Monthly Archives: November 2018
Monthly Archives: November 2018
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Today, we meet Michele Stanford and I discuss her new book, Informed Consent: Critical Truths Essential to Your Health and the Health of Future Generations. The quality of food and health are closely linked. You'll learn more about why that's so during today's interview.
Allan (1:33): Michele, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
Michele Stanford (1:38): Thank you, Allan. I’m very happy to be here.
Allan (1:41): The book we’re going to talk about today is called Informed Consent. It’s interesting when I see the title; it seems very serious and very legal. And some of the history you taught in there, you’ve done your research, I have to admit. You have really impressed me with the research that went into this book to not only understand what is going on today, but why and where it came from. So the history all the way up to today to bring someone all the way into what has happened to our healthcare system, what has happened to our food, why are we unwell, why are we all sick, and what we can do about it? Excellent book, and like I said, it comes off very, very serious because it is a very, very serious topic.
Michele Stanford (2:35): Yes, it is. It really was a labor of love and it began with my own health issues and trying to find answers on my own, because my doctors just were not able to help me. I was at a point where I really had to figure out what is wrong with me and how do I fix it. As I began researching, I went down all these different rabbit holes and began learning. As a former educator, I love learning anyway. So, I was just fascinated and I thought if I didn’t know all this, there are many other people who don’t know this either. That was the catalyst for writing the book.
Allan (3:23): I really enjoyed your story part of it. I guess I’m not going to say “enjoy”; that was probably the wrong word to say, but I felt what was going on with you and how you were going through a difficult time and you were trying to find the answers. In some cases your doctor really wasn’t all that helpful. But you knew there was something out there. And what I find almost somewhat appalling is that there’ll be a study that will tell us that bacon causes cancer or something causes cancer, but then we have another study that comes back and says, “No, we actually studied it again and it’s fine.” The problem is that this is not new stuff. The things that we’re learning about nutrition or supposed to be learning about nutrition now with the studies, a lot of the information that’s truly coming out as being the end-all answer, came out of a doctor who was actually a dentist named Dr. Weston A. Price. This was back in the ‘30s that he was doing the bulk of his work initially. Can you tell us a little bit about Dr. Price – what he was doing, why he was doing it and what some of his findings were?
Michele Stanford (4:42): Yes. I found that completely fascinating as well. Dr. Weston A. Price was a dentist, and in the ‘20s particularly, he noticed that there was a huge rise in the amount of cavities in individuals, and he couldn’t figure out why. He wanted to know why this was happening all of a sudden. So, what he did was he used his own monies because he didn’t want to be influenced. Other people and companies offered to finance him on his trips and he refused their monies because he wanted a completely unbiased research and discovery of what was going on. So his hypothesis was that it was the food and the nutritional deficiencies that were causing the rise in the cavities, and deformities too, of the shape of the mouth and the arch.
And so, he visited indigenous peoples around the world, in Switzerland, Alaska, Australia, Africa, South America, and all of these people groups that visited were isolated from modern society. Their only food sources were what they sourced locally. They did not have any industrialized foods, so everything that they consumed was what he considered nutrient-dense. And what he found was they were healthy, they had no cavities. These are people who are not visiting a dentist regularly. So they had no cavities, they had perfect vision, they had perfect arches, their teeth were perfectly formed, they were vibrant and healthy. And what he also observed was that as these people groups began to incorporate modern foods, industrialized foods into their diet, within a generation, they began to have cavities, their arches were becoming deformed, they began to form diseases and there was all this degeneration that was happening, within one generation, which to me is amazing.
He wrote a book – it’s really a tome – and he completely lays out all of his findings. It’s very detailed. He was a scientist along with being a dentist. What he found was that nutritional deficiencies are really the cause of degeneration, and not genetics. We think of genetics as being a cause of why we have diseases, but it was more nutrition, or lack of nutrition, that was the cause.
Allan (7:42): It’s fascinating. He didn’t necessarily step into the whole model, because that model didn’t exist, of epigenetics, but we now know that we turn on and off genes that are going to make us well or make us unwell, and we pass on that setting set to our offspring. If we’re not eating well as we grow up – so we’re growing up eating Twinkies, Big Macs, Coca-Colas and Dr Peppers – then you end up basically passing on not just a genetic scheme but the epigenetics settings for an unhealthy child. And then that goes to the next generation. When you break it on down and look at the incidents of diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer’s – we’re creating that with our food.
Michele Stanford (8:41): Correct. And not just food; toxins too. Skincare, cleaning products, anything that goes on our skin, things we breathe in, the toxins in our food too. It all creates those metabolic changes that you talk about, epigenetic changes. And they are transgenerational, which means that for a woman of childbearing age, what she eats today and what she uses on her skin and the cleaning products that she uses today, can affect her great grandchildren, because of the changes that happen that are caused. What happens is that one gene may get turned on that normally would have been turned off, or vice versa – a gene that would have been turned off gets turned on that causes disease. So, all of the things that we’re doing are detrimental to our health.
Allan (9:44): Now, there is hope in all this. Actually one of the stories you said in the book was that a woman was effectively not living a good lifestyle; had a child and her daughter had issues. And she cleaned up her nutrition, cleaned up some of the toxicity in her life. Her second child was much healthier.
Michele Stanford (10:10): Yes. He relates that story as proof it can happen within a generation, meaning she had been deficient nutritionally on her first child. She had terrible labor. It took her a long time to recover from labor. The child was anxious and stooping and had all of these physical deformities. Four years later, she had changed her diet, she had gone back to a nutrient-dense diet. She was in labor for three hours. She recovered very quickly and her child was very healthy; much healthier than the older sibling. So, while these changes do happen in a generation, they can happen within a generation. It speaks to the power of food and nutrient-dense foods to promote health.
Allan (11:08): I can’t agree more. The message of hope is that we can make changes today and that’s going to help us in the future. While most of us are past our child-rearing years, this is a message we can pass on to the next generation – let’s fix these things and make things better. So if they start seeing the changes in us, then hopefully that will start it. Plus, if we just change our shopping habits, which I want to get into in a moment, that’s going to change a lot as well.
Michele Stanford (11:39): Absolutely.
Allan (11:45): When I walk into a grocery store, I just see shelf after shelf after shelf of “not food”. I’ve come to recognize that those shelves, all the way from one end to the other, 90% of the stuff that’s in there, it may all be dishwashing liquid as far as I’m concerned, and dish powder, and laundry powder for you to wash, because I don’t want to eat any of it now. That’s all fake food. In your book you go through and you pick one thing that you used to really like, but you did a very good detailed breakdown of what was in these Cheez-Its. I don’t want you to go through all that, because that was pretty deep and dark, but can you go through and talk about what is this fake food stuff that we’re being fed now, and fed mass quantities and advertised to?
Michele Stanford (12:46): First of all, a lot of the ingredients are inferior, that they begin with. And then they take those ingredients and they denature them. They take what was real food and strip it of everything that was good about it. And then they add those things back in in a synthetic form, which our bodies do not recognize. A lot of the ingredients are GMO ingredients, which I think we’re going to talk about later. A lot of the ingredients come from factory farmed animals, which are sick and dying animals. They’re just full of chemicals. The way that they create these processes, for instance, the way that they create the flour and the oils – they have to use chemicals. They use bleach, they use hexane, which is a neurotoxin. The EPA monitors the release of hexane into our environment. So all the residue of these chemicals are left into the food. When they get finished, it’s not even real food at all. It’s just an industrialized product that is marketed as food.
Allan (14:05): And as I said, that makes up 90% of what’s in most grocery stores today. We instruct people to shop around the perimeter of the store, because that’s where you’re going to find regular food. But even that, 90% or more of that is industrialized farming and other things that we’re doing to the animals, to the plants that are kind of stripping it of any true value as a food. I call it “industrial food”. I’m sure there are a lot of different names we can throw out there about it. Some of the practices are quite horrific. Could you take some time to go through and explain to me why when I walk into my vegetable section, most of those vegetables are not actually good for me, or might actually be harmful to me? And when I get over to the meat section, why most of that is a problem? And of course when I get to dairy and I’ve got the milk and eggs and cheese, and again, another set of problems. Can you talk through those? As I’m walking around my grocery store, I’m kind of visualizing where things are. What am I actually looking at that’s keeping it from being real food?
Michele Stanford (15:19): Okay. We’ll start in the produce section because that’s usually the first section people walk into in a grocery store. Farming has become kind of a monoculture. So you’ll have one particular farmer and all he farms and all he grows is one particular vegetable. There’s no crop rotation. He sprays his vegetable with pesticides and herbicides. The soil has been depleted of any nutrients, so they have to put all these fertilizers in the soil to get it to grow. And so, the vegetables are not nutrient-dense like what Dr. Price talked about, because if the soil is not full of nutrients and teaming with all the beneficial enzymes and minerals, then the plants are also deficient. So there’s that.
When we get to the meat section, those animals in factory farms – it’s deplorable conditions. I go into some detail about that in the book. I don’t give all the details, because it’s horrific. It is horrific, the way these animals are treated. They’re not in their natural environment. They’re inside buildings. They are in tins that they can’t even turn around in. They are sick. They’ve been given hormones. They are fed food that is not natural to them. For instance, cows are herbivores. They thrive on grasses, but they’re given grains and they have trouble digesting those grains. So, they’re constantly given antibiotics and hormones to make them grow faster. When the female cows give birth, their calves are immediately taken from them. So there’s a lot of stress, and as you know, stress causes an inflammatory response, so they get more infections and they’re just sick. Poultry – please don’t be deceived by the labels of “cage-free”, because all that means is that they’re not in a cage. It does not mean that they actually have grass. There might be an opening in the chicken house for them to get outside, but there are hundreds of thousands of chickens in one house. If you’re at the opposite end of the door, that chicken’s never going to make it outside. They live in cramped conditions. It’s just horrific; it is absolutely horrific. They do everything they can to make sure that animal is alive, to make it to the truck, to make it to slaughter. So we’re eating sick animals. How can we expect to be healthy and receive proper nutrition from animals that are sick and dying?
The dairy industry, as I talked about cows a minute ago – they’re sick. They’re just sick. And then they pasteurize the milk, which denatures the proteins in the milk. Raw milk from pastured cows is full of enzymes and bacteria that help us break down those proteins that are typically harmful and people have trouble digesting. But the animals are just sick. Our vegetables are deficient in any kind of nutrients. And we’re not even talking about the processed foods that are in the grocery store – those are industrial, they’re full of chemicals, if they’re even food at all. Everything that we’re eating is just deficient in what we need to be healthy and vibrant in our lives.
Allan (19:39): Like I said, 90% of the food in there that was supposed to be food is this fake food in boxes, cans, jars and whatnot. And then even if you try to walk the perimeter, now you’re getting food that’s not as nutritious. It was effectively bred to be resistant to the herbicides, be resistant to the pesticides. It was made such that it could be hauled long distances, and then ripens right there, before they get it to the store. So basically a big wholesale system of moving this food that now lacks a lot of what we need.
It’s funny because like you, I grew up in the country, so we had chickens, we had plum trees and we grew a garden. We did the weeding – the kids got down and we pulled the weeds. If we saw some bugs in there, we would treat a little bit for the bugs, but not unless we noticed something. Whereas today they just go ahead and spray, assuming they have bugs and they don’t want to even bother with it. And then the plums that come off a tree… I go in now and look at these plums, the plums are three times bigger, they’re three times or four times or 10 times sweeter, and they’re perfect. Whereas the plums we used to get, all looked a little different, almost none of them were pretty, but we didn’t care because they were going to go into a jam or they were going to go into my mouth right there as I was picking them. The chickens were providing us eggs. We named the chickens and we knew everything that went into those chickens as they were eating around the yard. They were pecking and getting what they needed. But they were never stressed; they were just allowed to be chickens. We just don’t have that. When I would think of a cow and I think anyone would think you have this open field, a few acres, and there are maybe a couple of cows on it. But that’s not what’s happening with the industrialization of our food and trying to get food to us. I’ve said this on the podcast many, many times – the farmers’ market and some co-ops are your best opportunity to fix this by getting real food. So, in a nutshell, Michele, if you had to define “real food”, what would that mean to you?
Michele Stanford (22:15): Real food. My favorite day of the week is the day that I go to the farmers’ market. I have gotten to know my farmers, they’re my friends. To me real food first of all is not processed, it’s not been refined in any way whatsoever. It is in the natural state of that food as it comes out of the ground, or from a healthy, happy animal. The vegetables have been grown in soil that has been amended and has been taken care of, it has been tended to in such a way that it is completely full of all the nutrients and the vitamins that we need, so they’re nutrient-dense. Real food is what I call nutrient-dense food. Now it really is important. You have to seek that out. Even some of the organic food in the grocery store is not as nutrient-dense. I mean, it’s a better option than some of the other things in the grocery store and if that’s all you can do, then please do that. But real food is the ingredient, and we’ve got to get back to sourcing our food. And it’s worth every amount of energy that you can put into to source locally produced foods. That was one of the things that Dr. Price emphasized too. And like you’ve said, the food was not shipped from another country or across the country. It’s whatever is grown locally, that’s what you need. That’s what your body needs. It’s so important to find locally sourced foods, and it’s worth it to even travel an hour to find a local farmers’ market. You can ask them, “What are your farming practices? Do you use any chemicals? If so, what are you using?” They are more than happy to talk about what they do and to tell you and explain to you. But real food that’s not been stripped, that’s not been processed in any way whatsoever – that’s real food.
Allan (24:43): I think the more this message gets out there and the more we, as the consumer, it’s our wallet. And unfortunately there’s no advertising to sell zucchinis. The farmers’ market that’s selling the zucchinis that they picked this morning before they went out there – there’s no advertising for that. But they’ve got multimillion dollar budgets to advertise Pringles or Cheez-Its, and they’re buying Super Bowl commercials. So you see the money that’s in this food product that they’re able to spend to get you to buy it. Most of the commercials you see on the Super Bowl are car commercials and food commercials.
Michele Stanford (25:31): Right. And we’ve been conditioned to believe that these companies have our best interests at heart. They show us these warm, fuzzy commercials, families sitting around eating whatever processed food they brought home from the grocery store, and they’re happy and they’re healthy. It’s just not the case. We’ve been conditioned also to believe that allergies are normal. It’s not normal. If you have a skin condition – cczema or psoriasis – that these things just happen and it’s okay, and we’ll just take this pill or that pill and it makes it better. These things are not normal. We’re just conditioned to accept whatever comes our way physically as being normal. These companies are in the business to make money. They’re not in the business to make sure that you’re healthy. It’s up to us as individuals, it’s up to us as women, as moms and dads to make sure that we are nourishing our families with nutrient-dense foods. We’ve got to stop the deception and wake up and realize that these companies are not about what’s good for us. They are only about what’s good for their bottom line.
Allan (27:05): Yes. That’s why there’s not going to be a ton of experimentation, unless it’s happening in a university setting where they’re going to look at food in a way that we really need them to look at food. And even then, the influence that study will have over the policy makers isn’t necessarily as strong as the lobbying effects of what big food can do. So we talk about experiments and I’ll say today we are all subjects of probably the largest food experiment of all time. The sad part of it is, most of the time when a study goes wrong, they pull it, they say, “Oh my God, we’re killing people. We’ve got to stop.” Ethics just say “Stop”. But we’re going through something now with a product called Roundup. They came up with seeds that could survive Roundup. We don’t know what the seed will do to us, and we actually do now know a little bit more about what Roundup will do to us. But we’re ingesting this stuff every single day. Our children are ingesting this stuff, our grandchildren are ingesting this stuff. Can you take a few minutes to talk about the whole thing about Roundup and why it’s so insidious?
Michele Stanford (28:32): Yes. The active ingredient in Roundup is called glyphosate, and it originally was created as a chelator. What a chelator does is it binds in the ingredients and metals and minerals and pulls them out. Let’s back up a little bit. We’ll just go ahead and call them out – Monsanto wanted to create seeds that they could spray, because they have these huge fields, let’s just say of corn, and they’re overrun with weeds and it’s too costly to hire people to come in and weed. So, they created genetically modified organisms, or genetically engineered organisms is really the more appropriate term, that could resist being sprayed. And they found a bacterium in their waste dump that was resistant to the glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup. And so they took that bacteria and they spliced it into the DNA of the plant, so that when the plant grows, it’s now resistant to the glyphosate. So it’s sprayed on everything. And it’s not just the glyphosate. We talk a lot about glyphosate. Recently, when I wrote the book, there were hundreds of lawsuits being filed. Since having written the book, one of those lawsuits has actually gone to trial out in California. The plaintiff’s name was Lee Johnson. He was a custodian at a school and he used glyphosate on the playground there and he developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. When they won, it was an amazing victory. Monsanto for all these years knew that it was cancer-causing. The World Health Organization in 2015, after some studies had come out and said that glyphosate was a probable human carcinogen. And Monsanto have known this all along. It’s horrible, but it’s not just the glyphosate. The surfactants that are also in Roundup, open up the cell membranes, so that the glyphosate can actually get into the individual cells. So when the glyphosate in Roundup is sprayed onto the plants, you can’t wash it off because it’s been driven into the actual cells. So it’s not like it’s just on the surface of the plant. It can’t be washed off, so we are constantly ingesting it. And it doesn’t just cause one kind of problem. It causes about 14 different processes to happen simultaneously. It’s not like maybe this one will happen, or this will happen. No, it’s all 14 of these processes that it disrupts in the body simultaneously, which is why we have so much cancer.
Allan (32:25): I agree. I want to take a step back to the chelation, because that’s the one you really have to wrap your head around what that means. And I want to slow you down there, because when something binds to something else, basically it means it’s unavailable. So I just ate, say, an apple, or some corn, and I expect to get certain minerals from that meal. My body needs those minerals. But because of the glyphosate attaching and binding to those minerals, I’m not getting those in my food. So if I have the corn and then I’m also trying to get calcium from something else I eat that night, that’s now all in my system and they’re going to bind, and that calcium is going to leave my system.
Michele Stanford (33:21): Right. The glyphosate that’s sprayed on to whatever vegetable, whatever product, it binds with the minerals that we are getting, the few of the minerals that are in the foods we’re eating, and it’s pulling them out of the body. So it acts as a chelator in our bodies when we ingest it. It’s also an antibiotic. So, we’re ingesting that.
Allan (33:46): So it’s messing up with our gut biome. Every one of those processes is important. Cancer is a big, big thing, but there’s so much more to it. What I try to tell people is, if you look at nutrition and you truly understand, most people say, “I can’t afford organic.” And I’ll say, one, you look at what the healthcare costs are. I know that’s really hard to wrap your mind around, but here’s the other side of it. When you’re eating nutritionally-dense food, you don’t have to eat as much of it.
Michele Stanford (34:21): Correct.
Allan (34:25): If I walked into a normal steakhouse, I’m not going to say “No” to the stake they’re serving. It is what it is. I’m there to eat; I’m with friends or whatever. I’m not going to sit there and say, “I can’t eat this.” I’m going to eat it, but I know for me to get the nutrition out of that steak, I’m going to have to eat the whole 12-ounce or 16-ounce steak. And I am.
Michele Stanford (34:46): That’s a lot.
Allan (34:47): It is. That’s three to four servings, is what it actually is. Versus I can cook four ounces of grass-fed steak and feel satiated, because I got the nutrition I needed from that stake. Everything about your hunger hormones and everything that’s going on in your body, it gives you that message because it turns on and says, “We’re getting good nutrition here, so let’s pay more attention.” Whereas, “He’s chewing, but I’m not getting any signals that we’re getting what we need.” That’s a big, big chunk of this.
Michele Stanford (35:26): Right. And so, as it’s chelating, it’s pulling out the minerals. The body’s not getting those minerals, vitamins and the things that we need. So that hunger mechanism is still in process and it’s telling us that it needs more nutrition. And so, it’s never satiated, as you say. We still feel hungry even after we’ve eaten a big meal.
Allan (35:49): I think that’s a core element here as we look at overall health. It’s making us eat more of the foods that we shouldn’t be eating, because we’re looking for things that we need, which we know we can get from nutritionally-dense real food. It really is upsetting that we have to actually now use the term “real food”.
Michele Stanford (36:08): Yes, that we have to take the adjective. And also a lot of the processed foods are intentionally created to be addictive.
Allan (36:21): I was talking about a Super Bowl commercial and I’ll just deflect to this for a second. The guy is eating Pringles; it’s pizza Pringles. He says, “Mmm, pizza.” I’m going to call him the victim. He had two friends with him and they each had their own flavor. So one of the other guys has chicken flavor and he hands it to him. He puts two of them together and he says, “Mmm, chicken pizza.” The other friend hands him the barbecue chip. And he puts them all together and says, “Mmm, barbecue chicken pizza.” And I’m thinking the lesson of this is not to tell you that they have three different flavors. The lesson here is to tell you you need to be eating multiple chips at one time to create your own taste experiment. And I’m thinking this is insane, that they’re teaching people to eat three chips at a time. But again, they’ve got the money to do it.
Michele Stanford (37:18): It’s a whole industry. The food creating flavor is an entire industry.
Allan (37:22): Yeah. So Michele, I define “wellness” as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
Michele Stanford (37:35): Only three. Nutrient-dense foods. As Dr. Weston A. Price said, the biggest driver of disease is our food is lacking in nutrient density. So, seeking out the most nutrient-dense foods you can find is probably the number one thing you can do for your health. It is the number one driver of everything else. Sleep is not something that we think about a lot of times as something that we should be doing for our health, but receiving adequate sleep, restorative sleep is so, so important for our health. Daylight saving time is an absolute menace to society, because it’s disruptive. It disrupts our circadian rhythms, and that is the time when our bodies detoxify. It is the time when the body repairs itself. So many people are sleep deprived or they’re not getting really good restorative sleep.
So that’s the second thing I think that’s really important that we overlook quite often. There are other things, but I want to mention this one thing that some people don’t think about, and that’s trauma. Anytime we’ve been through any kind of trauma, particularly as children, and it can be physical trauma, it can be emotional trauma – our bodies hold on to that. And if you’ve done all kinds of things to get well and you’re still struggling and you’re still having some problems, that’s another area to look into to see, did you suffer any kind of adverse childhood experience, or even as an adult? Have you suffered any kind of extreme physical trauma or extreme emotional trauma? Working through that is a huge piece of wellness. If you’ve done all of the other things that you needed to do, but you’re still not quite where you want to be, that’s one more area that we can look at to bring you into wellness.
Allan (39:55): Excellent. Michele, if someone wanted to get in touch with you or learn more about the book Informed Consent, where would you like for me to send them?
Michele Stanford (40:05): They can go to my website. It’s MicheleStanford.com. There is a “Get In Touch With Me” button there. There’s also the social media, where they can follow me on Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn. So they can use that to get in touch with me.
Allan (40:27): Alright. You can go 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/356, and I’ll be sure to have links there for you to find Michele and be a part of what she’s doing over there. Michele, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
Michele Stanford (40:43): Thank you for having me. I’m really happy to be here and I’m very grateful for this opportunity. Thank you so much.
Allan (40:56): I hope you took something valuable away from today’s program. It’s a very important topic for us to understand our food supply and understand our healthcare system and how that impacts our wellness. If you did enjoy today’s episode, would you please leave us a rating and review on whatever application you’re listening to this podcast on? It really does help the podcast, so I really appreciate each and every review that’s out there. I read each one and I do take them to heart to make the show better for you. So thank you for that.
We are just now starting to see the first bits of winter here, even down in sunny Florida. I was up in North Carolina for Thanksgiving week with my mother and my family. It was really nice to have that family time. And now we’re settling back into getting the house ready for Christmas and actually getting ready to put it on the market, which is a little scary, that we might actually sell our house out from under ourselves and not really have anywhere else to go for a little while. But we’ll figure that out. Obviously, a move to Panama like we’re planning, has a lot of ups and downs, little things going on here and there. Not to mention that I’m trying to launch a book, The Wellness Roadmap, so lots of moving parts. We’re less than a week away from the book going live, so another big, exciting thing going on in my life. Lots going on in my life, but it’ll all settle down soon enough.
If you haven’t checked out The Wellness Roadmap, you can go to WellnessRoadmapBook.com. We also have pre-orders on the ebook. I’m offering it for $0.99 on Kindle for a limited time. We’ll launch the book, we’ll leave it up for probably five, seven days maybe, let some folks have the book for next to nothing, leave some ratings and reviews. Amazon is one of those interesting companies that quite frankly will not show your book to other people if there aren’t any ratings and reviews. So, this book could die on the vine if it doesn’t have the support of readers like you. So, thank you so much for all the ratings and reviews that you’re going to leave on The Wellness Roadmap. I really do appreciate it. It’s been a labor of love. It’s definitely been a labor, but it’s been something I’ve enjoyed learning from and doing. So, thank you for being a part of 40+ Fitness and thank you for all of your support.
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Our guest today was diagnosed with cancer and a doctor's recommendation to undergo heavy chemotherapy. In his book, Chris Beat Cancer, Chris Wark explains why he didn't follow his doctor's recommendation and still beat cancer.
Allan (1:14): Chris, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
Chris Wark (1:18): Allan, good to be with you.
Allan (1:22): When we look at cancer, it’s probably one of the scariest words in the English language. And it’s getting bigger, so more and more of us are getting that diagnosis at some point in our life. I think I actually read a statistic that everybody gets cancer, but some of us don’t live long enough to die of cancer.
Chris Wark (1:44): That’s basically true. Cancers come and go in life without us realizing it, and almost everyone has cancer cells in their body. Cancer cells are simply mutated cells, cells that mutate for a variety of reasons. Your immune system is designed to identify and eliminate those cells, but what can happen and what is happening is that many of us – one out of every two men and almost one out of every two women now are on track to develop cancer because of our diet, lifestyle, environmental choices, and stress. And I can dig into those as we talk more of how those elements are causing cancer and what can be done to prevent and even heal cancer. But we’re already at epidemic levels of cancer.
Allan (2:42): I think now at my age – I’m 53 – I need to be monitoring myself. I need to be doing the things I’m supposed to do at the age-related times I’m supposed to do them, whether I want to or not. And I think women are so much better at this than men. But in your book, Chris Beat Cancer, you did a couple of different things. One that I want to get into is your story, which is extremely compelling, because I could hardly wrap my mind around my 26-year-old self finding out that I had cancer. But you took a step back and you titled the blog originally and now the book Chris Beat Cancer. But you don’t think of it now in terms of actually winning or beating something. It has a different flavor or idea to you.
Chris Wark (3:41): Yeah, that’s right. When people think about cancer, they definitely think about beating it, winning it, fighting it, it’s a battle. And that’s all terminology that was created by the cancer industry. They had to do that in order to convince people to suffer, because the treatments are so brutal that if you can convince someone that it’s going to be a fight, you get them in this mentality where they accept that suffering is involved in the cancer battle. But it doesn’t have to be that way. So, Chris Beat Cancer is the name of my book and the name of my website, but as I’ve thought about it more over the years, it’s not about beating cancer. It’s not about a battle. It’s about healing the body. That’s really what it’s about. And unfortunately, the medical industry, pharmaceutical industry, they’re not interested in healing. They’re more interested in treating a disease. There are over 200 types of cancer. There will never be a pharmaceutical cure for all cancers. So, there’s a lot of misunderstanding in the public eye, thanks to the pharmaceutical / medical industry and the media about what cancer really is and the way you should approach it.
Allan (4:53): I think that’s really important, because as we look at this thing, the C-word, it is hard to sit there and say, “I’ve got to make certain decisions. My doctor’s going to tell me things and I’m going to have read or heard things.” It can be confusing. Like I said, I can’t even wrap my mind around my 26-year-old self making decisions that you made and having I guess the epiphany or the kind of faith – it was probably a little bit of both – to have done what you did. If you don’t mind, can you take us back there and talk through this? You were, like I said, 26 years old, had been married for two years, had your whole life in front of you, until you didn’t.
Chris Wark (5:43): Yeah. So, I’d been having abdominal pain for the better part of a year and I thought maybe I had an ulcer or something. Unfortunately, the pain got progressively worse and I went to the doctor. They did a colonoscopy after a series of other tests and found a golf ball sized tumor in my large intestine. And when I woke up they said, “You got this tumor and we took a biopsy, we’re sending it to the lab. Fingers crossed, hopefully it’s just a benign tumor and it isn’t cancerous.” But it was. This was two days before Christmas, when I found out I had colon cancer, and they said, “We’ve got to get this thing out of you right away, before it spreads and kills you.” And that’s the kind of conversation that every cancer patient has pretty much with their doctors. There’s a lot of fear and urgency, and they’re often rushed into treatment that they don’t understand; treatments that can have life-threatening side effects and long-term debilitating side effects. But because it’s so urgent, or they’re led to believe that it’s urgent, they say “Yes”. It’s sort of a tragedy. When people find out they have cancer, a lot of times they don’t even have pain. Something came up on a scan or a mammogram, a lump, a bump or whatever. They don’t feel sick, they don’t look sick, until treatment starts. That’s actually what makes them sick, is treatment.
So, I said “Yes” to surgery. I didn’t know anything at the time. And surgery, by the way, is not that big a deal for a lot of cancers, so I’m not anti-surgery or anything like that. But I was able to postpone them about a week to 10 days. They wanted to have me in surgery before Christmas. I was diagnosed two days before Christmas; they were trying to get me in there before Christmas. And so I said, “I really don’t want to be in the hospital over Christmas. Can we just postpone it until after?” So I went in on December 30th, they took out a third of my large intestine, they took out the tumor, a bunch of lymph nodes. And when I woke up they said, “Look, it’s worse than we thought. You’re stage 3C.” And stage 4 means it’s in two organs. So the cancer had left the primary tumor site, it was in the lymph nodes, it was on its way to my liver. So they said, “Your next step is 9 to 12 months of chemotherapy if you want to live and survive, because at your stage, we can’t cure your cancer with surgery.” So, I initially accepted that that was my fate. My future was the chemo patient at 26. But a couple of things happened in the hospital, and faith was a big part of my journey. From the very beginning I was just praying and saying, “God, help. What do I do? What’s wrong in my life? Why am I sick?” There’s a verse in Romans that says, “God works all things for the good of those who love Him.” I chose to believe that, that God was going to work this for my good somehow. But I didn’t like it. I definitely would’ve traded places with anybody, but I had no choice. What else do I have to believe in? Luck? “I hope I’m lucky enough to survive!” So I really put my faith, hope and trust in God first and foremost, to lead me in the process.
So I’m in the hospital. They took out the tumor, and then the first meal that they serve me after taking out a third of my large intestines was a Sloppy Joe. The Sloppy Joe is a funny kind of food item. Nobody likes Sloppy Joes, restaurants don’t serve Sloppy Joes. It’s the best worst example of cafeteria food, right? The main place you would find the Sloppy Joe is if you’re at summer camp or in the military or maybe prison. And to my surprise, they’re serving Sloppy Joes to cancer patients in the hospital right after surgery. Even more ironic is the fact that red meat, beef, is a group to human carcinogen, specifically known to cause colon cancer. It’s like giving the guy that has open heart surgery some barbecue when he wakes up. So, I thought that was very strange. Of course, I didn’t know any of this, but I still knew, “Why are they serving this terrible food in the hospital to sick people?” I knew there was a difference between health food and junk food. And that was a little clue; the first little crack in the foundation of the medical industry from my perspective.
And then the day I was told I could go home, my surgeon came in to check on me and we were having a conversation about what was going to happen next. And I said, “Are there any foods I need to avoid?” And he said, “No. Just don’t lift anything heavier than a beer.” So I’m like, “Okay.” Clearly, my abdominal surgeon, who I thought might have some expertise on digestive health, optimal nutrition for healing your gut or something, had nothing to say about it. So again, another little crack in the foundation. My faith, hope and trust in the medical system, which I was placing some there too, was starting to erode. I got home and I was thinking about my life, my future and chemotherapy and what I would become, what chemotherapy would do to me. And it was a scary thought. It was scary feeling to know that in less than a month, we’re going to start injecting you with some very, very toxic drugs that are going to make you sick. Your hair’s going to fall out. You’re going to lose your appetite, you’re going to lose weight. I was already borderline underweight.
Allan (12:14): I think you said you were like 6’2’’ and 155 pounds or something like that. And that was full healthy; generally healthy. Now you were going to get to this emaciated state.
Chris Wark (12:33): At that time I was probably closer to 150, maybe even a little under 150. I had lost weight because I had not been eating very much because eating was causing this pain. So I was already really thin, and my instincts were telling me this is not what I need to do, this is wrong for me. But I didn’t know what else to do. Just the idea of poisoning my way back to health didn’t really make sense to me. So, I prayed about it. My wife and I were sitting on the couch and I said, “God, if there’s another way besides chemotherapy, please show me. I don’t know what to do.” It was just a humble prayer, asking for help. Desperately asking for help. Sincerely, desperately asking for help.
And a couple of days later I got a book that came to my house, that was mailed to me from a friend of my dad’s who lives in Alaska. The guy who wrote this book had found out he had colon cancer, and instead of having surgery, chemo and whatever treatment was offered to him, because he had seen family and friends suffer and die from cancer treatment – he decided to not do it. And happened to have a friend who was a health nut who said, “What you should do is you should go back to the Garden of Eden. You should start eating fruits and vegetables only, just raw fruits and vegetables as your primary source of food. And you should probably drink a lot of carrot juice too.” So that’s what this guy did and a year later his tumor was gone. His name is George Malkmus, and he had written a bunch of books and stuff. I started reading this one book he wrote, where he’s telling his story, and it just blew my mind. I was like, “This is exactly what I’m looking for. I can’t believe this showed up. This is the answer to my prayer. I need to change my diet.”
I had this big epiphany, which was, the way you’re living is killing you. Most of us don’t realize, and we’re not told that only 5% roughly of cancers are genetic. What that means is that up to 95% of cancers, based on available studies, are caused by our diet, lifestyle, environment, like environmental factors, environmental pollution. Those three factors. And stress is underneath them, and I can talk about that as well, but it’s a root cause of cancer. Stress is hard to measure, but it’s easy to measure diet, it’s easy to measure lifestyle, and it’s easy to measure environmental toxic exposure. Those are the main drivers of cancer. The way we’re living, what we’re putting in our mouth and the choices we’re making every day are leading us down the path of health or down the path of disease. There’s a recipe for health and there’s also a recipe for disease. And most people are following the recipe for disease. And I was.
One of the first big light bulbs was in the diet category. In America and most industrialized countries, we’re eating a diet that’s very different than our ancestors and that’s very different than some of the healthiest populations around the world with the lowest rates of cancer. But a lot of people don’t think about things that I think about and researched in great detail in my book. The fact is that there are countries all over the world with much lower cancer rates than us. And it’s not genetic; it’s their diet, lifestyle and environment. So, what’s wrong with our diet? It’s way too much processed food, junk food and fast food. Way too much sugary garbage, artificial processed colors, flavors, additives, preservatives. Soft drinks. Way too much meat, dairy, oils, sugar, salt. All of this stuff is really not natural. I mean you could make a case that meat and dairy is natural, but the high levels of processed sugar and salt, oils and artificial foods – we’re consuming them at unprecedented levels in human history. And our meat and dairy consumption is far in excess of healthy populations around the world. In fact, the populations with the lowest rates of cancer and the longest lifespans…
This is really what’s most important – who’s living the longest. And on every continent, if you look at the isolated pockets of people that have the longest lifespans, they have a lot of things in common. One of them is they eat a diet that’s about 95% plant-based. So they’re not pure vegan, but they eat mostly fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole grains. Food from the earth; unadulterated whole foods. And the animal foods they eat are very minimal, because they have lack of access to animal food. Just think about poor villages in remote parts of the world. The animals they’re eating are not coming from McDonald’s, Wendy’s, KFC. They’re not even coming from the supermarket. They’re coming because they either caught and killed something, which is not happening every day, or because they raised an animal and killed it. And usually when they’re killing an animal they raised, it’s for a feast, and the whole village is enjoying the cow or the goat or the pig. So, in practical terms, they’re only eating animal products a few times a week, like three times a week. Sometimes in some regions it’s like three times a month, versus in the US it’s three times a day. Huge difference there. So that’s the dietary part.
I was reading this book, and I didn’t learn all that from this book, but I learned some really basic stuff that got me excited about changing my life. And I loved the idea of going back to a diet that was just fruits and vegetables from the earth, organic of course, and eliminating everything from my life that could be toxic and disease-promoting. So I turned my life upside down because I wanted to restore my health, and I took full responsibility for it. The problem in the cancer community, of which there are many, but one huge problem is when a patient is diagnosed with cancer, they’re always like, “Doc, why do you think I got cancer? What caused my cancer? I’m too young to have cancer.” Even if they’re 30 or 40 or 50 or whatever. And the doctors almost always say, “We don’t know what caused your cancer, but it might be genetic. Do you have family history?” “Well, yes. So-and-so, my aunt, my uncle, my mom, somebody had cancer.” “Well, that’s probably why you have cancer. It’s genetic, unfortunately.” Or if you say, “No, I don’t have any family history”, they say, “Well, it may just be bad luck. We’re so sorry about that, but we’ll do our best to take care of you and treat you”, and all this kind of stuff.
Allan (19:44): Quick question though. As I look at it, when someone gets into the medical profession, I have to give them some kudos there because they’re not walking an easy path, particularly when they start going to become an oncologist, because they’re stepping into a career field where their success rate is never going to be high enough. They’re always going to be losing patients to cancer and they’re going to be facing some terrible, terrible things. I have to believe they go into this with a noble intention and saying, “I see this young man. I want to help him.” But your doctor’s trying to talk you in a direction, and of course most of the doctors are in the hospital, so they know what you’re eating. Then you ask for advice and they say they can’t give you nutrition advice, is effectively what he was saying. He just said it, in his mind, in a little bit more of a comical way. Why do you feel that we’re trapped in this thing? Why do you feel that doctors get into this thing and then really don’t have the tools?
Chris Wark (21:00): I cover this in great detail in the book, but to try to summarize it quickly – most doctors I think pursue a career in medicine with noble intentions because they want to help someone. Because so-and-so, “My grandmother, my dad, somebody I know died of cancer, and I want to help people.” That’s great. I love that. But medical school is absolutely soul-crushing. Doctors and med students have the highest rates of suicide of any profession, because the current medical system is like a meat grinder. It takes courageous, loving, empathetic, wonderful people that want to serve humanity, and basically like bootcamp destroys their spirits and turns them into compliant, assimilated cogs in a machine. They’re only trained how to do surgery, chemo, radiation – that’s about it for oncology. They’re not trained in nutrition, they’re not trained in lifestyle medicine, they’re not trained in prevention. And because the pharmaceutical industry has such a stranglehold on medicine, they dictate what doctors are taught. So, what happens is a young person goes into med school and it takes them 15 years to get through med school to get their residency, to go into private practice, to build up their practice and start treating patients, before they realize that the treatments they are giving people don’t really work. Most of their patients are not alive. And by that time they’re trapped in a system that pays them really well, that doesn’t work. And when I say “doesn’t work”, it’s not curing most cancers.
I have great empathy and sympathy for physicians. They’re not the bad guys. There are a few bad ones out there, for sure. You’ve got to keep in mind, doctors are just humans, and there are some awful humans in the world. Some of them are doctors. There are awful plumbers, electricians, flight attendants. There are bad people in every profession. But giving them the benefit of the doubt, most doctors are really good people and they want to help, but they’re trapped. They have a very small number of tools at their disposal and they don’t have training in nutrition, prevention, and true healing modalities. They just are trained, “This patient has this type of cancer – this is the drug you give them. This is how many treatments of the drug they get. This is the dose they get based on their body weight. And cross your fingers and hope for the best.” That’s the way it works. And the system is, like I said, a huge machine. Anybody who’s ever been to the doctor knows you sit in a waiting room for an hour or more, and then you go and see the doctor for 15 minutes. I mean, how much can you help somebody in 15 minutes or 20 minutes? They don’t get enough time because of the way the compensation structure is. They don’t have enough time to really dig into your life and help you solve problems and help you get to the root causes of your disease. They’re not even trained how to do that anyway. So, it’s a vastly poorly constructed system. And I say “poorly constructed”. It’s actually constructed very well to make as much money as possible, but the problem is that doctors and patients are suffering under the weight of this really terrible system.
Allan (24:35): Yes. I recently got this review, because I refuse to take statins, and that’s a personal choice. My doctor continually wants me to manage my LDL. I’m looking at other components in my cardiovascular risk. I don’t think that singular number is worth me dealing with the other things that those medications would do to me, so I don’t want to be on those medications. And so, there was a little bit of flak from a reviewer that I was telling people to not take statins, and that was not my intention. My intention was, just understand in my situation as in your situation, there typically is never just one path. If the doctor is pushing you down a singular path that you’ve seen where that leads for a lot of people, just realize there likely are other alternatives out there.
Chris Wark (25:33): Yeah. It’s the only path they know. It’s the only path they’re trained in and it’s the only path they’re allowed to talk about.
Allan (25:41): The standards of care.
Chris Wark (25:43): It’s the standard of care. Physicians risk losing their reputation, risk losing their license to practice medicine if they deviate from the standard of care. Who wrote the standards? The pharmaceutical industry. Cholesterol is a great example, and we can rabbit on this for a minute. The body produces cholesterol, your liver produces cholesterol, but the biggest source of cholesterol in the body doesn’t come from your liver; it comes from our diets. And so, most people have high cholesterol because they’re eating it. They’re eating cholesterol. When you eat cholesterol, it raises your cholesterol. And the only way to eat cholesterol is to eat animals. If you don’t eat any animal food, then your consumption of cholesterol goes to zero, and then the only source of cholesterol in your body comes from your liver.
There have been two landmark studies on advanced heart disease patients. And of course your doctor is not talking about this, but anyone can easily Google this, read the studies. First one was done by Dr. Dean Ornish, and then it was duplicated by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, both MDs. And they both proved that you can take advanced heart disease patients, and reverse the progression of their heart disease, stop their heart disease, prevent future heart attacks, strokes and cardiovascular events, and open their veins back up by putting them on a plant-based diet. And this is a very strict plant-based diet, so it’s no animal food and also no oils. The reason for no oils is because saturated fat also sends signals, triggers the liver to produce cholesterol.
You might try this as a fun experiment, but if you eliminate all animal foods and oils for 30 days – 30 to 90 days, but 30 days minimum – get your blood checked again and look at your cholesterol numbers, you will likely see a significant drop. And the drop will continue for the better part of a year. It’ll keep going down and down and down as your body adapts and starts to self-regulate. Another driver of high cholesterol is heavy metal toxicity – so lead, mercury, cadmium, and arsenic. There’ve been studies that show that when you have high levels of those metals in your body, it triggers the production of cholesterol. So cholesterol is a defense mechanism that your body is producing to protect itself. The more injurious elements, toxic elements circulating in your body on a daily basis, the more your body has to protect itself. So, high cholesterol can also be the result of your body trying to protect you. Just interesting, fascinating kind of rabbit trail stuff, but fun to talk about nonetheless.
Allan (28:37): You made those huge, drastic changes to what you eat and how you manage your environment and those other things. Again, kudos to you for taking that path and putting yourself in that motive of thought, “I am doing this. There’s not another option. I’m not taking this other option.” But in the book, you also talked a lot about mindset and the things you did to basically, for a lack of a better word, positive attitude yourself through this. Can you talk a little bit about some of those mindset changes that you went through to basically have a mindset of health?
Chris Wark (29:20): I call it the “beat cancer” mindset, because cancer is not so much a battle in the body as it is in the mind, and because taking a holistic approach to health is very different than taking a passive approach to cancer treatment. What I was saying earlier about when doctors tell the patients it’s either bad luck or bad genes – that’s some of the most egregious, borderline malpractice advice a doctor can tell a person. What they’ve effectively done is said, “There’s nothing you did to contribute to your disease, therefore there’s nothing you can do to help yourself. We are your only hope.” And what that does is it makes the patient into a powerless victim of disease. It could not be further from the truth. What we have to do is accept responsibility for our health.
So, having a “beat cancer” mindset starts with accepting responsibility for your life, your health and your situation, and that your decisions have led you to where you are today. We all make decisions, those decisions have consequences. Sometimes we make smart decisions and have good things happen, and sometimes we make not so smart decisions and not so good things happen. Sometimes things that happen to us are the result of decisions of others, but most of what happens to us is the result of the decisions we make. There’s an expression: “Everything happens for a reason.” But I like the expanded version of that expression, which is, “Everything happens for a reason, and most of the time the reason is you.” You’re the reason. So, when you start there, you realize, “I’ve got a part to play in my life, in my health, in my disease. I want to take an active role. I want to help my body heal. What can I do to help myself?” And that starts the healing adventure – this process of reeducation on health and nutrition and healing cancer. I went down this deep rabbit hole, trying to figure out who has healed cancer naturally, what do these people do, what are the experts saying, like natural health and wellness experts, cancer healing experts, alternative therapy experts. Who are the players, what are they saying, what do I need to be doing? And I just embarked on this journey of changing my entire life.
The diet was a huge component, but detoxification is huge; removing all the toxic stuff from my home environment – body care products, cleaning products, and cleaning out all that stuff. This was January 2004. Now it’s kind of hip and cool to buy organic body care products, organic cleaning products, non-toxic, environmentally-friendly products. It’s really come a long way in the last 14 years, but back then it was pretty fringe and there were very limited options in terms of non-toxic products and things, and even finding organic food. But I just made a decision I was willing to do whatever it took to get well. And that’s part of the mindset as well: I’m taking responsibility for this and I’m going to do everything in my power to change my life, and I’m not going to make any excuses. I’m going to change my whole life. That meant I was willing to stop eating the food that I liked. I was willing to stop eating cheeseburgers and pizza and drinking Cokes and Dr Pepper. Because my health was more important to me.
There was nothing I was willing to hold on to that was more important than life and health. And I had several people; I had a strong reason to live. Again, it goes back to mindset. Why are you doing what you’re doing? What’s your motivation? For me, it was my wife and my parents. I was a newlywed, been married two years. I’m an only child. So, the idea of my parents and my wife standing at my grave side was so absolutely painful to me, to think about my parents burying their only child, my wife burying me. We’d been together eight years. We dated for six years and we’d been married for two, so we were pretty close. So, those were my reasons to live. I had to organize all this stuff in my head, like, do I want to live? Why? Why do I want to live? And if so, what am I going to do about it? Am I going to cross my fingers and hope for the best, or am I going to take massive action to change my life and help my body heal? And obviously I took massive action. We’ve been conditioned though in our culture to look for the quick fix, the magic bullet, the hack. Biohacking – what a crock.
Allan (34:16): I’m glad you said that, because I thought I might be the only person on earth that actually kind of felt that way.
Chris Wark (34:24): I hope it’s not just us two Allan, really.
Allan (34:30): My book is coming out. I talk about an experiment where you use big rocks, little rocks and sand.
Chris Wark (34:36): Yeah, I know it.
Allan (34:38): Just do the big rocks first. There are so many big rocks in front of us that you don’t have to be worried about the sand right now. That’s not going to help you at this point of your journey. Particularly if you’re dealing with an illness, you need to find that big rock as fast as you can and implement that in your life. You don’t need to be focused on the sand. The big rock is there staring you right in the face and you have to, like you said, take massive action and get that big rock in your jar.
Chris Wark (35:09): That’s awesome. I say something very similar to that often to my group. We have people in a coaching program and I have a large community of people that follow me that I’m trying to constantly encourage and inspire. One of the things that I found myself saying, because I saw these obvious, sort of glaring problems in people’s lives… Or not problems, it was more like stumbling blocks. I don’t even know how I came to this conclusion exactly, but anyway, the expression is, “Don’t let the little things get in the way of the big things.” So many people get caught up in some dumb little detail and they get hung up on it and they can’t take action because they have some kind of confusion or they need an answer on some little quibbling question that just doesn’t matter. Feel free to use that in your book and give me a quote: “Don’t let the little things get in the way of the big things.” You can Google it and make sure no one else said it first. But that’s the truth.
And this thing about hacking, it’s like everybody is looking for a quick fix and a magic bullet. And the medical industry, the pharmaceutical industry and the supplement industry is ready to take advantage of anyone with that mentality. And the truth is, health is not caused by a hack. You can’t hack your way to health. What you have to do is you have to change everything. You have to take massive action. It’s not about, what’s the minimum effective dose? That’s a recipe for failure. Now, having said that, I love it when small changes produce big results, but the reality of it is, massive action produces massive results. Small changes usually produce small results. But if you make enough small changes, they add up to a big result. So all those little changes that I made in my life – removing every toxic thing in my home, replacing my body care products, eating all organic food, cutting out all the junk food, fast food, processed food, all that stuff, exercising every day.
Exercise is so amazing. I mentioned what’s causing and contributing to cancer and what you can do to reverse it. My life’s mission and work is to educate people on this, to help patients take care of themselves and increase their odds of survival and help people that want to prevent it decrease their odds of ever getting cancer. A plant-based diet is a huge part, but exercise is the other big part. It’s this really complicated idea, diet and exercise. But this is the 40+ Fitness podcast. I’m 41 years old. Spoiler alert – I didn’t die. I’m almost 15 years out. My 15 year Cancerversary is in December, and I’m the strongest I’ve ever been in my life. I’m in the best shape, I’m the most fit I’ve ever been, and exercise is the reason. But beyond just being strong and fit, exercise actually flips genetic switches in your body. It flips genes that are anti-cancer genes, cancer-protective genes. It turns them on and it turns cancer-promoting genes off. It doesn’t matter if you inherited some cancer gene. Exercise can keep that gene off – that’s how powerful it is. We know based on numerous studies, which are referenced in the book, you need at least 30 minutes a day, six days a week, up to 60 minutes. So somewhere in that range – 30 to 60 minutes a day of exercise – aerobic exercise, strength training. But get in there, get sweaty, huff and puff, run, walk, do yoga, do karate, rock climbing. Move your body. Sweaty exercise really is the best, because sweating detoxifies your body of heavy metals, namely the big four – mercury, arsenic, cadmium and lead. So, exercise is huge.
The plant-based diet – tons of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables have all these amazing anti-cancer compounds. Americans are only eating one to two servings of fruits and vegetables per day on average, which is terrible. Terrible. It’s abysmal. And when you look at the healthiest populations around the world, they’re eating a minimum of 10 servings per day. That’s actually the new recommended dietary minimum, is 10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. It sounds like a lot and people think 10 servings are 10 meals. A serving is only half a cup. So, a plate of veggies is going to be three or four servings. It’s easy to eat three or four servings of fruits and vegetables.
Allan (40:02): And when you’re eating predominantly plants, from a volume perspective, it feels like it’s more. There’s a lot of water, some fiber in there, and all the good stuff. You look at a serving of broccoli – it is going to look about the same as probably the chicken breast you have sitting there. If the chicken breast wasn’t there, and instead you had quinoa, the broccoli, and some beans or maybe a salad, or just even a big salad – you’re looking at picking up, like you said, three to four servings of those vegetables pretty easily, pretty quickly.
Chris Wark (40:39): Easily. Oatmeal for breakfast, a big salad for lunch, cooked veggies for dinner – rice, beans, potatoes. The good starches that have unfortunately been demonized by so many health gurus and weight loss gurus, that starches are the enemy and you need to eat chicken breast and kale or whatever. But the truth is the healthiest, longest living populations subsist on starches. That’s their staple food. They’re eating about 65% of their calories from carbohydrates – so rice, potatoes, and lots of beans, especially beans.
Allan (41:17): But we’re not talking the instant kind. We’re talking they’re growing them, they’re sprouting them, they’re doing their food the traditional ways. It’s a little different than walking in and buying a box of instant oatmeal or instant oats, and calling that your starch. You do have to look at the quality.
Chris Wark (41:36): Quality matters, absolutely. Organic matters. If you can find it and afford it, organic is best because you’re reducing your exposure to toxic pesticides, especially Roundup glyphosate, which is a probable human carcinogen. There’s a really fascinating study that just came out of France where they followed tens of thousands of people over five years and they found that those who ate an organic diet had a 34% reduced risk of breast cancer – obviously women, and had a 70% to 80% reduced risk of Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas. That’s huge. What does that tell you? That tells you that the pesticides used in non-organic food are causing a percentage of those cancers. There are multiple studies linking lymphomas to pesticides as well.
Allan (42:32): In my next episode, I’m actually talking to a woman that wrote a book called Informed Consent, and she deep dives into that topic as well. So, stay tuned. We’re going to be talking about Roundup in the next episode. Another big, I’m not going to call it a major action, but it was something that came across your path, and you’ve been using this successfully in your wellness journey since you were diagnosed. You’ve been doing some fasting. I know that there’s an aspect of apoptosis that’s called “programmed cell death”. Basically a cancer cell doesn’t know what it’s supposed to be doing other than replicating and it gets really, really good at that. That’s where the cancer is, and that’s the growth factor of it. But fasting can help with that process. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Chris Wark (43:27): Fasting is an amazing practice that we’ve gotten away from. Fasting has been used as a religious practice for centuries. It’s also been sort of involuntary; in other words, cultures where they have food scarcity end up fasting, not by choice, going several days without food at a time. It’s wonderful for your body to go without food, which sounds counterintuitive, right? What we know now is the ideal fast is three to five days on water. When you stop eating, your body goes into repair mode and protection mode, and it starts breaking down all this unused accumulated crap that’s built up in your body. Your cells sort of throw up these force field-like defenses that protect them and they start a process called autophagy, which is where they, again, break down parts of them that are not useful and they burn those things for energy.
It’s like if you were trapped in a cabin in a blizzard, and you only had a fireplace for heat and you ran out of firewood. What would you do? You’d start breaking down the table, the chairs, the cabinets. You’d start burning everything in there that was non-essential to survival. You would burn for heat to survive. You wouldn’t throw your food in the fire. That’s the last thing you’d throw in there. You wouldn’t throw your blankets in there, but you would throw everything else in there. Your cells are doing the same kind of process. Healthy cells are really good at this process, autophagy, but cancer cells are bad at it. So, fasting actually weakens cancer cells. During a fast, old and damaged cells in your body, which are known as senescent cells, die off. And this is good, because you have a lot of cells in your body that are senile, and senile cells, especially senile immune cells are not good at their job anymore. So, imagine an army full of senior citizens. That’s not a good army, right? During a fast, all these old and damaged cells – immune cells are the ones that we’re particularly interested in – die.
Again, you want to fast between three and five days. When you start eating again at the end of the fast, your body ramps up production of new immune cells. It’s called stem cell activation. Fasting triggers stem cell activation and regeneration. So, it produces all of these brand new, young, healthy immune cells that are like the 18, 19, 20-year-old soldiers that are like, “Let me at them!” They’re cancer scavengers. That’s what those cells are doing. There are a lot of different types of immune cells – we won’t go into all that – but the point is, just for simplicity’s sake, fasting regenerates your immune system. So, so, so powerful; and among a lot of other benefits in the body. So yeah, I’m a huge fan of fasting. Juice fasting is wonderful. It doesn’t accomplish quite the same thing; it’s great for weight loss and detoxification. But a pure water fast or the Fasting Mimicking Diet, which is developed by a company called ProLon – those are two of the most powerful things you can do for yourself. And fasting costs you nothing.
Allan (47:15): It’ll actually save you money in food. That’s basically 1/10 of the month, so your food budget just went down by 1/10 and you can afford to buy higher quality food.
Chris Wark (47:26): That’s right. You save three to five days’ worth of groceries. That’s significant for some people. That’s hundreds of dollars.
Allan (47:33): I’m definitely going to be doing some more experimentation with fasting in the coming year. I have to leave you with one last question. I define “wellness” as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
Chris Wark (47:49): That’s good. I like your definition. The big takeaways here, I think… And I hope your audience will read my book because it really goes deep and there’s tons of science in there. But what I think based on the available evidence and research and all these wonderful studies – number one is a plant-based diet. You don’t have to be pure vegan, but if you can cut your animal product consumption… I didn’t get into all the ways that animal protein fuels cancer growth. It’s in the book. But if you can cut it down from three times a day to three times a week, you’re doing a huge favor for yourself. You’re doing yourself so much good. Trust me on this. Number two is going to be exercising 30 to 60 minutes a day. And then the third thing, which I didn’t get to get into, but I know we’ve got a couple of minutes, so I’ll touch on it here – it’s stress.
Stress is a root cause of many diseases. It’s one of those concepts that most people don’t have a great handle on it. They know what stress feels like, but they don’t know what’s causing the stress. They don’t know why they feel stressed. Sometimes they do, but sometimes they don’t, and there’s a lot more to it than they realize. So, stress is a state in the body that is caused by conflict – emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical conflict. To put it very simply, all negative thoughts produce negative emotions, which produce a negative stress response in the body, which is elevated adrenaline and cortisol. When those hormones are elevated, they suppress your immune function and they increase inflammation in the body. And when you have increased inflammation and suppressed immune function, your body is a place where cancer can thrive.
I said earlier at the very beginning, it’s not about killing cancer, beating cancer, fighting cancer. It’s about healing the body and creating an environment where cancer cannot thrive. That involves nutrition, detoxification, and repair and regeneration. Improving your immune function is such a huge part of cancer healing, survival and prevention. So, stress suppresses your immunity. If you have anger, jealousy, envy, prejudice, shame and guilt, if you’re carrying bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness – all these negative thoughts and emotions – if you’re carrying these things through life, what it does is it keeps you in a state of chronic stress. Not to mention work stress, family stress, the problems that come and go in life. It just piles on top of the baggage that you’re already carrying.
I heard a great analogy that I think everyone can understand. If I gave you a five-pound dumbbell and I said to hold it out to your side, just hold it up in the air, and I said, “Is that heavy?” You would say, “No.” If I said we’ll keep holding it; five minutes go by. Is it heavy now? You’d say it’s a little heavy. It’s starting to feel a little heavy now. If you held it for an hour, at some point you’ve got to put it down. It’s too heavy. The weight didn’t change. That’s what bitterness, unforgiveness and all of these negative emotions and thoughts that we’re carrying with us do to us. The longer we hold on to bitterness, the heavier it gets, the more it weighs us down and the more pain it causes us.
I talk about this in great detail in the book, but I want to at least leave your audience with this one thing they can do right now. There’s a lot more you can do to remove stress from your life and you really should make it a priority, but forgiveness is the most powerful stress reducer in your life. The most powerful thing you can do is make a decision to forgive every person who has ever hurt you. That means going back in time and thinking through your life. You have to sit down and focus on this, and let those people come up and let those memories come up. And the painful ones. And one by one, choose to forgive. The way you choose to forgive is pretty simple. Forgiveness is not a feeling. You can still be mad and you can still forgive, even if you’re mad. And you should, because if you’re waiting until you’re not mad, you’re probably waiting a long time. There is an expression: “Time heals all wounds”, and that’s fine, but the longer you wait, the more pain you cause yourself.
So, the way I did it and the way I think everyone should do it is you say, “Okay God, You know what they did. You know how I feel about it. And I’m so mad, but I’m giving it to You. I’m choosing to forgive them and I’m giving it to You. They’re all Yours. You can deal with them. I am not going to carry this. I’m not going to hold it against them anymore.” And we’re doing it by name. Now, I’m not saying, “I forgive everybody” at once. That doesn’t work. You have to forgive John for calling you an idiot or whatever. So, one by one I would give these people to God and just say, “I’m forgiving them. I’m letting it go. They’re all yours. And I’m asking you to bless them.” Which sounds crazy, like, “I don’t want blessing. I want a lightning bolt.” By the way, you’re not being insincere. God knows your heart. He knows you don’t want Him to bless them. He knows, but the fact that you’re asking Him to bless them despite your feelings is so powerful. I’m telling you, it heals your heart. It just opens your heart up to healing like nothing else. Jesus said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Some of the best life advice, period.
Allan (54:16): Absolutely, and thank you for sharing those. Really, thank you for that. If someone wanted to get in touch with you, learn more about your book, Chris Beat Cancer, where would you like for me to send them?
Chris Wark (54:28): It’s easy to find. It’s on Amazon, it’s in Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million. It’s pretty much anywhere books are sold. If you love bookstores and you want to support your local bookstore, I want to encourage you to call up your favorite bookstore and ask them if they have it or ask them to order it for you. They can all get it. But if you don’t care and you want it right now, you can just get on Amazon and have it in two clicks and have it tomorrow. Or download the audio book, which is read by me. Or the e-book or whatever. So it’s pretty easy to get. My site is ChrisBeatCancer.com. The cool thing about the site is I’ve interviewed I guess over 70 people now, who’ve healed all types and stages of cancer. So, it’s an incredible resource of encouragement, inspiration and support that I’ve built over the last eight years. Tons of articles and videos, interviews with doctors and experts and people who’ve healed. It’s just something I am so proud of and excited about, and I feel like it’s doing a lot of good in the world.
Allan (55:30): Good, good. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/355, and I’ll have the links there in the show notes. Chris, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
Chris Wark (55:42): Thanks, Allan. It’s a pleasure. Thank you for having me.
Chris is a pretty inspirational guy and I really enjoyed that conversation with him. The book is excellent. A lot of us are dealing with cancer. I think the last statistic I saw was that pretty much every human being on earth at some point in their life is going to have cancer, a diagnosable cancer, and we talked about that. So this is a very important issue. Chris’s approach, while not down mainstream medicine’s bailiwick for the most part, actually is kind of a message of hope. If you are dealing with cancer or someone in your family is dealing with cancer, I think Chris and what he has to offer are great and you should check him out more. So please do that.
The question I’ve got before I cut out here is, have you got your pre-order on The Wellness Roadmap book yet? What are you waiting for? It’s in Amazon right now. You can go to Amazon and you can search for “Wellness Roadmap” and it’s going to come up first. Good, because now people are in there paying attention to it. So, Amazon sees it and they value it. Last time I tried to search my name on there, it still wants to send me to an audio mixer. Maybe that’s just me. I know Amazon’s pretty smart and probably knows that I’m doing a podcast because I buy all my equipment through them. So, they’re thinking I want a mixer, but I’m not a mixer. It’s not an Allen mixer; it’s Allan Misner. So, I have to tell them “No, not mixer. Yes, I actually meant to search for Allan Misner.”
So, if you type in “Allan Misner” and don’t see the book – go ahead… And even if you put “book”, it’s going to put books about mixers, which is bizarre. But anyway, you go in and you can type in my name, Allan Misner, and then actually click on “Allan Misner” and it’ll take you to the book. You can pre-order the ebook right now at an insanely low price. It’s actually the lowest price that Amazon will let me offer the book. I cannot offer it for free at this point. So $0.99 is as low as I can offer it.
It’s probably going to be different in different markets. I know I was hearing from India and the UK that they couldn’t actually pre-order it yet, and I’m sorry. That’s Amazon being Amazon. We’ve done everything on our side to make sure that the book was available, but I guess that’s just their way. It’ll be available December 4th, I think for everybody else. So please do go out, get a copy of the book. I really do think if you enjoy what we’re doing on this podcast, you’re going to love this book.
And please, once you get it, when you’ve had an opportunity to look at it, go give me an honest rating and review. Amazon is that weird, weird one. When I say Apple really cares about reviews, and Google really cares about reviews – Amazon will not show my book for much longer if they don’t see these ratings and reviews. If you’ve been on Amazon, you go to buy a book, you look at a book, you see people who bought this book also bought that book, or people who liked this book also liked that book. That algorithm, that whole recommendation thing – that is all based on those ratings and reviews that you do. So please, please, please, if you enjoy the book, go out and give me an honest rating and review. That’s really going to help boost this book and let me help as many people as possible. Thank you for that.
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You have enough. Our guest today is cofounder of Seven Stones Leadership Group and a leading organizational consultant, executive coach, speaker, author, and artist. With no further ado, here’s Gina LaRoche.
Allan (1:00): Gina, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
Gina LaRoche (1:05): Thank you, Allan.
Allan (1:08): The book we’re going to talk about today is called The 7 Laws of Enough. When I got into the book, I was thinking, I’ve lived most of my whole life trying to get more – wanting to be the football star and the baseball star and the track star, and doing as much as I could possibly do in there, and then shifting my emphasis to something else. And then when I got into my career, I was completely singularly focused on more, bigger, better. And that stopped serving me. I just have started making the choices in the last year – some not by my choice, but others definitely by my choice once things started rolling, of what it felt like to let that stuff go. The peace that it’s brought me and the joy that it’s bringing me to not have to worry about stuff.
Gina LaRoche (2:10): Yeah.
Allan (2:11): So I think there’s a lot of power in that word, “enough”.
Gina LaRoche (2:18): Yes. It sounds to me that you’ve taken this journey, what we call from the “scarcity story” to the “story of enough” on your own. And you’re not the only; many folks we’ve come across have been on this journey, whether they use the exact same language as we do or not. And I think we can surprise ourselves when we get to the other side that we find this joy or peace, contentment that we didn’t even know was missing in our lives.
Allan (2:53): You called the book The 7 Laws of Enough. Do you mind going through those seven laws and briefly describing each one?
Gina LaRoche (3:02): Sure. First I’ll say the book does start with a chapter about scarcity, so we understand where we’re coming from. And the laws are this bridge from the story of scarcity to the story of enough. And the seven laws are as follows. Law number one is, “Stories matter”. Essentially we are all shaped by the stories of who we are, where we’ve come from, and where we’re going. And these stories arise from the neighborhoods we grew up in, the religion we’ve practiced or not practiced, the countries we were born in. These shape our context, and we like to say that context is decisive. So that’s law number one, is to really understand the power of those stories. Law number two is, “I am enough”. And the truth is, Allan, you are enough and you do enough and you have enough. I know that you are enough, do enough and have enough because I’m constantly with clients and friends who are so busy that they don’t even have time to have a phone call with me. And if you’re an American, living in this country, even if you are one of the resource-poor Americans living in this country, you have more than most people do in the rest of the planet. Law number three is, “I belong”. And I like to say you belong, period, full stop; regardless of the stories you tell yourself and regardless of the stories of where you come from. So we have, again, those stories that have shaped us as children, could have this belief that we don’t belong. Either we don’t belong because of our gender or our race or our economic status. We believe that. And what we’re saying in this book is, that is not true. Law number four is, “No one is exempt”. Essentially we cannot insulate ourselves from life’s ups and downs. The key to this law is that there is freedom when we stop trying. Law number five is, “Resting is required”. Resting deeply in ourselves allows us to remember really the truth of the rest of the laws. Finding a place in our nervous system for rest and relaxation changes our experience of life. Law number six – you actually referred to it in sharing your story about your journey. Law six is, “Joy is available.” This law reminds us, me in particular, to lighten up and not take things too seriously. There’s a peace, a contentment that we’ve discussed available. That leads us to law number seven, and often times, Allan, I will say it’s really the only law. And that is, “Love is the answer”. So those are the seven laws.
Allan (6:21): I like every single one of them. A few of them are a little bit more top on my list, but in a general sense, as I go through those, I’m kind of struck with this. It’s almost un-American. I don’t mean that in a bad way, but the American dream. The American dream is that you’re working towards that C-Suite. I tell folks that I worked towards the C-Suite, I made it to the C-Suite. And when I got there and I started looking around, I quickly realized that I had left some of the most important things behind. And it was joy and happiness.
Gina LaRoche (7:01): What I would say is, the American dream is at what cost? Not only at what cost to you personally, for your family and professionally, but also at what cost for our society and for our world? So we could hit that on a number of levels, but there’s usually a cost associated with our dreams; all dreams, not just the C-Suite dreams, that we don’t notice sometimes that there is a cost. Or when we see someone, when we compare ourselves to someone who quote, unquote has “made it”, “had it” – we don’t necessarily see what they’ve lost and the costs that they gave up to “arrive” – and I’m using quotations – to wherever they are. But there’s always a cost.
Allan (7:53): How does someone go through, for lack of better words… I’m an accountant by trade, so I’m going to use words that come out in my head – that cost-benefit of, “What I really need to do is find that level, that enough.” What is enough and how do I do the cost-benefit to balance that out?
Gina LaRoche (8:18): It’s interesting. I think that “enough’s” definition is incredibly personal. But if you’re in a relationship or in a family, it’s also a family conversation, and potentially a community conversation. I think if we were willing to have a national conversation and an international conversation, that would be interesting, but let’s just start with the personal. We say that enough is a declaration, it’s a possibility, it’s a truth, it’s an experience. It’s not a single right definition, it’s not necessarily a number even. And it might be a number – you might decide that four pairs of shoes is enough. You might decide that 500 square foot per person a house is enough. And it might be more of a personal definition, like what’s enough dinner. What’s enough dinner for me is not going to be the same as what’s enough dinner for you. So how I think of it is this “enough” line, because what I’ve seen in my life is that I’ve drawn a really narrow line, and then I was constantly crossing over from “not enough” to “too much”. There was this thin place to stand on “enough”. And I joke that I would rather have too much to eat and have too much dinner than have not enough dinner. But there was never this concept of what’s enough dinner. I think “enough” is personal and maybe even a spiritual conversation for some of us.
Allan (10:04): Initially I struggled with my journey and I was trying to flip things around, because I was – the way I call it – the fat bastard. I wasn’t happy and I wasn’t a nice person, because I was constantly fighting with myself. It wasn’t wanting what the Joneses had. It was more of scoring a higher score next year than I scored this year. I remember this point succinctly, and I’ve never told anyone this story before so I’m getting a little out there on this one. But I was breaking up with a girlfriend that I had had for a while, and it was a very toxic relationship. And I hired a mover friend. He and I connected straight away because he had moved me into this house and now I was asking him to move my stuff out and take it back to where I had come from. But he knew I wasn’t going there. He knew she was taking the stuff because I had just told her, “Look, you take what you need. I don’t want any of it. I don’t need any of it.” I said, “You pick what you need and you take it with you.” And she pretty much took it all. So he called me because he’s flagging everything that they’re going to load in the truck and he’s like, “Are you sure about this? Because she’s pretty much taking everything.” He said, “The only thing she’s not taking is your motorcycle.” And I said, “Yeah, that’s probably about right.” If she had said she wanted that, that was off the list. But I told him, “You’re basically removing a cage and you’re setting me free. Because it’s too much.” It was odd to have 1,500 square foot worth of furniture in a 5,100 square foot house, but I had it. I literally didn’t buy light bulbs. I just took light bulbs from the other rooms when I needed a light bulb, until I got to the point where I realized I now have to actually buy light bulbs because I don’t have light in any other part of the house but the part that I’m actually using. Then I was like, “I just need to sell this place because it’s too much.” It was not an easy transition for me to do that, but once I started doing it, it just felt so right.
Gina LaRoche (12:39): That story is so rich, with so many ways I could go. My one thought is, this a simple journey but not an easy one. Simple in that if you follow your own intuition and needs, it’s all we’re really saying. And it’s not easy because society is telling us to keep score, to track, to hit the C-Suite or whatever it is in our industry. Your journey was, I assume, a downsizing, moving from the larger house to something smaller, and for some people it might be moving from a smaller house to a larger house, because that’s enough. I lived in a very small cottage when my children were young, and then I realized I was going to have essentially three men over six feet tall living with me and I thought we probably could use a little bigger space and more than one bathroom. We moved to a bigger place, and then the children left and now my husband and I are in a smaller place. So we’re kind of expanding and contracting with the needs and what’s enough in the moment. The other thing about your story, which I want to highlight is this “keeping score”. We like to keep score. We like to play sports, we like to keep score, whether it’s with ourselves or with others. One of our dear colleagues, Alan Rosenblith, who made the movie called The Money Fix – he said to us this phrase: “We measure what we treasure and we treasure what we measure.” What I like to offer to my clients and I’ll offer to you and your listeners, is if you want to know where your values lie, where you may have too much or not enough, look at what you are measuring. Like you said, you were having this internal score card that you were kind of beating yourself with, and that wasn’t serving you. And I love that phrase, we use that phrase too – “It wasn’t serving you.” And so, you made some important shifts in your life.
Allan (15:04): I think that’s where I went off-kilter early in my life. I was sort of raised in a scarce situation. We never had everything we wanted. We had everything we needed. But once I got set off on my own, I had this drive to get out of what I felt was scarcity. And then I lost the balance when I got into excess. It took me a while to turn that around and recognize that I don’t have to always have more. Sometimes having less feels good; and getting that balance. So, when we’re looking at this scarcity mindset which you alluded to earlier, and then this, I’m going to call it a “drive” towards excess that I think a lot of us have, it takes us away from the joy and what we can have in our lives in other ways, typically. I worked the hours, I moved wherever the job took me. I’ve lived in 13 different states and I haven’t lived in the same state my daughter lives in since, I would say, ‘95. Since she was three, I’ve lived in a different state. And those are choices that I look back on now and wish I could take back in a sense. I know that those lessons were valuable to me for a lot of other reasons and I shouldn’t want that. But how does someone balance that scarcity and excess story that we’re telling ourselves?
Gina LaRoche (16:41): First I just want to say that you did grow up in scarcity in your childhood because you grew up in America. And America’s story is a story of scarcity. I do feel like we have a societal story, that there’s not enough, and that we need to manifest our own destiny by ourselves with no one helping us to achieve, quote, “the great American dream”. You drink that story in from the time you were born, and I know you drink that story in because there are statistics that a two-year-old knows more than 200 different brand logos and icons, and the two-year-old can’t even read. That’s what I mean by “we’re drinking in the scarcity story”, even if we know it or not. One of my mentors and the person who introduced me to this conversation would say to all of us that we are swimming in a sea of scarcity and we don’t even know it. I think what you’ve also talked about, we call the “myth”. Lynne Twist is another colleague and mentor of ours who wrote this book called The Soul of Money, where she distinguished the toxic myths of scarcity. You’ve actually touched on them, Allan. The first is that there is not enough. There are not enough C-Suite jobs. There are so not enough jobs that you moved to 13 different states, right?
Allan (18:12): Yeah.
Gina LaRoche (18:12): Myth number two: “More is better.” More is always better, and quite frankly more money is always, always, always, always, always, always better. Her myth number three is, “That’s just the way it is.” I don’t want to project onto you, but I’m sure at one point you were like, “Well, this is how life is. I got a promotion, I have to move to this next city to get the next job, because I need to get to the C-Suite because that’s what I’m supposed to do. That’s just how the way life is.”
Allan (18:45): Yeah. I remember sitting in California, and I got the promotion. They were initially putting the job out there saying it’ll either be in California or in Massachusetts; they were not sure yet. They made the offer and I said, “Is there any chance this job’s going to stay here in California?” And they’re like, “No, you’re going to Massachusetts.” And I’m like, “I don’t really want to go to Massachusetts, but it’s a 30% increase in pay.”
Gina LaRoche (19:10): And that’s just the way it is.
Allan (19:12): Who says “No” to that?
Gina LaRoche (19:14): That’s right. And the flip side of the myths of scarcity, Jen and I distinguish in the book, is these myths of excess. And you’ve talked about it so beautifully. It’s this flip flopping, I think we all do it. And the myths of excess – number one is, “You can have it all.” Particularly it’s a Western philosophy, where we deserve it all, we’re allowed to have it all. Number two: “Having it all will make you happy.” This myth of excess is my favorite one. Number three: “If you do not have it all or you are not happy, it is your fault. There’s something wrong with you.” I think we all flip flop from scarcity to excess like that. I wrote the book with Jen really to have the seven laws be a bridge to this life, Allan, that you’ve described – this life of peace, of contentment, this life of enough. Unfortunately there isn’t a magic pill that I can give you for you to know what that’s going to look like for yourself. All of us need to experiment, be an inquiry, practice, to see what is right for us. By the way, the vicissitudes of life are going to be hitting us at the same time. I’ll give you an example. My husband just got a new job. On the day he got offered a new job, his father was hospitalized. That happens to all of us – the joy and sorrow. We can’t fight against that; we have to embrace that. That’s really law number four. So that’s what I would say – this pathway is through these laws. And you said some laws resonate with you, and others less so. I have found that there are people who will come up to me and say, “Law number three. I just care about law number three.” And I have other people who say, “Law number five. You wrote law number five for me.” And the truth is, all of those seven laws we have worked with ourselves and our clients, and at different points in my own life have the laws been more or less pertinent, depending on what was happening, as the winds of change were coming toward me.
Allan (21:54): That’s exactly how I would put it. Where I am in my journey today, some of the laws really, truly resonate with me. Some of them I don’t know that I fully need to embrace that or use that today. It’s a great tool. Another great tool that you had in the book, and this was probably one of my favorite ones – you call it “future to future”. It’s a future story. I guess the reason I put it in my head was, if you tell yourself what you want your future to be…. So we’ve told ourselves this story of who we are and being in this scarce world, but if we tell ourselves what we actually want our future to be, in my mind it does a couple of different things. One is, it sets what this future looks like. And then it tells you it’s a story. So you don’t just get it; you have some things that are going to happen. And more than likely, like all stories, there are going to be those ups and downs and the things that happen to get you to that. But I think that’s a very powerful tool. Can you explain how you put that together and how someone can make that work for themselves?
Gina LaRoche (23:04): Yeah, absolutely. First of all, the declaration of “I am enough.” The law of “I am enough” is a declaration. That “enough story” of “How do I get to enough?” can be created, and the key tool to creation is through language. I see us creating the future from the future as a powerful declaration of where we want to be. And we make bold declarations all the time. When you get married and say the words “I do.” Marriage only existed in the language of “I do.” Before you said “I do”, you weren’t married. You said the words “I do”, and then you were married. That’s how powerful language is, and so we’ve really encouraged our clients and the reader to use that power of declaration and language to create this future, whether it’s a future of enough or a future you want to live into. And how I would do that exercise is I would encourage you to sit down and pretend maybe it’s next November, 2019, and you’re sitting at a coffee shop with me or you or someone that you know. And you describe what has happened in your life like it’s already happened. So, if you wanted to train for a sprint triathlon and you’re thinking in 2019 you want to do a sprint triathlon, how you do this exercise is you would sit down and say, “I’ve completed the sprint triathlon in June. I was satisfied with my time, really happy with how I trained, and felt pride when I crossed the finish line and so-and-so was there to greet me.” So you would write that like it’s already happened. And then obviously once you write how you see your life, then you line up your actions and commitments to fulfill on that. So then you say, “If I want to complete a sprint triathlon in June, that means I have to register for that in February. That means I’m going to have to start training and, I don’t know…
Allan (25:35): Learn how to swim.
Gina LaRoche (25:37): Learn how to swim, join a pool. I do happen to live in Massachusetts, so I need an indoor bike trainer or I’m going to join the gym. You’ll start to line up the actions, but not from this place of obligation, but from a place of creation. It’s an exercise we use. It’s the first thing we do with every client that walks in the door. And I often do it with family members, often big corporations. I’ll look 10 years out. But that practice using language to create the future like it’s already happened, is very powerful.
Allan (26:21): It is. I practice something similar to that with my clients. It’s interesting you say the “I do”, because we do take it to the point of a verbal vow, where we say, “Where do you want to be? What does your vision look like?” And once you have that vision in your head, “Why do you want to be there? Why is this important to you?” It might be not just that you want to complete the sprint triathlon, but that you want to do it with your daughter. Your daughter wants to do the race, the race is in June, and you want to be able to do the race with her. That was a lot about my journey, was setting that intention, visualizing what that looks like, what that’s going to be, and then the actions that need to happen between then and there. I didn’t articulate it exactly the way you guys did in the book, but it’s a very similar approach. That’s why I think it resonated with me so well.
Gina LaRoche (27:20): And remember, again, even though it’s a great goal, it will cost you something. You might not be able to go drinking with your buddies, or you might not be able to go on a vacation you wanted to go on. If you’re really committed to this future, you might have to do things that you wanted to do. And that’s okay, but just notice it.
Allan (27:42): Yes. I think that’s another critical point here, because if you have habits that aren’t serving that vision, that future self with the story, you’re going to have to eliminate those habits and potentially encourage new ones. You do talk about that in the book – the three elements of breaking old habits and crafting new ones. Could you go through those three elements?
Gina LaRoche (28:07): Yeah, sure. We’re very big proponents of practice. Just FYI, in each chapter of the book we’ve got several practices. Not to say you have to do them all, but really for the reader to pick and choose what would serve them in the moment. The three elements to breaking old habits are awareness – number one; two – unwinding; and three is capacity-building. So, awareness is noticing that you have a habit. For us, tracking and sensations, thoughts, images that arise in our day-to-day life that we might not even be aware of. And the way to notice is through self-reflection and inquiry. What I always say is ask the people who see you the most of what you might not be aware of. If you went that direction, it can be as simple as, “I’m noticing I’m stuck in this domain in my life. Have you noticed that?” You’re asking your husband or your daughter, “Have you noticed that I’m stuck?” “Yeah, I have noticed you’re stuck.” “What do you see?” “Well, I see that you eat nachos every night. That’s why you haven’t lost weight.” “Oh, I didn’t notice I was snacking.”
Allan (29:37): Or you think, “I’m forgetful.” It’s one of the things I tell people. I found that if I didn’t pack my gym bag the night before – and I used to go to the gym at lunch time – I invariably would get into my gym bag to change clothes and realize I forgot my shorts, and another day I forgot my shoes or socks. I’m not going to wear my black work socks with shorts and tennis shoes; that would look hilarious. I’ll be that guy. I don’t know if I was mentally sabotaging myself by being forgetful. But I didn’t want to say, “Maybe I’m just forgetful. I want to use that as an excuse.” So my self-awareness was, I need to put a strategy in place to make sure that doesn’t happen. So I packed my bag the night before. I’d do a full inventory and I’d leave it at the front door so I would have to trip over it to actually walk out the door to get in my car.
Gina LaRoche (30:38): Right. And some people would say, maybe you even have a checklist, that inventory checklist. So you say, “The shorts, the socks.” And you are basically checking it off. I remember I had this issue a long time ago – mine was leaving the bag. So, I would go out and put the bag in the trunk of the car the night before, because putting it by the door wasn’t even enough for me. But those strategies really help.
The second element to breaking old habits is unwinding and interrupting the behaviors. And that’s what you were doing – you interrupted your normal behavior of just getting up and shoving things in the bag on your way out the door. You interrupted that. What I offer to people, if you want to start a new habit or interrupt a habit, is tie it to a habit that you already are strong. For example, I like to teach people to bring mindfulness and meditation practice into their lives. One of the things I do is I attach that to a habit they have. So if they’re going to meditate at work, I might say, “You get to work, you park the car, and you take the key out of the car. Between the time you take the key out of the car and the time you open the door, sit and breathe, and do three or four conscious breaths.” Or if they have an office, I might say, “Go into your office, but between the door of the office and the computer, put your bag down, sit on the couch, set your timer for five minutes.” So I like to put habits in, I call it a sandwich. Put the new habit in between two habits you’re already really good at. And that’s what you’ve done. You were good at going to the gym, and you had a nighttime routine. So you put this habit of packing your bag like a sandwich in between of your nighttime routine and getting to the gym.
Allan (32:37): Yeah.
Gina LaRoche (32:38): Does that make sense?
Allan (32:39): Yes, it does.
Gina LaRoche (32:41): And then finally it’s capacity-building. And you might need to hire somebody to help you to do the capacity-building. This is more if you really wanted to create a habit of fitness and wellness. Let’s say you were really good at cardio, but you were horrible at strength training. So you were aware, you scheduled the strength training in your calendar and you actually were going, but the truth is, you really don’t know enough about strength training. You might have to hire someone to build the capacity to do that strength training. And that could be a one-time session or for a week or a month, or you might hire someone to work with you over time. But it really takes patience and repetition to produce those lasting results. The capacity-building could also be a buddy. You don’t have to hire someone, but it could also be a buddy, like you meet somebody and you work with them.
Allan (33:49): There is a level of accountability and trust that happens when you either have a workout buddy or you hire a trainer. There were points in time where I knew I wanted to accelerate in one fitness modality or another. When I get in those moments, I’m like, “I’m going to go faster, smarter, and I’m not going to be self-limiting if I hire a coach.” There have been periods where I didn’t need a coach to tell me how to do what I was going to do, but it was really good for me to have that person there.
Gina LaRoche (34:22): Exactly. I’ll use an example from my own life. I started going to yoga. People were doing yoga practice, I went to yoga. I moved and I actually went to a yoga studio. And about two years in, the yoga teacher would be correcting me and saying things. I was like, “Why don’t I hire the yoga teacher for a couple of private one-on-one yoga sessions?” It wasn’t forever, but I realized that I had this interest in this domain of yoga. I was going to it. And I never really had someone take the opportunity to fit it to my body, my shape, my moves, and do some correction and to build my capacity to be a yogi. That was a desire of mine. Actually now I don’t even go to a yoga studio, and at some point in time I’ll probably pick that back up again, and maybe I’ll hire someone else and maybe I won’t. But this is back to how you started our call. It’s like, what is serving you in this moment of your life?
Allan (35:30): Yes. Now, I define “wellness” as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
Gina LaRoche (35:42): Allan, it’s an interesting question. I think I’m going to go a little esoteric on you. I think the first is actually to declare that you deserve to be well. I am a mother, a wife, a business partner, sister, daughter, granddaughter, etcetera. And notice that I often sacrifice my wellness to care for the people I love. I don’t know if it’s mostly in the domain of women, but I know a lot of women who do that. They will sacrifice their own wellbeing for others. So, I would say first just to declare that you deserve it. And then actually investigate what works for you. I notice a lot of times people say, I” don’t like to go to the gym” or, “I don’t like to run” or, “I hate this.” If you hate it, why are you doing it? If wellness includes movement or healthy eating or sleeping – define it for yourself and don’t leave things out. To me wellness also includes intimacy, sleeping, water intake. Start small as you figure out where to go. I never tell my clients to go work out; all I offer for them is, “Maybe you can move.” And movement could be dancing, it could be yoga, Nia, running, walking, biking, it could be an elliptical. Move your body and find out what you love. And then third is what we already talked about. It’s build the capacity slowly, with right action and a support network. I don’t believe any of us are self-made, and we can’t do it alone. Community is really important. So, declare you deserve it, figure out what works for you, and then do it with right action and support.
Allan (37:52): I really, really like those. Gina, if someone wanted to learn more about you and Jen and the book The 7 Laws of Enough, where would you like for me to send them?
Gina LaRoche (38:04): Great. You can come to our website, SevenStonesLeadership.com. We have a scarcity assessment on there, so you can see where you are. And we also have Seven Stones Leadership Instagram and Facebook.
Allan (38:17): Okay. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/354, and I’ll be sure to have the links there. Gina, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
Gina LaRoche (38:30): Allan, you’re welcome. It was my pleasure.
Allan (38:37): I imagine at this point you have no doubt whatsoever that Gina’s message really does resonate with me. We’re going through some things here in the Misner household, with my wife effectively retiring, and we’re going to move down to Panama soon. We’re probably about two, three weeks away from putting our house on the market. We’ve been in the process of selling a lot of our stuff, and it actually feels great. I mean, she can put her car in the garage. How crazy is that? Yeah, we’re those folks. And I still have my gym, so that’s win-win for us.
But anyway, as we look at what “enough” means for us, we’re getting into the season of Thanksgiving. That’s part of the reason why I was really happy to be able to bring Gina on now to talk about The 7 Laws of Enough. We’re fast approaching that time of year, at least in the United States, where we do the Black Friday sales and people are buying gifts for themselves and for others. It’s this very big commercial season. In fact, most commercial brands make or break their season in the next six weeks or so. And so, as you go into this year’s season, I really want you to think about going into it with more of an aspect of gratitude and experiences. I know there are going to be people in your life that need a new TV, or a new blender, or this new doodad or the new iPhone. I get that; I’m not poo-pooing that at all. But really, start doing a little bit of mindfulness and gratitude and thinking about how you can make this season of commercial, a little less commercial and a little more personal. It’s our personal relationships that are a big part of the longevity formula. If you read The Blue Zones and The Longevity Plan and some of the other books that are out there that have really done the deep dive studies into why people live a long time, particularly to become centenarians, it’s because they have connection, it’s because they have these things. It’s not because they have the new iPhone or the newest video game. I know that’s something that’s out there, I know it’s something we do. But really, use this season as a time for reflection of how you have what you have and that you’re very happy to have it. I know that’s what I’m doing. Selling my stuff is kind of freeing and I’m feeling really good about it. I’m feeling really good about this move. Our house is going to go on the market and that’s going to be another thing that’s not there for us to worry about. And that’s a huge, huge stress reduction from us.
So, as you’re thinking about this season, think about your health, think about your wellness. And if you need a guide to help you, there’s no better time than right now to go out and buy The Wellness Roadmap, because I do talk about some of these things, particularly during the Tactics portion of the book. I strongly encourage you to go out and buy it. If you have a Kindle, you can pre-order it right now for $0.99, and all I ask is that you leave a rating and review when it’s available. The book goes live December 4th, and it’s my goal and I’m working very hard towards that goal of having the paperback, hardbound, e-book, and the audio book all available for that December 4th launch. I’m doing my best with that. Immediately, as soon as I know that I’ve gotten all my ducks in a row with Amazon, I’ll be turning around and trying to make this available on some of the other e-readers and audio book vendors. So, bear with me. It may not be available on Apple Books. It’ll be on Audible, but there are going to be probably some places where you get audio books or e-books that it might not be there. Please bear with me. Send me an email – email@example.com. Let me know if there’s a particular e-reader or audio book vendor that you use. If you want to go help me do a little bit of research and getting some of this stuff done, that’d be great too. I’m working towards getting that done. I’m finding some vendors that help do that stuff as well. So, I’m doing my research, but I’ve got to get it all in a row with the Amazon platform first, because that’s the big gorilla in the room. Once I get them settled and I know that everything’s in place there, I’ll be shifting. So, if there’s a particular source you need it from, please let me know and I’ll do my very, very best to get it there for you. I really do appreciate you being a part of the 40+ Fitness podcast. I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t know I was reaching you and helping you, so thank you for that.
That’s my gratitude going into this season, is you. You listen to this podcast and I can’t say “Thank you” enough for that time, for you giving that time to me, because I know that your time is the most valuable asset you have. For you to spend that with me, it really does mean a lot to me. So, whether you’re from the United States or not, have a Happy Thanksgiving or a thankful period of time, at least for the next week or so. Try to avoid the commercialism and use this time of year for more connection and more personal involvement with the lives of others. You’re going to feel a lot better by doing so. Thank you.
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I entitled today’s show “Breaking a Weight Loss Plateau”, but the lessons that I’m going to teach you today can actually be used for any plateau that you’re on, whether it’s a plateau on strength, on mass-building, on losing weight, or even a plateau on improving your diet, because every one of those things ends up in a plateau. I use an acronym called POPP, and I’m going to discuss that and show you how each element of POPP will help you pop your plateau. Let’s first start out with why we end up in plateaus.
It’s one of those things where we’ll start a diet, we’ll change some things and almost immediately we’ll see some reward, some benefit from making that change. I know when I cycle back into ketosis, literally I could lose six pounds overnight. It happens time and time again. If I’m a little bloated, a little inflamed, haven’t been taking care of myself or eating as well as I need to, I start that low-carb, and the next day the weight just washes out of me. I know a lot of that’s water. I have the head to know what’s actual fat loss and what’s just water loss. So I’m not getting all crazy about it, but there is going to be a point, even when you’re doing ketosis, where you are going to plateau. I know a lot of people think, “I’m losing 15 pounds a month. I want to stay in ketosis, but if I keep losing 15 pounds a month, I’m going to dwindle down to nothing.” That’s never going to happen, because your body is really, really smart. It does this thing called “homeostasis”.
Homeostasis is basically balance. It’s a fancy word that scientists like to use and it just means they balance out. So, you’ve gotten your body used to eating a certain amount of food or a certain type of food. Your body has adapted. It’s been using body fat for a while, but then it says, “We’re in a long-term bit of famine here. We’re not getting as many calories as we’re burning. We’re getting some great fat and we’re feeling full. Things are good, the nutrition is great. I don’t need anymore, so I’m not going to be hungry just for the sake of being hungry.” And then your body says, “Let’s stop shedding this body fat, because we kind of like it. We’re going to stay here.”
That’s what I call your body’s “happy weight”. It’s not your happy weight necessarily, but your body is happy with it. So, how do we break this weight loss plateau, or any plateau? That’s where the acronym POPP comes in. So POPP stands for Patience, Other measures, Persistence, and Progression. And I’m going to take a few minutes here to unwrap what each of those means and how you can use each of these and all of these to help you break this plateau.
The first one is patience. You knew this was coming. I’ve taught you already that homeostasis is just something that’s going to happen. It’s going to be there. So, just know that the journey to wellness is ever going. It’s your entire life. You’re always going to be in this mode. The first thing I hope that you haven’t done is that you haven’t looked at this whole process as temporary, as, “I’m going to go on a diet, and then I’m done.” Really to take care of your health for the long term, to include weight loss, which is really a side effect of living a healthy lifestyle.
That’s exactly what you want to do – you want to make it a lifestyle. Is this a way that you can live your life going forward? So, with the patience aspect of this, start exploring the things that are serving you and what are the things that maybe aren’t serving you. This is truly a good lifestyle that you want to maintain. As long as you’re maintaining a healthy lifestyle, then you use patience to say, “I know this is working. I know that I’m doing the right things for my body. If my body is at its happy weight at this point, maybe for the time being I need to be happy with that and accept that this is a long-term process. And over time I’ll probably see some progress, but I’m not going to see it at the rate I was perhaps expecting to.”
So, patience comes in regardless of how you look at plateaus, regardless of what you want to do about a plateau. You just have to recognize you’re going to have one now, you’ll probably have another one later, and another one after that, and another one after that. Before you get to your happy weight, your body’s going to find several of its own set points, its own happy weight, so just recognize this is a part of the game, a part of life. Make your eating choices, your workouts and everything you’re doing – make it lifestyle, make it sustainable for the long term, and you’ll see the benefits over time.
Now, that takes us to other measures. If I am looking at taking care of my health, then I’m going to see improvements elsewhere. So, maybe my skin looks a lot better, maybe your hair looks a lot healthier. Maybe some things that were happening to you before – you maybe had some eczema or irritable bowel problems, other things going on in your life that were making you uncomfortable and unhappy – and now because you’ve made a lifestyle change, you’re starting to feel a lot better there.
Maybe your waist size is going down. If you have a waist size over 40, that’s a strong, strong, strong indicator, direct correlation that you probably are at risk of cardiovascular disease. If you continue to see your waist get smaller, you’re onto the right track. A lot of women will tell me they get into this whole thing, they want to lose weight because they know if they lose 25 pounds, they’ll be able to fit in that dress that’s two sizes smaller.
But sometimes they’re not losing the weight. How are your clothes fitting? They’re fitting better. Okay, you’re getting smaller.
So, you can fit in that dress. Maybe the weight you thought you needed to be isn’t the weight you need to be, because now you’re shedding fat and maybe putting on a little bit of muscle, or maybe now you’re fully hydrated and before you were dehydrated. So, we’re not dehydrated; we’re in a healthy state. We’re seeing a lot of other markers, other health measures, other things going great for us. Turning your focus away from the weight and focusing on these other measures – my waist size getting smaller, my skin looking good, getting good night’s sleep, and maybe I’m not having problems going to the bathroom. All of those things matter. They add to the quality of our life.
Focusing a little bit more on these other health measures that are going your way will let you know that you’re on the right track. That goes back to patience. That’s going to feed your patience, because it’s going to say, “It’s working. I can’t get tied up on what that scale is saying to me right now. If my body’s at a happy weight, but other things are going good for me, I need to take that and accept that and understand this lifestyle is working. So I need to stick with it.”
The next one is persistence, and that’s the “stick with it” part. Sometimes it’s very easy to sit there and say, “This isn’t going to work. It stopped. I’ve lost it.” And many people do. They get frustrated and they regress. So, the persistence aspect of this is to keep going. It’s to not let yourself get deflated that things aren’t going exactly the way you want them to. It’s continuing to do your batch cooking on Sundays, it’s continuing to do your 30 minute walks each morning.
Maybe it’s continuing to keep your sugars as low as you possibly can and making sure that you’re drinking plenty of water. All of these healthy lifestyle changes that you’ve made that are now habits – you just need to be persistent and keep doing them, because they are working. If you’re looking at these other measures and you’re seeing improvement from where you were – that’s work. That’s good stuff. That’s what a healthy lifestyle will do for you, so keep persistently pursuing good health, wellness. Wellness is health, fitness and happiness. So, be looking for joy, be looking for the things that are going to help you. That’s the persistence of constantly taking this and going and moving and doing. Stay persistent in the battle, because it’s working.
And then the final P is progression. We talk about progression a lot when we’re looking at training, exercise, because we say, “I’m going to add an extra five pounds to my squat” or, “I’m going to add an extra 15 minutes to my walk” or, “I’m going to try to run a little bit faster, so my progression is to try to increase my speed.” All of these different progressions basically mean you’re adding a little bit more effort. Typically in training, like I said, it works out as volume. The way we explain it as trainers is your training volume increases, either because you’re working out longer, you’re adding more training sessions, or you’re adding more weight.
Whatever’s making that resistance harder, you’re doing more of that. So, progression is the adding more, and it needs to be done gradually. If you’re doing gradual progression on all the training things you’re doing, it’s time to maybe think about a progression for your food.
And here’s how that looks. It’s an approach I take when I go off of what I call my “seasonal feasting period”. And we’re just now about to roll out of that because we’re approaching Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving and Christmas end up being my feasting period. I’m in my feasting period, so what’s going to happen is I’m going to get into the new year and I’m going to say, “Not a special birthday; I don’t have to worry about it. This year coming up in February.
So now it’s time for me to go in my famine mode.” I’ll start into my famine mode with a very set approach of really, really low-carb, but the foods I like. I make sure I’m now doing my batch cooking and the different things I need to do to make sure I stay on plan. And then I start to shed the body fat. I’ll get to a point where the amount of fat I’m eating and the total calories I’m eating, I plateau. Like you, I will plateau. Now, I am much more focused on trying to add muscle and I’m much more focused on trying to lose fat. I might actually see my weight go up. So my measurement is not weight loss, but it’s the same concept – I’m trying to change my body composition.
Then I need to progress. And what that means to me is, I need to reduce my calories. What I’ll typically do is I will look to my percentages. I’m already fairly low-carb, so typically less than 20 net grams when I start. I look at my protein, and if my protein is where I need it to be and my carbs are where they need to be, then I slowly start trying to reduce the amount of fat in my daily intake. So I may cut another 100 calories off of my daily intake from where I was. Maybe I started at 2,100 calories and I’m going, going, going. I know I’m exercising, I’m going eat back some of those calories. On a given day, I might be eating 3,000 calories. If I had a really tough cardiovascular workout and burned 700-800 calories, I’ll eat those calories back. And then I’ll end up with maybe, like I said, close to 3,000 calories that day.
What’ll happen is I’ll say, “I need to tomorrow get it down to 2,900, or 100 less than what I would normally eat, plus what I would use.” That progression is just 100 calories. You shouldn’t think that 100 calories means that much, but 100 calories over the course of a year, is 10 pounds. So, it is a big number. It just doesn’t feel that big that day, because I’m not looking to say I’m cutting another 500, which I would typically then expect to see about a pound per week. My body’s going to plateau again really, really quickly. My energy levels, I’m not going to be able to do what I’m doing. For me, I just shave 100 off, and that 100 typically is enough for me to start seeing things moving a little bit more, not fast, but I see it, I feel it. It’s happening. That little bit of progression in my nutrition is typically enough to get me there.
The one thing I don’t sacrifice on or skimp on is, I still make sure I’m getting high-quality whole food, and I always try to make sure that I’m getting all of my nutrients. If I feel like my calorie load is not where it needs to be and I’m not eating as many carbs – so maybe I’m not getting as many vegetables or fruits – I may start taking a multivitamin supplement. I’ll probably start, because again, it’s typically in the early winter, late winter time period when I’m going through this plateau.
Often I’m not getting enough sun, so I’ll probably take a vitamin D supplement. I’m definitely taking some fish oil supplements and I’m calculating that as a function of my fat intake. As I look at all this, you can see I’m still making sure that I’m covered nutritionally. I’m only reducing a little bit of my fat calories and I’m trying to tell my body, “If you want that fat you enjoy, you’ve got to get it from the body. You’ve got to get it from me, because I’m not going to give it to you through my mouth.” And my body typically responds to that.
And now you wrap the whole POPP together, and it works like this: I’m patient enough to know that I can do this. I’m patient enough to know that my lifestyle is right and I just need to be there. I just need to have the patience to work with my body to get it where I want it to be – my happy place, not necessarily its happy place. I need to look at other measures to make sure that I’m on track with my health, and not just trying to chase after a single goal.
There was a time when I was training for a Spartan and I really wanted to be ready for that Spartan. So I was going to get stronger and I was working on my endurance. I had a strength coach; his name was Dave. And I was meeting Dave and my strength was just off the charts, going up. My deadlift when I started with Dave, was I think at 410. I was pulling 450-460 after about three months and I was like, “I could get to 500.” Suddenly I got this really, really focused mind on that singular thing, and I just started pushing. What happened was, my strength in my squat went down, my strength in my overhead press went down, and my strength in my bench press went down. My deadlift was going up, but some of the others were plateauing or stopping, and I just didn’t see it. Afterwards I looked at my journal and I was seeing over the course of a month 5% increase in strength in the deadlift, but I wasn’t seeing 5% in the other lifts, which told me I wasn’t balanced, I wasn’t focusing on the whole me. And I needed to be.
Unfortunately, during that period of time, that’s when I tore my shoulder – rotator cuff tore – so, some of the other exercises, like bench press, went down. I just dropped that. No overhead pressing. And I thought I’m still doing the deadlift, but after a while I realized I’m not there, I’m not going to make that 500. And I don’t need to be doing that 500, because now I need to be thinking about this Spartan race, and having a 500 pound deadlift is really not going to help me. I have a problem with my shoulder, and I need to make sure that I can get through this race without hurting myself any more than I need to. So, I got back on track. It took me a little while.
But you can’t get singularly focused on weight loss either. You need to be looking at these other health markers and making sure that they fit your life. Then there’s persistence, which means we should just stick to it. If you have good “stick to it-ivness”, you’ve made this a sustainable lifestyle, you now have the broad perspective of, you’re doing healthy things for yourself. That’s totally cool. Then you can sit down and have a basis for saying, “What’s the progression? If I really want to push myself out of this plateau, what are the things that I need to do to get out of that plateau?” So, you put all four of these together – POPP – Patience, Other measures, Persistence, and Progression, and now you have a model. You have a structure to approach every one of your plateaus with a plan – the last P here. So, have a plan. And that plan has to include POPP – Patience, Other measures, Persistence, and Progression.
The Wellness Roadmap is available now for pre-order. I’m offering it as a Kindle edition at a very, very steep discount price. You’re not going to get this book for this price after the pre-launch and the first few days of the launch. Once the book is live, I’m going to put the prices back up where they belong. But I’m basically giving the book to you. So if you’ll go to the Amazon page, look it up – it’s The Wellness Roadmap book, or you can look it up under my name, Allan Misner. You’ll find the book there.
The Kindle book edition is going to be as low as Amazon will let me put it, so basically as close to free as I could get it. I want it in your hands, and as soon as it goes live, you’ll be able to download it to your Kindle Reader. But I do ask one thing – once you’ve read the book, please do go give me an honest rating and review. Amazon loves those things. Amazon feeds off those things. Amazon will not show my book to anyone not looking for it, unless it sees these ratings and reviews are coming in, that people are seeing substance in the book.
All I ask is when you get the book and you’ve read it and you feel good about it, please do go out and give me an honest rating and review. It’s going to help propel the book and get it where it needs to be, which is in the hands and on the e-readers of people around the country and around the world.
Please do go to Amazon, look for the book The Wellness Roadmap, or search under my name, Allan Misner, and you’ll find the book there. Buy it at the steep, steep, steep discount. Like I said, it’s close to free as Amazon would let me put it. And then boom, there you go. Thank you for that.
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In Happy Healthy You, KJ Landis shares us how to break free of the constraints we have today and be happy and healthy.
Allan (1:10): K. J., welcome to 40+ Fitness.
J. Landis (1:14): Thank you kindly. Happy to be here.
Allan (1:16): Your book is called Happy Healthy You. I actually think this is the perfect time for folks to be writing books about being happy. One of the big things I’ve put forward in the whole wellness journey was that if you don’t have the trifecta of health, fitness and happiness, then you’re missing a big part of this thing if you think that health and fitness is all that’s really there. You’ve got to enjoy what’s going on, you’ve got to have some joy in your life. There’s so much negativity, and I want to relate a quick little story. I’m a fan of a college football team called Southern Miss and we’re having a particularly bad season. As I go onto Facebook or whatever, already we’ve got the political negativity, we’ve got the violence negativity, and now I have the college football negativity. So, it was actually refreshing to have a book like yours that I could just turn all that stuff off for a little while and enjoy Happy Healthy You.
J. Landis (2:21): Thank you. So grateful that people read it and get it. And words of wisdom don’t have to come from the greats; they can come from everyday people – the person on the bus next to you, the cashier at the coffee shop.
Allan (2:39): You had a previous book, so you brought up the concept of “superior self”. I like that, because it’s not comparing yourself to someone else or really worrying about anything else; just saying, “I want to be the best me I can be.” You have nine steps that you use to lead us to being our superior self. Could you talk about those nine steps?
J. Landis (3:05): Yes. Superior Self: Reaching Superior Health For A Superior Self was my first book, and in it I describe a protocol that I had created after reading tons of different food protocols. It’s really important for me to take your time when you want something, to do your best at each step of the way. And there’s no time in the beginning or end. So, step one for me was increasing water to a gallon a day. I’ve experimented on these with my fat loss coaching clients. If we increase our water slowly to a gallon a day, we give ourselves the opportunity to realize when we’re hungry and when we’re just socially and emotionally hungry. I lost 50 pounds six years ago before I wrote the book, and that was for me a big issue. When I started losing the weight, I maintained my water, and even now I have to get my gallon of water in a day. I will be upset with my husband or my boss or a coworker and I would eat a $40 piece of cheese. I would put my thumb at work in a piece of cake and be like, “I can’t serve that, so I’m just going to nibble on it.” We add electrolytes – either as powder or adding a little bit of electrolyte, like a diet Gatorade or something. Just a little bit, and that way you don’t ruin the balance. Or you could put pink Himalayan salt. I also add lemon for the awake feeling that citrus gives us.
Allan (4:47): I want to take one little detour real quick because we didn’t actually explain necessarily that you work in the restaurant business. So, when you talk about putting your thumb in the cake, it’s not someone else’s cake. Here’s a cake that’s ruined and therefore free food for the staff.
J. Landis (5:04): I have to eat it. In the evenings I work at a restaurant; in the daytime I do my wellness coaching, my writing, my blogging, my YouTube videos, my research. I go to universities because I’m always trying to up my game on my certifications and the latest science of nutrition. And I take care of kids – I’ve got two kids. Life is a blessing every day I wake up, but I like it to be busy.
Allan (5:30): Good. So the first one is water, and I’ll let you continue.
J. Landis (5:36): I think that our fat cells decrease or increase in size, but we always have the same number of fat cells, and the way our body releases the fat cells is through urine and sweat. So as you’re changing your life and shifting, and you increase the water, you’re exercising more, you’re eating healthy and you’re getting your water in – that’s how the fat leaves our body. You don’t want it to be stuck and we don’t want to be socially and emotionally attached to the food. If I’m not really sure if I’m hungry, I’ll drink a couple of glasses of water and then I’ll be like, “I was just thirsty.” Also, increasing our water helps with headaches. The number one cause of headache is dehydration, and if you drink a few cups of water, you’ll realize in 20 minutes that most headaches go away. Do you want me to go to step two?
Allan (6:25): Please, yes.
J. Landis (6:27): Step two was used to be called “week two”, but now I realize it can take people a month or six months in order to master step one. So I call it “steps”. We give up all wheat products and all gluten-containing products while still maintaining that gallon of water a day. Gluten is a protein and it’s found in wheat, rye, barley and some oats. Ancient wheat is not really the way wheat is grown now. There’s a lot of hybridization, and it’s GMO, and it’s found in everything that is processed and packaged. So, the best opportunity for us in step two is to give up wheat because it causes inflammation. Not inflammation like it hurts my arm, my arm is sore, but inflammation systemically. And that’s where diseases come in. Dis-ease – your body is at ease, or it is at dis-ease. If you’re not comfortable with what’s going on inside the body systemically, that’s inflammation. A lot of it is caused by gluten, and people don’t even know that they have a sensitivity to gluten. I’m not saying an allergy, which is celiac disease, but you can see the difference in your body, your health, your skin and your sleep when you give up gluten-containing products. That’s step two.
Step three – giving up all grains. And remember, these are just for a period of time until you master it. Step three – give up all grains, and that is to shift into a grain-free lifestyle. Once you’ve given up the wheat and you’ve mastered it, however long that takes, then you can keep on experimenting. So now I will make sugar-free cakes. I’ll use coconut flour, almond flour, rice flour, tapioca flour. I’ll even make a southern dish like fried green tomatoes or fried pickles by rolling them in tapioca flour and egg, and it tastes just as delicious as the wheat ones. And onion rings. Foods that you think you’re going to miss – once you practice and have fun experimenting, you won’t miss it.
Week four – reduce fruits to one to two times a day, always keeping your previous changes. And that can be week four or month four. And the reason is that there’s a lot of sugar in fruits and fruits are not grown the way they were years ago. There’s so much sugar in an apricot – about seven times as much as there was 70 years ago. The growers do it on purpose, so we’ll buy more delicious, sweet fruit. And they’re all uniform. Typically the smaller and bruised fruit used to be the most delicious in the old days, but now our fruit has to look perfect, feel perfect, have the wax on the outside. There are so many grams of sugar in fruit. All plant matter turns into starch in the bloodstream, glucose, and it goes to the brain for power. But I can get just as much glucose from a bag of spinach, which has much less sugar. So this is just to teach us to get off that sugar wagon, because most of us love sweets, especially females. It’s part of our hormonal system.
Then once you do that, week five or step five – reduce fruits to one to two servings a week. So you can have that as your dessert. Once you’re able to conquer that you don’t have to have sweet at every meal, then we can reduce it even more.
Step six – change the oils to only healthy fats. People think canola oil is healthy. The reason why canola oil got its name, because the plant that it comes from is called rapeseed and Canada did not want the word “rape” on their largest export. So years ago they changed it to Canada oil, which then became canola oil. They have to spin these tiny seeds so fast to get the oil out, that it heats up the seeds and the oil and changes the level of the molecules from a healthy oil to a toxic oil. I’m not saying you’re going to get sick, because we don’t drink gallons of canola oil, but it is one of the most used oils in the United States.
Allan (11:08): What you’re talking about is oxidation, which effectively means that when you get this into your body, it’s going to cause inflammation.
J. Landis (11:19): Yes. So if you’re having your gluten and canola oil or partially hydrogenated oils, which make oils more shelf-stable, that means Crisco, those sorts of things. Oils that naturally are liquid, they’re turning into a solid in order to have a longer shelf life in packaged products. I stay away from those and I opt for grape seed oil, which is molecularly even small enough to use on the skin. I use butter and coconut oil for my frying in the pan, and I use olive oil after the vegetables are done or on my salads. And the reason being that there’s a low temperature that olive oil should be kept at in comparison to the other oils. All these oils have smoke points and when it starts to fume, that’s when you should stop using it, because that’s when the molecules change and oxidize. And dairy – raw cheeses, we can have that. That’s a good fat – raw butter, raw cheeses, raw dairy – if you do eat dairy, if you’re not allergic to the casein in milk proteins. The raw fats in those are so good for the body and there’s so much vitamin K in raw, unpasteurized cheeses.
Week seven or step seven – no more added sugar in any products. So, no honey, no agave. I have a bone to pick with agave. Once again, the process to get agave out of the plant and make it very sweet is, the heat element to extract it changes it, and also the amount of sugar that it adds to the bloodstream is very high. So when you’re using it as an alternative, it’s not very healthy if you have diabetes or prediabetes, or you’re just watching your glucose levels. I recommend something, and I don’t work for this company – Lakanto. I use the Golden brown variety. It’s the only natural sweetener made from monk fruit, coming from Japan and now it’s important in the United States. It looks, tastes and smells like brown sugar, but it is cool on the tongue. It’s amazing. It’s zero calories, zero on the glycemic index. In Asia they have been using it for centuries, because the monks would sit under the tree and the monk fruit would fall and be super hot and crack, and they would boil it and make it into a sweet tea that they would use for lung issues, joint issues, colds, flues. It’s very amazing. I really enjoy it and I use it when I have my tea or when I’m baking. And it’s very reasonable. Of course it’s very expensive compared to sugar, but it’s very reasonable compared to what it was a few years ago. It was $44.95 for one pound; now it’s $24 for three pounds. For the white sugar substitute, I recommend Xyla, because it’s less expensive than the Lakanto white. It’s $14.99 for two pounds at your local health food store or a high-end store like Whole Foods. So it’s just to give you the opportunity to release yourself from the indulgence, but you can still sweeten with dates or figs or dried fruit.
Step eight – try to purchase unpasteurized raw dairy and pastured eggs. People always mix up the two words, pasteurized and pastured. Pasteurized means the product is heat-treated to kill germs and bacteria that were seen as harmful back in the late 1800s. Pastured names an animal was kept outside freely, with no cages, and they were not given food that’s not natural to their habitat. For example, if I buy pastured eggs at Whole Foods, they’re $8.99 a dozen – very expensive, but the chicken that laid them were not kept in cages, they were not kept in a free-range area, which is usually just a few feet more. They’re actually roaming the woods and they’re eating bugs, berries and insects. So when you see eggs that say “Omega-3”, that’s not in their natural habitat. Or vegetarian-fed – chickens aren’t vegetarians; they eat birds, worms and insects. So those are words that are branding words, but those aren’t words that will actually help you enjoy the pastured chicken or the pastured eggs, which are the most healthful. They’re smaller, but they’re more beautiful in color and they’re way more flavorful. I think raw dairy is important, because our government has told us we need pasteurized dairy, pasteurized milk. But once again, the amount of fat and natural healing properties of unpasteurized dairy is so helpful to our body, especially the vitamin K. I no longer suffer from constipation or rashes when I eat raw milk, raw cream and raw cheeses. I’ve never had a sensitivity to eggs, but my skin is so much better if I have the pastured eggs. And yes, it’s more expensive, but I want to compare this to the health issue in America. If you spend a little more money and you have these sorts of healthy foods in your home on a regular basis, you will save so much money in doctor’s visits, in medication, in hospitalization, in obesity and the chronic conditions caused by that.
Allan (17:26): I’ll even take that one step further. One of the conversation points that I’ve come across with my clients and with different people over the years is, people who eat real whole food eat less, because we’re getting the nutrition our body needs, so we don’t have the cravings. I think when they factor in their total food cost, they’re saying, “I can get eggs for two thirds of the price if I just buy the middle-of-the-road eggs and not the pastured eggs.” So their breakfast is $2 cheaper, but they’re not counting the fact that they’re also then going to spend $3 on a box of Twinkies that they’re going to kill later that evening, because their body is not getting the nutrition it needs. They’re going on binges because their body’s saying, “You need to eat more because we’re just not getting what we need.” If you’re getting good nutrition, you’re very likely to eat a lot less.
J. Landis (18:22): Absolutely. And you’re full faster.
Allan (18:26): Especially the way you put it together there. We’re focusing on getting good, healthy fats. We’re moving the simple carbs and the processed foods out of our diet, and it’s not, “Let’s do it all today.” It’s in a very methodical stage. Let’s focus on one thing first – the easiest and first one being water, and then you’re factoring in these other things. And as you start feeling better and getting comfortable with that, you step into that next one.
J. Landis (18:54): Yes, because to be honest, the first three weeks that you increase your water and you get that gallon in, you will be using the restroom a lot more, especially at night. But then in the fourth week, when you don’t get that gallon of water in, by 10:00 in the evening, you’ll be like, “I’m going to hit somebody if I don’t get a glass of water right now.” Your body will crave what it needs. It’s amazing. That’s a great shift.
Allan (19:20): I think that’s why so many people really struggle with the food thing, is that they’re not getting proper nutrition. And that’s their body basically yelling at them, “Hey, feed me, Seymour. Feed me!” I do think it’s a symptom of us not getting good quality food. If you do these nine steps and think through the quality of your food, actually in the end, medical conditions aside, I think I spend less on food now than I did before I started eating healthy.
J. Landis (19:57): Yes, because you’re not craving more and more of the junk stuff, so you’re not running to the 7-Eleven at 2:00 a.m. for a quart of ice cream that has a lot of crap in it.
Allan (20:07): Or I’m driving home late – I’m not going to have to pull off to Whataburger or into McDonald’s and say, “I just need something.” Or I’m not going to stop when the girl scouts are selling the cookies; I’ll just give them a $5 donation and say, “Keep the cookies”, that kind of thing. Now, one of the things I really liked in the book was – and I’ve talked about the endocrine system here, but I think you put it down really, really well. It’s very simple, sustained – this is our endocrine system and this is what it’s doing to us or against us, for us. We have to figure that out based on how we treat our endocrine system. Can you take a little bit of time to walk us through the basics of the endocrine system?
J. Landis (20:50): Yes. But I’d like to start with step nine, which is giving up beans and legumes.
Allan (20:56): I’m sorry, I cut you off. Go ahead.
J. Landis (20:58): That’s okay. So, beans and legumes are a high source of protein, but they’re only a high source of protein if your body can absorb the nutrition. When you absorb nutrition from foods you eat, it is called bioavailability. I suggest giving up beans and legumes because they have antinutrients in them which cause us to have gas. The outside covering on all beans is called the “endosperm”, and in order to be able to absorb the nutrition from it, we have to cook it. It’s better to actually soak it overnight before you cook it, and certain nuts also. Therefore as a practice – I’m not saying give these up forever. I’m saying, build on this and have your beans and legumes once in a while, once you stop that craving. People who are vegetarian can switch to other sorts of proteins, like nuts and seeds, and vegetables that are high protein. And then you can live on the 80 / 20, which is 80% eat clean and green and 20% party like a rock star. That’s what I practice in my life and I’ve maintained the 50-pound weight loss since I was 46, and I just turned 53 last week. And people think I’m 30.
Allan (22:09): Cool.
J. Landis (22:10): Alright, now let’s talk about the endocrine system. The endocrine system is the system of hormones that run our body. It rules everything, from your growth to your sexuality to your food cravings, and it also rules your sleep. When we go to sleep, our body is releasing right before you go to bed, with the sunset actually, it starts releasing melatonin. With the onset of electricity in the past 100 and some years, we have so much less melatonin that our brain is producing and releasing. That’s why we have melatonin capsules. But if you practice certain prevention, you won’t need the melatonin and you’ll sleep better. You can put all the shades down, you can wear computer blocker glasses that make everything very yellow and warm. You can also have f.lux – it’s an app, and your computer and your phone will turn to that warm, amber light. And just getting rid of the electronics in your bedroom, so that your natural hormone system can do its job.
In relation to food, the endocrine system, the system of the hormones, allows us to eat well, and when we’re full, the hormones tell us to stop eating. When we eat tons of food that our government has said is great for us, like these processed, packaged foods that claim to be heart-healthy and whole grain – because of all the additives and chemicals, and the deliciousness of those additives and chemicals, the hormones get mixed up and they don’t know when to say “Stop”. It’s a vicious cycle until you break that cycle, and then your endocrine system can begin to act normal again, and you’ll get full when you’re supposed to, and you will be hungry when you’re supposed to. I also am against the government and the Dietary Association of America and the AMA, who are being paid for by the government telling us that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Once you get healthy, you will learn to live by your own hunger signals, and sometimes you have a natural fasting that goes on for part of the day. For example, in my personal history, I never was a breakfast eater, but because of all the TV commercials saying breakfast is the most important meal of the day, my mother wanted me to eat breakfast. So, I would be kind and I would have something, but not much. And then when I became a grownup, I stopped eating breakfast and I listened to my own hunger signals. Naturally, now that I’m healthy and eating real food, typically I’ll have a non-caffeinated tea with breakfast. I won’t eat breakfast. I’ll have my gallon of water when I’m training clients or when I’m exercising myself, and then I’m not hungry until dinner. It’s amazing.
So, the different glands in our body rule our hormones. The brain is the master planner, and the pituitary gland, which is in the back of the brain at the base of the hypothalamus, sends out a lot of hormones as well. One hormone that’s really important is the thyroid gland and the parathyroid gland. We have a thyroid-stimulating hormone that everyone has that is running throughout the body, but some of them are active and some are non-active, so they call it active T3, active T4, and non-active T3. You want them to become active, because if you have a lot of the thyroid-stimulating hormone and it’s not active, you will feel sluggish, you will gain weight, you will be cross with your family. It also touches upon the emotion. The intestinal, the adrenal gland, even the placenta when a woman is pregnant, is a temporary endocrine gland. And during pregnancy this gland makes hormones that are important for the growth and development of the fetus. The sexual glands, which are the balls or the testes in gentleman, and in women the ovaries and uterus also release hormones. In men it keeps them muscular and desiring to procreate, and in women it creates that beautiful softness of no matter how strong and fit a woman gets, she’s never going to be as muscular as a gentleman. That’s just the way it is. And it also helps with puberty and growth. It’s inherited as well. Some of the hormones running through our body, we inherit in the same style as our parents and grandparents. For example, my mother, who just passed away recently, didn’t have her period until 18, and she had her period until 70. I said to her, “Gosh, I wish you’d have a baby at 70 so you could get on the Oprah Show.” Because I wanted to hug Oprah – that’s on my bucket list. I want to hug Oprah before I die. I don’t have to be on her show; I just want to hug her. And the same thing with me – I hit puberty very late, so I’m also probably going to go into perimenopause and menopause late. The hormone system can physically and emotionally heal us as well. So the food we eat affects the hormone system, and then the hormone system affects our overall happiness and wellness. It’s really, really important to participate in our own health, because of our hormones.
Allan (28:15): There was a concept you had in the book that I actually think is brilliant. People can really wrap their head around this. I tend to be sometimes a little bit more of a realist, and when I get into my head, I think I can take a negative thought and just beat it out of me. I’m going to sometimes use that negative talk in a sense to prove it wrong, in effect. I guess it goes back to my military upbringing and being in the military myself. If someone yells at me, I’ll actually move faster. Now, I don’t really want them to be mean about it, but in a general sense if someone’s pushing me, that actually helps me. I like aggressive trainers, I like that kind of thing. I was a football player, and again, maybe it’s the testosterone, I don’t know. But you have this concept for folks that need a little bit more self-empathy when they’re not that kind of person, when their internal dialogue can be bad self-talk and can actually hold them back. You have a concept called the “negative thought pot”. Can you talk about that?
J. Landis (29:23): Yes. I bring it to every workshop and I start every workshop. Even if I’m doing a chocolate workshop or an essential oil workshop, I bring the negative thought pot. I picked up a flower pot at the dollar store, and it spontaneously came to me one day because I left the front door open when my daughter and I to the mall. She was about nine. When we came home, she believed somebody had broken into the house and was hiding in the house and was going to kill us. And I told her, “It’s just your mother’s forgetful. It’s okay. We’re fine. Come with me and look everywhere.” And she was so afraid. So I took a permanent magic marker, I took that dollar store flower pot, and I wrote “negative thought pot”. And then I told her, “Let’s tear up strips of notebook paper, and let us write down our negative thoughts.” Whatever fears, whatever self-doubt. I don’t care if it’s about food. “I’m never going to be smart in math”, “I’m never going to get that career I want”, “I’ll never be a millionaire”, “My whole family is fat. We’re Italian. It’s just the way it is.” Write whatever negative self-thoughts you have now, and you put it on that strip of paper. It could be current or it could be a long-term negative. I call it the “Negative Nancy” in my head. And we scroll it up into a little scroll, and we throw it in the pot and we light it on fire. You do that anytime you have a negative thought that’s blocking you and keeping you from being your most amazing superior self. I do this over and over with myself and my kids, and the next time that negative thought comes into your head, you remember that moment of burning it up, and mentally or out loud I say, “You no longer have power over me. I destroyed you, remember?” And it dissipates. I’m the winner. I’m the superwoman. You’re the superman. It’s magic. It’s more than magic, because you’re creating an energy that is more powerful than the negativity, which we need in our lives every day because we all have challenges. We’re busier than ever.
Allan (31:32): I like how it sort of puts a line in the sand, for a lack of a better word, to say, “I’m stepping away from this thought pattern because it’s not serving me.”
J. Landis (31:43): Yes. And if you can’t meditate, if you don’t have time for this or that, everybody has time to burn a little piece of paper.
Allan (31:52): Just make sure that the flame goes out before you leave the house.
J. Landis (31:56): Oh yeah. Or do it outside, in the back yard.
Allan (32:01): So, I define “wellness” as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
J. Landis (32:14): For me the number one strategy to get well and stay well is increasing your water. Everybody needs to drink water. And it doesn’t have to be expensive or bottled. You can always put a filter in. Increase your water and you will see life-changing health. One tactic is, I always fill up my water in the morning, and on the water bottle – I have a giant one that’s eight cups – I will write the word “eight cups” and I’ll put little lines in it so I can see as it’s going down. It’s a reward to see the water go down and hit that lower line and hit that lower line. It’s a gift to myself. It’s like I get a gold star in the middle of my forehead. The second tactic or strategy that I enjoy is movement. We must move. Our bodies were meant to move. Our ancient ancestors, the hunters and gatherers moved about 12 to 14 hours a day; we’re not doing that anymore. So, move as much as possible. Have a standing desk – they’re inexpensive, or have a desk and then you put the desk extension up if you have a desk job. I’m lucky I move six hours a day as a server, and then I train people so I’m exercising for myself and with my clients. Movement is so powerful. The way to add that into your day when you’re super busy is to set your clock 10 minutes early. I have a fault. My biggest fault, or my biggest flaw is, I’m always paranoid about being late, so I try and get everywhere early. If you do that, you have time to do quiet movement, whether it’s in the car, outside, take the stairs. Give yourself that time. Get everywhere early and give yourself that time to have some sort of movement. And movement in nature is even more powerful because you enhance all five senses. The third strategy that I use is silence. Recently I learned how to meditate at a free 12-day meditation retreat. It was very, very meaningful for me to learn how not to react as much as I had been. The power of silence is so healing. Whether you are in nature, whether you’re sitting in your car, whether you’re sitting in the bathroom – shutting up is beautiful, and we all need it because most of us talk too much.
Allan (34:40): Well, I’m a podcaster; I have to talk. Those were wonderful. I really enjoyed those, so thank you for that. If someone wanted to get in touch with you, learn more about the book, where would you like for them to go?
J. Landis (34:52): SuperiorSelfWithKJLandis.com.
Allan (34:58): Okay. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/352, and I’ll be sure to have a link to that in the show notes of this podcast. K.J., thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
J. Landis (35:13): Thank you for having me. I’m so grateful. It’s a beautiful day inside and outside when we share this sort of knowledge and our own discoveries. And it’s exponential – the more you learn, the more you’ve got to share. Thank you.
Allan (35:32): Isn’t K.J. pretty cool? Yeah, I really did enjoy that conversation and I hope you did too. This week I want to announce to the podcast listener – you – that my book, The Wellness Roadmap is now available on Amazon. You can go to Amazon and you can get the ebook at a really good discounted price. I’m marking it down because I want to make sure that this is not something that’s out of the reach of people on a budget. So I’ve marked it down and all I ask is while it’s on this discounted price, which is only going to last a little after the book goes live – while it’s on this discounted price, please go back to Amazon when you get the book and you’ve read it, and please leave an honest rating and review of the book. That’s extremely important. Of all the services out there, Amazon cares about ratings and reviews. They will not show my book anywhere on their pages if they don’t feel like I’ve provided a substantive work, so they need to see those ratings and reviews. So, it is out there. You can go out to Amazon and get the book. You can also buy it through the website once it goes live, but going out to Amazon and buying the electronic version now, it will be available to you December 4th. You can download it to your Kindle Reader any time after that, but it will be available to you. Read the book, leave me an honest rating and review – tremendous help to the show. Please, please. Tremendous help to the book and helping me get it out there. So, go out to Amazon, get the book today.
And there’s still time for you to get onto the launch team. I’m still providing bonus information and bonus support and extra little goodies out there for the launch team. You don’t want to miss this because I want to put the information where people want it. I’m not going to spend a ton of time on the show talking about where we are with the book. That’s why you’re just now hearing about the ebook, because the ebook’s been out for a little while now. So, the ebook’s out there, the other books are going to start to populate soon, as soon as people can start talking to each other, which they don’t want to do, but that’s a whole another story. You’d know more of that story if you were actually a part of the launch team. You can go to WellnessRoadmapBook.com and there you’ll find a signup form to be on the launch team. Roughly, I’m sending them one email a week, so this is not inundating you with all kinds of stuff. This is important, telling you what’s going on with the book so you’re in the know; giving you some goodies and some extras, things like that. So please do go to WellnessRoadmapBook.com and join the launch team. And if you just don’t want to be a part of the launch team, I get it – it’s another responsibility, right? But please do go out to Amazon, search for the book under my name, Allan Misner, or The Wellness Roadmap. You’ll find the book, buy the ebook on pre-order. It’ll be available to you first thing December 4th. You’ll be able to download it to your Kindle. And then you got it for a discount – please go out to Amazon and leave me an honest rating and review. Thank you.
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In Real Food Keto, Jimmy and Christine Moore provide an in-depth look at nutrition and how you can get the most out of the ketogenic diet.
Allan (1:47): Christine, Jimmy, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
Christine Moore (1:55): Thank you.
Jimmy Moore (1:55): Hey, hey, man. What’s up?
Allan (1:58): Jimmy, you are the guest that I’ve had on the most. For pretty much every book that you’ve written, I’ve had this opportunity to have wonderful conversations with you. I truly appreciate and honor what you’ve done to educate people. And I’m really glad that you’ve now brought on Christine with her education and what she’s doing. This was an excellent book, it’s called Real Food Keto. And I love the title, which we’ll get into in a minute.
Jimmy Moore (2:26): Thank you. When we’re 90, I’m going to be, “This is my 67th book, Allan. We’re going to talk about it today.”
Allan (2:36): I am working on my own book, so I’m doing a lot of reading into how to market a book and all the different things you’re supposed to do. And I’m reading out there, some authors are putting out a book a month, and I’m thinking, “Oh my God.”
Jimmy Moore (2:47): That’s crazy.
Allan (2:49): But they’re managing to make money, because they constantly have this flow. Someone reads their first book and they’re hooked, so now they’re buying every book. Insatiable appetite’s for fiction – it works really, really well. Non-fiction – I think you’ve got to do a little bit more research and work to put out something really, really good.
Jimmy Moore (3:07): Yeah, I think it would be overwhelming as non-fiction. I don’t think the product would be very good if you put out a book a month. I know a lot of stuff. I don’t think I could do a book a month. I thought I was doing well with a book a year, Christine.
Allan (3:22): Having gone through the process now myself, it’s quite… I never really got it when people said when they were done they were just exhausted. But I get it, because it is such a draining experience.
Jimmy Moore (3:33): Allan gets it too.
Christine Moore (3:35): Yeah, I’m sure.
Allan (3:36): I think that’s the cool thing though. This is not a flimsy little pamphlet or manual. You did some really deep research for this book and it goes deep, deep, deep into nutrition, I think further than any other keto book I’ve read has done. It’s very deep, but you explain things in a really cool way. So, it’s deep but good. You know what I mean?
Jimmy Moore (4:01): Yeah, thanks for that. And that was one of the things when Christine was going through the Nutritional Therapy Practitioner program – I was like, “Wow, why don’t I know this stuff? This is really relevant information for a keto dieter that’s not out there in the mainstream.” So when I approached my publisher about collaborating on this book with Christine, they were like, “Absolutely.” And now it is our publisher’s favorite keto book, which is saying a lot because they do all the big keto books.
Allan (4:30): They do. I’ve talked to them. I’ve been talking to Victory Belt for quite some time. The books that are coming out in keto are really center and front of the market. So, really enjoy working with them to get wonderful guests like you.
Jimmy Moore (4:47): Thank you.
Christine Moore (4:48): And they do such a good job with the books; they’re beautiful. When we received our author copy of Real Food Keto, we were flipping through it, and just the time that the design team put into the charts and the graphs and everything – it’s so easy to understand and it flows so well. So, great job, Victory Belt design team, for putting together such a good book.
Allan (5:11): It is, all the way across. The content and the quality of the book are, bar none, great. I want to turn the conversation about the book a little bit, because this is something I’ve really been struggling with over the course of the last couple of years as I’ve done these different interviews. I’m approaching 200 interviews, so I think I’m picking up a few things here. It’s the fact that we have to use the term “real food”, because if our grandmothers, our great grandmothers walked into a grocery store today, they wouldn’t even know what it was, they wouldn’t call most of what’s in their food. What is real food and why is it so hard for people to understand what real food is?
Jimmy Moore (5:50): Allan, you and I are blood brothers, because this is the exact reason I wanted this book to get out there, because I was noticing the trend in the keto world was that people weren’t putting an emphasis on real food. It’s disgusting that we have to put a qualifier in front of the word food. They used to just call it food, but we have to qualify it these days because there’s a whole lot of food like disease agents out there, that’s not real food, that we have to call it real food. That was the heart of what we wanted to do. What would you say would be the definition of real food, Chris?
Christine Moore (6:24): Really anything that doesn’t have a label on it that has ingredients on it that you can’t pronounce. I mean things that you grow in your garden. We have 26 backyard chickens that lay us wonderful free-range eggs every day. So, things that aren’t chemically processed, that are natural.
Jimmy Moore (6:47): It doesn’t get realer than that, Allan.
Allan (6:50): But it’s getting harder and harder I think to find real food, because I walk in the grocery store and probably 100 years ago, someone on keto could eat an apple and the amount of sweetness from an apple wouldn’t take them out of ketosis. Today they’re so sweet. They’ve been bred to be something else, so the nutrition’s not there. I think you even said something about an orange – that everybody equates an orange to vitamin C.
Jimmy Moore (7:20): Yeah. And bananas to potassium.
Christine Moore (7:24): Here’s the thing. Back 100 years ago, what was the prevalence of obesity? People weren’t as metabolically damaged as they are today. For a lot of people today, eating an apple will kick them out of ketosis, not only because of its extra sweetness, but just because a lot of us are metabolically damaged through poor diet choices early in life. That’s why when I look at a client, if they can handle a sweet potato here and there, then I will recommend that. Most of those people tend to be athletes or more active, but for the majority of my clients, they can’t have even what would be considered real food. A sweet potato is real food, but not all of us can handle that.
Jimmy Moore (8:11): To your point, you’re right, the food has changed. And because the food has changed, so have our metabolisms. My last book we talked about the prevalence of insulin resistance, and it’s higher than people think it is. Upwards of 70% of the population are walking around with some level of insulin resistance, where their bodies aren’t responding to carbohydrates anymore in the same way, which is why restricting them is the answer.
Allan (8:41): I completely agree. I always encourage folks to just go down to their farmers market. There you’re going to meet the guy who’s raising the chickens when you get the eggs, you’re going to meet the lady who runs the farm where they picked that produce that morning. This is not industrial, fertilizers and all this stuff, and that’s why the tomatoes aren’t as pretty or as firm or able to take things, because they’re just the way tomatoes are supposed to be.
Jimmy Moore (9:10): I love ugly produce.
Christine Moore (9:12): I do too.
Jimmy Moore (9:13): It’s got character. We grew a bunch of different kinds of vegetables in our garden this year. The heirloom tomatoes grow off the charts. They’re amazing.
Allan (9:24): That’s why I think, get to know your food and what real food is, and then start putting more and more of that into your diet, and you’re going to feel better.
Christine Moore (9:34): I agree.
Allan (9:36): I was really interested when we started talking about gallbladder as I got into this stuff. My mother was not feeling well and her health was starting to fail her and I was like, “Mom, I think you should check out this low-carb, high-fat diet.” And she’s like, “They took out my gallbladder so I can’t eat that way.” But you’ve done something, because you’re keto, you’re low-carb, and you don’t have a gallbladder. Let’s talk about the process for how you managed that transition. I know what keto flu is for me, but for you it must have been an entirely different experience.
Christine Moore (10:17): Yeah. I had my gallbladder taken out in 2006. Usually gallbladder problems happen because you do a low-fat diet, you’re not consuming enough fat, so the bile becomes thick, sludgy and there’s no movement of the bile. That’s what causes the stones and the sludge to form in the gallbladder, and that’s what happened with me. So after I had my gallbladder taken out, what I had to do was at first stick with butter, coconut oil, things like that, because they don’t require the bile to break them down. When I see my clients, I tell them that I want to have them have a healthy mix of fats. We need that to have a healthy immune system, and for other reasons. What I tell my clients is 60% monounsaturated fats, 30% saturated fats and 10% polyunsaturated fats. When I had my gallbladder taken out, I had to stick with mostly the butter and coconut oil, which are your saturated fats. But I did include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated in small amounts. Over time my liver learned how much bile to produce, so I could add more and more of those things. Once I graduated from the NTP program, while going through it, I learned the importance of digestive enzymes and even HCl supplementation. So that’s what I do now as well – I take digestive enzymes and bile salts to aid in the digestion of those fats, because it can be difficult. It took me about a year before I was able to get my fat to where I like to have it in my diet.
Jimmy Moore (12:03): And now she eats more than I do.
Allan (12:06): And you had all that detailed in the book, at least as far as saying you knew you needed the stomach acid problem. But you had ulcers, so you had to heal the whole ulcers first. I think a lot of times people get ahead of themselves and they want to solve the problem, but they’ve got to look at the whole underlying structure of what got us here and maybe even the order with which we find those little healthy steps. I really liked that you shared that part of your story. It wasn’t just an “A to B” step. You had to go through a lot of incremental steps to get to a point where you could fix your health.
Jimmy Moore (12:42): And Allan, what happens too often is people start keto and then they experience some of these digestive health problems and they go, “Man, that keto thing sucks”, not realizing they had an underlying issue that needed to be resolved for keto to work well. So, hopefully this book helps clear up some of those misconceptions about keto not working. Maybe keto worked fine; it was just that they didn’t fix their digestion first.
Christine Moore (13:09): One thing that I like to tell my clients too is, when we’re making changes, specifically in the keto diet, often times they will experience these things, but these are reactions that your body’s going to have. It’s perfectly normal for some of these things to happen. You just have to get past those things. Like Jimmy said, a lot of times there are underlying conditions, and most of the time it’s a digestive disorder that needs to be addressed before they can properly absorb and digest these fats that they’re eating.
Allan (13:42): Okay. And like I said, you had all this in the book. It’s really cool I think to use this book as the start of your research, to understand your digestion, understand how you can go about getting into keto if you have issues like this. So, really, really cool. I loved all of that.
Christine Moore (14:00): Thank you.
Allan (14:01): Now, one of the things you had in the book, and as I went through it, I was like, “I want to print this out and post this on my wall” – it was the 17 ways to optimize your diet and lifestyle right now. Would you mind going through those?
Christine Moore (14:15): I’ll go through some, because I think there’s quite a few here. One of them is to eat seasonally. We don’t think about eating our food in season. I’m a big strawberry lover, and those strawberries are not usually available in the wintertime; they naturally grow in warmer time. So, eat your food seasonally. Our bodies were not meant to have certain foods year round. So, that’s a big one. And then we like to tell people to purchase their food from local sources. So, support your local farmers. That will help get the word out about real food and it supports these people that are growing real food. So many micronutrients are in these real whole foods, and we need to be eating more of this to get our bodies to be more healthy, get the nutrients that it needs. Include some raw veggies in your diet. Now, if you have digestive issues, this may be a problem because raw vegetables can be a little bit harder on the digestive system. If you do have digestive issues, then what I suggest you do is cook your vegetables in a slow cooker, so that way it’s not as hard on the digestive system. But once you heal your digestive system, try to incorporate some raw vegetables in your diet.
Jimmy Moore (15:45): By the way, we made this list of 17 things, Allan, because we know some people’s personality is, “I don’t want to get through the whole book before I figure out what I have to do, so give me some things I can start working on now, and then maybe I’ll learn about why I’m doing those things later.”
Christine Moore (16:01): Yep. So, another one, if you have it available in your state like we do – we live in South Carolina, so we’re very fortunate to have access to raw dairy. Raw dairy is much easier on the system. There’s a lot of misinformation about raw dairy out there, saying that you might get sick from it, but in actuality raw dairy is the best for you. I have heard from other people that their blood sugars don’t respond the same way to raw dairy as it does to the dairy that’s been pasteurized.
Jimmy Moore (16:35): Mine was flatline. It’s thicker than heavy whipping cream, raw dairy. It’s pretty amazing. Have you ever had raw dairy?
Allan (16:42): I have, yeah. We’ve gone to the farmers market. Of course they half market it for dogs. I’m like, “Yeah, absolutely. I’m going to give this to the dog. No.”
Christine Moore (16:58): Oh, goodness. You want to hear a few more?
Allan (17:01): Yeah, please.
Christine Moore (17:03): Okay. So, another thing that we like to recommend is, switch from manmade salt to sea salt. This salt that you get with the little girl with the umbrella on the packaging – that isn’t salt. Sorry. Because there’s an iodine deficiency running rampant, that’s why a lot of people get this salt. But what I tell people to do is get the kelp drops that you can put in your water and supplement with iodine that way, or to eat more sea vegetables. We like to use the sea salt instead, especially if you can find the different color ones because each one of those salts has a different preponderance of a certain mineral in it that gives it its color. These sea salts are really rich in micronutrients. Fermented foods is another big thing. For most people probably fermented food seems very intimidating, and that’s why when we teamed up with Maria Emmerich, we wanted her to include a couple of recipes on how to make fermented foods in this book, because it can be really easy and you only need a small amount with each meal to help improve your gut health. If you have gut health issues, I would recommend starting out very slowly, because this can increase some of the symptoms that you have, like bloating and extra gas, things like that. If you know you have digestive issues, then start out slow with these things. These things are not just involving food, so we like to implement exercise into our routine. We have a very good friend, Darryl Edwards, who does the Primal Play movement and he basically teaches you to get outside and play like you did when you were a kid.
Jimmy Moore (18:56): Have you ever interviewed him, Allan?
Allan (18:58): I have not, but he’s now on my list.
Jimmy Moore (19:01): Okay. Let me know how I can help connect you, because he is an amazing guy. Amazing interview.
Christine Moore (19:06): Yes. He doesn’t like the word “exercise”.
Jimmy Moore (19:09): He’s British, so he sounds cool.
Allan (19:14): I actually don’t like the word “exercise” either. I’m a personal trainer. I tell people exercise sounds like when we were kids and we had to get underneath our desks because there was a nuclear attack. “Get under your desks! Nuclear attack!” I’m like, “This is pointless. I’ve seen videos of what this does to buildings, and we’re not going to be safe under our desks.”
Christine Moore (19:34): Right, exactly.
Jimmy Moore (19:36): I’m glad I wasn’t the only one that felt that way.
Allan (19:41): That’s what exercise sounds like to me. Whereas if I say “training”, then at least at that point it has some purpose. You want to keep your strength, your agility, your speed, your endurance, all those different things. That’s the purpose. I want to be able to wipe my own butt when I’m 105. I’m going to have to do some training if I want that to happen. To me it’s more purpose-driven training, rather than calling it “exercise” or a “workout”.
Christine Moore (20:10): Right. And the moment that it becomes not fun, then you need to switch things up.
Allan (20:15): Yes, absolutely.
Christine Moore (20:20): I guess one other one would be sleep; making sure you get adequate sleep. We kind of give tips in there – wearing blue blockers and taking melatonin or magnesium to help you sleep. Keep the temperature of your room colder, because that tends to be better for you. As I said, these tips deal more than just with diet. It’s lifestyle things as well.
Allan (20:44): That’s what I really liked about it. This is a book about food, real food, but you went a little bit further and giving someone an overall basis of how to live a more healthy life and deal with your health issues. Before I let you go though, I define “wellness” as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
Christine Moore (21:11): I can let Jimmy give you a couple too, but one of them I think is to take your health back into your own hands. We rely too much on doctors to tell us how to be healthy. Jimmy and I have experienced this in our own lives, where I was having symptoms of thyroid issues, so I went to my doctor and I asked him to run a full panel. He didn’t see the need with a full panel, so Jimmy and I did that on our own and we found out that my reverse T4 was off and my antibodies were elevated. These things wouldn’t have been found out had they just run the typical panel that they do – TSH, T3 and T4. So, one big one for me is taking your health back into your own hands. Do you have one that you think?
Jimmy Moore (22:01): That’s my favorite one, the one you took. I call that being an empowered patient. I think one thing that’s been impressed on me more and more, Allan, in the last few years, watching the way our culture has shifted over to this ugliness, the contentiousness that’s out there, be it in the nutrition world, even politics, wherever you are in your facets of life – people are unkind to each other, and that bleeds over into being unkind to themselves. I’m becoming more and more convinced that this stress that’s coming on from all of that contentiousness is having a negative effect on people’s lives. So, my tip would be to start loving yourself and to start being overly kind to your fellow neighbors. I find that when I do this and I make a conscious effort – and trust me, it is so hard, especially online where people are being really, really ugly towards each other – it’s really hard to take the higher road, but in the end your stress level will come down and you’ll be healthier as a result.
Christine Moore (23:05): And I guess one final one would kind of go along with what you said, Jimmy, is be kind to yourself. Because of this ugliness that is on social media nowadays, people are so quick to say if you’re not eating grass-fed, grass-finished beef, or free-range eggs, or organic this, organic that, then you’re doing keto wrong and you’re a failure. No. We understand, and this is one thing that we stress big time in Real Food Keto – do the best you can in the situation that you’re in. If you cannot afford grass-fed, grass-finished beef – no sweat. Just do best you can and try not to listen to these people online that are being ugly, because they just don’t have a sense of reality. They’re not in the real world. We understand that life happens. Jimmy and I use keto products out there, but we read the label and make sure that they are up to standard, like these DropAnFBomb nut butter packets. It’s great for traveling. And Paleovalley beef sticks; Pili Nuts. They come in a package, but it’s still real food at its core. So, just do your research and be kind to yourself.
Allan (24:21): Excellent. I declared myself a diet agnostic, and what I mean by that is that I’m going to let everybody eat the way they feel like they need to eat, and I’ll tell you my experiences and we’ll have conversations like this, which is wonderful. But the one thing that I’ve noticed from all sides of this battle, that people are throwing all this stuff around, like, “That’s wrong. This is wrong.” Every single one of them comes down to one core fact – just eat real food. It doesn’t matter if you go keto or you decide to go the entire different direction and go completely vegetarian or vegan, or actually combine both of them, which is something that’s happening. Dr. Will Cole wrote his book Ketotarian, and I’ve had him on. And it’s that same thing – just eat real food. What you’ve done here with Real Food Keto is give us this great resource to learn about the food, learn what it’s doing in our bodies, and make better choices and decisions for ourselves. So, thank you so much for that, Christine and Jimmy.
Christine Moore (25:27): Thank you.
Jimmy Moore (25:28): Dude, you are in my head, because I have hammered this message over the past few years, that we have more in common – Paleo, Primal, locavore, vegan, vegetarian, and keto – we all have more in common than we have disagreement. And yet, who argues the most about which diet is better. Meanwhile, all of these sad diet eaters just sit back and go, “Yeah, I’m going to eat my popcorn watching the show, you guys. This is not interesting to me at all.” I think if we coalesced around the real food message and brought people in, it would be so much more attractive. Then we could make people more healthy in the end.
Allan (26:06): Absolutely. If someone wanted to get in touch with you, they wanted to learn more about what you’re doing over there, where would you guys want me to send them?
Christine Moore (26:15): I have a website – RebootingYourNutrition.com. You can send me a message there and I’ll write back to you. And Jimmy has lots of places.
Jimmy Moore (26:26): We have a website for the book – RealFoodKeto.com, where we’re going to update various interviews we’re doing, like this one. And a book tour that we hope to do in early 2019. And of course I’m at LivinLaVidaLowCarb.com, or you could Google Jimmy Moore. The first three pages is all my stuff.
Allan (26:44): They can also go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/351, and I’ll be sure to have all of those links there. Christine, Jimmy, again, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
Christine Moore (26:56): Thank you for having us.
Jimmy Moore (26:58): Thanks, Allan. I’ll see you at the next book.
Allan (27:00): Absolutely.
Now, wasn’t that great? I really enjoy having conversations with Jimmy. He’s extremely knowledgeable, and his wife, Christine, is just off the charts with this stuff, her education with the Nutritional Therapy Association. Really, she knows her stuff. And this is a really, really deep book; really cool book. It is a keto book, but you’ll learn so much about nutrition in this book. It’s like a college class in and of itself. So, really well done book, and I hope you’ll check it out.
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In her book, The Elephant in the Gym, Gillian Goerzen helps us understand how our mindset can make or break our fitness goals.
Allan (1:14): Gillian, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
Gillian Goerzen (1:18): Hello. Thank you so much for having me. What a delight.
Allan (1:23): Your book is called The Elephant in the Gym, and I had two thoughts when I first saw the title. One of these, I don’t like the connotation, and the other one I was like, “That would actually be a good book.” I’m glad you went with the good book route.
Gillian Goerzen (1:42): Yay! That was one of my biggest concerns when I came up with the title. I was trail running actually and I came up with this title. We were having this conversation and it’s like, “The elephant in the room that nobody’s talking about. Hey, it’s the elephant in the gym!” I was with my running mates, and the first thing that comes up was, “Am I the elephant in the gym?” Of course I was like, “No, no. Oh gosh, the subtitle’s going to have to be really clear that they are not the elephant in the gym.”
Allan (2:12): I do want to talk to that for a moment, because I think a lot of people are going to find this podcast probably in January when they’re making these decisions, and they’re going to go into the gym and feel a little uncomfortable with it. The people in the gym – other than the fact the gym gets really crowded in in January, so the people that are there all the time might be a little frustrated that they have to wait on a machine they’ve never had to wait on – but they want you in the gym. They want the gym to be successful, the gym owner to be doing what they’re doing and changing lives. And more than likely that person you see over there by the weight rack that somewhat intimidates you – at one point, they either walked in there as a scrawny 14-year-old kid, or they came in there feeling like they were an elephant. And now they’ve done this hard work over a period of time and they’ve changed. So I would look at that. I would hope people going into the gym for the first time – I know you feel intimidated and I know you want to run over and get on that treadmill – fight that urge. Get into the culture of the gym. It’s a culture of change. It’s actually a culture of comradery. The gym is a wonderful place to be once you get over that hurdle and you start getting comfortable in your own skin.
Gillian Goerzen (3:30): Really finding the right gym for you. You might come into one facility and think… We’re all so caught up in our own stories, in our own head, we make up these stories about what we think other people are thinking about us, but they’re 99.9% of the time wrong, because we actually are perceiving things that aren’t there. Most people, when they see other people just getting started, they think, “Gosh, way to go! Good for them. I’m so glad to see more people coming in.” So one is, get past that idea that we have in our head, but secondly, finding a facility that really resonates with you and has a similar philosophy to you, that you feel really welcomed in. I always like to say that we want to find that Cheers experience. You come in and everybody knows your name, and you feel really welcomed. It’s that community and collaboration that you were talking about.
Allan (4:27): And that happens; it’s just going to take a little bit of time, because when you first walk in the gym, we kind of expect that you’re only going to be there for three weeks and then you’re going to be gone. A lot of people aren’t going to invest. And people are not staring at you. They’re just watching to make sure you don’t do something to hurt yourself, because they’ve been there and done that. Fortunately though, that’s not what this book is about.
Gillian Goerzen (4:51): No, it’s not.
Allan (4:53): This is about the conversations that you have with yourself, and how we actually get in our own way.
Gillian Goerzen (5:02): Amen. Sure do.
Allan (5:07): You start out in the early part in the book and you told this story of the two wolves. Would you mind sharing that? I really think that if people can wrap their head around this story and remind themselves of this story on a regular basis, this is going to solve a lot of problems.
Gillian Goerzen (5:27): I agree. It’s a beautiful story. It’s a First Nations story, for those who aren’t familiar with it. And as the story goes, a grandfather is telling his grandson about a battle he has going on within himself. So there are two wolves – there’s one good and there’s one evil. And the grandson asks, “Which one will win, Grandfather?” And he replies, “The one I feed.” As the story goes, it’s not really about eliminating the evil wolf; it’s about nourishing the wolf you want to thrive. So if we take that metaphor into the health conversation, into how we treat ourselves, it’s not about getting rid of the struggle; it’s about nourishing the ways that we’re being successful. It’s about nourishing the ways we are building ourselves up. It’s about nourishing what we need to grow, shift and develop. So instead of fighting against the things that aren’t working, focusing on the things that are working, the wonderful things that we are already doing, because there’s always some. When I talk to clients, it’s always that we tend to focus on the things we aren’t doing instead of the things we are doing. And when reframe and turn people around to the, “But tell me about what you are doing. What did you do this past week to help yourself, to move yourself forward to health?” – there are always way more things than they even realized. And once they see those, they’re like, “I actually did quite a bit for myself this week. Awesome. Let’s build from there.” And that’s what creates more momentum. That magical motivation that we all seek is seeing that we’re actually already doing things. And you get to develop belief in yourself, the self-efficacy, the self-confidence in your capabilities.
Allan (7:18): I think when you’re going through something, you need to take that slight step back and say, “Is this a good wolf or a bad wolf?” More than likely, if you have a negative feeling, if you’re feeling down, if you’re not feeling good about yourself, you’re probably feeding the bad wolf, and it’s time to stop. So, take that step back and say, “There’s a reason why I’m not satisfied with what’s going on with my life, or my health, or my fitness.” You’ve got to take that step back and figure out what’s the wolf you need to feed to move this thing forward.
Gillian Goerzen (7:52): Absolutely.
Allan (7:54): You have a concept in the book that I really, really liked and I think a lot of people will. Again, we’re getting close to January, so people are probably getting into that premise of thinking, “I’ve got to set a resolution. I’m going to go to the gym five days a week and I’m going to cut out processed foods and try to sleep eight hours a night.” They set these standards of what they’re going to do, and actually some of them work for about three weeks, and then they miss a day at the gym. And that missing the day at the gym, they feed the bad wolf and they say, “Well, I missed Thursday. I may as well just skip Friday.” So, you have this concept called the “health zone”, which I think is going to set people into a really good state of mind, to constantly be feeding the good wolf. Can you talk about the health zone?
Gillian Goerzen (9:01): Totally. You really hit it on the head. Why I developed the health zone was that I kept having these conversations with my clients about, they’d map out this criteria for themselves, this very black-and-white, very binary relationship with what they needed to do to, in their heads, be successful with their health – whether that was going to the gym three times a week, whether that was not eating processed foods, whatever. It’s similar examples to what you were mentioning. What I noticed was when they made one choice that took them out of that very black-and-white, very binary criteria, they decided that they’d failed. And when they decided that they failed and fed that evil wolf, what ends up happening is this domino effect, but not in the direction we want. We skipped the gym, so then we think, “Today’s kind of a write-off. I’m going to have an indulgent lunch.” And then indulgent lunch leads to mid-afternoon coffee with a special treat, it leads to drive-through for dinner, it leads to not getting to bed on time, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. And then start fresh tomorrow. That domino effect leads us down a path that’s not really conducive to our health, when all it was was that we maybe needed to sleep in a little bit that morning and skip the gym. One workout off doesn’t negate the two workouts that person had already done in the week.
So the idea of the health zone was to get people out of that binary, black-and-white thinking, was to really look at our lives and give ourselves more flexibility, more room, more grace to live in a range of activities. For example, instead of having a quota of, “I’m going to exercise three days per week for this much time”, or whenever I’m going to do – saying instead, “I’m going to move my body two to four days per week for a minimum of 15 minutes, and I’m going to be happy no matter where I fall in that range. No matter where I fall in that range, I’m actually still being successful.” So, it comes down to looking at that whole health range and thinking what are our, I call them, “non-negotiables”. The bottom of the range is this idea of, what are the non-negotiable health habits I’m going to maintain no matter what? Think brushing your teeth. No matter how busy we get, most of us, 90% of the time, brush our teeth twice a day. We don’t even really think about it. It’s a health habit we maintain because we see the value in doing that. So, what are the other health habits we can maintain at the bottom end of that health zone no matter what, and engage and feeling successful, and feeding the good wolf? And then at the other end of the range would be your optimal habits. Not like the sunshine and rainbows optimal habits, where it’s not going to work with your actual real life, but what’s going to work with your real life if things were swimming along in a reasonable fashion – no major bumps in life, but regular life. What would you be doing on the other end of that spectrum? And so, finding that kind of range and no matter where you fall in that, feeling really successful about the choices you’ve made.
Allan (12:31): The thing I like about this is, if you’re doing anything positive, even a small step in the right direction can make a huge difference over time. We don’t realize we were potentially living very, very unhealthy lives, and now we’re not doing that anymore. We’re better. But if you set this bar and say, “I have to be at this level” and you don’t reach that, is that going to be the thing that knocks you off permanently? And so, it’s just a function of setting that bottom level and that top level, and then trying to make sure that you have strategies in your life that keep you accountable and successful within that range.
Gillian Goerzen (13:12): Totally. I always tell my clients, something is better than nothing. If you can even do 10 minutes of a workout and just go for a 10 minute walk, isn’t that better than doing nothing? If we actually step back and objectively look at it, we’re all going to go, “Of course.” Isn’t two servings of vegetables better than none? Yeah, absolutely it is. One glass of water is better than no glasses of water, or three is better than two. All of these steps in the right direction help us, and again, doing them consistently, of course, is what is the big, big clincher.
Allan (13:52): With the book, The Elephant in the Gym, you set 10, what you call “Super You” principles, and you have a chapter about each one. We have a lot of information about each one of these so we can’t dive deep into each one. But I would like, if you don’t mind sharing the ten, and just giving us a general overview of what that means in context to our health and fitness.
Gillian Goerzen (14:15): Absolutely. I really wanted a way to wrap up each chapter, and the key message I want you to walk away from the chapter with. It becomes, in essence, a summary of the book. The first one is really about, be you. You’re unique, and so is your health, is the principle. The big thing I always want people to take away is, there’s no other person on the planet that’s exactly like you. There’s no one right way to be healthy either, because everybody is different. We all have different genetics, interests, priorities, values. We need to find the way that works for us and our lives. That’s the first one. The second one is to really embrace our humanity. There’s unfortunately this misconception that there’s a “perfect” out there, that if I just follow this program perfectly and I will do this, then I will be healthy. But it doesn’t work that way. It’s about really focusing on being human, embracing the fact that you are human, and that you will ebb and flow and you will make mistakes. It’s about learning to give yourself some compassion in those moments and learning from those changes. The third one is to show up, to really trust the process, whatever process you choose, and actually take action and move yourself forward. The fourth one is to unlock your potential. That one’s really about knowing and acknowledging that you are both your loudest critic and your biggest cheerleader. Again, that’s that evil wolf, good wolf. You can feed the loudest critic or you can be your biggest cheerleader. But part of that is that mindfulness, becoming aware of where you’re being very hard on yourself, and then how you shift that tide. And I talk about some really tangible strategies in that chapter. Number five is practicing patience and perseverance. One of guiding things in the fitness industry and the health industry is, everybody wants that quick fix, but quick doesn’t usually equal sustainable, unfortunately. We all want that dramatic result, but the dramatic result usually requires extreme measures, and those are rarely sustainable in anybody’s real life. So, understanding that things will take time, change isn’t easy. Be willing to put the work in and acknowledge that it will be tough, that there will be a struggle, and it’s very human to struggle and that’s okay.
The next one is to really explore the science and practice the art. I come from a background of a degree in Kinesiology, and I’ve done a lot of work and study over the years of the science, the physiology of exercise and how do we be healthy. There’s a tremendous amount of science to all of this – to health and to fitness. And how you apply it in your life is an art. So I say, “Explore the science, practice the art.” It’s about acknowledging what the actual science is – not the pseudo-science, the actual science. And then understanding how you apply it to your life is an art. The next one is to reclaim your relationship with food. Of course, I couldn’t have a health book without an acknowledgement around the nutrition piece. Again, nutrition science – super complex topic, but I think we’ve overcomplicated it in a lot of ways. I have 10 tips that I offer in that chapter to really reconnect to our relationship with food. We talk about, “Fly the white flag.” Let’s stop having this really intense battle with food. Food is what we need to nourish our bodies, but also to nourish our souls. And then, yawning your way to success. The other piece that we often don’t talk about in this health conversation is sleep. I call it the “unsung hero of health”. We need to be as a culture shifting our conversation and really putting more value back to sleep, because it’s really huge. And I talk about the science behind that as well. And the final one is, own it – your health, your fitness, and your life. Own that you’re going to have a unique vision, and then create that for yourself. Create a plan and an approach to health and fitness that really feels good and grounded in your life right now as it is, so that you can evolve and grow your health and wellness throughout the course of your life. Because what my health and wellness looked like when I was 20 is different than it looks like at 40.
Allan (18:56): Absolutely. I think anyone that’s hearing these “Super You” principles that you have, that resonates with us. That’s the message that I’ve had on this podcast since the beginning, almost three years ago, and this is episode 350. We’ve been having this conversation, so these principles are not new to us, but the base point is, we have to take that step back and remind ourselves why we’re doing this and what’s going on. Each of these principles is addressing a different part of both our mental reflection of our lives, and then the actions we take after we have made these decisions and we’re making these choices.
Gillian Goerzen (19:44): Absolutely. I would say the first part of the book is really addressing what you’ve been up against – all the struggle that we’ve been facing and what’s actually holding you back. And then the second half of the book is really about, where do we go from here? Where do we go now that we’ve become aware of this? We see the elephant in the gym; now, how do we address it? How do we move forward in a powerful and empowered way, so that we feel we are in the driver’s seat in our own life? And not feeling like we’re looking outside of ourselves to someone else to tell us this magic solution, that if we just follow this magic solution that this individual with lots of likes on Facebook is going to tell me what to do; and really putting the power back on ourselves. It’s like, “I get to choose. Actually, it’s up to me to choose what’s going to work for me.”
Allan (20:34): Yes, absolutely. I do want to take one step backwards. You have all kinds of actionable tips, so I don’t want anyone to think that this book is just principles-based. The principles are important, but you follow up each of the principles with some homework, action items, some things we need to do. Again, I’m very action-oriented. Give me something and then tell me what to do. You can pick and choose how you apply these things in your life. But you’ve got to take it back to this one seed, and the one seed is that you have to have a desire to change, because if you don’t truly have the desire to change, then when you actually start going up against the work ahead of you… I know this might sound strange, but getting better sleep is hard work. You’ve got to say “No” to some things that you probably don’t want to say “No” to, like Words With Friends or Netflix. It’s time to go to bed. So, it’s not going to be easy. I would love to say that it’s easy, but it’s never going to be completely easy. It gets easier, but it’s never going to be easy. So, with that hard work in front of us, can you talk a little bit about that thing we need, the desire to change and how we can embrace that?
Gillian Goerzen (21:59): I think one of the pieces around that that I really want people to hear is that we have to choose our “hard”. When you’re feeling uncomfortable in your skin, when you’re not happy with the level of health you currently have, when you feel like there are things you can’t do with your body that you’d really like to do – the example I give in the book is, you watch your child on a ride at Disneyland that you’d really liked to be in, but you don’t fit in the seat – my gosh, that is hard. So, It’s really embracing the fact that that work is worth it, because the alternative is hard too. It’s about choosing which hard do you want to live with. Do you want to live with the hard of feeling uncomfortable in your skin, not feeling like your body is in its best shape for you, not being able to do the things you want to do, not feeling vibrant, vital and alive and able to live your life the way you want to live it? Or do you want to make the other hard decision, which is to make a few sacrifices, to have to say “No” sometimes, to put yourself first, to say “Yes” to yourself and say “No” to others? I think that is hard too, but understanding that the thing that’s going to push you through is really that reverence for the alternative, which is also hard, and knowing what’s in it for you on the other side of hard.
What I talk about a lot is really connecting to, not the, “How I want to look in my body”; “How do I want to feel in my body?” What’s the “Why”? What’s in it for me to do this work and get past the hard? And that’s connecting to a really powerful, really deep, meaningful “Why”? What’s in it for you? Why do you want to do this? Not just because I know I’ll fit in my clothes. That’s nice, to fit in your clothes, if it’s about weight loss, or to be able to run a 10K – that’s also great. But what’s in it for you to be able to do those things? I talk to a lot of moms and a lot of parents. For a lot of them it’s, “I want to be a great role model for my kids. I don’t want my kids to feel like this in their body.” Okay, now we’re talking. That’s a more powerful and more motivating “Why”. So when that alarm goes off in the morning and you want to stay in bed, but you know you should get up and go and do your workout, or go for your walk, or make time to make a healthy lunch – you’re going to think of that reason and it’s going to give you the impetus you need to get out of bed and go and do it.
Allan (24:26): Yes. Part of what you’re talking here, like I said, does resonate with us. I’ve always talked about it in terms of what I call “commitment”, and that commitment is the combination of your vision – what does a healthy, fit and happy person mean to you personally? Because what it means to me is something entirely different. And when I get older, I’ve used the phrase, “When I’m 105, I want to be able to wipe my own butt.” I say that because I know how many people get into their 70s, 80s and 90s and they lose their independence, and I don’t want to be that person. I know I don’t have to be that person, because I have role models I see that are 80s, 90s, 100, well into their 100s, still living active lifestyles. I just know I need to do the things to do that. Today, my vision is, I not only want to enjoy time with my kids or grandkids, when they come around. It’s if one of them tells me they want to go do a Tough Mudder, I want to be able to go do that with them. It’s not that I want to do a Tough Mudder for the sake of saying I did a Tough Mudder. I was like that when I was young and competitive. Now it’s just I don’t want my daughter to be waiting on me. I want to finish the race with her, and I want to enjoy myself and not hurt myself while I’m doing it. So, I train that way. That’s your vision. And then the “Why” part is the quality time with my family. It’s knowing that if I want to be around, I’ve got to take care of myself. I put it in slightly different terms, but it was funny as I went through the book, I kept seeing my words in your book.
Gillian Goerzen (26:13): You’ve got to love it when find that, which gives me so much hope, because I think the more of us that are having these conversations, I see the shift in the tides of the conversation around health and fitness. I see things shifting and it gives me a lot of hope because I think for a lot of years it was the blood, sweat and tears, and look a certain way. There’s still a tremendous amount of that; and still, I’m hearing more and more people having these conversations, more and more people saying, “I just want to be able to wipe my butt when I’m 90.” One of the common ones I hear from my clients with grandkids: “I want to get down on the floor and play with my grandkids, or I want to be able to take them to the park and actively play with them.” That’s really empowering, when you start talking about that vision, as opposed to being able to look good in a bikini, which is neither here nor there at the end of the day. What did you do in your bikini? That’s what I want to talk about. Did you go surfing? Did you go play with your kids in the sand and feel fantastic? Because that’s what the people in your life are going to remember. Nobody gets to their deathbed and thinks, “Gosh, I wish I’d looked better in a bikini.” They think of all the things they did; they think of all the relationships they had. Again, it’s that step back – what’s important to me, what do I value? At the end of the day, what do I hold close to my heart? That’s the core message here.
Allan (27:42): Cool. Now, I’m introducing a new, I guess I’ll call it a “segment”, for lack of better words, to this show. I’d like to ask you, what are three strategies or tactics to get healthy, fit, and happy, which is what I define “wellness”? What are three of your strategies or tactics for wellness?
Gillian Goerzen (28:06): Okay. So number one – before you embark on anything, the first thing that always comes to mind – are you willing to do this for the rest of your life? I just got a message from a client earlier today and she was curious about a supplement. And I said, “From a scientific perspective, here’s some information about it. But I want you to take a step back. If you take this supplement, are you willing to take it for the rest of your life? Is this something that resonates with you and feels like it connects to you?” Trust your instincts around, is this something you want to do for the rest of your life? If the answer to that is “No”, what’s the point of doing it short-term? Is this a sustainable thing I can do? So, trusting your instincts, really asking the questions before you jump all in. So that’s number one, is really listening to that. Number two – I really, truly believe whatever you choose to do around your health and fitness – do it, and do it consistently. There is no magic pill, there is no magic solution or program. It’s just the things we do with consistency that really add up to creating more impact in our lives and more change in our health. And the third thing is to not judge failure. So when you fall off that blessed wagon, to not look at it as you failing. If you fell off the wagon or you keep falling off the wagon, maybe you’re just on the wrong track. Maybe you just need to find a different wagon to be on and find a different way of doing things. The other analogy I like to use is, before you wipe the slate clean, take a look at the chalk marks. What can you learn from what you tried there? Get up and try again. It’s the whole, “Failure isn’t falling. Failure is choosing not to get back up.” So, get back up, try again, learn from what didn’t work. Those are higher level mental strategies, not tactical strategies, but there you have it.
Allan (30:10): That’s totally cool. That’s exactly what I think we needed to hear. If you haven’t caught it from me, I love your message.
Gillian Goerzen (30:18): Thank you.
Allan (30:18): If someone wanted to get in touch with you, learn more about the book, where would you like for me to send them?
Gillian Goerzen (30:25): There are two places they could go. They could go to ElephantInTheGym.com, all one word; or they can head to SuperYou.ca. I have those two places that they could head, and they’ll be able to find me in one of those.
Allan (30:40): Excellent. This is going to be episode 350, so you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/350, and I’ll be sure to have those links in the show notes. Gillian, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
Gillian Goerzen (30:54): Oh, such a delight. I’m brand new to the 40+ club, and I’m really happy to be here.
Allan (31:01): Welcome! We’re glad to have you.
Gillian Goerzen (31:04): So many of my friends were nervous about turning 40 and I’m like, “Bring it on. I just feel like this is going to be the best decades of our lives. It’s great.”
Allan (31:13): Cool.
I hope you enjoyed that conversation as much as I enjoyed having it. Gillian’s a pretty special person, and her book, The Elephant in the Gym, is a really cool book. I love the cover, I love the concepts in the book. As I was reading the book, it pretty much mirrored what we’re doing here on this podcast and what I’ve done with The Wellness Roadmap. It was really nice to see that this conversation is starting to make a good role, that more and more people are starting to recognize that the mindset we take into the gym, the mindset we take into the food choices, the mindset we take into all of our health choices, really does drive how successful we’re going to be. So, The Elephant in the Gym is a great book. I do encourage you to step out and get that.
If you do enjoy the podcast, I want to ask you, if you don’t mind, helping to support the podcast. A lot goes into making a podcast and putting it together. I pay for audio processing, so I can get the most decent quality my voice will let me have. I pay for someone to do the transcripts and put them out for show notes so you have that available to you. If you thought you misheard something, you can always go out to the show notes and read it for yourself. It’s always going to be there on the website. I pay for hosting of that website, so again, that content is always available to you. All the back episodes are available to you through the website. I pay for audio files to be stored, so there’s a host for that. And then all the other costs that go into the making of a podcast; it’s a lot more than I thought when I first got started. I thought this would be a pretty cheap endeavor. You start looking at those $5 here, $10 there, $100 there, and after a while you realize this a lot more expensive, and each of these episodes does cost a good bit to put out. I want to keep doing that and I’m just asking for a little support. A few dollars a month is going to go a long way towards helping me cover the cost of the show and continue to work to improve it and invest in it and make it better. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Patreon. There are multiple levels of support you can provide there, some with really, really cool add-ons, some pluses that you’ll get for being a part of the podcast, for being on the team and helping us get this podcast produced. So, go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Patreon, and that will take you to the Patreon page, where you’ll be able to read about the benefits and the different things you can get by being a part of the team. I really do want you on my team. I think this podcast is a team sport. Fitness and health are a team sport and we need to be in this together, trying to get our message out there. I want you to be a part of that. So go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Patreon. Thank you.
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Today’s episode is a solo episode. When I was a kid going crabbing, I learned a lot of things that I now apply to my health and wellness. There are lessons about patience and perseverance, and also how to deal with people that aren’t in your corner. I got a lot of health lessons out of crabbing and I want to share those with you today. With no further ado, here we go.
I know you might be asking yourself, what on earth can crabbing have to do with being healthy? And it’s a lot more than just the fact that it’s actually a very, very healthy meat to eat. Crab meat’s delicious, by the way. If you haven’t tried it, I highly, highly recommended it. In South Mississippi and Louisiana in particular, catching blue crabs is kind of a cool thing. I’ve done crabbing up in Maryland when we lived there. But we were in Manchac, Louisiana, which is a little bitty town, I guess about halfway between McComb, Mississippi, and New Orleans. I know that probably doesn’t help a lot of you; just realize it’s way, way down there. Anyway, we would go crabbing. Our parents would take the traps out with the boat; and the kids – I was 15 – we would hang out on the dock and we would go crabbing from the dock. Now, we didn’t have traps, so we had a different way of catching crabs that took a lot more patience and a lot more time. But it kept us entertained and we did our thing. What you do is you take a turkey neck, a string, a net, and a bucket, and that’s all you need. You tie one end of the string to the turkey neck and then you toss the turkey neck into the water and you wait anywhere from three to five minutes or so. Then you slowly, slowly, slowly bring that turkey neck up to the surface. Now, I’d practiced with all kinds of little different ways of how I would bring it up, but basically finger over finger, slowly inching the turkey neck off the bottom, up to the surface of the water. And many, many times you would find a crab on that turkey neck. You see the crab as you get it close to the surface, you try to get it as close to the surface as you can, and then with the net you just scoop them up. And if they’re big enough to keep, you drop them in the bucket and you get going again.
So, what on earth would a turkey neck and standing on a pier, fishing for crabs and catching them one at a time like that – what on Earth could that teach me? The first thing it taught me was patience. You had to be extremely patient pulling the turkey neck to the surface, because you basically had to have the crabs so enveloped in the turkey, eating the turkey, that he or she didn’t know that they were being moved. They didn’t realize that there was a movement upward. So this was a very, very slow, methodical process to get the crab to the surface. And then you couldn’t get them too far to the surface, or else they would recognize what was going on and you wouldn’t get a chance to scoop them. So, very, very heavy on the patience, to make sure that you have patience to get the things that you want, which was the crabs.
The second thing it taught me was perseverance, meaning there were times when you’re out there and you’re just not getting any crabs to bite onto your turkey neck. So you just keep trying. You might move to a different part of the pier, you might go into the deeper water, you might go into the more shallow water. You just tested around to figure out what was going to work for you for that day. Crabs were finicky and sometimes there was a whole bunch of them there, and sometimes there weren’t.
The third thing it taught me was that you’re going to be dealing with a lot of adversity in your life. Where you would see this adversity when you’re crabbing is, you’d put the crabs in the bucket, and obviously the crab now wants to get out of the bucket. We had a little wet towel in there to keep them moist, but other than that, they knew they weren’t where they were supposed to be. So these crabs are trying to climb out of this bucket. The problem came in that the other crabs that were in the bucket also wanted to get out, and rather than perhaps working together, each of the crabs was trying to climb on the back of another crab to get where they wanted to go, to get out. So you could pretty much fill this bucket almost all the way to the top and the crabs very seldom were able to get out of the bucket, because by the time they got to the lip, another crab would pull them down to climb up on top of them. Because these crabs were fighting each other, these crabs in a bucket – almost none of the crabs ever got out of the bucket. You were safe to let the crabs stay in the bucket, and most of the time not have to worry about anything other than getting the next crab.
Those are three basic lessons, and I want to relate those to health and wellness and where those come to play in your health and wellness. We all are being brought up in this environment of, “I want it now”, instant gratification. And I can tell you that health and wellness are not instant gratification kind of things. I mean, seriously not. The reality is, it took us many, many decades in some cases to get out of good health, we lost our fitness over a series of years; and to get back to a state of fitness, to get back to a state of health is going to take some time. We have to be patient and keep at it, or we’re not going to get what we want. We may make a mistake and that sets us back. So, I’ve been sitting there for five minutes, I’m trying to bring this crab up and I make a mistake. In making that mistake, that crab gets away. Now I have to toss the net back down and wait a little while again. The process of getting healthy and well is going to take you time and you need to put in that time to make that happen. That means staying consistent as well.
The other one is perseverance that I talked about. Now, just because something isn’t working for you, you have to understand whether it’s your method or whether it’s just situational. When I talked about crabbing, we’re looking at maybe the place on the dock where I’m at – they’re not schooling down below there and I need to move to another place on the dock. I changed my tactics; I moved from one location to another. I didn’t change my approach. I’m still using the string, still using the turkey neck and the net, but I’ve moved to a new location. So sometimes when you’re training for something or you’re working on a diet and you’ve plateaued, you just need to have the perseverance to keep going. You may change your tactics to mix things up a little bit, but in a general sense, you just keep going. When you marry those two things together – patience and persistence, you have an excellent formula for getting whatever you want in your health and fitness. But you have to have both. Having both and applying both allows you to be successful. It allows you to get more crabs when you’re crabbing as well.
The final thing is the crabs in the bucket. If you’ve listened to the podcast before when I was doing a lot more solo shows, you’ve probably heard the episode when I talk about saboteurs. The saboteurs are just like those crabs. As you’re trying to climb out of that bucket, you’re trying to get healthy, they’re the ones that are doing things to pull you back down. And they’re doing it for the same exact reason that the crabs are – they want to be on top. They don’t want you to change, because it belittles them, it makes them feel bad about themselves. But I want you to listen to that statement – it makes them feel bad about themselves. That’s nothing that you’ve done. That’s all on them. That’s how they feel, how they are. Rather than cooperating with you and both of you working towards your health and wellness – them being a part of your accountability team, and you for them – they’ve decided to be the crab in the bucket that’s trying to pull you down to make themselves feel better.
So, don’t be like the crabs in a bucket. You can get out of the bucket. You know how to get out of the bucket – you get out of the bucket with patience and persistence. If you’re using patience and persistence in your health and wellness, you’re going to be outside the bucket and then you don’t have to worry about the other crabs in the bucket. They can just be crabs in a bucket.
I know this was a short episode, but I did want to take the time to share that lesson with you. Parts of this lesson are actually in The Wellness Roadmap book, so I’d encourage you to go out. It’s on presale at a discounted price right now, so I hope you will go out there and get the book. And again, please do leave me a review on Amazon. It’s really, really important to get the book noticed to have those reviews. Thank you very much, and I’ll talk to you next time.
I really need you on the launch team. If you could go to WellnessRoadmapBook.com, there you’ll find a signup form to be on the launch team. The launch team is going to get a lot more information about the book. They’re going to get some bonus material that I’m not going to be showing or giving out anywhere else. You’ve got to be on the launch team if you want these extras and these bonuses and some special things I’m going to be doing for them. All I’m asking are very small things from them to help me promote the book. So, I really do need you on the launch team. Go to WellnessRoadmapBook.com and you can sign up there.
Now, I am going to do something special for that week of the launch. I’m going to have a bonus episode on December 6th. That date actually happens to be the anniversary date of when I launched the podcast three years ago. So, that date holds some significance for the podcast and I want to make that a very special show. It’s going to celebrate the launch of the book and it’s going to celebrate you. And the way it’s going to celebrate you is I want you to submit your questions to me that I can then answer on the podcast. There’s going to be two ways that you can do this. You can go to the Contact page at 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com and record your question directly there, and then I can play that. That’ll be you asking your question, and then I’ll answer it. Or if you feel more comfortable, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. There I’ll have your written out question and I’ll organize those in a way that makes sense for the show. I’ll read your question or I’ll play your question, depending on how you choose to respond. We’ll make it a really cool Q&A session, celebrating you – the podcast listener, and the podcast, and the book. So it’s going to be a special celebration week for us, having a special episode on that Thursday, December 6th. Please do get your questions in because this is going to be a lot harder podcast for me to get organized and recorded, so I’m going to need plenty of time and at some point I’ll just have to cut off the questions. So the sooner you get your question in to me, the more likely you are to be featured on the show. I do want to hear from you, so please do send in your questions either via the SpeakPipe, which you can get at the Contact page on 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com. Or you can go ahead and email me – email@example.com. I look forward to getting your questions, I look forward to helping you out on your journey, and I really look forward to sending off this book in the best way possible. So, please do join me on December 6th for the launch party, effectively the online launch party for the book. I’m really excited for you to be a part of this. I’m looking forward to your questions, I’m looking forward to having you on the launch team. Thank you.
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Can a vegan go keto? In her book, Vegan Keto, Liz MacDowell explains exactly how to do it and she provides some wonderful recipes to help you on your journey. On this episode, we discuss her book.
Allan (1:25): Liz, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
Liz MacDowell (1:30): Hi Allan. Thank you. It’s so nice to be here.
Allan (1:34): When I saw your book I was like, “I’ve got to get her on my show”, because it’s Vegan Keto, and I’ve had this conversation with various people over the years. I’m one of those folks right now that’s kind of the backlash against bacon. I’m like, “Please, let’s stop talking about bacon. This is not the bacon diet.” Unfortunately, most people that are vegetarian and vegan, that’s all they hear.
Liz MacDowell (2:02): Exactly.
Allan (2:04): I know they’re saying I can eat bacon, but they’re hearing you eat bacon. It’s a really hard message to explain to folks that we need to get away from the bacon.
Liz MacDowell (2:17): It’s so true. It’s almost like keto has a bit of a PR problem. It was so enticing at first to everyone to hear, “You can eat bacon”, because bacon is that food that’s always kind of tossed back and forth by doctors as either going to kill you now or going to kill you in two years. So people were excited to hear they could have a healthy diet with bacon, but I think it became the overarching message that it’s burgers and bacon and cheese and eggs.
Allan (2:43): We could’ve said the same thing about mayonnaise. You can have all the mayonnaise you want. It’s the perfect fat, if you get the right kind of fat in your mayonnaise. So if it’s an avocado-based mayonnaise, you can just eat as much mayonnaise as you want. That’s not the message of the keto diet, but unfortunately I think that’s where a lot of folks have kind of taken it.
Liz MacDowell (3:05): Exactly. It definitely seems incompatible at first when you think vegan diet and then you think ketogenic diet.
Allan (3:12): Right, but the other side of it is, I’ll be the first to admit that when you’re doing ketosis and the ketogenic diet, you are being restrictive in your food choices. When you’re being vegan, you’re being restrictive in your food choices. Putting the two together is now a compound of, you have to be very, very selective about every bit of morsel of food that goes into your body to meet both of those requirements.
Liz MacDowell (3:47): That is very true. It’s funny, I’ve been doing this for so long and I just kind of eat what I want now, but you’re practiced at it, you know what you can eat. So I don’t feel as though I’m being restricted at all. But then you think about it. When you go to a restaurant and the waitress asks if you have any dietary concerns, it’s almost embarrassing. I just don’t say anything at this point; I just order a salad.
Allan (4:11): Yeah. It’s like, “Don’t even give me the menu.”
Liz MacDowell (4:18): “I will just be ordering vegetables sides, thank you.”
Allan (4:23): And then just say, “Bring me some olive oil to spice it up a little.” And that was one of the interesting things – I’m starting to see this trend in the conversation. I had Dr. Will Cole on not long ago. His book is Ketotarian. He does show you in the book how you can be vegan and do this, how you can be vegetarian or pescatarian. He kind of blends it out there to say you can find an eating style and you can still make it work for keto. But I’m just now starting to hear this message come out, despite my telling people you can. It’s restrictive and it’ll take a lot of work, especially at the front, as you said. But you’ve been doing this for a while. That kind of surprised me, because I really have never heard of anyone sustainably doing this. And so, I’d like to share your story if you don’t mind.
Liz MacDowell (5:23): Yeah, absolutely. I first stumbled upon keto I think through reddit, where I stumble upon most things, in 2012 over the summer. And it was a period of my life where I hadn’t really been eating that well, I’d put on some weight, I was feeling lethargic, tired and sick all the time, and was really looking for a way to feel better both physically and emotionally, really. Because when you’re not feeling your best physically, you get really depressed. I don’t really know how I stumbled upon keto, but at some point in time someone directed me to this keto page where I started learning about all these blood sugar regulation issues, which hit home for me, because I had been hypoglycemic my entire life. And then you just read more and more. And the more I read about it, I thought it couldn’t hurt to try a high fat diet. I’d tried a super high carb diet, as I think most vegans go through the high carb phase, and that was disastrous for me. I know that works for some people. I’m not at all maligning that way of eating. I think that if it works for you, awesome. I just am not a person who can pound 300 grams of carbs a day and feel okay.
Allan (6:44): That was one of the struggles I had. I kind of stumbled into ketosis myself. I was eating Paleo, effectively, but I was keeping my protein at more of a moderate level, which by nature means I was eating more fat. So, with that I started noticing some physical changes – my breath, my energy level, that I just couldn’t explain. I know I’m eating high quality food, but I’ve eaten high quality food before and I didn’t feel like this, and my breath didn’t smell like this. Then I started doing some research and that’s where I came upon ketosis and I’m like, “Okay, let’s figure this out.” I went and got some stuff, and sure enough I’m in ketosis. And then I started reading up on it and understanding some of the other health benefits of it. There are so many studies out there that show that the vegan and vegetarian lifestyle, way of eating are also excellent ways to protect your health. I tried the pescatarian. I knew I couldn’t just play the figuring out the proteins thing. I know there are vegetarian bodybuilders and vegan bodybuilders out there. I know it can be done; it’s just I don’t have the mental energy to do it week in, week out. I know once I got past the dip, it would’ve been fine, but it was that first thing. So I said I’m going to do pescatarian and allow myself to eat fish, and I’m going to eat vegetables and grains and the whole bit.
And what I found was that I was hungry all the time, which caused me to binge on fruit and nuts. And I had to have food with me everywhere I went. I had food in my truck, food at my desk. I was pretty much eating all day, every day, just to keep my energy level. And I would do steel-cut oats in the morning for breakfast, but still by 10:00 I was starving. So I brought myself three servings of walnuts, and I had other food in my office. I just would sit there and binge for the rest of the day. So, there are ways that are going to help us be more healthful and we have to know ourselves, which is what I really appreciated about your story. You’ve now found that balance. You said, “Okay, I know what I can eat. I know how to eat this way.” Now, to do this, I think where most of us think that the vegan aspects of this would make it extremely difficult to hit your micronutrients. I had trouble thinking I could do it with the protein. But we also now have this consideration on, how do I get enough fat into my diet without just drinking olive oil? Can you talk a little bit about the macronutrients? But then I think the bigger story in the end is going to be the micronutrients, because we’re excluding so many foods. There are two layers of complexity here – the macros, which already seem challenging, and the micros, which add a whole another level of depth. Can you go through those a bit?
Liz MacDowell (9:46): Yeah, absolutely. I think part of what makes keto a little bit less intimidating than I would say a Paleo diet for vegans is the moderate protein aspect of it, because you don’t have to worry about hitting 100 grams of protein or 120 grams of protein, which honestly on a keto diet would be totally impossible to do without supplementing. Obviously depending on factors, but for most people I think you would really need to consume a lot of protein powder in order to achieve that 100 grams, 120 grams.
Allan (10:23): And the reality is, most of us don’t need that. When you look at what our output is and our muscle-building capacities, particularly those of us over the age of 40, we just need that maintenance level of protein, which is really a moderate protein. It’s not as high as Atkins or some Paleo paths would have you believe.
Liz MacDowell (10:42): Absolutely. I think that’s another thing where keto is actually less intimidating, because you really don’t need as much protein as people tell you you need. I think we’re all very afraid of not getting enough protein in our culture, which is crazy because we don’t have protein deficiencies all that often. But to hit those macros, I rely on things like hemp seeds, which provide omega three fatty acids, just fats in general; and a good dose of protein for very few carbohydrates. Olives are a great source of fat. I like coconut. I prefer to eat whole food sources as opposed to pouring oil on things. This is so silly, but I feel like I’m getting more food if it’s a whole food source, which volume-wise is true. And also because the olive obviously has a more rounded profile of nutrients than pure olive oil. But I think it’s mostly that I just like eating.
Allan (11:43): There are things that we’re getting from plants that we don’t necessarily get if we’re eating what would effectively be a fortified or processed food. And even if it’s cold pressed, olive oil did go through a process.
Liz MacDowell (11:59): Exactly. And heating it to cook your food, you lose a few more nutrients. Less so with the minerals, but still there is some nutrient loss. Again, I really enjoy eating food. I think you get a whole slew of other benefits. There are so many phytochemicals in plants that we don’t even understand their purpose, but you see studies over and over that show supplementing with the vitamin is okay, although sometimes deleterious to your health, but consuming the whole foods provides added benefits that are greater than the sum of its parts.
Allan (12:36): You hit on a couple of things as you were going through there. There is a higher likelihood with the restrictiveness of trying to be vegan and keto. There are some supplements that you’re going to have to figure out. The big one I know of is the B12. You’re only going to get that from meat and eggs, but if you’re not eating meat and eggs, which you wouldn’t be in vegan, you have to find out your B12. You can measure B12 when you go in and get a blood test, so you can see if you’re deficient, which most vegans probably are. But you supplement. And there are other micronutrients you talked about in the book that I’d really like to spend a little bit of time on.
Liz MacDowell (13:29): Absolutely. So you definitely hit on the big one, B12. What’s sneaky about B12 is your liver can store up to seven years of it. You might not know that you’re slowly becoming deficient year after year because your blood work is showing that you still have enough B12, but eventually it runs out. I read a lot of studies while writing this book, and one of them I was reading showed that a surprising number of meat eaters are also deficient in B12. I think part of that can be attributed to the fact that B12 isn’t really in the food, but rather it’s synthesized by gut bacteria. And so, if we have unhealthy gut flora, it could potentially lead to… I’m kind of spitballing here, but it could potentially lead to a B12 deficiency. I recommend B12 for vegans across the board, keto or not, because as you said, if you’re not eating these animal foods, and even if you are eating these animals foods, sometimes people are deficient. So, testing is important and just keep in mind that if your test shows you’re fine, you should still be aware of your B12 intake.
Vitamin D is another one. I take a vitamin D supplement as well. I’m very pale, so the sun just scorches me, so I don’t like to rely on endogenous production. I think vitamin D is another really important one for vegans because most of the food products that contain it are eggs or dairy milk. Those are things we’re just not consuming. B vitamins are obviously very important for energy production. They’re most commonly found in meat, really. You can find them in grains as well, but the ketogenic diet would not have grains typically.
Allan (15:24): Or at least very little of them, because you would hit your threshold pretty quickly.
Liz MacDowell (15:29): Right, exactly. Not a substantial amount or a significant amount. I actually don’t supplement B vitamins because I put nutritional yeast on of all my food. Not all of it, but you know what I mean. I try to get nutritional yeast in every day, which is a fantastic source of protein. It’s low in carbs and it contains a spectrum of B vitamins. You can even buy nutritional yeast that’s fortified with B12, which would eliminate the need to purchase a separate supplement for that.
Allan (16:01): Okay, cool. I didn’t realize until I read your book how fundamentally good yeast can be. It has a cheesy taste, so I’ve got to figure that out. You had a recipe in the book about these flax seeds that were sort of like fake Doritos. I’m going to try those. We’re recording this ahead of time, but I’m planning Ketofest, a Minifest here. I don’t know if you know Carl Franklin of 2 Keto Dudes, but he wants people to do these keto Minifests, and I agreed to host one. So Carl’s coming down here to Pensacola for us to do this thing. When you’re listening to this, it’s already passed. But I’m planning on making those for that event. I’ve got the recipe, I’ve got the ingredients on my phone, ready to walk to the grocery store later and pick up those things. So, I will be introducing the world to your recipe tomorrow.
Liz MacDowell (17:09): Amazing, thank you! I’m so excited! You’ll have to let me know how they turn out.
Allan (17:13): Absolutely. Now, you had some other items in there that I guess vegans don’t have to so much worry about, and that was the zinc and iodine.
Liz MacDowell (17:29): And magnesium and calcium, I think I list in there too. Exactly, these are minerals which are obtainable by eating whole foods. And in the book, as you know, I list out all the sources. Hemp seeds actually appear on a lot of those lists. I really love them. I’m going to keep telling people to eat them because I think they’re fantastic. Pumpkin seeds are also a great source of zinc, magnesium as well. A lot of these foods also overlap. It can be overwhelming at first to look at a list and say, “Oh no, I have to eat an ounce of that, an ounce of that, and an ounce of that.” But really, a lot of the times you can get double duty out of some of these foods.
Allan (18:10): That takes me to the next topic. When we go on what’s perceived as a restrictive diet… It’s funny, I’ll read a study about keto or about at least the high fat, low carb. And a lot of times the researchers will go through and I don’t think they like the conclusion. And so, they’re going to make a statement in their conclusion that, “This is unsustainable, therefore we should throw it out.”
Liz MacDowell (18:41): We have read similar studies, I see.
Allan (18:45): They basically poopoo their whole study. They still need to get it published because they’re looking for a university and they have to get published, and they’ve done all this work. They just don’t like the answer, so they say, “It’s unsustainable, so just do it the way we’ve been telling you to do it.” I can say for a lot of people that really are wanting to get into keto, but there’s this fear factor of, “I’m eliminating all the foods” – I can tell you when I first went Paleo, I had dreams about bread. I mean literal dreams, like I used to dream about women. But this was bread. Kind of an interesting dream to wake up from and say, “Do I smell bread cooking?” You put some guidance in your book about stress-free ways to get into keto, and I really appreciated the tips that you had in there. Would you mind sharing those?
Liz MacDowell (19:46): Thank you. Absolutely. I think my biggest thing is – and I mention this in the book too – my favorite adage is the best diet, or the best exercise routine, or the best supplement routine, or insert a thing here, is the one you can stick to. If you start right out of the gate with this tiny list of acceptable foods and this super strict schedule for eating and all of your apps and all this madness, it’s kind of like a second job to try and achieve this diet. It’s probably not going to work unless you’re already doing that with a different diet. I always think that you should ease into it and do what’s best for your body. And if that’s going cold turkey and diving in and hitting that 20 grams a day and giving up everything you’ve ever loved food-wise – if that works for you, that’s awesome. But it doesn’t really work for everyone. So, I often advocate just easing your way into it and picking a reasonable number of carbs to stick with, or even ignoring tracking altogether for their first little bit. Just focusing on eating low carb foods and seeing how you feel.
Allan (21:01): I completely agree and I think that’s one of the cool things. When I first saw your book listed, I thought it was a cookbook, just a cookbook. I was pleased to see that it wasn’t, that it had this other stuff in it to help someone. To me that is one way if you want to ease into this – to buy a book that has some recipes in it, and try the recipes, using them as a substitute for the meal you would have had otherwise. So if normally you would have had a dinner with an animal product, and potentially you would have had some starches and probably even some high glycemic vegetables, like carrots or whatnot – now you’re going in and saying, “Here’s an entree and here’s a side from this book. I’m going to have a ketogenic meal.”
Liz MacDowell (21:54): Exactly. And that’s one of my favorite ways, is just one meal at a time, or even one food group at a time. If you rely heavily on rice, maybe try switching out for cauliflower rice and see how that feels. I guess the most that you can do for yourself is be kind and listen to your body and understand that you are not like everyone else. You might not function all that well if you go from eating 250 grams of carbs a day down to 20 grams a day. I think most of us struggle with that at the beginning.
Allan (22:27): Absolutely.
Liz MacDowell (22:29): I think that when people take this “all or nothing” approach, some are great at it. Some people need that, but for others it can be really intimidating and kind of scare them off.
Allan (22:39): Okay. Other tips that you had?
Liz MacDowell (22:47): Don’t necessarily listen to people on the Internet – that’s a big one.
Allan (22:51): But they’re so sure of themselves.
Liz MacDowell (22:54): I know. They’re so angry about it too. I didn’t realize my breakfast impacted your day that much. I see this all the time. Someone posts a picture of their meal and then the comments on Facebook in the group, or on Instagram are like, “That’s not keto” or, “I can’t believe you’re eating this” or, “Who told you you could eat that?” Calm down, don’t listen to that. If that’s what makes your body feel good, then eat that food. Sometimes it’s genuinely people wanting to help someone else and saying, “I don’t know if you realize, but this has this much sugar in it”, or whatever. But you do see a little bit of unnecessary food policing, and I think that a big factor is to tune that out for a little while.
Allan (23:37): I’ll admit, there’ve been times when I saw something on a forum or something that was out there, and it was really more I didn’t want other people doing this.
Liz MacDowell (23:49): For sure.
Allan (23:53): She probably listens to the show; I’m calling her out again. But she would go to McDonald’s and tell them she wanted the McDouble, and give her two McDoubles but only give her the meat and the cheese. Basically she’s got four beef patties and the cheese that’s on each one. So, four slices of cheese and four beef patties, and she would eat that as a meal. I said I think that’s far too much protein. That would probably knock me out of ketosis because of the amount of protein. And she came back and says, “No, I tested. I’m staying in ketosis. It’s great. And I’m lifting heavy.” It works for her and it’s great. At that point I said, “Okay, I’m glad it works for you.” We’re all very, very different in the way that food affects us. I wish it was that simple – one size fits all, and then life would be beautiful. But unfortunately, there are foods I can’t eat because they adversely affect my health. And so, I do agree. Taking what you’re saying, someone is probably coming from a good place, but they’re not recognizing that what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, the motivations of what you have and the limitations of what you have are all there. So, I completely agree with you on that one.
Liz MacDowell (25:24): You also raise a good point though, in that I see a lot of things tagged on social media, I think to get more views, saying, “This is a keto recipe”, when in no universe it’s keto. Like the main ingredient is banana or something. So I think that’s another one.
Allan (25:38): And they’re not always that bad. But there are some of them where it’s like, “Okay, fine, but we don’t need keto cookies. We just don’t.”
Liz MacDowell (25:53): I think there are a lot of products out there that we don’t really need, that we’re kind of being told we do need.
Allan (25:59): Yeah. And I knew it was coming when keto started building up and everything. Now they’re selling fat bombs, now there are all these exogenous ketones.
Liz MacDowell (26:11): They’re everywhere. There’s an MLM for them.
Allan (26:14): Right. It’s cool to occasionally have some kind of treat from the past. It’s cool to say, “I would love to have a keto pizza.” And it’s cool – have a keto pizza. But everything you’re eating shouldn’t be the same kind of foods you were eating before. We’re in this to be healthy, so you start transitioning over to whole foods.
Liz MacDowell (26:46): I have a rule with myself where if I want that kind of junk food thing, I have to make it myself. If you really want it, then yes, you’ll go through the effort to spend an hour, an hour and a half in the kitchen, making the cookie or the donut. I guess it’s not really that long, but you know what I mean. You’ll go through the effort, and then it’s kind of worth it.
Allan (27:08): And as a special treat, because you’re saying, “I really do want this.” So when we were talking about your mock Doritos, they’re made with flax seeds. Everything that’s going to go in there is ground flax seeds and yeast. I’m going to lay them out and I’m going to put them in the pan and cook them. I think the total cooking time, all in, is 30 minutes.
Liz MacDowell (27:32): Yeah, it’s pretty simple.
Allan (27:34): So, I’m going to get two cookie sheets and make enough that everybody can try some. I’m going to have your book open to that page, printed out sitting right there and say, “If you guys want to take this home, there you go. Go get the book, because there’s a lot more in there.” There are 60 recipes in the book.
Liz MacDowell (27:52): That’s awesome, thank you.
Allan (27:55): This is a treat. I’m having people over to my house and we’re all keto. So I’m like, “Let’s try this treat.” But that shouldn’t be the staples of your everyday eating.
Liz MacDowell (28:04): Right, exactly. And I think it’s so easy to forget that. Although I’ll admit while I was writing that book, they became the staples of my everyday eating, because I was so hesitant to waste anything.
Allan (28:17): It’s both. I’ve tried to develop different types of recipes and tried to experiment with the food to try to get different effects and see what things are doing. And as you’re doing that experimentation, you eat what you made, and sometimes it’s not good, but you’re not going to throw that food out.
Liz MacDowell (28:37): That’s so true.
Allan (28:39): But I stumbled across something – I call it “Allan’s fluff”. It’s the weirdest thing. Again, it’s not vegan, so anyone that’s looking at vegan, this does not fit your profile at all. It fits mine.
Liz MacDowell (28:51): I’ll just ignore the parts that don’t apply to me.
Allan (28:53): All of it doesn’t apply, but I guess you could make it part of it. But it’s sour cream, and it’s vanilla-flavored, but unsweetened – basically it’s sweetened with Stevia – protein powder. Now, I’m using a whey protein, but you can use a pea protein. Again, it’s vanilla-flavored. When you mix those two things together – basically about a cup of the sour cream, so eight ounces of sour cream, and a scoop of the protein powder, so about 27 grams of protein – it fluffs up like whipped cream. Vanilla-flavored whipped cream. Yes, it’s delicious. So yesterday – again, we’re planning something coming up, and I was thinking, what if I put pumpkin spice in that? What would that be like? I was testing that, and of course I had to eat my creation. It was good. I stirred it too much, so now I know I need to put the pumpkin spice in while I’m stirring it together, so I don’t break it down, because it will break down if you keep stirring it. So, you’re experimenting; you’re learning new ways to make food or make things interesting. For me it’s a great dessert or just a little afternoon snack if I want something like that, but it’s not something that I’m eating on a daily basis.
Liz MacDowell (30:15): Right. Something I do in the summer actually is really similar to that. In the summer I say because my kitchen’s like 96 degrees and I just can’t be bothered sometimes. But I’ll take full fat coconut milk, and mix it with some protein powder and toss in a couple of frozen berries, like a quarter cup, and mix all that up and it becomes very fluffy and delicious.
Allan (30:35): Cool, awesome. And that’s all I’m saying – experiment and have fun with your food, because too many times when we stress out about food are the things that we can’t eat. And instead, start exploring the things that you can and the flavors and the textures and the different things that you want out of your food to make it that much more enjoyable, and quite frankly, delicious.
Liz MacDowell (31:00): Absolutely. And nutritious. The more variety you eat, the more nutrients your body is taking in. That’s always good. It’s funny too – I think since going keto, the foods that I eat on a regular basis have actually expanded. I feel like I get more variety in now because you’re paying so close attention at the very beginning to the foods you can eat, that you realize there’s a whole section of the supermarket or there are whole types of foods or vegetables that you never really thought about before that are great for keto, like so many different types of greens that I’d never tried before. Now I try to regularly eat mustard greens and dandelion greens – all the stuff that I never thought about before.
Allan (31:49): I snuck some dandelion greens in with some kale and spinach. My wife doesn’t know the difference. She just knows, “It tastes good. He made it.” But I knew it had a different nutrition profile than what we would normally eat, because I took the time to experiment with something else.
Liz MacDowell (32:07): I do that to my husband too – I sneak little bits of all the vegetables into food. You have to sometimes.
Allan (32:15): If I’m doing the cooking, you’re subject to what you get.
Liz MacDowell (32:18): Exactly. Cook’s rules.
Allan (32:21): Yeah. Now, you also told a personal story about some struggles you had when you first got started in exercise. Of course as a personal trainer I want to delve into that a little bit, because people will come to me and they’re like, “I’m keto, but I was told I shouldn’t exercise.” And I’m like, “No, that’s the exact opposite. You have to exercise.” As you put in the book, in the very beginning of this, while you’re going through adaptation, it can be a struggle. You’re going to feel much more fatigued and not have the performance. So I would say, don’t start keto one week before you’re going to do a 5K which you’ve been training for for months, because your performance is going to be off the charts bad. So, can you tell a little bit about your story and then how you would encourage folks to work towards exercising appropriately?
Liz MacDowell (33:21): Absolutely. And I’m laughing at that situation, but really with it, because I’ve been there. Not with a 5K, but as you mentioned, I talk in the book about when I first started keto, I thought I could just do exercise as normal and continue on my merry way, running on the treadmill or outside or whatever. And it turned out to not at all be the case for me. I hit a wall so hard. At the very beginning your body feels like lead, your muscles have nothing to give you. I was holding on to the sides of the treadmill; it was amateur hour. I listened to what was right for my body, which was I slowed the pace down and I realized that something had to give, and for me that was the speed at which I was doing things, or I guess the intensity. I know this isn’t right for everyone, because everyone’s body is different, but for me what I had to do was kind of dial it back, slow down, lay off the intense exercising and be a little more gentle with myself, and then ease back into it. But for some people they can eventually push through the first few terrible workout.
Allan (34:32): Yeah, and a lot of it’s going to depend on the type of work that we’re doing. In my example, I was lifting heavy, but that’s very anaerobic-type work. I just do a quick set and I’m done. The energy that I need is all coming from APT, so it’s there. For that set, I don’t need to go to muscle and liver glycogen. I have all the energy I need to get that done. I take my two-minute break and everything is reset and I go in again. When you’re running, or any kind of aerobic exercise, that’s where I see most people will have the most difficulty. If they haven’t set their mindset to understand that there’s going to be that decline in performance, it really can be disheartening.
Liz MacDowell (35:23): For sure. There are ways to improve your performance though. I’ve seen really great results with a lot of people that I’ve worked with them and I just know. Simply adding in a few extra carbs before their workout – just make a smoothie, put some berries in it, and then give yourself that sort of bridge, like the bridge energy to get yourself through that workout.
Allan (35:46): You’re timing your carbs in such a way that they’re optimal at the time you’re going to most need them. And the other side of it is because of the aerobic work that you’re doing and burning off the muscle glycogen, when that hits your system, your body’s not going to initially need to have a huge insulin spike to protect you from it, protect your brain from it. It’s going to say, “The muscles are working and they’re going to need this.” Insulin not only shuttles the blood sugar to fat cells, it also shuttles it to the muscle. Even that little spike of insulin is not a bad thing, if you have the energy expenditure to make up for it. So I agree – meal-timing is really key. And then the other side of it is, just sticking with it.
Liz MacDowell (36:37): And insulin is anabolic too, so it can help you to help those gains.
Allan (36:43): It does. So you can time the meals if you need to. My trainer at the time, we would have conversations about this, because he really didn’t understand what I was doing when I first started talking to him about it. He knew what ketosis was, but he was like, “No, no, no. I don’t want you coming into the gym in the morning having not eaten. You need to eat before you come here.” I said, “No, I’m coming in. I’m completely fasted. That’s how I’m going to train. I don’t really want to lift weights in the morning, but that’s when you can train me, so that’s when I’m going to do it.” And I would go in completely fasted and have the energy to do it. That said, it was expenditure and then rest, expenditure and rest. So that was very different. I have a friend that runs distance and she puts on well over 100 miles a month. Her husband’s gone keto and he said he did 11 miles. So, a lot of people see performance improvement after they get through to that adaptation, which can take several months. But once you get to full adaptation, your body learns how to manage the glycogen stores to allow you to do. Now, anything over, say, 90 minutes, you might need to refeed a little bit of carbs, but for anything less than 90 minutes, unless you’re really, really busting your butt, your body will adapt.
Liz MacDowell (38:16): Yeah. And along those lines, I think you just learn how much you need to refeed and when you need to refeed. I love hiking. I love hiking mountains. The White Mountains in New Hampshire are so much fun, and some of them are fairly sizable. You’ll have 5K, 6K feet of elevation gain, which is super fun. But it also is very intense and takes a little more than an hour. I tend to find that on those days I need to bring along carrots with me as a snack, or even an apple, which feels like such a weird treat, but there you go. At the end of the day I’m still in ketosis, because over the course of that day, you’ve used up all of that sugar.
Allan (38:55): Yeah. It never really had an opportunity to impact your metabolism, because it was immediately being shuttled into the work that you were doing.
Liz MacDowell (39:05): Right.
Allan (39:06): Cool. Liz, if someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about this book… I’m interested to try some of the other recipes as well, but it’s not just a cookbook. There are 60 plus recipes in here and a lot of great information to help someone get into ketosis, but beyond that to understand how you can be vegan and keto. Where would you like for me to send them?
Liz MacDowell (39:34): MeatFreeKeto.com is my blog, where everything is, and that will have links to Vegan Keto, which is my cookbook – vegan keto book, and all that information.
Allan (39:46): So you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/348, and I’ll be sure to have links to the book and to Liz’s website MeatFreeKeto. Liz, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
Liz MacDowell (40:00): Thank you so much for having me. This was such a fun chat.
Allan (40:09): If you enjoyed today’s episode, would you please take just one moment and leave us a rating and review on the application that you’re listening to this podcast right now? I’d really appreciate it, and it does help other people find the podcast, because it tells the people that are hosting these podcast episodes out there on their apps that you’re interested and they know that other people like you might be interested. So please do that. If you can’t figure out how to do that on your app, you can email me directly and I’ll try to figure it out for you. Or you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Review, and that’ll take you to the iTunes where you can launch that and leave a review there. I really appreciate the ratings and reviews. It does help the podcast, it helps me, so thank you very much for that.
Also, I’d really like to continue this conversation a little bit further, so if you haven’t already, why don’t you go ahead and join our Facebook group? You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Group, and that’ll take you to our Facebook group where you can request entry. It’s a really cool group of people, likeminded, all in our 40s, all trying to get healthy and fit. I’d really love to have you out there and have you a part of that conversation. So, go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Group.