Author Archives: allan
Author Archives: allan
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Dr Pat Luse takes his 30+ years of practice and describes how The 7 Systems Plan can help you turn your health around and live an optimal life.
Allan (1:19):Dr. Luse, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
Dr. Pat Luse (1:23): It’s nice to be here with you.
Allan (1:27): When we met at the writers’ conference and you were winning an award, I was like, “I definitely want to get this guy on the podcast. I want to find out what his book’s about.” Now that I’ve had an opportunity to read the book, The 7 Systems Plan, I can tell you, you definitely deserved every bit of the kudos you got for that award. That was a wonderfully written book. Thank you for sharing this with me.
Dr. Pat Luse (1:50): Thank you. It was a great honor. I was surprised that that happened, but I’m very pleased.
Allan (1:57): I think it’s well deserved, to be honest with you. It’s a really, really good book. Very well researched and obviously practiced. This was not just something that you’ve come up with over a course of a year saying, “I want to write a book. So what can I call it? And seven is a really good number to throw out there.” This is from years and years of practice, working with clients to help them optimize their health, lose weight, and get back to the way they should be living their lives.
Dr. Pat Luse (2:27): That’s right. Actually the book is 30 years in the making. I’ve been doing this with patients for that long and I’ve been refining my program. And I decided, “This is exciting. I want to help more people than just the ones in my office.” So, I wrote the book and have the course, and now I’m helping people all over regain their health and have amazing health transformations.
Allan (2:54): As humans, we tend to want very simple rules. Calories in / calories out sounds like a wonderful model for us to design our lives around if we want to lose weight. But then people forget that there are other systems in our body, and they don’t just operate independently. They all collaborate to bring about this human condition, to bring about what we’re able to do and what we can’t do, and how we age and how our health goes. You’ve identified seven systems that are all interrelated and related to our health. Can you define the seven systems that you use in the book and how each of those affects our health?
Dr. Pat Luse (3:37): Yes. I lay the chapters out similarly – I give you a brief overview of what the system is; I give you a patient story of a patient that had a problem with this system; I tell you how the system can be broken and how you can fix it; and then I give you simple steps. So the first system is the structural system. It is your most important system. That is your frame. It’s your bone, it is your muscle, and it is fat that hangs on that frame. Those are the three critical parts. And in America we have some significant problems with fat. In fact, we have made that fat angry and it’s now working against us. It’s attacking us rather than working for us. The second system is the digestive system. A lot of people are familiar with that, but they’re not mostly aware of how important your gut microbiome is, your gut bacteria. And over the next couple of years you are going to hear endless studies showing how critical that is to your health. Weight is just one of the things that that can affect, but everything else – diabetes, inflammatory problems, autoimmune disorders – all can have their origin in the gut. Third system is the delivery system, and this system picks up the nutrients from the digestive system and takes them to the cells. As you know, we have a lot of problems with this delivery system – the heart and blood vessels. Number one killer in America is heart disease at this time, and it is significantly reversible. We have some miraculous reversals of arterial disease. They’ve actually got imaging studies that show that this reversal of blockage and plaque begins in three weeks after following a plan like The 7 Systems Plan.
The fourth system is the energy system. So you’ve delivered the food to the cells, now the cells have to turn it into energy, and that’s where your mitochondria come in. Mitochondria are little power plants inside every cell of your body. What most people don’t know is that you can have a lot of these or you can have very few of these. And most people have very few, but there are some simple steps to increase their numbers and increase their productivity tremendously. In fact, studies show you can have 600% more energy if you optimize this system. The fifth system’s the communication system. All these seven systems have to be able to talk to each other, or you’re going to have problems. And they communicate by hormones – a few of them are critical to your health; nerves, and neurotransmitters. We show you how to identify problems with these and optimize them. The sixth one is your defense system. This system defends your body against outside and inside attacks. As you know with our problem with antibiotic-resistant bacteria and all kinds of other bacterial and viral problems, we need to have this system working for us. It is the system that is responsible for causing chronic inflammation, and chronic inflammation is the root of almost all disease. And the last system in your body is your detox system. This system just cleans up. There are some significant things you can do to make this system work for you instead of against you. And it needs to be, because we are overwhelmed with toxins today. There are more toxins for this generation than any other generation in thousands of years by far. So this system needs to be working correctly.
Allan (7:33): And like I said at the beginning of this, the reason I like this approach is, it looks at your body across the board. It doesn’t sit there and say, “This is just a food allergy” or, “This is high blood cholesterol, so take this pill.” This is a, “Let’s figure out which systems are being impacted that are causing this”, not, “Let’s get rid of the symptom.” I really like the way you approached each of these. Now, one of the protocols that you talked about in the book was fasting, or the fasting mimicking diets. I was familiar with Valter Longo. Currently he is selling a product line that’s what I would call low calorie, high nutrition plan, that you can mail order and he’ll ship it to you. As I understand it, it’s somewhere around 600-700 calories just to get you the basic nutrients that you’d need to go through a fasting mimicking diet. But the fasting mimicking diets that you were using were more of the intermittent fasting style and they’re mimicking what would happen in our body during an extended fast. Can you explain what are the benefits of fasting, and then the types of fasting mimicking diets that you use in your practice?
Dr. Pat Luse (8:57): Fasting is in an extremely powerful tool in regaining your health. I give you some simple fasting techniques in Chapter 1 of my book, and it kind of eases you into it. You don’t have to do water-only fast to have significant benefits. Now, water-only fasts are very powerful and I do use them in my office. But to kind of prepare for that, there are methods of eating that trick your brain into thinking you’re fasting, while you’re actually eating food. A simple one that I like to use is the 17-hour fast. All that means is skip breakfast. Start eating at noon, finish your eating by 7:00 at night. Restrict the time that you eat. Powerful benefits of doing that alone. A second method is the 23-hour fast. Now we’re going from eating in a seven-hour window to eating in a one-hour window. So you would skip breakfast and lunch. And in that one meal that you have, it’s important to have a nice, balanced meal. We don’t want to have a tremendous number of calories in one meal. Significant progress with patients using those methods. So those are two of the things that I personally do and I have all the patients that join my course and program try these things. I usually get them eating a good diet for a month, getting the main 10 food groups in, that I outline, and after that experiment with some of these fasting techniques. The third one that I really like is called the 5-2 plan. On the 5-2 plan two nonconsecutive days per week, you restrict the calories to 500 for women or 600 for men. And that alone has been shown to have significant health benefits.
So what are the benefits of fasting? You want to clean house; your body does it in a very powerful way when there’s not food coming in or there’s not food coming in all the time at least. So you get elimination of waste products. Your body doesn’t have food to eat, so it focuses on getting rid of dangerous cells, like cancer cells. It may get rid of some extra skin that you’ve got hanging on to you because you’ve been losing weight. Fasting has been shown to reset your metabolism higher. A lot of people have a slow metabolism. There aren’t many ways to boost that, but one of the powerful ways is to use one of these fasting techniques. And also, if you want to control your hunger hormone – the hunger hormone is ghrelin; that comes in waves in your body. If you want to make those waves smaller, so you have less waves and they’re less powerful, less cravings, less hunger – fasting is a powerful way to do that. And I could go on and on. There are just tremendous benefits from fasting.
Allan (12:01): My favorite is the autophagy aspects of it, because your body needs certain things. It’s going to need amino acids to rebuild muscle and to do the things that it’s doing. It can get those amino acids from weak cells, from cells that our bodies should be getting rid of, but because we’re eating in many cases too much food, we’re not giving our body that opportunity. And for me, the other side of it is, the reason that fasting seems to make sense, beyond the fact that from a religious perspective, religions have been doing fasting forever as a protocol of refreshment, as a protocol for life, is that our ancestors didn’t have refrigeration or preservatives. So, they would go without food for even a couple of days, while they were on a hunt or while they were foraging, looking for something, particularly in the colder months when it was less plentiful. To me it really fits with what I think our bodies were designed for.
Dr. Pat Luse (13:12): Yeah. Never in our history have we eaten so frequently or constantly. If I just look back to when I was young, we had three meals a day – that was basically it. And now we have snacks in between those meals and we have something to eat before we go to bed. We are eating constantly. And some people even get up in the night to eat. Eating in the late evening or in the night is very damaging to your mitochondria, or your energy system that boosts your energy.
Allan (13:51): I’ve brought this up before on the podcast, but there was this term that’s come up and it’s now actually a thing. It’s called “second breakfast”. So someone will eat their first breakfast, and then by 10:00 they’re feeling hungry or they believe they’re hungry. And McDonald’s and others have loved this, that’s why they offer breakfast all day long. They want you to have that second breakfast around 10:00, because that’s just more business for them. And I say that because I think we think we’re hungry often times when we’re actually not hungry. In the book you outline some physiological and some psychological sources for hunger. I want to go through these, if you don’t mind, real quickly, because I think if people really started assessing what they’re feeling that we associate as hunger, it could go a long way towards saying, “No, I just need to go do this and not eat as much as I probably would.” Can you go through those sources of hunger?
Dr. Pat Luse (14:57): Actually, each of these seven systems can cause problems with hunger and eating, and that’s why it’s important. If you’ve got weight problems, you don’t want to just focus on restricting calories and eating better. That’s important, but if you don’t address all the other things, you’re not going to maintain your progress. You won’t make as quick a progress and you won’t keep the weight off once you to do. That’s why 99% of people gain the weight back after they’ve lost it. So, some of the things that can cause hunger are ghrelin – that’s the hunger hormone. It is that growling you get. It’s the “grow me” hormone and it signals you to eat. Here’s what we now know about ghrelin. You can train that to be too active, to give you those waves of hunger more and more frequently and stronger, but you can also train it to get weaker. Ghrelin does come in waves in your body. So what happens if you ignore the wave? It goes away. What happens if you act on the wave and you eat? It goes away. That’s one of the first things I teach my patients, that it’ll pass. Just give it 10 minutes, drink a little water, have a little coffee, and that wave will pass. And again, I said, fasting helps reset that.
Your fat cells, we now know, when you make them angry – and I talk about angry fat in Chapter 1 of my book – those angry fat cells can make you hungry, can give you cravings, can make you want to eat more and more. And fat cells produce a powerful hormone called leptin, which is your weight control hormone. When you get too many fat cells sending out leptin to the brain, it stops working and your brain thinks, “We don’t have any food. We don’t have any fat. We better up the appetite and slow down the metabolism.” This is a hormone that we need to fix. We now know that bad bacteria in your gut can actually cause hunger cravings. The good bacteria in your gut make you have cravings for things that feed them, like vegetables and fiber-rich things. The bad bacteria – that’s not what feeds them. They like the junk food. So if you get a craving for junk food, it could be that bad bacteria in your gut.
We also have a volume sensor in our stomach. We have no calories sensor. You can eat all the calories you want; your stomach will never say, “Alright, I’ve had enough.” But volume is something that it does respond to. So, we want to put lots of high volume, high nutrient-dense foods into our stomach, not the things that have very little volume and a tremendous number of calories. Low blood sugar can cause cravings and hunger. Just being low on water. Imagine this; this pertains to a lot of your listeners. You just ate your evening meal. It was a nice meal, you’re full. And 30 minutes later you’re hungry. Well, that just can’t happen. So it’s not lack of food that’s causing that. It could be lack of water. That dehydration signal, that thirst signal can seem just the same as a hunger signal. So, drink a big glass of water, wait 5-10 minutes, and if it’s gone, that was a water signal, not a food signal. Food addiction can be a source of hunger. Stress and elevated cortisol in your body can cause an increase in hunger too. So, a good number of things. Figuring out which of these things are causing your hunger cravings can be helpful.
Allan (18:55): A lot of what you talk about there – one is, stay hydrated. To me that’s an easy one. If you stay hydrated, then you typically know that it’s not a thirst that’s going to signal this hinger. Eating high quality foods, so you’re feeding the good bacteria, you’re getting the nutrient density that you need. Actually vegetables and fruits, high fiber fruits particularly, have a good bit of water in them. So again, it’s that natural blend of, if you work to improve the quality of your food, you’re going to be touching on most of those systems one way or another. And then dealing with the stress and paying attention to the signals your body’s giving you over time, I think is going to give you a good barometer of knowing when enough is enough.
Dr. Pat Luse (19:45): That’s right. You can actually stretch and increase the size of your stomach, as we have done. When you eat large meals, you can increase your stomach size, so it takes more food to trip that volume sensor. So I encourage my patients to not really stuff their stomach. And most of my patients in a short period of time, their cravings go down, their appetite goes down, and they just cannot eat as much as they used to eat, which is a very good thing to have happen.
Allan (20:19): What I’ve found is, when I’m really focused on the nutritional density of the food, I just don’t eat as much. If I go out for a good meal in a restaurant, I order their steak. I know it’s not grass-fed, I know it’s not the best quality meat, but it’s delicious and I need to eat, so I eat it. But I end up eating the entire 8-12 ounce portion, which is really two or three portions of steak. When I’m at home and I’ve bought some high quality grass-fed meat, I could eat about four ounces and feel completely satiated. Pairing that up with some good vegetables, getting a good mix on my plate. So I think the higher quality foods may seem to cost more, but in the grand scheme of things from a health and illness perspective… But also you don’t eat as much because you’re getting the nutrition that your body needs.
Dr. Pat Luse (21:18): That’s correct.
Allan (21:20): Now, if we’re going to do some fasting and we’re going to not listen to the bad gut bacteria until we get rid of it, because it’s going to take a little bit of time for that stuff to go away, and we’re not going to necessarily eat until were full, and we’re going to remember to try the delay or the water tactic as a way of getting past the hunger, the surge of ghrelin or the wave that’s coming in, so we can make sure it is what it is – a lot of people will then have to depend on this finite resource we call “willpower”. And I say “finite”, because a lot of folks will notice as their day goes on and they have to make more and more decisions about things, they just get this fatigue. And it’s so much easier to have bad food, have a glass of wine when you told yourself you weren’t going to. Those types of decisions become harder and harder; our willpower becomes weaker and weaker. In the book you share six willpower helpers. Would you share those with us?
Dr. Pat Luse (22:29): Sure. I tell my patients from the start, if you are going to depend upon your willpower to succeed, you’re not going to make it. It just will not happen, so you cannot do that. Willpower actually comes from a part of your brain called the anterior cingulate cortex, and it is about one inch straight back from my finger. Pup your finger on your forehead, go back an inch – that part of your brain controls your willpower. But it also controls several other things – emotions, task performance, decision-making. So imagine using that part of your brain all day, and then getting home and expecting it to make your willpower work. It’s just not going to happen. You can get about 15 minutes of work out of that part of your brain for willpower, and then it’s going to fatigue and not work as correctly. So you need to have things to help your willpower. I mention six of them in my book. First of all, you’ve got to have a desire, you’ve got to have a want to. So, Mary – actually she’s on the poster right back here. She came in to me at age 60. She was diabetic, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, morbidly obese. But here’s what she said: “If I don’t do something, I’m not going to be here for my grandkids.” That was her desire, her want to, her “Why”, and that’s a very powerful one. When I hear that from a patient – alright, we’re going to help you make.
New skills and abilities are very helpful. This is actually the classroom where I teach. I’ll be teaching a class tonight. This is the same class that I teach online. I give my patients lots of new skills and abilities. The more that you have, the better health you’ll have. You need a cheering section. So in this room, this is my cheering section. They support each other and cheer each other along. But everybody needs someone who’s encouraging them and helping them along. You’ve got to find that. You need a coach. So, in this program, and in my book, I’m the coach. That’s very helpful. You need a coach in every part of your life; health is no different. Rewards and incentives. So when my patients begin my program, I say, “What’s your reward going to be? You get that first 10 pounds off – what’s your reward? When you hit 30 pounds off? When you finish the program, how are you going to reward yourself?” And it doesn’t have to be huge things, but those little things along the way help you to keep going. They support your willpower. And the last thing is a health-friendly environment. If you expect to succeed in gaining health, losing weight, and you’ve got junk food at home, it’s not going to happen. If you’ve got junk food in the car or at work, it’s going to make it much more difficult. So I have my patients, day one, purge their house, get all of that stuff out of there. So you don’t have to depend upon your willpower; there’s just nothing bad to get you in trouble around.
Allan (25:45): Because then you have to actually make the decision to get in your car and drive to the store to get those things. What you just said, I love the path of that because that really follows the way I work with a lot of my clients, and we’ve talked about it here on the podcast – you do have to have a powerful “Why”, a deep emotional, like you said for Mary. And you share Mary’s story in the book, and a lot of other stories that are all really compelling, to help us understand how people bridge this gap. For some of them it was really, really good. And others had some difficulties that they had to fight back from. I really appreciated those stories, because they really brought all this to life. But you have to want to do this. It has to be, like you said, a good desire. I use the word “Why” with my clients, and we go over it and over it and over it until it’s ingrained and I know it’s emotional and it’s deep and they’re fixed on it. That gives us such a good framework then to use these other tactics of, don’t have it in your house if you don’t have to. I know for a lot of folks the kids are going to want it, your spouse might want it. Segregate it. Put it in a different place where it’s going to be out of sight. You may know it’s there, but having to make the effort to go to a different pantry to get it is just that little stop that you could take and say, “I have a ‘Why’ I’m doing this.” For me, it always comes back to that one, but the others are great, great tactics. So, if you find you struggle with willpower, which I don’t think I’ve found anyone that has what I would call great willpower. I’ve seen people put up with a lot in my life, but at the same time we all have our weaknesses, and until we recognize those and address those, we’re not going to be as successful as we can be.
Dr. Pat Luse (27:48): That’s correct. So with that “Why”, the reason you’re doing it – actually write those out. I have my patients give me four or five “Why’s”, put it on a 3 by 5 card, and then put it somewhere where you’re going to see it all the time.
Allan (28:02): Absolutely. Make it your background on your phone and on your computer, so it’s there all the time. Now, Doctor, 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. Pat Luse (28:22): That’s a very good definition of “wellness”. I would sum it all up in one thing, and that is your seven systems. So that would be the thing I would say, if you do that, you’re going to have significant improvement in your health in a very short period of time. If I had to list three things that were probably the most powerful things, the first one would be, eat real food and take some supplements. Real food is the most powerful thing that you can do to regain your health, and it’s not that difficult. There are 10 food groups that I teach about in my course and there are some very simple ways to get all of those groups in every day, and very tasty ways. And a few supplements are key. We won’t have time to get into that today, but everybody needs to take a good multiple, vitamin D, probiotic and Omega-3. Those things are extremely helpful for your systems function. So that’d be number one. Number two, I’d say protect your gut bacteria. Now, this one didn’t use to be in my top 10 things of importance for my patients. It is moving clear to the top. Your gut microbiome is extremely helpful and powerful if it’s working for you. If it’s working against you, you’re going to have difficulty making progress with any health problem. The third thing I would say is, balance your hormones. You’ve got 50 hormones in your body. You don’t have to worry about all of them, but there are a few of them that are key, like insulin. Your insulin has to be working correctly. Insulin is the fat storage hormone. It makes that fat go into the fat cells and it prevents it from getting out. So my patients that come in here and can’t lose weight, I always check their insulin, and every time I find that insulin is too high. We lower the insulin and their weight loss takes off. Cortisol – the stress hormone – that’s another key one. You’ve got to do things regularly, daily; just some simple techniques to lower that stress hormone. So, that’s the third part – keep your hormones working for you instead of against you.
Allan (30:37): Great. I love those. And The 7 Systems Plan, your book, lays out a lot of ways for us to methodically approach each and every one of those. Thank you so much for that, Dr. Luse. If someone wanted to get in touch with you, learn more about the book and all the things you’re doing, where would you like for me to send them?
Dr. Pat Luse (30:58): I have a website, DrPatLuse.com. I’ve got a lot of free resources for patients there. They can get my book there. My book’s available at Barnes & Noble; it’s called The 7 Systems Plan. It’s got some additional resources that are connected with it. And I also have an online course. My patient in life is helping patients have amazing health transformations. We get people off medications, we help them lose weight, we reverse diabetes. Every time that happens with the patients, I just get a buzz. I really enjoy that. I want to create more and more of these amazing health transformations.
Allan (31:46): They are. Every one of them in the book is a brilliant story of someone turning their life around. So, thank you so much for being a part of the 40+ Fitness podcast.
Dr. Pat Luse (31:57): Thank you. It’s been great being here with you.
Allan (32:05): I want to thank you for helping to make The Wellness Roadmap an Amazon bestseller. It really is an honor that you’ve reached out and got the book, and the book has been so well received to make bestseller status in three different subcategories. That was a really big thrill for me, and an honor, so thank you so, so much. You can get The Wellness Roadmap book by going to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Book. That’ll take you directly to the Amazon seller page, where you can get the book. And while you’re out there, consider buying it as a gift to your friends and family that are over the age of 40 and interested in regaining or maintaining their health. It makes an excellent Christmas gift. Go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Book. Thank you.
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On this episode, we celebrate the 3rd anniversary of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, the launch of The Wellness Roadmap book, and I answer listener questions.
Hello and thank you for being a part of the 40+ Fitness podcast. I am so glad you’re here today. This is going to be a special episode because today is the official third birthday for the 40+ Fitness podcast. Yes, I launched the podcast on December 6, 2015, and this episode that you’re hearing today is going live December 6, 2018. And my, how so much changed in just three years! It’s really quite amazing. I’m going to talk about the podcast, I’m going to talk a little bit about the new book, and then I’m going to talk about going forward what I want to do with the podcast, with my career, with the whole thing. If you’re not interested in all that and all you want to do is get to the Q&A, you might want to skip forward a little bit because this is going to get into the origin of the show, the things I’ve been doing for the past three years, the growth and where we are today. If you’re not interested in those types of things, then I’d encourage you to skip towards the end and you can pick up the Q&A. We got some really cool, good questions there that I know you’re going to get some value out of. So this is not an entire show about me and the podcast. It’s about you and how I can help you reach your health and fitness goals. Let’s go ahead and get started.
As I mentioned, the podcast started three years ago, and when I first started the podcast, I did a lot of things to try to jumpstart it and get it going early. I spent a lot of what I would call stupid money, building up some things that didn’t matter; I spent money on things that didn’t matter. I bought equipment that I’ve never actually ever used. It was really kind of a traffic wreck. Now, I had a full-time job, so I had the disposable income to do those types of things. But looking back at myself now, if you’re thinking about starting a podcast, email me, let me know. Let me give you a little bit of advice, because you don’t have to spend a ton of money to have a podcast. You do need to spend some money to have a good podcast, but you can get a decent podcast with not much of an investment if you’re willing to invest your time. I started the podcast because I had done some things for my health and wellbeing that I felt were quite valuable and a lot of people were asking me about it. They could physically see the change in me. I was a different person and they recognized that. So, more and more people were reaching out to me that I knew and I just got to thinking, I can’t not tell everybody. If this is something that’s going to work for me and it’s starting to work for other people, let’s prove the case.
So when I launched the podcast, I was extremely ambitious. Again, I did have a full time job, a very stressful full-time job at that. And as I reached out, I decided I was going to do the podcast five days a week. I was going to have shorter episodes of 15 minutes, enough time that you could go for a nice little walk and it wouldn’t take away too much of your day to spend 15 minutes, five days a week doing some moving around. That would basically put us at about 75 minutes, which is the minimum requirement of what the federal government says you should do. It’s by far a very low bar, but I thought this is doable for most people that I want to reach out to. So I did that for quite some time. I think we got all the way up into the 70s for the episodes. So, a good long time – probably eight, nine weeks or longer. I guess we’re looking at closer to 12, 13, 14 weeks that I ran this podcast for that amount of time. It was a lot of work, particularly when I was trying to do interviews and keep the interviews under the 15-minute mark – a real processing challenge for my head, for my stress. It was a little too much. So I made the bonus announcement that I was moving to three days a week and I was going to give myself some slack on the length of the show. If it needed to be a little bit longer, it’d be a little bit longer. If it could be a little bit shorter, I would make it a little bit shorter. That worked pretty well, but I found more and more I wanted to reach out to experts in the field. I wanted to do more interview shows, because I really felt like I could read a book and pull out some huge gems for folks – some great tactics, in many cases some good strategies to help us stay on track with our health and fitness. So I started reaching out to the guys out there that were writing books, and experts and whatnot. And I got some awesome guests on the show. There have been some huge ones, like Dr Fung, Jimmy Moore, Dr Friedman, Dr Greger. Just tons and tons of really good guys and ladies – sorry I missed a few of those. I had some really great shows. But I found working a full-time job and going through some pretty stressful events, that having to read three books per week… And a solo show actually probably takes me longer to prepare than an actual reading a book show. I know that sounds weird, but I spend a lot more time than the six or seven hours it takes me to read a book to actually plan one of these shows when I do a solo show. I spend a lot of time thinking about it, a lot of time doing some research to make sure that what I’m giving you is right. So, I prefer the interview style as a way of getting the information out there. So, I just found that doing three interviews shows per week was just a little too tough on me. So I tapped it back down a little bit more to once a week. And as you know if you’ve been listening for the last couple of months, I throw in bonus episodes every once in a while. So, it’s not like I’m just doing 52 episodes a year; I probably do closer to the realm of 60 a year, which is pretty good. It’s a good bit, but it’s not so much. Getting a lot of good feedback from that.
So, where have we come, where are we now? When I first started I was happy to see that first download, and it was me. The second download came and it was someone else, maybe even you, if you’ve been with me from the beginning. And that was pretty exciting. Now things are a lot bigger. This is actually being released as episode 358, which means there’s a ton of back catalogs. In fact, unless you’re subscribed to the podcast on iTunes, you don’t even see the first episode, because they only show the last 300 episodes on your player when you go to look for the podcast. Unless you’re subscribed, and then you can go all the way back. I’ve had over 205 guests on the show. In fact, I think I interviewed 206 today as I’m recording this. So, a lot of great folks have come on the show and provided great content, and I’m going to continue to strive week in and week out to get the best possible guests on the show that I can. There are some really cool, great guests coming up. I can’t tell you their names because they might miss their call and I don’t want to say they were here and then they’re not. So I’m not going to give you any false promises there, but I’ve got some really great episodes coming up that I know you’re going to enjoy. We’ve had over 1.3 million downloads and listens to the podcast over the three years. That’s phenomenal to me. It’s just an unbelievable number that we could have over a million people have been exposed to the 40+ Fitness podcast and are part of our family. And I think that’s really, really cool. Now, I know some of you listen to every episode, but when you realize 358 episodes and 1.3 million downloads and listens, that’s pretty significant, what we’re able to do here. So, really, really happy with that. We’ve been listened to in over 149 countries. And I can tell you most of the countries where we haven’t been heard are the countries that you would expect me not to be heard. It’s the Stan countries over in the Middle East and a few others in Africa and down in South America, but for the most part, this podcast is listened to around the world. So it’s gotten some really good guests from around the world, but it’s also gotten some wonderful listeners that are getting this content there. So I really appreciate you tuning in each and every week to be a part of this show, because it is a community. If we’re going to get healthy, we’re going to do this together. So I’m really, really happy to have both my North American-based listeners and also my international listeners. Thank you so much.
Now, the podcast is often featured on the top 100 in the Health & Fitness and in the Alternative Health space, which is really good. I look at the numbers that they throw out for podcast listens and all of that. We’re right in the mix to be a top tier podcast. We’re right in the top 10%, top 15% most weeks, so we’re right in that bailiwick of getting the good. We’re niche, we’re over 40, so I’m not trying to be everything to everybody. I don’t expect to be the major, major player here, but we are doing really good in the charts. The Facebook group continues to be a slow grow, but it’s a good, solid group. I love the feedback I get from you there. There are currently 571 members, and that can go up and down over time. If you’re not a member of the Facebook group, you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Group. I make a lot of announcements there, we interact there, you can ask questions there. I’m on the page. I go onto that group every single day to check in and see what’s going on with folks. So, really delightful community and I’m really glad for the folks that are a part of that. And then the Facebook page is just shy of 13,000 likes. We’re at 12,990. So if you haven’t liked the Facebook page, go look up 40+ Fitness, find the Facebook page and go ahead and give us a like. They don’t show those posts so it’s not like I’m going to inundate you on your feed, but it’s just nice to know that there are a lot of fans out there that are interested in what we’re doing. And that’s just another way to see it. And then of course the reviews on iTunes. We have basically 159 reviews. We’ve got a few more ratings. Some people rated it and didn’t leave a review. There are 159 reviews on the podcast, with an average rating of 4.96, which is phenomenal. A couple of people don’t like certain parts of the show, and I get that. I may say something that offends a person here or there, and I understand that. My goal is to get information out and let you disseminate how that information fits in your life. I’m not a doctor, I’m not a dietitian. I’m a personal trainer with some personal experience and I’ve interviewed over 205 guests at this point. So I think I know a thing or two to at least guide you in your own education of things that are there for you. So if I’m not making someone happy – please, go ahead and leave me a rating and review. It helps me. I’ve had some comments on the podcast page and I’ve had some reviews that have made me step up my game. One was for sound quality. So I’ve changed the way I record the podcast so that I can have better sound quality. I’ve had someone who was upset that I had too many ads at the beginning of an episode, so I went ahead and moved those to the back of the episode so he doesn’t have to listen to them. He can stop listening as soon as they play that last music bumper; he’s good to go. So, I do listen and read your reviews and I do make adjustments and will continue to do so. If you haven’t left a review for the show, please do it on whatever you’re listening to this podcast right now. I think you can do it and still be listening to me, so it doesn’t cost you any time. Just go ahead and leave a rating and review. It really does help me make the podcast better.
Allan (12:12): I just finished the whirlwind effort of publishing a book, and I wanted to talk a little bit about the origin of the book. The book came about because I was laid off. I was laid off last December and I was going through a lot of things and I was thinking the podcast has done a lot for a lot of people, but there’s a whole segment of folks out there that aren’t going to find the podcast. I know they’re listening to books on Audiobooks and I know they’re reading books. I want to try to hit more people, I want to try to touch more people. And being laid off, I had the time to invest in getting this message out there. So, I sat down and I kind of outlined what I thought the book would be about. And if you listen to episodes 295 to 299 – I call it The Wellness Roadmap – that’s actually the outline that became the book. I actually outlined it for you here on the podcast, and that became the staple, the basis for the writing of the book. I had that format when I went forward. And I hired people across the board, so I had editors, copy editors, layout people, the whole bit to help me get this book into production. I recorded the narrative on the audiobook, so if you do buy the audiobook, it’s going to be my voice reading my book, my words. I did hire a producer though to help me massage the files and get them up to Amazon standards. So that audiobook is now going to be available on Amazon, Audible and iTunes. The book itself, I published not just an ebook or a paperback; I also have a hardbound. You can order the hardbound book pretty much through any retailer. Right now the ebook and the paperback are only going to be available through Amazon. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Book, and that’s going to take you to Amazon. The Kindle edition comes out on December 6. At least for the next couple of days, the Amazon Kindle version is going to be available for $0.99, and then it’s going to go back up to its normal price of $6.99. Still a bargain for what I think you get for this book. But I wanted to give everybody that needs this book or wants this book, regardless of what your budget is. If you can afford a $1 Kindle book, you can watch it on your computer, because you can download their app. Or you can do it on your phone with their app. I know Kindle, even though it’s kind of an Amazon thing, you can still watch it and listen to it anywhere. And it’s only $0.99, so please do reach out there. And if you’ve gotten the book or if you get the book, I would really appreciate a rating and review on the book. This is hyper-critical because Amazon shoppers do pay attention to those ratings. If they come across a book and it’s highly rated, or they come across a book that doesn’t have any ratings, they’re always going to opt for the one that had the ratings. They’re just not going to pay that much and spend that much time reading the description to understand if a book is for them. They’re going to immediately hit the page, they’re going to see the cover, they’re going to see the number of ratings and whatever rating level they got. Then and only then they might read the description and read some of the reviews. So, please do take just a moment to leave me a rating and review. It really does help the book grow and become something special.
So, going forward, what’s going on? I told you I got laid off, and you probably already knew that. When I got laid off, I was thinking about how my work affected my life and my health, and I made the decision to opt for health and wellness over the job. I love what I’m doing here, so I decided to double down on pulling in some clients. I have the most wonderful clients in the world. I really do. I love each and every one of them. Every week when we have our calls, whether it be the one-on-one calls or the group calls, I leave those calls pumped, because I know I’m making a difference. I see my clients getting results and we’re having these great conversations about our health and our wellness. So it’s been really, really cool to be able to ramp that up. And of course I’ve continued the podcast with some sponsors, but more often than not, without. It’s really not a sponsored podcast. It’s all pretty much out of pocket and what I’m able to raise with my clients. But what’s come to be is that that’s just not sustainable for the long term. If I look at my cash flows relative to my outflows, for the long period of time I can’t stay where I am. I can’t keep doing what I’m doing. Something has to change. So my wife and I have decided that we’re going to move to Panama. What that’s going to mean is that my overall cost of living will be somewhat lower, which will help me spread the time, before I have to do something. I’m going to continue to train clients, I’ll be able to do that. I’m offering a special because I do need more clients, I’ll just be frank about it. If I’m going to keep doing this, I’ve got to treat it like a business, and it is a business. So, you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Group-Training and use the coupon code podcast when you check out. That’s going to allow you to get the first month for a dollar. I want you to just try it out. There’s a 40-day money back guarantee, which basically says if you get in and spend your dollar, and then you get billed the next $75 for the first month, and you say, “No, no, I don’t want to do this. This isn’t working for me. I didn’t see the results.” Then I’ll give you your money back. I won’t ask any questions, I won’t bother with it. I’ll just say, “Okay, I get it. It just didn’t work for you. This wasn’t for you. I’m sorry I let you down, but we’re good. Here’s your money back.” So you get to try it for a dollar; there’s no risk to it. And I do believe that most people that are going to come in and give this a real shot and take me up on this $1 for the first month offer, you’re going to see some results and you’re going to see what it’s like to be part of a group that’s all striving to be well together. You’re going to have that support from me and from everyone else as much as you need, as much as you want. So, please do go check it out – 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Group-Training. Be sure to use the coupon code podcast at checkout.
And then finally, I’m going to carry on doing the podcast. It’s going to be a weekly show. Most of the episodes are going to be interviews. They’re the easier thing for me to do, they’re the thing I enjoy. Basically I’m getting paid pretty much to read books and interview people. Now, I say “getting paid”. I don’t get paid; the podcast is absolutely free for you. But if you would like to support what I’m doing here at the podcast, you can become a patron. Patreon is a service that lets me take in monthly contributions to cover the overall cost of producing the podcast. The podcast itself doesn’t cost a whole lot. There are some hosting costs for the website, there are some hosting costs for the audio file. Those are not significant. But I also pay someone to put the transcripts together, and I also pay someone to do the audio processing, and that’s where the dollars start actually adding up. This is a negative cash flow for me as a part of this, but I love doing this podcast. I’m going to probably keep doing the podcast even if you don’t become a patron. But if you go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Patreon, you can become a patron for as little as a dollar a month. I have some levels in there that I’m willing to do a little bit extra for you, if you’re willing to help me out a little bit more. And some of those are going to be pretty cool, I think, if you really want to be a part of it. You may not want to be a client, then don’t be a client; buy the book. You may not want to buy the book. If you want to help the podcast, there are several ways now to do it. You can purchase the book, leave a rating and review. You can become a client, and better yet I can help you personally reach your goals. Or you can become a patron through 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Patreon, and help support the show so I can keep it going and keep doing this. Right now I’m sustainable because we’re getting ready to move to Panama. My step is going to be lower stress, but it’s also going to be a change to my business and how I run things. So I’ll have to just look at that. But I am going to keep doing the podcast, I am going to keep doing the training, and who knows, there might even be another book in my future.
Allan (21:07): Another thing I want to do with the podcast going forward is I do want to make it more about you. I talked about how easy reading the books are for me to be able to put together a really good show. Another way that makes it really easy for me to do a good show is for me to answer your questions. If you put in some questions, it’s very easy for me to sit down and put together the content that I want to have and how I want to outline it. That I can do really quickly. And so, this is also a Q&A show. With no further ado, I will go ahead and skip into the questions. Most of these questions came through the Facebook group. If you’re not a part of the group, you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Group, and that’ll take you to the group page. This is where you’ll be able to ask those questions for when we have these Q&A episodes. I want to have more of them, so I’ll be putting them out there from time to time to see if I can build up enough questions to move forward. But most of these came from the group, so if you want to get in touch, that’s one of the best ways to do it. So, the first one comes from John. John asks, “What are your favorite mobility and balance routines?” This is a great question, because balance and mobility are something that I’m much more focused on now than I ever have been in my training. What I’ll start this out with is, a part of my overall philosophy of training is that you need to have a vision and you need to understand what you’re trying to accomplish before you can actually start on the task. So, my training for mobility and balance could be very different than yours, John. For example, I have very, very tight calves. I don’t know why they’re as tight as they are. I never wore high heels, I hardly ever wore boots. But for one reason or another, my calves are very, very tight. So, my mobility has to focus on my calves because my calves being tight adversely affects my movement pattern. If I want to improve my movement pattern, I have to address the tight muscles and I have to strengthen the weak muscles. So, my tight muscles are my hip flexors and my calves; my calves especially. My weak muscles tend to be my hamstrings and my quads. And so, I do a lot of strengthening for my hamstrings and my quads, and I do a lot of stretching and mobility work on my hip flexors and my calves. And that helps my overall squat form to be much more clean and much better. Now, there are other areas of my body that are tight. My chest is a little tight so I do stretches to the chest. My traps get a little tight from time to time, so I will occasionally do some self-myofascial release on my traps. Those are the areas that affect me. So, paying attention to your body and where you feel tight and where you know your lack strength – maybe the core – those are the areas where you want to focus on, on your general mobility.
As for balance, balance is an important aspect of day-to-day life. We could easily fall, and I can tell you as we get older, the likelihood of falls goes through the roof and the injuries and cause of death from a fall is so high. It really is unbelievable to me how many people over the age of 65 fall, and how many of them end up in the hospital or dead. This is not something you want to happen to you, so you do want to start a program to make sure that you’re improving your balance. I recently interviewed a wonderful woman, Carol Clements. That was episode 357, that just happened this last Monday. Her book is Better Balance for Life. She has a pretty interesting program where you do most of your balance work as a part of your normal day-to-day routine. So, perhaps while you’re brushing your teeth, you stand on one foot with your eyes closed. It sounds like a simple task, but it’s a lot harder than you would think it’d be. She just uses and builds it all into your day-to-day functional things that you’re doing to use balance as a protocol. I say that’s great. Just realize when you’re training balance, you’re trying to put yourself in a slightly imbalanced position, like standing on one foot or having two feet really close together – make sure you’re in a position where if you fall, you’re not going to hurt yourself. That’s the core thing I would say about balance. Now, to put it all together, the cool thing about mobility and balance is that these are things that you can do every day. You can work on them every day. You don’t have to, but the more you work on them, the easier it’s going to be, the more your balance will improve, the more your mobility will improve. So, it is something that I would encourage you to consider doing each and every day. And what I would say is, make balance a part of your regular life – standing with your feet closer together, standing on one foot, putting yourself in unbalanced positions, moving side to side, getting yourself comfortable with out of the box movements. That’s going to help your balance, and you can do that any day, anywhere. The second would be, as far as the mobility, just make that a part of your warmup. Do a little cardio warmup, get your body moving, and then spend a few minutes working on mobility, on the areas where you know you have tightness. That’s going to be the best protocol I can give you. There’s not any one protocol that’s out there. I have run the Functional Fitness Challenge before, where I did give some general protocols that addressed what I feel are the movement patterns for most people, the balance issues for most people, but we all differ in our own ways. So, there is no one-size-fits-all for just about anything in health and fitness. Take that into account, but make it a part of your daily movement patterns, daily activities like your workouts, and you’ll do a lot better.
The next one comes from Angie and Sammy. I’m going to combine their question, because it was kind of the same question, but they were asking it in a slightly different way. The question was, “How do I maintain endurance activity while in ketosis?” Ketosis basically means that your body becomes a fat burner. And it doesn’t do that overnight. If you’re moving from sugar burning, which most endurance athletes do, to fat burning, there’s a bit of a curve there, a bit of a time where you’re going to see a much, much lower performance rate. That’s hard for a lot of endurance runners, cyclists and swimmers to get through, because they really look at those PRs, they look at those times. And for them to see their performance drop, in many cases quite dramatically, is very, very hard for them. The answer to the question then is, how do you stick with it? Because you’ve got to outdo your brain and say, “I understand this is a momentary setback for a better position later.” When I was in the army, we came up on an enemy position. One of our stated goals, one of the things we would do fairly regularly is do what we call a flanking maneuver, and that’s where we would go back a bit and then circle around to come in on the side. So we were catching them from two planes. This is kind of what I’m saying with this – realize you are taking a couple of steps back to be able to put yourself in a better, safer position. Once your body gets fat-adapted… So we’re going to talk about two different types of adaptation here. Different people like to use different words, but I’ll just explain it this way: Initially, what you’re trying to do is get your body to adapt to using body fat for fuel. So that’s the fat adaptation. That’s when you hear things like “keto flu”. I prefer to call it carb withdraws, because your body isn’t getting the carbs it needs and it’s fighting you. It’s saying, “Get some carbs, eat something.” You’re going to feel miserable if you don’t eat anything. It’s trying to figure out how to start burning its own fat, and eventually it’ll figure that out. During that fat adaptation period, it’s important for you to make sure that you’re getting adequate fat in your diet, which might mean that you’re eating more overall calories than you did when you were a sugar burner. Again, we’re working toward performance, so that’s cool. It’s okay to do that for a while. And then you’ll back off of that fat that you’re eating when your body gets comfortable with fat and can actually start burning fat off your body. And you’ll know that’s happening when you start waking up in the morning and you’re not hungry. Intermittent fasting almost becomes something natural to you because you’re just not hungry that much. That’s when you’re starting to get that fat adaptation, and that takes up to a week. For most folks, it can be two or three days, but for some, it can be as long as a week. So you’re going to go through that fat adaptation phase.
Now, even as you go through that fat adaptation phase, you still might not see improvements in your overall performance. You might be slowly getting back to what you were doing, but you’re not seeing any real improvements beyond just seeming to catch up to where you were. So then we’re going to talk about the process called keto-adapted. Keto-adapted is where when you’re doing intense long stuff, your body can shift over and is quick enough and good enough at burning body fat to keep fueling you. Most of us have about a teaspoon of sugar in all of our bloodstream. And then we have glycogen in our muscles and our liver. That energy right there of what you basically would start out with on a normal everyday run or anything, it should be enough to keep you going for about 90 minutes with moderate intensity exercise. So if you’re going for a run of less than 90 minutes, which most of us do, you should be fine. You might see a little less performance, but that’s more probably feeling like you just don’t have the energy. It’s like a fatigue thing, but in a general sense, you have enough glycogen and glucose in your system to be able to carry you that far. Now, you’ve probably heard about the marathon bonk, which happens somewhere around mile 16 to 18, and that’s where you’ve used up the glycogen, you’ve used up your glucose and now you’re starting to effectively bonk. Folks on keto don’t bonk at that point. Most of them, if they’re keto-adapted, they just keep going because their body can adapt to turning the fat into glucose and glycogen and keep you going, and the ketones. So, just recognize that if you’re running less than 90 minutes, you probably aren’t going to see a huge decrease in performance that doesn’t come back really quick. Once you’re fat-adapted, you should be fine. Once you get past that, you want to start going further, then you’re going to have to wait until you’re keto-adapted, and the keto adaptation can actually take a year or more. Some people will see it in as early as three or four months, but some folks have to train for about a year to really get their body efficient enough with using ketones to be able to keep up the performance. And those that do, report back even better times, that their performance improves even beyond what they were capable of doing as a sugar burner.
I know that’s a long answer, but I still have a few more things I want to go through as you get through this because there are ways to kind of fuel around this. Two of the ways that I like to talk to people about – the first one is exogenous ketones. You can explore using exogenous ketones, which are basically ketones that you take by mouth to help fuel you while you’re moving, particularly as you’re getting close to the point where you would generally bonk because you’re not quite keto-adapted. So you’re going to go ahead and add in these ketones, esters usually, that are going to allow your body to start using those ketones efficiently to keep you going. So some people will do that. Others will revert back to some form of carbohydrate fueling, be that starch or they just decide, “I can take in a small amount of sugar while I’m doing the run. As long as I taper it, know what I’m doing, I won’t end up taking myself generally out of ketosis because I know I’m burning more than I’m putting in.” So, you can do that kind of stuff with your fueling – that’s to say either you’re going to add ketones or starches or some form of glucose, but a very limited amount as a fueling strategy for your longer runs. Or you can try to carb load a little bit by making sure that the small amount of carbohydrates that you do eat, they come on that front end. So, maybe you eat some carbohydrates for breakfast before a run, and then you can go into the run knowing that at least you’ve topped off your glycogen stores and your glucose, and your blood sugar is up a little bit because you just had some carbohydrates. But in any case, just realize that to get into deep ketosis and stay in ketosis and get all of the benefits that ketosis is going to give you, you are probably going to lose some performance for a while until you manage to get yourself all the way up to keto-adapted. And anything you do as far as taking in glucose or starches, that’s very likely to slow down the keto adaptation phase. So if you can suck it up, particularly during the off season, and get yourself keto-adapted, you’re going to see a much better race season next year.
Next question comes from Trent: “Is there a good way to know when to push through discomfort, pain, and when it’s better to back off?” The general rule of thumb is this: If you feel it in a joint, back off. Joints typically depict a tendon or ligament issue, and those take a good while to heal. You don’t want to flare those up. I know you’ve probably felt stuff like tendinitis and those types of things. You want to make sure if the pain is in a joint, that’s the time to slow down and get that assessed, spend some time away from it. The tendons and ligaments, because they don’t get the blood flow that a muscle gets, they take longer to heal. Now, as far as muscles are in a general sense, if you’re just getting general soreness, you’re probably okay to take your standard rest of anywhere from 24 to 48 hours of a normal rest phase before you go back to work. If you feel like the muscle’s recovered at that point, then you should be able to push just as hard. If you feel like you’ve torn something or you have a pull, then I would take a little bit more time off. Most muscles generally can repair themselves easily within a week or two. If it’s taking longer than that, then you may have done something more significant and I would go see a doctor. But the general rule is, if you feel it in the body of the muscle, it’s probably okay to just rest it for a day or two and then go back at it. If you feel it in a joint, that’s going to take a little bit more time, so I would take even more time off. And anything that has you feeling uncomfortable when you’re not doing anything after three days, I’d definitely go get that checked out with the doctor.
And the final question comes from Marcia, and it is: “As a mature woman, what should I be concerned about and what kind of exercise focus can I expect?” This is similar to the question that I had with John and the mobility and balance. It really comes down to what you want to accomplish. What are the highlights in your life, the things that you want to be able to do 20-30 years down the road? Do you want to be the grandma that can run 5Ks with your grandchildren? Do you want to be the person that is independent? Our visions are going to change over time. So the first thing I’d say is, really establish a vision of what you want to feel like and be like 10-15 years down the line. For most of us that’s going to involve some resistance training. And I say that in all honesty, because sarcopenia is a wasting of muscle, osteopenia is a wasting of bone. If we don’t lift weights – not necessarily weights, but if we don’t do resistance training, we’re going to see a decline in our muscle mass and our bone density. So, resistance training is very, very important for us to maintain good body composition and stay healthy. Additionally, our strength decreases for the same basic reason. If we’re not doing resistance training, we will get weaker and weaker. And there’s a point where that weakness then becomes an independence issue. And I say this in the book. If you have trouble sitting down and getting back up, that’s a problem, but it becomes a huge problem when it’s the bathroom, when you’re taking a toilet break and you can’t stand up. You can have rails installed in your bathroom and that’s going to help somewhat, but that’s not always going to be the case. Again, if you’re not building the strength or maintaining the strength, eventually your arms and your legs won’t be strong enough to stand you up. And then where are you? You’ve lost your independence. Someone has to help you in and out of the bathroom, and that’s not a pleasant place to be. So I would say resistance training is almost a must for every single one of us that can work out. If your doctor says you’re clear to work out and train, definitely resistance training is for all of us. I would say for many of us, most of us probably, endurance training is going to be important because we want to keep going. If we’re going with family and they want to go walk around the zoo or walk around the park or you just want to run out and play with your dogs, you’re going to need a little bit of stamina, endurance, to be able to keep up that activity level for any period of time. Otherwise you’re sitting on the bench watching. I don’t know anyone that enjoys sitting on the bench and watching, as much as they enjoy doing. So, endurance exercise is going to be important.
Next, for most of us over the age of 40, I would look at mobility and balance. The falls I talked about earlier – very important if you have the strength and the bone density that you don’t break something when you fall, but better yet, let’s not fall. So let’s work on our balance. And then our mobility is, again, our ability to tie our own shoes and reach and do the things we need to do. If we don’t have good mobility, our movement patterns are going to be bad and we risk injuring ourselves. There are a few other modalities out there that can be important. Agility – if you’re walking through the grocery store parking lot and a careless driver doesn’t see you and they start to back up at you, what’s your agility to be able to step out of the way of that car? All of these are generally important, but you have to preface which ones you’re going to spend the most time on, because we can’t do all of them all at the same time, all the time. We’re going to have to focus on some sometimes, and this is when you can use periodization and say, “I know the weather’s going to be good this time of year, so I’ll work on endurance in the spring and the summer. And then in the fall I’ll work on strength. And then in the winter when it’s really cold, I’ll do a lot of mobility and balance work, along with the strength work, the resistance training.” So, there’s an opportunity for you to make this seasonal, ebb and flow through it. Do it as it makes sense to keep the balance that’s keeping you moving towards your vision. Alright, so I hope you found this episode enjoyable. I really enjoy the fact that three years I’ve been providing this podcast and we’ve had such a great time. We’ve had awesome guests. Obviously, I have to thank you for being a part of 40+ Fitness podcast.
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The statistics around falls for seniors is staggering. On todays episode, we meet Carol Clements and discus her book, Better Balance for Life. If we want to be well and maintain our independence, we must focus some effort on maintaining balance.
Allan (0:56): Carol, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
Carol Clements (0:59): Thank you. Happy to be here.
Allan (1:02): I was so happy to see your book that when I reached out I was like, “Yes, we’re not talking about this enough.” Everybody’s talking about getting stronger, building endurance, being able to do what we want to do in our lives. But in my mind, and I’ve even said this on the podcast a couple of times, my balance is not what it needs to be. And I’ve always known that; it’s only now that I’m in my 50s that I’m starting to say I have to start doing some work on this, because it’s not going to get better by my acknowledging the problem. I actually have to do something about it.
Carol Clements (1:47): Right. It’s definitely trending in media; there’s lots of scary statistics about falling and aging and balance. Then of course in the fitness industry there’s a big trending balance. You’ve got the BOSU training balls, you have stability balls, and Stephen Curry standing on a wobble board and shooting baskets. So everyone knows that this balance training edge is very productive because of the unifying of the body to become stable on unstable apparatus, which is what they call it at the gym. But I didn’t want my book to be about what you would do at the gym, so I had to create the instability in the person’s daily life that would be safe and they could practice balancing.
Allan (2:53): A few of the statistics I saw when I was doing the research on the topic of balance, it was something like one in four people over the age of 65 fall each year.
Carol Clements (3:04): One in three.
Allan (3:05): One in three, okay. So it’s going up, I’m sure. And then the other problem is they end up going to the hospital. I think it was 300,000 in the United States per year, and 29,000 deaths attributed to falls.
Carol Clements (3:25): That’s what I mean about the scary statistics. It’s a phenomenon that needs to be addressed as a preventative.
Allan (3:38): Yes. I tell people this, that your likelihood of falling over the age of 65 is just astronomically high. Why do we fall?
Carol Clements (3:49): That’s very complicated, because it can be inner ear issues, it can be visual impairment, it can be medication, or disease, a pathology of some kind – in the most extreme examples Parkinson’s or MS. Actually my book does not encompass that kind of reason for fear of falling or balance issues. It really addresses more a physical, more straightforward situation, where as the person ages they become less active and maybe they sit more, their balance system isn’t turned on because they’re sitting in a stable position too much of the time. I can’t cover all the reasons for falling, because they’re beyond what my book really addresses. But even if you had medication or a condition –neuropathy in your feet or something – you could still do a lot of these activities and improve your balance.
Allan (5:13): That was what I liked about this, because when I’ve talked to a lot of people about falls, it typically comes down, like you said, to those medical style conditions that we have. The second stage of it is that we’ve lost some strength, and that’s going to contribute to the fall. And unfortunately without the muscle mass, we’re more likely to hurt ourselves when we fall. Then of course there’s the fact that when we’re afraid to fall, we’re more likely to fall because we shorten our gait, we get tighter, we tense our body. I’ve lived in the south for a vast majority of my life, and whenever I travel up north and there was ice, I’m walking like a duck. I know that’s not the right way to do it, but I can’t help myself because I’ve fallen before and there’s this fear of falling that’s in there. And then the fact is that we just don’t practice.
Carol Clements (6:18): Right. So, all of those things that you said are right on. It’s lower body strength. In terms of predictors for falling, according to the research, and they do an arbitrary test where, say, you have to stand up from sitting without using your arms. And then five years later the people who couldn’t do that have fallen. The studies were in some ways a little arbitrary, like they would do a test for agility, and the agility test was how quickly you could walk around a chair.
Allan (7:02): I’m a certified functional fitness specialist. That’s still the test that they teach us, is to get up, walk around the chair and sit back down. It is not a bad test. The problem is from somewhat of a liability perspective, you don’t want the client to fall. So you know that they’re going to walk slower when their perception of falling is worse, and typically their perception is correct. So really what you’re looking for is for that person to give you indicators that we need to spend time on gait and balance because they’ve given some of that up.
Carol Clements (7:46): Right. Then you’ve got the lower body strength, you have the coordination agility factor, we’ll just call it, and then as you pointed out, the fear of falling is an enormous indicator of whether you will fall in the future. So I thought as I was writing, how can I help the reader feel more confident so that they remain active and they get the opportunities of being active that provide balance practice, strength, all the things we’ve talked about, and the confidence so that they won’t be so fearful? Those are really the three major goals.
Allan (8:36): You’re right. The question I have now, in the book, you use what you call the “five principles of a body in balance”. I think in a sense for me, that created a really good framework to explain what we’re going to be able to actually do at home. We’ll talk about those activities in a moment, but this set a really good framework. I thought if someone actually sits down, goes through and understands these five things, they’re going to genuinely know the things they should be adding to their activity level. Can you talk through those five principles, because I do think they are fundamental for our move forward in understanding this?
Carol Clements (9:22): They’re in some ways postural connections, so that when the reader gets to the 10-week plan, they have some kind of functional way of aligning their body. For instance, I start at the top, with the head, and compare it to a helium balloon. It’s really lining up and finding the arms and the back, and your neck and chest, which would be a curved-over, hunched position. And then ways to stretch the front of the chest so that you can get your shoulders to be part of your back. By that I mean the shoulder blades and the, you and I would call them “lats”, but you can think of it as the side of the back. And then there’s this very difficult one, which I was labored to write, because it’s hard, about the abdomen and how there’s a connection between your upper body and your lower body. I want for the participant reader to feel like that comes from the front, because as you age you begin to be more lax about what we call the front body core, and use the back to kind of hold you up and keep you in stance. So, it was difficult and I’m hoping the reader doesn’t get too frustrated with that section, but it was too important to leave out. Then I move on to the hip, because as you age, you begin to hinge at the hip forward. Imagine someone with a cane – they’re bent over and then they can’t access the glutes, the buttocks muscles. So I’m trying to get linked in front of the hip. And then the feet, because your feet and shoes sometimes become less active. You’re not really using the foot in an articulate way to push off. So those are the five; I wanted to make sure there was a consciousness about those body parts and how they work together, because you’re going to need that when you get to the 10-week plan and do the balancing and strengthening.
Allan (12:03): Yes. Again, that’s where the light came on for me as I was going through the book, was I know the shorter, tighter gait is a problem, but I had not really put together the entirety of the whole system, which I should as a personal trainer. Actually, that’s what I should be thinking about all the time. It is when I’m working with my clients, but I didn’t turn that same logic onto myself, that it’s about your posture and your ability to hold good posture. And so, looking at those imbalances: Is your head leaning forward? Are your arms collapsed forward? And as your waist is leaning forward, your hips are now in a bad position because you can’t use your glutes when you’re walking. And now your feet are not strong enough and nimble enough. I know that we say this all the time, and I need to start practicing. I do walk barefoot a good bit here in Florida. I could probably pick up a marble with my toes, but I couldn’t do a lot of the things that I should be able to do from the top to the bottom. That’s where the light came on for me, that this is a whole body posture thing. It’s not just a practiced balance thing. It’s all of it.
Carol Clements (13:29): All of those principles I felt like were going to give a foundation from which to build the strength, the coordination and the balance that we’re going to work on. You can’t think of everything at once; that’s why I said that about getting frustrated. But it’s just a process. I even said in the book, “Be patient with yourself.” The whole idea that not being able to maintain the balance at first is really a success, because the whole point is to be in an unstable position and to recruit, like I said, all these sensory, physiological and musculoskeletal aspects of what makes a person centered within themselves to balance, and practice that. So it’s okay if you fall – not fall; I don’t mean the bad kind of fall – that you teeter out of your balance, because that’s an experience that you’ll be able to use. Say if you step on a curb and you feel like you’ve lost your balance, you’ve had practice with doing that. Your body knows more what to do.
Allan (14:59): Yes. It’s like just about anything you do. When you first got in the car to drive, there was this fear. I know it gripped me the first time I got behind a stick shift. The Driver’s Ed teacher wants to put you up on a hill and have you do the clutch gas thing. I don’t want the car to die. And when you’re in town and it’s doing it, the car behind you is kind of laughing at you. It says “Driver’s Ed” on the car, so he knows what you’re going through. But over time, you practice being in that position. It’s not dangerous, but you get more comfortable and less fear.
Carol Clements (15:40): Right. The natural automatic responses of driving – now you don’t even have to think about driving, right?
Allan (15:54): Which can get scary in and of itself when you get somewhere. It’s like, “My brain was somewhere else while we were doing this drive, but I’m glad I’m here safe.”
Carol Clements (16:03): The body remembers and will do it, so we’re trying to get that automatic response going in the person’s body with balancing.
Allan (16:17): I was completely open and honest that I know my balance is an area that I need to put more and more focus on going forward. Now, don’t do this if you’re driving, but when you’re home or at a certain place. Always do your balance test in a safe place, so if you do actually lose your balance, you’re not going to hurt yourself. But if someone wanted to do the basic balance test, what would you tell them to do?
Carol Clements (16:46): The one that I use in the book is really more an assessment personally of the person, not like I’m trying to rate how good is the person’s balance, but how do you feel when you’re wavering? So I have the person stand behind this very sturdy chair and place your hands on the chair back, and then put feet right next to each other so there’s a very narrow base. And then gradually let go of the chair and cross your arms over your chest. If you close one eye, and if you feel okay, the other eye – you will feel the wavering of the body, the body balancing going slightly forward and backward and sideways. How do you feel about that? Is it scary? Does it make you want to suddenly go stiff, or can you relax into that wavering motion, the instability, and be okay seeing it from the inside, experiencing it? For me that was the better test. We can’t see what everyone’s doing that’s using the book, but they can experience and see for themselves how they feel about balancing.
Allan (18:09): Absolutely. Like I said before, your general perception when you’re in a situation like that is probably reality. If you’re not comfortable on your wavering more than you feel like you should, and you had that urge to want to tense up and grab that chair – those are indicators that this is a modality that you can start working on.
Carol Clements (18:31): Right. And it’s good to grab the chair because we don’t want you to fall. But it just gives you the experience to say, “Yes, I do feel tense about this.” And then maybe try it again and go, “Okay, I can stay with this a little bit longer until it really feels too threatening.” But definitely, always opening the eyes, or coming off of one leg, or whatever the balance situation is. You want to trust your instincts that you need to come out of that challenge when you need to.
Allan (19:13): Yes. I guess the tagline of this book in some lines should be, “You can fix it. You can get better at balance.” Now, you talked about the implements that are in the gym, and honestly a lot of folks don’t want the gym membership, and they don’t want to go over into the corner with that odd-looking contraption and try to figure out some exercises. Because they’re on a padded floor they fall over, and that’s not fun in a lot of cases. But we can do things to work on our mobility, our strength and our balance. We can do that in our own home. And what I like is that in the book you made this, I want to say, functional, but not exactly functional, but if fits within the lifestyle of what we’re probably already doing. We’re just double-dipping by doing these activities at the same time we would be doing something we were already going to be doing. Can you go through some of the types of activities and things that you would have them doing over the course of the 10-week plan?
Carol Clements (20:26): If the person can associate the activity with, we’ll call it an exercise, even though in the book I try not to call it an “exercise”.
Allan (20:37): Nobody likes the word “exercise”. So I’m glad you used the word “activity”.
Carol Clements (20:44): The association is like a reminder. For instance, one of the very first ones is “kitchen counter flat back”. So when you’re waiting for the toast or the microwave or the water to boil, you’re in the kitchen – you do this activity, which is really just creating traction though your spine. I won’t describe it; that is described in the book of course. And that’s really going to help with body awareness and the feeling of links, and to understand the opposing forces, which are what a lot of balance is made of. For instance, in this “flat back”, you go out through your scull, but you go the opposite direction, through your tail, the very end of the spine. So you’re lengthening in opposite directions, and when you balance, you really have to do that. You have to go down through your leg that you’re standing on and go up through your spine and head. Otherwise you have no dynamic; you’re just standing on your foot without the opposing force that gives a connection and a dynamic for balancing. I don’t really talk about that so much because it sounded too technical. I just try to give the experiences. When it’s associated with an activity, like brushing your teeth, I have five different “brushing your teeth” balances that are progressively more challenging. Everybody brushes their teeth, or at least we assume they do. So, they get to the first week, do brushing teeth balance number one. In the second week… Or maybe that didn’t happen until the second week because you have some other things to prepare first, I forgot. So those associations with activities, like getting dressed and talking on the phone or texting – I made sure that it was something I thought that most people would do, so that they’d go, “Oh yeah, when I do this, I stand this way and I do this experience.” That’s for a week. And by the end of that week, you’ve mastered it or gotten better at it, and you can go on to the next week. And then there’s usually a new activity, or a same one like the “brushing your teeth”, just with a new progression.
Allan (23:31): I liked it, because as you said, you’re brushing your teeth, you’re at the counter, you’re on the phone. All of those are normal daily activities. With this book, there’s not a ton of them; we’re talking I think no more than maybe four activities in any given week. But you practice those things – so a certain way that you’re going to work your back, or manage your glutes, or you’re going to work with your feet, or look and pay attention to your head, or at this point start balancing on one foot in a supported position – slightly supported, and then you’re going to reduce that support. It’s this progression that over the course of the 10 weeks you’ll feel and see that you are improving because you’re practicing.
Carol Clements (24:16): And hopefully feel more confident, go out more and do more things and not restrict yourself according to what you think you’re not capable of doing. Besides those four activities, there are also these sidebars, and one of them is “Your Striding Gait”. Not every week, but some of the weeks there’s a “Your Striding Gait” sidebar, which is some cue to use while you’re walking, which is going to help connect and strengthen. For instance, one is that big toe push-off I was talking about. So you cue yourself while you’re walking to push off with your big toe to fall forward from one foot to the next. And just to be aware of that and practice it when you’re walking. The other sidebar is “Relax and Reward”. Some of the weeks have a “Relax and Reward”, where you do a very passive kind of stretch situation, like have your legs up the wall so that your hamstrings get a little feeling of spaciousness. So besides the four activities per week, there are these sidebars that crop up. All of that works together.
Allan (25:51): Putting your sock on while you’re still standing up – that was maybe one of my favorites, along with, you call it something else – when you criss-cross your legs as you walk side to side.
Carol Clements (26:05): You mean “tight rope walking”?
Allan (26:07): No, you were crossing over sideways. You’re moving sideways, so your right foot goes slightly over…
Carol Clements (26:12): Lateral, yes. People lose their ability to step sideways, because think about it – we’re always going forward. Then when you do have a stumble, you are so inexperienced in stepping sideways or having to step backwards. So again, it’s practice. There’s a little thing where every time you get to a certain hallway in your home, you step to the side, meaning laterally, and then you get more comfortable with that and you’ve increased your range of transferring your center of gravity sideways, not just forward like we do when we walk, as we’re accustomed to.
Allan (27:03): You talked about things you do and don’t do. If you’re walking through a grocery store or a Walmart parking lot, and the car just doesn’t see you and you’re walking forward, your only choice perhaps is to move to the side. And so you need to be generally confident and competent that you can take that side step so the driver hopefully sees you, but you don’t fall, because that’s maybe the worst case. We have these obstacles in our lives and we don’t want to limit our lives. This is great if you’re working on your balance, if you’re doing these exercises. Every one of them is great. Like I said, I had a couple of favorites. I won’t ask you what your favorite is, because I know people don’t like picking between their babies. But I do have a question I want to ask, and it can be from the book or it can be from anywhere. I define “wellness” as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
Carol Clements (28:08): I wish I had some cute slogan or some inventive quick fix, but really it’s about building a lifestyle around healthy living. If you wanted to be a farmer, you’d live on a farm. People think in theory, they want to be healthier, they want to have a better diet, or they want to have more activity. But if it’s a theory, you have to change the real circumstances of your life. For instance, if you like to dine out, find the healthier places to go; maybe not the salty, fatty pizza place or something like that, and make that part of even your social life. In the book at the end I give this little pep talk and say, try a marching band, try croquet. It’s a little tongue in cheek. Basically I’m saying, find something that engages you, that’s active, so that you can get your balance practice. Tai chi is the perfect example because they’ve done so many studies with tai chi. This improves your balance because you’re standing, you’re moving. It really doesn’t take much. Ping pong would be great. Just find something that makes a fun, engaging thing and then cultivate your friends and relationships around that framework. Really make a lifestyle change, if that’s what’s necessary.
Allan (29:58): Thank you for that, really. The book is Better Balance for Life. Carol, if someone wanted to learn more about the book, learn more about you, where would you like for me to send them?
Carol Clements (30:10): I’m having a meeting with someone tomorrow about creating a website for the book and myself. So I don’t have that yet. The book actually is released on November 20th. You can order it on Amazon or Indie Books or Barnes & Noble, but it won’t actually go out until November 20th, which is right around the corner. Right now I would say, wait a while and try the website or contact me through the publisher.
Allan (30:48): Okay. Carol, we’ll do this. We’ll stay in touch and when the book is available, I’ll have a link to the book for sure. When your website’s available, I’ll have a link to your website, www.carolclements.com.
Carol Clements (31:02): That would be great.
Allan (31:04): Go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/357, and I’ll be sure to have those links there as soon as they’re available. Carol, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
Carol Clements (31:18): Thank you so much. Have a great day.
Allan (31:21): You too.
I hope you enjoyed that conversation with Carol. Balance is something that I’m going to be focusing much more time on, as far as my fitness routines go. And I hope you do too. Falling, hurting ourselves, the numbers are just astronomical. So it is something that you need to be aware of and something that we do need to focus on as we get older.
I wanted to give you an opportunity I had originally only offered to my mailing list and then to my clients, but I thought you might be on the fence and thinking maybe you want to try some online personal training. So, through December 25th, Christmas, I will be offering you an opportunity to train as a part of our group training for just $1. Yes, your first month is only a dollar. Normally $75, so that’s a pretty steep little discount there, a Christmas gift from me to you. I want to be a part of your health and fitness routines. I want to be a part of you getting well as we get into the New Year. And there’s no better time to start than now. So, go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Group-Training. When you click on the button to go to the signup page, there you’ll use coupon code: podcast. Again, you go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Group-Training, and then from there, when you go in to buy, use the coupon code: podcast. It’ll save you $74, so basically you’re going to get your first month of training for just a dollar. And that’s full access to everything that my group trainings have – the portal, the exercises, the programming, the weekly Q&A calls, all of it. You’ll be a part of that; just check it out. You don’t have to continue if you don’t want to, but I believe you’re going to see I’m giving you enough value that it’s well, well worth the cost, the investment. So again, 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Group-Training. Use coupon code podcast at checkout.
Also wanted to let you know that the book, The Wellness Roadmap, is just about to drop live. This goes live on December 3rd. The book will go live tomorrow. So you can go ahead and pre-order the ebook. You can order the other ones and get them as well. Right now there is hardbound and a paperback. The audiobook is submitted and it should be out there really, really soon. So you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Book, or you can just go to Amazon and search for Allan Misner or The Wellness Roadmap and you can find the book that way. But if you just want an easy way to get there – 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Book. Thank you.
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Today, we meet Michele Stanford and I discuss her new book, Informed Consent: Critical Truths Essential to Your Health and the Health of Future Generations. The quality of food and health are closely linked. You'll learn more about why that's so during today's interview.
Allan (1:33): Michele, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
Michele Stanford (1:38): Thank you, Allan. I’m very happy to be here.
Allan (1:41): The book we’re going to talk about today is called Informed Consent. It’s interesting when I see the title; it seems very serious and very legal. And some of the history you taught in there, you’ve done your research, I have to admit. You have really impressed me with the research that went into this book to not only understand what is going on today, but why and where it came from. So the history all the way up to today to bring someone all the way into what has happened to our healthcare system, what has happened to our food, why are we unwell, why are we all sick, and what we can do about it? Excellent book, and like I said, it comes off very, very serious because it is a very, very serious topic.
Michele Stanford (2:35): Yes, it is. It really was a labor of love and it began with my own health issues and trying to find answers on my own, because my doctors just were not able to help me. I was at a point where I really had to figure out what is wrong with me and how do I fix it. As I began researching, I went down all these different rabbit holes and began learning. As a former educator, I love learning anyway. So, I was just fascinated and I thought if I didn’t know all this, there are many other people who don’t know this either. That was the catalyst for writing the book.
Allan (3:23): I really enjoyed your story part of it. I guess I’m not going to say “enjoy”; that was probably the wrong word to say, but I felt what was going on with you and how you were going through a difficult time and you were trying to find the answers. In some cases your doctor really wasn’t all that helpful. But you knew there was something out there. And what I find almost somewhat appalling is that there’ll be a study that will tell us that bacon causes cancer or something causes cancer, but then we have another study that comes back and says, “No, we actually studied it again and it’s fine.” The problem is that this is not new stuff. The things that we’re learning about nutrition or supposed to be learning about nutrition now with the studies, a lot of the information that’s truly coming out as being the end-all answer, came out of a doctor who was actually a dentist named Dr. Weston A. Price. This was back in the ‘30s that he was doing the bulk of his work initially. Can you tell us a little bit about Dr. Price – what he was doing, why he was doing it and what some of his findings were?
Michele Stanford (4:42): Yes. I found that completely fascinating as well. Dr. Weston A. Price was a dentist, and in the ‘20s particularly, he noticed that there was a huge rise in the amount of cavities in individuals, and he couldn’t figure out why. He wanted to know why this was happening all of a sudden. So, what he did was he used his own monies because he didn’t want to be influenced. Other people and companies offered to finance him on his trips and he refused their monies because he wanted a completely unbiased research and discovery of what was going on. So his hypothesis was that it was the food and the nutritional deficiencies that were causing the rise in the cavities, and deformities too, of the shape of the mouth and the arch.
And so, he visited indigenous peoples around the world, in Switzerland, Alaska, Australia, Africa, South America, and all of these people groups that visited were isolated from modern society. Their only food sources were what they sourced locally. They did not have any industrialized foods, so everything that they consumed was what he considered nutrient-dense. And what he found was they were healthy, they had no cavities. These are people who are not visiting a dentist regularly. So they had no cavities, they had perfect vision, they had perfect arches, their teeth were perfectly formed, they were vibrant and healthy. And what he also observed was that as these people groups began to incorporate modern foods, industrialized foods into their diet, within a generation, they began to have cavities, their arches were becoming deformed, they began to form diseases and there was all this degeneration that was happening, within one generation, which to me is amazing.
He wrote a book – it’s really a tome – and he completely lays out all of his findings. It’s very detailed. He was a scientist along with being a dentist. What he found was that nutritional deficiencies are really the cause of degeneration, and not genetics. We think of genetics as being a cause of why we have diseases, but it was more nutrition, or lack of nutrition, that was the cause.
Allan (7:42): It’s fascinating. He didn’t necessarily step into the whole model, because that model didn’t exist, of epigenetics, but we now know that we turn on and off genes that are going to make us well or make us unwell, and we pass on that setting set to our offspring. If we’re not eating well as we grow up – so we’re growing up eating Twinkies, Big Macs, Coca-Colas and Dr Peppers – then you end up basically passing on not just a genetic scheme but the epigenetics settings for an unhealthy child. And then that goes to the next generation. When you break it on down and look at the incidents of diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer’s – we’re creating that with our food.
Michele Stanford (8:41): Correct. And not just food; toxins too. Skincare, cleaning products, anything that goes on our skin, things we breathe in, the toxins in our food too. It all creates those metabolic changes that you talk about, epigenetic changes. And they are transgenerational, which means that for a woman of childbearing age, what she eats today and what she uses on her skin and the cleaning products that she uses today, can affect her great grandchildren, because of the changes that happen that are caused. What happens is that one gene may get turned on that normally would have been turned off, or vice versa – a gene that would have been turned off gets turned on that causes disease. So, all of the things that we’re doing are detrimental to our health.
Allan (9:44): Now, there is hope in all this. Actually one of the stories you said in the book was that a woman was effectively not living a good lifestyle; had a child and her daughter had issues. And she cleaned up her nutrition, cleaned up some of the toxicity in her life. Her second child was much healthier.
Michele Stanford (10:10): Yes. He relates that story as proof it can happen within a generation, meaning she had been deficient nutritionally on her first child. She had terrible labor. It took her a long time to recover from labor. The child was anxious and stooping and had all of these physical deformities. Four years later, she had changed her diet, she had gone back to a nutrient-dense diet. She was in labor for three hours. She recovered very quickly and her child was very healthy; much healthier than the older sibling. So, while these changes do happen in a generation, they can happen within a generation. It speaks to the power of food and nutrient-dense foods to promote health.
Allan (11:08): I can’t agree more. The message of hope is that we can make changes today and that’s going to help us in the future. While most of us are past our child-rearing years, this is a message we can pass on to the next generation – let’s fix these things and make things better. So if they start seeing the changes in us, then hopefully that will start it. Plus, if we just change our shopping habits, which I want to get into in a moment, that’s going to change a lot as well.
Michele Stanford (11:39): Absolutely.
Allan (11:45): When I walk into a grocery store, I just see shelf after shelf after shelf of “not food”. I’ve come to recognize that those shelves, all the way from one end to the other, 90% of the stuff that’s in there, it may all be dishwashing liquid as far as I’m concerned, and dish powder, and laundry powder for you to wash, because I don’t want to eat any of it now. That’s all fake food. In your book you go through and you pick one thing that you used to really like, but you did a very good detailed breakdown of what was in these Cheez-Its. I don’t want you to go through all that, because that was pretty deep and dark, but can you go through and talk about what is this fake food stuff that we’re being fed now, and fed mass quantities and advertised to?
Michele Stanford (12:46): First of all, a lot of the ingredients are inferior, that they begin with. And then they take those ingredients and they denature them. They take what was real food and strip it of everything that was good about it. And then they add those things back in in a synthetic form, which our bodies do not recognize. A lot of the ingredients are GMO ingredients, which I think we’re going to talk about later. A lot of the ingredients come from factory farmed animals, which are sick and dying animals. They’re just full of chemicals. The way that they create these processes, for instance, the way that they create the flour and the oils – they have to use chemicals. They use bleach, they use hexane, which is a neurotoxin. The EPA monitors the release of hexane into our environment. So all the residue of these chemicals are left into the food. When they get finished, it’s not even real food at all. It’s just an industrialized product that is marketed as food.
Allan (14:05): And as I said, that makes up 90% of what’s in most grocery stores today. We instruct people to shop around the perimeter of the store, because that’s where you’re going to find regular food. But even that, 90% or more of that is industrialized farming and other things that we’re doing to the animals, to the plants that are kind of stripping it of any true value as a food. I call it “industrial food”. I’m sure there are a lot of different names we can throw out there about it. Some of the practices are quite horrific. Could you take some time to go through and explain to me why when I walk into my vegetable section, most of those vegetables are not actually good for me, or might actually be harmful to me? And when I get over to the meat section, why most of that is a problem? And of course when I get to dairy and I’ve got the milk and eggs and cheese, and again, another set of problems. Can you talk through those? As I’m walking around my grocery store, I’m kind of visualizing where things are. What am I actually looking at that’s keeping it from being real food?
Michele Stanford (15:19): Okay. We’ll start in the produce section because that’s usually the first section people walk into in a grocery store. Farming has become kind of a monoculture. So you’ll have one particular farmer and all he farms and all he grows is one particular vegetable. There’s no crop rotation. He sprays his vegetable with pesticides and herbicides. The soil has been depleted of any nutrients, so they have to put all these fertilizers in the soil to get it to grow. And so, the vegetables are not nutrient-dense like what Dr. Price talked about, because if the soil is not full of nutrients and teaming with all the beneficial enzymes and minerals, then the plants are also deficient. So there’s that.
When we get to the meat section, those animals in factory farms – it’s deplorable conditions. I go into some detail about that in the book. I don’t give all the details, because it’s horrific. It is horrific, the way these animals are treated. They’re not in their natural environment. They’re inside buildings. They are in tins that they can’t even turn around in. They are sick. They’ve been given hormones. They are fed food that is not natural to them. For instance, cows are herbivores. They thrive on grasses, but they’re given grains and they have trouble digesting those grains. So, they’re constantly given antibiotics and hormones to make them grow faster. When the female cows give birth, their calves are immediately taken from them. So there’s a lot of stress, and as you know, stress causes an inflammatory response, so they get more infections and they’re just sick. Poultry – please don’t be deceived by the labels of “cage-free”, because all that means is that they’re not in a cage. It does not mean that they actually have grass. There might be an opening in the chicken house for them to get outside, but there are hundreds of thousands of chickens in one house. If you’re at the opposite end of the door, that chicken’s never going to make it outside. They live in cramped conditions. It’s just horrific; it is absolutely horrific. They do everything they can to make sure that animal is alive, to make it to the truck, to make it to slaughter. So we’re eating sick animals. How can we expect to be healthy and receive proper nutrition from animals that are sick and dying?
The dairy industry, as I talked about cows a minute ago – they’re sick. They’re just sick. And then they pasteurize the milk, which denatures the proteins in the milk. Raw milk from pastured cows is full of enzymes and bacteria that help us break down those proteins that are typically harmful and people have trouble digesting. But the animals are just sick. Our vegetables are deficient in any kind of nutrients. And we’re not even talking about the processed foods that are in the grocery store – those are industrial, they’re full of chemicals, if they’re even food at all. Everything that we’re eating is just deficient in what we need to be healthy and vibrant in our lives.
Allan (19:39): Like I said, 90% of the food in there that was supposed to be food is this fake food in boxes, cans, jars and whatnot. And then even if you try to walk the perimeter, now you’re getting food that’s not as nutritious. It was effectively bred to be resistant to the herbicides, be resistant to the pesticides. It was made such that it could be hauled long distances, and then ripens right there, before they get it to the store. So basically a big wholesale system of moving this food that now lacks a lot of what we need.
It’s funny because like you, I grew up in the country, so we had chickens, we had plum trees and we grew a garden. We did the weeding – the kids got down and we pulled the weeds. If we saw some bugs in there, we would treat a little bit for the bugs, but not unless we noticed something. Whereas today they just go ahead and spray, assuming they have bugs and they don’t want to even bother with it. And then the plums that come off a tree… I go in now and look at these plums, the plums are three times bigger, they’re three times or four times or 10 times sweeter, and they’re perfect. Whereas the plums we used to get, all looked a little different, almost none of them were pretty, but we didn’t care because they were going to go into a jam or they were going to go into my mouth right there as I was picking them. The chickens were providing us eggs. We named the chickens and we knew everything that went into those chickens as they were eating around the yard. They were pecking and getting what they needed. But they were never stressed; they were just allowed to be chickens. We just don’t have that. When I would think of a cow and I think anyone would think you have this open field, a few acres, and there are maybe a couple of cows on it. But that’s not what’s happening with the industrialization of our food and trying to get food to us. I’ve said this on the podcast many, many times – the farmers’ market and some co-ops are your best opportunity to fix this by getting real food. So, in a nutshell, Michele, if you had to define “real food”, what would that mean to you?
Michele Stanford (22:15): Real food. My favorite day of the week is the day that I go to the farmers’ market. I have gotten to know my farmers, they’re my friends. To me real food first of all is not processed, it’s not been refined in any way whatsoever. It is in the natural state of that food as it comes out of the ground, or from a healthy, happy animal. The vegetables have been grown in soil that has been amended and has been taken care of, it has been tended to in such a way that it is completely full of all the nutrients and the vitamins that we need, so they’re nutrient-dense. Real food is what I call nutrient-dense food. Now it really is important. You have to seek that out. Even some of the organic food in the grocery store is not as nutrient-dense. I mean, it’s a better option than some of the other things in the grocery store and if that’s all you can do, then please do that. But real food is the ingredient, and we’ve got to get back to sourcing our food. And it’s worth every amount of energy that you can put into to source locally produced foods. That was one of the things that Dr. Price emphasized too. And like you’ve said, the food was not shipped from another country or across the country. It’s whatever is grown locally, that’s what you need. That’s what your body needs. It’s so important to find locally sourced foods, and it’s worth it to even travel an hour to find a local farmers’ market. You can ask them, “What are your farming practices? Do you use any chemicals? If so, what are you using?” They are more than happy to talk about what they do and to tell you and explain to you. But real food that’s not been stripped, that’s not been processed in any way whatsoever – that’s real food.
Allan (24:43): I think the more this message gets out there and the more we, as the consumer, it’s our wallet. And unfortunately there’s no advertising to sell zucchinis. The farmers’ market that’s selling the zucchinis that they picked this morning before they went out there – there’s no advertising for that. But they’ve got multimillion dollar budgets to advertise Pringles or Cheez-Its, and they’re buying Super Bowl commercials. So you see the money that’s in this food product that they’re able to spend to get you to buy it. Most of the commercials you see on the Super Bowl are car commercials and food commercials.
Michele Stanford (25:31): Right. And we’ve been conditioned to believe that these companies have our best interests at heart. They show us these warm, fuzzy commercials, families sitting around eating whatever processed food they brought home from the grocery store, and they’re happy and they’re healthy. It’s just not the case. We’ve been conditioned also to believe that allergies are normal. It’s not normal. If you have a skin condition – cczema or psoriasis – that these things just happen and it’s okay, and we’ll just take this pill or that pill and it makes it better. These things are not normal. We’re just conditioned to accept whatever comes our way physically as being normal. These companies are in the business to make money. They’re not in the business to make sure that you’re healthy. It’s up to us as individuals, it’s up to us as women, as moms and dads to make sure that we are nourishing our families with nutrient-dense foods. We’ve got to stop the deception and wake up and realize that these companies are not about what’s good for us. They are only about what’s good for their bottom line.
Allan (27:05): Yes. That’s why there’s not going to be a ton of experimentation, unless it’s happening in a university setting where they’re going to look at food in a way that we really need them to look at food. And even then, the influence that study will have over the policy makers isn’t necessarily as strong as the lobbying effects of what big food can do. So we talk about experiments and I’ll say today we are all subjects of probably the largest food experiment of all time. The sad part of it is, most of the time when a study goes wrong, they pull it, they say, “Oh my God, we’re killing people. We’ve got to stop.” Ethics just say “Stop”. But we’re going through something now with a product called Roundup. They came up with seeds that could survive Roundup. We don’t know what the seed will do to us, and we actually do now know a little bit more about what Roundup will do to us. But we’re ingesting this stuff every single day. Our children are ingesting this stuff, our grandchildren are ingesting this stuff. Can you take a few minutes to talk about the whole thing about Roundup and why it’s so insidious?
Michele Stanford (28:32): Yes. The active ingredient in Roundup is called glyphosate, and it originally was created as a chelator. What a chelator does is it binds in the ingredients and metals and minerals and pulls them out. Let’s back up a little bit. We’ll just go ahead and call them out – Monsanto wanted to create seeds that they could spray, because they have these huge fields, let’s just say of corn, and they’re overrun with weeds and it’s too costly to hire people to come in and weed. So, they created genetically modified organisms, or genetically engineered organisms is really the more appropriate term, that could resist being sprayed. And they found a bacterium in their waste dump that was resistant to the glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup. And so they took that bacteria and they spliced it into the DNA of the plant, so that when the plant grows, it’s now resistant to the glyphosate. So it’s sprayed on everything. And it’s not just the glyphosate. We talk a lot about glyphosate. Recently, when I wrote the book, there were hundreds of lawsuits being filed. Since having written the book, one of those lawsuits has actually gone to trial out in California. The plaintiff’s name was Lee Johnson. He was a custodian at a school and he used glyphosate on the playground there and he developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. When they won, it was an amazing victory. Monsanto for all these years knew that it was cancer-causing. The World Health Organization in 2015, after some studies had come out and said that glyphosate was a probable human carcinogen. And Monsanto have known this all along. It’s horrible, but it’s not just the glyphosate. The surfactants that are also in Roundup, open up the cell membranes, so that the glyphosate can actually get into the individual cells. So when the glyphosate in Roundup is sprayed onto the plants, you can’t wash it off because it’s been driven into the actual cells. So it’s not like it’s just on the surface of the plant. It can’t be washed off, so we are constantly ingesting it. And it doesn’t just cause one kind of problem. It causes about 14 different processes to happen simultaneously. It’s not like maybe this one will happen, or this will happen. No, it’s all 14 of these processes that it disrupts in the body simultaneously, which is why we have so much cancer.
Allan (32:25): I agree. I want to take a step back to the chelation, because that’s the one you really have to wrap your head around what that means. And I want to slow you down there, because when something binds to something else, basically it means it’s unavailable. So I just ate, say, an apple, or some corn, and I expect to get certain minerals from that meal. My body needs those minerals. But because of the glyphosate attaching and binding to those minerals, I’m not getting those in my food. So if I have the corn and then I’m also trying to get calcium from something else I eat that night, that’s now all in my system and they’re going to bind, and that calcium is going to leave my system.
Michele Stanford (33:21): Right. The glyphosate that’s sprayed on to whatever vegetable, whatever product, it binds with the minerals that we are getting, the few of the minerals that are in the foods we’re eating, and it’s pulling them out of the body. So it acts as a chelator in our bodies when we ingest it. It’s also an antibiotic. So, we’re ingesting that.
Allan (33:46): So it’s messing up with our gut biome. Every one of those processes is important. Cancer is a big, big thing, but there’s so much more to it. What I try to tell people is, if you look at nutrition and you truly understand, most people say, “I can’t afford organic.” And I’ll say, one, you look at what the healthcare costs are. I know that’s really hard to wrap your mind around, but here’s the other side of it. When you’re eating nutritionally-dense food, you don’t have to eat as much of it.
Michele Stanford (34:21): Correct.
Allan (34:25): If I walked into a normal steakhouse, I’m not going to say “No” to the stake they’re serving. It is what it is. I’m there to eat; I’m with friends or whatever. I’m not going to sit there and say, “I can’t eat this.” I’m going to eat it, but I know for me to get the nutrition out of that steak, I’m going to have to eat the whole 12-ounce or 16-ounce steak. And I am.
Michele Stanford (34:46): That’s a lot.
Allan (34:47): It is. That’s three to four servings, is what it actually is. Versus I can cook four ounces of grass-fed steak and feel satiated, because I got the nutrition I needed from that stake. Everything about your hunger hormones and everything that’s going on in your body, it gives you that message because it turns on and says, “We’re getting good nutrition here, so let’s pay more attention.” Whereas, “He’s chewing, but I’m not getting any signals that we’re getting what we need.” That’s a big, big chunk of this.
Michele Stanford (35:26): Right. And so, as it’s chelating, it’s pulling out the minerals. The body’s not getting those minerals, vitamins and the things that we need. So that hunger mechanism is still in process and it’s telling us that it needs more nutrition. And so, it’s never satiated, as you say. We still feel hungry even after we’ve eaten a big meal.
Allan (35:49): I think that’s a core element here as we look at overall health. It’s making us eat more of the foods that we shouldn’t be eating, because we’re looking for things that we need, which we know we can get from nutritionally-dense real food. It really is upsetting that we have to actually now use the term “real food”.
Michele Stanford (36:08): Yes, that we have to take the adjective. And also a lot of the processed foods are intentionally created to be addictive.
Allan (36:21): I was talking about a Super Bowl commercial and I’ll just deflect to this for a second. The guy is eating Pringles; it’s pizza Pringles. He says, “Mmm, pizza.” I’m going to call him the victim. He had two friends with him and they each had their own flavor. So one of the other guys has chicken flavor and he hands it to him. He puts two of them together and he says, “Mmm, chicken pizza.” The other friend hands him the barbecue chip. And he puts them all together and says, “Mmm, barbecue chicken pizza.” And I’m thinking the lesson of this is not to tell you that they have three different flavors. The lesson here is to tell you you need to be eating multiple chips at one time to create your own taste experiment. And I’m thinking this is insane, that they’re teaching people to eat three chips at a time. But again, they’ve got the money to do it.
Michele Stanford (37:18): It’s a whole industry. The food creating flavor is an entire industry.
Allan (37:22): Yeah. So Michele, I define “wellness” as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
Michele Stanford (37:35): Only three. Nutrient-dense foods. As Dr. Weston A. Price said, the biggest driver of disease is our food is lacking in nutrient density. So, seeking out the most nutrient-dense foods you can find is probably the number one thing you can do for your health. It is the number one driver of everything else. Sleep is not something that we think about a lot of times as something that we should be doing for our health, but receiving adequate sleep, restorative sleep is so, so important for our health. Daylight saving time is an absolute menace to society, because it’s disruptive. It disrupts our circadian rhythms, and that is the time when our bodies detoxify. It is the time when the body repairs itself. So many people are sleep deprived or they’re not getting really good restorative sleep.
So that’s the second thing I think that’s really important that we overlook quite often. There are other things, but I want to mention this one thing that some people don’t think about, and that’s trauma. Anytime we’ve been through any kind of trauma, particularly as children, and it can be physical trauma, it can be emotional trauma – our bodies hold on to that. And if you’ve done all kinds of things to get well and you’re still struggling and you’re still having some problems, that’s another area to look into to see, did you suffer any kind of adverse childhood experience, or even as an adult? Have you suffered any kind of extreme physical trauma or extreme emotional trauma? Working through that is a huge piece of wellness. If you’ve done all of the other things that you needed to do, but you’re still not quite where you want to be, that’s one more area that we can look at to bring you into wellness.
Allan (39:55): Excellent. Michele, if someone wanted to get in touch with you or learn more about the book Informed Consent, where would you like for me to send them?
Michele Stanford (40:05): They can go to my website. It’s MicheleStanford.com. There is a “Get In Touch With Me” button there. There’s also the social media, where they can follow me on Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn. So they can use that to get in touch with me.
Allan (40:27): Alright. You can go 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/356, and I’ll be sure to have links there for you to find Michele and be a part of what she’s doing over there. Michele, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
Michele Stanford (40:43): Thank you for having me. I’m really happy to be here and I’m very grateful for this opportunity. Thank you so much.
Allan (40:56): I hope you took something valuable away from today’s program. It’s a very important topic for us to understand our food supply and understand our healthcare system and how that impacts our wellness. If you did enjoy today’s episode, would you please leave us a rating and review on whatever application you’re listening to this podcast on? It really does help the podcast, so I really appreciate each and every review that’s out there. I read each one and I do take them to heart to make the show better for you. So thank you for that.
We are just now starting to see the first bits of winter here, even down in sunny Florida. I was up in North Carolina for Thanksgiving week with my mother and my family. It was really nice to have that family time. And now we’re settling back into getting the house ready for Christmas and actually getting ready to put it on the market, which is a little scary, that we might actually sell our house out from under ourselves and not really have anywhere else to go for a little while. But we’ll figure that out. Obviously, a move to Panama like we’re planning, has a lot of ups and downs, little things going on here and there. Not to mention that I’m trying to launch a book, The Wellness Roadmap, so lots of moving parts. We’re less than a week away from the book going live, so another big, exciting thing going on in my life. Lots going on in my life, but it’ll all settle down soon enough.
If you haven’t checked out The Wellness Roadmap, you can go to WellnessRoadmapBook.com. We also have pre-orders on the ebook. I’m offering it for $0.99 on Kindle for a limited time. We’ll launch the book, we’ll leave it up for probably five, seven days maybe, let some folks have the book for next to nothing, leave some ratings and reviews. Amazon is one of those interesting companies that quite frankly will not show your book to other people if there aren’t any ratings and reviews. So, this book could die on the vine if it doesn’t have the support of readers like you. So, thank you so much for all the ratings and reviews that you’re going to leave on The Wellness Roadmap. I really do appreciate it. It’s been a labor of love. It’s definitely been a labor, but it’s been something I’ve enjoyed learning from and doing. So, thank you for being a part of 40+ Fitness and thank you for all of your support.
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Our guest today was diagnosed with cancer and a doctor's recommendation to undergo heavy chemotherapy. In his book, Chris Beat Cancer, Chris Wark explains why he didn't follow his doctor's recommendation and still beat cancer.
Allan (1:14): Chris, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
Chris Wark (1:18): Allan, good to be with you.
Allan (1:22): When we look at cancer, it’s probably one of the scariest words in the English language. And it’s getting bigger, so more and more of us are getting that diagnosis at some point in our life. I think I actually read a statistic that everybody gets cancer, but some of us don’t live long enough to die of cancer.
Chris Wark (1:44): That’s basically true. Cancers come and go in life without us realizing it, and almost everyone has cancer cells in their body. Cancer cells are simply mutated cells, cells that mutate for a variety of reasons. Your immune system is designed to identify and eliminate those cells, but what can happen and what is happening is that many of us – one out of every two men and almost one out of every two women now are on track to develop cancer because of our diet, lifestyle, environmental choices, and stress. And I can dig into those as we talk more of how those elements are causing cancer and what can be done to prevent and even heal cancer. But we’re already at epidemic levels of cancer.
Allan (2:42): I think now at my age – I’m 53 – I need to be monitoring myself. I need to be doing the things I’m supposed to do at the age-related times I’m supposed to do them, whether I want to or not. And I think women are so much better at this than men. But in your book, Chris Beat Cancer, you did a couple of different things. One that I want to get into is your story, which is extremely compelling, because I could hardly wrap my mind around my 26-year-old self finding out that I had cancer. But you took a step back and you titled the blog originally and now the book Chris Beat Cancer. But you don’t think of it now in terms of actually winning or beating something. It has a different flavor or idea to you.
Chris Wark (3:41): Yeah, that’s right. When people think about cancer, they definitely think about beating it, winning it, fighting it, it’s a battle. And that’s all terminology that was created by the cancer industry. They had to do that in order to convince people to suffer, because the treatments are so brutal that if you can convince someone that it’s going to be a fight, you get them in this mentality where they accept that suffering is involved in the cancer battle. But it doesn’t have to be that way. So, Chris Beat Cancer is the name of my book and the name of my website, but as I’ve thought about it more over the years, it’s not about beating cancer. It’s not about a battle. It’s about healing the body. That’s really what it’s about. And unfortunately, the medical industry, pharmaceutical industry, they’re not interested in healing. They’re more interested in treating a disease. There are over 200 types of cancer. There will never be a pharmaceutical cure for all cancers. So, there’s a lot of misunderstanding in the public eye, thanks to the pharmaceutical / medical industry and the media about what cancer really is and the way you should approach it.
Allan (4:53): I think that’s really important, because as we look at this thing, the C-word, it is hard to sit there and say, “I’ve got to make certain decisions. My doctor’s going to tell me things and I’m going to have read or heard things.” It can be confusing. Like I said, I can’t even wrap my mind around my 26-year-old self making decisions that you made and having I guess the epiphany or the kind of faith – it was probably a little bit of both – to have done what you did. If you don’t mind, can you take us back there and talk through this? You were, like I said, 26 years old, had been married for two years, had your whole life in front of you, until you didn’t.
Chris Wark (5:43): Yeah. So, I’d been having abdominal pain for the better part of a year and I thought maybe I had an ulcer or something. Unfortunately, the pain got progressively worse and I went to the doctor. They did a colonoscopy after a series of other tests and found a golf ball sized tumor in my large intestine. And when I woke up they said, “You got this tumor and we took a biopsy, we’re sending it to the lab. Fingers crossed, hopefully it’s just a benign tumor and it isn’t cancerous.” But it was. This was two days before Christmas, when I found out I had colon cancer, and they said, “We’ve got to get this thing out of you right away, before it spreads and kills you.” And that’s the kind of conversation that every cancer patient has pretty much with their doctors. There’s a lot of fear and urgency, and they’re often rushed into treatment that they don’t understand; treatments that can have life-threatening side effects and long-term debilitating side effects. But because it’s so urgent, or they’re led to believe that it’s urgent, they say “Yes”. It’s sort of a tragedy. When people find out they have cancer, a lot of times they don’t even have pain. Something came up on a scan or a mammogram, a lump, a bump or whatever. They don’t feel sick, they don’t look sick, until treatment starts. That’s actually what makes them sick, is treatment.
So, I said “Yes” to surgery. I didn’t know anything at the time. And surgery, by the way, is not that big a deal for a lot of cancers, so I’m not anti-surgery or anything like that. But I was able to postpone them about a week to 10 days. They wanted to have me in surgery before Christmas. I was diagnosed two days before Christmas; they were trying to get me in there before Christmas. And so I said, “I really don’t want to be in the hospital over Christmas. Can we just postpone it until after?” So I went in on December 30th, they took out a third of my large intestine, they took out the tumor, a bunch of lymph nodes. And when I woke up they said, “Look, it’s worse than we thought. You’re stage 3C.” And stage 4 means it’s in two organs. So the cancer had left the primary tumor site, it was in the lymph nodes, it was on its way to my liver. So they said, “Your next step is 9 to 12 months of chemotherapy if you want to live and survive, because at your stage, we can’t cure your cancer with surgery.” So, I initially accepted that that was my fate. My future was the chemo patient at 26. But a couple of things happened in the hospital, and faith was a big part of my journey. From the very beginning I was just praying and saying, “God, help. What do I do? What’s wrong in my life? Why am I sick?” There’s a verse in Romans that says, “God works all things for the good of those who love Him.” I chose to believe that, that God was going to work this for my good somehow. But I didn’t like it. I definitely would’ve traded places with anybody, but I had no choice. What else do I have to believe in? Luck? “I hope I’m lucky enough to survive!” So I really put my faith, hope and trust in God first and foremost, to lead me in the process.
So I’m in the hospital. They took out the tumor, and then the first meal that they serve me after taking out a third of my large intestines was a Sloppy Joe. The Sloppy Joe is a funny kind of food item. Nobody likes Sloppy Joes, restaurants don’t serve Sloppy Joes. It’s the best worst example of cafeteria food, right? The main place you would find the Sloppy Joe is if you’re at summer camp or in the military or maybe prison. And to my surprise, they’re serving Sloppy Joes to cancer patients in the hospital right after surgery. Even more ironic is the fact that red meat, beef, is a group to human carcinogen, specifically known to cause colon cancer. It’s like giving the guy that has open heart surgery some barbecue when he wakes up. So, I thought that was very strange. Of course, I didn’t know any of this, but I still knew, “Why are they serving this terrible food in the hospital to sick people?” I knew there was a difference between health food and junk food. And that was a little clue; the first little crack in the foundation of the medical industry from my perspective.
And then the day I was told I could go home, my surgeon came in to check on me and we were having a conversation about what was going to happen next. And I said, “Are there any foods I need to avoid?” And he said, “No. Just don’t lift anything heavier than a beer.” So I’m like, “Okay.” Clearly, my abdominal surgeon, who I thought might have some expertise on digestive health, optimal nutrition for healing your gut or something, had nothing to say about it. So again, another little crack in the foundation. My faith, hope and trust in the medical system, which I was placing some there too, was starting to erode. I got home and I was thinking about my life, my future and chemotherapy and what I would become, what chemotherapy would do to me. And it was a scary thought. It was scary feeling to know that in less than a month, we’re going to start injecting you with some very, very toxic drugs that are going to make you sick. Your hair’s going to fall out. You’re going to lose your appetite, you’re going to lose weight. I was already borderline underweight.
Allan (12:14): I think you said you were like 6’2’’ and 155 pounds or something like that. And that was full healthy; generally healthy. Now you were going to get to this emaciated state.
Chris Wark (12:33): At that time I was probably closer to 150, maybe even a little under 150. I had lost weight because I had not been eating very much because eating was causing this pain. So I was already really thin, and my instincts were telling me this is not what I need to do, this is wrong for me. But I didn’t know what else to do. Just the idea of poisoning my way back to health didn’t really make sense to me. So, I prayed about it. My wife and I were sitting on the couch and I said, “God, if there’s another way besides chemotherapy, please show me. I don’t know what to do.” It was just a humble prayer, asking for help. Desperately asking for help. Sincerely, desperately asking for help.
And a couple of days later I got a book that came to my house, that was mailed to me from a friend of my dad’s who lives in Alaska. The guy who wrote this book had found out he had colon cancer, and instead of having surgery, chemo and whatever treatment was offered to him, because he had seen family and friends suffer and die from cancer treatment – he decided to not do it. And happened to have a friend who was a health nut who said, “What you should do is you should go back to the Garden of Eden. You should start eating fruits and vegetables only, just raw fruits and vegetables as your primary source of food. And you should probably drink a lot of carrot juice too.” So that’s what this guy did and a year later his tumor was gone. His name is George Malkmus, and he had written a bunch of books and stuff. I started reading this one book he wrote, where he’s telling his story, and it just blew my mind. I was like, “This is exactly what I’m looking for. I can’t believe this showed up. This is the answer to my prayer. I need to change my diet.”
I had this big epiphany, which was, the way you’re living is killing you. Most of us don’t realize, and we’re not told that only 5% roughly of cancers are genetic. What that means is that up to 95% of cancers, based on available studies, are caused by our diet, lifestyle, environment, like environmental factors, environmental pollution. Those three factors. And stress is underneath them, and I can talk about that as well, but it’s a root cause of cancer. Stress is hard to measure, but it’s easy to measure diet, it’s easy to measure lifestyle, and it’s easy to measure environmental toxic exposure. Those are the main drivers of cancer. The way we’re living, what we’re putting in our mouth and the choices we’re making every day are leading us down the path of health or down the path of disease. There’s a recipe for health and there’s also a recipe for disease. And most people are following the recipe for disease. And I was.
One of the first big light bulbs was in the diet category. In America and most industrialized countries, we’re eating a diet that’s very different than our ancestors and that’s very different than some of the healthiest populations around the world with the lowest rates of cancer. But a lot of people don’t think about things that I think about and researched in great detail in my book. The fact is that there are countries all over the world with much lower cancer rates than us. And it’s not genetic; it’s their diet, lifestyle and environment. So, what’s wrong with our diet? It’s way too much processed food, junk food and fast food. Way too much sugary garbage, artificial processed colors, flavors, additives, preservatives. Soft drinks. Way too much meat, dairy, oils, sugar, salt. All of this stuff is really not natural. I mean you could make a case that meat and dairy is natural, but the high levels of processed sugar and salt, oils and artificial foods – we’re consuming them at unprecedented levels in human history. And our meat and dairy consumption is far in excess of healthy populations around the world. In fact, the populations with the lowest rates of cancer and the longest lifespans…
This is really what’s most important – who’s living the longest. And on every continent, if you look at the isolated pockets of people that have the longest lifespans, they have a lot of things in common. One of them is they eat a diet that’s about 95% plant-based. So they’re not pure vegan, but they eat mostly fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole grains. Food from the earth; unadulterated whole foods. And the animal foods they eat are very minimal, because they have lack of access to animal food. Just think about poor villages in remote parts of the world. The animals they’re eating are not coming from McDonald’s, Wendy’s, KFC. They’re not even coming from the supermarket. They’re coming because they either caught and killed something, which is not happening every day, or because they raised an animal and killed it. And usually when they’re killing an animal they raised, it’s for a feast, and the whole village is enjoying the cow or the goat or the pig. So, in practical terms, they’re only eating animal products a few times a week, like three times a week. Sometimes in some regions it’s like three times a month, versus in the US it’s three times a day. Huge difference there. So that’s the dietary part.
I was reading this book, and I didn’t learn all that from this book, but I learned some really basic stuff that got me excited about changing my life. And I loved the idea of going back to a diet that was just fruits and vegetables from the earth, organic of course, and eliminating everything from my life that could be toxic and disease-promoting. So I turned my life upside down because I wanted to restore my health, and I took full responsibility for it. The problem in the cancer community, of which there are many, but one huge problem is when a patient is diagnosed with cancer, they’re always like, “Doc, why do you think I got cancer? What caused my cancer? I’m too young to have cancer.” Even if they’re 30 or 40 or 50 or whatever. And the doctors almost always say, “We don’t know what caused your cancer, but it might be genetic. Do you have family history?” “Well, yes. So-and-so, my aunt, my uncle, my mom, somebody had cancer.” “Well, that’s probably why you have cancer. It’s genetic, unfortunately.” Or if you say, “No, I don’t have any family history”, they say, “Well, it may just be bad luck. We’re so sorry about that, but we’ll do our best to take care of you and treat you”, and all this kind of stuff.
Allan (19:44): Quick question though. As I look at it, when someone gets into the medical profession, I have to give them some kudos there because they’re not walking an easy path, particularly when they start going to become an oncologist, because they’re stepping into a career field where their success rate is never going to be high enough. They’re always going to be losing patients to cancer and they’re going to be facing some terrible, terrible things. I have to believe they go into this with a noble intention and saying, “I see this young man. I want to help him.” But your doctor’s trying to talk you in a direction, and of course most of the doctors are in the hospital, so they know what you’re eating. Then you ask for advice and they say they can’t give you nutrition advice, is effectively what he was saying. He just said it, in his mind, in a little bit more of a comical way. Why do you feel that we’re trapped in this thing? Why do you feel that doctors get into this thing and then really don’t have the tools?
Chris Wark (21:00): I cover this in great detail in the book, but to try to summarize it quickly – most doctors I think pursue a career in medicine with noble intentions because they want to help someone. Because so-and-so, “My grandmother, my dad, somebody I know died of cancer, and I want to help people.” That’s great. I love that. But medical school is absolutely soul-crushing. Doctors and med students have the highest rates of suicide of any profession, because the current medical system is like a meat grinder. It takes courageous, loving, empathetic, wonderful people that want to serve humanity, and basically like bootcamp destroys their spirits and turns them into compliant, assimilated cogs in a machine. They’re only trained how to do surgery, chemo, radiation – that’s about it for oncology. They’re not trained in nutrition, they’re not trained in lifestyle medicine, they’re not trained in prevention. And because the pharmaceutical industry has such a stranglehold on medicine, they dictate what doctors are taught. So, what happens is a young person goes into med school and it takes them 15 years to get through med school to get their residency, to go into private practice, to build up their practice and start treating patients, before they realize that the treatments they are giving people don’t really work. Most of their patients are not alive. And by that time they’re trapped in a system that pays them really well, that doesn’t work. And when I say “doesn’t work”, it’s not curing most cancers.
I have great empathy and sympathy for physicians. They’re not the bad guys. There are a few bad ones out there, for sure. You’ve got to keep in mind, doctors are just humans, and there are some awful humans in the world. Some of them are doctors. There are awful plumbers, electricians, flight attendants. There are bad people in every profession. But giving them the benefit of the doubt, most doctors are really good people and they want to help, but they’re trapped. They have a very small number of tools at their disposal and they don’t have training in nutrition, prevention, and true healing modalities. They just are trained, “This patient has this type of cancer – this is the drug you give them. This is how many treatments of the drug they get. This is the dose they get based on their body weight. And cross your fingers and hope for the best.” That’s the way it works. And the system is, like I said, a huge machine. Anybody who’s ever been to the doctor knows you sit in a waiting room for an hour or more, and then you go and see the doctor for 15 minutes. I mean, how much can you help somebody in 15 minutes or 20 minutes? They don’t get enough time because of the way the compensation structure is. They don’t have enough time to really dig into your life and help you solve problems and help you get to the root causes of your disease. They’re not even trained how to do that anyway. So, it’s a vastly poorly constructed system. And I say “poorly constructed”. It’s actually constructed very well to make as much money as possible, but the problem is that doctors and patients are suffering under the weight of this really terrible system.
Allan (24:35): Yes. I recently got this review, because I refuse to take statins, and that’s a personal choice. My doctor continually wants me to manage my LDL. I’m looking at other components in my cardiovascular risk. I don’t think that singular number is worth me dealing with the other things that those medications would do to me, so I don’t want to be on those medications. And so, there was a little bit of flak from a reviewer that I was telling people to not take statins, and that was not my intention. My intention was, just understand in my situation as in your situation, there typically is never just one path. If the doctor is pushing you down a singular path that you’ve seen where that leads for a lot of people, just realize there likely are other alternatives out there.
Chris Wark (25:33): Yeah. It’s the only path they know. It’s the only path they’re trained in and it’s the only path they’re allowed to talk about.
Allan (25:41): The standards of care.
Chris Wark (25:43): It’s the standard of care. Physicians risk losing their reputation, risk losing their license to practice medicine if they deviate from the standard of care. Who wrote the standards? The pharmaceutical industry. Cholesterol is a great example, and we can rabbit on this for a minute. The body produces cholesterol, your liver produces cholesterol, but the biggest source of cholesterol in the body doesn’t come from your liver; it comes from our diets. And so, most people have high cholesterol because they’re eating it. They’re eating cholesterol. When you eat cholesterol, it raises your cholesterol. And the only way to eat cholesterol is to eat animals. If you don’t eat any animal food, then your consumption of cholesterol goes to zero, and then the only source of cholesterol in your body comes from your liver.
There have been two landmark studies on advanced heart disease patients. And of course your doctor is not talking about this, but anyone can easily Google this, read the studies. First one was done by Dr. Dean Ornish, and then it was duplicated by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, both MDs. And they both proved that you can take advanced heart disease patients, and reverse the progression of their heart disease, stop their heart disease, prevent future heart attacks, strokes and cardiovascular events, and open their veins back up by putting them on a plant-based diet. And this is a very strict plant-based diet, so it’s no animal food and also no oils. The reason for no oils is because saturated fat also sends signals, triggers the liver to produce cholesterol.
You might try this as a fun experiment, but if you eliminate all animal foods and oils for 30 days – 30 to 90 days, but 30 days minimum – get your blood checked again and look at your cholesterol numbers, you will likely see a significant drop. And the drop will continue for the better part of a year. It’ll keep going down and down and down as your body adapts and starts to self-regulate. Another driver of high cholesterol is heavy metal toxicity – so lead, mercury, cadmium, and arsenic. There’ve been studies that show that when you have high levels of those metals in your body, it triggers the production of cholesterol. So cholesterol is a defense mechanism that your body is producing to protect itself. The more injurious elements, toxic elements circulating in your body on a daily basis, the more your body has to protect itself. So, high cholesterol can also be the result of your body trying to protect you. Just interesting, fascinating kind of rabbit trail stuff, but fun to talk about nonetheless.
Allan (28:37): You made those huge, drastic changes to what you eat and how you manage your environment and those other things. Again, kudos to you for taking that path and putting yourself in that motive of thought, “I am doing this. There’s not another option. I’m not taking this other option.” But in the book, you also talked a lot about mindset and the things you did to basically, for a lack of a better word, positive attitude yourself through this. Can you talk a little bit about some of those mindset changes that you went through to basically have a mindset of health?
Chris Wark (29:20): I call it the “beat cancer” mindset, because cancer is not so much a battle in the body as it is in the mind, and because taking a holistic approach to health is very different than taking a passive approach to cancer treatment. What I was saying earlier about when doctors tell the patients it’s either bad luck or bad genes – that’s some of the most egregious, borderline malpractice advice a doctor can tell a person. What they’ve effectively done is said, “There’s nothing you did to contribute to your disease, therefore there’s nothing you can do to help yourself. We are your only hope.” And what that does is it makes the patient into a powerless victim of disease. It could not be further from the truth. What we have to do is accept responsibility for our health.
So, having a “beat cancer” mindset starts with accepting responsibility for your life, your health and your situation, and that your decisions have led you to where you are today. We all make decisions, those decisions have consequences. Sometimes we make smart decisions and have good things happen, and sometimes we make not so smart decisions and not so good things happen. Sometimes things that happen to us are the result of decisions of others, but most of what happens to us is the result of the decisions we make. There’s an expression: “Everything happens for a reason.” But I like the expanded version of that expression, which is, “Everything happens for a reason, and most of the time the reason is you.” You’re the reason. So, when you start there, you realize, “I’ve got a part to play in my life, in my health, in my disease. I want to take an active role. I want to help my body heal. What can I do to help myself?” And that starts the healing adventure – this process of reeducation on health and nutrition and healing cancer. I went down this deep rabbit hole, trying to figure out who has healed cancer naturally, what do these people do, what are the experts saying, like natural health and wellness experts, cancer healing experts, alternative therapy experts. Who are the players, what are they saying, what do I need to be doing? And I just embarked on this journey of changing my entire life.
The diet was a huge component, but detoxification is huge; removing all the toxic stuff from my home environment – body care products, cleaning products, and cleaning out all that stuff. This was January 2004. Now it’s kind of hip and cool to buy organic body care products, organic cleaning products, non-toxic, environmentally-friendly products. It’s really come a long way in the last 14 years, but back then it was pretty fringe and there were very limited options in terms of non-toxic products and things, and even finding organic food. But I just made a decision I was willing to do whatever it took to get well. And that’s part of the mindset as well: I’m taking responsibility for this and I’m going to do everything in my power to change my life, and I’m not going to make any excuses. I’m going to change my whole life. That meant I was willing to stop eating the food that I liked. I was willing to stop eating cheeseburgers and pizza and drinking Cokes and Dr Pepper. Because my health was more important to me.
There was nothing I was willing to hold on to that was more important than life and health. And I had several people; I had a strong reason to live. Again, it goes back to mindset. Why are you doing what you’re doing? What’s your motivation? For me, it was my wife and my parents. I was a newlywed, been married two years. I’m an only child. So, the idea of my parents and my wife standing at my grave side was so absolutely painful to me, to think about my parents burying their only child, my wife burying me. We’d been together eight years. We dated for six years and we’d been married for two, so we were pretty close. So, those were my reasons to live. I had to organize all this stuff in my head, like, do I want to live? Why? Why do I want to live? And if so, what am I going to do about it? Am I going to cross my fingers and hope for the best, or am I going to take massive action to change my life and help my body heal? And obviously I took massive action. We’ve been conditioned though in our culture to look for the quick fix, the magic bullet, the hack. Biohacking – what a crock.
Allan (34:16): I’m glad you said that, because I thought I might be the only person on earth that actually kind of felt that way.
Chris Wark (34:24): I hope it’s not just us two Allan, really.
Allan (34:30): My book is coming out. I talk about an experiment where you use big rocks, little rocks and sand.
Chris Wark (34:36): Yeah, I know it.
Allan (34:38): Just do the big rocks first. There are so many big rocks in front of us that you don’t have to be worried about the sand right now. That’s not going to help you at this point of your journey. Particularly if you’re dealing with an illness, you need to find that big rock as fast as you can and implement that in your life. You don’t need to be focused on the sand. The big rock is there staring you right in the face and you have to, like you said, take massive action and get that big rock in your jar.
Chris Wark (35:09): That’s awesome. I say something very similar to that often to my group. We have people in a coaching program and I have a large community of people that follow me that I’m trying to constantly encourage and inspire. One of the things that I found myself saying, because I saw these obvious, sort of glaring problems in people’s lives… Or not problems, it was more like stumbling blocks. I don’t even know how I came to this conclusion exactly, but anyway, the expression is, “Don’t let the little things get in the way of the big things.” So many people get caught up in some dumb little detail and they get hung up on it and they can’t take action because they have some kind of confusion or they need an answer on some little quibbling question that just doesn’t matter. Feel free to use that in your book and give me a quote: “Don’t let the little things get in the way of the big things.” You can Google it and make sure no one else said it first. But that’s the truth.
And this thing about hacking, it’s like everybody is looking for a quick fix and a magic bullet. And the medical industry, the pharmaceutical industry and the supplement industry is ready to take advantage of anyone with that mentality. And the truth is, health is not caused by a hack. You can’t hack your way to health. What you have to do is you have to change everything. You have to take massive action. It’s not about, what’s the minimum effective dose? That’s a recipe for failure. Now, having said that, I love it when small changes produce big results, but the reality of it is, massive action produces massive results. Small changes usually produce small results. But if you make enough small changes, they add up to a big result. So all those little changes that I made in my life – removing every toxic thing in my home, replacing my body care products, eating all organic food, cutting out all the junk food, fast food, processed food, all that stuff, exercising every day.
Exercise is so amazing. I mentioned what’s causing and contributing to cancer and what you can do to reverse it. My life’s mission and work is to educate people on this, to help patients take care of themselves and increase their odds of survival and help people that want to prevent it decrease their odds of ever getting cancer. A plant-based diet is a huge part, but exercise is the other big part. It’s this really complicated idea, diet and exercise. But this is the 40+ Fitness podcast. I’m 41 years old. Spoiler alert – I didn’t die. I’m almost 15 years out. My 15 year Cancerversary is in December, and I’m the strongest I’ve ever been in my life. I’m in the best shape, I’m the most fit I’ve ever been, and exercise is the reason. But beyond just being strong and fit, exercise actually flips genetic switches in your body. It flips genes that are anti-cancer genes, cancer-protective genes. It turns them on and it turns cancer-promoting genes off. It doesn’t matter if you inherited some cancer gene. Exercise can keep that gene off – that’s how powerful it is. We know based on numerous studies, which are referenced in the book, you need at least 30 minutes a day, six days a week, up to 60 minutes. So somewhere in that range – 30 to 60 minutes a day of exercise – aerobic exercise, strength training. But get in there, get sweaty, huff and puff, run, walk, do yoga, do karate, rock climbing. Move your body. Sweaty exercise really is the best, because sweating detoxifies your body of heavy metals, namely the big four – mercury, arsenic, cadmium and lead. So, exercise is huge.
The plant-based diet – tons of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables have all these amazing anti-cancer compounds. Americans are only eating one to two servings of fruits and vegetables per day on average, which is terrible. Terrible. It’s abysmal. And when you look at the healthiest populations around the world, they’re eating a minimum of 10 servings per day. That’s actually the new recommended dietary minimum, is 10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. It sounds like a lot and people think 10 servings are 10 meals. A serving is only half a cup. So, a plate of veggies is going to be three or four servings. It’s easy to eat three or four servings of fruits and vegetables.
Allan (40:02): And when you’re eating predominantly plants, from a volume perspective, it feels like it’s more. There’s a lot of water, some fiber in there, and all the good stuff. You look at a serving of broccoli – it is going to look about the same as probably the chicken breast you have sitting there. If the chicken breast wasn’t there, and instead you had quinoa, the broccoli, and some beans or maybe a salad, or just even a big salad – you’re looking at picking up, like you said, three to four servings of those vegetables pretty easily, pretty quickly.
Chris Wark (40:39): Easily. Oatmeal for breakfast, a big salad for lunch, cooked veggies for dinner – rice, beans, potatoes. The good starches that have unfortunately been demonized by so many health gurus and weight loss gurus, that starches are the enemy and you need to eat chicken breast and kale or whatever. But the truth is the healthiest, longest living populations subsist on starches. That’s their staple food. They’re eating about 65% of their calories from carbohydrates – so rice, potatoes, and lots of beans, especially beans.
Allan (41:17): But we’re not talking the instant kind. We’re talking they’re growing them, they’re sprouting them, they’re doing their food the traditional ways. It’s a little different than walking in and buying a box of instant oatmeal or instant oats, and calling that your starch. You do have to look at the quality.
Chris Wark (41:36): Quality matters, absolutely. Organic matters. If you can find it and afford it, organic is best because you’re reducing your exposure to toxic pesticides, especially Roundup glyphosate, which is a probable human carcinogen. There’s a really fascinating study that just came out of France where they followed tens of thousands of people over five years and they found that those who ate an organic diet had a 34% reduced risk of breast cancer – obviously women, and had a 70% to 80% reduced risk of Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas. That’s huge. What does that tell you? That tells you that the pesticides used in non-organic food are causing a percentage of those cancers. There are multiple studies linking lymphomas to pesticides as well.
Allan (42:32): In my next episode, I’m actually talking to a woman that wrote a book called Informed Consent, and she deep dives into that topic as well. So, stay tuned. We’re going to be talking about Roundup in the next episode. Another big, I’m not going to call it a major action, but it was something that came across your path, and you’ve been using this successfully in your wellness journey since you were diagnosed. You’ve been doing some fasting. I know that there’s an aspect of apoptosis that’s called “programmed cell death”. Basically a cancer cell doesn’t know what it’s supposed to be doing other than replicating and it gets really, really good at that. That’s where the cancer is, and that’s the growth factor of it. But fasting can help with that process. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Chris Wark (43:27): Fasting is an amazing practice that we’ve gotten away from. Fasting has been used as a religious practice for centuries. It’s also been sort of involuntary; in other words, cultures where they have food scarcity end up fasting, not by choice, going several days without food at a time. It’s wonderful for your body to go without food, which sounds counterintuitive, right? What we know now is the ideal fast is three to five days on water. When you stop eating, your body goes into repair mode and protection mode, and it starts breaking down all this unused accumulated crap that’s built up in your body. Your cells sort of throw up these force field-like defenses that protect them and they start a process called autophagy, which is where they, again, break down parts of them that are not useful and they burn those things for energy.
It’s like if you were trapped in a cabin in a blizzard, and you only had a fireplace for heat and you ran out of firewood. What would you do? You’d start breaking down the table, the chairs, the cabinets. You’d start burning everything in there that was non-essential to survival. You would burn for heat to survive. You wouldn’t throw your food in the fire. That’s the last thing you’d throw in there. You wouldn’t throw your blankets in there, but you would throw everything else in there. Your cells are doing the same kind of process. Healthy cells are really good at this process, autophagy, but cancer cells are bad at it. So, fasting actually weakens cancer cells. During a fast, old and damaged cells in your body, which are known as senescent cells, die off. And this is good, because you have a lot of cells in your body that are senile, and senile cells, especially senile immune cells are not good at their job anymore. So, imagine an army full of senior citizens. That’s not a good army, right? During a fast, all these old and damaged cells – immune cells are the ones that we’re particularly interested in – die.
Again, you want to fast between three and five days. When you start eating again at the end of the fast, your body ramps up production of new immune cells. It’s called stem cell activation. Fasting triggers stem cell activation and regeneration. So, it produces all of these brand new, young, healthy immune cells that are like the 18, 19, 20-year-old soldiers that are like, “Let me at them!” They’re cancer scavengers. That’s what those cells are doing. There are a lot of different types of immune cells – we won’t go into all that – but the point is, just for simplicity’s sake, fasting regenerates your immune system. So, so, so powerful; and among a lot of other benefits in the body. So yeah, I’m a huge fan of fasting. Juice fasting is wonderful. It doesn’t accomplish quite the same thing; it’s great for weight loss and detoxification. But a pure water fast or the Fasting Mimicking Diet, which is developed by a company called ProLon – those are two of the most powerful things you can do for yourself. And fasting costs you nothing.
Allan (47:15): It’ll actually save you money in food. That’s basically 1/10 of the month, so your food budget just went down by 1/10 and you can afford to buy higher quality food.
Chris Wark (47:26): That’s right. You save three to five days’ worth of groceries. That’s significant for some people. That’s hundreds of dollars.
Allan (47:33): I’m definitely going to be doing some more experimentation with fasting in the coming year. I have to leave you with one last question. I define “wellness” as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
Chris Wark (47:49): That’s good. I like your definition. The big takeaways here, I think… And I hope your audience will read my book because it really goes deep and there’s tons of science in there. But what I think based on the available evidence and research and all these wonderful studies – number one is a plant-based diet. You don’t have to be pure vegan, but if you can cut your animal product consumption… I didn’t get into all the ways that animal protein fuels cancer growth. It’s in the book. But if you can cut it down from three times a day to three times a week, you’re doing a huge favor for yourself. You’re doing yourself so much good. Trust me on this. Number two is going to be exercising 30 to 60 minutes a day. And then the third thing, which I didn’t get to get into, but I know we’ve got a couple of minutes, so I’ll touch on it here – it’s stress.
Stress is a root cause of many diseases. It’s one of those concepts that most people don’t have a great handle on it. They know what stress feels like, but they don’t know what’s causing the stress. They don’t know why they feel stressed. Sometimes they do, but sometimes they don’t, and there’s a lot more to it than they realize. So, stress is a state in the body that is caused by conflict – emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical conflict. To put it very simply, all negative thoughts produce negative emotions, which produce a negative stress response in the body, which is elevated adrenaline and cortisol. When those hormones are elevated, they suppress your immune function and they increase inflammation in the body. And when you have increased inflammation and suppressed immune function, your body is a place where cancer can thrive.
I said earlier at the very beginning, it’s not about killing cancer, beating cancer, fighting cancer. It’s about healing the body and creating an environment where cancer cannot thrive. That involves nutrition, detoxification, and repair and regeneration. Improving your immune function is such a huge part of cancer healing, survival and prevention. So, stress suppresses your immunity. If you have anger, jealousy, envy, prejudice, shame and guilt, if you’re carrying bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness – all these negative thoughts and emotions – if you’re carrying these things through life, what it does is it keeps you in a state of chronic stress. Not to mention work stress, family stress, the problems that come and go in life. It just piles on top of the baggage that you’re already carrying.
I heard a great analogy that I think everyone can understand. If I gave you a five-pound dumbbell and I said to hold it out to your side, just hold it up in the air, and I said, “Is that heavy?” You would say, “No.” If I said we’ll keep holding it; five minutes go by. Is it heavy now? You’d say it’s a little heavy. It’s starting to feel a little heavy now. If you held it for an hour, at some point you’ve got to put it down. It’s too heavy. The weight didn’t change. That’s what bitterness, unforgiveness and all of these negative emotions and thoughts that we’re carrying with us do to us. The longer we hold on to bitterness, the heavier it gets, the more it weighs us down and the more pain it causes us.
I talk about this in great detail in the book, but I want to at least leave your audience with this one thing they can do right now. There’s a lot more you can do to remove stress from your life and you really should make it a priority, but forgiveness is the most powerful stress reducer in your life. The most powerful thing you can do is make a decision to forgive every person who has ever hurt you. That means going back in time and thinking through your life. You have to sit down and focus on this, and let those people come up and let those memories come up. And the painful ones. And one by one, choose to forgive. The way you choose to forgive is pretty simple. Forgiveness is not a feeling. You can still be mad and you can still forgive, even if you’re mad. And you should, because if you’re waiting until you’re not mad, you’re probably waiting a long time. There is an expression: “Time heals all wounds”, and that’s fine, but the longer you wait, the more pain you cause yourself.
So, the way I did it and the way I think everyone should do it is you say, “Okay God, You know what they did. You know how I feel about it. And I’m so mad, but I’m giving it to You. I’m choosing to forgive them and I’m giving it to You. They’re all Yours. You can deal with them. I am not going to carry this. I’m not going to hold it against them anymore.” And we’re doing it by name. Now, I’m not saying, “I forgive everybody” at once. That doesn’t work. You have to forgive John for calling you an idiot or whatever. So, one by one I would give these people to God and just say, “I’m forgiving them. I’m letting it go. They’re all yours. And I’m asking you to bless them.” Which sounds crazy, like, “I don’t want blessing. I want a lightning bolt.” By the way, you’re not being insincere. God knows your heart. He knows you don’t want Him to bless them. He knows, but the fact that you’re asking Him to bless them despite your feelings is so powerful. I’m telling you, it heals your heart. It just opens your heart up to healing like nothing else. Jesus said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Some of the best life advice, period.
Allan (54:16): Absolutely, and thank you for sharing those. Really, thank you for that. If someone wanted to get in touch with you, learn more about your book, Chris Beat Cancer, where would you like for me to send them?
Chris Wark (54:28): It’s easy to find. It’s on Amazon, it’s in Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million. It’s pretty much anywhere books are sold. If you love bookstores and you want to support your local bookstore, I want to encourage you to call up your favorite bookstore and ask them if they have it or ask them to order it for you. They can all get it. But if you don’t care and you want it right now, you can just get on Amazon and have it in two clicks and have it tomorrow. Or download the audio book, which is read by me. Or the e-book or whatever. So it’s pretty easy to get. My site is ChrisBeatCancer.com. The cool thing about the site is I’ve interviewed I guess over 70 people now, who’ve healed all types and stages of cancer. So, it’s an incredible resource of encouragement, inspiration and support that I’ve built over the last eight years. Tons of articles and videos, interviews with doctors and experts and people who’ve healed. It’s just something I am so proud of and excited about, and I feel like it’s doing a lot of good in the world.
Allan (55:30): Good, good. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/355, and I’ll have the links there in the show notes. Chris, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
Chris Wark (55:42): Thanks, Allan. It’s a pleasure. Thank you for having me.
Chris is a pretty inspirational guy and I really enjoyed that conversation with him. The book is excellent. A lot of us are dealing with cancer. I think the last statistic I saw was that pretty much every human being on earth at some point in their life is going to have cancer, a diagnosable cancer, and we talked about that. So this is a very important issue. Chris’s approach, while not down mainstream medicine’s bailiwick for the most part, actually is kind of a message of hope. If you are dealing with cancer or someone in your family is dealing with cancer, I think Chris and what he has to offer are great and you should check him out more. So please do that.
The question I’ve got before I cut out here is, have you got your pre-order on The Wellness Roadmap book yet? What are you waiting for? It’s in Amazon right now. You can go to Amazon and you can search for “Wellness Roadmap” and it’s going to come up first. Good, because now people are in there paying attention to it. So, Amazon sees it and they value it. Last time I tried to search my name on there, it still wants to send me to an audio mixer. Maybe that’s just me. I know Amazon’s pretty smart and probably knows that I’m doing a podcast because I buy all my equipment through them. So, they’re thinking I want a mixer, but I’m not a mixer. It’s not an Allen mixer; it’s Allan Misner. So, I have to tell them “No, not mixer. Yes, I actually meant to search for Allan Misner.”
So, if you type in “Allan Misner” and don’t see the book – go ahead… And even if you put “book”, it’s going to put books about mixers, which is bizarre. But anyway, you go in and you can type in my name, Allan Misner, and then actually click on “Allan Misner” and it’ll take you to the book. You can pre-order the ebook right now at an insanely low price. It’s actually the lowest price that Amazon will let me offer the book. I cannot offer it for free at this point. So $0.99 is as low as I can offer it.
It’s probably going to be different in different markets. I know I was hearing from India and the UK that they couldn’t actually pre-order it yet, and I’m sorry. That’s Amazon being Amazon. We’ve done everything on our side to make sure that the book was available, but I guess that’s just their way. It’ll be available December 4th, I think for everybody else. So please do go out, get a copy of the book. I really do think if you enjoy what we’re doing on this podcast, you’re going to love this book.
And please, once you get it, when you’ve had an opportunity to look at it, go give me an honest rating and review. Amazon is that weird, weird one. When I say Apple really cares about reviews, and Google really cares about reviews – Amazon will not show my book for much longer if they don’t see these ratings and reviews. If you’ve been on Amazon, you go to buy a book, you look at a book, you see people who bought this book also bought that book, or people who liked this book also liked that book. That algorithm, that whole recommendation thing – that is all based on those ratings and reviews that you do. So please, please, please, if you enjoy the book, go out and give me an honest rating and review. That’s really going to help boost this book and let me help as many people as possible. Thank you for that.