawrence: I’m Guy Lawrence. This is Stuart Cooke. And our special guest today is no other than David Gillespie.
David Gillespie: G’Day.
Guy Lawrence: Thanks for joining us David. Really appreciate it.
Now, I thought the best place to start would be from the beginning, and I know for any of our viewers that don’t know who you are, could you just sort of tell a bit about yourself; your story and how you came to writing about sugar in the first place; I’d love to know that.
David Gillespie: OK. So, I guess I should start out by saying I’m not a nutritionist or doctor or a biochemist or any of that sort of stuff. So, I’m phenomenally unqualified to talk to anybody about any of that stuff, but because I’m a lawyer it’s not gonna stop me.
I came to this because I spent most of my life getting fat, not intentionally, but every year I was a kilo or two heavier and, you know, I guess about almost 10 years ago now, I weighed in at 130-odd kilos, which put me well and truly into obese category.
And I thought when my wife rather inconsiderably announced that our fifth child was going to be our fifth and sixth children, that it was time to do something about it because I wasn’t coping with the four we had, who were all under the age of 9, let alone adding twin babies to that. And so, I thought, you know what, I need to understand how the human body works. I can’t believe that we don’t know how it works. It’s just obviously the case that I’m misunderstanding something.
So; and there was just the logical part to it as well which I didn’t get, which is you look around the planet, you see every other animal on the planet controls its weight the same way it controls its height, on auto-pilot, and there’s no gyms for monkeys, there’s no tigers on Jenny Craig, you know, they all work without willpower, on auto-pilot and the only exception to that seems to be us and any animal unfortunate enough to be fed by us.
So, I thought: I must be misunderstanding something. So, I went looking for the evidence and what I found was that there was very little evidence for what we are normally told to do about weight; that is: Stop being fat and exercise more.
But, there was an entirely different stream of evidence concerning sugar and in particular a part of sugar called fructose, which is one half of table sugar, which appeared to have significant dire metabolic effects, not just making us fat but lots of other stuff that we’re gonna talk about probably today.
What I thought was, well, you know, if that’s right, all I’ve gotta do to fix my weight problem is stop eating sugar. And, well, I can do that. It sounded a lot easier than it ended up being but I thought I can do that and I did and I dropped 40 kilos, got to this weight, which is in the mid 80s, and have stayed eating for the last 10 years without being on a diet. Which to me is pretty incredible since before this, you know, I just had look at a packet of Tim Tams and I’d be putting on weight.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: When you decided to lose the weight and make a change, was sugar the first thing you looked at or did you sort of. . .?
David Gillespie: Oh no. No, I didn’t, I didn’t, I didn’t know where to start. The only relevant training I have is gathering evidence and so where I started was to look at what the official line was. So, I went to the National Health and Medical Research Council, which are the people who determine the Australian Healthy Eating Guidelines, and I looked at what they say you should do to lose weight. And I thought: I’m not gonna go to a diet company or anything like that; I’ll just go to the people whose job this is. And I went looking at what they said and I thought: I can see what they say sounds very similar to what diet companies tell you to do. But I thought maybe there’s something missing that I’m not getting in the details. So, using the only relevant skill I had, which is to gather evidence, I then started looking at the evidence behind the statements.
So, what was the evidence behind the statement that fat makes you fat? What was the evidence behind the statement that exercise would make you thin? And I kept looking at evidence which referred to early evidence, which referred to early evidence, which referred to earlier evidence, and all the way back to evidence in the 1950s which essentially amounted to a great big guess.
I wasn’t at all satisfied with that, but in reading through that stuff I came across other evidence which hadn’t been referred to, but which was just as good a pedigree and this is from the London School of Nutrition, a fellow by the name of John Yudkin did some work on sugars in the 1950s and because of some political fighting it turned out his message got drowned out by a different message from the United States about fats.
Guy Lawrence: Interesting, because the first time I heard about really starting to look at sugar, from my own personal health, would have been about five years ago and I was involved with a small group of people that were helping people with chronic disease and a lot of them had cancer and by that time they had been established about seven years and they were saying that they probably had over a thousand people go through their doors and they were using nutrition and weight training, of all things, to help them.
But the first thing they eliminated from their diet was sugar and that was the sort of first time I sort of heard of anything like that. I only raised this because it made me start to think about, you know, sugar, what I’m eating, and things like that. And I’d love to hear your thoughts on, I guess, you know, on the defects of sugar, fructose and overall health, as well as what you sort of learned from your journey for our listeners.
David Gillespie: Well, I started out on it just through sheer vanity and wanting to not be apathetic. I thought that if I lost the weight I’d be more able to cope with young kids and probably be healthier. But now what I found since that, and I mean that’s where I started but I kept reading and I kept looking and I just kept finding more and more things linked back to this really unusual molecule in our diet, fructose.
Now it might even sound really weird to say that fructose is an unusual molecule in our diet. It is, after all, in fruit. So it’s; people say: “Oh, it’s natural, you know, can’t possibly be anything wrong with it.” It is natural but it’s not natural in the kind of quantities we’re consuming it and we’re not getting it from fruit. We’re getting it from sugar. And that’s the bit that a lot of people don’t connect that it is one-half of sugar.
And this molecule was very, very rare in the human diet until around about 1820. You might ask yourself: What happened in 1820? Something that people have been trying to do for a good half a century happened in 1820, which was that we finally cracked the problem of producing sugar, the stuff we have on the table, in commercial quantities. And the search for “white gold” and that was what it was literally called, “white gold,” had been on for half a century.
It is an extraordinary difficult thing to do and I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to make sugar. It isn’t simply a case of squeezing out a bit of sugar cane. It’s an extremely complicated process and involves a lot of steps and a lot of chemicals and every single step can go very, very wrong. But they managed to finally nail the process in the 1820s and then sugar went from being an extremely rare thing that only really the rich could afford to something that everybody could afford and that was added to more and more foods on a continuous basis.
Now, when I talk about sugar, people think I’m talking about chocolates and soft drinks and so on. I am; they obviously contain sugar, but much more dangerous is the sugar embedded in foods which you wouldn’t even think about containing sugar. You know, things with Heart Foundation ticks that are 30 percent sugar or 70 percent sugar, things that are being sold to us as health food that have loads of sugar in them. Why do they have loads of sugar? Because that “white gold” makes products with it in sell better than products without. So, this molecule we are spectacularly uninvolved to deal with; are you guys both still there?
Guy Lawrence & Stuart Cooke: Yeah, yeah we’re still here. I’m recording your . . . Your picture’s frozen but we’re still here.
David Gillespie: OK. Anyway, so this molecule; we have no real evolutionary background for it because the only sugar that we’ve really evolved to deal with in insufficient quantities, is our primary source of fuel, which is glucose. Everything we eat ultimately ends up in our body as glucose. Glucose is our fuel. Every single cell in our body can use it. It is the primary and only fuel for our brain, which consumes 25 percent of our energy.
So, it is a very, very important molecule in the human body and in any mammal. But fructose has no purpose whatsoever. It turns out, we just shovel it straight to the liver, none of our cells can deal with it at all and the liver just converts it immediately to fat. And that isn’t, it turns out, why we’re fat because of eating fructose; it’s just the start of a process which actually got quite interesting when I dived into the evidence; which is that that fat ends up wrapped around the liver, ultimately giving us something called “fatty liver disease” which now affects 1 in 3 of us, up from almost none of us 40 years ago. It now affects 1 in 10 teenage children. This is a chronic disease that can ultimately lead to cirrhosis of the liver and cancer of the liver.
And that fat wrapped around the liver affects our insulin sensitivity. In doing so it affects our appetite control and that’s how it makes us fat. It isn’t that the fructose is converted to fat, which that in itself makes us fat, it’s that it is converted to fat which becomes visceral fat wrapped around our internal organs, which increases our degree of insulin resistance. Ultimately that cascades through to Type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, chronic kidney disease, hypertension, heart disease, and the list goes on and on and on.
So, you know why getting fat on this stuff is a very, very fortunate thing because it gives us some visible warning that it’s happening.
Guy Lawrence: How; given that it’s everywhere and in so many foods that we’re unaware of; how would you recommend cutting it out? What should we do?
David Gillespie: Well, the first thing is: Listen to your taste. You can taste it. It’s not; if a food tastes sweet, then it contains fructose. You can be absolutely certain of that. And so you can taste it. And that’s the really good news is if you pay attention and listen for the taste that’s sweet, if you like, you can detect it.
The other is, start to get use to where it’s likely to be. So, be suspicious of all processed foods; have a look at processed food, look at the ingredient list; if sugar’s in there put it back on the shelf. It’s as simple as that. If it’s something you really, really must have then find the variant of whatever product it is that has the lowest amount of sugar and preferably aim for less than 3 grams to 100 of added sugar.
Do that and you’ll be fine. And people initially say, when they start this process, they say: “Wow, I just did what you said, and, you know what? There’s nothing in my supermarket that satisfies those criteria. That’s disturbing in itself, is there’s nothing in the supermarket that doesn’t have less than 3 percent added sugar. But there are things. In every food category there are things. And I’ve prepared lists and so on and some of them are in some of my books that go through that and rank them and show you which brands have the lower amounts of sugar. But the easiest way to do it is just to eat whole food.
I’m only talking about sugar added to food. So, eat whole fruit. Eat whole vegetables. Eat milk; dairy, eggs: whole food. Some will be required. And if you do want to eat processed food, then that’s when you need to get careful.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, OK, even when you cook your own meals, at least you start to know what’s going in them. I mean. . .
David Gillespie: I mean, if you add sugar, you’ll be aware of it. You know, you can’t accidentally pour sugar into a meal.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, absolutely. What’s your thoughts on people that say, you know, you need sugar for energy?
David Gillespie: We do. You need glucose for energy. So, remember that sugar is half glucose and half fructose. And you do need glucose for energy. As I said before, your brain runs on nothing else. And if you don’t eat something that can be converted to glucose, it will convert protein to glucose.
So, you do need glucose. You are a machine that runs on fuel. The fuel glucose. But that’s not the same as table sugar. Table sugar is only half glucose. The other half is this fructose stuff.
And some people say, yeah, but don’t I need the glucose half of it? No. Because everything you eat, ultimately, gets converted to glucose. And so you don’t need to eat sugar to get the glucose.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, and I think that’s where a lot of the confusion can lie.
Stuart Cooke: I think especially in energy and sports drinks and gels as well where people think that they need that added burst of sugar, which if I, just thinking back to my childhood day, I used to drink Lucozade, and I think that is one of the only drinks at the time that is glucose-based, right?
David Gillespie: That’s right. It’s only glucose-based. And it’s used for glucose tolerance tests even today in hospitals, because it’s the only drink you can use that is sweetened only with glucose. And so it’s a great sports drink because it’s only sweetened with glucose.
Stuart Cooke: Right. Perfect.
Stuart Cooke: So, your comments on fruit. So, I guess number one: Is fruit the enemy? Should be eating it? How much should we be eating?
David Gillespie: There’s no need to eat it. If you want to eat it, then treat it like what it is, which is nature’s dessert. So, you know, rare. You could have up to two whole pieces of fruit a day if you wanted to. Personally, I don’t eat any unless it’s offered to me. I don’t go out of my way to consume it. There’s nothing you can get in fruit that you can’t get in an equivalent vegetable without a whole lot less fructose.
But that being said, if you really like fruit, there’s no reason to not eat it. And if you’re going to eat fruit, then I’d veer toward things that are higher in fiber and lower in fructose such as all of the berries: raspberries, blueberries, strawberries. They’re all great choices and I’d steer away from things which are high in fructose and low in fiber like the three most popular fruits on sale in Australia today, which are: apples, bananas, and grapes.
So, those are the ones that I would be tending toward. But even there, have them. If you’re going to eat them as whole fruit, then go for it. If that’s your only source of fructose in a day, you’re not doing yourself any harm.
Stuart Cooke: OK. It’s amazing how your palate changes over time as well when you do eliminate sugar, because I used to devour bananas and now I can barely stomach them because they are so sweet.
David Gillespie: And that’s exactly right. I used to think bananas were the most boring fruit in the world. Completely tasteless, powdery fruit, why would anyone eat them? And now, you’re right, I have one and it’s like dessert to me. It is massively sweet. And so that palate changes is really an important part of knowing when you’re off sugar.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, absolutely. And I look at it exactly the same, you know. I like to think I’m on top of my nutrition and my food and I have a piece of fruit and I thoroughly enjoy it. But I generally don’t have 10 apples and a fruit juice in the morning.
David Gillespie: And if you did sit down and eat 10 apples, you wouldn’t be eating much else. You really wouldn’t. That’s a lot of fruit. But you could drink the juice of 10 apples very easily and still have a meal.
Guy Lawrence: That’s right. Absolutely. Yeah.
David Gillespie: So it’s only when we juice it; all juicing is really just extracting the sugar and throwing away everything else. There’s no reason to ever consume juice. It’s just soft drink.
Stuart Cooke: Another question I wanted to raise, because, you know, I follow Sarah Wilson’s blog as well, and saw an interview with you on there awhile back. I think it was an audio podcast. And there was just a stream of heated discussions afterwards with different people coming in, and arguments.
So I just wanted to raise, you know, where do the arguments lie, and why is there the critics out there that are against, basically, the whole fructose thing?
David Gillespie: This is very threatening to some very lucrative XXrulers of gold?XX. It’s a very threatening message. It is not called “white gold” for nothing. Processed food companies add sugar to food because they know it sells more with it. They don’t want to have to remove it. That’s why it’s not part of the accreditation for the Heart Foundation tick. It’s not even a criteria. They don’t even pay any attention to it at all. Because if they did, almost nothing would receive a tick.
So, the thing about sugar is that it moves a lot of product and there are a lot of people whose money depends on continuing to move that product. And those companies have put a lot of effort into muddying the water, into putting confusing science out there, to mounting clandestine lobbying.
And the process is almost identical to what the tobacco lobby undertook in the ’60s and ’70s. Almost identical. Sponsoring dubious science, having scientists on the payroll to do weird studies that if you design it just the right way it will come out showing that smoking’s all right. Recruiting; well, with smoking it was recruiting doctors. Now it’s more recruiting dieticians. But it’s the same basic plan.
Guy Lawrence: Well, certainly speaking for myself, you know, the moment I stopped putting sugar in my body I definitely noticed the difference. Even allergies went over time and things like that that I had before.
David Gillespie: Yeah. You’ll find most people report a whole series of things that are seemingly unrelated to sugar. And the interesting thing is, a lot of them can be traced back through sound biochemical processes to an explanation from fructose.
Some can’t. I still can’t explain why a lot of people report massive improvements in eczema. I don’t know why that is. But when people quite sugar, their eczema goes, even if they’ve had chronic eczema their entire life. It goes. And I don’t know what that is. I’ve looked and looked and looked. But, you know, that’s one that I can’t explain.
But a lot of them you can trace back biochemically to why they found it different.
Stuart Cooke: I got a question from Susie Lee, via our Facebook channel as well, and I think it relates a little bit to probably ourselves as well, or especially Guy and myself. Susie was wondering if you ever felt pressured into eating sugar. How do you avoid the awkward family gatherings where sugar is everywhere? Because I know the way that Guy and I, myself, present ourselves, sometimes we feel ostracized in the way that we behave in social gatherings.
David Gillespie: You know what? At the start, that was a problem. Now, obviously, the best way to fix that is write a book about it and then no one offers you sugar ever again. In fact, people tend not to eat sugar in your presence.
But, at the start, absolutely. And I found the easiest way to get around the awkwardness of it is to not make a fuss about. Just, you know, if there’s something you can eat, eat it. If there isn’t, don’t eat. Wait till you get home and find something to eat. Don’t make a big fuss about: “Oh, have you go something that hasn’t got sugar in it?” You know? Just pay attention and pretty quickly you just fit right in.
The people who find it most difficult, and this was me right at the start, is people who say, “I really wouldn’t mind; have you got a version of that without sugar?” And then people think you are a real pain.
Stuart Cooke: The awkward moments come, though. You can be at a birthday party or something and the cake comes ’round and I’m thinking, “If I eat this, I’m gonna have a stinkin’ headache later.” You know?
David Gillespie: You know, my strategy for that is: Find someone who’s still eating sugar and chop a bit off their piece of cake and have it just so that you can be part of it. You make a wish for the person and so on. And you’re not gonna eat the rest.
Stuart Cooke: Fair enough. We got another Facebook question that came in as well. It was: “I’d like to know what is worse: sugar or sweeteners and the use of macrosweeteners like honey, agave, dates, etcetera in cooking.” Are they OK or are they just heightening our tastes for more sugar?
David Gillespie: OK. So, honey and agave and, what was the other one? Dates? All of those sorts of things are just expensive ways to white sugar. So, you’re not changing anything by switching from sugar to honey. Honey is still half fructose. In fact, when sugar was first discovered, it was called “honey without bees.” Because the only kind of sugar we had before that was honey.
So, it’s; you’re not changing anything by switching to agave. Agave, dates, etcetera are about 60 to 70 percent fructose. So, those are not substitutes for sugar. They are sugar.
Other things, artificial sweeteners and such, are better-known for high-intensity sweeteners and you get into the whole artificial-natural debate. High-intensity sweeteners like stevia, sucralose, aspartame, things like Splenda and so on; those things are referred to as methadone for sugar addicts. So, they are great to get you off the addiction.
I developed quite a serious habit with artificially sweetened soft drinks while I was going through the withdrawal phase, which can last two to four weeks, or, in some people’s cases, even months.
And the interesting thing, though, is, as you were saying before, Stuart, about the palate change is that as you start to go though the withdrawal, those things become less and less appealing. And the reason for that is they start to taste less and less like sugar. At the start, they taste just like sugar. A barely detectable difference.
By the end of withdrawal, they start to taste very much like a chemical. And you find yourself really not enjoying it much at all. And I got to the point, probably around the three- or four-week mark, where I was having these things and thinking, “You know what? I think I’d rather just have a fizzy water than this stuff, because it’s just not tasting very nice.”
And so it’s not like I read the science and decided to not consume them. Because the science is a bit iffy either way. There’s plenty of science that says they’re perfectly safe. There’s plenty of science that says they’re not, depending on who’s paid for the study. If the sugar industry paid for it or the people making the substance paid for it.
But I prefer to take the view, you know, using it during withdrawal is not gonna kill you. And it does help you get through withdrawal.
Guy Lawrence: If someone walked up to you on the street and said, you know, I was a big sugar eater; should I go cold turkey or should I wean off it? What would you say to them?
David Gillespie: Look, I think weaning off is just pure torture. I think you’d have to have extraordinary reserves of willpower to be doing that. And what that would require is correctly identifying every bit of sugar in your diet and then systematically removing a percentage of it every day. Five percent, 10 percent, whatever, and ensuring that you stick to that.
To me, that would be torture. But that’s just me. Some people tell me that that’s exactly what they need and it worked great for them. Most people who are successful at this, though, tell me that the way they do it is they go cold turkey. And they just have a great big bin of all their favorite foods and then the next morning, they’re off. And they don’t go near it again until they no longer have the cravings.
And believe me, it is a withdrawal. It is very much like withdrawal from smoking. I have never smoked, so I can’t tell you from personal experience, but people who have given up smoking and given up sugar tell me the experience is almost identical. You can an intense period of cravings, you get the mood swings, you get the depression, you get the headaches. Except that with sugar, the cravings feel like hunger so that you are constantly hungry, or at least you think you are. But the reality is that you’re not. That’s just how your body knows to get you to eat sugar.
Stuart Cooke: And another question popped in regarding the sweetness. Coconut sugar. Have you done anything. . .
David Gillespie: It’s just sugar. Another way to spend a lot of money on sugar.
Stuart Cooke: Because I see that flying around a lot at the moment, coconut sugar, you know.
David Gillespie: Coconut everything. I mean, the only thing out of a coconut that is good is oil. And that’s an entirely different topic for another day.
Stuart Cooke: We won’t broach that right now.
We’d like to steer it over a little bit into children. Obviously, you’ve got a big clan. I’ve got three children too. So, I’m very interested in steering them on the right track. Do you have any recommendations, perhaps, for lunch boxes? Because lots of people struggle with this because of all of the kiddie snacks out there, I guess, with yoghurts, obviously fruit, raisins; little boxes of raisins, and sandwiches and the like. What would you recommend for a really simple child’s lunchbox?
David Gillespie: The first thing is that you are going to be almost; it’s almost impossible to buy pre-packaged anything for children that isn’t full of sugar. So, right away you’ve got a difficulty in that whatever you put in their lunchbox, you’re gonna be making. And the only choice for you is how much effort do you want to put into making it.
Now, I put out a recipe book earlier this year. And a lot of people said, “Why do you even need a recipe book if you’re off sugar? Surely you don’t even want cakes and stuff.” One of the big motivations for it is for kids’ lunchboxes. Kids still need stuff in their lunchboxes and so we created recipes just using dextrose, which is the glucose half of sugar. So, just glucose as the sweetener. And these are recipes for things like cake and biscuits and the things kids have in their lunchboxes.
And what Lizzie does, my wife, is make those; cook up a big batch of that sort of stuff on the weekends, cling-wrap portions of it, and freeze it. And then, when it comes to dealing out lunchboxes, she just reaches into the freezer and plunks it in.
And that’s the way to deal with. There really is no other efficient way to do it. The other thing you can do is just get really good at making sandwiches, putting whole fruit in there has obviously not changed. Put a banana in if you want. Just don’t put dried fruit, juices, or packaged processed food. And anything else goes.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, right. Because the thing is with kids is you’ve got same problem with adults with the parties and they’re gonna go to these things and sugar’s everywhere.
David Gillespie: Look, and there’s nothing you can do about that and nor should you try. I have a rule in this house which is: “Party food is for parties.” So, it’s not for every minute of every hour of every day. It’s for parties. And our kids go to parties with kids in their class and they’ll eat sugar and that’s just the way it is. But their exposure to sugar is infinitesimally small compared to all of their peers.
And the interesting thing is that if they do eat sugar, pig out at a party, they often come home with a hangover. And this really surprised me. And I’m not joking when I call it a hangover. It is like an adult with an alcohol hangover. They have headaches. They start saying things like, “Never again.” You know? Are really genuinely meaning it. Until the next time.
And it’s really interesting to watch. And also their capacity to eat it is also limited by the fact that they don’t eat it all the time.
Stuart Cooke: That is a good point. . . . I’ve got a little trick. I’ve got three girls and I give them a nice bowl of porridge before they go out the door so they’re not. . .
David Gillespie: That’s a good trick. I wish I’d thought of that. That is a good trick. Fill them up before they get there.
Stuart Cooke: Exactly right. Yeah. It does help.
I’ve got a few kind of miscellaneous questions as well. And I might jump into the top one, Guy, if you don’t mind.
Guy Lawrence: Go for it.
Stuart Cooke: Your thoughts on bread- and wheat-based products, given the high glycemic load.
David Gillespie: I don’t pay a lot of attention to glycemic index or glycemic load. I think they’re nonsense terms. I don’t think they’re helpful at all for anyone who’s not diabetic. And even for people who are diabetic, I’m not entirely certain they’re very helpful.
The way our body deals with carbohydrate is with a glycemic response. That is, we release insulin to use the glucose that’s in our blood. Now, the efficiency of that response is measured by the degree to which we’ve impaired our insulin response by consuming fructose.
So, yes, someone who has spent their entire life, like me, consuming fructose, has probably seriously damaged their glycemic response. And it may take a long time to repair that damage. And so you might want to be cautious about carbohydrates.
The interesting thing that I have found is, once you give up the sugar, carbohydrates are a far less enticing thing. You don’t find yourself craving carbs anywhere near as much as you did before. And that’s probably because there’s a lot of sugar addiction involved in the process.
I am working on research on the degree to which we should be worried about carbs, and even proteins like gluten that you find in bread, and fibers. And, ultimately, that will turn into a book, I suspect.
But for the moment, I would say: Do what most people do, which is break the addiction first. Break the addiction. Then you can start to make seriously sensible choices about what you choose to put in your mouth. Because one thing people who do break the addiction find is they fill up quickly. So, once they have a functioning appetite control system, they find themselves not able to eat anywhere near as much as they used to be able to get through. And I used to; I found that, too. You’d sit down to a meal that you previously would have knocked back, no worries at all, and you start getting a half or two-thirds of the way through and thinking, “Oh, I really can’t finish this. I’m really full.”
And that’s just your hormones working; your appetite control system working. And when that starts happening, people start saying, you know, with that happening, I’ve got to be really choosy about what I put in my mouth, because I know my appetite control system’s not gonna let me put that much of anything in my mouth. So, if I have this big slice of dextrose cake for afternoon tea or this big bit of cheesecake for afternoon tea, I know that I’m not gonna fit my dinner in. And then it’s a balance between what’s for dinner and do I really like it or do I prefer it over this piece of cake.
So, people find themselves starting to make choices about what they put in their mouth. And a lot of people start doing things like saying, “You know what? I just don’t get that much out of carbs anymore. And I find when I’m not eating them, I feel better. So I won’t eat them that much.”
Stuart Cooke: Would it be possible for our audience who may be a little confused just to kind of loosely run through what you might perhaps eat in a day.
David Gillespie: Sure. So, let’s talk about today. I started today, my 12-year-old boy very helpfully cooked me some bacon and eggs this morning. That was a nice bit of meal: bacon with all the fat still on and an egg. And then I’ve just had lunch, which was I some leftover mince on toast, basically. And the toast was sourdough bread that my wife made a day or two ago. Now, the reason she’s making bread is just to avoid the seed oils, which is a topic for another day. But it also helps you avoid sugar.
And for dinner; what will dinner be? Well, tonight it’s likely going to be some sort of pasta and meat sauce, I suspect.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, right, OK.
David Gillespie: That’s not our typical; that’s just because of Friday night. Normally it’s some sort of meat and veg kind of fare.
Stuart Cooke: Got it. OK.
Guy Lawrence: I have another question that popped in there and we haven’t got it down, only because I CrossFit. You know, I love my exercise. But from reading your books as well, you discuss the topic of weight loss and exercise and the relationship there.
I’d love you just to share your views on that, because, you know, from what I find, when I train more, my appetite goes up and I generally et more food and if I’m not careful I can eat the wrong foods, you know, and that’s what I’ve seen from my experience over the years, especially working as a fitness trainer. But I’d just love you to share that with us a little bit for people.
David Gillespie: Well, when you expend more calories doing anything, if you spend Saturday out in the yard working, whereas you normally sit at a desk, you’ll eat more on Saturday. Your body is a complex machine that measures the amount of energy you burn and the amount that you consume and make sure it stays in balance.
And the same goes for exercise. It doesn’t matter if you’re out mowing the lawn or doing exercise in a gym. If you burn more energy, your body will ask you to eat more food. In other words, it will increase your appetite. And that’s not a bad thing at all. That’s a perfectly good thing and perfectly normal thing.
The problem is when the appetite control system is broken, and that’s what fructose does. It messes with the hormones that control how much we eat. And it just knocks your system up, just a fraction, not much, just a tiny little bit, maybe a quarter of a Monte Carlo biscuit’s worth.
But you do that every day for years, end-on-end cumulatively, and you start to get the kind of weight gain that you are seeing in the Australian population.
Guy Lawrence: And so for anyone listening to this that’s thinking of putting their runners on tomorrow and going for a run, that eat sugar and fructose as well, they should be given the fructose up first. Which sounds. . .
David Gillespie: The thing about exercise, people think that I’ve got something against exercise. And I have nothing against exercise. Do it if you feel like it. And the reality is that since I’ve lost the weight, I feel like doing it a lot more than I did before. And a lot of people report that, which is after they lose the weight they exercise more than they ever did before. Not because of the weight; just because they feel like doing it more.
And so if you feel like doing it, if you really enjoy it, then keep doing it. If you’re doing it because you think you’ll lose weight doing it, don’t bother.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, that’s fair enough. It’s funny because I train constantly. Most days. But I do it because I mentally feel fantastic after it, you know? That’s what drives me to do it.
David Gillespie: My 16-year-old boy, he’s a rower. He trains 40 hours a week. OK? He is an exercise nutbag. He does it because he loves it. Not because he wants to lose weight.
Guy Lawrence: That’s a good point.
Stuart Cooke: That’s right, and that’s kind of what we tell lots of people, too. There are so many benefits from cardiovascular. Feel good. It’s your own time as well. You’re there and you can process thoughts and get through anything that might be on your mind. But as a tool for weight loss, I do struggle to see the connection as well. But see what happens.
I’m just wondering about the future for David Gillespie at the moment. What does the future hold? You mentioned the possibility of another book? What’s in the pipeline?
David Gillespie: Well, one of the things that I’m doing at the moment is I’m really focusing on is, I put a book out earlier this year called Toxic Oil, which is about the dangers of vegetable oils. And by “dangers” I mean they are even more insidiously dangerous than the sugar. At least you can taste sugar. You can’t taste these oils, and they’re added to every food on the supermarket shelf.
And there’s clear evidence that they double the rate of cancer in humans. And when we’re seeing the phenomenal increase in rates of cancer that we’re currently seeing, it scares me. I know a lot of people now who have cancer, who are suffering from it. And I really want that message to get out there loud and clear.
So, I am focusing on that and I will focus on that in the immediate future.
Next year I have a book coming out on a completely unrelated topic, which I’ll reveal more about towards the end of the year. It’s nothing to do with nutrition. And we’ll see where go from there.
But as I said to you before, one of my areas of focus at the moment is the whole, I guess the “bread cortex,” if you want; the gluten, fiber, carb question. Are any of these things bad, good, indifferent for us?
Stuart Cooke: Definitely. I’ve just read a very interesting book about that, so I’d love for you to put your spin in the way that you write as well and research and resource. I’d be very interested.
David Gillespie: It is interesting.
Stuart Cooke: Oh, it is. It will stir up our household as well because I’ve been though Sweet Poison two or three times and Toxic Oil and our cupboard seems to be changing from month to month, and it’s a topic of discussion.
David Gillespie: Well, it’s probably going backwards in time. If you follow what I say in Toxic Oil, you’ll find yourself making most of what you eat and, really, your cupboard starting to consist of mostly raw ingredients.
Guy Lawrence: Exactly. You know, the one thing I wanted to add as well, because, you know, I’m single. I live by myself. And it’s very easy for me to, if I do shop, I can just get whatever. But once families are involved, you know, it’s amazing. And I’m sure that day will come for me and it’s gonna be a whole new challenge.
David Gillespie: You need a partner that’s going to help. People tell me it’s very, very difficult to go it alone on this, you know? Very difficult for you to just decide, “Well, I’m gonna do this,” and the rest of the family will just keep eating a normal, modern diet. That’s very difficult to do. So you need to have everybody working on the same page.
But, look, the good news is you’re not going to do yourself any harm at all by doing this, and you learn an amazing set of new skills. If you’d said to me, two years ago, “You are going to be cooking the only bread you eat,” I would have laughed at you. Because that sounded like way too much effort. But the reality is that that’s what we’re doing now. And the end result is we eat a lot less bread because if you’ve got to cook it yourself, you’re not gonna eat that much of it.
Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. We’re almost reconnecting with skills that have been lost along the way and we’re actually learning how to eat again.
David Gillespie: We’re also learning that it isn’t that hard. A lot of these things sound daunting if you’ve never done it. But once you have done it, you find it’s actually just not that hard.
Guy Lawrence: Any other questions?
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, I’m just gonna ask a little bit of a wrap-up question, really, and we ask all of our guests this and I’m guessing that I probably know the answer. But if you can offer a single piece of advice for optimum health and wellness, what would it be?
David Gillespie: Don’t eat sugar. But, look, if you really want to be super duper well and avoid just about every chronic disease in modern society, then don’t eat sugar or vegetable oil.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, right. OK. Perfect.
Guy Lawrence: Perfect answer.
Stuart Cooke: And for anybody that would like to get hold of your books or find more about the resource, where can they connect with you?
David Gillespie: Well, look, if they want my books, they go to a bookstore. My books will be available just about anyplace that sells books. If they want the books signed by me, they can buy them from my website, but they’re a lot more expensive that way. If you don’t care, then your average bookstore or supermarket is a good place.
If you want to connect with a community of people who are like-minded, then the very best place is the Facebook page Sweet Poison, which I think has 49,000 people on it. And they are all gung-ho. Get on there with any question; they’ll answer it, and if they can’t, I will.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, fantastic. I went through the forums the other day and I was surprised at the amount of engagement in there. The numbers are voluminous, and it’s a really community as well. Fantastic.
David Gillespie: And very knowledgeable. I mean, these people know their stuff. You know, people put stuff up on Facebook. . . I check it every day to see if there’s anything getting missed or where people are not getting the answers that they need and that almost never happens. Everyone else is already well and truly there and giving them everything they need to know.
Stuart Cooke: Fantastic. You’re making a lot of people aware of what they should be putting in their mouth, David, which is a great thing.
Guy Lawrence: OK. All right. Well, look, thank you so much for sharing your time and also writing these great books as well. And we hope to have you back on the show in the not-too-distant future talking about the oils.
By Guy LawrenceEat fat to lower cholesterol… What about dairy, is it healthy? Can I run an ultra-marathon or CrossFit on a low carb/ high fat or paleo diet? These are just some of the questions we cover in this episode of The Health Sessions as we catch up with Nora Gedgaudas, best selling author of Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet. I’ve time coded the bullet points so you jump straight to the bits that interest you most in the video.
But when you’ve got the time, it’s well worth kicking back and watching the whole video as the content is invaluable!
Why we shouldn’t be taking cholesterol lowering drugs
Why cholesterol is a good thing [011:42]
Can kids eat a paleo diet [029:50]
From ultra-marathon & CrossFit on a low carb/ high fat diet [035:43]
What Nora Gedgaudas eats in a day [1:00:53]
Is dairy healthy? [1:06:50]
and much more…
Did you enjoy this interview with Nora? Would you like to share your own journey with us? Love to hear your thoughts in the Facebook comments section below… Guy
Hi. This is Guy Lawrence and I’m with Stuart Cooke and I’m also joined with a lovely guest today, Nora Gedgaudas. And Nora, I have to say, I met a nutritionist last week. We caught up for a cup of tea and we were chatting and I said, “Do you know of Nora? I’m interviewing her next week.” And she just got really excited and, basically, she said, “Oh, I went to see Nora two years ago when she came to Sydney and I worked with her. She blew my mind.” Nora: Oh, really? Guy: Yeah. Nora: Oh, that’s great. Guy: And I have to agree. So, honestly, it’s an honor to have you today. Now, what we thought we’d do; we actually put out a couple of questions on Facebook to ask our audience if they have any questions for Nora and we thought we’d run through them. Nora: OK. Guy: But before we start that, and I’m sure you’ve been asked this a thousand times, can you just tell us a little bit about yourself. Who’s Nora Gedgaudas, and, more importantly, who you came to writing such an awesome book, “Primal Body, Primal Mind”? Nora: Well, it all started in a little hospital in Winnipeg, Manitoba, June 10th, nineteen sixty. . . No. I’m not going to go back that far.
My interest in nutritional science really goes back a good 30 years or more now. Actually, more than that now. So, it’s been a passion, kind of from the get-go, for me. But over the years, my interests in nutrition changed from thing to thing a little bit and I never really had an underlying really, kind of, foundational way of looking at things. I mostly looked at from the standpoint of minutiae, lots of people were promoting vegetarianism is sort of the ultimate healthy diet. Which I attempted and it didn’t do well for me at all. And I was in lot of denial about that for awhile, as I think a lot of people probably are. It just seemed; I was really determined that that should be healthy for me, but it ultimately wasn’t. I developed an eating disorder. My depression deepened. And eventually. . . And I couldn’t stop thinking about eating meat. And eventually I just sort of transitioned out of that, feeling a little bit, maybe, like I’d failed at what was supposed to be the healthiest diet and then went on with things. And the eating disorder clearer up, and eventually, with dietary changes and ultimately some neurofeedback work, the depression lifted for me and that’s been permanent for more than 15 years. But, at any rate, I’ve led a lot of different lives in this lifetime. I’ve worn a lot of different hats. I’ve done many different things. And one of the hats that I’ve had on for awhile was work in behavioral wildlife science. And I spent a whole summer, many people know this story now, that I spent a whole summer living less than 500 miles from North Pole with a family of wild wolves. The four-legged variety. And during that time period, you know, I was living on a frozen tundra for an entire summer, and it was still quite cold, generally below freezing, sometimes below zero, wind chills coming up off the fjords and off the Arctic Ocean. But, you know, it was relatively green but still permafrost. And I’m sitting there looking across this vast landscape while the wolves slept and slept and kind of contemplating that landscape, it seemed so primitive, in a way. So, “primal,” if you will. And I looked at it thinking that it really was probably not dissimilar from what a lot of northern Europe might have looked like during the throes of the last ice age when Cro-Magnon humans were migrating across North America 40,000 years ago. That there may have been a lot of clarity to some of these landscapes. And the whole time I’m sitting there, I was just craving fat-rich foods, which I had not been eating prior to going up there. But while I was sitting there on the tundra, I was kind of obsessing about it. And it wasn’t necessarily the best selection of high-fat foods. I know we had a lot of non-perishable things like, oh, I don’t know, aged cheeses and salami and things like that. But once a week we made a pilgrimage to a weather station where there was a mess hall there. And we’d be there at 3 in the morning when everyone else was asleep, and the OIC there said that we could, if there was something laying out that we were interested in eating, that we could have at it. Well, I couldn’t stop thinking about [XXbackground noiseXX]. I . . . You have cars in Australia. I just heard a car go by. Guy: We do. Nora: Anyway. . . Yeah, but you drive on the wrong side of the road. You guys gotta do something about that. Stuart: Well, be careful when you come over. Nora: I was on the freeway one day and sitting there in the passenger side and I look over and there’s a dog sitting in what, to me, looked like the driver’s seat. It was something akin to what an LSD trip must be like. I don’t know. Guy: Do the dogs over there not drive? Are they not allowed to drive cars? Nora: Well, you know, dogs and cats really only get partial privileges over here. You have to let them think they’re running the show, but. . . And they think that they are. But, anyway, with respect to the wolves and that time there, I ate; I went through quite a bit of butter while I was at that weather station. I would make a piece of toast, which I was still eating in those days, and then I would put about that much butter on there. The toast was a vehicle for the butter, you know? And by the end of the summer I’d lost something like close to 30 pounds. And, mind you, there was very, very little physical activity. Mostly what we did was we sat near the wolves’ den and watched them do whatever it is they were doing. We tried not to move around too much, in fact, because if we got up and started walking around near the den that was sort of upsetting to them. We had certain; there were certain, sort of, standards of conduct that they expected of us when we were in their home vicinity, and so we tried to honor that. And if we messed around with that too much, it was unsetting. So we sat, generally, quietly and watched them. And the one time we were allowed to move was when they were on the move. Then we’d follow them on their hunts and whatever else. So, anyway, and when we did so, it was on a four-wheeler. So, the ground was very hummocky. And a lot of just, kind of; it was very, very bumpy ground and difficult to traverse on foot. In other words, there wasn’t a whole lot of exercise. I certainly wasn’t eating a low-fat diet. And the only other factor, of course, was that it was fairly cold. Although it got as high as what would be 60 degrees Fahrenheit was the warmest day that we had in the dead of summer. I actually got in a pair of shorts that day just to take a couple of pictures and then put my insulated stuff back on. But anyway, that taught me something. I looked back at that and I thought, wow, you know. Back at home I had been doing a lot of all of these vegetables and salads and I’d been juicing, and I didn’t have a single craving for any of those things while I was up there. My cravings were all for fat-rich foods. And I thought, our ancestors would have had to have been pretty similar, because fat is really the primary fuel that we use to keep warm, which helps explain, in part, why I lost so much. But also it turns out that if you want to lose fat, it helps to eat fat. And so I never really forgot that lesson. But it really took until I ran across the work of Weston Price to start to connect the dots a little bit more and realize that it wasn’t just the Inuit that would have eaten a high-fat diet. It would have been all primitive cultures, for the most part, that would have coveted fat as a very; as a sacred foot, literally. The most sacred foods in all cultures were the most fat-rich foods. And it suddenly started to make sense to me. And then what the Weston Price work did was it dialed me in to the idea of looking at diet and health from more an ancestral or an evolutionary perspective. So, that led me down the paleo path, so to speak. And then I began looking at things like the hormone leptin and recognizing that that was actually a fat sensor and something that made all of the sense in the world to me. That, of course, the most critical hormone in the body would be a fat sensor, because fat, to our ice age physiology, means survival. And everything boils down to survival. There’s nothing more important than that. So, if we don’t eat fat, your body considers that a problem. In fact, it is a problem, not just from an energetic standpoint but from the standpoint of fat-soluble nutrients, that they require the dietary fat in order to properly absorb it and be utilized correctly. And if we’re not eating fat, your body’s gonna gosh darn well become really efficient at synthesizing it from whatever else it has available. Mainly carbohydrate. Guy: Why do you think that message has gotten lost, you know, in today’s society? I can give you a good example. I know somebody that works in the medical industry, let’s say, and is actually on cholesterol-lowering drugs and is on a very low-fat diet and is completely paranoid about eating any fat whatsoever, you know. And that blows me away, really. Nora: Well, there was, in the term you used, “medical industry.” Statins are a $29-billion-a-year industry. And the irony is that they have absolutely no use in human medicine whatsoever. I can’t think of a single thing that statins do for anybody, other than deprive them of one of the most essential substances in their body, which is cholesterol. And there isn’t “bad cholesterol” and “good cholesterol.” There’s only one type of cholesterol. There are different carrier mechanisms for it, like high-density lipoproteins and low-density lipoproteins, but high-density lipoprotein is a high-density lipoprotein. It’s a carrier. And so low-density lipoproteins take cholesterol, whether processed by or synthesized by your liver, and move it out to the periphery of your body where it’s used for all kinds of things. There are lists and lists of things as long as your arm of all kinds of things that your body uses cholesterol for. In fact, it’s such an important substance, every cell in your body has a means of manufacturing its own supply if it absolutely has to. Its complex, multi-step process the body doesn’t do very efficiently, but it speaks to the underlying importance of this particular substance. And so, once the body has used up or spent that cholesterol in some form, then high-density lipoproteins come along and sweep up that cholesterol from the periphery and bring it back to the liver in order to be recycled back into, you guessed it, low-density lipoproteins again. LDL and HDL are just carrier mechanisms. Now, what I see cholesterol as is a; it’s an indicator. It’s an intermediate indicator that can kind of give you some general ideas of certain things that may be going on. If I see cholesterol that is particularly elevated or particularly depressed, then I worry much more about somebody whose cholesterol is too low. In our terminology, that would be anything below about 150 milligrams per deciliter. In your terminology, gosh, I should have looked that up; I need to look that up before I come out there. Although it’s interesting, because the optimal is actually somewhere between 5 millimolars to, let me see here, to. . . There was a study done in Norway called the Hunt 2. It was a meta-analysis, actually. And if your listeners don’t know what a meta-analysis study is, it’s a study that takes a whole bunch of other studies and it screens them for corroborative data to either prove or disprove a theory. It takes a whole bunch of different cholesterol studies to try to figure out, you know, is there something to this or isn’t there? What these researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology found, looking at over 52,000 subjects that were part of this study (that’s a very highly, statistically significant study), between the ages and 20 and 74. And they had adjusted for factors like age, smoking, and blood pressure. What the researchers found were that women with so-called “high” cholesterol, which would be in excess of about 270 milligrams per deciliter, which here is viewed as, “Oh my God, get on statins now!” actually had a 28-percent lower mortality risk than women with so-called low cholesterol, which they called under 200. Guy: That’s amazing. Stuart: Crikey. Nora: So, for women, there was literally a zero correlation between cholesterol of any number (it didn’t matter how high it got) and any elevated risk for cardiovascular disease or stroke whatsoever. So, the risk for heart disease, cardiac arrest, and stroke also declined as cholesterol levels rose. And you have to understand, cholesterol goes about patching up lesions. It’s your body’s version of duct tape. And it’s also an antioxidant. So, if cholesterol is there, what it tells me is that there is something going on for which cholesterol is actually needed. It doesn’t tell you what’s going on. It just says, “OK. The engine light’s on.” And by the way, in this particular study, the lowest coronary heart disease risk was actually seen between, in your language, between 5 millimolars and 6.9 millimolars. The lowest coronary heart disease risk. And that includes stroke. Guy: I think you used the analogy of the fireman putting out the fire, wasn’t it, with the cholesterol? Nora: With the statin, in order to get rid of cholesterol, it is really quite akin to getting rid of the firemen who are coming to put out the fire and blaming them for the fire. And in men, by the way, there were about 24,000 or so men that were included in the Hunt 2 study, there was a whole U-shaped curve. The lowest risk for all the causes of death was seen in the 5 to 5.9 millimolar category, compared to those with serum cholesterol under 5, those in the 5 to 5.9 category enjoyed 23 percent, 20 percent, 6 percent
. So, in other words, and in folks over 50, where cholesterol had no relationship, by the way, to cardiovascular disease or total mortality, and also other studies as well. I have so many other studies that I’ve cited. But it showed that in older people, elevated cholesterol was actually predictive of greater longevity. It’s literally a longevity marker. But, you know, and what the researchers concluded from that meta-analysis study of over 52,000 people was, “Our study provides an updated epidemiological indication of possible errors. . .” You think? “. . . in the cardiovascular disease risk algorithms of many clinical guidelines. If our findings are generalizable, clinical and public health recommendations regarding the ‘dangers’ of cholesterol should be revised.” Yeah, I think so. “This is especially true for women, for whom moderately elevated cholesterol by current standards may prove to be not only harmless but even beneficial. So, to me, cholesterol is an indicator. But to the medical industry, cholesterol is a $29-billion-a-year-business. Stuart: It will never change. Nora: You know; in the form of statin medications. And physicians are taught by the drug companies. Guy: For anyone that’s watching this, then, that could be on statins and is worried about their cholesterol, like, what would be the best approach to go? Because obviously doing what they’re told, they think they’re doing the right thing. Nora: Well, I don’t actually start thinking, “OK. This person’s cholesterol’s kind of getting a little edgy, you know, and I’m not worried about the cholesterol per se. I’m never worried about the cholesterol by itself, per se, at all. And I only look at HDL and LDL as indications of what kind of a diet they’re likely eating. If their HDL, and I only know my own United States terms for this; our measurements, anything below about 55 tells me that I’ve probably got a carbivore on my hands. You know, somebody who is eating a high-carbohydrate diet. They’re eating too many carbohydrates, which tends to depress high-density lipoproteins. But if it’s in excess of 55, then I know, OK, well, there’s kind of a window there between about 55 and 75. And if it’s in that range, it’s like, OK, I’m not too; their diet is probably reasonably OK. However, if it starts climbing much over 75, unless it’s always been high, there’s some familial genetic anomaly this way where people just have naturally really high HDL. But in a person who, you know, has been seeing the HDL climb up in a range that’s sort of new, anything over 75, 80 implies to me some sort of non-specific form of inflammation someplace in the body. Again, cholesterol is there to do a job. And so there may be many things that will elevate it. If you have somebody with depressed thyroid function, I promise you they’re gonna have elevated cholesterol. That always elevates cholesterol. And my eyes are darting around the blood chemistry all over the page to see what might be correlating with that. And any kind of chronic infection is going to elevate your cholesterol. Inflammation elevates cholesterol. Certain things like certain forms of dysbiosis in the gut will elevate cholesterol. Even stress can elevate cholesterol; chronic stress. So, all of these things may potentially elevate it, but be happy that it’s elevated. Cholesterol’s doing its job. Your job, at that point, is to lift the hood up on the car, look underneath and see why your body feels the need to produce more. Don’t worry about that number in and of itself. It doesn’t really mean anything by itself. You’ve got to dig a little. What it tells you is, Oh, OK, you may want to dig a little deeper and see if there’s something else that needs addressed. The point never to beat cholesterol down with a club. Stuart: That’s right. I like the analogy of the car and the hood. It’s so much like a little warning light. You’d probably want to check the probably without taking the bulb out. Nora: Well, exactly. And what are statins effectively doing? They’re unscrewing the bulb, you know, and saying, “See? All better.” And you have no idea; no idea what these things have done. By the way, the risk of problems with things like food-borne illness and other infections actually increase on statin drugs. There are a lot of potentially serious side effects of statin drugs. One of the most egregious side effects is that they invariably totally deplete your CoQ10 levels. CoQ10 is the single more important nutrient for the heart. And it’s actually also known as ubiquinone because it’s ubiquitous in the body. It’s in every single organ and tissue. You can’t have normal metabolism, normal energy production, normal mitochondrial function without healthy CoQ10 levels. And, as CoQ10 gets depleted, guess what the first organ in the body to suffer the effects of that is? The heart. So, one of the things that’s increasing as a result of statin use is heart failure. Also, dementia. Fully 25 percent of all the cholesterol is actually found up here in the brain. And we need to have it there, because it’s absolutely essential for the normal, healthy functioning of the human brain. And people who are on statins for long periods of time start developing memory issues, may even start exhibiting symptoms of dementia. And so I see absolutely no use at all. Now, there are some people that sit up and get kind of a little hot under the collar and say, “Well, but it’s anti-inflammatory. You know, statins are anti-inflammatory.” No, they’re not. What statins are known to do is depress CRP levels. Now, that’s supposed to be good, because, you know, C-reactive protein is an acute reactivity marker. It’s an inflammation marker in the body. You want lower CRP levels. However, CRP is manufactured in the liver. And if you’ve been on statins a good, long while, what happens is statins do damage to the liver. And after awhile, enough damage has been done to the liver that the liver cannot produce CRP anymore. Again, somebody has unscrewed the light bulb, is what is happening. Guy: Yeah, right. Nora: But it’s not anti-inflammatory. It may have exactly the opposite problem. You know, CoQ10 is such an important antioxidant. You deplete that, you’re at all sorts of risk for the damage that free radicals can do. And your heart is most at-risk. You know, the TV commentator, Tim Russert; I don’t know if you guys ever knew about him. He was a political commentator here in the states. He had perfectly normal cholesterol levels but his doctors put him on statin drugs preventatively. He dropped dead of heart failure. And as far as anybody knew, he didn’t necessarily have cardiovascular disease. And my own father, of course, was a victim. He was not on statins. But he was always extremely proud of his low cholesterol. He dropped dead of a heart attack. More than half of people who drop dead of heart attacks have normal or below-normal cholesterol levels. So, there’s almost; there’s a very poor correlation between elevated cholesterol and cardiovascular disease risk, and yet these drugs persist because the money persists. And the public has been sort of taken in by this now over a period of; there was the whole lipid hypothesis that came along in the ’50s and ’60s, right around the time that vegetable oils were getting in vogue in margarine. And animals being vilified. And there was a hypothesis that dietary fat caused heart disease. well, there was a researcher by the name of Ancel Keys that; I call him “researcher” tongue-in-cheek because he basically cherry-picked data from the World Health Organization because something called the Seven Countries Study, and he selected a number, seven countries, where there appeared to be some epidemiological correlation or observational correlation between high-fat diets and rates of heart disease. However, he ignored data from 20-some-odd other countries that either were inconclusive that way or showed exactly the opposite. He cherry-picked data, published it in the Journal of the American Medical Association, got himself on the cover of Time, and became the father of what is known as the Lipid Hypothesis. And there has been a concerted effort ever since to promulgate this idea that somehow animal fats, which we’ve been eating for, it turns out now, in my book I say 2.6 million years; there’s new evidence to point to 3.39 million years, you know, we’ve been eating animal fats to no apparent detriment until about 1911. You know, if you graduated medical school in 1910, you never heart of coronary thrombosis. And in 1911, the first four cases of coronary thrombosis were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association as this strange, anomalous thing called “heart disease” that seemed to be occurring. And it appeared to be isolated cases. And there was a physician at the time named Dr. Paul Dudley White. He had been personal physician to President Eisenhower. And he took an interest in all of this. He thought, wow, what an interesting phenomenon that’s emerging. And he selected it as his area of specialty in medicine. And his colleagues thought he was nuts. They said: Why would you waste your time in a specialty area that was so unprofitable? And by the 19. . . in no time flat that ended up becoming one of the primary causes of death. But, again, dietary fat is something that we had been eating for millennia and what had actually happened was that our intake of animal fats was going down at that time, and our intake of vegetable oils, which was a very new food to us as a species, were starting to skyrocket. And particularly these hydrogenated fats like margarines. And our carbohydrate intake, of course, the food industry was rising to power at that time and we were starting to eat a lot of processed carbohydrates and things. Guy: I mean, if you would look at what the next generation as well has been brought up on eating, it’s kind of scary. Because I know you’ve got concerns. Stuart: I have, yeah. Absolutely. Because we’re talking about, you know, heart disease and cholesterol and lots of people think, well, I won’t worry about that till I’m old. But what about the young generation? Because I’ve got three kids and I wanted to know whether there were any special considerations for youngsters for this primal way of eating. Because I have heard that, “Oh, kids need more carbohydrates because they’re so active.” And, of course, there’s a myriad of children’s products now on the market that are so processed and offer so little nutrients but seem to be very popular. Nora: Absolutely. And, again, you kind of have to follow the money on this. Look, you know, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s pyramid, right? USDA Department of Agriculture‘s pyramid. Oh, you know, “11 servings of grains a day.” Grains are an entirely new food to our species within the last 10,000 years. That’s less than .4 percent of our history have we been actually consuming any significant amount of grains or legumes in our diet, and yet we’ve changed; genetically, we’ve altered within that same time period perhaps .05 percent. And what the evidence seems to be suggesting that we’re actually over time now becoming less adapted to those foods and not more. The incidence, for instance, of full-blown celiac disease, which only constitutes about 12 percent of the totality of what can be termed an immunological reactivity to gluten; only about 12 percent of those cases are actually hard-core celiac disease. The incident of celiac disease alone has risen over 400 percent in just the last 50 years. So, we’re not become more adapted to these foods; we’re becoming less adapted these foods. A carbohydrate-based diet is a new phenomenon to the human species. But children actually; there is not a living. . . OK; of the three major macronutrients (proteins, fats, and carbohydrates), the only one for which there is no human dietary requirement established anywhere in any medical text anywhere is carbohydrates. We can manufacture all the glucose that we need from a combination of protein and fat in the diet. We store little bit of glycogen, you know, in the liver and in the muscles, and we also have the capacity for something called gluconeogenesis, which is just making glucose. We can do that very efficiently. So, we’re actually designed, and have always been designed, to derive our primary; so, there are two sources of fuel that we have available to use as human beings that we can rely on for primary energy. One is either sugar or glucose and the other is fat in the form of either ketones or free fatty acids. That’s it. So, either sugar or fat. Now, what do you suppose the more efficient source of fuel is? Sugar is like kindling in the human body. It burns anaerobically. It’s fermentative and anaerobic. And it’s most efficiently used when we’re in a fight-or-flight situation when we’re either trying to run away from something that’s trying to eat us, or we are attempting to exert ourselves in some profound sort of way. And so carbohydrates are basically our version of kindling. And you can look at brown rice and beans and whole grains and things like that as fundamentally being like twigs on that metabolic fire. If all we’re doing is looking at carbohydrates from the standpoint of the energy that they provide us with, they’re basically kindling. Now, your white rice, your bread, your pasta, your potatoes. Those are much more (nice to see you again); those are much akin to being like paper on the metabolic fire. And things like sugary drinks, sodas, and alcohol, and, I’m sorry to say, including beer, ‘eh mate; including that old Foster’s lager, is like throwing alcohol or lighter fluid on that same fire. And if you had to heat your house using nothing but kindling, you could certainly do it. But you would be pretty much preoccupied all day long with where the next handful of fuel was coming from to stoke that fire. If, instead, you were just sort of throwing a big log, a big fat log, on that fire, you’re free to go about your business. And every once in awhile after however many hours you peer in the wood stove and, “Oh! The fire’s burning down,” well, just throw another log on the fire. And you can kind of go on with your business. You can sleep through the night, you don’t have ups and downs in that energy. It’s just even burning and long-lasting. That’s what fat is for us, and that is the most efficient fuel for everything that we do while we’re breathing oxygen and, you know, when we’re in an aerobic state. And so that’s most of what we do. We don’t need rocket fuel just to kind of go to work every day, unless your job is, I don’t know, a fast; Olympic sprinting. But even then, you know, you may be able to get by with whatever glycogen you have stored in order to get through that race. You don’t necessarily have to eat extra fuel or store it. Or eat extra, anyway, to do that. Stuart: Because I know, Guy, you had a question, didn’t you, on that very topic? Guy: Yeah. I got a question from a Dan Bennett and it’s very much related. “As an ultra-endurance athlete, I’ve been curious if it’s possible to compete in such events without carbs that are traditionally used in this sport.” Nora: You’re better-equipped to excel in that sport, especially endurance sports, because endurance sports; you’re burning oxygen. You know? Endurance sports require long-sustained energy. And carbohydrates can’t provide long-sustained energy. We can’t store more than about 2,000 calories’ worth of carbohydrate. Now, some elite athletes may train themselves to store a bit more than that, you know, by challenging themselves and carb-loading and whatever over time. But it takes work to increase that capacity. But that’s not a natural capacity for us. Carbohydrates were not necessarily a readily-available fuel for us for most of our evolutionary history. You know, we had meat and fat and we had the above-ground types of plant foods. We didn’t have fire for cooking or we weren’t cooking our food universally instead of many more like 50,000 years ago. So, things like; and also a lot of starchy roots and tubers. Apart from the fact that we can’t process them at all when they’re raw, they just pass through us as unusable, they need to be heated. You have to cook them very thoroughly in order for the starch in them to become available to us. And that’s a lot of effort for something that doesn’t yield a fraction of the energy that fat would. So, for endurance athletes anyway, there is nothing more efficient than being a fat-burner. But the transition from being a sugar-burner to a fat-burner can take three to six weeks to pull off. There is a process. Your body has to kind of acclimate itself to a dependence, to a primary dependence, on a different sort of fuel. Stuart: So is that training the part of the body that burns ketones, essentially? Nora: Yeah. Ketones and free fatty acids; the brain uses pretty exclusively ketones. When you go into very well-adapted ketogenic state, which takes a little bit to get there, but once you’re there, your brain relies almost entirely upon ketones and will only turn to glucose if there’s some, yet again, extreme thing happening that it needs the glucose for. But, again, your brain can do nearly everything it needs to do on nothing but ketones. Guy: What about for, like, myself and Stewie, CrossFit. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with CrossFit. Nora: Sure. It’s big in the States. Guy: And they promote paleo as well and it’s obviously short, explosive exercise. The workouts are generally pretty short in time. Could it be the same; just become ketone-adapted exactly the same principles? Nora: Absolutely. Absolutely. We’re designed for short bursts of exertion, and we should have more than enough glycogen stored up and more than enough ability to generate glucose if we need to for that anaerobic activity. And we should be able to replenish that pretty readily. Now, you know, where I’m still sitting on the fence a little bit is where it comes to, say, Olympic-level elite athletes, say, sprinters, who are training for extremes of exertion. Not the endurance sports. Endurance sports, fat’s got that down. Fat always should own endurance sports. But when it comes to the sprinters that do these extremes of exertion; and it’s not just for one event. But what these people do in order to train for these events is they work out all day long. I mean, they’re doing something very unnatural in order to perform at a certain level at these events. And if one of our ancestors got up against one of these people in an Olympic event, they’d probably give them a very healthy run for their money. But our ancestors would have looked at their training regimen like they were nuts. You know: “What are you doing?” And I’m not saying they shouldn’t do that for those events, but it’s not something that we evolved doing. Our ancestors would have thought that was a ridiculous expenditure of energy and they would have thought there are better things to do with energy, you know? Hunting and gathering and spending time with family. It was; the extremes of stress that professional athletes put themselves under, you know, might demand something a little bit unnatural. But for your average weekend warrior and your CrossFitters and your people trying to excel at everyday sports, even bodybuilding, for that matter. A ketogenically well-adapted state actually spares your branched-chain amino acids. You’re not as likely to burn them for fuel. And the rate-limited factor for protein synthesis are those branched-chain amino acids, leucine. And if, after a workout, you’ve had sufficient protein to replenish that, the XXaudio problemXX isn’t going to make you any more anabolic at that point. There’s really no need. Stuart: Well, on that subject of carbs, I’ve got a question regarding myself. So, Guy and myself recently were tested; our DNA. Nora: Uh-oh. What was it related to? Stuart: Well, we were intrigued as to a kind of; we’re almost living in a one-size-fits-all world and were speaking to a good friend of ours, a naturopath, who said, well, look, we’ve got some; I’ve got a crowd that I’m really interested in looking at DNA testing for your specific body type, and they might be able to give you some pointers for the rest of your life that will help you out. So, we were tested and we had radically different results. And I’ve been advised to follow a low GI diet. And, for me, conventionally would be grains, legumes, and I’m just wondering how would I do that when thinking about the Primal Diet? Nora: Well, leave out the grains and legumes. That’s the lowest GI diet of all. Stuart: So, really, just, again, such as meat? Fats? Nora: Again, there is nobody; I don’t care what your DNA tells you, there’s nobody living or breathing on this planet that has a grain or legume deficiency. There is no such thing. These are new to our species. And they contain immunologically, potentially antigenic compounds. In other words, immunologically reactive compounds and lectins and things like that that in some people trigger autoimmune disorders, but can cause people a lot of grief. There’s nobody that is walking around with a starch deficiency. There just isn’t. And I know it’s very PC to say, “Well, everybody’s different.” Well, that’s a popular viewpoint, but guess what? We’re so much more alike than we are unalike. You know? We all have the same; our body relies on the same complement of nutrients in general in order to function. We all have a necessity, a blood pH of between 7.35 and 7.45. You know, we all have certain basic, fundamental requirements. We all produce cholesterol. We all need fat-soluble nutrients in order to function. And, again, there are some people who may tolerate some of these foods better than others; starchy foods. Or things like grains and legumes. But there is nobody in my personal view for whole they are an actual health food. And I realize that’s a controversial statement. But, again, there are foreign proteins in these things that can potentially compromise us. And one of the things that I am seeing now, as an epidemic here in where I’m at, is autoimmune processes. There are people walking around with autoimmune antibodies that are inappropriate levels of autoimmune antibodies than not. It’s literally that epidemic. And autoimmune diseases are seen as relatively rare because people don’t get diagnosed with them very often. But what people fail to recognize is that the standards of diagnosis for autoimmune disease are abysmal. That in order to be diagnosed with celiac disease, and in some countries it’s even more stringent than this, just celiac disease being the most common of the autoimmune disorders out there, there are villi; something called villi lining your small intestine. They look like these finger-like projections. And they’re basically increased surface area in which you absorb your nutrients. And what happens over the course of celiac disease is this ends up eroding down and becoming this. So, basically, until this has totally become this, until your shag carpeting has turned into Berber, you are not diagnosable with celiac disease until that has occurred. So, if you go and you get an intestinal biopsy and your gut looks like this, you’re fine. Have some bread. That’s the standard diagnosis. Now, with, say, if you’re producing antibodies against your own adrenal tissue, and lots of people are, if you have, say, 45 percent obstruction of your adrenal tissue, I promise you you will notice it in every part of the way you feel and function in your life. But you will not be diagnosable with Addison’s Disease until you have had a minimum of 90 percent tissue destruction to your adrenals. Then you’re diagnosable. So, autoimmune diseases. . . And, if you have; the second most common, actually, autoimmune disease in the world right now, and although it’s debatable depending on who you talk to, which is more prevalent between that and celiac disease, is autoimmune thyroid disease. Eighty percent of all low-functioning thyroid cases are autoimmune in nature. And yet it’s almost never diagnosed. People, they go to their doctors: “Oh, look. Your TSH is high, your T4 is low.” Whatever. “We’ll put you on some Thyroxin or whatever and call it good. And that makes for prettier labs but it may not change the person’s symptoms any. And it doesn’t; it is a rare thing for a physician to actually test for thyroid antibodies, and the reason it’s so rare is that whether it’s diagnosed or undiagnosed, conventional medicine has absolutely nothing to offer you. Nothing. They’ll treat it exactly the same way they’ll treat it if you’re just a primary hypothyroid case. They’ll just put you on medication. But I’m here to tell you that if your thyroid is producing antibodies, you have an autoimmune thyroid condition. Your primary problem isn’t thyroid. It’s immune. And it has to be addressed on that level if you have any hope whatsoever of leading a reasonable symptom-free and normal life. And yet it’s completely not; they don’t care. They’re completely unimpressed with that diagnosis. Stuart: It’s back to taking the light bulb out again, isn’t it? Nora: It is. Well, but, you know, it’s like, “OK, so the light’s on. So what?” You know? They don’t know what to with it anyway. There are no medications with which to treat an autoimmune thyroid. But I’m here to tell you that there’s never been more that’s been understood about the mechanisms behind what drives autoimmunity. And those mechanisms are very, very easily managed in a very comfortably natural way. There are dietary things that can help manage those mechanisms that drive autoimmunity, that can help mitigate immune polarity and inflammation and things like that. And there are supplemental things that a person can do also in order to manage their immune function. There’s no cure of an autoimmune disease once it’s taken root. Or an autoimmune process. Most of us have autoimmune processes occurring. Whether or not they ever are diagnosable as a disease down the line depends on how far they’re allowed to advance. And what we do to either perpetuate it or to bring it under control. And there’s only one lab in the world, too, that’s doing that type of immunologic testing and I’m sorry to say it’s here in the States. I’ve actually had a couple of people from Australia fly over here just to get that testing done; to get answers to questions that nobody else was ever able to offer them. Stuart: Amazing. Guy: It’s scary. Nora: The medical industry is; somewhere around World War II, medicine ceased to become a profession and became an industry. And it’s largely driven by the interests of pharmaceutical companies. That’s who funds the medical schools and that’s where medical doctors get their training. And I do not mean to sound disparaging of hard-working and very well-meaning MDs. And there are some MDs out there that totally get this. I have a friend who’s a medical oncologist practicing at a facility; at a medical center outside Philadelphia. And he has found, actually, that the exact diet that I promote in my book, which amounts to, fundamentally, a fat-based ketogenic diet, is the single most therapeutic diet; the most preventative and the most therapeutic diet for cancers. As well as diabetes and heart disease and kidney disease and neurological problems and pretty well you-name-it. And yet because there’s no profit in just simply making a dietary change, he runs into; he’s done peer-reviewed research but it’s like pulling teeth trying to shop around for people willing to publish that work. Because it doesn’t toe the party line. Stuart: Yeah, I can believe that. Guy: I’ve got a Facebook question that kind of ties into what we’ve been talking about, because we’re talking about the stresses on the body of food. And so this question is from Darren Manser. And he says: “Modern-day stress is different compared to Paleolithic stress due to the fact that the stress these days is likely to end your life yet more continuous. Is there anything we need to be aware of to help accommodate continual stress of modern-day life?” Nora: That’s a very, very great question, actually. Because our stress levels are so much worse than anything our ancestors even knew. I mean, yeah, they had droughts and floods and they had to endure the extremes of an ice age here and there or volcanic eruption. Give me that any day over what we have to put up with with our water, food supply, our depleted soils. EMF pollution. Radiation from Fukushima up here in Northern Hemisphere. That’s a huge problem up here right now. You guys are quite fortunate to be where you are. I mean, eventually you’ll be dealing with it too but you guys have a bit of a reprieve. And things. . . Give me the throes of the ice age any day to dealing with Monsanto. You know? And what we’re dealing with are largely corporate interests running everything. And so people today have much more to worry about and we’re dying. . . Actually, today, the children are expected to live not as long as their parents did. And 30 years old is the new 45. Because people are developing diseases of aging at least 15 years earlier now. These are realities. Guy: It seems no one dies of natural causes anymore. Nora: Well, yeah. What’s natural causes? But yeah. So, the three top causes are death are: cardiovascular disease, cancer, and the number three cause of morbidity and mortality in the entire industrialized world is autoimmunity right now, whether people are aware of it or not. Collectively, as a whole, autoimmune diseases are the number three cause of death. And, again, morbidity, you know, problems. And what’s also interesting, though, is the number one cause of death in a person with celiac disease is actually a cardiovascular event. The number two cause of death in a person with celiac disease is malignancy. So, there are tie-ins to the number one and two causes of mortality as well. And there’s new evidence, actually, I just stumbled across the other day to suggest that the onset of atherosclerosis is actually an autoimmune process. That was news to me. That was a little bit of a shocker. And people who have autoimmune antibodies, they’re like cockroaches. If you have one, you’re bound to have more. So, polyautoimmunity is rapidly becoming a norm. And autoimmunity, of course, is a state in which your body is basically attacking itself. It’s destroying its own tissues in a highly inflammatory way. And, again, there’s a lot you can do. But conventional medicine, at this point, is not really equipped to do very much to help with that. They mostly put people on prednisone, which is a horrible substance, or they’re doing some interesting things now with low-dose Naltrexone. So, anyway, to get back to your friend’s, or your Facebook question, I think his name was Dan, yes, stress is the biggest thing that we’ve got. And, you know, we’re designed to be in a calm, parasympathetic, relaxed state 99.99 percent of the time. And the other .1 percent of the time, the saber-toothed tiger jumps out from behind the bush and chases us around a little bit, hopefully we survive the ordeal, and then we get to pick up our umbrella drink again and sit back down and relax. And what we have today is exactly the opposite of this: 99.99 percent of the time we’re being chased around by saber-toothed tigers 24-7, and the .1 percent of the time, if we’re lucky, we get a trip to Tahiti. And I don’t know who these fabled people are; I wouldn’t get that. And, you know, all people really accomplish with that is really stressing out the Tahitians. You know? Guy: That’s right. Stuart: And their livers with all of the alcohol that they drink while they’re on holiday. Nora: Exactly. Exactly. We lead extraordinarily unnatural lives. And that’s one reason why I wrote the book I did. You notice that the subtitle of my book is “Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life” because we don’t live in the same world our ancestors did. There are things that; whatever it was, whatever we had available to us as food over the bulk of our evolutionary history, you know, for nearly three-point-whatever million years, certainly would have established our nutritional requirements, would have established our physiological makeup. And we have to look at that. To me, it’s an essential starting place. There are principles to be had. I mean, there is no such thing; more is less is no such thing as a true Paleolithic diet anymore. I mean, how many wooly mammoth steaks do you find in restaurants and things? It’s the kind of thing where what we’re left with are some of the principles that our ancestors lived by. And those principles are basically that we had a diet that was largely based in animal-sourced foods that was supplemented with various types of plant material as seasonally or climatically available. And as we were able to, as we had the technology in order to process. Again, cooking would have made a lot of plant foods a lot more edible to us than a lot of wild plant foods; a lot of wild plant foods have toxic compounds in them that would have been detrimental to us in any significant quantity. And the amount of calories you would burn just simply by selectively picking and processing these plant foods would have far exceeded their caloric value and nutrient value to us. So, I think that plant foods are probably more important to us now, in fact than they were in our evolutionary past. Because of their phytonutrient content, because of the anti-oxidant content, because we’re facing so many more pollutants in our air, water, and food supply now. And we’re facing genetically modified organisms and so many other things that we need bigger buffers. And we still need those same principles. And we still require animal-sourced foods to get certain nutrients. There are some things that can only be gotten in animal-sourced foods effectively, and some things that are best gotten in animal-sourced foods. Plant foods, I think, are more important to us now than they ever used to be. And so, again, sugar and starch were never essential to us and they’re not essential to us now. It’s just; sugars, of course, are a known vector for free radical activity, for the production of advanced glycation end products or AGEs, appropriately enough, because that’s what ages us. Glycation is a process by which fats and proteins combine with sugars to become sort of misshapen and start to malfunction. And it’s a critical; and then you end up with proteins cross-linking and degrading in the presence of these things and it’s a key part of how we age. But also insulin is a very, very key aging hormone as well. And the less insulin we produce, as it turns out, because part of what I base my book on, too, is really new information from modern longevity; human longevity research. And all the evidence points to the fact that the less insulin that you produce in the course of your life, the less insulin you require, I should say, in the course of your life, the longer you’re gonna live and the healthier you’re gonna be, by far. And, of course, the primary macronutrient that seems to have an elevating effect on insulin are sugars and starches. So, what I advocate for is eating relatively sugar and starch free. You know: eat a few berries when they’re in season or something like that. But I wouldn’t be making a point of incorporating sugars and starches in my daily diet. What I would be doing is moderating my protein intake and then eating as much fat as I need to in order to satisfy my appetite while also adding the fibrous vegetables and XXfruits?XX for both. Guy: What would a typical day of Nora’s life look like in food-wise? Nora: Well, a lot of mornings I will either cook, scramble, say, a duck egg in a little duck fat. Duck fat’s my new butter. Oh my God, it’s delicious. Or, one of my favorite breakfasts, just because it’s so quick and easy, involves taking a small; actually, probably just half of a small bowl of skinless chicken thigh and broiling that for, like, six minutes. I know it doesn’t sound that great, but it’s actually a very quick way to cool it. It’s actually a very safe way to cook it. It tends to preserve; the fats don’t oxidize as readily. And then I’ll slather it to swimming in coconut oil and then put a bunch of curry and garlic salt and that sort of thing on it and just sort of enjoy that. The fat, of course, that I add to it is extremely satiating. Sometimes I’ll use a chimichurri sauce or something like that as well, which is marvelously satiating and delicious as well. And if I haven’t eaten anything by; I’ll eat that at maybe 7 in the morning. If I haven’t eaten anything by 1 or 2 in the afternoon, by that point I’m starting to think, yeah, I’m kind of hungry, it would be nice to eat something. But the difference is between that dependence on carbohydrate and eating that starchy breakfast and all of the mid-morning snacks and whatever, your average person dependent on carbohydrates for their primary fuel were to go, you know, six or more hours without their next meal, they would have snakes growing out of their hair, probably. You know? There would be mental fog, there would be fatigue, there would be cravings. There would be an attitude of: “If I don’t eat something soon, somebody’s gonna die.” And I don’t experience those things. There’s only one way that we’re supposed to feel before we eat and that’s hungry. And there’s only one way that we’re supposed to feel after we eat, and that’s not hungry. If, prior to eating, if you’ve gone a few hours without eating something and you’re feeling tired or jittery or irritable or something that rhymes with “itchy,” and, if, after eating, you feel more energized, or, if, after eating, you feel more drowsy. If any of that sounds like you in any way, shape, or form, you basically have a blood sugar problem. None of those things are normal. None of those things are supposed to happen. If you haven’t eaten in awhile, you’re supposed to feel hungry. That’s normal. And then, once you eat, you’re not hungry anymore. But you’re not supposed to be more energized or more fatigued after a meal. That’s the difference. Guy: That’s pretty much nearly everyone I know, to a degree. Nora: Well, it is. Guy: Yeah. Nora: And think about. . . So, remember that analogy with the woodstove. How, if you’re having to heat your house with nothing but kindling, you’re spending your day constantly preoccupied with where that next handful of fuel is coming from to run your metabolic fire. Who do you suppose profits when the world is eating in that sort of fashion? You know, listen, there isn’t a single multinational corporation on Earth that I can think of that doesn’t stand to profit handsomely that isn’t heavily invested in every man, woman, and child on the planet being dependent on carbohydrates as their primary source of fuel. It’s cheap, it’s profitable, and it keeps us hungry and it also keeps us sick. And it keeps us quite vulnerable. Now, most people aren’t more than two missed meals away from a state of total mental and physical chaos, honestly, and metabolic chaos. And that makes us sort of malleable. And it’s a very; there is nothing more destabilizing to the body and brain than sugar and starch, honestly. Because you end up with this sort of wave of rushes of glucose that are then being suppressed by insulin, and then cravings again and another meal of raising the blood sugar back up and another crash. And so many people, their energy patterns and their mental energy patterns and their cognitive functioning patterns and their moods and everything else look like this all day long. That’s the way that they’re eating. And, again, if you’re relying on fat as your primary source of fuel, you’re free. You know? You eat as you choose to eat when it’s convenient for you to eat. You’re able to make healthier choices because you’re not sitting there craving something going half out of your mind with cravings and just trying really hard to exercise discipline and trying not to eat that dessert that you know is gonna pack the pounds on. It’s just sort of a natural thing, you know. When I see dessert. . . I used to love desserts. I used to love bread and pasta and things like that. Now, when I see them, I look at them the way most people are looked at by their cat. I look right through it. I just don’t see that it’s there. They come by with a dessert cart after a meal in a restaurant and I look at that. It’s not like, “Oh, I shouldn’t.” It’s, “Eh.” Guy: Fair enough. We have time for one more Facebook question, and it will tie into, you mentioned the fat. Neil Nabbefeld asks, “Is dairy truly bad for humans?” I think because of the argument within Paleo: should we eat dairy, shouldn’t we eat dairy. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Nora: Right. Well, again, I say “beyond the Paleo diet,” so. . . I don’t consider myself, you know, religiously paleo. Although I believe that those fundamental principles have a lot to teach us and that they have to be a starting place. It’s very clear that there were human people groups traditionally, not Paleolithically, but traditionally, seemed to do quite well in Weston Price’s time on things like raw milk and also fermented products made from raw milk. Certainly the Masai drank a lot of whole-fat, raw milk and that sort of a thing and it certainly hasn’t done them any harm, at least traditionally. That said, what most people call milk and dairy today is not something that you could even get a baby cow to drink. Right? It’s heavily processed, it’s been adulterated, it’s been homogenized, it’s been pasteurized. All of the enzyme value of it is completely gone; it’s been obliterated through the pasteurization process. The animals are being stuffed full of recombinant bovine growth hormones and things like that, which. . . One of the other hats that I wore once upon a time, I was involved in doing some veterinary work and I remember going around to some of these large dairies and other livestock facilities and seeing cows, and we’re not even talking big factory operations. Relatively moderate operations. And every single cow in these milking lines all had mastitis. All of them. And they were all on antibiotics. And you would go to milk them by hand and you would see literally pus coming out, which is obviously incredibly gross. But nobody cared about that because all of it was basically going into these huge steel vats where it was all getting boiled and sterilized. So, I guess if you don’t mind drinking sterilized pus, that’s fine, but it’s not my beverage of choice. So, conventionally generated dairy, to me, is not food. And I have no use for that. For some people, I think raw milk, and there are certain types of components of raw milk, like early; like colostrum and whey that in some people can be highly therapeutic. Now, that said, roughly half of everybody that has a gluten intolerance also has a casein intolerance. I happen to be one of them. I can’t do dairy at all. My immune system is highly reactive to dairy products, and that includes heavy cream and butter, I am sorry to say. And I know in previous editions of my book I extolled the virtues of butter and heavy cream, and for some people I think those foods are probably fine. But I didn’t know that I had an immunological reactivity to dairy until I tested with appropriately sensitive testing. And the moment I eliminated those foods from my diet, it’s like 20 pounds fell off of me I didn’t even know I had. There were just so much inflammation all the time that I didn’t even realize that I was struggling with something until it go removed as an issue. So, for some people, I think dairy can be fine. For some, it can even be therapeutic, from healthy, entirely pasture-fed raw dairy sources. From, again, trusted raw dairy sources; dairies that are really doing it the right way, that are sanitary and whatever else. I think that there’s a place for that, not on my dinner plate, but for some people I think that there can be a place for that. So, it is an unnatural food for adult people, though. Animals, I mean, and you can always make that argument that we’re the only species that drinks milk past infancy and we’re drinking the milk of not human milk but cow’s milk. Guy: Interestingly enough as well, I’m not sure what the laws are in the U.S., but here, if you want to buy real milk you have to buy bath milk because it’s illegal to sell. Nora: What’s it called? Guy: It’s called “Cleopatra’s Bath Milk.” Nora: Ah, I see. You know, there are some raw dairies around the country that will call it “pet milk.” Guy: Yeah, you always feel like a drug smuggler when you have to go and buy it. Nora: There are also these what are called “cow share” programs. I don’t know if you have that there, where people actually go to a farmer who has a cow, be it a nice Jersey, a XXunintelligibleXX cow that is eating a nice, grass-fed diet, and they’ll buy an interest in the animal so that they’re basically considered an owner. And there are no laws against drinking the milk of your own animal. So, they kind of get around the law with that. I don’t know if Australia has these cow-share programs or not. Stuart: I think they exist, actually. Yeah, I do think they exist. Nora: I would say that, where dairy is concerned, if you’re drinking raw milk and you’re still symptomatic, you might want to lose the dairy. And I would actually say fly over to the States and get some Cyrex testing and figure out whether you have that kind of sensitivity or not; whether you have intolerances. But the only other way to really figure it out is by completely eliminating that food from your diet for a period of time and seeing what happens. Guy: One last question, Nora. Do you have any books in the pipeline? Nora: You know, that’s a great question. I’ve got a couple of e-books in the pipeline. And, of course, I’m working so hard and creating all these talks I’m getting this year it gives me precious little time outside of my very full-time practice. I see clients for eight hours hours a day during the week and it doesn’t leave a lot left over to work on new projects. I have two e-books in the pipeline. I have the outline for and some of the preliminary stages of a new book I’m working on, but it’s going to be some time unless. . . There are some projects I’m working on that might change things a little bit for me that may allow me to put much more of a full-time effort into putting out new material, which I’m really passionate about wanting to do. There’s so much more new, wonderful information and I am so very, very excited to impart it. And, again, right now I’m working seven days a week, and there’s very little time in that seven-day-a-week work to actually create new things, but I’m doing it as I can. So, the one book is actually, that I’m hoping to get out before the others, is actually a bit of a workbook; kind of a quick-start guide to primal health, to kind of help people implement healthy dietary changes and help them understand what they need to do, kind of hand-hold them a little bit, what to expect. Give them a few more details; a little more hand-holding through that process so that they’ve got something that they can work with to help them through it. Guy: Yeah, absolutely. I think that Gary Taubes did something similar, didn’t he? Because he released “Good Calories, Bad Calories,” which was just this monster of a book. And then he brought out a later edition which was a bit more, sort of, daily practical things that you could apply. Nora: Right. Right. Which is, you know, it’s needed and it’s something I’m working on. Lots of things, actually, coming down the pike. There are lots of projects in the pipeline. But nothing I can give you as a, “Well, as of this date it’s gonna be released.” Guy: As long as we know there’s something coming in the future, that’s the main thing. So, you’re coming to Sydney to speak and it’s gonna be mid-May in Sydney. Is that the only talk you’re doing or. . . Nora: I’m also going to be doing a talk, oh, boy, what is the date? In Dubbo. Guy: Ah, I did see that, actually. I can put the dates up on this blog post. Nora: Those dates are available, I believe, on my website and the Dubbo event should be a lot of fun. I’ve got some friends there and I think they are already actually selling tickets for that as well. Guy: Fantastic. Nora: Yeah. I’m excited. The MINDD foundation conference seems to be a marvelous event and I’ll be really happy to impart a lot of information, some of which will be familiar to people if they’ve seen me talk before, but some of it’s going to be quite new, and I think probably pretty interesting. Guy: Well, we’re certainly looking forward to it and I’m sure there will be a lot of other people. Well, look, Nora, thanks for today. It’s absolutely been mind-blowing again. Amazing. I look forward to meeting you again in person, in Sydney. Nora: Absolutely. I look forward to meeting you, Stuart, and seeing you again, Guy, will be terrific. You’re really wonderful to have me on your program and it’s been really enjoyable. Guy: Awesome. Stuart: Safe journey and we will see you next month. Nora: Sounds awesome. Guy: Awesome. Stuart: Thank you, Nora. Thank you. Guy: Goodbye. Nora: Goodbye.
In this weeks episode of The Health Sessions I hang out with leading Naturopath and Nutritionist Tania Flack and discuss leaky gut, dysbiosis and how to fix it. If you want to jump straight to this and skip Stu & I’s ramblings go to [13:03] of the podcast.
Guy Lawrence: So, first question I wanted to ask you was simply, well, myself and Stewie came in for a gut test last week.
Guy Lawrence: And our results weren’t that fantastic. So, for anyone listening, could you talk us through what the test was and what you were looking for?
Tanya: Yeah. The test we do for dysbiosis basically measures the chemical that’s given off by an overgrowth of bacteria in the bowels. So, if you’d like to call it “bad bacteria.”
Guy Lawrence: So, is that what dysbiosis is?
Tanya: Yeah. It’s an overgrowth of bacteria and you’ve got a balance of good and bad bacteria, so if you’ve got an overgrowth of the bad bacteria they give off a certain chemical. And the chemical that they give off is then absorbed across the gut mucosa and it gets into the blood stream and into the urine, filtered by the kidneys and into the urine. So, we do a urine test and that tells us about the level of bad bacteria.
Guy Lawrence: So, dysbiosis is simply the main bad bacteria that you test for?
Tanya: Yeah. it’s an overgrowth of that bacteria. We’ve got a balance of good and bad bacteria in the bowel which is, on somebody with a really healthy gut, we’ve got the presence of both of those. But with dysbiosis we’ve got an overgrowth of bad bacteria. So, they give off an interactive protein and give off a chemical that we can then measure with the urine.
And, depending on the test results, we can tell if there’s; how much of that chemical is interacting with the reagents that we use in the test and that gives the bottom part of our test tube a different colour.
So, we grade it by that. Yeah, and that’s how we identify dysbiosis in clinic.
Guy Lawrence: So, you made myself and Stewie eat a heavy-protein meal the night before.
Tanya: Yeah. Yeah. And it, basically, the bacteria, their interaction with protein, and if you’ve got a lot of bad bacteria and have had lots of protein, it will give off this chemical that we measure in the urine.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right. OK. What interested me was that my gut health wasn’t great. I had really poor results. Stewie’s wasn’t fantastic even thought it was a little bit better.
Now, I consider myself to be healthy and look after myself and I exercise and do all the right things. So, why would that be? Because, just to add on as well, you mentioned that you had another athlete in there a few weeks back that actually looked after themselves and ate exceptionally well, and yet his gut health was really poor too.
Tanya: Yeah. It’s not uncommon. It’s not uncommon, and even people who’ve got a beautiful diet can have dysbiosis. And that can be for a lot of different reasons. I mean, you might have been eating really well for the last five years, but we don’t know what your gut health was like, you know, the 10 years prior to that.
So, sometimes it can be disappointing for athletes. You know, they’ve got this spectacular diet, they train and look after themselves, you know; the tick all the boxes in a healthy lifestyle but they can have this dysbiotic gut for a number of years before they ever get it tested. So. . .
Guy Lawrence: So, could our upbringing and our lifestyle 10, 15 years ago be affecting our gut health right now?
Tanya: Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely.
Guy Lawrence: That’s incredible.
Tanya: When we’re born, we get inoculated. We get our first load of bacteria via the birth canal as we’re being born. So, you know, realistically even children that are born by Cesareans can sometimes be behind the eight-ball because they don’t get that first inoculation in the gut that sets up their bacterial colonies.
I mean, we gather it as we go along, but ultimately sometimes people have just never had a really fantastic and strong levels of good bacteria in the gut. And it’s very disappointing because we know that if you’ve got a good diet and if you eat a lot of whole foods, good bacteria love; it’s their fuel source, really. They love the fibers from vegetables. You know, that’s what helps them establish and maintain their colonies.
And bad bacteria tend to thrive in conditions where people have got lots of processed foods, lots and lots of sugar, alcohol; that type of thing. So, even though in our minds we have this great diet, very people have a perfect diet. And if they’ve come from a place where they don’t have great gut bacteria to start off with, it doesn’t take much.
Guy Lawrence: Do environmental toxins and chemicals and things like that affect the gut as well?
Tanya: Absolutely. Absolutely. It’s such a big part of our detoxification mechanisms, because if your; basically, if you don’t have a great gut you’re gonna struggle to get rid of a lot of environmental toxins, and it’s kind of a vicious cycle, really. How it works is we’re exposed to toxins every single day and those toxins enter our bodies and eventually they’ll present at the liver to be processed. And the liver packages them up into a little envelope and it covalently bonds them to another molecule so they’re stable and then once they’re cleared by the liver they’ll get put into the gut. And if you’ve got a high level of bad bacteria, that bad bacteria will cleave apart that bond and then you’ve got a free molecule toxin. And that free molecule toxin can literally get past across the gut wall and back into the blood stream and then back to the liver.
Guy Lawrence: And it’s leaky gut.
Tanya: Hence leaky gut. Yeah. And for women it’s particular important. For men as well, but women can recycle their estrogens that way, so sometimes people won’t present with necessarily a lot of gut symptoms, but they might have a lot of hormonal symptoms. And, you know, basically they’re recycling their estrogens. They’re not producing too much estrogen, but they’re recycling it.
Guy Lawrence: So, will leaky gut affect your mood?
Tanya: Oh, it affects your mood. It affects your hormones. We know research has shown that it affects your insulin signaling, which new research has come out so we know people with metabolic syndrome more than likely have got leaky gut.
Guy Lawrence: Wow, that’s fascinating.
Tanya: We’re lucky we can go this testing clinic, because it’s quick, it’s easy, it’s non-invasive. Some people we do more extensive tests such as a stool sample. So, not very glamorous but it gives us lots of information about how they’re breaking their food down, what bacteria they’ve got in the gut, how open the gut wall is; how porous it is.
And it’s just so important. If you’ve got an imbalance in the gut, which could have been there from a long time ago, it affects everything. It affects energy production, it affects how well you absorb your nutrients, so you might be having this beautiful diet but if your gut’s not working properly then you’re putting in all this effort and you’re not getting everything you should get from your diet. It affects hormone metabolism, estrogen. It definitely affects mood. We say it all the time. So, it’s like a fundamental thing that we address in clinic.
Guy Lawrence: So, that should be one of the first things we should be looking at before we start attacking everything else?
Tanya: Yeah, absolutely.
Guy Lawrence: Now, if; so, once tested for leaky gut, how do we go about rectifying that?
Tanya: The treatment’s relatively easy, depending on the level of bacteria in your gut. It can be a two-week period in clearing that. However, you can’t just clear out a lot of bad bacteria; we use antimicrobial herbs. You can’t just do that. You have to address the mucous membranes of the gut. So, you’ve got really a lovely potent, nourished gut that’s functioning really well. And, realistically, you have to re-inoculate the bowel with probiotic bacteria.
And a lot of people say, “Well, I take probiotics. I take probiotics every day.” And they’ll come in here and, you know, we test them and they still have their really high level of dysbiosis. And the reason for that is if you’ve got this existing overgrowth of bad bacteria, putting good bacteria in there is never really going to completely correct that balance, and you really have to get yourself a level playing field while killing off all those bad bacteria. Then you can re-inoculate the gut.
And when the gut wall is really well-nourished then those bacteria; those colony-forming units you read on the side of the probiotic that you’re taking; they will be able to adhere to that bowel wall and they’ll be able to successfully set up. And then you get that nice balance of the gut.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, that makes perfect sense. And once; so, like, for myself, now that I’ve gone through the process of rectifying my leaky gut. Would this be something I should be coming back, say once a year, to check and see where; that you continue on top of it, or is something you can do, it’s fixed, and just carry on?
Tanya: No, I think it’s definitely worthwhile having it checked once a year. It’s not a difficult thing to do. And we find that we are exposed to, like, for the course of this year, you’ve unfortunately had your run-in with your elbow infection. Those antibiotics that you took during that time really disrupted that balance in the gut. Lots of things disrupt the gut, you know. Lots of things.
And we are, unfortunately in Australia, we have this growing rate of bacteria like pathogenic bacteria we pick up from our food. And we’ve seen in this clinic a huge growth in blastocystis, difficilous, all of this bacteria that literally cause symptoms in the bowel. And once you’ve got one of those ones in there it can cause a big problem in keeping that balance. So, they have to be treated separately, which sometimes can be quite challenging, because a lot of them are drug-resistant these days.
And we’ve noticed in the clinic that since they’ve brought (this is probably going to be controversial), but since they’ve brought in farming methods where they’re recycling sewage and using that as a fertilizer in vegetable farming; bio-solid farming in Australia, we’ve seen the rate of some of those bugs go through the roof. And we don’t pick those up with the urine test, so people who come in and they’ve got symptoms and it’s sounding suspicious, we’ll send them off for a CDSA. They’ve have the stool sample and they’ll literally they do three samples and they put samples of that in a Petri dish and wait for it to grow and see what grows in them. Unfortunately, we’re seeing a lot of that, so the advent of that bio-solids; you know, people are traveling a lot more so they’re being exposed to all the bacteria.
Guy Lawrence: So then if you’ve got that bacteria that will. . .
Tanya: That will impair your healthy balance in your gut.
Guy Lawrence: And then require a specific prescription, again, to kill it?
Guy Lawrence: Wow, that’s fascinating.
Tanya: Yeah. I know. It’s really unfortunate that we just had seen that huge spike in that in clinic.
Guy Lawrence: The other thing that you mentioned before that fascinated me as well was around the conventional detoxing, because you can correct me on this, but the fact that if you go straight into a detox or have a detox kit and you haven’t fixed up your gut first, then you’ll be looking at a problem and you could be creating more of a problem?
Tanya: Yeah. You can create more of a problem because, you know, fundamentally I’ve seen a few of these detox kits in the health food shops, and, look, I’m sure some of them are quite good. However, basically you need your gut to be potent and you need to be able to pass toxins out through your body via the bowel. It’s a big eliminatory channel, so a lot of the detoxes, they just focus on the liver, which is a big mistake because basically our liver is always under a bit more stress these days because it’s the same liver, the same liver function you had from a caveman diet. The only thing that’s changed is our exposure to toxins. So, it’s always working much harder than it should.
And these toxins that get presented to the liver, they can get passed through to the bowel and then you can recycle them. So, if you stimulate the liver to speed up its detoxification processes, all you’re doing is putting more and more toxins into a bowel that’s not ready to accept them. And you have this recycling that just means that you’re stirring up the system without actually getting a lot out.
And the other thing about detoxification is that the process, the first process of the liver, uses oxygen to process the toxins and then it gets passed to the second process, which makes them the safe molecule to go into the bowel.
If you’re speeding up this first phase and your second phase can’t cope with it, then what’s happening is you’re causing oxidative stress in the body. So, this is why people feel awful on some detoxes because they’re literally just generating this huge oxidative stress and then all of those toxins get put into the bowel and then they cycle back out if the bowel’s not potent.
Guy Lawrence: And to me that sounds quite a concern, because you walk into any chemist and the detox kits promoting the 10-day lemon detox or there’s different things and surely something like this cannot be fixed in the window of time?
Tanya: No. No. I mean, for some people, if they have got good bowel; if they’ve got a good bowel function, then maybe they’ll get great results from that and that’s fantastic. I’m all for it. However, I’ve got to say, everybody that comes into our clinic we test them at least once on their first appointment and often we test them every single time when they come in.
And we know that 80 percent of the people we see in here, they’re not all coming for bowel conditions. They have got some level of dysbiosis in the gut. So, I would concerned of people like that who went out and just took something that stimulated the liver. You know, fundamentally they’re just generating a lot of oxidative stress in the body and they’re not really getting rid of anything.
Guy Lawrence: Does dysbiosis affect weight loss?
Tanya: Well, this new research that’s come out has indicated that dysbiosis in the gut affects insulin signaling, so it affects the way our blood sugar is regulation.
Guy Lawrence: Yes, because if you produce insulin, you can’t burn body fat.
Tanya: Yeah. Exactly. And we do know that if anybody comes in to see us for weight loss we always address the gut anyway. And we’ll address the gut at the start of that, and, you know, it’s part of the success of the people who just want to lose body fat and get themselves back into a healthy body composition.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, because what we’ve been promoting of recently is if you are looking; obviously we’re way into February now, but if somebody is looking to lose weight, actually start from the inside and work out.
Tanya: Yeah. Absolutely. And it’s just, you know, ultimately if you’ve got a lovely whole foods, healthy diet, and you’re active, you should get to your natural, healthy weight. But a lot of things can interfere with that.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. That’s fair enough.
So, just to finish off, Tanya, if anybody is interested in having these tests, what’s the best way to go about it?
Tanya: Well, we’re really happy to help people with testing in the clinic. And so if they’re interested in having a dysbiosis test or a urine indicans test we can come out there. And if you mention this podcast, we really like to support the 180 crew, so anybody who listens to their podcast are more than welcome to come in and mention that they’ve listed to this and we can work out a special deal where they get a urine indicans test and they get a live blood analysis and the findings from the live blood analysis really tie into the urine indicans test, so that’s what we’ll do, and a zinc test as well, which gives us some information about how they’re absorbing their nutrients.
Guy Lawrence: So this will all fit together?
Tanya: Yes, they’ll fit nicely together and it gives you a great baseline, so from there if you need some help sorting out dysbiosis it can help you there, or it gives you a good baseline so you know where you’re currently at at the moment. And if you’re making that effort with your diet it’s worthwhile making sure that you’re processing things properly.
Guy Lawrence: I understand. And also you can be reached through TaniaFlack.com?
Guy Lawrence: Well, thanks for your time, Tanya. That’s awesome.