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Discover Why We Get Fat: Understanding Your Carbohydrate Tolerance

The video above is 2 minutes 30 seconds long

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

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

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

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downloaditunesIn this episode we talk about:-

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

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Full Transcription

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Hello.

Stuart Cooke: Hello.

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

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Excellent.

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

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

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, that’d be awesome.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: yeah? All right.

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

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Oh, yeah, sure.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stuart Cooke: Right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stuart Cooke: Right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stuart Cooke: Yes.

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

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

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

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

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

Stuart Cooke: That’s right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stuart Cooke: Right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah, okay.

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

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

Stuart Cooke: You should try it.

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

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

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

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

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

Stuart Cooke: That’s exactly right. Fantastic.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guy Lawrence: Okay. That is fascinating.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

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

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

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

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

Stuart Cooke: “Watch this space.”

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

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

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

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Excellent. Excellent.

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

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah. Yep.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Well done.

Guy Lawrence: Excellent.

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

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

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

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

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

Guy Lawrence: Awesome.

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

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

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

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

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

Guy Lawrence: Awesome.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Thank you.

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

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

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Grant Hilliard: Why the Term ‘Free Range’ Is Meaningless

The video above is 2 minutes 55 seconds long

Guy: Ever wanted to lift the vail up to see what is actually going on with our meat supply? If you do then read on as today we are joined by Grant Hilliard, the founder of Feather and Bone, an ethical meat provider from sustainably raised animals.

If you are wondering what the terms ‘organic’ and ‘free range’ actually mean,  or who’s the producer and if all meats created equal… Then this episode is for you.

Full Grant Hilliard Interview: Why The Meat You Eat Matters

downloaditunesIn this episode we talk about:-

  • What questions we should be asking our local butcher
  • The quality of supermarket meats
  • What the terms ‘organic & free range’ actually mean
  • What goes into the average sausage
  • Tips to buying sustainable meat on a budget
  • And much much more…

CLICK HERE for all Episodes of 180TV

Want to know more about Grant and Feather & Bone?

Got any questions for us? We’d love to hear them in the comments below… Guy

Grant Hilliard of Feather & Bone Transcription

Intro: Brought to you by 180nutrition.com.au. Welcome to the Health Sessions podcast. With each episode we cut to the chase as we hang out with real people with real results.
Guy Lawrence: This is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition and welcome to the Health Sessions. Today our awesome guest is Grant Hilliard of Feather and Bone. So strap yourselves in for this one, because it is information packed. Absolutely. Now Feather and Bone, in a nutshell, are providers of meat, right? And they are seriously passionate about where their food comes from and how it’s grown, you know, something that we can easily overlook when it’s, you know, from the paddock to the plate and don’t give it a second thought.
And walk into any supermarket and just assume the meat is of the highest quality. So, as you can imagine, I had a lot of questions for him, you know? What they do, they essentially source directly and exclusively from producers that are committed to nurturing the health of the land and the plants and the animals it sustains, you know?
So, it’s actually from the soil all the way through to the animal to then how that animal we digest ourselves. Big topic and very political, as you can imagine, you know, questions that we cover: Who is the producer? You know, how do they grow, harvest, and transport their produce? You know, does this journey to your plate enhance sustainability and genetic diversity as well as your taste buds? Now that is a mouthful of a big question, I know, but we cover a lot, and I got a lot out of it, and I’m certainly going to be delving into this topic a lot more myself.
And if you are listening to this through iTunes, obviously let us know if you’re enjoying the podcast by placing a review within iTunes. It takes two minutes. We really appreciate it, you know. We put these podcasts out every week and we reach a lot of people, but it’s always awesome to get that feedback as well knowing that, you know, we’re out there reaching you guys and you’re learning a lot from it, so, yeah, always great to hear from you.
Anything else? Probably not, so let’s go over to Grant and, yeah, strap yourself in and enjoy the show. Awesome.
Guy Lawrence: All right. Let’s roll. Hey, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined today with Mr. Stuart Cooke as always, and our special guest today is Grant Hilliard. Grant, welcome. Thanks for coming on the show.
Grant Hilliard: Hello. How are you?
Guy Lawrence: Excellent.
Grant Hilliard: Planes, as well.
Guy Lawrence: Welcome to Sydney planes. I know we can hear them.
Grant Hilliard: That’s right. That one’s going somewhere special.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, I used to live in Newtown, and it would affect the TV every time an airplane would fly over.
Grant Hilliard: XXThe industrial section of?XX [0:02:54]
Guy Lawrence: Very excited about today’s topic. I think our listeners are going to get a massive amount out of it. Especially, you know, talking about from the paddock to the plate. I think it’s something that a lot of people don’t think about, you know? So I’m looking forward to delving into it.

Discover why 24,000 people have empowered themselves with our free eBook:

So just to get the ball rolling, mate, can you explain a little bit about Feather and Bone and your journey? What it took you to start it all up…
Grant Hilliard: Yeah. So Feather and Bone is, we’re a wholesale and retail butcher shop, essentially, very much an old-school butcher that we operate within really sort of quite specific parameters. The meat we source, it’s; we’re concentrating on a range of things.
The first of those was genetic diversity. So we’re very much interested in fostering farmers and working with farmers that are working with all the breeds of animals and that concern extends, obviously, to plant crops as well. What we’re looking at at the moment is a radical reduction in the variety of food stuffs that is available to us and a preponderance of the people who own the few that are left. It’s very important, I think, that we maintain all the breeds of livestock, because, in a sense, that’s our common inheritance, humanity’s common inheritance. All of those breeds have been developed over many centuries, and it’s really important that we still get to share them.
(Plane noise)
I’ll let that go over.
Guy Lawrence: That’s cool.
Stuart Cooke: Awesome.
Grant Hilliard: So part of it is to source animals that are growing that way, and one of the issues around that is that they might often take longer to grow or for some other reason are more difficult to grow, so you have to reward the grower often in increased price, but that goes with two other things, which is that all the animals be sourced or grown outside without questions. That’s not just an idea of free range, that is pasture-raised livestock. At all times.
A lot is heard about free range at the moment. We, sort of, don’t use the term so much anymore, because it’s been devalued. What we’re really interested in is pasture-raised produce, and that really distinguishes what we buy from what might otherwise be called free range.
I should note there that there’s no real enforceable standard for free range at the moment, but the A Triple C, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, is working on a standard that will actually have enforceable regulations that can govern what can be called free range and what can’t, which is a very welcome step as far as we’re concerned in the regulatory field.
It’s been a very important area for government to be involved in. So, we work directly with farmers. We don’t deal with third parties and so that means that we visit every farm that we source from and, I think, we’ve probably visited well over fifty different farms in the last eight years and maybe close to a hundred farm visits, because we go back to farms year after year and it’s through going back to farms that you really start to see the development of what they’re trying to do.
I suppose while we set out looking to source animals that were, say, with genetic diversity, what we’re now really focused on is sourcing animals that come from farms where soil fertility is the critical issue and that is achieved through natural means, so grazing stock can be used really, really strategically to generate carbon in the soil and join the right humus and, by increasing carbon in the soil, you dramatically increase water holding capacity and that’s critical.
In Australia we’ve lost 80 percent of carbon in the soil since white people got here, which basically means that we can hold about 80 percent less water in the soil than we used to be able to hold. Now that’s why we can’t, you know, in a landscape that’s got minimal water and irregular and unreliable rainfall, that is a critical issue.
We’ve drained water out of the landscape and it goes straight into creeks, straight into rivers and finishes up in the ocean which is not where you need it, you know? And they take the topsoil with it importantly, so we’re working with farmers that grow top soil. That’s the essence of what we do.
Stuart Cooke: So outside of the soil, quality of the soil, how do the standards of raising cattle in Australia vary?
Grant Hilliard: Well, I mean, about half of the cattle in Australia are grass-fed. We only source grass-fed animals, but there’s grass-fed and grass-fed, and it’s a difficult distinction to make, but what you’re always after is diversity, so the pastures that we look for and the farms that we look for have thirty, forty, fifty different varieties of grasses and perennials and forbs and bitter herbs in that pasture.
And what you’ll find is that the cattle or the sheep or whatever ruminant that it is, any grass-feeder, will select, actively select from that field at different times which matches what their requirements are, so they’re very, sort of, canny and skilled at knowing what they need, you know? It’s the thing that probably humans have lost to some extent because of the abundance that’s available to us, but animals are very sort of key, able to do that.
Guy Lawrence: Is there much of a difference between grass-fed than grass-finished, like, because I hear the terms flying around.
Grant Hilliard: Yeah. There’s a sort of a strange thing in Australia where if an animal is not fed for 100 days on grass, you can’t; I’m sorry, I’ll start again. If an animal is fed for less than 100 days on grain, you’re not even allowed to call it grain-fed, you have to call it grass-fed.
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Grant Hilliard: It’s a weird thing, so a lot of people who buy grass-fed beef, in fact, may be buying beef that’s been fed for up to 100 days on grain.
Stuart Cooke: Wow.
Grant Hilliard: Because it used to be that the value was in grain-fed beef, so to try and stop people sort of giving grain for one day and saying that they were selling grain-fed beef, they said, “Okay, well, it has to be at least fed for three months on grain.”
Guy Lawrence: Okay, and how much do you think that affects the quality of the meat from a grain-fed source to a grass-fed source?
Grant Hilliard: A number of things happen when you feed cattle grain. I mean, they can accommodate it, but as a ruminant, they’re perfectly designed to metabolize the nutrient that they find in complex pasture into body mass. What we like to think, and what we would encourage people who are buying meat to think, is that a good animal represents a concentration of all the goodness of good soil.
And really that’s just sun, effectively, so you’ve taken the energy of the sun that’s been metabolized into grass, the grass is being metabolized into meat, and that’s going to be metabolized into you, so you want to make sure all of those choices are as good as they can be.
So you want to eat an animal that’s at the absolute peak of its health. Now, one thing that happens with grain is that they actually get quite sick as they change over to grain and it produces… A ruminant should be at a neutral ph. What high levels of XX?XX [0:10:20] is that they produce an acid gut, and so most grain-fed animals are suffering from acidosis all the time. Presumably, you want an animal that’s in balance.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Absolutely.

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Grant Hilliard: For his sake and also for your sake, you know? I mean, it’s a very direct translation that the thing that you take into your body becomes you as well. It works at a metaphorical level, of course, but it also works at a very literal level, and so that’s why we’re looking for farms where the nutritional plane is as high as it can possible be.
Guy Lawrence: Do farms vary a lot then? Like, is everyone trying to…
Grant Hilliard: They do, and because it depends on how you maintain, you know, there’s a million ways to farm, and some better than others, and the ones we focus on are the ones that are actively growing soil, developing soil fertility through natural means.
Guy Lawrence: Okay. I’m just getting my head around it. So it all starts with the soil? Then transfers to the animal?
Grant Hilliard: Absolutely.
Guy Lawrence: And then the animal transfers to us, in a nutshell.
Grant Hilliard: Absolutely. We are very much part of that cycle. We’re not the end of that cycle, either. We are…it’s a feedback loop. The more you eat of this, you stimulate productions so the farmers are encouraged through this, you know, this form of consumption can go and grow more.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right.
Grant Hilliard: They’re the farmers that we want to have operating in Australia. The ones that are storing more water and storing more carbon and increasing soil fertility through natural means. The rest can, you know…the rest are in a downward spiral effectively, because most farming essentially requires increasing inputs to maintain outputs, and in essence that is an unsustainable system. What you need is a system where the input level actually reduces over time to either static or increasing outputs, and that is a sustainable system. I mean, we talk about sustainable farming, it’s a really clear way of thinking about it.
Guy Lawrence: Could every farmer out here change their mindset and work toward this, or are there bigger hurdles and logistics beyond that that they just couldn’t do…?
Grant Hilliard: Oh, well, they can, I mean, what they might find initially is that they’re going to have reduced outputs initially, and that’s quite scary and so that transition might be really hard to manage, and so yeah, it requires the confidence, really, to pursue it, but if you’re in it for the long haul, and let’s hope most of our farmers are, hopefully, they’re looking at increased production with low input costs, and I think that’s what’s going to become, you know, probably the end of grain-fed beef. You simply won’t be able to grow grain in one place with all the inputs that that requires.
Stuart Cooke: I was kind of interested actually, just to jump a few questions down, Guy, in light of what you’ve been telling us, Grant, what questions should we be asking our local butcher?
Grant Hilliard: Customers should be able, I mean, a butcher should be able to tell you where the animal came from.
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Grant Hilliard: Which farm it came from.
Stuart Cooke: Got it.
Grant Hilliard: Generally, what they’ll say to you is, “It came from XXCurrimundi?? or XX [0:13:24] but what they mean by that is that it, that’s where it was killed. Which is a totally different story. XXIt happens with?XX [0:13:31] wholesalers as well. They sell meat. They grade their own meat and they buy from the sale yards and they buy from suppliers all around the place, and then they only sell it. The difference in what we do is that we’re buying directly from producers rather than…the abattoirs are really there to do a service kill and so they provide a service, which is slaughtering the animal in a facility which is certified for human consumption, basically. The food authority licenses them, licenses us, licenses all the restaurants that we eat at. It’s the same body that does all the certifications.
So, ask that question, “Which farm?” And if they don’t know which farm, you know, then they’ll never know what the history of that animal is. Was it given antibiotics at any time? Was it given growth hormones at any time? When it was grass-fed, was it XXset stockXX [0:14:30] that is, was it just left in a field for an extended period of time or was it actively moved on to fresh grass every single day? I mean, what was the agricultural, you know, sort of process that boarded from embryo to here? And it’s a long process that can be up to three years.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, it makes it so just really a generalized question about the origins of the meat will give you insight into the knowledge of your butcher?
Grant Hilliard: Well, that’s right, and they should be able to answer those questions and most retailers are fairly skilled at sort of trying to work out what it is that you’re after, whether it be organic or free range and will just say, “Oh, it’s free range, of course it is, madam.” You want it to be free range? It’s free range.
Stuart Cooke: It’s whatever you want it to be. So what do those terms actually mean, organic and free range?
Grant Hilliard: Well, organic is a full certification system and there are a number of bodies in Australia which license to give organic certification. Most people would be familiar with the bud logo, the little curly logo, and that’s the BFA, or Biological Farmers of Australia, that’s their symbol.
But there’s ACO and so there’s about four bodies that certify in Australia, or actually five, there’s one that just operates in Tasmania as well. They do independent audits of the farm. They look at their buying records, their selling records, and come and go through everything that they do to make sure that they’re adhering to a certain set of guidelines.
Now while, you know, organic is important up to a point, we certainly stock a lot of organic meat here, we’re more focused on the particularities of the farm, so I suppose, for us, we’re having to independently order to some extent, but I think it’s a very valuable tool if faced with no other information.
And maybe if it’s just a self-serve thing, no one’s there to give you any other information about the meat that’s in front of you, at least when you buy something that’s been certified organic you can be sure of the whole range of things: that it hasn’t been medicated, that it hasn’t’ received antibiotics, that there are certain welfare things that are looked after there, that there are certain, you know, it’s a whole range of things within the standard that ensure, and if it does have another input, for instance, in the case of pigs or chickens where they’re eating, they are eating grain, because they’re not a ruminant, they’re an omnivore, that that input is also certified organic as well.
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Grant Hilliard: And that they’re processed in organic facilities. So, most abattoirs will do an organic kill, but they do it at the beginning of the day and then they do the so called conventional kill after that.
Guy Lawrence: And the term free range then, does that give them actually free range as well to say what they want?
Grant Hilliard: You would hope so. That’s absolutely the case. It’s really a meaningless term at the moment., so free to range on pasture is what sort of like to see, but stocking density then becomes the issue. It’s like anything, you know, yes, you could have 5,000 chickens on grain field. It wouldn’t be grain for very long, because they’ll eat, chickens eat a lot of grass, actually, but they also get through it. You need to rotate them, so it’s very hard for any certification system to deal with the nuance of stocking densities.
And in a good season, you know, you can carry a lot more of any particular animal in that area, and in a bad season, you know, you might find that, for instance, 1500 birds per hectare is what they’re probably going to go with as legally enforceable number, maximum number for free range eggs. No that could be great in the right season, but in a poor season, for instance, one of our growers runs 15 birds per hectare and the drought was so long that by the end of the drought 15 birds per hectare was too much for that area.
No how can any certification system deal with that sort of level of nuance? That’s very difficult, so what you really need are farms that are highly responsive to the conditions of the season. Which they all are, it’s got to be said, every farmer is, but the…you’ve got to create the conditions that allow the animals to thrive in all seasons, and what tends to happen is that most farmers overstock when the season is good. The season dries up. They’re all forced to sell their stock because they’ve got nothing to feed them, unless they want to buy in lots and lots of hay, and then the market just plummets.
And so they’re buying at the top of the market, selling at the bottom of the market, I mean, that’s not a very good way to run a business. So we don’t tend to sort of run on market prices. We agree the price with the grower, and that is a sustainable price for them to stay in business and year after year, and that’s we pay irrespective of what the season does.
So it’s better for the grower. It’s better for us. And it’s usually over the odds, but at least then it guarantees what we’re getting and it’s a guarantee for the grower as well, and you don’t get into this sort of cut throat thing, “Well, sorry, the lamb prices dropped this week so I’m only going to give you 40 cents less a kilo.” I mean, what’s that? But most commodity growers, that’s exactly the position they’re in. They’re price takers, not price setters.
You’ve got to get into a relationship where your farms become as much price setters as you are. We don’t see ourselves as clients of them; we see ourselves as working with the farmers to make this stock available.
Stuart Cooke: Does that level of connection and relationship exist in the supermarket chains where meat is concerned?
Grant Hilliard: No, not really. I mean, the supermarket chains are buying, as you can imagine, enormous quantities of meat and, you know, one of their growers is a biodynamic, a certified biodynamic grower. He sells a certain amount of his lamb XXor finish up in a collar shopXX [0:20:21] you never know which one and it won’t even be identified as organic. It’s just, it’s sold in the main area. Yeah, so if he has any extra stock it won’t be his best stuff, that’s got to be said. But there are two things. One is that you can never repeat the experience, so, because it’s only marked by the abattoir that it was processed at, say, XX?XX [0:20:43] you won’t be able to repeat that experience next time you go into the shop. And two, they don’t age the meat at all. It’s killed, sliced, packed, and they try to sell it as quickly as they can.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Production…
Guy Lawrence: I know so many people they don’t even think twice they just go in and buy a lump of meat in the supermarket. It’s there, it’s packaged, you know, it’s cheap, and then they go home and eat it without even considering where it’s come from or what it’s done.
And, obviously, me and Stu are very passionate about our health, and we’re always investigating and talking and holding podcasts like this and, you know, the biggest hurdle I’ll hear off every single person is almost like, “You know, organic, yeah, it’s expensive. Does it really make a difference?”

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I guess my question would be: Is it a more cost-effective way, or an answer I could say to these people who go, “Look.” You know?
Grant Hilliard: “I can’t afford that.”
Guy Lawrence: The ones that say that, yeah.
Grant Hilliard: Yeah, well, there are two ways to approach that question. The first is that if you’re always expecting to eat chicken breast or eye fillet all the time, you won’t be able to afford organic or really well-grown meat, but then again think of it this way: the eye fillet on beef is about one-and-a-half percent of its total body weight which gives you an idea how often you should eat it.
Stuart Cooke: Right. Yeah, okay.
Grant Hilliard: Where’s all that eye fillet coming from? What’s happening to the other 98.5 percent of the body? So, you have to work with producers. I mean, it’s a very recent thing where we think we can just go and pick the eyes out of things and leave the rest lying around. I mean that’s a sense of abundance which we need to really reevaluate and recalibrate.
It’s certainly, you know, our parents and, depending on your age, our parents or our grandparents certainly would have had that recalibration. You ate everything and that’s just the way it was, you know? Shoulder today, breast tomorrow, and at one stage on a very special day you ate some fillet or some loin. You don’t every day.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Nose to tail. Tips then perhaps for buying like organic sustainable produce on a budget. What could we do?
Grant Hilliard: Well, you buy what are called secondary cuts, but the, you know, if you look at something like beef blade which is cut from shoulder, you know, we’ll sell that that’s been dry aged on the bone for four weeks at the same price as it would cost for yearling that was put in plastic the day it was killed.
To me, it’s a lot better value to buy a fantastic animal and the distinction here is that most beef in Australia is yearling beef. It’s sold at 14 months old which is essentially teenager or young teenager. It’s not a lot of growing so it’s a high return in terms of kilogram to the grower, but it’s sort of at a certain size but it’s not at a certain quality.
So whenever you reduce something to purely, you know, you’re only going to get paid on the kilograms that you supply, you withdraw all the ideas of quality that might surround that and or qualities and I suppose that’s what I’m interested in. I’m interested in the qualities of things and how they attach to the whole body and that’s what we buy, the whole body that arrives here. It’s our job to break it up to sell the whole carcass. That’s our job. That shouldn’t be the abattoir’s job. It shouldn’t be the grower’s job. It should be our job. So we look for qualities of things and the quality takes care of itself.
Guy Lawrence: Is all pork created equally? We’re quite involved with the CrossFit community and everyone loves bacon, and I always see these arguments coming up from whether we should be eating bacon or not or the sources it comes from. What’s your thought on that?
Grant Hilliard: Well, like chickens or poultry, generally, pigs are the most abused of farm animals, and in Australia around 98 percent of pigs are grown in intensive conditions, and to me that’s an unethical position to take. I just don’t think we should be eating pigs that are grown in that way. I don’t think we should be eating chickens that grown in that way, either.
It’s interesting how we’re focused on chickens. Pigs are, not to be unfair to chickens, which I love, but pigs are highly intelligent, sentient, that have really complex familial structures and they are literally tortured. I mean it is a release for them to die in those conditions. If you’ve ever seen pigs outside, and very few people have, I mean, we have no picture of what a herd of pigs looks like outside, because they’re just nonexistent. We source from maybe six farms right through New South Wales that grow all their pigs outside, but I think most of your viewers, I’d be surprised if more than two percent have actually seen a herd of pigs outside, more than one or two at a time.
And you know, they’re fantastic creatures, absolutely brilliant creatures, but you’ve got to grow them like that and in terms of cured goods, well, you know, curing is a really particular thing and it’s a great way of extending the life of something, but if…it’s all about balance, isn’t it? Some bacon is fine, but it’s quite a salty product, I mean, that’s how it’s cured, so you need to put it in balance. I wouldn’t eat bacon every morning, for instance.
Stuart Cooke: Would there be a vast difference in quality from a butcher bought to supermarket bought perhaps?
Grant Hilliard: Probably not, on the whole, I mean, most of it is coming from the same peeps.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, okay. I just, it’s unusual to, obviously, when you’re buying from a butcher you buy your meat and your goods and it’s packed up and you go home and cook it, but when you go to the supermarket you actually get to see all the ingredients that are in there on the package and sugar, of all things, makes its way into…
Grant Hilliard: Well, salt and sugar is a very traditional curing combination, usually in a ratio of three to one…
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Grant Hilliard: Before refrigeration, we had to do things to maintain the life of food stuffs. If you going to kill a whole animal, you’re not going to eat it that day, so what’re you going to do with the rest of it? And we cured, we brined, we smoked, we stored things under fat comfit, all of those techniques are very good ways to maintain the life of something, but you want to balance that.
I mean, I think probably in tougher climates than ours, traditionally that’s all you would have eaten in the winter months because there would be very little fresh stuff around and, you know, you’d killed the pig in light autumn and then you eat it slowly all the way through winter. That was traditionally how you did it. You’d eat the liver on the first day and then the last thing would probably be the cured leg about six months later.
Guy Lawrence: There you go, yeah. We don’t do that now, do we?
Stuart Cooke: Well, it does actually sound like a quite tasty existence.
Grant Hilliard: It’s not bad at all. I mean, it just means that you’re being, by necessity, you’re being more responsive to the season because that was more available to you, and it’s sort of a commonplace and sort of a cliché really, but I mean, to eat seasonally is really the secret of it all, and there will be times when, you know, the seasons aren’t favorable that, you know, quality will drop. There will be times that you’ll be absolutely reveling in excess which is where preserving comes in. And not just for meat, but you know, jams and everything else, all of that summer abundance. What’re you going to do?
Stuart Cooke: I have a question regarding…
Grant Hilliard:…tomatoes XX… winter?XX [0:28:34] It comes out of that tradition. That’s the tradition that we’re interested in.
Stuart Cooke: Got a question regarding the humble sausage, and so traditionally people think, “Well, your sausage is just your rubbish. It’s, you know, it’s all the rubbish meat and it’s pushed together into the sausage machine and, you know, you have them every now and again, but it’s certainly not quality meat.” What’s your take on that? What goes into the average sausage?
Grant Hilliard: The average sausage? Probably not what you’d want to eat. I mean XXit costs 99XX [0:29:13] a kilo. What could it possibly be?
Guy Lawrence: I do wonder.
Grant Hilliard: XX?XX [0:29:20] the refuse. We put shoulder meat, so it’s predominantly shoulder meat from the pig, you know, and obviously trim from when we’re cutting up the rest of the animal, but it’s a particular ratio of fat to lean. We don’t do emulsified sausages, so you can actually XXaudio outXX [0:29:38] it’s really clear what’s meat and what’s fat.
With an emulsified sausage, which is most sausages, where it’s so fine that it’s actually, it has no grain, that could be anything, and we don’t put preservatives in our sausages and we don’t, equally, we don’t…we use salt as a preservative, but that’s all and we hand grind, you know, we just hand grind spices and, you know, we charge four times the price of a $4.99 sausage, but then we’re not using grain in it, either. There are no fillers in our sausages, so, you know, a lot of people will say you need some sort of rice flour or something to make it stick together, but that’s…In our experience that’s not the case.
If you’ve got the right meat and the right balance of lean and fat, it sticks together fine. Grain’s just a very cheap way of bulking out a sausage with water, because you make, basically, porridge and put that in.
Guy Lawrence: It just comes back to following the source, doesn’t it? You know, it all just comes back to following the source of where it comes from, doesn’t it?
Grant Hilliard: Yeah, that’s right. And, I mean, we would welcome anybody to walk through our production area and see how we make anything. We run sausage classes and, you know, the way we teach people to make sausages is the way we do them ourselves, and there are no secrets in it. It’s just using good quality produce and grinding spices to order. I mean 95 percent of sausages are just made…you buy a packet mix which has the grain in it. It already has all the spices, so-called the Mexican mix or whatever, and it will just say, “Tip this in 15 kilos of meat and 20 liters of water and there’s your sausage.”
I mean, that’s an industrial way of making sausage, so if that’s a sausage you want to…
Guy Lawrence: …choose.
Grant Hilliard: I mean, it won’t cost much.
Guy Lawrence: No. Not for me.
Grant Hilliard: Well, no, most people just say, “Oh, just give those to kids.” I mean, are you kidding?
Stuart Cooke: I know, yeah.
Grant Hilliard: Kids and old people should be getting the best of nutrition, not the worst.
Stuart Cooke: You raise a very good point, because, of course, the Australian barbecue is a weekly thing. You go down, you buy the cheapest package of sausages you can and a billion white rolls and off you go. You’ve got a good day ahead of you.
Guy Lawrence: Throw in a few beans.
Grant Hilliard: That’s about the social activity of it, and you know, the wonderful thing about food is that it is the locus for that sort of activity and provides a focus that’s why you can pretty much discuss anything when food is the basis of it.
You can talk about soil fertility. You can talk about genetic diversity. You can talk about how families come together on Sundays for barbecues, I mean, it’s a key social, you know, thing that holds everything together.
Stuart Cooke: It is.

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Grant Hilliard: Our argument would be that you take that very seriously and you eat things that you know that…where respect is embedded in the process. Trouble is that most of our food production, all respect has been drained out of it.
And dignity really, you know, there’s no respect in a shed of pigs, 300 pigs lined up where they can’t turn around. That’s not a respectful existence.
Stuart Cooke: No.
Guy Lawrence: I noticed that you’re moving on to the topic of fat as well. I noticed on your website you sell a great range of quality fats and beef drippings and things like that, and it’s interesting because everyone…we’ve been indoctrinated with the low fat message. Do you find people are coming in and consuming these fats and are more educated to the fact that having these quality fats in their diet is they’re going to benefit from them?
Grant Hilliard: Certainly, I mean, a lot of the paleo, I suppose, within the paleo community and other communities that are interested in bone broths and fats, you know, we can’t keep up with the demand for bones for broths and we, especially beef and veal, we usually have a bit of lamb left over, so you know, if people want to make broths in lamb that’s a good way to go because the beef broths, the beef stock, you know, bones go very quickly.
And, yeah, we render our own as well. So we render beef fat and we render leaf lard, which is the kidney fat in pigs which is a different quality of fat and we like XX?XX [0:34:09] as well…
Guy Lawrence: Do you use the fats off the top of the bone broth as well?
Grant Hilliard: At the moment we can’t make bone broth because we haven’t got a commercial kitchen.
Guy Lawrence: Right.
Grant Hilliard: But we’re between kitchens really. We’d like to be able to do it in time, but we’re not in the position to at the moment, but we’ve got still fats that we rendered at the last time we were in a commercial kitchen. We hire on basically irregularly, so.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.
Grant Hilliard: But we’d love to be able to produce, you know, more stocks and bone brothers and do all those things for people.
Stuart Cooke: So what particular fats would you personally cook with given your knowledge and understanding?
Grant Hilliard: Well I sort of use, you know, we use whatever sort of appropriate to the dish, really, so you know, most things will render enough fat. You know, I also use oils like olive oil occasionally and beef fat and lard, you know. So, it really depends on the dish you’re cooking.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Grant Hilliard: You want something that’s sort of complementary. I mean they can be quite strongly flavored as well. It depends on how you purify it, but if you’re after the full flavor of it, and the full mineralization of it, and that’s what you’re hoping to get from those bones, so to go back to that idea of young animals, they just can’t put enough in their bones in that period of time to get much out of them.
So, and you hear it on the saw when you use the saw on the animals that we buy, which are two-and-a-half, three years old, the saw absolutely screams because the density of those bones. With yearling beef it just goes through like butter.
Guy Lawrence / Stuart Cooke: Wow.
Grant Hilliard: Which is a really good measure of how dense the bone is on the animal that’s a year older.
Stuart Cooke: Have you seen any trends in meat or cuts in particular over the last year or so?
Grant Hilliard: Well, people are much more willing to eat, you know, so-called secondary cuts and briskets and XXchuck?XX [0:35:56] and things like that, you know? And that’s fantastic for us, because when you’ve got whole bodies, you’ve got a lot of it.
Stuart Cooke: And how about the offal? Is that…?
Grant Hilliard: Yeah, we sell a lot of offal as well, you know, and offal is a bit tricky, because it’s, despite the fact that we buy whole animals only, it’s still really hard to get the offal from those animals all the time.
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Grant Hilliard: Just because of the nature of the abattoir system really. We can reliably get about half of it.
Stuart Cooke: Okay.
Grant Hilliard: And most of that’s, you know, things like organic veal liver, organic beef liver, really good quality, you know, liver is really such a fantastic sort of source of nutrient. You don’t need much of it.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Grant Hilliard: Make sure it’s from the highest quality animal possible.
Stuart Cooke: Well, I always purchase liver from my local butchers and I seem to be the only person that does that.
Guy Lawrence: I think you’re the only person that has it for breakfast as well, Stu.
Stuart Cooke: It’s affordable. It’s nutritious. Yeah, it’s my go to. I love it.
Guy Lawrence: A few spices and it tastes beautiful.
Grant Hilliard: Well, you know 50 grams goes a long way.
Stuart Cooke: It does. It really does.
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely. Just before we wrap up, Grant, we always ask a question on our podcast and it can be non-nutritional related or anything, but it’s, “What’s the single best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?”
Grant Hilliard: I did see that on your list of questions yesterday and I thought, “I should think about that.” I had a lot on last night. I was making ham glaze last night so I sort of didn’t get to it. Best piece of advice that I’ve been given? Well…given as opposed to necessarily taken?
Guy Lawrence: Or both, yeah.
Grant Hilliard: It’s to remain open to the possibility that the way you thought about something is completely wrong and that there are a million ways to do things really. I mean, I think, you know, we all should be in a position where we can continue to learn, and keeping your mind in a position where it’s ready to accept that is the hardest thing to do and, at least I find it so, anyway, but it’s the ting that I’d like to be able to do. This business has, you know, certainly made me more humble about that.
You know, there are people out there with huge banks of knowledge and vast resources of information and care and passion and being able to recognize those people and give them a voice, in a sense, through what we do is really sort of, you know, rewarding, so, and it’s only because of a curiosity that really started this business. It certainly wasn’t started as a commercial enterprise and it still struggling to work out how it can be.
But it’s a business founded on ideas and the idea being that there’s got to be a better way to source and grow meat and better for yourself but also better for the country that we’re in, and you know, feeding people is, and water security and food security are the two most important things that we have and all need to be concerned about, so being open to the natural ways of solving those problems is the most important thing that we confront at the moment.
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely. A question just sprung in there, and I can’t remember if we mentioned it or not. If everyone decided tomorrow, had an epiphany and went, “You know what? I’m just going to eat grass fed. I want to eat sustainable meat.” Would Australia be able to cope or…?
Grant Hilliard: Yes, it would, I mean, it would actually, it would make it easier for most farmers, because at the moment they’re sort of tied into a commodity market which only rewards a certain set of parameters that don’t actually suit sustainable production, so it’s always working against the best way to farm in a way.
So, it would have a profound impact and a very positive impact.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. Well, we’re going to keep pushing the message anyway. That’s for sure. And, if anyone wants to hear more about Feather and Bone and…just go to the website?
Grant Hilliard: Yeah. We’re just in the throes of building a new one so in about three weeks’ time, two weeks’ time, there’ll be a completely new website which will hopefully have a lot more of the, you know, photographs and information from the farms that we visit, because over that time and all those farm visits we’ve got a massive bank of documentary material that I think a lot of people would find extremely interesting, and the current website doesn’t really make that available, so, you know, it’s a way of accessing the people who are growing your food.
Stuart Cooke: Perfect. Well, we’ll put all that information up in our supporting materials section on the website and punch some traffic there, so hopefully more people can get to understand and appreciate what you’re doing.
Grant Hilliard: Okay. Well thanks very much.
Guy Lawrence: Awesome. Thanks to have us on.
Stuart Cooke: Thank you so much for your time again, yeah. You’re a wealth of knowledge and some real, really valuable chunks of information there as well which we’re really looking forward to sharing.
Grant Hilliard: Appreciate it.
Guy Lawrence: Cheers, Grant.
Outro: Thanks for listening to our show The Health Sessions. If you would like more information on anything health from our blog, free eBook or podcasts, simply visit 180nutrition.com.au. Also, if you have any questions or topics you’d like us to see cover in future episodes, we’d really love to hear from you. Simply drop us an email to info@180nutrition.com.au, and if you listen to us through iTunes and enjoy the show, we’d really appreciate a review in the review section. So, until next time, wherever you are in the world, have a fantastic week.

Discover why 24,000 people have empowered themselves with our free eBook:

How Meditation Cured My Wolf of Wall Street Lifestyle

Tom Cronin

 

The above video is 3 minutes long.

Imagine living the lifestyle of Jordan Belfort of the Wolf of Wall Street… it would be no surprise if you didn’t last to long! That’s how our special guest for the show this week, Tom Cronin once lived. He openly shares with us how this lifestyle led to depression, anxiety and ill health whilst being told he can’t be cured and would need anti-depressants. Tom searched for other means and found meditation, and he hasn’t looked back since.

Tom Cronin Full Interview

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Tom Cronin is the founder of the Stillness Project. He has been teaching meditation for many years now and has inspired thousands of people all over the world as a teacher, author and keynote speaker to unlock peoples stillness and calm with meditation.

He has been featured on national TV in Australia, The Sydney Morning Herald, Huffington Post and Vogue magazine to name a few.

downloaditunesIn this episode we talk about:-

  • Yes, people out there live like Jordan Belfort did!
  • The one style of mediation that Tom now uses for effectiveness
  • What meditation is and where it originated
  • How to quieten a really busy mind
  • Why stress can be so damaging and how to overcome it
  • How to start a daily meditation practice when it feels all too hard
  • And much much more…

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Want to know more about Tom Cronin?

Enjoy the interview or got any questions for Tom or us? We’d love to hear them in the comments below… Guy

Transcription

Guy

Hey, this Guy of 180 Nutrition and welcome to the Health Sessions. You know, we cover a lot of subjects on our podcast, obviously, regarding health and most of it revolves around nutrition and a little bit about exercise. But one thing we’ve been keen to delve into as well is, obviously, the power of the mind and stress and how that can affect the body as well.
And so we’re very excited to have Tom Cronin on the show today talking about meditation, something that I grapple with a lot and it doesn’t come easy to me. So, we are very excited to have Tom on.

Now, Tom has been teaching meditation for many years. He’s inspired literally thousands and thousands of people all over the world as a meditational teacher and author and a keynote speaker. And he’s all about unlocking people’s stillness and calmness with meditation. He’s a fantastic guy, too.

He’s featured on the national TV for Australia, Sydney Morning Herald, Huffington Post, and Vogue magazine as well, to name a few.

Tom has an amazing story, too. He was a bonds trader in his early 20s and earning a massive amount of money and he said he’d compared his life very similar to the Wolf of Wall Street. So, you can only imagine he wasn’t going to last too long living that lifestyle. And, yes, he burnt out and then turned to meditation and has been teaching that for over 10 years.

So, I’m sure you’re going to get a massive amount out of this today, just as much as myself and Stu did.

If you are listening to this through iTunes, please leave a review. It takes two minutes to do. We know we’re reaching a lot of people out there, and, yeah, any feedback, fantastic. And the iTunes reviews help us get found easier and help us continue to get this good word out there of all the work we do. And, of course, come over to our website, 180Nutrition.com.au. We’ve got heaps of free stuff on there, too, and massive more amount of resources to help you get fitter and healthier every day. So, anyway, let’s go over to Tom, and enjoy the show. Awesome. Let’s get into it, hey?

Tom

Yeah, let’s do it!
Guy

So, I’m Guy Lawrence. I’m joined by Stuart Cooke, as always. Hey, Stewie.

Stuart

Hi.

Guy

And our awesome guest today is Mr. Tom Cronin. Tom, welcome.

Tom

Hey, everyone. Great to be here.

Guy

Fantastic. I’m very excited about this topic today. It absolutely fascinates me. But before we dig into the world of meditation, because I know Stewie’s keen on this one, too, can you share us your journey to what led you to being heavily involved in medication? Because it’s an awesome, inspiring story, I think.

Tom

Yeah. People seem to like this story. You know, the story started a long time ago, actually, when I was in finance. I started out as a broker when I was 19 years old and I just walked in off the street, basically, was looking for a job before I went to uni and didn’t really expect to be in finance at all.

I was gonna be a journalist, the Macquarie Uni, I had a few months to fill in before I went off to do my degree. And, you know, this was back in the late ’80s and the finance industry was booming. I was the old Gordon Gekko Wolf of Wall Street type. You know, you hear of Bonfire of the Vanities and Masters of the Universe and they were really expanding the bond market. And I took a job as a trainee.

It was crazy times, you know? I was on really big salaries really quickly. They gave us corporate expense accounts where we just basically were told, “Take clients out.” Which, our clients were the bankers. The traders. And our job was to basically entertain them and inspire them to do business with you. And our job was to XXclear their risk 0:03:41.000XX in the day and there was like a lot of turnover, you know, multiple millions and billions of dollars worth of bonds.

And I was young, you know, and we were just like young kids off the block doing crazy stuff. So, if anyone’s seen Wolf of Wall Street, the movie, it was literally like that. It was really, seriously like that. He started in 1987, the same year as me. He was 22. I was 19. We both started in 1987, and it was crazy times. We were doing crazy things.

And what happened with me successively over the years was I went further down that path of doing crazy stuff and getting way off track. And that let to symptoms.

Any time you start doing things that aren’t really aligned with natural law or aligned with harmony and peace, then you’re gonna get symptoms like the little red light on the dashboard. And I started getting insomnia and anxiety and then, you know, I kept doing the same thing over and over again. Eventually it really exacerbated into these full-blown panic attacks and depression.

And, again, I still didn’t stop. I was still doing the same thing. You know: doing some crazy stuff. I don’t want to go into too much detail. But, you know, let’s just say there was very little sleep, lots of late nights, and really high-energy work. And then that manifested further because, you know, the symptoms will just exacerbate if you don’t change tack.

And I kept doing the same thing and eventually I got agoraphobia. So, I couldn’t leave the house. I was just like ridiculous fear and panic and depression and I was a basket case.
I managed to get out of the house and down to the doctor’s, one day where I was having, like, a full-blown meltdown, and the doctor said, “Look. This is what’s happening. You need to take pharmaceuticals, we’ll send you to the top psychiatrist. And I went into the top psychiatrist and, to be honest with you, I wasn’t impressed. His diagnosis was, “Hey, you’re a stressful person by nature. We need to put you on antidepressants.”

I didn’t buy that. It was something in me. I didn’t know anything about what was happening to me, but I just didn’t buy that diagnosis. It was the most demoralizing thing I’d ever heard in my life, to be honest with you.

And I kind of was, like, sentenced to a lifetime of antidepressants. Now, I just didn’t feel like that was right. So, I started looking into alternatives. And, you know, I just knew I had to start doing something with my mind. And I knew some mind control was needed. So I looked into meditation. I didn’t know anything about meditation, but I just, back in those days, there was no internet. This was in 1996. And I had to get the big yellow pages book out, you know? We use these as door stoppers to stop the wind from shutting the front door.

So I’m going through the yellow pages looking for meditation. And I just rang all these different numbers. And went to different XX???? talks 0:06:11.000XX and different sessions and eventually I just found one that I really connected with. It was very science-based. It was very quick. Very powerful. Very effective.

So, that’s really what I did is I learned that technique of meditation. It was like a XXVedic meditation 0:06:25.000XX; transcendental meditation style. That’s what I’ve been teaching that same technique for the last many, many years now and practicing that technique for the last 18 years.

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Guy

Did you have to hit rock bottom before you started looking into alternative means? Like, is that a normal case scenario?

Tom

Only for stubborn, pig-headed people like myself. I’m a Scorpio so it’s my natural nature to be stubborn and pig-headed and, you know, most people ideally wouldn’t want to have to get to that point.

And, you know, we can get hints. We can get little hints, little guidance, from our body, from nature. Little messages come through each day. But, you know, for me, I was just ignoring them, that’s all. I was given those hints years before. And I could have done something different, but like Einstein’s definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over again expecting different a different result. And eventually I got insanity.

Stuart

Wow

Guy

Fantastic

Tom

But, you know, that was the best thing for me. I was the sort of guy who had to get really slapped in the face for me to listen.

Guy

But you knew they were warning signs at the time? So, you just, like, “Well, whatever.” Just brush it off?

Tom

I thought it was normal to lie in bed two hours before falling asleep and then wake up at 3 a.m. in the morning, wide awake, with insomnia. You know, I just lived with that for years.
Going home at 3, 4 in the morning, guys around me, colleagues, sleeping under the desk and wearing the same clothes the next day at work because they’ve been at a bar or nightclub; strip club, whatever, until 4 or 5 in the morning, going to work for two hours, XXsleeping 0:08:00.000XX, and start the day again. Well, that was normal for us.

Guy

That’s incredible.

Stuart

So, for everyone out there that isn’t completely familiar with meditation, what; how would you define meditation and where did it originate from?
Tom

That’s a good question. Where it originated from, we’ll start with that one. I mean, no one; it’s just so far back that no one really can definitively say. I mean, a lot of the origins are looking like India. I mean, to honest with you, I’m not an authority on the origins of meditation, but it looks like it has come from, you know, thousands and thousands of years ago. I mean, I’ve got texts like the Bagavad Gita was supposedly written somewhere around between 2000 B.C. and 5000 B.C. And they start the Bagavad Gita talking about, you know, ancient times. You know? That they were using these practices.

So, it could go back as far as 10,000 years. They would talk about enlightened ages and golden ages, XXaudio problem 0:09:03.000XX of enlightenment. Many, many thousands of years ago.

And, like quite often happens, knowledge gets lost. It gets diluted as it gets passed down. And so it eroded.

But, you know, that’s looking like the origins of this sort of style. And for meditation, it really can be so diverse. You know, I practice a particular style of meditation using mantras. And what I do is, to make things simple for people, I condense it down into four distinct categories.

And you’ve got concentration meditations where almost you’re putting mindfulness in this category, when you’re using your mind to concentrate, focus on one particular point. And it’s about honing that attention into one specific target, which might be a breath, it might be a third eye, it might be a candle. Whatever it is.

Then you’ve got the contemplation meditation. So, this is where you’ve got some guidance going on. You’ve got someone taking you through a sequence, someone talking to you, someone really in the background or some music in the background doing something for you; going through your chakras.

So, in the contemplation, you’re still engaged in the mind. The mind is still active. There’s still movement within the mind. There’s still fluctuations. And because of that, there’s still going to be fluctuations within the body and movements within the body.
And you’ve got chanting meditations, which are like chanting things out loud: XX“om dimashiba, om dimashiba, om dimashiba, hari hari om, hari hari om, hari hari om.” 0:10:30.000XX

Chanting meditations, they can be sort of bringing the attention down to a single point by saying something out loud. There’s still activity. You’re verbalizing something. You’re thinking something. There’s some movement. There’s some movement going on.

 

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Guy

Something that sprang to mind, it might seem like a big question: What’s the purpose of the outcome of meditations? It is simply to still the mind?

Tom

You know, it can come from so many different things. It can have so many different objectives. And it’s going to depend on each individual person. Someone might want to have a connection to God. I can have four people come to me on a weekend course and say, “I just want to get rid of anxiety.” One might say, “I just want to sleep better.”

One might say, “I want to experience my higher self.” One might say, “I want to dissolve my ego and become one with the field of the cosmos.” I can teach all four of them the same course, slightly skew the dialogue, and they will all get exactly what they were looking for.

Guy

There you go.

Tom

And you can have someone start with, take for me, personally, my example: I started wanting to get rid of anxiety and depression. So, there was a pain point I wanted to be removed. Like, a splinter is in my foot. I wanted to tend to that and get the point out.

But now, after 20 years, my purpose of meditation isn’t to get rid of anxiety/depression. That went after weeks. Now, why do I meditate? Why do I sit down each day to meditate? To me, it’s the experience, the oneness, the feeling of oneness to merge with that cosmos. To merge with that universality. To experience the ultimate essence and define my ultimate truth. And to remove the layers of illusion and ignorance.

Guy

There you go. That’s very different than just removing anxiety, isn’t it?
Do you think everybody should be meditating, Tom?

Tom

That’s a really good question. I think everyone would benefit from meditating, absolutely. I think the planet would be an incredibly different place if we all meditated. And that’s my goal. My inspiration is to inspire one billion people to meditate daily.
I know we’d have a lot less angst, a lot less suffering, a lot less fear, a lot less anger, if we were meditating. But I don’t believe in “shoulds” or “shouldn’ts.” It’s something that we need to find our own way.

Stuart

So, where would be the best place to start if you were completely new to the concept of meditation. What would I do? Where would I go?

Tom

Just give me a call.

Stuart

We’ll put your local number on the site.

Tom

Don’t do that! There’s so many different ways to start. You know, some people say, the technique that I teach, they think it’s an intense practice, because it’s all about transcending. And this is one of the four ones that I didn’t get to finish. There was the three categories that I gave you: concentration, contemplation, chanting. But the fourth one is the one I’ve been doing for 20 years, and it’s a very different practice. And it’s a transcending style meditation using mantras.

You know, these mantras are repeated internally, quietly inside your head. And the mantra is like the carrot in front of the donkey. It’s a very effective mechanism to still the mind because the natural soothing quality of that sound.

And once we understand the nature of the mind, you’ll understand why this meditation technique is a very effective style of meditating, because the mind is always looking for something that’s charming.

The mind is like a little kid, right? You put a little boy, 4 years old, in the corner and he will get bored very quickly. Because he’s looking for something to entertain him. He’s fascinated by things. He wants to explore. And so that will boy will get bored of sitting still and he will start to wander.

And that’s like the mind. It will get bored of sitting still and it will start to wander, because it’s looking for something charming, and thinking is an incredibly charming proposition for the mind.

But when we introduce a sound to repeat effortlessly over and over again, the mantra, the mind finds this really charming. It’s so fascinating. We call these bija mantras, b-i-j-a, and they’re seed mantras that take the mind away from the gross expressed state down into the subtler states. And the mind will do that because of the natural charming quality of those mantras.

And eventually the mind will transcend thought altogether. And when the mind transcends thought, that is the mind has now gone to a place where it’s conscious and awake, but there’s no more fluctuations of the mind.

And the reason the mind will go there and stay there is because it’s found the ultimate source of bliss and charm, and that’s what we call true consciousness.

Stuart

The chatter stops.

Tom

The chatter stops.

Guy

Is that like; I’ve read that it’s just like a muscle. Is it that like a daily practice thing that you have to do to get better at it?

Tom

No. No. I’ve had people start transcending in the first week. If you were doing concentration meditation, that is a muscle that you need to flex. That will require effort. When you’re lifting a weight, which is a good analogy, thanks for using that; when you’re lifting a weight, you need to develop a muscle so that you can lift that weight more easily. And the same thing with concentration is that you’re forcing something to do something that it doesn’t want to do. The mind does not want to stay still, and you need to use force and a concentration meditation to get that mind to do something that it’s not trained to do or doesn’t want to do. Just as lifting the weight is a force. It’s a friction.

But in transcending style meditations, we don’t use force, we don’t use effort, we don’t try. It’s actually the complete opposite. It’s a gentle idea that we entertain inside our mind. We’re happy to surrender that mantra at any given point in time, because when the mind gets close to transcendence, it will go, “I don’t need this mantra anymore. I found something even more entertaining than the repetition and sound, and that’s pure consciousness. It’s so beautiful. It’s so blissful. I’ll just be residing here in this nectar of oceanic awareness.”

 

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Stuart

“Well, I certainly want some of that.”
Well, that does sound very appealing.

Tom

Yeah. It’s; there’s this beautiful realm that people don’t know exists behind the mind. You know, I just had a group of people from all over the world: Colombia, Brazil, Canada, USA, England, Australia, on retreat in Maui. They’d never meditated before, most of these people. And they were immersing themselves in such mind-blowing richness and beauty and glory and magnificence. There were realms that they were accessing they never knew existed before. And that’s because we used a simple vehicle, which is the mantra, to get into that space.

Guy

Like, because you, Stu, you admitted yourself, you’ve got a very active mind, right?
Stuart Cooke: I have such a busy mind. Like, such a busy mind. It doesn’t switch off, you know. I can wake up at 3 o’clock in the morning and I feel like I’ve just come out of a board meeting. I’m wired, thinking about a billion things.

And, you know, I have given meditation a go. But, crikey, it’s like I’m sitting in a cinema and everyone’s talking at the same time. You know, I really, really, really struggle. And so, you know, where would I go, because I’m guessing you’ve probably dealt with a billion people like me.

Tom

Yeah. Again, it comes back to, you know, what do you want to experience? You can start with simple apps like, you know, there are some apps out there where you can do some guided meditations. But, for me, personally, you can fluff around at the edges, dither and dather for 12 months, 24 months, trying meditations that are gonna be really difficult and really challenging, you’ll not really feel like you’re getting anywhere.

Or you can cut straight to the chase and do the meditation that I suggest that everyone should be doing, and it’s probably the most popular meditation that’s spreading across the world. It’s the one Oprah does. It’s the one Hugh Jackman does. The one Ellen DeGeneres does. It’s the one I’ve been doing for 20 years.

Why have I been doing it for 20 years? Because I’ve done all the research, I’ve tried all the meditations, for me, personally, and it’s not for everyone. Some meditations are gonna be better for other people, but for me personally, and for the students I’ve taught, I’ve never seen better results than the technique I teach. And that’s a transcending style meditation using mantras.

Now, if you’re telling me, “Look, Tom, I want to go off into a monastery in the Himalayas for the next 15 years. I don’t want to have to talk to anyone. I don’t want to be successful. I don’t want to have to have a girlfriend. I don’t want to have a mortgage. I don’t want to be dynamic. What do you suggest I do?” I’d say, “Don’t do my meditation.”

Because when you do this meditation, you will be so; you will start to become so successful and so drawn to doing amazing things in the world. This is an integrative meditation practice. You’ll get creative impulses that will blow you away where you’re, like, “God, I just can’t believe I had that idea. I’ve got to go and do something about that.” Whereas the renunciant concentration meditations are much more conducive to concentration meditations and much more conducive to that.

I just want to be; I want solitude. I want stillness. I want silence. I want to recluse from the world. And there’s something really beautiful about that practice. I don’t think it’s for you right now, personally, but if you wanted to do that, I would recommend a concentration meditation.

Stuart

Yeah, right.

Tom

And so it really depends what you want out of life, where you want to go, what you’re trying to achieve. If you want to dissolve stress, trying to sit in a chair and focus on your chakras, it’s going to be really hard work. With that said, focusing on your chakras is a really good meditation. But if you want to remove stress, you need to get deep levels of rest where your mind has become still, and metabolically your body’s dropped into a state of rest that’s equivalent to four times deeper than sleep. Then you need to do the transcending style meditations; the ones I teach.

Guy

You’d better do it, Stu.

Stuart

Well, I’m sold. Crikey.

Guy

You quickly mentioned chakras as well. Can you explain what that term means?

Tom

Yeah. I mean, we have many, many chakras through the body but we have seven main chakras. You’ve got your third eye, your throat, your crown chakra, your heart chakra, solar plexus. In every chakra, and then your base chakra. And so we’ve got all these different points, I guess, energy points, that are through our body and certain practices of meditation are about putting your attention on those energy points and clearing that point and seeing that it’s awakened.

In our world that we’re in in Sydney here and Western lifestyle, we’re quite dominant in our base chakra. So, the base chakra is all about survival, it’s about procreation, it’s about money. And that’s why we have a very grounded base chakra based, sort of focusing on XXtech? Tax? (audio glitch) 0:21:17.000XX and money so much in our lives. Whereas things like a heart chakra, where we just love unconditionally, we just love so openly, without fear, without conditions. It’s a totally different experience.

So, we don’t have very open heart chakras. Our crown chakra, our third eye chakra, is quite closed, because of stress and the nature of being obsessed about the base chakra.
So, for me, I was very base chakra dominant for a long time of my life. It’s taken me a long time to start opening up the other chakras. But, you know, I don’t teach a lot around that. It’s not my sort of niche. But it’s just something I’m aware of.

Guy Lawrence: A thought popped in as well, just we’re rewinding back a bit with the meditation. Like, if there’s somebody listening to this and, you know, the idea of meditation’s great, yeah, I want to do it. But, like you said, every time they go to sit down they get flustered and just move on.

And so, like, looking at it from a nutritional aspect, we hold clean eating workshops. And yet, even though we’re trying to teach people how to eat for life, we embrace them in a 30-day challenge. And we say, “Guys. Start with 30 days, commit to 30 days, and hopefully you’re gonna change enough habits to then go on and start eating better for your life.” You know? Could that work the same with your course of meditation, if we said, like, “Let’s do a 30-day challenge and then let’s see how we feel after that.” And then hopefully we’re gonna get the bug and, you know, keep going.
Tom

Yeah. Look, it’s interesting when you bring the word “challenge” and meditation together. I do have a 21-day program, which is my online meditation program. But I really like to let people do their own research. And I think that’s ultimately the best way for people to get results is that I’m gonna teach you a technique and this technique is gonna really change your life quite quickly. You’re gonna notice significant differences.

Now, a student said to me, “Oh, I dropped off my meditation. I’ve really noticed a difference.” I said, “Great. That’s fantastic. I’m happy that you dropped off your meditation, because now you have relativity and you can see through your own personal research what life’s like when you meditate and what life’s like when you don’t meditate.”
Now, if life’s better when you meditate, there’s your research. And if you don’t want to do it after that, then that’s fine. But you’d ask yourself why would you not want to do it.
Stuart

I think that answers my geek question, because I was going to ask how I could measure the effectiveness of it, either through. . .

 

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Tom

Yeah, it’s a good question. The difference will be for different people; the measurement for different people. Like, for me, what I noticed was I started sleeping immediately, as opposed to waiting one to two hours. That was the immediate effect within the first few days was that I would fall asleep when I put my head on the pillow. I thought, “Wow! That’s insane. I never had that for 10 years.”

Other people might go, “I get this euphoria. I get this blissfulness.” Other people I know, they started crying, because they were releasing emotions of sadness that were in their body. There’s a lot of purification that goes on when you start meditating.

So, the effectiveness of it will depend upon that person, the stress that’s in that individual, the stress that needs to come out of that individual, some get heightened euphoria, some get sexually aroused, some get the ability to sleep really well, some just feel light and blissful. Some feel quite uncomfortable, because they might have a lot of stuff inside, a lot of anger that they haven’t released. It’s sort of, “ahhhh,” coming out.

Guy

Just a release.

Tom

Yeah. Usually, the effectiveness will be measured by the sensations that they’re getting.

Guy 

Right.

Stuart

I guess everyone’s different so you will know if you feel different.

Tom

Yeah, absolutely. I had one client just recently that, there as a couple, a married couple, and they both learned with me. And the wife was just, like, “Oh, my God! This is amazing. I can’t believe it. This is like the best thing I’ve ever done. I just can’t believe how incredible I feel.” That was, like, two weeks later. The husband was completely the opposite. He was like down in the dumps, angry with the world, bitching and just gnarly as all heck. And I had a session with him and what had happened was that this person, all their life, had never been able to find their voice. I mean, just being pushed and shoved and accepted that. And meditation says, “That’s not your truth.”

Guy

Right.

Tom

And if that’s not your truth, you need to find your truth. And all of a sudden all that anger and all that being oppressed all his life, as a kid, was coming out. And so his experience was totally different. And yet they were doing exactly the same technique and the same course.

Stuart

That’s fascinating.

Guy

How much do you think stress affects our health, then, Tom? I mean, obviously you’ve been through a lot of stress. There’s a lot of stressed people out there. A lot of people holding things in, exactly like you said. And now they’ve got their voice. I mean, do you think that directly affects people’s health in a big way?

Tom

Yeah. I mean, Bruce Lipton, who’s the professor at Stanford University Medical School, he said in one of his papers that 95 percent of all sickness is a product of stress. And you can put that down to impaired vision; not eyesight, but impaired vision, awareness, in making poor decisions.
Because when you’re stressed, your brain operates in a completely different way. You go from being intuitive and creative and wise to just operating from primal survival. When you’re stressed, your metabolic rate changes. Your blood pressure changes. Your cholesterol levels change. I mean, when you’re stressed, everything becomes imbalanced. Everything becomes enormous. I’d say stress is one of the biggest killers we’ve got in our society. And the biggest negative impacts.

Because when you’re stressed, what do you do? You start drinking alcohol. When you’re stressed, you start smoking cigarettes. When you’re stressed, you start taking drugs. When you’re stressed, you eat shit food. I mean, it affects us in every single way in our life.

Guy

Definitely.

Stuart

So, what specific factors do you think, Tom, would inhibit meditation? I’m thinking of, well: Is it too noisy? Is it too light? You know. Are there too many distractions?

Tom

Time of day.

Stuart

Exactly. Because we’ll all be in these very different scenarios in our lives. What should we be wary of?

Tom

Um. You know, it’s gonna be almost impossible in our life, in the cities that we live in, to find a completely quiet space. Obviously, noise is gonna be one of the greatest challenges. It’s very distracting for people when there’s noise in the background.

But what we teach with this technique is that if you’re on a bus and there’s someone talking in front of you to their partner, there’s someone behind you on the phone, and there’s someone next to you listening to music on their headphones, you’re still in your headspace and you’re still thinking.
So, if you’ve got a mantra to repeat, you can repeat that mantra regardless, wherever you are. And that will, in effect, be a meditation. I used to meditate on the train nearly every day going to work.

So, noise isn’t really; it can be a distraction. I know being down at the beach where there’s waves moving around, people walking by, there’s some wind, I’m probably gonna have less a deep meditation than if I’m in a really quiet room or a quiet parked car.

Anywhere there’s limited movement, limited activity, limited noise, then it’s going to be more conducive to a meditation, particularly for beginners. But for more advanced people, you can meditate anywhere. I can meditate at a football game and still be OK.

Stuart

Oh, wow.

Tom

Yeah. You just learn to bring your awareness inward, through the training. But in the beginning, you know, there’s a lot of; your senses are continuously going externally, looking for the source of the noise or the smell or the feeling.

Guy

Another question that popped in there, and this seems, probably, a bit contradictory, but, like, if there’s a very busy person, and for this set amount of time you can shorten the meditation, are you going to get the same effect from five minutes as 20? Or does it vary?
Because I know, like, if you started meditating, Stu, the first thing you’d ask is, “Well, how long would I have to do it for?”

Stuart

Minimum effective dose.

Tom

There’s a lot of fancy gadgets coming out these days: five-minute meditations, one-minute meditations. It’s great that we pause. You know, it’s really important that we pause through the day. I think, depending on the meditation style, if you’re gonna do a deep, transcending-style meditation, minimum is 20 minutes. I mean, I don’t recommend you need more than 20. But 20 minutes, you know, 15 to 20 minutes. Under 15, you’re kind of not having enough time to XXdig inside 0:29:55.000XX your nervous system, to wind down the mind.

You know, we have such stimulated nervous systems, such stimulated minds, that it’s really just not enough time to get into those deeper states. I mean, that said, you can get into transcendence within three minutes. I’ve seen my students who come into my courses and come to my Monday night sessions and I have a look around the room and I can see them dropped into deep states within the first five minutes. But I think, for the rebalancing process to really take effect, I’d like to see 20 minutes for the meditation practice.

Guy

There you go. Is there a best time of day to do or do you just fit it in when you can or. . .”

Tom

Ideally, do one before breakfast and one; anytime, I’d say, between lunchtime and dinnertime. Ideally, I like between 3 and 6 o’clock is a nice time. Three and 7 o’clock in the afternoon is a good time. Before dinner.
And, again, it depends on your meditation. See, the transcending style meditation that I teach, the level of rest is so profoundly deep, it’s equivalent to about four hours’ sleep. A deep meditation; 20-minute meditation.

So, ideally you wouldn’t do that before bedtime, because if you had an equivalent of four hours’ sleep at 9 o’clock at night then it’s going to affect your deep sleep session. But if you’re gonna do, like we do a guided meditation before all the kids’ bed, so my family will all sit on the sofa at 8:30 before the kids are about to go to bed and we’ll put on one of my guided meditations and we’ll all sit there with a blanket and listen to 10 minutes of my guided meditation and what that does for the kids is it just XXde-excites? 0:31:26.000XX their nervous system after watching TV. It’s a lot of stimulation with the music and ads and all that sort of stuff going on on TV for 12-year-old kids’ nervous system. So we wind them down with a guided meditation before bed. And that’s a really effective thing to do. So, it depends on the meditation.

Stuart

It just reminded me of, you know, I said I don’t meditate. I have tried meditation once and I went to a; I was given a voucher for a class on; for this little place in Bondi. And I’m not the most open-minded sort of guy, so I thought, you know, OK, I will give it a go, but, you know, I don’t expect anything to come from it. And now I just remember sitting in this class with a lady; I was actually the only guy there and there were about 12 others in there and this lady was telling me to picture myself as a flower all curled up. And upstairs in this, I think it was like in a youth center, there was like junior karate. And every kind of three seconds, one of these chaps would be thrown on the; slammed on the floor. And I’m just trying to picture myself as a flower.

And then there was another guy outside tuning up his Harley-Davidson motorcycle. It was just; it was like a comedy for me, and that was my first experience and I thought, “You know, I don’t know whether this is for me or not.”

But I can see, through what you’ve told me, that that probably wasn’t the best experience and it’s something that I would really benefit from looking into.

Tom

Yeah. Yeah. It’s just, we can’t judge all meditation on that one experience. There are certainly other ways to do it.

Stuart

Are there any factors that could enhance that? I mean, can I drink a cup of chamomile tea and slide into meditation a little easier?

Tom

Definitely, lead-up to meditation is important. You know, you guys have come to my Monday night meditations and you’ll notice, you know, I turn off the overhead lights. I put candles on. We light incense. So, I deal with all five senses. I put on some nice, quiet music.

So, as soon as you walk in you’re getting a sense of your nervous system calming down. Your nervous system’s being prepared for something. I talk softly so you’re hearing soft voices. And it’s really a nice prelude, so people tend to go quite deep in those sessions. And that’s because I’ve prepared their physical body, their nervous system, their mind, for a deeper experience.

And we can do that on our own at home. You know, if you’ve been running around all day, just been shopping and being up at the XX junction wall? 0:34:15.000XX and you’ve been listening to the radio and having heaps of meetings all day and then you suddenly sit in a chair and start meditating, it’s gonna take you a lot longer than if you actually just: Take some time preparing your room, putting on some nice music, lighting some candles, getting some incense out, do some gentle breathing, maybe do a bit of yoga. And then you start your meditation. It’s going to be like a completely different experience.

 

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Guy

You’ve got to work at it, right? It’s not like: “Ah, let me finish this action movie and then, XXfeck it?? I figure?? 0:34:41.000XX, I’ve got to fly to my 10-minute meditation time and then. . .”

Tom

You can still do that. I mean, if you’re pushed for time, it’s still worth doing that. But if do it for a little bit of time, it’s the prep. Not every one is going to have time for the prep. So, it’s one of those things. . . Or the space for it. You know, you just get on a bus and all of a sudden you start meditating. You haven’t got time to light candles and sit them in front of you and burn some incense.

So, you know, there are certain times you just aren’t gonna do it. But it does; I think it does help.

Stuart

Have you ever meditated; you said you’ve meditated on the way to work. Have you ever missed your stop on the bus or the train?

Tom

I have, yes. I ended up; I was supposed to go to Martin Place. I ended up at Town Hall and Central. I told my work that’s why I was a little bit late that day.

Stuart

I’m guessing you probably don’t promote meditation while driving.

Tom

It’s not a good idea, no.

Guy

What; like, we ocean swim a lot. And I do a bit of yoga a couple of times a week as well. Is that a form of meditation?

Tom

Oh, yes, definitely. You know, anything that’s repetitive. Walking can be meditation. Swimming is a really meditative practice, particularly doing laps in a pool, looking at that little black line below you, it’s “breath, one, two, three, four, breathe, one, two, three, four, breathe.” It’s definitely a meditation.

What you’re not gonna get is metabolic rest. OK? So, mentally it is definitely a meditation. But physically, you’re not gonna have metabolic rest. So, in stillness, when the mind is still, and not moving in transcendence, your physical body’s oxygen requirement is almost zero, and it’s been proven metabolically that you are about four times metabolically deeper in rest than you would be in a deep sleep.

Guy

Wow. That’s incredible.

Stuart

I’m looking forward to getting into this. That’s for sure.

Tom

This is where the repair happens. So, the body is this incredible organism that has this intelligence within it that it will repair. It will operate and function at the highest level. We have sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. It’s a beautiful design by nature. We’re just not getting the levels of rest that are appropriate enough to get that deep healing process activated. And that’s what happens in meditation.

Like, for me, OK, I had anxiety, I had depression, I had insomnia, I had agoraphobia. Huge levels of distortion. Constantly getting sick. I didn’t have to take tablets. I didn’t have to see doctors. I didn’t have to see therapists. I just simply put my body in a deep level of rest twice a day, morning and evening. I had all the anomalies. I started producing serotonin, oxytocin, reduced adrenaline, norepinephrine, cortisol. I started healing on every level; started getting rest. And it was just a natural mechanism in my body to do that.

Guy

I’m inspired. I want to do it. I think high-end athletes would benefit greatly from this.

Tom

Yeah. A lot of high-level athletes are now starting to realize the power of meditation.

Guy

When you describe it like that, yeah.

Tom

Yeah. Yeah. It surprises people when I talk about it on a physical level, but it is just as much, if not more, a physical practice than it is a spiritual and mental one.

Stuart

What are your thoughts on the plethora of iPhone apps and gadgets out there? Is it something that we should be doing on our own, or can we plug in to technology?

Guy

XXFinding Real Bits?? 0:38:12.000XX is another one as well, isn’t it?

Tom

I mean, everything’s relevant. We’ve got technologies causing a lot of our problems in the world today, with stress levels and our constant attachment to acquiring information. But it’s also gonna be the source of the solution to the problem.

By my online program, I can now get meditation to people all over the world. I have people every day emailing us from Mexico, Kenya, Venezuela, and even a remote XXGalapagos? 0:38:45.000XX north of Finland. Some woman said, “You know, you’ve changed my life. You’ve taught me how to meditate.” And that’s because what I teach in person I can now deliver to the masses through digital format. And we couldn’t do that less than 10 years ago.

Stuart

Yeah. It wouldn’t work so well as like a bulk mail-out, would it?

Tom

What’s that?

Stuart

A bulk mail-out wouldn’t work quite as well.

Guy

Yeah, sending fliers out to Venezuela.

Tom

Oh, that’s right. Exactly. Yeah.

Guy

Mate, we got an Instagram question pop up and I thought, ah, this one’s a good one: What were the key lessons that you learnt, allowing you to improve your meditative experiences?

Tom

That’s a good question. Well, I’ll answer that in regards to my specific practice. And one of the things that was most relevant for my practice, which is different from a concentration meditation, but for a transcending style meditation, using a mantra, one of the most important things that I was taught that helped me refine that practice was to not hold onto the mantra as a clear, firm pronunciation, but to very effortlessly entertain it as a faint idea so that as the mind is moving toward the transcendent state, toward stillness, it’s able to surrender the attachment to the sound and let it go. So, if you hold onto that as the clear pronunciation, then the mind is attached to the repetition sound, which means the mind is moving constantly.

Guy

Could you be stressing yourself out to think that you’re getting the mantra right or wrong? The pronunciation?

Tom

Absolutely. That’s why we emphasize, and that’s why it’s important to do a course where you get guidance. I highly recommend for anyone that, this is the big challenge people have is that they’re trying to do meditation on their own. It’s probably the most important thing you can do. And yet we’re reluctant to get authorities to guide us in that space.

And it’s really important that you have someone to assist you in your meditation practice, because not only do you want to make sure that you understand the process very well, and understand why you’re gonna have certain sensations or why you’re gonna have certain experiences that might be a little bit challenging at times. But you’re talking about your unconsciousness here. And everything that you do in life is gonna flow from your consciousness.

And we go to chiropractors, we go to doctors, we go to dentists, we go to mechanics to fix our car. We see professionals in every area of life except for our mind.

Stuart

Yeah. The most important part as well.

Tom

The most important part.

Guy

Hey, Tom, yes, good point. We ask one question on the show at the end, every guest. And I can just see Stewie’s face. His brain is working overtime.

This gold. I mean, we’ll be talking about this for weeks after, Tom.
So, what’s the single best piece of advice you’ve ever been given.

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Tom

Yeah. That’s a really good question. I would have to reference a book, it was a reference from a book called Emmanuel’s Book. And I don’t know if it’s advice as opposed to an insight, but I probably take it as an insight. And that is that ultimately, beyond all the thoughts, all the seeming conditions of what I perceive myself to be, there is the subtle essence of who I am. My ultimate truth.

Is it, “I’m love?” And all I need to do is embody that. And when I’m embodying that as my ultimate truth in every moment, then that’s what we call in Sanskrit “moksha.” Freedom. That is true freedom. There is no circumstance you can’t feel liberated in when you’re just embodying the truth of who you are. And that’s love.

Guy

Fantastic answer.

Did it take you a long time to; like, if somebody had that to you when you were in your stock-trading days, bond-trading days, you know, probably wouldn’t have registered the same as to the Tom of today, right?

Tom

There’s a reason for that in that knowledge gets superseded by our experience. So, you can have a concept in your head, but if your experience isn’t aligned with that concept, then your experience will override the concept. So, if your concept is, “I’m peace and love,” but if you’re stressed to the hilt, you’ve been up all night doing cocaine and drinking bourbon, and you wake up and you say as an affirmation, “I’m peace and love,” or, “I’m the light.” Your experience will tell you a different story.

And when you’re driving to work in your BMW and there’s a traffic jam and you’re late for a boardroom meeting and a lot of things depend upon this and you’re really stressed and you’re hammering the steering wheel, cussing and cursing, listening to some, you know, hard-core metal music, it doesn’t matter what that concept is. You could have little Post It notes written all over your car on the dashboard saying, “Hey, I’m peace and love.” We need our experience to align with the concepts. And it took me a long time for my physical body to be purified of the imbalances so that I could start to feel that.

So, now my feeling is aligned with the concept.

Guy

That makes so much sense when you put it like that, Tom. It really does.

Tom

You know, I had a guy at work had heard a lot about the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. And this guy, like, he was a stress bag. A typical broker, just as I was. And he said, “I really want to read this Power of Now. It sounds really good. It’s something I think I should read.” I said, “Sure. I’ll lend it to you.” And I lent it to him. And he wasn’t a meditator, and I knew that he was gonna struggle with that book because if you don’t know how to still the mind or if the mind isn’t naturally, spontaneously living in the now, then (and the mind doesn’t really like to live in the now. It’s in the future and in the past; it’s forecasting and remembering).

And he got about a third of the way through the book and gave it back to me and he said, “You know what? I kind of get what he’s talking about, but I don’t get it.” And that’s because his experience was invalidating the content in the book. He didn’t know how to live in the now, because his mind was always in the future and the past. Without meditation, it’s almost; I’d almost say it’s a great book to read after you’ve been meditating.

Guy

Right. And be present. It’s funny you say that, because I’ve read a book, and I’ve gone, “What the hell are they on about?” And picked it up five years later and it’s a completely different book. Even though it’s the same book.

Tom

Yeah. Absolutely.

Guy

That’s awesome. Any last words, Stu?

Stuart

Well, I just need your phone number.

Tom

I’ll answer it in a second and I’m coming to see you.

Guy

Where can we get more Tom Cronin for our listeners, Tom?

Tom

The best place to probably go is to the Stillness Project. And the Stillness Project really is a movement we’ve created. Its foundation is to inspire a billion people to meditate daily. Because we see the power of meditation when we incorporate that in their lives. Everything changes. And if we get more people meditating, we’re gonna have a better planet.

So, the Stillness Project is about that. It incorporates retreats, digital programs, digital mentoring, live mentoring, live programs. They can get most of what they need to find about me at the Stillness Project.

Guy

Awesome. We’ll drop a link below anyway on our website.

Tom

It’s StillnessProject.com.

Guy

Excellent. Fantastic.

That was awesome, mate. Thank you so much for coming on the show, Tom.

Stuart

Thank you so much for your time. This stuff, I can see now, it’s critical to mind, body, spirit, holistic health and wellness. I look forward to finding out more and experiencing more. Put it that way.

Tom

Nice stuff guys, Thank you.

Guy

Thanks, Tom.

Stuart

Thank you, buddy.

Guy

Cheers, mate.

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Dan Henderson: The Best Exercise For Fat Loss?


The video above is 2 minutes 28 seconds long

Guy: Working in the fitness industry for many years, the one question I would get asked all the time was, ‘what’s the best exercise for fat loss?’ So it was great to be able to reverse rolls and ask our special guest this week that very question :)

Dan henderson kettlebellsDan Henderson is co founder of Australian Kettlebell Institute. The first ever accredited Kettlebells and functional training educators here in Australia. He is also the founder of Coastal Bodies, a Sydney personal training studio that specialises in fat loss, muscle gain, strength and fitness and corrective exercise.

Dan has a BA in Sport and Exercise Mgt, Honours in Human Movement, Cert 3 and 4 in Fitness Instruction, Functional Movement Screen (FMS) Level 2, Level 3 IUKL Kettlebell Instructor, Certified REHAB Trainer, CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach (HLC).

The Full Interview: Kettlebells, Fat Loss & the Minimum Effective Dose


downloaditunesIn this episode we talk about:-

  • Why you should include kettlebells
  • Weight training & women. Do they bulk?
  • Why it must be fat loss not weight loss!
  • What’s the best exercise for fat loss
  • Importance of recovery & overtraining
  • The factors that hinder weight loss
  • And much much more…

CLICK HERE for all Episodes of 180TV

Want to know more about Dan Henderson?

Enjoy the interview or got any questions for Dan or us? We’d love to hear them in the comments below… Guy

Transcription

Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence with 180 Nutrition, and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. Our special guest today is Dan Henderson. Now, Dan is the founder of Australian Institute of Kettlebells. Now, these guys were the first-ever accredited kettlebell and functional training educators here in Australia, and they’ve now coached over thousands of personal trainers.
Dan also has a personal training studio that he’s been running for seven years in Sydney, you know, specializing in fat loss, muscle gain, strength and fitness, all the usual stuff, and he also has a BA in Sport and Exercise Management and an Honors in Human Movement.
Pretty cool, eh?
You know, working in the fitness industry myself for many years, you know, there was also one question I have to ask him, because I would get asked this time and time again, you know: What is the best exercise for fat loss?
So we dive into stuff like that and many other things as well, and dig deep into the world of fitness, exercise, and kettlebells, and I’m sure you’re going to enjoy it. If you listen to this through iTunes, you know we always really appreciate a review. It takes two minutes to do, and it really helps with our rankings and gets the word out there. So that’s much appreciated and, of course, if you’ve got any ideas for future podcasts, drop us a line, you know.
And, also these are also shot in video, so if you are listening to us through iTunes, come over to our blog at 180nutrition.com.au and you can see our pretty faces as we talk as well.
But anyway, enjoy the show. You’ll get a lot out of this today. I have no doubt, and let’s go over to Dan.
Guy Lawrence: All right, so, I’m Guy Lawrence. With Stuart Cooke, as always, and our special guest today is Mr. Dan Henderson. Dan, welcome. Thanks for joining us on the show, mate.
Dan Henderson: Thank you very much for having me, boys.
Guy Lawrence: We’re very excited. So, was thinking, personal trainer, fitness studio owner, founder of Australian Institute of Kettlebells, the list is pretty impressive, mate. Have I missed anything?
Dan Henderson: Thank you.
Guy Lawrence: Tell us, yeah, clearly you’ve got a passion for health and fitness. How’d it all start with you?
Dan Henderson: Yeah, look, it’s been something that has been there as long as I can remember, Guy. It’s, you know, I’ve always loved to be fit and active. I was always encouraged to play a lot of sport. Where I saw my career heading was actually into the sports management side, so I just loved being around sporting events. I loved the competition. So that’s what I studied at university, but found myself really gravitating towards the fitness side of things as opposed to sport, and, yeah, it’s just been, you know, full on from there.
It’s really been… It’s not only my job, but it’s my passion, and that’s what I’ve been pursuing for the last seven years, from the time I’ve been in the fitness industry full time.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Amazing. I did your kettlebell certification, like, when you guys first started out. It’s been quite a while ago.
Dan Henderson: Yeah. That would’ve been many moons ago. That would’ve been about five years ago. So, yeah. We’re over five years now with that certification. Couple of thousand trainers in four or five different countries we’ve done now, and, so, it’s, from the little course you would’ve done five years ago to what it is now, it’s been exciting.
Guy Lawrence: It’s massive.
Stuart Cooke: So, why kettlebells, Dan? And did you ever think of founding the Australian Institute of Skipping Ropes, perhaps?
Dan Henderson: It really, it was a tough decision, Stewey. Skipping ropes was definitely, aerobics, was definitely in the mix. Decided to go with the kettlebells…
Guy Lawrence: They’re great fun.
Dan Henderson: Yeah! It was, it was a tough call. It’s, you know, a little less Spandex I had to wear there. That was a definite con. Seriously, the kettlebell was just this tool which I just gravitated towards. I loved it. I love the dynamic nature of nature. I love the coordination, developing power, developing speed, strength.
The skill component really got me, so it was like, it was like learning a new sport or martial arts. So that’s what really attracted me towards it and, you know, the intention when I used it wasn’t to form a new company where we’re, you know, running 200 courses in a year. It really wasn’t. It was, “Hey, this is a great tool. I love it.”
I found out everything I could about it and then I wanted to learn more and there was just not much in Australian market for PTs, so I put together a little course, ran it, you know, to really small groups of four and five for about, oh, twelve months and everyone else caught on about what a great tool kettlebell was.
And, it’s just, now you can’t go into a gym without there being kettlebells or kettlebell classes and a lot.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Dan Henderson: Back then, it was, no one was using them, and it was, it’s been a phenomenon since then. Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: I’m just assuming that everyone listening to this is going to know what a kettlebell is, right, you know, like a cannon ball with a handle really isn’t it?
Dan Henderson: That’s a good description. It’s a good description. It’s like a big round, circular weight with a handle. That’s what it is.
Guy Lawrence: And they just vary in different weights, right. And, but, like you said, because I’ve been, you know, I was a PT eight, nine years ago, and you just wouldn’t see a kettlebell in the gym. Period.
Dan Henderson: No. No way.


Guy Lawrence: Do you know the history of them? Like, where did they come about?
Dan Henderson: Yeah, so there from Eastern Europe. History, kind of, you know it’s an old tool. It’s a tried and tested tool. It’s been around, I think, like, some of the research says couple of hundred years in Russia. They were using it with their athletes. They were using it with their armed forces. And, you know, they’ve taken a different shape and the style of exercises has changed as well and developed, but it’s a tried and tested tool in Eastern Europe, but it really didn’t make its way over to the Western world, the U.S., in particular, until about fifteen years ago, maybe not even quite that long.
And a couple of guys, Pavel Tsatsouline, Steve Cotter, they have been really the advocates for getting it out and making it a lot more mainstream and that’s why we’re seeing it around a lot more now.
Guy Lawrence: Do you think that CrossFit has contributed to the popularity of the kettlebell?
Dan Henderson: Yeah, look, I think there’s been a, I think there’s been a number, yeah, a little bit, yeah, I think there’s been a number of factors, you know, definitely, when it’s a tool which is on ESPN and getting hundreds of thousands of viewers seeing it. It’s absolutely been a big thing, too. Ferriss wrote about it in 4-Hour Body.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. I was going to say. I read that section, and I think he said if there was piece of sporting equipment that you could use for the rest of your life, it’s the kettlebell for, like, an all over, full-body workout.
Dan Henderson: Yeah, it was phenomenal when that book got released. We were getting… It was a great lead generator for us, because people were, people read it and were inspired to use it. It was massive.
Guy Lawrence: It made me go out and start swinging kettlebells more often, like, you’re just like, “This is amazing. Burn fat in 15 minutes a day.”
Stuart Cooke: Exactly. I guess you were lucky he wrote about kettlebells and not skipping ropes, because you could’ve missed the boat there, couldn’t you have?
Dan Henderson: Would’ve missed it, and I know why Guy would’ve jumped onto the kettlebell following 4-Hour Body. There’s a picture of a girl’s booty in there, before and after kettlebells. So I can understand why you were as eager, Guy…
Guy Lawrence: I actually need to improve my own booty. That is true.
Stuart Cooke: Crikey. I don’t know what to say to that.
Guy Lawrence: All right, let’s talk about benefits. So what are the overall benefits of the kettlebells, because it can be… Would you say they’re dangerous in the wrong hands then?
Dan Henderson: Yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely. It’s funny you just said that. We just got a call from a solicitor, and they’ve asked us to be an expert witness, because it looks like a malpractice case where someone has used them incorrectly. I kind of relate it to any piece of exercise or sporting equipment. If used incorrectly, it’s going to be dangerous.
And a kettlebell is no different. I think maybe it has the perception that it’s more dangerous because it’s quite dynamic, the exercises, so you’re in a less controlled environment, and that’s really why we produced our course is because we want people using them right, because it’s such an incredible tool, and there are so many amazing benefits to it, but when you use it incorrectly, you’re going to do damage.
You’re going to do damage to your back if you’re doing it incorrectly. If you’re pressing badly, you’re going to have impingement in your shoulder. All these different issues will surface. So it can be dangerous in the wrong hands without proper training.
In terms of the benefits, it’s, there just numerous. It’s, there a phenomenal tool, particularly for, we’ve already said it, training the posterior. It’s where people are weak: the glutes, the hammies, the lower back. Phenomenal, it’s great.
You know, there’s been numerous studies done now on XXhamstring?XX [0:09:26] activation, happens in your back extensors and they’re coming that it gets more activation than any other exercise tool. There are studies done where people that are doing kettlebells can keep their heart rate elevated at a 90 percent max for an extended period of time, which you just can’t do with a lot of other pieces of equipment.
It’s good for coordination. It’s good for strength. It’s good for power. It’s good for coordination, so yeah, the list goes on. It’s numerous.
Guy Lawrence: Sold. Yeah.
Dan Henderson: Sold.
Stuart Cooke: So the kettlebell would be part of your armory, in terms of weight training and things like that. What do you think would be the overall benefits of purely lifting weights, you know, for our well-being, for everybody out there on the street?
Dan Henderson: Oh, look, weight training, it’s a necessity. It’s not even an option for people. Even if you’re runners, swimmers, if you’re, you know, just older and you’re walking, you’ve got to be doing weight training, and I could almost do a full podcast, actually, I could easily do a full podcast on the benefits of weight training, but definitely, you know, it’s very good for your bone health. It’s very good for your bone density, very good for your metabolism. The more lean muscle we have through weight training, the better our metabolism is going to be, and that decreases as we get older, so we want to try to reverse some of that natural aging. It’s very good for our nervous system. It’s very good for strength, developing power. It’s very good for endurance. It’s good for insulin resistance. It’s very good for the body’s uptake of glucose. It’s good for your bones. It’s good for your joints.
Guy Lawrence: XXNatural hemoglobin reduction.XX [0:11:17]
Dan Henderson: Yeah, absolutely. It’s huge. Decreases stress, and then we haven’t even gone on to the aesthetics side of things. I mean, it makes you look good, so…
Stuart Cooke: Makes you look buff.

Dan Henderson: Makes you look buff, exactly. Most people, when they come and see me, they don’t go, “Hey, Dan, I’d really like, I’d really like better connective tissue.” No. “I want big pecs, Dan. I want big guns. That’s what I want.”
And weight training does that, plus all the other long-term benefits.
Stuart Cooke: So to pull that over to somebody like me. I’m a reasonably skinny guy, and naturally lean. Would I just go into the gym and just lift weights hell for leather to get buff, or would there be a much more strategic approach from you?
Stuart Cooke: Oh, Stu, you’re already buff. Look at the chest.
Guy Lawrence: He is a buff boy. He’s very diplomatic.
Dan Henderson: There it is. One session with me, and look at that chest. That was just one…
Stuart Cooke: You’ve done it. You’ve fixed me.
Dan Henderson: Look, I think it’s… You need to have, you need, like anything in life, you need to have a plan. You need to have a program, so you’re using your time to its maximum efficiency, and you’re getting the best possible outcome.
If you wanted to, you know, get buff, then we’ve got to manipulate the variables so we can do that. So in terms of programming, and Guy would know these things from his days as a trainer, is we need to make sure our rep counts is right. We need to make sure rep periods are right. We need to make sure that we’re training the right muscles using compound lifts. We need to get you in an X number of days and that’s just the training side of things, and then we’ve got all the pre and post-training nutrition so we can get you that best possible outcome, so we can get you buff.
There really is a lot to it. I mean, at its kind of high-end level, anyone can go into the gym and start pushing a few machines around, but that’s not going to get you the best possible outcome.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, right. You need the master plan, I take it.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. You need strategy, right?
Dan Henderson: You need a strategy, yeah.
Stuart Cooke: I’m coming to see you. I’m coming…
Guy Lawrence: He won’t listen to me, mate.
Dan Henderson: Sold.
Guy Lawrence: We’re like an old married couple.
Stuart Cooke: That’s right. In fact, you know what? I’m going to log off right now, and I’m coming down.
Dan Henderson: Sounds good. I’m logging off as well.
Stuart Cooke: See ya, Guy.
Guy Lawrence: A thought that was raised earlier as well, is like, you know, pulling it back to the kettlebell a little bit, because, you know, correct me if I’m wrong, but it’d be fair to say this is to bring the kettlebell into, as a tool in your armory, right, of what your overall benefits are. You wouldn’t want to just be swinging a kettlebell, or you wouldn’t want to be just weight training. What are your thoughts on that, Dan?
Dan Henderson: Yeah, good question, Guy. I think, particularly in the fitness industry, because I guess I’ve got two businesses, I’ve got one for the consumer, one for professionals, and what tends to happen with the fitness industry is we seem to get fixated on one type of training or one style of training and preach that above each and everything else. Where really what I say to all our students is, “Hey, the kettlebell is a great tool. Fantastic. Love it, but it’s one tool in your kit.”
So, does it mean they shouldn’t be using barbells? Hell, no. You should be using barbells, dumbbells, suspension training. You want to mix it up. Obviously depending on what the outcome is you’re trying to achieve, but one tool is not better than the other. They’re just different, and you use them for different reasons.
So, you know, I really like kettlebells for the offcenter nature of them. It’s great for building up shoulder stability. It’s great for building up posterior strength. And it’s good for some interval training that we do, but I will never run a kettlebell-only session. It will always be in combination with bodyweight exercises, with barbell stuff, and a whole bunch of other tools and things.
Guy Lawrence: And flipping on from that, let’s talk about recovery. You know, I remember back in the day, I would see people in the gym twice a day sometimes and six days a week, and like, if there was a seventh day, if they weren’t closed on Sunday, they’d be in there. And there was this mentality, “More is better. More is better. It’s going to get me there quicker and faster, you know?”
Can you just explain your thoughts on recovery and the reason, the rationale behind it, I think, you know, because that can be overlooked.
Dan Henderson: Yeah, I think it’s a massive one. I think there’s been this real shift where we’re promoting super hard, intense, high-intensity interval training and doing that lots and lots and lots of times for a week, and if you are not giving yourself proper recovery, then it’s going to lead to a whole host of issues.
You’re going to start getting sick, because you’ve got a depressed immune system, because you’re putting that much stress on your body. You’ll actually start increasing cortisol too much, which is another stress on the body. You’ll have lots of inflammation. You’ll have lots of soreness in the body as well, so recovery is just as important as your training.
As we talked about a training plan, you need a recovery plan as well. You know, you shouldn’t be overtraining. Myself, I train four to five times a week max, and if my body’s not feeling it, I’m making sure I’m doing more of a mobility session. You shouldn’t be doing soft tissue work within your sessions in joint mobilizations. So you’re actually letting your body get rid of any toxic byproducts from training as well.
Need to be sleeping. Sleeping is just vital and often overlooked. Hydrating the body is a big part of your recovery.
Guy Lawrence: Nutrition…
Dan Henderson: Nutrition, massive, you want to make sure you’re getting lots of good quality protein or lots of good quality antioxidants which are natural. You want to be making sure that you’re actually consuming enough calories as well or enough food, because a lot of people when they train just end up in this terrible undereating phase.
Guy Lawrence: What’s funny, we only put out a post the other day about the biggest mistakes on clean eating and one is people start eliminating some gluten and grains or whatever, pulling these back, and then the next thing you know they’re not eating enough food.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, they don’t know what to eat, essentially so they don’t eat.
Dan Henderson: Yeah, they don’t eat and it’s crazy, like, your body needs this fuel particularly if you’re going to be putting it through hard training, like even more so. So you need to be even more diligent. Overtraining is a really big thing. I’ve seen particularly a number of young guys get caught in the trap. Their thinking more is better, more is better, but it’s actually, that’s not, that’s not the case. It’s actually less is more a lot of the time. Have a recovery plan and you’re going to see huge, huge benefits physiologically, and aesthetically you’ll get better results, but just from an energy level, you’re just going to feel a whole hell of a lot better.
Guy Lawrence: So that’s the thing. I remember I always used to say to my clients, like, you know, the benefits come in your recovery. You don’t get fitter by running; you get fitter by recovering from your run, you know? And it’s the same with weight training. It’s all, that, you know, the growth happens when you’re sleeping and the next day. So you’ve got to give your body that time.
Stuart Cooke: Well, with that weight training point in mind, many females fear weight training, thinking that, you know, they’re going to get big and bulky and buff and manly, perhaps. So what are your thoughts on weight training from a female perspective?
Dan Henderson: Yeah, it’s a great question, Stu. It’s a really good question. It’s the question in my studio with my female clientele. It comes up every, almost without fail, every single female because what we prescribe is a lot of strength training. It’s a lot of weight training, and the big fear is getting big and bulky, and that’s…The first thing is, well I have to validate that fear, because, you know, we don’t, you never want them feeling uncomfortable where they feel that that may be the case.
On a physiological, since it’s actually very, very hard, a lot of the big, bulky kind of, we’ll call them bodybuilders, but it, it’s, they’re not even, it doesn’t even have to be bodybuilders, they’re supplementing with hormones, so on a real baseline measure, just an everyday person doing strength training, weight training females, they’re going to shape. They’re going to tone. They’re going to lean out their body. They’re going to look terrific. They’re, it’s, what they’re doing is a wonderful thing and it’s going to be very, very, very hard for them to get big and bulky.
But, you know, a lot of my clients will say, “I don’t want to get big and bulky.” So I’ll validate it and say, “Well, let’s do, let’s do a little more volume and a lot of weights. How do you feel about that?” And then that way they feel a little bit more comfortable with the process, because in the end, I want them doing it, and I want them feeling comfortable doing it.
Guy Lawrence: How many days a week would you prescribe that? You know, somebody walks in off the street, a lady, and just like, “I’m willing to train, whatever, do you what you want.” What would your normal prescription be? You know…three, four, two, one?
Dan Henderson: Yeah, look, I think a good mix is important, so I’ll like, so, at the moment we’re running a fat loss program where we’ve got them doing really good strength training two times a week and then doing some metabolic high interval training two times a week, but yeah, look, I think two to three times they should be, they should be lifting weights. They should be doing strength based training and that includes a whole variety of exercises using different tools, so yeah, two to three times is a really good number for me.
Guy Lawrence: Excellent. With that in mind, right, when people, you know, are on the train, the bus, they commute in, they’re very, you know, they’re busy, they’re corporate, whatever it is, and it’s like, oh, you know, I just, some people just want to maintain their health or whatever or even get results, you know, six packs or something, whatever it is. Do you think there’s a minimum effective dose, like, do you have any thinking around that, like, to get the results? Or like, you get to this point and then everything else is excess? If that makes sense.
Dan Henderson: Look, yeah, yeah, look, I think, I think one of the things is people are really inefficient with their training, generally, a lot of the time. They; you go into a gym and there’s, there are, there’s people by the bubbler. There’s people XXtalking by the shoe rampsXX [0:21:53] Have a little flex and make sure that the muscles are still there after XXthey say itXX [0:22:01] So, I actually think, I think we can really, we can get a great strength response in fifteen to twenty minutes twice a week, you know. If you know what you’re doing, and you are time-poor, you can still do it. Everyone’s got 40 minutes a week.
Stuart Cooke: That’s right.
Dan Henderson: And we can still get a great strength response from a couple of sessions, just as long as we’re doing the right things. As long as we’re doing big lifts, which are compound lifts using, you know, lots of big muscles, as opposed to, you know, sitting there doing curls in front of the mirror. If we’re dead lifting, squatting, using bench pressing, all those kind of big compound lifts and we’re programming those appropriately then we can, we can get a great result in as little as 40 minutes a week.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. I agree.
Stuart Cooke: So, with that minimum effective dose in mind, as well, let’s pull that over to nutrition. So how important would diet be in terms of weight training, strength training, body composition?
Dan Henderson: It’s, it’s, it’s vital. It’s, it’s, you know people put numbers on it. People go 70/30, 70 percent diet, 30 percent exercise. I just heard another one the other day where it was, they said it’s 60 percent diet, 30 percent exercise, 10 percent hormonal, like, they’ll give it a breakdown. I guess, in either case, it’s a majority of your results are what, are going to come from what you put in your mouth. And you need to get both right. If you want good health, if you want body composition changes, you want to feel good, you want to look good, you need to address both the exercise and the nutrition, but the nutrition is vital.
And nutrition, as you guys know, is not just about what you put in your mouth, but it’s when you put it in as well, and you’re really just educating people on that, so you can’t just all of a sudden get a gym membership, start training four or five times a week and think that it is going to be the answer. It is not going to be enough. You need to compliment it with some nutritional changes and vice versa.
You can’t just jump up, you know, if someone out there is thinking about doing, you know, Light and Easy or Weight Watchers or just something to revolutionize their diet, they’re common programs, but they just address one thing and one thing only. You need to think about your exercise, because it’s going to absolutely compound the impact that you’re going to get from that overall program as well.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. It comes back to like you said, being effective, right? Because why would you, you know, flog yourself five, six days a week, you know, from Maroubra Beach. I see boot camps absolutely hammering it now the sun’s coming up every morning, and I just, you just hope to think that they’re getting their nutrition in check, otherwise it could be, you know, a slow road, even backward.
Dan Henderson: Yeah, absolutely, yeah, I mean, kudos for them for getting out and getting one part of it right, but really you’re just, you’re just not making the most of that time, that investment by only doing that. You need to address the nutrition, and I think that’s where a lot of people get it wrong. They go one or the other and they go extreme one or the other as opposed to having a balanced strategy which addresses both nutrition and the exercise.
Guy Lawrence: yeah, exactly. The next question, mate. I’ve been looking forward to asking you this one.
Dan Henderson: I’m nervous about this now.
Guy Lawrence: I used to get asked this all the time.
Dan Henderson: I am married, Guy.
Stuart Cooke: Oh, you guys would’ve been so good.
Guy Lawrence: Bugger, but yeah, I would get asked this all the time, and I’d be like, oh, so I’m just going to ask you this. This is great. What is the single best exercise for fat loss?
Dan Henderson: Here it is. The silver bullet. You just want one exercise and then that’s it. Do a few reps of that and then you’re done. Yeah. Maybe if there’s one exercise that is just incredible for fat loss, I would just keep it to myself and then publish a best-selling book and then I can interview you guys on my podcast. There is none. I’m sorry to disappoint Guy and I’m sorry to disappoint the listeners out there. There isn’t one just silver bullet which is going to lead to incredible fat loss or massive results.

Guy Lawrence: Six pack abs.
Dan Henderson: I have a series of exercises that I call my staples, and my staples, what I feel are the most fundamental exercises that they should form the basis of your program no matter what level you’re at and that’s whether you’re entry level, beginner, or whether you’re really far advanced, and you just change the level of, kind of, continue on of difficulty whether you’re, if you’re an entry level, let’s use the squat for an example, because the squat is one of them. You come in, you’ve never exercised in your life, you’re going to do squats. Now I might put you on the XXSwiss ballXX [0:27:08] I might put you up against the wall and you might do some bodyweight squats.
If you’re well-trained, and you’ve been really well-conditioned, hey, we’re going to do overhead squats with a barbell when you’ve got the mobility to do so. There’s my continuum, and then there’s all these different variations in between. That’s one exercise.
Next exercise, dead lift, same thing, I might put you on your knees with a bag, a Powerbag, and you’d just do kneeling deadlifts with a Powerbag. You’re just going to learn how to move through the hips, but if you’ve been, again, trained and been doing it for a while, you’re going to do some serious load on a barbell deadlift, a traditional barbell deadlift.
Pullups, same again, you know we use bands in our studio and, as they get stronger, we’ll move the bands until they’re doing body weight. Once they get to bodyweight, then we start adding load, so they’re doing it with a vest, they’re doing it with a plate between their legs.
So, squats, deadlifts, pullups, pushup, again, same thing. People go, “I can’t do a pushup.” Well, stand up against a wall and then you’re going to decrease the distance, you’re going to get, you’re going to become parallel with the floor over time. So, instead of staying upright, we’re just going to keep moving you down and decreasing the gap between your hands and the floor, and then we’re going to add load to that as well.
And then, obviously, I’ve got to put a kettlebell exercise in there being the kettlebell guy. Swings are another staple, so they’re going to be in there, going to strengthen the posterior, get the heart rate going.
Guy Lawrence: Instantly gets the heart rate going.
Dan Henderson: Instantly get that heart rate going, so they’re kind of my staples: the deadlift, the squat, the pullups, the pushups, and the swing. You know, the other good exercises, lunge and dips are in there as well.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.
Stuart Cooke: Well, I’m going to put all of those things in a little book, get it online, and we’re XX?XX [0:28:54] Would you like to buy a copy?
Dan Henderson: Mate, I’m getting royalty, aren’t I? There’s got to be something in that book…
Stuart Cooke: Exactly, exactly.
Guy Lawrence: But it just goes to show, right, that that exercise can really be adjusted for anyone.
Dan Henderson: Absolutely, and this is, I mean I have so many people who are fearful of lifting weights, fearful of doing strength work in particular. Anyone can run on a treadmill, so when people get a gym membership they jump on a treadmill, because it’s monotonous, boring, and it takes no coordination or brain power, but lifting weights is intimidating to people, but hey we just, hey, this is the entry level continuum on difficulty and we just put you on there and we progress you, progress you, progress you.
All right, we have a little trouble, problem, let’s regress, and we just move you through the continuums and, yeah, anybody can do it from, you know, I get 75-year-old ladies to ex-professional athletes, and they’re doing the same movement patterns, they’re just doing different levels of those movement patterns.
Stuart Cooke: So if that was coming from a fat loss, weight loss perspective, what factors, in your opinion would hinder those? So what would I have to be doing wrong to hinder weight loss, you know? I’m doing all this stuff that you’re prescribing, but it’s not working for me.
Dan Henderson: Oh, Stewey, big question. Not.
Stuart Cooke: That’s my question.
Dan Henderson: It was a good one. It was a good one. Look, I guess when it comes to fat loss and weight loss, and they’re two different things and I think, I’ll make it, I’ll kind of digress a little bit and I’ll come back. Most people want to see me for weight loss, and I go, “No, no, no, I’m going to get you fat loss. All right? I’m not going to get you weight loss necessarily, so I’m going to change your body, and you’re going to be a different belt size, different dress size, and your skin folds will be different. Your girths will be different, but your weight will probably be the same on the scales because of the strength training affect that it has on your density of our muscle in our tissues. Okay?”
So, that’s really important, because people get obsessed with scales and if it’s a good quality weight training program, there might not be actually a big difference in scales when it comes to a fat loss program. Yeah, and people really make that mistake, and it’s one of the things I’ve really got to intervene because I’ve really got to make sure that people understand it because people come and see us and they’re training and they’re outstanding and they’re doing a brilliant job and they jump on the scales and they’re so disheartened because they’re only down 500 grams and they’ve been training for, and doing everything like you said that I’ve prescribed, Stuart, and they’re only down 500 grams, but hey, you know what? Their girth is down ten centimeters and you’re now a size 31 waist when they were a 35 waist, and people just, people need to understand that you can make massive changes to your body in a positive way without losing weight, so that’s the first thing.
In terms of where people get it wrong on a weight loss program, if someone’s really following everything I say from a nutrition and exercise front, then something hormonally is going on there that I’m going to go refer out, and I’m going to get some tests and make sure that they’re, they’re, what’s they’re insulin doing, what’s their thyroid doing? These things are really important, so there’s a number of other factors that can…and particularly, more so, with women than with men. Cortisol comes into it as well, so how much cortisol is that person producing, and I think, I mean, so there’s some of the more technical things that’s where people get it wrong.
On a more basic level, I think where people get it wrong in terms of changing their body composition is that they put so much pressure on themselves So it’s like they’re all or nothing, and they go really well for a short period of time. They’re making all the changes, you know, they’re doing everything, but they’re doing it to such an unsustainable level that when they fail, they fail big, and they just bounce back, and that’s why we see this yo-yoing all the time with people where really I’m just about ingraining good habits.

Let’s work on one habit. Hey, let’s get you drinking two liters of water a day instead of drinking a soft drink or fruit juice or reaching for food because your body is mistaking hunger for thirst. Hey, let’s just focus on this one thing for 30 days, then after the 30 days, let’s focus on one more area, and you just build some good long-term habits.
Stuart Cooke: Perfect. It’s so important, these habits, and especially where stress is concerned as well, because, crikey, just from stressing out too much, you can change your hormones there and that could be a roadblock right there.
Dan Henderson: Massive. It’s huge. I mean there’s that much stress in the world and we place that much additional stress on ourselves. We’re making it hard on ourselves. And then, I mean, it’s all, so yes from the hormonal perspective, we can throw our hormones into chaos with stress, but then it’s also what we do as well. When I’m stressed, people have different responses, but I’ll start reaching for feel good foods. I start eating more sugar than I’d normally be accustomed to. I’ll just eat more than I usually do as well, so I, you know, a lot of the time it’s about addressing the stress then let’s address the diet…
Guy Lawrence: Addressing the stress. I like that.
Dan Henderson: Getting to the root of the problem. A lot of the time there’s something bigger underlying there that will sabotage or that will get in the way of the fat loss plans.
Guy Lawrence: That’s a really good point you raise. I do often wonder sometimes about the fact that people are stressing themselves so much out because they’re not eating right and doing the exercising. The fact that they’re stressing themselves out about these things or got to get to the gym is actually hindering them more than if they just sort of, just let it all go for a little bit…
Dan Henderson: Yeah. It’s too much pressure. Yeah. Like, you’ve got to find a lifestyle, and this is a hard thing to do, but you’ve got to find a lifestyle where you’re embracing healthy behaviors and it’s just part of what you do, but you don’t have this unnecessary pressure or stress to do that 100 percent of the time.
Guy Lawrence: Got to make it fun. Absolutely. We’re going to put you on the spot right now. While we’re on the topic of exercise, what do you do for fitness? What’s your typical week look like?
Dan Henderson: Yeah, look, it changes a lot. I like to mix things up. So, at the moment, I’m enjoying some heavy lifting again. So one day I’ll do some heavy Turkish get ups and weighted pullups and heavy pistol squats. Another day I’ll do some heavy deadlifting and bounce some heavy squats, and then I’m really enjoying some sprint training, so I’ll try and sprint one to two times a week, heavy lift twice a week, and then I’ll usually do a circuit based session, so more of that high intensity interval training kind of session. I might do an AMRAP, a 20-minute AMRAP, something along those lines.
Yeah, I really enjoy mixing it up XXaudio distortion. Sometimes I’ll get sport-specificXX [036:12], so I did a XXcompound sessionXX [0:36:14] with kettlebells, and I just was completely sport-specific, but at the moment that’s what I’m really enjoying. I’m liking the variety.
Stuart Cooke: How often would you mix that up?
Dan Henderson: Look, I’ll reassess it, and really one of the things which I do encourage people to do is, look, absolutely seek outside advice and seek an expert and get some good ideas on all this, but also listen to your body. Like, what is your body enjoy doing, and what gives you energy. If this becomes monotonous for me, I’ll have a look at it and go, “Why don’t we mix this up a little bit? Why don’t we do an extra day of sprint training and one less day of heavy.” Because that’s actually, the recovery for that is taking too long on my body.
Guy Lawrence: That’s a good point.
Dan Henderson: Why don’t we just go for a swim, you know, and do some mobility training and go for a swim, so I think people need to listen to their bodies, and if the movement’s energising them and they feel great, you might not need to change it up too much, but if you’re feeling like you’re getting really sore, or you’re tired, or it’s just becoming laborious, then you need to…
Stuart Cooke: Mix it up. Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: Do you ever take a week off, mate?
Dan Henderson: Yeah. I, look, I probably never take a total week off where I’m absolutely doing nothing, because I find exercising energizes me for the whole day. Running a couple of businesses, I just find, like, it’s such a great releaser. What I’ll do is I’ll have what I call a slow week or deload week or, you know, there are lots of different name for it, recovery week…Where I’m really doing a lot more, a lot more soft tissue work, doing a lot more mobilisation, and really that makes up the bulk of my sessions, mobilizations and stretches and activations, and I’ll just do some light activities. I’ll use some lighter loads if I’m doing some weights and I’ll have a light swim and just making sure…
And that usually ties around my travel schedule. When I’m traveling a lot to present, that takes a, it’s really taxing on my body and the last thing I kind of want to do at that particular time is be doing full on heard circuits while I’m in three different times zone and eating all this weird food.
Just place some more stress on my body, because in the end exercise is a stress, and you’ve got to know when you can up it and when you can decrease it as well.
Stuart Cooke: How does that work with your diet? What do you dial into? What foods do you, what foods do you avoid? And what foods do you gravitate to to make you feel good?
Dan Henderson: Yeah, good question. I guess for me, again, it’s similar to how I feel about exercises. I really try to get my body, I really try to be very in tune with my body, and go, “What, how do you actually feel, Dan, after you’ve eaten that food?” And really understand what makes me feel good.
So, for me, lots of grains don’t make me feel good. I feel bloated. I feel heavy. Lots of pastas do the same. Like, all that kind of grainy food does that. I’m not going to say that to everybody, that’s how it makes me feel, so I’m going to steer clear of that, because that’s the reaction that I had.
So, and the foods that make me feel good are, you know, I’m going to be making sure I’m really eating a lot of protein and mixing up my proteins. I really like, I’ll definitely eat chicken probably five times a week. I’ll eat an oily fish three times a week. I’ll eat some lamb. I’ll eat some beef maybe once or twice a week. I’ll have probably about ten eggs a week, so they’re probably my staple proteins.
I’ll have lots and lots of good fats. I love my raw nuts. I love my avocados, so they’re going to be my fats, and they’re going to make up a big bulk of my diet and then, when it comes to, I’ll have just some berries, generally, when it comes to fruit and bananas and lots of veggies as well. Yeah, if I’m struggling on the veggie front, one of the, I’ve got a NutriBullet. Have you guys seen the NutriBullets? Have you got one?
Stuart Cooke: I’ve certainly seen the adverts. Crikey, it’s on every channel.
Dan Henderson: Oh, mate, I’ll tell you what, Stewey, get one. It is, it’ll change your life. If I’m struggling to get fruits and veggies, just chuck some kale, some baby spinach, a few blueberries in there, a bit of coconut water, a bit of the 180 (there’s a plug).

Stuart Cooke: Plug away, mate.
Guy Lawrence: I haven’t heard of it.
Dan Henderson: It’s just really good protein. You guys should look into it. There we go.
Guy Lawrence: Is it powerful enough to chop all the kale up in that?
Dan Henderson: Mate, you know what? Kale used to be the bane of my existence, and putting that thing in a blender used to drive me mad, but, you know, NutriBullet just chops it right up. It’s got this super-fast and super powerful engine and it just does the job. It is the best. So yeah.
Guy Lawrence: That’s the one with the old David Wolfe’s pushing it on the…
Dan Henderson: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Guy Lawrence: I’m sold.
Dan Henderson: Get on them. Get on them.
Stuart Cooke: Wise words. It sounds great. Essentially you’re gravitating, it sounds like to me, towards kind of whole foods and away from processed foods.
Dan Henderson: In a nutshell. Absolutely. And that’s not to say…
Guy Lawrence: Do you have any tricky treats
Stuart Cooke: I enjoy sweets. Sweets and a big dark chocolate is my Achilles heel. And some good Messina gelato. That is, that is hard to resist. So, a couple of the sweets are good, but on a whole, refined food, and I think for listeners out there, and I don’t know, maybe this sounds all to idealistic, really just slowly cut down all your refined foods and you just find that you don’t actually want them much anymore. Actually, you’ll feel like your body wants whole foods and that’s what you’ll want to give it.
I mean, I’m sure you guys are a testament to that as well.
Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. You gravitate to what makes you feel great and your taste buds and pallet and you know cravings change, too. Cravings disappear.
Guy Lawrence: Do you drink alcohol all the time? You know, I’ve found that I gravitate to a red wine now and that’s about it, if I have a glass, but I don’t even drink beer anymore since I cut out the grains and that, you know? It just doesn’t work for me, not that I drink much these days.
Stuart Cooke: You’ve had your lifetime’s worth, I think, Guy.
Guy Lawrence: I have, in the early years in Wales. My God.
Dan Henderson: You can never, ever, you can’t even call yourself a Welshman now. You’re not drinking now.
Guy Lawrence: They’ve disowned me back home.
Dan Henderson: They’ve disowned you.
Stuart Cooke: That’s right. He’s lost his passport.
Dan Henderson: It’s the same thing. I don’t really feel like it. Like, I’ll have a beer, and I’ll make sure that it’s a good quality beer, like I’ll enjoy a really good quality ale and maybe I’ll have one of those a week on max, and that’s about it. I used to drink a lot more beer, but, again, it just makes me feel bloated. I can feel it in my sinuses the next day. My body just doesn’t like it, so, yeah, I don’t gravitate towards it, and maybe in a social setting I’ll have a really nice tasty more of a boutique pale ale, but that’s about as much as I’ll have these days.
Stuart Cooke: Fantastic. Well, I always go for a nice, full bodied mineral water. I push the boat out there.
Guy Lawrence: He does, man, it’s true.
Stuart Cooke: Why not? Treat yourself.
Guy Lawrence: And if he gets really extravagant he’ll put some lemon in it.
Stuart Cooke: Fresh lemon, mind, not that cordial stuff.
Dan Henderson: Living large.
Stuart Cooke: I know. I know. I’m worth it, as they say.
Guy Lawrence: We’ve got a wrap up question for you, Dan. It can be on any topic, but what’s the single best piece of advice you’ve ever been given that springs to mind?
Dan Henderson: I think I’ve kind of covered it already twice in this interview. It extends to nutrition, it extends to exercise, it extends to running business, it extends to relationships, the biggest piece of advice that I could really instill in people would be to trust your gut. And really, everyone’s got their intuition, other people turn into it more than others, and really your intuition will not let you down and that has been…I’m in the hiring process right now with some staff and intuitively I know whether they would be a good fit for my business within about 30 seconds. Really, and I think we tend to turn off that intuition. We tend to try to rationalise things and try to look at them logically, but if you’ve got a really strong gut feeling on something then you need to trust in that and that could be on your nutrition. It could be on your exercise. It could be in your relationships. It could be in your profession. So, really, really trust in that. That’s my pearl, Dan’s pearls of wisdom to finish up.
Stuart Cooke: Wise words. Wise words. Trust your Spidey sense.
Dan Henderson: Yeah. Absolutely. It won’t let you down.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic, mate. How can we get more of Dan Henderson? For anyone listening to this?
Dan Henderson: Yeah, I guess the two businesses are always, if you want to learn more about them, I’m putting out information all the time. I’m a big advocate on putting out free information like you guys, so Coastal Bodies is the studio business. Australian Institute of Kettlebells is the kettlebell business. If you want to learn how to do exercises, mobilize, things like that, there are amazing videos there, video library. I write a blog for the Coastal Bodies, so you can learn a bunch of stuff on there, or hit me up on Facebook, and I have a habit of saying something profound. It’s rare, but having XXat the same timeXX [0:46:08]. So you can see some insights on there, so…
Stuart Cooke: Well, we’ll make sure all the details are on this blogpost, too, so we’ll spread the word.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, if anyone’s got an inkling for kettlebells, I can highly recommend the course. It’s a must.
Stuart Cooke: You lift weights, do you, Guy? You’ve tried this kettlebells.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, a little bit. I’ve got a six kilogram kettlebell here as doorstop.
Dan Henderson: Six?
Guy Lawrence: No, no. I’m back to my 24, mate.
Dan Henderson: There we go.
Stuart Cooke: Are you sure it’s not two point four?
Dan Henderson: Let him believe, Stu, let him have that, all right? He’s doesn’t do anything with the 24 kilo. It is a doorstop, but he’s…
Guy Lawrence: I carry it up and down the stairs.
Stuart Cooke: I’m sure. I’m sure his kettlebell is in inflatable, right?
Dan Henderson: It’s completely hollow.
Stuart Cooke: Exactly. Helium, that’s right. Currently on the ceiling.
Guy Lawrence: Awesome. That was amazing. You’re a wealth of knowledge, Dan. Thanks for coming on, mate.
Dan Henderson: My absolute pleasure. Thank you for having me, guys.
Stuart Cooke: Thank you, mate, and I’ll, I’m going to pop around in about 15, because I’m getting buff.
Dan Henderson: Let’s make it happen.
Guy Lawrence: Awesome. Cheers, guys.

Can we thrive without carbs?

180 Nutrition PodcastPodcast episode #4

By Guy Lawrence

Ever wondered if we can live without carbohydrates? It certainly gets a lot of stick in the press…

Shane RichardsIn this episode of The Health Sessions I catch up with Shane Richards of Holistic Foundations who chats to us about life without carbs. Shane runs a thriving community/gym with a fantastic approach around health & well-being. Shane is one of the most passionate guys I know and it is a pleasure to have him on the podcast.

Download or subscribe to us on iTunes here.

More

How to fix leaky gut

180 Nutrition Podcast

Podcast episode #3

By Guy Lawrence

In this weeks episode of The Health Sessions I hang out with leading Naturopath and Nutritionist Tania Flack and discuss leaky gut, dysbiosis and how to fix it. If you want to jump straight to this and skip Stu & I’s ramblings go to [13:03] of the podcast.

Download or subscribe to us on iTunes here.

You can view all podcast episodes here.

In this weeks episode:-

  • Stu & I introduce the show and chat about…
  • Dairy, Neem tea, quality of tap water & hair mineral analysis
  • Tania Flack & I chat about… [13:03]
  • Why a healthy person can have an unhealthy gut
  • How to fix leaky gut
  • What exactly is dysbiosis
  • Why detoxing the liver before the gut is not the best approach
  • and much more…

If you would like a question or topic covered on our podcasts, then we would love to hear from you. We can be reached below on:

Email | Facebook | Twitter | Voicemail

Podcast transcription

Guy Lawrence: Tanya, thanks for dropping by.

Tanya: You’re welcome.

Guy Lawrence: So, first question I wanted to ask you was simply, well, myself and Stewie came in for a gut test last week.

Tanya: Yeah?

Guy Lawrence: And our results weren’t that fantastic. So, for anyone listening, could you talk us through what the test was and what you were looking for?

Tanya: Yeah. The test we do for dysbiosis basically measures the chemical that’s given off by an overgrowth of bacteria in the bowels. So, if you’d like to call it “bad bacteria.”

Guy Lawrence: So, is that what dysbiosis is?

Tanya: Yeah. It’s an overgrowth of bacteria and you’ve got a balance of good and bad bacteria, so if you’ve got an overgrowth of the bad bacteria they give off a certain chemical. And the chemical that they give off is then absorbed across the gut mucosa and it gets into the blood stream and into the urine, filtered by the kidneys and into the urine. So, we do a urine test and that tells us about the level of bad bacteria.

Guy Lawrence: So, dysbiosis is simply the main bad bacteria that you test for?

Tanya: Yeah. it’s an overgrowth of that bacteria. We’ve got a balance of good and bad bacteria in the bowel which is, on somebody with a really healthy gut, we’ve got the presence of both of those. But with dysbiosis we’ve got an overgrowth of bad bacteria. So, they give off an interactive protein and give off a chemical that we can then measure with the urine.

And, depending on the test results, we can tell if there’s; how much of that chemical is interacting with the reagents that we use in the test and that gives the bottom part of our test tube a different colour.

So, we grade it by that. Yeah, and that’s how we identify dysbiosis in clinic.

Guy Lawrence: So, you made myself and Stewie eat a heavy-protein meal the night before.

Tanya: Yeah. Yeah. And it, basically, the bacteria, their interaction with protein, and if you’ve got a lot of bad bacteria and have had lots of protein, it will give off this chemical that we measure in the urine.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right. OK. What interested me was that my gut health wasn’t great. I had really poor results. Stewie’s wasn’t fantastic even thought it was a little bit better.

Now, I consider myself to be healthy and look after myself and I exercise and do all the right things. So, why would that be? Because, just to add on as well, you mentioned that you had another athlete in there a few weeks back that actually looked after themselves and ate exceptionally well, and yet his gut health was really poor too.

Tanya: Yeah. It’s not uncommon. It’s not uncommon, and even people who’ve got a beautiful diet can have dysbiosis. And that can be for a lot of different reasons. I mean, you might have been eating really well for the last five years, but we don’t know what your gut health was like, you know, the 10 years prior to that.

So, sometimes it can be disappointing for athletes. You know, they’ve got this spectacular diet, they train and look after themselves, you know; the tick all the boxes in a healthy lifestyle but they can have this dysbiotic gut for a number of years before they ever get it tested. So. . .

Guy Lawrence: So, could our upbringing and our lifestyle 10, 15 years ago be affecting our gut health right now?

Tanya: Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely.

Guy Lawrence: That’s incredible.

Tanya: When we’re born, we get inoculated. We get our first load of bacteria via the birth canal as we’re being born. So, you know, realistically even children that are born by Cesareans can sometimes be behind the eight-ball because they don’t get that first inoculation in the gut that sets up their bacterial colonies.

I mean, we gather it as we go along, but ultimately sometimes people have just never had a really fantastic and strong levels of good bacteria in the gut. And it’s very disappointing because we know that if you’ve got a good diet and if you eat a lot of whole foods, good bacteria love; it’s their fuel source, really. They love the fibers from vegetables. You know, that’s what helps them establish and maintain their colonies.

And bad bacteria tend to thrive in conditions where people have got lots of processed foods, lots and lots of sugar, alcohol; that type of thing. So, even though in our minds we have this great diet, very people have a perfect diet. And if they’ve come from a place where they don’t have great gut bacteria to start off with, it doesn’t take much.

Guy Lawrence: Do environmental toxins and chemicals and things like that affect the gut as well?

Tanya: Absolutely. Absolutely. It’s such a big part of our detoxification mechanisms, because if your; basically, if you don’t have a great gut you’re gonna struggle to get rid of a lot of environmental toxins, and it’s kind of a vicious cycle, really. How it works is we’re exposed to toxins every single day and those toxins enter our bodies and eventually they’ll present at the liver to be processed. And the liver packages them up into a little envelope and it covalently bonds them to another molecule so they’re stable and then once they’re cleared by the liver they’ll get put into the gut. And if you’ve got a high level of bad bacteria, that bad bacteria will cleave apart that bond and then you’ve got a free molecule toxin. And that free molecule toxin can literally get past across the gut wall and back into the blood stream and then back to the liver.

Guy Lawrence: And it’s leaky gut.

Tanya: Hence leaky gut. Yeah. And for women it’s particular important. For men as well, but women can recycle their estrogens that way, so sometimes people won’t present with necessarily a lot of gut symptoms, but they might have a lot of hormonal symptoms. And, you know, basically they’re recycling their estrogens. They’re not producing too much estrogen, but they’re recycling it.

Guy Lawrence: So, will leaky gut affect your mood?

Tanya: Oh, it affects your mood. It affects your hormones. We know research has shown that it affects your insulin signaling, which new research has come out so we know people with metabolic syndrome more than likely have got leaky gut.

Guy Lawrence: Wow, that’s fascinating.

Tanya: We’re lucky we can go this testing clinic, because it’s quick, it’s easy, it’s non-invasive. Some people we do more extensive tests such as a stool sample. So, not very glamorous but it gives us lots of information about how they’re breaking their food down, what bacteria they’ve got in the gut, how open the gut wall is; how porous it is.

And it’s just so important. If you’ve got an imbalance in the gut, which could have been there from a long time ago, it affects everything. It affects energy production, it affects how well you absorb your nutrients, so you might be having this beautiful diet but if your gut’s not working properly then you’re putting in all this effort and you’re not getting everything you should get from your diet. It affects hormone metabolism, estrogen. It definitely affects mood. We say it all the time. So, it’s like a fundamental thing that we address in clinic.

Guy Lawrence: So, that should be one of the first things we should be looking at before we start attacking everything else?

Tanya: Yeah, absolutely.

Guy Lawrence: Now, if; so, once tested for leaky gut, how do we go about rectifying that?

Tanya: The treatment’s relatively easy, depending on the level of bacteria in your gut. It can be a two-week period in clearing that. However, you can’t just clear out a lot of bad bacteria; we use antimicrobial herbs. You can’t just do that. You have to address the mucous membranes of the gut. So, you’ve got really a lovely potent, nourished gut that’s functioning really well. And, realistically, you have to re-inoculate the bowel with probiotic bacteria.

And a lot of people say, “Well, I take probiotics. I take probiotics every day.” And they’ll come in here and, you know, we test them and they still have their really high level of dysbiosis. And the reason for that is if you’ve got this existing overgrowth of bad bacteria, putting good bacteria in there is never really going to completely correct that balance, and you really have to get yourself a level playing field while killing off all those bad bacteria. Then you can re-inoculate the gut.

And when the gut wall is really well-nourished then those bacteria; those colony-forming units you read on the side of the probiotic that you’re taking; they will be able to adhere to that bowel wall and they’ll be able to successfully set up. And then you get that nice balance of the gut.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, that makes perfect sense. And once; so, like, for myself, now that I’ve gone through the process of rectifying my leaky gut. Would this be something I should be coming back, say once a year, to check and see where; that you continue on top of it, or is something you can do, it’s fixed, and just carry on?

Tanya: No, I think it’s definitely worthwhile having it checked once a year. It’s not a difficult thing to do. And we find that we are exposed to, like, for the course of this year, you’ve unfortunately had your run-in with your elbow infection. Those antibiotics that you took during that time really disrupted that balance in the gut. Lots of things disrupt the gut, you know. Lots of things.

And we are, unfortunately in Australia, we have this growing rate of bacteria like pathogenic bacteria we pick up from our food. And we’ve seen in this clinic a huge growth in blastocystis, difficilous, all of this bacteria that literally cause symptoms in the bowel. And once you’ve got one of those ones in there it can cause a big problem in keeping that balance. So, they have to be treated separately, which sometimes can be quite challenging, because a lot of them are drug-resistant these days.

And we’ve noticed in the clinic that since they’ve brought (this is probably going to be controversial), but since they’ve brought in farming methods where they’re recycling sewage and using that as a fertilizer in vegetable farming; bio-solid farming in Australia, we’ve seen the rate of some of those bugs go through the roof. And we don’t pick those up with the urine test, so people who come in and they’ve got symptoms and it’s sounding suspicious, we’ll send them off for a CDSA. They’ve have the stool sample and they’ll literally they do three samples and they put samples of that in a Petri dish and wait for it to grow and see what grows in them. Unfortunately, we’re seeing a lot of that, so the advent of that bio-solids; you know, people are traveling a lot more so they’re being exposed to all the bacteria.

Guy Lawrence: So then if you’ve got that bacteria that will. . .

Tanya: That will impair your healthy balance in your gut.

Guy Lawrence: And then require a specific prescription, again, to kill it?

Tanya: Absolutely.

Guy Lawrence: Wow, that’s fascinating.

Tanya: Yeah. I know. It’s really unfortunate that we just had seen that huge spike in that in clinic.

Guy Lawrence: The other thing that you mentioned before that fascinated me as well was around the conventional detoxing, because you can correct me on this, but the fact that if you go straight into a detox or have a detox kit and you haven’t fixed up your gut first, then you’ll be looking at a problem and you could be creating more of a problem?

Tanya: Yeah. You can create more of a problem because, you know, fundamentally I’ve seen a few of these detox kits in the health food shops, and, look, I’m sure some of them are quite good. However, basically you need your gut to be potent and you need to be able to pass toxins out through your body via the bowel. It’s a big eliminatory channel, so a lot of the detoxes, they just focus on the liver, which is a big mistake because basically our liver is always under a bit more stress these days because it’s the same liver, the same liver function you had from a caveman diet. The only thing that’s changed is our exposure to toxins. So, it’s always working much harder than it should.

And these toxins that get presented to the liver, they can get passed through to the bowel and then you can recycle them. So, if you stimulate the liver to speed up its detoxification processes, all you’re doing is putting more and more toxins into a bowel that’s not ready to accept them. And you have this recycling that just means that you’re stirring up the system without actually getting a lot out.

And the other thing about detoxification is that the process, the first process of the liver, uses oxygen to process the toxins and then it gets passed to the second process, which makes them the safe molecule to go into the bowel.

If you’re speeding up this first phase and your second phase can’t cope with it, then what’s happening is you’re causing oxidative stress in the body. So, this is why people feel awful on some detoxes because they’re literally just generating this huge oxidative stress and then all of those toxins get put into the bowel and then they cycle back out if the bowel’s not potent.

Guy Lawrence: And to me that sounds quite a concern, because you walk into any chemist and the detox kits promoting the 10-day lemon detox or there’s different things and surely something like this cannot be fixed in the window of time?

Tanya: No. No. I mean, for some people, if they have got good bowel; if they’ve got a good bowel function, then maybe they’ll get great results from that and that’s fantastic. I’m all for it. However, I’ve got to say, everybody that comes into our clinic we test them at least once on their first appointment and often we test them every single time when they come in.

And we know that 80 percent of the people we see in here, they’re not all coming for bowel conditions. They have got some level of dysbiosis in the gut. So, I would concerned of people like that who went out and just took something that stimulated the liver. You know, fundamentally they’re just generating a lot of oxidative stress in the body and they’re not really getting rid of anything.

Guy Lawrence: Does dysbiosis affect weight loss?

Tanya: Well, this new research that’s come out has indicated that dysbiosis in the gut affects insulin signaling, so it affects the way our blood sugar is regulation.

Guy Lawrence: Yes, because if you produce insulin, you can’t burn body fat.

Tanya: Yeah. Exactly. And we do know that if anybody comes in to see us for weight loss we always address the gut anyway. And we’ll address the gut at the start of that, and, you know, it’s part of the success of the people who just want to lose body fat and get themselves back into a healthy body composition.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, because what we’ve been promoting of recently is if you are looking; obviously we’re way into February now, but if somebody is looking to lose weight, actually start from the inside and work out.

Tanya: Yeah. Absolutely. And it’s just, you know, ultimately if you’ve got a lovely whole foods, healthy diet, and you’re active, you should get to your natural, healthy weight. But a lot of things can interfere with that.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. That’s fair enough.

So, just to finish off, Tanya, if anybody is interested in having these tests, what’s the best way to go about it?

Tanya: Well, we’re really happy to help people with testing in the clinic. And so if they’re interested in having a dysbiosis test or a urine indicans test we can come out there. And if you mention this podcast, we really like to support the 180 crew, so anybody who listens to their podcast are more than welcome to come in and mention that they’ve listed to this and we can work out a special deal where they get a urine indicans test and they get a live blood analysis and the findings from the live blood analysis really tie into the urine indicans test, so that’s what we’ll do, and a zinc test as well, which gives us some information about how they’re absorbing their nutrients.

Guy Lawrence: So this will all fit together?

Tanya: Yes, they’ll fit nicely together and it gives you a great baseline, so from there if you need some help sorting out dysbiosis it can help you there, or it gives you a good baseline so you know where you’re currently at at the moment. And if you’re making that effort with your diet it’s worthwhile making sure that you’re processing things properly.

Guy Lawrence: I understand. And also you can be reached through TaniaFlack.com?

Tanya: Absolutely.

Guy Lawrence: Well, thanks for your time, Tanya. That’s awesome.

Tanya: Thanks, Guy.

Guy Lawrence: And I’ll see you soon. Cheers

 

Super strength probiotic high protein breakfast for gut health

By Guy Lawrence

month of the gutAfter being on so many antibiotics due to my elbow infection (you can watch the video here), I have been on a hunt to find superior probiotics to help recolonise my gut health. I’m happy to say I stumbled across the company Progurt as I’m quickly learning there are many forms of bacteria strains, strength’s and qualities.

I have put this quick video together to show you what I’m doing each morning to create my super strength probiotic high protein breakfast. I stumbled across the company Progurt and have been highly impressed with the probiotic it produces and wanted to share it with you.  More

CrossFit Journey VII: My 1st CrossFit competition

By Guy Lawrence

Mate: So you can actually compete against each other in CrossFit?

Me: Yep…Pretty cool hey!

Mate: So what exactly will you be doing?

Me: Well, I’m not really sure. But somewhere along the lines of running, jumping, throwing weights around…You know, the usual…

Mate: Umm, that’s about as clear as mud.

So what is CrossFit? This is a question I get asked often. After my competition last weekend the question I get now is…Well what’s this CrossFit competition thing you did then?

I’m still trying to answer both so I thought I’d put this post together.

If you have been following my crossfit journey, a few months back I mentioned that my coach Cassie had entered myself and Stu into our first CrossFit competition at CrossFit Feel Good in Sydney. Well that day had finally come.  More