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Discover Why We Get Fat: Understanding Your Carbohydrate Tolerance

The video above is 2 minutes 30 seconds long

Guy: The video above is the short version of why we get fat and what we can do about it. Below is the fascinating long version as today we are joined by Dr Kieron Rooney, a Researcher in Metabolic Biochemistry.

Kieron is a fun, down to earth guy who gives us an incite to what is going in the world of nutritional study from an academic perspective. So if you are wondering why there could be so much disagreement out there on the world of nutrition, then watch this as Kieron sheds some light on what’s really going on!

Full Dr Kieron Rooney Interview: Science, Research & Nutrition. What’s the real deal?

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downloaditunesIn this episode we talk about:-

  • Kieron’s personal journey of weight loss
  • How scientific research actually works!
  • Why we are getting fatter and sicker as a nation
  • Understanding our own carbohydrate tolerances
  • The relationship between sugar and cancer cells
  • And much much more…

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Full Transcription

Guy Lawrence: This is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. Our awesome guest today is Dr. Kieron Rooney. Now, to quote his twitter bio, “Dr. Kieron Rooney is a researcher in metabolic biochemistry. He campaigns for real foods in schools,” and awesome project, “He’s interested in cancer and sugar metabolism and he’s also a registered nutritionist.”

And, also, on top of that, a really awesome cool guy, and we’re pretty keen to get him on the show today. The one thing I’ve realized chatting to Kieron on this podcast today is that the more you know the more you don’t now. You know? So delving into the world of science and academic research with Kieron and trying to figure out why there’s this whole nutritional mess going on, really, with this low-fat, high-fat, high-carb, low-carb, what, you know, what’s going on and to get it from Kieron’s perspective is pretty awesome.

So strap yourself in. It’s pretty information-packed, but he does break it down in really simple terms, and we cover many, many topics, including all of the above I just mentioned, so I’m sure you’re going to get a lot out of this.

If you are listening to this through iTunes, a little review, awesome. It takes two minutes. It can be complicated; iTunes don’t make it easy for us, you know, but the reviews, and if you subscribe to our podcast, allows us to get found easily on iTunes and it helps get this message out there. So if you do enjoy our podcasts and you do enjoy the show, a simple review telling us, “Hey, guys, keep it up,” would be pretty awesome.

We know we’re reaching a lot of people now and we know you’re out there. Of course you can watch these on video. If you are listening to us through iTunes, just come over to our blog 180nutrition.com.au where we’ve got a host of things everywhere from blog posts, obviously these podcasts, our products, whatever, it’s all in there, and it’s all there to serve you and help your health moving forward.

Anyway, enjoy the show. Let’s go over to Kieron and let’s hang out for the next 45 minutes. Awesome.

Guy Lawrence: All right. I’m Guy Lawrence. I’m with Stuart Cooke and our awesome guest today is Dr. Kieron Rooney. Welcome!

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Hello.

Stuart Cooke: Hello.

Guy Lawrence: Before we kick off, I’ve got to say I’m very excited to have you on the show and now I do say that to all the guests, but even more so today, because, you know, I was just thinking this morning there’s a lot of smart people in this world, right? And a lot of academics and the rest of it, but for some reason we still can’t get a unison, harmony, if you like, on nutrition, so what’s going on? So I’m really looking forward to shedding some light on that today.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Excellent.

Guy Lawrence: And find out why everyone is so indifferent about it.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: I might not have a definitive answer for you, but I can at least come up with a few suggestions. How’s that?

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, that’d be awesome.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: yeah? All right.

Guy Lawrence: Before we get into that, can you just explain to our listeners a little bit about yourself?

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Oh, yeah, sure.

Guy Lawrence: And why we are excited to have you on the show?

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Okay, so, look, professionally I did a Bachelor of Science degree from 1995 to ’98 at University of Sydney and then I did my honors and Ph.D in metabolic biochemistry. So I had four and a bit years where I was looking at the role of the phosphocreatine energy shuttle and how it reacts or behaves to shuttle energy around muscle cells, liver cells and the pancreas. I was particularly looking at whether or not it influence insulin secretions, so I then used a couple of different animal models to manipulate that, so we would use exercise as intervention, we would use high-fat diets as an intervention, and we’ll have a look to see what we could do to influence fuel storage and fuel utilization capacity, and that…

And then in 2003, I got my position as a lecturer just after the Ph.D lecturing in exercise physiology and biochemistry. I’ve spent the last ten years now developing curriculum for exercise science degrees, exercise physiology, that mostly focuses, my part mostly focuses, on what regulates fuel utilizations, how we store it, how we break it down, and the regulation behind that, and that’s my teaching side of things, and then for my research perspective what I’ve continued on is the investigations of fuel utilization. We’ve got a number of research projects have looked at how diet and exercise can influence how well we store and break down fuel. 

Personally, because I know that you’re interested in the personal story, if we go back to 2006, 2005, I was a smoker weighing in at around 90 kilos, but I could still run 5Ks at around about 25 minutes, so was living thinking that I was fit, right, but then decided with my partner that we wanted to start a family so we probably really should get ourselves healthy as well. I started making more changes so I quit smoking. I quit the drinking of Coke, which at that time I was probably around about two liters a day, and then I quit drinking Coke again in 2008, and then I quit drinking it again in 2010, and I quit drinking it again in 2013…

So, that one’s been a little bit of a recurrent one for me, but look…about two years ago I decided to go, well, I guess, the focus was not eating processed food. It was removing as much of the highly processed foods that were in my diet, which at the time was huge, right? That’s twos liters of Coke a day and there was a lot of pasta, there was a lot of breads, it was eating out a fair bit, and so once I, or the family, jumped onto that thinking and we removed a lot of the highly-processed refined flours, those types of foods, health just started improving even more dramatically.

Everyone like weight stories. I dropped. I went from 91 kilos at that point down to 75, but more importantly I think I’m still running quite well, although, I’ve cut that out and I’ve started doing more strength work and my power outputs at the gym have been increasing over that same time, so I know I’m feeling stronger and now I’m feeling better, and some people tell me I’m looking better.

Stuart Cooke: Oh boy, okay. You’re qualified to answer my next question then.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: On two fronts, right? I get the academic perspective and the personal anecdote N=1 that nobody likes. 

Stuart Cooke: Exactly right. You’re right. You’ve certainly touched on what I think the answer is going to be, but in your scientific opinion why do you think we’re getting fatter and sicker as a nation?

 

Dr. Kieron Rooney: My perspective on this has changed dramatically over the last ten years. My training was from a biochemistry point of view, small animal models, cell models, looking at individual metabolic pathways, looking for particular energy transfer systems that might explain why it is that we’re storing more fat or more carbohydrate, whatever it might be, or not accessing it properly, and so therefore we might be storing it but not breaking it down, but five years ago, 2009, 2010, I started collaborating with a psychology group who were, at the time, looking at sugar-sweetened beverages and sugar-sweetened foods to influence cognition, and we got collaborating going, “Well, you guys will measure behavioral adaptations to food, I can have a look at the metabolic perspectives in those same models, and we’ll see what happens.”

So, for the last five years, we’ve been publishing that work. Last year we were able to get an ARC grant to start trying to translate into human population. So, look, ten years ago I would’ve said to you, “We’ve got some nice discrete energy pathways that are defective in individual cells within the body, and that might be what it is that’s driving us to be fatter and sicker.”

But, over the last five years, as I start looking more at the behavioral, the cognitive side of things, I see it’s much more of a mix between the two, and I think one of the biggest issues we’ve got at the moment is as individuals we want our meals to be convenient so they can fit in with our busy lives. We want them to be cheap, so they can fit in with our finances, and more and more, we want them to be increasingly tasty, flavorsome, and so what we’ve done as a society is we’ve created a niche there where the food industry have come in and provided exactly what we’ve been wanting with highly processed foods that are energy dense, taste great, and relatively cheap.

Now what that’s done is that it’s lead us to be eating more, and so we no longer just have breakfast, lunch, and dinner, which are in moderate proportions, but we’ve also got the mid-morning snack, the late-afternoon snack, the food that I’m going to eat on the drive or the bus ride home, I’ve got my dessert, and I’ve got my late-night snack before I go to bed. So we have an environment where we’ve got a surplus of food, but the big issue is that metabolically our systems can’t meet that capacity, and so we’ve put our metabolic systems, which have a limited threshold to utilize energy into an environment where we’re providing it with vast excesses. 

Now, our bodies do burn energy. Absolutely. We’ll try and excrete as much of the excess as we can, but any excess we store, and that answers the question as to why we’re getting fatter, shall we say, or larger, right? So, we’re eating the wrong foods. We’re eating too much of them. We’re eating too frequently, such that the system doesn’t have a chance to recover and remove the excess that we’ve taken in, but the other big issue there is that we’re not eating the right foods. We’ve gone for the reliance on the convenient, cheap, highly-processed foods and we’ve moved away, we’ve forgotten about food quality, and so when you move into eating those types of food, they meet the nutrient requirements for your metabolic capacity and you don’t tend to overeat all of them.

Guy Lawrence: A question, a thought just popped in there, Kieron. With your own personal circumstances, you know how you say you dropped this weight from being over 90 kilos…

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: And you’ve changed the quality of your food dramatically, obviously, in the Cokes and that. Did the consumption change as well, or did that remain the same?

Dr. Kieron Rooney: I’m a little bit of a, because I’m a scientist at heart, I tend to collect a lot of data on myself, so I do have spreadsheets of energy intake, energy expenditure, what I’ve been doing, since around 2004, and when we have a look at the total energy intake, that hasn’t changed that much, but what has happened is that my frequencies of meals. 

So, for example, I don’t eat breakfast anymore. All right? When I wake up in the morning, I’m not hungry. I might have a cup of coffee. That gets me to work. My first meal is usually around about half-past ten, eleven o’clock, so you might see me attacking my fridge in about an hour, but what I’m seeing is I’m eating far less often during my day, but those meals are much more nutrient dense, and that’s getting me through the day. 

So, what I’m probably finding, if I was to look at my own system, is that there are far more times during my day where I’ve got a recovery period and I don’t have a constantly high metabolic load coming in onto that system that my digestive system and my endocrine system have to deal with.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right. From a science perspective, then, because we’ve been pushed a low-fat diet for many, many years, you know, I think Ancel Keys was the breakthrough scientist, and do we know what we know now back then? So, has opinions changed dramatically, or have we just had new discoveries over the last couple of years? Or has it always been a mixed bag of information over the last twenty or thirty years?

Dr. Kieron Rooney: I think…when you think about it from a nutrition research, nutrition information, public health policy point-of-view, the science and the evidence hasn’t necessarily changed significantly. We still know very much what we knew quite a long, long time ago. There’s been evidence from early turn of the century that particular foods behave in different ways when you consume them, all right? So whether or not that knowledge has changed is not really the issue. I think part of the big problem is how it’s being marketed, how it’s being utilized in health promotion, and that’s what necessarily has changed. 

We knew years ago that if you ate too much, if you ate more energy than you’re going to, than you expend, then you’re going to store lots of it. We knew twenty years ago, thirty years ago, forty years ago exercise was important for prevention of cardiovascular disease, the prevention of diabetes…I think the big change that is happening at the moment is people realizing that maybe one of the biggest fallacies that they’ve had is that they’ve only thought about food and nutrition from an energy perspective, and what we really need to identify far more is how individual foods react or changehow our metabolic systems work. 

So, the whole energy in, energy out argument, which works as a nice simple piece of dogma to get a particular message across, that is, “If you eat too much, you’re going to gain weight. If you eat less, you’re going to lose it,” that works to some extent, but it doesn’t explain how food relates to metabolic disease, because food is far more than just the energy, right? 150 calories from a sugar-sweetened beverage is going to metabolically impact your body far different to 150 calories from cheese.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: And in that instance then, eating, and our nutrition advice should all be about not so much just what the energy balance is about, but what rather what are the food types that you’re eating? What’s the quality of that food? Where is your energy coming from? 

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. That’s certainly coming at the forefront. I mean, because we play around with this a lot, don’t we, Stu? Like, you know, and for myself, personally, I can dramatically increase the calories providing it’s natural fat, and as long as my carbohydrate intake remains reasonably low, I can, I generally don’t put on weight even if I increase in calories quite a lot, from a personal perspective, and Stu can eat all day and not put on…

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, I come at it from the other side of the fence, where I have always struggled to maintain weight, and I can eat literally anything, but the difference for me is the way I feel. You know? I may look slim and skinny, but I just feel wasted if I eat some food low in nutrients, to put it that way.

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Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah, so, you’re touching on a couple of things, and so I’ll start with Guy’s. Guy touched on carbohydrate content relative to fat, and that’s where we see a lot of the social conversation happening at the moment, a little bit of the academic conversation happening, and that is, “What is this discussion around the balance of carbohydrates and fat?”

And you’ve got a number of different approaches to how you balance those macronutrients. We’ll come back to that in a moment, but Stu, you also touch her on something else that a lot of the behaviorialists talk about, but very few of the metabolic researchers have until recently and that is if we think about food as more than just this energy content, what’s its impact on our quality of life, our general outlook on things, and that’s an area in which there needs to be far more attention, because we’ve got qualitative data from individuals, but people like to think that that’s not strong enough to warrant investigation, but yeah, it’s definitely a theme that keeps popping up, so you’ve got a macronutrient issue, but you’ve also got a consideration of whether or not food is more than just the energy and there it is, but the third thing that you’re touching on here is individual variance, and how you can get a number of individuals eating the same diet, but they might respond very differently.

Okay, so, give me a couple of minutes, I’ll try and cover those ones for us, right? So, if we go to the carbohydrate/fat ratio thing, right? Now, it’s an area I’m particularly interested in, because I think one of the biggest things that’s changed over the last twenty years with our general society eating is the introduction to liquid calories and, in particular, sugar-sweetened beverages. 

Okay, so I’ll declare my bias. I’ve researched in the area for five years, so I might have a little bit of an idea about what I’m talking about, and I’ve received funding from the ARC to investigate this in the next few years, right? But we can show on our models what others have shown quite consistently that the excess calories that you take from sugar-sweetened beverages or the sugar that you’re getting in from that will have a completely different effect upon individuals, between individuals, will have a completely different effect to the carbohydrate sources that you might get from whole foods and real foods, right?

So, when we talk about individuals who go along restricting processed foods, removing those nutrient-poor but energy-dense types of foods what you might typically find is people drop their carbohydrate intake, because when you have a look at the processed, a lot of the processed foods, they’re high-fat and high-sugar, but they’re far more carbohydrate in there relative to the fat that might be in there.

Now, when we think about how our metabolic systems are designed, we have a minimum, sorry, we have a maximum threshold for how much carbohydrate we can tolerate. Now, we’ve been told within the profession and therefore have translated it out to the social, to society, that there’s a minimum requirement of carbohydrate of about 130 grams a day, as a theoretical value, and in actual fact, my opinion, from what I’ve read, from what I’ve researched, is that 130 is not a minimum requirement, it’s a maximum requirement.

Stuart Cooke: Right.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: And where we calculate or where that 130 has been calculated from was discrete experiments that have a look at what’s the minimum requirement of the brain, the central nervous system, what are tissues burning within you cells, sorry, what are the cells within your body utilizing as their predominant fuel. Now, if you accept that that number is a maximum threshold, then you start looking at the metabolic systems that get kicked in when you start eating over it. 

Now, the most recent national nutrition health survey data of Australians that came out a couple of months ago showed that on average we’re eating right about 250 grams of carbohydrate, and there are individuals in amongst that group, that’s on average, so there are some individuals in that group who are eating in excess of that up to and over 300 grams of carbohydrate a day.

And there’s an acknowledgment in that data that there’s underreporting, so in actual fact, it’s probably over that amount. Right? Now, that means if we have a metabolic system that can only handle 130 grams of carbohydrate, give or take a few carbs for individual variance, then if you’re an individual who’s eating 200, 250, 300 grams, then your body is not going to catabolize that fuel. It’s not going to burn it and break it off; it’s going to store it or do its best to excrete it. Now, we initially store carbohydrates as glycogen, but we’ve got a maximum threshold of how much glycogen we can store, and then once you’ve met that threshold, the overflow goes elsewhere.

And there’s multiple pathways in which that excess carbohydrate can go, and there’s good evidence to show that it can go into fat or it might go into other metabolites. So, you’re carbohydrate content there has its maximum threshold, Guy. Now when it comes to fat, there’s no published minimum threshold for fat, and there’s no published maximum threshold for fat intake. So if you go to the NIH where there’s where this 130 grams of carbohydrate came from, in that same table for fat they’ve got a dash, right? It’s an unknown number, right?

What we do know is that there are essential fatty acids that our bodies can’t create, so therefore there are certain fats we do have to eat, right? Now, so, when I think about what you’re telling me, Guy, and that, yeah, you can fluctuate your energy intake but if it’s fat you can get away with it a fair bit. What you’d think about is the people who come from the low-carb, high-fat philosophies say, “Well, if you maintain a very low carbohydrate content, so you’re sitting around about 50 to 80 grams of carbohydrate, then your body adapts to be a fat-burner.”

So, all the metabolic systems within your tissues that can burn fat stay up-regulate, so you’ve got more of them, and you down-regulate, or reduce the amount of carbohydrate pathways…

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Which means that if you’re eating fat, your systems tune to burn that fat, right? Now if you put carbohydrates into that system, though, because you’ve down-regulated the pathways that would burn carbs, you’ve got a reduced capacity to catabolize them and perhaps a more increased capacity to store them, so you need to be careful of that balance and when you’re going to bring those different macronutrients in, so, one of the issues we need to identify is that the human body is an adaptable system. It will change its metabolic processes to deal with the foods that you’re putting into it.

So, if you habitually live on a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet, then the metabolic systems within your muscles, within your liver will adapt to deal with those fuel systems. If you live on a high-carbohydrate, lower fat system, then those tissues in that system will adapt to try and handle that as well as they can, but we have a limited capacity to deal with carbohydrates and excesses over that will flow in.

Now, what we don’t know is what really determines individual variance. We know habitual diet can have a play. We know genetics has a huge play, and there are big studies in hundreds, thousands of individuals that have tacked individuals over years. I think about this one called the Heritage Study, which has been running for a good twenty odd years or so. It’s got grandparents, parents, children. It’s got quite a number of generations within families. They have endurance training programs. They’re monitoring food.

And one of the outcomes of interest that comes from that route is that you’ll find a reported average benefit of the endurance training program of, yeah, anywhere of around about, yeah, a liter per minute of vo2 max, so that means your physical capacity is improved this much, all right? On average. 

But if you have a look at the individual data, you’ll find that there’s individuals who’ve been doing the exact same lifestyle intervention for four, five months and don’t respond at all, so, no response whatsoever, and others who have responded that much, right? So, what we need to be careful of is when we start thinking about dietary advice, exercise advice and try and translate it out to everybody, we need to be aware that absolutely we’ve got the evidence from research that shows we have individual variance.

There will be some people that respond to particular interventions far better than others and…

Guy Lawrence: Sadly, it’s not marketed like that, is it? Like, it’s always like, “You must do this!”

Dr. Kieron Rooney: That’s right! That’s right! And so what you really start thinking about then is a research study. If we want to get that published, if we want to get that funded, we need to have large numbers of participants, and they’re the real good funding bias, or not good, real poor, bad, but they are the fact of publication bias that we like to favor publishing positive results, right?

So, if you go and do a huge study, and you show that your intervention didn’t have a good outcome or didn’t have a significant outcome, then it’s much harder to get that paper published than if you’ve got an intervention that has had a positive outcome, right? Whether it be one way or the other, right? So, what we find is that we can have a publication bias that only published papers and interventions that have had this significant effect. Now, to get that significant effect then you want to make you’re, you don’t want to, but what people tend to, which is not really part of scientific method, is they will search for populations that will meet that need.

So, knowing that we’ve got individual variance, you can design your parameters in a way that ensures a much more likelihood of a significant result, right? So, we get papers published. It shows that we’ve got this significant adaptation or outcome in one particular direction, that’s the message that gets sold because it’s the simplest, it’s the clearest message, but if you go into the individual data sets then you can see that there’s quite a big variance at how individuals respond to that.

And so the idea of the message should actually be, “Well, here’s a couple of different approaches that an individual might want to take in society. Try them. Find out what works for you. You might be an individual that thrives on a lower-carbohydrate, higher-fat diet, or you might be an individual that thrives on the Ornish Diet, 80 percent carbohydrates, very low fat, but the idea is that the way we should be thinking perhaps is that future-wise, when we think about the research, the messages that come out, it’s not so much saying here’s one protocol that everyone should be trying. It should be more along the lines of, “Do you know what? Here are a number of different approaches that people have used and that have worked for them.”

And it’s about experimenting with ourselves engaged in finding what works best for us.

Guy Lawrence: Is that what’s happened with the low-fat diet? Because, like, everyone I know, or most people, generally are just conditioning to eating a low-fat diet. It’s always been that way, you know, when I grew up everything about it. I remember, you know, avoiding fat like the plague, and you know that information had to come from somewhere.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: That’s right. So, you know, there’ve been plenty of books written about it. There have been public seminars given about it. The big turning point in nutritional history would’ve been, everybody refers to it in the ’70s in America, identify what are some dietary guidelines for Americans to follow from the ’70s onward, and one of the things that we need to keep in mind with Australia is those guidelines don’t directly impact what our advice is. 

Yes, there was some influence. They did get translated into our Australian population and that underlying theme of reducing saturated fat or reducing fat intake does persist within our guidelinespre-2013 and to some extent within the current 2013 ones as well. That wasn’t necessarily a turning point directly for Australia, but that message has been what has come through and translated to everybody.

So, we have a ’70s time point in America where there is enough evidence for some individuals to say< “We need to focus on high-fat intakes as being a problem.” The marketing and the messaging around that then severely demonizes fat as a negative macronutrient and that we shouldn’t be eating too much of it, and more often not, you see people will have, the professionals will advise a cap at around about 30 percent of your daily energy intake coming from fat. Anything over that, they would refer to as a high-fat diet. And so, that’s right, what most prevalent in most people’s thinking is, “Fat’s the problem; we need to remove it.”

Now, that’s probably got a much stronger message than anything that comes out at the moment, because it’s the first one that’s come out, right? So, we’ve had dietary guidelines form America since the ’70s. In Australia, they came around ’80s, ’90s or so. Now, the very first time then a society’s being told we’re being told we need to watch what we eat, the focus is on fat, and so that’s the prevailing thought that comes into everybody’s thought, “I’m dieting. I need to restrict fat.”

But the evidence that is subsequently being collected suggests that it’s not as simple as that, right? We can’t just focus on that one macronutrient. We can’t just focus on putting a cap at 30 percent on that one macronutrient and in actual fact, some individuals who go onto that diet do not perform well, all right? They’re eating far more carbohydrates than their systems can adapt.

So, if we force those individuals to stay on that regime, on that dietary advice, they are not going to perform well and they’re going to get sick, but the big issue that we have, or one of the big issues that we have, is if we framed a professional situation now where we make individuals feel that they can’t go against that advice, right, and that’s a big issue that we’ve got when we think about, “How do we translate the evidence from science into nutritional policy into health promotion and health advocacy?”

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There is evidence in the science to show that individuals on a high-fat diet, low-carbohydrate diet can perform quite well in health outcomes, not just in weight, but there’s also within those same papers evidence that suggests that individuals on that diet won’t perform well. Just as much as there’s evidence to show that individuals on your low-fat, moderate carbohydrate diet will or won’t perform well. What we can’t have is a system which is dogmatic, that says everybody should be following this macronutrient distribution. What it should be is identifying individuals respond differently to various programs and it’s about you as an individual finding out what works for you.

And then we should be, as academics and professionals, setting up a system that supports that, right? Identifies what’s your relationship with food, what’s your relationship with your eating patterns, and whether or not part of the issues or problems that you might be having is because you’re forcing yourself to fit a paradigm that doesn’t fit for you.

Stuart Cooke: So what should we be doing right now at home to address this confusion, because from a commercial standpoint, you know, “Fear cholesterol, you know, eat healthy whole grains.” We still seem to be doing the wrong things being told to do the wrong things, so right now, what could I do to figure out what works for me?

Dr. Kieron Rooney: The safest option for you is to find yourself a qualified professional who’s going to support you in identifying what works for yen,

Stuart Cooke: How would I do that based upon traditional food practices and doctors who are again aligned with perhaps cholesterol-lowering drugs, you know, and the like. How would I find a , I guess, I’m almost looking at a new age doctor who understands.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Look, it doesn’t have to be being New Age. You can’t put that umbrella over it or make people think that they’re quacks and…

Stuart Cooke: How do you think I can about that? I’ve been to, well, in the past, I’ve been to a number of doctors who have been grossly overweight, and I figure, “Would I really want to go to you for nutritional advice?” That would be my concern.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Hey, look, you raising an interesting issue and I’m not remembering the journal that it was published in, but there was a paper that came out a year ago or maybe early this year, which was looking at clients’ perceptions of receiving advice from the professional that I’m talking about, and without doubt there’s very much that feeling that some people would walk into a room and look at the individual and go, “Well, how am I going to trust you?” 

It’s an issue I’ve had trying to teach biochemistry. The vast majority of people that walk into a biochemistry lecture have already decided that they’re going to hate it, and they’re basing that on more likely their experiences with chemistry in high school, and there’s a really good reason for people to feel that, right? Because chemistry and biochemistry can be intimidating. It can be something that people hate, so as a lecturer in that topic, I’ve had to take onboard very early on how do I get people to engage with that topic? Do I have to be the topic myself? Right? And now I find myself, yeah, answering a question in which I’ve got to turn that philosophy onto, well, yeah, does the person giving the message have to represent the message that they’re giving? I’m going to say no for a moment, right? And I’m going to say no because what you’d have to appreciate in your analogy there, Stu, is that we don’t get fat and sick overnight.

Stuart Cooke: Right.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: WE get fat and sick over thirty, forty years of small incremental differences in our metabolic behaviors but also in our cognitive behaviors, right? So, you could have a very wise health professional who’s reading the up-to-date evidence at the moment, who’s beginning to challenge their own beliefs and what they’ve been practicing, what they’ve been doing over the last twenty or thirty years, but they won’t represent that right now, right?

And, so, to put that kind of assumption on an individual is kind of being unfair to that profession, right? What you need to be able to appreciate is that while a health professional I don’t think has to embody the evidence that they’re giving out, right? Because what we’ve got at the moment is a real change in the zeitgeist, right?

The conversations that happen in society, the conversation that’s happening on social media, the conversations that are happening in academia are changing, so what one individual might advise a patient tomorrow could be quite different to what they advised last week, two weeks ago, even a year ago, but they won’t see that impact straight away, right? 

If I think about my own personal journey, if we just looked at weight as an outcome, yeah, I lost, what was it, 15 kilos, but it took eight months to do that, all right? But I started feeling perceptual benefits, yeah, within a couple of weeks. I was feeling great. I was feeling energized. I was feeling like I made the right choice, and I was going to stick with this new approach to living, new approach to eating, but if you’d come and seen me three weeks into my program and had gone, “Yeah, you’re still fat, right? Clearly, it’s not working for you.” Then I would have lost you very early on, right?

So to say to expect that immediate change and for us to represent that, I don’t think is exactly fair, right?

Stuart Cooke: If I had come to see you while you were guzzling two liters of Coke a day, I perhaps would have been questioning your advice as well.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Absolutely. If I’m telling you to cut out the sugar-sweetened beverages while I guzzle down on one, I, perfectly, I accept that 100 percent, right? I mean, for people who’ve come across me already, they might be aware that for at least the last year or so I’ve been campaigning to change the nutritional guidelines for what we sell in schools, right? At least in New South Wales, if not nationally.

Stuart Cooke: Yes.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: And one of the challenges that we’ve got there is the New South Wales government has said, “The person responsible for implementing healthy eating practice in schools is the principal, right? So, that means that the government have put this policy in place then they’ve washed their hands of it and gone, “Local schools; local decisions. You can take care of it.”

So, if you’ve got a principal who’s walking around the school playground guzzling Coke, eating Party Pies, sausage rolls, hot dogs, hamburgers, pizzas. He’s the person, or she’s the person, that we have to convince to change what food they serve to kids, and the message gets lost right away. So, point granted. If at the time that they are delivering their health advice they’re not following it themselves, they have good reason to question it, right?

Stuart Cooke: Got it. Got it. So, I’ve gone to the doctors and I’ve looked past the appearance of my doctor. The doctor looks okay, and I’m questioning my doctor, “What should I eat to be healthy?” Where would we go? What should I be looking for? What do you think my doctor would be advising me to do?

Dr. Kieron Rooney: I think one of the first things that the doctor should be doing is asking you, “How much processed food are you eating?” You would classify in nutrition and dietetics as being discretionary food, so if you go to the Australian dietary guidelines, there’s a nice couple of peaches, there’s some good worded paragraphs that shows you exactly what are classified as discretionary calories. 

Now, one disclaimer: I do not believe that anything, in my opinion, such as a discretionary calorie, right? There’s no such thing, so your body does not take a calorie that’s coming from a sugar-sweetened beverage and go, “Oh! That’s one of my 10 percent discretionary calories, so I’m going to put that over in my discretionary calorie bank account, and this is a good one.” Right?

Stuart Cooke: That’s right.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: I think the, in my opinion, the rule should be processed foods are out as much as you possibly can, right?

Guy Lawrence: Can we just explain the umbrella of processed foods? Just in case…

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Sure. The best thing I can do here in such a timeframe would be to advise people to look up the NOVA Classifications of Food Processing. All right? So that’s N, O, V, A. It’s originated out of Brazil. It is providing an alternative classifications on foods on the degrees of processing.

So, there’s foods that have not been processed, such as your vegetables straight out of the ground, shall I say. Then you’ve got your minimally processed, where you might be including your dairy products in there, so you’ve had to do some kind of human interference to it in manufacturing. Then you go up to highly processed, up to ultra-processed, and when you’re getting into those degrees what you’ve got is industry coming in, they’re taking what was once originally a whole real food and they have mashed it, they’ve homogenized it, they’ve extracted out what nutritional scientists have said are the good bits and they’ve repackaged them into something that’s highly palatable, cheap, and convenient to eat.

Now, at that point, we cannot say that the nutrients within that food behaves the same way as if you ate the nutrients in their original form. All right? So, what you should be looking for is reducing as many of those ultra-processed, highly processed foods out of your diet, because what we’ve got is although they might be packaged saying that they’ve got all the nutrients that you need to be fit and healthy individual, they also bring alongside a number of products that you don’t need to be healthy and active, healthy individual, but also may be what’s making you sick. 

They’re also designed to make us eat more, so what I would like is my doctor to tell me, “Well, Kieron, the first thing I want to find out is how many of these discretionary calories are you eating? Have you gone beyond what the dietary guidelines recommend you should be eating?”

And, if we go to the National Nutritional Health survey that came out a couple of months ago, thousands of Australians interviewed over a couple of years period, we saw that between 30 to 40 percent of our energy intake was coming from these discretionary foods. Right. So, if I’m an average Australian that fits into the data that came from the National Nutritional Health survey data, then my doctor would be making the assumption that 30 to 40 percent of my daily energy intake is coming from these discretionary highly processed foods.

Stuart Cooke: Right.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: And, if we have a look at what the Australian dietary guidelines are saying, whether or not you agree with them on any particular level, just at a very simple point they say no more than 10 percent. So, already we would have identified a key area that you need to reduce food intake from. Now that does not mean you stop eating them and don’t replace them with anything. All right? That would be a starvation diet, and we’re not advocating for that. All right?

What it would be doing is going, “We’re going to remove those processed foods and the energy that you’ve lost from that we’re going to reintroduce, but we’re going to reintroduce them from your minimally or nonprocessed foods. All right? You’re going to be cooking at home with the real food, raw ingredients that you’ve purchased from your fruit and veg shop. Right?”

 In that instance you should have already drastically minimized your total energy intake, although that won’t necessarily be true for everybody, but what you will have done is you’ll have removed preservatives, additives. You’ll have removed, you will have inserted probably far more fiber, because you’re eating proper vegetables because they’re in their whole form, but you’re also bringing their nutrients in the format in which you would have been, your body would digest them and expect them.

Guy Lawrence: It’s quite a simple form now, isn’t it?

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah. That’s right. You look like you want to ask another question.

Guy Lawrence: No, no…I’m trying to keep myself restrained.

Stuart Cooke: You’ll struggle to read Guy’s face. I’ll tell you that, Kieron.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah, okay.

Stuart Cooke: I think he’s just thinking about his next meal.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah, yeah, yeah, right? But that’s what I’d be expecting from my health professional. All right? If my health professional started dictating a particular prescription that I had to follow, then I’d be concerned. Now, how do you find one of these individuals? Well, I’m not aware of any particular database. I would not Google “new age doctor.” All right?

Stuart Cooke: You should try it.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: But, you know what, there are enough health professionals on social media sites, qualified dieticians, qualified medics, who are out there talking about what their message is that you should be able to relatively easily find someone who is still not going to dictate to you their new philosophy, but at least support you in investigating for yourself what might work.

Stuart Cooke: Perfect, and I guess referral plays a large part in that as well.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeas, as in, you mean, word of mouth if you’ve come across individuals that have supported one individual…

Stuart Cooke: Exactly right. Yeah, absolutely. Guy has found a wonderful new age doctor. I like what he says. I’m going.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah, yeah, that’s right. Now I love my GP. I’ve had the same GP since I was five now, so he’s known me for quite a long time, and he’s seen me go from a preschooler up to a qualified academic now, and we have great conversations. He knows I’m only coming to him because I haven’t tried to figure out first what went wrong with me, and I already have a long list, “I don’t think it’s any of these, so it’s over to you now. All right?”

Stuart Cooke: That’s exactly right. Fantastic.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: But he’s more than willing to support and go, “All right. Well if you’re going to go that way, let’s have a look and see what happens.”

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Stuart Cooke: Perfect. And again, just to break it down, overall message: Great place to start would be to eat more whole foods, get in the kitchen, start cooking with real ingredients, and just try and reduce the packet food.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: That’s right, and if you find yourself eating a meal out of convenience because you’re trying to fit it in between a meeting or between one other priority, then we need to rethink how we’ve approached what our food intake, what our behaviors are, because once we start doing that type of mindless eating, you can very easily increase more snacks, your taking in food more regularly, your energy intake is going to shoot up, and depending upon what the macronutrient content is, you could be doing yourself far greater harm.

Stuart Cooke: Got it, and I guess it’s kind of an exercise in time management as well, because if we’re putting ourselves into a space where we simply don’t have time to eat and we have to make these processed choices then we should perhaps go back and look at how we structure our days.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: It’d be lovely to think that’s what our holistic approach is. All right? And at the moment, we, as a community, have allowed our society, our environment to be dictated to us, and I’m going to jump on the big food bandwagon for a moment and say food industry, they want us to be distracted. They want us to be busy because that’s what their product is. Their product is in a box. It’s quick. It’s convenient, and it apparently has all the nutrients that you need to be fit and healthy, but it’s not. Right?

You’ve removed, you’ve given up your right to listen to your body, to take control of what it is that you’re going to feed it, and in that instance, if we keep our environment set up that way, we’re only going to get worse, right? So, you want to have an approach to eating in which you’re in control and you’re not being dictated to by marketing, because let’s face it, food industry they’re here to make profit, not to look after your health. All right?

And your priority should be your health and not an individual’s profit, and look, it’d be nice to think that what we need is a big social debate with our unions, with our workers, with our employers, with our workplace individuals, to say, “Look, what we’ve actually allowed to happen over the twenty, thirty, forty years that we’ve been here is we’ve created an environment in which our health is suffering, because we’re filling our lives up with priorities that are external to us. Right? We’re working for somebody else. We’re earning other people money. We’ve got this focus on commercialization, and in that instance our priorities have been distracted, and so therefore, one of the big areas that we’ve allowed without source is healthy eating, and that seems to be one of the biggest mistakes that we’ve made.”

Stuart Cooke: Well, I’d happily sit there and discuss that with you, if you want to form a coffee club. I’ll bring the biscuits.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: I have to say, in some circles I’m not qualified enough. I’ve only got a Ph.D. and 14, 15 years of research experience, but I don’t have a dietetics qualification, so all of this you’re getting as a nutrition academic who’s researched the area for 15 years.

Stuart Cooke: Well, you file me your details. I’ll order you one on the internet and we’ll get back to you before the end of the day.

Guy Lawrence: I know time is slowly creeping away from us, but I really wanted to ask you this, because I understand you’re looking at the relationship between cancer and sugar, so this is going way off tangent. What have you found? Can you just explain a little bit about that?

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah, sure, okay. So, look, I should point out I haven’t yet done any direct research myself, but if anybody’s listening, watching who is interested in having a look at the role of low-carbohydrate diets or even ketosis diets in case studies or patient, cancer patients undergoing treatment, I’m more than happy to have a conversation.

I came into this topic because though in my background readings and my support readings in sugar-sweetened beverages, sugar intake, impact on metabolic diseases, and I stumbled across these readings on ketosis diets and the treatment of cancer patients, and it turns out way back in 1924 there was a Nobel Prize-winning hypothesis, well now this wasn’t what the Nobel Prize was for, but the individual who won the Nobel Prize came up with this other hypothesis and that’s called the Warburg…

Guy Lawrence: Is that Warburg? Yeah, Otto Warburg.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah, yeah, Otto Warburg, who identified that in particular cancer cells there largely dependent upon glucose as their predominant fuel source. Now Warburg said that every cancer cell expressed this need, right, this desire, but subsequently we, you know, evidence comes out that shows not every cancer cell. There are particular cancer cells that are more dependent upon glucose than others. There are some that can adapt to a low-glucose environment to utilize other fuels, but for the large part, the vast majority of cancer cells have this increased reliance on glucose as a predominant fuel.

So there’s evidence coming out now and research being conducted, mostly in the States, which is investigating the starvation of cancer cells from sugar, and because the working hypothesis is, “Well, if we’ve been able to identify the particular cancer cells dependent upon sugar to survive, well, if we restrict access to sugar, does this cell growth arrest, shall we say?”

And then there’s an added benefit on top of that that some people such as a group XXat ????XX [0:50:11] in Florida are showing that ketone bodies themselves might have a protective effect, so the sugar and cancer story is a developing one. All right?

The general lay of the land is this, there are particular cancer cells that seem highly dependent upon glucose as their predominant fuel source for a number of things, not just as an energy source, but the pathways by which we make new DNA and new cell membranes and all the biomolecules we need to make new cells, which is what cancer cells are doing, is completely dependent upon glucose and that’s the pentose phosphate pathway. 

So the thinking is if we restrict glucose from cancer cells, we deprive them of their energy source, we also deprive them of the building blocks of the new cells, but the overarching effect, which other research is looking at, such as Eugene Fine, is independent of the acute effect of sugar on cells, if you’re restricting sugar intake you’re having another whole body effect, and that is you’re reducing the amount of insulin that you’re secreting, and insulin is a specific growth factor that stimulates cancer cell growth.

Now, every time you eat carbohydrates, you secrete more insulin, so there is a window of opportunity there for a cancer cell to have increased growth factors which allow them to grow in that particular time. Now, look, certain cancers are very slow-growing cancers, right? Just like diabetes, just like heart disease, you don’t wake up one day and all of the cancer cells have exploded, right? It’s a progressive disease.

So what you need to, what some people are looking at is, well, regardless of whether or not the Warburg effect or Warburg hypothesis is true for every cancer cell, what is a more common theme amongst cancers is that it depends upon growth factors to stimulate growth, and one of the most predominant growth factors that have an impact is insulin. And what is the major driving force for insulin secretion? Carbohydrate.

Guy Lawrence: So does that mean then this could be a cancer prevention? Actually keeping your insulin production reduced?

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Look, some people come at it from that perspective, yes. At the moment, I would say that the thinking would be more as a collaborative treatment, shall we say, so undergoing your chemotherapy, your traditional approaches to cancer treatment, whether or not they can be boosted, supported, by your also having a low-carbohydrate ketosis diet which ultimately leads to lower insulin levels throughout your entire day and therefore reduce the instances of growth factor stimulation on those cells.

Guy Lawrence: Okay. That is fascinating.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: That is, from my personal perspective, that’s reading at the moment, that’s talking to some of those researchers via email at least, but hopefully in the coming years the opportunity to work with a couple of professionals in the area to develop some case studies if not some intervention studies to see where the data’s coming, but there is good evidence coming out in recent times to identify low-carbohydrate ketosis diets in assisting the management of chemotherapy and treatment of cancer cells.

Guy Lawrence: There you go. Fantastic. Thanks for that. Stu? You look like you’re going to say something.

Stuart Cooke: No, I’m just…Yeah. I’m fascinated and intrigued by this talk and I’m just wondering how far away we are from hearing a lot more of this in mainstream media.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Look, it’s getting out there. All right? There’s a focus in some of the research that’s looking at…Unfortunately, I think, at the moment a lot of the research is still focusing on macronutrients, right? Carbohydrates, the fats, the protein ratios, what’s the impact of those? Are they in or not in calorie deficit, so, yeah, taking individuals, forcing them onto a particular diet and have a look at it…

What…last month there was a low-carbohydrate versus a moderate-carbohydrate standard diet paper that came out. There’s a rapid weight loss, there’s a long term weight loss diet study coming out also. There’s lots of intervention studies that are currently running or slowly coming out. It’s a matter if how quickly that evidence base is going to build to influence the profession

What we’ve got with the academic world, I think, is an environment which is completely different to what traditional academic would ever have been experienced to it. If we think about up until ten, fifteen years ago, and academic could have a long-lasting career doing their own research, publishing their own papers in scientific journals and the only people that would ever read that would be other scientists.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

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Dr. Kieron Rooney: In the last five to ten years with free access to publication journals such as Plus One, the Frontiers range of journals everyday individuals are getting access to the evidence XXin the science space 0:55:21.000XX, so we’ve got social groups who are moving quicker than the academic fraternity. Right?

And so the information’s gonna get out there well in advance of a consensus change from the profession. And so the information is out there, but if we’re expecting leadership from academia, already you’re a good 15, 20 years away from it still. Right? Because academics, we’re obliged to look at all the evidence. Right? We are obliged to take our time to make sure we’ve checked all the pros, all the cons, crossed the Ts, dotted the Is.

And with every new study that comes out, it doesn’t change our thinking. It gets absorbed into our current ways of thinking and we see whether or not it changes us.

Now, some of us are more open to being adaptive. Others, right? And it’s a measure of whether or not the community, the academic community, are readily taking on new evidence and allowing that to alter their current perception, or whether or not they’re ignoring it.

Stuart Cooke: “Watch this space.”

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah. Yeah. I don’t like that phrase, Stu.

I’m going to be in a different space, surely, in a couple of years’ time. If I’m still sitting in this office I’m going to be very upset.

Stuart Cooke: I’m going to print that on a T-shirt and send it your way.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Excellent. Excellent.

Guy Lawrence: Just before we wrap up, Kieron, I know when we were having a chat on the phone the other day you mentioned that you’re going to be looking for some test subjects in Sydney next year.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah. Yep.

Guy Lawrence: Do you want to quickly mention a little bit about that? Because…

Dr. Kieron Rooney: OK. I’d love to. I’ve got; we got funding for two major projects that we’re going to be running from 2015, 2016 onward. The first one is we are looking at trying to translate some of the research that’s been conducted on animals on sugar-sweetened beverages into a human population.

But what our key focus is on is on behavioral changes. Right? So, there are many groups that are already working on the metabolic impact of sugar-sweetened beverages. Sugar-sweetened beverages, from my opinion and from my research, are a particularly nasty processed food to be consuming. Our bodies deal with liquid calories differently to solid calories.

We also, when we consume liquid calories through sugar-sweetened beverages, put a huge dose onto our metabolic systems in a very acute time frame. And that’s gonna have another impact.

Now, other groups are already looking at the metabolic outcomes. And so we’re trying to be a little bit clever. We’ve got funding. We’re going to be doing metabolic outcomes. But we’re mostly interested in whether or not they’re impacting your behavior, your perceptions of foods, your eating behaviors, your intake.

So, that’s currently going through ethics at the moment. It should be, hopefully, approved by January, February of next year. And we’ll be looking for individuals for around about March, April onwards to come into our labs at the university and have some acute eating and metabolic measures taken during and after sugar-sweetened beverages. And we’re also looking at the impact of artificial-sweetened beverages as a control groups. That’s one study.

The other study that we’ve got currently running is going back to that individual variance question. And that is: touching on research from the ’80s and ’90s, going back to some of that data, shows that if you’re an individual who has a habitual diet that’s low in carbohydrate or low in fat, and then we give you a fat meal, you metabolize that fat completely differently.

So, we’ve got genetic studies running at the moment. We’re now going to put on top of that exercise, individual work, and what we’re gonna do; we’re gonna get individuals in, we’ll screen you for your fitness, we’ll screen you for body composition, and then we’re going to have to play around with some acute testing of fat meals and carbohydrate meals and see how individuals respond to that, depending upon your habitual diet.

So we’re going to be looking for hundreds of individuals across a wide section of the Sydney population. So, we’re going to want the paleo guys. We’re going to want the clean eaters. We’re going to want the vegetarians. We’re going to want the standard Australian diet individuals. And we’re going to try and identify, through a large observational cross-sectional study, whether or not we can identify key differences in these example populations.

Guy Lawrence: Awesome. Well, you’ve got two here.

Stuart Cooke: Keep us in the know. I’ll put Guy forward for the sugar-sweetened beverages study, if that’s OK. Go for that slot. You’re in there, Guy.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Well done.

Guy Lawrence: Excellent.

Stuart Cooke: Right. So, we’ve got time for the wrap-up question, Guy?

Guy Lawrence: Let’s do it. Let’s do it. So, we ask this question on every podcast, Kieron. OK? And it’s simply: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve even been given? It can be anything.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: I’m still waiting for something. I’ve been given lots of advice in my time. Right? The biggest problem is that I haven’t listened to a lot of it. All right? So, I’m going to go with the one that’s popping into my head acutely is one from my dad, and that was always: “Don’t let the turkeys get you down.”

So, quite often I find myself in situations where I might be talking to a lot of individuals who disagree with what I have to say, and they’re telling me that I might have missed things or I might be wrong, and when I go back and read things I try to find and see that, no, no, I should be getting listened to. So, in those circumstances it’s very easy to lose confidence in your own research, your own work, thinking that you’ve missed what other people have got. And then you realize later on when they’re not around, you haven’t.

So, that can get you down a fair bit. So, I say: Don’t let the turkeys get you down. If people are telling you that you’re wrong, as opposed to getting into a XXscrap meet 1:01:04.000XX with them right there, just go away, fine more evidence, build on it, and come back and fight another day. How about that?

Guy Lawrence: Awesome.

Stuart Cooke: That’s perfect. That will do.

Guy Lawrence: That will work. And if anyone wants to get in touch with you, Kieron, or find out more about next year or got any questions, all the rest of it, shall I just link to your bio on the university website?

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah, that’s the best way to do it. I’m not on Facebook. I think that’s a fad. I don’t think it’s going to be around for long. I am on Twitter. I’ve been on Twitter for roundabout 10 months now, so I’m getting into that.

Guy Lawrence: I see your Tweets coming through daily, mate.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: They can find me there or if you link to the home page on the university website, that will have my contact details there. When we’re at the point of recruiting and advertising the studies, we’ll have announcements up on that.

Guy Lawrence: Awesome.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Thank you.

Guy Lawrence: That was brilliant. Thank you for coming on, Kieron.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah, no worries. Thanks for having me.

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Alexx Stuart: Should We Use Sunscreen?

The video above is under 3 minutes long.

alexx stuartSunscreen, a hot topic (pun intended) but a topic well worth raising. Did you know the skin is the largest human organ and the average adult has a skin surface area of over 21 square feet and accounts for 6% to 10% of your body weight. So with this in mind, I certainly think we should be considering what we put on our body, with sunscreen being one of them as it get’s warmer here in Australia.

Our guest Alexx Stuart is a research writer and presenter where she covers conscious living, organics, toxic free personal care, ingredient exposées and inspiring people to create beautiful change.

Full Interview with Alexx Stuart: Real Food & Low Tox Living

downloaditunesIn this episode we talk about:-

  • What exactly low tox living is
  • If sunscreen is harmful
  • Why eating more fat is healthy for your skin
  • Is organic food worth it
  • How to eat organic and still save money
  • How to tackle kids lunchboxes
  • What’s the real deal with GMO
  • And much much more…

Want to know more about Alexx Stuart?

CLICK HERE for all Episodes of 180TV

Alexx Stuart Interview Transcript

Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. Our special guest today is the lovely Alexx Stuart of Real Food and Low Tox Living.
She’s an exceptionally well-researched writer and explorer, and we were super keen to get her one the show today to share her thoughts on many of the topics, especially when it comes to toxicity and toxins within our daily lives, from our food to our environment, even the things that we put on our skin.
And she’s absolutely a wealth of knowledge, and there are some gems of information in there for you, and we tackle things from sunscreen to GMOs to even how we can improve foods that go into kids’ lunch boxes without stressing the parents out too much, either, you know.
As always, I learned a lot from this today, and I’m sure Stu did, too, because we get to hang out with these people on a weekly basis and it really is a privilege for us, and it’s fantastic, you know, and we want to get that information across to you, so if you are enjoying the shows, as well, we’d really appreciate a review on iTunes. It just helps us with our rankings. Helps us get the word out there and what we believe to be, you know, amazing health.
Anyway, enjoy the show. I’m sure you’re going to learn heaps. Just pop those headphones on. Go for a nice walk. Drive in the car. I’m sure you’ll get a lot out of it and be part of the conversation, too. Until the next time. Enjoy. Cheers.
Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence and I’m joined today, as always, with Mr. Stuart Cooke. Hey, Stewey.
Stuart Cooke: Hello.
Guy Lawrence: And our lovely guest today is Miss Alexx Stuart. How are you?
Alexx Stuart: Good. Thanks, Guy and Stu. How are you guys?
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, fantastic. I thought we’d start off by filling in the listeners a bit on about how we met, because we were all at the Tasmanian Primal Living Conference a few weeks ago, and you were one of the key speakers there, as well, and I must admit, I probably registered about five percent of what you said because I was up straight after you.
Alexx Stuart: That’s right!
Guy Lawrence: Yes, yes, but we got to sit next to each other on the table that night and it was wonderful and I thought, “My God, I was just chatting with Stewey, we have to get you on this podcast to share your wealth of knowledge with us, so…
Alexx Stuart: I’m so excited to be here.
Guy Lawrence: It’s really appreciated. The best place to start is where did your health journey start? Because you set up, you know, your business with Real Food and Low Tox Living, and where did that journey start for you and, you know, you started to make the change into the whole health and wellness industry and to get so passionate about it?
Alexx Stuart: Yeah. I’ve always been a teacher, and it’s so funny, I love getting older, and I know a lot of people don’t say that, but I really love getting older for what you see, your true ability to serve people is, and, you know, I spent a few years in the cosmetics industry. I spent a few years in the hospitality industry. There were some nights as a night club singer in between all of that.
Guy Lawrence: Oh, wow!
Stuart Cooke: Wow!
Alexx Stuart: What I realized as time went on was I really adored helping people make better choices, and sort of underpinned that with a health journey that was a little bit challenging personally. Let’s see, how do we make it short? We have chronic tonsillitis, like literally sixty rounds of antibiotics over my lifetime, then developed, once I got into cosmetics, polycystic ovarian syndrome.
You know, we always talked about the rare algae from the Croatian Seas and the this and the that, but we never talked about all those preservatives and horrible things that were in the creams, as well, and when I think back to my cosmetics use, every second girl had some sort of reproductive organ issue of some kind.
People were trying to get pregnant. People had endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, so many of us were popping pain killers for migraines, and it’s a real learning experience looking back now. If, you know, I had friends with daughters, I mean even sons, and we all get affected by chemicals. It’s really lovely to be able to help on that front.
But, anyway, back to how I got into it. I sort of just started to realize it wasn’t right that I was so sick, you know? I was a young, healthy person when I wasn’t in a migraine mode or having chronic tonsillitis or getting glandular fever. In between there were these windows of feeling awesome, and I just, I wanted that window to grow, and I remember being in my little flat in Bondi on my third round of ridiculous strength antibiotics, sort of leaning out over the bed and spitting into, like, a little water bottle because I couldn’t bear to swallow. This is sort of TMI, but you’ve got to know everything, and just thinking, “There has to be a better way.”
Humans are so apocalyptic, aren’t we? We wait until things are really, really bad until we actually decide to do something.
Stuart Cooke: We move by pain, for sure.
Alexx Stuart: Yeah, I know. It’s so sad. So much time wasted, and so cut through, then, a whole bunch of years realizing I was a really good teacher in cosmetics and, bartending, I would always kind of take people on these adventures and show them drinks and ideas that they’d never even thought of before.
And as I started to fix my own health with some really amazing practitioners in my corner helping me along, I started to realize, well, what if, you know, I could teach in this space? What if I could find a way to fast track all of those times where we deny that there might actually be wrong, where we cover up all our symptoms just for a little hint of feeling good for a couple of hours, and actually just show people that there’s a better way and empower people.
Surely, not everybody has to wait for their apocalyptic moment, whatever that might be, and so I just started writing and here we are a couple of years later, basically.
Guy Lawrence: That’s fantastic!
Stuart Cooke: Fantastic story.
Guy Lawrence: It is a hard one, though, isn’t it, though? The whole pain threshold? Because we see it a lot, as well, you know. It’s the same. People wait and wait and wait until it becomes unbearable, and then they usually slingshot the other way and go for it.
Alexx Stuart: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: Why do you think that is? It’s such a hard one, isn’t it? We’re too busy? We got caught up?
Alexx Stuart: Well, you know, society tells us that we’ve got to literally, like the ad says, “Soldier on.” And, you know, so they provide us with all these things to do that that stop us from listening to our bodies, and, in fact, so much of what happens in our modern world that gets sold to us to make life better, is actually completely unnecessary and disconnecting us from what’s really going on, whether that be happiness, whether that be illness.
I mean, you know, it’s actually quite amazing how we subscribe to everybody else’s thoughts about our lives other than our own.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, that’s a really good point.
Stuart Cooke: Tell us a little bit about toxic living, because I, you know, I hear the term low tox, you know, toxic living, and I see that you focus quite heavily on that sort of thing on your website, as well. So what does that actually mean to you?
Alexx Stuart: To me, look, I’m a city dweller. I live in a second floor apartment. I don’t even have a balcony. So I’m very urban, in terms of the way I live and where I choose to live at the moment, although everyone’s convinced I’m going to be a hippy on a farm, and I think, for me, low tox living is figuring out how you can still be connected with nature, how you can still take charge of the path of where your food comes from, and how you can ultimately decide what you put on and in you, and that includes lungs, so breathing, and so I choose to live coastally, because I find that to be a much better option in a big city than to live in a city or in a city’s suburbs.
So, you know, low tox living, to me is wherever you are, really. It could be someone in the country, as well, exposing themselves to pesticides with their farming or what, you know, there’s different definitions of what low tox living is depending on where you live, but for me it’s about finding ways to cut out noise, whether it be ads for food or pharmaceutical products…
Stuart Cooke: Sure.
Alexx Stuart: Or whether it be just trying to get in touch with nature as much as possible, equalize some of those, kind of, electromagnetic toxins, whether it’s being really scrutinous when I choose personal care products, and it’s just about making the best choice you can in all of those areas.
Guy Lawrence: And educating yourself at the same time so that you can make better decisions, right? And it’s interesting that you say “on” as well as “in” the body, because that’s one thing we forget a lot.
Alexx Stuart: We do, I mean, I meet people who are like, “Yeah, I’m all organic.” And then you see them slapping on some super cheap moisturizer at the beach that is full of, like, nanotechnology and hormone-altering chemicals. Our skin is our biggest organ. It’s actually probably absorbing, it actually is, I read this recently, absorbing more than our digestive system. So, it’s every bit as important to look after what we put on our skin.
Guy Lawrence: That’s massive. I hope you take notes, Stu, with what you put on your skin every day.
Stuart Cooke: Can’t you tell? Absolutely.
Guy Lawrence: So, you know, with all these things in mind, where’s the best place to get started then? You know, what do you find most useful, you know, from food, fridge, personal care, like there’s such a broad range of things?
Alexx Stuart: It really is, and a lot of people get daunted, and they get quite angry, and they can get quite defensive about that first day when you start to realize what’s in stuff, and it all unravels so fast, and you think, “Who can I trust? What can I do?” It can be really scary.
I always say, because I really love welcoming beginners in my community, I don’t believe that, you know, it should be like, “Still using margarine?” You know that condescending highfalutin kind of evangelical style of person. I just don’t find that energy is ever going to grow the nation of healthy livers So it’s really about being welcoming to these people and, if you’re indeed one of those people out there listening to this today, the number one thing I say is to not feel guilty about what you did yesterday and to actually just start looking at jar-by-jar, packet-by-packet, product-by-product, asking the questions at the butcher wherever you go to just educate yourself.
It will probably be a two-year journey. I mean, and that’s because only people like us have done the research now and are actively promoting and teaching, but when I started six years ago, it was like a four or five-year journey, because I was still trying to research so much stuff myself, so it wasn’t yet 100 percent available.
Stuart Cooke: Absolutely, and we always prefer small steps as well. If you want to climb a mountain, walk around the block first. Do it that way.
Alexx Stuart: Exactly! And just don’t get upset with yourself. You don’t have to throw everything away and buy three grand worth of stuff. Just phase stuff out and be relaxed about it, because the stress is completely counterproductive to good health.
Guy Lawrence: I was just going to say that. I do wonder how much the stress itself causes a lot of problems once you start becoming aware of these things. If you start stressing yourself out, you can probably end up in a lot worse place long term.
Alexx Stuart: Well, it’s so true, Guy. I mean, stress is the quiet killer in our society, as well, just as much as what we put on and in us, and, you know, a lot of people act guilty or ashamed when they eat a Magnum or when they, you know, because they think you might disapprove or, you know, I’ll have fish and chips in the summertime with friends at the beach.
For goodness’ sakes, like, it’s that ten percent, when you’re out of your home and you’re not in control and you’re not making every single choice, that you just go with the flow, because the becoming obsessive compulsive, becoming stressed about every single tiny little thing, it’s really going to create a lot of anxiety, you know, that feeling in your chest when you’re on edge about things? If you carry that long term, that can have some serious ramifications.
In fact, especially in your digestive system, so, you know, a lot of people start eating real food for that reason to try and get a better digestive system happening, so we’ve really got to think big picture on this kind of stuff and chill out and just go at our pace.
You know that beautiful saying, “Do what you can where you are with what you have.”
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right.
Stuart Cooke: That’s it, and it’s mind, body, and spirit, as well. It’s a holistic approach. Sure, you can eat like a saint, but if your heads spinning a thousand miles an hour and you’re worried about everything, then that work isn’t going to be the path to wellness for you.
Alexx Stuart: No, and you can lose friends if you become too stressed in particular, like, yeah, it’s like I always joke, you know, I’m not going to go to my friends’ house and say, “I’m sorry. Is that chicken organic?”
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.


Alexx Stuart: “What kind of oil have you used on that dressing? Because…”
Stuart Cooke: That’s it.
Alexx Stuart: You know? And it’s not cool, so there is an element where you just go with the flow, and the best you can do is make the choices within your own home.
Stuart Cooke: That’s it. That’s it. Yeah. One step at a time. You’ll get there in the end. I’m going to try to…
Alexx Stuart: Plus, eventually, your friends will have the organic chicken in the end anyway, so…yeah.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Yes they will.
Guy Lawrence: No, no, no, Guy. Stu’s coming over. We’d better order the organic chicken.
Stuart Cooke: Smother the chicken in sunscreen. Just going to go back to the sunscreen issue, because we…
Alexx Stuart: Nice segue there, Stu.
Stuart Cooke: You like the way that worked? I’ve been working all night on that one. I’m just managed to slide it in. We’re fortunate enough to live by the beach, and I’m aware of the importance of vitamin D from the sun, you know, that’s healthy, too, and necessary for our bodies, but there is a paranoia about Slip-Slop-Slap which rightfully is important to take into consideration, too. So, what are your thoughts on sunscreens for you and your children?
Alexx Stuart: So, I do use a sunscreen. It’s the most natural one I’ve been able to find, and I grabbed that from NourishedLife.com.au. I don’t know if you guys know Irene, but a wonderful operator, very scrutinous about what she allows in her online shop, and it’s called Eco, quite simply, and that is a really good sunscreen. It’s the only one that doesn’t feel like you’re putting on clay. You know those natural sunscreens that aren’t so sure you’re really trying to separate a caramel square onto your skin they’re so thick?
So that’s a really great one, but I stay so far away from all of the conventional sunscreens, because they’re some of the most common ingredients in sunscreens actually cause free radical damage in your cells.
So, I just don’t see the logic in outing ingredients like that in products to protect us from something. It’s completely counterproductive, and I’m not saying that means you’re just going to run around wearing nothing at all, because that’s safer and more natural than sunscreen, because the fact is, we live in Australia here, and if you’re out in direct sunlight for more than ten, fifteen minutes then, yes, you need to protect yourself.
Interestingly enough, once you start to bring health fats back into your diet, you have a certain base level of protection that is higher than, say, someone eating a lot of omega 6, where the ratio is at, and there is some really concrete research around that, so it’s a good one to look at for anyone who wants to know that.
I’ll just read you that, because some of these ingredients lists are so long that I don’t want to stuff it up. 4-methylbenzylidene camphor (4-MBC), you know, was found in mice to delay puberty and decrease adult prostate weight. Do I want to put that on my skin? Not really. I’m not really keen, you know?
Oxybenzone, that’s a hormone-altering chemical. Some of the fragrance particles, the phthalates in sunscreens are, you know, those beautiful tropical smelling sunscreens, they’re actually disturbing your endocrine system as they seep into your skin.
Guy Lawrence: We put so much trust in the manufacturers and just take so many things blindly, you know?
Alexx Stuart: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: And it’s so easy to just go, “Oh, well, you know, I don’t care.” And just rub your arm with whatever, but it’s interesting what you say because, you know, me being fair, being from Wales, right? I’m not the best combination, because I live by the, you know, the beach in Sydney, but I have found since I’ve changed, you know, I eat the much higher fat, natural fat diet now over the last five years, and I’ve found my skin, it is a lot better in the sun. I don’t burn that easily.
Alexx Stuart: It’s lovely. It’s actually glowing.
Guy Lawrence: It’s completely different. Yeah, it’s…
Stuart Cooke: It’s a contrast issue on his monitor, that’s all that is.
Guy Lawrence: You’d never know I was 63, would you?
Stuart Cooke: He’s cranked it up.
Alexx Stuart: No, it is, and there’s so many people report the same, so it’s interesting, isn’t it? But, yes, use a natural one or just don’t spend much time, more than ten, fifteen minutes in direct sunlight at a time, because, yes, we need the vitamin D, and I say early morning and afternoon just get out there, you know?
We don’t need…I see kids completely covered up and now rickets is making a comeback. So there is an overboard, and what I found really interesting at the Changing the Way We Eat conference was Gary Fettke’s, Dr. Gary Fettke’s I should say, was talking about the need for vitamin D to healthily metabolize fructose and prevent it from turning into LDL cholesterol. I found that completely fascinating, so if you are completely covering yourself and protected, then you know, and you’re having lots of fruit in the summertime which is a lovely thing to do, you know, you’re actually, you could be damaging your body.
Now, I don’t want to scare people, but that’s a really interesting little bit of science, as well. We do need vitamin D, so ten, fifteen minutes in direct sun. You do not need sunscreen for that, in my opinion. I’m not a practitioner, but I really believe it’s a healthy way to go.
Guy Lawrence: It makes me think about everyone back home still, you know, because they don’t have a sunscreen problem, there’s no bloody sun, but they have a vitamin D problem, you know, especially if they’re eating a high-sugar diet as well.
Alexx Stuart: Yeah. Exactly, and that’s the cholesterol.
Stuart Cooke: Why is it, it’s funny, you can dig so deep into that. I’ve read numerous studies about cleaning up your diet and it changes the profile of your subcutaneous fat which is, again, the barrier between your body and the sun, and there’s evidence out there. Dig deep. Have a Google and you’ll find evidence-based studies that will really enlighten you.
Alexx Stuart: I think the Weston A. Price Foundation has some interesting research on that.
Guy Lawrence: They have a lot of it, yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Absolutely.
Guy Lawrence: I think the take-home so far is think about what we’re putting on our skin, whether it’s a moisturizer to the sunscreen, and think twice before applying it.
Alexx Stuart: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: All right. Next thing we wanted to cover, bring up, Alexx, was real food. There’s a big misconception that it’s more expensive to live healthy. What are your thoughts on that?
Alexx Stuart: I don’t think it is. So, let’s just say day one someone’s decided I’ve got to start buying everything organic, but what they do is they still go to the supermarket. They just buy the organic version of everything, so they don’t actually change their food pattern or vocabulary, and they just do product swaps for the organic version.
If you do that, then 100 percent yes, you will find yourself doubling your grocery bill.
Guy Lawrence: That’s my confession, yes.
Stuart Cooke: That’s definitely you. I’ve seen your food bill. I like your cup, by the way. Is that a Pantone cup?
Alexx Stuart: Yes, it is. Purple for calm.
Stuart Cooke: What number are you?
Alexx Stuart: This particular one is 5285.
Stuart Cooke: Awesome.
Alexx Stuart: I have the red one for when it’s Power Hour and I need to get lots of work done. I’ve got different ones for different moods.
Stuart Cooke: I like that. Sorry, that’s the graphic designer coming out of me.
Guy Lawrence: I have no idea what you’re on about, you two, but I’ll just sit here and…
Stuart Cooke: Sorry. Back to Guy, yeah. Guy is the stereotypical bachelor who goes out to his boutiquey little shops, buys these beautiful little packaged organic meats. They’re always going to be the finest cuts, and, boy, do they cost a fortune.
So, me, on the other side of the coin, you know, family, children, have to be more careful about budget and, also, more aware that I want to get decent quality meat and veggies.
Alexx Stuart: Absolutely, so, stop buying at the supermarket or small grocer, because that will, yes, that will be more expensive, if price is an issue for you. I use my brilliant small grocer for, like, you know, emergency stuff and top ups when I run out of things, but essentially I buy 80 percent of our produce from either my butcher or direct online beef supplier, who’s fabulous, and the markets. And they are the places I buy our food.
So, by buying your food from people where you’ve got, like, you don’t have a huge trolley that you can fill up, you’ve just got a couple of bags that you can carry back to the car, that also really helps you keep things in perspective. You only get what you need, and then you stop wasting so much.
You know, there are so many things that attribute to people overspending on a grocery bill, but essentially to save the money buy as much from direct people as you can, and, also, start cooking with secondary cuts. My favorite butcher is GRUB up in Vaucluse, for you Sydneysiders. They are so passionate and ethical, and they really know how to help you learn how to cook certain things that you might not be used to cooking.
And then, for beef, I also buy directly from Alma Beef. A, L, M, A.Who’s in New South Wales and Wellington. This woman cares so much about how cows are raised. She cares about all the different types of grass and the results that you get in the meat from what you feed your cows, so there’s no grains. And, you know, you can buy chuck steak, not chuck, it’s oyster blade on the bone, ten dollars a kilo.
Stuart Cooke: Wow.
Alexx Stuart: Gorgeous big slow-cooked stew, I saw Guy’s eyes go, “What?”
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, exactly.
Alexx Stuart: If you get these secondary cuts, you can make a huge big batch of a couple of kilos of a single basic casserole, so tomatoes, stalk veggies, onions, yada, yada, herbs, and then the next day you can separate that out and morph some of it with a bit of cumin and cinnamon and turn that half of it into something Mexican, the other… So you’ve got different flavors going on, and you just need to get a bit smarter.
Which, funnily enough, my second book, which will be coming out next month, is XXreally about everything you eatXX 0:24:13
Guy Lawrence: It goes back, like, everything else, isn’t it? Because it can seem overwhelming at first, but once you start to find out and know and fully make adjustments, you know…
Alexx Stuart: Absolutely. I mean, in one of my cooking web shows, which is Save Time, Save Money, but provide beautiful nourishing food, I show people how to cook a slow roast lamb shoulder, and they are just shocked by how easy it is. They’re like, “That’s all I have to do?” I’m like, “Yes, you do this before work, and when you get home from work, it’ll be falling apart…”
Guy Lawrence: Is that in the slow cooker, is it?
Alexx Stuart: In a slow cooker or in your oven.
Guy Lawrence: My girlfriend told me to buy a slow cooker, and I absolutely hammer the thing. Like, I use it all the time. They’re amazing. Amazing.
Stuart Cooke: You actually do use it all the time, as well. I think every single meal is a slow cooker.
Guy Lawrence: Almost.
Alexx Stuart: But it’s also better for you, because you’re not stunning the protein, like you are when you pan fry something at high heat. I mean that can denature the outsides of a steak. So slow cooking is actually healthier for you, too. Validation!
Stuart Cooke: I’m going to slowly fry my meat from this point on. Thank you for that tip. About five hours.
Alexx Stuart: And the other thing people don’t realize is they keep buying and eating huge amounts of protein, and you really just don’t need that much. Pardon the pun, but beef it up with veg. Get more vegetables into your stews and more. Roast twice as many vegetables as you would normally to have with your roast and just one less slice of that and double your veg. And then you’ve taken care of cell regeneration, as well as muscle regeneration. Both are very important.
Stuart Cooke: That was one of the take homes from the Tasmania conference. It was the quality of food was so superb and almost brimming with nutrients that it was satiating. It was supremely filling, which is quite rare for me and Guy, because we do eat quite a lot. You know, I eat a lot more than Guy, but I didn’t feel the need to snack. I wasn’t hungry. I was completely full.
Alexx Stuart: Oh, same, yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Just nutrients, you know. Supreme quality. Just blown away.
Alexx Stuart: I think this was the first conference or only conference perhaps ever where I’ve seen butter on top of pate as…
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: It was awesome. Full credit to Joe, yeah. Absolutely amazing.
Stuart Cooke: He did very well. So, talk about buying organic. How important do you actually think that that is in the grand scheme of things for us?
Alexx Stuart: Well, you know, there’s growing research around pesticides and their effect on us, in particular on our gut health. Now why it’s important to have good gut health is because the gut/brain connection. So the gut is like a second brain, but 80 percent of our immune system also resides in our guts.
So, this is like the key. If we don’t get that right, then we’re disturbing our immune system and our brain function, as well as our digestive system which impacts overall health in a number of ways.
So, pesticides can actually alter, depending on which one and to varying degrees, can alter your gut bacteria makeup, and to me that is an extremely scary thing.
Guy Lawrence: Massive, yeah.
Alexx Stuart: I try not to have anything that’s going to disturb the balance, and I called, I talked to my son about this, the good soldiers versus the bad soldiers, and I create these stories around, you know, like for chewing, for example, sorry to tangent, but, “You know, you’ve got to really chew your food, because that releases lots of good soldiers that say, ‘Hey, there’s food coming!’ and that gets everybody down there, and if you haven’t chewed your food right and big chunks get down there, that means all the good soldiers have to go and work on breaking down the food. And that means the bad soldiers have got time to relax and make more bad soldiers and take over.”
You know, and so many things get affected by the good and the bad soldiers, and whether they’re XXin frontX 0:28:22 or not. So, pesticides, to me, are a no with every food choice I make. So, once again, coming back to that not being OCD, not being stressed, as soon as I’m out the door and I’m having a meal, maybe a friend, you know, with a friend in a restaurant or at a friend’s house, I don’t worry. I just try not to think about it too much.
But in my food choices, yeah, I think it’s 100 percent important, and I will seek out organic food. Having said that, the person I buy from doesn’t actually have certification. So this is about knowing your farmer and knowing how they farm. Certification for a small family on a small farm is a really massive cost in this country, and I’m really angry. I don’t know about you guys, but I get angry that these poor farmers doing the right thing by their communities and the planet are the ones who get…
Guy Lawrence: Slammed…
Stuart Cooke: Shafted by bureaucracy.
Alexx Stuart: That’s exactly right. It just doesn’t seem fair, so, and I’m 100 percent confident that they farm the way I farm, and you can holes in the spinach, the odd snail on there. Those are the signs that you want. I saw on Facebook where it’s like, “Oh, my god, there’s a snail in my salad.”
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. That’s a really good thing.
Alexx Stuart: Are you kidding me. That’s proof there is living life on your food. That’s a really good sign.
Guy Lawrence: If they’re going to eat it then you know it’s a good thing, and I just want to emphasize that point to anyone listening to this that, you know, how important gut health is. Like, it’s, you know, like you say, it’s massive, you know, and it can take a long time to turn that around if it’s…
Stuart Cooke: That’s right.
Guy Lawrence: …not in good shape.
Stuart Cooke: People think gut health for digestion, as well, but, you know, gut health for mental health, too, because…
Alexx Stuart: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: You mentioned that, like, the hormone connection there. You know, we’ve all got hormones in our gut that govern the way that we think and we feel. That can really steer you down the wrong path, as well, if you’re not on track there.
Alexx Stuart: It really can and, sadly, it can only take a couple of days of high sugar to derail. So, yeah, it’s really about adopting that lifestyle, isn’t it?
Guy Lawrence: Yes, it’s a lifestyle change. There’s no quick fixes.
Stuart Cooke: Yes.
Guy Lawrence: Next, next subject. GMO.
Stuart Cooke: I thought you were going to hold up the banner: GMO.
Alexx Stuart: We’re keeping it really light today, aren’t we?
Stuart Cooke: We are. We are. I just want to duck in, as well, before we go too heavy on this, and just the other angle, as well, for GMO, because everybody is…One side of the camp, we’re kind of, “No to GMO!” but on the other side of the camp we also got to think about what it means for the people that don’t have access to a lot of food, you know, GMO for them means that their crops and food sources can be transported to them to feed them. So while we’re thinking about nice big plush plump tomatoes and fruit, they’re actually thinking about being able to have access to grain just to live.
Alexx Stuart: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. I also think we should explain exactly what GMO is, as well.
Alexx Stuart: Absolutely. Happy to do that.
Guy Lawrence: Cool.
Alexx Stuart: So, I was having this discussion last night, actually, because I’m a nerd and I really like talking about this stuff on Facebook pages, and it was around…a very well-known blogger in the States, kind of, had put up a thing, a little packet of yogurt or something that was suggested by her son’s preschool to take to the preschool as a really good, easy snack for the kids.
She saw what was in it. She saw that there was soy in it, and that the product did not boast to be GM-free, which is the number one detective way that you can assume that it’s therefore genetically modified soy, and so she then found a brand that didn’t have that in it and said, “You know, I’m really passionate about making sure my little guy gets the best choice and, even though this one has a little bit of cane sugar in there, I figured at least overall this is a better product to be sending him with.”
Now then the very first comment was a woman who said, “Oh, you know, how dare you be so picky about something so small when there are people on the earth that don’t have any food at all?” And, you know, look, there is a lot of validity to that reaction, because it can seem so “first world problem,” however, if we don’t take issue with agriculture and the way it affects us, community, and planet, as first world citizens, if you want to really make the distinction of us being that, then who is going to?
And, I really feel that, for me, it’s not about being anti-science and anti-progress, I mean, if we find the natural way to increase yields that more people can be sent food to eat, then I am all for that, really I am. However, if we look at the two big players in the GM industry, they’re people who have, one in particular, founded their business model on selling a seed, making a farmer have to buy that seed every year, so no longer able to save seeds as farmers traditionally have, then impregnating the seed with a genetic makeup that makes less…It’s more resistant…It’s less resistant to a pesticide that it also sells.
That, to me, is why I am anti-GM in the current climate of what GM is, because I believe that the people who are at the forefront in terms of business and success, if you like, in genetically modified, in the genetically modified food industry, I just cannot morally believe that they are doing this for the good of man. I can’t, especially when the same company is responsible for producing Agent Orange, aspartame, DDT…If you look at the history…I’m not going to name names. Everyone can do their own research, but I really…
Guy Lawrence: It wouldn’t take much to work it out, I think.
Alexx Stuart: Nah, it wouldn’t. Nah. But just for new people out there contemplating whether or not to buy things that have soy or corn in it when it says local and imported ingredients and doesn’t say GM-free, then I hate to break it to you, but that means basically that it’s genetically modified.
And then another little note on the planet is that, and I heard this from Nora Gedgaudas the author of Primal Body Primal Mind recently, she said that the number one reason for deforestation in the Amazon at the moment is genetically modified soy farming.
Stuart Cooke: Wow.
Alexx Stuart: You know? So, I’m not loving it, I have to say. I promote being against it. I’m actually an activist against it. I go to the marches, because I believe in the current way that it’s done, we have to stand up to what, to me, just looks like a whole bunch of corporate bullying.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, yeah. That’s exactly what I was going to say.
Alexx Stuart: Plus, scientifically the science is very grey as to whether or not it’s any good for humans. I personally don’t believe so, because of the pesticide implication. I just, I can’t see it.
Stuart Cooke: Well, crikey, thank you for that. We certainly stirred something up there, didn’t we? Just relax. Guy, get us out of here.
Alexx Stuart: The Alexx Activist came out there. I’ll put myself back in the box.
Guy Lawrence: No, they’re fantastic points you raised, and people, you know, need to look at both sides of the argument, you know, and make up their own mind whether, you know…
Alexx Stuart: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: I certainly agree with everything you said pretty much there. Absolutely. Yeah. Stu?
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, I’m going to move on to kids now. So with all that in mind, how can we get kids to eat, you know, healthily, the way that we want to eat, the way that we eat, without lots of stress, bearing in mind that kids, generally, can be quite fussy little buggers? I’ve got three of them, you know, that run me ragged.
Alexx Stuart: I’ve got one.
Stuart Cooke: You’ve got one? Guy will have one at some stage. Tips and tricks for parents, you know. Where do we start with our kids?
Alexx Stuart: I think before we start with our kids, we need to look at our own food issues. I see a lot of parents, and this is not a judgment thing, it’s just an observation, a lot of parents, you know, eating on the go. Just grabbing whatever they can find and shoving it in their mouths at a traffic light while their tiny toddler is in the back. They’re learning all of this behavior.
Stuart Cooke: That’s right.
Alexx Stuart: They’re seeing the little piece of grape here, the tiny chocolate bar just to get that boost at 3:00 p.m. they see that before they can even talk. They’re picking up on all this stuff. They hear us say, “Who wants the little cupcake?” with this really excited little voice, and then they hear the same person say to them, “Eat your zucchini!” with this really serious kind of negative voice. Yeah?
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Alexx Stuart: And I just think, “God, the kids aren’t, I mean, they’re not dumb.”
Stuart Cooke: No. That’s right.
Alexx Stuart: They pick up all of that, and they literally regurgitate back to us whatever we have subliminally or consciously taught them.IN fact there are a lot of issues here. I would say that anyone out there that’s got a very, very fussy child, and, like, you know, a White Foods kid, to go and see a practitioner and get some zinc testing, because zinc has been shown to be linked to fussy eating, so if you really have a problem with it, literally hardly eating anything colorful, then that would be a great one to troubleshoot.
But essentially to just be enthusiastic just as, if not more, enthusiastic about vegetables than any other thing you might serve your kids. I take carrots to the zoo or the park. Or we eat half an avocado if we know we’re going to be out. You know, you have an avocado, you put some sea salt on it, and you eat it. That is just such a delicious, healthy real food. And I can’t tell you how many times random strangers butt in on our little snack time and go, “Oh, who’s the little boy having a carrot! What a little XXguy?XX 0:39:06″
Stuart Cooke: I know.
Alexx Stuart: Like it was some strange thing for a child to enjoy a carrot.
Guy Lawrence: Oh, my god, he’s eating vegetables. Yeah.
Alexx Stuart: Like he’s some kind of mini savior. I just think we’ve got it all wrong. All of our messaging around healthy foods for our kids is wrong. It’s all “have to” instead of the joy of discovery of all these amazing colors we have in our…available to us.
Stuart Cooke: It’s all in the culture, too. I always try and get our little ones into the kitchen prepping veg, if we’re going, you know, if we’re out and about and, you know, we’re buying veg, I’ll say, “All right. What do you want tonight? Go and choose some things. Show me what you want.”
Get them involved. Get them in there, so they know what it is, and they’ve made part of that decision, because, you know, you could say to them, “You’ve got vegetables tonight.” And they’re going, “Oh, no, no, no!” But if you say to them, “What vegetables do you want?” Then they’re making that choice and they’re already there. Just get it then. It’s the culture.
Alexx Stuart: Yeah, it really is, Stu. And another thing I’ve noticed is the only time, I did, I’m a Jamie Oliver Food Revolution Ambassador, and so every year around mid-May there’s Food Revolution Day, and so I did that with my community, and we had a great time. So many fantastic pictures came through of people cooking with their kids.
In the lead-up, I kind of, you know, we had lots of chats around what people were going to make and what they were going to involve their kids in on, and it kind of dawned on me that the only thing people seem to, for the most part, cook with their kids is treats like cookies, muffins, cakes.
And that’s great that they’re cooking at least something and not having the store bought versions of that. Credit where credit’s due, however, we should be doing dinner with them. We should be helping them, getting them to help us choose.
Like last night. I was roasting a little bit of butterflied lamb for dinner, and I open the veggie drawer and I said to my son, “Okay, you choose the three veg that we’re going to have tonight with this.”
And he chose, you know, and he said, “Oh, I can’t decide between…”
“So, what do you really feel like today?”
“Oh, crunchy fennel.”
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Alexx Stuart: Yeah. My kid’s, you know, a bit extreme.
Stuart Cooke: Right…
Alexx Stuart: He honestly comes into the kitchen and says, “Can I just have a piece of crunchy fennel?”
Stuart Cooke: That’s awesome.
Alexx Stuart: Yeah, but, you know, it’s really just about being really mindful of what we are sending out as a message to our kids. Are we sending out to them that the only time food is enjoyable and fun is if it is a cookie, a muffin, or a cake? Because if we’re doing that, we have to change the conversation. Once we think about that, is that the conversation we’ve always had with ourselves? Chances are, it is. So we’ve actually got to do work on ourselves to be able to pass it on.
Guy Lawrence: I think…
Stuart Cooke: I think so, and I’m always intrigued by the reward systems, as well, that schools and parents tend to push out there to the children. It always seems to be based upon rewarding with treats and sweets, and I always liken it to circus animals. You know? “Here’s your sugar cubes, you know, what a wonderful show you’ve just performed.”
We’ve got to probably, it pays to think slightly differently along those lines, too, because if, you know, this is a treat for these kids, I don’t think…I just don’t…It doesn’t sit with me.
Alexx Stuart: Why can’t we just tell them they’ve done a great job and they should be really proud of themselves in front of the class? You know, that is what reward is, recognition for doing a beautiful job at something. It’s not…It doesn’t need to be a red frog with coloring that can cause anaphylaxis. I mean, it’s really quite mental when you think about it that we save poisonous, contrived, laboratory-produced foods for the most special times.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah…
Alexx Stuart: I mean if you really think about that for a second, it is bizarre.
Guy Lawrence: It’s unbelievable.
Alexx Stuart: Oh, it’s Dougy’s birthday. Let’s have a whole bunch of fake food coloring that comes from petroleum. Mental.
Guy Lawrence: I know, but it’s everywhere, isn’t it? The marketing and the messaging. It’s bombarding you wherever you go. It’s so hard to get away from, as well, and I mean, I don’t have children, but the day it happens, I just think, I cringe in how I’m going to tackle all this.
Stuart Cooke: You’ll be fine, Mate. You’ll be fine. I shall watch from afar. Smirking.
Guy Lawrence: So what would you recommend putting in the kid’s lunch box? What would you do, Alexx?
Alexx Stuart: So at lunch, what we need is foods that are going to keep the blood sugar steady, because they’ve got a whole afternoon yet to go thinking, especially for the teeny, tiny ones who aren’t used to doing that all day. Food is probably going to be their best weapon for success, in terms of having energy still at the end of the school day to go off and play with their friends. So I would be putting some really good quality meats. I would be, like, leftover roast is a really great…
You know, a lot of people think “Oh, I need cold meats, so I’ll go and buy ham from a supermarket.” That’s riddled with strange things in there, and a lot of processed meats are. So the best thing you can do is to buy slightly more when you do your stews an your roasts and things so that you’ve got some left for school lunches.
I would also, instead of making sandwiches with big thick bits of bread, whether it be, hopefully sourdough, because that’s obviously easier to digest, I would be using something like the Mountain Bread wraps which are like paper thin bread. So you’ve just reduced the amount of carbohydrate in that overall sandwich and you fill it with avocado and roast sweet potato leftovers and a little bit of, you know, sliced lamb roast, and then your percentage of actual high nutrient content in that thing that they still see as a sandwich is, yeah, it goes up.
I put a little bit of fresh fruit, but I would never put dried fruit, because that averages between 60 and 80 percent sugar. Something like a date is 100 percent GI, so you know, we think, “Oh, it’s healthy. It’s one ingredient. Great!” It’s actually just not healthy, especially if you eat it on its own.
And then what else? Veggie sticks and dip. Dips are a brilliant way to get extra nutrients into kids. so they might not want to eat a whole bunch of pieces of veg but if you puree a beet root with carrot, I mean with yogurt and a little bit of cinnamon and then they dip their carrot in here, they’re actually having two serves of veg like that, and then they’ve got some cultured food from yogurt or kafir, which is really good to mix in there, too.
You know, it’s, so, it’s just kind of going, “How can I get a little bit of color in here? How can I get some healthy fats in the pizza so it he can absorb the vitamin A, E, D, and K, which is so important to us, and then how can I get some protein, also, for long-lasting energy? That would be how I’d plan it.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: I like it. It’s tricky with schools today, because every second kid is allergic to something, and there are massive restrictions on what we can put in. There’s definitely no eggs. There’s no nuts. There’s no sesame. There’s, you know, you’d better watch out on anything that isn’t in its own packet and comes with its own label. It’s a no no.
Alexx Stuart: Yeah, and it’s so ironic, isn’t it? Because a lot of these packaged foods are what have caused all of these health problems because our guts are so feeble now, and yet the packaged foods are recommended because we can be sure of what’s, what they’re free from. It’s really quite sad. It’s sort of a Catch-22.
The number one thing to do is to have a kick ass breakfast and dinner because then you’re in control. That’s happening at home. You know, load them up with lots of good stuff and then keep it to a very simple meat/veg combo in the lunch box in whatever form that takes, whether it’s veggie sticks or fruit, couple of dips, and some sort of wrap with some leftover meat and avocado. Then, you know, you’re going to have a kid who’s raring to go and able to concentrate.
Guy Lawrence: Great tips.
Stuart Cooke: That’s right. You certainly wouldn’t want to be a teacher at the moment, would you? Crikey. Those little time bombs running around like Tasmanian devils.
Alexx Stuart: No. I’m writing a …I’m creating a food program for an amazing new childcare center called Thinkers, Inc. and that’s in Terrey Hills, the first one’s going to be opening up, but they’ll be opening more, and I popped it on my Facebook page for my community, and people have literally, you know, found their way to this place and have enrolled because they’re so excited that they’re going to be able to trust the food.
I mean, a lot of parents have woken up, who have realized what’s in the stuff that gets fed to tiny kids, you know, zero to five is when the brain’s developing faster than it ever will again in the rest of their lives. If we can’t get that nutrient fuel right for that age group, you know, it’s scary…
Stuart Cooke: It’s scary, but there is so much need because, unfortunately, we’re very time poor, and a lot of us just think, “Well, what on earth will I put in that lunch box? Because I have no idea, because I just don’t know where to start…”
Alexx Stuart: Yeah. A lot of people just make meals that they didn’t finish that night and they find themselves having to start from zero every single day. Frankly, that would exhaust me, too, and I only have one child, so it’s always really important that when you’re chopping up the carrot to chuck in your…for steaming that night, chop up an extra couple of carrots at that same time and chuck them in a container. Use the time better.
A lot of people chop an onion every single time they get something started. Why don’t you chop two or three at the same time for the week?
Guy Lawrence: Exactly. Cook once; eat twice.
Alexx Stuart: Yes. Definitely, and when it comes to school lunches, that’s going to keep you sane, too.
Guy Lawrence: Just out of curiosity, Alexx, what is your typical daily diet look like?
Alexx Stuart: I usually start the day with…I really listen to my mood. I was finding that eating eggs and avocado and bacon and things like that, quite heavy, really wasn’t serving my energy well throughout the day. It wasn’t right for me, and I quite like dabbling in learning a bit more about Ayurveda. I don’t know if you guys have ever looked in that direction, but you know really eating for your mood, for the time of year, for your personal energy, yin yang balance, all those sorts of things. So eggs most of the time with a little quarter bit of avocado, and I would just scramble those in a good bit of butter and have lots of fresh parsley and a bit of cultured veg with that.
But then, sometimes, when I feel like I just want to stay light feeling I would blend up probably a cup of frozen blueberries with a couple of tablespoons of coconut yogurt and kafir water and a whole bunch of cinnamon and a few nuts, like macadamia nuts or something. And it’s almost like an instant ice cream for breakfast. It’s amazing. It’s delicious. I think I’ve popped it up on the blog recently, if you want to check it out, but sometimes when you just want to keep your head really clear and light and have a lighter breakfast then that’s what I’d go for. So that’s brekkie.
Lunch is always some sort of morph of the night before’s dinner, because I work from home. Most days, so it’ll be roast meats, tons of veg, and then sometimes like a little bit of a halloumi cheese or some olives or things like that.
And then dinner is usually veg as a start and then a beautiful sort of meat, as well. And with the veg, I try and do a couple of different textures to keep it interesting, so they’ll be a puree of some kind. They’ll something steamed, and I might kind of mandolin a few little bits of sweet potato and fry them in coconut oil for something crunchy, because I like layering textures.
Guy Lawrence: Wow.
Stuart Cooke: Crikey. Well, we must do dinner at some time…
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, I was going to say we must come for dinner. I was thinking the same thing.
Alexx Stuart: A lot of people say, “A meat and three veg…” People say it, like, as if it was this boring thing, but meat and three veg has got to be about the healthiest this you can do for your body. That’s what we were designed to eat. So make the three veg exciting. Don’t just steam a whole bunch, I mean, that gets boring. I get bored by that. You’ve got to learn how to cook a few things. Got to get a few tricks under your belt.
Stuart Cooke: What would you, what foods do you go out of your way, strictly out of your way to avoid?
Alexx Stuart: Okay, so I avoid any packaged food where I would not know what the ingredients are just from the look of them. I would absolutely avoid genetically modified foods, so corn and soy in a packet, even in Australia. A lot of Australians think, “Oh, but it’s not an issue here. There’s just a bit of canola. That’s it.”
But any packaged product that says, “Local and imported ingredients” and does not clarify that is a GM-free product is most likely to have genetically modified versions of those ingredients in there. So definitely if there’s corn and soy.
What else would I avoid? I avoid any unethical, inhumane meat. Cage eggs, for example. Free range chicken which is usually still from a very crowded situation, and also fed grains, some of which are genetically modified, so I would definitely avoid that.
I would avoid non-organic pork, for that very same reason, because the pigs eat grains and, again, often, genetically modified within the meats. And what else? Anything friend in vegetable oil.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Of course, yeah.
Alexx Stuart: Those are kind of my main ones that I kind of, you know, and anything that…can I say a personal care one as well?
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely. Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Alexx Stuart: Anything with a fake smell. So, you know how we get sold those ads like for clean air system. Oh, my god, open a window.
Guy Lawrence: Pollutant. That’s my word. This is a chemical pollutant. Do you really want a device that just pushes out pollutants into your room every 30 seconds. Are you kidding me?
Alexx Stuart: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, what do they call it? Essence of the Ocean?
Alexx Stuart: Mountain Fresh, Ocean Spray…I can tell you right now that Mountain Fresh smells nothing like…
Guy Lawrence: …a mountain. Yeah
Stuart Cooke: That’s right. Yeah. Pollutant 101. That’s all it is.
Alexx Stuart: That’s the number one thing I avoid in personal care products, home products, cleaning products, anything. Yeah. There are my top avoids.
Stuart Cooke: That’s a road map for good health I would say, right there.
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely. Before we wrap it up, we always ask this question on the end of every podcast. And it can be non-nutritional. It can be anything. What’s the single best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Alexx Stuart: The single best piece of advice I’ve ever been given…That’s got to be a really…Does everyone struggle with that question?
Stuart Cooke: It doesn’t have to be anything that…
Alexx Stuart: I’ve been around for 38 years.
Guy Lawrence: What’s the best piece of advice that springs to mind?
Alexx Stuart: Oh, you know what? Okay. I have a lovely coach that I call on from time to time. XXKate HoseyXX 0:55:34 She’s so clever, and she has this little saying that is, “Your obstacle isn’t in your way, it is your way.”
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. All right.
Alexx Stuart: Now, just sit with that for a sec. It’s a big one, but what that translates as is you know how we always say, “Oh, I don’t have any money, and if I had some money I’d be awesome at that.”
Or, “My health is just shit.” Oh my god, am I allowed to say that?
Guy Lawrence: You can swear, that’s fine. We’ve got it. we’ll bleep that out after.
Alexx Stuart: “If only I was healthy, I would, you know, life would be so much better for me.” All these obstacles, we say if we didn’t have these obstacles life would be awesome. Well those obstacles are our way. They’re there to teach us something, and they’re there for us to work through to come out the other end stronger, and when she said that, I didn’t yet know her. It was actually one of her other coaching students that told it to me which made me think, “Hmmm, this woman sounds interesting.”
And I just think it’s a really awesome life guide notion. When something’s tough, when something’s difficult, when you’re confronted by something you don’t want to deal with, it is actually your way to the next step in your life, and I think that’s something that you can transpose from food to personal care, you know, all these choices we’re trying to help people make better, as well as career or finance, you know, friends.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, I love it…
Stuart Cooke: yeah, absolutely, you can push that anywhere. No, that does make sense. I like it.
Guy Lawrence: I’ll remind you of that, Stu, next time you start complaining to me.
Stuart Cooke: Guy, you are my obstacle. Don’t worry about me. I’ve got to overcome you.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, so where can people go to get more of you? Alexx?
Alexx Stuart: Okay. So my address, no, I’m just kidding.
Stuart Cooke: We’re putting that all over the internet. And your phone number.
Alexx Stuart: WWW dot Alexx with two Xs Stuart spelled S, T, U, A, R, T, dot com is my website. You can come find me on Facebook. My Twitter and Instagram are A, L, E, double X, underscore, Stuart, S, T, U, A, R, T, so you can find me there, and yeah, that’s about it. And you can grab my book Real Treats, which really helps you get you over the weird toxic treats we were talking about earlier, and you can get that on my site.
Guy Lawrence: And there’s a new book coming out soon.
Alexx Stuart: Yes, next month, and a couple of courses for beginners, which will be really, really great.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, well we can put the appropriate links on the blog anyway, and…
Alexx Stuart: Awesome.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. Thanks for coming on.
Stuart Cooke: Well, we have had a blast. We always, it’s always great to learn stuff, as well, you know.
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.
Stuart Cooke: I loved it. Fantastic. Thank you so much for your time. Really appreciate it, and so pleased that we connected in Tasmania and have continued the relationship. It’s been awesome.
Alexx Stuart: Me, too. It has been awesome. We’ll all have to get together for a little reunion.
Stuart Cooke: Absolutely.
Guy Lawrence: Definitely.
Stuart Cooke: Will do. Guy, sort it out.
Alexx Stuart: He’s your PA, is he, Stu?
Stuart Cooke: He is, yes, he is. P, A, I, N.
Guy Lawrence: Dream on. Dream on, Mate. Dream on. Awesome.
Stuart Cooke: Thank you so much.
Alexx Stuart: Thanks for having me on the podcast.
Guy Lawrence: Cheers.
Stuart Cooke: Speak to you soon.

What To Eat When On A Detox

Detox Foods List

By Guy Lawrence

If you follow our Facebook page, you may know that I am on an 8-10 week detox. I have a parasite that’s killed all my good bacteria, and has essentially affected my feng shui in the gut!

I am taking Metagenics supplements too, but these have been prescribed to me for a direct role related to my gut.

Why is this post relevant to you?

If you fancy implementing a clean eating plan for a few weeks, then the foods I’ve listed below will do the trick nicely.

For those of you that follow my blog, you’re probably aware I can’t do fluffy and nice to well, as I need to say it as it is. So if you think detoxing is buying some kind of tea from the chemist, or cutting out the potato chips for a limited time whilst ‘detoxing’, I apologise in advance. My purpose is honestly to educate and inspire, not to intimidate and throw it in the all too hard basket. But if you want the sugar coated topping without the real deal, buy a copy of a glossy magazine like No Idea.

One step at a time

For some just stopping alcohol for a month and having a cup of lemon tea is detoxing. Simply cutting out sugar or stopping that 3pm cookie fix is detoxing too. Whilst these are all fantastic and are steps in the right direction, I think it’s healthy to understand why you are doing it and the choices you are making. And if that’s where you need to start then go for it! Just don’t fall back to old ways after a week.

I feel I’ve surrounded myself with the best in the health business, and I am being guided all the way through my detox by Naturopath Tania Flack. So if you are looking to go the whole nine yards with a detox, I suggest you check out a local Naturopath in your area and be guided the right way too.

If not and you just fancy cleaning up your diet, then following my eating guidelines below will certainly help a great deal!

The detox foods I eat

Detox foodsTo make life easy I’ve grouped them into macronutrients; Protein, fat and carbs. I will combine all these foods to the best of my ability. I’m no Jamie Oliver, but I enjoy the challenge of the detox to make me think more creatively when it comes to what I can do with food.

Pic right: The difference between my creativity & Healthy Playful Living’s creativity whilst making detox friendly foods.

Main Source Of Animal Proteins

I will be having a palm size portion of these 1-2 times a day.

  • Fish
  • Grass fed beef
  • Chicken
  • Lamb
  • Eggs (3 = 1 serve for me)

I will avoid eating:

  • Processed meats
  • Sausages
  • Pork
  • Bacon
  • Dairy – I only have limited dairy usually which is cream in my coffee, a little cheese in my omelette, butter & the grass fed WPI whey protein in the 180 Protein Superfood. I don’t drink milk. But all these are off limits for me for 8 weeks.

Main Source Of Plant Proteins

I will avoid eating:

  • Soy
  • Tofu
  • Tempeh

Main Source Of Fats

Essentially most fats from their raw natural sources

  • Coconut Oil (Will do all my cooking with this too)
  • Coconut milk & cream
  • Egg yolk
  • Olive oil (cold only)
  • Macadamia oil
  • Avocados & avocado oil
  • Liquid Metagenics Fish Oil
  • Fats from 180 Protein Superfood Vegan
  • Saturated fat from grass fed meat

I will avoid eating:

  • All fats in 95% of supermarket products (usually hydrogenated). This is a no-brainer and should be a priority whether you are on a detox or not! If you want to learn more about this, read David Gillespie’s book Toxic Oil. It’s a must!
  • Homogenised fats. i.e found in most full cream milk & chocolate. I avoid these anyway.
  • Butter & cream :( I Love my butter & cream, but it’s gone for 8 weeks due to the dairy free protocol. Margarine isn’t an option, & if it’s in your fridge go and throw it in the bin right now!

Main Source Of Carbohydrates

  • Green vegetables – Combination of cooked & raw with most meals
  • Coloured vegetables - Combination of cooked & raw with most meals
  • Sweet potato – I’ll have this after heavy exercise sessions
  • Pumpkin - I’ll have this after heavy exercise sessions
  • Quinoa - I’ll have this after heavy exercise sessions
  • Some legumes

Fruits I will eat:

  • Berries
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Avocado – Knowledge is knowing it’s a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad :)

I will avoid eating:

  • All bread
  • Grains (unless listed)
  • All flour & pastries
  • Sugar (No-brainer)
  • White potato
  • Essentially 95% of supermarket products (Again, whether you are on a detox or not you should seriously consider these things)

Fruits:

  • I’ll avoid all other fruits except those listed above for the duration

So there you have it in a nutshell. I understand that I haven’t gone microscopic with the foods, but you get the idea. Feel free to share any recipes you have with me!

To make myself accountable, I am tracking my meals & progress over on:

- Instagram

- Twitter @180_Nutrition

- Facebook

Simply type #180detox into any of these 3 social media platforms search fields to see all.

Are you on a detox? What do you think a detox should look like? Love to hear your thoughts in the comments below, Guy

Nora Gedgaudas Book Review: Primal Mind Primal Body, Beyond the Paleo Diet


By Guy Lawrence

We’ve got 3 of Nora Gedgaudas’ books to give away to celebrate her Sydney talk here in May 2013. For a chance to win click here. http://on.fb.me/YXkGdH

I have placed some relevant links at the bottom of the page which I would recommend checking out when you have 5 minutes to spare. From meeting Kelli 4 years ago at the small organisation I mention in the video, to Nourishing Australia (Organisers of Nora’s tour in Australia), to a couple of podcasts with Nora talking in depth. So check them out, and if you have experienced Nora live or have read her book, would love to hear your comments. You can also buy Nora’s book here Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life

Nora GedgaudasHey, this is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition and I just wanted to share with you the great experience I just had over the last weekend. I was very privileged to meet Nora Gedgaudas in person and listen to her speak for the day.

Now you maybe wondering who Nora Gedgaudas is and why this has any relevance to you.

Well Nora is the author of the book – Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life She is also a certified Nutritional Therapist and a Neurofeedback Specialist.

And all that’s great yeah,… but why THIS book? Why Nora?

I can only speak from my own experiences over the years working as a Fitness Trainer, so bear with me as I backpeddle slightly.

About 4 years ago I stumbled upon a small organisation that were doing things a little differently in the way they were supporting people who where faced with major health issues, mainly cancer. What got me really interested, was the fact that they were helping these people through a very different approach to the regular channels. The main points of difference were 1. what these people ate and  2. they also moved them into progressive resistance training programmes, whether it be from home or at their gym.

So why is this relevant?

To cut a very long story short, the thing that fascinated me the most was WHAT they were encouraging these people to eat. In a nutshell, it was the elimination of modern day processed foods, along with a natural high fat diet, with good protein and vegetables but also the elimination of carbs from their diet as much as possible.

Combined with resistance training the results that they were getting was nothing short of amazing. It was one of the most humbling experiences I’ve ever had and it certainly made me appreciate my health a lot more. But it also helped me looked at what’s going on within the health and fitness industry, and set me on a path to find out what really is optimum health and what we can do to achieve this… as I’m sure you will agree… there’s a lot of noise out there.

Nora_gedgaudasIn the 4 years up until now, I’ve met some great people and read some great books, but Nora has managed to put an extremely confusing topic into an easy to understand informational packed resource. If you are wanting to take the right steps forward regarding your health and nutrition, I can assure you, Nora is the real deal! This book is a must read.

Whether you’re an athlete, weekend warrior or suffering from poor health, I would encourage everyone to check out Nora Gedgaudas: Beyond the Paleo Diet, because she makes total sense to me, and this book really delivers…

There’s also still time left to catch her speak here in Australia too. She is speaking at the Gold Coast on the weekend, so if you get the chance, GO…  there’s nothing better than the live experience where you get to meet many like minded people.

And that’s it… Go check her out.

Kelli’s Story

Nora Gedgaudas Book: Primal Body, Primal Mind

Nourishing Australia

Sarah Wilson’s & Nora Gedgaudas on Paleo eating

Tele-Seminar with Grahame Rees & Nora Gedgaudas

Want to know more about the Paleo diet? Author Nora Gedgaudas is coming to town

Paleo Diet Nora GedaudasBy Guy Lawrence

You maybe sitting there wondering what the Paleo diet is, or as I like to say, a Paleo way of eating. So if you haven’t heard of the Paleo diet then chances are author Nora Gedaudas would have slipped under your radar too. And that’s ok as diet’s and fads come and go all the time, so who’s to know what is another bunch of baloney hype or the real deal! It can get a little confusing that’s for sure.

But from where I’m standing, I’m very excited to be going to see Nora Gedaudas on Nov 12th. It is being held at the Matthews Theatre, University of NSW in Randwick. The seminar is entitled :- More