WATCH the full interview below or LISTEN to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.
Guy: Whether you are an elite athlete, weekend warrior or even a coach potato, there’s much wisdom to be had here when it comes to fuelling your body daily for optimum performance. With so much conflicting advice out there when it comes to nutrition, who better person to ask than someone who walks their talk. Elite CrossFit athlete, Ruth Anderson Horrell shares her insights around nutrition daily and also during competition time. No matter what your goals are, it’s certainly worth a few minutes of your time… Enjoy.
“Never say, ‘can’t’… The word just makes me cringe and it is such a negative thought to ever think that you can’t do something. You may not be able to yet, or whatever it is, but if you decide you can’t, it’s like you’re already there.”― Ruth Anderson Horrell, Elite Crossfit Athlete
Ruth Anderson Horrell is a New Zealand representative CrossFit Athlete. She has represented the Australasia region at the World Reebok CrossFit Games in 2011, 2012 and 2013! Ruth competes for NZ as an Olympic Weightlifter. In 2012 she competed at the Oceania and Trans Tasman Champs. Ruth is a successful co-owner and coach at CrossFit Wild South and works as a Locum small animal veterinarian when she has time :)Currently she is training towards being Australia’s best female CrossFit athlete. She trains in Los Angeles under the instruction of Dusty Hyland for parts of the year.
Ruth Anderson Horrell Full Interview:
In This Episode:
How she walks the fine-line between optimum training and overtraining
Her recovery strategies
Her own exercise routines
What CrossFit Regional Games looked like 8 years ago!
The advice she would give her 20 year old self when starting CrossFit
Guy:Hey this Guy Lawrence from 180 Nutrition, and welcome to today’s health session. You’ll have to forgive me, it’s nearly 40 degrees Celsius in this room; it is hot. That’s okay, lets push on with the intro. Today’s guest is Ruth Anderson Horrel. She is an incredible athlete, as far as I’m concerned. She’s a Crossfit athlete, if you’re not familiar with her, and she’s been to the Crossfit world games three times. I can assure you now, that is a hell of an achievement. She has a wealth of experience when it comes to exercise, nutrition, and recovery, and I think the one intention was today, whether you’re into Crossfit or not, we really wanted to tap into Ruth’s experience, and wisdom, and hopefully get a few gems across to pick up for everyone, ’cause I think there’s certainly a theme that’s coming across in the podcast, and the way people approach their diet, whether they’re at the elite end of athleticism, or not.
Whether you just move daily and just trying to drop a bit of weight, there’s always some fantastic lessons to be learned from some of the best people that we can get hold of, that’s for sure. The other thing I’d encourage to do as well, is actually follow Ruth on Instagram, and then you’ll start to see what I mean by what her athletic abilities are, and what she is capable of.
Now, I haven’t asked for a review for a while, but I will. We had a fantastic review on iTunes come in the other day. I always ask for them because they obviously help with the rankings, but other people read them as well, and it’ll encourage them to listen to the podcast, so if you’re getting great befits from listening to my podcast every week when we push them out, then it takes two minutes if you could leave a review. The one we had just the other day says, “my favorite podcast by far,” with 5 stars, that was very generous, by [chinlo 00:01:47]. “Thank you, Guy and Stu for hours of learning. My favorite thing to do is listen to your podcast while going for a nice, long walk. I’ve listened to most of them twice or more. I never tire of your fantastic hosting, A-grade guests, [00:02:00] and the wonderful insights your podcasts bring.” I thought that was absolutely wonderful, so thank you for that, and hence why I gave you a shout out.
We read them all. Tell us how you listen to our podcast. I’d be fascinated to hear because we’re in, I think over 50 countries now, getting downloaded anyway, which is really cool. All right. I’m going to stop blabbering. Let’s go over to Ruth Anderson Horrel. Enjoy.
Hi, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart [Cooke 00:02:27]. Hi, Stu.
Guy:Good to see you. You’re looking well, mate.
Guy:Our lovely guest today is Ruth Anderson Horrel. Welcome, Ruth.
Guy:I just realized, did I pronounce your last name correct?
Ruth:Yeah, that’s good. Yeah.
Guy:Okay. I always get confused slightly on that. You’re not the first guest, either. I have no doubt they’ll be two parties listening in on this podcast today. That’s going to be one that’s going to know [inaudible 00:02:55] is, and who you are and Crossfit fanatics, and then I think a big portion of our listeners, as well. They will have heard of Crossfit, but are not going to have any idea. I think hopefully we can, between us all, please both parties today. That’s our intention, anyway, and tap into some of your experience over the years, which we’re excited about.
Just to start and get the ball rolling, as always on our podcasts, can you just mind sharing a little bit about what you do, including Crossfit and outside of Crossfit as well? I know there’s a lot more to you than just going to Crossfit every day and training your heart out, really, isn’t it?
Ruth:Yeah, yeah. Well, that’s a big part of it. It’s a pretty big goal for the last few years has been competing at the Crossfit games and doing well there. In the meantime, on the Crossfit journey, I ended up opening a Crossfit gym about 5 years ago also. That’s been steadily growing and keeping us busy. That’s been a whole new experience for me, just learning how to run [00:04:00] that business. I also run a website, ruthless.co.nz, where we sell Crossfit equipment and accessories and things. That’s normally a few hours of my day, as well. Then I’m a small animal veterinarian and I’ve been doing that for 2 days a week for the last … I’ve been fairly part time, actually with it, probably for the last 3-4 years, so that I can focus on my training. Yeah.
Guy:Many balls in the air.
Guy:Can you share with the listeners where you are, as well? It’s a part of the world that I really want to go to.
Ruth:Yeah, yeah. It would be a bit of a temperature drop for you guys. I’m in Invercargill, which is right on the south coast of the South Island in New Zealand. We were the southern-most affiliate. I haven’t actually done a check lately, but we’re pretty south as far as Crossfit gyms and population, generally, I guess.
Guy:Yeah, yeah, yeah. What’s the weather like there now. Is it all right? Not too cold?
Ruth:Well yeah, it’s our summer, but we’re sitting early 20s today. At most over the summer, we’ll hit 30 degrees probably only a few times. It’s not a huge variation.
Stu:Comfortable. That’s what I like, cool and comfortable, doesn’t keep you awake at nights like last night.
Ruth:No, definitely not. No, no. No trouble sleeping. The room’s always fairly cool.
Stu:Good. Good on you. For our audience that are not Crossfit savvy, and for anybody else who really doesn’t entirely understand what Crossfit is, I wondered if you could just explain? Give us your elevator pitch. What is Crossfit?
Ruth:As Greg Glassman always says, [00:06:00] “I’ll show you. Come and have a go.”
Guy:I’ve never been there, but you’ve explained it.
Ruth:It is a really tough question. It’s actually funny. We were sitting around at the Queenstown Crossfit Tour and there was a bunch of all these elite athletes at a table. The waiter came around and said, “So what is Crossfit?” Everyone looked at each other. It was like, “Who’s going to answer it?” You’ve got people that have literally based their life around it and still have trouble explaining well how it works.
It’s a strengthening conditioning program. It’s constantly varied, so people that train Crossfit style, every day they go into the gym, they’ll be able to try new things that there will be either a variation of movement, variation of weights, variation of complexity, and a variation of time that they’re going to work out. A huge range of energy systems get used because it scopes literally from workouts that can take seconds to workouts that can take probably around an hour or so. There’s a few that go a bit longer.
For me, it’s a sport. For most people, it’s a way of just maintaining health and fitness. For me, it’s become a sport and it creates a slightly different level, I guess, a different level of complexity in terms of movements and weights and everything else.
Ruth:It’s different. The movements are very much preparing people for everyday life. That’s probably the thing I love most about it. I’m training an older lady at the moment who’s preparing to walk one of the big, there’s [00:08:00] lots of beautiful walks in New Zealand, and she’s 65 and she’s preparing to walk a trek that’s about 60 kilometers with a pick. We know that we can get her ready for that.
Guy:What is the diversity of people that you train, then? I think with Crossfit, if you’re on the outside looking in, it’s very easy to say, “Oh, that’s an elitist thing,” because the guys are generally pro videos, the guys that are really good at it. You don’t see the other side of it.
Ruth:Yeah, for sure. In our gym, the oldest person is actually my dad and he’s about to turn 70, but there would be no reason we couldn’t have older people. That’s just as old as we currently go. In terms of the youngest, well, we’ve got Crossfit kids and teens at our gym, so those kids are learning body weight movements and things from age 6. There’s a pretty huge range there, and then of course you get that huge range in how much sport people have previously done and also just what they do in their everyday life. We have people that have relatively sedentary jobs and in our box we also have a lot of people that are laborers or mechanics, builders, gardeners, that do a lot of physical work. It’s important for them to either reverse some of those effects of some of the quite repetitive movements that they’re doing and address some of the mobility problems and things that may come from that, and also just so they can be stronger and reduce the chance of getting injured while they’re lifting heavy objects and things they do at work.
Guy:Yeah. I’d imagine you’ve seen quite a few transformations all the time, as well, with people coming in [00:10:00] and following the protocol all the way through and seeing how that impacts their lives.
Ruth:Yeah. It’s really cool when people that they haven’t done a lot of exercise before, they’re the most scared. They’re the most apprehensive at walking in the door, but in many ways, they’re the most exciting people to train because you’ve got a little bit of a blank canvas and you know you can really make a difference by coaching these people in movement and having a better way of life.
Guy:I’d just say anyone listening to this who hasn’t tried Crossfit, they should put it on their bucket list and at least walk into a box and try it once and see what all the fuss is about. I recommend you.
Ruth:Yeah, absolutely. I think …
Stu:I’m thinking about just common issues, Ruth, as well. If I’m new to Crossfit, I’m going in, what do you typically see from people that walk into your box, because we’ve experienced it ourselves, Guy and myself, and we were voracious when we started. We probably hit it a little bit too hard, personally. What are commonalities that you see with the newbies?
Ruth:Yeah, I guess that wanting to have the more advanced movements before having the basic elements.
Ruth:That’s cool. You’ve got to have a goal and a dream. I know when I first discovered Crossfit, there was much less on the internet about it than there is now, but I remember seeing videos of people doing … Girls were the biggest thing, not guys, of seeing women do things like muscle ups and lift weights over their heads and things like that. That was what inspired me to get started with it. I didn’t have a box to walk in the door of, but [00:12:00] that’s what inspired me to get started. You know that people need to have those dreams, but just not paying attention to the basic movements first before, “But can I get up and just hit it a go? I just want to jump in those rings and I just want to do this and that and swing around.” They’re just not quite grasping some of the complexity and the amount of elements that needs to be tied in.
That’s just the learning process. A lot of that is our job as coaches, to help people see, “Well, okay. Well, there’s some deficiencies here and here, and if we work on those parts, then we’re going to get this mastered.” Then I guess just not paying any attention to their own recovery or mobility. I’d probably put those 2 together. Just trying to get in the gym right when class starts and get straight into the workout and just not paying any attention to some of the things that they need to do to get their body well-prepped. We coach people into generally trying to come 15-20 minutes before class. We still run a warm-up, but we want people to work on their own specific things that they need to address.
I know for myself, I took way too long to start addressing my problems with my thoracic mobility, and basically because I just didn’t know any better and I didn’t have anyone to tell me any more than that. It ended up that I ended up having an injury when I was competing. I had slipped a disc at T-5, which is quite an unusual injury. That forced me to address it, but that’s neither something that you would want to happen to an athlete that’s coming into, for a strengthening conditioning program. They need to be aware of where those deficiencies are [00:14:00] and what they need to do to resolve them.
Stu:Great. One of the take homes for me, from being a Crossfitter for a couple of years, was just the importance of my mobility and flexibility. That’s something that I do every day as well now. Just the realization that we really do need to get moving and stretch these muscles and open up the joints … Every day from sitting at a desk, I go over and I’ll go into a squat and just sit there for 5 minutes, roll my shoulders and just get, open myself up and just try and get in a few positions that ordinarily, most people would just never even conceive of wanting to try. It makes me feel so much more alive and open. Great lessons in there.
Ruth:I think range of motion has a huge impact just on our quality of life and when you see older people that just haven’t been able to maintain activity, just how quickly range of motion gets lost, and then strength goes with it. Yeah, that’s definitely … I’m still learning about range of motion and how things can be improved, really.
Guy:How long have you been involved in Crossfit, just out of curiosity, Ruth?
Ruth:I think about 8-1/2 years.
Guy:Right, and you’ve been in Invercargill that whole time? What made me think, is because you opened a box there 5 years ago. What were you doing before the box came?
Ruth:Yeah, we just started out. My brother-in-law was living down here at the time and he had been living in Melbourne. Someone had just showed it to him. I’m not even sure if he’d done a workout with these people. Some people just showed him the Crossfit.com website and he came back. He was taking me through some personal training. We were just doing some strengthening so I could [00:16:00] compete at a triathlon that I wanted to do. Yeah, we just decided to start following some workouts on Crossfit.com and things got wild pretty quickly. Within 4 months, I went out to the first-ever regionals, which was in …
Ruth:Yeah. Yeah. Is that eight years?
Guy:It’d be a while back, because I had a friend that competed in it.
Guy:Long time ago.
Ruth:Yeah, I went out to CFX there and that was just when you could roll up to regionals.
Ruth:[crosstalk 00:16:57] since you had no idea what. We didn’t even really know what all the movements of Crossfit were at that stage. I was like, “Oh, okay. Clean and jerk. All right.” The judge is out back with each person, showing them all the movements that they’re going to need to do, a bit like a level 1.
Stu:That’s a radical change from any training that you would have been doing at the time, as a triathlete, as well, to then suddenly go into these wild and wacky Olympic lifts and technical movements. Wow. How did that work out?
Ruth:I did miss one of the workouts at the competition because I couldn’t do a ring dip, but I think I had captain pull ups by then, had no idea what a butterfly pull up was at that stage. We actually had a sand dune run, so I did really well on that and I think there was another workout I did quite well in. It was okay, but I know I did miss on 1 of the workouts, not being able to do a ring dip. I just couldn’t believe that there were girls there that could do ring dips. I was like, “Oh, my goodness.” The rings was totally, was not even something that I had, wasn’t a piece of equipment that we even had. We were playing. We didn’t even have a kettlebell, actually. We were swinging a dumbbell.
Ruth:We did okay, probably as you would expect, but it really was an inspiring moment for me to realize the level that some of the athletes were at and that in some ways, I could see that I could be there.
Guy:That’s amazing, because Crossfit’s come such a long way. Like, when you look at the caliber of athlete today that you compete against, if anyone seemed again to walk into a regional games, it’s well and gone in Australia. Go and check it out for an hour. It’s phenomenal, the standard of athlete today. How many were competing at the time back then? Was it …
Ruth:I’m going to say there might have been about 30-40 women, and probably the same for the men.
Ruth:Yeah, so I imagine it was just advertised on the Crossfit.com website. Just clicked the link and registered, and all the sudden, I flew to Sydney and had a go.
Ruth:I’ve been really fortunate, to be able to grow with the sport, I guess.
Guy:You have, yeah, fully. Absolutely. Move on to the next question, when you’ve talked, because we’re still on the topic of training, how do you, I’m always curious to ask athletes this, walk the fine line between optimum training and over-training?
Ruth:Yeah. I’ve definitely crossed the line before, so I know what that feels like. I’ve had to be aware of how to modify. I had quite a big hand surgery this time last year and I have had a few injuries along the way, so I’ve had to be aware of how to be patient with those and modify things as needed. I know my body. Generally, if I’m over-doing [00:20:00] it, I generally wake up very early in the morning. I never have too much trouble getting to sleep, but I have a little bit of trouble staying asleep. That’s normally the warning sign for me, if I’m not able to maintain my regular sleep pattern. There’s normally something amiss, because generally that won’t happen. As soon as something like that, if I become aware of that, then I’ll normally start throwing in some more rest days, beyond what my regular rest days are.
Ruth:I guess it’s a difficult thing. I feel like you probably need to cross the line to know exactly where it is, in some ways. You probably need to make a couple of errors to work it out.
Guy:Along the way, you learn from it. Yeah. You intuitively get in-tuned in. Maybe you should explain to everyone listening to this, as well, what a typical day of training might look like for you. We know coming into the season of Crossfit … You’ll be competing for the regionals, Auckland regionals this year, Ruth?
Guy:Yeah. Some of the listeners might not know, you picked up an injury last year leading into the, was it the open or the regionals itself?
Ruth:Yeah, yeah, we were about 3 weeks out from the start of the open and my tendon on my thumb snapped. It was a little bit of, “Maybe I just don’t have the surgery and have a floppy thumb,” and then I decided I needed to get it done. That was a tricky decision because I’d obviously worked my butt off to come back and give it to Carson and go back to the Crossfit games and have a good shot. I felt like everything was falling well into place, so it was one of those stumbling blocks.
Guy:[00:22:00] Yeah, but a year comes around quickly. Here it is again, right?
Ruth:Yeah, yeah. Sorry, what was your question again?
Guy:We were talking about the fine line of over-training and recovery.
Guy:Now we get into the season, just to give listeners an idea, what would your typical training day or week look like?
Ruth:At the moment, I’m generally doing 3 days on, 1 off. That varies a little bit throughout the year, but that’s currently what I’m sticking with. Today, for example, I’ve been in the gym and I’ve done a couple of hours of gymnastics training, working position, a very small amount of what I would consider conditioning, but for the most part, just working position and some of the movements that I find more challenging. I quite like to start my day with more technical elements like that, but I have a little bit of variation. Sometimes I will lift in the morning. Generally, I’ll try and get in at least an hour. It will depend on my coaching schedule, but at least an hour, possibly 2 before lunch and then in the afternoon, I will generally start an afternoon session with a good 90 minutes or so of lifting and then I’ll have a little break and then I’ll start having my conditioning.
[inaudible 00:23:25], so what people would commonly get if they go in for a class, and then I often end a session with some interval-style training. Yeah, that’s about it. It’s a bit broken up into little blocks, 60-90 minutes at a time, and give myself a bit of a break. The break might include getting in a personal training session with someone or getting some of my other business work done and then coming back to [00:24:00] training. I find it pretty hard to just hit a 3-hour block or something, of training. There has been times I’ve had to do it because of my schedule.
Guy:It’s a huge commitment, isn’t it?
Stu:3 days on, 1 day off, so that 1 day that is going to be really, really important for you to rest and recover. I’m interested in the strategies. Are there any? What does a Crossfit champ do on the recovery day to absolutely maximize that day for everything?
Ruth:I need to do a lot of mobility work, so I try and get in, it will be an hour, and I try and do more if I can. Some of that, for me, it needs to include a bit of activation-type work as well, just to get my shoulders moving as best as they can and glute activation and making sure my hips are as mobile as possible. For me, that’s been important. Number 1, I’ll be 32 this year. I guess in the life of Crossfit athletes, it’s creeping up there at the end of staying at world-level competition. It’s just something I just have to make sure I’m really on top of the mobility side.
I used to do a bit more of things like having a jog, like doing a long run in the bush and things like that. I don’t do that every … I consider that more of a workout now. I try and have my rest days as being a bit more rest days. It will depend on my state of mind, I guess, as to whether I want to throw in some skill work at the same time, as well. If there’s something that is just technically challenging and not going to be over-fatiguing, [00:26:00] I might do that, as well. If I just feel like I’ve been at the gym so much over those last few days and would prefer to have a break, then I won’t.
Guy:How many hours sleep do you get a night, Ruth, normally?
Ruth:My target’s 9.
Guy:There you are. Okay. Yeah. A good night’s sleep, right? I like it.
Ruth:Yeah, yeah. I probably hit 8 most of the time and try to get another 30 minutes in the afternoon. I love getting an afternoon nap. It just makes training in the afternoon go better and just feel so good. That’s my favorite thing, but just, life doesn’t always allow it.
Stu:That recovery day is wildly different to anything that I thought you were going to say. I imagined that you were going to say, “I’m going to sleep in, have a coffee, go down to the local video store, get my favorite movie, sit back on the lounge with my dog, and just veg out.” I didn’t expect to hear that …
Ruth:I wish. I wish, but no, I’ve got to run the businesses and do all those other things, so I probably have a bit more catch-up and try to get on top of the world as much as I can, emails and all that kind of stuff, have a real tidy-up so that it allows me more time on the training days.
Ruth:Yeah, yeah. I don’t … I’m not big on lying around too much. I like to get out of the house, mow my lawns, and I like to keep moving. Yeah. As you see, get in squat position and stuff while I’m weeding my garden.
Stu:I’ll write you a recovery program, Ruth, and see how that goes down for you: lots of movies and stuff like that. Guy touched on sleep there, as well, which obviously is critical for everybody, even more critical when you’re an elite athlete. Have you got any tips or tricks that have worked for you? Do you do anything in particular to get that solid sleep working for you?
Ruth:[00:28:00] Yeah. I don’t like bright light. I know I’ve stayed at some other people’s homes and I’ve found if their living rooms and things are really lit up, I find that quite buzzy. I just think they interfere.
Ruth:I try not to spend too much time watching TV or anything late at night. My room is really dark. I live right at the end of the street and there’s no street lights that affect my room. I’ve got proper blackout curtains and things. I typically don’t have any trouble. It’s cool, I should mention, but that’s just, that’s without air conditioning. It’s just the temperature is cool.
Stu:I could have done with that last night.
Ruth:It’s pretty good. I always take magnesium in the night time, and the amount will depend on if I’ve had a massive training day or have some with my dinner and some again just before I go to bed.
Stu:Any particular type of magnesium that works for you?
Ruth:I think it’s called diglycinate?
Ruth:Yeah. Is that right? It’s a powder drink that I make up. I find that fantastic.
Stu:Right. Got it.
Ruth:I just notice it, if I’ve missed it for a few days. I just feel like I’m missing it. It’s been a supplement I’ve taken for a long time.
Guy:I’m interested, as well. You’re going to be pretty switched on with the nutrition. I know we’re going to get into that topic a bit later, but in terms of recovery, have you ever deviated from the way you eat, and how did that go on and affected your recovery? Have there been any kind of correlations that you’ve seen at that end?
Ruth:Yeah. I’ve had things like I’ve trained, a workout’s taken way longer than I expected. [00:30:00] I’ve literally got 10 minutes and I need to run a class, so I’m having a shower and then starting class. I totally skip having any post-workout nutrition. I’ve generally been more sore for that the next day.
Ruth:I know that I need to get some carbohydrate and protein in after I train, and it does seem to be quite a difference if I haven’t got it in within 30 minutes of training. The next day’s always going to be tougher. Definitely just, life’s got in the way and I haven’t done things as I would have liked. I’ve known the difference for that.
Guy:Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, fantastic. Excellent. Now, do you have … I’m assuming you have coaches, as well, guiding you to the games. I’ve also noticed that you’ve gone to America for the last few times that you’ve competed prior to the games, as well.
Guy:Why do you go to America, first of all? Yeah, beforehand.
Ruth:In our town, there wasn’t Crossfit. My first introduction to some high-class, quality coaches was when I met Dusty Holland at the gymnastics [cert 00:31:19] at the [Schwartz 00:31:23] Gym in Melbourne, about 4 years ago, I think. Met him and we became really good friends and I traveled out to him. I think I’ve had 6 trips out now to the states to spend good blocks of time with him. They also gave me an opportunity to train with some amazing athletes like [Sam Bricks 00:31:48] and Lindsay [Vellanzuella 00:31:51], [Tina Lee Brixton 00:31:52], some really, really amazing athletes out there. Initially, my gymnastics was my largest weakness [00:32:00] in my range of movements, so it seems like the perfect match. Dusty’s continued to program for me for a number of years now. We don’t chat as much as we would like to at the moment because we’re both really busy people, but he definitely helps guide me to making sure I’m working on some of the new movements that are coming into the sport and just continuing to develop my virtuosity in the more basic elements, as well.
I’ve also had a weightlifting coach here in Invercargill for a number of years, which has been fantastic, Joe [Stinsy 00:32:43]. He’s actually one of the New Zealand coaches now, as well. We traveled to Papua New Guinea and competed at the Oceaneas last year, did there as well.
Guy:Yeah, because I was going to ask, it requires so much discipline, what you’re doing leading up into the open and competing, so do you have a coach at every training session with you, or is a lot of it self disciplined, that you’re just literally just turning up and training, because it’s hard to ask. Some people, it’s hard to do a bit of exercising in a day, just to motivate themselves, let alone at that end.
Ruth:Yeah, yeah. I have some days where it is totally no one else at the gym, so they’re probably the more challenging days. I find even just having someone else there, whoever it might be, is just useful. In recent months, I’ve actually been grabbing some of the guys and saying, “Hey, I’ve got to do these 6Ks or row sprints. Do you want to join me on it,” things like that and just fun.
Guy:Do you get any takers?
Ruth:Yeah, I do. Yeah. I choose things that I like, totally, and they will help. They’re like, “Yeah, yeah. Okay. Take you on at that.” I’ve also had a bit of [00:34:00] the athletes partnering up and taking me on at a workout. They’re doing it as a partner would, thing like that. We try and find ways, but for the most part, no, I don’t have a coach hanging with me in the gym each day. That definitely has its down sides, but some part of me likes being at the bottom of the earth and away from too much hype. Probably one of the harder things of training at Dog Town with Dusty was, cameras would be showing up every second day and different people wanting to take videos and pictures and just a lot more people, just a lot more going on.
In some ways, it gives me a little bit more focus. I do a lot of, what’s the word, visualizing, so even in my sessions this morning, which probably weren’t the type of things you would expect to see at a competition that were quite skill-based things, before the clock starts, I still am imagining I’m either on the games floor or I’m standing up there at regionals. I try and put myself in that mental space.
Stu:Do you use your visualization for stuff outside of Crossfit, as well, everyday life? I know that I always visualize the rock star car parking space when I’m out and about and I need to pull in somewhere, and 9 out of 10 times, I get it. It’s true.
Ruth:I have to think about that. I don’t know if I do as much.
Guy:You should try it. Stu recommends it. I do well at it because I’ve got a motorbike.
Ruth:I’m really good at parking anyway. No, I don’t know. I’ll have to think about that. I might subconsciously do it.
Stu:I reckon [00:36:00] that there’s merit in that stuff. I do, just all of that stuff. I’m just really into, “I’m thinking it, I’m seeing it, and I’m going to make it happen.
Guy:Yeah. It’s interesting what you said, Ruth. It made me think of a podcast I listen to with [Dorian Yates 00:36:18]. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Dorian Yates, but he was the bodybuilding world champion in the 90s. I think he won 7 titles and incredible. They used to call him The Shadow because he always used to stay out of the glitz and glamour of LA and the limelight. He had a little gym in Birmingham and nobody knew what he was up to. He said he used to use it to his advantage, so he would train, he would visualize going to all these great competitions where everyone else was seeing actually what they were doing and competing and judging themselves. He just stayed away from the whole thing and then would turn up when it was time for Mr. Universe and just blow them out of the water, you know?
Ruth:Sometimes, if you’re competing against another athlete and you’re actually, if you’re beating them by a lot, or say if you’re training with them and you’re beating them by a lot, you can think that you’re doing quite well and back off. Whereas if you’re visualizing someone that’s better than you or just beating you, then that’s, I see that as an advantage. I’m not going to lie. There’s definitely days when you’re all alone in the gym and you just think, “Gosh, this is a tough ask.”
Stu:It is tricky. I know that training on your own versus training with a crowd versus training with a crowd of elites, there is that impetus to absolutely excel and put on your best show. There are days when I go down and lift a few weights in the gym and I think, “Well, I’ve had enough. Nobody’s around. Nobody knows.”
Ruth:[00:38:00] I have probably ruined myself a little bit, training against some other athletes. I had a bit of a shoulder niggle, but I was still trying to do the workouts, because the other athletes were doing those, and they weren’t things I should have been doing, if I was just sticking to what was going to be good for me. I probably wouldn’t have done them. That’s probably one of the disadvantages, that you get a little bit hyped up in the moment and you want to do exactly what everyone else is doing, and that’s not always the right thing to do.
Stu:Yeah. Completely. Next time you’re in Sydney, you come train with me and I guarantee that won’t happen.
Ruth:I’d like to see that.
Stu:You’re wandering down the street in Invercargill and you bump into a 20-year-old version of yourself. Obviously, you’ve got 10 years of experience, all this wonderful knowledge that you’ve gleaned from everything that you’ve done. What advice would you give the 20-year-old version of yourself, if that person had just started Crossfit and wanted to be the best?
Ruth:This might just be the 20-year-old version of me, and not every other 20-year-old, but for me it would be spending more time mastering body weight movements with a fantastic coach that knows exactly how to do it, having a coach that was really well-versed in gymnastic movements. I think in gymnastics, there’s much more understanding, or in gymnastics coaching, there’s so much more understanding of the importance of getting correct range of motion. In my first year of Crossfit, I went down to the … We have a great gymnastics gym in this little [00:40:00] town. I went down there and this guy was … I wanted to do muscle ups and he was showing me how to walk across the parallel bars. I was just like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. I can do that.” I would quickly do it to be like, “Yeah, I can do that. I want to do this,” and just not understanding just exactly the movements that my body needed to be doing to do those elements well and the importance of them.
Because I didn’t have those correct, one of the regionals I went to, it was 2010, I came back with a bad sprain in my shoulder, which was probably from doing muscle ups, which was probably from not moving correctly. For me, in the sport, it would definitely be mastering some of those elements and also playing. Do other sport, as well. I probably stopped doing other team sports and things by the time I was 20, I think, and I think playing some other sports is really good for you.
Stu:It’s solid advice, and it works for you, as well, Guy. I know that Guy has really embraced Zumba, and that’s 1 of those things. He’s quit good at table tennis, too.
Guy:Yeah, I mastered it. Mastered it.
Stu:Follow the advice, Guy. Follow the advice. We’re not getting any younger.
Guy:I actually had a profound question and then you’ve just taken this right out of my head.
Stu:My mum told me once that, if you forget it, it’s either it’s a lie, or it’s not worth asking.
Guy:It’s not worth it, yeah. Is Crossfit season on for you now, Ruth?
Ruth:Like, do I have an off-season?
Ruth:[00:42:00] I guess my off-season this year was 3 months in a cast, so yes. No, I do a little bit. My program’s a little bit period-ized, I guess. The conditioning goes right down. I do more strength-based and technical-based movement and then I bring it back up. That works quite well because it’s not nice to get out and run in the middle of winter here. It probably just gives me a little bit of a mental break from doing lots of high-intensity stuff. I have that little bit. I think probably after the Crossfit games this year, I would probably look to take 1-2 months off, but yeah. This last year was a bit of a … It was a little bit different.
Stu:All over the place.
Guy:Just out of curiosity, how long is it until the open starts? Is that far away?
Ruth:It starts February 28.
Guy:Okay. 4-5 weeks?
Stu:yeah, about 5 weeks away.
Stu:I’d really like to delve in a little bit now, Ruth, just on nutrition.
Stu:Again, a big part of who you are. Without it, I don’t think you’d be able to do half of what you do, if you’re not eating the right way. What right now does your typical daily diet look like?
Ruth:I describe my diet as paleo. I guess the things that would be different from what people would consider paleo is that I’m okay with a bit of rice and I use a bit of Greek yogurt or kefir. For the most part, there’s a lot of vegetables and a good amount [00:44:00] of, I’m a big fan of lamb. We have awesome lamb in this country and seafoods, so plenty of that. I also am pretty in charge of my macro nutrients. I actually had a really great mentor, Brad Stark, who’s at Stark Training, which is out in Orange County. I’ve been working with him for a couple of years and he has just made the world of difference to the way that my body performs. He’s helped me work out, just in brief, is that I prefer to have quite a lot of fats with some proteins for the first part of the day and then we really delve into more carbohydrates with the protein towards the end of the day. It’s a little bit more calculated than that, but that’s probably for the most part, how it works.
If I have too much carbohydrate in the morning, I tend to crash out. I don’t do very well with fruit at all, so I don’t tend to eat it. I have a little bit of berries in smoothies and that’s as far as my fruit intake goes. I’m just not a real big fruit eater. It just doesn’t do well for me. I would literally, if I hit some fruit and then an hour later did a workout, I would be, my head would be spinning and I would just have this real crashing thing going on. Yeah, we played around a bit with that.
Guy:Can I add to that?
Ruth:I love fresh vegetables.
Guy:Yeah. Just for our listeners, what carbs would you generally eat, and what carbs would you generally avoid?
Ruth:Yeah. My carbohydrate is mostly [00:46:00] rice or sweet potato.
Ruth:I have a little bit of white [inaudible 00:46:04] every now and then. I’m not too worried about that. I have worked out that gluten is horrible for me. I’ll occasionally have some gluten-free wraps and some other grain-based products that aren’t full of gluten. I’m okay with those, but I actually still, I never feel like it would get the same good muscle recovery that I get from having sweet potato post-workout. I’m okay with them for a treat, but I don’t treat them as great post-workout carb.
Guy:Yeah. Have you ever counted the amount of grams of carbohydrate you eat in a day, just out of curiosity, or not?
Ruth:It’s only about 180.
Guy:That’s a good number.
Stu:Yeah, that is a good number.
Guy:Yeah, no. I only ask because obviously, your workload is massive, right?
Guy:A lot of people would be eating twice that amount of carbohydrates with 1/10 the amount of work you’re doing on a manageable, on a daily basis.
Ruth:Yeah. I know I’ve had some different nutritionists and things have a look at what I’m eating, and say, “No, that’s wrong. You need more carbohydrate.” I’ve just been there. We’ve tried it. It just doesn’t work.
Stu:That’s right. You’re your best judge, I think, of that just by how you feel and perform, based upon your feeling.
Guy:I remember when we, we actually showed you, a post of yours, Ruth. I don’t know if you remember a couple of years back, a dietitian came in there and just said, “You shouldn’t be pushing this content out to people because it’s just so wrong.”
Guy:There’s a great thread of conversation going on there and [00:48:00] it’s like, the proof’s in the pudding. You walk and you talk.
Ruth:That’s interesting. Things that people say, or that, “you’re not getting enough fiber.” I’m eating 7 cups of vegetables a day. I’ve never had a problem and felt like I needed more fiber. Just unusual things that you just realize, it’s almost textbook stuff, and it’s like, what’s the point in having this textbook knowledge? You’ve got to actually have a go at … You eat the paleo diet and see if you don’t have enough fiber, because I just, I’ve never had anyone that I’ve coached in my gym get on the paleo diet and come back and say, “Man, no. My body just hated me because it was not enough fiber in my diet.”
Ruth:Just not something that happens.
Guy:Another question, because we did a talk the other week, a workshop in Wollongong, and the biggest hurdle we felt from talking to them is preparation. People love the idea of changing their diet, becoming more tuned-in, and being able to do it, but the reality is, more from what we see, is that people don’t prepare. Then they get caught up and they get all sorted and they don’t change their eating habits. Any tips? How do you do it?
Ruth:I’m a little bit of a, when I cook meat, I generally get the crockpot out. If I know I’m going to be home late, I’ll often have something already cooked in terms of the meat department, or I’ll cook a lot of bigger cuts of meat like roasts and things like that. There’s always some form of protein ready to go in the fridge.
Ruth:Then, I eat quite a lot of [00:50:00] salads like cabbage and kale and vegetables that don’t take very much to prepare. If I know I’m going to be, if I’m just crazy busy or grabbing something on the run, I’ll even buy just the pre-cut vegetables, the stuff that’s already sliced up and put in bags. I try not to do that. I try and just avoid plastic generally, but I think you’re better to do that than skipping the veggies all together. What else do I do?
Probably lunch is the time or mid-afternoon, where people fall down because they haven’t been prepared with lunch. I’m pretty fortunate because most of the time, I live a few blocks from the gym, so most of the days I come home and quickly prepare something. When I haven’t been enjoying that, I’ll either when I cook dinner, I will put enough aside for heat up leftovers the next day, or I will, as I’m preparing my breakfast, I will quickly prepare some lunch at the same time. I feel like, if you’ve got some kind of protein that works for you, whether it’s boiled eggs or whatever it might be, if it’s ready to go and you’ve always got a steady supply of just something ready in the fridge, then I think it just takes away your temptation. I don’t really get those temptations, but I’m just thinking about the athletes that I coach.
Stu:Yeah, it’s just easier, isn’t it?
Ruth:The temptation of … Yeah, it’s got to be easy. What you’re trying to do, you need to make it easier than going through the McDonald’s drive-through or whatever is your temptation.
Stu:Yes. Definitely. Does your nutrition change at all during competition, or is you just ramp it up even a bit more? Do you do anything any differently?
Ruth:[00:52:00] I do probably a bit more shakes then. If there’s a lot of workouts throughout the day, it’s hard for me to have as much vegetables as I would like, because I just can’t digest that quickly. I’ll just do more shakes.
Ruth:Yeah, that’s generally the main difference. Probably it works out, a bit more calories because there’s a few more post-workout meals.
Guy:We might be biased, but we love encouraging the shakes and things.
Guy:It’s true, though. It’s true.
Stu:From a supplemental perspective, then, what supplements do you use? What and why? Obviously, you’re putting your body through heavy load, day after day after day. What are your favorites?
Ruth:Fish oil’s been here for a long time. I always take some of that. The turmeric capsules, I’ve been on. I’ve been on for a shorter while, been on those, just to help with my healing of my wrist surgery. I have a few amino acids that I take, and that’s based on the supplement protocol that Stark Training has guided me …
Guy:That’s individualize for you?
Ruth:Yeah. yeah, so it’s things like glycine and tuarine, things that are quite good to calm me down after I’ve trained and try and bring everything back to normal as quickly as possible.
Guy:Interesting, yeah. Magnesium as well, you were saying earlier.
Ruth:Magnesium, yeah. That’s about it. I haven’t got a cabinet full of supplements. I’m pretty big on vegetables as the answer.
Stu:That’s [00:54:00] right. Real food. Yeah.
Ruth:[crosstalk 00:54:07] The vegan protein, at the moment.
Guy:Okay, yeah. It’s interesting. We have conversations with people and they may never have heard of 180 before, and they’re like, “Oh, I’m sorry. I don’t take supplements.” I’m like, “Well, you’re our perfect customer, then.”
Guy:We don’t look at it as a supplement at all.
Ruth:Yeah, it’s totally how I feel. I just consider it another form of real food.
Guy:Yeah, fantastic. That’s great advice. What foods do you go out of your way to avoid?
Ruth:Anything with gluten. Cheese is bad; it just work well with me at all. Generally, a little bit of dairy, I seem to cope with, but I definitely wouldn’t go and buy a milkshake or have a large amount. As I said, yogurt seems to be okay. When I’m getting a bit more savvy with things like … I used to be like, If I order the chicken salad, for example, you think you’re going to get chicken and salad, but then you get this big sticky, weird oily sauce that they put on it and it’s really sweet or whatever. I’m getting a bit more savvy with just asking whether there’s a dressing and if there is, either having it left to the side so I can decide whether it’s safe enough to eat. If it’s going to be an olive oil dressing, that’s probably okay with me. Probably the biggest thing is keeping it gluten free because I had some pretty wild reactions to … I went to a wedding and had a cake a few months back and just had a terrible reaction to that. Just becoming a [00:56:00] bit more aware of …
Stu:That’s it. That’s really the main thing, as well, just being aware of that kind of stuff just switches on a light bulb when you are out and about, like you said. If you’re going to order a salad, I would guess there’s going to be a dressing there. Who knows what’s in that dressing. It may suit some people. It may not, but just be aware of it. We chatted, too, with [Chad McKay 00:56:28] a while back and talking to him about nutrition and stuff like that. He told us that after the regionals were over and he’d done the best that he could do, he has this cheat meal. I think it was a whole pizza and a whole tub of ice cream, something like that. That’s just my off switch. I’m done, I’m dusted, smash this meal down and get on. Do you have anything like that? Do you go nuts to zone out of everything with a cheat meal, or are you just clean all year round?
Ruth:I get this question a lot, and I always feel like I’m a little bit boring. I’m not really big on big desserts and things. I know after the Crossfit games, I’ve done some big donuts and things. I probably did it more for the novelty of it than the pure enjoyment. It literally felt like I was just eating solid sugar. I just found it a bit too much. Do you know cassava crisps?
Ruth:yeah, I put those in my mouth and it’s like they dissolve on my tongue and then I have to have another one. They’re probably something that … If someone had some of those, I’m like, “Oh, no, don’t bring those near me,” because it’s literally like I have one and then just [00:58:00] immediately want to have another one. That’s probably the one food I can think of that I know is not good for me, but my body still wants to eat it.
Stu:It’s funny. It’s hardwired somewhere in there, isn’t it. I don’t get to New Zealand very often, but I used to live there. We lived there for 5 years and I stumbled upon … This was pre-my healthy days and pre-180, and stuff like that. I stumbled upon this chocolate chip cookie by a brand called Cookie Time, and they were huge. They’re huge. Every now and again, when I do end up in the country, I’ll head over to a New World and I just head for the Cookie Time aisle. [crosstalk 00:58:52] these things, and it’s like something is programming. Something is guiding me around. I’m on automatic pilot and I get this Cookie Time thing. I only need the one.
Guy:I need to get that shot in Instagram for everyone.
Stu:Cookie Time, it’s like the biggest chocolate chip cookie you could ever have.
Ruth:Yeah, they’re like this big.
Stu:Oh, they’re huge.
Ruth:At least. People are like, you buy them. You can get them heated and stuff, as well, so all the chocolate’s all gooey and things, as well.
Stu:Yeah, I had a friend who used to put them in the microwave for 10 seconds.
Ruth:Yeah, yeah. Now, to me, probably I know that having the gluten and the sugar and stuff, that within a very short time, I’m going to feel very unwell from having it, so I just don’t have the same urge for it. If you showed up to my gym and you had some gluten free, very similar paleo-style cookies, I’d probably be pretty tempted because I know that I wasn’t going to be …
Stu:Got it. We’ll work on something for our recipe section on [01:00:00] the website. I reckon we’ve got a good base there already. We’ll see what we can do for you.
Ruth:Okay, sounds good.
Guy:That’s going to be awesome. Now, Ruth, I see the time’s getting on. We have a couple of wrap-up questions. We’ve actually asked one, which is “What did you eat?” Yeah, we’ve asked that.
Guy:What’s the single best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Ruth:My dad always says to me, “Never say, ‘can’t.’” Whenever I have someone in my gym now that tells me that they can’t, it makes me cringe. The word just makes me cringe and it is such a negative thought to ever think that you can’t do something. You may not be able to yet, or whatever it is, but if you decide you can’t, it’s like …
Guy:You’re already there.
Ruth:You’re already there.
Stu:That’s right. You’ve already switched off. No, that’s good advice. Wise words.
Stu:That’s what we could say.
Guy:For anyone listening to this, if they want to get a bit more of Ruth Anderson Horrell, where is the best place to go?
Ruth:I’m pretty consistent on Instagram, ruthlessnz, and I have a Facebook page, Ruth Anderson Horrell. That’s pretty much it.
Guy:You’ve got a website, too?
Ruth:Yeah, they can pop onto the website, ruthless.co.nz.
Guy:Awesome. We’ll link to the show notes, anyway, when this goes out and that was awesome. I have no doubt everyone listening to this today, Ruth, thoroughly enjoyed that. Ruth, thanks for coming on and thanks for your time. I really appreciate it.
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: Make no mistake, the importance of gut health is becoming more paramount than ever and it’s something I believe should not be ignored. So who better to ask than a board-certified neurologist who truly understands the gut, brain and health connection!
Our fantastic guest today is Dr David Perlmutter. He is here to discuss his brand new book ‘Brain Maker’ – The Power Of Microbes to Heal & Protect Your Brain For Life.
The cornerstone of Dr. Perlmutter’s unique approach to neurological disorders is founded in the principles of preventive medicine. He has brought to the public awareness a rich understanding that challenging brain problems including Alzheimer’s disease, other forms of dementia, depression, and ADHD may very well be prevented with lifestyle changes including a gluten free, low carbohydrate, higher fat diet coupled with aerobic exercise.
Full Interview: The Key to a Healthy Gut Microbiome & the ‘Brain Maker’
In This Episode:
Why gut health and microbiome is critical for long lasting health
The quick ‘checklist’ to see if you have a healthy gut
What to eat daily to nurture your gut health
David’s daily routines to stay on top of gut & microbiome health
Guy:Hey, guys. This is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition. Welcome to today’s health sessions. This is a podcast I certainly thoroughly enjoyed recording and it’s one I’m definitely going to listen to again. There’s a lot of information on here that I’ll need to go over, but ultimately, I think it’s a podcast that if you take the time to understand what’s been spoken about and actually apply the things that are said, it can make a dramatic change to one’s health, to your own life and of course your longevity and quality of life moving forward. I think it’s that big a topic. The topic at hand is going to be pretty much with the microbiome, gut health. Our awesome guest today is Dr. David Perlmutter.
If you’re unaware of David, David is a board-certified neurologist and a fellow of the American College of Nutrition. I almost didn’t get my words out there. He’s been interviewed by many national syndicated radios and television programs, including Larry King Live, CNN, Fox News, Fox and Friends, the Today’s Show. He’s been on Oprah, Dr. Oz, the CBS Early Show. He is actually medical advisor to the Dr. Oz Show. Yes, we were very grateful for David to come on and give up an hour of his time and share his absolute wealth of knowledge with us today. He’s written a couple of awesome books in Grain Brain. He’s got a brand-new book out called the Brain Maker which is what we generally talk about today. That’s obviously the brain and gut connection.
The cornerstone of Dr. Perlmutter’s approach to neurological disorders has been founded in the principles of you could say preventative medicine, which is why we’re super excited to have him on. He has brought public awareness now to a rich understanding that challenging brain [00:02:00] problems include Alzheimer’s disease, other forms of dementia, depression, ADHD may very well be prevented … All these things with lifestyle changes. Think about that for a moment, including a gluten-free, low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet, coupled with exercise and aerobic exercise.
Anyway, strap yourself in. This is fantastic. For all you guys listening in the USA, if you haven’t heard, you might have heard me speaking on a couple of podcasts, but 180 Nutrition and now superfoods are now available across America wide which is super exciting for us. If you haven’t heard about it, you can literally just go back to 180nutrition.com and it’s a very simple way of replacing bad meal choices. If you’re stuck and you’re not sure what to do, we encourage a smoothie and a scoop of 180 with other things. It’s the easiest way to get nutrient-dense foods and fiber-rich foods really quickly. All you have to do is go back to 180nutrition.com and check it out. Let’s go over to David Perlmutter. Enjoy.
Hi. This is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined by Stuart Cooke. Hi, Stewie.
Stuart:Hello, Guy. How are you?
Guy:Our fantastic guest today is Dr. David Perlmutter. David, welcome to the show.
David:I’m delighted to be here, gentlemen.
Guy:It’s fantastic. We’ve been following your work for some time now and be able to expose us to the Aussie audience, I’m very excited about. With that mind, would you mind, for our listeners if they haven’t been exposed to your work before, just sharing a little bit about yourself and what you do?
David:I’d be delighted. I’m a brain specialist. I’m a neurologist, and that probably doesn’t explain what I do. I’m very much involved in various lifestyle factors as they affect the brain, as they affect human physiology, and really have begun exploring well beyond the brain, [00:04:00] what are we doing to ourselves in terms of the foods that we eat, both positive and negative? More recently, how are our food choices and other lifestyle choices affecting the microbiome, affecting the 100 trillion organisms that live within us because we now recognize that those organisms are playing a pivotal role in terms of determining whether we are healthy or not. That’s pretty much in a nutshell what I do.
Guy:There you go.
Stuart:Fantastic. We first heard about you, David, when you wrote the book, Grain Brain which was fantastic. For me, I think it was important because we heard a lot of stories and press about grains and how they’re making us fat and they’re ruining our health. Other ways made the connection of it’s grains … I’m okay with grains. I don’t get any gut ache. I don’t get any gastrointestinal issues, but I never thought about it from a brain perspective. I just wondered if you could share just a little bit about why you wrote Grain Brain, what inspired you to write it?
David:Stuart, the real impetus behind Grain Brain was for the very first time, I thought it was critical for a brain specialist to take a position of prevention, of looking at the idea that these devastating brain conditions that I’m dealing with on a daily basis, autistic children, adults with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, MS, you name it, that some of these issues are preventable, and that really flies in the face of pretty much mainstream doctrine. It is going against the grain, if you will which it seems to fit. It became very clear to me that our best peer-reviewed, well-respected literature [00:06:00] has been publishing information not only about gluten but about more generally, carbohydrates and sugar for a couple of decades, and no one has paid any attention.
It’s been published, but I really found that somebody needed to step forward and make that information known to the general public. I began implementing these practices in my clinical practice in treating patients day to day and began seeing really remarkable results. That is what got behind me writing the book, Grain Brain, really exploring how sugar, carbohydrates and gluten are absolutely toxic for the brain. Ultimately that book was translated into 27 languages and is published worldwide. The message has really gotten out there. I’m very proud of that. These are people reading the book that I will never see and yet, I know the information that they’re gleaning from reading this book is going to help them, and it makes me feel good at the end of the day in terms of what I’m doing.
Guy:Yeah, that’s fantastic.
Guy:Awesome. It’s interesting about grains because people seem to have a real emotional attachment to sugar and grains. The moment you ask them to start cutting down, reducing, removing, it can be quite challenging.
David:People have a religious connection to grain. It’s in the Bible. Give us this day our daily bread. For somebody to come along and say, you know, maybe that’s not what you should be eating, it challenges people on multiple levels. Number one, bread and carbs and grains are absolutely comfort foods that we all love. We all got rewarded as children by having a cookie or a piece of cake on your birthday. We love those foods. We love sugar. We are genetically designed to seek out sugar. It’s allowed us to survive.
The reality of the situation is we’ve got to take a more human approach to this in terms of our higher level of understanding and recognize that we [00:08:00] as a species have never consumed this level of sugar and carbohydrates, and that gluten-containing foods are in fact challenging to our health in terms of amping up inflammation, which is the cornerstone of the diseases I mentioned: Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, autism, even cancer and coronary artery disease. In that sentence, we’ve covered a lot of territory.
You mentioned grains, and I want to be very clear. There are plenty of grains that are around that are not necessarily containing gluten; and therefore, my argument against them doesn’t stem from the fact that they contain this toxic protein called gluten but rather because they’re a very concentrated source of carbohydrate. Rice, for example, is gluten-free and you could have a little bit of rice. There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of rice, but you have to factor the carb content of that serving of rice into your daily carbohydrate load and don’t overdo it. I’m not coming down on grains across the board, but I’m really calling attention to the fact that these grain-based foods are generally super concentrated in terms of sugar and carbs.
Guy:I understand your carbohydrate tolerance. You answered the next question where I was going to speak, like, should we limit it to all grains or just the heavily refined and processed carbohydrate kind of …
David:See answer above.
Guy:Yeah, there you go.
Stuart:What about the [high street 00:09:28] gluten-free alternatives where people are saying, well, look, it’s grain-free, gluten-free?
David:Again, Stuart, exactly my point. People walk down the gluten-free aisle thinking, hey, I’ve got an open dance card here. It’s gluten-free. How about it? That opens the door to the gluten-free pasta, pizza, bread, you name it, flour to make products, cookies, crackers and you name it. Again, the issue is that one of the most devastating things that’s happening to humans today [00:10:00] is that our blood sugar is rising. There is a very direct correlation between even minimal elevations of blood sugar and risk for dementia. That was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in September of 2013 where they demonstrated that even subtle elevations of blood sugar well below being diabetic are associated with a profound risk of basically losing your marbles.
Please understand, when we’re talking about Alzheimer’s and dementia, there is no treatment available for that issue. Having said that, then this whole notion of prevention and preventive medicine as it relates to the brain really takes on a much more powerful meaning and urgency.
Guy:Would glycation pop in there as well then where you’re speaking … Would that all stem then from the processed carbs and the fact the brain is …
David:That’s right. Guy, you bring up a very good point, and that is this process of glycation. Just for your viewers, let me just indicate what that is. Glycation is a biochemical term that deals with how simple sugars actually bind to proteins. That’s a normal process, but when it gets out of hand, it changes the shape of proteins, amps up inflammation and amps up what are called free radical production.
We measure glycation really very simply in the clinic, and I’m certain that’s done worldwide, by looking at a blood test called A1C, hemoglobin A1C. Diabetics are very familiar with this term, because it’s a marker of the average blood sugar. A1C is a marker of the rate at which sugar is binding to protein. The higher your sugar, the more readily that process happens. What we’ve seen published in the journal, Neurology, is a perfect correlation between levels of A1C or measures of glycation [00:12:00] and the rate at which the brain shrinks on an annual basis. There’s a perfect correlation then between higher levels of blood sugar through glycation that you bring to our attention and the rate at which your brain will shrink.
Well, you don’t want your brain to shrink, I can clue you. A smaller brain is not a good thing. That said, you’ve got to do everything you can, and that is to limit your carbs and limit your sugar. What does it mean? It means a plate that is mostly vegetables, above ground, nutrient-dense, colorful, fiber-rich vegetables, as well as foods that actually are higher in fat. That means foods like olive oil. If you’re not a vegetarian, that would be fish, chicken, beef that is preferably not grain-fed but grass-fed, fish that is wild as opposed to being farm-raised, like the chicken being free range.
This is the way that we actually give ourselves calories in the form of fat calories that will help us lose weight, help reduce inflammation, help reduce this process of glycation that we just talked about, and in the long run, pave the way for both a better brain but also a better immune system and really better health all around.
Guy:That’s a fantastic description of glycation as well. I appreciate it. Would you recommend everyone to go and get that tested once?
David:Yes, absolutely. In fact, in Grain Brain, I present a chart that demonstrates what I just talked about, the degree of glycation plotted against the shrinkage of the brain’s memory center called the hippocampus. In our clinic, hemoglobin A1C is absolutely a standard test just like fasting blood sugar, and also fasting insulin, the degree of insulin in your body. The level of insulin in your body is really a marker as to how much you’ve challenged your body with sugar and carbohydrates in the past. You want to keep [00:14:00] insulin levels really low.
When insulin levels start to climb, it’s an indication that your cells are becoming less responsive to insulin, and that is the harbinger for becoming a diabetic. Why am I fixated on that? It’s because once you are a diabetic type 2, you have quadrupled your risk for Alzheimer’s. That’s why this is so darn important.
Guy:They start just growing and growing, especially with diabetes as well.
Stuart:In terms of the growing number of people that are suffering neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and the like, is it too late for those guys or can they …
David:Not at all. I recently gave a presentation with the director of the Alzheimer’s Research Program at UCLA here in the states. We gave a talk, an evening talk at a place called the Buck Institute. This individual, Dr. Dale Bredesen, is actually using a low-carbohydrate diet, gluten-free, normalizing vitamin D levels, getting people to exercise, and actually put together a program of 36 different interventions, has now reversed Alzheimer’s in 9 out of 10 of his original patients. Only 10 patients, it’s not a large number, I admit that, but it is a start.
We are in western cultures so wedded to the notion of monotherapy; meaning, one drug for one problem. You say high blood pressure; I give you a drug. You say diabetes; here’s a pill. You say Alzheimer’s; here’s a pill. Well, the truth of the matter is there is no pill, despite the fact that there’s something on the market, but there isn’t a pill that will cure Alzheimer’s or even have any significant effect on treating the disease and its symptoms. That’s where we are as we have this conversation.
Now, it looks like the work [00:16:00] of Dr. Bredesen is showing that Alzheimer’s is a multifactorial event, and that to cure it or at least turn it around, you have to hit this problem from multiple angles at the same time. It’s happening. It’s not happening through somebody owning the rights to a specific medication.
Stuart:That’s fantastic. That’s radical.
David:I’ll send you the link to the lecture that we gave.
Stuart:Yeah. That was my next question. I would love to find out.
David:Consider it done.
Stuart:Thank you. In your new book, Brain Maker, you dig even deeper and talk about the connection between the gut and the brain. I wondered if you could share a little bit about that as well, please.
David:I will. Let me just take a step back. Last weekend, I went to University of California San Diego, and I met with, of all people, an astrophysicist who is actually studying the microbiome. If you think a neurologist paying attention to the gut is a stretch, how about an astrophysicist? It turns out that he is probably one of the most schooled individuals on the planet in terms of using a supercomputer technology to analyze data, and they drafted him there to look at data that deals with the microbiome in that they have probably the world’s most well-respected microbiome researchers there. They brought Dr. Larry Smarr on board to help Rob Knight really work with the data.
The things going on in the gut in terms of just the information are breathtaking for sure. We now understand that in one gram, that’s one-fifth of a teaspoon of fecal material, there are 100 million terabytes of information. This is a very intense area of research just because of the sheer amount of data [00:18:00] and information that it contains.
We recognize that these 100 trillion organisms that live within each and every one of us have a direct role to play in the health and functionality of the brain, moment to moment. They manufacture what are called the neurotransmitters. They aid in the body’s ability to make things like serotonin and dopamine and GABA. They directly influence the level of inflammation in the body. As I talked to you about earlier, inflammation is the cornerstone of things like Parkinson’s, MS, Alzheimer’s and even autism. The gut bacteria regulate that, and so it’s really very, very important to look at the possibilities in terms of affecting brain health by looking at the gut bacteria.
Having said that, one of the patients that I talk about in Brain Maker, a patient with multiple sclerosis named Carlos came to me and his history, aside from the fact that he couldn’t walk because of his MS was really very profound in that he had been challenged with respect to his gut with multiple courses of aggressive antibiotics. Why would I be interested in that? I’m interested because the gut bacteria control what’s called immunity, and MS is an autoimmune condition. At that point, I began reviewing research by a Dr. Thomas Borody who happens to be in Australia.
What Dr. Borody did, who is a gastroenterologist, a gut specialist, is he performed a technique on patients called fecal transplant where he took the fecal material with the bacteria from healthy individuals and transplanted that into people with various illnesses. Lo and behold, he noted some dramatic improvements in patients with multiple sclerosis. Think about that: [00:20:00] Fecal transplantation for patients with MS. His reports are published in the journal, Gastroenterology. I sent my patient Carlos to England. He had a series of fecal transplants and regained the ability to walk without a cane. He sent me a video, and I have that video on my website. This is a real person who underwent this procedure.
I just took it to the nth degree. The question was how do we relate the gut to the brain? Now we’ve realized how intimately involved brain health and brain dynamics are with respect to things that are going on in the intestines. It’s a very empowering time.
Guy:Yeah, that’s huge. Regarding gut health, and let’s say somebody is listening to this and they’re relatively healthy and they’re going about their day, but they might be curious to know if their gut integrity is good or isn’t. Are there telltale signs that your gut might not be quite right?
David:Absolutely. As a matter of fact, if you turn to page 17 in Brain Maker, I have a list of over 20 questions that you can ask yourself to determine if in fact you are at risk for having a disturbance of your gut bacteria. There are laboratory studies available of course, but these questions are things like were you born be C-section? Did you have your tonsils out as a child? Do you take antibiotics fairly frequently? Are you taking non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs for inflammation? Are you on an acid blocking drug? Do you have an inflammatory condition of your bowel? Are you suffering from depression? Are you more than 20 pounds overweight?
The reason these questions actually have traction when it comes to their inference with reference to the gut is because these are situations which really point a finger at disturbance of the gut bacteria. I open the book with those questions [00:22:00] because many people are going to answer a positive on multiple parameters and then I indicate to them that that’s not uncommon, but the rest of the book, the rest of the 80,000 words is all about, okay, we’ve all made mistakes in our lives. We all have taken antibiotics. Many of our parents had our ear tubes put in or we were born by C-section or who knows what? The important empowering part about the rest of that book, Brain Maker, is, okay, we messed up. How do you fix it?
That’s what I really spend a lot of time doing in that book, and that is talking about those foods that need to come off the table, those foods that you need to put on the table, fermented foods, for example, that are rich in good bacteria: foods like kimchi and cultured yogurt and fermented vegetables, sauerkraut, for example. How do you choose a good probiotic supplement? What about prebiotics? What about this type of fiber that we consume that actually nurtures the good gut bacteria within us? That’s contained in various foods like jicama, Mexican yam, Jerusalem artichoke, asparagus, garlic, onions, leeks, dandelion greens, etc. These are foods that are really rich in a specific type of fiber that then goes ahead and amplifies the growth of the good bacteria in your gut.
I really wanted to write that book in a very empowering way for all of us living in western cultures where we’ve messed up. The evidence is really quite clear when you look at the microbiome, at the gut bacteria in western cultures and compare what those bacteria look like with more agrarian or more rural cultures, less developed countries.
Stuart:We’ve gone to page 17 and we’ve filled out the checklist and now we’re concerned. How can we test [00:24:00] the diversity or the quality of our gut bacteria?
David:That’s a very good question. There are tests that are available and they are improving year by year, and you can have them done. I’m not sure what you have available to yourselves in Australia, but there are several companies that make those tests available here. The real issue though is I don’t think we yet know specifically what a healthy microbiome should look like. We know the broad strokes. We know that there are ratios between two of the larger groups of organisms called Firmicutes and Bacteroidete that tend to be associated with things like diabetes and obesity, etc. We really don’t know what it means to have a good microbiome.
One thing that’s really quite clear is that one of the best attributes for your microbiome is diversity. When you look at rural African population microbiome compared to westernized microbiome, the main thing that really jumps out at you is the lack of diversity in our type of microbiome, the lack of parasites, the lack of a large array of different organisms. You may have raised your eyebrows when I said a lack of parasites, but it turns out that we have lived quite comfortably with a wide array of parasites throughout our existence on this planet.
There is something called the old friend hypothesis, which means that we’ve had these bugs inside of us for a long time and not only have we developed tolerance to things like parasites, but we’ve actually been able to work with them and live with them in such a way that parasites and various worrisome bacteria actually contribute to our health. When we sterilize the gut with over-usage of [00:26:00] antibiotics, for example, we set the stage for some significant imbalances in terms of our metabolism. As we sterilize the gut with antibiotics, we favor the overgrowth of bacteria, for example, that can make us fat.
Why do you think it is since the 1950s we’ve been feeding cattle with antibiotics? Because it changes their gut bacteria. It makes them fat. Farmers who raise those animals make more money because the animals are bigger and they’re selling them by the pound.
Guy:Another question popped in. I don’t know if it’s a stupid question or not. Do you think we’ve become too hygienic as well? If we shower …
David:No question. That is called the hygiene hypothesis. I think that it really has been validated. That was first proposed in 1986 when it got its name. It holds that our obsession with hygiene … I paraphrase a little bit … Our overdoing with hygiene, the sterilization of the human body and all that’s within it, has really paved the way for us to have so much allergic disease, autoimmune diseases, what are called atopic diseases, skin-related issues.
We understand, for example, that autism is an inflammatory condition and really correlates quite nicely with changes in the gut bacteria. There’s an absolute signature or fingerprint of the gut bacteria that correlates with autism. Now there are even researchers in Canada, Dr. Derrick MacFabe is one … I’ve interviewed him … who correlate these changes in bacterial organisms in the gut of autistic children with changes in certain chemicals that have a very important role to play in terms of how the brain works.
This is the hygiene hypothesis. It’s time that we let our kids get dirty and stop washing their hands every time they walk down the [00:28:00] aisle in the grocery store and recognize that we’ve lived in an environment that’s exposed us to these organisms for two million years. It has a lot of merit, the hygiene hypothesis.
Guy:Sorry, Stuart. Another question that did pop in there at the same time.
David:Take your time.
Guy:Stress, worry and anxiety because you feel that in the gut when you’re … Have there been studies if that affects microbiome?
David:Without a doubt. I actually have written about these in Brain Maker. It goes both ways. We know that stress increases the adrenal gland’s production of a chemical called cortisol. Cortisol ultimately begins in the brain. When the brain experiences stress and the hypothalamic-pituitary axis is turned on and that stimulates the adrenal glands from make cortisol. Cortisol does several important things. It is one of our hormones that allows us to be more adaptable momentarily to stress but the downsides of cortisol are many. It increases the leakiness of the gut, and therefore increases the level of inflammation in the body. It actually changes the gut bacteria and allows overgrowth of certain organisms, some of which are not actually even bacteria but even yeast. In addition, cortisol plays back and has a very detrimental role on the brain’s memory center.
By the same token, we know that gut-related issues are front and center now in looking at things like depression. We now understand, for example, that depression is a disease characterized by higher levels of inflammatory markers specifically coming from the gut. Think about that. There is a chemical called LPS or lipopolysaccharide. [00:30:00] That chemical is only found normally in the gut to any significant degree. It is actually part of the cell wall of what are called gram-negative bacteria that live in the gut. When the gut is permeable, then that LPS makes its way out of the gut and you can measure it in the bloodstream.
There’s a very profound correlation between elevation of LPS and major depression. We see this correlation with major depression and gut leakiness and gut inflammation, and it really starts to make a lot of sense when we see such common events of depression in individuals with inflammatory bowel disease like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s.
Stuart:Back to the balance of the microbiome so gut bacteria. What three culprits, what would be your top three culprits that really upset the balance?
David:Number one would be antibiotics. We are so aggressively using antibiotics in western cultures. I think every major medical journal is really calling our attention to that. The World Health Organization ranks antibiotics among the top three major health threats to the world health of this decade. Antibiotics change the gut bacteria. They change the way that bacteria respond to antibiotics, in the future making it more likely that we’ll have antibiotic resistance, making it more difficult to treat bacterial infections when they should be treated. I think that we really have just begun to understand the devastating role of antibiotics in terms of changing the gut bacteria. The over-usage of antibiotics in children has been associated with their increased risk of things like type 1 diabetes, asthma, [00:32:00] allergic diseases.
You asked for three. The other big player I think would be Cesarean section. C-sections are depriving children of their initial microbiome because understand that when you’re born through the birth canal, right at that moment, you are being inoculated with bacteria, bacteria that then serve as the focal point for your first microbiome. When you bypass that experience, you are born basically with the microbiome that’s made of whatever bacteria happen to be on the surgeon’s hands or in the operating room at that time. Interestingly enough, children born by C-section who don’t have that right microbiome have a dramatically increased risk for type 1 diabetes, celiac disease, autism, ADHD and even becoming obese when they become adults.
We’re just beginning to understand really what an important event that is, and that is when you’re born that you receive genetic information from your mother that is what we call horizontally transferred as opposed to the vertical transfer from mom and dad in terms of their genome. Understand that you’re not just getting the bacteria but you’re getting the bacterial DNA. When you get your arms around the idea that 99% of the DNA in your body is bacteria contained in your microbiome, then the whole process of being born through the birth canal really takes on a very, very new meaning, doesn’t it?
Stuart:It does. It’s massive.
Guy:The thing, again, they almost can be beyond our control as well. Like you mentioned, it could have been given antibiotics as a kid and C-section. I just want to make a point that when you start to repair these things, [00:34:00] it’s not a short-term fix, I’m guessing, that it takes time to repair the gut. If somebody is listening …
David:In our practice, we see improvements happening very quickly. We often see people get improvements in as little as a couple of weeks, especially children. They seem to turn around so quickly. The truth of the matter is that we now see literature that indicates that antibiotics, each time you take them, change your gut bacteria permanently. There may not be a total reversal that’s possible based upon some of our lifestyle choices. That said, we are now seeing some really impressive results from what’s called fecal transplantation where you put in to the gut healthy bacteria from a healthy individual.
One researcher, Dr. Max Nieuwdorp in Amsterdam has recently presented his treatment of 250 type 2 diabetics, giving them fecal transplant, and he basically reversed their diabetes by changing their gut bacteria. It’s pretty profound.
Stuart:It’s quite a hot topic over here, fecal transplants. They ran a story a few weeks ago of a chap who was suffering from an autoimmune disease and he first went out of country and received the fecal transplant and his improvements were off the scale, but he put on huge amounts of weight. He was a skinny guy.
David:It’s not the first time it’s happened. Actually, the main use of fecal transplantation is for the treatment of a bacterial infection called Clostridium difficile or C. diff. Here in America, that’s a disease situation that affects 500,000 American [00:36:00] every year and kills 30,000. The antibiotic cocktails that are used for C. diff. are about 26% to 28% effective. Fecal transplantation is about 96% effective. There was recently a publication of a woman with C. diff. and she elected to undergo fecal transplantation and chose her daughter as the donor. Unfortunately, her daughter was very big. Immediately following the fecal transplantation, this woman gained an enormous amount of weight. I think something in the neighborhood of 40 pounds very quickly.
You’re right. It calls to our attention the work by Dr. Jeffrey Gordon here in the states who has demonstrated in laboratory animals that when you take human fecal material from an obese person and transplant that into a healthy laboratory animal, that animal suddenly gets fat even though you didn’t change its food. We’re beginning to understand the very important role of the gut microbiome in terms of regulating our metabolism, in terms of our extraction of calories from the food that we eat.
So many people tell me, you know, Doc, I am so careful with what I eat and I just can’t lose weight. The reason is because through their years of eating improperly, of having antibiotics, etc., they’ve created a microbiome that is really very adept at extracting calories from food. One of the biggest culprits, for example, is sugar. Sugar will dramatically change the microbiome. What do people do? They begin drinking sugarless, artificially sweetened beverages. It turns out that the weight gain from artificially sweetened beverages is profound and in fact, the risk of type 2 diabetes is much higher in people consuming artificially sweetened drinks than those who drink sugar sweetened drinks.
I’m not arguing in favor of drinking [00:38:00] sugar sweetened beverages. I’m simply saying that there’s no free ride here. What researchers in Israel just published was the explanation. The explanation as you would expect is that artificial sweeteners dramatically change the microbiome. They set up a situation of higher levels of certain bacteria that will extract more calories and will also help code for inflammation. There’s no free ride. You’ve got to eat right. You’ve got to get back to eating the types of foods that will nurture a good microbiome.
Guy:Do you think the local doctor or GP is going to start looking at microbiome in the near future? Because there’s only an antibiotic that gets prescribed when you go there, you’re not feeling well or you get a cut …
David:No, I don’t think so.
Guy:You don’t think so?
David:No. I wish it were. I wish that were the case. Next month, I’m chairing an international symposium on the microbiome with leaders in the field from all over the world, well-respected individuals. The people who are going to attend are really a very few group … a small group … It’s be a big group, but these are people who are really highly motivated to stay ahead of trends, and by and large, this is going to take a long time to filter down to general medicine. It just isn’t going to happen any time soon.
Guy:Proactive approach always seems to be the way.
David:You got it.
Stuart:Say I wanted to be a bit proactive right now and I’m going to jot down to the chemist and think, right, I’m going to ask them for their top pre- or probiotics. Is it a waste of time?
David:No, I don’t think so, especially as it relates to prebiotics. You can’t go wrong by increasing your consumption of fiber, but prebiotic is a special type of fiber that in fact nurtures the gut bacteria. [00:40:00] You can go to your chemist and in fact, they may very well sell you a wonderful prebiotic that’s made from, for example, Acacia gum or pectin or something like that. There happen to be some pretty darn good probiotics on the market as well. I think there are certain things that you have to look for. I’ve written about them in my book. There are certain species I think that are well-studied and there are five specific species that I talk about in the book like Lactobacillus plantarum, Bifidobacterium longum, Lactobacillus brevis, etc.
The point is, hey, we have more than 10,000 different species living within us, so it’s hard to say what’s best. We do know that some of these species have been aggressively studied and do good things in the gut with research now coming out indicating that interventional studies, in other words where they give certain bacteria to people, there are changes that are measurable. Let me tell you about one interesting study that was just published.
A group of 75 children were given a specific probiotic for the first six months of their life; it’s called Lactobacillus rhamnosus. They followed these kids for the next 13 years. What they found was that the children who had received the probiotic, half the group, none of them developed either ADHD or a form of autism. Whereas the group that did not receive the probiotic, there was a rate of autism or ADHD of about 14.2%. What does it say? It says that balancing the gut helps do good things. This study took 13 years to complete, maybe another year or two to publish, but we’re getting to the point where we’re seeing interventional trials of specific organisms having positive effects [00:42:00] on humans. I think that’s what the future is going to open up with. I think we’re going to see much more of that.
Guy:Definitely. Even from us, we’ve been involved in the health industry for quite some time and we’ve seen microbiome, gut health, more and more information is coming out.
David:Yes, you are. It’s time. It’s really going to be very, very empowering.
Guy:Yeah, it’s become a hot topic. Look, I’m aware of the time, David. We have a couple of questions that we ask everyone on the show that they can be non-nutrition-related, anything.
David:Is this the bonus round?
Guy:This is the bonus round, man.
Stuart:I just wanted to pop in, Guy, just before you hit those last ones. I was interested, David, as to do you have a tailored personal daily routine specifically to nurture your microbiome?
David:Yes. It’s what works for me. I’m super careful about what I eat. The truth of the matter is I am at risk for Alzheimer’s. My dad passed away about two months ago with Alzheimer’s so I know I’m at risk. Probably one of the most important nutritional things I do is exercise. It’s nutrition for the soul. I guess I have a little leeway there. It’s really good for the microbiome as well. It really helps protect the ability of that LPS from damaging … ultimately leading to damage to the brain. Exercise actually increases the growth of new brain cells through something called BDNF. My dad is very low in carbohydrate, extremely low in sugar. I use a lot of prebiotic fiber, 15, 20 grams a day. I take a strong probiotic, vitamin D, vitamin E, fish oil, a multivitamin, a B complex. You didn’t ask about supplements but I just toss that in for the heck of it.
I generally, for me, do well with only two meals a [00:44:00] day. I don’t yet know who wrote down that you have to have three meals a day or the world would come to an end, but somebody must have obviously. Because I like the fact that I haven’t eaten from dinner until I have either a later breakfast or an early lunch the next day. That sometimes can be as long as 12 to 15 hours of not eating. It works really well for me because as I wake up in the morning, my brain is sharp and I never really liked exercising with food in my belly. A lot of people have breakfast and go to the gym. Fine. It doesn’t work for me. I like to go to the gym on an empty stomach and then have lunch and then dinner.
Stuart:That’s excellent. Does the type of exercise make any difference to the way you feel?
David:Well, sure it does. The type of exercise I really gravitate to is aerobic because as I talked about in Grain Brain, aerobic exercise is the type of exercise that actually will turn on the genes that will code for this BDNF chemical that will allow you to grow your brain cells. That’s what the studies at University of Pittsburgh have demonstrated. You really need to do aerobics. I do a lot of stretching and I lift weights as well. I think those are good for you, good for a person. I’m prone to back issues. I do a whole routine for my back. The one thing that it’s inviolate in terms of my routine is the aerobics part.
Guy:Fantastic. I appreciate that. That’s awesome. Back to bonus round, have you read any books that have had a great impact on your life that you’d like to share?
David:I have. From a medical perspective, there’s a couple of good books by Gary Taubes called Good Calories, Bad Calories, and another one called Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It. I would recommend the latter, Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It [00:46:00] because it is so clear in terms of mechanisms that relate to sugar and weight gain and inflammation.
I’ve read Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse on a number of occasions. I think it has resonated with me on a personal level in terms of my life journey, one of the most perhaps influential books for me. Pardon me?
Guy:Fantastic. You’re not the first person to say that book as well.
David:In fact, I just looked at it earlier today. I love books. I don’t know if you could see [crosstalk 00:46:41]. A lot of people these days send me their books to review so I’ll write a comment on them. I’ve got this really great conduit of new books coming to me, two and three a day now, which is really great. I really am fortunate because I get to see a lot of books before they’re actually even published. I reviewed a book today from a Harvard researcher on what is it that makes us hungry and what to do about it, a really incredible book.
I recently reviewed a book by Dr. Frank Lipman talking about the 10 things to do to stay healthy. Really it was The 10 Things That Make Us Fat and Grow Old, is the title. It isn’t out yet, but I read that book this morning, a very, very powerful, clean-cut, straightforward information that’s totally in line with current science.
There’s another really good book I would encourage people to look at called The Disease Delusion, and it’s written by Dr. Jeffrey Bland. It really is an important book because it talks about where we are in terms of how medicine is practiced, how we look at patients and really paints a good picture in terms of what medicine could look like in the [00:48:00] future. I’d encourage your viewers to take a look at that book.
Guy:Fantastic. We certainly encourage Brain Maker as well which [crosstalk 00:48:07].
David:Thank you. I appreciate it.
Guy:Last question: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
David:My dad used to say no matter how … As you go through life, my friend, let this be your goal. Keep your eye upon the donut and not upon the hole. It always worked for me.
Stuart:I like it.
David:There’s one other, I don’t know if it’s advice, but a statement that was made by Maurice Maeterlinck, a Belgian Nobel Laureate. I first read this when I was visiting a friend, Dr. Amar Bose. He’s the one who has Bose audio, the headphones and speakers. He took me to his laboratory in Massachusetts and I was very impressed, but then we went into his office and on his glass door was the following quote by Maurice Maeterlinck: At every crossway on the road that leads to the future, each progressive spirit is confronted by a thousand men appointed to defend the past. That always meant a lot to me because Dr. Bose really went against the system as he created his audio products. People said it couldn’t be done. You can’t cancel sound, on and on.
I really know what it’s like to be opposed by a thousand men appointed to defend the past because the stuff that we talk about is not status quo. It’s not what everyone is doing. I’m grateful for that. I think that it hopefully is ahead of the curve. Time will tell. We’ll see where we go. When maybe the three of us have a conversation in a couple of years, we’ll see where we are.
Guy:Yeah. Fantastic. We really appreciate it. For anyone listening to this who would like to get more of you, where would be the best place [00:50:00] to go online?
David:My website is drperlmutter.com. That’s D-R, Perlmutter, P-E-R-L-M-U-T-T-E-R, dot-com. Facebook I post every day. Oddly enough, David Perlmutter MD. My books are in Australia. They’re around the world so people can read my books if they like as well.
Guy:Yeah, fantastic. Greatly appreciate you coming on the show today and showing your knowledge and time with us and the listeners.
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.
Are grains really the enemy? Who better a person to ask than a guy who’s interviewed hundreds of health leaders from around the world and walks his talk when it comes health and nutrition. His answer wasn’t quite what we expected! Hence why we loved it and it’s this weeks 2 minute gem.
Abel James is the founder of ‘The Fat Burning Man’ show. A health and wellness podcast that’s hit No.1 in eight different countries on iTunes and gets over a whopping 500,000 downloads each month! It was fantastic to get the laid back Abel on the show today to share with us his own personal weight loss story, his discoveries, the trial and errors and the applied wisdom of others.
To sum up Abel James in his own words: My goal is to create a place where people can have spirited discussions and debate about issues that truly matter – not just fat loss and fitness, but ultimately health and quality of life. I also feel obligated to expose the truth about nutrition, fitness, and health so that people are no longer reliant upon deceptive marketing practices, misleading corporate propaganda, and powerful special interests that have accelerated the worldwide obesity epidemic and health crisis.
Full Interview: Lessons Learned From Becoming The Fat Burning Man
In This Episode:
Abel’s journey from being overweight to becoming the ‘Fat Burning Man’
What the body building industry taught him about weight loss
Guy Lawrence: This is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition and welcome to today’s Health Sessions.
So, as you can see, if you’re watching this in video, I’m standing here at Mcmahons Pool here in Sydney, which is a pearl of a location and I quite often find myself jumping in first thing in the morning. The water is cold here in winter in Sydney, although the sun’s shining, but it’s a great way to start the day nonetheless.
Anyway, on to today’s guest. I might be a little bit biased but I think this show today is fantastic and we’ve got an awesome guest for you. And he has a podcast himself, and I reckon he has one of the smoothest voices that is just designed for podcasts and radio, I tell ya. And that might even give you a clue already.
Stu often says I’ve got a face for radio, but I don’t know if I’ll take that as a compliment. But anyway. So, our guest today is Abel James, AKA the Fat-Burning Man. And if you are new to this podcast, definitely check it out. I’ve been listening to them for years. And Abel has had some fantastic guests on the show, as you can imagine, when you’ve been doing a podcast for over four years.
And we were really keen to get him on the show and share his experiences with us, because, you know, once you’ve interviewed that many people and some absolutely great health leaders around the world, you’re gonna pick up on what they say, their experience, and how you apply it in your own life. And we’re really keen to find out from Abel why he does, you know, because he’s covered, obviously, topics on mindset, health, nutrition, exercise, and what are the pearls of wisdom has he gone and taken over the years of experience and applied it. And some of the stuff what he doesn’t take, you know, take on board as well.
So, Abel shares all of that with us today, including his own story. Because Abel was once overweight. He’s looking a very, very fit boy at the moment, just from changing his nutrition.
So, anyway, that’s what you’re going to get out of today’s show and it’s a great one. So, it’s a pleasure to have Abel on.
And also, I ask for reviews, you know, leave us a review on iTunes if you’re enjoying the show. Subscribe, five-star it. You know, let us know where in the world you’re listening to these podcasts. I think we’re in 32 countries at the moment or maybe even more getting downloaded. So it’s pretty cool. And we always love to hear from you, so, yeah, jump on board and of course drop us an email back at 180Nutrition.com or .com.au now.
So, let’s go over to Abel. Enjoy the show.
Stuart Cooke: Guy, over to you.
Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke, as always. Hey Stewie.
Stuart Cooke: Hello, mate.
Guy Lawrence: And our fantastic guest today is Abel James. Abel, welcome to the show.
Abel James: Thanks so much for having me.
Guy Lawrence: Now, you will have to forgive us this morning, mate. It is very early in Sydney. So, I’ve never seen Stu up at this time of the morning, I think, so it will be interesting to see how he responds.
I’m just kidding. Come on.
Yeah, look, obviously we are big fans of your podcast. It’s great to have a fellow podcaster on. And what we were curious about, just to get the ball rolling, is I guess a little bit about your journey and what got you into podcasting and what let you to that. Because you’ve been doing it awhile now.
Abel James: Yeah. Well, the podcast itself kind of comes out, or it comes somewhat naturally, because I’m a musician and have been doing that for a very long time. So, you know, I had a blog, and this was, I guess, like, four years ago when I first started Fat-Burning Man.
But before that I worked as a consultant with some companies in the food and beverage industry right after I got out of college. And so I’d actually been blogging about health for many years before that, but anonymously. My site was called Honest Abe’s Tips. And it was a picture of, like, this digitized Abe Lincoln peeking out from behind the laptop.
But then with Fat-Burning Man, I realized that when I went through my own struggles with health, basically, I got fat and old and sick in my early 20s and didn’t want to keep being that way. So I kind of turned things around and found that it was a lot easier and more straight-forward and simpler than almost anything I’d ever read had made it out to be, you know, in the fitness magazines and the media. Even some of the science.
And so I started this up and realized that, you know, if I were looking at a fitness book or a fitness blog or something like that, first thing I’d do is, like, turn around, look at who’s writing it. Like: Are these people actually living it? Are they following their own advice?
And so I figured, you know, it’s the internet. Let’s just put it all right out there. And so I came up with this ridiculous Fat-Burning Man, like superhero type thing and just wanted to make it about being positive and showing that you can be happy and healthy at the same time. Because so much of the messaging, especially then, but still now, is that you need to be hungry and miserable and punish yourself. But you really can have a more holistic approach. So, that’s what I try to do.
Guy Lawrence: Did you ever imagine the Fat-Building Man would take you on this journey to where it is today? You know, when you started.
Abel James: You know, it’s so funny. Because now it kind of sneaks up on you a little bit. You know, like, I was just out at a health food store here in Tennessee and like within five seconds of walking in, someone’s like, “Abel! Hi!” We just moved here and that just happened in, like, New Orleans, in California. And so I don’t even realize how many people are listening but I’m so glad that they are, because when I first started it was just me talking into a microphone and hoping that people would listen and trying to get this message out there that was different and still is kind of different.
Because most of the stuff you find in health, and I’ve had to learn this the hard way, is not health information. It’s marketing propaganda. You know, designed to sell you supplements, shakes, consumables. Whatever they’re selling you is usually kind of, like, disguised in something that’s information. And that information is hurting people.
So, I wanted to just be totally open about all this and say, like, “These are the things that we think might be right, but we’re probably wrong about a bunch of stuff. But that’s definitely wrong over there.”
Guy Lawrence: That’s awesome. That’s awesome.
Stuart Cooke: So, when you mentioned that in your early days you were fat and sick and things just weren’t working out for you, do you think that was particularly diet-based?
Abel James: Yes. Absolutely. Because basically what happened is I grew up, my mom is a holistic nurse practitioner and an herbalist, and I was raised eating from the back yard. And we had fish sticks and stuff like that, too, sometimes, but it was; I had a very strong education in eating naturally, from the real world, back then.
And then, for me, like every teenager who wants to prove that there’s a better world out there than the one that they came from or whatever, to pay off my loans I got this big, fancy job in consulting and I got this big, fancy insurance that came along with the consulting job. And I’m just like, “All right. I’m gonna find the best doctor and listen to his advice and take his drugs and do his thing.”
And so I did that, and it was… You know, when I first walked in, he’s like, “What is the family history?” And I said, well, you know, there’s thyroid problems, most people gain weight as they age, my grandmother has high blood pressure, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
They looked at my blood and they’re just, like, “OK, well, we need to put you on a low-fat diet right away.” And, you know, zero dietary cholesterol and the whole… you guys are familiar with how that works, I’m sure.
And so I got that whole spiel and I’m like, OK. Well, if that’s gonna help me live longer, help my heart be healthy, and basically guarantee that I’m doing the right thing, then let’s do it.
Except it didn’t really work out that way. You know, for the first time in my life… I was always athletic and I love fitness and just getting outside, going for hikes or runs or mountain-biking. Whatever. And so I never really had a problem with weight. And all of a sudden, it’s creeping up, and it wasn’t until my boss made fun of me for being fat that I realized that I was, like, “Oh. This is fat.”
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. “There’s a problem.”
Abel James: And I wasn’t, like, massively overweight. But if you imagine me with less muscle and 20 pounds of flab, then all of sudden you kind of look like someone who’s much older than you actually are. And certainly not thriving anymore. Not athletic.
And I always want to be the best at whatever, so I had to turn that around.
Guy Lawrence: Was there any, like, little tipping points with books or information that made you sort of go, “I’ve really got to start delving into this” and looking down that path?
Abel James: Well, yeah. For me… So, I’m pretty narrow-focused a lot of the time and my focus then, when I first got into it, it was my first job, you know. My first real in-the-workforce job. I worked with my dad growing up and in restaurants and stuff. But this was the first thing I was taking seriously. And so I just wanted to pay down my debt as quickly as I could so that I could be free to do whatever more passion-based stuff.
And then I, basically, like, a little bit at a time saw that it wasn’t working. But I had outsourced it from my own brain, you know? I had always focused on being fit and athletic and running a lot, whatever. But it kind of like got away from me, because I was working so hard doing something else that was kind of like stealing my attention. And then it wasn’t until that comment and a couple of other things happened that I was just, like, “Oh. I guess I’ve got to focus on this.”
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: So, for all of our listeners, and your listeners as well, what did you focus on and what did you change?
Abel James: Well, it was interesting, because I grew up, my brother is about five years older than me, and I watched him go from… he’s a little bit obsessive and he watched Pumping Iron, the Arnold Schwarzenegger bodybuilding classic movie of the ’70s. He watched that for the first time, and I watched him over the next few months go from 155 pounds to well over 200; up to 220 of just solid, massive muscle.
So, that; it was in the back of my mind. I think sometimes you need something crazy like that. You need to see it happen in front of you before you really believe that it’s possible. You know what I mean? And so I hid that in back of my mind.
And so I always knew that you could do stuff that didn’t make any sense and it would kind of work out. And he did a lot of things that, dietary-wise, who knows what he was eating but it certainly wasn’t healthy. It was very different from the foods that we were eating.
But it was more generous with fat and protein and lower on carbs and kind of like counter to everything that I was told was healthy. And so I saw that whatever I was doing was not working. So I needed to do something different. And I was just like, well, why don’t I just flip it on its head and get some of the fats up there again and take down the carbs, take down the processed food, just kind of look at… I was looking at ketosis, cyclical ketogenic dieting that the bodybuilders were doing in the ’60s and ’70s, and it was like, you know they’re eating 26 eggs a day. Or drinking two gallons of milk a day. Or just chugging heavy cream. And getting down to 3 percent body fat. And for someone who had too much body fat, I’m like, “That’s interesting. I gotta try that.”
Stuart Cooke: Absolutely.
Guy Lawrence: It happened for us the same, because I worked with mainly people with cancer about 10 years ago and I used to do the weight-training programs for them. And it literally started from a bodybuilders’ diet. They got them on a ketogenic diet and weight-training, and that was the first time I was exposed to a high-fat diet, and back then I saw the results too. You know, it was quite remarkable, and their health, everything gets turned on its head overnight and you’re, like, “My God, I’ve got to tell the world.”
Abel James: It’s very bizarre. Because it should kill you, right? According to everything that the doctors tell you. That should just put you straight into a stretcher or a coffin or whatever.
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.
Abel James: But oftentimes it does the opposite.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. So, with all your guests and podcasts, there’s all these amazing people you’ve interviewed and things like that. Any pearls of wisdom that have stood out or guests that have jumped out at you? It’s probably quite a big question but…
Abel James: I look for the things that… Well, I should just say, even the people who come on my show, which are, like, curated (to a certain extent), by me, they have to go through some sort of vetting process. They love to disagree about a lot of things. And for me I just try to keep it on point, step aside. I’m not gonna be combative even if I disagree with what they’re saying. I think it’s really important to see the richness of experience in people who are getting results.
And so I look for the things that they agree about. And there are very few. But number one is that everyone should be eating more leafy green vegetables and colorful vegetables, especially the non-starchy kind. And almost everyone agrees on that. Pretty much 100 percent.
Yet, almost nobody does it. Even the people who are, like, super paleo and super healthy or whatever. They’re more, usually, obsessed with the latest gadget, pill, carb-backloading approach, like new things that… I just had Kiefer on, I have a lot of people on with kind of like new spins on whatever. And so people get obsessed with, like, the new spin instead of having a salad. Which is like… So, one of the things that I try to do is encourage people to do the simple things that we already know, because it’s really easy to ignore that.
Or, if you go and you’re paleo and you’re really excited about it and you’re getting all these results and you’re doing CrossFit and then you go and get a paleo treat or whatever from the grocery store, because now you can find those, at least in America. And, you know, all of a sudden you take down 25 grams of sugar without even realizing it. But it’s “totally paleo” because it has honey in it. Wait a second!
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, half a jar.
Abel James: That kind of goes against the whole thing. So, I try to make it simple for people and more habit-based. More like, my background’s in brain science and psychology so I try and take it from that angle where, like, you guys know: If you’re training people or if you want to achieve something in your own life, it’s not really about the information that you have as much as, are you doing it. Right? So, I really try to focus on getting people to do it, making that easier and more simple.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. You always find you can go on these crazy paths and you always get back to basics. Just keep it very simple.
Stuart Cooke: I think those basics generally come back to how our grandparents ate as well. It’s, like, super simple, really.
Abel James: It was wonderful. Beautifully simple.
Stuart Cooke: It’s it? Yeah. It couldn’t be more simple, yet in other respects it couldn’t be more complex with all this crazy info out there.
Abel James: Especially today.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Totally. So, over here we had quite an interesting article that came out in the Sydney Morning Herald about grains and bread and how everybody’s becoming more resistant to gluten and they’ve got intolerances and sensitivities to everything under the sun.
In your opinion, are grains the enemy?
Abel James: That’s a great question. I think they’re one of the enemies, yes. But that’s more a function of the fact that we’re eating grains in a way that we never ate grains before than the fact that they’re grains, if that makes sense. So, what I mean by that is if you take a chicken and then breed it to have certain characteristics like having breasts so large that it topples over or breaks its legs like most of the turkeys and poultry we have and then you inject it with a bunch of antibiotics and, you know, feed it with poison and whatever else. It’s not the same chicken that our ancestors would be eating.
And if you take wheat and, over the course of time, you breed it to make sure that it’s well-adapted for transport, ready for harvest months before it would have been otherwise, and basically mutate it and change it into something that it wasn’t before, it’s not the same wheat either.
And so what we do with that wheat, for example, is then, if that weren’t bad enough, kind of like mutating this thing into something that’s bred not for your health but for basically industrial efficiency, then you throw it through all these industrial processes, like grinding it into this really, really fine powder and not allowing it to ferment on the stalk, which releases enzymes to make it digestible, and then you let it fester on a shelf and get old or whatever, but it’s so irradiated and processed that you barely notice that the food is so spoiled.
It’s not the same thing as eating wild rice like Native Americans did here, especially in the Southwest. And you can you still, though, my wife is from Arizona, so we go there quite often, you can go and get, like, Native American wild rice and eat that.
So, if you compare that to, like, Uncle Ben’s rice, a brand we have here which is basically like processed white rice, not the same thing. So, we do eat some grains, but it’s in an entirely different way than almost everyone else eats grains these days.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, totally. No, that’s a good point. I read, a few years back, a book called Wheat Belly, and it really does kind of open the lid on the wheat industry. And, crikey, you really do think twice.
Abel James: It’s hard to get away from them.
Stuart Cooke: Very, very hard to get away from them. Unless, of course, you eat like your grandparents ate and then it’s actually a little easier to get away from… putting labels on vegetables.
Guy Lawrence: What are your thoughts on… Because I struggle with wheat and gluten and a big thing for me has been looking at food sensitivities over the years, and allergies. What are your thoughts on that? Have you personally looked into that?
Abel James: I have. It’s interesting because we don’t know how reliable it is. Especially… food allergy testing is one thing, but food sensitivity testing is quite another. And so for me, there are so many different variables but I’m trying to get better and better.
And a few years ago I had… Probably about two years ago, at this point, I remember I talked about food sensitivity on the podcast with Dave Asprey, the Bulletproof Executive guy, who just loves testing of all kinds. And so we went through various things that I was supposedly reacting to. I did the tests again about a year after that and most of the things had gone down. A couple of them stayed up. And then there was a new one, like pinto beans or something else I “highly reacted” to. Whatever.
And there were some other unfortunate ones that were, like, paleo foods. Like olives. Olive oil. And honey. From the first test. Those seemed to kind of stay elevated. And then I took it again about three, four weeks ago and I’m reactive to almost nothing now.
So, from my own personal experience, it’s been interesting to look at that because I love science, I love numbers, I love personal experimentation. And I don’t know what’s going on with that. I can say that I’m pretty happy about it, but I don’t know if it kind of like invalidates the tests that were done before. Because one of the arguments against it is that it kind of just counts the stuff you’re eating too much of anyway.
Guy Lawrence: When, like, the olive oil and honey came up on the test, did you then avoid those foods?
Abel James: I did. I avoided them, not completely, because it’s really hard to eat a salad anywhere that’s not your own home without olive oil or GMO oil or whatever else. And so basically if someone knows that you’re paleo or gluten-free or healthy-conscious, then they’re giving you honey and olive oil and… mushrooms was another one that came up.
Yeah, so, kind of bizarre things, especially considering how healthy those things are normally and how much they would be included in almost any meal that you eat out. You don’t really think about not eating something like mushrooms, right? Or olives. But once you have to look for that, it’s in everything. You can’t believe it. It’s just hard to get away from.
But, yeah, I definitely; I went from eating those things on purpose to eating less of them or basically not forcing myself to eat those foods anymore. And that seemed to do the trick.
But gluten is one that we’re not really sure if it’s the gluten itself or just the wheat being so manipulated and so low-quality that that’s hurting us. But there’s something in modern wheat that’s terrible for us. It might be the gluten. Some people are definitely allergic to it, flat out. Other people are kind of reactive to it or whatever. But I just avoid it, pretty much at all costs.
Guy Lawrence: It’s interesting. Like, Stewie, had the short straw when it came to sensitivities tests. He came up eggs, glaringly.
Abel James: Oh, no.
Stuart Cooke: One of these things. And I was loving my eggs. I’d eat two, three, four, five a day, which is great. But then I also do wonder whether worrying about the foods that you shouldn’t be eating, worrying about all these crazy diets, you know, does more hard than good. Can it actually then evoke food sensitivities because your cortisone levels are going crazy.
Abel James: Right.
Stuart Cooke: You know, it’s just insane. I’m wondering, from your perspective, how important do you think it is to try and unplug or really work on stress management as part of your kind of holistic approach to health?
Abel James: I think it’s the number one thing that people don’t really talk about. Because it’s not that sexy to say, “Sleep. Go to sleep early.”
“Don’t get stressed out. Meditate. Chill out. Take a walk. Take a vacation.” It’s really easy to say those things. But it’s like eating a salad, right? We all know that that’s exactly what we should be doing. The problem is that we’re not doing it.
And so, yeah, I mean, one of our secrets, why we “look and feel so great all the time and always have this energy” is because we go to sleep, like, way earlier than most other people. And we take flak from it sometimes.
But, at the same time, when you show up to a… So, we go to a lot of, like, health masterminds and stuff like that with a lot of the other big names in the field. Stuff like that. And I can tell you, these people are just, like, running themselves into the ground, a lot of the time. And they’re not really sleeping. They’re kind of compensating.
And we’re ready to rock, and usually, like, we’ll go out and party and hang out with all these people because it’s so much fun. We don’t really get to do it that often. And so you see just the huge tax that running; that basically doing too many things at the same time doesn’t matter who you are, what you do, if you’re in health or not, it’s beating you up and it will get the best of you at some point.
And so the really boring things that we do every day are the things that really matter. So, like, for instance, my wife and I, we wake up every morning, we do Qigong. We’ve been doing that now for a few years, I guess.
Guy Lawrence: Can you explain that?
Abel James: Qigong, or yoga, which is like tai chi, and so it’s basically fluid, kind of almost active stretching type movements. Balance and stretching. And then we meditate for, not necessarily very long, 10, 20, minutes. But we do it every single day. And we tend to wake up fairly early and we go to bed early as well. With some exceptions, but not very often.
And it’s the things that you do every day, if you’re in the habit of slumping on the couch after a hard day of work and then you have a beer or two every night, that’s a lot of beer. It compounds.
But if you, every night, you have tea or something like that or you just relax, you have a glass of water, you hang out, you relax, you slow down, you get some sleep. And then on the weekends you go out and you have too much wine or you have a few beers, totally different thing. You’ll probably get away with it, because it’s not the thing that you’re doing every day. Right? That’s the exception.
So, you have to kind of like train into yourself the right habits that are automatic that aren’t getting the best of you. And part of that is definitely tuning down the stress. Because we’re all, like, with the amount of technology that’s around us these days, we’re all totally cranked out of our minds.
Stuart Cooke: We’re plugged in, aren’t we?
Guy Lawrence. Massively.
Stuart Cooke: Do you sleep well?
Abel James: Thank you for asking. What a sweet question. I’ve been doing interviews all day and that’s the sweetest question I’ve gotten.
Stuart Cooke: This is the million dollar question.
Abel James: Yes. I didn’t used to. I used to have a lot of trouble sleeping, especially staying asleep around the morning. It was like I would wake up, it didn’t matter how late I had stayed up the night before… As a musician, my gigs would start at midnight and I’d have to play under three or something and then go to bed at 4. But I’d always wake up at 6 or 7 and again at 8:30, even if I was trying to sleep it through.
But these days, I think a lot of it has to do with how we time our carbs and starches, which is almost always in the evening. And we eat very lightly or kind of like fast most of the day and then we have a big feast at night, pretty much.
And so we have a compressed eating window. And saving the brunt of our calories and food for the evening seems to slow you down and put you in digestion mode at the right time, especially if you are staying… There are other things where we stay away from alcohol most of the time. On the weekends we go out, have some fun, whatever. But pretty much every weeknight we’re not letting that disrupt our sleep. Because science shows that there’s no getting away from it. If you drink alcohol, it’s disrupting your sleep patterns for sure.
And if you stay up certain nights really late and other nights try to go to sleep early, that messes with your clock, too. So we stay on a nice, steady clip of sleeping and waking up in the morning.
And I don’t do well on very little sleep. I’ve always know that about myself. I think it’s one of the reasons that I do well, succeed, is because it’s something I’m obsessed about. Other guys, like, as a musician, you go on tour or whatever, other guys are staying up all night. It doesn’t really seem to be a problem. It is a problem, like, if they actually looked at it, but it affects other people less than it affected me, it seems like. So, I’ve always just made that the one thing that I do. I sleep, and it’s important.
Stuart Cooke: Any particular gems or strategies or hacks that you can share with everybody right now?
Guy Lawrence: You love the sleep topic.
Stuart Cooke: Well, I, crikey… this is my topic. And I’m fanatical about sleep. But always interested in, you know, it could be the tiniest little thing that you do that makes the hugest difference, and of course sleep is the number one. You can be eating like an absolute prince, but if you don’t sleep, then you’re not recovering or restoring; all of those things.
So, any little gems that you could share with us right now to say, “These worked for me”?
Abel James: Well, I think you touched on something that’s really important. Sleep should be time for recovery. And what that means to me is that almost every day I do kind of like micro-exercise, where I’ll do five to 10 minutes of an exercise pretty much every day except for Sunday. And I put that in the morning. So, I do my exercise like first thing, gets my blood flowing, and by the end of the day I’m tired and I want to go to sleep. And so I honor that.
If you try to force it and crack work out, that’s another thing that’s really important. It’s like, I work hard but I’m almost always off of communication by, like, 7 or 8. Usually before that. I shut my laptop. I’m not checking; I don’t have notifications on my phone. That’s a pretty big one, too. Or on my computer. My email comes in; I don’t know. I have to go in and check it. I’m not having all these things that are, like, “bloop, blop, bloop,” no matter what time of day or night it is. That’s really important.
And staying away from technology in the evening is really useful. So, one of the things I do is play guitar or play piano or sing. Do something that’s right-brainish. Gets you into that flow, that relaxed state, that’s kind of sleepy and dreamy. It’s just like perfect timing to kind of lead you into going to sleep.
Guy Lawrence: What kind of… Just touch on exercise. What kind of philosophies do you abide by, then? What do you incorporate in your week?
Abel James: Well, I used to run marathons.
Guy Lawrence: All right. Wow!
Abel James: I’ve always been a runner of some kind. I was never great, but I was always good. It was something I did more for meditation. I didn’t call it that back then, but I’d run outside and I’d get into this state, that the only way I can describe it, is meditative, for sure.
So, I used to do a lot of exercise. And I raced mountain bikes when I was younger and stuff. Now, I’ve found that exercise is something that I do as a habit, not as something that I kind of, like, force in there, if that makes sense.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Abel James: So, at this point it’s pretty much automatic, that in the morning I’m going to be doing something.
On Mondays I do monster lifts, which isn’t anything too crazy. It’s basically just like I have a couple of dumbbells …
I always work out at home, I don’t really go to gyms, because our nearest health food store is in a different time zone. Like, we’re out here in the middle of the woods, so, I don’t really have any other choice.
So, I’ve got a couple of 52-pound dumbbells, free weights, and I use those to do squats and some dead lifts and maybe a couple of other little exercises, some presses or whatever, on Mondays.
Or I might do a kettlebell workout on that day. But every Monday I’m hitting it, I’m making myself sore, and then I’m going to go and crush a bunch of work, my worst work, I put that all on Monday.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Abel James: So, it’s just one of those days, it’s just like, “All right, we’re getting it!”
And then, maybe on Tuesday, then I would do something that’s a little bit less intense, like yoga-type moves, some holds, focusing more on balance and mobility.
And then on Wednesday, I might do a very intense sprint workout. That’s what I did today. Which is, basically just like tabatas. So, you do 20 seconds on, all-out exercise that’s intense. So, I’ll do sprints or burpees. So you do that 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off. Repeat it ten times. You’re done in five minutes.
Guy Lawrence: Oh yeah.
Abel James: And if you’re not smoked by the end of it, you’re doing it wrong.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Right. That’s perfect.
Abel James: It’s the week, … sorry, go ahead.
Stuart Cooke: It’s just interesting, you know, there are a lot of people now kind of almost ingrained to think, “Well, I’ve got to go to the gym every day and I’ve got to stay in the gym for two hours. And I’m on that treadmill and I’m watching TV and you know, that’s me, done.”
But like you said, you can do this in five minutes. You know, I do a little kettlebell burpee workout and I can do that in about six minutes and I’m toast. Done. But yeah, massive effects on how you feel later on in the day.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. But it’s bringing it back to making sure your sleep’s dialed in and your nutrition is dialed in.
Abel James: Right.
Guy Lawrence: And then you can spend the time enjoying your life outside of these things, instead of obsessing about them all.
Abel James: Yeah. The simple things. It’s is just kind of … get your calendar in order. Grab a hold of that thing. Shake it around a little bit, if you need to, and then put the right things in, especially in the morning. That’s, I think, from a habit point of view. It’s like, if you’re forcing yourself to go to the gym every day, for two hours, and go on a treadmill, which almost nobody likes.
Guy Lawrence: Oh yeah.
Abel James: That’s why you watch TV, because you’re so just bored. Then it’s hard to believe that that’s sustainable. It’s hard to believe that you’re going to be able to do that for the rest of your life.
It might work, kind of. But if you can’t do it for a really long time, if you don’t love to do it, you’re going to stop at some point. Then you’re going to fall off the wagon. Get out of shape. Then it’s really hard to get back in shape.
So, like, make this … if you can do your workout in six minutes, do it! I mean I’m a “health guy” or whatever and that’s exactly what I do.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Abel James: I think that it’s the best to know that science supports that too, right?
Stuart Cooke: It does. Yeah, that’s right.
Abel James: I’d much rather; I like running, but to be perfectly honest, if I can do it in five minutes instead of three hours, I’m going with five minutes.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Every time.
Guy Lawrence: I think you touched on something else as well. It’s important you’ve got to enjoy it. Just do something you love doing. I think that’s so important psychologically, as well, so you can go and do it again.
I worked in a gym for a long time and I found people who forced themselves through the door, just staying there for so long, just like a diet per se, as well. And then they would drop off at the other end and everything they gained, what they’d struggled to gain, it comes back anyway.
Abel James: And it’s heartbreaking, right?
Guy Lawrence: Ah, yeah.
Abel James: When you know what works. You know they know what works, too. But sometimes it’s just; it all goes away.
Guy Lawrence: Yup.
Abel James: It’s a bummer to see that.
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.
So, moving on, we mentioned your book “The Wild Diet.” Can you tell us a little bit about it? Because it’s launched I’m thinking a few months now.
Abel James: Yes. Yeah. It’s been out for about a month now. It’s called “The Wild Diet” basically, because what we have in most societies now is this industrialized food system that is feeding us junk food, processed food, and junk food disguised as health food. And so a lot of people are getting burned by that.
On the other side of that, we have kind of like this wild world. The opposite of industrialized domesticated. You know, where animals, if you choose to eat them, are raised eating the diets that are natural to them in nature.
So, cows are eating grass, for example. So you eat grass-fed, pasture-raised animals.
Your getting heirloom and heritage varieties of seeds, nuts, plants, as much as you can, because those things are inherently designed by nature, generally most healthy for our bodies at this point. We’re well-adapted to eat things we’ve been eating for a long time in the form that they used to be.
And sometimes that can be hard to find. You know, like finding wheat strains, for example. Finding really traditional sourdough breads, made with an ancient variety of wheat, is something you need to try to do. You need to look for it or whatever. But it can be done.
And so, “The Wild Diet” is basically trying to … I come from the paleo world in a lot of ways. But paleo as a theme has kind of subsumed a lot of other movements.
Guy Lawrence: Yup.
Abel James: It kind of like absorbed them, right? Like the eat local movement, the low-carb movement. And so, I’m somewhere in between all these.
And one of the problems, it’s exciting but, one of the problems with like, paleo, for example, is that it’s gotten so big and so many people have heard about it, that the marketers know that it’s a hot market and so they’re starting to flood the market with a bunch of “paleo health foods.” And a lot of people are getting the wrong idea about what that means.
You can’t just go to McDonald’s and get a hamburger or three hamburgers, throw away the bun and call it paleo, right? If you’re doing it right.
So, I felt like I needed that other word that hadn’t been poisoned yet. So, I wanted to come up with “wild.”
And basically it’s just a … it’s more of a philosophy on how to eat and live than it is about some crazy dogmatic diet. It’s basically like: Here’s everything that you need to know to actually do this, in a simple fun book.
And so, I basically wrote it according to what my community and fans and followers liked and wanted to listen to and then we filled it up with some of the best recipes we’ve ever made. So …
Guy Lawrence: Good one, yeah.
Abel James: … it’s a fun book.
Guy Lawrence: But it’s a bit of a big task putting a book together I can imagine, right?
Abel James: Oh, boy. It’s the worst possible thing you can do for your health, is write a health book.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
So, given the fact then that you’ve got all this knowledge and you’ve put it into this book, this fantastic resource for everyone, the million-dollar question is, what have you eaten today?
Abel James: Oh, good one. So, that’s the question that I can almost not even ask on my show, because a lot of people are so embarrassed about what they actually do.
So, I started the morning with supplements. A lot of them are herbs and adaptogens, you know, like rhodiola is one of my favorites. And fermented cod liver oil I usually have in the morning, because it’s a nice little dose of fat and kind of like front-loads lot of nutrition. Vitamin D is something I take pretty much every day. So, I’ll take that in the morning as well.
And then I made myself … well, every morning I wake up, drink a big glass of water, I usually keep that going throughout the day. So, lots of hydration.
And I had … this is my sixth interview today.
Stuart Cooke: Oh, crikey.
Abel James: And I have two more after this.
Guy Lawrence: Oh, wow.
Abel James: So, on interview days I generally fast until the evening. Sometimes until the afternoon, depends if I have the time or the breaks.
So, I make myself my own, like, usually I roast the coffee about once a week, so I’ll make some French press coffee and then I’ll fill it up with a tablespoon or two of heavy cream or some sort of fat. Which gives me some interest, right? I like drinking that with my coffee and I might have some coconut oil with it or medium-chain triglycides or other fat that I put in there.
So, that’s what I had today and I’ve had, I think, two cups of coffee with probably about three tablespoons of heavy cream, pasture-raised. And then right before this interview I felt like I wanted something and so my wife made an awesome green smoothie, which we have almost every day.
That’s usually how I break my fast, is by having basically a blended-up salad. But you can pick the right thing so it tastes really good.
So, it’s got like three different types of greens in it. It’s got strawberries. It has chia seeds and flax, so it’s full of omegas, the right kinds of fats, and plenty of fiber. So, I hit that with some coconut on top, some shredded coconut, because it’s nice to chew on something.
And that’s all I’ve eaten today.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fantastic.
Abel James: Tonight I think we’re going to have a big steak and probably a big salad and maybe a side of red rice, I think we have some going. And we have some soup. Some bone broth that we made, that’s left over, that we’re just going to heat up and some of that too and probably some really tasty chocolate or some of Alison’s homemade cookies for dessert.
Stuart Cooke: Wow. It’s almost breakfast time and you are making me hungry.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: That is fantastic.
Guy Lawrence: That’s awesome. Mate, we have a couple of wrap-up questions for the podcast.
Abel James: Hit it.
Guy Lawrence: And first one is, are there any books that you’ve read that have been a great influence in your life?
Abel James: “Chi Running” by Danny Dreyer. He’s one of my past guests. That’s one of the most underrated books there is I think.
It’s about how to incorporate symmetry and balance into your movements. Specifically for running, but it really applies to almost everything using, you know, ancient … I’ve seen a lot of similar things in Taoist textbooks and certainly like the tai chi and things like that.
That’s an awesome book. It’s called “Chi Running.” Danny Dreyer’s the writer who’s been on my show.
Guy Lawrence: We’ll include it in the show notes. Yeah. Fantastic.
Abel James: Yeah. That one’s great.
The “Perfect Health Diet” is done by Paul Jaminet. It came out a few years ago; another just wonderfully researched book.
And Paul … I was fortunate to hang out with him a bunch of times and kind of become friends with him. And he’s not your typical health professional, in the sense that he’s not really interested in any of the marketing or whatever. He likes research and he likes the science.
And so I really like that book too, the “Perfect Health Diet.”
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. Perfect. I’ll check them out. I haven’t seen any of those two.
And last one is, and this is a pearler. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Abel James: I worked with this Russian guy when I worked at restaurants growing up. And on one catering gig, he just messed up royally. I don’t know what happened exactly, but the boss was really pissed off and this guy was not having a good time. And then he just kind of like turned to me and I’m 14 years old or whatever and he’s this massive Russian guy and he’s just like, “Every kick in the butt is a step forward.”
This is how it started off and you could tell that he didn’t care at all. He was going to have a great day no matter what. And after I kind of like saw that happen and I was like, “All right. That’s cool.” The way that he handled that, I want to be able to handle something like that …
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Take it on the chin and move on.
Abel James: … when the world comes crashing down on me someday.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, that works. That’s fantastic.
Guy Lawrence: Awesome, mate. And is there anything coming up in the future, Abel? Anything you’d like to share? Any exciting projects?
Abel James: Sure. Yeah. We’re excited about … well, we decided basically that, this is my wife and I, this is something that we’re just going to do, you know. We’re going to make this our … we’ve been doing it full-time for a while, but we weren’t sure exactly if we wanted to do apps or you know some other type of publishing or helping publish other people or whatever. But we decided to make the blog and the podcast and our new video series kind of our main thing.
So, we just recorded a huge cooking class, that we invite all these cameras into our kitchen. We set up a bunch of GoPros and other cameras. And so, it’s like documentary-quality. Just hanging out with us in the kitchen learning how to cook things quickly and easily.
And so, it’s called The Wild Diet Cooking Class and you can find that at: FatBurningMan.com/cooking.
So that’s just one of the things, but if you go to FatBurningMan.com and sign up for the newsletter, we’re planning to come out with cool stuff like that every few months or so and just keep a steady clip of like, “You guys want to learn more about ketosis? All right. We’ll do this class.”
Stuart Cooke: Perfect
Abel James: And keep that going.
Yeah. So, it’s been fun. It’s a lot of work, but after taking about a year off traveling the world and going to Australia, which is loads of fun, it’s been really cool to come back with a renewed passion and focus.
Guy Lawrence: That’s awesome, mate and for your book, “The Wild Diet” as well, go back to FatBurningMan.com, as well?
Abel James: You can actually, if you want to see that, you can go to: WildDietBook.com.
Guy Lawrence: Okay. There you go and we’ll put a link in the show notes, as well. Brilliant.
Abel James: Right on. Thank.
Guy Lawrence: Abel, thanks so much for coming on the show. That was a treat. And I have no doubt everyone listening to this will get a heap out of that. That was awesome.
Abel James: Awesome. Yeah. What a pleasure. Thank you for having me.
Stuart Cooke: No problems and we really appreciate it. And you enjoy the rest of the day. Good luck with your interviews and enjoy that meal. Sounds delicious.
Abel James: Thank you so much. You guys have a great day.
Guy Lawrence: Thanks, Abel.
Stuart Cooke: Thank you buddy. Take care. Bye, bye.
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.
Stu: Some people freak out when they enter a new decade in their lives, and 40 seems to be a catalyst for many a mid-life crisis. When I turned 40 I joined CrossFit and decided to become fitter and stronger than ever before (mid-life crisis I hear you say). This is where we met Ewan, he seemed to be doing things that defied logic so we asked him to share his secrets.
Over to Ewan…
Ewan: The BIG four zero, for some, is a time to hang up the boots and find a hobby that isn’t quite so demanding on the old joints. For others it’s a time to make a new start and change some bad habits you’ve picked up over the years.
Where did my journey begin?
My fitness journey started almost 30 years ago. I was packed off to boarding school where it was either rugby or running. I had the hand to eye coordination of a fish, so, by default I became a runner. The school gymnasium wasn’t discovered until I turned 15 and was only used during French lessons! I stuck with my love for running until my mid 20′s when I discovered wakeboarding. If you have never tried wakeboarding then you’re missing out. It has similar skills required for surfing with a much faster learning curve. Fast forward 8 years and a move from the UK to Australia had me searching for a new sport. A nagging mate, a global gym membership, one workout later and I had found this thing called CrossFit.
I’m willing to bet that these days, most readers have heard of CrossFit. Either if you love or hate it, you can’t deny that CrossFit has now reached the masses. Hell, your mum has probably heard of it and even possibly tried it.
Fit at 40
Being fit when life is supposedly supposed to begin will mean different things to different people. If your New Year resolution didn’t include a checkbox for getting back into the gym or going for a run with the dog then the good news is that you don’t need an excuse to start. There isn’t a big bang moment when you go from being unfit to fit; it is a journey and an adventure. My training today looks very different to my training in my twenties. Back then it would be a case of turn up at the gym, lift some weights, rest, repeat and finally shower. The age of the internet has made everybody experts and the knowledge available has enabled me to give mother nature the middle finger and continue to improve. Gone are the days of getting changed and being good to go, a few life lessons later and I recognise the importance of nutrition, a thorough warm up and rest. Lots of rest.
Food, glorious food
My wife loves to remind me that in my teens and 20’s my diet consisted of pasta and cheap sausages. Thankfully both have now been replaced with zucchini noodles and steak (I know, very hipster). For me personally, I would describe my diet as primal, I love dairy too much to give it up for the paleo diet. Breakfast will consist of bacon, eggs and half an avocado, lunch and supper will be some seasonal veggies and fish/meat. I’ve switched from eating quantity to quality; meat purchased these days has to be grass fed. You really can taste the difference. Any snacks will be a handful of almonds and a 180 shake.
Having a family with three kids has to be about compromise, we do have bread in the house and I’ll occasionally make a baconator, as much bacon, egg and avocado as I can fit in two slices of bread. Guilt levels on a baconator day = Zero. My four nutrition tips for a healthy lifestyle are:
Whatever you do make it sustainable. If you have a bad day, don’t give up, simply recognise the trigger and get back on the wagon
Drink a minimum of 2l of water a day
Avoid sugar and sweeteners
Eat real food. Stick to the outer isle of the supermarket and select what is in season
To supplement or not to supplement
Recovery has been one of my main battles since I hit 40. I can’t always do multiple training sessions in a day unless I have my nutrition dialled in. For me this means supplementing my meals. Over the years I have tried most supplements out there and now have a small list of what works for me:
Fish oil: The benefits of fish oil are amazing, google “benefits of fish oil’ and you’ll get over 8 million links to click through. For me I choose to use it for its anti-inflammatory properties. Forget your generic supermarket brand where you can get 400 for $20. Instead choose a good quality fish oil
Glutamine: Glutamine is found in over 60% of skeletal muscles and is one of the amino acids that make up protein. I take about 5-10g a day. Again this is taken for recovery
Greens: I take a product called Green Fusion from bulk nutrients, It’s a combination of Barley, Wheatgrass and Spirulina and taken instead of a multi vitamin
ZMA: Zinc, Magnesium and B6. I first tried this 10+ years ago and gave up on it as a gimmick. I decided to give it another try 18m ago (around the time our twin girls came along and sleepless nights started). I do find I sleep much better when taking ZMA. Or rather I don’t sleep as well when I run out.
180 Nutrition Superfood: The versatility of this is amazing. I use it with almost everything, from a humble protein shake to a scoop in my sweet potato & cinnamon mash. I typically have a large bag of coconut and a small bag of chocolate on the go.
Coffee: My drug of choice. Nuff said!
There isn’t a magic pill when it comes to supplementation, you’ll typically only notice any difference when you stop taking them. If I had to pick one it would have to be fish oil (Sorry Guy & Stu, you came in a close 3rd after coffee).
A daily routine
My day typically starts at around 5am, I’ll make some breakfast before jumping on the pedal bike and heading to coach at one of the two CrossFit boxes I work at. Taking the class through the warm-up is a great way for me to grease the groove and flush out the body of any kinks. After class I’ll head into the CBD where I work for a large international bank where I’ll spend most of my day sat on my bum. At the end of the day it’s back to the box to lift heavy things and move fast. I’ll either focus on a weakness or join in the class. After class it will be back on the bicycle to see the family. I’m a lightweight when it comes to burning the candle at both ends and will typically have lights out between 8:30 and 9pm.
The old saying ‘Routine is the enemy’ is true when it comes to exercise. Change now if your exercise routine is like watching the movie Groudhog Day. Your routine stops as soon as you pull on that t-shirt and training shoes. If your New Year resolution was to start running then mix it up with some sprint sessions or some hill runs. Embrace the change and challenge yourself. My tips for getting and staying fit are:
It’s never too late to start, even if that start feels like you have been run over by a truck, good for you for starting!
Set yourself short and long term goals. Write them down, stick them on your wardrobe door, tell your partner & friends, make yourself accountable. Start the short term goals with ‘This week I will’ and surround yourself with a supportive network of family and friends
Record your progress, You’ll be amazed when that run round the block which took you 10min three months ago can now be smashed out in under 5. It doesn’t matter if you use pen and paper, a Fitbit or an online tool. It is a powerful motivator being able to see your results
You are never too old to start, be open to change and have fun saying yes to new challenges.
Guy:Do you struggle to motivate yourself for exercise? Then this 2 minute gem above is a must watch as Darryl shares with us the secret to exercising without it feeling like exercise!
Darryl Edwards is a movement therapist, paleo nutritionist, blogger and published author of the book “Paleo Fitness”. Based over in the UK, his main focus is primal nutrition for disease prevention, health, body composition, performance and well-being.
From former coach potato to a fantastic ambassador of true health and fitness, Darryl shares with us the lessons he’s has learned along the way. He also a seriously fun and playful guy and we had a lot laughs recording this.
Full Interview: Couch Potato to Becoming The Fitness Explorer. A Transformational Story
In this episode we talk about:-
The biggest key to turning your health around
Is the paleo diet is for everyone?
How to apply paleo with ease to your whole lifestyle
Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence from 180 Nutrition, and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. So, our special guest today is Darryl Edwards. He’s also known as The Fitness Explorer. And in his own words, he was a couch potato and he said he journeyed into the world, I guess, of primal fitness, holistic health, and paleo nutrition. And it’s transformed his life and now he’s out there helping others with the same journey, I guess, you know?
The one thing that was very clear about this podcast today is that Darryl is a lot of fun and we had a lot of fun doing it. It was a very relaxed conversation. I got a lot out of it. It makes me want to go and bear crawl across the sand when I leave the room in a minute.
And I love the way Darryl actually looks at, I guess you could say the holistic approach to everything. And I have no doubt whether you are a couch potato or whether you are going to the gym six days a week, if you listen to this it will make you think a little bit differently about your approach.
As always, if you’re listening to this through iTunes, please leave us a little review, a little bit of feedback. It’s always great to hear and, of course, it helps our rankings and gets the word out there. And of course come over to our website. You can sign up to our email and we send this content out on a regular basis so you don’t have to miss anything, which is, of course, 180Nutrition.com.au.
Anyway, enough of me talking. Let’s go over to Darryl and enjoy the show.
All right. This is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke and our special guess today is The Fitness Explorer Darryl Edwards. Darryl, welcome. Thanks for joining us on the show, mate.
Darryl Edwards: Thanks for the invitation. I’m really looking forward to the chat.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, it’s great to have you on. And I was just; we were chatting to Stu, you know, because we were discussing literally about the transformation you’ve been on over the years, you know, and you even mentioned on record you were a skinny fat person at one time. And clearly now you’ve gone on and you’re, you could say, exploring fitness. You know: You’re a paleo advocate; nutritionist. And what I’d love to kick off with is, I guess, what was the tipping point? Where did your journey begin and now you’re out there, you know, spreading the good word?
Darryl Edwards: Yeah. I suppose my journey began with me getting, you know, kind of an early warning sign or signs about the state of my health after an annual health checkup. And basically the report that I was presented wasn’t good news. So, you know, everything from hypertension, I was pre-diabetic, I was anemic, I had a whole host of issues in terms of my blood panel. My lipid profile was off. And what I was told was that the only way out of this was a series of meds. Was medication.
And: “It runs in the family.” Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. And it was like: “This is the option for you. Take some medication and everything will be fine, but you’ll just be dependent on this for the rest of your days. Or, you can look at your lifestyle.”
And I didn’t really have many suggestions from my doctor as to what that lifestyle choice should be. So, I had to resort to investigations and research of my own. And I had read paleo diet, you know, a few years previous; prior. And I kind of went back to it and I was, like, “Hold on a second.” Something kind of didn’t make sense when I read it initially, but the second time around, in the context of how I was feeling and what I recognized I had to do, which was a back-to-basics; a kind of go back to the basics. You Know: be more aligned with nature. And that kind of appealed to me.
So, the diet was the gateway to the rest of the lifestyle. And that research led me to kind of evolutionary biology, evolutionary medicine, evolutionary fitness. The whole kind of, well, if I’m eating the foods that are optimal for health based on nature’s design, then surely there are other aspects of the lifestyle that are just as important. Movement was one. You know. Then, looking at everything else.
Guy Lawrence: So, it took a scare, basically, for you to make change.
It’s interesting that you mentioned that you read the paleo books three years prior. And a question had popped in at the time. Did that; did you sort of read it and go, “Oh, wow. This is interesting. This makes sense.”? Or did you go, “Pfft. I don’t know about this. This all sounds a bit woo-woo. Or…”
Darryl Edwards: Yeah. I guess. I suppose, I mean, it was long time ago now. It was over 10 years ago now. So, when I, yeah, I mean, I remember kind of questioning the whole argument around, you know, I’ve got nothing in common with the caveman. You know, it sounds very romantic and idealistic about everything was just perfect pre-agriculture. And it just didn’t; it was like, yeah, it sounds like a great idea, but how is that gonna fit in with the 21st century? How is that going to fit in with my life today?
But when I had that kind of health scare and when I recognized that whatever I was doing and whatever was conventional wasn’t working for me, I had to basically pin my hopes on a different direction, and I think a back-to-basics concordance with nature seemed to fit. It kind of made sense.
And having the before-and-after snapshot, which was a health snapshot, presenting really good results after three to six months, you know, repeating the blood tests and everything being great, it was like, OK, I don’t know why this is working, necessarily, but it works.
And that was good enough for me to realize I had to maintain the same, that journey and that same sort of path, and then do more research and find out, well, why is this actually working and what else do I need to know in order for me to make this really a part of my life rather than just a three- to six-month transition and then revert back to my old lifestyle. What I am going to do to make this part of my life until the end of my days?
Stuart Cooke: Why do you think it did work for you? What were the standouts where, perhaps, what were the differences before and after that really made such a difference to you?
Darryl Edwards: Um. That’s a really good question. I mean, I suppose just removing processed foods, removing foods that, wherever you, again, it’s even today I’m still toying with the importance or the relevance of avoiding grains, avoiding dairy. And by removing those food; removing those items, you know, and focusing on real food, focusing on food that I could; if civilization ended tomorrow and I was on a desert island, what are the foods that would be available to me?
And that makes sense to me. You know: How long would it take me to hunt down a cow and, you know, produce milk? What will it take for me to do that? You know? What would it take for me to find; to get some wheat from a field to kind of break the kernel down, to grind it for several days just to produce a few grams of flour.
It’s like all of that process-intensive, labor-intensive work just to get relatively poor-quality foodstuff. You know what I mean?
So it’s like I think just a focus on natural produce, removing several steps of the manufacturing process and chemical processing and artificial foodstuffs. I mean, that’s the real benefit of paleo. And then the agriculture or pre- or post-agricultural argument, is debatable. But I think even going back 20, 30, 40 years ago, going back to my childhood, the food I was eating back then as a child was far more healthful than what most people will eat today.
So, going back, when I was eating meat as a child, my parents wouldn’t go to a supermarket to get food. They would go to a greengrocer’s, a butcher’s, a fishmonger’s. That would happen. There was no; everything was kind of organic.
So, it was the obvious choice as a kid. And then as an adult you decide, “Oh, no. I prefer convenience. I prefer what’s gonna cook in two minutes in a microwave.” Those are the decisions I was making in terms of food. And so it’s not surprising that I was suffering as a consequence.
It’s no surprise. No fat in my diet. Dairy that; I was suffering from dairy consumption, and just believing it was OK to deal with that. So, every couple of days I’d have my cereal. I’d then spend much of the morning on the toilet. And I was, “Oh, yes. This is just how it is. This is just the norm.”
But when dairy was removed from my diet…
Stuart Cooke: It’s insane, isn’t it? I’ve got a story about dairy, and this takes me back to my teenage years. When my skin was appalling, so, it was erupting, and I went to the doctor’s and the doctor said, well, I’m gonna give you some antibiotics. And of course at that stage of my life, I had no idea about the importance of a healthy gut and gut bacteria to keep me thriving. And so I went on a course of antibiotics. And it helped a little bit. But this course continued for about four years; four or five years. And so I was on antibiotics every single day for about five years.
And it didn’t really seem to fix the problem. And then I remember reading one day about dairy and how dairy can affect hormones and hormones are linked to skin. And so I cut out dairy.
And at that time, I loved cheese. You know, I was pizza-eating challenge at college and I could eat cheese and pickle sandwiches every single day. And so I cut it out. Three weeks later: completely clear. And that’s the trigger.
And you’re told that there is no relationship between what we consume and how we look and fill, but I think it’s a different story, completely.
Darryl Edwards: Yeah, for sure. Totally agree. I mean, it’s pretty much obvious that what you eat; you are what you eat. People don’t choose to believe that and it’s unfortunate that, as you said, most of the kind of medical and conventional establishment will say, “Oh, it’s got nothing to do with food. How can that have any bearing on your health?” That’s just ridiculous.
Guy Lawrence: It’s crazy, isn’t it? It’s crazy. And, sadly, pain is the biggest motivator. You know? We need to be in a lot of pain before we need to change and then start making decisions and actually thoroughly looking into these topics and going, “OK, let’s apply it.” And actually apply it.
Because we can tell ourselves all sorts of things and think we’ve getting away with it.
Stuart Cooke: So, do you think that the paleo diet would be everyone?
Darryl Edwards: Um. You’ve asked a good question.
Stuart Cooke: It’s a loaded question.
Darryl Edwards: Yes. I mean, yes in the sense that I believe human beings are omnivorous. There were no hunter-gatherer populations that are just carnivorous or just herbivores. We are omnivores. We should have animal protein and vegetable matter and plant matter in our diets. And on that basis, it of course is suitable for all human beings.
Of course, ethics, morals, cultural decisions can also come into play. And that may be a barrier as to whether you can partake, happily, with the paleo diet. You know, if I was French, for example, and bread is an extremely important part of my lifestyle, it may be very difficult for me to avoid grains and take on board paleo unless I’ve got some health issues that came about by me consuming grains. Do you know what I mean?
So, I think yes, it’s suitable for all. But it comes down to the individual whether XXyou type it painfully enough? 0:13:49.000XX for you to want to make the transition or whether you believe that the foods that you consume will lead to a healthier and more productive life; lifestyle.
Stuart Cooke: And I think it’s about finding your sweet spot, too, because we’re all so very, very different whether it be from a genetic level or almost an ancestral level. It finding out what works for us. It might be higher fat for some. It might be higher carbohydrate for others. But I think we can all benefit from pulling toxins and processed chemicals out of our diet, for sure.
Darryl Edwards: Yeah, for sure. That’s a good point. Again, you know, as we’ve been doing this quite a while, I’m always toying with the idea of this kind of this one-size-fits-all or should it be down the stage of being so individualize. And so an individual description in terms of our nutritional macronutrient profile and what we should be consuming.
And I’m not veering most towards that actually I believe if we’re healthy, XXat once I should feel it all?? 0:15:00.000XX. And the reason I believe that is because if you do go to a hunter-gatherer population, they were eating foods based on their environments. They weren’t choosing foods based on, “Oh, well, we’re a hunter-gatherer of this persuasion, so we’re gonna predominantly have fats.” That wasn’t…
Guy Lawrence: “That wasn’t an option, was it?”
Darryl Edwards: Yeah. It was based on their environments. And, again, I can’t imagine people saying, within that community, that small community, “Hey, you know what? I don’t really fancy eating food. I want to have a lower food consumption because I don’t feel too good on food.” I’m pretty certain most people had exactly the same template in terms of their food consumption, based on what was available in their environments.
I think, for us in the present day, most of us are suffering from all sorts of ailments, you know, whether it’s epigenetically, whether it’s environmental, that we probably do have to have a personalized prescription. But I think that’s more to do with the travails of one society rather than the fact that we need an individual prescription. That’s just my take.
Stuart Cooke: Oh, absolutely. And I think our interpretation of our environment is a little skewed as well, because our environment now has a Pizza Hut on every corner and a fast food take-away next door to that, and a supermarket right next door. So, we kind of; it’s a struggle now to actually connect with these beautiful whole foods unless we go out of our way to farmers markets and the like.
Darryl Edwards: That’s a very good point. I mean, yeah, we don’t have to hunt for our food anymore, and hunting would be going to a farmers market or going to a local supermarket or going to the fridge.
Stuart Cooke: Hunting for the cheapest pizza.
Guy Lawrence: So, for anyone listening to this, Darryl, that would be, maybe, wanting to create change with their nutrition and diet, they look at it and go, like, it’s so overwhelming. We have all these emotional attachments to changing these foods and everything else.
What would you say would be; how would you prescribe it? Where would you say to start, for someone to just go… Do they go cold turkey? Do they do it softly, softly? You know?
Darryl Edwards: Um, yeah. That’s a really good question. For myself, I went; I kind of selected what I knew wouldn’t be a heartache for me in terms of going cold turkey. So, for example, dairy was easy to do. Literary, day zero, no dairy. That’s it.
Oats, for example, never: “Boom.” It was easy for me to select certain food types and go, “Right, you know what? I’m not going to have any issues with avoiding those.”
Others that were a little more troublesome, you know, I had to just phase them out over time. And that’s what worked for me. So I think it depends on your personality. It depends on your views about willpower. It’s also deciding what’s going to be a long-term decision for you.
So, I think people can, in the short term, be really strict and go cold turkey and then they’ll just break down and backslide, maybe even worse than their original starting point in terms of their dietary choices.
So, I think it’s really worthwhile thinking about, well, why am I doing this? You know, is it because of health? Is it because I want to look good? Is it because I just want to drop a dress size? What’s the reasoning behind this?
And if that reason is fairly short-term, “I want to lose five kilos in six months,” then you might only decide to follow that lifestyle change for six months, because you’ve achieved your objective. You’ve achieved your goal. And then you’re likely to kind of bounce back.
Whereas, myself, I had to make sure I was underpinning my lifestyle. The reason for my lifestyle change is underpinned by health. And so I’m always looking at, not just today, not just in a year’s time, but literally decades ahead is part of my vision.
And so it means I’m not perfect in my decisions but at least the majority of the times it’s always in the back of my mind. Do I want to take the left path to destruction and poor health? Or will I veer much more to the right and go, hey, more or less I’m making the best decisions that I can, and I feel really happy about making those choices. So, I don’t feel as if I’m punishing myself.
And I think that’s what, yeah, I think it’s: Don’t punish yourself and try to make a long-term decision.
Stuart Cooke: I think it allows us to reconnect ourselves with food as well, because historically, with our processed and packaged food, it’s a quick, you know, slap it in the microwave, boil in the bag, open a packet, put it on the plate.
Whereas now, you know, we’re careful about the fruits and vegetables and meats that we can prepare. We understand taste. And when you strip, when you move away from your processed packaged foods, then you can start exploring things like herbs and spices as well to bring those flavors together. So, it’s about getting back in the kitchen and understanding that cooking is actually part of our day, where as ordinarily it might just be: Slap it in the microwave, put the TV on, and just eat.
Stuart Cooke: I kind of like that side of it. And also, from a parent’s perspective, it’s great as well, because your kids see you doing that and we don’t; that’s such a vital aspect of our upbringing, which is cooking and preparation of food.
Darryl Edwards: That’s also a very good point. I mean, yeah, a lot of what I remember I can reference as a child, and the lessons that I was taught by my parents in terms of food preparation and selecting food. And it’s amazing what comes flooding back, know that I’m actually spending more time thinking about food preparation. But I spent, you know, a good 10, 15 years, literally, what can I source as cheaply as I can, as conveniently as I can, and if I do have to carry it home, it literally is popping it in the microwave, dishing it onto the plate.
Guy Lawrence: I think, as well, when you’re doing that, you have no idea what’s going in there. No idea at all, you know?
Darryl Edwards: You simply don’t care. You don’t care. As long as you kind of fill that need of, “I need to eat food,” I mean, yeah, I know food is an inconvenience most of the time. It’s like, “Oh, I have to eat because I’m hungry.” It’s like, “Why am I hungry? Why can’t I just survive without food?”
Now, of course, I recognize that it’s extremely important and it’s about nutrition and not just enjoyment. It actually feeds us in many, many ways.
Stuart Cooke: It’s fueling our body.
So, just to put that into perspective, given the fact that it’s quite late where you are, can you tell us what you have eaten today, from breakfast to now?
Darryl Edwards: Yeah. So, breakfast I had some eggs, like fried eggs, kind of scrambled. I had some sardines and some veg. And a couple of mandarins as a kind of dessert, for breakfast. I just had some nuts at lunch. It was very, very light. This evening I had some fish and some veg.
Guy Lawrence: Easy. So, it doesn’t have to be wild and wacky. You know, you eat whole foods, real foods, there’s no craziness going on.
Darryl Edwards: Yeah, no, exactly. It’s fairly straight-forward. So, I think there are times where I don’t have time to think about food preparations. It’s just a quick marinade, and it’s popped in the oven, job done. Throw some oil over, coconut oil, job done.
Other times you want to experiment a bit, you want to kind of go, “Hey let me tweak this recipe,” and, you know, slow-cook it. But it allows; you can work it into your lifestyle where, I don’t have much time but I’d still rather do that than pop to the KFC, which is next door.
Stuart Cooke: Especially with the likes of the slow cooker, which has become our best friend now. Just, you know, whack everything in in the morning and in the evening you’ve got the most amazing meal that you can then reheat for breakfast. It’s easy.
Darryl Edwards: Exactly. Yeah. I mean, breakfast is just another meal, at the end of the day. So, yeah.
Guy Lawrence: I’ve got to ask one question, Stu, I’ve got to ask you: What have you had for breakfast this morning? Because this guy is legendary with his breakfasts.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. OK. So, what have I had for breakfast? So, last night I made up a chili. So, just with a grass-fed mince and just mushrooms, veggies, I probably put a bit of paprika in there; a little bit of curry powder. A few spices. And I put a sweet potato in the oven. And then mashed up an avocado; did all of that.
Now, I ate half of it last night and I reheated the other half this morning so the looks on the girls were: “Oh, Dad, your breakfast is so smelly.” And I said, “Well, forget it. It’s so tasty.” So, I’ve had chili this morning.
But ordinarily, my breakfasts are quite similar to yours, Darryl, because I’ve got the biggest sardine fetish in the world. I can’t help myself. I often slip a few cans in when I’m kind of traveling around as well, just to make sure I get my fix.
Darryl Edwards: That’s a good idea, actually. I mean, it’s such good value for money. And I’m quite appreciative of the fact that people, they hate; it’s a love-hate relationship with sardines and I’m quite happy that a lot of people hate sardines because it keeps the price down.
Stuart Cooke: It does.
Darryl Edwards: So, a lot of the foods that we really enjoy that are paleo are becoming quite pricey, like coconut oil. Years ago, it was pretty cheap; almost a throwaway. It’s pretty pricey now. Avocados, same sort of deal. So, yeah, I’m…
Stuart Cooke: Let’s keep the sardines to kind of an underground Fight Club secret. Just don’t tell anybody.
Darryl Edwards: Don’t talk about it. Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: I might rush out this morning and buy up a small pallet full of them, because they’ve got a good shelf life.
So, I’ve got a bit of a left-field question. And, so, talking about your primal beliefs, how do they fit in outside of just food and exercise? And when I say that, I’m thinking about, kind of, you know, modern-day dude, he’s got a mobile phone stuck to his ear 24-7, gets up in the morning, has a shower, he’s got his shampoo, conditioner, soap, deodorant, aftershave, chemical toxins galore. What do you do to address the environmental side of things, if anything?
Darryl Edwards: Yeah, so, well, starting with the mobile phone. I try and use hands-free or headphones. So, it’s been years since I’ve had it pressed to my ear. I try to avoid that as much as I can. In terms of, like, cosmetics and toiletries, so now everything that I use is, you know, no paraffins, no sodium laureth sulfate.
I’m pretty strict and a tight regimen about exactly what I’m going to be using. So, I think that the food and movement was a great gateway to start questioning other aspects of our lifestyle. It’s like: What’s the point in me trying to avoid toxins that I’m consuming, but yet I’m splashing all sorts of rubbish on my skin and in shampoo, toothpaste, and the like.
So, it doesn’t take long to start not only looking at the labels on the back of food products but also on the labels on the back of toiletries and go, “What does that mean? What’s that?” You know. XX??? paraffin?? 0:28:13.000XX. What’s that? What’s all that about?”
So, it doesn’t take long to educate yourself and go, “Ah! It’s harmful. Ah! That’s a carcinogenic. Oh my goodness, that’s, you know, petro-based, petroleum-based product.” I don’t want that. Don’t want to be using that.
So, I think, another thing, we do live in the 21st century. We can only mitigate the risks as best as possible without living out on the sticks. I mean, wherever you live in the world you’re tainted by some form of toxin. You know, a toxic environment wherever you are, unfortunately. So, you can only do the best that you can.
And so, I no longer use plastics in the kitchen. So, I no longer use any kind of harsh chemicals in terms of cleaning products as well as what I use on my skin. And I think you just start questioning every single aspect of your life. I can’t avoid using my mobile phone, but…
Stuart Cooke: You do the best you can.
Darryl Edwards: Do the best you can. Yeah. Which is, I think, it’s far better than just going, “Oh, there’s nothing I can do about this. I’ll just…”
Stuart Cooke: No, that’s right. I always like to think about the nicotine patches that you can purchase and you pop on your skin. And people don’t understand that you put one of those patches on your arm and within 10 minutes, the nicotine is in your blood system. Well, that’s the same vessel for transporting whatever it is in your moisturizer or your soap or shampoo, goes; it’s the same thing.
And because we just think, “Well, that’s just soap,” or, “That’s just conditioner,” we just don’t think along those lines. So, yeah, definitely great just to be aware of it and do the best we can, I think.
Darryl Edwards: Yeah. And it’s amazing you say that, because we’re watching adverts all the time, anti-aging products telling us about the fact that these chemicals are absorbed into the skin and affects the XXchemical?? 0:30:23.000XX structure of the skin and affects the follicles in the hair, and of course, XXsomebody’s??XX going to say it’s a pseudoscience and doesn’t really work. But at the end of the day, you know, the largest organ on our body, i.e. the skin, does absorb some of these nutrients.
Stuart Cooke: It’s just nuts, isn’t it?
Darryl Edwards: Yeah, exactly. So, it’s kind of common sense but as you said, we kind of go, “Eh. Meh. It’s just on the surface. It’s all external. It’s the surface of the skin. It’s kind of impervious. It doesn’t really matter.” Actually, yes it does.
So, if somebody suffers from a lot of skin issues for many, many years and has seen their dermatologist and been told there is nothing you can do, dietary or externally, that’s going to make any difference, apart from taking these topical creams, you know. The steroid creams will work. “But nothing else you can do is gonna make any difference.” And actually, there are things we can do to make a difference.” You know?
Stuart Cooke: Perhaps we could work together and come up with a skin care range based upon sardines.
Guy Lawrence: That would be such a winner.
Stuart Cooke: It would be. You can be the guinea pig, Guy.
Darryl Edwards: I think it would be just be XXyou and I purchasing that 0:31:39.000XX. I don’t think anyone else would but into that.
Guy Lawrence: I just want to add, as well, because you guys are raving about sardines, I buy cans of them and they sit on my shelf for weeks and I have to build up the courage to eat them. I just can’t swallow them. I’ll put about 6,000 spices in it, but…
Darryl Edwards: It needs spices. But, I’ll tell you want, again, as a kid, it was kind of; it’s a “poor man’s food.” And so you just XXget used to its 0:32:09.000XX taste and, fortunately, I had a lot of fish as a youngster, so that fishy smell doesn’t; yeah, whatever.
Stuart Cooke: Absolutely.
Darryl Edwards: It’s a great source of calcium as well.
Stuart Cooke: Oh, I love it. Bones and all. I used to take them out, but not anymore. I love it.
Guy Lawrence: So, I was thinking it would be great to just get into the movement side of things now. Because we see that you’re doing some unconventional things in the way of diet and fitness. And we saw a quote on your website the other day that you help people who hate exercise get fit and eat that way. So, I wondered if you could just elaborate on what actually it is that you do.
Darryl Edwards: Yeah, so, Primal Play is my movement methodology. And part of that is its designed for people who hate to exercise. And I think quite a lot of us, even when we kid ourselves otherwise, we do hate to exercise, because it’s a chore, it’s kind of punishing/grueling, and we do it because we recognize it’s gonna be beneficial for us. Because we either want to get fitter or we want to, again, look good-natured or whatever it is.
So, we put ourselves through the paces but the experience itself may not be that pleasurable.
And so Primal Play is really getting people to focus on what is enjoyable about movement. The essence of movements. And most conventional exercise doesn’t necessarily address that, in my opinion.
Guy Lawrence: Do you think it would be fair to say, because, like, I come from a background as a fitness trainer as well, when you exercise you’re always fixated on the end goal. So, let’s say I’m going to go for a run, 10Ks, and I’m fixated on my time and everything else. And then I’m done, you know. Psychologically I can relax and watch TV or whatever. You know? And from what you’re sort of promoting is that you can be; everything’s about just being present. Being in the moment and enjoying the process.
Darryl Edwards: Yes. Yep. That’s exactly right. I mean, being mindful and thinking about the process rather than the goal; the end result. And making sure you’re getting instant gratification when it comes to movement.
So, most people will be thinking about the end result. You know: the goal. “At the end of my 10K run, everything’s going to be great. I’m going to get the endorphin rush, it’s going to be amazing, and I can take off and have a run completed.”
But starting that 10K? Pfft. You know, it’s very rare, thinking about when I used to do a lot of running, it was rare that I would enjoy that first step of the run. Very rare. You know? Putting that playlist on my iPod of 2,000 songs and I’d still be bored out of my skull. You know? Thinking: What song have I got on my iPod that’s actually gonna keep me going for the next 25 minutes, or whatever.
So, yeah, for some people who are really motivated to exercise, it doesn’t matter. They’re not distracted. They can just get stuff done. But most of us I don’t think are that self-disciplined. I think we force ourselves into this culture of exercise and fitness because we know it’s so beneficial.
Guy Lawrence: Definitely. Definitely. Yeah.
I always remember the amount of miserable faces that would walk into the gymnasium: “Oh, my God, I’ve got to do this for an hour.”
Stuart Cooke: That’s because you were training there, Guy.
Guy Lawrence: I would soon put a smile on their face; don’t you worry about it.
It makes me think of surfing, as well, because myself and Stu have taken up surfing because I live just outside Maroubra Beach. And when I’m in there, it’s all about the moment. Like, I never think, “When is this gonna end?” I’m just enjoying the process of it all and the elements around me. And it doesn’t feel like a chore.
And sometimes I go out and go, “God. I’m knackered. That was really hard work.” But at the time I didn’t have to think about it in any sense, and I’d have a smile on my face.
Darryl Edwards: In that compression of time, it’s really important.
Stuart Cooke: What would one of your fitness sessions look like? What do you get into?
Darryl Edwards: It’s very difficult to describe, really, but I sort of can just visualize; if you can think about going back to being a kid and playing at any game that you played as a kid, which was about including everyone who was available to play. Yeah?
So, there was no kind of like, “Oh, you’re not good enough to play this game. You don’t have the right skill level. You’re not the right age. You’re not the right sex.” Whatever. So, being very inclusive. Again, ensuring that there’s maximum enjoyment right from the off.
And usually ensuring that there’s some sort of cooperation kind of teamwork is involved. And so that can be everything from a modified version of tag. Or, I came at this with about three or four different variants of tag when I went to Australia. “Tips” is one. And I was, like, “What the heck is that: tips?”
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, exactly.
Darryl Edwards: So I was like, yeah, we’re going to play tag, and they were like, “What’s tag?”
Stuart Cooke: We used to call it “it” at school.
Darryl Edwards: Yeah, “it” as well. Yeah. So, I play like a modified version of tag, which is more suitable for adults and doesn’t involved running around like a maniac for hours on end.
But it’s kind of taking that playful, kind of play-based activity but making sure there is some training and conditioning effect from it. So, not just the completely aimless, where it’s like, “Oh, what’s the point of doing this?” But actually, I want to play, but I still want to get stronger. I still want to get fitter. I still want to build up my endurance and stamina. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
So, I’ll still have those fitness goals, but I want to make sure that it’s all wrapped around this kind of veneer of play.
Stuart Cooke: So, you’re playing and your participants have to wear a 10kg weights vest. Is that correct?
Darryl Edwards: Yeah. You know, I’m going to add that to the repertoire next.
I suppose people can see, can check out my YouTube channel to see, get an idea of what my Primal Play session looks like. Or, even better, try and participate in one of my workshops.
But, yeah, for people who take part are in two categories. There are those who hate exercise, who have been sedentary, like couch potatoes, for 10 years, who go, “You know? I want to; show me what I can do to enjoy exercise again.” And I also get a second category of individuals who are, like, “I’m really fit. There’s nothing you can do with play that’s gonna challenge me.”
Stuart Cooke: That’s a dangerous question.
Darryl Edwards: I say, “OK. Let’s see what we can do.”
So, it’s great to pit those complete, diametrically opposed individuals and go with someone who’s an elite athlete and someone who’s a couch potato and get them both to play this game, but feel as if you’re both working out. You know what I mean? You both feel as if you’re working at maximal output, but you’re doing it together. Well, then you’re thinking, “Oh, my gosh. You’re just so weak and pathetic. What’s the point in me doing this with you?” Or, “Oh, my goodness. They’re so big and strong and intimidating. There’s no way we’re going to be able to work out or play out together.”
So, yeah, it’s a very interesting concept. It’s taken me awhile to develop this. And the great thing about it is people tend to have a great time and oftentimes go, “Oh, my goodness. I didn’t realize… Why am I sore?”
Guy Lawrence: I think you mentioned the word “community” as well, at the beginning, and I think that’s so important as well. And when it comes to exercise, if you are doing this in a fun group environment, it really brings out the best of you. And you’re sharing an experience with other people, as opposed to just; I keep using running as an analogy, but just listening to an iPod, running on your own, it’s such a different thing. You know? And you can have laughter and fun and it will motivate you to go back and do it again.
Stuart Cooke: I think it’s really good to mix it up as well. Because I keep myself reasonably fit and healthy, but, you know, after an afternoon’s play with the kids, you know, the next day I have got all of these sore muscles all over the place where I never thought I had muscles. And I’m thinking, “What on earth did I do?” And I thought, crikey, of course, I’m crawling along on the grass like a lunatic, and enjoying it, having fun, laughing, and it must be beneficial too.
Darryl Edwards: Yeah. Of course. Yeah. That social aspect. And I think social isolation is, again, pretty much part of the modern era. And we’re quite happy; a lot of us are happy to be on our own, be completely isolated, and keeping fit is also part of that. “I just want to be in the zone on my own, nobody talking to me.” And even if you go into a group class, you know? I’ve been to lots of group classes at the gym, and it’s so much you’re siloed, you’re almost cloned with 20 other people doing your own thing and you might have a chat at the end: “Wasn’t that a great class, guys?” “Yeah!” And that’s the end of it of.
Guy Lawrence: That’s the only direction you go.
So, from a motivational perspective, right, so you’ve got the unmotivated person and they’ve got sedentary habits, where should they start? What would you recommend? Like, even from a mindset perspective, you know? To just get them over the edge, get them going?
Darryl Edwards: I suppose it’s trying to get them to integrate movement into their normal day. So, I think for somebody like that, to say to them, “Hey. You just need to just do 20 minutes a day. Just do half an hour three times a week.” That’s gonna seem like a mountain that’s impossible to climb, for them. But if you present it in the sense that, hey, you know what? You can just think of it as an interesting way to get XXout of the chair, for a start? 0:43:01.000XX. That’s one thing you can do. You know. You can start thinking of the stairs as your gym equipment. Every time you see the stairs, and you see a lift, you can go, “You know what? I’m gonna take the stairs because that’s me getting my workout; me actually doing some work.”
So, I think just presenting interesting opportunistic ways for them to get more movement into their day and hopefully start creating a bit of an appetite for that.
And for someone who’s naturally, who’s struggled to maintain the habits; form a habit of exercise, I would join a gym in January, and you’d be lucky if you’d see me there from February on. It just wouldn’t happen. I may be there in June to get ready for the beach in the summer, for holiday. But I’d be literally like, “Yeah, yeah, I’m all keen, ready to go, but I couldn’t maintain that habit. And I think part of that was because you’re going from zero to wannabe hero in a short space of time. You get sore, you achieve a lot in what’s actually a short space of time, but it’s kind of painful. It’s uncomfortable. It gets boring and routine. So you’ve got to find a way of making sure it just becomes the norm. It’s not a hobby anymore. It’s just part and parcel to integrate into your day.
And I’m finding I’m spending more time moving. If I go for a walk now, if I’m waiting for the bus, there are times when I will race the bus. I’ll purposefully be one step away from where I need to be, because I want to sprint for that bus. Or I’ll XXsit in the bus shelter and I can’t do proper pull-ups here?? 0:44:47.000XX I’ll walk around the wall because I want to text my balance out. The mindset that I have now has developed to the point where I don’t need a gym anymore, necessarily. Because the world is my gymnasium.
And that’s what I try to foster with my clients is that, yeah, wherever you’re at, whether it’s a hotel room, your living space, you’re in the outdoors, your gym, you’ve got to view it in a different way. And then you’re gonna start craving opportunities for yourself and hopefully enjoy those opportunities and then you can’t wait. And you almost itching for that next movement experience. I think that’s the way to go.
Stuart Cooke: That’s perfect. It is almost; it’s almost childlike in the thinking, because when I think of children out on the street, they very rarely sit and stand in one place at one time. If there’s a wall, they’ll be on the wall. If there’s a tree, they’ll be hanging off the tree, doing stuff. They never stop. And it’s kind of getting back to that way of thinking, opening up, letting go, having fun, and moving as well.
Darryl Edwards: That’s a great point. You know the comedian Lee Evans? The English comedian? So, I saw a show that he was on; a talk show that he was on. And he was like really animated and he was kind of climbing over the sofa and was being his, kind of, crazy self. And he was being asked about his age. And I think he’s just 50 or in his 50s. And he looks; you could take off 10, 15 years easily. He looks absolutely fantastic.
And there was a moment during this interview where he became very adult-like. He stopped playing around and started to be really serious. And immediately, those of us watching were like, “He looks his age now.” Seriously. It was like, “He looks 50 now.”
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. That’s nuts, isn’t it?
Darryl Edwards: What he was like before, he could have been 30, 35 easily. And I think that hits the nail on the head. That childlike, almost innocence. That kind of like nervous energy that kids have, once you lose that. Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: That’s right. Use it or lose it, isn’t it? That’s what they say.
Guy Lawrence: Definitely. So, what recovery kind of strategies do you do, Darryl? Do you think about it much or…
Darryl Edwards: It’s a bit like when you start looking at diet and you start, say, looking at paleo and you might start kind of weighing your food, measuring your food, thinking about, “Oh, I need to XXwork out with these shows here? 0:47:49.000XX and then you start thinking about: What times of day do I need to eat for optimal X, Y, and Zed. And then go, “Actually, no. I’ll just eat when I’m hungry. I’ll make sure what is on the plate is a decent portion. And I’m gonna be satisfied with…” You kind of just get a feel for what your body needs.
I think it’s the exact same with movements. You know, some days I go harder than others. Sometimes I play with others. And I just know what type of recovery I need for me to either continue with the same intensity or have to drop it down a bit. So, I think, again, being kind of childlike, I don’t remember being a kid, my mates coming around and saying, “Hey, Darryl, do you want to come out and play today?” And I’d go, “No. No chance, mate. I feel a bit sore from playing tag all day.”
Guy Lawrence: “I’m in recovery mode.”
Darryl Edwards: I do a bit of stretching and I’ll be fine.
Guy Lawrence: It comes back to listening to your body, right? And just being in tune. And I think the more you kind of take out the processed foods and get a good night’s sleep.
Stuart Cooke: But that’s it. You’ve touched on nutrition prior to that. But that is probably one of the biggest elements of your recovery. You have pulled out all of the inflammatory foods out of your diet and you’ve replaced them with these beautiful whole foods. They’re nutritious and healing. And that’s probably one of the best things you could do.”
Darryl Edwards: For sure. I think that’s a really good point. And also, I think if you have, in terms of movement, traditionally, I would have a one-dimensional or two-dimensional approach to fitness. You know, one-dimensional being I’m quite good at endurance stuff, so that’s what I’m gonna focus on. I’m quite good at cardio stuff. That’s what I’m gonna focus on. But need to get a bit of strength in there. So, ah, I see another dimension. I’ve covered two dimensions. But now I recognize that if I have a really wide repertoire of movement, I’m less likely to be injured. I’m less likely to have repetitive stress and strain. So, I’m less likely to be sore, actually. You know?
It sort of the point where I’m just kind of completely beaten up. And so if I do get sore, it’s sore to the point where I’m still not deterred from continuing to move. And I think that’s also part of listening to yourself. Actually, you know what. I’m sure, again, my ancient ancestors would be going for a heavy-duty hunt one day. Did they come back the following day when the didn’t capture anything and go, “Hey, you know what, today we’re just gonna stay; we’re not gonna go for a hunt because I’m sore and we didn’t even get any food yesterday.” Do you know what I mean? It was like, no, what do you mean “sore”? Muscle soreness? What’s that about?
Even that I think is definitely the fitness industry telling us that we should avoid movement if we’re feeling a bit sore. Because I don’t remember my father telling me when I was young that he was really sore from all the heavy lifting he had to do when he went to work. Do you know what I mean? He was tired. He had a hard day. But he wasn’t talking about XX???and saying I need to get a ??? 0:51:08.000XX.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, I get that completely.
Darryl Edwards: I push it because I’m too knackered or…
You just had to get stuff done. You just had to get stuff done. And I think that’s, as well as listening to ourselves, also knowing a safe limit to ensure that we’re still challenging ourselves because the day we can’t challenge ourselves, you know…”
Guy Lawrence: And most people, sadly, don’t move enough. The sit in front of a computer all day. They’re hunched over. Their posture’s just doing one thing. And even if they just moved, psychologically as well. You know, it’s massive. They’d get into it.
I’m checking the time. We’re starting to run out of time. So, we always ask a question on the podcast each week, and it’s: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? It’s such a small question.
Darryl Edwards: I had a book autographed by Mark Twight, who owns; the founder of Gym Jones, a fantastic gym facility in the U.S. He trained the guys in 300. And I was fortunate enough to spend some time in his facility when I started kind of exploring fitness and looking at different movement. But he basically wrote in my book, which he signed to me, and he said, basically, to kind of find your path. Find your way. Get off the path. And then, you know, get off it. Kind of deviate from that quite to an extreme level. And then come back to the path.
And that resonated with me then and it still resonates with me now, to the point where I think even as convinced as I may be about a particular path, whether it’s nutrition, movement, lifestyle, never stop questioning. Because I think you may be called back to that. But at least you’re completely aware of everything in the periphery. So, that’s probably the best advice I’ve received in recent memory. And it’s what I definitely will follow.
Guy Lawrence: That’s fantastic. Some of this brings to mind, I remember thinking the more you know, the more you actually don’t know.
Darryl Edwards: Yes.
Guy Lawrence: So, remaining open to it.
Darryl Edwards: Yeah, that’s a really good point, and I think simplicity now, I mean definitely for myself, I’ve initially amassed so much knowledge and intellect, I believe, is the way for me to improve my lifestyle. You know? “If I can have a Ph.D in nutrition and biochemistry, and I can be a chef, and I can become an exercise scientist, and I can…” You know what I mean? If I can master all of these different disciplines, then I’ll be healthy. And the reality is, if I could actually just implement some of the bare-bone basics, that’s good enough. Do you know what I mean? You don’t need to know that much, really.
Guy Lawrence: It doesn’t have to be complicated, does it?
Darryl Edwards: It doesn’t have to be complicated, no. You just have to basically implement it. And so now I’m actually spending less time researching unnecessarily, and thinking, hey, I just need to start doing a lot of this stuff that I already know.
Guy Lawrence: Less thinking, more doing. Yeah.
Darryl Edwards: Yeah. Exactly.
Guy Lawrence: Have you got any projects coming up in the future? What’s next for you, Darryl?
Darryl Edwards: Yeah, I’ve got a few projects on the go. So, the next big project is releasing PrimalPlay.com. So, I’m working on that at the moment. As I said, I’ve kind of worked on this movement methodology for some time, and kind of gaining a lot of attention in that area. So, I’m going to have a dedicated website with downloadable videos, a kind of community base of people who want to play more and recognize it’s part of a lifestyle rather than just the physical aspects. But it kind of permeates through every single part of your lifestyle.
Just learning how to kind of enjoy life, actually. And I’m working on my second book, which is going to be based on Primal Play. So, that’s going to be published by Primal Blueprint Publishing, so Mark Sisson’s publishing house.
And a pet project, a little side project I’m working on, is related to travel hacking. I’m not sure if you know much about this, but it’s basically a way of getting very cheap or completely free travel legally using certain strategies. So, that’s another website I’m going to be launching. Because I’m traveling quite a bit. I’m definitely a master now at getting upgrades and all sorts of stuff. So I’m kind of packaging it up and creating a launch space for that.
Guy Lawrence: Brilliant.
And then you can combine them all together: travel cheaply, play everywhere, and eat this paleo lifestyle while you’re doing it. And have fun along the way.
Stuart Cooke: Fantastic.
Guy Lawrence: That’s awesome, mate. That’s awesome. So, for anyone listening to this, where do they go if they want to get in touch with you; find out more about you, Darryl? Where is the best place to go right now?
Darryl Edwards: The best place is on my blog at TheFitnessExplorer.com. PrimalPlay.com will be available shortly. And just get in touch with me on social media. So, @fitnessexplorer on Twitter, Facebook.com/fitnessexplorer, and YouTube.com/fitnessexplorer, so you can see all my videos and just get a feel for what I’m doing.
And, of course, you can buy my book, Paleo Fitness, which is available in all good bookstores.
Guy Lawrence: Awesome. We’ll link out to everything so people who come to our blog and all the rest of it can check you out, Darryl.
That was awesome. Thank you so much for joining us on the show.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Thank you. I’ve had a lot of fun today.
Darryl Edwards: Thank you very much, guys. I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s been a real pleasure. It’s also like a smorgasbord of accents as well, which is quite cool.
Stuart Cooke: It is. That’s right. We’ll confuse the listeners. Maybe we’ll run a competition to spot the accent.
Darryl Edwards: We’re going to have some captions there.
Guy: Our special guest this week is Sarah Wilson. Her impressive resume includes author of the Australian and UK best-sellers I Quit Sugar and I Quit Sugar For Life (with I Quit Sugar becoming a New York Times best-seller this year).
Sarah has a journalism career that has spanned 20 years, across television, radio, magazines, newspapers and online. She’s also the former editor of Cosmopolitan magazine and was the host of the first series of MasterChef Australia, the highest rating show in Australian TV history.
The Full Sarah Wilson IQS Interview
In this episode we talk about:-
What inspired Sarah to quit sugar in the first place
The amazing health transformations she’s seen from quitting sugar
How she handles being in the public eye when it comes to her eating
The state of school canteens and what we can do about it
Got any questions for us? We’d love to hear them in the comments below… Guy
Sarah Wilson Interview Transcription
Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition, and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. Our lovely guest today is Sarah Wilson. Now, if you don’t know who Sarah Wilson is, in a nutshell she’s a New York Times bestselling author. She’s a blogger and a wellness coach. She has a career in journalism that’s spanned over twenty years, which is pretty amazing, across television, radio, magazines, newspaper, and, of course, online. She’s also the former editor of the Cosmopolitan magazine.
So an exceptionally impressive career and she’s now doing fantastic things, including the whole I Quit Sugar movement which, of course, myself and Stu are massive fans of and I have no doubt you’re going to get a lot out of this interview today. She’s a very positive, high-energy, and all around down-to-earth great girl, so it was just, yeah, just a pleasure to be able to interview her today.
If you are listening to this through iTunes, I know I ask, but please, hey, leave a little review. It’ll only take two minutes to do. It just helps us with our rankings on iTunes and, obviously, get the word out there with this message that we’re doing. And, of course, you know, if you are listening to it on iTunes, come over to our blog, because you get to see our pretty faces, because we do these in video as well, which is 180nutrition.com.au.
Anyway, enough of me, let’s go over to Sarah and talk everything about Sarah, her journey, and, of course, sugar. Enjoy.
Stuart Cooke: So, how we doing, Guy? We ready?
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, let’s do it. Okay. I’m Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke, as always, and our lovely guest today is Sarah Wilson. Sarah, welcome to the podcast.
Sarah Wilson: Thank you very much for having me. I’m looking forward to it.
Guy Lawrence: Us, too. We; I was just saying to Stu the other day, you know, we, I was, stumbled across your blog, it must have been many years ago, and I remember at the time you were actually either about to quit sugar or you were; you had quit sugar and you’d written about it, and I was thinking, “Finally somebody’s bringing this message to light.”
And to see you, you know, you go on and inspire so many people with what I think is an amazing message is fantastic. So I thought just for our listeners, just in case they don’t know any part of that journey or story, would you mind just sharing a little bit about it…
Sarah Wilson: Yeah. Absolutely.
Guy Lawrence: What even inspired you to quit sugar in the first place?
Sarah Wilson: Yeah. So, I do remember, actually, you interacting with me on the blog back in those days, sort of piping in and sharing your thoughts, so that’s been a long time coming, us actually having this conversation. So, yeah, as you know, I quit sugar because, as a journalist at the time, I actually had to write a column about something, and I was short of a topic. That’s kind of the lame reason.
The real reason is that I knew that I had to do it. It was hanging over my head. And it’s just sort of really a funny thing now, I can spot a person who is ready to quit sugar and somebody who’s not these days, because I remind myself of what I was like back then, and I’d been talking about it for ages. I, I’ll get on to the health reasons in a moment, but I had a bunch of health reasons for needing to, and I’d been told by a number of doctors I needed to do it, but really it was just this feeling: “I’m over it. I know that sugar is the reason I’m feeling baseline crap.”
You know? And I could make up all these other kinds of excuses, but it really did stem down to this thing, so when I had the excuse of a deadline to make it happen, I kind of jumped at it. So I was very fortunate, from that point of view. Not so fortunate, because I had, and still have, an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s, which is thyroid disease. I had a really bad case of it. I was editing a magazine, Cosmopolitan, and felt very unwell for adrenal issues, all of that kind of stuff, and soon wound up not being able to walk or work for nine months, and this is before, between Cosmopolitan and before hosting Master Chef, so it’s in that sort of this wasteland period.
And, you know, doctors had told me, and naturopaths and so on, “Look, you should probably try to quit sugar, you know, blood sugar issues are really bad when you’ve got, you know, sort of hormone issues.” So I gave it a go, and I was really resistant to it, but eventually, yes, all these factors coincided, and I thought, “I’d better do this. I’ve really got to do it.”
So, I set out to do it, as you’ll remember, a blog post and also a column for one of the newspaper magazines, which gave me a great reason to go and do it, and I certainly, that certainly helped, but I decided to do it just for two weeks. I didn’t want to commit too heavily, because I was petrified of the idea of it, and so I thought, “Two weeks. We’ll just give it a go, and we’ll see if it works.”
I felt much better even after two weeks. I had incredible results. I’m sounding like I’m about to sell you some steak knives, but I literally, my skin was the first thing to change, and that’s what most people who have done the program report is that their skin changes. So my skin suddenly just softened. Both wrinkles and pimples just kind of backed off, and my vanity, I suppose, meant that I was willing to keep going and going. That’s how I’m here today: I just kept going and going.
It turned into some e-books, as you know, and then a publisher approached me. It turned into some print books and now, of course, an online program and a business with fifteen staff and on it goes.
Stuart Cooke: Wow.
Guy Lawrence: Did you find it hard at the time? Like, you see people falling off the bandwagon when they…
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: They go around, “I’m cutting out sugar!” And then three days later they’re getting a headache and they’re XXgnawing on it all over?XX [0:05:42] again. Did you? No problem?
Sarah Wilson: Well, I found it harder than most people do, because of the autoimmune disease. The thing about Hashimoto’s is that blood sugar, well, there’s two things. Your thyroid can affect blood sugar and insulin levels and then, obviously, blood sugar spikes and then insulin levels then destroy the thyroid. So I was in this vicious cycle, it made it very difficult to quit sugar. So anyone with an autoimmune disease, particular thyroid disease, if you’re having a hard time quitting sugar it’s normal.
It puts me in good stead, because if I can do it, you know, anyone can do it. So I had a really tough time with it, but what I did was I researched it very, very heavily. I’m a bit of a science nerd, and I went out there, and I know you guys have done the same thing, I looked into all the science, and as a journalist I got access to the big voices in this kind of realm, and I was able to meet them and do an interview with them and ask them the questions that, you know, everybody else was asking me on the blog.
So; and I continue to do that today. So that helped me develop a kind of a way of doing it that was less painful than it needed to be, and, of course, as you guys know, the trick, if I was to boil it down to something, is replacing sugar with fat, like, so that I turned my body into a sugar-guzzling machine to a stable fat and protein and real food burning machine, which is a much even energy kind of fire.
So that’s essentially what I did, and so it was a gradual process, and my eight-week program is eight weeks because I researched that that was how long it took, but I also do it in a way, as I said, that I gradually replace things, and I gradually morph your body so that your metabolism recalibrates.
You go cold turkey, it recalibrates and you come out the other end being kind of sensible about sugar. You know what I mean?
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Sarah Wilson: I mean, you can actually have a little bit from time to time.
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely, yeah.
Sarah Wilson: I’m not somebody that says, “Never eat it again.” Because I just think that that’s, like, asking for trouble. That’s the whole premise of the diet industry, the idea that you stop yourself consistently. You restrain yourself. That doesn’t work. We’re humans. We want to reach out and touch things and try things. Like, once my body recalibrated, I didn’t have that visceral need, you know?
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, that’s right. It wasn’t that burning craving.
Sarah Wilson: I’m actually cool about it now.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.
Sarah Wilson: Yeah, exactly.
Stuart Cooke: I’m intrigued as to whether you have any more health transformations that you may have witnessed around quitting sugar. You know, aside of, kind of, weight loss.
Sarah Wilson: Yeah, well from my point of view, I’m probably the best example, because I prefer to work from an N equals 1 perspective in many ways, and I want everybody to work from that perspective, that is, use their own body as an experiment to see if it works for you. So, from my point of view, I’ve reduced my medication from the highest dosage of Thyroxine down to the minimum dosage, and I cut that in half, so I have half of that every day. My thyroid antibodies are back in an absolute normal range. I’ve got no inflammation.
I have bad days probably once a week where I’m inflamed and I’m hurting and it’s generally I know what it is. It’ll be something that I’ve done, you know, like I’ve overdone it one sugar. I’ve overdone it on alcohol. You know, when I say I’ve overdone it, I’m talking two glasses instead of one glass.
Stuart Cooke: Couple of glasses…
Sarah Wilson: Yeah, yeah, and the main thing is lack of sleep or stress. If I’ve really been pushing it really hard, you know, traveling and, or that kind of thing. So I used to have six days a week where I was like that, now I have one day a week where I’m like that. So, I also now menstruate again, so I didn’t menstruate for five years, and about six months ago my period came back, so for me, I actually think, and for any woman I think it’s the best kind of, you know, canary down a mineshaft, you know, sort of thing. It really does tell you that things are back on track. That’s been a really big thing for me.
Guy Lawrence: I think, as well, with what you’re highlighting, as well, it just goes to show, right, that, you know, by quitting sugar it’s a lifelong journey, and the fact that your health is still improving over time and everything’s coming back into working order, like, and it’s, you know, like you said, you’ve been doing this for four years, would it be?
Sarah Wilson: Yeah, four years. It’s a little under four years. It’ll be four years in January. But, yeah, the point I often make to people is that you’re not going to cure an autoimmune disease and, in fact, most diseases aren’t curable. They’re manageable. You modulate and you manage, and, for me, it keeps me honest.
So, without my disease I wouldn’t know when I’m on the right track, to be honest, because I kind of bludgeon my way through things. I’ve got lots of energy or, at least, you know, at sort of, at the core of me, the ability to go do things, and I’ll push myself too hard, and I’ll do the wrong things, and it is my disease that brings me back into myself and gets me real again, and keeps me well in a broader sense.
So, you know, it’s not something I’m going to cure. It’s something I’m going to manage. That’s something I really want to impress upon people, but back to your question, Stuart, just other stories, I’ll tell you a couple of areas that I still get a lot of feedback on.
Obviously weight loss and, you know, some people, most people basically, I don’t focus on weight loss, but what happens is that when you XXaudio problemXX [0:11:00] your appetite mechanism and your appetite hormones, which is what happens when you go from being a sugar-burning machine to more of a fat-burning machine, your appetite kicks back into gear, you just start eating what your body needs, right?
So then your body goes into the right space, the right weight, and for some people that means losing no weight. Some people it means losing the visceral fat, but not the rest of the fat. Other people it means putting on weight and for most people it does mean losing weight, and so we have people who have lost, I think the most is 48 kilos across eighteen months, which I find far healthier. And that’s just from cutting out sugar and then of course it does escalate because not only are you cutting out sugar, you cut out processed food, don’t you? Because when you quit sugar, you quit processed food, but you also have more energy so then you start exercising, and so it does all speed up a little bit.
So, you know, I’d be lying if I said it was all to do with sugar, but it’s all the repercussions of quitting sugar. Some other areas that I’m getting some really lovely feedback on is PCOS, so Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, and I have met so many young women who have been told they’re never going to have children, who’ve had real problems with their period, and they’ve quit sugar and what do you know, six months later they’re pregnant. You know?
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Sarah Wilson: And this has happened time and time again and, of course, those people do come out of the woodwork. I’m doing an event somewhere, they take the time and care to come meet me and show me their baby and that kind of thing, but the stories are out there is, I guess, the point there.
The other thing I’m getting a lot of, a lot lately, actually, is middle-aged men and older men, many men in their 60s predominantly, who have quit sugar mostly because their daughter or their wife has told them they had to.
Stuart Cooke: That’d be right.
Sarah Wilson: Yeah, yeah. They’ve done it and, generally, because, not because I pointed it out to them. They’ve watched a documentary, generally, where it’s a middle-aged man telling them all about it, but they’ve swung around to it, tried out my program and lost some weight, but then XXobviously?XX [0:12:59] have come off their cholesterol medication because they’ve basically got rid of all their cholesterol problems.
Which is funny, because you guys know the deal, I promote eating saturated fat and, what do you know, eat more saturated fat, eat less sugar, your cholesterol sorts itself out. So, that’s a really big one, is the cholesterol thing, and what I like about that is that it’s generally the most skeptical part of the demographic, do you know what I mean? Report these results.
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, I changed my father’s diet on the basis of a telephone call and realized he was on statin drugs and also drugs for type 2 diabetes, and so I asked him to keep a food diary for a couple of weeks and realized that the foods, the very foods that he was being advised to eat, were shocking.
Sarah Wilson: Yeah. Margarine.
Guy Lawrence: Oh, yeah!
Stuart Cooke: That was in there. That was one of them. So, I sent him back a few thoughts and ideas, and I wrote a meal plan, and he ran that for a month and went back to the doctors, and they said, “You have improved out of sight. We’re going to take you off your meds.”
Sarah Wilson: “What happened?”
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, exactly, “What are you doing?” And he said, “Well, I’m doing this,” and the doctor said, “Well, keep doing it. It’s working for you.”
Sarah Wilson: That’s what I’m getting feedback on, as well, is that doctors who have been skeptical and, “God, something’s going on here.” And, you know, again, I sound like I’m about to sell steak knives at the end, but the thing that I can say is that I was skeptical that just changing your diet could actually have such a big impact in what is a relatively short period of time.
Now, you know, you can, I mean, I’ve heard of, yeah, things being reversed in a couple of weeks and, you know, the aim shouldn’t emphasize being about reversing or coming off medication, that’s not the aim. The aim is just wellness in general and getting back to good, sound eating patterns that are sustainable. So, and then you’re body works itself out, but our bodies are desperate to work themselves out.
And if it’s food, bad food choices that are holding us back, often it’s a really simple equation, you know? It’s a simple solution. Sorry, all good. So, one of the most wonderful things is, you know, food can actually make a difference, and so many consumers of health and food products are feeling powerless at the moment, but you know that you can actually make these simple changes and actually do something about it without the government guidelines, without some big new drug, you know?
I think it’s one of those empowering things we can do.
Guy Lawrence: Do you think this message will ever go truly mainstream?
Sarah Wilson: Yeah, I don’t know that it’ll happen soon. I think it’s going to speed up very, very quickly, because social media allows us to expose Big Food’s sticky fingers in the pie, and that’s the biggest hindrance is without a doubt Big Food, because that’s controlling what’s happening at a government level. It’s controlling what’s happening with the marketing of food, but it’s also controlling the availability of the foods and so on. So, I think that’s probably the biggest thing.
But what’s happening is that consumers, as we were just saying, are essentially empowered, and they can do something about this themselves, you know? So, it is speeding up. People are getting more and more informed. Online communities are making all this information accessible. The science is rolling in to back what we’ve been talking about for the last four years. It’s uncanny, you know?
Just the other day, you know, what was it? The WHO regulations, for instance, have come out with exactly the same kind of prescription as I’ve been saying for the last four years. Now obviously they’re drawing on the same science I was drawing on, but they’re now confirming that that science is sound, you know?
Stuart Cooke: Interesting.
Sarah Wilson: And, you know, I think, you know, the fasting thing, you know, backing, I mean, allowing time between meals, not snacking all the time, snacking being part of the sugar industry’s message, that’s just rolled out, you know, sort of, last week, you know, this new science showing that fasting between meals and not having five, six meals a day is the way to go.
So, I think the science is catching up and media is getting on board. Not so much in Australia. Australian media is still very skeptical, but in the US and the UK, they are totally on board with this. Particularly the UK.
So, you know, they’re looking for these positive messages on the side of the consumer.
Stuart Cooke: Have you experienced any resistance or a great deal of resistance for the IQS message?
Sarah Wilson: Yeah…not a great deal and I think it’s because of the way that I try to deliver the information. I don’t get Draconian. I try to be inclusive and, also, I’m a bit of a bitch in this sort of area in terms of media and getting slapped around and so on, and some of your listeners might be aware of the opinion pages in the Herald Sun in Melbourne, Andrew Bolt. I used to share a page with him, you know? Writing opinions and that was at a young age. This was, you know, fifteen years ago, and so I’ve been kind of doing this kind of thing writing about stuff, poking my head up, for a long time.
And so I really do believe that the best way to go about this kind of stuff is to be the message, and so I just be my message. I live my life. I give out the N equals 1 thing, you know, here I am being a guinea pig, trying things out, and if you’re interested join me on the ride. I think, yes, unfortunately the most resistance I get, apart from; literally there’s only really one troll that I have, and if I mentioned his name I’m sure you guys would know him well, because he does the rounds… I can tell by your laugh that you know who I’m talking about.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Sarah Wilson: Let’s call him DD.
Stuart Cooke: Okay.
Sarah Wilson: Unfortunately, the most resistance is from dieticians, and I get it. They’ve got turf that they are feeling quite protective about. They’ve studied extensively and, you know…
Stuart Cooke: Oh, okay, you’re back. Sorry. I don’t know…
Sarah Wilson: I don’t know what happened there.
Stuart Cooke: Must have been the troll.
Sarah Wilson: That’s right. That’s right. Anyway, as I was saying, I’ve XXtold the dieticiansXX [0:19:31] and where they’re at, and I think that my end, at the moment, is to kind of find a common ground, because I think this issue is too important to have, you know, wars on Facebook and to have slinging matches. I’m not into that. I’m really not into it, and so I made a decision just recently that, you know, that’s not the way XXI’m getting paidXX [0:19:50] It’s not what I’m going to engage with, and I would rather be more inclusive, so I reckon that will probably turn out well, but, yes, I’ve had some interesting phone calls from some soft drink manufacturers wanting to meet up with me, you know, to hear about their latest campaign and so on.
So, a few things like that, but no, I don’t XXcop itXX [0:20:12] very harshly at all, and I think it is because I choose to ignore it.
Stuart Cooke: I think so, yeah. The way you deliver it as well. It has to be, it’s, I guess from the very essence of I Quit Sugar rather than You Must Quit Sugar.
Sarah Wilson: Exactly! Right, thank you for pointing that out, yeah.
Guy Lawrence: Can you tell us about your school canteens campaign that you’ve got going on at the moment?
Sarah Wilson: Yeah, yeah. Well, it’s basically, in a nutshell, we’ve got a situation in Australia where all the states and territories have slightly different laws but they’re much the same, and they’re out of step with the Australian dietary guidelines, which is an absolutely ridiculous state of affairs.
So, the Australian dietary guidelines last year changed, as you guys would know, to basically frame sugar in the same light as salt, alcohol, and, let me see, saturated fat, which is something to be limited. The school canteen guidelines have, however, not been updated for eleven years, and so you’ve got this scenario where you’re allowed as much sugar as you want in school canteen menus.
So, we’ve got this situation where full cream, you know, plain milk is given an amber light and in a lot of schools they just don’t even allow full-cream dairy, right? They just don’t allow full-cream version. So, plain, healthy full-cream milk they don’t allow it. While on the other hand, low-fat, sweetened strawberry milk has a green lighting, because of the fact that sugar is totally ignored in these guidelines.
We also have a scenario where Kellogg’s Cocoa Pop liquid breakfast, which by the way, doesn’t have anything resembling a Cocoa Pop in it’s just a whole heap of sugar and inulin, which is, of course, a sugar, and I think it’s something like 30 percent sugar, it’s allowed into canteens. It’s got an amber rating. Paddle Pops. Amber.
You also have Tiny Teddies. So, Tiny Teddies, if you eat eight biscuits, you know, chocolate covered Tiny Teddies, absolutely fine. However, if you go nine, it becomes a red-rated food, which just means that parents and canteen managers and teachers just have absolutely no idea what’s going on.
So it’s an absolute XXshnozzelXX [0:22:33] and all we’re doing is we’re simply saying the canteen guidelines need to be updated. We need to know who’s in charge of these guidelines. We need to get a proper group of people on board who can actually create better guidelines and they need to be in line with the Australian dietary guidelines.
So, we’ve put together a campaign just to get 10,000 signatures. We’ve got two members of parliament who are raising it in parliament, XXgetting it all kind of actionedXX [0:22:59] We’re hoping it’ll change in New South Wales. We’re rolling it out in New South Wales and then we’ll expand it to the rest of Australia. So, we’re doing that.
At the same time, we’re trying to connect these amazing stories of canteens, I mean, we’re coming across canteens, for instance, this one in Canberra where there’s only 100 students, but each class takes turns cooking the food for the entire school that day.
Stuart Cooke: Wow.
Guy Lawrence: No way.
Sarah Wilson: Yeah, so that’s amazing. We’re coming…The Hunter Region north of Sydney is incredible. There’s a whole range of schools doing really, really clever projects along these lines. So, essentially, there are amazing stories of small communities taking over the school canteen.
Then, on the other hand, you’ve got canteens where, I’m not joking, they are so lacking in funding, their canteen is the size of a toilet, and they’ve got a deep fryer, a pie warmer, and a deep freezer, and they sell pies, dim sims, and Paddle Pops and that’s it. So, that’s happening around Australia and we’re hoping that we can connect the two kind of, you know, extremes and, hopefully, you know, we can use the community to help each other out.
Stuart Cooke: You’d almost want to point the finger, as well, at the companies that are manufacturing children’s foods. Like, when did a, when, when is a food, just a child’s food? Essentially, it’s party food.
Sarah Wilson: Yeah, I know. I know, if you just put lots of sugar in it, it becomes a children’s food. What’s worse, Stuart, and you’ve picked up on something here, is that, you know, manufacturers aren’t stupid. They’ve worked out that parents are feeling very guilty and unsure about what to feed their kids and so you’d probably go to a supermarket, and you’ll notice that there’s these logos on foods…
So, let’s get outside the canteen sphere, but just, you know, the sort of foods that parents put into the kids’ lunch boxes. You’ll notice that there’s always different random labels that, what, they’ve got ticks and things like that…
Stuart Cooke: That’s right.
Sarah Wilson: …that says it’s lunchbox approved and canteen approved. You know what? They’re not.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Who approved this?
Sarah Wilson: These companies completely make it up. You go onto the Arnott’s website and there’s an admission on there that, “We have come up with our own little logo, blah, blah, blah.” Who allowed them to do that? Well, you know, they’re allowed to because nobody’s policing this, and it’s just ridiculous. So, that’s another aspect of what we’ll be working on as well.
We’re exposing all of these things and, you know, when there’s 15 of me, I mean, I’ve got 15 staff that I think we need to replicate ourselves. We’ll just move on to these issues one by one by one.
Stuart Cooke: Perfect. So, so important. So, so, outside of your current petitioning, like, how can we get involved as parents. I mean, I’ve got three little girls, and we prep, you know, like mad men every week and weekdays cutting and chopping and preparing and bagging, but what can we do outside of…?
Sarah Wilson: Well, I think, I mean look, I think doing that, getting your kids involved in what you’re doing is a really, really important one because when kids are involved that they want to eat that they’re preparing, and I think, I think taking more time. I, we promote doing Sunday cook up. It’s really like a hobby and people really love it once they’re shown things to do.
That’s what I do. Every Sunday, because I’ve gone to the markets on Sunday, it’s usually Sunday by the time I kind of get round to sort of cooking up the veggies and preparing things, maybe making a few muffins and things like that, it’s just doing that and doping it with the kids. Taking the time. Instead of going to the shopping mall, take the time, it only needs to be an hour, to prepare things.
I think the other thing is, I would say, don’t demonize sugar with kids. Don’t even mention sugar. Do you know what I mean? So that it doesn’t have to be an issue. You just start putting good food in front of them.
In terms of getting involved with this campaign, I think the best idea is just to follow us at iquitsugar.com, because we’re regularly updating. On Facebook is where we’re kind of doing a lot about communications, and we’ll be updating everybody on when we move on to other states and territories. We’re sharing and we’re collating all the stories. So, if you’ve got feedback or ideas or whatever, you know, feel free to connect with us, because we are actually siphoning all the information together, and we’re passing it on to Ryan Parks, he’s the opposition member for, the opposition minister for education here in New South Wales , and, you know, a number of other parliamentarians. So we are sharing it around so that they’re getting the picture. So, yeah, that’s probably the other way just to getting involved.
Stuart Cooke: Okay. Great. Look forward to following the progress. That’s going to be fantastic.
Sarah Wilson: Well, thank you, yeah.
Stuart Cooke: So, we’ve got a few miscellaneous questions here, as well. Obviously, we’ve had heaps of questions from our followers, too. I’ve got a question about public scrutiny. I mean, you’re in the public eye. You’re out and about. How does your status affect you?
Sarah Wilson: What happens when I get sprung…eating a Krispy Kreme doughnut?
Stuart Cooke: Exactly.
Guy Lawrence: yes.
Sarah Wilson: Well, I’m really just transparent about things, because if I lived to try and just sort of, you know, look glowy-skinned all the time and, you know, like I do in the photos where I’ve had hair and makeup done and good lighting hen I’d be pretty miserable and a boring person to be around, and I’d probably never leave the house quite frankly, just because I’d be too busy applying mascara, but I, well, you know what my big thing is be your message.
My message is is to be just really authentic. I eat sugar. I eat dark chocolate, you know? I, you know, I love dark chocolate. I eat fruit. I’ll try a bit of birthday cake. I’ll have a little sliver if it’s somebody’s birthday and it’s a special occasion, but I can stop myself after a very small sliver and I, you know, I’m really not fussed by it. So, that side of things I just think I’m better off showing people that I’m kind of cool with it all. I’ve never been put up or, you know, questioned on it, because I think, again, if you live out that message of just being cool with it then everyone just goes, “Oh, it’s not a big deal.” You know?
And, in terms of just, let me see, I don’t recall that much scrutiny. I don’t know whether I’ve got blinkers on, but I just go about my own thing. Yeah. I get stopped on the street a lot, especially these days because of Instagram and Instagram is just going great. I think people are used to seeing me not wearing the makeup and things and generally wearing my green shorts out hiking. I’ll be in the bizzarest place and, you know, and someone will come up, “Are you Sarah…?” And then people want to tell me about their health complaints or whatever it might be and ask, and drill me on whether they’re allowed to eat this or that.
And, look, my staff, kind of, “God, how do you deal with that side of things?” But you know what? I actually think it’s one of the best sides of it. It’s, you know, it’s real. It’s grass roots, and this is where people’s concerns are. It’s in the minutiae. This is what life’s about, you know? Our grandmothers used to talk aver the back fence, and I share things in such a way where I think people do feel that they’re able to come up and share their story and, you know, social media has been very good to me, and so I, you know, paying it back in a way.
Guy Lawrence: It’s a very powerful way. Yeah. Absolutely.
Stuart Cooke: It’s the virtual back fence, I think.
Sarah Wilson: yeah. Exactly.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Sarah Wilson: So, look, it’s not a bad price to pay for this sort of built up a following and whatever. No, it’s, I don’t care about, I guess, I’m 40 and I don’t care about public scrutiny. I got over that. It’s one of the great things about getting older, and I love what I do, and I believe in what I do. That sounds very Pollyanna-ish, but I can honestly say that it’s got a big part to do with the fact that I don’t get upset by, you know, what people said or rumours or anything like that.
Guy Lawrence: I’ve got a question for you, as well, Sarah, about, you know, you’re very, clearly you’re very busy, you know, like you say. I see you on social media everywhere, like, you’re here, there, and you know, you’re in Melbourne and you’re out doing whatever. How do you handle the stress of it all? Like, you know, because you’re running a big company, as well, you know. You’re dealing with your Hashimoto’s and so, outside of a diet, is there any other things that you do to aid that?
Sarah Wilson: Yeah. I do. There’s a few things. You’ve got to create your own boundaries, especially when you work online and when you work for yourself, and that’s something that I talk about a lot is you’ve just got to get really fair with our own boundaries. As much as I would love to just work 24/7, and I have that natural tendency to do that, I pull myself back.
I have one day off a week in addition to the weekends. I have the weekends so that I’m around family and friends when they’re having time off, and I have a day off. Usually a Thursday where I catch up on things, you know? I also take a deep breath and so some days it’s just resting, because sometimes my thyroid will just go, “All right. It’s Thursday. We’re allowed to collapse now.” Or I’ll just do reading, you know? It’s when I do all my deep reading.
Away from the office, I’ll go to the beach, or I’ll, you know, I’ll sit up high on the couch in the sun, and I’ll just get through a whole heap of reading and deep thinking. That’s something I do. I meditate. That’s absolutely…
Guy Lawrence: I was just about to ask that, actually, “Do you meditate?”
Sarah Wilson: I do. I meditate. I try to do it twice a day. It’s generally once a day. I do it after exercise. I have a very, let me see, a strong morning routine, and that’s really key. So, no matter how I’m feeling, I always get up and I do exercise straight away. So, I don’t muck around. There’s no fretting about with finding my drink bottle and my perfect gym gear. I just get out the door and, you know, I’ll swim. I’ll mix it up. Swim, yoga, a bit of weights, but I only sort of, you know, I do, I don’t know, 14 to 18 laps. I walk to and from the pool, and I walk to and from work or ride. So I do exercise every day. It’s in the morning.
Then I meditate. Try to do it in sun, outside, just to get that vitamin D, and it’s just kind of getting a grounding to my day so that I feel like I own a part of myself in my day. That’s really, really important. And then I’m going through my day mindfully. I make much better decisions. I hire good staff, as a result. I communicate with my staff in such a way that it’s efficient. Not always, you know. This is the aim.
And I say no to a lot of things that just don’t feel right, and also, I’ve learned to listen to my gut. I was always so head orientated. Everything was about working out, you know, those decisions, and I think one of the things about quitting sugar is you get really clear on your priorities and your sense of self and that’s really aided me, both from a health perspective, but also from a business perspective.
So, yeah, I try not to think about it too much. I think, you know, nobody’s ever going to find perfect balance, so I’ve given up on that, and what I do, oh, the other thing I do is I go away on weekends. I try to get out into the bush. That’s my big…
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, fantastic.
Sarah Wilson: So you probably noticed that I’m always out there XXclackingXX [0:33:55]
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, I think I saw something on Instagram flying though the other day that you’re out and about.
Sarah Wilson: Yeah, yeah. About every second weekend, I’ll go for a hike somewhere and, you know, it’ll be for an hour or it’ll be for five hours. I just, it’s just about being in dirt and getting a rhythm going and my thoughts just cascade and I daydream and, you know, that kind of thing is just…It’s great that I’ve learned that that is what works for me, You know? And I think it works for a lot of people to be honest. Getting out in nature.
Guy Lawrence: Oh, definitely, yeah, especially when you’re working in such a creative environment like yourself, as well, really feeds that. Massively.
Stuart Cooke: It sounds very much like your lifestyle, Guy, while I’m here beavering away on the business.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. I would never do that to you, Stu. I am always physically working the same time you do, mate. I promise.
Stuart Cooke: What a lie. I’ve got a question. I’m going to apologize before I ask it, but what have you eaten today? I’m sorry again.
Sarah Wilson: That’s a good question. I always ask people that, too. It’s a good one. Okay, prepare yourselves. All right. I was going to say that I’m holier than thou, because at the moment I am making recipes for my next cookbook, so this morning I had a number of gelatin gummy things, strawberry and rosemary flavored. So I had those, and I also had, ah, you’ll like this. I had one of your little protein bar things.
Guy Lawrence: Oh, did you?
Sarah Wilson: Yeah, and I’m not just saying that. I actually did, because they’re in my desk at the moment to try, and so I had one of those. That was my breakfast, but generally it’s a bit more, it’s more robust in the sense that it’s like I’ll have some eggs and some vegetables, generally.
Black coffee. I’m a bit addicted to coffee at the moment. I’m just allowing that to slide for a bit, you know? I’ll get off it soon, but for now it’s just something that I’m…
Guy Lawrence: I love coffee.
Sarah Wilson: I love it, too. And then lunch was, let me see…We have a wonderful kitchen here that I built in the office, and everyone cooks their lunch here, and we also share our food. We’ve all got, you know, communal XXhalloumiXX [0:36:10], communal eggs, and communal kale. We’ve got a veggie garden on the roof.
So I had just stir-fried in some coconut oil, you know, sautéed, beans, snow peas…I had some mustard greens. tomato, avocado, some of my liver that I’ve made for my next cookbook, and I actually warmed that through it, and it’s something so rich and so paleo. It’s just making me cringe. And then I put on top of it some special kimchi that I’ve made as well, mixed that through it, and then I had a, also, a polenta muffin that one of the girls made in the office with that. So that was lunch.
Stuart Cooke: Okay, well you’re certainly not on a diet.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Sarah Wilson: No, I’ve never been able to do restrictive eating of any kind.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. It’s the best way. We got, actually, we got to, just to wrap up on a couple of Facebook questions we’ve put out with Facebook, and the first one leads into this. It’s from XXCarrie Ann CaldwellXX [0:37:15] “What are the correct portion sizes for foods that we can still gain all the nutrition required from it? It can be easy to overeat on a healthy diet due to not knowing this.”
Sarah Wilson: Okay. Yeah. I get asked this a little bit, so we put together obviously menu plans and also write recipes for a living, so the way that I work and it works out really well, because we get a dietician to actually break down our meal plans and make sure they’re nutritionally sound and they’re within the guidelines. I firstly work with vegetables so, you know, as Michael Pollan says, “Eat food. Mostly plants.” So I work from vegetables, green vegetables, outwards, so I try to get six to seven serves of veggies. Personally, I try to get even more than that, but seven or eight serves of veggies a day. On the meal plans it says six or seven, so it’s more than the Australian dietary guidelines.
So that means eating vegetables at breakfast, which I find really easy to do, because I’m not eating huge amounts of sugary carbohydrates. Then you’ve got to eat something else, don’t you? So, you know, spinach, frozen peas, you know, some eggs. That kind of thing.
So I work from that framework and then I insert protein at every meal, so usually meat once a day, sometimes twice a day, but not huge quantities, so right about 150 grams, and it’s about the size of your palm is what you should be working to. I often, sometimes I just use meat for the flavoring, so use, you know, beef broth or bacon or something like that just to get the meat flavoring there. You don’t need it every meal, but I will put some sort of protein: eggs, cheese, I use some legumes, but I’m a bit funny about it unless they’re prepared properly I don’t do it from a tin, I try to do it myself for that reason. I do them in bulk, have them in my freezer XX?XX [0:39:12]
And then add fat. Always add fat, because all those leafy greens and the protein that you’re eating are fat soluble only, so vitamins A, E, K, and D, and all of the enzymes in meat need fat for you to actually benefit from it, so I put a good, in my mind, I go, “All right, a tablespoon of fat.” So it’ll come from olive oil. It’ll come from butter. It’ll come from cheese or avocado, and I just make sure that that’s I the mix.
And, so, yeah, that’s just my formula. I mix up, sort of, red meat and a bit of fish and a bit of chicken, yeah.
Guy Lawrence: That will definitely answer her question. Stu?
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, so, found on Facebook from XXDepar Gopinith [0:39:58] “How do you keep yourself from completely falling off the wagon after you completed the eight-week program?” And I just wanted to expand a little bit on the wagon, when does the wagon not become the wagon anymore? I, when do you stop craving these foods and start looking at them more like cat food?
Sarah Wilson: I don’t think you ever start looking at the cat food, because I think, you know, we’re programmed to see sugary food as a treat, as nurturing, smelling great, all that kind of thing, so no, that never happens and I said before when it comes to illness you manage it, and so for me, look, I don’t like to term things in terms of coming off or on the wagon. You see so you come off sugar and it basically gives you the experience of life without sugar.
Now at the end of eight weeks you can then choose what you want to do next, and my advice is to really listen to your body because your body is in a great space where it can actually tell you what it needs. Now, if say, two months down the track, you know, you eat a bit of sugar, and then you eat a bit more, because it is addictive, and you start eating more and more, and you’re back at square one.
Well, first of all, I’ll say you’re not back to square one, because you can’t unlearn this stuff. You’re always going to think twice before you have a juice, right? You’re never going back to drinking apple juice again when you know it’s nine teaspoons of sugar and, you know, of course there’s other things we turn to in moments of weakness, muffins and whatever it might be, chocolate. So what I try to say is just, is once you find yourself slipping like that, you don’t have to do a big XX?XX [0:41:34] again. You don’t have to go back to the beginning. Our bodies detox best with real food, so just commit. The next day and this is to eating, not the next day, your next meal, eating a good proper meal, so it’s not about dieting or starting diet and it’s all got to begin again, it’s just starting with good food again.
So, that’s what I do. I have moments where my hormones are playing up and I’m craving all of that kind of thing, and I might eat a couple pieces too many of my dark chocolate, you know? What I’ll do is that night I’ll have a really good meal, and I have my go-to meal is a pork chop, steamed veggies with heated olive oil, and even if I’m traveling, because often these things happen when I’m traveling because I’ve been out of whack, I’ll just go to a bar or a pub or a whatever and you can generally find some grill meat, steamed veggies and lots of olive oil, recalibrates me. I’m sorted. I feel completely balanced again, so that’s my trick.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, fantastic.
Stuart Cooke: That’s awesome.
Guy Lawrence: That’s awesome. I think the only question we’ve got left here, Sarah, is we’ve got a question that we ask everyone on our podcast every week, and I don’t know if you got it, but it’s what’s the best single piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Sarah Wilson: Okay, well, can I give two?
Stuart Cooke: Oh, yeah, sure.
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.
Sarah Wilson: One is more of a XXlifestyle?XX [0:42:57] and one’s a food one. The food one would be just eat real food. That’s become our kind of mantra, and I know that Michael Pollan’s got a lot to do with that particular framework, and I just think that that’s what it comes down to. At the end of the day, just eat real food, and actually a girlfriend really introduced that to me back… I used to model back in caveman days, a long time ago, and there’s a girl who actually said to me, “You know what? if it’s nutritious, I put it in my mouth.”
And back then avocados we all thought they were bad for you because they’re full of fat, and she said, “Avocados are nutritious. I eat them.” And I was like, “Huh, okay, that makes sense.” And she and I still talk about that, actually. She’s a journalist as well.
The other one is something I picked up from mountain bike riding. One of you is into mountain bike riding?
Guy Lawrence: Stu.
Stuart Cooke: It’s me.
Sarah Wilson: I knew that, yeah. I used to do a lot of, kind of, you know, off road bit of racing and 24-hour and that kind of stuff, and I used to kind of marvel at the way that if there was a gap this big, ten centimeters big between two rocks my wheel would just go there. I didn’t have to think about it.
And so my koan mantra came out of that, and it’s, and I can’t remember who told me this, but I sort of now adopted it as my own. Where the mind goes the energy flows. If your mind goes to going between those two rocks, the wheel will just go there, and it’s the same with everything. If your mind goes to, you know, thinking about a certain thing, everything will start to flow there, and I guess I apply it to my business, I apply it to health, I apply it…
Stuart Cooke: We’re all at the mercy of Skype, I think.
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.
Stuart Cooke: It’s all good.
Guy Lawrence: How about the mercy of XX?XX [0:44:45]
Sarah Wilson: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Exactly. So then just as a wrap up, I guess, what’s next for Sarah Wilson and where can we get more of Sarah Wilson?
Sarah Wilson: Okay, I don’t know if you want more of Sarah Wilson. Okay, at the moment I’m working on my third print book. It’s a bit of an extravaganza, but that might be out for some time. We’ve got our next online program with I Quit Sugar starting end of January. We do it then because nobody thinks about quitting sugar or anything until after Australia Day. So, if people want to join us on that, you can actually register already at our website. We’ve got a green smoothie cookbook that’s just come out, so anyone who’s wanting to move into that area…as you guys know, I advocate smoothies but not juices for reasons that I explain in the book.
And, look, we’re only doing a couple of things, obviously this canteen project is a really big one that is close to my heart, and we’re going to be doing a few more road shows. So stay tuned for that one, especially if you live in a regional town. We’re going to be doing some, sort of a competition where, you know, I’ll be going out to sort of a regional area and using it as a way for that area to maybe raise some funds for something that’s really important and food-related a bit.
As well as New Zealand, we’re heading to New Zealand, I hope fairly soon as well, because we’ve got a huge community over there. Those guys over there are just totally into all of this stuff, which is great.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Fantastic. Our wonderful neighbors.
Sarah Wilson: Yeah, yeah. I’m a big fan.
Guy Lawrence: Thank you so much for joining us, Sarah. That was just fantastic, and I’ve no doubt lots of people are going to benefit a lot from that conversation for sure.
Sarah Wilson: Thank you. Thank you very much for the time. I really appreciate it. I have enjoyed finally chatting to you guys.
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.
Stuart Cooke: We’re out in the neighborhood, so…We’ve passed shoulders so many times. It’s great to say hi.
Sarah Wilson: And please drop into IQS headquarters anytime and come and have a cup of tea.