WATCH the full interview below or LISTEN to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.
Guy: Whether you are an elite athlete, weekend warrior or even a coach potato, there’s much wisdom to be had here when it comes to fuelling your body daily for optimum performance. With so much conflicting advice out there when it comes to nutrition, who better person to ask than someone who walks their talk. Elite CrossFit athlete, Ruth Anderson Horrell shares her insights around nutrition daily and also during competition time. No matter what your goals are, it’s certainly worth a few minutes of your time… Enjoy.
“Never say, ‘can’t’… The word just makes me cringe and it is such a negative thought to ever think that you can’t do something. You may not be able to yet, or whatever it is, but if you decide you can’t, it’s like you’re already there.”― Ruth Anderson Horrell, Elite Crossfit Athlete
Ruth Anderson Horrell is a New Zealand representative CrossFit Athlete. She has represented the Australasia region at the World Reebok CrossFit Games in 2011, 2012 and 2013! Ruth competes for NZ as an Olympic Weightlifter. In 2012 she competed at the Oceania and Trans Tasman Champs. Ruth is a successful co-owner and coach at CrossFit Wild South and works as a Locum small animal veterinarian when she has time :)Currently she is training towards being Australia’s best female CrossFit athlete. She trains in Los Angeles under the instruction of Dusty Hyland for parts of the year.
Ruth Anderson Horrell Full Interview:
In This Episode:
How she walks the fine-line between optimum training and overtraining
Her recovery strategies
Her own exercise routines
What CrossFit Regional Games looked like 8 years ago!
The advice she would give her 20 year old self when starting CrossFit
Guy:Hey this Guy Lawrence from 180 Nutrition, and welcome to today’s health session. You’ll have to forgive me, it’s nearly 40 degrees Celsius in this room; it is hot. That’s okay, lets push on with the intro. Today’s guest is Ruth Anderson Horrel. She is an incredible athlete, as far as I’m concerned. She’s a Crossfit athlete, if you’re not familiar with her, and she’s been to the Crossfit world games three times. I can assure you now, that is a hell of an achievement. She has a wealth of experience when it comes to exercise, nutrition, and recovery, and I think the one intention was today, whether you’re into Crossfit or not, we really wanted to tap into Ruth’s experience, and wisdom, and hopefully get a few gems across to pick up for everyone, ’cause I think there’s certainly a theme that’s coming across in the podcast, and the way people approach their diet, whether they’re at the elite end of athleticism, or not.
Whether you just move daily and just trying to drop a bit of weight, there’s always some fantastic lessons to be learned from some of the best people that we can get hold of, that’s for sure. The other thing I’d encourage to do as well, is actually follow Ruth on Instagram, and then you’ll start to see what I mean by what her athletic abilities are, and what she is capable of.
Now, I haven’t asked for a review for a while, but I will. We had a fantastic review on iTunes come in the other day. I always ask for them because they obviously help with the rankings, but other people read them as well, and it’ll encourage them to listen to the podcast, so if you’re getting great befits from listening to my podcast every week when we push them out, then it takes two minutes if you could leave a review. The one we had just the other day says, “my favorite podcast by far,” with 5 stars, that was very generous, by [chinlo 00:01:47]. “Thank you, Guy and Stu for hours of learning. My favorite thing to do is listen to your podcast while going for a nice, long walk. I’ve listened to most of them twice or more. I never tire of your fantastic hosting, A-grade guests, [00:02:00] and the wonderful insights your podcasts bring.” I thought that was absolutely wonderful, so thank you for that, and hence why I gave you a shout out.
We read them all. Tell us how you listen to our podcast. I’d be fascinated to hear because we’re in, I think over 50 countries now, getting downloaded anyway, which is really cool. All right. I’m going to stop blabbering. Let’s go over to Ruth Anderson Horrel. Enjoy.
Hi, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart [Cooke 00:02:27]. Hi, Stu.
Guy:Good to see you. You’re looking well, mate.
Guy:Our lovely guest today is Ruth Anderson Horrel. Welcome, Ruth.
Guy:I just realized, did I pronounce your last name correct?
Ruth:Yeah, that’s good. Yeah.
Guy:Okay. I always get confused slightly on that. You’re not the first guest, either. I have no doubt they’ll be two parties listening in on this podcast today. That’s going to be one that’s going to know [inaudible 00:02:55] is, and who you are and Crossfit fanatics, and then I think a big portion of our listeners, as well. They will have heard of Crossfit, but are not going to have any idea. I think hopefully we can, between us all, please both parties today. That’s our intention, anyway, and tap into some of your experience over the years, which we’re excited about.
Just to start and get the ball rolling, as always on our podcasts, can you just mind sharing a little bit about what you do, including Crossfit and outside of Crossfit as well? I know there’s a lot more to you than just going to Crossfit every day and training your heart out, really, isn’t it?
Ruth:Yeah, yeah. Well, that’s a big part of it. It’s a pretty big goal for the last few years has been competing at the Crossfit games and doing well there. In the meantime, on the Crossfit journey, I ended up opening a Crossfit gym about 5 years ago also. That’s been steadily growing and keeping us busy. That’s been a whole new experience for me, just learning how to run [00:04:00] that business. I also run a website, ruthless.co.nz, where we sell Crossfit equipment and accessories and things. That’s normally a few hours of my day, as well. Then I’m a small animal veterinarian and I’ve been doing that for 2 days a week for the last … I’ve been fairly part time, actually with it, probably for the last 3-4 years, so that I can focus on my training. Yeah.
Guy:Many balls in the air.
Guy:Can you share with the listeners where you are, as well? It’s a part of the world that I really want to go to.
Ruth:Yeah, yeah. It would be a bit of a temperature drop for you guys. I’m in Invercargill, which is right on the south coast of the South Island in New Zealand. We were the southern-most affiliate. I haven’t actually done a check lately, but we’re pretty south as far as Crossfit gyms and population, generally, I guess.
Guy:Yeah, yeah, yeah. What’s the weather like there now. Is it all right? Not too cold?
Ruth:Well yeah, it’s our summer, but we’re sitting early 20s today. At most over the summer, we’ll hit 30 degrees probably only a few times. It’s not a huge variation.
Stu:Comfortable. That’s what I like, cool and comfortable, doesn’t keep you awake at nights like last night.
Ruth:No, definitely not. No, no. No trouble sleeping. The room’s always fairly cool.
Stu:Good. Good on you. For our audience that are not Crossfit savvy, and for anybody else who really doesn’t entirely understand what Crossfit is, I wondered if you could just explain? Give us your elevator pitch. What is Crossfit?
Ruth:As Greg Glassman always says, [00:06:00] “I’ll show you. Come and have a go.”
Guy:I’ve never been there, but you’ve explained it.
Ruth:It is a really tough question. It’s actually funny. We were sitting around at the Queenstown Crossfit Tour and there was a bunch of all these elite athletes at a table. The waiter came around and said, “So what is Crossfit?” Everyone looked at each other. It was like, “Who’s going to answer it?” You’ve got people that have literally based their life around it and still have trouble explaining well how it works.
It’s a strengthening conditioning program. It’s constantly varied, so people that train Crossfit style, every day they go into the gym, they’ll be able to try new things that there will be either a variation of movement, variation of weights, variation of complexity, and a variation of time that they’re going to work out. A huge range of energy systems get used because it scopes literally from workouts that can take seconds to workouts that can take probably around an hour or so. There’s a few that go a bit longer.
For me, it’s a sport. For most people, it’s a way of just maintaining health and fitness. For me, it’s become a sport and it creates a slightly different level, I guess, a different level of complexity in terms of movements and weights and everything else.
Ruth:It’s different. The movements are very much preparing people for everyday life. That’s probably the thing I love most about it. I’m training an older lady at the moment who’s preparing to walk one of the big, there’s [00:08:00] lots of beautiful walks in New Zealand, and she’s 65 and she’s preparing to walk a trek that’s about 60 kilometers with a pick. We know that we can get her ready for that.
Guy:What is the diversity of people that you train, then? I think with Crossfit, if you’re on the outside looking in, it’s very easy to say, “Oh, that’s an elitist thing,” because the guys are generally pro videos, the guys that are really good at it. You don’t see the other side of it.
Ruth:Yeah, for sure. In our gym, the oldest person is actually my dad and he’s about to turn 70, but there would be no reason we couldn’t have older people. That’s just as old as we currently go. In terms of the youngest, well, we’ve got Crossfit kids and teens at our gym, so those kids are learning body weight movements and things from age 6. There’s a pretty huge range there, and then of course you get that huge range in how much sport people have previously done and also just what they do in their everyday life. We have people that have relatively sedentary jobs and in our box we also have a lot of people that are laborers or mechanics, builders, gardeners, that do a lot of physical work. It’s important for them to either reverse some of those effects of some of the quite repetitive movements that they’re doing and address some of the mobility problems and things that may come from that, and also just so they can be stronger and reduce the chance of getting injured while they’re lifting heavy objects and things they do at work.
Guy:Yeah. I’d imagine you’ve seen quite a few transformations all the time, as well, with people coming in [00:10:00] and following the protocol all the way through and seeing how that impacts their lives.
Ruth:Yeah. It’s really cool when people that they haven’t done a lot of exercise before, they’re the most scared. They’re the most apprehensive at walking in the door, but in many ways, they’re the most exciting people to train because you’ve got a little bit of a blank canvas and you know you can really make a difference by coaching these people in movement and having a better way of life.
Guy:I’d just say anyone listening to this who hasn’t tried Crossfit, they should put it on their bucket list and at least walk into a box and try it once and see what all the fuss is about. I recommend you.
Ruth:Yeah, absolutely. I think …
Stu:I’m thinking about just common issues, Ruth, as well. If I’m new to Crossfit, I’m going in, what do you typically see from people that walk into your box, because we’ve experienced it ourselves, Guy and myself, and we were voracious when we started. We probably hit it a little bit too hard, personally. What are commonalities that you see with the newbies?
Ruth:Yeah, I guess that wanting to have the more advanced movements before having the basic elements.
Ruth:That’s cool. You’ve got to have a goal and a dream. I know when I first discovered Crossfit, there was much less on the internet about it than there is now, but I remember seeing videos of people doing … Girls were the biggest thing, not guys, of seeing women do things like muscle ups and lift weights over their heads and things like that. That was what inspired me to get started with it. I didn’t have a box to walk in the door of, but [00:12:00] that’s what inspired me to get started. You know that people need to have those dreams, but just not paying attention to the basic movements first before, “But can I get up and just hit it a go? I just want to jump in those rings and I just want to do this and that and swing around.” They’re just not quite grasping some of the complexity and the amount of elements that needs to be tied in.
That’s just the learning process. A lot of that is our job as coaches, to help people see, “Well, okay. Well, there’s some deficiencies here and here, and if we work on those parts, then we’re going to get this mastered.” Then I guess just not paying any attention to their own recovery or mobility. I’d probably put those 2 together. Just trying to get in the gym right when class starts and get straight into the workout and just not paying any attention to some of the things that they need to do to get their body well-prepped. We coach people into generally trying to come 15-20 minutes before class. We still run a warm-up, but we want people to work on their own specific things that they need to address.
I know for myself, I took way too long to start addressing my problems with my thoracic mobility, and basically because I just didn’t know any better and I didn’t have anyone to tell me any more than that. It ended up that I ended up having an injury when I was competing. I had slipped a disc at T-5, which is quite an unusual injury. That forced me to address it, but that’s neither something that you would want to happen to an athlete that’s coming into, for a strengthening conditioning program. They need to be aware of where those deficiencies are [00:14:00] and what they need to do to resolve them.
Stu:Great. One of the take homes for me, from being a Crossfitter for a couple of years, was just the importance of my mobility and flexibility. That’s something that I do every day as well now. Just the realization that we really do need to get moving and stretch these muscles and open up the joints … Every day from sitting at a desk, I go over and I’ll go into a squat and just sit there for 5 minutes, roll my shoulders and just get, open myself up and just try and get in a few positions that ordinarily, most people would just never even conceive of wanting to try. It makes me feel so much more alive and open. Great lessons in there.
Ruth:I think range of motion has a huge impact just on our quality of life and when you see older people that just haven’t been able to maintain activity, just how quickly range of motion gets lost, and then strength goes with it. Yeah, that’s definitely … I’m still learning about range of motion and how things can be improved, really.
Guy:How long have you been involved in Crossfit, just out of curiosity, Ruth?
Ruth:I think about 8-1/2 years.
Guy:Right, and you’ve been in Invercargill that whole time? What made me think, is because you opened a box there 5 years ago. What were you doing before the box came?
Ruth:Yeah, we just started out. My brother-in-law was living down here at the time and he had been living in Melbourne. Someone had just showed it to him. I’m not even sure if he’d done a workout with these people. Some people just showed him the Crossfit.com website and he came back. He was taking me through some personal training. We were just doing some strengthening so I could [00:16:00] compete at a triathlon that I wanted to do. Yeah, we just decided to start following some workouts on Crossfit.com and things got wild pretty quickly. Within 4 months, I went out to the first-ever regionals, which was in …
Ruth:Yeah. Yeah. Is that eight years?
Guy:It’d be a while back, because I had a friend that competed in it.
Guy:Long time ago.
Ruth:Yeah, I went out to CFX there and that was just when you could roll up to regionals.
Ruth:[crosstalk 00:16:57] since you had no idea what. We didn’t even really know what all the movements of Crossfit were at that stage. I was like, “Oh, okay. Clean and jerk. All right.” The judge is out back with each person, showing them all the movements that they’re going to need to do, a bit like a level 1.
Stu:That’s a radical change from any training that you would have been doing at the time, as a triathlete, as well, to then suddenly go into these wild and wacky Olympic lifts and technical movements. Wow. How did that work out?
Ruth:I did miss one of the workouts at the competition because I couldn’t do a ring dip, but I think I had captain pull ups by then, had no idea what a butterfly pull up was at that stage. We actually had a sand dune run, so I did really well on that and I think there was another workout I did quite well in. It was okay, but I know I did miss on 1 of the workouts, not being able to do a ring dip. I just couldn’t believe that there were girls there that could do ring dips. I was like, “Oh, my goodness.” The rings was totally, was not even something that I had, wasn’t a piece of equipment that we even had. We were playing. We didn’t even have a kettlebell, actually. We were swinging a dumbbell.
Ruth:We did okay, probably as you would expect, but it really was an inspiring moment for me to realize the level that some of the athletes were at and that in some ways, I could see that I could be there.
Guy:That’s amazing, because Crossfit’s come such a long way. Like, when you look at the caliber of athlete today that you compete against, if anyone seemed again to walk into a regional games, it’s well and gone in Australia. Go and check it out for an hour. It’s phenomenal, the standard of athlete today. How many were competing at the time back then? Was it …
Ruth:I’m going to say there might have been about 30-40 women, and probably the same for the men.
Ruth:Yeah, so I imagine it was just advertised on the Crossfit.com website. Just clicked the link and registered, and all the sudden, I flew to Sydney and had a go.
Ruth:I’ve been really fortunate, to be able to grow with the sport, I guess.
Guy:You have, yeah, fully. Absolutely. Move on to the next question, when you’ve talked, because we’re still on the topic of training, how do you, I’m always curious to ask athletes this, walk the fine line between optimum training and over-training?
Ruth:Yeah. I’ve definitely crossed the line before, so I know what that feels like. I’ve had to be aware of how to modify. I had quite a big hand surgery this time last year and I have had a few injuries along the way, so I’ve had to be aware of how to be patient with those and modify things as needed. I know my body. Generally, if I’m over-doing [00:20:00] it, I generally wake up very early in the morning. I never have too much trouble getting to sleep, but I have a little bit of trouble staying asleep. That’s normally the warning sign for me, if I’m not able to maintain my regular sleep pattern. There’s normally something amiss, because generally that won’t happen. As soon as something like that, if I become aware of that, then I’ll normally start throwing in some more rest days, beyond what my regular rest days are.
Ruth:I guess it’s a difficult thing. I feel like you probably need to cross the line to know exactly where it is, in some ways. You probably need to make a couple of errors to work it out.
Guy:Along the way, you learn from it. Yeah. You intuitively get in-tuned in. Maybe you should explain to everyone listening to this, as well, what a typical day of training might look like for you. We know coming into the season of Crossfit … You’ll be competing for the regionals, Auckland regionals this year, Ruth?
Guy:Yeah. Some of the listeners might not know, you picked up an injury last year leading into the, was it the open or the regionals itself?
Ruth:Yeah, yeah, we were about 3 weeks out from the start of the open and my tendon on my thumb snapped. It was a little bit of, “Maybe I just don’t have the surgery and have a floppy thumb,” and then I decided I needed to get it done. That was a tricky decision because I’d obviously worked my butt off to come back and give it to Carson and go back to the Crossfit games and have a good shot. I felt like everything was falling well into place, so it was one of those stumbling blocks.
Guy:[00:22:00] Yeah, but a year comes around quickly. Here it is again, right?
Ruth:Yeah, yeah. Sorry, what was your question again?
Guy:We were talking about the fine line of over-training and recovery.
Guy:Now we get into the season, just to give listeners an idea, what would your typical training day or week look like?
Ruth:At the moment, I’m generally doing 3 days on, 1 off. That varies a little bit throughout the year, but that’s currently what I’m sticking with. Today, for example, I’ve been in the gym and I’ve done a couple of hours of gymnastics training, working position, a very small amount of what I would consider conditioning, but for the most part, just working position and some of the movements that I find more challenging. I quite like to start my day with more technical elements like that, but I have a little bit of variation. Sometimes I will lift in the morning. Generally, I’ll try and get in at least an hour. It will depend on my coaching schedule, but at least an hour, possibly 2 before lunch and then in the afternoon, I will generally start an afternoon session with a good 90 minutes or so of lifting and then I’ll have a little break and then I’ll start having my conditioning.
[inaudible 00:23:25], so what people would commonly get if they go in for a class, and then I often end a session with some interval-style training. Yeah, that’s about it. It’s a bit broken up into little blocks, 60-90 minutes at a time, and give myself a bit of a break. The break might include getting in a personal training session with someone or getting some of my other business work done and then coming back to [00:24:00] training. I find it pretty hard to just hit a 3-hour block or something, of training. There has been times I’ve had to do it because of my schedule.
Guy:It’s a huge commitment, isn’t it?
Stu:3 days on, 1 day off, so that 1 day that is going to be really, really important for you to rest and recover. I’m interested in the strategies. Are there any? What does a Crossfit champ do on the recovery day to absolutely maximize that day for everything?
Ruth:I need to do a lot of mobility work, so I try and get in, it will be an hour, and I try and do more if I can. Some of that, for me, it needs to include a bit of activation-type work as well, just to get my shoulders moving as best as they can and glute activation and making sure my hips are as mobile as possible. For me, that’s been important. Number 1, I’ll be 32 this year. I guess in the life of Crossfit athletes, it’s creeping up there at the end of staying at world-level competition. It’s just something I just have to make sure I’m really on top of the mobility side.
I used to do a bit more of things like having a jog, like doing a long run in the bush and things like that. I don’t do that every … I consider that more of a workout now. I try and have my rest days as being a bit more rest days. It will depend on my state of mind, I guess, as to whether I want to throw in some skill work at the same time, as well. If there’s something that is just technically challenging and not going to be over-fatiguing, [00:26:00] I might do that, as well. If I just feel like I’ve been at the gym so much over those last few days and would prefer to have a break, then I won’t.
Guy:How many hours sleep do you get a night, Ruth, normally?
Ruth:My target’s 9.
Guy:There you are. Okay. Yeah. A good night’s sleep, right? I like it.
Ruth:Yeah, yeah. I probably hit 8 most of the time and try to get another 30 minutes in the afternoon. I love getting an afternoon nap. It just makes training in the afternoon go better and just feel so good. That’s my favorite thing, but just, life doesn’t always allow it.
Stu:That recovery day is wildly different to anything that I thought you were going to say. I imagined that you were going to say, “I’m going to sleep in, have a coffee, go down to the local video store, get my favorite movie, sit back on the lounge with my dog, and just veg out.” I didn’t expect to hear that …
Ruth:I wish. I wish, but no, I’ve got to run the businesses and do all those other things, so I probably have a bit more catch-up and try to get on top of the world as much as I can, emails and all that kind of stuff, have a real tidy-up so that it allows me more time on the training days.
Ruth:Yeah, yeah. I don’t … I’m not big on lying around too much. I like to get out of the house, mow my lawns, and I like to keep moving. Yeah. As you see, get in squat position and stuff while I’m weeding my garden.
Stu:I’ll write you a recovery program, Ruth, and see how that goes down for you: lots of movies and stuff like that. Guy touched on sleep there, as well, which obviously is critical for everybody, even more critical when you’re an elite athlete. Have you got any tips or tricks that have worked for you? Do you do anything in particular to get that solid sleep working for you?
Ruth:[00:28:00] Yeah. I don’t like bright light. I know I’ve stayed at some other people’s homes and I’ve found if their living rooms and things are really lit up, I find that quite buzzy. I just think they interfere.
Ruth:I try not to spend too much time watching TV or anything late at night. My room is really dark. I live right at the end of the street and there’s no street lights that affect my room. I’ve got proper blackout curtains and things. I typically don’t have any trouble. It’s cool, I should mention, but that’s just, that’s without air conditioning. It’s just the temperature is cool.
Stu:I could have done with that last night.
Ruth:It’s pretty good. I always take magnesium in the night time, and the amount will depend on if I’ve had a massive training day or have some with my dinner and some again just before I go to bed.
Stu:Any particular type of magnesium that works for you?
Ruth:I think it’s called diglycinate?
Ruth:Yeah. Is that right? It’s a powder drink that I make up. I find that fantastic.
Stu:Right. Got it.
Ruth:I just notice it, if I’ve missed it for a few days. I just feel like I’m missing it. It’s been a supplement I’ve taken for a long time.
Guy:I’m interested, as well. You’re going to be pretty switched on with the nutrition. I know we’re going to get into that topic a bit later, but in terms of recovery, have you ever deviated from the way you eat, and how did that go on and affected your recovery? Have there been any kind of correlations that you’ve seen at that end?
Ruth:Yeah. I’ve had things like I’ve trained, a workout’s taken way longer than I expected. [00:30:00] I’ve literally got 10 minutes and I need to run a class, so I’m having a shower and then starting class. I totally skip having any post-workout nutrition. I’ve generally been more sore for that the next day.
Ruth:I know that I need to get some carbohydrate and protein in after I train, and it does seem to be quite a difference if I haven’t got it in within 30 minutes of training. The next day’s always going to be tougher. Definitely just, life’s got in the way and I haven’t done things as I would have liked. I’ve known the difference for that.
Guy:Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, fantastic. Excellent. Now, do you have … I’m assuming you have coaches, as well, guiding you to the games. I’ve also noticed that you’ve gone to America for the last few times that you’ve competed prior to the games, as well.
Guy:Why do you go to America, first of all? Yeah, beforehand.
Ruth:In our town, there wasn’t Crossfit. My first introduction to some high-class, quality coaches was when I met Dusty Holland at the gymnastics [cert 00:31:19] at the [Schwartz 00:31:23] Gym in Melbourne, about 4 years ago, I think. Met him and we became really good friends and I traveled out to him. I think I’ve had 6 trips out now to the states to spend good blocks of time with him. They also gave me an opportunity to train with some amazing athletes like [Sam Bricks 00:31:48] and Lindsay [Vellanzuella 00:31:51], [Tina Lee Brixton 00:31:52], some really, really amazing athletes out there. Initially, my gymnastics was my largest weakness [00:32:00] in my range of movements, so it seems like the perfect match. Dusty’s continued to program for me for a number of years now. We don’t chat as much as we would like to at the moment because we’re both really busy people, but he definitely helps guide me to making sure I’m working on some of the new movements that are coming into the sport and just continuing to develop my virtuosity in the more basic elements, as well.
I’ve also had a weightlifting coach here in Invercargill for a number of years, which has been fantastic, Joe [Stinsy 00:32:43]. He’s actually one of the New Zealand coaches now, as well. We traveled to Papua New Guinea and competed at the Oceaneas last year, did there as well.
Guy:Yeah, because I was going to ask, it requires so much discipline, what you’re doing leading up into the open and competing, so do you have a coach at every training session with you, or is a lot of it self disciplined, that you’re just literally just turning up and training, because it’s hard to ask. Some people, it’s hard to do a bit of exercising in a day, just to motivate themselves, let alone at that end.
Ruth:Yeah, yeah. I have some days where it is totally no one else at the gym, so they’re probably the more challenging days. I find even just having someone else there, whoever it might be, is just useful. In recent months, I’ve actually been grabbing some of the guys and saying, “Hey, I’ve got to do these 6Ks or row sprints. Do you want to join me on it,” things like that and just fun.
Guy:Do you get any takers?
Ruth:Yeah, I do. Yeah. I choose things that I like, totally, and they will help. They’re like, “Yeah, yeah. Okay. Take you on at that.” I’ve also had a bit of [00:34:00] the athletes partnering up and taking me on at a workout. They’re doing it as a partner would, thing like that. We try and find ways, but for the most part, no, I don’t have a coach hanging with me in the gym each day. That definitely has its down sides, but some part of me likes being at the bottom of the earth and away from too much hype. Probably one of the harder things of training at Dog Town with Dusty was, cameras would be showing up every second day and different people wanting to take videos and pictures and just a lot more people, just a lot more going on.
In some ways, it gives me a little bit more focus. I do a lot of, what’s the word, visualizing, so even in my sessions this morning, which probably weren’t the type of things you would expect to see at a competition that were quite skill-based things, before the clock starts, I still am imagining I’m either on the games floor or I’m standing up there at regionals. I try and put myself in that mental space.
Stu:Do you use your visualization for stuff outside of Crossfit, as well, everyday life? I know that I always visualize the rock star car parking space when I’m out and about and I need to pull in somewhere, and 9 out of 10 times, I get it. It’s true.
Ruth:I have to think about that. I don’t know if I do as much.
Guy:You should try it. Stu recommends it. I do well at it because I’ve got a motorbike.
Ruth:I’m really good at parking anyway. No, I don’t know. I’ll have to think about that. I might subconsciously do it.
Stu:I reckon [00:36:00] that there’s merit in that stuff. I do, just all of that stuff. I’m just really into, “I’m thinking it, I’m seeing it, and I’m going to make it happen.
Guy:Yeah. It’s interesting what you said, Ruth. It made me think of a podcast I listen to with [Dorian Yates 00:36:18]. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Dorian Yates, but he was the bodybuilding world champion in the 90s. I think he won 7 titles and incredible. They used to call him The Shadow because he always used to stay out of the glitz and glamour of LA and the limelight. He had a little gym in Birmingham and nobody knew what he was up to. He said he used to use it to his advantage, so he would train, he would visualize going to all these great competitions where everyone else was seeing actually what they were doing and competing and judging themselves. He just stayed away from the whole thing and then would turn up when it was time for Mr. Universe and just blow them out of the water, you know?
Ruth:Sometimes, if you’re competing against another athlete and you’re actually, if you’re beating them by a lot, or say if you’re training with them and you’re beating them by a lot, you can think that you’re doing quite well and back off. Whereas if you’re visualizing someone that’s better than you or just beating you, then that’s, I see that as an advantage. I’m not going to lie. There’s definitely days when you’re all alone in the gym and you just think, “Gosh, this is a tough ask.”
Stu:It is tricky. I know that training on your own versus training with a crowd versus training with a crowd of elites, there is that impetus to absolutely excel and put on your best show. There are days when I go down and lift a few weights in the gym and I think, “Well, I’ve had enough. Nobody’s around. Nobody knows.”
Ruth:[00:38:00] I have probably ruined myself a little bit, training against some other athletes. I had a bit of a shoulder niggle, but I was still trying to do the workouts, because the other athletes were doing those, and they weren’t things I should have been doing, if I was just sticking to what was going to be good for me. I probably wouldn’t have done them. That’s probably one of the disadvantages, that you get a little bit hyped up in the moment and you want to do exactly what everyone else is doing, and that’s not always the right thing to do.
Stu:Yeah. Completely. Next time you’re in Sydney, you come train with me and I guarantee that won’t happen.
Ruth:I’d like to see that.
Stu:You’re wandering down the street in Invercargill and you bump into a 20-year-old version of yourself. Obviously, you’ve got 10 years of experience, all this wonderful knowledge that you’ve gleaned from everything that you’ve done. What advice would you give the 20-year-old version of yourself, if that person had just started Crossfit and wanted to be the best?
Ruth:This might just be the 20-year-old version of me, and not every other 20-year-old, but for me it would be spending more time mastering body weight movements with a fantastic coach that knows exactly how to do it, having a coach that was really well-versed in gymnastic movements. I think in gymnastics, there’s much more understanding, or in gymnastics coaching, there’s so much more understanding of the importance of getting correct range of motion. In my first year of Crossfit, I went down to the … We have a great gymnastics gym in this little [00:40:00] town. I went down there and this guy was … I wanted to do muscle ups and he was showing me how to walk across the parallel bars. I was just like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. I can do that.” I would quickly do it to be like, “Yeah, I can do that. I want to do this,” and just not understanding just exactly the movements that my body needed to be doing to do those elements well and the importance of them.
Because I didn’t have those correct, one of the regionals I went to, it was 2010, I came back with a bad sprain in my shoulder, which was probably from doing muscle ups, which was probably from not moving correctly. For me, in the sport, it would definitely be mastering some of those elements and also playing. Do other sport, as well. I probably stopped doing other team sports and things by the time I was 20, I think, and I think playing some other sports is really good for you.
Stu:It’s solid advice, and it works for you, as well, Guy. I know that Guy has really embraced Zumba, and that’s 1 of those things. He’s quit good at table tennis, too.
Guy:Yeah, I mastered it. Mastered it.
Stu:Follow the advice, Guy. Follow the advice. We’re not getting any younger.
Guy:I actually had a profound question and then you’ve just taken this right out of my head.
Stu:My mum told me once that, if you forget it, it’s either it’s a lie, or it’s not worth asking.
Guy:It’s not worth it, yeah. Is Crossfit season on for you now, Ruth?
Ruth:Like, do I have an off-season?
Ruth:[00:42:00] I guess my off-season this year was 3 months in a cast, so yes. No, I do a little bit. My program’s a little bit period-ized, I guess. The conditioning goes right down. I do more strength-based and technical-based movement and then I bring it back up. That works quite well because it’s not nice to get out and run in the middle of winter here. It probably just gives me a little bit of a mental break from doing lots of high-intensity stuff. I have that little bit. I think probably after the Crossfit games this year, I would probably look to take 1-2 months off, but yeah. This last year was a bit of a … It was a little bit different.
Stu:All over the place.
Guy:Just out of curiosity, how long is it until the open starts? Is that far away?
Ruth:It starts February 28.
Guy:Okay. 4-5 weeks?
Stu:yeah, about 5 weeks away.
Stu:I’d really like to delve in a little bit now, Ruth, just on nutrition.
Stu:Again, a big part of who you are. Without it, I don’t think you’d be able to do half of what you do, if you’re not eating the right way. What right now does your typical daily diet look like?
Ruth:I describe my diet as paleo. I guess the things that would be different from what people would consider paleo is that I’m okay with a bit of rice and I use a bit of Greek yogurt or kefir. For the most part, there’s a lot of vegetables and a good amount [00:44:00] of, I’m a big fan of lamb. We have awesome lamb in this country and seafoods, so plenty of that. I also am pretty in charge of my macro nutrients. I actually had a really great mentor, Brad Stark, who’s at Stark Training, which is out in Orange County. I’ve been working with him for a couple of years and he has just made the world of difference to the way that my body performs. He’s helped me work out, just in brief, is that I prefer to have quite a lot of fats with some proteins for the first part of the day and then we really delve into more carbohydrates with the protein towards the end of the day. It’s a little bit more calculated than that, but that’s probably for the most part, how it works.
If I have too much carbohydrate in the morning, I tend to crash out. I don’t do very well with fruit at all, so I don’t tend to eat it. I have a little bit of berries in smoothies and that’s as far as my fruit intake goes. I’m just not a real big fruit eater. It just doesn’t do well for me. I would literally, if I hit some fruit and then an hour later did a workout, I would be, my head would be spinning and I would just have this real crashing thing going on. Yeah, we played around a bit with that.
Guy:Can I add to that?
Ruth:I love fresh vegetables.
Guy:Yeah. Just for our listeners, what carbs would you generally eat, and what carbs would you generally avoid?
Ruth:Yeah. My carbohydrate is mostly [00:46:00] rice or sweet potato.
Ruth:I have a little bit of white [inaudible 00:46:04] every now and then. I’m not too worried about that. I have worked out that gluten is horrible for me. I’ll occasionally have some gluten-free wraps and some other grain-based products that aren’t full of gluten. I’m okay with those, but I actually still, I never feel like it would get the same good muscle recovery that I get from having sweet potato post-workout. I’m okay with them for a treat, but I don’t treat them as great post-workout carb.
Guy:Yeah. Have you ever counted the amount of grams of carbohydrate you eat in a day, just out of curiosity, or not?
Ruth:It’s only about 180.
Guy:That’s a good number.
Stu:Yeah, that is a good number.
Guy:Yeah, no. I only ask because obviously, your workload is massive, right?
Guy:A lot of people would be eating twice that amount of carbohydrates with 1/10 the amount of work you’re doing on a manageable, on a daily basis.
Ruth:Yeah. I know I’ve had some different nutritionists and things have a look at what I’m eating, and say, “No, that’s wrong. You need more carbohydrate.” I’ve just been there. We’ve tried it. It just doesn’t work.
Stu:That’s right. You’re your best judge, I think, of that just by how you feel and perform, based upon your feeling.
Guy:I remember when we, we actually showed you, a post of yours, Ruth. I don’t know if you remember a couple of years back, a dietitian came in there and just said, “You shouldn’t be pushing this content out to people because it’s just so wrong.”
Guy:There’s a great thread of conversation going on there and [00:48:00] it’s like, the proof’s in the pudding. You walk and you talk.
Ruth:That’s interesting. Things that people say, or that, “you’re not getting enough fiber.” I’m eating 7 cups of vegetables a day. I’ve never had a problem and felt like I needed more fiber. Just unusual things that you just realize, it’s almost textbook stuff, and it’s like, what’s the point in having this textbook knowledge? You’ve got to actually have a go at … You eat the paleo diet and see if you don’t have enough fiber, because I just, I’ve never had anyone that I’ve coached in my gym get on the paleo diet and come back and say, “Man, no. My body just hated me because it was not enough fiber in my diet.”
Ruth:Just not something that happens.
Guy:Another question, because we did a talk the other week, a workshop in Wollongong, and the biggest hurdle we felt from talking to them is preparation. People love the idea of changing their diet, becoming more tuned-in, and being able to do it, but the reality is, more from what we see, is that people don’t prepare. Then they get caught up and they get all sorted and they don’t change their eating habits. Any tips? How do you do it?
Ruth:I’m a little bit of a, when I cook meat, I generally get the crockpot out. If I know I’m going to be home late, I’ll often have something already cooked in terms of the meat department, or I’ll cook a lot of bigger cuts of meat like roasts and things like that. There’s always some form of protein ready to go in the fridge.
Ruth:Then, I eat quite a lot of [00:50:00] salads like cabbage and kale and vegetables that don’t take very much to prepare. If I know I’m going to be, if I’m just crazy busy or grabbing something on the run, I’ll even buy just the pre-cut vegetables, the stuff that’s already sliced up and put in bags. I try not to do that. I try and just avoid plastic generally, but I think you’re better to do that than skipping the veggies all together. What else do I do?
Probably lunch is the time or mid-afternoon, where people fall down because they haven’t been prepared with lunch. I’m pretty fortunate because most of the time, I live a few blocks from the gym, so most of the days I come home and quickly prepare something. When I haven’t been enjoying that, I’ll either when I cook dinner, I will put enough aside for heat up leftovers the next day, or I will, as I’m preparing my breakfast, I will quickly prepare some lunch at the same time. I feel like, if you’ve got some kind of protein that works for you, whether it’s boiled eggs or whatever it might be, if it’s ready to go and you’ve always got a steady supply of just something ready in the fridge, then I think it just takes away your temptation. I don’t really get those temptations, but I’m just thinking about the athletes that I coach.
Stu:Yeah, it’s just easier, isn’t it?
Ruth:The temptation of … Yeah, it’s got to be easy. What you’re trying to do, you need to make it easier than going through the McDonald’s drive-through or whatever is your temptation.
Stu:Yes. Definitely. Does your nutrition change at all during competition, or is you just ramp it up even a bit more? Do you do anything any differently?
Ruth:[00:52:00] I do probably a bit more shakes then. If there’s a lot of workouts throughout the day, it’s hard for me to have as much vegetables as I would like, because I just can’t digest that quickly. I’ll just do more shakes.
Ruth:Yeah, that’s generally the main difference. Probably it works out, a bit more calories because there’s a few more post-workout meals.
Guy:We might be biased, but we love encouraging the shakes and things.
Guy:It’s true, though. It’s true.
Stu:From a supplemental perspective, then, what supplements do you use? What and why? Obviously, you’re putting your body through heavy load, day after day after day. What are your favorites?
Ruth:Fish oil’s been here for a long time. I always take some of that. The turmeric capsules, I’ve been on. I’ve been on for a shorter while, been on those, just to help with my healing of my wrist surgery. I have a few amino acids that I take, and that’s based on the supplement protocol that Stark Training has guided me …
Guy:That’s individualize for you?
Ruth:Yeah. yeah, so it’s things like glycine and tuarine, things that are quite good to calm me down after I’ve trained and try and bring everything back to normal as quickly as possible.
Guy:Interesting, yeah. Magnesium as well, you were saying earlier.
Ruth:Magnesium, yeah. That’s about it. I haven’t got a cabinet full of supplements. I’m pretty big on vegetables as the answer.
Stu:That’s [00:54:00] right. Real food. Yeah.
Ruth:[crosstalk 00:54:07] The vegan protein, at the moment.
Guy:Okay, yeah. It’s interesting. We have conversations with people and they may never have heard of 180 before, and they’re like, “Oh, I’m sorry. I don’t take supplements.” I’m like, “Well, you’re our perfect customer, then.”
Guy:We don’t look at it as a supplement at all.
Ruth:Yeah, it’s totally how I feel. I just consider it another form of real food.
Guy:Yeah, fantastic. That’s great advice. What foods do you go out of your way to avoid?
Ruth:Anything with gluten. Cheese is bad; it just work well with me at all. Generally, a little bit of dairy, I seem to cope with, but I definitely wouldn’t go and buy a milkshake or have a large amount. As I said, yogurt seems to be okay. When I’m getting a bit more savvy with things like … I used to be like, If I order the chicken salad, for example, you think you’re going to get chicken and salad, but then you get this big sticky, weird oily sauce that they put on it and it’s really sweet or whatever. I’m getting a bit more savvy with just asking whether there’s a dressing and if there is, either having it left to the side so I can decide whether it’s safe enough to eat. If it’s going to be an olive oil dressing, that’s probably okay with me. Probably the biggest thing is keeping it gluten free because I had some pretty wild reactions to … I went to a wedding and had a cake a few months back and just had a terrible reaction to that. Just becoming a [00:56:00] bit more aware of …
Stu:That’s it. That’s really the main thing, as well, just being aware of that kind of stuff just switches on a light bulb when you are out and about, like you said. If you’re going to order a salad, I would guess there’s going to be a dressing there. Who knows what’s in that dressing. It may suit some people. It may not, but just be aware of it. We chatted, too, with [Chad McKay 00:56:28] a while back and talking to him about nutrition and stuff like that. He told us that after the regionals were over and he’d done the best that he could do, he has this cheat meal. I think it was a whole pizza and a whole tub of ice cream, something like that. That’s just my off switch. I’m done, I’m dusted, smash this meal down and get on. Do you have anything like that? Do you go nuts to zone out of everything with a cheat meal, or are you just clean all year round?
Ruth:I get this question a lot, and I always feel like I’m a little bit boring. I’m not really big on big desserts and things. I know after the Crossfit games, I’ve done some big donuts and things. I probably did it more for the novelty of it than the pure enjoyment. It literally felt like I was just eating solid sugar. I just found it a bit too much. Do you know cassava crisps?
Ruth:yeah, I put those in my mouth and it’s like they dissolve on my tongue and then I have to have another one. They’re probably something that … If someone had some of those, I’m like, “Oh, no, don’t bring those near me,” because it’s literally like I have one and then just [00:58:00] immediately want to have another one. That’s probably the one food I can think of that I know is not good for me, but my body still wants to eat it.
Stu:It’s funny. It’s hardwired somewhere in there, isn’t it. I don’t get to New Zealand very often, but I used to live there. We lived there for 5 years and I stumbled upon … This was pre-my healthy days and pre-180, and stuff like that. I stumbled upon this chocolate chip cookie by a brand called Cookie Time, and they were huge. They’re huge. Every now and again, when I do end up in the country, I’ll head over to a New World and I just head for the Cookie Time aisle. [crosstalk 00:58:52] these things, and it’s like something is programming. Something is guiding me around. I’m on automatic pilot and I get this Cookie Time thing. I only need the one.
Guy:I need to get that shot in Instagram for everyone.
Stu:Cookie Time, it’s like the biggest chocolate chip cookie you could ever have.
Ruth:Yeah, they’re like this big.
Stu:Oh, they’re huge.
Ruth:At least. People are like, you buy them. You can get them heated and stuff, as well, so all the chocolate’s all gooey and things, as well.
Stu:Yeah, I had a friend who used to put them in the microwave for 10 seconds.
Ruth:Yeah, yeah. Now, to me, probably I know that having the gluten and the sugar and stuff, that within a very short time, I’m going to feel very unwell from having it, so I just don’t have the same urge for it. If you showed up to my gym and you had some gluten free, very similar paleo-style cookies, I’d probably be pretty tempted because I know that I wasn’t going to be …
Stu:Got it. We’ll work on something for our recipe section on [01:00:00] the website. I reckon we’ve got a good base there already. We’ll see what we can do for you.
Ruth:Okay, sounds good.
Guy:That’s going to be awesome. Now, Ruth, I see the time’s getting on. We have a couple of wrap-up questions. We’ve actually asked one, which is “What did you eat?” Yeah, we’ve asked that.
Guy:What’s the single best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Ruth:My dad always says to me, “Never say, ‘can’t.’” Whenever I have someone in my gym now that tells me that they can’t, it makes me cringe. The word just makes me cringe and it is such a negative thought to ever think that you can’t do something. You may not be able to yet, or whatever it is, but if you decide you can’t, it’s like …
Guy:You’re already there.
Ruth:You’re already there.
Stu:That’s right. You’ve already switched off. No, that’s good advice. Wise words.
Stu:That’s what we could say.
Guy:For anyone listening to this, if they want to get a bit more of Ruth Anderson Horrell, where is the best place to go?
Ruth:I’m pretty consistent on Instagram, ruthlessnz, and I have a Facebook page, Ruth Anderson Horrell. That’s pretty much it.
Guy:You’ve got a website, too?
Ruth:Yeah, they can pop onto the website, ruthless.co.nz.
Guy:Awesome. We’ll link to the show notes, anyway, when this goes out and that was awesome. I have no doubt everyone listening to this today, Ruth, thoroughly enjoyed that. Ruth, thanks for coming on and thanks for your time. I really appreciate it.
Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.
How do you put a claim like this into a short video (above)? In all honesty you can’t, but hopefully it will whet the appetite enough for you to dig deeper and listen to the full fascinating interview with investigative journalist and NYT bestselling author Nina Teicholz.
In 2014, Nina released her book ‘The Big Fat Surprise’ that was nine years in the making. Within the book she reveals the unthinkable: that everything we thought we knew about dietary fats is wrong.
The book received rave reviews including:
“Most memorable healthcare book of 2014″ – Forbes.com
Full Interview: A Big Fat Surprise! Why I Eat Saturated Fat & Exercise Less
Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions.
So, if you’re watching this in video you can see it’s a beautiful day here in Sydney as I stand on my local Maroubra Beach and I might even be tempted to get a wave a little bit later, as well, but on to today’s guest.
We have the fantastic Nina Teicholz today. So, if you’re unfamiliar with Nina, she is an investigative journalist and she spent the last nine years putting a book together that was released in 2014 called “The Big Fat Surprise.” It hit The New York Times bestsellers list as well, which is an awesome achievement.
So, if you’re wondering what Nina’s all about, well the title of the book is a slight giveaway, but yes, dietary fat. And if you’ve been frustrated over the years, like myself and Stu, about the mixed messages of nutrition and what the hell’s going on, Nina sets the record straight today. Especially when it comes to what fats we should be eating, what fats we should be avoiding and even the whole debate around vegetable oils, which I avoid like the plague anyways. I don’t even debate about it anymore.
So, there’s gems of information.
Now, I must admit, I didn’t know a great deal about Nina, but she came highly recommended and this is the first time I met on this podcast today and I thought she was an absolute rock star. She was awesome. And yeah, it was a pleasure interviewing her and yeah, you’ll get a lot out of it.
Stick with it, because it’s action-packed and it’s probably a podcast I’m going to listen to twice, just to make sure I understand all the information.
Last, but not least, I know I ask every episode, but if you could leave a review for us. If you’re enjoying these podcasts and you get something out of it, all I ask is that you leave a review. Five star it and subscribe to it. This is going to help other people reach this information too so they can benefit from it as well.
One of my ambitions is to get the Health Sessions into the top ten on iTunes, in the health and fitness space and I really need your help to do that. So, we’re definitely gathering momentum. We’re moving up the charts and this would mean a lot to us if you just took two minutes to do that.
Anyway, let’s go on to Nina. It’s an awesome podcast. Enjoy.
Guy Lawrence: Hi, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke. Hi, Stewie.
Stuart Cooke: Hello buddy.
Guy Lawrence: And our lovely guest today is Nina Teicholz. Nina, welcome to the show.
Nina Teicholz: Thanks for having me. It’s good to be here.
Guy Lawrence: It’s awesome. Very excited about today. It’s a topic that definitely fascinates us. We’ve had various people coming on the show, talking about all things, fat especially, and looking forward to getting your collective experience over the years and being able to share it with us and our audience. Yeah, it’s going to be awesome. So, it’s much appreciated, Nina.
So, just to get the show started and the ball rolling, would you mind just sharing a little bit about yourself, what you do and your own personal journey for everyone?
Nina Teicholz: Right. Well, I’m a journalist. I’ve been a journalist for decades. I live in New York City. And about a decade ago I sort of plunged into this whole area of nutrition.
And that started because I was doing a series of investigative food pieces for Gourmet Magazine, which is a food magazine in the states. And I was assigned to do a story about trans fats, which are now famous, but back then nobody really knew about it. I wrote this story that kind of broke that whole topic open in the U.S. That led to a book contract and I started writing a book about trans fats.
And then I realized that there was this whole, huge, untold story about dietary fat in general and how our nutrition polices seemed to have gotten it terribly wrong. And then after that it was decade of reading every single nutrition science study I could get my hands on and just doing this, like, deep dive into nutrition science. At the end of which I wrote this book called, or I came out with a book that was published last year, called “The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet.”
That book has been controversial, but also successful. It became a bestseller internationally in, you know, it really was the first book to really make the case for why not only fat was good for health, but saturated fat. You know, in butter, dairy, meat, cheese, the kind of fat in animal foods was not bad for health.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Nina Teicholz: And maybe those foods were even good for health. So, that, of course, turns everything know upside down on its head. So…
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Absolutely.
Stuart Cooke: Fantastic.
So, just thinking then, Nina, that you’re completely absorbed in research and medical studies and things like that. At what point during that journey did you question what you were eating?
Nina Teicholz: Well, I started out as a, you know, what I call a near-vegetarian. Since I was in my late teens I had basically, like most American women, I had eaten a pretty low-fat diet, very nervous about eating any kind of fat at all. And I hadn’t eaten red meat in decades. I had like, little bits of chicken and fish. And I was, you know, I was a good deal fatter than I am now. But I also used to just exercise manically. I use to, really, for an hour a day, I would bike or run and I still wasn’t particularly slim.
So, when I started this book, it took me, I would say, a few years until I started really believing what I was reading. Which is to say, that fat wasn’t bad for health and I started to eat more fat.
And then I started to; like, I would say it took me a good five years before I would; I could actually cook a piece of red meat. Like, buy a piece of raw red meat and taste it, because I just hadn’t, you know, all I had in my; I’d only had vegetarian cookbooks and it just seemed; it was like a foreign thing to me.
But, I’m not one of these people, like, I know you probably have listeners who they just like they see the light from one day to the next and they can radically remake their whole diet and that was not me. It just took a long time for me to make that transition.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. In a way it’s such a big topic to get your head around in the first place, because we’ve been told the low-fat message, well, I have my whole life, you know. And when I first started hearing this myself, I was like, “Really? Come on. No way.” But then over the years, you know, I applied it and it’s changed my life, really.
So, what I’m intrigued in as well, if you wouldn’t mind sharing with us, Nina, is how did we end up demonizing fat in the first place?
Nina Teicholz: Well, that really goes back to the 1950s. I mean, there was always this idea that fat would make you fattening, because fat calories are more; they’re more densely packed. And there’s nine calories per gram of fat and there’s only four or five in carbohydrates.
So, there was always this idea that maybe fatty foods would also make you fat. But it really didn’t get going as official policy that all experts believe; it started in the 1950s and I have to back up a little bit if you don’t mind?
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Go for it.
Nina Teicholz: I mean, it actually started with saturated fat, right? It wasn’t; it all started with the idea that saturated fat and cholesterol were bad, would give you heart disease. And that really started the 1950s.
It’s a story that I tell in my book, it’s been told by others, how a pathologist from the University of Minnesota named Ancel Keys, developed this hypothesis. He called it his diet-heart hypothesis, that if you eating too much saturated fat and cholesterol it would clog your arteries and give you a heart attack.
And this was in response to the fact that there was really a panic in the United States over the rising tide of heart disease, which had come from pretty much out of nowhere. Very, very few cases in the early 1900s and then it became the number one killer. And our president, Eisenhower, himself, had a heart attack in 1955; was out of the Oval Office, out of the White House for 10 days.
So, the whole nation was in a panic and into that steps this Ancel Keys with his idea. It wasn’t the only idea out there, but he was this very aggressive kind of outsized personality, with this unshakable faith in his own beliefs and he kind of elbowed his way to the top.
So, the very first recommendations for telling people to avoid animal foods, saturated fats and cholesterol, in order to reduce their heart attack risk, those were published in 1961 by the American Heart Association, which was the premier group on heart disease at the time, still is. But at that point there was nobody else.
And so, that started in 1961. Then by 1970 they’re saying, “Well, its not just saturated fat. It’s all fat, because if you reduce fat in general that’s likely to keep calories low.” That was always the argument. That somehow it would just keep calories low and so that was probably a good idea to avoid fat all together. That started in 1970.
Then you see this low-fat diet, which, you know, there’s no evidence. There was no clinical trials. There’s no evidence at all. It just was like; kind of this idea that people had. That was adopted by the U.S. government in 1980, so then it became federal policy.
The whole government is kind of cranking out this idea and all its programs are conforming with it and then throughout the ’80s you see it spreading around the world. So, it spreads to your country. It spreads to Great Britain. It spreads everywhere. And then all Western countries follow the U.S. and our advice.
So, that’s how we got into this whole mess.
Stuart Cooke: Wow.
Nina Teicholz: And, you know, it’s; now we’re starting to get out of it. But it’s been decades in the making.
Stuart Cooke: Crikey. It’s ludicrous when you think about it based upon zero, I guess, concrete medical knowledge at all. I’m just; I’m intrigued about the studies that are set up, that guide us on this journey. I mean, how are these nutritional studies, I guess, initiated? And it seems that they can be so easily biased. Is that true?
Nina Teicholz: Oh, you know that is such a huge topic.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Nina Teicholz: I mean, there are thousands of nutritionists studies and we all know what it’s like to feel like be whip-sawed by the latest study and how do you make sense of them? How do you put them in perspective? Is really the question. What do you make of the latest mouse study to come out?
So, the way it all began was with the study that was done by Ancel Keys, called the “Seven Countries Study.”
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Nina Teicholz: And that was done on nearly 12,000 men, men only, in seven countries, mainly Europe, but also the U.S. and Japan. And that was a study; it’s called an epidemiological study; and that’s the key thing to know about it. It’s the kind of study that can show an association, but not causation.
So, it can show; it looks at your diet, and usually these studies they test diet just once and they ask you, “What did you eat in the last 24 hours?” You know how well you can remember that, right? And then 10 years later they come back and see if you’ve died of a heart attack or what’s happened to you.
So, even in the best of studies where let’s say they ask you three times what you at in the last 24 hours or they try to confirm what you say with what they measure; maybe they measure your diet. But even in the best of those studies, they can still only show association.
So, let’s say they find, as Ancel Keys did in that first epidemiological study, let’s say they find that you don’t eat very much saturated fat and if you’re one of those people, you tend to live longer. But not eating a lot of animal foods, you know, in post World War II, let’s say Greece or Italy or Yugoslavia, which is what Ancel Keys discovered; that was; those people were also, they were poverty-stricken people, devastated by World War II. They also didn’t eat a lot of sugar.
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Nina Teicholz: Right? Because they didn’t have it. But; so you don’t know, was it the sugar? Was it the fat? An epidemiological study can never tell you. Or is it something you didn’t even think to measure? Was it the absence of magnesium in the soil? Was it your, you know, now is it your internet use? Is it your exposure to plastic? You don’t know all those things you can’t think to measure. You’ll never know in an epidemiological study.
But that was, that Seven Countries Study was the basis of that original American Heart Association recommendation and it’s also been the basis of a lot of other bad advice that’s based on these kinds of studies that only show association.
So, the better kind of data is called a clinical trial, where you taka a group of people and you divide them into two groups and you give one group this kind of, you know, a high-fat diet; the other group a low-fat diet and you see; everything about those groups is the same. It’s what’s called “controlling.” You’re controlling for internet use, for magnesium in the soil, or whatever. You take them in the same city; you assume they’ve got the same exposure to all that stuff, so you don’t have to worry about it. You just can measure the effect of the diet or you know, give one a drug and the other not a drug.
So, clinical trials are the kinds of studies that can provide rigorous evidence. And, you know, that they’re harder to do. They are expensive. It’s expensive to feed people. It’s expensive to; you know, usually the good clinical trials really control the diet all day long. It’s best if you do them on institutionalized people, where you can totally control the diet.
But there are clinical trials out there now; now there are after all these years, and you know, all those clinical trials show first, you know, one that saturated fats does not cause heart disease, does not cause any kind of disease, and that the low-fat diet that we embarked upon, when it was finally tested in big clinical trials, was shown to be either, at best, totally ineffective and at worst, it looks like it could very likely provokes heart disease by creating worsened blood lipids.
Stuart Cooke: Wow.
Nina Teicholz: So, but, those clinical trials, when they eventually came out it was sort of too late, because the official dogma had already charged ahead.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Crikey. Yeah. We’re still seeing an absolute barrage of low-fat goods on the shelves and that message is still loud and proud. People are still completely fearful of fat. It’s insane, isn’t it?
Nina Teicholz: Yeah. I don’t know what the official recommendations are in Australia, but I know in the U.S. they’ve tried to back off the low-fat diet. Like they don’t include that language anymore.
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Nina Teicholz: But they still model all their diets as being low-fat. Low-fat is sort of defined as anywhere between 25 and 30, 35 percent of calories is fat.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, okay.
Nina Teicholz: You know, before the low-fat diet we were; all our countries were eating 40, 45 percent fat.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Nina Teicholz: So, we’ve really dramatically reduced our fat intake. But, you know, our officials just can’t; it’s hard for them to back out of it. It’s just our; all of our food supplies are based on the low-fat diet. I mean, all of our cattle has been bred to be leaner for instance, you know, amongst many other things.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. From over the years of what I’ve seen as well, even if people adopt a higher-fat diet, there’s still a huge amount of confusion about fats themselves.
Nina Teicholz: Right.
Guy Lawrence: So, I’d love to get a little bit of clarity on that today as well. Like for vegetable oils for instance. You know, where did vegetable oils come from and the idea of them being healthy, when, you know, when I avoid them like the plague.
Nina Teicholz: Well that’s another amazing story and I’m not flogging my book, but it’s only place where the history of vegetable oils is really set out. And I just couldn’t believe what I’ve discovered about them. I mean, so the basic thing to know it that they didn’t exist as a foodstuff until really the early 1900s.
Before 1900, the only fats that were really used, well at least in America, I don’t know about Australia, but were butter and lard. Around the world it was butter and lard were the main fats that were used in cooking. And there was some olive oil in Italy, you know, in the Mediterranean.
But that starts later then you think, actually. And before that all oils were used; they were used for industrial uses. They were used to make soap. There were a lot of uses of oils, but it was not for eating.
And then; and so the very first oils introduced for eating, just as plain oils, they didn’t come around; in the U.S. they were introduced in bottles in the 1940s and before that they had; oils are unstable, you know, and they oxidize and they go rancid and they won’t last in shelves.
So, before that, in 1911, in the U.S. at least, they were introduced as like a kind of imitation lard. It was called Crisco that we have. And that they harden the oils through a process called hydrogenation and that produces trans fats. Which is why we all know about that now.
But that was first invented to make those oils stable, to harden them, so that they don’t oxidize and grow rancid.
So, that’s when they came into our food supply. That industry, the vegetable oil industry includes some of the biggest companies in the world now; ADM, Monsanto, Cargill, IOI Loders Croklaan. I don’t know if those are familiar names to you, but they’re huge companies. And they from the very; from the 1940s on, they figured out how to influence; like for instance, they were hugely influential in launching the American Heart Association. Which then wound up recommending vegetable oils for health. Because …
So, if you get rid of the saturated fats, what do you replace them with? You replace them with unsaturated fats and that’s vegetable oils.
So, these companies got their products recommended for fighting heart disease, basically. And they did that by infiltrating into our most trusted institutions, including the American Heart Association and also the National Institute of Health. And that’s why we think vegetable oils are good for health.
I mean, the main argument was that they lower your total… and originally it was they lower your total cholesterol. And then we could measure other things like LDL and HDL, the argument was they can lower your LDL cholesterol and therefore they fight heart disease. Well, I mean, that whole cholesterol story turns out not to be so simplistic.
So, that’s how they came into the food supply and that’s how they came to be viewed as healthy.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah and did it in everything. Like when you walk into the local supermarket, well the commercial supermarkets, I should say; they’re in so many foods.
Stuart Cooke: Well, yeah, 99 percent, I think, of our processed and packaged foods will contain them in some way, shape or form which is kind of crazy. And you touched a little bit on trans fats as well earlier; Nina and I wonder whether you could just talk a little bit about that today? Because that is, that’s a phrase that is quite fearful over here and I know on the packaging at least a lot of the manufacturers are very proud to say, “zero trans fat.” So, what exactly is it?
Nina Teicholz: Well, so when those vegetables oils are hardened, that process that I just mentioned called hydrogenation, that’s just an industrial process and one of the side effects of that process is it creates some amount of trans fats in that hardened vegetable oil, right? You harden the vegetable oil so it can be used precisely as you say in those packaged goods, right?
So, a lightly hydrogenated oil would become; be used as the basis of like a frosting or something. A soft, creamy substance. And the more; if you create; a more highly hydrogenated oil containing more trans fats would be used to say make the hard chocolate coating of a candy or something.
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Nina Teicholz: So, you have varying amounts of trans fats in all of those hardened vegetable oils that are the backbone of our food industry.
Trans fats, you know, from that very first introduction of Crisco imitation lard that they were always in there and scientists kind of knew about it and were worried about it, from the 1970s on. But it really wasn’t until they were; really didn’t become exposed and known until the early 1990s. And it turns out that they slightly raise your LDL cholesterol. I mean, that’s; that was the evidence that upon which trans fats were kind of hanged by various expert agencies.
Trans fats are not good for health probably, but not for that reason. I mean, I think their effect on LDL is very minimal. They also seem to interfere with the functioning of your cell membranes. They kind of lodge themselves into critical key spots in every single one of your cell membranes. And they increase calcification of cells.
So, definitely trans fats are not a good thing. They were kind of condemned, I think, for the wrong reason. But, you know, the main issue now is like, what’s replacing trans fats? So, if you get rid of partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, what replaces them? And my worry is that they’re just being… in restaurants, which used to use these hydrogenated oils in their fryers.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Nina Teicholz: Again, they were hydrogenated to be stable. That means not to create oxidation products when heated. So, in this country at least, restaurants are going back to using just regular old non-hydrogenated oils, which are toxic where they’re heated.
They create these hundreds of oxidation products and they create massive inflammation in the body, I mean, there’s all kinds of very worrisome health effects of those non-hydrogenated regular vegetable oils.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Nina Teicholz: They’re also inventing new oils. There’s something called, interesterified oil that they’re inventing to try to use instead of these trans fats oils. So, the trans-free options are to me, like, equally worrisome or if not more so. And, you know, what should be happening is just to return to butter and lard. That’s what we used to use.
Stuart Cooke: Yup.
Nina Teicholz: That’s what we used to use. Those are solid, stable fats that … and tallow, McDonalds used to fry their French fries in tallow. They’re solid and they’re stable and they don’t oxidize and they don’t go rancid.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Nina Teicholz: And that’s what we should return to. But we can’t, because we’re; there’s this taboo around saturated fats that we can’t use them.
Guy Lawrence: Wow. That’s incredible, isn’t it? I was going to say with the next question, like to just to simplify everything we’ve just discussed for the listeners, is like, what fats would you eat and what fats would you avoid? Like from everyday to …
Nina Teicholz: You should cook with stable natural fats. Lard. Butter. Ghee.
Guy Lawrence: Ghee.
Nina Teicholz: Coconut oil. Tallow if you have it. Those are stable. They’re natural. They’re the fats that we’ve always cooked with throughout human history.
If you want an oil for your salad dressing or whatever, olive oil, which; olive oil is better than vegetable oils. The reason is that olive oil is what’s called monounsaturated. It only has one double bond that could react with oxygen. Vegetable oils are polyunsaturated, meaning they have multiple double bonds. Every single one of those double bonds can react with oxygen. So, you want to just keep your double bonds low and that means using olive oil in favor of those other vegetable oils.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fantastic.
Nina Teicholz: Is that enough?
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. That’s good advice.
So, you touched upon the olive oil as well and I’m just thinking about, you know, in our society today we’ve got a diet for everything. You know we’ve got Paleo diet, low carb/high fat, Mediterranean; crikey there’s so many. With the research that you’ve done, are any of these existing diets close to optimal for long-term health?
Nina Teicholz: You know, I think; so, looking at the clinical trial research again, that kind of good rigorous data …
Stuart Cooke: Yup.
Nina Teicholz: It’s strongly supports a lower carb/higher fat diet for better health. That diet is better at fighting helping people lose weight, at keeping their blood glucose steady and under control, which is how you keep diabetes; prevent diabetes or keep diabetes under control and also for improving cardiovascular risk. The majority of cardiovascular risk factors seem better on that diet. So, that’s a diet with anywhere from 45 to 80 percent fat even and carbohydrates, you know, 20 to 40 percent carbohydrates.
I mean, people really respond to diets differently.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Nina Teicholz: And so, your nutrition needs are different if you’re young, if you’re a child, if you’re elderly. It’s just so important to know that people respond differently to different diets. But; and critically it depends on whether or not your metabolism has kind of tipped over into this unhealthy state.
So, if you’re obese or if you have diabetes or if you have, are fighting heart disease, you are more sensitive to carbohydrates. So, your tolerance for them is lower. If you’re healthy, if you look like you guys, your tolerance is higher for carbs. If you’re active and you’re burning calories a lot, your tolerance is higher.
So, you know, you have to kind of adjust your nutrition plan based on that. But, you know, I think that one of the key things to realize is to eat a higher fat diet you have to eat, and if you want your fats to be natural, based in natural real foods, you just; it has to be a diet that’s higher in animal foods.
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Nina Teicholz: You know, that’s again why; it’s one of the reasons why meat, butter, dairy, eggs, cheese is important to have in any kind of diet. The other reason is, is those are the foods where, you know, the majority of nutrients are, like almost all nutrients are, that you need for good health. And that’s not true in plant foods. It’s very hard to get the nutrition you need on a plant-based diet.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah and this is coming from someone that was a vegetarian, like you said as well.
Nina Teicholz: Yeah. Oh my God, you know, I had anemia. I had; most of my young adulthood I had anemia and all kinds of health issues that I had no idea were based on nutrition, but seem to have been now that they’re resolved.
Stuart Cooke: Wow.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Wow. And just to tie up the fat thing and I know because one question we get asked a lot, “Well, how much fat do I eat?” So, what would a plate look like for you at a meal? Could it be as simple as you cook your veg, you have your steak and then you put a big knob of butter on it kind of thing to have the dietary fat for that meal? What would your advice be?
Nina Teicholz: Yeah. I mean, that sounds like a great dinner to me. I mean, I’ve heard various ways of explaining it to people, you know. Like, half your calories should come from animal foods and half the volume on your plate should come from plant foods. Or what did somebody else say? Eat meat; eat animal foods until you are full and then have some fruits and vegetables.
Guy Lawrence: Wow.
Nina Teicholz: You know, I think, yeah I think like visually if you think like half your plate is being; having animals foods on it, like eggs, meat, diary and then the other half being salad greens, you know, fruits and things. That’s probably a pretty healthy diet.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Just keeping it simple.
Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. So, just thinking now then based upon where we are right now, with all the information that’s coming from, you know, the government, the doctors, you know, health advisors. So, if I go to the doctor’s and the doctor says, “Look, you know, you need to get in better shape. I need you to adopt a low-fat diet.” Now, that’s hugely confusing for me now with this barrage of information, new information that’s come out, saying the complete opposite. So, where would I start if I come back from the doctors with that info?
Nina Teicholz: Right. Well, first you sign up for your podcast.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: That’s a good one.
Guy Lawrence: We send it to so many people and friends, you know, who have had that message.
Nina Teicholz: Yeah. And then you send your doctor my book or you send him your podcast. I mean, this is; I mean it is confusing. I think that until the paradigm shifts and our expert advice shifts, we’re going to live; we’re all going to live with this kind of cognitive dissonance between what our doctors say, who, you know, by the way have; most doctors, at least in America have about one hour out of their entire, what, seven-year education is at one hour or one day is devoted to nutrition. Really, they don’t know about nutrition. Even though if you look at polls, most people get their dietary advice from their doctor. So, that’s unfortunate.
But you really do have to become a little bit of an independent thinker, I think, on this subject. You know, especially if you feel like if the low-fat diet isn’t working for you, then there’s your own; I mean, in nutrition everybody is their own “n=1” experiment, right?
Stuart Cooke: Yup. Yeah.
Nina Teicholz: You know, you can go on a low-fat diet and see if it works for you over time. And then if it doesn’t you can go back to your doctor and say, “You know, that really didn’t work.” And he’ll say, “Well, you didn’t exercise enough and you didn’t lower your fat enough.”
Stuart Cooke: Yup.
Nina Teicholz: And you can try that advise and see if it works for you. Or you can go on a higher-fat diet and see how well that works.
I mean, I just think that this is a field where there is a kind of alternative view and you have to kind of wean yourself from expert advice in this field. Because the expert advice is really misinformed and it’s entrenched. So; and I think that’s not going to change any time.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. It’s a huge topic and its, yeah, which; you touched on exercise as well. So, question would be, exercise and heart disease are highly related, you know, heart disease and prevention. What’s your thoughts on that?
Nina Teicholz: You know, the recommendations for exercise are mainly based on this idea of burning calories, right? And that’s all based on this idea that weight, your weight, is determined by your calories in, how much you eat, subtracted by your calories out, how much you exercise.
And so, that’s why their recommendations are, you know, burn as many calories as you can. Or, you know, exercise an hour a day to burn calories.
But it just turns out that, you know, weight is not so simply regulated by calories in versus calories out. And we all know, like, I could probably go to a meal with you guys and you’d probably eat a massive amount of food and I’d be sitting there eating like, nothing and thinking, “Why are these guys so slim?” I mean, we all know people for whom that’s true and we all know fat people who just don’t seem to eat very much and we assume that they’re all, you know, stuffing themselves with ice cream every night. But that’s not necessarily true.
The experiments on exercise are uniquely depressing. I mean, they show that when; here’s the most depressing one I’ve ever read, which is kind of emblematic of the whole field, which is, they took a group of people. They had half of them do nothing. The other half trained for marathons for an entire year. They ran like a hundred miles a week, at the end of which the groups were the same in weight. The marathoners hadn’t lost any weight or any more compared to the controlled group. And that was, because when you exercise a lot, you get hungry and then your body, well, your body’s not an idiot, it knows; like it just wants, you know it will make you hungrier and then you’ll eat more and then you’ll replace the calories that you burn.
So, that kind of aerobic exercise does not seem to be effective and there’s a lot of studies like that. I mean, I’m sure you’ve talked about it on your program, the kind of exercise that seems to be supported by better evidence is, like, intense exercise, like, lifting weights or doing sprints or you know, really intense exercise that changes your actual muscles at a cellular level, will actually change their sensitivity to insulin.
Which is totally fascinating. But you don’t have to do a ton of that exercise, you can just do like 15 minutes of it, of intense exercise, and that seems to make, you know, enough of a difference to have an impact.
Stuart Cooke: Perfect. Perfect. Yeah, I have a little 6-minute workout that I do couple of times a week and I’m done and dusted in 6 minutes, but it knocks me sideways. But I feel great for it and I sleep better afterwards and I don’t have to spend hours in the gym on a treadmill.
Nina Teicholz: It’s too bad you’re so obese, really. Obviously it’s not working.
Stuart Cooke: I know. Well, you can’t really see the full body …
Guy Lawrence: Stu, I tell you, as I’ve mentioned on many podcasts, Stu’s body fat is probably at about 8 percent, right? I mean, he eats like a horse, like I can’t keep; like he probably eats physically twice the amount of food I do in a day. It’s incredible. I don’t know how he does it or what he does, but …
Stuart Cooke: Well, it is interesting because we had some genetic testing done on the both of us and our makeup is so very, very different. And it really is a slap in the face for everybody who counts calories, because we are so uniquely different. I couldn’t put on weight if I tried and I have tried. Whereas it’s the opposite for Guy. So, it really does, you know, take a little bit of a mind shift to think, “Well, perhaps it isn’t just about what I’m eating.” Because our bodies are kind of chemical machines rather than just, you know, adhering to the simple principles of energy in/energy out. So …
Nina Teicholz: That’s great.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Nina Teicholz: For women, I would say for women, especially women, you know, of a certain age like me, you know, then there’s other factors; your hormones become involved.
Stuart Cooke: Yes.
Nina Teicholz: I mean, your fat in technical terms, your fat deposition is controlled by your hormones, right?
Stuart Cooke: Yup.
Nina Teicholz: And the reason that carbohydrates fatten you up more is that they trigger the release of a hormone called insulin, right?
Stuart Cooke: Yup.
Nina Teicholz: And then when you get to be my age your hormones change and it becomes; and so that also messes with your fat deposition and then you have to, you have to make adjustments or figure that out. But I mean all of that just shows you that fat is controlled. The deposition of your fat on your body is controlled by your hormones. Insulin is one of those hormones and other hormones have an effect as well.
So, it’s really not about the number of calories that you eat.
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Nina Teicholz: One of the great things about eating a higher-fat diet is it just; you don’t have to count calories. Which is like such an enslaving, awful way to live. You know, you can just eat until you’re full. All the tests on the so-called Atkins diet, all the formal scientific experiments, they don’t tell the people to control calories. That diet works even without counting calories. So …
Stuart Cooke: Yup.
Nina Teicholz: And that’s a fundamental thing, because that is a terrible way to live. Like where you’re counting the number of calories in your toothpaste, because like, you know, you’re just; you’re, I mean, you’re like, “I’m never going to get back in that dress.”
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. The other …
Stuart Cooke: I was just thinking that’s just a perfect product; just low-carbohydrate toothpaste. Why didn’t we think of that? We’d make a fortune.
Nina Teicholz: If you’re counting calories.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. True. True.
Guy Lawrence: And the other thing we see all the time as well, is that when people are counting calories, a lot of the calories they’re indiscriminate about what they eat. Like, there’s no nutrients in to them whatsoever except glucose half the time, you know. It’s just processed carbs and they keep to that. I often wonder what that would be doing to you know, the gut health, the inflammation and all these knock-on effects that are coming from that as well. It’s huge.
Nina Teicholz: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. And just supports; we certainly don’t push the calorie-counting message, that’s for sure.
Stuart Cooke: So, given the fact then, Nina, that you’ve written this amazing book and you’ve just got a wealth of knowledge and it’s a question now that we ask everybody on our show and if you don’t mind and I apologize in advance; can you tell us what you ate today?
Nina Teicholz: Sure. I don’t mind. It’s not very interesting. Let’s see, I two fried eggs for breakfast.
Stuart Cooke: Yup.
Nina Teicholz: I drink a lot of coffee. And then I had a huge bowl of full-fat cottage cheese with walnuts and some raisins for lunch. And I haven’t had dinner yet, because I’m here in California. I don’t know what time it is there, but I haven’t had dinner yet.
Stuart Cooke: Right. Okay.
Nina Teicholz: That’s it.
Guy Lawrence: Perfect. There you go.
Stuart Cooke: Fantastic.
Guy Lawrence: And just touching on that, another thought that came in, because for anyone listening to this that is still eating a low-fat diet, you know, what would you advise them in terms of what you found on transition, you know, to allowing the body to adapt and utilize fat more as a fuel?
Nina Teicholz: Well, so a few things; one is that if you’re transitioning to eating more red meat, if you haven’t eaten red meat in a long time you don’t have a lot of the enzymes that you need to digest it and it does take awhile to build those enzymes back up. So, that’s kind of a slow transition.
The other thing is that typically when people switch to a higher-fat diet, I’m talking about like an Atkins diet that’s quite high in fat, there’s a transition period during which you feel awful. And one of the problems with a bunch of these trials on the Atkins diet is they were like, “Oh, let’s test it for three weeks.” And everybody feels horrible during those three weeks. And they’re like, “Oh, that diet must not work.”
But you have to test it for a longer period of time, because there is this transition period. Your enzymes are changing; your regulatory pathways; your metabolism is changing; you’re switching to burning fat rather than glucose as fuel. That takes time and there are resources to try to help you make that transition without suffering too much.
You know, you’re supposed to drink bone broth and have more sodium and you know, there’s various things that you can do to try to replenish some of the nutrients that are depleted. And you know there’s books; I can recommend a book about that. But you have to get through that transition period and then you start feeling better. That’s the crucial thing.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fantastic. Yeah I just wanted her to touch on that.
And we have a couple of wrap up questions that we ask on the show every week and one was what Stewie just asked for, what you ate today?
Another one is, what books have influenced you the most or what would you recommend to people and this can be outside the nutrition or anything. Is there any that spring to mind?
Nina Teicholz: Well, I haven’t read anything other than nutrition for so long. I feel like, oh yeah, there was probably “Catcher On The Rye” back when I read other kinds of things. But, you know, in nutrition the most important writer in nutrition in my view is Gary Taubes. His book, “Good Calories, Get Bad Calories,” is like the Bible, I think, of this whole field. I think it’s, you know, fantastic. It’s; my book covers a lot that same territory, but it’s maybe a little bit lighter and also covers some other things.
So, yeah, I think that’s the most important book I can think of in this field. He also wrote a book called, “Why We Get Fat.” That’s a little more user-friendly.
Yeah, and then you know, Jane Austin. Read about human nature. Never gets better than that.
Stuart Cooke: Perfect. That’s excellent.
Guy Lawrence: Excellent. And the last one, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Nina Teicholz: Oh, you know I get asked this and then I’m like, “I don’t know anything about; I don’t know how to live.” I don’t know. Actually I just don’t know how to answer that.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Nina Teicholz: I think that maybe in this field, for this audience, the point about taking care of your sleep. I’m a chronic insomniac; I’ve been for years. And that so interferes with your weight, and your ability to function and I’m just getting my sleep in order and I would say, yeah, attention to your sleep. It’s just as important as what you eat.
Guy Lawrence: Perfect and we certainly agree with that one.
Stuart Cooke: That is excellent advice. I am absolutely consumed by all things sleep right now. So, in another conservation, I could chew your ear off about that topic.
Nina Teicholz: Oh, I would really like that. I would really love to hear actually what you know.
Stuart Cooke: Likewise.
Nina Teicholz: It’s a whole; that’s another topic where, you know, where you go to your doctor and what they say is so unhelpful, you know.
Stuart Cooke: Absolutely.
Nina Teicholz: And what you find on the internet is largely unhelpful and it’s hard to find your way to good information. So …
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, they’re all alike. I’m been; I have been infatuated by this probably for the last two years and I’ve read a billion books and a million podcasts. And yeah, I’ve got all these strategies as well that are just like gold and I know now that if I do this thing I’ll have a better nights sleep and it just works. So, yeah …
Nina Teicholz: Thank goodness.
Guy Lawrence: Can you share with us tip, Stu for anyone that’s listening out there.
Stuart Cooke: Okay. One tip; I’ll give you two tips.
Guy Lawrence: There you go.
Stuart Cooke: Blue light and devices wreck sleep, because it interrupts with the body’s production of melatonin. So, if you’re staring at a laptop at 9 o’clock at night and then expect yourself to go into a blissful sleep, it won’t happen.
So, I’ve just been; I wear these blue light blocking glasses. You know, I look like a construction worker. But, crikey, you put them on and ten minutes later you feel sleepy. It’s that crazy.
Nina Teicholz: Wow.
Stuart Cooke: And so, yeah, for me it’s kind of devices off at kind of 6 p.m. and then I try and get into more of a sleep routine where I read and listen to music and prepare myself for sleep wearing those glasses. So, that works.
And the other thing, is a little bit of carbohydrate-cycling. So, following a reasonably low-carbohydrate diet, I tend to have most of my carbohydrates at night before I go to bed. And that really helps with insulin and puts the body in this sleepy state and helps me stay asleep during the night.
So, I find that if I restrict my carbohydrates in the meal at night and just have, I’m going to say carbohydrates, but I’m thinking more of the starchy carbohydrates. So like, sweet potato, things, you know, outside of just the veggies. It works. So, a baked potato, with like guacamole on it; a steak, some veggies covered in olive oil; is my go-to-sleep meal.
We have that on a Monday evening almost religiously and I get the best sleep on Monday night. I just do. So, I’ve been researching a little bit more about that; just about starch and stuff like that and how that plays with our sleep.
Nina Teicholz: All right, I’m signing up for your pod. I’m …
Stuart Cooke: No problem.
Nina Teicholz: Those are great ideas. I’ve heard them, but I mean, that is; really sounds very smart and you’re right. If you can encapsulate that advice and get it out to people, that’s incredible service. So, sign me up.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.
Stuart Cooke: All right and thank you.
Guy Lawrence: That’s a good one, Stu. That’s awesome.
And so, what does the future hold for you, Nina? Anything exciting coming up?
Nina Teicholz: No. I hope to be; have a very dull life and get a lot of sleep. But I am; I’m particularly interested in trying to change the actual nutrition policy, you know, that exists, so that; which is so influential. That’s why your doctor gives you the wrong advice, is that they get their recommendations straight from the government and that’s also true in Australia, I know.
So, I think that that needs to change and I’m hoping to work to try to move that along. And basically, you know, nutrition reform. I mean, it’s one thing to write a book, but then you just have to get that message out there. So, I’m working on that.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. And for everyone listening to this, where is the best to go to get more of you so that you; your website?
Nina Teicholz: I do you have a website.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Nina Teicholz: It’s not so active, but there’s a lot of information there, which is: www.thebigfatsurprise.com.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. And they’d be able to get your book from there too or just on Amazon?
Nina Teicholz: Yes. I think it should still be on Amazon. There’s actually a new version that’s being sold in the UK without the thousands of footnotes at the back. So, that’s; might even be considered beach reading, because it’s a light enough book to carry with you.
Guy Lawrence: Well, Stewie’s going through it at the moment, I’m waiting for him to finish and then I’m going to be reading it.
Nina Teicholz: Oh, good.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fantastic.
Nina Teicholz: Great. Well, it’s lovely to talk to you both.
Guy Lawrence: Thank you so much for coming on this show, Nina. That was an awesome and yeah, everyone’s going to get so much out of it. That’s brilliant.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. It’s been a pleasure. Thank you again, Nina.
Guy Lawrence: Thanks, Nina.
Nina Teicholz: It’s really been great to talk to you.
The video above is 02:17 long. Use your time wisely ;) Please share with anyone you know who has high cholesterol or is on cholesterol lowering medication.
Are you confused by what your cholesterol levels really say about your health? Don’t you wish someone could just spell it out in simple English and tell you what, if anything, you need to do to improve your heart and overall health?
Full Interview: Cholesterol Clarity & the Truth About Heart Disease
Health blogger Jimmy Moore shares with us some invaluable lessons including why consuming saturated fat is good, why carbohydrates are detrimental to attaining the best cholesterol numbers and why there is a growing number of physicians, researchers and nutritionists who believe treating cholesterol numbers is virtually irrelevant.
Cholesterol Clarity: Jimmy teamed up with Dr. Eric Westman, a practicing internist and nutrition researcher, to bring you one of the most unique books you’ll ever read on this subject, featuring exclusive interviews with twenty-nine of the world’s top experts from various fields to give you the complete lowdown on cholesterol.
In this weeks episode:-
Cholesterol Clarity: The inspiration behind the book [015:34]
Simplifying the cholesterol jargon [015:34]
What really is the best way to measure heart health [019:45]
What to eat for ultimate heart health [038:58]
What alcohol can we drink for heart health? [040:30]
Are you confused about high cholesterol? Did you find this helpful? Would love to hear you thoughts in the Facebook comments section below… Guy
Jimmy Moore & Cholesterol Clarity: The Transcript
Guy: Hey this is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition and welcome to Podcast #18. Our very special guest today is no other than podcast legend Jimmy Moore. Jimmy’s here to tell us about his brand new book that he’s written called Cholesterol Clarity and I think he interviewed 29 experts to put this book together and, well, what he has to say is just incredible, really, so I urge you to listen to it and more importantly, if you know anyone with high cholesterol or is on cholesterol-lowering medication to share it with these people so they can get a different perspective on the whole industry and make a more informed decision moving forward.
Jimmy’s a very honest, sincere, very upbeat guy and it was just awesome to have him on the show today and share all these gems of information that you just don’t think about. As always, if you are listening to this through iTunes, please leave a review for us. It helps us get the word out there and improves our rankings on iTunes and more people can find us and the message that we’re actually trying to spread and if you are so, come over to our blog, 180Nutrition.com.au/blog and you can see these videos in action as well. So until the next time, please enjoy the show.
Guy: This is Guy Lawrence, I’m always joined with Mr. Stuart Cooke, and our special guest today is no other than Jimmy Moore. Jimmy, thank you for joining us. I pretty much want to expose you to an audience over here as well that might not know who you are. And, you know, from what I’ve followed you over the years, you’re pretty much the rock star of podcasting now, I think. How many podcasts have you actually done now?
Jimmy: So if you count all three podcasts that air five days a week, I’d say it’s probably close to over a thousand episodes.
Guy: That’s insane.
Jimmy: And just the one has 700 what did we just pass, Christine? Like, 720, something like that.
Guy: And that’s the Livin’ La Vida Low Carb, right? And what;
Guy: What would the other ones be, Jimmy?
Jimmy: So, Thursday nights I do a live show at 7 p.m. Eastern time in the United States and it’s called “Ask the Low-Carb Experts.” So we take somebody that I know is an expert on some subject and we talk about that subject. I have people, you know, call in with questions and emailing questions and it’s a lot of fun. I like that show and then on Fridays we do a show called “Low Carb Conversations with Jimmy Moore and Friends” where we have headlines that are out there, I know you guys get them there in Australia. The health headlines that make you want to scream, so we scream about them on that show. I’ve got a registered dietician, Dietician Cassie is her name, and we invite on some people in the community. We’ve actually had some people from Australia on. It’s a little hard to get the time zone thing right.
Stuart: Yeah, tell us about it.
Jimmy: So, yeah. That’s—
Guy: I can imagine. I can imagine. So, what we thought we’d do is before we, y’know, ’cuz we want to cover your brand new book, Cholesterol Clarity, but before we do could you just tell us a little bit I guess about yourself? Your journey, why you started podcasting and what led you up into this point, really. I think.
Jimmy: Sure. So, if you’d asked me ten years ago, Guy, if I would be one of the people out here in the world talking about health and diet and nutrition and fitness, I woulda laughed my head off. I would say 410-pound man, how many kilos would that be?
Stuart: That’d be 200 kilos at least.
Jimmy: Oh. Yeah. So, 200 kilos and I had 5-XL shirts. I wore a size 62-inch waist pants. I was a big boy. And I was doing some really (as far as nutritionally,) I did care about nutrition. I just ate and I thought Coca Cola was food, I thought Little Debbie Snack Cakes were food, you know, big plates of pasta; that’s food. I was the typical American eating a crappy diet. And I was on prescription medications for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, breathing problems. I was literally a ticking time bomb at the age of 32 and I needed to do something. So my mother-in-law actually gave me a copy of a book called Dr. Atkin’s New Diet Revolution for Christmas in December of 2003. So, thanks, Mom. She gave me a diet for Christmas. I read the book and I thought, “Man this guy is wacked out. How do you eat more fat and lose weight and not get clogged arteries? How do you eat less carbohydrate, isn’t that how you get your energy? Aren’t you going to be lethargic all day? So I had tried low-fat diet after low-fat diet so many times, Guy, I was just frustrated and so I was like “Okay, well I’ve tried all of these other low-fat ones, so let’s try a high-fat diet.” And the first month I lost 30 lbs, what’s that, about 15 kilos.
Jimmy: At the second month I lost another 20 kilo and by the end of 100 days, I’d lost almost 50 kilos and by the end of the year it was right around, right around 90 kilos that I had lost.
Guy: That is…
Stuart: Huge. I often hear people frustrated, they can’t change. And, y’know, they seem to do the same cycle constantly. What was the changing factor for you? Because you’d tried to diet and it just wasn’t working. You didn’t give up, though.
Jimmy: Right. Y’know, for me what it was was for the first time in my life, I ate in such a way that I didn’t feel like I was dieting. So all those times before that I’d done low-fat diets, I felt hunger. I felt cravings, I felt deprivation. I felt all of these things that make people give up on a diet. But when I started Atkins and started eating high fat, low carb, I mean you tell somebody, “You can eat fat, butter, real butter. You can have bacon, you can have all of these things that have always been forbidden on a diet,” suddenly they now become health food, which bacon is health food, by the way, and suddenly you’re able to get a buy-in factor. So, for me the buy-in factor was, I had no hunger. I had no cravings after a certain period of time. I had great satisfaction in the foods I was eating. And it took me probably about six months to totally say, “You know what? I used to be a sugar addict and a carbohydrate addict, but I don’t miss those things anymore. And here it is, almost a decade later, and I still don’t miss bread. I don’t miss pasta, I don’t miss the sweet things. I don’t want any Coca Cola in my mouth, much less 16 cans a day. I mean, it was those kind of changes up here that just, the switch happened. And seeing the results I was seeing on my body, losing weight, but more importantly than that was all the ways that I just felt better. I knew there was something special about what I was doing.
Stuart: And then you had to podcast about it.
Jimmy: Well, the first thing I did was I started a blog. So everybody knows me for my podcast now, but I actually started a blog about a year and half before the podcast. And so I started Living la Vida Low-Carb blog in April of 2005 to start sharing and then some people noticed that and one of them was a guy that produces podcasts. He said, “Dude, you gotta get a podcast show” and I was like, “Well, what in the world is a podcast?” This was 2006. And he said, “Oh, you just talk on the radio and do like some rants.” And I’m like, “I can rant.” So I started doing that and the first 50 episodes of the Living la Vida Low-Carb Show were indeed just rants, and then I started stumbling upon going to these conferences and trying to learn about this and meeting obesity researchers and medical doctors that are treating patients and I started doing interviews and of course I started doing that and loved it. And now it’s kinda the forte of what I do on my shows.
Guy: Yeah it’s fun times. For anyone listening to this, I urge people to go on and check out your podcasts and to have em. Because the guests you’ve got on there, Jimmy, are just fantastic, they’re phenomenal.
Jimmy: I’ll interview anybody, too. That’s the fun part. I’ll have obviously paleo and low-carb and primal people, Robb Wolf, Mark Sisson, those kind of people, Loren Cordain, Gary Taubes, I’ve had all of ‘em on there, but I’ve also thrown in a few vegans from time to time like Durian writer in your neck of the woods. I’ve had Dean Ornish and I recently had John McDougall on, whose a big starch-based diet guy. So, you know, we like to have fun and the key is not to necessarily follow everything that you hear from everybody. But I think there’s something at least in everybody’s story, even Dean Ornish and XXTough??XX MacDougall. There’s something that they have to offer that you can apply in your life right now to make yourself healthier.
Guy: That’s a really good point. Cuz we, I stumbled across Tim Noakes on your podcast as well, that was the first time I’d heard of Tim and we had him on the show a couple of weeks back.
Jimmy: Love him.
Guy: He was awesome. Funny enough was, Tim, the switch that changed him was the diet, the Atkins book as well for him. I’ll have to read ’cuz I haven’t read the Atkins book, actually.
Jimmy: If you read one I think it’s interesting to kinda read the progression of how Atkins came about and progressed, because the original one that came out in the early ’70s, “Atkins Diet Revolution” was the name of that one, he was hardcore, I mean it was all about all meat, like very high fat and protein and that was pretty much it. Maybe a few veggies. Then he had to moderate a little bit, because people were like, “That’s too boring, I want to do something a little more,” so that why in the ’90s he came up with “Atkins New Diet Revolution” and there was an update in the early 2000s with that one. And then in 2010 a group of researchers, all three of which have been on my podcast, wrote a brand-new Atkins book; they called it “The New Atkins for a New You.” I believe that’s the one that Tim Noakes read. So you can kind of see the progression of how Dr. Atkins started doing this even before any science proved that what he was saying was true. He was putting it out there. Now we have science that supports it and the “New Atkins for a New You” definitely presents that in a really clear way.
Guy: Absolutely. So talking about books and talking about your brand-new book, Cholesterol Clarity, what made you decide to move toward this topic and write about it, Jimmy?
Jimmy: So after I lost 180 pounds, the 90 kilos in 2004, I went to my doctor a really excited guy. I was like, “You know what, he’s going to be so proud. My health is gonna be so amazing.” I felt amazing. And so I get there and he was indeed proud of the weight loss, he said, “But let’s run your cholesterol.” So I said, “Okay, no problem.” I got the cholesterol results and I saw my HDO good cholesterol was 72.
Jimmy: Anything over 50 is really good, 72 was rocking it. So then I checked my triglycerides, and they were 43, which again, anything under 100 is spectacular. So I was doing really well there. So I go into the doctor’s office and I said “Aren’t my cholesterol test results amazing?” And he said “No. They’re horrible.” I said, “What are you talking about? My triglycerides and HDO got measurably better on this diet.” He said “Oh, but your total cholesterol (and I know you guys have different ways of measuring it in Australia) was something like 285,” so whatever that translates to, it was kind of high compared to what they want. What would normal be would be like the equivalent of like 200 in Australia.
Guy: I looked at the maths here yesterday. So for every one, I think it’s millimole here, it’ll be 38.6 in the states. So. So there’s the maths.
Jimmy: Somewhere around 5.0 sounds like it’s about normal and mine was about maybe 6.2 or 3. Anyway, it was high on his kind of parameters for looking at this. So I said, “So, is this negating all the good things that happened to the rest of the panel?” All he was paying attention to was total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol and he was pushing a statin drug on me. Now, a statin drug is a cholesterol-lowering medication, things like Lipitor and Crestor and you guys are lucky in Australia they can’t advertise on television, is that right, the pharmaceutical companies?
Jimmy: So, here in the States absolutely they advertise the heck out of us. What they do, you guys, is they send nicely-dressed beautiful young people to go in as pharmaceutical reps into the doctor’s offices, I assume they do that in Australia too, but they do that here and they tell ’em, “This is the cure for heart disease, you need to be putting all your patients with high cholesterol on these medications” and then on television we’re sitting there watching it as a consumer, “Go lower with your cholesterol numbers. So ask your doctor about taking Lipitor.” So people go to their doctor, they have a high cholesterol come in and they dutifully ask their doctor about the medication. The doctor: “Why, yes, I do have that medication. In fact, I have free samples to give you today to help you go lower.” So it was that whole kind of ruse, for lack of a better term, that got me first starting to think about this. There’s more to this story than total cholesterol and LDL and yet even here in 2013 around the world there’s still obsessed those two numbers and predicating all treatment just on those numbers.
Stuart: The cholesterol jargon I think would certainly go; certainly goes over my head. It certainly goes over most people’s heads. They’re generally aware of high cholesterol, or your cholesterol’s okay. And when you do go a little bit deeper, you’ve got your HDL, LDL, triglycerides, C-Reactive proteins. So for the likes of you know, me and Guy and our audience, how can we simplify this? What should we be looking for?
Jimmy: Well, that was one reason I wrote Cholesterol Clarity, because I wanted people to know that this is not as complicated as it’s been made out to be. And even beyond that it’s not as simplistic as total cholesterol and LDL.
Jimmy: People think: “LDL bad, total cholesterol high bad, and HDL well, maybe it’s sort of good and they know nothing else. I think what we’re trying to get people to understand is, all of that is dead wrong. Because your total cholesterol really doesn’t tell you much about your health. And I’ve been using this analogy on other stations, but I said, “Your total cholesterol is like knowing the end of a baseball game is 25.” Now does that make any sense at all? Would you know if it’s a 24-1 blowout or a 13-12 barn-burner,;you just don’t know what that ‘25’ represents.
Same with your total cholesterol, and there’s two wrinkles in total cholesterol that people need to know about: HDL is the good cholesterol that you want to have higher, so maybe part of your total cholesterol being above that level they deem as safe, maybe a lot of that is your HDL cholesterol. I had a lady last week, she was freaking out because 225 total cholesterol and her doctor was pushing a statin drug. Well, I asked her what her HDL cholesterol was; it was 105 of that. So almost 40 percent of her total cholesterol was this kind you want to have very high.
So that’s flaw number one in the total cholesterol. Then, number two is that LDL C number is only a calculated estimated number. It’s not an exactly-measured number. There in Australia, you don’t even have an ability to exactly measure what your LDL is. They use this equation called “The Friedwald Equation” to determine what that number is, but if you have low triglycerides and high HDL, that Friedewald Equation isn’t going to calculate your LDL correctly, so it’s gonna make you look like you have a high cholesterol than you really do. Luckily here in America we have a test that we can have run called an NMR lipo-profile test, a little bit more fancy test and unfortunately it’s only available in the United States because they run it out of North Carolina. And it measures exactly the number of particles, the LDL particles that are in your blood and that’s what’s important now. In Australia you have a way to test for particles, it’s called an apo B test. So you can have that run and your doctor can have it run. It will show you the number of LDL particles through that apo B number.
Guy: Wow. I think was listening to the podcast you were with Abel James and he used the analogy of standing on the scale and I thought that was a very good analogy as well, because it doesn’t give you the true makeup of what the weight is, whether it’s muscle mass, body fat, visceral fat, there’s so many things going on.
Jimmy: Or if your wife is stepping on the scale behind you. [Guys laugh.] Sorry, honey.
Guy: So. One of the messages is plenty clear, is not to be just fed information. So if someone is listening to this with high cholesterol, do your homework. Start looking for other opinions as well and research it. You’d have to be, otherwise, if, I guess the point is as well, what should we do to check for good heart health? So, if somebody is listening to this with high cholesterol, they’re now confused and not sure and they go, “What should I be doing to measure my heart health?”
Jimmy: Sure. So, there are some key markers that can help you understand. Number one: cholesterol is not anything to do with heart disease. I hope people understand: high cholesterol in and of itself is not a disease. It may indicate that there’s other things going on somewhere in your health and we talk about that in the book as well. You know, low thyroid can raise your cholesterol, losing weight can raise your cholesterol. One thing that I learned when I visited Australia last year, I spoke with a holistic dentist in Sydney, Ron Ehrlich, so he told me if you have periodontal issues going on and I had several root canals that had gotten infected, that can raise your cholesterol. I’ve since gotten that fixed and I’m anxious to see what it does to my cholesterol levels and I also had some mercury amalgams taken out and replaced, so.
Guy: Wow, there you go.
Jimmy: That toxicity can raise your cholesterol as well, so there’s all kinds of things that can raise cholesterol. So cholesterol being elevated in and of itself is not a problem. The problem comes into play when you have inflammation levels and you guys mentioned earlier: the key test for measuring for inflammation is CRP. So get your C-Reactive protein, it sometimes shows up on the test as HSCRP, High-Sensitivity C-Reactor Protein. At that level you want to have under 1.0. My current level of CRP is .55.
Jimmy: And so you want that to be as low as you possibly can, because without that inflammation in your body, you cannot have heart disease.
Guy: There you go. So is there a universal reading? Would that be the same in Australia?
Jimmy: I believe, yeah, I believe the numbers translation one for one because I think it’s like A1C is the same in Amer-yeah. We’re kind of weird in America, we kind of use all these kinda different readings, but I do think that one is exactly the same, yeah.
Guy: Yeah. So, so–
Jimmy: In the back of the book we do provide, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt.
Guy: That’s okay.
Jimmy: In the back of the book we do provide a conversion table for all the numbers in the book so that anybody internationally that doesn’t understand kinda numbers that I’m writing in the book, you’ll get a translation of every single number in the book in the back of the book.
Stuart: Perfect. That’s a good bit of information, Jimmy, it really is.
Guy: Absolutely. So for anyone wanting to get their, I guess, cholesterol checked today.
Guy: C-Reactive would be up there on the list, you have to get that done.
Guy: So would that perhaps be, and is that just through just standard blood test, you go and say “Look, just C-Reactive protein”?
Jimmy: Yep, that’s right. It’s a very easy test. Any doctor in the whole world can run that test. And then if you wanna look at your cholesterol panel, I’d say the very, the most uninteresting part of that panel is your total cholesterol. It really doesn’t tell you a whole lot and neither really does the LDL C, which we explained already is merely an estimated, calculated number. So forget those two numbers, I know that’s what your doctor wants to obsess about, and he obsesses about it because he’s got a pill that can lower those numbers, that’s the only reason he obsesses about it.
Stuart: So—Sorry Jimmy, keep going.
Jimmy: I was gonna say, so if you want to look at something interesting on your cholesterol panel, look at the triglycerides number, look at the HDL number. If the ratio between the triglycerides and the HDL is one or less, you’re beautiful. You’re doin’ great. That’s extremely healthy for you to have that ratio and it’s that ratio between the triglycerides and the HDL that people need to be more aware of than total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.
Guy: Jolly. So it’s high HDL, low triglycerides and a low score for C-Reactive protein.
Jimmy: You’ve got it. Those things are in place, you’re beautiful.
Stuart: And if your C-Reactive protein is high in the results, then you should look at what’s causing the inflammation for that.
Stuart: Which is—
Jimmy: And we talked thing—
Stuart: What you mentioned.
Jimmy: Exactly. And we talk about in the book two major things in your diet that if you’re eating right now, you probably want to back off on ‘em, like, a lot. And it shouldn’t come as a surprise coming out of my mouth what one of them is: carbohydrates are a huge inflammatory part and not just like all carbs, I mean obviously green leafy vegetables are good, non-starchy vegetables, but we’re talking about the highly inflammatory sugars and grains that are not healthy, whole grains. They’re very highly inflammatory grains. The human body was never meant to consume grains and yet people eat bread and pasta and they don’t even think twice about it. Sugars, grains and anything, really, that’s gonna spike your blood sugar. So if you can get a glucose monitor, are they prolific to get a blood sugar monitor there in Australia that you can just buy it at a pharmacy?
Stuart: Yeah. You can get them.
Jimmy: Yeah, so get one. See how you’re doing in your blood sugar and it’s gonna tell the tale. And then as far as the other food that you’re eating that you need to be cutting out is vegetable oils. I know David Gillespie, who was one of my great experts, we had 29 total experts in the book and I was so happy to get David Gillespie, because he just literally wrote the book on toxic oil and talking about all of these vegetable oils. I mean, I’m so proud that one of your countrymen is really kind of pulling the curtain out, I mean he did it with sugar, now he’s doing it with the oils and these oils, everybody and their mama’s eating these oils and it’s in all the packaged foods.
Jimmy: I mean , if we got rid of the carbs and got rid of the culprit carbs and got rid of the vegetable oils, man, how much healthier would we be as a world?
Guy: Yeah. Massively. Massively. Yeah, absolutely everywhere, like you say.
Stuart: And they’re just two things. Y’know, and they’re, but the problem is they’re insidious, and you go to the local supermarket and they’re in everything.
Jimmy: They’re ubiquitous and in literally every food that’s manufactured by some company. And that’s why I say just eat real food because guess what? That steak, those eggs, that real butter? They’re ain’t no carbs and there’s no vegetable oils to be found. Now, you gotta be careful with butter, because sometimes they like to mix in vegetable oil with butter as a blend and ooh, “This is butter? Blend!” and I’m going “No no no no no, you put some nasty soy bean oil or whatever in there and no thanks.”
Guy: The message is certainly different than what we’re told.
Stuart: Why do you think… I kind of like in this message to a little bit of a Fight Club scenario…there are these small pockets of activists who really get this and fight for it and understand it and it makes so much sense and you feel so much better, but it’s still an underground message. Why doesn’t this go mainstream?
Jimmy: You know what, but for the internet this would still be an underground, y’know, nobody’d ever heard of message. And I think there’s not enough people paying attention to be honest. And the mainstream has not, up until this point, I mean we’ve seen a few glimmers, I know David Gillespie’s gotten some nice publicity there in Australia, Gary Taubes has gotten some pretty good, and Robert Lustig here in America, but for the most part, the people just aren’t getting this information, which is why I’m so passionate about doing a podcast, I’m very honored that it gets a quarter million people pretty much listening every single week. That’s not near enough when there’s literally hundreds upon hundreds, even billions of people around the world. We’ve still got a lot of work to do, so why isn’t it getting out? The powers that be? Big pharma? Big agri? All of these companies that have vested interest in keeping people buying into the low-fat mantra, buying into the cholesterol-is-the-cause-of-heart-disease…as long as people still believe that, they’re not gonna hear anything else. Which is one reason I wrote the book Cholesterol Clarity is that I didn’t think enough people and including doctors even knew about this stuff. And so we’ve got all these medical doctors and researches and activists like David Gillespie, y’know, in the book to give it kinda some credibility and look, this is not just some friend’s Joe Schmo, you know, guy that used to weigh 410 lbs saying this, this is a group of respected people that say “Look, we’ve been lied to for long enough. It’s time to tell the truth.”
Stuart: Fantastic. I think you, was it 29 experts for your book? That you kinda…
Jimmy: Yeah, 29 experts, plus my co-author, Dr. Eric Westman, who, ironically, was the co-author on “The New Atkins for a New You” as well, so I was very honored to have him come onboard, he literally guy, he went behind everything I wrote and made sure everything I was saying lined up with the science, that it is accurate. He wouldn’t have allowed me to not do that. And I’ve gotten a little bit of criticism from some reviewers so far of the book, they say, “Well, you didn’t cite it. You didn’t have, like, references all in the back of the book. You know, Gary Taubes and ‘Good Calories, Bad Calories’ had 150 pages worth of citations.”
Guy: That’s right.
Jimmy: That would have scared so many people that I was trying to reach with this book. This book includes a lot of studies, but we just cite all the information about the study in the book itself and then if somebody’s interested they can go Google it.
Guy: Yeah, I think the key is to just get people to start thinking a little differently, you know? Even if they don’t understand or, sure, at least be aware that there’s other options. Or, “Hang on, maybe what I’m being told is not quite right, I need to look to other ways of information.” You know?
Jimmy: Yeah. And that’s a goal.
Guy: What about on the other side of the coin? Low cholesterol. If, for instance, we’re going to be tested and our cholesterol is very low. Is that an issue?
Jimmy: Yeah, it is actually, and we wrote a whole chapter about this: “What Do You Mean, My Cholesterol’s Too Low?” And that will shock people because all we hear, you don’t hear, but we hear commercials on our television here in America, “Go lower, go lower, go lower.”
Jimmy: You, you know, you would have, you know, you go on the street and you say “Hey, what’s the lowest cholesterol that’s healthy?” Some people would say zero and they would be so ignorant of the fact that cholesterol is vital to literally every cell in your body. Without cholesterol, you would die. And so lower levels of cholesterol and especially HDL cholesterol it’s bad news.
I mean, you’re putting yourself at more risk and there was a famous example in the book of an American journalist. He was the host of “Meet the Press,” a very famous news show here in America named Tim Russert. And Tim Russert, we tell this story in the book, had a total cholesterol of 105, which is extremely low. I’m not sure how that translates, but I think it’s something like 2.5 for you guys; it’s really, really, really low. So he died of his very first heart attack in his 50s. He was on cholesterol-lowering medication, a statin drug, he was eating a low-fat diet, eating healthy whole grains, riding a bike every day, and yet he had this incredible cholesterol that just one month before he died, his doctor told him, “You are the picture of heart health.” Because his cholesterol was 105 and yet one month later, he died of his very first heart attack in his 50s.
You wanna know why he died? His inflammation, so there’s that CRP number again, inflammation level was super high; it was like 6 or 7. And he had a heart scan done, I know you guys can’t, I don’t think you can get that done, maybe you can, a CT scan of your chest, and it will measure for calcified plaque. His heart scan score was very high as well, 500. Mine’s zero, by the way. And it’s those kind of things that people, they don’t understand. “Wait a minute, how did that guy die if he had 105, I thought that was healthy,” and yet it was extremely unhealthy and then the side effects that we talk about in that chapter, the neurological effects. If you don’t have enough cholesterol, you start getting moody, you start having all of these kinds of fits of suicide, I mean, it’s really bad news so, if you’re listening to this and you have very low cholesterol, please go eat a stick of butter right now.
Stuart: People are so scared of it, though, like I know so many people that just terrified of fat food, especially when they’ve consumed a bunch of carbs.
Guy: They have to be, they have to be scared, look at the industry, the message is everywhere.
Stuart: I remember being back here. I was in the UK last year and I was making a family member in hospital and I was making visits daily and the moment you walk through the door in hospital there’s a great big huge poster advertising margarine that was cholesterol-lowering heart healthy. And I’m just thinking “This whole message is just ahhh.” It was just painful, so painful.
Jimmy: And in America you can hardly find butter, you can hardly find full-fat Greek yogurt, I mean they’ve got huge, huge space on the shelf for all this margarine and I can’t believe it’s not butter (but I can) and all this horrible, horrible stuff. And then same on the aisle with all the vegetable oils. Literally, like 25, 30 feet worth of just canola oil and soy bean oil and all these vegetable oils that people are cooking in and have no idea it’s killing them.
Guy: Such a big industry.
Stuart: Feed them the hydrogenated oil and then come in the statin drug that you advertise to lower your cholesterol.
Jimmy: It sounds like the best conspiracy sick theory of all time, doesn’t it? It really does; it’s hard not to think that way.
Guy: I think they’re gonna be making films about this in 15 years’ time and it’ll be insane.
Stuart: In your view, Jimmy, how safe are statin drugs?
Jimmy: In my view, my personal view, I think they’re probably the most insidious thing you could possibly put in your mouth as a drug. If you’ve had a cardiovascular event, there’s been some research that says maybe, just maybe, you’re able to stave off another one but I don’t think it’s necessarily the cholesterol lowering that it does. They’re now saying “Oil! We never meant for it to be the cholesterol-lowering effects. It’s the anti-inflammatory effects of statin, so you know, the jury’s still out from a standpoint of whether they’re safe or not for those people, but they’ve never been tested on women in large-scale studies, they’ve never been tested on guys like us, who are very healthy and maybe have cholesterol levels high. We just don’t know what the effects are and the biggest problem is all the people that go on these statin drugs, and my father-in-law’s one of them, all these people go on them and then they start getting all these effects that mimic aging and they’re not aging at all. So it’s sad.
Stuart: So if somebody was prescribed a statin drug, obviously through the doctor, what would your advice be to them?
Jimmy: Well, certainly that’s a patient’s decision and one thing we tried to do in this book is: You are in control of your health. Stop advocating your responsibility to the man in the white coat to tell you what to do about your health. Do your own research, listen to podcasts like this one you’re listening to now. You know, go out there and Google information. There’s so much information out there, learn, learn and never stop learning.
So I know one of my experts in the book said, “Hey, why don’t you help the doctor out? Take that statin drug prescription and then never fill it. I mean, just because you take it doesn’t mean you have to go down to the pharmacy and fill that prescription. You take it, then you allow that doctor to do his due diligence. He was able to say, “You know what, insurance company? I wrote the script, the patient took the script, now you can go eat a paleo, low-carb diet after that and improve your numbers that way, and never take the script. In fact, I get emails like that all the time, you guys, from people that say, “You know, hey, I got that script, I threw it away, went and did paleo, went back and they’re like ‘Wow that Lipitor did really good!’ I never took the Lipitor.”
Stuart: Well, I’ve got my—
Jimmy: Those kinds of things are going to change people’s minds.
Stuart: Completely. And I’ve got a little bit of a story where my father was prescribed a statin drug and he took the statin drug for six months and did start to feel…didn’t feel right. He had all of these crazy side effects so I started digging deep on the internet and I stumbled across a movie called Statin Nation.
Jimmy: Yes, Justin Smith. Yep.
Stuart That’s right. And purchased it, watched it, sent it over to him in the UK. He watched it and of course that raised alarm bells, yeah, in his mind and then he took that DVD to the doctor and the doctor said “Right, we’ll stop your script for now, I’m gonna watch this.” And he, and that’s it, he’s off the statins. He’s feeling better.
Stuart: Yeah and I just think there’s a message there.
Guy: Did you get any feedback from the doctor, Stu? Do you know?
Stuart: The doctor said that he was gonna pass it on and you know, in his circle of associates. And take it to them.
Jimmy: You know what’s ironic about that? You found out about it there in Australia, the film was made in the UK and you sent it to somebody in the UK. Of course that might have helped him kind of connect with it, because all the accents in there was British.
Stuart: Yeah, but it’s just, it’s frightening. But yeah, great, huge resource. Just dig deep, do your own, do a little research of your own. Everyone’s different.
Guy: We’ve spoke about as well, cuz I know it’ll back to food. We spoke about the foods that we should be eliminating, especially the hydrogenated oils. Vegetable oils. Some grains, bread, you know, things that spike your blood sugars. What food do you encourage then to start eating?
Jimmy: Oh, this is the fun part. Saturated fat is your friend, so things like butter, coconut oil, lard. You guys in Australia, you don’t realize how privileged you are to have some great monounsaturated sources like avocados. I mean, they’re everywhere, avos are everywhere in Australia. I’m so jealous.
Stuart: I had one this morning.
Guy: We live off them. We live off them.
Jimmy: And the other thing that you live off of that’s extremely high in fat that’s very healthy for you is macadamia nut oil and macadamia nuts.
Stuart: Is that hard to get over there, is it?
Jimmy: It is an extremely expensive, they’re imported from Hawai’i. So you guys have them right there and I remember when I was in Australia last year, we went to some farmer’s market or something and they had a big package of ’em and it was like, what was it, Christine? It was like $10 for this humongous package and we get like a little bitty jar and it’s like $8.99 here in America.
Stuart: Yeah, they’re so good. Absolutely.
Jimmy: So healthy.
Stuart: Aussies in general are stereotypically, reasonably big drinkers. So on the subject of alcohol, where does that sit for healthy heart, you know, cholesterol, overall health. I mean we, everybody thinks, “Oh, red wine, drink your red wine,” but what are your thoughts?
Jimmy: And certainly red wine, if you’re gonna drink something, red wine is probably, you’re gonna have maybe one to two glasses. One of my experts, Paul Jaminet, said, “That’s a good way to raise your HDL.” So it’s not totally off-limits for you drinkers, you Aussie drinkers. I’m not a drinker normally. I’ll have one every once in a while, but it’s extremely rare, so I don’t have personal experience with “I really like to drink.” Definitely not beer, cuz that’s got the hops which is the wheat. So you stay away from that, and then Robb Wolf is all about the North Cal Margarita, so you get some tequila and mix it with a lime and a little bit of soda water and that kind of thing. So if you’re gonna have alcohol, just know it’s gonna have an effect on your blood sugar in excess. So that’s where I’m not a fan of the term ‘moderation’, I think that’s a bogus diet term that’s been put out there. But when it comes to alcohol it’s probably a good term.
Guy: Yeah, okay, good advice. And what, could you give us an example, Jimmy, of what you ate, say today? Just for…
Jimmy: Today was kind of weird day because I took my wife Christine out. Do you guys have a Brazilian steakhouse type places there?
Stuart: Yeah. We kind of have meat on a stick, all you can eat.
Jimmy: Yeah, they bring the meat out on the stick and they keep comin’ and keep comin’ until you tell them to stop. I did that for dinner. We do that, this is my date night, this is Friday night so I, so spending my date night with you guys. Hey! But we went to one of those places and we just got lots of really great meat and I loaded up this salad plate with butter and mozzarella cheese. So I take a bite of butter, a bite of mozzarella cheese and then stick it on the fork with a piece of meat, stick that in my mouth and ahhhh. So that’s kind of an atypical, I don’t usually eat like that every day.
If I eat during the day it’s usually about one to two meals a day. It’s extremely high in fat, mostly saturated fat. So for example, yesterday, about midday, I had five pastured eggs from a local farmer, cooked in some grass-fed butter, Kerrygold butter. I’ll sometimes cook it in coconut oil as well, just kind of get a few MCTs in there. Then I’ll melt some raw cheese on top of that and then have some sauerkraut on top of that, some sour cream on top of that and sometimes I’ll have an avocado on the side with that. As you can see, very, very high in fat. Very moderated in protein and virtually zero carbs. About the only carbs are in the sauerkraut and the avocados, so.
And I can go 8, 10, 12, sometimes even 24 hours between meals when you eat a meal that way. And my blood sugar stays stable, I measure my blood ketone levels, which we can talk about if you want to. All of those things mean I’m burning great fat. I think the last time you saw me, Guy, I was about maybe 15-17 kilos more than than I am now.
Jimmy: So I’ve lost even a little bit more. And I’ve tried to be a little more weight-stable because the active weight loss does mess with your cholesterol levels. I’m curious to see where my cholesterol will kind of level out at. So I’m trying to stay weight stable right now just to kind of see that but then I’m hot and heavy back at it again.
Stuart: Have you remained in ketosis since the last thing?
Jimmy: Yeah. In fact, I just measured just before it was one hour postprandial after that Brazilian barbecue place, that steakhouse place, and I measured my, what was my blood sugar one hour after eating, was 94, which is really good. It was in the 70s before we left, which is pretty low, pretty good. And then my blood ketone level was 1.2, which is in nutritional ketosis. So. It’s beautiful, I mean I love testing, I love kinda being a guinea pig for all this and sharing the information with other people. Not that I think everybody needs to test as much as Jimmy Moore does, but hopefully as my testing gives people good information about actionable things that they can do in their own routine.
Stuart: Yeah, absolutely. I urge anyone to check your blog to, because you’ve been documenting the whole journey for a little bit unsure.
Guy: How frequently do you think we should be getting our bloods done? Is it, like a dental checkup every six months?
Jimmy: Are you talking about like your cholesterol?
Guy: Yeah. General, kinda, yeah.
Jimmy: Yeah. I think if you do it a couple times a year, that’s probably good. I mean and keep in mind, don’t do it in the midst of like stress time in your life. Don’t do it in the midst of a weight loss. Don’t do it if you’ve got bad teeth pain like I had. Cuz that’s all gonna skew the numbers. Wait until you’re weight-stable, wait until your life has kinda calmed down a little bit. You know, wait until you’re kinda dialed in with your diet a bit. If you haven’t gotten the carbs and the oils under control you gotta do that right now. Don’t even think about getting your numbers run unless you just wanna know how bad they are before you start. And see how good they get doing this, but you’re really, yeah I think that a couple times a year is gonna be more than enough. And the bottom line is don’t obsess about the numbers. I think that’s what’s gotten us into trouble to begin with. I think we’ve gotten so obsessed about what’s your cholesterol, what’s your cholesterol, what’s your cholesterol, that people forget how do you feel? How is everything how you’re moving and how you look and perform and all these things? I think that’s a lot more interesting to me than knowing that I have a total cholesterol of 306.
Stuart: Yeah. That is spot on, actually. Y’know, if you feel fantastic and you’re doing immensely, it tells you the numbers are wrong. I don’ think you need to panic instantly, you know?
Stuart: Absolutely. Look, I just checked the time. We’ve got a couple of wrap-up questions for you as well, Jimmy.
Stuart: So if somebody’s just listened to this podcast, their cholesterol’s all high, they might be on statins and they go “Holy shit,” if you could offer one piece of advice to improve your health from this point, what would it be for that one person. What’s the first thing they should do?
Jimmy: Yeah, I mean, if you’re spiking insulin and blood sugar, you gotta get that under control, so got get that glucometer. You can go down to the pharmacy right now. You might even be driving in your car, you might be in the gym. Wherever you are, go get a glucometer because that’s gonna tell the tale. You got to get that blood sugar down and if you get the blood sugar down, guess what happens when you do that? You have better insulin sensitivity, your triglycerides will come down because the way you get your blood sugar down is cutting your carbs, your HDL will go up if you’re eating those healthy fats and stop fearing fat. I mean, that’s the message I want to get out there loud and clear: saturated fat, monounsaturated fats, they are not the enemy, they are not gonna clog your arteries. We dispel all those myths in my book. Go eat the fat. Eat fat and be merry because fat is where it’s at.
Guy: Make a great T-shirt.
Jimmy: I’m gonna wear that sometime. Fat is where it’s at.
Stuart: Absolutely. All right, and this is one question we ask on every podcast, Jimmy.
Stuart: What’s the single best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? And that can be anything. Doesn’t have to be health related.
Jimmy: The best advice I’ve ever been given and I’ve passed it on to everybody that I come into contact with is be authentically you. Because once you stop being you, you’re no longer you and you’re being somebody else and how can you possibly in this world influence other people if you’re not being you. You, warts and all, I mean, I get criticisms for being me, y’know, cuz I try to live my life, y’know openly, I try to be very honest and integrity in everything that I do. If people would just do that, man, how much more could we change this world if people just started being authentic in who they actually are rather than putting on some face that says “Ooh, this is me, this is who I am” when it’s nothing of the sort.
Guy: Fantastic. I like it.
Stuart: So true. So for everybody out here in Australia, how can we get more of Jimmy Moore? And where can we find your great book?
Jimmy: Get more Moore? I love it. So you want my website, is that what you’re asking for?
Stuart: Yeah! Where should we go? So people can connect with your messages?
Jimmy: Yeah, so if you Google my name, Jimmy Moore, you should find on the whole front first page is like all of my stuff, but I have a website “Livinglavidalowcarb.com” and on there it has literally everything about what I’m doing. If you’re interesting in Cholesterol Clarity it is coming out. It just, in a few days here in Australia, and it’s at CholesterolClarity.com if you wanna kinda learn more information. We got a free sample chapter there. We’ve got other interview that’s I’ve done. You referenced the Abel James one, that’s in my media page. We’ve got a video that kinda tells a little bit about the book, but it’s literally anywhere books are sold there in Australia, you should be able to pick it up.
Stuart: Awesome. Jimmy, I’ve learned so much today on cholesterol level. It’s awesome.
Jimmy: Woohoo. Mission accomplished, my friend.
Stuart: Absolutely. We’ll spread the word.
Stuart: Thank you for your time, mate. That was brilliant and yeah. Hopefully we’ll get to see you when you come to Australia.
Jimmy: Oh, for sure. That’s definitely gonna happen.
Stuart: Thank you so much, Jimmy and enjoy the rest of date night.
Jimmy: Thank you, yes, my wife is like “Okay, can we get on with date night already?”
Stuart: Yeah, let’s wrap this up.
Jimmy: Thank you so much. Take care.
Stuart: You too. Thank, Jimmy.
Guy: Thanks, Jimmy.
Somebody asked me this question the other day: From a dietary perspective, what would be the top five things you try to avoid eating?
Now I do need to elaborate a little. The first question I asked was are we already eliminating the obvious? If one were living like a rock star and fuelling their day with cigarettes and alcohol, this would be an obvious choice of elimination if looking to improve health. So drugs, cigarettes and alcohol are out.
And we are talking about food here… so eating a cardboard box or inedible objects are out too. Although the breakfast cereal packaging could be more nutritious than the contents!
The second question asked was are we talking about improving one’s health? Yes we were.
So after a little thought and without getting microscopic (I feel the number could be more than five), this was my answer.
The top five things I try to avoid each day
Now one thing to consider is this. If I am trying to avoid… say… trans fats, then I will look to avoid all foods containing trans fats. So a snack like potato chips are out as they contain trans fats. Low fat margarine, cookies etc. Make sense?
For me, this makes process of elimination much easier. Do I eat any of the below foods? Yes, but they are few and far between. They are not a staple in my daily diet. I always aim to stick to a minimum 80/20 rule that I talk about in my free eBook here.
As far as I’m concerned, these are hideous and I do my best to avoid them, FULL STOP.
If you truly value your health, I suggest you start to research these yourself and avoid them too.
Don’t confuse these with healthy fats though. I wrote a list of the fats I eat daily here. Sarah Wilson has written a great post on trans fats etc here.
Sugar (fructose in particular)
What can I say, no brainer really. Sugar comes in many forms and from many sources, and understandably this creates a lot of confusion. If you consume sugar in small amounts, especially if you are active, the body will generally cope. The problem with sugar is it’s insidious and is found in almost all foods in commercial supermarkets. Too much of the sweet stuff will definitely take it’s toll on your health as far as I’m concerned!
A great book to read on sugar is Sweet Poison by David Gillespie.
This one slips under the radar a little unless you are gluten intolerant. There is a massive connection to your gut, its immunity and your overall health (I wrote about gut health here). My belief is that gluten wrecks havoc on your digestive track over time if it’s a staple in your daily diet. I feel gut health is very important for overall wellbeing.
And yes, by eliminating gluten you are eliminating most grains (I’ll blog more on this).
Highly processed foods
A bit broad I know, but I felt artificial flavourings, chemicals like the sweetener aspartame, food preservatives with E numbers etc deserved to go under this category. If the ingredients listed on the packet look like something you see in a chemical laboratory, I try to avoid it. Microwave meals, many canned foods, sauce packets, soft drinks etc. Avoiding highly processed foods will eliminate over 90% of the supermarket! Fresh is best… real food. Know your ingredients and cook yourself so you know what you are really eating.
Soy has become a staple for many over recent years, but personally I’m not a fan and it’s made my top 5. Believe it or not, the soybean is inedible for human consumption in its natural state and is highly processed and usually genetically modified. It is also linked to a host of health issues including hormones, gut digestion, infertility and cancer (I wrote a post on soy here).
If you do have soy in your diet, I suggest you do some research into it.
When I listed my top five, I wanted to list the things that I felt were relevant to everyone regardless of what their beliefs are around nutrition. Paleo diet, vegetarian, vegan etc. There are still so many things to cover. Dairy, grains, meat (grass fed/corn fed, processed/packaged), quantities of fruit daily etc. The list goes on!
So how is your health? Do you have any of the above as a staple in your daily diet? Do you agree?
Would love to hear what your top five would be…
On a side note: I truly enjoy writing these posts, hence our frequent blog posts. At the end of the day though, these are just my thoughts and feelings around a topic I’m passionate about. I encourage everyone to do their own research and check out the facts for themselves.
If you did enjoy the post and got something from it or have something to share on the topic, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below. If you feel others would benefit from this then it would be great if you could share it using one of the icons below (Facebook etc). Cheers, Guy…