Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.
Guy:I’m certainly not one to dramatise content and blog posts just to grab peoples attention, but when you hear what some food manufacturers are up to, it really does give you the sh**ts!
I think our take home message from this weeks 2 minute gem video is this; you really do have to be proactive when it comes to your own health.
We spend an hour with one of Australia’s leading nutritionists, as we tap into all her experience on how we can achieve greater health and longer lives.
Our special guest today is Cyndi O’Meara. Not your typical nutritionist, Cyndi disagrees with low-fat, low-calorie diets, believes chocolate can be good for you. Amazingly, she has never taken an antibiotic, pain-killer or any other form of medication her whole life! The one thing that was clear from this podcast is that she is a passionate, determined and a wealth knowledge. Sit back and enjoy as she shares with us how she helps others improve their quality of life so they too can enjoy greater health and longer lives.
Full Interview: Achieving Greater Health & Longer Lives. What I’ve learnt so far…
In This Episode:
Where we are going wrong from a nutritional stand point
With so many ‘diets’ out there, where the best place to start is
The simplest nutritional changes that make the greatest difference on our health
Hey, this is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition and welcome to today’s health sessions. Today, we have an awesome guest here in store. I know we always say that but it’s true. She is Cindy O’Meara. I believe she is one of Australia’s leading nutritionists and she often appears on TV and radio and has a massive amount of experience, and get this, at 54 years old, I think she’s an amazing example of health. She’s never taken an antibiotic, a painkiller or any other form of medication her whole life.
I think that’s incredible and she certainly got a lot of energy and a lot of knowledge and it was awesome to tap into that for an hour today. We get into some fascinating topics. The big one that stands out in my mind is deceitful food labeling. Some of the things that are going on with manufacturers is quite jaw dropping and scary. Looking back as well, this is why we started 180 in the first place and the 180 Superfood because I was working with cancer patients with weight training programs and we couldn’t access any really decent supplementation back then, especially protein and whole foods, making them much more accessible for them anyway.
That’s where 180 started if you didn’t know. Anyway, so we get into food labeling lies. The first place to start with all this information out there, Paleo, Keto, Mediterranean, low carb, I’ve always got confused out now. She really simplifies it and how to work out what’s best for yourself and where to go first if you are struggling with them things. We tap into her own daily habits and philosophies on life as well because she’s in such amazing shape.
It was great for her to share her bit of wisdom on all that too. I have no doubt you’ll enjoy. The internet connection does drop in and out slightly here and there but all and all, it’s all good and sometimes it’s beyond our control with Skype but the information is [00:02:00] there and you persevere, you’ll be fine. Thanks for the reviews coming in as well. We had a great one yesterday saying, “Superfood for your years, buy a highway to health.”
It’s always appreciated. I know you’re probably driving a car, walking the dog or whatever it is you’re doing in the gym and you go, “Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. I enjoy the guy’s podcast, I’ll give a review, you know,” and then go and forget about it which is what I would do anyway because I’m pretty forgetful like that. If you do remember, leave us a review. They’re greatly appreciated and we read them all and yeah, they help us get this message out there.
If you’re enjoying it, that’s all I ask. Anyway, let’s go over to Cindy, this is another great podcast. Enjoy. Okay, let’s go. Hi, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke. Hi Stu.
Stuart Cooke: Hello mate.
Guy Lawrence: Our fantastic guest today is Cyndi O’Meara. Cindy, welcome to the show.
Cyndi O’Meara: Thank you.
Guy Lawrence: Look, with all our guests that come on, we generally end up intensively looking into the guests more as the interview gets closer. I’ve been listening to a lot of your podcasts over the last few days and it’s clear that you’re very passionate and knowledgeable, so I’m hoping to extract a little bit of that and get it into today’s show. It’s a pleasure to have you on; I really appreciate it.
Cyndi O’Meara: Yeah, no worries.
Guy Lawrence: Just to start, have you always been into nutrition? Is this or has this been a thing that’s evolved over time? Where did it all start for you Cyndi?
Cyndi O’Meara: Well, I’m from a fairly different family you could say. My dad was a pharmacist who then, after 6 years of pharmacy, realized that, and this was in the 50s, realized that pharmacy wasn’t the way to health. He went from New Zealand to the USA and went to Palmer College of Chiropractic, he became a chiropractor. He learnt the difference between mechanism, philosophy and vitalistic philosophy and had us kids and chose never to give us medications unless it was a life [00:04:00] threatening situation.
We ate well, we had an outdoor lifestyle; we just lived a different life. We never went to the doctors unless I broke a bone. I remember going twice because I broke bones. I’m 55 and I’ve never had any medications, no antibiotics, Panadols or anything. Then he gave us a really outdoor lifestyle, travelling and we traveled 3 months around the world, we skied, we went skiing a lot. When I got a love for skiing, I thought, “Well, I don’t want to go to university. I want to ski.”
Then someone said to me, “Well, why don’t you go to a university that’s [inaudible 00:04:36] skiing?” and I went, “Well, that’s a good idea.” They don’t exist in Australia so I had to go to the University of Colorado in Boulder and that is where my life changed. I did pre-med and had one of my classes that went for the 12 month period was with a gentleman by the name of Dr. Van Guven. He taught me cultural anthropology and anthropology.
I realized that food had a lot to do with the way we evolved. If it wasn’t for food, we’d be dead. If it wasn’t for hunter gatherers, our agriculturalists, our herders, our pastoralists, we would never have survived and it was our adaptation to the environment that we were living in that enables us to do that. That’s what I learned, so I went, “Yey! I’m going to be a dietician.”
I came back to Australia and studied nutrition at Deakin University and didn’t agree with anything, not one thing. I just went, “Oh, I can’t be a dietician. This is just ridiculous. They don’t … They’re teaching margarine, they’re thinking low fat.” We didn’t do low fat. Meat’s bad for you, this is bad for you and I just went, “I can’t do it.” They wanted me to feed jelly to sick patients and even the pig feeds were made of high fructose corn syrup and I just couldn’t do it.
I thought, “Well, I’ll go back to university and I’ll become a chiropractor.” I went back to university, did 2 years [00:06:00] of human anatomy, cut up cadavers for that whole time and went, “Hmm, it’s not the dead ones that I really care about. It’s actually the live ones.” It was a result of realizing my knowledge of the human body and my cultural anthropology and all of that just came together and I went, “I know what the human body needs.”
I set up practice as a nutritionist and did the opposite to everybody else. That was 33 years ago.
Guy Lawrence: Wow.
Stuart Cooke: Excellent.
Guy Lawrence: That was very radical back then as well, 33 years ago.
Cyndi O’Meara: Oh yeah. I think goodness … Nutrition wasn’t big back then. It’s not like it is now. You see Pete Evans get absolutely slaughtered because he says, “Eat real food.” Back in those days, there were 20 girls that I went to school with and they just followed the guidelines. I was just a little pimple, I wasn’t annoying anybody until I started to write for the Sunshine Coast Daily and then I annoyed everybody.
That was a lot of fun. 2 years of letters to the editors, suing by food companies, all the usually stuff-
Guy Lawrence: The usual stuff.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, that somebody like me would get. That was the early 90s and then by late 90s, I wrote my book Changing Habits, Changing Lives. Nobody wanted it so I self published it in ’98 and then it just went from strength to strength and now I run a company. There’s 20 people in this building so hopefully, they won’t make a noise, I’ve warned them all. We now have a food company, we have an education company, we’re about to put out a documentary because food’s big, nutrition’s big.
People realize what we’re doing is not working and we need to do something different. We have a lot of sick people in the world and I’m on a bit of a crusade to go, “Hey, there’s another way. We don’t have to live like this,” and it’s the philosophy of vitalism which is the human body is intelligent. It has the resource … If you give it the right resources [00:08:00] and stop interfering with it, it has the ability to heal and to stay healthy through prevention. Yeah, so that’s in a nutshell.
Stuart Cooke: Amazing.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. No, that’s an awesome story and I can see that you’re super passionate. From a nutritional standpoint, and everybody has … Much like religion and politics, everybody has got their own opinion on nutrition, “Got to eat this way to get these gains.” In your opinion, where are we going wrong right now?
Stuart Cooke: Look, I think we’re looking at science a little bit too heavily. I look to science to back up anything that I’m thinking at the time, but in the end, I look at culture and tradition. I look at how did we survive millions of years without science, adapt to the environment, survive, all the things that have been thrown at us from volcanic eruptions with heavy metals being spilt onto our environment to having to adapt to a changing world?
I have a philosophy of vitalism, so looking at the body as an intelligent, innate presence and then I look at food in exactly the same way, that it’s intelligent. Then with the help of cultural anthropologies and the vast array of different foods that we can we can survive on, I then go and look for science that may be able to help me back up these claims because everybody is into science, evidence based. I hear it all the time but you what I’ve learnt is that you can absolutely look at all the science out there and it’s all opposing.
That really depends on who’s funding, who has a theory and they have a passion about it and they want to get that theory out there such as Ancel Keys [00:10:00] in the 1960s who started the low fat. My thing is that we’ve just thrown culture and tradition out and we’re just looking at science. When we look at epidemiological studies, we’re actually really not doing an exact science, we’re just doing it, “Oh. Well, this population does this then they get these problems so that must be the issue.”
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Just thinking now to go on from that, we’re very fortunate because we’re absolutely involved in the nutritional space. Everyone I speak to, myself and Stu, we’re bouncing all these theories off and we delve into it and podcasts every week is awesome. Obviously, there’s a lot of people out there that it’s not their thing, they’re very busy and they just want to scratch the surface; make simple changes.
Then when you go to look at where to start, we’re bombarded. We’ve got Paleo, primo, low carb, high carb, ketosis-
Stuart Cooke: Keto.
Guy Lawrence: Keto is another one and all of a sudden, it’s like, “Well, they’re all claiming to be right. Where do I start? How do I do it?” and even in the messages because everyone seems to have good intentions as well, it’s getting lost still. What would your advice be to somebody listening to this going, “Oh okay,” they’re confused on where to start?
Cyndi O’Meara: Well, I doubt that anybody eating McDonald’s hamburgers is listening to you right now. I really doubt that, okay?
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, I hope not.
Cyndi O’Meara: I’m thinking for the person who’s out there that is eating that way and has no awareness about their body or what they’re consuming, they’re probably not listening. The people that are listening to you are probably people that are well educated and have a fair idea of they need to make some changes. If they’re in crisis, then they have to do crisis care nutrition.
If they’re not in crisis and they’re just looking at, “Hey, I need to make some changes, [00:12:00]” well, I recommend … I wrote the book Changing Habits, Changing Lives. That was back in 1998 and it’s about looking at one aspect of your pantry and swapping it for a better quality, organic ingredient. Just let’s look at salt, so I go, “Let’s throw away the white salt which …” And I explain exactly what they do to white salt, what iodine that they put into it.
Then what I do is that I then say, “Well, there’s a better quality salt out there.” Let’s say over 52 weeks, they do 1 pantry item, they will revolutionize their pantry. They will start to use the right ingredients in order to be well. Because it’s really hard to say, “Let’s just throw everything out of the pantry and let’s start again,” because then they go back to their old ways. For me, it’s about getting quality ingredients into the pantry to begin with, realizing that nobody can cook a food like you can and because at the moment, I’m rewriting my book Changing Habits, Changing Lives.
I’m looking at the food industry really intensely. You know, since I wrote the book in ’98 and then I did another edition in 2000 and another edition in 2007, so this is only 8 years on, they’re getting sneaky, they’re so sneaky. They’re doing this thing called clean labeling where they’re changing the name of the ingredient so they don’t have to put a number on it. For instance, BHA and BHT is an antioxidant that’s produced by the food industry. People are on the lookout for it. They know that it cause health issues.
Well, they’ve now renamed it rosemary extract or extract rosemary. That sounds better, doesn’t it?
Guy Lawrence: Oh, [crosstalk 00:13:45] that sounds like something I would actually quite like to consume.
Cyndi O’Meara: Yeah. Well, I saw. I first saw it on breakfast cereal quite a few years and I’m like, “Okay, something’s fishy here. I don’t trust them.” I’ve never trusted breakfast cereal makers but I definitely … When I saw that [00:14:00], I went, “What’s rosemary extract?” so I went looking. When I found this new thing they’re doing, it’s clean labeling. I think number 1, become educated. Do not trust the food industry to tell you what is happening.
Another thing they’re doing is they’re using this new thing called NatureSeal and they don’t have to put it on the ingredients and you know why? Because it’s part of the processing of the food, so if-
Guy Lawrence: Could you repeat the … What was it called? Nature-
Cyndi O’Meara: It’s called NatureSeal.
Guy Lawrence: NatureSeal.
Stuart Cooke: It’s NatureSeal, and so what it does is if you cut an apple and put NatureSeal in the processing of it and put it in a plastic bag, it will last 3 weeks. It won’t go brown, it won’t go off, nothing will happen to it. The makers of NatureSeal go, “Oh, it’s just a bunch of, you know, citrus and vitamins and minerals.” Now, finding the ingredients wasn’t easy. I had to go to the [Paint 00:15:02] office in order to find exactly what they’re putting in NatureSeal.
They make up these stories, the food industry are no smarter. They just go, “Aah! 3 weeks and my apples are going to survive.” We just put it in packaging, they don’t put it on lettuce so you wonder why you’re lettuce is lasting forever, [inaudible 00:15:20] NatureSeal on it. They don’t have to put it on the ingredient list. For me, it’s about you have to be a savvy consumer these days and I’m more into the 1 ingredient pantry.
I have … All my pantry is just nuts and seeds and grains. I’m not against grains. In actual fact, I’m doing a documentary called What’s With Weight? What’s happening to it, why are we having problems with it? My 1 ingredient pantry is just herbs and spices and nuts and seeds and cacao and salts and sugars. I’m not against sugar. We needed sugar to survive, we needed carbohydrates to [00:16:00] survive, but if I have somebody in an emergency situation and nutritionally, I have to make drastic changes there.
Let’s just talk about the common man or woman out there that just wants to improve their health. Number 1, become educated, know what they’re doing to your food. Number 2, clean out your pantry and bit by bit, swap different ingredients for high quality ones. In my industry, in my foods, I call them faucet foods. They are the foods that are organic, sustainable, ethical and you can trust me because if it’s not in my pantry, it’s not on my warehouse and I’m pointing out there because my warehouse is out there.
I don’t put a food in because I know it’s going to make money. I put a food in because I want it in my pantry and I want the best and I learn. When I go looking for a food, sometimes it takes me years to find a food. When I go looking, I go like, “Let’s take that.” This is one that we’ve just brought into our foods. Do you know that they pollinate dates with the pollen, so they have to get the pollen, but they add wheat to it to distribute it over the trees so that they pollinate; so that they don’t have to hand pollinate each one. They just do a blanket spray of wheat and pollen.
A lot of celiacs can’t eat dates these days because of what’s happening. This is where we start to learn, when we go looking for food. Another one we bought out recently, we bought out camu camu a couple of years ago. The people that we were buying the camu camu on said, “Well, why don’t you put it in a capsule and we’ll send you the ingredients of the capsule?” They send me the ingredients of the capsule which they said is a gelatin capsule and I read the ingredients and I went, “You’re serious? There’s probably glycol in here?”
It’s like, “Probably glycol has been taken out of medications in the USA because it causes liver and kidney and kidney damage [00:18:00] and you’re putting a perfectly beautiful food into that?” These are the things that I learn and every food that I have purchased to go into my kitchen, to then give to my family and friends and then to a community, is thoroughly investigated. If it doesn’t match up to what I want, then it doesn’t go into our food supply.
Guy Lawrence: It’s so scary. You have to take quick responsibility in your hands and move forward and it’s time consuming, that’s the thing. It made me think about the posts we put up, Stu, last night on Facebook. We put a photograph up and it’s the new health star ratings, I think from the government.
Cyndi O’Meara: Oh, do you want to just shoot me now?
Guy Lawrence: No. We put a photo of them. We had the organic coconut oil at .5 out of 5 and the Up and Go Breakfast, Liquid Breakfast was 4.5 out of 5. It was good to see everyone was just absolutely disgusted last night, so people are savvy too. Again, I guess it’s our audience listening that are already onto it. There are people out there sadly, they’re …
Stuart Cooke: I think really one of the take-home messages must be that … And we always talk about eat like our grandparents used to eat. It’s simple whole food ingredients because they are going to be, you would think, less altered and less processed and products. I think as a general step, if you can move towards the whole food items and eat less processed food, then you’ve got to be on the right track.
Again, I was interested Cyndi, especially your changing habits, we are by our very nature, creatures of habit. We’re very habitual and how can we change our habits when we’re used to getting up in the morning, spending 2 minutes pouring in our cereal at breakfast time. Because we know that even … People out there are still smoking. They know what cigarettes do to our health but it’s so engrained in their daily habits [00:20:00] that they can’t get out of it.
A lot of our friends know the right thing to do but they’re creatures of habits and they just don’t … So how can we tackle the habitual side of things?
Cyndi O’Meara: We’re not going to change everybody, that’s what I’ve learnt but you can change the people who are willing to make a change. People that are willing to make the change are people in crisis. That will be number 1. They’re in such a crisis that if they don’t make a change, then they’re not going to be able to get up in the morning to even pour their breakfast cereal. The other people that make the change, and these are the ones that I love, I love this group of people out there, and they’re mothers who have sick children.
Because of the choices that they have made perhaps or the choices that the food industry have made for them or what our governments are making for us as far as the amount of chemicals that are being sprayed on our sports fields, on our playgrounds. Mothers will move mountains to save their children. I see it over and over again and you know what? They’re the ones that I look out and I go, “I can help you,” but if I have somebody who’s smoking and doesn’t want to give up smoking, I just go, “Well, there’s nothing I can do for you.”
Let me give you a really good example. I swim with a very intelligent man. He’s a emergency care medical doctor. He has an autoimmune disease and when I met him a year ago, I said to him, “You know there’s a lot we can do with nutrition and autoimmunity now.” Now, he’s in crisis by the way guys, he’s not … He’s about to have another hip replacement, it’s not good what’s happening but he’s an intelligent, amazing man.
I gave him Terry Wahls book, The Wahls Protocol because I think, “Medical doctor, he’ll relate,” so he reads it and I said, “What are you thinking?” He’s at page 70 at this point and he goes, “Oh, it’s not a priority Cyndi. [00:22:00] I haven’t finished the whole book.” Okay, so I go, “Oh okay, okay, cool, cool, cool.” Then he gets to about 140, page 140 and I say to him, “So what are you thinking,” and he goes, “I’m not giving up ice cream.”
Guy Lawrence: Wow. Yeah, right.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Cyndi O’Meara: Then I spoke to him the other day and I said to him, “You know, and I noticed you’re limping.” He goes, “Yeah, bad engineering.”
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, it’s very, very tricky and you … [crosstalk 00:22:27] trigger foods and they just don’t want to … They don’t want to let them go and often times, it’s the trigger foods that are really holding people back.
Cyndi O’Meara: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: His pain isn’t great enough yet, that’s the problem.
Cyndi O’Meara: I don’t know how it’s not great enough. I text him last night because we swim together and we were going to do ins and outs this morning at 6am. I text him, I said, “Are we doing ins and outs? You’re bringing Bonny?” Bonny is our buoy that we swim out to and he went, “Oh, my hip was really bad.” Now for him to miss swimming and to miss coffee with our group of friends, it’s not something that he likes to do.
I don’t know what else I can say to him. He’s not somebody I’m going to change I don’t think so I have to work on the people that want to change. They will change their habits. You don’t have to hit them over the head. They’re going, “What’s my next step? What do I need to do next?” For the people who are listening out there that are not in crisis or are not a mom, then it’s a step by step process.
Educate yourself on what breakfast cereals are doing to your body, educate yourself on how they make breakfast cereals and the way of excreting it is no longer the way Kellogg’s did it back in the 20s and 30s. It’s very different. They had vitamins and minerals. One, you can pull out with a magnet called iron. I’m not sure you’re meant to do that with the food that we eat but I’ve actually tried that with carrot and green beans and things like that, but I can’t seem to be able to get it out with a magnet but I can with the breakfast cereal.
They make the B1 from acetone. Who [00:24:00] makes vitamin B1 from acetone? You just have to become educated. You have to understand what they’re doing and we think because it’s fortified, it’s a good thing. To me, if I see anything fortified, I do not touch it because I don’t know how they’ve made the supplement or the fortification. Naan bread is folic acid and iodine, must be fortified with those 2.
Well folic acid, your body has to convert to folate. It’s synthetically made and iodine is mined out of a mine out of Japan, comes to Australia in these big barrels and on it, says, “Warning, dangerous to your eyes, to your skin, to this.” Yes, it’s in great amounts but-
Guy Lawrence: Could just explain what fortified is and why they do it as well just for any listeners that might not be familiar?
Cyndi O’Meara: Okay, so back in the 1930s, 1940s after the depression and the war, they recognized that there was some mineral deficiencies and vitamin deficiencies, so with pellagra and beriberi and diseases like this. They thought if they added that to the flour, then they could help, so it was for diseases. Now, I just think it’s something that we’ve always done so let’s continue to do it. We’re not using probably the vitamins that we used back in the 20s and 30s and 40s.
We’re using something that chemistry has figured out how to replicate nature, so they think. They fortify it with vitamins, with minerals, mainly just vitamins and minerals are fortified [inaudible 00:25:37]. Then they think that the population is eating breakfast cereals or drinking milk so they might fortify it with vitamin D but where is that vitamin D coming from?
It’s something that we’ve been doing for a long time but it was first for actual diseases. Now, it’s just, “Well, we’ll just throw it in because it’s no longer in the food.” There’s nothing in white flour anymore. It’s completely [00:26:00] gone and it’s a destitute food and so they go, “Oh, well put nice in and iodine in, [inaudible 00:26:07] and thiamine and we’ll throw some iron in there,” and so they throw everything out then they go, “Oh, we’ll just replace it now.”
Stuart Cooke: A marketer’s dream as well of course because you’ve got these beautiful slogans on the front of the packets that tell you how helpful these products are and we’re drawn to this kind of stuff.
Cyndi O’Meara: Yeah, and there’s a whole aisle dedicated to the stuff.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Cyndi O’Meara: Seriously? Who eats that stuff? Really?
Stuart Cooke: You see these foods now slowly moving away from the cereal aisles into the … What used to be very small health food aisles which very few people used to ponder. Now of course, they’re infiltrating.
Cyndi O’Meara: Oh. You’re going to love this, so I went to the health food aisle just recently and I took a photo of one food in there and it was the gluten free food. Let me just see, so I’ve got my phone so I’m just going to see if I can get it. Okay, so here we go. This is the original Freelicious Cracker. Okay, so it’s made up of maize starch, rice flour, organic palm oil thickener (1422). I think that comes from wheat actually, so it’s gluten free anyway, egg white not egg, and you know why?
Because they take the yolk out for other things, I don’t want to spoil that with egg yolk, it’s too expensive. Pregelatinized rice flour, emulsifier (lecithin from sunflower), sugar, salt, thickener (guar gum), raising agents (sodium bicarbonate, ammonium, hydrogen bicarbonate), dextrose, natural flavor, rosemary extract which we know is BHA and BHT. I find it hysterical, I really do. I’m just going through them. Here’s another one.
This is in the health food aisle. [00:28:00] This one is … I don’t even know what this one was. Oh, this is … It’s a cookie, so gluten free flour, tapioca starch, starch, it’s not even tapioca. In my new Changing Habits, Changing Lives, I talk about starch and how they make it, rice flour, potato starch, it’s not potato flour, it’s potato starch, modified tapioca starch, dextrose, thickeners (466464), emulsifier (471), vegetable gums … Do you want me to keep going? It’s just goes line after line.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Cyndi O’Meara: Natural color, flavor, preservative … This is in the health food aisle and there’s another flavor and then there’s another flavor. I mean we’re duped.
Stuart Cooke: It’s a marketers dream because essentially, it’s just a problem. How can we make this Frankenfood look so beautifully healthy? Of course they’ve got a team of people, “Well, that’s easy. Leave it to us.” I’ve been a graphic designer for 25 years and if I really wanted to, I could do that. I could come up with the slogans and the logos and the beautiful colors that depict the farmer carrying the basket and it’s all they think about I guess.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, that’s all they care about.
Stuart Cooke: It’s just a joke.
Cyndi O’Meara: There’s an old movie and my dad used to tell me about it. He’s a really, very wise 87 year old. Very healthy, takes the occasional medication so he’s not on [inaudible 00:29:25], lives by himself, still adjusts as a character, he’s amazing. He said to me, “There was an old movie out called The Piano Man and it was about a man who comes into town that creates a problem and then he has the solution to the problem.” What I find is that we are creating problems all the time and then finding the solution.
Do we really have the problem in the first place? The first problem they had was salt, it causes hypertension. Salt was taken out of everything, everything was low salt. Second thing was fat’s a problem. Was it really a problem? Not really but anyway, fat was a problem, everything went low [00:30:00] fat. Then we found trans fats and then now the industry is saying, “Oh, trans fats are bad,” makes me laugh.
Since 1978, we’ve known trans fats were bad but it was only 2007 when the Heart Foundation went, “Ooh, trans fats are a problem guys. We’d better stop … We’d better stop advocating it.” Then fats became a problem, everything went low fat. They found a solution to the problem we really never had and now sugar and carbohydrates are a problem.
Stuart Cooke: That’s right.
Cyndi O’Meara: The ketogenic diet was a diet that we had throughout evolution in order to survive a bad summer or a bad growing season where there was no sugar available and only lean meats because the cows didn’t have anything to eat. They were really skinny and they had lean meats. Sugar was there to tell the human body that it’s a great season, we can have babies.
All the tests on ketogenic diets are done on men, not women. Women go into infertility, intimate infertility, not permanent but intimate infertility in the ketogenic diet because that was the way nature intended us to survive as human beings. Who needs a pregnant woman when there’s no food available in the winter? She would die, she would not survive and neither would the baby.
I don’t have a problem with ketogenic diet but people have to realize that the ketogenic diet is actually a survival diet for evolution. It wasn’t something that we lived on for years and years. We lived on it periodically in order to survive so that we could use ketones, not sugar because sugar wasn’t available, but we could use those ketones. If sugar never came, then we would just live on those ketones although we would be fat burners, not sugar burners and as a result, we [00:32:00] wouldn’t lay down fat.
As a result, lactone wouldn’t be increased in our body which is the master hormone to say, “Hey, let’s have some fun. We can have a baby.” The ketogenic diet is brilliant for epilepsy, for Alzheimer’s, for … We’ve realized the importance of the ketogenic diet for certain populations.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, for when they’re in crisis a lot of time.
Cyndi O’Meara: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: It’s interesting as well because people are … We’re very much now in the environment where people are crashing themselves with exercise and they’re pulling the carbohydrates out of their diet and you are seeing hormonal issues, especially with females as well where they’re skipping periods and just things are crashing for them. It’s a very good point.
Cyndi O’Meara: Yeah. It’s natural, it’s what the body has to do. It doesn’t know it’s living in 2015. It could be living in BC, long BC because genetically … Like the Paleo all talk about this, they all go, “Well, we haven’t adapted in 40,000 years you know? We adapted 1.5 million years ago and we haven’t adapted in 40,000 years.” Genetically, we don’t have to adapt. What has to adapt is our microbiome.
It can adapt every day to your different food choices if you don’t destroy it. Yeah, I just find that … Let’s just get back to normal eating. Let’s just get back to the way we used to eat. Just don’t think that there’s a panaceum like a macro-nutrient out there such as protein, fats or sugar that is your issue. What your issue is is that we’re in a state right now where our children are getting sicker, even adults are getting sicker.
I don’t know, and I’ve interviewed 14 people [00:34:00] about this and the question was, “Have we gone past the point of no return? Is our microbiome so destroyed that we have no hope of getting past this where our kids can’t even drink mother’s milk? Are we at that point?” Half of them said, “No, I don’t think so Cyndi. We have a resilience, we can change.” The other half were very, very like, “Not sure, not sure if we can get out of this.”
This all started in the 1930s when arsenic was starting to be sprayed on the cornfields in US, let’s say Iowa, USA. That was to destroy a grasshopper plague that was decimating the corn and the wheat in the Midwest. The use of chemicals after World War 2 such as DDT, were then sprayed on the corn fields and the wheat fields. Whenever, I think it was Jane Goodall, said, “Whoever thought that it was okay to grow food with poison?”
My grandmother’s from the cornfields of Iowa and I look at … She lived into her 90s, so my mother was born in 1937 when they were starting to spray arsenic. My sister was born when they were still spraying DDT in the 50s and both my mother and my sister have passed away. My sister got an autoimmune disease at 25, my mom got lung cancer, and never smoked a day in her life, in her 60s.
I look at the destruction of the microbiome through each successive generation. I was fortunate that I was born in Australia and my father was a New Zealander and my brother was born in Australia. The 3 of us seems to have really done well as opposed to what was happening back there. I think [00:36:00] what we could have done 30 years ago when I first started nutrition was just get people off a junk food diet on a real food diet, worked. These days, it’s not working as well and in the last 5 years, I’ve just noticed a huge crisis. I think-
Guy Lawrence: It’s like we’ve gone and messed up almost every aspect there is to be messed up and it’s gotten us in a whole world of trouble and yeah, is the task can we turn it around and actually, going forward for the next generation? I mean I still think the most proactive thing you can do is vote with the money you spend on your food every week and your shopping pool and actually start supporting the small businesses, the local farmers and actually stop buying anything that’s produced on a mass scale too. I don’t know how else.
Stuart Cooke: That’s very tricky because we don’t have the money to shop organic, especially those with large families as well. We have to try and do the best we can so it’s a really delicate balance.
Cyndi O’Meara: Look at this, and it’s about priority also. It is about priority, so I don’t know if you’ve seen the movie Homegrown.
Stuart Cooke: Yes.
Cyndi O’Meara: Yeah, it’s brilliant. It’s about this guy who lives in LA and he has basically grown … His whole land is just growing food and he’s got goats and chickens and everything in there and this is the way we used to do it. My grandfather had a garden. My grandfather had 11 children. From his garden, he fed those 11 children in Iowa, USA. My grandmother would get all the produce in the summer.
It grew like mad, it was humid, got all the produce and she would ferment or she would can or bottle [inaudible 00:37:44] and because they had a basement, everything went to the basement. In the winter, when the snow was on the ground and the ground was frozen, they lived off that so [crosstalk 00:37:54]-
Stuart Cooke: Totally, and I remember my grandparents had a garden or an allotment estate.
Guy Lawrence: Allotment, yeah [00:38:00].
Stuart Cooke: My parents, we had potatoes and beans and berries, blackberries down at the bottom of the garden and grew Braeburn apples and almost everyone had a hot house for the tomatoes as well because it gets cold in England. Yeah, that’s where we come from and now of course, it would be crazy. Grow my own vegetables? I could just purchase them.
Cyndi O’Meara: Well, you saw Michelle Bridges, she thinks we’re all freaks.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Cyndi O’Meara: You know, seriously? That’s the attitude that we’re up against when people like us that are talking this way. There’s a town in England that’s an edible town. Have you heard of it?
Guy Lawrence: No.
Stuart Cooke: No, I haven’t.
Cyndi O’Meara: Yeah. It’s called the edible town and about 8 years ago, this woman, Pam Warhurst, just went … Didn’t have a committee, didn’t care about what the council thought, we just started to plant trees that would produce food. Now, it’s very famous and it’s called the edible town and you can watch it on the TED video, ted.com and just look up edible town, Pam Warhurst and watch it. It’s just … I get goose bumps, just thinking … Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, and it’s just all doable as well. That’s the thing. we have the conditions to grow our own food and it doesn’t have to be costly, it just has to grab a little bit of our time and we can do it. I’ve got a question for you. Now, you’re almost the ultimate food detective and I heard a great phrase and I think it came from Sarah Wilson where, “We can’t unlearn what we’ve learned.”
You know all of this stuff and you’re a super sleuth where ingredients are concerned. Do you have any nutritional no-nos, so foods that you simply will not consume if you’re out and about and you’re at dinner parties or barbecues or in a restaurant? What foods would you avoid at all costs?
Cyndi O’Meara: How much time do we have? [00:40:00]
Stuart Cooke: About 20 seconds.
Cyndi O’Meara: I think that answers your question. I have a lot of no-nos, a lot and I like going to restaurants that I know the chefs will feed me single ingredient foods and I do travel by the way. Then when I travel, I look up … Pete Evans taught me this. He says, “Don’t look for the best restaurant, look for the philosophy of the chef,” and so that’s what I do. If I’m going to go somewhere and I don’t know a restaurant or something like that, I’ll … Look, people hate me.
I woke into a restaurant and I’ll ask questions and I’ll walk out if it’s not what I want. Yeah, Pete taught me that. Pete just said, “Find the philosophy of the chef and if they are a chef that is not a gastro-” what do they call it? Gastron … Whatever, the ones that use chemicals, those ones which you can pay $1,000 a head to go to these restaurants, I’ve seen them. I’m really [inaudible 00:41:02] figured that one, I’ll just go to a place down the road that just does meat and veggie for me.
I have a lot of non-negotiables and they’re all basically additives, preservatives, flavorings, margarines, hydro generated vegetable oil, interesterified fats, [inaudible 00:41:19] fats, homogenized milk, some pasteurized milks, skim trim, [red shape 00:41:23]. Would you like me to go on with fine foods?
Stuart Cooke: I think we’ll stop you there, that’s all.
Guy Lawrence: The scary thing is is that I know people mostly dieters are consuming them foods.
Cyndi O’Meara: I don’t know what’s better.
Guy Lawrence: You know?
Cyndi O’Meara: I want to live the best life I can. I want to be energetic. When my grandchildren come, I want to be on the floor with them. That-
Stuart Cooke: No, that’s exactly right. Yeah, and it’s about being the best version of yourself. We’ve got time on the planet, let’s try and make the most of it.
Guy Lawrence: 100% and it’s nice waking up in the morning feeling [00:42:00] good and ready to bring on the day. Yeah, I constantly think about it because I made the changes.
Cyndi O’Meara: I can hardly wait [inaudible 00:42:08].
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, I probably-
Cyndi O’Meara: I can hardly wait [inaudible 00:42:09].
Cyndi O’Meara: I can hardly wait to get up in the morning. It’s just like … I’m going, “Let me go to bed so I can get up in the morning,” because then I get to go for my swim and I get to enjoy the sunrise or … And people don’t live like that. They can’t get up out of bed, they’re tired, they drag themselves around. It’s so sad and most people have just got these blinkers on and they probably think, “Oh my God! She must live such a boring life, you know? She has these non-negotiables. Oh, no. I don’t know, far from it.”
Guy Lawrence: They’re missing out. With all that in mind, I can bring in another aspect that we haven’t spoken about yet and be interested to get your views on it is emotional stress and how much that affects our general health. What’s your take on that because-?
Cyndi O’Meara: Yeah, food’s just part of it. I love that and my dad is the ultimate chiropractor, a chiropractor who will fix everything. That’s his belief whereas my [inaudible 00:43:14] is that we have to look back to our cultures and traditions. We have to look at what our evolutionary body needs. Most people are in the sympathetic dominance. They are constantly in fight or flight.
They never have a downtime. They’re [melons 00:43:33] are always going, they’re emotional bankrupt and I think when you are aware of this and you’re aware of certain things that are happening in your body and you know you’re in sympathetic dominance, you need to back off. Many people are hunched over, so they’re hunched over ready to fight or flee. They’re hunched all the time on our computers. I guess it’s really important [00:44:00] to sit up.
We have constant life sources, so there was a time when we had [inaudible 00:44:07], draw away all your life sources that no computers or phones or anything like that. Have some downtime. Who needs a TV these days? Really, TV is boring. I think that there were a lot of other things that were involved in sympathetic dominance and if we can calm all of that down and know how to calm it down and not be in that fight or flight, and doing things for our evolutionary bodies such as sleep and movement and relationships and connections and face to face.
Here we are, I know I’m seeing you on a screen but it’s so much nicer to be around somebody and that’s really important, that face connection because that’s how we lived as hunter gatherers and agriculturists. I actually look at the hunter gatherer, the agriculturalist, the pastoralist, the herder and I look at the life that they lived and we are so lucky that we can glimpse into these people that are still living traditional lives such the Kyrgyz of Pamir, up on the Afghanistan belt, they live at 14,000 feet.
The Hadzas, the Himbas, the Hunzas, the Dani of Papua New Guinea, there are people that are living this way and we can get a glimpse into how they have survived, so emotion is a big part of it. We look at our whole life as opposed to … And we live vitalistically as opposed to mechanistically where we just look at diet or we just look at movement or we just look at sleep patterns so yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah
Guy Lawrence: What-
Stuart Cooke: You mentioned holistically as well, so we’ve spoken about diet and we’ve spoken about stress, [00:46:00] so movement. What do you do? What do you do for exercise?
Cyndi O’Meara: I’m not your go-out-and-run-100-miles. It just bores me to tears. I have a girlfriend who is the 24 hour marathon champion, and don’t’ get that at all, but then she doesn’t get what I do and I love to swim. I ocean swim so-
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, that’s us too.
Cyndi O’Meara: Yeah, I just get into the ocean every day. I come down to Sydney and I swim with the bold and the beautiful. I’ll go down and I’ll swim the crew in Tokeh if I’m down there. Up here, I swim at the Mooloolaba Beach Bums, so swimming is really important. I have a desk, I’m sitting at the moment, I have a desk that rises so I can stand and work. My belief is that we need to be on the move all the time.
We did that as hunter gatherers, agriculturalists and herders, so to get up and down on your desk, to stand up on your desk, get a treadmill. I was listening to Ben Greenfield recently, I don’t know if you follow Ben Greenfield?
Guy Lawrence: [crosstalk 00:47:08] Yeah, I’m aware of Ben.
Cyndi O’Meara: Yeah, so Ben was talking about the Spartan Race and how he trains for the Spartan Race. He’s whole thing is stay moving all day long and then he [inaudible 00:47:20] 30 min intensive. He says that’s how he trains for the Spartan Race which worse than the Iron Man Race and I went, “You know, I’m a person that does that.” I do intensive sometime and then I’ll just move most of the day.
I find that I’m probably fitter than most 30 year olds without having to try. I can run 5k without even training for a 5k race. I’ll just go run it and I think we believe that exercise is something that we should take our time out to do but we don’t think it’s okay to take time out for hunting for foods, gathering [00:48:00] our foods, cooking our foods. Michelle Bridges did it perfectly on that weekend that she did the worst for a part of her life.
She believes that exercise is something that we have to take time out to do, but we can just throw a plastic container full of yeast extract and other things in the microwave, press the button and we’re all cool. To me, that’s the biggest myth of … It’s just [biggest 00:48:33]
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: No, and it is about … There’s a disconnect between how we used to be as kids and how we’re conditioned now because I’ve got 3 young girls and I was watching them-
Cyndi O’Meara: Lucky you.
Stuart Cooke: We’ve got a busy household. These girls, they don’t stop, like they don’t stop. I was innately aware the other day. I was thinking, “You 3 really don’t stop,” and they’re wandering up and down doing hand stands, they’re playing on the floor, they’re lying down. Yesterday, we went to Bronte Park and they said, “Dad, come and take us to the park and come and play with us.”
I thought, “Well, I’m going to do everything that you do for an hour,” so before we hopped in the pool for a swim, I just said, “Right, what should we do.” We were on the monkey bars, we were climbing, we were on the roundabouts, we were racing up and down and today, I feel like I have been worked. It’s just one of those things. We didn’t lift any weights, it wasn’t … No treadmill, it wasn’t exercise, it was just play and it is that deconditioning where we used to just run and be free.
Now, we’re kind of … Like you said, we’re hunched and we’re sitting and we’re immobile but we have to make time for our treadmill session. It’s just let’s get back to where we were and just remember that we can move and we can … We don’t have to be sore if we lay on the ground [00:50:00] because we’re just deconditioned to it. It’s just a mindset I think, isn’t it? [crosstalk 00:50:06]
Cyndi O’Meara: Yeah, and I think it’s awareness because we were not doing this that long ago. It’s only probably in the last 4 decades that we have completely gone off our evolutionary path and most people don’t even realize it’s happened. They think it’s okay to sit in front of the television for 4 hours. They think that you get in your car and you drive to the local store or that you shouldn’t go barefoot because you get parasites.
I’m barefoot until I come to work. I’m barefoot to the beach, coming back from the beach, to the coffee shop. Like all the guys go, “We are all [inaudible 00:50:41] for [inaudible 00:50:42]. We are feeling so sorry for you.” I just think we’ve lost that … I think we have to become aware, become educated and start to play again. I bought a farm and I went up to the farm this weekend to work because I had to finish the 5 hour edit on my documentary.
I’m trying to get it down to an hour and a half. I said to everyone, “I’m going to the farm to work.” “Oh, we’re coming to,” got no work done, no work done whatsoever because it was storm and it was raining. We wanted to go down the bottom of the farm and see the waterfalls. We’re trekking around the farm and there’s leaches everywhere but I noticed my-
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, it’s just fun.
Cyndi O’Meara: It’s just fun. I noticed my son and his girlfriend just throwing each other around the place and I went, “Girls and boys don’t do that anymore.” I noticed that beautiful play that they were doing and tickling each other and I don’t know. I don’t see that anymore and it’s really cool to get them back into nature, into the mud and into the playground at Bronte Park, you know?
Stuart Cooke: Absolutely.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. I’m aware of the time but I will add-
Cyndi O’Meara: Sorry Guy.
Guy Lawrence: No, that’s cool [00:52:00]. It’s awesome because I was listening to your podcast and how you homeschooled your kids and you all went round Australia in a camper van, is that true?
Cyndi O’Meara: Yeah, we did.
Guy Lawrence: That’s just awesome. I got so much inspiration from that. I’m like, “That’s something I’d love to do,” yeah.
Cyndi O’Meara: It was the best years because we homeschooled the children. I didn’t have to get up pluck their hair, put their school uniform on, make sure they had their lunch. They would get up at 6 in the morning and work for 3 hours knowing at 9:00, we could play. They would get up and do it themselves. These were 6 year olds, 9 years olds and 11 year olds, that’s how old they were.
We’re about to leave, the 5 of us and the girlfriends now and the … Your old [inaudible 00:52:44], we’re about to leave for a 4 week skiing vacation just because we go, “Let’s go play. Let’s go and play.” We ice skate, we ski, we trek, we do snow angels, we do road trips. People just don’t do holidays like that. They go to the islands and they sit in the sun. I couldn’t think of anything … Although hiking in the sun … But just, yeah.
I know I could go on and on but I’m not happy that I have inspired some people to go, “Hey, maybe I’m not aware of my body and what’s happening and what foods I should be eating and that I should ground by going barefoot.” I’m not the hippy, I was … You think you’re the hippy but look at me. I dress well.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, exactly, straight from Nimbin.
Cyndi O’Meara: You think?
Stuart Cooke: Like you said, it’s holistic so in order to be able to do all these wonderful things in play, you have to have the energy for that and in order to get the energy for that, you really do have to eat the foods that provide you the energy and you have to get the sleep that, again, affords your body to rest and recuperate to give you the energy to do all these wonderful things. It’s holistic so yeah, absolutely. [00:54:00]
Guy Lawrence: Brilliant. It’s a brilliant message Cyndi, absolutely.
Cyndi O’Meara: Thank you.
Guy Lawrence: Now, we’ve got 2 wrap up questions we ask everyone on the podcast so I thought I’d get into them. The first one is could you tell us what you ate yesterday just to give people an idea or even this morning for breakfast if you’ve had breakfast?
Cyndi O’Meara: Okay. Let me do yesterday’s breakfast because everybody was at the farm. I cooked up, so I laid down lettuce, avocado, tomato, I had made up some pesto and I had just made a tomato chutney, so I laid that out on a plate. Then I fried up some sage, so I had some fresh sage so I fried that up in butter, put that on the plate then I had some leftover pumpkin from the night before so I put some pumpkin. I heated it up and put that on the plate and then I scrambled up some egg with some parsley and put that on the plate.
That was breakfast and then I went to a friend’s place who lives off the grid and is very alternate. I had a late breakfast and for dinner, I had … He made a paella. He’s a medical doctor, a GP, integrative medical doctor. He’s very Keto and Paleo but he made me a paella with rice. I’m like, “Huh, that’s amazing,” and that was with all sorts of sea foods. That was my meal yesterday and I’m not about how much I can eat.
I’m about how little I can eat and still feel amazing. I think to say I need to increase my metabolism so I can eat more, I just think we’re at the wrong end. I would rather eat less and live longer eating more than eating more in a day. I look at sometimes what I eat in a day and it might be just [tart eggs 00:55:48]. I might just feel like tart egg.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, you’re just tuned in and listen to your body and if you’re hungry, you eat and if you’re not, you don’t.
Cyndi O’Meara: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. The last question, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? [00:56:00]
Cyndi O’Meara: When I was 19, I was working for my dad in Bendigo, Victoria as a chiropractic assistant. This lady from Colorado came to me. She was a chiropractor’s wife, oh, and I think she was a chiropractor as well. They were coming and they were … She was … I don’t know where I was but I remember her saying this to me, “You’re a smart girl. What are you doing in a town like this doing nothing with your life?”
She went back to Colorado, showed me where I could ski and the university I needed to go to which was in Boulder and she changed my life. I don’t know where I would be if I didn’t have her make that comment to me. That was a defining moment in my life, very … Yeah. I’m still in touch with her, Katie Felicia was her name and she works in Colorado Springs and I saw her a couple of years ago. Yeah, that was probably it.
Stuart Cooke: Fantastic.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic, yeah. Somebody give you a little budge and it all changes.
Cyndi O’Meara: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: Awesome, and for anyone listening to this, where would be the best place to go to get more of you Cyndi?
Cyndi O’Meara: Just changing habits dot com dot au is my website and there’s everything in there, how you get on Instagram and how you get on Facebook, how you get on Twitter feeds, how to get to the education, what foods I have, my podcasts because we do podcasts. We’ve been going 2½ years now called Up For a Chat. Yeah, it’s all there so [crosstalk 00:57:40].
Guy Lawrence: Perfect. We’ll lead to it all anyway. You mentioned a documentary. When will that be out?
Cyndi O’Meara: That will be out late March next year, so we’ve done all the filming for it. We’re not just in the editing stages and the storytelling and the story, I think it will get a lot of people thinking really about what they’re doing. That’s my [00:58:00] aim, so it’s called What’s With Weight? We have all have a website called What’s With Weight but that’s not up and running yet. That will be the end of March. Get on my feeds and I will tell you what’s happening.
Guy Lawrence: Keep everyone posted, yeah.
Cyndi O’Meara: Yeah. I’ll keep everyone posted including you guys.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. Yeah, let us know.
Stuart Cooke: Please do.
Cyndi O’Meara: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: For sure. If we can help, we will absolutely.
Cyndi O’Meara: Thank you, appreciate it.
Guy Lawrence: Well, that’s it. Thank you very much for coming on the show Cyndi. That was awesome.
Cyndi O’Meara: Thank you.
Guy Lawrence: Really appreciate it.
Stuart Cooke: Yap. Take care and we hope to hook up with you in person outside of the cyber world very soon.
Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.
Guy: I’m sure we can all relate to this… You’re starving hungry, you have no food and you’re stuck in an airport or the city and all you have to choose from is the food court! With a few tweaks and a bit of insider knowledge, you’ll be amazed at what meal you can whip up to get you out of trouble. The key is to know what NOT to eat in this situation.
I have to admit, I was SHOCKED to find out what some of the cafe owners get up to in the pursuit of making their food tasty. But with the nuggets of info’ in this weeks 2 minute gem above you can easily avoid the pitfalls of the food courts and make better meal choices…
Today we welcome entrepreneur, health and fitness enthusiast and top bloke Josh Sparks. Josh is the founder of the hugely successful Thr1ve cafe/restaurant chain, which can be found in most CBD food courts. In a nutshell they make real food, real fast, and it is a place I actively seek out to dine at when I’m in the neighbourhood.
Stu and I had a huge amount of fun with this podcast as we tap into Josh’s wealth of experience when it comes to the food industry, his own personal journey and paleo discoveries and how he stays on top of his own health with his very hectic lifestyle!
Trust me, after listening to this podcast you will be inspired to take action on whatever your own goals or endeavours are :)
Full Interview: Life’s Lessons to Look Feel Perform & Thrive
In This Episode:
The biggest lessons he’s learned since cleaning up his diet
How to navigate your way around a food court to make healthy choices
His daily routines and how he stays in great shape!
Why he enjoys being bad at meditation
What stress and your life’s purpose have in common
Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence at 180 Nutrition and welcome to today’s Health Sessions. I’ve been very much looking forward to today’s guest, because it’s safe to say he is a entrepreneur, but not only that, a very healthy one.
You know, from myself and Stu’s experience in developing and running 180, it’s all well and good us doing podcasts, creating posts, developing new products and all the rest of it. But it can become very stressful and we have to look after our own health at the same time and it can actually be very challenging sometimes.
So, I was very keen to pick today’s guest’s brains, because he does a very good job of that. His name is Josh Sparks and he is the founder of the THR1VE cafeteria chain here in Australia.
Now, if you’re not aware of the THR1VE cafeteria chain, in a nutshell, they do real food, real fast. And if you’re in most CBDs in Australia you can go into a THR1VE café and actually have a really great meal. It’s one of the places that I will seek out and find when I’m in the city, no matter which one it is here in Australia.
You know, Josh’s background; it’s basically 14 years in high-growth leadership roles as CEO in the fashion industry, mainly, of sass & bide, managing director from Urban Outfitters and CEO of Thom Browne in New York, as well.
Whopping amounts of experience, but then he’s gone and taken that and started to develop his own cafeteria chain, which is what we talked to him about today.
He says now he’s been eating, moves and recovers according to the ancestral health principles now for all the last five years and he’s probably fitter and stronger than he was 20 years ago. More importantly what he does stress as well is that his blood markers of health were improved dramatically as well.
So, Josh was consistently astounded, you could say, by the lack of authentic healthy dinning in top areas within the CBDs. So, he helped and did something about it and has created a very, very successful brand about it.
We get to talk about all them things. His own health journey and even what goes on in the food courts, which there were some things he said in there that is quite shocking what can go on.
So, we delve into all of them things, which is fantastic. So, I’m sure you’re going to enjoy.
Now, last but not least, you may be aware that we are, yes, we are live in the USA. So, for all you guys in America that are listening to this podcast, 180 Super Food, you can get your hands on it. You just need to go to 180nutrition.com.
If you’re unsure what it really is; I always tell people it’s a convenient way to replace bad foods, really quickly. So, I generally have a smoothie; I can mix it with a bit of water or coconut water, if I’ve been training, some berries and I normally put a bit of avocado and I make a smoothie. Especially if I’m out and about, going into meetings in the city or whatever and I know I’m stretched from time I will make a big liter of it and sip on it and it gets me through to my next meal.
So, yeah, you can do that. Go over to 180nutrition.com and check it out.
Anyway, let’s go over to Josh and enjoy today’s show. Thanks.
Guy Lawrence: All right. I always get this little turn every time. Anyway …
Hey, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke. Hey, Stewie!
Stuart Cooke: Hello, buddy.
Guy Lawrence: And our awesome guest today is Josh Sparks. Josh, welcome to the show.
Josh Sparks: Thanks guys. Thanks for having me.
Guy Lawrence: Now, look, very excited, mate. I think today’s topics are going to be great. We’re going to certainly want to cover a few things, especially like bringing Mr. Paleo Primal himself over, Mark Sisson, earlier in the year for the THR1VE symposium; which was awesome, by the way.
Josh Sparks: Oh, great.
Guy Lawrence: And of course the THR1VE brand itself and how you’ve taken the food courts kind of head on with the THR1VE cafeteria chain. So, there’ll be lots to discuss, mate, so, very much looking forward to it.
Josh Sparks: I’m excited to be here.
Guy Lawrence: So, before all that, we get into those subjects, what did you used to do before you got in the health industry?
Josh Sparks: Before I did THR1VE?
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Josh Sparks: So, my journey has been a fairly interesting one. I studied law and I worked very briefly in mergers and acquisitions law and decided, as I think many young lawyers do, that law school is not the same as being a lawyer and got out of that fairly promptly.
And then for the bulk of my career, the last 15 years prior to THR1VE, I was in various fashion businesses. So, all retail, I guess THR1VE is a retail, but fashion and lifestyle focus, never food.
So, I was the first CEO of sass & bide, which is an Australian women’s label that some of your listeners may be familiar with. And then I moved to the U.S. and became the CEO of Thom Browne of New York, which is a men’s line in New York. And then I moved to Philadelphia and ran the ecommerce business at Anthropologie, which is part of the Urban Outfitters group.
So, all fashion; tons of fun. You know, the really interesting thing about fashion and I think how it relates to what you guys are doing, and what I’m doing, what any of us are trying to strike out on our own and create a brand is that within the fashion industry what you’re really doing is storytelling. You’re building brands around what is otherwise largely a commodity product. The $30 jeans use the same denim as the $200 jeans.
So, it’s really about the creativity you can bring to the design and the creativity you can bring to the storytelling to really set it apart. So, I think that that’s what I loved about the fashion industry.
On the flip side my personal passion, really my whole life, has been around health and wellness. Every since I was a high school and college athlete, I’ve always been particularly interested in the intersection of training modalities, training methodologies and nutrition and how to best support each and really ultimately the synergy between the two.
But as I got older, while I was doing all this fashion stuff, I think I experienced what so many of us do and I started to … my body wasn’t responding quite the way I wanted and my thinking that you could steer the ship through exercise started to be challenged by the evidence that confronted me in the mirror every morning and on the scales and in the gym and I just wasn’t performing or looking or feeling quite as I did.
So, I started to explore the nutrition side much more actively. Until then, I think like a lot of guys in their 20s and early 30s, it’s much more about training for a while, or at least it was for me and perhaps my generation.
But as I started to explore nutrition, like you guys and like so many in our community, I discovered ancestral health templates. So the Paleo, the Primal, the Weston A Price and started to experiment with reducing processed foods. I mean, it sounds crazy now that this was an experiment, but reducing processed foods, reducing our processed carbs in particular, amping up the veggies. It’s just so incredibly obvious now, but at the time it was a revelation.
So, as I was professionally developing the skill set around branding and marketing and communications and running businesses here and in the U.S., personally I was having this journey of discovery, this very exciting revelation around what we eat and how profoundly it impacts how we feel and perform, whether it’s physically in the gym or whether it’s mentally and emotionally at work, in our relationships, or whatever.
So, it’s really … I guess I just had this light bulb moment of, “How do I connect the two?” This professional experience that I’ve had, what I’ve loved, around the fashion industry with what is a much deeper personal passion to me than the fashion space and that is health and wellness.
And to cut a very long story short, that’s how I came to develop the idea for THR1VE.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right. How long ago was that, Josh?
Josh Sparks: So, I moved back from the U.S. in 2011 and I started working on … I came back and I was consulting in the fashion space here in Australia, in Sydney and Melbourne to Just Group and Gisele and M. J. Bale and a bunch of different brands. And I was doing that really to save money to do my own thing, to do my own brand.
So, I started working on business plans for THR1VE. It would be unrecognizable to you, knowing THR1VE today. My first two business plans were terrible and it was going to be a one-off restaurant. Then it was going to be a home delivery meal system. Then it was going to be a supplement line and then it was going to be … and I didn’t know what I was doing and I was so all over the place. And then I really came back to focus on what I know and love best, which is this premium consumer retail, effectively.
Which in Australia, for food, that is either food courts or one-off cafes and restaurants, and I decided I didn’t want to do a one-off for a number of reasons. But probably most importantly, I wanted to reach as many people as possible. And the café and restaurant scene in Australia is pretty good. You can get some really healthy, yummy meals in a whole bunch of cafes and restaurants in Australia. Even in small town Australia now, you can get some pretty good food in cafes and restaurants.
But the food court, whether it’s in a mall or in an airport or strip retail, you know, a cluster of food outlets in strip retail. Pretty average. Predominately processed, 70 to 80 percent carbohydrates. You know, you walk into a food court; it’s just all carbs. All processed carbs. You know, its bread and pasta and sugar and all sorts of stuff that we know we could probably benefit from eating a lot less of.
So, I saw it as the area of greatest opportunity and the area of greatest need and thus THR1VE became, through multiple business plans, a food court focused retail offer.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: How long did that process take, Josh, just thinking from your sketches to the day of opening?
Josh Sparks: Yeah, it took a little while, Stu. So, late 2011 I was really actively working on it. I had registered the name and I had settled on broadly what I wanted to do. But we didn’t open the first store until late 2012. So, it was over a year of very focused work here where I settled on THR1VE. I settled on the fact that it was going to be a retail location and I was out talking to landlords and prior to that … I mean, I started working on a business along these lines probably about seven or eight years ago, when I first read Loren Cordain’s stuff.
But that was when I was still in the U.S., I was in Philly, and at that point I was thinking about doing a sort of gym and café combo, where it was going to be a sort of a high-end personal training only gym with sort of a café/restaurant attached to it. Which sounds great, but I never would have been able to pull it off, because I’m not a PT. It just was doomed to go nowhere.
So, how long did it take to really take shape? It took years and years and years of very focused work around the idea of THR1VE as vaguely recognizable as it is today. I was a good 12 months of just hitting the pavement and talking to landlords and pitching it to staff. I mean, no one wanted to know about it. I had a huge amount of difficulty convincing a landlord to give me a location.
Guy Lawrence: Wow.
Stuart Cooke: Really?
Josh Sparks: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Why do you think that is? Just the whole idea?
Josh Sparks: It’s very easy for us to forget that even in 2011, late 2011 when I first started talking to landlords, no one had heard of paleo or primal. I mean, there wasn’t … it was … the subject; we were so niche. I mean, it was a very small subset of the market and I probably still at that point was being a little bit purest about it as well.
So, when I was talking to landlords, I was probably sounding a little evangelical and a little dogmatic and probably a little bit crazy. And so, I kept having this look, “You know, you seem to have done OK with these fashion brands and you had a bit of success and maybe you should stick to that.”
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Josh Sparks: “And I don’t know if food court really wants healthy food.”
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Josh Sparks: “And we’ve got salads. So, what else do we need?”
Stuart Cooke: Sure.
Josh Sparks: And, “Yeah, we’ve got a Japanese operator. So we’ve got health covered.”
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right.
Josh Sparks: It was these sorts of conversations. I think it was, even just three or four years ago it was considered a bit ahead of its time and in branding, any sort of branding, whether it’s fashion, whether it’s lifestyle, whether it’s automotive, whether it’s what you guys do. Whatever it is, you want to be ahead enough of the curve to capture some mind shares, some early mind shares. At the same time it’s very easy to go broke if you’re too far ahead of the curve.
And it’s just finding that sweet spot and the feedback I was getting landlords was that I was to far ahead of the curve.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right.
Josh Sparks: And my sense was not at all. This is; we’re at a the tipping point here. This is going to go mainstream in the next couple of years. And it might not be called paleo and it might not be called primal. It might not be call ancestral health. It might not be called THR1VE. But this way of eating, this awareness of just how profound the impact is on how you look, feel, and perform when you eat differently, that’s right at the tipping point. You know, the obesity levels and the Type 2 diabetes level and the fact that Medicare is publicly funded and it’s just unaffordable for us to continue to pay for bad lifestyle choices. Whether it’s smoking or whether it’s excess sugar. So, I felt that we were just at a bit of a tipping point, but it was very challenging to convince people around me, whether they were landlords or investors or potential employees, that I wasn’t completely crazy.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. I’m curious, right? Just a thought came in, because I’m always fascinated by everyone’s journeys, was it a particular niche; tipping point or something that happened in your own life? Because I know you’re saying that you were starting to put on weight and things like that, but was there an “aha” moment where you’ve got to go, “Right. I’m going to cut out the process foods. I’m going to change my lifestyle.”
Josh Sparks: So, I think, there’s two. For me personally it was recognizing that I just, I wasn’t happy. And it started off for me with a sense of, you know, emotional well-being suffering.
And it wasn’t so much, because I didn’t get huge, I’m naturally pretty skinny and even when I … I sort of the skinny fat guy. If I’m out of shape, I get skinny-fat. Like, I don’t get a huge gut.
I just don’t … I lose tone. I lose strength. I lose all those physical markers of health, the objective physical markers of health.
This was more subjective to answer your question, Guy. I just wasn’t feeling great.
Guy Lawrence: Yup.
Josh Sparks: And so, it led me to an exploration, “Look, am I drinking too much? Is it something I’m allergic to? Is there something in my diet that’s problematic?”
I stopped drinking completely. I cut out sugar. I started cutting out processed foods. That led me on a journey around fat. I started upping my Omega-3 intake.
But all those things really started for me around a sense of emotional health, not being as good as it could be. I wasn’t depressed. It wasn’t that acute. I just didn’t feel great anymore and I was used to feeling so motivated and so energetic. It was really sad to think, “God, is this aging? Is this normal? Am I meant to feel this way?”
Stuart Cooke: It just sounds like you weren’t thriving, Josh.
Josh Sparks: Thank you very much. I’m glad we got that in there. It’s very fine of you.
Guy Lawrence: So, back to THR1VE, right? And I really want to put this question: like, how would compete against now, like the Subways of this world? Because they’ve got “healthy food” marketing, that’s getting bombarded and the food court’s littered with it.
Josh Sparks: Yeah. Look, I think it’s a really great question. So, there’s two things. One: I think the use of the word “health” is becoming as ubiquitous as the use of the word “green” was about 10 years ago. You know, like, Chevron and Shell were running ads about how “green” they were. It’s like, “OK. Where are we on this ‘green’ thing?” And I think we’re in the same place with everyone’s claiming to be “healthy.”
So, first of all I think there is … that that’s going to lead to a certain level of backlash and I think consumers are already starting to become aware that they’re being hoodwinked with marketing. And great marketers are really good at what they are doing.
So, there’s health messages that are overt and there’s a whole bunch that are much more subtle and nuanced, but they’re rife throughout the food industry; whether it’s retail or wholesale or supermarket, wherever.
So, I think there’s going to be a little bit of a backlash and a little bit of growing skepticism, which I’m hoping will lead to my next point, which is: ask the follow-up questions.
So, yeah, I think whether it’s the press or whether it’s us as consumers, we’re terrible at asking the follow-up questions.
“So, great. You’re healthy.” What is healthy? Define healthy to me? You know, what is your paradigm of health? What protocol do you subscribe to? And that can lead to some really interesting conservations, because we see … I used to go … I read this and I must admit that I read this in a Playboy magazine, which I was reading for the articles when I was about 28 or 29 or so …
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Josh Sparks: And it was the first time I’d ever read about Paul Chek. It was actually an interview with Paul Chek in Playboy, of all places. And Paul Chek was talking about the fact that he’d been interviewed on TV and he got into this head-to-head around diet with a, I guess what we’ll call a conventional dietitian or a nutritionist who was stuck on the U.S. food pyramid, which is very similar to our recommendations.
Stuart Cooke: Yup.
Josh Sparks: Anyway, he obviously lost patient with the process at some point and he said, “Listen, do you subscribe to … everything you just espoused, your so-called philosophy of eating, do you subscribe to this a hundred percent in your own life?” And this guy’s, “Yeah. Absolutely.” And he’s like, “Great! Take off your shirt and I’ll take off my shirt.”
And it was just this kind of moment of: OK. So, if this is really working for you, do you look, feel and perform exactly how you want? And if you do, well, let’s see it. Come on. Let’s get this on.
And I thought, OK, it’s a little bit crass. I don’t think it would work on Australian TV. But at the same time I really respected the kind of cut through the B.S.
If you claim to be healthy, give us a sense of what that actually means and hopefully you’ve thought about it enough to have some kind of protocol, some kind of framework that you’re working within. And then is it working for you? And give us some sense of that. You know, “I came from here to here; it’s backed up by bloodwork.” Or, you know, I’ve lost a ton of weight and I know it’s fat, it’s not water or muscle because I did a DEXA scan before and after.
Give us some evidence, you know. Not this kind of fluffy, “healthy” thing.
Guy Lawrence: It’s interesting that you say that, because I worked as a PT for a long time and I would do … I must have … no exaggeration, sat in from the thousand of people, right? Doing consultations and the first thing I would do was ask them, “Do you eat healthy?” I mean, we do that even with our clean eating workshops we’ve been doing with CrossFit, right?
Josh Sparks: Right.
Guy Lawrence: And nine times out of 10 they, go, “Well, yeah. Yeah, I eat pretty healthy.” I go, “Great. Let’s write down what you just ate for the last 48 hours.” Right?
Josh Sparks: Right.
Guy Lawrence: And then once they start doing that there’s two things that generally happen. One: they actually, genuinely think they they’re eating healthy, but I look at it and go, “Oh shit. That’s not healthy.”
Josh Sparks: Yeah. You might have something there.
Guy Lawrence: Or two: they’ve just sort of been in denial. They go, “OK. Maybe I could improve a little bit.” and stuff like that. When you get down to that detail, but we just don’t. It’s human nature.
Josh Sparks: It is human nature. There’s a great stat where I counted it as 92 or 93 percent of male drivers think they’re better than average. So, it’s like, we are great at doing nothing. We are great at deluding ourselves, right?
So, when you have an objective check, someone like you, when you’re sitting in front of them and you’re forcing them to actually go through it, there’s nothing more powerful than documenting a food diary or training log, you know, “Because I’m training hard.” and you kind of look back at what actually you know, “I’m been a complete wuss.”
And it’s the same thing with a food diary. We don’t encourage things like obsessive diarization or cataloging or counting calories or measuring food. We don’t focus on that at all.
But the point that you just made, a point in time gut check, no pun intended, on “How am I eating?” and “Is this truly healthy,” and “Do you even know what healthy is?” And then engaging with the right kind of advices to give you some options and some alternatives.
And so, I think for me, whether you … whatever you call it: paleo, primal, ancestral health, whatever, I’m not really stuck on the labels. In fact, I think the labels can be extremely damaging because we can get a little bit dogmatic around that.
So, setting aside this specific label, what I want to know is whoever is claiming to provide their customers with healthy food and their customers are trusting them. I mean, that’s a relationship of mutual trust and confidence. It’s an important relationship. It should be respected.
Are they lying to them? Or have they actually put some energy into documenting what they believe and have some evidence to back it up? And then have they … again, another follow-up question … have they audited their supply chain? Is there sugar being snuck in the products? Are there bad oils being snuck in the products?
You know if you go around the food court, you would be staggered by … the Japanese operators add processed sugar to the rice. Many of the Mexican operators, not all of them, but many of the Mexican operators add table sugar to their rice.
Now, why do they do that? Because they tested it with customers and surprise, surprise, customers preferred the rice with sugar.
Stuart Cooke: Right. Yeah.
Josh Sparks: So, it’s great that we’re talking about health. I mean, on the one hand, let’s be positive and celebrate the fact that at least it’s a topic of conversation in the food court, which five, 10 years ago, you know, not so much. Certainly 10 years ago.
On the flip side, now that we’re talking about it, let’s have an intelligent conversation about it and let’s ask a couple of follow-up questions. And then we can make an informed decision where your version of health, Mr. Vegan, is right for me or not right for me. And your version, Mr. Salad Man, is right for me or not right for me.
So, that’s what we’re trying to encourage at THR1VE. You take that discussion further.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Awesome.
Stuart Cooke: Fantastic. Well, first up Guy, I think, it’s only right that we perform these podcasts in the future without our tops on. OK? That’s a given. We’re going to do that. It won’t start today.
So, just thinking, Josh, if you can’t access, you know, THR1VE in the food courts around here, how would you navigate the food courts? And I’m just thinking in terms of our customers who might think, “Well, sushi is the best option out there.” When we’re looking at the likes of the Chinese and the kabobs, and the McDonald’s and all the other kind of footlong gluten rolls or whatever they are. What do you do?
Josh Sparks: Footlong gluten roll.
Stuart Cooke: I’ve just sold it. I used to work in marketing don’t you know.
Josh Sparks: That’s a marketing winner, I reckon.
Stuart Cooke: No one’s thought of it.
Josh Sparks: It’s a really good question and I think that, I mean, we’ve got six stores, we’ll have nine or 10 opened in another nine or 12 months. So, we are not everywhere, sadly. In fact, if you go Australia-wide, there’s not enough places where you can find THR1VE or something like THR1VE.
So, to answer your question, I think you’ve got a few options. You’ve got … most salad operators will have a range of salads that don’t include the added pasta and the added grains. And I’m not terribly concerned about gluten-free grains as long as I know that … you know, it’s such a difficult question to answer diplomatically, but I’ll give you a version.
So, most salad places will have something for you. Most of the proteins in the less expensive salad joints are not … they’re reprocessed proteins. So, they’re reconstructed proteins.
So, they’re by no means great and there tends to be sugar and gluten snuck into those products. It gives them better form and it gives them better preservation and what not. But it’s not going to kill you, once in a while.
With respect to the Japanese operators, if you go for sashimi you’re pretty safe. Be conscious with the rice, as I mentioned before. But again, I’m not anti-rice by any stretch, but I don’t want table sugar added to my rice. So, I probably tend to avoid it in most of the Japanese operators. Unless they can tell me, and I believe them, that they’re not adding sugar to their rice. But that’s sticky rice. Traditionally prepared, they don’t use sugar. They use a specific kind of rice. But in most food operators there is sugar added to it.
Mexican operators, if you go without the bread, without the corn chips, without the processed carbs. And again, I’m persuaded that lentils are not the end of the world and beans aren’t the end of the world.
I’ve read a whole bunch of interesting stuff on that recently, particularly after Mark Sisson came out at the THR1VE Me Conference in March and said that he was reading a lot of evidence that legumes in small amounts occasionally can actually be beneficial to gut flora and so on and so forth.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Absolutely.
Josh Sparks: So, Mexican operators, if you go for kind of the beans and the guac and the salsa and the meats, maybe skip the rice if you’re having the beans. You probably don’t need a double hit. But maybe you do, if you just worked out.
So, what I do is I look those operators with brands that I trust. I prefer to feel that there’s some integrity in the supply chain. And to a certain extent I find, and it’s a terrible term, but the idea that it’s reassuringly expensive is not always true, but if you go to some of those really sort of dirty café, you know, greasy spoon type operators and you can get a bacon and egg roll for three bucks. Not that I have the roll anyway. But you can pretty well be sure that that bacon and that egg is not going to live up to your standards. It’s probably not the sort that you would have at home.
So, I prefer probably going to the more premium ends of the operators in the food court. Taking my; you mentioned the kebob operator, so in a pinch you can get on a plate, you can get the meat and you can get the salad and you can ask for extra salad, now I normally put some avocado on it and just skip the bread.
Now, I wouldn’t do that unless there was no alternative. But I think that’s a hell of a lot better than having a burger or a XX 0:26:09.000 dirty pieXX or whatever.
So, I think it’s more about … for me the simple rule is, it’s more about what you take out and if you can remove the processed sugars and the processed carbs as much as possible, then you’re going to be left with something that is relatively benign, if you are indulging in it occasionally.
Stuart Cooke: Yup.
Josh Sparks: If you’re having it every day, then you’ve probably got to take it a little bit further and say, “Well, if this is processed chicken, what did they process it with? If this is reconstructed chicken, what else did they put into it? What oils have they used in this salad dressing? What oils do they cook in?”
But you’re getting down to some lower dimension returns on that stuff. It makes a ton of sense if you’re doing it every day. So, if you’re doing it every meal, but if you’re doing it once every two weeks because you’re stuck in an airport and you’ve got no alternative, I would say don’t sweat it.
Guy Lawrence: A hundred percent. Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Exactly.
Josh Sparks: There’s also all that stuff about hermetic stressors right? Which I’m just fascinated by and the idea that you can go too clean and all the stuff that Robb Wolf has done around Special Forces.
They go back to base. They eat 100 percent strictly extremely clean, because they’re allowed to. And they’re cooking for themselves and they’re eating off-base. They’re not eating in the cafeteria, etc., etc.
They then go on to deployment and they’ve got to eat these MRAs that are just horrendous. Because they’re packaged for stability and shelf life, not for the kind of nutritional profile that we would look for. And these guys are getting really sick for the first two days on deployment. And if you’re sent out on some sort of Special Forces mission, you don’t want to spend two days over the toilet when you just landed in enemy territory or whatever.
So, the idea is to … I think, don’t sweat the occasional indulgence. And don’t sweat the occasional toxin, you know, in strict sort of paleo/primal sense. But eat clean as much as you can. And then don’t worry about it too much. If you find yourself stuck eating a salad that’s probably used vegetable oil and they’ve added sugar to the dressing, I say don’t sweat it too much.
Stuart Cooke: I think so and also you can switch on stress hormones by sweating it too much.
Josh Sparks: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: And seriously that can be just as harmful as the food that you eat.
Josh Sparks: That’s so true.
Guy Lawrence: Do you … you talked about the other cafes and food courts, right? And their owners putting sugar in the rice and they’re using different oils. Do you think they’re even aware that they’re doing things that could be damaging to health? Or do you think it just not even on their radar and it’s just purely business perspective and they just think they’re doing the right thing?
Josh Sparks: Yeah. It’s a really good question. I don’t think … I don’t think … I would love to think that there is no malice involved.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Josh Sparks: You know, I think it is a genuine desire to please customers and maximize sales. And most of these guys, certainly the big brands, have done blind taste testing and they know that customers prefer high sugar.
Now, the customer doesn’t know that rice “A” has no sugar and therefore is going to taste very bland on its own and rice “B” has added sugar. They just know that rice “B” tastes a whole lot better and, “I’m not quite sure why, but it’s great!”
So, I think they’re doing this testing and it’s revealing that there’s a certain level of sugar … these days we’re so detuned; our tastes is so detuned to sugar now, because it’s everywhere, Certain level of sugar is almost necessary, particularly if the food is otherwise rather bland.
And then in terms of oil, I mean, we spend a fortune on oils. Oils for most of our competitors are … it’s a rounding item. They’re getting 20 liters for $8 or less. Fifteen liters for $15 and these are industrial oils that are mass produced and, we know, problematic for a whole bunch reasons.
So, that’s not a taste issue. Because the average consumer, once its mixed up and it’s cooked and it’s got a sauce on it on and a side, you can’t tell whether it’s canola oil or whether its macadamia oil at that point. Most of us can’t, you know. The truth is, we just can’t tell.
However, my competitors have got an extra 4 percent in gross margin, because they spent a lot less on oil.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
So, I think that there’s two decisions being made here. One is around taste and the other one is around the economics.
Australia’s such a high-cost market for what we do and our rents are near world highest. Our food costs a near world highest. And our hourly rates are the highest in the world for causal workers.
So, there’s a real scramble on to work out, well, how do we make this thing profitable? And when you’ve got something like oil costing 10 times as much, it’s an easy decision I think for a lot of operators. But I don’t think it’s malice. I think it’s pleasing customers and survival.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.. I wonder if they’re actually, genuinely aware. It’s the brands I get frustrated with, because obviously, like you said, the paleo movement and primal and health are more on people’s radars now and we’re seeing more health brands coming onto the market. But then I’m looking at what they’re selling and I’m like, “ugh!” They’re just, they know they aren’t doing the right thing right here.
Josh Sparks: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: That’s where it can get frustrating.
Josh Sparks: It is frustrating and I think, you know, on the flip side I guess, Guy, it’s capitalism, right? And that is what a large percentage of the market wants.
It’s like McDonald’s, when they first started doing salads, they don’t sell any salads, it just makes you feel better about walking into McDonald’s. So, you’ll tell your friends that you went to get the salad, but they end up buying a cheeseburger.
So, I think that there is … most people think that they want health, until they’re given the choice at the counter.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Josh Sparks: And so, some of our competitors feel, competitors broadly defined, have a really good salad offer, for example, but they also do sandwiches on this incredibly thick ciabatta bread. It ends up being about 70 percent processed carbohydrates.
And you see it all the time. Like, people get up to the counter and that thing being toasted, that sandwich being toasted that smells amazing or you can have the healthy salad and willpower seems to come off.
So, I think there’s always going to be a percentage of the market that says they want to be healthy but don’t really mean it. But what we’re trying to do is encourage those that say they want to be healthy and actually, genuinely want to be healthy and are prepared to make decisions on that basis. We want to give them something that they trust that there’s been real effort into creating a meal and auditing the supply change around it.
Stuart Cooke: Got it.
Josh Sparks: But it is frustrating for us, because we’re being undercut by … you know, we are not the cheapest source of calories in the food court. We don’t use the processed crappy food that is cheap. Processed carbs are cheap, right?
Guy Lawrence: Oh, yeah.
Josh Sparks: So, it’s frustrating for us when someone slaps a whole bunch of nice images of seasonal food across a poster and splashes: “This season’s local produce. Healthy this. Healthy that.” And we know that 79/80 percent of their salad is processed food.
It is frustrating, but at the same time I think it fires us up. Like it makes us … it puts a bit of fire in our belly, because it means that we’ve got to get smarter about how we’re communicating. That not only are we healthy, but there is a follow-up question and please ask us, because we’d love to tell you. We’re going to get smarter and smarter in that conversation.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Brilliant
Stuart Cooke: Excellent.
Now, when I was younger, much younger than I am now, going through college. I worked in England for a very large supermarket chain. And I used to do the evening shift. So, you know, we’d get rid of the customers and we’d tidy up and we’d attend to waste.
So, food wastage, it was unreal. Now, I’m talking big supermarket chain. So, it was Sainsbury’s. I don’t know whether you’re familiar with that brand.
Josh Sparks: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: So, I worked on the produce, the produce section, and occasionally the bakery. And every night we would just fill up probably three or four of these huge wheely bins of donuts and cakes and pies and pastries and all this kind of wonderful fruit, that just kind of past its cosmetic expiry date.
At the time, being a young guy, we used to eat donuts and you know, “You can eat a couple of donuts, guys, before you throw them.” And that was awesome, at the time. But it did open my eyes to: boy that is huge, huge, huge amounts of waste and on a global scale, as well.
Now, I was listening to a podcast the other day about food wastage with you guys and I thought you had some really neat policies. So, I wondered it you could share that with our audience, please.
Josh Sparks: Why sure. So, thanks for asking and I completely agree with you. It’s just I find it horrendous to think about the amount of waste.
So, what we do is twofold. One: we minimize what; we’re incredibly focused on developing systems and processes to minimize our waste. So, we’ve actually engaged a bunch of consultants and we’ve developed a system in-house that, they call them “build to’s” and this is all new to me, right? Because this is not fashion terminology.
So, there’s sort of “build to’s” each day in terms of the amount of stock that’s being prepared. And it’s based on a history of sales. Like-for-like sales.
So, Thursday’s today. What did we do last Thursday? What did we do Thursday before? It’s summer. It’s winter. It’s sunny. It’s not sunny. There’s a bunch of variables that we look at and really dial in what’s been what’s being prepped.
Typically that means we actually run out towards the end of the lunch rush and we’re normally open for another couple of hours beyond that. So, if that happens and that’s the ideal, after the lunch rush we actually prep to order. So, it means you order what takes takes two and a half to three minutes; that is our objective. It will take four to five minutes, but if you’re happy to wait that, you know, mid-afternoon, then it means that we don’t have any waste in those key products at all.
Now, having said that, we’re very rarely perfect, because the day’s never predictable and it’s extremely rare that we aren’t left with something in some ingredients.
So, we’ve got certain things right. We under cooked, we under cut some and then we did too much of others.
So, then we work with OzHarvest and they’re basically a group that collects food on a day-to-day basis, from a bunch of food operators actually, and provide them to the homeless.
So, our raw ingredients end up going into the raw ingredients for things like soup kitchens, to prepare their own food. And our prepped, ready-to-go food, is literally just given as a meal to the homeless.
You know, I had this very funny interaction not long ago, I guess it was about a year ago, in our store at Martin Place in Sydney, there used to … it’s not anymore, it’s just been refurbished … there used to be a little bench just outside the store.
I used to do all my meetings there, because we still don’t have an office, like I’m doing this from home, you know, we’re a small business. So, I was kind of using this as my desk. And I was meeting with my general manager and this guy came over, he was obviously homeless. I mean, he had an old sleeping bag around him. He had the big beard and the crazy hair. He looked like he was sleeping rough and he was clearly coming to me. Like he was making a beeline for me. Like, “What have I done to you?”
And so I’m sort of looking at him coming over and he goes, “Hey, hey, hey …” and I was wearing this THR1VE t-shirt … “Hey, are you Mr. THR1VE?” And I went, “Ah, I guess.” and he goes … am I allowed to swear on this podcast?
Josh Sparks: He goes, “I fucking love your food. It’s the best food.” Why that’s awesome!
Stuart Cooke: Wow.
Josh Sparks: I said, “I’m glad you enjoy it. Come back anytime.”
And it was just one of those moments. Because what’s happens is he’s getting one of the meals that’s got the THR1VE branding on it, so he knew it was from us. It just made me realize that you kind of set up these relationships, but you’re not always sure that it makes it to the end user exactly how you anticipate it might. But that was just a nice little moment and I think what OzHarvest does is fantastic.
And these days we don’t do as much prepped foods as we used to. We used to do salads that we made just before lunch rush. So if you’re in a hurry, you point at it in the fridge and we’d give it to you and you’d be good to go. But we moved away from that, because we wanted to give customers more choice in terms of how they build up the bowl.
So, we don’t have the level of giveaways we used to. So, OzHarvest, unfortunately are not getting as much from us as they used to. But we still provide them with any waste that we do have at the end of the day.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Sounds fantastic.
Stuart Cooke: It’s still a fantastic initiative. And just so you know, we’ve got quite a large station wagon, so if you need a hand transporting any of that food wastage, we’ll happily fill up our car with that and drive into the sunset with that. Don’t worry about that. Just say the word.
Josh Sparks: I may take you up on that.
Guy Lawrence: Mate, just a quick question. If anyone is listening to this is new to, say, “clean eating” and they walked into your THR1VE café today and go, “Right. I want to order a dish.” What would you recommend them?
Josh Sparks: OK.
Guy Lawrence: Somebody starting out.
Josh Sparks: Great question. Great question. And should we define “clean eating?” Should we define …
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Go, yes.
Josh Sparks: So, for us; again the follow-up question thing; for us “clean eating” is about no processed foods. So, it’s no added sugar. No gluten-containing grains. It’s no chemicals, preservatives, etc., etc.
So, that’s how we define “clean eating.” It’s not strictly paleo. It’s not strictly primal. It’s certainly inspired by those protocols. But “clean eating” for us is about eliminating processed foods, added sugars, bad oils as well, and any gluten-containing grains. So, that’s how we define it.
So, what we typically do with someone who’s brand new to this way of eating or this way of living, we suggest something that is very familiar. And I have actually have this really strict brief that in our environment; a food court it’s not a niche healthy café in Bondi or XX0:40:19.000 Byron Bay or Neustadt, or the Mornington PeninsulaXX.
It is a high-traffic mainstream environment and we have to have food that sounds and looks familiar and comforting. We’ve just taken the effort of pulling out the bad stuff. So, most of our menu, I would say, hopefully would look and feel pretty approachable and unintimidating.
But our bestseller is our Lemon and Herb Pesto Chicken. Which is just a chicken breast that’s been butterflied, grilled. We make our own pesto. So, we use olive oil, we don’t add sugar to it, etc., etc. We do add a little Parmesan, because I’m not anal about dairy. So, it’s a really nice fresh pesto. We use roasted peppers.
And that will all sit on a bed of whatever veggies or gluten-free grains you want. But I’d suggest you do it on our zoodles, which are … literally it’s just a zucchini that’s been spiralized. It’s not cooked, it’s just … it looks like … it sort of looks like pasta, but it’s raw zucchini. It’s awesome.
Guy Lawrence: I love it.
Josh Sparks: And I do it a half zoodles base and then I’m really into a kind of seasonal grains thing at the moment, because like everyone, I feel like I’m not eating enough grains. So, I do half zoodles on the base, half seasonal grains and I do a side of avocado; maybe a side of broccoli. And depending on what you get, that’s going to cost you anything between, sort of, $12 and $16; depending on how hungry you are and how large each portion you want it to be.
So, that’s kind of a really nice, familiar lunch/dinner. It’s the kind of thing you would see on lots of café menus and lots of restaurant menus and lots of people make it at home.
So, I would recommend something pretty simple like that to start off with.
Guy Lawrence: Perfect. You’re making me hungry.
Stuart Cooke: I am very hungry as well. And good tip as well on your zoodle. Because I had always … well when I say “always,” I’ve experimented with zucchini pasta and for me I’ve always boiled ,,, I’ve kind of boiled it too long and always ended up with a really sloppy mess.
Josh Sparks: Right.
Stuart Cooke: And I’ve been really disappointed. I’m not looking forward to the next one. So, you just do that raw, do you?
Josh Sparks: We do it raw. Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Josh Sparks: Because the other, I’m sure you guys read all the same research as well, when I talk about diversity of vegetables, most of us don’t have enough. And then in terms of diversity of preparation, most of us get stuck on a prep step. So, we like steaming or we like roasting or we like frying or whatever. Everything that I read suggests that we should have a mix of a whole huge variety of veggies and a huge variety of prep, including raw. And I realized outside of salad leaves and salad greens I never eat a lot of raw veggies.
So, it’s a way, and I don’t want to say the entire business is built around my selfish desire for raw veggies, but it seems like those zoodles were a good idea and they’re selling very well.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Great. Well, they say variety is the spice of life, mate. That’s for sure.
Josh Sparks: Exactly. Exactly.
Stuart Cooke: That’s beautiful. That’s so deep, Guy. I’m really moved by that.
Guy Lawrence: He’s bagged me twice all ready on this podcast. I’m sure I’ll …
Stuart Cooke: I just can’t help it. Sorry. It’s the beard, the beard. Have you noticed he’s got a beard now?
Josh Sparks: He’s rocking it. It’s very masculine.
Guy Lawrence: It’s very hip, I reckon.
Stuart Cooke: He’s going ancestral.
Josh Sparks: And when he does go shirtless, it’s going to be sort of hipster meets paleo.
Guy Lawrence: Exactly. I’m getting in theme for this podcast. That’s all it was. It was for you, Josh. It was for you.
Stuart Cooke: Thanks a lot.
Josh Sparks: Thank you.
Stuart Cooke: So, I’m going to steal another question, Guy.
Guy Lawrence: Why not, you bagged me twice.
Stuart Cooke: So, paleo, Josh. So, paleo’s all over the media right now. It’s getting some great press. Good. Bad. Indifferent. Has this particular message affected you in any way?
Josh Sparks: Yeah, it has. So, I think that there’s two things I would say. First of all I think … further the point I made earlier, it’s great that paleo is even appearing in the press. Just like it’s great that health is now appearing in the food court and to the extent it’s inspiring a dialogue, and at times a well-researched and intelligent dialogue, then obviously I applaud it. I think that’s a fantastic thing.
Stuart Cooke: Yup.
Josh Sparks: On the flip side, because the media deals primarily in sound bites and research takes time and to give them their credit, they work in very short-form media these days, I mean, everything’s a Tweet, basically, in whatever format it’s coming.
I don’t think we’re getting the benefit of a lot of the nuance around what is paleo, what is primal, what’s ancestral health, and I think it’s as a subset of that, people tend to hang onto certain aspects of it that appear dogmatic or prescriptive and I think most people, me included, don’t like being told what to do.
So, I think the backlash that we’re seeing is a natural human response to the perception, you know, real or imagined, that we as a community are coming out and scolding and lecturing people and telling them how bad they are and how better they could be if only they were as purist as we are.
Now, I don’t work that way. I know you guys don’t work that way. But the perception is that we as a community are inflexible, we’re dogmatic and we’re prescriptive. And I think that’s something we need to be very, very focused on countering. Because the reality is, that as Mark Sisson keeps saying; as Robb Wolf keeps saying, as Chris Kresser keeps saying, there is no one paleolithic diet. It’s a template. It’s a template. And there are paleolithic communities that have nothing but meat, primarily fat and protein, there are paleolithic communities that have 16 to 17 percent from their carbs … 16 to 17 percent of their calories from carbs, now, ancient carbs, but carbs.
So, when we’re coming out and saying, for example, “paleo is low-carb,” not only is that historically completely inaccurate, it also fails to recognize that there’s a huge swath of population that are interested in paleo. And they run from skinny weightlifting boys through to, you know, obese Type 2 diabetes, syndrome “X” men and women in their 40s, people who train intensely with weights, people who like going for a walk; obviously completely different need for carbohydrate.
So, I think that it’s a great thing, but it’s a double-edged sword. I think it’s a great thing, but the over-simplification of it I think personally has definitely led to some rather challenging conversations between me and customers and me and the press.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Josh Sparks: But also our business has taken … it took a knock when it was really intensely fervently being debated. We noticed that certainly salads and certain products came off. Thankfully they’ve gone back up again. But I think it’s a consequence of over-simplification and the perception of dogma, I think.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Josh Sparks: So, this sort of conversation is what I love, because we can put it in its rightful context. Rather than saying, “paleo is this and paleo is that. And you’re not allowed to do this and you’re not allowed to do that.” Which just instantly gets people’s back up. And what you end up doing … I know it’s a long-winded answer … but what you end up doing in that sort of environment is preaching to the converted.
And if we got into this, because I know I did and I know you guys did, because we genuinely want to help other people, I mean, I certainly didn’t get into it for the money. I should have stayed in what I was doing instead. It’s a grand way to not make a lot of money. But we got into it because we genuinely want to help people.
Now, if that’s the belief and there’s real authenticity and integrity around that, we have to reach people that aren’t already converted and that are probably going to be a little bit resistant to the message. And to go back to my fashion days for a second, because it’s a stupid analogy, but I think you’ll understand what I mean.
You know, you have catwalk pieces that are gorgeous and expensive and no one really wears.
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Josh Sparks: They end up on the backs of celebrities and they end up in magazines. But they attract attention and they spark interest. But they’re way too intimidating to the average consumer.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Josh Sparks: So, the average consumer, you’ve got to provide a bridge and that bridge is something like a XX 0:48:22.000 t-shirt brand or a dinner brand or a swimwear brandXX or whatever. They come in; they experience the brand; they get excited about it and hopefully they work their way up the ladder.
Now, that may sound like a stupid analogy, but I think we’ve got to a certain extent a analogous situation here where we bombard people with the pointy end of the stick, you know, the last 5 percent, this is all we want to debate the first 95 percent.
If we had people just decide they wanted to step over that bridge with us and we soften the message just a little bit and say, “Look, if you’re not ready to give up bread and you show no signs whatsoever of gluten intolerance, well then, let’s try to get you on an organic salad XX 0:49:00.000 or oatsXX it’s naturally a lot lower in gluten, and let’s just start by giving up the sugar and giving up these horrible oils that you use for cooking and deep frying.”
And then notice some changes, and this is what Sarah Wilson done so brilliantly.
Guy Lawrence: She’s done brilliantly, yeah.
Josh Sparks: Start the journey with sugar. And that is naturally going to … you’re going to see profound change in how you look, feel and perform. And if you’re a curious person and you’re interested in furthering the journey, then you ask, “Well, what’s next and what’s next?”
The opposite is what I think some in our community are doing, which is coming out and saying, “You either do all of this or you do nothing.”
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Josh Sparks: And if you don’t subscribe hook, line and sinker, to everything in this book or everything on this website or whatever, then you’re not worthy and you’re not truly one of us. And I think that is; that’s great if you’re trying to build a small club. It’s not great if you’re trying to change the world, because we need to bring as many people with us as we possibly can.
And just recognizing that not everyone is as ready for the hardcore message, softening it a little bit, I think you’re going to bring a lot more people with you and that’s going to have a much bigger impact.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, mate. Great answer, man. Absolutely. Couldn’t agree more.
I’m just looking at the time. I’m aware that the time’s getting on, right? So, I want to just touch on a couple of questions and then we do some wrap-up questions to finish …
Josh Sparks: Cool.
Guy Lawrence: … which is always fun.
But, one thing that I was really intrigued to know and I just want to bring on the podcast. I think people listening to this might not appreciate the effort; almost you could say the entrepreneurship of what you do and stress and everything else that’s going on. You’re a busy boy. You’re doing wonderful things. You’re very successful. How do you keep that work/life balance? Any tips? Like, what do you do?
Josh Sparks: That’s a great question and I would say that … well, first of all I live with my Creative Director, so I’m romantically involved with my Creative Director, Steph, so I don’t know whether I’ve pulled off work/life balance rightly there. Truthfully, I mean, taking about THR1VE every night at dinner is not work /life balance.
But you know what we do, what Steph and I do, what we encourage everyone in the business to do, is make time to train. So there’s this … no matter what’s going on, it’s in the diary and I don’t train every day or anything like that. I train every second day. So it’s three or four times a week, depending on the week. That’s always locked in.
I try to get sun every day. Even if it’s a crappy day, I just sit outside for a while. You know, 10, 20 minutes over lunch.
I started meditating, which I am absolutely rubbish at. The whole “still the mind” thing, I don’t know if that’s ever going to be possible, but I kind of love that too, that I’m really rubbish at it and I’m getting better at it so slowly. It’s going to be a lifetime thing for me and I’ll probably still never get there. So, I’m finding that really helpful.
But in terms of … so you know Keegan, right?
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Josh Sparks: Keegan Smith, who we all know and love. I think the guy is genius in many ways. He’s got; he started to focus on one specific area, but I think he’s a very clever guy. And he said to me once; we were talking about stress and he sent me a follow-up note. And he said, “Look, I could tell you were really stressed. I can tell you’re really busy.”
And there was a point earlier on, I mean, not that it’s not stressful now, but it was early on, we were running out of cash. The stores weren’t yet profitable and there was a very real possibility that it just wasn’t going to work. We were selling food and we had a group of customers that loved us, but we just didn’t have enough of them.
And so, I remember meeting him and sort of sharing with him a little bit, “Look, I think someday this is going to be an amazing business, but oh my God it’s incredibly difficult right now.” And he sort of empathized with me.
Anyway, he sent an email later and he said, “Josh, the thing with stress, you’ve got to decide whether the stress relates to your life’s purpose or not. And if it relates to your life’s purpose, then not only do you not resist it, you embrace it. Because that’s exactly what you need to make you harder, stronger, fitter, faster, you know … blah, blah, blah. It’s a hormetic stress. But if it doesn’t relate to your life’s purpose, you have to be ruthless about eliminating it. Just get it out of your life.”
So, a negative person, a negative relationship, some kind of partnership or some sort of hobby or something that isn’t serving you any more, you eliminate it.
Guy Lawrence: Great.
Josh Sparks: And I think that’s … it’s probably not balanced as such, but I’ve really taken his advice to heart and I’ve become a lot less social. Like, if I’m social now, it’s because it’s something I really want to do and it’s people I really care about and they mean a lot to me. I’m not going out through the opening of an envelope or because someone’s throwing a party or whatever.
So, I’m really focused on spending quality time at home with Steph and with the kids. Prioritizing in training. Prioritizing in good eating. Mediation. All that kind of stuff.
But then also recognizing that some days are going to be incredibly stressful, because I’ve chosen to do something that is challenging and I can’t blame anyone else for that. And so, I need to embrace it and work out, “OK, why am I feeling stressed?” Really get underneath the skin of the challenge and how are we going to take this to the next level.
So, I mean, I know I’m skipping ahead to talk about something you often talk about with your guests around favorite books.
Guy Lawrence: Yup.
Josh Sparks: But just on this stress point. A book called “Antifragile.” Have you ever heard of that?
Josh Sparks: So, his surname is: Taleb. And his first name: Nassim. He wrote “The Black Swan.” His background is from … he was a quantitative trader. He made a lot of money out of quant trading on the markets and he’s now basically a fulltime philosopher.
But anyway, the whole “Antifragile” book is written on the idea that systems, be they natural systems; be they the human cellular system; be they economic structures or political structures or whatever. All rely on a certain amount of stress to thrive.
Guy Lawrence: Yup.
Josh Sparks: Got to get the THR1VE word in there again.
Guy Lawrence: Again. We’ve got to make it three by the end of the podcast, mate.
Josh Sparks: Yeah. Yeah.
Not only; there’s a difference between being robust or resilient and being anti-fragile. Robust and resilient means that you absorb the stress and try to maintain stasis. His idea around anti-fragility is that stress makes you stronger.
So, say, for example, you go out and train with weights. All right? And the short term, if we took your blood after doing German volumetric training squats, 10 sets of 10 squats, your bloodwork would be horrendous. And if we showed that do a doctor and didn’t tell them that you’d done 10 rounds of 10 reps on heavy squats, they would probably want to hospitalize you. Your stress markers would be out of control. You’d be showing a whole bunch of damage at the cellular level. Cortisol would be slamming through the roof. Etcetera etcetera.
But next time you come into the gym, provided that you have the right nutrition and adequate amount of rest, you’re going to be stronger.
So, that’s a short-term stress that makes you stronger and more capable of coping with the same stress next time. Everyone understands the weight training analogy, right? But I think Keegan’s point, at least the way I interpret it, is that it’s the same with emotional/intellectual stress as well. If you don’t have at, at least in a way that’s something that you can cope with and doesn’t put you in the ground, and it relates to something that you consider really important, then surely you can overcome it. That stress that seemed completely unmanageable before, we’re good to go and we’re ready to move on to the next level.
So, I know that’s a really long-winded way of answering the question, but…
Guy Lawrence: No, that’s fantastic, and a great analogy. And I know Tony Robbins goes on about exactly the same thing, and he gets you to draw like a stick man on a piece of paper with a circle around it, you know. And that circle is your comfort zone.
And we very rarely go to the edge of that. But he encourages that you go up against it and you push it, but you don’t step outside. So, your stress muscles are being built and then that circle slowly gets bigger and bigger and then as years go by you don’t realize it but you’ve grown tremendously through actual stress. But you only want to take on what you can cope with.
Josh Sparks: Yeah, exactly. You won’t know until you’ve taken it on. And you know that old saying about “bite off more than you can chew and chew like hell.” I think is a part of that with me as well, where I think that, you know, it’s an other terrible cliché but an accurate one. And you guys might relate to this. But if you knew everything about what you were currently doing before you started, you probably wouldn’t have started it, right?
Stuart Cooke: Oh, my God. No way.
Josh Sparks: But you are. And you’re doing really well. You guys are killing it here. You’re moving into the States. And you’ve got a fantastic product. I think you’ve got best-in-class product. And you’re taking it to the world.
So, you know, you wouldn’t have done that if you knew everything. And that’s why sometimes I think it’s better to just leap. You trust your gut. Your intuition says this is gonna work. You know it’s gonna be difficult. But you can probably figure it out along the way. So, just go for it.
Guy Lawrence: I often joke sometimes that being naïve has been my best friend in some respects, because if you have no idea and sometimes you just jump, you just figure it out and then you learn along the way.
Josh Sparks: For sure. And if you don’t; if; the worst-case scenario is that you start again. This is not life-and-death stuff, right? This is about, whether it’s business or a relationship or sport or trying to do a PB in the gym or whatever it is, if you fail, OK. Well, pick yourself up and go give it another shot. I mean, why would you not want to do that?
Stuart Cooke: Exactly right. And life’s lessons, right? You learn from each mistake you make, which makes you stronger or a better person moving forward.
Josh Sparks: I totally agree. It doesn’t make it feel great at the time, always. But it’s the only way to live.
Stuart Cooke: Oh, look, no. I love that. Everything that we do, albeit negative, I want to know: Well, what can I learn from this? What can I do different next time?
Guy Lawrence: And another great tip, I think it was Meredith Loring, when we asked her, she came on the show, and she said, well, the best thing she’s realized is only focus and set goals that are within your control. Like, don’t try and control the uncontrollable and just let it roll and then things will come in time. And she said once she had that shift in the headspace…
Because we think about this with the USA at the moment, it’s probably the biggest decision we’ve ever made to move into an American market. And, you know, I could seriously lose sleep over this if I chose to. But it’s beyond my control, so with Stu and I we just meet up and we just focus on the things that we know we can do, we can control, and the rest is up to fate, to a degree. You do your best and then the rest is just see what happens.
Josh Sparks: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And give yourself the time and the space to figure out along the way. You know, you don’t set yourself crazy goals where you’ve got to conquer the entire market in 12 weeks.
Guy Lawrence: Exactly. Patience has been…
Josh Sparks: Yeah, it’s a tricky one.
Guy Lawrence: It’s massive. It’s everything, almost, to a degree, and then you just, “OK. Let it go.”
But we’ve got a couple of wrap-up questions. I reckon we should just shoot into them. One was the books. So, what books have greatly influenced or make an impact in your life. Are there any others on top of Antifragile?
Josh Sparks: There’s tons.
Guy Lawrence: Give us three.
Josh Sparks: OK. So, OK, this is a little bit off the reservation but Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I read that as a teen and it blew my mind and I think it’s done that generations of guys and gals. And I think probably what I found most entertaining about it was the guy was just such a; there was no rule that he wasn’t comfortable breaking. And of course it’s fictionalized and of course there was an obsessive amount of drug and alcohol abuse going on. So, his particular vehicles for demonstrating his willingness to rebel, we don’t necessarily recommend to all your listeners. But the idea that he was just out to have the adventure of a lifetime and didn’t care what the rules were, I think at a pivotal age to me… Because I was pretty conservative. I was very much; I followed the rules and I was a very good student and all that kind of stuff. And I just did a 180 in my thinking: “Hold on a second. Maybe I don’t have to follow the path that’s been laid out for me. Maybe there’s another way to go about this.”
So, though I hate to recommend it because it’s full of massive powdered drug use, it’s actually a really good book from the perspective of: Let’s think about this differently. Don’t necessarily follow the example, but let’s think differently.
I think the other book that I’d say, apart from all the paleo and primal ones; your audience will be very familiar with those ones. I think Robb’s book; Robb Wolf’s book and Mark Sisson’s book had a huge influence on me.
I think Tim Ferriss is underrated by a lot of people in the paleo and primal community. But I think his work has probably had a greater influence over me in more areas. Because he touches on business and he touches on relationships and he touches on sex and a whole bunch of stuff that the paleo and primal crowd tend to ignore a little bit. And they shouldn’t because they talk about lifestyle but they tend to write primarily about food. So, I found Tim Ferriss’s stuff really good.
The other thing that had a huge impact on me, I went to a Zen school. I lived in London for five years after graduating from uni, and I went to a Zen school very sporadically and it was just, I guess, my first attempt to meditate, really. I heard about this school. And it was in Covent Garden, which you guys obviously know well, and it was this crazy little place where you just sat around and nothing happened. And my first few times, I was like, “What are we going to do? We do we start?” And they were: “It’s done now. You’re finished.”
But there’s a book called “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind” that I read at the time and the idea is that for all of us to try to acquire a beginner’s mind. There’s a quote in there that in the expert’s mind there are very few possibilities. In the beginner’s mind, it’s unlimited, right? So, the smarter we get and the more we know, the more narrow and dogmatic we tend to become. And the whole idea is let go of all that and try to reacquire a beginner’s mind. Come to things fresh with an open mind. And you see things that you otherwise would have missed. So, I thought was a fantastic book.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, that’s an awesome message. Our beliefs shape so many of our judgments moving forward, and you’ve got to avoid that, for sure. Fantastic.
Josh Sparks: You mentioned Tony Robbins before, and I think that Tony Robbins; I went to all his courses. So, when I was living in London, I did the three-day Unleash Your Power. And then I went to Hawaii and did; I can’t remember what it’s called.
Guy Lawerence: Date with Destiny? Did you do that one?
Josh Sparks: Yes. Date with Destiny on the Gold Coast. And one in Hawaii, and I can’t remember, and Financial Mastery I did in Sydney. So, I certainly did them all over the place.
But his stuff is awesome. And it sounds kind of; I don’t know if Hunter S. Thompson and Tony Robbins have ever been mentioned in the same sentence before, from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas to Unleash Your Power. But in their own way, they both challenge us to think differently. To think more creatively and to free your mind.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, “Awaken the Giant Within” had a huge impact on me; that book itself. And I’ve been to a couple of his seminars as well, yeah.
Josh Sparks: He’s here in a few weeks, I think.
Guy Lawrence: We should get him on the podcast, Stu. I’m sure he’ll come on.
Josh Sparks: I think we’re busy, Guy.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, I’m confident of him.
Stuart Cooke: It would be a good get.XX
Guy Lawrence: So, last follow-up question, Josh. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Josh Sparks: Oh, man. I think, wow, you know what? I didn’t expect this one so this is a good surprise wrap-up question.
Guy Lawrence: You’ve had a lot to say up until now and now he’s stumped.
Josh Sparks: Just talk amongst yourselves.
Guy Lawrence: Have you got any fashion tips for Stu?
Stuart Cooke: Don’t hang around with you, mate. Well, maybe that’s the best fashion tip. I just need to hang around with you and suddenly I look hugely fashionable.
Josh Sparks: You guys can keep doing this. This is good.
You know, it’s such a cliché but I think probably my mom. And when I was debating what to do and whether or not I should get out of fashion and do what I really wanted to do, she said, as mothers do, she said: You know your own heart and you’ve got to follow your heart. And it’s so cliché. And I know it’s on a million different Hallmark cards. But when it comes from someone you really respect, who knows you inside-out and backwards and says, “You do know what to do, so just go and do it,” I think that was the best piece of advice I’ve ever had.
Stuart Cooke: Perfect. I thought you were gonna say that your mum told you to eat your greens and that’s how you got where you are today.
Josh Sparks: She did say that as well. That was the second sentence.
Guy Lawrence: So, what’s next for you, mate? You got anything coming up in the pipeline?
Josh Sparks: Yeah, we do. A bit like you guys, we’re looking overseas. But not just yet. We’ve decided after much contemplation, we’ve registered the trademark all over the world, and we bought the trademark in the U.S. But after much thinking about it, we’re going to focus on doing another six to 10 stores in Australia first and just really kind of dial in the model.
So, another six to 10 stores in Australia, we’ve got three lined up in the next 12 months. We might do four; I think probably three. Every four months feels about right. Which feels fast to me, but it’s incredibly slow, as I understand, in our industry. They want you to do 10, 20 a year, franchise, and do all that kind of stuff. And I just want to focus on doing our own stores and getting them right and help seed this conversation that we’ve been talking about: trying to get the follow-up questions asked, trying to get a more nuanced, intelligent conversation around what we do and what you guys do, in our whole community.
So, I think rather than rushing off too soon, because retail takes time to build out, wholesaling, what you are doing, you can grow a little bit faster. I think just focusing on Australia for the next 12 to 24 months. But then I would love to take what we’re doing overseas.
And there’s a raging debate amongst a whole bunch of people who I respect whether that should be U.S. or whether it should be Asia. But some kind of off-shore opportunity. Because the Australian market, ultimately, it’s finite. It’s not huge. And it’s very high-cost for what we do.
So, if we took our exact business model anywhere else in the world, it would instantly be meaningfully profitable because the costs are lower.
Guy Lawrence: Wow.
Josh Sparks: So, I think that’s an exciting opportunity. Because at one point I need to pay everyone back, right?
Guy Lawrence: Just keep borrowing, mate. Just keep borrowing. Just roll with it.
Josh Sparks: The investors want a return at some point. So, I think they have been very supportive of my vision, which is great. But in Australia it’s very difficult to do what we’re doing and make it meaningful for investors.
Australia’s a great place to prove a model and prove a brand. It’s a very difficult place to build a small business. Which is why Australia’s full of these massive XX1:08:14.000 shop places? The cost base is so high.XX
But I love doing it here, and I’d happily do it here forever. But I think to really maximize the impact we want to make, which is the “heart” stuff, and return a meaningful number to my investors who have placed so much faith in what we’re doing, which is sort of the “head” part, going overseas at some point makes sense.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, cool. And, mate, I mean, you have been super successful so far. It’s a fantastic brand and I have no doubt moving forward that you’ll be successful wherever you heart leads you to in those endeavours.
Josh Sparks: Thank you very much. I appreciate it.
Guy Lawrence: For anyone listening to this; obviously they might not be near a THR1VE café but they might like to find out more about you and what you do, where’s the best place to send them?
Josh Sparks: Probably the website, which is Thr1ve.me. Thr1ve with a 1, dot me. And Instagram, which is Thr1ve. Our social media, which is done Steph, my partner, obviously I’m a little bit biased. I think she’s brilliant. So, there’s a really good level, I think, of understanding around what we do that is conveyed through social media.
We’re re-launching our blog. We just sort of got to busy doing the store, so we haven’t really spent enough time on the blog. We’re gonna re-launch that in a few weeks. And in the meantime, there’s some good information on the website as well.
But if you can’t get into a store, the best way to get a sense of what we do is to buy 180 products and read the books that we are talking about and get involved in the community. Because what we’re doing is really, or trying to, hopefully, with some degree of success, distilling a message that we’re all sharing and presenting it in our specific environment, which is the food court and fast-casual restaurant environment.
But you guys can sell over the internet. I can’t send a bowl over the web, unfortunately. But you guys can send protein all over the place.
So, you know, get involved with what you’re doing, which obviously they already are, because they’re watching this podcast. But enjoying your products, reading up on the books, getting involved in the community, trying to spread the word like we discussed in a way that really attracts the unconverted and perhaps those who are a little bit intimidated.
And when they do eventually get to a THR1VE, it’s gonna feel like coming home.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, awesome, mate. Awesome. And we’ll link to the show notes. And just before I say goodbye, I’m going to ask you, you can give me a very quick answer, because we didn’t get to talk about it: Is Mark Sisson coming back to Australia?
Josh Sparks: I certainly hope so. We are not doing THR1VE Me in 2016. We’re going to do it every two years. It turned into a; it was such a massive exercise. I mean, you guys were there. It was great, but it was huge.
Guy Lawrence: It was awesome.
Josh Sparks: I’m really looking forward to doing it again, and Mark’s keen to come back. So, I think realistically for us it will be 2017.
Guy Lawrence: Brilliant. And, yeah, we got to spend some time with Mark and he’s a super nice guy, but also exceptionally fit and walks his talk.
Josh Sparks: Exactly. It’s all about authenticity and integrity.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, yeah. And you need to go and see him once. Like, you need to be there. Awesome. Something to look forward to.
Josh Sparks: Yeah, great. Well, I hope you guys are back. We certainly want you there.
Guy Lawrence: Oh, we’ll be there, mate. Definitely.
Awesome, Josh. Look, thank you so much for your time today. I have no doubt everyone’s gonna get a great deal out of this podcast.
Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.
Guy: If you’ve been following us and our podcasts for a while, you’ll probably be aware that we believe every ‘body’ is different when it comes to weight loss, diets, health and even exercise! I think the short clip above is gold when it comes to having a greater understanding of our bodies and why some people will lose weight quicker than others.
Our fantastic guest today is the very lively Jonathan Bailor. Jonathan is the author of the NYT best selling book; The Calorie Myth.
He exposes the fundamental flaw upon which the diet industry has been built: the “eat less + exercise more = weight loss” equation simply doesn’t add up.
In this revolutionary work informed by over 1,300 studies and the new science of fat loss, food, and fitness, Bailor shows us how eating more—of the right kinds of foods—and exercising less—but at a higher intensity—is actually the key to burning fat, healing our hormones, boosting metabolism, and creating long-term weight loss.
Full Interview: How to Eat More, Exercise Less, Lose Weight & Live Better
In This Episode:
Why counting calories is outdated and is not the best approach to long-term health
Why the body acts like ‘kitchen sink’ & should be the first thing to address weight loss
Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence at 180 Nutrition and welcome to today’s Health Sessions. So, today we’ve got a fantastic guest lined up for you. I know I say that every week, but that’s okay anyway, because we like to think they’re fantastic anyway.
He is an internationally recognized wellness expert who specializes in using modern science and technology to simplify health. I know we certainly want to simplify health with our message.
Our special guest today is Jonathan Bailor and he’s collaborated now with top scientists for more than 10 years to analyze and apply over 1300 studies, which led him to write; which became a New York Times bestselling book called “The Calorie Myth” which came out, I think, at the beginning of 2014.
Now, “The Calorie Myth” comes with the slogan, “How to Eat More, Exercise Less, Lose Weight and Live Better.” And I think after all the years that I’ve been doing this, this certainly is a message that I like to push as well.
It was great to get Jonathan on today to share his wisdom that he’s learned. And of course it’s, you know, the quality of the food, not the quantity. I certainly don’t count calories any more, that’s for sure, and that’s a big message.
But also, on top of that, what Jonathan shares with us is that high-quality foods balance the hormones that regulate our metabolism and what’s behind that. He has a great analogy as well where he talks about the body’s regulatory system becoming, inverted commas, “clogged.” And it prevents us from burning those extra calories and actually, you know, the body running at its full efficiency.
So, we get sucked into it and he shares some fantastic bits of wisdom with us for today’s show. So, I have no doubt you’re going to get lots out of it.
I also did some mathematics yesterday. Yes, I do get a calculator out every now and then and worked out that somewhere in the world every four minutes, at the moment, somebody’s listening to a 180 Nutrition podcast.
I thought that was actually pretty cool and thought I’d share that with you. It keeps inspiring me and spurring me on to do these podcasts more and I truly want to try to get into the top five on iTunes here in Australia, at least, in the health and wellness section by the end of this year.
And the reality is, the only way I can do that is with your help. All you need to do is subscribe, hit the five-star and leave us a small review if you’re genuinely enjoying these podcasts and they’re making a big difference to your life.
I’ve always pushed for podcasts. They’ve made a huge impact on my life over the years and it’s certainly something I love doing and strive to do even more and continue to get this message out there and simply reach as many people as possible in the way we do it.
So, if you could take two minutes and do those things for us, it would be greatly appreciated.
Anyway, let’s go on to Jonathan Bailor and you’re going to thoroughly enjoy this. Thanks.
Guy Lawrence: Hi, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke. Hey, Stu.
Stuart Cooke: Hello, mate.
Guy Lawrence: And our awesome guest today is Jonathan Bailor. Jonathan, welcome to the show.
Jonathan Bailor: Hey, guys. Thanks for having me.
Guy Lawrence: That’s fantastic, mate. We found over the years that this topic of counting calories, weight loss, even exercise, has a great deal of confusion. So, we’re looking forward to getting some clarity and pearls of wisdom from you today for our audience. So …
Jonathan Bailor: Well, I hope I provide as much wisdom as I can.
Guy Lawrence: That’s appreciated, mate.
So, the way we start the show is, would you mind just sharing a little bit about, you know, background, what you do and why we’re excited to have you on the show? Because I know you’ll do a much better job than me in doing that.
Jonathan Bailor: Yeah. I know we’re limited on time, so I’ll give you the short version, because I could give you a very long version.
My journey actually started when I was very small. I’m talking 3 years old. If you go to my website, SaneSolution.com and you check out the backstory, you’ll actually see photos that confirm that I was really into eating and exercising and trying to become a Superman even when I was really, really, really young.
So, I grew up as a naturally thin person. I still am a naturally thin person. And don’t hate me; this is going to come full-circle and turn out to be a good thing. But I wanted to get bigger. I wanted to be like my very athletic older brother.
So, I became a personal trainer over at Bally Total Fitness here in the States and that’s the way I paid my way through college. During that time period, I had a painful experience that then changed the trajectory of my life moving forward.
So, while I was a trainer, this was during my late teens, early 20s, I was eating and I’m not exaggerating, 6,000 calories per day in an effort to try to get bigger. Like we sometimes forget that there are people who want to gain weight and can’t do that.
But while I was doing that, I was training predominately mothers and grandmothers who I was telling to eat 1200 calories per day and we were all trying really hard. I was trying really, really hard to gain weight and I knew I was eating 6,000 calories per day.
These were partners at law firms and MDs and they weren’t stupid people. They weren’t lazy people. They were really; really smart, brilliant, capable people. And I saw their food journals. I knew they were eating 1200 calories per day and they weren’t losing weight.
And I was stuck with this reality, which is, “Hey, I’m a homosapien. We’re all homosapiens. How is it that I can eat 6,000 calories per day, try my hardest and not gain weight? And these people, same species, can eat 1200 calories per day, exercise more than I’m exercising and not lose weight.
So, that then caused me to quit being a trainer, because I felt I was a failure, because I was. I couldn’t even reach my own goals. And it set me on this journey, which got us where we are today.
Which was 15 years of deep, deep, deep, deep academic research with top doctors and researchers at the Harvard Medical School, Johns Hopkins, UCLA, like 1300 studies, New York Times bestselling book, USA Today bestselling book, blah, blah, blah, blah blah … to answer the one question, which is: Why is it that some people can eat a whole lot of calories and not gain weight and other people eat very few calories and not lose weight? What’s going on there?
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. There you go and I got to say, Stu is exactly that person you just described.
Stuart Cooke: I am that person. I’ve done the whole 6,000 calories a day thing for two weeks. I did it as a self-experiment when we were on holiday and I really wanted to put on a little bit of size and I lost a kilo and a half. It just goes to show that we’re all very, very different biological machines.
I had a question for you, Jonathan, because over the course the weekend I went with my family and we visited some markets and when I in the queue I was kind of listening to the lady behind me queuing up pay to get in and I heard her tell her partner, “I can only eat 500 calories today and so, I don’t want to be naughty.” And I thought, “Boy, that’s not a huge amount.”
So, I’m just, you know, kind of crazy, but how did we in up counting calories?
Jonathan Bailor: Well, starting back in, at least in the States, so in the States in the late ’70s there was a bunch of government documents that came out that said …Well, first they thought that we were unhealthy back then.
So, they thought we were unhealthy back then, oh boy. We thought we’re just horribly, like orders of magnitude worse since then. And some of guidance was to eat less and exercise more and also to change the composition of what we were eating. Specifically to eat less fat and to eat more carbohydrate and anything as long as it was low in fat. And the way they simplified this message for everybody, was to introduce the concept of a calorie into the mainstream.
It’s hard to imagine right now, but prior to the 1980s or so; I mean, in the ’70s even exercise was thought of kind of some weird fringe thing, right. It wasn’t this popular thing that everyone did. In fact, my mother tells me a story… My mother’s not that old; she’s in her late 60s, that when she went to University she was not actually even allowed in the gym. It was thought of as bad; unhealthy for women to exercise.
So anyway, starting in the late 1970s the concept of the calorie and the concept of exercise entered the mainstream and we were told that we just need to eat less and exercise more. So, exercise more is why exercise got introduced and eat less was just … okay, eat less, what’s that mean? It means eat less calories.
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Jonathan Bailor: So, we stopped talking about food and we started talking about calories and just telling people, “Hey look, all you have to do is eat fewer calories and exercise more and all your problems will go away.” And if you just, you know, for whatever reason and we can talk about that, since then everything’s gotten worse.
So, clearly that doesn’t work. We can debate why it doesn’t work, but the guidance to just eat less and exercise more has not worked.
Guy Lawrence: There you go. Do you think that the message is changing? I mean, if you still walk in the gymnasium, I don’t know what it’s like in the States, but is everyone still counting their calories and on a kind of exercise-diet program?
Jonathan Bailor: It’s changing. So, the exercise isn’t really changing. People still think they need to exercise more and more and more. In fact, with things like Fitbit and all the tracking tools, it’s actually getting worse.
But the eating, I think, we are, actually I know we are, statistically seeing things like Weight Watchers and calorie counting is thought of a little bit as last generation.
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Jonathan Bailor: And new generation is much more … if you think about the things that have garnered headlines recently. There’s things like veganism, Paleo, Atkins, South Beach. And while those are all very different, they do share one thing in common and that’s change what your eating, not how much your eating.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. It’s so important. I remember, Jonathan, a couple of years ago stumbling across your video “Slim Is Simple.” And I remember sharing it to our audience, but you had an analogy of the kitchen sink, which we thought was spot on. Would you mind sharing that analogy with us, please?
Jonathan Bailor: Sure. The reason that the “calories in/calories out” equation, which again it’s not that that doesn’t exist, it’s just that that’s an oversimplification. The reason that stuck is because it seems intuitively correct.
It’s like, “Oh, your body works like a balance scale and if you exercise more for here, it shifts and you lose weight. Or if you eat less it shifts.” But that metaphor, while it’s intuitive, it’s wrong, and a better metaphor is to think of your body a little bit like a clogged sink.
So, when a sink is unclogged; so when a sink is working properly, when a sink is working as it’s designed to work, more water in just means more water out, right? Because the sink is designed to balance itself out.
Now, to be clear, if you dump a bucket of water in your sink, the water level may rise temporarily, but it will go down and you usually don’t dump buckets of water into your sink. That’s not how most people use their sinks.
But now, if your sink gets clogged, any amounts of water, right, you just leave your faucet running just a little bit, it will cause the water level to rise and evidently to overflow. And now you could say: Oh my God, my sink is overflowing. Here’s what I’m going to do. First, I’m never going to wash my hands again, because putting water into the sink will only make it worse. So, I’m going to put less water in, and then I’m going to dress up in Spandex and I’m going to get a teaspoon and I’m going to put on techno music and I’m just going to be like “boom, boom.” And I’m just going to bail water out of that sink for like two hours per day and I’m going to be extreme about it.
And, again, the water level will fall. But why not just unclog the sink, right? The problem isn’t that there’s too much water in the sink or that you’re not pulling enough water out of the sink. The problem is the sink has a lost its natural ability to balance itself out.
So, our body works similarly. When we eat the wrong quality of food, just like when you put the wrong quality of stuff in a sink, it gets clogged, right? Sinks don’t get clogged from using a lot of water. They get clogged from putting things other than water, other than things they’re designed to handle, in them.
So, when you put things other than food into your body, it gets clogged. And at that point more in does result in more fat stored. Whereas conventionally, more in would just result in more out or more burnt.
Guy Lawrence: Perfect.
Stuart Cooke: Perfect. That is beautiful. No, I love that and it was such a visual message when we saw it. It just made perfect sense.
So, where do most people get it wrong then, when trying to lose weight? I guess one, you know, not understanding the analogy of how everything works together. But if you could offer a couple of kind of golden nuggets of information, what would they be?
Jonathan Bailor: The first and most important is that, it’s not their fault. Because the experts have given them incorrect information, right? So, if we were told, and this seems crazy, but it actually happened; if we told that smoking wasn’t bad for us and then we all got lung cancer, is that our fault? Smoking is delightful, I guess, I’ve never smoked. But people who smoke seem to really like it and if you were told it wasn’t bad for you, you’d do it, right?
So, up until this point, especially if you’re over 25, you’ve been told you need to count calories. You need to eat less and you need to exercise more. And chances are you’ve done that.
Let’s be very clear. You’ve lost weight. We’ve all lost weight. The issue is you haven’t been able to keep it off.
The reason you haven’t been able to keep it off is because you’re sort of fighting against that clogged system, rather than unclogging it itself.
So, the first piece of wisdom, yes, wisdom, I would tell people is that if you want a different result, you have to take a different approach and it’s not your fault.
And a different approach is so much simpler. It’s what every single person ever did prior to the obesity epidemic. Which is, eat stuff, eat food, like actual food when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full, and just move your body.
Stuart Cooke: Wow. You mean real food?
Jonathan Bailor: Real food.
Stuart Cooke: No plastic food? Packaged food?
Guy Lawrence: Now, you’ve touched on a point there, because so many people have unknowingly got it wrong and they’re genuinely out there trying to do the best they can, what they perceive to be a healthy approach. And that is one really frustrating thing.
You know, can you touch on a little bit as well for us regarding hormones and how they can affect weight? Because I think that’s a real strong topic as well.
Jonathan Bailor: It’s very important and it actually relates back to the “just eat real food” message as well.
So, I want to … I’m going to address hormones and I also want to address the “just eat real food” message.
So, important distinction here: One is, prior to the obesity epidemic people just ate real food, but all they ever ate was just real food. So, I want to make a distinction between someone who’s never been hormonally clogged, continuing to just eat real food, and someone who is hormonally clogged now, who needs to first unclog and then move forward. Right?
So, that’s sort of really important. Because if you took someone … say you have a person who’s 250 pounds and is diabetic and you say, “Just eat real food,” and they take that to mean, “I’m going to get 60 percent of my calories from white potatoes.”
Like, white potatoes are real food. They’re found directly in nature and they have nutrients in them, but we have to actually heal the body first and that requires a little bit more nuance than “just eat real food.”
So, the value that I try to bring to the table is taking sort of common sense wisdom, which is do what we did prior to having the problem with really rigorous modern science. To pair those together and to say that “just eat real food” actually isn’t enough guidance.
Because when you understand hormones, you understand that there are certain types of real food that are a lot more hormonally beneficial than other types of real food and based on your hormonal state, we need to adapt that. And also just from a common sense perspective for … like tobacco is real and found in nature, but it doesn’t mean it’s good for you.
So, we’ve got to take the “just eat real food” guidance, then we need to understand our hormones. We need to understand our neurobiology. We need to understand our gut biology. Then we need to refine down the best real foods to heal our hormones.
Guy Lawrence: There you go.
Stuart Cooke: Perfect. Okay. So, has anyone from a kind of regional and cultural perspective, has anyone got it right in terms of their diets or the way that they have always been eating? And I’m thinking, like, Mediterranean diet for instance, something along those lines.
Jonathan Bailor: A lot of the debate that takes place on the internet is, you know, like, “What’s best? Like high carb/low carb, all this, like, which types of real food should you eat?”
Now, again this depends on your goals. It depends on your starting point. So, one thing we can’t argue with is results.
So, there are tribes that eat a super high-fat diet, have always eaten a super high fat diet and are radically healthier than the average westerner. There are tribes that eat a very a high carbohydrate diet and have always eaten a very high carbohydrate diet and are very, very healthy.
There is no culture anywhere, ever, that has eaten a 40 to 60 percent refined nonsense diet, which is what most Americans eat, that is healthy.
So, what we need to do is sort of focus less on, I think, what one way is right and what we can focus on and with a lot more confidence, is what is wrong. Like, it’s way easier to disprove something than it is to prove something.
So, I don’t know if we’ll ever know the perfect human diet. Just like I don’t think we’ll ever know the perfect outfit a person could wear. I don’t think one exists. I think it’s contextually dependent.
But I do think we know what we should not be eating and if we can just get rid of that stuff, we’d be good to go.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. A question popped in there, So, with everything we’ve covered so far, right, if somebody’s listening to this and they might be late 30s, early 40s and they’ve neglected their health and they’ve got to a situation in life where they’re overweight. They’re behind the eight ball a bit. They’re realizing that, “Oh shit. My kitchen sink is blocked and all these diets I’m doing is not working and I’m frustrated. I’m just over it all.” That’s all great.
What would your advice be? Where would you sort of start chipping away with that? What would be the first protocol? And they’re probably exercising every day too.
Jonathan Bailor: From a food perspective it’s very, very simple and that’s where the SANE framework comes in to play.
So, SANE is the name of my brand. But it’s also … it was just, you know, I don’t know if God or some higher power had this planned out all along, but eight years into my research I was trying to figure out; okay it’s all about high quality. We get that. It’s about quality not quantity.
And then I noticed that there were these four factors in the research, which helps to determine … like, you ask someone on the street, “Hey, what’s a high quality food?” They’re like, “I don’t know.” If they’re a vegetarian they give you a much different answer than if they’re Paleo, right?
So, how do you actually, scientifically, objectively determine the quality of a food? And then once you can answer that question, I can then tell you, “Step 1 is eat these. Step 2 is eat these.”
So, let me unpack that really quick.
So, SANE is an acronym fortuitously for the four factors that determine the quality of a food.
So, the S stands for Satiety. This is how quickly a food fills you up and how long it keeps you full. So, you know, like, soda you can drink 600 calories of soda and it does nothing to satisfy you. In fact, it actually makes you hungrier, right? So, there’s low satiety.
The A is Aggression. Where the hormonal impact a food has, so glycemic index, glycemic load, things like that.
N is Nutrition. So, the amount of nutrients, essential nutrients: vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids, you get it per calorie.
And then E is Efficiency or how easily your body could store the given calorie as fat.
So, for example, protein is very, very difficult for your body to store as fat. It’s not an energy source. It’s a structural component. So, if you ate just way too much protein, all sorts of chemical processes would have to happen in your body before that could even be stored as body fat. So, it’s very inefficient. That’s why higher protein diets often result in weight loss.
Anyway, so now we just have to say, these are four scientifically proven and scientifically measurable factors. And we can just stack foods, right? We can say which foods are the most satisfying, unaggressive, nutritious and inefficient.
And when we do that, here’s the coolest thing; here’s where it all comes together beautifully. So, the most rigorous science in the world and common sense come together.
So, the most satisfying, unaggressive, nutritious and inefficient foods on the planet are, drum roll please: non-starchy vegetables, right? So vegetables you could eat raw.
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Jonathan Bailor: You don’t have to eat them raw, but you could. So, corn and potatoes, you can’t eat them raw. They’re not vegetables. They’re starches.
So, the first thing I’d say is, 10-plus servings of non-starchy vegetables every time you’re eating. Non-starchy vegetables. Non-starchy vegetables. Non-starchy vegetables.
Next on the list is nutrient-dense protein. So, these are humanely raised animals. Also certain forms of dairy products that are low in sugar, such as Greek yogurt or cottage cheese.
Then next on the list or in terms of volume of what you’re eating are whole food fats. So, these are things that get the majority of their calories from fat, but are whole foods. So, eggs, nuts, seeds, avocados, things like that.
And then finally, low-fructose fruits. So, not all fruits are of equivalent goodness. For example, blueberries have a lot more vitamins and minerals and radically less sugar than something like grapes.
So, I would tell them, “Here’s your four steps. In order, you eat: non-starchy vegetables, nutrient-dense protein, whole food fats, low-fructose fruits.”
Fine anybody on the planet who’s doing that and has done that and isn’t free of diabetes and obesity and I will be shocked.
Guy Lawrence: There you go.
Stuart Cooke: I like it. I like it simple. So, I’m guessing then that foods that really don’t adhere to any of those quantities would be insane to eat, right?
Jonathan Bailor: That’s exactly right. They’re insane. And there’s actually three factors I forgot to mention.
So, if you don’t want to remember satiety, aggression, nutrition and efficiency, you can remember three things, which are a little bit simpler, and that is: water, fiber and protein.
So, sane foods are high in water. They’re high in fiber. They’re high in protein. Insane foods are low in those things.
So, for example, processed foods. If you notice, they’re all dry. So, cookies, cakes, crackers, pies, you put them in a blender you get a powder. You don’t get something liquidy. They’re low in fiber and they’re low in protein.
Stuart Cooke: Perfect.
Guy Lawrence: So, with all that said, right, Jonathan, what did you have for breakfast this morning?
Jonathan Bailor: I had a green smoothie. So, green smoothies are God’s gift to humanity. And I also had a, believe it or not, some SANE ice cream.
Guy Lawrence: There you go.
Stuart Cooke: What is SANE ice cream?
Jonathan Bailor: What is SANE ice cream? Yes. So, it’s a combination of coconut. So just shredded, unsweetened coconut. Chia seeds, some clean whey protein powder, cinnamon, guar gum, vanilla extract.
Guy Lawrence: Sounds good.
Jonathan Bailor: Some stevia and I freeze it and then I thaw it for two hours. Throw it in the blender and I eat it.
Stuart Cooke: Fantastic. That sounds awesome.
So, we got a tiny bit of time left. I just wanted to touch on exercise for you. Given that everything you told us about the way the hormones interact with our body and the way that we look and feel: running shoes or kettle bells? So, what do you think?
Jonathan Bailor: Oh my goodness. I’m going to offend some people here. I’m going say neither.
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Jonathan Bailor: So, kettle bells are certainly preferable to running shoes, but I think we can do even better. And remember that my message is targeted at, let’s say, the average American and if you hand the average American a kettle bell, all they’re going to do is hurt themselves.
Guy Lawrence: Uh-huh.
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Jonathan Bailor: So, it’s not that kettle bells are bad, it’s that kettle bells are probably like Step 6.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Jonathan Bailor: So, Step 1 would be … I want people to focus on doing very heavy resistance training, very slowly. And the “very slowly” is very important, because the quickest way to derail your fitness efforts is to hurt yourself and to try to do too much too soon.
So, instead of trying to do more running, you would do less, but way higher resistance and way slower weight training.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Perfect. And across the board: male, female, everyone?
Jonathan Bailor: Yeah. And in fact, I would say, even more so for females, simply because they have heard the opposite message for so long. I mean, since the ’50s, guys have been told to left weights. Women have been told the exact opposite. And women, especially given the hormonal changes that take place in women’s bodies, like post-menopause and after having given birth to children, the hormonal therapy that heavy resistance training can have on a woman’s body is fantastic.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. You know you’re spot on, because I worked as a fitness trainer for many years and the biggest mistake I would see is people who haven’t done anything for three or six months and they get all motivated and then they come in and they go hard and then the next thing you know, after a week later, they’re just out of there. They couldn’t just turn up, slow it down and then create a progression as each week goes by.
Jonathan Bailor: Yeah, and Guy and Stuart, can I add one thing that I think is going to be really helpful for your audience, because it’s been really helpful for me?
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Go for it. I’m not in the way.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Jonathan Bailor: Not at all. I’m looking at my camera but not at your faces.
So, there’s a … one of the most influential books that I’ve ever read in my entire life, easily, is a book called “Antifragile” and I can’t pronounce the guy’s name. It’s like Taleb is his last name. Anyway, he makes a point in the book that oftentimes the longer something has been around, the more likely it is to be true or good and the more likely it is to continue into the future.
So, for example, these sort of cutting; these new forms of exercise, like how often do we see something new that comes around and then next year it’s gone?
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Jonathan Bailor: Whereas, like, squats, pushups, shoulder press, chest press, like these six physical movements; like move heavy things in the basic way your body is designed to move, that’s been around for a long time. It works for a really long time. Anyone who actually knows anything about building a world-class physique will tell you that their workout routine revolves around squats, bench press, dead lifts, pull-ups, shoulder press and basically those five exercises.
So, just anytime, whether you heard something new fancy… blah, blah, blah. Get the basics done really, really well and you’ll achieve fantastic results.
Guy Lawrence: There you go. And that was “Antifragile” was it?
Jonathan Bailor: Yes.
Guy Lawrence: The book?
Jonathan Bailor: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: Okay. We’ll link it in the show, one of us. That’s great.
Stuart Cooke: Wow. No, that’s good information. I’m just thinking about you, Guy, with your new passion for Zumba. How that fits in?
Guy Lawrence: Don’t tell anyone. Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: No, exactly.
So, I wonder whether you could tell us a little bit about your book, “The Calorie Myth” because I’ve been reading a little bit about it and it sounds quite exciting. So, could you share that, please?
Jonathan Bailor: Yeah. It’s the culmination of 13-plus years of research, distilled down into, really, three sections. The first is we bust the three; like, none of this is going to make sense unless you can free yourself of three myths.
And the first myth is you have consciously count calories. That’s a myth.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Jonathan Bailor: I prove that definitively in the book. The second is that a calorie is a calorie. So, we disprove that definitively in the book. And the third is that calories are all that matter and that’s where hormones come into play. We disprove that in the book.
Then we talk about how all these myths, which we, I mean like, disprove, disprove in the first part of the book. Like now, “That’s crazy!” Well, how did we come to believe that anyway?
And then the third part of the book we introduce the solution. So, the new quality-focused eating and exercise and then also introduce you to SaneSolution.com, which is my company,
And also people read “The Calorie Myth” and they say, “Okay, that’s great. You’ve blown my mind. You’ve stripped away everything I thought I knew about eating and exercise. So, now what do I do?” And we provide meal plans, tools, resources, all kinds of fun stuff like that on sanesolution.com to help you live that new lifestyle.
Guy Lawrence: Perfect.
Stuart Cooke: Perfect. Excellent.
Guy Lawrence: It’s all well and good, and that’s the one thing we see, right? It’s all well and good understanding this message: “Yes, and I’ve got to change” but actually implementing it on a daily basis, moving forward is quite a; can be quite a challenge and certainly support is needed. Yeah, we’ll certainly link back to that as well, Jonathan. That sounds awesome.
So, mate, we’ve got a couple of wrap up questions we ask on the show.
Jonathan Bailor: Sure.
Guy Lawrence: First one is, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? And this normally stumps everyone.
Stuart Cooke: We’ve got him, Guy. We’ve got him.
Jonathan Bailor: Uh-oh. This is the first one that popped into my mind. So, it’s from my mom and it’s, “If you have to think about it, the answer is no.” So, if you debating whether or not something’s good or bad, it’s bad. Because that’s your brain trying to tell you, “You know better.”
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: That’s good. That does resonate with us actually.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Excellent. One more, mate, and you touched on it earlier about a book. Is there any books that spring to mind that have influenced you over the years that you want to share with the audience?
Jonathan Bailor: Oh, absolutely. In fact, I could give you the numbered list right off the top of my head. So, the most influential book I’ve ever read is the “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Jonathan Bailor: Without question. Also high on the list is, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Jonathan Bailor: “Antifragile” is on the list. I think, at least off the top of my head, those would be the three that most resonate right now.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Perfect. Excellent.
And for anyone listening to this where can they get more Jonathan Bailor?
Jonathan Bailor: Please go to: SaneSolution. So… SaneSolution, singular. Not solutions, SaneSolution. Not thesanesolution. Not thesanesolutions, but SaneSolution.com.
Guy Lawrence: Brilliant. And have you got any exciting projects coming up in the future, mate, that people can look forward to in the pipeline? Any more books?
Jonathan Bailor: Oh, absolutely. Well, we’ll see on the books, right? Now we’re focused on helping people actually live this lifestyle and we’ve found that the easiest way to do that is to make real, whole, SANE food more convenient.
So, we’re reinventing the supplement world. We’re kind of replacing supplements with what we’re calling “meal enhancements” which is whole real food put into a convenience form so that you could get eight servings of the best non-starchy vegetables in the world in like 17 seconds.
It’s incredible. It’s like taking all that’s good about supplements, but moving it into the whole foods space so it’s all natural. And you can check that out at: SaneSolution.com. Just click store. It’s pretty phenomenal.
Guy Lawrence: Perfect.
Stuart Cooke: Fantastic.
Guy Lawrence: And that’s our message too. I think that the whole industry is moving that way and the sooner it does, the better.
Jonathan Bailor: And we ship to Australia.
Guy Lawrence: There you go. It’s got a long way to come, but it does get here.
Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. I’ll place my order today.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Fantastic.
Guy Lawrence: Jon, thanks so much for coming on the show, mate. That was awesome. We really value your time and I have not doubt people heaps out of that.
Jonathan Bailor: Awesome. Thanks guys.
Guy Lawrence: Good on you, Jonathan, and thank you.
Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.
The word inflammation gets thrown around all the time. From bloggers, health nuts, athletes and practitioners; they all say eat this or do that to reduce inflammation! But do you really understand what inflammation is, and more importantly, what low-grade inflammations is?
Well have no fear if you don’t, because if you are willing to commit three minutes of your time to the above video, you will hear probably the best description of inflammation and why you REALLY need to know about it.
This week our special guest is Dr John Hart who is a longevity medicine practitioner. This is probably the most important podcast we’ve done to date and we highly recommend you check it out, as he explains the simple things you can do to avoid chronic illness, live longer, healthier, happier and improve the quality of your life.
Full Interview: Mastering Hormones, Gut Health, Inflammation & Living to 120 Years Old
Audio Version of the Full Interview Here:
In this episode we talk about:
How to add healthy and happy years onto your life by making simple changes
The best description of inflammation you’ll ever hear
The best description of leaky gut you’ll ever hear
Why hormones are crucial to our health, vibrance & labido!
Applying the ‘Big 5′ to avoid the pitfalls of chronic disease as we age
Guy Lawrence: Hi, this is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. You know, I might be a little bit biased, but it never ceases to amaze me when we have guests on and some of the information that they impart with us and today’s guest is absolutely no exception about this.
I might have repeated it before, but the more I learn I realize the more I don’t actually know. Because every time I seem to explore these rabbit holes, when it comes to health and wellness and life and nutrition and you name it, the more things are just getting revealed to me.
If you’re watching this podcast in video, you probably notice my jaw is opened for half of it, because the information I just shared on you is just absolutely, I find it absolutely fascinating and it’s fantastic to be bringing the podcast to you today.
Our fantastic guest is Dr. John Hart. Now, he’s a fantastic and beautiful human being and he’s a longevity medicine practitioner and we delve into essentially the human body and the life of the human body and how we can extend it and live actually a happier, healthier life going into our 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and even beyond that. Which is awesome!
He talks about two specific things, which is: life span of the human being, but also then the health span of the human being. And the idea is to expand the health span so the quality of your life continues as you get older as well and then that has a knock-on effect, because it obviously affects your life span. And doing this as well, I probably heard the best description of leaky gut I’ve ever heard as well and the importance of it.
So, we dive into so many things and it’s definitely going to be a podcast I’m going to play to myself a couple of times to re-get this information. So, I have no doubt that you’re going to get a lot out of this today.
We also get emails, you know. Sometimes this information is overload, where’s the best place to start? How do we do it? And I find myself repeating these things, so I thought I’d print a podcast.
If you’re new to 180 Nutrition, download the e-book. It’ll probably take you 30 minutes to read. It’s 26 pages. It’s written in a nice simple manner, outlining what we feel to be the best principles for health, to apply for long-term health. Simple as that!
Our 180 Superfood, you know, it’s completely natural. If you want to start cutting out processed foods from your diet, which is what we always encourage and recommend, all you have to do is get some 180 Superfood.
I have it in a smoothie every morning. So, I’ll mix it with some fats, like avocado. I normally put a greens power in if I don’t have any spinach and things like that and I usually us a low glycemic fruit as well. Berries, quarter of a banana sometimes, things like that. And then you’re getting nutrients, you know. You’re not getting just glucose, which is from processed carby foods that most people do. You’re getting the nutrients from all that.
And the last thing as well is, yeah, you can sign up to our newsletter and we send out articles every week. They’re all free. You can read them. All have different thoughts and discussions.
So, yeah, do them things and you’ll be well on your way. Just slowly taking this information in all the time. It’s just as simple as that.
And of course, if you’re listening to this through iTunes, leave a little review, give use your feedback on the podcast. It’s always really appreciated. Subscribe to it. Five-star it, And that just literally helps us with iTunes rankings and continues to get the word out there.
So, let’s go over to John Hart. This is an awesome podcast and I have no doubt that you’re going to enjoy it.
Guy Lawrence: Okay. Hi, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke. Hi, Stewie.
Stuart Cooke: Hello.
Guy Lawrence: Well, a little freeze there. He’s back. Our special guest today is Dr. John Hart. John, welcome to the show. Thanks for coming on, mate. We really appreciate it.
Dr. John Hart: Thanks, Guy. Thanks for inviting me.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, with just; what I thought I’d do is just fill in with the listeners a little bit about the background of it all, because we met at the THR1VE symposium, which is probably just over a month ago now and of course, we were all speaking there, with Mark Sisson being brought over, and we came in onto your talk and was just absolutely blown away with what you had to say and you could clearly see everyone else in the room was too. So, we’ve been trying to figure out how we can get that into our podcast somehow. So, we’ll have a good go anyway. I don’t know whether we’ll achieve it, but we’ve certainly got a few questions about to run through with you today, John. So, it’s much appreciated, mate.
So, just to get the ball rolling would you mine sharing a little bit about yourself? What you do and I guess a little bit about your own journey, like you did.
Dr. John Hart: Well, I’ve always had an interest in health and performance and I started off playing sports at a reasonably high level; volleyball and biking and rowing and then went to Uni and got into the Uni lifestyle and did a few degrees and ended up with an interest in sports medicine, sports science and medicine. And since then been training up on all the different aspects of human performance and human health.
So, you get trained in disease and disease management medicine and that’s okay. I mean, modern medicine is very good at treating life-threatening diseases and acute injuries and infections. And they’re the things that used to kill us was acute injury and infections, but nowadays it’s more chronic diseases. Long-term, low-grade inflammation causing damage to tissues that lead to the 70 to 80 percent of causes of death, with chronic degenerative diseases, like heart attacks and stokes and cancer and dementia and osteoporosis.
And modern medicine is not that good at that. If I have a serious infection, or I have a broken bone, you know I’ll be going straight to the nearest hospital, but if I want to stay healthy and detect early disease and turn it around, rather than waiting until it gets into the severe, sort of permanent damage, then I think you’ve got to go looking at more functional medicine or integrative medicine techniques to be effective.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Okay. So, just a little outside of medicine right now and, you know, million dollar question on everyone’s lips; in your opinion, how significant is nutrition for overall health?
Dr. John Hart: Yeah, I think, I talk about the Big Five. If you want to have a long healthy life you’ve got to have five things that are working optimally …
Stuart Cooke: Okay.
Dr. John Hart: … and that’s diet, exercise, sleep, stress management, and hormones, probably in that order. I think diet is the most important one. If your diet’s bad, if it’s really bad, you’re not going to be able to counteract that one by getting all the other ones working. But for optimal health, you’ve got to have them all working. Because each one that’s broken is going to lead to degeneration and disease.
So, nutrition, whether that’s diet and/or dietary supplements, I’d put that as the most important one. But you’ve got to put attention on all of them. It’s like, you’ve got a car and you only put attention on the engine. You don’t worry about tires or the steering or the air conditioning or whatever or the hole in the roof. You’ve got to do everything if you want it to run well.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, and from what we can see, most people aren’t running all five. There’s normally something amiss.
Dr. John Hart: You say most people, all five are not optimal, they’re all broken to a degree and just about everybody’s got sleep that is broken.
When you’re young, your hormones usually take care of themselves. Because in your 20s, Mother Nature wants you operating well so that you can reproduce and raise the next generation. But once you get into your 30s and you’ve done that, Mother Nature doesn’t really need to have you around any more, so it’s quite happy to generate decline and die off. And part of the way it does that is to decrease the production of most of the hormones that control what the body does.
So, the hormones don’t actually do anything. They just tell the body what to do. If you don’t make the hormones, then the body doesn’t get told what to do. It doesn’t do it and you degenerate, you age, you die off and stop off at the nursing home maybe for 10 years on the way.
So, when you’re young, you don’t have to worry about the hormones because it’s in Mother Nature’s interest to have them all working optimally.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Dr. John Hart: Most people that’s what happens, not everybody, but most people. But certainly as you get older, most hormones decline and then you’ve got to put more attention on it.
So, the way I think about it is, that when you’re young there’s a lot of things that happen automatically and you don’t have to worry about it too much and you’ve got a big reserve.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Dr. John Hart: The older you get, the less happens automatically, the more you have to take it out of manual control, if you want to maintain your health. You don’t have to, but if you don’t, you will degenerate and you’ll suffer the disability and the pain and the discomfort and the limitations of what you can do because of that.
Guy Lawrence: Right. And does that slow up the aging process then, by intervening and then the aging …
Dr. John Hart: Yeah. You can think about it as normal aging or optimal aging. Normal aging is the stage of decline that Mother Nature’s in favor of us going through to kill us off. But we’ve got the technology and the knowledge now to intervene in that and have optimal aging, where basically you stay healthy and active and independent and vital for much, much longer and instead of having a long period, say a third of your life in sort of fairly serious decline and decay and disability, you know you can shorten that done to a few years.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Wow. I certainly like the idea of optimal …
Dr. John Hart: Yeah. There’s life span and there’s health span. And so, life span is how long you live, but health span is how long you’re healthy.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Quality of life.
Dr. John Hart: Yes, that’s right. So, we’ve sort of extended our life span, but we haven’t really extended our health span yet with modern medicine. You know, it has to a degree, but not as much as the life span. So, there seems to be more of a gap now between the limit of your health span and the limit of your life span.
So, anti-aging medicine, age management medicine, longevity medicine, whatever you want to call it, it’s all about identifying why your health span’s declining and correcting it. So, maintain your health span.
And it turns out that the things improve your health span, also improve your life span.
Stuart Cooke: Yes.
Dr. John Hart: The health span’s the criteria , because there’s no point in living longer if it’s in a nursing home.
Stuart Cooke: Exactly.
Guy Lawrence: If you’ve been dragged over the line, yeah. Absolutely.
Stuart Cooke: And does the strategies, regarding the things that you’ve spoken about, include gut health? Because we’ve been hearing a lot about the critical importance of microbiome right now. It seems to be a bit of a buzzword. Is there; what do you think about that?
Dr. John Hart: Yeah. I think just sort of the big picture is that the things that cause degen; the main thing that causes degeneration and deterioration and aging of the body is inflammation. And the single major source of inflammation is an unhealthy gut in most people. So, by correcting the gut, then you can minimize the inflammation in your body, which then decreases the degeneration and the decay in your body.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Dr. John Hart: So, I’ll just talk a bit about inflammation, because everybody has heard about the word, but don’t have a picture of what it means.
So, we have the ability to mount an acute inflammatory response, in a local part of the body, in response to the things that used to kill us. The things that used to kill us were infections and trauma.
So, it you get a local infection or you get trauma in a part of your body, you will set up an acute inflammatory response to deal with it. And what happens is your blood vessels dilate, so more blood goes to the area and that’s why it looks redder and feels warmer. And when the blood vessels get leaky, so cells that have transported into that area can get out of the blood vessels and at the same time fluid leaks out with it, so the area swells up and those cells then go around and they eat the infectious agent, whether it’s a bacteria or fungus or parasite or whatever or they eat the damaged tissue. Now the cells come in and repair the damage. And then once it’s all fixed, it all goes away.
So, that redness, swelling, heat, pain is fixing the problem, hopefully and then once the problem’s fixed it all just settles down. So, that’s an acute local inflammatory response, a really good idea to do with infections and traumas that used to kill us.
But nowadays we’ve controlled infections. You know we know about food preparation and food storage and waste removal and antibodies and vaccinations, so infections are not big killers any more. And we’ve got our environment pretty well controlled.
We don’t have dinosaurs and tigers and people with clubs and spears. We’ve got occupational health and safety, so traumas not a big killer any more.
Now, 70 to 80 percent of people die to chronic degenerative diseases, which is diseases that are caused by this inflammatory process being turned on a little bit by the whole body, for decades.
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Dr. John Hart: So, the chronic degenerative diseases are caused by chronic low grade inflammation and that’s caused by a whole lot of things triggering off a little bit of this inflammatory process. And so, if you want to have a long healthy life, you want to have low levels of inflammation.
We’re all way more inflamed than we were a thousand years, when we were running around the jungle, touching the ground, out in the sun. Pulling the fruits right off the tree in season. Drinking fresh water. Physically active. Relatively low stress. Sleeping from nine to twelve hours in the back of the cave. Now, that’s what the body expects.
But the current lifestyle is totally different. We’ve got the same body, but we’ve got a totally different environment that we’re asking it to live in, and it’s not getting what it needs. And all these things that it’s being exposed to or things that it’s not being exposed to that it expects are triggering off this inflammation in the body that causes damage.
Guy Lawrence: Got it. What you’re saying then is if your gut is not operating correctly, you’re constantly going to create low-grade inflammation.
Dr. John Hart: Yeah. So, if you’ve got what is called a “leaky gut” or increased intestinal permeability, that’s basically a source of toxicity or infection into the body. So, maybe we talk a bit about the gut just quickly.
Guy Lawrence: Sure.
Dr. John Hart: The thing about the gut, it’s a tube that runs through the center of your body. It’s open at both ends and what’s inside that tube is not yet inside your body. It’s in a tube that’s passing through your body. So, inside that tube there are billions of bacteria. Up to ten times more bacteria in your gut than there are cells in your body.
So, it’s a whole little environment there, a whole new microenvironment in that tube. And if you’ve got the right bugs and they’re happy, as in well looked after, well-fed; then they act as an organ of your body. Now, they’re regarded now that two to three kilograms of slushy poo is regarded as an organ of your body, because it supports the health of your whole body. Just like your heart and your lungs and your brains.
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Dr. John Hart: If you’ve got the right bugs, they make vitamins for you. They help you digest your food. They pull minerals off your food. They stimulate your immune system appropriately. They ferment your food into things called short-chain fatty acids. And short-chain fatty acids are important, because they’re the preferred fuel for the lining of the gut. And the lining of the gut has to be healthy, because it has to function as a semi-permeable membrane. It has to be able to pump through vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fats, etc. from digestion. But it has to keep out of the body, in the tube, the bugs, the waste products of the bugs, the dead bugs, the parts of the dead bugs, and the big undigested food particles.
And if the lining of the gut is healthy, then that will all happen and everything’s fine. The stuff that’s in the gut stays in the gut, and the live body gets the nutrition that it needs.
But if the lining of the gut is irritated or inflamed, then you get a thing called increased intestinal permeability or leaky gut.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Dr. John Hart: That then lets; so, the lining of the gut then doesn’t work properly. So, it doesn’t pump through the vitamins, minerals, amino acids as well as it should and it starts letting through stuff that it shouldn’t. The toxins and poisons and parts of bugs and non-digested food particles in your gut, into your body.
And your body’s immune system is designed to be constantly surveilling your gut,
your body, for what is not you. Your body’s immune system should be able to find bacteria, infections, viruses and kill them before they can take over and kill you, but to leave you alone.
So, your immune system’s job is to survive foreign invaders. Now, the most likely source of foreign invaders, in the normal body, is from the gut, because that’s where the mass majority of them are.
So, 80 to 90 percent of the immune system is in the wall of the gut, constantly surveilling the gut, secreting antibodies into it, trying to control what goes on in there. And anything that can get through the wall of the gut, your immune system checks it out and says, “I recognize you, you can pass, you’re a vitamin, you’re a mineral, whatever.” Or “I don’t recognize you, you must be a toxin, you must be some foreign invader. You’re not suppose to be here.” and it attacks it and destroys it.
Guy Lawrence: And out you go.
Stuart Cooke: Are there any particular culprits that spring to mind, that really do affect the health of our gut?
Dr. John Hart: Yeah. The two main sort of categories of things that irritate the lining of the gut, to cause leaky gut, are foods and the wrong bugs.
So, if you’ve got foods; there are foods that everybody is sensitive to some degree and there are foods that individuals have their own particular sensitivity.
Stuart Cooke: Hmm.
Dr. John Hart: You kill off the good ones with courses of antibiotics or antibiotics in your meat or chemicals like insecticides, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, colorings, flavorings, preservatives, sweeteners, heavy metals; they’re all going to make those bugs either kill them off or sick and angry and then they’re going to react accordingly.
So, if the bugs are not happy with where they are, they’re going to try and leave. And so, the only way out is through the wall of the gut. So, they’re going to get angry. They’re going to get irritated. They’re going to start releasing inflammatory mediators and attack the wall of the gut to try to get out of where they are now, because they’re not happy where they are. It’s not comfortable.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Dr. John Hart: So, everything you eat, you’re not just feeding you, you’re feed them. So, here’s a little snip; fact that will blow your mind. If you look at all the cells on and in you have nucleuses and in the nucleuses; in the nucleus of each cell is the DNA and the DNA controls what that cell does, whether it’s a bacteria cell, or a human cell.
If you look at all the DNA that’s on and in you, only two percent of it is yours. The rest of it is the bacteria, the viruses, the parasites that live on and in you; us.
Stuart Cooke: Wow!
Dr. John Hart: And that’s normal, as long as they’re the good guys.
Guy Lawrence: Wow!
Dr. John Hart: So, if you think about it from their point of view, they’re actually running the show. We’re just the apartment block; the host and they’re the tenants. We’re just the landlord.
So, as with any landlord-tenant relationship, the landlord has to make sure the tenant’s happy; otherwise, the tenant’s going to trash the place. If the tenant’s happy, he’ll look after the place. If he’s unhappy he’s not going to look after it. And that’s exactly what happens between us and the bugs or the microbiome in our gut.
And it’s the same relationship that we are just coming to understand about the external environment. If we trash the external environment there’s going to be kickback to our health. We can’t pollute the planet and expect to have; be healthy ourselves.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Dr. John Hart: We can’t pollute our internal environment and expect to be healthy ourselves.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Wow.
Guy Lawrence: And in your view, John, of what you’ve seen, is leaky gut common? Like, do you think a lot of people; it’s a big problem out there with people?
Dr. John Hart: I think that people who just do what is the standard Australian diet, the SAD diet, and standard Australian lifestyle, will all have leaky gut to some degree. Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: Okay.
Dr. John Hart: And you can tell if you have any gut symptoms; nausea, burping, bloating, farting, episodes of constipation or diarrhoea, cramps, reflux; that’s all the gut is not working properly. And if you have any tenderness in your gut when you push on it, that’s an inflamed gut.
If you have any of those symptoms, you’re guaranteed to have some degree of leaky gut. And therefore affects on the rest of your body from the stuff that’s leaking through your gut, because that gut-blood barrier, you know, that is damaged to cause leaky gut. There’s similar barriers between the blood and the blood vessel wall so, you can get leaky gut. You can also get leaky blood vessels. So, you leak crap into the blood vessel wall and that’s going to end up with blood vessel disease, which is the commonest killer.
If you put all the blood vessel diseases together, that’s by far the commonest killer in our society; is damaged lining or the endothelium of the inside edge of the blood vessels. And there’s another barrier between the blood and the brain, the blood brain barrier.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Dr. John Hart: All the things that damage one, will damage the other. So, the blood-brain barrier is there to control what gets into the brain. The body’s very fussy about what get into the brain. But if you’ve got a leaky gut and that’s leaking poisons into the body, and those poisons are floating around in the blood, you’re going to be damaging your blood vessels all the way through and then they’re going to be causing a leaky brain and stuff’s going to start getting to your brain that shouldn’t get there and you get brain dysfunction and brain cell death.
Guy Lawrence: That’s incredible. So, a couple of things that just spring into mind, sorry Stu, before we move on is that, then a leaky gut should be one of the first things anyone should address, really, I’m thinking.
Dr. John Hart: In integrative medicine, that’s exactly the case. We go straight to the gut to start with. Because if you present with a problem in your body and you’ve got a leaky gut problem, if that leaky gut problem is not causing the problem in your body, it’s aggravating it for sure and you never going to win if you don’t get the gut fixed first.
And because a dysfunctional gut is so common, you know, to varying degrees, you can always get an improvement in everybody’s health.
I routinely do a six-week gut detox thing. Which is removing the common food allergens and chemicals from people’s diet and putting in basic nutrients for repairing the gut, repairing the liver, repairing the kidneys for as you detox your waste removal organs, and nutrients for gut repair. And I think about 95-plus percent of people lose a kilogram of fat a week. They sleep better. They have more energy, better mood, better libido. Their whole body responds to just cleaning out their gut.
Guy Lawrence: Wow. Who wouldn’t want a piece of that?
Dr. John Hart: Yeah. You can’t have a healthy gut in this society without taking active steps to achieve it. It won’t happen just on the normal diet, the normal XXunintelligibleXX [:22:53.8].
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. You’ve got to be proactive.
Dr. John Hart: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: And outside of that normal diet and, you know, stress management and those five almost pillars that you spoke about earlier, is there any specific supplementation that would be the norm, I guess, to treat leaky gut or at least to manage it or prevent it?
Dr. John Hart: Yeah. So, if I’m worried about somebody’s gut, I’ll do some food sensitivity tests to find out what …
Stuart Cooke: Yes.
Dr. John Hart: … they’re irritated; they’re sensitive to and remove those from their diet.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Dr. John Hart: Or if people can’t afford that, because that can get expensive, you could just remove all the common ones. You know, dairy, gluten and XXwheat ??? 0:23:34.000XX and barley and corn, soy. You know they’re sort of the most common ones. So, most people get an improvement just by doing that.
It’s difficult in this society though. We’re a wheat- and milk-based society. So, it takes a bit of planning to do it, but it’s quite possible.
And then look at the gut, the bugs, the microbiome and either do some tests to find out what’s in there or just do a bit of a shotgun approach, which also works very well with most people, where you just do some antibiotic herbs, put in some good; which kill the bad bugs. Put in some probiotics that are the good bugs. Put in some nutrients like glutamine and B vitamins and zinc and vitamin D to help gut repair. And silymarin is the active ingredient of milk thistle to support liver function. Those are a few things that have been used for thousand of years.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right.
Dr. John Hart: So, as a shotgun approach, which everybody feels better on, whether it’s enough for a particular person depends on what their specific issues are, which the testing can help you. But everybody feels better on when we do that.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, I can imagine. And another thought that just sprung in there is, because obviously you’ve stressed the importance of the gut and we always talk about leaky gut, but that’s actually just really reinforced the importance of looking after your gut.
And you know, the question that has popped into mind from that is that anyone that goes to their local doctor with symptoms or problems, I’ve never heard of a GP doctor ever saying, “What’s the state of your gut?” Not that I try to go to doctors much. I mean, I guess, why would that be and would that change over time, do you think, John?
Dr. John Hart: Well, I think it will change over time, because there’s so much science behind it now. But you have to remember that doctors are trained in hospitals. And hospitals are there to deal with life-threatening illnesses, infections, trauma, cancers, that sort of things. So, medical schools train doctors to deal with end-stage disease; life-threatening end-stage disease. And modern medicine is very good at doing that and that’s all very useful if you’ve got one of those.
But if you were to not get it in the first place, that’s not what doctors get trained in, you know. They spend less than a day on nutrition and less than an hour on exercise, next to nothing on sleep, you know. These are all the four pillars and hormones are only addressed in terms of extreme hormone excess or extreme hormone deficiencies, not levels that are a little bit too high or a little bit too low, depending on the hormone causing damage and problems over time.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
sj: So, yeah. They’re just not in their training, whereas if you’ve got a naturopath, it’s the other way around. You know, they’re not trying to deal with acute trauma or life-threatening infections, but very good at dealing with all this, you know, the Big Five.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: That’s right. Prevention, I guess.
Guy Lawrence: Go on, Stu.
Stuart Cooke: Well, I was …
Dr. John Hart: Prevention and early detection, that’s where the; because you do your prevention stuff and you’re going to definitely decrease your risk of getting anything. But you still get stuff. So, if you do get something going wrong, you want to pick it up early, rather than wait a couple of decades down the track when the damage is done and is permanent and much harder to reverse.
I think most people on average; if when you’re 40 you’ve got five hidden diseases. So, hidden disease is something that you don’t know you’ve got, because it hasn’t caused any symptoms that you feel. Hasn’t caused any signs that somebody else can see. But it will in a couple of decades, whether that’s a heart attack, a stroke or cancer or dementia, or whatever.
So, most people on average, five hidden diseases when you’re 40. Ten when you’re 50. Twenty-three when you’re 70. And one of them will kill you. Depends on which one gets bad first. But most people don’t even know they’ve got them, because they’re hidden and they don’t go looking because Medicare doesn’t pay for that.
Medicare will give you million of dollars once you’ve got the cancer or the heart attack.
Stuart Cooke: Yes.
Dr. John Hart: They’ll spend million of dollars on you then, but they’ll give you next to nothing to stop you getting it.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Dr. John Hart: So, it’s not a conspiracy theory. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but you know, that’s where the money is. The money is your paid business. If people are sick and you can just control the symptoms, but keep them sick, that’s; from a business point of view; pharmaceutical companies, surgery companies, that’s where the money is. You want to do that.
You don’t want to stop people getting sick with relatively cheap non-profitable, non-payable treatments. That’s not a business model.
Stuart Cooke: It isn’t. Well, there’s not money if you don’t visit the doctor’s, I guess.
Guy Lawrence: That’s incredible. That blows my mind.
Stuart Cooke: So, with that alarming statistic in mind, I would love to talk to you a little bit about your strategies for life extension; which we were blown away with your talk at the PrimalCon earlier on in the year. So what; can you just run us through your strategies a little bit, in terms of …
Dr. John Hart: So, the big picture is identify the sources of inflammation; the causes of inflammation and get rid of them and put in things that dampen down inflammation. Find out what you should have that you’re missing or put in other things that are optional that help dampen down inflammation.
That’s sort of how I think about it as the big picture. Then to burrow in a bit deeper, you’ve got to look at the big five. So, diet, exercise, stress management, sleep and the hormones. So, if you want to look at each one of those, you know, I’m sure people listening to this have got a pretty good picture.
I like the primal type diet.
Stuart Cooke: Yes.
Dr. John Hart: But you’ve still got to; you can still have allergies.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Dr. John Hart: Your individual allergies to content of any diet. So, ideally you’re finding out what you’re sensitive to and then doing all the low-carb, no processed foods. Get all the chemicals out.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Dr. John Hart: Organics in season. Locally grown, all that sort of stuff.
Exercise. You know the body is designed to move. I think as Mark says, Mark Sisson says, it’s, “Move off. Lift heavy and sprint occasionally.” I think that’s got the guts of it, a lot of science behind how that all works now. You know we’re designed to move. The body does not like not moving. Now, NASA worked out on the astronauts, that lost of gravity is a killer.
If you sit for more than eight hours a day, it’s as bad as smoking for your health, even if you’re exercising every day at the gym. So, doing two of these is a bad thing. So, getting a stand up desk or standing up from hour desk every half hour and taking ten steps to get the blood going and moving actively.
So, moving often and lifting heavy, you know, maintaining muscle mass is crucial. You know, we used to think that fat and muscle were just benign tissue, you know. Fat was just a little balloon of energy for use later. And muscle was just something we had to have, because it moved our skeleton. But; and even bones now, as well. Bones, muscles and fat they’re all endocrine glands; they secrete substances into your blood, which affects the health of the rest of your body.
So, fat cells. Fat, fat cells are XXover four? Overfull? fat cells 0:30:47.000XX to create inflammatory adipokines, which damage the rest of the body.
Muscles secrete over 700 XXmyoclinesXX, which support the health of the body. So, muscles secrete a thing called; one of the things it secretes is a thing called brain-derived neurotrophic factor. It was first discovered in the brain, it’s a really important thing for growing new brain cells and brain cell health. The muscles also make it when you’re exercising; you’ve got healthy muscles.
So, that’s one of the ways that exercise improves brain health, brain function, and decreases dementia.
Guy Lawrence: So, would increasing your muscle mass help with all that?
Dr. John Hart: Yes. Yeah, within limits, obviously, but more to the point, maintaining it.
Guy Lawrence: Okay.
Dr. John Hart: At a more 20-, 30-year-old level.
Guy Lawrence: Yup.
Dr. John Hart: So, the loss of muscle mass as you get older is called sarcopenia. And if you lose muscle mass, you lose these pro-health XXmyoclinesXX that come from the muscle. And you lose your ability to move your bones so your bones become weaker, which means you lose the hormones that come out of the bones. So, you get a double whammy. Where you’ve got weak muscles more than likely to fall and unable to stop yourself. Because you’ve got weak muscles you haven’t been able to maintain strong bones, so you’ve got weak bones, you’re more likely to break the bone when you fall on it.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Dr. John Hart: And you know, fractured hips and femurs and wrists are common causes of death, because people get immobilized and then everything goes down in a spiral and they end up with chest infections or clots in their legs and it ends up killing them.
Stuart Cooke: So, weight-bearing exercises then, you think, would be a good strategy for long lasting health?
Dr. John Hart: Yeah, yeah. There’s a lot of stuff coming out saying that cardiovascular exercise is not the best way to go. So, aerobic training; see the whole aerobic thing started in the 1960s when Dr. Kenneth Cooper discovered that if; instead of putting people with heart attacks in bed for a week or weeks …
Stuart Cooke: Yes.
Dr. John Hart: …you got them up and walking, they did much better with a bit of exercise. Not too much, but a bit of exercise.
So, that’s the whole aerobics train, where the craze came from. That’s when the jogging craze all started from, from that a bit of aerobics exercise is good enough for heart attacks, so it must be good for everybody. So, everybody went nuts on that.
But you can overdo it. See, aerobic training is quite stressful on the body so, that pushes cortisol up and that just stresses hormones up and that’s a bad idea.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Dr. John Hart: And especially the XXultra stuffXX. It’s very catabolic on the body and break down heart tissue now. They’ve done studies showing marathoners destroy heart tissue. Now the damage gets scarring in their hearts from that severe XX???stuff [::33:28.0].
Dr. John Hart: So, what you want to do is just want to maintain your muscle mass and maintain the stress on the bones. And doing 60 XXtechnical glitchXX [:33:34.6] you better get 100 percent. You’ve got to tell the tissues, “You are not strong enough for what I want you to do. You need to get stronger and that’s 100 percent.” And that’s heavy weights. And you can do heavy weights and by keeping the rest period minimum, between sets, you can get a really good cardiovascular workout. So, you get a heart workout. You get a lung workout. You get a breathing muscle workout. As well as, putting a load on muscles and tendons and bones so that they can maintain it …
Guy Lawrence: Interestingly enough as well, John, back in my day as a fitness trainer, I’d see increased lung capacities more through weight training than I would through cardiovascular, you know, those exercises as well.
Dr. John Hart: If you go higher than 100 percent with weight training that’s going to push your limit. Where 60 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate, that’s not pushing the limit. That’s grueling, it’s long, but it’s not …
Stuart Cooke: What about if you go hard with high intensity workout for five to ten minutes? Swinging a kettle bell for instance and things like that.
dJ; Yeah. So, that the sprint often part of it.
Stuart Cooke: Yes.
Dr. John Hart: No, no. That’s the sprint occasionally part of it.
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Dr. John Hart: So, move often, lift heavy …
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Dr. John Hart: … sprint occasionally. So, I mean, I like high intensity interval training. Only once or twice a week if you’re doing it properly. And it’s 30 seconds flat out. 90 seconds slow. Resting. And then repeat that a few times.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Dr. John Hart: By the time you get into five or six or seven sets of that, you’re puffing like a train and you know you’ve worked out. You’ve got large muscle groups going. And that’s telling all the brain that the whole body is under stress and then the brain starts releasing all these growth hormones to get you to stronger, anabolic hormones.
Stuart Cooke: Got it.
Dr. John Hart: And so you don’t want to be doing XX??? risersXX and bicep curls and wrist curls [:35:22.5]. That’s sort of a waste of time. That’s not going to have an systemic effect. You have to do all these big muscle group movements.
So, high-intensity indoor training, I wouldn’t do sprinting, because I think there’s a bit of XXunintelligibleXX [:35:33.7] risk for that.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Dr. John Hart: XXunintelligibleXX [:35:35.1], swimming, rowing, auto climber, you’re not lifting a kettle bell weight around.
Stuart Cooke: Okay.
Dr. John Hart: But not too much. There’s people that do that high-intensity stuff four or five times a week and they’re just on a XX 0:35:48.000 hidingXX to overtraining and injury and illness.
Stuart Cooke: Interesting. Interesting. And we won’t see you anytime soon on the City to Surf, then, I take it?
Dr. John Hart: Absolutely correct. You might see me XXthere?? 0:36:00.000XX a couple of times, but that’s all.
Guy Lawrence: I don’t know if you saw in the headlines this week; I say “headlines.” I saw it in the news anyway. I can’t remember the gentleman’s name in America. Someone… XX0:36:14.000XX. But they reckon they’re only maybe 10, 20 years away from being able to make the human being live to up to a thousand years, was the claim in the title of the article. I don’t know if you saw that, but do you have anything…
Dr. John Hart: The guys who look into this stuff are basically saying we should all now live to 120. Genetically we programmed to live to 120 and there are people who do it. The only reason we don’t is because we kill ourselves off earlier by doing all the wrong things or not doing the right things. XXThe Big Five 0:36:42.000XX is a start.
So, most people’s genes should enable to body to survive to 120. A few have got just bad genes; they’re gonna die early no matter what. But most people, it’s 120, as long as you’ve got your lifestyle properly sorted out.
But in the next 10 to 30 years there’s a bunch of technologies that are going to become available, generally available, that are already in research. You know, with XXtelemarized 0:37:05.000XX activation and gene therapy and cloning and nanotechnology, artificial organs, that routinely people are going to live to 150.
In fact, they are pretty sure now that the child that’s going to live to 150 has already been born. There’s already children around who are going to live to 150 with this technology that comes out.
And then once you get to 150, once you get a handle on what you need to do, you are absolutely past 200, 250. I think that’s going to be pretty… And then the important thing is it’s not gonna be the last 100 years in a nursing home. It’s going to be active, independent, vital, productive, looking after yourself, contributing to society. It’s going to be; actually it’s going to be a big shift in society and we’re actually the cusp of it, the borderline. We’re the last generation that has not had access to this technology for our entire life.
The kids that are being born now are going to have access to this early enough in life that it’s going to significantly extend their health span and their life span.
Guy Lawrence: That’s incredible.
Dr. John Hart: Assuming they do the right thing.
Guy Lawrence: Don’t abuse it. Yeah.
Dr. John Hart: With their lifestyle.
Stuart Cooke: My word. I’m just trying to think, you know, in 150 years’ time, trying to get a park down at Bondi Beach in the Eastern suburbs with all these people.
Dr. John Hart: I bet there will be better transportation then. It will be old news. You’ll go down a wire in a little box or something.
Stuart Cooke: Of course. Teleportation. Sydney Transport will have that in the bag, I’m sure.
So, during your talk that we spoke about a little bit earlier, there were a few words that cropped up, and they were… “Peptides” was one. And I think there was another drug that was linked to anti-aging.
Dr. John Hart: Yeah. Metformin.
Stuart Cooke: Metformin. That was right. Is that gonna be part of this strategy, moving forward?
Dr. John Hart: It’ll be part of it. It will still be the Big Five. You’ve heard of the Big Five, and there’s no shortcuts around that. But then there’s things you can supplement the Big Five with. So, that’s where the peptides fit in. There’s a lot of different peptides. Peptide’s just a short protein, and there are ones that can support and supplement processes in your body that are degenerating.
As a general rule, drugs tend to block things. And they block a process, but they also block other things as well, and that’s where the side effects come from. Whereas, the peptides generally… and hormones and vitamins and oils and all of that sort of stuff generally supports functions; increases functions. So, as things decay and degenerate from whatever influences, these things all counteract that and get them back close to the level they were when they were operating 100 percent in your 20s.
So, there’s peptides that increase growth hormone release. Growth hormone’s your major repair hormone. There are peptides that accentuate testosterone’s effect in particular tissues in the body. There are peptides that come from muscles when muscles are stressed, to cause muscle growth, so you can take peptides to accelerate that. There are ones that come from your immune system that trigger tissue repair and fighting infections. There are a whole lot of different ones.
And then metformin’s an interesting one. I first heard about it as the world’s first anti-aging drug, from a doctor in the UK, Richard Lippman, who was nominated for the Nobel Prize in medicine in 1996 for his work with antioxidants.
And he said that metformin the world’s first anti-aging drug, this is why it is, and I take it. So, I thought, that’s interesting, so I went and looked at it and he’s right. So, most drugs have their main effect; well, the main effect that we use them for. And then other effects as well, which we call side effects. But metformin has a bunch of side effects, but unlike most drugs, the side effects are all really good.
So, it has its main effect, which is sugar control. That’s why it’s still used around the world as the first drug for treating diabetes. Which is a good thing to keep your sugar levels down, because the sugar in your body is a toxin as well as being a drug of addiction. But it has all these side effects: it drops your cholesterol, it’s anti-inflammatory, it stimulates the same genes as calorie-restriction diets, it’s anti-cancer, blocks the conversation of XXerevatase?? 0:41:45.000XX, which is an enzyme that converts testosterone to estrogen.
It does a whole lot of other things which are all very positive things. So, that’s probably why it’s the world’s first anti-aging drug.
And it started off life as just an extract of the French lilac plant, which has been used for thousands of years to treat diabetes. But it’s the active ingredient that’s been put out in the drug.
And after a hundred years of being out, it’s still the first drug around that worked for diabetes, despite the billions of dollars that have been spent on new anti-diabetic drugs. They’re not as good, because they don’t have all the side effects metformin has.
Stuart Cooke: Wow. It almost sounds like that particular pill would do so much more for us than our multivitamin; our daily multivitamin.
Dr. John Hart: Yeah, I don’t know if I’d go that far. I think a good multivitamin is very supportive of a whole lot of things, but I think I; I sort of routinely put people one five things. If you walk through the door of my clinic, there’s five things you’re gonna get, because the evidence shows that bang for your buck, it’s all there.
And that’s a quality vitamin, a good probiotic, a good fish oil, a good magnesium source, and vitamin D. Because everybody’s low on vitamin D. Vitamin D’s not a vitamin; it’s a hormone, which is anti-inflammatory, so that’s all that inflammation stuff, it’s a powerful anti-inflammatory. It’s anti-cancer, it’s immune system regulatory, calcium for bones and tissues. And the thing, the trouble, with vitamin D is, A, it’s a hormone. And, B, you can’t make it if you don’t get sun on your skin.
As we’re all cave-dwellers now, we don’t get enough sun on our skin. Because remember, we evolved on the equator with no clothes on. The human species evolved living on the equator with no clothes on. And we’re hunter-gatherers. So we’re outside all day. And that’s how much sun we expect to get on our skin.
We don’t do that anymore. We’ve moved away from the equator, so it’s too cold, so we’ve got to wear clothes, we get worried about getting sunburned, so we have Slip-Slop-Slap. And so we don’t get anywhere near the sun exposure our body expects, so we can’t make the vitamin D that our body wants, and we suffer the consequences.
There’s some guy who worked it out that 200 times more people die from not enough sun exposure, i.e. not enough vitamin D, than who die from too much sun exposure, i.e. skin cancers.
Guy Lawrence: Wow.
Stuart Cooke: Boy, that’s an interesting stat.
Dr. John Hart: And we worry about the excess sun exposure and skin cancers, when it turns out more people are dying from not enough sun exposure.
Guy Lawrence: So, so often, regarding vitamin D, so, during the winter, can we supplement vitamin D and have the same effect for sunshine.
Dr. John Hart: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: We can.
Dr. John Hart: Yeah. It’s the same thing. It’s biogenical. It’s the same thing.
Guy Lawrence: But then come summertime, would we take vitamin D as well?
Dr. John Hart: Well, most people who live and work in the city, they’re cave dwellers, they don’t get enough sun even in summer. Yet most people I see, they’re 50; their vitamin D level is 50 to 80. What you want to be is 150 to 200. That’s the ideal range. So, most people are half of what it should be.
And even in summer, unless you spend the weekend down at the surf club or you’re working outside. But just because you’re outside doesn’t mean you’re getting sun. If you’ve got clothes on, if you’re standing upright and the sun’s hitting your head, not your face, and if you’re in the shadows like you are walking around the city, you’re not getting any sun. So, just because you’re outside doesn’t mean you’re getting sun exposure on your skin.
Stuart Cooke: So, what would be the optimal amount of exposure, full-body exposure, from a time perspective.
Dr. John Hart: Well, they reckon 10 to 20 minutes of lying in your bathers, flat on the ground, when the sun’s overhead, is about what you need to make enough every day. But in winter, even that might not be enough, because they say that 37 degrees north and south of the equator, the sun is so low in the horizon that it has more atmosphere to go through before it hits; the sunrise has more atmosphere to go through before it hits the ground that it gets filtered out and even in those positions north and south, you can’t get enough sun exposure.
Guy Lawrence: Wouldn’t cod liver oil be a good vitamin D source?
Dr. John Hart: No. That’s not enough.
Guy Lawrence. Oh. It’s not enough?
Dr. John Hart: Most people need four to six thousand international units a day. And your standard, over-the-counter vitamin D capsule dose is a thousand. So, most people are not even getting that. You know, a normal multivitamin might have two or three hundred international units. So, that’s not touching the edges. And you’re not going to get enough from food. There’s a little bit in different fatty foods. But not enough; not compared to what the body’s expecting to be able to make itself from sun exposure over your whole body, all day, as a hunter-gatherer over the equator.
Guy Lawrence: Got it.
Stuart Cooke: Got it.
Guy Lawrence: Great advice. Yeah.
Because most people don’t even think about these things, at all, you know. So, next time I see you running on the street in your swimmers, I’ll know why you’re doing it.
Stuart Cooke: Doctor’s orders. I’m going to the beach. I know you take cod liver oil capsules, Guy, so I’m sure that you’re going to be rattling away on the internet ordering yourself some pills tonight.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: That’s interesting.
So, we have kind of touched on this a little bit. Just your thoughts on the future for the medical industry, whether you think that that’s going to be an integration of the nutritionists and naturopaths and doctors and DNA specialists and the like.
Dr. John Hart: Yeah, I think… So, you’ve got conventional medicine, which is very good at acute illnesses and symptoms of serious diseases. And then you’ve got the integrative medicine branch, which is more the preventative early detection sort of things. And there’s not so much money in those, because there’s no XXpayable? 0:47:33.000XX drugs and expenses there.
So, there’s a lot of forces wanting to keep things as they are, because that’s where the money is. And a lot of money being spent by very clever companies with very clever marketing people with huge budgets to promote the current status quo.
So, they’re not gonna let things slide without a big fight. But I think people are starting to walk, talk with their feet. I think people are realizing that modern medicine has its advantages but it has its weaknesses and that alternative or integrative or natural medicine, whether it’s through a naturopath or integrative doctor or herbalist, can provide other things that are not available. And that’s the two together that gives you the best overall result.
So, if you can use the technology, access the technology that we’ve got to do testing and early detection, and use the nutrition that’s been around for thousands of years, basically, and the basic rules that have been around for thousands and millions of years, and put them all together, I think you’re going to get the best result.
Stuart Cooke: OK. That wouldn’t be that dissimilar, really, to what you guys are doing, I guess, right now. Would it be?
Dr. John Hart: Yeah. That’s basically what integrative or functional medicine is is using the technologies and the science and the physiology to determine information about how things work and combining it with non-patentable tools or technologies that have been shown to work, not only from thousands of years of experience, but also now with the science, we know how all these different herbs and vitamins and minerals, how they work, and how they decrease inflammation and how that then helps with health and function.
Stuart Cooke: Perfect.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.
John, we have two wrap-up questions on the podcast for every guest. And the first one’s very simple. But it does intrigue people. Can you tell us what you ate today?
Dr. John Hart: Today, breakfast was a bit on the run so I had some activated organic mixed nuts and some dried organic blueberries. And then I had a late lunch, which was meat and veg, basically. And then I had an early dinner just before this, which was basically meat and veg again.
Guy Lawrence: Perfect.
And the other question is, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Dr. John Hart: I think my rowing coach said to me in high school, “You only get out of basket what you put into it.”
Stuart Cooke: That’s true.
Dr. John Hart: The second bit of advice I got was that persistence is one of the best skills to have.
Guy Lawrence: Persistence. Yeah, that is true as well.
Dr. John Hart: There’s no shortcuts to things, you know? Things that are worth having, that are valuable, you’ve got to work for them. You’ve got to put some time and attention onto it.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, you’ve got to go for it. That’s prudent.
And for everyone listening to this who goes, “My God, I’ve got to come see John Hart,” or wants to learn more, where would be the best place for us to point them, John?
Dr. John Hart: Well, I work at Elevate Clinic in Sydney in the CBD. Spring Street. So, Elevate.com.au. And I also have an online business that sells peptides, so that’s PeptideClinics.com.au. That’s got a website with information and there’s a chat line and people online from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. if people want to talk about peptides there.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. Brilliant.
Well, we’ll put the links up once the show goes out and everything else. We’ll put them at the bottom of the post. Because we transcribe the blog as well, so if people want to read it they can find out more.
But, John, thank you so much for coming on the show today. That was fantastic. I have no doubt a lot of people are going to get a lot out of that and certainly get everyone thinking. That was amazing.
Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. Absolutely. I know I did. I can’t wait to rewind and listen to it again.
Dr. John Hart: Thanks for the opportunity, guys.
Guy Lawrence: Awesome. We appreciate it, John. Thank you very much.
Angela: As a mum of two young boys I totally relate to Angeline’s post. I think this is a good post to read whether you are trying to lose weight or not. Being a mum can be a bit of a juggling act and one that can leave you tired and looking for sugar which you can avoid if you choose the right foods. Over to Angeline…
Angeline: Well let me start by saying that being a new mum is the most rewarding and challenging thing I’ve done with my life so far. Women’s bodies are absolutely amazing and it’s out of this world that we can grow our own babies and feed them, it’s a very special journey and one that was totally alien to me. I embraced the changes that happened with my body (well almost!) and really enjoyed tracking my progress with pictures and monitored my weight gain. At first it was very daunting to see those numbers go up but after a few weeks. I embraced the belly and just made sure I kept active throughout my pregnancy.
Keeping Healthy and Staying Active
I know every woman is different with their pregnancies but I loved being pregnant and can attribute my great experience to keeping healthy and active throughout the 9 month journey. I modified my training and cut back a little on the weight I was lifting but still enjoyed working out 4-5 times a week.
How to Lose Your Post Pregnancy Weight
And that brings me to my blog title which is how do you lose your post pregnancy weight and I believe it starts during pregnancy. I think keeping active and healthy during my pregnancy really helped me lose the weight after. After I gave birth I definitely gave my body enough time to recover after what felt like a marathon labour of 31 hours! I went to see the Physio at the hospital and she told me I had a slight gap or separation of my abs of one finger so it was recommended I take 6 weeks of rest and recovery before beginning any exercise. I gave myself 8 weeks and slowly introduced exercise.
Just because I’m a personal trainer did not mean I went all guns blazing smashing out exercise, I actually listened to my body and started off with walking and then introduced a yoga class once a week and then slowly began weight training 1-2 times a week and also a Pilates class to help build back my inner core strength which was very weak after giving birth. It’s true your priorities do change once you have a baby but it’s no reason to give up exercise due to lack of time, I just got a little smarter with my training and instead of having 4 days of weight training splitting up different muscle groups I just try to focus on compound exercises which work a few different muscles at the same time and get my exercise session done in about 30 minutes. It can be very stressful having a newborn and it was and is important to me to get that small amount of time to myself to focus on me so that I can project my positive energy on to my little boy.
It does feel like a juggling act sometimes but I have a very supportive partner who knows how important it is to me to get my exercise in and I think that does help a lot. I hope I’m a good role model for mums out there who want to get back into shape after having their little baby and that it is possible to feel good and have a healthy pregnancy and recover well and get back into a healthy and active routine.
Forming Healthy Eating Habits Again
The advice I would give to newbie mums is to not be too hard on yourself during the first couple of weeks as it is a very challenging time and not to be stressing out about your diet. If people come round and bring you treats, enjoy them. It makes the sleep deprivation a little easier and it’s all about balance so as long as your making sure all your other meals are nutritious it’s ok to have a treat every now and again with guests coming over to see your new addition to the family.
I do think that after the first couple of weeks it is important to make sure your forming those healthy eating habits again and whenever you or your partner cooks to make sure you make double so there’s plenty of leftovers for another meal the next day.
If it’s winter, making stews, soups and casseroles are ideal as most of the ingredients can be chucked into a pot in the morning and you have an amazing smelling dinner by the time you put your little one to bed. If it’s summer I love making different types of salads and having the ingredients on hand to throw together. Cooking up a large batch of quinoa, buckwheat or any other gluten free grains and storing in the fridge to have with some frozen green beans, goats feta and some crushed activated almonds, walnuts or macadamias. I’d have a roast chicken with any of these yummy salads and again make a soup or sandwich with the extra meat the next day. Roasting a lamb shoulder or roast beef is great too as you can have a pulled lamb or beef salad the next day or a pumpkin, chick pea and rocket salad with it. The possibilities are endless and I love getting inspired by what people are serving in cafés and trying to recreate them at home.
When it comes to sweet cravings, there’s no doubt that once I’ve finished my dinner you can bet that I’ll want something sweet afterwards, it’s just making sure you have the right foods in your cupboard so you don’t undo all the good work you did throughout the day to eat healthy. I love having some coconut yogurt with some nuts and seeds and a little stevia and cinnamon dusted on top or some milk kefir (fermented yogurt! with some blueberries and homemade activated granola. I also love to bake so taking the time to whip up a batch of muffins while your little one sleeps during the day will definitely help you keep on track. People think it’s too much effort to bake your own muffins or cakes but once you have a few staple ingredients on hand it can take as little as 10 minutes to make a lovely batch of Raspberry Millet Muffins, try it and you’ll see!
I hope that I can show pregnant and new moms that it is possible to keep active and healthy throughout your pregnancy and that even though motherhood can be challenging at times it is still achievable to eat healthy and drop your post baby weight.
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 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
Enjoy the interview or got any questions for Dan or us? We’d love to hear them in the comments below… Guy
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.
This is the full interview with Sweet Poison Author David Gillespie. He is s a recovering corporate lawyer and has deciphered the latest medical findings on diet and weight gain. In his own words he says that what he found was chilling.
Did you enjoy the interview with David Gillespie? Has it made you think differently regarding sugar or fructose? Would love to hear you thoughts in the Facebook comments section below… Guy
David Gillespie: The transcript
Guy Lawrence: I’m Guy Lawrence. This is Stuart Cooke. And our special guest today is no other than David Gillespie.
David Gillespie: G’Day.
Guy Lawrence: Thanks for joining us David. Really appreciate it.
Now, I thought the best place to start would be from the beginning, and I know for any of our viewers that don’t know who you are, could you just sort of tell a bit about yourself; your story and how you came to writing about sugar in the first place; I’d love to know that.
David Gillespie: OK. So, I guess I should start out by saying I’m not a nutritionist or doctor or a biochemist or any of that sort of stuff. So, I’m phenomenally unqualified to talk to anybody about any of that stuff, but because I’m a lawyer it’s not gonna stop me.
I came to this because I spent most of my life getting fat, not intentionally, but every year I was a kilo or two heavier and, you know, I guess about almost 10 years ago now, I weighed in at 130-odd kilos, which put me well and truly into obese category.
And I thought when my wife rather inconsiderably announced that our fifth child was going to be our fifth and sixth children, that it was time to do something about it because I wasn’t coping with the four we had, who were all under the age of 9, let alone adding twin babies to that. And so, I thought, you know what, I need to understand how the human body works. I can’t believe that we don’t know how it works. It’s just obviously the case that I’m misunderstanding something.
So; and there was just the logical part to it as well which I didn’t get, which is you look around the planet, you see every other animal on the planet controls its weight the same way it controls its height, on auto-pilot, and there’s no gyms for monkeys, there’s no tigers on Jenny Craig, you know, they all work without willpower, on auto-pilot and the only exception to that seems to be us and any animal unfortunate enough to be fed by us.
So, I thought: I must be misunderstanding something. So, I went looking for the evidence and what I found was that there was very little evidence for what we are normally told to do about weight; that is: Stop being fat and exercise more.
But, there was an entirely different stream of evidence concerning sugar and in particular a part of sugar called fructose, which is one half of table sugar, which appeared to have significant dire metabolic effects, not just making us fat but lots of other stuff that we’re gonna talk about probably today.
What I thought was, well, you know, if that’s right, all I’ve gotta do to fix my weight problem is stop eating sugar. And, well, I can do that. It sounded a lot easier than it ended up being but I thought I can do that and I did and I dropped 40 kilos, got to this weight, which is in the mid 80s, and have stayed eating for the last 10 years without being on a diet. Which to me is pretty incredible since before this, you know, I just had look at a packet of Tim Tams and I’d be putting on weight.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: When you decided to lose the weight and make a change, was sugar the first thing you looked at or did you sort of. . .?
David Gillespie: Oh no. No, I didn’t, I didn’t, I didn’t know where to start. The only relevant training I have is gathering evidence and so where I started was to look at what the official line was. So, I went to the National Health and Medical Research Council, which are the people who determine the Australian Healthy Eating Guidelines, and I looked at what they say you should do to lose weight. And I thought: I’m not gonna go to a diet company or anything like that; I’ll just go to the people whose job this is. And I went looking at what they said and I thought: I can see what they say sounds very similar to what diet companies tell you to do. But I thought maybe there’s something missing that I’m not getting in the details. So, using the only relevant skill I had, which is to gather evidence, I then started looking at the evidence behind the statements.
So, what was the evidence behind the statement that fat makes you fat? What was the evidence behind the statement that exercise would make you thin? And I kept looking at evidence which referred to early evidence, which referred to early evidence, which referred to earlier evidence, and all the way back to evidence in the 1950s which essentially amounted to a great big guess.
I wasn’t at all satisfied with that, but in reading through that stuff I came across other evidence which hadn’t been referred to, but which was just as good a pedigree and this is from the London School of Nutrition, a fellow by the name of John Yudkin did some work on sugars in the 1950s and because of some political fighting it turned out his message got drowned out by a different message from the United States about fats.
Guy Lawrence: Interesting, because the first time I heard about really starting to look at sugar, from my own personal health, would have been about five years ago and I was involved with a small group of people that were helping people with chronic disease and a lot of them had cancer and by that time they had been established about seven years and they were saying that they probably had over a thousand people go through their doors and they were using nutrition and weight training, of all things, to help them.
But the first thing they eliminated from their diet was sugar and that was the sort of first time I sort of heard of anything like that. I only raised this because it made me start to think about, you know, sugar, what I’m eating, and things like that. And I’d love to hear your thoughts on, I guess, you know, on the defects of sugar, fructose and overall health, as well as what you sort of learned from your journey for our listeners.
David Gillespie: Well, I started out on it just through sheer vanity and wanting to not be apathetic. I thought that if I lost the weight I’d be more able to cope with young kids and probably be healthier. But now what I found since that, and I mean that’s where I started but I kept reading and I kept looking and I just kept finding more and more things linked back to this really unusual molecule in our diet, fructose.
Now it might even sound really weird to say that fructose is an unusual molecule in our diet. It is, after all, in fruit. So it’s; people say: “Oh, it’s natural, you know, can’t possibly be anything wrong with it.” It is natural but it’s not natural in the kind of quantities we’re consuming it and we’re not getting it from fruit. We’re getting it from sugar. And that’s the bit that a lot of people don’t connect that it is one-half of sugar.
And this molecule was very, very rare in the human diet until around about 1820. You might ask yourself: What happened in 1820? Something that people have been trying to do for a good half a century happened in 1820, which was that we finally cracked the problem of producing sugar, the stuff we have on the table, in commercial quantities. And the search for “white gold” and that was what it was literally called, “white gold,” had been on for half a century.
It is an extraordinary difficult thing to do and I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to make sugar. It isn’t simply a case of squeezing out a bit of sugar cane. It’s an extremely complicated process and involves a lot of steps and a lot of chemicals and every single step can go very, very wrong. But they managed to finally nail the process in the 1820s and then sugar went from being an extremely rare thing that only really the rich could afford to something that everybody could afford and that was added to more and more foods on a continuous basis.
Now, when I talk about sugar, people think I’m talking about chocolates and soft drinks and so on. I am; they obviously contain sugar, but much more dangerous is the sugar embedded in foods which you wouldn’t even think about containing sugar. You know, things with Heart Foundation ticks that are 30 percent sugar or 70 percent sugar, things that are being sold to us as health food that have loads of sugar in them. Why do they have loads of sugar? Because that “white gold” makes products with it in sell better than products without. So, this molecule we are spectacularly uninvolved to deal with; are you guys both still there?
Guy Lawrence & Stuart Cooke: Yeah, yeah we’re still here. I’m recording your . . . Your picture’s frozen but we’re still here.
David Gillespie: OK. Anyway, so this molecule; we have no real evolutionary background for it because the only sugar that we’ve really evolved to deal with in insufficient quantities, is our primary source of fuel, which is glucose. Everything we eat ultimately ends up in our body as glucose. Glucose is our fuel. Every single cell in our body can use it. It is the primary and only fuel for our brain, which consumes 25 percent of our energy.
So, it is a very, very important molecule in the human body and in any mammal. But fructose has no purpose whatsoever. It turns out, we just shovel it straight to the liver, none of our cells can deal with it at all and the liver just converts it immediately to fat. And that isn’t, it turns out, why we’re fat because of eating fructose; it’s just the start of a process which actually got quite interesting when I dived into the evidence; which is that that fat ends up wrapped around the liver, ultimately giving us something called “fatty liver disease” which now affects 1 in 3 of us, up from almost none of us 40 years ago. It now affects 1 in 10 teenage children. This is a chronic disease that can ultimately lead to cirrhosis of the liver and cancer of the liver.
And that fat wrapped around the liver affects our insulin sensitivity. In doing so it affects our appetite control and that’s how it makes us fat. It isn’t that the fructose is converted to fat, which that in itself makes us fat, it’s that it is converted to fat which becomes visceral fat wrapped around our internal organs, which increases our degree of insulin resistance. Ultimately that cascades through to Type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, chronic kidney disease, hypertension, heart disease, and the list goes on and on and on.
So, you know why getting fat on this stuff is a very, very fortunate thing because it gives us some visible warning that it’s happening.
Guy Lawrence: How; given that it’s everywhere and in so many foods that we’re unaware of; how would you recommend cutting it out? What should we do?
David Gillespie: Well, the first thing is: Listen to your taste. You can taste it. It’s not; if a food tastes sweet, then it contains fructose. You can be absolutely certain of that. And so you can taste it. And that’s the really good news is if you pay attention and listen for the taste that’s sweet, if you like, you can detect it.
The other is, start to get use to where it’s likely to be. So, be suspicious of all processed foods; have a look at processed food, look at the ingredient list; if sugar’s in there put it back on the shelf. It’s as simple as that. If it’s something you really, really must have then find the variant of whatever product it is that has the lowest amount of sugar and preferably aim for less than 3 grams to 100 of added sugar.
Do that and you’ll be fine. And people initially say, when they start this process, they say: “Wow, I just did what you said, and, you know what? There’s nothing in my supermarket that satisfies those criteria. That’s disturbing in itself, is there’s nothing in the supermarket that doesn’t have less than 3 percent added sugar. But there are things. In every food category there are things. And I’ve prepared lists and so on and some of them are in some of my books that go through that and rank them and show you which brands have the lower amounts of sugar. But the easiest way to do it is just to eat whole food.
I’m only talking about sugar added to food. So, eat whole fruit. Eat whole vegetables. Eat milk; dairy, eggs: whole food. Some will be required. And if you do want to eat processed food, then that’s when you need to get careful.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, OK, even when you cook your own meals, at least you start to know what’s going in them. I mean. . .
David Gillespie: I mean, if you add sugar, you’ll be aware of it. You know, you can’t accidentally pour sugar into a meal.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, absolutely. What’s your thoughts on people that say, you know, you need sugar for energy?
David Gillespie: We do. You need glucose for energy. So, remember that sugar is half glucose and half fructose. And you do need glucose for energy. As I said before, your brain runs on nothing else. And if you don’t eat something that can be converted to glucose, it will convert protein to glucose.
So, you do need glucose. You are a machine that runs on fuel. The fuel glucose. But that’s not the same as table sugar. Table sugar is only half glucose. The other half is this fructose stuff.
And some people say, yeah, but don’t I need the glucose half of it? No. Because everything you eat, ultimately, gets converted to glucose. And so you don’t need to eat sugar to get the glucose.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, and I think that’s where a lot of the confusion can lie.
Stuart Cooke: I think especially in energy and sports drinks and gels as well where people think that they need that added burst of sugar, which if I, just thinking back to my childhood day, I used to drink Lucozade, and I think that is one of the only drinks at the time that is glucose-based, right?
David Gillespie: That’s right. It’s only glucose-based. And it’s used for glucose tolerance tests even today in hospitals, because it’s the only drink you can use that is sweetened only with glucose. And so it’s a great sports drink because it’s only sweetened with glucose.
Stuart Cooke: Right. Perfect.
Stuart Cooke: So, your comments on fruit. So, I guess number one: Is fruit the enemy? Should be eating it? How much should we be eating?
David Gillespie: There’s no need to eat it. If you want to eat it, then treat it like what it is, which is nature’s dessert. So, you know, rare. You could have up to two whole pieces of fruit a day if you wanted to. Personally, I don’t eat any unless it’s offered to me. I don’t go out of my way to consume it. There’s nothing you can get in fruit that you can’t get in an equivalent vegetable without a whole lot less fructose.
But that being said, if you really like fruit, there’s no reason to not eat it. And if you’re going to eat fruit, then I’d veer toward things that are higher in fiber and lower in fructose such as all of the berries: raspberries, blueberries, strawberries. They’re all great choices and I’d steer away from things which are high in fructose and low in fiber like the three most popular fruits on sale in Australia today, which are: apples, bananas, and grapes.
So, those are the ones that I would be tending toward. But even there, have them. If you’re going to eat them as whole fruit, then go for it. If that’s your only source of fructose in a day, you’re not doing yourself any harm.
Stuart Cooke: OK. It’s amazing how your palate changes over time as well when you do eliminate sugar, because I used to devour bananas and now I can barely stomach them because they are so sweet.
David Gillespie: And that’s exactly right. I used to think bananas were the most boring fruit in the world. Completely tasteless, powdery fruit, why would anyone eat them? And now, you’re right, I have one and it’s like dessert to me. It is massively sweet. And so that palate changes is really an important part of knowing when you’re off sugar.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, absolutely. And I look at it exactly the same, you know. I like to think I’m on top of my nutrition and my food and I have a piece of fruit and I thoroughly enjoy it. But I generally don’t have 10 apples and a fruit juice in the morning.
David Gillespie: And if you did sit down and eat 10 apples, you wouldn’t be eating much else. You really wouldn’t. That’s a lot of fruit. But you could drink the juice of 10 apples very easily and still have a meal.
Guy Lawrence: That’s right. Absolutely. Yeah.
David Gillespie: So it’s only when we juice it; all juicing is really just extracting the sugar and throwing away everything else. There’s no reason to ever consume juice. It’s just soft drink.
Stuart Cooke: Another question I wanted to raise, because, you know, I follow Sarah Wilson’s blog as well, and saw an interview with you on there awhile back. I think it was an audio podcast. And there was just a stream of heated discussions afterwards with different people coming in, and arguments.
So I just wanted to raise, you know, where do the arguments lie, and why is there the critics out there that are against, basically, the whole fructose thing?
David Gillespie: This is very threatening to some very lucrative XXrulers of gold?XX. It’s a very threatening message. It is not called “white gold” for nothing. Processed food companies add sugar to food because they know it sells more with it. They don’t want to have to remove it. That’s why it’s not part of the accreditation for the Heart Foundation tick. It’s not even a criteria. They don’t even pay any attention to it at all. Because if they did, almost nothing would receive a tick.
So, the thing about sugar is that it moves a lot of product and there are a lot of people whose money depends on continuing to move that product. And those companies have put a lot of effort into muddying the water, into putting confusing science out there, to mounting clandestine lobbying.
And the process is almost identical to what the tobacco lobby undertook in the ’60s and ’70s. Almost identical. Sponsoring dubious science, having scientists on the payroll to do weird studies that if you design it just the right way it will come out showing that smoking’s all right. Recruiting; well, with smoking it was recruiting doctors. Now it’s more recruiting dieticians. But it’s the same basic plan.
Guy Lawrence: Well, certainly speaking for myself, you know, the moment I stopped putting sugar in my body I definitely noticed the difference. Even allergies went over time and things like that that I had before.
David Gillespie: Yeah. You’ll find most people report a whole series of things that are seemingly unrelated to sugar. And the interesting thing is, a lot of them can be traced back through sound biochemical processes to an explanation from fructose.
Some can’t. I still can’t explain why a lot of people report massive improvements in eczema. I don’t know why that is. But when people quite sugar, their eczema goes, even if they’ve had chronic eczema their entire life. It goes. And I don’t know what that is. I’ve looked and looked and looked. But, you know, that’s one that I can’t explain.
But a lot of them you can trace back biochemically to why they found it different.
Stuart Cooke: I got a question from Susie Lee, via our Facebook channel as well, and I think it relates a little bit to probably ourselves as well, or especially Guy and myself. Susie was wondering if you ever felt pressured into eating sugar. How do you avoid the awkward family gatherings where sugar is everywhere? Because I know the way that Guy and I, myself, present ourselves, sometimes we feel ostracized in the way that we behave in social gatherings.
David Gillespie: You know what? At the start, that was a problem. Now, obviously, the best way to fix that is write a book about it and then no one offers you sugar ever again. In fact, people tend not to eat sugar in your presence.
But, at the start, absolutely. And I found the easiest way to get around the awkwardness of it is to not make a fuss about. Just, you know, if there’s something you can eat, eat it. If there isn’t, don’t eat. Wait till you get home and find something to eat. Don’t make a big fuss about: “Oh, have you go something that hasn’t got sugar in it?” You know? Just pay attention and pretty quickly you just fit right in.
The people who find it most difficult, and this was me right at the start, is people who say, “I really wouldn’t mind; have you got a version of that without sugar?” And then people think you are a real pain.
Stuart Cooke: The awkward moments come, though. You can be at a birthday party or something and the cake comes ’round and I’m thinking, “If I eat this, I’m gonna have a stinkin’ headache later.” You know?
David Gillespie: You know, my strategy for that is: Find someone who’s still eating sugar and chop a bit off their piece of cake and have it just so that you can be part of it. You make a wish for the person and so on. And you’re not gonna eat the rest.
Stuart Cooke: Fair enough. We got another Facebook question that came in as well. It was: “I’d like to know what is worse: sugar or sweeteners and the use of macrosweeteners like honey, agave, dates, etcetera in cooking.” Are they OK or are they just heightening our tastes for more sugar?
David Gillespie: OK. So, honey and agave and, what was the other one? Dates? All of those sorts of things are just expensive ways to white sugar. So, you’re not changing anything by switching from sugar to honey. Honey is still half fructose. In fact, when sugar was first discovered, it was called “honey without bees.” Because the only kind of sugar we had before that was honey.
So, it’s; you’re not changing anything by switching to agave. Agave, dates, etcetera are about 60 to 70 percent fructose. So, those are not substitutes for sugar. They are sugar.
Other things, artificial sweeteners and such, are better-known for high-intensity sweeteners and you get into the whole artificial-natural debate. High-intensity sweeteners like stevia, sucralose, aspartame, things like Splenda and so on; those things are referred to as methadone for sugar addicts. So, they are great to get you off the addiction.
I developed quite a serious habit with artificially sweetened soft drinks while I was going through the withdrawal phase, which can last two to four weeks, or, in some people’s cases, even months.
And the interesting thing, though, is, as you were saying before, Stuart, about the palate change is that as you start to go though the withdrawal, those things become less and less appealing. And the reason for that is they start to taste less and less like sugar. At the start, they taste just like sugar. A barely detectable difference.
By the end of withdrawal, they start to taste very much like a chemical. And you find yourself really not enjoying it much at all. And I got to the point, probably around the three- or four-week mark, where I was having these things and thinking, “You know what? I think I’d rather just have a fizzy water than this stuff, because it’s just not tasting very nice.”
And so it’s not like I read the science and decided to not consume them. Because the science is a bit iffy either way. There’s plenty of science that says they’re perfectly safe. There’s plenty of science that says they’re not, depending on who’s paid for the study. If the sugar industry paid for it or the people making the substance paid for it.
But I prefer to take the view, you know, using it during withdrawal is not gonna kill you. And it does help you get through withdrawal.
Guy Lawrence: If someone walked up to you on the street and said, you know, I was a big sugar eater; should I go cold turkey or should I wean off it? What would you say to them?
David Gillespie: Look, I think weaning off is just pure torture. I think you’d have to have extraordinary reserves of willpower to be doing that. And what that would require is correctly identifying every bit of sugar in your diet and then systematically removing a percentage of it every day. Five percent, 10 percent, whatever, and ensuring that you stick to that.
To me, that would be torture. But that’s just me. Some people tell me that that’s exactly what they need and it worked great for them. Most people who are successful at this, though, tell me that the way they do it is they go cold turkey. And they just have a great big bin of all their favorite foods and then the next morning, they’re off. And they don’t go near it again until they no longer have the cravings.
And believe me, it is a withdrawal. It is very much like withdrawal from smoking. I have never smoked, so I can’t tell you from personal experience, but people who have given up smoking and given up sugar tell me the experience is almost identical. You can an intense period of cravings, you get the mood swings, you get the depression, you get the headaches. Except that with sugar, the cravings feel like hunger so that you are constantly hungry, or at least you think you are. But the reality is that you’re not. That’s just how your body knows to get you to eat sugar.
Stuart Cooke: And another question popped in regarding the sweetness. Coconut sugar. Have you done anything. . .
David Gillespie: It’s just sugar. Another way to spend a lot of money on sugar.
Stuart Cooke: Because I see that flying around a lot at the moment, coconut sugar, you know.
David Gillespie: Coconut everything. I mean, the only thing out of a coconut that is good is oil. And that’s an entirely different topic for another day.
Stuart Cooke: We won’t broach that right now.
We’d like to steer it over a little bit into children. Obviously, you’ve got a big clan. I’ve got three children too. So, I’m very interested in steering them on the right track. Do you have any recommendations, perhaps, for lunch boxes? Because lots of people struggle with this because of all of the kiddie snacks out there, I guess, with yoghurts, obviously fruit, raisins; little boxes of raisins, and sandwiches and the like. What would you recommend for a really simple child’s lunchbox?
David Gillespie: The first thing is that you are going to be almost; it’s almost impossible to buy pre-packaged anything for children that isn’t full of sugar. So, right away you’ve got a difficulty in that whatever you put in their lunchbox, you’re gonna be making. And the only choice for you is how much effort do you want to put into making it.
Now, I put out a recipe book earlier this year. And a lot of people said, “Why do you even need a recipe book if you’re off sugar? Surely you don’t even want cakes and stuff.” One of the big motivations for it is for kids’ lunchboxes. Kids still need stuff in their lunchboxes and so we created recipes just using dextrose, which is the glucose half of sugar. So, just glucose as the sweetener. And these are recipes for things like cake and biscuits and the things kids have in their lunchboxes.
And what Lizzie does, my wife, is make those; cook up a big batch of that sort of stuff on the weekends, cling-wrap portions of it, and freeze it. And then, when it comes to dealing out lunchboxes, she just reaches into the freezer and plunks it in.
And that’s the way to deal with. There really is no other efficient way to do it. The other thing you can do is just get really good at making sandwiches, putting whole fruit in there has obviously not changed. Put a banana in if you want. Just don’t put dried fruit, juices, or packaged processed food. And anything else goes.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, right. Because the thing is with kids is you’ve got same problem with adults with the parties and they’re gonna go to these things and sugar’s everywhere.
David Gillespie: Look, and there’s nothing you can do about that and nor should you try. I have a rule in this house which is: “Party food is for parties.” So, it’s not for every minute of every hour of every day. It’s for parties. And our kids go to parties with kids in their class and they’ll eat sugar and that’s just the way it is. But their exposure to sugar is infinitesimally small compared to all of their peers.
And the interesting thing is that if they do eat sugar, pig out at a party, they often come home with a hangover. And this really surprised me. And I’m not joking when I call it a hangover. It is like an adult with an alcohol hangover. They have headaches. They start saying things like, “Never again.” You know? Are really genuinely meaning it. Until the next time.
And it’s really interesting to watch. And also their capacity to eat it is also limited by the fact that they don’t eat it all the time.
Stuart Cooke: That is a good point. . . . I’ve got a little trick. I’ve got three girls and I give them a nice bowl of porridge before they go out the door so they’re not. . .
David Gillespie: That’s a good trick. I wish I’d thought of that. That is a good trick. Fill them up before they get there.
Stuart Cooke: Exactly right. Yeah. It does help.
I’ve got a few kind of miscellaneous questions as well. And I might jump into the top one, Guy, if you don’t mind.
Guy Lawrence: Go for it.
Stuart Cooke: Your thoughts on bread- and wheat-based products, given the high glycemic load.
David Gillespie: I don’t pay a lot of attention to glycemic index or glycemic load. I think they’re nonsense terms. I don’t think they’re helpful at all for anyone who’s not diabetic. And even for people who are diabetic, I’m not entirely certain they’re very helpful.
The way our body deals with carbohydrate is with a glycemic response. That is, we release insulin to use the glucose that’s in our blood. Now, the efficiency of that response is measured by the degree to which we’ve impaired our insulin response by consuming fructose.
So, yes, someone who has spent their entire life, like me, consuming fructose, has probably seriously damaged their glycemic response. And it may take a long time to repair that damage. And so you might want to be cautious about carbohydrates.
The interesting thing that I have found is, once you give up the sugar, carbohydrates are a far less enticing thing. You don’t find yourself craving carbs anywhere near as much as you did before. And that’s probably because there’s a lot of sugar addiction involved in the process.
I am working on research on the degree to which we should be worried about carbs, and even proteins like gluten that you find in bread, and fibers. And, ultimately, that will turn into a book, I suspect.
But for the moment, I would say: Do what most people do, which is break the addiction first. Break the addiction. Then you can start to make seriously sensible choices about what you choose to put in your mouth. Because one thing people who do break the addiction find is they fill up quickly. So, once they have a functioning appetite control system, they find themselves not able to eat anywhere near as much as they used to be able to get through. And I used to; I found that, too. You’d sit down to a meal that you previously would have knocked back, no worries at all, and you start getting a half or two-thirds of the way through and thinking, “Oh, I really can’t finish this. I’m really full.”
And that’s just your hormones working; your appetite control system working. And when that starts happening, people start saying, you know, with that happening, I’ve got to be really choosy about what I put in my mouth, because I know my appetite control system’s not gonna let me put that much of anything in my mouth. So, if I have this big slice of dextrose cake for afternoon tea or this big bit of cheesecake for afternoon tea, I know that I’m not gonna fit my dinner in. And then it’s a balance between what’s for dinner and do I really like it or do I prefer it over this piece of cake.
So, people find themselves starting to make choices about what they put in their mouth. And a lot of people start doing things like saying, “You know what? I just don’t get that much out of carbs anymore. And I find when I’m not eating them, I feel better. So I won’t eat them that much.”
Stuart Cooke: Would it be possible for our audience who may be a little confused just to kind of loosely run through what you might perhaps eat in a day.
David Gillespie: Sure. So, let’s talk about today. I started today, my 12-year-old boy very helpfully cooked me some bacon and eggs this morning. That was a nice bit of meal: bacon with all the fat still on and an egg. And then I’ve just had lunch, which was I some leftover mince on toast, basically. And the toast was sourdough bread that my wife made a day or two ago. Now, the reason she’s making bread is just to avoid the seed oils, which is a topic for another day. But it also helps you avoid sugar.
And for dinner; what will dinner be? Well, tonight it’s likely going to be some sort of pasta and meat sauce, I suspect.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, right, OK.
David Gillespie: That’s not our typical; that’s just because of Friday night. Normally it’s some sort of meat and veg kind of fare.
Stuart Cooke: Got it. OK.
Guy Lawrence: I have another question that popped in there and we haven’t got it down, only because I CrossFit. You know, I love my exercise. But from reading your books as well, you discuss the topic of weight loss and exercise and the relationship there.
I’d love you just to share your views on that, because, you know, from what I find, when I train more, my appetite goes up and I generally et more food and if I’m not careful I can eat the wrong foods, you know, and that’s what I’ve seen from my experience over the years, especially working as a fitness trainer. But I’d just love you to share that with us a little bit for people.
David Gillespie: Well, when you expend more calories doing anything, if you spend Saturday out in the yard working, whereas you normally sit at a desk, you’ll eat more on Saturday. Your body is a complex machine that measures the amount of energy you burn and the amount that you consume and make sure it stays in balance.
And the same goes for exercise. It doesn’t matter if you’re out mowing the lawn or doing exercise in a gym. If you burn more energy, your body will ask you to eat more food. In other words, it will increase your appetite. And that’s not a bad thing at all. That’s a perfectly good thing and perfectly normal thing.
The problem is when the appetite control system is broken, and that’s what fructose does. It messes with the hormones that control how much we eat. And it just knocks your system up, just a fraction, not much, just a tiny little bit, maybe a quarter of a Monte Carlo biscuit’s worth.
But you do that every day for years, end-on-end cumulatively, and you start to get the kind of weight gain that you are seeing in the Australian population.
Guy Lawrence: And so for anyone listening to this that’s thinking of putting their runners on tomorrow and going for a run, that eat sugar and fructose as well, they should be given the fructose up first. Which sounds. . .
David Gillespie: The thing about exercise, people think that I’ve got something against exercise. And I have nothing against exercise. Do it if you feel like it. And the reality is that since I’ve lost the weight, I feel like doing it a lot more than I did before. And a lot of people report that, which is after they lose the weight they exercise more than they ever did before. Not because of the weight; just because they feel like doing it more.
And so if you feel like doing it, if you really enjoy it, then keep doing it. If you’re doing it because you think you’ll lose weight doing it, don’t bother.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, that’s fair enough. It’s funny because I train constantly. Most days. But I do it because I mentally feel fantastic after it, you know? That’s what drives me to do it.
David Gillespie: My 16-year-old boy, he’s a rower. He trains 40 hours a week. OK? He is an exercise nutbag. He does it because he loves it. Not because he wants to lose weight.
Guy Lawrence: That’s a good point.
Stuart Cooke: That’s right, and that’s kind of what we tell lots of people, too. There are so many benefits from cardiovascular. Feel good. It’s your own time as well. You’re there and you can process thoughts and get through anything that might be on your mind. But as a tool for weight loss, I do struggle to see the connection as well. But see what happens.
I’m just wondering about the future for David Gillespie at the moment. What does the future hold? You mentioned the possibility of another book? What’s in the pipeline?
David Gillespie: Well, one of the things that I’m doing at the moment is I’m really focusing on is, I put a book out earlier this year called Toxic Oil, which is about the dangers of vegetable oils. And by “dangers” I mean they are even more insidiously dangerous than the sugar. At least you can taste sugar. You can’t taste these oils, and they’re added to every food on the supermarket shelf.
And there’s clear evidence that they double the rate of cancer in humans. And when we’re seeing the phenomenal increase in rates of cancer that we’re currently seeing, it scares me. I know a lot of people now who have cancer, who are suffering from it. And I really want that message to get out there loud and clear.
So, I am focusing on that and I will focus on that in the immediate future.
Next year I have a book coming out on a completely unrelated topic, which I’ll reveal more about towards the end of the year. It’s nothing to do with nutrition. And we’ll see where go from there.
But as I said to you before, one of my areas of focus at the moment is the whole, I guess the “bread cortex,” if you want; the gluten, fiber, carb question. Are any of these things bad, good, indifferent for us?
Stuart Cooke: Definitely. I’ve just read a very interesting book about that, so I’d love for you to put your spin in the way that you write as well and research and resource. I’d be very interested.
David Gillespie: It is interesting.
Stuart Cooke: Oh, it is. It will stir up our household as well because I’ve been though Sweet Poison two or three times and Toxic Oil and our cupboard seems to be changing from month to month, and it’s a topic of discussion.
David Gillespie: Well, it’s probably going backwards in time. If you follow what I say in Toxic Oil, you’ll find yourself making most of what you eat and, really, your cupboard starting to consist of mostly raw ingredients.
Guy Lawrence: Exactly. You know, the one thing I wanted to add as well, because, you know, I’m single. I live by myself. And it’s very easy for me to, if I do shop, I can just get whatever. But once families are involved, you know, it’s amazing. And I’m sure that day will come for me and it’s gonna be a whole new challenge.
David Gillespie: You need a partner that’s going to help. People tell me it’s very, very difficult to go it alone on this, you know? Very difficult for you to just decide, “Well, I’m gonna do this,” and the rest of the family will just keep eating a normal, modern diet. That’s very difficult to do. So you need to have everybody working on the same page.
But, look, the good news is you’re not going to do yourself any harm at all by doing this, and you learn an amazing set of new skills. If you’d said to me, two years ago, “You are going to be cooking the only bread you eat,” I would have laughed at you. Because that sounded like way too much effort. But the reality is that that’s what we’re doing now. And the end result is we eat a lot less bread because if you’ve got to cook it yourself, you’re not gonna eat that much of it.
Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. We’re almost reconnecting with skills that have been lost along the way and we’re actually learning how to eat again.
David Gillespie: We’re also learning that it isn’t that hard. A lot of these things sound daunting if you’ve never done it. But once you have done it, you find it’s actually just not that hard.
Guy Lawrence: Any other questions?
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, I’m just gonna ask a little bit of a wrap-up question, really, and we ask all of our guests this and I’m guessing that I probably know the answer. But if you can offer a single piece of advice for optimum health and wellness, what would it be?
David Gillespie: Don’t eat sugar. But, look, if you really want to be super duper well and avoid just about every chronic disease in modern society, then don’t eat sugar or vegetable oil.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, right. OK. Perfect.
Guy Lawrence: Perfect answer.
Stuart Cooke: And for anybody that would like to get hold of your books or find more about the resource, where can they connect with you?
David Gillespie: Well, look, if they want my books, they go to a bookstore. My books will be available just about anyplace that sells books. If they want the books signed by me, they can buy them from my website, but they’re a lot more expensive that way. If you don’t care, then your average bookstore or supermarket is a good place.
If you want to connect with a community of people who are like-minded, then the very best place is the Facebook page Sweet Poison, which I think has 49,000 people on it. And they are all gung-ho. Get on there with any question; they’ll answer it, and if they can’t, I will.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, fantastic. I went through the forums the other day and I was surprised at the amount of engagement in there. The numbers are voluminous, and it’s a really community as well. Fantastic.
David Gillespie: And very knowledgeable. I mean, these people know their stuff. You know, people put stuff up on Facebook. . . I check it every day to see if there’s anything getting missed or where people are not getting the answers that they need and that almost never happens. Everyone else is already well and truly there and giving them everything they need to know.
Stuart Cooke: Fantastic. You’re making a lot of people aware of what they should be putting in their mouth, David, which is a great thing.
Guy Lawrence: OK. All right. Well, look, thank you so much for sharing your time and also writing these great books as well. And we hope to have you back on the show in the not-too-distant future talking about the oils.
Did you enjoy the interview with Professor Tim Noakes? Would love to hear you thoughts in the Facebook comments section below… Guy
Professor Tim Noakes: The transcript
I’ll quickly do the introduction. I’m Guy Lawrence. This is Stuart Cooke. And our special guest today is Professor Tim Noakes. And, Tim, honestly, thank you for joining us. It’s awesome to have you.
My pleasure. Thanks, Guy and Stuart.
It’s funny. We actually mentioned to a couple of friends of ours that we’d be interviewing you today, and there was a lot of excitement. We; a very good friend of ours actually studied his medical degree in South Africa and he said that you taught him in one of the semesters there, back in 1984, ’85, I think it was. So, he was very impressed that we were speaking to you today and said to say hello.
Great. I hope I knew something.
And also, another friend of ours, a really good friend of yours, Stu, is it Gavin, is it?
Gavin, yeah, he’s a crazy bush runner, and he was very excited when he found out that we were going to be talking to you. So, we’ve got a few questions a little later on that he’s scripted for us and he’d love to know, so we’ll get to those in 10 minutes or so.
Yeah, so the first thing, anyway, Tim, for anyone that doesn’t know who you are, would you mind just telling us a little bit about yourself for the people that would be listening to this?
Sure. Well, I’m pretty advanced in age now. I’m 64 years old, so I’ve been in medicine since 1969, I started my medical training. And during my medical training I became much more interested in sports medicine and health promotion and disease prevention.
And I realized, also, I was really interested in science rather more than the practice of medicine.
So, after doing my internship in the hospital, I went immediately into research and I’ve been there ever since. I first did my Ph.D. in medicine and I graduated in 1981 and then immediately started teaching sports science at the University of Capetown. So, it was the first sports science degree in South Africa.
And it has kind of evolved into sports medicine and a few other things, and I have built up the Sports Science Institute of South Africa, which is a research organization and a teaching organization. And we started that in about ’95, so it’s gone about 15 or 16 years now.
And my interests, as you know, are: how does the body function as a totality. Because when I started in the sciences, we were taught that when you’re exercising, muscles get tired and then you stop. And we now know it’s much more complex. And so we developed the theory of the central governor model, which is that the brain regulates exercise and performance to make sure that you get to the finish of an event safely.
So, that’s been my one contribution. The other contribution, which brought me into conflict with PepsiCo and Gatorade, was how much you should drink during exercise.
And the big one that I want to finish up on is: what we should be eating, and is it healthful for our bodies.
Yeah, that a massive topic, isn’t it?
So, we noticed that a few years ago, your views on diet, particular carbohydrates, changed dramatically. And I wondered if you could just elaborate on that a little bit, please.
Sure. Well, I reached that age of 61 and, in fact, it happened the night I finished writing Waterlogged, which is the story about Gatorade and the sports industry and so on and how that income impacts over-drink.
So, at the time I was incredibly sensitive about how industry manipulates science and scientists for its own needs and good. And so anyway, I went out and ran the next morning and I had a terrible run and I thought, “Well, Tim Noakes, you’ve got to do something about your running. It’s awful. You’ve got to do something about it.”
So, fortunately, I came home, I went to my emails, and there in my in box was an advert for a book called The New Atkins for the New You. And I said, of course, Atkins has been XXunintelligibleXX and so on. And it said: “Lose 6 kilograms in six weeks without anger.” And I said: That’s rubbish. You can’t lose that without hunger. You’ve got to go and train hard and it’s a sacrifice and so on.
So, anyway, then I noticed it was written by some friends of mine, Jeff Volek and Steve Phinney, who are two really good scientists. So I said, “Well, they wouldn’t say this if it was nonsense.”
So I went and read the book. I read it, and by lunchtime I decided: That’s it. No more carbohydrates.
And I suddenly just lost buckets of weight. And my running came back. I mean, it was astonishing. Now, you must understand I was running really slowly but I dropped 40 minutes in my half-marathon and 20 minutes off my 10K time. So, I went from running seven minutes a K to XXaudio problemXX.
And, you know, that’s astonishing. Because I thought that I was old, and that’s why I had to run at seven minutes a K and suddenly I could run at 5 minutes a K. And it was absolutely astonishing.
So, my every health parameter has dramatically improved. I mean, you know, my blood pressure, from the day one of medical school, was 140/90 or higher. It’s now 120/70 at its highest.
And all I’ve done is changed my diet. So I’m now back to the weight I was as a youngster. And my running is not as fast as it was, but for a 64-year-old, I think I’m doing pretty well.
So, then I studied eating and I just saw that is bogus: the idea that we must cut fat from the diet is based on complete bogus nonsense. And, again, it was industry and commerce that drove us to start eating lots of carbohydrates and sugar and so on.
And so, again, I just started to see exactly the same thing that had happened in the sports drink industry has happened with the industry that promotes carbohydrates.
And, fortunately or unfortunately, my father was diabetic. I’m profoundly carbohydrate intolerant. And if you’re carbohydrate intolerant, you just must not eat carbohydrates. So, I’m the type of person who’s gonna benefit hugely from this advice.
And a final point I’d make is that we’re not that, you know? We are not told that if you’re carbohydrate intolerant, you shouldn’t be eating carbohydrates
Yeah, that’s interesting. Funny enough, Tim, we had DNA testing done about two months ago and it came up that I was susceptible to diabetes and I was carbohydrate intolerant and if I ate carbs, I would become a diabetic, basically.
And it just sort of reinforced what I was naturally doing anyway.
That’s amazing. And you know, I have debated this with the experts in South Africa and they tell me that condition of carbohydrate intolerance or insulin resistance does not exist. That’s what they honestly told me.
What was the initial reaction like that you had when you first came out and said, you know, we should be eating fat, not carbohydrates?
Well, it took me about five months to knock off the carbs. But, all I did was I wrote an article saying, “I’m dropped the cereals and grains.” I didn’t even talk about fat. And there was a complete outcry from the scientists and dieticians. It was astonishing and it continues to this day.
I mean, I’m absolutely persona non grata. And they will do anything they possibly can to discredit me and discredit these ideas. Instead of saying, “Hold on. Let’s look at the evidence and let’s see what the truth is,” because what I teach in science is that there’s always two sides to arguments and you must present both. But they refused to present the opposite argument.
Why would you think that is?
Well, the story I’m getting back is that the dieticians in South Africa have been told that they may not discuss this theory because it completely undermines; it completely undermines the entire; the teaching in their discipline.
So, rather than address the entire discipline, they’re just gonna ignore it. But the tragedy is; my opinion is that the social media and what we are doing here today is the future. And people will learn what the truth is.
So, people are gonna to listen to this and they’ll say, “Gee, you know, I’m like Tim Noakes. I’m 60. I’m fat. I can’t run. Maybe I should stop eating carbohydrates.” And then a few weeks later, they’re running much better and they’ve lost the weight. They say, “Well, Tim Noakes was right and the dieticians were wrong.”
And then they go and tell another hundred people.
Do you think; so, talking about fat adaption and people consuming carbohydrates, is it a kind of clean-cut case, or are there people that simply can’t fat-adapt; perhaps people that need carbohydrates?
I don’t think there are anyone who can’t fat-adapt. I mean, I just don’t XXthink that’s a conditionXX Except if, there is one condition where you’re metabolically deranged and you haven’t got the enzymes to break down fat. But, I mean, that’s a described metabolic disorder.
But, you know, it took me 61 years to learn that carbohydrate is entirely unessential to humans, because you can live without them. You can live without eating even one gram of carbohydrate. No one ever told me that.
That shocks a lot of people when they hear that for the first time.
It does. And certainly if you’ve read my book, Lore of Running, you get the opposite impression.
So, to answer your question, what I do find is that if you’re carbohydrate-intolerant, you benefit hugely from fat adaptation. I mean, one of the people I helped dropped his 56 kilometer time by three hours.
In one year. He ran 6:57 and the next year ran 3:59. Now, this particular 56K race in Capetown, it’s a difficult race. To break 4 is a really good run because you have to run three hours for the marathon and they you have to run 14 kilometers in which you had better run it four minutes a K as well. Up hills. And he dropped three hours. And he was a good runner, obviously, but that was the effect of carbohydrates on him.
It is insane. And he only lost; he lost 16 kilograms ultimately, but the pictures of him before he did the dietary change, he was; his BMI was actually only 26. He wasn’t grossly overweight at all. He would look normal for an African ultra-marathon runner finishing at the end of the races. And then now he looks like a world-class, well, not world-class, but he looks like a fantastic athlete.
And all the difference was that he had been eating carbohydrates, and he couldn’t tolerate them, and as soon as he cut them, his body responded as it should be.
As I say, which is the healthier one? Is it the one on the carbs or the one eating the fat? Which is gonna kill him tomorrow? Is he healthier?
I say, why is it that 50 percent of the people running ultra-marathons in South Africa, and that’s a lot of people, there’s probably 8,000 ultra-marathon runners, why are they all fat? And the answer is because they are doing lots of exercise but they’re eating the wrong diet.
Once they aren’t, the weight just drops off and they start to run better.
So, your thoughts on running for weight loss while following a conventional diet?
Is not the way forward.
Probably not the way forward. We’ve got lots of friends that run. You know, we’ve got bush runners, road runners, soft sand, treadmill. They do it for very different reasons. Many of them do it to lose weight.
But without these thoughts or knowledge or info on the diet, is it pointless as a tool for weight loss?
Yeah, Stuart, that’s a great question. The answer is, if you’re running to regulate your weight, your diet is wrong. You cannot regulate your weight with running.
To use as an example, this Jeff Simon we were chatting about, when he entered the diet, within about 12 weeks he’d lost his 12 kilograms and he was hardly running. Then he was training really hard and he got up to 100, 120 K’s a week and his weight stayed exactly the same. It didn’t change.
You said “recently,” which I think is a very important point, is that you run to burn carbohydrates, not to burn calories. And the reason it works in some people is you burn off the excess carbohydrate that your body normally can’t burn. But the instant you stop running, your weight jumps up again because you stop burning that excess carbohydrate. And if you can’t burn the excess carbohydrate, it has to be stored as fat. That’s the only that people, again, and I didn’t understand that either.
So, you have to have a carbohydrate balance.
How many grams of carbohydrate would he have been eating a day, just out of curiosity?
I would say probably 300 or 400 grams. And now he’s probably down to about 75 to 100. Something in that range. That’s; he’s not grossly intolerant like I am. I’m down to 25 to 50 grams a day. And my weight remains absolutely stable. It doesn’t matter whether I run 10 K’s a day or rest. My weight is stable.
When you talk about how many carbs that you eat a day, where do you get; where do you source those carbs from?
Mainly from veg. Leafy veg. Those are about the only two veg; those are the only two carbohydrate sources that I now eat. I’m actually diabetic. I do treat myself with Glucophage. So, I have to; that’s why I limit to 25. I mean, glucose in my system, it just causes chaos.
And what I’ve also learned is that if you are on the verge, like myself, and you are diabetic, any carbohydrate messes you up for days. It’s astonishing how long it takes to get back to control if you eat much carbohydrate. But even an extra apple is enough to upset my carbohydrate balance the next day.
And so that’s how on the edge we are, once you reach the stage I’m in.
What would you eat, typically, then before and after a race or, you know, just generally as well?
Fantastic. What I do is I would not eat anything before. I’m just XXunintelligibleXX. I’d have a big meal the night before. I might have some extra protein the night before. Because I can generate glucose from nothing. I mean, if I have a big protein meal, my glucose shoots up. If I run, my glucose shoots up.
So, one of the problems in diabetes, and this is not recognized, but some of us have a liver that can produce so much carbohydrates, so much glucose, it’s utterly impossible for me to get my glucose down running. I mean, I could run for hours without any carbohydrate and I’m sure my glucose would still be up.
Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but my point is, I run marathons; half-marathons and my glucose is high at the finish. Even the fact that I haven’t eaten for 12 hours before the race or during the race.
So, I’ve got this massive capacity to produce glucose from the liver, and I think that that is a very common phenomenon in diabetes. And so XXit controls glucose productionXX in the liver, and so adding extra carbohydrate just floods the system and makes it even worse.
That was certainly a shocker for you people, I think. Running a half-marathon with nothing inside of you on that particular day. Because I know that it’s certainly a big gel community at the moment and people are squeezing gels and goos into their mouth every second. And it’s XXunintelligibleXX I think, isn’t it?
If I could just answer that question. What I discovered is that when we change people to high-fat diets, they take XXaudio problemXX during exercise. And if they do, even if it’s an adventure race and they’re out for eight hours a day or whatever, or exercise for eight hours a day, they just eat what they normally would eat.
So, they eat lunch and then dinner and so on. And they’ll eat the same high-fat, high-carb. . . I’m sorry; high-fat, high-protein foods that they normally eat. And they’ll tell you they’re much less hungry, but the people who are competing with them who are carbohydrate-dependent are looking for carbohydrates every half hour, constantly looking for them. That’s the difference.
Once you adapt to fat, you just use the fat that’s in your body and you don’t need the carbohydrates at all.
So, that would be one of the advantages for any athlete listening to this then, Tim, I’m guessing that the fact you don’t need to keep refueling yourself when you’re running all the time.
Absolutely. And so your choice of foods is so much simpler. We had some experts out here recently and one of them had done the Badwater 140-mile race, which has to be the toughest race in the world, under impossible conditions, and they cross over three mountain ranges.
And he said when they started, they used to take on all sorts of foods, lots of carbohydrates, but they also used to put in protein and fat. And he said after a few years, they suddenly realized that they didn’t eat the carbohydrates. They were eating the other things.
So, on their race, their bodies actually said to them, “Give me the fat and the protein.” And so, with time, they adapted and now they don’t take any carbohydrate with them whatsoever, which I found really interesting. If you listen carefully, your body will tell you what you really need.
But I just have to reemphasize that the carbohydrates are so addictive and they do give you immediate lifts, so a lot of those people will need them for the lift, the artificial lift that they give them. Not for the metabolic effects, but for the brain effects that they XXare given toXX.
Just that facet. So, during the period of adaptation, how long do you think that, you know, those cravings would generally last?
Yeah, that’s a great question. I found it took me about six weeks. My running suddenly improved after six weeks, just dramatically. Within a period of a week, I suddenly started running much better.
But the cravings for sugar took about 14 months. And so I would finish those runs and I would still take a little bit of sugar in my drinks and I would still add sugar to tea and coffee. But all that was much reduced. It took a long time. So, now I find water as refreshing as any drink I’ve ever had. And, in fact, the water tastes sweet to me now. But that took two or three years.
So, if you’re an athlete and you’re fat-adapted and let’s say you went on a load of carbohydrates and knocked yourself out of ketosis. Does it take a long time to get back into being fat-adapted? Are we talking hours, days, weeks?
Well, that I can’t say I did personally, but reading what Jeff Volek had said, he said you’re out for about three days. That you’re not quite as good as you were for the previous few, so it takes about three days to get back.
And I mean, I think that’s the point in biology. It doesn’t matter what you do to the body. If you add a lot of salt to the body, it takes you about three days to get back into balance. So, I would think the same applies for most things.
It’s not acute. We don’t adapt acutely. It takes times for the system to get back, because the system is so incredibly complex that it needs time to get everything back into good shape again.
Yeah, fair enough. What, Tim, what’s your thoughts on short bouts of intense exercise and being low-carb? Because it’s obviously; you’re using a different system there, I’m assuming. Because I do CrossFit and long-distance running you’re constantly at one pace, but something like CrossFit is very dynamic, heavy weights, and some things last 10 minutes.
Yeah. You know, I’m not the expert on that yet and I haven’t really tried it myself. I haven’t started doing interval training again, properly. I do feel a bit sluggish when I try to do intervals, and I think that’s what people generally tell you.
And it’s really interesting, because it’s difficult to understand why you should be sluggish simply because you haven’t got lots of carbohydrates in you. Because, in fact, diabetics store carbohydrates poorly anyway. And so adding lots of carbohydrate doesn’t necessarily make insulin-resistant people fill up their muscles with carbohydrates.
So, if you’re intolerant like myself, and most of us who are on this diet, you shouldn’t have been able to store carbohydrate very well anyway when you’re eating a high-carbohydrate diet. And it doesn’t completely make sense to me why we struggle a bit when we do high-intensity training. And maybe it’s because we need to do more of it. I don’t know, but the clinical trials that they’ve done, in XXgymnasts?XX, for example, they show no effect that XXgymnasts?XX are just as strong in a high-fat diet as they are on a high-carbohydrate diet.
However, you know, most people will tell you that they can’t exercise as well. But let me give you one example. I had one guy who was a world-class athlete and he chose to drop from 400 grams a day down to 25 and he said it was a disaster. He didn’t even want to get up in the morning, he felt so terrible.
He then went up to a hundred grams and he said on a hundred grams a day, he’s training better and he’s performing better than he ever did at 400 grams. And so that’s my point. There’s the cut-off value.
And I do not believe that any human being needs more than 200 grams a day. So, even if you’re an Iron Man triathlete, training hard every day, that 200 grams will be enough to provide you all the energy you need during the exercise bouts. Because that will cover it. You know, you can burn lots of fat.
We have done some preliminary experiments on people who have fat-adapted and normally adapted. And what we find is that the fat-adapted still burn quite a lot of carbohydrate during exercise, but what they do is they just don’t burn carbohydrate during the races. They burn fat. Whereas the carbohydrate-adapted person burns carbohydrate all day because he’s got to get back into carbohydrate balance.
So, I would guess that 60, 70 percent of that huge carbohydrate load that people are eating is actually what they’re gonna burn during the rest of the day. Which they don’t need to, because you can burn fat during the rest of the day. And that’s the, sort of, balance that you need to get to, that maybe 200 grams will give you all the carbohydrates you need to train maximally if you’re doing speed work. And then the rest of the day you spend burning fat.
But burning 400 grams or eating 400 or 500 grams a day, you’re just gonna burn most of that during the rest of the day when you don’t need it.
Yeah. Of course.
You see so many people doing that.
Exactly. And, I mean, I wouldn’t have known that until it became so obvious when you’re doing XXunintelligibleXX and that’s what you see.
So, people who are eating lots of carbohydrates are actually fueling; they’re burning the carbohydrates when they’re not exercising. So, that’s important.
And outside of, you know, weight loss and performance, what other benefits have you experienced on a high-fat diet?
My health has just improved dramatically. I mean, I just don’t get ill anymore. That’s what’s remarkable.
I used to get repeated bronchitis, which was quite severe and I needed mediation, steroids, to treat it. I haven’t had an attack like that for three years. And I’ve just; I had a whole bunch of other symptoms but that was the one that used to really worry me.
Because every three months or so, I’d get a rhinitis; a runny nose. And it would go straight into my lungs and I’d get this allergic response, which I always thought was the infection, and then I realized that’s actually an allergic response. And now what I know is it’s simply related to cereals and grains in my diet.
I also had the irritable bowel syndrome. That disappeared. I had dyspepsia. That disappeared. I used to get headaches once a week. I haven’t taken a medication for headache for three years. I used to take it once a week.
So I know it’s the gliadin in the wheat that is the problem causing repeated headaches.
So, I’m just two different people. I mean, I now have got so much energy and it’s just been amazing. I feel like I’m back to 25 or 30.
Whereas before, I was a tired 60-year-old who almost stopped running. I was tiring.
I’ll tell you, I haven’t eaten grains for a couple of years, and every time I’ll have a grain, on the odd occasion, I always feel terrible after it. And the best thing I ever did was get rid of the grains for myself, personally. You know? It’s amazing.
That’s probably the most important adaptation is getting rid of the cereals and grains. And which is, I said, because, you know we’re all told that they are the cornerstone for our health. And it’s just not the case at all.
Yeah, absolutely. That magical food pyramid that has lied to us for so many years.
I’m going to steal one of your questions and throw a little bit of a curve ball your way as well, Tim. So, on endurance exercise, particularly running, and life expectancy. And I’m raising that because of cortisol issues, which, for our audience, is the stress hormone.
What are your thoughts on that?
You know, I think there is some evidence accumulating that for some individuals keeping up high-intensity running, running marathons all your life, probably isn’t such a good idea.
The problem is, they haven’t controls for nutrition. That’s an issue that we haven’t looked at. So, if you’re carbohydrate-intolerant, and you’re eating a high-carbohydrate diet and you’re exercising, I can see that that’s gonna be a problem.
My own view is that I’ve stopped running marathons many years ago, but I would have continued if I’d been on this diet. Because I stopped running because I became so slow. And I now know I became slow because of my carbohydrate intolerance and eating lots of carbohydrates. And that if I’d eaten a high-fat diet all my life, I believe I would have continued running marathons for much longer and not had those consequences.
So, I think that there is evidence for some people for doing lots of vigorous exercise is not good. But I would not like to generalize that to the general public.
We’ve known for years that the Tour de France scientists, generally the winners have a very short life expectancy. But there were drugs involved and many other things that we couldn’t be certain that it’s just the exercise.
But you’ve just got to be cautious, and the one thing you don’t want is atrial fibrillation. And clearly that’s linked to vigorous exercise and it’s hit one of the guys who brought me into running, and one’s an early winner of the Comrades marathon, that’s the 90 kilometer race in South Africa, has got atrial fibrillation. And, you know, that was so clearly related to all his running.
So, one just has to be cautious. And I think if you’ve got signs that things are not good, if you start to pick up abnormal heart rhythms, I think it’s time to look very cautiously and consider, A, are you doing too much, and, B, is it your diet? Is that a factor?
Yeah. Absolutely. And I guess it’s another scenario where one size certainly doesn’t fit all. We’re all so very, very different.
And I’m getting messages back from other guys now, in their 60s, older than me, in their 70s, changing to this diet and suddenly finding their performance going up again, and being able to run much better.
So, again, the question is, is it the exercise or is it the nutrition? And Jeff Volek is doing some wonderful stuff looking at inflammation markers in people who run marathons and ultra-marathons, and if they’re eating a high-carbohydrate diet.
So, the argument is that the combination of lots of marathon-running and high carbohydrates produce inflammatory response. And that, repeated every few months for years, naturally you’re likely to cause problems.
So, I think we have to look at our running and make sure you’re just not getting inflamed all the time and try to do things that will stop the inflammation.
That’s good advice.
It sounds like the diet, again, is very suspicious there.
It think it’s controllable, and look at dietary very carefully.
OK. Another question while we’re on running, then. And we wanted to raise this because we got the famous City2Surf coming up. And, are you aware of that race, Tim?
Yes, I do. And you know why I know? Because John Sutton, famous Australian physiologist, that’s sports medicine doctor, was one of the first doctors to be involved in that race and he described all the cases of heatstroke that occurred.
And I remember him writing one article saying something like, you know, heatstroke in a 10K or 12K fun run shouldn’t be happening.
And I think he got it all wrong, because he was all, “Oh, you’ve got to drink lots of fluids.” And so on. And I don’t agree with that. I think heatstroke is a multifactorial disease and you’ve got to have individual susceptibility for it to start.
And then you’ve got to have a couple of other things wrong with you on the day. But you’d probably have an infection; a latent infection. And maybe other things that happen on the day. Maybe taking medications or drugs which are factors.
And when you put them all together, then you get the scenario. But the reality is that you’ve probably got 50,000 runners in the race and yet you only have one or two guys get into real trouble. But why didn’t all 50,000, if it was the environment? It’s not the environment. It’s something else that’s involved.
So, if somebody was listening to this a week before they were doing the City2Surf run and they’ve eaten a lot of carbs and drinking a lot of Gatorade ready to get ready for the race and they hear this a week before, and they go, “Oh, my God. Should I change everything?” What should they do?
They absolutely shouldn’t change now. But I think what you need to know is that every time you put carbohydrates; refined carbohydrates like those sports drinks into your mouth, you get a huge insulin response and we think that that repeated insulin response, the high glucose, is damaging to the health in the long-term.
Some people are OK because they’re hugely carbohydrate-tolerant. But if you’re intolerant, every time you take a sports drink, you’re actually damaging your health.
So you have to appreciate that. So, we have this paradox in South Africa that our big races are funded by the soft drink industry and if we had a race in Capetown which had 10,000 runners running 56 kilometers and they managed to consume three tons of sugar during the race. I’m not saying that consumed it, but there were three tons of sugar available on the race for those runners.
Now that’s, when you start to think about that, you realize: Here you are running, trying to get healthy, but you’re killing yourself by taking all of that sugar during the race.
Would you add anything to your drink when you’re running; would you anything? Salt or anything like that?
No. You certainly don’t need salt, because your body will provide all the salt you need. So, you definitely need water. And if you’re fat-adapted, you just need fat and protein.
And I would try milk, you know. Or coconut oil. I’ve used both in half-marathons and it’s the most wonderful drink. You have to come to Northern Europe to be fully adapted to milk. Otherwise, you’ve probably got a milk intolerance.
So, many XXSouth Africans?XX come from Europe, as I do, and so we’re tolerant for milk.
But the point being that once you’re fat-adapted, you just really don’t need much carbohydrate, if any, during exercise.
I have a question now from my good friend Gavin, who is a bush runner. And he’s interested from a beginner’s perspective. He wants to know what would be the most effective training method to get him up to a level of fitness in the fastest time period without injury, where they’re able to keep up with other club runners and not feel left behind. If you have any tips.
Yeah. Well, I can only tell you what I did. I was a rower when I started running and what we used to do, we used to race two miles. That was epic. So, if we raced two miles. That was where most people come from, I think. If you’re fit for another sport, you can probably race a mile or two and go flat-out and you’re OK. But once you have to run 5Ks or 10Ks, it’s a real problem.
And I was taken by some real experts and they XXaudio problemsXX controversy. Because you have to learn the pacing strategies. That’s the key. And that’s it is. And after three months, I had the pacing strategies worked out. And then we would start running half an hour, hour, hour and a half, two hours.
So, I think that if you take people who are physically active and healthy and then go through about three months of regular running before you can start properly running 10, 15, 20 kilometers.
So, my focus has always been; so, that’s the one scenario. If you’ve got well-trained, if you’ve got physically fit people, they still need to run half an hour a day, five days a week, and it’s gonna take them three months to get going.
If you’ve got people who are completely sedentary and not physically strong, I started walking and in Lore of Running I describe a walking program where we would get them to walk for the first three months, because otherwise they’re going to get injuries, bone injuries, particularly stress fractures.
So, I think that’s the key. If you have been physically active before, like in Australian Rules or rugby or whatever. Football. That’s fine. But it still takes you time to learn how to pace yourself.
The thing that I learned was, just go slowly.
You’ve got it. It’s certainly not an instant thing.
And add your speed work in. Go for distance first. That’s the key.
And even today, I still make the error of trying to run short distances too fast and not doing the long-distance work. It’s the long-distance work that really makes you a runner.
Just another thought that popped into my mind as well. When training for longer events, would it just be running that you do? Just get out there and run on the road? Or would you hit the gym and start working other muscles?
Yes, I think so. I think you need; it depends. The longer your races, the more your whole body needs to be in good shape. So, I’m impressed by CrossFit. And this not an advert, but I was watching last night the CrossFit World Championships and I was utterly astonished at the women; what they can do. Ten or 15 years ago, we would have said that’s utterly impossible for a man to do, let along a woman.
So, I think, yes, there is good evidence that if you’ve got stronger legs from biometric training and so on, you will run better. So, there is a strength component to running. XXaudio problemXX and they are incredibly XXaudio problemXX. That’s a point that we don’t make.
For a highly-trained athlete to run fast, the 10K; a fast 10K, his foot is never on the ground. That’s what defines a great runner. They’re always in the air; their haven’t broken ground. And the answer is that his foot is on the ground for such a short time, then it explodes and throws; catapults his body forward two or three meters.
Now, OK, he’s only 56 kilograms, but still, the time being that his foot is on the ground is so short that he has an enormous amount of power. So, power is a key component, and it’s something that we forget.
And I certainly know of people who have trained for ultra-marathons by doing lots of weight training in the gym on their legs, and they’ve done relatively little running. So, if you can get your mind ’round it, you don’t have to do as much running.
But I actually agree. In generally, I think that weight training like CrossFit, that’s the best way to try and XXaudio problemXX. OK, maybe there’s more emphasis on weight training in CrossFit than in running, but I think that for many people, all weight training is gonna be beneficial.
Yeah. That’s really a good way of looking at it. I never thought of it like that.
And, Tim, there’s a question I’ve got, I’ve been itching to ask you for ages, and I’m quite aware of time so I’m going to jump to it to make sure we fit it in. And that simply is regarding the ocean swimming. Because me and Stu are big fans. We generally get in there a couple of times a week. And at the moment, the water temp, what was it today? 16.1?
Just over 16, yeah.
Really? Well, this is cold. You’ve talked about training. Is it Lewis?
Yeah. And he swam one mile in, I think, our reference says 1.8 degrees.
Tim Noakes: That’s right. It was actually about 2 to 3. He did the mile swim. He usually swam a kilometer, but he did swim a kilometer in minus 1.8 degrees centigrade.
Now, just to make it clear, there’s no wetsuit. This is just him in his Speedos, right?
How did he do that?
Well, what he discovered was that, provided he was out of the water within 25 minutes he was fine. So, he could cope. And what he did was, as all humans do, is they cool their legs and their arms, they become incredibly cold, so after the long swim at Deception Island, where he swam a mile at 3 degrees centigrade, his muscle temperature was 32 degrees compared to a normal of 37, 38.
And it was 32 an hour and a half later, after he had been in a hot shower for an hour and a half. His muscles were still as cold as they were when he came out.
His core body temperature had risen to 37, so he was normal, his brain was normal again, but his legs were still messed up.
So, what he did was he stored all the cold in his legs. But he reached the absolute limit of his tolerance after 30 minutes. But when he swam it in 20 minutes at minus 1.8, he didn’t drop his core temperature below 36, so he was relatively fine.
So, again, if you just store the cold in your body and you’re fine for 20 minutes, but by 30 minutes you’re absolutely at the limit, and I think that anyone swimming at a temperature below 5 degrees centigrade, they’ve got half an hour before they freeze and drown.
And I think that’s what that work added, which is we now know the limits. And he could get to the mark, because he’s a fast swimmer, and he didn’t slow down much. He slowed down substantially, but not really too seriously.
The danger was is that if your body cools down and your brain is still warm enough. . . Sorry; if your brain cools down too quickly, you lose consciousness and you drown. And I know that had he swam for another five minutes in there at the temperature, he would have gone unconscious.
So, he was close. It was 35 minutes and he was gone.
Wow. That’s amazing. That’s just freaks me out. Because we get in the water, I’m contemplating how cold it is now, you know. . .
Yeah, but you’re both so lean, and you can only swim at about 26, 27. That’s the temperature at which you’ll be able to swim any length of time. But once it drops below 27, and of course the colder it is the worse it is.
I had the privilege recently of meeting a Capetown guy who, in Australian water, was lost at sea for 28 hours. You probably remember the story.
Yes, I do.
The Coast Guard got him or whatever. And he came in here and he spoke to me and said, “I should be dead.” And he gave me the whole story about the 28 hours. I asked what was the water temperature and he said it was 27. I said, “That’s what saved you.” If it had been 25, he wouldn’t have made it.
It’s absolutely critical, the water temperature. And he wasn’t as lean as you guys, so he also had just a little bit of extra fat. But at your weights, you’re in real trouble when the temperature goes below 20 degrees.
Yeah, absolutely. That’s why I’ve just ordered a nice, new wetsuit. I’ll be fine over the winter.
That’s definitely what you need.
So, look, I’m just very aware of the time and one last question, Tim, before we wrap ’er up. And I know it’s a topic you’ve covered well. But, how much does the mind determine the outcome of an event?
Yeah. That’s a great question. I was watching the British Open the other day and Tony Jacklin, who won the Open and one of the major American opens, he said it’s 90 percent psychological and 10 percent mental.
And I think it’s true, you know, when you get to that level, the skill is exactly the same for the top hundred players, and it’s only the ones who control their minds one the day that win.
In running, it’s both a hundred percent physical and it’s a hundred percent mental. In other words, that you have to have the physical capacity. I couldn’t run a four-minute mile ever, because I don’t have the physical capacity. But within my range of performances, then it becomes very mental; it becomes very important. And it becomes the hundred percent.
So, I think at Olympic level, we recognize biologically that it’s pretty much the same and one guy wins the race by six centimetres. That’s purely mental, and I honestly, honestly believe that the person who comes second actively chooses to come second.
It’s obviously at a subconscious level. But then you have to make the choice, because it’s simple. The person who finishes 6 centimetres behind the winner didn’t die. So, he could have run faster. So, why didn’t he run faster? And it’s not biological.
Because the controls that stop you running faster are all, they’re not conscious, they’re subsconscious control. But they’re open to conscious control, in my view. Or conscious modification.
I just; that’s my belief. So the mental is absolutely important. But at a simple level, if I go into a marathon and I’m not sure that I’ll finish, what happens, as you all know, that you’re two-thirds of the race through, and XXaudio problemXX and you say, “Oh, I’ve got 12 kilometers to go,” and your brain says, “Well, you’re not gonna make it.”
And if it says that to you, you’ve got to be able to say, “Absolute nonsense. This is going to be easy.”
And I think that those are the decisions you make before the start of the race. If you have any doubt in your mind, it’s not going to do it.
No, that’s right.
I was only saying to Guy the other day, and, you know, a little similar, when we train CrossFit, if we have, for instance, have to do 20 pull-ups on the bar, in my mind I’ll be going for 30.
And I’ll always get the 20.
I’ll always go for 10 and usually get my 10 and then stop and then do another 10.
The mind is terribly, terribly important.
And, certainly, I work quite a lot with teams; young teams of athletes. And there’s no question that the belief systems of teams, if you can improve their belief system, that team will outperform itself and do much better than it should.
Conversely, you can take a good team without self-belief and they don’t do well.
So, I have absolute belief now that what you think is what will happen. What you really believe will be the outcome. And that’s the difference between the winners and the guys that come second.
Yeah. One hundred percent.
Well, Tim, if you could offer one single piece of advice for optimum health or wellness, for anyone listening to this, what would it be?
Well, I think you know what it’s gonna be. It’s look to your diet.
I did it. I thought I was doing what doing what I meant to do, but I ate the wrong diet. And only when I got my diet right did I get the energy back again to be able to run again and train properly and look forward to my running. And now my health is infinitesimally better and I just love each day.
And when my diet was wrong, it was the opposite. I was hanging in. It’s terribly sad. So, find the best diet for you and we all know what that diet is.
Tim, thank you so much for your time. We really appreciate you coming on and joining us for 45 minutes. It’s been awesome. I’ve learned a lot.
Thanks, Guy, and thanks, Stuart. It’s been a great privilege to be with both of you guys.
This is not a post about whether we should be eating dairy or not, but whether we actually need dairy in our diet. Of course there’s the obvious push that it gives us strong bones and it’s a great source of calcium and protein. But can these be sourced from anywhere else to the extent our body needs?
The other question I ask myself is; are people eating dairy because it tastes nice, not because they are actually worried about their bones in the first place? When I sit in a cafe on a Saturday morning and watch people drinking their lattes, I’m pretty sure they couldn’t give a sh*t about calcium levels and bone density as they are simply enjoying their coffee.
So do we really need dairy in our diet? Let’s take a look… More
Guy: As you can imagine we get a lot of email enquiries.Can I eat fruit if I’m on a weight loss plan? Is it possible that bananas make me fat? Is it ok to eat bananas whilst I’m trying to lose weight? You get the gist of it right… So it has inspired me to right this post.
First of all, I eat bananas. I not only eat them I enjoy them. So this is not a banana bashing post. But in saying that, I only eat them on certain occasions, and for me it’s all about personal circumstances (weight loss/weight gain) and timing.
Nutritional value to consider
One large banana, say 7 inches will contain roughly 30g of carbohydrates, 3g of fibre, 2g of protein and 0.5g of fat, along with multiple vitamins and minerals (including high content of potassium) to boot. If you want to know exactly what’s in the banana click here.
Out of those 30g of carbohydrates 6-8g will be fructose. (I wrote an in-depth article on fructose here).
Light Bulb moment #1! Carbohydrate when ingested raises blood sugar. That banana is the equivalent to 5-6 teaspoons of sugar, with 1-2 of those being fructose.
So where am I going with this?
With the basic nutritional values above lets look at how they can be applied to different circumstances.
I’m trying to lose weight
From my experience, anyone I see who is trying to lose a few kgs/lbs generally has a fairly high carbohydrate diet.
Light Bulb moment #2! Every time you eat mainly carbs, you will create an insulin response. And whilst there is insulin being produced you will not be able to burn body fat. So if you are going to remember one thing, remember that.
The nutrient packed banana is carb heavy. When you compare them to fresh strawberries it’s over four times the amount of carbs. So the first thing I’d say would be to add up how many carbs you are eating in a day and then factor the banana in. It soon adds up! And the other thing to remember is activity levels. If you are living a fairly inactive daily routine, then the amount of carbs matters even more.
My weight loss tip -
If you are not sure, eat berries/strawberries instead as they have a lower carbohydrate sugar/fructose content.
If you are wanting bananas, have half instead mixed in a smoothie with more protein and fat (personally I throw in half an avocado with my smoothie along with 180 protein supplement). By doing this you will slow the insulin response down which of course is better for weight loss. The other option is to eat some nuts along with half a banana whilst snacking, as this will have the same effect.
Exercising and trying to lose weight
Personally I’d stick to the same principles as I’ve mentioned above until you reach your ideal weight goals. I’d also include a weight training program with a minimum of twice a week. This will help improve muscle mass and control insulin levels better due to better muscle glycogen storage.
It’s enough to drive you bananas
What do I do? I generally throw in half a banana in my smoothies as mentioned above, and I’ll often have a full banana after an intense CrossFit session to help replenish glycogen stores. Now bare in mind I train 4-6 days a week and I’m not looking to lose weight. My body fat sits around 10-12% and I’m happy with that. But if I decided I would like to get my abs popping out for whatever reason, I’d probably let the humble banana go for a while.
So what should you do? That’s for you to decide, but hopefully the few things I mentioned above have helped.
Would love to hear your thoughts… Do you eat them? Fructose? Fruit?
When do you eat bananas?… Guy
On a side note: I truly enjoy writing these posts, hence our frequent blog posts. At the end of the day though, these are just my thought’s and feelings around a topic I’m passionate about. I encourage everyone to do their own research and check out the facts for themselves.
If you did enjoy the post and got something from it or have something to share on the topic, I would love to hear your thought’s in the comments section below. If you feel others would benefit from this then it would be great if you could share it using one of the icons below (Facebook etc). Cheers, Guy…