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I Ate 5,000 Calories of Saturated Fat a Day. This Is What Happened…


The above video is 3:49 minutes long.

Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.


sami inkinen
We chat to Sami Inkinen, a world class triathlete and tech entrepreneur. Whilst we don’t encourage anyone to eat 5000 calories of saturated fat a day, we feel it’s a very important message that Sami shares with us.

Sami and his wife Meredith recently did a phenomenal achievement, where they physically rowed from California to Hawaii. It took them 45 days straight rowing, up to 18 hours a day, and some days they didn’t even get any sleep.

Awesome achievement, but more importantly was the message behind it, as they did it without the use of any sugar and sports gels, pushing the message that you don’t need sugar to power the body daily, not even as a world-class athlete.

So they did it running on, yes, about 70 to 75 percent fat on each meal, and we were very keen to get him on the show and pick his brains about this, because there are so many things we can learn from it.

Full Interview with Sami Inkinen, World Class Ironman


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In this episode we talk about:

  • How he ended up being involved in the documentary Cereal Killers Two – Run on Fat
  • Why he decided to embark on his toughest challenge yet, rowing to Hawaii from San Francisco
  • How they prepared for their meals. Sami was eating a whopping 8,000 calories a day!
  • The effects of eating 5000 calories of saturated fat a day whilst rowing
  • What he uses instead of sports drinks
  • What Sami eats in a typical day
  • And much much more…

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Get More of Sami Inkinen Here:

Sami Inkinen Transcript

Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence with 180 Nutrition and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. Our special guest today is Sami Inkinen. Now, Sami has achieved some remarkable things in life, including he’s a world-class triathlete, he’s a tech entrepreneur, and him and his wife did a phenomenal achievement recently which is they basically physically rowed from California to Hawaii. Took them 45 days rowing up to 18 hours a day straight, and some days they didn’t even get any sleep.

Awesome achievement, but more importantly was the message behind it, because they did it without the use of sugar and gels and basically pushing the message that you don’t need sugar to power the body daily, not even as a world-class athlete like that.

So they did it running on, yes, about 70 to 75 percent fat on each meal, and we were very keen, obviously, to get him on the show and pick his brains about this, because there are so many things we can learn from it. He also shares many other things as well, which is fantastic, and it was an awesome podcast. I have no doubt you’ll get lots out of this today whether you’re an athlete or not. It was just brilliant.

Of course, if you are listening to this through iTunes, hit the subscribe button, leave a review, all very appreciated. A, it’s nice to know that you’re enjoying our podcasts, but B, it helps spread the word by simply subscribing or leaving a review more people can find us and more people can listen and more people can benefit from the message that we are putting out there to the world which we feel is very necessary.

And, of course, come back to our website, 180nutrition.com.au, where we’ve got a heap of resources including a free ebook which is a great place to start if you find all this information a little bit overwhelming. Anyway, enjoy the show. This one’s awesome. Cheers.

Guy Lawrence: Okay, hey, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke, as always. Hi, Stu.

Stuart Cooke: Hello.

Guy Lawrence: And our awesome guest today is Sami Inkinen. Sami, welcome to the show.

Sami Inkinen: Thanks very much. Excited to be a part of your show.

Guy Lawrence: Oh, mate, that’s awesome. Me and Stu have been very excited today, because it’s certainly a topic I think we thrive on, especially when it comes to sports as well, and it’s clear that you’re a guy that doesn’t do things by half-measures, you know, and just to, I guess, for the people who are listening to sum it up in a short way, you’re a world-class athlete, you’re a tech entrepreneur, and you’ve just gone and done something with your wife recently which is a phenomenal achievement and which I’m looking forward to getting sucked in with everyone.

But just to kick start the conversation, mate, would you mind just sharing a little bit about your background? And even, you know, how you ended up in San Francisco in the first place, because you’re from Finland.

Sami Inkinen: Yeah, so I was born and raised and brainwashed in Finland. Grew up about 200 miles, so 300 kilometers, from Helsinki on a farm, a chicken farm, but I wasn’t really a farm boy, I was more into computers, so as soon as I got out of the farm, I studied physics at a university in Finland and got into software and computers early in my life. Started on company in Europe and then in 2003, which seems like a long time ago now, about 12 years ago, I came here to San Francisco Bay Area in the U.S. to attend Stanford Business School and, you know, I’ve been here ever since.

Guy Lawrence: Are you missing the cold weather? I’m assuming it can get quite cold in Finland as well, right?

Sami Inkinen: You know, there’s a reason why I stayed here.

Guy Lawrence: Go on, Stu. You look like you’re going to say something.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, so we’ve been following a little bit of your background, Sami, as well, and realized that you did extremely well in the triathlete Ironman scene as well, but then made it to the big screen. I was just wondering how that happened? What happened there?

Sami Inkinen: Big screen as in…

Guy Lawrence: Cereal Killers 2.

Stuart Cooke: The movies.

Sami Inkinen: Well, first of all, I have, quite honestly, zero interest in promoting myself for the sake of promoting myself. However, given that I thought that I was kind of a poster boy for healthy living because of my crazy amount of endurance training and, what I thought, healthy living, regardless of that kind of lifestyle, I found out that I was pre-diabetic a couple of years ago, and I got ridiculously frustrated that, “How is this possible that it happens to me? And if it happens to me with that kind of lifestyle and a focus on exercise and, what I thought, healthy eating, what are the chances that an average person can avoid that sort of health issue?”

And the answer is, “Fat chance.” There’s no chance, so I wanted to do anything and everything I can to promote the message around healthy diet and healthy nutrition and, therefore, I was more than happy to lend my own crazy adventures and experiences for the benefit of others.

And I think that was the reason why I ended up teaming up or helping Donal O’Neill who has produced these two movies, Cereal Killers and Cereal Killers 2, so that was the background story. So I thought whatever I do and what I did with my wife, if it can help other people to avoid what was happening to me health wise, it would be worth the embarrassing exposure on the screen.

Guy Lawrence: Did it take you awhile? Was that the wakeup moment? Because I know you mentioned, like you said, you were going to be prediabetic and did you instantly look into increasing fats? Like, how did that message sink in to you, because there are so many people resistant to that message to this day and don’t even, won’t even consider it, you know? How did it work for you? Who did you discover to make you think differently about that?

Sami Inkinen: Well, first of all, I, obviously, it was almost like driving a car to a rock wall 100 kilometers an hour when I really thought it’s impossible that I would get sick or, more importantly, it would be impossible that someone like me would become diabetic or prediabetic with the kind of lifestyle that I was living, so it was really kind of a stopping moment for me.

And, of course, as a computer scientist, the first place that I went was online, so I started reading a lot and, unfortunately, spending time on, kind of, research databases like PubMed isn’t a very effective way of educating yourself because there’s so much science as well as bad science that you could spend the rest of your life reading research reports and still just be confused.

So I think the best sources for me were books and, you know, there’s a number of books, but I think one of the better overviews was the book written by Gary Taubes called Good Calories, Bad Calories.

Stuart Cooke: Yes.

Sami Inkinen: You know, it was just one of the information sources that I relied on and we talked with a number of physicians and scientists directly, but that was definitely one of the more transformational books for me.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, it’s a very in-depth book, too, and certainly recommended to everyone, yeah. So, let’s, talking about the challenge, can you explain a little bit about the synopsis and what you and Meredith achieved? What you did?

Sami Inkinen: Yes.

Guy Lawrence: And, as well, who came up with it? You know? Why that challenge?

Sami Inkinen: Well, yeah, first of all, Meredith, my wife and I, we decided to row completely unsupported with no past rowing experience in a, kind of, special adult rowing boat from California to Hawaii across the Pacific Ocean about 2400, 2500 miles. Well we ended up rowing 2,750 completely unsupported this past summer, so we just finished a few months ago.

I’d love to blame my wife for the crazy idea, but I think I was the person who initially got inspired and got this idea and the initial inspiration came from the book called Unbroken, which actually it was just turned into a movie about six months ago, but in this book a second World War Air Force pilot was shot down above the Pacific Ocean and he floated across the Pacific Ocean in a life raft, and I just thought that experience was so amazing and I didn’t want to be in a life raft, but just to experience the wilderness of the Pacific Ocean, so that was kind of a seed in my mind, and I thought, “For once in my lifetime, I want to experience the craziness of the Pacific Ocean.”

So that was the initial inspiration, but then we wanted to turn this crazy expedition into something that would benefit others as well, so we wanted to combine it with this message of, “Sugar is dangerous and more likely than not the processed carbohydrates are dangerous to you as well,” and so we wanted to do this adventure, an expedition, with absolutely no sugar and practically no carbohydrate as well, and that’s what we did.

Guy Lawrence: It was amazing. Was it harder than you thought? Or was it what you expected, you know, or, like, especially if you’ve never done something like that before. I can’t…I struggle to envision being on a boat for 45 days like that.
Sami Inkinen: Yeah. So I grew up in Finland not far from lakes and we had a small summer cottage by a lake, but I have to say I know why oceans are called oceans and not lakes. It’s a completely different environment, and, as you mentioned, neither Meredith nor myself had any experience with oceans. We aren’t sailors. We’ve done nothing related to oceans and we weren’t rowers, either, so to answer your question, we really didn’t have any expectations, because we had never experienced this environment before and we went from zero to sixty miles an hour in many ways in six months.

So six months before the launch, we started to train rowing. We started to train about survival in ocean environments, so we did massive amounts of survival training, navigation training, seamanship, and all these things that you really don’t worry about when you don’t know about sailing boats or anything, getting radio, you know, license and certificates, and understand how you use radios and all these things, so it all happened in six months.

Quite frankly we, I think we had, we didn’t really expect much because we had no idea what this is going to be like, and this may sound really crazy, but we didn’t even spend a single night in our boat until the first night. We slept in the boat, but we kind of slept in a very, sort of, calm condition, so for better or worse, we had a lot of first time experiences once we got out there, which may not sound like the perfect way of preparing for something like this.

Stuart Cooke: Tell us about motivation. With all that prep work that you did for the other elements of the boat, I mean, what, direct, physically stay motivated for that length of time, how is this possible?

Sami Inkinen: Well, first of all, the motivation for this draw was really twofold. One was, we both think that pushing your physical and mental limits is just kind of a full human experience, so we like pushing ourselves beyond what you would expect to be normal, and we find that it’s a very rewarding way of living your life, and you learn all kinds of interesting things about yourself and human life.

And then the second thing is really this motivation to bring awareness, build awareness, around the danger of sugar and processed carbohydrates. Those were kind of driving forces for us. But once you’re out there, the good news is, there’s no turning back, so the only way to get out is to freaking keep rowing.

And we kept rowing up to 18 hours a day, so you can’t really turn back. You really simply can’t, because of the winds and everything, so the only way to get out of the boat is to row to Hawaii, which we thought might take two months.

But then on a more practical level, you really have to focus on the process at the very moment, and you know, this applies to other things is life, but you can’t let your mind get into, kind of, “What is it going to be when we finish? Or what is it going to be…?”

You may be able to think that when you go for a sixty-minute run or a three-hour bike ride, but when you’re there for two months rowing eighteen hours a day, you have to focus on the moment, otherwise, you’ll mentally fall apart and you’re on the ground in pieces, so you focus on the moment and then, you know, like eating an elephant. How do you eat an elephant? You eat it one bite at a time.

Guy Lawrence (simultaneously): One bite at a time.

Sami Inkinen: Yes, you really focus on these micro small milestones, whether that’s your two-hour shift, and you take a five-minute break, maybe it’s a little drinking or maybe it’s your lunch break or something like that, so those two things, like, focus on the moment and then, you know, you have this, sort of small bit-sized chunks that you focus on as opposed to, “Oh, in a month’s time we might finish.”

Stuart Cooke: That’s right.

Guy Lawrence: Well, that’s just getting done, isn’t it? Do you meditate outside or, as in outside the rowing, do you do meditation…?

Sami Inkinen: Yeah, I actually…yeah, I started mindfulness meditation practice about two years ago and so did my wife, so I do a couple of minutes every morning the moment I wake up, and frankly we had plenty of time to practice activity-based meditation on the boat. It was actually interesting and powerful to try that during the row, which really helps you to focus on the moment and the sensation and this kind of related to how can you stay focused? It’s obviously uncomfortable for the most part, you know?

Your ass is hurting, your hands are hurting, you’re tired, but there’s nothing more powerful than embracing that pain and discomfort, because once you, sort of, give in and embrace and recognize that feeling, nothing can break you, but as long as you keep, sort of, fighting and bitching to yourself, like, “Oh, my god, my ass is hurting. Oh, my god, I’m tired,” the feeling just sort of escalates in your brain, but the moment you’re like, “I’m hurting. I’m feeling it. It’s uncomfortable, but I’m in it and I’m embracing it,” it’s like, “All right, so what’s worse? It can’t get any worse. You’re in it.”

So, there are a lot of mental lessons that I think are applicable to…

Guy Lawrence: Day-to-day life. Yeah.

Sami Inkinen: Yeah. Day-to-day life at your office or your exercise, so, you know, relationship with people and all other things.

Guy Lawrence: Amazing. Yeah. Something else occurred to me as well, because they say traveling with your partner is the best way to test the relationship, you know, and being in a rowing boat would certainly test that, you know, for me, but obviously it went good, you know? It’s incredible. Yeah.

Sami Inkinen: Yeah, we’re still married, so… You can see I still have the ring, so all went well, but, no, absolutely, it’s a… Not only was it an amazing test, but also an amazing experience that we’ll share for the rest of our lives, and fortunately it turned out positively from a relationship perspective.

Guy Lawrence: Go on, Stu. Go on.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, I was just wondering how you felt when you got off the boat, I mean, what were your feelings and how did you feel?

Sami Inkinen: Well, emotionally, I, and I think my wife as well, we cried a lot immediately after, so it was just, kind of, a big emotional moment to come out. Physically, so we had a doctor who did a quick checkup right after who actually has worked with a number of ocean rowers and her immediate comment was, “I can’t believe how healthy you guys look.” Like, nothing crazy, no crazy inflammation going on.

I had blood work done just a couple of days after the row and, like, we were incredibly healthy from the perspective of inflammation, hormonal markers, and other things, so other than, especially with myself losing a lot of, or having a lot of muscle atrophy in the muscles we didn’t use, which is completely natural, nothing to do with your diet, it’s just if you don’t use those muscles…Other than that, I was feeling incredibly well and within just a couple of days I felt like I was completely back, too.

It took several weeks to build the muscle mass back to some of the muscles that were really… because I didn’t really even stand, I didn’t do anything weight-bearing for two months, so other than that…

Guy Lawrence: So, just upper body, yeah…

Sami Inkinen: Yeah and, you know, rowing is, you do use your legs and low body, kind of like a squat movement, still, you don’t even stand or carry your body weight. There’s a lot of muscle and soft tissue that’s completely unused, and I lost a lot of that, so, like, walking was difficult coming off the boat.

Guy Lawrence: Just to touch back on the diet, because, you know, obviously you’ve changed your diet dramatically. Could you explain what your diet used to look like as a triathlete and what it looks like now, especially preparing and on the boat? The differences you made?

Sami Inkinen: Yeah. So, first of all, I did start changing my diet quite significantly before the row and I’ve raced as a triathlete following graphically similar diet I followed on the boat, but for almost twenty years I followed what I thought was a perfectly healthy diet and the diet that’s promoted by, you know, most governments, including the United States, including Finland, which, to me, was anything that was low-fat or no fat was healthy and, you know, I tried to eat fresh foods, but I ate a lot of packaged foods as well.

So my diet was extremely low fat. I tried to eat whole grains, obviously, not crap, and just a very low-fat diet. Low-fat, I thought it was good, and if it said no fat, it was great, so whether it was bread or skim milk or low-fat cheese or low-fat mayo, you name it, that’s what I was eating. And then, you know, the more I read about sports performance books, it was always, like, “Oh, you have to carb-load and that’s high-octane fuel,” you know, to put it simply, I was on an extremely high-carbohydrate diet, mostly whole grains, grains, vegetables, and all the meat that I was eating, it was super low-fat, so chicken, turkey, no skin, low-fat beef, that was my diet, and I followed that about twenty years.

I kept myself reasonably lean and my race weight low, but it required a ridiculous amount of willpower. We’ve seen what a lot of athletes are capable of doing, but 99 percent of the population just can’t do that and it’s not fun to apply 95 percent of your willpower 300 days a year to just always eat less than you would like to eat.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Yeah, and then moving to the boat, because we watched the documentary a few days ago and what was clear is you were meticulous about, you know, the amount of calories and the amount of fat you ate and the way you set your meals up. Would you mind explaining a little bit about that for us as well, because that was fascinating I thought.

Sami Inkinen: On the boat?

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, for the boat, yeah.

Sami Inkinen: Yeah. Well, first of all, obviously, when you’re in the middle of the Pacific Ocean there’s no eat stations like in a triathlon race, so there’s no convenience stores or grocery stores that you can stop by when you get hungry or realize that, holy crap, you don’t have enough protein or this or that, so we had to be careful, and even our diet, at least by traditional standards, was very extreme, we want it to also be very scientific about preparing, because we knew that if something goes wrong, whether it’s food-related or something else, we just can’t; there’s no way, no helicopter is going to drop us extra food or extra sodium or extra this or that, so that was one of the reasons we were very, like, everything was calculated, measured, weighed, and we knew then what we have on the boat is sufficient.

But what we ate at the high level, we only tried to pack and eat real whole foods, so in as natural form as possible. That was one. Two, it was extremely low-carbohydrate diet from a macronutrient perspective, so caloric-wise my carbohydrate calories were somewhere between five and ten, around maybe nine percent of calories was carbohydrates. Protein, I think, was about fifteen percent, up to fifteen percent, so it leaves 75 percent to 80 percent of calories from fat, so, you know, I ate probably 5000 calories of fat every day, of which most was saturated fat, so if you want to shock a cardiologist, that’s a pretty good line, “Yeah, I ate 5000 calories of saturated fat for two months, almost two months.”

Stuart Cooke: So, a typical meal for you on the boat would’ve been what?

Sami Inkinen: Yeah, so, and we packed pretty simple, not too much variety, so consequently I was practically eating the same stuff every day. So my breakfast was often salmon or tuna with craploads of olive oil and maybe some macadamia nuts.

My lunch was typically freeze-dried beef that was maybe like 70 percent fat calorically and 30 percent protein mixed with a little bit of freeze-dried vegetables and then I just mixed with water and it became like, you know, like a fresh food, and then I threw in, again, crazy amounts of olive oil into it and salt that had extra potassium and then some seasoning, maybe some olives, so it was kind of a… wasn’t very appetizing-looking necessarily, but I loved it, so that was the reason why I keep so much…

Guy Lawrence: And it was practical.

Sami Inkinen: Yeah, very practical, and we didn’t have to cook anything. We didn’t have to boil water. I didn’t boil water. I boiled water a single time just as an experiment in the first few days, but that was all. So that was kind of my lunch most days.

And then I wasn’t, because we ate very high fat, we were very fat-adapted, so we didn’t have to be eating every 45 minutes, every hour, so sometimes I’d have five, six, seven, hours between meals, but nuts were my favorite snacks. Nuts, coconut butter, and then different nut butters, so macadamia… I had plenty of macadamia nuts, almonds… so that was kind of a typical meal kind of setup.

Guy Lawrence: Were you, do you know if you were in ketosis the whole time or coming in and out? Did you have a doctor on that at all or…?

Sami Inkinen: Yeah. I did measure my ketones along the way. With hindsight, I overate a little bit protein to be in optimal ketosis, so that’s my understanding, that I ate a little bit too much protein, which flipped me out of a perfect zone, but I was definitely on ketosis. I don’t know deep I was, because I didn’t measure that frequently and my personal experience is that if you measure your ketones right after workout, I notice that my ketones actually go down right after the workout, so you give it a couple of hours after that and then they kind of come to the equilibrium of whatever they are and, you know, I was, usually when I measured it was right after my rowing, so…

Guy Lawrence: Do you still eat this way, in terms of the proportions, fat and carbs, or do you…?

Sami Inkinen: Yes.

Guy Lawrence: Every day, training or not?

Sami Inkinen: Yes.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, okay.

Sami Inkinen: The only difference is I have way more fresh food, so, and the fresh food is mainly green leafy vegetables, which weren’t available and I really missed those, so I eat a lot of those, but in terms of the macronutrient composition, I’m, let’s see, yeah, probably five percent carbohydrates, maybe ten, fifteen percent protein, and the rest is fat.

Guy Lawrence: There you go.

Stuart Cooke: Wow. And do you think that this way of eating is beneficial for everyone?

Sami Inkinen: Well, first of all, people look for shortcuts and for simple sound bites like…

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Sami Inkinen: One size does not fit all, so my recommendation when people come to me is, unless I have time to spend, like, two, three hours with someone to talk about XXtheir ???XX [0:26:21] is buy real, whole foods and cook at home. You’re probably better off not buying grains and, yeah, lots of carbohydrates, so that’s my advice to everyone, and if you buy real, whole foods and cook at home, you can’t go wrong, and if you limit carbohydrates, you’re probably better off. Beyond that, it’s kind of an individual situation and it depends on what your health standard is. If you are completely healthy now, you exercise a lot, you’re very carbohydrate-tolerant, insulin sensitive, you may be able to lead a happily healthy life with reasonable amount of stuff that might kill someone else.
So, I don’t, like, one size fits all in this kind of a one sound bite, it just, that’s for people looking for shortcuts and simple answers. There’s no simple answers other than eat real whole foods and cook at home and everything else after that you have to be quite nuanced…

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. A lot of self-experimentation.

Stuart Cooke: I’m guessing then if you retired from sports tomorrow, you would continue to eat this way.

Sami Inkinen: Oh, absolutely, yeah. The way I eat, well, first of all, I think a healthy foundation in your body is an absolutely foundation for sports performance. So, you can’t start from the performance angle first and say, “Hey, why don’t I eat something that makes me somehow, like, really good at sports.” Well, that’s somehow that makes you really good at sports is something that optimizes your general health, because then you recover best, you can train hardest, so I don’t really see those as mutually exclusive, sports performance and health.

Then race time eating or race time nutrition might be different, because you may not be able to, you know, take a plate and take a frying pan and start preparing meals if you’re in the middle of a race, so a race is a different situation but in terms of health and sports performance, it’s tough for me to make the case that they would be mutually exclusive so the answer is, “Yes.”

I want to be as healthy as possible, because that makes me the best possible athlete as well.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, because that’s a focus you don’t see a lot, but athletes do, like, you know, the health sort of becomes a far distant second and that’s all about how can I perform better and achieve more and consequently health would suffer. Like, even with yourself, the change the diet now, have you noticed differences with injuries and things and just with the body itself? Can you put more demands on it the way you’re doing it?
Sami Inkinen: Yeah. Well, this is kind of an n equals one experiment so this is just a personal. It’s anecdotal and those who want to rip apart everyone’s opinions and comments will certainly rip apart my comment, but the thing that I don’t have, which is a good thing, one is, I have much less, knock on wood, but I feel like I don’t get sick at all now. So I used to have my sore throat and sinus and this and that all the time. That’s one.

Two, I don’t have, like, sort of inflammation nagging injuries. I used to have Achilles and shoulder and this and that, lower back and this and that, all the time. I don’t have those at all.

And then anecdotally, I feel that I recover much better, so those are the things that…It appears to me that have significantly improved when I got off the super high-carbohydrate, low fat diet, and then just overall feeling is like, you know, I’m not thinking about really food much at all. I’m not obsessed about always trying to eat ten percent less than I wanted, so I can focus on life rather than, “Oh, I need to be on this athlete diet which sucks all the time.”

Guy Lawrence: I know, we now a few, I mean, you know, a good endurance athlete as well, and they get ravenous, like, you know, they’d eat a loaf of banana bread in seconds, you know, and then they come out and it’s like, “Wow. That can’t be helpful.”
Stuart Cooke: So, we’ve touched a little bit on food, I’m interested to know your thoughts on sports drinks.

Sami Inkinen: Sports drinks?

Stuart Cooke: Sports drinks, yeah. So I guess, what did you drink while you were on the row and perhaps, historically, what did you used to drink when you were training as to what you might drink now?

Sami Inkinen: Yeah. So our sports drink of choice on the boat was water which was made out of ocean water with our desalinator, so we, you know, carrying the amount of water that you need for two months when you are sweating, rowing eighteen hours a day, obviously, which people used to do, the few crazy individuals who did this before, solar panels and desalinators, the rowing boats were gigantic because they had to carry all their water through the whole thing.

Guy Lawrence: All their water. Yeah.

Sami Inkinen: So, we were drinking ocean water, which was desalinated, no sodium, and we had zero electrolyte solutions whatsoever on the boat which probably could be surprising to people. So our sports electrolyte solution of choice was table salt.

Guy Lawrence: Plain old table salt.

Sami Inkinen: Yeah. We had table salt that had, you know, added potassium, but you know, it’s a grocery store product that you buy. That was the only thing that we had. We also had a magnesium tablets, but the only reason we had that was because all the beef that, and the meat, that we ate was dehydrated and it was treated in a way that it had lower amounts of magnesium that you would otherwise find, so we had that just in case that we wouldn’t have muscle cramps, but that’s all.

And, like I said, we had no aid station, we had no sports stores, so we were absolutely confident that the real whole foods based diet, regardless of our eighteen hours of exercise a day, is completely efficient, so I guess long story short to answer your question, we were able to exercise eighteen hours a day with zero sports drinks and eighteen hours a day, I burn about the same amount of calories as running two marathons each day for 45 days non-stop.

Guy Lawrence: That’s amazing, man.

Sami Inkinen: That doesn’t make it science, but it’s not a very good headline for a sports drink marketer.

Guy Lawrence: Do you ever get people just going, “Oh, that’s rubbish, “or disbelief or…what’s the reaction being… for you achieving this in the sports fraternity especially, you know? Like, because it’s so against everything we’ve told.

Sami Inkinen: I don’t know. I don’t really care. I mean, I let others judge and form their opinions and, if somebody doesn’t believe in what we did or that might be the right way to eat or drink or hydrate yourself then that’s their choice. Yeah, but your question of what do I have now, so if I go to a four or five-hour bike ride, I just have water in my bottle, but I usually try to make sure that I have, like, lots of salt before. I might throw in some table salt into my water bottles in my bike, and then, once I finish, I have extra salt to swallow.
So you certainly need the sodium, but I’m just conscious of that if I do something that is more than two hours and it’s hot and I know that I’m going to be sweating, yeah, I kind of buffer a little bit, but I don’t run out of sodium.

Guy Lawrence: Amazing. And just one question that I really wanted to touch on while we’ve got you on the show, Sami, is just for the listeners out there regarding your training, could you share with us now even when you’re leading up to an event or something what a typical training day and a typical training week would look like? The amount of volume you would do in that?

Sami Inkinen: Yeah. Well, it obviously depends on what I’m preparing for, but looking at the last five, even ten years of my training log, it’s… overall volume is the same, the content just changes, but weekdays, I usually work out between 50 and 90 minutes per day. You know, maybe an average of an hour a day, and then the weekend, either for training or social reasons, I do a longer, usually it’s a bike ride that’s anywhere between three and five hours, more often three to four hours, so if you do the math, I mean the second day might be another one or two-hour bike ride or run or something, but you know I end up training about ten hours a week, week in, week out, and you know, I love exercising so that’s one of the reasons.

It’s my way of, like, clearing my mind, and if I’m training for an event it’s much more focused, so there’s more high-intensity and that’s sort of thing, but the hours I’d say… eight to eleven hours a week. It’s difficult to find a week that’s out of those parameters for less than eleven hours, and then you know, I might sometimes more strength-training, sometimes less, but that’s kind of the setup.

So when I say one-hour day, so it could be a recovery workout where I go and ride about a bike for 50 minutes. Super easy, so that’s almost like doing nothing for me, but it counts as a one-hour workout, so another one-hour workout might be ten times one-minute all out, warm out, cool down, so once again it’s one hour, so it’s again, it’s an hour, but you know, it really depends on what I do there, but I’m so used to exercise that I kind of end up spending the one hour every morning just to get out there and do something and, yeah, but what you do within an hour makes a huge difference.

Guy Lawrence: Oh, yeah.

Stuart Cooke: It does, it does. One question as well, Sami, that we ask everybody, and I know we’ve got thousands of people that would love to know, a typical daily diet for you. What have you eaten today?

Sami Inkinen: What have I had today? Probably the most dangerous, no question about, answer, because everyone always asks, “So what do you eat exactly?” I always try to avoid going into details, because then people either want to copy, they’ll want to rip it apart, so I’ve always tried to avoid, like, posting somewhere, like, “Here’s exactly what I eat.” Not because there’s anything scandalous or anything, but, again, people are looking for this, like…

Guy Lawrence: Magic fix?

Sami Inkinen: …sound bite, like one size fits all, but typically I eat, before workout, I probably have, like four or five hundred calories of fat and, practically speaking, that’s usually coconut butter or coconut oil in a tea or coffee or butter so that was the case this morning as well, so, I mean, I don’t count the calories, but just to give you a sense of, like…

Guy Lawrence: Guestimate, yeah.

Sami Inkinen: You know, a crapload of fat with a drink, and you know it’s pretty fast to digest and it doesn’t feel like it’s in your stomach if you go and work out, so that’s… Then right after workout, I usually have a little bit of a protein, so this could be three to five eggs, fried with top fat again, butter usually, in a pan, depending how busy I am. My lunch is usually a salad, so it looks like it’s lots of salad, but it’s lots of greens and then with a little bit of protein, so that could be a salmon or ground beef and then a lot of olive oil or butter or some sort of mayo.

Snacks oftentimes it’s some sort of meat or sausage or almonds or macadamia nuts and then dinner is even a, you know, a bowl that you would usually feed a horse from. That kind of size full of greens that I may sauté in a pan with a bunch of butter or just like put in, like, it’s gigantic and then again with some kind of protein. It could be shrimps or fish or grass with beef or more butter. I usually drink water, but I might have almond milk, just for the heck of it, maybe some frozen berries after that, like blueberries or something like that. Nothing too scientific.

Stuart Cooke: Sounds delicious.

Guy Lawrence: That’s awesome. Mate, we’ve got one more question that we always ask everyone on the podcast as well and it can be related to anything, but what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Sami Inkinen: That someone has given to me?

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Sami Inkinen: Oh… happy wife, happy life. It sounds like a cliché, but once you’ve been married for a few years you realize that it’s so true.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: That’s a great answer.

Stuart Cooke: I hear where you’re coming from, Sami, with that one.

Guy Lawrence: Just to wrap it up, what does the future hold for Sami Inkinen? Any more challenges ahead or anything in the pipeline?

Sami Inkinen: Well I’m working very hard on my MacBook Air, just kind of on the technology side of things, but athletically I’m doing the eight-day mountain biking stage race in South Africa in March called Cape Epic, so it’s, you know, five to seven hours on the bike each day for eight days. So that’s coming up in less than two months, so two months’ time. Excited about that, so that’s my athletic in the horizon, so I’d better get myself on the bike.

Stuart Cooke: My word, I’ve been a mountain biker all my life, I would shudder at the thought of undertaking something like that, so I would… We’ll keep an eye on that one, for sure.

Guy Lawrence: Definitely! And for them listening to this, Sami, if they want to, you know, track your progress or follow you, do you have a website or a blog they can check out at all or a URL?

Sami Inkinen: Yeah, well maybe a couple of things, the row, if you’re interested in learning more about the row, we have a website called Fat Chance Row, fatchancerow.org, so you can go there and read a little bit about the background and we raised money for a non-profit and we are still doing that, so if you want to support, none of the money comes to us, it goes directly to the non-profit. So that’s one, and then, if you want to follow me on Twitter, one way to follow what I might be up to, is just my first name, last name on Twitter, so S, A, M, I, I,N, K, I, N, E, N, Sami Inkinen on Twitter, and you know I sometimes blog on my website, but it’s not too frequent so…

Guy Lawrence: No worries. We’ll put the appropriate links to that on the show anyway and help spread the word. Thanks, Sami, thanks so much for coming on the show. That was awesome and I have no doubt everyone is going to get a lot out of that today.

Stuart Cooke: I think so, very, very inspiring. Really appreciate the time, Sami.

Sami Inkinen: Yeah. My pleasure, so thanks so much, guys.

Guy Lawrence: Thanks, Sami.

Stuart Cooke: No problem.

Guy Lawrence: Appreciate it. Cheers.

Stuart Cooke: Cheers.

Desk bound All Day? Why a Standing Desk Might Not Be the Answer. Try This Instead…

The above video is 3:49 minutes long.

Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.

Guy: Make no mistake, most of us have mastered the art of sitting! With today’s working lifestyle it’s very hard to get away from. So the big question is, are standing desks really the answer?

So who better to ask than movement specialist Keegan Smith. If you find yourself chained to a desk daily then this interview is for you!

Keegan Smith

“… If you don’t have time to move, it’s like not having time to eat, it’s like not having time to breathe; Movement is being human. Walking is being human. That’s who we are, that’s what we’re here for. If we don’t have time for that, what do we have time for?…” 
― Keegan Smith, The Real Movement Project

Keegan Smith is the founder of the Real MOVEMENT Project, which was born of a decade of research into what it takes to reach the highest levels of performance.

In Keegan’s own words; ‘Higher performance is contagious. As you attain new levels of performance and success you change the world around you. You become a coach for your family members, friends, team-mates and everyone who sees the standards you’re living to’.

His impressive resume includes; Strength & Conditioning coach for rugby league teams The Sydney Roosters and The London Broncos. He’s also coached world cup winning New Zealand all black Sonny Bill Williams and Australian Ironman champion Alastair Day.

Keegan Smith Full Interview: Building Your Best Body & Mind with Real Movement


In This Episode:

downloaditunesListen to Stitcher

  • How and why we need to move daily, and simply hitting the gym 3 times a week is not the answer
  • Why much of your own success lies within the company you keep
  • His own exercise routines
  • His journey from suffering chronic fatigue to greater health
  • Key things he did to help overcome chronic fatigue
  • Using limitations as a guide for actions
  • The future of performance – holistic -> mind, diet, community, self-respect, non-mechanical stress

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Full Transcript

Guy:Hey, this is Guy Lawrence from 180 Nutrition and welcome to today’s health session. Our first guest for 2016 is Keegan Smith. I [inaudible 00:00:12] thoroughly enjoy this podcast today. I don’t like talking up the guest too much; I like to leave the actual podcast interview to do the talking for us. I must say, Keegan has been a bit of an inspiration in my life recently and I’m sure long may that continue.

He is the founder of the Real MOVEMENT Project, which was born of a decade of research into what it takes to reach the highest levels of performance. He’s got a very impressive resume. He was the strength and conditioning coach at the Sydney Roosters, London Broncos. If you’re not familiar with them, they’re rugby league teams in the NRL. He’s worked with some amazing athletes including [Sonny Bill Williams 00:00:49], whose now gone on and become a world cup New Zealand all black legend, pretty much. He’s a big rugby league star, too. He recently worked with [Ali Day 00:00:58], whose an Ironman, Australian Ironman champion. 

Keegan’s own personal journey is phenomenal. He talks about the days of him when he was suffering from chronic fatigue and what he looked upon to make amends to that and how it’s led now into what is not the Real MOVEMENT Project, which we go into in depths but, essentially is becoming almost the best version of yourself. Using exercise movement, and food, and building a community around that, and hanging out with like-minded people to then take inspiration and draw that from everyday so, you can apply it in your life. 

As I’ve gotten to know Keegan like I said, he’s certainly made me think about the way I move daily. It’s inspired me to take on new challenges, literally as we speak. I genuinely think there’s something in this podcast for everyone. Whether you’re a fitness trainer and your fully into strength and conditioning, or not. You might go to the gym once a week but, it’ll certainly make you look at the way we approach our lives on the daily [00:02:00] basis. I got a lot out today and I’m sure you’re going to thoroughly enjoy. 

I will mention as well, we’ve got the clean eating video series, that’s coming up. They’re 3 videos that we’ve made available for free for you guys. You just need to go back to 180nutrition.com.au/clean. These videos are going to be available for 1 week only. It’s pretty much putting my [inaudible 00:02:26] sorts and philosophies, what we’ve learned from all this podcasting and working in the industry for the last 6 years into 3 bite size videos so, you can take action and make 2016 the best year as well. Why are we only making them available for 1 week? We want to create scarcity around it so you guys will take action, and sit down, and actually watch them, and then apply it. Anyway … They’re to recommend to family and friends, as well. That’s 180nutrition.com.au/clean. They will be available in the USA as well. Awesome. Let’s go over to Keegan Smith. 

Guy:Hi, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke, as always. Hey, Stu.

Stu:Hello, mate.

Guy:Our awesome guest today is Keegan Smith. Keegan welcome to the show.

Keegan:Good day guys. Thanks for having me on.

Guy:Yeah, mate. It’s been a long time coming, I reckon. I just wanted to start out as well, I’ve been following you on Instagram for quite a while now. Everyday, I see you juggling, doing backward flips, throwing a lot of weight round, walking the tightrope but, doing something that looks a lot of fun. I reckon it’s clear that you love what you do and you enjoy doing it as well.

Keegan:Yeah, definitely. It’s such an important part of the success that you have is, that you love what you’re doing. I can see with you guys and the amount that you’ve grown. It’s always inspiring to see what you’re doing and your podcast growth is extending your reach and your impact. I love seeing people who are passionate about what they do; get what they want. It doesn’t get much better than that. 

Guy:It’s awesome [00:04:00] and I know we were having this conversation yesterday as well, about … It’d be easy to assume that you were always been this way and doing what you do because you make it look so easy and effortless for when it comes to movement, strength conditioning, and the whole shebang. Pretty keen to get in and tell us a little bit about your own journey and what’s brought you to this point today, really. Also, your impressive resume along the way, as well. Start wherever you want, mate.

Keegan:Appreciate your kind words but, yeah it’s definitely not effortless. The art is to do stuff that’s really hard and keep yourself calm as you do it and under control. I think that changes the psychological response during your training will affect your physiological response. It’s actually a really important part of what we do is, trying to look calm and keep things under control as you train. It’s definitely been a journey and it’s been [inaudible 00:04:57]. 

I had that background of sports growing up. My father’s an NRL coach of 30 years so, I was always around rugby players and the sporting environment. Mum was an elite athlete as well but, I guess there was a time there where I turned by back on all that and decided to look for something deeper and went backpacking quite a while. That led to a physical deterioration. Even though though I was still trying to eat relatively healthy and get some training done, it did definitely slip. At the end of that time, I basically got to the stage of chronic fatigue where I just had no energy to train. If I trained, I’d just have a headache, and I’d go home straight to bed, and I’d stay in the dark room for the rest of the day, kind of thing. It was … They were dark times in a lot of ways but, I knew was on my way to something important. That was probably why I changed and gradually things have got better from that point up until now. 

I wouldn’t say … I talk about canaries and cockroaches. The canaries are the fragile ones [00:06:00] and the cockroaches are the ones that are hard to kill no matter what you do. I was definitely very much on the canary side of the spectrum, I was very sensitive to anything; electromagnetic radiation, or foods, or training, all these kind of challenge and stimulus. I’ve come a long way since then but, if I get things wrong, I can still slip back. It’s been exciting to learn all the things that can build myself to that … To be able to do a bit more than I used to be able to do-

Guy:How many years out did you take, Keegan?

Keegan:Sorry?

Guy:How many years out did you take when you … ?

Keegan:Basically, I left home at 21. I quit [uni 00:06:43] halfway through my 4th year, which meant I didn’t graduate from the degree that I was enrolled in but, I could graduate from a … just a straight exercise science degree. Moved to England, worked with the London Broncos but, that was really the awakening. I spent a little bit of time in Prague with a friend and realized, “Hey, there’s a whole other world out here. There’s people who speak other languages, there’s all these different experiences.” my little box of Australia and England … I’d lived in England a few time before, been to America; I’d only experienced that kind of Anglo world and, yes spending time over there opened things up for me. 

I started to learn Spanish while I was in London. Going out an partying in London, you met people from all over the world and I was like, “Definitely learning 1 language after 20 or … 15 years of formal education, I can only speak 1 language. This is not how it’s meant to be.” I started learning Spanish, I was reading a lot of Che Guevara, and exploring ideas of how the world could potentially be different. Pretty much between 21 and 28, that was the journey. Living different lives and learning more. Spent a lot of time in Latin America and the Outback in Australia. It was all about trying to understand the way the world works and how I could … What role I was going play in it. That’s probably what the 20s are about. [00:08:00] for a lot of people. 

Guy:I actually heard … I don’t know if this is true, mate, that you speak 3 languages now.

Keegan:Yeah, French and Spanish are pretty comfortable, bits of … decent understanding of German and Polish now because my wife is German-Polish, and then bits of [inaudible 00:08:17], which is an indigenous Australian language, and [inaudible 00:08:21], which is a Mayan descendant language. I’ve spent a fair bit of time watching Portuguese stuff, and music. I really enjoy that now. I guess once you get one and you get that experience of it … I worked in France for 2 years so, I was forced to learn that. I guess it just builds that belief and … You start to know that you’re adaptable and that you can pick up another language [crosstalk 00:08:45]

Guy:Yeah because Stu reckons I haven’t got English down quite yet, let alone any other language.

Stu:Well I was just going to say [crosstalk 00:08:50]

Keegan:-definitely different.

Stu:Yeah, I’m similar to you Keegan, I speak fluent Scottish, Irish, American, and of course English, as well. We’re on your-

Keegan:It’s a good mix, yeah. 

Stu:Yeah, Guy’s still struggling with English but, we’ll get there. We’ll get there. That’s why we transcribe this.

Keegan:Yeah, very useful. Very useful.

Stu:Absolutely right. I’m really interested in the chronic fatigue side of stuff. I want to delve into that a little bit later.

Keegan:Okay.

Stu:First up, from a strength and conditioning perspective because you’re the man now in that zone; I was interested, and for our listeners, too. Strength and conditioning versus regular gym stuff, what’s the big difference?

Keegan:Firstly, I don’t really feel like I’m the man. I’m a lifelong student and I’ve been passionately studying this stuff for the past 15 years so, if anything good has come of that, it’s a result of all those people that I’ve learned from over that time. I don’t really like that guru type thing that … Some guys when they get a little bit ahead [00:10:00] and then they feel like, “Well it’s all mine now and I’m going to forget about where it’s all come from” … I appreciate your kind words but, I think that’s what it’s about. If people out there do want to become acknowledged and leaders in their fields then, trying to be a real student, a life-long student, is probably going to be much more useful for them than trying to be the … Put themselves already on that pedestal, which I see people trying to do too early and it limits progress. I’ve been there as well so, this is what I’m trying to do right now.

Guy:Fantastic. They say the more you learn, the more you don’t know.

Keegan:Yeah, exactly.

Stu:We’ll use the term, pioneer, mate because I think that’s we’ll fitted. 

Keegan:All right, all right. Cool. 

Stu:[crosstalk 00:10:47] Strength and condition versus regular [globo 00:10:51] gym stuff.

Keegan:I think once you’ve … I started a lot with the globo gym type training. I think when I first when to [inaudible 00:10:59] gym to train, it was bench press into dumbbell bench press into incline bench press into flys. I don’t think I did the pec [deck 00:11:08] too much but, I did those kind of body builder-esque workouts. I bought muscle magazines and saw the guys full of steroids and just massive humans with 3% body fat. That was what was the dominant paradigm in that time. Crossfit was just barely being born, and there was no real gymnastics for adults, and that sort of thing. That was what I was exposed to and through university there was no weightlifting. You basically had to get a PhD to think that you could attempt to snatch. It was this off-limits thing that no one should do unless they’re going to become a professional weightlifter and dedicate their life to it. Almost like becoming a monk or something. 

All those barriers have come down now so, now when people experience strength and conditioning it’s a learning experience. I’m so passionate about learning and when people are learning and going beyond physical-mental limitations in the gym, they [00:12:00] just experience another level of themselves. You can’t change the mind without changing the body. When you change the body, you change the mind and vice-versa. That’s what I really love seeing. People doing a handstand fro the first time … I was talking … I did a interview last night with Witness the Fitness coach, [Ben Murphy 00:12:17], who’s one of the guys who I mentor in the Real MOVEMENT crew. He’s got 60 year olds doing handstands and it’s not just the physical factor of shoulder integrity, body awareness, being able to hold everything together but, the mental strength that comes with that, and the feeling of, “Well yeah, I’m 60 but, I’m getting better and I’m learning.” That’s the amazing thing. 

The great thing with strength and conditioning and this kind of training that we’re doing, we try … Called, performance development, is really that if you … even if you stop … If you do a handstands for 2 years and then you stop, you’ll still be able to go back and do a handstand; whereas, when you train for body composition, you’re only ever a month of bad eating away from losing everything that you had because you don’t really … You might build a base of strength but, it really deteriorates quite quickly; whereas, when you’re developing skill and mobility, you will find that you can go back to those things. We’re really empowering people with life-long skills and that’s much more exciting for me. You’re changing the body but, you’re changing the perception of self, and at the same time, you’re giving people tools for life.

Stu:Got it. Got it. I was intrigued as well, when you said the 60 year old doing a handstand. Common perception is, strength and conditioning, and gym, and handstand, and snatches, and Olympic moves are for the younger crowd but, obviously we don’t want to use it and lose it. We don’t want to get old, and frail, and fragile, we want to be strong throughout our lives. You’re fully into that transition all the way through life, are you? With your conditioning programs?

Keegan:Definitely. I think I’m getting younger and I feel like there’s so much possibility for a majority of the people out there, to be younger biologically through [00:14:00] improving their nutrition mindset and getting this training done. If you can do things that a 20 year old can’t do; physically you have more endurance, and more strength, you have more skill, who’s younger? Maybe we’re not … we are going to extend life a little it but, it’s more about … It’s not about not dying, it’s about fully living. That’s the opportunity that you get when you’re living at your best and you’re pushing for to become a better version of yourself everyday. I feel like that’s the most exciting way to live. There’s certainly opportunity for old people to become a lot younger if they take on the challenge.

Guy:There’s been a definitely interesting shift because I was working in the fitness industry probably 7, 8, 9, 10 years ago and you wouldn’t see anyone rolling out in the gymnasium let alone, to what it’s come today. Strength and conditioning probably thanks to Crossfit really, you can see there’s more and more people catching on and starting to do it, as well. 

Keegan:Crossfit is the most effective training system to exist so far in terms of, its penetration into the population. It’s made a huge difference and opened up … Everyone who runs a strength and conditioning gym who hates on Crossfit is really shooting themselves in the foot. There were no opportunities for strength and conditioning gyms, especially in Australia. There were hiring ones in the US, dealing with college athletes about to go to the NFL and [combines 00:15:25] but, your everyday Joe was not going to a strength and conditioning gym. Now, that opportunity is there. 

Real MOVEMENT has learned a lot from Crossfit. I’ve learned a lot from Crossfit. I’ve worked with [inaudible 00:15:37], and [inaudible 00:15:37], and [inaudible 00:15:38]. Top guys in Australian Crossfit have taught me a lot and inspired me a lot. While I don’t do Crossfit, I have learned a lot from it. I think there’s so much to learn and be thankful for with it. It’s opened up a whole new world of gymnastics. All those parts of Crossfit, gymnastics can be done a lot better than the way it’s done in Crossfit, in my opinion. Weightlifting has [00:16:00] been pushed ahead massively by Crossfit in terms of, the general population. Whether it affects the elite end, we’ll probably know in another decade or so when some of these kids who were 10, and 12, and 15, who were doing Crossfit … I think some of those kids are going to go to the Olympics for weightlifting, potentially. Time will tell.

Guy:Springing in mind with Crossfit, I’m interested to know about your recovery protocols, as well and stuff. What I’ve noticed even with Crossfit with myself, and Stu will probably speak for this, it’s very easy to get in there and actually get caught up in the emotions of what’s going on with everyone else and maybe lift beyond what we’re doing or pushing ourselves every single day. It’s so addictive.

Stu:A lot of people embrace it and it just becomes this bug. Personally, being mindful about the amount of times that you go, and your recovery time in-between, and strategies and protocols just to recovery before you go and smash yourself again. 

Guy:What would your recovery protocols look like, Keegan?

Keegan:Firstly, I think you hit the nail with the emotion part of it. If your training is very emotional consistently, you’re gone. It’s not going to work for you. You can train 3 times a day if you build your tolerance to that point but, if you’re training with emotion 3 times a day, you will over-train within a week. There’s no way of doing that. If you look at [inaudible 00:17:23], if you look at [inaudible 00:17:24]; if you look at these guys, the calmness that the have even when they’re in front of a massive crowd actually competing, how do their facial expressions look compared to the guy who’s smashing himself up at the local box. You can see that there’s a very different experience going on on the inside. 

That emotional side of it is massively underrated and under-recognized. In terms of recovery, that is probably one of the biggest things that the less emotion you put into your training, the more likely you’re going to be able to repeat regularly. It means the emotion comes in once every month, once every couple of months, or one [00:18:00] set, or one rep within a session but, not every set, every rep; 10, 15, 20 minutes at a time feeling high, high stress. Especially, on the strength loads. That’s definitely what’s going to make the biggest difference.

Stu:How could you perhaps become more aware and manage that? I get exactly what you’re saying because stress hormones can make everything go wrong as well as, everything go right. What do you do to-

Keegan:You guys are going to be the world leaders in this. You keep having the neuroscientists on and … You guys are going to … You already have so much information about that and so much knowledge. I recommend if people want to answer that question, check out all the other podcasts because there’s a ton of stuff there about how to control your physiology and psychology. [inaudible 00:18:49] [Spencer 00:18:49] been doing … Joe Spencer’s work and [inaudible 00:18:52] work, religiously lately … Guy who really sparked me back into that. I’m massively thankful for him putting me on that train again. The crew of coaches, gym owners around Australia, and around the world that I work with are also exploring more of that stuff. Really thankful for that and really exciting where it’s going to go. 

I do believe that [inaudible 00:19:12] is a really, really powerful way to start getting emotional control and deeper physiological control. The training itself, if you treat it as that, it’s going to teach you as well. If you say, “Yeah, I’m just going to train until the point where it feels as though I’m starting to lose control a little bit and then, ill back off from there.” At that point, it’ll continue to shift upwards. You’ve got your comfort zone and that comfort zone becomes very small when we don’t … when we never stress ourselves and when we don’t challenge ourselves so , we need stress. It’s a big misconception to avoid stress. If you’re trying to avoid stress, you’re probably going to end up in chronic fatigue and feeling really bad. We need the stress but, we need to gradually increase our tolerance to that stress, and our bodies ability to adapt to it, and our minds ability to adapt to it, to tolerate it. With that, we can definitely push a lot further. 

Guy:Definitely. I think one of the common things [00:20:00] that I used to see a lot as well, would be the person that hadn’t stressed their body for 6 months plus because of work, and commitments, and everything. The moment they walk through the doors of the gym, they’re acting like they’re 21, and then you wouldn’t see them again for weeks on end because they’ve just overcooked themselves. 

Stu:With that emotional side, and that mental side now, becoming more prevalent with all these great guys coming out with all these strategies, techniques for us to be able to manage that; the future then, of performance and movement … Because I’m seeing Crossfit is just it’s rolled through Australia like a steam train and people have just embraced it so much. Now, I’m seeing a shift with [F45 00:20:52] for instance, another twist on that kind of stuff. Where do you think it’s going to go bearing in mind that there is all this kind of psychological stuff that we really do need to embrace?

Keegan:I feel like Real MOVEMENT is the future. It is going to take things to a place that it hasn’t … that a lot of the world hasn’t been. We have over 30 facilities, 30 guys have gone into new facilities over the last 12 months and we’re sneaking along with some nice growth. We’ve got some good plans in place and I do see it as my responsibility. You’ve got to change the things that you don’t like about the world. “Be the change that you want to see in the world”, as Gandhi said. That’s really what I’m trying to do. 

I want to influence back a lot into the NRL. I know we did things a lot different at the [inaudible 00:21:39] and we had some different results because of it. I’m excited about changing the way physical preparation is done in the NRL over the next few years and taking that into commercial facilities is part of what we’re working towards. We’re starting to have a good network in Europe as well, we’re definitely expanding. Hopefully, I’m going to present it by range during [00:22:00] the year in China. I think that we do have a big responsibility and possibility for doing things better so that’s why we have to keep learning and presenting things better and making-

Stu:Got it.

Keegan:-a difference.

Stu:So for … Sorry, mate … For our listeners, your Real MOVEMENT Project, what is it? In a nutshell?

Keegan:Real MOVEMENT is a thing that came around, kind of a Marxist movement in the 50s and 60s, if you search for it on Wikipedia. It was a political movement and an attempt to shift stuff. I’m not a Marxist but, I have explore a lot into alternative economies and I do think that there needs to be a shift in our economic model for us to be able to give everyone the best life possible. I think that the model that we have is going to serve that very well. The Joe [Rogan 00:22:50] YouTube video, that he’s just put up … Have you guys seen that one? I think it just came out last couple days.

Guy:I haven’t, no. I follow his work but, I haven’t seen it.

Keegan:It’s 5 minutes and it’s bang like, nail on the head. Things about the way the world needs to change and the opportunity that we have to change it, and the unlimited potential of individuals, and how we’re wasting a lot of that potential, and stuff. Really, really interesting. I’m just about to put up a blog post with some thoughts about exactly what he said. That’s something that I believe [00:23:22]. There is potential for things to be done a lot better and to be done differently, and that’s why I went backpacking and living with the Mayans, living with the indigenous Australians; looking at how things can be done better and trying to learn about that. 

Bringing it into movement, it’s not actually about how we have the authentic movement and everyone else’s movement is bullshit. It’s not … That’s not what Real MOVEMENT means. Real MOVEMENT is about a real change change towards a better world and that’s the foundation of it. I guess [inaudible 00:23:57] and [inaudible 00:23:57] is really popularized the word, movement. [00:24:00] I really think it’s been valuable for the whole world of fitness, strength and conditioning, performance, and that’s filtering out all over the place. It’s not about just building muscles, it’s about building real connections, quality of movement, and taking it to a whole other level. I’ve done a lot of work with him and that’s really exciting as well. [crosstalk 00:24:25]

Guy:You structure workshops around that, right? For at the moment, if anyone is listening to this and they go …

Keegan:That’s kind of the philosophy. What we actually do … The biggest part is mentoring gym owners, and people who want to own gyms, or people who want to coach, or lead sports teams. I’ve got guys working with a number of AFL, NRL, super-league teams and they network with each other so, they’re all getting better at a faster rate than they would if they were doing things on their own; the gyms and the coaches working with the teams. 

I have a 12 month program there that’s really making a shift and that came from doing 2 day workshops and 3 hour workshops in gymnastics or on the whole Real MOVEMENT system. I have the Real MOVEMENT level 1 coming up around different sports. That 2 day gets people excited and gives them an experience but, generally I feel that it’s too much of a shift for people to follow it up so, the people I get work with over 12 months … The change that we’re seeing in some of those people and now it’s been 2 years and I’m still working with some of the first guys. The changes that they’ve had physically, mentally, and spiritually, and economically … They’re making money, they’re making a difference. It’s just super exciting so, that’s what Real MOVEMENT is really about. We want to put a performance center into [inaudible 00:25:42] and Fiji this year. We’re looking to-

Guy:Fiji, Stu. Did you hear that?

Stu:Oh Fiji. I’m coming, mate.

Keegan:Sounds like I’ve got a-

Guy:We’ll be there, yeah. 

Keegan:These are really hubs for rugby players and areas that are under-served and probably have been [00:26:00] … probably exploited by Australia in terms of, dominance in the area politically. I think that they’re starting to experience a lot of the behavior-related diseases that we brought from European culture, European mentality. To have an impact on that is, something that really excites me. It’s part of where we’re going in the next little while.

Guy:Fantastic. I have to say, the power of community is immense. I’ve seen it firsthand even within your Real MOVEMENT Facebook page. The amount of support that’s going on in there with each other is fantastic.

Keegan:Different wavelength and it was great to have you speak to some of the elite guys at my place in [inaudible 00:26:46]. I know you impacted a lot of guys and there are a lot of them that are taking on [inaudible 00:26:50] and looking into … [inaudible 00:26:52], I think a bit of a gateway into the spiritual …

Guy:Yeah, yeah, yeah. Definitely, no it’s interesting stuff. While we’re still on the topic of movement, I heard you say as well, “You can’t nourish a cell without movement.” I thought that was fantastic. Can you elaborate on that for us?

Keegan:Yeah. It comes from Moves Your DNA, by Katy Bowman. It’s a fantastic book, one of the best books on training movement; understanding the body, that I’ve read. Definitely top 5. She talks about how, yeah you can put great food into the system but, what good is it while it’s sitting in the digestive track? What good is it while it’s sitting in the arteries? It has to go to the capillaries. The capillaries are all within a couple of hairs width of the cells and they are really where nutrition actually gets delivered. 

When we’re sitting, when the blood is pooling then, cells are actually being starved. It doesn’t matter what’s going in, you could be sitting down, chowing down on organic, amazing, high-quality, perfect, macro-nutrient balanced food but, if you don’t circulate that, and get the other stuff out then, you’re not going to have amazing nutrition. I think that is such a key [00:28:00] part of the picture for health that is underestimated by those who are trying to be in good health.

Stu:It does make perfect sense and I read a Chinese saying … I think it was in a [inaudible 00:28:17], might have been in a 4 hour body or something along those lines. It was, “Take 100 steps after every meal for better health.”

Guy:That was in [inaudible 00:28:24], yeah. 

Stu:1000 steps, right. I’ll stick with 100 for now. I guess it makes sense. You’re really trying to utilize what you’ve just put in rather than, it’s just a vessel for in and out.

Keegan:Our ancestors knew a lot of this and they had to do it anyway just to get water and to get their food and all that. [crosstalk 00:28:46] The new thing that we can not move for a day or 2. 

Guy:Yeah, it’s amazing. The lifestyle that most people lead and not … Half the time they’ll follow your own, if we get caught up and it’s pretty sedentary. 

Keegan:Easy for me to do it, as well. I have an online business. I like blogging, I like writing. You have experienced this too so, you really have to discipline yourself and build it into your day if you want to … It’s not enough to train 3 times a week. Training 3 times a week is just a ridiculous concept if you’re thinking about movement for longevity. Sure, you can build muscle mass and be lean but, doing training now doesn’t mean that you’re … You would decrease your chances of a lot of the behavioral diseases that we see now but, you see guys like Lance Armstrong and there’s elite athletes, elite rugby league players getting diagnosed with cancer and stuff like … Just moving doesn’t guarantee that your going to be healthy now. We have to go beyond that. That’s what we’re trying to do.

Stu:It may have been yo that said this as well but, the number 1 movement these days is sitting. 

Keegan:Best the human race has ever been. [crosstalk 00:29:58] I can guarantee that. There’s no way. [00:30:00]

Stu:It really irks me because we know that we shouldn’t be doing it. 85% of us are desk bound, we’re desk jockeys. There’s no way out of it because …

Keegan:Oh come on. There’s no way out of it? That’s taking things a little bit too far.

Stu:Hear me out. Hear me out.

Keegan:It’s easy to fall into it but … [crosstalk 00:30:19]

Stu:It is. If we’re in a job and we’re in a cubicle or booth, and we’re not going to get a … Our boss isn’t going to give us a standing desk or a [inaudible 00:30:33]. We’re really zoned in and we’ve got to pay the bills, I get that you might be able to get off the bus early and walk to work, and work back from work, and go out at lunch time but, the bulk of our day, we’re trapped.

Keegan:If you’re trapped, you’re trapped. If you’re not trapped, you’re not trapped. The mentality of that is the key part here. If you’re at a chair, is someone going to actually imprison you, or fire you, whatever, if you stand up every 5 minutes, push your hips forward, sit down in a squat, and once an hour you walk to the bathroom, you do a back bridge, and you go back to your desk. Are you going to get fired for that? Maybe. The other side of the coin is, quit the job, find something you’re passionate about, find an environment that you can lead in [crosstalk 00:31:18] people need, that you can be passionate about.

Stu:Tell us a bit … You said, “Get out the chair” so, you do … roll your shoulders. I always … Whenever we get guys who are specialist in their area, we always like to pick … Just give me these little gems. If I am desk bound, what do I need to be doing?

Keegan:First thing is, change the mentality around it. You’re not chained to the sea unless, you’re a prisoner of war or something. You need to take responsibility for where you put your body. You can … Standing desks are really easy to make with a couple of boxes. Even if you can’t do that, there are other options. If you do get to work at home like you guys do a bit; learning to work lying down, to work [00:32:00] sitting crossed legged onto a chair, find different postures to use your keyboard from. Get a keyboard off your laptop so you can get that line of sight and those sorts of things like, work on the ergonomics but then, vary your positions. You need to be using lots of different positions. If you over-use 1 position, your body will become extremely adapted to that position and you’ll suffer as a result.

Guy:The thing I wanted to add to that is … I haven’t looked into this but, I do wonder if you have a standing desk, that you could over-stand on the spot all day because it’s not encompassing movement. 

Keegan:I believe you can. I believe you can and a lot of people aren’t prepared to stand for a long period of time. You stand … Now, I’m standing at the moment. My tolerance to standing is much better than it used to be. If I used to stand for a long period of time … Really it’s all lower back … Go to concerts and stuff and it was a pain to stand for a long time, standing on the one spot. We’re meant to walk. We should work in a squat for a little while, work sitting down, work laying down; varying the postures is really the key. Standing isn’t really the whole solution either. There’s the treadmill desks now, those things are interesting but, we’re meant to have a variety of-

Guy:Did you say a treadmill desk?

Keegan:-variation of movement diet. is the way that Katy Bowman talks about it. I really like that. We talk about diet in terms of vegetables, different nutrients … The movement needs to be the same. Don’t just settle on standing and say, “Oh that’s my solution. I’m just going to stand now.” That’s not the solution. We need that variety of the movement diet.

Guy:What would be some simple movement tests you could do? If somebody listening to this, go, “Well we’ll see if you can do this, and if you can’t you know you need to improve your range of motion …”

Keegan:We have a standard battery of simple mobility tests that we use with anybody that starts training in Real MOVEMENT facilities or … They’re going to be on the new app as well so, you can show people through that. Basically, being able to rest in a squat position is really valuable. If you go pretty much anywhere in the world, you’ll see that, outside of Anglo culture, you’ll see [00:34:00] that people rest in a squat position. In China, in Africa, all through Asia, Africa, middle-aged, you’re going to see that people are comfortable resting in squat position just because we stopped doing it generally from 5 years old. We have toilets rather than hole in the ground type toilets. We lose that position. 

It’s quite as valuable but, it’s actually a really shortened hip flexor, psoas  iliacus … The muscles around the pelvis at the front are actually really shortened in that squat position so, just getting good at that could actually cause problems as well. We want to be able to rest all the way down in that squat position but, then we need to go the opposite direction, is the biggest one. Really opening the hips. There’s 2 ways to do that. We can do it off a single leg, which is more of a lunge and a lean back or we can do it off a double leg, which is standing and balancing back. You think of it a little bit like [crosstalk 00:34:54]

Guy:That’s interesting you say that because I always wonder about the psaoas, the muscles coming from the pelvis. If I’m doing … practicing an overhead squat, I’m going off a little bit tangent with a broomstick, which I just like to see with my mobility. My body is always forward and I’m always like, “How can I open that up and bring it back?” You suggest leaning back would be one to open? Is there anything else we could do?

Keegan:I have a whole series of movements because when you do a mobility drill … anyone can find mobility drills now so, look for a mobility drill, try it, if you see that there’s a difference within about 30 seconds then, you should stick with that drill and keep using it. If you don’t feel like there’s an immediate change then, it’s probably not going to work for you and you should probably just move on to the next drill. One of the ones … Resting in that squat position … Are you comfortable resting in the bottom of a squat?

Guy:Yeah.

Keegan:Being in that position and then-

Stu:I was going to say, I don’t think you can get him to a squat, mate so, I don’t know how comfortable he is.

Keegan:I think he can, he’s very deceptive big guy. He’s doing his [inaudible 00:35:55] and he’s doing his work-

Guy:-heels flat, I can sit down no problem. 

Keegan:Yeah.

Guy:Easy. [00:36:00]

Keegan:Don’t underestimate him. 

Stu:I never do. I never do.

Guy:The problem is, he’s been working with me too long. He starts [palming 00:36:08] off anything that I say or do. You see a massive change when he moves up this way. He’ll be “My god.” You won’t recognize me.

Keegan:You’re a good couple, you 2. You’re doing amazing work so, that’s good to see continued. The back … Working towards the back bridge or what they call a wheel in yoga, I think is-

Stu:What is a back bridge, Keegan?

Keegan:Basically, it’s being able to go back on your hands and feet with your hips up. 

Stu:Is that like a … Because my daughters do it. Is that like a crab walk, that kind of thing? Is that …

Guy:Yes.

Keegan:Without the walking, right?

Guy:Yes.

Stu:Yeah.

Keegan:Crab walk can also be called … the crab walk is … Yeah, no it’s over the top so it’s … your body makes a big arch-

Stu:Yes.

Keegan:-between hands and feet.

Guy:If you did yoga Stu, it’s called the wheel.

Keegan:Yeah.

Stu:I don’t-

Keegan:In gymnastics, it’s back bridge. 

Stu:I don’t have the-

Keegan:That is extremely challenging and most people aren’t going to be able to do it initially. I would say working towards that, working with a coach or finding a way to get to that level of being able to do a back bridge and a lot of the postural deficiencies, deficits will be undone. It requires big amount of thoracic extension, it requires the shoulders, and range of flexion so, a lot of people have difficult getting the arms overhead because we don’t live with the arms overhead, we live with the arms in front of the body now. That’s the position on the phone, driving the car, at the keyboard, so having arms overhead becomes something that’s very difficult for people that haven’t used that. 

When their arms overhead, it’s going to be looking something like this. There’s an arch forward, you want to be able to open that up, and have that … Be able to see … You’re going to have to be able to do that to do the wheel. You’re going to have to be able to get some thoracic extension, you’re going to have to get the hips up and extended, and that’s going to fire you’re glutes really hard, [00:38:00] which we generally get inactive glutes from sitting on them all day, and not walking enough, and all that stuff. It’s a really good litmus test which 99% of person trainers will fail, let alone average Joe, general population. We have to increase … We have to change the standards of movement within society if we’re going to get somewhere. That’s a minimum standard that we like everyone to be able to achieve.

Guy:That’s great, mate. Mate, I’m going to make the wheel my number 1 mission because I can’t get near it. 

Keegan:It’s a good battle. For a lot of people it could be 2 years, it could be 5 years but, 2 or 5 years is going to pass, what are you going to have to show for it? You want to be able to … It doesn’t matter how long it takes, just get to where you need to be. 

Guy:Absolutely. 

Keegan:We’ll be able to do some work on it as well, enough to get a session done up here.

Guy:100%. No, I’m keen as def- … yeah, for sure. The next thing I wanted to look- Stu you’re going to ask a question or can I jump in? Are you good?

Stu:Please, after you, my friend.

Guy:I know it … What does your exercise routine look like for yourself, personally? Are you constantly setting goals or are you training to maintain or … ? I know listeners are going to be of all varying abilities as well but, I’m sure there’d be some wisdom in there from the way you approach everything, for yourself personally on a weekly basis.

Keegan:I do see my training as being one of the key components to the success that I have as a coach. I do set goals for myself and what I’ve been able to do since I turned 30, everything has changed a lot. I’m a lot better physically than at any stage in my 20s or teens. The reason why … As soon as I improve, I always see the people around me improve in any case. I see it as a responsibility for me within the community I work with but, also [00:40:00] tens of thousands of people checking stuff out on social media. There’s a responsibility for you to show people that what they think they’re capable of is a lot lower than what they’re really capable of. Hopefully that’s the message I get across. I don’t post stuff to show, “I’m way better than you.” I’m a nearly 33 year old guy who … I consider myself to be quite average genetically, physically. I don’t consider myself to be massively gifted beyond what everyone else is. I think everybody is gifted and we all have the chance to learn and develop. It’s been great to do that. 

In terms of my training at the moment then, well, I’ve just been on a fast so I haven’t done much training in the last few days. I’ve done some balance work and some juggling but, has not been around a little bit more than what I thought it would. The week before that, I was doing a high frequency squat and dead lift program. It’s based on a guy who had a world record in the knee to thigh lift, a partial dead lift, called, Steve [inaudible 00:41:08]. That program is 3 reps, 3 single repetitions of a dead lift on a Monday and then, 5 single repetitions on a Tuesday, 7 on a Wednesday, gradually increasing by 2 reps just throughout the week. Basically, that’s at 70% so, it’s really built around that concept of expanding your comfort zone. It kind of breaks away from some of the traditional strength and conditioning but, I have had great results with that program in the past. I had PB on my dead lift at 211 kilos just in the end of the last year.

Guy:Sorry, how much?

Keegan:211 kilos.

Guy:I just wanted you to repeat that. Jesus Christ. 

Keegan:It’s nowhere near where I want it to be but it’s better than what it has been.

Guy:How heavy are you, Keegan?

Keegan:How heavy?

Guy:How heavy?

Keegan:About 80 kilos. 80 to 82. I want to get to triple body weight. [00:42:00] Triple body weight is a leap in power lifting. That would be about 240. That’s the target.

Guy:Wow. 

Keegan:Yeah, if I can maintain … People think because you’re training mobility and stuff then, you can’t be strong or because you’re strong, you can be mobile. My mission is just to use my body as a tool and to show people that limitation and that limiting belief that you have is a false belief and that needs to be changed. Seeing is believing for a lot of people. I’m the other way around, believing is seeing. I’m trying to be that way. I know that I’m capable of doing this so, it’s going to happen. I know for a lot of people they’re going to want to watch it before they go, “Yeah, I probably can do that. I’m 22 and healthy. Why don’t I go and …?”

Guy:I reckon, not to be … There could be people listening going, “Oh that’s easy for you, Keegan because you got a gym out the back, and you can wander in and do what you want.” For somebody that wants to improve, how much time a day would they … could you get away with to doing something in a busy lifestyle?

Keegan:It depends where you’re at. The more athletic you are, the less potential for improvement there will be in that area. For the majority of people, just 2 minutes a day of anything will improve them massively. Just doing 1 set of chin ups and 1 set of push ups will transform the body. We work a lot in 5 minute blocks to deal with that barrier. The system that we use, real strength system’s 5 minute blocks. It makes it manageable. If you only get 1 block done, that’s fine. 

I could say you don’t actually have to get to the gym. Have a doorway chin up bar and do some chin ups and push ups in your house, or do shin ups and squats, have a kettle bell; it’s not actually … The barrier is almost always mental, Guy. Who doesn’t really have 5 minutes a day? The other side of the coin is that Joe Rogan video, change your life. If you don’t have time to move, [00:44:00] it’s like not having time to eat, it’s like not having time to breathe; what are you doing? Movement is being human. Walking is being human. That’s who we are, that’s what we’re here for. If we don’t have time for that, what do we have time for? What’s more important than … 

Guy:It’s normally the catalyst. The catalyst when they start … They normally can see the improvements, get addicted, and then just very easy to find the time around that.

Keegan:That’s why we’re building the most addictive system where you constantly see improvements. I get ahold of people for a couple of hours at the [Thrive 00:44:31] convention where we met, where we first met face to face, I managed to get a few people addicted on juggling and handstands in a short period of time. That’s something that they’ll then take on for the rest of your life. Body composition training, you just can’t do that. You’re not going to change somebody’s body composition in an hour and a half educational lecture. 

Guy:Yeah, no. 

Stu:I picked up that you mentioned the word fasting just previously. I was interested in your philosophies in nutrition based upon the fact that Real MOVEMENT being holistic, I guess that would be a cool component of what you do, too. What do you do where the food and drink is concerned?

Guy:I’m a big believer in whole foods and I’m a big believer in ancient wisdom. That’s pretty much the litmus test for when I look at a nutrition program or someone’s diet. How much whole food is it compared to processed food? Does it fit within something that your ancestors could have eaten? Whenever you go beyond that, you really should proceed with caution. I’ve had periods of taking lots of supplements. Lately, I haven’t been using supplements but, if you’re adding things that are outside of nature’s rules then, you should be really careful, and cautious, and intelligent with it. A lot of what we add from outside of nature’s rules like, the processed [00:46:00] foods, the majority of stuff in the aisles at the supermarket, trying to go around the outsides, down the aisles there’s not much stuff that is going to … Is full of life, energy … That part of it … That’s kind of how it works. 

The other thing is looking at food is looking at information. Looking at it as just the macro and nutrient level. That’s a big stake that I think … You can get great body composition from just looking at calories and macro-nutrients but, are you healthy? I want people to thrive long, to live long, I want them to have great mental energy; you can get the macros right and be lame, and be unhealthy on the inside, and not feel, and not be on track for anything great in life. That’s why local foods are really important. It is food as information. That food … The intelligence of plants is massively underestimated. The Secret Life Of Plants, is a good book to check out around that, or Primary Perception from [Cleve Backster 00:46:55], a CIA guy who studied plants for a number of years. He was a like detector guy, figured out that plants have consciousness and it’s the stuff that yogis would talk about but, now it’s actually been proven in science but, it still hasn’t really penetrated mainstream thinking.

If a plant grows in your environment, it how knows how to solve problems in your environment and it’s going to give you more useful information in your environment than stuff that comes from the other side of the world that grew up in a completely different situation. This is getting to the high end but, basically getting that whole foods approach and looking at things from an ancestral context. Some people need more carbs, some people less carbs, some people more raw food, some people more protein; it’s not cut and dry but, whole foods is definitely the [inaudible 00:47:44].

Guy:The moment you start cutting them, processed, inflammatory foods out, you start becoming more in tune with your body and then you can start to figure out, “Am I eating too many carbs or not? Do I need to put a bit more fat in my diet?” Your body is much more receptive to everything you eat on a daily basis. 

Keegan:Can’t change your body without changing your mind. [00:48:00] You bring an extra level of awareness in. It was great to see that with the Roosters guys. Typical rugby league team, players will eat a lot of takeaway food, they’ll drink a lot of alcohol-

Guy:This is the high end?

Keegan:I heard a story yesterday, it was actually on NRL.com, I believe. NRL [inaudible 00:48:19] I won’t embarrass them but, you can check it out if you want, said that he’s eating McDonald’s everyday for the last 22 years and he’s 24. This guy just signed a big money contract and he’s played with professional clubs and that’s still the level that he’s been at. Not to say that someone hasn’t done that undercover that I’ve worked with. There have been a couple players that you feel like you’re not really getting to and everyone is on their journey. You got to invite them into something better if they can see that you’re living it and that it’s working for you. If they can see that it’s working for those around them, the community side of things then, they’re more likely to step into it but, you’re not going to win them all. I don’t know if I would have changed him. I’d like to think I would have earlier, I think he’s changing now. 

Those guys when they start to eat whole foods … We fed them really high quality organic food a few times a week and we showed them what we would love them to be consuming and they definitely changed. I think that is part of the higher level of consciousness that led them to the decision to not to binge drink on alcohol … Didn’t drink alcohol at all because they don’t … a lot of them don’t know how to not binge if they have won. Did that for the last 3 months of the NRL regular season, and then all the way to the playoffs, all the way to winning the premiership-

Guy:They won the premiership that year?

Keegan:It’s never been done in rugby league. It’s that kind of group sacrifice and group conscious decision. The food definitely changes the mind and makes all the other stuff more …

Guy:That amazes me thats going on in the NRL. We must be living in a podcast bubble or something because elite end athletes can pay a lot of money. The protocols should be [00:50:00] in place. You’d think so anyway. 

Keegan:The members of society, they don’t stand separate from society. Until society changes, our lead athletes are still going to be a reflection of it. Holding our elite athletes to a higher standards than we hold society as a whole, too, it’s a reflection on [inaudible 00:50:17]. If society, “If this is what’s going on with these guys, they’re getting in trouble and doing things like … Where are the values of where they’ve grown up? What environment did they grow up in? What was the school like? What was the suburb like? What were the values of all the coaches and strength and conditioning coaches they’ve worked with?” 

A lot of strength and conditioning coaches have had very different experiences of life to me. They haven’t spent time in the mountains of Mexico, or haven’t had chronic fatigue, or whatever. They’ve got no reason to think that eating a diet, which has tons of Gatorade, tons of pasta, lollies before and after training, isn’t the best way forward for all their athletes because that’s all they’ve known. There’s textbooks and smart people who say that’s the way forward. I know there are still NRL clubs … That’s what the nutritionist is prescribing and players are trying their best to stick to that and be diligent with it. No wonder their psyches are going to be off if they’re doing that sort of stuff. If you’ve had that experience and you’re not a guy who’s really tolerant to those carbohydrates … [crosstalk 00:51:11]

Guy:Good answer, yeah. Absolutely. 

Keegan:-broken system.

Guy:It’s easy to be judgmental if they’re in the press a lot, messing it up in all the rest of it.

Keegan:A lot of good guys then … A lot of good guys who are doing really great community work and stuff. I was really blown away by how great a lot of them are as humans, and how tolerant they are, and how much giving … how giving of their time they are. You don’t see that stuff. That stuff doesn’t really make the press but, it’s absolutely phenomenal. You walk along with Sonny Bill Williams and the patience he has to sign autographs, take photographs, I never saw him frustrated, I never saw him saying no to anyone-

Guy:Sonny Bill-

Keegan:In that sort of pressure everyone wants the money, and the body, and whatever but, do you want someone asking you for your autograph everywhere you go? Watching what you do everywhere you go? Judging your every action? It’s a hard standard to live by.

Guy:I saw [00:52:00] in the rugby world cup, he gave his winning medal away to a kid that’d been rugby tackled on the field by one of the security guards because he ran on. That’s incredible.

Keegan:He’s just been to Lebanon and has been to the Middle East, and he actually saw a lot of what’s going on there with refugee camps, and people fleeing, and all that sort of stuff. He went there with UNICEF and he actually posted a picture of some dead children, talking about, “What have they done to deserve this and what are we doing about it?” As a bit of a challenge, it was a bit of a controversial one. He’s definitely one of the more conscious athletes that I’ve come across and carries a higher purpose to what he does. I think when you have that higher purpose then, the higher performance can come with it,

Guy:I know he’s done … I know Stu doesn’t follow the league union much but, he’s done what most athletes only dream about switching codes like that and becoming a key.

Keegan:In boxing as well, just not giving a shit and doing what you want to do and how you want to do it. You make the rules and that’s what he’s done. He’s backed it up with an ethic to continue to succeed in it, and to do a great job for everyone he’s had the opportunity to interact with in those experiences.

Guy:Before we wrap up, I really want to touch on the chronic fatigue and Stu mentioned he wanted to go into. The reason why is that we had a very earlier on podcast, a guy that had chronic fatigue. It became very popular and there definitely seems to be a need for that information to get out there as well. I know you wasn’t physically diagnosed with it but, I know you went through a lot and you made some changes. Could you give us a few points of a little bit of that journey and the changes you made? So that other people can-

Keegan:I wasn’t diagnosed with it but, I had hormone testing done that showed that things were flat lining. I had immune blood testing that showed things were flat lining. All the symptoms when you go through the symptoms of it, it is a great diagnosis anyway. I have a scar on my face here [00:54:00] from an infection that wouldn’t heal; 6 months, just didn’t want to get better. I just didn’t have the energy in my body or the something, the will to be at my best. That pushed a lot of exploration. I worked with a few … People come to me now and I worked with Ali Day, who won the Ironman series last year and he was diagnosed with chronic fatigue. Bouncing from doctor to doctor, not really getting better, not really getting any answers. We started working together and the next year he actually won the series which was amazing. A massive … I’m not taking credit for that but, I know the things that we worked on definitely played a part-

Stu:What sort of things did you do?

Keegan:I think the first thing is the purpose. You have to have a reason to get better. People can get really stuck with, “Okay, I’ve been diagnosed with chronic fatigue, this is who I am. I’m putting this hat on. I’m putting these clothes on. Everyday I show people my chronic fatigue.” That is a state that cannot be recovered from. I don’t care what you do nutritionally, I don’t care what you do in terms of anything. You have to change the belief that that’s something permanent, that that’s who you are, that can’t be your identity. That is very deep and very important. People say, “Yeah, that’s airy fairy stuff. Give me the details.” No, that is the biggest thing. Have a big reason why you need to be better and who you’re going to serve by being better and that will be a huge step. Just making that step can be enough for some people to just walk out of bed and be okay. 

For me, that decision was about serving the rugby league teams and on the mission to what has become Real MOVEMENT Project. That was why I got better. That forced me to look for the knowledge. Digestive function is just huge. If digestive function is low, you’re going to have less neural transmitters, you’re going to be bringing less nutrients into the body. We get nutrient manufacture in the intestines and gut as well; the stomach is not going to work properly. If those things are not working well … “Death begins in the gut” was a quote by Elie Metchnikoff, he was a Nobel peace prize [00:56:00] winner and he was right. It was a long time ago but, he was right.

Stu:How would you know that your digestive system isn’t functioning?

Keegan:You generally get some pretty strong symptoms around flatulence, pain, bloating. You’ll have signs of nutrient deficiencies. There’s lots of signs and symptoms that … The health of your hair, and your nails, and those sorts of things, your recovery from training. Generally, people will have a pretty good idea. If you get down to the details [crosstalk 00:56:29] you go to the toilet … What’s the consistency of the stool like? All those details are really important and they will tell you a lot. 

Once you’ve identified that there’s an issue there, there are some really good protocols for improving that. Fasting, I think is very valuable. GAPS diet is a really good one. It’s built around sort of broth, and then building into whole foods from there, and eliminating a lot of the highly allergenic stuff. I’m a big believer in gelatin and collagen. They’re an easier way. People say broth, “I’m going to be making that stuff all the time, and filtering it, and putting it in the fridge.” It’s not that hard but, I understand. Gelatin and collagen, and that sort of stuff is the easy way to get that done. That will not only help to rebuild the gut lining but, it’s also cleansing, it’s healing for the cells. There’s a lot of medical research going on into gelatin in the 30s and 40s but, then we had to shift to a pharmaceutical model. All that kind of medical thinking got squashed. 

Stu:Absolutely. I agree with that. That’s one of the things that’s one my menu twice a day. I’ll have a … I’ll make sure that I have a couple of nourishing … I think this is the stuff I’ve got right now. Boom.

Keegan:[crosstalk 00:57:48] Great Lakes is a quality brand. There’s another one, Gelatin something Australia, they have really good stuff as well.

Stu:That right. I think we’re … We love our muscle [00:58:00] meat as well. We do discard all the other meats that have all these beautiful, nourishing qualities about it. Mentioned organ meat to somebody and they just … their eyes roll back. We used to-

Keegan:The most valuable part.

Stu:Absolutely. We used to favor all of the good stuff with all of these amazing, nourishing, nutrients. Of course, it’s lean cuts and … Nowhere near as nourishing or beneficial for the body.

Keegan:I live in indigenous community in the Outback and we went hunting for kangaroo, we cooked him up in the traditional way. When the [roo 00:58:38] was ready, I open it up, the kids were in there with a cup scooping out the blood, which had been almost a stew of the organ nutrients, drinking that and loving it. Pulling out bits of spleen, bits of heart, bits of liver; I got a little bit of spleen gifted to me and it was like they were giving me gold. At the end, I was left with this brontosaurus leg of kangaroo. I thought, “They really like me” but, later I realized that the spleen was the gift and that big chunk of meat was “blegh”.

Stu:That stuff should be given to the dogs. It’s not favored at all.

Guy:That’s amazing. How long were you in the indigenous community for?

Keegan:7 months. 8 months, I think. [inaudible 00:59:24], it’s like 4 hours from Alice Springs. It’s a community of about 150 to 300 population and some transient movement in that. I worked as a youth worker there.

Guy:Had they been influenced by western society, at all?

Keegan:Sure, sure. The community was actually built when the railroad was going from Adelaide to Darwin. It was actually fenced off and the indigenous people weren’t allowed to go inside the facility so, it was built as a little town. A lot of [Afrikani 00:59:50] workers were [inaudible 00:59:48] with their camels to build that railroad so there’s actually a mix of some Afrikani blood with indigenous Outback, which is really interesting when you see [01:00:00] the different features of guys and girls. 

They lived in that community and it was tough. It was tough to see the conditions that they live in. It is definitely 3rd world in a lot of way but, most are on that purpose side of things and the mental side of things. Everything that they live for has shifted. There were people there who had seen white man there for the first time in the 20s but, they definitely had a lot of influence by that time. I went there, they had Tvs, and phones, and cars, and all that stuff. It relatively recent, they still do their men’s business. The men will have their front tooth knocked out to show that they’re men, to show that they’ve been through initiation. Those practices are still alive but they’re … They can also go into Alice Springs and be told that they have to get a job, or go o a nightclub, or … They’re in this between worlds that’s really complicated to say what the solution is but, things aren’t ideal there.

Guy:I always think of that movie. That sugar film that came out recently about the indigenous tribes. I don’t know if you’ve seen the film but, the-

Keegan:I did.

Guy:Yeah, because he did spend time there previously making a different movie and the western society and really influenced the diet. It was the highest selling village of Coca-Cola in Australia or something like that. The tragedy that went around it. 

Keegan:The shop was really limited. To get food from somewhere else from [inaudible 01:01:34] was a 3-4 hour trip It wasn’t an option for them. There was limited whole foods there. It was not uncommon to have chips and coke for 3 meals a day. The metal function at that … When you’re doing that, physical development is going to suffer. There were amazing athletes as well. It was really interesting from the athletic point of view. There’s [inaudible 01:01:56] selective pressure and behavioral towards coming extremely [01:02:00] [endurant 01:02:01], and powerful, and fast, and that’s sort of stuff was cool to see as well. 

Guy:That must have been an amazing chapter in your life, man. That’d be wonderful.

Stu:Just … I just want to jump back a little bit. We were talking about the gelatin and stuff like that …

Keegan:We did the digestive stuff, we did the mindset …

Stu:Yes, Anything else? Any other intervention strategies, protocols … Whole food, etc.?

Keegan:The movement and the breathing are the other 2 things. I guess breath is movement but, I believe that this [inaudible 01:02:30] method will really change a lot of people’s lives with doing this stuff. I have had some experience around cold exposure being life regenerating for people experiencing low levels of vitality. I don’t like the labels of chronic fatigue and whatnot. It’s a bunch of symptoms that we try to put a name on but, that’s pretty much all modern diseases. It’s like, “There’s disease, there’s dysfunction, there’s something that’s not right and we need to go back to right.”

There’s a continuum of all that stuff. If you’ve got certain blood sugar level, that’s not diabetes, and then at one point higher, “Okay you’ve got diabetes now.” It’s all on a continuum in a sliding scale. We just want you to slide back to where you are towards where your best day is, and then have your best day more often, and then shift that again. Many steps is a big thing. If people can say, “Do you sometimes I feel okay?” “Yeah sometimes I feel quite good.” “Well cool. We know that you can feel okay then, let’s just do that more often.”

The breathing .. The breathing and cold, I think is really valuable and, movement. Bringing some mobility in … I know people with chronic fatigue feel like they have no energy but, walking is so valuable. At whatever level you’re able to do. If you’re in water where there is no gravity, and being in that environment, and just moving; that circulation is going to be extremely valuable. You get that nutritious diet, you get the food coming into the system, you have the will to heal yourself and to be better, and then you circulate that and you do what humans have always done, you will [01:04:00] improve. I’ve seen it consistently and often. 

I have a lot of confidence that there’s always change. The body is always changing. There’s always possibility for us to reinvent ourselves. We reinvent ourselves every single day. We reinvent the whole system that we live in every single day. If we did everything differently then, their system would change overnight. That, knowledge of the ability to change as an individual, as a community, as a global community, I think that is something that we need to attach to and be empowered by. Empowering people that have whatever it is, chronic fatigue or other labels [inaudible 01:04:39]. Most common things that so many people are experiencing; dysfunction that shouldn’t be there. 

I believe that it can be undone but, it starts with empowerment. Basically the same steps, the same steps are going to be what gets you out of chronic fatigue but, they’re also going to be the things that take you to a lead performance. It’s mind, diet, movement, and then some recovery stuff. They’re the 4 pillars of what we do and the 5th thing is community. You can’t be successful, you can’t be high achieving, you can’t be super healthy without community. Social isolation is the biggest [inaudible 01:05:10] for disease. We have huge amounts of social isolation in the modern system so, getting around people who are doing great things and who have energy is going to be … That’s who you are. 

The Jim Rohn quote, “You’re the product of the 5 people you spend most time with.” It’s true but, people don’t take it literally enough. You are who you spend time with. If you want to get stronger, just spend time with strong people. Spend all day with them; I guarantee you you’re going to get stronger. You go and train in the gym where people are breaking world records, you may not break world record but, you’re going to be ridiculously ahead of the guy who’s training at a globo gym.

Stu:That’s right, yeah.

Keegan:Decide who you want to be and then go spend time with those guys.

Guy:It’s massive.

Stu:It’s proximity, isn’t it?

Guy:We’ve often spoke about that, haven’t we? From when we started 180, it’s like, “We  got to be around people that are going to inspire us and make us raise our bar over the years.” [01:06:00]

Keegan:Now the podcast has given you the chance to link up with so many great people and I’m really happy to join your list of guys. I love hanging out with you guys because you are these people. You’re the people who are doing something to make a difference in the world, you’ve got a business, you’re trying to fill in all the pieces of the puzzle; spiritually, physically … Great. Getting a great product out there. That’s who I want to be so, spending time with you is success for me. That’s progress, that’s what I want to be.

Guy:I appreciate it, Keegan.

Stu:That’s awesome. 

Guy:Mate, we have certain questions we ask everyone on the show before we wrap up. The first one you kind of answered, which was what did you eat yesterday? Which was …

Stu:It was nothing, was it?

Keegan:I had some charcoal, I had some clay, I had some tea. Tea is still in there for me.

Stu:What sort of tea did you have?

Keegan:-some level.

Stu:Green tea?

Keegan:I haven’t been having … I have had green [mate 01:06:53] tea twice. I like mate as well, [yerba mate 01:06:57] from Argentina but, yeah other ones as well, like ginger.

Guy: Can you explain the reason behind the charcoal? That’s just for people listening, just in case.

Keegan:Charcoal, activated charcoal draws out toxins. It had been used down the ages and it’s … It has an extremely high surface area to weight ratio, it’s a size ratio so, it’s gots lots of spaces for stuff to stick into. People with body odor and things like that will notice a difference with using charcoal. It’s used for flatulence, digestive issues but, when you’re detoxifying the cells are actually purging a lot of stuff that they want to get rid of. When you’re not bringing in protein, your cells will recycle any of the damaged proteins and get rid of them. I’ve also been having a sauna for half an hour. 40 to 50 degree heat to pull some more stuff out. Usually, you get headaches with that but using some things like the charcoal and the clay … I haven’t had headaches. Vitamin C and some antioxidant stuff.

Guy:How long you fasting for? [01:08:00]

Keegan:It’s been 3 and a half days now. I actually had a tea with a little bit of [inaudible 01:08:07] and a little bit of collagen just before I jumped on because I wanted to be at my best for this opportunity and I was really excited about it. It did seem to make me feel better. I was pretty weak and I think I’d have to go a bit longer to feel the buzz of fasting. It has felt good on and off but, just walking, walking around the block and walking up the stairs has been like, “Whoa, I’m pretty tired. I’m not doing it that well.” I think this is … My celebration from this will be having another tea like that. I’ll have some fat and protein over the next couple days. I did my ketogenic testing and I’m in the high range for ketones so, I think ‘ll stay in ketosis for a few more days.

Guy:Then introduce the foods back.

Stu:How do you test for ketones, Keegan? What method do you use?

Keegan:Ketonics device. If you go to Low Carb Down Under, they sell them on there. The breath one, there are urine and blood ones but, they’re very fiddly. They’re about 25 bucks so, not super cheap but-

Guy:Are they pretty accurate?

Keegan:The research is pretty good on them. That seems to be what a lot of the guys who love ketogenic life so …

Stu:[Jimmy More 01:09:20] is a big advocate for that one.

Keegan:Exactly. [crosstalk 01:09:25]

Guy:Okay. One other question. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? Or to give?

Keegan:You are what you think about … You are what you think about. That’s the strongest thing. It’s all through the Bible, it’s all through the [inaudible 01:09:41], it’s all through … Every holy text you’re going to see, the Quran, you’re going to see it from Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Tony Robbins, and all these guys; modern, ancient, they’re all saying … Make a decision, concentrate on what you want. Don’t concentrate on what you don’t want. [01:10:00] Interesting quote from [Bob Proctor 01:10:01] is that, “It’s between prayers that counts”, “Most people do their praying between prayers”, something like that.  You may pray, you may have that time of thinking, “I’m grateful and life’s good”, but in-between that is what’s going to be important as well. 

You need to be concentrating and doing the things that feed your mind, feed your spirit all through the day, and when you do that, when you set a focus, you can’t go wrong. If you look back at your life, I’m sure the things that you’ve focused on have happened. Almost everybody you talk about their day experience and you’re like, “What were you thinking about that time? What were you concentrating on?” When you have a bad breakup and whatnot, you just get stuck in that thought and you just stay on that though train and run it over, and over again and that becomes who you are for that period of time. Be careful what you wish for … That’s where we start. Think about what your best case scenario is, if you don’t have a best case scenario, where are you going to get to?

Guy:You’re kind of free-falling, right? Then, you don’t know where it’s going to go.

Keegan:People get jealous that I have a gym and that I have the resources to study under the world’s best people in whatever field I want to study; it’s a decision that I made. I wrote it down and I focused on it, and I’ve done steps towards it everyday for a number of years. If you haven’t done that then, don’t be jealous. Another great quote is, “Envy is ignorance” from Ralph Waldo Emerson. Don’t be envious, just go and get it done. Put your own drink down, don’t follow someone else’s dream but, make a decision and from there it’s going to be a better life. 

Guy:Great answer, mate. Perfect.

Stu:Wise words.

Guy:Yeah. I’m a huge believer in that. What’s the future hold, mate? Got anything exciting coming up over the next year, 2016?

Keegan:All the stuff I’m doing is really exciting for me. I’m going to present in Spain, an island in France later in the year. [01:12:00] By [inaudible 01:12:01] so, I’m really excited about doing things again. I went over there last year but, bigger and better this year. I’m bringing over {Mitch Bike 01:12:07], who’s one of the coaches who I’ve been working with for almost 2 years, a year and a half. He’s going to come over and present with me, which is another step in the chapter; having guys who are ready to have an impact, and who I really like learning from. That’s really exciting for me. Going towards [inaudible 01:12:26] and Fiji, having a facility in Australia to invite people into to experience the things that we do. That’s really what I’m excited about in 2016. Who knows what else is in store for me but, I know where I’m going to so, things are going to keep opening up to make that happen. 

Guy:Yeah, mate thats amazing, that’s exciting. Last question, Keegan Smith, where do they go to find you? You’ve got a couple websites?

Keegan:Yeah, realmovementproject.com is the best one. I used to work out of coachkeegan.com and it’s still got some stuff on there but I don’t use it too much anymore. Realmovementproject.com, Real MOVEMENT Project on Facebook, or coach Keegan on Facebook. Real MOVEMENT on [Insta 01:13:14].

Guy:Instagram I was going to say. If they want to see what I’m seeing everyday with you doing all these great feats of gymnastic abilities, that’s be on the Real MOVEMENT Instagram?

Keegan:There’s Real MOVEMENT [inaudible 01:13:25] and Keegan Smith is the one that I’ve had initially, that one’s almost up to 20,000 so, still keep [inaudible 01:13:31] that one along. Real MOVEMENT is catching up though, and that’s good to see as well. We have a summary of what I believe in because people say, “How can I start?” Not necessarily ready  to come an do an internship or whatever. I’ve written down 10 key principles that have been the things that have helped me change my life and helped me go from unhappy, unhealthy and having poor performance to somewhere close to the opposite of that. [01:14:00] 

I Choose Movement is a campaign that we’re running. It’s 10 key principles. Movement is part of that but a lot of it’s around other principles like, simplifying life and be careful of what information you bring into your mind, and how you’re exposing yourself, too. It’s the holistic thing, it’s what I think of being the most valuable for me to improve the quality of my life so, pillars of what I teach. That would be a great place if someone feels excited about some of the things they’ve heard today. That would be a good next step to build some momentum and really become who they want to become. 

Guy:Mate, that was amazing. We’ll link to all the show notes anyway on our 180 website so, they’ll be there is people are listening to them … come from there. Mate, thanks so much for your time, Keegan. That was phenomenal.

Keegan:Great speech. Really appreciate it.

Stu:Really excited about showing this because there’s some absolute gems of information there and I would people to connect with you because you’ve got a wealth of knowledge. Thank you again.

Keegan:Awesome thank you guys.

Guy: Thanks, Keegan.

 

 

 

 

The Truth About Food Courts: Avoid Sneaky Tactics & Learn How to Navigate the Lunch Menus

The above video is 3:34 minutes long.

Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.

Guy: I’m sure we can all relate to this… You’re starving hungry, you have no food and you’re stuck in an airport or the city and all you have to choose from is the food court! With a few tweaks and a bit of insider knowledge, you’ll be amazed at what meal you can whip up to get you out of trouble. The key is to know what NOT to eat in this situation.

I have to admit, I was SHOCKED to find out what some of the cafe owners get up to in the pursuit of making their food tasty. But with the nuggets of info’ in this weeks 2 minute gem above you can easily avoid the pitfalls of the food courts and make better meal choices…

Josh Sparks Thrive

Today we welcome entrepreneur, health and fitness enthusiast and top bloke Josh Sparks. Josh is the founder of the hugely successful Thr1ve cafe/restaurant chain, which can be found in most CBD food courts. In a nutshell they make real food, real fast, and it is a place I actively seek out to dine at when I’m in the neighbourhood.

Stu and I had a huge amount of fun with this podcast as we tap into Josh’s wealth of experience when it comes to the food industry, his own personal journey and paleo discoveries and how he stays on top of his own health with his very hectic lifestyle!

Trust me, after listening to this podcast you will be inspired to take action on whatever your own goals or endeavours are :)

Full Interview: Life’s Lessons to Look Feel Perform & Thrive

In This Episode:

downloaditunesListen to Stitcher

  • The biggest lessons he’s learned since cleaning up his diet
  • How to navigate your way around a food court to make healthy choices
  • His daily routines and how he stays in great shape!
  • Why he enjoys being bad at meditation
  • What stress and your life’s purpose have in common
  • Josh’s favourite & most influential books:
    Antifragile by  Nassim Nicholas Taleb
    - Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
    - All books by Tim Ferriss
    - Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki
    - All things by Tony Robbins
  • And much much more…

Get More Of Josh Sparks & Thrive:

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Full Transcript

Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence at 180 Nutrition and welcome to today’s Health Sessions. I’ve been very much looking forward to today’s guest, because it’s safe to say he is a entrepreneur, but not only that, a very healthy one.

You know, from myself and Stu’s experience in developing and running 180, it’s all well and good us doing podcasts, creating posts, developing new products and all the rest of it. But it can become very stressful and we have to look after our own health at the same time and it can actually be very challenging sometimes.

So, I was very keen to pick today’s guest’s brains, because he does a very good job of that. His name is Josh Sparks and he is the founder of the THR1VE cafeteria chain here in Australia.

Now, if you’re not aware of the THR1VE cafeteria chain, in a nutshell, they do real food, real fast. And if you’re in most CBDs in Australia you can go into a THR1VE café and actually have a really great meal. It’s one of the places that I will seek out and find when I’m in the city, no matter which one it is here in Australia.

You know, Josh’s background; it’s basically 14 years in high-growth leadership roles as CEO in the fashion industry, mainly, of sass & bide, managing director from Urban Outfitters and CEO of Thom Browne in New York, as well.

Whopping amounts of experience, but then he’s gone and taken that and started to develop his own cafeteria chain, which is what we talked to him about today.

He says now he’s been eating, moves and recovers according to the ancestral health principles now for all the last five years and he’s probably fitter and stronger than he was 20 years ago. More importantly what he does stress as well is that his blood markers of health were improved dramatically as well.

So, Josh was consistently astounded, you could say, by the lack of authentic healthy dinning in top areas within the CBDs. So, he helped and did something about it and has created a very, very successful brand about it.

We get to talk about all them things. His own health journey and even what goes on in the food courts, which there were some things he said in there that is quite shocking what can go on.

So, we delve into all of them things, which is fantastic. So, I’m sure you’re going to enjoy.

Now, last but not least, you may be aware that we are, yes, we are live in the USA. So, for all you guys in America that are listening to this podcast, 180 Super Food, you can get your hands on it. You just need to go to 180nutrition.com.

If you’re unsure what it really is; I always tell people it’s a convenient way to replace bad foods, really quickly. So, I generally have a smoothie; I can mix it with a bit of water or coconut water, if I’ve been training, some berries and I normally put a bit of avocado and I make a smoothie. Especially if I’m out and about, going into meetings in the city or whatever and I know I’m stretched from time I will make a big liter of it and sip on it and it gets me through to my next meal.

So, yeah, you can do that. Go over to 180nutrition.com and check it out.

Anyway, let’s go over to Josh and enjoy today’s show. Thanks.

Guy Lawrence: All right. I always get this little turn every time. Anyway …

Hey, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke. Hey, Stewie!

Stuart Cooke: Hello, buddy.

Guy Lawrence: And our awesome guest today is Josh Sparks. Josh, welcome to the show.

Josh Sparks: Thanks guys. Thanks for having me.

Guy Lawrence: Now, look, very excited, mate. I think today’s topics are going to be great. We’re going to certainly want to cover a few things, especially like bringing Mr. Paleo Primal himself over, Mark Sisson, earlier in the year for the THR1VE symposium; which was awesome, by the way.

Josh Sparks: Oh, great.

Guy Lawrence: And of course the THR1VE brand itself and how you’ve taken the food courts kind of head on with the THR1VE cafeteria chain. So, there’ll be lots to discuss, mate, so, very much looking forward to it.

Josh Sparks: I’m excited to be here.

Guy Lawrence: So, before all that, we get into those subjects, what did you used to do before you got in the health industry?

Josh Sparks: Before I did THR1VE?

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Josh Sparks: So, my journey has been a fairly interesting one. I studied law and I worked very briefly in mergers and acquisitions law and decided, as I think many young lawyers do, that law school is not the same as being a lawyer and got out of that fairly promptly.

And then for the bulk of my career, the last 15 years prior to THR1VE, I was in various fashion businesses. So, all retail, I guess THR1VE is a retail, but fashion and lifestyle focus, never food.

So, I was the first CEO of sass & bide, which is an Australian women’s label that some of your listeners may be familiar with. And then I moved to the U.S. and became the CEO of Thom Browne of New York, which is a men’s line in New York. And then I moved to Philadelphia and ran the ecommerce business at Anthropologie, which is part of the Urban Outfitters group.

So, all fashion; tons of fun. You know, the really interesting thing about fashion and I think how it relates to what you guys are doing, and what I’m doing, what any of us are trying to strike out on our own and create a brand is that within the fashion industry what you’re really doing is storytelling. You’re building brands around what is otherwise largely a commodity product. The $30 jeans use the same denim as the $200 jeans.

So, it’s really about the creativity you can bring to the design and the creativity you can bring to the storytelling to really set it apart. So, I think that that’s what I loved about the fashion industry.

On the flip side my personal passion, really my whole life, has been around health and wellness. Every since I was a high school and college athlete, I’ve always been particularly interested in the intersection of training modalities, training methodologies and nutrition and how to best support each and really ultimately the synergy between the two.

But as I got older, while I was doing all this fashion stuff, I think I experienced what so many of us do and I started to … my body wasn’t responding quite the way I wanted and my thinking that you could steer the ship through exercise started to be challenged by the evidence that confronted me in the mirror every morning and on the scales and in the gym and I just wasn’t performing or looking or feeling quite as I did.

So, I started to explore the nutrition side much more actively. Until then, I think like a lot of guys in their 20s and early 30s, it’s much more about training for a while, or at least it was for me and perhaps my generation.

But as I started to explore nutrition, like you guys and like so many in our community, I discovered ancestral health templates. So the Paleo, the Primal, the Weston A Price and started to experiment with reducing processed foods. I mean, it sounds crazy now that this was an experiment, but reducing processed foods, reducing our processed carbs in particular, amping up the veggies. It’s just so incredibly obvious now, but at the time it was a revelation.

So, as I was professionally developing the skill set around branding and marketing and communications and running businesses here and in the U.S., personally I was having this journey of discovery, this very exciting revelation around what we eat and how profoundly it impacts how we feel and perform, whether it’s physically in the gym or whether it’s mentally and emotionally at work, in our relationships, or whatever.

So, it’s really … I guess I just had this light bulb moment of, “How do I connect the two?” This professional experience that I’ve had, what I’ve loved, around the fashion industry with what is a much deeper personal passion to me than the fashion space and that is health and wellness.

And to cut a very long story short, that’s how I came to develop the idea for THR1VE.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right. How long ago was that, Josh?

Josh Sparks: So, I moved back from the U.S. in 2011 and I started working on … I came back and I was consulting in the fashion space here in Australia, in Sydney and Melbourne to Just Group and Gisele and M. J. Bale and a bunch of different brands. And I was doing that really to save money to do my own thing, to do my own brand.

So, I started working on business plans for THR1VE. It would be unrecognizable to you, knowing THR1VE today. My first two business plans were terrible and it was going to be a one-off restaurant. Then it was going to be a home delivery meal system. Then it was going to be a supplement line and then it was going to be … and I didn’t know what I was doing and I was so all over the place. And then I really came back to focus on what I know and love best, which is this premium consumer retail, effectively.

Which in Australia, for food, that is either food courts or one-off cafes and restaurants, and I decided I didn’t want to do a one-off for a number of reasons. But probably most importantly, I wanted to reach as many people as possible. And the café and restaurant scene in Australia is pretty good. You can get some really healthy, yummy meals in a whole bunch of cafes and restaurants in Australia. Even in small town Australia now, you can get some pretty good food in cafes and restaurants.

But the food court, whether it’s in a mall or in an airport or strip retail, you know, a cluster of food outlets in strip retail. Pretty average. Predominately processed, 70 to 80 percent carbohydrates. You know, you walk into a food court; it’s just all carbs. All processed carbs. You know, its bread and pasta and sugar and all sorts of stuff that we know we could probably benefit from eating a lot less of.

So, I saw it as the area of greatest opportunity and the area of greatest need and thus THR1VE became, through multiple business plans, a food court focused retail offer.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: How long did that process take, Josh, just thinking from your sketches to the day of opening?

Josh Sparks: Yeah, it took a little while, Stu. So, late 2011 I was really actively working on it. I had registered the name and I had settled on broadly what I wanted to do. But we didn’t open the first store until late 2012. So, it was over a year of very focused work here where I settled on THR1VE. I settled on the fact that it was going to be a retail location and I was out talking to landlords and prior to that … I mean, I started working on a business along these lines probably about seven or eight years ago, when I first read Loren Cordain’s stuff.

But that was when I was still in the U.S., I was in Philly, and at that point I was thinking about doing a sort of gym and café combo, where it was going to be a sort of a high-end personal training only gym with sort of a café/restaurant attached to it. Which sounds great, but I never would have been able to pull it off, because I’m not a PT. It just was doomed to go nowhere.

So, how long did it take to really take shape? It took years and years and years of very focused work around the idea of THR1VE as vaguely recognizable as it is today. I was a good 12 months of just hitting the pavement and talking to landlords and pitching it to staff. I mean, no one wanted to know about it. I had a huge amount of difficulty convincing a landlord to give me a location.

Guy Lawrence: Wow.

Stuart Cooke: Really?

Josh Sparks: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Why do you think that is? Just the whole idea?

Josh Sparks: It’s very easy for us to forget that even in 2011, late 2011 when I first started talking to landlords, no one had heard of paleo or primal. I mean, there wasn’t … it was … the subject; we were so niche. I mean, it was a very small subset of the market and I probably still at that point was being a little bit purest about it as well.

So, when I was talking to landlords, I was probably sounding a little evangelical and a little dogmatic and probably a little bit crazy. And so, I kept having this look, “You know, you seem to have done OK with these fashion brands and you had a bit of success and maybe you should stick to that.”

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Josh Sparks: “And I don’t know if food court really wants healthy food.”

Stuart Cooke: Right.

Josh Sparks: “And we’ve got salads. So, what else do we need?”

Stuart Cooke: Sure.

Josh Sparks: And, “Yeah, we’ve got a Japanese operator. So we’ve got health covered.”

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right.

Josh Sparks: It was these sorts of conversations. I think it was, even just three or four years ago it was considered a bit ahead of its time and in branding, any sort of branding, whether it’s fashion, whether it’s lifestyle, whether it’s automotive, whether it’s what you guys do. Whatever it is, you want to be ahead enough of the curve to capture some mind shares, some early mind shares. At the same time it’s very easy to go broke if you’re too far ahead of the curve.

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And it’s just finding that sweet spot and the feedback I was getting landlords was that I was to far ahead of the curve.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right.

Josh Sparks: And my sense was not at all. This is; we’re at a the tipping point here. This is going to go mainstream in the next couple of years. And it might not be called paleo and it might not be called primal. It might not be call ancestral health. It might not be called THR1VE. But this way of eating, this awareness of just how profound the impact is on how you look, feel, and perform when you eat differently, that’s right at the tipping point. You know, the obesity levels and the Type 2 diabetes level and the fact that Medicare is publicly funded and it’s just unaffordable for us to continue to pay for bad lifestyle choices. Whether it’s smoking or whether it’s excess sugar. So, I felt that we were just at a bit of a tipping point, but it was very challenging to convince people around me, whether they were landlords or investors or potential employees, that I wasn’t completely crazy.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. I’m curious, right? Just a thought came in, because I’m always fascinated by everyone’s journeys, was it a particular niche; tipping point or something that happened in your own life? Because I know you’re saying that you were starting to put on weight and things like that, but was there an “aha” moment where you’ve got to go, “Right. I’m going to cut out the process foods. I’m going to change my lifestyle.”

Josh Sparks: So, I think, there’s two. For me personally it was recognizing that I just, I wasn’t happy. And it started off for me with a sense of, you know, emotional well-being suffering.

And it wasn’t so much, because I didn’t get huge, I’m naturally pretty skinny and even when I … I sort of the skinny fat guy. If I’m out of shape, I get skinny-fat. Like, I don’t get a huge gut.

I just don’t … I lose tone. I lose strength. I lose all those physical markers of health, the objective physical markers of health.

This was more subjective to answer your question, Guy. I just wasn’t feeling great.

Guy Lawrence: Yup.

Josh Sparks: And so, it led me to an exploration, “Look, am I drinking too much? Is it something I’m allergic to? Is there something in my diet that’s problematic?”

I stopped drinking completely. I cut out sugar. I started cutting out processed foods. That led me on a journey around fat. I started upping my Omega-3 intake.

But all those things really started for me around a sense of emotional health, not being as good as it could be. I wasn’t depressed. It wasn’t that acute. I just didn’t feel great anymore and I was used to feeling so motivated and so energetic. It was really sad to think, “God, is this aging? Is this normal? Am I meant to feel this way?”

Stuart Cooke: It just sounds like you weren’t thriving, Josh.

Josh Sparks: Thank you very much. I’m glad we got that in there. It’s very fine of you.

Guy Lawrence: So, back to THR1VE, right? And I really want to put this question: like, how would compete against now, like the Subways of this world? Because they’ve got “healthy food” marketing, that’s getting bombarded and the food court’s littered with it.

Josh Sparks: Yeah. Look, I think it’s a really great question. So, there’s two things. One: I think the use of the word “health” is becoming as ubiquitous as the use of the word “green” was about 10 years ago. You know, like, Chevron and Shell were running ads about how “green” they were. It’s like, “OK. Where are we on this ‘green’ thing?” And I think we’re in the same place with everyone’s claiming to be “healthy.”

So, first of all I think there is … that that’s going to lead to a certain level of backlash and I think consumers are already starting to become aware that they’re being hoodwinked with marketing. And great marketers are really good at what they are doing.

So, there’s health messages that are overt and there’s a whole bunch that are much more subtle and nuanced, but they’re rife throughout the food industry; whether it’s retail or wholesale or supermarket, wherever.

So, I think there’s going to be a little bit of a backlash and a little bit of growing skepticism, which I’m hoping will lead to my next point, which is: ask the follow-up questions.

So, yeah, I think whether it’s the press or whether it’s us as consumers, we’re terrible at asking the follow-up questions.

“So, great. You’re healthy.” What is healthy? Define healthy to me? You know, what is your paradigm of health? What protocol do you subscribe to? And that can lead to some really interesting conservations, because we see … I used to go … I read this and I must admit that I read this in a Playboy magazine, which I was reading for the articles when I was about 28 or 29 or so …

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Josh Sparks: And it was the first time I’d ever read about Paul Chek. It was actually an interview with Paul Chek in Playboy, of all places. And Paul Chek was talking about the fact that he’d been interviewed on TV and he got into this head-to-head around diet with a, I guess what we’ll call a conventional dietitian or a nutritionist who was stuck on the U.S. food pyramid, which is very similar to our recommendations.

Stuart Cooke: Yup.

Josh Sparks: Anyway, he obviously lost patient with the process at some point and he said, “Listen, do you subscribe to … everything you just espoused, your so-called philosophy of eating, do you subscribe to this a hundred percent in your own life?” And this guy’s, “Yeah. Absolutely.” And he’s like, “Great! Take off your shirt and I’ll take off my shirt.”

And it was just this kind of moment of: OK. So, if this is really working for you, do you look, feel and perform exactly how you want? And if you do, well, let’s see it. Come on. Let’s get this on.

And I thought, OK, it’s a little bit crass. I don’t think it would work on Australian TV. But at the same time I really respected the kind of cut through the B.S.

If you claim to be healthy, give us a sense of what that actually means and hopefully you’ve thought about it enough to have some kind of protocol, some kind of framework that you’re working within. And then is it working for you? And give us some sense of that. You know, “I came from here to here; it’s backed up by bloodwork.” Or, you know, I’ve lost a ton of weight and I know it’s fat, it’s not water or muscle because I did a DEXA scan before and after.

Give us some evidence, you know. Not this kind of fluffy, “healthy” thing.

Guy Lawrence: It’s interesting that you say that, because I worked as a PT for a long time and I would do … I must have … no exaggeration, sat in from the thousand of people, right? Doing consultations and the first thing I would do was ask them, “Do you eat healthy?” I mean, we do that even with our clean eating workshops we’ve been doing with CrossFit, right?

Josh Sparks: Right.

Guy Lawrence: And nine times out of 10 they, go, “Well, yeah. Yeah, I eat pretty healthy.” I go, “Great. Let’s write down what you just ate for the last 48 hours.” Right?

Josh Sparks: Right.

Guy Lawrence: And then once they start doing that there’s two things that generally happen. One: they actually, genuinely think they they’re eating healthy, but I look at it and go, “Oh shit. That’s not healthy.”

Josh Sparks: Yeah. You might have something there.

Guy Lawrence: Or two: they’ve just sort of been in denial. They go, “OK. Maybe I could improve a little bit.” and stuff like that. When you get down to that detail, but we just don’t. It’s human nature.

Josh Sparks: It is human nature. There’s a great stat where I counted it as 92 or 93 percent of male drivers think they’re better than average. So, it’s like, we are great at doing nothing. We are great at deluding ourselves, right?

So, when you have an objective check, someone like you, when you’re sitting in front of them and you’re forcing them to actually go through it, there’s nothing more powerful than documenting a food diary or training log, you know, “Because I’m training hard.” and you kind of look back at what actually you know, “I’m been a complete wuss.”

And it’s the same thing with a food diary. We don’t encourage things like obsessive diarization or cataloging or counting calories or measuring food. We don’t focus on that at all.

But the point that you just made, a point in time gut check, no pun intended, on “How am I eating?” and “Is this truly healthy,” and “Do you even know what healthy is?” And then engaging with the right kind of advices to give you some options and some alternatives.

And so, I think for me, whether you … whatever you call it: paleo, primal, ancestral health, whatever, I’m not really stuck on the labels. In fact, I think the labels can be extremely damaging because we can get a little bit dogmatic around that.

So, setting aside this specific label, what I want to know is whoever is claiming to provide their customers with healthy food and their customers are trusting them. I mean, that’s a relationship of mutual trust and confidence. It’s an important relationship. It should be respected.

Are they lying to them? Or have they actually put some energy into documenting what they believe and have some evidence to back it up? And then have they … again, another follow-up question … have they audited their supply chain? Is there sugar being snuck in the products? Are there bad oils being snuck in the products?

You know if you go around the food court, you would be staggered by … the Japanese operators add processed sugar to the rice. Many of the Mexican operators, not all of them, but many of the Mexican operators add table sugar to their rice.

Now, why do they do that? Because they tested it with customers and surprise, surprise, customers preferred the rice with sugar.

Stuart Cooke: Right. Yeah.

Josh Sparks: So, it’s great that we’re talking about health. I mean, on the one hand, let’s be positive and celebrate the fact that at least it’s a topic of conversation in the food court, which five, 10 years ago, you know, not so much. Certainly 10 years ago.

On the flip side, now that we’re talking about it, let’s have an intelligent conversation about it and let’s ask a couple of follow-up questions. And then we can make an informed decision where your version of health, Mr. Vegan, is right for me or not right for me. And your version, Mr. Salad Man, is right for me or not right for me.

So, that’s what we’re trying to encourage at THR1VE. You take that discussion further.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Awesome.

Stuart Cooke: Fantastic. Well, first up Guy, I think, it’s only right that we perform these podcasts in the future without our tops on. OK? That’s a given. We’re going to do that. It won’t start today.

So, just thinking, Josh, if you can’t access, you know, THR1VE in the food courts around here, how would you navigate the food courts? And I’m just thinking in terms of our customers who might think, “Well, sushi is the best option out there.” When we’re looking at the likes of the Chinese and the kabobs, and the McDonald’s and all the other kind of footlong gluten rolls or whatever they are. What do you do?

Josh Sparks: Footlong gluten roll.

Stuart Cooke: I’ve just sold it. I used to work in marketing don’t you know.

Josh Sparks: That’s a marketing winner, I reckon.

Stuart Cooke: No one’s thought of it.

Josh Sparks: It’s a really good question and I think that, I mean, we’ve got six stores, we’ll have nine or 10 opened in another nine or 12 months. So, we are not everywhere, sadly. In fact, if you go Australia-wide, there’s not enough places where you can find THR1VE or something like THR1VE.

So, to answer your question, I think you’ve got a few options. You’ve got … most salad operators will have a range of salads that don’t include the added pasta and the added grains. And I’m not terribly concerned about gluten-free grains as long as I know that … you know, it’s such a difficult question to answer diplomatically, but I’ll give you a version.

So, most salad places will have something for you. Most of the proteins in the less expensive salad joints are not … they’re reprocessed proteins. So, they’re reconstructed proteins.

So, they’re by no means great and there tends to be sugar and gluten snuck into those products. It gives them better form and it gives them better preservation and what not. But it’s not going to kill you, once in a while.

With respect to the Japanese operators, if you go for sashimi you’re pretty safe. Be conscious with the rice, as I mentioned before. But again, I’m not anti-rice by any stretch, but I don’t want table sugar added to my rice. So, I probably tend to avoid it in most of the Japanese operators. Unless they can tell me, and I believe them, that they’re not adding sugar to their rice. But that’s sticky rice. Traditionally prepared, they don’t use sugar. They use a specific kind of rice. But in most food operators there is sugar added to it.

Mexican operators, if you go without the bread, without the corn chips, without the processed carbs. And again, I’m persuaded that lentils are not the end of the world and beans aren’t the end of the world.

I’ve read a whole bunch of interesting stuff on that recently, particularly after Mark Sisson came out at the THR1VE Me Conference in March and said that he was reading a lot of evidence that legumes in small amounts occasionally can actually be beneficial to gut flora and so on and so forth.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Absolutely.

Josh Sparks: So, Mexican operators, if you go for kind of the beans and the guac and the salsa and the meats, maybe skip the rice if you’re having the beans. You probably don’t need a double hit. But maybe you do, if you just worked out.

So, what I do is I look those operators with brands that I trust. I prefer to feel that there’s some integrity in the supply chain. And to a certain extent I find, and it’s a terrible term, but the idea that it’s reassuringly expensive is not always true, but if you go to some of those really sort of dirty café, you know, greasy spoon type operators and you can get a bacon and egg roll for three bucks. Not that I have the roll anyway. But you can pretty well be sure that that bacon and that egg is not going to live up to your standards. It’s probably not the sort that you would have at home.

So, I prefer probably going to the more premium ends of the operators in the food court. Taking my; you mentioned the kebob operator, so in a pinch you can get on a plate, you can get the meat and you can get the salad and you can ask for extra salad, now I normally put some avocado on it and just skip the bread.

Now, I wouldn’t do that unless there was no alternative. But I think that’s a hell of a lot better than having a burger or a XX 0:26:09.000 dirty pieXX or whatever.

So, I think it’s more about … for me the simple rule is, it’s more about what you take out and if you can remove the processed sugars and the processed carbs as much as possible, then you’re going to be left with something that is relatively benign, if you are indulging in it occasionally.

Stuart Cooke: Yup.

Josh Sparks: If you’re having it every day, then you’ve probably got to take it a little bit further and say, “Well, if this is processed chicken, what did they process it with? If this is reconstructed chicken, what else did they put into it? What oils have they used in this salad dressing? What oils do they cook in?”

But you’re getting down to some lower dimension returns on that stuff. It makes a ton of sense if you’re doing it every day. So, if you’re doing it every meal, but if you’re doing it once every two weeks because you’re stuck in an airport and you’ve got no alternative, I would say don’t sweat it.

Guy Lawrence: A hundred percent. Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Exactly.

Josh Sparks: There’s also all that stuff about hermetic stressors right? Which I’m just fascinated by and the idea that you can go too clean and all the stuff that Robb Wolf has done around Special Forces.

They go back to base. They eat 100 percent strictly extremely clean, because they’re allowed to. And they’re cooking for themselves and they’re eating off-base. They’re not eating in the cafeteria, etc., etc.

They then go on to deployment and they’ve got to eat these MRAs that are just horrendous. Because they’re packaged for stability and shelf life, not for the kind of nutritional profile that we would look for. And these guys are getting really sick for the first two days on deployment. And if you’re sent out on some sort of Special Forces mission, you don’t want to spend two days over the toilet when you just landed in enemy territory or whatever.

So, the idea is to … I think, don’t sweat the occasional indulgence. And don’t sweat the occasional toxin, you know, in strict sort of paleo/primal sense. But eat clean as much as you can. And then don’t worry about it too much. If you find yourself stuck eating a salad that’s probably used vegetable oil and they’ve added sugar to the dressing, I say don’t sweat it too much.

Stuart Cooke: I think so and also you can switch on stress hormones by sweating it too much.

Josh Sparks: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: And seriously that can be just as harmful as the food that you eat.

Josh Sparks: That’s so true.

Guy Lawrence: Do you … you talked about the other cafes and food courts, right? And their owners putting sugar in the rice and they’re using different oils. Do you think they’re even aware that they’re doing things that could be damaging to health? Or do you think it just not even on their radar and it’s just purely business perspective and they just think they’re doing the right thing?

Josh Sparks: Yeah. It’s a really good question. I don’t think … I don’t think … I would love to think that there is no malice involved.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Josh Sparks: You know, I think it is a genuine desire to please customers and maximize sales. And most of these guys, certainly the big brands, have done blind taste testing and they know that customers prefer high sugar.

Now, the customer doesn’t know that rice “A” has no sugar and therefore is going to taste very bland on its own and rice “B” has added sugar. They just know that rice “B” tastes a whole lot better and, “I’m not quite sure why, but it’s great!”

So, I think they’re doing this testing and it’s revealing that there’s a certain level of sugar … these days we’re so detuned; our tastes is so detuned to sugar now, because it’s everywhere, Certain level of sugar is almost necessary, particularly if the food is otherwise rather bland.

And then in terms of oil, I mean, we spend a fortune on oils. Oils for most of our competitors are … it’s a rounding item. They’re getting 20 liters for $8 or less. Fifteen liters for $15 and these are industrial oils that are mass produced and, we know, problematic for a whole bunch reasons.

So, that’s not a taste issue. Because the average consumer, once its mixed up and it’s cooked and it’s got a sauce on it on and a side, you can’t tell whether it’s canola oil or whether its macadamia oil at that point. Most of us can’t, you know. The truth is, we just can’t tell.

However, my competitors have got an extra 4 percent in gross margin, because they spent a lot less on oil.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

So, I think that there’s two decisions being made here. One is around taste and the other one is around the economics.

Australia’s such a high-cost market for what we do and our rents are near world highest. Our food costs a near world highest. And our hourly rates are the highest in the world for causal workers.

So, there’s a real scramble on to work out, well, how do we make this thing profitable? And when you’ve got something like oil costing 10 times as much, it’s an easy decision I think for a lot of operators. But I don’t think it’s malice. I think it’s pleasing customers and survival.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.. I wonder if they’re actually, genuinely aware. It’s the brands I get frustrated with, because obviously, like you said, the paleo movement and primal and health are more on people’s radars now and we’re seeing more health brands coming onto the market. But then I’m looking at what they’re selling and I’m like, “ugh!” They’re just, they know they aren’t doing the right thing right here.

Josh Sparks: Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: That’s where it can get frustrating.

Josh Sparks: It is frustrating and I think, you know, on the flip side I guess, Guy, it’s capitalism, right? And that is what a large percentage of the market wants.

It’s like McDonald’s, when they first started doing salads, they don’t sell any salads, it just makes you feel better about walking into McDonald’s. So, you’ll tell your friends that you went to get the salad, but they end up buying a cheeseburger.

So, I think that there is … most people think that they want health, until they’re given the choice at the counter.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Josh Sparks: And so, some of our competitors feel, competitors broadly defined, have a really good salad offer, for example, but they also do sandwiches on this incredibly thick ciabatta bread. It ends up being about 70 percent processed carbohydrates.

And you see it all the time. Like, people get up to the counter and that thing being toasted, that sandwich being toasted that smells amazing or you can have the healthy salad and willpower seems to come off.

So, I think there’s always going to be a percentage of the market that says they want to be healthy but don’t really mean it. But what we’re trying to do is encourage those that say they want to be healthy and actually, genuinely want to be healthy and are prepared to make decisions on that basis. We want to give them something that they trust that there’s been real effort into creating a meal and auditing the supply change around it.

Stuart Cooke: Got it.

Josh Sparks: But it is frustrating for us, because we’re being undercut by … you know, we are not the cheapest source of calories in the food court. We don’t use the processed crappy food that is cheap. Processed carbs are cheap, right?

Guy Lawrence: Oh, yeah.

Josh Sparks: So, it’s frustrating for us when someone slaps a whole bunch of nice images of seasonal food across a poster and splashes: “This season’s local produce. Healthy this. Healthy that.” And we know that 79/80 percent of their salad is processed food.

It is frustrating, but at the same time I think it fires us up. Like it makes us … it puts a bit of fire in our belly, because it means that we’ve got to get smarter about how we’re communicating. That not only are we healthy, but there is a follow-up question and please ask us, because we’d love to tell you. We’re going to get smarter and smarter in that conversation.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Brilliant

Stuart Cooke: Excellent.

Now, when I was younger, much younger than I am now, going through college. I worked in England for a very large supermarket chain. And I used to do the evening shift. So, you know, we’d get rid of the customers and we’d tidy up and we’d attend to waste.

So, food wastage, it was unreal. Now, I’m talking big supermarket chain. So, it was Sainsbury’s. I don’t know whether you’re familiar with that brand.

Josh Sparks: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: So, I worked on the produce, the produce section, and occasionally the bakery. And every night we would just fill up probably three or four of these huge wheely bins of donuts and cakes and pies and pastries and all this kind of wonderful fruit, that just kind of past its cosmetic expiry date.

At the time, being a young guy, we used to eat donuts and you know, “You can eat a couple of donuts, guys, before you throw them.” And that was awesome, at the time. But it did open my eyes to: boy that is huge, huge, huge amounts of waste and on a global scale, as well.

Now, I was listening to a podcast the other day about food wastage with you guys and I thought you had some really neat policies. So, I wondered it you could share that with our audience, please.

Josh Sparks: Why sure. So, thanks for asking and I completely agree with you. It’s just I find it horrendous to think about the amount of waste.

So, what we do is twofold. One: we minimize what; we’re incredibly focused on developing systems and processes to minimize our waste. So, we’ve actually engaged a bunch of consultants and we’ve developed a system in-house that, they call them “build to’s” and this is all new to me, right? Because this is not fashion terminology.

So, there’s sort of “build to’s” each day in terms of the amount of stock that’s being prepared. And it’s based on a history of sales. Like-for-like sales.

So, Thursday’s today. What did we do last Thursday? What did we do Thursday before? It’s summer. It’s winter. It’s sunny. It’s not sunny. There’s a bunch of variables that we look at and really dial in what’s been what’s being prepped.

Typically that means we actually run out towards the end of the lunch rush and we’re normally open for another couple of hours beyond that. So, if that happens and that’s the ideal, after the lunch rush we actually prep to order. So, it means you order what takes takes two and a half to three minutes; that is our objective. It will take four to five minutes, but if you’re happy to wait that, you know, mid-afternoon, then it means that we don’t have any waste in those key products at all.

Now, having said that, we’re very rarely perfect, because the day’s never predictable and it’s extremely rare that we aren’t left with something in some ingredients.

So, we’ve got certain things right. We under cooked, we under cut some and then we did too much of others.

So, then we work with OzHarvest and they’re basically a group that collects food on a day-to-day basis, from a bunch of food operators actually, and provide them to the homeless.

So, our raw ingredients end up going into the raw ingredients for things like soup kitchens, to prepare their own food. And our prepped, ready-to-go food, is literally just given as a meal to the homeless.

You know, I had this very funny interaction not long ago, I guess it was about a year ago, in our store at Martin Place in Sydney, there used to … it’s not anymore, it’s just been refurbished … there used to be a little bench just outside the store.

I used to do all my meetings there, because we still don’t have an office, like I’m doing this from home, you know, we’re a small business. So, I was kind of using this as my desk. And I was meeting with my general manager and this guy came over, he was obviously homeless. I mean, he had an old sleeping bag around him. He had the big beard and the crazy hair. He looked like he was sleeping rough and he was clearly coming to me. Like he was making a beeline for me. Like, “What have I done to you?”

And so I’m sort of looking at him coming over and he goes, “Hey, hey, hey …” and I was wearing this THR1VE t-shirt … “Hey, are you Mr. THR1VE?” And I went, “Ah, I guess.” and he goes … am I allowed to swear on this podcast?

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Guy Lawrence: Yeah, go for it.

Josh Sparks: He goes, “I fucking love your food. It’s the best food.” Why that’s awesome!

Stuart Cooke: Wow.

Josh Sparks: I said, “I’m glad you enjoy it. Come back anytime.”

And it was just one of those moments. Because what’s happens is he’s getting one of the meals that’s got the THR1VE branding on it, so he knew it was from us. It just made me realize that you kind of set up these relationships, but you’re not always sure that it makes it to the end user exactly how you anticipate it might. But that was just a nice little moment and I think what OzHarvest does is fantastic.

And these days we don’t do as much prepped foods as we used to. We used to do salads that we made just before lunch rush. So if you’re in a hurry, you point at it in the fridge and we’d give it to you and you’d be good to go. But we moved away from that, because we wanted to give customers more choice in terms of how they build up the bowl.

So, we don’t have the level of giveaways we used to. So, OzHarvest, unfortunately are not getting as much from us as they used to. But we still provide them with any waste that we do have at the end of the day.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Sounds fantastic.

Stuart Cooke: It’s still a fantastic initiative. And just so you know, we’ve got quite a large station wagon, so if you need a hand transporting any of that food wastage, we’ll happily fill up our car with that and drive into the sunset with that. Don’t worry about that. Just say the word.

Josh Sparks: I may take you up on that.

Guy Lawrence: Mate, just a quick question. If anyone is listening to this is new to, say, “clean eating” and they walked into your THR1VE café today and go, “Right. I want to order a dish.” What would you recommend them?

Josh Sparks: OK.

Guy Lawrence: Somebody starting out.

Josh Sparks: Great question. Great question. And should we define “clean eating?” Should we define …

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Go, yes.

Josh Sparks: So, for us; again the follow-up question thing; for us “clean eating” is about no processed foods. So, it’s no added sugar. No gluten-containing grains. It’s no chemicals, preservatives, etc., etc.

So, that’s how we define “clean eating.” It’s not strictly paleo. It’s not strictly primal. It’s certainly inspired by those protocols. But “clean eating” for us is about eliminating processed foods, added sugars, bad oils as well, and any gluten-containing grains. So, that’s how we define it.

So, what we typically do with someone who’s brand new to this way of eating or this way of living, we suggest something that is very familiar. And I have actually have this really strict brief that in our environment; a food court it’s not a niche healthy café in Bondi or XX0:40:19.000 Byron Bay or Neustadt, or the Mornington PeninsulaXX.

It is a high-traffic mainstream environment and we have to have food that sounds and looks familiar and comforting. We’ve just taken the effort of pulling out the bad stuff. So, most of our menu, I would say, hopefully would look and feel pretty approachable and unintimidating.

But our bestseller is our Lemon and Herb Pesto Chicken. Which is just a chicken breast that’s been butterflied, grilled. We make our own pesto. So, we use olive oil, we don’t add sugar to it, etc., etc. We do add a little Parmesan, because I’m not anal about dairy. So, it’s a really nice fresh pesto. We use roasted peppers.

And that will all sit on a bed of whatever veggies or gluten-free grains you want. But I’d suggest you do it on our zoodles, which are … literally it’s just a zucchini that’s been spiralized. It’s not cooked, it’s just … it looks like … it sort of looks like pasta, but it’s raw zucchini. It’s awesome.

Guy Lawrence: I love it.

Josh Sparks: And I do it a half zoodles base and then I’m really into a kind of seasonal grains thing at the moment, because like everyone, I feel like I’m not eating enough grains. So, I do half zoodles on the base, half seasonal grains and I do a side of avocado; maybe a side of broccoli. And depending on what you get, that’s going to cost you anything between, sort of, $12 and $16; depending on how hungry you are and how large each portion you want it to be.

So, that’s kind of a really nice, familiar lunch/dinner. It’s the kind of thing you would see on lots of café menus and lots of restaurant menus and lots of people make it at home.

So, I would recommend something pretty simple like that to start off with.

Guy Lawrence: Perfect. You’re making me hungry.

Stuart Cooke: I am very hungry as well. And good tip as well on your zoodle. Because I had always … well when I say “always,” I’ve experimented with zucchini pasta and for me I’ve always boiled ,,, I’ve kind of boiled it too long and always ended up with a really sloppy mess.

Josh Sparks: Right.

Stuart Cooke: And I’ve been really disappointed. I’m not looking forward to the next one. So, you just do that raw, do you?

Josh Sparks: We do it raw. Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Right.

Josh Sparks: Because the other, I’m sure you guys read all the same research as well, when I talk about diversity of vegetables, most of us don’t have enough. And then in terms of diversity of preparation, most of us get stuck on a prep step. So, we like steaming or we like roasting or we like frying or whatever. Everything that I read suggests that we should have a mix of a whole huge variety of veggies and a huge variety of prep, including raw. And I realized outside of salad leaves and salad greens I never eat a lot of raw veggies.

So, it’s a way, and I don’t want to say the entire business is built around my selfish desire for raw veggies, but it seems like those zoodles were a good idea and they’re selling very well.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Great. Well, they say variety is the spice of life, mate. That’s for sure.

Josh Sparks: Exactly. Exactly.

Stuart Cooke: That’s beautiful. That’s so deep, Guy. I’m really moved by that.

Guy Lawrence: He’s bagged me twice all ready on this podcast. I’m sure I’ll …

Stuart Cooke: I just can’t help it. Sorry. It’s the beard, the beard. Have you noticed he’s got a beard now?

Josh Sparks: He’s rocking it. It’s very masculine.

Guy Lawrence: It’s very hip, I reckon.

Stuart Cooke: He’s going ancestral.

Josh Sparks: And when he does go shirtless, it’s going to be sort of hipster meets paleo.

Guy Lawrence: Exactly. I’m getting in theme for this podcast. That’s all it was. It was for you, Josh. It was for you.

Stuart Cooke: Thanks a lot.

Josh Sparks: Thank you.

Stuart Cooke: So, I’m going to steal another question, Guy.

Guy Lawrence: Why not, you bagged me twice.

Stuart Cooke: So, paleo, Josh. So, paleo’s all over the media right now. It’s getting some great press. Good. Bad. Indifferent. Has this particular message affected you in any way?

Josh Sparks: Yeah, it has. So, I think that there’s two things I would say. First of all I think … further the point I made earlier, it’s great that paleo is even appearing in the press. Just like it’s great that health is now appearing in the food court and to the extent it’s inspiring a dialogue, and at times a well-researched and intelligent dialogue, then obviously I applaud it. I think that’s a fantastic thing.

Stuart Cooke: Yup.

Josh Sparks: On the flip side, because the media deals primarily in sound bites and research takes time and to give them their credit, they work in very short-form media these days, I mean, everything’s a Tweet, basically, in whatever format it’s coming.

I don’t think we’re getting the benefit of a lot of the nuance around what is paleo, what is primal, what’s ancestral health, and I think it’s as a subset of that, people tend to hang onto certain aspects of it that appear dogmatic or prescriptive and I think most people, me included, don’t like being told what to do.

So, I think the backlash that we’re seeing is a natural human response to the perception, you know, real or imagined, that we as a community are coming out and scolding and lecturing people and telling them how bad they are and how better they could be if only they were as purist as we are.

Now, I don’t work that way. I know you guys don’t work that way. But the perception is that we as a community are inflexible, we’re dogmatic and we’re prescriptive. And I think that’s something we need to be very, very focused on countering. Because the reality is, that as Mark Sisson keeps saying; as Robb Wolf keeps saying, as Chris Kresser keeps saying, there is no one paleolithic diet. It’s a template. It’s a template. And there are paleolithic communities that have nothing but meat, primarily fat and protein, there are paleolithic communities that have 16 to 17 percent from their carbs … 16 to 17 percent of their calories from carbs, now, ancient carbs, but carbs.

So, when we’re coming out and saying, for example, “paleo is low-carb,” not only is that historically completely inaccurate, it also fails to recognize that there’s a huge swath of population that are interested in paleo. And they run from skinny weightlifting boys through to, you know, obese Type 2 diabetes, syndrome “X” men and women in their 40s, people who train intensely with weights, people who like going for a walk; obviously completely different need for carbohydrate.

So, I think that it’s a great thing, but it’s a double-edged sword. I think it’s a great thing, but the over-simplification of it I think personally has definitely led to some rather challenging conversations between me and customers and me and the press.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Josh Sparks: But also our business has taken … it took a knock when it was really intensely fervently being debated. We noticed that certainly salads and certain products came off. Thankfully they’ve gone back up again. But I think it’s a consequence of over-simplification and the perception of dogma, I think.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Josh Sparks: So, this sort of conversation is what I love, because we can put it in its rightful context. Rather than saying, “paleo is this and paleo is that. And you’re not allowed to do this and you’re not allowed to do that.” Which just instantly gets people’s back up. And what you end up doing … I know it’s a long-winded answer … but what you end up doing in that sort of environment is preaching to the converted.

And if we got into this, because I know I did and I know you guys did, because we genuinely want to help other people, I mean, I certainly didn’t get into it for the money. I should have stayed in what I was doing instead. It’s a grand way to not make a lot of money. But we got into it because we genuinely want to help people.

Now, if that’s the belief and there’s real authenticity and integrity around that, we have to reach people that aren’t already converted and that are probably going to be a little bit resistant to the message. And to go back to my fashion days for a second, because it’s a stupid analogy, but I think you’ll understand what I mean.

You know, you have catwalk pieces that are gorgeous and expensive and no one really wears.

Stuart Cooke: Right.

Josh Sparks: They end up on the backs of celebrities and they end up in magazines. But they attract attention and they spark interest. But they’re way too intimidating to the average consumer.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Josh Sparks: So, the average consumer, you’ve got to provide a bridge and that bridge is something like a XX 0:48:22.000 t-shirt brand or a dinner brand or a swimwear brandXX or whatever. They come in; they experience the brand; they get excited about it and hopefully they work their way up the ladder.

Now, that may sound like a stupid analogy, but I think we’ve got to a certain extent a analogous situation here where we bombard people with the pointy end of the stick, you know, the last 5 percent, this is all we want to debate the first 95 percent.

If we had people just decide they wanted to step over that bridge with us and we soften the message just a little bit and say, “Look, if you’re not ready to give up bread and you show no signs whatsoever of gluten intolerance, well then, let’s try to get you on an organic salad XX 0:49:00.000 or oatsXX it’s naturally a lot lower in gluten, and let’s just start by giving up the sugar and giving up these horrible oils that you use for cooking and deep frying.”

And then notice some changes, and this is what Sarah Wilson done so brilliantly.

Guy Lawrence: She’s done brilliantly, yeah.

Josh Sparks: Start the journey with sugar. And that is naturally going to … you’re going to see profound change in how you look, feel and perform. And if you’re a curious person and you’re interested in furthering the journey, then you ask, “Well, what’s next and what’s next?”

The opposite is what I think some in our community are doing, which is coming out and saying, “You either do all of this or you do nothing.”

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Josh Sparks: And if you don’t subscribe hook, line and sinker, to everything in this book or everything on this website or whatever, then you’re not worthy and you’re not truly one of us. And I think that is; that’s great if you’re trying to build a small club. It’s not great if you’re trying to change the world, because we need to bring as many people with us as we possibly can.

And just recognizing that not everyone is as ready for the hardcore message, softening it a little bit, I think you’re going to bring a lot more people with you and that’s going to have a much bigger impact.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, mate. Great answer, man. Absolutely. Couldn’t agree more.

I’m just looking at the time. I’m aware that the time’s getting on, right? So, I want to just touch on a couple of questions and then we do some wrap-up questions to finish …

Josh Sparks: Cool.

Guy Lawrence: … which is always fun.

But, one thing that I was really intrigued to know and I just want to bring on the podcast. I think people listening to this might not appreciate the effort; almost you could say the entrepreneurship of what you do and stress and everything else that’s going on. You’re a busy boy. You’re doing wonderful things. You’re very successful. How do you keep that work/life balance? Any tips? Like, what do you do?

Josh Sparks: That’s a great question and I would say that … well, first of all I live with my Creative Director, so I’m romantically involved with my Creative Director, Steph, so I don’t know whether I’ve pulled off work/life balance rightly there. Truthfully, I mean, taking about THR1VE every night at dinner is not work /life balance.

But you know what we do, what Steph and I do, what we encourage everyone in the business to do, is make time to train. So there’s this … no matter what’s going on, it’s in the diary and I don’t train every day or anything like that. I train every second day. So it’s three or four times a week, depending on the week. That’s always locked in.

I try to get sun every day. Even if it’s a crappy day, I just sit outside for a while. You know, 10, 20 minutes over lunch.

I started meditating, which I am absolutely rubbish at. The whole “still the mind” thing, I don’t know if that’s ever going to be possible, but I kind of love that too, that I’m really rubbish at it and I’m getting better at it so slowly. It’s going to be a lifetime thing for me and I’ll probably still never get there. So, I’m finding that really helpful.

But in terms of … so you know Keegan, right?

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Josh Sparks: Keegan Smith, who we all know and love. I think the guy is genius in many ways. He’s got; he started to focus on one specific area, but I think he’s a very clever guy. And he said to me once; we were talking about stress and he sent me a follow-up note. And he said, “Look, I could tell you were really stressed. I can tell you’re really busy.”

And there was a point earlier on, I mean, not that it’s not stressful now, but it was early on, we were running out of cash. The stores weren’t yet profitable and there was a very real possibility that it just wasn’t going to work. We were selling food and we had a group of customers that loved us, but we just didn’t have enough of them.

And so, I remember meeting him and sort of sharing with him a little bit, “Look, I think someday this is going to be an amazing business, but oh my God it’s incredibly difficult right now.” And he sort of empathized with me.

Anyway, he sent an email later and he said, “Josh, the thing with stress, you’ve got to decide whether the stress relates to your life’s purpose or not. And if it relates to your life’s purpose, then not only do you not resist it, you embrace it. Because that’s exactly what you need to make you harder, stronger, fitter, faster, you know … blah, blah, blah. It’s a hormetic stress. But if it doesn’t relate to your life’s purpose, you have to be ruthless about eliminating it. Just get it out of your life.”

So, a negative person, a negative relationship, some kind of partnership or some sort of hobby or something that isn’t serving you any more, you eliminate it.

Guy Lawrence: Great.

Josh Sparks: And I think that’s … it’s probably not balanced as such, but I’ve really taken his advice to heart and I’ve become a lot less social. Like, if I’m social now, it’s because it’s something I really want to do and it’s people I really care about and they mean a lot to me. I’m not going out through the opening of an envelope or because someone’s throwing a party or whatever.

So, I’m really focused on spending quality time at home with Steph and with the kids. Prioritizing in training. Prioritizing in good eating. Mediation. All that kind of stuff.

But then also recognizing that some days are going to be incredibly stressful, because I’ve chosen to do something that is challenging and I can’t blame anyone else for that. And so, I need to embrace it and work out, “OK, why am I feeling stressed?” Really get underneath the skin of the challenge and how are we going to take this to the next level.

So, I mean, I know I’m skipping ahead to talk about something you often talk about with your guests around favorite books.

Guy Lawrence: Yup.

Josh Sparks: But just on this stress point. A book called “Antifragile.” Have you ever heard of that?

Guy Lawrence: I’ve heard of it.

Stuart Cooke: I have heard of it, yes.

Guy Lawrence: Who’s the author?

Josh Sparks: Nassim Taleb.

Guy Lawrence: OK.

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Josh Sparks: So, his surname is: Taleb. And his first name: Nassim. He wrote “The Black Swan.” His background is from … he was a quantitative trader. He made a lot of money out of quant trading on the markets and he’s now basically a fulltime philosopher.

But anyway, the whole “Antifragile” book is written on the idea that systems, be they natural systems; be they the human cellular system; be they economic structures or political structures or whatever. All rely on a certain amount of stress to thrive.

Guy Lawrence: Yup.

Josh Sparks: Got to get the THR1VE word in there again.

Guy Lawrence: Again. We’ve got to make it three by the end of the podcast, mate.

Josh Sparks: Yeah. Yeah.

Not only; there’s a difference between being robust or resilient and being anti-fragile. Robust and resilient means that you absorb the stress and try to maintain stasis. His idea around anti-fragility is that stress makes you stronger.

So, say, for example, you go out and train with weights. All right? And the short term, if we took your blood after doing German volumetric training squats, 10 sets of 10 squats, your bloodwork would be horrendous. And if we showed that do a doctor and didn’t tell them that you’d done 10 rounds of 10 reps on heavy squats, they would probably want to hospitalize you. Your stress markers would be out of control. You’d be showing a whole bunch of damage at the cellular level. Cortisol would be slamming through the roof. Etcetera etcetera.

But next time you come into the gym, provided that you have the right nutrition and adequate amount of rest, you’re going to be stronger.
So, that’s a short-term stress that makes you stronger and more capable of coping with the same stress next time. Everyone understands the weight training analogy, right? But I think Keegan’s point, at least the way I interpret it, is that it’s the same with emotional/intellectual stress as well. If you don’t have at, at least in a way that’s something that you can cope with and doesn’t put you in the ground, and it relates to something that you consider really important, then surely you can overcome it. That stress that seemed completely unmanageable before, we’re good to go and we’re ready to move on to the next level.

So, I know that’s a really long-winded way of answering the question, but…

Guy Lawrence: No, that’s fantastic, and a great analogy. And I know Tony Robbins goes on about exactly the same thing, and he gets you to draw like a stick man on a piece of paper with a circle around it, you know. And that circle is your comfort zone.

And we very rarely go to the edge of that. But he encourages that you go up against it and you push it, but you don’t step outside. So, your stress muscles are being built and then that circle slowly gets bigger and bigger and then as years go by you don’t realize it but you’ve grown tremendously through actual stress. But you only want to take on what you can cope with.

Josh Sparks: Yeah, exactly. You won’t know until you’ve taken it on. And you know that old saying about “bite off more than you can chew and chew like hell.” I think is a part of that with me as well, where I think that, you know, it’s an other terrible cliché but an accurate one. And you guys might relate to this. But if you knew everything about what you were currently doing before you started, you probably wouldn’t have started it, right?

Stuart Cooke: Oh, my God. No way.

Josh Sparks: But you are. And you’re doing really well. You guys are killing it here. You’re moving into the States. And you’ve got a fantastic product. I think you’ve got best-in-class product. And you’re taking it to the world.
So, you know, you wouldn’t have done that if you knew everything. And that’s why sometimes I think it’s better to just leap. You trust your gut. Your intuition says this is gonna work. You know it’s gonna be difficult. But you can probably figure it out along the way. So, just go for it.

Guy Lawrence: I often joke sometimes that being naïve has been my best friend in some respects, because if you have no idea and sometimes you just jump, you just figure it out and then you learn along the way.
Josh Sparks: For sure. And if you don’t; if; the worst-case scenario is that you start again. This is not life-and-death stuff, right? This is about, whether it’s business or a relationship or sport or trying to do a PB in the gym or whatever it is, if you fail, OK. Well, pick yourself up and go give it another shot. I mean, why would you not want to do that?

Stuart Cooke: Exactly right. And life’s lessons, right? You learn from each mistake you make, which makes you stronger or a better person moving forward.

Josh Sparks: I totally agree. It doesn’t make it feel great at the time, always. But it’s the only way to live.

Stuart Cooke: Oh, look, no. I love that. Everything that we do, albeit negative, I want to know: Well, what can I learn from this? What can I do different next time?

Guy Lawrence: And another great tip, I think it was Meredith Loring, when we asked her, she came on the show, and she said, well, the best thing she’s realized is only focus and set goals that are within your control. Like, don’t try and control the uncontrollable and just let it roll and then things will come in time. And she said once she had that shift in the headspace…

Because we think about this with the USA at the moment, it’s probably the biggest decision we’ve ever made to move into an American market. And, you know, I could seriously lose sleep over this if I chose to. But it’s beyond my control, so with Stu and I we just meet up and we just focus on the things that we know we can do, we can control, and the rest is up to fate, to a degree. You do your best and then the rest is just see what happens.

Josh Sparks: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And give yourself the time and the space to figure out along the way. You know, you don’t set yourself crazy goals where you’ve got to conquer the entire market in 12 weeks.

Guy Lawrence: Exactly. Patience has been…

Josh Sparks: Yeah, it’s a tricky one.

Guy Lawrence: It’s massive. It’s everything, almost, to a degree, and then you just, “OK. Let it go.”

But we’ve got a couple of wrap-up questions. I reckon we should just shoot into them. One was the books. So, what books have greatly influenced or make an impact in your life. Are there any others on top of Antifragile?

Josh Sparks: There’s tons.

Guy Lawrence: Give us three.

Josh Sparks: OK. So, OK, this is a little bit off the reservation but Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I read that as a teen and it blew my mind and I think it’s done that generations of guys and gals. And I think probably what I found most entertaining about it was the guy was just such a; there was no rule that he wasn’t comfortable breaking. And of course it’s fictionalized and of course there was an obsessive amount of drug and alcohol abuse going on. So, his particular vehicles for demonstrating his willingness to rebel, we don’t necessarily recommend to all your listeners. But the idea that he was just out to have the adventure of a lifetime and didn’t care what the rules were, I think at a pivotal age to me… Because I was pretty conservative. I was very much; I followed the rules and I was a very good student and all that kind of stuff. And I just did a 180 in my thinking: “Hold on a second. Maybe I don’t have to follow the path that’s been laid out for me. Maybe there’s another way to go about this.”

So, though I hate to recommend it because it’s full of massive powdered drug use, it’s actually a really good book from the perspective of: Let’s think about this differently. Don’t necessarily follow the example, but let’s think differently.

I think the other book that I’d say, apart from all the paleo and primal ones; your audience will be very familiar with those ones. I think Robb’s book; Robb Wolf’s book and Mark Sisson’s book had a huge influence on me.

I think Tim Ferriss is underrated by a lot of people in the paleo and primal community. But I think his work has probably had a greater influence over me in more areas. Because he touches on business and he touches on relationships and he touches on sex and a whole bunch of stuff that the paleo and primal crowd tend to ignore a little bit. And they shouldn’t because they talk about lifestyle but they tend to write primarily about food. So, I found Tim Ferriss’s stuff really good.

The other thing that had a huge impact on me, I went to a Zen school. I lived in London for five years after graduating from uni, and I went to a Zen school very sporadically and it was just, I guess, my first attempt to meditate, really. I heard about this school. And it was in Covent Garden, which you guys obviously know well, and it was this crazy little place where you just sat around and nothing happened. And my first few times, I was like, “What are we going to do? We do we start?” And they were: “It’s done now. You’re finished.”

But there’s a book called “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind” that I read at the time and the idea is that for all of us to try to acquire a beginner’s mind. There’s a quote in there that in the expert’s mind there are very few possibilities. In the beginner’s mind, it’s unlimited, right? So, the smarter we get and the more we know, the more narrow and dogmatic we tend to become. And the whole idea is let go of all that and try to reacquire a beginner’s mind. Come to things fresh with an open mind. And you see things that you otherwise would have missed. So, I thought was a fantastic book.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, that’s an awesome message. Our beliefs shape so many of our judgments moving forward, and you’ve got to avoid that, for sure. Fantastic.

Josh Sparks: You mentioned Tony Robbins before, and I think that Tony Robbins; I went to all his courses. So, when I was living in London, I did the three-day Unleash Your Power. And then I went to Hawaii and did; I can’t remember what it’s called.

Guy Lawerence: Date with Destiny? Did you do that one?

Josh Sparks: Yes. Date with Destiny on the Gold Coast. And one in Hawaii, and I can’t remember, and Financial Mastery I did in Sydney. So, I certainly did them all over the place.

But his stuff is awesome. And it sounds kind of; I don’t know if Hunter S. Thompson and Tony Robbins have ever been mentioned in the same sentence before, from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas to Unleash Your Power. But in their own way, they both challenge us to think differently. To think more creatively and to free your mind.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, “Awaken the Giant Within” had a huge impact on me; that book itself. And I’ve been to a couple of his seminars as well, yeah.

Josh Sparks: He’s here in a few weeks, I think.

Guy Lawrence: We should get him on the podcast, Stu. I’m sure he’ll come on.

XX1:04:27.000
Josh Sparks: I think we’re busy, Guy.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, I’m confident of him.

Stuart Cooke: It would be a good get.XX

Guy Lawrence: So, last follow-up question, Josh. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Josh Sparks: Oh, man. I think, wow, you know what? I didn’t expect this one so this is a good surprise wrap-up question.

Guy Lawrence: You’ve had a lot to say up until now and now he’s stumped.

Josh Sparks: Just talk amongst yourselves.

Guy Lawrence: Have you got any fashion tips for Stu?

Stuart Cooke: Don’t hang around with you, mate. Well, maybe that’s the best fashion tip. I just need to hang around with you and suddenly I look hugely fashionable.

Josh Sparks: You guys can keep doing this. This is good.

You know, it’s such a cliché but I think probably my mom. And when I was debating what to do and whether or not I should get out of fashion and do what I really wanted to do, she said, as mothers do, she said: You know your own heart and you’ve got to follow your heart. And it’s so cliché. And I know it’s on a million different Hallmark cards. But when it comes from someone you really respect, who knows you inside-out and backwards and says, “You do know what to do, so just go and do it,” I think that was the best piece of advice I’ve ever had.

Stuart Cooke: Perfect. I thought you were gonna say that your mum told you to eat your greens and that’s how you got where you are today.

Josh Sparks: She did say that as well. That was the second sentence.

Guy Lawrence: So, what’s next for you, mate? You got anything coming up in the pipeline?

Josh Sparks: Yeah, we do. A bit like you guys, we’re looking overseas. But not just yet. We’ve decided after much contemplation, we’ve registered the trademark all over the world, and we bought the trademark in the U.S. But after much thinking about it, we’re going to focus on doing another six to 10 stores in Australia first and just really kind of dial in the model.

So, another six to 10 stores in Australia, we’ve got three lined up in the next 12 months. We might do four; I think probably three. Every four months feels about right. Which feels fast to me, but it’s incredibly slow, as I understand, in our industry. They want you to do 10, 20 a year, franchise, and do all that kind of stuff. And I just want to focus on doing our own stores and getting them right and help seed this conversation that we’ve been talking about: trying to get the follow-up questions asked, trying to get a more nuanced, intelligent conversation around what we do and what you guys do, in our whole community.
So, I think rather than rushing off too soon, because retail takes time to build out, wholesaling, what you are doing, you can grow a little bit faster. I think just focusing on Australia for the next 12 to 24 months. But then I would love to take what we’re doing overseas.

And there’s a raging debate amongst a whole bunch of people who I respect whether that should be U.S. or whether it should be Asia. But some kind of off-shore opportunity. Because the Australian market, ultimately, it’s finite. It’s not huge. And it’s very high-cost for what we do.

So, if we took our exact business model anywhere else in the world, it would instantly be meaningfully profitable because the costs are lower.

Guy Lawrence: Wow.

Josh Sparks: So, I think that’s an exciting opportunity. Because at one point I need to pay everyone back, right?

Guy Lawrence: Just keep borrowing, mate. Just keep borrowing. Just roll with it.

Josh Sparks: The investors want a return at some point. So, I think they have been very supportive of my vision, which is great. But in Australia it’s very difficult to do what we’re doing and make it meaningful for investors.
Australia’s a great place to prove a model and prove a brand. It’s a very difficult place to build a small business. Which is why Australia’s full of these massive XX1:08:14.000 shop places? The cost base is so high.XX

But I love doing it here, and I’d happily do it here forever. But I think to really maximize the impact we want to make, which is the “heart” stuff, and return a meaningful number to my investors who have placed so much faith in what we’re doing, which is sort of the “head” part, going overseas at some point makes sense.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, cool. And, mate, I mean, you have been super successful so far. It’s a fantastic brand and I have no doubt moving forward that you’ll be successful wherever you heart leads you to in those endeavours.

Josh Sparks: Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

Guy Lawrence: For anyone listening to this; obviously they might not be near a THR1VE café but they might like to find out more about you and what you do, where’s the best place to send them?

Josh Sparks: Probably the website, which is Thr1ve.me. Thr1ve with a 1, dot me. And Instagram, which is Thr1ve. Our social media, which is done Steph, my partner, obviously I’m a little bit biased. I think she’s brilliant. So, there’s a really good level, I think, of understanding around what we do that is conveyed through social media.

We’re re-launching our blog. We just sort of got to busy doing the store, so we haven’t really spent enough time on the blog. We’re gonna re-launch that in a few weeks. And in the meantime, there’s some good information on the website as well.

But if you can’t get into a store, the best way to get a sense of what we do is to buy 180 products and read the books that we are talking about and get involved in the community. Because what we’re doing is really, or trying to, hopefully, with some degree of success, distilling a message that we’re all sharing and presenting it in our specific environment, which is the food court and fast-casual restaurant environment.

But you guys can sell over the internet. I can’t send a bowl over the web, unfortunately. But you guys can send protein all over the place.
So, you know, get involved with what you’re doing, which obviously they already are, because they’re watching this podcast. But enjoying your products, reading up on the books, getting involved in the community, trying to spread the word like we discussed in a way that really attracts the unconverted and perhaps those who are a little bit intimidated.

And when they do eventually get to a THR1VE, it’s gonna feel like coming home.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, awesome, mate. Awesome. And we’ll link to the show notes. And just before I say goodbye, I’m going to ask you, you can give me a very quick answer, because we didn’t get to talk about it: Is Mark Sisson coming back to Australia?

Josh Sparks: I certainly hope so. We are not doing THR1VE Me in 2016. We’re going to do it every two years. It turned into a; it was such a massive exercise. I mean, you guys were there. It was great, but it was huge.

Guy Lawrence: It was awesome.

Josh Sparks: I’m really looking forward to doing it again, and Mark’s keen to come back. So, I think realistically for us it will be 2017.

Guy Lawrence: Brilliant. And, yeah, we got to spend some time with Mark and he’s a super nice guy, but also exceptionally fit and walks his talk.

Josh Sparks: Exactly. It’s all about authenticity and integrity.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, yeah. And you need to go and see him once. Like, you need to be there. Awesome. Something to look forward to.

Josh Sparks: Yeah, great. Well, I hope you guys are back. We certainly want you there.

Guy Lawrence: Oh, we’ll be there, mate. Definitely.

Awesome, Josh. Look, thank you so much for your time today. I have no doubt everyone’s gonna get a great deal out of this podcast.

Josh Sparks: Thanks. I really appreciate it.

Stuart Cooke: Thanks, Josh.

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Avocado Facts; Can I Eat Too Many & Will They Make Me Fat?

avocado facts

There are many foods that exist which cause genuine confusion amongst the health conscious. Especially when transitioning from an unhealthy diet to a healthy diet, when trying to lose fat, control blood sugar and support cardiovascular health.

A food I often get many questions and concerns about is avocados. How many can I have in a day? Is it alright to consume when on a fat loss program? Will they make me fat? What will they do to my cholesterol levels?

Before we flesh out these concerns, let me introduce our special dark green leathery skinned friend. Did you know that avocados are actually large berry fruits that were aptly named “Alligator pears” due to their green, bumpy skin before it was christened the “Avocado”. The name Avocado hails from from the Aztec word “ahuacati”, meaning “testicle tree” which is kind of fitting as the ancient Aztecs considered this fruit, important for fertility and the Mayans used it as an aphrodisiac.

With introduction aside, lets flesh out the Avocado (AKA Avo’) facts and tips out…

Nuggets Full of Nutrients

  • Avo’s are one of the few fruits rich in healthy fats. It is particularly rich in monounsaturated fat (MUFA). A great energy source for the body and one that supports heart and brain health amongst other things.
  • The healthy fat content in avo’s help absorb nutrients from other foods that need fat for transportation throughout the body, such as vitamin E, carotenoids, lutein and chlorophyll.
  • Consuming avocados with carotenoid rich foods such as carrots helps enhance carotenoid absorption. Adding avo to your salads can increase your absorption of carotenoids up to five times then salads without. Carotenoids protect us from free radical damage and all the problems that may arise from it, such as inflammation and poor immunity.
  • Avos are laced with many essential nutrients such as potassium, vitamin E, carotenoids, lutein, B vitamins (B5, B6), vitamin C, vitamin K and folate which contribute to deliciously vital health.
  • It’s lutein levels are higher than most fruits. Lutein is a potent carotenoid that prevents degenerative conditions of the eye and improves overall eye health. Lutein may also reduce the risk of cancer and type 2 diabetes.
  • Avos contain more than twice the potassium of a banana. Potassium is important for controlling the electrical activity of the heart. Potassium also helps your kidneys filter blood and supports the health of bones and muscles.
  • The greatest concentration of carotenoids or plant pigments are located close to the avo skin, in the dark green flesh. So be mindful of how you de-flesh this amazing fruit. Guidelines on how to de-flesh your avo well without losing it’s beneficial compounds are found here.

Healthy Weight Loss Maintenance

  • avocado fatAvos may help you maintain or reach a healthy weight. They are satiating, meaning they help you feel full and satisfied for longer, reducing the likelihood of unnecessary overeating. In fact, adding half an avocado with lunch has been shown to reduce hunger and improve satiety for up to 3-5 hours after consumption.
  • Avos may help regulate blood sugar levels.  Now who wouldn’t want less food cravings, a healthier, stable mood and improved sleep. Just a few benefits of balanced blood sugar.
  • Avos are loaded with more fiber than most fruit. Most of it being insoluble. Think regular, healthy bowel movements, removal of toxins, balanced blood sugar and less cravings.
  • Avos are very low in sugar/fructose. Unlike many of it’s fruit buddies. The primary sugar found in avos is D-mannoheptulose which may actually support blood sugar control and weight management.
  • MUFA rich diets help protect against belly fat and diabetic health complications.
  • Avo’s do not interfere with weight loss goals when consumed as part of a weight loss diet.
  • Avocado consumption is associated with reduced risk of metabolic syndrome. A collection of conditions which raise your risk of heart disease and diabetes.
  • If you are struggling with weight loss, try taking our quiz here.

Assists Inflammation, Heart & Brain Health

  • It’s MUFA content helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels. In fact those who consumed a high MUFA diet from avos for a week experienced a decrease in their LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and an increase in the often labelled “good” cholesterol HDL.
  • Avos may prevent the production of inflammatory substances when eaten with meals such as burgers. Studies suggest that eating avocado with inflammatory meals can reduce the after effects commonly experienced such as narrowing of blood vessels and inflammation. Now this is not your green light to go crazy on burgers and fries. Just FYI.
  • Healthy fats nourish the brain and heart and can help prevent Alzheimer’s, dementia, other degenerative brain disorders and heart disease. David Perlmutter, author of Grain Brain reports that the brain thrives on a fat-rich, low carbohydrate diet and that high levels of healthy fat consumption was found to be associated with a 44 percent reduction in risk for developing dementia.

Cancer Prevention

  • Avos are abundant in antioxidants and bioactive compounds such as carotenoids; lutein, zeaxanthin, alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and oleic acid and are one of the richest sources of vitamin E. These compounds are well known cancer fighters and may reduce the risk of cancers such as those of the prostate and breast. As mentioned the monounsaturated fat found in avos improve the absorption of these important carotenoids.
  • Vitamin E has been shown to slow down or stop the reproduction of cancer cells.
  • Natural sunscreen; the fat content in avos may offer protection from harmful sun damage, radiation, inflammation and skin cancer if consumed before exposure.

Beauty Tip

  • The flesh and the oil are moisturising and nourishing for the skin.

How Many Avocados Can I Eat?

As you may have guessed I am a huge fan of the avo. In my opinion all of the evidence I have come across welcomes daily avo consumption as part of a healthful diet.

As a general rule I think the inclusion of one small avocado or half a large avocado daily is a great addition to the diet of most people to promote optimal health, maintain a healthy weight, support blood sugar levels and support healthy brain and heart health. Avocados should not  be feared. Consider them creamy, delicious, protective and preventative powerhouses to be thoroughly enjoyed. I certainly do and consume at least half an avo every day, whenever possible.

There are many ways to get your daily avocado dose:

Below are some of my favourites:-

  • In a smoothie to add healthy fats, fiber and a creamy texture. Try this favourite green smoothie of mine.
  • In raw desserts such as healthy homemade ice creams or mousses.
  • Chopped and chucked onto a salad.
  • Blended with olive oil, himalayan salt, pepper and turmeric and made into a healthy anti-inflammatory dressing.
  • Made into healthy dips and spreads.
  • Blended with coconut cream to make whipped cream.
  • Side note: Avos can get a little pricey but do not fear if you can not afford to buy organic. Avos have tough,thick, protective skins which help to prevent pesticides and other chemicals from entering and contaminating its flesh. More on organic versus non organic fruits here.

I would love to hear in the comments section below how you like to get your daily avocado dose :)

lynda griparic naturopathThis article is brought to you by Lynda. She is a fully qualified Naturopath and Nutritionist with over 13 years of experience in the health industry. Lynda specialises in detoxification and weight loss. She has extensive experience in running healthy, effective and sustainable weight loss programs and has expertise in investigating and treating the underlying causes of weight gain and metabolic problems. You can learn more about Lynda, CLICK HERE

Eating Organic & Fresh Food On A Budget; How To Make The Right Choices

eating organic on a budget

Guy: Bare with me here… If someone was eating a quick and easy microwave meal for lunch and one day decided to replace that with a non-organic beef salad instead, I think it would be fair to say that’s a step in the right direction… right? What about those that eat the non-organic beef salad on a regular basis and then decide to have an organic version… the right step? Of course!

But what about the family with five kids to feed, or the parent that just lost his job and needs to tighten the financial reigns… then what? Personally I think you have to make the most of what you’ve got and work towards constant improvement over time. Everyone’s circumstances are different and you have to adjust accordingly. That doesn’t mean excuses, it just means being practical and looking for the best ways to make the most of your circumstances. So if you want to find out cost effective ways and strategies of how and what organic foods to shop for, then read on, as this is a fantastic post by naturopath Lynda Griparic on being street smart with your organic food. Over to Lynda…

Lynda: Do I need to eat organic is a question that I get asked very often. In fact it is one that I have asked myself from time to time as well.

Let’s start with what “Organic farming” actually means. Put simply it is a label given to food that is produced without synthetic chemicals such as fertilizers, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, modified organisms, nanomaterials and human sewage sludge.

The benefits to eating organic foods are less exposure to these harmful pesticides and other disruptive chemicals. An interesting fact is that on average organic foods are 180 times lower in pesticides than the conventional types. Eating organic also ensures that we are not getting any genetically modified ingredients.

Plants and animals are exposed to many chemicals such as antibiotics, hormones and pesticides to accelerate crop production, boost quantity and weight and ward off nasty agricultural pests and bacteria. Animals are often fed antibiotics and hormones (estrogen and testosterone) to accelerate their weight and growth. As you can imagine if they are lethal and toxic enough to kill pests and interfere with natural growth rate then they could only be causing harm in the body of a human.

Humans accumulate toxins as do animals predominantly in fat (Adipose tissue), where they remain and disrupt many bodily systems such as the nervous system, digestive system, immune system and reproductive system.

The following list is not conclusive but will give you a taste of how these toxins can affect the body and mind:

  • Hormonal imbalance; early puberty, ovarian cysts, breast enlargement
  • Shorter pregnancies
  • Behavioural and developmental disorders
  • Poor brain function: Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, memory, concentration
  • Leaky gut and the digestive consequences that arise from this

In a perfect world consuming everything organic would be ideal, but is it really realistic on a cost front?

For most, probably not. At times during our lives certain situations may cause you to re-evaluate your spending, such as a change in working environment, pregnancy, a new addition to the family, athletic competition, retirement or illness.

The good news is that while there are certain foods I would not consume unless organic, there are many conventionally grown foods typically lower in harmful chemicals. If unable to go completely organic, go conventional with these foods. Eating well does not need to send you into debt. It really is possible and well worth the effort and attention when choosing food.

Foods I ALWAYS Have Organic

Animal products:

  • meat
  • poultry
  • dairy (cheese, milk)
  • eggs

The pesticides, antibiotics, hormones and other chemicals that these animals are exposed to accumulate in their tissues, for the most part in their fat. If they eat it, so do we.

Fruits & Vegetables

The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a US health and environmental research organisation has put together a couple of lists called The Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen. They are useful guidelines that can actually reduce your exposure to pesticides by almost 90 percent. Although these are lists based on farming in the USA, the non-organic practices in Australia are similar so for the most part this content is a good “guideline”.

The Dirty Dozen Fruits & Vegetables List:

  • blueberries
  • apples *
  • peaches *
  • nectarines *
  • strawberries*
  • grapes *
  • celery *
  • spinach
  • cucumbers *
  • potatoes
  • capsicum
  • lettuce *
  • kale (newly added)
  • carrots *
  • broccoli *
  • pears *
  • zucchini * (newly added)

* added to the list because they relate to Australia in particular.

In general fruits that have a thin, delicate, skin are extremely unprotected and are exposed to a medley of chemicals used in farming. Peaches, apples, grapes, blueberries and nectarines are an example and are considered one of the most “dirty” fruits if non-organic.

Unfortunately even scrubbing the skins of fruits such as apples does not remove all of the chemical residue and peeling the skins off removes valuable nutrients found in the skin. It is a similar story with vegetables. Vegetables such as celery, spinach, kale and capsicum either have thin or no protective skins which make them more vulnerable to the effects of toxic chemicals.

A sad side note about grapes. Their thin skins do not protect them from chemicals and sadly this extends to wine as well. Studies have shown that up to 34 different pesticides can be found in wine. Sigh!

The Clean Fifteen Fruits & Vegetables List:

  • avocados
  • sweet corn
  • pineapples
  • cabbage
  • peas (frozen)
  • onions
  • asparagus
  • mangoes
  • papayas
  • kiwis
  • eggplant
  • grapefruit
  • rockmelon
  • cauliflower
  • sweet potatoes

EWG-Dirty-Dozen-Clean-15-list

Fruits and vegetables on the Clean 15 list need minimal exposure to chemicals in order to thrive. Low concentrations of pesticide residues have been found on these vegetables.

How can you reduce exposure to pesticides and chemicals found in food?

  • Ensure that you consume purified water.
  • Grow your own vegetables using organic methods.
  • Help your body detoxify well and remove chemicals by nourishing your gut flora. Click Here to find out how.
  • Move your bowels every day to help remove inflammatory toxins.
  • Buy organic or chemical free foods from your local farmers markets. They are often cheaper and if you purchase at the end of the day you may be able to snag a better price.
  • Wash fruit and vegetables thoroughly using a fruit/veg wash. I use EnviroClean by EnviroCare.
  • Peel non-organic vegetables and fruit or remove the outer leaf layers.
  • Trim visible fat from non organic meats as most of the toxins live in fat.
  • Enjoy some meat free days.

If you are time poor, buy fresh, local, organic or chemical free produce online from ethical companies.

The online food produce company I personally use and highly recommend to patients is Ooooby. Ooooby is an acronym for Out of Our Own BackYards. Oooby finds local, seasonal, organic or chemical free foods and deliver it straight to your door. Aside from being highly affordable I appreciate knowing how much I spend on groceries weekly which helps me budget well.

I simply love their ethics as they ensure all of those involved in the supply of the fresh produce are fairly rewarded and that farmers get 50% of the total retail value. There is also a note in your box highlighting where the food has come from (location and grower), allowing a deeper connection and appreciation between consumer and farmer. It truly makes me feel great to support local businesses. It is win-win really as my loved ones and I benefit by eating well and it frees up valuable time that I can spend doing the things I love.
As you can see there is a lot to consider when prioritising what foods should be organic. I have not even touched on fish; farmed, genetically engineered versus wild and sustainable. This topic is big enough to be it’s own blog post.

Conclusion

My parting words to you are, rather than let this information generate fear within you, let it empower you to make better choices for your health and remember that humans do not live in a sterile bubble. We like to socialize from time to time where we may not have control over what is dished up for us. However if you do your best where you can, your body and mind can allow for a few sneaky toxic culprits and will be in better condition to deal with any harmful side effects should they occur.

Lynda Griparic NaturopathLynda 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

fuel your body with powerful, natural and nourishing foods – click here –

5 Ways to Improve Your Gut & Understanding Microbiome

microbiome gut health

Guy: With all the years I’ve been working in the health and wellness space, there’s been one thing that has stood out over time. Yes, I believe one of the corner stones of great health is the integrity of the your gut. Not the most glamorous answer I know, but one you seriously don’t want to overlook. Some estimates say that bacteria in our gut outnumber our own human cells 10:1 in our body!

Whether you want to lose weight, recover faster from exercise, increase energy, elevate mood etc, then gut health is worth delving into and applying these simple strategies below.

Welcome to the world of ‘microbiome’. Over to Lynda…

Lynda: What is the gut “microbiome” you ask? Put simply its the trillions of microscopic bacteria that live within your gastrointestinal tract.

Why is it so important to nourish and have a wide variety of gut microbiome? There are many reasons. I have touched on some of these below:

  • A healthy, diverse microbiome protects you from harmful bacteria, fungus and viruses.
  • 90% of our the body’s serotonin is made in the gut. Serotonin is affected by the health of your microbiome and is responsible for a healthy mood, sense of calm, optimism, sleep and appetite.
  • Gut bacteria produce and respond to other chemicals that the brain uses which regulate sleep, stress and relaxation such as melatonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, acetylcholine and GABA.
  • They produce short chain fatty acids (SCFA’s) which promote weight loss, ward off inflammation, protect against colon cancer and are crucial for overall good intestinal health.
  • They improve the strength and health of your intestinal walls, prevent leaky gut and reduce inflammation by maintaining the tight junctions between the cells in the lining of these walls.
  • A balanced gut microbiome helps avoid unhealthy weight gain.
  • Helps to break down toxins and improve the absorption of nutrients from the food you eat.
  • Helps prevent or reduce nasty symptoms of autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and lupus.

The following are my top 5 gut loving foods. Those that can be easily added to your daily diet…

1. Polyphenols

PolyphenolsDon’t be put off by the fancy word. Simply put, polyphenols are compounds found mostly in colourful fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, nuts, seeds, red wine, green and black tea. Polyphenols ensure that the balance of your gut microbiome is maintained. They reduce inflammation and improve overall metabolism, especially of sugar (glucose) and fats (lipids). This enhances the quality of your health and prevents disease.

Polyphenols contain antibiotic properties and each polyphenol acts as its own prebiotic, promoting growth of healthy gut bacteria. When the cell of a bacteria breaks down it releases a toxin. Polyphenols communicate with your microbiome, reducing the growth of these toxin containing bacteria.

You can find polyphenols in the following foods and beverages:

  • Fruits: berries, apples, cherries, peach, apricot, pomegranate
  • Vegetables: red onion, spinach, broccoli, globe artichoke, cabbage, celery
  • Herbs and spices: Cloves, ginger, thyme, rosemary, cinnamon, chilli, peppermint, cumin
  • Nuts and seeds: almonds, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, chestnuts, flaxseeds
  • Beverages: cocoa, green, black, white tea, red wine
  • Olive oil and olives

2. Prebiotics

PrebioticsPrebiotics are generally the non digestible, plant fibers found in food. They are the foods that feed and nourish the friendly bacteria already present in your gut.

Inulin is the main prebiotic compound found in foods such as asparagus, onions, garlic, and artichokes. Other forms of prebiotics are fructo-oligosaccharides, galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), xylo-oligosaccharides (XOS) and arabinogalactans.

Inulin and GOS have much positive research behind it and are shown to prevent bacterial imbalances in the gut, leaky gut, obesity and its complications.

Foods rich in prebiotic fiber are asparagus, leeks, onions, radishes, tomatoes, garlic, artichoke, carrots, kiwi fruit.

Resistant starch is a form of natural prebiotic that is digested by our good bacteria many hours after eating. As the name states this form of starch is resistant to digestion in the stomach and small intestine. It instead reaches the large intestine intact and goes on to feed our good bacteria. RS contain mostly unusable calories and create little or no insulin or blood glucose spikes.

Good RS sources are boiled potatoes and brown rice, that have been cooled down, cannellini beans, black beans that have been cooled down, green (unripe) bananas and plantains. I like to add 1 tsp of organic green banana flour (I use the brand Absolute Organic which is easy to find) to my smoothies or I recommend that people have 2 tbsp of an RS source for lunch or dinner to cultivate a healthy, well balanced microbiome.

3. Probiotic rich foods

probiotic rich foodsProbiotics are the living bacteria that restore and renew our microbiome. They reduce inflammation in the intestines, improve the quality of the gut and reduce absorption of toxins.

Poor bacterial balance in your gut microbiome can lead to inflammation and can affect your body composition and metabolism in various ways. Any imbalance weakens your gut barrier and leads to an increase in inflammation. Weight control and blood sugar regulation is dependent on a good balance of gut microflora.

Fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, kimchee, fermented vegetables, yoghurt and kefir are natural probiotics. They contain their own living cultures of bacteria, which nourish the healthy bacteria in your microbiome.

4. Healthy fats

healthy fatsYour cell walls are made up of fat so in order to do their jobs they need healthy fats such as nuts, nut butters (almond, cashew, macadamia), seeds, seed butters, avocado, oily fish, flaxseeds and olive oil.

Having healthy cells ensures that you are the best version of your inherited genes because whatever enters your cells affects your DNA. Unhealthy fats such as vegetable oils feed the harmful bacteria, the microbes that ignite inflammation, encourage your body to store fat and produce toxins.

Omega 3s, particularly from oily fish reduce gut inflammation and repair the mucosal cells of the digestive system. Gut mucosal cells are damaged easily because they regenerate very quickly- within a 24 hour cycle. They need a constant flow of good nutrition to support their rapid turnover and prevent damage.

5. Apple cider vinegar

apple cider vinagarYour microbiome and stomach acid stimulate your small intestine to produce the enzymes needed to break down nutrients from the food you eat. If you have an unbalanced or unhealthy microbiome or low stomach acid this important signal is not given and digestion is compromised. You will absorb less fabulous nutrients from your food and if leaky gut is present, undigested food may pass through the intestinal wall causing inflammation.

A simple way to improve your stomach acid is to use Apple Cider Vinegar. I dilute 1 tbsp of this household favourite, in water before most meals and use it as my staple vinegar whenever vinegar is called for in a recipe. Salads, slow cooking, sauces.

In a Nutshell

There is overwhelming evidence to suggest that poor food choices such as too many processed carbohydrates and unhealthy fats cause disruption in your gut microbiome. So opt for fibrous foods rich in colour, packed full of the ammunition your gut flora needs to ensure you flourish.

A simple option if you are low on time or stuck for choices would be to replace a poor meal choice, like toast & cereal etc with a high fibre 180 Natural Protein Smoothie. Simply mix it with water, a little avocado for extra healthy fats and some low GI fruit like berries which are also rich in antioxidants.

Your gut has the power, it just needs the right environment and your help. Feed it well, save yourself a motza of money by avoiding illness and medications and use your hard earned cash on a holiday instead :)

If you want to delve into t your gut health further, you can start by having it assessed with these tests here.

Lynda Griparic NaturopathLynda 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

Tired of bloating? Try replacing bad food choices with a 180 natural smoothie – learn more here

Mark Sisson Is In Sydney. Will You Be Joining Us At The Thr1ve Me Event?


The above video is just over 3 minutes long.

mark sissonThis is going to be fantastic! Primal and paleo expert Mark Sisson is going to be here in Australia for this rare visit and awesome event. Expect a hands on immersion of everything fun, health and paleo for two and half days.

Not only are you going to get information overload, you will make great new like minded friends! There is also a fantastic line-up of speakers and guests (including us 180Nutrition:) ).

There’s still time to grab yourself a ticket for the Thr1ve Me Symposium! Learn More Here.

Ps. The Mark Sisson full interview will feature here soon.

4 Biggest & Most Common Breakfast Mistakes You Really Need to Avoid

biggest breakfast mistakes

Lynda: In my opinion tucking into a highly nutritious breakfast with awareness is crucial for premium health. Through many years of personal and patient experimentation I believe that what and how we choose to ‘break our fast’ can either set us up for a day doused with food cravings, lack of focus, low mood and lethargy or one laced with clear thinking, balanced emotions, balanced blood sugar levels, energy and good digestion.

The following are my top suggestions to consider when deciding whether to indulge in a breakfast fit for a king/queen or one fit for a pauper.

1. Eating Disguised ‘Healthy’ Breakfast Cereals

food myths breakfast cerealIn essence, we are talking about cereals packaged/processed convenience foods. When did pulverising cereal into drinkable poppers and cardboard boxes of weird looking food particles become appealing? Have we moved away from real food that much?

Let me ask you, do you dislike flavours, textures and eating in general? Then why choose food without soul, those that add little or no nutritional value for your body and mind? Food is fuel for the body, but that does not mean we need to disguise it as garden pellets in premium priced cardboard and quickly funnel it into the gob with a straw. 

Highly processed, packaged foods are often rich in toxic chemicals, sugar, inferior carbohydrates, harmful fats and have little or no good quality protein. Want a tired, lack lustre, dull mind and body that struggles to get moving? One that does not comply with your needs and desires, then take the packaged, processed route. If you crave more energy, clearer thinking, a life well lived and dropping dead quickly rather than a life laden with chronic illness and frustration then opt for real food. Food that may take a tiny bit of effort to prepare but fuel that scratches your back and looks after you long term.

Keep it real, stop paying for clever marketing, save your dollars, invest in your health and enjoy what pristine health without illness feels and tastes like… Capish?

2. Adding the Sweet Stuff

biggest breakfast mistakesDid you grow up on toast, jam, muesli, cereal, coloured, flavoured milk, muffins and milo? Me too. Well it was more that I associated breakfast with these kinds of foods. Sweet and often laced with gluten.

When I ask some patients to take the gluten, processed foods and sugar out from their diet, the most common statement expressed is “What the hell will I have for breakfast then?” Why not have a meal that you would have for lunch or dinner for breakfast?

It is not uncommon for me to have a protein source such as a fillet of fish, sardines, mackerel, grass fed lamb, beef etc with vegetables and a healthy fat source. For example sardines with a simple side of avocado, asparagus or spinach. Leftovers from dinner also make a fabulous breakfast option. Last nights grass fed lamb mince and veg casserole makes me a satisfied woman indeed. Change your perception and you’ll have a broader range of fabulous, healthy foods to choose from. It really is that simple. Think outside of that sweet-box, open your palate and start playing with variety.

Does a piece of toast with strawberry jam keep you satiated and focused until lunch time? I didn’t think so. A meal made up like this, with a hefty dose of inferior carbohydrates, sugar, no protein or fat will not provide the fuel needed to support healthy brain function, stabilize your blood sugar levels and will certainly have you ravenous within the next couple of hours.  Put simply your attention and focus will be weak, your mood may be low, your hunger rife and energy unpredictable. Now wouldn’t you rather use that brain fuel on more important things than thinking about how you can satiate your hunger. That to-do-list will never get done now will it? Stabilize your blood sugar with well rounded meal choices and therefore stabilize your mood, energy and cravings.

3. No breakfast

low calorie dietHaving a nutritious breakfast is ideal for a healthy metabolism. If you miss breakfast you might find yourself lacking focus, feeling lethargic and unable to concentrate. You may also find yourself reaching for packaged, processed, convenience meals mid morning or even over consuming during lunch. A recent study has shown that up to 17% of those who ate breakfast did not consume as much food or beverages during lunch.

Missing breakfast leads to unbalanced cravings. Those who skip breakfast tend to consume 40% more sugar during the day and 45% less vegetables. Cravings, high sugar and lack of nutrients will compromise your overall health. You may experience low mood, a foggy mind, poor memory, concentration, weight gain, morbid obesity, digestive issues and chronic, long term illness.

Studies have shown that skipping breakfast causes insulin resistance. This can affect our body’s ability to burn fat for energy and can certainly increase your risk of diabetes. Furthermore it decreases your sensitivity to insulin at your next meal. Which means you would need to make sure that you are consuming low glycaemic index foods at your next meal. Those who eat breakfast have a much lower rise in glucose and insulin levels after meals which protects them from heart disease and diabetes and supports fat loss also.

The body thrives on good nutrition soon after you get up because it has essentially fasted during the night and your glycogen stores are very low. Choose your food wisely. Avoid foods that do not digest and absorb easily, such as processed carbohydrates and sugar. Meals that are rich in fibre, fat and moderate protein are best. Organic eggs, avocado and sweet potato is one example or a smoothie with protein (180 nutrition protein powder is great for this), avocado, coconut water, cacao and berries are great options and will give your body the ammunition it needs to control hunger and cravings.

Food choices like these and having breakfast reverse the bodies desire to store fat because it helps to keep your insulin levels from spiking. Instead the body will use fat for energy. You are better able to manage your health, fitness and weight, your blood sugar can be controlled and you increase the level of your metabolic hormone, incretin which positively impacts your health by decreasing blood glucose levels.

4. Eating on the run

exercise window weight lossScoffing down food or eating whilst the body is literally moving is an enemy of digestion. Personally  I struggle with this one. Just call me hoover… a Dyson perhaps. If you are anything like me you are often in a “syhurry” (sydney-hurry), early work starts, early yoga session, early meetings and excitable, overachieving ant in pant syndrome that has been there for years.

The process of chewing is an extremely important part of digestion. Chewing allows big particles of food to be broken down into smaller particles that your body can absorb and use. To shirk on proper chewing is no different to starting a game of rugby without the kick off. Gasp! I shudder at the thought? The entire game would be cursed. Minimal chew means cursed digestion and elimination.

Foods that are not broken down well enter the blood stream and can cause a wide range of health problems. These undigested particles can also feed harmful bacteria and fungi. Your body retains much more nutrients if you chew more and less is lost.

Chewing slowly will help you maintain a healthy weight. Your brain will have enough time (generally around 20 minutes) to communicate with the stomach that it is full. As a result you are less likely to over-consume and have more control over your portion sizes.

Taking the time to chew your food properly improves your digestion in many ways. Your saliva contains digestive enzymes, such as lingual lipase which helps break down fats. Exposing the food you eat to these enzymes support the digestive processes in your stomach and small intestine. Saliva also lubricates food which makes its passage through your esophagus easier. The process of chewing predigests and liquefies your food into smaller particles, making it easier to digest for use in your body. 

Improperly chewed foods require a lot of energy to be broken down and is quite demanding on the body. Large particles of improperly chewed food may remain undigested when it enters your intestines. These particles will putrefy (rot) and lead to a host of digestive issues such as bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhoea, bad breath, pain and cramping.

Just the simple act of spending an extra 5 minutes when eating your meal can make a big difference.

In summary, if you would like to welcome more energy, vitality and overall good health into your life I suggest breaking your fast with a highly nutritious meal and enjoying every morsel for at least a month. Reap the rewards and no doubt you’ll create a new habit that your body and mind will thank you for.

Lynda Griparic NaturopathLynda 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

Discover more healthy recipes here

5 Shocking ‘Health’ Foods I Would Never Touch

5 shocking "health" foods


By Lynda Griparic

Anyone who knows me, knows I enjoy eating well. I get extreme pleasure from preparing and eating good food for others and myself, especially when I know it will nourish, make us feel good and provide the energy needed to make the most of this fabulous life.

Even though I was exposed to a wide variety of foods growing up in a very European household, there are simply some foods I would not touch with a barge pole. I have selected five to discuss, leaving out some others you may already know about such as vegetable oils, margarine and commercially prepared salad dressings.

1. Skim/Low Fat Milk

health food skim milkQuite frankly I do not see the point of skim milk. The name suits this liquid perfectly. Skim is to remove, be superficial, skirt over. Enough said really. Skim milk is a food lacking many nutrients. Many people believe that by removing the fat we have a healthier substance which provides the same flavour. Sadly aside from the tasteless aspect and uninviting texture of skim milk, skim milk can actually contribute to weight gain and has minimal health benefits other than a false sense of belief that you are making a better choice for your health goals.

To start with, many skim milks are sweetened to help with palatability. Would you believe that low fat milk can have as much as 13g of sugar per cup?

Furthermore many essential vitamins found in whole milk such as Vitamin D, E and A are fat soluble and need fat to be transported and distributed throughout the body. Low fat milks therefore lack the vehicle our bodies and minds need to absorb and make use of these nutrients.

The healthy “good” fats such as those found in whole milk, are essential for the production of a hormone called Cholecystokinin (CCK). CCK is the fella responsible for the feeling of fullness. It makes sense then that low fat or skim milk can often leave you feeling unsatisfied, and inclined to reach for more food shortly after eating to fill the void. Good fats also slow the release of sugar into your bloodstream, reducing the amount that can be stored as fat.

Tip #1 If you drink milk, have unhomogenised full fat milk instead of skimmed.

 

2. Muesli Bars & Commercially Prepared Muesli

health food museliMuesli is often touted as an amazingly healthy and convenient meal and is marketed to the health conscious crowd. It is no surprise that people choose muesli and muesli bars for breakfast in preference to packaged cereals high in sugar or savoury meals such as egg and bacon.

It may shock you to know that most muesli bars and muesli’s readily available in supermarkets and health-food stores contain an alarmingly high amount of sugar, processed carbohydrates and often harmful vegetable oils! These can have detrimental affects on your overall health and weight loss goals.

If the idea of giving up on muesli is far too much to bear, consider making your own simple, yet delicious, sugar and grain free muesli that will not cause a huge blood sugar spike.

An example could be combining seeds (sunflower, pepitas, chia, sesame) with roughly chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, macadamias, , hazelnuts, almonds) and shredded unsweetened coconut. You could mix these with coconut oil, cinnamon powder and vanilla and bake in the oven until lightly toasted. Serve it up with coconut milk, full cream cow or goat milk or homemade almond milk.

Also the 180 protein bars are a great natural alternative to your muesli bars if you are looking for a convenient snack.

Tip #2 If you are going to eat muesli, make your own.

 

3. Sports Drinks

health food sports drinksCommercially prepared sports drinks otherwise known as “energy drinks” are often consumed by people who want to obtain an energy lift, improve their sports performance or those who believe that this is a better alternative to soft drinks.

Unfortunately most sports drinks are far from healthy, in fact most have no real health benefit at all and can negatively effect your health. They are high in sugar and contain many chemicals such as preservatives, dyes and a well known brand contains brominated vegetable oil, a flavour and colour enhancer. Vegetable Oils….need I say more?

If its vitamins, minerals and energy that you are after you are better off consuming real, whole foods, beverages and supplements such as healthy fats, quality, clean protein, antioxidant rich fruit (berries), fibrous vegetables, nuts, seeds, water, herbal teas and yes even a cup of good quality coffee without the sugar and skim milk thanks.

Tip #3 Try making your own sports drink for recovery; a pinch of himalayan rock salt & a squeezed lemon with water.

 

4. Fruit Juices

health food fruit juicesBecause its fruit it’s a healthy beverage right? This is a BIG misconception. If you thought that fruit juice was a healthy alternative to sugar sweetened drinks, you would be wrong. Fruit juice actually contains a similar amount of sugar as a sugar-sweetened beverage. Not to mention a heavy “cocktail” of fruit flavoured chemicals.

To put it in perspective, fruit juice can contain more sugar than a can of coca cola. Up to 12 tsp per glass. Its an ugly thought isn’t it and not a habit we want to get into if optimal health and weight control is your goal.

I would even err on the side of caution with those beverages labelled 100% fruit juice. Whilst they may contain “only” fruit they are without the fibre found when we eat the real thing. In essence you are getting a big dose of fruit sugar (fructose), which messes with your blood sugar levels and leaves you feeling ungrounded, hungry and anxious. Not to mention fruit juice does nothing for your waist line because as we know excessive sugar is converted into fat, compounded also by the fact that fruit juice will leave you feeling hungry and thus more inclined to unnecessarily reach for more food.

Sadly most manufacturers add additional sugar to these already naturally sweet beverages. The danger here aside from the blood sugar spike is that we develop a taste for sweet foods and our cravings and consumption grows. At the end of the day when all we want for ourselves is great health and happiness we need to be aware of the excessive often “hidden” sugars found in our food and beverages.

You are better off eating a piece of fresh fruit as one glass of fruit juice contains much more sugar than the whole fruit and you are loosing much of the fibre which helps to keep the digestive and elimination systems working well. The fibre found in a piece of fruit such as an apple slows down the absorption and protects us from the effects of fruit sugar. Strip away the fibre and cram multiple fruits into a bottle and what you get is a sugary drink which absorbs quickly and leaves you feeling hungry. Do you really need more convincing?

Tip #4 Eat a piece of fruit instead, or make your own 80% veggie juice with 20% fruit.

 

5. Weight Loss Shakes & Poor Quality Protein Powders

health food weightloss shakesWhilst my first preference would be to eat real, whole food, I do believe that there are many instances that warrant supplementation with a protein based powder. Such as athletic performance, illness, convalescence (recovery from ill health) and dietary deficiencies where consumption of whole food is affected.

There are many commercial protein powders and weight loss shakes on the market containing concerning amounts of heavy metal toxins such as cadmium, lead, mercury and arsenic. In addition to this most are artificially sweetened and treated with heat and acid which again affects the quality and renders them useless to your health.

Needless to say that I avoid most commercially prepared powders like the plague. For myself and for patients. Having said that good quality, highly nutritious protein based powders exist you just need to do some simple research (I recommend 180 Natural Protein to my clients).

I would start with establishing where the source of whey is from and how it’s processed.You might also want to consider how many ingredients it contains. Do you recognise any of these? Is it artificially sweetened? Does it contain fibre? An important question if you are using it to replace a meal. We want to make sure the bowels are happy and kept regular.

In a nutshell, I lean toward protein based powders that contain grass fed whey, that is low allergy (e.g without gluten) and one that has had minimal processing. Of course there are many who can not tolerate dairy at all. In this instance I would use non whey based protein powders such as pea protein, using the same questions above for your detective work.

In essence, protein powders can be worthy of shelf space in your cupboards provided you choose good quality, minimally processed varieties like 180nutrition protein powder. Simply avoid the commercially prepared varieties that will do nothing to positively impact your health.

Tip #5 Choose high quality protein powders with ingredients you recognise with minimal processing.

 

Conclusion

As you can see all of my top five fall into the processed, distant relative to whole food category. Put simply, if you suspect a “health-food” might not be that healthy, keep it simple and opt for food close to its natural form and a minimal ingredient list with items you recognise.

Thats what the body thrives on and deserves so please don’t throw complex stuff into it that it may not know what to do with.

What would your top 5 be? Do you agree? Love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Lynda Griparic NaturopathLynda 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

5 Tips to Help You Cleanse the Body

detox_tips

By Lynda Griparic

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…

Why detox

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

detox tips reduce sugarOr 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

detox tips processed foodsReally, 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

detox tips toiletPut 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

detox tips alcoholA 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

proteinWhile 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.

Conclusion

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 Griparic NaturopathLynda 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.