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I Ate 5,000 Calories of Saturated Fat a Day. This Is What Happened…


The above video is 3:49 minutes long.

Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.


sami inkinen
We chat to Sami Inkinen, a world class triathlete and tech entrepreneur. Whilst we don’t encourage anyone to eat 5000 calories of saturated fat a day, we feel it’s a very important message that Sami shares with us.

Sami and his wife Meredith recently did a phenomenal achievement, where they physically rowed from California to Hawaii. It took them 45 days straight rowing, up to 18 hours a day, and some days they didn’t even get any sleep.

Awesome achievement, but more importantly was the message behind it, as they did it without the use of any sugar and sports gels, pushing the message that you don’t need sugar to power the body daily, not even as a world-class athlete.

So they did it running on, yes, about 70 to 75 percent fat on each meal, and we were very keen to get him on the show and pick his brains about this, because there are so many things we can learn from it.

Full Interview with Sami Inkinen, World Class Ironman


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In this episode we talk about:

  • How he ended up being involved in the documentary Cereal Killers Two – Run on Fat
  • Why he decided to embark on his toughest challenge yet, rowing to Hawaii from San Francisco
  • How they prepared for their meals. Sami was eating a whopping 8,000 calories a day!
  • The effects of eating 5000 calories of saturated fat a day whilst rowing
  • What he uses instead of sports drinks
  • What Sami eats in a typical day
  • And much much more…

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Get More of Sami Inkinen Here:

Sami Inkinen Transcript

Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence with 180 Nutrition and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. Our special guest today is Sami Inkinen. Now, Sami has achieved some remarkable things in life, including he’s a world-class triathlete, he’s a tech entrepreneur, and him and his wife did a phenomenal achievement recently which is they basically physically rowed from California to Hawaii. Took them 45 days rowing up to 18 hours a day straight, and some days they didn’t even get any sleep.

Awesome achievement, but more importantly was the message behind it, because they did it without the use of sugar and gels and basically pushing the message that you don’t need sugar to power the body daily, not even as a world-class athlete like that.

So they did it running on, yes, about 70 to 75 percent fat on each meal, and we were very keen, obviously, to get him on the show and pick his brains about this, because there are so many things we can learn from it. He also shares many other things as well, which is fantastic, and it was an awesome podcast. I have no doubt you’ll get lots out of this today whether you’re an athlete or not. It was just brilliant.

Of course, if you are listening to this through iTunes, hit the subscribe button, leave a review, all very appreciated. A, it’s nice to know that you’re enjoying our podcasts, but B, it helps spread the word by simply subscribing or leaving a review more people can find us and more people can listen and more people can benefit from the message that we are putting out there to the world which we feel is very necessary.

And, of course, come back to our website, 180nutrition.com.au, where we’ve got a heap of resources including a free ebook which is a great place to start if you find all this information a little bit overwhelming. Anyway, enjoy the show. This one’s awesome. Cheers.

Guy Lawrence: Okay, hey, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke, as always. Hi, Stu.

Stuart Cooke: Hello.

Guy Lawrence: And our awesome guest today is Sami Inkinen. Sami, welcome to the show.

Sami Inkinen: Thanks very much. Excited to be a part of your show.

Guy Lawrence: Oh, mate, that’s awesome. Me and Stu have been very excited today, because it’s certainly a topic I think we thrive on, especially when it comes to sports as well, and it’s clear that you’re a guy that doesn’t do things by half-measures, you know, and just to, I guess, for the people who are listening to sum it up in a short way, you’re a world-class athlete, you’re a tech entrepreneur, and you’ve just gone and done something with your wife recently which is a phenomenal achievement and which I’m looking forward to getting sucked in with everyone.

But just to kick start the conversation, mate, would you mind just sharing a little bit about your background? And even, you know, how you ended up in San Francisco in the first place, because you’re from Finland.

Sami Inkinen: Yeah, so I was born and raised and brainwashed in Finland. Grew up about 200 miles, so 300 kilometers, from Helsinki on a farm, a chicken farm, but I wasn’t really a farm boy, I was more into computers, so as soon as I got out of the farm, I studied physics at a university in Finland and got into software and computers early in my life. Started on company in Europe and then in 2003, which seems like a long time ago now, about 12 years ago, I came here to San Francisco Bay Area in the U.S. to attend Stanford Business School and, you know, I’ve been here ever since.

Guy Lawrence: Are you missing the cold weather? I’m assuming it can get quite cold in Finland as well, right?

Sami Inkinen: You know, there’s a reason why I stayed here.

Guy Lawrence: Go on, Stu. You look like you’re going to say something.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, so we’ve been following a little bit of your background, Sami, as well, and realized that you did extremely well in the triathlete Ironman scene as well, but then made it to the big screen. I was just wondering how that happened? What happened there?

Sami Inkinen: Big screen as in…

Guy Lawrence: Cereal Killers 2.

Stuart Cooke: The movies.

Sami Inkinen: Well, first of all, I have, quite honestly, zero interest in promoting myself for the sake of promoting myself. However, given that I thought that I was kind of a poster boy for healthy living because of my crazy amount of endurance training and, what I thought, healthy living, regardless of that kind of lifestyle, I found out that I was pre-diabetic a couple of years ago, and I got ridiculously frustrated that, “How is this possible that it happens to me? And if it happens to me with that kind of lifestyle and a focus on exercise and, what I thought, healthy eating, what are the chances that an average person can avoid that sort of health issue?”

And the answer is, “Fat chance.” There’s no chance, so I wanted to do anything and everything I can to promote the message around healthy diet and healthy nutrition and, therefore, I was more than happy to lend my own crazy adventures and experiences for the benefit of others.

And I think that was the reason why I ended up teaming up or helping Donal O’Neill who has produced these two movies, Cereal Killers and Cereal Killers 2, so that was the background story. So I thought whatever I do and what I did with my wife, if it can help other people to avoid what was happening to me health wise, it would be worth the embarrassing exposure on the screen.

Guy Lawrence: Did it take you awhile? Was that the wakeup moment? Because I know you mentioned, like you said, you were going to be prediabetic and did you instantly look into increasing fats? Like, how did that message sink in to you, because there are so many people resistant to that message to this day and don’t even, won’t even consider it, you know? How did it work for you? Who did you discover to make you think differently about that?

Sami Inkinen: Well, first of all, I, obviously, it was almost like driving a car to a rock wall 100 kilometers an hour when I really thought it’s impossible that I would get sick or, more importantly, it would be impossible that someone like me would become diabetic or prediabetic with the kind of lifestyle that I was living, so it was really kind of a stopping moment for me.

And, of course, as a computer scientist, the first place that I went was online, so I started reading a lot and, unfortunately, spending time on, kind of, research databases like PubMed isn’t a very effective way of educating yourself because there’s so much science as well as bad science that you could spend the rest of your life reading research reports and still just be confused.

So I think the best sources for me were books and, you know, there’s a number of books, but I think one of the better overviews was the book written by Gary Taubes called Good Calories, Bad Calories.

Stuart Cooke: Yes.

Sami Inkinen: You know, it was just one of the information sources that I relied on and we talked with a number of physicians and scientists directly, but that was definitely one of the more transformational books for me.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, it’s a very in-depth book, too, and certainly recommended to everyone, yeah. So, let’s, talking about the challenge, can you explain a little bit about the synopsis and what you and Meredith achieved? What you did?

Sami Inkinen: Yes.

Guy Lawrence: And, as well, who came up with it? You know? Why that challenge?

Sami Inkinen: Well, yeah, first of all, Meredith, my wife and I, we decided to row completely unsupported with no past rowing experience in a, kind of, special adult rowing boat from California to Hawaii across the Pacific Ocean about 2400, 2500 miles. Well we ended up rowing 2,750 completely unsupported this past summer, so we just finished a few months ago.

I’d love to blame my wife for the crazy idea, but I think I was the person who initially got inspired and got this idea and the initial inspiration came from the book called Unbroken, which actually it was just turned into a movie about six months ago, but in this book a second World War Air Force pilot was shot down above the Pacific Ocean and he floated across the Pacific Ocean in a life raft, and I just thought that experience was so amazing and I didn’t want to be in a life raft, but just to experience the wilderness of the Pacific Ocean, so that was kind of a seed in my mind, and I thought, “For once in my lifetime, I want to experience the craziness of the Pacific Ocean.”

So that was the initial inspiration, but then we wanted to turn this crazy expedition into something that would benefit others as well, so we wanted to combine it with this message of, “Sugar is dangerous and more likely than not the processed carbohydrates are dangerous to you as well,” and so we wanted to do this adventure, an expedition, with absolutely no sugar and practically no carbohydrate as well, and that’s what we did.

Guy Lawrence: It was amazing. Was it harder than you thought? Or was it what you expected, you know, or, like, especially if you’ve never done something like that before. I can’t…I struggle to envision being on a boat for 45 days like that.
Sami Inkinen: Yeah. So I grew up in Finland not far from lakes and we had a small summer cottage by a lake, but I have to say I know why oceans are called oceans and not lakes. It’s a completely different environment, and, as you mentioned, neither Meredith nor myself had any experience with oceans. We aren’t sailors. We’ve done nothing related to oceans and we weren’t rowers, either, so to answer your question, we really didn’t have any expectations, because we had never experienced this environment before and we went from zero to sixty miles an hour in many ways in six months.

So six months before the launch, we started to train rowing. We started to train about survival in ocean environments, so we did massive amounts of survival training, navigation training, seamanship, and all these things that you really don’t worry about when you don’t know about sailing boats or anything, getting radio, you know, license and certificates, and understand how you use radios and all these things, so it all happened in six months.

Quite frankly we, I think we had, we didn’t really expect much because we had no idea what this is going to be like, and this may sound really crazy, but we didn’t even spend a single night in our boat until the first night. We slept in the boat, but we kind of slept in a very, sort of, calm condition, so for better or worse, we had a lot of first time experiences once we got out there, which may not sound like the perfect way of preparing for something like this.

Stuart Cooke: Tell us about motivation. With all that prep work that you did for the other elements of the boat, I mean, what, direct, physically stay motivated for that length of time, how is this possible?

Sami Inkinen: Well, first of all, the motivation for this draw was really twofold. One was, we both think that pushing your physical and mental limits is just kind of a full human experience, so we like pushing ourselves beyond what you would expect to be normal, and we find that it’s a very rewarding way of living your life, and you learn all kinds of interesting things about yourself and human life.

And then the second thing is really this motivation to bring awareness, build awareness, around the danger of sugar and processed carbohydrates. Those were kind of driving forces for us. But once you’re out there, the good news is, there’s no turning back, so the only way to get out is to freaking keep rowing.

And we kept rowing up to 18 hours a day, so you can’t really turn back. You really simply can’t, because of the winds and everything, so the only way to get out of the boat is to row to Hawaii, which we thought might take two months.

But then on a more practical level, you really have to focus on the process at the very moment, and you know, this applies to other things is life, but you can’t let your mind get into, kind of, “What is it going to be when we finish? Or what is it going to be…?”

You may be able to think that when you go for a sixty-minute run or a three-hour bike ride, but when you’re there for two months rowing eighteen hours a day, you have to focus on the moment, otherwise, you’ll mentally fall apart and you’re on the ground in pieces, so you focus on the moment and then, you know, like eating an elephant. How do you eat an elephant? You eat it one bite at a time.

Guy Lawrence (simultaneously): One bite at a time.

Sami Inkinen: Yes, you really focus on these micro small milestones, whether that’s your two-hour shift, and you take a five-minute break, maybe it’s a little drinking or maybe it’s your lunch break or something like that, so those two things, like, focus on the moment and then, you know, you have this, sort of small bit-sized chunks that you focus on as opposed to, “Oh, in a month’s time we might finish.”

Stuart Cooke: That’s right.

Guy Lawrence: Well, that’s just getting done, isn’t it? Do you meditate outside or, as in outside the rowing, do you do meditation…?

Sami Inkinen: Yeah, I actually…yeah, I started mindfulness meditation practice about two years ago and so did my wife, so I do a couple of minutes every morning the moment I wake up, and frankly we had plenty of time to practice activity-based meditation on the boat. It was actually interesting and powerful to try that during the row, which really helps you to focus on the moment and the sensation and this kind of related to how can you stay focused? It’s obviously uncomfortable for the most part, you know?

Your ass is hurting, your hands are hurting, you’re tired, but there’s nothing more powerful than embracing that pain and discomfort, because once you, sort of, give in and embrace and recognize that feeling, nothing can break you, but as long as you keep, sort of, fighting and bitching to yourself, like, “Oh, my god, my ass is hurting. Oh, my god, I’m tired,” the feeling just sort of escalates in your brain, but the moment you’re like, “I’m hurting. I’m feeling it. It’s uncomfortable, but I’m in it and I’m embracing it,” it’s like, “All right, so what’s worse? It can’t get any worse. You’re in it.”

So, there are a lot of mental lessons that I think are applicable to…

Guy Lawrence: Day-to-day life. Yeah.

Sami Inkinen: Yeah. Day-to-day life at your office or your exercise, so, you know, relationship with people and all other things.

Guy Lawrence: Amazing. Yeah. Something else occurred to me as well, because they say traveling with your partner is the best way to test the relationship, you know, and being in a rowing boat would certainly test that, you know, for me, but obviously it went good, you know? It’s incredible. Yeah.

Sami Inkinen: Yeah, we’re still married, so… You can see I still have the ring, so all went well, but, no, absolutely, it’s a… Not only was it an amazing test, but also an amazing experience that we’ll share for the rest of our lives, and fortunately it turned out positively from a relationship perspective.

Guy Lawrence: Go on, Stu. Go on.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, I was just wondering how you felt when you got off the boat, I mean, what were your feelings and how did you feel?

Sami Inkinen: Well, emotionally, I, and I think my wife as well, we cried a lot immediately after, so it was just, kind of, a big emotional moment to come out. Physically, so we had a doctor who did a quick checkup right after who actually has worked with a number of ocean rowers and her immediate comment was, “I can’t believe how healthy you guys look.” Like, nothing crazy, no crazy inflammation going on.

I had blood work done just a couple of days after the row and, like, we were incredibly healthy from the perspective of inflammation, hormonal markers, and other things, so other than, especially with myself losing a lot of, or having a lot of muscle atrophy in the muscles we didn’t use, which is completely natural, nothing to do with your diet, it’s just if you don’t use those muscles…Other than that, I was feeling incredibly well and within just a couple of days I felt like I was completely back, too.

It took several weeks to build the muscle mass back to some of the muscles that were really… because I didn’t really even stand, I didn’t do anything weight-bearing for two months, so other than that…

Guy Lawrence: So, just upper body, yeah…

Sami Inkinen: Yeah and, you know, rowing is, you do use your legs and low body, kind of like a squat movement, still, you don’t even stand or carry your body weight. There’s a lot of muscle and soft tissue that’s completely unused, and I lost a lot of that, so, like, walking was difficult coming off the boat.

Guy Lawrence: Just to touch back on the diet, because, you know, obviously you’ve changed your diet dramatically. Could you explain what your diet used to look like as a triathlete and what it looks like now, especially preparing and on the boat? The differences you made?

Sami Inkinen: Yeah. So, first of all, I did start changing my diet quite significantly before the row and I’ve raced as a triathlete following graphically similar diet I followed on the boat, but for almost twenty years I followed what I thought was a perfectly healthy diet and the diet that’s promoted by, you know, most governments, including the United States, including Finland, which, to me, was anything that was low-fat or no fat was healthy and, you know, I tried to eat fresh foods, but I ate a lot of packaged foods as well.

So my diet was extremely low fat. I tried to eat whole grains, obviously, not crap, and just a very low-fat diet. Low-fat, I thought it was good, and if it said no fat, it was great, so whether it was bread or skim milk or low-fat cheese or low-fat mayo, you name it, that’s what I was eating. And then, you know, the more I read about sports performance books, it was always, like, “Oh, you have to carb-load and that’s high-octane fuel,” you know, to put it simply, I was on an extremely high-carbohydrate diet, mostly whole grains, grains, vegetables, and all the meat that I was eating, it was super low-fat, so chicken, turkey, no skin, low-fat beef, that was my diet, and I followed that about twenty years.

I kept myself reasonably lean and my race weight low, but it required a ridiculous amount of willpower. We’ve seen what a lot of athletes are capable of doing, but 99 percent of the population just can’t do that and it’s not fun to apply 95 percent of your willpower 300 days a year to just always eat less than you would like to eat.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Yeah, and then moving to the boat, because we watched the documentary a few days ago and what was clear is you were meticulous about, you know, the amount of calories and the amount of fat you ate and the way you set your meals up. Would you mind explaining a little bit about that for us as well, because that was fascinating I thought.

Sami Inkinen: On the boat?

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, for the boat, yeah.

Sami Inkinen: Yeah. Well, first of all, obviously, when you’re in the middle of the Pacific Ocean there’s no eat stations like in a triathlon race, so there’s no convenience stores or grocery stores that you can stop by when you get hungry or realize that, holy crap, you don’t have enough protein or this or that, so we had to be careful, and even our diet, at least by traditional standards, was very extreme, we want it to also be very scientific about preparing, because we knew that if something goes wrong, whether it’s food-related or something else, we just can’t; there’s no way, no helicopter is going to drop us extra food or extra sodium or extra this or that, so that was one of the reasons we were very, like, everything was calculated, measured, weighed, and we knew then what we have on the boat is sufficient.

But what we ate at the high level, we only tried to pack and eat real whole foods, so in as natural form as possible. That was one. Two, it was extremely low-carbohydrate diet from a macronutrient perspective, so caloric-wise my carbohydrate calories were somewhere between five and ten, around maybe nine percent of calories was carbohydrates. Protein, I think, was about fifteen percent, up to fifteen percent, so it leaves 75 percent to 80 percent of calories from fat, so, you know, I ate probably 5000 calories of fat every day, of which most was saturated fat, so if you want to shock a cardiologist, that’s a pretty good line, “Yeah, I ate 5000 calories of saturated fat for two months, almost two months.”

Stuart Cooke: So, a typical meal for you on the boat would’ve been what?

Sami Inkinen: Yeah, so, and we packed pretty simple, not too much variety, so consequently I was practically eating the same stuff every day. So my breakfast was often salmon or tuna with craploads of olive oil and maybe some macadamia nuts.

My lunch was typically freeze-dried beef that was maybe like 70 percent fat calorically and 30 percent protein mixed with a little bit of freeze-dried vegetables and then I just mixed with water and it became like, you know, like a fresh food, and then I threw in, again, crazy amounts of olive oil into it and salt that had extra potassium and then some seasoning, maybe some olives, so it was kind of a… wasn’t very appetizing-looking necessarily, but I loved it, so that was the reason why I keep so much…

Guy Lawrence: And it was practical.

Sami Inkinen: Yeah, very practical, and we didn’t have to cook anything. We didn’t have to boil water. I didn’t boil water. I boiled water a single time just as an experiment in the first few days, but that was all. So that was kind of my lunch most days.

And then I wasn’t, because we ate very high fat, we were very fat-adapted, so we didn’t have to be eating every 45 minutes, every hour, so sometimes I’d have five, six, seven, hours between meals, but nuts were my favorite snacks. Nuts, coconut butter, and then different nut butters, so macadamia… I had plenty of macadamia nuts, almonds… so that was kind of a typical meal kind of setup.

Guy Lawrence: Were you, do you know if you were in ketosis the whole time or coming in and out? Did you have a doctor on that at all or…?

Sami Inkinen: Yeah. I did measure my ketones along the way. With hindsight, I overate a little bit protein to be in optimal ketosis, so that’s my understanding, that I ate a little bit too much protein, which flipped me out of a perfect zone, but I was definitely on ketosis. I don’t know deep I was, because I didn’t measure that frequently and my personal experience is that if you measure your ketones right after workout, I notice that my ketones actually go down right after the workout, so you give it a couple of hours after that and then they kind of come to the equilibrium of whatever they are and, you know, I was, usually when I measured it was right after my rowing, so…

Guy Lawrence: Do you still eat this way, in terms of the proportions, fat and carbs, or do you…?

Sami Inkinen: Yes.

Guy Lawrence: Every day, training or not?

Sami Inkinen: Yes.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, okay.

Sami Inkinen: The only difference is I have way more fresh food, so, and the fresh food is mainly green leafy vegetables, which weren’t available and I really missed those, so I eat a lot of those, but in terms of the macronutrient composition, I’m, let’s see, yeah, probably five percent carbohydrates, maybe ten, fifteen percent protein, and the rest is fat.

Guy Lawrence: There you go.

Stuart Cooke: Wow. And do you think that this way of eating is beneficial for everyone?

Sami Inkinen: Well, first of all, people look for shortcuts and for simple sound bites like…

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Sami Inkinen: One size does not fit all, so my recommendation when people come to me is, unless I have time to spend, like, two, three hours with someone to talk about XXtheir ???XX [0:26:21] is buy real, whole foods and cook at home. You’re probably better off not buying grains and, yeah, lots of carbohydrates, so that’s my advice to everyone, and if you buy real, whole foods and cook at home, you can’t go wrong, and if you limit carbohydrates, you’re probably better off. Beyond that, it’s kind of an individual situation and it depends on what your health standard is. If you are completely healthy now, you exercise a lot, you’re very carbohydrate-tolerant, insulin sensitive, you may be able to lead a happily healthy life with reasonable amount of stuff that might kill someone else.
So, I don’t, like, one size fits all in this kind of a one sound bite, it just, that’s for people looking for shortcuts and simple answers. There’s no simple answers other than eat real whole foods and cook at home and everything else after that you have to be quite nuanced…

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. A lot of self-experimentation.

Stuart Cooke: I’m guessing then if you retired from sports tomorrow, you would continue to eat this way.

Sami Inkinen: Oh, absolutely, yeah. The way I eat, well, first of all, I think a healthy foundation in your body is an absolutely foundation for sports performance. So, you can’t start from the performance angle first and say, “Hey, why don’t I eat something that makes me somehow, like, really good at sports.” Well, that’s somehow that makes you really good at sports is something that optimizes your general health, because then you recover best, you can train hardest, so I don’t really see those as mutually exclusive, sports performance and health.

Then race time eating or race time nutrition might be different, because you may not be able to, you know, take a plate and take a frying pan and start preparing meals if you’re in the middle of a race, so a race is a different situation but in terms of health and sports performance, it’s tough for me to make the case that they would be mutually exclusive so the answer is, “Yes.”

I want to be as healthy as possible, because that makes me the best possible athlete as well.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, because that’s a focus you don’t see a lot, but athletes do, like, you know, the health sort of becomes a far distant second and that’s all about how can I perform better and achieve more and consequently health would suffer. Like, even with yourself, the change the diet now, have you noticed differences with injuries and things and just with the body itself? Can you put more demands on it the way you’re doing it?
Sami Inkinen: Yeah. Well, this is kind of an n equals one experiment so this is just a personal. It’s anecdotal and those who want to rip apart everyone’s opinions and comments will certainly rip apart my comment, but the thing that I don’t have, which is a good thing, one is, I have much less, knock on wood, but I feel like I don’t get sick at all now. So I used to have my sore throat and sinus and this and that all the time. That’s one.

Two, I don’t have, like, sort of inflammation nagging injuries. I used to have Achilles and shoulder and this and that, lower back and this and that, all the time. I don’t have those at all.

And then anecdotally, I feel that I recover much better, so those are the things that…It appears to me that have significantly improved when I got off the super high-carbohydrate, low fat diet, and then just overall feeling is like, you know, I’m not thinking about really food much at all. I’m not obsessed about always trying to eat ten percent less than I wanted, so I can focus on life rather than, “Oh, I need to be on this athlete diet which sucks all the time.”

Guy Lawrence: I know, we now a few, I mean, you know, a good endurance athlete as well, and they get ravenous, like, you know, they’d eat a loaf of banana bread in seconds, you know, and then they come out and it’s like, “Wow. That can’t be helpful.”
Stuart Cooke: So, we’ve touched a little bit on food, I’m interested to know your thoughts on sports drinks.

Sami Inkinen: Sports drinks?

Stuart Cooke: Sports drinks, yeah. So I guess, what did you drink while you were on the row and perhaps, historically, what did you used to drink when you were training as to what you might drink now?

Sami Inkinen: Yeah. So our sports drink of choice on the boat was water which was made out of ocean water with our desalinator, so we, you know, carrying the amount of water that you need for two months when you are sweating, rowing eighteen hours a day, obviously, which people used to do, the few crazy individuals who did this before, solar panels and desalinators, the rowing boats were gigantic because they had to carry all their water through the whole thing.

Guy Lawrence: All their water. Yeah.

Sami Inkinen: So, we were drinking ocean water, which was desalinated, no sodium, and we had zero electrolyte solutions whatsoever on the boat which probably could be surprising to people. So our sports electrolyte solution of choice was table salt.

Guy Lawrence: Plain old table salt.

Sami Inkinen: Yeah. We had table salt that had, you know, added potassium, but you know, it’s a grocery store product that you buy. That was the only thing that we had. We also had a magnesium tablets, but the only reason we had that was because all the beef that, and the meat, that we ate was dehydrated and it was treated in a way that it had lower amounts of magnesium that you would otherwise find, so we had that just in case that we wouldn’t have muscle cramps, but that’s all.

And, like I said, we had no aid station, we had no sports stores, so we were absolutely confident that the real whole foods based diet, regardless of our eighteen hours of exercise a day, is completely efficient, so I guess long story short to answer your question, we were able to exercise eighteen hours a day with zero sports drinks and eighteen hours a day, I burn about the same amount of calories as running two marathons each day for 45 days non-stop.

Guy Lawrence: That’s amazing, man.

Sami Inkinen: That doesn’t make it science, but it’s not a very good headline for a sports drink marketer.

Guy Lawrence: Do you ever get people just going, “Oh, that’s rubbish, “or disbelief or…what’s the reaction being… for you achieving this in the sports fraternity especially, you know? Like, because it’s so against everything we’ve told.

Sami Inkinen: I don’t know. I don’t really care. I mean, I let others judge and form their opinions and, if somebody doesn’t believe in what we did or that might be the right way to eat or drink or hydrate yourself then that’s their choice. Yeah, but your question of what do I have now, so if I go to a four or five-hour bike ride, I just have water in my bottle, but I usually try to make sure that I have, like, lots of salt before. I might throw in some table salt into my water bottles in my bike, and then, once I finish, I have extra salt to swallow.
So you certainly need the sodium, but I’m just conscious of that if I do something that is more than two hours and it’s hot and I know that I’m going to be sweating, yeah, I kind of buffer a little bit, but I don’t run out of sodium.

Guy Lawrence: Amazing. And just one question that I really wanted to touch on while we’ve got you on the show, Sami, is just for the listeners out there regarding your training, could you share with us now even when you’re leading up to an event or something what a typical training day and a typical training week would look like? The amount of volume you would do in that?

Sami Inkinen: Yeah. Well, it obviously depends on what I’m preparing for, but looking at the last five, even ten years of my training log, it’s… overall volume is the same, the content just changes, but weekdays, I usually work out between 50 and 90 minutes per day. You know, maybe an average of an hour a day, and then the weekend, either for training or social reasons, I do a longer, usually it’s a bike ride that’s anywhere between three and five hours, more often three to four hours, so if you do the math, I mean the second day might be another one or two-hour bike ride or run or something, but you know I end up training about ten hours a week, week in, week out, and you know, I love exercising so that’s one of the reasons.

It’s my way of, like, clearing my mind, and if I’m training for an event it’s much more focused, so there’s more high-intensity and that’s sort of thing, but the hours I’d say… eight to eleven hours a week. It’s difficult to find a week that’s out of those parameters for less than eleven hours, and then you know, I might sometimes more strength-training, sometimes less, but that’s kind of the setup.

So when I say one-hour day, so it could be a recovery workout where I go and ride about a bike for 50 minutes. Super easy, so that’s almost like doing nothing for me, but it counts as a one-hour workout, so another one-hour workout might be ten times one-minute all out, warm out, cool down, so once again it’s one hour, so it’s again, it’s an hour, but you know, it really depends on what I do there, but I’m so used to exercise that I kind of end up spending the one hour every morning just to get out there and do something and, yeah, but what you do within an hour makes a huge difference.

Guy Lawrence: Oh, yeah.

Stuart Cooke: It does, it does. One question as well, Sami, that we ask everybody, and I know we’ve got thousands of people that would love to know, a typical daily diet for you. What have you eaten today?

Sami Inkinen: What have I had today? Probably the most dangerous, no question about, answer, because everyone always asks, “So what do you eat exactly?” I always try to avoid going into details, because then people either want to copy, they’ll want to rip it apart, so I’ve always tried to avoid, like, posting somewhere, like, “Here’s exactly what I eat.” Not because there’s anything scandalous or anything, but, again, people are looking for this, like…

Guy Lawrence: Magic fix?

Sami Inkinen: …sound bite, like one size fits all, but typically I eat, before workout, I probably have, like four or five hundred calories of fat and, practically speaking, that’s usually coconut butter or coconut oil in a tea or coffee or butter so that was the case this morning as well, so, I mean, I don’t count the calories, but just to give you a sense of, like…

Guy Lawrence: Guestimate, yeah.

Sami Inkinen: You know, a crapload of fat with a drink, and you know it’s pretty fast to digest and it doesn’t feel like it’s in your stomach if you go and work out, so that’s… Then right after workout, I usually have a little bit of a protein, so this could be three to five eggs, fried with top fat again, butter usually, in a pan, depending how busy I am. My lunch is usually a salad, so it looks like it’s lots of salad, but it’s lots of greens and then with a little bit of protein, so that could be a salmon or ground beef and then a lot of olive oil or butter or some sort of mayo.

Snacks oftentimes it’s some sort of meat or sausage or almonds or macadamia nuts and then dinner is even a, you know, a bowl that you would usually feed a horse from. That kind of size full of greens that I may sauté in a pan with a bunch of butter or just like put in, like, it’s gigantic and then again with some kind of protein. It could be shrimps or fish or grass with beef or more butter. I usually drink water, but I might have almond milk, just for the heck of it, maybe some frozen berries after that, like blueberries or something like that. Nothing too scientific.

Stuart Cooke: Sounds delicious.

Guy Lawrence: That’s awesome. Mate, we’ve got one more question that we always ask everyone on the podcast as well and it can be related to anything, but what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Sami Inkinen: That someone has given to me?

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Sami Inkinen: Oh… happy wife, happy life. It sounds like a cliché, but once you’ve been married for a few years you realize that it’s so true.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: That’s a great answer.

Stuart Cooke: I hear where you’re coming from, Sami, with that one.

Guy Lawrence: Just to wrap it up, what does the future hold for Sami Inkinen? Any more challenges ahead or anything in the pipeline?

Sami Inkinen: Well I’m working very hard on my MacBook Air, just kind of on the technology side of things, but athletically I’m doing the eight-day mountain biking stage race in South Africa in March called Cape Epic, so it’s, you know, five to seven hours on the bike each day for eight days. So that’s coming up in less than two months, so two months’ time. Excited about that, so that’s my athletic in the horizon, so I’d better get myself on the bike.

Stuart Cooke: My word, I’ve been a mountain biker all my life, I would shudder at the thought of undertaking something like that, so I would… We’ll keep an eye on that one, for sure.

Guy Lawrence: Definitely! And for them listening to this, Sami, if they want to, you know, track your progress or follow you, do you have a website or a blog they can check out at all or a URL?

Sami Inkinen: Yeah, well maybe a couple of things, the row, if you’re interested in learning more about the row, we have a website called Fat Chance Row, fatchancerow.org, so you can go there and read a little bit about the background and we raised money for a non-profit and we are still doing that, so if you want to support, none of the money comes to us, it goes directly to the non-profit. So that’s one, and then, if you want to follow me on Twitter, one way to follow what I might be up to, is just my first name, last name on Twitter, so S, A, M, I, I,N, K, I, N, E, N, Sami Inkinen on Twitter, and you know I sometimes blog on my website, but it’s not too frequent so…

Guy Lawrence: No worries. We’ll put the appropriate links to that on the show anyway and help spread the word. Thanks, Sami, thanks so much for coming on the show. That was awesome and I have no doubt everyone is going to get a lot out of that today.

Stuart Cooke: I think so, very, very inspiring. Really appreciate the time, Sami.

Sami Inkinen: Yeah. My pleasure, so thanks so much, guys.

Guy Lawrence: Thanks, Sami.

Stuart Cooke: No problem.

Guy Lawrence: Appreciate it. Cheers.

Stuart Cooke: Cheers.

My Formula For a Long & Happy Life – With Paleo & Primal Expert Mark Sisson

The above video is 3:53 minutes long.

Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.


mark sissonThis week we have the fantastic paleo and primal expert Mark Sisson. He is a best selling author and runs the hugely successful blog ‘Mark’s Daily Apple’.

His experience and knowledge is exceptional, as he shares with us (in the above short video) how he defines what it takes to live a happy, healthy and active life whilst getting the most out of each day.

In the full interview below we dig deep into the world of Mark Sisson; from endurance athlete to the primal lifestyle, his exercise routines, his simple philosophies he applies to make the most out of each day and much more. And most of all how you can apply them into your life.

If you are loving the podcast’s or/& they are inspiring your health journey, we’d love to hear from you! Simply drop us an email or leave a review on our iTunes :)

Full Interview with paleo expert Mark Sisson


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In this episode we talk about:

  • Mark’s journey from an elite carb-loading athlete to living the paleo way
  • What exactly the primal blueprint is
  • How to define what it takes to achieve amazing health
  • Why exercise for weight loss is not a great weight loss strategy
  • What a typical week of exercise looks like for Mark Sisson
  • What Mark eats in a day
  • And much much more…

CLICK HERE for all Episodes of the 180 Podcast

Get More of Mark Sisson Here:

Mark Sisson Transcript

Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence from 180 Nutrition, and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. Our fantastic guest today is paleo and primal legend Mark Sisson, a former marathon runner and triathlete in his early days, came on to make his mission to empower 10 million people in the primal lifestyle, pretty much worldwide.

He started his blog in 2006 and he’s now going on, I think, reaching over 150,000 people come to his website a day. Yes.

And he’s also the author of a very best-selling book, The Primal Blueprint.

Now, I’ve been following Mark for awhile, many years, including on my own health journey, and it was fantastic get him on the podcast today. He’s an all-around top guy, very humble, very down-to-earth, and a lot of fun, too. And it was just great to be able to pick his brain on so much. For, you know, I think 45 minutes for the show.

It’s all well and good to have knowledge, but, you know, experience is priceless, I think, and Mark’s certainly got a lot of that. You know, as he said on the show, he’s 61 years old, you know, he looks half his age, he’ll put most people half his age to shame, you know. Just in fantastic condition and a fantastic representative of what good healthy living is. But also not taking it all too seriously, to a degree, and having fun along the way.

Anyway, this was a stellar podcast and I have no doubt you will get a lot out of it today. As always, you know, if you’re enjoying our shows on iTunes, please leave us a review. Hit the five stars. Subscribe. They all add up and they all make a difference in helping us get the word out there with these podcasts that we do, because we know we’re reaching a lot of your guys now.

Also, we are on social media: Facebook, Instagram. Get involved. It’s all under 180Nutrition. And, of course, come back to our website. If you’ve got no idea where to start, these podcasts are a great place, but also we’ve got a free ebook we give away and that’s a great place to start, too. And that’s on 180Nutrition.com.au.

And, yeah, enjoy the show. If you’re enjoying it, also drop us an email. It’s great to hear from you. And we get a lot of emails coming in every week now, and keep them coming because we love to hear from you.

Anyway, enough of me rambling. Let’s get on to the show and over to Mark Sisson. Enjoy.

OK, hi, I’m Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke, as always. Hey, Stu.

Stuart Cooke: Hello, mate.

Guy Lawrence: And our fantastic guest today is Mark Sisson. Mark, welcome to the show. Thanks for coming on.

Mark Sisson: Thanks for having me! It’s great to be here.

Guy Lawrence: It’s great. Over here in Australia at the moment there’s a bit of a buzz going on because you’re coming over next month. Is this the first time you’ve been to Australia, or have you been here before?

Mark Sisson: No, I’ve been there. I’ve been to Sydney a couple of times. I’ve been to Perth twice. So, I feel like I’ve been on both ends of the continent. Now I need to do something in the center at some point.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, it’s excellent. And Manly, it’s a beautiful place, and I’m sure we will talk a bit more about that through the show as well. But where I was interested to kick off, Mark, is that you’ve affected so many people’s lives through their own health journey over the years, including mine as well, and myself and Stu were chatting and we are intrigued to hear a little bit more about your journey. You know, from back to your endurance athlete days to the transition to primal and everything. How did it all sort of happen and come about?

Mark Sisson: Well, it was a long process. And it was an evolution, for sure. I started out as an endurance athlete and was a fairly decent marathon runner in the ’70s and then became a triathlete in the early part of the ’80s, doing Ironman events and such.

And I wanted to do all the right things. I researched heavily into what it would take to be as fast as I could get, and to be as healthy as I could stay, and how best to fuel my body, and, you know, the conventional wisdom of the day was: train hard and long and eat lots of carbohydrates. Cross your fingers and hope that you get faster and win some races.

And I did get faster and I did win some races, but my health suffered tremendously, and over the years; I had to retire quite early from competition because of injuries because of inflammation and –itises and some other; some lingering sinus infections and a whole host of maladies. And I thought, “This isn’t right. I’m trying to be healthy and I’m trying to do the right things. I work hard. I’m following all the best advice. Why am I not healthy?”

And I just sort of dedicated the rest of my life to looking at ways that I could be as strong, fit, lean, happy, healthy as possible with the least amount of pain, suffering, sacrifice, discipline, calorie counting, and portion control.

And that really led me to discovering that fats were not the enemy. I increased the amount of fat in my diet. I discovered that I could get fit on much less training if I just trained smarter and not harder. I discovered eventually that if I gave up grains, my inflammation went away. And so the osteoarthritis that had pretty much taken me out of the elite marathon division; that went away.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, I had in my gut that had really run my life for almost forty years, that went away. And it was really quite a revelation that, wow, by just changing a few things in the diet and by altering how much exercise I did and maybe getting a little bit more sun exposure to make some more vitamin D, I didn’t get sick as often, and all these things started to come into place, and it really created the template for what I now call the Primal Blueprint, which is my strategy for living an awesome life.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fantastic. Stu?

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, before we get into the Primal Blueprint, I’m interesting in asking how does Mark Sisson define good health? Because I think we’re all in different stages on our health journey. And some people have just succumbed to the idea, “Well, I’m getting older, I’m not gonna be as fit and as strong, I’m gonna get more sick.” What’s good health mean to you?

Mark Sisson: Well, I think out of the blocks, the most important part of life is to be content, to be fulfilled, to be happy, to wake up every morning with a sense of purpose and excitement for what the day’s going to bring.

And in order to get to that point, I think you have to be in a position where you’re not in chronic pain, where you have enough energy that gets you through the day while you’re not moody or depressed. So all of the sort of things that comprise what I would call health in general go far beyond not being sick. They actually would comprise, again, like: How do I live an awesome life? How can I take what I have, whether it’s given to me by my familial genes or whether I’ve brought it on myself through inappropriate lifestyle choices over the past few decades, how can I today extract the most possible out of my life that gives me peace and contentment and enjoyment and fulfillment.

And, you know, it always comes back to: It starts with taking care of what you eat. How you eat is sort of how it manifests in your body composition. So, if you’re overweight you’re not gonna enjoy life as much as if you’ve arrived in an ideal body composition. If you’re in pain from inflammation and you can correct that through how you eat, then you won’t spend much of your waking day, you know, lost in that tunnel vision that has you focused on the pain and not all the wonderful things in life that are happening around you. Does that make sense?

Stuart Cooke: That makes perfect sense. Absolutely. I think that everybody is entitled to experience good health, and we’ve got so many mixed messages at the moment and we’re confused about so many areas, whether it be food or lifestyle choices, that I think we just…

Mark Sisson: Yeah. People want to do the right thing. They’re just confused and frustrated because over the years what they’ve been told was the right thing, in many cases by their governmental agencies or by their physicians’ boards or whatever, you know, haven’t necessarily reflected the truth.

And I’ve sort of made it my mission to identify some of these choices that people can make that are more likely to create a positive outcome if they engage in these activities. So, it may be something as simple as: “Well, I was told my whole life to avoid fat and to base my diet on complex carbohydrates.” Well, if that’s working for you, there’s a good reason, because now there’s a lot of research that suggests fat is not the enemy, that healthy fats are actually beneficial and good, and that you might be better-served by cutting out some of the sources or carbohydrate in your diet, because maybe that’s what’s causing you to gain weight or to become inflammation or to have; or to become inflamed, or to have pain throughout your body or skin issues or whatever.

And as we know, there’s; I sort of represent, I guess, the epitome of a healthy 61-year-old guy. You know, I’ve got my little issues that I’m always trying to deal with. Everybody’s issue is like really important to them, right?

Stuart Cooke: Exactly right.

Mark Sisson: So, yeah. So, we’ve all got our little Achilles issues, you know.

Stuart Cooke: I love that. And I’m always of the opinion that if you want something to change then, you have to change something. Otherwise, you’re probably going to experience the same result moving forward.

Mark Sisson: And that’s the beauty of what we do in the paleo and primal movement is we overlay a template which suggests that there are some obvious changes that you can make to your lifestyle and to your diet. But at some point, it’s incumbent upon you to learn enough about your own particular set of circumstances that you can start to experiment with, and we call it “tinkering at the margin.”

Am I somebody who can handle maybe a little bit more carbohydrate than the other person? Am I somebody who can’t exercise too much or I’ll tear up my muscle tissue? I am somebody who needs nine hours of sleep instead of seven and a half. And the are all sort of the; these are the fine-tuning points that I think are really critical for people to, when you’re being mindful about your life and mindful about your health, then they start to pay attention: “What happens if I stay up too late and don’t get enough sleep?” “What happens if I overeat?” “What happens if I exercise too hard or I’m training for a marathon and I overdid it?”

And just being aware is like key point number one. And then, like you see, then, from there, you can make the changes in order to derive the change that you’re thinking.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, absolutely. And we call that, or we refer to that as the “sweet spot.” Everybody’s got to find their sweet spot; find out what works for them. And, yeah, and turn the dial. If it doesn’t quite work, then experiment with the N equals 1, see what works for you, keep going, keep going. And when you find your sweet spot, then you’ve kind of got a blueprint for the rest of your life. Or at least for then.

Mark Sisson: And that’s another part of this that I think is really so awesome is that so many people who encounter a paleo friend who’s had some results or somebody who’s gone primal and has lost weight or gotten off the meds and they start to see what is possible, they quickly realize that this is a sustainable lifestyle. That this isn’t just something you do for 30 days because you have to grind it out and you have to sacrifice and struggle to get it done. This is so easy when you incorporate some of these simple changes in your life. You get pretty quickly: Wow! I can do this for the rest of my life.

And that’s so freeing and so empowering to have that sense.

Stuart Cooke: That’s right. Absolutely. Working towards long-lasting health as opposed to a 30-day quick fix diet which is, again, gonna yo-yo you up and down on your health and weight.

Guy Lawrence: And like you said, as well, I think it all comes back down to initial awareness, because so many people are unconsciously doing the wrong things and they’re not even aware that it’s affecting them so greatly.

And just even being able to put that on their map. You know, we spoke to a couple of friends yesterday, Mark, and said you were coming on the show today and they were trying to understand, I guess, if you were to do an elevator pitch to what the primal philosophies were, because they said, “Well, what does it mean to be primal?”

How would you sum that up to anyone listening to this?

Mark Sisson: You know, I sum it up differently every time, because it always, depending on the context, what I do with the Primal Blueprint is I allow people to affect their own health by decisions they make in their lives.

And by that I mean, at a deeper level, we each have this genetic recipe within us; this DNA recipe that wants us to be strong and lean and fit and happy and healthy. We were born with this recipe that builds that type of a body.

But a recipe, these genes, depend on inputs, from food, from exercise, from sleep, from all these things that turn the genes on or off. You want to turn on the genes that build muscle or do you want to turn on the genes that store fat? It’s all within your power. You can choose the inputs that flip those switches.

So, the Primal Blueprint is really about uncovering these hidden genetic switches that we all have in a way that manifests the body and the feeling and the presence that we all want to have in life; that we all sort of not just dreamed of but sort of subconsciously know is our birthright. And so the Primal Blueprint really is about it’s an empowering lifestyle that allows you to access the best possible health with the least amount of sacrifice and discipline.

Guy Lawrence: That’s a good point as well. The least amount of sacrifice.

Stuart Cooke: Who would not want that? Absolutely.

Mark Sisson: That must have been a long elevator ride, right? That was probably 40 floors.

Stuart Cooke: You’re on the top floor right now.

So, we’re very excited, then, that you’re bringing those philosophies and we’ve got a heap of other speakers as well coming over to the Primal Symposium very shortly in Manly. For everyone out there that isn’t too sure about what this is all about, what can we expect over the course of the weekend?

Mark Sisson: Yeah, so, the Thr1ve.me event is, it’s about three days of fun, and three days of getting back to understanding what enjoying life is really about, from all aspects. So, we are gonna talk about how to dial in the diet. And everyone who shows up, I suspect will have some experience, or not, with paleo eating or with the Primal Blueprint or that way, or low-carb.

We’re gonna tweak it. We’re gonna help you dial it in. We’re gonna talk about some of the strategies that you can use in your own experiment. We’re going to have some of the best speakers in the world, and presenters, with regard to body movement. So, we’ve got people who are gonna show you how to do Olympic lifts, if that’s something you want to do, in soft of a CrossFit genre.

On the other hand, we have people who are experts in body weight exercises. So, if all you ever want to do is go out in your back yard and do squats and lunges and dips and do it in a way that’s going to generate 80 percent of all that’s possible for you physically, we’ll have people there doing that.

We have the world’s preeminent expert on play, Darryl Edwards. Darryl’s been at eight of my events.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, we know Darryl.

Mark Sisson: Yeah. And Darryl is; he’s crazy in the funnest way possible. He basically embodies what it means to go through life with a sense of play in everything you do. And it doesn’t just mean, you know, dancing around and jumping around and acting crazy or playing games. It’s how to get that playful mindset in your work experience. Or, you know, family setting, where maybe there’s a little bit more play that would be required. Or, not required but be very helpful in bringing everybody together.

We have cooking demonstrations. So, people who are really interested in how to prepare the best possible paleo or primal meals will learn how to cook. It’s really all aspects of a primal lifestyle that we’re going to cover so that when you leave, at the end of the weekend, you’ll go: “Wow. No I really; I’m excited about what I can do with my own life to get to the next level.” Whatever that is. You may be just starting. You could get to the next level. You may already be well advanced in your paleo and primal living. But there’s always the next rung. There’s always something that’s the next level of excitement and anticipation, and that’s really what I want for everybody who attends.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, Absolutely. It’s going to be fantastic. I mean, we will be there; we’re looking forward to it.

Stuart Cooke: Oh, I can’t wait to get there after that description. I’m going now. Fantastic.

Guy Lawrence: So, like, with Josh from Thr1ve, he’s doing awesome things over there, especially creating awareness as well through his cafeterias and the food and everything he presents. And how did you guys connect… This is a two-fold question: How did you guys connect, and, secondly, are you seeing the same things in America with that change as well?

Mark Sisson: Well, how we connected was, he came to one of my events. So, I had an event in Tulum, Mexico a year and half ago, and it was very much like the Thr1ve event will be in Manly. He brought some of his company’s employees; it was to not just understand a little bit more about this primal lifestyle but it was probably a team-building exercise as well.

They had the best time. They had such a good time he came to me and said: How can I; I want to do something like this in Manly.” So, he had such a good time at our event he said I want to do this in Australia.

So, that’s how we met.

Now, when you ask, is there something like this in the U.S., what do you mean?

Guy Lawrence: In terms of awareness and accessibility to foods with the cafes and the change coming.

Mark Sisson: Yeah, so, I’m finding that Australia is ahead of the curve on a per capita basis, by far, than the U.S. I mean, I would say that Australia on a per capita basis probably has more awareness of the paleo ancestral lifestyle than any other country that I’ve encountered.

That’s very excited. So, you have a number of restaurants that are opening that are offering up this type of fare that isn’t just food that fits the primal or paleo parameters, but it tastes great, so anybody can eat there. You know? That’s the irony here is that you walk into these restaurants and go… I don’t want to walk into a restaurant just because it’s a health food place, you know. I want good food. I mean, I make a point of saying every bite of food I put in my mouth, I want to enjoy.

So, if you tell me it’s healthy but it doesn’t taste very good, I don’t want it. I’ve got no reason to eat it. This is about extracting all of the joy out of life that you can, and part of that for me means I want to enjoy every bite of food that I eat. And when I’ve had enough, I want to be willing to push it away and say, “You know what? That was awesome. I don’t need another bite. I don’t need to fill myself up. There will be more food around the corner.”

That’s sort of what some of your restaurants in Australia are starting to do. We’re starting to do it in the U.S. as well. And I’m actually launching a restaurant franchise concept in about six months in the U.S. as well.

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.

Mark Sisson: Yeah. Having said that, you know, we’re looking to expand the paleo world in the U.S. and it’s; we’re doing a good job but I do think we need to do a better job. I think, you know, we’ve got such great science behind what we’re doing. And the people who are in are all in.

So, we’ve got a culture thing where, you know, giving up the cinnamon buns and giving up the pizza, all that stuff, is kind of a tough ask for a lot of people.

Guy Lawrence: That’s fantastic. We are blessed here, especially in Sydney, you know. I can think of a couple of handfuls of places constantly where I can go and eat paleo very accessible.

Stuart Cooke: Just thinking out loud as well, you mentioned that your restaurant chain, I was thinking for your logo it could be a great big curvature kind of M, you know, golden kind of shape. I could work.

Guy Lawrence: For “Mark,” yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Change the color.

Mark Sisson: It could work.

I don’t have the legal budget to do that.

Stuart Cooke: OK. Just a thought.

I’d love to just get a little bit more specific now around health. I’ve got a few questions that I know everybody would be keen to hear your answer from.

If I wanted to make some simple changes right now, like today, that could have dramatic effect on my health, coming from, let’s say I’m following a standard Australian or American diet, what do you think I could do right now?

Mark Sisson: Well, the first thing you can do, and I think everybody knows this intuitively, is get rid of the sugar in your diet. So, that means getting rid of all of the sugary drinks. You know: the sodas, the soft drinks, the sweetened teas, even the juices, because a lot of those contain a tremendous amount of sugar. Certainly the desserts: the pies, the cakes, the cookies, biscuits, all of the really; it’s really obvious stuff to a lot of people. They know what to omit.

So, that’s the first thing. And a lot can be accomplished with that. I mean, you can really be well on your way to whatever weight loss program that you’re embarking on, regardless of whether it’s paleo or primal or vegetarian or vegan. If you got rid of the sugary stuff, you’d be way ahead of the game.

The next thing would be to get rid of the industrial seed oils. So, you get rid of processed foods that contain soybean oil, corn oil, canola. You know, things like that that are very; they are very highly inflammatory so a lot of people are probably carrying around a lot of extra weight in the form of water that they’ve retained because their entire body is inflamed as a result of their diet.
That’s point number two. And then following that I’d get rid of the processed carbohydrates. So, a lot of the grain-based flours, particularly gluten. I mean, I just think; I’m of the opinion that gluten benefits no one. There are some people who can maybe get away with a little wheat once in awhile. But it doesn’t mean it’s good for them. It just means it’s not killing them immediately.

And then there are a lot of people on the spectrum who are egregiously harmed by wheat and by other forms of grain. And I was one.

And you mentioned earlier, people are sometimes insensitive to what it is that’s causing problems with them, and they don’t get that the sodas that they’re drinking are causing inflammation, or actually helping to lead them into a Type 2 diabetic situation.

I was of the opinion for the longest time that whole grains were healthy, and I, even as I got into my research, started evolving my own diet, I kept grains in for a long time. I was doing research on how phytate bind with minerals and prevent the intake of minerals and how lectins have problems with the lining of the gut and how gluten was bad for people with celiac.

But, you know, I did all this research and yet I was continuing to eat grains in my diet. And my wife one day said, why don’t you just do a 30-day experiment and give up the grains? And that’s what changed my life. That’s really; that’s when the arthritis went away, that’s when the irritable bowel syndrome disappeared, that’s when the upper respiratory tract infections went away. That’s when so many of these minor issues that I thought; and, Stuart, you mentioned earlier that, you know, well, we assume that because we’re getting older, these must be normal and natural. Well, I assumed that, you know, I was already in my mid- to late-40s. I said, “Well, that’s probably a normal part of getting old.” And I assume that I was going to have to live with that. And all that stuff kind of disappeared when I gave up the grains. And I thought, wow, if I’m defending my right to eat grains so aggressively, in the face of what I know, imagine how many people out there are assuming that grains are benign and harmless and aren’t affecting them who might be tremendously benefitted by giving up grains.

So, sort of, what I say to everybody is, look, if that’s still a part of your diet and you still have some issues, why would you not want to do a 30-day experiment? Just cut out the grains for 30 days, there’s plenty of other foods you can eat. I mean, I don’t lack for choices on my list of foods to eat. But cut out the grains and notice what happens. Notice if your arthritis clears up or your pains go away or you lose some weight more effortlessly. Or your skin clears up.

There are a lot of things that are potentially being affected by this high-grain diet that so many people have.

Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. Sugar. Processed vegetable oils. And, again, those processed carbohydrates as well.

Like you said, try it. See how you feel after 30 days. Do a self-experiment.

Mark Sisson: Yeah. People say, “Well, what can I eat?” And I go, well, you can eat beef, pork, lamb, chicken. You know: duck, goose, turkey. You can eat ostrich. You can eat croc. You can eat… And then you can eat all the vegetables, all the fruit, nuts, lots of healthy fats, butter. You know: bacon. It’s a pretty inviting way to eat food.

Stuart Cooke: You could always try and eat real food.

The thing I like about that is that when you do start to eliminate a lot of the processed foods, you almost reconnect yourself to the kitchen and to the ritual of cooking, and I think that is something that we are slowly losing through generations as we are kind of subject to so many of these convenience foods.

Mark Sisson: Yeah. I mean, it’s; we have a section on my website, on Mark’s Daily Apple, on every Saturday is a recipe. I have published three of my own cookbooks and three other cookbooks by other authors because these are so; these cookbooks are so popular. And figuring out how we can find ways to prepare real food in ways that are tasty and exciting, you know, it’s fun. I mean, it really is. It actually reconnects people with the kitchen.

Guy Lawrence: You know, you hear more and more of these stories as well, because you triggered them up when you were still training and reluctant to get off the grains. We had Sami Inkinen, the triathlete who rowed from San Fran to Hawaii, on our podcast last week.

Mark Sisson: Yeah, rowed meaning r-o-w-e-d. Not r-o-d-e, but yeah.

Guy: Yeah, that’s right. Sorry, it’s my Welsh accent, eh?

But, you know, he was saying he was close to becoming a Type 2 diabetic and he thought he was in the prime of his life. And the moment he cut out the grains and the sugars and increased his fats and trained his body that way, amazing.

Mark Sisson: Oh, and Sami’s; he’s just an incredible all-around guy. I’ve known him for a bunch of years. We’ve become good friends. And I watched him train for this event that he did with his wife, rowing from San Francisco to Hawaii.

But in the process he thought, oh, I haven’t done a triathlon for awhile, I’ll jump in the Wildflower Triathlon, which is a half Ironman distance, just as part of my training. And he won it outright. And he won it on a low-carb, high-fat, almost ketogenic training strategy.

And he’s a great example of somebody who’s taken the information, because he comes from a sort of a techie background as well, he’s very into the details and very into the minutia. And so he’s embraced this way of living and now, not just for himself and his wife, but for other people. He’s got basically a foundation that’s trying to help fight Type 2 diabetes.

And we’re all trying to kind of just allow the rest of the world to see what; how easy this is and let them in on our secret. Because it really is. It feels sometimes like it is a secret, like: “How come you guys don’t know this? We’re having so much fun here! We’re enjoying life so much doing this, and all you miserable guys out there just slogging along.” And I feel bad. I’m very empathetic. But that’s kind of how I feel sometimes. Like, we have this great secret. How come more people aren’t receptive?

Guy Lawrence: That’s so true. Yeah. Because when we question ourselves, “Are we in this bubble? Do not people…”

Stuart Cooke: We liken it; we’ve raised this before, but we liken it to the film The Matrix where Neo takes this pill and all of a sudden he’s in this completely different world and he realizes that everybody else are cooped up in this little bubble, and that’s not the real world at all. It’s insane.

But, yeah, spreading the word, it’s so important. And especially loving what Sami had done from his podcast and the amount of fat that he was consuming and being so amazingly healthy and coming out of that row with such a low level of inflammation as well, it really does kind of give an upper cut to this low-fat dogma that we’ve been plagued with for so many years.

Guy Lawrence: Well, while we’re on that kind of topic, then, which kind of leads into the next question, Stu, I’m gonna pinch it. But regarding exercise for weight loss. I’d love to hear your thoughts on that, Mark, from your point of view. Because obviously it’s one…

Mark Sisson: Sure. So, the major sort of overriding principle, if there is one, of the Primal Blueprint, is that humans are born to be really good at burning fat. We evolved in two and half million years of human evolution to be able to go long periods of time without eating, because that was just sort of what the environment offered up to us was sometimes nothing. So, this ability to store fat effectively, and then to be able to access and burn it as fuel effective, when there was no other food around.

This is a skill that we all have in our DNA. It’s hard-wired in our DNA. We are born with this ability to be good at burning fat. But very quickly in our lives, we sort of override that with access to cheap carbohydrates at every single meal. So, the body goes, “Well, I don’t need to store fat or I don’t need to burn fat if I’ve got this carbohydrate; this ongoing carbohydrate blood sugar drip coming in from every couple of hours all day long from food.”

So, the body starts to take the excess calories, store those as fat, finds out that it never really has to burn the fat because there’s always gonna be new sources of carbohydrate coming in. Glucose is toxic in large quantities, so the body is trying to get rid of the glucose by burning it. And if it can’t burn it, then it will store it as fat. Fat is a site where a lot of glucose winds up in a lot of people.

So, where was I going with that? What was the question again?

Guy Lawrence: Weight loss and exercise.

Stuart Cooke: Exercise purely for weight loss.

Mark Sisson: Yeah. So, the basic principle then, to be able to burn stored body fat, leads to the first paradigm, which is that you don’t even need to exercise to burn off your stored body fat. Because if you are able to be good at accessing this stored body fat, then your body’s gonna take whatever calories it needs to get from 9 o’clock in the morning until 1 o’clock in the afternoon, it’ll take it from your belly or your thighs or your hips. And it doesn’t require that it come from a plate of food.

And that’s a beautiful skill to develop: this ability to be able to burn off stored body fat 24 hours a day.

Now, if you get into that space and then you’ll trend toward your ideal body composition. You’ll always trend toward burning off the extra unused, unwanted body fat and coming down to that body that you need.

So, that, almost in and of itself, obviates the need to have to go out and burn 800 calories on the treadmill every single day. And what it means is that exercise is actually not a very good way to lose weight. It’s actually a terrible way to lose weight, when you think about it, because a lot of times when people are doing a lot of work on the treadmill and they’re burning; or, on the road, or riding a bike, or on the elliptical, or whatever it is they’re doing, and they’re counting calories, if they haven’t become good at burning fat yet, all they’re doing is burning sugar. They’re burning stored glycogen in their muscles.

Now, what happens as a result of that is they get home from the workout and the brain goes, “Wait. We just ran out of glycogen. The first thing we have to do is refill all of glycogen storage. Especially if this fool’s gonna try it again tomorrow.”

So, the body gets into this terrible spiral where you work hard, you sweat a lot, you burn a lot of calories, but your appetite goes up because you haven’t become good at burning fat. And so you overeat. You tend to slightly overcompensate and for a lot of people that means that, you know, you’re four or five years into an exercise program and you still have the same 25 pounds to lose.

It’s very depressing to watch people, and it’s very common, very depressing, to watch people at the gym every day. And you know they’re working hard and they’re trying to do the work. But they haven’t got; they haven’t handled the first order of business, which is to convert your fuel partitioning away from being sugar-dependent into becoming what we call a “fat-burning beast.” Become good at burning fat, 24 hours a day.

So, you’re burning fat. So, if you skip a meal, no problem, nothing happens to your blood sugar, your energy levels stay even, your body just derives that energy from the fat stored in your body. And it doesn’t mean you get hungry. All these wonderful things start to happen as you become good at burning fat. You become less dependent on blood sugar to run the brain. Because when you become fat-adapted, you become keto-adapted, and the brain runs really well on ketones. And ketones are a natural byproduct of burning fat.

So, all of these wonderful things happen: the appetite self-regulates. Now you don’t get ravenous and overeat at a meal because you were so hungry you didn’t know when to stop. Now your appetite says, “You know what? This is great. This is just enough food. I’ll push the plate away. I’m done. I’ll save it for later.”

And that’s; so, it all come back to this sort of primary skill in the Primal Blueprint which is being good at burning fat.

Guy Lawrence: Do you know what? I adopted that way of life, Mark, about nine years ago and prior to that I wasn’t even aware of how much the food was affecting my mood, my day, the way, when I exercised, my recovery. Everything. And it transformed my life. And people really need to get that, you know. It’s huge.

And we raise the question as well, not to deter anyone from exercise, because I exercise every day; I love it. But it makes me feel great and I do it for many other reasons. But weight loss is not; doesn’t enter my brain at all.

Mark Sisson: Yeah, so, good point. So, you know, I have an exercise plan, and I say you should find ways to move around a lot at a low level of activity. But the movement is more for your muscles, your pliability of the muscles, for your insulin sensitivity, which is coming as a result of moving the muscles. And you don’t need to count calories. Because, again, we’re not looking at exercise as a means of sweating off fat or burning away fat. We’re looking at exercise as a way of maintaining strength and flexibility and conditioning and so if you could find ways to move around, walking becomes one of the best exercises you can do. If you can get to the gym twice a week and do a high-intensity, full-body routine where you are working your arms and upper back and core and your legs. Twice a week is all you need, because once you’ve become good at accessing stored body fat and you realize you don’t need to burn off calories, then you realize also that you don’t need to do that much work to stay strong and flexible and well-balanced and all of the things that we’re looking for.
So, I’m a big fan of exercise and I do love to exercise, still, but I also try to find ways to play. So, for me, like, my biggest exercise day is Sundays when I play Ultimate Frisbee with my buddies; my mates down the road. We; there’s two hours of sprinting. And it’s the hardest workout I do all week. But at no point during the game do I look at my watch and go, “Oh, my God, when’s it gonna be over?” If I ever look at my watch it’s like, “Oh, crap, we only have 20 minutes left.” You know? It’s so much fun.

That’s how I see exercise and play coming together in a way that, yeah.

Guy Lawrence: What would your weekly exercise routine look like on a typical week if you’re at home?

Mark Sisson: So, Sundays, two hours of Ultimate. Mondays I might do an easy stationary bike ride, just mostly because the sprinting on the Ultimate is tough on my 61-year-old joints. So I’ll do maybe an easy bike ride then.

Tuesdays I might do a full-body routine. So, it’s gonna be pushups, pull-ups, dips, squats, lunges, things like that. So, I might do that Tuesday and Friday or Tuesday and Saturday.

Wednesday I might go for a paddle. I do a stand-up paddle for an hour and a half. And that’s a nice, fun aerobic activity that builds tremendous core and, same thing, the whole time I’m doing it, I’m usually with a friend or two, and we’re chatting away and we’re aiming for a point three or four miles out, but we’re still having fun and chasing dolphins and doing all this stuff and never thinking, “When’s it gonna be over?” You just think, “Wow! This is so cool. We’re out in the ocean, it’s the middle of the day, we’re getting vitamin D, we’re hanging out with the dolphins or the whales, it’s spectacular. And it’s, oh, by the way, it’s a killer workout.

It just leaves; I’ve got abs at my age that I wished I’d had when I was in my teens, because the paddling is such a good core exercise.

Guy Lawrence: I love being in the ocean as well. We live by the ocean ourselves here in Sydney and it’s just magical.

Mark Sisson: Yeah. Yeah.

And then I might do a hike one day. I might get on the bike and do intervals. Or, I have… Do you know what a VersaClimber is?

Stuart Cooke: No.

Mark Sisson: A VersaClimber is a rail with handles; it’s got handles, you know, feet and arm holds you can climb. So I might do an intense interval workout on that. I’ve got one in my garage. And I can be on that thing warmed up, do an amazing interval workout to where I am, as you would say, truly knackered, and then cool down and be off in 22 minutes, because it’s just so effective a piece of equipment.

So, you know, I don’t… The old days of going out for a five-hour bike ride and all that stuff and just struggling, those don’t appeal to me anymore. So, the most I’ll do is maybe an hour and a half paddle, or something like that, or an hour and a half hike. Otherwise, it’s short, it’s sweet, and sometimes intense.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fantastic. Awesome.

Stuart Cooke: Well, you’ve just made me feel very lazy. I’m going to have to do something.

So what about vices? Do you have any vices? You know, that you’ll sneak a piece of pie here and there?

Mark Sisson: Well, you know, I don’t completely shun desserts. My thing on desserts is: All I need is a bite or two to get a sense of what it is. So, the idea of having giant piece of cheesecake or, we were at a, my daughter had a birthday the other night, we were in a restaurant, and they brought out some baklava. And I had to have a bite of that, even though it contained sugar and a little bit of wheat. But, you know, one bite was all I needed and it was like, OK, this is spectacular. But the alternative to that would have been to spend just three more minutes devouring the entire thing and then being left with and achy gut, a racing heart, sweating, and I probably wouldn’t be able to sleep.

And so it’s really knowing what you can get away with. I mean, that’s sort of the; I hate to put it in those terms but some people can get away with a lot. There are some people who are allergic to peanuts, can’t get away with one tiny piece of peanut. So, you know, there’s… And with regard to the desserts, I just; I don’t like feeling of excess sugar in my system. I clean myself out so much that it just doesn’t feel good. And it’s certainly not worth the three minutes of gustatory pleasure sorting it out over the next five hours.

You know, I used to drink two glasses of wine a night for a long time. And I’m on record with the primal movement as saying, “You know, wine’s not bad.” Of the alcoholic choices, wine is probably the least offensive.

But recently I sort of gave up drinking two glasses of wine a night. I might have one glass a week now. Because I think it serves me well. I probably sleep better as a result of not doing that. So, I’ve given that up.

You know, otherwise, you know, no real “vices.” I mean, not to speak of.

Stuart Cooke: That’s great. And like you said, even with the wine, it’s pulling back to your sweet spot and turning the dial and just finding out what works for you.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, absolutely.

Stuart Cooke: Because we’re all so radically different.

Guy Lawrence: Do you find; how do you keep things primal when you’re traveling, Mark? Like, do you find that easy? Difficult?

Mark Sisson: Yeah, I do. I do find it easy. I think you do the best you can, for one. That’s all you can do. But my life doesn’t revolve around grass-fed beef and wild line-caught salmon. I’ll eat a nice steak in a restaurant if it’s been grain-fed. It is what it is. You know, I’m not; it still, in my world, better than a bowl of spaghetti with some kind of sugary; or a sauce made with canola oil or something like that.

So, it’s just a matter of degree. And it’s a matter of the context in which you find yourself.

So, there’s not a restaurant in the world that I can’t go into and find something delicious to eat, even if I have to ask the waiter to go back and have a few words with the chef.

But, you know, that’s… and when I travel, I don’t exercise that much if I can’t get near a gym, or if I don’t have a chance to exercise. Because I know, I have trust, that my body is not going to fall apart because I missed a workout. And the older I’ve gotten, the more I realize that, wow, I probably worked out way too much, even as recently as five years ago. And sometimes I go into the gym now and I might do 50 pushups, 10 pull-ups, 40 pushups, 10 pull-ups, 30 pushups, eight pull-ups, and go, “I’m done.” I don’t need to; I’m as pumped as I’m gonna get and anything more than this is just gonna be killing time and talking to other people in the gym.

The reality is it doesn’t take that much work, once you’ve achieved a level of fitness, it doesn’t take that much work to maintain it. And that’s really part of the beauty of the human body. The body doesn’t want to make that many changes.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, maintenance, isn’t it? I think, like, in terms of traveling, it’s just making the most of what you’ve got with the environment where you are and once you’re tuned into it, like you said, it becomes straight-forward.

Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. And especially where food is concerned, because we do live in this world now where we’ve got so many convenient choices when on the road, and I think just a little bit of understanding about the foods that serve us and the foods that don’t. But like you said, you can eat anywhere, and you generally get a good-quality protein and some veggies in most places.

Mark Sisson: You’re good to go! That’s all you need. Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: That’s it.

Mark Sisson: You know, what I find about traveling, probably the one thing that concerns me the most when I travel is sleep. And that’s, you know, so when I come to Oz I’m gonna be, you know, very diligent about how I orchestrate my sleep cycles during the transition, starting with leaving the LAX airport at 10:30 at night, how I spend the next 16 hours.

But also when I get to the hotel. I’ll look at the quality of the curtains and how much I can black them out at night, or how much light comes in from behind the curtains. I’ll look at the noise outside the window and whether or not there are going to be garbage trucks at 4 a.m. underneath my window.

I will literally look at the air-conditioning system, not for how cold it makes a room, but the kind of noise that it makes as a gray noise. And if it’s; I’ve been known to do this. If it’s too much, I’ll put a towel over the vent and I’ll put shoes on it and I’ll temper the whole thing because I want to orchestrate my sleep to approximate, as much as I can, what I’m used to at home.

And so sometimes for me that becomes; the biggest challenge is to sleep.

Stuart Cooke: Well, that’s it. If sleep falls down then everything falls down. Any particular supplements that you would take with you to help sleep at all?

Mark Sisson: You know, I do take melatonin. I take melatonin to adjust to wherever I’m going to be. So, whenever I travel, whenever I arrive at a new country, particularly. In the U.S., three time zones is nothing. I adapt to that immediately. But, you know, six or eight or nine time zones, a lot of times what I’ll do is I will arrive, I’ll maybe go for a long walk or do some kind of a bike ride or some workout, just to get my blood pumping and to get adapted to the air or whatever. I’ll do whatever it takes to stay up until it’s bedtime in the new time zone. So, I won’t take a nap. The worst thing you can do when you travel across time zones is take a nap. Because the body thinks, “Oh, this must be nighttime.”

But as it’s time to, if I’ve stayed up; and it could be 8:30 or a quarter to 9. You know, just enough time to be able to start to adapt immediately to the new time zone, I’ll pop a melatonin. Probably 6 milligrams of melatonin the first night. And I’ll do that maybe an hour before the time I plan on hitting the pillow. And so the melatonin helps to reset the internal clock.

Again, having black-out curtains and having the room be the right configuration to be able to sleep helps.

And I find that sometimes by the next day, I’m adapted, adjusted to the new time zone.

Stuart Cooke: And with everything that you’ve got going on as well, I mean, surely you’d have a busy mind. You’ve got so much on your plate. How do you switch that off at nighttime?

Mark Sisson: When you find out, Stuart, you let me know. Find a good way to do that.

Stuart Cooke: I’ve asked everybody.

Mark Sisson: That’s another tough one. That’s a really rough one, because I do have a difficult time.

Now, most recently, for the last month and a half, I’m fortunate enough to have a pool and a Jacuzzi outside my living room. And a fire pit. So, my wife and I, we stop watching TV around 9:30, a quarter to 10, I keep my pool around 52 degrees; it’s very cold in Fahrenheit, and so I’ll go dip in the pool, spend as much time as I can in that cold, cold, cold water, and then get in the Jacuzzi and hang out for 15 minutes while the fire pit is casting a yellow-orange glow. And then we go right to bed.

And that’s been almost like a drug for me. It’s crazy how effective that is in turning off the noise, the monkey chatter, and being tired, but in a good way. Not beat-up tired but just feeling like when you hit the pillow: “Wow. That hormetic shock of the cold, cold, cold, being in there for a long time, and then bringing the body temperature up with the Jacuzzi.

And, you know, people say, well, I can’t afford that. Well, you can afford a cold shower. And there’s some ways you can play around with that if you want to do that. You can change the light bulbs in your reading lamps to get a yellow light.

But I found the combination of the cold therapy and the yellow light coming from a fire, from a fireplace, has such a calming effect on me that the monkey noise, the monkey chatter, has diminished substantially and I go to sleep just like that.

Stuart Cooke: Perfect. Yeah. I actually find the orange glasses as well that block out the blue like from any devices that we may have work in an unusually calming way as well, which is, again, just another tactic that works for me and you’ve just got to find that sweet spot. But sleep, absolutely. I love talking about sleep. I really do.

Mark Sisson: It’s like this thing that no one dares to talk about if they’re anyway involved in production, productivity, and athletics or whatever. It’s “Oh, I get by on four hours or four and a half or five hours.” Oh, man. I was like, I rejoice in the amount of sleep I get and I’m proud of it.

Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. I’m working on getting more every day. That’s for sure.

So, we’ve just got one question we always ask our guests and I’m sure you’ve been asked this a million times.

Guy Lawrence: Two questions.

Stuart Cooke: What have you eaten today?

Mark Sisson: So, today… I usually don’t eat until about 1 o’clock in the afternoon. So, I get up, I have a cup of coffee when I get up, so I have a big cup of rich dark coffee with a little dollop of heavy cream in it. And don’t tell anybody, but a teaspoon of sugar. Actual sugar.

Guy Lawrence: All right.

Mark Sisson: We won’t tell anybody. No, but, I mean, it’s really about the dose. It’s the only sugar I have all day and that’s when it is and it makes the coffee a very pleasant, pleasurable experience.
Today, for lunch, I had a giant salad. We call it a “big-ass salad” here in the U.S. That’s my term. So that was 10 or 15 different types of vegetables with a dressing based in olive oil, but also avocado, a whole avocado in the salad. And then tuna was my protein of choice.

I did have two bites of something before that. I had a; I’m involved in a bar manufacturing startup company called Exo. They’re making bars out of cricket protein powder. Have you heard of it?

Stuart Cooke: I have, yeah.

Mark Sisson: So, I’m on their board and I’m an investor in the company and they sent me their new flavor, which is I said they needed to be higher protein and higher fat. It is off-the-charts good. I can’t wait for this to be on the market. It’s a great tasting bar and it’s really exciting.

Stuart Cooke: Is it crunchy?

Mark Sisson: So, the thing about cricket protein powder is it’s been so ground up, finely ground up, you could not tell the difference between a jar of cricket protein powder and a jar of whey protein isolate. You can’t visually tell. The mouth feels no different. So, the only crunch in there are the nuts. So, it’s fantastic.

So, anyway, I had the salad. I’m meeting some friends in town tonight at a new franchise restaurant in town. I guarantee you I’ll have a steak and some grilled vegetables on the side. And that will be it. I might have a handful of berries this afternoon as a snack. And that’s pretty much an average day for me.

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. And, mate, the last question we always ask everyone, and this could be non-nutritional related, anything. It’s: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Mark Sisson: Well, the best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is to invest in yourself. And for a lot of people, that means education, it means, in my case, where I’m going with this is: Your job is to take care of your health. That’s your number one job. Where you go to work for eight hours a day is a secondary job. That’s almost a part-time job. Your full-time job is taking care of your health. And the more you can learn, the more you can invest today, in yourself, whether it’s education; it could be investing in a business that you’re building, because that’s what I did. I invested back in my own business to grow the brand of primal.

And, for a lot of people, it can be simply investing in your health. Like, the more money I spend on good food to feed my body and nourish my body, the less chance there is that when I’m in my 60s or 70s or 80s I’ll be sick and then having to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and countless hours of agony combatting something that I could have easily not gotten because I paid attention and I invested in myself at an early age.

Stuart Cooke: That’s good advice. Absolutely. Get stuck in. No one should be more invested than you, I think. Not your health care providers…

Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.

Mark Sisson: Yeah. Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: We need to know what works for us.

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic, mate. You know, for anyone who hasn’t heard of you, Mark, which I struggle to find, but if that’s the case where can they get more of Mark Sisson? Mark’s Daily Apple is the best place to?

Mark Sisson: Yeah, MarksDailyApple.com is the blog. And everything I’ve ever said I’ve said there. I’ll say it in different ways and different venues, but it’s really the place to start.

PrimalBlueprint.com is my commerce site where you can buy my books. You can also buy them on Amazon, of course. But my books and some of the supplements that we make that are very tuned into the primal lifestyle.

And, yeah, those two sites, Mark’s Daily Apple and Primal Blueprint, are the main go-tos.

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. We’ll link to them under the show notes and everything. And, Mark, thanks for coming on the show. That was awesome. We really appreciate it.

Mark Sisson: It’s my pleasure. Great hanging out with you guys.

Stuart Cooke: Brilliant. Brilliant. And cannot wait to see you in a couple of weeks when you’re over here.

Mark Sisson: Yeah, likewise. That’ll be fun. It’s coming up very soon, too.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, it is.

Guy Lawrence: Very soon. Three weeks. It’ll be awesome.
Good on you, Mark. Thank you very much.

Mark Sisson: Thank you.

Stuart Cooke: Thank you, buddy.

Discover Why We Get Fat: Understanding Your Carbohydrate Tolerance

The video above is 2 minutes 30 seconds long

Guy: The video above is the short version of why we get fat and what we can do about it. Below is the fascinating long version as today we are joined by Dr Kieron Rooney, a Researcher in Metabolic Biochemistry.

Kieron is a fun, down to earth guy who gives us an incite to what is going in the world of nutritional study from an academic perspective. So if you are wondering why there could be so much disagreement out there on the world of nutrition, then watch this as Kieron sheds some light on what’s really going on!

Full Dr Kieron Rooney Interview: Science, Research & Nutrition. What’s the real deal?

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downloaditunesIn this episode we talk about:-

  • Kieron’s personal journey of weight loss
  • How scientific research actually works!
  • Why we are getting fatter and sicker as a nation
  • Understanding our own carbohydrate tolerances
  • The relationship between sugar and cancer cells
  • And much much more…

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Full Transcription

Guy Lawrence: This is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. Our awesome guest today is Dr. Kieron Rooney. Now, to quote his twitter bio, “Dr. Kieron Rooney is a researcher in metabolic biochemistry. He campaigns for real foods in schools,” and awesome project, “He’s interested in cancer and sugar metabolism and he’s also a registered nutritionist.”

And, also, on top of that, a really awesome cool guy, and we’re pretty keen to get him on the show today. The one thing I’ve realized chatting to Kieron on this podcast today is that the more you know the more you don’t now. You know? So delving into the world of science and academic research with Kieron and trying to figure out why there’s this whole nutritional mess going on, really, with this low-fat, high-fat, high-carb, low-carb, what, you know, what’s going on and to get it from Kieron’s perspective is pretty awesome.

So strap yourself in. It’s pretty information-packed, but he does break it down in really simple terms, and we cover many, many topics, including all of the above I just mentioned, so I’m sure you’re going to get a lot out of this.

If you are listening to this through iTunes, a little review, awesome. It takes two minutes. It can be complicated; iTunes don’t make it easy for us, you know, but the reviews, and if you subscribe to our podcast, allows us to get found easily on iTunes and it helps get this message out there. So if you do enjoy our podcasts and you do enjoy the show, a simple review telling us, “Hey, guys, keep it up,” would be pretty awesome.

We know we’re reaching a lot of people now and we know you’re out there. Of course you can watch these on video. If you are listening to us through iTunes, just come over to our blog 180nutrition.com.au where we’ve got a host of things everywhere from blog posts, obviously these podcasts, our products, whatever, it’s all in there, and it’s all there to serve you and help your health moving forward.

Anyway, enjoy the show. Let’s go over to Kieron and let’s hang out for the next 45 minutes. Awesome.

Guy Lawrence: All right. I’m Guy Lawrence. I’m with Stuart Cooke and our awesome guest today is Dr. Kieron Rooney. Welcome!

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Hello.

Stuart Cooke: Hello.

Guy Lawrence: Before we kick off, I’ve got to say I’m very excited to have you on the show and now I do say that to all the guests, but even more so today, because, you know, I was just thinking this morning there’s a lot of smart people in this world, right? And a lot of academics and the rest of it, but for some reason we still can’t get a unison, harmony, if you like, on nutrition, so what’s going on? So I’m really looking forward to shedding some light on that today.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Excellent.

Guy Lawrence: And find out why everyone is so indifferent about it.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: I might not have a definitive answer for you, but I can at least come up with a few suggestions. How’s that?

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, that’d be awesome.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: yeah? All right.

Guy Lawrence: Before we get into that, can you just explain to our listeners a little bit about yourself?

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Oh, yeah, sure.

Guy Lawrence: And why we are excited to have you on the show?

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Okay, so, look, professionally I did a Bachelor of Science degree from 1995 to ’98 at University of Sydney and then I did my honors and Ph.D in metabolic biochemistry. So I had four and a bit years where I was looking at the role of the phosphocreatine energy shuttle and how it reacts or behaves to shuttle energy around muscle cells, liver cells and the pancreas. I was particularly looking at whether or not it influence insulin secretions, so I then used a couple of different animal models to manipulate that, so we would use exercise as intervention, we would use high-fat diets as an intervention, and we’ll have a look to see what we could do to influence fuel storage and fuel utilization capacity, and that…

And then in 2003, I got my position as a lecturer just after the Ph.D lecturing in exercise physiology and biochemistry. I’ve spent the last ten years now developing curriculum for exercise science degrees, exercise physiology, that mostly focuses, my part mostly focuses, on what regulates fuel utilizations, how we store it, how we break it down, and the regulation behind that, and that’s my teaching side of things, and then for my research perspective what I’ve continued on is the investigations of fuel utilization. We’ve got a number of research projects have looked at how diet and exercise can influence how well we store and break down fuel. 

Personally, because I know that you’re interested in the personal story, if we go back to 2006, 2005, I was a smoker weighing in at around 90 kilos, but I could still run 5Ks at around about 25 minutes, so was living thinking that I was fit, right, but then decided with my partner that we wanted to start a family so we probably really should get ourselves healthy as well. I started making more changes so I quit smoking. I quit the drinking of Coke, which at that time I was probably around about two liters a day, and then I quit drinking Coke again in 2008, and then I quit drinking it again in 2010, and I quit drinking it again in 2013…

So, that one’s been a little bit of a recurrent one for me, but look…about two years ago I decided to go, well, I guess, the focus was not eating processed food. It was removing as much of the highly processed foods that were in my diet, which at the time was huge, right? That’s twos liters of Coke a day and there was a lot of pasta, there was a lot of breads, it was eating out a fair bit, and so once I, or the family, jumped onto that thinking and we removed a lot of the highly-processed refined flours, those types of foods, health just started improving even more dramatically.

Everyone like weight stories. I dropped. I went from 91 kilos at that point down to 75, but more importantly I think I’m still running quite well, although, I’ve cut that out and I’ve started doing more strength work and my power outputs at the gym have been increasing over that same time, so I know I’m feeling stronger and now I’m feeling better, and some people tell me I’m looking better.

Stuart Cooke: Oh boy, okay. You’re qualified to answer my next question then.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: On two fronts, right? I get the academic perspective and the personal anecdote N=1 that nobody likes. 

Stuart Cooke: Exactly right. You’re right. You’ve certainly touched on what I think the answer is going to be, but in your scientific opinion why do you think we’re getting fatter and sicker as a nation?

 

Dr. Kieron Rooney: My perspective on this has changed dramatically over the last ten years. My training was from a biochemistry point of view, small animal models, cell models, looking at individual metabolic pathways, looking for particular energy transfer systems that might explain why it is that we’re storing more fat or more carbohydrate, whatever it might be, or not accessing it properly, and so therefore we might be storing it but not breaking it down, but five years ago, 2009, 2010, I started collaborating with a psychology group who were, at the time, looking at sugar-sweetened beverages and sugar-sweetened foods to influence cognition, and we got collaborating going, “Well, you guys will measure behavioral adaptations to food, I can have a look at the metabolic perspectives in those same models, and we’ll see what happens.”

So, for the last five years, we’ve been publishing that work. Last year we were able to get an ARC grant to start trying to translate into human population. So, look, ten years ago I would’ve said to you, “We’ve got some nice discrete energy pathways that are defective in individual cells within the body, and that might be what it is that’s driving us to be fatter and sicker.”

But, over the last five years, as I start looking more at the behavioral, the cognitive side of things, I see it’s much more of a mix between the two, and I think one of the biggest issues we’ve got at the moment is as individuals we want our meals to be convenient so they can fit in with our busy lives. We want them to be cheap, so they can fit in with our finances, and more and more, we want them to be increasingly tasty, flavorsome, and so what we’ve done as a society is we’ve created a niche there where the food industry have come in and provided exactly what we’ve been wanting with highly processed foods that are energy dense, taste great, and relatively cheap.

Now what that’s done is that it’s lead us to be eating more, and so we no longer just have breakfast, lunch, and dinner, which are in moderate proportions, but we’ve also got the mid-morning snack, the late-afternoon snack, the food that I’m going to eat on the drive or the bus ride home, I’ve got my dessert, and I’ve got my late-night snack before I go to bed. So we have an environment where we’ve got a surplus of food, but the big issue is that metabolically our systems can’t meet that capacity, and so we’ve put our metabolic systems, which have a limited threshold to utilize energy into an environment where we’re providing it with vast excesses. 

Now, our bodies do burn energy. Absolutely. We’ll try and excrete as much of the excess as we can, but any excess we store, and that answers the question as to why we’re getting fatter, shall we say, or larger, right? So, we’re eating the wrong foods. We’re eating too much of them. We’re eating too frequently, such that the system doesn’t have a chance to recover and remove the excess that we’ve taken in, but the other big issue there is that we’re not eating the right foods. We’ve gone for the reliance on the convenient, cheap, highly-processed foods and we’ve moved away, we’ve forgotten about food quality, and so when you move into eating those types of food, they meet the nutrient requirements for your metabolic capacity and you don’t tend to overeat all of them.

Guy Lawrence: A question, a thought just popped in there, Kieron. With your own personal circumstances, you know how you say you dropped this weight from being over 90 kilos…

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: And you’ve changed the quality of your food dramatically, obviously, in the Cokes and that. Did the consumption change as well, or did that remain the same?

Dr. Kieron Rooney: I’m a little bit of a, because I’m a scientist at heart, I tend to collect a lot of data on myself, so I do have spreadsheets of energy intake, energy expenditure, what I’ve been doing, since around 2004, and when we have a look at the total energy intake, that hasn’t changed that much, but what has happened is that my frequencies of meals. 

So, for example, I don’t eat breakfast anymore. All right? When I wake up in the morning, I’m not hungry. I might have a cup of coffee. That gets me to work. My first meal is usually around about half-past ten, eleven o’clock, so you might see me attacking my fridge in about an hour, but what I’m seeing is I’m eating far less often during my day, but those meals are much more nutrient dense, and that’s getting me through the day. 

So, what I’m probably finding, if I was to look at my own system, is that there are far more times during my day where I’ve got a recovery period and I don’t have a constantly high metabolic load coming in onto that system that my digestive system and my endocrine system have to deal with.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right. From a science perspective, then, because we’ve been pushed a low-fat diet for many, many years, you know, I think Ancel Keys was the breakthrough scientist, and do we know what we know now back then? So, has opinions changed dramatically, or have we just had new discoveries over the last couple of years? Or has it always been a mixed bag of information over the last twenty or thirty years?

Dr. Kieron Rooney: I think…when you think about it from a nutrition research, nutrition information, public health policy point-of-view, the science and the evidence hasn’t necessarily changed significantly. We still know very much what we knew quite a long, long time ago. There’s been evidence from early turn of the century that particular foods behave in different ways when you consume them, all right? So whether or not that knowledge has changed is not really the issue. I think part of the big problem is how it’s being marketed, how it’s being utilized in health promotion, and that’s what necessarily has changed. 

We knew years ago that if you ate too much, if you ate more energy than you’re going to, than you expend, then you’re going to store lots of it. We knew twenty years ago, thirty years ago, forty years ago exercise was important for prevention of cardiovascular disease, the prevention of diabetes…I think the big change that is happening at the moment is people realizing that maybe one of the biggest fallacies that they’ve had is that they’ve only thought about food and nutrition from an energy perspective, and what we really need to identify far more is how individual foods react or changehow our metabolic systems work. 

So, the whole energy in, energy out argument, which works as a nice simple piece of dogma to get a particular message across, that is, “If you eat too much, you’re going to gain weight. If you eat less, you’re going to lose it,” that works to some extent, but it doesn’t explain how food relates to metabolic disease, because food is far more than just the energy, right? 150 calories from a sugar-sweetened beverage is going to metabolically impact your body far different to 150 calories from cheese.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: And in that instance then, eating, and our nutrition advice should all be about not so much just what the energy balance is about, but what rather what are the food types that you’re eating? What’s the quality of that food? Where is your energy coming from? 

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. That’s certainly coming at the forefront. I mean, because we play around with this a lot, don’t we, Stu? Like, you know, and for myself, personally, I can dramatically increase the calories providing it’s natural fat, and as long as my carbohydrate intake remains reasonably low, I can, I generally don’t put on weight even if I increase in calories quite a lot, from a personal perspective, and Stu can eat all day and not put on…

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, I come at it from the other side of the fence, where I have always struggled to maintain weight, and I can eat literally anything, but the difference for me is the way I feel. You know? I may look slim and skinny, but I just feel wasted if I eat some food low in nutrients, to put it that way.

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Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah, so, you’re touching on a couple of things, and so I’ll start with Guy’s. Guy touched on carbohydrate content relative to fat, and that’s where we see a lot of the social conversation happening at the moment, a little bit of the academic conversation happening, and that is, “What is this discussion around the balance of carbohydrates and fat?”

And you’ve got a number of different approaches to how you balance those macronutrients. We’ll come back to that in a moment, but Stu, you also touch her on something else that a lot of the behaviorialists talk about, but very few of the metabolic researchers have until recently and that is if we think about food as more than just this energy content, what’s its impact on our quality of life, our general outlook on things, and that’s an area in which there needs to be far more attention, because we’ve got qualitative data from individuals, but people like to think that that’s not strong enough to warrant investigation, but yeah, it’s definitely a theme that keeps popping up, so you’ve got a macronutrient issue, but you’ve also got a consideration of whether or not food is more than just the energy and there it is, but the third thing that you’re touching on here is individual variance, and how you can get a number of individuals eating the same diet, but they might respond very differently.

Okay, so, give me a couple of minutes, I’ll try and cover those ones for us, right? So, if we go to the carbohydrate/fat ratio thing, right? Now, it’s an area I’m particularly interested in, because I think one of the biggest things that’s changed over the last twenty years with our general society eating is the introduction to liquid calories and, in particular, sugar-sweetened beverages. 

Okay, so I’ll declare my bias. I’ve researched in the area for five years, so I might have a little bit of an idea about what I’m talking about, and I’ve received funding from the ARC to investigate this in the next few years, right? But we can show on our models what others have shown quite consistently that the excess calories that you take from sugar-sweetened beverages or the sugar that you’re getting in from that will have a completely different effect upon individuals, between individuals, will have a completely different effect to the carbohydrate sources that you might get from whole foods and real foods, right?

So, when we talk about individuals who go along restricting processed foods, removing those nutrient-poor but energy-dense types of foods what you might typically find is people drop their carbohydrate intake, because when you have a look at the processed, a lot of the processed foods, they’re high-fat and high-sugar, but they’re far more carbohydrate in there relative to the fat that might be in there.

Now, when we think about how our metabolic systems are designed, we have a minimum, sorry, we have a maximum threshold for how much carbohydrate we can tolerate. Now, we’ve been told within the profession and therefore have translated it out to the social, to society, that there’s a minimum requirement of carbohydrate of about 130 grams a day, as a theoretical value, and in actual fact, my opinion, from what I’ve read, from what I’ve researched, is that 130 is not a minimum requirement, it’s a maximum requirement.

Stuart Cooke: Right.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: And where we calculate or where that 130 has been calculated from was discrete experiments that have a look at what’s the minimum requirement of the brain, the central nervous system, what are tissues burning within you cells, sorry, what are the cells within your body utilizing as their predominant fuel. Now, if you accept that that number is a maximum threshold, then you start looking at the metabolic systems that get kicked in when you start eating over it. 

Now, the most recent national nutrition health survey data of Australians that came out a couple of months ago showed that on average we’re eating right about 250 grams of carbohydrate, and there are individuals in amongst that group, that’s on average, so there are some individuals in that group who are eating in excess of that up to and over 300 grams of carbohydrate a day.

And there’s an acknowledgment in that data that there’s underreporting, so in actual fact, it’s probably over that amount. Right? Now, that means if we have a metabolic system that can only handle 130 grams of carbohydrate, give or take a few carbs for individual variance, then if you’re an individual who’s eating 200, 250, 300 grams, then your body is not going to catabolize that fuel. It’s not going to burn it and break it off; it’s going to store it or do its best to excrete it. Now, we initially store carbohydrates as glycogen, but we’ve got a maximum threshold of how much glycogen we can store, and then once you’ve met that threshold, the overflow goes elsewhere.

And there’s multiple pathways in which that excess carbohydrate can go, and there’s good evidence to show that it can go into fat or it might go into other metabolites. So, you’re carbohydrate content there has its maximum threshold, Guy. Now when it comes to fat, there’s no published minimum threshold for fat, and there’s no published maximum threshold for fat intake. So if you go to the NIH where there’s where this 130 grams of carbohydrate came from, in that same table for fat they’ve got a dash, right? It’s an unknown number, right?

What we do know is that there are essential fatty acids that our bodies can’t create, so therefore there are certain fats we do have to eat, right? Now, so, when I think about what you’re telling me, Guy, and that, yeah, you can fluctuate your energy intake but if it’s fat you can get away with it a fair bit. What you’d think about is the people who come from the low-carb, high-fat philosophies say, “Well, if you maintain a very low carbohydrate content, so you’re sitting around about 50 to 80 grams of carbohydrate, then your body adapts to be a fat-burner.”

So, all the metabolic systems within your tissues that can burn fat stay up-regulate, so you’ve got more of them, and you down-regulate, or reduce the amount of carbohydrate pathways…

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Which means that if you’re eating fat, your systems tune to burn that fat, right? Now if you put carbohydrates into that system, though, because you’ve down-regulated the pathways that would burn carbs, you’ve got a reduced capacity to catabolize them and perhaps a more increased capacity to store them, so you need to be careful of that balance and when you’re going to bring those different macronutrients in, so, one of the issues we need to identify is that the human body is an adaptable system. It will change its metabolic processes to deal with the foods that you’re putting into it.

So, if you habitually live on a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet, then the metabolic systems within your muscles, within your liver will adapt to deal with those fuel systems. If you live on a high-carbohydrate, lower fat system, then those tissues in that system will adapt to try and handle that as well as they can, but we have a limited capacity to deal with carbohydrates and excesses over that will flow in.

Now, what we don’t know is what really determines individual variance. We know habitual diet can have a play. We know genetics has a huge play, and there are big studies in hundreds, thousands of individuals that have tacked individuals over years. I think about this one called the Heritage Study, which has been running for a good twenty odd years or so. It’s got grandparents, parents, children. It’s got quite a number of generations within families. They have endurance training programs. They’re monitoring food.

And one of the outcomes of interest that comes from that route is that you’ll find a reported average benefit of the endurance training program of, yeah, anywhere of around about, yeah, a liter per minute of vo2 max, so that means your physical capacity is improved this much, all right? On average. 

But if you have a look at the individual data, you’ll find that there’s individuals who’ve been doing the exact same lifestyle intervention for four, five months and don’t respond at all, so, no response whatsoever, and others who have responded that much, right? So, what we need to be careful of is when we start thinking about dietary advice, exercise advice and try and translate it out to everybody, we need to be aware that absolutely we’ve got the evidence from research that shows we have individual variance.

There will be some people that respond to particular interventions far better than others and…

Guy Lawrence: Sadly, it’s not marketed like that, is it? Like, it’s always like, “You must do this!”

Dr. Kieron Rooney: That’s right! That’s right! And so what you really start thinking about then is a research study. If we want to get that published, if we want to get that funded, we need to have large numbers of participants, and they’re the real good funding bias, or not good, real poor, bad, but they are the fact of publication bias that we like to favor publishing positive results, right?

So, if you go and do a huge study, and you show that your intervention didn’t have a good outcome or didn’t have a significant outcome, then it’s much harder to get that paper published than if you’ve got an intervention that has had a positive outcome, right? Whether it be one way or the other, right? So, what we find is that we can have a publication bias that only published papers and interventions that have had this significant effect. Now, to get that significant effect then you want to make you’re, you don’t want to, but what people tend to, which is not really part of scientific method, is they will search for populations that will meet that need.

So, knowing that we’ve got individual variance, you can design your parameters in a way that ensures a much more likelihood of a significant result, right? So, we get papers published. It shows that we’ve got this significant adaptation or outcome in one particular direction, that’s the message that gets sold because it’s the simplest, it’s the clearest message, but if you go into the individual data sets then you can see that there’s quite a big variance at how individuals respond to that.

And so the idea of the message should actually be, “Well, here’s a couple of different approaches that an individual might want to take in society. Try them. Find out what works for you. You might be an individual that thrives on a lower-carbohydrate, higher-fat diet, or you might be an individual that thrives on the Ornish Diet, 80 percent carbohydrates, very low fat, but the idea is that the way we should be thinking perhaps is that future-wise, when we think about the research, the messages that come out, it’s not so much saying here’s one protocol that everyone should be trying. It should be more along the lines of, “Do you know what? Here are a number of different approaches that people have used and that have worked for them.”

And it’s about experimenting with ourselves engaged in finding what works best for us.

Guy Lawrence: Is that what’s happened with the low-fat diet? Because, like, everyone I know, or most people, generally are just conditioning to eating a low-fat diet. It’s always been that way, you know, when I grew up everything about it. I remember, you know, avoiding fat like the plague, and you know that information had to come from somewhere.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: That’s right. So, you know, there’ve been plenty of books written about it. There have been public seminars given about it. The big turning point in nutritional history would’ve been, everybody refers to it in the ’70s in America, identify what are some dietary guidelines for Americans to follow from the ’70s onward, and one of the things that we need to keep in mind with Australia is those guidelines don’t directly impact what our advice is. 

Yes, there was some influence. They did get translated into our Australian population and that underlying theme of reducing saturated fat or reducing fat intake does persist within our guidelinespre-2013 and to some extent within the current 2013 ones as well. That wasn’t necessarily a turning point directly for Australia, but that message has been what has come through and translated to everybody.

So, we have a ’70s time point in America where there is enough evidence for some individuals to say< “We need to focus on high-fat intakes as being a problem.” The marketing and the messaging around that then severely demonizes fat as a negative macronutrient and that we shouldn’t be eating too much of it, and more often not, you see people will have, the professionals will advise a cap at around about 30 percent of your daily energy intake coming from fat. Anything over that, they would refer to as a high-fat diet. And so, that’s right, what most prevalent in most people’s thinking is, “Fat’s the problem; we need to remove it.”

Now, that’s probably got a much stronger message than anything that comes out at the moment, because it’s the first one that’s come out, right? So, we’ve had dietary guidelines form America since the ’70s. In Australia, they came around ’80s, ’90s or so. Now, the very first time then a society’s being told we’re being told we need to watch what we eat, the focus is on fat, and so that’s the prevailing thought that comes into everybody’s thought, “I’m dieting. I need to restrict fat.”

But the evidence that is subsequently being collected suggests that it’s not as simple as that, right? We can’t just focus on that one macronutrient. We can’t just focus on putting a cap at 30 percent on that one macronutrient and in actual fact, some individuals who go onto that diet do not perform well, all right? They’re eating far more carbohydrates than their systems can adapt.

So, if we force those individuals to stay on that regime, on that dietary advice, they are not going to perform well and they’re going to get sick, but the big issue that we have, or one of the big issues that we have, is if we framed a professional situation now where we make individuals feel that they can’t go against that advice, right, and that’s a big issue that we’ve got when we think about, “How do we translate the evidence from science into nutritional policy into health promotion and health advocacy?”

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There is evidence in the science to show that individuals on a high-fat diet, low-carbohydrate diet can perform quite well in health outcomes, not just in weight, but there’s also within those same papers evidence that suggests that individuals on that diet won’t perform well. Just as much as there’s evidence to show that individuals on your low-fat, moderate carbohydrate diet will or won’t perform well. What we can’t have is a system which is dogmatic, that says everybody should be following this macronutrient distribution. What it should be is identifying individuals respond differently to various programs and it’s about you as an individual finding out what works for you.

And then we should be, as academics and professionals, setting up a system that supports that, right? Identifies what’s your relationship with food, what’s your relationship with your eating patterns, and whether or not part of the issues or problems that you might be having is because you’re forcing yourself to fit a paradigm that doesn’t fit for you.

Stuart Cooke: So what should we be doing right now at home to address this confusion, because from a commercial standpoint, you know, “Fear cholesterol, you know, eat healthy whole grains.” We still seem to be doing the wrong things being told to do the wrong things, so right now, what could I do to figure out what works for me?

Dr. Kieron Rooney: The safest option for you is to find yourself a qualified professional who’s going to support you in identifying what works for yen,

Stuart Cooke: How would I do that based upon traditional food practices and doctors who are again aligned with perhaps cholesterol-lowering drugs, you know, and the like. How would I find a , I guess, I’m almost looking at a new age doctor who understands.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Look, it doesn’t have to be being New Age. You can’t put that umbrella over it or make people think that they’re quacks and…

Stuart Cooke: How do you think I can about that? I’ve been to, well, in the past, I’ve been to a number of doctors who have been grossly overweight, and I figure, “Would I really want to go to you for nutritional advice?” That would be my concern.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Hey, look, you raising an interesting issue and I’m not remembering the journal that it was published in, but there was a paper that came out a year ago or maybe early this year, which was looking at clients’ perceptions of receiving advice from the professional that I’m talking about, and without doubt there’s very much that feeling that some people would walk into a room and look at the individual and go, “Well, how am I going to trust you?” 

It’s an issue I’ve had trying to teach biochemistry. The vast majority of people that walk into a biochemistry lecture have already decided that they’re going to hate it, and they’re basing that on more likely their experiences with chemistry in high school, and there’s a really good reason for people to feel that, right? Because chemistry and biochemistry can be intimidating. It can be something that people hate, so as a lecturer in that topic, I’ve had to take onboard very early on how do I get people to engage with that topic? Do I have to be the topic myself? Right? And now I find myself, yeah, answering a question in which I’ve got to turn that philosophy onto, well, yeah, does the person giving the message have to represent the message that they’re giving? I’m going to say no for a moment, right? And I’m going to say no because what you’d have to appreciate in your analogy there, Stu, is that we don’t get fat and sick overnight.

Stuart Cooke: Right.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: WE get fat and sick over thirty, forty years of small incremental differences in our metabolic behaviors but also in our cognitive behaviors, right? So, you could have a very wise health professional who’s reading the up-to-date evidence at the moment, who’s beginning to challenge their own beliefs and what they’ve been practicing, what they’ve been doing over the last twenty or thirty years, but they won’t represent that right now, right?

And, so, to put that kind of assumption on an individual is kind of being unfair to that profession, right? What you need to be able to appreciate is that while a health professional I don’t think has to embody the evidence that they’re giving out, right? Because what we’ve got at the moment is a real change in the zeitgeist, right?

The conversations that happen in society, the conversation that’s happening on social media, the conversations that are happening in academia are changing, so what one individual might advise a patient tomorrow could be quite different to what they advised last week, two weeks ago, even a year ago, but they won’t see that impact straight away, right? 

If I think about my own personal journey, if we just looked at weight as an outcome, yeah, I lost, what was it, 15 kilos, but it took eight months to do that, all right? But I started feeling perceptual benefits, yeah, within a couple of weeks. I was feeling great. I was feeling energized. I was feeling like I made the right choice, and I was going to stick with this new approach to living, new approach to eating, but if you’d come and seen me three weeks into my program and had gone, “Yeah, you’re still fat, right? Clearly, it’s not working for you.” Then I would have lost you very early on, right?

So to say to expect that immediate change and for us to represent that, I don’t think is exactly fair, right?

Stuart Cooke: If I had come to see you while you were guzzling two liters of Coke a day, I perhaps would have been questioning your advice as well.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Absolutely. If I’m telling you to cut out the sugar-sweetened beverages while I guzzle down on one, I, perfectly, I accept that 100 percent, right? I mean, for people who’ve come across me already, they might be aware that for at least the last year or so I’ve been campaigning to change the nutritional guidelines for what we sell in schools, right? At least in New South Wales, if not nationally.

Stuart Cooke: Yes.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: And one of the challenges that we’ve got there is the New South Wales government has said, “The person responsible for implementing healthy eating practice in schools is the principal, right? So, that means that the government have put this policy in place then they’ve washed their hands of it and gone, “Local schools; local decisions. You can take care of it.”

So, if you’ve got a principal who’s walking around the school playground guzzling Coke, eating Party Pies, sausage rolls, hot dogs, hamburgers, pizzas. He’s the person, or she’s the person, that we have to convince to change what food they serve to kids, and the message gets lost right away. So, point granted. If at the time that they are delivering their health advice they’re not following it themselves, they have good reason to question it, right?

Stuart Cooke: Got it. Got it. So, I’ve gone to the doctors and I’ve looked past the appearance of my doctor. The doctor looks okay, and I’m questioning my doctor, “What should I eat to be healthy?” Where would we go? What should I be looking for? What do you think my doctor would be advising me to do?

Dr. Kieron Rooney: I think one of the first things that the doctor should be doing is asking you, “How much processed food are you eating?” You would classify in nutrition and dietetics as being discretionary food, so if you go to the Australian dietary guidelines, there’s a nice couple of peaches, there’s some good worded paragraphs that shows you exactly what are classified as discretionary calories. 

Now, one disclaimer: I do not believe that anything, in my opinion, such as a discretionary calorie, right? There’s no such thing, so your body does not take a calorie that’s coming from a sugar-sweetened beverage and go, “Oh! That’s one of my 10 percent discretionary calories, so I’m going to put that over in my discretionary calorie bank account, and this is a good one.” Right?

Stuart Cooke: That’s right.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: I think the, in my opinion, the rule should be processed foods are out as much as you possibly can, right?

Guy Lawrence: Can we just explain the umbrella of processed foods? Just in case…

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Sure. The best thing I can do here in such a timeframe would be to advise people to look up the NOVA Classifications of Food Processing. All right? So that’s N, O, V, A. It’s originated out of Brazil. It is providing an alternative classifications on foods on the degrees of processing.

So, there’s foods that have not been processed, such as your vegetables straight out of the ground, shall I say. Then you’ve got your minimally processed, where you might be including your dairy products in there, so you’ve had to do some kind of human interference to it in manufacturing. Then you go up to highly processed, up to ultra-processed, and when you’re getting into those degrees what you’ve got is industry coming in, they’re taking what was once originally a whole real food and they have mashed it, they’ve homogenized it, they’ve extracted out what nutritional scientists have said are the good bits and they’ve repackaged them into something that’s highly palatable, cheap, and convenient to eat.

Now, at that point, we cannot say that the nutrients within that food behaves the same way as if you ate the nutrients in their original form. All right? So, what you should be looking for is reducing as many of those ultra-processed, highly processed foods out of your diet, because what we’ve got is although they might be packaged saying that they’ve got all the nutrients that you need to be fit and healthy individual, they also bring alongside a number of products that you don’t need to be healthy and active, healthy individual, but also may be what’s making you sick. 

They’re also designed to make us eat more, so what I would like is my doctor to tell me, “Well, Kieron, the first thing I want to find out is how many of these discretionary calories are you eating? Have you gone beyond what the dietary guidelines recommend you should be eating?”

And, if we go to the National Nutritional Health survey that came out a couple of months ago, thousands of Australians interviewed over a couple of years period, we saw that between 30 to 40 percent of our energy intake was coming from these discretionary foods. Right. So, if I’m an average Australian that fits into the data that came from the National Nutritional Health survey data, then my doctor would be making the assumption that 30 to 40 percent of my daily energy intake is coming from these discretionary highly processed foods.

Stuart Cooke: Right.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: And, if we have a look at what the Australian dietary guidelines are saying, whether or not you agree with them on any particular level, just at a very simple point they say no more than 10 percent. So, already we would have identified a key area that you need to reduce food intake from. Now that does not mean you stop eating them and don’t replace them with anything. All right? That would be a starvation diet, and we’re not advocating for that. All right?

What it would be doing is going, “We’re going to remove those processed foods and the energy that you’ve lost from that we’re going to reintroduce, but we’re going to reintroduce them from your minimally or nonprocessed foods. All right? You’re going to be cooking at home with the real food, raw ingredients that you’ve purchased from your fruit and veg shop. Right?”

 In that instance you should have already drastically minimized your total energy intake, although that won’t necessarily be true for everybody, but what you will have done is you’ll have removed preservatives, additives. You’ll have removed, you will have inserted probably far more fiber, because you’re eating proper vegetables because they’re in their whole form, but you’re also bringing their nutrients in the format in which you would have been, your body would digest them and expect them.

Guy Lawrence: It’s quite a simple form now, isn’t it?

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah. That’s right. You look like you want to ask another question.

Guy Lawrence: No, no…I’m trying to keep myself restrained.

Stuart Cooke: You’ll struggle to read Guy’s face. I’ll tell you that, Kieron.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah, okay.

Stuart Cooke: I think he’s just thinking about his next meal.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah, yeah, yeah, right? But that’s what I’d be expecting from my health professional. All right? If my health professional started dictating a particular prescription that I had to follow, then I’d be concerned. Now, how do you find one of these individuals? Well, I’m not aware of any particular database. I would not Google “new age doctor.” All right?

Stuart Cooke: You should try it.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: But, you know what, there are enough health professionals on social media sites, qualified dieticians, qualified medics, who are out there talking about what their message is that you should be able to relatively easily find someone who is still not going to dictate to you their new philosophy, but at least support you in investigating for yourself what might work.

Stuart Cooke: Perfect, and I guess referral plays a large part in that as well.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeas, as in, you mean, word of mouth if you’ve come across individuals that have supported one individual…

Stuart Cooke: Exactly right. Yeah, absolutely. Guy has found a wonderful new age doctor. I like what he says. I’m going.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah, yeah, that’s right. Now I love my GP. I’ve had the same GP since I was five now, so he’s known me for quite a long time, and he’s seen me go from a preschooler up to a qualified academic now, and we have great conversations. He knows I’m only coming to him because I haven’t tried to figure out first what went wrong with me, and I already have a long list, “I don’t think it’s any of these, so it’s over to you now. All right?”

Stuart Cooke: That’s exactly right. Fantastic.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: But he’s more than willing to support and go, “All right. Well if you’re going to go that way, let’s have a look and see what happens.”

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Stuart Cooke: Perfect. And again, just to break it down, overall message: Great place to start would be to eat more whole foods, get in the kitchen, start cooking with real ingredients, and just try and reduce the packet food.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: That’s right, and if you find yourself eating a meal out of convenience because you’re trying to fit it in between a meeting or between one other priority, then we need to rethink how we’ve approached what our food intake, what our behaviors are, because once we start doing that type of mindless eating, you can very easily increase more snacks, your taking in food more regularly, your energy intake is going to shoot up, and depending upon what the macronutrient content is, you could be doing yourself far greater harm.

Stuart Cooke: Got it, and I guess it’s kind of an exercise in time management as well, because if we’re putting ourselves into a space where we simply don’t have time to eat and we have to make these processed choices then we should perhaps go back and look at how we structure our days.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: It’d be lovely to think that’s what our holistic approach is. All right? And at the moment, we, as a community, have allowed our society, our environment to be dictated to us, and I’m going to jump on the big food bandwagon for a moment and say food industry, they want us to be distracted. They want us to be busy because that’s what their product is. Their product is in a box. It’s quick. It’s convenient, and it apparently has all the nutrients that you need to be fit and healthy, but it’s not. Right?

You’ve removed, you’ve given up your right to listen to your body, to take control of what it is that you’re going to feed it, and in that instance, if we keep our environment set up that way, we’re only going to get worse, right? So, you want to have an approach to eating in which you’re in control and you’re not being dictated to by marketing, because let’s face it, food industry they’re here to make profit, not to look after your health. All right?

And your priority should be your health and not an individual’s profit, and look, it’d be nice to think that what we need is a big social debate with our unions, with our workers, with our employers, with our workplace individuals, to say, “Look, what we’ve actually allowed to happen over the twenty, thirty, forty years that we’ve been here is we’ve created an environment in which our health is suffering, because we’re filling our lives up with priorities that are external to us. Right? We’re working for somebody else. We’re earning other people money. We’ve got this focus on commercialization, and in that instance our priorities have been distracted, and so therefore, one of the big areas that we’ve allowed without source is healthy eating, and that seems to be one of the biggest mistakes that we’ve made.”

Stuart Cooke: Well, I’d happily sit there and discuss that with you, if you want to form a coffee club. I’ll bring the biscuits.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: I have to say, in some circles I’m not qualified enough. I’ve only got a Ph.D. and 14, 15 years of research experience, but I don’t have a dietetics qualification, so all of this you’re getting as a nutrition academic who’s researched the area for 15 years.

Stuart Cooke: Well, you file me your details. I’ll order you one on the internet and we’ll get back to you before the end of the day.

Guy Lawrence: I know time is slowly creeping away from us, but I really wanted to ask you this, because I understand you’re looking at the relationship between cancer and sugar, so this is going way off tangent. What have you found? Can you just explain a little bit about that?

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah, sure, okay. So, look, I should point out I haven’t yet done any direct research myself, but if anybody’s listening, watching who is interested in having a look at the role of low-carbohydrate diets or even ketosis diets in case studies or patient, cancer patients undergoing treatment, I’m more than happy to have a conversation.

I came into this topic because though in my background readings and my support readings in sugar-sweetened beverages, sugar intake, impact on metabolic diseases, and I stumbled across these readings on ketosis diets and the treatment of cancer patients, and it turns out way back in 1924 there was a Nobel Prize-winning hypothesis, well now this wasn’t what the Nobel Prize was for, but the individual who won the Nobel Prize came up with this other hypothesis and that’s called the Warburg…

Guy Lawrence: Is that Warburg? Yeah, Otto Warburg.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah, yeah, Otto Warburg, who identified that in particular cancer cells there largely dependent upon glucose as their predominant fuel source. Now Warburg said that every cancer cell expressed this need, right, this desire, but subsequently we, you know, evidence comes out that shows not every cancer cell. There are particular cancer cells that are more dependent upon glucose than others. There are some that can adapt to a low-glucose environment to utilize other fuels, but for the large part, the vast majority of cancer cells have this increased reliance on glucose as a predominant fuel.

So there’s evidence coming out now and research being conducted, mostly in the States, which is investigating the starvation of cancer cells from sugar, and because the working hypothesis is, “Well, if we’ve been able to identify the particular cancer cells dependent upon sugar to survive, well, if we restrict access to sugar, does this cell growth arrest, shall we say?”

And then there’s an added benefit on top of that that some people such as a group XXat ????XX [0:50:11] in Florida are showing that ketone bodies themselves might have a protective effect, so the sugar and cancer story is a developing one. All right?

The general lay of the land is this, there are particular cancer cells that seem highly dependent upon glucose as their predominant fuel source for a number of things, not just as an energy source, but the pathways by which we make new DNA and new cell membranes and all the biomolecules we need to make new cells, which is what cancer cells are doing, is completely dependent upon glucose and that’s the pentose phosphate pathway. 

So the thinking is if we restrict glucose from cancer cells, we deprive them of their energy source, we also deprive them of the building blocks of the new cells, but the overarching effect, which other research is looking at, such as Eugene Fine, is independent of the acute effect of sugar on cells, if you’re restricting sugar intake you’re having another whole body effect, and that is you’re reducing the amount of insulin that you’re secreting, and insulin is a specific growth factor that stimulates cancer cell growth.

Now, every time you eat carbohydrates, you secrete more insulin, so there is a window of opportunity there for a cancer cell to have increased growth factors which allow them to grow in that particular time. Now, look, certain cancers are very slow-growing cancers, right? Just like diabetes, just like heart disease, you don’t wake up one day and all of the cancer cells have exploded, right? It’s a progressive disease.

So what you need to, what some people are looking at is, well, regardless of whether or not the Warburg effect or Warburg hypothesis is true for every cancer cell, what is a more common theme amongst cancers is that it depends upon growth factors to stimulate growth, and one of the most predominant growth factors that have an impact is insulin. And what is the major driving force for insulin secretion? Carbohydrate.

Guy Lawrence: So does that mean then this could be a cancer prevention? Actually keeping your insulin production reduced?

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Look, some people come at it from that perspective, yes. At the moment, I would say that the thinking would be more as a collaborative treatment, shall we say, so undergoing your chemotherapy, your traditional approaches to cancer treatment, whether or not they can be boosted, supported, by your also having a low-carbohydrate ketosis diet which ultimately leads to lower insulin levels throughout your entire day and therefore reduce the instances of growth factor stimulation on those cells.

Guy Lawrence: Okay. That is fascinating.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: That is, from my personal perspective, that’s reading at the moment, that’s talking to some of those researchers via email at least, but hopefully in the coming years the opportunity to work with a couple of professionals in the area to develop some case studies if not some intervention studies to see where the data’s coming, but there is good evidence coming out in recent times to identify low-carbohydrate ketosis diets in assisting the management of chemotherapy and treatment of cancer cells.

Guy Lawrence: There you go. Fantastic. Thanks for that. Stu? You look like you’re going to say something.

Stuart Cooke: No, I’m just…Yeah. I’m fascinated and intrigued by this talk and I’m just wondering how far away we are from hearing a lot more of this in mainstream media.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Look, it’s getting out there. All right? There’s a focus in some of the research that’s looking at…Unfortunately, I think, at the moment a lot of the research is still focusing on macronutrients, right? Carbohydrates, the fats, the protein ratios, what’s the impact of those? Are they in or not in calorie deficit, so, yeah, taking individuals, forcing them onto a particular diet and have a look at it…

What…last month there was a low-carbohydrate versus a moderate-carbohydrate standard diet paper that came out. There’s a rapid weight loss, there’s a long term weight loss diet study coming out also. There’s lots of intervention studies that are currently running or slowly coming out. It’s a matter if how quickly that evidence base is going to build to influence the profession

What we’ve got with the academic world, I think, is an environment which is completely different to what traditional academic would ever have been experienced to it. If we think about up until ten, fifteen years ago, and academic could have a long-lasting career doing their own research, publishing their own papers in scientific journals and the only people that would ever read that would be other scientists.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

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Dr. Kieron Rooney: In the last five to ten years with free access to publication journals such as Plus One, the Frontiers range of journals everyday individuals are getting access to the evidence XXin the science space 0:55:21.000XX, so we’ve got social groups who are moving quicker than the academic fraternity. Right?

And so the information’s gonna get out there well in advance of a consensus change from the profession. And so the information is out there, but if we’re expecting leadership from academia, already you’re a good 15, 20 years away from it still. Right? Because academics, we’re obliged to look at all the evidence. Right? We are obliged to take our time to make sure we’ve checked all the pros, all the cons, crossed the Ts, dotted the Is.

And with every new study that comes out, it doesn’t change our thinking. It gets absorbed into our current ways of thinking and we see whether or not it changes us.

Now, some of us are more open to being adaptive. Others, right? And it’s a measure of whether or not the community, the academic community, are readily taking on new evidence and allowing that to alter their current perception, or whether or not they’re ignoring it.

Stuart Cooke: “Watch this space.”

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah. Yeah. I don’t like that phrase, Stu.

I’m going to be in a different space, surely, in a couple of years’ time. If I’m still sitting in this office I’m going to be very upset.

Stuart Cooke: I’m going to print that on a T-shirt and send it your way.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Excellent. Excellent.

Guy Lawrence: Just before we wrap up, Kieron, I know when we were having a chat on the phone the other day you mentioned that you’re going to be looking for some test subjects in Sydney next year.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah. Yep.

Guy Lawrence: Do you want to quickly mention a little bit about that? Because…

Dr. Kieron Rooney: OK. I’d love to. I’ve got; we got funding for two major projects that we’re going to be running from 2015, 2016 onward. The first one is we are looking at trying to translate some of the research that’s been conducted on animals on sugar-sweetened beverages into a human population.

But what our key focus is on is on behavioral changes. Right? So, there are many groups that are already working on the metabolic impact of sugar-sweetened beverages. Sugar-sweetened beverages, from my opinion and from my research, are a particularly nasty processed food to be consuming. Our bodies deal with liquid calories differently to solid calories.

We also, when we consume liquid calories through sugar-sweetened beverages, put a huge dose onto our metabolic systems in a very acute time frame. And that’s gonna have another impact.

Now, other groups are already looking at the metabolic outcomes. And so we’re trying to be a little bit clever. We’ve got funding. We’re going to be doing metabolic outcomes. But we’re mostly interested in whether or not they’re impacting your behavior, your perceptions of foods, your eating behaviors, your intake.

So, that’s currently going through ethics at the moment. It should be, hopefully, approved by January, February of next year. And we’ll be looking for individuals for around about March, April onwards to come into our labs at the university and have some acute eating and metabolic measures taken during and after sugar-sweetened beverages. And we’re also looking at the impact of artificial-sweetened beverages as a control groups. That’s one study.

The other study that we’ve got currently running is going back to that individual variance question. And that is: touching on research from the ’80s and ’90s, going back to some of that data, shows that if you’re an individual who has a habitual diet that’s low in carbohydrate or low in fat, and then we give you a fat meal, you metabolize that fat completely differently.

So, we’ve got genetic studies running at the moment. We’re now going to put on top of that exercise, individual work, and what we’re gonna do; we’re gonna get individuals in, we’ll screen you for your fitness, we’ll screen you for body composition, and then we’re going to have to play around with some acute testing of fat meals and carbohydrate meals and see how individuals respond to that, depending upon your habitual diet.

So we’re going to be looking for hundreds of individuals across a wide section of the Sydney population. So, we’re going to want the paleo guys. We’re going to want the clean eaters. We’re going to want the vegetarians. We’re going to want the standard Australian diet individuals. And we’re going to try and identify, through a large observational cross-sectional study, whether or not we can identify key differences in these example populations.

Guy Lawrence: Awesome. Well, you’ve got two here.

Stuart Cooke: Keep us in the know. I’ll put Guy forward for the sugar-sweetened beverages study, if that’s OK. Go for that slot. You’re in there, Guy.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Well done.

Guy Lawrence: Excellent.

Stuart Cooke: Right. So, we’ve got time for the wrap-up question, Guy?

Guy Lawrence: Let’s do it. Let’s do it. So, we ask this question on every podcast, Kieron. OK? And it’s simply: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve even been given? It can be anything.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: I’m still waiting for something. I’ve been given lots of advice in my time. Right? The biggest problem is that I haven’t listened to a lot of it. All right? So, I’m going to go with the one that’s popping into my head acutely is one from my dad, and that was always: “Don’t let the turkeys get you down.”

So, quite often I find myself in situations where I might be talking to a lot of individuals who disagree with what I have to say, and they’re telling me that I might have missed things or I might be wrong, and when I go back and read things I try to find and see that, no, no, I should be getting listened to. So, in those circumstances it’s very easy to lose confidence in your own research, your own work, thinking that you’ve missed what other people have got. And then you realize later on when they’re not around, you haven’t.

So, that can get you down a fair bit. So, I say: Don’t let the turkeys get you down. If people are telling you that you’re wrong, as opposed to getting into a XXscrap meet 1:01:04.000XX with them right there, just go away, fine more evidence, build on it, and come back and fight another day. How about that?

Guy Lawrence: Awesome.

Stuart Cooke: That’s perfect. That will do.

Guy Lawrence: That will work. And if anyone wants to get in touch with you, Kieron, or find out more about next year or got any questions, all the rest of it, shall I just link to your bio on the university website?

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah, that’s the best way to do it. I’m not on Facebook. I think that’s a fad. I don’t think it’s going to be around for long. I am on Twitter. I’ve been on Twitter for roundabout 10 months now, so I’m getting into that.

Guy Lawrence: I see your Tweets coming through daily, mate.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: They can find me there or if you link to the home page on the university website, that will have my contact details there. When we’re at the point of recruiting and advertising the studies, we’ll have announcements up on that.

Guy Lawrence: Awesome.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Thank you.

Guy Lawrence: That was brilliant. Thank you for coming on, Kieron.

Dr. Kieron Rooney: Yeah, no worries. Thanks for having me.

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Jimmy Moore: Keto Clarity & Low Carb Living

 img-responsiveToday we welcome back best selling author & podcasting superstar Jimmy Moore, as we talk about his new book ‘Keto Clarity’. Have you looked at a low-carb diet simply as a means to lose weight? What if you learned that combining a low-carb nutritional approach with a high fat intake produces a powerful therapeutic effect on a wide variety of health conditions that most people think requires medication to control? That’s what Keto Clarity is all about.

Join as we get down to the knitty gritty stuff regarding fat, ketosis and low carb living.

CLICK HERE for all Episodes of 180TV

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In this episode we talk about:-

  • How Jimmy lost over 100kg in weight!
  • What ketosis is and why you should know about it
  • The most accurate way to measure ketones
  • How to having amazing brain health
  • Why you must eat saturated fat
  • Dispelling the myths around low carb & ketogenic diets
  • And much much more…

Get more of Jimmy Moore

Keto Clarity & Low Carb Living Transcript

Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition, and welcome to another episode of The Health Sessions.

Our special guest today is no other than best-selling author Mr. Jimmy Moore. Now, he’s here to talk about his new book, Keto Clarity. And Jimmy’s wealth of knowledge when it comes to ketosis and low-carbohydrate is outstanding and we really dig deep today into covering all the myths and misconception that we might hear in the media as well regarding: “Low-carbohydrate diets are dangerous, we shouldn’t be doing it, and it’s all fad,” and everything else.

Jimmy’s story is exceptional. We’re gonna hear it straight from him in a moment. But, in a nutshell, he was over 200 kilograms in weight at one stage and was following a low-fat diet, tried many fad diets, was getting larger and larger by the year. And so once he sort of really understood low-carbohydrate living, bringing in; measuring ketones in the blood and going into ketosis, then he managed to drop all that weight and now lives a very happy, healthy life.

And this book, I think, is very important and needs to be written, you know, and to get a really clear understanding of what exactly low-carbohydrate and ketosis is and what the relationships are. Because they do differ, actually.

You know, I learned a heap from this podcast today and I have no doubt you will enjoy it.

As always, if you are listening to this through iTunes, and you enjoy our podcast, we’d love you to leave a review for us. It simply helps, A, give us feedback, where we can improve as well but also the fact that it helps with rankings and helps get our podcast and our message out there. Because me and Stu certainly believe that everyone should be, you know, at least listening to these podcasts, because I think our message is so important and we want people to truly understand what good health and nutrition is.

Anyway, I’m gonna stop talking. And let’s get over to Jimmy Moore and chat about his new book, Keto Clarity. Awesome.

All right. Let’s get into it. Hey. So, I’m Guy Lawrence, I’m joined with Mr. Stuart Cooke, as always, and our superstar podcasting low-carb special guest expert today is, Mr. Jimmy Moore.

Stuart Cooke: He’s behind you.

Jimmy Moore: I’m looking for him. I don’t know who you’re talking about.

What’s up, guys? How are you all?

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. Thanks for coming back on the show.

Jimmy Moore: Thank you. I love this show.

Guy Lawrence: Last time, you were obviously talking about your book, Cholesterol Clarity, and we were very keen to have you back on today to talk about Keto Clarity, your new book.

But I was actually reading it a couple of days ago about your story and I’ve gotta be honest; I felt your pain that you were going through and frustration coming out. And it’s so inspiring to what you’ve actually gone on and done from that and turned it into something amazing. img-responsive

So, I figured before we kicked off into the book, can you just tell people, especially for all our new listeners who haven’t heard the last show, who’s Jimmy Moore, a little bit about that. Because it’s phenomenal, I think.

Jimmy Moore: Sure. Go back and listen. (I’m just kidding!).

So, back in 2003, I was a 410-pound man. So, what’s that? Just over 200 kilo. It’s a lot of man; let’s put it that way.

Guy Lawrence: That’s incredible.

Jimmy Moore: And I was wearing, you know, humongous shirts, humongous pairs of pants, ripping them every week. I was on three prescription medications for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, breathing medication.

I was 32 years old, you guys. And I’m a tall guy, but 400-plus pounds is not healthy on anybody.

And that’s where I found myself. And I had tried low-fat diet after low-fat diet and all of them had always failed me. And I defaulted to low-fat because we know that when you want to lose weight, people say cut your fat down, cut your calories down, and then exercise on the treadmill for an hour a day. And that’s how you magically lose weight.

Well, unfortunately, that magic pill doesn’t work for everybody.

So, my mother-in-law, for Christmas that year, had bought me a diet book. Yes. Mother-in-laws are wonderful about giving not-so-subtle hints to their son-in-laws that they’re fat.

Guy Lawrence: Very straight to the point, that present, mate.

Jimmy Moore: Absolutely. And she’s a sweetheart lady, so I definitely am very thankful that she gave me the book that she did at Christmas 2003, because it was not a low-fat diet book like all the ones I’d gotten before. It was one about this diet that I had not really tried before: a low-carb, high-fat diet. It was the Atkins Diet.

And I read that book, and I’m thinking, “Man, this guy is wackadoodle. How in the world do you energize your body when you don’t eat a lot of carbs?” That didn’t make sense to me.

And then the fat thing? I was looking at it and going, “Doesn’t he know that raises your cholesterol and clogs your arteries and you’re gonna keel over of a heart attack?”

But, guys, I think the breaking point for me was I was 400-plus pounds. That was reality. I was on three prescription medications. That was reality. I was ripping pants that were size 62-inch. That was reality. I needed to do something.

And I had tried literally everything but this, so what the heck? Let’s give it a whirl.

So, I made it my New Year’s resolution, 2004, to lose weight. And I started January 1st, 2004, lost 30 pounds the first month. What’s that? About 13, 14 kilo. And then the second month I was so energetic at that point I could really feel the effects of what I now know is keto-adaptation. And I had to start exercising. So, I added a little bit of exercise, which, for a 380-pounder at that point, meant walking about 10 minutes on a treadmill at three miles an hour, which was a lot of work. I tell people I was lifting weights. It was my body weight.

And I lost another 40 pounds that second month. By the end of a hundred days I lost a total of a hundred pounds. And I knew at that point there was something special about this. And, unlike any other diet I had ever been on in my entire life, I had no hunger, I was not craving anything. By the end of that hundred days, I had really become fully keto-adapted and able to sustain myself and do quite well without worrying about all that processed carbs that I used to eat.

So, it was a total transformation, not just physically but here. I mean, I remember there was a mantra. I didn’t tell this story last time I was on. There was a mantra I did to try to help myself overcome my carbohydrate cravings, and I made the mantra: “sugar is rat poison.”

So, if you think something is rat poison in your mind, are you going to eat it? No.

And so, after awhile, I honestly believed anything sugary was rat poison.

Guy Lawrence: That is a very good mantra.

Jimmy Moore: Yeah. I mean, it tricked my brain into thinking, “That is not a good thing to consume.” I now call those things “food-like products.” Not real food.

“Just eat real food” does the same thing. But having that negative imagery with this thing that I thought I could never live without was so vital. By the end of the year, I did end up losing 180 total pounds and it kind of kicked me off to the man you know me as today.

I started my blog in 2005 and that rose me to prominence that this guy said, “Hey, you should be a podcaster.” So now I have one of the biggest podcasts in the world on health. The Livin’ La Vida Lo Carb show. And, yeah. I mean, I’m gonna keep doing this for as long as the good Lord gives me breath to breathe.

Guy Lawrence: That’s awesome. That’s awesome.

How many podcast are you up to now, Jimmy? Just for people to know.

Jimmy Moore: So, on the Livin’ La Vida Low Carb show, it’s over 850 episodes. I’ve interviewed well over 900 guests from around the world, literally. All the experts that you can possibly think of have been on that show. And I do several other podcasts as well.

So, all in all, well over a thousand episodes that I’ve done combined with all of my work. It’s really humbling when you start thinking about, “Whoa! A thousand episodes!”

What episode is this? What episode are you guys on?

Guy Lawrence: We’re up to about 25. We do them once a fortnight.

Jimmy Moore: Nice.

Guy Lawrence: Sometimes that goes over to once every three weeks, depending on work outside of running the 180 business. But we just have literally converted our website over. We’ve been spending a lot of time on that. And we really want to start bringing these back in a minimum once a fortnight.

Guy Lawrence: It’s really hard, if you’re not consistent, you know. And if you get like a good schedule. Plus, you start saying, “OK. I just talked to the Jimmy Moore guy. That was so exciting. I want to do another one.” And so you have this passion and zeal wanting to do more.

Because when I first started my show, it was once a week. And the people were like, “Oh, we want to hear more.” So I went to twice a week. And now: “We want to hear more.” And so I went three times. “And we want to. . .” And I’m like, “I’m not going any more than three times a week.”

Guy Lawrence: It’s amazing. Because we appreciate it. I mean, what people don’t know is that you actually inspired me to start podcasting when I met you in Sydney last time. We had this conversation. And it’s like, “Right. We’re gonna do it.”

And then we came back to our studio and did a podcast. And then we switched into making a video podcast as well. And, yeah, love it. But I can appreciate it, because we now realize how much work goes into it, just per episode. So, what you’ve done is phenomenal, and I certainly hope that people appreciate that. Incredible.

But let’s crack open the new book. So: Keto Clarity. This is a two-fold question. Why did you write the book? And, B, could you explain to people what ketosis is, if they’re not sure? I thought that would be a good place to start.

Jimmy Moore: So, yeah, so, why write the book? Quite frankly, the book has never existed before. We’ve had lots of books about weight loss and ketogenic diets. Thank you, Dr. Atkins. Thank you, Protein Power. You know, some of the ones that have been out there for a long time.

And then we’ve had a few others that talk about the treatment of epilepsy, which we’ve long known is one of the strong benefits of a ketogenic diet on health. But that’s it. And you’ve never really seen any kind of practical guide as to: Here’s how you get into ketosis and then once you’re there, here’s how you stay in it. And then if you can’t get there, here are some of the problems you’re probably doing trying to get there.
So, we tried to make like a step-by-step guide: This is how you do it. Because that’s never been written before.

I was, quite frankly, shocked, you know, when I was doing my research for the book that, hey, nobody’s ever written a practical how-to on ketogenic diets before. And then all in one place talking about the totality of health benefits that come from eating this way. It goes well beyond weight loss. Well beyond epilepsy. Which, those two things we have very strong evidence for. But there are so many other things that I’m just really excited about, and some research that’s coming.
So, that’s why Keto Clarity was born, and now that the baby’s out there, it’s really done very well, because it is unlike anything that’s ever been out there on the market before. And in fact, I was just checking before we came on the air: It’s the No. 1 nutrition book in Australia right now, on Amazon.
Guy Lawrence: There you go! That’s awesome.

Jimmy Moore: So, I’m proud of my Aussie friends.

Guy Lawrence: And it’s a beautiful book. Like, it’s so well laid-out. And I love the way that you go the, you know, there were 22 food people you had on board as well, and all the way through each chapter, you know, everything is reinforcing your message as you go through the book. And it does make it very clear to understand.

Jimmy Moore: Thank you. Yeah, we tried to do the same format. Cholesterol Clarity, when I talked to you guys last year, that was kind of the: All right. Let’s prove the concept that people will like this format, with the moment of clarity, quotes from the different experts, and then my co-authors Dr. Eric Westman, a very respected researcher and clinician with low-carb diets, and he did little doctor’s notes throughout.

And in Cholesterol Clarity, it was funny because he didn’t give a whole lot of input on Cholesterol Clarity, as much as he did with Keto Clarity. Because he’s just one of the foremost authorities on the world on ketosis. And so I really relied heavily on him, especially in those science chapters.

You’ll notice at the beginning of Chapter 16, we tell you: This is how you read scientific papers and which ones are more important as we see these headlines in the newspaper, and I know you guys have it there in Australia: “Red Meat Causes Cancer!” “Avoid the Atkins Diet Like The Plague!” And then you go and look and it’s a mouse study. So, a mouse study doesn’t do a whole lot unless you’re Mighty Mouse. And unless you’re going around saying, “Here I come to save the day!” you’re not going to have any application for your body.

So, you have to figure it out for yourself. Look for the randomized control clinical trials. Those are the ones that are really the gold standard. Unfortunately, they’re not using that standard of science on ketogenic diets. So, that is coming. In the coming years, we’ll see more and more. But right now it’s few and far between seeing those kinds of studies.

Now, you asked earlier, “What is ketosis?” That is a great question, Guy!

So, ketosis, in a nutshell, and just to keep it real simple for people, most people walking around, about 99 percent of the world’s population, are sugar burners. So, carbohydrates become the primary fuel source for their body. And then that’s what most people think of when they say, you know: “How do you fuel your body?” How do you. . . That’s why athletes carb up. Because that’s the fuel for their body.

Well, that’s if you’re a sugar burner. But ketosis shifts your body from being a sugar burner over being a fat burner. And so how do you do that? You have to eliminate the sources of sugar, and in this case it’s glucose in your body.

So, what raises glucose in the body? Oh, yeah! Carbohydrates is like the biggest way to raise glucose. So, if you lower those down, and it’s not gonna be the same amount for everybody, but if you lower them down to your personal tolerance level (and we show you how to do that in the book; how to figure out that number), and then moderate down the amount of protein. . . This is a biggie. This is probably the biggest mistake most people make on a low-carb diet is they forget, if you eat too much protein, more than your body can use, there’s this long G-word we talk about in the book called gluconeogenesis.

And that’s just a fancy-schmancy word for: if you eat a lot of protein, your liver is going to turn that protein into, guess what? Glucose. So, when glucose is high, ketones cannot be produced. So, eliminate the carbs to your personal tolerance level, moderate down your protein to your individualize threshold level. And then, guess what? All that’s left is fat to eat. So, you’re eating monounsaturated fats and saturated fats and, of course, the omega-3 fats are in there. Definitely not drinking vegetable oil. We talked about that in Cholesterol Clarity, why that’s a very bad idea.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, don’t do that.

Jimmy Moore: And so if you do all those things, you’re going to be shifting your body from using sugar and carbohydrates as the primary fuel source to being a fat and ketone burner, and that’s being in a state of nutritional ketosis.

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.

Stuart Cooke: I just; I’m intrigued, Jimmy, about your keto journey. Any “aha” moments along the way. You know: How did you find it? What were the pitfalls? Because I think the common perception over here is, to people that don’t know a great deal about it, that it’s a wacky diet. It makes your breath smell. And, you know, it’s crazy.

So, what was your journey like?

Jimmy Moore: Yeah. So, I’ve been low-carb, you heard my story at the beginning, you know, for a very long time. And low-carb; a lot of people have made low-carb and ketogenic synonymous. They are not. You have to really get sophisticated, and we can talk about that here in a second, but my journey looking into ketosis really, really seriously actually began reading a book called The Art and Science of Low-Carbohydrate Performance. It’s by these two very famous medical researchers in the low-carb realm, Dr. Jeff Volek and Dr. Steve Phinney, and they really outlined, you know: Look. If you want to get into a state of nutritional ketosis, you have to start measuring for blood ketones (and I had never heard of blood ketones before; I always thought, ketones, you pee on a stick and it turns pink or purple. That’s ketosis). But there’s much more sophisticated ways to measure now.

So, I read that book and I thought, well, dang. And I was struggling a little bit at the time, as you guys know. So, I was like, “Hmm. Maybe I should give this a go and do an experiment and, well, what the heck, I’m a blogger, let’s do it publicly.”

So, May of 2012 I started on my nutritional ketosis N equals 1 experiment. We give a whole chapter in the book about how that went and the results. But I started, and what I found was, I was not in ketosis when I started. Even though my carbs were low, I was not eating enough fat. That was a big mistake. I was eating too much protein, thinking that chicken breast was a health food. It is not. I was probably indulging in some low-carb snacks, counting the net carbs and not the total carbs. I am, like, adamant now: You have to count every single carbohydrate you put in your mouth, I don’t care if it’s made out of fiber or not, to be intellectually honest with your personal tolerance level, you have to count it all. And some people will be, like, “Well, fiber you get to subtract it because it doesn’t impact your blood sugar as much.” That’s true, but it still impacts. Even though it’s slower, it still has an impact.

So, if we’re looking at carbohydrate tolerance levels, you have to be really honest with yourself and say, “Hey, look. Thirty grams is 30 grams. And that’s what I’m gonna count.”

So, that was kind of the start of my journey and so I started bringing my carbs down pretty; I pretty much knew where my carb tolerance was. It was the protein that really had to come down, down, down, until I found that sweet spot for me and then added in more fat.

I was probably eating 55 or 60 percent fat, which by all definitions would be a high-fat diet. But I found it wasn’t enough. I needed to get close to 80 to 85 percent fat in my diet before I finally saw the ketones show up in the blood that then gave me all the health benefits that I was looking for.

Guy Lawrence: There you go. Now, I imagine that would vary from person to person, right?

Jimmy Moore: Absolutely. And we explain this in Keto Clarity. Please do not try to mimic what Jimmy Moore did. Because you may not have the crazy, messed-up metabolism that I did, being a former 400-pounder.

My wife Christine, actually, she did a nutritional ketosis for a month just to kind of “let’s test and see where you are.” Her macros came in at right around 55 percent fat instead of the 85 that I was doing. And then about 30 percent protein, which I was doing about 12 percent protein. And then 15 percent carbohydrate for her, and I was doing about; what was it? About 3 percent carbohydrate for me. And she got higher ketone levels than I did. On a totally different macronutrient ratio.

Guy Lawrence: Wow. Who do you think should; anyone listening to this, you know, if ketosis is a new paradigm they haven’t thought about before, like, who should consider ketosis, Jimmy? Do you think it’s for everyone? Does it fit all? What’s your standpoint on that?

Jimmy Moore: I think everybody should at least try it one time, just to see what it feels like. You know, certainly if whatever you’re doing now is giving you optimal results in your health, Jimmy Moore is gonna be the first one to step up and say, “Dude. Why would you stop?” Unless you’re a girl. Then I’d say, “Dudette, why would you stop?” Keep doing whatever it is that’s giving you that optimal health.

But unfortunately, you guys, you know most people aren’t healthy. More people aren’t experiencing that optimal health and they’re looking for some kind of modality that might give them that.

So, that’s the cool thing about ketosis. And, you know, if it’s all about weight loss, certainly it is a great benefits to go ketogenic to lose weight. But don’t do it just to lose weight. There are some many more benefits, and I’ve often told people: I would eat ketogenic if I never lost another pound, just for the brain health benefits. Because your brain is so optimized when you eat this way, because the brain loves fat and ketones. It thrives on those. And so if you’re depriving your body of fat, which then, in turn, is depriving your body of ketones, guess what? You’re bringing on early-onset of some of these neurodegenerative disease like dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s. We’re actually finding ketosis helps with all of those things, improve them, and even prevent them from happening to begin with.

Guy Lawrence: Exactly. It’s funny, because the whole keto thing for me, like I first heard about it when; I was just telling a story because I did a talk in Tasmania, the weekend, about how 180 Nutrition got off the ground. And it was being exposed to a charity that was helping people with cancer. And when I got up there, you know, there were about 35 people in the room. All had serious issues of cancer, you know, from brain tumor to breast cancer to skin cancer. You name it. And the first thing they did was put them on a ketogenic diet. I hadn’t even heard the terms back then.

And I got frustrated, because I was seeing the results from these guys and how it was helping them. And that doesn’t get recommended even to this day, still, by doctors.

Jimmy Moore: Yeah. Unfortunately, it’s a fringe thing, and I just got back from a huge paleo conference here in America called the Ancestral Health Symposium. And I was a moderator on a panel there that we talked about this very topic, Guy, of ketogenic diets and cancer. And even the practitioners on the panel were still real hesitant about saying too much too soon about it, that, “Well, we don’t really know the mechanism. We just know that it does put people on the right path to maybe not use as much chemo.”

And, you know, it’s certainly something that I would love to see more randomized control clinical trials on. It’s just when you talk about something like cancer, you know, they kind of look at ketogenic diets as the last resort after you’ve done all these chemicals and everything trying to get the cancer, and I’m certainly not bemoaning any oncologist who’s doing that; they’re trying to save their patient’s life. But I wonder, I just wonder: are we promoting that they should just eat, eat, eat whatever, which is what I’ve heard. I’ve got some family members that actually have cancer and they’re told, “Just eat whatever. If it’s Twizzlers, if it’s, you know, Coca-Cola, just get calories in your mouth.”

That is a horrible, horrible message. Why wouldn’t you want to at least starve those cancer cells of what it thrives on, and that’s sugar? Don’t feed it sugar. And then you give your body a fighting chance to maybe not have to go through as many chemotherapies as you otherwise would.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. It’s frustrating. It’s frustrating.

Stuart Cooke: So, where would be the best place to start a keto journey? Would we have to go to the doctors first and get our bloods checked and get some markers as a starting point? Or do we just dive into your book and just go for that?

Jimmy Moore: Well, I’m not a; I often tell people I’m not an MD, RD, Ph.D., or any D after my name. I’m just a Joe Schmo out here that lost some weight and got his health back and now is kind of a; I consider myself like an empowered patient trying to be a patient advocate of helping people grab back control of their own health.

I know we talked about this with Cholesterol Clarity. People have abdicated their responsibility for their health to that man in the white coat. And they’ve said, “OK. Whatever that person says for me to do, I’m gonna do in my health,” not realizing that person has no training in nutrition, really no education in how to deal with formulating a really good diet.

And so I definitely would not make any recommendations for anybody. Definitely consult your physician if you have any questions. But this book is ready-made for somebody to test on themselves and try and just see how you do. I mean, there’s certainly no harm, because guess what? We’re talking about real food. That’s it. We’re not talking about some wacky green tea supplement or raspberry ketones or any kind of weird things that are out there in our mainstream culture. We’re talking about eating bacon and eggs cooked in butter for breakfast.

Guy Lawrence: I’ve got to ask you a question as well, Jimmy, just for the listeners. Because for so many people it’s so hard to get their head around that they can eat fat. Like, as a natural fat. We’re not talking about the homogenized or the manmade fats or whatever.

You know, just to hear it from you, how much fat can somebody eat, if it’s natural?

Jimmy Moore: So, yeah. Trust me, Guy. This was the hardest chapter in the whole book to write, because I know people are fat-phobic. In Australia, in America, and around the world we grew up propagandized that fat’s gonna make you fat, fat’s gonna clog your arteries. It’s just like when I saw the Atkins diet for the first time I’m like, “Man, this guy is wacked out. What are you talking about eating all that fat?”

And I think how much is enough will depend on your satiety signal. I think first we need to dial in those things that are making you hungry, so, that’s the carbohydrates in excess and that’s the protein in excess. So, you dial those in to your personal tolerance and your individualized threshold levels and then what we say in the book is: Eat saturated and monounsaturated fats primarily. So, that’s: butter, coconut oil, meats, cheese, cream, avocado, avocado oil, macadamia nut oil, all those kinds of fats. You eat those to satiety.

So, when you bring down the things that would drive your hunger, it may not take as much fat to make you satiated. And one of the cool things about ketosis is it gives you a natural satiety. But you get that satiety because you’re eating enough fat.

So, what we tell people is limit the carbs, moderate the protein, but then have fats to your satiety signals. So, you kind of learn, “Oh! This is what my body’s supposed to feel like. I’m not supposed to be hungry and jittery at 10 o’clock in the morning. And after I just ate two hours before that nice bowl of oatmeal with margarine in it and a glass of orange juice, and I’m wondering why I’m hungry so soon.

Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. It makes perfect sense. Eat till you’re full. Your body will tell you when it’s full. I guess our body is smart enough to let us know when we’ve had enough.

Jimmy Moore: Well, and one of the quotes that my co-author gave in the book, Dr. Eric Westman, he said in Asian countries, they have kind of this old proverb of: “Eat till you’re 80 percent full.” So, you’re not stuffing yourself but you’re kind of getting to that imaginary point: “Oh, I’m at 79.9 percent.” No, I’m just kidding.

So, you get to that imaginary point in your brain of, “OK, I’m satisfied. I don’t need any more food.” And that’s a beautiful place. And the cool thing about this way of eating is you’ll feel satisfied and you’ll be able to go hours upon hours after finishing your meal without feeling hungry again.

How many people walk around in this world, they eat breakfast at 7 a.m. and they go, “Hmm, I wonder what I’m gonna have for lunch?” While they’re still eating their breakfast.

Stuart Cooke: “I know. We’re so focused on that.”

Jimmy Moore: That happens all the time. We are so “breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack, midnight snack.” And we’ve got to get out of the mentality you need to eat that much. Even the dieticians promote that: “Oh, you need to keep your blood sugar under control and keep it nice and steady throughout the day, so eat little small meals every couple of hours.” And I’m going, “No! I eat one to two times a day, and that’s it. I don’t need to eat any more.” And do you know how freeing it is to not have to eat constantly? It’s great.

Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. It’s liberating. We’re just following the carbohydrate train, aren’t we? Up and down and up and down. That’s what we’re doing.

Jimmy Moore: Yep. A rollercoaster ride.

Stuart Cooke: So, tell us about the; you mentioned the ketone sticks originally. Perhaps they weren’t the best way to measure our levels. So, what do we do now?

Jimmy Moore: So, as I was mentioning the Volek and Phinney book, they talked about this thing called blood ketones. But let’s back up and let’s explain why urine ketones aren’t that great.

So, the keto sticks are traditional. You pee on the stick. It’s a little container of 50 of them for about 15 U.S. dollars. And you pee on the stick, it turns pink to purple, and when you first start off, that’s probably a good way to measure for ketosis. Now, the name of the ketone body in the urine is called acetoacetate. OK? So, what you’re detecting is the ketone body, acetoacetate, spilling over into the urine. All right. Great. It’s changing a color. I’m in ketosis.

But then something interesting happens when you are in this ketosis for a couple of weeks. Suddenly, you pee on the stick and guess what? There’s no change. And you haven’t had carbs and you’ve moderated your protein and you’re doing all the great things and suddenly there’s no more acetoacetate. What’s going on?

Well, acetoacetate actually gets converted once you become keto-adapted, and there is this adaptation period of a couple of weeks to four weeks in some people. For 410-pound Jimmy Moore, probably two or three months. But you have this adaptation period. And once you become adapted that acetoacetate then turns into the blood ketone. And that’s called betahydroxybuterate.

And so that’s why measuring for blood ketones, like Volek and Phinney talked about, is so critically important.

Now, you guys are really lucky there in Australia because you have a meter called FreeStyle Optium. It’s the exact same one we have here in America called Precision Xtra but the strips for your FreeStyle Optium are like 70 cents Australian dollars. Here in America, those same strips are about 4, 5, 6 dollars apiece. And so it can be very expensive. There are different ways, and I’ve tried to work with the company to get them to get on the bandwagon of nutritional ketosis.

And it’s funny: now that they book’s out there, people are starting to call the company that makes them, and they’re, like, “You know we want these strips but we can’t spend $5 apiece. What can you do?” And when I tried to convince them there’s a market out here for it, they were like: “Oh, all we care about are diabetics, for this thing called diabetic ketoacidosis.” They were not at all interested in people wanting to do nutritional ketosis.

So, I’m hoping with all those tens of thousands of books that are out there now that people will flood them with calls and say, “Hey, we want this.” Because, quite frankly, they’re just being idiots leaving money on the table because it’s a great business opportunity for them to expand their market.

Guy Lawrence: And I think just; you triggered something saying “ketoacidosis.” That’s another thing people get confused with.

Jimmy Moore: Let me explain that one in a minute. Let me finish the ketones story, because there’s one other ketone body in the body that you need to be aware of. But the blood ketones, Volek and Phinney say, should be between .5 and 3.0. When I first started my experiment: .3.

So, I was below the level of ketosis. I’m like: Hmm. Now we’re getting somewhere as to why I was struggling.

So I started testing that. So, now there are some really interesting ones that have come along measuring for the third ketone body that’s in the breath is called acetone, and there’s actually only one meter right now, it’s this guy that has epilepsy, he lives; he’s an engineer, of all things, that lives in Sweden. And he wanted to; he didn’t like the messiness of peeing on a stick and he didn’t like the prick and the very expensiveness of measuring for blood ketones. So, he went and tried to find a breath ketone meter. He couldn’t find one. So, he made one. He’s an engineer, and he called it Ketonix, K-e-t-o-n-i-x, and he started sharing it with his friends: “Hey, check this out” and they wanted one. And then they wanted one and their friends wanted one. So he’s like, “Well, maybe I should make this into a business.”

So, now Ketonix.com is out there. Right now, he’s the only commercially available breath ketone meter on the market. But there are a lot more on the way. There’s one in Arizona here in America that’s working on a breath ketone meter that she’s trying to get FDA approval for. And then in Japan, on your side of the world, they’re actually working on an iPhone app that you would connect to your iPhone and you blow into it and it’ll give you a breath ketone reading. And the breath ketones correlate pretty well to betahydroxybuterate in the blood.

So, those are the three was that you test for ketones. And if you don’t know where you stand, you really can’t tell if you’re in ketosis or not. Don’t assume, just because you’re eating low-carb, that you’re in ketosis.

Guy Lawrence: Is it something you would probably measure for a month and then after that you wouldn’t know when you’re in ketosis, or is this something you would keep monitoring?

Jimmy Moore: Well, you know, I monitored day and night and sometimes every hour on the hour for a whole year, just to kind of see. But, yeah, you’re right, Guy. After awhile, after about two or three months, I knew when I was in ketosis. And pretty much within a few tenths of a millimolar, I could predict what my blood ketones were.

And so people are like, “Well, I can’t afford to do the testing every day like you did.” And so one of the strategies that we came up with, if you don’t find the breath meter very desirable, if you want to test for blood and really get accuracy, test eight times in a month. So, sometime during the first week that you’re doing this, test in the morning. Sometime in the first week you’re doing this, test at night at least four hours after you ate or drank anything. OK?

So, then you do that over a four-week period and you see the curve. You see, you know, are you making progress or is it going down or is it just saying the same. And then you can make adjustments from there. But that’s a good cheaper way to see where you stand.

I don’t think you have to be obsessive about testing, but if you don’t test at least a little, you have no idea how well you’re doing.

Stuart Cooke: Yes. You need a starting point. And how easy is it to be knocked out of ketosis and then perhaps get back in, if, for instance you have a cheat meal?

Jimmy Moore: Yeah. And it doesn’t need to take a cheat meal for somebody like me who’s really sensitive to carbohydrates. You know, I could have a 12-ounce steak and that gluconeogenesis will kick in and I’m out of ketosis. And it’s not a big deal when you’ve been in ketosis awhile and you get out of it because of the higher protein or higher carb meal. It takes about two to three days and I’m right back in again. So, it’s not that long adaptation. Once you’re in, you’re pretty much gonna stay in, unless you had like a 500 grams of carb whatever cheat. That might take a little while to recover from.

Now, you mentioned diabetic ketoacidosis versus ketosis. I definitely want to address this, because you might have noticed in the book, it didn’t say it just once or twice or three times; I think we ended up doing it about seven total times, because we’re like, we wanted to slap you over the head with it to know this is an important topic.

So, people might be going, well, I’ve heard ketosis is dangerous. Well, ketosis and nutritional ketosis like we’re talking about in the book is absolutely not dangerous. It cannot harm you. There’s no harm in being in a state of ketosis. What is the harm is for Type 1 diabetics and those Type 2 diabetics with no beta cell function – in other words, they don’t make any insulin at all – so, those are the only two people, two groups, that need to work about diabetic ketoacidosis. But catch this: The hallmark of diabetic ketoacidosis is very high levels of blood sugar and very, very high levels of blood ketones.

So, for a Type 1 diabetic or a Type 2 without beta cell function, let’s say they have a high-carb meal but they don’t shoot themselves with insulin. What’s gonna happen? Predictably, their blood sugar will go way up, well over 240 milligrams per deciliter, in American terms, and that’s not good. But then the body thinks it’s starving. So then it starts raising blood ketone levels in parallel with that high blood sugar level and you have these humongous rises in the blood ketones, upwards of 15 to 20 millimolar, on the blood ketone meter. That’s a dangerous state.

Guess what? If you make any insulin at all, you can never, ever, ever, ever – did I say “ever”? – EVER get to that point.

Now, you guys know I tested day and night and sometimes every hour on the hour. The highest reading I’ve ever seen is 6.7 on that blood ketone meter, but here’s the kicker. My blood sugar at the same time: 62. Which is extremely low; it’s really, really good.

So, this is really just distortions by people who want to try to discredit ketosis. I know ketosis and ketoacidosis sound the same, but they are two totally metabolically, diametrically opposed states. And diabetic ketoacidosis can only happen in the presence of a high-carb, not low-carb, diet.

Stuart Cooke: Bingo.

Guy Lawrence: No, it’s good. Because I hear it. Definitely.

Which direction do you want to go, Stu?

Stuart Cooke: You know, I had a question. You touched upon diseases of the brain. And I have a friend who is very dear to me who has just been diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s Disease. Now, I am aware that, you know, high-fat diet, ketosis, would be completely alien. And this person would just be following a conventional diet. You know: processed carbohydrates. Where would we start if we were to suggest anything at all?

Jimmy Moore: So, we actually have a few pretty decent studies of about a year that. . . a very high-fat, very low-carb diet, which would be ketogenic, would help with people with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s. You know, coconut oil, adding coconut oil to their diet is probably a great first start. One of my experts in the book is Dr. Mary Newport, and she put her husband Steve, who had Alzheimer’s disease; early onset Alzheimer’s disease, that’s what she started with. She didn’t change his diet. She kept his oatmeal and everything. But she just started adding coconut oil and MCT oil to his oatmeal.

Stuart Cooke: Was that the study where he was drawing the clocks?

Jimmy Moore: Yes. That’s exactly right. Same one.

And so she started doing that and then slowly he started getting better. And then she and I talked on my podcast, and I said, well, have you thought about maybe reducing down the carbohydrates. So, she started doing that and he saw tremendous benefits starting to happen there, and improvements in his health. That would certainly be applicable, I would think, to any neurodegenerative disease: Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s; any of those.

So, it’s definitely worth a shot to try to increase the fat and lower the carbs somehow. I’m certainly not giving medical advice, but if that was my family member, I would immediately say, “Hey, can I take control of the diet just for a little while?” And try it, because there’s certainly no harm in doing real food. And they try to put all these drugs to combat these diseases when maybe it’s not a drug deficiency; maybe it’s a fat deficiency, and too much carbs.

Stuart Cooke: No, that’s great. And it makes so much sense to provide your body with such a fantastic source of fuel for the brain in a time when I think we’ve gone through a prolonged period of too much starvation for the body because we just don’t get all these nutrients on a conventional diet.

Jimmy Moore: Literally starving your brain. And, you know, people are like, well, aren’t you worried about heart disease with the saturated fat? And I’m like, “You know what? I’m over that. I care about my brain health too much to deprive my body of saturated fat.” Did you know you have 25 percent of all the fat in your body is right there. Right there in your head. And so they don’t call us “fatheads” for no good reason. I mean, we are fatheads. And guess what? If you’re not feeding your body that fat that it needs to have raw materials to fuel that brain, why are we surprised when people start getting dementia? Why are we surprised when you start having those senior moments. Now, we laugh about those in our culture. It’s not funny.

And then, you know, we just had a very tragic death of Robin Williams, a great entertainer. I wonder: Was his brain fat-deprived? It got him to be so depressed that it got him to kill himself.

You know, there are things we’ve got to talk about, and I think ketosis is a big part of the answer to that.

Stuart Cooke: Absolutely right. I’ve got; just had another thought popped into my head when we were talking about fat as well. Gallbladder. So, my friend’s had his gallbladder removed. It’s quite common.

Jimmy Moore: Do you know when?

Stuart Cooke: Recently.

Jimmy Moore: OK. Real recently. OK.

Stuart Cooke: So, he has been told, “You’ve got to steer clear of fat.”

Jimmy Moore: That’s what they say.

Stuart Cooke: That’s what they say. So, what’s your take on that?

Jimmy Moore: So, my wife Christine actually; let me see if I can get Christine to make a cameo. Come here, Christine. I want everybody to see. See, she’s never on, like, my video podcast that I do so I want to show; are you. . . There she is. OK. She’s like brushing her hair back. It’s like nighttime here in America, so. . .

All right. Come to the camera. She’s coming. There is the beautiful part of Jimmy Moore.

Stuart Cooke: Hi, Christine, how are you?

Guy Lawrence: Hi, Christine.

Jimmy Moore: They’re saying hello.

Christine: Hi.

Jimmy Moore: Say hi.

Christine: Hi.

Jimmy Moore: All right, cool. Bye, honey.

So, she, in 2000; your gallbladder. . .

Christine: Six.

Jimmy Moore: Had it taken out and it took. . .

Christine: About a year for me to be able to start eating fat again. Is that what you wanted to know?

Jimmy Moore: Yeah. So, she had to build up an adaptation to the fat again, and it was a slow journey, right?

Christine: Yeah. I found that if I ate too much, too quickly, my liver didn’t know how much bile to produce and so after awhile your body just knows how much bile to produce once you’ve been eating this way awhile.

Jimmy Moore: And now the woman eats more fat, almost, than I do sometimes. She loves, what is it? Five slices of bacon for breakfast in the morning.

Christine: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Bacon every day.

Jimmy Moore: Thank you, honey.
Christine: You’re welcome.

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. So, it’s a process, right?

Jimmy Moore: It’s a process. And about a year later, she was able to ramp her fat back up. And I’d say she probably now eats about 55, 60 percent of her diet is fat, whereas maybe that year, like your friend, Stu, probably 25 percent, 30 percent the first year and you just kind of like work your way up to get back to that level again.

So, I don’t think it’s a forever and ever you have to eat low-fat and avoid fat like the plague. You need fat. Fat is one of the macronutrients that is essential. So, that’s why they talk about essential fatty acids. They talk about essential protein. Guess what? There’s no essential carbohydrates.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Absolutely right. That’s awesome advice. And it’s just, yeah, I’m so intrigued to look at conventional advice and then talk to people who are just questioning this. Because, you know, we’re all so very different and perhaps, you know, we can just dial in to these little intricacies that will take us on a better health journey.

Jimmy Moore: Right. You guys realize you got like an exclusive. I’ve never had Christine come up on any podcast.

Guy Lawrence: That’s awesome.

Jimmy Moore: You’re special, man!

Stuart Cooke: I feel special.

Guy Lawrence: Definitely. Just to tie it up, we won’t take too much more of your time, but I saw you put out a blog post a couple of days ago regarding what a journalist had been writing about ketosis and the diet and with the claims. And I thought, you know what? That would be really just a couple of good points to touch on because that’s what we’re hearing all the time. So, pull a couple of the claims up and I thought you could address them on the podcast.

And one of them, the first claim was: Your brain and muscles need carbs to function.

Jimmy Moore: That is what they say, isn’t it? In fact, they claim needs 130 grams at least of carbohydrate a day. And you know what I say, Guy? They’re 100 percent exactly right. Dot, dot, dot. . . if you’re a sugar-burner. Because if you’re burning sugar for fuel, your brain does need that. Otherwise, you’re gonna be starving it of the glucose that it needs. Because the brain can function on glucose or fat and ketones.

So, if you’re a sugar-burner, you’d better darn well be getting plenty of carbohydrates in your diet. Otherwise, your brain’s gonna be going; you know, people kind of get that foggy brain and they’re going, “Oh, why do I feel kinda cranky?” That’s it. You’re stuck in sugar brain. So, you’ve got to feed it sugar to make it happy. That’s why when people say, “Well, I didn’t do well on low-carb diet, and I added back carbs and I felt better,” I’m like, “Yeah, because you never fully made the switch over to being a fat-burner.”

So, when you’re a fat-burner, that is idiotic advice to tell people to eat that many carbohydrates, because that is counterproductive to making the ketones.

So, you can choose: sugar-burner or fat-burner. And if you’re a fat burner you’re gonna, you know, fuel your brain with fat and ketones. If you’re a sugar-burner, you’re gonna do it with carbs.

Guy Lawrence: And I think, as well, if somebody; a lot of people have been a carb-burner their whole life. You know? And if the body’s gonna adjust, it’s not gonna happen overnight like if you’re been doing it for the last. . .
Jimmy Moore: Two to four weeks for a lot of people, right around two to four weeks.

Guy Lawrence: Another claim was: Low-carb diets eliminate entire food groups.

Jimmy Moore: You know I love this one, Guy, because they never say anything about vegans removing whole food groups. And I would argue whole food groups that are nutrient-dense foods they should be eating. So, yeah, this is; and then they consider, like, whole grains being a food group. Whole grains are not a food anything. I don’t consider them a human food. You have to highly process grains in order for them to even be humanly consumable. And so that’s one of the things that they’re talking about removing whole food groups.

But here’s the kicker. You’re not really removing anything. You’re just limiting to your personal tolerance levels, but you’re not removing. I mean, I still have 30 grams of carbohydrate. Is that “removing” the food group of carbohydrate? No. It’s just limiting it down, knowing that I have a certain tolerance level. These people say, “Well, just eat everything in balance.” I’m like, “How much arsenic do I have in balance?”

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Exactly.

Guy Lawrence: Well-addressed. And the last claim was: Don’t do a low-carb diet for more than six months.

I hear these things as well.

Jimmy Moore: I know. And these are things that are put out there in our culture, and this was a very prominent article on a website, Philly.com, I think it’s associated with the Philadelphia Inquirer, which is a major newspaper here in America. I actually wrote to this journalist, by the way, after this, and I said, “You know, if you want the truth, I’m happy to talk to you about what a true low-carb ketogenic diet is.” But I never heard back from her. And didn’t expect to.

I later found out a lot of her posts are pro-vegan. So, take that for what it is.

So, no more than six months. I’m thinking, so at the end of six months of being on low-carb diet and I’m seeing great results and getting great health, then how am I supposed to eat? What’s my next step? If I’m thriving in that state of eating, why would I change?

It’s a logical question to ask. Now, if you’re not seeing results after six months, by golly, change. Do something different. But if you’re seeing results and improvements in your health and your weight, why would you change anything?

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Absolutely.

Stuart Cooke: Perfect sense. It makes sense.

So, what’s next for Jimmy? Any more clarity books?

Jimmy Moore: Jimmy needs a break from writing, because he wrote two books in one year. That was a lot, you guys.

So, I actually did just sign a contract with my publisher for a follow-up to Keto Clarity that I’m gonna collaborate with this American blogger and Author named Maria Emmerich. Do you guys know her?

Guy Lawrence: I haven’t heard of her name, no.

Jimmy Moore: Ah. Well, you’re gonna find out about her. She was one of my experts in Keto Clarity and so we quoted her throughout the book, but my publisher said, hey, we’d love to have a cookbook. And I’m going, “Do you know how Jimmy cooks? He takes a bowl and he throws stuff in the bowl here and there and I don’t measure anything.” Like a quarter cup of this and a teaspoon of this. I don’t use this at all. This is not something I would use.

And so Maria does. Maria is really good at. . . doing all those measurements and taking beautiful pictures. So, we both are very enthusiastic about ketogenic diets. So, we’re gonna collaborate on a ketogenic diet cookbook that will be coming out sometime around summer; next summer.

So, that’s kind of the next one. Not as much writing for me for that book as it has been the last two books.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. I can imagine. And you’re coming to Australia soon, right, as well?

Jimmy Moore: I am. The low-carb Down Under tour is coming back, and we’re actually gonna go to a lot more cities this time than we did the last time. We’re definitely gonna hit all the biggies: Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, the Gold Coast this time. We’re gonna go to Tassie this time. (Tasmania, for my American friends.) Perth this time.

So, we’re definitely gonna try to hit, like, all the major ones. But that’ll be in the month of November. And, in fact, before I come over to Australia, on the way over, I’m gonna stop in New Zealand with Grant Schofield and his group and do a talk in Auckland, New Zealand on like that Thursday night before.

So, definitely check out my social media stuff and we’ll share all about that real soon.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, definitely. And keep us posted, because we’ll share across our channels as well once we get closer to the date.

Jimmy Moore: Awesome. Thank you.

Guy Lawrence: And in the meantime, if anyone wants to get more of Jimmy Moore, where do they go? Jimmy?

Jimmy Moore: “More of Jimmy Moore.” I love saying that. “More of Moore.”

Well, so, the book, Keto Clarity, if you’re interested in that, we have a website KetoClarity.com. We have all kinds of media pages. We have a sample chapter from the book. I think the introduction is the sample chapter of the book. And then I did the audiobook to my book as well. It’ll be on Audible real soon, but we have a sample of that. I believe it’s chapter one. We have the sample of where I actually did the reading. When you’re a podcaster, people want to hear your voice. So, I did the reading of that.

And then if you want to find out more about my work, it’s LivinLaVidaLowCarb.com or if you Google “Jimmy Moore,” it should be everything on the front page is all my stuff.

Guy Lawrence: Awesome. Mate, that was brilliant. You are such a wealth of knowledge.

Jimmy Moore: Thank you.

Stuart Cooke: Yep. Absolutely. Fantastic. We’ve learned so much and we can’t wait to share it as well. It’s gonna be great.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. Awesome. Thank you so much, Jimmy, for your time, mate. And look forward to seeing you when you get to Australia.

Jimmy Moore: We will see you guys in Oz, man. Rock it!

Stuart Cooke: Thank you.

Guy Lawrence: Thanks, mate.

Professor Grant Schofield: Why Counting Calories Does Not Work

The video above is 03:07 long. Use your time wisely ;)

Unless you’ve had your head under a rock recently, you probably know that Saturated Fat has been getting a lot of good press.

If you want to learn why eating saturated fat is good for you, the best foods for exercise and why The Heart Foundation is not the way forward, then this episode is for you.


Full Interview: Fat, Calories, Exercise & The Heart Foundation

This is the full interview with Professor Grant Schofield. Professor of Public Health (Auckland University of Technology) and director of the university’s Human Potential Centre (HPC) located at the Millennium Campus in Auckland, New Zealand.

downloaditunesIn this episode we talk about:-

  • Clearing up the confusion regarding saturated fat [003:05]
  • The South Pacific Islands study. Why one got sick & one remained healthy[006:25]
  • Why the Australian Heart Foundation have got it wrong [010:30]
  • What fats should we be really eat [016:17]
  • What we should really be eating for sport & exercise [023:10]
  • and much more…

Follow Grant Schofield on his: 

You can view all Health Session episodes here.

Recommended reading:

Buck Up: The Real Bloke’s Guide to Getting Healthy and Living Longer by Wayne Shelford & Grant Schofield

Did you enjoy the interview with Professor Grant Schofield? Do you eat saturated fat? Do you exercise with a fat adapted diet? Would love to hear your thoughts in the Facebook comments section below… Guy


Grant Schofield Transcripit

Welcome to the 180 Nutrition Health Sessions podcast. In each episode, we cut to the chase as we hang out with real people with real results.

Stuart Cooke: You’re not missing much, mate.

Grant Schofield: It’s kind of like a football with a bum underneath.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. That describes my face quite well. OK.

Guy Lawrence: All right. Let’s start. I’m Guy Lawrence. I’m with Stuart Cooke, of course. And out special guest today is no other than Grant Schofield. Grant thanks for joining us, mate. We really appreciate it.

Grant Schofield: Likewise.

Guy Lawrence: I don’t know if you knew, but you’re actually our first New Zealander to come on the podcast show as well.

Grant Schofield: I’m honored.

Guy Lawrence: It’s a good thing. It’s a good thing.

Grant Schofield: You should be saying “kia ora,” Guy. Kia ora.

Guy Lawrence: I was looking at your blog just now, Grant, and on the About You section as well, and I figured there was a lot for me to remember there, so I thought the best person to explain a little bit about yourself would be you. If you could just tell the audience a little bit about yourself and why we’re excited to have you on the show.

Grant Schofield: Well, I find myself, now, talking about nutrition, but I never had any intention of getting into the field of nutrition, or, as a matter of fact, to keep your eye on what foods. But I originally trained, actually, as a psychologist. I’m pretty much XXleaguedXX well with psychologists, and that’s sort of a compilation of marginal intelligence and XXunknownXX that will generate XXunknownXX I read two-thirds of the XXunknownXX combination.

But I ended up in public health in the end, around obesity and especially exercise, and a lot of my recent work I’ve based it around; I’ve really spent my whole career around the conventional wisdom of it’s energy-in, energy-out. And if I can just get these moving more, it would be great.

Now, exercise and moving is good for people. But, as a solution to weight, it fundamentally misunderstands the metabolics of it all. And so, more recently, I think I’ve made some mistakes. I’m quoting Albert Einstein, if I understand this early Albert Einstein quote, which was: “Make things as simple as possible, but no simpler.” And I think in obesity, research and chronic disease research especially, the nutrition side, we are kind of simplified to the point of doing half. And we need to rethink that.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fair enough. And it’s amazing, because, like, especially with saturated fat is now the hot topic in the news at the moment. The ABC Catalyst have just screened two shows about it, along with statin as well, and obviously there’s a lot of people out there that are a bit confused, a bit miffed, as well, with the whole message and what to do.

I mean, is that something you’ve always believed, like saturated fat isn’t healthful, or is that something you’ve been led…

Grant Schofield: Well, no, I looked at it in my early days as a professional triathlete, I would say I wasn’t an especially good professional triathlete. I went into being a professor and ended up better.

But part of what, for me, made me as fast as I could was I could never understand why I was; I was about 87 kilos, which for the professional athlete is hopeless. And I was training up to 30 hours a week and I just couldn’t keep my weight down. I was eating exactly; I had a dietician, I was eating exactly what I was told to, a sort of high-carbohydrate, mainly heart-healthy diet. Keep away from the fat, especially the saturated fat. I was telling people that myself.

And, I’d start to go, and I think most people in the nutrition that exists outside of the ivory towers now understands that it’s true, and there seems to be a parallel universe going on in nutrition where the public and most of the people in practice have figured it out, and the powers that be are in some sort of denial about what’s going on. So, saturated fat, I think, completely vilified.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, fair enough. Because the one thing I want to especially raise as well, because, you know, with yourself being a professor and your background of knowledge as well, it must be hard for even just the average person to think any differently, because that’s what we’ve been taught our whole lives, you know.

And the message out there is so confusing at the moment. And, you know, it’s the same for myself. Until I lived and breathed it and actually started investigating deeper and deeper, then you don’t; you know, what would be your message to someone that is sitting on the fence about this.

Grant Schofield: That you just, I think if you’re sitting on the fence and you’re trying to decide about this same thing, there’s plenty of resources out there and this “n equals 1.” We hear a lot about this n equals 1. It’s self-experimentation. But that’s exactly how I got into this. That’s how I’ve managed to coax everyone I know into this way of doing things is just try it for a few weeks and see what happens. And if it doesn’t turn out, well, that’s short-term. You’re not gonna keel over. You can re-evaluate after that and when people do that, of course they see that the science was wrong. It had to be. Because you do the opposite of what everyone recommends and the exact opposite of what they said happens happens, so it’s sort of “Opposite Day,” really.

Guy Lawrence: It’s still; it’s incredible that it’s come to this. Like, it blows me away.

Stuart Cooke: It is crazy. I had also read a little bit about a study in the South Pacific as well. I was reading about that. I wondered if you could elaborate on that for us?

Grant Schofield: That’s just, we’d been doing this diabetes prevention work in the South Pacific islands and, you know, there’s a lot of South Pacific island countries, and there’s quite a lot of them. And if you wanted to; the Pacific, the South Pacific islands have probably suffered some of the worst obesity and chronic disease of anywhere around the world, but it’s not uniform across those islands. And I think it’s interesting.

You go to the best of them, which would be something like Southern Vanuatu, and these are islands; I mean, what actually happened in the end is an air force pilot called John Frum from the States turned up in World War II and started one of these cargo cults around the islands, sort of the beginning of a religion, and it’s interesting. They noticed that he did no actual work or anything that was XXunknownXX. He marched around and raised American flags and eventually got upon a funny box and stuff arrived and, “Hey, that sounds good.”

But he had one religious message which I think actually pans out to be a good one, which was something like: “Look, white guys are gonna turn up here. Don’t trust them.” And so what you’ve seen in these islands is really XXall-outXX development. So, there’s still a traditional subsistence living, and, really, a complete absence of chronic disease. So, there’s big, strong, healthy men and women and vibrant kids.

And the thing is, you look at the food supply and, you know, it’s eating whole plants and animals, but it’s very high in saturated fat from the coconut products. So, it’s probably about 60 percent of calories by saturated fat, with no chronic disease.

If you go to the other end, the worst of the Pacific are these countries like XXKiribatiXX and Tuvalu, which are all quite small coral atolls that; XXKiribatiXX, the main island is Tarawa, it’s only a metre by sea level, except for the large piles of rubbish which sort of go beyond that. And irregardless of this, the kids are all malnourished. And so, on a calories-in, calories-out, we think Mum and Dad must be eating all the food. Which isn’t the case. The kids aren’t getting the fat and protein. They’re malnourished. The adults are metabolically disregulated and diabetic.

We tested the; I was just showing the diabetes team how to test for fasting blood glucose, and 10 out of 10 had a fasting blood glucose above 10 millimoles, which is; five is acceptable. That’s the prevention team is completely uncontrolled diabetes, and it’s running about 70 percent in the population.

And you try and, you walk around there with your XXmanual guideXX, “Look, if you could just move a bit more,” that’s not relevant. “And just eat a bit less and cut down your saturated fat,” you know. It’s so ridiculous that you wouldn’t even; it would come out of your mouth when you see the food supply, which is instant noodles, rice, sugar, and flour.

So, it becomes very obvious that there’s a metabolic problem with these simple carbohydrates. We’ve done XXit with thisXX, so.

Guy Lawrence: That’s amazing. And that’s what the Heart Foundation, they’ve got the tick of approval on half the products that you just mentioned.

Grant Schofield: That’s right. It really becomes obvious at that point that, at least in that situation, that’s not the problem. Fat’s not the problem, at least.

Stuart Cooke: It’s interesting. I’m just going to mix a few of these questions around a little bit, Guy.

Guy Lawrence: Knock yourself out, man.

Stuart Cooke: So, over here, you know, obviously, the Australian Heart Foundation recommends a low fat, high-carb diet. And how similar is it over in NZed?

Grant Schofield: Yeah, well, I just think it’s; what actually happened this week was sort of a perfect storm, really, of the British Medical Journal paper on saturated fat, the ABC shoes in Australia attracting a lot of attention in New Zealand, and we had a two-page feature article on low-carb, high-fat in the national newspaper, all within two days of each other. So it was a perfect storm as far as I was concerned.

It did a few things. First of all, it attracted a media release from some of the big, old professors of nutrition here undersigned by the head of virtually every health agency in the country about the dangers that this posed, and, sort of, meant to calm the masses.

It was all sort of ridiculous. But also, the Heart Foundation was about to release its new food XXpictures that weekXX, so they’ve put a hold on that until the masses control themselves.

But I think I have moved to more of a Mediterranean-style diet. I started to move away from the whole grains. And I think sometimes the reasons you go to the heart foundations and diabetes and feel like you’re not moving, there’s a lot of forces there that push them around. There’s food and food companies. There’s government. There’s scientists from all walks.

They are moving. They haven’t got to the saturated fat thing. So, you know, I think rather than turning into a fight, you know, when you become enemies it’s hard to have a productive and fruitful conversation.

So, we’re trying. … So, I’m happy now. Just keep moving.

Guy Lawrence: Hey, I hear the Swedish government recently turned their laws around with saturated fat. Have you heard anything about that?

Grant Schofield: Yeah, well, that’s; they did quite a big review because there’s; Sweden is relatively progressive. They’ve also had a longer history of that complaint around the delivery of low-carb, high-fat medicine, which was upheld, thankfully. So, I think they have probably moved ahead.

Look, I think the evidence says that eating a diet that’s low of dietary carbohydrates and higher in fat, as long it’s not all processed food, it’s likely to be highly healthy. XXThere’s random controls. It’s fine on all of them; carrying the metabolic ??? went wellXX.

People then seemed to object to the idea that there’s not long-term health data when we’ve had people on these diets for 50 years. It’s true we haven’t done those studies, but, equally, there’s; we are talking about the sort of foods that humans have eaten for 99 percent of the time they’ve been on the planet.

And, you know, humans, contrary to popular belief, didn’t die at age 30. The XXnormal age of death was probably somewhere near the 70sXX. So, on the basis of pure scientific common sense, I’ve begun with this approach to start with.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, you only have to look at the overweight statistics, you know, here in Australia, and the same with chronic disease as well. It’s not getting better.

Stuart Cooke: Something’s going wrong.

Grant Schofield: I guess the other approach, way of approaching it, is to go, well, in public health we talk about these health inequalities, that different things affect people differentially, and we get really concerned about that. But we don’t make the healthy get healthier and the sick get sicker. And why take on that as well, you know, a high-carbohydrate, low-fat, whole-food diet can work for some people. There’s evidence of that. But I think it works for the most insulin-sensitive of us, the people least prone to chronic disease.

And, for the people who are least insulin-sensitive, most easily metabolically disregulated. And they tend to also be our poorest in this country XX??? PacificXX people. It may do harm. And that’s another thing to consider.

Guy Lawrence: Absolutely. Do you think the Heart Foundation will ever change their minds about this? You know, will they accept it or…

Grant Schofield: You know, and I think people come in and say, “Hey, you were right. Let’s change their minds.” I think they move more slowly than that. I think; people can ask me about government guidelines and Heart Foundation guidelines. Look, if this changed overnight, would it change the world? I don’t think it would. I think what will change the world is the fact that the world has changed electronically, that things like this, these podcast and the intelligent blogger and the open access of science, I think that the people will change this through pure experimentation and common sense.

I already see that the movement for low-carbohydrate and healthy, whole-food eating will come from the people, not from the government or the Heart Foundation. So, that will take time as well. But the world’s different.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Yeah. That’s a good point. I’d like to clear up a bit of confusion as well around the topic of fats, because with this message getting out there, I know some people who think they’ll be able to look at potato chips and go, “Oh, there’s fat content in it; it’s quite high,” then it’s gonna be OK to eat that? You know?

And I see this, you know, and I’m, like, “Jesus.”

Grant Schofield: It has consequences.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Yeah. So, I’d love if you could just sort of, you know, what fats should people be eating, what fats should people be avoiding, how can they simplify it?

Grant Schofield: Well, I think there’s two levels of that. The first is that you’ve made a good point: that you eat a diet low in fat, or high in fat and low in dietary carbohydrates, that’s fine, and I think as long as the fats are fats that have come from foods that have existed naturally on the planet: animal saturated fats, those in plants, avocados, nuts, seeds, those sorts of things.

As soon as you start to muck with them and turn them into these industry seed-type oils, these Omega-6 and transfats, then I’d just be avoiding those altogether. In our house, we have butter, we have coconut oil, and we have olive oil. That’s what we have as added fats. And then it’s the XXcuringXX of some sort of plant or animal. That’s what I’d go with.

I guess the second point that you’ve made, which is probably more important, is if you combine fat with processed carbohydrates, then you’re on the standard industrial food diet and, as we, know, that’s got a really nasty ending.

And so they have been including high-protein, high this, high that, but I really think you can classify diets into three categories in terms of macronutrients. A low-fat diet, which, by definition will be high-carbohydrate, even if you over-consume protein, that will be turned into glucose anyway through the liver. At the other end, you’ve got a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet. And in the middle you’ve got the standard industrial diet, which is high in both. So, that’s the choice. So, I think we should be going for the one lowest in carbohydrates.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. It’s interesting. I guess I hope that when people realize that they need to make the shift to a diet higher in fats, then they don’t presume that all of the bottles of sunflower oils on the shelves with the Healthy Heart Foundation tick is the go-to fat. Because they’ve got beautiful pictures of, you know, smiling people and healthy hearts on there.

Grant Schofield: Yeah, I mean, it’s sort of; forget the glycemic index, the GI factor, and go for the HI, the Human Interference factor. If you can tell it was alive very recently, eat it.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, no, it’s a good point. Do you think this dietary approach is recommended for everybody, or perhaps more specific to those seeking weight loss?

Grant Schofield: Ah, well, I mean, it can be effective for weight loss, but I think, you know, weight loss is usually a symptom of metabolic dysfunction. If you’re insulin-resistant, if you’re lethargic, if you’re low on energy, getting afternoon crashes, I think this is a fantastic way to go.

I mean, frankly, I don’t have a weight problem but one of the main reasons I keep on a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet is the cumulative and energy benefits, and I think anyone who does this sort of thing will attest to that. You’re not falling off a glucose cliff every three hours, so you’ve just got this constant energy, you can miss meals, you can have a flexibility in choosing your eating, and all of sudden you can deal with this much better.

XXI hear all that stuff about ????; it’s just not ???XX Metabolics drive behind it.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, it’s huge. Because once you’re metabolically changing, you’re fat-adapted. Because I eat a high-fat diet. If I eat carbs, it knocks me out. It’s as simple as that. I don’t feel great. I mean, I have some, but I’ve very conscious of what ones I eat, but my appetite is; my energy, mood, appetite is just fantastic.

And the other thing that I notice as well is that I don’t crave the other foods, the sweet stuff and everything else, you know, Once I adapted to this way of eating, I kind of look through them foods, you know? And it’s almost like I want people to just eat like this for a couple of weeks just to understand that feeling, you know? Because some people, if they’ve been on sugar all their lives, they’re not even gonna know what it feels like.

Grant Schofield: Well, I’d like to get the academics who criticize us or the practitioners who criticize us, just to try this as an approach. For goodness sake, just try things and example the physiology on yourself. Like, it’s not; it’s like being in the personal training business and telling people how to do pushups. Or, say, “Go do pushups,” and you’ve never done one. I mean, it would be laughable. You’d be laughed at XXat the gym? Like a chump?XX

Stuart Cooke: Guy mentioned fat-adapted. How far do we need to go to actually reap the benefits of a high-fat diet? Do we need to go as far as ketosis?

Grant Schofield: You know, that’s something I think we still need to do more research on. I don’t know the answer to that. I’ve experimented with myself and others that are getting into their fat-adapted state by doing it on a gradual basis and just gradually reducing their carbohydrates. The trouble with that method is, you can end up in a bit of a gray zone of actually not fully adapting. And your brain’s still dependent mostly on glucose, but you haven’t got it quite good enough, and it can be a nasty little state to be in. But I, my personal opinion, there’s not much science on this, is that if you’re going to get fat-adapted, get very strict and drop your carbohydrates right down to the ketosis, 50 grams a day, top level, for a few weeks, get fully fat-adapted, and just see how you feel while introducing carbs again after that.

My view is that you really need to force that real XXfrustation?XX of substrate, especially ketones and b-hydroxybutyrate, to run the brain and other organs, modern humans don’t do that. So that can be difficult. But that’s my view. I don’t know what you guys’ view on it is.

Stuart Cooke: Well, I guess it’s a tricky one. And everybody, you know, we’re all built in a very different way, you know, metabolically as well. Some people are more attuned to just straight into ketosis, whereas others, you know, can take much longer.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Like, I’m 25 kilos heavier than Stu, right? And he eats twice as much food as me, easily. And, you know, his metabolism doesn’t turn off at all, ever. It’s incredible.

Stuart Cooke: Actually, I’ve got to eat now, Guy.

Yeah, no, it’s good.

I just thought we’d move into exercise now. And I know Guy’s got a question for you about…

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, I’m keen on this because, again, with exercise, you know, I think a lot of people can get confused with what they should be eating, especially around intensive exercise and endurance exercise. And I know you yourself have worked with a triathlete and an Iron Man. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the science, a little bit, behind all that.

Grant Schofield: Yeah, I think it’s very interesting. I mean, I’ve of course spent an entire career telling my people to supplement with carbohydrates and use those as they exercise all the time. We’ve done some work on a group of triathletes, mainly, actually.

I’ll just give you a case study as a nice example of the one elite Iron Man competitor that we’ve worked with. So, he was, first of all, he was 85 or so kilos. He was a bit shorter than me. And that was a limiting factor in his Iron Man performance. So, we put him on a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet for 12 weeks leading into Iron Man New Zealand last year.

First of all, he ripped down to 78 with no problems, 78 kilos, and was in the best shape of his life. But I think much more interestingly was how his fuel utilization changed across some different power outputs.

So, we were, probably, the easiest way to describe the way we measured his performance using breath-by-breath gas analysis, is we were calling this the metabolic efficiency point. What power could you produce when you were using 50 per cent of your fuel as carbs and 50 per cent of the fuel as fat, you know, just from your body. And we think that mix is about what you need to complete an Iron Man triathlon at the best possible speed. And you can go slower for an Iron Man and use more fat, or you can go faster but you won’t get there because you haven’t got enough carbohydrate on board or you XXunknownXX. So, about 50’s probably about right.

So, when we brought him into the 12-week phase, he was already pretty fit and he was a high-ish carbohydrate diet. He was at 50 per cent fat, 50 per cent carbohydrate utilization. He could push 130 watts, which will get you on the Iron Man very, very slowly. And, after 12 weeks, he switched that metabolic efficiency point to 330 watts, which will get you around, in this case, first place in the age group race that he was in.

Guy Lawrence: That’s over double.

Grant Schofield: What’s that?

Guy Lawrence: That’s over double.

Grant Schofield: More than double. Triple.

Guy Lawrence: Almost triple, yeah.

Grant Schofield: So, his maximal output hasn’t changed, but the point where he could, which he could sustain for a long time, using a lot of fat, had massively increased. So, that sort of change in fuel utilization is massive.

Now, unfortunately, what happened in that race, because everybody goes, “How did he do in the end?” well, he was first off the bike. He didn’t actually complete the race, not because he ran out of fuel, but he hit a XXnoise interferenceXX I’d been telling him XXnoise interferenceXX phase. I’m telling him, look, as you’re ditching the carbs, you must et more salt, especially if you’re feeling lightheaded, your kidney will be XXdealing sodium or potassiumXX. And what he needed was a couple of teaspoons a day.

And I hadn’t realized this, but in the month leading up to the race, I mean, he’s getting cramps every time he didn’t a flip-turn on the XXpoleXX. So, he really had a sodium problem that we never got on top of. He subsequently got on top of it and is doing very well.

But, you know, that’s just, I think, a good example. He got his weight down. Didn’t restrict his food intake. Trained and felt good. Felt he recovered better in the sense that he’s producing much less glycolysis, XXto offset the burdenXX carbs does to your body. And was a happy camper, really.

Stuart Cooke: What would he be eating during the event?

Grant Schofield: Well, that’s XXanother thingXX. We don’t give him “no carbs” during the event. These XXcreteXX cycle that burns carbohydrates reasonably fast, so we probably have the amount of carbohydrate. He had a gel an hour. He probably was doing two or three when he was carb-dependent, which acted XXas a kickstop, quite a lot of salty cashewsXX. And, yeah, that was better. So, you know…

And, you know, bacon and eggs for breakfast. Didn’t do anything else.

Guy Lawrence: And he wouldn’t have been carb-loading before the race.

Grant Schofield: No, no, no.

Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.

Stuart Cooke: So, what about the weekend warriors out there?

Grant Schofield: XXIt’s man-hours as well andXX I think a lot about that and do quite a lot of reading and thinking and research in that area. And I really think that you need to consider the difference between high performance and the health costs of that, and why you’re doing the event. So, my view is if you stop to think about easy movement and training that was mostly fueled by fat-burning, and then a middle zone that’s mostly fueled by; that’s hard-ish training that’s mostly fueled by carbohydrate, and then a very, very hard zone, which you could maintain sort of a XXminuteXX of, then I’ve really spend most of my time in that middle cardio zone. And I really agree with the Mark Sisson approach, which is it’s a chronic cardio type thing.

But the science is really, like, you’ve been in glycogen. You’re glycating tissues and creating glycating end products, you’re creating oxygen stress, XXunknownXX oxygen spaces. That has an immune cost and an inflammatory cost and an XXunknown systemsXX cost. And I don’t think that’s worth it. I don’t think you need to do that. The trouble with XXexcluding all that stuff inXX training, it’s actually quite good for your overall speed. So, you don’t get those threshold-type workouts. So, I would spend most of my time in an easier training zone burning fat. You get 99 per cent of the aerobic benefits, and the final 1 per cent you need to be really fast without any of the oxygen stress. And then I’ve spent a little bit of time with this very hard, sort of, sprinting. And, for me, I might do, say, 10 times one minute on the track running, one-minute rest. The rest of it 20-minute workouts.

Guy Lawrence: So, if you were a test subject who was not influenced by any beliefs or anything, and he said he wanted the ultimate optimum health exercise program. So, you know, I’m assuming most people exercise to feel good in their health, right? And then you’ve got the high-end athletes, of course, that are wanting achievement. What would the typical week look like? What would you include?

Grant Schofield: Well, I think it should be a mix of easy and hard exercise, but I also think that the demands of that exercise should change quite a lot. And that sort of falls under the theory of hormesis, which means that we should suffer stress and then that the stress should be mild enough that we can adapt to it, but not too mild. And I think when you start to just do something like one sport, like running and swimming or cycling or, you know, you don’t; then you get into a stage where you’re not providing stress to a whole lot of the body but providing too much stress to another part. So, you know, that’s the opposite; that promotes fragility and not resilience.

So, you know, my week now is I’ll start, return from work, I would; I’d walk the dog, I might run the dog, I might sprint the dog. He always beats me but it’s always fun.

Stuart Cooke: Just change your food. Change his food. It will be fine.

Grant Schofield: Yeah, exactly. I might run up some steps. I might go to the gym. You know? I’ll never be there more than 20 minutes and then my whole body sort of exercises. I might do that on a tree down at the beach. Whatever. XXI’m a terrible thinkerXX. But I’ll even, I’ve sort of copied one of those Australian guys. I’ve been watching this sort of XXzooXX stuff where, you know, it’s a very short exercise. Are you familiar with that?

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, good natural movement; that kind of stuff.

Grant Schofield: Yeah. I mean, we’ll be on the XX??XX, transition into a sprinting back-and-forth and people are sort of looking at you like you’re crazy, but who cares?

Stuart Cooke: Now, that’s right. What are your thoughts on CrossFit? How does that fall into the lifestyle?

Grant Schofield: I’ve done CrossFit. I quite like it. I don’t think it’s particularly safe, at least the ones I’ve been to. I mean, you tend to go so hard that it’s very hard to keep a form that isn’t gonna do some damage. Or at least that’s what I’ve found, because I’m like, “I’m gonna beat that guy.” And if you’re a little less competitive maybe. It doesn’t really work for me, at least.

Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. I think it all comes down to the trainers in the actual gym themselves, if they’re onto it, it’s a pretty safe place to be. But if they’re not, then, yeah, absolutely.

Grant Schofield: XXI’ve only been to one spot.XX

Guy Lawrence: OK. I’d love to touch on as well, calorie counting. Because you mentioned it earlier. Especially with exercise as well, and weight loss. Everyone seems obsessed with counting calories. What are your thoughts on that? I’d love to hear a professor’s thoughts on counting calories.

Grant Schofield: Well, I mean, at one level, you can’t defeat the law of thermodynamics, that if more energy goes in than out, or vice-versa, then something will happen to that system.

But the behavioural aspects of that are hormonally regulated, and the partitioning of those calories are hormonally regulated. So, really, it becomes stupid to be thinking about the calories.

My view is sort of three-fold. One is that under metabolically well-regulated conditions, humans will self-regulate both energy in and energy out. When they become metabolically disregulated, through any of the mechanisms that make you insulin-resistant, be it high sugar, high trans Omega-6 fats, a lack of sleep, too much stress, too much exercise, too little of exercise, smoking, XXpollution?XX, whatever it is, then all bets are off. You won’t behaviourally control your nutritional calories.

Stuart Cooke: I heard a great analogy of the kitchen sink, when the, you know, the tubes and the pipes are clean, you can fill up; you just keep the tap running and it will just flow. But the moment the pipes become blocked, that’s when you start to get issues.

Grant Schofield: Yeah, that’s what Jonathan Baylor and those guys are saying, XXeating stuff differentlyXX, and I really like that. I think it’s dead right.

And the compelling thing is also this study last year in the Journal of the American Medical Association by Ebbeling and Ludwig and Co. And it’s just massively convincing. When they get a whole bunch of people to lose weight using the same strategy, once they’ve lost, basically, between 10 and 15 percent of their body weight, they randomize them to different types of isocaloric diets.

And this was a hugely expensive, massive study. It’s a metabolic XXwork?XX study. People come and stay there. They get measured very carefully in terms of their energy expenditure and they eat exactly what they’re supposed to and you just notice that on different diets, even with the same amount of calories, energy in and energy out aren’t the same. So, when you feed people a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet, they down-regulate their energy out. When you feed them a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet, then they up-regulate their energy up. So, the difference is really 300 calories, which is XX????XX

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, it’s interesting, because last year I did a little self-experiment when we were with family at holiday, and I ate around 6,000 calories at day for two weeks. Yeah. It was a real affair of it. I struggled to move for about an hour after each meal. And, just to see what would happen. And at the end of the holiday, I’d lost a kilo and a half.

Grant Schofield: So, you were eating a high-fat, carbohydrate-restricted diet?

Stuart Cooke: I was eating pretty clean. Lots and lots of meat and veggies. You know, carbs were few and far between. But, boy, I was piling it in. And it just didn’t work for me. I thought I’d beat the system, but it beat me.

Probably, people go online and Google Sam Feltham, the UK, he says 5,000 calories high-fat and 5,000 calories high-carb.

Grant Schofield: I can imagine the outcome.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, it’s not pleasant on the high-carb.

Grant Schofield: No, absolutely not. But it’s good to do these things. I would imagine, because we’re talking about the fact that everyone’s different, and, you know, we metabolise things in a different way, I wonder what would happen if you did that, Guy, and put yourself on a…

Stuart Cooke: Absolutely.

Guy Lawrence: I’ve done a high-fat, high-calorie diet. And I continue to; my weight remained stable the whole time. I did it for four weeks. Going back a couple of years ago now, but I was drinking gallons of coconut cream, coconut fats, eggs, and absolutely cranking it up. But the one thing I did was keep my carb intake under a hundred grams a day. And I was cycling probably 20Ks a day at the time and lifting weights, because I was working as a personal trainer in the city. And my strength continued to increase and my body fat remained stable.

Grant Schofield: It really refutes the whole notion, doesn’t it, of calories-in, calories-out.

Guy Lawrence: Absolutely. I, personally, I think if somebody wants to count something, count the carbs, not the calories. And actually make the food count that goes in your mouth. You know, eat nutrient-dense food, not deprive yourself of it.

Grant Schofield: In a lot of criticisms, people say to me, “You’re talking about a diet, asking people to stick to it.” It’s not very hard. I mean, you can eat as much as you want. The food’s really yummy. And I’m not seeing the downside to this.

Stuart Cooke: No. That’s right. There is no downside.

Guy Lawrence: If we decided to undertake this change tomorrow, for our own health, and, I guess, general awareness, what kind of testing would you recommend that we underwent, thinking along the lines of things like glucose and cholesterol, et cetera?

Grant Schofield: Yeah, I mean, the things you can get from your local doctor, your lipid profile and HbA1c for glucose are all interesting. I mean, the problem is, of course, the typical general practitioner looks at him and goes, “Oh, no, your total cholesterol has gone up,” which it probably will. And so people need to go over the research about that, and I think, you know, as long as the HDL and triglyceride XXratio??XX holds up, triglycerides will probably go down. And the HbA1c, which is this long-term measure of your control of glucose in the blood will almost certainly go down.

I think those are good indicators. Blood XXglucose?XX as well is, of course, interesting. I would much rather do more complex tests, and I think the two that are most interesting to people that we haven’t got sorted yet, but I’d love to see more widely available, is there’s a way of; I mean, you can measure blood glucose through a finger prick. I’d love to be able to measure serum insulin using the same technique. Because I think it’s a really dynamic insulin response that matters. And it’s fabulous to track that.

And the second thing which we have available, and it just costs a lot of money, but I can’t see why someone can’t invent a portable unit that can plug into your iPhone or something is this breath-by-breath gas analysis. Because it really XXproxies?XX; insulin controls your ability to burn fat or carbohydrate as a fuel. When insulin’s raised, you won’t burn fat. You’ll only store it. When insulin is reduced, you’ll burn fat as your primary food source.

And it’s very easy to measure that through the expired contents of your breath. It would be fabulous if it was available. And that’s what we’re trying to do more with.

Stuart Cooke: That’s interesting. Yeah. I would certainly welcome that. It sounds like something for the future, for sure.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, it’s hard for people to get their mindset anywhere else, especially when, if they go to doctors and they get the conventional wisdom, like the whole system sort of funnels you in a certain direction and it’s very hard to step outside of that.

Grant Schofield: I look at my mother’s totals, she’s on a low-carb, high-fat diet, of course, at age 70, and her total cholesterol is too high and doctors told her to do the following: “Look, eat more whole grains for the next month, and if that doesn’t improve, we’ll put you on a lipid-lowering medication.”

Stuart Cooke: Oh, crikey.

Grant Schofield: We moved her in the end. It’s ridiculous.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, well, that’s right. I wonder if he asked her how she felt. “How do you feel?” “Well, I feel great!” Wonderful.

Grant Schofield: It was beyond… But, you know, the other thing sort of in that same thing as the Heart Foundation thing, I think it’s especially so in the U.S., but it certainly applies in Australia and New Zealand as well, is these guidelines that these guys are put under. “This is what you do for this.” You know, it’s literally malpractice not to prescribe a statin medication for high cholesterol. So, you do feel for these guys.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, no, absolutely. They’re just following the circuit, I think.

Guy Lawrence: I’m just going to ask what you eat every day. What is your typical daily diet?

Grant Schofield: So, what I had this morning, I just whipped up a sort of four-egg omelet fried in coconut oil made with whipping cream and I had some cheese on top. I would have actually preferred to put some more vegetables in there, but there weren’t any around this morning.

Last night for dinner we had pork ribs with a bit of a salad with XXoil in itXX. I was sort of picking through all the bones from the kids and stuff, because they only eat all the meat off the ribs so I sort of go through all the leftovers.

I was actually still a little bit hungry, so I ended up with some berries. Berries are pretty nutrient-dense, with some whipped cream and a bit of some almonds.

Guy Lawrence: Very nice.

Grant Schofield: And lunch I had sort of one of those high-fat salads, you know, put as many bits of vegetables as I could find lying around and then just added some cheese and nuts and meat.

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.

Grant Schofield: It’s nice. I’m not hungry. I feel full of energy and I’m at a stable weight.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Lots of nutrients.

Guy Lawrence: Real food.

Grant Schofield: I just want to say, you can ask anyone who actually finds this controversial who’s watching it, especially in the science community, just kind of try this. See how you feel and make your own mind up. Don’t criticize people and go, “Well, I’m not sure about the long-term randomized control trials.” I mean, the basic physiology supports this way of eating and people feel great and operate well. So, you know, their well-being is better.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fortunately for us, because we do what we do, we get to speak to many people like yourself, Grant, and, you know, there are so many great people out there speaking and living and breathing and doing this, you know. And it’s, like you say, just try it for a little period of time and see how you feel.

Grant Schofield: And if they feel like rubbish, they can document that and if they want, they can go back and everyone’s happy.

Guy Lawrence: Absolutely. You mentioned berries. What would; I love asking this question: What are your thoughts on fruit?

Grant Schofield: I mean, I’ll eat fruit in smallish quantities. If you try and do a low-ish, a fairly low carbohydrate diet, it’s hard to have that much fruit and not take your carbs that high. But if you want to have grapes, go for it, I mean. I think it’s probably a good way to supplement, especially in some more intense exercise before or after that session.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, that’s when I generally do it. After training. Yeah, David Gillespie, we had him on the show a few weeks back, and he said treat it as nature’s dessert. And I thought that was…

Grant Schofield: Yeah, that’s probably it. He’s got a good point there. It’s fine. The other thing about fruit, of course, I mean, you know, just think about the history of humans. There have been fruit lying around to gather. It’s not essential for human survival, but it’s nice and it’s there and it’s; go for it.

Guy Lawrence: And I guess prior, you know, it was always seasonal, so you’d get what the season provided, but now, of course, we’ve got every season under the sun on offer.

Grant Schofield: Yeah. Well, I think that’s a very good point is probably one that I’ve been thinking more and more about scientifically and experimenting with is, and people do this sort of a week where they might have a pattern that actually changes quite a bit, so there will be generally quite low-carbohydrate and might have some periods of fasting. You know, go through some periods of actually eating a meal or two quite high in carbohydrate.

And I think there might be some merit in that in the sense that there’s two conditions there, which I think are both essential to human health. One’s the anabolic, which is rebuilding and growing cells. You know, that’s an inflammatory state and temporarily, that’s good. So, you do need that anabolic state, and I think insulin through dietary carbohydrates can provide that.

Equally, you also want that catabolic state where there isn’t any food, and the human cells don’t divide and they start to scavenge and repair and we get this production of the XXtrehalose???XX and these sorts of enzymes that start to clean up XXthe DNA endsXX and that sort of thing. So, I’ve been thinking a lot about, not so much a low-carb, high-fat way of eating the whole time, but perhaps cycling more in and out of what is more of a human condition. And, I mean, you don’t have to go by week or anything, but I think there might be some merit in that.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. No, that’s right. Almost like a periodic system reboot.

Grant Schofield: Yeah. And I think the dangers, if you’re going low-carb all the time, that you start to down, I think there’s some evidence that you start to down-regulate some things, especially lectin, and it’s probably worth a bit of a reboot.

Guy Lawrence: That’s interesting. I’ve never thought about that.

Grant Schofield: XXThere’s not been a lot of science on thatXX, by the way. And probably won’t be for a long time because no one wants to fund this sort of stuff, but that’s another story.

Stuart Cooke: Of course.

Guy Lawrence: Any special requirements for children? I mean, many people think, “Well, children need their carbs because they’re so active.”

Grant Schofield: Right. I mean, my kids are, I’ve got three boys, they’re on a low-carb, high-fat diet, but they don’t know they are. They grew up with that and seem to be functioning all right. But the thing is, they’re not metabolically disregulated. They are fine. They eat carbs and they get dealt with. They come and go. And that’s fine. Then they have the occasional junk food party or something and I’m comfortable with that.

What I’m not comfortable with is, I saw a boy yesterday in a practice-type situation, and he’s 11, obese, and he is metabolically disregulated. He’s highly insulin-resistant. And he’s saying to me, “Well, I eat the same amount as my mates. I do the same XXliving regime?XX, and they’re skinny and I’m not.” And so he can’t deal with the dietary carbs in the same way and we have to rethink that.

And that’s an interesting thing. He’s been to a bunch of specialists who have sent him away, told him to eat less and move more. When nothing’s happened, they’ve told him that he must be stealing food and he must be too lazy. And he can’t help but get to tears. It’s disgusting.

And, to put that in context, these kids get bullied. I asked this young man, I said, “Look. Do you think about your weight?” And he’s, like, “Oh, I do.” “Much?” “Yeah, quite a bit. About 99.9 percent of the time.” And, you know, a tear comes to you. This 11-year-old boy. So, some kids will need to do something about their carbs. But the metabolically healthy ones, there’s more flexibility.

Stuart Cooke: That’s right. Yeah. Just get away with it, I guess.

Guy Lawrence: Very good. All right. I was just looking at the time. We’ve got a wrap-up question, Grant, that we ask everyone every time we’re on the air and it doesn’t have to be nutrition-related at all. But what’s the best single piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Grant Schofield: Well, it’s no so much advice as an insight. Look, I just clearly remember a day in my life where something clicked for me and I don’t know if people have had the same experience when they’re students at school, but I remember the teacher going, “Ah, yes, he’s very bright” (not referring to me, of course) “but he just doesn’t try.” And I remember that point going, that fundamentally misses the point, because achieving in life is nothing to do with being bright or smart. It’s to do with knowing how to try. And the myth that you don’t know how to try means that you’re stupid by definition.

So, I just remember the teacher saying that and me thinking, “That just doesn’t make any sense.” So, you know, my advice to, I had to speak to a high school XXclass?XX the other day, and what I’d like to see in my kids, it may not turn out this way, is that; I don’t know what the world’s gonna look like, I don’t know what job you’re gonna do, but whatever you do, you’d better be good at it. The only way to be good at it is to follow what you’re passionate about, work to your strengths, and know how to try.

If you don’t know how to try, good luck. It’s not gonna turn out well. But if you can, it will all work out.

Stuart Cooke: Just try. Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: Give it a go. Absolutely.

And us Aussies, if we want to know anymore about you, where’s the best place to go, Grant?

Grant Schofield: OK, so, my best place is my blog, which is ProfGrant.com.

Guy Lawrence: I’ll share that link anyway. I’ll get it out on the blog as well. And, yeah, I was checking it out today. There’s some cool stuff. How long have you been blogging for?

Grant Schofield: I’ve only been blogging for about six months. I just sort of thought I should; I was talking a lot and not putting it anywhere. I found it a thoroughly fulfilling experience, the interaction with people and the ability to actually get your thoughts down coherently. It’s a great deal of fun.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. Absolutely.

Grant Schofield: And of course it gets hundreds of thousands of hits, which also surprises me.

Stuart Cooke: You’ll have to sell a range of t-shirts.

Grant Schofield: “All you’ve got to do is try.”

Guy Lawrence: Awesome, Grant. Well, look, we really appreciate your time today, and I’m sure a lot of people will get a lot out of this. That was fantastic.

Stuart Cooke: Absolutely.

Guy Lawrence: That was really cool.

Grant Schofield: Thanks, guys. I appreciate it. I love talking about it.

Guy Lawrence: No worries. You’re welcome, mate. Thank you.

Dave Asprey: The Bulletproof Executive


You can listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.

downloaditunesIn this weeks episode:-

  • Dave reveals his personal health journey & how he lost 100lbs [04:15]
  • What Dave eat’s in a day & why he doesn’t eat all morning sometimes [14:45]
  • The Bulletproof Diet. Why bulletproof coffee & intermittent fasting is so effective for health & longevity [20:10]
  • The fine line between CrossFit, exercise & overtraining [39:40]
  • Why he wrote the Better Baby Book [47:15]
  • This is a must: Dave’s single piece of advice for optimum health/wellness [55:10]
  • and much more…

dave_aspreyDave Asprey aka The Bullet Proof Executive is one exceptionally smart man. On top of that he’s a really great guy too! He shares with us his journey from being 297lbs (134kg) in weight to then hacking his health for the fastest & most effective results possible.

He’s also single handily changed the way I drink my coffee (& many others) in the morning. If you haven’t heard of the bulletproof coffee with MCT oil and grass-fed butter (yes you read that right), then it’s only a matter of time before you do! Guy

If you would like to learn more about Dave Asprey and the bullet proof diet, click here.

You can buy bullet proof coffee in Australia here.

Further reading: Better Baby Book

You can view all Health Session episodes here.

Did you enjoy the interview with Dave Asprey? Would love to hear you thoughts in the Facebook comments section below… Guy

 Dave Asprey: The bulletproof executive transcript

Guy Lawrence: I’m Guy Lawrence. This is Stuart Cooke. And our very special guest today is Mr. Dave Asprey. Mate, thanks for joining us. I really appreciate the time.

Dave Asprey: You’ve got it. I’m really glad to be here. I’m a huge fan of Australia. Love visiting.

Guy Lawrence: We’re in heaven over here. We both live near the ocean and we feel blessed, that’s for sure. Definitely.

Stuart Cooke: We certainly do. We make the most of it.

We’ve immersed ourselves in all things Bulletproof over the last month or so, because we knew that we’d be chatting to you. And I had a little bit of a question and a realization that you know a lot of stuff. A lot of stuff. And I think that if Google were a person, I think that person would be Dave Asprey. Have you figured out a way to connect to Google from your mind to kind of pull in this information? It’s insane.

Dave Asprey: Yeah, it’s actually this thing right here, see? It’s got a little Google USB port for the head and you just do that and. . . no. This is actually the upgraded focus Brain Trainer. It teaches you to move blood to the front of your head. But I haven’t got the Google direct connect, but I’ve often wished for just a docking station for whatever my PDA at the time is. It used to be a Palm Pilot. Now it’s an iPad or whatever. Samsung NX, I guess.

Stuart Cooke: I’m sure in the future it will all be very Matrix-style and we’ll dock ourselves into something. But let’s see what happens.

Guy Lawrence: Well, me and Stewie sat down the other day and we thought, Dave’s coming on the show, and what should we ask him? We had so many questions for you and so we’re gonna try to condense it and obviously for our listeners as well. And I thought we could start from the beginning, because I was listening to your Joe Rogan show, I think it was the first one, literally last week, and . . . listening to the Joe Rogan show and you mentioned that you were nearly 300 pounds overweight, which I didn’t realize.

Dave Asprey: I wasn’t 300 pounds overweight. I was 300 pounds in total; only a hundred pounds overweight. If I was 300 pounds overweight there’d be, like, stretch marks on my forehead.

Guy Lawrence: Fair enough.

Dave Asprey: I only have stretch marks around my midsection and, like, here. I do have a lot of stretch marks, but I got them when I was 16. It was no good.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, so I guess the question; the first question would be: Can you tell us about that journey from being overweight to where you are today, so people get to know a little bit about Dave if they’re not sure who you are.

Dave Asprey: Sure. It’s kind of funny, but I was just fat as a kid. And I never knew why. In fact, I always figured it was because I was too lazy or I ate too much; I didn’t have enough willpower or something like that.

And it got really bad. By the time I was done with my first four years of university, I was 297 pounds. I’d had three knee surgeries. I had arthritis in my knees when I was 14. And I was on antibiotics about once a month for 15 years straight for chronic sinusitis and strep throat and things like that.

I had nosebleeds five, 10 times a day, was pretty common. And I bruised easily and I still had played soccer for 13 years. I used to be a kind of competitive cyclist. But I was always fat. And it was kind of like, “Whatever. What can you do about it?”

And it was in my mid-20s I got really serious. Like: “This is enough.” And I started working out like six days a week, an hour and a half a day, 45 minutes of cardio, 45 minutes of weights. And the cardio was with a backpack full of bricks on a 15-degree incline, going up, not running but walking, enough that you’re panting like crazy.

And I never lost the weight. Got strong. Didn’t lose the weight. And I kept having the same problems. You know: bad skin, zits, body odor, just the whole nine yards. “What’s going on here?”

So I decided that I was gonna be a biohacker. I also noticed along the way here that my brain was failing. And this, maybe, is what really put a nail in that decision.

I was working at a company called 3Com in Silicon Valley. This was one of the pioneers in the networking business. It was 3Com or Cisco was gonna win and, well, Cisco won. But at the time, those were the two dominant players.

I would sit in meetings, and after the meeting, I would think, “I don’t really know what happened in there. I’m a zombie.” I’m sure I was there; people didn’t tell me I fell asleep but I’m pretty sure I was asleep. So, whatever.

And I got so concerned about this that I took out disability insurance at 26. Because I was scared: Like, how am I gonna make ends meet if I can’t work? I’m young. I should be in my prime and I think something’s wrong, but maybe it’s just me.
So I started measuring my performance on this simple solitaire game you can play on your computer called Freestyle. And I would plot it. And some days, the data showed I was a zombie. And it’s really liberating to have zombie data, because when you get that data it tells you that it’s not all in your head, so you can actually have a view of yourself.

That’s what we call self-awareness, really, but it was data-driven self-awareness. And what that did for me was it let me say, “All right. Now I need to attack a problem.” And being a computer hacker by trade, you know, I helped to create modern cloud computing; not like Al Gore created the Internet but, you know, I was at the company that created cloud computing called Exodus Communications and played a key role there.
So, given this whole: “How do you hack it? How do you get around it? How do you engineer a solution to a new problem?” I said, “All right. My brain is dead, so I’m gonna start taking smart drugs.” And it worked! I actually got my brain back enough that I could start upgrading the rest of my body.

And we go 15 years later, I’ve spent the last 10 years as president, chairman, or board member of an anti-aging research and non-profit group called Silicon Valley Health Institute. I’ve had a chance to talk to more than a hundred anti-aging doctors and researchers and physicians, and, kind of, people leading their field to understand what’s going on in the human body, what’s going on in the mind, how does the nervous system work, how does biochemistry work, how does the cell membrane affect things, what are neurotransmitters.

Not from a medical perspective. I’m married to a doctor and she knows more about the tibia, fibula, and the neck bone’s connected to the ankle bone stuff than I ever will, to be perfectly honest. But when it comes to hacking these systems to get the outcome you want, without knowing every intermediate step, which we don’t know in the human body. . . And, by the way, when you’re troubleshooting a complex cloud computing system, you don’t know every step in the middle either. You have to hypothesize and test.

So, that’s what I started doing with an N equals 1 experiment on myself way before Quantified Self was cool.

Guy Lawrence: That’s awesome. So, I guess, in a nutshell, that’s biohacking? Self-experimentation, to a degree?

Dave Asprey: There is two parts of it. There’s the Quantified Self angle, which isn’t really biohacking. This is kind of common. You get devices like this. This is a watch, although the battery’s dead, and it monitors your heart rate without a chest strap. And I’m actually; I’m a CTO of this company. It’s called Basis. And I usually only just wear it for show and it’s not that useful as a daily-wear watch. It’s not waterproof, for one thing. A slight problem. But it’s a cool gadget.

So, there’s also those scales where you weigh yourself every day. They upload to the web. And sleep monitors. I’m looking at; this is prototype one from a company called BEdit, which I’m super-excited about; I’m starting to work with those guys.
So, there’s all these devices that can tell you what’s going on in your body. Because, honestly, unless you’re a very unusual person, you probably suck at knowing what’s going on inside your biology.

You can teach yourself what’s going on. So, there’s this whole cognitive feedback loop where you’re, like, “OK, if I, at the end of the day or the week or the month, I look at what I did, I can learn more, and I can make a decision to do something different.”

The thing I discovered after doing that for a long time is that my intent and my decision would be: I’m gonna do acts to improve my health. Let’s say I’m not gonna eat bagels this week. Well, then, you’re in a meeting, halfway through the week, and you’re kinda tired and you’re kinda hungry and somehow you convince yourself that it’s a great idea to take a bite of that bagel. And then you go, “Damn it! I ate a bagel! I’m a failure. I’m a bad person.”

What’s going on there is a core part of biohacking. It’s that there’s parts of your nervous system way faster than your conscious thinking. And if you don’t manage those parts of your nervous system, they’ll convince you to eat the bagel. But it’s not actually you eating the bagel. It’s an avatar in your head eating the bagel. Right?

So, that’s what’s going on. And you can train that part of the body. It’s just like you train an animal. And the liberation that comes from understanding that when crazy thoughts pop into your head, or behaviours that are really not the behaviours that you intended, happen, that it’s a part of your automated defense systems of your body that are driving those behaviours, not your conscious decisions. And it’s also a sign, if you’re doing those things, that you need to learn how to manage the unconscious parts of your body, because that’s where all the trouble happens.

And the three kinds of trouble are really, really obvious. You’ll see these in any dog. Number one is: “Oh, look! Food! I’ll eat it. It doesn’t matter if it’s cat poop. It might be food. I’m gonna eat that, too.” Right?

Then you go, “All right. What else does a dog do? “Oh, look! A stick!” And distractibility; you’re all over the place.

And the final one, which is maybe my favorite, is, “Oh, look! A leg! I’ll go hump it.”

Those are the behaviours that get most people in trouble most of the time, and they’re all unconscious, high-speed behaviours that happen way faster than you can think about it and go: “Actually, come to think of it, I don’t want to hump that leg.” Your body’s already like, “Yeah, do it!” And it’s convincing you that you should do it. Well, that’s your body misbehaving. You’ve got to tell the body to behave itself.

Stuart Cooke: How would you; you have a lot of stuff going on in your life, I’m guessing. You know: with work and commitments and Bulletproof. Family. You know, a lot of stuff going on. How do you disconnect from that to rest and calm yourself, in the nighttime, you know, just to sleep.

Dave Asprey: Well, if you’re watching the video, let’s see. See that device back there? I connect my head up to it. OK. Not the one with all the dials and gauges. But the laptop, underneath them. That’s a neuro-feedback system. So I actually will play my brainwaves back to myself. You get the brainwaves from the head, and then you actually turn it into sounds and you play the sounds back to you.

So, my brain, even though it’s pretty darn highly trained; I’ve done this 40 years, the “Zen in 7 Days”-type thing and I have 40YearsOfZen.com. And things like that. So, I’m more aware than the average guy, but I’m sure there’s people that are more aware than I am. I just cheated. I didn’t spend an hour a day mediating for 40 years to get there. I spent a week hooked up to expensive computers.

But this is kind of a junior version of that, and what I’m doing there is I’m laying down on the floor, sitting in a chair, and just listening. And I hear music. And then the music kind of has static. And the static is happening when my brain is flopping from one state to another.

And the brain doesn’t like static very much. So, it’s says, “Oh, wait. I was flopping.” And it stops flopping around and it calms down. That’s one thing I might do to disconnect.

The other thing is, I have a 6-year-old and a 3-year-old and my computer would, like, break half the stuff from my office if I told it out of all this stuff it’s stuck to. But if I turned it around, you’d be seeing my office, my biohacking lab here, there’s a deck overlooking a little pond, and a forest surrounds me. So, I go out, I have lunch with my kids. I work from home. I work really hard. I work long hours. I’m up late at night. I’m talking with people. This is my fourth podcast today.

Guy Lawrence: Really? Wow.

Dave Asprey: Oh, yeah. And you can see my energy level. I’m doing pretty good, right?

Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.
Dave Asprey: This is a guy who used to have chronic fatigue syndrome, Lyme Disease, small intestine bacteria overgrowth, mercury toxicity, obesity, pre-diabetes, really thick blood and high risk for a stroke and heart attack. Right?

If I can do this, imagine what you guys can do, because you’re nowhere near as screwed up as I used to be.

Guy Lawrence: Your days are packed, right? And everyone complains about short of time, they make bad food choices, there’s a million things of why they can’t look after their health. If you’re so busy, what do you eat through the day as well? How do you stay on top of that?

Dave Asprey: Number one, snacking is for people who are starving. You don’t need to snack if your body is well-fed. So, for breakfast this morning I had Bulletproof coffee made with upgraded coffee beans, which, by the way, you can buy in Australia. We actually have them stocked there now. And it’s OptimOZ is the name of the company.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, we know Leon.

Dave Asprey: He’s totally Bulletproof. He’s an awesome dude.
So, definitely check out OptimOZ. You get the beans there. And does it really matter, the beans? Actually, it does. If it didn’t, I wouldn’t make the darn things. Like, I’m not interested, and certainly not in the business of making stuff that’s, like, “Oh, yeah, everyone else has that but I have it, too.” I try to find things that are unique and that work really effectively. And most of the world. . . Actually, that’s not true. Europe and Asia have certain standards for coffee that other countries don’t have. So, while we’re getting poor-quality coffee that affects your brain thought.

So, you start Bulletproof coffee, the beans, grass-fed butter, and, by the way, there’s awesome grass-fed butter available in Australia. When I was there, I found three or four different brands when I looked around. I thought that was kind of cool. And it was really good, too.

And then, from there, I added Upgraded Collagen, which is a protein supplement that I make. I don’t always put that in in the morning. Usually I just do Bulletproof intermittent fasting, which is just the coffee, MCT oil, upgraded MCT, upgraded coffee, and butter.

Some days, because I worked out two days ago, I’ve gotta have a little extra protein. I’ll do that.

Lunch, I had a salad with a ton of guacamole. Slide a little salad dressing on it, made from scratch, relatively easy to make. Immersion blender, sliced-up cucumbers, and some cold salmon left over from either last night or this morning. So, basically, it’s salmon salad.

And that was around 1:30. And then I haven’t had any snacks. That would be completely like; I don’t even want to have a snack. I’d get tired if I had a snack.
So, I will get again. . . Let’s see. It’s 5:30 my time. I’ll have dinner around 6:30 and it will probably be like a steak or a hamburger, a bunch of vegetables prepared from the Upgraded Chef book, which is basically a soup. I’ll put a bunch of steamed vegetables, a bunch of butter, MCT, blend it with some spices, and maybe some other vegetables or some other side dish. I’m not sure. I’m not gonna be cooking that dinner.

If I was cooking it, I could have it on the table within 20 minutes of starting to cook, and that would be the biggest meal of the day. Lunch was a five-minute meal. Breakfast was a five-minute meal.

Stuart Cooke: Pretty quick. So, starches, grains at all?

Dave Asprey: Probably not today. If I was gonna have any kind of starch, it would be at the evening meal. And, grains, the only grain I would touch would be white rice. The rest of the grains, honestly, if you can afford it, don’t eat them. They are not gonna make you live longer. They are not good for your health.

Stuart Cooke: And even these new “wonder grains,” the, like quinoa, I guess, that they are saying is kind of this fantastic health-giving grain?

Dave Asprey: Are those the same people that said soy was a fantastic, health-giving food?

Stuart Cooke: Could be. Could well be.

Dave Asprey: Here’s the thing. It doesn’t have strict gluten in it, but if you were a seed, let’s say, who evolved as a seed. Your function is to not be food for animals because then you don’t get to sprout. Your function is to sprout. Your function is not to spoil, because there’s a lot of bacterial and fungal pressure on carbohydrate sources.

So, basically, everyone wants to get what’s in you. So, do you just sit there and die and then not evolve as a species and become extinct, or do you develop natural pesticides and coat yourself in them, which make animal sick if they eat too much of you and repel other invaders?

Well, that would be what we call “whole grains.” So, grains have phytic acid and they have a whole bunch of other defense systems, mostly lectin-based, which is a kind of protein that sticks; a kind of sugar that sticks to. . . I’m sorry; I have it backwards. It’s a kind of protein that sticks to a sugar that lines your cells. And it’s a problem.

So, if you were to eat a legume or a grain, what you’d want to do is you want to soak it for a long time and then you want to sprout it a little bit to deactivate most of the defense systems.

But, honestly, even if you do that, you’re still getting a lot of starch. It’s gonna raise your insulin. It’s gonna raise your blood glucose levels higher than you want. So, why don’t you just eat white rice, which is the least toxic of all of the grains? Don’t eat it all the time. Not for breakfast. Eat it a couple of times a week on a Bulletproof diet once a week. Like, have a day where you eat a lot of starch to refuel so you don’t get adrenal stress from being always in fat-burning mode.

But you want to be in fat-burning mode a couple of days a week, at minimum.

Guy Lawrence: I’ve got a question for you, Dave, and I’m sort of jumping forward a bit, but with the Bulletproof coffee, because I’ve been doing that now probably for a month. I’ve been putting the MCT on in and the grass-fed butter in the morning and I put it up on Facebook and the first thing, question, was, you know, “Why?” And they were, like, “Why MCT oil? Why intermittent fasting?” So, I thought I’d ask you that question so you could explain it, because you’ll explain it a lot better than I would.

Dave Asprey: All right. First, intermittent fasting is well-established to change your genetic expression in such a way that it replicates long-lived animals. So, basically, if you want to live a long time, you at least want to make an animal live a long time, you cut back on the number of calories they eat, and they live longer.

That’s true for humans, too, and there’s a group of people, some of whom are my friends, who have gone on those radical, low-calorie diets and they walk around looking like sticks and they’re super-thin. And I don’t actually advocate that in the slightest. But it is an anti-aging sort of proposed technique.

You can get most of the same benefits of doing that by just not eating for 18 hours a day.

Now, if you’re like I was in my; when I was 25 or 28, the idea of not eating for 18 hours was repellant and offensive, because it would disable me. I used to, like, stop meetings at 11:45. “Sorry, guys. I know that the meeting goes till lunch, but if I don’t have lunch right now, I’m gonna kill one of you and eat your arm.”

And, literally, I would just stand up and walk out. And people were, like, “Are we gonna finish the meeting?” And I was, like, “Sorry. I don’t really care because I’m not here.”

Guy Lawrence: “I have to eat.”

Dave Asprey: Yeah. And now I’m like, 18 hours, whatever. I can go 24, 36. It’s really not a big deal. At 36 hours I’m gonna be kind of hungry, a little tired, but it’s not gonna kill me.

And what’s going on there, with intermittent fasting, is that you’re telling your body, “OK, there’s no food here, so you might as well take all this stuff you’re ready to digest food and use it to clean yourself out.” It’s a processed called autophagy. And it turns on.

So, you get some real benefits, including weight loss, that come just from intermittent fasting. The down side is that people who live a high-intensity life like I do, or even just people who have kids and a job, OK, you’re gonna end your 18 hours right at about 2 o’clock in the afternoon. So, the time when you’re coldest and tiredest is right in the middle of your workday. And you’re gonna be cranky. So, people can’t stick with it.

What I did with Bulletproof intermittent fasting is I said, well, let’s look at what fasting really does. It turns off the protein digestion and the sugar digestion cycles. But if you eat only pure fat, which, in this case, with coffee, what happens is that your body thinks you’re still fasting but you get all the energy from the fat. So, you get this laser focus; this amazing energy.

And why grass-fed butter and MCT oil? Let’s talk first about inflammation. Inflammation is a major issue in human performance. If you’re inflamed, you’re less likely to perform well and you’re more likely to get sick. In fact, you might just be sick, which itself can be a cause of inflammation.
So, when you eat butter from grass-fed cows, you’re getting a short-chain fatty acid called butyric acid. It’s shown in publicly available studies to decrease brain inflammation. When you have a decrease in brain inflammation, your brain can actually conduct the electricity faster. You think faster.

Butyric acid also is one of the things that cures your gut. So, this is just a normal thing butter does, but short-chain fatty acids help to keep the gut lining intact. So, people who practice this Bulletproof intermittent fasting and put grass-fed butter in their coffee are getting the benefits of the grass-fed butter.

And then we have the benefits of coffee oils themselves. You need to brew your coffee using the upgraded beans without a paper filter. This means a French press, a gold filter in your coffee maker or espresso. Coffee oils themselves are anti-inflammatory for two different inflammation pathways in the brain. So, you’re using coffee as like a performance-enhancing kind of herbal thing.

And you do that and, to cap it all off, you add upgraded MCT oil. Upgraded MCT oil does something kind of magic. It’s six times stronger than coconut oil in terms of this one effect. And the effect is that normally we burn sugar all the time. And it takes 26 steps to turn sugar in your diet into ATP or the fuel in your cells. It takes three steps to turn the MCT oil into ATP energy in your cells. MCT goes to BHB and then it goes to co-enzyme A and then it goes straight to ATP.

What this means is, think about, like, a hybrid car. You have an electric motor and a gas motor. And you’re the same way. You can run on fat and you can run on sugar. Well, if you want to be most powerful, you should metabolically be flexible to work either one when your body needs it, or even, better yet, to burn both at the same time.

So, when you’re drinking this cup of coffee, you’re seriously hacking your brain. You’re turning off inflammation. You’re giving it an addition energy source it didn’t have before. And you’re telling your body and your brain, including your stomach, like: “Hey, it’s time to take a break here.”

So, it’s having the benefits of intermittent fasting without paying the price. In this case, you can have your butter and eat it, too.

Stuart Cooke: Wow. That’s insane. Now, I have to confess, and I don’t know how this is gonna go down, but I have never had a cup of coffee in my life, ever.

Dave Asprey: Why’d you let him on the podcast?

Guy Lawrence: I’ve been putting cups of coffee in front of him: “Mate, you’ve gotta try this. This changed the way I drink coffee forever.” And he. . .

Stuart Cooke: And another confession, Guy, I’ve been sneaking some of your MCT oil into my smoothie that I’ve been making ‘round at your place.

Dave Asprey: I do that all the time. MCT in smoothies is awesome. And if you want to, like, rock your world, make guacamole. Just mash up avocados and squirt MCT in it and mash it up some more. It changes the mouth feel of foods without changing the flavor. It’s phenomenal. I put it in everything. I pour it on my vegetables. I don’t like going without it.

Stuart Cooke: We do that. I had a whole avocado coconut oil smoothie just before we came on here. But I am intrigued to want to try a cup of your Bulletproof coffee now that you’ve explained exactly what’s happening with it.

Dave Asprey: There are, I would say, I know probably a hundred people who didn’t drink coffee who decided to try coffee as a nutritional supplement, essentially. Where they were saying, OK, green tea has certain known effects. Well, coffee does, too.

And what no one talks about is that coffee is the number one source of antioxidants in most of the Western world. It blows wine out of the water. If you’re going around having a glass of red, nice Australian wine thinking it’s for the antioxidants, like, seriously, have two espresso shots and you’ll have, like, 17 cups of wine worth of antioxidants. It’s that big of a difference.
Guy Lawrence: Is that right?

Dave Asprey: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: How does that stack up against green tea as an antioxidant?

Dave Asprey: It dominates green tea. Green tea’s number two but coffee wins.

Guy Lawrence: There you go. OK.

Stuart Cooke: All right. You know what you’re going to be doing tomorrow, Guy. You’re going to be making two cups of coffee and I think I’ll record myself drinking my very first cup of coffee and we’ll put it out across Facebook.

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.

Dave Asprey: That’s gonna be cool. I really want, not just to have you drink it, I want a recording of you 30 seconds to an hour after you drink it going, “Whoa!” And here’s warning: Well, actually, you already take MCT oil. You’ll be fine. There are a group of people who have to start out with just a teaspoon of MCT oil until they get used to it, because their body is turned off metabolically that if you turn everything on all at once, they get, like, they feel sweaty and hot and it’s a little bit uncomfortable.

Stuart Cooke: Oh, OK. OK. And I hear that loose bowels as well, if you’re not used to this kind of stuff? I mean, it will clean you out that way?

Dave Asprey: We call it “Disaster Pants.”

Stuart Cooke: Right. OK.

Stuart Cooke: If you take too much of it and you’ve never had it before, it’s bad. In fact, there’s a reporter from Yahoo! News, really awesome woman, super into Bulletproof, and I’m not gonna name her because, well, I said “Yahoo! News”; maybe it’s too late. But she ignored the warning, being kind of a Bulletproof mindset, said, I’m, like, “Start slowly!” And she took like a half a cup of MCT oil in her first coffee. Which is a big dose. I think that would affect me and I kind of take the stuff all the time. And she said, “Ah, I felt kind of strange afterward.” And at the end of her story she kind of reported that.

But, yeah, that’s what happens if you take too much. So, it’s a really powerful thing. It’s like the octane booster stuff you can put in your car. You can buy it at the automotive store and you put it in the tank and it raises. . . Well, if you only put that in your gas tank, well, you’re gonna start your car up and it will shoot out the back. It’s the same idea.

Stuart Cooke: I’m going to shop for a man nappy this afternoon. And then I’ll come round, I’ll be very prepared at Guy’s place.

Guy Lawrence: I like that you’re trying it at my place, not yours.

Stuart Cooke: I’ve got kids here. I don’t want to mess the toilet.

Dave Asprey: You already put it in your smoothies. You’ll be fine.

Guy Lawrence: We should give that a go.

Stuart Cooke: We are; Guy and myself, we’re very focused on nutrition and we’re gonna hit you with the million dollar question of cause. Which is kind of crazy. But in a nutshell, why are getting fatter?

Dave Asprey: There’s a lot going on there.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Dave Asprey: The short answer is, we could blame Apple; the computers. They seem responsible for lots of environmental ills. So. . .

Stuart Cooke: OK. Let’s blame them.

Dave Asprey: I’m only saying that in jest. There’s many different factors involved. But one of them actually is your electronic devices. And it has to do with circadian rhythm and how you go to sleep and how well you sleep and your melatonin levels.

Stuart Cooke: Very interesting. We’ve done a bit of research into EMR and EMF as well, and being aware that we’re living in an environment now where we are exposed to wifi and stuff like that and how that can mess up with your natural rhythms of your body. So, I can certainly understand where you’re coming from there.

Dave Asprey: That’s a part of it. I don’t think EMF is necessarily the top thing that makes us fat. It increases myological stress. And stress does cause weight gain.

But it’s actually the light that comes off these devices. One of the things I do with my Bulletproof coaching clients, and part of what I do is I set aside time every week and I have a set of coaching clients around the globe and I just do it over Skype, but we talk about, like, hedge fund managers and entrepreneurs and CEOs and people who are really into high performance and occasionally like a pro athlete or someone.

But it’s usually people who are really, like, “How do I have the energy and the focus to just go all day long and to manage all these stresses in life?” And it’s always sleep that’s a problem when we start our sessions. And then we hack that first.

So, staring at a bright light, including your iPhone screen, including your computer, at night, after the sun goes down, really jacks up your biological systems. You don’t make melatonin for four hours after you look at a bright light, even if you get up in the middle of the night, you flip on the lights to go the to bathroom, flip ‘em off, you’re done. You’re not making melatonin again that night. And that’s a problem.

So, in our house, we have a light in our bathroom, and this is something I carry on the website, but it’s a light that doesn’t emit any blue spectrum. It’s like a yellow bulb. And when you turn that on, you don’t hurt your melatonin.

When I’m here in my office at night, I have software that turns down the intensity and changes the color spectrum. But it’s not enough. Either I wear orange glasses or I do this.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah! Right. OK.

I’ve seen the orange glasses, and I’m aware of the blue light, and. . . Yeah, insane. So, where would we get the glasses from and how would we wear them?

Dave Asprey: The cheapest glasses are laser protection goggles made by Uvex on Amazon. I have a pair right by my bed so I’m not gonna, like, disconnect from the headphones and grab them. Normally they’re on my desk.

And you just wear them after the sun goes down. You don’t have to wear them every night. But you really will sleep better.

And the other thing is, turn off the LEDs in your room. Every single LED, whatever color, but especially blue and green. Put black tape over them. The curtains, if there’s light coming around, get another curtain to put over the top of that. You should be able to open your eyes at night and not see anything. When you do that, you will sleep profoundly.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. That’s insane. Sleep has been a big topic, I think, especially for us. Me in particularly because I have; my sleep has been shot for the last five years. But I think I’ve been through a journey where we’ve looked at magnesium. We’ve looked at melatonin supplementation as well. We’ve looked at EMF; moving the bed, you know, outside of heavy fields.

But it was only the other night that I thought, you know, I reckon it might be down to my sinuses. Because I was a mouth-breather at night. And I thought, wow, that’s really insane. And I have quite a clear nose, and when I lay down, my nose gets quite stuffy and I breathe through my mouth. So, I did a little experiment last night and bought a nasal decongestant and blast it up each nostril. Super clear. Went down and had a great night’s sleep. Which is insane.

Dave Asprey: You need to do an allergy, like a blood allergy panel. If this is happening when you lie down but not the rest of the time. . . What’s your comforter made out of? How old is it? Do you have a dust mite cover on your bed? And maybe you have an allergy to dust mites. But environmental allergies will decimate your sleep. And so will food allergies. You could have a dairy intolerance or something. And if you’re eating dairy protein and you shouldn’t be, that would cause your sinuses to be more congested.

But I see this all the time. In fact, even for me this was a problem about 18 months ago. My wife is from Sweden and they sleep with these ridiculously thick, like, sheet things but they’re; I grew up in a desert. I sleep with, like, a sheet and a blanket like a civilized person. But these Vikings, I tell ya, featherduster things. Whatever. So, I noticed she fluffed it. I was, like, “Bleh! What is that?” She said, “Oh, these don’t ever go bad. These feather things are good forever.” Like, it’s 20 years old, get it out of here and let’s try it without. And my sleep quality improved, too.

So, check out your mattress. And they have these, like, closed-cell, hypoallergenic covers. Totally get one of those. Put an air filter in your room. And see what happens. You might be amazed.

But that’s not why we’re all fat. It’s only a part of it.

You’ve got to read my sleep-hacking post. There’s a bunch more stuff like that.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, I’ve been through them and we’re gonna be pushing it out to our readers. Because I know that sleep is a huge thing.

Guy Lawrence: But would it be fair to say, than, that if your sleep falls apart then that’s the base of; that’s gonna cause all the other problems as well. Because if you’re not sleeping well and you’re tired, you’re gonna start making wrong decisions as well, aren’t you?

Dave Asprey: Well, not necessarily. I did two years where I ate 4,000 calories a day. I didn’t exercise at all. And I slept five hours or less per night every night. In fact, sometimes only two hours.

And I actually grew a six-pack during that time. And I don’t think I made bad decisions.

You can train yourself to, as you go through stress conditioning, to make great decisions while you’re tired. And one of the things that’s really strange is that a lot of what happens when you’re operating in a tired state is that that dog in your body that I was referencing earlier; it’s worried. It’s like, “Oh, my God! I’m tired. I’m gonna die.” And it has this little: “Go to sleep! Aaa!”

So, there’s a lot of, like, nervous energy that comes from being tired that’s unnecessary. It’s when you train that part of your nervous system to basically accept the fact that you’re tired and you’re not gonna die, you’re still gonna do what needs doing and you’re gonna to go to sleep, that’s what happens in boot camp in the military. That’s one of the reasons that they torture you like that, so you realize, yeah, you can function at the level you need to function, even if you’re really tired. And when you realize that, the stress of being tired, not the stress of not getting enough sleep, but actually just the worry about the state, goes away and suddenly your performance goes up dramatically. And I’ve certainly done that.

Stuart Cooke: So, how many hours a night would you get of quality sleep?

Dave Asprey: I get about five hours a night, usually. Lately, in the last six months, I’m doing an experiment. I’m like, OK, maybe I really do need more. So, I’ve gotten my average up to five hours and 57 minutes over the past six months. I have a little monitoring device.

Stuart Cooke: I was gonna say, can you be a little bit more precise in that timing?

Guy Lawrence: Would you increase that sleep if people are exercising a lot?

Dave Asprey: Oh, absolutely. One of the reasons that I’m a huge fan of the exercise protocols on the Bulletproof Executive, which are based largely on Body By Science by Doug McGuff is, well, I don’t really have a lot of recovery time. So, I’m going to, after this, after we’re done here, I’m gonna go up and have dinner with the kids, play with the kids, spend some quality time with my wife, and around 9 p.m. I’m gonna come back here and I have another three hours of stuff scheduled. And then I’m probably gonna write something and I’ll go to bed around 2 and I’ll wake up around 7:30 or 8.

And I do this over and over and over and over. So, what was your original question? I forget.

Guy Lawrence: Increasing sleep with exercise.

Dave Asprey: So, basically, if I work out, I’m gonna have to add at least an hour to that. So what I’ll do today is I’ll probably stand on my whole-body vibration platform (I have an Ultra Vibe) and that’s gonna get my lymphatic circulation going, it’s gonna get all the muscles firing, more so than a walk for an hour would, really. Because 30 times a second, my body’s doing this.

And while I’m doing that, I can relax, I can close my eyes, or, heck, I can watch something on TV if I want to, like it’s totally free time.

But I’m only gonna lift weights once this week.

Stuart Cooke: So, for those of us that don’t have access to a system like you just explained, is there anything that we can do that will simulate the effects?

Dave Asprey: Well, the rebounder, the old little trampoline that you jump on? It’s a really good detoxing thing. It’s good strengthening. It keeps your bones strong. The problem is, you’re gonna do one a second. I’m doing 30 a second. So, you might want to rebound for a half-hour or something.

Guy Lawrence: Three days.

Stuart Cooke: That’s awesome. Guy, I think why don’t we go into the overtraining as well.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, sure, absolutely. Because that was another question. You know, I CrossFit a fair bit. I see guys that do a lot of training. A lot. And I’m always conscious of where’s that line between exercise for, you know, athleticism, and then also overtraining, and, you know, doing yourself more harm than good long-term. What would your take on that be?

Dave Asprey: I love the intensity of CrossFit. I don’t like the frequency of CrossFit.

And it’s so easy to make a daily habit, and so I totally understand why you’d want to do that. And when I used to exercise six days a week, that made it really easy because you just do it every day. It’s much harder to stick with something you do once or twice a week. It requires a calendar and scheduling and an amount of self-discipline a lot of people don’t have.

So, with CrossFit, I see this very often in my clients. In fact, one of them who lives in Australia was getting ready to compete in the CrossFit Games and just, like, lost his mojo. Like, his passion for life was going down. And he’s a pretty high-performance guy. And I said, “Look. Your sleep quality is disrupted.” One of things that comes from overtraining is completely useless sleep and not very much of it.

And I said, “Why don’t you just get a cortisol panel? Like, get a blood test. And let’s see. I can predict what’s gonna happen here.” And he got it and his cortisol was sky-high. So he backed off on his number of workouts and his zest for life returned very quickly. It helps, too; he had made a mistake some people make on the Bulletproof Diet. They go low-carb and they feel so amazing when they’re eating just the meat, vegetables, and 60 percent fat, maybe, from the healthy kinds of fat. You just have just this Bulletproof state. It feels so amazing when you get there.

The problem is, you stay in it. He wasn’t doing the carbohydrate refueling that I recommend for guys at least once a week. If you’re lifting heavy during CrossFit, you probably need to do that twice a week. And there’s some people who try to stay in ketosis all the time and do CrossFit and your adrenals are not gonna like that eventually.

So, it’s a dangerous thing to be overtrained. It’s no different to overtrain than it is to starve yourself by not eating enough of the right food or to be under, like, huge amounts of emotional stress. Even, like, a divorce or, you know, your house burning down or something like that. The level of stress your body goes under, it doesn’t matter if it comes from exercise or nutrition or factors emotionally around you. You have a bucket of stress you can handle every day, and we measure that in adrenal reserve.
So, if you’re gonna kind of beat the crap out of your body by overtraining at that level, you need to support your adrenals first and foremost. Number one recommendation: a teaspoon, maybe half a teaspoon, of salt in the morning. Sea salt in a glass of water, right as soon as you wake up.

And that sounds a little weird, but when you wake up, here’s what happens in your body. This is not what happens up here. This is what happens in a mammal; the dog inside you. So, your eyes open and it says: “I’m gonna have to get out of bed. If I stand up real quick, there might not be enough blood pressure, so there won’t be blood in the brain. If that happens, I’ll fall down and hit my head on a rock and a tiger will eat me. Then I would die. That would suck.” So, it’s an emergency situation.

So, immediately the adrenals turn on. They create cortisol and adrenaline and the cortisol is working really hard to raise potassium like it does in the morning to lower potassium, which happens in morning. Well, if you give it the sodium that it’s trying to do, it stops freaking out and at that point you’ve saved that adrenal reserve for later in the day to handle other stressors in life.

And this is a really powerful technique. And it’s something they use for people who have dysfunctional adrenal glands. But you can use it even if you have functioning adrenal glands to give yourself more kick later in the day.

The down side? If you have too much salt in the morning, it’s gonna give you Disaster Pants. So, start with half. . .

Guy Lawrence: So, if you up the salt and up the MCT if you haven’t done it before, then you’re in for a treat.

Dave Asprey: Pretty much the worst of all is if you do salts; a ton of salts, a ton of MCT, maybe some extra magnesium, and then stand on the whole-body vibration platform.

Stuart Cooke: That is fascinating. So, you take the salt before you get out of bed, so you’d have it by your bedside table?

Dave Asprey: That is the most ideal way to do it but then you have to think ahead. I just kind of wake up in the morning and I pop a handful of amino acids and stuff like that. I throw some salt in the hand and swallow it.

Guy Lawrence: Bang. Fantastic.

Stuart Cooke: So, you’re talking about popping salt and amino acids. Supplementation. I hear on the grapevine that you supplement quite well, and in the past you have taken quite a lot of supplements. What do you currently take?

Dave Asprey: It’s kind of a long list, still. At the height at my, kind of, anti-aging and also recovery regimen, recovering from years of my body not working very, I took 187 capsules a day.

Guy Lawrence: Wow.

Dave Asprey: Yeah. So, I think I had Ray Kurzweil by two capsules or something. This famous inventor who also has an anti-aging program and all.

And that requires a certain amount of organization and planning, and it also is kind of expensive. But what I do now is I have kind of three groupings a day. There’s one in the morning, because there’s things that work best on an empty stomach or things where it doesn’t matter. So, I take those when I first wake up.

Then there’s a group of things that you take with a meal. And if I’m on the road, I’ll take them usually with dinner. If I’m at home, I’ll usually take them with lunch. It doesn’t really matter.

And those are things that are gonna upset your stomach if you take them on an empty stomach, or things that require fat in order to be absorbed. And then the final thing is right before bed I take another small handful of pills. And these are things that enhance sleep and recovery. So, kind of in reverse order. At night, I would take GABA, theanine, magnesium, vitamin C, and glutathione; the liposomal form, in fact, that I was squirting in before the show. The stuff; upgraded glutathione.

Guy Lawrence: I’ve got that. Yeah, I take that, yeah.

Dave Asprey: Yeah, and it doesn’t taste great. I’m working on making it taste better.

Guy Lawrence: It’s interesting taste. The first time I had a shot of that under my tongue, I was, like, “Whoa! That’s pretty. . .”

Stuart Cooke: Well, the smell is pretty extreme. It smells powerful.

Dave Asprey: It’s a sulfur-bearing molecule. It is made out of sulfur and it is not pleasant-tasting, but I don’t know if either of you felt really strong effects from it. A lot of people really notice it. And I even know a nationally renowned author who’s a shaman and writes about shamanic experiences in Peru and things like that who uses glutathione regularly because he can get into those really advanced meditation states better for it.

So, I have no doubt in my mind that glutathione enhances cognitive function and there’s lots of studies about that. So, it also works for detox reasons. And we live in a world full of chemicals that cavemen didn’t deal with, so the idea that I’m gonna get my vitamins from my foods, great, just get your toxins from Mother Nature and you’ll be perfectly balanced. Not gonna happen.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, well, cognitive function I guess, Guy, try a couple of sprays tomorrow. See what happens. See how that works for us.

We had a question regarding a book that you’ve written as well. And kind of moving forward a little bit. It’s a babies book. Now, I’ve got three kids who have got lots of friends with books. There it is.

Dave Asprey: I don’t know if you can see it.

Stuart Cooke: I can see it.

Dave Asprey: There we go. No, that’s not my wife, by the way. Stock photos. Wiley, my publisher, was evil about that. They’re like, “No.” I’m like, “You haven’t even seen the photos!” They said, “We don’t care. We always use stock photos.”

Stuart Cooke: I wondered if you could just briefly explain what the book is about, as well, for our audience.

Dave Asprey: Sure. The Better Baby Book (by the way, BetterBabyBook.com would be the place to go to learn more) is what my wife and I did to reverse her infertility. When she was 35, she was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome and told she wouldn’t be able to have kids. We had our first child at 39 and our second at 42 without any fertility treatments other than what’s in the book.

And what’s in the book is how do you use food and the environment to change the way your body reacts and to change even the genetic expression of your children.
We learned, about 15 years ago, that the environment changes your genetic expression and those changes are inheritable. We learned then and then no one ever said what to do with that information. So, I went out and, as a biohacker, we compiled 1300 references to all sorts of things you could do to decrease inappropriate inflammation, to reduce the chances of autoimmune problems, and to increase pregnancy health.

And our midwife, who has delivered 700 kids, said of Lana; she said, “You have the healthiest maternal tissues of any woman of any age I’ve ever worked with.” This is to a 42-year-old woman. Which is pretty amazing, because she’s delivered babies from 24-year-olds quite frequently.
So, to be able to have that healthy of a pregnancy blew our midwife away and she convinced us to write the book about all the things we had done to give our kids every advantage that was already theirs. We just wanted to maximize the chances of what was already them, just giving them the opportunity to express it.

The results have been really profound and there’s lots of women now who visit my wife for her coaching practice over Skype. She helps women with fertility and with pregnancy know what to eat and know what to do and look at their progesterone and estrogen levels and things like that.

And I wrote this book because my goal is for there to be 10,000 less children with autism as a result of the program in the book. And I wrote it before The Bulletproof Executive, which is the book I’ve been itching to write. But I wrote this because, honestly, you have the most leverage. The younger you are when you start biohacking or optimizing systems and looking at how the environment affects you, the more leverage you have. So, preventing problems in the womb has the highest leverage. Trying to take a 90-year-old person and make them young again is a lot more work, a lot more pain, a lot more money, and a lot harder to do than taking a baby and just helping them form properly in the first place. That’s why I put so much energy and about four years into writing this book.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, fantastic. We saw the little video, I can’t remember, you were talking on a microphone and you mentioned the book and it’s just fascinating stuff. And one thing that intrigued me as well is what you feed your kids as well. Because I think so many parents struggle with that. And what we see, isn’t it, Stu, you know obviously you see it a lot more as well with. . . It’s amazing.

Dave Asprey: It depends when you start. So, my wife, I mentioned she’s Swedish, so sardines are a treat or chicken liver. So, when you eat things; at least when the mother eats things, the baby gets a taste for them later in life. And when you feed them to children when they’re very young, they get used to it.

So, my kids, they eat meat, they eat lamb, and they eat beef, and they love avocados. And vegetables are something you eat raw or cooked; it doesn’t really matter. I don’t get away with cutting any vegetable we eat without them walking into the kitchen and saying, “Can I have some of that?”

So, cauliflower’s good, broccoli’s good, all of that, because it’s just food. There’s no discussion about it.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right.

Dave Asprey: And if they say, “I don’t like that,” at the table, then: “OK, that’s fine. But it’s what we’re having for dinner. You don’t have to eat it.” “I want something else!” “Well, actually, that’s not what we’re having for dinner.”

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, that’s how it is.

Dave Asprey: They’ve never left the table; they’ve never left the table hungry. They think about it, they decide what to do, and there was one time, my 3-year-old, he’s a boy, so he’s a bit more strong-willed. And he said, you know, like, “OK, fine. I’m going.” And an hour later: “I’m hungry!” “You’re gonna be hungry till morning.” That was the last time he ever did that.
So, honestly, your kids, if they eat normal foods; normal on a Western diet, they’re starving inside. Literally, they have food cravings all the time caused by the foods they’re eating. So, they have a desperate need to eat. And of course they want to eat things that are gonna give them the most glucose and the most fat, because that’s what the liver uses to remove toxins from the body. You want to oxidize something, you need the fuel, and those are the two fuel sources. Protein’s crappy fuel. It makes more toxins in the liver than it takes out.

So, when you get to that perspective and you realize how hungry your kids are like that, number one, give them fat. They’ll calm down and stop misbehaving so much. Butter? Yes. MCT oil? Absolutely, my kids get MCT oil. And they go to school and all their friends are eating snacks and my kids are like, “I guess we’ll have a snack.” But they don’t snack at home. They don’t need snacks. And that’s amazing.

But when they’re properly fed, they behave really well and they focus and when you’re a parent, it doesn’t matter if your kids misbehave a little while. If you’re on path to making them have the biochemistry so they can focus and behave, then deal with it. When they say, “I don’t like it,” say, “Great! We’ll take it away and you’ll be hungry.” They’ll learn to like it pretty fast.

Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. We’re on a campaign to completely eradicate wheat. It’s time. It has to happen. I watched a podcast of yours a few weeks ago with the chap who wrote Wheat Belly and it was just. . .

Dave Asprey: Dr. Davis! He’s a great guy.

Stuart Cooke: Fascinating.

Dave Asprey: Yeah, and look at his credentials. I mean, Track Your Plaque. That guy’s a leading cardiologist. He’s not messing around in that book. And he’s right. It’s not just about getting fat or getting autoimmunity. It’s about your brain. Wheat makes you stupid.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. And it’s a tricky one, so we’re gonna be tackling that over the course of the next month or so. But when we’ve nailed that one, and we’re not too far away, I think we’ll be well on the way to good times.

Dave Asprey: It helps. Just watch out. It’s not something to take out gradually. It’s crack. It’s an opiate substance, the way it’s digested. So, it turns into something called a gluteomorphin and when you have wheat one day, even just one bite, “Oh, it’s Saturday. We’ll celebrate. We’re just gonna have a little pizza. Just one slice.” Right? The next day, the little Labrador in your head’s gonna say, “You know what? I’m starving because I need more wheat and I’m addicted to the stuff. I think it would be a good idea to have just one more piece.”

And you’ll convince yourself, because of that input, that it’s time to have just one more piece, and you’ll be just like someone who’s shooting heroin in their arm. “Oh, yeah, I’m giving it up this time. I’m sure I’m done.” And then later they end up with this. It’s because of that same process. So, go cold turkey, take lots of L-glutamine; the amino acid. That’ll help you to deal with the food cravings you’re gonna get for three days. And then you’re done detoxing and then wheat is not food after that anymore.

Stuart Cooke: Perfect tip. Fantastic.

Guy Lawrence: How are we doing for time?

Stuart Cooke: We’re absolutely mindful of your time, so I guess, Guy, if you’ve got. . .

Guy Lawrence: We’ll do a wrap-up question; a question we’re gonna ask on every podcast: If you could offer a single piece of advice for optimum health wellness, what would that be? For everyone listening to this.

Dave Asprey: Learn forgiveness.

Guy Lawrence: Learn forgiveness.

Dave Asprey: Yep. It is a very difficult skill to master. It’s easy to say, “I forgive you.” It’s very hard to actually do the biological activity of forgiveness and to neurologically forgive someone and to really let go. But when you learn to do that, and you practice it, which is how you learn or, better yet, if you do some neurofeedback that teaches you forgiveness, but this kind of thing lets you stop carrying a stress burden for all sorts of stuff that you don’t even know you’re carrying.

So, if you had an invisible backpack full of stones on, you would never know you had it, because it’s invisible to you. And the grudges you hold and the ill will towards others that you hold; it holds you back. It keeps you from performing at the level you can be. And it takes quality of life away from you, but it’s invisible.
So, when you learn how to do this, suddenly you’re, like, “Oh, my God. I’m not carrying whatever that heavy thing was anymore.” And certainly I’ve spent an enormous amount of time working on that myself. And one of the reasons, you were asking: How can I perform like this and still see my kids and do the things I do? It’s because I’ve done a lot of forgiveness work.

So, Bulletproof Diet, yes, Bulletproof coffee, lifesaving, lifechanging, all those things. But at the end of the day, before any of that, practice forgiveness.

Stuart Cooke: That’s perfect.

Guy Lawrence: Perfect answer, mate.

Stuart Cooke: So, Guy, you need to forgive me as I steal half of your MCT oil tomorrow for our experiment.

Dave Asprey: There’s a way to make this forgiveness easier. When he’s not looking, put four times extra in his coffee and see what happens.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Exactly.

Dave, thanks so much for your time. If anyone wants to learn more about what you do, where’s the best place for them to go, mate?

Dave Asprey: Check out BulletproofExec.com. All the info on the site’s free. It’s there. A quarter-million words. It’s there as a public service. You know, I’m grateful for all the cool stuff that’s happened in my life and I’d like to help other people do it, too.

Also, I’m hoping to make a trip out to Australia sometime in the next six months or so, so when I know that’s coming together I’ll let you guys know.

Guy Lawrence: Please do. Please do. Fantastic.

Thanks for your time.

Dave Asprey: Have a great day.

Stuart Cooke: Thank you, Dave. Speak to you soon.

 

We chat to Nora Gedgaudas: Primal Body, Primal Mind. Beyond the Paleo diet

Podcast Episode #7

By Guy Lawrence Eat 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!

Download or subscribe to us on iTunes here.

downloaditunesIn this weeks episode:-

    • 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

Transcript

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. nora_gedgaudesBut 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.

 

How to make lunch boxes fun, healthy and tasty

healthy lunchbox

By Brenda Janschek

Guy – Due to Stu’s obsession with healthy eating for children we will be covering a number of guest posts. We hope to start a ‘lunchbox revolution’ and wanted to share this fantastic post from Brenda Janschek. Over to Brenda…

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Food Sources of Essential Vitamins: How are you getting yours?

What are VitaminsBy Tania Flack

Guy: A few months ago Tania wrote a great article on Essential Minerals and has followed it up with this post on Vitamins.

I often wonder if people even care if they are getting enough vitamins daily. The next time you see someone stuffing their face with a baguette, ask them if they know what vitamins are and why they are essential?

You’ll be surprised by how many do not know what vitamins are! And just in case you are not sure… read on. More

Boost metabolism and kickstart your weightloss

It’s a widely accepted fact that one of the best ways to get your metabolism moving is by building muscle. Simply put, the more lean muscle tissue you have the faster your metabolism burns fat.

But there are other health components worthy of consideration when it comes to motivating your metabolism—like eating for example.

Skipping breakfast does us no favours. Breakfast provides the body with fuel for the day ahead, and kick-starts that metabolism. Go without eating until supper and your body goes into starvation mode and thinks it’s got to conserve calories—or at least that’s my theory. The problem is, we’re all busy. Life makes high-pressure demands on all of us, and our time is limited. That often makes preparing a healthy breakfast—or any other meal of the day for that matter—a difficult task.

Here are a few suggestions about healthy food choices and ways to boost that metabolism:

Choose whole grains and complex carbohydrates provided by fruits and vegetables. These are harder to digest than simple carbs like white bread, which is why Dr. Oz tells us to drop the white bread, white rice, and white pasta if we want to lose weight. Make protein part of every meal. Protein is hard to digest and a lot of calories are burned in the process. Researchers suggest that “spicy foods stimulate the body’s fat burning process.”

And while it doesn’t actually boost metabolism, water keeps the body hydrated and in doing so prevents metabolism from slowing down. Avoid drinking too much alcohol and caffeine. They both dehydrate the body, which reduces the amount calories burned.

And try to eat frequently. While several small meals throughout the day won’t increase your metabolism, it will keep you satisfied and less apt to binge when you finally sit down to the evening meal.

Pack your lunch and snacks before you go to bed at night. Plan your breakfast. And find a few healthy favourites to fall back on when you don’t have time to be creative.

Read the full article here.

Boost your metabolism with 180 Superfood.