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January 20, 2020

Medical tourism with Janet Bristeir

More and more people are traveling abroad to get treatments and surgeries that are much cheaper. Is medical tourism right for you? On episode 417 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we meet Janet Bristeir and discuss her book, Medical Tourism: Surgery for Sale.

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Allan: 00:59 Janet, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

Janet: 01:01 Hi Allan. Thank you very much for inviting me on your show.

New Speaker: 01:04 Now your book Medical Tourism is something that's been kind of top of mind for me lately because I get a lot of questions about why I moved to Panama. But before I get into that, I have to get into the subtitle, which is Surgery For Sale, How to have surgery abroad without it costing you your life. That was brilliant. It opened some eyes and I like that because we moved to Panama to save money in healthcare. And a lot of people ask why and how that works and if they have to move to a country to get those same benefits. And my short answer is no. But there's a lot of things to consider before you just decided to get on an airplane and go get some surgery.

Janet: 01:46 Definitely. And basically medical tourism is when people are thinking about traveling internationally to purchase medical care. And we're usually talking about surgery. So, and the thing with that subtitle of my book is that most information people see about medical tourism is the headline. A person comes back from surgery abroad and dies of something. So that's that information there.

Allan: 02:15 I remember reading about this decades ago when it was, I guess South Africa was kind of marketing themselves as the plastic surgery capital of the world and people were flying into South Africa. They would get their plastic surgery done and granted they needed about a week or so for recovery. So they're out doing African safaris as far as any of their friends or family or maybe even doctor knew, they basically just went on a Safari and came back two weeks later looking a lot happier, tanner and maybe with a smaller this or a bigger that. Yeah.

Allan: 02:56 So let's talk about medical tourism. Cause I'm really what I would call a medical tourist. I'm a medical resident, not a medical resident in the state of actually working at a hospital. But we traveled to Panama, we were looking at our, our health insurance, me being self employed and just the overall cost structure of what was going on with the rates, everything going up every single year, double digits in the United States. And you know, I was saying, well before I'm eligible for Medicare or any assistance whatsoever, I'm going to get costed out of this model and there's just no way I can afford medical insurance itself. Not to mention medical costs under my new profile of living. And so we looked around and Panama was one of those locations where medical care is high quality, it's low cost. And I can, I can tell some anecdotal stories both that we've experienced and others have experienced here that really are kind of our model now for healthcare. But when we're talking about medical tourism, we're actually talking about traveling to another country for the purpose of having a medical procedure done. Like you said, usually surgery and then heading back home typically to finish out the recovery there.

Janet: 04:06 Very true. Yeah. And it's usually because people are frustrated with the wait times for surgery in their own country. You know, it's like, and the wait times, they have serious consequences. You've got the increased pain, suffering, mental anguish, and sometimes poor medical outcomes because the longer you wait for something, there's the potential of that disease or illness turning into something that's irreversible and you've got a permanent disability.

Allan: 04:33 I had a colleague that was working with me and he was having shoulder issues and he was like, he was in a lot of pain and they gave him some pain pills and they helped with the pain, but he couldn't drive his vehicle and he couldn't focus on work. And so he went back to his doctor and his doctor's like, well, it's a six month wait for this surgery. And he was just at wit's end and he's like, I can't not work for six months. And while I don't know about the medical leave and how that actually works in Canada, in the United States, it's 12 weeks. And so he, you know, if he said he had to be off work on a doctor's note, so he can't work for 12 weeks, that's fine. If he has the time off and can afford to be away from the office that long, most people can't.

Allan: 05:20 So he was at wit's end of, fortunately being in Canada, he was able to fly from Calgary to Toronto to find a doctor that could do the in a place that could, they could do the surgery sooner. So we didn't have to leave. He was actually looking outside of Canada to have that procedure done because he just knew there was no way he could bear the pain and there was no way that he could do the pain meds and keep his job. And that was unfortunate. But it is just kind of a reality of healthcare today.

Janet: 05:49 Well that's true. I mean, and that's the thing, you know, people have to lose their wages while they're waiting for the treatment. And so the economic cost just adds to that stress and it's terrible. And just for some data in 2018 Canadians expected to wait four weeks for a CT scan or 10 weeks for an MRI or maybe four weeks for an ultrasound. And in that same data set in 2018, they were talking about 30% of patients who required hip or knee surgery or cataract surgery didn't have the procedure done within the recommended wait times. And so what you find is that people that have the time and the financial resources, they don't want to wait. They want to get ahead of the game and they want to go and they, that's why they're looking internationally for these things.

Allan: 06:38 And then in the United States, I think the base story is that well we have the affordable care act and I don't want to get into the whole politics of, of that. Healthcare is not really affordable. We paid much more for the same procedures, for the same medicines than we would elsewhere. So the opportunities for us to save money by traveling is pretty significant.

Janet: 07:01 Yeah, it can be very much. And the other thing, you know, what we find here in Canada, you know, it's a very diverse population and sometimes people would incorporate going back to their home country and staying with relatives to have surgery or procedures. So they, they will travel abroad, they'll, they know that that country, they could get their hip surgery or cardiac surgery or whatever much more timely and they've got the family support there that they need for recovery.

Allan: 07:31 And I think that's key. That's what some of the things that you brought up in the book because it was not a direction my thought process went naturally being a resident and having access to lower-cost healthcare, it wasn't something that I thought about, but obviously one I would not take my wife or myself to a clinic that I didn't feel was capable of taking care of us. And this, one of the things I can say is in doing research on this some of the things I found is like here in Panama, if you're concerned about the quality of care, one of the hospitals that I took my wife to here to have some work done is basically a Cleveland clinic. And people from the United States might not know that name, but it's basically one of the top medical establishments in the entire United States. They have an outlet in Panama. The doctors there are the same caliber. In fact, our doctor had worked in the United States including the U S military for over 31 years. And so the quality is there. Obviously, you know, our, our hospital here on our little Island, not necessarily all of that, but if we need something, we know where to go and it's not that difficult or time crunch for us to get to high quality care. And that's going to be the case in a lot of countries, particularly the countries that are really investing in medical tourism.

Janet: 08:48 Yeah. And when you're looking at the different facilities, you know, one of the things that we're concerned about is that if someone is considering being a medical tourist, is that they actually get informed consent about the medical procedures that they're going to receive abroad. Because what you find with most of these sources of information is that it's a marketing focus and they don't actually provide enough insights into the risks involved, not just with the surgery but with the travel and things. And so that's another factor to consider when you're looking at locations and doctors and things like that.

Allan: 09:26 And I want to go down that line because you, you mentioned a lot of really important things in the book. The like I said, kind of being a resident didn't really, they didn't initially think about was what if you have a doctrine in United States and that doctor says, okay, I'm willing to do the surgery in six weeks. That's when my next availability is and you find that you can go to say Mexico and enjoy a week there and have the surgery done come back. Is your doctor actually going to want to do post-care on a surgery he or she didn't do.

Janet: 09:59 Usually, no. You have to have a very good relationship with your doctor, whether it's your GP or your specialist before you go away and there's various reasons people are told they can't have surgery as well. So it might just not be a factor to do with the wait lists. Sometimes people are told that they're not considered for surgery because they have other, what we call co-morbidities, wherever other health concerns where a surgery wouldn't be good for them at that particular time. And so it's not necessarily just the doctor said you can't have this, it's you can't have this because it would affect this, this and this and this. So then if someone jumps and goes abroad for surgery and has surgery when they come back, these things that have been a concern in this country before they go, you know, might be exacerbated. So that's the other thing to consider. But definitely having that followup care arranged before you go, whether it's with your doctor, with a specialist, a physiotherapist, you might need ongoing counseling. So you're gone for bariatric surgery. You definitely need a lot of support when you come home from like a dietician or a forum, some kind of chat group where you will get that support because it's a huge lifestyle change.

Allan: 11:22 Yeah, I think a lot of people, if you're going in for something fairly simple, which most of the time that's not where you're going to get your bang for the buck. That's worth buying an airline ticket. Most of these are going to be surgeries and in many cases a pretty major surgeries like bariatric surgery or hip or knee replacement, something like that. Maybe even some plastic surgery, but usually again, something probably a little bit bigger. The recovery is something that's really, really important to think about. And are you going to have the family support to get you through that?

Janet: 11:52 Well, that's right because if you haven't got that psychological support, especially if we're talking about bariatric surgery, you know, if you go and have the surgery and you come back and you've got these extreme changes in diet that you have to comply with, but you've got someone in the family that's always saying, well, I've made this for you, eat this, or why don't you try that? It's defeating the object. They'll just wear you down and then it won't be successful. But if you've got people at home that are supporting you and encouraging you with the diet, with the exercise, with looking after yourself, when you come back you'll have a much better recovery and a much better outcome.

Allan: 12:30 Yeah, and another thing I got into you got into is a little bit about talking about your employer and obviously you're going to have to take time and potentially a good bit of time away from work because you've got to mix in the travel time along with the recovery time along with the surgery time. And I got to thinking we would, we would let someone off of work if they had a doctor's note and say, okay, I'm going to be out for three weeks for this surgery, but is your employer going to accept the doctor's note from a doctor in Thailand or do they think you're taking three weeks to vacation on, on FMLA, you know, and I'm on medical leave.

Janet: 13:04 Well and also do you want your work to know about it? If it is a plastic surgery or something, do you want work to know? So that's the other thing is it might be something that's very important to you, but you might not want everyone talking about it around the water jug. And the other thing is if you might have already been off work with whatever's causing you to have the surgery and then the surgery, you've had the surgery, but during your recovery you might need some kind of accommodation, reduced hours or working back into the system. And is your workplace going to be able to accommodate that?

Allan: 13:39 Yeah. Well under I know under us law there's a, there's a thing called family medical leave act, FMLA, and it specifically kind of puts the parameters of how an employer treats an employee relative to their medical care to include. Then there's HIPAA. So if you have a medical issue, you should be able to go to your HR or whoever that is that would be handling that for you and your company. Give them the basic information that they need to know along with communication with your doctor and that's supposed to be a very protected area. That information is not supposed to be circulated. So it's not water cooler stuff, but just recognizing that the law is pretty specific about, you know, coming back to your job, how long they have to hold your job open, what kind of accommodations are they required to do and which ones are they not. So working carefully with HR to understand what your rights and responsibilities are, I think is a huge consideration as you go into this.

Allan: 14:39 So someone decides, okay, I definitely want to have this procedure done. My knee is bothering me, my doctor says we're not going to do this surgery until you're 63 and that means for like, if it were me, it's like that's 10 years of constant pain in this knee. If that were the case, I don't, I don't have any problems with my knees, touch wood. But if I did and the doctor says I'm not willing to do this surgery until you're 63 and then I find a doctor or find a physio and say, okay, I'll do the followup. If you go get the surgery in Panama or Thailand or wherever, Mexico, how do I decide, because again, I just listed three countries. There's different costs, structures to those. Obviously different doctor facilities available. There's just a lot of information to kind of pour through. How, how do you decide what doctor, what location and when, how do you, how do you do that?

Janet: 15:32 Well, that's what I say. I'm think one of the first things we need to touch on here is that does someone want to organize this themselves or not? Because if someone can organize their vacation really well and they always have great places to stay and stuff like that, that's great, but if you're someone that every time you book a vacation, the hotel you get is half built when you get there and there's no taxi, you have to really consider are you going to do this yourself or are you going to get something what they call a medical tourism facilitator to organize this for you. And that we can talk about afterwards as well. There's, there's a whole other problem associated with that, but things that you want to look at is how far away is the facility and will the travel to the facility you're thinking of determined, you know, it'd be detrimental to your condition before and after surgery.

Janet: 16:22 Because if you are going to be on a flight for six, seven, eight hours, just in normal fly in, there's the chance of deep vein thrombosis, which is a clot you can get in your leg and that can cause all sorts of problems. Now if you're already having problems with joints and things like that, that long flight is going to be a problem to start with. And a long flight before you're going for surgery is definitely gonna be a problem. And then after the surgery, depending on what surgery you're having, you can't fly straight after surgery. Like if you've had gastric surgery, you can't fly within a few days because the gas that they put into your abdomen for the part of the surgery has to be completely dispersed because otherwise the pressure in the airplane can create problems. So there's things like that. How far is the facility you're looking at to travel to. And also if you're going to another country, do you speak the language?

Janet: 17:22 So if you don't speak the language, how are you gonna communicate with the staff? If they have limited English is your first language. If they have limited English, how are you going to communicate them, especially when you're stressed and you're in pain. So it's things like that. And then again looking at the facility, are the surgeon and the staff licensed to be practiced in in the country that they're practicing in? If they've got the right credentials. And is the condition and the related surgery a familiar position, or procedure for them or is it something that they are just doing for a few months just to make a bit of extra cash. And then do you have contact with the surgeon pre and post op. So it's really nice to know who's doing your surgery and lots of facilities, whether you're doing it yourself or through a medical tourism facilitator.

Janet: 18:17 You're quite often have like a Skype call or at least a phone call with your surgeon before the surgery so you can get some kind of feel for, you've got some rapport with them. And then when you're looking at the facility, you want a facility that's accredited by an international certification agencies, something like joint board, international, Canadian international standards because you want that facility to be run to the highest level as far as cleanliness, staff certification and follow up like that. And then when you've had your surgery, will you be given reports of your surgery in a language you can understand to bring back home because that is going to be really crucial to your followup care. If you go to Mexico and you have a surgery and they give you your surgical report and it's in Spanish, you know, and no one can read it. Or if it's handwritten and no one can read it, you can't get your full out care done until that's been translated and transcribed. So it's things like that that you have to consider.

Allan: 19:25 Yeah, and so it's not just location. It's cool. You can say, I want to go to South Africa and have this cosmetic procedure done and then after the recovery or during the recovery time, I'll still be able to do this safari and I'll be able to go and see the beaches and then I'll travel home with a little bit of a tan and, and the surgery done. But if your recovery is going to be much more difficult than that, you have to consider that in the whole math of all of this because it's not just a pick a doctor and go, you've got to kind of do your homework.

Janet: 19:56 I think as well, you have to dispel the fact that it is a holiday. It's not a holiday, the phrase is medical tourism. This is not a holiday. This is not a vacation. You shouldn't even plan to be looking at the country and doing it. Because I think as we touched on briefly when we were talking, if you start doing trips tourist type trips before your surgery, there's a potential for you to get some kind of acquired effect infection while you're wandering around. You might eat the local food, drink the water, you might get some kind of infection or illness and that will delay your surgery. And you also got to consider most people take a caregiver with them, a companion. And what happens if your companion goes off and does touristy things and they get sick while you're away. And that's a whole nother level of stress.

Allan: 20:48 You took me on this great trip to Panama and then you got sick and I had to look after you. I basically get to sit in a hotel room and hang out with you. I don't get to actually see anything. So yeah, I totally get that as like, Hey, come down to Panama with me. It's like, Oh no, I don't want to just sit in a hotel room with you. I could do that anywhere.

Janet: 21:11 Well, and also you have to be very careful about who you choose as your companion because this is a medical procedure. You're going to be talking about some very personal things and do you want your golfing buddy, which is great to play golf and sit in the bar afterwards and yak up a storm, but you want that person in when you're being asked about your bowel movements or things like that.

Janet: 21:34 And also do you know this person will actually function in a medical facility because there's lots of people that they're the good guy, the good woman or whatever, and they walk into a medical facility and they just close up. They are totally overwhelmed with it. They don't deal with it. And so you really need to be sure who's going with you that they can be your advocate, that they can speak up for you when you can't because we'll beyond the facility.

Allan: 22:01 We've talked about this before we got on the call and it's true. Most Americans have no desire or ever will travel outside the United States. They don't even own a passport. And so you take someone who's never been outside the country, doesn't speak the local language, and while you might be able to speak the language fluently and you gave them a medical power of attorney, when the doctor comes out there and starts speaking to them and trying to explain to them what extra thing needs to happen, are they going to be able to handle the stress of being in another country having to deal with, even if it's not a language barrier, just a pronunciation issue that's asking a lot.

Allan: 22:40 So this has to be someone that you really trust, someone you know that's going to be comfortable in not just the medical perspective, but just being out of their element. Because traveling outside the United States, if it's your first time is already pretty stressful.

Janet: 22:53 Very true.

Allan: 22:55 So you talked briefly about medical tourism facilitator, and this is a little bit more than just a travel agent. Obviously they'll do a little bit of that for you too. But their job is to kind of make this process of the looking and doing the research and understanding what's going to happen and how it's all supposed to work, that they'll do a lot of that work for you.

Janet: 23:17 Definitely. And again there's all ends of the spectrum involved in this. What you want is a well established medical facilitation company and so ideally someone that's not just linked to one facility because you want someone that's got your best interest at heart that it's not that they're just sending you somewhere cause they're on commission for it. So you want someone that when you go to them and say, look, I'm looking for knee surgery. I've been thinking about going to Panama. What can you suggest? They need to discuss with you? Well, why are you thinking of Panama is an eight-hour flight away, whereas this is other hospital that's four hours away from you. Where are we could get something similar. It's someone that's got your best interests at heart, so they're looking for the best deal and the best surgery and your best outcome. Not, okay, I'm going to put you into this hospital because I get the commission from this and from the airline, from the hospital or from the taxis, whatever.

Allan: 24:17 Yeah. And so understanding who you're working with, and one, how are they getting paid, who are they loyal to? Those are all really, really important. And again, like you said, they're experienced in doing this.

Janet: 24:30 I mean, because someone, someone can be a travel agent but they can't arrange the surgery and someone can work for the surgical facility, but they can't arrange the travel. So you want someone that's got that qualification where they can put both of these together. And there are lots of really good companies where you have the initial conversation with you, they set you up, you decide what facility you're going through and from the choices they give you, you have the conversations with the surgeon. They have, sometimes companies have someone that will go with you. So instead of you find it a companion to go, they have someone that will travel with you and be with you through the procedure and come back with you and they take care of making sure that you have all the documentation to bring back with you and that it's translated and they sometimes do followup for like six months so that they check in with you afterwards to make sure you're getting that follow up.

Allan: 25:26 Not to even mention visas and everything else because that's a whole other animal as you're traveling internationally is making sure that your, when you land, they actually let you stay. Now we talked briefly, you're in Canada, so you're under a program there with your national government, in the United States we have national, when you get to the age of 63 or 65 or 67 I forget where the age is right now that you'd be eligible for Medicare, but because it just seems like 10 years, 15 years from now, I don't even know. But one of the main reasons I came down here was because when I got my insurance quotes, it was $1,600 a month and I'm going to count it by trade. And there's a rule of 72 which basically says that if something's going up a certain amount, you can expect it to double based on multiplying that by 72 so at a 10% increase, which was conservative, I was looking at my insurance doubling every 7.2 years.

Allan: 26:25 So if my insurance doubled every 7.2 years before I was eligible for Medicare, it would quadruple. It would double and then double again or even more. And so I was looking at healthcare costs well in excess of $5,000 a month. And that's, that's not even the medical procedures, copays, percentages, anything. That's deductibles, that's just for the insurance. And I was like okay, that's, that's not sustainable. I can't just keep staying in this rat race. That's part of what I was getting out of it for. And I don't want to make my wife have to do the rat race cause she doesn't want to either. We want to live simpler lives and that was part of the choice to come to Panama.

Allan: 27:06 We were talking to a realtor here and one of the cool things he said was he broke his ankle. Not cool thing, but he went over to the mainland. It's about a 30 minute boat ride from here. He went into the clinic there, they x-rayed it, they set his ankle, he went back for two follow up visits. So he did have to ride, drive his boat over there and back a few times. I'm not difficult. Like I said, half an hour, easy boat ride. He did that and his total costs for the entire procedure, including the X rays and everything was $250. My wife had x-rays for x-rays of her knees and total costs with x-rays was $130 and now she's still having problems with the knees and she wants to go in for an MRI. The MRI is $400 so out of pocket is sustainable here. Which is part of what we love about it now, we did buy these international insurance plans. Basically it works everywhere, including United States. So if I went into the United States and had a medical procedure, I've got a $5,000 deductible, so I hope I wouldn't hit that. But if I did, I know I've got insurance for something catastrophic. So I'm buying this catastrophic plan that I wouldn't be able to by living in the United States.

Janet: 28:16 Right. And I think one, one of the things about people that are looking for surgery abroad, one of my big concerns has been is what insurance they get to cover them when they're abroad. And for six years I've tried to find places that would cover them, all the big companies and that and no one would touch it. And just a couple of weeks ago I found a company here that actually has medical tourism coverage and benefits and it's really interesting because when you talk to people, as we said earlier, most people think, Oh, I'll just get travel insurance and that's it. But that's not going to cover it. You really need something where you're saying you're going for a surgical procedure and that insurance is actually going to cover anything that might go wrong where you need to come back, whether it's you or whether it's your companion and not just flying you back but covering you for maybe six months afterwards because something could happen that you get a complication, you know, a few weeks, a few months afterwards and does that insurance still kick in and this, this coverage actually seem to do that.

Allan: 29:21 And so I think that's one of the cool things is that as medical tourism is kind of growing, these insurance programs are coming about when folks do hit Medicare age. One of the programs we can buy into here is basically medical evacuation. So if we have a heart issue or something significant and just don't want to go to Panama city for it and we want to go back to the United States and utilize Medicare for example, we can have a policy that basically says in the event I have a problem, heart attack or stroke or whatever, I can be medivaced and my spouse with me to the United States and they'll take me to Houston or Miami, whichever is the most cost effective, and then I can be admitted there and they can deal with the issues. So there are these opportunities, they're forced to use the insurance.

Allan: 30:08 And I think it's something that you do have to think about because you may say, I've got the $7,000 in the bank to go down. I got my airfare, hotel, lodging, everything covered, food and the surgery. But if you end up having an infection or a complication during the surgery and you're going to spend an extra five to seven, 10 weeks, whatever, in the hospital there, do you have that? And so insurance is something to consider as you get into this because your insurance from the United States, and probably from Canada may not cover those costs and you're out of pocket on all of those.

Janet: 30:42 Very true. Yeah.

Allan: 30:44 So if someone's thinking about this and considering this, what are some of the most critical points that they should consider as they really get into it, cause we've talked a lot about talking to your doctor, making sure your family is engaged, having someone there with you, understanding the true cost of what this is. Because it's not just how much is the procedure, but what would you say if they're going to do this, what's the most critical aspects that they should just have top of mind throughout the whole process?

Janet: 31:10 I think I would say safety and that insurance coverage I think is a very good blanket too to wrap themselves. But also that checkout the facility, talk to people that have been there if you can and people that have been there recently, not someone that was there five years ago, someone that was a last week, last month, and find out what their experience was because staff change, things change. Find out about the travel arrangements, where you're going to travel. Are you going to be staying in a hotel before your procedure? Then you're going to be in hospital. Then you're going to be in a hotel for a few days afterwards. When you're in the hotel, is there someone going to be coming to check your dressing? Are you going to have drains associated with your surgery? Someone coming to check them and take them out? Will you see the surgeon the day of the next day after your surgery? Who will be telling you when you can travel home? What physiotherapy do you need? What changes of diet? These are all the things that you have to take into consideration.

Allan: 32:10 Yeah. And, and one of the cool things, like I said, in the community here in Panama, there's these open forums, these forum groups. And so you can get out there and I'm pretty certain on Facebook and otherwise there's forums of people that are doing exactly what you're trying to do, exactly where you're trying to do it. And there are a wealth of information. The same questions get asked over and over sometimes on these forums, but we put up with it and we answer the questions. But you can search these forums. Facebook's made that a lot easier to do these days. So take some time, do that base research, get to know some people. Because what I've found is internationally people just really want to help each other out. If they've experienced something that they want to share that information and help others. So reach out. You'll find folks that have gone through exactly what you're trying to do and they'll be able to give you some really good information, really good tips and steer you away from some potential problems.

Janet: 33:00 Yeah. And I think it's also very crucial that people make sure they've got followup when they get home. That they've arranged that there is a doctor that's going to see them when they come home or a surgeon, you know that someone is going to check their dressings if they've still got them, they're going to get the physio therapy cause it's usually takes a while to get into these appointments. They need to book their physiotherapy for the followup when they come home, if they've had kind of joint things happening and they have things in place. I mean and it's the day to day things as well. If you're coming home from surgery, is there going to be someone there? Is someone going to help you with the shopping, the cooking, the laundry, the cleaning. You're going to need to go to medical appointments. Who's going to take you there while you're away? Who's going to look after your home? If you've got pets, they look after who's going to water the plants. It's all of these things because you don't expect anything to go wrong, but if there is a problem, you want to know that everything's taken care of at home while you're away and also that you're taken care of when you get back. You have to line all these things up. It might be as simple as if you know that when you come back, you're not going to be able to reach the top cupboards of the kitchen. You move stuff down in the kitchen so that you can work on the top surface or the lower cupboards. Basic problems like that that people don't ever consider.

Allan: 34:18 Well and they need to. I think that's what we're really kind of coming out here is there's like a huge opportunity, opportunity to save time to get things done sooner, opportunities to save money. But you do have to do the homework. You do have to think through these and be really logical and get really deep on understanding what your process could and may look like because it's not necessarily going to go to plan. So are you in position where you can actually manage through all that? So it was a lot more considerations than I actually had originally thought this conversation was going to have before I read your book. But I really appreciate that you took the time to really go through that in detail. And so the book is called Medical Tourism and I do encourage anyone that's considering it to check out that book. But I have one last question for you, Janet. I define wellness as being the healthiest fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

Janet: 35:15 I think we have to be easy on ourselves. I think all of us can improve our health in some way or another. And I think it took us a while to get to the state we're in where we think we need to improve our health. So we need to be easy on ourselves and take small steps towards changing lifestyle and eating habits. Because if you do things drastically, you're not going to do it. If you're going to cut out everything to make these huge changes, you're going to resist it. You're not going to do it. And I think that you need to be working every day towards that health goal. So if you're thinking about increasing your exercise, you know, you might be thinking about walking, so park your car a couple of blocks further than where you're going and increase the distance you walk and increase that distance every day, every week or every month. Use the stairs instead of the elevator. Take it gradually so that if you're on the 15th floor, you don't try and do 15 floors in one day, but go up a few flights at a time, you know, then take the elevator, just work up to it. And that mindfulness, I think we all need to have some quiet time. We need to take some time each day to be away from electronic gadgets if possible to do maybe 15 minutes of meditation. And that just kind of resets us and of course really important to get enough sleep.

Allan: 36:29 If someone wanted to learn more about you, more about your book, Medical Tourism: Surgery For Sale, where would you like for me to send them?

Janet: 36:37 I have a website, so it's www.areusafe.ca and that's got information about my books on there. There's also, if you go on there, you can register and download a free checklist of questions that you should be asking for a facility and there's information about the medical tourism company that I mentioned so that that's on that site as well.

Allan: 37:09 Okay. Go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/417 and I'll be sure to have the links there. Janet, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness. Thank you very much. Good to talk to you.

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Another episode you may enjoy

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The new keto-friendly south beach diet with Dr Arthur Agatston

Dr. Arthur Agatston inventer of the South Beach Diet, has added a new twist to the wildly successful diet making it even better. His keto-friendly version should help you drop the weight for good. We discuss his new book, The New Keto-Friendly South Beach Diet on this episode.

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Allan: 01:00 Dr. Agatston, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

Dr. Agatston: 01:03 Great to be with you Allan.

Allan: 01:04 Your new book. It's called The New Keto-Friendly South Beach Diet and I want to say, okay. I knew about the South beach diet, but it came out at a time in my life when I didn't really have to think about what I was eating or what I was doing, so I was familiar with it being, you know, kind of a more of a whole food protein style diet. Not dissimilar from some of the other stuff that was out there like Atkins and whatnot, but still very effective. A lot of people that I knew that did the South beach Diet really got good effect.

Dr. Agatston: 01:33 Yes, and I must say you weren't that interested the I was not that interested in diet. I was always thin until I realized I was, well I didn't realize it then, but I was addicted to sugar and I was pre what I call pre pre-diabetic even though my blood sugar is, everything appeared normal. But I, once I got off the bad, carbohydrates and sugar, I lost weight and it was I guess in my early fourth reason. I know, I love your show that 40 plus fitness because things change as we age, we get more fat, less lean body mass, less muscle and bone and exercise. The proper diet becomes more and more important as we age. Although our youth today are in big trouble with their diets. So it starts early, but it is tougher, is tougher as as as we age.

Allan: 02:35 Yeah. And I definitely want to get into some of the warning flags and things that we can look to before we get there. Because again, yeah, the doctors are going to say, Oh, you're a A1C is fine. Keep eating the way you're eating. That's not necessarily the answer. Because historically, I mean if we look back and you think about it and you, you talked about bears hibernating, but you know, in a, in a sense, human beings, we went through feast and famine ourselves, you know, and we would get into that. We get into that same season when when the bears fattening himself up and we're finding the berries and the nuts and we're, we're just gorging on that stuff. So our, our bodies were kind of pre-wired to put us into, for lack of a better word, what you call it. You were doing it like bingeing like you would eat a part of a blueberry pie and then you'd go back and eat the rest of it. I think that's just natural for us to do.

Dr. Agatston: 03:28 Yes, I love the, I do love the grizzly bear analogy. We're always either storing food for either an overnight fast when we're going to sleep or you know, in our history it was more often for times of famine and it's all mammals, but it's really almost all living. Ever since we became multicell cellular organisms, we had a, have a way of storing energy to use when there was no energy available from the environment. And so the fat storage mode where when we eat, whether carbohydrates, sugar turns into fat, other than what we're burning for our immediate needs and it's stored as fat and to some degree has starch or glycogen in our liver and our muscle. And usually we needed that not only when we slept and more eating, but we never had the luxury of three meals a day.

In most of our history. We were in a sense doing intermittent fasting, which gave us time for our insulin levels to go down when we ate our insulin levels go up, we store, we store storage in fat, and when it goes down, we burn it for energy. And that important survival mechanism has been totally upside down. When we have only the feast, we don't have famine. And so we're storing fat indefinitely and really creating physiologic problems that we never had in our natural existence. And it's most recently it's the abuse of sugar, high fructose corn syrup, which is, has been important because when it was introduced, it was ubiquitous really in everything and often a hidden killer in a sense. And our intake of sugar went up tremendously, really starting in the 1980s at the beginning of our obesity epidemic.

And people didn't realize they were consuming all the sugar and it was turning into fat being stored for a famine that never comes. And that's what really messed up our physiology, caused all the modern diseases. Yeah. We think of obesity. We think of diabetes, we think of heart disease, but it's cancer, it's depression, it's Alzheimer's. And every time we bring our standard American diet called the sad diet to another country, whether it's Dubai, Mumbai, Beijing, Tokyo, they get all the Western diseases, not just diabetes and obesity, but increased rates of cancer, again in Alzheimer's, autoimmune disease, all our chronic diseases. And when, what we often see now is when people came from more traditional diets like Asians, the Japanese had been studied carefully when they moved from Tokyo to Hawaii, to San Francisco. The rest of the United States, they, we've known for years, they get increased heart attacks, but they also get increased cancer, particularly breast cancer has been very well studied in Japanese women from Tokyo to the to the Midwestern United States. And so the cancer goes up as well as the obesity, the diabetes, and the heart disease.

Allan: 07:25 Yeah, so one of the things that you got into in the book is, okay, so you had, you know, we had the South beach diet and for a lot of people that was very useful because they went through a phase where they kind of allowed their body to change its insulin mode and effectively. Then after that short phase, they could go on and start reintroducing some of the food, say before until they kind of found that balance of a whole food diet that was basically much more nutritious for them. But you've adapted that so that the new South beach, new keto friendly South beach diet is just a little different. Can you kind of compare and contrast those and and why you use the term keto friendly versus just making it a keto diet?

Dr. Agatston: 08:05 Yes. I'm one of the first things that in the original South beach by the first phase, which was the low almost Keto phase only went for two weeks and what we know now, once it did get rid of cravings, the other thing that happens when you're low, you're low carb, low sugar, low processed foods is when you run out of your starch, your glycogen stores in your, in your liver and your muscle. You then have to get fat adapted, which means you really turn on the hormones, the enzymes that break down fat and make it useful. One of the best examples is the traditional marathon lovers who get hydrate loading on the night before the marathon and the idea was to fill their livers in their muscle with as much starch glycogen, that's the storage form of sugar if they could, because within two to three hours running the marathon, they would run out of the sugar glycogen stores and they had to burn fat and they weren't good at it, so that was called hitting the wall and they ran out of energy.

Now long-distance runners have learned to be fat-adapted and that takes one to many months and it continues. And I've had that experience myself. So instead of just the first phase being two weeks, we'd go for one to many months of low processed carb, low sugar so that we can learn to use our fat for energy. And the first fat that goes is the belly fat. And today it's interesting the long endurance runners, the people doing triathlons and even more than marathons are going low carb and they don't hit the wall, they burn their fat very well. Now for the rest of us, you know, it takes 12 hours to a day. It's individual where you, you deplete your Icogenics stores and you begin to burn more, more fat and become fat adapted and allowing for that is very important.

When I first became really strict and good, it's when I realized I, I was truly addicted to sugar and I went cold Turkey once. Once, by the way, I understood that I was truly addicted to sugar, that when I cheated, it wasn't a lack of self-discipline. And what would happen to me is I could lose my cravings on the first phase of the South Beach Diet. But when I went to the second phase, I would invariably have a fruit or maybe even a whole grain bread, but I would, or a dessert and I wouldn't sop and now we know it's not a lack of self-discipline. It's truly and addiction and many Americans, especially overweight Americans are addicted. But once I got off that addiction and stayed on sort of the traditional phase one the South beach diet, I did my first, I was, I started the diet while on vacation and I came back and I returned to my, to my boxing, which I did regularly. And I still, I recall vividly, it was a Tuesday morning in late September, hot in south Florida. And normally I would take a round or two off when I did my boxing and all of a sudden I didn't have to take around off. I went continuously for eight rounds and now I can 12 rounds, three minute rounds with a minute and a half rest.

Allan: 12:12 I do have to say this, if you haven't done boxing as a workout, three minutes is an eternity. I have some clients I do some boxing with and you know, we'll go for a minute. I've gotten one, I'm up to about a minute and a half and they're, they're done. You know, like I need a break. And so going, just even going a three minute round is saying something. But for you to have the endurance to be able to, you know, go round after round with what about a minute rest between rounds. That's, that's pretty impressive.

Dr. Agatston: 12:40 For my tender young age, I take an answer 30 seconds in between rounds.

Allan: 12:45 No, but still three, three minutes is a lot of time to keep moving.

Dr. Agatston: 12:49 Yes. And I couldn't in hot, difficult conditions, I would always take rounds off and since I'm fat adapted, I don't, I feel better physically and mentally and that much more than the cosmetics of losing my belly. And then remember I was a diet doctor. My wife used to say, Author, no more TV for you only radio. You get rid of that little belly and so, but it's much more the way I feel and since we've been, we've been more flexible with our patients. The results we see are incredible and besides the fat adption, the longer sort of phase one, the other idea is you don't have to be in full ketosis. Actually, when we're in the fat burning mode, we're often in ketosis. It's the levels we can't measure easily by current methods, but you can, you can lose the belly.

You get all the benefits without actually being in ketosis. The big advantage of ketosis, particularly for people who are diabetic, who really want to jump into something strict, is you can measure your ketosis and you can document compliance and that's, that's good for us often and our patients. But to make the diet a lifestyle, there still has to be more flexibility. We also encourage either time-restricted feeding or intermittent fasting. And we do suggest that with full keto, with fasting that you do it with a nutritionist, to health coach or your physician, your physician so that you can avoid problems such as what's called the keto flu. But so we are flexible in our approach depending on our patient, the needs, the desires and you can even be a vegetarian low carb as long as you're having whole foods and not having other process carbs. It's tougher but you can do it. And of course traditional societies that like the Asians with rice and not the Okinawans with with sweet potatoes, they were some of the, well particularly the Okinawans were some of the longest lived populations in the world, but they didn't eat snacks all day frequently. And now to the degree that sugar has shown its ugly face in all these societies, they are becoming overweight, diabetic and all the Western diseases that had been in the United States for decades.

Allan: 15:48 When you put this together, I mean cause like one of the things you said and I think that's really important is, well a couple of different things, but one that I thinks is really important is that we all are gonna have different needs. We're all going to be slightly different from a biology perspective of how we want to apply this. So there's, there is a lot of flexibility to this to say, I know, okay if I need to lose 30 pounds or I am diabetic, I'm probably gonna stay in phase one and be a little bit more strict and probably get to a point where I am in ketosis if not completely, at least most of the time I'm eating at that low of a low carb. But you have 12 rules for what you call keto friendly eating. Could you just kind of go through those rules with us? Cause I think that'll make a lot more sense to folks when they see, okay. It is really kind of flexible. It 12 rules sounds like a lot, but they're just the basics of if you're eating this way, you're going to be much more healthy.

Yes. And by the way, yeah, you got it exactly because the flexibility is we all come with different degrees of we call the thrifty gene and the tendency towards becoming diabetic ultimately. And so the rules are first minimize sugars is number one. And we might say no sugars, but you know, our parents and grandparents who had the sugar cube in their coffee was a lot different with the amount of sugar we're getting today. And so you can burn some sugar without having stored it. It's the volume that is totally off the charts today. And refined carbohydrates are absorbed more rapidly than whole grain or high fiber carbohydrates. And by being absorbed more rapidly, they, it's called the incorrect in effect, but they increase our insulin levels out of proportion to just the increase in blood sugar, blood sugar alone.

So if you give blood sugar a certain amount intravenously through the vein, the blood sugar goes up a little bit and the insulin goes up a little bit. But when you consume it, then you stimulate hormones. It's something called GIP, which causes an exaggerated increase in insulin. And that's, that's the problem with frequent feeding. And snacking, which we used to say, like everybody said, when you went to the South Beach Diet, have frequent snacks to stabilize your blood sugar, your insulin levels. That was just plain wrong. So the third rule is, is limit snacking. You want to give time for your insulin levels to drop and that's where having very low glycemic foods, whole foods or nothing for breakfast and lunch, that allows your insulin levels to go down. And that's when you can start burning fat. When your insulin levels are high, you block the burning of your fat stores.

So you can be once the, insulin levels stay high and you can't access your fat stores, you can be starving and you run to the fast-food restaurant or you have a coke that doesn't even suppress, doesn't even, doesn't even fill you up. So you want to give time for your insulin levels to drop by not snacking, having fewer larger meals, which is the next in the 12 rules or having foods that are absorbed further down in the intestine and don't increase your blood sugar and your insulin levels. We say maximize the healthy fats and one of the things is while some people I know don't like dairy cause they're sensitive to it, well saturated fat in meat, in dairy, we now know raises your large LDL bad cholesterol particles and they do not cause heart disease.

This is relatively recent knowledge but it's done. It's been repeated in several large studies. It's the small LDL particles that cause heart disease and they come from sugar and bad carbohydrates. And one other point that out the bad carbohydrates is again, it's volume. Because when you have a bad carbohydrate, you either burn it or if it's glucose, not sugar, you can store it as glycogen, as starch, but only so much about 700 calories. Then you then it turns into fat.

Allan: 20:50 Yeah. But that's part of the problem is these processed carbohydrates are process to basically make us eat more. That's what the food manufacturers are doing. If you don't eat, let's just say you're not going to eat one Pringle. You could eat one Pringle and maybe you'd love the taste of it and that would be all you needed. Your body could absorb that and you'd be fine, but invariably it's a long sleeve and you're not just going to eat one.

Yes, absolutely. And one of my favorite books by Dr. Robert Lustig from UC San Francisco, the Hacking of the American Mind, and he talks about how the food companies make us addicted. And yeah, I mean sugar. I seen another friend, Dr. David Ludwig, did a study where they gave Cokes to teenagers before they ran into a fast-food restaurant and they ate more, not less because fructose, the sugar in the cokes does not suppressed. There's not suppress your appetite. It actually increases. And again, those processed carbohydrates including sugar are absorbed at the beginning of your small intestine or you get that bad incretin effect where your insulin goes way up, and sugar is not turned into starch or glycogen in your liver. It's either burned or it's turned into fat right away. So a high sugar diet is a high-fat diet. And then we say, you know, limit the Omega six vegetable oils.

Of course, the original vegetable oils, and they're not made from vegetables. They're made from, from seeds. The first were made from cotton seeds now soybean and many other types. And they originally they were hydrogenated for shell finding and that was shown not to be healthy, to be very unhealthy. They were outlawed. But instead of going to just traditional saturated fats such as lard, butter, coconut oils or olive oils there going into nonhydrogenated vegetable oils. And Americans were never, humans, in general, were never exposed to naturally. We need small amounts of these or else they're called on your Omega six oils, which today are the vegetable oils and small amounts are fine, but when you process them and create the salad dressings, the cooking oils, we were never meant to have that many oils and it throws out our Omega six inflammatory measures to Omega three oils which are anti-inflammatory.

So where our ratio of omega six to omega three should be from one to four to five to one in most Americans its greater than 10 to one. And so you should be avoiding all vegetable oils as far as I'm concerned, it's proinflammatory but your vegetables and you know the nonstarchy vegetables, asparagus and brocolli, Brussels sprouts and green leafy vegetables, the spinach, those are all good. Yet when the problem is when we always talk about fruits and vegetables because a lot of fruits have a lot of fructose, particularly the tropical fruits, so fruits have anti oxidants that could be good for us when it's a whole fruit in the form of a Berry, but a lot of people think they're being healthy cause they're having a lot of fruits and they can overdo it because of the sugar and the fructose that makes the fruit sweet so we shouldn't be always loving vegetables and fruits and fruits together and then a wide variety of needs, poultry, seafood all very nutrient-rich and eat primarily whole foods.

The best example of this I think is the field cut truly whole grain oats versus instant oatmeal and with actually the same amount of fiber when you have the steel-cut oatmeal, the sugar or the or the starch core of the oat is surrounded by fiber. It takes a while to digest and releases the starch, the sugar into the blood stream slowly and you stimulate the enzymes further down the intestine that are good when you have processed instant oat meal. Even if you have the same amount of fiber, it's not surrounding the starch core and so it's absorbed much more rapidly. The enzymes, the hormones have direct access to the starch, it turns to sugar instantaneously and that increases your insulin levels rapidly and you're much hungrier. The studies have been done, you're much hungrier sooner than if you have the steel cut true oatmeal.

So, and that's true of eating whole foods and that means whole foods adding the fiber in separately. There's just a lot less evidence that that's helpful. And flexibility. It's more important not to be snacking and not to be eating frequently often than sometimes what you eat if you're eating in a relatively small window or during intermittent fasting. I hate to say, you can get away with more because you do increase your starch stores and your insulin, but then you have a long period of time to burn off that starch and the fat that's been consumed. So we prefer whole good foods all the time. But if you're going to be, if you're going to cheat, cheating in a short window is much better than if you're grazing and eating all day. That's disaster. There were snacking very well documented where we're eating many more times per day than we were in the 1970s and it's cause we're walking around hungry all day because our blood sugars are swinging around and our insulin levels are high and we don't have access to that big store of fat in our bellies.

Allan: 27:38 Well, and I think flexibility is important, but this is not, we're not talking about a license to just say, okay, I'm going to allow myself to have a piece of cake every night because I can, I'm only having, you know, two big meals a day and therefore I know I can have, and that's great. But if you're wanting weight loss, if you're diabetic or prediabetic or as we're going to get into in a minute pre pre-diabetic, then you have to understand, or you no you're addicted to sugar. You really have to think hard about how you can approach this and use this diet as a tool to get yourself healthy, to get yourself off that addiction because it's possible. But if you're going to start the game cheating, you probably not going to get there very fast.

And by the way, I mean that is the mistake that I frequently made without knowing. But even now, I mean, in the holiday season, if I'm acting in a fair, and this has happened and I, you know, and I eat the wrong food, the addiction comes back so quickly. And other than that, knowledge of I I can't do this or I can't keep doing this and I can get back on the wagon pretty quickly. But you're, you're, you're absolutely right. This is not a license to be cheating every night. I mean, the good thing if it's once a month or you know, somebody loves their pasta meal and there's a good amount of protein with it. And that's, that's again, depending on the individual, some people will immediately fall off the wagon and get into big trouble. Others, I always have patients who don't have the sweet tooth I have and they can have a bite or something and have a bite, you know. In Miami we have, we have Joe's stone crab and their key line pie. And I generally can that have just one bite. So I don't have it at all. And others can, including my wife. So that's knowing how each of us are as individuals.

Allan: 29:44 And that's one of the things I liked about your book was it took that into account and said, you know, because now you've dealt with thousands of patients and yourself and it's like we're all going to have to approach this slightly differently and we're going to figure out what works for us and we're just going to have to be self aware that you know, if we have this addiction, if we have this issue. One of the things you had in the book, which I thought was really, really important because by the time you go to the doctor and your A1C is over six and they're going to start now diagnosing you with diabetes, you're way down the road and you talk about some tests, some things we can look at before we even get to that point. And so these are tests I'm actually kind of interested in having done because my A1C is great. My blood sugar is great, but that doesn't mean I'm out of the woods. It just might mean that right now my body's creating a ton of insulin and it's able to shuttle all of that blood sugar away so I don't stay in a high blood sugar state. So one of them you call was, it was basically the insulin resistance test or you know, insulin. And then the other one was called the Atkinson calcium score.

Yes. The first, as far the points you've made about insulin are so, so important. So in fact, if we take in America healthy young, 20-year-olds, not overweight today versus the 1970s their hemoglobin A1C, maybe five are they're very normal. They're fasting. Blood sugars are absolutely, absolutely normal. They give a glucose tolerance test where you take a drink of 75 grams of sugar, glucose and wait two hours, their blood sugar comes down. But if you measure the insulin levels, it's taking four times normal insulin levels to keep their blood sugar normal. And that's already hacking fat into their liver, if you anybody, even teenagers, if you see a belly on anybody, a little protrusion, it means they have high insulin levels and they have excess fat in their liver. That's where it all, it all starts. So the test that we do, we call it the insulin secretion test, your insulin-resistant test.

It was actually developed by Dr. Joseph Kraft in the 1970s he died recently at age 94 and unfortunately, he did great work. Unfortunately, it was not recognized by the nutrition establishment, including the American diet. I thinks its an association. Partly, you can only measure insulin levels. In the 1960s the developers undercut the Nobel prize and hasn't been measured clinically until very recently. But he did the measurements when it was very expensive, but on 15,000 patients and he found that he called it diabetes insight too. I call it, it's kind of a medical term, I call it pre prediabetes because anybody with high insulin levels is having problems already, whether they know it or not. Including depression. There is an epidemic of colon cancer in young people, breast cancer, which are related to high levels of insulin. And so the real tests you need, which I'd like to give Kraft credit, called the Kraft test, is you take the insulin, the glucose drink, which was given in the traditional oral glucose tolerance test.

All pregnant women today get the oral glucose tolerance test, and instead of just measuring blood sugar, you measure insulin levels. And so, so many people who have bellies and some, are what do you call it? TOFI. There's thin on the outside and fat on the inside. If you look with a CT scan, cat scan of their belly, they have belly fat. Even though from the outside you would never realize it. And so you can really only tell, you could do it if you do a special MRI of the liver, but that's too expensive and not practical. The Kraft insulin secretion test, it's not expensive. The main thing is it's done over two hours. You do a fasting in some level, then you drink the glucose and then you repeat it at 30 minutes, 60 minutes, 90 minutes and two hours. And so we see patients who already have plaque in their coronary arteries, they have all kinds of chronic illness and their A1C is normal.

And so the fact is it takes years to develop. The fat is not only in your liver, it's also in your pancreas, and it's not till your pancreatic beta cells that make insulin, that synthesize insulin, become injured by the fat in the pancreas and you can't make enough insulin to keep your blood sugar normal. That's when your A1C, your fasting blood sugar goes up. And that's when we diagnose you have a problem pre diabetes or diabetes. But in fact, 10- 20 years before you can measure high insulin levels and people are suffering from again, skin problems to having cancer to heart disease when they're told your blood sugar is normal, don't worry about it. So that's, it's so important to understand. If you have a belly, you have high insulin levels, you're at risk of having heart disease, diabetes and cancer and Alzheimer's. Even though your doctor say your blood sugar is normal. So it's very important to get that word out right.

Allan: 35:43 And then the calcium score is basically going to tell us how much plaque is built up already.

Dr. Agatston: 35:50 So yeah, the calcium score I developed with my colleague Warren Janowitz. And if you're heading for a heart attack, if say you're 40 years old and you're heading for a heart attack when you're 50, 55, 60, you already have plaque in your coronary artery. And with the calcium score, it's inexpensive. In Miami, it's $99. At Johns Hopkins, it's $75 to have the test. You can,uand it's essentially no radiation. It's a cat scan that has some radiation, but you get more radiation when you, when you fly in distance. So the radiation is not an issue for cost is really not an issue. And even though your cholesterol might be normal, things can look normal.

But again, if you have a lot of small LDL particles and other problems that are hidden, you may be developing plaque and you can't tell with a cholesterol test, LDL test or any other tests. Here you're looking directly in the coronaries with a safe, inexpensive test and that tells you what your risk is of a future heart attack. But it also, it predicts all cause mortality because it indicates how the various risk factors for chronic disease are mixing in you as an individual. So the one thing that we see now is we see people whose hemoglobin A1C, their blood sugars are normal, but they have high insulin levels. They may have some other genetic markers that we look for cause you're my practices is cardiac prevention. But those tests are not so difficult to get either. But the main thing is that with the high insulin levels, the sugar and bad carbs they're consuming is turning into fat in the liver and they're overloading the liver with fat.

That causes a lot of problems. But one thing it does is it turns the normal LDL in to small dense LDL, small LDL particles that are not cleared by the, in the bloodstream easily. They don't fit into the usual receptors. They become oxidized and the oxidized LDL sticks to the vessel wall. It gets underneath the vessel wall, builds up the plaque and we again can see with the calcium score, you can see the build up of that plaque and the result of the high insulin levels years before you get chest pain or a heart attack and you can monitor it and then can prevent it.

Allan: 38:36 And I think that's huge. You know, so many of the tests and the things that we get diagnosed with, we're already sick and this is an opportunity for you to catch it much, much earlier, even if the other tests are coming out relatively clean these are really cool. I, I really appreciate this cause I was having, I mean I remember interviewing Dr. Fung and his, his book about the Obesity Code, and back then and he's like, you know, it didn't make any sense to measure insulin because you're doing it fast and you're doing it one time. But you know, here's some advancement where we're saying, well let's, let's go ahead and test the other side of this. The sugar is glucose equation. Basically using the same test, just looking at the actual insulin response, which I again, I think that's just brilliant.

Dr. Agatston: 39:17 And I yeah, I admire Dr. Fung a lot. And but you can't just measure the fasting insulin. We have people with normal fasting insulins and I'm particularly young people are at at 30 minutes after the glucose load their, I mean their insulin levels are in the hundreds, whereas their fasting glucose is normal. In older patients, you get more and more of the delay in the insulin, which indicates dysfunction of the beta cells in the pancreas that are making insulin. And that's because fat, we know that you get a fatty liver years again before you're diabetic or, or even pre-diabetic. And the fat is also going into your pancreas and interfering with the beta cells. And so you get a delay in the insulin secretion. So we can see both the degree of insulin resistance and the degree of what we call beta cell dysfunction, the pancreatic dysfunction that eventually is going to lead to the high blood sugars when you can no longer make enough insulin to keep the blood sugar normal.

And the other thing with this delay in the production of insulin is the insulin peeks hours after a meal and it stays high and that's that high insulin level that is locking in the fat after a meal. So when people get up in the middle of the night starving, even though they have all these fat stores in their belly, in their liver, in their muscle, the problem is they have sustained high insulin levels that blocks the enzymes that breaks down the fat and gives you the energy in the hibernating bear late in the fall. The bear is, they're eating the fruit that's become ripe. That's why fruit is seasonal and they are ravenous, depleting the forest of blueberries and other berries, even though the bear has already put on 400, 600 pounds of fat, but they don't have access to the fat because their insulin levels high. So they can continue to put on the fat for the winter hibernation.

Once they're hibernating and they're not consuming that fruit and the fructose in the fruit, then their insulin levels drop. Now they have access to the fat and that's how they hibernate the whole winter without eating because its that fat that is helping their brain, their kidneys, their heart to continue to function while they're asleep. So normally when we sleep every night we're not eating, so we're accessing our storage starch and fat. But what our insulin levels are high, we can't. So the blood sugar falls and we may wake up in the middle of the night starving and go to the refrigerator and have whatever sugar and carbs are there to bring our blood sugar back up. So it becomes a really vicious cycle.

Allan: 42:36 Yes it does. And so I think this is, you know, we're, we're into January here and I think, so this is kind of a great time to look at something like the Keto Friendly South Beach Diet because it's going to help you regulate your insulin. It's going to help you kind of go through a good period now where you can be thinking in terms of the bear or humans and what we would and wouldn't be eating. The rules are pretty simple. You do have meal plans in there and recipes so it's all put together very well. So again, I think this is an excellent opportunity to take something that worked. The South beach diet definitely was one of those things that people, when they follow it, it worked and you've improved it, which I think again is just wonderful.

Dr. Agatston: 43:16 Well thank you. Thank you so much. And Allan, I mean you obviously you really got it. And it's part of the book is certainly understanding the principles because even for me, who was the cardiologist diet doctor telling, putting my patients on diets for years, but I didn't understand the addiction aspect. Once I did it made such a difference for me and it is, it is for my patients. So this was not necessary eating differently. I mean it was the understanding that made me stick to principles that I already knew. So understanding the role of insulin and how it's different for all of us and understanding flexibility, understanding that America is not overweight because we all of a sudden lost our discipline or for that matter have stopped exercising. Exercise is very, very important. But what causes, what's caused the obesity and chronic disease epidemic is mainly, it's mainly the way we're eating.

Allan: 44:22 I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and sta well?

Dr. Agatston: 44:32 I would say understand insulin, keep it down, don't snack between meals, try some intermittent fasting and others is getting a good night's sleep and this enters in. Of course, if you're overweight and have sleep apnea, you may not be able to sleep proper, but we know a lack of sleep. Again, it stimulates enzymes and hormones that lead to high insulin levels and the other is regular exercise. And exercise is not going to be a solution from the calorie burning aspects. They prove that on the Biggest Loser for your, for your brain, for insulin sensitivity, for keeping up lean body mass. And you know I, you know, I love your podcast and the and being well over 40 plus that we have to keep our muscle and our bone. And you know, when we weigh ourselves, it's the weight, the BMI doesn't really mean anything because that includes, muscle, bone and fat under our skin, when we call the subcutaneous fat, it's only the fat in and around or origins.

That's the dangerous fat that we have that we have to worry about. And regular exercise, it improves our brain function, improves our sensitivity to insulin. So it decreases insulin resistance and it helps us age. We sustain lean body mass and on balance and so many things that's part of healthy aging. And I agree with you. Wellness, we use the term optimal health and it's, it's your vitality. And again, what's kept me on the changes in the diet that I made is I vitality, my ability to exercise, my ability to concentrate, get rid of the brain fog. And it's all those things. My belly was often hidden, people couldn't see it where I was wearing clothes but I knew it was there, but it's because I feel so much better with this and this type of lifestyle. So sleeping right, my exercising right and eating right.

And as you age you have to be more and more concerned about each of these elements. And so I really applaud for what you do with 40 plus as we age, we do become more insulin resistant and it becomes tougher and tougher and you have to get enough sleep, enough exercise and eat the right foods and not eat too often.

Allan: 47:18 Great. Thank you for that. So Dr. Agatston, if someone wanted to learn more about you or learn more about the book, The New Keto-Friendly South Beach Diet, where would you like for me to send them?

Dr. Agatston: 47:30 South beach diet website changed recently.

Allan: 47:36 Okay. That's good. Yeah. Just send me the link and I'll make the show notes so you can go to…

Dr. Agatston: 47:41 Agatstoncenter.Com is our office, our website. It has all of information too.

Allan: 47:48 Cool. Well you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/416 and I'll be sure to have those links there. So Doctor, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

Dr. Agatston: 47:58 Thank you Allan so much. It was really enjoyable.


It's that time of year. It's the time of year when everybody is thinking about health and fitness. Maybe you've set some resolutions, maybe this is the year that you want to get healthy and fit and if it is and you need a little bit of help, check it out at 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/coach you can come on as a group client and I can help you lose weight, get stronger and make 2020 something special. Go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/coach.

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Another episode you may enjoy

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January 6, 2020

Carnivore cooking with Craig Emmerich

As more people adopt different ways of eating, the carnivore diet is gaining rabid followers. Today we bring back Craig Emmerich to talk about the carnivore way of eating and the cookbook he and his wife, Maria wrote called The Carnivore Cookbook

Allan: 01:29 Craig, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

Craig: 01:32 Thank you for having me on.

Allan: 01:34 You know your cookbooks now. You're working directly with Maria to do the cookbooks and those cookbooks have been some of my favorites across, including Keto Comfort Foods, which made my list of favorite books that I've read because of the recipes that she has in there. Her etouffee is just unbelievable There's also Keto Restaurant Foods. You recently sent me one on air fryers, which I'm just now diving into. We don't have an oven in our apartment here we didn't realize that until we moved in. It's like we have a stove top and no oven. I'm like, huh. Air fryer. That might do it. A very small place. I'm going to be diving into that big, big time.

Allan: 02:13 And then your book now The Carnivore Cookbook. When I first started hearing people moving to carnivore, because the conversation went paleo, keto started kind of gaining momentum, and now carnivore. It was almost reminiscent of the vegan approach to eating. It's such a huge elimination diet that I was like, I don't know that I would ever try that, but I'm glad you sent me this cookbook. I'm glad we have this opportunity to have this conversation because I learned so much from this book.

Craig: 02:51 Thanks, Yeah, we tried to put a lot of, you know, it's much more than just a cookbook. You know, it's got over a hundred pages of content of why. You know, just the general question of why carnivore and I think the book covers that pretty well.

Allan: 03:07 Yeah. I would get on these Facebook groups and everyone's like, Oh no, you don't, you don't need that. You can just eat rib eyes all day every day. Or bacon. That's the same thing with Kito. I'm like, get off the bacon please. We need a little more than that. And I was really appreciative. I figured there was no way that you and Maria would put out a book without at least giving us some basis in science and some, some general howtos before we ever even try something like this.

Craig: 03:32 Yeah. That's what Maria and I, we've been doing this for over, Maria for over 20 years and we've always based everything we do on science and the, things we read and we're constantly learning and we're always looking for the latest information to, you know understand and, and understand this lifestyle and what the science is saying about it and our biology and all of that. And we incorporate that into, you know, our books and what we do with clients. And so, you know, things have evolved over the years. We used to recommend flax and we no longer recommend it. Probably eight or 10 years ago, we read more on the estrogenic compounds and what they you know do to people. And if they're with estrogen balance and so we'd no longer recommend it. So, we always try to keep up and learn and educate ourselves.

Allan: 04:25 And I appreciate that. That is part of what this podcast is all about. I'm generally agnostic until someone gets militant about their way of eating which is happening on all sides of this. I think a lot of us went through the evolution of the paleo, keto. And now people are looking at carnivore and other kind of spinoffs of keto. I've even seen some vegan keto that's out there and we've covered that on the podcast. And so I encourage people to explore these.

Allan: 04:56 Now with the carnivore diet, it's, the way I'm reading it, we have gone through this is it's basically an elimination diet. And a lot of people will get into it predominantly for weight loss. Maybe they stalled on keto and they're not losing any more weight. And they're like, well, what do I do? And seems like, well, you know, I went on the carnivore diet, I lost an additional five pounds in a week. And they're like, Oh, okay. And so people are experimenting with it. So it's important for them to understand what this diet means. But at the same time, it's there's, there's a reason we're going to do it besides weight loss for a lot of people. Including yourself.

Craig: 05:37 Yeah. So, you know we took the book when we started talking about applying this diet we took it in two parts and we said, okay, what are your goals? Why are you doing this? And if the goal is weight loss, then great, here's kind of how you do it and how to get success doing it for weight loss. And then we took the other angle of, are you doing it for healing? Because that can be a little bit different when it comes to, you know, healing from auto-immune disorders or bipolar or Lyme disease. Like I have those things require a little different protocol to kind of weed out what you can handle and what your body reactsto or not. And so that was, we coined, we called it the carnival auto immune protocol and it's basically, you know, just like an autoimmune protocol or it's an elimination diet, but it's a total elimination diet.

Craig: 06:36 And you start out just eating beef and salt and a take it back to the basics and allow your body to adjust to that and then slowly add things back in. And this is a way to find where your tolerance level is. And it's so important because people like me with Lyme disease that I've struggled with now for seven, eight years with, you know, chronic pain, especially the, the hardest thing is the migrating pain that I get where, you know, you wake up in the morning and it feels like you sprained your knee, you didn't do anything, you just wake up with this knee pain. Next morning you wake up, it's in the other knee or in your hip or your ankle. And it's very hard to function when you've got this because I mean it's just hard to even walk around with carnivore I was able to completely eliminate that migrating pain.

Craig: 07:27 And by eliminating certain plants and things that I eat used to eat when I was keto. And so it's a powerful thing. And there's even people in this community like Amber, our friend Amber O'Hearn, she's been carnivore for like, I don't know, 15 years and it's to help with her bipolar. With keto she saw improvements but not total stopping of the progression of the disease. With carnivore she did see a complete stopping of the progression. So, you know, this is not, I look at this as how we've always approached keto in that people come to keto and yeah, the weight loss is great, but they stay with it because of the healing effects and how much better they feel and a lot of the carnivore is in the same realm is that, you know, people especially with these, you know, chronic autoimmune or Lyme or these chronic pain conditions, they come to it and they see relief and that is the driving force behind it.

Allan: 08:34 And I think that's one of the cores here is that this is for some people this could just be a temporary, you know, I want to lose 20 pounds. I'll try carnivore and I do it for 28 to, you know, I don't know, six weeks, six months, whatever. You lose that weight and then you can start incorporating, you know, plant material back into your diet, and became basically keto from that point forward and feel pretty good about.

Craig: 08:59 Yeah, keto or low carb. And you can, you know, live that way for a long time and forever. And you know, Maria's been keto for, like you said, over 20 years and she's thriving and you know, she kind of goes back and forth herself. You know, she'll, there's days where she pretty much eats carnivore and then other days, you know, maybe like this weekend and we're going to family outings, you know, she'll incorporate salads and, you know, other things basically eating keto you know, myself, I'm still gonna stick to the meat because if I don't, I'm gonna be in rough shape that next day with the pain. So, you know, it really depends on your goals.

Allan: 09:39 Now you've mentioned in the healing part, you mentioned the Lyme disease, which is what you're familiar with particularly. And then of course the bipolar. Some of the other conditions you had in there included gout, which one of my clients suffers from. It's kind of hard. I can give him workouts and say, Hey, you know, go to this workout. But then, you know, he has a gout flare up and he's bedridden for a week. So that's not helping him. Is the state's going to help other things you had got listed, I believe. There's other items out there and exactly what do we think is happening in our bodies that's allowing this to be so effective? If you ask someone a doctor about gout, they'll say stay away from red meat.

Craig: 10:21 Yeah, I mean, that's a common myth, but you know, most of gout, lot of times it's related to fructose and as well as possibly oxalates. You know, there's some evidence that oxalates are one of the anti-nutrients that come with plants, plants, all plants have anti-nutrients. And this is something I would really want it to talk about in the book because I think this is one of the components that helps people like me is that you get rid of all these things your body doesn't really want. And when you're at a state like mine where lyme disease really chronically depresses your immune function and puts you in an inflammatory state. And so removing additional inflammatory components like anti-nutrients can help the body. And so all these anti-nutrients are basically compounds the body can't use and doesn't want. So it has to detox.

Craig: 11:16 There's tons of antioxidants, there's thousands of them in anti-nutrients in thousands of them in plants. Some of the most harmful are things like oxalates and phytates and glucosinolates and these compounds that are basically natural pesticides for the plants to kill off bugs or things that try to eat them. You know, a plant is, you think about it from an evolutionary perspective. Animals can defend themselves by growling, showing their teeth running away. A plant can't do any of those things. So it's the natural defenses that are basically natural pesticides. So a plant does not want you to eat the STAM, the roots or the leaves because that kills the plant. So it only wants you to eat the fruit. So the fruit, it makes sweet and tempting to animals. And then it has natural pesticides on its other parts that keep bugs and things from eating them.

Craig: 12:18 And there's actually toxicity levels for some of these anti-nutrients things like oxalates it's anywhere from three grams to maybe 30 grams of oxalates can kill you. It's a wide range because of immune function and metabolic state. So somebody has diabetes or Lyme disease or chronic issues or depressed immune function. They might be closer to three grams of oxalates that could actually kill you if you're very healthy. It might be more like 30, but a man did die eating too many oxalates in Europe and it's been documented. So, you know, this is something that we don't understand about plants. We've been taught our whole lives, that fruit and vegetables are unlimited. Eat as much as you want, but there are some negatives and especially if you've got a disease state, they can really hinder you.

Allan: 13:11 Yeah. You know, and they'll tell you, you know, when you go to lift weights you're, you're, you're doing some damage to the muscle. And then this process called hormesis is what's allowing the muscle to build back stronger and better. They used to tell us now, they would tell us with vegetables is that, you know, yes, they have these anti-nutrients, but your body under normal functioning can goes through hormesis there as well. So some of the advice I've heard before is a breakup your kale 10 minutes before you're ready to start cooking it so that it maximizes these anti-nutrients. And so, yeah, it, you know, I, I guess I, if you're, if you have a normally functioning immune system and everything's working out for you, you probably have that opportunity to improve from that stress. But if you're dealing with an auto-immune issue of any type, now you know, you're, you're in that situation of too much damage.

Craig: 14:06 Yeah. Additional stress is not good in those situations. And so yeah, I think the mechanisms for all these different conditions where you can see improvements with carnivore are a couple fold. Number one is that that aspect, the anti-nutrients you don't have to deal with anymore and additional stress on the body. The other aspect I think is nutrient density and bioavailability of those nutrients. If you think about healing the body, what do you need? You need lots of vitamins and minerals to help the body you know, very nutrient dense foods to help the body recover and repair itself. Well, what is the most nutrient dense food when you, especially when you consider, well, that's going to be animal proteins. We put a lot of charts in the book to kind of explain this, but the very important aspect of it as well is the bio-availability of those nutrients because there's a lot of these anti-nutrients that can leach these nutrients from the body. So what I mean by that is we give the, there's a study that was done that took oysters, which are great for zinc. They're very high in zinc and they might've..

Allan: 15:20 And my favorite food by the way.

Craig: 15:21 Yeah, me as well. When I can get them, we can't, don't get them a lot in the Midwest.

Allan: 15:26 We don't, we don't get them down here in Panama. So when I travel back up to Louisiana, Florida, I'm hitting the oyster bars for sure.

Craig: 15:33 Yes I did. Or you know, high in DHA. So they're really good food for you. But what they did is they tested postprandial glucose, blood zinc levels. So basically the amount of zinc that's getting into the blood from eating the oysters. And when they did it with just oysters, you get this nice increase in zinc in the blood. So you're getting all this zinc into the body. When you eat, when they had the participants eat the oysters with black beans, like a third of the zinc gets into the body. And then when they had them eat them with corn tortilla chips, none of the zinc gets into the body. And this is, I believe is because those anti-nutrients like oxalates that latch on to minerals. And then when they're detox, they go right through the body. So the body is basically robbed of these nutrients. And so going the carnivore eliminates any of that from happening. And you get this huge dose of vitamins into the body that your body hadn't been getting. And, and that helps with healing.

Allan: 16:38 So let, let's get into that a little bit because you know, some of them say you can just sit down and it's just eat meat. You're, obviously, well, maybe not so obviously not getting all the vitamins and minerals that you could get from vegetables and fruits, but what you're saying is all of the necessary vitamins and minerals are available in animal products and they may be even more bio available to us as in, in addition to that.

Craig: 17:10 Yeah. And you know, the charts that I put in the book, I tried to kind of show that we have I think about 15 vitamins and minerals, a list of in these charts and they compare the content of, you know, beef, beef, liver, kale, you know, broccoli, all of these foods. And what you see is that beef by itself stacks up really well against those other foods. I think in the one chart I did have just beef, like a steak versus kale, blueberries and an Apple. Beef is number one in the vitamins and minerals in 13 out of the 15 vitamins and minerals and number two in one other one. So it's either one or two and all but one. And I think the only one it wasn't was vitamin C, which vitamin C is your requirement for vitamin C in the body is, is directly proportional to the amount of carbohydrates you eat. The less carbs you eat, the less vitamin C you need. So it's my position that especially if you eat a nose to tail type of carnivore diet where you incorporate things like beef liver and you know, bone marrow and these kinds of things. You're getting all the nutrients your body needs and it's in a more bioavailable form than you get from the plants.

Allan: 18:33 And, and like I said, I, I trust you and Maria so much that I knew when I started flipping through the recipes, you were going to be giving us some advice on how to get liver and bone marrow into our diet on a regular basis. Even for those who have difficulty with it. Can you tell us your trick, your trick for getting liver into, into your meals? Even when you don't necessarily like the texture, flavor of liver?

Craig: 18:57 Yeah, there's a few things that we do. Even if you're not carnival or if you're looking at a keto diet, a lifestyle, even in keto, it's great to incorporate some liver cause there's probably nothing on the planet that's more nutrient dense than beef liver. I mean that is like nature's multivitamin. So we try to incorporate it wherever we can. One of the great things that you can do is mix it into hamburger at like a five to one ratio. So for every five pounds of hamburger you put a pound of ground liver into it and you mix it all up and it makes amazing burgers. Or you can make, take that and make it into things like Maria's protein noodle lasagna or her chili recipe if you really averse to the taste. Chili is a great one because the more spice there is, the more you kind of cover that taste and you and usually in our chili recipe, you don't even notice that it's, if you don't tell somebody, they won't know that. It's not that there's beef liver in there.

Allan: 19:53 I wouldn't advise that because when you tell them afterwards, they're going to be pretty angry with you.

Craig: 20:00 Maybe with your kids,

Allan: 20:02 Just get them to try and say, Hey, try this, try this meatloaf. It just, just to taste. You might not like it, but just try it. And if you like, it's from Maria's cookbook, I know it's going to be good, but here try this. And if you don't like it, then I understand. But yeah, don't, don't sit down to dinner and then tell your whole family what you did later.

Craig: 20:21 Well, actually we like to let our kids pallets do the talking. You know, one of the things that Maria gets annoyed by is like, her mother will sometimes say to the, Oh, Omray you might not like this. This is Maria's healthy pancakes. Well now the kids are going to hate it. Yeah. Just let them try it. And if they like it, great. You know, they don't need to know that. That's the healthy one.

Allan: 20:45 Yeah. I get it with kids, I get it. With your spouse, you might want to say I'm going to try this experiment. I want you to try it with me. Are you game? If not, I'll eat all of it. I promise I'll eat every bit of it. I just want to share this, this healthy meal with you.

Craig: 21:02 Uh but that's, that's probably the best way to incorporate it if you're averse to it. Uh some people just like, you know, they soak it in some cream and, and then grill it with some onions. Some, you know, there's a lot of people I like it just like that. Another way to get it in, if you're really averse to the taste is to do, you basically cut it into little cubes and then you freeze it and then you just pop them, like swallow them like a multivitamin. And that's a way to get past the taste if you're really averse.

Allan: 21:36 Cool. Cool. I like that. So we don't necessarily need vitamins and veggies for our vitamins or minerals. We can get all that we need from a mixture of beef liver and some other meats. We can kind of put that together to build out the nutrition that we need. But as far as fiber, because you know, we're told we're going to struggle if we don't get fiber in our diet, our guts gonna hate us. Um we're never going to poop again. Explain a little bit about that. Cause I do see some posts like I just started this carnivore diet and I, you know, I'm struggling. I haven't pooped in three days. I'm like,

Craig: 22:12 Well we see it go both ways. Sometimes people will get a little constipated, some people will get diarrhea. A lot of that just transitioning, you know the body has to adapt and adjust to any big change in your diet. And that's what we talked in the book. One thing that can really help is adding digestive enzymes after your meal and a little HCL hydrochloric acid with your first bites of food and do that in the first few days or a week just to help your body adjust to eating more meat. And that usually helps with any diarrhea issues or digestive issues. But back to the fiber thing, you know, that's a common myth that you need this thing. Your body cannot digest, fiber to bulk up your stills and shove it through the GI track. And to me that just seems weird. You know, first of all, there's studies that have shown, there was a study in Japan that showed that the lower the fiber when you lowered fiber, it actually made constipation better. And there are another study that showed that symptoms of diverticulitis, they had less issues with the less fiber they ate. Zero fiber was the best scenario with almost all their symptoms going away. So having this fiber can actually bulk up the stools and elongate the intestines and irritate them so it's actually can be a negative in that way. And another example is when people say you get, you got to have fiber to go number two, well I always ask them, you know, does a baby that's being breastfed typically have any issue going Number two, I mean know they have no issues with zero fiber in there from the breast milk.

Allan: 23:58 So, you know, I think back to a cat, you know, cat as a pure carnivore and sadly enough, some people try to turn their cats into vegans and that doesn't work out very well. But so you end up with this carnivore and I, I've watched it. A cat will go out in the yard and we'll start eating some grass and it typically just eats that grass at moments where it is already having digestive issues. So is there a case for some fiber in our diet or not really?

Craig: 24:28 Well I don't know if that's, you know, like our dog would do that and would he would gag and throw up. It's like he's trying to purge himself when he would eat the grass. So I'm not sure if there's a connection.

Allan: 24:41 I just figured there was a nutrition, I mean not a nutrition problem, but maybe I digest an issue that the animal is dealing with. It's, it's trying to put something in a system that isn't really in its, in its opinion food.

Craig: 24:53 Yeah. Our, our dog always threw up after he ate the grass. So I dunno if that's why he was doing it.

Allan: 24:58 Now if someone's coming directly from the standard American diet and going into carnivore this is a fairly drastic move. Someone going from keto to carnival or it's actually seems to be a pretty natural transition. I think the core for both is just there isn't additional requirement for electrolytes.

Craig: 25:21 Well, at least a focus on it. You know, I think it's much less of an issue if you're coming from keto, depending on your level of keto to carnivore. Um you're already focusing on electrolytes and making sure you're getting them. So it's probably not as big of an issue there, but it's still important. As important as it is with Kito. You know, carbohydrates are water retaining. So when you eat, the more carbohydrates you eat, the more water you retain. And then when you eliminate the carbohydrates your body flushes out this retained water, which is a good thing. You don't want to be retaining water and bloated. And but what that water go electrolytes that are associated with it. So you need to replenish your electrolytes. And especially when you're eating a whole foods keto or carnivore type of diet because you're not getting sodium in the food where, you know, standard American diet, there's sodium in everything. You know, a milkshake at McDonald's has more sodium than their French fries. So you're getting all this sodium that you don't even realize. And when you go to whole foods, there's no sodium. So you gotta make sure to add that salt back in.

Allan: 26:36 Yeah, I run, I run low on potassium and sodium already. So it is something as I'm, if I'm going to experiment with something that it is something that I, I would definitely make sure that I was getting my electrolytes.

Craig: 26:47 The body, it likes sodium and potassium to be kind of in balance and while eating carnivore, you know, beef and proteins are pretty high in potassium. But what the body has this pathway of, you know, if you're not getting enough sodium it will leach potassium until they're kind of unbalanced again. And so having sodium low can actually result in having potassium loss. So you gotta keep your sodium intake up to keep them balanced.

Allan: 27:16 Yeah. Craig, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

Craig: 27:28 Well number one I think is just to stay as active as you can. And I think a component of that is getting outside, you know, today we spend so much time in unnatural environments with, you know, artificial lighting indoors, never contacting with nature or the sun or out, outdoors. And I think that's detrimental to health and just mental health as well. But disconnecting and getting out in nature and getting outside I think is a huge component. And just I liked, we were in low carb universe in Spain and one of the speakers was a dentist from the United Kingdom and he said, you should eat like you're never able to brush your teeth again. And I thought that was a pretty interesting take on it and that, you know, anything that is going to mess up your teeth, it's probably messing up your digestive tract as well. And you know, if you, if you just focus on eating the healthiest for your teeth and your body, you're going to end up in a better situation.

Allan: 28:39 Okay. wonderful. Now Craig, if someone wanted to learn more about you, Maria and the book and all the wonderful things that you're doing, where would you like for me to send them?

Craig: 28:50 Well, we have a couple places they can go. They can go to our blog, which is all free recipes and free information that's at Mariamindbodyhealth.com. And then we have a support website for our subscribers with lots of eBooks and things that are available to purchase. And that's keto-adapted.com. And then you can usually find us on social media under Maria Emmerich or Craig Emmerich. And then on Facebook we also have a couple of groups, one called keto, one called keto carnivore and another called 30 day ketogenic cleanse for our cleanse book.

Allan: 29:26 Cool. Well this is episode 415, so you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/415 and you'll find all the show notes and those links there. Craig, thank you so much for being part of 40 plus fitness podcasts again.

Allan: 29:41 Thank you Allan.

Speaker 4: 29:47 [Inaudible].

Allan: 29:47 Did you know that we have a 40+ Fitness podcast group on Facebook? Yep. We sure do. You can get a 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/group . That's a great place to interact with me and other listeners of the show. I'm on there all the time trying to put out great content, trying to make it fun. It's a really cool place. We have weekly challenges. Go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/group and request to join the 40+ Fitness podcast group

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December 30, 2019

Take control of your health data with David Korsunsky

Allan: 02:08 David, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

David: 02:11 Thanks for having me.

Allan: 02:12 You know,I've known about your service Heads Up Health for wow. Probably at least four years, four or five years when I started hearing you on different podcasts particularly in the, in the community. Yes, there was a lot of interest there because your approach was centered on them. And I liked it when I first got on. I was like, okay, this is really cool because I can store all my data here instead of spreadsheets. Cause I, you know, all my health markers were on spreadsheets and same as just, you know, yeah. That just, that gets, that gets cumbersome and then it just gets to a point where it's not even useful anymore. Can you tell us a little bit about why you created heads up health and what it, what it would do for us?

David: 02:57 Sure. Well, I was always someone who was generally healthy, but I grew up in central Canada and I grew up on a, a pretty typical, I guess you'd call it the standard American diet or the standard Canadian diet in my case. But I was in the corn belt of Canada and was raised and didn't really have a tremendous amount of knowledge about what I was putting in my body. And I noticed that as I got older and I was in the United States and working in big tech, I became really interested in the idea of how I can optimize my own personal performance. I noticed that even though I exercise a lot more than everybody, I knew I was still heavier than everybody I knew and that that was, that didn't sit well with me. I knew that there was something more there. So I always had been really interested in the idea of self hacking, of using data.

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David: 03:54 And so to go back to your point, one of the most insightful moments was when I built that hideous spreadsheet and I called all four of my doctors. I had one in Boston, I had a couple in Canada, I had some in California. I put all my blood tests in a spreadsheet and that was a lot of work. You gotta be a pretty serious health nerd to go through an exercise like that. And Allan it sounds like you did the same. So we're kindred spirits there. But the first thing that happened was I could see the patterns and I'm like, wow, my doctor can't even see these patterns. You know, he's got one of these PDFs there's another six that have my medical history. And there were trends happening in the data that would be impossible to see otherwise, trends that actually needed attention.

David: 04:40 And I discovered those trends as a patient. And that was the moment where I realized how powerful the data can be when it was centralized. And that was right around the time that we were starting to get access to tools as individuals that were very, very sophisticated. And these were consumer grade devices that could do things like measuring heart rate variability, which 10 years ago you needed to go to a hospital to get and get hooked up to a massive machine. And now all you need is a Bluetooth heart rate monitor and a good HRV app. So I started seeing all of this information that we as individuals could monitor on ourselves, which was awesome. And then I saw how I could overlay it with my medical records. That's ultimately what helps us determine if we're really doing things properly or not. And I just became obsessed with building this system and making it available to everybody. And it's just kind of taken over my life since then.

Allan: 05:39 Yes, I can imagine.

David: 05:41 I guess that's the typical getting bit by the bug. It just becomes all consuming and you want to build this and create this and bring it to life. You know, you talked about people who've written books, and for me it's, I've written a piece of software.

Allan: 05:58 Yeah, and I think there's a, there's a ton of value there that is, it would be, it would be otherwise missed. I mean, you know, everybody likes simple, simple rules, you know, complete the circles on my Apple watch and I've done a good thing today. So you're getting a little bit of gamification, a little bit of information there. But that's just one little PISA data in just this huge sea of data that's coming at us. And there's more and more every year, you know, the watch that can look at your sleep patterns and the, you know the watch that can look at and do an EKG on you and obviously your lab results and, and you know, you go into your doctor and your prescriptions and you know, see you change your prescriptions and you see a change in your, in your trends. You know, what those prescriptions are doing to not just the symptoms that you're feeling, but your actual health markers. So I really liked that it's tying all of that stuff together in a way that is interpretable. I think that's the key. And that's where you've probably been spent spending a lot of your time, not just with, cause there's a ton of integrations, but then also just making sure that the data is interpretable.

David: 07:05 Yeah, we spent a lot of time on our user interface so that we could in essence, demystify a lot of these numbers. You know, how do you make it really simple for anybody to set up a dashboard and just look at some basic health stats even if you're not technically savvy. And you know, one of the interesting things Allan, is that our most active users on the system are actually the least technically savvy people out there. But they have a health issue. And we've made the dashboard intuitive enough that people can make some basic connections. They can test their blood sugar in the morning after they had a pizza the night before. And see how that's different from when they test their blood sugar in the morning after they stopped eating at 5:00 PM and just had a steak with veggies.

David: 07:49 And then these aha moments start happening for people. And these are aha moments that they may not actually get guidance on from the regular doctor. And that becomes exciting and that becomes fun. And then you get more into it and it starts to become very fun and rewarding. And you're basically just nerding out on your own health. And that's a win because I think the reason so many people are in a predicament right now with their health is because they haven't had the information and the insights and the tools, and they haven't had the knowledge about some of the risks of the foods we're putting in our bodies. And so we were kind of blindsided up to this point and now it's like, Oh wow, I have, I've got this microscope into all my health data and I can start figuring some stuff out myself. So making it simple and fun and easy and intuitive with big numbers, big buttons, easy charts, we just wanted to democratize it as much as possible. And as you know, we started this four or five years ago and I still read every single email that comes in our support queues. Most of our product direction is directly from our users. And we have our own private Facebook group where our loyal users are in there and they're testing the software and they're giving us the good, the bad, and the ugly, and, and we build in accordance with our users.

Allan: 09:09 Yeah, it's Drucker that said what what gets measured gets managed. And you're, you're providing a pretty valuable tool for folks that really want to get in there and manage their, their health. I was interviewing Dr. Will Cole last week. Yeah. We had him on and he, in his book he talks about the kind of the bio-individuality of us and how each of us is going to operate differently. Know even when we're doing things exactly the same. You know, I sleep eight hours, you sleep eight hours, you know, I have a glass of orange juice for breakfast. You have a glass of orange juice for breakfast. My blood sugar shoots up over a hundred. And your stay stable as a rock. You know, this is going to give us some of that data if we're checking our blood sugar and putting it in there for taking the time to, and some of this is automated. So if I go to a certain lab to get my blood tests, I can actually have that auto connected. So it's going to integrate right on in. So there's not the data entry to build those massive spreadsheets. And then there's the ability to interpret it on the backend. As far as the business, one of the reasons that I, I think this is kind of top of mind for me today is my wife and I moved down to Panama and we were going to go to a doctor here instead of going back to the United States to see her normal doctors, she's going to try to get a doctorate here. Um and she's like, well, I just saw my doctor, you know, three and four months ago and I have the labs for men. I'll just, I'll just call my, email my doctor and say, Hey, send those to this doctor. And they're like, no, we need a signed form and we need to either do that, do it in our office or fax it to us.

David: 10:44 And yeah, I mean, let me plug in the old fax machine there.

Allan: 10:48 Go find grandpa or somebody on this Island that has a fax machine for us to fax that document. And then fortunately there are some, but it was just such a pain in the butt. So just get the data and I told my wife, I'm like, let's just pay for another blood test because you know, I don't want to fly somewhere just to get to a fax machine, just to sign a piece of paper to ask your doctor to do something that you know you're asking them to do. They know what you and you know. So when you're, when you're doing these interactions, obviously, you know, we're, we're connecting a lot of things and we're pulling a lot of data in and that's a convenience. So you know, in a ways your service is a convenience. How is that data protected then? Cause I think that's what the concerns are. The doctor's like, well, I've got HIPAA and I've got these other regulations. That's why the fax machine, we need that security. How do you manage some of those security issues?

David: 11:44 Well, we don't use fax machines, unfortunately. Allan. Our system is, is considered a personal health record. And so the FDA treats that as being data that is owned and operated by the individual and the individual themselves. So if I am inviting my doctor to access my profile, that's a patient initiated action and that's different than the doctor initiating the request to the patient for data. So those are treated a little differently under HIPAA. That being said, one of the benefits of being a startup nowadays is we can build everything from the ground up on state of the art, HIPAA compliant technology. So all of the services inside Amazon AWS are HIPAA compliant and they use absolute state of the art technology. We have a very, very small footprint inside of Amazon. So we use all their HIPAA compliance services. We have to play by the same rules as everybody else does.

David: 12:54 One of the things we're working on starting in Q one is going to the next level of certification beyond HIPAA, which is called high trust. And that's an even more robust layer of security and compliance than HIPAA is. So we, we do everything we can on the security and the compliance side. We don't ever use the data for external use marketing purposes or anything like that. And that's all really, really clear inside of our terms of service. It's yours, you share it with whoever you want. And that's how we run the business. We're not in the business of making money on people's data. We make money on your monthly subscription.

Allan: 13:38 Cool. So you know, we've talked a little bit about tracking health data. Can you talk about some of the sources of health data that would reside in a tool in your tool? Uh,I know, you know, like we're talking, you know, certain integrations with things, certain things with upharmacies, but you know exactly what data would I be collecting and putting into your tool?

David: 14:00 So that's a really, really great question. And we look at the world and we categorize the data into three buckets. And the first bucket of data would be things that Allan is tracking at home. And so that's also called patient generated data. And that could be the heart rate data from your Apple watch. It could be the measurements when you step on the scale in the morning. It could be your blood pressure, maybe you're measuring that periodically. It could be your blood sugar, it could be more sophisticated health tech, like some of the new wearables like woop and bio strap and or ring.

David: 14:38 All of those do really, really sophisticated analysis on how well we sleep. How much cardiovascular load we're putting on our bodies during the day. So there's heart rate variability, which is becoming very popular because it helps us measure our stress. So everything you measure at home that helps you essentially gain biofeedback about yourself, the devices, the apps, the watches, everything like that. And so that's kind of what we call lifestyle data. That tells Allan, okay, how much am I sleeping? What's my calorie intake? You know, what's my blood sugar been over the last week? So that's the lifestyle data or what we call a patient generated. The second part is what you talked about earlier. Your wife's data, the clinical data. When you go to the regular old doctor and they run the blood work cholesterol, HDL, hemoglobin A1C white blood cell count inflammation markers.

David: 15:34 That is, that is the second bucket of data. And that's also really, really important because as you change your lifestyle habits, what you can measure in bucket number one, you're going to see the numbers in bucket number two, change. You know, prime example of that is hemoglobin A1C. And if you go on a really low carb ketogenic diet, you, you could easily just through dietary change alone have a significant impact. Maybe you bring it down from 6.5 to five or below just through a dietary change. So that's where one, you're looking at your, my fitness pal logs and your blood sugar from bucket one and your hemoglobin A1C from pro bucket two. So that's how that feedback loop goes. And then there's a third category of data that we focus on inside Heads Up that is a little nuanced and that's what I would call functional health data.

David: 16:26 And Dr. Cole probably may have mentioned this, but that would include things like heavy metal testing for some people is an issue. Mold exposure testing. It would include things like your microbiome and a lot of people who have digestive issues and they're testing the microbiome. It may include your genetic data. So that's like the third category, functional health organic acid testing. There's, there's a ton of information in urine and stool, which can be really helpful for people who have tougher cases with their health. So we're working with a lot of individuals and health coaches who do functional testing as well. It's not something you can get from your regular GP that's going to bill insurance, although insurance might cover some of the testing. So it's lifestyle, clinical, functional. Those are the three categories that we, that we integrate.

Allan: 17:23 Cool. And this is the tool that you've built out, not just for the end user to have access to share and use and see their data and analyze it. Practitioners can also use this with their patients, right?

David: 17:37 Yeah. Health coaches. We're, we're really focused Allan on the the cash pay wellness market. So these are doctors that you pay cash, functional health doctor, nutritionist an integrative specialist personal trainers. So we have a coaching portal where, and these are the people who want to see your Fitbit data and they want to look at your functional health data. They're going to spend an hour with you during your console and they're going to go over all of this stuff. And in a traditional medicine world, that system's not really built in a way where that data is, I would say, as valued or as part of the care plan.

David: 18:16 So we have a portal where health coaches can log in and they can log in and very quickly look at who of their clients need some extra help in terms of blood sugar. And they can look at dietary intake and personalize a protocol and they'll have access to Allan's labs going back 15 years. So your wife could show up to a functional doctor and, and provide access to the Heads Up profile and all the data. Is there all the labs, not just the most recent ones. Yeah. So we, we have a portal for health coaches as well and we want to be able to use the information as part of the treatment plan and there's awesome data out there. My doctor to look at it. I want to ask him like, why was my HRV higher this day versus that day and why, how, how do I personalize this?

David: 19:05 You've got my genetic data, you've got my lifestyle data, you've got my medical tests. Like they can dial it in for you.

Allan: 19:13 Yeah, that's, that's awesome. 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?

David: 19:26 Oh, that's a great question. Three strategies and stack and tactics to get and stay well, I would have to say that understanding how to regulate your metabolism would be number one in terms of getting and staying well. And I say that because so many of the illnesses we have are metabolic in nature, sugar and foods that destroy our blood sugar and then cause a host of downstream effects. So getting a staying well means healthy blood sugar regulation. That will be my number one number two would be a high quality sleep and that's high quality sleep that you're measuring with something that can tell you the, there's a subjective component to sleep where you may think you're getting a great night's sleep, but you might have severe sleep apnea and you don't even know it and your sleep is actually incredibly disrupted.

David: 20:26 So getting really high quality rest would be the other one. And then the third one I would have to say would be probably related to community and spirituality. And I think that's essential. Having people around that love you and being able to give and receive love to people. It doesn't have to be a partner, it doesn't have to be a family member. There's lots of ways to give and receive love. It could just be through volunteering. But having community and ways to express and offer and receive love. I would say that's more of a spiritual than it is anything quantifiable and I think that's really important. So that will be my number three.

Allan: 21:09 Okay. Thank you David. Thank you for sharing that. If someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about Heads Up Health, where would you like for me to send them?

David: 21:18 Well, first of all, I offer everyone to just contact me directly. I'm an open book. My, my inbox is a little backed up, but I'll do my best. I'm David Heads Up Health and if you're interested in the software we provide, it's at Headsuphealth.com we have our own podcast, Data Driven Health Radio where we break down a lot of these numbers and demystify them and teach people how to use them. So much like yourself, Allan we're providing educational content and then you'll find us on all the regular social media channels. We share all the good information we find out there on the interwebs as well. So there's lots of ways to track us down. And if you want to give the softwarea try, it's 30 days. You can try it free. There's no credit card required, just no pressure. If you like it, hopefully it can make a difference in your health. The data was hugely transformational in my own health and so that's my life's work at this point.

Allan: 22:11 Good. So you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/414 and I'll be sure to have links there in the show notes. So David, thank you so much for being a part of 40 plus fitness.

David: 22:23 Thanks for a great discussion.

David: 22:31 Did you know that we have a 40+ Fitness Podcast Group on Facebook?

Yep, we sure do. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/group. That's a great place to interact with me and other listeners of the show. I'm on there all the time. Trying to put out great content, trying to make it fun. It's a really cool place. We have weekly challenges. Go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/group and request to join the 40+ Fitness Podcast Group

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December 23, 2019

The inflammation spectrum with Dr. Will Cole

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Allan: 03:15 Dr. Cole, welcome back to 40+ Fitness.

Dr. Cole: 03:18 Well thanks for having me. I'm excited to talk again.

Allan: 03:21 Yeah. On, on, I think it was episode 340 and I'll make sure it had a link in the show notes I had you on for Ketotarian, an excellent book for folks that want to be plant-based but also are interested in the keto lifestyle. I thought that was a great book. It changed the way I eat. I can honestly say that because I, I've incorporated a lot more vegetables into my diet as a result of that book, whereas before I was probably more carnivore than I really want to admit. But that book changed me. And now with this book, I'm thinking, you know, every time I have a pain or ache, I'm like, okay, is that inflammation? Do I need to change what I'm eating? So the book we're going to talk about today is called the Inflammation Spectrum. And it's a really, really good book for anyone who suffers from inflammation. How they can change their diet and lifestyle to live just a better, healthier life.

Dr. Cole: 04:13 Thank you. Yeah. And the concept of the inflammation spectrum, I'm writing about it for a long time, about 10 years at this point, but the, I actually talked about it in book form, in passing in Ketotarian cause beta hydroxybutyrate the ketone is a signaling molecule. It's a epigenetic modulator, so it helps to down regulate these proinflammatory cytokines like NF Kappa B and the NLRP three inflammasome. So I talked about how inflammation exists on a spectrum and Ketotarian and how beta hydroxybutyrate to ketone helps to lower that inflammation. So I wanted my second book to be a deep dive into this concept of the inflammations spectrum. And then ways to lower inflammation beyond ketosis are being mostly plant-based keto or Ketotarian, but just other food ways and other nonfood ways to calm inflammation. Because like you said, the aches and pains, like that's definitely one part, part of inflammation.

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Dr. Cole: 05:12 But inflammation is so much more and it's impacting so much more, more in more ways than people realize. So when you dealing with autoimmune issues, that's inflammatory, diabetes and heart disease and cancer, those are all inflammatory. And then mental health issues like anxiety and depression and brain fog and fatigue. There's a whole field of scientific literature kind of circling around what's known as the cytokine model of cognitive function. It's basically how inflammation cytokines are pro-inflammatory cells, how inflammation is impacting how our brain works. So it's so far reaching a chronic inflammation is, so I wanted to really give people tools to help to empower them because are largely overcomeable and reversible and he liberal and man at the very, very least manageable things.

Allan: 06:04 Yeah. I, you know, I'll have a conversation with a client and you know, then they might tell me, you know, I've, I've got a little bit of swelling and soreness and it's a little warm in my knee because they're having gout. And you know, from that perspective, they know, okay, there's an inflammation there. That's what that, that's what that is. But understanding what we can actually do with our food to kind of solve that, I think is really a critical tool because sometimes the doctors can't do anything but give you a medication. And you hope that it's going to work.

Dr. Cole: 06:37 Right? Right. Well, yeah. I mean, I think the training in that model of care and mainstream medicine is largely that it's to diagnose a disease and match it with the medications. So with inflammatory issues, it's, you know, if you're on, if you have an autoimmune condition, you're giving steroids or immunosuppressants to lower the autoimmune and inflammatory response. If you have a blood sugar problem, a diabetes, you're going to be given a medication or an injectable insulin and so on and so forth. I mean, these are all, well, what's, what's actually causing these in the first place? These are not, these health problems are not due to a medication deficiency. So hello, it's actually find, okay, let's deal with the inflammation because the body is interconnected and inflammation in one area can be get inflammation in other areas. But also the question that I'm having in the book is what's driving the inflammation too. So looking at food and looking at chronic infections and gut issues and all of these things that can drive the inflammation

Allan: 07:38 And, and one of the concepts she got into early in the book, and I'm glad you did this because I'll be talking to folks in like, you know, everybody should eat this way. Everybody should do this thing. This is the right way. And I'm thinking, well, no, it's not because things that I do today you know, I couldn't get, you know, I, I can't do today that I was doing back when I was younger. So there's this concept you bring up called bio individuality that can get a little bit into that concept. And then one basic question I have beyond that is we change over time or something happens where we're able to tolerate less, or is it just that we've always had the sensitivity, it just built up to a chronic state?

Dr. Cole: 08:19 Well, I'll probably a bit of both depending on who you're talking to. I think these largely are chronic health problems is this is the inflammation spectrum itself where you have mild symptoms like mild fatigue or background anxiety maybe might allow some mild digestive problems on one end of the inflammation spectrum all the way to the other end, which is the autoimmune disease or the, you know, whatever diagnosis call you're talking about. And then everything in between. So part of that is just the fact that when you're on with the lower end of the inflammation spectrum, things are going to be less volatile and less prone to flares when you're on the lower end of the inflammation spectrum. But the more you're progressed on that road, things are more volatile and you have less wiggle room. You ha you have less leeway as far as what you got away with quote unquote, before when you were lower on the inflammation spectrum scale.

Dr. Cole: 09:14 So that's part of it. And by the, some, by the time someone's diagnosed with an autoimmune condition or diabetes or any other chronic health problem, the things were brewing, like the inflammation spectrum was brewing for four to 10 years prior to that. From that diagnosis, meaning when someone's diagnosed with, with autoimmune condition or diabetes or any other chronic health problem, it didn't happen overnight. It took time. So definitely that's a component to it. And one that I talk about at length in the book and then the other is that there's a lot of variables to consider. I think that bio-individuality is definitely the heart of functional medicine and we have to find out what our body loves beyond food tribalism or you know, like a, a trend or F bad, like what's actually right for you. And that's that self exploration that I wanted the reader to go through.

Dr. Cole: 10:08 And it's a process that I coach patients through and consult them with to start asking these questions, start looking at these areas around their life that impact how they feel, the impacts, their energy levels or the digestion or their inflammatory symptoms. No matter how it's manifesting in their life. So it's definitely the book is while it's giving people pointers and giving statistics on things ultimately I'm teaching the reader how to find out what their body loves and hates. It's all, I mean, obviously it's under the umbrella of real foods, but underneath the umbrella of real foods, what macros worked for. Somebody like how much proteins, fats and carbs, his bio individual, some people do better on one way, a macro ratio, some people do better on other, same with micronutrients and same with food choices. So we're kind of asking these questions in the book for people to get that food piece that I think a lot of people are really yearning for because there is so much conflicting information and dr Google is like quite a confusing physician when you, you can really use, use Google to substantiate anything that you want to, whether it's your worst fears or an agenda that you have at a click of a button.

Dr. Cole: 11:22 So I really want people to sort of get beyond the noise and really just check in with themselves to see what works for them.

Allan: 11:28 Yeah, dr Google scares me, but dr Facebook really just terrifies me. You know, I read the posts on there and someone's like, well, you know go on a dry fast. I'm like, well, okay you know, some of those things just scare me to no end that. And so, you know, understanding what works for you I think is critically important and not just doing what someone else does because they said at work, you know, that's their experiment of one and good for them. I'm glad it worked. But you know, there, there's an approach here. And I like your approach cause you take an, this is actually kind of I'm not gonna that was eye opening, but it was something I knew, but I guess it's intrinsically new, but just really hadn't put them all together to think of it in these terms. But there are eight primary systems that you talk about in the book where inflammation occurs. And as it starts to spike up and one if it's not managed, then it spills over. And so can you kind of talk about the eight primary systems where inflammation occurs?

Dr. Cole: 12:32 Yeah. and again, when I went through the book, it's interesting and you know, cause you read the book, but basically the symbolic meaning of eight and you know, seven is this sort of number of order and systems and completion that we have seven days of the week, et cetera. And, and eight is going to move and beyond that limitations and getting freedom from health problems or freedom from food, disillusionment or whatever. But, and then I saw all these connections like, okay, I normally put people on these, these protocols for like eight weeks. And then I saw, okay, these eight foods that I see clinically and all of the stuff that was born out of my clinical experience, I started seeing these similarities. I'm like, okay, this is a awesome way to make it easy to understand. And I think it was a, a really a powerful thing for me to kind of see the, the synchronicity of a lot of the things I was putting together for the book over the, you know, two years I'd been working on it.

Dr. Cole: 13:28 The so the eight areas of the inflammation spectrum are things that I just see consulting patients and that's my day job is, is not writing books. It's, it's consulting patients online via webcam and kind of seeing the different areas of inflammation in people's body. So we start the book off with a quiz so people can kind of see where they're at on the inflammation spectrum. We actually have the quiz for free on dr wilko.com too, for people who want to just take the quiz. But it's in the book and we look at the brain, we look at the gut. We look at hormones, we look at the blood sugar regulations system. You look at the musculoskeletal system, we look at the detoxification system, we look at the immune autoimmune inflammation spectrum as well. And then the eighth is the interconnectedness of the seven.

Dr. Cole: 14:21 It's the PO concept of poly inflammation or you know, inflammation in one area can have a ripple effect, a down like a, a cascade of inflammation and other areas of the body. So things going on in the gut can impact the brain. Things that happen in the brain can impact the hormones to the brain. Adrenal was the brain, thyroid at the brain, ovarian or to stickler access and so on and so forth. The body is brilliantly interconnected. So for example, if somebody with one auto, I mean conditions that have 50 to 70% risk depending on who you're talking to and the health problem you're talking about. A is at risk for other autoimmune type problems or what's called poly auto immunity, where I got the term poly inflammation. So it's just kind of looking at the different, eh, the types of inflammation. So, depending on your quiz score and where you fall on the inflammation spectrum, which again, this, the quiz is just adapted from questions that I ask patients. And then they, at that point, they can kind of have their own plan that's based on the quiz score that is adapted from protocols that I put patients on. So it is that's, that's what the inflammation spectrum is and those are the, the seven sections and then the eight section being the interconnectedness.

Allan: 15:36 And, and I guess, you know, sometimes it, it's probably difficult to, to know how bad inflammation is affecting, you know, perfect example I'll give you is when I first went on to Quito and all of a sudden, you know, I'm cutting out grains and I actually, I cut out dairy when I first went into ketosis and I was like, wow. I, I didn't realize how foggy things were. So while I didn't recognize that there was you know, there was some, it probably some inflammation there. I, I benefited. And so I think if you're, if you're dealing with stomach issues, like irritable bowel and you start working on that problem, you're probably gonna notice benefits and some of these other systems as well.

Dr. Cole: 16:18 Yeah, for sure. Absolutely. That's something that I sadly, I see on an almost hourly basis. This sort of, it's not one thing, it's a confluence of factors that kind of give rise to some why somebody feels the way that they do.

Allan: 16:32 But we, we almost take it as normal. It's like, you know, that Bob is how we were, you know, I, you know, I can't, I can't eat certain foods because I in all ended up with the stomach problems, so I don't go out with friends anymore. You know? So it's, it, it really is kind of a snowball in that, you know, you're, what you're doing, what you're eating is affecting your life, but what, what you're now not doing is affecting your,

Dr. Cole: 16:56 Your happiness. Yeah. Yeah. And so many people, you're right, just settle for it. Cause they're like, well that's me. Or that's just part of growing older or that's just, they don't even think about it. It's not even, doesn't even give rise to even have thought. They just know that's their limitation or what they struggle with, whether that's energy or a food issue or a digestive problem or any other inflammatory health problem is something that I talk about throughout the book. Cause ubiquity doesn't necessarily equate with normalcy. Just because you're going through something every day doesn't necessarily mean you should settle for it. And yeah, that's the case for a lot of my patients.

Allan: 17:32 Oh wow. Yes. now what you're basically doing with your, you call it the core four and the eliminate they're effectively elimination style diets. But you've set them kind of at two different levels based on how, how we score. So someone who's doing reasonably well, well they can just do the core four. It's an easier program. Someone who's done, I like having some major issues, they may want to go further into eliminate. Can you kind of talk about those two? Compare and contrast them?

Dr. Cole: 18:05 Yeah, sure. So core four is the people that scored lower on the quiz score. And that's for a time. We are removing grains, added sugar, high Omega six oils like canola oil, vegetable oil and dairy. And then we have quite detailed descriptions in the book, especially upon reintroduction of those foods, like the types of grains and the types of bad sugar and the types of oils and the types of dairy, like the [inaudible] fermented, all this different variables we cut. I cut the guesswork out of it as much as possible because I'm not making a blanket statement against those foods. I really want the person to find out what works for the body and what doesn't. Like I had do not have a horse in the race when it comes to that. And that's the heart of bio-individuality. So when people enjoy certain foods, some people feel fine on certain foods.

Dr. Cole: 18:55 Okay, let that be that, let that be for that person. I'm okay with it. But as long as it's not impacting your quality of life, as long as you're living the life you want to live and you're not having a negative impact in your life as far as health is concerned, then go for it. So that's the core four and then the four more core, four plus four more are the eliminate. See my play on words like does not end in that book. Too much fun with that. But core four plus four more is the night shades, nuts and seeds, legumes or beans and eggs. Again, all whole foods, all real foods. I am not demonizing any one of those foods, but I'm talking about the different proteins like lectins and alkaloids and albumin and casein and all the different stuff that we, that research shows for some people could be problematic.

Dr. Cole: 19:45 So we talk about bio-individuality with that. And you may find like through that experience of food, you do fine with the six of those foods, but not with the two or you do fine with half but not the other half. That is the clarity and the food piece that I want people to find. But you don't know when things are all the, when you're disillusioned, biochemically speaking, when you're having inflammation and imbalances and reactivities and you don't know what, what's way is up and which way is down. So the process, and you're right, I mean the elimination diet and the way that we targeting this is still the gold standard in clinical nutrition and functional medicine. As long as it's properly formulated and reintroduction is properly formulated too. So we put it all in there. So you know, like really the gold standard when it comes to knowing what your body loves and what your body hates when it comes to foods.

Dr. Cole: 20:38 So that allows whoever, however you prefer to eat, whether you eat keto or paleo or men at a training or more plant based or more carnivorous, you will know what foods work best for you under that paradigm. So I was very clear on this. This is not a Quito book like my first, well this is not a plant based book. This is not any type of way. This is just looking at the research, looking at clinical experience. And so you can eat the best Kito diet that you can eat. You can eat the best plant based diet that you can eat when you learn what your body loves. So that's what the inflammation spectrum is all about.

Allan: 21:12 And, and that's again, when, as I went through the book, I was like, this is, this has to be the best book I've ever read on elimination diets. It walks them through step by step. It gives them exactly a Y a and it provides a lot of information about these [inaudible] that I, you know, I didn't even know. I didn't know there were two types of cases. I suspected that there were good proteins and bad proteins at some level you know, we like to say there's good protein, good fats and bad fats and there's good carbs and there's bad carbs. And, and I've always said, I said, I think for each individual there's probably some bad proteins that they should avoid. And the only way we're really gonna know that is by eliminating them and then systematically reinduce re reintroducing them.

Dr. Cole: 22:02 Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And that's the thing. I mean, people can just put the time in to kind of really give their, give themselves to that feedback. Because once you're on the other side of it, it is a no brainer because you feel better. Inflammation is calmed, you are residing more in vibrant wellness. And at that point it's like, okay, I like feeling better more than I missed that food. Like I don't really think about it because that food makes me feel really lousy. Why would I want to go back to eating that way? So that's the paradigm shift and the sort of like you are able to see things a lot more clearly both physiologically because you have left brain fog and more energy, but also you just have more biofeedback cause you kind of know, Hey, best food makes me feel bad. But most people don't even know. Like we talk about the ketogenic diet, maybe people have problems with dairy or certain fats or eggs and they're eating it thinking it's great cause it's just Quito. Well maybe not. Maybe you need to reformulate your ketogenic diet in a new way. So we talk about all those nuances in the book.

Allan: 23:08 Yeah. And like I said, it, it really, it really dives deep into it, but it, it sets it out very, very simply along with putting in recipes. So, you know, you don't have to guess. And I liked, I like also you can you want through and kind of talked about different supplements that can protect us or help us deal with each and every one of these eight systems as we're going through that. Along with some, some positive mind stuff with the mantra. So again, all those, just like I said, it's like resonated with this book really, really well. Beyond the food though and I'm glad you did this. You talk about eight lifestyle habits

Dr. Cole: 23:46 That can also help us through this journey and you, and again, as part of this process that you go through cool before and eliminate you walk us through adding these into our lifestyle as well. Could you, could you talk about those? Yeah, it was such a big important part for me to include these because it's not just about food and you could have the perfect macros on point. You could have eating, eat cleanest, like foods amazingly like a good stuff. But if you're like not dealing with the non food things, like if you're serving a body, a big slice of stress every day or if you're consumed with your smartphone and you're scrolling endlessly. I mean looking at the blue light and the FOMO inducing content like stress and shame and social isolation, those are all impacting inflammation levels as well. So we have to look at all these, what I call in the book non-food and flamers that also instruct our biochemistry because that is the connection there.

Dr. Cole: 24:45 I mean our external life impacts our physiology. And then in turn our physiology impacts our external life. Like we in structs on what we do or we're not doing our thoughts and emotions and all that stuff. So looking at that bi-directional relationship between us and the world around us or epigenetics really. So it's that's the non-food inflame or so we talk about stress in detail and all its different forms. Like we made eight nonfood and flamers to go along those eight weeks for the people that are on the eliminate track. And then for people that are on the core four track, they can just go and pick the ones they want to work with. But I would encourage honestly any reader to go through the eight a nonfood and flamers because the things that most people, most of us are going through to various degrees and there are things that are in many ways more insidious than the food.

Dr. Cole: 25:39 Like it's easy to say go off of sugar for X amount of weeks or go off of nightshades for this amount of weeks and bring introduced them, but it's a little bit harder when it's like negative self talk or it's screen addiction or like social media addiction or whatever the case may be. It's a little bit more permeated into our daily life beyond just meals. So I really wanted to raise the awareness of people realizing the fact that it's not just about the food. We have to look at all this other stuff too. We have to look at things like sleep as well. I don't know if I mentioned that or not, but all of these things, just one night of poor sleep will spike high sensitivity, C reactive protein, HS, CRP, which is an inflammatory marker that we look at to gauge inflammation from a lab standpoint. So definitely important because I see it a lot of times with patients is they have the food down pretty good, but it's the non-food stuff there is sabotaging them. Absolutely. So Dr. Cole, I define wellness as being the healthiest fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get

Allan: 26:44 And stay? Well,

Dr. Cole: 26:46 I would say decrease the amount of sugar you're consuming. Increase the amount of healthy fats you're focusing on. Specifically things like all lobes and olive oil and [inaudible] and oil. Although avocado oil and third, I would be bring an act of stillness into your life. So whether that's mindfulness of breathing or just getting out in nature or just turning off all technology and just being, I think those are the three things that I would say impact people the most.

Allan: 27:17 I completely agree. Those are perfect. I'm in the process of developing another episode. I'm going to talk about my favorite health and fitness books. And I'm glad I waited to record that episode because you're definitely hot. I love this book. I do think you should get out, go out and get the Inflammation Spectrum. If you're, if you're feeling anything and you know, there's some inflammation in your life. This is, this is the tool, this is, this is what I would recommend you get. So a doctor called people wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the book Inflammation Spectrum, where would you like for me to send them?

Dr. Cole: 27:51 Yeah, and thank you again for the kind words and for having me back on. I really appreciate it. Is that everything's a drwillcole.com. And on Instagram it's our Dr. Will Cole, but we offer a free webcam or health evaluation for people. If they want a functional medicine perspective on their case. And we just launched it online in group class, which I'm really pumped about too. So yeah, we have all that going on. They can get that information and they can order the books at drwillcole.com too.

Allan: 28:21 You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/413 and I'll be sure to have the link there. So Dr. Cole, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

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Another episode you may enjoy

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Clean 7 with Alejandro Junger

Dr. Alejandro Junger is a New York times bestselling author of the book clean. He completed his training in New York, downtown hospital with a fellowship in cardiology and he mixes Eastern medicine into the way he treats his patients holistically.

Allan: 01:02 Dr. Junger welcome to 40+ Fitness.

Dr. Junger: 01:05 Thank you for having me.

Allan: 01:06 I really enjoyed your book, the Clean 7 and I thought it was kind of fascinating. You were, you were in the book, you were talking about one of your mentors was actually one of the individuals that was in that plane accident. It got trapped up in the mountains, you know, the way they did the movie alive on. Yeah. I just thought that was kind of fascinating. Dr Roberto. Yes. And so, and he was, he was one of them that came down out of the mountains and actually got him rescued, wasn't he?

Dr. Junger: 01:31 He was one of the two that ventured off into the unknown, completely a mash created with meat of his friends' bodies in rugby socks and walked up and down the mountains for 10 days and arrived in Chile and found a farmer who called the army.

Allan: 01:51 That's just fascinating. Like I said, that would just be someone interesting to be hanging out with and getting to know. And then also being your mentor, you know, just wanting to really inspirationally look up to each day. It's like, I can do anything. I can do anything. You know.

More...

Dr. Junger: 02:06 The life force on this man is compared to nothing I've ever met.

Allan: 02:10 Well, that was just a cool little side to the story, that story that you had in the book, but I liked your stories because it was the real realism of, okay, you're, you're a Western really trained medical doctor and you're getting into functional medicine and then you're seeing examples of [inaudible] medicine and you're with your program now clean seven. You blending those together to give people tools to get healthy.

Dr. Junger: 02:36 Yeah, well, functional medicine and an understanding of why your very good medicine didn't come into much later. You know, I got sick and I started looking for solutions that did not include seven prescription medications for my health issues at the time and, and I went blind just on a search and it was through my search that I stand. I started finding things. One of the pillars of what I found was the concepts and practices of detoxification. And then once I got into it at the beginning, not understanding the biology behind it or the science behind it, but really experiencing the benefits. Then in my obsession to really understand was when I came aware of functional medicine, which really explained detoxification in detail, right? A word that they don't use anymore because it's kind of being misused and it leads to confusion. So the word now is biotransformation, which is what is happening to the toxic molecules. They get bio transformed from toxic into nontoxic and from lipophyllic or or fat-soluble into water soluble so that they can be excreted and eliminated.

Allan: 03:55 Yeah. I think that we're a detox to scare a lot of people because you, you, you get these crazies selling these shakes or these, you know, there's these things you drink and messes with your system.

Dr. Junger: 04:07 Yeah. Even even in the medical world when, you know, when I first heard somebody that told me, you know, they did a detox program, I had only studied as what you send your patients to do when they're alcoholics or drug addicts.

Allan: 04:24 Yeah. So in your Clean 7 there, there are three pillars that you're kind of bringing together to help us improve our health. Can you talk about those three pillars?

Dr. Junger: 04:34 Well, the first pillar is functional medicine, and I use concepts from functional medicine. Basically, the concepts from functional medicine that I use are the elimination diets and the five R's, right? What? In functional medicine, it's called the five bars. So the elimination diet is basically a diet in which you eliminate any foods that are processed, that contain any chemicals or toxic molecules or any non-natural ingredients, right? And he's based on whole foods, primarily vegetables and fruits. But there's other things too. And in my experience, the elimination diet alone is really, really powerful. When in my practice, people come and I, whether I have an idea of what they have at the beginning or I have no idea, will what they have in my first course rotation, while we wait for an blood tests and other tests, I put people on the elimination diet in about 60% of the people when they come back for the test results have experienced immense benefits, if not complete resolution of their problems.

So that alone is really, really powerful. The five R's are the first art is for remove, which means removing everything that hinders physiology. Right? Not only toxic molecules, but, but also bad bacteria or other organisms in the intestines, but company stress, stress, and by situations, right? So the second R stands for re introduce or replace, which is basically talking about reintroducing or replacing the bad things that we eat with nutritious foods, with foods that contain nutrients. Because what happens is the liver and other tissues that do the detoxification processes and reactions need substrates need elements need nutrients in order to attach to the toxic molecules to render them nontoxic. The third R is for re inoculation. As you remove the bad bacteria and other organisms in the gut, you want to reinoculate with good bacteria and organisms. The fourth R is for repair. And this specifically talks about the repair of the intestinal lining, which I called our Achilles heel because mostly all, if not all of chronic diseases of the modern world begin in the gut.

And one of the first things that happens in the gut, apart from the disruption of the, of the biome and leading to dysbiosis. The second thing that happens or concomitantly is the breaking of the intestinal lining. The intestinal lining should be made of cells that are stuck together in what is described as tight junctions, making it impermeable. Oh, for, for anything that is not actively and specifically chosen by the cells to be absorbed and thrown into the circulation. When that integrity, when that continuity of, of the barrier is disrupted, leads to what a lot of people now know as leaky gut or hyperpermeability. And the fifth R is for relaxation because apart from the toxic molecules that we are exposed through the air, we breathe the water, we drink and shower with the medications we use, the cosmetics, we use, the cleaning products that we use in our homes, but mostly through the foods that we eat.

The biggest factor together with those toxic molecules in our modern world is stress. So relaxation is really an important factor as well for restoring your body's ability to heal itself. Okay. And then beyond that functional medicine piece, you then get into the second. Yeah. The second pillar of, you know, the clean seven program are concepts and practices that come from Ayurvedic medicine. And even though I'm not an Ayurvedic medicine expert, I've learned from one of the legends of Ayurvedic medicine who really boil it down to me, made it really simple and taught me how to enhance the detox processes through certain Ayurvedic principles, right? One of them is the dosha system and the other one is the use of Ayurvedic herbs. And this is specifically as it relates to detoxification. So by using the dosha system, you further individualize the approach and you tailor the approach to the different doses, right?

And now Ayurvedic medicine, there's basically three doses or body constitutions. And this refers to the way that your body works energetically. And it's based on the distinction of the influence of the different elements which make everything fire, earth, wind, water and eat right. And each one of us has all the elements within us, but there's one or two that are predominant and the predominant element is the one that is most prone to go out of balance. So by determining your dosha or your predominant element, you will know what foods, what activities and what other things in your life are influenced most by the element that is your predominant element. And that will most likely throw your predominant element out of balance. For example, if you are of fire predominant constitution, anything that is of predominant fire country station will be adding fire to fire and throw your fire.

So for example, fiery foods will be the ones that you would need to limit yourself or eliminate at least during the times where when your dosha is out of balance. So by using this system of doses, this doctor dr Narendra Singh from, from India, who was worldwide known, taught me that the detoxification processes will be enhanced, right? The dosha system is applied to many other things of which I am only peripherally aware, right? But since I was really focusing on enhancing the detox processes in people and supporting the detox organs and systems, he said, if you use the dosha system, you will enhance the results, you will improve the results. The other thing that comes from Ayurvedic medicine is the use of Ayurvedic herbs, which not only provide people with a world of nutrients, antioxidants, and fiber, but also affect the body energetically through their product and prioritize the, the live energy within them.

That really helps to shift things around and mostly what I use in clean seven are what are called adaptogenic herbs, which really improve your balance physiological balance. For example, if you are adrenally exhausted, they will help recharge and that will help the adrenals work better, but if you are hyperactive in a way your adrenals are, are hyperactive, they will bring them down so they help your body adapt to whatever situation your body is in at the time. Right?

The third pillar of the Clean 7 program is intermittent fasting and this is something that now has become part of the mass consciousness. Everybody's trying some kind of intermittent fasting. But to boil it down to the basics for thousands and thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of years, depending on who you talk to. Our way of life was much like the animals that are now living in the wild according to the way that nature designed them to live.

And living in the places where nature designed them to live and eating in the way that nature designed them. To me, and if you look at animals in the wild, what is life about? It's about looking for food feasting when food is found and then taking a rest and then starting to look for food again until they find one. And until they find one, they will have imposed episodes of fasting. So in that way, our genes evolved for thousands of years, let's say. And the time, if you draw a line in evolution, the time in which we had food 24 seven available to us is a dot. A microscopic. Dot in the timeline. So the concept that I'm trying to make people aware is that our genes have not had the evolutionary time to adapt to eating all the time. So the body and the and your genes treat food as and the whole thing around food as it was thousands of years ago, which means when food is found that your genes say, okay, this is what life depends on.

Let's slow everything else down so that we can utilize as much of what we are eating as possible and store as much as we can because we don't know where the next meal is coming from. This is how it used to be. Our genes right now cannot know that in two hours or in two minutes you're going to be eating again. So the moment you put something in your system, the moment your digestive system detects food, your whole functioning mode will shift into utilizing that time and the energy in your body will be directed mostly towards digestion, absorption, assimilation and storage, stealing energy from other systems. For example, everybody knows that after a huge meal you fall asleep or you've, you know, you become lethargic. And this is the prime example of what I'm talking about. Why? Because as long as there's food in your intestines, as long as your intestines are digesting, that is given priority and the energy is stolen from thinking, from moving, from detoxifying, right?

So as we live these days, we are mostly digesting all the time. We don't finish digesting one meal and we introduced another one. So there is not a time where we're not digesting. So the physiologic machinery is always turned into the feasting mode and he's never led be in the fasting mode. And it's like in a way, living with the sun is shining all the time without, without going into the dark and having the opportunity to sleep. And this is instead of having a ying and yang in your lives, only having yet it's non-sustainable. And this is one of the reasons that humanity is sick. This concept of breakfast, lunch and dinner and snacks in the middle is something that's new and it's mostly driven these days by economic interests. So we need to rethink the way we live up to the basic things that we take for granted, like breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And this is why intermittent fasting is part of the clean seven program because it really makes your genes happy and accelerates everything that we're trying to do by detoxifying or doing a detox program or a biotransformation program. And it also enhances not only the detox processes, but the healing and repairing processes as well. Yeah, I mean, because if you go into a fast, you're going to get some autophagy, which is where your body's going to actually start

Allan: 17:50 Getting rid of some bad cells and re-purposing them, and then also you're going to increase your human growth hormone. So it's, it's actually scientifically proven that the fasting process is a healing, restoring process.

Dr. Junger: 18:04 Yeah. Now, now you are going kind of deep into the subject, but the thing is, the thing is you're jumping the gun because when you talk about apoptosis or the process by which your body starts eating itself, starting with the disease cells, I don't think it happens within 24 hours of being in the fasting mode. I think it takes, and this is just my opinion and from what I've been observing, because there's no studies that categorically determine this, right? But I think it takes a few more days of being really in a fasting state in order for that to start happening. So this, I don't think this is part of why intermittent fasting is beneficial because people, when they intermittently fast, they fast forward 16 hours, 18 hours, 20 hours, 24 hours. But nobody goes further than that.

Allan: 18:56 Yeah, the only reason I think that it's some of that is naturally occurring is I'll watch bodybuilders that'll use intermittent fasting and they're not losing body mass. You know, they're still gaining body mass at a time when they're not intaking as much protein as they normally would. And I know there's going to be some amino acids circulating in your bloodstream, but for them to continue to put on muscle while doing intermittent fasting tells me that there's something going on where the body's reusing body cells at some level and the body is still able to be strong, get strong and gain muscle. So I know, I think some of that stuff is, is starting to happen. But maybe like you said, yeah, it's a third day or the fourth, you know, second or fourth day, somewhere in there where their body really starts to kick in with some of those.

Dr. Junger: 19:41 Listen, and you may be right or I really don't know because nobody has really determined this through serious studies, but let's stay tuned and find out what he does.

Allan: 19:53 Right? So, so our three pillars here are functional medicine that looks at the body holistically and does some elimination diets such that we can get the bad stuff out and give our body what it needs to restore and heal. We're basing it on [inaudible] principles of the doses so that we're eliminating the right foods for our own personal being and we're including some of the herbs that will support then our systems and processes in help get us into balance. And then the final bit is we're introducing intermittent fasting as a means of giving our body the time to have the processes and the restoration occurs. So

Dr. Junger: 20:31 That's right. And don't forget on the first one also the five RS.

Allan: 20:35 Yes. So now you take all of that and you put it into a program and the program includes some shakes. You've got recipes in the book. Could you kind of walk us through the process of what the

Dr. Junger: 20:48 Seven days are going to look like here? Yes. So, so what we're trying to do is to decrease the workload of the digestive system. And for that we replace many meals with liquid meals because they're easier to digest. They're kind of like fuel injection. They don't need too much work, they don't need too much prophecy. The nutrients just shoot directly into your bloodstream without the need of a lot of digestion. Right. And that is why we replace solid meals with liquid meals. Then the solid meals that are allowed during the program are to be chosen with a combination of the elimination diet, which is the same for everybody. And the dosha system, which is individual, right? So, so there's a list of foods that you cannot eat during the elimination diet. For example, dairy, sugar, alcohol, coffee and, and gluten. And if you are of fire constitution, we will also eliminate the fiery foods, right?

So like spicy foods and mango and there's very specific foods that will trigger your fire, right? And so you add both of the lists of foods to avoid and you follow that during your solid meals and also doing a liquid by the way. And then what we do is in my first book clean, which is a 21 day program, every day is the same. There's a shake for breakfast, lunch from a set list of foods and a shake for dinner. And there's supplements in between and it's the same and there is 12 hours between dinner one day and breakfast the following day, right? And every day is the same. And the 12 hour window between dinner and breakfast is because 12 hours is the minimum time in which you allow the body to at least go into a little bit of a more intense detox, right? Because eight hours is what is what it takes to digest a meal and then you give it four more hours for the body to really do the detox mode.

Now in this, in the Clean 7 program, the first day is shake lunch, shake. The second day is also shake lunch shake. But the second shake you do two hours before the first day so that they, instead of a 12 hour window between the second day is dinner shake and the third day's shake breakfast. Instead of 12 hours, there's 14 hours on the third day you do again shake for breakfast, a smaller lunch, and then the shake for dinner. You even do two hours earlier than the second day. So it's four hours earlier than the than the day. So that you, instead of having 14 hours between that dinner and the first and the, and the next shake in the morning on day four there is 60 now and then on day four do you do your breakfast shake. Then you do a small lunch and then you have nothing until the next day's lunch. So no dinner and no breakfast the next day. So you do a 24 hour fast now because you're sleeping part of the time it seem less is going to be less hard to do. Right. But there's still 24 hours and then and then you break your break your 24 hour fast with a shake. Then you have a dinner that night, a solid dinner, and then slowly you go back to what it looks like the first day.

Allan: 24:38 Okay. And so this one will kind of blend them into a day for 24 hour fast. You're incorporating these shakes which you have lots of recipes in the book for. You have recipes for their lunch meals and dinner meals, so it's all, it's all pretty much wrapped up there. I guess the one question is like you said, your clean program that you had before was 21 days. Most of the elimination diets that I see out there are anywhere from, like I said, 21 days to eight weeks. Is seven days really sufficient for someone to to get the results that thereafter with something like this?

Dr. Junger: 25:12 That's a great question because in my first book I talk about the need of 21 days to really cause a significant change in habits. Not only lifestyle habits but also physiologic habits. Right? And the 21 day program is life transforming. But the problem that I've seen since I wrote that book, and it's been 10 years, is that most people do not commit to a 21 day program. So, so even though I gave this incredible tool to the world to really transform their health, only a very small percentage of the people that would could benefit from it are actually doing. So I needed to find something that was shorter but wasn't just the first, the seven first day of that program, I needed something more intense so that in seven days you can really get a taste and in the hope that people after that won't want to jump back exactly what they were doing before. Right. So you're right, it is not enough. Seven days is not enough for a therapeutic plan. You using the elimination diet in order to reverse certain chronic diseases or improves it, but it's better than nothing. And together with everything else, it's a, it's pretty remark.

Allan: 26:39 Yeah, it does give them some pretty awesome tools to know how their body and the foods that are giving them trouble because as they try to reimplement some of those foods, they're going to pretty much pretty quickly understand if they can do gluten or not. If they can do dairy products or not, that'll come back pretty quickly to [inaudible].

Dr. Junger: 26:57 Yeah. There was a very famous guru in India who I personally met who used to say, you know, used to give people jewelry and other shiny objects, you know, and materialize those things out of thin air, right? So people would ask him, you know, you are, you're a guru of spirituality. Why do you, why do we give the shiny objects to be? Isn't that BS? And he will say, I give people what they want in the hope that one day they will want what I really have to give them. Right? And this is how I think about the seven day program. You know, people want something fast and easy and then they want to get results, right? So I give them that in the hope that then they would take it seriously. And they will take it to you know, to heart and really do the work that it takes to transform one's life, which you cannot, cannot do in seven days. And then just go back to what you were doing before.

Allan: 27:55 Well I agree. This is a, this is a very well prepared and set up program with the recipes. Everything in there for you and a lot of other stuff. There's a lot of tools in there. So I do hope folks will check this out and at least commit to the seven days. Cause I do think that it, I think it will do a lot for a lot of people. I define wellness as being the healthiest fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay? Well,

Dr. Junger: 28:20 Well, I'm going to go away from your definition of of wellness, right? Because you know, because the truth is there's 7 billion people in the planet and not everybody can get to the fittest. They can be right. There's many different reasons why people are not able to be fit. Right. For example, myself, I had an accident four years ago that completely destroyed my knees and caused the problem in one of my hard vowels. And, and I, you know, I was, you know, I had a six pack before that and I used to be in tiptop shape and now I can't. So I had to learn how to live without being fit. Right. And then still be happy. So, yeah. And, and, and in a way, you said it before because you say the fittest, they can be right. Yes. No, that's not the fit. Not the fittest in the planet.

Right, exactly. Yeah. But when people hear the fit is you can be, they, you know, they, they, it's like it makes them anxious in a way, right? Because they imagine themselves being in perfect shape and a lot of people will never achieve that. So I defined wellness mostly as the state that one lives in. Right. And this is something that you feel [inaudible], you know, the maximum expression of wellness to be to for me is to be fully present. Right? And this is what, this is what I understand as enlightenment and this is really what I'm looking for and we, you know, even though I'm not a spiritual teacher, this is what I tried to make people aware of that regardless of your level of fitness, if you are in a present state of mind, okay, I mean you, you would experience peace and this is the best level of wellness that one can have because I've seen gurus that are completely at peace and they're not necessarily the healthiest, right?

Then sometimes they have a lot of health issues including severe ones, but their life is full and their wellness in my eyes is full because they're completely at peace. Now having said that, most people in the planet are not going to achieve the state of full, full presence continuously. Right? So then you do need to have your body functioning well because when it is not functioning well, it is hard to cook, to achieve a complete presence also. Right? So I think that we should strive for a combination of things and having your body functioning the best level possible. Right? And I believe strongly believe that we live in such a toxic world these days, that learning how to enhance your own already existing detoxification processes is something that is going to benefit the word greatly until we are able to make the word less toxic. Right?

Allan: 31:40 Well, I don't want it, that's going to happen anytime soon.

Dr. Junger: 31:43 I listen, I have three kids. I can't lose hope that things will continue that will at least start or continue to improve.

Allan: 31:52 Well, awareness is there. I think that's the core of that. We know that these chemicals are not good for us. And so where we can within our own control systems, we can start eliminating them. And if we're, if we're purchasing products and stop purchasing other products, that's a cool signal to the people that make this stuff. So not make the toxic stuff anymore. So

Dr. Junger: 32:13 Yeah. And it's like, let's remember, it's not only about toxic chemicals, right? It's about toxic relationship, toxic governments, toxic work spaces, toxic situations, right?

Allan: 32:23 Yeah. I go through Facebook now and I snooze anyone that posts anything political. So I don't see them for 30 days. And my Facebook feed is a lot nicer these days.

All right, well if someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the book Clean 7 where would you like for me to send them?

Dr. Junger: 32:42 So the, the book is on Amazon and every other online store. They can also go to our website, clean program.com/clean seven and learn. Because what happens is in the book I describe for people to do the program without the need to buy any products exempt except Ayurvedic herbs that, you know, you're not going to go and pick up from the fields if you want to use those. So people can, you know, follow the recipes and get everything they need. But you know, website, we do provide a kit in which we provide the shakes already prepared. You only have to blend them with water or almond milk or whatever and, and drink them up and they contain all the nutrients needed in there. You know, they're designed to really enhance the aspects of the program that needs to be enhanced and provide every nutrient that that is needed. And so people that don't have the time or the interest or the commitment to go to the supermarket in front of the recipes and then then they can just do it in a very user friendly way.

Allan: 33:56 Cool. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/412 and I'll be sure to have those links there for you. Dr. Junger, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

Dr. Junger: 34:07 You're very welcome. It's been my pleasure and I'm, I'm going to come visit you in Panama.

Allan: 34:13 I've got a spare bedroom for you. So I'm looking forward to that.

Challenges

Thank you for being a part of 40+ Fitness Podcast. I'm really glad you're here and that you stuck it out with me. I hope you learned something wonderful from Dr. Junger.

We are going to be doing challenges at the podcast a little bit differently than we have in the past. I don't know if you know we do challenges, but we've done a lot of 28-day challenges with a lot of great results. I really enjoy them, but we're going to change things up a little bit and I'm going to start doing weekly challenges on our Facebook group so you can get a 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/group and there you'll find where we're going to be doing weekly challenges starting December 30th so check it out, 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/group these will be weekly challenges dealing with mindset, with food, with exercise, the whole bit. It's a great opportunity to over the course of 52 weeks in the year 2020 for us to do something exceptional for our health and fitness.

I am going to keep doing the 28-day challenges if there's an interest in it. So the way you'll let me know you're interested is you will become a patron of 40+ Fitness. Now you can do that for as little as a dollar. Go over to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/january become a patron of the show. And then I'm gonna ask you what kind of challenges you would like for us to do. And then I'm gonna make sure you get the challenges that you enjoy the most that you'll get the most from. So go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/january Thank you.

Patreons

The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:

– Tim Alexander– Judy Murphy– Melissa Bell
– Randy Goode– Debbie Ralston– Leigh Tanner
– John Somski– Ann Lynch– Bill Gioftsidis
– Wendy Selman– Jeff Baiocco

Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy

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My top 10 health and fitness books

Hello and welcome to episode 411.

I'm so glad that you're here today. I'm going to give you the four one one on my favorite health and fitness books. See what I did there?

I've interviewed 243 health and fitness experts and most of them have written a book. So I've read quite a few health and fitness books over the last four years that we've been doing this podcast. It's kinda crazy.

It was December 6th in 2015 that we first launched this podcast. And so here we are with episode 411. So a lot has gone on and I've met a lot of authors and I've read a lot of books. Some of them are wonderful, some of them not so wonderful. But I can always glean something valuable out of each and every book that I read, but some really set themselves apart by just being so, so good that I want to read them over and over again.

I'm not going to put all the links in there in this podcast, but basically for each of these episodes, if you go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/ and then the episode number that's going to take you to that episode through the links on the site.

So here are my favorite books that I had kind of compiled over the course of the last four years.

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10 – The Setpoint Diet by Jonathan Bailor

Number 10 on the list is by Jonathan Bailor and I interviewed him on episode 363. In that we talked about his book, The Setpoint Diet. It's a very important book because I think a lot of people get caught into plateaus and they don't understand how to break them. Jonathan Baylor gives us some ideas on exactly what our body needs to break through those set points. So if you're finding yourself in a weight loss plateau this is a really good book for you to change some things up and get your body moving in the right direction and get your body weight moving in the right direction if that's your goal.

But set weight point is a very important concept within the physiology of our body. So it's really important to understand if you're trying to accomplish a health or fitness goal.

9 – Michael Matthews – Bigger, Leaner, Stronger

Number nine on my list is by Michael Matthews, episode 382. Now, Michael Matthews has written the book Bigger, Leaner, Stronger. This was the third edition we were interviewing. He also has a ladies version, so it's leaner, slimmer, strong, something like that. But there's a woman's version of this book as well as a men's version of the book. This guy does his research. If you're looking to get bigger, to get stronger this guy has the right ideas. He's really done some deep, deep, deep-diving into this, a lot of research, and he keeps updating what he knows with what the new science is saying. That's why he does new additions of his books.

He does. He doesn't just issue more books. He actually takes the book and rewrites it for the new science that we're getting. So this is the top of the top for an education, for weightlifting to get stronger, to get bigger and get leaner. That was episode 382.

8 – Dr. Pat Luse – The 7 Systems Plan

Now on episode 359 for number eight, we met Dr. Pat Luse. Now, Dr. Pat Luse won the author Academy award in 2018 and I was lucky enough to meet him there. His book is called The 7 Systems Plan. And basically this is talking about the holistic health of our bodies that we can't just address one problem, one symptom, and expect overall good health. So he looks at the seven different systems within our body and if we optimize each and every one of those systems, our body starts to equalize to a healthy state.

People lose weight. Some of his clients in his clinic have lost a ton of weight. He does offer some online programs as well, but the book is, is awesome. And it really helps you understand why you can't just go from one dimension to try to solve the body's problem because we're much more complex than that. And The 7 Systems Plan really is a good holistic, whole view of how the human body works and what you can do to optimize your health and your fitness.

7 – Dr. Marc Bubbs

Number seven was Dr. Marc Bubbs, and that was episode 385 and his book was Peak. Now he wrote most of this working with athletes, but I can tell you is I went through the book, I saw this as how we can reach peak performance in the things that we want to do. If that's running a 5K, if that's wanting to hike a mountain, if that's wanting to play better tennis, or just being a better grandparent. So you can keep up with your grandkids at the zoo.

Peak performance is what we want. Even if it isn't at just an elite athletic level, but you can learn so much from him through his book peak because he's been studying performance in a way that really is applicable to everybody. So I encourage you to check that out.

6 – Dr. Ben Lynch – Dirty Genes

Number six is by Dr. Ben Lynch. 327 is that episode number. And his book is Dirty Genes. So this gets down into the science of why we get unhealthy, why we have chronic diseases and how our genes are part of that, the epigenetics of what goes on inside our body that defines who we are. And the diseases and things that we're potentially going to develop. The cool thing is while there is a written code in your body, you can change that code.

If you do the right things in his book, Dirty Genes is going to help you clean up your genes so you can live a healthier, happier, and fitter life.

5 – Lyn Lindburg – Couch to Active

Number five is Couch to Active by Lynn Lindbergh and she, her episode was 374. So she works with folks that are really not doing any exercise whatsoever. You know, the, the constant couch potato, if you will, and she helps them slowly integrate into being a more active individual. It's amazing what a little bit more activity each day can do for your overall health and fitness. And so just getting a little bit more active with Lynn's approach is a great way to to look at this. So I encourage you to check that out. Couch to Active episode 374.

4 – Dr. Jason Fung – The Obesity Code

Number four on my list is Dr. Jason Fung, episode 77. I'm going way back in the way back machine of podcast interviews. In fact, this was when I first really got deep into podcast interviews. I had done a few before that, but this was one of the biggest and The Obesity Code is the name of the book. And it is, it is brilliant. If you want to understand why our body holds onto fat and how we can answer to that the obesity code is going to help you see that. A little I guess I'll break the news to you. It's, it's about the insulin. Okay. So go in there and check out the obesity code. Listen to Dr. Jason Fung. He's, he's direct. He's fun. I really enjoyed the few times I've interviewed him. I've had him on the show a couple of times and I've had his partner Megan Ramos on as well to talk about The Diabetes Code.

So Jason Fung is a good one to check out Episode 77 about The Obesity Code. Again, one of the core books that's kind of, I shaped the way I look at health and fitness. If you don't have your insulin under control, you don't have your health, you just don't it is the leading cause of what's going to cause you the problems in your body. So you've got to get insulin under control. And The Obesity Code is a good tool to kind of get you started on that.

3 – Dr. Will Cole – The Inflammation Spectrum

Number three is by Dr. Will Cole. It's episode 413. I hang up, so before 11 right now. So obviously episode 413 has not come out yet, but it's coming out in a couple of weeks. And his book that we're gonna be talking about is called The Inflammation Spectrum. It is a brilliant book.

So in two weeks, send alarm on your clock, whatever you gotta do. Don't miss that episode.

If you're looking for something by Dr. Cole between now and then we did The Ketotarian book a few episodes back, several episodes back (https://40plusfitnesspodcast.com/keto-for-vegetarians-and-vegans-with-dr-will-cole/). You can just do a search on the website for The Ketotarian on the, on the podcast. And you find that episode if you're looking for something from him to kind of get an idea. He was looking at a predominantly plant-based ketogenic diet. And it's a really interesting look at things because I think everybody thinks there's just the straight-line continuum about how you're going to eat and what you're going to eat. And it's not that simple. You can be a vegan or vegetarian or pescatarian ketogenic eater if you choose the right foods. And he helps you do that there.

In The Inflammation Spectrum, he talks in depth about what are the things that cause inflammation in our body and what are the eating habits and things that we can take on, the things we can put into our, our diet that will help us you know, do those things.

2 – Dr. Jonny Bowden – Smart Fat

Number two is Smart Fat. Was the book by Dr. Jonny Bowden. It's episode 338. Smart Fat was actually the funny thing was of all the books on here. I obviously doing the podcast. I've worked with their publicist to get a copy of the book so I can review it before the interview. I do read each of these books. Smart Fat was one. I actually bought myself before I did the interview with Dr. Bowden. I had done and read that book and then there was another book out by Dr. Bowden.

And so I'm like, I wanted to get them on the show, but I so enjoyed his, his book Smart Fat from before I started the podcast that I'm like, I have to talk to him about that book too. So I did get him on to talk about Smart Fat and I think, you know, it's, it was kinda one of the first times that we were realizing that there are good fats, bad fats, there are good carbs, bad carbs. There's even now, I believe if you think about it, there's, they're, they're coming to this conclusion that there's good proteins and bad proteins. Actually Dr. Cole and I talk about that a little bit on episode 413. It's coming up. But it, you know, food is not just as simple as saying, don't eat this, don't eat that. And then you can do elimination diets and understand food.

But there's a lot of complexities to these things. And Smart Fat is kind of one of those good books where you can kind of get that idea around the fact that all food is not created equal. And there's a lot of things behind why certain foods are pushed on us, like sugar and certain, you know, vegetable oils and things like that. They're pushed on us for money. So Dr. Bowden kind of breaks through some of that and helps you understand that fat is not the enemy. Even though we've been told that for decades, fat is not the enemy. You just have to be smart about the fat that you're eating. And so I encourage you to check that out. Dr. Jonny Bowden, and that's going to be episode 338.

1 – Dr. David Friedman – Food Sanity

My number one favorite. And if you've listened to podcasts at all you'll know that he was the winner of the Author Academy award this year.

Dr. David Friedman met him in Columbus for the award ceremony. And I did not win, but I did make finalists, which I was very happy about his episodes 311. And he is just one of the coolest guys out there in this space. He's interviewed thousands of people. You know, I feel like I've done a lot with my career as a podcaster, but he has really shined. He does a lot of great interviews. He really knows his stuff.

In his book, Food Sanity, he breaks through kind of all the problems that there are with food. And he gives us some pretty simple tools. And in fact, I liked his approach so much that I even included part of it. His dig method in my book The Wellness Roadmap it was just so good. I didn't want to recreate the wheel.

And Dr. Friedman was courteous enough, nice enough, generous enough to let me share that with you there. So go check out food sanity. It's a great book. It's award-winning book. It's a bestseller and well-deserved cause David did a great job with that book. And I'm looking forward to reading the stuff that he's caught coming out soon. But check out Food Sanity and episode 311.

Bonus – Maria Emmerich – Keto Comfort Foods


And then I always have to throw in a bonus. I'm gonna throw in cookbooks because I've had Maria Emmerich on the show a few times. I had her on the show with her husband and with just a basic keto book. But her cookbooks are the best by far keto cookbooks on the market. My favorite of hers I'm going to mention was episode 256. We talked about Keto Comfort Foods.

And there's a, there's some recipes in there that I, I just love. I mean, they're, they're just, they're just wonderful. Her restaurant foods book keto book is also great. They just sent me her stir fry book. I mean air fry books. So I might have to buy an air fryer and I actually have an interview scheduled with a cause. I think her husband Craig co-wrote the next cookbook that's coming out. And that's going to be carnivore keto. So I'm very interested in talking to Craig and maybe Maria, I'm not sure she's going to be on that call but that'll be coming up in early January. So look for that. In about a month time I'll have another episode with the Emerick's or, or an Emmerich and we'll talk about their new cook foot book, carnival art, which is kind of an up and coming thing that I want to learn a little bit more about.

Get the Audio Book Versions

Check those episodes out. If you've got some downtime over the course of the next couple of weeks, this is a probably some really good books for you to dive into. I know that Dr. Friedman's book is available on audio book and I think the inflammation spectrum is available on audio book. Some of the others probably are as well. So a good opportunity for you to buy a book, a get an audio book if you're not a part of Audible. If you'll go to the show notes at episode 411. So it's a 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/411. I'm going to put a link there that will connect you to Audible and you can join Audible and get your first book free. Now, I'd love that that was The Wellness Roadmap. But I understand it, but if you've already read it or you're not interested, but go to Audible.

And if you do that, the show gets a little bit of a boost for bringing you to audible if you stick around. So check it out. I love audio books. I listen to audio books all the time. That's my favorite way to consume a book. Particularly when the author is reading the book, which I did for the wellness roadmap. And Dr. Freeman did for food sanity and Dr. Cole did for inflammation spectrum. So again great audio books, great books. I encourage you to check it out. And again, if you want to help support the show, just go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/411 click on that Audible link towards the bottom in the notes where I'm talking about this because the full show notes will be there and that'll let you sign up for Audible. Give the show a little bit of a boost and I really do appreciate it. Thank you

Thanks for sticking around so far. I hope you found these 10 but with the bonus 11 books to be very, very enjoyable and that they teach you a lot about health and fitness. I know I really enjoyed talking to each and every one of these authors and these are of course my favorite books and I'm sure you're going to get some great value if you didn't catch them the first time. So go back and check out those episodes. And of course pick up the books because there's a lot of information we couldn't cover in a podcast that you're going to get from each and every one of those books. And they're all brilliant. So strongly encourage you to check those out over the holiday season. So we're getting ready to launch our January challenges and I'm going to change things up a little bit for this next year for 2020.

I want to focus on some weekly challenges so we can get some quick hits with mindset, with fitness, with food. So over the course of the 52 weeks of 2020, we're going to do little mini one week challenges over on the Facebook group, so you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/group. And that's where I'll be posting each Monday with the challenge of the week. And we'll go through the entire week kind of discussing that topic and addressing each of those topics. And I hope you get something really, really valuable from that, but you've gotta be a part of the group to get a part of it. So go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/group.

And if you want to do the monthly challenge, the 28-Day Challenges, there's an easy way for you to do that, but you're going to have to become a supporter of the show. You're going to have to become a patron to do that. So I'm going to limit my 28-Day Challenges to patrons of the show. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/january. And that'll take you the patron page there. You can just go ahead and, and pledge even a dollar and that's going to be enough to get you on the list to be a part of each of the challenges. And I'm actually gonna send out a poll to the patrons so they can choose the challenges that we do. So not only do you get to participate in the challenge at being a patron, you actually get to choose which challenges we're doing. So I'm going to start that in January and see how that goes. So go over to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/january to get in on Patreon and get on our challenges. Thank you.

Patreons

The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:

– Tim Alexander– Judy Murphy
– Randy Goode– Debbie Ralston
– John Somski– Ann Lynch
– Wendy Selman– Jeff Baiocco
– Bill Gioftsidis– Leigh Tanner

Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy

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December 2, 2019

Yoga heals trauma with Beth Shaw

Beth Shaw is the President and Founder of Yoga Fit Training systems. The leader in mind, body education, yoga fit has trained more than 200,000 fitness instructors on six continents. Today we're going to talk about how yoga can be used to address trauma, both emotional and physical.

Allan: 01:12 Beth, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

Beth: 01:14 Thank you very much, Allan. It's a pleasure to be here.

Allan: 01:17 You know, I was excited to get an opportunity, I haven't had anyone on to talk about yoga in quite some time. And you know, most of the time when we're talking about it, we're getting into the strength aspects or the mobility aspects or the stress reduction aspects of it. But it was pretty cool to see that there's also some opportunity for us to use yoga in a therapeutic way around trauma.

Beth: 01:41 Yeah, it's a wonderful tool for anyone who needs to heal.

Allan: 01:45 And that's what I, that's what I really got out of your book. And I guess, you know, I grew up and I, you know, obviously I kind of went through your ACE tests and I'm like, yeah, yeah, yeah. So I, I'm going to say I scored better than 50% on your test, but I guess I tend to be maybe a little bit more resilient at some level. And, and that was where you kinda got into in the book is that trauma doesn't affect everybody the same way. And so we all are kind of dealing with our own battle with trauma at some level.

Beth: 02:17 Yeah. You know, we're all like snowflakes, whether it's physically, mentally, emotionally, psychologically. So we all handle things differently. But, you know, I think that it's common to the human condition for people to struggle.

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Allan: 02:33 It is, you know, it's kind of a core tentant of Buddhism is that, you know, that's what life is really kind of about. And it's more about embracing that than running away from it. And yoga kind of gives you a tool to do just that.

Beth: 02:48 Yes, it does. It really, it gives us the opportunity, um, you know, not only to heal but also to be the witness to our own process.

Allan: 02:57 Now in the book you shared something, it was called the ACE test that I spoke about a little earlier. Can you kind of go through this ACE test and what it, what it does and some of the questions that you ask and that would be asked in that test. So, you know, we can kind of figure out where do we lie on this and what are some of the things we may want to address as we go forward with, using yoga as a therapy?

Beth: 03:21 Well the adverse childhood experience test is a simple test, with under 10 questions. Basically asking if anyone was abusive to you, uh, in your household while growing up. If there was violence in your household, if you had a parent who died, you know, if he was a witness to any type of trauma, if you had any head injuries. So it kind of, it's the opportunity for us to index ourselves physically and emotionally and just answer yes or no questions. And, and typically if you have more than five yeses on that test, uh, you are susceptible to a lot of trauma related issues, including addiction, suicidal thoughts, depression, anxiety and so on.

Allan: 04:15 Okay, and I guess that's why we really kind of piqued my interest because I took the test and I'm like, okay, this is not a test you want to score high on. But I did and so as I got into.

Beth: 04:26 Allan, I just wished that that one, I wish that I had had that test when I was 18 years old. And two, I wish that they would give this test to everyone who's, let's say a junior in high school. Um, because, you know, had I've understood myself better as a young adult, my life, of course probably would've been a lot easier.

Allan: 04:50 And I agree with you, I think, you know, some of the choices and decisions I made, you know what I mean? We kind of sit there and tell ourselves, uh, when we're at that age, it's like, Oh, I would never do that. I would never act like that. Uh, you know, that's not who I'm going to be. Uh, and then you find yourself 10 years later doing some of those exact things you said you would never do. And so I think that's how, you know, and in a sense, you know, I, I had always told myself when I was younger, it's like, well, I'm always going to be fit. I'm always going to be in shape. Um, I'm always going to take care of myself. Uh, but my kind of my drive to perfection with my job, cause I think maybe that's where I buried a lot of this stuff was just okay, I need to be successful.

Allan: 05:32 That's how I'm going to be a measure of, you know, difference is to be successful. And I applied a lot of that energy to my job and I didn't apply it towards some of the more healthier pursuits like eating right and doing yoga. And so eventually kinda things fell apart for me. Uh, and it wasn't until after I kind of rebounded and said, okay, I've got to fix this, but I started doing some of these things. And I think I was able to turn it around. But from your book, I'm kinda getting an idea that I, you know, I may need to do a little bit deeper exploration. Guys don't tend to want to do that that often, but I think it might be worth it for me to do a little bit deeper dive. And one of the areas that I was…

Beth: 06:18 They said that they say that the unexamined life is not worth living. And yeah, I think it's good for anyone at any age to continue diving because sometimes even workaholism can be just another way of escaping one's pain. It's perhaps healthier than you know, being an alcoholic. But nevertheless, and this is just speaking from someone you know, I'm a workaholic. I excessively exercise their coping mechanisms.

Allan: 06:52 Yes. So when we're trying to do this, obviously trauma, trauma is not just a, it's not just an emotion. It actually physically changes our body and our brain. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Beth: 07:05 Yeah, trauma really does affect both our body and our brain in terms of what it does to the brain. It overstimulates different parts of the brain in particular the amygdala. And this is an almond shaped mass located deep in the brain and is responsible for survival related threat identification as well as tagging memories with emotion. So after a trauma, uh, this part of the brain can become highly alert and activated, which makes us perceive threats everywhere and also can make us hypervigilant. Also it affects our hippocampus and increases, uh, cortisol levels. And this, you know, can cause a whole variety of problems. Inflammation in the body, keeping the body and mind stimulated in a reaction mode constantly. And, also our prefrontal cortex shrinks and this is our decision making part of the brain. So we're not always making the best decisions for ourselves. Uh, so there are lots of changes in the brain and you know, your brain is really responsible for a lot of things. So it becomes problematic because of the very motor that's running us is not functioning properly.

Allan: 08:23 Yeah. Now, so obviously, uh, you know, as, as folks can go through the ACE test, is that something they could find online or is it available.

Beth: 08:31 Yes, they can find it online. They just need to Google adverse childhood experiences test and it will pop up.

Allan: 08:37 Okay. So if someone goes through that test or they suspect, okay. There, there was some or know that there was some trauma in their, in their past, uh, because of various events that were still kinda there. How has yoga going to help them with this journey?

Beth: 08:52 You know, well, first of all, yoga in its very is calming and relaxing. It lowers blood pressure, it lowers the heart rate, it gives us a pause. So it's just going to kind of take you back to a more neutral place. Um, it also gives you the opportunity to witness the body and the mind so you can kind of see what's going on in your body. If you're, you know, with repetitive practice, you'll be able to observe mental patterns that perhaps are not serving you. Perhaps you can then if you're a more contemplated person, witness patterns in your life that aren't serving you, you know, whether it's with relationships, friendships, job, and then also it, uh, helps our bodies produce GABA. And GABA is a calming agent produced by the brain. And when we're really stressed out our GABA levels are really low. So yoga is actually one of the only, it's not the only way other than if we take a GABA, you know, supplement or, or pharmaceutical, which strips you of your emotions. By the way, this is a great way to get GABA active in the body.

Allan: 10:04 Now when, when you start talking about trauma, this is just one of the things that kind of hit me because you have some case studies in the book that are really, really good and men, men and women, uh, and some with PSTD and other things. And I was just thinking, um, because one reason to hit home was I was in that unit, that guy, I can't remember his name, the plane crash. I was in 82nd airborne. I mean not not 82nd a hundred force airborne. Just right after that I joined the military and I was stationed at Fort Campbell. So we were hearing about the plane crash, you know, cause it was a peace time thing. And so you know, you would have these accidents and it was a question what's going on? Because we had some helicopter accidents, we weren't actively involved, but it was some people in our unit.

Allan: 10:51 So you kept, we kept having these, these series of accidents and you're like, okay, we're in peace time and we're, you know, we're at risk. And so every time you're getting on the helicopter, everything doing something, you just, like you said, hyper villaging you're, you're, you're watching out for your buddy, you're watching out for yourself. You're like, okay, we don't want to be the ones that had the accident. So it was, that's when I say it was kind of drew me in because I was like, okay, I can, I can feel with this guy's feeling at some level. It's hard sometimes to kind of lean into those feelings though. So you know, you're thinking about going into yoga. It just seems to be that there has to be a trust factor between you and the Yogi that you're learning from to take that step.

Beth: 11:31 Well, yes and no. If you know, we take that test and we decide, okay, I recognize that I do, you know, I have, I have this issue. Um, and I just want to explore a yoga practice. Cause I also recognize that, you know, I've got high blood pressure, I'm hyper vigilant. Uh, I'm highly reactive, you know, or, or whatever the case may be. Um, you know, you can go to yoga, you can partake in the practice. You don't have to discuss any of your, uh, trauma with the instructor. Um, if, you know, if you were the victim of a violent attack, uh, you're gonna want to make sure that, you know, you're not getting any surprise hands on the chest by your instructor. Uh, we really focus on this a lot at yoga fit. In fact, there was a reason article in the New York times about yoga teachers who are, uh, let's say getting a little too handsy with their students. Um, that just came out in the New York times, uh, over the weekend. But we teach our students at yoga fit too, to make sure that, um, they tell students that they're going to make hands on adjustments if they do and, and give the student an opportunity to refuse because for people who have had physical or sexual trauma in their lives, the wrong touch at the wrong time can trigger them be highly triggering.

Allan: 13:06 Yeah, I could see that. So as we talk about yoga fit, cause you mean your training, you've trained hundreds of thousands of instructors, uh, there's seven steps of yoga fit. Could you kind of go through those to get us a little bit more familiar with the yoga fit?

Beth: 13:21 Uh, well, the essence of yoga fit is breathing, feeling, listening to the body, letting go of judgment, expectation and competition and being present in the moment. And we encourage anybody who takes a yoga fit workshop, retreat or training to really embody these principles in themselves because yoga is a practice and it's a process and it's not a a one, one time event, nor is it a one size fits all proposition. So, um, you know, allowing that to be our foundation. Uh, and when we practice to, you know, we don't want to be competing with the person next to us or competing with the body that we had 10 years ago. Um, we just want to show up for ourselves in that day. And just, you know, when I practice, I'm just, some days I have an injury, some days I'm tight, you just kind of, it's an opportunity to just be with what is and do a little inquiry into the body and see what's going on.

Allan: 14:25 You know, I as a hyper competitive person, I could, I, I would, I would still struggle a little bit. I think it would take me a long time of practicing to get comfortable with just not competing against myself. I'm not going to compete against anyone else, but I, I still do have this strong inclination in myself to just want to see if I can be a little bit better tomorrow. So I, I like the seven steps. So I think, you know, the, the, particularly when you're talking about breathing and just kind of being aware of yourself, I don't, I don't think we give ourselves enough of that on a day to day basis, but I do see that this is a kind of a process that you'd have to practice for a while to really get comfortable. I would have to practice for a while to get comfortable with.

Beth: 15:05 Yeah. And you know everything's a practice in my usually. So, um, I just think that engaging in the process is very beneficial. Whether it's your first time doing it or your 1000th time doing it, it's just you're always going to get some benefits. And that's the beauty of it.

Allan: 15:24 Yeah. Awesome. 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?

Beth: 15:35 Well, I believe, uh, listening to the body is very important. I believe in setting an intention and action plan and then you have to follow your plan. And then lastly, be a little bit flexible.

Allan: 15:52 I really, I really liked those, especially the action part. So many people plan, plan, plan and don't act. Thank you for that. If someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about your book Healing Trauma with Yoga or about Yoga Fit, where would you like for me to send them?

Beth: 16:09 Healing Trauma with Yoga, which is now out and available and shipping from warehouses everywhere and available in bookstores also can be ordered off of Amazon or off of yogafit.com if you're interested in the yoga fit workshop, conference or training, we have over 50 different educational programs as we run over a thousand trainings worldwide every year and 15 conferences across North America. They can go to yogafit.com. If you're interested in more health and wellness articles, anti-aging hacks, uh, information on dealing with depression via supplementation, red light therapy, weighted blankets, and all the other alternative and not so alternative things that I'm up to. You can visit me at bethshaw.com.

Allan: 17:03 Great. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/410 and I'll be sure to have all those links there. So Beth, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

Beth: 17:14 Thank you. It was my pleasure and I wish everyone a fit and peaceful day.

Are you enjoying the podcast? Good. Now if you just do me one favor, go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/support. That's going to take you to our Patreon page. Now, patrons are really cool service that lets you support the podcast with very small donations and for every new patron we get during the month of December, I'm going to do a special bonus episode during the first quarter of 2020 and in that, I'll make the special dedication just to you. So please go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/support and help keep 40+ Fitness charging on into 2020 thank you.

Patreons

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Setpoints

Setpoints. What are they in? How can we overcome them? I'm pretty sure almost every one of us has faced this at some point or another. We start a new way of eating or we start an exercise program. And in the very beginning, things are just wonderful. We're losing the weight we want to lose, we're gaining strength and we're getting where we want to be.

Things are just wonderful and then they're not. What we're doing just stops working and we just kind of stabilize at a, at a weight or at a range of strength and we're just stuck there, this plateau and these plateaus can last weeks, months and even years. If we don't understand them and do something to change to adapt because our bodies are really, really good at stabilizing they're really, really good at saying, okay, this is where we are.

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And there's basically three aspects to set points that I think people forget. They try to focus on just one or two of these. And they don't really get to the meat of what's going to help you break a plateau. This is your body, your environment and your mind. So I'm going to go through all three of these today and talk about why these affect your set point and what you can do about it. Okay. The first one's body, and it's kind of obvious, you know, the human body is meant to keep itself healthy. And to do that, it does a thing called homeostasis, which is basically balance. Now balance is really, really important in the body when we're talking about things like body temperature that has to stay within a very tight range or blood pH. It's like a very, very tight range. Or blood sugar.

Parts of our body basically adapt and they try to stabilize so that we can stay in a healthy state. And if it gets out of this state, then bad things happen. So how does that affect body weight? Well, body weight is also one of those systems. Our bodies were designed to store fat for famine. So we went through a period of feasting. Our body would allow us to put on this body fat for a future fuel for the times when food wasn't so plentiful cause our, our Hunter-gatherer ancestors didn't always have access to plentiful food. So they often would put on weight in the and, and in summer and fall when a plant matter and vegetables and fruits were much more abundant. And then when they weren't we would start to shed that body weight over the course of the next several months.

But if we started losing weight too fast, our bodies set wake would come in and say, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa. You can't burn through all the fat that fast. We need to slow you down. And so your system start to change. And systems are basically all the things that are going on in your body to include the hormones, the, the catalyst for transactions for w there are happening in your body, their chemical reactions vitamins and minerals. Because your body is just basically this series of chemical reactions. And so if you're starting to lose weight too fast and your body senses that your hormones are going to adjust a and your body is going to start functioning differently if you have a professional athlete, women will see this a lot with professional athletes at the elite level. They start training really, really hard and they get their body fat percentage down to a very low number.

They do this because carrying weight, particularly in an endurance sport is costly. It slows you down. So losing a few pounds as an elite athlete could be the difference between winning and losing. So the women will get down to an extremely low body fat percentage and as a result they'll stop their period because their systems are basically telling them this is not a good time to rear children. If we're in a famine period, we're not going to have children. And the same kind of thing happens within the systems of men to It's just easier to explain this one because it's so apparent what's happening. But our body is a function of systems and those systems are always seeking to find that balance. And so if you've been eating a certain way and you start losing weight you body might stabilize and that's okay.

We just to have to put some strategies in place to try to break through that before I go too far down that rabbit hole of the body and talk about those solutions. Let's talk about the other two aspects of setpoint. So the second aspect of setpoint is environment. Now, every day we're in, we're in an environment of, of different things and some of them are very easy for us to notice, like the temperature of the room or if we're in an elevation, we might notice that the oxygen level is a little low. So if we walk out in the cold as many of you are experiencing right now and you're not wearing enough clothing, you're very likely to start shivering. That's, that's your body's reaction to your, your environment and it's, and it's very noticeable. If you're trying to do an endurance event and you move from from one elevation up to a much higher elevation, you may find that your performance drops.

And again, you can usually attribute that performance drop to your environment. So there are things in the environment that are definitely noticeable immediately. And then there's things that we don't notice, the chemicals, the, the pesticides, all those things that are out there in our food, in our household products. And then just general pollution. So I want to talk a little bit about that. There's a few that you know, I think are really, really important. One is the plastics, you know bisphenol a is in so many plastics and if you're heating and using those or allowing those to get warm, it's very likely you're taking in that chemical, which is a kind of an estrogen in our bodies. So it creates problems for us particularly for trying to get stronger or lose weight. So understanding if you're being exposed to things like that.

What's in your household cleaners? What's in your skincare products, what's in your hair care products? All those chemicals that we're applying to our body or using in our home they have the potential to disrupt our systems and as a result, send us into a kind of a cascade against the balance in the, in the wrong direction. So if we're trying to lose weight or get stronger and I'm going to keep going back and forth on those cause I think they're both very, very important. And I think you can do both at the same time. You're going to want to start paying attention to your environment. Another part of the environment that we don't pay a whole lot of attention to is light and UV rays. If we're not getting adequate sunshine during the day, which again, during the winter that's, that's a little bit tougher, then our bodies are not going to react the way that they should.

Our circadian rhythm is just not gonna flow the way that it should, which is going to disrupt our hormones. It's going to disrupt, potentially disrupt our sleep. So we might find that if we're not getting the sun, we're not getting the vitamin D, we're not getting all the different things that our body needs. So getting good natural light during the day turning off the computers earlier at night, all of those are environmental things that could potentially be disrupting your, your systems and, and if you're not taking care of those, very likely it is jeopardizing your performance and your ability to lose weight and get stronger. The final aspect of setpoint that I'd like to talk about is the mind. And you know, the mind is probably the most powerful aspect of the, of them all. Because if you don't believe you can do something, you absolutely can't.

It's just, you're not gonna be able to do it. So if, if you're stuck and you feel stuck and you say, well, I can't lose weight, I always lose weight and then I gain it back, you know, that mindset is going to hold you back. So if we're going to police our mindset, we've got to look at two things. The first is the things that we're listening to, things we hear, the things we see, the things we read. If you're on Facebook, reading all these articles about obesity and the crisis and how you know, this is making you fat and nights making you fat, and it's all that stuff's driving you crazy and it's, it's actually stressing you out. Stop. Just stop. The best way for you to know what's going to affect you is to just try it. Whole foods, natural foods, people will tell you, you can try this supplement or try that thing or take this pill.

None of going to be a longterm solution for you. So what's your listening to? What's your, what's your reading? What's your seeing? Let some of that go, you know, focus on the things that will definitely move the needle for you. You're in a plateau right now, and if that's the case, you need some action. You need to find that big rock as we say, and, and go ahead and start working on that. But if you're on all these little goose hunts about, should I be taking vitamin D, should I wait? Should I be vegan or wait? Should I, you know, drink eight glasses of water a day? If you're running around looking at all those tactics, it's very easy to get yourself lost in them and not really see which ones might be actually beneficial to you. You can't throw 13 things that at, at this at once and understand what's going on in your body.

It's just the too much and you don't, you can't parse through that data. There's too many confounders. So slow down. It's cool when you like to read and understand health and fitness. Believe you me, I'm reading about a book a week in health and fitness and I'm much more as far as I go on the internet and read blog posts and things that are going on there so I can keep kind of stay abreast of what's going on. But as it comes to applying it in my own life, I like to keep it simple. So I'm not necessarily acting on all of these activities and all these things that folks are talking about in their articles or to me personally, I try something. If it works, they use it. If it doesn't, I, I throw it out. And then finally within the mind, there's the inner dialogue.

How do you talk to yourself? What's going on in your head when things aren't going your way? You're in a plateau or you know, for weight loss. And so you haven't lost a pound and maybe even you went up a pound last week. And what's your inner dialogue telling you right now? Is it being nice to you? Is it, is it forgiving you? Because the step forward for any stumble at all is three. It's three things. The first is you have to forgive yourself. And then you have to come up with a plan of action to go forward. And then you have to act. And if you don't do all three of those, you're, you're destined to repeat exactly what you just did. So don't beat yourself up so much. Try to have a kinder, nicer inner dialogue. And if you find yourself, you know, not hitting a PR when you go to the gym every time, that's OK.

You're going to have good days and bad days. The fact is you were there and that's better than most. So look for the good of what you're doing and try to have a nicer, kinder inner dialogue. It's going to go a long way towards helping you be successful. So we have the body, we have the environment, and we have the mind where, where should we spend our time if we want the most bang for our buck. And I'd say, if your mindset's off, I would start there. I really would because if you don't have a good mindset, a lot of this stuff is just not going to happen for you. You don't, when my book, I go through wellness GPS and in there I'm very specific that you've got to have self-love to do this. You've got to make a commitment to yourself. You've got to want this really, really bad.

And when you do, then you have to just wake up and you gotta say, okay, self-awareness. You know what, what is going to hold me back? What has held me back in the past? Have I lost 20 pounds and then plateaued and then just gave up. And you know, pizza party for everybody is if that's how you've approached it in the past, you need to put in some strategies to kind of think about, well how do I reverse that trend? How do I not cause then I'm going to hit a plateau. It's going to happen. There's no way around it that, you know, any kind of changed. Your body is just not going to be linear. It's just going to balance out. It's going to plateau. That's what our bodies are designed to do. So if we want to break it, we gotta change it.

And so at some point we, we know we have to adapt, our body adapted. Now we have to adjust, adapt, adjust, adapt, adjust. And that's the path forward. So starting with the mind, get that right first. Now, once you're comfortable that you have a good mindset for what's necessary to break this plateau. Now we want to focus on the body. What are the tactics and things that we're already doing and are there any other tactics that we should consider doing? For example maybe a, I've lost down to a certain weight and I, and I want to lose a little bit more, but I'm not. And I say, okay, well, you know, I, I noticed that I pay attention when I drink milk. I feel a little bloated. And now that I've been having more milk I feel bloated more often. And so maybe the, I've got a problem with milk.

And so I said, okay, well I'm gonna eliminate dairy products for three to four weeks just to see if, if that makes me feel better. And low and behold, what you might find is three weeks slit, well eight are you weigh less and then you go ahead and you have a glass of milk or some cheese and boom, a pound hits the scale. You're like, Oh got it. I have an issue with dairy. And if that's the case, you probably in weight loss is your goal. You probably want to start eliminating dairy and keeping it out of your diet or at least keeping it to a very, very low amount such that you're not hampering your results. So, and maybe what I'm finding is I'm just not getting stronger and so it's time for me to mix my program up cause it's got kind of plateaued on my, my squad, I've kind of to it on my bench press.

So it's like, okay, well I'm going to go ahead and do now is I'm going to do more a weighted dips. I'm going to get on that leg press, I'm going to start pressing some really heavy weight. And I'm gonna start doing some front squats so I can really get my core strong. And by doing those things for a period of time, I'll cycle back around and find out my squat has now improved. And so periodization is what we call that in the weightlifting world. And so if you're, if you're stagnant, things are not happening. It might be to change up just your lifting programs. Something as simple as that, but your body is going to adjust and I mean adapt and then you adjust. And so when you do that adjustment, now you're putting your body into a different series of events and your body will likely change.

So that's the body. Now, the last one, the environment, those things that you know are around you. Let's eliminate those. You know, make sure you're getting good sleep. Make sure you're turning off the computer early enough. Make sure you're getting enough natural light as much as you possibly can to keep your body in good function and in a good circadian rhythm. If there's chemicals around your house, consider changing those out, get some, get some cleaner cleaners. You know a lot of people around here on this Island particularly like to make their own cleaning solutions and their own care, hair care and skin products. So that's not uncommon for people to do that with essential oils and coconut oil and things like that. Lemon juice and you know, vinegar, they make a lot of their own stuff and so that can come out to be a lot healthier for you in the long run.

The more of these chemicals that you can eliminate for your life because that might be one of those kind of like final things. It's probably not going to be your big rock initially, but at some point it might just be the reason that you're plateauing. So take the time to go through all three of these. That self-awareness practice that we do in the, in the wellness GPS is exactly geared for you to take the time to do this. So if you find yourself stagnant, it's time to pull that GPS back out and go through it one more time. Get yourself really set, get that self-love going and then start getting into the self-awareness of what do you think is actually the problem that's keeping you on this plateau. And then now you're ready to set some proper strategies to go forward.

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The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:

– Tim Alexander– Judy Murphy
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November 18, 2019

Strategies for the holidays

Hello and thank you for being a part of 40+ Fitness Podcast. I am kind of excited. You know, we're getting into the holiday season and this can be a really good time for us or this can be a really bad time for us depending on how we approach the holidays. So I wanted to do an episode on holiday strategies. It's something that's been top of mind for me because I'm going to be doing quite a bit of traveling.

My wife and I will be coming back to the States and we'll be visiting family. So we're going to be in a few different places and we'll list those off because if you're in any of these places, I'd love to meet up for a coffee, maybe a glass of wine, something like that. So we're looking at:

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  • New Orleans,
  • Asheville, North Carolina,
  • Asheboro, North Carolina,
  • Merrillville, Indiana and
  • Pensacola, Florida.

So if you're in any of those areas, hit me with an email, Allan@40plusfitnesspodcast.com. Love to spend just a little bit of time with you, get to know you a little bit better and we can talk shop health and fitness of course, but as we get into the holidays and things are going, typically what happens is our whole schedule kind of gets turned on its ear. Our whole routine, the things that we do on a day-to-day basis become very, very different as we're spending time with family, as we're preparing meals, as we're doing office parties, the whole bit. And so I'm going to go through each of the four kind of pillar areas of fitness and health. That's gonna include food, exercise, or training, sleep and stress because all of these can be adversely affected by the things that are going on during the holidays.

And as I have this conversation, you're going to hear me kind of go back to two basic tenants. The first one is that we need to plan. If you don't plan, you know, the quote, failing to plan is planning to fail. Okay. So we're gonna talk about planning for each of these and then we're also gonna talk about strategizing because your approach to things could be very, very different than my approach to them based on our needs and based on our past. So let's go through each of these and kind of talk about what's going on with each.

Okay, I'm going to start with food cause that seems to be the big one that I think a lot of people struggle with is that, you know, now there's all these kinds of different foods. There's the, the cookies and the pies. And the potlucks and the parties and the, you know, the family get-togethers and all the traditional meal things that we would, we're eating that we wouldn't eat normally. Okay. Plus just the volume, you know, it's very easy to overeat. It seems to be a basic theme that happens every Thanksgiving for most people.

And so as I said with food, you need to have a plan. Okay. And that plan needs to include what you are going to eat and what you're not going to eat. Because to say that you're not going to eat aunt Mabels dessert is probably a falsehood. You are going to eat it, but you need a plan to make sure that you don't overindulge. So how do we do that? Well, that's where we fall back on the strategies. Okay. Now what I know is if I go in to Thanksgiving dinner or a potluck or a party, I have to be very clear about managing my plate.

Okay. And how do I do that? Well, one is I make sure that at least 25% of my plate is a protein source. So I'll look for a Turkey or ham. I'll try to make sure I get something that doesn't have all the glazing and all the other stuff on it. And so it's just basically trying to get a meat. Okay, that's 25% of my plate right there. 50% is going to be vegetables and not vegetables with goops and stuff on them. You know, there are none of these, uh, the onion crumbles and that kind of thing or not mixed up in some kind of a soupy mix. Basically vegetables. And if I can't find the vegetables then that's going to lead me to my next one though we're to talk about. But I'm going to try to fill my plate about half of it with vegetables and that leaves me with about a quarter of my plate where I can kind of sample some of the other things.

So if there's a, you know, a little bit of yam, it's got a little bit of a marshmallow on it. Okay, fine. I'll have a little bit of that. If there's a dessert Aunt Mabel made, I'm going to have a little bit of that. But at this point I'm showing her I don't have much room on my plate. So they're little dab of that. That way people see the you're at least paying attention. You're enjoying yourself and it doesn't look like your not eating or not participating. So manage your plate. I know it's very difficult all that food's in front of you, but if you have this strategy in front of you where you say, okay, this is the lineup for my plate and I'm allowing myself this little quarter to have those little indulgences, that's your detour. That's the detour that you chose to take and it's a much better one.

Now, I talked earlier about what if these foods aren't available? Well, I typically like to either try to host or bring a dish so when I go to my mother's for Thanksgiving, one of the things I'll do is I'll request that I make turkey. Okay. And this way I know how it made the turkey. I know you know that I've made it in, in the way that it's a better quality turkey, typically organic. So I know what I'm getting with the turkey. And then so I'll have the turkey, my mother will also cook a ham, so there'll be ham there and they'll be Turkey. And I typically just stick to the turkey. I will probably have a little bit of that ham, but as I said, that's my quarter where I can kind of go do a little bit of that. And then I will often also bring a vegetable dish.

And so this will be something like where I'll go out and I'll, I'll steam some broccoli and maybe I'll go ahead and make a cheese sauce that they can pour over it if that's how they want to eat it. But I'll do mine without that. Maybe I'll put a Pat of butter on there just to give it a little bit of flavor, sprinkle it with some garlic powder, something like that. So basically at that point I have my vegetable. I also, and I sent this recipe to my mail list and you should have gotten it a couple of days ago. About about two weeks ago was on a cauliflower rice. And so sometimes I'll do things like that, make a cauliflower rice or something like that that'll go with my meal pretty well. And so if I'm doing those things, then that's three quarters of my plate and now I can go around and I can have some of the other things that my family traditionally makes for Thanksgiving and it doesn't look like I'm not participating, I'm there with them and I'm enjoying the meal.

So have a plan, have a strategy, know what's made you fail in the past and try to work things out that are going to help make sure that you're staying on track. We get invited to a lot of things. Just because you get invited to something doesn't mean you absolutely have to go. If you have to show face like Christmas party with the company, you kind of need to be there. Great. But try to manage what you're doing while you're there. Go in with that plan. Go in there with that strategy so you know that the foods that you're eating is not gonna derail you too much. Okay. It's a, it's a departure you've chosen, but don't just go wild.

Then the next thing I wanted to talk about was activity. Obviously if you're traveling out of town or you're off work, you kind of set your routine different, maybe the gym that you work out at as closer to your office and not so close to your home. Maybe the gym's closed certain days that you would normally like to work out. So again, it's the plan and strategize and the planning means I, if I know the gym's closed on a particular day, maybe I need to do a body weight workout. Maybe that's a good day for me to consider doing something cardio or balance or mobility related that I don't do on a regular basis. But that need to do, I know I need to do more. Then I'll do those things. If you're traveling, pack those a resistance bands and plan yourself a resistance band body weight workout in your hotel room before you go over to the family or in your bedroom before you come out and spend time with family. Go on one of the Thanksgiving Turkey trot runs. Uh, that happen almost everywhere. Do some things like that that you wouldn't normally do, but do them with a plan.

And then the strategies would be if there's things that would typically keep you from working out, again, have that accountability, have those strategies, whatever that might look like for you. You know, you might tell a friend, okay, we're having the week off and we're both going in these two directions and we were going to promise each other that we're going to work out three times this week, even though this is a holiday week, we're going to do three workouts, and then you email each other or text each other and say, Hey, did you get your workout in? Yeah, I've got mine. You got yours. Okay, great. I'll call you on Wednesday. Those kinds of things. So you've got an accountability, you've got a strategy that's going to keep you moving forward rather than falling back into that quicksand that the holidays can often become. So just make sure that you have a movement plan as you go into the holidays so that it's not just sitting around and talking to family.

I used to set up a football game with the kids after the meal and sometimes my brothers and sisters would come out and play and that was so much fun. But as the kids have gotten older, as we've gotten older, fewer and fewer people would go out there. And so standing up there by yourself with a football in your hand isn't a whole lot of fun. So I'll probably be going on, probably doing some cardio work and probably do some mobility work during that time, uh, because that, that tradition went away. But have a plan, have a strategy and know what's gonna work for you as you go into the holidays to make sure that you're continuing to move. You need that movement. Okay.

Sleep. Often during the holidays, there's a lot of activities going on, but we have days off and so I'd encourage you to use this as an opportunity to focus on the quality of your sleep. This is a really good time of year to do that. The sun setting, you know, the days are shorter. This is a good time for you to figure out a good time to go to bed, to wake up when you want to wake up. And so I'd encourage you to take advantage of the time off. Don't make it all about chores, all about family going around and doing all this stuff. Try to figure out your sleep. Sleep is highly under utilized as a tool for health. We are mostly sleep deprived. If you're not getting seven to nine hours of good quality sleep each night, you are sleep deprived. Even if you say, I don't need as much. I'm telling you, you probably do, you just don't get as much. You can still function but you're not functioning optimally. So when we start talking about plan and strategy, okay, the planning would be trying to figure out the bedtime.

The plan would be trying to know that you, you want to avoid certain things that are going to disrupt your sleep. Like staying up watching TV too late, having the lights on instead of using more of uh, natural light. And then of course alcohol. If you're having more alcohol during this time of year than you normally would, that's probably adversely affecting your sleep and it's just something to consider. So as you get into the strategies, it's like, okay, how do I not sit down and binge Netflix or the lifetime channel with all of the Christmas movies, which I'm pretty sure my wife's gonna start playing pretty soon here she can find a Netflix series where she can start watching all this Christmas stuff. I'm pretty sure that's what's going to be happening around my house. So let's not binge on the TV and the Netflix.

Let's use this as an opportunity to really get to sleep earlier, get the sleep we need, try to figure out a strategy or an approach that's going to not only work for us during these holidays, but something that we can actually carry forward into the new year and say, okay, when I go to sleep, it's at 8:30 I typically wake up between four and six and I feel great. I get a good night's sleep, I get the good sleep cycles in and I feel really good. So 8:30 is my bedtime. Now, do I always go to bed at 8:30 no. Sometimes things come up. My wife wants to do something. We want to go out and have dinner and dinner kind of stretches a little long. So I don't make my 8:30 all the time, but generally I now have that routine and that's, that's more normal for me than not. And the holidays are really good time for you to try to figure that out. What works best for you?

Okay. The final one is stress and the holidays in and of themselves can be very, very stressful. I for one, can put my hand up and say, yeah, first time I made broccoli or bought broccoli to cook for Thanksgiving dinner. And my mother was a little frustrated with me. She's like, well, we all have all this food now. We're going to have all this wasted food because you're making an extra vegetable. And I was thinking, well, I still want these vegetables. So I did. I cooked the broccoli low, frustrated, but there was a little stress there. And so just recognizing that getting together with people, going to office parties doing this and that is kind of stressful on the body. So take some time. You know, a lot of us do holiday time, we get vacation, we're away from work.

We're away from a lot of the stressors in our lives. But in the background that stress still runs in our head. I know if I'm going to be away from work for two weeks, I'm gonna have to, I'm gonna have to pay the Piper for that one because there's gotta be a lot of work to catch up on when I get back to the office. I was one who liked to work right up to Christmas day and most people had taken those days off that week. I like to work those days because the office was slow. I was able to get in and get a really well organized going into the new year. And that actually allowed me to enjoy my Christmas a lot better. So my plan had always been go ahead and work up to new years, I mean Christmas Eve and do these things that are going to make the next year easier. So that was scheduling, cleaning out my inbox, answering any like lingering little things that I had put off and it was a very, very productive time for me.

So that strategy paid off, you know, go on into the office, work your regular days right up until that point. And then when I took the week off, I felt so much better. Now when it came to family stress, I just had to realize what I can control and what I can't control. And then I also came up, you know, I use this mantra and I've talked about it a few times I'm sure, is if something is not going to be affecting you in five years, then it's not worth worrying about for five minutes. It just isn't. There's nothing that's going on now. If it's not going to be affecting you and your not going to remember it in five years, it's not a big deal. It's a, it's a little deal. And you're making a big deal out of a little deal. So take some time to think through what are the, what are the real things that matter in your life?

That's, that's one of the cool things about the holidays is the time with family and a time or doing these things. It really is a great opportunity for us to get our straight to get ourselves organized, to find ways to maybe have less stress next year. And so if you can do any of those things, then that's a win in your health and fitness. So try to stay in control, try to be relaxed during the holidays, enjoy the holidays, don't let stress rule you. And then when you get to a point where you can get ahead of stress, boom, now you've got something going on. So that's kind of it. You know, as we go into these holidays and I call it the holiday quicksand, you get into there and sink, sink, sink, sink, sink. And unfortunately most of us as we get into the holidays, we're going to gain some weight.

We're not going to move as much because our routines busted. We're not going to sleep as well. We're not gonna, we're gonna be even more stressed because there's still the office stuff and then the work stuff and then there's everything else that we've got to get done and everywhere else we gotta be, you know, you'd think 3000 miles of driving, I'd be all stressed out about it. Not a bit. I'm going to be downloading all kinds of audio books and podcasts and I'm going to enjoy that time. And yeah, that's a lot of time to be sitting in a car. But I'm going to make sure I have movement built around that. I want to make sure that the food that I'm taking in nourishes my body. I'm going to still be getting all the sleep that I would normally be getting the same way I would get it.

You know, just I'll get up early and we'll hit the road. My wife can sleep in the car, I can get the driving done and we can get to our next destination in time for me to get to bed in time. And then the stress again is, you know, just have, I have plans and strategies, things I'll be doing. For me, sometimes driving is actually more meditative, particularly when you're on the interstate and you're just driving down the interstate. It's just for me it's just a good time to get into my head and just relax and think about all the good things that have happened this year. Like you like having you on this podcast. A podcast has grown this year and I'm just really excited about that. We're going to coming up on our four years of of doing this podcast and this is, this is episode I think 408 so pretty excited good things are happening and I want you to have a wonderful holiday season.

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The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:

– Tim Alexander– Judy Murphy
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November 11, 2019

Denise Austin and I discuss the changes in fitness

Allan: 01:12 Denise Austin. Denise, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

Denise: 01:19 Yea, I'm so happy to be here! WOO!

Allan: 01:19 I am too, you know, um, when back in the…

Denise: 01:23 I'm happy to be over 40 too. I love it!

Allan: 01:23 You know it is a new day, you know, and I think you, people used to think, okay, you're just going to be on a standard aging curve. And I know, you know, when I was listening, watching your show back in the late eighties, early nineties, when I had days that I was at home and didn't have class, I would be doing homework or something. Uh, but I would always put it on TV and you know, there were the three or four workout shows, but you yours was always set in the Caribbean or in Arizona. It was just really some really nice scenery. And then you're just so just, you're just so up, up, up all the time. It's just something that I love tabbing in my room when I was, when I was studying or when I was, when I had the time.

Denise: 02:07 Yeah. Well thank you so much. I really appreciate it because you know, my TV show was on for 24 years. Can you believe that? Every weekday morning. So it's um, and now I got all my TV shows back, which I love.

More...

Allan: 02:22 Oh you got the rights back to him. Okay, cool. That's totally cool.

Denise: 02:25 They're all on my website now, which is so cool. I picked my favorite 200 shows that I did and, and most of them of course are in the Caribbean cause the water's so turquoise so beautiful in the background.

Allan: 02:40 Oh yeah. And that must been hard picking your top 200 cause I know I just recently went through an exercise trying to pick 10 out to talk about on episode 400 of the show. And it was like, you know, choosing my favorite baby, its hard.

Denise: 02:56 I know, and it makes you look at your career too. It's like wow, I did this many shows.

Allan: 03:02 And helped and helped thousands and thousands and thousands of people. Maybe millions. I mean as like I said, your shows were at, your shows were totally awesome. And like I said, it was just one of those things where I knew that people of all ages would just feel really, really comfortable doing what you are asking them to do because of the approach you had. Uh, and then even now, today you still focus on helping everybody but a little bit more bent towards folks our age, the 50s and sixties range. Uh, but still it's over 40 is great. Um, and, and so, you know, in all this time, I mean, it's over 30 years. Uh, you've been in the fitness industry. Uh, things have changed from, you know, we're no longer were that girls are no longer wearing leg warmers and, uh, your, your videos are no longer on VHS. Um, but what else can health and fitness has been like what you'd say is the big changes over the course of the last 30 years.

Denise: 03:54 Well, the biggest change now is all about wellness and recovery and taking care of your body and really tuning into, um, being, you know, gentle like yoga, pilates and foam rolling and really, uh, you know, yoga, a little more meditation. That, to me has been the biggest change. But of course I'd been through all the different trends from high energy aerobics to step aerobics to, you know, all of the trends in the last 30 years. But the key thing is, you know, we have one body, we have to take good care of it. We have 640 muscles of the body to keep strong and tone and firm and um, to find something that you enjoy in exercise or it becomes part of your lifestyle. And to me, walking is one of the best and most easiest ways to really get in great shape. And you truly could get in wonderful shape if you walk fast for 30 minutes. So I'm really into walking and I come back into my house and I do some targeted exercises for my arms, my tummy, my legs, and then stretches too. So all three components are important. And throughout the years they've just changed up mainly through, you know, boxing was hot for awhile. So there's been so many forms of fitness, which are all great because they kind of keep you motivated.

Allan: 05:24 Yeah. You know, I actually miss a step aerobics. I, when I was in the army I would, I would take a step aerobics class. It's just a way to continue to improve my fitness beyond what we were doing as our normal training. Um, and I really miss, I kind of miss it cause I still see the steps sitting around as some of the gems but they're not being used for the same thing anymore.

Denise: 05:43 Yeah. Now it's more used for interval training, jump box. You know, you jump up on it and do lunges off it. It's not as choreographed, which is fine too cause you're still working your hips, thighs and butt step. So my daughter now is falling and my fitness footsteps and she uses my old step that I used to use in step aerobics. Now she uses it as a prop for, you know, some pushups, more targeted exercises but more like interval training.

Allan: 06:15 And I think you touched on something that was really, really important and that is finding something that you enjoy. You know, the variety that's been offered over the course the last 30 years from, you know, now there's the hit training or like you said, some of the box and the jumps in the pile of metrics to some of the old stuff like now that they can log onto your website and see some of those, those videos, uh, you know, they've got their 30 years worth of, uh, some really cool variety to keep themselves engaged. Plus, like you said, um, you're really big on the walking, and just the normal movement to keep yourself in shape.

Denise: 06:48 Yes. And also, um, I really think it's important that everyone knows that how important stretching is to keep our muscles and our tendons and the bones and the joints healthy and stretching and target toning, lightweights are so important. It really makes a difference, especially as we age to stay strong and keep our joints healthy and the muscles surrounding the joints are so important. So that's why I do, you know, all new workouts also for her, for women and guys after 50. And those are more straight training and more stretching. And then you could get your cardio from so many variety ways. And then long as you're getting two to three times a week, some type of targeting strength training for your muscles.

Allan: 07:39 And I think that's one thing I read as I was going through some of your stuff is that, uh, you're not, you're not one that says, okay, we need to spend two, three hours a day, uh, doing this to get fit.

Denise: 07:52 I only work out for 30 minutes a day, but I do it most every day and I'm very consistent. And consistency pays off, I promise. 30 minutes, that's all it takes in a, usually you're awake about 16 hours of a day. So what's 30 minutes for your health, your well-being, your mental, your emotional. It truly is a, one of the best ways to get rid of stress, to help fight heart disease, exercise every single day if you can, it is fabulous. I truly do try to get 10,000 steps in a day. And when I do, I feel so proud to go, you know, 12,000 steps. I'm like, yes. So it's also a great way to, you know, track yourself to see how well you're doing and keep, you know, challenging yourself.

Allan: 08:40 Yeah. Now you've, you've always generally taken care of yourself, that was your career. Uh, so you don't want to know first I guess you were an athlete, you're an athlete in college, and then it was your career. And what has changed the way that you train today versus when you were in your 20s and 30s?

Denise: 09:01 Well, you know, I pay attention to my body every day, more in a different way than I'm 62 now. And I feel fantastic. I can do everything. I still do cartwheels and hand stands and, but I, I truly do believe I, uh, I've changed just as simple things such as recovery, things like I do use a foam roller. I love to stretch. I use stretch bands. I do love a massage every month, I tried to get a massage. So self care is important and especially as you age and if you're exercising, you want to feel good. And these are some of the easier ways I take an Epsom salt bath. Never did before in my life. So there's these little things I do, but the main focus is the same that I continue working out most every day. And I honestly feel like I change a little that I do more yoga, I do more pilates for strengthening of the abs and the course as it is, you know, menopausal time for women is so important to keep our abdominals nice and strong, keep our tummy flat and it keeps your back healthy.

Allan: 10:16 Absolutely. Now let's talk about nutrition. What's, what's changed in your nutrition since you 20s and 30s had any major changes there?

Denise: 10:24 Yes, of course I eat differently in the way of, I made sure every day I have a little bit of either chia seeds or flax seeds cause it's Omega three that they're so good for us helping inflammation. I also make sure I have anything Omega threes in my diet. I'm really into salmon twice a week and I eat mostly in the certain, you know, top 10 organic fruits and vegetables. I make sure that I'm eating the good clean ones and I eat 80% very well and very healthy and then I still have 20% treats and that would be a glass of red wine. It would be a little bit of ice cream. So I do enjoy treats and I do, um, treat myself every day and little something and I don't overdo it though. Portion control as I age is very important and um, as we all know, you know, our metabolism slows down as our muscle tone slows down. So we need to up the muscle tone and you know, lessen the amount of calories you eat. So portions are very important to me now and I do watch them more than I ever did.

Allan: 11:41 Okay. Do you, do you track macros or anything like that?

Denise: 11:45 Yes, I eat healthy most of the time anyhow, so I'm very aware of um, the proteins I'm eating, how many grams of protein I eat. I try to eat 70 a day, um, and I'm trying to get more plant protein, but I do have once in a while. Um, you know, grass fed red meat once in awhile and I only buy organic chicken and grass fed chicken and grass fed eggs. And, um, I love avacado I love healthy fats and as you age, I believe in, you know, nuts. I do eat a lot of nuts and more plant based. I will, I have a uh, lettuce grow, which is like a farm stand at my house outside and I pick everyday basil and I'll just eat it right. Leaves the, uh, also parsley. So I make sure I you get a lot of greens and of course of a day more than I ever used to. So, you know, we know now through research how important eating and food is medicine and as we age it's even more so. So I've been very conscientious about that. And um, all my new eating plans on my website have included some new ideas. I have a whole eating plan. If you're a vegetarian, if you're gluten free, if you want to eat heart healthy. So I have seven different ways of an eating plan for 10 weeks to give it a try.

Denise: 13:18 Or you can eat just like me. Very portion control and eating many of the food groups, but everything in moderation.

Allan: 13:26 Yeah. I tell people, I'm basically food agnostic. As long as you're getting good quality whole foods, you can be vegan, you can be, you know, carnivore if you really want to. But just making sure you're getting good variety, making sure you're getting good quality. Um, and then, which recognizes food cause so much of what's available to us in the grocery stores. Um, it isn't, um, that's another big change in the last 30 years is you walk into a grocery store and I don't know that my great grandmother would recognize 90% of the grocery stores as actually food.

Denise: 14:01 Well, I know, and especially, I love it now because I tried different foods, you know, Swiss chard and I do, Oh, of course, kale. And I look at my older books that never had any of those types of vegetables as part of my meal menu plans. So, um, I have updated everything because it's so hard to find good foods, you know, years ago I never ate lentils. I love lentils and humbleness. So many, um, new foods that I enjoy more than I ever used to or more than I knew about. So that's the beautiful part about now.

Allan: 14:41 Yeah. So if you were going to outline like the perfect fitness nutrition week for someone over 40, what would that look like?

Denise: 14:50 Oh, Oh, okay. So exercise wise, Monday, Wednesday and Friday I would do something for 30 minutes cardio like either outside fast walking, it could be one of my workout videos that are on my website, which is 30 minute fat burning and I have over a hundred to choose from new and my TV shows. Oh. And then I would target Tuesday, Thursdays and Saturdays for concentrating on muscle conditioning, strength training and yoga. And then Sundays I would do a self care day, which would include a epson salt bath. I would do some foam rolling, even get some lacrosse balls or any kind of balls and you know, work out your muscles. If you can't get a massage and then eating. Eating in a course of a week, I would make sure you're getting, of course seven fruits and vegetables every day. I always strive for seven and then, um, protein, you know, in each meal and also try not to eat late at night because eating late at night is, um, I found through my own experiment and my own life, uh, that that's where I start to gain the weight is if I eat late at night. I tried to eat all my good healthy carbs in the course of a day and then in the evening slow those carbs down and make sure I'm just not eating late at night and I think it really helped.

Allan: 16:23 Good. Good. I like that. Uh, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

Denise: 16:36 Well, the first I would say is change your mindset, get positive thinking, get rid of any negative self talk. Think about the first part is your, your mindset. How to kind of turn some of the negativity in your life into simple ways to be positive and be more optimistic. Then second of all, it comes with the food we eat because I believe in lots of water. I do drink eight, eight ounce glasses every single day. I really try to, you know, eat healthy foods, you know, lessen all the packaged process. And third is think good posture throughout the day. Posture is so important, especially as we age to really sit up and stand up tall, pull in those abs, retrain and educate the abdominal muscles to pull in like a tight corset. And the more you practice that it will be there naturally nice and flat. So I really believe good posture and everything you do when you're exercising, when you're sitting, you are your own architect by the way, you're moving and sitting in idle time. So make sure it's in a good position. Good body alignment is very important as we age. It's muscle conditioning without even picking up a weight.

Allan: 17:57 Yes. Now, anyone that's seen any of your videos knows that they can't watch one of your videos without leaving with a good, happy mindset for the day. Uh, if someone wanted to learn more about you and your programs, where would you like for me to send them?

Denise: 18:13 Oh, I love everyone to come to my website, Deniseaustin.com and there I do challenges all the time. I'm coming up with a new one next month. So go onto my website, follow me on Facebook at Denise Austin, Instagram, Denise Austin, and follow along. I do three challenges that get people started and it's a really great way, especially for men and women over 40. I really truly focus on our age group because this is the time we need to focus on. I always, I believe in good health, but now the most important time that we need, we have some time to dedicate to our bodies. And this is your time.

Allan: 18:59 Perfect. This is going to be episode 407 so you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/407 and I'll be sure to have links there. So Denise, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

Denise: 19:12 Oh, I love it. Thank you guys. Remember, sit up tall on the dummy and have a happy smile. Love it. Thank you. Thank you. Stay fit.

Patreons

The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:

– Tim Alexander– Judy Murphy
– Randy Goode– Debbie Ralston
– John Somsky– Ann Lynch
– Wendy Selman– Jeff Baiocco

Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy

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November 4, 2019

Raising the bottom with Lisa Boucher

When Lisa Boucher saw that she was following her mother's path into alcoholism and loss, she turned things around. Now she helps women break free from alcohol and live better lives for it. In this episode, we discuss her book, Raising the Bottom.

Allan: 01:03 Lisa, welcome to 40+ fitness.

Lisa: 01:06 Thank you Allan. Happy to be here.

Allan: 01:08 You know we're getting into that time of the year when there's you know, holidays and you know, we're going to have Thanksgiving coming up. And of course then after that there's all the Christmas parties. And then of course, New Year's. And you know, we associate all of these holidays, all of these events with alcohol.

Lisa: 01:27 Yeah. And you forgot Halloween because that's becoming a huge alcohol. Um, I know when I was raising my sons, my husband, we're still together and he's a drinker. And when they were taking the kids around when they were little, we had, um, I had a problem with the happy hour at every single house. So the parents would have their kids dressed up in their little costumes and each house would offer a cocktail. And I said, ah. So I ended up making my husband stay home and give out the candy. And I took the kids because by the time you get around, we had a, like a big circle. Half the parents could barely stand. So it starts, I mean there's, there's just no holiday. There's no event that doesn't say, hey, it's all about the parents. And we got to drink too. So what are we modeling?

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Allan: 02:22 I moved to Bocas Del Toro and you know, there's an expat community here and uh, you know, we get together and we have dinners and go out and watch our friends, you know, perform and you know, but it's, it's kind of a cycle of things of it. All of this is always going to involve alcohol, you know, bring your own beer, bring your own wine kind of mindset to all of it.

Lisa: 02:44 We live in a boozy culture and you know, for your listeners, I'm not opposed to drinking moderately, but I think Allan, we have normalized alcoholism in a lot of ways. And what I mean by that is people, I quit drinking before I was a daily drinker and I'm around a lot of people that drink daily and I'm not talking just one drink a day. They're drinking four or five drinks a day. And they walk around saying, well, I'm a social drinker. Well, actually, yeah, that's more like getting into alcohol dependence, alcohol abuse. They may not be full blown alcoholics, but it can have a detrimental impact on a life when if you're going to work, they say 80% of alcoholics have families and have jobs. So if your life looks like something like you go to work and every night after work, especially when you live in, in the tropical place like you do, if every day your social life, your after work life is at a bar drinking for the rest of the evening, at some point, by making that choice, you're choosing not to do a whole lot of other things.

And so I just encourage people to say, is this really what I want to do or am I just going along with the flow? I know when I quit drinking, there's so many things that I have found to do. I just went to a bird lecture this morning. I mean it's kind of a nerdy thing to do, but I'm really interested in nature and the birds and things that when I was drinking, I didn't even see the blue sky or the birds, I didn't notice. I wasn't really present on a daily basis or a moment to moment in my life. So there's a lot of things that you miss too with, with the drinking. And it's just a matter of really rethinking all the drinks and saying, is this who I want to be? Is this how I want to spend my time? And I know with like the people that do get sober, there's a lot of deep heartfelt regret of the things that they missed or the things they didn't do with their family, with their children, with their spouse or significant other, because drinking can take up a lot of time.

And I sobered up in my late twenties and I literally just squandered that whole decade of my twenties when you're trying to set up your life. And I had a lot of regrets about that, but much less so than someone who waits till they're 45, 50, even 60 to get sober.

Allan: 05:40 Yeah, you had a statistic in the book kind of hit me in the face. Um, it was up 10% of the population is an addict or an Alcoholic.

Lisa: 05:51 Yeah. I mean that is true. So think about it. Here in the United States, we have about 320 million people, roughly. So there are truly about 32 million addicts and alcoholics. And that's probably, that's probably under-reported because there's a lot of people like me, I did not go to rehab. I did not go to the doctor. I knew about this disease by being raised by an alcoholic mother. So I've been entrenched in this whole thing from the time from birth my whole life.

And, and I've had siblings who are addicts and alcoholics. And now that I've been sober 30 years, I work with a lot of people in recovery. My first husband was a raging alcoholic, so I've just been around this and they say, and I'm also a registered nurse. So here's another scary stat, is 14% of doctors so I've noticed working in healthcare, there are so many doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, that end up in recovery. So that's a pretty high stat. 14% of doctors and 10% like I said, in the book of the general population. So these are people and the people that I focused on in my book are people that you would never suspect they had a drinking problem because I think that's, that's why more people aren't finding recovery. There's this stigma, there's this picture in our heads of an addict is, is the person, the homeless guy on the street, the people that are passing out in cars that we see on the six o'clock news and that is one face of addiction, but that is at the end-stage.

So I wanted to focus on the people again that were, that were more like myself or the 80% functional alcoholics. For instance, Caro, she's one of the, I have 10 stories in the back of the book of various women and, and out and a guide. Um, she was a surgeon. She was coming home every day making dinner, had two children that were well dressed, well fed in good schools, lives in a great neighborhood. All of these trappings that we look at from the outside facade and say, Oh, that's a great life. However, inside she's falling apart. Her kids are miserable. They can't stand her drinking. They are losing respect for her. And she finally one day just came home from work, started to open that bottle of wine and said, you know what, she went back, didn't drink that day, went back to the hospital, told her partners, Hey, I think I have a problem.

These are two other surgeons. And their response was, surely you jest, this can't be. So this is the attitudes of what we've got going out there and still working in healthcare a couple of days a week. I like to keep my foot in so I can tell you what's going on currently. And the attitudes are shameful. People come to the hospital, they are not getting the help they need. They get a lot of the times, all this anxiety, depression on happiness. The underlying issue is substance abuse, drinking too much, um, taking perhaps too many prescription medications like Xanax, volume, Adavan these benzos do not help a person's life go well. A lot of times they're meant to for anxiety. People get rebound anxiety, which is even worse than their original anxiety. So all of these medications are not helping. And what I'm still saying is the doctors are throwing medicine at these people.

They leave the hospital, their lives continue to spiral out of control. They're unhappy, they're gaining weight, they're losing their marriages, they're losing their children. It is a mess. And the doctors though still rarely address the underlying issue of substance abuse. And I'm saying, Allan, we need to get people clean and sober before we start labeling them with anxiety and depression diagnosis because that is what happened to my mother back in the 60s who was also an RN. She went and got on volume them, which was the pharmaceutical industry's first billion dollar drug that led into a 25-year addiction that escalated into alcohol to where she was nonfunctional. My mom was the woman laying on the floor like you would see in wine and roses, you know, she was a hot mess. So this is where it led for her. And so 10 years into my nursing career, I really started to wake up and I'm looking around and I said, my God, nothing has changed.

Nothing has changed. And let's not forget, there's children on the backside of all of these men and women who are caught up in addiction. So we are in essence cultivating a whole new generation of addicts and alcoholics because growing up in these environments with drug and alcohol fueled parents. I know as a child I was traumatized by it. My father was rather abusive. He's trying to control my mother's alcoholism, which is absolutely uncontrollable. She was incapable of parenting. So we basically raised ourselves. I have two older sisters and a younger brother and we've all been touched by addiction in our own lives. So this, you know, we're just perpetuating the mess. And so celebrating all these boozy outings and events, it's like what happens behind the scenes? Is anybody aware of that? Does anybody care?

Allan: 12:02 Yeah. And you know, from my perspective, you know the times that you know, where, where I would think, you know, I kind of get, for lack of a better word, dependent on the alcohol is I'm very much an introvert. And so if I'm going to go to a party or an event, which obviously here on the Island, just because all the time, you know, a couple of drinks makes me human. Um, from their perspective, um, when I'm not drinking and you know, there's always, my wife will get some questions. It's like, what's wrong with Allan? Just like, Oh this is, this is just half. He hasn't had a couple of drinks. I'll give them a couple of drinks and he'll be nice. There'll be a normal person in small groups, one or two, one on ones. I'm fine. But when I get into larger groups or you know, in places with people, it just, I shut down. And so the alcohol kind of just helps me loosen up a little bit.

Lisa: 12:51 Well, I get it. I think you're not alone. I think the majority, I know that I was very similar when I was drinking. It's like you have to have a few drinks before you get to the party. But when I got sober, I started to number one, be true to myself. So I'm not a big large gathering kind of person. I stopped going to a lot of them. My husband's more of an extrovert and I talked about this in the book. So how do you juggle a relationship, a marriage, whatever when one person drinks and one person's social and the other one is kind of how like you Allan. So I just told my husband there was, you know, pick a few parties that we are regularly invited to that you really want me to go to and I'll go. And the ones that are just, I don't feel the need to go anymore.

I prefer more meaningful activities, smaller intimate dinners or gatherings. Like I said, I've just had other things that I do with my time now then suffer through some huge event or gathering that I really don't want to be at to begin with. So it's, it's picking and choosing and being true to myself. And you know, I started to, when you work on your inner-self and some of the drinking was fueled by low self esteem. Some of my drinking was fueled by thinking, people are focused on me. This self-centeredness, that alcoholism breeds where we think people are going to notice us or look at us. And so we're self conscience. But the reality is is most people are in their own heads, focused on their own stuff and they're really not paying attention to us. I used to say that all the time, I have two grown sons now, but when they were in high school, my one son was always so worried what everybody else would think. And I used to say to him, they're not focused on you. Get out of yourself the, I mean, you're just another kid walking. They're not even paying attention to you. And I hope that that helped them get some of that spotlight off of thinking that people are focused on them when they're really not, when they're really not. So we can find other ways to love ourselves and just to say no, it's okay to say no and just not do certain things that I don't want to do anymore.

Allan: 15:15 Yes. Now in the book, um, you're coming from a woman's perspective, but that is in this book was somewhat written more for women and their perspective. Why, why is alcohol more of an issue for women, uh, than it might be for men?

Lisa: 15:29 Well, I don't know that, that it is actually in Raising the Bottom. I focus more on women only because I am a woman and I can intimately relate it to. But I will tell you before I scare off the guys, there's men love the book. Men love Raising the Bottom. In fact, there was a guy who founded in Seattle, he's a merchant Marine. He took it out to sea with him. He found me on Twitter months later and said it was life changing for him. And he's still sober by the way. So I think men really like it because they can read it and almost say like, wow, I can relate to all of this without feeling threatened at all. So I don't want to scare men off by reading the book, but I can relate to more of the women's issues and how we're responsible a lot of times for family and we get a lot of things dumped on our shoulders.

And I know men have stressors as much too, but I will say this, it seems like men do better at saying, Hey buddy, I quit drinking and their friends kind of respect that boundary I think better than women because I have a lot of women that tell me they really struggle with their so called friend groups who don't really want to be friends with them once they quit drinking and all this. And I find that so disheartening for many reasons. Number one, if your friend group is of that mentality, they're probably super heavy drinkers and they probably, I know when I was drinking, I hung out with people who drank like me. I was not hanging out with normal drinkers. And so I didn't realize there were people who didn't drink like I did that there were people who might have drinks a couple of times a month and then that was it.

And they were the true social drinkers who had a big life and were involved in many other things and their life did not revolve around alcohol. So the people that I socialize with were very much different and we drank every night and had parties and gatherings and we called ourselves social drinkers. So when you have that, like I said, want to boot people out or say they can't be friends or whatnot, and women seem to care about that and I tell them, well you don't need those people then find new friends. And I don't know why that's so threatening to some. And I think in order to change your life, to get sober, to maybe drink less, whatever it is that you decide you want to do, you have to be willing to face a little bit of pushback, which leads me to, as adults, why are we pushing back?

Why do we have to have this peer pressure, this adult peer pressure? When I used to go to gatherings early in my recovery and you're, I'm so uncomfortable anyway cause you feel this shame cause you're like quitting drinking and I don't, now I look back and go, Oh my goodness, what was I thinking? Um, but it's like we feel shame for doing something good for ourselves. If you go to a party and they have all these sweets and you refuse a sweet, nobody questions you. But if you go and you refuse to joy a drink, you get the 20 questions. If you're a young woman, Oh, are you pregnant? Oh, why aren't you drinking? Oh, are you on medication? I mean, it's ridiculous. And so I tell people, men and women, no, is a complete sentence, no thank you. We don't need to explain ourselves. And if somebody has a problem with me not drinking, it's usually because they have a drinking problem and they're very uncomfortable with that mirror of someone not drinking to kind of almost co-sign on their BS. So we can navigate these drinking. I go wherever I want, I do what I want. I have a very big life, but I just don't drink. And for the most part, nobody really cares. Like I said, the only people who I've ever really cared that I'm not drinking are people that ended up having their own problems with alcohol.

Allan: 19:51 Yeah. Now, this last month, uh, we ran a challenge, um, and I included an alcohol piece to it and I didn't say completely abstain from alcohol, but we're going to cut it back and continue to kind of regrets it and cut it back. I've had no alcohol challenges in the past and the turn around was relatively small. Um, so it'll be interesting as people get into, you know, the results of going through the challenge. People are improving their health there, they're losing weight. Uh, you know, that's part of the, the gist of the whole thing. Uh, so alcohol, you know, I think we all know alcohol can lead to weight gain, uh, and stopping drinking can actually help you in your weight loss journey. But there are other health things that we should consider with regards to alcohol. Could you kind of get into some of that?

Well, I mean, Oh my gosh, alcohol impacts really every organ in our body. So let's quit diluting ourselves and say, Oh, it's not that bad. It caused the seven types of cancer that's been proven definitively. Alcohol is a class one carcinogenic. So it is in the same class as asbestos. Now nobody is going to tell you that. And the research on that is when you, if you Google it, you're gonna have to dig a little bit. Cause that's not something that pops up immediately. But Oh, believe me, it's there. So in addition to like for men, there's a lot of throat cancers, esophageal cancers, stomach cancers, colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, and women with breast cancer. I know when I got into recovery here again, I started paying attention and I'm like, Oh my God, so much breast cancer in these women. And then years later I'm researching, doing all this research for Raising the Bottom.

And the light bulb went out and I went, well my God, no wonder all these alcoholic women have breast cancer. It's the booze. I mean we can't say for sure that it's the sole cause, I'm sure there's environmental factors. Stress is a huge one, but a lot of people drink because they can't handle their stress because they don't have good coping skills. So it all ties in together. Um, you've got people, when I was working in the ER, people who are diabetic drinking heavily, their blood sugars are all over the place. They're coming into the hospital because now they're having kidney failure from their unchecked diabetes because they were drinking too much. They're getting coronary artery disease from their unchecked diabetes because they couldn't stop drinking so much. So there are so many ways that alcohol and the alcohol turns to sugar in our body.

So you're just getting this bombardment of sugar, which causes inflammation. Let's move on to the brain. The extended care facilities. Nursing homes are filled with people who have a long history of drinking. Lot of alcoholics end up in the nursing homes. Lot of people with longterm benzo abuse or I don't even want to say abuse, people tend to get on those benzos and they stay on them for the next 30 years because the withdrawal to get off is so awful. They just stay on them. And I think that's how they were designed by the pharmaceutical companies. So they give you this benzo when you're 25 to help you not feel anxious and when you're 60, you're still taking it and pretty soon the mind just goes to mush. So these are things that people don't really understand about how and what it can do.

In the last five years I've seen a big uptick in women that are yellow because women do not have, we lack the chemical that helps to break down alcohol. Men have more of the, Oh, I was, that's a tongue twister for me to say. It's ADH is the, the short, but we women lack ADH. Men have more of it. So that's why men can kind of skate along and drink maybe a little longer and a little harder without it totally impacting them physically. Like at, well a woman, um, women go downhill much faster. And that's, I talk a lot about that Raising the Bottom because that was instrumental for me. Why I got sober when I did, because I saw how quickly once my mother crossed that line from drinking martinis at lunch to becoming a full blown alcoholic. Her demise was Swift.

Her, she ended up looking like she was nine months pregnant, her skin was yellow, she was dying, she was, she was dying. And that happened in a span of five years. So I'm seeing a lot more of that that I didn't see 10 or 15 years ago. I've been in health care for 25 years now. So that is new and it's all attributed, I believe, to the pharmaceutical, or I'm sorry, the alcohol, big alcohol is doing a very, very good job of spending their billions of dollars in ad budgets to target women. And so the new alcoholic often is well educated. She makes a good living. She wears designer pumps and she carries a diaper bag. And this is the new alcoholic of what we're facing. So now let me ask you this, Allan, what happens to those children on the backside in this boozy mom? Well, they end up like me probably will land in their own addiction later on because when you have a mother who's all about the party time, you're not present. You're missing a lot of the nuances that I know with my twins I was able to pick up on, I was two weeks sober when I found out I was pregnant with twins and I'm so grateful that I was a sober mom who was fully present. Both my sons went on to become division one athletes. Both of my sons went to college, they graduated college playing football. And I can just assure you it would've been a very, very different picture had I not been sober. Our family would've been very different.

Allan: 26:32 Now there are a lot of people that will say, okay, you know, and I don't drink that much. You know, I just have a couple drinks here and there and like you said, social drinkers. Um, I was actually reading a study the other day or there's actually several studies out there that show that we're, we're really not good at self-reporting what we eat, what we drink. Uh, so you know, if they ask you what you had for dinner last week and in general, um, you are going to under-report your calories, um, you're gonna report more healthy food than you actually ate. Um, and if you drank alcohol, you're probably gonna report less drinks than you probably drank. But you know, this is an alcoholism is actually something that unless you self-diagnose, nothing's going to change for you.

Lisa: 27:15 And you're absolutely right. So what changed my life was getting honest with myself because the standard alcoholic answer is I had two, Oh, I only had two beers. I only had two drinks. They always only have two. Yeah. So you're right, people lie. And so that's why doctors that are tuned in, most doctors are clueless about alcoholism. Some of the stuff that comes out of the psychiatrist's mouth that I hear like, Oh, it just drives me crazy. They'll say things like, Oh, they used to be an alcoholic, but now they just, they're using meth or something crazy like that. So like they just switched addictions is what they did. But back to your point. Yeah. So we lie, alcoholics lie, we all know that. Um, if you want to change your life, be honest. Nobody can, you know, I knew two years before I quit drinking that I was drinking too much, that I was crossing a line.

I had a home bar that I loved and I knew everybody kinda like on cheers. Everyone knew my name. And when I go, we used to go in there and start asking the person sitting on my right and left, who, or by the way, drinking right along with me and say, do you think I drink too much? And of course they're like, ah, I have no, you're fine. You know, what are they going to say? Yeah, you're drinking. So, but, but that was already, that was those early warning signs. Something was not resonating within my soul. And I knew, I knew that it was not, um, I don't even want to say abnormal, but it was abnormal for me because it's like people get so caught up on quantity. Like I said, I was not a daily drinker. I did not drink a fifth a day.

However, when I drank, I get a few drinks in me. There were times I absolutely could stop and I would be your designated driver. And there were other times I could not stop. So there was that unpredictability factor, which is indicative of potential alcoholism. There was the fact of how it affected my personality. I'm a pretty even keeled person. I'm not a drama queen by any stretch. Give me a few drinks. I know we're going to have drama. It's either going to be, I'm going to create something, I'm going to start a fight. I'm going to shoot my mouth off inappropriately pick, pick anything I would just do and things that I'd never would do and say sober. So that was another clue to me. I was losing my moral compass. That was another tip off where you start to rationalize and justify lying.

You know, I don't know, it was never really a thief, but I'm sure that could have come where, you know, you take 20 bucks out of your husband's wallet, don't bother to tell him, Hey, I took 20 bucks and you start, you know, I didn't do that then, but I could see where I could have maybe segwayed into that kind of behavior. And we tend to rationalize things like, Oh, that's fine, that's fine. Well now actually in sobriety it's about getting rigorously honest, living right, doing the right thing. And so I was really losing my way that way. And I don't know that I would have saw it as early as I did had. Again. My mother was instrumental in my recovery because she sobered up when I was in my early twenties, and I saw her change dramatically. So by the time I got sober, my mother had seven years sobriety under her belt, and she had morphed into this amazing mom that I think I wished I always had.

But it can impact us in so many ways. And I just really want people to understand you've got to throw out all these old ideas that an alcoholic has to look a certain way because no, there are no demographics, there are no boundaries. And I'll tell you the worst nightmare for an alcoholic is money. There's a lot of alcoholism. My father goes to Benito Springs in the winter and I go down there. So you've got a lot of affluent people in the Naples, Sarasota area. And as a nurse I see the loose blouses and the big livers and the guys in their golf shirts with their big livers sticking out. And it's just, Oh my God, I almost can't stand it because there's just so much. Their lives are golfing and drinking and eating and there's going to be a lot of, you know, earlier deaths because this is what they do and they, this is their social life, which is fine, but it's, um, it's scary and a lot of ways to me when I see how sick some of these people look and they don't even see it.

Allan: 32:01 Yeah. Now in your recovery and in your mother's recovery, you utilize the 12 step.

Lisa: 32:07 I did. Yes.

Allan: 32:09 So even that wasn't on your plan. Can you kind of just quickly kind of go through, cause I think you kind of hit on some of those points of getting honest with yourself. Um, and, and I think the 12 steps is actually kind of that approach to actually making that happen and making it real in your life. Not just an exercise you do over the course of a weekend, uh, at a seminar. But this is something that you have to live and do over course of quite a long time,

It becomes a way of life. Allan, I know people go to rehab and I just need to throw this out there. So many people go to rehab in their families think, Oh, they're cured. No, Nope. That is just the tip of the iceberg because a lot of people go to rehab just to get people off their back and they have no intention of really doing the hard work. It takes working on the core insight issues. However you choose to do that. I like the 12 step because it gives you a roadmap to do that. And really the first step is we have to admit we have a problem. So I don't care what recovery method you're going to use, smart recovery, whatever. Um, you have to admit you have a problem because you can't, I mean, it's almost like if someone who's overweight, you have to admit, okay, I decide I need to lose weight.

Until you're ready to accept that about yourself, you're not going to change it. And then the 12 steps really help a person look at their issues. I can. So what were some of mine? I was a very fear based person, which I didn't realize that. Um, so I had to look at how as a child my predominant emotion was fear. And I covered up with that fear with a lot of false bravado. A big mouth, that kind of thing. So I had to look at that. I had to forgive my parents. They did the best they could. I didn't think they did a great job raising me. Um, since I did kind of raise myself along with my siblings. Now I have a sister who stayed in addiction 40 years because she couldn't, she liked to blame my parents as opposed to taking responsibility as an adult.

Okay. Our childhood wasn't great, but it, it could have been worse. And I'm an adult now and I'm going to make the choice to make my life better and be a different parent to my children. And, and my sister couldn't do that. So yeah, you have to. And then it's about, it really focuses too on getting out of yourself. I mean, alcoholism is, We have to get humble. It's that I'm going to do it my way disease. It's a disease that is riddled with pride. People can be almost homeless and they still think they know what they're doing. They're unwilling to listen. They've lost four jobs, they're on their third marriage and they still swear they don't have a problem that you see over and over again. Anybody who's been married more than well, even three times, it's usually alcohol is in the picture there somewhere.

One of the persons involved was drinking and my older sister, she's on her third marriage. Yep. Alcohol has been involved in each one of those marriages, so we have to get honest about, we can't blame everybody else. It comes back to what are we covering up inside of us and dealing with that and working on the issues. Having that humility to say, I can't do this. Making amends to the people that we have harmed people. Moms especially, they say, Oh, I'm not harming anyone. Well, yes you are, because your kids may be well fed and you might get them to their soccer practices. But when you're standing on the sidelines with a cocktail in your hand, you're not really focused on the present moment. You're focused on, Oh, when this cocktail is empty, I got a hall over to my friend's cooler and get a refill.

And it's just a very selfish, myopic way of life, the drinking life. And most people don't really see it until they do get sober. And then the last factor is it's about helping others and doing it freely and willingly and giving of, you know, I do, I work with a lot of women. Recovery coaching is like really big now. I don't charge because it was freely given to me. And so it's an honor and a privilege to help a woman who is struggling, who says they want to change their life and then to give them some simple directions that they follow and their lives begin to change in amazing ways. So that is a gift. So it's, it's really a way of life and it's part of my life that I've just incorporated into my life and it's just who I am and what I do.

I go to meetings three a week, I work with others and I write books and I'm still in there sometimes.

Allan: 37:17 Lisa, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get that stay well.

Lisa: 37:22 The obvious Allen exercise, eat right, but here are, here are the three that I think are really helpful. Number one, stop people pleasing because that a lot of times people, people please. Then they have resentments which fuels eating and drinking and anger. So people are very angry, so stop people pleasing. If you really don't want to do something, I mean other than things that like we have to do, like go to work or whatever, but stop people pleasing so that you're not resentful. Number two, get engaged in something outside of yourself. As I said, help others. People are depressed, they're anxious.

Well, when you're only focused on your own depression and anxiety, it almost fuels it. Whereas if you're focused on helping somebody else, getting out of yourself, the anxiety and depression is cut in half. So I would suggest find something, find a hobby, find a way to help others. And you will watch happiness. Um, quotion expand exponentially. And number three, which is no problem for you down there in Panama, get out in nature people, 89% of adults spend 15 minutes or less a day in nature. Oh my gosh, no wonder we're drinking, right? Because you're around, you're in these sterile environments, be it an office or whatever. And then you go from that to your car, to your house. And I don't think, I mean, well, let's go back to hunters and gatherers. We're meant to be outdoors. You know, the trees, the greenery. There is a chemical in this greenery called Fido signs, and it is proven in Japan.

They call it shouldn't ring Yoku. They don't give out a lot of antidepressants in Japan, they prescribed nature walks and force bathing. So this fight assigns in the trees, helps to increase your immunity, decrease depression, decrease anxiety. So why are we not doing more of these sorts of things and forth? The drinkers know this does not mean you go sit under a Palm tree and have five drains that doesn't count, but maybe go walk amongst the butterflies or I think you mentioned early, maybe before we started taking that you'd have a rain forest nearby. I mean, what a gift. I can't imagine how amazing that would be to walk through this rain for some of this nature. Chirping and chattering above your head. These are things that really can make you feel so much better. And I wonder if people just, if they decided to do something like that every day as opposed to drink five drinks, maybe have one drink after you go on a nature walk and maybe that had be enough and you just had a drink. Your life could be really different in just something as small as those sorts of little changes can have huge impacts when you realize like, wow, I took that walk and I was fully present and engaged in my surroundings. I mean, I can't tell you how many people get sober and say, Oh my God, for the first time I like, I smelled winter or I saw spring. This is what taking alcohol out of a life can do. It's like ripping off the veil or the scales. It's like you see things just totally different.

Allan: 41:06 Lisa, thank you so much. If someone wanted to get in touch with you, learn more about the book (Raising the Bottom), learn more about what you're doing, where would you like for me to send them?

Lisa: 41:15 They can go to my website raisingthebottom.com. I'm on Facebook under Lisa Boucher award-winning author. I'm also on Twitter and Instagram at raising the bottom.

Allan: 41:26 Okay, well you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/406 and I'll be sure to have them there. So Lisa, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

Lisa: 41:15 Thank you, Allan. This was a pleasure. I enjoyed talking with you.

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October 28, 2019

Get fit in minutes a day with Dr. Denis Wilson and Allison Roberts

Dr. Denis Wilson believes he's locked the key to getting fit in just minutes a day with Fastercise. On episode 405 he and his daughter Allison Roberts discuss how we can signal our body to shed weight and get fit.

Allan: 01:08 Dr. Wilson, Alison, welcome to 40 plus fitness.

Dr. Wilson: 01:12 Thanks so much, Allan. It's great to be with you.

Allison: 01:15 Thank you.

Allan: 01:16 Now, the book we're going to talk about today is called The Power of Fastercise. And I thought, you know, sometimes people come up with these ideas of, you know, how we can get more done in less time and, and how we can, we can fit a workout into something. And a lot of times what it basically is is just kind of another regurgitation of the things that were already there. And they're not, you know, necessarily based on anything other than an author saying you can get fit really fast and I know how to do it here's a hit training program and there's their book. But this is very, very different because I mean you've actually based everything in your fastercizing book and this and yeah, all of that's been based on actual science, actual knowledge of hormones. Can you, can you kind of tell me a little about how you kind of stumbled across this, this concept?

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Dr. Wilson: 02:06 So I've been working with people with slow metabolisms for about 30 years and I have seen over and over again where people are trying to lose weight and they still have trouble losing weight even though they're doing quote unquote everything that the experts tell them to do. And it's really frustrating because here's a person who's doing what their quote-unquote supposed to do and they're still not getting any results. And a lot of people will accuse them of not following the program correctly. You know, they don't want to be, take the blame for this person's poor results. So they blame the person's a lack of compliance. But anyway, I've seen these people struggle sometimes on 600 calories a day, sometimes on 1,012 hundred calories a day, and they're still not able to lose weight. So I went back to, I was trying to figure out a way to help these people and I've been trying to do that for a long time now, but there some research available now in the last 10 years that wasn't available 30 years ago.

And it's just fantastic because I call it, um, there's a lot of research done on, on hormones and signaling and messengers and, uh, so there's a lot of things talk in the literature, uh, known as signaling and chemical signals. And so I call Fastercise basically signaling exercise because it takes advantage of the signaling processes that already occur in the body. But if you understand these processes, which we haven't for many years and we're starting to understand it much better now, but if you understand those processes correctly, then you can send just the right signal at just the right time to make just the right difference to unlock the key to actually getting the results you're looking for.

Allan: 04:05 Yeah, I think that was part of what was fascinating about this is because, you know, I think most of us already know when the hormones are signaling to our body what to do. So, you know, um, testosterone is making us want to build some muscle and be more masculine. Uh, cortisol is a catabolic and actually wants to start breaking things down because we're in stress mode. But your approach is actually saying, well what are the, what are the things we can do ourselves that will cause that hormone to be in the right place at the right time.

Dr. Wilson: 04:36 Exactly.

Allan: 04:37 So as a, as a part of all this, I guess the base goal is, you know, we're, we're going to want to try to a loose fat you can gain muscle. And so as we, as we get into that, one of the concepts that you get into the book is this concept called the unfed state. And can you tell me a little bit about that and how that's going to affect our hormones?

Dr. Wilson: 05:00 Absolutely. And um, there's really, as opposed to the unfed state or non-fed state, there is the fed state. And so an easy way to conceptualize that is, it's like a charge. It's like a cell phone having two States. Number one, you can charge the cell phone and then it's in the charging state or you can unplug the cell phone and start using it. And then you, it's in the using state. And that's the way it is in the fed state. We're like charging up our energy stores and in the non-fed state we're using those energy stores. And so since the goal of weight loss or fat loss is to use up those stored energy reserves of fat, that's why the non-fed state is so critically important because that's the time that your body is uncharging or using up those to power your body.

Allan: 05:59 Okay. And so it's effectively, I mean, I guess in the book you kinda got into it from the perspective of says if we keep eating all the time and we stay in the fed state, we're kind of putting ourselves in one role of body, in one role of always charging. And we're never discharging or able to get rid of the energy that we have now stored.

Dr. Wilson: 06:25 Exactly. And it doesn't take a lot of food either. So if somebody is snacking just a little bit, let's say every couple of hours they have, even though their calories don't add up to a lot of calories in the day, if they're eating every three hours, that's enough eating just a little bit of food is enough to drive up your insulin levels or in other words puts you in the charging mode or the storage mode. And so when your insulin levels are up, you're not going to be burning stored fat and because insulin will shut that down immediately. So you do need to let those insulin levels come down. You need to be in the non-fed state so that you can encourage the burning of those fat stores.

Allan: 07:15 Now I think when, when people kind of go into, or they hear about intermittent fasting or maybe even longer extended fasting, so we're trying to get into an unfed state, although you know, they're like, well, I'm going to get hungry, but Fastercise is built and designed to help fight that hunger. Right?

Dr. Wilson: 07:33 That's right. And it takes advantage of the survival mechanisms that are normally built in the body and the body. There's two ways that the body has of surviving. One is to run off of the stored energy that you already have stored and I call that storage mode. And the other way of approaching it is foraged mode. In other words, going out and getting new food. So when a person eats, then the food that they eat, will stop, will fill their body with nutrients so that it stops their hunger and they go into storage mode. But the other option, the other way of doing it is by doing a special kind of exercise and to direct your body or to signal your body that you're actually going out and foraging for your food. And they actually go into obtain food. And when your body sees that you're in the business of obtaining more food, it stops, it mobilizes stored energy in your body. And that stored energy that floods into your system provides the energy you need to get more food and also to get rid of your hunger.

Allison: 08:49 So if I can just jump in here really quickly, just going along with what my dad was Dr. Wilson. It's amazing how when you tell your body, Hey, we're trying to get some food here. Yes, you're going without eating anything, but you have the ability to stay quote-unquote fed because you're not hungry. You feel quite satisfied. At least that's been my experience. And so it's not a chore. It's not challenging, honestly. It's invigorating and it's saves you a lot of time in the kitchen because you can spend your time doing other things.

Allan: 09:20 Okay. So Allison, yeah, take just a moment because you did this predominantly lose some baby weight. Um, you'd put on some weight when you had your baby and you took your father's program fast for size and you executed on it and was able to do that. Can you kind of talk us through that? How, how this would in a normal day or a normal approach that you went through as you were getting yourself Fastercised.

Allison: 09:45 Yeah, absolutely. Like you said, I, I gained some baby weight when I had my son Titus and I was probably sitting at about 35 pounds beyond where I wanted to be a thought. You know, I've got nothing to lose. Let's see how this goes. And so primarily my dad told me when you get hungry, push it off with shiver size, which is the shivering exercise for Fastercise. Push your hunger away with shivering, uh, once or twice before you eat and then after you eat, do around of tightening your muscles as hard as you can so your body knows how to develop the muscles. So which ones are most important on how is this going to help you? So I started a shivering before I was hungry and then I also incorporated a lower carb diet. You don't have to have a low carb diet with Fastercise.

Allison: 10:31 But I found that that worked well for me and I was able to lose about 30 pounds in three months, which completely blew my mind, especially considering that I was working a full time job, 40 hours a week. I was taking care of my baby, we had just moved across country and we were buying a house. So my life was kind of kind of all over the place and I really didn't have any hope of being able to lose the weight. Um, but you know, in the morning I woke up, I would shiver sized and then when I get hungry again I do it maybe once more. And then I would eat my lunch because usually I wouldn't be hungry until then. And then after ate my lunch I would do about you know, two minutes of tightening my muscles as hard as I could just going through each muscle group. And then I would wait until I got hungry again and the cycle repeat itself. So I did that about two or three times a day. And just those small changes, I was able to lose weight very quickly and then I ended up entering a bodybuilding competition eight months after delivery just with doing Fastercise.

Allan: 11:32 Wow. That's, that's pretty impressive. Now. So, just to kind of recap a little bit there, there are basically two variations or two things that you would incorporate as a part of Fastercise. One is the shiver size, which is effectively moving alternating muscles very quickly. And then the, the tighter size basically just as tight, tighter, tighter size is just basically where you, you, you contract the muscle in an isometric way to just really get an intense muscular burn. Right?

Allison: 12:02 Right.

Allan: 12:04 Okay, and it's, it's two minutes, or less typically. Right?

Allison: 12:09 Right. Yeah, so I clenched my muscles as hard as I can want like one muscle group at a time for about two or three seconds a piece. So clench my biceps as hard as I can and then move on until deltoids or whatever the case may be. It really doesn't take much time at all.

Allan: 12:25 Okay. Um, you know, Dr. Wilson I've, you know, obviously I'm in this space, I do a lot of reading and I really appreciate all the studies and the, and the links you had, uh, to, for me to go out and actually look at some of these studies because they were fascinating and I love this stuff, but I'd read a study not too, too long ago, uh, that, uh, said, you know, if you, if you walked after you ate, just go for a five, 10 minute walk. It keeps your blood sugar from going up. So I think there's, you know, there's some of that, but you know, most people will say, you know, if you want to lose weight, you got to do this, this cardio thing and you need to do it for at least 30 minutes and get your heart rate up to a certain point. Uh, but what's you're doing with this as just a very short but very intense period of time. Can you kind of compare and contrast them of why this, the shorter version is better then maybe the longer, slower cardio?

Dr. Wilson: 13:21 I think the human body is miraculous. And I think there's a lot of, a lot of things work really well for a lot of people, so I know that you know, it just depends on what you're wanting to do and what signals that you're sending the body. For example, if you think about a long walk, let's say a 45-minute walk, in a way you're, again, I'm going to go back, my point of view is that it's all about survival. You know, a lot of people talk about the balance between calories in and calories out and I talk about a survival balance between storage mode and forge mode. And I think, I think our bodies, from what I gather from reading, reading, studying, all the physiology and all the research and studies on this, if you kind of look at all of them and put them all together, to me, it leaves me with a feeling that all of these mechanisms are about survival.

And so and I like to call one, one mode of survival as storage mode and the other is forge mode. And that has all to do, that has everything to do with us preserving enough or obtaining enough energy to function correctly. So if you think about the storage mode is going to be important if there's a famine in the land and if it's hard to obtain food. Or let's say you had to walk 45 minutes to find something to eat, let's say you had to, let's say you had to run four miles a day to cover enough territory to find something to eat. So in a way you're by doing that kind of exercise, you're almost sending your body the signal that food isn't that easy to come by. But on the other hand, if you can go outside and run around for a few minutes or run out, run around for a few seconds, or tighten your muscles and contract your muscles and climb up a tree just in a few seconds, you can obtain food, then that sends the signal that that food is plentiful and it's a lot easier to come by.

So, and that foraging is working for you. And so basically you're telling your body there's no reason to store fat. And if you, if you do something different, like, um, these, these long cardio exercises, in a way, you might actually be extending your body, there's a thing that happens when you do that kind of cardio exercise. You actually, instead of your appetite going away, you can actually build your appetite because your body, you, you build your appetite and your body says, Oh, well, you know, we need to conserve energy and we need to burn some muscle and we need to store some fat and so it can be counterproductive. I mean, it's great if you're gonna if you're, if you're training four or five K or if you're training for an ultra marathon, you know, then of course, that kind of training is fantastic. But if you're trying to lose fat and build muscle in just a few minutes a day, then a cause that, that's one of the huge advantages of the Fastercise is that it doesn't take all day. It doesn't, you don't have to go to the gym any, you know, if you're standing in line at the, at the grocery store, if you're driving, if you're in a meeting, uh, no matter where you are or what you're doing, you can do this.

Allan: 16:46 Yeah. I think if I started flexing muscles and posing in a meeting, um, I get a lot of weird looks, but, uh, you know, um, you know, and I think that's just one of this, I mean, from my practical experience, you know, I know that if I, if I do that, the basic hit training and by hit training, I mean really intense and actually really short because you can't, you just can't keep doing it. If it's really high intensity, high-intensity workout after that workout, I'm, I'm definitely not hungry for an hour or two. But when I was training for marathons, I would always put on weight because I was always hungry. And then of course, because I was training, I justified that I could eat what I wanted to eat. Uh, but almost invariably, every time I did the training for a marathon, I would start putting on weight.

Dr. Wilson: 17:31 Interesting. Yeah.

Allison: 17:33 I'm just, you know, you were commenting about flexing in a meeting. Just wanted to share that. I have done that multiple times, but trick is to clench your muscles in the position that you're already seated in so you can like clench your abs or maintaining eye contact with someone and they would have no idea that you're building your muscles.

Allan: 17:55 Yeah, yeah. I'm, I'm just thinking about, you know, bicep pose tricep, but now there's a concept in the book and I actually love this concept because I tell my clients this and I, and I've actually experienced it myself. Uh, but have you talked to the calorie in, calorie out folks? They're going to tell you that you have to cut and then you have to, you know, bulk. And then so you can build muscle, which is, you know, antibiotic to add the muscle, but you're probably going to add a little bit of fat when you do that. And then you can cut and you're probably gonna lose a little bit of muscle when you do that. But by going backwards and forwards on this, you can inch yourself up to more muscle. But in the book you propose that we can do both at the same time.

Dr. Wilson: 18:39 Yes. And I think, I think there's a lot of instances, I think a lot of people, well there are studies that show the results in a number of patients who go through different programs and they'll show that as a group they've lost this much fat and they've lost and they've gained this much muscle so they can, you can see that this happens as a group over let's say an eight week period of time they have lost fat and gained muscle at the same time. So that, so we know that can happen over a period of, of, of weeks or months. But I believe it can actually happen at the very same moment. Not just the same month, not to same week, not the same day and not the same hour, but at the same moment. That you can get your, because when you have, he things that stimulate muscle growth include concentration or availability of amino acids and, and energy.

So if you have, if you have stimulation or the exercise stimulation number one, and then you have amino acids number two, and you have energy number three, then then you can build muscle. And um, the interesting thing is that we have plenty of muscles stored in fat. And one thing that I think is fascinating is to give you an example is that a lot of times one of the things we use for quick energy is glycogen. And glycogen is a stored carbohydrate that's stored in the muscles and in the liver. And when our energy supply is low, typically that's a sign that our glycogen storage is low. But they found that people, uh, when you, and then when you burn up all your glycogen and then you have to rely more on fat. But they've, they've found in research that certain, um, long distance athletes, they will, they are able to replenish their glycogen stores even when they're on a low carbohydrate diet. So even though they're not eating carbohydrate and they're eating mostly fat and protein, they're still able to replenish their, their glycogen stores. And that's largely due to something called docgluconeogenesis where the body just, uh, uses raw materials, I guess to begin to remanufacture or recycle, recycle. It's, um, blood sugar back into glycogen for energy stores.

Allan: 21:12 And, and that's typically once they're fat-adapted cause it experience, it doesn't work that way when you first start a low carb diet at all. So once you do get to that point, yes, you have the energy that you need and your body actually gets really, really efficient at using fat. So, depending on the intensity of the work that you're doing, um, you, you have the stamina to continue to use body fat and your body's going to restore that glycogen even if you're not eating significant carbs.

Dr. Wilson: 21:42 So, yeah, exactly. And so in a way, this, you know, because of this mechanism, there's a way that you can get fat adapted or you can be breaking down your muscle. I mean, I'm sorry, breaking down your fat stores and losing fat, but at the same time providing enough energy as long as you have enough of amino acids available that not only can you rebuild your glycogen at a point like that, but you can also, you can also rebuild your muscles as well.

Allan: 22:13 Yeah, and I think one key point of this that, that I think's important is that this doesn't just, this doesn't mean that you, you're always eating protein to get those amino acids. In many cases your, your body through a tophi G can actually recycle cells and pull amino acids. We always have amino acids running through our system. Um, it's just a function of making sure that everything else is working the way it's supposed to. So our hormones and everything else is in line to allow us to build that muscle.

Dr. Wilson: 22:40 Right.

Allan: 22:41 Okay, cool. So Allison, um, you guys are developing an app for this. Can you, can you tell us a little bit about that?

Allison: 22:47 Yeah, so this app is available right now with Android and Apple and we just called it Fastercise. So it's easy to find. Uh, basically it tells you everything that you need to know to successfully accomplish your Fastercised program. So we have what we like to call the laws of Fastercise, which basically tells you exactly what you need to do every day. But then we also have lots of content to show you how to Fastercise, maintain a diet management. So lots of recipes and sparking inspiration for, for your foods. We also have a journal section and a social media and resources. So with this, we are pretty sure that you could do this on your own. But then we also have the availability to have personal one on one coaching, uh, with our staff. So you can get not only the help from the app, but then on top of that help from an actual person if you have more specific questions and would like a little bit more specialized attention.

Allan: 23:47 Yeah. I liked that you, you had the videos in there so they can, they can literally look and, because sometimes you're trying to visualize. I'll work with my clients and I'm like trying to explain an exercise to them and it's just, it's, it's sometimes it's very difficult for them to get the concept of exactly what you're doing. So I like that the videos are there, uh, the support, the journaling, all of that, um, and the meal plans and the recipes. I think you've put together a really, really cool app.

Allison: 24:12 Thank you. We, we, we'd like to think so. We hope everyone else does too.

Allan: 24:17 Cool. 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, and I guess that we'll start with you, Allison.

Allison: 24:30 Yeah, so for me, I think my top three strategies are first, find a way to spark joy in your life every day. I think when you can give yourself something to look forward to, it just makes your whole outlook on life so much better. Um, my second recommendation is to be intention focused, not feeling focused. So if you have a goal, make sure that you make your actions line up with achieving that goal rather than own. You know, I'm tired right now. I don't want to do that. Make sure that, that your actions are fulfilling your goals. And then lastly, stay as close to what nature has provided or intended for us as possible. One of the things that I like most about Fastercise is it lets me tap into what my body does naturally and what the world around me has provided by eating natural foods and doing natural exercises. I think that, you know, nature and the earth have done a lot to help us through the thousands and thousands of years that humans I've been hearing. And I think that it knows what it's doing. So those are my top three.

Allan: 25:34 Cool. Dr. Wilson.

Dr. Wilson: 25:36 Thanks Allan. So my first strategy would be, uh, increasing the size and number of our mitochondria and what that the mitochondria are in ourselves. And that's basically the power plan of ourselves. And one thing we haven't talked about that I actually think is, is really huge. It touches on what you were saying about autophagy and rebuilding and refreshing, refreshing your body, uh, Fastercises is a simple way that people can refresh their fitness in just a few minutes a day. And one of the ways that we do that is by doing this kind of Fastercise, what we can do is we can use up energy faster than our mitochondria can produce it at least for a short time. And you mentioned with that high-intensity interval training exercise that you do is that you can only do that for a certain amount of time. You can't keep doing it. And the reason why we can't keep doing it is because our energy will, the reason why we can't keep doing it as that we use up ATP or energy faster than our mitochondria can, can produce it.

And that actually has a really great stimulatory effect because your body says, wow, he used up or she used up energy faster than we could make it today. So we're going to have to generate more power plants for tomorrow. And those power plants are fantastic because those are the ones that, that do refresh your body or do rebuild your body. When we sleep at night, all the chemical reactions that we build and refresh our body are using energy produced by the mitochondria. So to have to feel energetic during the day, to feel refreshed, to be rebuilding, to have your skin tightening up and for you be able to move and function and everything.

But mitochondria are, are really important for that. And this Fastercise is a fantastic way of doing it. And you know, that you've sent your body that signal quite strong is when you get winded enough from Fastercise that you have to take a deep breath if you actually can catch a deep breath that's your signal that you Fastercised enough for that day to expect tomorrow to be better. Uh, I totally agree with Allison as far as the next, my next recommendation as far as the natural foods go and natural foods and natural activities and to stay true to the design of our bodies or how they're built or the blueprint as it were. So it's so, it's so critical to try to just like, just like you want to drive a screw with the correct end of a screwdriver so you know, we want to use our bodies the way they are built to be used.

And if we go contrary to that, putting in there things that aren't found in nature and, uh, it's, it's not gonna work out as well. My third recommendation is to, uh, the adaptations that, that people go through, like whether it's diet or exercise or fitness program, when those work, as long as you're doing them. But it might take four to six weeks or more actually months and even years of training for your body, to build up all the adaptations and, and, and to develop all the, to develop all the benefits from the exercise you're doing. But when you stop that training, you can lose those adaptations or that, that progress if you will. You can lose that and as short as two weeks. So my recommendation isn't the diet and exercise that you can do that makes a difference.

It's the diet and exercise that you can keep doing. Cause you, you've mentioned like you're, you're looking for a strategy where someone can be healthy for life. So really what they need to do, I think what people need to do is they need to find a lifestyle that they can do for life, uh, health, promoting lifestyle that they can do for life. And, and I love Fastercise for that because it's simple time efficient and it can easily be done by pretty much anybody in the world. Even people who are disabled, people who are uh, elderly people who are obese, uh, just about anybody in any circumstance can, can get a lot of benefit from this approach.

Allan: 30:19 Well cool. I appreciate you sharing both of you sharing that. If someone wanted to get in touch with you, learn more about the book and the things that you're doing in the app, where would you like for me to send them?

Dr. Wilson: 30:31 So our book, uh, The Power of Fastercise is available in bookstores right now and it's also available on Amazon. Listeners can also get it direct from our publisher@chelseagreen.com and they can also go to our Fastercise website. It's fastercise.com

Allison: 30:52 Yeah. So I recommend going and checking out our website at fastercise.com. And you can order the book there. You could also go on Amazon and look up The Power of Fastercize and then you could also go to Chelsea green publishing to get the power of fast your size. If you'd like to download our app, it's available in both Apple and Android and just search Fastercize.

Dr. Wilson: 31:22 Allan, I just wanted to say one more thing about the app does that, what we had in mind when we designed the app was so that one person can tell another person so that one friend could tell another friend, Hey, just go and download the app and follow the instructions or all you have to do is download the app and follow what it says.

Allan: 31:47 Cool. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/405 four zero five and I'll be sure to have the links there. So Dr. Wilson, Alison, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

Dr. Wilson: 31:59 Thank you so much for having us.

Allison: 32:01 Thank you. This was great.

Patreons

The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:

– Tim Alexander– Judy Murphy
– Randy Goode– Debbie Ralston
– John Somsky– Ann Lynch
– Wendy Selman– Jeff Baiocco

Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy

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October 21, 2019

Fit beyond fifty with Moira Berman

At the age of 35, Moira Berman decided to use weight lifting to change the way her body looked and felt. Despite the late start, she went on to compete in bodybuilding competitions and to work as a trainer. She is producing an online video summit called Fit Beyond Fifty set to release later this month.

Allan: 01:18 Moira, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

Moira: 01:21 Thank you so much, Allan. This is really exciting to be on your show.

Allan: 01:25 Thank you. And I was very proud when you invited me to be a part of your summit, the Fit Beyond Fifty. I really enjoyed our interview. And so I know, if, if you liked the podcast and you'd like today's showing that resonates with you, you're definitely going to like that conversation with Moira and me because it was a really good interview and, I really enjoyed it. So thank you for letting me be a part of the summit.

Moira: 01:48 Oh, sure. And I think the best part was maybe when you knocked over the mic.

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Allan: 01:57 The summit is video. So you know, this is, this is an audio podcast, so you don't see me moving my arms around and you know, just doing all the things that I do while I'm articulating and talking. But yeah, had my computer propped up so I had good angle and better lighting in the house we have here in the jungle and boom, I knocked the computer over. It was, it was a moment.

Moira: 02:22 It was pretty good though.

Allan: 02:26 One of the things I like about your story that, and I really wanted to kind of get into is that like a lot of folks, you knew that eating well was, was something that you needed to do to kind of maintain your weight. So you would, you would go on a diet, lose a little bit of weight, put on a little bit of weight, and finally you kinda heard someone or resonated with you at least a little bit better. That maybe weightlifting resistance training was, it was something you needed to do.

Moira: 02:57 Yes, I had, I said being dieting, you know, you sort of do the yoyo. I was doing writing, I took exercise classes, but someone said to me, you know, if you used weights, if would change your body shape. And that was all I had to here, body shape will change. Okay, I'm in. So that's how I got started. But I didn't really know what I was doing. I had a friend show me how to use the weights and one of the small YMCA gyms that is now near us. And then when I got hooked on that cause it, it seems like fun. I was being, I was able to push a little bit more and more weight and I thought I was just really terrific. So I joined a gym and there weren't many, they weren't many gyms. There was, there were women gyms that were purely women and they had a few machines or some they aerobics and there were men's gyms.

Moira: 03:56 You know, this was going back a while, but one enterprising gym owner had opened up a women's gym above his men's gym because the men wouldn't let us work out with them, obviously. They were hardcore. So we had our own gym above there's, but we had access to the men who would show us things and, and they had some trainers who would show us. So that was really the start. And it absolutely did as I went forward because I was hooked, it did change the way my body looked, so I was really happy.

Allan: 04:34 Yeah, it is hard to explain to somebody that once you start lifting and you start getting stronger and you kind of get that rush of the pump of moving weight and feeling it, it, that it is something much like running, much like most other exercise programs, it's easy to get addicted to.

Moira: 04:56 It really is. And I was definitely, I was definitely addicted to it that I moved forward and got so involved that I did a contest. Luckily I was so naive. I had no idea what I was really doing or what I was in for that. I just followed the directions of some of the guys in the gym and just went for it, lost some weight. Put on a little bit of muscle and entered. I think that's probably the best way to do these things when you don't know too much.

Allan: 05:26 Yeah. Because there's, there's less opportunity for you to overthink it.

Moira: 05:31 That's right. Or get or find stumbling blocks because, you know, once you have a lot of information, then your mind starts telling you, Oh, but you can't do this. Oh, but you don't compare with the others or you know, Oh, but. But I just thought, I'm gonna get, you know, 90 seconds on stage. Wow. That's more than I'm gonna get for anything else. So yeah, I'm going for it.

Allan: 05:56 We did about something, and I, and I want to kind of get into this because this is one of the major objections. I'll, I'll have a conversation with a woman and invariably she'll tell me, well, you know, I don't want to get huge. I don't want to get bulky. If I lift weights, my legs are going to get just bigger and I don't need them to get bigger. I want them to get smaller. When you talk about changing body shape, you're not talking about turning into a man?

Moira: 06:20 Oh no, definitely. When I was talking about body shape, for me it was losing kind of what I thought was excess fat on my thighs, my legs, toning my arms, you know? That's what I thought about body changing. It was clear to me from an early age for some reason that women had a lot more trouble building muscle and this is borne out. We don't build muscle as readily as men. And when you do see, bulking of sorts, usually it's a little bit of muscle that's developing and women are still carrying the fat over the muscle. But once you lose that fat, you can, you get these long lean muscles. So it's hard to bulk up with a lot of muscle for women. And this you really go out and try, you know your genetics are right. You might get some help with some pharmaceuticals.

Allan: 07:19 That's where I wanted you to go with this because I think that's what they say, that there's two. I think there's two real huge misconceptions when they look in the magazines or they see one of these huge muscular girls that's a bodybuilder. There's two things that that woman's doing that you're not going to do. One is she's going to take steroids and a lot of times you can see it in their face because they're faced with structure changes. The other thing that you'll often see is, is the fact that they're in the gym six hours a day and sleeping the rest of the time. Because the sessional bodybuilders, that's, that's their job is to lift weights and exercise and get big. So they're in the gym. If they're not lifting, they're working on their posing. If they're not working on their posing, they're working on their tan, and they're trying to cut the body fat down to just is really unreasonable number that you can't sustain for a long period of time. And so they're doing these things that you just, you wouldn't do, you just wouldn't spend the time to do this because it's not your priority in your life. If you're looking to get healthy, you do need to do resistance training because you are losing muscle mass and you're losing bone density pretty much every day.

Moira: 08:31 Yes, that's right. And you know, I heard those same stories when I was, body building. You know, I was influencing friends or they were asking me and invariably the questions came about, aren't you worried about getting too big? And my answer was, I wish if I could, if I could get some more muscle, that would be absolutely wonderful because it does take, and I was already thirty-five, thirty-six. So I had age against me in terms of rarely getting a lot of muscle. So yet we don't as women, unless you get some outside assistance like pharmaceuticals as we said, you know, steroids and it's really important too. And what I found then was, okay, now I have being doing the body building. I'm not competing anymore, but I still need to maintain working out with weights. And then the motivation was because I realized that it was going to help keep my bones strong. Just keep my muscles from atrophying, my muscles strong, keep me healthy, I'm going to look more vibrant. And just the hormones that you release from lifting weights, especially if you work out, you know, reasonably hard, the hormones are going to release, they're going to just have a bearing on keeping you younger. That's definitely important

Allan: 10:03 Heavy lifting, and this as something, women do have testosterone, they don't have as much as men. That's why they can't get as muscular as men. Um, unless they, they use steroids then then anything's possible. But lifting heavy weights helps men and women release a little bit more testosterone and a little bit more testosterone is just kind of one of those chemicals in our bodies that just make us feel a lot better, look a lot better. And our muscle tone and quality of our movement is just better.

Moira: 10:34 That's right. And I, I learned recently that women actually produce more HGH, the growth hormone when they work out than men do. Men produce more testosterone but women produce more HGH, which is the hormone to keep us younger. So we've got an advantage when we workout. We may not get the testosterone, but we're gonna look younger.

Allan: 11:01 Now you said something and I, and I think this has changed quite a bit, but, um, I do want to talk about this cause I had lots of clients and lots of people I've talked to over the years and it's, you walk into the gym. And most gyms, you see the treadmills and then after the treadmills, then they have some of the machines and then after the machines over in that little corner over there and sometimes a whole section in the gym. Now you see all the free weights and yes, the big guys are back there lifting probably grunting and doing their thing. And there's now whole series is of chains and whatnot that are trying to get away from that so people feel less intimidated about the gym back, you know, 20, 30, 40 years ago, it was all guys in the gym for the most part. Then they started coming out with women's gyms and most of those were like you said, not so much designed for muscle building, resistance training, strength training, those types of things. But things have changed a lot. You know, the advent of CrossFit, other things, people, we're more used to having women come back into the freeway section and lift heavy. We're seeing it more and more so it's not as different or, you know, I guess unusual, as it was 30, 40, 50 years ago.

Moira: 12:20 That's so true. I think there's still an intimidation factor for someone going in for the first time, but it's not the same as it was. It isn't just because there are men there. I think it's because the thing, all these fit people, and as you said, CrossFit, that can be intimidating for anyone walking into that kind of place.

Allan: 12:44 Yeah, I agree. I think the, you know, but what I mean by this is, and this is the point, okay, yeah. You see this, this big hunky guy, you know, he's, he's lifting heavy weights. He's grunting, he's there with maybe two or three of his buddies. You know, they're doing their thing. And I can tell you straight away they're not interested in you. They're, they're happy you're there cause you're helping to support their gym. You know, their gym membership. If it was just the three of them paying for this gym, it'd be a lot more expensive. The fact that there's 200 people that have signed up for the gym means a gym membership is affordable for everybody, and they're not all having to buy their own equipment and they can come work out. They're happy to see you in the gym. They're happy to see you do things for your health. They're not staring you down. They're not watching you. And I'll tell you just from my experience, okay, the only time I notice anyone in the gym is when they're doing something that could hurt themselves.

Moira: 13:38 Yes.

Allan: 13:38 But I, I reserve and I stay back. Now I'm, I own a gym. So if I were to see someone doing something, I thought that hurt them, I'm going to step up and say something. But those individuals are there for a particular purpose. They didn't get big and strong by sitting around watching other people are playing on their phone. They come in the gym, they do their workout. Yes, they may have longer rest because they are lifting heavier weights, but they're not really there too to watch you. They're there to get their workout done and you're just as welcome to that equipment just as welcome to being in the gym as anyone.

Moira: 14:12 That's true. In fact, I was kind of hit, you know, going to hit there that we were intimidated at one time by seeing those men in the gym. I think, I think that most people are less intimidated, especially if you, if as you said, you just realize that they are only too happy that you are joining so that they don't have to pay the full cost of keeping a gym open. But I think that there are some of us just as people were intimidated going into a new situation. Yeah. I think for, for women in particular, if it is the time, I'd suggest that you go with a friend to a gym. And especially if you're going into one of the chains, they're immediately going to offer to show you around because they don't want you doing something. It might hurt yourself and they'll offer you one or two days, maybe have some free advice, free training just to get you going. And so that's really good. It is good too. If you are going into a gym for the first time to get a trainer, to get someone to show you how to use the equipment to find out what you should be doing for your body. You know, the kind of work that you do, Allan is just perfect because you actually analyze what the person needs and then give them a program. So anyone who got that advice from you would feel quite comfortable going into a gym

Allan: 15:45 And you've hit on something that's really important there. You know the gym thrives on, on people not hurting themselves for the millennial coming in there and continuing their membership, and for them to get stronger and show improvement. And they're going to probably, when you get in there, they're going to probably ask you if it's particularly, it's a big box, you know, franchise style gym. They're going to introduce you to their staff. They're going to introduce you to the gym. They're going to, you know, probably do some general assessment work with you and that may or may not be free, but they're going to make sure that you have a, an opportunity to start and access to support of a trainer to help you do that. Now, most gyms will also do this. They will have their personal trainers walking the floor when they're not training someone.

Allan: 16:34 And it's their job to help you if you have a question now that, yeah, not going to train you for free, but if you walk up and you say, look, I want to move from the barbell over here for the bench press or want to move away from this press machine and I want to do the same exercise with free weights, with the dumbbells. Could you show me how to do this properly? And they will be glad to do so. So if you feel uncomfortable, ask a trainer that's there, asked the person at the desk if someone can come show you how to do an exercise properly because it's, that's very, very important that you not hurt yourself. Particularly when we're over 40, over 50. Those injuries don't heal nearly as quickly as they did when we were in our twenties.

Moira: 17:21 That's right. You know, things have changed a little bit. Um, I worked in a gym at the time that I was training for, or sorry, after I had completed the competitions, the gym kind of offered me a free membership. If I would work in the gym, you know, a couple of days a week or a few hours a day. So I would, I would be one of those trainers. I would train people if we had a meeting set up or my job was to walk around the gym. I find it much less so today that they actually walk around helping people. They use the up back at their stations looking at, you know, who else is signing up. So that is a shame. I just have to mention now that isn't every gym, every, you know, all gyms are different, but no one should feel intimidated to go up and find a trainer or find one, you know, one of the staff and ask them to help you with something even if they're not walking the floor because that's what they are really there for. And they will, you're right there. They will be absolutely helpful once you ask them because they don't want anyone to be hurting themselves. So don't feel shy about walking up to someone who happens to be sitting at one of the desks and ask them for advice. Just show you how, how maybe there's a machine that you don't know that you haven't used before. Ask them to show you how it works.

Allan: 18:43 Yeah, it's, it's, it's just, it's funny, you know, because to me, the, that's part of the lifeblood of any gym is their willingness to help, help people without having to make an extra buck, you know, on the side. I actually, you know, with the gym now, one of the things that I've done at my gym is I actually will throw free weight lifting clinics for beginners. And I'm like, okay, come in on a Saturday, I'll come in for an hour, I'll show you how to use all the equipment in the gym absolutely free and you'll leave here with a workout program, the basic workout program to get you started. And so, you know, I did one of those and it went over pretty good. The people that came really enjoyed it. I'm going to host another one here soon at the gym. Gut I also do the online training.

Allan: 19:30 So you know, there are other options out there if the gym is not supporting you by, having the support there with people walking around or you know, you're able to afford to have personal training sessions because if you're having them all the time, which is actually really good for accountability, for doing the exercises properly and, and just, you know, somebody that is going to be there to kind of push you a little bit harder. If they're not doing that, you know, give me a call. I'll be glad to help you out.

Moira: 19:57 Yes, that's true. And I agree with you that having a train particularly when you starting out is absolutely worth the money because you want to learn how to do things properly. You want to get a program and you want that accountability. And then when you feel comfortable to workout on your own that you're motivated to go into the gym without having to, you know, show up for an appointment, then it's great. You've got your program and you can continue. I think I once wrote an article in a blog going back a while, so it's probably out of date was how to hire a trainer.

Allan: 20:35 I've actually done an episode on what to what, what to look for in a trainer. And when to fire a trainer (https://40plusfitnesspodcast.com/fire-personal-trainer/). A trainer should be listening more than they're talking. A trainer should be paying attention to what's going on with you? Um, you know, I have some clients, they're not always happy with what I tell them to do. Sometimes I'm actually asking them to do more and there's times I'm actually asking them to do less. And they don't always understand the do less part, but it's when I see a client can't handle the exercises they're doing or the form is just not right there. I'm not going to put load on them. And I think what a lot of people forget, it's like, well, I can lift more weight. And I'm like, not the way you're doing it. You're going to break and I don't want to break you. You and I have something very well in common. We both tore our rotator cuffs.

Moira: 21:25 Yes, we did. I think we we empathize with each other, but we didn't approach it the same.

Allan: 21:33 We approached it very differently. I went through the surgery and when the doctor got in there, he was like, this was a bad one. Uh, but I went through the surgery, went through the therapy and I'm in pretty good shape. All things considered. I lost a lot of strength as a result. I have a little divot in my shoulder as a result. But you know, I have full range of motion with my shoulder, and I'm able to do most of the things I was able to do just not quite as strong. But that was my path. You chose a different path.

Moira: 22:04 Yes. I think when I had, when I tore mine, I was a little older than you were when you tore yours. We won't go into detail, but the doctor I went to, you looked at me very, I thought very honestly, he spoke to me very honestly and he said that I had an 80% chance of recovery. And I know that you said that would have been a plus for you. For me, that was a minus. And I was very fortunate that I found a functional rehab trainer, online actually. He lives in Australia, but he did marvelous for me because he said to me, he looks at the MRI size and said, I can help you get your full strength back in a different way and not have this pain and not have the surgery. So it wasn't that if you decide to have the surgery, I'll help you recover.

Moira: 23:01 But he said, I would recommend that you don't. So I decided to trust him and I'm very pleased that I did because I do. I have full range of motion. I have a lot of the strength back. I won't say it's exactly the same as it was, but I just am using the muscles differently and using different muscles to compensate, and I don't even notice it anymore because I've trained my brain, I guess, to just do things in a different way. So yeah, we chose different paths. Both had success, which is, which just I think shows there's no one way, and I think whatever you believe is going to work for you is the thing that's going to work

Allan: 23:41 As long as you're willing to dedicate the time and the effort to do what's necessary. So the one thing we did have in common was I was in therapy, physical therapy. I had the surgery on Thursday, I was in physical therapy Monday. And you listened to your therapist and you did exactly as he instructed you to do and you built compensating muscles to allow you to move and do the things you needed to do. So we chose different paths for different reasons and different ways that we look at things. So I agree with you. There's a, you have to look at this and say, but the injury is not a give up. The injury is actually a flag for me, do more, but do it differently or do something different to, to fix this, to solve this, to work around this. But, so many people will injure themselves and decide, okay, this hurts. Therefore I'm going to stop.

Moira: 24:41 Exactly. It's so tempting to do that. I have to say that I have a functional trainer that regardless of what I say I've heard, he will give me an exercise to fix it so that I don't slow down. It's a, it doesn't mean I go, okay, I can't go running, you know. No, no, you can just use your leg this way. Not that way. You know, he said he does not believe in stopping for a second. And if you have someone that you trust like that, and if you're the kind of person, as you said, who is motivated to continue around, over or through what might be a challenge, then you definitely come out stronger and better on the other side.

Allan: 25:26 Yeah. I, I have a client and, um, he right now and he's, he's done so good. He works so hard and he's addicted to it, for lack of a better word. He's having issues with his elbow. So when we do any kind of pull movement, we have to be very careful, with his elbow. And he has now some arthritis in his shoulder. And so when we're doing push movements, particularly overhead, we to be very careful about those push movements and he's, you know, he's making some decisions on how he wants to deal or if he wants to deal with those medically, but there is pain involved. So we're, we're trying to modify the movements, we're trying to do all of those things that you said functionally allow him to do the things, because I told him it's basically tendonitis in the elbow.

Allan: 26:13 Rest is the primary prescription, but we've tried three weeks of rest and then the pain comes back. So it's like, you know, that this is something more than just what rest might do. He still wants to pull. So I'm like, okay, let's talk about where the pain starts, where it finishes, let's figure out ways to modify the work so that you're still able to build muscle and build strength, without putting yourself in a compromised or painful position. And he's working with me. We're diligently through that process. And it's, it is a process. And it's, it means he's actually had to work harder to get past this. And I'm so proud of him for doing it because a lot of folks would sit there and say, I don't like the pain and I'm quitting, but the pain is actually probably a signal that you need to change something and you probably need to work a little harder to make sure you're doing the right things.

Moira: 27:06 It's actually fascinating because usually we're working with clients who are putting up their own blocks, you know, missing a session, going off exercise for awhile, giving up. But you also have to be careful of clients who are the act the opposite who maybe want to push too hard, push through the pain. You have to slow them down just slightly,

Allan: 27:28 Just slightly. Yeah. Yeah. Because when he told me, I had to do a back workout. I'm like, okay, well let's talk about how you did it, what you felt, where were we, you know? And then we get into the actual exercises and I'm like, okay, let's change this exercise and do this this way. Let's change that exercise and do it that way, and then let me know, report back how that felt. And so each, each week we get on our calls and you know, where we're going through this stuff. And yeah, I've got other clients that if something goes wrong in their day, they're gonna, completely just miss a workout miss, scheduling a call with me. Something like that. And I'm like, no. So I have, I have both sides. You're right. I do have clients that, that required both and I understand both. I've been in that situation where, you know, you can't work out and you really want to, or you just, a time when you, you feel a lot of something going on or DOMS or something like that I really don't want to waddle into the gym today.

Moira: 28:27 That's right. I actually found that happening after I'd been competing, that I was kind of burned out. I would drive to the gym because it was habit, you know, the car just went there and I would sit outside and I remember there were one or two times when I never actually went in. I just thought, no, I'm going home. It was very strange. It was a very strange, I, that's why I remember it so clearly because I just couldn't get myself to go in. So I do understand people who do that.

Allan: 28:58 I've actually had that happen myself. I was working a very stressful job, at a very stressful point in time at that job. And I just like you did, I remember the alarm going off in the morning. This is back when I actually used alarm clocks and the alarm went off in the morning for me to go to the gym and I hit the alarm and I was thinking to myself, I am either going to the gym or I'm going to work because I can't do both.

Moira: 29:27 Yes.

Allan: 29:28 And it was just that understanding that, working out is a stressor. If you're already chronically stressed, sometimes the workout, you do better to spend that 40 minutes meditating or are soaking in an Epson Salt bath or something that's going to distress you, than actually getting in the gym and pushing yourself really hard. So yeah, I think there is an aspect where you do, you do listen to your body, uh, but, but, but don't let that body just to eventually talk you into, uh, well let's, let's drop by Dunkin Donuts and do those types of things. It's more of a conversation of saying, okay, I understand, you know, very stressful week. I'm fatigued, I'm not sleeping well. I would do better with an extra hour of sleep than I would by spending that hour in the gym and gave yourself that permission.

Moira: 30:25 Right, exactly. As long as it doesn't become the habit, it's a very good thing to do. I know you probably had this too. I have friends who will not miss a day. And I keep saying to them, you don't understand that rest is actually good for building muscle and rest is good for the rest of your workout. And you can miss a day. Their habit is to go in every single day and it's almost like an addiction.

Allan: 30:54 Yeah. I just tell him this, professional athletes have de-load periods. A bodybuilder will work hard for, eight weeks and then they'll take a de-load week where they don't lift. The other thing they are doing that a lot of us are not doing is most professional athletes will sleep for eight or nine hours every single night.

Allan: 31:23 And that's because they understand the value of recovery. So you need those de-load weeks. professional athletes that put like the football players. I can tell you as soon as they finish their football season, they take three or four weeks off and unless they need to go in for some form of surgery to rehabilitate for the next season, they just take an act like normal people for three weeks. And they don't go to the gym and they don't exercise and they don't train and then they let their body recover and with that recovery they go to the gym hungry because they didn't feed that desire, that work, you know, that, that, that thing for three weeks. And when they went back in the gym, it was, you know, they were ready to go. But you need that. You need that recovery time.

Moira: 32:09 Absolutely. I'm glad you mentioned that because we are, we are discussing here how to encourage people to get into the gym. But you also say everything in moderation, especially when you start out.

Allan: 32:21 Oh yeah. The way I like to put it, I put it in the book is what you need is you need gentle nudging your body, your body will change. You just have to give it these gentle nudges, the progression to make that happen.

Moira: 32:34 That sounds like a good description. Very good description. I like the gentle nudging. It sounds so much better than get in there and push.

Allan: 32:42 There's little bit pushing in there, too. You want to find that line and, and you know a lot of people you'll hear this term when we talk about resistance training of failure, pushing yourself to failure. You don't have to get to failure for your muscles to grow. You just need an adequate stimulus. Now failure is a is typically a good indication that you definitely have that stimulus. DOMS can be an indicator that you have affected that stimulus, but they should not be the objective. The objective should be where, you know, the muscle was worked, it was worked through the full range of motion and you can feel that you worked at, now you may wake up the next morning and feel just as capable of, go in and do that workout again. Most cases probably not. But as long as you're giving your body that stimulus and then you're giving it the food and the nutrition it needs and then you're giving it the rest, then you're giving full cycle for your body to grow and to get better.

Moira: 33:43 Yes. Exactly, that full cycle. And I like what you said about the sleep because when I, when I was seriously into it, during the competition, I would be in bed by nine o'clock every night getting up at five or six to go train. But I, nothing stopped me from going to bed and getting the full eight to ten hours sleep. I wouldn't, I won't say ten but definitely eight, eight or nine. I get out of that habit

Allan: 34:15 I'm in bed at eight 30 and nine o'clock almost every single night. I have not used an alarm clock in four years unless I have to catch an early morning flight and I'm just don't want to make sure that extra sleep cycle happen. I sleep until I know my body's gotten at least five sleep cycles, which is seven and a half hours. And occasionally my body will want a sixth one, which will put me up to about nine hours. But I just let my body sleep until I wake up and say, okay, I'm good to go. And where I am here in Panama's actually really nice because the days and the nights are relatively the same.

Moira: 34:50 Same, right.

Allan: 34:51 Gets dark around seven o'clock. So by 8:30 it's, it's been dark for a little while. I'm able to just go ahead and go to sleep very easily. And then it gets light around 5:30. So you know, right now pretty much it just the, just that Twilight morning stuff, you know, it's like can see it coming through the window. That's usually my spur to get up. And if I feel it, I do, if not, I'll, I'll go back to sleep and sleep for about another hour and a half, a good sleep cycle. And then I'm up really good at seven o'clock so I know every morning I'm going to be up by seven o'clock for sure. And I plan to start my days usually at nine o'clock. So no problem. I have time to shower and do all the things I want to do, but I don't use alarm clocks and I try to keep my evening activities to a minimum.

Moira: 35:38 I think that's excellent. Um, I think I got into, you know, working full time in corporate field. I got into some bad habits of working late. It was almost expected really. You just had things you did at night. And so I'm slowly getting back into the longer sleep cycles and switching earlier nights and then earlier mornings.

Allan: 36:00 Yeah, I guess I just got, when I got towards the end of my corporate I was like, you know, I've worked my way up to this point. I deserve to rest when I want to rest. And so I would sit down, I'd pull up my phone and I would check email at about seven o'clock at night and after I checked that email at seven o'clock, I'd set my phone in the, in the living room and I'd grab the bedroom and go to sleep. I don't even have the cell phone in my bedroom and so I was out of sight, out of mind. I'd go to sleep when I woke up, like I said, 5:30 in the morning, I would go in there and check my work email because I figure if they stayed up till 11 o'clock working and they sent that email and went to bed, wake up in the morning, and my email response would be there and then I didn't have to be up at 12 o'clock to answer that email if I answer it at five o'clock in the morning. So, I had my own system.

Moira: 36:47 Good habits.

Allan: 36:47 Still stress was a big problem for me and it caused me some issues and so I've, I'm still working on that whole thing, but you know, just say, listen to your body and give it the rest of needs, push it a little bit. It'll grow and it'll get better. And then it just the patients and persistence of keeping at it,

Moira: 37:05 Definitely. It's a keeping at it. That's it. To be consistent. Yeah.

Moira: 37:10 I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well,

Moira: 37:19 And of course this would be personal. You know, everyone has a different approach. So yeah, here's what I thought about this for quite a while actually. And I decided one is to do something active every day, whether it's going to the gym, taking a long walk, going for a jog, taking a hike, but do something active every day.

Moira: 37:41 Have a morning routine. And I've really gotten into my morning routine, which includes the meditation, some deep breathing, perhaps a 10 minute yoga or some exercise just for 10 minutes or something to wake me up. And then some abs. I want always do some abs in the morning, just do it then. Okay. So that's my, my morning routine and that seems to be good for what I do. And I think whatever you choose to do your morning routine should be consistent because it sets you up for the day.

Moira: 38:18 And then the third thing would be to connect with friends as often as you can because that's really one of the things that gives us the internal hormone boost that keeps us happy, content and feeling connected

Allan: 38:34 I really liked those. Thank you for that. Moira, If someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the fit beyond 50 you haven't set up the website yet so I'm going to, I'm going to tell them the link actually summer [inaudible] break in and say, okay, you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/fit50. Again that's 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/fit50 and that's going to take you to the signup page for the Fit Beyond Fifty Summit. But Moira if there's any other address, is there anything else that you want them to know about? Feel free to let us know.

Moira: 39:10 No, I think that that's great. Signing up there is the best strategy because they could email you or me, but I'm having, I have a feeling they're just signing up. There is going to be the easiest. And the, the, the summit is going to air on the 28th of October. I have a variety of speakers including a special speaker, Allan Misner.

Allan: 39:40 Yeah. I don't know if you cut it out, you probably said you said you might be cutting it out. But yeah, I didn't knock over my computer while we were talking. So it was a very fun conversation. Much like this one was some way. Right. Thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

Moira: 39:56 Thank you so much for having me as a guest. I really enjoyed the conversation.

You can learn more about the Fit Beyond Fifty summit at https://40plusfitnesspodcast.com/fbf.

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October 14, 2019

Adaptogens with David Winston

Adaptogens and nootropics are becoming much more popular as the flaws in Western medicine become more and more apparent. David Winston has spent over 50 years studying herbal medicine. Today we discuss his book, Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief.

Allan: 01:02 David, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

David: 01:05 Thank you very much. It's a pleasure to be here.

Allan: 01:07 You know, more and more, in the last 10 years. It just seems like it's a, it's kind of a building thing, which I think is really good, there's more discussion about some of the natural healing properties of plants and herbs. Looking back at some of the Eastern medicine, Chinese medicine, Ayurveda from India, and actually adopting some of those now as treatments and protocols and not going with the chemicals. So your book Adaptogens really kind of gets into the history of this and to what they are and how we can use them. It's fascinating to me how much as out there and we're just still just kinda scratching the surface.

David: 01:56 Well, that's true. You know, it's interesting. This year is the 50th year since I started studying herbal medicine. And I joke a bit, but I'm not entirely joking when I tell people after 50 years, I now consider myself to be an advanced beginner. There is endless amount to learn whether we are talking about traditional Chinese medicine aryuveda, the middle Eastern Teb Al Nabawi, Kampo from Japan, et cetera, Tibet Medicine, American eclectic medicine, physio medicalism, all these traditions are rich in the use of plants for medicine. So these traditions in some cases go back at least 3000 years. Plus you then combine that with the vast amount of plant, medicinal plant research that is occurring throughout the world.

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Very little unfortunately in the United States, but extensive amounts in China, India, Iran, Japan, South Korea, Sweden, France, Germany. So all around the world there is a tremendous amount of plant research and in many cases, this plant research, this modern plant research is confirming, although sometimes going well beyond the understanding that people have had for thousands of years of how these substances can help us to live healthier, better lives.

And one of the things that's really important to understand, a lot of people have this idea that it's sort of an either or situation. It's either Orthodox Western medicine or it's complimentary alternative medicine, herbal medicine, natural medicine. And honestly, nothing could be further from the truth. Where Orthodox medicine is strong tends to be where things like herbal medicine aren't that effective and vice versa. Where herbal medicine is really strong, tends to be in areas, especially dealing with things like chronic degenerative disease where Orthodox medicine often has little to offer.

So when it comes to the individual, the patient, the client, the real win-win is understanding which is appropriate in a given situation. Herbs are not the answer to everything. Adaptogens are not the answer to everything, but then nor does Orthodox medicine have the answer to everything. So understanding which therapy, which treatments are most effective, most appropriate for a given situation, for a given person is essential.

Allan: 04:36 Now an adaptogen is not just a chemical compound they're pulling out of a plant to, to make a new medicine with its, it's actually using the whole plant. Right? Can, you can talk about adaptogens, what they are and what they do?

David: 04:50 Absolutely. And this is going to get slightly complex. Um, but I will do my absolute best to keep it as simple as possible. So initially, you know, in all these ancient systems of medicine, there are tonic herbs. So in Ayurveda they're called Rasanayas, in TCM, in traditional Chinese medicine, they're known as Chi Tonics or kidney youn tonics or blood tonics. But these traditional definitions of a tonic remedy do not necessarily equate to what we today call an adaptogen.

An adaptogen is a modern scientific concept developed initially in the Soviet Union. The initial research was done by Professor Lazaroff starting in the late 1940s. If you think, wow, they must've been very, you know, forward-thinking to do this kind of research. The reality was this was initially military research and the Russians were, the Soviets were trying to do what cruise chefs said, and that was to bury the West. They were trying to find ways to make better soldiers, better cosmonauts workers so that they could outdo us and literally win the cold war.

Basically what happens is the research eventually goes from the initially started looking at chemical substances and with Dr. Breckman who is considered the father of adaptogenic research. He switches over to looking at plants and they eventually settle on a plant called, at the time in the United States, we learned about it known as a Siberian ginseng, but the proper name for it is Eleutherococcus senticosus and that's where the initial research starts. And what they did is they first promoted a definition of an adaptogen using a very simplistic three parameters.

Number one, the plant was nontoxic in a normal therapeutic dose. Alright, so that's, that's fine. The problem with that is that describes almost every herb in the material Medica. I mean they ask, there are some toxic herbs, but most herbs are relatively benign in a normal therapeutic dose.

Secondly, they decided that these herbs would create what was called a nonspecific state of resistance to stress. So that means they help you to resist stress, whether that stress is psychological, physiological, or environmental. But the problem there is that other categories of herbs including nervines, which we think of as nerve tonics, things that are common also help you to deal with stress more effectively. So that doesn't really mean that is absolutely an adaptogen.

And thirdly that they would have what is called an amphoteric effect on the body, helping to normalize function of multiple systems, especially the endocrine system, nervous system, immune system as well as the cardiovascular and digestive systems. So that was the initial definition. And that last started, I think that was, that definition came out around 1969 so after that and the intervening where now 50 years later, the definition has changed.

Now those first three parameters are all still true, but they have added to the definition. So in the 1990s they determined that adaptogens work primarily through two master control systems in the body. One is called the HPA axis, that's the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis. This is the master control system of almost all endocrine function, much nervous system function, immune function and what also what deals with chronic stress in our lives. And then the second system is called the SAS, the Sympathoadrenal System. And this is your fight or flight mechanism, which deals acute stress. So in order for an adaptogen to be an adaptogen, there has to be evidence that it is primarily working through one or both of these two master control systems. Further research showed us that adaptogens also work on a cellular level.

So what does this mean? It means that they do several things.

Number one, they help reduce stress hormone production. So that's especially cortisol, norepinephrine, and they help prevent cortisol induced mitochondrial dysfunction. So for instance, some of the conditions associated with stress induced mitochondrial dysfunction include things like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue immune deficiency syndrome, which is one of the reasons adaptogens can be so useful as part of a protocol for treating those conditions because underlying those conditions is basically elevated levels of stress hormones, specifically cortisol, which shuts down the mitochondria, which are the engines of yourselves. So if your mitochondria are not working, you are going to have all sorts of problems with fatigue, with muscle weakness, with muscle pain, uh, with cardiovascular issues and et cetera, et cetera.

And they do this, not only do they shut down the excessive production of cortisol, but they do it by up-regulating certain stress modulators in the body. These are noticing heat shock proteins, fork head proteins and something known as neuropeptide Y.

So in order for an herb to be an adaptogen, it has to do every single one of these things. Of course the ancients had no idea about any of these things. So when they are talking about a Rasanayas or a Chi tonic, you know, those things, some of them actually turn out to be adaptogens, but of course, many of them do not because they don't meet the parameters of today what we know is an adaptogen.

Allan: 11:02 Okay. So kind of my key takeaways from this is that that one, adaptogens don't just address one part of the body. Like I think in the book you talked about how tumeric actually supports the liver, a single organ versus actually supporting the whole body through the, you know, HPA and through the SAS Yes. Right. And then the other piece of it is it doesn't just push us in one direction. It's sort of a balancing, getting us more towards homeostasis than pushing us in one direction just because we're stressed trying to push us unstressed. It's literally just kind of trying to find that balance.

David: 11:42 Correct. Now I will say that turmeric by the way of course is not in adaptogens. The turmeric, it just doesn't work on the liver. A tumor has much broader implications. In fact, the majority of herbs have a wider sphere than just working on a single organ. But adaptogens you could, yes, I think your, your definition, think of them as almost systemic remedies, but they're primary effects are on endocrine nervous system and immune function. That is where, because that's of course what the HPA axis and the SAS, those are the things that they are affecting. Now of course the reality is is that the SAS also and the HPA axis also affect skin function. They also affect circulation. They also affect reproductive function, both male and female. So again, very wide ranging effects.

And at the same time you'd mentioned homeostasis. Adaptogens work in a really interesting way. So think of it this way. We, we, anybody who has had anatomy and physiology learned about homeostasis, where the body tries to maintain its normal balance. So some things are maintained in very, very tight, like your serum sodium levels, your blood serum, serum levels of sodium have to be maintained with a very, very narrow range. And so the body will work exceedingly hard to make sure that it stays there. And the idea of homeostasis is everything's tries to stay the same. Well, in reality, there is a second process known as allostasis that the body uses to maintain homeostasis and adaptogens also enhanced allostasis.

What is allostasis? So any of your listeners who have ever gone surfing, and you don't even have to be a surfer, you could go skiing, you could go ice skating, skateboarding, anything where you need really good balance. So if you got up on a surfboard and you stand absolutely still, as those waves are moving you in every direction, you're gonna stay on that board for about a second. In order to stay on the board, you start moving and shifting your body weight to compensate for changes. That is allostasis. Allostasis is the body's ability to change in order to maintain balance and adaptogens help in that process.

Allan: 14:16 Okay. So most of the book we're talking about stress, so we're talking about our body is going through, it'll can go through acute stress, which just basically means, you know, I see a bear and Oh, I've got run, versus chronic stress where my CFO is the bear and he's on me every single day. And so that stress just sticks with me and my fight or flight is basically every waking moment. Adaptogens can kind of help us with that. Right. So can you kind of talk through the stress reaction process and then how adaptogens can support us as we deal with chronic stress.

David: 14:53 They're working on multiple levels and that's where it gets a bit complicated because, just to give you an example: I mentioned earlier that among these sort of molecular chaperones or stress chaperones that adaptogens affect, we have what are called heat shock proteins. These are molecular chaperones. And so these molecular chaperones heat shock proteins protect, mitochondria from stress induced damage. Then they also regulate a chemical called FOXO. It's a fork head protein and basically FOXO basically is a neuro. FOXO is upregulated and it promotes the synthesis of proteins that inhibit the effects of stress. It helps detoxify cells. It also has been shown to enhance longevity. I also mentioned it basically up-regulates in neuropeptide Y, which is a neurotransmitter which has been shown to relieve anxiety.

It's been shown to inhibit pain perception. It lowers blood pressure, it inhibits addiction, it inhibits cortisol release. So those are just some of the compounds that it is affecting and having a broad ranging effect on the body. So when we are under stress, there is a whole cascade of cellular and organ response in the body. And adaptogens are saying to the body, think of adaptogens as sort of like a stress vaccine. Some people call it a stress memetic. In fact, what adaptogens do is they say to your body, stress is coming. So let's get ready for stress. In that sense, it's a little bit like going to the gym. So many of your listeners probably work out, maybe some of them are runners. You did the first time you ran, you didn't run a marathon, at least not if you were smart the first time you start running a short distance and then the next day you run again and again, or you go to the gym and you start off with a low amount of weights and a small amount of repetitions and you gradually work your way up to where your muscles become stronger. We are more stamina, more strength and the ability to do more

Adaptogens work very similar to this. They basically say to your body, stress is coming yet ready. And so the body builds up so that it is more prepared to deal with stress when the actual stress comes, whether that is an acute stress or a chronic stress. The one difference between adaptogens and say going to gym is that if you go to the gym and you don't go to the gym for two weeks, you may lose a little bit of strength and stamina, but you still have a significant long-term effect adaptogens to be taken regularly because the effect doesn't have a long term effect. So these are things you would take on a regular basis. And of course, which adaptogens and individual takes are going to depend on the specifics of that person because it's important to note that adaptogens are not a one size fits all phenomenon.

A lot of people think, Oh, you need an adaptogens, just take any one. Well, that's not true. There are stimulating adaptogens. There are calming adaptogens. There are heating adaptogens, cooling adaptogens, drawing adaptogens, moistening, adaptogens, nourishing adaptogens. And so the key is, and that's more of course, one of the reasons I wrote my book, is that I wanted people to understand what I would call the personality of each of these adaptogenic herbs so that you can figure out which one or ones, because remember, traditionally in all of the great systems of verbal medicine, herbs are never taken as simple as meaning one herb at a time. They're taking in complex formulas.

Why? Because we are dealing with complex people with complex problems. And so the idea is which adaptogens or adaptogens and the sort of supportive herbs or companion herbs for adaptogens such as nervines Nootropics, we'll talk about this more later, or restorative tonics that you take with them to help create something that is actually going to be beneficial and work for the individual. Great herbalists don't treat diseases. We treat people.

Allan: 19:17 Let's go ahead and jump ahead then and let's have that conversation about the nervines and the supporting components and, and, and the Nootropics. Let's get into those. Just a little bit so they know what we're talking about.

David: 19:29 Okay. So we just, we've defined what an adaptogen is and we'll talk more about them. But there are other, and I include this in my book, there are other herbs that I would call companion herbs to adaptogens. They work really well with adaptogens.

And so the three categories of these, and the first is nervines are nerve vines in England and these are calming herbs. I mentioned that briefly before and they basically helped restore the emotional foundation. So for people who are especially type A personality, for people who are emotionally labile, for people who have number ten reactions to number one problems. Nervines can be really useful along with perhaps calming adaptogens. For a person like that.

Then we have water known as no a tropics. Now I have to define this because nootropics, some people call them smart drugs.There are three different categories.

There are the chemical smart drugs, which are often designer drugs created in the laboratory with no history of previous use and no record of safety. Uh, I am very leery about these substances.

Then there are the supplement, nootropics and these include things like L-carnitine and things like that which have a very good safety.

And then there are our herbal Nootropics and there are a wide variety of herbal nootropics. These herbs tend to be neuro-protective. They are anti-inflammatory on neuro anti-inflammatories. They enhance cerebral circulation, they enhance memory, focus, concentration. And there is some evidence that at least some of them may help at least slow, if not possibly help prevent something like dementia or Alzheimer's. But that is a very, very preliminary.

Then we have what I would call restorative tonics. And these are basically herbs that are nutritive. They help to enhance overall function, but they do not meet the definition of an adaptogen. So now I'll mention a couple specifically.

We have herbs like the goji berry. Very, very popular herb. And the Chinese herb astragalus. Herbs like this are wonderful nutritive herbs, but they are not adaptogens, even though a lot of people tend to throw them in that category, unfortunately, they just don't meet those definitions.

Allan: 21:58 Okay. If I came to you as a client and generally, okay, you're just a general description, over 40 and high chronic stress and you were going to kind of put together a general protocol, what are some of the things that would be included in that protocol?

David: 19:17 Well, unfortunately, that's not enough of a definition, a description that I could come up with something because I need to know everything about you.

You know, as is somebody who is a patient of mine. I need to know not only their age and their weight and their blood pressure. I need to know their medical history. I need to know, I need to know everything I can about them, you know, and they would bring in their blood work from their physician and their diagnosis is that they have from their doctor. And you put together a protocol that is specific to the patient.

Because remember as I said, great herbalists don't treat diseases. Medical men, Western medicine focuses in on disease. We don't focus in on disease. We focus on creating protocols to help people be well, to help people prevent disease. To help people to gain maximal health, strength, longevity, et cetera. So, but what I would look at is, for instance, if you were somebody who was deficient and depleted, I might include some stimulating adaptogens and stimulating adaptogens would include things like, perhaps, Asian Ginseng or Rhodiola.

On the other hand, if you were really depleted, deficient, exhausted all the time, then I want to make sure I include some of the nourishing adaptogens. So there may be something like American Ginseng. If you were a type A personality, you know, you can't shut your mind off, then we might consider some of your calming adaptogens such as Ashwagandha or Schisandra. And so there are different ones that we would use.

And by the way, not every single person gets an adaptogen. And I don't want people to think that adaptogens are panaceas. Adaptogens are incredibly useful. Don't get me wrong, I do use them a lot, but I'm using a broad spectrum of herbs. Adaptogens are just one part of that. And I need your listeners to understand. Adaptogens are not a replacement for the foundations of health.

Foundations of health are adequate, good quality sleep, a good diet, exercise, healthy lifestyle choices. So if you are eating fast food three meals a day, only getting six hours sleep, running yourself ragged, training for a marathon, working in incredibly stressful job, and smoking, I don't care how many adaptogens you take, it is not going to make up for the fact that you are abusing yourself. And in fact at best it's going to simply allow you to abuse yourself a little bit longer until you finally collapse.

It's kind of the whipping the exhausted horse. You can make it go a little further, but it's going to collapse. So adaptogens are not a replacement for the foundations of health, but for the average American who is overfed under-exercised, not getting enough sleep, especially when it's a situation where, for instance, you're actually trying to take care of yourself, but maybe there's a new baby in the house.

You're not getting enough sleep. Or maybe you just graduated from a law school, passed your boards and you just hired on to a new law firm and they're expecting you to work 70 hour weeks. Or maybe you are in college and you're having to pull all-nighters and study, which I do not recommend as it reduces comprehension dramatically.

But you know, adaptogens under those circumstances where you mentioned the example earlier where your boss is on your case all the time and it's incredibly stressful and maybe you don't have the option to change. Maybe you're in a situation where you live in a small town where there's only one employer and you don't have a lot of options. Adaptogens can be incredibly useful. Again, helping to prevent stress-induced cortisol elevation, helping to reduce the stress-induced anxiety, helping to reduce the stress-induced elevation of blood pressure and the resultant of course, mitochondrial dysfunction that comes with elevated cortisol levels.

And I will point out that elevation of cortisol can come from lack of sleep, obesity or stress And chronically elevated cortisol levels not only basically shut down the mitochondria in the cells. Chronic elevation of cortisol is proinflammatory and of course all of our chronic degenerative disease is inflammatory in nature. It raises blood pressure, it interferes with sleep, it interferes with digestion, it decreases the immune response, and increases the growth of tissue including skin tags, benign prostatic hyperplasia in men, fibroids, uterine fibroids in women cancer, chronically elevated cortisol is really not good. And so anything we can do to help our body to reset and be at a, you know, a healthier baseline on a regular basis is going to a long term have profound positive implications for our health.

Allan: 27:31 So I guess the way I kind of take this, as you know, you can't just say, okay, I need ashwagandha. I need a Chinese Ginseng or Asian Ginseng root. I need American ginseng root and everybody needs that. The reality is you're going to have to kind of put together a protocol for yourself based on your own personal needs.

David: 27:51 That's actually true. You know, they're there. First of all, as I said, not everybody needs adaptogens, period. But if you do feel you need adaptogens, and again, that's one of the reasons I wrote the book is so that each herb has its own monographs. You can read about it and say, wow, does this make sense for me? And I often mentioned like, I often use it with this or that so that people can kind of get a sense if they don't have access to a clinical herbalist or a naturopathic physician who's trained in botanical medicine or a medical doctor who knows herbs. If they don't have access to someone like that. They can at least educate themselves so they can decide which of these things may, would be most appropriate for them. And again, not everybody needs them, but I would say that, you know, discounting cultures where they're either people are actively starving, suppressed or at war, Americans are some of the most stressed out people in the world.

Allan: 28:51 Absolutely. That's why I moved to Panama.

I define wellness as being the healthiest fittest and happiest you can be. What are the three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

David: 29:07 Well, three, let's go back to the foundations of health that I just mentioned. In 1910, the average American slept slightly over nine hours per night. Now, the average American sleeps less than seven hours per night. In the intervening 100 plus years, we have not evolved to need less sleep. We're just chronically sleep deprived.

So number one, make sure that you get minimum seven hours sleep at night. Eight is definitely better. If you're sleeping more than nine hours a night, that suggests some issues. So somewhere between seven and nine hours is probably ideal. But the key important thing is when you wake up in the morning, do you feel refreshed? Do you feel rested? Because even if you're getting 12 hours sleep at night and you wake up in the morning and you feel tired, you're exhausted, then you have some type of sleep issue. And so it is absolutely essential that you figure out what that is.

Because, no matter what you have, if you have sleep issues, your chances of having a heart attack increase. If you have sleep issues, your chances of dying from cancer increase. If you have sleep issues, your blood pressure's going to increase. It gives sleep issues, your cortisol levels are going to increase. So sleep is foundational.

Number two, move and move a lot. We sit too much. We are not active. And of course some people are not as capable as you know, heavy exercise. I'm not talking about you have to run marathons, do what you can, whether it is swim, whether it is dance, whether it is practice yoga, move

Number three (I'm going to go beyond three). Eat a healthy diet and I'm astonished at what people think is a healthy diet. I have my patients fill out a three-day diet diary and I'll just sit there and scratch my head sometimes. Because people tell me, I think I eat pretty well. And so of course, food is foundational.

You know, they say as computers, garbage in, garbage out. Well, the diet is the same way. Garbage in, garbage out. You are dependent on your food for what Chinese medicines called the Gushi, the Gransha, the nutrients of that food to feed every cell in your body. And so eat healthy.

I am not a big fan of fad diets. I think that you need to figure out what works for you. And some people can be very healthy vegetarians and I've met people who just can't do that diet. So it's not like there's one diet that is good for everybody. You have to figure out what works for you. But what I can tell you very clearly is fast food, for instance, fried foods, a heavy, heavy meat diet, things like that are generally not good for almost anybody.

Then number four, emotional health. Emotional and spiritual health are, in my opinion, again, foundational. Having loved ones, whether it is anything from a companion animal to friends, to a life partner, to community, social networks. these are incredibly important. And I am a big believer in the power of a higher power, of having some type of spirituality in your life. I am not necessarily talking about a specific religion, but having something that you realize that you are a small part of something greater than ourselves. So having a meaningful ceremony, whether you think of it as the Gaia, the power of nature, God, or Allah, that to me is not as important. Of course for individuals I'm sure it is very important. Their spiritual and religious beliefs and that's great, but find something that works for you and works within your life.

And so for me, those sorts of things are absolutely foundational to health. And then we have other things that can add to that. And some of them, like nutritional supplements can be useful. Although I am much more interested in using herbs because I think they are more, much more bioavailable. And in a form that people can actually utilize more effectively. Those kinds of things. Stress reduction techniques are sort of built based on that foundation.

Allan: 33:49 Well thank you David. You know, one thing I'll say about the book is if anything and everything that you want to know about adaptogens, this is the book, that's called Adaptogens, but it literally you, you covered the history, you cover what they are, how they work. You know, all the different types. Cause there's, there's lots of them. You said there was 250,000 plant species that we've identified and we're just starting to learn how those can help us. But this book really, I think you could have called it the encyclopedia of adaptogens or the complete book with androgens. It really is comprehensive. And so if you're interested in adaptogens, I strongly suggest you check out David's book.

David, if someone want to get in touch with you, learn more about the book or things you're doing, where would you like for me to send them?

David: 34:33 Well, couple things. Number one, if anybody is interested in the book, they can get it. You know, simply from Amazon, if they like or their local bookstore. It's widely available. You can also contact me or reach me through to websites. There is my school, I have a two year urge studies program for people who want to train to be clinical herbalists and that is herbalstudies.net and then I also have a website which is an educational website where people can download free articles, information articles from my library, which is one of the largest private herbal research libraries in North America. Information on my classes where I'll be teaching around the world. I teach all over the US, Canada, Europe, occasionally central America, and that a website is herbaltherapeutics.net and those are the two are places that people can get additional information or contact.

I also have through, I believe it's herbal therapeutics website. I have a Facebook page where I do posts about every two weeks so people can tune into those posts and read the old posts every on thing. I'm mostly on the topic of herbal medicine and my travels and things like that. And so hopefully people will avail themselves. The book, Adaptogens, herbs for strength, stamina, and stress relief. This is the second edition and I think anybody interested in the topic will hopefully learn quite a bit and be able to make better choices for themselves in their use of adaptogens, nervines, nootropics, and restorative tonics.

Allan: 36:27 All right, you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/403 and I'll have the links there for the book for David's sites and all that.

David, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

David: 36:39 Thank you Allan. It's been a pleasure. Thank you for having me.

Patreons

The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:

– Tim Alexander– Judy Murphy
– Randy Goode– Debbie Ralston
– John Somsky– Ann Lynch
– Wendy Selman

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