Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.
They say you learn something new everyday, well we certainly did with todays guest! If you or anyone you know are struggling with symptoms like IBS, food allergies and intolerances, acid reflux, migraines, hives, insomnia, chronic fatigue (the list goes on!)… then looking into and understanding histamine intolerance is well worth your time.
Ex-CNN/BBC journalist shares with us how she heals her chronic inflammatory condition.
We have another awesome guest for you in store today and her name is Yasmina Ykelenstam. She’s an ex-journalist with over 10 years research and international news production experience for people such as 60 Minutes, CNN and the BBC, so she knows how important it is to get her facts straight!
In 2008, after 20 years of being misdiagnosed with everything under the sun, she was forced to quit a career of a lifetime after seeing over 68 doctors. In 2010 she was finally diagnosed with histamine intolerance. Yasmina then embarks on a mission to get to the bottom of it all with the help of nutrition, lifestyle, meditation and a different approach to exercise… Prepare to be inspired!
Full Interview: Histamine, Food Allergies, Skin Care & Meditation
In This Episode:
From journalist to health advocate; her story
What is histamine & the role it plays
How to test for histamine intolerance [07:28]
Why fermented foods were not the best choice
The ‘Natures Cosmetics’ she uses for her skin
Why meditation has played a big part in her recovery
Guy:Hi this is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition and welcome to today’s health session. We have another awesome guest for you in store today and her name is Yasmina Ykelenstam. She’s an ex-journalist with over 10 years research and international news production experience for people such as 60 Minutes, CNN and the BBC so she knows how important it is to get her facts straight which is a big one and she has an amazing story to share with us today.
In a nutshell, in 2008, after 20 years of being misdiagnosed with everything under the sun, she was forced to quit a career of a lifetime after seeing over 68 doctors she reckons. In 2010 she was finally diagnosed with histamine intolerance. If you’re unsure what histamine is don’t worry about it, I think it’s actually really relevant for everyone and we do explain there in the podcast today and Yasmina’s explanation is going to be much better than mine so hold for to that.
She goes into that, how she’s radically changed her nutrition and lifestyle, her exercise approach and started including meditation as well, which I will add and we do discuss all awesome topics and how she’s pulled her life around and is a great example of what a bit of determination can do and change and now she’s out there spreading the word as a low histamine chef and doing an awesome job of it and we were just very privileged and proud to have her on the podcast today and she was a lot of fun, she was great, superly down to earth. Superly, could I say that word? Anyway I’ll stay with it. Top girl, great to have her and you will get a lot out of it to enjoy. Of course any feedback please send us back to email@example.com. You can go into our Facebook page, 180 Nutrition write on the wall. We generally get round to them all as [00:02:00] quick as possible.
This is the part where I’m going to ask for a review, I do it every episode and I probably will just leave it at that. If you enjoy the podcast leave us a review on iTunes and they really are appreciated. Anyway, let’s go over to Yasmina and the low histamine chef, enjoy. Okay, let’s go for it.
Hi this is Guy Lawrence, I’m joined with Stewart Cook, hi Stu.
Guy:Our fantastic guest today is Yasmina Ykelenstam. Did I pronounce that correct?
Guy:Ykelestam and I even practiced it before the show as well oh God, hopeless. Thank you so much for coming on the show today Yasmina. We’ve got some amazing topics to cover, but more importantly could you share your absolutely fascinating story with us as well and our listeners because it think it’s just fantastic.
Yasmina:I’ve been sick most of my life, on and off, with strange symptoms, allergy-like flues that weren’t flues, IBS, hives those kind of things. Then it really intensified when I was a journalist working in war zones in Iraq and Lebanon and eventually it got so bad that I had to quit my job and I had to find a career, a business that I could run from my bed basically which was I did some marketing and I used to pull on a shirt pretend I was sitting up in an office but really I’d be lying in my bed because I was so sick and nobody could tell me what it was.
Then finally I came across some woman in a … Not some woman, she’s a very good friend of mine, she’s also a blogger too and she told me it might be a histamine issue. I was in Bangkok at this point and I flew straight from Bangkok via New York, all the way to London and I got a diagnosis of something called histamine intolerance which I will get into in a minute and then it was I was then re-diagnosed with something called mast cell [00:04:00] activation. It’s not really clear, I seem to have both or maybe they are kind of the same thing but in any case it all worked out in the end and I’m feeling much better.
Guy:How long ago was that Yasmina?
Yasmina:The first was in 2010 and then the second diagnosis was in 2013.
Stu:There you go.
Stu:For everybody out there so for our listeners who are unfamiliar with histamine, now in my very limited knowledge I’m thinking it’s the kind of reactions that I used to get when I had high fever as a child, with stuffy, itchy, watery eyes and I just want to … Could you just touch on the role of histamine, what it is, what it does to the body?
Yasmina:That’s basically it. Histamine, we are used to hearing about anti-histamines, most people have histamine reactions. Histamine is an inflammatory molecule that lives in mast cells which are part of our white blood cell system. But it’s also found in foods. Histamine’s job is if there is some healing that needs to be done, the mast cells break open and histamine and other inflammatory mediators go to the site of the infection and begin the healing process. But as I said, it’s also found in foods, but also, histamine’s role is diverse in the body. As I said, it’s an important player in the healing process, it’s a neurotransmitter which affects serotonin and dopamine, it plays a role in our metabolism in weight gain and weight loss, it’s part of the digestive process and it also helps set the circadian rhythm so our wakefulness cycle and it’s now been shown to be involved in narcolepsy.
Guy:Wow. What would the symptoms be of histamine intolerance? Everything? [00:06:00].
Yasmina:Pretty much everything which is why it takes an average, I’m going to use mast cell activation as an example here but it takes up to a decade or rather an average of a decade for the average woman to be diagnosed with mast cell activation which is related to histamine intolerance. A decade because the symptoms are so incredibly diverse and they rotate, and they migrate from different parts of the body as different clusters of mast cells become activated and depending on diet, which part of the world you live in.
In any case, here are some common symptoms, there are literally dozens of symptoms. I had 55 symptoms that were directly attributable to histamine intolerance or mast cell activation. Here are a couple of them otherwise we’ll be here all night. There’s IBS, acid reflux, food intolerance-like issues, migraines, hives, insomnia, blurry vision, palpitations, chronic fatigue, intolerances to extremes in temperature, and inability to fly in planes because of the vibration and changes in pressure, food allergy-like symptoms and in the extreme, idiopathic anti-epileptic shock, idiopathic meaning we don’t know why.
Stu:Okay, well, given that very varied and almost crazy list of symptoms, how can we test for it?
Yasmina:With difficulty, the first step is finding someone who believes you and on my website, there’s a post which you can print off medical studies and take them to a doctor with you but I’ll tell you how to get there later. I’ll start will histamine intolerance. Histamine intolerance is generally diagnosed by a high blood plasma which is the overall [00:08:00] amount of histamine in your blood. A result of a low di-amine oxidase enzyme in the body. Di-amine oxidase is one of 2 histamine lowering enzymes, it’s also known as DAO. The other is HNMT but that right now can only be tested for in your genetic profile and some people say that the only definite way to diagnose this is by having a decrease in symptoms when going on a 4 week histamine elimination diet.
Some people, a lot of people walk away with a false negative from the testing for this because there’s many causes for histamine issues, you don’t have to have low DAO and your plasma histamine can be low one day and very high the next depending on your stress levels, what you’ve been eating, all that kind of stuff. Generally I would say, look for allergy-like symptoms with negative allergy tests and by these I mean IGE testing rather than IGG which is the food sensitivity testing.
As I said, plasma histamine fluctuates so it’s a little difficult. Also there is the issue that you can have a relatively normal histamine level but if your other inflammatory mediators are elevated, such as prostaglandin, interleukins, leukotrienes, that kind of thing, the other inflammatory mediators that are also housed in the mast cells along with the histamine, they can potentiate whatever level there is of histamine. If there is already some kind of inflammation going on, let’s say the histamine is normal, prostaglandins can enhance the effects of any histamine that’s being released in the body. Plus if you have excess leukotrines, that then enhances the prostaglandins and the histamines.
Just testing for plasma histamine is not very [00:10:00] reliable. For mast cell activation syndrome, it’s urinary test of n-methyl histamine. It’s a 24-hour test so you get an idea of the level throughout the day. It’s the prostaglandins, the other inflammatory mediators I just mediators that I just mentioned, and then something that’s also very important in my view is I’m finding more and more people are having a problem with something called oxalic acid which is found in plants. It’s a plant defense mechanism and it can cause major inflammation in people who are already dealing with some kind of inflammation.
It’s found in kale, almond, celery, zucchini, for example. What happens is when we get sick, we try and get really, really healthy and so a lot of what we do is we eat high histamine foods, by accident the avocados, the tomatoes, the pineapples, because we’re told all these are great for us and lots of nuts and all of that, they’re also high histamine, then we are adding lots of oxalic acid into the mix with the kale, the almonds, all of these wonderful plant foods. If there is an existing inflammation issue, these can temporarily aggravate the issue. I’m not saying don’t eat these foods, these are all the foods that I eat, but it’s good to be aware of it.
Guy:Wow. There’s a couple of things that spring into mind, the first thing is I’m going to have to listen to that again once I get off this conversation to make sure I fully understand what you just said. But on top of that, where would you start? Because you’re naming foods that people assume are healthy so unless you get the diagnosis correct, you could be continually triggering this inflammational problem off from the get-go without even realizing it.
Stu:Another point is well, I’m thinking Yasmina from a bloke’s perspective, my blokey way to fix that would be to run down to the chemist, get some Claritin, take a swig of [00:12:00] Claritin and see what happens. Does that fix it? That kind of … Well, maybe it’s a histamine problem if Claritin works.
Yasmina:You know, funnily enough that was my ex-boyfriend’s logic which was just take a few fistfuls of antihistamines and if it works it works. By this point I was already on a few antihistamines a day. He said, “Well how come that’s not working for you? This obviously isn’t it.” Poor thing was just used to hearing me talking about different theories about what was wrong with me and he had just had enough. He’s just like, this girl is just a hypochondriac. Which is why most of us get sent to psychiatrists actually because we’re told it’s psychosomatic.
The antihistamine issue, that’s a very good point, but there are actually 4 histamine receptors in the body. Claritin, for example, and most antihistamines work on the H1 receptor which to really oversimplify things means the respiratory system. You have a fever, you get [sniffly 00:13:00], you can’t really breathe, they give you an H1 blocker and that dries up your nose and it blocks that histamine receptor. But there’s the other 3 histamine receptors.
The H2 receptor is, again, oversimplifying, is to do with the digestive system. If you have a person who’s suffering mostly from digestive issues, they don’t really know and if they go to a doctor who doesn’t specialize in mast cell issues, they might be told, well take an H1 blocker and your symptoms should dissipate but the fact is if it’s digestive issues, an H1 blocker isn’t going to do anything.
Then there’s the added problem that a number of the doctors I’ve spoken with including Dr. Janice Joneja who is a pioneering immunology researcher who was one of the first people to research histamine issues, a concern with antihistamines is that throwing the histamine receptors out of whack can cause more histamine release into [00:14:00] the body basically. First of all you have the rebound effect which is when the antihistamine wears off, the body produces more histamine to make up for the shortfall. There’s lots of different reasons that that might not necessarily work.
That is also an issue with the histamine elimination diet by the way. A lot of people feel better after 4 weeks, myself included, and then they think, well, I’m just going to stay on it because I feel better. Then what happens is, you just keep losing foods, and losing foods, and losing foods and you’re even reacting to the low histamine foods and you’re like, oh my god, I’m just so histamine sensitive that I literally, I cannot be in a room with any histamine. Well no, the fact is your body keeps producing more and more … This is one of the theories that your body produces more histamine because you need the histamine for so many essential functions in the body and I keep trying to share with people that histamine is a good thing, it’s our friend, we just don’t want too much of it so we need to be careful, we need to find ways to balance the histamine.
Stu:If I was completely distraught and in a very similar place to where you were and said to you, just tell me one thing. What do I do right now? What one thing can I do right now? What would you advise?
Stu:Right, because we do have another question about mental stress as a trigger so [crosstalk 00:15:28].
Guy:I’ve got a question for you off the back of that. Why do you think you got if from the first place? From what?
Yasmina:There’s many different theories as to why people develop histamine issues. One is genetics, they are finding people with mast cell activation … I keep referring back to mast cell activation because we have research on that. unfortunately histamine intolerance is being treated by nutritionists and holistic practitioners … I’m not [00:16:00] saying that this is not a valid way of dealing with it, I’m saying that these people don’t normally release medical studies so we don’t have anything concrete to go by. I’m a big believer in holistic methods of treatment, just I would like the research to be able to talk to it about people. Oh no, I’ve just lost my train of thought. I did say I woke up very early today.
Guy:It’s very late over there in Paris too. That’s cool. Because I’m jumping around [crosstalk 00:16:33].
Stu:We’re on the topic of meditation and how you first thought that you came to … Where the histamine came from in the first place for you.
Yasmina:Right. We have the genetic aspect which is that in mast cell activation studies they are finding that people who have high inflammatory mediators, it runs in the families. This would apply to histamine intolerance as well, one would assume. Then there’s exposure to pesticides, to chemicals, there is viral infections. For example there’s a theory that you could have some sort of childhood virus and your immune system, once it’s dealt with, remains hyper activated. The immune system just stays in overdrive believing that there’s something to continually be dealing with but in some cases that could be true, some people have childhood viruses that remain in adult years but it remains dormant in the body unless there’s some sort of major health event in which case it can reactive.
Food poisoning has been said to potentially trigger it. Serve cases of food poisoning and serve illness of some kind, operations, that kind of thing, again the immune system remaining in overdrive [00:18:00] and trauma. I was listening to a very interesting talk by a doctor, I believe it was Milner and he was saying that the majority of his patients, they came to him and they say, I don’t know, I was so healthy, everything was going totally right, and then suddenly this traumatic event happened in my life, a car accident, a husband dying, a child dying, some sort of personal incident, and that is what triggers the mast cell or the histamine activation, which is not an uncommon thing.
There’s a great book called The Last Best cure in which the author who is a science journalist herself, she shares a questionnaire developed by a medical company in the States that can actually predict how likely you are to develop an immune system dysfunction based on the level of trauma you have had in your life. When I read the book, I just thought, okay, I grew up during a war and I went to war as an adult 3 wars. I haven’t really had really traumatic events like some people have. Some people have had really terrible, terrible things happening to them. But then I read the questionnaire, it was like, did you move once, more than once every 5 years before the age of 11? Did you ever hear your parents fighting in the next room? Did one of your pets die before you were the age of 8? I just thought, wow, I’m in trouble and I scored off the charts, off the charts.
Stu:To me when I heard what you did as a journalist, I thought, my god that’s stressful. For me personally, from an outsider looking in, I don’t know how stressful it was.
Yasmina:It was highly stressful and …
Guy:Just thinking about the sources of [00:20:00] histamine triggers as well. Outside of food, personal body care products, sun screens, all that kind of thing, would that fall into that category as well?
Yasmina:Yeah, absolutely. Bath products, even so called natural products like cocamidol betaine which I can never pronounce and the SLS which we now know are not so great for us, and various other products can cause immune system disruption that can affect the mast cells. When you consider that what we put on to our skin, I heard 60% of what we put onto our skin is absorbed into our bloodstream. That figure is contentious but it’s interesting to think. I had not really considered it before although it made complete sense.
But the good news is that when you consider that beauty products have lead in them which we thought was an urban myth but was then proven to be the case and there was a big expose on it in the New York Times, people had always told me, “No, no, no, it’s a myth, it’s a myth, it’s a myth.” It’s not a myth. When women are eating, I think it was 5 pounds of lipstick a year, it all adds up. The good news is that although there are things that can trigger us, there are other things that we can put on our skin that make us better such as moringa oil which is a natural anti anaphylactic and an antihistamine. There’s pomegranate seed oil which increases collagen production but is also an antihistamine. You have brands like Dr. Alkaitis, their product is so pure you can eat it. You can eat it. I have eaten their almond face cleanser just out of curiosity to say that I did.
There’s RMS beauty created by a woman who had multiple chemical sensitivity, she actually does the makeup for the Victoria Secret Angels, and she created this amazing range of beauty products with just the most incredible raw beauty products that treat the skin in an anti-inflammatory way and there is 100% pure which is … I don’t get anything for mentioning these things. I hope it’s okay, I just want to …
Guy:Go for it. Help people yeah.
Yasmina:Yes. 100% pure, it’s an American brand but you can buy it all over the world and their products are the cleanest I have found anywhere. Even though people write to me and they’re like, Oh so you use 100% pure but it has tomato in it. Well, when you compare a little bit of tomato or a little bit of strawberry in a face cream to phenol-exo-hetra-tetra-cyclne-adol, you know I’m just pulling from air. I know which my body triggers to more and it’s not a little bit of tomato or strawberry.
Guy:Yeah, right. To pull it back, with everything that can trigger histamine, which is incredible really when you think about it you’d be afraid to go out the door sometimes.
Yasmina:I used to be. I used to wear a mask. I was one of those weirdoes.
Guy:That’s amazing. With Steward then asking, what’s the one thing you can do right now and your answer was mediation, my question would be why probably because I sidetracked this conversation 10 minutes [crosstalk 00:23:28].
Yasmina:No worries. My life fell apart and interestingly I had my genetic profile read by somebody and I carefully chose someone because I didn’t want somebody who was sell me thousands of dollars of supplements. But I told him, look, I just want to know about the mast cell stuff, I don’t want to know about any other health issues and he says to me, “That’s very unusual, nobody’s ever told me that. You know, just ignore everything else, I just want to know about this.”
I said, “Well, you know, I, I am a high stress person, you know, [00:24:00] especially when it comes to my health and I really don’t want to know anything else because the likelihood is I’m, I’m just not going to be able to deal with it right now.” When we spoke, he started first of all by laughing at me, and I said, “What’s up?” He said, :I can now understand why you made that request. In your genetic profile, every possible gene relating to stress is in your genetic profile.” He said, “It’s my belief that you should be able to control your symptoms through stress release.”
Funnily enough about 2 years before that I had started meditation after reading this book The Last Best Cure. I was told that … I’ll come back to this later but I started meditating and I started noticing some positive changes, lots of positive changes. Then I reached the point where I thought I’m eating 5 foods, this is not working because I’m terrified of eating anything else. I came up with this really, really, crazy idea, I had been on a meditation retreat for a week and after years of restriction and misery, I ate everything I wanted on that mediation retreat. It was all vegan, it was all made from scratch there was no tofu, it was super, super healthy whole foods. I ate it all and I was fine and I just though, this is the key, this is the key. At the time, I just thought, right, this is how I’m going to get my life back. I’m done with sitting at home, I am done with not being social, I am done with thinking that my life is over…
I had made so much progress and happiness and feeling better about things but really was still stuck in this mindset of I’m never going to get better. There is only so much better I’m going to get and maybe I’ve already reached there. I read The Last Best Cure and she talked about [00:26:00] how meditation fights inflammation. I just thought, that’s when I went on the mediation retreat and after that, I came up with this idea that I could re-introduce foods as long as I stayed calm while I was reintroducing them.
I’m not suggesting anyone else try this, I don’t have any message to sell people on how to do this, talk to your doctor, your shaman, your whatever, your witch doctor but get a medical person on board. What I did was I did a risky thing, I took a bowl of strawberries and I had gone into anaphylactic shock from having 1 strawberry a few years earlier. My health was a lot better at this point. I was no longer fearful of going into regular anaphylactic shock. I have to say that I was much, much, better than I used to be.
I did a mediation, mindfulness mediation at the dinner table 15 minutes and then I started eating the strawberries one after the other, mindfully, really being in the moment, being in the experience. Just not allowing the fear and the dizziness and the anguish that accompanied every single meal in the last few years, I just let that all out. I experienced it and I saw it there in front of me and I made my peace with it. I actually said to myself, you know what? At this moment, I’m okay with letting go. Whatever happens, happens because I’m at peace. I haven’t experienced many moments like that since but it was an incredible moment and I just let go of the fear and I ate the bowl of strawberries and [inaudible 00:27:46]. That was [inaudible 00:27:48] for me.
Maybe I would have survived anyway, but the point is, I had set something in motion whereby I had told my brain and my body [00:28:00] that this was the key and my unwavering, unshatterable belief that this was going to heal me, was possibly a placebo effect but the fact is, if anyone can find that one belief, even if it’s the eating McDonald’s every day is going to heal you, it might work for a time anyway but there are more sensible ways to do it. Mine seems to have a lasting effect so far, nobody can predict the future but the point is the meditation has brought me peace and acceptance. It doesn’t mean that I’m not going to continue fighting for my life but for my recovering but I have made my peace with however it is that I wake up on any given day.
Stu:Well that is fantastic. Do you continue to eat strawberries today?
Yasmina:I do, I eat a lot worse that strawberries.
Stewart:No it sound like you certainly got a strategy that works for you. In terms of knowing where to start, there’s so much to do to try and get your head around what might be happening, what you could do. If I wanted to gravitate to perhaps some natural antihistamine foods, where would I start? What would be the best ingredients to choose?
Yasmina:That’s my personal choice is starting with those foods, so plentiful in nature. Really, I think if I had grown up in Lebanon where my mother is from where the food is just natural, you just literally just pluck it from the tree and put it on the table. My mother always commented, “When we used to go to Beirut, you never had any food issues.” She was right. That’s also because the diet was rich in these following foods.
What I have found to be my most powerful ally and that for many of my readers are bioflavonoids, quercetin, rutin [00:30:00] and luteolin. They are found in plants. They are what’s called mast cell stabilisers. There has been some amazing research by a doctor in the States, Dr. Theoharidis at Tufts. He’s funded by the National Institute of Health, he has over 300 studies on mast cells, mast cell activation and he found that these bioflavonoids, in particular, quercetin and luteolin, quercetin, the study was done on, is as powerful as the most commonly prescribed medication for stabilizing mast cells to prevent histamine release. But this is also applicable to people with histamine intolerance because quercetin acts as an antihistamine, so it works in preventing the mast cells from releasing histamine that’s in the body already and it acts as an antihistamine so when we eat dietary histamine, it doesn’t bind to the receptor in the body. It doesn’t appear to have the same side effects as antihistamines.
In any case, you can find these bioflavonoids in fresh green herbs. I eat so many green herbs. People watch me cooking and they’re like, when do you stop putting, I don’t see you measuring anything? How do you measure the herbs? I say, when it tests like one more handful is going to make things taste funky then I stop. Fresh green herbs, things like sweet potato, butter nut, squash, broccoli, most brightly colored vegetables and greens. The thing is, it gets a little confusing because you’ll have a lot of articles that say things like pineapple is an antihistamine, tomatoes are antihistamines, well those foods are found on the high histamine food list. That’s’ because partially because different parts of the fruit or the food can have different properties. The leaf can have one property, but the fruit itself can have others. Is it the combination of other nutrients or the lack of nutrients or the sugar? Things like that.
Raspberries for example are on [00:32:00] list as high histamine but they’re also a good source of quercetin. People say, well, they have quercetin but there’s an … I look for foods that have these qualities. My first choice would be rather than eating tomato ketchup, which is a processed food and is also high histamine, I will have a bowlful of raspberries because they do have some quercetin, they are anti-inflammatory but they are slightly higher histamine than blue berries for example. As I said, severe histamine restriction is not a great idea. What I do is I try and balance things by including as much of these antihistamine foods as possible, to balance out the higher histamine foods that I eat.
Stewart:Would non-organic plants and vegetable be an issue? I’m thinking along the lines of pesticides because not all of us, me included, can afford to feed a family fully organic. It gets crazy. I really increase the amount of fruit, many veggies really, I eat lots of veggies but I’m thinking, I’m washing and scrubbing but I still think they’re loaded with pesticides and nasties.
Yasmina:Yeah, scrubbing them only does so much because it’s inside the food but yes. Pesticides would be an immune system trigger which would exacerbate the histamine or mast cell issues, but at the same time, yes, it is expensive. I try and eat as much as I can organic, there have been some studies that have show that quercetin levels may be higher in organic vegetable and in organic farming. I can’t remember the reason why and that was contentious also. That was just one study.
What [00:34:00] I do is take the list of the most heavily contaminated foods and try and eat those organic and then eat the rest conventional farming. There’s money saving strategies like I eat an incredible amount of herbs and they are not always in season so what I do is I buy in bulk and I freeze. I chop them up and I freeze them. Then that gives me a year’s supply. You can go to farms and make some kind of deal with then … If you have anybody local, you can get vegetable boxes, you can … It’s tough, I would say that I spend most of the money I earn on food.
Guy:But you feel a lot better for it though right, so it’s?
Yasmina:I do but it’s a delicate balance eating a little bit left overs [inaudible 00:34:52].
Guy:What about fermented foods? Because I hear they can be a catalyst for histamine triggering as well.
Yasmina:Fermented foods a double-edged sword absolutely. We’re told they are the best way to heal the gut and yet they cause histamine release because of the bacteria. A lot of people arrive finally at histamine tolerance diagnosis or the suspicion that being what they have because they were on a highly fermented diet such as the guts for example. The interesting thing is a lot of people are eating the fermented foods to heal the gut but new research tells us that there is a mast cell involved to leaky gut, therefore quercetin and other approaches to mediating histamine and mast cell issues could be applicable to leaky gut and I had horrific, horrific, horrific leaky gut symptoms and I have to use the real name here, intestinal permeability because if we want people to take us seriously we need to use names that doctors will pay attention to.
[00:36:00] I managed to heal mine in my opinion, it might have been other factors as well but I didn’t do any L-glutamine, I didn’t do any fermented foods, I didn’t do any bone broths. Just generally I think that anyone who says that they have a healing protocol that will definitely work for you, is a little delusional or lying or has the best intentions but just we’re all different.
Guy:100%. We hear that all the time with diet too. This is the diet, this is … It’s like come on guys, really? Yeah.
Yasmina:Exactly. The first thing I tell people is the histamine lists are terrifying. Forget sticking to any one dietary dogma, forget about sticking to list. Make your own lists of foods. Trial and error, make a list of symptoms, IBS, blurred vision, blah, blah, blah. Don’t do a food diary because that’s just setting yourself up for failure. It’s like eating something and then sitting there with a notepad, what’s going on in my body? What’s going on in my body right now? Oh, I twitched, I twitched, okay.
It’s like the research on how concert violinists for example, they put them in MRI machines and the parts of the brain that get denser with neurons, the more they practice, that kind of thing. You become better at playing the violin the denser that these neurons become because you’re spending more time, more time, more time. We have become virtuosos if of our sickness. We’ve spent so much time focusing inwards, looking at what is going on in our bodies, looking for what’s going wrong. We’re intensifying our perception of these things. That is my experience, my own experience and I’ve seen it in others. That’s one of the amazing things about mediation. At times, when my symptoms were at their worst, I would go into [00:38:00] the discomfort and just accept it and release it. It’s absolutely mind-blowing.
Guy:The mindset’s massive, it’s massive. I think of Tom Gabriel when he spoke on our podcast and he was talking about chemotherapy, once somebody was diagnosed with cancer they did a study, about 30% of the people were starting to lose their hair before they even started the chemo because they were just going in and just absolutely terrifying themselves, and the body takes over, which is fascinating.
Yasmina:There was an article I was just quoted in yesterday that was on US world news, the website and world news and reporters, I can’t remember right now, sorry. But it was on the nocebo effect. The evil twin of the placebo effect. Yeah, absolutely, expect to react and you probably will.
Guy:While we’re on the topic, for any of the listeners recommend listening to our podcast with Dr. Joe Dispenza because he actually wrote a book recently called You are the Placebo. I’ve read it. He was an awesome guy but he explains that really well in the podcast so if anyone wants to check that out they can too. Yeah, let’s do it.
Stewart:I have a question. Do you support your diet with any off-the-shelf supplements?
Yasmina:I do. Again, these might not work for everybody and I’m certainly not a doctor so please don’t run off and buy these but to discuss them with a medical professional. I started out taking quercetin by a brand called Twin Lab T-W-I-N L-A-B and quercetin with vitamin C. initially I was told that vitamin C was great for histamine and mast cell issues but I reacted to all vitamin C and I thought, wow, wow, that’s another thing I [00:40:00] can’t take. But then I realized that ascorbic acid is often made from fermented corn. Fermented number 1 and corn, which is highly allergenic and is a trigger for many people.
I found the Twin Lab, coincidentally which has the vitamin C that’s made from ascorbyl palmitate, which is made from palm trees and to my knowledge is not actually fermented. That was just great. I stated taking that and then I became aware of a stronger quercetin and luteolin supplement developed by Dr. Theoharides who I talked about earlier and the mast cell researcher. He created this supplement and it changed my life.
People say that you can’t work your way up to a therapeutic dose of quercetin and luteolin through your diet. My argument to that is, well if you eat nothing but quercetin and luteolin rich foods you’re hedging your bets anyway. Even if the quercetin isn’t doing anything you have all these amazing plants foods and you’re not ingesting any garbage so you’re giving your body a fighting chance. This neuroprotek perhaps in combination with the diet, really, really changed my life. The one symptom I forget to mention earlier that is such a huge problem for many of us and was my absolute nightmare as a journalist, imagine this, brain fog and memory loss. A journalist with brain fog and memory loss in war zones.
Stewart:Not the ideal situation.
Guy:No. Eventually that played a huge part in why I left journalism because I worried that I was endangering myself and others by being out in the field. Yes the neuroprotek cleared my brain fog up entirely. Again, in combination with diet I’m sure, and it doesn’t work overnight. Dr. Theoharides told me it will take about 6 months for it to kick in, [00:42:00] and it did take 6 months for it to properly start working. All kinds of people are using it now. People with autistic kids are using it for them because … I’m not entirely sure the length of it.
Stewart:That was neuroprotek was that?
Stewart:For anybody wanting to access that, is that readily available on the internet?
Yasmina:It is. They sell through Amazon and also through their website. You can just google it or google Dr. Theoharidis, it should come up. Oh god, I’ll have to spell that name.
Stewart:Yeah, it doesn’t sound easy.
Yasmina:Vitamin C also [mangosteen 00:42:39] I started taking when all my hair fell out and I lost most of my hair, it was quite traumatic but that turned out to be combination of shampoo and inflammation generally and [mangosteen 00:42:50] and a little bit of vitamin B12. The [mangosteen 00:42:54] is an antihistamine, it’s a mast cell stabilizer and it also inhibits the synthesis of prostaglandins from mast cells. Histamine when it’s released, prostaglandin is synthesized as the histamine is released and they augment each other. I theorized that dealing with the prostaglandin would help with the histamine reactions and it also apparently helped my hair grow back. Prostaglandin D2, excess prostaglandin D2 is often to blame for male baldness or plays a role in it, just to remind you.
Guy:It sounds like you’ve been through so much. How do you feel now after everything listed-?
Yasmina:I feel like it was my scariest war and I felt very much like a soldier having been, well, perhaps on a crusade for many, many, many decades and I just turned 40 this year, and I’m now finally [00:44:00] experiencing health, good health for the first time since I was maybe 8 years old and it’s pretty amazing. I used to feel quite buttered and angry. I was very, very angry. I was so angry, I had the shortest fuse on the planet, I would just scream at the drop of a hat. Journalism didn’t help that very much working in war zones and being in horrible situations where you have to evacuate a team or deal with incoming fire, but there’s no room for politeness in most situations. It’s just all changed and I’m happy and peaceful and I let go of my anger. I was very angry with doctors, who didn’t spot the sickness and I was angry with … I was just angry with life and now, I don’t know. It’s so much-
Guy:That’s amazing. I know you’re inspiring so many other people with your own message which is fantastic.
Stewart:Just thinking that we’ve spoken lots about food and the catalysts for histamine reactions. Given the impact that mediation has had on your body as well, what about exercise? Because exercise can be a stresser on the body as well, so what do you do?
Yasmina:Absolutely and I wish somebody had told me this. It was very frustrating to exercise, exercise, exercise and eat really well and gain weight for most of your life. I now know it was inflammation and stress on the body and I was doing the wrong kinds of exercise. There are a lot of people with histamine … Histamine can make you collapse if you exercise too intensely. Running, lots of cardio, maybe football, things like that. Lots of cardio can upset your histamine levels [00:46:00] and cause it to spike. Now generally inflammation spikes for up to 72 hours after intense exercise as the muscles break down and the repair themselves. That causes inflammation.
In the long-term, it’s anti-inflammatory. Now for somebody who has a histamine issue, that temporary spike and inflammation can be very detrimental or even a little bit scary. I used to pass out on the treadmill, I would lose feeling in my hands and my feet. Just really horrible things. Then I read the research … That stopped me exercising for many years. I didn’t know what was going on but I became frightened of exercise and it turned out to be a great excuse because I can be quite lazy by nature. Couch potato, it was a pastime.
Eventually, I found the research on how to exercise without causing a histamine spike and it turned out that exercises in which you use your own weight, such as yoga, Pilates, things like that, or lifting weights calmly, without cardio will not cause that histamine spike. I went back to yoga. I used to practice yoga in 2000 and when I’d just started out working for CNN and although I loved it and I was doing Ashtanga which is fast paced, is the power yoga. I told my aunt one day, I just need to beat the crap out of something. I love yoga but I feel like I’m in class and I just want to beat somebody up. I think I just need something a bit more dynamic so I went to kickboxing.
I went back to kickboxing last year mostly just to prove to myself that I could. [00:48:00]I started running again, I started kick boxing. I was doing an hour and a half a day of kickboxing. I felt great. I could do it. But then the strangest thing happened, I started feeling like I wanted to beat people up again.
Yasmina:I realized the stress hormones were just causing, because stress hormones cause mast cells to break open and dump inflammation into the body. If the mast cells are in the brain when that happens, than can affect your other neurotransmitters. It can make you aggressive, it can make you depressed, it can do so many things to the brain and it’s a topic that’s starting to be researched more now. If you go on the internet and you type in, inflammation and depression, you’ll have tons of results. I was misdiagnosed as bipolar. I believe it was a miss diagnosis because as soon as I changed my diet, I had no more episodes. Over the course of 6 months, the episodes stopped. I was a rapid cycler. I would be laughing, I would be a great mood and then suddenly bang, I’d be screaming, I’d be angry, yeah, I’m going … The beast would come out and then I’d start crying.
Stewart:Wanting to beat people is okay when you got the skills to do that so you’re on the right track.
Yasmina:Eventually I realized that the key was yoga. It combines the mediation, you’re using your own weight and even if it is cardio, the immediate inflammatory benefits counteract or seem to, at least for me and the many, many others of my readers who do yoga, it’s very, very popular, instinctively, some people just know that yoga was a big part of it for them and that they [00:50:00] needed to go do it.
Guy:It almost seems like inflammation is at the root cause of everything. It all traces back to inflammation, essentially.
Yasmina:Yeah, but I worry that it’s becoming, oh it’s inflammation.
Guy:Oh, it’s paleo, oh you eat this, oh, you’re going to do that.
Yasmina:Exactly, what’s causing that release and I’m finding for so many people, it’s trauma, unhappiness and stress.
Guy:Yeah. Hence why mediation has been such a big part. They’re some great tips. We are just aware of the time. We have a couple of wrap up questions that we do on every podcast. Very simple. The first one is, what did you eat today?
Yasmina:Okay, I had a green smoothie which was mango, broccoli, cucumber, arugula, watercress, karela, spirulina, vegan DHA which is like an omega 3 fatty acid thing and that was it. Then I had a massive, and I mean massive, my salads are these epic bowls of greens with thyme, coriander, basil, chickpeas, grilled veggies, and then I was naughty. Then I was naught. I had a homemade blueberry, wait, blueberry coconut sugar, raw vanilla, ginger coconut oil cake that I baked and it’s based on a muffin recipe that people can get for free on my website and I’ll tell them how they can get there at the end.
Guy:Perfect. That would make me be naughty too, it sounded-
Stewart:Doesn’t sound that naught. I thought you were going to talk about a milk burger or something along those lines.
Yasmina:No. I do make my own ketchup though, but I didn’t make it yesterday. If you’re a histamine person you’ll be like, oh my god you made ketchup? Yeah, yeah, I do.
Guy:[00:52:00] Do you eat meat?
Yasmina:I eat a little bit of it. I was vegan for a while but when you’re down to so few safe foods that don’t cause any kind of reaction, you have to eat whatever doesn’t bother you and meat was one of the things that didn’t bother me. I tell people that what I do is I’ll just chop up a little bit of meat and then I’ll toss it with lots of veggies or stick it in a salad or something.
Guy:Cool. The last question is … Were you going to say something Steward?
Stewart:No. Did I look like I was?
Guy:You did. You had that look there and I thought-
Stewart:I always have that look.
Guy:What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Yasmina:Oh wow, well, there’s 2. One was when I was falling apart and tried to check myself into a mental institution because I thought I was having a nervous breakdown, stress invaded. A friend of my mothers who picked me up from there said to me … She took my hand and she just said, “Yasmina, sometimes all you have to do is chose to walk on the sunny side of the street.”
Stewart:That’s good advice, that is good advice. I like that [crosstalk 00:53:15].
Yasmina:So true. That’s number 1 and number 2 was, and this was life changing. My doctor in Spain told me this when I was finally diagnosed with mast cell activation. She said, “If you go into anaphylactic shock, the best thing you can do is lie down on the floor and relax.” When she said that to me, I said, “What do you mean?” Because they don’t like giving EpiPens in Spain. She said, “Call the ambulance but lie down on the floor and relax. It’s the most important thing.” I just said, “What do you mean?” Then she explained to me the stress hormone thing and whatever and then that kicked off my research.
That actually saved my life. When I was in Kenya, I didn’t have any medication on me, I was too far from hospitals, couldn’t get anywhere, I was in a house, nobody could hear me, there was a [00:54:00] party going on downstairs. I lay down, well I actually fell down on the floor and I began a mediation involving a visualization before I lost my vision and I mediated and eventually I was found and I continued meditating, meditating, meditating, and it was just life changing. Just suddenly my vision started opening up again and my heart started regulating.
There’s different levels of anaphylactic shock, not every anaphylaxis leads to death. I can’t tell you, oh I had a level 5 anaphylactic and I thought I was going to die and I had never thought that before. I was convinced I was going to die this time and I got through it and that was the changing point in my life and I thought, I can control this, I can heal. This has shown me that this plays a big part.
Stewart:That’s right. There’s some truth to what you’ve been practicing. I think I like the sound of that.
Guy:Have you written a book in all these experiences that you’ve been through?
Yasmina:I’ve actually written 11 e-books. I’m working on getting a book published. I’ve written the outline and I’ve spoken with a few people that worry there aren’t enough people who are interested in this so we’ll see, I’m still working on it but in the meantime, there are eBooks for download on my website. It covers everything from beauty to diet to a little bit on mediation. I have a yoga course that’s going to launch in January. I teamed up with my teacher to do this yoga course to take people who aren’t exercising right now and it just steadily gets progressively harder more intense, to try and help the healing process. More cooking videos, there’s a bunch on YouTube and stuff like that.
Guy:Fantastic. Where would the website be?
Yasmina:It is the low L-O-W histamine [00:56:00] H-I-S-T-A-M-I-N-E chef, C-H-E-F .com thelowhistaminechef.com
Guy:We’ll be [crosstalk 00:56:07].
Yasmina:I won’t give you my full name because you’ll never be able to [crosstalk 00:56:10].
Guy:I had 2 cracks at it and got it wrong [inaudible 00:56:13], so yeah.
Stewart:That’s awkward. I can testify that here’s heaps of stuff on there. I’ve got a number of your eBooks. Men Food was great, love the paleo granola recipe, I thought that worked for me. Yeah, get on there, dig around, loads of stuff and some of the videos are entertaining too.
Guy:Yeah. Thank you so much for your time Yasmina. That was just absolutely beautiful and I have no doubt, heaps of people get a great deal from that and so I really appreciate you coming on today and sharing your journey with us. That was awesome.
Yasmina:Yeah, it’s been wonderful talking to you guys talking to you guys. Thank you very much. It’s been a great interview.
Guy:No. Thank you.
Guy:Cheers. Bye bye.
Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.
Do diets really work long-term? With every weight loss plan, diet calorie counting and exercise regimes out there all claiming small miracles, it can be challenging to figure out what we should really be doing! So who better to ask than a man who lost over 100kg’s without dieting.
And from the words of Ray Martin (A Current Affair TV Program) “He lost more than 100 kilos (220 lbs) without diets or surgery, now meet the man who says we can all melt fat using the power of our minds”
Yes, this week our special guest is Jon Gabriel, which I honestly believe is one of the most inspiring transformational journeys I have ever heard! Jon’s story has been featured on A Current Affair and Today/Tonight in Australia. His success in helping others lose weight has also been discussed on many popular talk shows in the U.S., including The Jane Pauley Show, Hard Copy and Entertainment Tonight.
Full Interview with John Gabriel: How I lost Over 100kg Without Dieting Using These Techniques
In this episode we talk about:
Why diets never work long term
How the body fat just ‘melted’ off him when he applied certain techniques
The best place to start if you are always struggling to lose weight
Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. Today I’m standing at Coogee Beach and that building right behind me is Coogee Surf Club. And believe it or not, that’s where it all began for 180 Nutrition now over five years ago with me and Stu.
And I thought I’d bring the introduction here today, because when we started I had no idea where 180 was going to lead to and what was to follow. And it’s quite a special moment for us, because we’re literally about to launch into the USA. And I never in a million years thought that was going to happen when we started a conversation just over five years ago.
So, from probably about the second week of August, you’ll be able to head to 180nutrition.com for you to listen to this in America and our superfoods are going to be available in America. So, that’s really exciting and a really big deal for us.
So, if you’re over there, check it out.
Anyway, on to today’s guest.
Today’s guest is Jon Gabriel and I reckon this is probably the most transformational story I’ve ever heard and one maybe the internet has ever seen. The guy was weighing in at 186 kilos at one stage in his life and he said he had tried every diet under the sun. It wasn’t that he was lazy, he was just struggling; he even went and saw Dr. Atkins at one point and he feared for his health. And if you see him today, ten years on, the guy’s got a six-pack and looks fantastic. I mean it’s incredible.
And what made Jon’s story even more exceptionable was that, basically, fate intervened with him one day and he should have been on the flight from Newark to San Francisco back on September 11, 2001, yes the terrorist attacks, and he missed the flight and he should have been on it and he said everything changed from then because he realized he’d been gifted a second chance in life. And he moved himself and his family to Australia. And then the weight just started to fall off. And a big part of that was using visualization techniques and meditation and, I guess, letting go of a lot of self-beliefs.
But I guarantee from listening to this episode today, you will be inspired to meditate. You know, if it’s something; like, for me, it’s always been a bit of a task, but I’m fully embracing it at the moment and loving it, only because I’m starting to “get it.” And from this episode, you know, you’re going to be sitting there, getting up an extra hour early in the morning, I promise you.
And last, but not least, before we get on to Jon a big thank you for everyone that’s leaving reviews on iTunes. Please let us know if you’re getting something out of this podcast, leave us a review. Tell us a little bit about your story. It’s awesome to hear them. We know these podcasts are making a big difference in people’s lives. And it’s just wonderful to hear it and know that we’re getting our message out to as many people as possible.
So, if you get the chance leave us a review.
Anyway, let’s go over to Jon Gabriel. This one’s awesome.
[text on screen]: 180 Nutrition
Guy Lawrence: Hi, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke as always. Hi, Stuie.
Stuart Cooke: Hello mate.
Guy Lawrence: And our fantastic guest today is Jon Gabriel. Jon, welcome to the show, mate. Really appreciate your coming on.
Jon Gabriel: Great to be here, Guy. Thanks.
Guy Lawrence: We actually had James Colquhoun on our podcast recently and for anyone listening to this, he’s the man behind Food Matters and Hungry for Change, the awesome documentaries. And we asked him actually, “Of all the people that you’ve met and interviewed, who’s been some of your most inspiring? And he instantly said, “Jon Gabriel.”
Jon Gabriel: Wow.
Guy Lawrence: So, we’re very honored to …
Jon Gabriel: That’s a huge compliment.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. So, we’re very honored to have you here, mate.
Jon Gabriel: Awesome.
Guy Lawrence: So, could you, just to kick start the show, I guess, yeah, share a little bit about your amazing story. Your journey from where you started, what you used to do, too.
Jon Gabriel: Yeah. Sure. So, I used to be over 400 pounds or 180-some-odd kilos and I was working on Wall Street. I was stressed out. I felt like I was killing myself. I felt like I was on a treadmill that was just going too fast.
And I got off of that treadmill and over a two-and-a-half-year period I lost a hundred kilos, or 220 pounds, without restrictive dieting. That is: without forcing myself to eat less or forcefully denying myself and without killing myself with exercise. It was almost as if the weight had just totally melted off of me.
And because of the way the weight melted off of me, I knew I had a really powerful message for the world. And I wrote about how I did it in a book called, “The Gabriel Method.” And “The Gabriel Method” touched a chord with a lot of people that had been trying to lose weight by dieting and have not been successful. And the book went on to get translated into 16 languages and is in 60 countries and a bestseller in several languages.
And we went on to create this whole process of losing weight by what we call getting the body to want to be thin rather than forcing. And even today, there’s; a lot of the information that we put out is similar to what other people are putting out, at least from a nutritional standpoint. There’s like a convergence going on in terms of: You need to take care of your digestion and you need to nourish your body properly and how healthy fats. . . And all this kind of stuff.
But nobody, even today, and this is now ten years down the road, we published The Gabriel Method in 2007, but I lost the weight in 2004. So, it’s been; I’ve been out there now over ten years.
I still don’t hear anybody talking about losing weight by getting your body to want to be thin. I hear people talk about speeding up your metabolism and cutting carbs and healing your digestion and reducing stress, but I never, ever, ever, hear anybody talk about getting your body to want to be thin.
So, our whole focus is the science and study of getting your body to want to be thin, because as in my case and now thousand of people all over the world, when you get your body to actually want to be thin, you’re not at war anymore. You don’t have to; you don’t need to know how many calories you should have in a day. You don’t need to know whether or not you should eat in the morning or in the afternoon or whether you should intermittent fasting or eat every two hours.
You don’t need those rules anymore. Your body does the accounting by itself, because you become, in essence, a naturally thin person. So, that’s what we’re trying to do, is turn people into naturally thin people.
Stuart Cooke: How did you arrive at that solution, Jon? Like where was the light bulb moment?
Jon Gabriel: Right. So, it was; basically it was through my life experience. So, what happened was I was sort of a naturally thin person back in like 1990. I was about the same weight as I am now. I was athletic and I ate a healthy diet. But I didn’t have to ever make an effort to keep maintaining my weight. I was like most people or many people that we know.
And I moved to New York. I started working on Wall Street. Really high-stress job. Working my butt off. Try to make ends meet. Blah, blah, blah.
And as soon as I moved I started gaining weight. And I gained maybe five or ten pounds the first year, five or ten pounds the second year, and I didn’t think too much about it. But then by the third or fourth year I was looking at, you know, I was 220, 250 pounds. A hundred kilos.
And so, that’s the first time I decided that I’m going to do something about it. And I did what everybody does, which was go on a diet. Because this is what we’re taught, right? It’s calories in, calories out, just cut your calories. So, I went on a diet and I lost a little bit of weight and then I’m fighting cravings left and right and I gain it back.
And then I went on this process over an 11-year period, where I went on every diet I could find. And every diet I went on followed the same approach. I would lose five or ten pounds through sheer brute force restriction willpower over a one-month period and then I’d come to this place where I couldn’t take it any more and have a huge binge. I’d gain that ten pounds back, literally, Guy and Stu. And when I say I gained that ten pounds back in a day, two days max. I am not exaggerating, I mean …
Stuart Cooke: Wow.
Jon Gabriel: Boom! It would come back and then a week later I’d be five pounds heavier than when I even started that diet.
So, I went on this process where I lost ten pounds, gained fifteen pounds, lost ten pounds, gained fifteen pounds over a ten-year period till I was over 400 pounds.
Stuart Cooke: Wow.
Jon Gabriel: And when I say I did everything, I met with Dr. Atkins, face-to-face for a month. He’s not alive anymore, obviously. But he was living in New York and so was I, and I met with him every Monday morning at 7 o’clock and I spent three or four thousand dollars with him. And in the end, I’m sitting in his office and he’s reading all my test scores. I’m borderline Type 2 diabetic and insulin resistant, metabolic syndrome, cholesterol through the roof, high blood pressure like you wouldn’t believe, all this stuff. And he just looks at me and he goes, “What are you doing? You’re killing yourself.”
Stuart Cooke: Wow.
Jon Gabriel: And I’m thinking to myself: Is that really the best that you can do, Dr. Atkins? You know, you’ve written this book called The Atkins Diet; 30 million people are on the Atkins Diet. I’m going to you face-to-face and the best that you can do is yell at me? Like, I’m going to lose weight because you’re ashamed of me or like you’re shaming me into losing weight? Like I don’t have enough motivation? I had fitness trainers at six in the morning. I would wake up with fitness trainers.
The important message with me is that I was a disciplined, hardworking person and I think that’s true of most people that gain weight. We have this stereotype, you know, where people are weak and lazy.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: But that’s not the case. What happens, I discovered, is there’s like this switch that goes off in your body where there’s the feedback regulating mechanisms that naturally regulate your body weight get completely out of whack and you have this unregulated mechanism where you just keep gaining and gaining and you’re hungry all the time.
And so, yeah, I would go on these diets, but at 11 o’clock at night if I didn’t have my carbs, you know, donuts, pizzas, whatever, I couldn’t sleep. So, then I’d have to eat that.
So, you know, this thing goes on and it’s not about being weak or lazy or undisciplined or trying hard or any of these things. And you go to the doctor and he goes, “Well, you should just eat less.”
And I remember walking into so many different doctors’ offices and they’d just look at me and they’d just give me this look, like, you know, “Oh, this guy doesn’t care about himself.”
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, as if you don’t care, yeah.
Jon Gabriel: Yeah. “Oh, well, you should just eat less.” And that’s what doctors are saying.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: It is kindergarten medicine. It flies in the face of hormonal molecular biology as we understand it today; it flies in the face of it. There is switch that goes off. I lived through it.
So, when I recognized, and the turning point for me was in 2001 I realized that for whatever reason, my body wanted to be fat and as long as it wanted to be fat there was nothing I could do to stop it. And I stopped dieting. I stopped this whole craziness and I just started researching everything I could about the hormones and the biology of weight. And I had a solid foundation in molecular biology from the University of Pennsylvania because I’d gone to the Wharton School of Business, but I wanted to be a doctor too, so I took all the pre-med courses of organic chemistry, molecular biology and all these.
So, I had enough of a foundation to read the researchers’ reports and make sense of it. And I studied and studied and I realized there were a lot of components to it. The biggest thing I studied was stress and the hormonal biology and the biochemistry of stress and what I discovered is that stress sometimes causes the exact same chemistry as a famine.
So, if you were in a famine you would have certain changes in your chemistry. So, your triglycerides would elevate and your cortisol levels would elevate. Certain proinflammatory cytokines would elevate and all these things are the exact same things that happen when you’re in a famine and you’re chronically hungry all the time. And what it is, is a signal to your brain that you’re in a famine.
So, what happens is your brain gets tricked by other stresses into activating the famine mechanism and it becomes this unregulated thing. Because if you were, if you were in a famine in real life you’d have all these stresses. Your brain would go, “Oh, we’re in a famine and we need to eat and eat and eat.” Then you’d eat and you wouldn’t be in a famine anymore. You wouldn’t have the stress anymore and you wouldn’t be signaled anymore.
But if the stress is coming from something other than a famine, but it’s causing the same biology as the famine …
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, right.
Jon Gabriel: It’s like the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. Like, I once saw this National Geography thing with these sharks and this shark had had its belly cut open and its intestines were coming out, but it was a feeding frenzy, and the shark was eating its own intestines. So, it’s like, you know like, one side doesn’t …
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: You know, it’s like one part of your brain doesn’t know what the other part is doing, you know. And this is what people are living through. They’re living through this situation where one part of the brain is not responding properly to outside stresses.
So, what I started to do was look at all the different stresses that can cause this trigger to go off. And so, it turns out there’s a number of stresses and that’s what we published in The Gabriel Method. And some of them are physical and some of them are emotional.
So, if you’re in chronic emotional stress all the time, you’re pumping out proinflammatory cytokine cortisol, the same way you were in a famine in certain instances, not for everybody and we can talk about that, but for certain people it’s the same.
If your digestion is off and you’ve got leaky gut, you’re pumping out proinflamm; you’re pumping out toxins into your bloodstream, which is activating your immune system and causing a low-grade chronic inflammatory XXtechnical glitchXX [:12:40.0] it’s the same as famine. If your triglycerides are elevated because of certain processed foods you’re eating, it’s the same as famine.
So, the key is to change your biology so that your brain is not whacked out anymore and getting miscommunication. And then what happens (and this is what happen for me and this is what happens with the people we work with) it’s like imagine this scenario: You’ve got 200 pounds of excess weight on you. Your brain, because it’s whacked out because of the chemistry, thinks you have zero fat, right? So, you’re eating and eating and eating. And this is what’s going on with people. And then all of a sudden one day imagine you wake up and your brain is getting an accurate assessment of how much weight you have on you and your brain says, “Oh my God, we’ve got 200 pounds of excess weight. This is crazy!” And then what happens is you just start losing weight like crazy. So, I just stopped being hungry.
What I did is, I moved to western Australia. I started growing my own food. I started meditating. I started visualizing. I started taking lots of probiotics and digestive enzymes. Taking super greens with protein powers and smoothies and all this kind of stuff. And all of the stresses that were causing this went away and the weight started to melt off me and I wasn’t even trying to lose weight at that point. I just couldn’t; I just had given up on life kind of.
In my job, I couldn’t work anymore. I was just totally at a breaking point and I just wanted to take care of myself for a little while.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: But the weight started to melt off of me. Melt off of me. And this is; and then it just totally melted off of me, all of it, and I’ve been the same weight now for ten years and I never, ever diet. It’s just that I know how to take care of the communication mechanism that causes your brain to listen properly to the amount of fat that you have. And that’s what I do when I work with people.
And the most overriding comment that I get from people when I work with them and these are people that have been serial dieting for 30 years and might have 50 or 100 kilos or 200 pounds to lose, they say; they go, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’m just not that hungry anymore. You know, you tell me to eat a good breakfast. I can’t eat a good breakfast and I’m not hungry after lunch. Should I still eat every two hours?” No! You have changed. You’ve got it. Your chemistry has changed. Let your body lose weight. Let your body do the accounting now. Your body is your own best friend right now. Let it lose weight.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: Get your body to want to be thin; you lose weight sustainably.
Stuart Cooke: Fascinating.
Guy Lawrence: Did you have to reach a finite tipping point? Like a breaking point? Because we find that with many people that it’s almost like something has to become unbearable and then they snap.
Jon Gabriel: It’s like a perfect storm. It was like a perfect storm for me.
So, I was at 400 pounds. I was working three jobs on Wall Street, you know, I was running three companies on Wall Street and so I was working around the clock. So, one of them was a; just a brokerage company that had 16 brokers working for me. Another one was a startup online company and another one was an online overnight trading company. So, I was getting up every two hours to check the markets.
So, this was what I was doing. I was just racing and racing and racing, but at the same time carrying 200 extra pounds on me.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: So, I felt like I couldn’t go any further. Then I was almost on one of the planes that crashed in XX2011 – misspoke. Edit? 0:15:34.000XX and I just said, “I’m on borrowed time right now. I almost died. Life’s giving me a second chance and here I am killing myself. I’m just going to take a step back.”
And I sold my business. I moved to western Australia. I bought a piece of land. On 12 acres I started growing my own food and I just started living day-to-day. I figured; okay, it didn’t cost me much to buy the property, because currency was real strong for the U.S. dollar back then; this was some time ago. And property prices were really, really cheap in western Australia back then. So, it cost me; it cost me almost; it cost me $75,000, something like that, to buy this property.
You know, it was like; and I just; I said, “Okay. I have a place to live and I have some food, because it’s growing outside. So, today’s taken care of.” And I started living just one day at a time, saying, “Okay. I have a place to stay.” And as I was saying; I used to say to myself, “Okay. Air is free. I have a place to stay.”
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: “And I have food and water. So, today is taken care of.” And that was how I lived my life. And as I was doing that, it just; I didn’t; I wasn’t even trying. I still had; like I still would buy chocolate, eat pizza and all things that you can’t eat because they’ve got fructose and they’ve got; they’re insulin resisting. You know, all the things, but I still ate them and I was losing weight. And then eventually I lost my cravings for them entirely, because my body just kept going healthier and healthier. But it came from a very organic place.
So, when I tell people I lost weight without dieting, they’re like, “Oh, I bet if you measured your calories…” I’m, like, I didn’t measure my calories. I started; my body wanted to let go of weight, I started being less hungry and started craving healthier foods. Eventually I started having enough energy to exercise and so I started riding my bike.
You know, it just all happened from a very organic place by taking care of the chemistry that communicates your brain to your body.
Guy Lawrence: Wow. So, another question that popped in. So, for anyone listening to this who is struggling to lose weight and, “I’ve tried everything,” you know. Where would be the best place to start for them?
Jon Gabriel: So, the first thing you have to understand is that there’s reasons, there’s certain reasons why your body wants to hold on to weight. It comes from a confusion of survive; it comes from your body accidently activating a survival program. So, holding onto weight is a survival program. It protects us against famines when we’re living outdoors. And our body has a switch that activates that survival program. The stresses in your life can trip that switch.
So, the first place to look when you’re trying to lose weight isn’t necessarily how many cupcakes you’re having or any of these other things or how often you’re exercising; those things come into play, but the first thing to do is look and say, “What is the stresses (stress or stresses or stressors) that are tricking my body into activating this fat program?” That’s the first place you have to look.
So, it could be your digestion. And the way that; the clues to that are: “When did I start gaining weight?” So, sometimes people tell me, and I deal with people that have had serious, serious weight issues, lifetime weight issues. They tell me it all started when, for example, God forbid, they were abused as a kid, right? And that’s a trauma that causes stress. It causes chemistry.
Now, if you don’t relieve that trauma and make your body feel like you’re in a safe place, then dieting isn’t going to work. Because as soon as you lose a little bit of weight your body’s going to be like, “Well, no, we need that weight.” It’s a protection, you know, so you have to deal with that.
It could have been when you had a nasal infection. You started taking antibiotics. And then if you look at that and so you took antibiotics for a month or whatever, your friendly bacteria is destroyed. So, if your friendly bacteria is destroyed, that causes an inflammatory stress in your body. So, now we have to heal your digestion.
It could be that you just have too many toxins in your body and you need to detoxify. It could be you’re not sleeping well; you have sleep apnea. That’s a really big one.
You know, one thing we think; you know, you take a guy who’s three, four hundred pounds, work him real hard and he’s trying to exercise; he’s exhausted, he’s trying to eat well and you’re trying; and he goes to a fitness trainer or doctor or whatever and then they say, “Well, you need to exercise more. You need to exercise seven days a week.”
Well, really what he needs to do is sleep. And he’s not sleeping because he has sleep apnea. Because the weight of his neck is choking off his, you know, his windpipe, so he’s not getting into a deep sleep.
Guy Lawrence: Wow.
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Jon Gabriel: That’s causing a chronic low-grade stress. It’s activating his inflammatory hormones and also his cortisol levels and that’s activating this fat program. He needs to get a CPAP machine to learn how to sleep.
If you’re chronically stressed all the time, he needs to learn how to meditate. If you’ve been emotionally abused you need to work through that emotional abuse.
So, you need to focus on the root issue. And the key to finding the root issue is always going back to finding the trigger of “when I started gaining weight?”
So, when you go back there, it’s the first thing I always ask people, “When did you start gaining weight?” and we talk about that. I don’t talk about what they’re eating. I don’t care what they’re eating.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: I want to find out when they started gaining weight. “When I started having kids. When I was in a divorce. When I got married. When my parents separated. When I started working on Wall Street.” Whatever the thing is, we need to go to there. We need to work through that.
So, the first place you always have to look is: what is the trigger, because there’s always a trigger, that’s causing this miscommunication with your body.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah that’s fantastic advice, mate. It’s so difficult to get our message through. Like, you know I worked as a fitness trainer for ten years and that’s why we started 180. Because, you know, I wanted to try and put out the beliefs out there. What I truly felt to be doing including, like, these podcasts and stuff. But when you’ve got; when you’re getting bombarded by the calorie in/calorie out, the diet message like you’re saying “flogging yourself” harder and harder at the gym and sleep comes into the problem. It’s really hard to cut through all that nonsense.
Jon Gabriel: When I work with my coaching people, I’ll work with people that have had a lifetime of weight issues and they feel like they’re failures. They feel like they’re sabotaging. But it’s not any of those things. The approach has failed them. The irresponsible way that we’ve looked at the data that’s out there and analyzed it and our lack of ability to respond to the current; to the new information, is what’s failing them. Not themselves.
So, I will talk; there are people that I have worked with, where I say, “I do not want to talk about food or exercise.” For months, we’ll go three months and then I’ll say, “Okay, now let’s talk about food.” And then we’ll do that for a couple of months and then I’ll say, “Okay, now let’s talk about exercise.” And we’ll do that for a couple of months and then I’ll say, “Okay, now you’re in a situation where you can expect to lose weight.” And they go: Poof! 80 pounds gone within two months. Boom! And stays off. Stays off!
Guy Lawrence: Incredible.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. It’s amazing.
Jon Gabriel: It’s the exact opposite of the diet. So, a diet, you lose weight real quick; 20 pounds in 20 days. And then your metabolism slows. You further activate that famine response, which was already activated for some other stress, right? So, you further activate that. You go to war with your body. You’re fighting cravings all the time. And boom! You gain it back.
This, maybe you’ll do this groundwork, you know. I call it; you pay it forward. You do this groundwork to get to reverse the insulin resistance, the leptin resistance, the inflammation, the cortisol, the mindset, the nutrition. You do all these things in reverse and then you just go, poof! And the weight starts falling off.
And for me, too, when I lost the weight and kept it off; I didn’t lose weight quickly in the beginning, I lost weight really slowly and then it started to speed up and at the end I was losing weight like crazy, because my body became very efficient at burning fat. All the issues were gone. The weight wanted to let go. I had so much energy to exercise and it just; it was like this accelerated thing and that’s what happens with the people that we work with, it’s the exact opposite.
There’s this transition period, where you’ve got to do the work and then poof! The weight falls off.
Stuart Cooke: It’s amazing, because I think the majority of people immediately would assume that, “Well, I have to eat less.”
Jon Gabriel: Right.
Stuart Cooke: And then given what you’ve been telling us that would put enough stress on your body. Just the sheer worry about not knowing …
Jon Gabriel: It’s not just the worry. Think about this for a second. So, remember I said that sometimes the stresses in your life trick your brain into activating the famine response, right?
So, picture this scenario. You’re worried about making ends meet or your digestion is messed up, you’re not getting sleep; whatever it is. But you’ve got stress hormones that are communicating to your brain, your survival brain, not your conscious brain, but your survival brain, which is what’s in charge, that you’re in a famine, right?
So, your brain thinks you’re in a famine and then you go on a diet. What happens? You’re already; your brain already thinks you’re in famine and now you’re in a real famine …
Stuart Cooke: That’s right. Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: … and then you go to war with your body. And that’s why diets don’t work. There’s an inherent conflict of interest, because you’re not working with your body.
So, I’ll give you a perfect example of eating less with someone I just talked to just yesterday. So, we’d been working together for a few months and she says to me, “You know, I’m just not hungry. After lunch, I’m just not hungry anymore and I’m losing weight.” Is what she says and for a long time and she goes, “And something weird is happening. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. But if I do eat at night, I know I’m not that hungry, but if I do eat a certain amount or whatever, I start getting really hot and I sweat and I don’t know what’s wrong.” And I said, “Your body doesn’t want weight right now, which is why you’re not hungry.”
So, yeah, you have to eat less but you’ve got to want your body to want that so your body’s not hungry. Your body wants to lose weight, so you’re not hungry. And if you do eat, your metabolism speeds up so that you burn that food before you go to sleep. That’s what’s happening.
Stuart Cooke: Unbelievable.
Jon Gabriel: Your body just doesn’t want the weight anymore. That’s the way you lose weight sustainably. Get your body to not want the weight anymore.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.
Stuart Cooke: Brilliant. Fantastic. Tell us a little bit about meditation, because you touched on it earlier. Is that like an integral part of stress management?
Jon Gabriel: Yeah. So, meditation and also what I call “visualization,” which to me is targeted meditation, is really, really important and so incredibly useful, because it rewires your brain chemistry so that you’re not pumping out stress hormones all the time.
So, if you look at the way brain chemistry works, the more you do something, the more it reinforces the signal so you’re going to do it more. That’s how habits are created. But thoughts are the same.
So, if you’re thinking fearful thoughts all day, what’s happening is there’s a signal going to the limbic part of your brain, activating a part of your brain called the amygdala, which is the seed of aggression and fear, which then pumps out inflammatory hormones and stress hormones. And so, what’s happening is the more you do that the more it gets reinforced.
So, you’ve got this unregulated feedback thing that’s pumping out stress, causing stressful thoughts. Pumping out stress, causing stressful thoughts. And if you were to actually trace the chemistry of that part of your brain, it becomes a stress-producing factory or a stress hormone-producing factory, which basically is like taking a weight loss drug all day. It’s like, if you were inter. . . Or a weight gain drug.
So, if you were intravenously tied to a weight hormone that causes you to gain weight and it’s pumping into you all day, you’re just going to get heavier and heavier. This is what’s happening with people.
So, how do you break that?
Well, when you meditate, even though if you’re only mediating only for like ten minutes a day, you start activating, creating inroads to activating areas that make you feel safe and relaxed and connected. And it’s not just for those ten minutes. It’s for the whole; it’s for the rest of the day and then evidently over time, it becomes all the time.
So, it’s just like the same as if you were to work out 20 minutes, three times a week, you’d be stronger all the time. Not just when you’re working out. If you meditate every morning for 10, 20 minutes, you then change your chemistry all day so that you’re not producing those stress hormones.
Guy Lawrence: Okay.
Jon Gabriel: So, that’s really, really powerful. And then when you use visualization, you actually get your mind and body to communicate. So, anything you imagine doing; if you imagine the weight melting off your body, if you imagine yourself craving healthy live fruit or going to the gym or doing well at business or any of these things. When you’re in that meditative state, your mind is very powerful and you become much more able to achieve your goals.
And by achieving your goals, not just weight loss goals, but other goals, sometimes it helps with weight loss too, because if you’re worried about finances, for example, and you’re able to use visualization to help improve your business and to have a good meeting and be successful, then you’re not worried anymore. There’s less stress and the weight comes off.
If you imagine yourself eating healthy foods, then you’re more likely to eat them. If you imagine yourself going to the gym, you’re more likely to do it. Many studies have shown that when you practice, rehearse mentally something, especially when you’re in a meditative state; you’re going to do it. It’s how you create habits.
So, we’ve incorporated meditation and visualization. That’s like the framework to get your mind and body to work together.
Guy Lawrence: So, just for people to visualize it …
Jon Gabriel: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: …you know, I’m thinking meditation is almost like a pressure cooker scenario, where you’re releasing the lid off it and allowing pressure to come.
Jon Gabriel: That’s one way to look at it. I would also look at it as it’s also creating a different connection so that you never even go into that pressure cooker.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: So, on the one hand you’re letting off the pressure, but you’re also connecting in another way so that you’re never even creating the pressure.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, perfect.
Jon Gabriel: So, like, you’re waiting in a bank line, right? And you’re late for work and you get to this; you’re pumping out stress hormones. But what you find, if you do meditate on a regular basis, is you’re not doing that anymore. You’re late for work or whatever, you recognize, “Look, I’m in a line. I’m going to be to work. I’m going to explain this to my boss. There’s nothing I can do about it now.” You don’t have that pressure any more. You give into the outside world, maybe doing whatever it’s doing.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah and you’re in the moment. So, with meditation, Jon, it’s a word that I hear get flung around a lot, and visualization and it’s something that I’ve always grappled with, as well. There’s things I grasp and just run with, you know, in areas of my life and I probably speak for Stu as well. So, for people listening to this, and I know a lot of people that fall in and out of meditation constantly, you know, as in they’ll do it for a week and then they don’t do it for six months. And then all of a sudden it builds up, you know. What would be; like if you could give three tips, like, what would be the simplest way for …
Jon Gabriel: So, I’ll tell you how I started and I get every…
Guy Lawrence: Okay, perfect.
Jon Gabriel: You want; the key is you want to become addicted to it. But there’s a lot, there’s a long road to get there, right? So, what I did was I listened to a meditation every day. It was a 20-minute meditation. I listened to it every day for about two years. Eventually, I would get; when I started doing the meditation I would just get this incredible bliss and relaxation, like, you’re sitting there and you’re not fidgeting anymore, And you’re not trying; like most people; that’s the other thing, it’s very paradoxical in the sense that if you try to concentrate you actually take yourself out of the meditation. Do you see what I’m saying?
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: So, its like, you know, it’s like they teach you in martial arts, if you’re tense and you’re using muscle, you’re not going to be as effective as if you’re relaxed and you have sensitivity and you can move fast and you can think clearly. It’s the exact; as soon as you start trying you get discouraged, you get out of the meditation, and then you give up.
So, what I tell people, I’ve created seven- to ten-minute visualizations. It couldn’t be easier. They’re seven to ten minutes long. I say you have it all set up in your room. You do it as soon as you wake up.
So, you wake up. You don’t check Facebook and then do the meditation. You wake up. You press the button. You close your eyes. And the most important thing is, you let your mind wander. You don’t try to get; so if I say, “Imagine the weight melting off. Imagine yourself.” You don’t try. You just let your mind wander and you just sit there for the ten minutes or seven minutes.
Because what happen eventually; number one: you don’t give up, because you’re not getting discouraged. You’re not thinking, “It’s not working, my mind’s wandering.”
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: You’re not trying. You’re not taking yourself out of the meditation. But something takes over where all of a sudden you’re, you know, your mind’s going “mee-mee-mee-mee-mee,” then all of a sudden you go “meep” and you are there. And it feels; it’s just like, you know, if you think about it all the best experiences you can have are experiences when you’re just there; your mind isn’t doing it.
So, if you’re getting the best message in the world, you might start out, your message therapist is saying, “How’s your day? Blah, blah, blah.” “Oh, yeah, blah, blah, blah.” Then all of a sudden, you know, 20 minutes into it, she’s working on your back and your shoulders, and you’re just like “ah…”, right? Your mind’s not wandering.
You know, if you’re making love and it’s amazing, “ah…” Your mind’s not wandering. Like if you’re having; like if you’re sky diving or skiing or snowboarding …
Guy Lawrence: Surfing. I think of surfing.
Jon Gabriel: …surfing, your mind’s not wandering, right? You’re watching the best sports event, you know, it’s 30 seconds left; your mind’s not wandering. You’re just right there.
So, every great experience that you have across the board has one thing in common. You are just right there. And what happens, you can’t create it with meditation, but it creates you. It takes you over.
You don’t ever know when it’s going to happen and I’ve been mediating for years now and I never know when it’s going to happen. I’m always surprised every time. It’s like “mee mee mee mee mee and tomorrow I’ve got to call this guy” and all of a sudden I go. . .
Stuart Cooke: Boom.
Jon Gabriel: And you’re like; it’s like you’re plugged in.
Do you remember Star Wars; the first Star Wars episode?
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: And C3PO? I don’t know if remember, like in the video he goes, …
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: “If you don’t mind sir, I’ll just turn off.” And he just goes …
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: That’s what it is. It’s like you go “whoop.” And you just; it’s almost like, you feel like you’re being plugged into a source of energy. Where you’re just energized and focused and you feel it and then it permeates your day where you feel this bliss, you know, all throughout the day. And then you’re hooked.
Stuart Cooke: I hope I can work at that. I’ll have to work at that. For me, I liken it to looking at a TV shop with 20 different TVs and they’re all playing different stations. And I’m looking here and here and here. All these conservations coming in, so I need to …
Jon Gabriel: Yeah. All right. But listen to your languaging. You say, “I have to work at that.” And even that is going to take you out of meditation. So, rather than say, “I have to work at that.” just say, “I’m going to listen to that every morning.”
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Jon Gabriel: Just press the button every morning.
So, I take; when I work with people, I take that feeling of that activity out of it. So, all you have to do is press the button every morning. Even if you’re just lying in bed, it’s best if you’re sitting up, but you just press the button every morning until once you become hooked you’re; that’s it. You never have to worry again, because you’re going to do it.
Like I don’t have to go, “Ah…” Like, if with yoga, for example, I have to go, “Ah, I’ve got to do yoga.” You know.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: But there’s some people that are hooked on yoga. You know, they’re going to do their two hours in the morning, because they love it and I’ve never getting that. I will never get to that place. I hate it, hate it, hate it and it’s just that it.
But you can get to that place with meditation. Where, like, for me, I’m hooked. I don’t have to think, “Ah, I have to meditate today.” I sit up and it just comes in and then you’re just; you have this ability to focus and imagine how your day’s going to work out. And you find this correlation between what you imagine happening and what happens in real life. It’s just uncanny.
When you’re, like, a business meeting, you want to do really well. You imagine it and all this light coming out and people just spellbound and it happens. It’s just a cause and effect relationship that’s unreal.
So, it’s like this mechanism. You imagine the weight melting off your body and it happens.
And you know for me I imagined myself, when I was 400 pounds. If you’ve ever seen my before and after pictures, I imagined myself with tight skin and stomach muscles. And everybody thinks those pictures are PhotoShopped. I even; I went back to the lady that took them, just recently we created another video, where we videoed me getting pictures again and had her swear that they weren’t Photo. . . They’re not PhotoShopped.
Like, there’s probably a lot of reasons why that happened, but one of them was, I imagine; really, really, really focused and just tight, healthy and it just, it happened. You know, and I just, I don’t know how much of that is in the mind, but I don’t want to discount the mind either. Because I think the mind is so much powerful than we can even imagine.
We can even, you know, there’s studies with the mind right now, where they did this placebo study with cancer patients, right? Where they wanted to test a form of chemotherapy. So, one group got the real chemotherapy and one group didn’t get chemotherapy, but they thought they got chemotherapy. The group that didn’t get chemotherapy, but thought they got chemotherapy, 30 percent of them lost their hair.
Stuart Cooke: Oh boy, oh boy.
Guy Lawrence: Wow!
Jon Gabriel: 30 percent! We didn’t, we have no idea how powerful our minds are.
Stuart Cooke: It’s hugely powerful, isn’t it. It’s unbelievable.
Jon Gabriel: And everybody’s, nobody’s looking at that. And I’m like why are we not looking at this? But when you apply it the other way, rather than getting you, tricking you into losing your hair, you can apply it the other way into getting you to be thin and fit and successful. And so, that’s what we do with our meditations and our visualizations, is we apply that power in the right direction.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Jon, listening to you just makes me want to do it. You know, like it’s phenomenal.
So, again for anyone listening to this and going, “Well, I’m going to have a crack at this.” and they’ve not done it before. What would be a good amount of time to start with to make it a habit? So, I remember you saying to once, “make it a habit first,” right?
Jon Gabriel: Five to seven minutes. So, but you need; I suggest you need to; you listen to something. Like, we have, we have lots of visualizations that are seven minutes long. Just keep listening to it until you become addicted to it until you can feel the energy, because you feel the vibration, because you feel the calmness and you can feel why it’s working. And that can take six months to a year and then you’re like, “Oh, I get this. I really, really get this. I see why I can’t wait to do this again.”
When you’re there, you do it on your own. But until then, press the button. Don’t work at it. Don’t try. But just press the button every day. Make a commitment to pressing the button first and just sitting there for seven minutes every single day until you become addicted.
And believe me, it’s easier than becoming addicted to yoga, because you don’t have to do anything but sit. You just sit instead of feeling that intense pain that you …
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Well, what we can do, like, if you’ve got visualization techniques for people that we can link to the show notes for this so when they listen to this they can come and check it out.
Jon Gabriel: We have some free visualizations, you know, on our site and we have; we’ve got a support group with 40 visualizations in there …
Guy Lawrence: Wow.
Jon Gabriel: … that, you know, I keep making new ones and that you can join and have a; you can join for free for 30 days. So you can literally, you can join this support group for free and download all 40 visualizations and then cancel the next day.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: You know, like, we want to give these out. I want the world to; I want people; I feel like it’s a blessing to, for me and I wouldn’t be able to do what I did unless I, this happened to me where I became addicted to this; to mediating and visualizing in it. I just want that for the rest of the world you know.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Brilliant.
Stuart Cooke: I had a question now to shift this over to about parents and children.
Jon Gabriel: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Because I’m a dad myself and I take my girls to school every day and I have noticed that there are kids now that are carrying a lot of weight and parents are looking frazzled as well. You know, they’re plugged into the grind.
Jon Gabriel: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Any particular strategies for the parent perhaps who are struggling?
Jon Gabriel: Well, you know we wrote a book. I wrote a book with a pediatrician, named Patricia Riba, named “Fit Kids”. Specifically, I’m the Gabriel Method to kids.
But it’s the same thing. You’ve got to look at causing the chronic low-grade inflammatory stress that’s causing them to gain weight.
So, let’s talk about some of the things. Kids have stresses in school. They have bullying in school. There’s abuse that goes on. There’s nutritional depletion. So, the foods that we’re eating are so full of; so devoid of nutrition that they’re getting nutritionally deplete. And of course, all the chemical changes that take place when you eat all the junk food, that’s a big deal.
The toxins. There’s so many toxins in our food.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: And toxins can cause you to gain weight; then all the toxins of the medications. We’re living in this culture where it’s just expected that we medicate our kids and there’s something like; there’s something like 70 more vaccinations that we give our kids than we had when we were growing up.
Stuart Cooke: Right
Jon Gabriel: So, including a vaccination for hepatitis the second a kid is born. Why you have to get a vaccination for hepatitis the second someone’s born is beyond my imagination. But if you think about what a vaccination is designed to do; it’s designed to cause you to evoke an inflammatory response.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: That’s what it’s designed to do. Which is fine every once in a while. We did it. We had vaccinations. We had our vaccination schedule for our measles and our whatever. But now you’ve got vaccination schedules for itchy knees, I mean, for anything. You know, 200; some statistic by the time you’re three you’ve had like 70 or 100 vaccinations.
So, if you’re constantly injecting substances into your kid all day long and if you look at the childhood obesity; if you look at a graph of how childhood obesity has grown over, since 1990 when we started accelerating the vaccination schedule, it’s pretty much the same exponential curve as the rate of which vaccinations have grown.
So, I don’t want to just dis vaccinations. That’s a heated discussion. But you need to look at the inflammatory consciences from a weight perspective and you need to balance how that’s going; how frequently you have them and do you need every single one of them always.
Is everything life-threatening, that you have to do that? And what are the consequences? And so, that’s one thing.
Another is just other medications. Antidepressants can cause you to gain weight. And maybe; and sometimes the answer when you have depression is you don’t have the right gut flora. There’s a lot of studies to show that.
So, we’re not taking care of the gut flora of our kids. We’re pumping them with medications that cause inflammation. We’re giving them food that has no nutrition. They’re in stressful environments. They’re emotionally abused, you know, we all suffer; that’s there too.
So, you need to look at all those different things with the kid and you need to approach it that way. Because if you don’t approach it that way and just say, “Okay, eat less cupcakes.”
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: You get into this situation where the kid feels shame. The kids; it’s a futile effort that’s destined for failure and then it makes the kid feel like a failure.
Stuart Cooke: That’s right.
Jon Gabriel: You’ve got to give the kid a fighting chance by reducing the chemistry that’s causing them to want to eat chronically. You’ve got to nourish them. You’ve got to heal their digestion. Help detoxify their bodies. Help reduce stress.
We do a lot of visualizations for kids that are really good. There’s one called “The Dreaming Tree.” Another one called, “The Magic Carpet Ride.” “The Ride of the Blue Clan.” Cave Clan I think it’s called, something like that. We just have all these different stories that we tell the kids to reduce those things. And you’ve got to look at the medications that you’re putting in you kids and the frequency. And you’ve got to make an informed decision about which ones are the most important and when to do it. You have to be active and proactive with your kids.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Perfect.
Guy Lawrence: Go on, Stu.
Stuart Cooke: What sounds like the key word is “stress.” Whether it be from toxins, you know, the environment. Whether it’s from our gut. You know, everything.
Jon Gabriel: And that’s not what we’re doing. We’re just saying, “Okay, how may calories?” I remember the lady that we wrote this book with, Patricia Riba. She talks about this 4-year-old kid that carries a cup wherever she goes. And it turns out that she does that because the nutritionist said, “Only eat this much food.” So, she has this cup wherever she goes and she’s just this, you know, poor little 4-year-old kid.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: And whose fault is that; that she’s in a situation, we’re putting it on her. Like that she’s eating too much.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: And you, you know, you have to live through it too. So, like, when I was living this thing, where I was hungry, hungry, hungry all the time and now I’m not. You know that you’ve got to get to that place.
You don’t just take a kid who’s hungry all the time and deficient in so many nutrients and so much; and their gut flora is so messed up, and they’re so insulin resistant or leptin resistant that they’re hungry all the time. You don’t take a kid like that and say, “just eat this much food” and shame them all the time. You’ve got to address the real issues. So irresponsible, because if you look at the research that’s out there; so irresponsible not to be doing that.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, such a huge topic. I mean, do you hold hope for the future, Jon, in the whole?
Jon Gabriel: Yeah, I do, because I see like a convergence of information. I see people, I see people; parents are getting educated.
I mean if I look at my support group, we’ve got a private forum where people may ask stuff and I’ll be; it’s like a Facebook forum. So, I’ll see it on my feed and I’ll think, “Oh, I’ve got to get back to that man to answer that question.” I go back two hours later and there are better answers than I could give. More informed answers.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.
Jon Gabriel: I thought, okay. These are parents. These are people that had weight issues. These people are very into it. You give people a direction to heal themselves and it starts to work for them. And they’re like, “Screw this, I want to know” and they’re taking their health in their own hands.
So, there’s a convergence and a spreading of people that are taking their health in their own hands and sharing information. And that is hope for the future. That’s real hope.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fantastic, fantastic.
Mate, we have a few questions we ask everyone on the podcast as we go towards the end and I’m going to bring in one more as well, ask three. But do you; what is your daily routine, like non-negotiable practices that you’ve kind of brought in over the years now?
Jon Gabriel: So, I don’t have many non-negotiable. I meditate every morning; that’s non-negotiable. I won’t start my day without mediating. I do this meditation and as soon as I know I’m ready, I ask for guidance. I ask my higher self to guide me throughout the day and work through me. Once I know I’ve made that connection, because that’s one of the things meditation I feel does is it helps you connect with your higher power. So, that’s non-negotiable. I’m not going to start my day.
So, like if I’ve got to wake up at 4 o’clock in the morning to catch a flight, I’m going to wake at 3 o’clock and meditate. I remember, I remember I was, I was with my video editor somewhere and I had to pick him up at 6 o’clock in the morning and I was looking for him and getting lost. So, it was like 6:10, 6:20 and the guy who’s with him said, “You think Jon didn’t wake up? He fell asleep?” He said, “No man. Jon’s been up for three hours. He’s been mediating for three hours”
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: And it was true. I had meditated; I had gotten up hours before and meditated. That’s non-negotiable for me. I love it.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: I have to do it that. The other thing is I nourish my body. I don’t focus too much on; I don’t have a rhythm of I have to eat breakfast at a certain time or lunch at a certain time or don’t eat this, don’t eat that. But I will have super greens. I will have smoothies. I will have green juices. I’ll have salads. I’ll have sprouts. I’ll have fermented foods. I will eat lots of really nutritious foods and I’ll focus on the adding of those things.
And the other things you can’t eat after a while. You know, when your body gets really, really healthy you cannot eat junk food. And that’s a beautiful place to be, because it’s very different than fighting junk food.
So, those are probably the two non-negotiables. I’m going to do my meditation every day and I’m going to nourish my body really well every day. Those are non-negotiables.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.
Stuart Cooke: And what about, we always say, “motion equals emotion” and we love to get off our seats.
Jon Gabriel: Yeah, yeah. So, we didn’t talk about exercise. So, let’s talk about exercise for a moment.
Guy Lawrence: Sure. Go for it.
Jon Gabriel: From the perspective of survival. So, how fat or thin your body wants to be and remember how we talked about how you’ve got this sort of survival program in you to force you to gain weight if you’re in a famine, right? You’ve got another survival program in you that forces you to get thin if your body thinks that you need to be thin in order to be safe. I call it the “get thinner, get eaten” adaptation. And so, let’s imagine, so when you get the theory of it then exercise, how to apply it to exercise, is automatic. It just makes sense.
So, the theory is that if you were; if you want to get; if you were living thousands of years ago in an island, where let’s say where you had all the food in the world. It’s all healthy and real live fruit. You can eat all you want. So, you’re not having a famine, right? So, you don’t have that famine stress saying, “Hey, we need to hold to the weight.” And it’s warm; so you don’t need weight for, to hold on to, you know, protect you from the elements. So, you don’t have those stresses that would make your body want to be fat.
And let’s imagine that you lived outdoors, in the jungle, 10,000 years ago and every couple of times a week tigers would run out and they would chase you. And if you weren’t lightning fast, you were dead, right?
Now, that’s a different stress. It is a stress too, but it’s not a chronic low-grade inflammatory stress. It’s a 30-second life or death stress. That 30-second life or death stress changes your body’s chemistry. It makes you very sensitive to the hormone leptin and you start melting fat, because your body says, “Hang on. Forget about everything. If we’re not thin, we’re dead.”
And so, you can replicate that with exercise. And the way to replicate that with exercise isn’t the traditional 40-minute power walk, seven times a week. Because if you were living outdoors and chased by a bear all of sudden, you wouldn’t got for a 40-minute power walk, right?
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: You would run for 10 to 20, 30-second maximum, and you would either be eaten or you were dead.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Yeah.
Jon Gabriel: Now, so, if you apply that to exercise, what works really, really well is, let’s say you’re gone for a 20-minute walk or whatever, walk leisurely and enjoy it. But every once in a while, for just ten seconds, move as fast as humanly possible and imagine you’re being chased by something. It’s life or death. Because your brain doesn’t know, the survival brain doesn’t know there’s been a real or imagined experience. You imagine that, the weight just melts off of you.
And you don’t have to do this. It’s not about calories in/calories out. It’s about getting your body to want to be thin. So, that actual 30 seconds, you’re not burning much calories in that 30 seconds, but the hormonal changes that take place are forever, because your body goes, “Stop everything. If we’re not thin, we’re dead.”
So, that’s the way to apply it and you, and so when I work with people, I say, “Do this a couple of times a week. Two times, three times max. Exercise for a maximum of 10, 20 minutes, but within that period you need the ten seconds all out.”
And so, when you look at also the high intensity types of workouts that they have, they measure the on and the off, so 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off or a minute sprint, minute rest. I don’t care how long you rest. I don’t care about keeping your heart at a minimum heart rate or a fat burning range, I don’t care any of that. I don’t care about fat burning during the exercise. I just care that when you do that ten-second sprint or 20 second, you are life or death. You are all out, because that’s what’s going to create this specific stress that’s going to make your body say, “We need to be thin.” And it’s all about getting your body to want to be thin.
Stuart Cooke: Excellent.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.
Stuart Cooke: Perfect.
Guy Lawrence: Mate, we have one more question that we ask everyone on this show. And what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Jon Gabriel: To follow your heart. Because I think there’s a part of us that knows why we’re here and knows our life’s purpose. Knows the future. Knows all of that. It’s communicated through our heart.
And a lot of times we don’t want to listen now, we want to listen to this and it says, “No, no, no. We don’t have time for that. We got other things we’ve got to worry about. Blah, blah, blah.” It’s got all those voices, “I’m going to take care of you, blah, blah, blah.”
But this other voice is going to always push you in the right place at the time. And so I say, whenever you can listen to that voice.
Guy Lawrence: Now, that’s perfect advice and that’s something I can relate to, mate. I think, yeah, fantastic.
Jon Gabriel: Awesome.
Guy Lawrence: Jon thanks so much for it all. So one last thing.
Jon Gabriel: Oh, yeah.
Guy Lawrence: Where can people get more of Jon Gabriel.
Jon Gabriel: Yeah. You just go to TheGabrielMethod.com. So: TheGabrielMethod.com. There’s hundreds of pages of free information and we’re always doing, like, we’re doing a meditation for weight loss challenge coming up and we’ve got all kinds of visualizations you can listen to and podcast information. So, it’s a good place to check out.
Guy Lawrence: Awesome. We’ll link on the show notes as well.
Jon, thank you so much for coming on the show …
Jon Gabriel: My pleasure.
Stuart Cooke: Yes, thank you. A wealth of information and I just cannot wait to share it. Thank you so much.
Jon Gabriel: Excellent.
Guy Lawrence: Good luck to you Jon. Thank you very much.
Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on youriPhone HERE.
There’s no doubt about it, the paleo diet certainly has divided opinion (especially if you listen to the media)! We ask Marlies Hobbs, what are the biggest misconceptions when it comes to the world of paleo. Can you guess what they are?
If you like inspirational stories, then this one is for you, as we have on todays show Marlies, who is the co-founder of the Paleo Café along with her husband, Jai. She had a great career in law and threw it all in to start the Paleo Café.
After the birth of her dairy-intolerant son Troy, she had a new outlook on life and a sincere appreciation for the effects of food on our physical (and mental) health. After making massive changes in their own life when it come to the foods they ate and the direct impact it had on their health, what follows is a fantastic journey of courage and commitment as they set out to create a paleo cafe lifestyle revolution! Enjoy… Guy
Full Interview with Marlies Hobbs: Why I Risked It All To Start The Paleo Cafe
In this episode we talk about:
Why she quit her secure job in law to start a cafe revolution
The greatest lessons she’s learned about the paleo diet
How she handles her hashimoto disease through food
Why gut health is a main priority
The Food Strategies she uses for her children
How she lost 8kg in weight by making simple dietary changes
Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions.
Today, I’m sitting in the Paleo Café in Bondi Junction, Sydney, and this is place where myself and Stu like to try and have our business meetings so we can rely upon the food. But it’s also very relevant to today’s guest.
Now, I do wonder if people get the feeling, you know, sometimes their career is not serving them what they want to do or they’re trying to have more purpose and meaning to it all, I guess. What they’re trying to do with their life, even, in general. I know I certainly had that before starting 180 Nutrition and wanted to make a difference.
And, you know, today’s guest is no exception. So, if you like inspirational stories, this one’s for you, because we have on the show today Marlies Hobbs, who is the co-founder of the Paleo Café along with her husband, Jai. And she decided one day to give it up; all her job security. She had a great career in law and threw it all in to start the Paleo Café.
And so why did she do this? You know, it takes massive courage and dedication, that’s for sure. And obviously a lot of passion. But in a nutshell, they’d just had a newborn son, Troy, and when he was born he was suffering acid reflux for many, many months. He was vomiting a lot and it was causing multiple problems, obviously, to them and they were very worried about him. And they realized that; eventually they found out that he was dairy intolerant, and then they started looking into other foods that might be causing problems, not only to their son Troy but to their own health as well.
And she stumbled across the book The Paleo Diet by Loren Cordain and started applying the principles for that. Within five weeks, she’d dropped 8 kilos. Her digestive problems improved and Jai also lost a lot of weight as well and realized they wanted to make a difference in the food industry. And in 2012, the first Paleo Café was born. And it’s now 2015, as I’m saying this, and I think there’s 14 or 15 Paleo Cafes now across Australia, which are awesome. So if you’re in the neighborhood certainly check them out.
I don’t know about you, but if you are needing be inspired and motivated to make change, you’ll get a lot out of this episode today with Marlies. She explains it all, and of course her own health journey as well. It was fantastic to have her on the show.
We also get a lot of emails as well with people asking us, “How do I drop the last five kilos? How do I lose weight? How do I get around bloating?” You know there’s a lot of misinformation out there. So, obviously, with these podcasts and everything that we do, we get comments coming back every week, so we’ve put a quiz together. It’s very simple. You just go in and answer the multiple choice surveys and from that we can then give you content regarding what your answers were.
And some of the biggest roadblocks that we find are, you know, misinformation, people can’t lose the last five kilograms, and also they struggle sticking to their diet in general. So we’ve addressed all these issues and put them into some great information. All you need to do is go back to 180nutrition.com.au and take the quiz and go from there, basically.
But also give us some feedback on what you think of the videos. We’d love to hear from them. And everyone’s that been leaving reviews on iTunes over the last few weeks, really appreciate it. Keep them coming, if you haven’t. It only takes two minutes to do. It gives us good feedback, it helps with our rankings, and it helps us reach more people and it allows us to continue to get awesome guests so we can share them with you and you can listen to them on the podcast. So, head over to iTunes, five-star it, subscribe, leave a review, and it’s always appreciated and we love getting the feedback and thanks again for people who have left them; it’s greatly appreciated.
Anyway, I’m gonna start talking. Let’s go over to Marlies Hobbs. Enjoy.
Hi, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke, as always. Hi, Stuart.
Stuart Cooke: Hello, mate.
Guy Lawrence: And our lovely guest today is Marlies Hobbs. Marlies, welcome to the show.
Marlies Hobbs: Thank you for having me.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, no, fantastic. We’ve got some awesome things to cover today. Everything paleo and the Paleo Café. But before we start any of that, would you mind sharing us a little bit about yourself and your journey prior to moving into the Paleo Café world?
Marlies Hobbs: Yeah, sure. So, basically, I grew up in Cairns, went to law school, and was practicing as a planning and environment lawyer until I had my first son Troy. And he was born really sick with a dairy intolerance. And it was through that experience that I really learned the profound effects of food on the body as well as the mind.
And at the time I was suffering from acne, digestion problems, fluid retention. Having issues with XXbloating?? 0:04:48.000XX. And I certainly didn’t wake refreshed. So, I had some health issues which I had just accepted as normal, but I guess being awoken to the impact of food on the body.
I had a bit of curiosity there, and Jai, my husband, was actually enjoying his CrossFit and his CrossFit coach told him about the paleo diet and Jai was really keen to give that a go.
And at the time, I was very skeptical. I had just gone through hell and back with my son. He was basically; he screamed for the first four and a half months of his life. You know, he was vomited and pooing blood. It was, like, a very traumatic time. He woke every hour throughout the night. I basically didn’t sleep.
And so, as we were coming out of that struggle, and Troy had been prescribed a dairy-free formula, because basically I had lost my milk because of the stress that that had put on my body and whatnot.
I guess I was really not in a position to want to try any new diets. I just really wanted to, I guess, rejuvenate. But he brought home The Paleo Diet by Loren Cordain and I read the first chapter and it suggested all these possibilities to actually heal myself from many of the health complaints that I was experiencing. So, it was at that point that I was prepared to give it a go. And we, as a family, gave it a go. Jai lose 10 kilos. I lost eight kilos. My skin cleared up in about six weeks. My digestion problems went away after about three. And we had energy. We had learned about a new way of looking at life. You know, getting out in the park and how great that is for us as a family. And actually stopping and laying there on the grass and appreciating all the gifts that Mother Nature has for us.
So, it was through that experience with Troy, and my health issues and Jai’s performance and fitness goals, that led us to the paleo diet. And it just completely changed our lives.
Guy Lawrence: Was that the first time you ever considered nutrition as therapeutical for the body, as well, as a healing? Because, you know, you see so many people out there that completely overlook what they put in their mouths daily, or they don’t have that connection yet. So, was that the first time for you?
Marlies Hobbs: Absolutely. Up until that point in time, I had really thought that I was healthy, you know. I didn’t eat fast food too often and I mostly cooked at home. It was spaghetti bolognaise and, you know, curries with rice. And I was healthy! I had XXmilo? Merlot? 0:07:30.000XX and milk and whatnot.
But I thought that I was really healthy. I’d have a muesli bar XXtechnical glitch 0:07:45.000XX and all these healthy things, they weren’t XXtechnical glitch 0:07:45.000XX until I actually became healthy.
Stuart Cooke: Just thinking about your transition to the paleo diet, and it’s amazing to see that you do change your diet and you can really make some amazing changes to your health, but what triggered that spark in you to say, “I’m gonna take this to as many people as I can. I’m gonna set up my own chain of Paleo Cafés”?
Marlies Hobbs: So, it was basically; I remember the moment. One day I walked in the house with a bag full of groceries and products and literally I had been out for a few hours just to get a few things, because I had to jump from health food store to supermarket to health food store asking everyone, every shop, “I need coconut oil. I need XXflax seed? 0:08:41.000XX, I need this.” And they all looked at me like I was crazy. And I was XXyou’re never gonna ??XXX. You know?
And I said to Jai, “Oh, wouldn’t it be good if there was just one place where you could go and get all your products in one place, get a meal, you know, still socialize and have a meal out with your friends without feeling like a crazy person asking for every ingredient in every dish and then basically not being able to eat anything. So, you know it was quite isolating.
And then I figure out, also, we were gonna have a XXtype? 0:09:13.000XX I was a lawyer and I’m going back to work as a lawyer and Jai had his own XXbuyer?? businessXX. We had no time to always prepare every meal every night. But takeaway just wasn’t an option, unless it was a hot chook that we had to prepare ourselves, which is pretty easy. But otherwise there just really was no takeaway convenient meal option for us.
And there’s where the ready-made meal idea came in, where you could pack and it’s ready-made there, so that you could grab them on your way home and enjoy those without compromising your health.
So, that’s sort of where I was thinking wouldn’t it be great to have this type of business. And he goes, “Well, that would be quite a good idea.” And the next day he registered the business name. Paleo Café just seemed to make sense. We didn’t give it too much thought. It just made sense to us at that time.
And I was so intrigued by the whole idea and I still worked as a lawyer until three weeks before opening the first café. Every night before I would go to bed I would research supplies, research products, research recipes and develop menus. I was recruiting people from all over the world, which ended up being a bit of a mistake, but that’s another story.
You know, I was absolutely making this happen. And franchising as such wasn’t in mind in the beginning. It was just a concept, and it was something that we wanted for ourselves that we continued to employ this lifestyle. And I had planned to keep working as a lawyer, but it wasn’t until everyone became so intrigued and so much inquiring, so much interaction, I couldn’t keep up with that as well as managing staff and having a job and having a baby.
So, I cried my last day at work, the whole day I cried, because I was like, “What have I done? I’ve worked there and I was working my way up the chain.” And, “Oh she threw this away to open a café.” People literally said they thought I was absolutely crazy.
It just sort of happened, I suppose.
Guy Lawrence: That’s so inspiring. That’s awesome. So, how long did it take you from when you registered the name Paleo Café; you know, Jai got; you guys got inspired to your first Paleo Café opening. How long was that period of time?
Marlies Hobbs: We registered the business name in around April 2012 and we opened the first café in October.
Guy Lawrence: Oh, wow.
Marlies Hobbs: So, the end of October 2012.
Guy Lawrence: Wow. That’s fantastic. That’s amazing.
Stuart Cooke: Wow, that’s quick. That’s super quick.
Marlies Hobbs: And people had no idea. My only hospitality job was a pub when I was teen. It was just passion and determination and vision.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, exactly. Go on, Stu.
Stuart Cooke: I was just gonna ask what the biggest challenges were that you faced during that setup period.
Marlies Hobbs: Probably finding the right staff. And I guess my lack of hospitality experience sort of led my down paths sometimes that may not have been the right path. And I know I believe that there’s no such thing as a mistake. You know? You have to learn your lessons in life to keep striding ahead. So, but basically, I sort of had this misconception that you had to have paleo-experienced chefs and whatnot to run an effective Paleo Café. So, I recruited someone from XXIslands?? Irons? 0:12:57.000XX. And that came with a lot of expense and challenges. And, yeah, that’s a whole ’nother story. But it didn’t quite work out.
And so as far as getting the right staff, but without; as a leader, you have paleo recipes and it’s got to be run like a business and you’re the passion. And so I guess making sure that you have the right staff with the right amount of hospitality experience and they share you vision. You know, that was probably the biggest challenge was getting everyone on board. I guess there was probably a lot of lack of confidence in us in the beginning, by our staff. “These people are crazy!” You know. “XXWhere’s their experience in business? 0:13:42.000XX What do they know about food? And there they are telling me to make these crazy recipes and serve these drinks and know we’re bucking every rule and trend in our café environment.” I think they just thought we were nuts.
And certainly the business went gangbusters initially and then one the XX????XX went through a bit of a lull, and it was then that we learnt, I guess, the hardest lessons and the best lessons. And so we had to obviously change staff and change the way that we looked at our business and the way that we. . . yeah. Viewed customer demands when it came to the interaction. We sort of really grew. So, we re-recruited. We had a very clear strategy from that point in time. And so we launched from there.
But obviously there’s some supplier complications, you know. Sometimes things are easier to source than others and freight to Cairns was challenging. But I suppose, yeah, the biggest challenge, and I think it’s common for any business, is having the right people on the bus and getting the wrong people off the bus is probably one of the biggest challenges. And then the next one obviously goes to the roots of our business, which is making sure that people understand what work they’re doing, why we’re doing it, and why XXit’s important 0:15:05.000XX. You know, XXaudio glitchXX.
Guy Lawrence: I’m sorry it just stopped on you slightly on the end there. But how many Paleo Cafes do you have now, Marlies?
Marlies Hobbs: So, there is currently 14 open and we have a 15th café opening in Canberra in the next couple of months.
Guy Lawrence: Wow. Fantastic. So, the next question that rings a bell is, and it’s almost a tongue-twister: How does the Paleo Café define paleo?
Marlies Hobbs: I try and explain to people that fundamentally it’s living and eating as Mother Nature intended, which means a good variety of seafood, meat, eggs, fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and berries. And avoiding dairy, grains, legumes, and sugar and preservatives.
But we also try and make people appreciate that it’s just; it’s even more simple than that. It’s just eating real food, unprocessed food, avoiding chemicals. And it’s just a matter of really listening to your body, your individual body, and working out exactly what works for you.
For Jai, he can tolerate some amounts of dairy and whey, whereas for my that’s what causes my adult acne. So, you just have to appreciate that everybody is unique and you have to, I guess, really invest your energy in understanding your body fully and getting whatever tests you need to to make sure that you’re nourishing your body the way that it needs to be nourished to, I guess, experience optimal health.
Stuart Cooke: And what do you think the biggest misconceptions are out there at the moment about paleo? Because it’s a term that we’re seeing quite a lot in the press lately as well, you know. So many people gravitate and embrace it, but you also get the other side as well. So, what are those misconceptions that you hear predominantly?
Marlies Hobbs: Yeah, there’s quite a few misconceptions. The common ones are that it’s like a meat, protein heavy diet. That it’s hard. That it’s unsustainable. That it doesn’t taste great, you know. I mean, like it’s super-healthy, you’re eating rabbit food, so to speak.
And I find with all those misconceptions, just to touch of some of the answers, and a lot are being by XX??? 0:17:39.000XX before me that in terms of it being difficult, it’s just cooking simple ingredients. So you can make it as difficult or as easy as you like. Your traditional barbecue steak or salad and XXroast with baked potato?? 0:17:54.000XX. It’s perfectly paleo. And likewise you could make the make fabulous raw desserts or slow-cooked meals full of herbs and spices.
So, you can really make it as hard or simple as you like. In terms of the “expensive” argument, when you eat paleo, your body very much self-regulates, as you guys would know. And so, you know, you don’t find yourself snacking. And so whilst you’re buying premium ingredients, you’re barely eating three meals a day, generally. Some people even sustain themselves on two, depending on if they’re doing intermittent fasting or whatever is working for them based on their level of activity and their, I guess, own individual body.
But essentially, you’re buying a lot less food but you’re consuming quality ingredients. You’re feeling satisfied for longer. So you’re nourishing; you’re putting the right fuel into your body rather than empty fillers that really just make you fat and make you hungry; make you eat more.
So, in terms of, in regard to the expense, and certainly, I can’t see how anyone could imagine that eating beautiful, fresh, seasonal produce and premium meat and healthy fats with lovely herbs and spices where you can even concede that you would be sacrificing on taste. Like, nothing tastes better. And I think once you wean yourself off the traditional foods and the sugar and salt-laden foods, your taste buds adjust and you really appreciate the quality of the food that you’re eating.
And fruit and vegetables have never tasted better to you once you’ve adjusted in that way.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. That is massive. Especially the sugar thing. People don’t appreciate that. If you’ve got sugar in your diet and you’ve had it; so many people have had sugar in their diet their whole life and have never had a life without sugar. And until you get off that, you can’t really taste the appreciation of good food. You know?
And, yeah, I always remember many, many years ago when I sort of changed all my health journey. And my flatmate at the time, this is going back seven or eight years, he had the biggest sugar tooth. And he accidentally tried my full-cream natural yogurt by mistake thinking it was like his sugar vanilla loaded. And he almost spat it out. He said, “Oh, my God, that’s disgusting! What’s going on?” And that was just a classic example.
Marlies Hobbs: I suppose with the meat question, certainly, that comes up a lot, too. And, you know, that’s a misconception I suppose. Plant foods should be the greatest source of food that you’re consuming. Your food should predominantly be coming from plant foods. Then animal foods and then herbs and spices to bring it all together. And your healthy fats are incorporated into plant foods and animal foods.
So, it’s trying to eat a nice, balanced meal, you know. Eat some proteins and carbohydrates and some healthy fats. So, it’s definitely not a plate full of ribs, you know?
Guy Lawrence: And that’s another thing, Stu even stressed this as well, we have vegetables with every meal. Even when I make a smoothie, like if I’m rushing out the door and I’m throwing in some 180, I’ll always put spinach or cucumber or just something green in there as well to bring that in, you know, if you’ve got two minutes.
Marlies Hobbs: Absolutely. And I think that’s what; people are so stuck in their ways about this is typical breakfast meal, this is a typical lunch meal, and this is a typical dinner meal. It’s all just fuel. And so you basically have a fridge full of fresh, beautiful ingredients, paleo-friendly ingredients, and you’d be surprised what goes in what.
This morning I felt like chocolate mousse for breakfast. So I had banana, cacao, and a little bit of coconut milk, avocado, and blended it all together and topped it with some raspberries and blueberries. And who would have thought you could have a healthy chocolate mousse for breakfast?
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, that’s beautiful.
Stuart Cooke: Well, I had a whole bowl of steamed green vegetables covered in olive oil, salt, and pepper, topped with a huge can of sardines. So, you know, who would ever want to eat that for breakfast? But I gravitate to that kind of stuff. I love it. Because, to me, those vibrant colours, that green. I mean, that just says “life.” And irrespective of the paleo naysayers, you cannot argue that eliminating crappy food from your diet is anything but a great idea.
Marlies Hobbs: Definitely.
Guy Lawrence: On your journey, Marlies, which foods do you find have caused more problems for you in the past?
Marlies Hobbs: I have recently learned that Hashimoto’s Disease runs in my family, and I just recently, after the Thr1ve conference that I saw you guys at, I went and flew back down and saw Dr. John Hart from Elevate Health Clinic.
Stuart Cooke: Oh, did you?
Marlies Hobbs: Yeah. He is amazing.
Stuart Cooke: He’s awesome, isn’t he?
Marlies Hobbs: He’s a genius. And I took my mum along who has already been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s. And sadly it was confirmed that I also have Hashimoto’s Disease. And it’s a very hereditary thing and it’s a thing that is more common in women than men. And I suppose it didn’t come as a huge shock and it’s probably something that triggered my health issues all those years ago before I found paleo. And certainly paleo put a lot of my symptoms in remission. So, I’m lucky that I found paleo when I did. And it’s actually sustained my hormone levels to a fairly healthy level.
So, for me, paleo is my diet for life. And certainly gluten is a huge factor for people with Hashimoto’s autoimmune disease. And from what I understand, in America alone, there’s 50 million and growing people with autoimmune disease. So, so many people have autoimmune disease and they don’t even realize it. They just accept their symptoms as normal and they’re completely not. They don’t know what it feels like to feel great.
And most illnesses start in the gut, due to leaky gut. And diet and lifestyle factors including stress, the predominant cause is a leaky gut, which lead to things like autoimmune disease, and autoimmune disease then can lead to more chronic disease and cancer and whatnot.
So, it’s very much; I think gluten is a huge problem, right along with sugar. Dairy, for people that can’t tolerate it, so I’ve just had all my food intolerance testing done and I’m just waiting for my results to come back. And John gives you this great report which basically gives you a column of all the foods that your body can tolerate. All the foods that you’re mildly intolerant to. And foods that you’re severely intolerant to.
So, there might be some foods within paleo, because of my Hashimoto’s condition, that I actually should be avoiding. So, it’s just; I guess investing the money to understand your body to the best extent possible so that you can really create a diet and lifestyle to suit your individual body.
Because, at the end of the day, what’s anything worth if you’re not living an optimal life with health and happiness?
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Absolutely.
I’ll just add to that as well. We had John Hart on the podcast and so anyone listening to this, check him out, he’s an amazing guy. And, like you said, he’s worth flying from anywhere in the country to go and see him in Sydney. He’s that good.
But I would add to that as well, even if the price or whatever scares people, to get these tests done originally, just try cutting out these trigger foods for a month and see how you feel. See what happens. You know, that’s the basic way.
Stuart Cooke: Just thinking about, like, the food sensitivity, if I’m curious about your; the Paleo Café, I don’t really know a great deal about the paleo diet, but I do love my milky teas and things like that. Can I wander into the Paleo Café and get a nice cup of tea with cow’s milk in it?
Marlies Hobbs: Yeah, you can. And it was a difficult decision when we opened. But obviously paleo-primal. Paleo is, obviously, avoids dairy. Primal, a lot of people are happy to have some dairy in their diets.
And so, like I said, Jai can tolerate it. For me, I have to listen to my body. And we serve almond and coconut milk for people that are like myself. And that can be difficult to find, but for the people that can tolerate dairy and are looking for that, then we do have dairy options. But all our food is dairy-free.
Stuart Cooke: Got it.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.
And I think it’s a great thing, even if a normal cup of tea and you’ve got dairy and it brings someone in off the street and puts them in this environment for the first time. And they’re looking at the menus, looking at their other options, that’s awesome. That’s the thumbs up because you’re creating a new way of thinking for these people that come in as well. And, yeah, I’m all for that. Definitely.
Marlies Hobbs: I think that XXaudio glitch 0:27:30.000XX certainly XXaudio glitchXX a lot of awareness around paleo at all when we very first opened the first Paleo Café. It sort of all happened collectively in the last sort of couple of years. And we just; we wouldn’t have been able to have a sustainable business at all if we limited our market any more than what we already had.
So; and, you know, if you are OK with dairy and you know that you’re OK with dairy, then, like Mark Sisson said at the conference, see what you can get away with.
Stuart Cooke: Exactly right.
Guy Lawrence: But there are so many options. We have our business meetings in Bondi Junction all the time in the Paleo Café, and it’s a great choice. But I generally gravitate to the Bulletproof coffee myself. There’s a bit of dairy in that but it sits with me fine.
Marlies Hobbs: Yeah, and, look, a lot of people are fine. And I think that if you’ve got a very healthy gut, flora and whatnot, and you’re not experiencing any leaky gut, you know, there’s plenty of people that are OK with it. I think it’s just a matter of, you know, it takes a lot of effort to get yourself to that really healthy point and making sure that you don’t have leaky gut.
And when you get there, then you can experiment. But until you get there, I think it’s really important to take your health seriously. And you will have to sacrifice and avoid some things to get your body functioning as it should be. And then you can play around with those.
Stuart Cooke: Exactly. Yeah. No, it is right, and it brings me back to that food sensitivity testing. You know, that’s so vital. You may not know that you have got a sensitivity or an allergy or an intolerance to a certain food that you’re including every single day. And that might just be pushing you into weight issues, sleep, energy, you know: allergies. All of the above.
And these tests, you know, they’re inexpensive, they’re quick, but I think so worthwhile. I absolutely. . . You know, I live by the results of mine or our food sensitivity tests and it’s great. I feel so much better for it.
Marlies Hobbs: What testing did you guys get, just as a matter of interest?
Stuart Cooke: Food Detective. It’s called a Food Detective test and it was a prick of blood from the finger and then it gets shaken into a vial, wait for 20 minutes, pour it over in this little tray with a series of dots, and each dot represents a food type. So, you’ve got, like, a tray with dots and then you have a card and all those dots are numbered, so 1 might be dairy, 2 might be wheat. And when you pour the liquid over that is mixed with your blood, that has sat for 20 minutes, those dots will darken the more sensitive you are to a food. So, you know, in literally 30 minutes’ time I knew that I had issues to kind of three or four things. And so I pulled back on those and I noticed radical health changes.
Marlies Hobbs: Do you mind sharing what they were?
Stuart Cooke: Eggs.
Guy Lawrence: Eggs is a big one for you.
Stuart Cooke: Eggs was huge. And I, you know, I was eating four eggs a day and loving it, but just something wasn’t right with me and it was wrecking my skin and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what it was.
Shellfish came up, strangely enough. Yeah, shellfish, eggs. Walnuts were in there as another one. I used to have a handful of walnuts. So I changed to pecans now. Great. No problems whatsoever. And mild wheat.
Guy Lawrence: I mean, you avoid gluten anyway, really.
Stuart Cooke: I do. But, you know what, 30 minutes, and I just culled eggs completely for six months. And I feel so much better now. And every now and again I’ll have the odd one, but I won’t go gangbusters like I was before. Crikey, I ate huge amounts of eggs each week, because I thought, well, it’s a superfood.
Marlies Hobbs: Yeah, absolutely. And they are great, but if there is an underlying issue that you need to heal, then certainly I understand that I will have to go onto the paleo protocol, the autoimmune protocol, shortly. And eggs go for awhile. So, yeah, and it’s not because eggs aren’t great. It’s just that our; there are certain proteins that if you have leaky gut, or if you experience an issue, to let that leaky gut heal, you need to refrain from eating certain foods.
And, I mean, we haven’t really gone into detail about sugar and grains and gluten and chemicals. But I think we’re all fairly savvy enough now to know that they’re not good for us and why. But, you know, just making that awareness that it’s even beyond the foods that you’ll find in the paleo food pyramid, it’s a matter of really understanding your body and making sure that you have got perfect gut health, or as close to it as possible. Because, you know, the whole gut-brain connection. And certainly something I experienced, you know, when my gut flora is compromised, it causes me a lot of challenges academically and to function. Like, my productivity really drops. My creativity drops. I get fatigue.
So, it’s all connected, you know. Gut health and brain health is very much. I’ve definitely experienced first-hand the connection there. And it’s so fundamental to get your gut health right if you want to feel happy, feel healthy, and have energy and longevity.
You know, like, I’m determined; I look at John and he’s a real inspiration, you know. He is gonna just XX??? 0:33:32.000XXX by the look of him. XX????XXX. And that’s what you want. You want to be functioning and fun of vitality until the end.
And that’s why, I guess, my goal for myself and also to teach that to my children. I don’t want them to accept the way things were going. You know? That basically obesity, diabetes, heart disease, all just part of life. That is not part of life. That is not what was intended for us. And you have the choice to shape your future, your health, and your longevity and how much quality of life you have for your entire life.
Stuart Cooke: You completely do. And I love the fact that we have such a powerful medium in the forms of food. You know, nutrition, as a strategy for health moving forward. And for all of those people that are, you know, on the fence with the paleo, the primal, the whole-food diet, I just remember that, you know, when I started out on this journey, I thought, “God, this is so hard. What am I gonna eat? I can’t eat my sandwiches. Can’t eat pasta. Can’t eat any of these things.” Walking around the supermarket and going, “Oh, I can’t eat any of that.”
It took about a month and then you realize that there’s so much to each. But it’s just the good stuff. And then I look at the central aisles at the supermarket. It’s like cat food. Why would I ever gravitate to any of that rubbish? Because I know how it will make me feel.
And there’s so much wonderful stuff. So, sure, you’re meals aren’t conventional anymore, but I look it as, you know, food is information. Food is fuel. And what do I want to do today? Right? I’m going to be a bit more active, well I might mix up a few more carbs, but every single food or meal for me is about getting as many nutrients into my body as I can, because I’m thinking, “What is my body gonna do with those nutrients?” And whether it’s herbs and spices, fats and oils, beautiful fruits and vegetables, all these wonderful meats. You know, it is an opportunity to refuel, rebuild, repair. And I love that kind of stuff.
And now, like I said, I wander around the supermarket and I’m so sad for the people that don’t understand, because they could feel amazing. We have the tools.
Guy Lawrence: And, again, for anyone listening to this, that might seem completely overwhelming because you can look at it all as too much information and you just shut down and go, “You know what? I’ll figure it out next month. I’m too busy.”
But even just try changing one meal a day to something. And just start from that and just point yourself in the right direction and walk forward with it.
Marlies Hobbs: Jai and I fell on and off the wagon quite a few times when we first adopted the lifestyle. We were fairly strict for sort of like six weeks. And then my skin cleared up and I was like, “Yeah!” Then I’d have a little sip of that milkshake that I missed. Oh, my skin would just break out. And I would literally feel the fluid just stick to me in an instant. And then you’re like, “Yeah. That didn’t really work great.” And then you don’t do it again for awhile. And then you feel really brave and good and you have another little go of something.
And your body tells you. So I think if you give yourself the chance to eliminate in whatever XXextreme sense? 0:37:07.000XX that you go with, you know, if you’re really listening to your body and you persist with it, and you take small steps or a big one if you’re prepared to do like a Whole30 challenge or whatnot, it’s just a matter of moving in the right direction, however fast you can do that. You know?
And common sense tells us the answer. There’s some people who are too stressed, they’re too depressed, maybe they’re under financial difficulties, they have kids that just got bad habits to eating and their arguments just aren’t worth it to them. You know? So people have lots of reasons not to do this. But no one can really sensibly argue with the philosophy, I don’t think.
Especially if you take the view that we all have to be just very much educated about our own bodies and listen to our bodies. And they tell a lot more than what people realize when they start listening. You know, like being depressed or having financial issues or having kids stuck with bad habits, I know, and believe me I understand, I’ve got two children myself, and even Troy who has been brought up on a paleo diet, he still challenges me because he’s surrounded by kids that eat candy or everyone else has vegemite sandwiches and why does have; today he’s got pork chop and broccoli and sweet potato chips. And he’s just; he’s really going through a troublesome phase at the moment, because he’s looking at the muesli bars and the sandwiches and he’s like, “Why am I getting this?” But I just explained to him, and yes, it won’t be easy in the beginning, but if you understand where you’re going with it and why you’re doing it, you know, you break habits with children if you eliminate the bad foods and you always offer them the good foods and you get them involved and you get them helping. You know, Troy was pretty happy about having chocolate mousse for breakfast this morning. Get them involved and you make them understand where food comes from, that it comes from nature, not from a box, and you get them in there cooking and make it a bit interactive. Yes, it takes effort, but it’s better than obesity or diabetes.
Stuart Cooke: That’s right. It’s worth it in the long run. And, you know, I’ve got three young girls and if I ever hear any issues from them where food is concerned, I’ll give them a couple of options. “Do you want healthy option one or healthy option two?” And they’ll always gravitate to one. And they think they’ve won.
Marlies Hobbs: That’s great. Good. Exactly. I do the same thing with Troy, and that’s exactly right. And, you know, you always just have to keep improvising and trying to educate subtly along the way. And like depression, there’s a huge link between depression and gut health and whatnot as well. So, you know, personal body image and all that type of thing.
So, people don’t appreciate, I don’t think, how powerful changing your diet and lifestyle. It’s not just about losing weight. It’s about a new lifestyle. It’s about a new appreciation of your body. Self-love. And a whole healthy relationship with yourself and food.
And that’s very empowering. You feel free. You know, so many people are currently addicted to so many foods, they are under the spell of some foods. And that’s not an enjoyable place to be. And I know, I didn’t realize until I came out of it, how bad it was. And so empowering to look at it, like you said, walk past those aisles in the supermarket and go, “Ugh, those poor people that are putting that horrible stuff into their bodies. They just don’t understand.” And it’s very empowering. It’s not a chore. It’s not a diet. It’s a lifestyle, and you feel so much better for it.
Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. I was, just to get back to your son, and we mentioned a little bit of food there as well. Now, I don’t know how old your boys are, but our girls get invited to lots of parties. You know, every weekend: “Come to the party. Come to the party.” There will be a whole table full of crap, sweets and lollies and sodas and stuff like that.
Now, I have a strategy that I use when I take them to the parties prior to that. But I wondered what your thoughts were. Is there anything that you do for your boys before you get to the party, or do you just let them go gangbusters on whatever they want?
Marlies Hobbs: It’s a hard thing, and I’m just trying to feel my way all the time. You know, obviously there’s no bad foods at our house. So, Troy predominantly eats paleo. So, if, on occasion, he has something outside of that space and whatnot, I’m not gonna have a meltdown over it. Because it’s just not worth it, you know. And I think the more of an issue you make it, the more they sort of resent and resist you. But I basically try and make sure that he’s fairly full before we go to a party. So, he’s not going there starving. And often he doesn’t; he likes playing. He likes being out and about.
When he was younger, he used to just: hand in icing, sugar, cake. It was a big joke. Everyone would be like, “Oh, watch out for Troy! He’s been unleashed. There’s the sugar!” And he would just literally go for that cake.
And it was a bit embarrassing, because everyone would have their snicker, “Oh, those parents. He never has sugar and when he gets to a party. . .”
Stuart Cooke: He makes up for it.
Marlies Hobbs: Yeah. If you can’t find him, he’s probably looking for the lolly bowl, you know. But he’s really come out of that phase. And now he really; and our friends are very accommodating with us, too. And I’ve seen a really healthy shift. We will go parties, they’ll have some unhealthy food option, but Troy just doesn’t really go for them anymore.
And, yeah, they have barbecues or roast meat and veggies and stuff. We’re very lucky. We have very considerate family and friends. I guess they’re probably moving in that direction themselves anyway. But when they know we’re coming, they sort of do allow for us a bit. And we just try not to put a big emphasis on food. So many people live from meal to meal like it’s the highlight of their day. To me, it’s just fuel. You’re a bit hungry, you’ve got to get energy, you eat some good food, and then you move on to doing some fun stuff. Like, some people just sit around all day, “Oh, what are we gonna do? Where are we gonna go next for a meal?” And they sit and eat and they sit around and hibernate until the next meal and it’s a sure way to health issues, I suppose.
Guy Lawrence: How old is Troy, Marlies?
Marlies Hobbs: So, Troy will be turning 4 in June. And Zac’s 8 months.
Guy Lawrence: Right. OK. Because I don’t have kids yet, but I imagine it’s much easier to bring them up with this lifestyle than you converting yourself and then having a 10-year-old you’re trying to convert. Maybe get off the sugar and lollies that they’re eating all the time.
Marlies Hobbs: It would be very hard. And it would take very much a lot of determination, I think, and very much getting rid of everything in the house and really having a really well-explained approach to what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. Get them involved and get them involved with the cooking.
You know, there will be different approaches for different families. You know, maybe a gentle approach they don’t notice, and other families it might be like a pretty cold turkey approach, you know.
And I think you just have to work out what can you handle? What is manageable for you as a family? And I think sometimes the stress can be worse than some of the bad foods so you need to balance it out. And do it in a way that’s not going to cause too much stress on you and your family.
Guy Lawrence: Like World War III.
Stuart Cooke: And I think that, you know, kids are so impressionable, too. You know, they look at their parents and they want to emulate what their parents are doing. So if their parents have got healthy habits, then it’s gonna rub off on the kids anyway, which is a good thing.
Marlies Hobbs: Definitely.
Guy Lawrence: Why do you think kids’ menus in cafés. . . You know, being a café owner, why do you think the kids’ menus in cafés and restaurants are so poor in general?
Guy Lawrence: Every time I eat out, I always look.
Stuart Cooke: Fish and chips. Schnitzel and chips. XXBagel?? 0:45:49.000XX and chips.
Guy Lawrence: Ice cream and soda.
Marlies Hobbs: And the thing is, I think my observation, anyway, with Troy especially, is that they are very impressionable and their taste buds are; those foods are as addictive to them as they are for us. Probably more so addictive to them. Because they don’t understand the difference between. . . Like, I try to educate Troy about, you know, a treat or “good food” and “bad food,” we talk about a lot.
And they don’t; he understands that and we talk about that a lot and he; they don’t understand the adverse effects on their health, I suppose, of the bad foods. They just taste good. They trigger all sorts of emotions and addictions in them. And so when they’ve had them once, their, like, radar is going. So if you go to a restaurant and they’re like, “Oh, you can have steak and vegetables or you can fish and chips.” Pretty much you will rarely find a kid that hasn’t been under the spell once they’ve tasted the saltiness of those fish and chips. It’s very difficult to make them choose the healthy option.
So, I think that’s probably why the menus are the way they are. Because they’re trying to please. And they’re the only foods that the kids will be ordering. And the parents are out for dinner; they just want to have a pleasant meal and they don’t feel like arguing and having a tantrum at the table because they’re trying to order steak and vegetables, if that’s even on option, than the fish and chips. So, for ease and also it’s price. It costs nothing to deep fry some disgusting, processed nuggets and chips. But it costs money to put a nice piece of steak or meat and some vegetables on a plate. It’s all fresh and it’s prepared by the chef. Whereas they’re not just dumped into a deep fryer and slapped on a plate.
So, there are the reasons. And it’s devastating, really. And I think the only real answer. . . Like, for us, when we go out, we don’t tell Troy if there’s a kids’ menus. We often just order either another meal for him or we order something that’s too big for me to eat and he eats; we get another plate and he eats what I eat.
And on occasion when we have allowed him; there’s been times where a family member is gonna have fish and chips and he loves it, like any other kid, he loves it, but he actually feels really sick afterwards. The oil from the batter, from the deep fryer, often he’ll vomit because he’s just so nut familiar with having that in his stomach.
So, yeah, I guess that’s my real take on it.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: No, absolutely. There’s some great pointers there as well. Like, you can you always order a meal and split it. That’s kind of what we do. We order an adult meal and we order a couple of extra plates and we divvy it up that way for the kids. And there’s generally more options as well for them, as opposed to this little miniscule XXparty 0:49:11.000XX menu, which is never gonna be great in the first place.
Marlies Hobbs: Yeah, like when you order a meal and then you order a side of vegetables or a side of vegetables and a salad and then you share it amongst yourselves, it’s pretty much not too much more expensive than ordering a kids’ meal when you do it that way. And everyone ends up happy and healthy. But it definitely does take effort to make sure that you have foresight. Because as soon as they spot that kids’ menu with all of those chips and stuff, it’s over. It’s over for you.
Stuart Cooke: Game over.
Marlies Hobbs: Yeah. Game over. Game over. So, you really have to have a strategy.
Guy Lawrence: Would you, because I know you have a book as well, Marlies, and is there any kids’ menus in that? I haven’t seen the book. But would that be an option for parents?
Marlies Hobbs: Yeah. I’ve got a kids’ section in there, a Paleo for Families section in there. And it gives some great tips about things we’ve spoken about. About parties and whatnot. And also has some great little meals and treats and whatnot, and even ones that you can get the kids involved in. Even the chocolate mousse recipe that Troy loves.
Stuart Cooke: Got is. So, is it predominantly a cookbook or have you got a whole heap of other stuff in there as well?
Marlies Hobbs: Yeah, it’s a Paleo Café lifestyle and cookbook, so the first sections are about the diet and the lifestyle. Just a very nice, simple, gentle introduction. You know: It’s not only technical and complicated so it’s very much a nice; like, people have always complimented us on the information. It’s what you need to know without it feeling too daunting, I suppose. And then it’s got over 130 recipes in there.
Yeah. And we get great feedback all the time on the recipes. Because they’ve been created, obviously, in our cafes and had to be produced at quite a large scale in pretty short time frames. Everything’s very economical, generally, in terms of cost and time to prepare. So, there’s some really great practical recipes. You don’t see these two page long lists of ingredients and whatnot. It’s fairly practical in that sense.
Guy Lawrence: Sounds like my kind of book.
Stuart Cooke: And if I didn’t live near a Paleo Café, where could I grab that book?
Marlies Hobbs: You can get it online from our website, www.Paleo-Cafe.com.au.
Guy Lawrence: We can link to that. I’m just curious: What’s your favorite dish in there?
Marlies Hobbs: My favorite dish in the cookbook. I absolutely love, and obviously I’m from Cairns and mangos are beautiful here; we have a delicious mango avocado macadamia nut salad, which I really love. It’s a favorite. It’s been on the menu a few times at the Paleo Café. It’s just actually gone out because mangoes have gone out of season. But that’s probably one of my favorites. And it was on the menu when the café very first opened here in Cairns.
Stuart Cooke: In the next edition, perhaps you can get my sardine breakfast surprise in there.
Marlies Hobbs: Yes. Yes. I’m going to have to taste test it first.
Guy Lawrence: You need to put that right on the back page, hidden somewhere.
Stuart Cooke: That’s right. Save the best to last.
Marlies Hobbs: I’m gonna have to give it a go.
Guy Lawrence: I can’t. I can’t do sardines.
Stuart Cooke: Just got a couple more questions, Marlies. Where are you going to take the Paleo Café brand? How big is this going to be?
Marlies Hobbs: I suppose the sky is the limit when it comes to the paleo café brand. And we definitely have a few different things that we’re looking at at the moment, you know, to try and. . . I guess our primary goal is to spread the message about the benefits of the paleo lifestyle to as many people as possible. And that’s through the cafés, through collaborations, through our website, through our publications. And hopefully in the near future a recipe app which is nice and simple for people to access right off their phones.
We XXaudio glitch 0:53:27.000XX so we can basically gauge the market and move in the directions that we need to move, I suppose, to do the best we can in the environment that we have.
And definitely XXaudio glitch 0:53:38.000XX making sure we can reach the masses and making sure that we can educate people why they are coming to Paleo Café as opposed to another café. And there are things that we are sort of trying to achieve through education online and obviously it’s great to have opportunities like this one to share our message as well.
Guy Lawrence: Awesome. Awesome.
Stuart Cooke: It’s exciting times!
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. There’s a lot going on.
So, Marlies, we always finish with a wrap-up question, the same one every week. It’s one of my favorites. And that is: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Marlies Hobbs: I suppose it’s a very broad application but basically everyone just needs to believe in the beauty of your dreams, whether that’s in relation to your own personal health. Some type of, I guess, performance goal or even in business. You know: Believe in the beauty of your dreams and if you’re passionate about something, just go for it.
And the other thing would be definitely to look after your body because it’s the only place that you have to life.
Stuart Cooke: I like it. It’s true.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, that’s so true. We spread that message every week ourselves. Yeah. Fantastic.
And if anyone listening to this, I guess the website would be the best place to get more of you guys and the Paleo Café to find out if they’re in their local area and more about the book, right?
Marlies Hobbs: Yeah. The books on there and all the local cafés are listed there as well on the website. And we obviously have Facebook pages as well for the respective cafés as well the head office business.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Brilliant. Well, we’ll XXlink to all that 0:55:19.000XX when the podcast goes out anyway. And then, yeah, that was fantastic. Thank you so much for coming on the show, Marlies. We really appreciate your time.
Marlies Hobbs: Thank you so much.
Stuart Cooke: It was great. So much information. I think people will get so much out of this as well. Thank you again.
Marlies Hobbs: I really appreciate it. I always love chatting to you both.
Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on youriPhone HERE.
We love getting peoples perspectives on health and nutrition, especially when they’ve interviewed dozens of health leaders around the world, then made two inspiring documentaries that go on to transform and enhance the lives of millions of people!
Our fantastic guest this week is James Colquhoun, the man behind the fabulous movies ‘Food Matters’ and ‘Hungry For Change’. We ask James in the above short video, what three food hacks would you suggest we could do right now to improve our future health? I bet you can’t guess what they are!
Below is the full interview with James, where he shares with us his personal story regarding his dads illness of chronic fatigue syndrome and how he took massive action to intervene. Because he couldn’t get his father to read about nutrition and natural health, he figured he could probably convince him to watch a film on the subject. What follows is a journey of transformation, inspiration and two internationally acclaimed widely popular documentaries.
Full Interview with James Colquhoun: Why Food Matters & I’m Hungry For Change
In this episode we talk about:
Why he spent his entire savings on making the movie ‘Food Matters’
The ‘tipping points’ that inspired his dad to turn his health around
The most amazing transformational story he has ever seen!
The foods he goes out of his way to avoid and why
Why he created a ‘Netflix’ for health & wellness – FMTV
Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. Today is a beautiful day here in Sydney and I’m at my local Maroubra Beach, so I thought I’d bring my introduction outside. As you can see it’s just stunning here.
I’m fresh back off a Joe Dispenza workshop over the weekend in Melbourne.
Now, if you’re not aware of Dr. Joe Dispenza, we interviewed him on the podcast a couple of weeks ago and I highly recommend you check him out. And if you get a chance to attend one of his workshops, it’s a must. It was phenomenal. It was probably one of the best experiences, when it comes to workshops I’ve ever had, and he really puts the science behind the “woo woo” as he puts it in terms of meditation, understanding the brain, and being able to better our lives with the thoughts we think and how we move forward with that.
So, yeah, I highly recommend you check that out.
So, anyway, moving on to today’s guest. Well, we’ve got a pearler for you today.
So, I’m sure you can all share these experiences. You know, when you decide to make the change you voraciously change your habits through the foods you eat, the exercises you do and you get rid of the low-fat diet. You cut the processed foods out and you can see all the changes happening to yourself. And of course, you then want to go on and tell the world.
I know I did, anyway, with my family and friends. But when you go and share this with them, you find half the time they might as well be wearing earplugs, because the words never seem to go in and of course, they’re on their own journeys too and have to make the changes for themselves.
To take that to the next level with today’s guest, he shares with us how his father started to become very ill and of course wanted to change the way he ate and the way he looked at his health. It was very difficult.
So, what did he decide to go and do? Well, he went and decided to go and make a documentary and spent the next two years and his entire life savings and pumped it all into this documentary.
And yes, our special guest today is James Colquhoun and he’s the creator of the documentary Food Matters. He is one inspirational guy and of course, he went on then and made Hungry for Change.
We delve deep into everything behind what James went and did. Why he did it in depth. And of course, he got to then go on and experience interviewing some of the best thought leaders in health around the world and put them into a documentary. And of course, apply that in his own life.
So, we get into his daily routines. What he does. The best tips he’s learned and practical applications of what we can bring into our everyday life, as well.
One thing was clear with James is that he is a very, very, very upbeat inspirational guy. You’re going to get lots out of this today.
It was just a pleasure to have him on the show.
Now, you may recall, as well, a couple of months ago, if you have been following us for a long time; we actually sent out an email asking you what your biggest challenges are, just to get some feedback. We have been listening. We had an awesome response and we’ve been behind the scenes, me and Stu, for the last couple of months, actually, putting them into a quiz, if you like, and putting videos behind it so that you can discover what your number one roadblock is.
So, if you’re struggling to drop the last five kilos. If you’re, how can we say, if you’re struggling to stick to the diet. Or if you’re confused, you get it, but you don’t get it. You know that sugar’s not good. We should be eating more fat. But you know there’s still lots of areas that you’re trying to plug and trying to figure out. And that’s half the reason why we put this information together. But obviously, we want everyone to get a crystal clear understanding.
So, that’s going to be on our home page of our website, 180nutrition.com.au. It’s going to go live very shortly, maybe even by the time you listen to this podcast. But I highly recommend check it out.
And of course, if you do have those relatives that are struggling with their own journey, send them to this, because it’s a nice message and they’ll be able to get a lot of clarification on being able to take the right steps moving forward.
Anyway, so, that’s at 180nutrition.com.au and of course, if you’re listening to this through iTunes, leave a review, subscribe to us, five star. It’s really greatly appreciated.
Anyway, let’s go over to our awesome guest today, James Colquhoun. Thank you.
Guy Lawrence: Hi, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke, as always. Hi Stuart.
Stuart Cooke: Hello mate.
Guy Lawrence: And our fantastic guest today is James Colquhoun. James, welcome. Did I pronounce your surname correct that time?
James Colquhoun: You got it spot on. Perfect.
Guy Lawrence: Perfect. Yeah, thanks mate. Look, I’m very excited to discuss all the work you’ve done over the years, which is obviously the documentaries, and I just think it’s absolutely fantastic what you’re doing.
But we always start the show, mate, just to get a little bit about your own journey, I guess, just for our listeners, to fill them in a bit. I mean, have you always been into making documentaries in nutrition or did that sort of evolve along the way?
James Colquhoun: Well, it’s actually really far from it and I think that’s common with a lot of people I speak to about their journeys into health and nutrition, is they were on a completely different trajectory before something happened; a sort of catalyst. And for a lot of people it’s illness in the family and that was certainly the case for us.
But, you know, I was a ship’s officer, driving high-speed passenger ferries, container ships, tankards…
Guy Lawrence: Oh, wow.
James Colquhoun: Private yachts. Worked for two of the top ten wealthiest people in the world for about three years, driving their big toys around. And got to see first-hand that all the money and all the freedom in the world doesn’t altogether mean happiness and health.
And these people struggle with some serious health conditions. And it was funny, but at the same time my dad was unwell, on a lot of medications and I was like, how come there’s this block for healing? How come people can’t get well?
So, this spurred a little bit of an interest in nutrition and personal development. Understanding more about how I could be healthy or how I could help my dad. And out of nowhere I started becoming interested in health and nutrition. Went to a few seminars; namely saw that big American guy with a thick accent, Tony Robbins.
Guy Lawrence: Of course. Yeah.
James Colquhoun: He had a day in his program, in the early, 2000s, when I went and saw it, on health and nutrition, which talked a lot about alkalizing and cleansing and topics I’ve never heard before, and started implementing some of that into my life. Sort of started to steer the ship in a bit of a different direction, so to speak.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And that thing that fascinates me as well is that you went out and actually made a documentary to create change. I mean, most people struggle to even just implement change in their own, in themselves, let alone actually go out and do something.
Stuart Cooke: Where did that idea come about? I mean, crikey, I get that you’ve; you’ve embraced this new world, this health and wellness and you start to attach yourself to the power of, you know, food can have on the way that; on our well-being. But what inspired you to go, “Right! I’m going to make a movie.” Because that isn’t something that Joe Public would do generally.
James Colquhoun: Well, I think; that’s a good question. And it just came about from having studied nutrition and seeing that we could make an impact in my father’s health and then thinking further beyond that.
“Well, how can we influence my dad?” I think that was one of the biggest questions we had. And when we were sending him books, it didn’t really work. We were sending him articles by email, “Hey, check out this research. Check out this latest information about vitamin B3 or about detoxification.” And, you know, that didn’t seem to work either.
And then we thought, “Well, how could we help him?” We thought, “What about a documentary? What about a good film?” Because for me, at the time, I was learning a lot from documentaries and I thought, “What if that could help my dad?” And we started looking at what documentaries existed around health, nutrition, cleansing. You know, empowering your own immune system to heal itself. And also covered a lot of the topics about the pharmaceutical industry and the agricultural industry.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
James Colquhoun: And none really existed at the time that covered all those topics and I think that was something that sort of spurred a thought in our minds that said, why don’t we look to see if we could create something to help influence my father and then also help reach more people with that same message.
Guy Lawrence: Did it take a while to get the message across to your dad, you know, from the early days? Or was he very open to it all?
James Colquhoun: Well, you know, early days he was not at all open to it. I mean, he was; every time we’d send him something or we’d send a book across, my mom would read it enthusiastically and then he would always disbelieve it. He would go, “No. I trust my doctors.” He was suffering from severe chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, anxiety; he was on six different medications and he was practically bedridden for about five years.
And the medical profession, the best that they could offer him was a continuing juggling or a mixing up of his cocktail of medications, basically.
Stuart Cooke: Right.
James Colquhoun: Saying, “Let’s go up on this one and down on this one. Well, let’s introduce this new one, which has more side effects. Or we’ll have this other drug come in.” And they were basically saying, “One day we may find the correct cocktail of medications that will have you at some level of health. But we can’t guarantee that you’ll ever actually be cured from this.”
And you know, for him and a lot of people out there that suffer from chronic conditions of lifestyle; anything from cancer, heart disease, diabetes, depression, mental illness; especially things that are called a syndrome, like chronic fatigue syndrome, for instance. It means that we don’t really know what causes it. We don’t really know how to fix it.
And even a lot of these chronic illnesses I just listed off, they’re sort of; you’re not given much hope from the mainstream medical fraternity and to me that’s frustrating. Because we know for a fact that many of these diseases are caused by diet and lifestyle-related elements.
We know that food toxicity, lifestyle habits, how you handle stress, etc. play a deep part in these particular illnesses and that’s been proven now. However, we don’t acknowledge their part in getting rid of them and to me that’s ludicrous. It’s like, how can you acknowledge that there’s a causative element and yet there is no curative element to that.
So, basically, we know these factors play a part, but when you get sick, “Let’s not worry about them too much; let’s just focus on drugging you.”
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
James Colquhoun: Which basically causes toxicity of the body, toxicity to the liver. And, you know, it’s a tricky situation from there.
Guy Lawrence: Another thought that popped in for me and I know a lot of people could relate to this, is that; you know, even happened with my own family is, sometimes you can get very frustrated because you’re trying to get a message across to somebody that; whose illness could be getting worse and they just; they don’t want to listen or they don’t want to know and what’s very hard is to get that message across. But there’s normally a snap, a tipping point or something that goes “ah” and then all of a sudden they let the whole information in. Like what was the case for your dad?
James Colquhoun: Yeah. Sure. Before I go on, I just lost your video there, Guy.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, I know. It’s just spinning around. I’ll have to stick a nice, good looking shot next to us all and play that.
James Colquhoun: Sorry. You know, it was really tricky for my dad, in that, he did have that turning point and he did have that catalyst. And for him it was a unique one and I bet it’s different for everybody. It might be a thought of not being around for your grandchildren. It might be, you know, it might be the thought that you might not make it yourself or get to achieve some of the goals in your life. Or it might not be that you have to have the physical health and the abundance of energy in order to be able to do the things that you want to do on a day-to-day basis.
But for my dad, some of the information that really shocked him was, one of the particular drugs he was on, which was a brand leader of antidepressants, called; it’s an SSRI antidepressant called Prozac. And that was a blockbuster drug for the company who made it. And they were coming out with a new version of the drug.
And when you come out with a new version of a drug, you have to say, when you put the patent application in to renew the patent, you have to say how it’s better than the existing drug.
So, what they do it they tinker with the molecular structure of the drug. Make a few improvements, a few changes and then say, “It’s better than the previous one, because of this, this and this.”
And one of the things my dad was suffering from was some really severe side effects. One of which was like suicidal thoughts and it was completely out of character for him. I mean, he had thoughts about taking his own life and that was something we knew wasn’t him. We knew it was the drugs, but he didn’t really believe that, and he thought it was because of his ill state of health.
And what happened was when Prozac was coming out with this new drug called, “Prozac(R).” At the time they said it will not cause the suicidal effects of the previous drug. And they had denied that for ten years.
Stuart Cooke: Oh boy.
James Colquhoun: They denied it. They denied millions of cases of payouts. They denied the fact that there were many cases in the U.S. where young kids had been put on these drugs and committed suicide and they said it had nothing to do with these drugs. And yet they had discovered later on that it did cause suicidal effects in some people, which meant many of them went on to take their lives.
And to me that’s; that was to me and to my father as well, a huge loss of trust, I think, in the medical fraternity, because the veil was lifted and he was able to see that there was such an economic confluence of events that happened in the background of that industry that caused these sorts of things to get passed over.
And I think, you know, when you start to look at where the money flows, you start to see a topic for what it really is. And when you look into the pharmaceutical industry and when you look into the agrichemical or the agribusiness industry, you start to see a really clear picture that it’s money that drives policy. And you have this revolving door syndrome between the regulatory body and also the industry. And they collude together in order to benefit shareholder outcome, but not so much patient outcome.
So, for my dad it was that big veil was lifted and he was like, “Oh my goodness. I have lost trust in the medical profession.” And that’s a huge thing to instill in somebody.
You know, you and I can’t do that around the dinner table with our uncles or aunties, because they just shoo it off and say, “Thanks, Stu. Thanks Guy. I appreciate your advice. I’m going to stick with my doctor.”
But if you think about sitting them down to watch a film, they can’t deny when you have MDs, you know, naturopathic doctors, medical researchers, journalists from around the world, all agreeing that there is this egregious aspect to the way that these particular industries are run and their outcome is not really focused on patient outcomes. They’re focused on profit.
And once you can get that clarity, then you can start to make decisions; like, “OK, well, this drug might be important because it’s short-term life saving.” The drugs have to be treated like a crutch. You know, you use it until the limb’s better and then you throw it out.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
James Colquhoun: But all the drugs that the drug companies are making these days are actually focused on, you know, white, wealthy, middle to upper class people that have diseases that are caused by what they eat.
So, they’re never going to be cured by the drug, but they have to take them for life. And that’s the perfect customer, if you think about it from a drug company. So, for me that was my dad’s big shift and we helped him, in a three-month period, go off all his medication. And he went on to a cleaned-up version of a diet; an upgraded diet. And in a matter of three months he lost 25 kilograms. He was off all six medications. He was practically back to perfect health after five years overweight, sick and on all these meds and offered no hope.
And so, that was another awakening for him and he’s like, “OK, I’m fully on board. This is amazing.” And he sort of helped us finish the film. We borrowed 50 grand from him. “Bank of Roy,” we call it, and finished the Food Matters film off and it then went to actually premiere in a cinema in Sydney and then went on to be seen by tens of millions of people the world over. It’s in multiple languages now. So, very grateful for this chance.
Guy Lawrence: That’s phenomenal. Look, just for the listeners, having watched Food Matters, what’s the basic concept of it?
James Colquhoun: Well, Food Matters; the basic concept is food is better medicine than drugs and you’re the best nutritionist and the best doctor that you can get is you. And that is; that’s it in a nutshell.
And I think the whole movie just goes to prove that nature has provided so much abundance and so many answers and yet we’ve confused it. We’ve made it difficult. We said, “No. No, nature doesn’t have those answers. The answer lies in this special chemical made-up formula.”
And really, all these manmade chemicals practically came about post World War II and to me that’s crazy, because World War II is not that long ago. I mean, we have great grandparents that were in that war. And so, that’s one and a half generations.
So, basically, in that time we have gone from everything prior to that, practically everything, was certified organic or not certified, it was organic. There was no or very little toxic chemicals that existed. There was a period around World War I/World War II where we were experimenting with some, but on a wide scale it didn’t really happen.
Post World War II, we started releasing wholesale into the environment over 44,000 manmade chemicals and we took the chemicals that we were using for warfare and we put them into completely unrelated uses. Like, if this chemical can kill people, we could use it in smaller doses to kill bugs or to control insects. And to me that’s a bit scary, because that’s your food. That’s what sustains you and it allowed us to do agriculture.
But then we use chemicals in so many different ways; skin care, food products, additives, preservatives, colors, flavorings. And we’ve really made a massive mistake. It’s been a huge, it’s been a huge experiment on our population and you know, maybe after a hundred million years, we might be able to evolve, to be able of digest some of those toxic chemicals. But the story of humanity is that we’ve never, we’ve never had them in our diet. We’ve never had in our lives. So, we shouldn’t have them now, is what I believe.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, that’s terrifying.
Stuart Cooke: I do wonder in a hundred years’ time we’re going to look at us, back at ourselves and think, “What on earth were we thinking?” Like, “This is ludicrous!”
James Colquhoun: Yeah, yeah. I think, I think that’s hindsight always.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
James Colquhoun: We’re always going to have that perspective. We have that prospective on our lives too. We look back five years in our lives, “What were we thinking?” You know, we might be 20 years from now looking back, you know.
But I think it’s just really having a sit-down, getting the facts right and having a look at it and saying, “Hang on, this is not really adding value to our society.” It’s really adding value to some of the big multi-national corporations that have patents on that technology. So, really …
Stuart Cooke: That’s right.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: There’s certainly not a huge amount of cash to be made from being healthy, from some people’s perspective.
James Colquhoun: Well, good health makes a lot of sense, but it doesn’t make a lot of dollars.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
James Colquhoun: That’s from the Food Matters film, Andrew Saul, and it’s true. It’s a hundred percent true.
Stuart Cooke: So, just thinking about the principles of the movie and everything that you’ve learned during your father’s journey as well and you know, million dollar question, what three things could I do for me, myself, right now, to improve the future of my health?
James Colquhoun: Sure. You know, it’s always; you know one of the hardest things when you make a film is take 40 hours of footage and then take it down to 90 minutes.
Guy Lawrence: Wow!
James Colquhoun: That’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. Then you’ve got to go from 90 minutes down to 90 seconds …
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
James Colquhoun: … and that’s so infinitely impossible. But it’s part of the film process and you do it. And I guess that’s what life hacks are about too.
It’s like, how can we take this infinite knowledge and try to condense it down and it’s not an easy thing. But one of the focus; the focus of the films is really about adding in these healthy foods and focusing less on taking out, although that can be very important; but focusing on adding in.
And if I think about three things, the first thing that comes to mind would be hydration. Most of us are hydrated at some level, varying from dehydration to chronic dehydration.
You know, Dr. Batmanghelidj is an eminent doctor and researcher in the hydration space. And he was an Iranian doctor that got locked up in Iran and had only water to help heal patients he was dealing with in the hospital that he was also locked up with. And he started to do a lot of research in his life about it and it’s become foundational for a lot of other research that’s happened. But hydration, with either some sort of structured hydration or just good quality water, spring or filtered water. Drinking a lot of that.
And what water helps to do is it helps to flush the body, it helps to move things out and it solves one of the biggest problems, which is constipation. I mean, it’s something that many people don’t talk about.
Stuart Cooke: That’s right.
James Colquhoun: But regularly detoxifying your system, that’s one of the main elimination channels. I mean you’ve got the skin and sweat. Then you’ve got the bowels and then you’ve got urine. They’re the major ways that we shed and eliminate and process and get rid of toxins in the body.
You know, with a newborn baby coming into this world, having over 200 manmade chemicals already in its system, that’s a study coming from the Environmental Workers Group in the U.S.; you know, these are chemicals that have even been banned for 50 years, like some of the DDTs and PCBs. They’re still in women’s breast milk to this day.
Stuart Cooke: My word.
James Colquhoun: So, we have this level of toxicity that’s just now the new set point.
So, you want to assist your body, not just from a detoxification perspective, but from also from an energy perspective. When you’re properly hydrated the blood cells can bounce along and move through the blood freely. A lot of your blood and your lymph system is all regulated by how hydrated you are and especially goes for a lot of the organs as well.
So, hydration; you know you can grate a bit of ginger and squeeze a bit on ginger into it, fresh ginger, and then a little bit of lime or lemon juice in some water. That’s a really great way to hydrate.
So, the first thing is hydration. Probably the second thing, I would say, is greens. Getting enough green plant food can be super powerful. It doesn’t matter what diet you do, vegan, pesca, lacto-ovo vegetarian or whether you’re paleo or whether you’re low carb/high fat or high fat/low carb or whatever you do, it doesn’t matter.
Greens are still some incredible goodness from Mother Nature and it’s in the way that they concentrate sunlight and concentrate it in chlorophyll. And when you consume greens, either through green juice or some sort of green powder that you can mix into water or you have sautéed greens or however you do it, you’re adding that concentrated sunlight into your diet. And that helps to alkalize and cleanse your blood. A lot of the bitter greens can be fantastic as well.
You know, it’s not a coincidence that in folklore they say, “bitter medicine,” because a lot of the bitter foods that you find in nature have stronger medicinal capabilities. And if you think about how a culture consumed food, there was this scale. There was this like everyday foods. Then there’s like sort of super foods or more powerful foods. And then there’s like medicinal foods.
And even in that is psychotropic drugs. They would have rituals where they would take certain types, either a brew or some sort of hard cider that they would make or some sort of; or even mushrooms, or some certain things. But tribally, if you just look at a tribal culture, they have this big array of foods and some of them would have up to 300 different species of plant and animal foods that they would be consuming.
Now, we’re down, stuck on this tent, we’ve got like iceberg lettuce; like next to nothing, you know.
So, try to get as many different types of greens; bitter greens. You know, get into your garden. Pick your weeds, I mean, you know: dandelion. You can also pick lots of different things, gotu kola sometimes is growing in people’s backyards.
Try to identify what some of the local green soft leafy herbs that you can have in your diet. You know, throw five or six different types of herbs into a salad, juice soft herbs, juice green vegetables, put them in a smoothie, however. Just try to get move of that green plant food into your diet and that will help.
Again, like the hydration helps to clean your blood and keep it alkalized and help to keep the cells energized. And if you look at blood from somebody who’s dehydrated and over-acidic, you’ll see you can identify their blood very clearly. And if you look at somebody who’s very well hydrated and someone who has a lot of greens, regardless of what they have in the other percentage of their diet, you’re still going to notice a very different quality of blood. If you look at the quality of blood, I can guarantee that will be who you are as a person; whether you’re more energetic and alive or more dead and sloth-like.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Oxidative stress and inflammation spring to mind straight from that.
James Colquhoun: Spot on. Spot on.
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.
James Colquhoun: So, that’s two. Sorry.
Guy Lawrence: That’s two. There’s one more. Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: I’m hanging out for number three.
James Colquhoun: Three I would have to say would be fermented foods. I mean, fermented foods is the most epic fail that humanity ever made. It’s not that it was a fail, I mean, it was; ultimately they did it to preserve food. And so, they succeeded at that. It wasn’t an epic fail, it was mostly an epic success, really. But what was funny was that they didn’t realize how; the effect on health that those cultured foods would have.
And so, you know, the process of fermentation was they were controlling some bacterial fermentation from the environment in order to be able to preserve foods, such as cabbage made into sauerkraut. Or, you know, milk fermented into a kefir or into a hard cheese. Or you look at cultured veggies, cultured pickle from Japan. You’ve got the cultured condiments from India, the pickled vegetables. Tomato sauce or catsup in the States is originally a fermented food. You look at dill pickles.
And there’s always this history of consuming fermented foods with cooked foods.
And, you know, it was a fantastic thing that we did that as humanity to preserve foods.
But one of the most incredible things that we’re discovering more and more about now, especially as we start research more about the microbiome and the make up of the bacteria in the gut and how powerful that is for our immunity. And that even when a child comes out through the birth canal, that fluid that coats its mouth and then goes into the gut or if you take some of that fluid and put it on there, if there’s a different style of birth, that’s its first shot. That’s its flu shot. I mean, that should really be the only flu shot it gets. And then you can top that flu shot off with more cultured bacteria.
Now, most of the fermented foods are either wild ferments or they have been inoculated with a veggie culture starter. But we’re moving; more research now showing that the human bacteria can be very powerful in that fermentation process.
So, yeah, but fermented foods have a strong history for humanity and I think they’re one of the most healthful things that we can have. Every time I have a cooked food, I try to get a fermented condiment there with it.
So, of those three things: hydration, greens, and fermented foods, I think it’s super important.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fantastic.
Stuart Cooke: That’s excellent and I wouldn’t have expected that answer. Because things like sugar and vegetable oils, you know, are buzzwords and everybody thinks, “Oh crikey! I’ve got to do that.” But as simple as hydration. And I wonder how many people listening to this, right now, will pause it and rush off and get a glass of water and just stop to think about, “It makes perfect sense.”
Guy Lawrence: And put some greens in it.
Stuart Cooke: That’s right.
James Colquhoun: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: So, a couple of things, questions, occurred with Food Matters. Did; what was the; how was it received when it first came out? Did you have any criticism around it, because it was such a strong topic as well? Or did everyone just embrace it?
James Colquhoun: You know, it’s a great; it’s a good question. I often get that question. And I; to be honest I was really shocked, because we really had a very hard go at the pharmaceutical and agricultural industry. We were calling out particular drugs. We were referencing companies that were involved in this sort of deception of the human population. And part of me was a little bit, I guess, worried about what was going to happen. And another part of me said, “Why should I even care about it? This is the truth. Let’s get it out there.”
I think I was inspired by Michael Moore, because here’s the gentleman that made a movie about the then president of the United States of America, ripping to shreds every policy decision he’d ever made in his tenure and then getting broad, full theatrical distribution in the US.
And to me that marked a massive shift in an era where cinéma vérité or free cinema was now allowed. I’d imagine if Michael Moore was 20 years earlier, he probably would have been shot or taken out by the CIA.
I sort of felt protected by him. It was as if Michael Moore was my bodyguard. I’m like, if somebody came for me, I’d just call Michael Moore and say, “Do you want to make a film about this?” So I think that’s the problem now is that if anybody tried to attack us, that’s just great material.
I mean, if you had a pharmaceutical company try to say, hang on, this is litigious, or take us down, or buy us out, I mean, there’s another documentary and then they’re going to be put into a whole media spin.
So, I guess we didn’t really receive any lashback. One thing was we were booked during a press tour once in the U.S. to go on GMA, or Good Morning America. It’s America’s largest, most-watched breakfast show. And it got cancelled the night before.
And the producer loved the film. Was really batting for us. Absolutely wanted us on. And then she; legal went over it and basically canned it, because, they didn’t say, but because she said “it came from legal,” my guess was because a lot of the advertisements they run in between there are for drug companies.
So, we’re gonna go on and say, “Hey, food’s better medicine than drugs,” and it’s gonna cut to a break and it’s gonna say, “Take Zoloft.” And that would not be great for advertisers.
So, that’s probably the only thing that was quite subdued. But we have not really got the film onto many mainstream broadcasts. I mean, it’s been on some of; our films have on Jetstar or Singapore Airlines or we’ve also been broadcast into 33 French-speaking countries and we also channel in New Zealand.
But as far as TV and mainstream media, not a whole lot. It’s been very much more of an underground movement.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. And do you have any estimates how much that’s been viewed over the years; how many people that’s reached now?
James Colquhoun: I’ve made a few guesstimates. Certainly over 10 million would be on the lower side. I mean, just looking at the Netflix stats alone, there are 630,000 ratings of the film. And Netflix don’t share view data. So, if 1 in 10 rated a film, for instance, that’s 6.3 million on Netflix alone. And just through our websites and a lot of the community screenings all around the world. And the free screenings events that we run on our site has done a few million views over the last few years through those events. So, yeah, I’d say. . .
Guy Lawrence: Well done. That’s amazing.
So, then you go on and decide to make a second movie.
James Colquhoun: After Food Matters, we wanted to make another one. We saw through my dad’s transformation that one of the biggest things people noticed was how well he looked and how young he looked and how he’d lost so much weight. They never went and asked, “How did you get off the drugs?” It was like it was a taboo question. And it’s like religion and politics; cancer. You can’t talk about these things at the dinner table.
So, family would always go, “Wow, you look great. You’ve lost a lot of weight.” And then had Laurentine and I think more about well, we are really, as a culture, attracted to being healthy, to looking fit, to looking trim. And that’s a big thing that people strive for. And yet, statistics show that we’re getting fatter and fatter, as a society. I mean, obesity, especially in our younger population, teenage kids, is skyrocketing in the U.S. and Australia and most of the Western developed world, for that matter.
And we’re spending more than ever on diets. There’s $80 billion a year spent on diet and diet-related products in the U.S. This is like: sugar-free, fat-free, cleanse programs, fat pills, weight-loss surgery. I mean, it’s a huge industry. And yet, if you look at the statistics, that amount of spending is having zero to no impact on obesity statistics.
So, how, if we’re spending that much money a year, can we be getting bad results? I mean, surely there is some huge flaw in our thinking around this issue. Which is a hugely important issue, because obesity is the number one leading cause of death. And you think, well, hang on; how is that possible? Well, if you do the research, it’s because it’s the largest precursor to most chronic illness. So when you’re obese or overweight, the chances of heart disease or cancer or diabetes skyrocket. So, you become the biggest risk factor for those illnesses, and that’s the biggest gateway to a lot of those problems through obesity.
So, we started looking into it and then saw that, you know, a lot of what is promoted as a way to lose weight was very; did a lot of damage to the body; wasn’t helpful or healthy long-term. And we just wanted to uncover a lot of those issues and then try to set the record straight and say, well, what do we know about the human body, how can we handle these weight and body transformation issues in a healthy way. And then we interviewed a lot of people who had had success in that and were doing it in a good way. And that became Hungry for Change.
Guy Lawrence: Hungry for Change. Awesome.
Stuart Cooke: With those two movies, then, in mind, do you have, like, a standout transformational story?
James Colquhoun: The biggest one by far is Jon Gabriel in Hungry for Change. I mean, that guy. He’s, luckily, now, the godfather to my son. He lives about a 45-minute drive from here. And so I’m super lucky to have him locally, because he’s from the states originally.
But Jon lost over 200 pounds over about a three- or four-year period and was able to keep it off for seven years. And that’s going from morbidly obese. You know, most people don’t even have that much weight. They don’t even weigh that to start with, let alone losing that much weight.
So, Jon is incredible in that he really brought together two disparate elements, I guess, in health and nutrition. One was the mind and one was the body. So, everyone was focusing on this. Like, “Have your lemon detox drink, eat nothing for 30 days, or juice for 30 days straight.” I mean, some of these are good ideas; some of these are crazy ideas. “And then you’ll lose weight.”
But not many other people were going, “Hang on. What’s the emotional component? How can we look at using meditation or visualization to reduce stress in the body. Or, how can we, like elite athletes do, use the power of visualization to visualize the exact outcome you want?
So, athletes would visualize running that hundred-meter sprint or they would even visualize doing that big aerial maneuver. Or they used the power of this visualization to enhance their performance.
And there’s actually a lot of science showing that when you visualize something in a really powerful way, your body is actually twitching its muscles as if it was doing that action as well, whether you’re jumping high to do a slam dunk or something.
So, Jon took that knowledge and put it into body transformation. So, he would create visualization, guided visualization programs, where imagining the body, the perfect body you want, walking along the beach with the body. Being in that body, like creating a vision of you in that body.
And it sounds a bit crazy, but the subconscious mind is so powerful that it’s put to work in so many different ways. It subtly starts to regulate appetite, hunger, secretion of fluids by certain organs in the body. All these processes that are happening because of that visualization.
And he’s living proof of it and he’s helped thousands of people as well go through this process. So, if you’re looking to have extra strength or to lose extra weight, incorporating some sort of visualization to it might sound strange, but’s it’s actually an awesome secret that most people aren’t fully embracing.
And even just from the stress reduction perspective, we’re so on-edge and we’re so over-stimulated with a lot of foods that we eat that having that relaxation element and having really high, dense nutrient foods so your body is actually getting the omega-3s and the essential fatty acids and the proteins and the grains that it needs. That combined is an unbeatable combination. And Jon’s living proof of that.
Stuart Cooke: That’s; it’s such an unbelievable thought that the power of our mind. . . I mean, stress can have more of an impact than bad food.
James Colquhoun: Yep. Yep. Exactly.
Guy Lawrence: We’ve actually got Dr. Joe Dispenza coming up on our podcast next week. And I’m looking forward to delving into that topic, because that’s exactly what he’s about, for sure.
James Colquhoun: Before the next question, on that stress-food relationship, I think what’s really important to just bring up quickly about that is, you’re spot-on. If you’re stressed about what you’re eating, or if you’re like “I can’t eat this” or “I can’t eat that” or “I can only have this much of that,” that stress is actually doing damage to the body as well.
So, you know, Jon’s program and what we advocate in Hungry for Change as well is, like, let go of the stress in our food. Even though you might want to aspire to eat that perfect diet, don’t worry if you slip up and have some gluten every now and then. Or “I had a grain.” You know. Don’t freak out about it. Allow yourself to eat as best as you can when you can, and if you slip up, just make peace with that and acknowledge that there’s an element of biochemical reaction when you eat food, but also there’s the biochemical reaction when you think thoughts. So, really create a relaxed environment around food. Always, hopefully, sit down to eat, spend a few minutes just being still before you start eating. Eat in a relaxed way and your body will produce better results for you.
Guy Lawrence: And slow down, yeah.
Stuart Cooke: That’s helpful. And like you said, thinking and preparing for your body to digest and absorb it. Because you can be in another mindset, texting, watching TV, shouting at the kids, and your body isn’t ready to grab all of the good stuff.
James Colquhoun: They say that, you know, well, we’ve figured out that digestion doesn’t happen in the gut. It starts in the mouth, right? So the chewing and swallowing. But it starts before that. It starts when you see, when you smell the food.
But I think if you look at some of the longest-lived, healthiest people in the world, they sit down for hour, two-hour lunches. They’ve probably got multi-generations around the table. They laugh. They relax. The either some sort of prayer or some sort of gratitude before they eat. You know, all these really traditional people have it dialed, and the more we get back to that simple way, or try to incorporate some of those simple, ancient. . . You know, it’s Stone Age technology that’s gonna help overcome all the problems in the world. It’s just about how do we take that Stone Age technology, these ancient ideas, and bring them into everyday life? And I think those little rituals are super powerful.
Guy Lawrence: Awesome. You mentioned something regarding certain foods you wouldn’t eat. What foods would you go out of your way to avoid at all costs?
James Colquhoun: Foods I would avoid at all costs. I think, wherever possible, and I don’t want to say that I avoid everything at all costs, because sometimes you will eat something at the bar and it’s got hydrogenated vegetable oils. And it’s like, “Oh, shit.” I discovered that afterwards. You go to a health food store and eat something you think’s health food, then it’s got agave syrup in there as a sweetener, which I’m not huge on, even though that was a big fad awhile ago.
So, you know, but I would say that some of the things that I really go out of my way to avoid, wherever possible: vegetable oils. Like, you know, vegetable oils go rancid in the body; cause all sorts of havoc. They’re a new food. They’re a modern food. We were never designed to really process vegetable oils in that way.
Good quality oils are great. Some cold-pressed olive oil, some other cold-pressed oils that are very stable: avocado oil, things like that are OK. Then really good butters; ghee. We need good fats. Cod liver oil. That sort of thing is fantastic. But these highly unstable, easily-turned-rancid vegetable oils, we have to get that out. That’s, for me, that’s an “out.”
Other things that I really try to avoid but never avoid completely are things like grains. You know, I do have some grains in my diet. I go out of my way to properly prepare them, either soaking or fermenting. But, you know, as a general rule I really try to steer clear of a lot of the white, fluffy, floury products. I think they’re usually detrimental to health. Everybody, at some level, has a sensitivity to gluten and grains, and you may be a little bit or you may be a lot. Right up here’s celiac.
So I think that avoiding or reducing them as much as possible is helpful. If you are gonna have them in your diet, try to get really ancient forms of these grains, either einkorn XXor earhorn wheat 0:42:32.000XX or an emmer wheat. And then soak, ferment, do all those sorts of things. And that’s how we always used to do it. Again, Stone Age technology is gonna solve it all.
And try to get the non-hybridized original version of it. I mean, wheat was like eight foot tall. Now it’s like that tall and it’s got crazy amounts of bushels on it. They just come and harvest that shit up. Mix it in. The more gluten the better, because gluten makes it fluffy, because gluten is glue. It’s essentially a glue. That’s why you knead it and it gets all sticky and gluey and stretchy. Gluten is the glue in bread and we’ve become addicted to that fluffy white carbohydrate.
So, if you’re going to have any sorts of grains, get back to the original. That’s what I am about. So, those two. What else would I avoid at all costs?
I think one of the other things I would really focus on is, when I consume animal products, to make sure wherever possible they’re organic, fed their natural diet, which could be grass or other things. And free-roaming and humanely raised.
Because any animal product, whether it’s a good-quality, grass-fed butter, or a meat, or a chicken, or fish, when it’s reared in a natural way it’s fine. But when it’s unnaturally raised or fed hormones or antibiotics or fed only corn, wheat, and soy, then those animals get sick. They also concentrate a lot of the pesticides and the toxins in that food into their body. Because toxins are lipophilic; they’re fat-loving. So toxins always attract to fat. So, if you have adipose tissue or fat tissue if your gut, or cellulite in your thighs, and you squeeze it together; you see all that. That’s fat tissue, and it’s often trapped toxins, and they say water detoxing can get rid of that.
If you’re eating a sick animal that’s been having a lot of foods that have been grown with pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, then it’s concentrating those pesticides in its body. And then you’re eating a concentrated version of that toxicity.
So, any fat products, animal products, a lot have a high percentage of fat, good-quality fats, most of them, if they’ve been eating a good diet. But you also think about nuts and seeds which also have a high percentage of fat. You want to make sure those products, or I want to make sure those products, I, personally, are as organic as possible so that they’re not concentrating any toxins unnecessarily that I’m introducing into my diet.
So, I think those three things are the rules for me.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fantastic. And when you think about the amount of people that actually eat them, mainly. You know, the foods that you go out of your way to avoid as well.
James Colquhoun: Yeah, XXunknown 0:44:57.000XX
Guy Lawrence: Unfortunately, yeah. Go ahead, Stu.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, so, I was quite excited just for you to touch on FMTV. Now, this is something that, when I heard about what it was, got super excited. Without giving it away, joined up and spent months watching all this awesome stuff.
So, I wondered if you could just tell us a little bit about what FMTV is.
James Colquhoun: Cool. Cool. Well, since producing Food Matters and Hungry for Change, we just dropped it, a lot of the film industry, the way the we distributed those titles, we didn’t go to the festivals. We didn’t do theatrical distribution. We bypassed a lot of the majors and got to our audience. And that pissed a lot of people off. A lot of the studios and that.
But it’s created a huge surgence in filmmakers that are basically disrupting the system. They’re splitting up their rights, they’re assigning rights differently, they’re maintaining their rights to distribute their film on their website. I think it’s fantastic that that’s happening, because the power’s shifting back to the content producers.
Now, there’s still a big issue in that for each film that’s made, for every Food Matters or Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, or Carb-Loaded, or Hungry for Change, or Fed Up, or Food, Inc., there’s a hundred other films that are awesomely well-produced, made by budding filmmakers that have put together great content, that don’t get picked up by iTunes or Netflix or Hulu or Amazon Prime or any of these platforms.
And over the years, I would freely consult with a lot of these filmmakers and just give them; I’ll have a call with them for a couple of hours and just tell them everything I learned. Because I want. . . every. . . a rising tide floats all boats, and the more films in this genre that are succeeding, the better it is for everybody, because the message is getting out. It’s about creating that XXWin-A-Thon 0:46:42.000XX environment, I call it.
And so I would consult with all these filmmakers and they’d come back to me a year later and they wouldn’t have fully implemented their process or they wouldn’t have done it right, and they’d be asking me more questions again. And I got a little bit, not frustrated, but I got upset that a lot of these companies were not taking these films on board, or they would get knocked back by distributors.
So, I had a thought about bringing all this content together in one space and essentially creating a Netflix but for health and wellness. So, a home for all this information around nutrition, health, natural medicine, peak performance, transforming your body, meditation, mind-body, life purpose, like some of big questions around: How can we be the best human we can be? Whether you’re a mother, or an elite athlete, the knowledge is really similar.
And then: How can we have recipe videos from some of these experts showing up some of this content? How can we have some cool exercise and yoga and stretching and back strengthening and more power exercises? How can we have all that in one place, and using this new form of media that is taking over the world? I mean, you look at what industry terms SVOD, or Subscription Video On Demand, it’s exploded. I mean, Netflix went from no digital to like over 50 million subscribers in the last eight years, I think.
Stuart Cooke: Is that right?
James Colquhoun: Yeah, so they are absolutely crushing it. And to me that says two things: one is people want to consume content differently. If they want to watch a TV series, they just want to watch it back-to-back and watch all 20 episodes. That’s like, binge TV they’ve basically given rise to.
But another part of that equation is that I think it’s most of the world putting a hand up and saying, “I don’t want ads anymore. I don’t want to watch this b.s. on TV in between the program I’m trying to watch. I don’t want to be sold on a drug. I don’t want to be sold on Coke. I don’t want to be sold on fast food or Carl’s Jr. or In-N-Out burger or McDonald’s. I want to watch what I want to watch, when I want to watch it, and I don’t want to be disrupted.”
And to me, that’s awesome. Because I’ve always hated disruption advertising. And, you know, I think that Netflix, in a way, has helped to pave a new movement of watching the content when you want. So, FMTV was born out of that, which stands for Food Matters Television. And it’s on FMTV.com, and it launched March last year, so it’s been going for just over a year, and we’ve had over a million view of content in the channel. We’ve got subscribers all around the world. And we’re developing for new platforms. We’re in Roku, which is like an Apple TV in American, and that’s in 10 million homes there. And really trying to help filmmakers that aren’t getting great distribution, plus also help people like you and I that are always thirsty for more knowledge and more information but want it in an entertaining way, where it’s fun to sit down and watch something, bring it together, and help get the message to more people and hopefully create more of a groundswell around this important knowledge.
Stuart Cooke: Brilliant.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, that’s awesome. We subscribe, and we love it. And we’d certainly recommend anyone listening to this, check it out. FMTV. It’s a great one-stop shop.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, I was just; I actually loved the mastery, from Food Matters, so you get to delve into more of the individual interviews and learn about that, and just, yeah. It blew me away. That kind of stuff really, really interests me.
James Colquhoun: Yeah, there’s so much great content that you have leave out of a film. And I’ve encouraged a lot of filmmakers that we’ve signed to FMTV to give us their outtakes; to give us the extended interviews. And we get them up there as well, because people watch the film and they get inspired and they go watch the whole interview with, like, XXDr. Ed Lorsoro 0:50:27.000XX and they’ll go watch the whole interview with Gary Tubbs or they’ll go watch the whole interview with whoever. And they’re like, whoa, this is a totally new depth of knowledge that got brushed over in the film, but in that interview they give you information that’s a lot more applicable.
So, yeah, I like that, too, so that’s fun.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, that’s brilliant, James.
We actually ask a couple of questions on the show every week, before we wrap up, and the first one is: What did you eat yesterday?
James Colquhoun: OK. Cool, cool. For breakfast, I had some sautéed greens and I had a cabbage that was sitting in the fridge, almost turning itself into sauerkraut. So, it was getting old so I ripped a few of the sheets off, chopped the core out, chopped it up into chunks, got some Swiss chard, chopped it, lots of fresh herbs from the garden; got mint and basil.
And with the cruciferous vegetables, like cabbage, you’ve either got to ferment it or steam or fry it, because the goitrogenic effects of the cruciferous vegetable. So, watch out for; they’re the most powerful vegetables we know, like broccoli, kale, cabbage, Romanesque, these sorts of vegetables, are better and more easily digested when they’re slightly cooked.
So, I took some of those greens, fried them all up in a pan, had some soft-boiled eggs. I love soft-boiled eggs; I know some people don’t like them. They’re one of nature’s perfect foods. And make sure to keep the yolks slightly undercooked where possible, because that’s where, contrary to popular belief about eating only the whites, you know, the yolk is where the nutrition is. I mean, that’s where the really powerful DHA and EPA, the essentially fatty acids that drive all sorts of processes in your body, especially in brain function, they’re in there, and they get damaged by heat, so having them slightly undercooked is a good idea.
I also had some breakfast meats, which I don’t do that often, but it was a Sunday morning. And so I had some organic, free-range bacon in there as well. So, that’s something that’s new for me. I started introducing, like, liver meats and organ meats as well. I didn’t have any of them for breakfast though. I didn’t have any toast or gluten. It was just basically greens.
To me, greens, eggs, and then some sort of protein source, so it could be a quinoa or it could be some sort of meat or something, that’s a really filling, super-hearty breakfast. And if you get that, you’re gonna have less blood sugar issues at 10, 11, 12 o’clock. If you wake up and have jam on toast, it’s basically rocket fuel on rocket fuel. So, your blood sugar goes “bang” and down.
So, that was breakfast. What did I have for lunch? What did I have for lunch? I can’t remember. If it comes to me, I’ll remember it. I had a smoothie in the afternoon and it was one that I don’t have often, but I’d bought some pineapples; were available, so I put a little bit of pineapple in a blender and then I put lots and lots of coconut; the creamed coconut. Not coconut cream in a can, but creamed coconuts. So, it’s like they take the whole coconut, they make it into almost like an almond butter cream. It’s ridiculous. Everybody should be on that. So I put heaps of that in. And then I put some coconut milk in as well. And watch out for all the additives and that sort of stuff. You want to try to find one that doesn’t have any of the guar gums or anything like that in there.
Then some ice, maca powder, whole hemp seeds (which are illegal for human consumption in Australia and New Zealand, so I didn’t say that. This was a facial mask, actually, that I made). So, what else did I put in there? That was about it, actually. So, it was like piña colada, really. Oh, actually, I put tahini in there as well, which is milled up sesame seeds. A little bit of that in there. Whizzed that up and it was absolutely amazing. I mean, I always, like, wing it with my smoothies. I’m not a recipe sort of guy, but that was one of the better ones that I’ve made in awhile.
Stuart Cooke: So, was it one or two shots of vodka in there?
James Colquhoun: There was none.
Then I went around to my dad’s place and got a haircut yesterday afternoon. And I had a beer with him at sunset, which was really nice. It was a hand-crafted, three-ingredient IPA from a U.S. brewery. So, always make sure your beers have three or less ingredients. Ideally just three. You can’t really have less than three ingredients. And that’s a German rule, 1846, der Reinheitsgebot, make sure you always try to have German beers if you’re having any.
And for dinner, I actually had a lamb curry, which I made from scratch. And it was like, we had made the recipe in the office the week before. We were doing some filming. And it was so delicious I wanted to make it at home. So I made that from scratch and we had lamb curry with rice.
And to healthify that sort of dish, what we do is have, like, three or four big, heaping tablespoons of sauerkraut on there. So, you’re getting that fermented food with the cooked food. And then also we made another fermented side, which was yogurt with, like, turmeric in there, which is good for inflammation, and fresh cucumber chopped up. And if you don’t do any organic dairy yogurt, you can always have a coconut yogurt in there as well, so it’s no dairy.
And, to me, I still get to have that beautiful, rich, delicious meal, but then have the sauerkraut or the yogurt; any of those fermented sides. Even mix it. I’m not a mixing guy. I like to piece it together. But that was my day. I still don’t remember what I had for lunch, actually.
Guy Lawrence: Maybe you skipped it because your breakfast was so nourishing.
James Colquhoun: Yeah, it was a big, late breakfast. Maybe it was just the smoothie, actually. Yeah, that was yesterday.
Guy Lawrence: That’s awesome, mate.
And the last question is: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
This generally stumps everyone.
James Colquhoun: Yeah. It’s a tough one, because I try to think, well, was it nutrition-based, or is it life based. I mean, you said “best advice.” That’s just wide.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, anything.
James Colquhoun: I think it’s probably from the big man Tony Robbins again, who I admire his work. He XXcollates? Curates? Creates? some of the best personal work 0:56:55.000XX on the planet, and peak performance work on the planet as well.
And, to me, his statement, “take massive action,” is so simple, but it’s super radical. I mean, you think about that all of us have so many ideas in our day-to-day life. I mean, you guys started an awesome company, you’re getting great information out there; that started as an idea.
I mean, all of us have, and I know you guys probably have another 30 or 50 ideas that you’re thinking about right now. And so am I. So, it’s taking those ideas, distilling it down to your top two or three, and then not thinking about it anymore. Just going and doing it. And, to me, a lot of the things where I’ve had success in my life was from taking massive action, whether that’s learning about a new piece of nutritional information or whether that’s learning about something where you want to have an impact or do some philanthropic work or something. It’s about taking massive action.
It might seem like a little bit of a copout, that statement, but to me that’s a really important element of my life. I think if you learn something and you want to do it, just go do it. And have a blatant disregard for the resources that you have on hand at the time. So, I think people then go, “Well, I can’t take action because of this.” And that’s just b.s. Again, act as if that’s not an issue. You know what I mean? Just go for it. And you find the resources, you find the way, you make it happen; possible.
And with just about everything I’ve done in the last seven or eight years, after completing it, if you’d asked me, would you have done that knowing how difficult it is, it’s like, I probably wouldn’t have started.
Guy Lawrence: No way, yeah.
James Colquhoun: And I think that’s true for everybody. And if you think about that, then it makes that statement even more powerful, which is “take massive action.” Because you realize that had you stalled any longer or had you had hindsight, you probably wouldn’t have done it. So, you’ve got to do it.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. It was the same with us. Like, we had nothing when we started. We had no idea what we were doing. But we were passionate and had the intention of getting out there.
Stuart Cooke: That’s right. And I remember reading a book by Richard Branson, and that was his driver. It was: Just do it. Get on with it, and do it. Create the problem, and then something will happen. Because there’s an energy there already.
James Colquhoun: Yeah. Yeah. He did it in a massive way. I love his work as well. “Let’s negotiate a lease of an aircraft!” It’s like, what? Are you kidding me?
And that’s the sort of thing. I think even with the TV station, like, “Let’s create a subscription TV service.” It’s like, well, how do you do that? We’ll need a contract to sign content. OK, let’s do that. Then you need a delivery platform. All right. Let’s build that.
It was like, we had no idea. We just built it from scratch. And now we have an awesome team in here that’s acquiring content. We’re speaking to the biggest distribution companies in the world. They’re based in New York, in L.A. We’re speaking with Jamie Oliver’s team and all these people about signing this content, and we’ve basically made this idea up 12 months ago, 18 months ago, and put it on a contract. And I think that; I don’t think anybody would; I mean, that’s how most businesses start. How most ideas start is it’s just something you’ve created a vision in your mind and you went and did it.
And I think that everyone will acknowledge, like you guys are now, and like I am here, is that if you go back 12 months, eight months, you know, we didn’t have a clue. And it’s that learning. Now I know about contracts. Now our team knows about contracts. You learn more about how to do it. That’s the fun.
Stuart Cooke: That’s brilliant, mate.
Guy Lawrence: And so with all that in mind, what’s next for you guys at Food Matters? Is there anything in the pipeline?
James Colquhoun: There’s a few things in the pipeline. You know, one of the things that, a core message; if I could show you into the kitchen, just around here in the office, we’ve got a poster here, it’s our guiding principle, really, which is how can we help share this life-saving message with more people?
So, I think we’re constantly looking, thinking about that, and musing on it, and thinking, well, how can we; what’s the next step for sharing this message? FMTV was a big deal, it took a lot of our focus, and now, you know, we’re focusing on some more things but we have some food products coming out this year. You know, we’ve got a whole food vitamin C powder, which is awesome because vitamin C’s such a critical nutrient and there’s so many awesome plant-based sources of that, and yet there’s very few quick powder drink mixes you can take. We’re one of the only animals that don’t produce our own vitamin C, so it’s important for us to get it from our diet, and that’s great for stress and all sorts of other things. And energy and mood.
So, there’s a few other products we have coming out like a chocolate and a protein and an update greens in new packaging. I’m looking at that calendar here. We’re working to help create a curated selection of the top sort of 30 or 50 products that Laurentine and I and the team here at Food Matters use on a regular basis and making that available in a store environment where people can just pick them up and stock their kitchen up. So, if you’re either coming at this fresh or you’re some sort of gastronomic guru, sort of get a little bit of a distillation of the years of research we’ve been doing. Plus, that’s been; our research has always been based on tapping into experts who have been doing years more research than us. And then saying, here are top sort of 50 products that we have in our house or in our kitchen and sort of helping recommend.
And it’s a tricky line to walk because we’ve been so heavily education-based, now that we have products it’s like, hang on, people are going to think we’re biased. But I’m just going to hold a pure intention and say, look, these are the products that we use. If you’re gonna have these products, then these are the ones we recommend.
It’s sort of like, you know, you’re welcome to buy it and you’re entirely welcome to go into a corner store and buy something different. I don’t really care. It’s more just about putting that out there, so we’re gonna get more of that out there.
And we’re working on a transformational program, like a 28-day challenge. Like Food Matters challenge or like a mind-body or a whole body challenge. We take people for 28 days and hold their hair through, like, breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, exercise, movement, meditation, visualization, mind-body work, and sort of put together a 28-day program and help take people through a process and set them up for some healthy habits for life, because it’s a big challenge that people have and it’s something we want to have a deeper impact with the people that we get to reach. So, that’s on the pipeline for now.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Busy boy.
Guy Lawrence: That was fantastic, James. And, look, for anyone listening to this, where would be the best place for them to go to start if they’re not familiar with Food Matters, Hungry for Change, FMTV. Like, on the web?
James Colquhoun: Sure. I think FoodMatters.tv. That’s the hub; that’s the home. Go there. You know, jump on our newsletter list. Check out all the articles and the recipes that we have on the page.
But probably before that I would recommend watching the films. I think the films have this ability to just crack you open. And we all know when we watch a great documentary about a topic we knew nothing about, be it genetically modified organisms or even something completely unrelated, it just completely opens you up. You learn so much in such a short period of time.
So, I actually think if you’re starting here, if you’ve watched some great documentaries, go and watch five or 10 or 15 documentaries. It’s like doing a condensed nutrition and life degree, almost, because you’re getting curated knowledge from great filmmakers. So I’d suggest jumping on FMTV, which is FMTV.com. We have a 10-day trial there as well, a free trial, so you can register as a user and get 10 days free. And you can cancel within those 10 days. So, go in for 10 days to a movie marathon. Watch one a day for 10 days. And then you can absolutely cancel and it doesn’t cost you anything. Or stay in. It’s like $7.95 a month or $79 a year. So, really quite affordable.
And, you know, I guarantee that if you watch 10 or 20 films in there, I will guarantee you’ll have a shift in your perspective on life. And some of the big ones in there right now, I just jotted a few down here, are: E-motion, The Connection, Super Juice Me. Carb-Loaded is a great one about the whole paleo carb question. It’s a fantastic film. Perfect human diet is another one I think your viewers would really enjoy. There’s some great docs in there. Some of the life purpose ones, check on them, like The Shift or even The Connection documentary, the power of the mind-body, watch them and you will not be the same again, I guarantee it. You will be a different person. And that’s an exciting prospect. I mean, nothing’s more powerful than that. I love them.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, well, mate, that’s brilliant. We’ll link to all the show notes anyway, so anyone that comes in can read the transcript, they’ll be able to click through and check everything out. And may their journey begin there if it hasn’t already, which is fantastic.
So, James, we really appreciate you coming on the show today. That was mindblowing. That was awesome. And, yeah, I have no doubt everyone who listens to this is gonna get very inspired very quickly.
Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. Yeah. There were some huge nuggets of inspiration in there as well. Take-home things. I just love that you can dial in for an hour, listen to a podcast wherever you are, and just empower yourself with this knowledge. Just do it. Start somewhere.
James Colquhoun: Keep up the great work, guy. Great chatting, Guy. Awesome, Stu.
Guy Lawrence: Thanks, James. Speak soon. Bye-bye mate.
Angela: Willpower can be hard thing for a lot of us. Sometimes we do things automatically without much thought. Are you finding it hard to stay on the wagon and when you fall off it’s hard to get back on?
I truly believe if you get your mindset right you can achieve anything. If you are finding it hard to achieve your goals, health or otherwise, this is a must read post by Amy. She is a Strategic Psychotherapist, Clinical Hypnotherapist and Coach. As you can see you are in great hands! Over to Amy…
Amy: So you’ve decided its time to get fit and drop those pesky 5 kilos once and for all. Or perhaps you’ve reached a certain level of health but seem to have plateaued.
Maybe since becoming a parent you’ve been too exhausted or perhaps your job is so demanding that your best intentions go out the window. Or maybe you’re just in a rut or you just don’t seem to be able to stick to a routine.
If any of these sound familiar, then there’s some GOOD NEWS. And it’s this:
You do know how to stick to a routine very well (true!). It’s just that you perhaps haven’t yet defined and committed to the one that best serves you.
So what if all you needed was a toolkit of new cognitive based knowledge and skills that ensured that your tailored exercise and nutrition routine became as normal and effortless as showering or cleaning your teeth every day?
To understand how this is absolutely doable for you, let’s just talk a bit about the inner workings of that wonderful and sometimes mysterious organ of ours, the brain specifically in regards to willpower.
We rely on willpower more times a day than we could count to help us decide if we will do something, wont do something or want to do something. Our willpower comes from our prefrontal cortex, which is one capacity that separates us from other animals.
The prefrontal cortex is significantly responsible for our ability to control our behaviour. And we really can (YOU really can) jig this in your favour. You see our prefrontal cortex houses our ‘self control muscle’. Whilst it can do a wonderful job it does get compromised by our stress levels, which are, let’s face it, sky rocketing these days.
Changing your cognitive behaviour
So what can you do to ninja this scenario? Like many elite institutions including Yale and Stanford Universities in the US,
a) you could and should support your ‘self control muscle’ by managing your stress levels through mindfulness and/or meditation (whatever techniques work best for you) and
b) refining your unconscious cognitive patterns using evidence based therapeutic techniques like clinical hypnosis and strategic psychotherapy (if you want to know more let’s chat!)
It’s interesting when we realise that each one of us has our unique cognitive style or blueprint.
And did you know that these are arguably essentially set into our unconscious faculties by the time we are 7 years old based on key influences like our family and social environments?
The really scary bit is that these cognitive or mental patterns influence how we habitually perceive, interpret and respond to the world for the rest of our lives UNLESS we actively choose to refine them!
So the question to ask yourself is – are you going to be one of those many who do not look under the hood or does the idea of creating your life by DESIGN rather than by DEFAULT interest you more?
Top 3 Reasons That Could Be Holding You Back
Do you wonder why you’re not (yet but soon will be) hitting the mark? By the way, the great athletes have always known these secrets…..
We operate from an emotional frame i.e. let our feelings dictate our behaviour.
We don’t have the optimal process in place to support our desired outcomes – the right steps. We respond from a place of present orientation (the now state) rather than factoring in the (major) importance of our desired future outcome.
So let’s flesh these out….
1. EMOTIONAL FRAME
When we let our emotions decide what we do: we stay in bed where it’s warm and cosy rather than get up, get out and get moving; we buy that sweet treat to help push us through the mid afternoon slump rather than go for a walk around the block, do 20 star jumps or close the door and meditate.
So how can you ninja this? It begins with the art and science of observation.
The first step is to commit to monitoring your responses during the day. You can have fun with this and consider yourself a PIY (Private Investigator of Yourself)! We’re all busy so this can be challenging but even if you can commit to doing it for an hour a day it will make a difference. A journal comes in handy here. Notice the thoughts, situations and feelings that most affect you negatively. Why? Because these negative responses move us into the ‘fight or flight’ mode of operating. This response served us very well when we needed to avoid being eaten by predators a while back however these days this mode just zaps our adrenals and negatively affects our physiology across many of our body systems.
The key is once you become more aware and therefore in control of your behaviour you will have the space to consciously make decisions according to your values rather than your feelings or old automatic patterns.
2. THE RIGHT PROCESS
We need to combine a solid process for our goals with desire and motivation if we are to complete the success equation. Desire without skill will not get you where you want to go, nor will skill without desire.
Often people have some sort of a process but it’s too vague or unclear. For instance, ‘I commit to exercising 3 or more times a week’. This is a nice idea but unless your process is more specific and measurable and therefore makes you accountable then your results will be mediocre at best. The right process can be as simple as:
10 minutes of breath work and stretching as soon as you wake each day
A 15-minute walk around the block each workday (perhaps at the 2pm slump)
6-7am Monday, Wednesday and Friday – a Crazy Awesome Fitness Session
9am Sunday mornings – a cliff walk with a friend, swim, surf or yoga class
When you schedule your ‘Ninja Action Plan’ into your diary it becomes a given rather than a negotiation less of course the occasional unavoidable situations like when the dog really did eat your runners!
The same of course goes with nutrition. If your process and steps for maximizing your health through nutrition are clear then you’re far more likely to stick with them. Instead of “I want to eat less sugar and drink less wine’ perhaps you could develop a weekly meal plan, shop up and cook up every Sunday and let Saturday be your ‘free’ day where you can eat and drink whatever you want.
There is no substitute for preparation. If you have a healthy snack on hand when the hangers (‘hungry angries’) strike then you wont find yourself regretting a ‘would you like that fries with that?’ oopsie!
Hot tip – schedule all this goodness into your calendar. Have fun experimenting with creating your own daily routines that are both realistic but also stretch you to a higher grade of living.
3. FUTURE ORIENTATION
The final key is something that elite performers in sport, business, the arts or any field are well attuned to; They have their eye very firmly on the prize.
An athlete’s goal to win Olympic Gold – future orientation – encodes all of their present behaviours including not allowing any feelings of resistance to rule their actions or inactions. I can guarantee you they don’t feel like getting up at 4am six mornings a week to bust out laps for hours but they do it anyway. Day in. Day out. Their coaches help to ensure that a rock solid process for goal attainment is in place.
Being completely committed to a goal means that your chosen and passionately desired future becomes the source of your present actions. When you focus in this way you are innately driven to do what needs to be done regardless of the challenges that cross your path. This is where coaches and therapists can have a massive influence by helping to define the goal, lock in the process and be both your No. 1 cheer leader and critic so that the desire, commitment, steps and ability are all there. This puts the future outcome front and centre. Exactly where it needs to be.
I hope these insights have sparked your interest in just how powerful your mind really is and what you can achieve as many of my clients have discovered. I encourage you to steal some precious time to ask yourself some simple but profoundly important questions. Who do you want to become? What do you need to get there? Do you have clear goals or do they need re-thinking?
If you need help trouble shooting or optimizing your health goals (fine tuning those Ninja skills) I’d be delighted to support you in making real change. Change facilitation is always far more effective and fun when you don’t try to go it alone.
Using the latest in neuroscience we can refine your cognitive patterns so that you operate from a set of values that support you both consciously and unconsciously.
Exercise and good nutrition can and should be strengthening, energizing and empowering components to your balanced and fun-filled life. With the right approach optimal health is very achievable.
So keep moving, learning and enjoying the process. Amy :)
Amy is a Strategic Psychotherapist, Clinical Hypnotherapist and Coach. She is passionate about helping people not only feel better but also do better.
She is also a busy mum and a tragic disco music fan.
Angela: Breakfast is such an important meal and I can’t say it enough it should not be missed. Making time for a healthy breakfast to break your fast is ideal in achieving a healthy metabolism, balanced weight, good concentration levels and making good food choices for the rest of the day.
Breakfast sets us up. Missing breakfast gives us lack of focus, low concentration and energy levels, more chance of cravings, especially sugar, and less chance of making good food choices through the day. Some so called ‘healthy’ breakfast foods like fruit juice and cereals are loaded with sugar and not a good start. Here are my breakfast do’s and don’ts for myself and my children …
Most supermarket bought muesli’s are high in sugar and contain processed carbohydrates. Toasted muesli also contains damaging vegetable oils. I avoid these (Here’s our thoughts on cooking oils).
Make your own homemade muesli. You can use olive and coconut oil to toast your own muesli. You can avoid using sugar or use sugar-free alternatives and can make it grain-free by using quinoa flakes or other grain-free alternatives.
Fruit juice is just straight up sugar and just as bad as a fizzy drink. Fruit juice can contain more sugar than a can of Coca Cola. Up to 12 tsp per glass. You are better off eating a whole piece of fruit so that you consume the fibre along with the antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and feel full after one or two pieces. There can be up to 10 apples in a 200ml bottle of apple juice and that’s not the fibre just straight up sugar. Learn more here why we don’t like fruit juice here.
Fruit Juice Do’s
Make your own juice with 80% vegetables and 20% fruit or make a Green smoothie instead. I love smoothies as you consume the fibre as well so nothing is wasted. I always include protein, vegetables, good fats and low fructose fruits like berries. Try our Greens Cleansing Smoothie here. Packed full of goodness and only takes a few minutes to prepare.
Don’t have gluten free toast and think you are doing yourself a favour, or by adding organic strawberry jam. Most gluten free breads have sugar in their ingredients, contain thickeners, stabilizers and emulsifiers to give them the same texture as the gluten based breads. Also many gluten free products are made from corn, potato, tapioca and maize starch, which send your blood sugars sky-high.
Try instead spelt sourdough or our paleo style bread which is gluten free, high in protein and nutrient dense. Sourdough is made with a fermented dough that makes the bread easier to digest and doesn’t cause undesirable spikes in blood sugar levels. The gluten in sourdough is rendered and is less likely to cause food intolerances. Spelt is an ancient grain which has lower levels of gluten that people find easier to digest.
Fruit Salad Don’ts
Have you seen those fruit salads that are piled high with fruit the size of a truck. I suggest having no more than 3 pieces of fruit in a whole day. If you are going to eat a mountain of fruit which contains sugar you are going to have spikes in your blood sugar levels and leave you hungry for more.
Fruit Salad Do’s
Try adding protein like greek yoghurt, 180 Natural Superfood or chia seeds along with having low fructose fruits like berries.
Cooked Breakfast Don’ts
Hash browns fried in vegetable oil and for that matter everything fried in vegetable oil. Tomato/BBQ sauce is laden with sugar. Do you know that 1 tablespoon of BBQ sauce has 2 teaspoons of sugar? No veggies on the plate and a side of white bread containing gluten and no fibre. This is why I don’t eat wheat here.
Cooked Breakfast Do’s
Cook with coconut and olive oil. Include tomatoes, mushrooms, greens, asparagus and avocado. Have paleo based breads. Include free range bacon, smoked salmon, eggs or what about sardines.
Don’t be scared to think outside the box. Breakfast can be the same as lunch and dinner. It’s OK to have leftovers from the night before. Make sure you include real food, good fats, vegetables and protein. Some ideas here.
Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on youriPhone HERE.
Our awesome guest today is Dr. Peter Brukner who is currently the team doctor for the Australian cricket team.
His impressive resume includes being team doctor to four Australian national teams – swimming, hockey, athletics and soccer. He has also worked with professional AFL and English Premier League teams such as Liverpool FC, experienced US college sport at Stanford and been part of Olympic, Commonwealth and World Uni Games as well as numerous World Championships.
The Full Interview with Dr Peter Brukner of the Australian Cricket Team
In this episode we talk about:
Peter’s journey from a low-fat to a high-fat diet
Why many of the Australian cricketers have adopted this style of eating
How it’s reduced injury risk and improved recovery
Why starving yourself to drop weight is not the way forward
When we should be applying a low carb’ strategy to improve health
Peter’s appearance in the documentary Cereal Killers 2 Movie: Run On Fat
Guy Lawrence: Hey. This is Guy Lawrence at 180 Nutrition and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. Our awesome guest today is Dr. Peter Brukner. Now, he’s recently been the head of sports medicine with the Liverpool Football Club, which is pretty awesome, and he’s currently the team doctor for the Australian cricket team.
Now, I first met Peter at the Low Carb Down Under event a few months ago, where I got to share the stage with him, and it was; he’s just a top guy and we’ve been very keen to get him on the podcast since we met and fortunately we were lucky enough to have him on the show today.
So, we cover all sorts of topics from obviously eating low carb and high fat, but how that’s influenced his life. He talks about the Australian cricket team and also the movies coming up. The documentaries of Cereal Killers and Cereal Killers 2, Run On Fat. So, we dig deep into those.
Now, I will say the Skype audio does drop in and out slightly, but sometimes there’s not much we can do about technology. But ultimately the information’s there and you will certainly still get a lot out of it, so, just to give you a heads up on that.
And of course, if you are listening to this through iTunes, a simple just subscribing to our podcast and a little review, leaving a review, does wonders for us because it helps us get the word out there. We really appreciate it and we’re getting a lot of people listening to our podcasts now, so that will just continue to help spread the words. It’s always appreciated.
And of course, you can come over to 180nutrition.com.au and yeah, hang out there as we’ve got a wealth of information, including a great free book. It took me quite a while to write actually and that’s a great place to start if you’re feeling a little bit overwhelmed with all this information.
But, yeah, of course, go through the other podcasts. We’ve got much more awesome guests and we some very exciting guests lined up for the future. But for now enjoy the podcast with Peter and we’ll see you soon. Cheers!
Guy Lawrence: So, hi. This is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke. Hi, Stewie; as always.
Stuart Cooke: Hello.
Guy Lawrence: And our awesome guest today is Dr. Peter Brukner. Peter welcome to the show. Thanks for coming on.
Peter Brukner: XXunintelligibleXX [:02:11.6] My pleasure guys.
Guy Lawrence: Ah, there it goes. Frozen. Great start to this show. There we go. He’s back. Excellent.
So, just to get the ball rolling, Peter, would you mind just sharing to our listeners and ourselves a little bit about yourself and why we’re super happy to have you on the show today. I’m very much looking forward to this.
Peter Brukner: Well, I don’t know why you’re super happy, but I’m a … ;)
My name is Peter Brukner. I’m a sports and exercise physician. So, I’m a medical doctor who is specialized in sports medicine and I’ve been practicing sports medicine for 30-odd years, and obviously I started when I was a baby, and I’ve been working, both in a medical practice in Melbourne; I’m born and bred in Melbourne; a medical practice in Melbourne at Olympic Park. I set up a sports medical there about 30 years ago and that’s still going strong. And over that period of time I’ve worked with a number of sporting teams; AFL teams, various Olympic sports.
I’ve done, I think, five national teams now. I’ve done swimming, hockey, athletic soccer and cricket. The last few years I did the Socceroos, the Australian soccer team, for the South African World Cup and the three years leading up into that.
From there I went to Liverpool in England to be the head of sports med XX technical glitch[:03:36.3 to :03:40.1] and after a couple of years there I went to the Australian cricket team and I’ve been the Australian cricket team doctor for last two years.
Yeah, obviously we’re in the middle of a busy summer of cricket, which has been pretty emotional and stressful, I have to say, but, anyway, we’re getting there and the guys have been terrific and we’ve had a pretty successful summer so far.
Guy Lawrence: Excellent and the World Cup’s just around the corner.
Peter Brukner: Yeah. Yeah, we’re gearing up for that now. The test series is finished and we’ve done colour for the players, on the colour clothing now, and we’ve got Tri-Series against India and England as a sort of warm-up games really and then the real business is the World Cup in February and March. Gives us a few weeks off after that and then we go off to the West Indies and then to England for another extra series. So, it’s a big few months ahead for the Australian cricket team and for their doctor, I guess.
Guy Lawrence: Wow! That is a busy season.
You’ll have to forgive Stu a little bit when it comes to cricket, because I think he gets confused between cricket and baseball. That’s how much he knows.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, thank you. Thank you for that, Guy.
Guy Lawrence: That’s all right.
Stuart Cooke: Always good. Always good. I wasn’t lucky enough to be born in Wales or unlucky enough to be born in Wales; one of the two.
I was interested, Peter, in the questioning of diet, as well and how does that come into sports medicine? I always thought nutrition was almost a kind of, another route completely.
Peter Brukner: Well, I mean, we like to sort of adopt a holistic approach really. I mean, I think as sport medicine physicians we’re responsible for the complete health of the athletes and so obviously nutrition is an important factor in that. I mean, I wouldn’t say, you know, all of my colleagues are interested in nutrition, but certainly some of us are and I’ve always had an interest in nutrition.
In fact, I wrote a book, I co-authored a book with Karen Inge, a well-known Melbourne dietitian, about well, the late ’80s, I think, called Food for Sport, it was only the first of a specialist sports nutrition book in Australia.
So, but in a way I sort of; for a long time I sort of lost a bit of interest in sports nutrition really. Because it became a bit; well, I won’t say “dull” but I mean, basically it was just: Eat lots of carbs and drink lots of sugar-based fluids and that was it. And for 30 years that’s basically what we’ve been doing until more recently. We’ve been challenging that.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. What made you first question it, Peter? Because when we met at the low carb talk and spoke, you certainly had a change of thinking around that over time.
Peter Brukner: Yep. Yes. Yeah. Well, I think sometimes you’ve got to re-examine your ideas. Someone once said that 50 percent of everything you get taught in your medical course later turns out to be wrong. You’ve just got to work out which 50 percent that is.
Stuart Cooke: Oh boy.
Peter Brukner: But, no, I guess I first started to question the whole nutrition thing when Tim Noakes came out, sort to speak; no he didn’t come out in the normal way, came out that he switched from being a carb-dominant advocate to being a XXtechnical glitchXX [:06:56.4] … and adopting a low-fat, high-carb, I meant, sorry, a low-carb, high-fat philosophy. And Tim Noakes, as you obviously know, is a very world-renowned sports scientist, sports clinician from Cape Town and I’ve known Tim for 20 odd years and we’ve spoken at numerous conferences together and so on; and Tim was someone I always admired as having a great mind. And he always challenging, you know, a lot of traditional beliefs and in most cases he’s been proven right.
So, when he sat us down to talk about this, both from his own experiences and from those of his patients, I sort of “Oh, gee, you know, that’s interesting.” I… normally I would totally ignore… I mean, like many people I hated the idea of fad diets and celebrity diets and you know, this actress or singer or sportsman is on a particular diet now and I just XXtechnical glitchXX [:07:51.7 to :08:03.8] … to make me think, “whoa, I need to XXtechnical glitchXX [:08:05.2 to :08:08.1] …
I bought Taubes book, Good Calories, Bad Calories, and read the book and it was the most interesting book, I think, I ever read. I just couldn’t believe what I was reading and it just blew me away and I was sort of XXtechnical glitchXX [:08:21.8 to :08:29.1] …
… interesting thing about that book and talk XXtechnical glitchXX [:08:31.1 to :08:32.8] …
… Taubes book and so on, is that they, the low-fat, high-carb arguments, but they also explain the politics of how the low-fat argument basically won out 30 years ago for reasons that were not particularly based on science, but more on politics and economics and so on and so on. And you start to understand, you know, maybe that’s not right and I finished reading that book and I just sort of couldn’t believe it. I thought, “We couldn’t possibly had this wrong all this time, surely? All these great minds and so on couldn’t have gotten this so wrong.” And I certainly XXtechnical glitchXX [:09:10.8 to :09:15.4] …
So I just decided to try it out myself. So, I decided to go a low-carb diet. So, at that stage I’d just turned 60, which was the age that my father had developed type 2 diabetes, so it was in the back of my mind that I didn’t particularly want to go down that track because he just died earlier this year and I’d seen all the problems that he’d had over 20, 25 years or so. And I was, you know, I was supposedly healthy, I had eaten what I was supposed to eat. I would do low-fat this and low-fat that and didn’t have too much in the way of fatty foods and yet probably over a period of 20 years I’ve put on 10 kilograms, 12 kilograms, about half a kilogram a year just steadily and the kids started to, you know, poke me in the guts and say, “Dad, how about it?”
So, I was a bit overweight, probably not morbidly obese, but I was certainly overweight and XXunintelligibleXX [:10:16.5] and I was about sort of borderline overweight/obese. So, I thought, “Well, what the heck, let’s see, let’s see how it goes.”
So, I started. I did a whole lot of blood tests the day I started just so I could follow my progress and I’m went pretty cold turkey low carb for 12 weeks and XXtechnical glitchXX [:10:36.7 to :10:38.5] …
So, I was basically losing pretty much a kilogram a week, which was very rewarding. I mean, you know, you eat this way and you sort of have your doubts and your concerns and so on and then you look at the scales every week and you lose another kilogram. You think, “Wow!” That’s pretty reinforcing and pretty good. So, that made it it quite easy to do in a way.
And then after 12 weeks everyone started to say, “You’re looking a bit thin in the face and you know, maybe you’ve gone too far.” So, I sort of just backed off a little bit and wasn’t quite as strict with my carbs, and so, now I’ve basically maintained that over the last couple of years. Pretty much, you know, not really having many carbs at all and not totally obsessing about it, but basically not eating …
Guy Lawrence: Keeping away carbs. Yeah.
Peter Brukner: … carbs …
Guy Lawrence: And Peter, how do you feel since like …
Peter Brukner: I feel great. Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Peter Brukner: You know, I feel really good XXunintelligibleXX [:11:31.7 to :11:34.4] …
… and I’m certainly keeping the weight off. I’ve put on maybe a kilogram or two since then. I kept the same weight and I’ve been feeling really good. I’ve found it enjoyable eating. You know, it’s a sustainable diet. So, I’ve managed to keep eating XXunintelligibleXX [:11:50.8] …
And the other thing that you really notice, is that you’re not nearly as hungry.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Peter Brukner: I mean, in the old days I had my cereal for breakfast, you know, like everyone else, I’d get to about 11 o’clock in the morning, you know, and start feeling, “Oh, is it lunchtime yet?” I was starved. But now I don’t even have lunch, you know. Most of the time I just grab a handful of nuts or a bit of cheese or something during the afternoon. But, basically I don’t feel hungry until dinnertime.
So, that’s made a huge difference to my energy levels. I’m much more level during the day. I don’t have the ups and downs that I would have had in the past. So, yeah, I feel very good about it. My bloods have all improved and my triglycerides, which were quite high, have come down enormously. My insulin’s come down. My HDL cholesterol is going up.
So, you know, all the things that I think are important, particularly triglycerides and HDL, have improved significantly. I had a mild case of fatty liver that had been picked up in a blood test some years previously that I hadn’t worried too much about, that all of a sudden that’s disappeared too. They’ve gone back to normal, my liver test as well. So, all aside, I’m pretty positive about it.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.
Stuart Cooke: Wow.
Would you say, are you fat-adapted while still eating smaller amounts of carbohydrates, so would you say that you’re operating in ketosis?
Peter Brukner: No, I’m probably not in; I’m probably occasionally ketosis. But, I think I’m one of these people who struggle to get into ketosis, because even when I’ve been pretty strict, my ketones have not, when I’ve measured my ketones, they haven’t been that high. So, I think I’m just fat-adapted; I’m running mainly on fat …
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Peter Brukner: …probably have a little bit of carbohydrates in vegetables and nuts and some dairy. But I don’t get obsessive when I measure the amount of grams of carbohydrates, but I guess I’m somewhere around 50 grams a day of carbohydrate. But everyone has their own sort of ideal level of carbohydrates. I think most young people can probably tolerate significantly larger amounts of that.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Peter Brukner: I think a lot of us in mid-life should become insulin resistant to a certain degree. We’re the ones who really benefit from reducing the carbs significantly.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: That’s fascinating.
Guy Lawrence: And thanks to people like yourself and Professor Tim Noakes, as well, you’re starting to see this being questioned in the sporting fields.
Peter Brukner: Yeah. Well see, carbs have been dominant in sport and all athletes have been obsessed with carbs now for a long time and I think that’s being challenged. I mean, I think; firstly let’s look at an endurance athletes and even ultra endurance athletes, I mean, fat is a very good fuel and the problem is that it burns slowly, if you like, XXtechnical glitchXX [:14:51.3 to :14:52.2] …
Stuart Cooke: Yep.
Peter Brukner: … so, it’s almost unlimited resources and the problem with carbs, obviously, is you’re going to XXtechnical glitchXX [:14:57.5 to :15:00.9] …
… I think for endurance athletes who are not; needing to work at a very high intensity, a high fat diet is very, very good, and I think a lot of ultra endurance athletes now have switched to a low-carb, high-fat diet and gained a lot of benefits from it. Especially the sort of ultra marathons; you know all the guys doing these crazy hundred XXtechnical glitchXX [:15:23.5 to :15:25.6] …
… steaks and things like that. But I think; I’m pretty sure that for an ultra endurance and endurance athletes, you know, Ironman, triathlon types, marathoners, that a low-carb, high-fat diet is quite appropriate.
Probably… The feelings is it’s very individual. I mean, there are some people who are absolutely fine on low-carb and high-fat and others who just need to supplement a little bit with carbs.
Stuart Cooke: Yep.
Peter Brukner: But I think by and large; I think most people will, well, not most people, but a lot of people now agree that for endurance, ultra endurance athletes, that it’s XXtechnical glitchXX [:16:04.0 to :15:07.4] …
There’s no doubt about that in my mind. The interesting one is the sort of ultra-intense exercise. Particularly the sort of high-intensity intermittent activities, like in football, basketball, and so on. And that’s very interesting because there are certainly some anecdotal studies and reports that a number of these type of athletes, particularly in basketball in the States and the AFL in Australia, are starting to use the low-carb, high-fat diet, some of them are supplementing. So what a number of teams are doing, individuals are doing, basically going low carb during the week and then come game day they may supplement with some carbs. So, it’s the XXunintelligibleXX [:16:55.5] high philosophy.
But again, that’s very individual. There are other people who don’t seem to need carbs who can still do this high-intensity intermittent activity at full bore, without any carbs at all. So, it’s a little matter of experimenting a bit.
But there’s something happening, especially in the AFL, which I’m quite familiar with, and I know a couple of clubs that are playing around with this. Melbourne is being quite open about the fact that their players have all gone low-carb in the pre-season and seem to be doing well. So, it will be interesting to see they go. They’re a pretty terrible team, so they can only improve. So, whether they XXtechnical glitchXX [:17:31.6 to :17:33.4] or not, I don’t know.
So, I think the jury is still out and as I said, I suspect it’s an individual thing. But I think there are benefits to be gained from training on a low-carb, but I think you need some carbs for the high-intensity actual sporting activities.
Stuart Cooke: What are your thoughts on, the performance aside, the recovery aspect of adopting high fat over high carb?
Peter Brukner: Well, I mean, you know we’ve always had this philosophy that you’ve got to replenish your carbohydrates reserves after exercise, but it’s relevant if you deplete them or if you’re using mainly carbs as your fuel, if you’re using mainly fats that’s obviously not as important,
I still think the protein aspect is the key to recovery. You know you obviously have a lot of muscle XXtechnical glitchXX [:18:20.5 to :18:21.7] …
… for your exercise XXtechnical glitchXX [:18:21.1 to :18:24.2] …
…muscle and I think adequate protein XXtechnical glitchXX [:18:25.8 to :18:27.2] …
… you know, certainly there’s plenty of protein XXtechnical glitchXX [:18:29.2 to :18:30.1] …
… and high fats and a bit of high quality fats and XXtechnical glitchXX [:18:33.0 to :18:35.1] …
… thinking in recovery.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right, because I know we; you know you mentioned a couple of times, it’s been helping a few of the Aussie cricketers as well, hasn’t it?
Peter Brukner: Yeah. Well, essentially, I haven’t sort of pushed it at all, but I guess my first two tours with the cricket team coincided; it was in the middle, between those two tours, when I lost all the weight. So, I turned up in India a couple of years ago and I had one say, “Oh, doc. What’s happened to you? You’re half the man you used to be.” So, they took an interest in that. A number of them sort of just took me aside and said, “Look, tell me about it and I’d like to try it please.”
The interesting thing is despite these guys being full-time athletes and high levels of exercise, a number of them used to struggle with their weight; which was really against this whole theme of calories in/calories out. I mean, they’re working, training every day, playing five-day test?[:19:28.1] matches, etc. and still having problems with their weight.
So, a number of them were keen to try and lose some weight, so they decided to adopt the diet and then people like Shane Watson and Mitchell Johnson and Steve Smith and Dave Warner and a couple of the others have all taken on board the diet and all had immediate, sort of good responses to it. They lost some weight; obviously they didn’t have huge amounts of weight to lose, but they all lost between 3 and 5 kilograms fairly quickly and felt very good about it and again, they all vary in the amounts of carbs, from very little to small amount of carbs, particularly on XXtechnical glitchXX [:20:12.0 to :20:16.1] …
… low carb, high fat and they all seem to be XXtechnical glitchXX [:20:21.8 to :20:23.7] …
Shane Watson is a classic example. He’s always had trouble with his weight and I can say it’s the best thing that’s happened to him and the only way he used to be able to drop weight was to starve himself and he could only do it in the off season, because when you’re playing you can’t do that. So, he would sort of be miserable when he was not playing, because he just wouldn’t allow himself to eat and Shane loves his food. So, this has enabled him to still eat and enjoy his food and drop his weight and certainly, you know, at the moment he’s doing pretty well. So, it’s encouraging.
Davey Warner’s the same. He arrived and met with me a couple of years ago, quite overweight. He’d been injured and hadn’t been doing as much as usual and had put on quite a bit of weight and he managed to trim down a number of kilograms. We measure their skin folds regularly with the cricketers and his skin folds have dropped about 30 points in that time, which is a remarkable achievement.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Peter Brukner: And now you see with all those guys having very successful a couple of years now, I’m not sort of saying that’s the only reason, there’s a lot of factors, but I think it has helped them.
Guy Lawrence: With the way you’ve witnessed as well, like a question that just popped in there in terms of inflammation and injury, have you noticed anything, any relationship between increasing the fat and reduction of inflammation?
Peter Brukner: Yeah. Look. I think there’s a fair amount of that evidence now that there are pro inflammatory agents in your carbs and in particular sugars are one of those agents. We certainly had one player who had a very dramatic response to change. He was on quite a high level of medication for an inflammatory-based joint problem and he was on medication that was costing him about $15,000 a year and just controlling his symptoms and he switched to a low-carb, high-fat diet, a pretty strict diet, and within a week he was able to get off all his medication that he’d been on for some time and he’s not had a problem since and he’s been able to double the amount of training he’s done and I saw him the other day and he’s not XXtechnical glitchXX [:22:34.1 to :22:36.2] …
… I saw him the other day and he said, “Yeah doctor, I’m still on the diet. It’s fantastic.
Stuart Cooke: Wow!
Peter Brukner: XXtechnical glitchXX [:22:42.5 to :22:45.9] …
Guy Lawrence: That’s awesome.
Peter Brukner: XXtechnical glitchXX [:22:46.4 to :22:48.5] …
… inflammatory arthritis can be cured by that, but I think you know there are certainly some areas around that it reduces people that have excessive inflammation in some sort of form. So, you know, he’s a big guy, we could have obviously have done the whole diet thing.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. That’s fantastic and I guess it certainly doesn’t hurt to try this either, does it? Just to see how you how you get on for a couple of weeks.
Peter Brukner: Well, that’s what I suggest to people who come and say, “I’ve got terrible arthritis or some sort of inflammatory disease.” That you give it a go and it’s not going to help everyone, but if you can get off some of the drugs that you require and you get symptom relief with a simple change of diet, then that’s a fantastic result.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Excellent. So, from a medical perspective now, your thoughts on sport drinks, given what you know about carbs and everything we’ve spoken about this morning.
Peter Brukner: Yeah. Look, I think sports drinks have been incredibly well-marketed over the years and they’re basically just sugar and water, and with a few electrolytes put in. I think; I don’t think that sugar’s a good thing and I think we’ve got now a whole generation of kids who think that sport drinks are healthy and all they’re doing is putting sugar in. You know, I think that this generation is eating and drinking far too much sugar and I think really the best sports drink is water and that’s maybe with some electrolytes if you need them. But by and large, 95 percent of the time water is what you require to rehydrate you and you don’t need any extra sugars.
Guy Lawrence: Perfect. Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: It doesn’t sell too well though, does it?
Peter Brukner: No, it doesn’t.
Stuart Cooke: It actually does Guy, if you look at the price of bottle water …
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. So true.
Peter Brukner: That’s another of my pet annoyances. What’s wrong with tap water?
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Exactly.
Peter Brukner: Yeah. Maybe if you XXunintelligibleXX [24:52.9] it would be different. But everywhere else has got pretty good tap water I think. So yeah, I’m a tap water fan.
Guy Lawrence: Fair enough. Fair enough. The next topic we wanted to cover was the Cereal Killer movies and …
Peter Brukner: Ah yes.
Guy Lawrence: … the documentaries which, you know, you’ve appeared in both Cereal Killers, too. We’re not talking about, as in murders; we’re actually talking about breakfast cereals.
Peter Brukner: Yeah, that’s right.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Tell us; how did you get involved?
Peter Brukner: It’s alleged that’s my movie career, but you never know.
Look, it was bizarre really, because I heard about the movie from Kickstarter, which is sort of a web-based funding for small projects such as movies, and I just liked the sound of what Donal O’Neill, that crazy Irishman, was doing. He was basically making a movie about cereal killers, as you said.
So, I contacted him and offered my support and a small donation and then I said, “Good luck with it all.” I said, “If, you know, some of our cricketers are one it and are very supportive and if we can help in any way, you know, let us know.” So, he contacted me and said, “Do you think some of the cricketers would be happy to sort of say a few words to promote the movie?” And I said, “Well, I can ask them.” They were only too happy to do it.
So, Donal came over. We were in London at the time, it was during the last Ashes and he came over and interviewed a few of us; myself and three of the players, and he rang me the next day and said, “Oh, that was so good. We’re going to put it in the movie.” I said, “Why? I thought you had finished the movie?” He said, “Ah, well we decided to reopen the movie for that.” So, they just added a bit to the end of the first movie with a few of the players and myself and so on.
So, that was a bit of a laugh and quite nice. But it’s a, I thought it was a great movie. I mean, he’s a remarkable man, Donal, and he’d never made a movie in his life and all of a sudden has put together a very professional, you know, one-hour sort of movie-cum-documentary. It was entertaining. He’s a funny guy, but a passionate guy with a message to get across.
So, that’s been enjoyable. I’ve been fortunate enough to sort of attend various premieres of the movie around. We had one in Melbourne and then we had one in Cape Town that Tim Noakes was there and Donal was at as well; we had one in London.
So, it was great and it’s been very well-received. It’s not been out in the movie theaters, but it’s available online and I see people have found it; both entertaining and informative.
So, Donal’s just done another one, Cereal Killers 2. Not a very imaginative title, but it covers a lot; a number of things and both Tim and I are in it again.
The main story is about a guy called Sami Inkinen, who is a legendary figure in sort of an Ironman circles, former world champion; bit of a crazy guy. He decided that; he had become passionate about low-carb, high-fat, and he decided one of the best ways to test it out was to do a bit of rowing. And most of us go for a row on the river and we decide to row a kilometer down the river and back. He decided to; he and his wife decided to row a boat from San Francisco to Hawaii. So, which is not exactly your lazy afternoon row. And so, they both did that on a completely low-carb, high-fat diet and broke the previous record by a number of days and got there and yeah, he went.
So, I won’t tell the whole story, but Cereal Killers 2 is a lot about Sami’s story, he was assisted by Steve Phinney who is one of the sort of legends of research in the low-carb area and he was his advisor for the trip. Steve was out in Sydney recently and I caught up with him.
But it’s a great story and Donal’s a great storyteller. I haven’t seen the whole movie. I’ve only seen, probably like yourselves, the highlights. I think it comes out next month and I’m looking forward to seeing it. But again, it’s that combination of entertainment, but it’s a pretty interesting message, as well.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Peter Brukner: So, he’s a remarkable guy, Donal, very talented.
Stuart Cooke: It’s certainly a great mixture there and I’m intrigued as to whether it will ruffle a few feathers in the sporting world. Because Sami, specifically with his tri-athlete and Ironman heritage, it really does throw open the world of or move in the world of gels and sports drinks and goos and high carbs. So, I’m wondering how that will be received for that particular little circle of sports. What do you think? Do you reckon it will stir; cause a stir?
Peter Brukner: Oh, absolutely. It’s already and it has been for the last 12 months or so and I know that people have been passionate defenders of it. I mean, one of the very prominent sports dietician has said publicly that I should be in jail and Tim Noakes should be struck off and all of that sort stuff …
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Peter Brukner: … so people get very XXtechnical glitchXX [:30:02.4 to :30:04.6] …
Because there’s a lot of people that have got an awful invested in high-carb industry. Both from what they’ve been telling their clients and their patients, to the money they’re making from products and so on. So look, I think it’s, it is such a radical change and I can understand why people are reluctant to embrace it and are very resistant toward it. But overall all I would hope is that people have an open mind; they look at the scientific evidence and they talk to people who have experienced it and you know …
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Peter Brukner: XXtechnical glitchXX [:30:35.7 to :30:39.3] …
… high fat diet, whether it be for weight loss, for health reasons or for performance reasons have, hope, basically stuck to it, which is very unusual for a diet. Most diets people will do, I mean you can lose weight certainly on any diet really, but XXunintelligibleXX [:30:54.1] this is a highly sustainable, because you enjoy the food and you’re not as hungry and you have all sorts of other health benefits, like the triglycerides and the various XXunintelligibleXX [:31:08]. and so and so.
So, I think, certainly it’s people feel challenged and we need to have good healthy debate. We need better research and we need independent researchers, because so much of the research is done by the drug companies or by the food industry or the drinks industry that obviously have a vested interest it. So, we need some independent research to; you know, I personally, I think there’s enough research out there now, but I still think we need some more convincing evidence that this is the way to go.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fair enough. What if; if an endurance athlete stopped you on the street tomorrow that was a carb loader and you had two minutes, what would your advice be to him if he was looking into this? Just go cold turkey? Do it out of season? Or?
Peter Brukner: Yeah, I’d say, “I wouldn’t be doing it, you know, the week before my major competition and like that.” But I’d certainly say, “Look, I think, you know, you might well benefit from it. I don’t think, but it’s going to take probably a month. You need to, you know, it takes you somewhere between two and four weeks for the average person to become fat-adapted, so don’t worry if you do go, you know, ‘cold turkey,’ so to speak and turkey’s good on this diet; but do decide to go, you know, hard on the low-carb, high-fat diet, you know. Don’t worry if you don’t feel great for a couple of weeks, because there’s certainly some people who feel a bit, you know, ‘washed out’ as they adapt from a carbohydrates source of fuel to a fat source. Give it a month and see how your training is coming. How you feel yourself and how you cope with the diet.”
And nine times out of 10 I think people will find that they have positive response to the diet and they’ll continue on it.
And then as far as competition goes, like I said earlier on, it’s a matter of the individual finding out what’s right for you. Whether you do need to top up on some carbs on race day. Or whether you can manage perfectly well without, and that’s up to the individual.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Good advice. Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: So, what do you think the future holds for the medical industry where nutrition is concerned? Because there is still a huge amount of advice that tells us that we should eat lots of carbohydrates.
Peter Brukner: Yeah. Yeah. Look, I think it’s going to gradually turn. I think I said on Cereal Killers that it would take 10 years, but I think we’re now XXunintelligibleXX [:33:23.5] down the track and I think we’re actually made more miles than I would have expected. I think it’s going to be a gradual process. As I said, there’s a lot of people, I mean, if you’ve been told something for 30 years, I mean, and then you’ve been telling people something for 30 years, it requires a lot of sort of well, courage really or humility in a way to actually admit that, well, maybe we haven’t been entirely correct on this.
So, I, with my medical colleagues are always; they think I’m totally lost and I’ve gone loopy and going over to the dark side and so, hey, they’re probably right; but I buy them a copy of Nina Teichnolz’s book; I’m very happy it’s just come out in paperback, I’m getting it cheaper now, Big Fat Surprise, and I say to my medical colleagues, “Well, look, you know, okay would you read a book?” And some yeah, “Yeah. Yeah. Okay. I’ll read a book.” And I give them that book, and so far 100 percent of them have been converted after reading that book.
So, look, I think it’s going to take time because obviously there’s enormous money invested in the sugar industry and the processed food industry and the pharmaceutical industry and statins and so on.
So, you know there’s going to be a lot of resistance from industry and a lot of resistance from the medical profession as well, because, again, it’s hard to sort of change in midstream. But look, I’m convinced it’s the way to go and, again, I want to make the point that low-carb is not necessary for everyone. I mean, most young people metabolize carbohydrates perfectly well. I think it would help them to reduce them and reduce their sort of sugar intake, but they’re probably fine with a reasonable amount of carbohydrates.
It’s really the sort of the middle aged, pre-diabetic metabolic syndrome, overweight, you know, just likely to develop… I mean, the rate of obesity and type 2 diabetes in our society. It’s just skyrocketing.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Peter Brukner: And if you look at the graph, it’s more or less a straight line increase which started exactly 30 years ago, which is exactly when we told everyone to go less fat and all the dieters replaced that with more carbohydrates and it’s been a disaster.
I think people will look back in 50 years and say, “What on earth were they thinking?” And you know the damage that policy has done over 30 years is remarkable and we need to turn that around and we need to turn it around quickly. Because the diabetes epidemic in this world is costing Western societies enormous amounts of each and you know we’re always looking for fancier drugs and fancier medical equipment and so on. There is a one of the big solutions is just in diet and we better get that message across.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. And I do think the industry; the word is definitely getting out there again, aren’t they? We see more and more people, even dropping us emails, asking questions and people at least talking about it, whether they agree with or not, it’s definitely on the radar now, where it never used to be, I don’t think.
Peter Brukner: I think a lot of people take notice and, like, Tim Noakes and so on are doing a fantastic job. He’s much vilified in South Africa, but he’s very XXunintelligibleXX [:36:56.6 to :37:02.1].
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Has your family adopted this way of eating, Peter? Or is it just you?
Peter Brukner: Um, there’s mixed; I’ve got four kids; a wife and 4 kids. Wife’s been very supportive and we eat pretty much the same foods and one of the boys is a tri-athlete, sort of, just about a diet half on and building up and he’s pretty much adopted it as well. A couple of the others, their XXtechnical glitchXX [:37:33.7 to :37:36.3] she’s struggling with that, but they all think their dad’s crazy, but you know, I think XXunintelligibleXX [:37:40.4 to :37:41.8] doesn’t really make much difference.
Stuart Cooke: So, just for our listeners, Peter, and we always ask this question as well; can you just give us a brief outline of what you ate yesterday?
Peter Brukner: Well, my typical day is XXunintelligibleXX:37:55.2] good, because I’m on the road a lot with the cricket team, so I tend to try have a big breakfast. So, I’ll have for breakfast, I’ll have a combination of some full-fat Greek yogurt. I make up my own mix of some seeds …
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Peter Brukner: Some almonds and macadamias and walnuts and pumpkin seeds and chia seeds and so on. I carry that around with me in a little box with me wherever I go. Take that down to breakfast with me when I’m on the road. So, I mix that all together with the berries in the yogurt and make it my own sort of breakfast cereal, if you want to call it that. And then I’ll have some eggs and some bacon or smoked salmon or avocado or something with the eggs. So, XXtechnical glitchXX [:38:39.8 to :38.43.1] …
Then as I sit down, really, to eat during the day, I don’t each lunch. If I get a bit peckish mid-afternoon I might have a handful of nuts or a bit of cheese and then for dinner I’ll have, you know, the old meat and three veg or fish and three veg. So, I’ll have some meat or fish and leave the fat on, not the way I used to sort of trim all the fat off the meat, and then lots of green veggies, broccoli and beans and you know, all that sort of; cauliflower and so on. I don’t usually have dessert. If I do, I’ll have berries and cream …
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Peter Brukner: I drink a bit of coffee during the day with full-fat milk and then that’s pretty much it. If I need to drink, I’ll drink water, but mainly coffee and water and that’s pretty much it. Yeah, I enjoy; I enjoy every meal I have and, you know, everyone goes off at lunchtime and they go have lunch and I just sit around and do all the things, and I don’t feel at all hungry …
Stuart Cooke: Perfect. Perfect.
Peter Brukner: It’s very different to how I used to feel. I’d always been the first running out for lunch otherwise and so, it’s very different. Like I said, I’ve been able to maintain that regime and my bloods are all good and triglycerides are good. So, yeah, I’m pretty happy with the way things are.
Stuart Cooke: Perfect. Perfect. It sounds like the proof is in the pudding, or not.
Peter Brukner: It must have been in my pudding anyway, that’s for sure.
Stuart Cooke: Excellent.
Guy Lawrence: It’s such a good feeling though. Like I’ve adopted the high-fat diet now for five or six years. You know, generally I still have a little bit of carbs, but not much and the biggest thing that’s changed my life is the fact that my energy levels are steady every day and it’s just made a massive difference. I just, on a low note, definitely recommend at least trying it.
Peter Brukner: Yeah. I certainly, obviously, you know, a lot of people ask me about it and I’ve started a lot of my friends and colleagues on it and really it; particularly the middle age and overweight guys. I have a lot of guys and every single one of them has lost a significant about of weight. Males better than females and more consistent result in men than women. Women’s results are a little bit less consistent, but certainly in males who need to lose some weight. I mean, it just falls off you. It’s a very satisfying diet to be on when you get the rewards you get.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Absolutely. We’ve got one more question for you, Peter, before we wrap up and it’s another one we ask everyone. And it’s, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Peter Brukner: East real food.
Guy Lawrence: There you go.
Stuart Cooke: I like it. That works.
Guy Lawrence: It works very well.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, we do. We use that phrase quite often.
Peter Brukner: I think that’s the best advise. You can talk carbs and fat and so on, but I …
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Peter Brukner: … when you get down to it if you just eat real food rather than processed food, I mean, you’re going to be right.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Peter Brukner: You’re going to be a lot healthier.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Spot on. And that; for anyone listening to this, Peter, if; where can they get more of you?
Peter Brukner: More of me? XXunintelligibleXX [41:56.0] I’ve got a website and I’ve got a little sort of brochure on that website, “All You Need to Know About Low Carb/High Fat.” So, it’s just PeterBrukner.com. The Brukner is “brukner,” Everyone wants to put a “C” in there , but it’s just PeterBrukner.com and there you go.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, we’ll send out the link for that. We always do and so they can check it out.
And what does the future hold? Anything? Obviously the World Cup; that’s very exciting.
Peter Brukner: Yeah. Look, cricket is sort of my full-time job I guess, so we’re going to be ahead with the World Cup and the Ashes and then; but I write a text book of sports medicine, so we’re revising that, we’re at our fifth edition at the moment, so that keeps me; keeps me busy. I’ve got my practices in Melbourne. I’ve got really passionate about the whole nutrition aspects, so I’m doing everything that I can to promote that and I try to see the family as well. So, that’s about it for me.
Guy Lawrence: That was awesome. Well, thanks so much for coming onto the show, Peter. We really appreciate your time.
Peter Brukner: My pleasure.
Stuart Cooke: Yes. Thank you so much and enjoy the rest of the day.
Peter Brukner: Thanks a lot guys.
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely. Thanks Peter. Cheers, mate.
Guy: The word detox gets thrown around frequently in the health world, and I’ve come to believe it’s something not to take too lightly. I’ve personally experimented with many over the years (you can check out my detox journey here & here) and feel that getting expert guidance for this is a must if you want to do a thorough job!
I asked the lovely and amazing naturopath Lynda Griparic if she would share with us the best five tips for detoxing. This is a fantastic post and I have no doubt you’ll enjoy. Over to Lynda…
Lynda: We accumulate so many toxins in our body from the food that we eat, the lifestyle choices we make (smoking, recreational, medicinal drugs etc), to the environment we are exposed to (pollution, chemicals). These toxins wreak havoc and may present as hormone imbalances, weight gain, chronic fatigue, digestive issues, headaches, poor memory, concentration and immunity to name a few (sound familiar?). Regularly clearing toxins from the body benefits your overall health profoundly and helps keep you operating at your very best.
However the body is not always able to handle the toxic burden and your ability to process and eliminate the nasties may be compromised. Luckily there are many tailored detoxification programs available which help reduce the toxic overload and improve your bodies own ability to detoxify properly.
The following hot detox tips may seem very obvious and simplistic, however incorporating these five tips into your life can have a HUGE positive impact on your overall health.
1. Get off the sugar
Or fertilise the bad guys that will lead to bad breath, eczema, weight gain, horrendous memory recall, hormonal problems, un-satiated hunger, bloating and gas… it’s your choice.
Aside from sending your blood sugar to sky rocket levels and potentially causing insulin resistance, sugar is the fuel that nourishes your disruptive gut bacteria. A diet rich in sugar such as high fructose corn syrup affects the hormones that keep you feeling full and satisfied. So avoid these inflammatory substances and give your body a chance to detoxify well and perform as it naturally should.
2. Lay off the processed foods
Really, what are you eating? Do you even know? How are the chemicals within these products affecting your health? Would you feed a horse a diet of lollies, chicko rolls and coco pops and expect it to be happy, perform well and thrive? No, then why the flip would you stick foreign produce into your body and expect it to flourish? You really are playing with fire.
Avoid processed foods like the plague, shop on the perimeter of your supermarket, where food looks like food and buy whole, fresh food that you can recognize. Sure whole, fresh, real foods may not have a shelf life as long as your packaged and processed foes but they will not stress your liver and kidneys. Leaving them to carry on with more important things such as filtering toxins out of your bloodstream and getting rid of unwanted fat.
3. A poop a day keeps the toxins at bay
Put simply if you do not poop every day, you are generally recycling your own toxic garbage. When your poop leaves your body it takes with it inflammatory toxins. If you are constipated and are not completely emptying your bowels every day, chances are the toxins are having some fun, hanging out in your colon or are being re-absorbed by the body.
Why is this a problem? Well, a build up of toxins in the body can cause a wide range of issues as mentioned before from hormonal imbalances, impaired brain function (foggy mind, poor concentration, Parkinson’s etc), infertility, digestive issues, such as leaky gut and all of the problems that come with that. People can become constipated for many reasons, some of those are from the food they eat (or do not eat), emotional stress, travel etc.
Making sure that you get adequate fibre and manage your stress can help your bowels move and poop as they should. Get your lips around some fibrous brussel sprouts, kale and broccoli to name a few (180 is high in fibre too) or get some support from a naturopath or nutritionist on how you can adjust your diet to get all internal body systems cooperating.
4. Ditch the alcohol
A big one to stick to when detoxing and one people cling onto for dear life. “But alcohol contains antioxidant benefits right?” “Its anti-aging!” “It calms my nerves and keeps me sane!” I hear these comments all of the time and whilst not entirely untrue you are better off getting your antioxidants, anti-aging and stress relieving fuel from other sources.
Why, I hear you holler? Here are a few reasons to bin the rocket fuel while you cleanse the body. In a nutshell alcohol overburdens the liver. An organ we need to detoxify properly. When the liver breaks down alcohol it causes oxidative stress which can damage the cells of the liver. Our major organ of elimination. From this, inflammation can result as the liver works hard to repair itself. Wouldn’t you rather your body use that energy toward other things such as boundless stamina and concentration, or fabulous digestion instead?
Alcohol can also damage the intestines, allowing toxins from our gut bacteria to get into the liver, again overburdening the liver, causing more inflammation and reducing its detoxifying efficiency. Lastly, lets not forget that most alcohol beverages contain a significant amount of sugar. See hot tip one if you need a refresher on sugar.
(Guy: I’m a big advocate for reducing any kind of inflammation where possible for amazing health, sleep and energy.)
5. Don’t forget to add protein
While juice fasting has its place and has certainly become popular in the last decade, juice fasts that consist of fruit and vegetables only are not the best way to detoxify. Toxin elimination through detox requires amino acids, which comes from protein. Amino acids bind to toxic molecules and eliminate them from the body. Without a good amount of protein in the diet your body will not detoxify effectively. Unfortunately most juices lack a protein source and are generally comprised of sugars, water and fibre. In many cases people loose muscle mass as the body starts to use the amino acids from the muscle to support the detox process.
Including protein in your detox diet ensures that your body has adequate amino acids to effectively detox and will also ensure no muscle mass is lost.
Whether you are in it for the long run with a comprehensive detox overhaul, or just fancy an express detox, a well executed detox can leave you feeling younger, more energetic, motivated and can often reduce or resolve long standing imbalances and dis-ease in the body.
As everyone is so beautifully unique, I highly recommend getting support from a naturopath or nutritionist, especially if you have had long standing discomfort or ill health. A good practitioner will taylor the detox to suit your needs. They will often need to carry out a series of tests to make sure that the treatment works directly on what is causing your imbalance. Which of course saves you time and money in the long run, as well as put you on the path to great health.
Lynda is a fully qualified Naturopath and Nutritionist with over 13 years of experience in the health industry.
Lynda specialises in detoxification and weight loss. She has extensive experience in running healthy, effective and sustainable weight loss programs and has expertise in investigating and treating the underlying causes of weight gain and metabolic problems.
If you would like to book a consultation with Lynda, CLICK HERE
Are you ready to give your body the kick-start it needs?
Then join us for our 14 day cleanse – The 14-Day New Year cleanse is different to all the other cleanse programs available because it gives you the support of a private Facebook group. In this group, you can connect with everyone else on the cleanse in real-time as well as a team of experts including the founders of 180 Nutrition (Guy and Stu), our in-house nutritionist and our in-house naturopath.
Dave reveals his personal health journey & how he lost 100lbs [04:15]
What Dave eat’s in a day & why he doesn’t eat all morning sometimes [14:45]
The Bulletproof Diet. Why bulletproof coffee & intermittent fasting is so effective for health & longevity [20:10]
The fine line between CrossFit, exercise & overtraining [39:40]
Why he wrote the Better Baby Book [47:15]
This is a must: Dave’s single piece of advice for optimum health/wellness [55:10]
and much more…
Dave Asprey aka The Bullet Proof Executive is one exceptionally smart man. On top of that he’s a really great guy too! He shares with us his journey from being 297lbs (134kg) in weight to then hacking his health for the fastest & most effective results possible.
He’s also single handily changed the way I drink my coffee (& many others) in the morning. If you haven’t heard of the bulletproof coffee with MCT oil and grass-fed butter (yes you read that right), then it’s only a matter of time before you do! Guy
If you would like to learn more about Dave Asprey and the bullet proof diet, click here.
You can buy bullet proof coffee in Australia here.
Did you enjoy the interview with Dave Asprey? Would love to hear you thoughts in the Facebook comments section below… Guy
Dave Asprey: The bulletproof executive transcript
Guy Lawrence: I’m Guy Lawrence. This is Stuart Cooke. And our very special guest today is Mr. Dave Asprey. Mate, thanks for joining us. I really appreciate the time.
Dave Asprey: You’ve got it. I’m really glad to be here. I’m a huge fan of Australia. Love visiting.
Guy Lawrence: We’re in heaven over here. We both live near the ocean and we feel blessed, that’s for sure. Definitely.
Stuart Cooke: We certainly do. We make the most of it.
We’ve immersed ourselves in all things Bulletproof over the last month or so, because we knew that we’d be chatting to you. And I had a little bit of a question and a realization that you know a lot of stuff. A lot of stuff. And I think that if Google were a person, I think that person would be Dave Asprey. Have you figured out a way to connect to Google from your mind to kind of pull in this information? It’s insane.
Dave Asprey: Yeah, it’s actually this thing right here, see? It’s got a little Google USB port for the head and you just do that and. . . no. This is actually the upgraded focus Brain Trainer. It teaches you to move blood to the front of your head. But I haven’t got the Google direct connect, but I’ve often wished for just a docking station for whatever my PDA at the time is. It used to be a Palm Pilot. Now it’s an iPad or whatever. Samsung NX, I guess.
Stuart Cooke: I’m sure in the future it will all be very Matrix-style and we’ll dock ourselves into something. But let’s see what happens.
Guy Lawrence: Well, me and Stewie sat down the other day and we thought, Dave’s coming on the show, and what should we ask him? We had so many questions for you and so we’re gonna try to condense it and obviously for our listeners as well. And I thought we could start from the beginning, because I was listening to your Joe Rogan show, I think it was the first one, literally last week, and . . . listening to the Joe Rogan show and you mentioned that you were nearly 300 pounds overweight, which I didn’t realize.
Dave Asprey: I wasn’t 300 pounds overweight. I was 300 pounds in total; only a hundred pounds overweight. If I was 300 pounds overweight there’d be, like, stretch marks on my forehead.
Guy Lawrence: Fair enough.
Dave Asprey: I only have stretch marks around my midsection and, like, here. I do have a lot of stretch marks, but I got them when I was 16. It was no good.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, so I guess the question; the first question would be: Can you tell us about that journey from being overweight to where you are today, so people get to know a little bit about Dave if they’re not sure who you are.
Dave Asprey: Sure. It’s kind of funny, but I was just fat as a kid. And I never knew why. In fact, I always figured it was because I was too lazy or I ate too much; I didn’t have enough willpower or something like that.
And it got really bad. By the time I was done with my first four years of university, I was 297 pounds. I’d had three knee surgeries. I had arthritis in my knees when I was 14. And I was on antibiotics about once a month for 15 years straight for chronic sinusitis and strep throat and things like that.
I had nosebleeds five, 10 times a day, was pretty common. And I bruised easily and I still had played soccer for 13 years. I used to be a kind of competitive cyclist. But I was always fat. And it was kind of like, “Whatever. What can you do about it?”
And it was in my mid-20s I got really serious. Like: “This is enough.” And I started working out like six days a week, an hour and a half a day, 45 minutes of cardio, 45 minutes of weights. And the cardio was with a backpack full of bricks on a 15-degree incline, going up, not running but walking, enough that you’re panting like crazy.
And I never lost the weight. Got strong. Didn’t lose the weight. And I kept having the same problems. You know: bad skin, zits, body odor, just the whole nine yards. “What’s going on here?”
So I decided that I was gonna be a biohacker. I also noticed along the way here that my brain was failing. And this, maybe, is what really put a nail in that decision.
I was working at a company called 3Com in Silicon Valley. This was one of the pioneers in the networking business. It was 3Com or Cisco was gonna win and, well, Cisco won. But at the time, those were the two dominant players.
I would sit in meetings, and after the meeting, I would think, “I don’t really know what happened in there. I’m a zombie.” I’m sure I was there; people didn’t tell me I fell asleep but I’m pretty sure I was asleep. So, whatever.
And I got so concerned about this that I took out disability insurance at 26. Because I was scared: Like, how am I gonna make ends meet if I can’t work? I’m young. I should be in my prime and I think something’s wrong, but maybe it’s just me.
So I started measuring my performance on this simple solitaire game you can play on your computer called Freestyle. And I would plot it. And some days, the data showed I was a zombie. And it’s really liberating to have zombie data, because when you get that data it tells you that it’s not all in your head, so you can actually have a view of yourself.
That’s what we call self-awareness, really, but it was data-driven self-awareness. And what that did for me was it let me say, “All right. Now I need to attack a problem.” And being a computer hacker by trade, you know, I helped to create modern cloud computing; not like Al Gore created the Internet but, you know, I was at the company that created cloud computing called Exodus Communications and played a key role there.
So, given this whole: “How do you hack it? How do you get around it? How do you engineer a solution to a new problem?” I said, “All right. My brain is dead, so I’m gonna start taking smart drugs.” And it worked! I actually got my brain back enough that I could start upgrading the rest of my body.
And we go 15 years later, I’ve spent the last 10 years as president, chairman, or board member of an anti-aging research and non-profit group called Silicon Valley Health Institute. I’ve had a chance to talk to more than a hundred anti-aging doctors and researchers and physicians, and, kind of, people leading their field to understand what’s going on in the human body, what’s going on in the mind, how does the nervous system work, how does biochemistry work, how does the cell membrane affect things, what are neurotransmitters.
Not from a medical perspective. I’m married to a doctor and she knows more about the tibia, fibula, and the neck bone’s connected to the ankle bone stuff than I ever will, to be perfectly honest. But when it comes to hacking these systems to get the outcome you want, without knowing every intermediate step, which we don’t know in the human body. . . And, by the way, when you’re troubleshooting a complex cloud computing system, you don’t know every step in the middle either. You have to hypothesize and test.
So, that’s what I started doing with an N equals 1 experiment on myself way before Quantified Self was cool.
Guy Lawrence: That’s awesome. So, I guess, in a nutshell, that’s biohacking? Self-experimentation, to a degree?
Dave Asprey: There is two parts of it. There’s the Quantified Self angle, which isn’t really biohacking. This is kind of common. You get devices like this. This is a watch, although the battery’s dead, and it monitors your heart rate without a chest strap. And I’m actually; I’m a CTO of this company. It’s called Basis. And I usually only just wear it for show and it’s not that useful as a daily-wear watch. It’s not waterproof, for one thing. A slight problem. But it’s a cool gadget.
So, there’s also those scales where you weigh yourself every day. They upload to the web. And sleep monitors. I’m looking at; this is prototype one from a company called BEdit, which I’m super-excited about; I’m starting to work with those guys.
So, there’s all these devices that can tell you what’s going on in your body. Because, honestly, unless you’re a very unusual person, you probably suck at knowing what’s going on inside your biology.
You can teach yourself what’s going on. So, there’s this whole cognitive feedback loop where you’re, like, “OK, if I, at the end of the day or the week or the month, I look at what I did, I can learn more, and I can make a decision to do something different.”
The thing I discovered after doing that for a long time is that my intent and my decision would be: I’m gonna do acts to improve my health. Let’s say I’m not gonna eat bagels this week. Well, then, you’re in a meeting, halfway through the week, and you’re kinda tired and you’re kinda hungry and somehow you convince yourself that it’s a great idea to take a bite of that bagel. And then you go, “Damn it! I ate a bagel! I’m a failure. I’m a bad person.”
What’s going on there is a core part of biohacking. It’s that there’s parts of your nervous system way faster than your conscious thinking. And if you don’t manage those parts of your nervous system, they’ll convince you to eat the bagel. But it’s not actually you eating the bagel. It’s an avatar in your head eating the bagel. Right?
So, that’s what’s going on. And you can train that part of the body. It’s just like you train an animal. And the liberation that comes from understanding that when crazy thoughts pop into your head, or behaviours that are really not the behaviours that you intended, happen, that it’s a part of your automated defense systems of your body that are driving those behaviours, not your conscious decisions. And it’s also a sign, if you’re doing those things, that you need to learn how to manage the unconscious parts of your body, because that’s where all the trouble happens.
And the three kinds of trouble are really, really obvious. You’ll see these in any dog. Number one is: “Oh, look! Food! I’ll eat it. It doesn’t matter if it’s cat poop. It might be food. I’m gonna eat that, too.” Right?
Then you go, “All right. What else does a dog do? “Oh, look! A stick!” And distractibility; you’re all over the place.
And the final one, which is maybe my favorite, is, “Oh, look! A leg! I’ll go hump it.”
Those are the behaviours that get most people in trouble most of the time, and they’re all unconscious, high-speed behaviours that happen way faster than you can think about it and go: “Actually, come to think of it, I don’t want to hump that leg.” Your body’s already like, “Yeah, do it!” And it’s convincing you that you should do it. Well, that’s your body misbehaving. You’ve got to tell the body to behave itself.
Stuart Cooke: How would you; you have a lot of stuff going on in your life, I’m guessing. You know: with work and commitments and Bulletproof. Family. You know, a lot of stuff going on. How do you disconnect from that to rest and calm yourself, in the nighttime, you know, just to sleep.
Dave Asprey: Well, if you’re watching the video, let’s see. See that device back there? I connect my head up to it. OK. Not the one with all the dials and gauges. But the laptop, underneath them. That’s a neuro-feedback system. So I actually will play my brainwaves back to myself. You get the brainwaves from the head, and then you actually turn it into sounds and you play the sounds back to you.
So, my brain, even though it’s pretty darn highly trained; I’ve done this 40 years, the “Zen in 7 Days”-type thing and I have 40YearsOfZen.com. And things like that. So, I’m more aware than the average guy, but I’m sure there’s people that are more aware than I am. I just cheated. I didn’t spend an hour a day mediating for 40 years to get there. I spent a week hooked up to expensive computers.
But this is kind of a junior version of that, and what I’m doing there is I’m laying down on the floor, sitting in a chair, and just listening. And I hear music. And then the music kind of has static. And the static is happening when my brain is flopping from one state to another.
And the brain doesn’t like static very much. So, it’s says, “Oh, wait. I was flopping.” And it stops flopping around and it calms down. That’s one thing I might do to disconnect.
The other thing is, I have a 6-year-old and a 3-year-old and my computer would, like, break half the stuff from my office if I told it out of all this stuff it’s stuck to. But if I turned it around, you’d be seeing my office, my biohacking lab here, there’s a deck overlooking a little pond, and a forest surrounds me. So, I go out, I have lunch with my kids. I work from home. I work really hard. I work long hours. I’m up late at night. I’m talking with people. This is my fourth podcast today.
Guy Lawrence: Really? Wow.
Dave Asprey: Oh, yeah. And you can see my energy level. I’m doing pretty good, right?
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.
Dave Asprey: This is a guy who used to have chronic fatigue syndrome, Lyme Disease, small intestine bacteria overgrowth, mercury toxicity, obesity, pre-diabetes, really thick blood and high risk for a stroke and heart attack. Right?
If I can do this, imagine what you guys can do, because you’re nowhere near as screwed up as I used to be.
Guy Lawrence: Your days are packed, right? And everyone complains about short of time, they make bad food choices, there’s a million things of why they can’t look after their health. If you’re so busy, what do you eat through the day as well? How do you stay on top of that?
Dave Asprey: Number one, snacking is for people who are starving. You don’t need to snack if your body is well-fed. So, for breakfast this morning I had Bulletproof coffee made with upgraded coffee beans, which, by the way, you can buy in Australia. We actually have them stocked there now. And it’s OptimOZ is the name of the company.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, we know Leon.
Dave Asprey: He’s totally Bulletproof. He’s an awesome dude.
So, definitely check out OptimOZ. You get the beans there. And does it really matter, the beans? Actually, it does. If it didn’t, I wouldn’t make the darn things. Like, I’m not interested, and certainly not in the business of making stuff that’s, like, “Oh, yeah, everyone else has that but I have it, too.” I try to find things that are unique and that work really effectively. And most of the world. . . Actually, that’s not true. Europe and Asia have certain standards for coffee that other countries don’t have. So, while we’re getting poor-quality coffee that affects your brain thought.
So, you start Bulletproof coffee, the beans, grass-fed butter, and, by the way, there’s awesome grass-fed butter available in Australia. When I was there, I found three or four different brands when I looked around. I thought that was kind of cool. And it was really good, too.
And then, from there, I added Upgraded Collagen, which is a protein supplement that I make. I don’t always put that in in the morning. Usually I just do Bulletproof intermittent fasting, which is just the coffee, MCT oil, upgraded MCT, upgraded coffee, and butter.
Some days, because I worked out two days ago, I’ve gotta have a little extra protein. I’ll do that.
Lunch, I had a salad with a ton of guacamole. Slide a little salad dressing on it, made from scratch, relatively easy to make. Immersion blender, sliced-up cucumbers, and some cold salmon left over from either last night or this morning. So, basically, it’s salmon salad.
And that was around 1:30. And then I haven’t had any snacks. That would be completely like; I don’t even want to have a snack. I’d get tired if I had a snack.
So, I will get again. . . Let’s see. It’s 5:30 my time. I’ll have dinner around 6:30 and it will probably be like a steak or a hamburger, a bunch of vegetables prepared from the Upgraded Chef book, which is basically a soup. I’ll put a bunch of steamed vegetables, a bunch of butter, MCT, blend it with some spices, and maybe some other vegetables or some other side dish. I’m not sure. I’m not gonna be cooking that dinner.
If I was cooking it, I could have it on the table within 20 minutes of starting to cook, and that would be the biggest meal of the day. Lunch was a five-minute meal. Breakfast was a five-minute meal.
Stuart Cooke: Pretty quick. So, starches, grains at all?
Dave Asprey: Probably not today. If I was gonna have any kind of starch, it would be at the evening meal. And, grains, the only grain I would touch would be white rice. The rest of the grains, honestly, if you can afford it, don’t eat them. They are not gonna make you live longer. They are not good for your health.
Stuart Cooke: And even these new “wonder grains,” the, like quinoa, I guess, that they are saying is kind of this fantastic health-giving grain?
Dave Asprey: Are those the same people that said soy was a fantastic, health-giving food?
Stuart Cooke: Could be. Could well be.
Dave Asprey: Here’s the thing. It doesn’t have strict gluten in it, but if you were a seed, let’s say, who evolved as a seed. Your function is to not be food for animals because then you don’t get to sprout. Your function is to sprout. Your function is not to spoil, because there’s a lot of bacterial and fungal pressure on carbohydrate sources.
So, basically, everyone wants to get what’s in you. So, do you just sit there and die and then not evolve as a species and become extinct, or do you develop natural pesticides and coat yourself in them, which make animal sick if they eat too much of you and repel other invaders?
Well, that would be what we call “whole grains.” So, grains have phytic acid and they have a whole bunch of other defense systems, mostly lectin-based, which is a kind of protein that sticks; a kind of sugar that sticks to. . . I’m sorry; I have it backwards. It’s a kind of protein that sticks to a sugar that lines your cells. And it’s a problem.
So, if you were to eat a legume or a grain, what you’d want to do is you want to soak it for a long time and then you want to sprout it a little bit to deactivate most of the defense systems.
But, honestly, even if you do that, you’re still getting a lot of starch. It’s gonna raise your insulin. It’s gonna raise your blood glucose levels higher than you want. So, why don’t you just eat white rice, which is the least toxic of all of the grains? Don’t eat it all the time. Not for breakfast. Eat it a couple of times a week on a Bulletproof diet once a week. Like, have a day where you eat a lot of starch to refuel so you don’t get adrenal stress from being always in fat-burning mode.
But you want to be in fat-burning mode a couple of days a week, at minimum.
Guy Lawrence: I’ve got a question for you, Dave, and I’m sort of jumping forward a bit, but with the Bulletproof coffee, because I’ve been doing that now probably for a month. I’ve been putting the MCT on in and the grass-fed butter in the morning and I put it up on Facebook and the first thing, question, was, you know, “Why?” And they were, like, “Why MCT oil? Why intermittent fasting?” So, I thought I’d ask you that question so you could explain it, because you’ll explain it a lot better than I would.
Dave Asprey: All right. First, intermittent fasting is well-established to change your genetic expression in such a way that it replicates long-lived animals. So, basically, if you want to live a long time, you at least want to make an animal live a long time, you cut back on the number of calories they eat, and they live longer.
That’s true for humans, too, and there’s a group of people, some of whom are my friends, who have gone on those radical, low-calorie diets and they walk around looking like sticks and they’re super-thin. And I don’t actually advocate that in the slightest. But it is an anti-aging sort of proposed technique.
You can get most of the same benefits of doing that by just not eating for 18 hours a day.
Now, if you’re like I was in my; when I was 25 or 28, the idea of not eating for 18 hours was repellant and offensive, because it would disable me. I used to, like, stop meetings at 11:45. “Sorry, guys. I know that the meeting goes till lunch, but if I don’t have lunch right now, I’m gonna kill one of you and eat your arm.”
And, literally, I would just stand up and walk out. And people were, like, “Are we gonna finish the meeting?” And I was, like, “Sorry. I don’t really care because I’m not here.”
Guy Lawrence: “I have to eat.”
Dave Asprey: Yeah. And now I’m like, 18 hours, whatever. I can go 24, 36. It’s really not a big deal. At 36 hours I’m gonna be kind of hungry, a little tired, but it’s not gonna kill me.
And what’s going on there, with intermittent fasting, is that you’re telling your body, “OK, there’s no food here, so you might as well take all this stuff you’re ready to digest food and use it to clean yourself out.” It’s a processed called autophagy. And it turns on.
So, you get some real benefits, including weight loss, that come just from intermittent fasting. The down side is that people who live a high-intensity life like I do, or even just people who have kids and a job, OK, you’re gonna end your 18 hours right at about 2 o’clock in the afternoon. So, the time when you’re coldest and tiredest is right in the middle of your workday. And you’re gonna be cranky. So, people can’t stick with it.
What I did with Bulletproof intermittent fasting is I said, well, let’s look at what fasting really does. It turns off the protein digestion and the sugar digestion cycles. But if you eat only pure fat, which, in this case, with coffee, what happens is that your body thinks you’re still fasting but you get all the energy from the fat. So, you get this laser focus; this amazing energy.
And why grass-fed butter and MCT oil? Let’s talk first about inflammation. Inflammation is a major issue in human performance. If you’re inflamed, you’re less likely to perform well and you’re more likely to get sick. In fact, you might just be sick, which itself can be a cause of inflammation.
So, when you eat butter from grass-fed cows, you’re getting a short-chain fatty acid called butyric acid. It’s shown in publicly available studies to decrease brain inflammation. When you have a decrease in brain inflammation, your brain can actually conduct the electricity faster. You think faster.
Butyric acid also is one of the things that cures your gut. So, this is just a normal thing butter does, but short-chain fatty acids help to keep the gut lining intact. So, people who practice this Bulletproof intermittent fasting and put grass-fed butter in their coffee are getting the benefits of the grass-fed butter.
And then we have the benefits of coffee oils themselves. You need to brew your coffee using the upgraded beans without a paper filter. This means a French press, a gold filter in your coffee maker or espresso. Coffee oils themselves are anti-inflammatory for two different inflammation pathways in the brain. So, you’re using coffee as like a performance-enhancing kind of herbal thing.
And you do that and, to cap it all off, you add upgraded MCT oil. Upgraded MCT oil does something kind of magic. It’s six times stronger than coconut oil in terms of this one effect. And the effect is that normally we burn sugar all the time. And it takes 26 steps to turn sugar in your diet into ATP or the fuel in your cells. It takes three steps to turn the MCT oil into ATP energy in your cells. MCT goes to BHB and then it goes to co-enzyme A and then it goes straight to ATP.
What this means is, think about, like, a hybrid car. You have an electric motor and a gas motor. And you’re the same way. You can run on fat and you can run on sugar. Well, if you want to be most powerful, you should metabolically be flexible to work either one when your body needs it, or even, better yet, to burn both at the same time.
So, when you’re drinking this cup of coffee, you’re seriously hacking your brain. You’re turning off inflammation. You’re giving it an addition energy source it didn’t have before. And you’re telling your body and your brain, including your stomach, like: “Hey, it’s time to take a break here.”
So, it’s having the benefits of intermittent fasting without paying the price. In this case, you can have your butter and eat it, too.
Stuart Cooke: Wow. That’s insane. Now, I have to confess, and I don’t know how this is gonna go down, but I have never had a cup of coffee in my life, ever.
Dave Asprey: Why’d you let him on the podcast?
Guy Lawrence: I’ve been putting cups of coffee in front of him: “Mate, you’ve gotta try this. This changed the way I drink coffee forever.” And he. . .
Stuart Cooke: And another confession, Guy, I’ve been sneaking some of your MCT oil into my smoothie that I’ve been making ‘round at your place.
Dave Asprey: I do that all the time. MCT in smoothies is awesome. And if you want to, like, rock your world, make guacamole. Just mash up avocados and squirt MCT in it and mash it up some more. It changes the mouth feel of foods without changing the flavor. It’s phenomenal. I put it in everything. I pour it on my vegetables. I don’t like going without it.
Stuart Cooke: We do that. I had a whole avocado coconut oil smoothie just before we came on here. But I am intrigued to want to try a cup of your Bulletproof coffee now that you’ve explained exactly what’s happening with it.
Dave Asprey: There are, I would say, I know probably a hundred people who didn’t drink coffee who decided to try coffee as a nutritional supplement, essentially. Where they were saying, OK, green tea has certain known effects. Well, coffee does, too.
And what no one talks about is that coffee is the number one source of antioxidants in most of the Western world. It blows wine out of the water. If you’re going around having a glass of red, nice Australian wine thinking it’s for the antioxidants, like, seriously, have two espresso shots and you’ll have, like, 17 cups of wine worth of antioxidants. It’s that big of a difference.
Guy Lawrence: Is that right?
Dave Asprey: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: How does that stack up against green tea as an antioxidant?
Dave Asprey: It dominates green tea. Green tea’s number two but coffee wins.
Guy Lawrence: There you go. OK.
Stuart Cooke: All right. You know what you’re going to be doing tomorrow, Guy. You’re going to be making two cups of coffee and I think I’ll record myself drinking my very first cup of coffee and we’ll put it out across Facebook.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.
Dave Asprey: That’s gonna be cool. I really want, not just to have you drink it, I want a recording of you 30 seconds to an hour after you drink it going, “Whoa!” And here’s warning: Well, actually, you already take MCT oil. You’ll be fine. There are a group of people who have to start out with just a teaspoon of MCT oil until they get used to it, because their body is turned off metabolically that if you turn everything on all at once, they get, like, they feel sweaty and hot and it’s a little bit uncomfortable.
Stuart Cooke: Oh, OK. OK. And I hear that loose bowels as well, if you’re not used to this kind of stuff? I mean, it will clean you out that way?
Dave Asprey: We call it “Disaster Pants.”
Stuart Cooke: Right. OK.
Stuart Cooke: If you take too much of it and you’ve never had it before, it’s bad. In fact, there’s a reporter from Yahoo! News, really awesome woman, super into Bulletproof, and I’m not gonna name her because, well, I said “Yahoo! News”; maybe it’s too late. But she ignored the warning, being kind of a Bulletproof mindset, said, I’m, like, “Start slowly!” And she took like a half a cup of MCT oil in her first coffee. Which is a big dose. I think that would affect me and I kind of take the stuff all the time. And she said, “Ah, I felt kind of strange afterward.” And at the end of her story she kind of reported that.
But, yeah, that’s what happens if you take too much. So, it’s a really powerful thing. It’s like the octane booster stuff you can put in your car. You can buy it at the automotive store and you put it in the tank and it raises. . . Well, if you only put that in your gas tank, well, you’re gonna start your car up and it will shoot out the back. It’s the same idea.
Stuart Cooke: I’m going to shop for a man nappy this afternoon. And then I’ll come round, I’ll be very prepared at Guy’s place.
Guy Lawrence: I like that you’re trying it at my place, not yours.
Stuart Cooke: I’ve got kids here. I don’t want to mess the toilet.
Dave Asprey: You already put it in your smoothies. You’ll be fine.
Guy Lawrence: We should give that a go.
Stuart Cooke: We are; Guy and myself, we’re very focused on nutrition and we’re gonna hit you with the million dollar question of cause. Which is kind of crazy. But in a nutshell, why are getting fatter?
Dave Asprey: There’s a lot going on there.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Dave Asprey: The short answer is, we could blame Apple; the computers. They seem responsible for lots of environmental ills. So. . .
Stuart Cooke: OK. Let’s blame them.
Dave Asprey: I’m only saying that in jest. There’s many different factors involved. But one of them actually is your electronic devices. And it has to do with circadian rhythm and how you go to sleep and how well you sleep and your melatonin levels.
Stuart Cooke: Very interesting. We’ve done a bit of research into EMR and EMF as well, and being aware that we’re living in an environment now where we are exposed to wifi and stuff like that and how that can mess up with your natural rhythms of your body. So, I can certainly understand where you’re coming from there.
Dave Asprey: That’s a part of it. I don’t think EMF is necessarily the top thing that makes us fat. It increases myological stress. And stress does cause weight gain.
But it’s actually the light that comes off these devices. One of the things I do with my Bulletproof coaching clients, and part of what I do is I set aside time every week and I have a set of coaching clients around the globe and I just do it over Skype, but we talk about, like, hedge fund managers and entrepreneurs and CEOs and people who are really into high performance and occasionally like a pro athlete or someone.
But it’s usually people who are really, like, “How do I have the energy and the focus to just go all day long and to manage all these stresses in life?” And it’s always sleep that’s a problem when we start our sessions. And then we hack that first.
So, staring at a bright light, including your iPhone screen, including your computer, at night, after the sun goes down, really jacks up your biological systems. You don’t make melatonin for four hours after you look at a bright light, even if you get up in the middle of the night, you flip on the lights to go the to bathroom, flip ‘em off, you’re done. You’re not making melatonin again that night. And that’s a problem.
So, in our house, we have a light in our bathroom, and this is something I carry on the website, but it’s a light that doesn’t emit any blue spectrum. It’s like a yellow bulb. And when you turn that on, you don’t hurt your melatonin.
When I’m here in my office at night, I have software that turns down the intensity and changes the color spectrum. But it’s not enough. Either I wear orange glasses or I do this.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah! Right. OK.
I’ve seen the orange glasses, and I’m aware of the blue light, and. . . Yeah, insane. So, where would we get the glasses from and how would we wear them?
Dave Asprey: The cheapest glasses are laser protection goggles made by Uvex on Amazon. I have a pair right by my bed so I’m not gonna, like, disconnect from the headphones and grab them. Normally they’re on my desk.
And you just wear them after the sun goes down. You don’t have to wear them every night. But you really will sleep better.
And the other thing is, turn off the LEDs in your room. Every single LED, whatever color, but especially blue and green. Put black tape over them. The curtains, if there’s light coming around, get another curtain to put over the top of that. You should be able to open your eyes at night and not see anything. When you do that, you will sleep profoundly.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. That’s insane. Sleep has been a big topic, I think, especially for us. Me in particularly because I have; my sleep has been shot for the last five years. But I think I’ve been through a journey where we’ve looked at magnesium. We’ve looked at melatonin supplementation as well. We’ve looked at EMF; moving the bed, you know, outside of heavy fields.
But it was only the other night that I thought, you know, I reckon it might be down to my sinuses. Because I was a mouth-breather at night. And I thought, wow, that’s really insane. And I have quite a clear nose, and when I lay down, my nose gets quite stuffy and I breathe through my mouth. So, I did a little experiment last night and bought a nasal decongestant and blast it up each nostril. Super clear. Went down and had a great night’s sleep. Which is insane.
Dave Asprey: You need to do an allergy, like a blood allergy panel. If this is happening when you lie down but not the rest of the time. . . What’s your comforter made out of? How old is it? Do you have a dust mite cover on your bed? And maybe you have an allergy to dust mites. But environmental allergies will decimate your sleep. And so will food allergies. You could have a dairy intolerance or something. And if you’re eating dairy protein and you shouldn’t be, that would cause your sinuses to be more congested.
But I see this all the time. In fact, even for me this was a problem about 18 months ago. My wife is from Sweden and they sleep with these ridiculously thick, like, sheet things but they’re; I grew up in a desert. I sleep with, like, a sheet and a blanket like a civilized person. But these Vikings, I tell ya, featherduster things. Whatever. So, I noticed she fluffed it. I was, like, “Bleh! What is that?” She said, “Oh, these don’t ever go bad. These feather things are good forever.” Like, it’s 20 years old, get it out of here and let’s try it without. And my sleep quality improved, too.
So, check out your mattress. And they have these, like, closed-cell, hypoallergenic covers. Totally get one of those. Put an air filter in your room. And see what happens. You might be amazed.
But that’s not why we’re all fat. It’s only a part of it.
You’ve got to read my sleep-hacking post. There’s a bunch more stuff like that.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, I’ve been through them and we’re gonna be pushing it out to our readers. Because I know that sleep is a huge thing.
Guy Lawrence: But would it be fair to say, than, that if your sleep falls apart then that’s the base of; that’s gonna cause all the other problems as well. Because if you’re not sleeping well and you’re tired, you’re gonna start making wrong decisions as well, aren’t you?
Dave Asprey: Well, not necessarily. I did two years where I ate 4,000 calories a day. I didn’t exercise at all. And I slept five hours or less per night every night. In fact, sometimes only two hours.
And I actually grew a six-pack during that time. And I don’t think I made bad decisions.
You can train yourself to, as you go through stress conditioning, to make great decisions while you’re tired. And one of the things that’s really strange is that a lot of what happens when you’re operating in a tired state is that that dog in your body that I was referencing earlier; it’s worried. It’s like, “Oh, my God! I’m tired. I’m gonna die.” And it has this little: “Go to sleep! Aaa!”
So, there’s a lot of, like, nervous energy that comes from being tired that’s unnecessary. It’s when you train that part of your nervous system to basically accept the fact that you’re tired and you’re not gonna die, you’re still gonna do what needs doing and you’re gonna to go to sleep, that’s what happens in boot camp in the military. That’s one of the reasons that they torture you like that, so you realize, yeah, you can function at the level you need to function, even if you’re really tired. And when you realize that, the stress of being tired, not the stress of not getting enough sleep, but actually just the worry about the state, goes away and suddenly your performance goes up dramatically. And I’ve certainly done that.
Stuart Cooke: So, how many hours a night would you get of quality sleep?
Dave Asprey: I get about five hours a night, usually. Lately, in the last six months, I’m doing an experiment. I’m like, OK, maybe I really do need more. So, I’ve gotten my average up to five hours and 57 minutes over the past six months. I have a little monitoring device.
Stuart Cooke: I was gonna say, can you be a little bit more precise in that timing?
Guy Lawrence: Would you increase that sleep if people are exercising a lot?
Dave Asprey: Oh, absolutely. One of the reasons that I’m a huge fan of the exercise protocols on the Bulletproof Executive, which are based largely on Body By Science by Doug McGuff is, well, I don’t really have a lot of recovery time. So, I’m going to, after this, after we’re done here, I’m gonna go up and have dinner with the kids, play with the kids, spend some quality time with my wife, and around 9 p.m. I’m gonna come back here and I have another three hours of stuff scheduled. And then I’m probably gonna write something and I’ll go to bed around 2 and I’ll wake up around 7:30 or 8.
And I do this over and over and over and over. So, what was your original question? I forget.
Guy Lawrence: Increasing sleep with exercise.
Dave Asprey: So, basically, if I work out, I’m gonna have to add at least an hour to that. So what I’ll do today is I’ll probably stand on my whole-body vibration platform (I have an Ultra Vibe) and that’s gonna get my lymphatic circulation going, it’s gonna get all the muscles firing, more so than a walk for an hour would, really. Because 30 times a second, my body’s doing this.
And while I’m doing that, I can relax, I can close my eyes, or, heck, I can watch something on TV if I want to, like it’s totally free time.
But I’m only gonna lift weights once this week.
Stuart Cooke: So, for those of us that don’t have access to a system like you just explained, is there anything that we can do that will simulate the effects?
Dave Asprey: Well, the rebounder, the old little trampoline that you jump on? It’s a really good detoxing thing. It’s good strengthening. It keeps your bones strong. The problem is, you’re gonna do one a second. I’m doing 30 a second. So, you might want to rebound for a half-hour or something.
Guy Lawrence: Three days.
Stuart Cooke: That’s awesome. Guy, I think why don’t we go into the overtraining as well.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, sure, absolutely. Because that was another question. You know, I CrossFit a fair bit. I see guys that do a lot of training. A lot. And I’m always conscious of where’s that line between exercise for, you know, athleticism, and then also overtraining, and, you know, doing yourself more harm than good long-term. What would your take on that be?
Dave Asprey: I love the intensity of CrossFit. I don’t like the frequency of CrossFit.
And it’s so easy to make a daily habit, and so I totally understand why you’d want to do that. And when I used to exercise six days a week, that made it really easy because you just do it every day. It’s much harder to stick with something you do once or twice a week. It requires a calendar and scheduling and an amount of self-discipline a lot of people don’t have.
So, with CrossFit, I see this very often in my clients. In fact, one of them who lives in Australia was getting ready to compete in the CrossFit Games and just, like, lost his mojo. Like, his passion for life was going down. And he’s a pretty high-performance guy. And I said, “Look. Your sleep quality is disrupted.” One of things that comes from overtraining is completely useless sleep and not very much of it.
And I said, “Why don’t you just get a cortisol panel? Like, get a blood test. And let’s see. I can predict what’s gonna happen here.” And he got it and his cortisol was sky-high. So he backed off on his number of workouts and his zest for life returned very quickly. It helps, too; he had made a mistake some people make on the Bulletproof Diet. They go low-carb and they feel so amazing when they’re eating just the meat, vegetables, and 60 percent fat, maybe, from the healthy kinds of fat. You just have just this Bulletproof state. It feels so amazing when you get there.
The problem is, you stay in it. He wasn’t doing the carbohydrate refueling that I recommend for guys at least once a week. If you’re lifting heavy during CrossFit, you probably need to do that twice a week. And there’s some people who try to stay in ketosis all the time and do CrossFit and your adrenals are not gonna like that eventually.
So, it’s a dangerous thing to be overtrained. It’s no different to overtrain than it is to starve yourself by not eating enough of the right food or to be under, like, huge amounts of emotional stress. Even, like, a divorce or, you know, your house burning down or something like that. The level of stress your body goes under, it doesn’t matter if it comes from exercise or nutrition or factors emotionally around you. You have a bucket of stress you can handle every day, and we measure that in adrenal reserve.
So, if you’re gonna kind of beat the crap out of your body by overtraining at that level, you need to support your adrenals first and foremost. Number one recommendation: a teaspoon, maybe half a teaspoon, of salt in the morning. Sea salt in a glass of water, right as soon as you wake up.
And that sounds a little weird, but when you wake up, here’s what happens in your body. This is not what happens up here. This is what happens in a mammal; the dog inside you. So, your eyes open and it says: “I’m gonna have to get out of bed. If I stand up real quick, there might not be enough blood pressure, so there won’t be blood in the brain. If that happens, I’ll fall down and hit my head on a rock and a tiger will eat me. Then I would die. That would suck.” So, it’s an emergency situation.
So, immediately the adrenals turn on. They create cortisol and adrenaline and the cortisol is working really hard to raise potassium like it does in the morning to lower potassium, which happens in morning. Well, if you give it the sodium that it’s trying to do, it stops freaking out and at that point you’ve saved that adrenal reserve for later in the day to handle other stressors in life.
And this is a really powerful technique. And it’s something they use for people who have dysfunctional adrenal glands. But you can use it even if you have functioning adrenal glands to give yourself more kick later in the day.
The down side? If you have too much salt in the morning, it’s gonna give you Disaster Pants. So, start with half. . .
Guy Lawrence: So, if you up the salt and up the MCT if you haven’t done it before, then you’re in for a treat.
Dave Asprey: Pretty much the worst of all is if you do salts; a ton of salts, a ton of MCT, maybe some extra magnesium, and then stand on the whole-body vibration platform.
Stuart Cooke: That is fascinating. So, you take the salt before you get out of bed, so you’d have it by your bedside table?
Dave Asprey: That is the most ideal way to do it but then you have to think ahead. I just kind of wake up in the morning and I pop a handful of amino acids and stuff like that. I throw some salt in the hand and swallow it.
Guy Lawrence: Bang. Fantastic.
Stuart Cooke: So, you’re talking about popping salt and amino acids. Supplementation. I hear on the grapevine that you supplement quite well, and in the past you have taken quite a lot of supplements. What do you currently take?
Dave Asprey: It’s kind of a long list, still. At the height at my, kind of, anti-aging and also recovery regimen, recovering from years of my body not working very, I took 187 capsules a day.
Guy Lawrence: Wow.
Dave Asprey: Yeah. So, I think I had Ray Kurzweil by two capsules or something. This famous inventor who also has an anti-aging program and all.
And that requires a certain amount of organization and planning, and it also is kind of expensive. But what I do now is I have kind of three groupings a day. There’s one in the morning, because there’s things that work best on an empty stomach or things where it doesn’t matter. So, I take those when I first wake up.
Then there’s a group of things that you take with a meal. And if I’m on the road, I’ll take them usually with dinner. If I’m at home, I’ll usually take them with lunch. It doesn’t really matter.
And those are things that are gonna upset your stomach if you take them on an empty stomach, or things that require fat in order to be absorbed. And then the final thing is right before bed I take another small handful of pills. And these are things that enhance sleep and recovery. So, kind of in reverse order. At night, I would take GABA, theanine, magnesium, vitamin C, and glutathione; the liposomal form, in fact, that I was squirting in before the show. The stuff; upgraded glutathione.
Guy Lawrence: I’ve got that. Yeah, I take that, yeah.
Dave Asprey: Yeah, and it doesn’t taste great. I’m working on making it taste better.
Guy Lawrence: It’s interesting taste. The first time I had a shot of that under my tongue, I was, like, “Whoa! That’s pretty. . .”
Stuart Cooke: Well, the smell is pretty extreme. It smells powerful.
Dave Asprey: It’s a sulfur-bearing molecule. It is made out of sulfur and it is not pleasant-tasting, but I don’t know if either of you felt really strong effects from it. A lot of people really notice it. And I even know a nationally renowned author who’s a shaman and writes about shamanic experiences in Peru and things like that who uses glutathione regularly because he can get into those really advanced meditation states better for it.
So, I have no doubt in my mind that glutathione enhances cognitive function and there’s lots of studies about that. So, it also works for detox reasons. And we live in a world full of chemicals that cavemen didn’t deal with, so the idea that I’m gonna get my vitamins from my foods, great, just get your toxins from Mother Nature and you’ll be perfectly balanced. Not gonna happen.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, well, cognitive function I guess, Guy, try a couple of sprays tomorrow. See what happens. See how that works for us.
We had a question regarding a book that you’ve written as well. And kind of moving forward a little bit. It’s a babies book. Now, I’ve got three kids who have got lots of friends with books. There it is.
Dave Asprey: I don’t know if you can see it.
Stuart Cooke: I can see it.
Dave Asprey: There we go. No, that’s not my wife, by the way. Stock photos. Wiley, my publisher, was evil about that. They’re like, “No.” I’m like, “You haven’t even seen the photos!” They said, “We don’t care. We always use stock photos.”
Stuart Cooke: I wondered if you could just briefly explain what the book is about, as well, for our audience.
Dave Asprey: Sure. The Better Baby Book (by the way, BetterBabyBook.com would be the place to go to learn more) is what my wife and I did to reverse her infertility. When she was 35, she was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome and told she wouldn’t be able to have kids. We had our first child at 39 and our second at 42 without any fertility treatments other than what’s in the book.
And what’s in the book is how do you use food and the environment to change the way your body reacts and to change even the genetic expression of your children.
We learned, about 15 years ago, that the environment changes your genetic expression and those changes are inheritable. We learned then and then no one ever said what to do with that information. So, I went out and, as a biohacker, we compiled 1300 references to all sorts of things you could do to decrease inappropriate inflammation, to reduce the chances of autoimmune problems, and to increase pregnancy health.
And our midwife, who has delivered 700 kids, said of Lana; she said, “You have the healthiest maternal tissues of any woman of any age I’ve ever worked with.” This is to a 42-year-old woman. Which is pretty amazing, because she’s delivered babies from 24-year-olds quite frequently.
So, to be able to have that healthy of a pregnancy blew our midwife away and she convinced us to write the book about all the things we had done to give our kids every advantage that was already theirs. We just wanted to maximize the chances of what was already them, just giving them the opportunity to express it.
The results have been really profound and there’s lots of women now who visit my wife for her coaching practice over Skype. She helps women with fertility and with pregnancy know what to eat and know what to do and look at their progesterone and estrogen levels and things like that.
And I wrote this book because my goal is for there to be 10,000 less children with autism as a result of the program in the book. And I wrote it before The Bulletproof Executive, which is the book I’ve been itching to write. But I wrote this because, honestly, you have the most leverage. The younger you are when you start biohacking or optimizing systems and looking at how the environment affects you, the more leverage you have. So, preventing problems in the womb has the highest leverage. Trying to take a 90-year-old person and make them young again is a lot more work, a lot more pain, a lot more money, and a lot harder to do than taking a baby and just helping them form properly in the first place. That’s why I put so much energy and about four years into writing this book.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, fantastic. We saw the little video, I can’t remember, you were talking on a microphone and you mentioned the book and it’s just fascinating stuff. And one thing that intrigued me as well is what you feed your kids as well. Because I think so many parents struggle with that. And what we see, isn’t it, Stu, you know obviously you see it a lot more as well with. . . It’s amazing.
Dave Asprey: It depends when you start. So, my wife, I mentioned she’s Swedish, so sardines are a treat or chicken liver. So, when you eat things; at least when the mother eats things, the baby gets a taste for them later in life. And when you feed them to children when they’re very young, they get used to it.
So, my kids, they eat meat, they eat lamb, and they eat beef, and they love avocados. And vegetables are something you eat raw or cooked; it doesn’t really matter. I don’t get away with cutting any vegetable we eat without them walking into the kitchen and saying, “Can I have some of that?”
So, cauliflower’s good, broccoli’s good, all of that, because it’s just food. There’s no discussion about it.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right.
Dave Asprey: And if they say, “I don’t like that,” at the table, then: “OK, that’s fine. But it’s what we’re having for dinner. You don’t have to eat it.” “I want something else!” “Well, actually, that’s not what we’re having for dinner.”
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, that’s how it is.
Dave Asprey: They’ve never left the table; they’ve never left the table hungry. They think about it, they decide what to do, and there was one time, my 3-year-old, he’s a boy, so he’s a bit more strong-willed. And he said, you know, like, “OK, fine. I’m going.” And an hour later: “I’m hungry!” “You’re gonna be hungry till morning.” That was the last time he ever did that.
So, honestly, your kids, if they eat normal foods; normal on a Western diet, they’re starving inside. Literally, they have food cravings all the time caused by the foods they’re eating. So, they have a desperate need to eat. And of course they want to eat things that are gonna give them the most glucose and the most fat, because that’s what the liver uses to remove toxins from the body. You want to oxidize something, you need the fuel, and those are the two fuel sources. Protein’s crappy fuel. It makes more toxins in the liver than it takes out.
So, when you get to that perspective and you realize how hungry your kids are like that, number one, give them fat. They’ll calm down and stop misbehaving so much. Butter? Yes. MCT oil? Absolutely, my kids get MCT oil. And they go to school and all their friends are eating snacks and my kids are like, “I guess we’ll have a snack.” But they don’t snack at home. They don’t need snacks. And that’s amazing.
But when they’re properly fed, they behave really well and they focus and when you’re a parent, it doesn’t matter if your kids misbehave a little while. If you’re on path to making them have the biochemistry so they can focus and behave, then deal with it. When they say, “I don’t like it,” say, “Great! We’ll take it away and you’ll be hungry.” They’ll learn to like it pretty fast.
Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. We’re on a campaign to completely eradicate wheat. It’s time. It has to happen. I watched a podcast of yours a few weeks ago with the chap who wrote Wheat Belly and it was just. . .
Dave Asprey: Dr. Davis! He’s a great guy.
Stuart Cooke: Fascinating.
Dave Asprey: Yeah, and look at his credentials. I mean, Track Your Plaque. That guy’s a leading cardiologist. He’s not messing around in that book. And he’s right. It’s not just about getting fat or getting autoimmunity. It’s about your brain. Wheat makes you stupid.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. And it’s a tricky one, so we’re gonna be tackling that over the course of the next month or so. But when we’ve nailed that one, and we’re not too far away, I think we’ll be well on the way to good times.
Dave Asprey: It helps. Just watch out. It’s not something to take out gradually. It’s crack. It’s an opiate substance, the way it’s digested. So, it turns into something called a gluteomorphin and when you have wheat one day, even just one bite, “Oh, it’s Saturday. We’ll celebrate. We’re just gonna have a little pizza. Just one slice.” Right? The next day, the little Labrador in your head’s gonna say, “You know what? I’m starving because I need more wheat and I’m addicted to the stuff. I think it would be a good idea to have just one more piece.”
And you’ll convince yourself, because of that input, that it’s time to have just one more piece, and you’ll be just like someone who’s shooting heroin in their arm. “Oh, yeah, I’m giving it up this time. I’m sure I’m done.” And then later they end up with this. It’s because of that same process. So, go cold turkey, take lots of L-glutamine; the amino acid. That’ll help you to deal with the food cravings you’re gonna get for three days. And then you’re done detoxing and then wheat is not food after that anymore.
Stuart Cooke: Perfect tip. Fantastic.
Guy Lawrence: How are we doing for time?
Stuart Cooke: We’re absolutely mindful of your time, so I guess, Guy, if you’ve got. . .
Guy Lawrence: We’ll do a wrap-up question; a question we’re gonna ask on every podcast: If you could offer a single piece of advice for optimum health wellness, what would that be? For everyone listening to this.
Dave Asprey: Learn forgiveness.
Guy Lawrence: Learn forgiveness.
Dave Asprey: Yep. It is a very difficult skill to master. It’s easy to say, “I forgive you.” It’s very hard to actually do the biological activity of forgiveness and to neurologically forgive someone and to really let go. But when you learn to do that, and you practice it, which is how you learn or, better yet, if you do some neurofeedback that teaches you forgiveness, but this kind of thing lets you stop carrying a stress burden for all sorts of stuff that you don’t even know you’re carrying.
So, if you had an invisible backpack full of stones on, you would never know you had it, because it’s invisible to you. And the grudges you hold and the ill will towards others that you hold; it holds you back. It keeps you from performing at the level you can be. And it takes quality of life away from you, but it’s invisible.
So, when you learn how to do this, suddenly you’re, like, “Oh, my God. I’m not carrying whatever that heavy thing was anymore.” And certainly I’ve spent an enormous amount of time working on that myself. And one of the reasons, you were asking: How can I perform like this and still see my kids and do the things I do? It’s because I’ve done a lot of forgiveness work.
So, Bulletproof Diet, yes, Bulletproof coffee, lifesaving, lifechanging, all those things. But at the end of the day, before any of that, practice forgiveness.
Stuart Cooke: That’s perfect.
Guy Lawrence: Perfect answer, mate.
Stuart Cooke: So, Guy, you need to forgive me as I steal half of your MCT oil tomorrow for our experiment.
Dave Asprey: There’s a way to make this forgiveness easier. When he’s not looking, put four times extra in his coffee and see what happens.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Exactly.
Dave, thanks so much for your time. If anyone wants to learn more about what you do, where’s the best place for them to go, mate?
Dave Asprey: Check out BulletproofExec.com. All the info on the site’s free. It’s there. A quarter-million words. It’s there as a public service. You know, I’m grateful for all the cool stuff that’s happened in my life and I’d like to help other people do it, too.
Also, I’m hoping to make a trip out to Australia sometime in the next six months or so, so when I know that’s coming together I’ll let you guys know.
Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on youriPhone HERE.
This was actually a tough episode for me as I’m so reliant on technology. I’m quickly learning the very real concerns and problems that surround us daily which are completely invisible; electromagnetic fields/radiation. Like anything though I find the ostrich head burying approach doesn’t work so well in the long term as someone will come along and kick you up the butt! Investigation and preventative measures are needed.
If you want to jump straight to where we talk about mobile phone radiation and if it’s safe, skip to [010:40]
Ever wondered if using a mobile phone is doing the grey matter between our ears any favours? What about that fancy bluetooth headset you own or the baby monitor that’s in the cot?
These are just some of the topics we cover in this eye-opening interview with EMR Australia expert Lyn Mclean, and more importantly, the steps we can take to counteract the very real problems with electromagnetic fields and radiation (EMR & EMF). After running this interview, I don’t think I’ll ever look at a mobile phone the same way again! Guy…
If you would like to learn more about EMR Australia, click here.
McLean: So, the readings at your place were quite good, Guy, Stuart said.
Guy Lawrence: My readings were fantastic. I did all my sleeping area, the work area, and it was like 1. There was nothing higher than 1 in my house, was there?
Stuart Cooke: No. There was nothing higher than 1.9.
Guy Lawrence: There you go. Hence why I sleep so well at night.
Lyn McLean: Excellent.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right. Very good.
Right, so I’ve got the book and. . .
Stuart Cooke: Let’s roll with it.
Guy Lawrence: I’ll do it, as always. This is Guy Lawrence and today I’m joined with no other than Mr. Stuart Cooke again. Stu, how are you doing? Good to see you. I wore gray today, by the way, so we’re not matching, which is. . .
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, very well, Guy. Probably your blue one is in the wash, no doubt.
Guy Lawrence: My only one. And we’re joined with Lyn McLean from EMR Australia. Lyn, welcome. Thanks for joining us.
Lyn McLean: Thank you. My pleasure. Thanks for having me.
Guy Lawrence: No worries. Basically, me and Stu ended up having the same colour T-shirt on for the last three recordings, so I’ve gone gray today and it’s worked, which is good.
Just to start, Lyn, for anyone that’s listening to this, can you just tell us a little bit about what you do, who you are and what EMR Australia is as well?
Lyn McLean: Yes, look, I’ve been involved in EMR now for 17 years. I originally ran the EMR Association of Australia, so that’s how I got involved and was involved, I suppose, or caught up in this issue because I am fascinated by it, but also because there are so many people out there that are having problems with EMR. And it was a very satisfying experience to be able to help them. So, nine years ago, I set up EMR Australia in order that I could continue to do this sort of work in a supported way.
I’ve written three books on electromagnetic radiation and I am a community representative. I have been a community representative on a number of committees; one that developed a code for mobile phone towers and another one to a Department of Health and Australia’s Radiation Authority.
So, I try to represent the community and to keep tabs, I suppose, on what’s going on in the community and to be able to convey that information and hopefully lobby on behalf of people who need help.
Guy Lawrence: OK. All right.
It’s a very real thing. I mean, me and Stu have been quickly learning over the last few weeks, especially when you came and tested our units as well. A lot of people out there are not even aware of what this is. Could you just maybe just explain a little bit about that as well; what we’re actually talking about and dealing with here?
Lyn McLean: Yes, certainly. I think you’re quite right. People don’t know that this is a problem because they can’t see it. But, in fact, we’re surrounded by electromagnetic radiation at home and work.
And there are different kinds of fields. One is the fields from anything electrical, so those are the low-frequency electromagnetic field so they come from things like high-voltage power lines, ordinary power lines, wiring, transformers, conductive pipes. But also any electrical equipment. So, if you’re at work, any equipment that you work on will have an electromagnetic field or any household appliances will have electromagnetic fields.
Now, in some cases, they’re not a worry because the fields are too low to cause people problems. But in some cases, they can be quite high and then we get people who are actually getting sick, and sometimes by reducing those fields, people get better. And often we’re reducing those fields and people get better or feel better.
So, those are the electromagnetic fields. On top of that, we have wireless radiation, which has really just proliferated in the last few years. So, now I’m talking about things like mobile phone towers, TV transmitters, of course, and radio transmitters. But, more commonly, things like mobile phones, cordless phones, wireless modems, even baby monitors and microwave ovens have got this wireless radiation.
So, it’s all around us, and, again, people are getting sick from too much exposure and then when that exposure is reduced they feel better. So, what we try to do is help people, first of all, understand what their exposure is and they need to do what’s necessary and what’s easy, in fact, to reduce it.
Stuart Cooke: Very interesting.
Guy Lawrence: When you say people are getting sick from it, what would some of the symptoms be, because, I mean, we were just discussing it the other week because, you know, I just assumed EMF and EMR were the same things. Also, you know, Stu spoke about his sleep and just by shifting the bed he could sleep. So, that was a symptom and then it’s helped him greatly, I know.
So, when you say, “sickness,” what can some of the symptoms be from that?
Lyn McLean: Yeah, well, the serious problems are things like brain tumors and that’s where a lot of the research has been and there’s a whole science about brain tumors that we can go into. So, that’s one problem.
But other things are things like fertility, because there’s now quite a lot of evidence that shows that mobile phone radiation is affecting the behavior of sperm. And it’s affecting the behavior in ways that’s consistent with infertility. So, it’s quite likely that it’s contributing to infertility in males, particular.
Now, as well as that, there are a whole lot of things that a lot of people wouldn’t call “health problems,” but they’re things that you just feel terrible. If you’ve actually got things like headaches. And I’m talking about not just a little bit of headache but unusual headaches; really intense pressure or people will describe them as weird sort of headaches. Things like depression. Things like sleep problems that we mentioned.
Skin problems is a big one. A lot of computer users have had skin problems. Pain, in some cases. Nausea or gastrointestinal problems. Fatigue is another one. And heart palpitations. They’re actually quite a lot of symptoms and they seem to be symptoms of the nervous system. So, those. . .
Guy Lawrence: What should we do if we’re worried about how much EMR we’re being exposed to at home or perhaps, you know, we have these symptoms, and, you know, we’re slowly joining the dots and thinking, well, you know, perhaps I should do something about this?
Lyn McLean: Yeah. The very first thing I suggest to people is to actually measure, because we’ve found is a lot of people ring up and say: I think I’ve got EMR from, let’s say, it’s the power line out front or it’s the transformer. And then often when you go and measure you see, yes, there is a little bit from that, but the biggest problems is something completely different that they didn’t see or didn’t think about.
So, the very first thing is to measure. And what that does is it actually shows up exactly what you’re exposed to. And I think that’s absolutely critical, because otherwise it’s a bit like going to the doctor and saying, “Look, doctor, I feel sick,” and expecting him to give you a pill that’s going to fix everything. Well, he’s not going to do that because he’s going to want to know what’s causing your sickness so he can give you the right pill. So, in the same way, we want to know what’s causing the fields or the exposure and therefore what’s the appropriate thing to put in place to deal with that.
So, we go out and measure or we hire meters to people and that’s one of them. I don’t know; can you see that one there?
Guy Lawrence: Yep, I can see that.
Lyn McLean: And I know that you had that at both your places. And what that will do; it will measure the fields for anything electrical. So, you can see exactly what you’ve go and that’s gonna help you make a decision about whether it’s too much or it’s OK.
But also you can see where it’s coming from. So, is it coming from the power lines out in the front, in which case, you know, there are some decisions you might make, or is it coming from the water pipe, in which case you’d do something completely different. Or is it coming from some appliance, in which case you could just move it further away from you. It’s trying to reduce your exposure.
So, what you put in place will depend on what you’re actually exposed to.
Guy Lawrence: Got it. Absolutely.
Stuart Cooke: So, when thinking about moving from, kind of, EMF now to more RF and radiation, your thoughts on mobile phones? You know, everyone now is; most people have a mobile phone and they’re certainly not going away. What are your thoughts? Are they safe?
Lyn McLean: Yeah. . .
Guy Lawrence: I was still; my head’s still thinking about the mobile phone comment you made five minutes ago and I’m just sort of like sitting here. But, sorry, carry on.
Lyn McLean: Are the safe? Well, no one can say that mobile phones are safe. Not our government, not our mobile phone manufacturers. Nobody can say they’re safe. And the reason for that is that there’s actually quite a lot of evidence that they’re not.
Now, I talked about the sperm studies a little while ago and I mentioned the brain tumor studies. But there are number of big research projects around the world that have actually found increased risks. So, I mentioned a name. There was one called the Interphone Study, and that had 13 countries from around the world take part in it and Australia was one of those countries.
And what it found was that for the people who used mobile phones the most, there was an increased risk of glioma brain tumors. Now, if you juggle the results around a little bit; juggle the statistics as the researchers did, they found that there was, for people who were the long-term mobile phone users, there was actually double the risk of gliomas. So, that is a bit of a concern.
And there’s another whole group of studies from Sweden, and what they’re finding is a similar sort of thing: that for long-term users, so I’m really now talking about people who use a mobile phone or a cordless phone for 10 years or more, that they have double the risk of gliomas and acoustic neuromas.
So, that’s a little bit scary, isn’t it? Because keep in mind that a lot of this research was done years ago when people didn’t use mobile phones as much as they do now.
Stuart Cooke: Sure.
Guy Lawrence: Everyone’s got one. I mean, I’m instantly thinking about my phone in my front pocket, like a couple of inches away from my crown jewels, basically. And that’s not; that can’t be a good thing, I’m guessing, then, because. . .
Lyn McLean: Yeah. Well, that’s right. And if you carry your phone on your body, then that radiation is going into your body as you’re carrying it, if it’s turned on.
Guy Lawrence: Because a lot of females will carry it, obviously, in a handbag and things like that and it’s keeping them slightly away from the body. But us guys, I mean. . .
Lyn McLean: Yeah, well, that’s right. But what we have is; and I’ll come back to that in a sec, Guy. But what we have is a lot of women carrying their mobile phones in their bras now, or in a breast pocket, and that’s a real concern because there’s a study in America that’s actually looked at a number of women who carried their mobile phones in their bras and they developed breast tumors. But these tumors are located in the exact position of the areas of their phones. And I’m talking about women in their early ’20s who have had mastectomies. And they didn’t have a genetic background that would predispose them to this. So, you have to ask: Is it the mobile phone?
We even have guys who are developing breast cancer where they carry their mobile phone in their breast pocket. So, yeah, I think it is a big problem. And one of the messages from this is: Keep your mobile phone away from your body. Now, if you have to carry it next to your body, we have a little sock; a radiation sock you can put your phone into and that will stop the signal going through into your body.
Guy Lawrence: So, do you use a mobile phone yourself, Lyn?
Lyn McLean: No. I don’t have one.
Guy Lawrence: Because, you know, it’s a part of my daily life; Stu’s. I’m mean, we run an Internet business and I’m on the phone all the time. I mean, what precautions can we take? You mentioned the sock. Would, like, wearing these headphones and then talking through a mobile phone help?
Lyn McLean: Well, the key thing is to keep the mobile phone away from you when it’s turned on. So, if you’re using it, don’t hold it right up against your head because that’s when radiation is being absorbed into your head. So, even if you hold it out a little bit, or you put one of those socks that I was mentioning. . .
Guy Lawrence: So, I could put it on Speaker and then maybe hold it hear and listen? That’s a lot better?
Lyn McLean: Yeah. Absolutely. Talk on; or, put your mobile phone down on the table and speak so you’re not holding it in your hand. Just anything that you can do to minimize your exposure. So, for example, using a corded landline phone if you can. You know, if you’re making those calls from home, then use that. Spending less time on your mobile phone, ringing people on their home phone or their work phone as opposed to their mobile phone. There are lots of things you can do to reduce that exposure.
Stuart Cooke: What about using a mobile phone in a car. Now, most new cars are equipped with hands-free Bluetooth devices. And, of course, most people yabber away when they’re driving. And it passed the time, for one. What are your thoughts on that?
Lyn McLean: Well, a couple of things are problem with that. One is that there is research now that people who talk on a mobile phone when they’re driving drive just as well as somebody who’s been drink-driving. And that’s not from holding the phone against their head; it’s just from talking on the phone. So, in other words, having the mobile phone and even using speaker function, can still affect people’s driving performance. And, obviously, it makes them worse drivers and increases the risk of accidents. So, that’s one thing.
But in terms of what you’re actually exposing yourself to, people are being exposed to radiation when the phone is operating in the car for a number of reasons. If you’ve got Bluetooth, then Bluetooth is a form of wireless radiation. So, you’re actually exposed to the radiation from that system. And we certainly get people who report that they can’t tolerate to be in cars that have got Bluetooth in them and have to get those systems disabled.
The other thing is, even if you didn’t have Bluetooth in the car and you just have your mobile phone turned on in the car, what the car is; you think of as a metal shell. That’s going to be reflecting that signal, amplifying that signal, passing it all around the car. And that means everybody there is getting exposed.
Now, again, we have people who, if somebody has a mobile phone even turned on in the car. . . So, I’m not talking about making a phone call, now, but just the phone is turned on. They get sick. And I talked to a woman a week or so ago who said her children got into the car and forgot to turn their mobile phones off and she said that was just the end of her. She spent a week in bed as a result of just that one exposure.
Stuart Cooke: Wow.
Guy Lawrence: I mean, is it; are there any preventative measures we can do whilst in the car to be able to use the phone in the car?
Stuart Cooke: Turn your phone off, by the sounds of it.
Guy Lawrence: But, again, it’s something that I certainly do and a lot of people do. Would opening the windows help or anything like that, or is it just something: avoid; don’t do.
Lyn McLean: Yeah, there’s a lot of advice about not using mobile phones in metal shells and things like lifts and cars. So, really, anything you can do to reduce that exposure is a good thing.
Stuart Cooke: What about external aerials, Lyn, for your car? I mean, it’s almost taking us back a few years when mobiles were just; were the next big thing. Lots of cars had external aerials and you used to plug your phone into that. Would that make a difference?
Lyn McLean: Yeah, that’s a good thing to use. But you want to make sure your aerial is not in the position where your children sit or your baby sits.
Stuart Cooke: Right. OK.
Guy Lawrence: You mentioned Bluetooth. Bluetooth headsets. And, I’m assuming, that can’t be good.
Lyn McLean: Well, that’s right. That’s just replacing one form of wireless radiation with another form of wireless radiation, so it’s a; why use that system? There are better systems that you can use. For example, there are headsets, airtube headsets, that don’t have that wireless radiation.
Guy Lawrence: That’s staggering. I’m glad I ride a motorbike a lot. So I don’t have to deal with any of that. But I still keep my phone in my pocket when I’m riding.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, just slip your mobile in your helmet when you ride and I think you’ll be fine.
Guy Lawrence: Some of the helmets, now, well they have Bluetooth in there so you connect your phone and chat away while you’re riding a motorbike.
Stuart Cooke: Well, we know what to get you for Christmas.
Lyn McLean: If he comes to work with a headache, you’ll know why, Stuart.
Stuart Cooke: Well, when he comes to work, I get the headache!
Guy Lawrence: All right. Well, what we said about mobile phones, then, the first thing I think: What about kids? Every kid has mobile phone now. Smartphones, playing games, iPads. What are your thoughts on it? I mean, if it’s that?
Lyn McLean: Well, this is a real concern and there are lots of authorities around the world now who are saying: Reduce kids’ exposure to this radiation. And the advice was, from most of the authorities a few years back, was don’t let children under 16 use a mobile phone. Well, you know, I think that would be really hard to implement now, especially since schools are using them. But that was the advice based on the fact that there a risk for kids.
And there are reasons why kids are more vulnerable, and one is that their skulls are actually thinner. So that means that the radiation is being absorbed into their skull further. So, more of their brain is being affected than adults’ brains. So, remember the studies that have been done that I talked about earlier that were done on adults, and they found increased rates of brain tumors. Now we’re talking about kids who don’t have the protection in their skulls, who are absorbing more radiation, and using them at a younger age. So, what is going to happen to them in 10 years’ time? We don’t know, but in 10 years’ time we’re going to find out. And if; I think all of the people aren’t going to like the answers.
Kids have got a potential lifetime of exposure to us, so, unless us, who were probably mature when we started to use mobile phones, these kids might be using them for not 20, 30, or 40 but maybe 50, 60, 70 years. Now, if there’s a long-term effect of exposure, which the studies are indicating, then what’s going to happen to them in that amount of time?
In fact, people who have been using their phones for 20, 30 years would now be 70 or 80 at that time and it maybe doesn’t matter. But it does if you’re going to only be 40 in 30 years’ time.
Stuart Cooke: Crikey. So, I’m guessing, you know, for all the parents out there that pass on the iPhone for their kids to play the games, Flight Mode, I guess, if you’ve got a smartphone. That would be a precaution. How safe is the phone in Flight Mode? Are we good to go and can happily play with it?
Lyn McLean: In some cases, that’s enough, but in some cases you actually have to turn the wireless because there still can be a signal in Flight Mode. So, yeah, use Flight Mode but turn the wireless off.
But the thing that I’m concerned about is the whole idea of giving kids mobile phones as toys. You’re setting up the expectation in kids that this is something that’s OK to play with.
What I’m saying is that mobile phones; children shouldn’t be using mobile phones, or exposed to mobile phone radiation, unnecessarily. So, if you’re going to see this device as something it’s OK to play with, and Mummy and Daddy says it’s OK for me to play with it, then that’s going to set up that expectation that they can spend a lot of time on it, playing games, as they get older.
Now, that means that, of course, they’re being exposed to more radiation as they do. But it’s also setting up patterns of addiction and you don’t have to look very hard on the Internet to see that there are real problems with young people being addicted to this sort of technology. And there are clinics overseas that are treating people as young as 4 with Internet addiction.
Stuart Cooke: It’s interesting. And, I guess, not to mention, as well, the use of mobile phones affects the way that we communicate and are able to kind of integrate ourselves into communities and conversations, because we’re using to doing it all on the little device.
Guy Lawrence: This just seems such a serious matter, and yet, you know, the media doesn’t seem to cover it much. You hear random studies, but it’s almost made out as if it’s just pulling things out of the sky as if it’s not real, it’s not happening, it’s not there. And it gets swept under the carpet very quickly, really.
Lyn McLean: Well, that’s right. And one of the reasons for that is that the mobile phone industry advertises in the media so much, so for the media to take up this story might threaten a lucrative source of income.
So, in the end, I think it does get back to money. Because look who’s profiting from this. You’ve got the mobile phone companies. The government’s making a fortune from the sale of mobile phones. The media is making a lot of money from promoting this sort of technology. So, there’s a lot of information going out about, “Use me, use me, use me, use me.” And people aren’t necessarily having the balance of information about, well, yes, there is actually a risk. And, as I said, a lot of authorities are warning to be really careful with this technology, especially if they’re kids.
Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. And I guess, even with the manuals that you receive when you buy the mobile phone now, if you actually read the fine print, you will be told to hold the phone away from your ear so that they’re covering themselves, but who does that? We certainly don’t do that.
Lyn McLean: That’s right. That’s right. And because the mobile phones are getting smaller and thinner, the aerials are getting closer to people’s brains, too. So, it’s alarming for me.
Just going back to the question of kids, one of my concerns is that kids don’t have the information to make informed choices. So, I can monitor the Internet or we can find out information about the safety of this technology, but what 3- or 4-year-old or 10- or 12-year-old is going to do that and make a decision about should they be using it and how should they be using it.
For example, I have one Year 11 girl that I know who carries her phone in her bra, as we talked about before, and who didn’t know anything about the risks of that.
Stuart Cooke: No, it’s interesting. Thinking along those lines, you know, the parents the children, well, safety in the kitchen: “Don’t touch the oven; it’s hot. Don’t touch the knifes; they’re sharp.” But, of course, we have these external factors that are potentially much more damaging but we haven’t got any kind of guidelines there as to how to use them safely.
Lyn McLean: Well, that’s right. And that’s where it comes back again, to measuring. Because this is another of the measures that we have. You can see that there.
Stuart Cooke: That’s better; yeah.
A wall is made. So, you can actually hold that near a phone and it will pick up the signal and it will show you how strong the signal is and how far it extends. And I measured the phone that a young boy, he was in Year 7 so he’d be about 12, his phone, the other day, and, boy, it was really; you know, it was unbelievable.
Stuart Cooke: Off the scale.
Lyn McLean: Yeah. That’s right. And you have to be concerned about kids’ holding that. . .
Guy Lawrence: I think the problem is, well, this information is overwhelming. I mean, just sitting here talking to you and listening to the problems with it. You start to think and then you start to think, like you mentioned baby monitors, you mentioned kids; people using the mobile phone. I mean, we have a hard enough time dealing with the food industry and the way that’s going and actually trying to say our piece about it. And, you know, it’s another thing to think about.
Stuart Cooke: What about cordless home phones, then? What are your thoughts on that? I know they’re a convenient product where we can wander around and gasbag any room in the house.
Lyn McLean: That’s right. Well, the bad news is, cordless phones might be even worse than mobile phones. So much of the research that we’ve talked about so far has been done on mobile phones, but the same thing applies, then, more to cordless phones for these reasons. The cordless phone has actually got two elements. There’s the handset and there’s the base. Now, that base, in many cases, is transmitting 24-7. So, people don’t even know that as it’s sitting there beside their bed or on their desk or wherever it might be, it’s still sending out quite a high signal.
So, that’s just the base. In addition to that, they’ve got the handset. So, when you hold the handset of the cordless phone against your head, your brain is absorbing radiation in just the same way that it would be from a mobile phone, but maybe even more because a lot of cordless phones don’t have adaptive power control. So, they don’t power down the signal. In other words, it’s fairly high-power.
Now, we know that a cordless phone is going to be reasonably high-power because it’s going to transmit a signal from over here to right over there, where the base is, on the other side of the house. So, in fact, you’re getting this exposure from both sections and people, in addition, tend to use their home phone more than they do their mobile phone. So, a lot of people have gotten the message that mobiles are a bit dangerous and they’re dealing with that by going home and using their home phone, not realizing that it’s actually radiating just like their mobile phone is. And that they’re being exposed if they do that.
And, in addition to that, if that’s your home phone, then what about when your kids start making phone calls? They’re using a radiating device as a past.
Guy Lawrence: So, can we use corded phones; phones with a cord? Yeah, a corded phone has none of that problem, so it’s a much safer option.
Stuart Cooke: OK, so that was the alternative then. Because, obviously, everyone uses a phone.
Lyn McLean: That’s right. That’s the best thing. And with cordless phones you can be aware of the fact that this thing is giving out radiation, probably 24-7, and where you locate it, because I had a situation once where I went into a home and I measured the radiation coming from a cordless phone, and it was really high. And it was going right through the wall onto the bed, into the bedroom of a young girl; the daughter of the house. So, the mum hadn’t realized that it was actually radiating here as she slept, because it seemed that it was in a different room. But that happens.
Stuart Cooke: I can’t even imagine the strength of these, because we’re corded now. And prior to that, we had a cordless phone. And I remember walking down the street with it trying to test the range, and, you know, I got halfway down the road and still had a strong signal on this phone pressed to my head and thought it was the best thing in the world.
Lyn McLean: Yes. That’s right.
Stuart Cooke: But of course, perhaps, it wasn’t so grateful, but we’ve since learned otherwise and now gone to a corded and feel much happier about that as well.
Lyn McLean: Good on you. Well, I think people have to remember that the word “coverage” and the word “signal strength” really actually meant radiation. So, if the manufacturer is promoting “great coverage” or its fantastic signal strength or whatever it is, then you can interpret that as, oh, well, I’m going to get quite exposed from this technology.
Stuart Cooke: Exactly.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Just going slightly off topic, Lyn, you mentioned the bedroom. I guess the best bet is just to turn everything off, I’m guessing.
Lyn McLean: Yeah. Yeah. And to keep things away from your bed, because if you’ve got this technology on your bedside table at nighttime as lots of people have, then you’re being exposed to it as sleep, and that’s the very time that you want to be least exposed, because it’s as you sleep that you’re bodies. . .
Stuart Cooke: Because I know a lot of mates that will use mobile phone for their alarm clock as well.
Lyn McLean: Yes, yes.
Stuart Cooke: I mean, I still do that but I put it on Airplane Mode, so I’m assuming it’s not searching; not that it’s next to my head or anything. But still. I’m assuming that would be another preventative measure you could take?
Lyn McLean: Yeah. That’s a much better option, and for kids, the advice is to keep the mobile phone out of the bedroom, because we get a lot of situations where children are sleeping with their mobile phone under their pillow, even, so that they can hear the call as it comes in at nighttime or feel the call, and they can respond to it.
So, apart from the fact that they’re irradiating themselves, they’re actually losing sleep and that’s affecting their school performance, and there’s quite a bit now about that side of the problem, too, that it’s affecting kids’ schoolwork.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Lots to learn, I think.
So, moving from mobile phones and over onto wifi, now, what are your thoughts on wifi; home wifi networks, which, of course, make it easy and convenient for us to access the Internet with our iPads and laptops everywhere over, you know, in the house. How does that compare to, perhaps, the signals coming into a mobile phone and what should we do about wifi?
Lyn McLean: Yeah. A wifi modem has actually got quite a strong signal. So, if you have your modem next to, say it’s on your desk as you work at your computer, you’re being exposed to a very high signal as you sit there and work. If you’ve got your wifi modem near a bed, maybe on the other side of the wall from them bed, the same thing applies. So, that’s one way that you’re being exposed from the modem.
But then you’re being exposed from the technology that you use as well. So, whether it’s your laptop computer or your iPad that you mentioned, or some other device, that’s actually sending out a microwave signal as well. So, you’re getting a double whammy.
Now, you can measure quite high exposures in a house from this technology. And, in fact, people have got so much technology that you’d be surprised how high the signals can actually be. So, that’s inevitable when you use those systems.
Now, if you want to prevent that, there are a number of things that you can do, and you can go to various extremes depending on how precautionary you want to be. First of all, you can use corded connections. And if you use cords and wires, you’ve got none of that wireless; providing you turn the wireless off, of course. You’re still getting the benefits of the technology. You can still download stuff. You can still play games. But you’re doing it in a much safer way.
Now, if people don’t want to do that, they don’t want to go that far, anything you can do to minimize wireless exposure is really important. So, for example, turning the wifi off when you’re not using it. Maybe downloading, for people who like to watch movies or play games or something like that on the technology, downloading it first and then turning the wireless off as you’re actually using the game or watching the movie.
So, a lot of it comes back to common sense. Just realize that if you’re sitting in front of this thing, and it’s a wifi device that’s using the wifi modem, then you’re being exposed and so are the other people.
Guy Lawrence: So, I’m just thinking, because, I’m in my unit, right? And now I’ve moved my wifi after talking to you a few weeks ago, because that was about a foot from my leg when I was working in the day, and I’ve moved it to the other side of the unit, out of the way. But obviously the wifi is still on during the day. I turn it off at night, or when I go out, I just turn the wifi off; it’s not there. But am I actually moving around in a microwave oven because the wifi is on, or is it not so; does it affect is that much? Even though the router is 10 meters from me?
Because I’ll turn my mobile phone on when I’m in Coogee or in the street and it picks up 20 networks of wifi that are buzzing around. So, obviously, if the phone’s picking up I’m being exposed to it.
Stuart Cooke: You have to create a hat, Guy, out of tinfoil, like a Viking’s hat but tinfoil. And I’ve read that they’re quite effective.
Guy Lawrence: That could work, yeah.
Lyn McLean: Yeah, seriously, I do have people contacting me who have had to go to those extremes like shielding themselves or their homes to stop those signals coming in because they’re so badly affected by it. So, it is a concern.
In terms of the router, the further away from you it is, the less you’re exposed to it. But the fact is that you’re still getting some. And the problem is, well, how much is OK? And that’s the difficulty because we don’t really. . .
Guy Lawrence: We can’t really measure that, can we?
Lyn McLean: We can measure it, yes.
Guy Lawrence: But how much, the limit; how much is OK? How much is not?
Lyn McLean: That’s right. Well, you know, you’d like to think, well, it complies with the standard. That should be OK. But the standard’s actually not protecting people from this sort of use. It’s only protecting against short-term acute heating effects. So, it’s not protecting against long-term, continuous, non-heating effects, which is what we’re talking about. So, for people who are using this technology hours a day, every day, all their lifetime, essentially, it’s not protecting against that.
And there’s a survey done recent that’s showing that people are spending up to 16 hours a day now using this technology. So, that’s a lot of exposure. So, it might be lower-power, but you multiple that by time, if that makes sense. So, it’s a cumulative exposure.
Guy Lawrence: You mention shielding, Lyn. What; can you elaborate on that, please?
Lyn McLean: Yeah. For the high-frequency, the wireless technology that we’re talking about now, if people want to block that signal, what they can do is they can put a shielding paint in place. So, we have a shielding paint. You pat it on the wall and it will block the signal that’s coming through from outside. So, you can actually create a little safe haven if you want to do that.
And, often, people do that only when they’re experiencing symptoms like we have on a lot of people from Victoria who had SmartMeters installed and have experienced all sorts of very unpleasant symptoms. And they very often block the signal. They put it on the side of the house where their meter box is and that stops the signal coming through from the SmartMeter.
Guy Lawrence: From your experience, Lyn, just all these questions keep popping in; sorry.
Lyn McLean: Oh, it’s great.
Guy Lawrence: If a person is healthier, can they withstand the exposure more, as if to somebody that might be already ill; say they’re fighting a disease of some kind. They might be chronically sick. And then they’re exposed to this. Do you think they would be more sensitive to the exposure?
Lyn McLean: I am talking about my experience now and talking about the conversations that I’ve had with people who are dealing with the condition of electromagnetic sensitivity; the researchers around the world who have dealt with that. And, yes, that does seem to be the case. And when you look at the research that is being conducted, the mainstream research, it’s showing that there’s a very big difference in how different organisms respond to EMR. And it would depending on the way that the signal is; whether it goes this way or it goes that way. The genetic background of the animals or the cells that are being exposed. The health or condition of those animals.
So, there are a lot of factors that will affect the way that people respond, and that’s why in a family of, say, four or five people, you might get one person who’s affected badly by this technology and nobody else. It’s a very individual response.
Guy Lawrence: So, what about the wifi in schools? Because I know that gets installed now. I mean, it’s another problem outside of mobile phones. I guess the question has already been answered.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, schools are very proud, aren’t they, to present this. “You know, we’ve installed wifi all over now and all of our children are happily using wireless tablets now to do their sums.” Surely that would be a concern.
Lyn McLean: This is a concern for a number of reasons. Now, you remember I said that there’s a high field that comes from the router. So, let’s think about where this router might be. You know, maybe it’s by the teacher’s desk or maybe it’s by a particular student’s desk. Maybe it’s working at very high power.
I had one teacher who rang up and said that he couldn’t work with this wifi. He couldn’t have it. He couldn’t be in the classroom where it was. And in this school, it was very high-power because it had to get from one classroom through to another classroom through this cement and concrete floor. So, it had to really have a lot of power to be able to do that. In other words, the signal was strong and the amount of radiation that people were being exposed to was high.
So, you have that. But in addition to that, you have all these kids using this technology, where they are exposed to their technology and the person beside them’s technology and around her.
Now, they are really, basically, just sitting in a little microwave oven. It’s a concern, because we’re experimenting on children. And I don’t know, really, that any ethics committee would allow that, you know? An experiment.
But we’ve got young kids now that are in infant school that are being exposed to this technology when we haven’t even demonstrated that it’s safe for adults. Why would we do this to our kids? Why would we take that risk?
As I said, I’ve got; I mentioned that one teacher. There are actually quite a few teachers who’ve contacted me. Some of them had to give up work because they can’t work in a school with wifi in it. We have a principal who’s resigned because she can’t be in the school because of the wifi.
There are schools overseas pulling out their wifi systems because kids become sick.
It’s a very big risk, I think, and my question is: What happens if this exposure affects kids and they become sick down the track? Will we see litigation against the education departments? And I think that’s a real possibility.
Stuart Cooke: Where standards are concerned, Lyn, how does Australia fare to the likes of Europe, say, for instance?
Lyn McLean: Well, there are international standards that the World Health Organization; our body as connected to the World Health Organization has put in place. And a lot of countries around the world use those standards, and Australia’s standards are pretty much in line with those standards, too. So, they’re very consistent with the majority standards.
In Europe, because there’s been so much concern about the risks of this technology, a lot of countries have put in additional layers of precaution. So, they’ve put in either standards or guidelines or something like that that say, well, we don’t really want people to be exposed to it so much.
And I think that that’s a way of helping to address these concerns.
What I think is really important is that people start to apply these precautions in their own homes and in workplaces. That’s a starting point. You can actually do; if we wait for governments to change status we’ll be very long, I think.
Stuart Cooke: We’ll be around forever.
Guy Lawrence: When you talk about precautions, as well, another question I wanted to cover was the mention of there’s a lot of products out there now that are claiming they can harmonize or neutralize the wifi; the mobile phone. I mean. . . What’s your thought on that?
Lyn McLean: This is a concern, because a lot of people will say: Look, I’ve stuck this on my phone or I’ve that on my phone or I’ve stuck it on my wifi so I’m safe. And, in fact, that’s not necessarily the case at all, because if you measure; if you get a device that measures the radiation, and you measure with one of those stickers or whatever it might be, stuck onto the mobile phone, you take it off and you measure again, the amount of radiation is identical. So, these devices are not making any difference whatsoever to the amount of radiation that we are exposed to.
They don’t even claim to do that. They claim to harmonize. Now, what does that actually mean? We don’t know what that means. It doesn’t; there’s no scientific way that can explain what these devices might be doing. If they’re doing anything, it’s in a way that we can neither understand, nor measure. And that means to me that we’re taking a risk by using them.
It’s much better, in my opinion, to use conventional precautions that can be demonstrated to work; that can be measured to work. Because then you know that you actually are protected and you’re not taking that risk.
Guy Lawrence: Because the problem is, as well, obviously, the education’s not here. I mean, from chatting to you we learn it first and we’re starting to be proactive about it. But the reality is, a lot of people are going to take it: “Oh, I’ll buy a new mobile case for it and that reflects the signal or I’ll stick something on the back or wear something around the neck” and just assuming they’re doing the right thing.
Lyn McLean: Exactly. But if they do that and then continue to use the technology and think, “I’m safe. I’m safe, so I can talk on it for a long amount of time,” then they could be at more risk than if they. . . took no precautions.
Lyn McLean: Excuse me. I forgot to turn that off.
Stuart Cooke: It’s good to hear the call of a landline. The proof was in the pudding.
I’ve got a question, Lyn, and you touched on it a little earlier: baby monitors. Now, should we be wary of these products? After everything that you’ve told us I think, crikey, that would be the last thing that I want to use now. But how about all our friends out there that are actively using them and feeling safe by doing do?
Lyn McLean: Well, “feeling safe”; isn’t that an irony, because these devices are actually giving out high levels of magnetic fields or wireless radiation are measured; in fact, there are several baby monitors in the cot where the baby slept and the fields were so high that when the mother actually saw it, they picked up the device and took it out and threw it in the bin.
Guy Lawrence: Wow.
Lyn McLean: So, we’re putting these things next to babies whose brains are just newly hatched where they haven’t had a chance to develop, where their skulls are thin, where they’re very, very vulnerable. And we’re exposing them to really high fields.
Now, I’ve to go ask whether that’s really protecting them at all. And, again, we’re talking about long-term cumulative effects.
Now, if I could step back a bit from the baby monitors, there are a couple of studies now that have looked at pregnant women using mobile phones and the scientists have found that if you monitor the behavior and the performance of those kids when they’re 7; that is 7 years after that exposure, these kids have got more behavioral problems or performing worse in schools than kids whose mothers didn’t use a mobile phone.
In other words, it can take a long time for effects to show up. So, if we’re exposing these babies, we might have to wait seven years, eight years, but it could be affecting their academic performance down the track.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Interesting thought.
Lyn McLean: And, again, we don’t know but it’s question of precaution. How much risk do you want to. . .
Stuart Cooke: I think that’s just it. We just don’t know, do we? A little bit like the cigarette industry in the early days. We didn’t know, you know. Cigarettes were even claimed to have health benefits.
Lyn McLean: Absolutely. That’s right. Yeah. And there’s a story that Sir Richard Doll, who’s the guy who made the connection between smoking and lung cancer, and the Health Department actually told him not to let his results out to the general public because that might cause alarm. That was back in the ’50s.
Stuart Cooke: Wow. I can just picture the packaging, then, in 20 years’ time, on my new mobile phone that I buy. Crikey. With these horrible pictures on the side.
Lyn McLean: Well, yep, we don’t know, do we?
Guy Lawrence: No, we don’t.
Lyn McLean: And I think it all boils down to how much risk do you want to take? Now, this is a question of society and we’re grappling with it every day as parents make choices about what sort of food to feed their children or whether to put a fence around their pool or, you know, to strap their child in a car seat or use seatbelts. All the time, we’re making decisions about precaution and safety, and this is just something else that we need to address. But people have to be aware that it’s critical.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, absolutely.
Stuart Cooke: Well, I think they do. And I think you can; you don’t have to scared by this. I mean, after speaking to you, as a family, we have made certain changes, and they’re by no means radical. I mean, we tested our apartment. We moved our positioning of beds. We went to corded phone. I use a plug-in, wired Internet now. So, our wifi is gone. And I use my speakers at all times on my mobile phone. And, while carrying it, I bought a little shield. So, if I have to slide it in my pocket, I’ve got this going now. And I feel like I’m doing, you know, to the best of my abilities to try and stay on top of this.
So it’s, you know, by no means kind of radical stuff, but just small changes.
Lyn McLean: Well, that’s quite right and sometimes it’s just a question of moving something from here to there. And I mentioned a story to you before where we had a woman who had depression and sleep apnea and she was on medication for those, and her husband had problems with depression, too. And she heard me speaking about the meter box having high electromagnetic fields, and she decided that she’d do a little experiment. She moved the bed from right beside the meter box up the wall a little bit; just a little bit further away. And she found that her depression cleared up, her sleep apnea cleared up, her husband’s depression cleared up, and they didn’t need medication anymore.
So, it didn’t cost her anything to do that and rang me up after about three weeks because she wanted to make sure that the changes lasted, and they did.
Stuart Cooke: It’s small things, isn’t it?
Lyn McLean: Exactly.
Stuart Cooke: I guess it’s just being aware. I found a high magnetic field on the floor where I previously slept from a light fitting to the foyer of a block of units downstairs. And that was, you know, very high. But a meter to the left or right of that, those levels dropped significantly, and I sleep better now.
Lyn McLean: So, you moved your bed in order to. . .
Stuart Cooke: I just moved my bed. Yep. Moved it to the other side of the wall, and that’s all I did. And it’s made a world of difference. But it’s just knowing.
Guy Lawrence: I’ve got one last question for you, Lyn, before we wrap up. Microwave ovens. Somebody mentioned them on Facebook the other day as well. I haven’t used one since I immigrated, like, seven years ago. But what are your thoughts on them?
Lyn McLean: Well, microwaves are really interesting because they’ve got a number of problems that, first of all, they change the chemical composition of food. But leaving that aside, because that’s not to do with radiation, they have several fields. They have a high magnetic field that’s just because they’re an electrical appliance. So, if you have your microwave oven sitting on the bench and not doing anything, not cooking any food, the chances are it’s giving out a high magnetic field and you can measure that.
But when you put the food in it and you turn it on, it starts to cook, the magnetic field generally goes very. So, in fact, you would want to keep quite a distance away from it when it’s cooking, just to be out of that magnetic field.
In addition to that, it’s also got the microwaves that cook the food. Now, microwave ovens are allowed to legally leak a little bit of microwave radiation, and in some it’s a little bit more than others, depending on how secure the door seals are. So, you can measure the microwave radiation from these as well. Sometimes, as it’s starting to escape, it can be quite high in even the room adjacent to the microwave.
Guy Lawrence: See, you wouldn’t want to be leaning over, staring through the glass to see if your milk’s gonna boil.
Lyn McLean: Absolutely. Absolutely. So, you definitely want to keep a distance from them, but I would say check them, too. Measure to see whether you’ve got any microwave leakage or too much microwave leakage.
Stuart Cooke: Crikey.
Guy Lawrence: There you go. I’ve never liked those things anyway. I’m all for that one.
Stuart Cooke: It sounds like you’re living in a microwave oven with a wifi network. I’ll surely not be visiting anytime soon.
Guy Lawrence: It’s just to keep you out, mate.
Stuart Cooke: Well, it’s working.
Guy Lawrence: Lyn, thanks very much for joining us today. It’s been awesome. My God, I’m going to have to take stock of all this information myself.
If anyone wants to learn more, EMR Australia, the website, would be the best place to contact for you?
Lyn McLean: Yep. Certainly.
Guy Lawrence: And then, obviously, you can provide all the necessary information if they’ve got more questions and things like that.
Stuart Cooke: And also, Guy, not to forget the book as well; Lyn’s fantastic book called The Force, which I’ve read and I think I’m gonna read it again. It just really does kind of just enforce all these little pockets of knowledge that I think are so empowering. So, if people wanted to purchase the book, Lyn, whereabouts could they do that?
Lyn McLean: They could do that through our website. Can I just share, also, excuse me as I lean over, that what we do with the kids, because having talking about the risks of this radiation for kids: Wireless-wise Kids, which is actually, and if you can see it there; I think we’re getting a bit of reflection from the blinds, but it’s got beautiful illustrations by an Australian artist, Janet Selby, and it’s quite easy to understand. So, kids can understand, but also the parents get a lot.
Stuart Cooke: I’ve purchased a copy of that as well and we went over that as a family, so we’ll put that information on the website for the viewers, too.
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely. Fantastic.
Thank you for your time, Lyn. That was mind-blowing.
Lyn McLean: Thank you very much. I appreciate you talking to me about this issue. I think it’s a really important one and I’m glad you’ve given us the chance to speak.
Guy Lawrence: We do, too. Thank you again.
Lyn McLean: Thank you. It’s my pleasure. Have a lovely day.