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Dr Stephen Hussey – Managing Type 1 Diabetes With a Ketogenic Diet

Content by: Dr Stephen Hussey

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

Stu: This week, I’m excited to welcome Dr. Stephen Hussey. Dr. Hussey is a chiropractor, functional medicine practitioner, and online health coach. He is the author of a new book called, ‘The Health Evolution: Why Understanding Evolution is the Key to Vibrant Health’. In this episode, we discuss how Dr. Hussey manages his Type I diabetes, using a ketogenic approach to eating, and also talk about how an understanding of our evolution could guide us to optimizing our health today.

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downloaditunesListen to Stitcher Questions we ask in this episode:

  • How did you previously manage your diabetes compared to what you do now?
  • Do you think we should all follow a low-carb/keto-based lifestyle?
  • How do you exercise to support your evolutionary beliefs?

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Full Transcript

Stu

00:03 Hey, this is Stu from 180 nutrition. And welcome to another episode of the health sessions. It’s here that we connect with the world’s best experts in health, wellness, and human performance, in an attempt to cut through the confusion around what it actually takes to achieve a long lasting health. Now I’m sure that’s something that we all strive to have. I certainly do.

00:23 Before we get into the show today, you might not know that we make products, too. That’s right. We’re into whole food nutrition. And have a range of super foods and natural supplements to help support your day. If you are curious, want to find out more, just jump over to our website. That is 180nutrition.com.au, and take a look. Okay. Back to the show.

00:44 This week, I’m excited to welcome Dr. Stephen Hussey. Dr. Hussey is a chiropractor, functional medicine practitioner, and online health coach. He is the author of a new book called, ‘The Health Evolution: Why Understanding Evolution is the Key to Vibrant Health’. In this episode, we discuss how Dr. Hussey manages his Type I diabetes, using a ketogenic approach to eating. And also, talk about how an understanding of our evolution could guide us to optimizing our health today. Over to Dr. Hussey.

01:17 Hey guys. This is Stu from 180 Nutrition. And I am delighted to welcome Dr. Stephen Hussey to the podcast today. Dr. Hussey, how are you?

Stephen

01:25 Pretty good. How are you?

Stu

01:26 Very well, thank you. Very well. So thank you for sharing some of your time. I know we’ve got, you’ve got lots of knowledge that I am sure that you’ll be happy to share, and with us this morning, that we can then pass on to our audience. But first up, for all of those listeners today that may not be familiar with you or your work, I’d love it if you could just tell us a little bit about yourself, please.

Stephen

01:49 Yeah. So, I am a chiropractor. And I also have a Masters in Functional Medicine and Human Nutrition. And I practice chiropractic here in Roanoke, Virginia. But I also do online health coaching through my website, resourceyourhealth.com. And there, I focus on helping people achieve high levels of heart health, as well as autoimmune type conditions. And I focus on those because of my personal story. So I was a very sick child. I had lots of inflammatory conditions. And we relied on, my parents and I relied on Western medicine to help me with those. And didn’t really get the results I was looking for.

02:34 So, as I grew up, and as I got a medical education, and started learning and seeking out everything, I found that Western medicine was pretty ineffective at helping me deal with these things. And I found out how to get rid of most all of them. Aside from the collateral damage, it is Type I diabetes. And I got rid of everything that I was suffering with as a child. All of the inflammatory conditions. You know, IBS, inflammatory hives all over my body, allergies, all that kind of stuff.

03:07 And so, even through my medical training, i found that it was still not giving me the answers. And so, I’ve always been a student, and always looking for the answers in any place I could find them. Stumbled upon evolution, and just everything that has to do with humans. Anthropology, health, everything. I just kind of [inaudible 00:03:32] it all. And put it all together. And found the answers for me. And have kind of healed myself, and now helping other people to do that, as well.

Stu

03:40 Fantastic. Fascinating. I can’t wait to pick your brains today. That’s for sure. And it’s interesting. Because you touched on evolution, as well. And it seems like we’re now at a time where we’ve never had access to so much information. Yet we appear to be getting more sick, as the years go on, in terms of children now have more allergies and sensitivities, and weight issues than ever before. Or at least, when I was at school, I don’t remember any of that happening. Happening or occurring. But we’ve got all this information and access to it. And surely, it should be so easy for us to fix any given product, or any given problem, at any given time. But it’s just not the case.

04:28 So, I’m kind of keen, you mentioned the Type I diabetes. And I guess, to kickstart the questions this morning, I’m intrigued ad to how you previously managed your Type I diabetes. Compared to, perhaps, what you do now with all of the discoveries and research that you’ve made along the way. What does that look like now?

Stephen

04:55 Well, I start from the beginning. I was diagnosed at nine years old. And for a kid, I just thought that there was something wrong with me. And it wasn’t fair. And that kind of thing. And if I had known what I know now, I’m pretty confident that I could’ve reversed it then. But now that the process has taken place, and that the cells have been totally killed off, I don’t know that I’ll get them back. I mean, there may be promise in stem cell therapy, or something like that. But from my understanding, they’re pretty much dead and won’t come back.

05:33 So, when I was a child, going into the hospital with this new diagnosis, they pretty much taught me how to manage it with insulin. With synthetic insulin. At that time, some people were still using insulin extracted from pigs and things like that. But it was mainly synthetic insulin. And so, I first started out just managing it with taking two different types of insulin. One was a long lasting insulin, that I would take 24 units of, and it would last me 24 hours. ‘Cause it was a slow release type of thing.

06:05 And then, I’d also combine that with a faster acting insulin that I would take during meals. So based on the carbohydrate load that I had, I would give myself this amount of insulin to counteract that. And so, that was my life. I would check my blood sugar five times a day. And monitor the blood sugar. And then, take insulin accordingly. Take two shots a day. And then, when I was maybe 13 or 14, I got an insulin pump. So now I have something… I still have that today. And I have that attached to me. And instead of having to take that shot with that long lasting insulin, I’m getting a basal rate, or a slow dose of insulin, all of the time. And the pump is doing that automatically.

06:50 and then, for the longest time, when I would eat something, I would have to give myself more insulin. Because of the carbohydrates I would eat, or whatever. Which I don’t ever give myself any extra now. ‘Cause I’m not eating very many carbohydrates. So that was kind of how it was managed up until I was probably 20 years old. And it’s still pretty much how I’m managing it. It’s just different in the fact that in college, I really started to figure out that the way I lived my life had a huge impact on the ability of me to regulate blood sugars. And so, I was putting that together. Which I found it curious that no doctor ever told me that. They would just… I would go the doctor. And I would say if I was having an issue with blood sugar. They would say, “Okay. Well, let’s change your insulin.” Or that was pretty much it. It was either change my levels of insulin. Or they would say, “Okay. Let’s check your thyroid.” Or, “Oh, let’s check something else.” ‘Cause once you have one autoimmune disease, you are more likely to get others, so to speak. That’s what they told me.

07:54 And so, they would just check that. And it would be fine. And so, it was just, no one ever told me that stress had an effect on it. Or that what I was eating had an effect on it. And it was just, “Give yourself the appropriate insulin, or change your insulin doses.” And that was it. And so, like i said, around in college, age 20 or so, I started playing around with things. And saw the impact, or saw the changes that the way I lived my life had. But I had no idea what I was doing at that time. I was just trial and error.

08:26 And so, we fast forward to all of the trial and error. And all of the research. And everything that I’ve done. And I’ve figured out that, to me, the three biggest things that affect my ability to control my blood sugar are stress. So I can tell if I’m more stressed. Because my blood sugars will run higher for no reason, apparently.

Stu

08:47 Right.

Stephen

08:49 And now, there is research that shows that elevated cortisol will elevate blood sugar. So it makes sense. And then, there’s just a low carb diet. Not eating these processed carbohydrates. Or even unprocessed carbohydrates, for me, is extremely useful. I am pretty much in ketosis most of the time. And my blood sugars are just absolutely stable. And that’s, aside from the stress and things like that. But I think that the most interesting one to me, the most interesting pillar of keeping my blood sugars stable, is plant anti nutrients. I’ve noticed, I definitely noticed when I took anti nutrients out of my diet, and reduced them a lot, I saw an impact there. But it was also hard to tell. Because that was also when I was decreasing the high carbohydrate foods, as well.

09:46 But then, I’ve done… And I’m doing one right now. I’m doing, I do experiments every now and then. Right now, I’m doing very little plants at all. So no anti nutrients. And it’s just been incredible. Just there’s no random spikes. There’s no, for no reason I can explain, or anything like that, they’re gone. Everything is very, very stable. And I just found that very interesting. I mean, at first, I thought it was lectins. Like in the nightshades, and the grains, and legumes, and things like that. But now, when I eliminated them all, I had this next level of blood sugar control. So it’s just very, very interesting.

10:24 And I know that these lectins can… I mean, these anti nutrients definitely have an impact on our nervous system. And I believe that they kind of make us think we’re in a more threatening environment than we are.

Stu

10:37 Yep. That makes sense.

Stephen

10:38 That could be having an effect. I mean, if we’re looking at what the vagus nerve does in monitoring the gut, as kind of an external environment inside your body. And that’s telling it whether we’re in a threatening situation, or a non-threatening situation. And if we’re putting it full of plant toxins that are creating leaky gut. And traveling through the vagus nerve, these toxins and things like that. Then that could, I mean, I don’t find it hard to believe that my nervous system is saying, “Oh. We’re in a stressful environment.” So that could be having an effect there. But those are the three things that I have found just absolutely level out my blood sugar. Make it super easy.

Stu

11:14 Fascinating. It really is. I had a conversation with a doctor a couple of weeks back, who follows a carnivore diet, as well. And has seen unbelievable results. Specifically, for him. So I just think that, of course, diet is to personal. And our own biology is so unique. And you’ve got to find what works for you. And experiment, and tweak. And do you think, then, that a low carb, almost keto-based, lifestyle would be an effective place to start the process of testing what works for you?

Stephen

11:53 Yeah. I think that looking back through human evolution, and human history, and even the species that existed before us. And that lineage, and the physiology that was forming through those species. I think that we are very efficient when we burn fat and ketones. And I think that that is definitely, that’s what I would recommend for most people to figure it out. Now, obviously, some people are better at… They see more benefits with that type of diet than others. And that just goes into the genetic diversity that we’ve kind of created as humans, by taking away natural selection. Based on our modern, or way of life. And civilization in general. Kind of removed selection pressures.

12:44 And so, now, instead of us working toward… Instead of evolution, natural based selecting us for this one set of genes that’s best fit for our environment, we have more diversity among people. Because it’s easy for people to stay alive. And so, there’s no relentless natural selection that’s weeding off the one’s that don’t necessarily fit with this modern day environment that we have.

13:12 And so, yeah. But I do think it’s a great baseline for people to try. And I think that when people come to me for health coaching, or patients I have in the clinic, that is definitely one baseline that I have. Because if we don’t get them into ketosis and fat burning, then I really don’t know what’s going on. If we get them into that, and then they’re still having problems, it’s like being in fat burning and ketosis could eliminate those. But if they don’t, okay, now we know there’s something else.

13:45 But that seems to be a underlying imbalance that’s driving so many different things, that we need to correct that first. And get this person fueled properly before we can really figure out anything else that’s going on with them.

Stu

14:01 No, that’s good advice. And so hard today, in an industry that is awash with frankenfoods, processed foods that are sprayed, animal products that are fed, who knows what. And of course, we’re ingesting everything under the sun. Hormones, antibiotics, steroids, glyphosate on our vegetables, fluoride and chlorine in the water we drink. It’s so tricky. I mean, I’m really intrigued by your evolutionary perspective. Because a lot of that stuff, back in the day, just wasn’t there.

Stephen

14:38 Exactly.

Stu

14:38 And yes. So tell me about your interest in evolutionary health. And what led you, then, perhaps to want to explore that in the depth that you have?

Stephen

14:52 Yeah. It kind of goes back to when I was telling my story a little bit. In that, I started figuring out that the way I’ve lived my life affected my health. And then, I went to medical school, chiropractic school, and got this medical education. And still had lots of questions. I thought that that was going to answer my questions. Or tell me why I’m diabetic. Or whatever. Why I had these inflammatory issues. But it didn’t really. And it was still… That education was still very focused on the diagnosis. Analyzing someone’s symptoms, or their test findings, and things like that. And getting a diagnosis. And the whole system is set up based on that diagnosis. Because if you don’t have a diagnosis, then you don’t know how to treat based on that traditional training.

15:41 And you don’t get paid. Because you can’t bill for that diagnosis. Then you don’t get paid for it. So I was very centered around this diagnosis. And if somebody came and presented with something that didn’t meet any of the criteria for these diagnoses that we have, then you didn’t know what to do with them. And so, that’s one of the flaws in the Western medical approach, and the way our medical system is set up. At least in the States. So I was still looking for answers.

16:05 And so, then I went back, and got my Masters as well, in Nutrition and Functional Medicine. And that gave me a lot more of the why my body… Or I guess, more… It was more like more effective ways to get health. They were definitely more looking at the imbalances in the body. Rather than focusing on these diagnoses, they were focusing on the imbalances that caused these diagnoses. Which was helpful. Because then you could treat those imbalances. Or put someone’s body in an environment so that their imbalances go away.

16:34 But it still wasn’t telling me why. So it wasn’t telling me why I suffered from these things. Or why society, as a whole, is having a huge issue with chronic disease. And why it’s growing. And so I just started looking. I never really eliminated any, or wrote off, any information. I always, I just wanted to soak it in. And figure out how it fit into what I was learning. And when I stumbled upon evolution, I started reading people like Darwin, himself. And I started reading Richard Dawkins. And Jared Diamond. And these guys, their writing has really put things together for me.

17:15 And so, that made me realize that… And there’s a famous quote by Theodosius Dobzhansky. He says that, “Nothing in biology makes sense. Except in light of evolution.” And so, when I figured that stuff out, I know it’s just like, “Yeah. This does make sense.” And then, you start tracing how evolution works. And how it applies to humans. Which Western medicine doesn’t really like to apply it to humans. Lots of people don’t. Because it can lead to some kind of risky issues to talk about. But it gave me answers. And so, that’s why I got interested in it. That’s why I’m so passionate about it. Is because it gave me the answers I was looking for, when it concerned my health. And then, also, guided my approach to helping other people with health.

Stu

18:02 Yeah. Who knows where we’ll be then, fast forward a thousand, two thousand years. I would imagine we’d probably be more tolerant to sugar, biologically. You’d think so.

Stephen

18:14 Yeah. There’s really interesting. One of the points I make in my book is that humans are still subject to evolution. Because people don’t necessarily think about that. That we’re still subject to an evolving process. And the evidence for me there, or I guess the one that kind of hits us closer to home, is that I remember going through medical training and everything. You learn about certain diseases, like heart disease and diabetes, and all this kind of stuff. And how they’re much more prevalent, and people of minority descent are more likely to get those diseases. And people of European descent are less likely to get those diseases. They still can. And they still do. But they’re less likely to get them.

18:58 And to me, that is because people of European descent were eating these problematic foods, these processed foods, sooner than these people of minority descent. And back then, when people of European descent started eating those foods, there wasn’t Western medicine around to keep us alive. We were still sick, but they’re keeping us alive. Like a Type II diabetic can live for a long time. I can live for a long time, as a Type I diabetic. Because Western medicine has synthesized insulin for me.

19:24 So the people that didn’t respond well to that food back then, died. Or just had, were less likely to pass on their genes. And so, they were kind of weeded out. And so, now what we see is people of European descent just a little more resistant to those diseases. Because they’re just a little bit more adapted. Because evolution did take a little bit of a natural selection approach then. Whereas, these people of minority descent, their ancestors never had that adaptation time. And so, then they get thrust into a Western medical diet.

20:00 And they have a very poor reaction because their genes are not suited for that at all, where natural selection did work on us people of European descent a little bit back then.

Stu

20:12 Yeah, makes sense. And I do wonder, thinking along those lines then of genetic heritage, how are we going to fare up in light of things like coconut oil for instance. We’ve just adopted and embraced coconut oil as like the savior for all things and we’re making all these beautiful keto snacks and high-fat, low-carb goodies but we haven’t been eating or consuming coconut oil or anything along those lines for anywhere near as long as the Polynesians have and who knows? Who knows how that will turn out?

Stephen

20:48 Yeah. My ancestors, at least my relatively recent ancestors are northern European. They’re Irish and Polish and English and that kind of stuff from that area and coconuts and avocados don’t grow there.

Stu

21:03 No, they don’t.

Stephen

21:04 So, I can’t imagine that they were adapting to it. Plus, if they were within civilization and natural selection wasn’t allowed to take its course, then there was no adaptation, even if they were eating those foods. There was no evolutionary adaptation to them anyways, so …

Stu

21:23 Yeah. No, good point. So, you mentioned your book, The Health Evolution and in that book, correct me if I’m wrong, but you talk about the four principles of evolution. I wonder just if you could expand on that for our listeners today.

Stephen

21:40 Yeah, definitely. These are four things about evolution that I learned. There are some people who may say, “Oh yeah, duh.” But when I learned them is when I started piecing things together about how biology kind of works in light of evolution. So, the first one is natural selection. I didn’t really understand how natural selection worked. I used to think it’s crazy that any living thing could physically change its characteristics to suit its environment. And it’s because any individual thing can’t do that. I’m never going to change my characteristics. I have my set of genes, that’s what I am. But through generations that can happen.

22:26 A very simple example that illustrates it is if we had a bunch of people, some short, some tall and then all of a sudden the only food that was available was high up in trees where the tall people could reach it and the short people couldn’t and they decided not to share with the short people, then eventually the short people would have a decreased chance of survival and passing on their genes and the tall people would be able to pass on their genes and through generations, we would have a bunch of tall people genes and the whole population would be tall. So that’s natural selection and it’s way more convoluted than that, but that’s just an example. So there’s that.

23:01 The second one is that lots of people think that humans evolved from apes or that there’s this kind of direct lineage that happened, but that’s not actually what happened. From my understanding, about 6 million years ago, there was a split from a common ancestor that probably wasn’t modern day apes and it wasn’t modern day humans. It was something else, whatever we call it and there was a split and so the things that happened after at that split are what made modern day apes like bonobos and chimps and orangutans what they are today and then something different happened to us and our lineage that led to what we are today. The concept is that we didn’t evolve from apes, we evolved from a common ancestor. And the things that make us different are the different things that happened to us and one of the biggest things that I think drove that difference and made us modern humans was that we were eating a lot of animal fat and animal protein, whereas the ancestors of those chimps and bonobos that we see today weren’t doing that.

24:13 The second part of that concept is that we’re still subject to evolution which we kind of talked about that as far as the European descent and minorities and eating westernized foods example.

24:22 Then the third concept is that evolution takes an extremely long amount of time and so it’s such a long amount of time that its really hard for someone to grasp because it’s not going to happen within your lifetime or even 3, 4 generations. So there’s a Russian scientist named Dmitry Belyayev who decided to test this and see how long it would take. So he took arctic I think it was gray foxes and he started selectively breeding them for docile traits. The ones that were more likely to come up to him and take food from him or just seemed friendlier in general around humans, he took those and only allowed them to breed and he kept selecting for the ones that were more likely to come up to him and be more friendly to humans. He did that generation after generation and after about 30 generations, he started seeing things change. He started seeing distinct behavior changes. He started seeing physical characteristics change, like their ears started drooping because they were becoming domesticated. They didn’t need that keen sense of hearing. And so after about 30 generations, he pretty much had dogs that looked like foxes. The last I’ve heard, they were on the 50th generation now and they’re just getting more and more domesticated foxes.

25:42 And so, that just shows us that it takes at least 30 generations of very select and controlled selection to get any type of change. But that’s a long time. I don’t even know what my great-great-grandfather looked like or my great-grandfather. To imagine that amount of time and even longer because natural selection and those changes through the generations don’t happen that specifically and cut and dry, so take a long time.

26:12 That leads us to the fourth principle which is when the environment of any individual living thing or any individual species changes too rapidly and there’s not enough time for us to have the generations needed to adapt to that environmental change, then we’re going to see physiological issues, especially if that species has a very long reproductive cycle. Some of the quickest bacteria reproduce every 30 minutes. So if they get an environmental change, natural selection can take its course pretty quickly. Whereas with us humans with these long reproductive cycles, if our environment changes too quickly, it’s hard for us to have necessary generations needed to adapt to that change. And then you think about species like elephants and 22-month gestation periods, very hard for them to adapt to changing environments.

27:10 So when you start to look at that and you look at how the environment that humans evolved in for millions of years that made us what we are and then we look at the last 10,000 or so years with the birth of agriculture and civilization and things like that and how our way of life has changed so quickly, evolutionarily speaking, we see why we have chronic disease.

Stu

27:35 Fantastic. From an evolution perspective, obviously we don’t know what happened or can’t imagine individually how perhaps we would’ve lived a hundred, two-hundred, a thousand years ago, but the one thing that I do remember and can call upon is my grandparents, right? My parent’s parents. And I remember that they were living in a very different way to the way that we’re living today inasmuch as they moved a lot, but they didn’t exercise as such, didn’t go to a gym, they didn’t swing a kettlebell, they didn’t run around the roads. In those times, if you were caught running around the roads, people would probably think that you’d stolen something. And it was just frowned upon.

28:21 But they moved. They moved a lot, they were very community focused and they used to eat very simple foods. They favored organ meats over muscle meats and they weren’t subject to all of the toxins and craziness that we’re going on today. I guess my question then, to you, from all of the information that you’ve gleaned and the discoveries that you’ve made along the way whilst looking at evolutionary change, what do you think the quick wins are that we could apply to our lives today that you think would have the biggest impact on our health based upon what you’ve learned?

Stephen

29:10 I do a lot of work with people trying to help them create high performing hearts and there’s three things that I teach them and I think that’s a good kind of reference point for the three things I think people should focus on and it drives us back to the three things that have changed the most that’s causing this. And I liked what you said about how your grandparents lived differently than you did. Even then, I could argue that things that they were doing were probably not the best for them, but it was still better than what we’re doing today. But it just goes to show how quick things have changed and so that’s two generations right there so we know that it takes at least 30 to get change, so there’s no way we could’ve adapted.

29:53 But as far as what I coach people on about heart health is that a heart attack is caused by three different imbalances and that’s an imbalance in the amount of free radicals we have in our body compared to how many our body can get rid of, which can lead to an elevated level of what’s called oxidative stress, which basically can just caus inflammation and damage to your body. So that’s number one and we’ll talk about that more.

30:23 The second one is an autonomic nervous system imbalance. If we look into the way our autonomic nervous system evolved and then the current environment that we are in that’s kind of a bit over-stimulating to our stress response and we’re the only species that can literally think our way into a stress response without any big stress actually having had happened to us, that imbalance is driving things pretty hard.

30:53 The third one is being fat-burning and running off fatty acids and fatty acid oxidation and ketones. I think that those three things I can trace directly to imbalances in those three things causing heart attack, but you can apply them to pretty much any chronic disease out there, those three core things.

31:16 So, what people should focus on is making sure that your body at least has the metabolic flexibility to go back and forth between carbohydrate and fat burning. Lots of people just lose the fat-burning aspect altogether and they actually have to get fat adapted again, which can take a few weeks, which I think is dangerous to not be able to do it pretty instantly.

31:37 And then doing things in your life that rebalance that stress response and people call it nourishing your vagus nerve, but it’s a little bit more than that, but that’s the idea and that’s the catchword in health circles these days, vagal tone and things like that.

31:57 Then really reducing the amount of free radical damage that you get. That’s eating a higher fat diet and burning fat rather than carbohydrates, that’s also decreasing your stress and then it’s avoiding toxins. There’s many, many toxins that we’ve either created or that we’ve mined out of the earth that our bodies were never in contact with until the industrial revolution that are causing a lot of free radical damage to our bodies.

32:24 Those are the kind of pillars and we can get into those more if you want to, but those are the things I think people should focus on because those three imbalances are driving pretty much all chronic disease.

Stu

32:35 Absolutely. I couldn’t agree more. Yeah, we’re tired and we’re wired, we’re undernourished and overfed. It’s nuts. Stress management then, you’ve mentioned before and stress is the catalyst for so many potential issues in the body whether it be wrecking sleep, which in and of itself is the catalyst for a whole separate conversation. How do you manage stress, what do you personally do to manage stress?

Stephen

33:16 This is the one area of my health personally that I need to work more on, is doing these things. It’s hard. It’s hard to do the things and remove the things that have become so necessary to our way of life that are actually causing the stress imbalance. To make a living, sometimes these things are necessary. To really make an impact, you got to be on social media and that’s one of the most stressful things, I think. But it’s also kind of, as it makes us more connected, it also socially isolates us more because we’re not having direct human interaction.

33:54 For me, I made it a point to live out of the city. I work in the city but I live outside of it, I can go out into the backyard and walk in the woods. Contact with nature is incredibly stimulating to our non-stress [inaudible 00:34:12], our parasympathetic or our vagus nerve and research shows that. There’s this really interesting study that showed that the amount of neighborhood greenness that people had was directly correlated to the amount of heart disease they had and heart attacks they had. So the more greenness, the less heart attacks they had. And there are studies that show that people even living in cities who spent more time in green spaces, they called them, like the parks in the city, had decreased levels of cortisol, which is our stress hormone. It’s very stress relieving.

34:49 The ironic part is that many people, if you put them in the middle of the woods may be more stressed than … it’s kind of working against it because they’re just so unfamiliar with that environment that it actually becomes stressful to them. But that’s a big one for me.

35:05 Community I think is huge and finding your tribe and really connecting with them. I do a lot of talk about evolution, but I do value that I was raised in a religious community because of the community that it gave me and what I learned from that. I’m not particularly religious today even though I think evolution and religion go well together, but that community … I think we are social beings and when we become isolated, that really stresses us out and we may not show it, but it stresses us out. So findings a tribe, connecting with people.

35:49 There’s numerous ways that people have found to kind of pack your vagus nerve or turn it on like singing at the top of your lungs and I think that’s why monks chant. That kind of thing is because it stimulates the vagus nerve. I think that meditation, different forms of spirituality, very rebalancing to the nervous system. There are people that initiate the gag reflex because of the proximity of the throat and think vagus nerve and where it is, it kind of stimulates the vagus nerve. Splashing cold water on your face, cold therapy, all these kinds of hacks that people can do that have been shown to do that kind of stuff. Wim Hof has a great example of the cold therapy kind of thing. He’s a super chill guy in more ways than one and it definitely has an effect.

36:39 It’s just very interesting to think about it and how that aspect of our physiology, this autonomic nervous system, how it formed. It formed in nature, where we would’ve been in contact with green spaces. We would’ve been exposed to cold and heat because we wouldn’t have had these temperature- controlled environments. We would’ve been very reliant on a community, small groups, a hundred people or so like that to allow us to survive. We would’ve probably been pretty spiritual to unite that group of people together toward a common cause. The things that happen through human evolution, the things that have changed so quickly now are the things that we’re looking back to, to say, “Oh how do we regulate this autonomic nervous system again?”

Stu

37:31 No, it’s fascinating. A lot of our own health issues come down to stress or stressor in some way, shape or form. Given the fact, then, that we are, we’re likely inflamed because of the foods that we eat and the environment that we’re subject to, many of us are not sleeping well, so that doesn’t help in terms of the body dealing with the rest and repair systems as well, so we’re getting up tired and we’re going to bed wired.

38:06 Your thoughts, then, on movement and exercise because exercise could compound the issue if you get it wrong. If you’re pounding the streets and running every single morning and getting up early and cutting your sleep short to be able to exercise because you think it’s the right thing to do … we didn’t used to do that from an evolutionary perspective and we used to be a damn sight more mobile and flexible because we actually had to use our bodies to survive. And I would hazard a guess that you could ask 9 out of 10 people who go to the gym and lift weights and look really good from a vanity perspective, try and get them to pull themselves up out of a burning building and crawl to safety, probably couldn’t do it, but they can bench press 100 kg. How do you think that we should be moving then, to support the findings that you found from an evolutionary perspective? Should we be high intensity? Should we be more functional? Should we be endurance? What do you think?

Stephen

39:21 This is real interesting to me. As a chiropractor, I do a lot of thinking about joints and joints are where we get our motion, so I have a lot of ideas about this. I like talking about this. I think that obviously research is showing us that more high intense, short bursts of exercise tend to be beneficial as far as building our mitochondria which is going to make us better able to burn fat. Also, there’s a lot of interesting research out there that’s showing us that endurance exercise is maybe not the best thing. I focus a lot on the heart and there’s all this

40:00 This information, there was this study called the 100 Marathon Study where there was these people who had done 100 marathons in life. They were part of this 100 Marathon Club, and they looked at them and the ones who… They all had intense scarring on the muscle of their heart, which can’t be a good thing, and the ones who trained the longest and the hardest had the most scarring. But just in general, that type of exercise is hard on our joints. It also increases oxidative stress and inflammation, doing it that long, but… I can imagine, evolutionarily thinking, that for a long time we were tracking prey and we were moving, and then we made a sudden burst to go after it to kill it, but then there’s also this theory that the reason that we lost all of our fur, we’re predominantly hairless and started the ability to sweat is because we needed to run after prey for a long period of time and that allowed us to do that.

40:58 So, it was probably a little bit of both, but if we look at what the research is telling us today, I think that the short burst of more intense exercise is better for us. For whatever reason, it just seems to be. Then there’s resistance training, which also seems to be very beneficial to us as far as building the strength of our bones, but also building mitochondria, because people think you’re burning fat when you’re working out, but that’s not when you’re burning it. You’re usually burning it after you’re done working out, the times you’re not working out. The type of exercise you do is going to dictate how much fat you’re going to burn when you’re not working out, and so resistance exercise seems to be the best at that. So, that’s interesting as well, but the other aspect of movement that I like to talk about is that… I think this is…

41:52 People focus on their workouts and what type of exercise to be doing, but I want to emphasize, as far as joint health, moving your joints through their full range of motion, because the way our joints are today tell me that they evolved to go through absolute full range of motion every single day, because a joint does not have a direct blood supply. The cartilage in the joint does not have a direct blood supply. It relies on diffusion from the synovial fluid, having the nutrients that came from the blood, to get into the cartilage. The cartilage is kind of a like a sponge, so when you flex your joint and your knee, it squishes the sponge and squeezes all the fluid out of it, and then, when you bring the knee back, new fluid comes in, and that nourishes the cartilage. But there is no direct driving blood supply to that.

42:43 So, if we’re not moving our joints, they’re not getting nutrition and they’re going to degenerate. So, as a chiropractor, I spend a lot of time looking for people’s joints that don’t move like they should, and then trying to create motion where it’s not through an adjustment. So, I would like it if they would… My practice that we work people through is designed to encourage them to move better after I get that adjustment. I don’t want to just adjust them and then send them on their way. I want them to retrain it so that they’re moving through full range of motion to have better motion.

43:16 So, the fact that our joints don’t have a direct blood supply means that they didn’t need it, because we were moving through full range of motion every single day. We were moving our bodies, so there was no need to evolve blood supply to that joint. It got enough just through motion, but if we don’t move, then we’re not getting nutrients, which is huge. So, if we look at what’s going on today, we’re sitting in desks and we’re pretty much immobile, and then we go and try and spend an hour in the gym and try and make up for that lack of mobility. It becomes really important what type of exercise you’re doing in that hour, because that’s when you’re going to get your movement. So, to me, it needs to be your burst training or weight training, but then I think that the lengthening and the joint motion is a huge part of it.

44:09 I’m doing yoga every day, at least 15 minutes, getting my joints through full range of motion, and then longer bouts of yoga maybe twice a week, just because I found it most beneficial to me, because I’ve been a soccer player my whole life, and I’ve been very tight; I didn’t stretch for most of that. Now I’m seeing joint pain. There’s no degeneration yet, but I’m seeing joint pain because I didn’t move through full range of motion. I was moving, playing soccer, but it was the same movements over and over again. There was no extreme flexion or extension, or anything like that.

44:47 I think that’s a huge aspect of it, and then the last thing concerning movement, I think, is our feet and how I think that our feet are designed perfectly to interact with the earth the way that they are, and when we start altering that by putting them in shoes, that totally changed the way our foot is designed. We get issues, I think, and not just in the feet. That’s going to change the way your body functions, and I see it every day in clinic. Look at someone’s toe pointing in toward the midline when it’s supposed to be out like a wedge, and looking how tight their calves are because their heels have always been raised and their toe box has been raised and their arch has been improperly supported, and the problems that that causes low back wise, even all the way up to the neck, and the problems that causes with C1, the first vertebrae.

45:43 But the biggest concept I want people to understand there is that our foot is an arch, and arches are supported at the ends. If you look at an arch, like a medieval arch or a bridge that’s an arch, it’s not supported in the middle. It needs two very structurally sound things at the end, and so when we start moving our toes toward the midline and we’re moving that structural end right there, the arch is going to collapse. Then we try and support it in the middle, and so that’s not where the support of an arch comes from; it comes from the ends. What we really need to do is correct the toes and stop raising the heel. I bring that up because I think a lot about joint motion and proper joint motion, and what we’re doing to our feet is just destroying the natural motion of joints in our feet.

Stu

46:36 Yeah. I completely agree, and we’re lucky enough where I live that with… The weather and the climate supports barefoot as best possible, which is great, so we walk around without shoes on for most… Well, for most of our time at home, at least. I remember a couple of years ago when we were… Me and my business partner got fully into this whole barefoot and range of motion, and we bought some Vibram FiveFingers. So, let your feet spread out, there’s no constraints there at all, and it felt so strange. My calves and my shins and legs just felt like they were getting a workout for the first time in their lives.

47:29 I just did a silly thing a lot. I ran around the block. It was a 5k run in these Vibrams, just to see what happened. I couldn’t walk for two weeks after that. I was just shocked. So, you realize that sure, we can be dialed into the latest shoes and all of the gimmicks and technologies that put us in this great big cushion and comfy block that sits underneath our feet, but it’s not supposed to be that way. There are muscles in there and stabilizing muscles that are there for a purpose, and if we’re dumbing down our senses, then those muscles aren’t going to be used, and like I said, your range of motion is compromised, and it takes us away from our evolutionary best self, which-

Stephen

48:13 Yeah, I think that’s a really great point. We should highlight the fact that lots of times, we get this new idea like we’re supposed to be barefoot, and it makes total sense to us, and then we do it and we feel terrible, and we think oh, maybe this is not what I’m supposed to do, and it’s like, no, it is, but there’s just an adaptation phase. You’ve got to let your body go back, and it may take a long time. I mean, for me, when I started wearing… I wear a Vivobarefoot, and then I was wearing Vibrams and things like that. For the first two months, I would wake up and the bottom of my feet were sore. While I was wearing them, it was fine, but every morning I woke up and the bottom of my feet were sore, and it took a while before they weren’t.

48:54 It’s the same thing with… I mean, we see the same thing with… If you’re going from a very high carbohydrate process, carbohydrate diet to a ketogenic diet, there’s going to be an adaptation phase. You’re going to get keto flu, you’re going to be constipated, probably. You got to let your body adapt to these things, and it’s not that it’s bad for you, it’s that your body’s just so unfamiliar with the ideal way it should be that it’s going to take an adaptation phase.

Stu

49:21 Definitely. Yeah, and I’ve seen that so much, from the shoes that I wear to a standup desk that I use now that typically was… I just felt wrecked after 30 minutes of a standup desk when I first purchased it. Now I can stand all day. Not that that’s good for us at all. It’s like a sliding scale, a little bit of variation, I think, all over. But yeah, it took my body six weeks to properly adjust, and now I feel great, and it’s just… Yeah, really important to know, and I think we’re in a society now, a generation that we just want everything now, instant gratification, but typically, the best things take work. Yeah.

Stephen

50:14 Yeah, we live in a society that’s very… I mean, we’re very focused on money, because money is what gets us all the resources we need to survive, and so we tend to sacrifice everything else to get that money, and so if something is going to take too much work and take us away from that thing that we do really well to get money, then we’re not interested in it. We need something to fix this now so that we can keep getting that money so that we can provide for our families and live the life we need to live and have the resources we need. So, it’s not necessarily any big conspiracy or anything, it’s just kind of the result of a capitalist society, how we’re living. The things we do are totally dictated by getting that money, which is stressful. I mean, if you’ve got one thing you got to get to give yourself all the resources you need, that’s stressful.

Stu

51:06 Oh, exactly right, and the pursuit of that might push us into a career that just grinds us into the ground. We’re so focused on our work that we haven’t got time to eat properly, so we gravitate to convenience foods. We’re on social media, answering emails at 11 o’clock at night, which compromises our sleep, and it’s just a snowball that just spirals out of control, and we wonder why we are fat and sick. Not too surprising.

Stephen

51:32 Yeah, yeah, it’s all driving this evolutionary mismatch that we have in our physiology and our current way of life, and if we don’t take steps to bring ourselves more back in line with that old environment we lived in within the confines of modern day society, then we can’t expect our bodies to give us a healthy outcome.

Stu

51:51 Yeah. No, I completely agree. So, we’re just about coming up on time, but I’ve just got a couple of questions that I like to ask the guests before we wrap up the show. One of these is about your non negotiables, the things that you do every day, given the fact that you have studied evolution and you’re a chiropractic and you’ve got all of this info about the strategies, tools, tips, and tricks that you have researched, stumbled upon that have made profound changes in your life. So, tell us about your nonnegotiables, the things that you do each and every day that you have to do without fail to optimize your day.

Stephen

52:38 Yeah. Well, three things that I mentioned earlier, the three things that help me with blood sugar the most, those are big for me. So, we already talked about those, but I think the other two things, food… My diet is the one thing I can control.

Stu

52:55 Right. Yep.

Stephen

52:57 Definitely. I can’t always control the stress that comes into my life, I can’t always control the toxins I’m exposed to, but I can control what I put in my mouth every day, and so I’ve always been pretty good at that, very strict on that. I see the difference, not just in blood sugar, but in how I feel if I’m traveling and I can’t eat what I want to eat, or something like that. So, that’s a nonnegotiable for me, and people will tell you that that’s… They don’t know how I have that willpower, but…

53:32 Then, the second one is sleep. I really protect that because that’s something else I feel like I have a lot of control over, so it’s really paying attention to my circadian rhythm and not exposing myself to unnecessary light, especially blue light. So, I have things on my computer that turn that off. I mean, my computer, I always turn that off, and my phone, I always turn that off. I use incandescent bulbs rather than CFLs and the fluorescent bulbs, and I even use candles sometimes. I’m really protective of the light. There’s even people that will just do red light at night, red lights in their home. I haven’t gone that far yet, but I have definitely noticed that that really has an impact on my sleep; not just my ability to fall asleep, but to stay asleep through the night. I measured that with a Biostrap thing, and it definitely has an impact.

54:37 Yeah, so I really protect that. I go to bed, I make sure I get enough sleep, and to me, that’s at… For me, it’s more than… At least six hours or more, six to eight, because some people… They say they do great on five, and that’s great for them. Maybe that’s just how it works for them, but for me, I need at least six. Six to eight is ideal to feel rested in the morning, and then not feel tired throughout the day, because most of the time, I wake up whether I got four hours or sleep because something was going on, and I wake up and I feel fine, and throughout the day I feel tired.

55:12 So, I really protect sleep. If you read Matthew Walker’s book about why we sleep, that is just insane about people who have lack of sleep and how dysfunctional their body becomes. It’s pretty fascinating, so I highly recommend that book. But yeah, sleep and food. I think those are my nonnegotiables, because they’re things that I can actually control.

Stu

55:36 Yeah, absolutely, and you have mirrored mine, and I-

Stephen

55:41 Nice.

Stu

55:41 Literally, literally, to the T, I am so infatuated by my own sleep that I’ve gone to many lengths to optimize it, because I went through a period of time when it crashed through the wrong type of exercise for my body, and I dialed into the wrong type of diet for my body, and it just crashed. The adrenaline was crashed. It took a while to get back, and so now I’m the master at tracking my sleep.

Stephen

56:08 Awesome.

Stu

56:08 I could tell you how much REM sleep and deep sleep I had last night.

Stephen

56:11 That’s awesome.

Stu

56:11 I’ve got all of these strategies, tools, and tips that I utilize. I wear blue blockers, I have an infrared sauna and do all of these things, but there’s still one thing for me, and you referenced the book as well, yeah, that… It’s profound in terms of what poor sleep, non-restorative sleep will do to you in terms of your optimal health and wellness. It will destroy you, it will crush you. So, yeah, I hear you.

Stephen

56:44 He was talking about studies in there where they changed the school starting time, and there was a huge decrease in the amount of car accidents from those hours when these 15-, 16-, 17-year-old kids were driving to school.

Stu

57:01 That’s it.

Stephen

57:01 Just because they changed the starting time, because they were so tired. They were waking up at a non-biological time.

Stu

57:06 Exactly right.

Stephen

57:08 So, they were drowsy and they were having car accidents. That’s the impact that sleep can have on society.

Stu

57:13 Totally, and it’s a no-brainer, and we think… Nowadays it’s kind of going in the wrong direction as well for the kids because they’re plugged into social media, they’re destroying their circadian rhythms with blue light from their smartphones, they have chronic sleep issues, and this is our future generation. So, boy, where are we going to be in 20 years’ time?

Stephen

57:37 Yeah, really, that’s scary. Some of the things I get into in my book is where are we heading as a species based on our current evolutionary path. Where are we heading? So, I try to address that as well as I could, even though it’s a huge topic that you can’t really know everything about.

Stu

57:56 Oh, absolutely. So, just before we go, how can we get more of Dr. Stephen Hussey? Where we can buy your book? Where can I send everybody that wants to learn more about you and your practices?

Stephen

58:07 The book is on Amazon, and it should be available in Australia. I have two books, I have The Health Evolution: Why Understanding Evolution is the Key to Vibrant Health, and I also have a smaller e-book. It’s only available in e-book, called The Heart: Our Most Medically Misunderstood Organ, where I outline my ideas about the heart. Then, my website is resourceyourhealth.com, and I have a blog there, and right now I’m in the middle of a five-part blog series on why animal products or animal-based diet actually prevents heart attacks.

58:48 So, people want to tune into that and get those as they come. I also have a heart course on my website that people can subscribe to that that’s probably the most in-depth explanation of my theories about the heart. It’s hard to put it all down, so it’s actually a 12-video thing that I really laid out my specific stuff, but I’m also active on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter. Just Dr. Stephen Hussey, DR Stephen Hussey.

Stu

59:18 Yep. Fantastic. Well, great. So much information, so many resources. I’ll ensure that we share it and communicate that across our audience as well, and I’m super keen to learn much more about everything that we’ve spoken about today, so I’ll be digging into-

Stephen

59:33 Awesome.

Stu

59:34 So, mate, thank you so much for your time. Really, really appreciate it, and hopefully we’ll be able to chat soon and talk about this in more depth in the future.

Stephen

59:44 Yeah, yeah. Thanks for having me on. It was a blast.

Stu

59:46 Okay. All right. You take care.

Stephen

59:48 You too.

Stu

59:49 Bye-bye.

 

Dr Stephen Hussey

This podcast features Dr. Stephen Hussey who is a chiropractor, functional medicine practitioner, and online health coach. He is the author of a new book called, ‘The Health Evolution: Why Understanding Evolution is the Key to Vibrant Health’. In this episode, we discuss how Dr. Hussey manages his Type I... Read More
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