Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.
Guy: I’m sure we can all relate to this… You’re starving hungry, you have no food and you’re stuck in an airport or the city and all you have to choose from is the food court! With a few tweaks and a bit of insider knowledge, you’ll be amazed at what meal you can whip up to get you out of trouble. The key is to know what NOT to eat in this situation.
I have to admit, I was SHOCKED to find out what some of the cafe owners get up to in the pursuit of making their food tasty. But with the nuggets of info’ in this weeks 2 minute gem above you can easily avoid the pitfalls of the food courts and make better meal choices…
Today we welcome entrepreneur, health and fitness enthusiast and top bloke Josh Sparks. Josh is the founder of the hugely successful Thr1ve cafe/restaurant chain, which can be found in most CBD food courts. In a nutshell they make real food, real fast, and it is a place I actively seek out to dine at when I’m in the neighbourhood.
Stu and I had a huge amount of fun with this podcast as we tap into Josh’s wealth of experience when it comes to the food industry, his own personal journey and paleo discoveries and how he stays on top of his own health with his very hectic lifestyle!
Trust me, after listening to this podcast you will be inspired to take action on whatever your own goals or endeavours are :)
Full Interview: Life’s Lessons to Look Feel Perform & Thrive
In This Episode:
The biggest lessons he’s learned since cleaning up his diet
How to navigate your way around a food court to make healthy choices
His daily routines and how he stays in great shape!
Why he enjoys being bad at meditation
What stress and your life’s purpose have in common
Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence at 180 Nutrition and welcome to today’s Health Sessions. I’ve been very much looking forward to today’s guest, because it’s safe to say he is a entrepreneur, but not only that, a very healthy one.
You know, from myself and Stu’s experience in developing and running 180, it’s all well and good us doing podcasts, creating posts, developing new products and all the rest of it. But it can become very stressful and we have to look after our own health at the same time and it can actually be very challenging sometimes.
So, I was very keen to pick today’s guest’s brains, because he does a very good job of that. His name is Josh Sparks and he is the founder of the THR1VE cafeteria chain here in Australia.
Now, if you’re not aware of the THR1VE cafeteria chain, in a nutshell, they do real food, real fast. And if you’re in most CBDs in Australia you can go into a THR1VE café and actually have a really great meal. It’s one of the places that I will seek out and find when I’m in the city, no matter which one it is here in Australia.
You know, Josh’s background; it’s basically 14 years in high-growth leadership roles as CEO in the fashion industry, mainly, of sass & bide, managing director from Urban Outfitters and CEO of Thom Browne in New York, as well.
Whopping amounts of experience, but then he’s gone and taken that and started to develop his own cafeteria chain, which is what we talked to him about today.
He says now he’s been eating, moves and recovers according to the ancestral health principles now for all the last five years and he’s probably fitter and stronger than he was 20 years ago. More importantly what he does stress as well is that his blood markers of health were improved dramatically as well.
So, Josh was consistently astounded, you could say, by the lack of authentic healthy dinning in top areas within the CBDs. So, he helped and did something about it and has created a very, very successful brand about it.
We get to talk about all them things. His own health journey and even what goes on in the food courts, which there were some things he said in there that is quite shocking what can go on.
So, we delve into all of them things, which is fantastic. So, I’m sure you’re going to enjoy.
Now, last but not least, you may be aware that we are, yes, we are live in the USA. So, for all you guys in America that are listening to this podcast, 180 Super Food, you can get your hands on it. You just need to go to 180nutrition.com.
If you’re unsure what it really is; I always tell people it’s a convenient way to replace bad foods, really quickly. So, I generally have a smoothie; I can mix it with a bit of water or coconut water, if I’ve been training, some berries and I normally put a bit of avocado and I make a smoothie. Especially if I’m out and about, going into meetings in the city or whatever and I know I’m stretched from time I will make a big liter of it and sip on it and it gets me through to my next meal.
So, yeah, you can do that. Go over to 180nutrition.com and check it out.
Anyway, let’s go over to Josh and enjoy today’s show. Thanks.
Guy Lawrence: All right. I always get this little turn every time. Anyway …
Hey, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke. Hey, Stewie!
Stuart Cooke: Hello, buddy.
Guy Lawrence: And our awesome guest today is Josh Sparks. Josh, welcome to the show.
Josh Sparks: Thanks guys. Thanks for having me.
Guy Lawrence: Now, look, very excited, mate. I think today’s topics are going to be great. We’re going to certainly want to cover a few things, especially like bringing Mr. Paleo Primal himself over, Mark Sisson, earlier in the year for the THR1VE symposium; which was awesome, by the way.
Josh Sparks: Oh, great.
Guy Lawrence: And of course the THR1VE brand itself and how you’ve taken the food courts kind of head on with the THR1VE cafeteria chain. So, there’ll be lots to discuss, mate, so, very much looking forward to it.
Josh Sparks: I’m excited to be here.
Guy Lawrence: So, before all that, we get into those subjects, what did you used to do before you got in the health industry?
Josh Sparks: Before I did THR1VE?
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Josh Sparks: So, my journey has been a fairly interesting one. I studied law and I worked very briefly in mergers and acquisitions law and decided, as I think many young lawyers do, that law school is not the same as being a lawyer and got out of that fairly promptly.
And then for the bulk of my career, the last 15 years prior to THR1VE, I was in various fashion businesses. So, all retail, I guess THR1VE is a retail, but fashion and lifestyle focus, never food.
So, I was the first CEO of sass & bide, which is an Australian women’s label that some of your listeners may be familiar with. And then I moved to the U.S. and became the CEO of Thom Browne of New York, which is a men’s line in New York. And then I moved to Philadelphia and ran the ecommerce business at Anthropologie, which is part of the Urban Outfitters group.
So, all fashion; tons of fun. You know, the really interesting thing about fashion and I think how it relates to what you guys are doing, and what I’m doing, what any of us are trying to strike out on our own and create a brand is that within the fashion industry what you’re really doing is storytelling. You’re building brands around what is otherwise largely a commodity product. The $30 jeans use the same denim as the $200 jeans.
So, it’s really about the creativity you can bring to the design and the creativity you can bring to the storytelling to really set it apart. So, I think that that’s what I loved about the fashion industry.
On the flip side my personal passion, really my whole life, has been around health and wellness. Every since I was a high school and college athlete, I’ve always been particularly interested in the intersection of training modalities, training methodologies and nutrition and how to best support each and really ultimately the synergy between the two.
But as I got older, while I was doing all this fashion stuff, I think I experienced what so many of us do and I started to … my body wasn’t responding quite the way I wanted and my thinking that you could steer the ship through exercise started to be challenged by the evidence that confronted me in the mirror every morning and on the scales and in the gym and I just wasn’t performing or looking or feeling quite as I did.
So, I started to explore the nutrition side much more actively. Until then, I think like a lot of guys in their 20s and early 30s, it’s much more about training for a while, or at least it was for me and perhaps my generation.
But as I started to explore nutrition, like you guys and like so many in our community, I discovered ancestral health templates. So the Paleo, the Primal, the Weston A Price and started to experiment with reducing processed foods. I mean, it sounds crazy now that this was an experiment, but reducing processed foods, reducing our processed carbs in particular, amping up the veggies. It’s just so incredibly obvious now, but at the time it was a revelation.
So, as I was professionally developing the skill set around branding and marketing and communications and running businesses here and in the U.S., personally I was having this journey of discovery, this very exciting revelation around what we eat and how profoundly it impacts how we feel and perform, whether it’s physically in the gym or whether it’s mentally and emotionally at work, in our relationships, or whatever.
So, it’s really … I guess I just had this light bulb moment of, “How do I connect the two?” This professional experience that I’ve had, what I’ve loved, around the fashion industry with what is a much deeper personal passion to me than the fashion space and that is health and wellness.
And to cut a very long story short, that’s how I came to develop the idea for THR1VE.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right. How long ago was that, Josh?
Josh Sparks: So, I moved back from the U.S. in 2011 and I started working on … I came back and I was consulting in the fashion space here in Australia, in Sydney and Melbourne to Just Group and Gisele and M. J. Bale and a bunch of different brands. And I was doing that really to save money to do my own thing, to do my own brand.
So, I started working on business plans for THR1VE. It would be unrecognizable to you, knowing THR1VE today. My first two business plans were terrible and it was going to be a one-off restaurant. Then it was going to be a home delivery meal system. Then it was going to be a supplement line and then it was going to be … and I didn’t know what I was doing and I was so all over the place. And then I really came back to focus on what I know and love best, which is this premium consumer retail, effectively.
Which in Australia, for food, that is either food courts or one-off cafes and restaurants, and I decided I didn’t want to do a one-off for a number of reasons. But probably most importantly, I wanted to reach as many people as possible. And the café and restaurant scene in Australia is pretty good. You can get some really healthy, yummy meals in a whole bunch of cafes and restaurants in Australia. Even in small town Australia now, you can get some pretty good food in cafes and restaurants.
But the food court, whether it’s in a mall or in an airport or strip retail, you know, a cluster of food outlets in strip retail. Pretty average. Predominately processed, 70 to 80 percent carbohydrates. You know, you walk into a food court; it’s just all carbs. All processed carbs. You know, its bread and pasta and sugar and all sorts of stuff that we know we could probably benefit from eating a lot less of.
So, I saw it as the area of greatest opportunity and the area of greatest need and thus THR1VE became, through multiple business plans, a food court focused retail offer.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: How long did that process take, Josh, just thinking from your sketches to the day of opening?
Josh Sparks: Yeah, it took a little while, Stu. So, late 2011 I was really actively working on it. I had registered the name and I had settled on broadly what I wanted to do. But we didn’t open the first store until late 2012. So, it was over a year of very focused work here where I settled on THR1VE. I settled on the fact that it was going to be a retail location and I was out talking to landlords and prior to that … I mean, I started working on a business along these lines probably about seven or eight years ago, when I first read Loren Cordain’s stuff.
But that was when I was still in the U.S., I was in Philly, and at that point I was thinking about doing a sort of gym and café combo, where it was going to be a sort of a high-end personal training only gym with sort of a café/restaurant attached to it. Which sounds great, but I never would have been able to pull it off, because I’m not a PT. It just was doomed to go nowhere.
So, how long did it take to really take shape? It took years and years and years of very focused work around the idea of THR1VE as vaguely recognizable as it is today. I was a good 12 months of just hitting the pavement and talking to landlords and pitching it to staff. I mean, no one wanted to know about it. I had a huge amount of difficulty convincing a landlord to give me a location.
Guy Lawrence: Wow.
Stuart Cooke: Really?
Josh Sparks: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Why do you think that is? Just the whole idea?
Josh Sparks: It’s very easy for us to forget that even in 2011, late 2011 when I first started talking to landlords, no one had heard of paleo or primal. I mean, there wasn’t … it was … the subject; we were so niche. I mean, it was a very small subset of the market and I probably still at that point was being a little bit purest about it as well.
So, when I was talking to landlords, I was probably sounding a little evangelical and a little dogmatic and probably a little bit crazy. And so, I kept having this look, “You know, you seem to have done OK with these fashion brands and you had a bit of success and maybe you should stick to that.”
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Josh Sparks: “And I don’t know if food court really wants healthy food.”
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Josh Sparks: “And we’ve got salads. So, what else do we need?”
Stuart Cooke: Sure.
Josh Sparks: And, “Yeah, we’ve got a Japanese operator. So we’ve got health covered.”
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right.
Josh Sparks: It was these sorts of conversations. I think it was, even just three or four years ago it was considered a bit ahead of its time and in branding, any sort of branding, whether it’s fashion, whether it’s lifestyle, whether it’s automotive, whether it’s what you guys do. Whatever it is, you want to be ahead enough of the curve to capture some mind shares, some early mind shares. At the same time it’s very easy to go broke if you’re too far ahead of the curve.
And it’s just finding that sweet spot and the feedback I was getting landlords was that I was to far ahead of the curve.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right.
Josh Sparks: And my sense was not at all. This is; we’re at a the tipping point here. This is going to go mainstream in the next couple of years. And it might not be called paleo and it might not be called primal. It might not be call ancestral health. It might not be called THR1VE. But this way of eating, this awareness of just how profound the impact is on how you look, feel, and perform when you eat differently, that’s right at the tipping point. You know, the obesity levels and the Type 2 diabetes level and the fact that Medicare is publicly funded and it’s just unaffordable for us to continue to pay for bad lifestyle choices. Whether it’s smoking or whether it’s excess sugar. So, I felt that we were just at a bit of a tipping point, but it was very challenging to convince people around me, whether they were landlords or investors or potential employees, that I wasn’t completely crazy.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. I’m curious, right? Just a thought came in, because I’m always fascinated by everyone’s journeys, was it a particular niche; tipping point or something that happened in your own life? Because I know you’re saying that you were starting to put on weight and things like that, but was there an “aha” moment where you’ve got to go, “Right. I’m going to cut out the process foods. I’m going to change my lifestyle.”
Josh Sparks: So, I think, there’s two. For me personally it was recognizing that I just, I wasn’t happy. And it started off for me with a sense of, you know, emotional well-being suffering.
And it wasn’t so much, because I didn’t get huge, I’m naturally pretty skinny and even when I … I sort of the skinny fat guy. If I’m out of shape, I get skinny-fat. Like, I don’t get a huge gut.
I just don’t … I lose tone. I lose strength. I lose all those physical markers of health, the objective physical markers of health.
This was more subjective to answer your question, Guy. I just wasn’t feeling great.
Guy Lawrence: Yup.
Josh Sparks: And so, it led me to an exploration, “Look, am I drinking too much? Is it something I’m allergic to? Is there something in my diet that’s problematic?”
I stopped drinking completely. I cut out sugar. I started cutting out processed foods. That led me on a journey around fat. I started upping my Omega-3 intake.
But all those things really started for me around a sense of emotional health, not being as good as it could be. I wasn’t depressed. It wasn’t that acute. I just didn’t feel great anymore and I was used to feeling so motivated and so energetic. It was really sad to think, “God, is this aging? Is this normal? Am I meant to feel this way?”
Stuart Cooke: It just sounds like you weren’t thriving, Josh.
Josh Sparks: Thank you very much. I’m glad we got that in there. It’s very fine of you.
Guy Lawrence: So, back to THR1VE, right? And I really want to put this question: like, how would compete against now, like the Subways of this world? Because they’ve got “healthy food” marketing, that’s getting bombarded and the food court’s littered with it.
Josh Sparks: Yeah. Look, I think it’s a really great question. So, there’s two things. One: I think the use of the word “health” is becoming as ubiquitous as the use of the word “green” was about 10 years ago. You know, like, Chevron and Shell were running ads about how “green” they were. It’s like, “OK. Where are we on this ‘green’ thing?” And I think we’re in the same place with everyone’s claiming to be “healthy.”
So, first of all I think there is … that that’s going to lead to a certain level of backlash and I think consumers are already starting to become aware that they’re being hoodwinked with marketing. And great marketers are really good at what they are doing.
So, there’s health messages that are overt and there’s a whole bunch that are much more subtle and nuanced, but they’re rife throughout the food industry; whether it’s retail or wholesale or supermarket, wherever.
So, I think there’s going to be a little bit of a backlash and a little bit of growing skepticism, which I’m hoping will lead to my next point, which is: ask the follow-up questions.
So, yeah, I think whether it’s the press or whether it’s us as consumers, we’re terrible at asking the follow-up questions.
“So, great. You’re healthy.” What is healthy? Define healthy to me? You know, what is your paradigm of health? What protocol do you subscribe to? And that can lead to some really interesting conservations, because we see … I used to go … I read this and I must admit that I read this in a Playboy magazine, which I was reading for the articles when I was about 28 or 29 or so …
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Josh Sparks: And it was the first time I’d ever read about Paul Chek. It was actually an interview with Paul Chek in Playboy, of all places. And Paul Chek was talking about the fact that he’d been interviewed on TV and he got into this head-to-head around diet with a, I guess what we’ll call a conventional dietitian or a nutritionist who was stuck on the U.S. food pyramid, which is very similar to our recommendations.
Stuart Cooke: Yup.
Josh Sparks: Anyway, he obviously lost patient with the process at some point and he said, “Listen, do you subscribe to … everything you just espoused, your so-called philosophy of eating, do you subscribe to this a hundred percent in your own life?” And this guy’s, “Yeah. Absolutely.” And he’s like, “Great! Take off your shirt and I’ll take off my shirt.”
And it was just this kind of moment of: OK. So, if this is really working for you, do you look, feel and perform exactly how you want? And if you do, well, let’s see it. Come on. Let’s get this on.
And I thought, OK, it’s a little bit crass. I don’t think it would work on Australian TV. But at the same time I really respected the kind of cut through the B.S.
If you claim to be healthy, give us a sense of what that actually means and hopefully you’ve thought about it enough to have some kind of protocol, some kind of framework that you’re working within. And then is it working for you? And give us some sense of that. You know, “I came from here to here; it’s backed up by bloodwork.” Or, you know, I’ve lost a ton of weight and I know it’s fat, it’s not water or muscle because I did a DEXA scan before and after.
Give us some evidence, you know. Not this kind of fluffy, “healthy” thing.
Guy Lawrence: It’s interesting that you say that, because I worked as a PT for a long time and I would do … I must have … no exaggeration, sat in from the thousand of people, right? Doing consultations and the first thing I would do was ask them, “Do you eat healthy?” I mean, we do that even with our clean eating workshops we’ve been doing with CrossFit, right?
Josh Sparks: Right.
Guy Lawrence: And nine times out of 10 they, go, “Well, yeah. Yeah, I eat pretty healthy.” I go, “Great. Let’s write down what you just ate for the last 48 hours.” Right?
Josh Sparks: Right.
Guy Lawrence: And then once they start doing that there’s two things that generally happen. One: they actually, genuinely think they they’re eating healthy, but I look at it and go, “Oh shit. That’s not healthy.”
Josh Sparks: Yeah. You might have something there.
Guy Lawrence: Or two: they’ve just sort of been in denial. They go, “OK. Maybe I could improve a little bit.” and stuff like that. When you get down to that detail, but we just don’t. It’s human nature.
Josh Sparks: It is human nature. There’s a great stat where I counted it as 92 or 93 percent of male drivers think they’re better than average. So, it’s like, we are great at doing nothing. We are great at deluding ourselves, right?
So, when you have an objective check, someone like you, when you’re sitting in front of them and you’re forcing them to actually go through it, there’s nothing more powerful than documenting a food diary or training log, you know, “Because I’m training hard.” and you kind of look back at what actually you know, “I’m been a complete wuss.”
And it’s the same thing with a food diary. We don’t encourage things like obsessive diarization or cataloging or counting calories or measuring food. We don’t focus on that at all.
But the point that you just made, a point in time gut check, no pun intended, on “How am I eating?” and “Is this truly healthy,” and “Do you even know what healthy is?” And then engaging with the right kind of advices to give you some options and some alternatives.
And so, I think for me, whether you … whatever you call it: paleo, primal, ancestral health, whatever, I’m not really stuck on the labels. In fact, I think the labels can be extremely damaging because we can get a little bit dogmatic around that.
So, setting aside this specific label, what I want to know is whoever is claiming to provide their customers with healthy food and their customers are trusting them. I mean, that’s a relationship of mutual trust and confidence. It’s an important relationship. It should be respected.
Are they lying to them? Or have they actually put some energy into documenting what they believe and have some evidence to back it up? And then have they … again, another follow-up question … have they audited their supply chain? Is there sugar being snuck in the products? Are there bad oils being snuck in the products?
You know if you go around the food court, you would be staggered by … the Japanese operators add processed sugar to the rice. Many of the Mexican operators, not all of them, but many of the Mexican operators add table sugar to their rice.
Now, why do they do that? Because they tested it with customers and surprise, surprise, customers preferred the rice with sugar.
Stuart Cooke: Right. Yeah.
Josh Sparks: So, it’s great that we’re talking about health. I mean, on the one hand, let’s be positive and celebrate the fact that at least it’s a topic of conversation in the food court, which five, 10 years ago, you know, not so much. Certainly 10 years ago.
On the flip side, now that we’re talking about it, let’s have an intelligent conversation about it and let’s ask a couple of follow-up questions. And then we can make an informed decision where your version of health, Mr. Vegan, is right for me or not right for me. And your version, Mr. Salad Man, is right for me or not right for me.
So, that’s what we’re trying to encourage at THR1VE. You take that discussion further.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Awesome.
Stuart Cooke: Fantastic. Well, first up Guy, I think, it’s only right that we perform these podcasts in the future without our tops on. OK? That’s a given. We’re going to do that. It won’t start today.
So, just thinking, Josh, if you can’t access, you know, THR1VE in the food courts around here, how would you navigate the food courts? And I’m just thinking in terms of our customers who might think, “Well, sushi is the best option out there.” When we’re looking at the likes of the Chinese and the kabobs, and the McDonald’s and all the other kind of footlong gluten rolls or whatever they are. What do you do?
Josh Sparks: Footlong gluten roll.
Stuart Cooke: I’ve just sold it. I used to work in marketing don’t you know.
Josh Sparks: That’s a marketing winner, I reckon.
Stuart Cooke: No one’s thought of it.
Josh Sparks: It’s a really good question and I think that, I mean, we’ve got six stores, we’ll have nine or 10 opened in another nine or 12 months. So, we are not everywhere, sadly. In fact, if you go Australia-wide, there’s not enough places where you can find THR1VE or something like THR1VE.
So, to answer your question, I think you’ve got a few options. You’ve got … most salad operators will have a range of salads that don’t include the added pasta and the added grains. And I’m not terribly concerned about gluten-free grains as long as I know that … you know, it’s such a difficult question to answer diplomatically, but I’ll give you a version.
So, most salad places will have something for you. Most of the proteins in the less expensive salad joints are not … they’re reprocessed proteins. So, they’re reconstructed proteins.
So, they’re by no means great and there tends to be sugar and gluten snuck into those products. It gives them better form and it gives them better preservation and what not. But it’s not going to kill you, once in a while.
With respect to the Japanese operators, if you go for sashimi you’re pretty safe. Be conscious with the rice, as I mentioned before. But again, I’m not anti-rice by any stretch, but I don’t want table sugar added to my rice. So, I probably tend to avoid it in most of the Japanese operators. Unless they can tell me, and I believe them, that they’re not adding sugar to their rice. But that’s sticky rice. Traditionally prepared, they don’t use sugar. They use a specific kind of rice. But in most food operators there is sugar added to it.
Mexican operators, if you go without the bread, without the corn chips, without the processed carbs. And again, I’m persuaded that lentils are not the end of the world and beans aren’t the end of the world.
I’ve read a whole bunch of interesting stuff on that recently, particularly after Mark Sisson came out at the THR1VE Me Conference in March and said that he was reading a lot of evidence that legumes in small amounts occasionally can actually be beneficial to gut flora and so on and so forth.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Absolutely.
Josh Sparks: So, Mexican operators, if you go for kind of the beans and the guac and the salsa and the meats, maybe skip the rice if you’re having the beans. You probably don’t need a double hit. But maybe you do, if you just worked out.
So, what I do is I look those operators with brands that I trust. I prefer to feel that there’s some integrity in the supply chain. And to a certain extent I find, and it’s a terrible term, but the idea that it’s reassuringly expensive is not always true, but if you go to some of those really sort of dirty café, you know, greasy spoon type operators and you can get a bacon and egg roll for three bucks. Not that I have the roll anyway. But you can pretty well be sure that that bacon and that egg is not going to live up to your standards. It’s probably not the sort that you would have at home.
So, I prefer probably going to the more premium ends of the operators in the food court. Taking my; you mentioned the kebob operator, so in a pinch you can get on a plate, you can get the meat and you can get the salad and you can ask for extra salad, now I normally put some avocado on it and just skip the bread.
Now, I wouldn’t do that unless there was no alternative. But I think that’s a hell of a lot better than having a burger or a XX 0:26:09.000 dirty pieXX or whatever.
So, I think it’s more about … for me the simple rule is, it’s more about what you take out and if you can remove the processed sugars and the processed carbs as much as possible, then you’re going to be left with something that is relatively benign, if you are indulging in it occasionally.
Stuart Cooke: Yup.
Josh Sparks: If you’re having it every day, then you’ve probably got to take it a little bit further and say, “Well, if this is processed chicken, what did they process it with? If this is reconstructed chicken, what else did they put into it? What oils have they used in this salad dressing? What oils do they cook in?”
But you’re getting down to some lower dimension returns on that stuff. It makes a ton of sense if you’re doing it every day. So, if you’re doing it every meal, but if you’re doing it once every two weeks because you’re stuck in an airport and you’ve got no alternative, I would say don’t sweat it.
Guy Lawrence: A hundred percent. Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Exactly.
Josh Sparks: There’s also all that stuff about hermetic stressors right? Which I’m just fascinated by and the idea that you can go too clean and all the stuff that Robb Wolf has done around Special Forces.
They go back to base. They eat 100 percent strictly extremely clean, because they’re allowed to. And they’re cooking for themselves and they’re eating off-base. They’re not eating in the cafeteria, etc., etc.
They then go on to deployment and they’ve got to eat these MRAs that are just horrendous. Because they’re packaged for stability and shelf life, not for the kind of nutritional profile that we would look for. And these guys are getting really sick for the first two days on deployment. And if you’re sent out on some sort of Special Forces mission, you don’t want to spend two days over the toilet when you just landed in enemy territory or whatever.
So, the idea is to … I think, don’t sweat the occasional indulgence. And don’t sweat the occasional toxin, you know, in strict sort of paleo/primal sense. But eat clean as much as you can. And then don’t worry about it too much. If you find yourself stuck eating a salad that’s probably used vegetable oil and they’ve added sugar to the dressing, I say don’t sweat it too much.
Stuart Cooke: I think so and also you can switch on stress hormones by sweating it too much.
Josh Sparks: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: And seriously that can be just as harmful as the food that you eat.
Josh Sparks: That’s so true.
Guy Lawrence: Do you … you talked about the other cafes and food courts, right? And their owners putting sugar in the rice and they’re using different oils. Do you think they’re even aware that they’re doing things that could be damaging to health? Or do you think it just not even on their radar and it’s just purely business perspective and they just think they’re doing the right thing?
Josh Sparks: Yeah. It’s a really good question. I don’t think … I don’t think … I would love to think that there is no malice involved.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Josh Sparks: You know, I think it is a genuine desire to please customers and maximize sales. And most of these guys, certainly the big brands, have done blind taste testing and they know that customers prefer high sugar.
Now, the customer doesn’t know that rice “A” has no sugar and therefore is going to taste very bland on its own and rice “B” has added sugar. They just know that rice “B” tastes a whole lot better and, “I’m not quite sure why, but it’s great!”
So, I think they’re doing this testing and it’s revealing that there’s a certain level of sugar … these days we’re so detuned; our tastes is so detuned to sugar now, because it’s everywhere, Certain level of sugar is almost necessary, particularly if the food is otherwise rather bland.
And then in terms of oil, I mean, we spend a fortune on oils. Oils for most of our competitors are … it’s a rounding item. They’re getting 20 liters for $8 or less. Fifteen liters for $15 and these are industrial oils that are mass produced and, we know, problematic for a whole bunch reasons.
So, that’s not a taste issue. Because the average consumer, once its mixed up and it’s cooked and it’s got a sauce on it on and a side, you can’t tell whether it’s canola oil or whether its macadamia oil at that point. Most of us can’t, you know. The truth is, we just can’t tell.
However, my competitors have got an extra 4 percent in gross margin, because they spent a lot less on oil.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
So, I think that there’s two decisions being made here. One is around taste and the other one is around the economics.
Australia’s such a high-cost market for what we do and our rents are near world highest. Our food costs a near world highest. And our hourly rates are the highest in the world for causal workers.
So, there’s a real scramble on to work out, well, how do we make this thing profitable? And when you’ve got something like oil costing 10 times as much, it’s an easy decision I think for a lot of operators. But I don’t think it’s malice. I think it’s pleasing customers and survival.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.. I wonder if they’re actually, genuinely aware. It’s the brands I get frustrated with, because obviously, like you said, the paleo movement and primal and health are more on people’s radars now and we’re seeing more health brands coming onto the market. But then I’m looking at what they’re selling and I’m like, “ugh!” They’re just, they know they aren’t doing the right thing right here.
Josh Sparks: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: That’s where it can get frustrating.
Josh Sparks: It is frustrating and I think, you know, on the flip side I guess, Guy, it’s capitalism, right? And that is what a large percentage of the market wants.
It’s like McDonald’s, when they first started doing salads, they don’t sell any salads, it just makes you feel better about walking into McDonald’s. So, you’ll tell your friends that you went to get the salad, but they end up buying a cheeseburger.
So, I think that there is … most people think that they want health, until they’re given the choice at the counter.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Josh Sparks: And so, some of our competitors feel, competitors broadly defined, have a really good salad offer, for example, but they also do sandwiches on this incredibly thick ciabatta bread. It ends up being about 70 percent processed carbohydrates.
And you see it all the time. Like, people get up to the counter and that thing being toasted, that sandwich being toasted that smells amazing or you can have the healthy salad and willpower seems to come off.
So, I think there’s always going to be a percentage of the market that says they want to be healthy but don’t really mean it. But what we’re trying to do is encourage those that say they want to be healthy and actually, genuinely want to be healthy and are prepared to make decisions on that basis. We want to give them something that they trust that there’s been real effort into creating a meal and auditing the supply change around it.
Stuart Cooke: Got it.
Josh Sparks: But it is frustrating for us, because we’re being undercut by … you know, we are not the cheapest source of calories in the food court. We don’t use the processed crappy food that is cheap. Processed carbs are cheap, right?
Guy Lawrence: Oh, yeah.
Josh Sparks: So, it’s frustrating for us when someone slaps a whole bunch of nice images of seasonal food across a poster and splashes: “This season’s local produce. Healthy this. Healthy that.” And we know that 79/80 percent of their salad is processed food.
It is frustrating, but at the same time I think it fires us up. Like it makes us … it puts a bit of fire in our belly, because it means that we’ve got to get smarter about how we’re communicating. That not only are we healthy, but there is a follow-up question and please ask us, because we’d love to tell you. We’re going to get smarter and smarter in that conversation.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Brilliant
Stuart Cooke: Excellent.
Now, when I was younger, much younger than I am now, going through college. I worked in England for a very large supermarket chain. And I used to do the evening shift. So, you know, we’d get rid of the customers and we’d tidy up and we’d attend to waste.
So, food wastage, it was unreal. Now, I’m talking big supermarket chain. So, it was Sainsbury’s. I don’t know whether you’re familiar with that brand.
Josh Sparks: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: So, I worked on the produce, the produce section, and occasionally the bakery. And every night we would just fill up probably three or four of these huge wheely bins of donuts and cakes and pies and pastries and all this kind of wonderful fruit, that just kind of past its cosmetic expiry date.
At the time, being a young guy, we used to eat donuts and you know, “You can eat a couple of donuts, guys, before you throw them.” And that was awesome, at the time. But it did open my eyes to: boy that is huge, huge, huge amounts of waste and on a global scale, as well.
Now, I was listening to a podcast the other day about food wastage with you guys and I thought you had some really neat policies. So, I wondered it you could share that with our audience, please.
Josh Sparks: Why sure. So, thanks for asking and I completely agree with you. It’s just I find it horrendous to think about the amount of waste.
So, what we do is twofold. One: we minimize what; we’re incredibly focused on developing systems and processes to minimize our waste. So, we’ve actually engaged a bunch of consultants and we’ve developed a system in-house that, they call them “build to’s” and this is all new to me, right? Because this is not fashion terminology.
So, there’s sort of “build to’s” each day in terms of the amount of stock that’s being prepared. And it’s based on a history of sales. Like-for-like sales.
So, Thursday’s today. What did we do last Thursday? What did we do Thursday before? It’s summer. It’s winter. It’s sunny. It’s not sunny. There’s a bunch of variables that we look at and really dial in what’s been what’s being prepped.
Typically that means we actually run out towards the end of the lunch rush and we’re normally open for another couple of hours beyond that. So, if that happens and that’s the ideal, after the lunch rush we actually prep to order. So, it means you order what takes takes two and a half to three minutes; that is our objective. It will take four to five minutes, but if you’re happy to wait that, you know, mid-afternoon, then it means that we don’t have any waste in those key products at all.
Now, having said that, we’re very rarely perfect, because the day’s never predictable and it’s extremely rare that we aren’t left with something in some ingredients.
So, we’ve got certain things right. We under cooked, we under cut some and then we did too much of others.
So, then we work with OzHarvest and they’re basically a group that collects food on a day-to-day basis, from a bunch of food operators actually, and provide them to the homeless.
So, our raw ingredients end up going into the raw ingredients for things like soup kitchens, to prepare their own food. And our prepped, ready-to-go food, is literally just given as a meal to the homeless.
You know, I had this very funny interaction not long ago, I guess it was about a year ago, in our store at Martin Place in Sydney, there used to … it’s not anymore, it’s just been refurbished … there used to be a little bench just outside the store.
I used to do all my meetings there, because we still don’t have an office, like I’m doing this from home, you know, we’re a small business. So, I was kind of using this as my desk. And I was meeting with my general manager and this guy came over, he was obviously homeless. I mean, he had an old sleeping bag around him. He had the big beard and the crazy hair. He looked like he was sleeping rough and he was clearly coming to me. Like he was making a beeline for me. Like, “What have I done to you?”
And so I’m sort of looking at him coming over and he goes, “Hey, hey, hey …” and I was wearing this THR1VE t-shirt … “Hey, are you Mr. THR1VE?” And I went, “Ah, I guess.” and he goes … am I allowed to swear on this podcast?
Josh Sparks: He goes, “I fucking love your food. It’s the best food.” Why that’s awesome!
Stuart Cooke: Wow.
Josh Sparks: I said, “I’m glad you enjoy it. Come back anytime.”
And it was just one of those moments. Because what’s happens is he’s getting one of the meals that’s got the THR1VE branding on it, so he knew it was from us. It just made me realize that you kind of set up these relationships, but you’re not always sure that it makes it to the end user exactly how you anticipate it might. But that was just a nice little moment and I think what OzHarvest does is fantastic.
And these days we don’t do as much prepped foods as we used to. We used to do salads that we made just before lunch rush. So if you’re in a hurry, you point at it in the fridge and we’d give it to you and you’d be good to go. But we moved away from that, because we wanted to give customers more choice in terms of how they build up the bowl.
So, we don’t have the level of giveaways we used to. So, OzHarvest, unfortunately are not getting as much from us as they used to. But we still provide them with any waste that we do have at the end of the day.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Sounds fantastic.
Stuart Cooke: It’s still a fantastic initiative. And just so you know, we’ve got quite a large station wagon, so if you need a hand transporting any of that food wastage, we’ll happily fill up our car with that and drive into the sunset with that. Don’t worry about that. Just say the word.
Josh Sparks: I may take you up on that.
Guy Lawrence: Mate, just a quick question. If anyone is listening to this is new to, say, “clean eating” and they walked into your THR1VE café today and go, “Right. I want to order a dish.” What would you recommend them?
Josh Sparks: OK.
Guy Lawrence: Somebody starting out.
Josh Sparks: Great question. Great question. And should we define “clean eating?” Should we define …
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Go, yes.
Josh Sparks: So, for us; again the follow-up question thing; for us “clean eating” is about no processed foods. So, it’s no added sugar. No gluten-containing grains. It’s no chemicals, preservatives, etc., etc.
So, that’s how we define “clean eating.” It’s not strictly paleo. It’s not strictly primal. It’s certainly inspired by those protocols. But “clean eating” for us is about eliminating processed foods, added sugars, bad oils as well, and any gluten-containing grains. So, that’s how we define it.
So, what we typically do with someone who’s brand new to this way of eating or this way of living, we suggest something that is very familiar. And I have actually have this really strict brief that in our environment; a food court it’s not a niche healthy café in Bondi or XX0:40:19.000 Byron Bay or Neustadt, or the Mornington PeninsulaXX.
It is a high-traffic mainstream environment and we have to have food that sounds and looks familiar and comforting. We’ve just taken the effort of pulling out the bad stuff. So, most of our menu, I would say, hopefully would look and feel pretty approachable and unintimidating.
But our bestseller is our Lemon and Herb Pesto Chicken. Which is just a chicken breast that’s been butterflied, grilled. We make our own pesto. So, we use olive oil, we don’t add sugar to it, etc., etc. We do add a little Parmesan, because I’m not anal about dairy. So, it’s a really nice fresh pesto. We use roasted peppers.
And that will all sit on a bed of whatever veggies or gluten-free grains you want. But I’d suggest you do it on our zoodles, which are … literally it’s just a zucchini that’s been spiralized. It’s not cooked, it’s just … it looks like … it sort of looks like pasta, but it’s raw zucchini. It’s awesome.
Guy Lawrence: I love it.
Josh Sparks: And I do it a half zoodles base and then I’m really into a kind of seasonal grains thing at the moment, because like everyone, I feel like I’m not eating enough grains. So, I do half zoodles on the base, half seasonal grains and I do a side of avocado; maybe a side of broccoli. And depending on what you get, that’s going to cost you anything between, sort of, $12 and $16; depending on how hungry you are and how large each portion you want it to be.
So, that’s kind of a really nice, familiar lunch/dinner. It’s the kind of thing you would see on lots of café menus and lots of restaurant menus and lots of people make it at home.
So, I would recommend something pretty simple like that to start off with.
Guy Lawrence: Perfect. You’re making me hungry.
Stuart Cooke: I am very hungry as well. And good tip as well on your zoodle. Because I had always … well when I say “always,” I’ve experimented with zucchini pasta and for me I’ve always boiled ,,, I’ve kind of boiled it too long and always ended up with a really sloppy mess.
Josh Sparks: Right.
Stuart Cooke: And I’ve been really disappointed. I’m not looking forward to the next one. So, you just do that raw, do you?
Josh Sparks: We do it raw. Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Josh Sparks: Because the other, I’m sure you guys read all the same research as well, when I talk about diversity of vegetables, most of us don’t have enough. And then in terms of diversity of preparation, most of us get stuck on a prep step. So, we like steaming or we like roasting or we like frying or whatever. Everything that I read suggests that we should have a mix of a whole huge variety of veggies and a huge variety of prep, including raw. And I realized outside of salad leaves and salad greens I never eat a lot of raw veggies.
So, it’s a way, and I don’t want to say the entire business is built around my selfish desire for raw veggies, but it seems like those zoodles were a good idea and they’re selling very well.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Great. Well, they say variety is the spice of life, mate. That’s for sure.
Josh Sparks: Exactly. Exactly.
Stuart Cooke: That’s beautiful. That’s so deep, Guy. I’m really moved by that.
Guy Lawrence: He’s bagged me twice all ready on this podcast. I’m sure I’ll …
Stuart Cooke: I just can’t help it. Sorry. It’s the beard, the beard. Have you noticed he’s got a beard now?
Josh Sparks: He’s rocking it. It’s very masculine.
Guy Lawrence: It’s very hip, I reckon.
Stuart Cooke: He’s going ancestral.
Josh Sparks: And when he does go shirtless, it’s going to be sort of hipster meets paleo.
Guy Lawrence: Exactly. I’m getting in theme for this podcast. That’s all it was. It was for you, Josh. It was for you.
Stuart Cooke: Thanks a lot.
Josh Sparks: Thank you.
Stuart Cooke: So, I’m going to steal another question, Guy.
Guy Lawrence: Why not, you bagged me twice.
Stuart Cooke: So, paleo, Josh. So, paleo’s all over the media right now. It’s getting some great press. Good. Bad. Indifferent. Has this particular message affected you in any way?
Josh Sparks: Yeah, it has. So, I think that there’s two things I would say. First of all I think … further the point I made earlier, it’s great that paleo is even appearing in the press. Just like it’s great that health is now appearing in the food court and to the extent it’s inspiring a dialogue, and at times a well-researched and intelligent dialogue, then obviously I applaud it. I think that’s a fantastic thing.
Stuart Cooke: Yup.
Josh Sparks: On the flip side, because the media deals primarily in sound bites and research takes time and to give them their credit, they work in very short-form media these days, I mean, everything’s a Tweet, basically, in whatever format it’s coming.
I don’t think we’re getting the benefit of a lot of the nuance around what is paleo, what is primal, what’s ancestral health, and I think it’s as a subset of that, people tend to hang onto certain aspects of it that appear dogmatic or prescriptive and I think most people, me included, don’t like being told what to do.
So, I think the backlash that we’re seeing is a natural human response to the perception, you know, real or imagined, that we as a community are coming out and scolding and lecturing people and telling them how bad they are and how better they could be if only they were as purist as we are.
Now, I don’t work that way. I know you guys don’t work that way. But the perception is that we as a community are inflexible, we’re dogmatic and we’re prescriptive. And I think that’s something we need to be very, very focused on countering. Because the reality is, that as Mark Sisson keeps saying; as Robb Wolf keeps saying, as Chris Kresser keeps saying, there is no one paleolithic diet. It’s a template. It’s a template. And there are paleolithic communities that have nothing but meat, primarily fat and protein, there are paleolithic communities that have 16 to 17 percent from their carbs … 16 to 17 percent of their calories from carbs, now, ancient carbs, but carbs.
So, when we’re coming out and saying, for example, “paleo is low-carb,” not only is that historically completely inaccurate, it also fails to recognize that there’s a huge swath of population that are interested in paleo. And they run from skinny weightlifting boys through to, you know, obese Type 2 diabetes, syndrome “X” men and women in their 40s, people who train intensely with weights, people who like going for a walk; obviously completely different need for carbohydrate.
So, I think that it’s a great thing, but it’s a double-edged sword. I think it’s a great thing, but the over-simplification of it I think personally has definitely led to some rather challenging conversations between me and customers and me and the press.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Josh Sparks: But also our business has taken … it took a knock when it was really intensely fervently being debated. We noticed that certainly salads and certain products came off. Thankfully they’ve gone back up again. But I think it’s a consequence of over-simplification and the perception of dogma, I think.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Josh Sparks: So, this sort of conversation is what I love, because we can put it in its rightful context. Rather than saying, “paleo is this and paleo is that. And you’re not allowed to do this and you’re not allowed to do that.” Which just instantly gets people’s back up. And what you end up doing … I know it’s a long-winded answer … but what you end up doing in that sort of environment is preaching to the converted.
And if we got into this, because I know I did and I know you guys did, because we genuinely want to help other people, I mean, I certainly didn’t get into it for the money. I should have stayed in what I was doing instead. It’s a grand way to not make a lot of money. But we got into it because we genuinely want to help people.
Now, if that’s the belief and there’s real authenticity and integrity around that, we have to reach people that aren’t already converted and that are probably going to be a little bit resistant to the message. And to go back to my fashion days for a second, because it’s a stupid analogy, but I think you’ll understand what I mean.
You know, you have catwalk pieces that are gorgeous and expensive and no one really wears.
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Josh Sparks: They end up on the backs of celebrities and they end up in magazines. But they attract attention and they spark interest. But they’re way too intimidating to the average consumer.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Josh Sparks: So, the average consumer, you’ve got to provide a bridge and that bridge is something like a XX 0:48:22.000 t-shirt brand or a dinner brand or a swimwear brandXX or whatever. They come in; they experience the brand; they get excited about it and hopefully they work their way up the ladder.
Now, that may sound like a stupid analogy, but I think we’ve got to a certain extent a analogous situation here where we bombard people with the pointy end of the stick, you know, the last 5 percent, this is all we want to debate the first 95 percent.
If we had people just decide they wanted to step over that bridge with us and we soften the message just a little bit and say, “Look, if you’re not ready to give up bread and you show no signs whatsoever of gluten intolerance, well then, let’s try to get you on an organic salad XX 0:49:00.000 or oatsXX it’s naturally a lot lower in gluten, and let’s just start by giving up the sugar and giving up these horrible oils that you use for cooking and deep frying.”
And then notice some changes, and this is what Sarah Wilson done so brilliantly.
Guy Lawrence: She’s done brilliantly, yeah.
Josh Sparks: Start the journey with sugar. And that is naturally going to … you’re going to see profound change in how you look, feel and perform. And if you’re a curious person and you’re interested in furthering the journey, then you ask, “Well, what’s next and what’s next?”
The opposite is what I think some in our community are doing, which is coming out and saying, “You either do all of this or you do nothing.”
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Josh Sparks: And if you don’t subscribe hook, line and sinker, to everything in this book or everything on this website or whatever, then you’re not worthy and you’re not truly one of us. And I think that is; that’s great if you’re trying to build a small club. It’s not great if you’re trying to change the world, because we need to bring as many people with us as we possibly can.
And just recognizing that not everyone is as ready for the hardcore message, softening it a little bit, I think you’re going to bring a lot more people with you and that’s going to have a much bigger impact.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, mate. Great answer, man. Absolutely. Couldn’t agree more.
I’m just looking at the time. I’m aware that the time’s getting on, right? So, I want to just touch on a couple of questions and then we do some wrap-up questions to finish …
Josh Sparks: Cool.
Guy Lawrence: … which is always fun.
But, one thing that I was really intrigued to know and I just want to bring on the podcast. I think people listening to this might not appreciate the effort; almost you could say the entrepreneurship of what you do and stress and everything else that’s going on. You’re a busy boy. You’re doing wonderful things. You’re very successful. How do you keep that work/life balance? Any tips? Like, what do you do?
Josh Sparks: That’s a great question and I would say that … well, first of all I live with my Creative Director, so I’m romantically involved with my Creative Director, Steph, so I don’t know whether I’ve pulled off work/life balance rightly there. Truthfully, I mean, taking about THR1VE every night at dinner is not work /life balance.
But you know what we do, what Steph and I do, what we encourage everyone in the business to do, is make time to train. So there’s this … no matter what’s going on, it’s in the diary and I don’t train every day or anything like that. I train every second day. So it’s three or four times a week, depending on the week. That’s always locked in.
I try to get sun every day. Even if it’s a crappy day, I just sit outside for a while. You know, 10, 20 minutes over lunch.
I started meditating, which I am absolutely rubbish at. The whole “still the mind” thing, I don’t know if that’s ever going to be possible, but I kind of love that too, that I’m really rubbish at it and I’m getting better at it so slowly. It’s going to be a lifetime thing for me and I’ll probably still never get there. So, I’m finding that really helpful.
But in terms of … so you know Keegan, right?
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Josh Sparks: Keegan Smith, who we all know and love. I think the guy is genius in many ways. He’s got; he started to focus on one specific area, but I think he’s a very clever guy. And he said to me once; we were talking about stress and he sent me a follow-up note. And he said, “Look, I could tell you were really stressed. I can tell you’re really busy.”
And there was a point earlier on, I mean, not that it’s not stressful now, but it was early on, we were running out of cash. The stores weren’t yet profitable and there was a very real possibility that it just wasn’t going to work. We were selling food and we had a group of customers that loved us, but we just didn’t have enough of them.
And so, I remember meeting him and sort of sharing with him a little bit, “Look, I think someday this is going to be an amazing business, but oh my God it’s incredibly difficult right now.” And he sort of empathized with me.
Anyway, he sent an email later and he said, “Josh, the thing with stress, you’ve got to decide whether the stress relates to your life’s purpose or not. And if it relates to your life’s purpose, then not only do you not resist it, you embrace it. Because that’s exactly what you need to make you harder, stronger, fitter, faster, you know … blah, blah, blah. It’s a hormetic stress. But if it doesn’t relate to your life’s purpose, you have to be ruthless about eliminating it. Just get it out of your life.”
So, a negative person, a negative relationship, some kind of partnership or some sort of hobby or something that isn’t serving you any more, you eliminate it.
Guy Lawrence: Great.
Josh Sparks: And I think that’s … it’s probably not balanced as such, but I’ve really taken his advice to heart and I’ve become a lot less social. Like, if I’m social now, it’s because it’s something I really want to do and it’s people I really care about and they mean a lot to me. I’m not going out through the opening of an envelope or because someone’s throwing a party or whatever.
So, I’m really focused on spending quality time at home with Steph and with the kids. Prioritizing in training. Prioritizing in good eating. Mediation. All that kind of stuff.
But then also recognizing that some days are going to be incredibly stressful, because I’ve chosen to do something that is challenging and I can’t blame anyone else for that. And so, I need to embrace it and work out, “OK, why am I feeling stressed?” Really get underneath the skin of the challenge and how are we going to take this to the next level.
So, I mean, I know I’m skipping ahead to talk about something you often talk about with your guests around favorite books.
Guy Lawrence: Yup.
Josh Sparks: But just on this stress point. A book called “Antifragile.” Have you ever heard of that?
Josh Sparks: So, his surname is: Taleb. And his first name: Nassim. He wrote “The Black Swan.” His background is from … he was a quantitative trader. He made a lot of money out of quant trading on the markets and he’s now basically a fulltime philosopher.
But anyway, the whole “Antifragile” book is written on the idea that systems, be they natural systems; be they the human cellular system; be they economic structures or political structures or whatever. All rely on a certain amount of stress to thrive.
Guy Lawrence: Yup.
Josh Sparks: Got to get the THR1VE word in there again.
Guy Lawrence: Again. We’ve got to make it three by the end of the podcast, mate.
Josh Sparks: Yeah. Yeah.
Not only; there’s a difference between being robust or resilient and being anti-fragile. Robust and resilient means that you absorb the stress and try to maintain stasis. His idea around anti-fragility is that stress makes you stronger.
So, say, for example, you go out and train with weights. All right? And the short term, if we took your blood after doing German volumetric training squats, 10 sets of 10 squats, your bloodwork would be horrendous. And if we showed that do a doctor and didn’t tell them that you’d done 10 rounds of 10 reps on heavy squats, they would probably want to hospitalize you. Your stress markers would be out of control. You’d be showing a whole bunch of damage at the cellular level. Cortisol would be slamming through the roof. Etcetera etcetera.
But next time you come into the gym, provided that you have the right nutrition and adequate amount of rest, you’re going to be stronger.
So, that’s a short-term stress that makes you stronger and more capable of coping with the same stress next time. Everyone understands the weight training analogy, right? But I think Keegan’s point, at least the way I interpret it, is that it’s the same with emotional/intellectual stress as well. If you don’t have at, at least in a way that’s something that you can cope with and doesn’t put you in the ground, and it relates to something that you consider really important, then surely you can overcome it. That stress that seemed completely unmanageable before, we’re good to go and we’re ready to move on to the next level.
So, I know that’s a really long-winded way of answering the question, but…
Guy Lawrence: No, that’s fantastic, and a great analogy. And I know Tony Robbins goes on about exactly the same thing, and he gets you to draw like a stick man on a piece of paper with a circle around it, you know. And that circle is your comfort zone.
And we very rarely go to the edge of that. But he encourages that you go up against it and you push it, but you don’t step outside. So, your stress muscles are being built and then that circle slowly gets bigger and bigger and then as years go by you don’t realize it but you’ve grown tremendously through actual stress. But you only want to take on what you can cope with.
Josh Sparks: Yeah, exactly. You won’t know until you’ve taken it on. And you know that old saying about “bite off more than you can chew and chew like hell.” I think is a part of that with me as well, where I think that, you know, it’s an other terrible cliché but an accurate one. And you guys might relate to this. But if you knew everything about what you were currently doing before you started, you probably wouldn’t have started it, right?
Stuart Cooke: Oh, my God. No way.
Josh Sparks: But you are. And you’re doing really well. You guys are killing it here. You’re moving into the States. And you’ve got a fantastic product. I think you’ve got best-in-class product. And you’re taking it to the world.
So, you know, you wouldn’t have done that if you knew everything. And that’s why sometimes I think it’s better to just leap. You trust your gut. Your intuition says this is gonna work. You know it’s gonna be difficult. But you can probably figure it out along the way. So, just go for it.
Guy Lawrence: I often joke sometimes that being naïve has been my best friend in some respects, because if you have no idea and sometimes you just jump, you just figure it out and then you learn along the way.
Josh Sparks: For sure. And if you don’t; if; the worst-case scenario is that you start again. This is not life-and-death stuff, right? This is about, whether it’s business or a relationship or sport or trying to do a PB in the gym or whatever it is, if you fail, OK. Well, pick yourself up and go give it another shot. I mean, why would you not want to do that?
Stuart Cooke: Exactly right. And life’s lessons, right? You learn from each mistake you make, which makes you stronger or a better person moving forward.
Josh Sparks: I totally agree. It doesn’t make it feel great at the time, always. But it’s the only way to live.
Stuart Cooke: Oh, look, no. I love that. Everything that we do, albeit negative, I want to know: Well, what can I learn from this? What can I do different next time?
Guy Lawrence: And another great tip, I think it was Meredith Loring, when we asked her, she came on the show, and she said, well, the best thing she’s realized is only focus and set goals that are within your control. Like, don’t try and control the uncontrollable and just let it roll and then things will come in time. And she said once she had that shift in the headspace…
Because we think about this with the USA at the moment, it’s probably the biggest decision we’ve ever made to move into an American market. And, you know, I could seriously lose sleep over this if I chose to. But it’s beyond my control, so with Stu and I we just meet up and we just focus on the things that we know we can do, we can control, and the rest is up to fate, to a degree. You do your best and then the rest is just see what happens.
Josh Sparks: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And give yourself the time and the space to figure out along the way. You know, you don’t set yourself crazy goals where you’ve got to conquer the entire market in 12 weeks.
Guy Lawrence: Exactly. Patience has been…
Josh Sparks: Yeah, it’s a tricky one.
Guy Lawrence: It’s massive. It’s everything, almost, to a degree, and then you just, “OK. Let it go.”
But we’ve got a couple of wrap-up questions. I reckon we should just shoot into them. One was the books. So, what books have greatly influenced or make an impact in your life. Are there any others on top of Antifragile?
Josh Sparks: There’s tons.
Guy Lawrence: Give us three.
Josh Sparks: OK. So, OK, this is a little bit off the reservation but Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I read that as a teen and it blew my mind and I think it’s done that generations of guys and gals. And I think probably what I found most entertaining about it was the guy was just such a; there was no rule that he wasn’t comfortable breaking. And of course it’s fictionalized and of course there was an obsessive amount of drug and alcohol abuse going on. So, his particular vehicles for demonstrating his willingness to rebel, we don’t necessarily recommend to all your listeners. But the idea that he was just out to have the adventure of a lifetime and didn’t care what the rules were, I think at a pivotal age to me… Because I was pretty conservative. I was very much; I followed the rules and I was a very good student and all that kind of stuff. And I just did a 180 in my thinking: “Hold on a second. Maybe I don’t have to follow the path that’s been laid out for me. Maybe there’s another way to go about this.”
So, though I hate to recommend it because it’s full of massive powdered drug use, it’s actually a really good book from the perspective of: Let’s think about this differently. Don’t necessarily follow the example, but let’s think differently.
I think the other book that I’d say, apart from all the paleo and primal ones; your audience will be very familiar with those ones. I think Robb’s book; Robb Wolf’s book and Mark Sisson’s book had a huge influence on me.
I think Tim Ferriss is underrated by a lot of people in the paleo and primal community. But I think his work has probably had a greater influence over me in more areas. Because he touches on business and he touches on relationships and he touches on sex and a whole bunch of stuff that the paleo and primal crowd tend to ignore a little bit. And they shouldn’t because they talk about lifestyle but they tend to write primarily about food. So, I found Tim Ferriss’s stuff really good.
The other thing that had a huge impact on me, I went to a Zen school. I lived in London for five years after graduating from uni, and I went to a Zen school very sporadically and it was just, I guess, my first attempt to meditate, really. I heard about this school. And it was in Covent Garden, which you guys obviously know well, and it was this crazy little place where you just sat around and nothing happened. And my first few times, I was like, “What are we going to do? We do we start?” And they were: “It’s done now. You’re finished.”
But there’s a book called “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind” that I read at the time and the idea is that for all of us to try to acquire a beginner’s mind. There’s a quote in there that in the expert’s mind there are very few possibilities. In the beginner’s mind, it’s unlimited, right? So, the smarter we get and the more we know, the more narrow and dogmatic we tend to become. And the whole idea is let go of all that and try to reacquire a beginner’s mind. Come to things fresh with an open mind. And you see things that you otherwise would have missed. So, I thought was a fantastic book.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, that’s an awesome message. Our beliefs shape so many of our judgments moving forward, and you’ve got to avoid that, for sure. Fantastic.
Josh Sparks: You mentioned Tony Robbins before, and I think that Tony Robbins; I went to all his courses. So, when I was living in London, I did the three-day Unleash Your Power. And then I went to Hawaii and did; I can’t remember what it’s called.
Guy Lawerence: Date with Destiny? Did you do that one?
Josh Sparks: Yes. Date with Destiny on the Gold Coast. And one in Hawaii, and I can’t remember, and Financial Mastery I did in Sydney. So, I certainly did them all over the place.
But his stuff is awesome. And it sounds kind of; I don’t know if Hunter S. Thompson and Tony Robbins have ever been mentioned in the same sentence before, from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas to Unleash Your Power. But in their own way, they both challenge us to think differently. To think more creatively and to free your mind.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, “Awaken the Giant Within” had a huge impact on me; that book itself. And I’ve been to a couple of his seminars as well, yeah.
Josh Sparks: He’s here in a few weeks, I think.
Guy Lawrence: We should get him on the podcast, Stu. I’m sure he’ll come on.
Josh Sparks: I think we’re busy, Guy.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, I’m confident of him.
Stuart Cooke: It would be a good get.XX
Guy Lawrence: So, last follow-up question, Josh. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Josh Sparks: Oh, man. I think, wow, you know what? I didn’t expect this one so this is a good surprise wrap-up question.
Guy Lawrence: You’ve had a lot to say up until now and now he’s stumped.
Josh Sparks: Just talk amongst yourselves.
Guy Lawrence: Have you got any fashion tips for Stu?
Stuart Cooke: Don’t hang around with you, mate. Well, maybe that’s the best fashion tip. I just need to hang around with you and suddenly I look hugely fashionable.
Josh Sparks: You guys can keep doing this. This is good.
You know, it’s such a cliché but I think probably my mom. And when I was debating what to do and whether or not I should get out of fashion and do what I really wanted to do, she said, as mothers do, she said: You know your own heart and you’ve got to follow your heart. And it’s so cliché. And I know it’s on a million different Hallmark cards. But when it comes from someone you really respect, who knows you inside-out and backwards and says, “You do know what to do, so just go and do it,” I think that was the best piece of advice I’ve ever had.
Stuart Cooke: Perfect. I thought you were gonna say that your mum told you to eat your greens and that’s how you got where you are today.
Josh Sparks: She did say that as well. That was the second sentence.
Guy Lawrence: So, what’s next for you, mate? You got anything coming up in the pipeline?
Josh Sparks: Yeah, we do. A bit like you guys, we’re looking overseas. But not just yet. We’ve decided after much contemplation, we’ve registered the trademark all over the world, and we bought the trademark in the U.S. But after much thinking about it, we’re going to focus on doing another six to 10 stores in Australia first and just really kind of dial in the model.
So, another six to 10 stores in Australia, we’ve got three lined up in the next 12 months. We might do four; I think probably three. Every four months feels about right. Which feels fast to me, but it’s incredibly slow, as I understand, in our industry. They want you to do 10, 20 a year, franchise, and do all that kind of stuff. And I just want to focus on doing our own stores and getting them right and help seed this conversation that we’ve been talking about: trying to get the follow-up questions asked, trying to get a more nuanced, intelligent conversation around what we do and what you guys do, in our whole community.
So, I think rather than rushing off too soon, because retail takes time to build out, wholesaling, what you are doing, you can grow a little bit faster. I think just focusing on Australia for the next 12 to 24 months. But then I would love to take what we’re doing overseas.
And there’s a raging debate amongst a whole bunch of people who I respect whether that should be U.S. or whether it should be Asia. But some kind of off-shore opportunity. Because the Australian market, ultimately, it’s finite. It’s not huge. And it’s very high-cost for what we do.
So, if we took our exact business model anywhere else in the world, it would instantly be meaningfully profitable because the costs are lower.
Guy Lawrence: Wow.
Josh Sparks: So, I think that’s an exciting opportunity. Because at one point I need to pay everyone back, right?
Guy Lawrence: Just keep borrowing, mate. Just keep borrowing. Just roll with it.
Josh Sparks: The investors want a return at some point. So, I think they have been very supportive of my vision, which is great. But in Australia it’s very difficult to do what we’re doing and make it meaningful for investors.
Australia’s a great place to prove a model and prove a brand. It’s a very difficult place to build a small business. Which is why Australia’s full of these massive XX1:08:14.000 shop places? The cost base is so high.XX
But I love doing it here, and I’d happily do it here forever. But I think to really maximize the impact we want to make, which is the “heart” stuff, and return a meaningful number to my investors who have placed so much faith in what we’re doing, which is sort of the “head” part, going overseas at some point makes sense.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, cool. And, mate, I mean, you have been super successful so far. It’s a fantastic brand and I have no doubt moving forward that you’ll be successful wherever you heart leads you to in those endeavours.
Josh Sparks: Thank you very much. I appreciate it.
Guy Lawrence: For anyone listening to this; obviously they might not be near a THR1VE café but they might like to find out more about you and what you do, where’s the best place to send them?
Josh Sparks: Probably the website, which is Thr1ve.me. Thr1ve with a 1, dot me. And Instagram, which is Thr1ve. Our social media, which is done Steph, my partner, obviously I’m a little bit biased. I think she’s brilliant. So, there’s a really good level, I think, of understanding around what we do that is conveyed through social media.
We’re re-launching our blog. We just sort of got to busy doing the store, so we haven’t really spent enough time on the blog. We’re gonna re-launch that in a few weeks. And in the meantime, there’s some good information on the website as well.
But if you can’t get into a store, the best way to get a sense of what we do is to buy 180 products and read the books that we are talking about and get involved in the community. Because what we’re doing is really, or trying to, hopefully, with some degree of success, distilling a message that we’re all sharing and presenting it in our specific environment, which is the food court and fast-casual restaurant environment.
But you guys can sell over the internet. I can’t send a bowl over the web, unfortunately. But you guys can send protein all over the place.
So, you know, get involved with what you’re doing, which obviously they already are, because they’re watching this podcast. But enjoying your products, reading up on the books, getting involved in the community, trying to spread the word like we discussed in a way that really attracts the unconverted and perhaps those who are a little bit intimidated.
And when they do eventually get to a THR1VE, it’s gonna feel like coming home.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, awesome, mate. Awesome. And we’ll link to the show notes. And just before I say goodbye, I’m going to ask you, you can give me a very quick answer, because we didn’t get to talk about it: Is Mark Sisson coming back to Australia?
Josh Sparks: I certainly hope so. We are not doing THR1VE Me in 2016. We’re going to do it every two years. It turned into a; it was such a massive exercise. I mean, you guys were there. It was great, but it was huge.
Guy Lawrence: It was awesome.
Josh Sparks: I’m really looking forward to doing it again, and Mark’s keen to come back. So, I think realistically for us it will be 2017.
Guy Lawrence: Brilliant. And, yeah, we got to spend some time with Mark and he’s a super nice guy, but also exceptionally fit and walks his talk.
Josh Sparks: Exactly. It’s all about authenticity and integrity.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, yeah. And you need to go and see him once. Like, you need to be there. Awesome. Something to look forward to.
Josh Sparks: Yeah, great. Well, I hope you guys are back. We certainly want you there.
Guy Lawrence: Oh, we’ll be there, mate. Definitely.
Awesome, Josh. Look, thank you so much for your time today. I have no doubt everyone’s gonna get a great deal out of this podcast.
Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on youriPhone HERE.
Can’t stick to your diet or tired of falling off the band-wagon? Sick of procrastination and want to kick some serious goals but not sure how? If you answered yes to any of these then this episode is for you.
Dr Joe Dispenza shares with us his personal journey which is probably one of the most inspiring, humbling and transformational life changing stories you’ll ever hear.
He suffered an horrific bike accident at the age of 23 years, then was left with a choice of major surgery and potentially spending the rest of his days in a wheelchair. The steps he takes and what follows will leave your breathless.
From his remarkable recovery, Dr Joe Dispenza has dedicated the last 25 years to helping others achieve the life they truly want, and it all starts from here… understanding our brain and realising our true potential.
Guy Lawrence: Hi, this is Guy Lawrence and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. We’ve got a fantastic guest in store for you today and his name is Dr. Joe Dispenza. And he’s certainly been a bit of a hero of mine over the years, so, it was just awesome to have him on the show and be able to chat and spend some time with him.
If you’re not familiar with his work, he first sprang onto the scene in 2004 and he was one of the scientists featured in the award winning film “What the Bleep Do We Know!?” Now, if you haven’t seen that, it’s a great place to start and go and check it out.
And then he’s gone on to become a best-selling author. He’s written three books: “Evolve Your Brain” and then followed by “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself.” And his latest book, which is called “You Are the Placebo,” hit the New York Times Bestseller list within a week of its release, back a couple of years ago.
So, already you can start to see what his work will be all about. As a teacher and lecturer, Dr. Joe has been invited to speak in more than 27 countries. You know, how to go on about educating thousands of people and how they can rewire their brains and recondition their bodies to make long-lasting changes. That stuff sounds good to me, I can tell ya.
And as a researcher, Dr. Joe explores the science behind spontaneous remissions and how people heal themselves of chronic conditions and even terminal diseases. And he shares his own personal journey on this as well, which is just fascinating and you don’t want to miss it.
He’s more recently began partnering with other scientists to perform extensive research on the effects of meditation, which during his advanced workshops. And yes, I will be attending his workshop here in Melbourne, next month in June. So, I think it’s June the 19th. So, if you’re hearing this before then and want to come along, it will be definitely awesome to see you there.
We always get asked where’s the best place to start on this, on your health journey, if it all seems a little bit overwhelming. You know, we generally tell people to start with our ebook. It can be downloaded. It’s completely free. It’s 26 pages long, outlining all the principles that we feel you should apply in bringing to your everyday life over time. And that’s on 180nutrition.com.au. Consume that information.
Then we’ve got our nourishing natural superfood plans. What we suggest for them is to actually just replace a bad food choice, you know, when you’re convenient, you’re stuck in a jam.
So, you want something easily to rely on, because we promote the message about just eating real food and being able to cut out as much processed foods as possible and our nourishing superfood blends are a fantastic tool to help you implement and do that.
You know, I mix mine in a smoothie most mornings, with avocado and berries, and that’ll keep me going all morning.
And then the third place, of course, is explore our blog. All the articles and of course these podcasts, where you can listen to on your way to work, you know, walking the dog, whatever it is.
And, yeah, and let us know how do you listen to yours. Are you enjoying them? Give us some feedback. Leave us a review on iTunes. Tell us what you think. We really appreciate it. We’d really love to hear from you. And, yeah, I look forward to it.
So, let’s go over to Dr. Joe Dispenza. You’re going to thoroughly enjoy this.
Stuart Cooke: Brilliant. Look forward to it.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.
Hi, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke, as always. Good morning, Stu.
Stuart Cooke: Hello mate. How are you?
Guy Lawrence: And our fantastic guest today is Dr. Joe Dispenza and I should say, good evening. Welcome to the show.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: Thank you. I’m happy to be with you two.
Guy Lawrence: Really appreciate it, Joe. This is a topic that I’m absolutely fascinated with and very excited about today. I’ve been currently reading your book, “Evolve Your Brain” and actually been mesmerized by your story at the beginning, back from your triathlete days. It’s unbelievable. So, I thought that would be a great place to start and if you’d mind just sharing with our listeners a little bit about what you do and also that story as well, because it’s fantastic.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: Sure. Well, that’s probably the toughest out of my three books to start with, so you’re a brave mate.
Well, I never planned on doing any of this. I never planned on teaching or lecturing publicly, or writing books.
In 1986 I was in a triathlon in Palm Springs, California. I was on the biking portion of the race and I was making a turn and I was passing two bikers on the turn and there was a police officer on the corner and he was pointing at me and he was telling me to make this turn. And as, you know, I passed the two bikers, to merge onto the next road, he had his back to the oncoming traffic. So, when I made the turn a four-wheel drive vehicle, an SUV going very fast, kind of basically catapulted me out of my bike and dragged me down the road a little bit. I wound up breaking six vertebrae and my spine.
When you land that hard on your back or on your butt, the columns of the vertebrae are blocks and when there’s that kind of compressive force they kind of compress. So, I had broken the eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth thoracic vertebrae and the first lumbar vertebrae. And when you compress those vertebrae, bone fragments have to go somewhere and in my case they went back onto my spinal cord.
One of the vertebrae, the eighth thoracic vertebrae, was more than 60 percent collapsed. But the arch, where the spinal cord passes through, broke like a pretzel and so I had cord compression.
So, anyway, a typical surgery in something like that is called the Harrington rod surgery. I had four opinions from four of the leading surgeons in southern California and they were adamant that I should have the surgery.
They basically cut off the back parts of your vertebrae and in my case it would be from the base of my neck to the base of my spine and then screw in these, the stainless steel rods, to kind of cantilever and pull the spinal column off the cord and then take some bone fragments from your hip and paste it over the top and hope for the best.
For me personally it’s just; I just couldn’t make that decision. And after about a week of back and forth, deciding if I should have the surgery, I decided finally to not have the surgery.
And I began this journey, where I just thought that there was some connection between the mind and body and that there’s an intelligence that’s giving us life, that if we could connect with and give it a plan or a template or design and then surrender that creation to a greater mind and allow it to organize it in a way that’s right for us, maybe it could begin to do the healing for me.
And so, I wanted to make contact with this intelligence and I just said, “I’m not going to let any thoughts slip by my awareness that I don’t want to experience.” It sounds really easy when you say it intellectually, but I went through hell because I couldn’t get my mind to do what I wanted it to do. I kept focusing on what I didn’t want to have happen, instead of what I did want to have happening.
Six weeks it took me to finally really settle down and start really noticing some changes and all of a sudden I started to notice that my body started getting better. The moment I noticed those changes I knew that I had done something properly and I just basically made a deal with myself, that if I was ever able to walk again, I’d spend the rest of my life studying the mind/body connection and mind over matter.
I walked back into my life in 10 weeks and was back doing races at 12 and seeing patients.
Guy Lawrence: Twelve weeks.
Stuart Cooke: Wow.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: Wow. That’s a huge decision. I mean, at the time, were you feeling pressure to have the surgery or was it? I mean, it’s …
Dr. Joe Dispenza: Well, this is not any; I would; if I saw those x-rays and I saw the scans and it was a patient of mine, I would have told them to have the surgery. But this was me, you know, and I wasn’t so quick to make that decision.
But, you know, after the fourth opinion from the fourth surgeon, I just realized that I did not want to spend the rest of my life on living on addictive medications or living in a wheelchair and that I was going to roll the dice. I was going to take a chance.
One of the doctors thought I had post-traumatic stress disorder, that I hit my head or something was wrong, because nobody decides against surgery like; with the type of injuries that I had. But I just thought, “Well, I’m going to take a chance.” I think I was young enough and probably innocent enough in a lot of ways and I’m a pragmatist, you know, I believe in practical applications. So, it wasn’t just a philosophy. I just wanted to see if it could work.
Guy Lawrence: Wow. So, with that recovery, was meditation a big part of that?
Dr. Joe Dispenza: Yeah. Yeah
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: You know, if I’m going to make contact with that intelligence that’s keeping our heart beating and digesting our food and organizing all of these functions, it’s giving us life. Consciousness is awareness and awareness is paying attention and so, if this consciousness is giving us life and it’s paying attention to our thoughts and our feelings and our behavior.
So, I reasoned that just like, you know, when you know someone’s present with you or conscious with you, they’re paying attention, that if I was going to really make contact with this intelligence I’d have to close my eyes and eliminate the external environment. I’d have to forget about the pain and paralysis in my body and I’d have to get beyond time and I’d have to start really believing in my inner world more than I was believing in my outer world.
And just like when you know when someone’s present with you, if this consciousness needs direction and it needs orders and it needs a plan and you start you start reconstructing your vertebrae and you start thinking about living in a wheelchair or should you sell your home. The moment you do that, you’ve lost your attention and it’s not a complete image for this intelligence.
So, it would take me three hours every day to reconstruct my vertebrae and that was; I just kept starting and then I would find my mind wandering to other things and I knew that the design wasn’t complete. So, I’d go back and start again and it took me a lot of time to finally really anchor myself into my; into my brain.
Guy Lawrence: Your rhythm. Yeah. That’s just fantastic and inspiring, Joe. Stu, you look like you’re about to say something.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. It’s almost like; we’ve got a question about self-sabotage. You know, where health is concern. Because we deal with lots of people who are trying to get healthy and happy and live long and happy lives. But they’re constantly self-sabotaging and by no; I guess by no fault of their own, but it’s just the way that they’re programmed. You know, they fall off the wagon. You know, they’re smoking, drinking; perhaps they can’t give these things up. Why do we find this so hard?
Dr. Joe Dispenza: Ah, well I can answer that very simply.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: The hardest part about change, without a doubt, and I talk about this in my last book, “Placebo,” the hardest part about change is not making the same choices you did the day before.
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: The moment you decide to no longer think the same way, make the same choice, behave the same way, have the same experience or live by the same emotion, get ready, because it’s going to feel uncomfortable. It’s going to feel unfamiliar. You are stepping into the river of change and the moment people start noticing that it doesn’t feel good, they won’t want to go back to do the very things that make them feel good again. Which is, they want to return back to their same chemical state.
Going from the old self to the new self, crossing that river of change, is the biological, it is the neurological, it is the chemical, it is the hormonal, it is the genetic death of the old self. And most people, they’ll say, “Yeah, yeah. I want to create a new life.” But they cling to the familiar self and its emotion so much, that the moment they stop feeling the same way as they always do, it starts feeling uncomfortable, the body, which is 95 percent of who we are, as the body is the mind, starts to send signals back to the brain, that says, “Start tomorrow. This doesn’t feel right. You’ll never change. It’s too much like …”
Come on, that’s the body sending signals back to the brain. So, that, then the person listens to that voice, that thought, that sub-vocalization, as if it’s true. And that thought will always lead to the same choice, which will lead to the same behavior, which will create the same experience, and it will produce the same feeling and they will say, “This feels right.” No, no, no. That feels familiar.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: And people don’t believe that they can go from here to here, because when they’re in that unknown, when they’re in that void, they can’t predict their future. So, the moment they can’t predict their future, they go back to what they know.
Stuart Cooke: Of course.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: You know, the best way to predict your future is to create it, right? But not in the known, but in the unknown. So, when you get comfortable in the unknown and you’re willing to keep your vision on the other side, whatever that new self is; whether it looks a certain way, whether it feels a certain way, whether there’s a certain amount of success, whatever that model that your brain can create. If you don’t keep that vision alive, and that vision isn’t real, you are going to always return back to the old self. So, self-sabotage really is returning back to what feels familiar, because at least you can predict that. People would rather hold on to their guilt, because if they didn’t feel guilty, they didn’t know who they would be, you know, and it just kind of …
Stuart Cooke: That’s right.
Guy Lawrence: It’s just crazy. A question that popped in then, is that when you’re creating the vision of your future, like, is there like a muscle that you have to train to keep on track, almost having faith that the outcome going to be there? Because …
Dr. Joe Dispenza: That’s a great question. Number one: my definition of faith is just believing in thought more than anything else. Period.
Guy Lawrence: Yup.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: And so, everybody already knows how to do this. I mean, again, I talked about this in my latest book, “The Placebo.” Because you’re either going to be defined by a vision of the future or you’re going to be defined by the memory of the past in the self. So, the old self is connected to the past and so, everybody already knows how to do this.
Everybody has already done something great in their life. And when they’ve done something great in their life, they sat down and they said, “What do I want? Who do I want to be? How can I get there?” And your brain starts creating pictures and images. That’s called an “intention.”
Once you get clear on that intention and the vision gets more real, you start to feel an emotion. You start getting excited and you start getting enthusiastic. You get inspired. It’s that combination of a clear intention and an elevated emotion that begins to cause the body to live in the future, than live in the past. And we’ll talk about this at the event in Melbourne. We go at great lengths to be able to explain this.
So, then, the moment you are in that new state of being, you start thinking about the choices you’re going to make. The things you’re going to do. The experiences that you want and how those feel. You get clear on that vision. And every day, like a garden, you keep feeding it. You keep giving it water. You keep giving it life.
Then there’s times in our life where we say we’re going to do something and we don’t actually succeed at that. And the reason being is because there’s not enough time. We got busy. We got in an argument with somebody. You don’t feel like it. And whenever you use feelings as a barometer for change, we’ll always talk ourselves out of possibility. Because the moment we don’t feel like doing it, we’re returning back to the old self.
So, the person who arrives at their goal, at their vision, it’s because that vision is their compass. That’s where they’re going. And because they can hold that vision clear in their mind, they’re going to make choices consistent with that vision.
They’re also going to get clear on the choices they’re not going to make. They’re going to review the behaviors they’re not going to demonstrate. They’re going to get very, very clear on the experiences they have to stay away from and the emotions that bring them to a lower denominator.
So, we already know how to do this. It’s just that most people get to distracted by meaningless things and then they say, “Ah, well, I’ve got to deal with this.” And then the moment they get emotional and the moment they’ve got to deal with something that’s less important, the vision disappears. Because the very definition of an emotion is: “something from the past.”
So, the moment they feel emotional or upset, they’re looking at their future through the lens of the past and will never see that future any longer.
Guy Lawrence: There you go. Yeah. Stu?
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. It’s fascinating, fascinating stuff. And you mentioned in your book about the placebo and we had a question about the placebo effect and how powerful this can be, because we interviewed a chap last week and he told us a story about; was it a cancer patient, was that, Guy?
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, you’re referring to Jon Gabriel, right?
Stuart Cooke: Yes. Yes, exactly right. So, can you just outline that again, Guy? Just so …
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. So, basically, Jon Gabriel is a gentleman that lost I think over 200 pounds and he gained a lot of weight and then he finally started visualizing the fat falling off him and he actually got back, and he’s got these before and after photos that nobody actually believes are true. They’re that fantastic.
And he was talking about placebo, because he said there were studies with cancer patients. They split the group in half and they gave chemotherapy to only half the group and then a placebo chemo to the other half. And they said, the placebo, 30 percent of them still lost their hair. So, that was kind of wild …
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. So …
Dr. Joe Dispenza: That’s actually not the placebo, that’s called the “nocebo.”
Guy Lawrence: Right, okay.
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: The nocebo is, instead of getting a positive effect from an inert substance, you’re actually experiencing the side effects because you believe you’re going to get the side effects of something that is a drug, but actually is an inert substance.
Guy Lawrence: Right.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: So, there’s also a study that shows that more than 40 percent of people that are on their way to their first chemotherapy treatment and told that they’re going to get nauseous at their chemotherapy treatment. They get nauseous on the drive over to their chemotherapy.
Guy Lawrence: Wow.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: In anticipation of the effect.
Stuart Cooke: So, with that in mind, can we think ourselves healthy, if the mind is that powerful?
Dr. Joe Dispenza: Okay, I’m going to answer it on two levels, okay?
Stuart Cooke: Okay.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: You tell me how you can give someone a sugar pill, a saline injection or perform some false surgery or procedure and a certain percentage of those people will accept, believe and surrender to the thought that they’re getting the real substance or treatment, without any analysis. And they begin to program their autonomic nervous system to make the exact pharmacy of chemicals of the substance that they think they’re taking.
So, is it the inert substance that’s doing the healing or the body’s innate ability? So, think about this.
Guy Lawrence: Wow.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: Eight-one percent of people who are in a depression study that are given a placebo, 81 percent will get better from the placebo. So, they’re making their own pharmacy of antidepressants. More than 50 percent of the people that are in studies for pain, that are being condition and they’re getting saline injections and not having any pain, they’re making their own morphine by thought alone.
So, then, it’s not the substance, it’s not the inert substance that’s doing the healing, the pill represents the potential in the quantum field called “getting healthy.” The moment that person thinks about that possibility of getting better and they combine it with an emotion of gratitude or joy or hope, the combination of the clear intention and the elevated emotion is the exact combination that causes the person to move from living in their past to living in their future.
So, we have done extensive studies to prove that you can heal by thought alone and that’s what the book is about and we teach people how to do it. Because once you understand how the placebo works and you understand the science behind it, why would you need the pill if you could teach the person do the exact same thing?
But instead of putting their faith in something outside of them, to put it inside of them, select a unknown element in the quantum field, revisit that unknown until they make it known and begin to change their biology by thought alone. And we’ve proven with brain scans and everything else that it’s absolutely possible.
So, that’s point number one.
Point number two; think about this. It’s a scientific fact that the hormones of stress push the genetic buttons that create disease. That’s facts. Seventy percent of the culture lives in stress the majority of their time.
So, now, it’s a fact then that you can begin to think about your problems, you can think about something that happened in your past or you can worry about something in your future and you can turn on the stress response just by thought alone.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: So, if you turn on the stress response just by thought alone and the hormones of stress can make you sick, then your thoughts can make you sick. So, if it’s possible that your thought can make you sick, is it possible that your thoughts can make you well?
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: That’s the same exact thing.
Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. And I watched one of your TEDx talks and I think the term was meta-cognition, where you were then thinking about the situation that you were in and how you were responding and that was having a dramatic effect on the way that your body perceived the situation, as well.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: Sure. I mean, think about this. The concept of metacognition means that you can think about what you are thinking about. You can observe how you’re acting. You can pay attention to how you’re feeling. And because of the size of the frontal lobe, 40 percent of our brain, that’s the crowing achievement of the human being. That’s the observer. That’s the creative center.
The fact that you can observe that means that you’re no longer the self. It means your conscience is observing the self. And because that ability allows us to modify who we are, so that we can do a better job the next time. Which means if you’re not modifying your behavior to do a better job the next time, then you’re clearly not evolving and you’re acting more animal and less divine. Yeah?
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: So, how can we; with so many distractions going on in the world, right, you know, everywhere you go you’ve got distractions bombarded at you; so, how can you practice and truly remain present in the moment with so many interruptions happening? You know, I think, like there’s so many people, and I catch myself drifting all the time, half the time I say, “Whoa. Come back. Be present. Be here now.” You know, it’s very difficult.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: So, I’m so glad that you’re coming to the workshop, Guy, because you will not leave that workshop without knowing how to be present. It turns out that paying attention is being present and it’s a skill, just like golf or tennis. The more you practice it, the better you are at it.
Now, your brain’s job is to create coherence between what’s going on in your outer world and what’s going on in your inner world. That’s the brain’s job.
So, you’ve got technology, you’ve got school, you’ve got demands, you’ve got all these things. You’ve got clients. All these things are happening and your brain is trying to create balance between everything that’s going on and control it.
Well, that’s fine if you’re living your life and you’ve got a lot of activities, but if you keep doing that over a period of time, you will shorten your attention span, because that’s what a habit is.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: You keep practicing something over and over again, your attention span will get shorter and shorter, because that’s what you’re doing.
In order for you to truly make an impression in changing your biology by thought alone, the first step is becoming present. And we teach our students, without a doubt, how to find what we call the “sweet spot” of the generous present moment. And if you keep practicing it, sooner or later you will know when you’re there and when you’re not. And if you keep practicing that, it should become a skill just like golf or tennis.
Guy Lawrence: Got it.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: Or it should come as natural as it is to lose your attention span.
Guy Lawrence: Okay.
Stuart Cooke: Are these practices applicable to children, because children now are being born into a world with a billion distractions.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: Yeah. I mean, I just did an interview today talking about children and their brains are so neuroplastic. I have a problem with technology and children, because it turns out that when children play a video game, or they blow up somebody in the video game or they conquer a whole nation or they break through the next level. The moment they do that, their brain releases enormous amounts of dopamine and dopamine is the pleasure chemical.
So, when you release all this dopamine into the brain, the release of that much dopamine begins to desensitize the receptor sites in the brain. Which means, the next time they play they have to play a little longer or play a little harder, because it takes more dopamine the next time you turn on the receptor sites.
So, over time we start recalibrating the pleasure centers to a higher level and in the absence of that stimulation children can’t find pleasure in anything. It’s called anhedonia.
So, you say to the kid, “Hey, why don’t you go take the dog for a walk,” or, “We’re going to see your grandmother.” or “Hey, let’s go watch the sunset.” and they say, “Boring.” You know, because why? Because they had just over-stimulated their brain to such a degree that in the absence of that stimulation they can’t get their brain to turn on.
Now, when you’re talking about learning, now in a school setting, learning should be a reward in and of itself. But if the child’s brain has been over-stimulated, and they can’t get their brain to work when they’re in class, they will act out or get in trouble, because that’s the only way they’ll get their brain to turn on, because the rush of adrenaline begins to wake their brain up.
Well, in the end, if you keep turning on those adrenal mechanisms, the blood flow goes to the hindbrain instead of the forebrain and you wind up with attention problems and learning problems.
And so, I’m not a big fan of technology when it comes to video gaming, because if you look at a kid and you see them video gaming, they’ll have this kind of withdrawn look on their face because their brain is way out of chemical balance.
And so, when we fast-forward 20 years later and the child now has to face some rough emotional conditions in their life and they don’t know how to work with their own emotional state, they’re going to look for something outside of them to change how they feel inside of them. And that’s when addictions start to become trouble.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Wow.
Stuart Cooke: That’s fascinating. Wow. Atari have a lot to answer for in my childhood, that’s all I can say.
So, I know we’re pretty tight on time, I just wondered if you could just give us a little insight into your workshops that Guy’s fortunate enough to be attending.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: Sure. I mean, I only go where I’m invited and the reason that I’m doing workshops pretty much right now around the world is because I think it’s a time in history where it’s not enough to know. I think it’s a time in history to know how. And after the movie “What the Bleep” the most common question I was asked over and over again is: “Great information, but how do you do it?”
So, we teach these workshops around the world where people retreat from their lives for a couple of days. They remove the constant stimulation in their external environment that reminds them of who they think they are. They separate themselves from the people they know, the places they know, the things they do at the exact same time, long enough for them to learn vital information about possibility.
So, we combine principles of quantum physics, neuroscience, psychoneuroimmunology, epigenetics, to show people how they can take their power back and begin to produce greater effects in their own lives and their brain and in their life.
So, we teach quite a bit of techniques for them to really begin to make those changes. In the workshop I’m doing in Melbourne in June, those people will learn quite a bit and they’ll have plenty of opportunity to practice all the things that we teach.
Nothing in my workshops are left to conjecture or dogma or superstition. There’s all scientific basis behind it
Stuart Cooke: Right.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: Because once people understand what they’re doing and why they’re doing it, the “how” becomes easier and they can assign more meaning behind it.
After the event in Melbourne, for those people we’re doing an advanced workshop on the …
Guy Lawrence: The Sunshine Soast.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: The Sunshine Coast and I’m bringing my team of scientists. We’re going to measure brain wave function. We’re going measure heart rate variability. We’re going to be measuring the energy of the room and the energy around people’s bodies and we’re going to show how powerful they are, because we want people to see that if you walk in one way, you can walk out another way.
Guy Lawrence: That’s fantastic. I’m so excited. I’m really looking forward to it and I think it’s June the 19th, the one in Melbourne I’m going to. So, if you’re listening to this before, then definitely come and check it out.
Look, a couple of other questions that occurred to me before we wrap it up. One is the discussion with, when it comes to athletes, because we actually deal; our podcasts gets listened by a lot of people that do CrossFit and elite end performance. And there’s always just slight variables that seem to cut between first, second, third, fourth, fifth; like, these guys are so phenomenal.
From your experience and what you know, the power of thought and attention applied there, like how much of that would that play in outcome of the; between winning and coming in second, do you think?
Dr. Joe Dispenza: It has everything to do with the outcome. It does. We can; I’ve worked with so many professional athletes and I can show you that you can take a person who’s never played the piano before and you can teach them one-handed finger exercises, scales and chords. They can practice for two hours a day for five days and at the end of five days you can scan their brain and they’ll have new circuits that grow on their opposite side of the brain.
It makes sense. You learn something new. You make new connections. You get some instruction. You get your body involved. Experience enriches the brain. You pay attention to what you do. You have to pay attention, repeat it. You’re going to grow new circuits on the opposite side of the brain.
Well, you can take another person, have them close their eyes and mentally rehearse playing those scales and chords for two hours a day for five days. At the end of the five days, their brain is going to look like they’ve been playing the piano for five days and they never lifted a finger.
Now, what that means is, their brain is beginning to change and they’re beginning to install the hardware in their brain to look like their experience has already happened. In other words, you’re changing your brain to do the activity better.
You take that person that’s never played the piano, you put them in front of the piano and they can play the piano, because now the hardware program is turning into a software program.
Why is that important for athletes? Because the more circuits you have in place, the more you can get your behaviors to match your intention. Point number one.
Point number two: You can take a group of people and you can have them pull a spring for an hour a day for four weeks. At the end of four weeks, 30 percent increase in muscle strength. You know the physiology behind that?
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: Muscles will break down and they grow back bigger. Proteins change.
You can take another group of people and have them close their eyes and mentally rehearse pulling that spring and saying “harder, stronger,” never lifting a finger. At the end of four weeks they have 22 percent increase in muscle strength just by thought alone.
Stuart Cooke: Oh, wow.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: So, the body begins to respond to the mind by mental rehearsal.
So, we work with; I don’t care if they’re Tour de France cyclists or professional golfers, the mental game in rehearsing the activity; rehearsal begins to align the brain and body into the future.
And any great athlete will tell you, when they are getting ready for an activity, they’re reviewing what they’re doing enough times and when they get in there, they’re no longer thinking about what they’re doing, they’re going to let their body take over, because their brain and body have been primed into the activity.
Guy Lawrence: There you go. That’s fantastic. And would you sit there and mediate on that and just visualize it over and over, I’m thinking? Or would that be something you just run over your head as you’re …
Dr. Joe Dispenza: Oh, no, I mean, there’s a CrossFit activity and you’re doing pull ups or you’re doing clings or whatever it is. The more the person can rehearse lifting that weight and begin to feel how much it’s going to weigh and what’s going to happen if their body wobbles and how they have to straighten it out and how they have to set themselves and you can take them through every single step. Pause. Breathe. Hold. Now exert. Come on keep exerting. And you get the person involved in it mentally; they will get their behaviors to match their intentions when they actually do the activity, because they’re loading the brain and body for the event.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fantastic. That’s just fantastic.
And just to wrap it up, we actually ask a question to all our guests that come on every week and the one question is, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Dr. Joe Dispenza: The best piece of advice?
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: Without a doubt, we’re a work in progress; make time for yourself. If you don’t make time for yourself, no one else will.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: XXunintelligibleXX [:34:20.1] with us all.
Stuart Cooke: That makes sense.
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely. And if anyone listening to this that wants to get obviously more of Dr. Joe Dispenza, where would be the best place to send them, Joe?
Dr. Joe Dispenza: Ah, just my website: DrJoeDispenza.com. I mean we have all our events and all the resources and everything we’re doing pretty much around the world.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic and we’ll put links to all the show once we get this transcribed so people can read it as well and we’ll push this out and hopefully see a few more people come down in Melbourne as well.
Fantastic. Really appreciate your time, Joe. That was awesome.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: Yeah. A pleasure meeting you guys.
Stuart Cooke: Thanks, Joe.
Guy Lawrence: Thank you. Bye, bye.
Dr. Joe Dispenza: All right. Keep up the good work.
Imagine living the lifestyle of Jordan Belfort of the Wolf of Wall Street… it would be no surprise if you didn’t last to long! That’s how our special guest for the show this week, Tom Cronin once lived. He openly shares with us how this lifestyle led to depression, anxiety and ill health whilst being told he can’t be cured and would need anti-depressants. Tom searched for other means and found meditation, and he hasn’t looked back since.
Tom Cronin Full Interview
Discover why 24,000 people have empowered themselves with our free eBook:
Tom Cronin is the founder of the Stillness Project. He has been teaching meditation for many years now and has inspired thousands of people all over the world as a teacher, author and keynote speaker to unlock peoples stillness and calm with meditation.
He has been featured on national TV in Australia, The Sydney Morning Herald, Huffington Post and Vogue magazine to name a few.
In this episode we talk about:-
Yes, people out there live like Jordan Belfort did!
The one style of mediation that Tom now uses for effectiveness
What meditation is and where it originated
How to quieten a really busy mind
Why stress can be so damaging and how to overcome it
How to start a daily meditation practice when it feels all too hard
Enjoy the interview or got any questions for Tom or us? We’d love to hear them in the comments below… Guy
Hey, this Guy of 180 Nutrition and welcome to the Health Sessions. You know, we cover a lot of subjects on our podcast, obviously, regarding health and most of it revolves around nutrition and a little bit about exercise. But one thing we’ve been keen to delve into as well is, obviously, the power of the mind and stress and how that can affect the body as well.
And so we’re very excited to have Tom Cronin on the show today talking about meditation, something that I grapple with a lot and it doesn’t come easy to me. So, we are very excited to have Tom on.
Now, Tom has been teaching meditation for many years. He’s inspired literally thousands and thousands of people all over the world as a meditational teacher and author and a keynote speaker. And he’s all about unlocking people’s stillness and calmness with meditation. He’s a fantastic guy, too.
He’s featured on the national TV for Australia, Sydney Morning Herald, Huffington Post, and Vogue magazine as well, to name a few.
Tom has an amazing story, too. He was a bonds trader in his early 20s and earning a massive amount of money and he said he’d compared his life very similar to the Wolf of Wall Street. So, you can only imagine he wasn’t going to last too long living that lifestyle. And, yes, he burnt out and then turned to meditation and has been teaching that for over 10 years.
So, I’m sure you’re going to get a massive amount out of this today, just as much as myself and Stu did.
If you are listening to this through iTunes, please leave a review. It takes two minutes to do. We know we’re reaching a lot of people out there, and, yeah, any feedback, fantastic. And the iTunes reviews help us get found easier and help us continue to get this good word out there of all the work we do. And, of course, come over to our website, 180Nutrition.com.au. We’ve got heaps of free stuff on there, too, and massive more amount of resources to help you get fitter and healthier every day. So, anyway, let’s go over to Tom, and enjoy the show. Awesome. Let’s get into it, hey?
Yeah, let’s do it! Guy
So, I’m Guy Lawrence. I’m joined by Stuart Cooke, as always. Hey, Stewie.
And our awesome guest today is Mr. Tom Cronin. Tom, welcome.
Hey, everyone. Great to be here.
Fantastic. I’m very excited about this topic today. It absolutely fascinates me. But before we dig into the world of meditation, because I know Stewie’s keen on this one, too, can you share us your journey to what led you to being heavily involved in medication? Because it’s an awesome, inspiring story, I think.
Yeah. People seem to like this story. You know, the story started a long time ago, actually, when I was in finance. I started out as a broker when I was 19 years old and I just walked in off the street, basically, was looking for a job before I went to uni and didn’t really expect to be in finance at all.
I was gonna be a journalist, the Macquarie Uni, I had a few months to fill in before I went off to do my degree. And, you know, this was back in the late ’80s and the finance industry was booming. I was the old Gordon Gekko Wolf of Wall Street type. You know, you hear of Bonfire of the Vanities and Masters of the Universe and they were really expanding the bond market. And I took a job as a trainee.
It was crazy times, you know? I was on really big salaries really quickly. They gave us corporate expense accounts where we just basically were told, “Take clients out.” Which, our clients were the bankers. The traders. And our job was to basically entertain them and inspire them to do business with you. And our job was to XXclear their risk 0:03:41.000XX in the day and there was like a lot of turnover, you know, multiple millions and billions of dollars worth of bonds.
And I was young, you know, and we were just like young kids off the block doing crazy stuff. So, if anyone’s seen Wolf of Wall Street, the movie, it was literally like that. It was really, seriously like that. He started in 1987, the same year as me. He was 22. I was 19. We both started in 1987, and it was crazy times. We were doing crazy things.
And what happened with me successively over the years was I went further down that path of doing crazy stuff and getting way off track. And that let to symptoms.
Any time you start doing things that aren’t really aligned with natural law or aligned with harmony and peace, then you’re gonna get symptoms like the little red light on the dashboard. And I started getting insomnia and anxiety and then, you know, I kept doing the same thing over and over again. Eventually it really exacerbated into these full-blown panic attacks and depression.
And, again, I still didn’t stop. I was still doing the same thing. You know: doing some crazy stuff. I don’t want to go into too much detail. But, you know, let’s just say there was very little sleep, lots of late nights, and really high-energy work. And then that manifested further because, you know, the symptoms will just exacerbate if you don’t change tack.
And I kept doing the same thing and eventually I got agoraphobia. So, I couldn’t leave the house. I was just like ridiculous fear and panic and depression and I was a basket case.
I managed to get out of the house and down to the doctor’s, one day where I was having, like, a full-blown meltdown, and the doctor said, “Look. This is what’s happening. You need to take pharmaceuticals, we’ll send you to the top psychiatrist. And I went into the top psychiatrist and, to be honest with you, I wasn’t impressed. His diagnosis was, “Hey, you’re a stressful person by nature. We need to put you on antidepressants.”
I didn’t buy that. It was something in me. I didn’t know anything about what was happening to me, but I just didn’t buy that diagnosis. It was the most demoralizing thing I’d ever heard in my life, to be honest with you.
And I kind of was, like, sentenced to a lifetime of antidepressants. Now, I just didn’t feel like that was right. So, I started looking into alternatives. And, you know, I just knew I had to start doing something with my mind. And I knew some mind control was needed. So I looked into meditation. I didn’t know anything about meditation, but I just, back in those days, there was no internet. This was in 1996. And I had to get the big yellow pages book out, you know? We use these as door stoppers to stop the wind from shutting the front door.
So I’m going through the yellow pages looking for meditation. And I just rang all these different numbers. And went to different XX???? talks 0:06:11.000XX and different sessions and eventually I just found one that I really connected with. It was very science-based. It was very quick. Very powerful. Very effective.
So, that’s really what I did is I learned that technique of meditation. It was like a XXVedic meditation 0:06:25.000XX; transcendental meditation style. That’s what I’ve been teaching that same technique for the last many, many years now and practicing that technique for the last 18 years.
Did you have to hit rock bottom before you started looking into alternative means? Like, is that a normal case scenario?
Only for stubborn, pig-headed people like myself. I’m a Scorpio so it’s my natural nature to be stubborn and pig-headed and, you know, most people ideally wouldn’t want to have to get to that point.
And, you know, we can get hints. We can get little hints, little guidance, from our body, from nature. Little messages come through each day. But, you know, for me, I was just ignoring them, that’s all. I was given those hints years before. And I could have done something different, but like Einstein’s definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over again expecting different a different result. And eventually I got insanity.
But, you know, that was the best thing for me. I was the sort of guy who had to get really slapped in the face for me to listen.
But you knew they were warning signs at the time? So, you just, like, “Well, whatever.” Just brush it off?
I thought it was normal to lie in bed two hours before falling asleep and then wake up at 3 a.m. in the morning, wide awake, with insomnia. You know, I just lived with that for years.
Going home at 3, 4 in the morning, guys around me, colleagues, sleeping under the desk and wearing the same clothes the next day at work because they’ve been at a bar or nightclub; strip club, whatever, until 4 or 5 in the morning, going to work for two hours, XXsleeping 0:08:00.000XX, and start the day again. Well, that was normal for us.
So, for everyone out there that isn’t completely familiar with meditation, what; how would you define meditation and where did it originate from? Tom
That’s a good question. Where it originated from, we’ll start with that one. I mean, no one; it’s just so far back that no one really can definitively say. I mean, a lot of the origins are looking like India. I mean, to honest with you, I’m not an authority on the origins of meditation, but it looks like it has come from, you know, thousands and thousands of years ago. I mean, I’ve got texts like the Bagavad Gita was supposedly written somewhere around between 2000 B.C. and 5000 B.C. And they start the Bagavad Gita talking about, you know, ancient times. You know? That they were using these practices.
So, it could go back as far as 10,000 years. They would talk about enlightened ages and golden ages, XXaudio problem 0:09:03.000XX of enlightenment. Many, many thousands of years ago.
And, like quite often happens, knowledge gets lost. It gets diluted as it gets passed down. And so it eroded.
But, you know, that’s looking like the origins of this sort of style. And for meditation, it really can be so diverse. You know, I practice a particular style of meditation using mantras. And what I do is, to make things simple for people, I condense it down into four distinct categories.
And you’ve got concentration meditations where almost you’re putting mindfulness in this category, when you’re using your mind to concentrate, focus on one particular point. And it’s about honing that attention into one specific target, which might be a breath, it might be a third eye, it might be a candle. Whatever it is.
Then you’ve got the contemplation meditation. So, this is where you’ve got some guidance going on. You’ve got someone taking you through a sequence, someone talking to you, someone really in the background or some music in the background doing something for you; going through your chakras.
So, in the contemplation, you’re still engaged in the mind. The mind is still active. There’s still movement within the mind. There’s still fluctuations. And because of that, there’s still going to be fluctuations within the body and movements within the body.
And you’ve got chanting meditations, which are like chanting things out loud: XX“om dimashiba, om dimashiba, om dimashiba, hari hari om, hari hari om, hari hari om.” 0:10:30.000XX
Chanting meditations, they can be sort of bringing the attention down to a single point by saying something out loud. There’s still activity. You’re verbalizing something. You’re thinking something. There’s some movement. There’s some movement going on.
Something that sprang to mind, it might seem like a big question: What’s the purpose of the outcome of meditations? It is simply to still the mind?
You know, it can come from so many different things. It can have so many different objectives. And it’s going to depend on each individual person. Someone might want to have a connection to God. I can have four people come to me on a weekend course and say, “I just want to get rid of anxiety.” One might say, “I just want to sleep better.”
One might say, “I want to experience my higher self.” One might say, “I want to dissolve my ego and become one with the field of the cosmos.” I can teach all four of them the same course, slightly skew the dialogue, and they will all get exactly what they were looking for.
There you go.
And you can have someone start with, take for me, personally, my example: I started wanting to get rid of anxiety and depression. So, there was a pain point I wanted to be removed. Like, a splinter is in my foot. I wanted to tend to that and get the point out.
But now, after 20 years, my purpose of meditation isn’t to get rid of anxiety/depression. That went after weeks. Now, why do I meditate? Why do I sit down each day to meditate? To me, it’s the experience, the oneness, the feeling of oneness to merge with that cosmos. To merge with that universality. To experience the ultimate essence and define my ultimate truth. And to remove the layers of illusion and ignorance.
There you go. That’s very different than just removing anxiety, isn’t it?
Do you think everybody should be meditating, Tom?
That’s a really good question. I think everyone would benefit from meditating, absolutely. I think the planet would be an incredibly different place if we all meditated. And that’s my goal. My inspiration is to inspire one billion people to meditate daily.
I know we’d have a lot less angst, a lot less suffering, a lot less fear, a lot less anger, if we were meditating. But I don’t believe in “shoulds” or “shouldn’ts.” It’s something that we need to find our own way.
So, where would be the best place to start if you were completely new to the concept of meditation. What would I do? Where would I go?
Just give me a call.
We’ll put your local number on the site.
Don’t do that! There’s so many different ways to start. You know, some people say, the technique that I teach, they think it’s an intense practice, because it’s all about transcending. And this is one of the four ones that I didn’t get to finish. There was the three categories that I gave you: concentration, contemplation, chanting. But the fourth one is the one I’ve been doing for 20 years, and it’s a very different practice. And it’s a transcending style meditation using mantras.
You know, these mantras are repeated internally, quietly inside your head. And the mantra is like the carrot in front of the donkey. It’s a very effective mechanism to still the mind because the natural soothing quality of that sound.
And once we understand the nature of the mind, you’ll understand why this meditation technique is a very effective style of meditating, because the mind is always looking for something that’s charming.
The mind is like a little kid, right? You put a little boy, 4 years old, in the corner and he will get bored very quickly. Because he’s looking for something to entertain him. He’s fascinated by things. He wants to explore. And so that will boy will get bored of sitting still and he will start to wander.
And that’s like the mind. It will get bored of sitting still and it will start to wander, because it’s looking for something charming, and thinking is an incredibly charming proposition for the mind.
But when we introduce a sound to repeat effortlessly over and over again, the mantra, the mind finds this really charming. It’s so fascinating. We call these bija mantras, b-i-j-a, and they’re seed mantras that take the mind away from the gross expressed state down into the subtler states. And the mind will do that because of the natural charming quality of those mantras.
And eventually the mind will transcend thought altogether. And when the mind transcends thought, that is the mind has now gone to a place where it’s conscious and awake, but there’s no more fluctuations of the mind.
And the reason the mind will go there and stay there is because it’s found the ultimate source of bliss and charm, and that’s what we call true consciousness.
The chatter stops.
The chatter stops.
Is that like; I’ve read that it’s just like a muscle. Is it that like a daily practice thing that you have to do to get better at it?
No. No. I’ve had people start transcending in the first week. If you were doing concentration meditation, that is a muscle that you need to flex. That will require effort. When you’re lifting a weight, which is a good analogy, thanks for using that; when you’re lifting a weight, you need to develop a muscle so that you can lift that weight more easily. And the same thing with concentration is that you’re forcing something to do something that it doesn’t want to do. The mind does not want to stay still, and you need to use force and a concentration meditation to get that mind to do something that it’s not trained to do or doesn’t want to do. Just as lifting the weight is a force. It’s a friction.
But in transcending style meditations, we don’t use force, we don’t use effort, we don’t try. It’s actually the complete opposite. It’s a gentle idea that we entertain inside our mind. We’re happy to surrender that mantra at any given point in time, because when the mind gets close to transcendence, it will go, “I don’t need this mantra anymore. I found something even more entertaining than the repetition and sound, and that’s pure consciousness. It’s so beautiful. It’s so blissful. I’ll just be residing here in this nectar of oceanic awareness.”
“Well, I certainly want some of that.”
Well, that does sound very appealing.
Yeah. It’s; there’s this beautiful realm that people don’t know exists behind the mind. You know, I just had a group of people from all over the world: Colombia, Brazil, Canada, USA, England, Australia, on retreat in Maui. They’d never meditated before, most of these people. And they were immersing themselves in such mind-blowing richness and beauty and glory and magnificence. There were realms that they were accessing they never knew existed before. And that’s because we used a simple vehicle, which is the mantra, to get into that space.
Like, because you, Stu, you admitted yourself, you’ve got a very active mind, right?
Stuart Cooke: I have such a busy mind. Like, such a busy mind. It doesn’t switch off, you know. I can wake up at 3 o’clock in the morning and I feel like I’ve just come out of a board meeting. I’m wired, thinking about a billion things.
And, you know, I have given meditation a go. But, crikey, it’s like I’m sitting in a cinema and everyone’s talking at the same time. You know, I really, really, really struggle. And so, you know, where would I go, because I’m guessing you’ve probably dealt with a billion people like me.
Yeah. Again, it comes back to, you know, what do you want to experience? You can start with simple apps like, you know, there are some apps out there where you can do some guided meditations. But, for me, personally, you can fluff around at the edges, dither and dather for 12 months, 24 months, trying meditations that are gonna be really difficult and really challenging, you’ll not really feel like you’re getting anywhere.
Or you can cut straight to the chase and do the meditation that I suggest that everyone should be doing, and it’s probably the most popular meditation that’s spreading across the world. It’s the one Oprah does. It’s the one Hugh Jackman does. The one Ellen DeGeneres does. It’s the one I’ve been doing for 20 years.
Why have I been doing it for 20 years? Because I’ve done all the research, I’ve tried all the meditations, for me, personally, and it’s not for everyone. Some meditations are gonna be better for other people, but for me personally, and for the students I’ve taught, I’ve never seen better results than the technique I teach. And that’s a transcending style meditation using mantras.
Now, if you’re telling me, “Look, Tom, I want to go off into a monastery in the Himalayas for the next 15 years. I don’t want to have to talk to anyone. I don’t want to be successful. I don’t want to have to have a girlfriend. I don’t want to have a mortgage. I don’t want to be dynamic. What do you suggest I do?” I’d say, “Don’t do my meditation.”
Because when you do this meditation, you will be so; you will start to become so successful and so drawn to doing amazing things in the world. This is an integrative meditation practice. You’ll get creative impulses that will blow you away where you’re, like, “God, I just can’t believe I had that idea. I’ve got to go and do something about that.” Whereas the renunciant concentration meditations are much more conducive to concentration meditations and much more conducive to that.
I just want to be; I want solitude. I want stillness. I want silence. I want to recluse from the world. And there’s something really beautiful about that practice. I don’t think it’s for you right now, personally, but if you wanted to do that, I would recommend a concentration meditation.
And so it really depends what you want out of life, where you want to go, what you’re trying to achieve. If you want to dissolve stress, trying to sit in a chair and focus on your chakras, it’s going to be really hard work. With that said, focusing on your chakras is a really good meditation. But if you want to remove stress, you need to get deep levels of rest where your mind has become still, and metabolically your body’s dropped into a state of rest that’s equivalent to four times deeper than sleep. Then you need to do the transcending style meditations; the ones I teach.
You’d better do it, Stu.
Well, I’m sold. Crikey.
You quickly mentioned chakras as well. Can you explain what that term means?
Yeah. I mean, we have many, many chakras through the body but we have seven main chakras. You’ve got your third eye, your throat, your crown chakra, your heart chakra, solar plexus. In every chakra, and then your base chakra. And so we’ve got all these different points, I guess, energy points, that are through our body and certain practices of meditation are about putting your attention on those energy points and clearing that point and seeing that it’s awakened.
In our world that we’re in in Sydney here and Western lifestyle, we’re quite dominant in our base chakra. So, the base chakra is all about survival, it’s about procreation, it’s about money. And that’s why we have a very grounded base chakra based, sort of focusing on XXtech? Tax? (audio glitch) 0:21:17.000XX and money so much in our lives. Whereas things like a heart chakra, where we just love unconditionally, we just love so openly, without fear, without conditions. It’s a totally different experience.
So, we don’t have very open heart chakras. Our crown chakra, our third eye chakra, is quite closed, because of stress and the nature of being obsessed about the base chakra.
So, for me, I was very base chakra dominant for a long time of my life. It’s taken me a long time to start opening up the other chakras. But, you know, I don’t teach a lot around that. It’s not my sort of niche. But it’s just something I’m aware of.
Guy Lawrence: A thought popped in as well, just we’re rewinding back a bit with the meditation. Like, if there’s somebody listening to this and, you know, the idea of meditation’s great, yeah, I want to do it. But, like you said, every time they go to sit down they get flustered and just move on.
And so, like, looking at it from a nutritional aspect, we hold clean eating workshops. And yet, even though we’re trying to teach people how to eat for life, we embrace them in a 30-day challenge. And we say, “Guys. Start with 30 days, commit to 30 days, and hopefully you’re gonna change enough habits to then go on and start eating better for your life.” You know? Could that work the same with your course of meditation, if we said, like, “Let’s do a 30-day challenge and then let’s see how we feel after that.” And then hopefully we’re gonna get the bug and, you know, keep going. Tom
Yeah. Look, it’s interesting when you bring the word “challenge” and meditation together. I do have a 21-day program, which is my online meditation program. But I really like to let people do their own research. And I think that’s ultimately the best way for people to get results is that I’m gonna teach you a technique and this technique is gonna really change your life quite quickly. You’re gonna notice significant differences.
Now, a student said to me, “Oh, I dropped off my meditation. I’ve really noticed a difference.” I said, “Great. That’s fantastic. I’m happy that you dropped off your meditation, because now you have relativity and you can see through your own personal research what life’s like when you meditate and what life’s like when you don’t meditate.”
Now, if life’s better when you meditate, there’s your research. And if you don’t want to do it after that, then that’s fine. But you’d ask yourself why would you not want to do it. Stuart
I think that answers my geek question, because I was going to ask how I could measure the effectiveness of it, either through. . .
Yeah, it’s a good question. The difference will be for different people; the measurement for different people. Like, for me, what I noticed was I started sleeping immediately, as opposed to waiting one to two hours. That was the immediate effect within the first few days was that I would fall asleep when I put my head on the pillow. I thought, “Wow! That’s insane. I never had that for 10 years.”
Other people might go, “I get this euphoria. I get this blissfulness.” Other people I know, they started crying, because they were releasing emotions of sadness that were in their body. There’s a lot of purification that goes on when you start meditating.
So, the effectiveness of it will depend upon that person, the stress that’s in that individual, the stress that needs to come out of that individual, some get heightened euphoria, some get sexually aroused, some get the ability to sleep really well, some just feel light and blissful. Some feel quite uncomfortable, because they might have a lot of stuff inside, a lot of anger that they haven’t released. It’s sort of, “ahhhh,” coming out.
Just a release.
Yeah. Usually, the effectiveness will be measured by the sensations that they’re getting.
I guess everyone’s different so you will know if you feel different.
Yeah, absolutely. I had one client just recently that, there as a couple, a married couple, and they both learned with me. And the wife was just, like, “Oh, my God! This is amazing. I can’t believe it. This is like the best thing I’ve ever done. I just can’t believe how incredible I feel.” That was, like, two weeks later. The husband was completely the opposite. He was like down in the dumps, angry with the world, bitching and just gnarly as all heck. And I had a session with him and what had happened was that this person, all their life, had never been able to find their voice. I mean, just being pushed and shoved and accepted that. And meditation says, “That’s not your truth.”
And if that’s not your truth, you need to find your truth. And all of a sudden all that anger and all that being oppressed all his life, as a kid, was coming out. And so his experience was totally different. And yet they were doing exactly the same technique and the same course.
How much do you think stress affects our health, then, Tom? I mean, obviously you’ve been through a lot of stress. There’s a lot of stressed people out there. A lot of people holding things in, exactly like you said. And now they’ve got their voice. I mean, do you think that directly affects people’s health in a big way?
Yeah. I mean, Bruce Lipton, who’s the professor at Stanford University Medical School, he said in one of his papers that 95 percent of all sickness is a product of stress. And you can put that down to impaired vision; not eyesight, but impaired vision, awareness, in making poor decisions.
Because when you’re stressed, your brain operates in a completely different way. You go from being intuitive and creative and wise to just operating from primal survival. When you’re stressed, your metabolic rate changes. Your blood pressure changes. Your cholesterol levels change. I mean, when you’re stressed, everything becomes imbalanced. Everything becomes enormous. I’d say stress is one of the biggest killers we’ve got in our society. And the biggest negative impacts.
Because when you’re stressed, what do you do? You start drinking alcohol. When you’re stressed, you start smoking cigarettes. When you’re stressed, you start taking drugs. When you’re stressed, you eat shit food. I mean, it affects us in every single way in our life.
So, what specific factors do you think, Tom, would inhibit meditation? I’m thinking of, well: Is it too noisy? Is it too light? You know. Are there too many distractions?
Time of day.
Exactly. Because we’ll all be in these very different scenarios in our lives. What should we be wary of?
Um. You know, it’s gonna be almost impossible in our life, in the cities that we live in, to find a completely quiet space. Obviously, noise is gonna be one of the greatest challenges. It’s very distracting for people when there’s noise in the background.
But what we teach with this technique is that if you’re on a bus and there’s someone talking in front of you to their partner, there’s someone behind you on the phone, and there’s someone next to you listening to music on their headphones, you’re still in your headspace and you’re still thinking.
So, if you’ve got a mantra to repeat, you can repeat that mantra regardless, wherever you are. And that will, in effect, be a meditation. I used to meditate on the train nearly every day going to work.
So, noise isn’t really; it can be a distraction. I know being down at the beach where there’s waves moving around, people walking by, there’s some wind, I’m probably gonna have less a deep meditation than if I’m in a really quiet room or a quiet parked car.
Anywhere there’s limited movement, limited activity, limited noise, then it’s going to be more conducive to a meditation, particularly for beginners. But for more advanced people, you can meditate anywhere. I can meditate at a football game and still be OK.
Yeah. You just learn to bring your awareness inward, through the training. But in the beginning, you know, there’s a lot of; your senses are continuously going externally, looking for the source of the noise or the smell or the feeling.
Another question that popped in there, and this seems, probably, a bit contradictory, but, like, if there’s a very busy person, and for this set amount of time you can shorten the meditation, are you going to get the same effect from five minutes as 20? Or does it vary?
Because I know, like, if you started meditating, Stu, the first thing you’d ask is, “Well, how long would I have to do it for?”
Minimum effective dose.
There’s a lot of fancy gadgets coming out these days: five-minute meditations, one-minute meditations. It’s great that we pause. You know, it’s really important that we pause through the day. I think, depending on the meditation style, if you’re gonna do a deep, transcending-style meditation, minimum is 20 minutes. I mean, I don’t recommend you need more than 20. But 20 minutes, you know, 15 to 20 minutes. Under 15, you’re kind of not having enough time to XXdig inside 0:29:55.000XX your nervous system, to wind down the mind.
You know, we have such stimulated nervous systems, such stimulated minds, that it’s really just not enough time to get into those deeper states. I mean, that said, you can get into transcendence within three minutes. I’ve seen my students who come into my courses and come to my Monday night sessions and I have a look around the room and I can see them dropped into deep states within the first five minutes. But I think, for the rebalancing process to really take effect, I’d like to see 20 minutes for the meditation practice.
There you go. Is there a best time of day to do or do you just fit it in when you can or. . .”
Ideally, do one before breakfast and one; anytime, I’d say, between lunchtime and dinnertime. Ideally, I like between 3 and 6 o’clock is a nice time. Three and 7 o’clock in the afternoon is a good time. Before dinner.
And, again, it depends on your meditation. See, the transcending style meditation that I teach, the level of rest is so profoundly deep, it’s equivalent to about four hours’ sleep. A deep meditation; 20-minute meditation.
So, ideally you wouldn’t do that before bedtime, because if you had an equivalent of four hours’ sleep at 9 o’clock at night then it’s going to affect your deep sleep session. But if you’re gonna do, like we do a guided meditation before all the kids’ bed, so my family will all sit on the sofa at 8:30 before the kids are about to go to bed and we’ll put on one of my guided meditations and we’ll all sit there with a blanket and listen to 10 minutes of my guided meditation and what that does for the kids is it just XXde-excites? 0:31:26.000XX their nervous system after watching TV. It’s a lot of stimulation with the music and ads and all that sort of stuff going on on TV for 12-year-old kids’ nervous system. So we wind them down with a guided meditation before bed. And that’s a really effective thing to do. So, it depends on the meditation.
It just reminded me of, you know, I said I don’t meditate. I have tried meditation once and I went to a; I was given a voucher for a class on; for this little place in Bondi. And I’m not the most open-minded sort of guy, so I thought, you know, OK, I will give it a go, but, you know, I don’t expect anything to come from it. And now I just remember sitting in this class with a lady; I was actually the only guy there and there were about 12 others in there and this lady was telling me to picture myself as a flower all curled up. And upstairs in this, I think it was like in a youth center, there was like junior karate. And every kind of three seconds, one of these chaps would be thrown on the; slammed on the floor. And I’m just trying to picture myself as a flower.
And then there was another guy outside tuning up his Harley-Davidson motorcycle. It was just; it was like a comedy for me, and that was my first experience and I thought, “You know, I don’t know whether this is for me or not.”
But I can see, through what you’ve told me, that that probably wasn’t the best experience and it’s something that I would really benefit from looking into.
Yeah. Yeah. It’s just, we can’t judge all meditation on that one experience. There are certainly other ways to do it.
Are there any factors that could enhance that? I mean, can I drink a cup of chamomile tea and slide into meditation a little easier?
Definitely, lead-up to meditation is important. You know, you guys have come to my Monday night meditations and you’ll notice, you know, I turn off the overhead lights. I put candles on. We light incense. So, I deal with all five senses. I put on some nice, quiet music.
So, as soon as you walk in you’re getting a sense of your nervous system calming down. Your nervous system’s being prepared for something. I talk softly so you’re hearing soft voices. And it’s really a nice prelude, so people tend to go quite deep in those sessions. And that’s because I’ve prepared their physical body, their nervous system, their mind, for a deeper experience.
And we can do that on our own at home. You know, if you’ve been running around all day, just been shopping and being up at the XX junction wall? 0:34:15.000XX and you’ve been listening to the radio and having heaps of meetings all day and then you suddenly sit in a chair and start meditating, it’s gonna take you a lot longer than if you actually just: Take some time preparing your room, putting on some nice music, lighting some candles, getting some incense out, do some gentle breathing, maybe do a bit of yoga. And then you start your meditation. It’s going to be like a completely different experience.
You’ve got to work at it, right? It’s not like: “Ah, let me finish this action movie and then, XXfeck it?? I figure?? 0:34:41.000XX, I’ve got to fly to my 10-minute meditation time and then. . .”
You can still do that. I mean, if you’re pushed for time, it’s still worth doing that. But if do it for a little bit of time, it’s the prep. Not every one is going to have time for the prep. So, it’s one of those things. . . Or the space for it. You know, you just get on a bus and all of a sudden you start meditating. You haven’t got time to light candles and sit them in front of you and burn some incense.
So, you know, there are certain times you just aren’t gonna do it. But it does; I think it does help.
Have you ever meditated; you said you’ve meditated on the way to work. Have you ever missed your stop on the bus or the train?
I have, yes. I ended up; I was supposed to go to Martin Place. I ended up at Town Hall and Central. I told my work that’s why I was a little bit late that day.
I’m guessing you probably don’t promote meditation while driving.
It’s not a good idea, no.
What; like, we ocean swim a lot. And I do a bit of yoga a couple of times a week as well. Is that a form of meditation?
Oh, yes, definitely. You know, anything that’s repetitive. Walking can be meditation. Swimming is a really meditative practice, particularly doing laps in a pool, looking at that little black line below you, it’s “breath, one, two, three, four, breathe, one, two, three, four, breathe.” It’s definitely a meditation.
What you’re not gonna get is metabolic rest. OK? So, mentally it is definitely a meditation. But physically, you’re not gonna have metabolic rest. So, in stillness, when the mind is still, and not moving in transcendence, your physical body’s oxygen requirement is almost zero, and it’s been proven metabolically that you are about four times metabolically deeper in rest than you would be in a deep sleep.
Wow. That’s incredible.
I’m looking forward to getting into this. That’s for sure.
This is where the repair happens. So, the body is this incredible organism that has this intelligence within it that it will repair. It will operate and function at the highest level. We have sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. It’s a beautiful design by nature. We’re just not getting the levels of rest that are appropriate enough to get that deep healing process activated. And that’s what happens in meditation.
Like, for me, OK, I had anxiety, I had depression, I had insomnia, I had agoraphobia. Huge levels of distortion. Constantly getting sick. I didn’t have to take tablets. I didn’t have to see doctors. I didn’t have to see therapists. I just simply put my body in a deep level of rest twice a day, morning and evening. I had all the anomalies. I started producing serotonin, oxytocin, reduced adrenaline, norepinephrine, cortisol. I started healing on every level; started getting rest. And it was just a natural mechanism in my body to do that.
I’m inspired. I want to do it. I think high-end athletes would benefit greatly from this.
Yeah. A lot of high-level athletes are now starting to realize the power of meditation.
When you describe it like that, yeah.
Yeah. Yeah. It surprises people when I talk about it on a physical level, but it is just as much, if not more, a physical practice than it is a spiritual and mental one.
What are your thoughts on the plethora of iPhone apps and gadgets out there? Is it something that we should be doing on our own, or can we plug in to technology?
XXFinding Real Bits?? 0:38:12.000XX is another one as well, isn’t it?
I mean, everything’s relevant. We’ve got technologies causing a lot of our problems in the world today, with stress levels and our constant attachment to acquiring information. But it’s also gonna be the source of the solution to the problem.
By my online program, I can now get meditation to people all over the world. I have people every day emailing us from Mexico, Kenya, Venezuela, and even a remote XXGalapagos? 0:38:45.000XX north of Finland. Some woman said, “You know, you’ve changed my life. You’ve taught me how to meditate.” And that’s because what I teach in person I can now deliver to the masses through digital format. And we couldn’t do that less than 10 years ago.
Yeah. It wouldn’t work so well as like a bulk mail-out, would it?
A bulk mail-out wouldn’t work quite as well.
Yeah, sending fliers out to Venezuela.
Oh, that’s right. Exactly. Yeah.
Mate, we got an Instagram question pop up and I thought, ah, this one’s a good one: What were the key lessons that you learnt, allowing you to improve your meditative experiences?
That’s a good question. Well, I’ll answer that in regards to my specific practice. And one of the things that was most relevant for my practice, which is different from a concentration meditation, but for a transcending style meditation, using a mantra, one of the most important things that I was taught that helped me refine that practice was to not hold onto the mantra as a clear, firm pronunciation, but to very effortlessly entertain it as a faint idea so that as the mind is moving toward the transcendent state, toward stillness, it’s able to surrender the attachment to the sound and let it go. So, if you hold onto that as the clear pronunciation, then the mind is attached to the repetition sound, which means the mind is moving constantly.
Could you be stressing yourself out to think that you’re getting the mantra right or wrong? The pronunciation?
Absolutely. That’s why we emphasize, and that’s why it’s important to do a course where you get guidance. I highly recommend for anyone that, this is the big challenge people have is that they’re trying to do meditation on their own. It’s probably the most important thing you can do. And yet we’re reluctant to get authorities to guide us in that space.
And it’s really important that you have someone to assist you in your meditation practice, because not only do you want to make sure that you understand the process very well, and understand why you’re gonna have certain sensations or why you’re gonna have certain experiences that might be a little bit challenging at times. But you’re talking about your unconsciousness here. And everything that you do in life is gonna flow from your consciousness.
And we go to chiropractors, we go to doctors, we go to dentists, we go to mechanics to fix our car. We see professionals in every area of life except for our mind.
Yeah. The most important part as well.
The most important part.
Hey, Tom, yes, good point. We ask one question on the show at the end, every guest. And I can just see Stewie’s face. His brain is working overtime.
This gold. I mean, we’ll be talking about this for weeks after, Tom.
So, what’s the single best piece of advice you’ve ever been given.
Yeah. That’s a really good question. I would have to reference a book, it was a reference from a book called Emmanuel’s Book. And I don’t know if it’s advice as opposed to an insight, but I probably take it as an insight. And that is that ultimately, beyond all the thoughts, all the seeming conditions of what I perceive myself to be, there is the subtle essence of who I am. My ultimate truth.
Is it, “I’m love?” And all I need to do is embody that. And when I’m embodying that as my ultimate truth in every moment, then that’s what we call in Sanskrit “moksha.” Freedom. That is true freedom. There is no circumstance you can’t feel liberated in when you’re just embodying the truth of who you are. And that’s love.
Did it take you a long time to; like, if somebody had that to you when you were in your stock-trading days, bond-trading days, you know, probably wouldn’t have registered the same as to the Tom of today, right?
There’s a reason for that in that knowledge gets superseded by our experience. So, you can have a concept in your head, but if your experience isn’t aligned with that concept, then your experience will override the concept. So, if your concept is, “I’m peace and love,” but if you’re stressed to the hilt, you’ve been up all night doing cocaine and drinking bourbon, and you wake up and you say as an affirmation, “I’m peace and love,” or, “I’m the light.” Your experience will tell you a different story.
And when you’re driving to work in your BMW and there’s a traffic jam and you’re late for a boardroom meeting and a lot of things depend upon this and you’re really stressed and you’re hammering the steering wheel, cussing and cursing, listening to some, you know, hard-core metal music, it doesn’t matter what that concept is. You could have little Post It notes written all over your car on the dashboard saying, “Hey, I’m peace and love.” We need our experience to align with the concepts. And it took me a long time for my physical body to be purified of the imbalances so that I could start to feel that.
So, now my feeling is aligned with the concept.
That makes so much sense when you put it like that, Tom. It really does.
You know, I had a guy at work had heard a lot about the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. And this guy, like, he was a stress bag. A typical broker, just as I was. And he said, “I really want to read this Power of Now. It sounds really good. It’s something I think I should read.” I said, “Sure. I’ll lend it to you.” And I lent it to him. And he wasn’t a meditator, and I knew that he was gonna struggle with that book because if you don’t know how to still the mind or if the mind isn’t naturally, spontaneously living in the now, then (and the mind doesn’t really like to live in the now. It’s in the future and in the past; it’s forecasting and remembering).
And he got about a third of the way through the book and gave it back to me and he said, “You know what? I kind of get what he’s talking about, but I don’t get it.” And that’s because his experience was invalidating the content in the book. He didn’t know how to live in the now, because his mind was always in the future and the past. Without meditation, it’s almost; I’d almost say it’s a great book to read after you’ve been meditating.
Right. And be present. It’s funny you say that, because I’ve read a book, and I’ve gone, “What the hell are they on about?” And picked it up five years later and it’s a completely different book. Even though it’s the same book.
That’s awesome. Any last words, Stu?
Well, I just need your phone number.
I’ll answer it in a second and I’m coming to see you.
Where can we get more Tom Cronin for our listeners, Tom?
The best place to probably go is to the Stillness Project. And the Stillness Project really is a movement we’ve created. Its foundation is to inspire a billion people to meditate daily. Because we see the power of meditation when we incorporate that in their lives. Everything changes. And if we get more people meditating, we’re gonna have a better planet.
So, the Stillness Project is about that. It incorporates retreats, digital programs, digital mentoring, live mentoring, live programs. They can get most of what they need to find about me at the Stillness Project.
Awesome. We’ll drop a link below anyway on our website.
That was awesome, mate. Thank you so much for coming on the show, Tom.
Thank you so much for your time. This stuff, I can see now, it’s critical to mind, body, spirit, holistic health and wellness. I look forward to finding out more and experiencing more. Put it that way.
After such an experience, the last thing I wanted to do was jump straight back into planet normal. Joe, Mike and myself had all agreed a mini vacation was needed.
The next day when we got back to London, we were to book a flight. So the only question we had to answer was, where? In true putting it out there to the universe style, we were not getting caught up on the details like accommodation, transport, what to do etc. We just wanted warm European weather, clear blue seas and somewhere where none of us had been before. Google presented images of Dubrovnik, Croatia to us. We booked a flight and flew out the next morning and spent the next six days there.
It was an amazing city with amazing people (hope you guys are well!) and was the perfect tonic for me, as we slowed down to take the lessons onboard that mother ayahuasca had presented that night. More
Watch the full interview above or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.
In this weeks episode:-
Internet fame with her famous Ted Talks: Minding my Mitochondria Over 1.3 million views on youtube & counting!
From relying on a wheelchair to being able to bike ride 18 miles! The steps Dr Terry Wahls takes to help overcome her battle with MS (multiple sclerosis) [03:12]
What is mitochondria & why it’s so important [06:10]
What she was eating before MS & how much her diet has changed [07:30]
Why Dr Terry Wahls decided to seek alternative means to conventional medicine [09:10]
Her thoughts on being a vegetarian [16:20]
Why inactivity is deadly [19:15]
This is a must: Dr Wahls’ single piece of advice for optimum health/wellness [28:30]
and much more…
Dr Terry Wahls is a clinical professor of medicine. In addition to being a doctor, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2000.
By 2003 it had transitioned to secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. She underwent chemotherapy in an attempt to slow the disease and began using a wheelchair because of weakness in her back muscles. In her own words she says it was clear: eventually she would become bedridden by her disease.
To cut a very long story short, she ended up redesigning her diet for her condition so that she was getting those important nutrients not from supplements but from the foods she ate & created a new food plan.
The results stunned her physician, her family, and herself: within a year, she was able to walk through the hospital without a cane and even complete an 18-mile bicycle tour.
If you would like to learn more about Dr Terry Wahls, click here.
Over 1.3 million views on youtube & counting! You can watch the Ted Talks Minding my Mitochondria here.
Guy Lawrence: Brought to you by 180nutrition.com.au. Welcome to the Health Sessions podcast. In each episode, we cut to the chase as we hang out with real people with real results.
Hey, this is Guy Lawrence with 180- Nutrition and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. Our special guest today is Dr. Terry Wahls. If you haven’t heard of her, she’s a clinical professor of medicine. In addition to being a doctor, she was actually diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2000.
By 2003, the transition into secondary progressive multiple sclerosis, get my words out, she underwent chemotherapy in an attempt to slow the disease and began using a wheelchair because, simply, the weakness, and her back muscles had just disintegrated.
And, in her own words, she says it was clear eventually she would become bedridden by her disease. To cut a very long story short, she ended up redesigning her diet for her condition so that she was getting, simply, important nutrients not from supplements but from the very foods she ate and created a new food plan around this.
Over a period of time, the results stunned her physician, her family, and herself, she said. Within a year, she was able to walk through the hospital without a cane and even completed an 18-mile bicycle tour.
And, I just think that the story is fantastic, you know, and whether you have MS or not or chronic disease or you’re, you know, in the best shape of your life, I think the overall message within this conversation is fantastic and it’ll definitely make you think twice about what you have for breakfast tomorrow morning.
As always, you know, if you’ve got any questions just drop us a line to HYPERLINK “mailto:email@example.com” firstname.lastname@example.org and, yeah, any shares or reviews are greatly appreciated. Until the next time, enjoy the show. Thank you.
Awesome. Awesome. Well, I’ll start with the introduction. This is Guy Lawrence and, of course, we’re joined by Stuart Cooke and our lovely guest today is Dr. Terry Wahls. Thank you so much for joining us.
Dr. Terry Wahls: Yes.
Guy Lawrence: I have to say, I was just checking your YouTube TED talks video just now and I didn’t realize, but you have reached over 1.25 million people now with that…
Dr. Terry Wahls: Yes.
Guy Lawrence: …that talk, that’s a lot of people you’ve touched. Did you expect it to go as viral as it has when you did that?
Dr. Terry Wahls: Well, I wasn’t expecting a million. I was hoping, you know, I’d get a 100,000 or so, yet, when I last looked it was about 1.3 million. So, I’m very pleased.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. That’s amazing. Normally, it’s a double rainbow or something like that that tends to go viral and finally it’s something with a stronger message, so that’s awesome. So, what we’d thought we’d do just to start, Dr. Wahls, was…
Dr. Terry Wahls: Yes?
Guy Lawrence: …you know, we want to expose you to an audience over here in Australia, so could you basically share with us your story? Because we think it’s just incredible.
Dr. Terry Wahls: So, I’m a clinical professor of medicine here at the University of Iowa. In 2000, I was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. That was on the basis of a problem with foot drop and stumbling and abnormal MRI with lesions in my spinal cord, a history of optic neuritis ten years earlier, and oligo bands in the spinal fluid.
I went to the Cleveland Clinic, an international MS center, for a second opinion. They agreed that I had multiple sclerosis. At that time it was called relapsing-remitting, which meant that you have intermittent episodes that are acutely worse.
They advised me to take disease-modifying drugs and so I took a daily injection of Copaxone. Over the next three years, I had just one episode of worsening or one relapse, so I’d be considered a success, but the problem was I was gradually deteriorating and it was becoming difficult to have, to sit up in my office chair, my desk chair, because of back fatigue.
My physicians suggested that I get a XX?XX [0:04:39] inclined wheelchair because of the worsening back fatigue and that I take medication known as Novantrone and they told me that my disease had transitioned to secondary progressive MS.
And so I did that and, at that time, that’s when I realized that I wanted to do my own reading, my own research, to try to figure out what else I could do, and so I began searching pubmed.gov, reading the latest research, and I retaught myself a bunch of brain biology, immunology, and gradually began to add some vitamins and supplements to help my mitochondria, because I decided that mitochondria were key into my progressive brain disorders happen.
And the vitamins and supplements maybe slowed down the steepness of my decline, but they didn’t stop my decline. By the summer of 2007, I could walk short distances, two canes. I could not sit up in a standard chair. I had to be in a recliner or in bed, and that’s when I discovered the Institute for Functional Medicine, which is an organization which is committed to using the latest basic science to treat chronic diseases.
I can hear you. Can you hear me?
Guy Lawrence: Yes, I can. Well, it’s okay. Let’s proceed with the audio like this. I think this will be fine.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Absolutely.
Guy Lawrence: So, I was interested, Dr. Wahls, in, I guess, mitochondria. So, for our audience, I wondered if you could just explain that, please. What is mitochondria?
Dr. Terry Wahls: Yes. So, mitochondria are, about 1.5 billion years ago, large bacteria swallowed up little bacteria that were capable of creating energy using oxygen, and that increased the efficiency of those bigger bacteria so that they were able to become multicellular which then eventually became animals and then became mammal and then became primate and then us, of course.
All of our cells rely on these little mitochondria to generate energy more efficiently to run the chemistry of those cells. So our brains are critically dependent on mitochondria. All of our other organs, you know, our muscles, hearts, glands are also dependent on the mitochondria.
Guy Lawrence: Right. Got it. So, essentially, like a battery for our cells.
Dr. Terry Wahls: A battery for the cells.
Guy Lawrence: Yep. All right. The next question I have here would be what you’re eating prior to being diagnosed with MS to what you’re eating now, and how much has that varied?
Dr. Terry Wahls: For years, maybe a decade, I’d been a vegetarian. I was eating lots of vegetables, some rice, and legumes. Then I began eating some fish, still a lot of vegetables, a lot of grain and legumes. I did not have a lot of junk food, just not a lot of processed foods. I was eating most of my meals at home.
When I was diagnosed with MS, I continued to be mostly vegetarian, although I did eat some fish. Then in 2002, I began a paleo diet after reading Loren Cordain’s book and began eating meat. I was eating, you know, vegetables, fruit, meat, but I continued my decline.
2003, I hit the wheelchair, you know, and continued to decline. In 2007, I had a long list of nutrients that were critical for my brain and reorganized my dietary choices to maximize the nutrients for my brain.
And when I created that structure, that’s when there was a dramatic improvement in my function and health.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Right. The other thing that fascinated me as well was the fact that many people don’t look to seek alternative means to improve their condition, like, and just accept, I guess, “This is how it is. This is all we can do for you.”
So, my question would be what made you decide to really seek alternative matters to overcoming MS? Especially through the food you ate?
Dr. Terry Wahls: So, the first seven years I took straight conventional medicine, latest drugs from the top researchers in the country, but when I got into my wheelchair in 2004, that’s when I decided that it was clear that I was likely going to become bedridden by my disease, and at that time I began reading the science myself, slowly piecing together the fact that maybe some vitamins and supplements might be helpful, that maybe mitochondria were very important to the disease and no one was yet talking about that in the MS research community.
And then when I discovered functional medicine, that just deepened my understanding of what the latest science was saying about autoimmune types of diseases and XXthat I was launched and on my wayXX [0:10:18]
Guy Lawrence: How many vegetables do you eat a day now? Do you eat to get the quantities in, because you mention a lot of…
Dr. Terry Wahls: So I would say nine to twelve cups of vegetables a day.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. That’s a lot, and do you juice any of that?
Dr. Terry Wahls: Wow, that’s a lot, but these are XXaudio breaks upXX [0:10:38] So, I will have smoothies where I put my vegetables and some fruit in this high-powered blender I call a Vitamix. It blends everything, all the fiber is still in the juice, and so I’ll drink that smoothie, you know, 18 to 24 ounces of all of that.
I’ll have huge salads, maybe six cups of salad greens every day, and a lot of non-starchy vegetables with that.
Guy Lawrence: Are there any other dietary considerations to take in, you know, I’m just thinking for anybody listening to this with MS. I mean, because obviously, we’ve got chocolate, coffee, alcohol, all these little crazy things like that.
Dr. Terry Wahls: So I’m going to step back a bit. The structure that I teach is three cups of green leaves, three cups of sulphur-rich vegetables that I get out of the cabbage family, onions, XX?XX [0:11:39] mushrooms, three cups of bright colors, and the easiest way to determine that is the vegetable or plant colored all the way through? Eat protein, high-quality protein, preferably animal protein as much as desired, have some seaweed on a regular basis.
If you’re going to have coffee or tea, a couple of cups are fine. You can have herbal teas as desired. A glass of wine every day would be fine. I would specifically avoid gluten grains, dairy, and eggs.
That also means avoiding beer.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right, and why seaweed?
Dr. Terry Wahls: Seaweed for the iodine, selenium, and other trace minerals.
Guy Lawrence: Okay. Okay. And the next question I have for you was the diet you prescribe, would that, sort of, help anyone, even if they didn’t have MS but had other chronic diseases? I mean…
Dr. Terry Wahls: You know, in the hundreds of people I’ve seen in my clinics and the hundreds of followers that I have, I see people being helped with traumatic brain injury, psychological problems like depression, anxiety, bipolar, schizophrenia, and then we see diabetes, heart disease, obesity being helped, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel, inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis, eczema, allergies, asthma.
So, I’d say, in general, if you have a chronic disease, feeding your mitochondria and feeding your cells will have the effect of reducing your symptoms, improving your function and your quality of life.
Guy Lawrence: Okay, and for anyone that is actually just, you know, is healthy and is happy with their health as well, I’m sure, eating like this would benefit them as well. I’m assuming.
Dr. Terry Wahls: Yes. I’ve had a couple of athletes contact me and tell me that their athletic performance has improved markedly.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, okay. That’s interesting. Yeah. IN your view then, as well, a question I was really was keen to ask, how much of the diet is contributing to chronic disease in the first place do you think? And even with your own condition, from MS, do you think that food is a big player in that?
Dr. Terry Wahls: I think food is a huge player. The chronic diseases that we have are a reflection of how your unique and my unique DNA interacts with my choices around food, the toxins to which I’ve been exposed, my exercise level, and my social/spiritual life, but the vast majority of all of this will be the food choices that we make.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right, and why do you think the fact that most people don’t turn to food initially, like, it just baffles me, personally, you know? I think…
Dr. Terry Wahls: We’re addicted. We are very much addicted to white flour, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, that when you take that food in it stimulates the dopamine receptors, you release more dopamine in your brain, it enhances your pleasure.
We are addicted to those XXsphereXX [0:15:15] spikes. It becomes very difficult for them to select vegetables, berries, meats, other foods that are health promoting, and instead we do what rats do. They will starve themselves eating the sugar and white flour and kill themselves from the micronutrient starvation. We are absolutely doing that as well.
Guy Lawrence: You know, if somebody wanted to change their diet, should they just go cold turkey and start cutting out the things you mentioned, you know, the sugar, the grains, the gluten, or should they…
Dr. Terry Wahls: If you go cold turkey, you’re going to be going through withdrawal, and that’s going to feel very uncomfortable. If you wind down the bad food as you wind up the good food, that’s less uncomfortable, and, in general, I counsel people that this is a family decision. You’re going to be much more successful if you negotiate the pace of these changes with the whole family.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, fair enough. Then you mentioned, as well, the fact that you were a vegetarian at one point, as well, and I’m always interested in this topic in particular because I know one of the arguments is about the fact that you don’t get your essential fatty acids from animal sources.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on…what your thoughts are about, you know, fat in the diet.
Dr. Terry Wahls: My brain and your brain is 60 to 70 percent fat, and without cholesterol you have a hard time making healthy cell membranes, you have a hard time making hormones. We need cholesterol. We need to manufacture cholesterol. We need a lot of fats in the omega-3 variety, the docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), in order to make the XXmylanXX [0:17:16] structures in the brain.
We need a lot of fat to make all those things happen, and, unfortunately, fat has been so demonized that many, many people are relatively starved for these very essential brain nutrients with negative health consequences.
Guy Lawrence: And what would a vegetarian do then to get those essential fatty acids in?
Dr. Terry Wahls: Well, they’ll have to take in a tremendous amount of ALA, alpha-Linolenic acid. That’s in flax, walnuts, but the body will have to convert that to DHA, which is what your brain needs. That is a complicated step and we can make about five to seven percent of the vegetarian omega-3 into the form that we use in our brain.
And you could also project that those of us with a chronic brain problem probably have enzymes that are even less efficient than those conversions, and so I think it’s very concerning for people with a brain problem or a heart problem. Are they getting enough of these health-promoting omega-3s?
And particularly the animal form? That’s the form that your brain and your heart need.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, absolutely, and what about things like ghee and coconut oil?
Dr. Terry Wahls: So, that, ghee is a butter that has been clarified so the milk proteins are out of it. It’s a saturated fat. Coconut oil is a saturated fat. And both of those fats, I think, can be quite health-promoting. You certainly want to have organic sources for both of those fats.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, fair enough, fair enough. The next topic I wanted to cover with you, Dr. Wahls, was exercise. The first question, I guess, does exercise help MS and even people with chronic disease?
Dr. Terry Wahls: Tremendous number of studies that show that strength-training and aerobic-training, either, or, and both, are very helpful for multiple sclerosis, helpful for fibromyalgia, heart disease, depression, basically any chronic health problem.
Our brain expects us to move. In prehistoric times, men would move six to nine miles a day and women two to three. So inactivity is deadly.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. I think it’s deadly to the mind as well as the body.
Dr. Terry Wahls: Absolutely.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, yeah, which is so important, you know, especially when you’re suffering with some sort of chronic disease, if it isn’t enough just trying to deal with that as well and then if you’re not moving, I’m sure the mind can, you can manifest all sorts of problems through your thoughts.
Were you exercising before? Before you were diagnosed with MS?
Dr. Terry Wahls: So, before I went to medical school, I was big in tae kwon do. I competed nationally and was very much an athlete. During medical school, I still did tae kwon do. I ran. I did biking, cross-country skiing. When I was diagnosed with MS, I knew that exercise would be critical to maintain function as long as possible, so I worked out every day doing strength and aerobic training.
As I got more and more disabled, I could do less and less. In 2007, I could do about ten minutes of exercise. If I did more than that, I was flat out exhausted for four or five hours, but I exercised every day, and I still exercise every day.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, and you do resistance-training in amongst that as well?
Dr. Terry Wahls: Yes. So, right now I’m doing pilates, biking, swimming, and I lift free weights.
Guy Lawrence: That’s fantastic. That’s amazing, and did you ever expect to be getting to this point when you, you know, were in a wheelchair?
Dr. Terry Wahls: You know, when I tell the story of how I got my bike down and decided to try for my first bike ride, my family came out, and we had this pow wow, would they helped me bike ride? And they decided that, yes, they would, and my kids, one ran on the right; one ran on the left, and my spouse biked behind me.
And I still get tears in my eyes talking about that because I had fully accepted that I would never have that come back in my life, but instead, you know, I’m biking. I’ve been able to do 18-mile bicycle rides. I’m lifting weights.
You know, I’m still not normal. My gait, in the morning, looks normal, but by the afternoon you can probably tell that it’s not normal. Standing for a lecture, I can do that for an hour. I cannot do that for two hours. I can walk a mile. I can’t walk longer than that. So I still have a ways to go to be normal, but I’m getting my life back, where, if I hadn’t made these interventions, I would be bedridden by now. Absolutely, I would be bedridden.
Guy Lawrence: But not only that, you’ve not only, you know, changed, turned your life around, you know, you’re touching so many people now with your story, which is a credit to what you’re doing, so, I just think that’s awesome. That really is.
Dr. Terry Wahls: I’m very grateful to have my life back.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, I can imagine. I can imagine. With all this information, what do you think the future holds for medicine itself?
Dr. Terry Wahls: I think if physicians don’t get on board with realizing drugs are not the solution, it’s teaching people that lifestyle is how we create health, that teaching people how to eat a nutrient-dense diet, moving their bodies, meditating, creating spiritual and social harmony in their lives…If physicians won’t get on board, realizing that that is how you treat chronic disease, we will be replaced by another profession that understands that.
And so I’m encouraged that there are more and more young physicians and more medical schools embracing functional medicine, thinking that lifestyle interventions are going to be key, but that is the future. I’m not sure which profession is going to be at the cutting edge of that, however.
Guy Lawrence: yeah, fair enough, and do you think drug companies inhibit this message?
Dr. Terry Wahls: Well, there’s a lot of money to be made with drugs, procedures, quick fixes. That’s what’s funding the research. It’s very difficult to get research that looks at medicine from a systems standpoint.
I mean, you and I, we are incredibly complicated biochemical systems, and, when we’re chronically ill, multiple parts of that system are screwed up, wrong, not working well, so, if you want to restore health, you try to correct as many systems as possible.
That’s a very messy research design. That’s not what’s being funded by our basic science institutes in any of our countries. So the type of research that I’m doing, which is a much more complex systems approach, it’s very hard to get funding for it. It is outside the mainstream paradigm, but that is the future. We have to do systems biology. We have to do systematic repair of these broken thought systems.
Guy Lawrence: If, for people that are listening to this now, obviously outside of the States and they have MS, where would be, what would be the best thing for them to start, the best place to start for them?
Dr. Terry Wahls: Well, I’d tell them to go to my website, terrywahls.com, and I have a lot of information there. I have books. I have lectures. I have stuff that you can download and see virtually, so you can still get it even there in Australia. We have newsletters. I have my current book. We’ll have a new book coming out next spring, The Wahls Protocol.
So I’m working very hard at putting this information out to the public. At the same time, I’m doing these scientific studies testing my intervention, showing that it’s safe and effective, and we’re getting ready to launch the next study.
So I try to do things in parallel, create tools for the public, and create the science for my medical colleagues.
Guy Lawrence: That’s fantastic. Did you have a video? I notice you had a video series on there as well, so I’m guessing people can, you know, get there and start watching these things and take actions right away.
Dr. Terry Wahls: Absolutely, I think it’s very helpful.
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.
Dr. Terry Wahls: People need to understand the why. Why it makes sense to give up food that you love. Why it makes sense to do the work of exercising in order to stay motivated to sustain these very uncomfortable changes.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, I think it’s very important, as well, to have some kind of support network behind you when doing this, as well. You know, get support of the family and then make the decision to actually say, “I’m going to do this and not deviate and, sort of, try not to get distracted with many other things.”
Because there’s so much information out there, as well, and it can pull you in all sorts of directions without actually, I guess, it confuses the matter, you know? We tend to have a habit of doing that, human beings, for some reason.
Have you got anything in the pipeline for the future?
Dr. Terry Wahls: Well, we have the book, The Wahls Protocol. I’m working on that. That will be released March 3rd, so that’s coming up really fairly soon. I will be going to the Ancestral Health Symposium in August, presenting some of our research there. We’ll actually talk about two of our studies there. That will be a lot of fun.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.
Dr. Terry Wahls: And we are writing up and submitting our research findings, so, again, making good progress there.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic, and I’ve got one last question for you, Dr. Wahls, and it’s a question we ask everyone that comes on our podcast, and that would be, if you could offer a single piece of advice for optimum health and wellness, what would that be?
Dr. Terry Wahls: Eat a lot more vegetables. Ditch the junk food.
Guy Lawrence: Eat a lot more vegetables. Ditch the junk food. Absolutely. Absolutely. I actually had a nice big salad for breakfast this morning with a little bit of grass-fed steak on it, so I’m quite proud of myself.
Dr. Terry Wahls: Perfect.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. For sure.
Dr. Terry Wahls: That’s my perfect breakfast as well.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. I’ve been doing that a lot recently and I definitely feel good about it. Just to mention your website as well, so the URL is?
Dr. Terry Wahls: Terry. T. E. R. R. Y. Wahls. W. A. H. L. S. dot com. When people go there, do sign up for the newsletter, which goes out every, once or twice a month. We have a lot of videos and there’s a lot of educational material right there.
Guy Lawrence: Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. I’ll put the appropriate links on our website, too, and when we send that out.
Dr. Terry Wahls: Thank you much.
Guy Lawrence: Thank you for your time. Apologies for the technical errors. I have no idea what happened there. it, yeah, that’s the first time that it’s done that for us, so we’ll look into it.
Dr. Terry Wahls: All right. Thank you much.
Guy Lawrence: You’re welcome. Thank you.
Dr. Terry Wahls: Bye, bye.
Guy Lawrence: Bye, bye.
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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.