Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.
Guy: No doubt about it, there’s lots of debate with fluoride on the internet. So who better a person to ask than holistic dentist who has over thirty five years in the industry.
The big question is; Should we us toothpaste with fluoride in it?
We felt this would make a fantastic topic for this weeks 2 minute gem. We also discuss fluoride at length in the full interview below.
Our fantastic guest this week is Dr Ron Ehrlich. He is one of Australia’s leading holistic health advocates, educators, and a holistic dentist. For over 30 years he has explored the many connections between oral health and general health, and the impact of stress on our health and wellbeing.
He is also co-host of a weekly podcast “The Good Doctors”, currently ranked amongst the top health podcasts in Australia. Together The Good Doctors explore health, wellness and disease from a nutritional and environmental perspective, looking at food from soil to plate and exploring the many connections between mind and body.
Full Interview: Unravelling the Fluoride, Dairy, Mercury & Teeth Connection
In This Episode:
Fluoride; should we avoid it?
Do mercury fillings effect our health?
The lessons learned from the legendary Weston.A.Price
Guy: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition, and welcome to today’s health sessions. We have a fantastic episode for you in store today. Our guest is one of Australia’s leading holistic health advocates. He is an educator, a broadcaster, and a holistic dentist, and yes. We do tackle our topic today and get into that. He also has a fantastic podcast called The Good Doctors, and his name is Dr. Ron Ehrlich, and he has a wealth of information, and it was awesome to sit down with him for the last, I guess, 45, 50 minutes while he shares his wisdom with us.
We tackle some great topics we feel, fluoride being one of them, and this very debatable mercury fillings is another, dairy for strong bones, so we start delving into these things and what his conclusions have been after probably now, 35 years in the industry. I’m going to also talk about the legendary Weston A. Price who was a dentist back in the ’30s who uncovered some of phenomenal research as well. Awesome subjects, and yeah, you might look at the way you brush your teeth a little bit differently after this episode.
The other thing I wanted to mention is that we currently run two episodes a month generally now, and we interview a guest that we bring in, and [inaudible 00:01:17] discussed and then when we look into bringing in a third episode a month if we can fit it in. We really want to get this content out to you by just making sure we have the time, but what we’re looking at doing is a bit of a Q and A style kind of episodes where we want to answer the questions that we get coming in. If you have a question for us that you would like us to personally answer on the podcast, we will fit your question on there, and we can discuss it and topics at length, so it’d be great to get that feedback from you guys. Yeah, we’ll bring it into a third episode for a Q and A.
I really want to thank you guys for leaving the reviews as well. I’ll do ask often, but they’re fantastic. I thought I’d actually read one out. I’ve never done it before, but we do check every review that comes on. The latest one says, “Thought provoking,” by [inaudible 00:02:08]. I could read that slightly differently but I won’t. They say, “I don’t think there hasn’t been a single podcast where my jaw hasn’t hit the floor with some of the pills wisdom that have been shared. Keep them coming boys.” That is really appreciated honestly. That means a lot to us. Another review we had recently was, “Such informative podcast, five stars as well. I’ve started listening to Guy and Steve on walking and in the gym, so much more interesting than music. It feels like I’m learning while getting my daily exercise. Perfect.” Yeah. We are big advocates of doing two things at once. That’s for sure.
Look. I appreciate it. Keep those reviews coming. It’s like I said it helps our rankings and also, yeah. Keep an eye out as we bring in the third episode. Like I said, drop us an email at email@example.com and just mention the podcast, and we’ll take a look at tackling your questions or some. Let’s go over to Dr. Ron. Enjoy.
Hi. This is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined by Stuart Cooke as always. Hi, Stuart.
Guy: Our awesome guest today is Dr. Ron Ehrlich. Ron, welcome to the show.
Ron: Thanks guys. Lovely to be here.
Guy: I really appreciate having you on, mate. I seem to see your face popping up everywhere. There is a nutritional talk, a seminar on Facebook, social media, and even on podcasts. I thought it would be best for you to describe [inaudible 00:03:32] exactly what you do if you could share that with us first, because you seem to be man of many talents.
Ron: A man of many talents indeed but at the moment … What I really would describe myself is a health advocate. We’re an educator. I’m in the process of writing a book, so I’m soon I’m going to be to call myself an author, and I’m a dentist, a holistic dentist. There, a few different hats there.
Guy: It’s fantastic. Now, I remember seeing you talk quite a number of years ago. I think it was [inaudible 00:04:05]. I’ll jump in, and you walked on the stage and the first thing you said was you get asked all the time what the hell is a holistic dentist. Would you mind sharing out with us the [inaudible 00:04:17]?
Ron: Sure. Traditionally, dentists focus on the oral cavity. As a holistic dentist, what we focus on is the person attached to that oral cavity. That is a small point perhaps. It rolls off the tongue very easily but it’s a pretty important one because it then leads you into understanding what we’re looking at here is the gateway to the respiratory tract. If you think breathing is important which I think we’ll all agree it is, and sleeping well is important then this gateway is important as well. We’re also the gateway to the digestive tract, so chewing is an important first step in digestion. Getting this mechanism working well optimally is an important part of digestion. As well as that, there’s a huge amount of neurology in this area. Teeth is so sensitive that you could pick up 10 microns. A hair is 20 microns, so there’s a lot of sensitivity and neurology in this area. That’s going on and that leads us on to being involved with chronic headaches, and neck ache, jaw pain. It’s the site of the two most common infections known to man, woman, and child, tooth decay and gum disease, and almost every chronic disease is now seen as a reflection of chronic inflammation.
The big breakthrough was that people discovered that the mouth was connected to the rest of the body. No one knew that up until about 30 or 40 years ago, and that was a big, big breakthrough. Because of the decay, we implant a hell of a lot of material into people’s bodies, in fact, probably more than any other profession put together so all the other professions to put together. There’s a lot going on there and when you consider that this mouth is connected to a human being, with all those things going on, then that affects some of the decisions we make.
Stuart: Fantastic. You’ve touched upon a few topics there as well, Ron, that we want to want to delve into a little deeper down the track especially inflammation and chronic disease, things like that. We’ve got a few questions that we have to us for everybody, and they are largely hot topics in your area as well. First stop, fluoride. What’s your take on fluoride?
Ron: There’s no dentist present in this room, myself. The chance of me being stoned by someone is pretty low. It’s almost heresy for a dentist to discuss what are fluoridation in a negative sense. My take on it is this. Of the 140 or so elements there are in the world, 60 of them are required for the human body to function well, optimum. Stuff like calcium, magnesium, zinc … We could go on 60 of them. Fluoride is not one of them. Fluoride is not required for any normal biological, biochemical function, so if it’s not a required element, then it’s a medicine. If it’s a medicine, then it’s the only medicine that is put into the water supply without our individual permission. It doesn’t have regard to whether you’re a 2-month-old baby or you’re a 40-year-old building laborer who is 120 kilos or an 85-year-old woman who is 60 kilos or 50 kilos. There’s not a lot of nuance there in terms of exposure.
We’ve got a medication. There’s an ethical issue there about a medication added to the water supply which I have a serious concern about. Now going back to high school chemistry, fluoride belongs to the same family as the other halogens which are bromine, chlorine, iodine, and fluoride; therefore, halogens, right? We interviewed recently … We’ll talk about my podcast in a moment. I can’t resist getting it plugged in. Anyway, we interviewed a few months ago Professor [inaudible 00:08:23], who is talking about iodine deficiency and iodine is the biggest deficiency in the world. Two billion people in the world have iodine deficiency. Because it belongs to the same family as fluoride, chloride, iodine, fluoride, fluoride has the potential to compete with iodine for the thyroid, so it was used at the beginning of last century right up until the mid-century, mid 1900s as overactive thyroid.
When someone had an overactive thyroid, they gave them fluoride because they knew it would downscale the thyroid function. Here, if you … You guys may not take as many medical histories as I do, but as I get people coming through my surgery, many of your listeners may have been diagnosed with either underactive or overactive thyroid. It’s a huge problem in our society. I have some concerns about including something in the water supply that has the potential to affect thyroid function; that’s number one. In America interestingly enough which has been fluoridated since the 1940s or 1950s, since 1975, the incidence of thyroid cancer has gone up 160% since 1975. Is that to do with fluoride? No. I’m not saying that is. There are lots and lots of reasons why that might be the case, but that’s of concern to me.
Also Harvard University did the study … They did [mineral 00:09:53] analysis of about 30 different studies and there was some suggestion there that in fluoridated areas, IQ levels came down. There is some suggestion that it may affect bone in young men. This thing … Interestingly enough, of the 200 countries there are in the world, only about five of them, I think, it’s Australia, New Zealand, Canada, America and parts of England, they are the only ones that fluoridate. Are we saying that the rest of the world is just so ill-informed that they cannot make a sensible decision? I don’t think so. I think Scandinavia has a good history of looking at research and evidence, and there’s never been a randomized control study which is supposedly the GOLD standard about the effect of fluoride on tooth decay.
For example … I could show you a graph which showed really clearly that in those five countries, tooth decay has come down significantly over the last 30 or 40 years. You would look at it and you go, there it is. There’s proof that fluoride works, but if you go on to the UN side, the WHO side, World Health Authority, there is another graph which shows non-fluoridated countries, trending exactly the same way. What is this all about? A lot of reputation has been built on it. I know that’s true, but I have … In Europe, they do something called the … they have something called the precautionary principle. That is that if something has the potential to cause harm, why not best avoid it? I think that is definitely the better way to go because it’s a really good example of how we approach stuff in western medicine. You eat something that produces the plaque, and the plaque produces the acid, and then it makes a hole in your tooth. Therefore, let’s make the tooth harder. That’s what dentistry does, focusing just on here.
If you ask me, what is a holistic dentist, and I go, “Well, hang on.” This here is attached to the whole body. It’s got a thyroid, it’s got a brain, it’s got bones, it’s got nerves, and it’s got … We need to think about that and the precautionary principle is the one that I would endorse. To get rid of decay, it is far better to say if the hardest part of your body decays because of what you will imagine what’s going on with the rest of your body, why don’t we address what’s going on with the rest of your body and not only get rid of tooth decay, we might also get rid of a whole range of other chronic health conditions in the process.
Guy: You’ve triggered up so many questions already. I don’t know where to jump in.
Ron: In short, guys, I’m not in favor.
Stuart: Again, just to touch on this a little more, water supply aside as the ingredient in our everyday toothpaste, is that something that we should be weary of?
Ron: Now, there is some evidence to support a topical application of fluoride. We now practice use it very sparingly. I don’t personally use it in my toothpaste. I don’t personally apply it to every patient that comes through the door. If I see a tooth surface that is showing the early signs of tooth decay, just a bit of demineralization, then I will clean that surface and I might apply a fluoride varnish to that one surface and instruct my patient not to eat or drink for an hour. The rest of it is a great marketing ploy. I think there is some evidence to support topical application in a controlled way. I know you can make statistics look brilliant. You could say, “By using this toothpaste, we have reduced tooth decay by 30%.” That might be … Your chance of getting tooth decay was to have two surfaces of a tooth filled over five years, and by using this toothpaste, you’ve now got one third of the surface only required, so it’s playing with statistics.
Stuart: Totally. In a randomized study of two people, so [crosstalk 00:14:05].
Ron: I think there’s a place for very careful application of fluoride, but I don’t use it in toothpaste. We don’t use it as topical application in our practice, and we don’t … I personally don’t use it. We don’t recommend it for our patients.
Guy: Fantastic. That was what I was going to ask actually. To recap what you’ve commented on so far being a holistic dentist as well on fluoride and everything, the teeth … Would you be better off actually just changing your lifestyle and nutrition then as opposed to fixing the problem?
Ron: Absolutely. You guys and many of your listeners would be well aware of the work of Weston A. Price. He was a dentist. This is a really interesting story, but you probably haven’t interviewed Weston A. Price, but …
Guy: No. Please touch on it. Yeah, go for it.
Ron: Anyway, the point being, he in the 1920s and ’30s wanted to find out what caused tooth decay, so he went out and he visited traditional cultures around the world. He went to Malaysia, the Malaysian Peninsula, those specific islands, the New Hebrides, up in Scotland. He went to the Swiss isolated villages in the Swiss Alps. He went to Eskimos, he went North American Native Indians, the South American Native Indians. He visited all these different cultures, and what he found was something really unique. What he had was this amazing experiment could never be really repeated now. He had villages that were living on traditional foods and had done so for hundreds of years. What he observed in those villages were that none of them or very few of them had any tooth decay, whatsoever, but more importantly, they had enough room for all 32 of their teeth with some space even
behind the wisdom tooth.
They not only had enough room for their teeth, and we’ll talk about why that’s important in the moment, but they didn’t have any of the diseases of chronic degenerative disease.
They had no heart disease, no cancer, no rheumatoid arthritis, no diabetes, no obesity.
They were structurally, physically, very sound as well as being dentally healthy. What he then did was he talked … He went into the towns, and he looked at the same genetic group.
He really was doing in a way of controlled study, looking at the same genetic group and the one … The genetic group, the same tribe or family even that had moved into the city after 5 or 10 or very soon after a few years was displaying tooth decay, all of the degenerative diseases that are seen in modern civilization. From that, he wanted to determine what was it about traditional foods that was so unique and what was it about our western diet … Remember this was 1935, where people were only eating 12 kilos of sugar a year, now they’re eating … In Australia 45 kilos, in America 60 kilos to 70 kilos.
Put it in perspective here, he was looking at those people and they were healthy. He took food samples from there and he brought them back, and he analyzed them. He found there were three things they all had in common, the traditional diets. Now, they weren’t all Paleo. They weren’t all on Paleo. They were up in Eskimo land. In Alaska, they were on fish and blubber, and da, da, da. In New Hebrides, they were on oats and some seafood, and seasonal fruits, and in the Polynesia, they were on seafood, and they were on some fruits and some root vegetables, all different types of things. They weren’t all along Paleo, but what they all had in common was the traditional diets all were nutrient dense. They had 10 times the amount of water soluble vitamins that may … They likely the … and minerals and they were four times higher in fat soluble vitamins.
You need fat soluble vitamins to incorporate the minerals into your body. They had that and the interesting thing was the best source of these fat soluble vitamins which are A, D, K, E was animal fats that had been grown on pastured lands in traditional ways. This was a fabulous study done in 1935, and I’m about to give a presentation on Friday where I’ve actually done a little bit of a cut and splice of the catalyst program that was on the beginning of this year, so an ABC program in Australia, Catalyst, and it was on gut reaction. One of the senior professors of research at Monash University said, “You know what? There’s this huge breakthrough that’s occurring. It seems that what we eat could be affecting heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and a whole range of other things.” He was saying it like this was an amazing breakthrough, and if we were careful about what we ate, we could actually extend our life by years if not decades.
Stuart: I don’t believe a word of it. Just advertising. It’s just advertising.
Ron: The beauty of that is if you look at that, and you listened to what you would think, “Oh, my God.” Like, “What is going on?” If this is the breakthrough to the medical community in 2015, this is why we’re in the [inaudible 00:19:34] because you can press the rewind button to a lovely little segment of Weston A. Price where he himself taught and says pretty much the same thing in 1935, so it suddenly taken us 80 years to get on top.
Stuart: It’s so tricky as well, isn’t it? You realized that there is such huge power in even these beautiful and yet nutrient dense foods, but then if you were to take that group who were truly thriving and pull them over perhaps with the same diet, but surround them in the conditions that we have today with email, and stress, and pollution, and the rat race, I wonder how they would feel whether that would have a …
Ron: It’s a good point, Stuart. It’s a good point because one of the things … Stress has been of an interest to me over the last 35 years. In fact, today’s rather that would feel [inaudible 00:20:26] guys. I’m sharing this with you. Today is the 35th anniversary of my practice in the city of Sydney, but that’s another story, but for the last 33 years, the model of stress that I have used, the model of health that I have used in my practice is that our health is affected by stress. I define that stress as a combination of emotional, environmental, postural or structural, nutritional, and dental stress. Those five stresses and people say, “What’s dental stress? You’ve just pulled that out of the hat because you’re a dentist.” I’ve just defined for you what a holistic dentist is. Respiratory tract, digestive tract, chronic inflammation, nerve damage, chronic pain, all these materials that we use.
Dental stress is an important thing that’s often overlooked, but they are the five stresses, so what you’re saying is absolutely true. You could be on the best diet in the world, but if you are in overload, stress, the fight-and-flight mode that many of us, in most of their [inaudible 00:21:29], and you are not going to be absorbing those nutrients absolutely right.
Guy: What I noticed myself … I can us myself as an example because I don’t think a lot of us even appreciate that we’re in the stressful mode. We just assume it’s normal from our day-to-day actions. I went to Mexico a couple of weeks ago, and I was actually meditating four days on and off in a workshop, but I didn’t realize how stressed I was until I got there and then slowly started the wrong way. By the end of it, I got, “Oh, my God, I feel like a different person.” I’ve been carrying that for weeks or months prior to it. It’s amazing.
Ron: Go ahead, Stuart. Sorry.
Stuart: I’m just going to say, can you imagine my stress as Guy is away in Mexico meditating, carrying the business and raising a family, so it works well for both of us, isn’t it, Guy?
Guy: It was fabulous.
Ron: Meditation is another. It’s the big one, isn’t it? It’s just such an important part of being healthy in this day and age. I think you should not be without it.
Guy: There you go. Yeah. I’m certainly exploring it and I’m enjoying the process. You can look then along the way, but …
Ron: Stuart, you look like you’re about to say something.
Stuart: I do. I’m going to bring it back on track to the dental route as well. I’ve got another million-dollar question for you. Guy and myself, we’re children of the ’70s and the ’80s. We’re anything. We always had mouthfuls of sweets and pop and fizzy drink and didn’t really care about too much. We’ve got fillings in our mouths; most of our friends have at this age. Should we be concerned about these fillings particularly if they are mercury amalgam?
Ron: Yeah, I think you should. See, the interesting thing is that it’s mercury. I’ll have to explain. The silver fillings in people’s mouth what it used to be called silver amalgam fillings euphemistically, half of it is mercury and the other half silver, tin, zinc, and copper, so it’s an amalgamation of silver, tin, zinc, and copper, mixed up with liquid mercury. That when you plug into a tooth, within an hour goes hard, and within 24 hour goes much harder. It’s a cheap, it’s been used for 170 years in dentistry, and nowadays, if I … I haven’t done an amalgam filling for almost 30 years, but if your dentist who you might ask this question or say, “Should I be worried about amalgam? ” “No. Don’t worry about it. It’s perfectly safe.” Okay. Let me ask you this question. When you’ve done a mercury amalgam filling on your patient, and you’ve got a little bit left over, what do you with the scrap?
I know it’s a rhetorical question, it’s a trick question, but people should ask it of their dentist because the answer is this, it’s against the law for you to put that scrap into the toilet, the garbage, or down the sink. That scrap has to be disposed off as toxic waste.
However, through some twist of faith, it’s perfectly … The only safe place to put this toxic material is in the mouth of a human being. I don’t know whether … To me, that defies logic.
Guy: It’s like the world has gone mad.
Ron: It’s the mercury, but time … The question then goes because when I was placing mercury amalgams in the late ’70s and up to about 1981 or 1982, I was parroting what the university told me and that’s was, “It’s locked in. It doesn’t escape.” A chiropractor who is referring me patients at that time said to me, “Ron, it does escape. Read this literature.” I said, “Okay. I’ll read it. I’ll read it.” I read it and I couldn’t believe it, so I took … There was a piece of patient came in, a bit of old filling had fallen out, so from the records, it’d had been six or seven years earlier, so I sent it off to the Australian Analytical Laboratory to have it tested. It came back 40% mercury, and it had gone 50% mercury. I thought, “Oh, my God.” Hang on.
Guy: [crosstalk 00:25:55].
Ron: I don’t believe this. I don’t believe it. I repeated that with about four other samples and they all came back 37%, 43%, 39%, 41%. Clearly, mercury was escaping and when it escapes, it gets stored in the kidneys, the liver and the brain, so doing a blood test does not tell you whether you’ve got mercury toxicity or not. It is an issue. It’s one that is very difficult for the profession to grapple with and again it goes back to what’s the difference doing a holistic dentist and a normal dentists? If all your focus is here, and you’re trying to restore a tooth as best as you can, as economically as you can, then mercury amalgam is a great filling material. There’s only one problem, and the problem is that tooth is attached to a human being. Apart from it, perfectly fine.
Guy: If you got mercury fillings, is it quite a procedure to change them?
Ron: Look. It’s not rocket science but it seems to … There is some precautions that one should definitely take. You are better off leaving it in your mouth. Obviously, if there’s decay in there, you don’t leave it in your mouth, but if you’re having it removed because you’re wanting mercury removed from your body, then you need to take a few precautions, and in our practice, the precautions that we take are we use a rubber dam which is a shape of rubber that acts like a diaphragm. We punch a hole in that and the tooth or teeth that we’re working on pokes through, so it forms a barrier so that it protects the airway. We also give people a nose piece, because as soon as I put my drill on to a mercury filling, I create a vapor which your nose is very close to, so I don’t want you to be inhaling mercury vapor. We also use a lot of water to dampen down the vapor for us. We also use high-speed suction to avoid the exposure for us and the patient. We move it in a certain way, so we can flick it out rather than grinding out because that creates more vapor. In our practice, we have air purifiers and negative ion generators to help us deal with that as a OHS.
Guy: Cool. Sure.
Ron: There are some precautions, you should not have it just removed. It does raise the issue of mercury … It raises a really important issue and that is dental materials in general. I was attending a course last year from a professor from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden which is very big on Toxicology, and introduced me to this idea of metal-induced chronic inflammation. By being exposed to metal, on a 24/7 basis, the potential for your body to react by then going into chronic inflammation is there, so in our practice, we’re try and avoid metal as much as we can, and we can pretty well do that. There are some issues around dental materials that need to be considered carefully, but mercury for us has been a no-no for almost 30 years, and whether you’re removing a small filling or a whole mouth, you do it carefully and you support the person. Usually, we work with the person’s naturopath or nutritionist outside.
Stuart: If for instance, I did have a filling, a mercury filling, but I went to the trouble of getting a heavy metal analysis test. Maybe a hair testing kit, and I didn’t have any issues with mercury, happy just to go along and not really pay too much attention to it?
Ron: In our practice is in the city of Sydney, it’s called Holistic Dental Centre. There’s another plug, but anyway … The point about it is that we do not take a dogmatic approach to things to alter it. In a way, I envy those that do, that say, “All amalgam fillings should come out. All root canal teeth should come out. All these, all that.” We’re not dogmatic like that. I think there are two separate issues here. One is should we still be using the material? To me, the answer is definitely no. There is no excuse for using that material in today’s dental world. That’s number one. The second issue is should everyone be having every filling out? The answer is maybe, maybe not. We need to consider each one individually, each person individually. If for example, you were in excellent health however we define that. Of course, you got to be thinking about physical, emotional, mental, all these different …
Ron: Dental. All those different aspects of health, however we define excellent health. If you were in excellent health, and you’re sleeping well, and you’ve got good digestive, all the functions are going well, and … Hey, I don’t lose any sleep over the fact that when that filling needs to be removed, it should be removed, but when it is removed, it should be done carefully.
Stuart: Right. Got it.
Ron: Hair analysis is a gauge. It’s reasonable indicator. I remember I said mercury is stored in the kidney, the liver and the brain, it’s stored in fat tissues, so to get a proper analysis of what mercury load you have, you need to do a heavy metal … A challenge if you like, so you can take a chelating agent. People are exposed to heavy metals. Say you swallowed lead or something. The way that get that out of your body is by using what’s called the chelating agent. An example of that is something called DMSA. You could take DMSA and for you … Firstly, you would measure your urine before, and you’d have a really low level of mercury in your urine or your blood. It’s not a good measure. It doesn’t float around there, but then you take a couple of capsules of DMSA, and then you retest three, four or six hours later, and you collect the urine or a blood, and then you measure the before and the after. What you’ve done is you’ve dragged the mercury out of the organs and you deposited it in the …
Guy: In the urine.
Ron: … urine hence, to be excreted. That’s a more accurate way of determining it, but as I said, we’re not dogmatic about it. We’re very careful. I have some patients that have come to me from all over the place that they’ve had their amalgams removed in two or three sessions, and I’ve had other patients that have taken 10 or 15 years.
Stuart: Okay, got it.
Guy: Great answer.
Stuart: It’s good to know.
Guy: Another question, Ron on dentistry, and it’s a hot topic that will come up all the time for us is dairy consumption. Is this a key to strong teeth and bones?
Ron: Look. One of the things that I’m also very interested in is why public health messages are so confusing and contradicting. You only have to look at who is sponsoring some of the major professional organizations like the Dairy Corporation is a major sponsor of every professional, nutritional organization as well as the Asthma Council as well as … You name it. The Dairy Council are offering some sponsorship. That is, I think, clouds over some of the issues. I think there is some place for dairy, perhaps in a cultured dairy sense. If the dairy is grass fed, that’s a different story as well as opposed to being grained fed, but it’s certainly not an essential requirement for healthy teeth. No. I think fat-soluble vitamins are and within dairy … There are some fat-soluble vitamins, but there are some other issues that go with them. When we pasteurize and homogenize milk, we remove a lot of the enzymes that help us cope with the proteins in the milk, the casein and that is a common allergy that people and food sensitivity that people have.
I think what’s important is that you have … For strong healthy teeth, from the moment of conception … You get this from the moment of conception. In fact, probably for a good year or two, prior to conception, both male and female, to be eating a nutrient-dense diet that is high in vitamins, fat soluble and minerals, fat-soluble vitamins, and has a really broad range of vegetables and good fats and moderate amount of protein … I could go on about what it is, but it is not dairy. Dairy is not the essential [inaudible 00:34:53].
Guy: I appreciate it. You say fat-soluble vitamins, right? Yet, we’ve been told not to eat for God knows how many years as well to digest the vitamins that are fat soluble.
Ron: It’s actually set us up for the perfect storm. We’ve had the food pyramid which is food grains at the bottom, and avoid fats. We’ve had the low-fat dogma coming to us via [inaudible 00:35:18] and every heart foundation and every pharmaceutical company in the world because that’s something that doctors can measure. They can measure cholesterol, and they can give you a drug to lower cholesterol, so it makes them feel like they’re doing something. We’ve had the food pyramid and we’ve had the low-fat dogma, and we still have heart disease, number one. Cancer, number two, one in two male, one in three women. We will get cancer by the time they are 65. We’ve got autoimmune disease, it’s going to the roof. There are over 200 autoimmune diseases. By autoimmune, we mean Crohn’s, irritable bowel, thyroid function, rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson’s, et cetera, et cetera. Then we’ve got diabetes and obesity. How is that food pyramid and low fat diet been working for us over the last 40 or 50 years? Not all that good.
Guy: [inaudible 00:36:13].
Stuart: You touched … You mentioned it like a certain type of dairy and you’re also touching on upon the importance of fat-soluble vitamins as well which led me to think of reminineralization. Are we able, through diet and all of these key nutrients, or be it in a different dairy from fats, whatever, great foods, can we assist our teeth in remineralizing themselves?
Ron: I think the answer to that is yes, up to a point.
Guy: Can you explain the remineralization [crosstalk 00:36:50]?
Ron: Let me just explain what demineralization [crosstalk 00:36:52].
Guy: Okay. Perfect.
Ron: Let’s start what’s the beginning of the problem. A tooth is covered by enamel which is really hard. Underneath enamel is dentin which is considerably softer, and underneath the dentin is the nerve and the tooth, right? [inaudible 00:37:08] on a tooth. Now, within the mouth, there are at least 500 different species of microorganisms that we know of, and they live in perfect harmony. There’s a struggle like the rest of the world, the struggle between good and evil in the mouth as a symbol of struggle that goes on a daily basis between good and evil. If you are eating a good diet, then the good bacteria, just as they are in the gut proliferate, and you enjoy good health. If you’re eating a poor diet which is sugar, refined carbohydrates, grains which often break down into carbohydrate and sugar which breakdown into sugars very quickly, then you have a lot of sugar substrate for the bad bacteria to proliferate. You’re like any living organism that eats, it’s got to excrete. It’s got to go to the toilet. What did it excrete is an acid. The tooth is made up of calcium and phosphate, crystals, and so it starts to demineralize the tooth.
That shows up as little whitish spot on the tooth surface first, then it becomes a brownish spot and then it starts to undermine the softer dentin under the enamel, and then one day, you bite into something, and suddenly, out of the blue, you’ve got a hole. It’s been going on there for a while. Now, if you have the early stage of demineralization where you just got this early stage of decay, white spot, or even maybe the brown spot is starting and you eliminated all those substrates that fed the bad bacteria, and you ate a nutrient-dense diet which we’ve already talked about, then there is the chance to arrest decay and stop mineralization and remineralize the tooth. There are some products that [purport 00:38:54] to assist that. One of those products is called Tooth Mousse.
Tooth Mousse is a dairy product derivative and it’s a bio-available calcium and phosphate.
We do use some of that in our practice. I think the issue of mineralization, remineralization is a really important one, and then you get on to the topic of drinks, and water, and sports drinks, and carbonated drinks, and the alcohol, and the acidity of those drinks, you’re pushing up against it. I had somebody coming in to see me the other day who was complaining about sensitivity around the neck of the tooth. This was around 12 o’clock in the morning, and they told me, I said, “What did you have for … What are you eating?” They go, “Oh no. I’m on a really good diet.” “I started today with fruit juice. I have a big glass of orange juice and a big bowl of fruit, and then I have some muesli or some cereal with some milk. I’ve got low-fat milk. I don’t want to get … You know, I don’t want to be unwell, so I’m going to have low-fat milk.”
The Heart Foundation [text 00:40:00] going there and then she comes in to see me with iced tea. [crosstalk 00:40:05]. I calculated for her, and it was only 11 o’clock in the morning, but she’d already had the equivalent of about 27 teaspoons of sugar, and it was on the 11 o’clock in the morning. Really, what we are up against is dairy is not answer, remineralization is definitely possible. You need to consider the food that you’re eating and the drinks that you’re drinking.
Guy: [crosstalk 00:40:30].
Stuart: It’s so sad because that lady would have thought that she is doing the best that she can based upon the information that she is receiving from the supermarkets, from the government, from pretty much everybody in her circle.
Ron: I’m really … One of the things I’ve come to realize is we’ve got a real problem with our health system. In terms of crisis therapy, there is no better place to be. The level of ingenuity, of skill, of intelligence, of equipment that’s available to deal with a crisis, analysis on the medical health crisis is phenomenal. A friend of mine had a 1-week-old baby, open heart surgery for a heart defect. My 89-year-old mother had a new aortic valve replaced. What they can do is amazing. Crisis therapy, tick that box, brilliant. What’s wrong with the healthcare system is that it’s really not a healthcare system. It’s become a chronic disease management system. Really, between chronic disease management and crisis, it’s a great economic model. It generates billions, literally billions of dollars of profit for the processed in pharmaceutical industry, and for the health industry. I reap … I don’t reap billions of dollars sadly, but dentistry is a product of western diet.
Guy: Culture, yeah.
Ron: If I was a dentist in the Swiss Alps village, I wouldn’t be having a very busy time, so we have a chronic disease management system and that’s got to change. It’s unsustainable financially, the human cost, the loss of human potential is enormous.
Guy: Do you think people are being more proactive?
Ron: Definitely. I think there’s two schools … Actually, Guy, that’s a really interesting … but I think that’s a rising tide. I think there are two schools of thought out there at the moment. One is total faith in the Western health model like, all I need to know is my doctor’s phone number. Apart from that, I’m going to be fine. I’ve got health insurance and my doctor’s phone number always work. They’ll just tell me what medication I need, if I need surgery, so be it. It’s all there for me. There’s the other group that says, “Wait a minute. I know that’s there for me, but I don’t want to get it.” They are becoming far more proactive in their life. I think that’s a rising … That’s a definitely a rising tide.
Guy: I was going to add as well even just for the [inaudible 00:43:08] podcast and blogs and things that are popping up the message and from the growth of our podcast over the last years, people are definitely at least hungry for information, and trying to get it out there for people to proactively change.
Ron: I’d agree with that.
Stuart: I did have a question when we were talking about the remineralization and you touched upon the oral microbiome, and I listened to a great podcast a couple of weeks ago all about that very topic. My question to you is mouthwash. Does that affect the oral microbiome because they were saying that it did at the time, and so I just thought we’d ask the expert.
Ron: Were they saying it did in the positive way or negative way.
Stuart: A negative way.
Ron: Absolutely. That whole issue of bad breath for example is a classic example of … It’s such an interesting topic. I could talk to you for half an hour and an hour on bad breath but basically, there are medical reasons why you have bad breath. It’s dental and medical reasons, and yet it is a 10-billion dollar industry of mouthwashes, breath fresheners, da, da, da, da, da. You name it and most of them are totally ineffective and do not address the root cause of the issue which is the same as tooth decay or bad gut biome or bad oral biome, gut biome. The same diet that promotes a healthy gut biome, guess what? It promotes a healthy oral biome as well. That product that you buy … If you have an infection or you’re dealing with something on a short-term basis, maybe we use a herbal mouth rinse, tincture of calendula which is very effective in a short term, but I wouldn’t recommend that for more than a couple of days for any patient. I certainly recommend a mouth rinse on a regular basis.
Guy: Great. Great questions then.
Stuart: It’s interesting. The microbiome in the gut health now is so huge. You see the next breakthrough but many of us don’t even think that it starts in the mouth, and we’re drinking sodas with all these crazy acids, very harsh mouthwashes and rinses or manner of foods that we put in there would have to have an effect at some point I would imagine.
Ron: Look. Like I said, the two most common infections known to man, woman, or child is tooth decay and gum disease. That only arises through an imbalance of the microbiome in your mouth. If that happens there, why on earth wouldn’t it happened anywhere else in the body and it certainly does. That’s what Weston A. Price found out, big breakthrough in 1935. It’s just taking a little while for the [ballot 00:46:05] to arrive.
Guy: [crosstalk 00:46:06].
Ron: He posted a letter 80 years ago, and it’s only arrived on our shores recently.
Guy: That’s amazing.
Stuart: [crosstalk 00:46:14].
Guy: What does a holistic dentist to do with the care for his teeth?
Ron: I try to eat a good diet. Listen, I work on an 80/20 principle, 90/10. If I get to 90/10, I am saintly. I’m very proud of myself. I’d like to think that throughout, most of my … All my week, I’m on an 80/20 basis. You’ve got to work out what percentage is right for you. Some people think 50/50 is pretty good, and to me, that’s ridiculous; 60/40 doesn’t cut it; 70/30 is not going to make that big a difference; maybe 20 is the bottom line; 90/10 is what I do, and if I was 100% or I’d be a social outcast and known whatever [inaudible 00:47:03]. I think you’ve got to cut yourself a little of slack here because you end up getting so stressed out about what you’re reading, that it becomes pathological in itself, but essentially, the basis of my diet is I eat … The majority of my diet, I’m trying to make vegetables of varying colors, as many colors as I can. I try to keep low-ish carb and by carb level, I mean around 70 gram to 80 grams of carb a day is achievable and if people want to know what that is, I would suggest to get a carb counter and spend a week looking and weighing everything you do.
You don’t have to do it for the rest of your life. You’re just going to do it for a week or two to start getting your head around it. I would try … I had moderate amount of quality pasture fed, preferably organic protein, and by moderate I mean … We’re talking about … For me, who is 80 kilos, I wouldn’t want to be eating more than about 60 grams of protein a day. An egg has got 7 grams of protein, so if I have two eggs in the morning, there’s 14 grams, and a 200-gram piece of steak would have 66 grams right there and then. We eat too much protein. There’s no doubt about it. We eat too much meat, and we eat too much meat for two things. Problems with that is, one, for our own health, it’s not good, and two from a sustainability and planetary point of view, I don’t think it’s good. The other thing is good fats. By good fats, I would include butter, olive oil, avocado, coconut oil. I do most of the cooking at home, coconut oil. I indulge myself with some roasted vegetables and duck fat occasionally.
Then I have clean water. I actually purify my water. I have a reverse osmosis filter which removes everything and then I might add a couple of grains of Himalayan or Celtic sea salt. If I can taste it, I put too much in. If you have salts, I use either those salts, Celtic sea salt or Himalayan rock salt which have 60 trace elements in them, and I have moderate amount of seasonal fruit. I restrict my fruit intake, but I do have seasonal fruit and I do have some apples, bananas, berries, preferably organic. They’re very high in pesticides, strawberries and blueberries. Then sea food, moderate amount of sea food. I’m very careful with sea food. The best sea food is I think sardines. A lot of the other … The bigger fish, I wouldn’t touch.
Guy: From the mercury perspective or …
Ron: From a mercury sustain … There’s two issues about seafood. One is sustainability. We have raped and pillaged sea, and we’ve now reduced to up to 90% of its fish stocks over the last 20 or 30 years, so that’s a bit of a problem. The toxicity issue is inescapable, and the higher up the food chain you go, so the big fish are our problem. Then you go to farm fish, and I don’t really want to touch farm fish either because the farm fish are not in a natural environment. They often eat trash fish, so when they scour the ocean, they use big nets and that will take out the fish that can be sold at the fish market, but they have a huge amount of what’s called trash fish which were either too small to eat or a bottom feeders, and so they end up getting milled up to fish meal or they might … I just think farm fishing is not a good … I think sardines are the best alternative, calamari, okay. I don’t eat much. I don’t eat much seafood. It’s overrated.
Stuart: How would you move? What would you do? Are you a marathon runner or are you a crossfit aficionado?
Ron: I’m a functional movement aficionado.
Ron: No. Really, I am. For the last … One of the most liberating things I’ve learned is that if you did 10 minutes or 20 minutes of interval training, high intensity interval training, then your metabolism is up for 24 to 48 hours. If you did a 10-kilometer run, your metabolism would be up for six to eight hours, so you don’t have to do that much to make a difference. For many years, I have attended a fabulous gym. I think he is one of the best trainers in Australia, Origin of Energy in Bondi Junction in Sydney, and Aaron McKenzie is into functional movements. It’s bending, twisting, turning, lunging, reaching, extending, flexing, doing all those movements that we do in everyday life and incorporating them into a workout, and then also focusing on the core. I have tried to do that three or four times a week, and I also do some stairs, high-intensity cardio but only over a short period, and so I don’t … I’m not a runner.
I think people run for various reasons. It’s very meditative. It’s not just the health thing people go out for long runs, but it’s not a really good thing for you. It’s not good for your joints. It’s not good for you. It’s not necessarily a good thing. That’s the first thing. The other thing is I try to wear a pedometer because you could work out for 30 minutes or an hour a day, but you’re sedentary for the 23 hours, and that’s a good thing either. In my surgery, I actually have measured that in a working day, I would walk about 6,000 steps just backwards and forwards from patient, around from where I parked my car to where my surgery is and back again, and to and from. I try and incorporate movement. Every morning, when I wake up in the morning, I do some yoga. I usually do the Salute to the Sun, a few rounds of that. If you’re wanting to do an all-around exercise, that is brilliant. Salute to the Sun, a couple of rounds of that in the morning really gets you going, so yeah. Movement is important.
Guy: A lot of people just don’t move. That’s another thing and another topic but nice to hear you do. I’ve been bringing in yoga to my weekly routine, and I’ve been trying to get
Stu there but he’s not prepared to [inaudible 00:53:46] and come down.
Stuart: Yeah. One day, Guy.
Guy: I’m aware of time. It’s going on a little bit, Ron, and I’d love for you to just talk a little bit about your podcast just to let the listeners know that you’re a podcast to Good Doctors, is that right?
Ron: We do.
Guy: I know Stu has become a fan. He’s been listening to a lot of it lately.
Stuart: I have. I’m loving it.
Ron: Yeah, good. It’s been going for a couple of years now actually, and my co-host, that it’s called The Good Doctors, Health Care Unplugged. Each week we explore. Here comes the introductions too. Each week we … no. Each week we do, we explore health wellness and disease from a nutritional and environmental perspective and we look at food from soil to plate and we look at the connections between mind and body, and we do that because they’re all connected. We really are talking about alternative medicine, we’re talking about good medicine, and my co-host in that is a fabulous doctor in the Mornington Peninsula, integrative holistic GP called Michelle Woolhouse. I personally … we’re up to episode 170, I think, and we do Healthy Bytes which very … Sometimes we interview people, sometimes we have a Healthy Byte which varies from 5 minutes to 20 minutes, and we’re just starting to do book reviews, but I have personally learned so much.
Each week, I get to pretend, and it’s not much of a stretch for me, but I get to pretend that I don’t know everything. I get to ask either our guests or Michelle something, and I’ve learnt so much from that, so it’s a great show. We’re starting to take it little more seriously. We’re going to do some live events next year. It’s going to be really good. It’s a really exciting project. It’s one we both really enjoy.
Stuart: Fantastic. If we wanted to connect to The Good Doctors, the best way to do it?
Ron: iTunes or you could go on to our web page which is thegooddoctors.com.au, and we’ve got a Facebook page, we got a lot of information going out. We’re just about to publish an ebook on what is good health, and we’re about to do a whole series of varying programs. We did a fertility series, we’re doing a cardio series, a cancer series, so there’s a lot exciting things happening there next year.
Guy: I think you’re right. Since we’ve been podcasting, I’ve learned so much. I find it a privilege. We have guests on like yourself, and we currently do them [inaudible 00:56:18] interview, but the absolute variety of knowledge that you exposed to, it’s awesome.
Ron: I’ve started a second podcast as well.
Guy: Have you?
Ron: I have on through my surgery, but it’s called Holistic Health Conversations. It’s where I interview practitioners that we work with around Australia or around Sydney, and also internationally who have a holistic approach to healthcare. That’s starting up in the next couple of weeks as well from our surgery web page.
Guy: Well done. Fantastic. There you go. Ron, just to wrap up, we have a question we ask everyone on the podcast every week. Nothing too technical, but what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Ron: I think the best piece of advice I’ve ever been given … The best lesson I’ve learned is to take control of yourself and keep an open mind because we love certainly, and if you’re going to change your health, there are two things that are important in change, any change. The first one is to accept control. It’s called locus of control. Do I have the control over my health? I know I don’t 100%, but I want to be as much in control of it as I can, so that’s number one. Number two, a tolerance of ambiguity. Meaning things are not black and white, and keeping an open mind and incorporating information and having knowledge is a very powerful tool, so take control and be the best you can be. That’s the best lesson I’ve learned.
Guy: Awesome. It’s funny you come up with that answer because I’ve been [inaudible 00:58:04] the phrase, beginner’s mind, when you approach the things, and that’s come up in the last couple of podcast actually.
Ron: Look, I often say that I only wish I knew as much I thought I did when I graduated from dentistry. When I graduated, I passed all the exams set by all the professors, and I thought I knew it all. Actually, the more you learn, the more you realize you don’t know, so it’s fun to learn.
Stuart: That’s right.
Guy: Fantastic. What’s coming up next for you?
Ron: I’m just in the process … I’m just finishing a book, and the book is called Simply Be Well. It’s an exploration of the five stresses in life that break us down which I’ve mentioned, emotional, environmental, postural, nutritional, and dental, and the five pillars of health that build us up which is sleep, breathe, nourish, move, and think. It also explores why public health messages is so confusing and contradictory. That’s coming out in the New Year. If people are interested, they can go into my website and we’re going to be … I think I’m going to have the first couple of chapters ready in a couple of weeks, and so we’re going to give them out free, send out the first couple of chapter.
Guy: [inaudible 00:59:10] awesome. Let us know when it’s out. It would be great. Everyone listen to this. Your website, best place to go back to the [inaudible 00:59:19] would be?
Ron: The surgery website, the shdc.com.au. SHDC, that stands for Sydney Holistic Dental Centre.com.au or they go on to drronehrlich. All one word, lower case, dot com, and there’ll be a lot of information on their too. [crosstalk 00:59:37].
Guy: [crosstalk 00:59:36].
Ron: Workshops coming up in the New Year, a Simply Be Well workshop to go with the book, and we’ve got an app that goes with the book as well, so a lot of exciting stuff coming up.
Guy: Awesome. We’ll link to the show notes as well, so people can just go and check it out.
Guy: [crosstalk 00:59:52].
Ron: Thanks for having me.
Stuart: [crosstalk 00:59:53].
Guy: Thanks for coming on. That was brilliant. I really appreciate it.
Stuart: [crosstalk 00:59:55]. We continue to learn which is great.
Ron: Don’t we? Thanks, guys. I really appreciate it.
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.
This week we welcome musician Wes Carr to the show. Wes has an amazing story to share with us as he’s been on quite a journey.
Wes openly speaks to us about his battle with depression and anxiety, and how he’s been using nutrition and meditation with great success to help combat these in his everyday life over the last few years.
If you’re not familiar with Wes Carr, yes, he’s a musician here in Australia. He’s worked alongside icons like Paul Mac, Missy Higgins, Don Walker, and Andrew Farris from INXS to name a few.
If you enjoy inspiring and transformational stories, then this podcast is for you!
Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence from 180 Nutrition, and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. You know, thinking back a couple of years ago I was sitting in a friend’s car and they played me song and the song was called Blood and Bone. And little did I know that musician would end up on our podcast a couple of years later.
Yes, his name is Wes Carr and even more so little did I know that he had an amazing story to share with us and he’s been on quite a journey. If you’re not familiar with Wes Carr, he’s a musician here in Australia. He’s also worked alongside icons like Paul Mac, Missy Higgins, Don Walker, and Andrew Farris from INXS to name a few.
Pretty amazing resume. But Wes actually has openly spoke about his battle with depression and anxiety, and he comes on the show today to share with us about using nutrition and meditation to help combat those things and bring them to his everyday life.
And I have to say about Wes, he’s one very positive, happy, great guy, and it was a pleasure to have him on the show today and, yeah, you’re gonna get lots out of this.
Also, Wes is actually touring around Australia at the moment. His tour is called Here Comes the Sun: A Journey Through Songs and Memoirs of George Harrison. And I will be definitely checking it out myself. So, if you want to go and see Wes in person, after this podcast, now is the time to do it.
As always, if you’re listening to this podcast, a little bit of feedback is always great to hear from you. Simply drop us an email: 180Nutrition.com.au. And also a review is a great way through iTunes. It takes two minutes to do. Hit the Subscribe and five-star as well. Really appreciate it. Get feedback that way, but it also helps us with our rankings and we know that you’re enjoying these podcasts as well and we can reach more people.
And it’s fantastic and I feel very blessed to be doing these podcasts with such amazing people. And I have no doubt you’re going to enjoy this podcast along with many others today as well.
So, yeah, let’s go over to Wes Carr. Enjoy.
All right, let’s start, eh? Let’s rock and roll; excuse the pun, Wes.
So, hey, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke, as always. Hey, Stu. And our fantastic guest today is Wes Carr. Wes, welcome to the show, mate.
Wes Carr: Thanks, guys. Thanks very much.
Guy Lawrence: Wes, I was thinking we’ve had athletes, triathlons, CrossFitters, naturopaths, doctors. And we had a chef last week; Pete Evans came on. And you’re our first musician, mate.
Wes Carr: I am?
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. And we’re very excited about that. So, every podcast, mate, what we do is get some; just tell us a little bit about your journey, what you do, before we get on to the health topic of everything, which we’re excited to talk to you about. Can you just tell us a little bit about, I guess, your music journey? You know; when did all that start?
Wes Carr: Yeah. Look, I started sort of singing and dancing and performing when I was I think about 2 years old. I put on the Michael Jackson album Thriller like every ’80s child and went nuts, basically.
And that was it, really, and then I kind of decided to start writing at about 12. I picked up the guitar and I just wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote, basically was obsessed with music, really, all the way through my; all the way up until sort of, yeah, now, really. I mean, I’ve always been a musician and entered Australian Idol in 2008. And basically I’ve been in bands and I’ve been in the industry for 10, 12 years and I’ve been in a band Ben Gillies from Silverchair; that was probably the most profile I’ve had before Australian Idol.
And then when I entered that competition it was kind of frowned upon back then, in the industry, because it sort has this sort of stigma that anyone who goes into those shows, they don’t have much experience. Whereas I had quite a lot of experience in the lead-up to something like that.
And it was really me just kind of throwing caution at the wind and just sort of experimenting with a whole different mentality about going about doing things. And I kind of foresaw that the old mentality in the music industry that they still kind of bash these days is that, you know, you have to be laying in the gutter to sort of make it in the industry. You know? You’re gonna have to pay your dues and all that bullshit.
And I understand it in a certain respect, because you do need to have a sense of yourself and you do need to know a bit more about your craft than just wanting to be famous. But for me, I’ve never really wanted to be, kind of, you know, famous for just being famous. It was more about going onto the short and basically just releasing everything that I had under my belt for the last 15 years of my experience.
And that’s all I did. And I was fortunate enough to go on and win the show and be known for winning Australian Idol, which then I discovered that was a little bit of a struggle, because being known for winning something like Australian Idol, you become “that guy from that show” more than that guy who writes this song or that guy who… So, it’s a big leap; you sort of throw a lot of stuff out the window whilst doing it, but at the end of the day it gives you a leg up in the public arena and you get to have a stance, a voice that’s to what you love doing, I suppose.
So, you know, I’m grateful for it but it has been quite a long journey, I suppose, finding my way through it all and seeing what it means, you know? And now seven years later I’m sort of looking back at it all and really sort of saying, you know, most of it’s bullshit, really, but (really, it is) but you get to find a sense of yourself and you get to find; it’s all about you, really. I mean, at the end of the day we’re all here to sort of learn and grow and fully experience; constantly change and experience new things. And that was sort of what I did, and met a lot of cool, interesting people along the way, you know?
And I’ve done that, I’ve worked with a lot of people, I’ve been over to L.A. I’ve worked with Joe Cocker. This was all before Idol, you know. I worked with a lot of different, amazing famous, very famous, acts and people that I’ve met before and after. And they’ve all taught me many things along the way and, you know, now it’s all; now I’m sitting here talking to you guys.
Stuart Cooke: I actually watched, strangely enough, that was the only Australian Idol I’ve ever watched. And I watched it from Day 1 all the way through to the finals. So I know a little bit about your journey on there. And we were engrossed as a family sitting there, and you get so dialed in.
But I was intrigued that, so, from Australian Idol seven years ago to now the Paleo Way with Pete Evans and Nora Gedgaudas. How did that ever come about?
Wes Carr: I lived next door to a mate of mine who’s a really good friend of mine now whose name is Dino Gladstone or Dean Gladstone; they call him Dino on the show, which is Bondi Rescue, which he’s famous for. I lived next door to him in… I’m not gonna give his address out.
And this was sort of straight after the show. Or kind of two years after the show, really, and I’d been on tour for two years, basically drunk, I think, everyone in Bondi’s body weight in vodka on tour.
And I’d been pretty much partying kind of all the way through that and just playing shows. You know how it is. It’s just sort of becomes like a novelty; it just becomes a joke, really, of like how much alcohol is on the rider and everything at the end of the day, after massive shows and things. It is kind of; I don’t know. I just exhausted myself, I think. I just tried to be something that I really wasn’t, in a way. I learned a lot of that through that mentality. So, when I met Dino he kind of steered me in a different direction. I started training with him and just hanging out a bit more, talking to him.
And he introduced me to a book called Primal Body, Primal Mind. And I read a bit of that and I remember him giving it to me, actually, we were on the Cooper Park stairs, which is probably the worst, or some of the worst stairs you can run up and down in Sydney. They are like the “death stairs,” I call them.
And we were training one day and he gave me this book and I read a bit of it and it just kind of opened my eyes up. And then he really just changed my whole perception on food and what food does. It’s like, I had grew up in a household where I don’t think I ever once thought about food as being medicine or anything to do with anything other than being tasty. That was basically what my education of food was. Because growing up in Adelaide, working-class Adelaide, you just don’t think about these things. You just sort of go to school and come home and drink your Farmers Union iced coffee and…
What I used to do XXJohnny in town/talent school in ?? 0:10:00.000XX as a kid and I was XXon the team/a teen??XX in Adelaide and all that stuff. So, we set up a schedule of going from school to the city five nights a week, and every night we’d have McDonald’s for dinner. I mean, that’s kind of what you did. It was cheap, easy, no one ever really thought about it, it was just the way it was. You know?
So, getting back to Dino, like, that was just an explosion for me to finally go, “Wow, OK?” He didn’t eat grains and all this sort of stuff. What the hell is all this about? And he was making these smoothies and just really into his food and talking about food. And when he spoke about his food, he lit up and it was like; it was just this amazing kind of person; he just kind of became this other person. It was great to see. I thought, God, there’s something in this.
And that was about six years ago, I think. Five years ago.
Guy Lawrence: What made you open to that, you know?
Wes Carr: I think because I really admired Dino for his energy. He has a real just this enigmatic energy that when he talks, you know there’s something in here because he’s so, not “obsessed” is the wrong word, but so; he just loves what he does. You know? All those guys down there do, you know? That’s why they do what they do is they…
But, you know, I think for me that they’re just really good inspirations and really good role models for people, especially like me who came after having all-nighters and just boozed, basically, and destroyed, and running around the world catching flights going… And then also having a disposition to anxiety and depression, which I think I was just trying to numb myself with XXaudio glitch 0:12:04.000XX and everything else that was going on with the prescription pills and everything.
And then he just sort of; and slowly but surely I started waking up to the fact that, “Oh, wow! This does really work.” And it took a very long time because I was the only person in my camp that when we went on holidays and things I’d bring my own food in an Esky and I’d basically just copy what Dino used to do. And I bought what Dino bought and everything that Dino did, I just basically mirrored for awhile until I started getting a little bit more like, “OK, there’s something in this.” I don’t know how it’s going to be sustainable because it was really expensive back then, even four or five years ago, it was quite expensive. These days it’s becoming more mainstream and hopefully it becomes more mainstream so the price is lower and there’s markets and there’s a lot more avenues now, but it took a long time to kind of start working up to this, I think, a long time ago.
I mean, paleo wasn’t in the mainstream psyche at the time. It was just the word that I don’t really understand, you know? It was just a lifestyle choice for me that I seem to resonate with.
Guy Lawrence: Have you always suffered from anxiety and depression? You mentioned it. Or was that something that was fueled from the public eye?
Wes Carr: No. I always had a disposition to severe anxiety. It’s more like terror. I’ve never really had it diagnosed properly, I don’t think, because it sort of shifts around a bit, you know? There’s anxiety attacks, there’s the depression, and then there’s the obsessive thinking that…
I was just talking to a; I was just on the Paleo Way tour in Cairns, I was talking to a little boy, a very inspirational little boy who had changed his diet and has changed his life. But he has obsessive compulsive disorder and what he described basically, when I have my, what I sort of call “episode” where I sort of; I’ve got this one terror thought that I can’t get out of my head and it just kind of goes around and around and around and around. And it just becomes more and more and more and more, I suppose, violent, in my head.
And I basically can’t move. I just can’t get out of the house. I can’t do anything. It cripples me inside and outside.
And so I’ve always had that, and that sort of got worse and worse and worse over the years. And that’s just sort of, it comes in sort of stages maybe twice a year or once every two years. It doesn’t really matter when it comes. It just hits like a freight train when it does.
But I’ve recently realized, my wife’s done the XXINN course 0:15:07.000XX, and my little man has had trouble with sensory processing and all that when he was born. And it’s all to do with gut, really. I mean, that’s your biggest brain in your body. You know?
And so for me to constantly be aware of that and keep on the path of trying to change my gut bacteria and giving it the right foods, then I can change my brain. And then I can work on my thoughts.
But when it’s physical, I feel like you struggle with the thoughts. So you’ve got to kind of treat your physical and then treat your psychological and then it will start working all in all.
Sometimes I don’t really treat my physical well and I sort of shift backwards and forwards, because it is a big step and it’s also a very; you’ve got to be very highly committed to it in quite a strict manner to be able to repair your body and have that mentality. It’s like a mantra. You’ve got to have that mentality every day, all the time, you’ve got to wake up and…
Guy Lawrence: It takes work, doesn’t it?
Wes Carr: It just takes a lot of work. At the moment, I’m trying to get off the caffeine. You know? I’ve been an avid tea drinker for ever since I can remember. And I love my cup of tea in the morning, but then it’s got more caffeine in it than coffee, they say. And it acts differently in the body. But still, and I’ve been 10 days off the caffeine, that’s the last thing I probably need to get off of.
And, for me, I feel even better clarity of mind and able to keep up with a 2-year-old sometimes. It’s still a lot better than walking around with this kind of fake energy for awhile.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. It must have been great for you to meet Nora on the Paleo Way after reading the book as well and being able to spend some time with her.
Wes Carr: Yeah, it was a bit of trick, really. It was quite strange. You know, sometimes you sort of get exposed to these people and all of a sudden, bang, they’re in your life. It’s just bizarre. That happened with Joe Cocker and myself. My dad used to do these really bad Joe Cocker impersonations at Christmas time and then all of a sudden there I am meeting him and going over. So, yeah.
It’s happened most of my life. It’s sort of funny. It’s like whoever I think about sometimes they turn up in my life, which is, yeah…
Guy Lawrence: Oh, it’s great. But even to share your story. Because the Paleo Way was a successful tool, clearly. I mean, I went to the Sydney one and I think there was 1110 people there or something.
Wes Carr: Yeah. It’s been nuts. I mean, I think for me to watch it on the outskirts this time around; I was on the first one and then my wife’s on the second one here, and I’m playing at it and playing music. You know, I think for me, watching it all evolve into the mainstream, it’s like we’re saying the world’s flat again. Like, the media have responded in such an aggressive fashion. And it’s just so unfair because it’s just not; it’s not at all controversial when you look at what you’re saying and whatever everybody’s saying with the paleo lifestyle. It’s just pretty bloody simple really.
But then you’ve got to look at all the publications that are writing these things and what their alliances are. You know?
Guy Lawrence: But I think it’s a big shift mentally for people as well. Like, I was in the same boat as you whereas I grew up without a second thought about food. And you almost have to have a bit of a nudge, if you like, by the universe or whatever it is, pain, or whatever it may be, before you look into these kind of; look at the food that you eat and how it applies to your own health.
I think it can be quite a bit ask for people at times, even though it is actually quite simple really.
Wes Carr: Yeah, I think it is a big ask. I mean, I always look at my mum and God bless my mum. I always look at her for examples as to how I suppose 90 percent of the psyche of the public think, because mum’s from Adelaide, she’s been in suburbia all her life, and she’s read the news, watched the news on the telly, and goes to work. And that’s her sort of everything.
But that’s kind of what people do, I suppose. They get up, they read the paper, they read “fear, fear, fear, fear, fear.” They go to work. They just eat whatever they can, because it’s quick and easy and cheap. Then come home. They watch the news. “Fear, fear, fear, fear, fear.” They go to sleep. And then they get up and repeat.
And then on the weekends they have; they go away with the family or something and they recharge and then back. And it’s the same old routine. And it’s just a treadmill. And it’s a little bit insane. Well, a whole lot of insane. But, you know, I think if you can just break away from that and just be aware of one thing or change just one thing about your life that you kind of think “I could do away with that” and just slowly chip away at your so-called routine and start reading a book or just go out for a walk in the sunshine at lunch break and not sit at your desk eating.
Just something really simple that changes that routine. You start becoming a little bit; that little hole that you’re looking through starts becoming a little wider and wider and wider. And if you’re looking through a small hole, you’re gonna only see through that small hole. But if you start looking through, you start breaking that hole apart, a little bit by little bit, you start seeing a little bit more of the entirety of what’s going on around you and what’s happening, you know?
And there is a lot more happening in the world or a lot more awareness going on than there’s ever been because of such readily communication that we’re all involved in and where we are and the Internet and where we log on.
A lot of people read Facebook now as the newspaper, more so, instead of XXsubtext?? 0:22:03.000XX
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. I think the average person logs in, I think it’s five times a day, to Facebook? It’s something like that.
Wes Carr: Yeah, so, it’s in your phone. I mean, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was 15 times a day, to be honest. Because you’re on your phone and you’re on the bus, you’re on Facebook. You’re waiting on the bus… Like, I mean, I look around at a café and there’s people just on their phones, you know?
It’s a little worrying, but, you know, as long as they’re kind of, I don’t know, reading something that’s sort of expanding their minds instead of “the dog did a poo on my lawn this morning” or something, you know. Some weird… If they’re reading something of worth, then I agree with the communication. But the irony is that we’ve got so much communication now that nobody; it feels like nobody’s really communicating.
And it takes people like a Pete Evans or somebody to kind of put their hand up and say, look, you know, what’s going on over here? I mean, a lot of people are calling him “evangelical” or whatever, but maybe that’s what’s needed at the moment to sort of get through, penetrate through to the mainstream. You know?
The media are only going to report and laugh about it. It’s become a bit like the court jesters back in the medieval times, the media, I think. So I think, you know, that’s the thing.
Guy Lawrence: The great thing with Pete is that he’s making people think about what they’re eating.
Wes Carr: That’s right. And I think that’s all he wants. I mean, he’s not the devil and all this other stuff; all this rubbish that’s coming out. It’s just ridiculous. If people could think about just; if people could think why; what’s the agenda with the newspaper? Why are they writing this stuff? Why are they bullying these people? They’re just basically trying to spread some love into the world. You know? That’s basically what it all is. That’s what I believe.
Stuart Cooke: It’s not as if he’s pushing a potato juice diet. You know?
Wes Carr: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: It makes perfect sense. He’s really pushing what our grandparents used to eat before everything got screwy.
Wes Carr: Absolutely. That’s all it is, you know? That’s all it is. It’s just what our grandparents used to eat. And, you know, it’s deemed like they’re running around saying it’s gonna kill a baby, which is just absolutely ridiculous. You know? My boy grew up on the food and he’s the smartest kid I’ve ever known. I may be biased, but he really is. He’s two and a half and he’s talking whole sentences because his brain’s had the good fats, and it’s just bloody common sense, to be honest.
And, for me, getting back to my journey with it all, it’s like, you know, for me, a big thing is meditation. I mean, it’s more about, for me, it’s more about the soul and looking after your body, but also what comes; what’s around your body, you know?
And that’s who we are really, I think.
Stuart Cooke: I’ve heard the term “spiritual transformation” in some of media articles that I was reading prior to the interview. Is that something that you could explain a little for us?
Wes Carr: That’s funny because I never read anything about that.
Guy Lawrence: The media are at it again!
Stuart Cooke: They are. They are.
Wes Carr: Oh, well. As long as I’m not; you know XXa killer?? 0:25:39.000XX or something, I’m good.
Yeah, look, you know. For me, that’s another thing that came around about five years ago was transcendental meditation. I just; I had always really thought about meditation as being a bit, sort of “girly.” A little bit like, “Oh, what do you want to do that for? Sitting around and just kind of, yeah right.”
And I suppose I’ve been meditating anyway while playing music. That’s a meditation, absolutely. When you’re on stage it feels like you’ve disappeared for an hour and a half and then come back and when you get off stage you’re back there again and it takes you awhile to come down from being on stage.
But, yeah, that is a mediation as well. But for me, transcendental meditation, when I first did it, I went and saw a really amazing person called Carol Maher in Sydney and she taught; she gave me a sound, a mantra, and I just; she just sort of said, now just sit there. And she kind of integrated it into my psyche or system or whatever. You know?
And I just started kind of saying this word over and over again, and, man, it was like; I don’t know. I think David Lynch has the best analogy, which is he just sort of says it’s like standing in a lift and having the lift ropes being cut and you sort of free-fall down the shaft of the lift.
And it’s a bit like that. You just sort of, you kind of close up…
Stuart Cooke: How often do you meditate?
Wes Carr: It’s meant to be twice a day. So…
Guy Lawrence: For how long?
Wes Carr: Well, I do a thing called the Flying Sutras as well, which takes another 10 minutes on my 20 minutes. So, it’s an half an hour a day, morning and night. So, I get up early to do it. I have to get up early, really, to do it. Otherwise, I just can’t do it.
And then the night time’s a little bit harder to fit in with babies and everything else. But I still try to get into it, even if it’s just before I sleep. But it does help me a lot to balance my life, I think.
And some days, it’s funny because you start off with a mantra and you think, “I’m just going to really concentrate on a mantra.” And then boom, you’re off. And you’ve just got about 600 things that you discover that’s in your head that needs to be kind of almost like washed away.
Guy Lawrence: Like hitting the Reset button, is it, would you say?
Wes Carr: Yeah. It’s like; they say it’s like a bath-clean mind or a shower-clean mind. It’s funny, you know. As soon as you go into a meditation state, you realize how much is built up in your mind that you don’t know is there until you look within.
And once you look in, you see it all lined up all in a row and it feels like you need to deal with that stuff before you start with your everyday stuff.
And that’s what a lot of people don’t realize that there’s a lot of stuff going in your mind on a subconscious level or whatever it is under the surface that hasn’t been dealt with yet.
So, that’s why a lot of people feel stressed without knowing that they feel stressed. Or, I’m sorry, without knowing what it is that they’re stressed out about.
Guy Lawrence: Did you have coaching for a long time, Wes, or was this something you just pick up? Because I often hear people talk about meditation. But I don’t see many people that are actually habitually doing it on a regular basis.
Wes Carr: Yeah. I noticed that my life becomes a lot more powerful when I do it a lot more than if I skip a few or whatever and all of that.
I seem to go off on tangents or I start a song and don’t finish it. And I’m over here and I’m over there and I’m doing this and I’ve got 300 things going all at once. But if I just stop for that minute. And actually people say, “Oh, where do you get the time to do hours worth of meditation every day, morning and night?” And it’s like, well, I… Sometimes I don’t. But when I do do it I find that I achieve more. It’s like “do less, achieve more.” It’s that Tao Te Ching thing.
But a lot of people don’t trust that. They think that if you run around frantically and try to achieve more, you get more. And that’s not the way it is. It’s like, you know, you’ve got to give a little to get a little. You know? That’s the kind of thing; I think that’s what meditation’s all about. It makes you realize that if your mind’s right, you can sort of achieve anything, really. But you’ve got to take the time to practice it.
And it kind of makes your life feel better and then everyone else around you. You know? Because then you’re a little bit more relaxed so then it’s sort of a bit more…
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fascinating.
Wes Carr: I think we’re taught to sort of get up and go, like, from the word “go,” you know, from school. I remember: “Work hard. Everything’s hard. You have to work at it. Work, work, work. Hard, hard, hard.” This, that, and the other. Fourteen hours a day. Come home, collapse, get up, do it again, eat shit food.
All of this stuff is just like, from birth. So, you know, if you kind of can wake a up a little around 30 or so is a good age to do it. You kind of come in, reprogram it all and start going, “Hey, well that didn’t really work for me.” Because it doesn’t really work. This all hard work. This whole mentality of pushing shit up a hill all the time. You’ve got to just sort of, yeah, think about it a bit more, you know?
Guy Lawrence: Oh, definitely. It’s funny enough. Myself and Stu did a talk at the Mark Sisson event two weeks ago, the Primal. And one of the things then, as well, I think was a major factor that we ended up talking about was about finding your purpose and passion in life and actually… because then it doesn’t feel like hard work. If you can start to find more purpose with what you’re doing every day, I think it’s a huge thing for your own sanity and health overall. Because it’s gonna wear you down. It has to.
Wes Carr: And it gives you the ease, so therefore the hard work, yeah, like you said, it doesn’t feel like hard work. It probably is hard work to work at it but it doesn’t feel like that, you know? And it gives you the ease to then go and achieve something of a standard that you’re happy with and not just kind of stuck behind a…
Guy Lawrence: Massively.
So, with everything you’ve sort of learned on your own journey so far, Wes, what would your advice to be to anyone that could be listening to this that is suffering from anxiety and depression? Like, what have been the key points for you that you could pass on to those people?
Wes Carr: I think; I read somewhere that Maharishi, actually, the guy who made transcendental meditation famous, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who was famous through; George Harrison went and got him; basically made him a world-famous guy overnight.
He said: When you experience fear and experience anxiety or anything like that, it’s actually the release of it. So, you’re releasing something within, that’s embedded within you, and if you just let it be released, you let it go, if you can let it go, it will go, it will subside, “all things must pass.” Which is a George Harrison quote.
Everything; it’s not going to be like this for the rest of your life. It feels like that way, and God, don’t I know that, where I couldn’t; I was so debilitated in my mind that that was it for me. I was fed up. The last experience or episode I had was really the one that was really the most violent one. It was something that I just could not escape.
And even if you looked at me you probably wouldn’t have known anything was going on. I had to fly to Groote Eylandt, of all places, on a tiny little plane from Sydney at the time and I was in desperate, desperate need of help somewhere. And I thought, “This is it. This is never gonna go away. And my worst terrors and fears are just going to be realized.”
And I now know that, you know, for me, I’m not anti-medication. I’m pro information. I’m not anti anything. If you need that, for the interim, do it, because it then will get your synapses working better. The Eastern and Western philosophies should mesh together. We should all have; if we have the Western philosophies of medication and all of that sort of stuff, we’ve got to have the Eastern where it’s the natural, and, I think, still, to this day, very progressive way of looking at things.
But if we have those both working together, which I’ve done, it helps you; it gives you so much more power. The Eastern philosophies give you so much more power and confidence to then go and become a natural healer or to heal naturally. It can really change your brain. It can reprogram your brain just by one happy thought in the morning.
It does work. You can get out of your funk. You can get out of your deep, darkest place. It’s a very, very easy thing to do but it doesn’t sound very easy when you’re in there. But just trust me. You can do it, just by one little thought: changing your routine, making a different; going to work a different way or go for a swim in the mornings or go to the ocean or go for a walk on the beach or something like that that changes; gets you out of your routine. Gets you out of your funk.
But, you know, in saying that, there are people out there who are chemically; there’s chemical and things out of balance or whatever, which I’ve had as well, and you probably do need some sort of help there, professional help that needs to be guided.
But be aware of the negativity, too, that comes with it. Because it’s not negative. You’re not crazy. I don’t believe anyone’s crazy. I think it’s just an issue with either their health or their backgrounds or something that you can reprogram very easily. We are all very intelligent machines and spiritual beings.
Stuart Cooke: We’re all capable of being happy and healthy. And I was interested in your comment before about the connection of the gut health to brain health. And so I was just wondering what strategies would you implement then from a nutritional perspective to nourish your gut?
Wes Carr: Well, I; this is my just repeating my wife, Pete, Nora, all the guys who are on the Paleo Way tour at the moment. Helen Padarin. It’s that, and I do struggle with this too, because my ego and my rock ’n’ roll background goes, “Bloody hell! This is all bullshit!”
But then my common sense kicks in and goes, “No, it’s not.” You know?
And it is. Fermented foods. A little bit every day, with every meal. Bone broth, which is amazing for you, for anything. Anything. Bone broths are just, like, the best. Fermented foods. You know: good fats. I don’t eat any legumes. Granted, I’m just basically rattling off the paleo diet. But really that’s all, for me, that’s what works the most. And small amount of meat and high; a lot of greens, basically, that’s all I eat, really. I go for the greens. Kale. I love kale. And just super… And green smoothies. Anything green and changing meat up every day. I’m just gonna have lamb, fish, beef, you know. Diversity. And just make it interesting.
And it’s pretty easy, really. And it’s pretty damn basic, too, I think.
Stuart Cooke: How empowering then is this, really, considering now that you can apply everything that you’ve learned to your son? Because I’ve got three daughters and they’re young and I think about what I ate when I was young. And we didn’t know. We lived in a society; we just didn’t know. It was microwaved TV dinners, fast food, sodas, McDonald’s. We were kids of the ’80s, you know.
Guy Lawrence: Exactly right.
Stuart Cooke: We can think about food as information. Food is ultimately nourishing. And we can help these guys grow in ways that we didn’t have access to years ago. So, any particulars for your child’s diet that you pull in every day as a staple?
Wes Carr: Yeah. For me, with the little man, Charlie has been; I mean, she’s got a book coming out soon. The Bubba Yum Yum book that’s the most controversial bloody book this side… in Australia, which basically just has nutrition. It’s unbelievable.
So, yeah, for me, I just think that… He just eats basically what I eat, but on a smaller scale, really. And he has a tiny bit of fermented foods, he has bone broths, he has; just meat once or twice a day. His gut is absolutely; we’re always trying to fit his gut because he just has sensory processing disorders and he was born on spectrum and he stimming and everything when he was born, which means they were showing a lot of signs of being autistic.
So, we went down this path very happily and very readily when we were advised to. I’d already known about it from my introduction from Dino anyway, so it wasn’t really hard for us to do it. But it really worked for him. He couldn’t take mum’s breast milk. So that was very traumatic for Charlie. And then we went through a whole bunch of different problems with him, formulas, and we just realized that all these formulas had, like, toxic crap in them. You know? It’s just junk. And it just makes him full. It doesn’t give him any actual nutrition at all, value at all, I don’t think. Corn syrup and all this other stuff.
So, you know, for us that’s when we found the Weston A. Price and we started making our own formula. And it really worked for him. And that’s when it started; and he loved it. And I just seems good for him. It seemed better for him than, say, your formula you get off your shelf that’s been in a tin for the last how every many years with whatever crawling all over it.
So, I mean, “breast is always best,” they say, but this was the second option that we thought would be great for him. They’re saying it’s too much vitamin A and all that, but that’s only synthetic vitamin A. It’s not natural vitamin A in all this stuff. So, there’s a lot of loopholes that the media have run with that have given it a very dark start and made it have a stigma around it because it’s new and; “new” in inverted commas, which it was only being used in the 1930s and ’40s by our grandparents as a staple diet for kids.
So, it’s funny, and it’s been published over 500,000 times, this recipe. It’s not actually a “new” recipe.
Stuart Cooke: It’s that new!
Wes Carr: It’s that new, man! It’s hilarious how; I don’t know what’s going on in Australia at the moment, but there’s a bit of a shakeup there. Don’t get me started with the indigenous communities. But, you know, I think in Australia we really have to start bloody getting up, world, and waking up a little bit and just realizing that the world is changing and it’s happening for the better.
And there is a beautiful, very non-aggressive revolution going on in the food industry and that’s our future and that’s our kids’ future.
Guy Lawrence: And ultimately what we want to do is be the best version of ourselves that we can be, and it we can do that through food, then why wouldn’t we?
Wes Carr: Absolutely. I mean, we are what we eat, isn’t it? Or we are what we absorb.
Stuart Cooke: It is completely. Where our kids are concerned, too, I mean, we’re great proponents of, regardless of who you are or what you do, we should generally eat the same things, but the volumes will change. So, you know, if you’re a super athlete then you’re gonna eat a little bit more.
Wes Carr: It’s a fine reality, isn’t it? Absolutely. It’s all about your individual needs, you know? That’s what it’s all about. I mean, what works for me doesn’t necessarily work for you.
But in saying that, the awareness, it’s all about being aware of what you’re eating and aware of who you are. You know? And why we’re here and all that.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. But I generally think, as well, the thirst for knowledge from general people is definitely there, because we’ve been at this for five years, roughly. When we started, people were: “What the hell are you two banging on about?”
And now it’s a completely different story. The podcast gets downloaded by the thousands and the content gets read all the time. There’s an awareness happening and the shift is coming, for sure.
Wes Carr: Right. And the people are just sick of the same old thing that’s making them sick. And I think it’s incredible, actually. I believe in consciousness and the collectively consciousness as a whole. And if you do really watch trends and how they evolve, it’s amazing how, when; you become a new person by just being in a different city, because of the consciousness around you. You tap into them. And if you’re more sensitive to energy or whatever it is, if you’re more sensitive to that, you become more aware more quickly.
But there’s the other people that are on to a different train of thought or a different vibration or whatever who it takes awhile. But then once the media start reporting it, it’s en masse consciousness. And then all of a sudden, that’s when everybody’s making up their own minds. And I know a lot of people that aren’t necessarily what you’d call “leading edge” or “hipster” or whatever the trendy word is.
I know a lot of people who are reading the papers these days and going; and making up their own minds for the first time. Because some of it’s absolutely ridiculous.
So, it’s great that they’re reporting all this stuff, because it’s just making all the awareness become a lot more mainstream and people are making up their own minds and thinking about it anyway, even if it is a fearful campaign or whatever that they run with just eating good food. But it makes people more aware of what they’re eating. I think that’s what I’m trying to say. And that’s great. The mainstream is starting to wake up. And that’s when you get a real revolution with everything is when Mr. Barryman, the guy who’s working on construction in Blacktown, is thinking about the healthy option for lunch. That’s when we’re really kicking goals.
Guy Lawrence: That’ll be the day. For sure, mate.
We’ve got a couple of questions we always ask at the end of our podcasts, and one of them is; the first one’s a very simple one. And it’s breakfast. What would you have eaten today, or let’s say yesterday. What did you eat yesterday, mate? Just to give people a rundown of the food.
Wes Carr: We’ve got some fermented cabbage in the fridge, so I; what did I eat for… I can’t remember. I had some sausage. I had some chili. Pork. Gluten-free sausages from our lovely butcher, GRUB.
Stuart Cooke: We know GRUB. Dominic?
Wes Carr: Dommy, yeah, he’s a good mate of mine. And I had some sausages and some fermented foods and some; I just had some kale. I just heat the kale up a little bit because raw kale sometimes…
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, yeah. I know what you’re talking about.
Wes Carr: And then I didn’t eat very much yesterday because I just; and then I had a green smoothie. I went and got a green smoothie with my little man. I don’t know why; I just had to kill some time. And we got back and I cooked up some chops for the little man. He loves his lamb chops. I think I had a chop and a bit of fermented food; a bit of fermented cabbage. Just a little bit again. And what else did I have? I didn’t really eat much yesterday, to be honest. I was so busy.
And then I had some slow-cooked bolognaise. My wife and I put a bolognaise on in the morning and we had it slow-cooking all day. And then we had that for dinner. With kale again, and some veggies. And I don’t think I had any fermented food that night, but I had some veggies and a bit of bolognaise.
And, yeah, the thing is when you’re on a high-fat diet, you don’t kind of seem to need to eat more when you’re really nailing it. It’s like when you first start going paleo, start changing your diet, you kind of feel like you need to eat a lot more than you should. Because I think, you know, I think sugar does that to you. It’s like you’re just insatiable. But once you sort of start getting used to not having too much sugar and not having too much caffeine and all this sort of stuff, you kind of don’t crave too much food. You just sort of have a big meal at the start of the day and then maybe a little bit in the afternoon and a little bit at night. You know? That’s kind of what we’re doing.
Stuart Cooke: I think so. I think you’re getting more nutrients as well out of the food that you’re eating, so you’re satisfied on a deeper level.
Wes Carr: That’s true. And I think the trick is, if you buy big bulk of mince and a chicken for your week, you put your bolognaise on the slow cooker for a day and you’ve got masses of food there left over for you, so that lasts a whole week.
And then sausages for; we’ve got a little 2-year-old so he loves his sausages and his lamb chops and things. So, put them on for lunch and then you have your bolognaise leftovers for either breakfast or for dinner. If you can stomach meat in the morning or not.
And then if you put a chicken on, you eat your chicken for dinner and then you put the bones, you make a broth out of the bones, if it’s… I’m talking organic, locally source sort of meat, not just… especially with chicken, you know. I think, anyway. Especially if you’re making bone broths out of the bones, you’ve got to have healthy chicken.
And then you’ve got your bone broth for four or five days as well, so you’ve got a broth with every meal. Like, I mean, your broth in the morning’s probably the best way to go, to wake up and to have a broth. I think that’s kind of a really good thing to do.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. I have a lot of bone broth.
Wes Carr: Yeah, it just gives you a clarity of mind. And, I don’t know, it does something to your whole system. It’s like having a coffee, I would say.
Guy Lawrence: It just comes back to educating yourself on why you’re doing these things and then learning the new habits that you can employ in replacing the old. And this stuff becomes quite simple to apply.
Wes Carr: And don’t beat yourself up if it’s taking too long to do that, too. I mean, everybody kind of says, “I don’t believe in this whole; I’d fall off the wagon.” Don’t fall off the wagon. Because as soon as you do that, you fall off the wagon.
So, it’s all about just changing one meal a day. Change one meal a day for a start. That’s what I did.
Guy Lawrence: That’s what we say. Absolutely.
Stuart Cooke: Start with breakfast because there’s normally a sugar anyway.
Wes Carr: Yeah. Yeah. It is absolutely horrible. And you wake up feeling so; you wake up feeling really tired and get more stuff that’s gonna make them feel even worse.
Stuart Cooke: You’ve been though the night, you’ve fasted, your body’s ready for nutrients, yet sometimes your Coco Pops just don’t cut it for you.
Guy Lawrence: So, Wes, we’ve got one more question for you, buddy. And it’s a simple one. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Wes Carr: Best piece of advice… OK. Best piece of advice… They’re all; they’re all some kind of XXrock dogs? Rock gods? 0:53:59.000XX; they’re all liars.
There’s one bit of advice; you know what comes to mind? I think it’s; what comes to mind is not an advice as such. It’s basically a mentality. And that’s; I really like the mentality of the Tao Te Ching. It’s a really great; I’m into Wayne Dyer and I don’t listen to music anymore. I listen to audiobooks.
And Wayne Dyer has got a great one, what is it? Oh, man. Let me have a look. It’s a Tao Te Ching translated, for anybody to understand. And, for me, that really resonated with me because of the fact of it’s a real mentality and you can apply it to your life every day.
And you actually trip yourself up every day if you get right down to it, because the ego runs rampant for everyone. You know, we’ve all got this massive ego that we need to appease on a day-to-day basis. But if you start becoming, to use that word again, aware of your ego, you start sort of stripping away that layer of your life. And you start to realize that all your needs that you think you need, you don’t need. And you don’t need anything other than a good diet, obviously. And a healthy mind.
And when you start sort of stripping away all the, I suppose, the noise in your life and all those things that you think you need, you start becoming a lot more calmer but also a lot more aware of what’s going on around you.
So, it’s Change You Thoughts and Change your Life is the book. But it’s a translation of the Tao Te Ching. It’s the Wayne Dyer translation.
Guy Lawrence: I’ve actually listened to that as well, yeah.
Wes Carr: And I was just really; it was really great. I think every kind of bit of advice for life is in it, really. It kind of does hit the nail on the head a lot, with everything. It kind of has it all in there.
And then he sort of thinks; I suppose say “thank you” a lot more. Be grateful. And be grateful for where you are in life and what you do, I suppose. And everything’s a service. As a musician, I’m just in the business of being of service, you know, as a musician. I think that gets lost a bit in the music industry. I think everybody’s out for themselves. But it is. It’s just a service. You know. You’re just a vessel that music’s coming through you. It’s nothing that, kind of, special.
You know? You’re giving something over. I think you’ve got to look at life like that. Just be grateful for who you are and where you are at the moment.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic, mate. And if anyone wants to get more of Wes Carr, where’s the best place to go?
Wes Carr: I’ve got a mailing list on my website. And I’m putting a weekly Wes Wednesday every Wednesday. In the afternoon, I send out just a little quote with a little thing every day about my; I don’t know. An experience I’ve had that week or just a quote that I’ve seen or heard of. Or talking to a dude on the street and he said this and I found it interesting. It’s just a little one-page thing to get you through the week. And it’s on my website WesCarr.com.au. And if you sign up to the mailing list, I send one every Wednesday.
And updates about where I’ll be and my shows and everything are all intertwined on the Wes Wednesday; what is it? Weekly Wes…
Guy Lawrence: The Weekly Wes Wednesday.
Wes Carr: I might have to change that.
Guy Lawrence: www…
Stuart Cooke: But you’ll have to change it to Thursday. It’s easier to pronounce.
Guy Lawrence: That’s brilliant, Wes. We’ll put the links under the show notes and everything, anyway, for people to be able to check out when we put the podcast out.
Wes Carr: Perfect. Yeah. Also, I just, on my Facebook I put videos up and everything, too. But, yeah, it’s all happening on my mailing list at the moment.
Guy Lawrence: Wes, we really appreciate your time. Thanks for coming on the podcast. That was fantastic.
Wes Carr: Thank you, guys. Thank you so much.
Guy Lawrence: And I have no doubt people are gonna get a lot out of it. Awesome.
Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on youriPhone HERE.
This week our special guest is paleo chef, bestselling author and TV personality Pete Evans. He has been bringing some much needed awareness here to the Australian public in terms of nutrition, along with his recently released new program ‘The Paleo Way’.
Pete’s career has moved from the kitchen into the lounge room with many TV appearances including Lifestyle Channel’s Home show, Postcards from Home, FISH, My Kitchen Rules, Moveable Feast, and his latest The Paleo Way… stay tuned for Food is Medicine which is in pre production now!
It’s safe to say he knows his stuff, with over 10 bestselling cookbooks inspiring individuals and families in their kitchens around the world.
The Full Interview with Chef Pete Evans
In this episode we talk about:
Why Pete embraced the paleo diet and lifestyle
How he felt by being voted the second worst diet, only to be pipped at the post by the ‘drink your own urine’ diet
How eats and travels on the road when traveling
His thoughts on the 80/20 rule of good/bad food and when to apply it
Why he felt like crap when first starting the paleo diet
Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence from 180 Nutrition, and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. Our fantastic guest today is Pete Evans. Now, if you haven’t heard of Pete, I’d be very surprised. Well, at least here in Australia anyway.
But Pete Evans is an Australian chef. He’s a best-selling author. And also a bit of TV celebrity, especially well-known for My Kitchen Rules.
It was awesome to have Pete on the podcast today. He’s very clear. He’s a very sincere and passionate person. As you could say, he’s a little bit of a nutritional crusader at the moment, and certainly making people think twice about what they put on their plate and how it’s affecting their overall health in the long-term, which I think is fantastic, you know. And that’s the very reasons why we’ve put these podcasts out there in the first place.
I have no doubt you’re gonna get a lot out of this episode. Pete’s a top guy with a top message, and it’s 40 minutes of great content, so please enjoy.
As always, we’re on iTunes. If you could just take two minutes and leave us a review, we really appreciate it. You know, we want to get this message out there ourselves, and by leaving us reviews, it certainly helps with iTunes rankings and more and more people find us and enjoy it.
I always wish I had these podcasts for myself five years ago when I first started my health journey. You know, it’s a great excuse to hang out with some of the best, we feel, thought leaders in the world, as they share their story with us. So, yeah. That’s why we do it. We love it. And I have no doubt you’re gonna enjoy this episode today.
And, of course, come back to 180Nutrition.com.au. We have a massive amount of resources in there, including a free ebook, recipes, and, of course, videos if you want to see us actually in person chatting.
Anyway, enjoy the show. This is fantastic.
Stuart Cooke: Let’s do it.
Guy Lawrence: OK, hi. This is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke as always. Hey, Stu. And our fantastic guest today is Pete Evans. Pete, welcome to the show, mate.
Pete Evans: Hi, fellows. Thanks for having me on. What an honor.
Guy Lawrence: No worries, dude. Every time I log into my Facebook I seem to see you in a different country, state, city. Do you ever have any quiet time? Like, you’re very busy at the moment.
Pete Evans: I am busy, but I guess it’s all part of the journey at the moment. I love it. I have the best job in the world, because I was actually speaking to Luke Hines, which is one of my business partners on the Paleo Way, and doing the tour and we also do the 10-week program. And we had dinner last night and I said, it’s not a job when you love what you do.
But to answer your question, I have amazing down time with my family. But even that is quite active. I mean, we love to go surfing, we like to go skiing, we like to go fishing, we like to cook together. We are active people, but we know how to switch off as well.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. Mate, the way we always kick off the show is generally just to get a little bit of insight about, you know, our guests that come on. And we’d love to hear a little bit of your journey from being a restaurateur to being a TV host and then actually now you could say a paleo crusader, which is fantastic in creating all this awareness.
How did it all start for Pete?
Pete Evans: Well. Mum and Dad thought that they’d have another child. I think I was a mistake, but I’m glad they had it. Really, I’ve always had a passion for cooking and I’ve always had a passion for health and nutrition. That’s something that I’ve had from quite an early age as a teenager, in school. And I always knew that I; my passion for health and nutrition nearly outweighed my passion for cooking. But one thing led to another and the cooking side took over for quite a period of time for a couple of decades.
And it wasn’t until about four years ago that I thought, you know what, there’s something pulling me back into the health and nutrition side of things. So I started researching it and I discovered paleo, and I thought, you know what? This makes a lot of sense. So I implemented it on my own self and my family through my partner Nicola.
And we just saw amazing results and I dug a little bit deeper and we both did a health course out of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York, New York. And we studied a hundred different dietary theories. And paleo still made the most sense to me. And I thought, well, this is; it’s working for us. It makes so much sense on a planetary scale as well for what we can do for the land as far as that sustainable way of eating goes. Now, let’s try to find some holes in it. And I dug as deep as I could, because I thought, if I’m gonna come out publicly with this, then how am I gonna get shot down? Because I know that I’m a little bit of a target.
And you know what? It was; I still have yet to find anybody that has adopted this way of life for 10, 15, however many years and had a negative result from it. And I’m talking about people who adopted it; they’re doing it 90 to 100 percent of their lives. They’ve actually made a conscious decision that they won’t be consuming certain food items, and embracing others.
And, for me, it’s evidence enough that this works, especially in today’s day and age where people can be very vocal about what works and what doesn’t. And you see it on my Facebook. I mean, I really have had no one in hundreds of thousands of comments say that it hasn’t worked for them. Except for outside organizations saying that it’s dangerous. And I’m, like, well, I hear you and understand that you might believe it is, from your own education, but show me some evidence that it’s hurting people. And no one can offer me that evidence.
So, it’s a fantastic way of life, I believe, that is helping a lot of people. Is it a cure for everything? No. I’ve never said that. But it is benefiting a lot of people? Yes it is. And that is undeniable.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, I certainly agree, Pete. I had a massive paradigm shift about eight to nine years ago and I used to work with people with chronic diseases and mainly people with cancer. And what I didn’t realize was, it was mainly the paleo diet that they were using as part of a tool to sort of help nurture these people through a recovery process. And I was seeing things that challenged every belief first-hand, you know?
Pete Evans: And I think what you’ve just said there, it’s a tool. It’s not the be all and end all. You can eat all the paleo food in the world, but if you’ve got a terrible relationship, if you don’t move your body or you move your body too much or you’re not getting enough sleep or you’ve got a job that you dislike, I mean, you will still suffer, or you can still suffer, disease.
But paleo is one good tool. And it’s an amazing tool to have at your disposal to, I guess, get your diet under control. And then hopefully then it opens you up and gives you enough energy to start to look at the other things that may need tightening up as well.
So, I see paleo as a bit of a gateway. I see it as something very tangible for people to make simple changes in their life. Sometimes people might be at a job that they’re stuck in for a year because they’re in a contract. They might be in a relationship because of children that they may not be able to remove themselves from or change. Financial situations. Emotional situations. All of this. Whereas what we can definitely change on a daily basis is what we put into our mouth. And that’s why I say this always: It’s a gateway into better health.
Guy Lawrence: Great starting point. The food you can control, ultimately.
Stuart Cooke: It certainly makes sense.
Pete Evans: Well, it’s the only thing you can… It’s the one thing you can control, unless you’re a child, or unless you are in the care of others. And that’s why I’m very passionate about children’s education and teaching parents about this, because really the children have no choice and if they are fed a poor diet for a period of time while they’re younger, it may make it harder for them to make changes down the track if they’ve got certain addictions or certain emotional reward systems set up for certain foods.
And I could talk about this for hours, but I know you’ve got to have questions, so…
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Well, we definitely go into the kids a little later as well. But I was particularly interested, first up, in discussing the Paleo Way. So, I’ve seen they’ve got Channel 7 airing the program and also you’ve got some amazing online educational course as well.
Guy Lawrence: And you’re on tour as well, aren’t you, Pete?
Stuart Cooke: You’re on tour! Crikey.
Pete Evans: Well, yeah. Um. I made a conscious decision a couple of years ago when I came out, with paleo, if you want to call it, that my vision or my goal was to turn paleo into a household name in Australia and New Zealand. That was something that I believed I could do using (audio glitch), but it is what it is, just through my media profile.
I should have put out that my intent was to push paleo into mainstream and to make it into a household name in a positive light. Lesson learned. Because it’s definitely become something that people talk about that’s become part of our popular culture, I daresay, through the work that I’ve done, and many of my peers.
Now, the tour is something where; we did the tour last year and I brought Nora Gedgaudas out, who is one of my mentors, and she’s a powerhouse of information. And she’s got a heart of gold and a brain that matches.
And what I wanted to do was do a tour where we present the science. And it was very difficult for us to do that in a four-hour forum. I said to Nora, I said, “Can you condense it into three and a half hours?” And she’s like, I’ll do my best.
And for a lot of people it was overwhelming because I think they were coming to learn how to cook, but we gave; and Nora’s goal is to give people a paradigm shift with enough information that they go, “OK. I get it.” That was my vision was, let’s present the facts in the first tour last year. Let’s get the science out there. Let’s show people that this isn’t quackery. This is actually well-researched and here’s the science and the peer reviews and all the stuff to back it up.
And this year I thought, let’s give them the fundamental tools to adopt a paleo lifestyle for themselves and their families. And I’ve structured it in a way that we talk about budget home cooking; things we can do and have on the table in 10 to 15 minutes. Maybe 20 minutes tops.
The healing properties of bone broths and fermented vegetables. Let’s talk about getting offal into people’s diet where, especially in this culture and this country, where it seems so foreign to us whereas if we went back three generations, it would be something that was standard as part of our weekly diet.
So, it’s about incorporating these simple and, I guess, ancient, cooking techniques and ideas and philosophies and bringing it into 2015 in a way that’s accessible and affordable and a lot of fun.
Luke Hines, who I mentioned before, is on tour with me so he talks about his own journey with depression and anxiety and how changing his diet and changing the way he moved helped him a great deal. And I’ve got special guests that appear with me all around the country. So, for instance, today I’m speaking in Perth. I’ve got Dr. Libby who is a fantastic woman who’s done 48 years of university study, I’ve got Charlotte Carr who’s a mother who’s helped her child through autism with diet. We’ve got Helen Padarin who is a naturopath who works for the Mindd Foundation whose sole purpose is to help children and families that suffer behavioural disorders.
And I’m also up on stage with, I don’t even know anymore; there’s that many people… Um… And it’s been brilliant. We’re seeing about 10,000 people around Australia and New Zealand over a two-month period. And they all, at the end of it, get the 10-week program that we designed.
And the 10-week program, I tried to do it as cheap as possible so it was accessible for pretty much anyone in the country. It’s $10 a week. Ten a week or 99 bucks, as a one-off payment.
I’d give it away for free if I could, but I’ve spoke to people that said, if you give it, people won’t even do it, because they won’t value it.
Stuart Cooke: Correct.
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.
Pete Evans: So, and I think this is key: I think people need to put a value on their health and be invested in their health. So, I’ve tried to keep it as cheap as possible. And it’s a brilliant program. So, as part of it, we’ve got meal plans, shopping lists, fitness programs with Luke, we’ve got Nora’s information each week, I’ve got a very dear friend of mine, Trevor Hendy, who is seven-time world champion athlete in Ironman who has spent the last 25 years working on mind-body-spirit. So, he’s in there teaching people about how to make powerful decisions and why we sabotage ourselves sometimes.
And I’ve also got interviews with leading experts from around the world. So, each week they’re getting another bite of the bigger picture of what paleo is. For me, when I talk about paleo, I always think first and foremost that it’s for individual health. So, anyone that wants to learn more because they are suffering ill health or they want to feel better, it’s a great place. But then I talk about the power that they have to influence their family, their friends, their community. And then it goes into the thing that I’m most passionate about, apart from children’s health, is about how we grow our food. How we move that food around the country. Can we start doing local abattoirs instead of sending the cattle to mass slaughterhouses by road train. And all these type of things. And can we use the beautiful land that we have in this country for better use instead of some of the products that we’re growing that serve us; well, actually harming us.
I mean that, I just drove up from my property in the Tweed up to; out to Townsville, I mean up to Wombury? Worongary? [:15:10.6] and just saw how much sugar cane is growing. So I looked up, I Googled it, I said, “How much sugar cane is growing in Queensland.” There’s 6,500 families, all with 65 hectares, that grow sugar cane and I thought, “Wow. That’s a lot of land that is …
Stuart Cook: That is a lot of land.
Pete Evans: That is used for a product that we know is a known poison for our bodies. That is causing us major health issues. And I just kept thinking imagine if they planted broccoli on that, imagine if they planted kale on that, imagine if they used that for pasteurized chickens that were producing eggs and also imagine if they brought cattle into that, that were grass-fed. I mean, I’m not an agriculturist. That’s not my specialty. But I look at these things from a common sense point of view and think how much usable land are we using in this country to grow things that serve us; that don’t serve us.
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.
Stuart Cook: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: But sugar is such a big industry, isn’t it. Where we had Damon Gameau come on the podcast a couple of weeks back and you know, you see the effect first-hand of what he was explaining what happened to him on his three-month experiment with the sugar and I see around with people all the time. It’s incredible.
Pete Evans: Yeah, he’s a beautiful man and he’s going to change so many lives and we’re thrilled to have him as part of one of our health crusaders in the country. I mean, his story is wonderful and he sacrificed his own health for it.
I thought about doing that a few years ago and I thought, “I don’t want to sacrifice my health.” I’m going to try to do it in a way that I don’t get sick.
Stuart Cook: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Go for it Stu.
Stuart Cook: I was just interested in, on your journey, what have been the biggest dietary misconceptions that you’ve uncovered? Any that have really kind of just switched that light bulb on for you, that you want to tell everybody.
Pete Evans: Well, for me it’s, I haven’t discovered anything and I’d like to make that perfectly clear that this is not my idea.
Stuart Cook: Yeah.
Pete Evans: The, you know, the work of so many well respected scientists and researchers and professors and doctors and health crusaders themselves, I mean, I’m standing on their shoulders and I’m trying to elevate all of their work into a greater audience. So, I don’t; I haven’t discovered anything.
I’ve discovered my own health benefits from it and how much clearer I am. How much happier I am. How much more energized I am. I can see the different results in my own children. I can see the results in my mother. I can see it in my partner. My dad is coming to the seminar this year. He refused to come last year, because he thought he would be bored shitless. But now he’s interested. My brother’s coming along this year. I mean, it’s a powerful thing.
But I think one of the things that I’m passionate about at the moment is the next generation and the coming generations. And I have recently put a book together with Charlotte Carr, who as I mentioned before, has helped her child and her family along with adopting paleo and Helen Padarin, who I also mentioned before, a naturopath, who works with the Mindd Foundation.
So, I asked these ladies if we could put a book together called The Paleo Way for New Mums, Babies and Toddlers, because I’ve never seen anything on the market like this and it just makes so much sense for me that we need this information out there and Sally Fallon. I’m a huge fan of her work with Nourishing Traditions and I met her last year and I look at the work she’s done in this field and I was really quite impressed with what she’s been able to achieve. So, I thought, how can we repackage that in a way that’s timeless for 2015 and onwards?
So, we’ve created this book and it’s fascinating. We just had a email come yesterday from the Dietitians Association of Australia basically giving us a warning and saying; We heard you’ve got this book coming out and the World Health Organization has issued a statement that said, that if babies cannot accept breast milk, then the only thing they advise them to have is formula.
Now, this is the statement that came from us, from the Dietitians Associations of Australia, they’re saying that we need to be very careful with any information that we put out there, because we’ve got a baby broth formula for parents that do not want to give their children vegetable oils, which are contained in baby food formulas. The parents that don’t want to feed their children high fructose corn syrup, which is; these two ingredients are the first two that are listed on most baby food formulas and then there’s soy protein and then there’s a whole lot of other emulsifiers and God knows what, that are in there.
So, through the experience of Helen and the Weston A. Price Foundation, which is Sally Fallon, we’ve discovered, and this is what Charlotte used for her child, they’ve created this broth that basically mimics as close as possible to breast milk. Now, we always advocate that breast milk is best, but we’re also discovering that more and more children are intolerant to it. We’re discovering that more and more children are intolerant to dairy. So, and we’re discovering that people do not want to feed their children frankenfoods.
So, we’ve got; the girls have created this alternative, which has got chicken broth in it or bone broth and it’s also got livers in there and it’s also got coconut oil, so we’re getting the MCTs into there. We’ve got probiotic in there as well. So, it’s closely mimicking it and we never say that it’s better than breast milk, of course we’re never going to say that. You would be an idiot to even think that. But surely somebody with common sense would understand that formula that’s got …
Guy Lawrence: Corn syrup and vegetable …
Pete Evans: … known toxic and harmful properties. This could be a healthier option or at least an alternative for people that have half a brain that have done some research and decided that, “You know what? Maybe there’s an alternative out there.” So, this is going to be interesting to see how this pans out in the media. We’ve already got quite a bit of flak and the book isn’t even out there.
Guy Lawrence: When does the book come out, Pete?
Pete Evans: It comes out in a couple of weeks, …
Guy Lawrence: Okay.
Pete Evans: …yeah, mid-March. But we’ve got beautiful dietitians, accredited practicing dietitians, that are working on it, looking these formulas and breaking them down inyo s nutritional viewpoint for us. So, we’ve got charts comparing formula sold in supermarkets compared to this one. And you know what, it has it stacking up a lot better than formula without all the crap in it.
So, it’s going to be very interesting.
Guy Lawrence: That will be interesting. Absolutely. Yeah.
Stuart Cook: Well, I guess it’s great to be able to actually get something in there in the very conception of your child’s life, when they are succumbed to so many potential toxins and, like you said, treats and sweets. We’re trying to wean them on to sugary foods and sweet fruits and things like that. Yeah. It’s very interesting.
We, I mean, you mentioned the critics there as well and one of our questions was, what do you say to the critics out there? Because we roared with laugher as the paleo diet was XXpipped to the Post 23:33.7XX by the drink-you-own-urine diet.
Guy Lawrence: Yes.
Stuart Cook: It’s absurd. How do you handle that?
Pete Evans: Personally, I don’t let it get to me.
Stuart Cook: Yeah.
Pete Evans: Because I understand where they’re coming from. I do and they’re coming from a place of fear.
Stuart Cook: Right.
Pete Evans: And you can only put yourself in their shoes and understand that they’re just protecting themselves and their organization and their beliefs. Because it is their belief system, that they’ve been to university, they’ve been force-fed a whole lot of information which current science and research are saying that potentially is not the right information.
Now, you could imagine if you went to university for four years or six years or even eight years and you were part of this, I guess, machine and all of a sudden you’re looking at; I’ll use myself as an example, because that seems to be where a lot of the critiques are coming.
You see a person that’s a chef promoting a way of life that flies in the face of everything that you’ve learned.
Stuart Cook: Right.
Pete Evans: Of course you’re going to get upset. Of course you’re going to defend what you’ve been taught. Of course you’re going to think that this is quackery. Of course you’re going to be up in arms and feel like this person, this chef out there, could be potentially causing harm to the greater population. So, I understand them and I feel their frustration and I feel for them and this is why I’ve never, now I’ve made the decision I’m not going to fight anything.
Stuart Cook: No.
Pete Evans: I’m not going to. I mean, I had a couple of issues over the last few years when I’ve stood my ground because someone has actually, I think, the one time I actually fought back or said something was when someone called me a fuckwit on my own page. And that was what they said: “You are a fuckwit!” And I looked at who it was and I noticed it was a dietitian and I went … how … you know, if that’s the best; if that’s what you think, you know, well let’s put it back and I write a little piece and I said, “Why is your organization not looking at GMOs? Why are they not promoting organics? Why are they not trying to get; look at what we’re feeding our agriculture? Are we feeding them genetically modified soil? Why are we not; why when you talk about overconsumption of meat you never difference between grass-fed and grain-fed? Why is it that children are getting sicker and sicker as in each generation comes? Why you associated and have money coming in from multi-national food corporations? Is there not a conflict of interest?”
So, I just put the question out there, you know, because I took offence of that. Just, you know, I think …
Guy Lawrence: Yes, of course.
Pete Evans: … name called and I just said, “Why?” Because I see the DAA as a major powerful force of change for this country and there’s 6,000 members for them. I mean, imagine if they united together to ask these questions, to put pressure on to their governments, to put pressure on to the supermarkets, to put pressure on the school, schooling systems, the canteen system. Could you imagine this organization that has this much power and is viewed as something that a well-respected organization, imagine if they put their weight behind something.
Now, I’ve never seen them do this. Now, I could be wrong, but I’m trying to encourage them, that they have this power. And unfortunately I fear that if they don’t change and start to address some of these things, then they will become irrelevant because; and it’s not a goal of mine. I would love nothing more than the DAA or even the Heart Foundation to work together with other health professionals and actually come around the table and say, “You know what? Well, let’s work together for a better Australia.” But unfortunately their mantra is “everything in moderation.”
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Pete Evans: And I just don’t think that is the right philosophy. I mean, you have to look at the guidelines that are out there for a healthy Australia and the question that I always have is, “Is that the healthiest guidelines that we could possibly put into schools?” Is that the healthiest guidelines that we should be educating for every person in this country?
Because we know that it’s not. So, what not put the optimum out there so that people know this is the optimum and then people can make their own choice from there.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Did you think the change will come from that level? Or do you think it’s going to just come from the grass roots level and word of mouth and people leading by example? I mean, because that’s where it’s at, at the moment.
Pete Evans: Ideally, I would love for it to come from a unified force. I really do and I mean, that’s the dream it for it to change from a government level, from a national health society level, a unified level, you know what “this is the new research, you know, let’s adapt” and there should never be blame or I told you so’s or this, that and the other. It should be, “You know what? This is the current research. This is what’s happening in other parts of the world; where in other parts of the world have taken fluoride out of the water in lots of countries and reversed it. Should we revisit that in this country? Should we look at the saturated fat? Does that lead to chronic heart disease, because other parts of the world are reversing their guidelines for that? Should we be changing that?
Will it happen with multi-national food corporations, with their tentacles involved in these organizations? I doubt that it will happen. If they can remove that funding, then I believe it can happen. But, and this is the interesting thing, because I dare say there’s a huge grass-roots movement happening.
Now what will happen soon, I believe, is that the multi national food corporations will start to put out products that are inline with Paleo or ketogenic or low-carb, high fat or …
Stuart Cook: Yeah.
Pete Evans: …or primal or banting; whatever you want to call it. They’re going to start saying that the dollars are in this new area. So, I wouldn’t doubt that Kellogg’s will start putting a paleo muesli out there next year. I wouldn’t doubt that we’re starting to see lard or tallow start to appear on supermarket shelves in the next five years. And then I think you will see that when they’ve got money to be made out of this, that you will see it start to change through these associations. But I dare say that the grass-roots movement will be the catalyst for this.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Yeah. I just hope if we do start seeing the bigger commercial companies putting out these products out they are authentic and not just jumping on the gluten-free, the low-calorie, low-fat and everything that we’re seeing at the moment.
Pete Evans: Well, you know what? To answer that, I think people are becoming more and more savvy and more and more educated, so I don’t think; put it this way, if they put out a paleo muesli and it’s full of sugar and crap or sweetness and it’s, you know it’s still going to jack you up and it’s not organic, then that might have appeal to the people that aren’t really up-to-date with the research. You know what I mean?
Guy Lawrence: Yep. Yep.
Pete Evans: Whereas the people that are hard core or are early adopters of this will see through that and go, “You know what? It’s still not good enough.” So, at the end of the day it’s probably, even if we can get the mass public to start eating that way even if it’s not the ultimate, at least it’s probably better than what they’ve had.
Guy Lawrence: True. Yep.
Pete Evans: And I don’t think, you know, we’re not set up for 100 percent of Australia to turn paleo tomorrow. It would be a disaster, you know, because we don’t have the resources for it. But I see this as a growing movement and I say this as it’s happening exactly as it’s meant to be happening with the people adopting it as they are adopting it. Because we couldn’t sustain it if everyone did it tomorrow, but we can adapt to it as more people come to it.
Stuart Cook: What have you found to be the biggest hurdles for the newbies to paleo?
Pete Evans: The biggest hurdles I find is, they’re not doing it 100 percent.
Stuart Cook: Right.
Pete Evans: I noticed that with my, with the 10-week program.
Stuart Cook: Yep.
Pete Evans: And I think there’s an expectation that 40 years of eating a poor diet is going to be fixed within two weeks.
Stuart Cook: Right.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Pete Evans: And I think that is; I think we live in a society where we think that we can take a pill or we can change a habit and we will see, decades of poorer choices fixed in a minute and it isn’t like that and how I like to describe it when I talk about this is: I’ve been doing this for four years and I feel better now than I did a year ago and last year I felt better than I did the previous year.
Stuart Cook: Right.
Pete Evans: But after six weeks of eating Paleo, I felt like I was superman, you know. But for the first three or four weeks I felt like, I felt crap, because I was going through a detox and my body was switching over its fuel source and I hadn’t had a great diet for a decade or two prior to that. But I definitely had a diet better than a lot of people that come to this.
You know, I wasn’t 40 kilos overweight. I wasn’t Type 2 diabetic. I wasn’t; I didn’t have insulin resistance. I didn’t have autoimmune disease.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Pete Evans: I know we have a lot of these people that adopt this and expect results overnight and I think that’s a misconception. I think that’s why I say it’s a lifestyle. I’ll never say it a diet, because once; and you can’t do it 80/20 if you’ve got an autoimmune disease. You can’t do it 80/20 and expect great results if you’re Type 2 diabetic. It’s like saying to an alcoholic, “You can have a drink every Friday night.”
Stuart Cook: Yeah.
Pete Evans: Yeah, the 80/20 rule.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cook: Yeah.
Pete Evans: You just can’t do it if you’ve got anxiety or depression, 80/20’s not going to cut it for you if you want true freedom. I’m not saying you’ve got to do it 100 percent for the rest of your life, but you have to give yourself a period of time where, you know, if you’re strict with this, because you do want to reap the benefits and we know now that gluten can stay in your system for up to six months. So, if you’ve got an issue with that, whether it’s mental or physical, and you ate your piece of cake, you know after you’ve done this for a month that could have affected you for the next month or two.
Guy Lawrence: That incredible, isn’t it, you know. I know it’s very hard to relate though, because people if they’ve got health issues. They’ve never; they’ve never really put the connection together, you know, how the effective of the food can be and I think that it can be such a massive change for them at first and you’ve got to embrace it whole heartily and actually be around peer groups though that encourage you to continue that way. Because I used to see a lot of family and friends be sincere, but they’d be sincerely wrong, because if their health wasn’t great they would want to feed them with foods, with cake and things that would …
Pete Evans: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: That would always set them back and you know, there are so many aspects to it as well, which it; it can be tough. It can be tough. But worth it, you know.
Yeah. Go ahead, you look like you’re going to say something Stu.
Stuart Cook: Well, I was just thinking about the beautiful foods that the paleo diet offers. Now, I get jabbed a little bit because I’m a huge fan of liver and I have it regularly for breakfast and love it. I wondered what your “go to” paleo super foods were; perhaps the paleo foods, the whole foods that you gravitated to more, more so than any others. Any special favorites of yours?
Pete Evans: Yeah. I guess it’s changed over the four years and I probably eat simpler now than I ever have. I think when I first started out, I think when I talked about activated XXunintelligibleXX [:36:52.3] I was on XXunintelligibleXX [:36:56.1] so I was eating almonds and everything. I was eating coconut chunks. I was having spirulina and grains and all these sorts of stuff. I, my diet now is a lot simpler. One: I don’t really need to snack and number two is I’m cooking a lot less and a lot simpler food. I guess offal and bone marrow has taken a larger place in my diet these days and my body loves it. The bone broths, I’m constantly cooking with them and using them in so many different preparations from soups, to curries, to braises, to bolognaise sauces for the kids. I’m sliding it in everywhere. Vegetables, I’m eating a hell of a lot of them these days. I’m eating less steak than I ever have. I’m eating different parts of animals and the seafood is a little bit more varied now these days, as well.
Superfoods, I would say offal is one of the superfoods and I don’t like to use that word too much, but put it this way, in my pantry I don’t have any superfoods as such that you would see at a health food store.
Stuart Cook: Right.
Pete Evans: My superfoods would be in my freezer. Which would be my marrows, my brains.
Stuart Cook: Yeah.
Pete Evans: The livers, the stocks or the broths, some organic berries in there and that’s about it and I guess the ultimate superfood for us is the fermented vegetables that I love creating and different flavors each week and my kids love it these days and it’s on every meal of theirs. I’m excited about that, because it’s such a cheap option for people. And it’s exciting because you start to become, you start to crave it; those sour flavor and the acidic flavors from fermented foods and if I don’t have it on my plate, then my plate feels empty …
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Pete Evans: … these days. It feels like it’s a bit undressed so to speak.
Guy Lawrence: We always have a few questions we asked everyone towards the end of the show.
Pete Evans: Yep.
Guy Lawrence: But I’ll ask you one which will lead into one we always ask, so I’m interested, you know, how you structure your food around traveling?
Pete Evans: Sure.
Guy Lawrence: And then can you tell us what you ate yesterday?
Pete Evans: Yeah. Sure. I actually flew Sydney to Perth yesterday and it’s a great, great, great question because the poor flight attendant was so worried that I didn’t eat on the plane. Even though he didn’t see that while we were taking off I had a huge, beautiful salad. It was full to the brim of, I had a whole avocado, I had zucchini, cucumbers, carrots in there, red cabbage. Just a fantastic, huge amount of salad with a quarter of a roast chicken in there and heaps of fermented vegetables and I guess to give you an idea, it was twice as much as what anyone else on the plane ate. But that was my one meal, which got me through to dinner last night.
And last night I went and saw a friend of mine, he’s an oyster shucker, and I had a couple dozen oysters at his restaurant and they’re expensive, but it’s an indulgence, but he shucks them to order for me. His name’s Jerry Fraser out in Perth. He’s like a father figure to me and we always have a good time.
And then I went back to the hotel and I had some short ribs with some fermented vegetables and what else was on the table? Some asparagus with olives and activated almonds. I consult for a hotel in Perth called Fraser Suites and the restaurant called Heirloom. So, and because I spend a lot of time in Perth and I went to this hotel and I said, “Can I do your menu for you?” And it’s 95 percent paleo. So, and the restaurant was full. I never advertise it. It’s just for the hotel guests really, but people can pop in and eat it. We don’t even promote that it is paleo. It’s just good honest food and there is bone marrow on the menu. There’s grass-fed meat. Here’s organic chicken. There’s wild caught seafood with fermented vegetables you can order as a side.
So, that was my day on a plate and I had a beautiful bottle of kefir that I got from Orchid Street. It was a turmeric and alkalized water kefir, with some cayenne pepper in it. It was awesome.
Now, when I travel interstate I usually don’t eat or I’ll take something, maybe some macadamia nuts. But when I travel internationally to and from my locations, I always; exactly like what I did yesterday. You can travel internationally with your own food. So, recently I went to the United States and I took half a roasted chicken. I took two avocados, two cucumbers, two carrots, a little bag of macadamia nuts and some fermented veg, some sauerkraut, but you have to tip out the liquid from the sauerkraut before you hop on the plane, because they don’t let liquids through over 50 mils.
So I sit here on the plane and as soon as we take off in the air, I sit down, I have a big meal and then I watch a movie or two and then I sleep and then; I have to forgo the Tupperware container or whatever I’ve had or I give it a rinse in the bathroom and repack it in my bag and hopefully they don’t quarantine it and they haven’t yet. And that’s the same thing when I come back from America or the U.S. or the UK. I go to Whole Foods and I stock up on some good quality paté or some food and I pack my own food.
Guy Lawrence: Great. Yeah.
Pete Evans: You know that you’re eating organic or grass-fed or organic veg, and you know, it’s so simple these days when I do it.
A friend of mine that runs the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Joshua Rosenthal, who’s a brilliant man with a massive vision of change for the world and the first thing that we learn in the modules is: don’t be afraid to fit out. He said it’s the most empowering thing that you can do for yourself, because most of society want to fit in like sheep, basically.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cook: Yeah.
Pete Evans: They don’t want to be seen as being different from anybody else and you know, I’m very proud to fit out on a plane and eat food that is going to benefit me and hopefully not make me feel like crap when I hop off the plane.
Guy Lawrence: That’s a great saying, “fit out.” Yeah, I love that.
Pete Evans: Fit out.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fantastic. That almost answers our last question to a degree; which is, we always ask this on our guests. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Pete Evans: My best piece of advice was actually something my grade 10 math teacher said to me. He said, “Pete, you’ll be successful at anything you choose to do in your life.”
And even to this day it’s still the most powerful statement that anyone has ever said to me and I pray every day that he said that to each and every student that he taught. Because he made me feel special and unique and I just wonder how many parents say that to their children. I wonder how many teachers of children say that to people. I wonder how many nurses might say it to their patients or doctors might say it. You know, just that one bit of encouragement and belief that this person had in me changed my whole life and changed my whole outlook and so, my bit of piece of advice that I can give everybody is to plant the seeds of belief in another human being I think is the most powerful thing you can do.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fantastic. Yeah, belief’s a huge thing.
Stuart Cook: Wise words. Yeah. Absolutely.
Guy Lawrence: Stu?
Stuart Cook: Brilliant. Yeah, I just wondered what the, you know, what does the future hold for Pete Evans? What have you got coming up; we’ve spoken about your books, right now?
Pete Evans: Well, if I don’t end up dead from a conspiracy theorist, I’ve always; I said to my mum last year, “If I go missing for some reason or I have a very strange accident, you know it probably wasn’t an accident.” Because we are definitely ruffling some major feathers here and there’s billions and trillions of dollars at stake if people adopt this way of life that will be lost through certain aid; agribusiness or multi-national food corporations and pharmaceutical companies. I mean think about the impact that this could have. It’s actually quite terrifying if you think about it a little bit. So, if I can keep running and keep doing this, then just more of the same, I mean more of the same.
I mean recently I released a cookbook three months ago called Family Food and to give you the impact that has had in Australia, it’s become the number 1 selling lifestyle book. It’s superseded any other book over the last couple of years with the volume that it sold in the last three months.
Now, I think there’s 150,000 copies out in Australia. Now, if I think about that as a family food book, so you’d have to think that at least there’s a mum and a dad and 1 child, so three people with this book, so that’s half a million people; let’s round it out, which is maybe 1 to 2 percent of the populations have now got access to a book and they’re aware of it that it’s a grain-free, dairy-free, sugar-free book.
So, I plan on just releasing more of this information in a way and my job is to, is not to present so much of the science behind it, but to give people the practical tools that they can put into their life. As a chef I think that’s my purposes. Let’s take the information and put it into beautiful recipes that people want to cook at home. Because really you can know all of this, but if you don’t cook it and put it into practice, then what point is it. Actions speak louder than words.
So, more books, improving my program, Next year we’re going to do a tour, we’re talking about belief systems, so there’ll be no cooking involved and I’ve got a lineup of speakers from around the world that I want to bring to talk about breaking addictions, self love, self worth, fear, get rid of fears and understand how to make these positive decisions in life and how to goal set.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Pete Evans: This sort of stuff excites me. Hopefully spending a lot more time with my children and my partner. We just bought a farm, so that’s part of my next journey; how to become pretty much self-sufficient so I know exactly where my food is coming from. And hopefully through that we’ll get a TV series that I can create about this. About how to grow your own food and how to live sustainably.
I want to live off the land. I want to remove myself as much as I can from the current food system, if I can. Just so I can trust where the food is coming from.
And I’m also filming a documentary at the moment called, “Food is Medicine” that I’ve been putting together for the last year and a half and I’ve got another year and a half of filming for that. I very much like Damon Gameau’s sugar film.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Pete Evans: I want to show the positive stories of using food as medicine and I think it will be a powerful catalyst for change. I’ve got a beautiful storyteller, documentary filmmaker that is doing this for us and it will be challenging for a lot of people to see the information that we present, but it will also be awe inspiring as well. So, I’m looking forward to seeing the end result of that, but yet I’m in no rush to put that out. Everything’s happening as it’s meant to be happening.
Guy Lawrence: That’s fantastic Pete. Good on you, mate.
For everyone listening to this, where’s the best place to get more of Pete Evens?
Pete Evans: My Facebook is probably the best. I’m active on that daily. It’s Chef Pete Evens or Pete Evens Chef, I don’t even know. And if anyone wants to do the 10-week program and I’m not here to sell anything, but it’s ThePaleoWay.com. But it does have the resources in there and the tools for people to implement change in their lives.
And I just want to give you guys a round of applause for what you’re doing, because it is a joint effort here, there’s many of us spreading the medicine as I like to call it and we’re reaching a different variety of people, each in their own unique way and unified way we’re so much stronger.
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely and we appreciate it Pete. You know, it’s affected my life dramatically over the years. I’ve seen it first-hand affecting others and we just feel we need to be pushing out and we have been for the last four years.
Stuart Cook: Just spread the word. Yeah, that’s it.
Guy Lawrence: And we really appreciate your coming on the show mate. That was fantastic. Thank you so much.
Sunscreen, a hot topic (pun intended) but a topic well worth raising. Did you know the skin is the largest human organ and the average adult has a skin surface area of over 21 square feet and accounts for 6% to 10% of your body weight. So with this in mind, I certainly think we should be considering what we put on our body, with sunscreen being one of them as it get’s warmer here in Australia.
Our guest Alexx Stuart is a research writer and presenter where she covers conscious living, organics, toxic free personal care, ingredient exposées and inspiring people to create beautiful change.
Full Interview with Alexx Stuart: Real Food & Low Tox Living
Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. Our special guest today is the lovely Alexx Stuart of Real Food and Low Tox Living.
She’s an exceptionally well-researched writer and explorer, and we were super keen to get her one the show today to share her thoughts on many of the topics, especially when it comes to toxicity and toxins within our daily lives, from our food to our environment, even the things that we put on our skin.
And she’s absolutely a wealth of knowledge, and there are some gems of information in there for you, and we tackle things from sunscreen to GMOs to even how we can improve foods that go into kids’ lunch boxes without stressing the parents out too much, either, you know.
As always, I learned a lot from this today, and I’m sure Stu did, too, because we get to hang out with these people on a weekly basis and it really is a privilege for us, and it’s fantastic, you know, and we want to get that information across to you, so if you are enjoying the shows, as well, we’d really appreciate a review on iTunes. It just helps us with our rankings. Helps us get the word out there and what we believe to be, you know, amazing health.
Anyway, enjoy the show. I’m sure you’re going to learn heaps. Just pop those headphones on. Go for a nice walk. Drive in the car. I’m sure you’ll get a lot out of it and be part of the conversation, too. Until the next time. Enjoy. Cheers.
Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence and I’m joined today, as always, with Mr. Stuart Cooke. Hey, Stewey.
Stuart Cooke: Hello.
Guy Lawrence: And our lovely guest today is Miss Alexx Stuart. How are you?
Alexx Stuart: Good. Thanks, Guy and Stu. How are you guys?
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, fantastic. I thought we’d start off by filling in the listeners a bit on about how we met, because we were all at the Tasmanian Primal Living Conference a few weeks ago, and you were one of the key speakers there, as well, and I must admit, I probably registered about five percent of what you said because I was up straight after you.
Alexx Stuart: That’s right!
Guy Lawrence: Yes, yes, but we got to sit next to each other on the table that night and it was wonderful and I thought, “My God, I was just chatting with Stewey, we have to get you on this podcast to share your wealth of knowledge with us, so…
Alexx Stuart: I’m so excited to be here.
Guy Lawrence: It’s really appreciated. The best place to start is where did your health journey start? Because you set up, you know, your business with Real Food and Low Tox Living, and where did that journey start for you and, you know, you started to make the change into the whole health and wellness industry and to get so passionate about it?
Alexx Stuart: Yeah. I’ve always been a teacher, and it’s so funny, I love getting older, and I know a lot of people don’t say that, but I really love getting older for what you see, your true ability to serve people is, and, you know, I spent a few years in the cosmetics industry. I spent a few years in the hospitality industry. There were some nights as a night club singer in between all of that.
Guy Lawrence: Oh, wow!
Stuart Cooke: Wow!
Alexx Stuart: What I realized as time went on was I really adored helping people make better choices, and sort of underpinned that with a health journey that was a little bit challenging personally. Let’s see, how do we make it short? We have chronic tonsillitis, like literally sixty rounds of antibiotics over my lifetime, then developed, once I got into cosmetics, polycystic ovarian syndrome.
You know, we always talked about the rare algae from the Croatian Seas and the this and the that, but we never talked about all those preservatives and horrible things that were in the creams, as well, and when I think back to my cosmetics use, every second girl had some sort of reproductive organ issue of some kind.
People were trying to get pregnant. People had endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, so many of us were popping pain killers for migraines, and it’s a real learning experience looking back now. If, you know, I had friends with daughters, I mean even sons, and we all get affected by chemicals. It’s really lovely to be able to help on that front.
But, anyway, back to how I got into it. I sort of just started to realize it wasn’t right that I was so sick, you know? I was a young, healthy person when I wasn’t in a migraine mode or having chronic tonsillitis or getting glandular fever. In between there were these windows of feeling awesome, and I just, I wanted that window to grow, and I remember being in my little flat in Bondi on my third round of ridiculous strength antibiotics, sort of leaning out over the bed and spitting into, like, a little water bottle because I couldn’t bear to swallow. This is sort of TMI, but you’ve got to know everything, and just thinking, “There has to be a better way.”
Humans are so apocalyptic, aren’t we? We wait until things are really, really bad until we actually decide to do something.
Stuart Cooke: We move by pain, for sure.
Alexx Stuart: Yeah, I know. It’s so sad. So much time wasted, and so cut through, then, a whole bunch of years realizing I was a really good teacher in cosmetics and, bartending, I would always kind of take people on these adventures and show them drinks and ideas that they’d never even thought of before.
And as I started to fix my own health with some really amazing practitioners in my corner helping me along, I started to realize, well, what if, you know, I could teach in this space? What if I could find a way to fast track all of those times where we deny that there might actually be wrong, where we cover up all our symptoms just for a little hint of feeling good for a couple of hours, and actually just show people that there’s a better way and empower people.
Surely, not everybody has to wait for their apocalyptic moment, whatever that might be, and so I just started writing and here we are a couple of years later, basically.
Guy Lawrence: That’s fantastic!
Stuart Cooke: Fantastic story.
Guy Lawrence: It is a hard one, though, isn’t it, though? The whole pain threshold? Because we see it a lot, as well, you know. It’s the same. People wait and wait and wait until it becomes unbearable, and then they usually slingshot the other way and go for it.
Alexx Stuart: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: Why do you think that is? It’s such a hard one, isn’t it? We’re too busy? We got caught up?
Alexx Stuart: Well, you know, society tells us that we’ve got to literally, like the ad says, “Soldier on.” And, you know, so they provide us with all these things to do that that stop us from listening to our bodies, and, in fact, so much of what happens in our modern world that gets sold to us to make life better, is actually completely unnecessary and disconnecting us from what’s really going on, whether that be happiness, whether that be illness.
I mean, you know, it’s actually quite amazing how we subscribe to everybody else’s thoughts about our lives other than our own.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, that’s a really good point.
Stuart Cooke: Tell us a little bit about toxic living, because I, you know, I hear the term low tox, you know, toxic living, and I see that you focus quite heavily on that sort of thing on your website, as well. So what does that actually mean to you?
Alexx Stuart: To me, look, I’m a city dweller. I live in a second floor apartment. I don’t even have a balcony. So I’m very urban, in terms of the way I live and where I choose to live at the moment, although everyone’s convinced I’m going to be a hippy on a farm, and I think, for me, low tox living is figuring out how you can still be connected with nature, how you can still take charge of the path of where your food comes from, and how you can ultimately decide what you put on and in you, and that includes lungs, so breathing, and so I choose to live coastally, because I find that to be a much better option in a big city than to live in a city or in a city’s suburbs.
So, you know, low tox living, to me is wherever you are, really. It could be someone in the country, as well, exposing themselves to pesticides with their farming or what, you know, there’s different definitions of what low tox living is depending on where you live, but for me it’s about finding ways to cut out noise, whether it be ads for food or pharmaceutical products…
Stuart Cooke: Sure.
Alexx Stuart: Or whether it be just trying to get in touch with nature as much as possible, equalize some of those, kind of, electromagnetic toxins, whether it’s being really scrutinous when I choose personal care products, and it’s just about making the best choice you can in all of those areas.
Guy Lawrence: And educating yourself at the same time so that you can make better decisions, right? And it’s interesting that you say “on” as well as “in” the body, because that’s one thing we forget a lot.
Alexx Stuart: We do, I mean, I meet people who are like, “Yeah, I’m all organic.” And then you see them slapping on some super cheap moisturizer at the beach that is full of, like, nanotechnology and hormone-altering chemicals. Our skin is our biggest organ. It’s actually probably absorbing, it actually is, I read this recently, absorbing more than our digestive system. So, it’s every bit as important to look after what we put on our skin.
Guy Lawrence: That’s massive. I hope you take notes, Stu, with what you put on your skin every day.
Stuart Cooke: Can’t you tell? Absolutely.
Guy Lawrence: So, you know, with all these things in mind, where’s the best place to get started then? You know, what do you find most useful, you know, from food, fridge, personal care, like there’s such a broad range of things?
Alexx Stuart: It really is, and a lot of people get daunted, and they get quite angry, and they can get quite defensive about that first day when you start to realize what’s in stuff, and it all unravels so fast, and you think, “Who can I trust? What can I do?” It can be really scary.
I always say, because I really love welcoming beginners in my community, I don’t believe that, you know, it should be like, “Still using margarine?” You know that condescending highfalutin kind of evangelical style of person. I just don’t find that energy is ever going to grow the nation of healthy livers So it’s really about being welcoming to these people and, if you’re indeed one of those people out there listening to this today, the number one thing I say is to not feel guilty about what you did yesterday and to actually just start looking at jar-by-jar, packet-by-packet, product-by-product, asking the questions at the butcher wherever you go to just educate yourself.
It will probably be a two-year journey. I mean, and that’s because only people like us have done the research now and are actively promoting and teaching, but when I started six years ago, it was like a four or five-year journey, because I was still trying to research so much stuff myself, so it wasn’t yet 100 percent available.
Stuart Cooke: Absolutely, and we always prefer small steps as well. If you want to climb a mountain, walk around the block first. Do it that way.
Alexx Stuart: Exactly! And just don’t get upset with yourself. You don’t have to throw everything away and buy three grand worth of stuff. Just phase stuff out and be relaxed about it, because the stress is completely counterproductive to good health.
Guy Lawrence: I was just going to say that. I do wonder how much the stress itself causes a lot of problems once you start becoming aware of these things. If you start stressing yourself out, you can probably end up in a lot worse place long term.
Alexx Stuart: Well, it’s so true, Guy. I mean, stress is the quiet killer in our society, as well, just as much as what we put on and in us, and, you know, a lot of people act guilty or ashamed when they eat a Magnum or when they, you know, because they think you might disapprove or, you know, I’ll have fish and chips in the summertime with friends at the beach.
For goodness’ sakes, like, it’s that ten percent, when you’re out of your home and you’re not in control and you’re not making every single choice, that you just go with the flow, because the becoming obsessive compulsive, becoming stressed about every single tiny little thing, it’s really going to create a lot of anxiety, you know, that feeling in your chest when you’re on edge about things? If you carry that long term, that can have some serious ramifications.
In fact, especially in your digestive system, so, you know, a lot of people start eating real food for that reason to try and get a better digestive system happening, so we’ve really got to think big picture on this kind of stuff and chill out and just go at our pace.
You know that beautiful saying, “Do what you can where you are with what you have.”
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right.
Stuart Cooke: That’s it, and it’s mind, body, and spirit, as well. It’s a holistic approach. Sure, you can eat like a saint, but if your heads spinning a thousand miles an hour and you’re worried about everything, then that work isn’t going to be the path to wellness for you.
Alexx Stuart: No, and you can lose friends if you become too stressed in particular, like, yeah, it’s like I always joke, you know, I’m not going to go to my friends’ house and say, “I’m sorry. Is that chicken organic?”
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Alexx Stuart: “What kind of oil have you used on that dressing? Because…”
Stuart Cooke: That’s it.
Alexx Stuart: You know? And it’s not cool, so there is an element where you just go with the flow, and the best you can do is make the choices within your own home.
Stuart Cooke: That’s it. That’s it. Yeah. One step at a time. You’ll get there in the end. I’m going to try to…
Alexx Stuart: Plus, eventually, your friends will have the organic chicken in the end anyway, so…yeah.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Yes they will.
Guy Lawrence: No, no, no, Guy. Stu’s coming over. We’d better order the organic chicken.
Stuart Cooke: Smother the chicken in sunscreen. Just going to go back to the sunscreen issue, because we…
Alexx Stuart: Nice segue there, Stu.
Stuart Cooke: You like the way that worked? I’ve been working all night on that one. I’m just managed to slide it in. We’re fortunate enough to live by the beach, and I’m aware of the importance of vitamin D from the sun, you know, that’s healthy, too, and necessary for our bodies, but there is a paranoia about Slip-Slop-Slap which rightfully is important to take into consideration, too. So, what are your thoughts on sunscreens for you and your children?
Alexx Stuart: So, I do use a sunscreen. It’s the most natural one I’ve been able to find, and I grabbed that from NourishedLife.com.au. I don’t know if you guys know Irene, but a wonderful operator, very scrutinous about what she allows in her online shop, and it’s called Eco, quite simply, and that is a really good sunscreen. It’s the only one that doesn’t feel like you’re putting on clay. You know those natural sunscreens that aren’t so sure you’re really trying to separate a caramel square onto your skin they’re so thick?
So that’s a really great one, but I stay so far away from all of the conventional sunscreens, because they’re some of the most common ingredients in sunscreens actually cause free radical damage in your cells.
So, I just don’t see the logic in outing ingredients like that in products to protect us from something. It’s completely counterproductive, and I’m not saying that means you’re just going to run around wearing nothing at all, because that’s safer and more natural than sunscreen, because the fact is, we live in Australia here, and if you’re out in direct sunlight for more than ten, fifteen minutes then, yes, you need to protect yourself.
Interestingly enough, once you start to bring health fats back into your diet, you have a certain base level of protection that is higher than, say, someone eating a lot of omega 6, where the ratio is at, and there is some really concrete research around that, so it’s a good one to look at for anyone who wants to know that.
I’ll just read you that, because some of these ingredients lists are so long that I don’t want to stuff it up. 4-methylbenzylidene camphor (4-MBC), you know, was found in mice to delay puberty and decrease adult prostate weight. Do I want to put that on my skin? Not really. I’m not really keen, you know?
Oxybenzone, that’s a hormone-altering chemical. Some of the fragrance particles, the phthalates in sunscreens are, you know, those beautiful tropical smelling sunscreens, they’re actually disturbing your endocrine system as they seep into your skin.
Guy Lawrence: We put so much trust in the manufacturers and just take so many things blindly, you know?
Alexx Stuart: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: And it’s so easy to just go, “Oh, well, you know, I don’t care.” And just rub your arm with whatever, but it’s interesting what you say because, you know, me being fair, being from Wales, right? I’m not the best combination, because I live by the, you know, the beach in Sydney, but I have found since I’ve changed, you know, I eat the much higher fat, natural fat diet now over the last five years, and I’ve found my skin, it is a lot better in the sun. I don’t burn that easily.
Alexx Stuart: It’s lovely. It’s actually glowing.
Guy Lawrence: It’s completely different. Yeah, it’s…
Stuart Cooke: It’s a contrast issue on his monitor, that’s all that is.
Guy Lawrence: You’d never know I was 63, would you?
Stuart Cooke: He’s cranked it up.
Alexx Stuart: No, it is, and there’s so many people report the same, so it’s interesting, isn’t it? But, yes, use a natural one or just don’t spend much time, more than ten, fifteen minutes in direct sunlight at a time, because, yes, we need the vitamin D, and I say early morning and afternoon just get out there, you know?
We don’t need…I see kids completely covered up and now rickets is making a comeback. So there is an overboard, and what I found really interesting at the Changing the Way We Eat conference was Gary Fettke’s, Dr. Gary Fettke’s I should say, was talking about the need for vitamin D to healthily metabolize fructose and prevent it from turning into LDL cholesterol. I found that completely fascinating, so if you are completely covering yourself and protected, then you know, and you’re having lots of fruit in the summertime which is a lovely thing to do, you know, you’re actually, you could be damaging your body.
Now, I don’t want to scare people, but that’s a really interesting little bit of science, as well. We do need vitamin D, so ten, fifteen minutes in direct sun. You do not need sunscreen for that, in my opinion. I’m not a practitioner, but I really believe it’s a healthy way to go.
Guy Lawrence: It makes me think about everyone back home still, you know, because they don’t have a sunscreen problem, there’s no bloody sun, but they have a vitamin D problem, you know, especially if they’re eating a high-sugar diet as well.
Alexx Stuart: Yeah. Exactly, and that’s the cholesterol.
Stuart Cooke: Why is it, it’s funny, you can dig so deep into that. I’ve read numerous studies about cleaning up your diet and it changes the profile of your subcutaneous fat which is, again, the barrier between your body and the sun, and there’s evidence out there. Dig deep. Have a Google and you’ll find evidence-based studies that will really enlighten you.
Alexx Stuart: I think the Weston A. Price Foundation has some interesting research on that.
Guy Lawrence: They have a lot of it, yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Absolutely.
Guy Lawrence: I think the take-home so far is think about what we’re putting on our skin, whether it’s a moisturizer to the sunscreen, and think twice before applying it.
Alexx Stuart: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: All right. Next thing we wanted to cover, bring up, Alexx, was real food. There’s a big misconception that it’s more expensive to live healthy. What are your thoughts on that?
Alexx Stuart: I don’t think it is. So, let’s just say day one someone’s decided I’ve got to start buying everything organic, but what they do is they still go to the supermarket. They just buy the organic version of everything, so they don’t actually change their food pattern or vocabulary, and they just do product swaps for the organic version.
If you do that, then 100 percent yes, you will find yourself doubling your grocery bill.
Guy Lawrence: That’s my confession, yes.
Stuart Cooke: That’s definitely you. I’ve seen your food bill. I like your cup, by the way. Is that a Pantone cup?
Alexx Stuart: Yes, it is. Purple for calm.
Stuart Cooke: What number are you?
Alexx Stuart: This particular one is 5285.
Stuart Cooke: Awesome.
Alexx Stuart: I have the red one for when it’s Power Hour and I need to get lots of work done. I’ve got different ones for different moods.
Stuart Cooke: I like that. Sorry, that’s the graphic designer coming out of me.
Guy Lawrence: I have no idea what you’re on about, you two, but I’ll just sit here and…
Stuart Cooke: Sorry. Back to Guy, yeah. Guy is the stereotypical bachelor who goes out to his boutiquey little shops, buys these beautiful little packaged organic meats. They’re always going to be the finest cuts, and, boy, do they cost a fortune.
So, me, on the other side of the coin, you know, family, children, have to be more careful about budget and, also, more aware that I want to get decent quality meat and veggies.
Alexx Stuart: Absolutely, so, stop buying at the supermarket or small grocer, because that will, yes, that will be more expensive, if price is an issue for you. I use my brilliant small grocer for, like, you know, emergency stuff and top ups when I run out of things, but essentially I buy 80 percent of our produce from either my butcher or direct online beef supplier, who’s fabulous, and the markets. And they are the places I buy our food.
So, by buying your food from people where you’ve got, like, you don’t have a huge trolley that you can fill up, you’ve just got a couple of bags that you can carry back to the car, that also really helps you keep things in perspective. You only get what you need, and then you stop wasting so much.
You know, there are so many things that attribute to people overspending on a grocery bill, but essentially to save the money buy as much from direct people as you can, and, also, start cooking with secondary cuts. My favorite butcher is GRUB up in Vaucluse, for you Sydneysiders. They are so passionate and ethical, and they really know how to help you learn how to cook certain things that you might not be used to cooking.
And then, for beef, I also buy directly from Alma Beef. A, L, M, A.Who’s in New South Wales and Wellington. This woman cares so much about how cows are raised. She cares about all the different types of grass and the results that you get in the meat from what you feed your cows, so there’s no grains. And, you know, you can buy chuck steak, not chuck, it’s oyster blade on the bone, ten dollars a kilo.
Stuart Cooke: Wow.
Alexx Stuart: Gorgeous big slow-cooked stew, I saw Guy’s eyes go, “What?”
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, exactly.
Alexx Stuart: If you get these secondary cuts, you can make a huge big batch of a couple of kilos of a single basic casserole, so tomatoes, stalk veggies, onions, yada, yada, herbs, and then the next day you can separate that out and morph some of it with a bit of cumin and cinnamon and turn that half of it into something Mexican, the other… So you’ve got different flavors going on, and you just need to get a bit smarter.
Which, funnily enough, my second book, which will be coming out next month, is XXreally about everything you eatXX 0:24:13
Guy Lawrence: It goes back, like, everything else, isn’t it? Because it can seem overwhelming at first, but once you start to find out and know and fully make adjustments, you know…
Alexx Stuart: Absolutely. I mean, in one of my cooking web shows, which is Save Time, Save Money, but provide beautiful nourishing food, I show people how to cook a slow roast lamb shoulder, and they are just shocked by how easy it is. They’re like, “That’s all I have to do?” I’m like, “Yes, you do this before work, and when you get home from work, it’ll be falling apart…”
Guy Lawrence: Is that in the slow cooker, is it?
Alexx Stuart: In a slow cooker or in your oven.
Guy Lawrence: My girlfriend told me to buy a slow cooker, and I absolutely hammer the thing. Like, I use it all the time. They’re amazing. Amazing.
Stuart Cooke: You actually do use it all the time, as well. I think every single meal is a slow cooker.
Guy Lawrence: Almost.
Alexx Stuart: But it’s also better for you, because you’re not stunning the protein, like you are when you pan fry something at high heat. I mean that can denature the outsides of a steak. So slow cooking is actually healthier for you, too. Validation!
Stuart Cooke: I’m going to slowly fry my meat from this point on. Thank you for that tip. About five hours.
Alexx Stuart: And the other thing people don’t realize is they keep buying and eating huge amounts of protein, and you really just don’t need that much. Pardon the pun, but beef it up with veg. Get more vegetables into your stews and more. Roast twice as many vegetables as you would normally to have with your roast and just one less slice of that and double your veg. And then you’ve taken care of cell regeneration, as well as muscle regeneration. Both are very important.
Stuart Cooke: That was one of the take homes from the Tasmania conference. It was the quality of food was so superb and almost brimming with nutrients that it was satiating. It was supremely filling, which is quite rare for me and Guy, because we do eat quite a lot. You know, I eat a lot more than Guy, but I didn’t feel the need to snack. I wasn’t hungry. I was completely full.
Alexx Stuart: Oh, same, yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Just nutrients, you know. Supreme quality. Just blown away.
Alexx Stuart: I think this was the first conference or only conference perhaps ever where I’ve seen butter on top of pate as…
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: It was awesome. Full credit to Joe, yeah. Absolutely amazing.
Stuart Cooke: He did very well. So, talk about buying organic. How important do you actually think that that is in the grand scheme of things for us?
Alexx Stuart: Well, you know, there’s growing research around pesticides and their effect on us, in particular on our gut health. Now why it’s important to have good gut health is because the gut/brain connection. So the gut is like a second brain, but 80 percent of our immune system also resides in our guts.
So, this is like the key. If we don’t get that right, then we’re disturbing our immune system and our brain function, as well as our digestive system which impacts overall health in a number of ways.
So, pesticides can actually alter, depending on which one and to varying degrees, can alter your gut bacteria makeup, and to me that is an extremely scary thing.
Guy Lawrence: Massive, yeah.
Alexx Stuart: I try not to have anything that’s going to disturb the balance, and I called, I talked to my son about this, the good soldiers versus the bad soldiers, and I create these stories around, you know, like for chewing, for example, sorry to tangent, but, “You know, you’ve got to really chew your food, because that releases lots of good soldiers that say, ‘Hey, there’s food coming!’ and that gets everybody down there, and if you haven’t chewed your food right and big chunks get down there, that means all the good soldiers have to go and work on breaking down the food. And that means the bad soldiers have got time to relax and make more bad soldiers and take over.”
You know, and so many things get affected by the good and the bad soldiers, and whether they’re XXin frontX 0:28:22 or not. So, pesticides, to me, are a no with every food choice I make. So, once again, coming back to that not being OCD, not being stressed, as soon as I’m out the door and I’m having a meal, maybe a friend, you know, with a friend in a restaurant or at a friend’s house, I don’t worry. I just try not to think about it too much.
But in my food choices, yeah, I think it’s 100 percent important, and I will seek out organic food. Having said that, the person I buy from doesn’t actually have certification. So this is about knowing your farmer and knowing how they farm. Certification for a small family on a small farm is a really massive cost in this country, and I’m really angry. I don’t know about you guys, but I get angry that these poor farmers doing the right thing by their communities and the planet are the ones who get…
Guy Lawrence: Slammed…
Stuart Cooke: Shafted by bureaucracy.
Alexx Stuart: That’s exactly right. It just doesn’t seem fair, so, and I’m 100 percent confident that they farm the way I farm, and you can holes in the spinach, the odd snail on there. Those are the signs that you want. I saw on Facebook where it’s like, “Oh, my god, there’s a snail in my salad.”
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. That’s a really good thing.
Alexx Stuart: Are you kidding me. That’s proof there is living life on your food. That’s a really good sign.
Guy Lawrence: If they’re going to eat it then you know it’s a good thing, and I just want to emphasize that point to anyone listening to this that, you know, how important gut health is. Like, it’s, you know, like you say, it’s massive, you know, and it can take a long time to turn that around if it’s…
Stuart Cooke: That’s right.
Guy Lawrence: …not in good shape.
Stuart Cooke: People think gut health for digestion, as well, but, you know, gut health for mental health, too, because…
Alexx Stuart: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: You mentioned that, like, the hormone connection there. You know, we’ve all got hormones in our gut that govern the way that we think and we feel. That can really steer you down the wrong path, as well, if you’re not on track there.
Alexx Stuart: It really can and, sadly, it can only take a couple of days of high sugar to derail. So, yeah, it’s really about adopting that lifestyle, isn’t it?
Guy Lawrence: Yes, it’s a lifestyle change. There’s no quick fixes.
Stuart Cooke: Yes.
Guy Lawrence: Next, next subject. GMO.
Stuart Cooke: I thought you were going to hold up the banner: GMO.
Alexx Stuart: We’re keeping it really light today, aren’t we?
Stuart Cooke: We are. We are. I just want to duck in, as well, before we go too heavy on this, and just the other angle, as well, for GMO, because everybody is…One side of the camp, we’re kind of, “No to GMO!” but on the other side of the camp we also got to think about what it means for the people that don’t have access to a lot of food, you know, GMO for them means that their crops and food sources can be transported to them to feed them. So while we’re thinking about nice big plush plump tomatoes and fruit, they’re actually thinking about being able to have access to grain just to live.
Alexx Stuart: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. I also think we should explain exactly what GMO is, as well.
Alexx Stuart: Absolutely. Happy to do that.
Guy Lawrence: Cool.
Alexx Stuart: So, I was having this discussion last night, actually, because I’m a nerd and I really like talking about this stuff on Facebook pages, and it was around…a very well-known blogger in the States, kind of, had put up a thing, a little packet of yogurt or something that was suggested by her son’s preschool to take to the preschool as a really good, easy snack for the kids.
She saw what was in it. She saw that there was soy in it, and that the product did not boast to be GM-free, which is the number one detective way that you can assume that it’s therefore genetically modified soy, and so she then found a brand that didn’t have that in it and said, “You know, I’m really passionate about making sure my little guy gets the best choice and, even though this one has a little bit of cane sugar in there, I figured at least overall this is a better product to be sending him with.”
Now then the very first comment was a woman who said, “Oh, you know, how dare you be so picky about something so small when there are people on the earth that don’t have any food at all?” And, you know, look, there is a lot of validity to that reaction, because it can seem so “first world problem,” however, if we don’t take issue with agriculture and the way it affects us, community, and planet, as first world citizens, if you want to really make the distinction of us being that, then who is going to?
And, I really feel that, for me, it’s not about being anti-science and anti-progress, I mean, if we find the natural way to increase yields that more people can be sent food to eat, then I am all for that, really I am. However, if we look at the two big players in the GM industry, they’re people who have, one in particular, founded their business model on selling a seed, making a farmer have to buy that seed every year, so no longer able to save seeds as farmers traditionally have, then impregnating the seed with a genetic makeup that makes less…It’s more resistant…It’s less resistant to a pesticide that it also sells.
That, to me, is why I am anti-GM in the current climate of what GM is, because I believe that the people who are at the forefront in terms of business and success, if you like, in genetically modified, in the genetically modified food industry, I just cannot morally believe that they are doing this for the good of man. I can’t, especially when the same company is responsible for producing Agent Orange, aspartame, DDT…If you look at the history…I’m not going to name names. Everyone can do their own research, but I really…
Guy Lawrence: It wouldn’t take much to work it out, I think.
Alexx Stuart: Nah, it wouldn’t. Nah. But just for new people out there contemplating whether or not to buy things that have soy or corn in it when it says local and imported ingredients and doesn’t say GM-free, then I hate to break it to you, but that means basically that it’s genetically modified.
And then another little note on the planet is that, and I heard this from Nora Gedgaudas the author of Primal Body Primal Mind recently, she said that the number one reason for deforestation in the Amazon at the moment is genetically modified soy farming.
Stuart Cooke: Wow.
Alexx Stuart: You know? So, I’m not loving it, I have to say. I promote being against it. I’m actually an activist against it. I go to the marches, because I believe in the current way that it’s done, we have to stand up to what, to me, just looks like a whole bunch of corporate bullying.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, yeah. That’s exactly what I was going to say.
Alexx Stuart: Plus, scientifically the science is very grey as to whether or not it’s any good for humans. I personally don’t believe so, because of the pesticide implication. I just, I can’t see it.
Stuart Cooke: Well, crikey, thank you for that. We certainly stirred something up there, didn’t we? Just relax. Guy, get us out of here.
Alexx Stuart: The Alexx Activist came out there. I’ll put myself back in the box.
Guy Lawrence: No, they’re fantastic points you raised, and people, you know, need to look at both sides of the argument, you know, and make up their own mind whether, you know…
Alexx Stuart: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: I certainly agree with everything you said pretty much there. Absolutely. Yeah. Stu?
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, I’m going to move on to kids now. So with all that in mind, how can we get kids to eat, you know, healthily, the way that we want to eat, the way that we eat, without lots of stress, bearing in mind that kids, generally, can be quite fussy little buggers? I’ve got three of them, you know, that run me ragged.
Alexx Stuart: I’ve got one.
Stuart Cooke: You’ve got one? Guy will have one at some stage. Tips and tricks for parents, you know. Where do we start with our kids?
Alexx Stuart: I think before we start with our kids, we need to look at our own food issues. I see a lot of parents, and this is not a judgment thing, it’s just an observation, a lot of parents, you know, eating on the go. Just grabbing whatever they can find and shoving it in their mouths at a traffic light while their tiny toddler is in the back. They’re learning all of this behavior.
Stuart Cooke: That’s right.
Alexx Stuart: They’re seeing the little piece of grape here, the tiny chocolate bar just to get that boost at 3:00 p.m. they see that before they can even talk. They’re picking up on all this stuff. They hear us say, “Who wants the little cupcake?” with this really excited little voice, and then they hear the same person say to them, “Eat your zucchini!” with this really serious kind of negative voice. Yeah?
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Alexx Stuart: And I just think, “God, the kids aren’t, I mean, they’re not dumb.”
Stuart Cooke: No. That’s right.
Alexx Stuart: They pick up all of that, and they literally regurgitate back to us whatever we have subliminally or consciously taught them.IN fact there are a lot of issues here. I would say that anyone out there that’s got a very, very fussy child, and, like, you know, a White Foods kid, to go and see a practitioner and get some zinc testing, because zinc has been shown to be linked to fussy eating, so if you really have a problem with it, literally hardly eating anything colorful, then that would be a great one to troubleshoot.
But essentially to just be enthusiastic just as, if not more, enthusiastic about vegetables than any other thing you might serve your kids. I take carrots to the zoo or the park. Or we eat half an avocado if we know we’re going to be out. You know, you have an avocado, you put some sea salt on it, and you eat it. That is just such a delicious, healthy real food. And I can’t tell you how many times random strangers butt in on our little snack time and go, “Oh, who’s the little boy having a carrot! What a little XXguy?XX 0:39:06″
Stuart Cooke: I know.
Alexx Stuart: Like it was some strange thing for a child to enjoy a carrot.
Guy Lawrence: Oh, my god, he’s eating vegetables. Yeah.
Alexx Stuart: Like he’s some kind of mini savior. I just think we’ve got it all wrong. All of our messaging around healthy foods for our kids is wrong. It’s all “have to” instead of the joy of discovery of all these amazing colors we have in our…available to us.
Stuart Cooke: It’s all in the culture, too. I always try and get our little ones into the kitchen prepping veg, if we’re going, you know, if we’re out and about and, you know, we’re buying veg, I’ll say, “All right. What do you want tonight? Go and choose some things. Show me what you want.”
Get them involved. Get them in there, so they know what it is, and they’ve made part of that decision, because, you know, you could say to them, “You’ve got vegetables tonight.” And they’re going, “Oh, no, no, no!” But if you say to them, “What vegetables do you want?” Then they’re making that choice and they’re already there. Just get it then. It’s the culture.
Alexx Stuart: Yeah, it really is, Stu. And another thing I’ve noticed is the only time, I did, I’m a Jamie Oliver Food Revolution Ambassador, and so every year around mid-May there’s Food Revolution Day, and so I did that with my community, and we had a great time. So many fantastic pictures came through of people cooking with their kids.
In the lead-up, I kind of, you know, we had lots of chats around what people were going to make and what they were going to involve their kids in on, and it kind of dawned on me that the only thing people seem to, for the most part, cook with their kids is treats like cookies, muffins, cakes.
And that’s great that they’re cooking at least something and not having the store bought versions of that. Credit where credit’s due, however, we should be doing dinner with them. We should be helping them, getting them to help us choose.
Like last night. I was roasting a little bit of butterflied lamb for dinner, and I open the veggie drawer and I said to my son, “Okay, you choose the three veg that we’re going to have tonight with this.”
And he chose, you know, and he said, “Oh, I can’t decide between…”
“So, what do you really feel like today?”
“Oh, crunchy fennel.”
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Alexx Stuart: Yeah. My kid’s, you know, a bit extreme.
Stuart Cooke: Right…
Alexx Stuart: He honestly comes into the kitchen and says, “Can I just have a piece of crunchy fennel?”
Stuart Cooke: That’s awesome.
Alexx Stuart: Yeah, but, you know, it’s really just about being really mindful of what we are sending out as a message to our kids. Are we sending out to them that the only time food is enjoyable and fun is if it is a cookie, a muffin, or a cake? Because if we’re doing that, we have to change the conversation. Once we think about that, is that the conversation we’ve always had with ourselves? Chances are, it is. So we’ve actually got to do work on ourselves to be able to pass it on.
Guy Lawrence: I think…
Stuart Cooke: I think so, and I’m always intrigued by the reward systems, as well, that schools and parents tend to push out there to the children. It always seems to be based upon rewarding with treats and sweets, and I always liken it to circus animals. You know? “Here’s your sugar cubes, you know, what a wonderful show you’ve just performed.”
We’ve got to probably, it pays to think slightly differently along those lines, too, because if, you know, this is a treat for these kids, I don’t think…I just don’t…It doesn’t sit with me.
Alexx Stuart: Why can’t we just tell them they’ve done a great job and they should be really proud of themselves in front of the class? You know, that is what reward is, recognition for doing a beautiful job at something. It’s not…It doesn’t need to be a red frog with coloring that can cause anaphylaxis. I mean, it’s really quite mental when you think about it that we save poisonous, contrived, laboratory-produced foods for the most special times.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah…
Alexx Stuart: I mean if you really think about that for a second, it is bizarre.
Guy Lawrence: It’s unbelievable.
Alexx Stuart: Oh, it’s Dougy’s birthday. Let’s have a whole bunch of fake food coloring that comes from petroleum. Mental.
Guy Lawrence: I know, but it’s everywhere, isn’t it? The marketing and the messaging. It’s bombarding you wherever you go. It’s so hard to get away from, as well, and I mean, I don’t have children, but the day it happens, I just think, I cringe in how I’m going to tackle all this.
Stuart Cooke: You’ll be fine, Mate. You’ll be fine. I shall watch from afar. Smirking.
Guy Lawrence: So what would you recommend putting in the kid’s lunch box? What would you do, Alexx?
Alexx Stuart: So at lunch, what we need is foods that are going to keep the blood sugar steady, because they’ve got a whole afternoon yet to go thinking, especially for the teeny, tiny ones who aren’t used to doing that all day. Food is probably going to be their best weapon for success, in terms of having energy still at the end of the school day to go off and play with their friends. So I would be putting some really good quality meats. I would be, like, leftover roast is a really great…
You know, a lot of people think “Oh, I need cold meats, so I’ll go and buy ham from a supermarket.” That’s riddled with strange things in there, and a lot of processed meats are. So the best thing you can do is to buy slightly more when you do your stews an your roasts and things so that you’ve got some left for school lunches.
I would also, instead of making sandwiches with big thick bits of bread, whether it be, hopefully sourdough, because that’s obviously easier to digest, I would be using something like the Mountain Bread wraps which are like paper thin bread. So you’ve just reduced the amount of carbohydrate in that overall sandwich and you fill it with avocado and roast sweet potato leftovers and a little bit of, you know, sliced lamb roast, and then your percentage of actual high nutrient content in that thing that they still see as a sandwich is, yeah, it goes up.
I put a little bit of fresh fruit, but I would never put dried fruit, because that averages between 60 and 80 percent sugar. Something like a date is 100 percent GI, so you know, we think, “Oh, it’s healthy. It’s one ingredient. Great!” It’s actually just not healthy, especially if you eat it on its own.
And then what else? Veggie sticks and dip. Dips are a brilliant way to get extra nutrients into kids. so they might not want to eat a whole bunch of pieces of veg but if you puree a beet root with carrot, I mean with yogurt and a little bit of cinnamon and then they dip their carrot in here, they’re actually having two serves of veg like that, and then they’ve got some cultured food from yogurt or kafir, which is really good to mix in there, too.
You know, it’s, so, it’s just kind of going, “How can I get a little bit of color in here? How can I get some healthy fats in the pizza so it he can absorb the vitamin A, E, D, and K, which is so important to us, and then how can I get some protein, also, for long-lasting energy? That would be how I’d plan it.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: I like it. It’s tricky with schools today, because every second kid is allergic to something, and there are massive restrictions on what we can put in. There’s definitely no eggs. There’s no nuts. There’s no sesame. There’s, you know, you’d better watch out on anything that isn’t in its own packet and comes with its own label. It’s a no no.
Alexx Stuart: Yeah, and it’s so ironic, isn’t it? Because a lot of these packaged foods are what have caused all of these health problems because our guts are so feeble now, and yet the packaged foods are recommended because we can be sure of what’s, what they’re free from. It’s really quite sad. It’s sort of a Catch-22.
The number one thing to do is to have a kick ass breakfast and dinner because then you’re in control. That’s happening at home. You know, load them up with lots of good stuff and then keep it to a very simple meat/veg combo in the lunch box in whatever form that takes, whether it’s veggie sticks or fruit, couple of dips, and some sort of wrap with some leftover meat and avocado. Then, you know, you’re going to have a kid who’s raring to go and able to concentrate.
Guy Lawrence: Great tips.
Stuart Cooke: That’s right. You certainly wouldn’t want to be a teacher at the moment, would you? Crikey. Those little time bombs running around like Tasmanian devils.
Alexx Stuart: No. I’m writing a …I’m creating a food program for an amazing new childcare center called Thinkers, Inc. and that’s in Terrey Hills, the first one’s going to be opening up, but they’ll be opening more, and I popped it on my Facebook page for my community, and people have literally, you know, found their way to this place and have enrolled because they’re so excited that they’re going to be able to trust the food.
I mean, a lot of parents have woken up, who have realized what’s in the stuff that gets fed to tiny kids, you know, zero to five is when the brain’s developing faster than it ever will again in the rest of their lives. If we can’t get that nutrient fuel right for that age group, you know, it’s scary…
Stuart Cooke: It’s scary, but there is so much need because, unfortunately, we’re very time poor, and a lot of us just think, “Well, what on earth will I put in that lunch box? Because I have no idea, because I just don’t know where to start…”
Alexx Stuart: Yeah. A lot of people just make meals that they didn’t finish that night and they find themselves having to start from zero every single day. Frankly, that would exhaust me, too, and I only have one child, so it’s always really important that when you’re chopping up the carrot to chuck in your…for steaming that night, chop up an extra couple of carrots at that same time and chuck them in a container. Use the time better.
A lot of people chop an onion every single time they get something started. Why don’t you chop two or three at the same time for the week?
Guy Lawrence: Exactly. Cook once; eat twice.
Alexx Stuart: Yes. Definitely, and when it comes to school lunches, that’s going to keep you sane, too.
Guy Lawrence: Just out of curiosity, Alexx, what is your typical daily diet look like?
Alexx Stuart: I usually start the day with…I really listen to my mood. I was finding that eating eggs and avocado and bacon and things like that, quite heavy, really wasn’t serving my energy well throughout the day. It wasn’t right for me, and I quite like dabbling in learning a bit more about Ayurveda. I don’t know if you guys have ever looked in that direction, but you know really eating for your mood, for the time of year, for your personal energy, yin yang balance, all those sorts of things. So eggs most of the time with a little quarter bit of avocado, and I would just scramble those in a good bit of butter and have lots of fresh parsley and a bit of cultured veg with that.
But then, sometimes, when I feel like I just want to stay light feeling I would blend up probably a cup of frozen blueberries with a couple of tablespoons of coconut yogurt and kafir water and a whole bunch of cinnamon and a few nuts, like macadamia nuts or something. And it’s almost like an instant ice cream for breakfast. It’s amazing. It’s delicious. I think I’ve popped it up on the blog recently, if you want to check it out, but sometimes when you just want to keep your head really clear and light and have a lighter breakfast then that’s what I’d go for. So that’s brekkie.
Lunch is always some sort of morph of the night before’s dinner, because I work from home. Most days, so it’ll be roast meats, tons of veg, and then sometimes like a little bit of a halloumi cheese or some olives or things like that.
And then dinner is usually veg as a start and then a beautiful sort of meat, as well. And with the veg, I try and do a couple of different textures to keep it interesting, so they’ll be a puree of some kind. They’ll something steamed, and I might kind of mandolin a few little bits of sweet potato and fry them in coconut oil for something crunchy, because I like layering textures.
Guy Lawrence: Wow.
Stuart Cooke: Crikey. Well, we must do dinner at some time…
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, I was going to say we must come for dinner. I was thinking the same thing.
Alexx Stuart: A lot of people say, “A meat and three veg…” People say it, like, as if it was this boring thing, but meat and three veg has got to be about the healthiest this you can do for your body. That’s what we were designed to eat. So make the three veg exciting. Don’t just steam a whole bunch, I mean, that gets boring. I get bored by that. You’ve got to learn how to cook a few things. Got to get a few tricks under your belt.
Stuart Cooke: What would you, what foods do you go out of your way, strictly out of your way to avoid?
Alexx Stuart: Okay, so I avoid any packaged food where I would not know what the ingredients are just from the look of them. I would absolutely avoid genetically modified foods, so corn and soy in a packet, even in Australia. A lot of Australians think, “Oh, but it’s not an issue here. There’s just a bit of canola. That’s it.”
But any packaged product that says, “Local and imported ingredients” and does not clarify that is a GM-free product is most likely to have genetically modified versions of those ingredients in there. So definitely if there’s corn and soy.
What else would I avoid? I avoid any unethical, inhumane meat. Cage eggs, for example. Free range chicken which is usually still from a very crowded situation, and also fed grains, some of which are genetically modified, so I would definitely avoid that.
I would avoid non-organic pork, for that very same reason, because the pigs eat grains and, again, often, genetically modified within the meats. And what else? Anything friend in vegetable oil.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Of course, yeah.
Alexx Stuart: Those are kind of my main ones that I kind of, you know, and anything that…can I say a personal care one as well?
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely. Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Alexx Stuart: Anything with a fake smell. So, you know how we get sold those ads like for clean air system. Oh, my god, open a window.
Guy Lawrence: Pollutant. That’s my word. This is a chemical pollutant. Do you really want a device that just pushes out pollutants into your room every 30 seconds. Are you kidding me?
Alexx Stuart: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, what do they call it? Essence of the Ocean?
Alexx Stuart: Mountain Fresh, Ocean Spray…I can tell you right now that Mountain Fresh smells nothing like…
Guy Lawrence: …a mountain. Yeah
Stuart Cooke: That’s right. Yeah. Pollutant 101. That’s all it is.
Alexx Stuart: That’s the number one thing I avoid in personal care products, home products, cleaning products, anything. Yeah. There are my top avoids.
Stuart Cooke: That’s a road map for good health I would say, right there.
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely. Before we wrap it up, we always ask this question on the end of every podcast. And it can be non-nutritional. It can be anything. What’s the single best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Alexx Stuart: The single best piece of advice I’ve ever been given…That’s got to be a really…Does everyone struggle with that question?
Stuart Cooke: It doesn’t have to be anything that…
Alexx Stuart: I’ve been around for 38 years.
Guy Lawrence: What’s the best piece of advice that springs to mind?
Alexx Stuart: Oh, you know what? Okay. I have a lovely coach that I call on from time to time. XXKate HoseyXX 0:55:34 She’s so clever, and she has this little saying that is, “Your obstacle isn’t in your way, it is your way.”
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. All right.
Alexx Stuart: Now, just sit with that for a sec. It’s a big one, but what that translates as is you know how we always say, “Oh, I don’t have any money, and if I had some money I’d be awesome at that.”
Or, “My health is just shit.” Oh my god, am I allowed to say that?
Guy Lawrence: You can swear, that’s fine. We’ve got it. we’ll bleep that out after.
Alexx Stuart: “If only I was healthy, I would, you know, life would be so much better for me.” All these obstacles, we say if we didn’t have these obstacles life would be awesome. Well those obstacles are our way. They’re there to teach us something, and they’re there for us to work through to come out the other end stronger, and when she said that, I didn’t yet know her. It was actually one of her other coaching students that told it to me which made me think, “Hmmm, this woman sounds interesting.”
And I just think it’s a really awesome life guide notion. When something’s tough, when something’s difficult, when you’re confronted by something you don’t want to deal with, it is actually your way to the next step in your life, and I think that’s something that you can transpose from food to personal care, you know, all these choices we’re trying to help people make better, as well as career or finance, you know, friends.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, I love it…
Stuart Cooke: yeah, absolutely, you can push that anywhere. No, that does make sense. I like it.
Guy Lawrence: I’ll remind you of that, Stu, next time you start complaining to me.
Stuart Cooke: Guy, you are my obstacle. Don’t worry about me. I’ve got to overcome you.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, so where can people go to get more of you? Alexx?
Alexx Stuart: Okay. So my address, no, I’m just kidding.
Stuart Cooke: We’re putting that all over the internet. And your phone number.
Alexx Stuart: WWW dot Alexx with two Xs Stuart spelled S, T, U, A, R, T, dot com is my website. You can come find me on Facebook. My Twitter and Instagram are A, L, E, double X, underscore, Stuart, S, T, U, A, R, T, so you can find me there, and yeah, that’s about it. And you can grab my book Real Treats, which really helps you get you over the weird toxic treats we were talking about earlier, and you can get that on my site.
Guy Lawrence: And there’s a new book coming out soon.
Alexx Stuart: Yes, next month, and a couple of courses for beginners, which will be really, really great.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, well we can put the appropriate links on the blog anyway, and…
Alexx Stuart: Awesome.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. Thanks for coming on.
Stuart Cooke: Well, we have had a blast. We always, it’s always great to learn stuff, as well, you know.
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.
Stuart Cooke: I loved it. Fantastic. Thank you so much for your time. Really appreciate it, and so pleased that we connected in Tasmania and have continued the relationship. It’s been awesome.
Alexx Stuart: Me, too. It has been awesome. We’ll all have to get together for a little reunion.
Stuart Cooke: Absolutely.
Guy Lawrence: Definitely.
Stuart Cooke: Will do. Guy, sort it out.
Alexx Stuart: He’s your PA, is he, Stu?
Stuart Cooke: He is, yes, he is. P, A, I, N.
Guy Lawrence: Dream on. Dream on, Mate. Dream on. Awesome.
Stuart Cooke: Thank you so much.
Alexx Stuart: Thanks for having me on the podcast.
Guy Lawrence: Cheers.
Stuart Cooke: Speak to you soon.
By Guy LawrenceEat fat to lower cholesterol… What about dairy, is it healthy? Can I run an ultra-marathon or CrossFit on a low carb/ high fat or paleo diet? These are just some of the questions we cover in this episode of The Health Sessions as we catch up with Nora Gedgaudas, best selling author of Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet. I’ve time coded the bullet points so you jump straight to the bits that interest you most in the video.
But when you’ve got the time, it’s well worth kicking back and watching the whole video as the content is invaluable!
Why we shouldn’t be taking cholesterol lowering drugs
Why cholesterol is a good thing [011:42]
Can kids eat a paleo diet [029:50]
From ultra-marathon & CrossFit on a low carb/ high fat diet [035:43]
What Nora Gedgaudas eats in a day [1:00:53]
Is dairy healthy? [1:06:50]
and much more…
Did you enjoy this interview with Nora? Would you like to share your own journey with us? Love to hear your thoughts in the Facebook comments section below… Guy
Hi. This is Guy Lawrence and I’m with Stuart Cooke and I’m also joined with a lovely guest today, Nora Gedgaudas. And Nora, I have to say, I met a nutritionist last week. We caught up for a cup of tea and we were chatting and I said, “Do you know of Nora? I’m interviewing her next week.” And she just got really excited and, basically, she said, “Oh, I went to see Nora two years ago when she came to Sydney and I worked with her. She blew my mind.” Nora: Oh, really? Guy: Yeah. Nora: Oh, that’s great. Guy: And I have to agree. So, honestly, it’s an honor to have you today. Now, what we thought we’d do; we actually put out a couple of questions on Facebook to ask our audience if they have any questions for Nora and we thought we’d run through them. Nora: OK. Guy: But before we start that, and I’m sure you’ve been asked this a thousand times, can you just tell us a little bit about yourself. Who’s Nora Gedgaudas, and, more importantly, who you came to writing such an awesome book, “Primal Body, Primal Mind”? Nora: Well, it all started in a little hospital in Winnipeg, Manitoba, June 10th, nineteen sixty. . . No. I’m not going to go back that far.
My interest in nutritional science really goes back a good 30 years or more now. Actually, more than that now. So, it’s been a passion, kind of from the get-go, for me. But over the years, my interests in nutrition changed from thing to thing a little bit and I never really had an underlying really, kind of, foundational way of looking at things. I mostly looked at from the standpoint of minutiae, lots of people were promoting vegetarianism is sort of the ultimate healthy diet. Which I attempted and it didn’t do well for me at all. And I was in lot of denial about that for awhile, as I think a lot of people probably are. It just seemed; I was really determined that that should be healthy for me, but it ultimately wasn’t. I developed an eating disorder. My depression deepened. And eventually. . . And I couldn’t stop thinking about eating meat. And eventually I just sort of transitioned out of that, feeling a little bit, maybe, like I’d failed at what was supposed to be the healthiest diet and then went on with things. And the eating disorder clearer up, and eventually, with dietary changes and ultimately some neurofeedback work, the depression lifted for me and that’s been permanent for more than 15 years. But, at any rate, I’ve led a lot of different lives in this lifetime. I’ve worn a lot of different hats. I’ve done many different things. And one of the hats that I’ve had on for awhile was work in behavioral wildlife science. And I spent a whole summer, many people know this story now, that I spent a whole summer living less than 500 miles from North Pole with a family of wild wolves. The four-legged variety. And during that time period, you know, I was living on a frozen tundra for an entire summer, and it was still quite cold, generally below freezing, sometimes below zero, wind chills coming up off the fjords and off the Arctic Ocean. But, you know, it was relatively green but still permafrost. And I’m sitting there looking across this vast landscape while the wolves slept and slept and kind of contemplating that landscape, it seemed so primitive, in a way. So, “primal,” if you will. And I looked at it thinking that it really was probably not dissimilar from what a lot of northern Europe might have looked like during the throes of the last ice age when Cro-Magnon humans were migrating across North America 40,000 years ago. That there may have been a lot of clarity to some of these landscapes. And the whole time I’m sitting there, I was just craving fat-rich foods, which I had not been eating prior to going up there. But while I was sitting there on the tundra, I was kind of obsessing about it. And it wasn’t necessarily the best selection of high-fat foods. I know we had a lot of non-perishable things like, oh, I don’t know, aged cheeses and salami and things like that. But once a week we made a pilgrimage to a weather station where there was a mess hall there. And we’d be there at 3 in the morning when everyone else was asleep, and the OIC there said that we could, if there was something laying out that we were interested in eating, that we could have at it. Well, I couldn’t stop thinking about [XXbackground noiseXX]. I . . . You have cars in Australia. I just heard a car go by. Guy: We do. Nora: Anyway. . . Yeah, but you drive on the wrong side of the road. You guys gotta do something about that. Stuart: Well, be careful when you come over. Nora: I was on the freeway one day and sitting there in the passenger side and I look over and there’s a dog sitting in what, to me, looked like the driver’s seat. It was something akin to what an LSD trip must be like. I don’t know. Guy: Do the dogs over there not drive? Are they not allowed to drive cars? Nora: Well, you know, dogs and cats really only get partial privileges over here. You have to let them think they’re running the show, but. . . And they think that they are. But, anyway, with respect to the wolves and that time there, I ate; I went through quite a bit of butter while I was at that weather station. I would make a piece of toast, which I was still eating in those days, and then I would put about that much butter on there. The toast was a vehicle for the butter, you know? And by the end of the summer I’d lost something like close to 30 pounds. And, mind you, there was very, very little physical activity. Mostly what we did was we sat near the wolves’ den and watched them do whatever it is they were doing. We tried not to move around too much, in fact, because if we got up and started walking around near the den that was sort of upsetting to them. We had certain; there were certain, sort of, standards of conduct that they expected of us when we were in their home vicinity, and so we tried to honor that. And if we messed around with that too much, it was unsetting. So we sat, generally, quietly and watched them. And the one time we were allowed to move was when they were on the move. Then we’d follow them on their hunts and whatever else. So, anyway, and when we did so, it was on a four-wheeler. So, the ground was very hummocky. And a lot of just, kind of; it was very, very bumpy ground and difficult to traverse on foot. In other words, there wasn’t a whole lot of exercise. I certainly wasn’t eating a low-fat diet. And the only other factor, of course, was that it was fairly cold. Although it got as high as what would be 60 degrees Fahrenheit was the warmest day that we had in the dead of summer. I actually got in a pair of shorts that day just to take a couple of pictures and then put my insulated stuff back on. But anyway, that taught me something. I looked back at that and I thought, wow, you know. Back at home I had been doing a lot of all of these vegetables and salads and I’d been juicing, and I didn’t have a single craving for any of those things while I was up there. My cravings were all for fat-rich foods. And I thought, our ancestors would have had to have been pretty similar, because fat is really the primary fuel that we use to keep warm, which helps explain, in part, why I lost so much. But also it turns out that if you want to lose fat, it helps to eat fat. And so I never really forgot that lesson. But it really took until I ran across the work of Weston Price to start to connect the dots a little bit more and realize that it wasn’t just the Inuit that would have eaten a high-fat diet. It would have been all primitive cultures, for the most part, that would have coveted fat as a very; as a sacred foot, literally. The most sacred foods in all cultures were the most fat-rich foods. And it suddenly started to make sense to me. And then what the Weston Price work did was it dialed me in to the idea of looking at diet and health from more an ancestral or an evolutionary perspective. So, that led me down the paleo path, so to speak. And then I began looking at things like the hormone leptin and recognizing that that was actually a fat sensor and something that made all of the sense in the world to me. That, of course, the most critical hormone in the body would be a fat sensor, because fat, to our ice age physiology, means survival. And everything boils down to survival. There’s nothing more important than that. So, if we don’t eat fat, your body considers that a problem. In fact, it is a problem, not just from an energetic standpoint but from the standpoint of fat-soluble nutrients, that they require the dietary fat in order to properly absorb it and be utilized correctly. And if we’re not eating fat, your body’s gonna gosh darn well become really efficient at synthesizing it from whatever else it has available. Mainly carbohydrate. Guy: Why do you think that message has gotten lost, you know, in today’s society? I can give you a good example. I know somebody that works in the medical industry, let’s say, and is actually on cholesterol-lowering drugs and is on a very low-fat diet and is completely paranoid about eating any fat whatsoever, you know. And that blows me away, really. Nora: Well, there was, in the term you used, “medical industry.” Statins are a $29-billion-a-year industry. And the irony is that they have absolutely no use in human medicine whatsoever. I can’t think of a single thing that statins do for anybody, other than deprive them of one of the most essential substances in their body, which is cholesterol. And there isn’t “bad cholesterol” and “good cholesterol.” There’s only one type of cholesterol. There are different carrier mechanisms for it, like high-density lipoproteins and low-density lipoproteins, but high-density lipoprotein is a high-density lipoprotein. It’s a carrier. And so low-density lipoproteins take cholesterol, whether processed by or synthesized by your liver, and move it out to the periphery of your body where it’s used for all kinds of things. There are lists and lists of things as long as your arm of all kinds of things that your body uses cholesterol for. In fact, it’s such an important substance, every cell in your body has a means of manufacturing its own supply if it absolutely has to. Its complex, multi-step process the body doesn’t do very efficiently, but it speaks to the underlying importance of this particular substance. And so, once the body has used up or spent that cholesterol in some form, then high-density lipoproteins come along and sweep up that cholesterol from the periphery and bring it back to the liver in order to be recycled back into, you guessed it, low-density lipoproteins again. LDL and HDL are just carrier mechanisms. Now, what I see cholesterol as is a; it’s an indicator. It’s an intermediate indicator that can kind of give you some general ideas of certain things that may be going on. If I see cholesterol that is particularly elevated or particularly depressed, then I worry much more about somebody whose cholesterol is too low. In our terminology, that would be anything below about 150 milligrams per deciliter. In your terminology, gosh, I should have looked that up; I need to look that up before I come out there. Although it’s interesting, because the optimal is actually somewhere between 5 millimolars to, let me see here, to. . . There was a study done in Norway called the Hunt 2. It was a meta-analysis, actually. And if your listeners don’t know what a meta-analysis study is, it’s a study that takes a whole bunch of other studies and it screens them for corroborative data to either prove or disprove a theory. It takes a whole bunch of different cholesterol studies to try to figure out, you know, is there something to this or isn’t there? What these researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology found, looking at over 52,000 subjects that were part of this study (that’s a very highly, statistically significant study), between the ages and 20 and 74. And they had adjusted for factors like age, smoking, and blood pressure. What the researchers found were that women with so-called “high” cholesterol, which would be in excess of about 270 milligrams per deciliter, which here is viewed as, “Oh my God, get on statins now!” actually had a 28-percent lower mortality risk than women with so-called low cholesterol, which they called under 200. Guy: That’s amazing. Stuart: Crikey. Nora: So, for women, there was literally a zero correlation between cholesterol of any number (it didn’t matter how high it got) and any elevated risk for cardiovascular disease or stroke whatsoever. So, the risk for heart disease, cardiac arrest, and stroke also declined as cholesterol levels rose. And you have to understand, cholesterol goes about patching up lesions. It’s your body’s version of duct tape. And it’s also an antioxidant. So, if cholesterol is there, what it tells me is that there is something going on for which cholesterol is actually needed. It doesn’t tell you what’s going on. It just says, “OK. The engine light’s on.” And by the way, in this particular study, the lowest coronary heart disease risk was actually seen between, in your language, between 5 millimolars and 6.9 millimolars. The lowest coronary heart disease risk. And that includes stroke. Guy: I think you used the analogy of the fireman putting out the fire, wasn’t it, with the cholesterol? Nora: With the statin, in order to get rid of cholesterol, it is really quite akin to getting rid of the firemen who are coming to put out the fire and blaming them for the fire. And in men, by the way, there were about 24,000 or so men that were included in the Hunt 2 study, there was a whole U-shaped curve. The lowest risk for all the causes of death was seen in the 5 to 5.9 millimolar category, compared to those with serum cholesterol under 5, those in the 5 to 5.9 category enjoyed 23 percent, 20 percent, 6 percent
. So, in other words, and in folks over 50, where cholesterol had no relationship, by the way, to cardiovascular disease or total mortality, and also other studies as well. I have so many other studies that I’ve cited. But it showed that in older people, elevated cholesterol was actually predictive of greater longevity. It’s literally a longevity marker. But, you know, and what the researchers concluded from that meta-analysis study of over 52,000 people was, “Our study provides an updated epidemiological indication of possible errors. . .” You think? “. . . in the cardiovascular disease risk algorithms of many clinical guidelines. If our findings are generalizable, clinical and public health recommendations regarding the ‘dangers’ of cholesterol should be revised.” Yeah, I think so. “This is especially true for women, for whom moderately elevated cholesterol by current standards may prove to be not only harmless but even beneficial. So, to me, cholesterol is an indicator. But to the medical industry, cholesterol is a $29-billion-a-year-business. Stuart: It will never change. Nora: You know; in the form of statin medications. And physicians are taught by the drug companies. Guy: For anyone that’s watching this, then, that could be on statins and is worried about their cholesterol, like, what would be the best approach to go? Because obviously doing what they’re told, they think they’re doing the right thing. Nora: Well, I don’t actually start thinking, “OK. This person’s cholesterol’s kind of getting a little edgy, you know, and I’m not worried about the cholesterol per se. I’m never worried about the cholesterol by itself, per se, at all. And I only look at HDL and LDL as indications of what kind of a diet they’re likely eating. If their HDL, and I only know my own United States terms for this; our measurements, anything below about 55 tells me that I’ve probably got a carbivore on my hands. You know, somebody who is eating a high-carbohydrate diet. They’re eating too many carbohydrates, which tends to depress high-density lipoproteins. But if it’s in excess of 55, then I know, OK, well, there’s kind of a window there between about 55 and 75. And if it’s in that range, it’s like, OK, I’m not too; their diet is probably reasonably OK. However, if it starts climbing much over 75, unless it’s always been high, there’s some familial genetic anomaly this way where people just have naturally really high HDL. But in a person who, you know, has been seeing the HDL climb up in a range that’s sort of new, anything over 75, 80 implies to me some sort of non-specific form of inflammation someplace in the body. Again, cholesterol is there to do a job. And so there may be many things that will elevate it. If you have somebody with depressed thyroid function, I promise you they’re gonna have elevated cholesterol. That always elevates cholesterol. And my eyes are darting around the blood chemistry all over the page to see what might be correlating with that. And any kind of chronic infection is going to elevate your cholesterol. Inflammation elevates cholesterol. Certain things like certain forms of dysbiosis in the gut will elevate cholesterol. Even stress can elevate cholesterol; chronic stress. So, all of these things may potentially elevate it, but be happy that it’s elevated. Cholesterol’s doing its job. Your job, at that point, is to lift the hood up on the car, look underneath and see why your body feels the need to produce more. Don’t worry about that number in and of itself. It doesn’t really mean anything by itself. You’ve got to dig a little. What it tells you is, Oh, OK, you may want to dig a little deeper and see if there’s something else that needs addressed. The point never to beat cholesterol down with a club. Stuart: That’s right. I like the analogy of the car and the hood. It’s so much like a little warning light. You’d probably want to check the probably without taking the bulb out. Nora: Well, exactly. And what are statins effectively doing? They’re unscrewing the bulb, you know, and saying, “See? All better.” And you have no idea; no idea what these things have done. By the way, the risk of problems with things like food-borne illness and other infections actually increase on statin drugs. There are a lot of potentially serious side effects of statin drugs. One of the most egregious side effects is that they invariably totally deplete your CoQ10 levels. CoQ10 is the single more important nutrient for the heart. And it’s actually also known as ubiquinone because it’s ubiquitous in the body. It’s in every single organ and tissue. You can’t have normal metabolism, normal energy production, normal mitochondrial function without healthy CoQ10 levels. And, as CoQ10 gets depleted, guess what the first organ in the body to suffer the effects of that is? The heart. So, one of the things that’s increasing as a result of statin use is heart failure. Also, dementia. Fully 25 percent of all the cholesterol is actually found up here in the brain. And we need to have it there, because it’s absolutely essential for the normal, healthy functioning of the human brain. And people who are on statins for long periods of time start developing memory issues, may even start exhibiting symptoms of dementia. And so I see absolutely no use at all. Now, there are some people that sit up and get kind of a little hot under the collar and say, “Well, but it’s anti-inflammatory. You know, statins are anti-inflammatory.” No, they’re not. What statins are known to do is depress CRP levels. Now, that’s supposed to be good, because, you know, C-reactive protein is an acute reactivity marker. It’s an inflammation marker in the body. You want lower CRP levels. However, CRP is manufactured in the liver. And if you’ve been on statins a good, long while, what happens is statins do damage to the liver. And after awhile, enough damage has been done to the liver that the liver cannot produce CRP anymore. Again, somebody has unscrewed the light bulb, is what is happening. Guy: Yeah, right. Nora: But it’s not anti-inflammatory. It may have exactly the opposite problem. You know, CoQ10 is such an important antioxidant. You deplete that, you’re at all sorts of risk for the damage that free radicals can do. And your heart is most at-risk. You know, the TV commentator, Tim Russert; I don’t know if you guys ever knew about him. He was a political commentator here in the states. He had perfectly normal cholesterol levels but his doctors put him on statin drugs preventatively. He dropped dead of heart failure. And as far as anybody knew, he didn’t necessarily have cardiovascular disease. And my own father, of course, was a victim. He was not on statins. But he was always extremely proud of his low cholesterol. He dropped dead of a heart attack. More than half of people who drop dead of heart attacks have normal or below-normal cholesterol levels. So, there’s almost; there’s a very poor correlation between elevated cholesterol and cardiovascular disease risk, and yet these drugs persist because the money persists. And the public has been sort of taken in by this now over a period of; there was the whole lipid hypothesis that came along in the ’50s and ’60s, right around the time that vegetable oils were getting in vogue in margarine. And animals being vilified. And there was a hypothesis that dietary fat caused heart disease. well, there was a researcher by the name of Ancel Keys that; I call him “researcher” tongue-in-cheek because he basically cherry-picked data from the World Health Organization because something called the Seven Countries Study, and he selected a number, seven countries, where there appeared to be some epidemiological correlation or observational correlation between high-fat diets and rates of heart disease. However, he ignored data from 20-some-odd other countries that either were inconclusive that way or showed exactly the opposite. He cherry-picked data, published it in the Journal of the American Medical Association, got himself on the cover of Time, and became the father of what is known as the Lipid Hypothesis. And there has been a concerted effort ever since to promulgate this idea that somehow animal fats, which we’ve been eating for, it turns out now, in my book I say 2.6 million years; there’s new evidence to point to 3.39 million years, you know, we’ve been eating animal fats to no apparent detriment until about 1911. You know, if you graduated medical school in 1910, you never heart of coronary thrombosis. And in 1911, the first four cases of coronary thrombosis were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association as this strange, anomalous thing called “heart disease” that seemed to be occurring. And it appeared to be isolated cases. And there was a physician at the time named Dr. Paul Dudley White. He had been personal physician to President Eisenhower. And he took an interest in all of this. He thought, wow, what an interesting phenomenon that’s emerging. And he selected it as his area of specialty in medicine. And his colleagues thought he was nuts. They said: Why would you waste your time in a specialty area that was so unprofitable? And by the 19. . . in no time flat that ended up becoming one of the primary causes of death. But, again, dietary fat is something that we had been eating for millennia and what had actually happened was that our intake of animal fats was going down at that time, and our intake of vegetable oils, which was a very new food to us as a species, were starting to skyrocket. And particularly these hydrogenated fats like margarines. And our carbohydrate intake, of course, the food industry was rising to power at that time and we were starting to eat a lot of processed carbohydrates and things. Guy: I mean, if you would look at what the next generation as well has been brought up on eating, it’s kind of scary. Because I know you’ve got concerns. Stuart: I have, yeah. Absolutely. Because we’re talking about, you know, heart disease and cholesterol and lots of people think, well, I won’t worry about that till I’m old. But what about the young generation? Because I’ve got three kids and I wanted to know whether there were any special considerations for youngsters for this primal way of eating. Because I have heard that, “Oh, kids need more carbohydrates because they’re so active.” And, of course, there’s a myriad of children’s products now on the market that are so processed and offer so little nutrients but seem to be very popular. Nora: Absolutely. And, again, you kind of have to follow the money on this. Look, you know, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s pyramid, right? USDA Department of Agriculture‘s pyramid. Oh, you know, “11 servings of grains a day.” Grains are an entirely new food to our species within the last 10,000 years. That’s less than .4 percent of our history have we been actually consuming any significant amount of grains or legumes in our diet, and yet we’ve changed; genetically, we’ve altered within that same time period perhaps .05 percent. And what the evidence seems to be suggesting that we’re actually over time now becoming less adapted to those foods and not more. The incidence, for instance, of full-blown celiac disease, which only constitutes about 12 percent of the totality of what can be termed an immunological reactivity to gluten; only about 12 percent of those cases are actually hard-core celiac disease. The incident of celiac disease alone has risen over 400 percent in just the last 50 years. So, we’re not become more adapted to these foods; we’re becoming less adapted these foods. A carbohydrate-based diet is a new phenomenon to the human species. But children actually; there is not a living. . . OK; of the three major macronutrients (proteins, fats, and carbohydrates), the only one for which there is no human dietary requirement established anywhere in any medical text anywhere is carbohydrates. We can manufacture all the glucose that we need from a combination of protein and fat in the diet. We store little bit of glycogen, you know, in the liver and in the muscles, and we also have the capacity for something called gluconeogenesis, which is just making glucose. We can do that very efficiently. So, we’re actually designed, and have always been designed, to derive our primary; so, there are two sources of fuel that we have available to use as human beings that we can rely on for primary energy. One is either sugar or glucose and the other is fat in the form of either ketones or free fatty acids. That’s it. So, either sugar or fat. Now, what do you suppose the more efficient source of fuel is? Sugar is like kindling in the human body. It burns anaerobically. It’s fermentative and anaerobic. And it’s most efficiently used when we’re in a fight-or-flight situation when we’re either trying to run away from something that’s trying to eat us, or we are attempting to exert ourselves in some profound sort of way. And so carbohydrates are basically our version of kindling. And you can look at brown rice and beans and whole grains and things like that as fundamentally being like twigs on that metabolic fire. If all we’re doing is looking at carbohydrates from the standpoint of the energy that they provide us with, they’re basically kindling. Now, your white rice, your bread, your pasta, your potatoes. Those are much more (nice to see you again); those are much akin to being like paper on the metabolic fire. And things like sugary drinks, sodas, and alcohol, and, I’m sorry to say, including beer, ‘eh mate; including that old Foster’s lager, is like throwing alcohol or lighter fluid on that same fire. And if you had to heat your house using nothing but kindling, you could certainly do it. But you would be pretty much preoccupied all day long with where the next handful of fuel was coming from to stoke that fire. If, instead, you were just sort of throwing a big log, a big fat log, on that fire, you’re free to go about your business. And every once in awhile after however many hours you peer in the wood stove and, “Oh! The fire’s burning down,” well, just throw another log on the fire. And you can kind of go on with your business. You can sleep through the night, you don’t have ups and downs in that energy. It’s just even burning and long-lasting. That’s what fat is for us, and that is the most efficient fuel for everything that we do while we’re breathing oxygen and, you know, when we’re in an aerobic state. And so that’s most of what we do. We don’t need rocket fuel just to kind of go to work every day, unless your job is, I don’t know, a fast; Olympic sprinting. But even then, you know, you may be able to get by with whatever glycogen you have stored in order to get through that race. You don’t necessarily have to eat extra fuel or store it. Or eat extra, anyway, to do that. Stuart: Because I know, Guy, you had a question, didn’t you, on that very topic? Guy: Yeah. I got a question from a Dan Bennett and it’s very much related. “As an ultra-endurance athlete, I’ve been curious if it’s possible to compete in such events without carbs that are traditionally used in this sport.” Nora: You’re better-equipped to excel in that sport, especially endurance sports, because endurance sports; you’re burning oxygen. You know? Endurance sports require long-sustained energy. And carbohydrates can’t provide long-sustained energy. We can’t store more than about 2,000 calories’ worth of carbohydrate. Now, some elite athletes may train themselves to store a bit more than that, you know, by challenging themselves and carb-loading and whatever over time. But it takes work to increase that capacity. But that’s not a natural capacity for us. Carbohydrates were not necessarily a readily-available fuel for us for most of our evolutionary history. You know, we had meat and fat and we had the above-ground types of plant foods. We didn’t have fire for cooking or we weren’t cooking our food universally instead of many more like 50,000 years ago. So, things like; and also a lot of starchy roots and tubers. Apart from the fact that we can’t process them at all when they’re raw, they just pass through us as unusable, they need to be heated. You have to cook them very thoroughly in order for the starch in them to become available to us. And that’s a lot of effort for something that doesn’t yield a fraction of the energy that fat would. So, for endurance athletes anyway, there is nothing more efficient than being a fat-burner. But the transition from being a sugar-burner to a fat-burner can take three to six weeks to pull off. There is a process. Your body has to kind of acclimate itself to a dependence, to a primary dependence, on a different sort of fuel. Stuart: So is that training the part of the body that burns ketones, essentially? Nora: Yeah. Ketones and free fatty acids; the brain uses pretty exclusively ketones. When you go into very well-adapted ketogenic state, which takes a little bit to get there, but once you’re there, your brain relies almost entirely upon ketones and will only turn to glucose if there’s some, yet again, extreme thing happening that it needs the glucose for. But, again, your brain can do nearly everything it needs to do on nothing but ketones. Guy: What about for, like, myself and Stewie, CrossFit. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with CrossFit. Nora: Sure. It’s big in the States. Guy: And they promote paleo as well and it’s obviously short, explosive exercise. The workouts are generally pretty short in time. Could it be the same; just become ketone-adapted exactly the same principles? Nora: Absolutely. Absolutely. We’re designed for short bursts of exertion, and we should have more than enough glycogen stored up and more than enough ability to generate glucose if we need to for that anaerobic activity. And we should be able to replenish that pretty readily. Now, you know, where I’m still sitting on the fence a little bit is where it comes to, say, Olympic-level elite athletes, say, sprinters, who are training for extremes of exertion. Not the endurance sports. Endurance sports, fat’s got that down. Fat always should own endurance sports. But when it comes to the sprinters that do these extremes of exertion; and it’s not just for one event. But what these people do in order to train for these events is they work out all day long. I mean, they’re doing something very unnatural in order to perform at a certain level at these events. And if one of our ancestors got up against one of these people in an Olympic event, they’d probably give them a very healthy run for their money. But our ancestors would have looked at their training regimen like they were nuts. You know: “What are you doing?” And I’m not saying they shouldn’t do that for those events, but it’s not something that we evolved doing. Our ancestors would have thought that was a ridiculous expenditure of energy and they would have thought there are better things to do with energy, you know? Hunting and gathering and spending time with family. It was; the extremes of stress that professional athletes put themselves under, you know, might demand something a little bit unnatural. But for your average weekend warrior and your CrossFitters and your people trying to excel at everyday sports, even bodybuilding, for that matter. A ketogenically well-adapted state actually spares your branched-chain amino acids. You’re not as likely to burn them for fuel. And the rate-limited factor for protein synthesis are those branched-chain amino acids, leucine. And if, after a workout, you’ve had sufficient protein to replenish that, the XXaudio problemXX isn’t going to make you any more anabolic at that point. There’s really no need. Stuart: Well, on that subject of carbs, I’ve got a question regarding myself. So, Guy and myself recently were tested; our DNA. Nora: Uh-oh. What was it related to? Stuart: Well, we were intrigued as to a kind of; we’re almost living in a one-size-fits-all world and were speaking to a good friend of ours, a naturopath, who said, well, look, we’ve got some; I’ve got a crowd that I’m really interested in looking at DNA testing for your specific body type, and they might be able to give you some pointers for the rest of your life that will help you out. So, we were tested and we had radically different results. And I’ve been advised to follow a low GI diet. And, for me, conventionally would be grains, legumes, and I’m just wondering how would I do that when thinking about the Primal Diet? Nora: Well, leave out the grains and legumes. That’s the lowest GI diet of all. Stuart: So, really, just, again, such as meat? Fats? Nora: Again, there is nobody; I don’t care what your DNA tells you, there’s nobody living or breathing on this planet that has a grain or legume deficiency. There is no such thing. These are new to our species. And they contain immunologically, potentially antigenic compounds. In other words, immunologically reactive compounds and lectins and things like that that in some people trigger autoimmune disorders, but can cause people a lot of grief. There’s nobody that is walking around with a starch deficiency. There just isn’t. And I know it’s very PC to say, “Well, everybody’s different.” Well, that’s a popular viewpoint, but guess what? We’re so much more alike than we are unalike. You know? We all have the same; our body relies on the same complement of nutrients in general in order to function. We all have a necessity, a blood pH of between 7.35 and 7.45. You know, we all have certain basic, fundamental requirements. We all produce cholesterol. We all need fat-soluble nutrients in order to function. And, again, there are some people who may tolerate some of these foods better than others; starchy foods. Or things like grains and legumes. But there is nobody in my personal view for whole they are an actual health food. And I realize that’s a controversial statement. But, again, there are foreign proteins in these things that can potentially compromise us. And one of the things that I am seeing now, as an epidemic here in where I’m at, is autoimmune processes. There are people walking around with autoimmune antibodies that are inappropriate levels of autoimmune antibodies than not. It’s literally that epidemic. And autoimmune diseases are seen as relatively rare because people don’t get diagnosed with them very often. But what people fail to recognize is that the standards of diagnosis for autoimmune disease are abysmal. That in order to be diagnosed with celiac disease, and in some countries it’s even more stringent than this, just celiac disease being the most common of the autoimmune disorders out there, there are villi; something called villi lining your small intestine. They look like these finger-like projections. And they’re basically increased surface area in which you absorb your nutrients. And what happens over the course of celiac disease is this ends up eroding down and becoming this. So, basically, until this has totally become this, until your shag carpeting has turned into Berber, you are not diagnosable with celiac disease until that has occurred. So, if you go and you get an intestinal biopsy and your gut looks like this, you’re fine. Have some bread. That’s the standard diagnosis. Now, with, say, if you’re producing antibodies against your own adrenal tissue, and lots of people are, if you have, say, 45 percent obstruction of your adrenal tissue, I promise you you will notice it in every part of the way you feel and function in your life. But you will not be diagnosable with Addison’s Disease until you have had a minimum of 90 percent tissue destruction to your adrenals. Then you’re diagnosable. So, autoimmune diseases. . . And, if you have; the second most common, actually, autoimmune disease in the world right now, and although it’s debatable depending on who you talk to, which is more prevalent between that and celiac disease, is autoimmune thyroid disease. Eighty percent of all low-functioning thyroid cases are autoimmune in nature. And yet it’s almost never diagnosed. People, they go to their doctors: “Oh, look. Your TSH is high, your T4 is low.” Whatever. “We’ll put you on some Thyroxin or whatever and call it good. And that makes for prettier labs but it may not change the person’s symptoms any. And it doesn’t; it is a rare thing for a physician to actually test for thyroid antibodies, and the reason it’s so rare is that whether it’s diagnosed or undiagnosed, conventional medicine has absolutely nothing to offer you. Nothing. They’ll treat it exactly the same way they’ll treat it if you’re just a primary hypothyroid case. They’ll just put you on medication. But I’m here to tell you that if your thyroid is producing antibodies, you have an autoimmune thyroid condition. Your primary problem isn’t thyroid. It’s immune. And it has to be addressed on that level if you have any hope whatsoever of leading a reasonable symptom-free and normal life. And yet it’s completely not; they don’t care. They’re completely unimpressed with that diagnosis. Stuart: It’s back to taking the light bulb out again, isn’t it? Nora: It is. Well, but, you know, it’s like, “OK, so the light’s on. So what?” You know? They don’t know what to with it anyway. There are no medications with which to treat an autoimmune thyroid. But I’m here to tell you that there’s never been more that’s been understood about the mechanisms behind what drives autoimmunity. And those mechanisms are very, very easily managed in a very comfortably natural way. There are dietary things that can help manage those mechanisms that drive autoimmunity, that can help mitigate immune polarity and inflammation and things like that. And there are supplemental things that a person can do also in order to manage their immune function. There’s no cure of an autoimmune disease once it’s taken root. Or an autoimmune process. Most of us have autoimmune processes occurring. Whether or not they ever are diagnosable as a disease down the line depends on how far they’re allowed to advance. And what we do to either perpetuate it or to bring it under control. And there’s only one lab in the world, too, that’s doing that type of immunologic testing and I’m sorry to say it’s here in the States. I’ve actually had a couple of people from Australia fly over here just to get that testing done; to get answers to questions that nobody else was ever able to offer them. Stuart: Amazing. Guy: It’s scary. Nora: The medical industry is; somewhere around World War II, medicine ceased to become a profession and became an industry. And it’s largely driven by the interests of pharmaceutical companies. That’s who funds the medical schools and that’s where medical doctors get their training. And I do not mean to sound disparaging of hard-working and very well-meaning MDs. And there are some MDs out there that totally get this. I have a friend who’s a medical oncologist practicing at a facility; at a medical center outside Philadelphia. And he has found, actually, that the exact diet that I promote in my book, which amounts to, fundamentally, a fat-based ketogenic diet, is the single most therapeutic diet; the most preventative and the most therapeutic diet for cancers. As well as diabetes and heart disease and kidney disease and neurological problems and pretty well you-name-it. And yet because there’s no profit in just simply making a dietary change, he runs into; he’s done peer-reviewed research but it’s like pulling teeth trying to shop around for people willing to publish that work. Because it doesn’t toe the party line. Stuart: Yeah, I can believe that. Guy: I’ve got a Facebook question that kind of ties into what we’ve been talking about, because we’re talking about the stresses on the body of food. And so this question is from Darren Manser. And he says: “Modern-day stress is different compared to Paleolithic stress due to the fact that the stress these days is likely to end your life yet more continuous. Is there anything we need to be aware of to help accommodate continual stress of modern-day life?” Nora: That’s a very, very great question, actually. Because our stress levels are so much worse than anything our ancestors even knew. I mean, yeah, they had droughts and floods and they had to endure the extremes of an ice age here and there or volcanic eruption. Give me that any day over what we have to put up with with our water, food supply, our depleted soils. EMF pollution. Radiation from Fukushima up here in Northern Hemisphere. That’s a huge problem up here right now. You guys are quite fortunate to be where you are. I mean, eventually you’ll be dealing with it too but you guys have a bit of a reprieve. And things. . . Give me the throes of the ice age any day to dealing with Monsanto. You know? And what we’re dealing with are largely corporate interests running everything. And so people today have much more to worry about and we’re dying. . . Actually, today, the children are expected to live not as long as their parents did. And 30 years old is the new 45. Because people are developing diseases of aging at least 15 years earlier now. These are realities. Guy: It seems no one dies of natural causes anymore. Nora: Well, yeah. What’s natural causes? But yeah. So, the three top causes are death are: cardiovascular disease, cancer, and the number three cause of morbidity and mortality in the entire industrialized world is autoimmunity right now, whether people are aware of it or not. Collectively, as a whole, autoimmune diseases are the number three cause of death. And, again, morbidity, you know, problems. And what’s also interesting, though, is the number one cause of death in a person with celiac disease is actually a cardiovascular event. The number two cause of death in a person with celiac disease is malignancy. So, there are tie-ins to the number one and two causes of mortality as well. And there’s new evidence, actually, I just stumbled across the other day to suggest that the onset of atherosclerosis is actually an autoimmune process. That was news to me. That was a little bit of a shocker. And people who have autoimmune antibodies, they’re like cockroaches. If you have one, you’re bound to have more. So, polyautoimmunity is rapidly becoming a norm. And autoimmunity, of course, is a state in which your body is basically attacking itself. It’s destroying its own tissues in a highly inflammatory way. And, again, there’s a lot you can do. But conventional medicine, at this point, is not really equipped to do very much to help with that. They mostly put people on prednisone, which is a horrible substance, or they’re doing some interesting things now with low-dose Naltrexone. So, anyway, to get back to your friend’s, or your Facebook question, I think his name was Dan, yes, stress is the biggest thing that we’ve got. And, you know, we’re designed to be in a calm, parasympathetic, relaxed state 99.99 percent of the time. And the other .1 percent of the time, the saber-toothed tiger jumps out from behind the bush and chases us around a little bit, hopefully we survive the ordeal, and then we get to pick up our umbrella drink again and sit back down and relax. And what we have today is exactly the opposite of this: 99.99 percent of the time we’re being chased around by saber-toothed tigers 24-7, and the .1 percent of the time, if we’re lucky, we get a trip to Tahiti. And I don’t know who these fabled people are; I wouldn’t get that. And, you know, all people really accomplish with that is really stressing out the Tahitians. You know? Guy: That’s right. Stuart: And their livers with all of the alcohol that they drink while they’re on holiday. Nora: Exactly. Exactly. We lead extraordinarily unnatural lives. And that’s one reason why I wrote the book I did. You notice that the subtitle of my book is “Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life” because we don’t live in the same world our ancestors did. There are things that; whatever it was, whatever we had available to us as food over the bulk of our evolutionary history, you know, for nearly three-point-whatever million years, certainly would have established our nutritional requirements, would have established our physiological makeup. And we have to look at that. To me, it’s an essential starting place. There are principles to be had. I mean, there is no such thing; more is less is no such thing as a true Paleolithic diet anymore. I mean, how many wooly mammoth steaks do you find in restaurants and things? It’s the kind of thing where what we’re left with are some of the principles that our ancestors lived by. And those principles are basically that we had a diet that was largely based in animal-sourced foods that was supplemented with various types of plant material as seasonally or climatically available. And as we were able to, as we had the technology in order to process. Again, cooking would have made a lot of plant foods a lot more edible to us than a lot of wild plant foods; a lot of wild plant foods have toxic compounds in them that would have been detrimental to us in any significant quantity. And the amount of calories you would burn just simply by selectively picking and processing these plant foods would have far exceeded their caloric value and nutrient value to us. So, I think that plant foods are probably more important to us now, in fact than they were in our evolutionary past. Because of their phytonutrient content, because of the anti-oxidant content, because we’re facing so many more pollutants in our air, water, and food supply now. And we’re facing genetically modified organisms and so many other things that we need bigger buffers. And we still need those same principles. And we still require animal-sourced foods to get certain nutrients. There are some things that can only be gotten in animal-sourced foods effectively, and some things that are best gotten in animal-sourced foods. Plant foods, I think, are more important to us now than they ever used to be. And so, again, sugar and starch were never essential to us and they’re not essential to us now. It’s just; sugars, of course, are a known vector for free radical activity, for the production of advanced glycation end products or AGEs, appropriately enough, because that’s what ages us. Glycation is a process by which fats and proteins combine with sugars to become sort of misshapen and start to malfunction. And it’s a critical; and then you end up with proteins cross-linking and degrading in the presence of these things and it’s a key part of how we age. But also insulin is a very, very key aging hormone as well. And the less insulin we produce, as it turns out, because part of what I base my book on, too, is really new information from modern longevity; human longevity research. And all the evidence points to the fact that the less insulin that you produce in the course of your life, the less insulin you require, I should say, in the course of your life, the longer you’re gonna live and the healthier you’re gonna be, by far. And, of course, the primary macronutrient that seems to have an elevating effect on insulin are sugars and starches. So, what I advocate for is eating relatively sugar and starch free. You know: eat a few berries when they’re in season or something like that. But I wouldn’t be making a point of incorporating sugars and starches in my daily diet. What I would be doing is moderating my protein intake and then eating as much fat as I need to in order to satisfy my appetite while also adding the fibrous vegetables and XXfruits?XX for both. Guy: What would a typical day of Nora’s life look like in food-wise? Nora: Well, a lot of mornings I will either cook, scramble, say, a duck egg in a little duck fat. Duck fat’s my new butter. Oh my God, it’s delicious. Or, one of my favorite breakfasts, just because it’s so quick and easy, involves taking a small; actually, probably just half of a small bowl of skinless chicken thigh and broiling that for, like, six minutes. I know it doesn’t sound that great, but it’s actually a very quick way to cool it. It’s actually a very safe way to cook it. It tends to preserve; the fats don’t oxidize as readily. And then I’ll slather it to swimming in coconut oil and then put a bunch of curry and garlic salt and that sort of thing on it and just sort of enjoy that. The fat, of course, that I add to it is extremely satiating. Sometimes I’ll use a chimichurri sauce or something like that as well, which is marvelously satiating and delicious as well. And if I haven’t eaten anything by; I’ll eat that at maybe 7 in the morning. If I haven’t eaten anything by 1 or 2 in the afternoon, by that point I’m starting to think, yeah, I’m kind of hungry, it would be nice to eat something. But the difference is between that dependence on carbohydrate and eating that starchy breakfast and all of the mid-morning snacks and whatever, your average person dependent on carbohydrates for their primary fuel were to go, you know, six or more hours without their next meal, they would have snakes growing out of their hair, probably. You know? There would be mental fog, there would be fatigue, there would be cravings. There would be an attitude of: “If I don’t eat something soon, somebody’s gonna die.” And I don’t experience those things. There’s only one way that we’re supposed to feel before we eat and that’s hungry. And there’s only one way that we’re supposed to feel after we eat, and that’s not hungry. If, prior to eating, if you’ve gone a few hours without eating something and you’re feeling tired or jittery or irritable or something that rhymes with “itchy,” and, if, after eating, you feel more energized, or, if, after eating, you feel more drowsy. If any of that sounds like you in any way, shape, or form, you basically have a blood sugar problem. None of those things are normal. None of those things are supposed to happen. If you haven’t eaten in awhile, you’re supposed to feel hungry. That’s normal. And then, once you eat, you’re not hungry anymore. But you’re not supposed to be more energized or more fatigued after a meal. That’s the difference. Guy: That’s pretty much nearly everyone I know, to a degree. Nora: Well, it is. Guy: Yeah. Nora: And think about. . . So, remember that analogy with the woodstove. How, if you’re having to heat your house with nothing but kindling, you’re spending your day constantly preoccupied with where that next handful of fuel is coming from to run your metabolic fire. Who do you suppose profits when the world is eating in that sort of fashion? You know, listen, there isn’t a single multinational corporation on Earth that I can think of that doesn’t stand to profit handsomely that isn’t heavily invested in every man, woman, and child on the planet being dependent on carbohydrates as their primary source of fuel. It’s cheap, it’s profitable, and it keeps us hungry and it also keeps us sick. And it keeps us quite vulnerable. Now, most people aren’t more than two missed meals away from a state of total mental and physical chaos, honestly, and metabolic chaos. And that makes us sort of malleable. And it’s a very; there is nothing more destabilizing to the body and brain than sugar and starch, honestly. Because you end up with this sort of wave of rushes of glucose that are then being suppressed by insulin, and then cravings again and another meal of raising the blood sugar back up and another crash. And so many people, their energy patterns and their mental energy patterns and their cognitive functioning patterns and their moods and everything else look like this all day long. That’s the way that they’re eating. And, again, if you’re relying on fat as your primary source of fuel, you’re free. You know? You eat as you choose to eat when it’s convenient for you to eat. You’re able to make healthier choices because you’re not sitting there craving something going half out of your mind with cravings and just trying really hard to exercise discipline and trying not to eat that dessert that you know is gonna pack the pounds on. It’s just sort of a natural thing, you know. When I see dessert. . . I used to love desserts. I used to love bread and pasta and things like that. Now, when I see them, I look at them the way most people are looked at by their cat. I look right through it. I just don’t see that it’s there. They come by with a dessert cart after a meal in a restaurant and I look at that. It’s not like, “Oh, I shouldn’t.” It’s, “Eh.” Guy: Fair enough. We have time for one more Facebook question, and it will tie into, you mentioned the fat. Neil Nabbefeld asks, “Is dairy truly bad for humans?” I think because of the argument within Paleo: should we eat dairy, shouldn’t we eat dairy. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Nora: Right. Well, again, I say “beyond the Paleo diet,” so. . . I don’t consider myself, you know, religiously paleo. Although I believe that those fundamental principles have a lot to teach us and that they have to be a starting place. It’s very clear that there were human people groups traditionally, not Paleolithically, but traditionally, seemed to do quite well in Weston Price’s time on things like raw milk and also fermented products made from raw milk. Certainly the Masai drank a lot of whole-fat, raw milk and that sort of a thing and it certainly hasn’t done them any harm, at least traditionally. That said, what most people call milk and dairy today is not something that you could even get a baby cow to drink. Right? It’s heavily processed, it’s been adulterated, it’s been homogenized, it’s been pasteurized. All of the enzyme value of it is completely gone; it’s been obliterated through the pasteurization process. The animals are being stuffed full of recombinant bovine growth hormones and things like that, which. . . One of the other hats that I wore once upon a time, I was involved in doing some veterinary work and I remember going around to some of these large dairies and other livestock facilities and seeing cows, and we’re not even talking big factory operations. Relatively moderate operations. And every single cow in these milking lines all had mastitis. All of them. And they were all on antibiotics. And you would go to milk them by hand and you would see literally pus coming out, which is obviously incredibly gross. But nobody cared about that because all of it was basically going into these huge steel vats where it was all getting boiled and sterilized. So, I guess if you don’t mind drinking sterilized pus, that’s fine, but it’s not my beverage of choice. So, conventionally generated dairy, to me, is not food. And I have no use for that. For some people, I think raw milk, and there are certain types of components of raw milk, like early; like colostrum and whey that in some people can be highly therapeutic. Now, that said, roughly half of everybody that has a gluten intolerance also has a casein intolerance. I happen to be one of them. I can’t do dairy at all. My immune system is highly reactive to dairy products, and that includes heavy cream and butter, I am sorry to say. And I know in previous editions of my book I extolled the virtues of butter and heavy cream, and for some people I think those foods are probably fine. But I didn’t know that I had an immunological reactivity to dairy until I tested with appropriately sensitive testing. And the moment I eliminated those foods from my diet, it’s like 20 pounds fell off of me I didn’t even know I had. There were just so much inflammation all the time that I didn’t even realize that I was struggling with something until it go removed as an issue. So, for some people, I think dairy can be fine. For some, it can even be therapeutic, from healthy, entirely pasture-fed raw dairy sources. From, again, trusted raw dairy sources; dairies that are really doing it the right way, that are sanitary and whatever else. I think that there’s a place for that, not on my dinner plate, but for some people I think that there can be a place for that. So, it is an unnatural food for adult people, though. Animals, I mean, and you can always make that argument that we’re the only species that drinks milk past infancy and we’re drinking the milk of not human milk but cow’s milk. Guy: Interestingly enough as well, I’m not sure what the laws are in the U.S., but here, if you want to buy real milk you have to buy bath milk because it’s illegal to sell. Nora: What’s it called? Guy: It’s called “Cleopatra’s Bath Milk.” Nora: Ah, I see. You know, there are some raw dairies around the country that will call it “pet milk.” Guy: Yeah, you always feel like a drug smuggler when you have to go and buy it. Nora: There are also these what are called “cow share” programs. I don’t know if you have that there, where people actually go to a farmer who has a cow, be it a nice Jersey, a XXunintelligibleXX cow that is eating a nice, grass-fed diet, and they’ll buy an interest in the animal so that they’re basically considered an owner. And there are no laws against drinking the milk of your own animal. So, they kind of get around the law with that. I don’t know if Australia has these cow-share programs or not. Stuart: I think they exist, actually. Yeah, I do think they exist. Nora: I would say that, where dairy is concerned, if you’re drinking raw milk and you’re still symptomatic, you might want to lose the dairy. And I would actually say fly over to the States and get some Cyrex testing and figure out whether you have that kind of sensitivity or not; whether you have intolerances. But the only other way to really figure it out is by completely eliminating that food from your diet for a period of time and seeing what happens. Guy: One last question, Nora. Do you have any books in the pipeline? Nora: You know, that’s a great question. I’ve got a couple of e-books in the pipeline. And, of course, I’m working so hard and creating all these talks I’m getting this year it gives me precious little time outside of my very full-time practice. I see clients for eight hours hours a day during the week and it doesn’t leave a lot left over to work on new projects. I have two e-books in the pipeline. I have the outline for and some of the preliminary stages of a new book I’m working on, but it’s going to be some time unless. . . There are some projects I’m working on that might change things a little bit for me that may allow me to put much more of a full-time effort into putting out new material, which I’m really passionate about wanting to do. There’s so much more new, wonderful information and I am so very, very excited to impart it. And, again, right now I’m working seven days a week, and there’s very little time in that seven-day-a-week work to actually create new things, but I’m doing it as I can. So, the one book is actually, that I’m hoping to get out before the others, is actually a bit of a workbook; kind of a quick-start guide to primal health, to kind of help people implement healthy dietary changes and help them understand what they need to do, kind of hand-hold them a little bit, what to expect. Give them a few more details; a little more hand-holding through that process so that they’ve got something that they can work with to help them through it. Guy: Yeah, absolutely. I think that Gary Taubes did something similar, didn’t he? Because he released “Good Calories, Bad Calories,” which was just this monster of a book. And then he brought out a later edition which was a bit more, sort of, daily practical things that you could apply. Nora: Right. Right. Which is, you know, it’s needed and it’s something I’m working on. Lots of things, actually, coming down the pike. There are lots of projects in the pipeline. But nothing I can give you as a, “Well, as of this date it’s gonna be released.” Guy: As long as we know there’s something coming in the future, that’s the main thing. So, you’re coming to Sydney to speak and it’s gonna be mid-May in Sydney. Is that the only talk you’re doing or. . . Nora: I’m also going to be doing a talk, oh, boy, what is the date? In Dubbo. Guy: Ah, I did see that, actually. I can put the dates up on this blog post. Nora: Those dates are available, I believe, on my website and the Dubbo event should be a lot of fun. I’ve got some friends there and I think they are already actually selling tickets for that as well. Guy: Fantastic. Nora: Yeah. I’m excited. The MINDD foundation conference seems to be a marvelous event and I’ll be really happy to impart a lot of information, some of which will be familiar to people if they’ve seen me talk before, but some of it’s going to be quite new, and I think probably pretty interesting. Guy: Well, we’re certainly looking forward to it and I’m sure there will be a lot of other people. Well, look, Nora, thanks for today. It’s absolutely been mind-blowing again. Amazing. I look forward to meeting you again in person, in Sydney. Nora: Absolutely. I look forward to meeting you, Stuart, and seeing you again, Guy, will be terrific. You’re really wonderful to have me on your program and it’s been really enjoyable. Guy: Awesome. Stuart: Safe journey and we will see you next month. Nora: Sounds awesome. Guy: Awesome. Stuart: Thank you, Nora. Thank you. Guy: Goodbye. Nora: Goodbye.
Eat your good fats. How often do you hear that? The fear of fat is certainly changing, but how often does someone say I can’t eat that as it contains too much fat! I think the fat free consumer is still very much here but things are slowly changing.
The purpose of this post is to help with the confusion around fat. What is good fat and which fats are just plain ugly. I’ve found over time I generally have certain fats in my daily diet and there are a whole host that I do my best to avoid. I don’t worry about the calories, I only worry about the type of fats. I wrote a post here if you want to delve into fats more. And why is there a fat 1970′s cowboy dancing? Not sure but we liked the picture!
The Good Fats I Eat
The fats I eat daily are all listed below with no particular preference. There are plenty of other fats out there too which are beneficial. If they are not listed it just means I’m not using them as much. In saying that, I am a lover of cold pressed olive oil, butter, ghee, nuts and animal fats from locally farmed sources.
Not quite sure what I’d do without it!Coconut oil is a saturated fat that I have in my daily diet. It is the only fat I cook with, as it’s very stable under high temperatures.
I also love it raw and will use it when I make raw high protein snacks, and I’ll often add it to my smoothies. Type ’10 uses for coconut oil’ into Google to see how great this fat really is.
I generally eat 1/2 to a whole avocado most days. It’s become a staple in my post workout protein smoothies, and I like it fresh with my omelettes at breakfast. I’m not worried about the calories and I eat more avocados than I do bananas.
There are countless studies and research showing the health benefits of avocados. This is a bonus as I eat them because they taste delicious!
I wrote a post on fish oil supplementation recently and you can read about it here. But in a nutshell, I think this supplement is liquid gold and is highly underestimated. If I stop taking it for a week or so I start to notice the difference.
I take up to 5oo0mg a day of fish/krill oil along with a dessertspoon of cod liver oil. As far as I’m concerned, these essential fatty acids are yes… truly essential!
Apricot Kernel Oil
I encourage you to do your research on this one. It’s controversial because it’s high in vitamin B17. Interestingly, B17 was banned in the 1970′s due to its controversies with its reactions within the body and cancer.
Personally I use it daily on my skin and face after a shower as I feel it’s food for the skin. I also use it because of B17.
Another fat that seems to cop bad press is egg yolk. I eat plenty of eggs daily and I have no problem with it. What I am concerned about though is the quality of the egg as I feel this is important. I always shop for organic free-range eggs.
What about cholesterol? I feel cholesterol is essential for our bodies and overall health and I eat it daily… But that’s just me.
So these are the fats I have daily. There are other fats that I eat too but not necessarily all the time. I try to eat fats from grass fed animals like beef so I get CLA. I have cream and would love to get my hands on raw butter. There are also plant-based fats like flaxseed, olive oil and nut oils. If I have these I have them raw and do not cook with them under high temperatures.
The Ugly: Fats I don’t eat
I do my best to avoid the fats listed below as much as possible. My belief is that they are detrimental to ones health if eaten over time. DO NOT get these confused with the fats that I have mentioned above, no matter what they are claiming on the packet.
Think margarine, spreads, potato chips, ice cream, pizza, low grade cooking oil, fast food, biscuits and sauces… The list goes on and on. I read somewhere that up to 40% of your supermarket products will contain hydrogenated fats.
Start to do your research, there’s a whole host of reasons why manufacturers use hydrogenated fats. It’s one that is worth exploring. (You can read an in-depth article on fats here.)
I’m not a fan of homogenised fats. If you don’t know what it is, think milk and think of the cream that used to be on top (which we don’t really see these days). That process is homogenisation. I wrote an article on it here if you want to read more on the topic.
Over the years I’ve cut back on my milk consumption for this reason alone. I may have the odd flat white, but I generally have a long black with cream. And I use fresh coconut water in my protein smoothies instead of milk.
Heating The Wrong Fats
It’s hard enough simply avoiding the fats I’ve mentioned, so why compound it? Personally I don’t have a problem with frying, but I generally fry under a low to moderate heat and only use certain fats. Use fats and oils with a high heat threshold. I only cook with coconut oil and I feel ghee is another good option along with red palm oil.
I don’t cook with olive oil, any nut oils or plant based oils as I feel they are no good under heat. I feel these fats aren’t as robust and are subject to rancidity under high heat. And I certainly won’t use processed vegetable oils!
So there you have it. The good fats I eat and the fats I avoid. Did you find this helpful? What do you generally eat? Are you fearful of fats? Would love to hear from you…
Want to learn more? A great resource and read is David Gillespie’s book – Big Fat Lies
Ps. I’ll leave you with this video. Very humorous but with an interesting message…
On a side note: I truly enjoy writing these posts, hence our frequent blog posts. At the end of the day though, these are just my thoughts and feelings around a topic I’m passionate about. I encourage everyone to do their own research and check out the facts for themselves.
If you did enjoy the post and got something from it or have something to share on the topic, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below. If you feel others would benefit from this then it would be great if you could share it using one of the icons below (Facebook etc). Cheers, Guy…
After putting my thoughts into a recent post on soy lattes, the topic of milk in general started to pop up and just like soy, milk is a heavily debated topic for sure.
One thing I wanted to add is that our blog at 180 Nutrition is gathering great momentum and there are some very smart people in the industry following it… way smarter than me! The one thing I envisioned when I started blogging was to create awareness on health and hopefully attract like-minded people who contributed with feedback. All questions and comments are encouraged and whilst I’m clearly passionate about health I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I do my best when I can :)
Anyway, back to the topic at hand! Why I don’t drink much milk…
Is milk healthy?
I’m clearly a fan of the ‘latte lifestyle’ and if I had my way, I’d hang out and work in a cafe most days! I’m wary when it comes to milk consumption and I only have one flat white a day with milk. I don’t use milk in my 180 supplement shakes or porridge etc… and here’s why:
I’m not here to convince you as to whether you should drink milk or not but simply create awareness to explore avenues. There’s an argument within itself if we should even be consuming milk as humans. Some say it should stop after breastfeeding, others say we’ve been having it for thousands of years. A bit like vegetarianism, there’s a whole host of conflicting evidence flying around on which is best… healthy debates indeed!
But for me personally, I like to look at the common sense approach and the certain facts that concern me:
Whether we’ve been drinking milk for thousands of years or not, it’s fair to say before industrialisation, if we wanted milk we would have probably strolled out to the back yard and milked the cow ourselves. Failing that we would have traveled to someone who had done that for us. Times have seriously changed and milk is BIG business.
Milk is a derivative of a cow, and as far I’m concerned the quality of the milk depends greatly on the condition of the cow, and the environment it’s kept in.
Did you know the average cow was recorded back in 1930 to only be able to produce roughly 1.5 litres a day. According to this article from Weston A Price – Back in 1930, the average dairy cow produced 12 pounds (about a gallon and a half) of milk per day. In 1988, the average was 39 pounds (4.5 litres) per day. This was accomplished by selective breeding to obtain dairy cows that produced a lot of pituitary hormones, thereby generating large amounts of milk. But the industry was not satisfied with this output. Today rBGH, a synthetic growth hormone, is used to get even more milk out of the dairy cows, bringing the average up to 50 pounds (6 litres) of milk per day.
Not to mention the feed, cows eat grass right? No, the majority are fed on corn! So what impact does this have on the cow? The milk? The beef? Antibiotics anyone?
A great resource on commercial farming is the movie Food Inc.
All these things concern me and this alone puts me off drinking too much commercial milk. There are many articles and resources worth checking out on this topic and I’ll list some at the end.
There’s a continuous war going on whether we should be pasteurising milk or not. Pasteurisation is set out to accomplish two things: Destruction of certain disease-carrying germs and the prevention of souring milk. The milk is heated to a high temperature for up to half an hour and kills everything dead.
The heating is indiscriminate and kills all nutritional benefits along with positive bacteria.
If you are drinking milk for it’s calcium, you should consider what extreme heat/pasteurisation does to milk. According to the Dr Mercola website – Probably pasteurisation’s worst offence is that it makes insoluble the major part of the calcium contained in raw milk.
Weston A Price – We have all been led to believe that milk is a wonderful source of calcium, when in fact, pasteurisation makes calcium and other minerals less available. Complete destruction of phosphatase is one method of testing to see if milk has been adequately pasteurised. Phosphatase is essential for the absorption of calcium
From what I’ve researched, literally dozens of other precious enzymes are destroyed in the pasteurisation process, without them milk is very difficult to digest. How many people do you know who are lactose intolerant? This just makes me wonder whether people are intolerant to lactose or actually intolerant to what we are doing to the milk?
I’m surprised how many people consume milk and don’t know what this means. Do you remember a time when the cream used to sit on the top of the milk? Back in Wales when growing up we had to put stones on top of the milk bottles when delivered other wise the birds would peck the top and drink the cream. You got fat chance of this happening these days, why? Homogenisation.
If you look at a clear milk carton these days, you’ll see there is no cream at the top and that it’s been evenly dispersed evenly throughout the milk.
Homogenisation breaks the fat into smaller sizes so it no longer separates, allowing the sale of non-separating milk at any fat specification. This is done by mixing massive amounts of milk to create a constant, then forcing the milk at high pressure through small holes (see illustration above). They do this because it prevents creating various levels of flavor and fat concentration. It is also cosmetically appealing.
Surprise surprise, but there’s a war going on regard homogenisation. There are claims that milk homogenisation affects the development of atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, milk allergy and milk intolerance, Type I diabetes or Type II diabetes.
Whether you believe this or not, I feel that the moment you mess around with food and start highly processing it, it will have it’s consequences. I don’t like the idea of this and I stay away from it when I can.
What’s the alternative?
There are a lot of alternative milk products available these days, from almond milk, oat milk rice milk, soy milk etc. These warrant their own posts, but check the labels as they usually taste pretty bad and are highly sweetened. They certainly don’t help the cause of the latte lifestyle.
Raw milk may you may ask?
I can only speak for myself here. When I started to really pay attention to what was happening to our milk, I switched to raw milk (Cleopatras bath milk). Yes bath milk! It’s called this as it’s illegal to sell raw milk for human consumption. If caught you’ll be treated like a drug smuggler!
I generally don’t drink much milk at all these days, but I drank raw milk for years with no problems. I’ve even known people who are lactose intolerant to drink it with no reaction. Should you drink it? Research first would be my advice. I’ve only scratched the surface when it comes to milk with this post!
As for the latte lifestyle? If you asked for a raw milk flat white they would think you’ve just escaped from an asylum! For me? Long black it is!
Thoughts? If you have any comments or helpful resources, would love to here them.
Audio interview: The process of raw milk production
On a side note: I truly enjoy writing these posts, hence our frequent blog posts. At the end of the day though, these are just my thoughts and feelings around a topic I’m passionate about. I encourage everyone to do their own research and check out the facts for themselves.
If you did enjoy the post and got something from it or have something to share on the topic, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below. If you feel others would benefit from this then it would be great if you could share it using one of the icons below (Facebook etc). Cheers, Guy
Do you hang out in cafes? We do! Do you drink soy lattes? Mmm, we don’t.
This post was inspired by a conversation I had recently in a cafe (of course …) so let me paint a quick picture for you.
The one thing I’m finding as 180 Nutrition continues to grow is that Stu & myself seem to be involved in more meetings. This is actually a compliment and we are always looking at different ways to make them fun and worthwhile.
Our usual criteria is:
stones throw away from the ocean
Just last week we had the NSW Police S.W.A.T team sitting next to us in a cafe. One of them approached us and it turned out that he uses our 180 protein supplement and also trains CrossFit. We hung out with them for 20min talking everything from CrossFit to diet and gave them bar samples and a t-shirt… relevant? No… Seriously cool? Oh yeah!
I try and stick to one coffee a day and anything after that I reach for the tea – but never the soy.
Turning up at these meetings, I can’t help but notice what different people order. Now I’m a live and let live kind of guy, as I certainly don’t like to judge. But it doesn’t take long before I get asked questions on health and nutrition, it simply comes with the territory.
During a recent conversation, I happened to mention that I ate 1 – 2 avocados a day as I have them in my 180 smoothies. The person I was meeting seemed quite shocked and their instant reaction was ‘what about the fat?’ They felt counting calories and a low fat diet was the way forward. This was said whilst they sipped on their soy lattes with honey (you can read my thoughts on honey & fructose here).
Without wanting to sound like a tool, my reaction was simple. I said I would rather eat half a dozen avocados a day than drink that soy latte. Naturally I had to explain myself, and here are my thoughts on why I don’t drink it… More
Do you eat yogurt? I was absolutely amazed by how many yogurts were staring back at me on the shelves of my local supermarket the other day.
Every one of them was claiming great things! All the marketing buzzwords are there competing for you to pick them up and get scanned at the checkout. Ca-ching!
Digestion, prebiotic, bifidus prodigesis, actiregularis, low fat, 98% fat-free, no artificial colours (they forgot to mention flavouring though), and on and on they go.
After scanning the food labels of some of them I was inspired to buy a few and share my thoughts on them. From the brands I eat to ones I wouldn’t feed my cat with (if I had one of course).
Don’t be a duped consumer
A few things to consider before you buy your next yogurt:
1) If you were to obtain natural yogurt straight from the farm, then add a piece of fresh fruit, it would go rancid over the next few days as the yogurt would break the fruit down. Ever wondered why this does not happen on the supermarket shelves?
To overcome this, manufactures use stabilisers and preservatives… chemicals in other words. This is considered acceptable practise. Personally I avoid as many products as I can that contain chemicals, as they all add up.
If you like your yogurt with fruit, simply buy natural yogurt and mix in a spoonful of fresh berries. This is a much better alternative. I often do this and mix a serving of 180 Natural Protein SuperFood for a much healthier snack.
2) Something to think about… Approximately four years ago I spent a weekend involved with The Weston A Price Foundation, a nonprofit, tax-exempt nutrition and education foundation.
They tested all the commercial leading brands of yogurt at the time for live bacteria and found most of them were dead as a doornail. Including the flavoured yogurts that claim differently!
The yogurts that did have a little bit of life in them where your full fat natural yogurts that have minimal ingredients, with Bornhoffen yogurt coming out on top.
That was four years ago, so I can’t speak for any of them now, but it’s certainly something I consider when I buy yogurt.
3) All dairy will naturally have a certain amount of sugar in it (lactose). When buying yogurt I also look at the sugar content per serve, not the fat content. I avoid any brand that claims to be fat-free. Why? As they have removed the fat to reduce the energy per gram and have replaced it with sugar. The sugar content is much higher in the flavoured yogurts than the full-fat natural yogurts.
As you can see by this picture (yogurt 7 on the list), they have even highlighted the fat and calcium to keep you distracted from the sugar content. (Click here to enlarge).
If you are genuinely concerned about your health or are trying to lose weight, reduce your sugar intake. Sugar is your enemy, not your sweet tasting friend. Keep your daily sugar intake low. Why compound it?
With this in mind, I’ve listed below 7 leading brands of yogurt and their sugar content. I stick to the top four listed when I eat yogurt.
1. Marrook Farm – Bio Dynamic Yogurt
I generally eat this yogurt when it’s in stock. Can be found in most small independent food stores. Not in many commercial supermarkets.
Sugar per 100g serve: 4.2g
2. Bornhoffen – Natural Yogurt
Can be found in most commercial supermarkets. A bit higher in the sugar content but still a good option and happy what Weston.A.Price foundation had to say about it.
Sugar per 100g serve: 9g
3. Jalna – Bio Dynamic Yogurt
Another good option. This is a European set style yogurt. Can be found in most commercial supermarkets.
Sugar per 100g serve: 4.1g
4. Farmers Union – Greek Style Yogurt
Very creamy and tasty. Can be found in most commercial supermarkets. A bit higher in the sugar content but still a good option.
Sugar per 100g serve: 7.2g
5. Ski – Activ
I don’t see what is active about it when loaded with preservatives. Can be found in most commercial supermarkets. High sugar content and contains preservatives/flavourings. I do not eat this.
Sugar per 100g serve: 12.5g
6. Dannon – Activia
Claims to be full of live culture which I struggle to believe. Can be found in most commercial supermarkets. High sugar content and contains preservatives/flavourings. I do not eat this.
Sugar per 100g serve: 13.2g
7. Dairy Farmers – Thick & Creamy
How can it be creamy when they’ve removed the fat? I don’t like the deceptive food label on the back either. Can be found in most commercial supermarkets. High sugar content and contains preservatives/flavourings. I do not eat this.
Sugar per 100g serve: 15g
There are many yogurts I haven’t mentioned as the list would be extremely long, including local alternative yogurts. But you get the general idea. If you eat yogurt I’d love to hear your thoughts on the brands you eat and why?
How to Supercharge Your Yogurt in Under 60 Seconds…
While yogurt can make a tasty snack, it really doesn’t cut it as a nutritious breakfast or meal replacement. Try this easy recipe and quickly transform your favourite yogurt into a superfood brimming with protein, great fats, vitamins and minerals.