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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:

Sarah Wilson: My Trick to Quitting Sugar

The video above is 2 minutes 51 seconds long

Guy: Our special guest this week is Sarah Wilson. Her impressive resume includes author of the Australian and UK best-sellers I Quit Sugar and I Quit Sugar For Life (with I Quit Sugar becoming a New York Times best-seller this year).

Sarah has a journalism career that has spanned 20 years, across television, radio, magazines, newspapers and online. She’s also the former editor of Cosmopolitan magazine and was the host of the first series of MasterChef Australia, the highest rating show in Australian TV history.

The Full Sarah Wilson IQS Interview

downloaditunesIn this episode we talk about:-

  • What inspired Sarah to quit sugar in the first place
  • The amazing health transformations she’s seen from quitting sugar
  • How she handles being in the public eye when it comes to her eating
  • The state of school canteens and what we can do about it
  • How Sarah manages stress with her hectic schedule
  • What her daily routines look like
  • And much much more…

CLICK HERE for all Episodes of 180TV

Want to know more about Sarah Wilson?

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

Sarah Wilson Interview Transcription

Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition, and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. Our lovely guest today is Sarah Wilson. Now, if you don’t know who Sarah Wilson is, in a nutshell she’s a New York Times bestselling author. She’s a blogger and a wellness coach. She has a career in journalism that’s spanned over twenty years, which is pretty amazing, across television, radio, magazines, newspaper, and, of course, online. She’s also the former editor of the Cosmopolitan magazine.

So an exceptionally impressive career and she’s now doing fantastic things, including the whole I Quit Sugar movement which, of course, myself and Stu are massive fans of and I have no doubt you’re going to get a lot out of this interview today. She’s a very positive, high-energy, and all around down-to-earth great girl, so it was just, yeah, just a pleasure to be able to interview her today.

If you are listening to this through iTunes, I know I ask, but please, hey, leave a little review. It’ll only take two minutes to do. It just helps us with our rankings on iTunes and, obviously, get the word out there with this message that we’re doing. And, of course, you know, if you are listening to it on iTunes, come over to our blog, because you get to see our pretty faces, because we do these in video as well, which is 180nutrition.com.au.

Anyway, enough of me, let’s go over to Sarah and talk everything about Sarah, her journey, and, of course, sugar. Enjoy.

Stuart Cooke: So, how we doing, Guy? We ready?

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, let’s do it. Okay. I’m Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke, as always, and our lovely guest today is Sarah Wilson. Sarah, welcome to the podcast.

Sarah Wilson: Thank you very much for having me. I’m looking forward to it.

Guy Lawrence: Us, too. We; I was just saying to Stu the other day, you know, we, I was, stumbled across your blog, it must have been many years ago, and I remember at the time you were actually either about to quit sugar or you were; you had quit sugar and you’d written about it, and I was thinking, “Finally somebody’s bringing this message to light.”

And to see you, you know, you go on and inspire so many people with what I think is an amazing message is fantastic. So I thought just for our listeners, just in case they don’t know any part of that journey or story, would you mind just sharing a little bit about it…

Sarah Wilson: Yeah. Absolutely.

Guy Lawrence: What even inspired you to quit sugar in the first place?

Sarah Wilson: Yeah. So, I do remember, actually, you interacting with me on the blog back in those days, sort of piping in and sharing your thoughts, so that’s been a long time coming, us actually having this conversation. So, yeah, as you know, I quit sugar because, as a journalist at the time, I actually had to write a column about something, and I was short of a topic. That’s kind of the lame reason.

The real reason is that I knew that I had to do it. It was hanging over my head. And it’s just sort of really a funny thing now, I can spot a person who is ready to quit sugar and somebody who’s not these days, because I remind myself of what I was like back then, and I’d been talking about it for ages. I, I’ll get on to the health reasons in a moment, but I had a bunch of health reasons for needing to, and I’d been told by a number of doctors I needed to do it, but really it was just this feeling: “I’m over it. I know that sugar is the reason I’m feeling baseline crap.”

You know? And I could make up all these other kinds of excuses, but it really did stem down to this thing, so when I had the excuse of a deadline to make it happen, I kind of jumped at it. So I was very fortunate, from that point of view. Not so fortunate, because I had, and still have, an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s, which is thyroid disease. I had a really bad case of it. I was editing a magazine, Cosmopolitan, and felt very unwell for adrenal issues, all of that kind of stuff, and soon wound up not being able to walk or work for nine months, and this is before, between Cosmopolitan and before hosting Master Chef, so it’s in that sort of this wasteland period.

And, you know, doctors had told me, and naturopaths and so on, “Look, you should probably try to quit sugar, you know, blood sugar issues are really bad when you’ve got, you know, sort of hormone issues.” So I gave it a go, and I was really resistant to it, but eventually, yes, all these factors coincided, and I thought, “I’d better do this. I’ve really got to do it.”

So, I set out to do it, as you’ll remember, a blog post and also a column for one of the newspaper magazines, which gave me a great reason to go and do it, and I certainly, that certainly helped, but I decided to do it just for two weeks. I didn’t want to commit too heavily, because I was petrified of the idea of it, and so I thought, “Two weeks. We’ll just give it a go, and we’ll see if it works.”

I felt much better even after two weeks. I had incredible results. I’m sounding like I’m about to sell you some steak knives, but I literally, my skin was the first thing to change, and that’s what most people who have done the program report is that their skin changes. So my skin suddenly just softened. Both wrinkles and pimples just kind of backed off, and my vanity, I suppose, meant that I was willing to keep going and going. That’s how I’m here today: I just kept going and going.

It turned into some e-books, as you know, and then a publisher approached me. It turned into some print books and now, of course, an online program and a business with fifteen staff and on it goes.

Stuart Cooke: Wow.

Guy Lawrence: Did you find it hard at the time? Like, you see people falling off the bandwagon when they…

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: They go around, “I’m cutting out sugar!” And then three days later they’re getting a headache and they’re XXgnawing on it all over?XX [0:05:42] again. Did you? No problem?

Sarah Wilson: Well, I found it harder than most people do, because of the autoimmune disease. The thing about Hashimoto’s is that blood sugar, well, there’s two things. Your thyroid can affect blood sugar and insulin levels and then, obviously, blood sugar spikes and then insulin levels then destroy the thyroid. So I was in this vicious cycle, it made it very difficult to quit sugar. So anyone with an autoimmune disease, particular thyroid disease, if you’re having a hard time quitting sugar it’s normal.

It puts me in good stead, because if I can do it, you know, anyone can do it. So I had a really tough time with it, but what I did was I researched it very, very heavily. I’m a bit of a science nerd, and I went out there, and I know you guys have done the same thing, I looked into all the science, and as a journalist I got access to the big voices in this kind of realm, and I was able to meet them and do an interview with them and ask them the questions that, you know, everybody else was asking me on the blog.

So; and I continue to do that today. So that helped me develop a kind of a way of doing it that was less painful than it needed to be, and, of course, as you guys know, the trick, if I was to boil it down to something, is replacing sugar with fat, like, so that I turned my body into a sugar-guzzling machine to a stable fat and protein and real food burning machine, which is a much even energy kind of fire.

So that’s essentially what I did, and so it was a gradual process, and my eight-week program is eight weeks because I researched that that was how long it took, but I also do it in a way, as I said, that I gradually replace things, and I gradually morph your body so that your metabolism recalibrates.

You go cold turkey, it recalibrates and you come out the other end being kind of sensible about sugar. You know what I mean?

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Sarah Wilson: I mean, you can actually have a little bit from time to time.

Guy Lawrence: Absolutely, yeah.

Sarah Wilson: I’m not somebody that says, “Never eat it again.” Because I just think that that’s, like, asking for trouble. That’s the whole premise of the diet industry, the idea that you stop yourself consistently. You restrain yourself. That doesn’t work. We’re humans. We want to reach out and touch things and try things. Like, once my body recalibrated, I didn’t have that visceral need, you know?

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, that’s right. It wasn’t that burning craving.

Sarah Wilson: I’m actually cool about it now.

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.

Sarah Wilson: Yeah, exactly.

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Stuart Cooke: I’m intrigued as to whether you have any more health transformations that you may have witnessed around quitting sugar. You know, aside of, kind of, weight loss.

Sarah Wilson: Yeah, well from my point of view, I’m probably the best example, because I prefer to work from an N equals 1 perspective in many ways, and I want everybody to work from that perspective, that is, use their own body as an experiment to see if it works for you. So, from my point of view, I’ve reduced my medication from the highest dosage of Thyroxine down to the minimum dosage, and I cut that in half, so I have half of that every day. My thyroid antibodies are back in an absolute normal range. I’ve got no inflammation.

I have bad days probably once a week where I’m inflamed and I’m hurting and it’s generally I know what it is. It’ll be something that I’ve done, you know, like I’ve overdone it one sugar. I’ve overdone it on alcohol. You know, when I say I’ve overdone it, I’m talking two glasses instead of one glass.

Stuart Cooke: Couple of glasses…

Sarah Wilson: Yeah, yeah, and the main thing is lack of sleep or stress. If I’ve really been pushing it really hard, you know, traveling and, or that kind of thing. So I used to have six days a week where I was like that, now I have one day a week where I’m like that. So, I also now menstruate again, so I didn’t menstruate for five years, and about six months ago my period came back, so for me, I actually think, and for any woman I think it’s the best kind of, you know, canary down a mineshaft, you know, sort of thing. It really does tell you that things are back on track. That’s been a really big thing for me.

Guy Lawrence: I think, as well, with what you’re highlighting, as well, it just goes to show, right, that, you know, by quitting sugar it’s a lifelong journey, and the fact that your health is still improving over time and everything’s coming back into working order, like, and it’s, you know, like you said, you’ve been doing this for four years, would it be?

Sarah Wilson: Yeah, four years. It’s a little under four years. It’ll be four years in January. But, yeah, the point I often make to people is that you’re not going to cure an autoimmune disease and, in fact, most diseases aren’t curable. They’re manageable. You modulate and you manage, and, for me, it keeps me honest.

So, without my disease I wouldn’t know when I’m on the right track, to be honest, because I kind of bludgeon my way through things. I’ve got lots of energy or, at least, you know, at sort of, at the core of me, the ability to go do things, and I’ll push myself too hard, and I’ll do the wrong things, and it is my disease that brings me back into myself and gets me real again, and keeps me well in a broader sense.

So, you know, it’s not something I’m going to cure. It’s something I’m going to manage. That’s something I really want to impress upon people, but back to your question, Stuart, just other stories, I’ll tell you a couple of areas that I still get a lot of feedback on.

Obviously weight loss and, you know, some people, most people basically, I don’t focus on weight loss, but what happens is that when you XXaudio problemXX [0:11:00] your appetite mechanism and your appetite hormones, which is what happens when you go from being a sugar-burning machine to more of a fat-burning machine, your appetite kicks back into gear, you just start eating what your body needs, right?

So then your body goes into the right space, the right weight, and for some people that means losing no weight. Some people it means losing the visceral fat, but not the rest of the fat. Other people it means putting on weight and for most people it does mean losing weight, and so we have people who have lost, I think the most is 48 kilos across eighteen months, which I find far healthier. And that’s just from cutting out sugar and then of course it does escalate because not only are you cutting out sugar, you cut out processed food, don’t you? Because when you quit sugar, you quit processed food, but you also have more energy so then you start exercising, and so it does all speed up a little bit.
So, you know, I’d be lying if I said it was all to do with sugar, but it’s all the repercussions of quitting sugar. Some other areas that I’m getting some really lovely feedback on is PCOS, so Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, and I have met so many young women who have been told they’re never going to have children, who’ve had real problems with their period, and they’ve quit sugar and what do you know, six months later they’re pregnant. You know?

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Sarah Wilson: And this has happened time and time again and, of course, those people do come out of the woodwork. I’m doing an event somewhere, they take the time and care to come meet me and show me their baby and that kind of thing, but the stories are out there is, I guess, the point there.

The other thing I’m getting a lot of, a lot lately, actually, is middle-aged men and older men, many men in their 60s predominantly, who have quit sugar mostly because their daughter or their wife has told them they had to.

Stuart Cooke: That’d be right.

Sarah Wilson: Yeah, yeah. They’ve done it and, generally, because, not because I pointed it out to them. They’ve watched a documentary, generally, where it’s a middle-aged man telling them all about it, but they’ve swung around to it, tried out my program and lost some weight, but then XXobviously?XX [0:12:59] have come off their cholesterol medication because they’ve basically got rid of all their cholesterol problems.

Which is funny, because you guys know the deal, I promote eating saturated fat and, what do you know, eat more saturated fat, eat less sugar, your cholesterol sorts itself out. So, that’s a really big one, is the cholesterol thing, and what I like about that is that it’s generally the most skeptical part of the demographic, do you know what I mean? Report these results.

Guy Lawrence: Absolutely, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, I changed my father’s diet on the basis of a telephone call and realized he was on statin drugs and also drugs for type 2 diabetes, and so I asked him to keep a food diary for a couple of weeks and realized that the foods, the very foods that he was being advised to eat, were shocking.

Sarah Wilson: Yeah. Margarine.

Guy Lawrence: Oh, yeah!

Stuart Cooke: That was in there. That was one of them. So, I sent him back a few thoughts and ideas, and I wrote a meal plan, and he ran that for a month and went back to the doctors, and they said, “You have improved out of sight. We’re going to take you off your meds.”

Sarah Wilson: “What happened?”

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, exactly, “What are you doing?” And he said, “Well, I’m doing this,” and the doctor said, “Well, keep doing it. It’s working for you.”

Sarah Wilson: That’s what I’m getting feedback on, as well, is that doctors who have been skeptical and, “God, something’s going on here.” And, you know, again, I sound like I’m about to sell steak knives at the end, but the thing that I can say is that I was skeptical that just changing your diet could actually have such a big impact in what is a relatively short period of time.

Now, you know, you can, I mean, I’ve heard of, yeah, things being reversed in a couple of weeks and, you know, the aim shouldn’t emphasize being about reversing or coming off medication, that’s not the aim. The aim is just wellness in general and getting back to good, sound eating patterns that are sustainable. So, and then you’re body works itself out, but our bodies are desperate to work themselves out.

And if it’s food, bad food choices that are holding us back, often it’s a really simple equation, you know? It’s a simple solution. Sorry, all good. So, one of the most wonderful things is, you know, food can actually make a difference, and so many consumers of health and food products are feeling powerless at the moment, but you know that you can actually make these simple changes and actually do something about it without the government guidelines, without some big new drug, you know?

I think it’s one of those empowering things we can do.

Guy Lawrence: Do you think this message will ever go truly mainstream?

Sarah Wilson: Yeah, I don’t know that it’ll happen soon. I think it’s going to speed up very, very quickly, because social media allows us to expose Big Food’s sticky fingers in the pie, and that’s the biggest hindrance is without a doubt Big Food, because that’s controlling what’s happening at a government level. It’s controlling what’s happening with the marketing of food, but it’s also controlling the availability of the foods and so on. So, I think that’s probably the biggest thing.

But what’s happening is that consumers, as we were just saying, are essentially empowered, and they can do something about this themselves, you know? So, it is speeding up. People are getting more and more informed. Online communities are making all this information accessible. The science is rolling in to back what we’ve been talking about for the last four years. It’s uncanny, you know?

Just the other day, you know, what was it? The WHO regulations, for instance, have come out with exactly the same kind of prescription as I’ve been saying for the last four years. Now obviously they’re drawing on the same science I was drawing on, but they’re now confirming that that science is sound, you know?

Stuart Cooke: Interesting.

Sarah Wilson: And, you know, I think, you know, the fasting thing, you know, backing, I mean, allowing time between meals, not snacking all the time, snacking being part of the sugar industry’s message, that’s just rolled out, you know, sort of, last week, you know, this new science showing that fasting between meals and not having five, six meals a day is the way to go.

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So, I think the science is catching up and media is getting on board. Not so much in Australia. Australian media is still very skeptical, but in the US and the UK, they are totally on board with this. Particularly the UK.

So, you know, they’re looking for these positive messages on the side of the consumer.

Stuart Cooke: Have you experienced any resistance or a great deal of resistance for the IQS message?

Sarah Wilson: Yeah…not a great deal and I think it’s because of the way that I try to deliver the information. I don’t get Draconian. I try to be inclusive and, also, I’m a bit of a bitch in this sort of area in terms of media and getting slapped around and so on, and some of your listeners might be aware of the opinion pages in the Herald Sun in Melbourne, Andrew Bolt. I used to share a page with him, you know? Writing opinions and that was at a young age. This was, you know, fifteen years ago, and so I’ve been kind of doing this kind of thing writing about stuff, poking my head up, for a long time.

And so I really do believe that the best way to go about this kind of stuff is to be the message, and so I just be my message. I live my life. I give out the N equals 1 thing, you know, here I am being a guinea pig, trying things out, and if you’re interested join me on the ride. I think, yes, unfortunately the most resistance I get, apart from; literally there’s only really one troll that I have, and if I mentioned his name I’m sure you guys would know him well, because he does the rounds… I can tell by your laugh that you know who I’m talking about.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Sarah Wilson: Let’s call him DD.

Stuart Cooke: Okay.

Sarah Wilson: Unfortunately, the most resistance is from dieticians, and I get it. They’ve got turf that they are feeling quite protective about. They’ve studied extensively and, you know…

Stuart Cooke: Oh, okay, you’re back. Sorry. I don’t know…

Sarah Wilson: I don’t know what happened there.

Stuart Cooke: Must have been the troll.

Sarah Wilson: That’s right. That’s right. Anyway, as I was saying, I’ve XXtold the dieticiansXX [0:19:31] and where they’re at, and I think that my end, at the moment, is to kind of find a common ground, because I think this issue is too important to have, you know, wars on Facebook and to have slinging matches. I’m not into that. I’m really not into it, and so I made a decision just recently that, you know, that’s not the way XXI’m getting paidXX [0:19:50] It’s not what I’m going to engage with, and I would rather be more inclusive, so I reckon that will probably turn out well, but, yes, I’ve had some interesting phone calls from some soft drink manufacturers wanting to meet up with me, you know, to hear about their latest campaign and so on.

So, a few things like that, but no, I don’t XXcop itXX [0:20:12] very harshly at all, and I think it is because I choose to ignore it.

Stuart Cooke: I think so, yeah. The way you deliver it as well. It has to be, it’s, I guess from the very essence of I Quit Sugar rather than You Must Quit Sugar.

Sarah Wilson: Exactly! Right, thank you for pointing that out, yeah.

Guy Lawrence: Can you tell us about your school canteens campaign that you’ve got going on at the moment?

Sarah Wilson: Yeah, yeah. Well, it’s basically, in a nutshell, we’ve got a situation in Australia where all the states and territories have slightly different laws but they’re much the same, and they’re out of step with the Australian dietary guidelines, which is an absolutely ridiculous state of affairs.

So, the Australian dietary guidelines last year changed, as you guys would know, to basically frame sugar in the same light as salt, alcohol, and, let me see, saturated fat, which is something to be limited. The school canteen guidelines have, however, not been updated for eleven years, and so you’ve got this scenario where you’re allowed as much sugar as you want in school canteen menus.

So, we’ve got this situation where full cream, you know, plain milk is given an amber light and in a lot of schools they just don’t even allow full-cream dairy, right? They just don’t allow full-cream version. So, plain, healthy full-cream milk they don’t allow it. While on the other hand, low-fat, sweetened strawberry milk has a green lighting, because of the fact that sugar is totally ignored in these guidelines.

We also have a scenario where Kellogg’s Cocoa Pop liquid breakfast, which by the way, doesn’t have anything resembling a Cocoa Pop in it’s just a whole heap of sugar and inulin, which is, of course, a sugar, and I think it’s something like 30 percent sugar, it’s allowed into canteens. It’s got an amber rating. Paddle Pops. Amber.

You also have Tiny Teddies. So, Tiny Teddies, if you eat eight biscuits, you know, chocolate covered Tiny Teddies, absolutely fine. However, if you go nine, it becomes a red-rated food, which just means that parents and canteen managers and teachers just have absolutely no idea what’s going on.

So it’s an absolute XXshnozzelXX [0:22:33] and all we’re doing is we’re simply saying the canteen guidelines need to be updated. We need to know who’s in charge of these guidelines. We need to get a proper group of people on board who can actually create better guidelines and they need to be in line with the Australian dietary guidelines.

So, we’ve put together a campaign just to get 10,000 signatures. We’ve got two members of parliament who are raising it in parliament, XXgetting it all kind of actionedXX [0:22:59] We’re hoping it’ll change in New South Wales. We’re rolling it out in New South Wales and then we’ll expand it to the rest of Australia. So, we’re doing that.

At the same time, we’re trying to connect these amazing stories of canteens, I mean, we’re coming across canteens, for instance, this one in Canberra where there’s only 100 students, but each class takes turns cooking the food for the entire school that day.

Stuart Cooke: Wow.

Guy Lawrence: No way.

Sarah Wilson: Yeah, so that’s amazing. We’re coming…The Hunter Region north of Sydney is incredible. There’s a whole range of schools doing really, really clever projects along these lines. So, essentially, there are amazing stories of small communities taking over the school canteen.

Then, on the other hand, you’ve got canteens where, I’m not joking, they are so lacking in funding, their canteen is the size of a toilet, and they’ve got a deep fryer, a pie warmer, and a deep freezer, and they sell pies, dim sims, and Paddle Pops and that’s it. So, that’s happening around Australia and we’re hoping that we can connect the two kind of, you know, extremes and, hopefully, you know, we can use the community to help each other out.

Stuart Cooke: You’d almost want to point the finger, as well, at the companies that are manufacturing children’s foods. Like, when did a, when, when is a food, just a child’s food? Essentially, it’s party food.

Sarah Wilson: Yeah, I know. I know, if you just put lots of sugar in it, it becomes a children’s food. What’s worse, Stuart, and you’ve picked up on something here, is that, you know, manufacturers aren’t stupid. They’ve worked out that parents are feeling very guilty and unsure about what to feed their kids and so you’d probably go to a supermarket, and you’ll notice that there’s these logos on foods…

So, let’s get outside the canteen sphere, but just, you know, the sort of foods that parents put into the kids’ lunch boxes. You’ll notice that there’s always different random labels that, what, they’ve got ticks and things like that…

Stuart Cooke: That’s right.

Sarah Wilson: …that says it’s lunchbox approved and canteen approved. You know what? They’re not.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Who approved this?

Sarah Wilson: These companies completely make it up. You go onto the Arnott’s website and there’s an admission on there that, “We have come up with our own little logo, blah, blah, blah.” Who allowed them to do that? Well, you know, they’re allowed to because nobody’s policing this, and it’s just ridiculous. So, that’s another aspect of what we’ll be working on as well.

We’re exposing all of these things and, you know, when there’s 15 of me, I mean, I’ve got 15 staff that I think we need to replicate ourselves. We’ll just move on to these issues one by one by one.

Stuart Cooke: Perfect. So, so important. So, so, outside of your current petitioning, like, how can we get involved as parents. I mean, I’ve got three little girls, and we prep, you know, like mad men every week and weekdays cutting and chopping and preparing and bagging, but what can we do outside of…?

Sarah Wilson: Well, I think, I mean look, I think doing that, getting your kids involved in what you’re doing is a really, really important one because when kids are involved that they want to eat that they’re preparing, and I think, I think taking more time. I, we promote doing Sunday cook up. It’s really like a hobby and people really love it once they’re shown things to do.

That’s what I do. Every Sunday, because I’ve gone to the markets on Sunday, it’s usually Sunday by the time I kind of get round to sort of cooking up the veggies and preparing things, maybe making a few muffins and things like that, it’s just doing that and doping it with the kids. Taking the time. Instead of going to the shopping mall, take the time, it only needs to be an hour, to prepare things.

I think the other thing is, I would say, don’t demonize sugar with kids. Don’t even mention sugar. Do you know what I mean? So that it doesn’t have to be an issue. You just start putting good food in front of them.

In terms of getting involved with this campaign, I think the best idea is just to follow us at iquitsugar.com, because we’re regularly updating. On Facebook is where we’re kind of doing a lot about communications, and we’ll be updating everybody on when we move on to other states and territories. We’re sharing and we’re collating all the stories. So, if you’ve got feedback or ideas or whatever, you know, feel free to connect with us, because we are actually siphoning all the information together, and we’re passing it on to Ryan Parks, he’s the opposition member for, the opposition minister for education here in New South Wales , and, you know, a number of other parliamentarians. So we are sharing it around so that they’re getting the picture. So, yeah, that’s probably the other way just to getting involved.

Stuart Cooke: Okay. Great. Look forward to following the progress. That’s going to be fantastic.

Sarah Wilson: Well, thank you, yeah.

Stuart Cooke: So, we’ve got a few miscellaneous questions here, as well. Obviously, we’ve had heaps of questions from our followers, too. I’ve got a question about public scrutiny. I mean, you’re in the public eye. You’re out and about. How does your status affect you?

Sarah Wilson: What happens when I get sprung…eating a Krispy Kreme doughnut?

Stuart Cooke: Exactly.

Guy Lawrence: yes.

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Sarah Wilson: Well, I’m really just transparent about things, because if I lived to try and just sort of, you know, look glowy-skinned all the time and, you know, like I do in the photos where I’ve had hair and makeup done and good lighting hen I’d be pretty miserable and a boring person to be around, and I’d probably never leave the house quite frankly, just because I’d be too busy applying mascara, but I, well, you know what my big thing is be your message.

My message is is to be just really authentic. I eat sugar. I eat dark chocolate, you know? I, you know, I love dark chocolate. I eat fruit. I’ll try a bit of birthday cake. I’ll have a little sliver if it’s somebody’s birthday and it’s a special occasion, but I can stop myself after a very small sliver and I, you know, I’m really not fussed by it. So, that side of things I just think I’m better off showing people that I’m kind of cool with it all. I’ve never been put up or, you know, questioned on it, because I think, again, if you live out that message of just being cool with it then everyone just goes, “Oh, it’s not a big deal.” You know?

And, in terms of just, let me see, I don’t recall that much scrutiny. I don’t know whether I’ve got blinkers on, but I just go about my own thing. Yeah. I get stopped on the street a lot, especially these days because of Instagram and Instagram is just going great. I think people are used to seeing me not wearing the makeup and things and generally wearing my green shorts out hiking. I’ll be in the bizzarest place and, you know, and someone will come up, “Are you Sarah…?” And then people want to tell me about their health complaints or whatever it might be and ask, and drill me on whether they’re allowed to eat this or that.

And, look, my staff, kind of, “God, how do you deal with that side of things?” But you know what? I actually think it’s one of the best sides of it. It’s, you know, it’s real. It’s grass roots, and this is where people’s concerns are. It’s in the minutiae. This is what life’s about, you know? Our grandmothers used to talk aver the back fence, and I share things in such a way where I think people do feel that they’re able to come up and share their story and, you know, social media has been very good to me, and so I, you know, paying it back in a way.

Guy Lawrence: It’s a very powerful way. Yeah. Absolutely.

Stuart Cooke: It’s the virtual back fence, I think.

Sarah Wilson: yeah. Exactly.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Sarah Wilson: So, look, it’s not a bad price to pay for this sort of built up a following and whatever. No, it’s, I don’t care about, I guess, I’m 40 and I don’t care about public scrutiny. I got over that. It’s one of the great things about getting older, and I love what I do, and I believe in what I do. That sounds very Pollyanna-ish, but I can honestly say that it’s got a big part to do with the fact that I don’t get upset by, you know, what people said or rumours or anything like that.

Guy Lawrence: I’ve got a question for you, as well, Sarah, about, you know, you’re very, clearly you’re very busy, you know, like you say. I see you on social media everywhere, like, you’re here, there, and you know, you’re in Melbourne and you’re out doing whatever. How do you handle the stress of it all? Like, you know, because you’re running a big company, as well, you know. You’re dealing with your Hashimoto’s and so, outside of a diet, is there any other things that you do to aid that?

Sarah Wilson: Yeah. I do. There’s a few things. You’ve got to create your own boundaries, especially when you work online and when you work for yourself, and that’s something that I talk about a lot is you’ve just got to get really fair with our own boundaries. As much as I would love to just work 24/7, and I have that natural tendency to do that, I pull myself back.

I have one day off a week in addition to the weekends. I have the weekends so that I’m around family and friends when they’re having time off, and I have a day off. Usually a Thursday where I catch up on things, you know? I also take a deep breath and so some days it’s just resting, because sometimes my thyroid will just go, “All right. It’s Thursday. We’re allowed to collapse now.” Or I’ll just do reading, you know? It’s when I do all my deep reading.

Away from the office, I’ll go to the beach, or I’ll, you know, I’ll sit up high on the couch in the sun, and I’ll just get through a whole heap of reading and deep thinking. That’s something I do. I meditate. That’s absolutely…

Guy Lawrence: I was just about to ask that, actually, “Do you meditate?”

Sarah Wilson: I do. I meditate. I try to do it twice a day. It’s generally once a day. I do it after exercise. I have a very, let me see, a strong morning routine, and that’s really key. So, no matter how I’m feeling, I always get up and I do exercise straight away. So, I don’t muck around. There’s no fretting about with finding my drink bottle and my perfect gym gear. I just get out the door and, you know, I’ll swim. I’ll mix it up. Swim, yoga, a bit of weights, but I only sort of, you know, I do, I don’t know, 14 to 18 laps. I walk to and from the pool, and I walk to and from work or ride. So I do exercise every day. It’s in the morning.

Then I meditate. Try to do it in sun, outside, just to get that vitamin D, and it’s just kind of getting a grounding to my day so that I feel like I own a part of myself in my day. That’s really, really important. And then I’m going through my day mindfully. I make much better decisions. I hire good staff, as a result. I communicate with my staff in such a way that it’s efficient. Not always, you know. This is the aim.

And I say no to a lot of things that just don’t feel right, and also, I’ve learned to listen to my gut. I was always so head orientated. Everything was about working out, you know, those decisions, and I think one of the things about quitting sugar is you get really clear on your priorities and your sense of self and that’s really aided me, both from a health perspective, but also from a business perspective.

So, yeah, I try not to think about it too much. I think, you know, nobody’s ever going to find perfect balance, so I’ve given up on that, and what I do, oh, the other thing I do is I go away on weekends. I try to get out into the bush. That’s my big…

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, fantastic.

Sarah Wilson: So you probably noticed that I’m always out there XXclackingXX [0:33:55]

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, I think I saw something on Instagram flying though the other day that you’re out and about.

Sarah Wilson: Yeah, yeah. About every second weekend, I’ll go for a hike somewhere and, you know, it’ll be for an hour or it’ll be for five hours. I just, it’s just about being in dirt and getting a rhythm going and my thoughts just cascade and I daydream and, you know, that kind of thing is just…It’s great that I’ve learned that that is what works for me, You know? And I think it works for a lot of people to be honest. Getting out in nature.

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Guy Lawrence: Oh, definitely, yeah, especially when you’re working in such a creative environment like yourself, as well, really feeds that. Massively.

Stuart Cooke: It sounds very much like your lifestyle, Guy, while I’m here beavering away on the business.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. I would never do that to you, Stu. I am always physically working the same time you do, mate. I promise.

Stuart Cooke: What a lie. I’ve got a question. I’m going to apologize before I ask it, but what have you eaten today? I’m sorry again.

Sarah Wilson: That’s a good question. I always ask people that, too. It’s a good one. Okay, prepare yourselves. All right. I was going to say that I’m holier than thou, because at the moment I am making recipes for my next cookbook, so this morning I had a number of gelatin gummy things, strawberry and rosemary flavored. So I had those, and I also had, ah, you’ll like this. I had one of your little protein bar things.

Guy Lawrence: Oh, did you?

Sarah Wilson: Yeah, and I’m not just saying that. I actually did, because they’re in my desk at the moment to try, and so I had one of those. That was my breakfast, but generally it’s a bit more, it’s more robust in the sense that it’s like I’ll have some eggs and some vegetables, generally.

Black coffee. I’m a bit addicted to coffee at the moment. I’m just allowing that to slide for a bit, you know? I’ll get off it soon, but for now it’s just something that I’m…

Guy Lawrence: I love coffee.

Sarah Wilson: I love it, too. And then lunch was, let me see…We have a wonderful kitchen here that I built in the office, and everyone cooks their lunch here, and we also share our food. We’ve all got, you know, communal XXhalloumiXX [0:36:10], communal eggs, and communal kale. We’ve got a veggie garden on the roof.

So I had just stir-fried in some coconut oil, you know, sautéed, beans, snow peas…I had some mustard greens. tomato, avocado, some of my liver that I’ve made for my next cookbook, and I actually warmed that through it, and it’s something so rich and so paleo. It’s just making me cringe. And then I put on top of it some special kimchi that I’ve made as well, mixed that through it, and then I had a, also, a polenta muffin that one of the girls made in the office with that. So that was lunch.

Stuart Cooke: Okay, well you’re certainly not on a diet.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Sarah Wilson: No, I’ve never been able to do restrictive eating of any kind.

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. It’s the best way. We got, actually, we got to, just to wrap up on a couple of Facebook questions we’ve put out with Facebook, and the first one leads into this. It’s from XXCarrie Ann CaldwellXX [0:37:15] “What are the correct portion sizes for foods that we can still gain all the nutrition required from it? It can be easy to overeat on a healthy diet due to not knowing this.”

Sarah Wilson: Okay. Yeah. I get asked this a little bit, so we put together obviously menu plans and also write recipes for a living, so the way that I work and it works out really well, because we get a dietician to actually break down our meal plans and make sure they’re nutritionally sound and they’re within the guidelines. I firstly work with vegetables so, you know, as Michael Pollan says, “Eat food. Mostly plants.” So I work from vegetables, green vegetables, outwards, so I try to get six to seven serves of veggies. Personally, I try to get even more than that, but seven or eight serves of veggies a day. On the meal plans it says six or seven, so it’s more than the Australian dietary guidelines.

So that means eating vegetables at breakfast, which I find really easy to do, because I’m not eating huge amounts of sugary carbohydrates. Then you’ve got to eat something else, don’t you? So, you know, spinach, frozen peas, you know, some eggs. That kind of thing.
So I work from that framework and then I insert protein at every meal, so usually meat once a day, sometimes twice a day, but not huge quantities, so right about 150 grams, and it’s about the size of your palm is what you should be working to. I often, sometimes I just use meat for the flavoring, so use, you know, beef broth or bacon or something like that just to get the meat flavoring there. You don’t need it every meal, but I will put some sort of protein: eggs, cheese, I use some legumes, but I’m a bit funny about it unless they’re prepared properly I don’t do it from a tin, I try to do it myself for that reason. I do them in bulk, have them in my freezer XX?XX [0:39:12]

And then add fat. Always add fat, because all those leafy greens and the protein that you’re eating are fat soluble only, so vitamins A, E, K, and D, and all of the enzymes in meat need fat for you to actually benefit from it, so I put a good, in my mind, I go, “All right, a tablespoon of fat.” So it’ll come from olive oil. It’ll come from butter. It’ll come from cheese or avocado, and I just make sure that that’s I the mix.

And, so, yeah, that’s just my formula. I mix up, sort of, red meat and a bit of fish and a bit of chicken, yeah.

Guy Lawrence: That will definitely answer her question. Stu?

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, so, found on Facebook from XXDepar Gopinith [0:39:58] “How do you keep yourself from completely falling off the wagon after you completed the eight-week program?” And I just wanted to expand a little bit on the wagon, when does the wagon not become the wagon anymore? I, when do you stop craving these foods and start looking at them more like cat food?

Sarah Wilson: I don’t think you ever start looking at the cat food, because I think, you know, we’re programmed to see sugary food as a treat, as nurturing, smelling great, all that kind of thing, so no, that never happens and I said before when it comes to illness you manage it, and so for me, look, I don’t like to term things in terms of coming off or on the wagon. You see so you come off sugar and it basically gives you the experience of life without sugar.

Now at the end of eight weeks you can then choose what you want to do next, and my advice is to really listen to your body because your body is in a great space where it can actually tell you what it needs. Now, if say, two months down the track, you know, you eat a bit of sugar, and then you eat a bit more, because it is addictive, and you start eating more and more, and you’re back at square one.

Well, first of all, I’ll say you’re not back to square one, because you can’t unlearn this stuff. You’re always going to think twice before you have a juice, right? You’re never going back to drinking apple juice again when you know it’s nine teaspoons of sugar and, you know, of course there’s other things we turn to in moments of weakness, muffins and whatever it might be, chocolate. So what I try to say is just, is once you find yourself slipping like that, you don’t have to do a big XX?XX [0:41:34] again. You don’t have to go back to the beginning. Our bodies detox best with real food, so just commit. The next day and this is to eating, not the next day, your next meal, eating a good proper meal, so it’s not about dieting or starting diet and it’s all got to begin again, it’s just starting with good food again.

So, that’s what I do. I have moments where my hormones are playing up and I’m craving all of that kind of thing, and I might eat a couple pieces too many of my dark chocolate, you know? What I’ll do is that night I’ll have a really good meal, and I have my go-to meal is a pork chop, steamed veggies with heated olive oil, and even if I’m traveling, because often these things happen when I’m traveling because I’ve been out of whack, I’ll just go to a bar or a pub or a whatever and you can generally find some grill meat, steamed veggies and lots of olive oil, recalibrates me. I’m sorted. I feel completely balanced again, so that’s my trick.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, fantastic.

Stuart Cooke: That’s awesome.

Guy Lawrence: That’s awesome. I think the only question we’ve got left here, Sarah, is we’ve got a question that we ask everyone on our podcast every week, and I don’t know if you got it, but it’s what’s the best single piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Sarah Wilson: Okay, well, can I give two?

Stuart Cooke: Oh, yeah, sure.

Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.

Sarah Wilson: One is more of a XXlifestyle?XX [0:42:57] and one’s a food one. The food one would be just eat real food. That’s become our kind of mantra, and I know that Michael Pollan’s got a lot to do with that particular framework, and I just think that that’s what it comes down to. At the end of the day, just eat real food, and actually a girlfriend really introduced that to me back… I used to model back in caveman days, a long time ago, and there’s a girl who actually said to me, “You know what? if it’s nutritious, I put it in my mouth.”

And back then avocados we all thought they were bad for you because they’re full of fat, and she said, “Avocados are nutritious. I eat them.” And I was like, “Huh, okay, that makes sense.” And she and I still talk about that, actually. She’s a journalist as well.

The other one is something I picked up from mountain bike riding. One of you is into mountain bike riding?

Guy Lawrence: Stu.

Stuart Cooke: It’s me.

Sarah Wilson: I knew that, yeah. I used to do a lot of, kind of, you know, off road bit of racing and 24-hour and that kind of stuff, and I used to kind of marvel at the way that if there was a gap this big, ten centimeters big between two rocks my wheel would just go there. I didn’t have to think about it.

And so my koan mantra came out of that, and it’s, and I can’t remember who told me this, but I sort of now adopted it as my own. Where the mind goes the energy flows. If your mind goes to going between those two rocks, the wheel will just go there, and it’s the same with everything. If your mind goes to, you know, thinking about a certain thing, everything will start to flow there, and I guess I apply it to my business, I apply it to health, I apply it…

Stuart Cooke: We’re all at the mercy of Skype, I think.

Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.

Stuart Cooke: It’s all good.

Guy Lawrence: How about the mercy of XX?XX [0:44:45]

Sarah Wilson: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Exactly. So then just as a wrap up, I guess, what’s next for Sarah Wilson and where can we get more of Sarah Wilson?

Sarah Wilson: Okay, I don’t know if you want more of Sarah Wilson. Okay, at the moment I’m working on my third print book. It’s a bit of an extravaganza, but that might be out for some time. We’ve got our next online program with I Quit Sugar starting end of January. We do it then because nobody thinks about quitting sugar or anything until after Australia Day. So, if people want to join us on that, you can actually register already at our website. We’ve got a green smoothie cookbook that’s just come out, so anyone who’s wanting to move into that area…as you guys know, I advocate smoothies but not juices for reasons that I explain in the book.

And, look, we’re only doing a couple of things, obviously this canteen project is a really big one that is close to my heart, and we’re going to be doing a few more road shows. So stay tuned for that one, especially if you live in a regional town. We’re going to be doing some, sort of a competition where, you know, I’ll be going out to sort of a regional area and using it as a way for that area to maybe raise some funds for something that’s really important and food-related a bit.

As well as New Zealand, we’re heading to New Zealand, I hope fairly soon as well, because we’ve got a huge community over there. Those guys over there are just totally into all of this stuff, which is great.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Fantastic. Our wonderful neighbors.

Sarah Wilson: Yeah, yeah. I’m a big fan.

Guy Lawrence: Thank you so much for joining us, Sarah. That was just fantastic, and I’ve no doubt lots of people are going to benefit a lot from that conversation for sure.

Sarah Wilson: Thank you. Thank you very much for the time. I really appreciate it. I have enjoyed finally chatting to you guys.

Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.

Stuart Cooke: We’re out in the neighborhood, so…We’ve passed shoulders so many times. It’s great to say hi.

Sarah Wilson: And please drop into IQS headquarters anytime and come and have a cup of tea.

Guy Lawrence: Will do, will do.

Sarah Wilson: See you guys.

Guy Lawrence: Thanks a lot, Sarah.

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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.

Alexx Stuart: Should We Use Sunscreen?

The video above is under 3 minutes long.

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

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

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

downloaditunesIn this episode we talk about:-

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

Want to know more about Alexx Stuart?

CLICK HERE for all Episodes of 180TV

Alexx Stuart Interview Transcript

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


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

Gary Fettke: The 3 Most Important Health Tips You Will Ever Hear


Ever wondered what we should really be doing to avoid modern day disease? If you are like us, then I’m sure you know someone who’s health is suffering or the warning signs are starting to show. Our special guest today is Gary Fettke, an Orthopaedic Surgeon and Senior Lecturer of the University of Tasmania. He put’s modern day disease down to this one word… inflammation! You won’t look at disease the same way again after watching this episode! Enjoy.


Full Interview: Discover The Truth About Modern Day Disease

downloaditunesIn this episode we talk about:-

  • The three foods you MUST avoid for amazing health
  • Why everything we’ve been taught about the food pyramid is wrong!
  • What the true cause of modern day disease is
  • What that word ‘inflammation’ actually means
  • Gary’s thoughts on fruit…
  • And much much more…

More

Why Athletes Benefit From Yoga

The video above is 02:19 long. Use your time wisely ;)

Duncan Peak is founder of Power Living Australia Yoga (P.L.A.Y). He’s also a very cool guy & we chat to him about his life as a former army officer, nearly dying, and becoming one of Australia’s most authoritative figures in yoga.


Full Interview with Duncan Peak: Power Living to the Modern Yoga

In this episode we talk about:- 

  • downloaditunesA individuals journey that takes an unexpected twist that we all benefit from
  • A dramatic change in life path that’s lead to building a legacy (his franchise) that we all benefit from as a result
  • There are a lot of assumptions about yoga. Is yoga what you think it is?
  • Why yoga & Crossfit are a great fit & strong men struggle with downward dog
  • Why yoga suits the modern man/women & the unsuspecting masculine guy
  • Yoga…much more than a physical journey and a place to find women in figure hugging attire
  • CLICK HERE for all Episodes of 180TV

Power Living Australia Yoga (P.L.A.Y)

- Learn about P.L.A.Y Here

- Follow P.L.A.Y On Facebook Here


Interview with Duncan Peak Transcript

Guy Lawrence: Hi, this is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition, and welcome to podcast episode number 21. Today our special guest is Mr. Duncan Peak. Now, if you’ve never heard of him, he’s the founder of the amazingly successful Power Living Australia Yoga, also known as PLAY, and he touches the lives of over 6,000 people each week. He’s one of the most well-respected yoga teachers here in Australia and teaches workshops, teacher-trainings, retreats, pretty much all over the world and so it’s a privilege to have him here today.

So, today, he’s actually sharing with us a story of how an army officer, which is what he was, he also had a near-death experience, ends up doing yoga and becomes very authoritative in it, as well. So, we’re very excited to have him on.

If you are listening to this on iTunes, really appreciate the review. The reviews help us get our rankings up, which then, in turn, help us get this message out there to other people, and then go on and, obviously, inspire other people, and then, yeah, so, if you just sit back and enjoy the show, and let’s go over to Duncan.

Awesome. All right. Let’s get into it. Hi, I’m Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Mr. Stuart Cook, as always, and our very special guest today, Mr. Duncan Peak. Duncan, thanks for joining us, mate. Really appreciate it.

Duncan Peak: Thanks for having me.

Guy Lawrence: Look, it’s awesome, mate. There’s a couple of reasons that, A, was really excited to get your story out to the show, to the show, to our listeners, and B, hopefully, that story will convince theory in doing a bit more yoga, as well, a little while. But, I’m sure you get asked this question a lot, mate, but, you know, an army officer, a first-grade Rugby Union player, to now, you know, becoming a very authoritative figure in the yoga world. How the hell did that happen?

Duncan Peak: Yeah, I suppose it seems really contradictory to why, but I think the same discipline really drives the practice. I think; yoga has an aspect to it we call Tapas that’s a fierce sort of flame and drive within you. It’s a yearning towards to an enlightened state or to have a practice that’s going to achieve, you know, that development of your character. I think, just, the army was a life situation where I chose to go there when I was a young kid and sorted my life out and gave me the direction, and it was a lot of fun, to be honest, and then, yeah, just events happened that moved me into the yoga world.

I’ve been doing yoga most of my life or meditation, most of my life, and so I, yeah, I just sort of fell into the yoga world, and it was more a XXaudio glitchXX 0:02:45 than a quest to become an authority in the yoga world.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. It’s just sort of just like we spoke just before the recording, just sort of following your passion, and it’s evolved into that. When you say you started yoga at a young age, what age would that have been at?

Duncan Peak: Well, I did my first, sort of, meditation slash yoga class when I was about 15. I was with the family I was living with who were just taking care of me and their father had lived in India for about 11 years, and he just taught us what’s called raja yoga.

It’s a very traditional style of yoga. It’s mainly focusing on your mind and trying to meditate or concentrate your mind, and so that’s when I first started, and then I just used meditation to deal with all the stress and some grief that I was going through at a young age. I’d lost some people really close to me and, yeah, just kept doing it throughout my life, and when I was about 25 I eventually got into the physical style of yogaÉmaybe a little bit younger than that, and started to do what you see now, today’s style of living.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Wow. Yeah, you know, because when I watched you speak XXthrough Eloise the other weekXX 0:03:46 you mentioned, as well, an incident in the jungle. It really touched me, as well, I thought that was incredible, and would you mind sharing that bit of a story with us, as well?

Duncan Peak: Yeah. For sure. So, I went to the military. I was an officer in the Royal Military College, Duntroon, and then I became a paratrooper for three years and then worked at the Special Forces training center for three years as a captain. And during that time I did lots of exercises and in one of the exercises I was asked to, well, it’s part of training and selection for things to do seven days without food and walk about, I don’t know, 250 kilometers in that week and get about two hours’ sleep a night, if that, and you get a tiny bit of food, but it’s like a mouthful of food on the third day, and, yeah, they challenge you with a lot of raw, sort of, disgusting foods, to see if you’ll eat it.

But it’s to test your levels of leadership and high-levels of stress. And, anyway, I did the course, and I finished the course, and, on the last day, I handed him my radio and all my flares and things like that, because you’re alone a lot of the time on the course, and then they said, “You know, beeline that way to the clearing, and that’s where you’ll get picked up,” and so I did, and I took my bearing and went there, and on the way walking there after I finished the course I felt this pain in my stomach, and, of course, I’d had pains in my stomach all week, and every time I’d spoken to anyone about it, they’d say, “Well, of course, you have pains in your stomach. You haven’t eaten for seven days.”

So I just, sort of, pushed myself, you know, beyond my limits and went, “Suck it up, you know. Stop being a girl,” and pushed myself. Anyway, I was walking and there was, like, real pain in my stomach, and I got down on one knee and just pulled my water bottle out and was there drinking my water bottle and, as I did, it felt like boiling water was just rushing my stomach. Something felt like it tore in there, and I was completely incapacitated.

I couldn’t move, and I hit the ground, and I was, sort of, in the middle of the jungle, nowhere, and very rare that somebody was going to find me, and I was there for about three hours, I think it was, beforeÉwhich was a whole process I went through of dealing with the pain, because it was excruciating. It was the most amount of pain I’d ever felt, and then I’m dealing with the fact that no matter how tough or physical or, you know, focused I was, it wasn’t going to help me. I couldn’t move and getting at peace with that and, you know, things like accepting my father and accepting the way I was and my mother and just the whole upbringing and losing, really, people close to me very young in my life, all that, sort of, came up, and it was a wonderful spiritual experience in the end. And then, towards the end of that three hours, just luckily, another guy was walking a very similar path that I was and found me, and he carried me to a road and eventually got me help. I was pretty much unconscious by this time and just completely out of it from the pain.

And it took about eight hours before they got me to an operating table, and they diagnosed me with a ruptured appendix and then cut me open and went in to have a look at my appendix and realized it wasn’t my appendix. My appendix was fine, but they took that out anyways.

Stuart Cooke: Oh!

Guy Lawrence: How do you do?

Duncan Peak: Just to get that scar there and, you know, it never happened that you had a ruptured appendix. People wouldn’t diagnose you, so they’d harvest your organ.

Guy Lawrence: Oh, wow!

Duncan Peak: And then, anyway, they cut me from basically top of my chest down to my belly button and just searched around until they found I had a ruptured duodenal ulcer. So my duodenum, the second part of your, the part after your stomach, and it had perforated and was leaking out and, you know, an injury like that, it could kill you in a matter of hours, and, you know, I was lucky enough to survive for however long it was, eight hours, before they got to me.

And then I woke up the next day and, yeah, my beautiful mother was there holding my hand when I woke up, and I had tubes coming out of me, and I had, you know, five-inch incisions down here and another six- or seven-inch incision up here, and I’d gone from being like a super soldier, you know, I was fit and healthy and as strong as you can be to pretty ripped apart, and I sort of knew then that would lead to my discharge from the army and, eventually, problems that happened from that, rebuilding my core and things like that, and another injury I had through football, they discharged me from the army, and that’s when I left at about 25 years of age.

Through the process of rebuilding my core was how I got into the physical style of yoga, and that was sort of like a blessing in disguise, you know? It was what started Power Living in one way, but it ended a career that I was really enjoying in another way.

Guy Lawrence: Wow, I mean, if that had not happened, do you think your life would look very different today?

Duncan Peak: You know I often wonder about that. One of my best friends is the commanding officer of the SAS at the moment, and he was, you know, right alongside us doing all the stuff we were doing, and, you know, I wonder if I would have followed that path. I’m not sure. I don’t know if my heart and my moralistic fiber was in doing that completely. I think it was more of a life decision that changed me to do that.

So, I’m not sure whether I would’ve on my own natural causes got out. I think I would’ve stayed in the army a little bit longer and done a few more things and achieved things in there that I wanted to do, but I think eventually I would’ve got out, but I’m not sure if yoga would’ve ever evolved the way it did. It was never a vision for me to be a yoga teacher or to create the business that we’ve got.

Guy Lawrence: That’s insane, because they often say, you know, adversity is almost like the universe giving you a little nudge into your path that you should be doing, you know?

Stuart Cooke: That’s pretty deep, Guy. Just saying.

Guy Lawrence: I believe it.

Stuart Cooke: So, Duncan, if, for all of our listeners out there that aren’t or haven’t fully connected with yoga, could you explain the benefits? Because, you know, Guy’s certainly a big advocate for yoga. I’m just kind of exploring it. So, from an outsider’s perspective, you know, is it a little bit more than dudes in tight fishing pants performing a few strange poses?

Duncan Peak: It’s mostly girls, not so much dudes. They’re getting a lot more into it now, but look at yoga, if we think of the word yoga, that’s as broad a term as fitness, and I think that’s what a lot of people misunderstand straight away is that within yoga there are so many ways we can practice it, have beliefs around it, so that’s one big thing to consider is that in the style that we’ve done, it’s called hatha vinyasa yoga, it’s the main style. We call it Power Yoga. It’s just a marketing name, basically, even though it is a very powerful style of yoga. They’re not really traditional style of names that have come from ages.

Most of the yoga that we practice these days is only about a hundred years old, but the philosophy that goes with it dates back, you know, eons. So, there’s really a few aspects of it. There’s your physical flexibility and agility and range of motion that is very popular. Stretching. Vinyasa practice. Out of that, the yogis believe we unlock energetic pathways, very similar to Chinese medicine philosophy of meridian channels. We call them Nadi channels. So, we unlock energy movement and flow within the body.

And then there’s the third aspect to it, which is training your mind, and this is the aspect where I’m so passionate about is understanding deep belief systems that you have, that you’re unconscious of, but they control your behavioral patterns, and the yogis call these vasanas, and it’s what makes up a character.

If you can consider, character’s very hard to change. Like, you can go and put on a new pair of tights or wear different clothes or listen to additional music or drive a new car, move to a new town, take up new sports, and you’ve got a different personality, but you put that same person under stress and they’re going to react in the same way, because their character is still the same.

And, so, yoga doesn’t look to change your personality. There’s no ideal spiritual personality. People get lost in trying to change their personalities, but it’s nothing to do with your personality. You actually want to transcend the personality, and we’re trying to change our character, and we’re trying to change our character into being, embodying the virtues of, like, compassion, you know, kindness, love, courage, all those sorts of, you know, things we talk about that have high moralistic fiber.

And so through the practice of yoga, whether it’s a physical practice and being mindful about the reactions you have, or whether it’s sitting in meditation and observing what the patterns of your mind are and how hard it is to really focus your mind, we’re trying to change the same thing in that we’re trying to evolve our character to be less reactive, what we call equanimous, so that we have a more peaceful life, and then, if we can do that, so they say, and I don’t know this from experience, but we can have an enlightened mind, which is a mind that is always like that, and that’s what yoga aims to do in all of its facets. And then anything within that that you’re doing toward that stilling your mind could be considered a practice of yoga.

Stuart Cooke: I’m sold! I’m just going to sign up for a course now. Where did it originate from? Where’s it come from?

Duncan Peak: It’s from India originally in the oldest books of time, called the vedas, and originally it was really only passed down. They believe it came, and, again, this is a bigger concept and they believe it came from the Rishis which passed it, which it means “great seers” which interpreted it from their experiences in meditation from a more of a collective consciousness, and, again, that’s up to everybody to decide whether they believe that sort of stuff, but they believe it came from that level of higher knowledge and then disseminated through great teachers and then slowly through, it was then transcribed into books in the really early, you know, 400 B.C., things like that, and then eventually, you know, you see it evolve into the modern yoga, sort of, evolution that we have happening today.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right, because yoga’s definitely growing in popularity. There’s no doubt about that. It’s unbelievable. Like, I remember growing up in Wales. It was all rugby, union, and beer, basically, and how much you could bench press. I don’t think even yoga was on my radar when I was in my teens and early 20s and, but even I went back to Wales recently and saw that, you know, yoga’s popping up everywhere there, and it was changing there, too.

So, why do you think it’s growing? Do you think there’s a need for it, you know, because people are so stressed out?

Duncan Peak: You know, people believe people go to yoga to stretch. That’s sort of a common belief out there. They might turn up for those reasons, but they stay because of the mental health benefits. It’s that there’s something that occurs for them in the asana practice or whatever style of yoga that they’re doing that they don’t get out of normal exercise or other activities, and it’s just a clarity of your mind. It’s self-awareness. You’re getting to know yourself better.

I just think with the mounting stress that we have and the generation of, “Just suck it up and deal with it,” is sort of slowly passing, and our generation who are having children are a bit more open to spiritual ways and alternative ways of thinking. I think that’s just, sort of, you know, started to create a newer generation who’ve grown up with yoga being accepted. The middle generation, like us, who are like, “Okay, well, it is acceptable,” rather than not off the radar, and then our parents who, you know, not so many of them even had opportunities to understand what it’s all about. So, I think it’s just the education within the world, and then the quality of what it is compared to anything else out there. It’s just, it’s common sense, so people they need to do it if they want to be happy and peaceful in this world.

Guy Lawrence: I have to say, as well, like, I, my girlfriend drug me on a yoga retreat in Thailand not too long ago, and, you know, it was the first time I ever did yoga six days straight, and it was two-and-a-half hours in the morning, I think. It was a half-hour meditation and then a two-hour practice, and I felt something shift by the end of the six days, and it was hard to explain. I was trying to explain it to Stewie, and, yeah, it was amazing. Unless you actually put yourself through that experience, it’s hard to actually get that across, as well. You know?

Duncan Peak: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I say that about yoga experiences is that words will never do it justice, you know. Words always imply a limited perspective on the experiences that you can have, and that’s really what yoga, you know, it’s hard to describe yoga, the experience of yoga, but once you experience it, it’s just obvious. It’s like, “Wow, that’s a state that we should be in at times.” A state of consciousness that we should experience.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, definitely. Yeah. Hey, I’m just checking. Stewie, you there? Hang on.

Duncan Peak: We lost him?

Guy Lawrence: We lost him. I’ll bring him backÉbecause I went toÉHe’s back.

Stuart Cooke: I’m back, mate. I’ve signed up. I’m good to go.

Duncan Peak: Yeah, I thought you’d rushed down to the studio then. Or freaked you out. One of the two.

Stuart Cooke: I was interested, thinking about the things that you’d said, where would somebody like me start? With, obviously, the different types of yoga that you’ve got, with meditation, and all the movements, where would I start?

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, good question.

Duncan Peak: It’s hard to answer that question. It depends on you as a person. To really know that, yeah, I’d have to know you really well, but I think for, just generally, people should just rock down to their local yoga studios, maybe try three or four out, and if they feel, when they walk in the doors of a yoga studio, that they feel like they belong there, that it’s a place where they’re comfortable, and they enjoy the teachings that are there and the process that they go through, then just stick with that one and start to learn from them and, you know, over time, you’ll meet the people that are meant to teach you, soÉ

There’s that way. There’s a lot of online yoga, where you can watch it, but I think, for me, and our business, especially Power Living, it’s the community aspect of the experience is so important, and to have, you know, likeminded people and that positive energyÉWe always call our studios the House of Positivity, you know? Because you walk in there, and it is, it’s just constant positive energy, and you go there, and that’s just good to have that top you up every day.

So, I just think people should try and find places like that, and they exist. Yeah. And then just wherever they’re comfortable. It’s not that important what style you’re doing, in the initial stages. You can refine that, once you start to understand yoga a little more, and what you think benefits you. That was what the original process of a guru was, was to tell you what style of yoga would best suit you to deal with the character that you have. These days it’s not so much like that, but you can have people help you out with what you should be doing.

Stuart Cooke: Okay.

Guy Lawrence: Do you think yoga is for everyone, Duncan?

Duncan Peak: I think there’s a style of yoga for everybody, but I don’t think that there’s one style that fits everyone. I think everyone is going to benefit from being mindful, you know? Anyone whoÉour human condition is self-reflective consciousness, and there’s issues that come with being able to think about what you’re thinking about.

You know, if you think about, we ‘ve constantly got a conversation going on in our head, and there’s no one there, so it’s sort of insane, you know? And we’ve got to learn to understand that and quiet that and be able to just experience the world without having to interpret it and always have a conversation about it. So I think anyone who does that is going to build more self-awareness and that’s going to be beneficial. So, yeah, I think it is for everybody. But I’m not a preacher that says, “You have to do this. You have to do that.” It’s up to them on their own what they do.

Guy Lawrence: Everyone has to discover it for themselves, right?

Duncan Peak: Yeah, I really believe in that, yeah.

Guy Lawrence: It’s funny that you mention that, because that was going to be my next question, was because the health and fitness industry focus a lot on nutrition. They focus on, you know, physical appearance and the physical strength of it, right? For which, and sometimes, it seems to be all physical aspect, but how much do you think mindset and, you know, our daily thoughts actually affect our health?

Duncan Peak: Well, I think it is your health. I mean, I go and do demonstrations at health and fitness expos and things like that, and get up there in my tights and tie myself into a pretzel and do all fancy handstands and, you know, all the bodybuilders walk past and are like, “Wow! Look at that! He’s flexible and he’s strong.” And it’s a nice way to be able to connect with those guys.

But I see I lot of that world, the fitness industry, and they look amazing, but they’re not healthy. They have so much attachment to their body and their ego, and that’s how they judge their sense of self-worth. There’s people who aren’t like that. Who are very balanced, and they’re awesome, and they’re in that world, and they’re great examples, but the industry as a whole is so much about what people think about you, and that’s something we need to get away from, is what people think about us and develop what we believe about ourselves and develop that self-love. So I think that mindset is, that’s how I would judge well-being.

And then with the nutrition you put into your body, it’s obviously going to have a huge impact on what your thoughts are and what your character is, so, yeah, for me it is how I judge well-being as opposed to how much do I think it has an impact on well-being, I think it is what well-being is, is the way you think, or the way you’re attached to your thoughts.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Absolutely. And then you can see why yoga is actually then helping so many people, you know, that do it.

Duncan Peak: Yeah. Having said that with yoga, to be really raw and honest, I used to have a saying when I started the business, was “Market to the ego, and teach to the heart.” You know, there was a reason why we’re successful, it’s because we recognize that people do want to lose weight. They want to look good. They want to be flexible. They want to do the fancy poses.

And for some people, that’s what they want, and so we’re like, “Okay. Let’s tell them that’s going to happen. Let’s bring them into the classes and while they’re in there, we’ll just mention a few of these philosophical points.”

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Just whispering, right?

Duncan Peak: Yeah, exactly. You know, rather than preaching it, because it turns people off. And so, let’s do what the world needs, or not needs but people really want, this desire, and then let’s teach them about what desire really is and the suffering that can come from, you know, so desirous. We have this other saying, “A constant search for pleasure is the root cause of your suffering.” That’s like one-on-one yoga. The constant search for pleasure is the root cause of our suffering.

And, so, yeah, we probably get them in through pleasure, but then we teach them about what that doesÉ

Stuart Cooke: What it really means.

Duncan Peak: Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.

Stuart Cooke: I’ve noticed that you’ve released a new book, as well, Duncan. Would that be a great place for someone like me to start? Or is it a little bit more advanced?

Duncan Peak: No, I mean it’s written for a first-timer who’ll pick up the book, and it’s got a little bit of my story in there, and it has just so much about the mental side of it and understanding the character and that aspect. Everything that we’ve just discussed, and then it goes right into the physical practice, and how to align your body and how to keep it very safe, and it gives two different styles, a dynamic style of yoga and then more the yin, sort of, gentler, not gentler, but just slower, holding poses for long periods and working on different connective tissue within the body. Working on fascia as supposed to muscle and tendon. So it goes into a lot of that, but it’s not too technical that it’ll turn people off. We made it so it’s a coffee table book, as well, so it’s nice to be able to look at and just visually be able to learn from it, as well as get in there and study, if you’d like to. So, it’s called Modern Yoga. It’s available on my website. You know, it’s something that’s taken me three or four years to write. That really is what Power Living is. You know, we use it for our teacher trainings as our manual because it’s really what we’re trying to get out there.

Guy Lawrence: I was going to say, you must be a busy boy.

Duncan Peak: Well, it’s started to slow up for now, since that’s been done, and it has been ten years this year. Yeah, I’ve given everything I’ve got for ten years.

Guy Lawrence: You hold retreats, as well, right? Are they retreats just for yoga teacher training, or are they for peopleÉ

Duncan Peak: No, anyone.

Guy Lawrence: They can just come on and do it?

Duncan Peak: We have, a lot of our retreats we have are teacher training and the retreat running at the same time. We just separate groups and do things together. Because there’s so much community focus that it doesn’t matter who you are, teachers training or just a student, we can join and do a lot of the community activities together, and then we can do more technical stuff for the teacher trainers.

We have, I don’t know, we’re up to about six or seven retreats a year, and we do about eight or nine 200-hour teacher trainings around Australia and New Zealand. It’s pretty busy, but it’s not just me anymore. There’s, I don’t know, maybe 80 people employed in the company. We’re nearly up to our eighth studio now.

It’s kind of crazy. One of the things about our business is that there are six owners in the business. Not just myself. That’s been one of our successes is using our senior people that come up through the business and then allowing them to open a studio with us, and they love it, and they’re there, and yes.

So, we do retreats for everybody and teacher trainings, as well. I think within the industry, we’re known a lot for our education, so our teacher trainings are very popular, because we’re probably one of the first to do contemporary styles of yoga. We certainly do the retreats. I like them the most. They’re the fun ones.

Guy Lawrence: That could be a good place to start for someone, as well then, if they wannaÉ

Duncan Peak: Yeah. For sure.

Stuart Cooke: You’re thinking me, Guy, aren’t you?

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Duncan Peak: XXWe want to run one in Bali for an excuse. It’s a good place to come hang out.XX [0:26:07]

Guy Lawrence: We’ve got the foam boards, as well, Stewie, you know.

Stuart Cooke: I’m good for boarding.XX [0:26:10] Absolutely. I’ll book the tickets, Guy. I’m just thinking, Duncan, with all that you’ve got going on, surely you’d then be using your yoga and meditation to quiet your mind in order to actually get some sleep, right? Cause you’re a busy boy.

Duncan Peak: Yeah, yeah. I mean, I’ve got a very agitated mind, you know, I think one of the reasons I’m so into yoga and meditation is because I’ve needed it, you know, since I’ve been a young boy. I don’t ever profess to be this really calm and peaceful person. I’m not like that. I’m a pretty big personality and I need to center myself or I sort of lose myself, you know?

So, yeah, it’s a daily practice, you know? Like this morning, I woke up. The first thing I do is an hour of yin practice up here in my lounge room. Sit for 20 minutes or a half an hour and meditate and then go and have a surf. That’s pretty much how every day starts for me, you know? I’m pretty lucky in that way. Yeah, I sort of need it, you know? I need it. Especially beingÉone of the hardest things is being a CEO, you know, and having so many people work for you and doing all that side of it, and then you’re in a meeting that’s like intense and there’s millions of dollars being discussed and then you have to leave that meeting and then walk into the yoga room and start to teach people, you know?

Stuart Cooke: That’s right, yeah. There’s that switch.

Duncan Peak. It’s a funny skill, you know? Not everyone that works for us has that skill. They belong on the facilitations side or the business side. That’s probably one of my biggest challenges and meditation is the only way that I’ve been able to achieve, be able to do that.

Stuart Cooke: I think I would benefit from that. Just thinking about all the things we have going on in our business, as well, and a busy family, busy business. Definitely, you’ll be doing a bit moreÉ

Guy Lawrence: Definitely. We’re fortunate to do what we do. We have, you know, we get to do some cool stuff and we did some DNA testing, and what gene was it? You had a COMT gene, was it?

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, I had a COMT gene and just some, which affected my cortisol levels. So, you know, I’m very busy, and I’ve got lots going on, but my cortisol levels don’t clear. So, like clearance pathways were blocked with this particular gene, so just about ways to lower cortisol and, of course, thinking about meditation and considering yoga, as well, as a told for that.

Duncan Peak: Cortisol is one of the biggest neurochemicals of the moment that’s causing us to not be in health because at night time the body’s got to clear that, rather than focus on rejuvenating the tissue.

You know, one thing you bring up, Stu, is meditation is sometimes is very hard for people just to sit and go, “All right. I’m going to mediate.” People aren’t ready for it, and so getting into just mindful movement, whether it’s yoga, tai chi, chi gong, it can engage people so that they’re able to at least do something and enjoy that before they’re actually, “Well, okay, now I’ll start meditating.”

I do encourage a lot of beginners to get into the asana practice, you know, however they want to do it, dynamic or gentle, or a tai chi, or a chi gong, and then allow that to bring you into a more still mind. Sitting becomes just a natural evolution.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, right, that makes a lot of sense, because from a, you know, meditation perspective, it almost seems impossible to sit there and just zone out when you’ve got this chatter, constant chatter, left and right. It’s definitely a skill, or it’s a muscle, I guess, that needs to be built.

Duncan Peak: Yeah. Definitely.

Guy Lawrence: I find that while we’re in the surfs, though, as well, that helps keep in the moment, you know? I’m constantly just there, and you know, that’s my excuse. I’m going out to be present.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, right. So just think a little bit about exercise and nutrition as well now. Do you do anything else outside of yoga, exercise-wise?

Duncan Peak: I surf every day. Sometimes two or three times a day, and so that’s pretty physical in itself. I probably go to the gym once a week, I suppose, but when I train there, I train very much, not so much CrossFit, but more in that world where it’s power-to-weight ratio, body work, lot of Swiss ball work, and a lot of core stability work with cables, rather than lifting heavy weights. I really don’t do that anymore. I did years ago and my rugby-like days, but I don’t really do that sort of stuff. Yeah, it’s just because I enjoy it. I would, yeah, I think it’s, yeah, I’m just a man who enjoys that stuff.

Stuart Cooke: Exactly. You mentioned CrossFit, and we got quite heavily into CrossFit last season, last year, and found that a lot of the CrossFit athletes and participants were really connected to yoga for flexibility and mobility. Do you get a lot of CrossFitters coming your way?

Duncan Peak: Yeah. We’ve got a really good relationship with their communities, and a lot of our teachers teach at the local CrossFit gyms, just to make it easier for them, because, you know, people only got a small amount of time a day to exercise. Yeah, CrossFit, I think, is an amazing evolution. I think it’s a very sensible way to train the body, but there’s also, there’s risk involved in training the way they do. It’s pretty heavy and it’s hard on your joints, and if you’re not somebody who’s grown up athletically, it can be a little bit dangerous.

I think yoga will just help bring people into a postural development that’s going to allow them to get better alignment in their lifting capacities within CrossFit, and also allow them to have recovery a lot quicker, so they’re not turning up to do their next session so sore with fascial adhesions and knotted up muscles. There’s more of that fluidity in the body. So yeah, I think they’re great, you know, great complement to each other and, yeah, it’s cool to see it allÉ

Guy Lawrence: I guess any sport, really, wouldn’t it? Yoga complements, I imagine.

Duncan Peak: We trained the Waratahs and the Sea Eagles for many years, you know, big rugby teams over here. The guys, as much as they hate it, because they’re doing something they’re working against so much muscular resistance. They, every single one of them, yeah, are an advocate for it and straight after the game, like Monday morning, or a yoga session on Tuesday, it restores them to be able to go out there and train as hard as they would, like as if they were to start a new season, so the rejuvenating aspects of doing it are phenomenal.

Guy Lawrence: I go a question that just popped in, as well. When I go to a yoga class, it’s normally just me and a couple of other guys and just full of females. And after doingÉ

Stuart Cooke: Poor you, Guy.

Guy Lawrence: Yes, it’s pretty tough for me, and after doing CrossFit, throwing weights around, you know, thrust those shoulder presses, God knows what, like I get into a downward dog, and I’m the first one to drop to the floor. You know? And normally the other guys, as well. Why is that?

Duncan Peak: Well, you’re working against muscular resistance, so you’ve got a range, you know, if you go to here and depending on how tight, you know, a lot of the muscles under here, your subscaps and your lats and things like that, is, like, people who’ve got range or who don’t have the muscle bulk, who just naturally have that range can just do these really easilyÉ

For people who are tight, through a pec or minor lats, etc., to go from here they’ve got to engage a lot of their muscles on the back of their shoulders that help extend the shoulder joint, or flex the shoulder joint to be able to work. So, they’re working muscular very hard just to hold their arm at that place, because of the tightness that’s being built in the tension in the muscles to get the power that you’re looking for.

Your biggest strength becomes your biggest weakness. You’re working against your own muscle tightness, and not everyone has that muscle tightness. It’s like me. I’m pretty flexible. I can hold downward dog forever, but I’ve got the muscle bulk but there would have been a time where I, where it was very difficult to hold downward dog, because of the tightness. Yes. It’s interesting like that sometimes. You’re biggest strength is your biggest weakness.

Guy Lawrence: I’m really glad to hear that, because I’ve now got an excuse, because my tightness is terrible.

Duncan Peak: And, also, you’ve got, it’s a stability way that the muscle is working as opposed to a contraction, an eccentric, concentric movement, you’re moving more of that isometric hold, and CrossFit is more movement rather than hold, and that’s one of the things that makes the yoga asana practice, again, very well-rounded is because you’re doing contractions and, the eccentric and concentric contractions. You’re moving muscles under load both ways, but then you’re holding, and you’re stabilizing through joints and things like that, and there’s not so much of that in a lot of other, you know, gym and CrossFit and physical work, and so that’s another thing is you’re just building up the endurance to be able to hold, as opposed movement fit.

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.

Stuart Cooke: Keep at it, Guy. It’s a work in progress. I was wondering, Duncan, what your typical daily diet looks like. How do you, you know, healthy body, healthy mind kind of thing. What do you eat?

Duncan Peak: First thing is a green smoothie in the morning. I make a green smoothie, you know, with your coconut waters and your greens and get that into me pretty early in the morning. That usually lasts me up until mid-morning, and I might have some fruit and some nuts and a little bit of a snack, and then lunch, it just depends where I am and what’s going on.

I try and get a salad wherever I am, and then night time, it’s usually, you know, fish and a salad or something like that, or I have meat occasionally, as well, and have a salad with that. Try and stay away from lots of breads and a lot of those, sort of, complex carbs, but I must admit I do love them. I was a baker when I was a young kid. I love my bread, but you know, I’ve found that for my body type it’s not the exact thing I should be eating, soÉ

I must admit, I would love to be perfect in my diet, but when you’re working so much, it’s one of the first things that you let slip, so I make sure that I do my green smoothie every morning and get all my nutrients that I need for that day and then I really just focus on trying to be as healthy as I can throughout the rest of the day with what I eat.

Stuart Cooke: Perfect.

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.

Stuart Cooke: That sounds good. It is tricky, especially when you’re on the road. Very hard to try and keep on top of your diet.

Guy Lawrence: Big time. Big time. Mate, we always finish with a wrap-up question, and it can be non-nutrition, anything really, but what’s the single best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Duncan Peak: That’s funny. I’ve written that before. It’s pretty simple. My mom always used to say to me, I’d tell her everything that I was doing, and I was a ratbag as a kid, and the cause of so much heartache, even though we’re best friends now, you know, and always have been, but she used to say, “Duncan, I don’t care what you do, as long as you’re happy.” And she’s always been like that. Whatever I’ve chosen to do, whether it was military, whether it was yoga, whether it’s everything else that I decide to do, she’s like, “It’s up to you what you do, just as long as you’re happy and follow your heart in that way.” And I believe that’s the best bit of advice I’ve ever been given. I’ll always go back to it.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. That makes perfect sense to me.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, definitely, and how can we get more of Duncan Peak? So, if anyone listens to thisÉYou’ve obviously, we know you’ve got a bookÉ

Duncan Peak: Yeah, It’s called Modern Yoga which is available on the website www.powerliving.com.au. We’ve got studios in Neutral Bay, Manly, Bondi Beach, South Melbourne, Fitzroy. We’ve got two opening up in Perth, and we’ve got another one at Bondi Beach. So getting to any of them, and then there’s over 1000 teachers in Australia that I’ve trained that are out there teaching for other studios and their own sort of stuff, so, yeah, you can get along to any of them and you’re going to get a little bit of what we’re doing. I teach mostly Manly and Neutral Bay and Bondi Junction. So you just check out our schedules, or come along to the retreats. You know, I run all the retreats and all the teacher trainings, so, yeah, but everyone in our business is so well-trained, just get along to a Power Living school andÉ

Guy Lawrence: I noticed, as well, only just yesterday you had an online program, as well. Is that right?

Duncan Peak: Yeah. We have some online course, some online yoga, which is where you can just sign up and get on video, basically, our classes. People in remote areas, you can do that. We also have some stuff on TV. XX?XX [0:38:59] Yeah, there’s a lot going on in that world, so, yeah, lots of opportunities. We have the DVDs you can purchase as well, and audio CDs for meditation, all available on the website, yeah, there’s lots of aids out there to help people get involved and get into it.

Guy Lawrence: No excuses. That’s awesome, right?

Stuart Cooke: You’re pointing your finger at me, Guy, when you say that.

Guy Lawrence: You know, mate.

Stuart Cooke: Thank you very much. That is awesome. Thank you so much, Duncan.

Duncan Peak: Thanks, Stuart. Thanks, Guy. It’s been great.

Stuart Cooke: You’ll be seeing me sooner than you think.

Duncan Peak: All right, mate, well if you’re going to come along, let me know. We’ll set you up with a VIP pass and take care of you guys.

Stuart Cooke: All right, thank you, mate. That’s fantastic.

Guy Lawrence: Bye, guys. Awesome.

Stuart Cooke: Take care. See you, buddy.

Does DNA testing hold the key to the perfect diet? The results

Episode #8

By Guy Lawrence

This is  just one of the questions we ask leading naturopath and nutritionist Tania Flack as we go over our results from our DNA test.

If you have no idea what the DNA testing is, listen to this podcast first: The ultimate blueprint for better health. I’ve time coded the bullet points so can you jump straight to the bits that interest you most in the video if you’re short on time.

For more information on getting the DNA test. Click here.

Download or subscribe to us on iTunes here.

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

180 Recipes: High protein summer berry parfait

high protein recipeBy 180 Nutrition

When Caroline sent me this delicious high protein dessert recipe to my inbox, I must admit I had to look up ‘parfait’. Not a term we used often back in the valleys of Wales.

But I now know it’s French for ‘perfect’. And I can honestly vouch that this simple recipe deserves it’s ‘parfait’ title, as this high protein dessert is simply delicious!

You can also freeze this combination and take it to work in a small tupperware container for an afternoon snack. Or even have it frozen  as it’s a bit like a chocolate berry ice cream, only healthier! And if you don’t eat dairy, you can try this recipe here…Dairy free coconut mousse.  More