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Category Archives for "guest/interview"

January 18, 2021

The case for keto with Gary Taubes

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Few people put in the amount of research journalist Gary Taubes does when he's writing a book. In his new book, The Case for Keto, Gary really dives deep into the nutrition science to walk us point-by-point through determining if the ketogenic diet is the right way to eat.

Transcript

Let's Say Hello

[00:01:48.020] – Allan
Raz, how are things going?

[00:01:50.540] – Rachel
Good, how are you today, Allan?

[00:01:52.340] – Allan
I'm doing okay. Working on getting the gym open. We got some space next door, so we've been able to spread the equipment out a little bit more, which should help when we go to the health department. And my goal is before the end of this month to have the gym open and now it's just some final cleanups and put together and things like that to get it all ready. And then I've got a crew scheduled to come in and help me do some deep cleaning. So we're going to get everything set up. And I had to pull everything apart and clean it all up and then put it all back in.

[00:02:24.830] – Rachel
Wow.

[00:02:25.940]
Yeah, it's a lot of work. I've done it a few times myself over the years. And one of the things that I've come to understand is that you can't go 11 months without significant training. You know, I'm doing some training, but it's not like I was before. My strength has dropped. I'm not as strong. So I actually had to hire some people to help me move a piece of equipment today.

[00:02:49.940] – Rachel
Oh, boy.

[00:02:52.160] – Allan
I moved it all over the gym before, but it is really, really heavy. It probably weighs about 400 pounds. So it's not a light piece of equipment. But I used to be able to just drag it all over the gym. Not a problem that wasn't happening for me today. I gave it a tug. It moved about four inches. And I'm like, okay, I really have to move this about 20 feet. So, little four inch increments. That was a lot of polling. So I went out and I asked a couple of local guys that work at the water taxi across the street, and I said, you guys wanna help me out? And I said, I think I will need about two of you. And two of them came in. One of them came in and he's like, he was going to get underneath and lift it up. And I'm like, it's kind of heavy. He says “I'm really strong.” I said, “I am, too.”

[00:03:33.470] – Allan
And he went to make the tug and it didn't move at all. And his friends laughed at him. And then they went and got another guy in there to help us as three guys and myself. We got it. We got it moved.

[00:03:41.930] – Rachel
Oh, how wonderful. Gosh, how crazy!

[00:03:47.420] – Allan
It is. But it was fun. It was fun. And I'm getting things in. It's lining up. And so I'm hopeful we can get the health department here in Bocas to see it as a good place for people to be and exercise. We'll have a clean up plan, have everything going. So a lot of moving and shaking there. And then, of course, started kind of launching a twelve-week program for my for my online trainee's and, you know, for people over 40.

[00:04:13.070] – Allan
And it's. Yeah. That's going really well. I'm super excited about the folks that are coming in. They're energized. You know, our private Facebook group is there where we're checking and everybody's everybody's getting really excited and doing some things here. So, you know, and even just the first couple check ins of folks coming through, I'm like, wow, you guys are just you're just flooringme. I've got some awesome people in there and it just everyday seems to be getting better and better.

[00:04:39.410] – Rachel
Isn't that exciting? I love to see when people get excited about trying something new, a new training program or something and really taking the reins on what they want out of their health and fitness. I love that.

[00:04:51.950] – Allan
Yeah, well, of course. Me too. That's why I'm doing this.

[00:04:54.800] – Rachel
For sure.

[00:04:56.070] – Allan
So what have you been up to?

[00:04:58.130] – Rachel
Actually, something similar myself. I love resolutions. I love making plans at the beginning of the year. I, I love the idea of settling in on a goal and I have some big running goals for myself this year. But in order to reach those goals, I know I need to branch out and do some other things besides running. So I've been putting together a body weight routine that I call the runner's workout. I'm putting the final touches on it and I hope to have it ready to share pretty soon.

[00:05:30.170] – Rachel
Cool. I'm looking forward to seeing that's going to be really good. That's really good. All right. So today our guest is Gary Taubes. And Gary, Gary is one of my favorite people because he thinks like a journalist, but he also understands health really, really well. And so he gets into these concepts of keto. So the book is called The Case for Keto. And I've had him on before The Case Against Sugar. And he sold me on that one for sure, because now, you know, I'm as against sugar as ever.

[00:06:06.200] – Allan
But his book The Case for Keto is really, really good. I was really excited to have him on the podcast again. So I guess let's go ahead and have that conversation with Gary.

Interview

[00:06:36.920] – Allan
Gary, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:06:39.860] – Gary
Thank you for having me.

[00:06:42.080] – Allan
This is the second time you've been on the show. We had you on for The Case Against Sugar, which was episode 224, that was 245 episodes ago, and I still recommend people go read the book The Case Against Sugar. It's as relevant, if not more relevant today than it was then in 2017. And the book we're going to talk about today is called The Case for Keto: Rethinking Weight Control and the Science of Low-Carb High-Fat Eating.

[00:07:11.570] – Allan
And the thing I like, Gary, about the way that you approach these topics is that you put together a case which is what you're doing, and you're thinking in terms of how do I build up a body of evidence that really proves this. And it's not just you're going to go across and say, well, everybody knows and then stop and just use that as your anchor. You have no anchors. But the fact that you've done more research then probably anyone else in the field of nutrition, which is actually kind of sad considering you're a journalist and not a scientist, but you've done you've done more work in the nutrition field to understand why we think the way we do, why we do the things we do and why things work the way they do inside our bodies than maybe any any other human being on Earth. And it's just fascinating to read your stuff.

[00:08:07.470] – Gary
Thank you. You know, it's funny, as a journalist, you just keep asking questions until, well, I would like to say until there are no questions to be asked, but basically eventually you will reach a point of diminishing returns where your mathematicians are saying you're asymptotically approaching the endpoint. And yeah, I when I started this 20, almost 25 years ago, I had no biases. I was believe what we all believed about a low fat diet and then red meat being deadly.

[00:08:49.180] – Gary
And and then I but I was an investigative journalist with a science background. So I stumbled into this field. I wanted to know what the truth was. I just kept asking questions. I also hate writing. So research is a great procrastination tool as long as you keep doing research, you don't actually have to sit down and do the hard work of synthesizing it, making it reasonable.

[00:09:12.730] – Allan
Well, you did. And thank you for that, because you went through an entire history. And that's another thing. I mean, as we're talking about why we are where we are. We have to kind of understand some of the history, it's not if we try to put that anchor point in, this is the ultimate truth and we don't go back and at least understand where that truth came from and question that truth, which you as a journalist do, then there's a lot of things that can go wrong.

[00:09:48.320] – Allan
In a way, I kind of think about this is in terms of geometry. You know, you work as a kid, you work in the geometry problem and they make you show you work. And so you sit down, you prove that first thing and then therefore you can prove the second thing and therefore you can prove the third thing. And you have to do all three of those in that order or it doesn't work. And a lot of the science we have right now skipped through the first two proofs and now we're at the third proof.

[00:10:16.010] – Allan
This book doesn't do that. Why are we where we are? And what happened? What went wrong?

[00:10:22.460] – Gary
So this is what's happened to me. So my obsession has always been good science and bad science, more so than nutrition. It's just, the themes and bad science play out so well in nutrition and so continuously and obesity and diabetes research also. But one of the things that fascinated me is I grew up in the physics world and in physics. You learn the science, the history attached. Right. In part because as the history as you move forward in time, the science gets more complicated to start with, like Newton's laws. And you learn about Newton and you learn about the laws. And every law has a name attached to it. Every discovery has someone's name attached or whether it's, the variables, the units being teslas and gauses and ohms are people's names to learn who did the work, what they did, what they saw, what the alternative hypotheses were. You get to Einstein's theory of relativity. It's only when you get to quantum physics in the twentieth century that we tend to start using the name, leaving the names behind.

[00:11:28.250] – Gary
But any student of physics knows who did the work and what they did and what experiments were done to test it and what those experiments on. And I don't know, in medicine, you don't do that. The textbooks don't talk about the history. There's too much to learn. There's too much you have to digest in order to the theory goes to diagnose and treat patients. So maybe the ideas don't have time to learn it.

[00:11:52.830] – Gary
So as a journalist, when I got into this, I wanted to learn the evidence-based first behind the idea that salt causes high blood pressure. And that led me to the evidence behind dietary fat and heart disease, and that led me to the obesity story. So as a journalist, you start going back in time because we've accepted certain facts, dogma or consensus. So you go back in time to find out when they were still up for grabs, when there was still a controversy and no consensus formed over what we believe and see what the evidence was and what forged the controversy? Was it compelling evidence or was it political or sociological forces? And in nutrition, obesity was always the latter.

[00:12:44.460] – Gary
Go all the way back to the early 20th century for obesity and again, when we think of the obesity research community today, we think of hundreds, thousands of research around the world studying animals. Back then, obesity research constituted oh, I don't know, a dozen positions around the world, the German and Austrian clinicians with their schools of thinking and they had institutes with research physician, researcher in them. And these dozen people would write articles about obesity every few years.And in those articles, they might speculate as to what the cause was.

[00:13:21.910] – Gary
And there were two ideas of what the cause of obesity was. One is people eat too much: The gluttony idea. Sloth wasn't that much of an explanation back then, but you had Falstaff. A big, heavy set guy with a zest for living, sitting in a bar and he's got a leg of lamb with one hand and the tankard of ale in the other. And the reason he's fat is good. He's a glutton. And that was sort of the general thinking.

[00:13:49.950] – Gary
And then the other hypothesis was that obesity is a hormonal disorder that some people just put on weight no matter how little they eat. Okay? So some of us are predisposed to get fat, others aren't. The Germans and Austrians tend to embrace this hormonal predisposition idea, even though they didn't know how hormones regulated fat accumulation.

[00:14:13.110] – Gary
And in 1930, an American researcher named Lewis Newberg comes along the University of Michigan and he claims for the first time ever to have actually tested these two hypotheses experimentally. No one has ever done that before. And he claimed that the overrating hypothesis won, based on basically what he did, is he put some lean people on a semi-starvation diet and some obese people on a semi-starvation diet. And he said they kind of lost weight equally. It didn't matter whether they were obese. Therefore, the obese people didn't have some hormonal predisposition to make them trap fat. And nobody had ever done this so Newberg and the United States particularly has kind of embraced as getting it right.

[00:14:59.860] – Gary
And it fit preconceptions, right? Because lean physicians, because if you're lean it's easy to think fat people get fat because they too much. The Europeans, the Germans and Austrians kind of made fun of this energy balance idea, didn't explain anything. So if you want to explain like for instance, whether or not someone's obese or not, but why men and women fat differently, men put on fat above the waist, women tend to put on fat below the waist. So clearly hormones are involved, like why are there certain areas in our bodies we accumulate fat and other areas we don't? Why? There are things like lipomas, fatty tumors. All of these are independent of energy balance.

[00:15:44.500] – Gary
And you want a theory of obesity should be a theory of fat accumulation. So all of that is argued out in a few papers that go back and forth, the Austrian clinical investigator named Julius Bauer, the one of the leading figures in the field of endocrinology, says the energy balance thing is nonsense. The overeating hypothesis doesn't tell you anything. Newberg responds that the hormonal hypothesis doesn't tell you anything. World War II comes along. The European, German, Austrian schools evaporate. And post-World War Two, Newberg's overeating energy balance hypothesis is just embrace this fact.

[00:16:31.430] – Gary
Clearly fat people overeat and then for whatever reason, people start invoking the laws of thermodynamics as somehow relevant to this. And by the 1960s, you've got obesity research dominated by psychologists and psychiatrists who are trying to get fat people eat less.

[00:16:53.640] – Gary
And at the same time, you've got beginning in the 1930s, through the mid 1960s, a series of metabolism researchers, physiologists, PHds mostly rather than MDs to actually work out in the lab what regulates fat accumulation and the role different hormones play in regulating fat accumulation. And by the mid 1960s, it's clear that insulin dominates fat storage. The hormone insulin, it orchestrates partitioning in the body. When we burn fuels versus when we store them, use them for repair and regeneration. But it's the hormone that puts fat tissue and keeps it there. And so by the mid 1960s, you should have a hypothesis that obesity is a hormonal regulatory disorder, just like the Germans and Austrians had always said, where insulin dominates the length of diet.

[00:17:50.040] – Gary
And so all of this was just ignored, just ignored, because the obesity community has decided that fat people eat too much. Even when you look at the research in the field, they're not trying to explain fat accumulation. If you look at, for instance, the discovery of leptin, which is seen as a satiety hormone. The researchers are trying to explain appetite and hunger and why fat people might eat too much rather than why fat people might accumulate too much fat, which is an entirely different question.

[00:18:26.130] – Gary
So the latter is answered pretty much by elevated insulin and keep it elevated as it is in insulin resistance, and you're going to accumulate too much fat. But that's not even what we've been studying. And then the dietary implications, of course, are a disaster for 80 years, 90 years. Physicians tell their patients to eat less and exercise more because they think they're eating too much. And that's why they're getting fat.

[00:18:56.850] – Allan
When I was in high school, I thought I was going to be an NFL football player and offensive lineman, thought I was going to be this big, huge dude. I stopped growing in the 10th grade and couldn't put on any weight. I could eat and eat and eat and eat and in fact, really strongly believe that it was those eating habits that I developed when I was a teenager that set me up for having metabolic problems later because it was the type of food I was drinking a lot of milk, like a gallon of milk a day. I was eating loaves of bread because those were the things that put some weight on me. And so when I was younger, I was one of those folks that you would call just naturally lean. He can eat anything and everything and stay naturally.

[00:19:45.480]
That changed drastically after I turned 30, which again, is about the same time that certain hormones like testosterone. I was obviously I was working in corporate so my cortisol levels. I wasn't the carefree teenager anymore. My cortisol levels were obviously a lot higher. So I moved into that category in the book that you call fat and easily. And I think people who see this and they know this intrinsically. I'll have male clients and female clients and the male clients, if they really start working on the right things and do the things that are improving their overall health, they bounce back and they start losing weight a lot faster than females do. So a woman moves into menopause. And because her hormones change the structure of how and where she stores fat changes. So to sit there and completely poo poo hormones as having any involvement in this. I don't quite get it.

[00:20:49.010] – Gary
And this is what's so fascinating. On one hand, I mean, it's an interesting dynamic where. So Newberg did this. Because he had to answer questions after he said, as always, eating too much obesity always caused by eating too much. And so people said, what about menopause? You know, if you look at and I did and even into the literature on animal literature in the 1920s, you can find and endocrinologies saying, well, you know, animals get when you remove the ovaries and a female animal, that animal got fatter. And so clearly what we're doing is removing it's not secreting estrogen anymore and estrogen inhibiting fat accumulation.

[00:21:26.100] – Gary
And I think it was in the case against sugar. I had a reference from 1927 making that point. And I mean endocrinology as the term has barely even been coined by that time. They're still calling glands ductless glands and the researchers studying animals know that female animals will get fat or if you remove their ovaries. But still what's happening in humans in Newberg's says, well it's got nothing to do with hormones, even in women going through menopause.

[00:21:56.790] – Gary
They're saying what happens is they their kids are grown, they're out there, they're bored with their husbands. I'm an incredibly sexist discussions going on and they don't really care how they look anymore. And they're playing bridge with their lady friends all day long and eating bonbons. So it's still overeating. And they said, well, what about children of obese parents? Because he, you know, Julius Bauer had done some of the first research showing that, you know, we had 500 obese patients and 400 of them had at least one obese parent. I forget the exact number. So clearly it's genetic. And why wouldn't you expect it to be genetics? No, it's not genetic. And, you know, children with obesity learn to overeat from their parents with obesity. The groaning board, they called it, they just put too much food out on the table and they don't learn to control their appetites.

[00:22:50.010] – Gary
So they had an argument that everything. Nothing could be hormonal, and when Bauer attacks Newberg and you see this today with bloggers and everywhere and politicians, rather than ease off the argument a little, Newberg hardened it. Nothing can be hormonal because of anything, could be hormonal. Perhaps it could all be hormonal.

[00:23:17.630] – Gary
And then the idea of hormones were easily accepted as an excuse when that's what fat people was trying to understand. The AtMe movement or even the Black Lives Matter movement, because as a older white male, I'm being told that I can fundamentally cannot understand their perspective. And they're right. Okay, they're just right. I can't. And then it struck me that what we've got is lean people who are giving us diet advice, right?

[00:23:47.140] – Gary
The idea is if it's eating too much, the difference between if you take two 18-year-olds, say. A good example, my brother and I, when we graduated from high school, he was two years older. But his senior year, he played football. He was six feet tall and 190 pounds, six foot five and 190. And I was six foot two and 190 or 195. We both played football. We were both pretty good. He never got over 195 pounds and I went up to 240.

[00:24:17.450] – Gary
He couldn't. And he had more than I did. We would both accept that the difference was the idea the reason I went to 240 is I ate too much. And the reason he never went over 195 is he didn't, even though he ate far more than I did. So you've got these lean people giving this advice and they don't know what it means. They don't understand what it's like to slowly get fatter year in and year out no matter what you do. Right?

[00:24:48.680] – Gary
So we've all been through this. You restrict what you eat, you give up sweets, you do your calorie counting and no matter what you do and this is why I use that phrase fat and easily. It's like 1950s diet book terminology, but some of us fatten easily. And if you're not one of us, you can't understand what that's like. And you can't just say, well, you got to eat less, dude, or get out and run around the track, because that doesn't stop our bodies from wanting to fatten easily.

[00:25:21.610] – Gary
And we have to understand why our bodies are doing that. You're lucky your body doesn't do that. Just like somebody who wants to play basketball is lucky if they grow to six foot eight rather than six feet tall. And we know that's hormonal.

[00:25:35.960] – Allan
Yeah.

[00:25:36.380] – Gary
Right?

[00:25:38.480] – Allan
Because they too much.

[00:25:39.890] – Gary
Not because they eat more than the six foot guy. And it's funny. That's what the first guy, a German, Gustaf von Burgmann, who sort of wrote up this hormonal idea and made fun of this eating balance/energy balance idea said you know, a growing child is hungry all the time. That's not why it's growing. And you would never tell the child, look, if you would just eat less, you won't get so tall because we know they're not related.

[00:26:12.260] – Gary
And yet they turn this into obesity. They're growing outward instead of upward. And suddenly you flip all the causality in telling them to eat less is somehow a solution. And it's just not.

[00:26:24.770] – Allan
You said something in the book that just kind of resonated with me, probably something I should just actually just have posted somewhere for people to read whenever we're talking, particularly when they're dealing with hunger, is that you indicated in the book hunger is a response, not a cause.

[00:26:45.380] – Gary
Right. If you look at any biological system other than obesity, hunger is a response to a calorie deficit. Basically, you burn more calories, you're growing. You're going to be hungry because your body needs is building is in positive energy balance. It's building bones and muscles and connective tissue. And it needs the energy to do that and it needs the resources to create that that new growth and the response is you're hungrier than you are if your body isn't growing.

[00:27:18.170] – Gary
The examples I used and why we get fat. My second book was, you know, an elephant eats more than an armadillo because it's and it eats and several orders of magnitude more food because it's several orders of magnitude bigger. We never have a system where the amount consumed drives the growth of the system. It's always the growth process that determines the amount consumed. And what's fascinating is in nutrition. So remember, we've got these lean people. Newburg, by the way, was pencil thin. We've got them saying, look, fat people get fat because they eat too much, so they should eat less. And if they eat less, they'll lose the weight and everything will be fine, but we actually had an experiment to look at what happens when lean people eat less. And that was his famous experiment, Ancel Keyes, who in the early 1940s was a relatively young, ambitious nutrition researcher at the University of Minnesota.

[00:28:20.830] – Gary
This was before his dietary fat work. And he did an experiment, a famous experiment on starvation. And he published two books, two volumes of the biology of human semi-starvation. And this was a it was a semi-starvation experiment. So we got thirty two or thirty four conscientious objectors. And the idea was to understand the physical and psychological consequences of semi-starvation because when we won the war in Europe, the assumption was we would be confronted with famine conditions and particularly Eastern Europe, and we would have to know how to treat these people. We'd have to understand medically what they're going through.

[00:29:08.200] – Gary
So the diet that Keyes fed these conscientious objectors was similar to what they expected they would see in Eastern Europe. So it's tubulars like potatoes and turnips and little green vegetables and some very lean, small portions of meat. So it's a low-fat, low calories, about 1600 calories a day, even though it's referred to as a semi-starvation diet. That's what men are told to eat if they want to lose weight at the rate of a pound or two a week. So 1600 calories a day of a low fat, mostly plant diet, a very healthy diet by today's standards and the obvious consequence of this diet, not surprisingly, if you feed someone a semi-starvation diet, they get exceedingly hungry because they're only eating half the calories that they need.

[00:30:07.150]
They thought about food constantly. They obsessed about food. They wrote about food in their diaries. Tf they had gum, they chew gum constantly. They dreamt about food at night. They weren't allowed out of the lab to walk around town without a buddy system because they couldn't be trusted not to cheat if they were allowed out of the confined area where the study was going on. Several of the subjects suffered what Keyes and his colleagues called, I think they call it semi-starvation neurosis or psychosis, they had mental breakdowns. One of them tried to mutilate himself, actually successfully cut off several fingers with an axe, claiming that an accident so he could get out of the study.

[00:30:57.540] – Gary
The assumption is a lean person can tell a person who suffers from obesity to eat less and maybe 1600 calories a day, and that person won't be able to just lose weight, that's all. The fat tissue will get about the excess calories and they'll be fine. But the reality is, we know that if a lean person were to eat 1600 calories a day, they'd be starving and unable to sustain it.

[00:31:21.810] – Gary
By the way, the other thing that happened at the end of this trial, they lost 15 pounds in the first three months and then weight loss slowed down and sort of ground to a halt. So eventually their weight loss was not all that meaningful. They didn't have a lot of extra fat to lose. Then they start refeeding them. Okay, so now you're feeding semi-starved individuals and they're voraciously hungry and they had to slow down the feeding so they wouldn't get sick, but they still could eat like 10000 calories a day and they ended up all putting on more fat than they lost, which Keyes and company called post-starvation obesity.

[00:32:05.100] – Gary
The comment in the book, because we've all been there, right? We've all tried to starve ourselves, lose the weight, and then eventually you end up with binge behavior because you can't sustain it and you end up fatter than you started. All of this had been documented in lean people, and yet that's still the advice. And then lean people, conceivably the most famous nutrition experiment in history. And yet the lean people who tell us to eat less don't pay attention to that, because if they did, they would have to figure out something else to tell us.

[00:32:38.730] – Allan
When I was in the army, in the infantry, and so we're training and the way they would work is they had these meals ready to eat, MREs. That they would give us. And each one was 1000 calories and we were allotted three of them in a day. So, you know, I'm a young, healthy male, too, you know, 20 years old, 21, 22, and they're giving me three thousand calories a day and I'm losing a pound a day, so if I went out for two weeks, I'd lose 14 pounds and I didn't really have that much extra body fat to lose at that point in time, because I was at the time, I was about 185 pounds, maybe one 195 relatively lean.

[00:33:22.830] – Allan
But I would lose a pound a day if I was out and I was doing everything I could to find calories. So there were people who liked coffee at the time. I wasn't interested in coffee. I would trade my coffees for their cocoas. I would say, are you eating your creamer and your sugar? And if they weren't going to use their creamer and sugar, I would barter for that and I would take those to make little sugar cookies.

[00:33:47.880] – Allan
And so I was learning all of these little tricks on how I could get more food. And in fact, we were going in an exercise and this other group came in and our job was just to disrupt them. And when they came in and drop their packs off, we ran them off with their packs. When we came back through, we realized they had food in their packs, so we stole all their food.

[00:34:11.070] – Gary
This is a funny thing because you were lean, right? It's not funny. It's tragic because you were lean. Nobody judged you.

[00:34:19.170] – Allan
Yeah.

[00:34:19.830] – Gary
As though you are a glutton or a sloth or you lacked willpower or anything like that. You were just hungry and you were doing what you needed to do to get the food you wanted. But had you been overweight or obese and someone had seen you stealing that food, they blame your lack of willpower for being overweight or obese. I had a conversation with excuse me, the nutritionist at NYU recently through email has been arguing for decades that it's all about calories and she told me that her father had been obese and he definitely had a voracious appetite. And I said, but look I've eaten dinner with her over the years. I once took her out to a wonderful, amazing Italian restaurant in Greenwich Village to thank her for being a source for one of my very first article on dietary fat. And I said, you've seen me eat right. I am twice your size. I eat more than twice the amount of food you eat and I will leave the table hungry. But you don't judge it because I'm not obese, right?

[00:35:33.390] – Gary
The reason they twice as much as you do is because I'm twice as big as you are. It's that simple. And if my body was trying to get bigger still by putting on fat, I'd be hungrier still. And she may have actually gotten that. Again, in this world, people very common phenomena, when you can when you try to get people to shift paradigms literally from this energy balance, thinking and gluttony and sloth to hormonal regulatory thinking and insulin and carbohydrates. You can get them to shift momentarily, but inevitably they snap back to the way they always believed.

[00:36:15.860] – Allan
There's a little bit of data there and, when you're when you get into a study where they'll do a well, they'll do a low-carb versus a high-carb switch but typically when they do that, they're really not going low-carb. They're they're going more of a moderate-carb kind of thing. And what they typically will show is for the first six weeks or so, these individuals that are on a low-carb diet lose more weight, but then they'll say six months later everything's pretty much even.

[00:36:47.420] – Allan
And I'm like, well, most of them weren't trained. That's how they were supposed to keep eating. So they went back to their old way of eating. And basically all you did was really. Yeah. Gave them a short term thing. And then you didn't pay attention to the fact that if they'd continue doing that thing for six months, it probably would have made quite a bit of difference.

[00:37:07.940] – Gary
The nutrition community has all kinds of excuses for why they can do bad experiments. So when they do those experiments, they don't test, for instance, whether a ketogenic diet leads to more weight loss than a low-fat or mostly plant diet. When the diets are sustained, they test the intervention. So they say, well, we've told people eat a low-fat diet and we told people to eat the ketogenic diet. And we gave them, you know, Atkins' book and Ornish's book or something like that. And then, you know, we just had them come in. We wanted to they they won't write it up like this. So they'll assume that they'll write it up as other people stayed on the diets. And then if you criticize and say, well, clearly from the data that people and stay on the diet and they say, then we know the diet to unsustainable. I co-founded a not for profit to try and improve the quality of nutrition science. We did some interesting experiments, but we did not succeed at improving the quality of nutrition science.

[00:38:18.690] – Allan
I guess the point I'm trying to get to is we're responsible for ourselves. And if we really want to get to the bottom of rather than most of us, I think we're listening to this and thinking we need to lose some weight. We probably fatten easily. We're probably not naturally lean. So we need to do something different than what is there, something different than what we've done? And if you've been concerned about the keto diet, just try and experiment.

[00:38:47.460] – Allan
And the experiment is to work with your hormones, looking at your carbs and your protein and your fat. And so, Gary, if someone was going to sit down and say, okay, I'm going to do an experiment, the subject is one. So my N=q and I'm going to do this experiment, how should they structure their experiment?

[00:39:06.720] – Gary
OK, so and this is why I wrote the book, by the way, among other things. So people know that they can do this. It's not going to kill them. Twenty years ago, you would have when I first did this as an experiment, I kept waiting for my heart attack. And then they have to understand how to do a right. Like any experiment, you have to get the methodology correct. So what we're doing with a low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet. So remember, we broach this idea, the hormone insulin regulates fat accumulation. Insulin goes up, we store fat, insulin comes down, you start to mobilize and oxidize it. What's often not discussed is when insulin comes down, there's a threshold effect. So when I interviewed the researchers who studied fat metabolism, a phrase they often used was that fat cells are exquisitely sensitive to insulin. So if you're secreting even a little bit of insulin, your fat cells are detecting that. And that insulin is inhibiting what's called lipolisis, which is mobilization of fat from the fat cells.

[00:40:11.090] – Gary
So when you want to do if you're overweight or obese, you want to get fat out of your fat cell. So the fat cells, lipolisize fat, it's stored so it can come out and then you want to burn it for fuel. And what to do that you have to minimize your insulin levels, probably.

[00:40:29.310] – Gary
So ketogenic diet minimizes insulin. That's what it does. And it does that by replacing the carbohydrates, you consume all the carbohydrate rich foods. So everything other than green leafy vegetables and so on. It's a high-fat diet. So you're not eating grains, sweets, starches, legumes, because they're all carb, relatively carb rich. You're eating green leafy vegetables, eggs, meat, fish, fowl, butter. Animal sources of fat. In practice, it's actually very easy to do, it sounds complicated, but breakfast, if you eat breakfast and most of us in this world are many of us are now doing the intermittent fasting as well as our time-restricted eating. We just don't eat breakfast anymore. But if you do, instead of your usual carbs sources, toast, cereal, juice, skim milk, fruit, you're eating eggs and bacon.

[00:41:34.680] – Gary
It's the hardest thing to get over is the belief that eggs and bacon are going to kill you or eggs and sausage or kippers and sour cream, trout, leftover food from dinner. And then your lunches. I don't know. I lived in New York when I first came to L.A. when I first did this as an experiment. And I was a writer and I was unmarrieds. You tend to eat out every meal and inexpensive restaurants. And so I'd go out and instead of getting half a roast chicken with French fries and broccoli, I would order that roast chicken, say, hold the fries, give me a double or broccoli or, you know, hold the fries or the baked potato, give me an extra order of salad. And so you end up eating more green leafy vegetables than you ever did. Some vitamin deficiencies are not an issue.

[00:42:28.450] – Gary
Same for dinner. Dinner was instead of steak and potatoes and broccoli, it was steak and broccoli. You're just not eating the starches, the grains and the sugar, basically. and most people who do this and do it right. So the idea I remember is also so insulin dominates fat accumulation, carbohydrates dominate insulin regulation. So the simplest way to think of this is carbohydrates are fattening. That's what our parents generation grew up believing anyway. And so if carbohydrates are fattening and you don't eat them. Because at any time and what you eat them, they will work to make you fat or and if you try to prevent yourself from getting fat, it just make you hungry.

[00:43:21.640] – Gary
So you abstain from carbs. You replace it with fatty sources of food. You don't worry about the fat content as long as it's coming from sort of naturally occurring foods and people get healthier, they just they do. In the book, I describe this sort of cognitive dissonance between two conflicting definitions of a healthy diet. One is what we're told to eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, lean meat in moderation.

[00:43:57.610] – Gary
And the other is what actually makes people like you and me healthier, which is green, leafy vegetables and meat, fish and pound dairy and eggs.

[00:44:09.370] – Allan
Yeah, it was interesting because someone posted on my Facebook group. They were looking they were struggling with keto. They had some struggles with keto diet and they wanted a balanced diet. And then, of course, there was another person that responded. Isn't that an oxymoron? And I had to respond and say, absolutely not. I mean, I probably eat. I would say ounce for ounce more vegetables because they're leafy green than I do eat meat when it's all said and done.

[00:44:40.390] – Allan
And yeah, there's some fat in there to make it actually taste delicious. But, you know, is just because everybody wants to nitpick and, you know, they're like, oh, it's the bacon diet. I'm like, well, they have a little bit of bacon. It's condiment. It's it's an aside, you know, it's like that's not their main protein. We're not all sitting around running around eating pounds and pounds of bacon. Now, yes, there are some people that are doing that, but in a general sense, you can have a balanced, fully nutritious diet. You have to have the understandings of what your body needs with regards to vitamins, minerals and particularly electrolytes. If we're going to go into ketosis because we're going to flush some water and just understanding those basic things is just a function of knowing how your body responds to food and eating appropriately.

[00:45:30.880] – Gary
And that's it. It's unlearning a lot of the simplistic crap we were taught. And then basing thinking about your diet in terms of human physiology instead of some, you know, like we're thermodynamic experiments. My favorite part, so part of what I did in this book, I interviewed over 120 odd physicians who had converted to this way of thinking. I estimate there are tens of thousands now worldwide at least to do this, but who now eat this way themselves and prescribe it to their patients. And by interviewing all these physicians, I could understand the challenges to them and to their patients and how they overcame those challenges. And at the end of the book, I give advice based on and ways to both think about this and do this, so that the eating a low-carb, high-fat ketogenic regime is something they can do for a lifetime.

[00:46:31.800] – Gary
But my I think my favorite chapter is. I start with the quote from a woman named Doctor named Carrie Doulos, who's a spine surgeon in Ohio. And Carrie comes from a family with a history of obesity and says without understanding her diet, she'd be 300 pounds. She's also a type one, has type one diabetes now, and she's a vegan. And she used to be a ketogenic diet. And she does so because she can tolerate animal products. So she would have she always had some ethical issues with them and she grew up ethically opposed to eating them. But she would do it if her body tolerated.

[00:47:13.260] – Gary
It just doesn't seem to do it. And she said it's it's not a religion. It's just about the way I feel, about how I feel. And to me, ultimately, that's kind of what we're doing here. And I play Carrie Doulos off against Georgia Edes, who's a psychologist, psychiatrist in western Massachusetts whose body doesn't seem to tolerate plant foods. And so Georgia is now a carnivore. All she eats exclusively is meat. And that's what makes her feel healthy and able to achieve a healthy weight. And as long as you know that you don't have any vitamin and mineral deficiencies and that you know your lipids are not insane, whatever that means is.

[00:47:58.220] – Gary
Of self-experiments until you found dumping crap food on us. And so we didn't really have to think about what we ate anymore. So you could give your kids sugary crap for breakfast and they'll eat it because it's full of sugar. And then you can give them take them to McDonald's or fast food restaurants and buy them a Coca-Cola and get them crap for lunch. And they'll eat that because the food industry did such a good job of making it palatable and the same for dinner and nobody had to think about it anymore. But there are people who think about it all the time or that the vegetarians and vegans have to think deeply about what they're eating and daily about making a healthy diet.

[00:48:38.210] – Gary
And anyone who is a foodie does it naturally and there's nothing more important to us. That's the fascinating thing. It's at least tied for being the single most important thing we can do in our lives, which is eat healthy. And it just requires some thought and practice to do it right? Nobody gets good at anything with that practice. The longer you do it, the easier it becomes. And meanwhile, we've been getting these messages from the nutrition community, don't even think about doing it. If you abstain from a if you don't eat the entire food group, that's an eating disorder. If it's unsustainable, don't try it anyway. Nobody can eat this way.

[00:49:20.600]
Even though it'll make you healthier, we're not going to tell you to do it because we don't believe you'll sustain it. I mean, sort of insane logic from the nutrition community. Whereas what they should be saying is being healthy takes work, you know, and so eat a diet that's designed physiologically to make you healthy, which this is, and then work at it so it gets easier. And now, of course, the food industry has settled. And so there are sort of you know, you can go on Amazon and buy a gazillion, you know, keto-friendly snacks and drink and God knows what they're doing for us.

[00:49:59.270] – Gary
But there they are. I was confronted yesterday with keto macaroons, I was always a big macaroon fan, I said I'm staring at the Amazon and blowing up the nutrition profile so I could see it going, wait a minute, wait a minute. They say it's keto-friendly. It's still like 14 grams of carbs.

[00:50:21.330] – Allan
You could probably tolerate two, maybe three of those.

[00:50:27.660] – Gary
You know, I mean, I could probably be very happy eating them, but I'm also very happy without eating them.

[00:50:32.740] – Allan
Yeah. Yeah.

[00:50:34.050] – Gary
And so ultimately, I passed.

[00:50:37.200] – Allan
Good for you, Gary. I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:50:47.340] – Gary
OK, well, I'm a big fan of telling people what not to eat, okay? I know other people don't like negative messages, but don't eat sugar, starches, and grains.

[00:50:58.860] – Gary
Wear a mask.

[00:51:01.410] – Gary
And, you know, I don't know if I got a third. I'm a writer. We're tortured. Right. So telling people how to be happy, I feel like I'm not sure I'm certified to do that. But, get outside.

[00:51:17.340] – Gary
And one of the things that we used to be so part of the logic of the nutrition world is do you tell people to exercise? Because if you exercise, maybe they'll burn off calories. And I think of this as like a greyhound, the greyhounds of the world figuring if they can just get the bastard hounds to run around the track enough, they could turn the basset hounds into greyhounds. And what they end up doing is torturing the basset hound. And you end up with emaciated, starving, exhausted basset hounds.

[00:51:43.980] – Gary
But if you can make those basset hounds healthy with the right diet, if that diet sort of reregulates their fat metabolism such that they're mobilizing fat from their fat tissue and burning it rather than storing it to excess, they'll have energy. And if they have energy, they want to exercise and they want to burn that energy off, which lean people do naturally. And then they'll want to go for walks and go for hikes and go to the gym and all those great things and get outside because of the energy to do it.

[00:52:15.850] – Gary
And so you don't exercise or get physically active to lose weight, if you fix your fat accumulation problem, you will want to be physically active. So do the former and then enjoy the latter.

[00:52:32.350] – Allan
Excellent. Gary, if someone wanted to learn more about you and or the book The Case for Keto, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:52:41.080] – Gary
OK, my website is garytaubes.com. I don't keep up with blogging, but it's there. Twitter is @garytaubes. The book is available. If you have an independent bookstore in your neighborhood that's still open, please buy it there. If not, Amazon will deliver.

[00:53:00.460] – Allan
Absolutely. Well, Gary, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:53:04.750] – Gary
Allan, thank you for having me.


Post Show/Recap

[00:53:11.150] – Allan
Rachel, welcome back.

[00:53:13.010] – Rachel
Hey, Allan, wow, that was a really fascinating interview. There's so much to talk about.

[00:53:17.990] – Allan
Yeah, like I said, I really like Gary and I like his approach in his books predominantly because he doesn't take anything as fact. At first, you know, it's not like he's going to follow and say, okay here's here's our belief system. So I'm going to rest all of my argument on that thing. And a lot of people will do that. They'll say you don't need to do keto because it'll raise your cholesterol.

[00:53:41.630] – Allan
Some people get on keto and it lowers their cholesterol. Keto definitely lowers the triglycerides. It does a lot of other things that are really, really good for you. But it's not for everybody as Gary mentioned in the podcast. But, you know, if you're thinking about going to your doctor and you're thinking about doing keto or you're doing keto and you go to your doctor, your doctor says, oh, my God, get off that, you're going to die.

[00:54:03.410] – Allan
just realize that doctors are not infallible. And I don't mean for you to completely question your doctor, but realize at one point doctors were recommending cigarettes. You had advertisements, nine out of 10 doctors prefer a particular brand of cigarette.

[00:54:19.700] – Allan
Now, they didn't know they were not told in medical school that the tobacco was bad for them. And in fact, the tobacco companies went out of their way to make sure that that information was not available to your doctor. So doctors were recommending cigarettes. Now they're recommending different things. But some of our doctors went to medical school 15, 20, 25, 30 years ago. And a lot of them are still relying on the same things they were taught then, or they're relying on the things that they get at their conferences.

[00:54:52.370] – Allan
They have to do their continuing education. I don't know what they call it. You know, we call it CEUs use in a personal training space. We used to call it CPE when I was an accountant. But they have to get they have to go back and get education. Now, these educations are typically conferences and these conferences are typically sponsored and run by drug companies. So most of the science, most of the things they're hearing are not food can make you healthy. It's you need this medicine to be healthy and we don't have a deficiency of medicine. We have a problem with our food and Gary does an excellent job of kind of walking us through step by step, the Case for Keto. And so if your doctor is saying maybe you shouldn't be on that on that diet, highlight his objections, highlight them in your book, take the book to your doctor and have him read that section. You know, you need to do some stuff.

[00:55:49.620] – Allan
I remember when I was going through my first divorce. It sounds terrible, doesn't it. I was going through the process of the settlement and everything that happens. And, you know, she was going to get half of my 401k. And so it happened at that point in time to be reading a lot of things about divorce and about, 401ks and all that other stuff. And it said, you need this document called a QDRO, it's qualified something, something, something. Basically, it's where you're redeeming your 401k, but you're not taking the cash. So you do the form. And that way for your taxes, you don't have to pay taxes on the money you withdrew. Otherwise you do. And then the story was about a doctor who took a million dollars out of his 401k and basically had to pay five hundred thousand dollars in taxes because he didn't do this one document. So I went to my attorney and I said, well, have you drawn up a QDRO?

[00:56:46.200] – Allan
And he's like, What's that? So I showed him my research and I went to another law firm, a friend at another law firm, and requested a boilerplate for one and gave it to my attorney and he charged me my hourly rate for his time to read my research and do the form, which I thought was really, really not cool. But at least I saved myself a ton in taxes because I was aware of the situation. And I was a part of my own legal team.

[00:57:17.340] – Allan
I didn't just depend on the opinions and requirements that are put forward by my attorney. I made sure I understood the process as well as I could. So that I could be a part of the team and you really kind of have to do the same thing with your medical, because doctors are not infallible. They're human beings just like us. They're very intelligent human beings and they're fairly diligent because they did go through medical school. But at the same time, they're not doing the research specific to you every single day. You have to do that research.

[00:57:51.340] – Rachel
That's right. And you need to take your own reins of your own nutritional choices. And it's good to ask questions. It's good to question the doctor and help them or they can help you better once they know what you're trying to find out. But yeah nutritional guidance has changed so much. But the problem is that it hasn't been reflected in our country for anyway, in our guidelines, the food pyramid, as as we knew it growing up, was like that for probably 15 years and know that there were changes in the food pyramid. If it wasn't, last year was the year before, and it had been literally ten years in between. Any additional changes to what we know and it's only one dietary example to live by and it's not the right dietary example for everybody.

[00:58:42.610] – Allan
Yeah, well, one of the things is realized, that's a very politicized environment, Nina Teicholz wrote, The Big Fat Surpise, I believe, is the book she wrote. And she's been an activist on this thing the whole time. And the reality of it is when they get the people together in the room, the scientists, they're supposed to go through these studies. They sit down and they look at all the studies and then they start throwing some of them out as irrelevant or not valid. And all of the high-fat, low-carb diets, every single one of them was excluded from the study. And so, she's part of an organization that's out there trying to fight this, but they're moving forward with nutrition guidance.

[00:59:27.700] – Allan
And, basically probably for a generally healthy person that doesn't need that doesn't have metabolic problems, is not obese or overweight, those guidelines might work just fine. But for a lot of us that are I guess what I was with was is easily fat, I think was one of the terms I heard recently in an interview that that interview is coming up, guys, but easily fattened us easily fat and people. We can't eat that way. We can't feel that way. And unfortunately, that's not going to be a part of the guidelines. I was talking to a nutritionist out of Canada and she'll be on the show soon. And it was kind of the same thing. We were talking about the nutrition guidelines. She says, yeah, Canada has changed their guidelines. They don't have all of the grains and all that stuff anymore. They've lowered that down and they've got it a little bit more balance.

[01:00:16.450] – Allan
And I said United States is still charging forward with 11 servings of grain. She's like she's like, that's insane. And like, it's politics. And so, again, your doctor doing the best he can with his standard of care and his education. So just recognize you have to be a part of these decisions. You know, if you know that you need to go in for surgery and they're going to put a magic marker mark on the leg they're supposed to operate on, you check that mark.

[01:00:46.700] – Rachel
Yes.

[01:00:47.470] – Allan
Don't just assume that they marked the right leg, you know, and when it was maybe it was supposed to be the left leg. Make sure that they marked the right leg. Make sure that the information your doctors giving you now, you do need your doctor to be involved. And here's one of the core reasons. If you're on metformin, some other blood sugar lowering medication or you're on insulin, your medication is very likely going to change if you change what you eat.

[01:01:14.860] – Rachel
That's true.

[01:01:16.150] – Allan
So a significant change in your diet is something you do need to talk to your doctor about. Like I said, he or she may object on the grounds that they don't believe that's a healthy, sustainable way of eating. But if you went in there and said, I'm going to go vegan or vegetarian. They'll be like okay, that's great. And it's like and keto.

[01:01:41.950] – Rachel
Silence.

[01:01:42.230] – Allan
Yeah, crickets, but it's possible. And we've had we've had them on, too. So, you know, I think I think the key of this is of this whole thing is if you really want some support, when you're talking to family members, you want some support when you're talking to doctors. The only thing that I wish Gary was a doctor, he's a journalist, but he did take the time to get to the root cause he did go take the time to put together the history, to put together the case. And so to me, this book is is like gold. If you're trying to explain to someone why you're doing what you're doing.

[01:02:20.590] – Rachel
I think it's worth reading and experimenting. After listening to your podcast for a couple of years, you talked about keto for quite a bit, and I wasn't ready to accept that keto was a healthy diet to follow or lifestyle to follow. I had a hard time unlearning all of the things that I knew for a fact that that was bad for you. I mean, really, I had to really come off of all of those things that I had just tooken for a true science.

[01:02:50.410] – Rachel
But so much has changed. And and but I knew that if I didn't do something different, that I wasn't going to get where I wanted to be. And so I just like Gary had mentioned, like, I just did an experiment and I I told Mike,my husband I said, okay,I'm going to try this and see how it works. If it doesn't work, I'll try something else. But two years, almost three years later, I'm still basically following the keto lifestyle because it is working for me. Everybody needs to try that. Something different.

[01:03:23.140] – Allan
Yes. If what you're doing is not working, you've got to do something different if you expect a different outcome.

[01:03:29.630] – Rachel
Yep. And I know some people can be vegan or vegetarian. I know, like Gary had mentioned, he's got a friend who is a vegan, keto, and another friend who's Carnivore. It really is such an individual thing. And I respect anybody who can be vegan just as much as I respect anybody that can be keto. The fact is, is that they found something that works with the way that their body works and that's exciting.

[01:03:55.720]
So in the show notes, I'm going to make a point to I've had a carnivore on me, I've had a vegan keto on and I've had Dr. Will Cole on where he was pretty much somewhere in the lines between vegan and pescatarian. And so I'm going to link to those. So those are ways of eating that you're wanting to do. And then you're also want to consider trying keto or at least a low-carb version of those diets. I'll put the links in there for you to check those out, because there's a lot of good information in those episodes to just kind of give you an idea of what's possible.

[01:04:32.290] – Rachel
Perfect, I think that be so helpful.

[01:04:35.230] – Allan
All right, Rachel, I'll talk to you next week.

[01:04:37.840] – Rachel
Great. Take care.

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Another episode you may enjoy

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January 11, 2021

How to live a longer, healthier life: Cathy Richards

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

In her new book, Boom, Cathy Richards shows us how to live a longer, healthier life.

Transcript

Let's Say Hello

[00:01:40.880] – Allan
Raz, how are you doing?

[00:01:43.100] – Rachel
Great, Allan. How are you today?

[00:01:46.070] – Allan
I'm doing all right. You know, we're recording this a little bit before Christmas, but this episode we're talking about won't go live until January 11th. And that's by design. So you and I can take some time off during the holidays and not have to worry about getting podcasts put together and out the door. So that's where we're at today. I have a very busy week because in that effort to try to get ahead, I requested and accepted a lot of different interview requests and different people, and they all said, yes.

[00:02:19.040] – Rachel
Wow, that's great news!

[00:02:20.840] – Allan
It's great news, except I have four interviews to do this week. So it's four books I got to read and prepare for. Well, actually, one's not a book, one's an app, but there's a topic behind it that I need to do a little bit of research and understanding so I can speak appropriately and at the right level because it's to researchers out of Alabama that discuss fat loss and performance. And so, yeah, I've got to prepare for that in next three books I have to have read. So soon as I get off this call, I'm back to reading again.

[00:02:52.430] – Rachel
That sounds nice. It sounds very relaxing, too.

[00:02:55.070] – Allan
Yeah. And they're health and fitness books, which like I said, I'd probably pay to read myself. So I get paid to do something I do enjoy. But when the clocks on and I've got to get to books read in the next twenty-four hours.

[00:03:08.990] – Rachel
Oh, I hope you read fast.

[00:03:12.620] – Allan
I do. I can typically get through a standard sized book. So most health and fitness books are about 240 pages on average. I can get through one of those in about six hours.

[00:03:23.900] – Rachel
Nice.

[00:03:24.680] – Allan
The one, one of them I'm reading today I think is 180, so I should get through that a little bit faster. And then the other one, I'm not sure, I haven't checked the link on that one, but so I'm looking at it probably having a good 14 hours of reading to do before tomorrow, so.

[00:03:38.180] – Rachel
Oh my God.

[00:03:41.030] – Allan
It's like a job!

[00:03:42.550] – Rachel
It is. My goodness. I was going to say it'd be a relaxing way to spend this time, but will not all at once.

[00:03:50.960] – Allan
Yeah, but it'll be good. They're going to be good talks. I'm really excited to to meet these authors because they're topics that are really, really important to me. So it'll be good. You're going to like these guys.

[00:04:01.670] – Rachel
Fantastic.

[00:04:02.660] – Allan
All right. Today we're going to talk to Cathy Richards. Yeah, really interesting woman. Really got her stuff together. And her book is called Boom. And it's actually a really cool book because she spells out a lot of the kind of just the basics of what we want to be doing to improve our overall fitness. So I guess I'll go ahead and introduce Cathy.

Interview

[00:05:36.890] – Allan
Cathy, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:05:39.470] – Cathy
Yeah, hey there, Allan. Great to be here.

[00:05:41.750] – Allan
Now, you picked up on a word that I find myself using all the time when I'm talking my clients. They'll tell me something that's gone on really, really well, and I can't help but say, boom, there you go.

[00:05:54.860]
That's right, boom.

[00:05:56.120] – Allan
So the name of the book is Boom: 6 Steps to a Longer, Healthier Life. And, you know, I really like that title because, again, it just kind of explains breaking away, doing something different. What you hear when a plane goes through the speed of sound, there's the boom, you know, of that breaking the sound barrier. And so I just like that word and I like the way you approach this book.

[00:06:21.350] – Cathy
Thank you. Well, boom can have so many meetings. And so when I think of boom, it's like a wake up call, something that rocks your world, something that you can't ignore that we have this urgency to attend to. And then I also love it when you have people say sometimes “Boom, done!” like it's just a foregone conclusion. It's just going to happen. And so there's so many meanings of boom and they're all about taking action.

[00:06:46.010] – Allan
Yeah. And I think that's the point. You know, I talked about I was talking about celebrating when it's done, but when you know, what you're going to do is going to happen, you can start that celebration as soon as you take on the challenge provided that you have the right mindset.

[00:07:02.960] – Cathy
Mm hmm.

[00:07:03.590] – Allan
And I think, unfortunately, many of us and if something I still struggle with from time to time is just find myself falling back on unhealthy mindsets. Could you talk about that a little bit? What they are some of the major ones that we deal with and some of the things we can do to fix it.

[00:07:19.610] – Cathy
It's so important. So, if my book is about six steps to a longer, healthier life, step one is mindset. Everything begins with our mindset and we have a lot working against us, with the media and with pop culture. And so we a lot of times fall into these things about all or none. We think that if we're not going to change and exercise clothes and go to a gym for a whole hour, we might as well not bother when the truth is that there are significant benefits from even modest investments of time.

[00:07:53.180] – Cathy
It doesn't have to be all or none. And if you never considered yourself someone who loved big workouts, it's not an option. You can definitely do something smaller and less overwhelming to you, and we have the mindset.

[00:08:07.680] – Cathy
You mentioned a quick fix. It's so tempting to believe that something can happen overnight. But what works? Is it quick? It's not glamorous. It's not even new. It's just the consistency. So being able to stay positive and being able to focus on what you can do and keeping up with it, the consistency, that's where it's all that.

[00:08:31.550] – Allan
I think so many people will go into this. Like you said, there's the all or none. So if I can't put in an hour, I may as well not even go, or the “Well, I've been doing this for three days. Why isn't the scale moving?”

[00:08:47.300] – Allan
But then there's also people that, you know, of course you've you've tried and you tried and you tried. But now now you're felt with you filled with this kind of pessimism. Maybe I'm just meant to be this way and it doesn't matter what I do.

[00:09:02.510] – Cathy
That's right. We think, well, it's just genes or a lot of times we feel like, oh, it's just because I turned 40 or just because I turned 50, that we think that it's age related. And most of the changes, a lot of the changes that we like to blame on age are really due to not the physiological aging process itself, but the gradual inactivity. They typically comes with aging. So when we tell ourselves we can't do something, when we tell ourselves, oh, it's too late for me, I'm too old, it's too late, or when we are, we get so down on ourselves from all these failed attempts, you know, what are you going to drown your sorrows in when you when you fall off the wagon the eleventh time? It's certainly not going to be a salad.

[00:09:39.710] – Allan
Yeah, That's one of the core things. I think a lot of people will approach this and say, this is the way it is. This is who I'm supposed to be or this is how I'm supposed to age. One of my favorite quotes is we don't we don't stop playing because we got older. We got older because we stopped playing. And a lot of that is because to change is hard.

[00:10:02.690] – Allan
You know, we like these comfortable little bubbles. We build ourselves. And as we get a little older, that bubble actually gets a little smaller as we're not pushing the boundaries of that bubble. We're trying to push our comfort zone. We're not trying to do a little bit of that. It tightens up on us.

[00:10:20.210] – Cathy
Absolutely. And one of the things that I observed and actually when I decided to write my book, it was after I spent eight years as a director of wellness for a senior living community where the average age of 85. So I was around over fourteen hundred 85 year olds day in and day out for eight years and working in corporate wellness first and then going to senior wellness. I wanted to bring messages back to those of us in just our 40s and 50s that if you ask yourself what type of 85 year old do I want to be?

[00:10:50.660] – Cathy
Because you're working on it right now, it's these habits right now that are going to determine it's all these decades because whatever age you are now, chances are you are saying to yourself, how did I get this old, you know, and then you're going to say the same thing five years from now and five more years or so years just go on by. Might as well start thinking about that direction now.

[00:11:12.200] – Allan
Yeah, I joke a lot and I'll tell people, when I was younger I wanted to be able to do a Tough Mudder and now my program and the things I think about is I want to be able to wipe my own, but when I'm 105.

[00:11:24.740] – Cathy
Absolutely. And you don't know that's a potential problem until you start getting into that working with older adults or until your own parents have started to get to that need where you're realizing, oh, my gosh, that is the kind of independence and dignity I want to have.

[00:11:39.620] – Allan
Yeah. And so someone will come in and they'll say, hey, you know, I want to lose some weight. I want to lose twenty pounds, thirty pounds, seventy pounds, whatever it is. Typically when they're talking to a personal trainer like myself or like you, they're saying, hey, I want to lose some weight. And I'm like, that's cool.

[00:11:54.380] – Allan
But I say, who do you want to be? Who you want to be five, 10, 15 years now? And they look at me like, OK, I said, no, really, how do you want to feel? You know, how what kind of energy do you want to have when you wake up in the morning? When you walk around, you know, do you want to be on a walk or do you want to be the person that's, you know, bounced around the silver sneakers?

[00:12:13.610] – Allan
So in your book, you get into some of the key areas of fitness that I think are really around that story of who do you want to be? Could you talk about those key areas of fitness and then just some general things that we need to consider as we look at each of those and why those would be important to us as we get a little older every day?

[00:12:31.220] – Cathy
Yeah, well, the core areas of fitness that you want to address, one of the primary ones is strength training. And I talk about that first because most people always assume cardiovascular exercise is going to go first and we need cardiovascular exercise for heart health and for overall energy level and endurance. And so that's really important. But strength training tends to be something that I love to highlight because less people are familiar with it. And it has so many benefits as.

[00:13:00.500] – Cathy
Because the average person loses 50 percent of their strength between the ages of 20 and 80, and you know that this is starting to affect you when you notice in yourself or in older adults that you know who has a difficult time getting out of a chair without using their hands to push off. So, if we really want to maintain that independence, if we really want to age as healthily as possible? It's leg strength and overall physical strength that is one of the most important things that that we want to impact.

[00:13:29.180] – Allan
Yeah, you know that one of the things that kind of drives me nuts about gyms, but I understand it now from a from a traffic flow perspective is as you walk into almost every gym, the first thing you see are the cardiovascular machines. Yeah. And then 75 percent of the people fall off right there, you know, because that's as far as they're going to go in. And then the next is a set of machines. So then you're going to have about another 20 percent fall off right there.

[00:13:57.800] – Allan
And then you get back to the free weights where, you know, you got that last five percent. So you actually owning a gym. Now, I understand that that flow and why it works that way, because it just makes it easier for cleaning, for management, for all of it. But just, you know, it just works better for everybody. But we've got to get people deeper in the gym.

[00:14:17.060] – Cathy
We do. Or, you know, even just home routines. And one of the sweet spots that I like to focus on is when people want to do a strength training routine that they can do in their homes with something like dumbbells, exercise bands and a ball. And for a very little investment, you don't have the commute time. And it's it's a modest investment of time. And once again, you can get great benefits because if you don't see yourself as someone who's ever going to go to a gym, if you don't want to go to a gym, that you can do strength training at home and get great benefits from it.

[00:14:51.270] – Allan
Another thing that's really easy to do at home is the cardiovascular. And I always approach cardiovascular saying, yeah, it's good to do most people, when they get into it, enjoy it because it can start at their level, whether it's walking, running, biking or skiing or whatever you turn it into.

[00:15:09.860] – Allan
But I really approach cardiovascular training from the perspective of you need the stamina to keep up with your granddaughter when you take them to the zoo. You know, they're both monkeys to the lions. And you you want to be able to keep up with them. You don't want to be sitting on a bench waiting for the family to finish their zoo trip. So what are some things that we can do at home for cardiovascular strength?

[00:15:29.960] – Cathy
Yeah, and the good news is, is that it can start and end at your own front door with walking. As you mentioned, you don't have to have any pieces of cardiovascular equipment. You can just you can just do walking. But you can also if you do want to invest in a piece of cardiovascular equipment, then again, you have that convenience. It's right there. You can elliptical machine or a stationary bike or you can take an outdoor bike. Well, first of all, you can ride outside or you can get one of those little trainers where you prop it up on something inside and ride it inside. And then, of course, you know, it's really popular now. And I have a lot of clients that I work out with Zoom, who I take them through circuit workouts where you might take four to six exercises that are cardiovascular in nature.

[00:16:13.580] – Cathy
You know, whether it's, you know, whatever level the person is at, it could be something high intensity, like a jump squat or it could be something lower intensity, which is just kind of like a march. But if you string a bunch of them together and you go through each move 30 seconds at a time, you can get your own little cardio circuit going indoors.

[00:16:31.790] – Allan
Now now one of the one of the areas I think gets skipped a lot and it really depends on the individual, because what I found is individuals who are already flexible, love flexibility training, people who are already strong like strength training. But flexibility and balance training, I think are the most ignored fitness areas that I see. And it's really hard because you get a client in and they're like, you know, they they can't move through a full range of motion or you're asking them to do a movement and their balance isn't there. And I have to admit myself at it, almost 55 years old, my balance needs to be a lot better. I don't want to fall, so that needs to be an area of training. But it's just an area where I think it's very easy for people to say, I'm not going to do that, whereas it's also really, really easy to do in the comfort of your own home.

[00:17:24.200] – Cathy
It is. And you're right that the balance and flexibility tend to get short changed. And I sometimes think it's because they don't impact our appearance.

[00:17:34.950] – Allan
This is this is true.

[00:17:38.030] – Cathy
So when we're at weight loss or Tonegawa, then people are all about that. But as we age, I have seen my clients more and more appreciating the benefits of flexibility and the benefits of balance training as we age. Because you're right, we want to be able to go through a range of motion comfortably. We want to be able to reach the high shelf. We want to be able to squat down and reach the low shelf we want to be able to not get injured and so flexibility training. One of the ways that I've had a lot of my clients get more into flexible training, in fact, I have one client who used see mostly strength training, and now she wants to do a full 30 minutes of yoga based stretching before we even get into her strength training. And then she loves it so much, because when you think about yoga, which a lot of us like, I was never into yoga when I was a younger fitness person, that was like what I thought, you know, people who were different than me did, you know?

[00:18:29.770] – Cathy
But they call when you say a yoga pose that puts in your mindset, hey, I'm going to hold this position for a while. And so when we just talk about stretching, a lot of times we rush through it and we get out of position after just a few seconds. So taking that mindset of getting into a position that causes a mild stretch, not pain, and just holding it there. And so going through a short circuit of stretches doesn't have to take a lot of time. And it's going to make us feel so much better. And again, I'm 54 years old. I definitely didn't appreciate the stretching 10 years ago, as I do now. And I didn't incorporate it as much as I do now. So definitely as we age, you're just going to feel better and better if you incorporate more stretching.

[00:19:12.770] – Allan
I think where it comes into play for me was when I started looking at my strength training and somewhat plateauing, because I'm I'm a big proponent of form. If I'm not going to do the right, I'm not going to do it at all. I'm never going to put load if we can't go through the full range of motion. And I started noticing in my own squats that I wasn't able to get to depth. And as I started putting it on, I wasn't there and I was like, OK, so what's going on? And so I started paying more attention to my movement and realized, oh, I'm not dorsiflexing my foot well enough. And that's throwing off my whole kinetic chain. And so I know I'm using a lot of big words here, but the basic gist is I can't bring my toes up towards my shins well. So when I try to do the squat, my butt ends up not where it's supposed to be and my knees end up where they're not supposed to be. And as a result of my body trying to balance, I lean way forward.

[00:20:07.300] – Allan
That's not comfortable when you have a lot of weight on your back. So and you know, and sometimes it's not even about the amount of weight that you're lifting. It's just the fact that now you've done something, you have something going on. And if you don't deal with that inflexibility, then you risk injury. And so I think, one of the things with flexibility you mentioned that is, is this is this is injury prevention and it feels good.

[00:20:30.700] – Cathy
Yeah. And and you mentioned when you mentioned dorsiflexion, I don't think that we're going to pop up in conversation very often. But but what happens as we age if you look at older adults or maybe in their up in their up to their 70s or 80s who are having difficulty walking and might shuffle when they walk, it's sometimes it's because they are unable to have that dorsiflexion to do a heel strike and then roll through the ball of their foot.

[00:20:54.820] – Cathy
So they're just flat footing, moving their feet, shuffling because they don't have that ankle flexibility. So it comes little by little. So the more we can do that now, do those ankle circles include more mobility and range of motion exercises and all your major joints is going to help you. It's going to really bode well for your mobility as we age.

[00:21:18.820] – Allan
Then the final bit of it is balance, because while you said, you know, we care about how we look. Well, falling down in the grocery store, we lost our balance. We don't not glamorous.

[00:21:29.620] – Cathy
Not a good look.

[00:21:33.640] – Allan
I want to jump forward a little bit in our plan because we were going to talk about fall prevention. But, you know, there's a there's a one in three chance if you're over the age of 65, there's a one in three chance that you're going to be laying on the ground sometime this year because you fell.

[00:21:48.220] – Allan
Now, strength training is is great because it helps with that. And it also makes sure that you you've got the capacity to hit the ground and not collapse, break because you've got some strength there that's going to support you, some muscle mass that's going to help you. And then, of course, some flexibility. So, you know, if you can move through the full range of motion, you're not stretching or hurting anything. But we can actually do specific training for balance. And I think a lot of people just overlook that.

[00:22:15.430] – Cathy
We absolutely can. And the starting point for improving your balance, I'm glad you mentioned about strength training, because the number one factor in balance and preventing falls is leg strength. So if you don't have the quad strength to stabilize your walking, that's increases your risk of falling. So even if someone's not going to do balance specific exercises, if they just just double down on strength training for the quads, you're going to do yourself a great service for preventing falls and then for specific balance training, even just picking up a couple of the exercises, like a tandem stand and then building up to changing your position to more and more like you're standing on a tightrope, even just a little test you can do for yourself is can you stand on one foot without holding on to something? And if so, how long? You know, and that's something you can practice while you're cooking. You can you can do that any time.

[00:23:12.000] – Allan
It's one of the things I tell people standing on one foot is one good one. Another one I like is when you're in the kitchen working instead of pivoting to to walk to a different direction, walk sideways, do a shuffle from side to side. You know, you want to go down to the counter, you know, you can put your hand out to make sure you're not going to hurt yourself if you were to slip a little bit. But just going up and down the counter side to side, because we just in a normal course of our day to day, aren't prepared for that side to side movement.

[00:23:41.130] – Allan
And that's actually where a lot of the falls that become really dangerous are because we fall sideways and we land on the hip. And so anything you can do to just improve your performance and I don't mean that an athletic perspective, but just performance of your your day to day is going to go a long way.

[00:23:59.340] – Cathy
Yeah. And just kind of knowing what the other risk factors are most false happen at night when you're getting up to go to the bathroom, etc.. A lot of falls happen because, you know, someone might not have their glasses on. They might you know, it's dark, there's stuff in the way. So whatever we can do to make sure that our home is set up in a way that reduces our risk and thinking about footwear, thinking about if we have medications that could be contributing to dizziness.

[00:24:26.640] – Cathy
There's a lot of things to look at. But it's so important because the statistics, as you mentioned, Allan, are that falls are a biggie after the age of 60.

[00:24:37.590] – Allan
And even before then to be honest with you. Like I said, I know I need to be working on my balancers. There's this one step outside of our apartment and it's wooden and it's set at like a 30 degree angle. So it's supposed to be a handicap ramp, but no. It's too slippery. My wife has falling there and I've fallen there. You just kind of walk across it because it's part of the sidewalk. And if you just step on it, it's just a little bit wet. Your feet are going. So having that strength, having that capacity to be able to hit the ground because, if you've been doing the strength training, you've also been improving your your bone density.

[00:25:14.130] – Allan
And so you you don't break those are really, really important strength training, resistance training or weightlifting. People hate some of those words and are okay with others. But they're all generally the same thing. Require someone to have a little bit more knowledge than just walk in there. There's a machine. Just go at it to your done. Can you talk a little bit about strength training, how we would how we would set it up if someone was going to come in and say, OK, I want to do a strength training program, what are the things that they would want to know to just know what they're doing when they're doing their program?

[00:25:49.740] – Cathy
The first thing you want to know about strength training is when you talk about how much weight you're going to lift people walking and they're and also which which exercise you see a sea of machines like. Which exercises, which machines do I do. Which combination of machines. And so the first step is to know you've got a list of major muscle groups. Right. And you want to hit each major muscle groups.

[00:26:12.240] – Cathy
So you want to have a balanced routine. So that's that's step number one is knowing that. OK, let's start off with one exercise for the chest, one for the back, one for the shoulders, so that you're not heavy duty hitting one muscle group a ton with all these machines and something else is getting completely ignored. So you want a well-balanced routine as far as hitting each major muscle group. And then the next thing that most people make the mistake with is selecting a weight that is either too heavy or too light for when you learn in proper form is so important.

[00:26:44.910] – Cathy
But then you should if you try to do an exercise and you can't do it correctly. And it's just that you automatically know that's a red flag. It's too heavy. If you can't keep your form and then knowing the the the term or the kind of range of twelve repetitions is kind of the hallmark for general conditioning for when you should reach your fatigue point. So let's picture you're picking up a set of dumbbells and you're going to do a set of bicep curls because that's an exercise most people are familiar with. Now, I'm going to speak from a woman's point of view that women and we women are marketed with pastel pink one and two and three pound dumbbells.

[00:27:24.370] – Allan
I have to admit that that's what I've got in my gym. I've got a chrome set, too.

[00:27:30.600] – Cathy
Well, most women I know even better when we're getting older don't need to be using one pound dumbbells to do bicep curls unless you are really have significant strength issues or are recovering from an injury. So you could do a million of them at one pound. So you need to find the weight that causes fatigue right around twelve. So if you can't get to twelve, the dumbbells too heavy. If you get past twelve, you blow right past your weight past and you forgot how long. 12 was the way it's too late, so you need to kind of experiment and find that so so again, most women, not even threes, are too late for most women for bicep curls. So you need to experiment find with that right weight is for you to get to fatigue right around 12 when you need to do that for every exercise.

[00:28:16.210] – Allan
That's what they'll they will they'll sell you the when you buy the dumbbells, sets those smaller dumbbells, sets up pretty much anything under 15 pounds is likely going to be rubber coated and probably have a pastel color to it. After you get there, then they're thinking, OK, these are the weights. And unfortunately I don't mean this is a bad way, but these are the weights the guys are going to use so they can be a little bit more metal or, you know, they might be rubber coated, but they'll be black. So, yeah, just realize that strength comes not from doing the same thing over and over again. It comes from pushing yourself to that fatigue level.

[00:28:53.650] – Cathy
Yeah. And a lot of people as we age were worried about getting injured. So you don't want to use a way that's too heavy and then and thereby risking injuring yourself. But if you're doing a weight that's way too light, you're not going to get results because the muscles are responding to overload. And that's how they grow, is by responding to a weight that is is challenging. So finding that happy medium where it's heavy enough to cause the muscles to grow, but not so heavy that your form goes all crazy and you risk hurting yourself.

[00:29:28.930] – Cathy
That's why getting advice, having support, you know, with my personal training clients, I have a lot of Zoom personal training clients who just schedule a handful of sessions up front to learn the proper form to to make sure they doing things correctly and make sure they have somebody observing them, observing the form to find the right weights and then just check in with them periodically versus having someone who's going to be with them for their workouts every single time.

[00:29:53.140] – Allan
and sometimes, you know, maybe you're limited a little bit with the amount of weights you can afford to have at home. Some dumbbells and things about once you start getting up to 20 and 30 and 40 pounds of dumbbells, those dumbbells are going for about a dollar a pounds. It can start you can start adding up. So, you know, sometimes the way you get to your limit is not necessarily through more weight. It's by adding additional sets.

[00:30:18.400] – Cathy
Yes. Yeah. And so a starter program would be perhaps usually like one set per muscle group. Right. But then if you add sets two sets per muscle group or three sets per muscle group is a way to add intensity and build strength more quickly. And you might or you might have two sets for the same muscle group, but there are different exercises. So maybe for your chest you have one set of chest press and one set of dumbbells flies. And so that's two sets for your chest, slightly hitting the chest muscles a slightly different way.

[00:30:49.120] – Cathy
So variety is good, but it's not essential. And I guess sometimes I don't hear very many fitness professionals saying that because variety is better. But a lot of the clients who I work with, were not going to do anything at all. And so I always tell them if you do a strength training routine that you never change ever, that's still better than not doing what at all?

[00:31:14.500] – Allan
Particularly a lot of folks, as I mentioned, the distance they'll go inside of a gym when they first get there's a lot of people will make it to the circuit training area, which is a series of machines. And the the goal basically is to go through all of these machines are there's usually seven to ten of them depending on how the circuit set up. And that will give you a full body workout. It's actually really well designed for someone who doesn't know a whole lot. And the machines make it easy to do the work without the concern that you're really going to hurt yourself as long as you just don't drop the weight on yourself and you are still not changing your body position while you're in the chair.

[00:31:51.730] – Allan
But it's the same thing they get on the machine. They do the same weight, the same number sets, the same number of circuits that it's the same workout every day and I mean every day. Let's talk a little bit about rest. Rest between exercises are sets and in rest between sets.

[00:32:10.150] – Cathy
Yeah, well, first, actually, I thought you're going to talk about rest between days because since strength training, the whole purpose of strength training is to microscopically shred your muscles, that you're not going to get stronger if you are strength training the same muscle groups two days in a row. So that's why you hear about taking a day off in between. And a lot of strength training routines are like Monday, Wednesday, Friday. You know that you're skipping a day in between.

[00:32:33.010] – Cathy
If someone is doing strength training two days in a row, it's because they're doing different muscle groups on those days. So that's the recovery time in between your actual sessions. And then when you are in your actual workout, you want to have that rest interval between your sets so that the muscles can get your energy back to really have that second set strong. So usually you want to have between one and three minutes between those exercises, depending on how heavy it is, I mean, if you're doing a lighter weight for 12 to 15 reps, you're going to need less rest time, maybe just a minute. But if someone is really trying to build strength and so they're actually doing less than 12 reps or maybe just an eight rep person, they're doing a heavy weight for only eight repetitions. They're going to find themselves needing a little longer rest interval before they hit that next set.

[00:33:23.530] – Allan
In the book, you get into what you call the Boom Fitness Framework. And I think this is a really good framework for for anybody because it's it's four levels. And even within the four levels, you scale down and you scale up. So really, there's eight levels. When you when you break this all down, there's eight ways that we can approach this that's going to work for anybody.

[00:33:44.950] – Cathy
Yes.

[00:33:45.670] – Allan
Do you mind going through the four the four levels and then kind of the scaling up and down and how that looks?

[00:33:51.850] – Cathy
Yeah, the reason why I created this framework is because I wanted to offer options that when you read the book and you look at where you stand and what your motivation level is, how much time you have, that you can pick one as your starter level and then you can decide when you have more time and more interest, you can go up a little bit. And when you have less time and less interest, you can go down a little bit.

[00:34:14.350] – Cathy
But the goal is to never be completely off the scale. Like that's how we keep fitness going forever is by having our options to do a little more or a little less. So the first way that I have it separated out is with two tracks. And this is actually based on the subtitle of my book, which is never too early, never too late. So we have the Never Too Early Track, which has a little more challenging exercises for people who are maybe already a little bit fit, don't have any health or mobility challenges necessarily or past injuries and there want something a little more challenging and they're able to get on and off the floor.

[00:34:52.030] – Cathy
And then I have the track called Never Too Late, which has more gentle exercises that are more seated, chair-based exercises, not some of his not necessarily comfortable with getting on and off the floor, somebody who who has mobility issues, who want something a little more gentle so you can automatically pick one of those two tracks. And then once you're on the track level, one is called Just Move. And this is like someone who really doesn't want something official and just knows they need to doing a little something.

[00:35:21.340] – Cathy
And then you go up to level one is just a small time commitment level to a little more and level three a little more. So whether you're doing and each of them has a little bit of cardio, a little bit of stretching and a little bit of strength or a medium amount of cardio and stretching and strength. And so I really want readers to have an honest little discussion with themselves. You know what's realistic for me? How much time I really willing to commit?

[00:35:49.180] – Cathy
And when you get more excited and want to have a bigger commitment, you can go up a level on that for that week or that month or that phase of your life. And then when you want to do a little less, you can go down a level. And so, you know, how to adjust that to me is the key to lifelong fitness is knowing that you don't have to always stay with the same amount of exercise you can go up or you can go down based on your needs and your interest level as it changes.

[00:36:13.240] – Allan
And as your fitness level changes. You may have thought about starting over here in my never too late category, but then I start feeling good. My energy levels higher, I'm stronger, I've got more mobility and I've got this pep in my step. So I'm going to start walking a little bit further. And now, lo and behold, your your exercise level is now putting you at the never too early stage.

[00:36:36.460] – Cathy
Absolutely. I have clients who are in their 70s and 80s who are doing the never too early exercises, OK? And then I do have clients who are in their forties who are doing the never too late because maybe they did have mobility issues or a significant amount of weight to lose where they're not comfortable with some of the higher intensity exercises. So it's not necessarily age related. And you can you can go from one track to the other either way, based on your changing how your fitness level changes over time.

[00:37:06.250] – Allan
Cathy, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be one of the three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:37:14.020] – Cathy
What we talked about, the first one right up front, which is mindset is king it truly, truly is. So when I like to say what you focus on grows. So if you're focusing on the negative, that's what's going to grow in your life. If you're focusing on the positive, focusing on what you can do versus what you can't do, you're going to be able to find a way. You're going to get creative and you're going to get that consistency because the habit, the consistency is where the magic happens.

[00:37:41.080]
So if you're down on yourself and you're telling yourself I just can't do this. I'm too old, it's too late. I've never been athletic. Exercise is just for those those jock type people, then you're really doing yourself a disservice because exercise, I call it in Boom. That exercise is the magic pill, like it has more benefits in more areas of our life than any other single thing we can do, and we really can't afford not to We can't afford not to find what is going to fit in for us. Perfect.

[00:38:12.360] – Allan
Thank you. If someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the book, Boom: Six Steps to a Longer and Healthier Life. Where would you like for me to send them?

[00:38:22.050] – Cathy
They can come visit me at cathyrichards.net and Cathy is with a C. And then cathyrichards.net/boom is were you can find out about the book. But I have got some great new programs coming in 2021. I have some free master classes to really focus on, How am I going to make 2021 my year? How am I going to fit this in and what am I going to do with the top strategies for getting fitness in my life forever.

[00:38:48.900] – Cathy
And so I've got those master classes coming up starting tomorrow. I have got one on January 12th, 7:00 p.m. Eastern. There's one on the 13th and there's one the following week on the 19th. I would love your listeners to hop on over to cathyrichards.net/2021 to find out about those. And then there's cathyrichards/free for lots of other free stuff. So I've got a lot to offer. I'd love to connect with your with your listeners. See how we can help them out.

[00:39:19.530] – Allan
Great. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/468 and I'll be sure to have all those links there. Cathy, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:39:30.720] – Cathy
You're welcome. It's great to be here.


Post Show/Recap

[00:39:37.150] – Allan
Welcome back, Ras.

[00:39:38.770] – Rachel
Hey, Allan. Well, boom! That was quite an interview for sure.

[00:39:44.140] – Allan
Yeah, if you're a client of mine and you had a good news thing to tell me. Yeah. You're probably going to hear that word come out of my mouth. So I like that word. And the book was really good too one of the key takeaways I got from it is and I think a lot of us forget this is as we're going into this new year, there's an expectation of change, expectation of improvement. And it doesn't happen fast for most of us. You'll see someone who's spectacularly successful doing what they want to do, dropping weight, getting stronger, doing their thing. But for most of us, it's really a practice of patience, persistence and consistency to get things done and just having a general understanding of where we are today. If you are not a runner and you buy some running shoes and decide you're going to go out and start running, don't be surprised if after about four or five minutes your legs are screaming at you, you've got a stitch in your side and you're breathing hard and you're tired and you want to quit, you know, you are where you are.

[00:40:58.870] – Allan
The best way to measure that as a as a point is just that waypoint, that starting point of understanding that this is who I am, this is where I am. And then the next time you go to run, which shouldn't be three months from now to give yourself a day or two, but then get back out there and just you'll feel, it'll get a little bit better and a little bit better. And it's as I put it in my book, the gentle nudging that's going to get you there safely. And just recognize where you are and who you want to be.

[00:41:31.210] – Rachel
Mm hmm. For sure. And Kathy mentioned that we tend to have this all or nothing attitude that, like you mentioned, if you're going to start running, you should be qualifying for the Boston Marathon. Or if you're going to start cycling, you should be ready to join the Tour de France. But it's not necessary. And it's certainly not at all a good way to get started on any sort of regimen at all.

[00:41:56.620] – Allan
And so if you're starting something, you know, whether it's cardiovascular strength, flexibility or balance, just recognize what is is. Okay? We can't we can't reverse the past. We can't. And we shouldn't punish ourselves over the past. It's over. Forgive yourself. It's over you changing. And the only way you can change is to implement new habits and just start doing it. But don't feel discouraged if you don't have the strength to do a body weight squat without assistance. Don't get discouraged. If when you go out there and you walk to your car, you get winded. And that's why you're always trying to find that closest spot to the to the front door of the grocery store park a few steps back, take a few more steps. That slow progression is going to get you there if you stick with it.

[00:42:48.880] – Rachel
Oh, for sure. She had mentioned that she mentioned a term gradual inactivity, and I love that word gradual because we should be doing or working our way towards gradual activity, just like you said, just do a little bit extra every day and you'll get to where you want to be eventually.

[00:43:07.540] – Allan
I had a I had a client and she told me, you know, I get winded walking to my car in the morning. So it's right outside our house from walking from the front door to the car. She would get winded and I said, okay, here's here's your homework for this week. Each day when you walk to your car, I want you to do one lap around the car before you get in. And so she did that. And we got on the phone about three days later and I said, how did that go? And she said, it was tough. But she said by the third day, I actually did the lap and I was feeling a little bit better about I said, okay, for the next three days you do two laps around the car. And, you know, we went through that and then she emailed me and said how to go. And she said it went pretty well. I can do the two laps. I said, okay, and make it three. And about it, I said, every three days, just add another lap.

[00:43:57.130] – Allan
And within a few weeks it wasn't about the walking to the car, walking laps. She was walking the neighborhood, and it's just is this one of those things of saying to yourself, OK, I'm going to do a little just a little bit more, just a little bit more. I know where I am and it's okay. True fitness for any individual is going to come from that slight push outside your comfort zone. You do the same thing every day, you can't expect better results. It just doesn't work like that. You can't hop on an elliptical or a stationary bicycle. And peddle the same peddling or do walking on a treadmill, the same walk every day and expect to see improvements in your health, all you're really doing is slowing the decline because all wellness really is, is just trying to be the best person you can be.

[00:44:52.120] – Allan
Cathy talked about, you know, what an 85 year old her would be like. And, you know, I've always said, you know, as a 105 five year old, I want to be able to wipe my own butt. To wipe my own butt I need the leg strength to be able to stand up off the toilet, wipe my own butt I need the the ability to twist my body and reach back where I need to reach back to. I need the flexibility to do that. I need the balance so that I don't have to have a rail in there to keep from falling over when I stand up anddo the things I have to do. So to do all that work. I need to train and, you know, my training right now to be the best butt wiper, no, obviously not. But what I do know is that the training I'm doing are going to make me proficient at being the human being. I want to be five, 10, 20, even here 50 years later.

[00:45:46.980] – Rachel
I love that. And the name of one of the tracks she had for her fitness is never too early, but never too late. I love that because it is never too late to try something new or to be better at something that you can do. Just moving that needle can make a big difference.

[00:46:04.350] – Allan
Yeah, and she had the four levels. So again, it's it's where you are if you're just getting started, just move, just move a little bit more. It's an extra lap around the car. It's using the stairs, it's parking a little bit further away from the door to the grocery store. It's walking during your your break, you get a 15 minute break at at work instead use five to seven of it to go to the bathroom and then you just walk around for the next seven minutes, you know, you're back at your desk. Fifteen minutes, you feel fresher, you feel more awake and you're probably more productive at work. And that's going to translate into your relationships or performance at work is going to translate into a lot of things. So just taking that time to figure out where you are and start.

[00:46:56.480] – Rachel
That's perfect, just perfect.

[00:46:58.850] – Allan
All right. Rachel I'll see you next week.

[00:47:01.220] – Rachel
All right, take care.

Patreons

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

– Anne Lynch– John Somsky– Margaret Bakalian
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Another episode you may enjoy

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January 4, 2021

How to keep tribalism from destroying your health with Dr. Allen Buchanan

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In his book, Our Moral Fate: Evolution and the Escape from Tribalism, Dr. Allen Buchanan shows us how we evolved to be tribalistic and then developed morals past that. Only today, more and more we are being pulled back to our tribalistic roots and it is adversely affecting our health and relationships.

Transcript

Let's Say Hello

[00:02:15.380] – Allan
Ras, how are you doing?

[00:02:16.490] – Rachel
Good Allan. How are you today?

[00:02:18.350] – Allan
I'm doing well. You know as we mentioned on the last episode, we are recording this early, so I'm still sitting in the same spot I was last week. We're still in Boquete. They were still going to David. Nothing has changed on that front. And I'm just this much closer to getting back to my coffee. So not a lot to change. You know, the same amount of snow in Michigan, same amount of non snow in Panama.

[00:02:42.710] – Rachel
Nice.

[00:02:43.340] – Allan
But it's good to have this topic. You know, full admission. This was a this was a selfish topic. It was a very selfish topic with Dr. Buchanan, because when I saw the name of it, you know, I was like, OK, I'm going to read this book anyway.

[00:02:59.090] – Allan
And I you know, to let them send it to me for free, I'll have them on the podcast. But I do think based on what's going on in the world, that this is a really, really important topic because so many people are getting pulled into this mold. You know, why did we have more votes cast for the winner and for the loser in this election than any other election in history?

[00:03:23.660] – Allan
And the answer is they created a tribalism. A regression, if you will, and we all went in. And because we were fed fear, fed fear, fed fear, which is the fuel for tribalism, we fell for it and we ran in with sticks and knives and anything else we could grab. And we got but we got the vote on, you know, the arguments are their friends and family are breaking up and it's all happening because of our environment.

[00:03:55.930] – Allan
And so I was really glad to have the conversation. And while I'll admit, Dr. Buchanan got a little political on more the political side, I wanted to keep staring them over to the health side, if you don't notice that steering. But, you know, his book is both. It's those topics now are interweaving. They're not being separated. And so I think this is a really critical topic for us to be talking about.

[00:04:19.660] – Rachel
Perfect. Then let's get into it then.

Interview

[00:04:45.850] – Allan
Dr. Buchanan, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:04:48.610] – Dr. Buchanan
Thanks for having me.

[00:04:50.260] – Allan
You know, your book, Our Moral Faith, that was a core couple of reasons that I wanted to get into this book. And I'm just going to admit this full out. This was selfish, the reading of this book having you on the show. I did it for purely selfish reasons because of things I'm seeing going on, behaviors that at times I find myself drawn into that I just know are not good for me from a stress perspective, and they're not good for me as being the kind of person I actually want to be. My outward moral image, if you will, as you put it in the book, I think.

[00:05:28.660] – Allan
And then I think the other the other part of this is and you pointed to someone, an individual, and he said he used the word what was that word was, oh, irritant. So I kind of want to be the trigger that gets people thinking, Okay, is this where I am? Is this what I'm doing? And is this what I really should be doing if I really care about my health, if I really care about my wellness?

[00:05:55.300] – Dr. Buchanan
Yeah, I think that's a good entry to the book is called, Our Moral Fate: Evolution and the Escape from Tribalism, MIT Press. And yeah, I think I wrote the book for the same reasons that you found the book interesting. I was aware that we had a phenomenon that could be called tribalism in our society, and I became increasingly disturbed, quite irritated by the worry. And I recognized it as having terrible effects on individual health because of the stress that it creates.

[00:06:29.050] – Dr. Buchanan
And also on relationships. I mean, friendships are breaking up. Marriages are breaking up because people are so divided and divided in a really hateful way, I think, on a large number of issues. So I think it really does have to do with individual health and with the relationships that also with the effects of tribalism on society. I think tribalism is incompatible with democracy.

[00:06:54.820] – Allan
Yeah, I've done a lot of books, a lot of authors had on them on talking about longevity. And one of the core tenets of longevity besides moving eating better and all that is our relationships with people, that having a purpose, having a society around us, the kind of people where we feel part of something. And so I think a lot of people would think, oh, well, that's tribalism. But tribalism, the way you kind of define in the book, we talk about tribalism and cooperation.

[00:07:24.700] – Allan
It's not just the family unit. It's not just that closeness. There's a there's a there's a deeper part of it. And then there's also a bit of a darker side to it. Can you can you kind of talk about tribalism, cooperation and why that was really important to us, but how that also is very limiting, if that's all we have.

[00:07:44.350] – Dr. Buchanan
My book takes a kind of evolutionary approach to tribalism, and it argues that a tendency toward tribalism, toward dividing the world into us versus them, and attributing all the virtues to us and a lot of vices to them, that this is something that's rooted in our evolved psychology. Evolutionary theorists tend to believe that our moral psychology developed somewhere around four hundred thousand years ago at a time when we lived in a very harsh environment. Humans were in small groups, hunter gatherer groups. They were widely scattered. They were on the margins of subsistence, and there were no institutions or peaceful cooperation among these.

[00:08:25.790] – Dr. Buchanan
What that meant. Was that you encountered somebody from another group on the savannah, probably your best strategy was preemptive aggression, one to react hostility toward them because they could be a huge threat to you. And it was under the circumstances that we developed a capacity for the tribalistic mentality. But the good news is, our moral mind, our moral psychology is also very flexible, it's very plastic and under the right environmental conditions, we have the capacity to react or a more inclusive, non-tribalistic way.

[00:09:02.910] – Dr. Buchanan
Now, even though troublesome has these ancient evolutionary roots, it's not fixed. Tribalism itself has evolved. It used to be the tribalism just literally applied to people who were from another society. Now we have tribalism that's intra-societal. That is, we identify groups within our own society that we react to with the kind of hostility that our ancestors used to react toward literally different societies. And so that's the situation we're in now.

[00:09:37.500] – Dr. Buchanan
What I mean by tribalism isn't just a matter of dividing the world into groups. Everybody does that. I think that's probably inevitable for human beings. It's more than that. It's dividing the world into us versus them, and it's attributing everything good in our social world to us and everything bad to them. It also involves a kind of what I call a supreme emergency framing. That is, you tend to think that every issue is a momentous issue where everything is an existential threat.

[00:10:14.670] – Dr. Buchanan
For example, Sean Hannity has a new book and it's called Live Free or Die: America on the Brink. That sounds like we're under an existential threat. We conservatives under existential threat from those horrible liberals. Once you get yourself into the supreme emergency framing, then you'll be willing to infringe moral rules you otherwise wouldn't. It's a case of, well, now we can make exceptions to our moral rules because we're in this dire extreme emergency. So that's one feature of another feature is that tribalistic discourse really drives out truth-seeking and genuine argumentation. In favor of what I call sorting and signaling, sorting the world into us versus them and in a way that's sort denigrating to them and signaling our loyalty to our group, signaling our group identity.

[00:11:14.970] – Dr. Buchanan
If you look at totalistic discourse, it looks totally illogical. It looks like people are making all sorts of invalid infrances and they're accepting as authoritative sources of information that they shouldn't. And so you might conclude that their reasoning badly, but I don't think their reasoning at all. They're engaged in sorting and signaling. It just looks like this. And part of what goes on is that when you're the tribalistic mode, you clump together, all of the people that are opposing all the liberals are alike, all conservatives are alike.

[00:11:46.020] – Dr. Buchanan
And you also tend to get together issues. You're going to buy one bundle or another. There's no possibility of mixing and matching. Once you get into that mode, and you also this is another tribalism, you tend to think of the other the opposing group as all being the same, and they're all either irremediably stupid and misinformed or they're all irredeemably insincere. Now, once you regard the other in that way, you don't regard them as an equal that you can reason with.

[00:12:21.390] – Dr. Buchanan
Instead, they're just beyond the pale. And that means that you don't listen to what they say and you don't try to engage with them productively. In other words, tribalism rules out compromise and bargaining because it rules out basic respect or the other. But bargaining and compromise are essential to democracy. Democracy doesn't work well. So that's one reason why tribalism is a threat to democracy. But I think it's also a threat to something even more basic. And that is what I call the first great expansion.

[00:12:52.980] – Dr. Buchanan
I talk a lot about the progress of the book, and I think in the last three hundred years or so, in some societies, there have been two huge milestones of moral progress, what I call the first and second expansions of moral regard. The first great expansion is the recognition that all human beings have a basic equal moral status in modern terms, that we all have human rights just by virtue of being human. That's a kind of recognition of equality.

[00:13:22.800] – Dr. Buchanan
It's quite new in human history. For the most part, people in one group have regarded themselves as having equal status, but they regarded others as being of inferior status or maybe not having any moral standing at all. So that's the first rate expansion.

[00:13:38.680]
Second rate expansion is almost complete. It's the beginning of a recognition that at least some non-human animals count morally in their own right, that we're not just free to use them for whatever purposes we want. That they're suffering, there will counts. Now, these two great expansions of the circle of moral regard are pretty recent and they're still not completely carried out the way we live. But there has been huge progress. I think that one of the worst things about tribalism is not just that it undermines democracy, but that it undermines the first great expansion

[00:14:11.330] – Dr. Buchanan
I mean, think about it. Part of what it is to regard somebody as a genuine human being is to regard that as reasonable, as capable of being reasonable. But if you are in tribalistic mode. That's not how you view the other. You view the other as either irredeemably misinformed or stupid or as completely insincere and corrupt.

[00:14:38.160] – Dr. Buchanan
Let me give you example, the first way to categorize it, you ever heard the term Libatard in conservative circles? And the idea is that liberals, all liberals, are mentally retarded or developmentally disabled as you say now. Well, that means there are equal in terms of being somebody we could reason with, about how we all live, what our society should be like.

[00:15:05.990] – Dr. Buchanan
Let me give you one example of the other way of looking at the opposing group, and that is that's being insincere so that you shouldn't pay attention to what they say because they don't really mean it often. Rush Limbaugh says that. Democrats, liberals don't really care about immigrants. That their open borders idea is really rooted in their conviction that if you let a lot of people in the country go vote Democratic. Now, what's going on there? Well, what he's saying is that you shouldn't pay attention to the reasons that Democrats or liberals give for loosening border restrictions, because that's not what it's really about. Instead, it's a shift to condemning the character of the person who advocates. That's very convenient because then you don't have to engage with their arguments. You don't have to engage with their estimates of the facts of one policy or another. You just set them aside as people who are to be held in contempt. They're not worth trying to reason with because they're totally insincere.

[00:16:13.680] – Dr. Buchanan
Tribalism happens on the left as well as the right. And here's here's one example among many. Sometimes nowadays, student activists will prevent a speaker from speaking on campus. The strategy is to brand the speaker as racist or sexist. And then the idea is they don't have the right to speak at all. So they're shouted down. There's disruption of their attempt to say, what are you going to say? And this is, again, a matter of sorting, sorting out whether racist or sexist, and then we shouldn't pay attention to it. They don't have any rights to speak. And it's also a matter of signaling that we're against racism or we're against sexism when we do this. I think it would be far better if people were allowed to speak and then you engage with them and criticize them and explain why you think they're racist or exactly what you mean by racism. That's pretty squishy term.

[00:17:15.070] – Dr. Buchanan
So those are the kind of strategies that go on in tribalistic discourse. And you can see that is just a total breakdown of communication. There is communication within our group. We're sorting and signal and reaffirming our group identity, but there's not genuine communication with the opposing group and there's no cooperation with the opposing group, I mean, tribalism makes for great cooperation within our group. Great solidarity, right? And a kind of groupthink but they end at independent thinking, and that does facilitate the kind of cooperation with our group. But that cooperation comes at the expense of a complete inability to cooperate with the opposing group.

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[00:19:11.200] – Allan
I wanted to get into this because I was thinking about, you know, what the impact that this is having on my stress levels, watching my friends go at each other and pile on. And, you know, it's going down one trail of thought with someone and they're saying some things. And then, of course, the comments that follow. And you're like you're you know, you're talking about another human being. You know, you're not. I mean, granted, you're somewhat anonymous on this platform. So you can have this conversation without being in someone's face and having to say it while you're looking them in the eyes and recognizing, Okay, they're human like me. And I'm saying this to someone human. But now we're in these constructs of social media. Where it almost feels like here's this this wall that's protecting me, that will allow you to say anything you want to say.

[00:20:06.810] – Allan
With our ability, which is actually kind of fascinating when you think about it, that we can continue to adapt and change. We have a plasticity of our brain, of our bodies. And now we're getting into this book of our moral beliefs and attitudes and how we treat the world, how we treat animals, how we treat people. We have this ability to change. But we're not turned on to that yet. So like I said, I want to be the irritant that gets people thinking about why am I in this tribe while my piling on? Why am I happy that that someone in Texas is getting covid? Why would I ever be happy about that? But I see that on Facebook all the time.

[00:20:52.080] – Allan
And it's spilled over into ideologies that are really dangerous. So, you know, should you be wearing a mask? Should you avoid large groups? Should you get a vaccine? Should you? And so there's all these stories and you're trying to think through what actually is happening? What's the actual best course of action for me? And unfortunately, when you get tied into this tribalism, you lose that ability to have your own opinion because the social cost is just too high. To say I agree with you on the mask issue, but I disagree with you on the vaccine issue, whichever side of that you're on, and almost no one can do that and have that conversation, because as soon as you start to say, I don't agree with you here, they immediately now just have a checklist of everything else that you're supposed to believe and who you voted for the last 20 years. And you know how you live your life and how terrible you are. You become to them, even if that's not really who you are and you almost lose the capacity, you can lose the capacity if you let it, of being able to step back objectively and look at these, particularly health issues. Now, politically, you can believe what you want to believe and you can go down the route you want to.

[00:22:17.070] – Allan
But as soon as you start dehumanizing people and as soon as you start letting your objective reasoning go away. I just, the danger here is just phenomenal. Just off the charts. I don't know how to explain it.

[00:22:34.010] – Dr. Buchanan
Yeah, it is. And you really hit the nail on the head when you said, if you say you might disagree on this thing, that people automatically put you in a box and distribute all sorts of other things to you. That's the clumping of that. And that's what makes it so inhibiting of freedom of thought and freedom of expression. I mean, if if I'm with a group of people who are generally of the liberal persuasion and I suggest that I think that maybe the Second Amendment is not such a bad idea so long as it's interpreted as allowing significant regulation of firearm ownership, automatically put in the sort of NRA nut category. And the liberal people that I'm talking to will automatically assume that I'm also against legalized abortion. That I'm also in favor of all sorts of things that I'm not really in favor of. But knowing that you'll be lumped together in that way, that you'll be sorted. Is very, very inhibiting.

[00:23:38.430] – Dr. Buchanan
Now, I like the fact that you're emphasizing the notion that sort of autonomy or thinking for yourself. I think there's a larger collective version of that. And that's why the title of the book is Our Moral Fate. What I argue in the book is that which kind of morality is predominant in the society, but what kind of moral agents we are depends a lot on the environment. It's not an environmental determinism. There are two two factors here. One is the moral mind or our evolved capacities for having morality. The other is the environment.

[00:24:15.830] – Dr. Buchanan
And the point is that there's an interaction between these two factors so that the moral mind, if it's in a very harsh kind of environment, will tend to express itself in tribalistic way. Or if people think that the environment is much more hostile than it really is because they've been propagandized or imbibed in an ideology, then the moral mind is going to react with an exclusive negative tribalistic. On the other hand, if the moral mind is operating in an environment that's more favorable to inclusion, that is where the costs of treating other human beings that are not in your group as our equals. When those costs are lower then we're free to act in a more inclusive way.

[00:25:06.090] – Dr. Buchanan
And so here's the real kicker about this thing. Human beings are different from all other animals on the planet that we know. We are really extensive niche constructors. We construct our environment. We do this continually. We don't just construct it once and one way. We're constantly changing the way we construct environments.

[00:25:28.140] – Dr. Buchanan
And that's very liberating. If it's true that what kind of morality we have, what kind of moral agent we're going to be depends upon what sort of environment we're in. If we learn about how the bottom line responds to different environments, that in principle we can take charge of our moral fate. I think this would be the highest form of autonomy and maybe the highest form of creativity that human beings ever had. In the past, we've created environments, but we've done it for all sorts of reasons and without any understanding of how it affects us morally.

[00:26:03.450] – Dr. Buchanan
But if we could at all a science of institutional moral design, that's kind of a mouthful. But I think you get the idea that for the first time in human history, we could really take charge of ourselves. And it's essential to be human that we have morality, that we're moral agents. And so we could learn to shape that aspect of us. That would be fantastic. That would be nothing that ever occurred in human history.

[00:26:30.120] – Dr. Buchanan
Now, we can do some of that on an individual basis. For example, you could just not participate on Facebook or Twitter. And that's what I did for pretty much. And you can try to guard yourself against getting into these Internet echo chambers where everybody believes the same thing and they just hyper each other in the more extreme views. There are some things that individuals can do on their own without institutional change.

[00:26:57.600] – Dr. Buchanan
But I think in the long run, if we really want to beat tribalism and if we want to realize the best potential of our moral nature, it's going to take some society-wide institutional changes.

[00:27:11.850] – Allan
Yeah. When you talk about the niches and everything, I think many of us have, for a lack of a better word, relegated the creation of our environmental niches to Facebook and Twitter. And the reality of it is that Zuckerberg and Dorsey get more zeros in their bank account through tribalism than they would if we all actually were being inclusive and actually having the right conversations and getting to the true truths versus what is collectively the ideology of our tribe.

[00:27:47.640] – Allan
You had something really important because you were talking about what we needed to have to kind of build that niche, just trying to build an environment that's there. And one of the things you talked about was freedom of expression. And so I'm going to read the phrase that you used in the book, what you said in the book, because I think after I get through doing this, what I would ask you to listen to is or think about is how this relates to Facebook and what it does, because I think Facebook is really smart. I think they know what they're doing. They know exactly what they're doing and they're doing, in my opinion, they're doing this. And this is to have the freedom of expression you need – this requires, among other things, that control over communication technologies be dispersed so that no one person or group can monopolize them and thereby constrain freedom of information and expression and curtail the exercise of critical moral reasoning.

[00:28:38.190] – Allan
Now, governments do that all the time. In history. they've always done that. They've always wanted to control the narrative. But for the first time in history, we now have public companies that are creating these environments that we adapt and adjust to. And they create this divide, they basically pull us from being inclusive and wanting to get to true truths, to picking a side and fighting it out.

[00:29:05.620] – Dr. Buchanan
Yeah, I think that's exactly right. I think that Facebook's strategy assumes that it has an interest in the fact and stoking tribalism because tribalism makes for more frequent use of Facebook. So I think that's why I think this is what you said. This is not new in history. But governments have always tried to control the environment in which we form our beliefs. But whether it's going to deliver a function of government policy or it's just something that emerges from people pursuing their own interests and in the process of doing that, creating new niches.

[00:29:45.330] – Dr. Buchanan
The point is that we've been controlled by other people like this, mainly the more powerful, richer people who play the larger role in shaping our social environment. And when they do that, they don't do it with an eye to maximize our moral potential. They do it for all sorts of other reasons that are completely unrelated. And so, in a way, we've been suffering a kind of domination that we hadn't realized. And now the form the domination takes Facebook and Twitter. So, again, the question is, can we learn enough about the relationship between the moral mind and social environments that we can take charge of our own moral fate rather than letting our moral fate be determined by others who don't care about what happens to us morally, but are just pursuing their own interests in constructing a certain kind of nich will be to their advantage.

[00:30:41.580] – Allan
And if we don't, you know, then we risk going down a line of where there is no reason and therefore we're harming ourselves. And like I said, just the stress of it. The seeing, the constant battling, and you think, Okay, it's going to be over when this happens and then no. It's not and it's going to be over when the no it's not. It's it's going to keep going. You mentioned Hannity's book, and I couldn't help thinking back.

[00:31:09.600] – Allan
Well, Pat Richards was that we got Pat Robertson, I think was the guy back in the 80s was right. And it could have been the same title. It's the same concept. We were we were doomed in the 80s. And yet here we are 40 years later, still kicking. And so I think we don't have to be so fatalistic in thinking that this is doom and gloom because it's not. There is a way forward. We are adaptive.

[00:31:39.840] – Allan
We can we can we can make ourselves better. And we just have to open up ourselves to understand that the inclusivity for other human beings and seeing them as human and inclusively to seeing that animals deserve fair treatment and proper treatment. And, obviously, we're not going to stop meat eating any time soon, but we can be kinder and better about how we do these things. And that's where I think that morality comes in.

[00:32:09.450] – Allan
It's affecting the quality of our food. It's affecting our stress level. It's affecting our willingness to do the objective things that are best for us just because, again, we're following an ideology that's limiting and we've got to get past that limit if we're truly going to reach out and take care of our country, of our world, of our environment and, of course, individually, ourselves. And if we don't do that, then we're paying a big price. To think we're right.

[00:32:43.640] – Dr. Buchanan
Thinking you're right, this is really important. One of the features of the tribalistic morality that I haven't is this kind of certainty, certainty really a kind of arrogance that is, that our side knows exactly what's right and we have nothing to learn from the other side. That's a characteristic feature and it's incredibly hubristic on any serious political issue. I don't think most sane people should regard themselves as having the last word and being completely right and not in any need of modifying their views in the light of what somebody else might think. But that's it. I mean, people in the tribalistic mode, they act as if all the major political issues in the democracy have already been settled, that we know exactly what's going on across the board on all the important stuff.

[00:33:37.970] – Dr. Buchanan
And that's just that's the kind of stubborn, arrogant attitude that really prevents any engagement with people who hold different views from yours.

[00:33:49.190] – Allan
I've really appreciated this conversation. And I loved the the the thought process that you walked us through the detective story and enjoyed the jab you had on palaeo guys and what they actually probably ate back in the day.

[00:34:04.800] – Dr. Buchanan
It was a good portion of human flesh, in many cases. I'm not a fan of taking the paleo diet very seriously. Allan, can I mention one last thing before we conclude just people where they can get the book again? The title is Our Moral Fate: Evolution and Escape from Tribalism by Allen Buchanan. It's published by Animality Press. If you go to Amazon and just type in my name or the title, you'll get information about the book, a brief summary. You'll get how you could order to settle it. Or you can go to the MIT Press site and Google either my name or the title. And you'll also come up with information. I tried to write this book in a way that was accessible for a broad audience. I think I succeeded. That was quite a challenge for me because I made a career of writing these stodgy scholarly articles and books and I was groomed to do that in my academic career. But this has been a kind of fun and challenging to try to write for a broader audience. And I think I succeeded. I think it's I've been told a number of people that it is accessible, that it's not something that requires a scientific background or philosophical background. And that's important because these are issues for everybody. I really wanted to reach everybody in writing this book.

[00:35:22.700] – Allan
Dr Buchanan, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:35:32.680] – Dr. Buchanan
Well, I think one thing is to try to prevent yourself from getting immersed in this tribalistic culture. I think it's really bad for you. I think there's steps that you can take. You can avoid certain websites or certain media outlets and maybe you can cut down your Facebook time or you can learn just not to respond. You can train yourself not to respond to everything you see on Facebook.

[00:35:58.210] – Dr. Buchanan
And I think, again, the main point is to try to school yourself, to regard the people you disagree with as your equals and as people that potentially you can reason if you can do that, that will be a huge step in the right direction. Another way to avoid ill health effects of tribalism is just to turn off the media or at least to turn off any media that look like they have political content.

[00:36:29.580] – Dr. Buchanan
I know a lot of people have done that to me. I do it to some extent. I mean, there are times where if I continue to look at what's going on politically, I know I'll just make myself sick and to no avail. So there's a kind of self-restraint that's involved in keeping your health and keeping your relationships intact. I mean, look, I have to confess, I'm more of a sort of moderate to liberal persuasion. My wife is extremely conservative and we had to work very hard not to let tribalism infect us and destroy our relationship.

[00:37:05.260] – Allan
Absolutely. Well, as you said earlier, I do believe you've made the book accessible and it is available on Amazon. I'll make sure to have a link in the show notes for this. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/467, and I'll be sure to have a link there.

[00:37:20.320] – Dr. Buchanan
Dr. Buchanan, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:37:23.710] – Dr. Buchanan
Well, thank you for your excellent comments and questions.


Post Show/Recap

[00:37:30.940] – Allan
Welcome back.

[00:37:32.320] – Rachel
Hey, Allan, wow!

[00:37:33.940] – Allan
What tribe are you and what tribe or you in?

[00:37:37.420] – Rachel
Allan, I walk the fence. I'm telling you, I am the most middle of the road person you could ever meet.

[00:37:44.320] – Allan
Yeah, well, politically, I'm a Libertarian and a lot of people say, oh, you noncaring… because, I'm not in their tribe and I don't really care when they start going down that line. I actually do care very much and I do a lot to help people. But I like being able to do it on a voluntary basis. I like having access to information that I can make decisions on.

[00:38:06.370] – Rachel
Yes.

[00:38:06.730] – Allan
An interesting tidbit I'd like to share with you today is that we had Dr. Cowan and Sally Fallon Morell on the show a couple of weeks ago and that gets published out on YouTube. So there's an audio version of this podcast. It's just the picture of the logo and then it just runs on YouTube. They didn't like the topic and they didn't agree with what the message was, which, again, I don't know that you and I really fully agreed with or, you know, say, Okay, we're going to say yay or nay, we're on this. We're like, okay, it's information adults take over. Well, YouTube decided no. So YouTube pulled the video and issued a warning. So I haven't been put in jail, but I've had one of my babies taken away. And so, yeah, you won't find that on YouTube.

[00:38:57.700] – Allan
You won't find Dr. Cowan and Sally's book on Amazon. Amazon is not carrying it.

[00:39:04.120] – Rachel
Really?

[00:39:04.840] – Allan
They carry his other books. They carry her other books, but they are not carrying this book. So recognize that, yes, tribalism is about environment, as we talked in the podcast. The places we go, Google, YouTube, because YouTube is owned by Google, so I have to believe YouTube is blocking stuff, Google is blocking stuff, Facebook is blocking stuff, Twitter is blocking stuff and deleting stuff.

[00:39:35.840] – Allan
It's revisionist information that you're using for your health and fitness. And if you don't think that's a problem, all you have to do is look back and look at what the sugar industry did years and years ago to demonize fat and get scientists. They paid scientists to say sugar is fine.

[00:39:56.060] – Rachel
Hmm. That's crazy.

[00:39:57.830] – Allan
And if they can do that and then the government acts on it by creating a food pyramid that benefits the food companies. And social media is going to follow that line because we have social media back then. We just had the government in the news agencies and now the news agencies and the social media are picking tribes. So your access to health information, because like one of my favorite people to to read and I don't always agree with him is Dr Mercola. He's fascinating. And he knows a lot. He knows a lot. He pretty much can't be on the social media stuff because they block him. So he has his own newsletter. You have to now subscribe to a newsletter, the old school way. You know, give me your email address and he sends you the articles because Google won't show his content. You can start searching for Dr. Mercola. He won't show up the way he did before he used to be number one search when you click on to look up something that you want to know something about. And if Dr. Mercola had written about it, he used to show up really high on the search. Not anymore, I'm guessing, because I have that article out there. If you typed it up to look for Dr. Cowan and Sally, you probably won't find my article either. Google's probably not going to show that page and they'll probably eventually penalize the whole site because I have that content on there. So it's scary.

[00:41:25.760] – Allan
It is. It's really concerning because the the beautiful part about science is that it's always changing. There's always something to be studied. There's always something to be restudy, to reanalysed. There's always new conclusions to be drawn. And it just changes so much that it's it's hard to imagine that just old studies or old news or something that's just new and different are being cut out of the most popular ways that we get information these days. And that's online.

[00:41:59.150] – Allan
Yeah, well, one at one time, everybody thought the scientists thought that everything revolved around the earth and for anyone to come and say no, I think I think it's the other way around. I think we're revolving around other things. And so it's not as just, you know, it's not everything we're all revolving around us. Something's going on and we're probably revolving around other things. And for someone to do that, they were heretic. They were they were dangerous. You know, an idea is dangerous.

[00:42:33.190] – Allan
And I would say it can be when it's part of a tribalism driving a behavior of anger and distrust and fear. And so, yeah, if you're if you're afraid of this thing and your tribe tells you to be more afraid and you're more afraid, and that's why there's this comedian called JP Sears and I think he's hilarious, it's satire. He will sit there and pick and pick a pick, a pick all this stuff of, you know, how you're supposed to be afraid. The media says you're supposed to be afraid. So you have to be afraid because the media says you have to be afraid. And but that's that seems to be a pretty strong message out there that keeps coming every day. And it gets clicks. It creates a whole series of memes and headlines. And you follow those headlines in those memes.

[00:43:24.370] – Allan
And many times if you actually read the article and then they have a link to a source and then you go to the source and you're kind of like, that's actually what they said. But you wrote a really great headline because I was yeah, you got me, you know.

[00:43:40.720] – Allan
And so I just think that we have to take that step back. If you find yourself being pulled in to the tribe ideology, realize, 1) a political candidate should not be giving you medical advice

[00:43:56.320] – Rachel
Right.

[00:43:56.320] – Allan
Let's just put that out there. If you're following the medical advice of a political candidate, elected or not. Probably not a good idea. Do your own homework.

[00:44:06.000] – Allan
If you believe that everything they tell you is true, if it's in the media, it's true. You need to take a step back and do a little bit of work because there'll be a headline about an allegation or a headline about an investigation or a headline that says one thing. And they've picked one piece of information. And therefore, they can use that information to scare you.

[00:44:35.430] – Allan
So I'll just I'll put it out there, with the vaccination. They tested tens of thousands of people and four of the people who got the vaccine got Bell's Palsy. It's a face paralyzing palsy and it's typically temporary, but it's kind of concerning if that is a causal effect, which it's hard to say, which is four. There it is. But interestingly enough, none of the placebo group got it. So it's another data point. It's a little data point in a little bit of data. And I know a lot of people say that's a lot of data and a little number relative to that many people because it is a small percentage.

[00:45:15.540] – Allan
But, you know, if you had a point, two percent chance of getting a horrific disease, that, yes, you're OK from covid, but you get this other disease, is that the choice you wanted to make? And I don't you know, again, for me personally, I respect what they've done and why they did the things they did and all of that and the fact that the vaccine is going to be free for the people that want to take it.

[00:45:41.190] – Allan
But the instant that they say must, which employers are going to do for the government and which you don't have a choice if you want to get your stimulus check, if they actually tie it to a stimulus check. I want you to really think hard about what they're doing and why they're doing that. Why are they enticing so many people to do something that they wouldn't otherwise want to do?

[00:46:03.180] – Allan
And that's herd mentality. That's tribalism. That's fear and reward. And so they're they're basically playing on our human nature, creating an environment. And I just want you. And that's why when I do these podcasts, you know, I've had vegans on, I've keto people on, I've had carnivore on. I had even had a raw paleo and I even tried some of it. I had raw eggs and I didn't die. Oh my God. And they weren't even done. They weren't even the processed clean eggs that you have in the United States. These were just the chicken laid the egg. There's still a little bit of poop on the egg and the carton. So, yeah, let's eat.

[00:46:48.330] – Allan
But I think you have to have the subjectivity. Or you really aren't making adult decisions about your own health.

[00:46:56.260] – Rachel
Well, you just said it right there, making it your own adult decisions about your own adult health. Yeah, I mean, you do need to think things through. And like you said, discussing between the myriad of diets between vegan and carnivore. You have to make these decisions based on your own experience. And I've been vegetarian and I survived it, but it wasn't the most healthiest choice for me. I've been keto now for a little over two going on three years, and it has worked for me. So, I mean, everybody else has to make their own decisions based on their own experiments, trials, accidents, whatever it takes. You know, we're adults. We can make our own decisions.

[00:47:37.630] – Allan
Yeah. Part of the reason and it's maybe it's the libertarianism in me that I don't like some of the stuff, the mandates and the requirements and this and that and the other is that it puts us on a very slippery slope. And what I mean by that is we have a crisis, particularly in the United States, but it's growing. Everywhere else is adopting the standard American diet is obesity, and it leads to so many other health concerns. And the question would be, if you walked up to a grocery store and walked up to a restaurant and you wanted to get some food and they said, OK, I need you to download this app. And it's going to tell us how many steps you took today. And if you haven't taken 8000 steps today, we can't serve you. I know that maybe that sounds crazy.

[00:48:27.190] – Rachel
Totally crazy.

[00:48:28.440] – Allan
But, it's a mandate for the health of the country if we're going to pay more for health care every year because more and more people are getting sick this next generation, they're telling us that their life expectancy would potentially be shorter than our own and not because they're riding without, they're actually wearing helmets when they ride their bicycle. So they're safer. They have more safety equipment in the cars. You know, it's not the mom, one arm restraint right in the front seat of the car. We take much better care of our children these days. So for the protection to be that their life expectancy is shorter than ours should, ding, ding, ding.

[00:49:16.690] – Allan
And we can't expect the government to do this for us. Because every time they take it on as a topic it gets picked up by someone like a First Lady. It's managed for talked about for eight years as an undertone. And it helps and affects nobody. And so it's not just to talk about thing. You've got to embrace your own health. And that's why I'm bothered by the tribalism and now the censorship, I'm not going to call it censorship because it's not really censorship. YouTube doesn't want on their platform. Fine, it's not on YouTube's platform.

[00:49:51.370] – Allan
But I think you should have access to information to draw objective choices. You know, I'm with you, Rachel. I don't think necessarily that 5G is a cause because they're getting it in countries that don't have 5G yet. So if you don't have 5G there, how did someone get it? And the resonation principle of my brother gave me chickenpox, which resonated, and I never got along anything. So if his body told my body something, I wouldn't listen to it.

[00:50:21.910] – Allan
So, no, I don't necessarily agree with them, but that doesn't mean that they don't have the right to have their opinion, and that some of the science they put in there is true that they haven't isolated this virus. The test, you know, the positive negatives, false lots of false positives. Maybe some false negatives. I don't know. That's a little harder to know because it's asymptomatic cases. You test positive, you assume you have it. You wait the ten days and you move on with your life.

[00:50:51.460] – Allan
So I just think we need objective information. If you see a headline and it either you really agree with it or you really disagree with it, because that's what they want. They want you to be polarized by it. You get polarized by a headline. If you care about that issue, if you really care about that issue enough that you're angry now or scared to a little bit of reading.

[00:51:13.000] – Rachel
More reading. Yes.

[00:51:14.890] – Allan
You know, not just that article, but look up articles on the other side of that argument and really sit down and say, what do we know? Okay, I know we've given this vaccine to twenty, thirty thousand people. Yes, there were four cases of Bell's Palsy. There were two deaths. And we know that. Now two deaths out of twenty-two thousand is lower than the death rate for covid, particularly for people who are at risk for other comorbidities. So maybe, maybe a good choice for a really healthy young person. You know, is it a bit is it a good choice to make those? And we need the data, we need the information, and if you just look at a headline, you know, headline says Bell's Palsy cases, then suddenly now you have your reason to be an anti-vaxer. Then the headline on the other side is going to make sure to caveat that with zero point zero two percent, which is no higher than the standard rate of Ball's Palsy in the general population.

[00:52:14.520] – Allan
And, you know, when they gave this other vaccine, there was a I think they had heart attacks and they said, well, that was no higher than the standard for heart attacks. And yes, it happened to be that his was the placebo group that had the heart attacks and the non-placebo group didn't. So does this actually cure heart attacks? And the answer that was also no. So realize the small bits of data make a choice, but make it an informed choice. Not just my tribe says this therefore.

[00:52:43.860] – Rachel
Well, exactly. And I just want to take it one step further and go visit your doctor, make a schedule of video consultation with your doctor, because they're the ones that have all of your past blood results. They have your past illnesses and surgeries. And you can discuss carefully with your doctor all of your concerns whether or not you're going to have an allergic reaction, even though you've never had an allergic reaction to a vaccine before. I mean, it's worth just discussing with your doctor and having somebody who's actually seen all of your medical history help you make an informed decision and not base your decision over one headline or another. Like really take a closer look to what this means for you as an individual.

[00:53:28.390] – Allan
Yeah. And then the other side of this and one of the core reasons that I wanted to to get into this topic with Dr. Buchanan is this is if you find yourself getting angry at someone over their opinion, you really got to rethink your priorities. If you're letting this hurt relationships, it's one thing to push the unfriend on Facebook for someone that you went to high school with 30 years ago, 40 years ago, that's one thing.

[00:53:58.440] – Allan
But to sit there and say, I'm not going to talk to my mother, brother or sister spouse again because they are an anti-vaxxer or they're, you know, they're a masker or whatever you want to whatever your side of this conversation is because you're in that tribe, you really need to rethink that because, you know, I've had enough people on talking about longevity and we know it's the social bonds and relationships that keep us tied to this earth to have a good, long, healthy life.

[00:54:30.840] – Allan
And so this is this goes a lot deeper than just saying, oh, I have to be right. I have to agree with my tribe. I don't I can't afford the social cost of not agreeing with my tribe now that I'm in this tribe. But the social costs of being in that tribe are lost relationships, a lot of anger and stress in your life and a lot of fear. And some of that fear may be warranted, but in many cases it's not.

[00:54:55.800] – Allan
And because that's fear is what's driving you in that tribe. It's what's keeping you tied to that tribe is the fear, either the fear that they're going to take something away from you or the fear that that other tribe is going to kill you because they're evil. And that's what tribalism is all about. That's why I thought this was a really good episode to have. I hope YouTube doesn't block it, too, because their secret is out. But I just, you know, just recognize what social media, what the news media is doing to you.

[00:55:31.350] – Rachel
You mentioned fear. But I also want to bring up the anger part of it, too, because, you know, for all this time, we could get along no matter where people sat and the on the aisle, right or left in the middle or whatever. But it's gotten it's escalated to a point where it's making people angry and they're saying such inflammatory things. And it's not just about cherry picking the facts to prove your point.

[00:55:59.100] – Rachel
It's the name calling, it's the degrading. And it's the I'm right. And you're not it's just not the there's no good side and bad side. And it's been really hard to you know, like I've said before, I just live and let live. You know, people need to make their own decisions based on what's important to them in their lives, whether it's about politics or eating or vaccinations or whatever. But you just because you made your choice doesn't mean everybody else has to have that exact same choice.

[00:56:35.010] – Rachel
You have to respect other people's opinions and their abilities to do the exact same thing, make the choices that are best for them. And that name call or shame or that's the part I think that's driving people apart is the ugly part of it all.

[00:56:48.900] – Allan
Yeah. And as Dr. Buchanan put it in his book. It's a heady read, this is not you know, this is not light reading that you're just going to do on a Summer day sitting on the beach. You know, this is something that you're going to be some concepts and you really have to wrap your mind around what he's saying, what he's trying to prove out. And he does it from an evolutionary perspective. So it's tied into a lot of evolutionary sociology, archaeology, science stuff, but it's not so deep. It is written for the everyday person. But there's a lot of big, long words in there, some that you might even have to look up. I did.

[00:57:24.910] – Allan
But, you know, the objective of tribalism is to dehumanize the other tribe, because we need you to act against the other tribe to further bring you into this tribe, so it's a dehumanization. And so when I read on Facebook, “That's good they're getting covid because they did this.” Or they all pose in a picture with that guy so they all deserve to die. And I'm like, no, nobody deserves to die. No, if that's human. And then the other side of it is if they come on my property, I'm going to just shoot them. And I'm like, no, no,

[00:58:08.130] – Rachel
That's fear, fear and anger.

[00:58:11.370] – Allan
Just recognized that that's what the tribe is doing. It's it's helping you and your brain dehumanize another human being. That's not that's not the direction we were headed as human beings. We were headed towards more inclusion. We were headed towards where we recognize the basic human rights of every single person. And we have begun this this exploration into the rights of animals. He was them calling them non-human animals. And in the book, it's just kind of funny, like nonhuman animals. I guess some animals are human.

[00:58:49.230] – Rachel
I don't know.

[00:58:50.970] – Allan
In the book, we didn't discuss it in the interview, but he said he had been seeing some documentaries and some information on octopus and how smart they were and how creative they were and how playful they were. And I actually saw a documentary on Netflix myself where the guy was going out every day and visiting this octopus and he built a relationship with an octopus, much like you would, you know, like a dog, like, you know, another animal.

[00:59:19.110] – Allan
And he said up until that point, you know, the thought process for him was it's not like me. It's not like a dog, you know, I wouldn't kill and eat a dog, and that was where, he had lines of, OK, I'll eat animals, but I'm not going to eat vertebrates because I know they feel pain and I don't like the way they're farming them. Okay, so since I know that the factory farms work this way and I know that's because I'm not going to eat this, I'm not going to eat that.

[00:59:46.440] – Allan
I know they feel pain and I'm so I'm not gonna eat that. But he would eat octopus and then he saw this documentary, started understanding the nature of the octopus and how intelligent it was, creative and all that. So he just he can't tolerate eating octopus. So realize that you have this flexibility if you open up your brain and let information in. And then when you learn something, dive in a little deeper and really get a good foundation for why you feel the way you feel and it?

[01:00:18.980] – Allan
And guess what? Regardless of what that is, octopus is delicious, by the way. It doesn't make you a good or bad person. It doesn't make you less moral or more moral to have that position. It's just your moral position. And if you're sticking to your foundation of who you are by the nature of being you, you're being moral.

[01:00:43.290] – Allan
Yeah, yeah. Live and let live. Yeah. And respect other people.

[01:00:48.390] – Allan
And so, yeah, that's why I tell people go to a farmer's market, talk to the farmer and find out how they're treating the animals that you're eating. And if you're not happy with the way then don't buy that. And you know, so realize the factory farms are, they treat these animals so poorly. But if that's what you're eating, that's what you're eating. So just recognize where you are, how you're acting and make sure it's consistent.

[01:01:11.820] – Allan
You need that moral consistency. And then when you realize new information and that doesn't go along with what you thought, do the research get the understanding and then you have the plasticity to adapt your morality based on your new understanding. But if you stick with a tribe, if you're in that regressed state of being in a tribe, you're not going to be open to that. And that's a shame.

[01:01:37.650] – Rachel
Yes, absolutely. That sounds about perfect. It's a good place to teach people that they can make their own decisions.

[01:01:46.410] – Allan
You can make your own decisions. Yeah, good. Good. All right, Rachel, this has been a good talk. I really appreciate it.

[01:01:51.240] – Rachel
Very good.

[01:01:52.110] – Allan
I'll talk to you next week.

[01:01:53.640] – Rachel
That's great. Take care.

[01:01:55.170] – Allan
Be safe.

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Another episode you may enjoy

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December 28, 2020

Can you lose weight and get healthy eating one meal per day?

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

On this episode, Alyssa Sybertz, author of The OMAD Diet: Intermittent Fasting with One Meal a Day to Burn Fat and Lose Weight, helps us understand how the OMAD diet can be a part of your eating strategy to lose weight and get healthy.

Transcript

Let's Say Hello

[00:02:48.040] – Allan
Raz, how are you doing?

[00:02:50.050] – Rachel
Great. Allan. How are you today?

[00:02:52.570] – Allan
I'm doing well. You know, we're prerecording these intro and outro thing conversations now because we want to take a break at the end of the year. And so actually, while I'm recording this, I'm in a town in Panama called Boquete. It's in the mountains. So it's moderate temperatures. A lot of expats that want to come down here and live. They like this region because it's really cool and comfortable and it doesn't get too hot.

[00:03:21.430] – Allan
And you're about an hour or two away from beaches. If you want to go see some Pacific beaches. So a lot of people like living here. And so we've been talking to a lot of expats and they call themselves expats. We're immigrants. But I won't let that definitional term really bother me too much. So we've been spending some time here.

[00:03:41.590] – Allan
We went to a coffee farm yesterday and went through the whole process of how they make coffee from start to finish to picking beans to all the way to grinding them when you're done toasting them. It's pretty cool.

[00:03:56.650] – Rachel
So are you a coffee drinker?

[00:03:58.270] – Allan
Oh, I am.

[00:03:59.230] – Rachel
Yeah. Nice. How does it taste?

[00:04:01.000] – Allan
As soon as we get off this call, I'm going to go back to the dining table because we're recording this around breakfast time. Tammy is having breakfast right now. I'm going to get some more coffee because it's so wonderful around here.

[00:04:11.060] – Rachel
Oh, that sounds so wonderful. I'm a big coffee drinker, too. I love trying different types of coffees. And that would be really neat to see it all in action like you just did.

[00:04:20.350] – Allan
Yeah, I bought a bag a pound of this what they call double roasted, which is basically where when you roasted I guess it's similar like make popcorn I guess is the analogy she uses. It pops the beans as you're roasting the beans pop. And so what you want to do to get to a medium roast is literally just get to the point where all the beans are popped once. And that's the kind of I like the medium roast. And so what you can do is you go to a point right before they crack and then you let them cool off and then you go and roast them again. So that's a double roast to get to that medium. And so I'm interested to get back and grind some of that up and try that tomorrow or next week. But so, yeah, I bought that. She said after you have this, you won't like any other coffee again.

[00:05:07.660] – Rachel
So that's so awesome.

[00:05:10.280] – Allan
She's like, you'll be calling me asking you to ship this stuff to you.

[00:05:13.990] – Rachel
Wonderful. That sounds wonderful.

[00:05:16.750] – Allan
Yeah. So it's good. Tammy's recovering from her surgery, so everything's good on this side and we'll spend about another four or five days here. In fact, as we're recording this, Tammy goes back to see her doctor for her follow up and have her stitches removed. So she's on the mend. And then we're going to get back to Bocas and I guess try to open up a bed and breakfast and a gym.

[00:05:37.330] – Rachel
That's exciting. For sure. Sounds like great plans for the next year.

[00:05:42.550] – Allan
How are you doing?

[00:05:43.780] – Rachel
Good. Getting ready for winter up here. We haven't seen any substantial snow quite yet, but I know it's coming. So just getting out my yak tracks and my studs for my shoes and all my winter gear, it's going to be fun.

[00:05:59.730] – Allan
Fun.

[00:06:02.720] – Rachel
Yeah.

[00:06:03.340] – Allan
I'll, I'll be walking the beaches in Bocas about the time you're running with your studs through ice and snow.

[00:06:10.240] – Rachel
That's right.

[00:06:10.900] – Allan
OK, I guess each person has to have their own and love that they have.

[00:06:14.920] – Rachel
Got to love it.

[00:06:16.300] – Allan
Oh bless your little heart.

[00:06:19.570] – Rachel
Thanks. I need it.

[00:06:21.970] – Allan
OK, well it's interesting because the podcast now has been going on for over five years and I've never covered one aspect of dieting that's called the OMAD Diet, which is basically a form of intermittent fasting. I would call it intermittent fasting 2.0. It's a little bit more extreme than than just standard intermittent fasting with one meal per day. And so let's go ahead and start this conversation with Alyssa.

Interview

Text

[00:07:20.920] – Allan
Alyssa, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:07:23.170] – Alyssa
Thank you so much for having me.

[00:07:25.360] – Allan
So, you know, it's weird. I've had this podcast for five years, over five years now, and I've talked about every kind of topic I thought I could talk about. And then I realized, oh, here's a book on OMAD, and I've never covered a book on OMAD. Wow! It's called The OMAD Diet: Intermittent Fasting with One Meal a Day to Burn Fat and Lose Weight.

[00:07:48.860] – Allan
And just general admission: I do intermittent fasting all the time. I do. I'm in keto most of the time and intermittent fasting just becomes natural. There have been a few times where I found that I did only eat one meal. It was never a planned, I'm going to go do an OMAD thing. It was a I got stuck. You know, one situation. My truck got stuck in my front yard of my property. I was at a property doing some work, and then my truck got stuck. And when the tow truck came, the tow truck broke. So it's three more hours for the tow truck to fix and get me finally get me out.

[00:08:26.150] – Allan
And so I ate. You know, I had eaten the night before. I skipped breakfast and went out, worked for a few hours. And then here I was now driving home at six o'clock. And I'm like, oh, it's been 23 hours since I even ate. I might ought to eat something. So I wasn't you know, I wasn't hungry.

[00:08:43.940] – Allan
I wasn't starving myself. And then I did have a pretty good meal. So can you take just a minute to talk about what OMAD is? Because I think a lot of people get confused and think it's just a way to really restrict calories or trick your body or can you talk about it?

[00:09:02.090] – Alyssa
Certainly. So, first of all, I'm honored that the first person you had on to talk about OMAD. And I think that a lot of people have had similar experiences to you in that the kind of you have to eat three meals a day has been so ingrained. And even with some diet programs that have been popular over the last 20 years, it's more like you have to eat six times a day or you have to eat every two hours or something like this.

[00:09:32.840] – Alyssa
And people don't realize that eating one meal a day an option and can be a kind of sustainable and nutritious approach when in fact it can be. So kind of the basic idea behind OMAD, which stands for one meal, is just as it sounds in that it's really you're only sitting down to eat once a day. But for that reason, it kind of gets rid of all of those different possible restrictions on eating. If you're kind of like calorie counting or things like that, there are people who approach, OMAD as because I'm only eating once, I can eat whatever I want, which is an approach you can take and because you are still fasting for twenty-three hours, you will still get some benefits from that approach.

[00:10:35.510] – Alyssa
But the approach that I tried to take in the book was to kind of figure out how I could create really balanced, well-rounded meals for the one meal a day that we're going to make the fast sustainable. So you wouldn't be starving and also kind of give you a wide array of macro and micronutrients that will support your health overall.

[00:11:03.920] – Allan
Yeah, that was one of the critical things that was in there that I thought was really important is you're not just talking keto, which is why I ended up in that situation where, I basically went OMAD without expecting to. And it didn't bother me because I was already really comfortable with ketosis. But you have vegan recipes and you have vegetarian recipes and you have things that are keto-friendly. You have really a good mix in there. So it's not just keto, is this keto is that, there's this OMAD is this or OMAD is that. Quite literally, whatever your approache and nutritional needs are, you're still meeting those with OMAD.

[00:11:43.590] – Alyssa
Yeah, it's incredibly adaptable in a lot of ways. One way is that you can adapt it if you are following keto or if you are on a plant-based or a gluten-free diet, you can do any number of those things. But it's also really adaptable to your lifestyle. So going back to that, like folks who felt like they needed to eat multiple times a day, that can be incredibly stressful on a person with a busy kind of full life, like trying to fit that in.

[00:12:15.570] – Alyssa
And then if they don't get their second of six meals and they think, oh, well, now today is a wash, like, I'll have to start again tomorrow. Whereas with OMAD you really you only have to find that time to sit down and eat a healthy meal once a day. And that was one of the things that actually surprised me a little as I was working on the book and speaking to people who have done OMAD. Was that the fact that it was really easy and kind of didn't put any added stress on their lifestyle was one of the things that they loved most about it?

[00:12:53.880] – Allan
Yeah, there are a lot of benefits. I mean, for me, it's the food freedom of not having to have food everywhere because I tried I tried some other eating styles after keto. I was trying some eating styles and I was like, OK, so I've got to have a snack of nuts now and have a snack of fruit now. OK, now here's my meal. And now here's this other snack and here's the other snack and then a meal and then another snack. And I had food in my truck, had foodin my office. I had at food all around me so that I would always have this available food. And it was just it was difficult. You know, if I'd got stuck in the mud and I was eating six meals a day, well, I would have just missed five of them.

[00:13:41.370] – Allan
What are some of the other benefits besides the time savings and the and then kind of having that freedom? What are some of the other benefits we could see with OMAD?

[00:13:50.430] – Alyssa
Sure, you already you mentioned ketosis a little bit. That is kind of one of the primary methods through which if you're doing OMAD to lose weight, that is definitely going to help. So that is the process where when you're eating on a regular basis and getting carbohydrates into your body, your body is first going to use up all of those carbohydrates for energy before it starts using anything else. But when you are on an extended fast, your body will work its way through all of that glucose, all of those carbohydrates, and switch to burning fat. And then the longer you go after that switch occurs, just the more fat you're going to burn. So that's one of the big ones.

[00:14:38.700] – Alyssa
Another big way that it can help with weight loss is through its effect on hormones. So the first hormone that it has a big effect on is insulin. So, going back to eating regularly throughout the day, when you're doing that, your pancreas is constantly producing insulin so that the insulin can then go in and take the sugar out of your bloodstream and bring it to your cells to be used as energy.

[00:15:07.170] – Alyssa
But if you're constantly putting in carbohydrates, insulin is constantly being produced. And a lot of people get to the point where the pancreas just gets tired of producing insulin and it can't produce anymore. And so that production starts to slow down. And that slow down is what leads to problems like Type 2 diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which are big contributors to weight gain, especially in America, with the number of people that are type 2 diabetics few days.

[00:15:42.030] – Alyssa
But when you're only eating one today, insulin does not need to constantly being be produced. So your pancreas shoots out insulin when you eat and then when you're not eating, the pancreas is like, oh, I can take a break. It gets to rest and relax and recharge. And then the next time you eat, it's ready to produce the insulin that you need.

[00:16:07.560] – Alyssa
And then the other hormone that is impacted is HGH, which has a big impact on exercise as well, which I mentioned later. HGH, human growth hormone, it plays a big role in maintaining lean muscle mass and a steady metabolism. But for a lot of people, the levels of HGH that the body produces is pretty erratic. And it's also one of the hormones that decline significantly with age. But there have been studies that show that extended fasts with things like OMAD really rapidly increase HGH levels, and so that's kind of maintaining muscle mass, especially as you get older, plays such a key role in not only maintaining a healthy metabolism and a healthy weight, but also like keeping your body strong, your joints strong, protecting against all sorts of all sorts of different things.

[00:17:07.870] – Alyssa
And then and then, yeah, there are tons of additional studies that have been done on how it can be beneficial for heart health, for brain health, how it helps people who are going through cancer treatment. There's very new research now into how it affects this process called autophagy, which is like allowing old and debilitated cells in your body to be replaced by newer, younger, healthier cells. And the idea is that the more young, healthy cells you have in your body compared to these old ones that aren't working as well, the better everything is going to run. And the more recent research into fasting is showing that it allows your body to do this cell turn over more quickly. And that is proving to have lots of different benefits as well.

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[00:19:21.130] – Allan
Now, a lot of people when you say, OK, well, what I want you to do is I want you to have your dinner or have your breakfast and then I want you to wait twenty four hours to eat again. I think a lot of people look at that and say, well, oh my God, my blood sugar is going to drop down to zero and I'm going to be jonesing. How how would you recommend that someone go through and basically get to OMAD? Because I think it's a process. I don't really think it's just OK, today I'm eating and I'm not going to eat again for some. Some people can. Don't get me wrong. There's people who can. But for a lot of people, it's a little scary to kind of go off that cliff and say, I'm going to do this. What are some recommendations you have on on a good general approach to that?

[00:20:04.810] – Alyssa
Well, first off, you mentioned like, oh, my blood sugar is going to get too low. Like, there are a couple, like couple kind of groups of people for whom OMAD isn't the best idea. Like, if you do have low blood sugar and that's a health concern of yours, then it like it might not be best. But for the majority of healthy people, if you get the OK from your doctor, it's definitely it's not going to hurt you to give it a shot.

[00:20:33.880] – Alyssa
I think as far as a good approach, you can definitely kind of work towards it. So maybe if you're eating three meals a day, switch to just two and see how you feel then then the other big thing is that, as you just mentioned, it really doesn't matter what time of day you eat your one meal. So when you're just getting started, mix it up and you can have your one meal around breakfast. And like, I actually I have a whole chapter in my book of breakfast style meals. If you are someone who likes to eat in the day, maybe try that for two days and then switch to a midday meal. Try that for a little bit of time. And so you can really play with it to determine what what is best for you, what kind of what timing keeps keeps your energy up the best.

[00:21:35.110] – Alyssa
And then the other another key part is that you are only eating once a day. But that doesn't mean you can't put anything else in your body during the other twenty three hours. So drinking fluids throughout the day can have a huge impact on how full you feel. So that's water, that's black coffee and tea. That's like chicken broth or beef broth, like bone bone broth, those kinds of things. A lot of the time in general, if you feel like you need a snack or something, if you feel hungry a lot of the time, you might just be thirsty.

[00:22:14.050] – Alyssa
And so kind of keeping I know you were talking about earlier, kind of always having a snack of nuts or something on you, I think, with, oh, you always want to have a bottle of water or a mug of something to keep you going. And again, to the last thing which I touched on briefly earlier is to kind of really think about creating meals that are really well-balanced and have a variety of nutrients.

[00:22:48.370] – Alyssa
So a lot of the in creating the recipes for my book, I put a lot of focus on protein and fiber because these are the ones that are going to give you energy, keep you full throughout the day. Also a lot of vegetables because those are going to increase portion sizes. Vegetables take longer to chew. Like the longer it takes you to eat, the more full and satisfied you're going to feel. I also talked a little bit about mindful eating. I'm sure a lot of listeners are familiar with mindfulness or like mindfulness meditation.

[00:23:28.060] – Alyssa
And so this is kind of applying that idea to cooking and eating. So really being in the present, like smelling the smells, kind of feeling the textures of your food and really being there with your meal and not watching TV or eating while you're driving, because hopefully, like it's only one meal, you haven't had to carve out a bunch of different times in your day. So hopefully you're able to commit that like 20 to 30 minutes just to enjoying your meal. And that can make a huge difference as well. And kind of how satisfied you then feel going into your fast?

[00:24:12.930] – Allan
I think it's really important to emphasize we brought this up at the beginning just to talk to your doctor. And if you're on any kind of blood sugar lowering meds like metformin or you're taking insulin or anything like that, recognize that when you change the way you eat, you change the formula of how your body is going to work. And so if you're on those and using those, your dosages are probably going to have to change to adapt to what you're doing now. As you get into this, this is not something to just jump in to have the conversation with your doctor, be prepared to change your meds as needed so that you can manage through that. But this is particularly for diabetes and obesity.

[00:24:53.400] – Allan
This is a hugely popular and good approach to eating well and keeping your blood sugar and insulin levels stable. So, you know, this is something you really want to look into. One thing I think a lot of people would be surprised with is like, oh, well, if I'm going to do this, I'm just going to be losing weight. I just I don't need to exercise. But I'll tell you, as a personal trainer. Yeah, you do need to exercise?

[00:25:20.880] – Allan
So there's little concern. And I you know, I had a I hired a personal trainer. I want to get stronger for a Spartan. So I hired a personal trainer, Coach Dave and I meet him every morning. And I told him, I said, you know, I don't care how early we meet. I don't you know, he says, I want you to have time to eat, wake up and eat. And like, no, I don't need to worry about eating before I can do things like, yeah, you need those carbs, you need that, you know, that protein and carbs. So you have the energy to make it through a workout.

[00:25:48.390] – Allan
And I'm like, no, Dave, I'll be fine through the workout. But it was only because I knew my body well enough. I'd been training long enough to know that I can exercise without food in my system. Can you talk a little bit about exercising when you're on OMAD? Considerations and things to do.

[00:26:06.660] – Alyssa
Yeah. So just like you can play around with the timing of your one meal, I definitely recommend playing around with the timing of your workout in relation to your meal, because like you said, some people do feel comfortable and energized and strong exercising on an empty stomach. And there have been studies that do show like some benefits to that, but other people that might make them feel nauseous or weak or things like that. And so you can definitely see if you want to do your workout before your meal, after your meal

[00:26:47.250] – Alyssa
Something else I discuss in the book as the only thing you can kind of quote unquote eat during your fast are fat bombs, which I'm sure you're familiar with as it comes comes out of the keto world. So these are like little treats that you make using healthy fats like coconut oil or coconut butter, and then add a little bit of flavoring like maybe like a drop or two of liquid stevia and some cocoa powder. And then you mix it up and you freeze them and you have really indulgent little snacks, the fat that can be kind of an instant hit of energy if you do feel like you need just that little something before or after a workout.

[00:27:34.860] – Alyssa
But, yeah, it's very personal. And there are certainly benefits to exercising during while you're fasting, while you're on OMAD, as I mentioned earlier, insulin and HGH, those are really the benefits you get from fasting as they affect those hormones. And the benefits that you get from exercising are really complementary to one another. So, like, if fasting is kind of keeping your insulin production low and steady, exercise has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, which means that the body doesn't need as much insulin to begin with to kind of move the glucose out of your bloodstream. So the way that both fasting and exercise impact insulin is incredibly good for your good for your overall health.

[00:28:35.460] – Alyssa
And then obviously with HGH as well, if your HGH levels are high there, that's kind of allowing you to build that lead muscle mass that you're trying to build through exercise, and then just as the time of day that you exercise is very personal. So is the form of exercise you choose. I think one of the most important things about exercise is that you have to be doing something that you enjoy because if you don't like doing it, then you're not going to stick with it and then you're going to feel bad about not sticking with it.

[00:29:16.830] – Alyssa
And then it's just going to be this cycle of. Not maintaining your healthy habits, and so I think that any form of movement, whether that's walking, running, biking, dancing, strength training, interval training, really anything, anything that you enjoy and that you feel good afterwards is a good strategy to take while you're also doing all that.

[00:29:49.670] – Allan
Alyssa, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be, what are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well.

[00:30:00.140] – Alyssa
My first one is one that I just started talking about, which is find activities that are good for you that also make you happy. So the biggest way to find, maintain healthy habits are to find habits that you actually enjoy doing and that you get up every morning wanting to do, excited to do, because you're much more likely to do those things on a regular basis. You're much more likely to keep them in your in your life for longer.

[00:30:41.440] – Alyssa
I'm not a huge fan of, like, doing something that just because you think it's good for you, but you don't feel great afterwards or you kind of are the second you finish your dreading the next time you have to do it. Because like you said, happiness is such an enormous part of fitness and wellness that I really don't think these things are worth doing unless you enjoy them. And there are so many ways you can impact your health in a positive way that you're bound to find at least one that that makes you happy while you do it.

[00:31:24.580] – Alyssa
My second strategy is to be kind to yourself. So life is busy. It's unpredictable. You could have this set plan of like you're going to do X workout, you're going to make X dinner, but then your car breaks down and you have to wait for triple A for three hours and then you end up pizza and really like these are things that are not going to derail all of your efforts. They're not things that mean you have to erase any progress you've made so far and kind of go back to start. And so just giving yourself that leeway to deal with those kinds of twists and turns when when they arrive and really just do what you can, when you can and be proud of what you've accomplished is really, really important.

[00:32:27.640] – Alyssa
And then my last strategy is to just be outside as much as possible. I know personally, I just I always feel better about life when I'm when I'm outside and whether that can be something of like walking your dog every day, going on hikes on the weekends or even just kind of sitting outside for a couple of minutes in the morning while you drink your coffee. I feel like the kind of being connected to nature, even if you live in a city or something like that, just kind of feeling the fresh air or the sun or like seeing grass or trees just has such a kind of calming, stress reducing effect that really can just take you out of your head, even if it's just for a couple of minutes and give you that moment of feeling refreshed and renewed and also empowered to tackle anything that might come your way.

[00:33:40.070] – Allan
Thank you. Alyssa. If someone wanted to learn more about you and the things that you're doing, including your book, The OMAD Diet, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:33:50.160] – Alyssa
Sure. When this goes live, the the diet will be available for purchase wherever books are sold. It's on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, a lot of different places. So if you search for it there, you should be able to find it. You can also find it. And a lot of the other work I do on my website, which is alyssasybertz.com. And there you'll find information and links to the book, as well as to a lot of the other writing and stuff that I do.

[00:34:37.100] – Allan
All right. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/466. And I'll be sure to have the links there. Alyssa, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:34:47.840] – Alyssa
Thank you so much for having me. It was a lot of fun.


Post Show/Recap

[00:34:57.130] – Allan
Welcome back, Ras.

[00:34:58.570] – Rachel
Hey, Allan, wow, that was a really, really interesting interview about a whole new way of eating. It's really an interesting concept to just choose one meal per day. There's a lot of things I like about it, but I also have a few questions.

[00:35:12.940] – Allan
Yeah, it's you know, I've done it before on accident only because, you know, like, my truck got stuck in the mud. I think I've told this story on here. My truck gets stuck in the mud. I was gone working on a yard area I owned on some property, worked for the morning pretty hard. And then as I was trying to pull out, my truck got stuck. So I had to call AAA to pull me out of my own property and their truck broke. And so three hours later, waiting for a part, getting that fixed.

[00:35:42.350] – Allan
I went fishing because that's why I own the land in the first place. So I'm over there fishing and taking my you know, I'm I'm fine. I'm not worried about it, but I'm driving back and realizing it's been 24 hours since I had any food whatsoever.

[00:35:53.500] – Rachel
Wow.

[00:35:53.950] – Allan
Because when I do my fasting, which I do intermittent fasting almost consistently when I'm in full ketosis because I'm just not hungry that often. And my goal in ketosis, particularly at the very beginning of it, is to reduce some body fat. So I will skip a breakfast. I still eat breakfast foods when I break my fast, maybe lunch time or later. I'm not going to get stuck in the whole thing of eggs and bacon and have to be in the morning. I'll eat them whenever I want to. But so I've I've been to a point where I had one meal a day. But I think a lot of people that get into intermittent fasting and OMAD just they struggle initially because it is not something you just do. You don't just sit there and say, I had dinner last night, I'm going to wait until dinner to eat.

[00:36:40.450] – Allan
If you're not conditioned, I'm ready for it. You're going to see blood sugar spikes and plummets. And it's not it's not going be a fun experience. And I think the other thing that a lot of people do wrong with OMAD or with any kind of intermittent fasting is they just don't eat enough food.

[00:36:57.430] – Rachel
Mm hmm.

[00:36:58.900] – Allan
You know, food is its energy, but it's also nutrition. And so it's not just it's not just about calories. When you get into OMAD, you know, you've got to make sure you're getting your nutrition in that one meal. So if you're going to try the OMAD diet, you're probably going to have to supplement with some vitamins and minerals because you're probably going to find it hard to get all of that nutrition in one meal unless you really, really focus on it.

[00:37:27.460] – Allan
Now, Alyssa in in her book, has laid out some pretty good plans and some one approach to it. So if you're interested in it, I think you do want to do a little bit of research first.

[00:37:39.580] – Rachel
Yeah, that was my biggest question was how do you pack all of the nutrients you need to have into one meal? Like how how can you get a full day's worth of nutrients and into one simple meal?

[00:37:52.990] – Allan
It's it's really about nutritional density. OK, so you're not going to have white bread? That's going to be something you eat. White potatoes, you might you might occasionally have that, but you're going to be really looking for the vegetables that are really high in the vitamins and minerals that you're going to want.

[00:38:16.300] – Allan
You may, you know, do salt and you may have some potassium with your so you're looking at what are the foods I can have that are going to give me my potassium? What are the foods that are going to give me my zinc and then iodine and the whole bit. And that's what I was saying, is there's a there's a nutritional density limit there. So you're you're eating a lot of food. That one meal is a lot of food, but you want to look for the most nutritionally dense foods you can have so that you know that you're getting a balanced diet because it's still in the end you need that nutrition. Your body needs that nutrition. Short run.

[00:38:50.530] – Allan
You know, you can you can go with fewer calories, but that's not that's not sustainable. And if you're just doing this as a diet, meaning a fixed period of time, and then you're going to go back to eating normal, you're going to yo yo like crazy.

[00:39:05.000] – Rachel
Yeah, it sounds really challenging to not to mention that we have so many habits, you know, the morning coffee and an afternoon snack and a dessert after dinner or something or an evening snack. It's like there's so many habits that are built around our meals that it would be really a big foreign concept just to stick with one meal and not have anything else throughout the day.

[00:39:27.940] – Allan
Yeah, well, my thoughts would be, OK, start with a step away approach, you know, so like with intermittent fasting, if I were coaching someone on intermittent fasting, I'd say, OK, look, you had your dinner at seven o'clock, so from seven or seven thirty you were eating OK.

[00:39:44.140] – Allan
And then you wake up in the morning and maybe normally you would have your breakfast at seven o'clock. And so you're saying, OK, that's about a 12 hour gap. So that's a fast. We have break-fast, so we break our fast. Well, if you can push your breakfast to 8:00. OK, it's one extra hour and you might feel a little hungry. Mm hmm. That's actually good.

[00:40:06.610] – Rachel
Yeah.

[00:40:07.840] – Allan
It's it's not a bad thing to feel a little hungry. You're actually not going to starve. And being a little hungry is good because you feel that you actually now are listening to the leptin ghrelin conversation in your body, which is how we know we've eaten enough food. So you push it off an hour and you see how you feel and then you get used to that eight o'clock breakfast time and then when you're ready, you push it off to nine o'clock and it gets easier as you practice this. But the other side of it is, no, you can't you can't be eating a lot of high glycemic index foods for those meals, because if you eat high glycemic breakfast, yeah, at eight o'clock by 10, 30, 11 o'clock, you're going to be starving again as your blood sugar plummets and you're going to want that morning snack or second breakfast, as they call it.

[00:41:01.630] – Allan
So you want to avoid that in the best way to avoid that is eating nutritionally dense foods with their protein and some fat. And I would say particularly in the morning, moderate or low carbohydrate. Most of my breakfast, I have no carbohydrates, because you don't you actually don't need the carbohydrates at all, your body will turn to protein and fat into energy if it needs to. If it can, it'll also use body fat. So if you tend to be towards low carb, it's going to make intermittent fasting much easier. In fact, it might just accidentally happen. You wake up, it's like I'm not hungry.

[00:41:38.710] – Rachel
Right.

[00:41:39.080] – Allan
I'm gonna go ahead and go. And you find at 1:00 or 2:00 o'clock, you're like, well, I probably should eat and I usually do. And that's one of the things when I'm doing my intermittent fasting, as I sometimes even force myself to have a meal at two o'clock in the afternoon, because I know having just one meal at six o'clock is going to make it very difficult for me to get enough nutrition in. So I'll say, OK, I'm going to have, you know, a good salad. And so it's going to have a good mix of vegetables in it and a protein source.

[00:42:05.500] – Allan
So maybe I'm going to make a tuna fish salad. You know, I put that on an actual garden salad and I might sprinkle some bacon on there for just, you know, fairy dust and, you know, and maybe even cut up a little bit of an avocado and say, I'll have the rest of that for dinner. So that's a good, solid meal. Give me a good base of nutrition. Sure. It's it's generally light, so it's not going to be overfilling. And I have at about two o'clock and then I can have a reasonable good dinner with some, you know, a good protein source and some vegetables to round out my dinner.

[00:42:42.040] – Allan
And if I feel like I'm not getting the nutrition I need because, you know, maybe I'm saying, OK, I am eating some vegetables that have vitamin C, but I'm not eating a lot of fruit. So maybe I say I need to go ahead while I'm doing this. I need to take a vitamin C supplement. And so I might supplement with vitamin C, I might supplement with vitamin D. It's really just going to depend on how I feel I'm getting the nutrients I need based on how I'm eating.

[00:43:07.990] – Rachel
Yeah. Two meals a day. A day seems a lot more manageable than maybe one meal a day.

[00:43:15.520] – Allan
In general I would agree. But there's, there are there is a lot to be said. You know, the science, the science isn't really there to say yay or nay. At least that's what I heard going through all these, all these readings and talkings and all that is that when our body doesn't have to focus on dealing with food, you can do a lot of other things. That energy gets used somewhere else. It was a kind of a we were going through the coffee plantation I talked about.

[00:43:42.730] – Allan
He was saying, OK, if a plant gets too many berries on it, it can't keep up with all the berries. So some of the berries just die off because the plants a plant knows I only have a certain amount of energy, I can only ripen so many fruits and then while it's got fruit, it can't grow. So no more leaves. It needs the leaves for energy. So it's this trade off balance of what with the energy I have, what can I do?

[00:44:12.610] – Allan
And in our bodies are the same way. If we're not if we're using our energy or not giving our body enough energy, it turns off functions that we would like to be doing. So share in thinking about what you eat, how often you eat. You know, those types of decisions that we're making. We're making those energy decisions for our body because we're setting that mold in place.

[00:44:36.610] – Allan
And so, you know, it's that how much rain or how much sun a plant gets, how rich the soil is. We're creating our own soil. We're creating our own rain and our own sun. So if we're not drinking enough water, if we're not feeding ourselves right to give us the energy, and if we're not grounding ourselves and doing the good things for our lifestyle, we're not creating an environment that allows our body to flourish.

[00:45:03.310] – Rachel
It's interesting, you mentioned and similarly, I think it gives our brain a little bit of time away because how much time do we spend all day thinking about our next meal or what we need to do? And every day I get the question from the family, what's for dinner? Even though I'm the one that cooks it, it's Mike. But, you know, we spend a lot of time planning grocery shopping. What are we going to do for us? What are we going to cook if if that's the attractive thing about one meal a day is that I only have to answer that question once. Then plan it out once, then I've got all those extra free time. I can do other things with my brain.

[00:45:39.250] – Allan
And I think, as you go into that, you can go even a step further. And if you did some batch cooking, can you imagine the leverage you have. If you go through on a Saturday, Sunday and you cook four or five big meals.

[00:45:54.370] – Rachel
Yeah.

[00:45:54.910] – Allan
And you have those ready through the week, your whole workweek could basically be taken care of and you wouldn't even have to think about food. You just know, OK, on Monday we're having steak. On Tuesday, we're having roast, you know, maybe a roast Saturday or Sunday we're having this this vegan lasagna. And, you know, when you get through your week, you're like by the time you get to Friday, it's like, wow, you know, I didn't have to actually do any cooking and I can hit the farmer's market tomorrow and do it all again.

[00:46:24.010] – Rachel
I love that. That is a great idea. We need to do more of that.

[00:46:28.480] – Allan
Support your local farmers, you know.

[00:46:30.050] – Rachel
That's right.

[00:46:30.500] – Allan
So that's why I bought the the coffee from from this place. And if you find yourself in Boquete, please message me and let me know and I'll I'll hook you up with these guys. They've got a little they brought a container down with their stuff, you know, we did it, we high, we hired someone and it's their container. But they actually bought a container up in the States and brought it down and then they turned the container into an apartment.

[00:46:55.900] – Rachel
Oh, wow.

[00:46:56.540] – Allan
Yeah. So they rent out this container on a on a coffee farm. Oh, my God. You want good coffee every morning when you wake up, this is the place to stay. But anyway…

[00:47:07.990] – Rachel
That sounds great.

[00:47:08.920] – Allan
And you can have coffee. Coffee is not really breaking a fast or a couple calories maybe in a coffee. But for the most part, the black coffee is not a violation of OMAD. You're not going to go to OMAD jail for having your coffee.

[00:47:22.390] – Rachel
Good. It's a good thing.

[00:47:24.910] – Allan
Yeah. All right, Rachel, this is a really good conversation.

[00:47:28.300] – Rachel
It was.

[00:47:28.300] – Allan
I'll talk to you next week.

[00:47:29.680] – Rachel
Thanks. Take care.

Patreons

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Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy

Less...

December 14, 2020

How to end carb confusion with Dr. Eric Westman and Amy Berger

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If you ask people who watch their carbohydrates how many you can eat, you'll get dozens of answers. Dr. Eric Westman and Amy Berger help you end your carb confusion.

Dr. Westman is an associate professor of medicine at Duke University. He is board-certified in obesity medicine and internal medicine and founded the Duke Keto Medicine Clinic in 2006 after eight years of clinical research regarding low carbohydrate ketogenic diets

Amy Berger is an Air Force veteran and certified nutrition specialist who specializes in helping people do keto without the crazy. She has a master's degree in human nutrition and writes about a wide range of health nutrition-related topics such as insulin, metabolism, weight loss, diabetes, thyroid function, and more.

Transcript

Let's Say Hello

[00:00:50.270] – Allan
Raz, how are you doing?

[00:00:54.250] – Rachel
Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:00:56.020] – Allan
I'm doing well. We made it back down to Panama in one piece. Travel issues all the way along, running away from/dodging Covid, as I talked about earlier, because it just seemed like the caseloads that were really picking up. And we're seeing that now with the reporting on the news and all. But, you know, we're back here, case loads on the island and across most of Panama are reasonable. But, it just it's going to be here till it's not.

[00:01:22.900] – Rachel
Right.

[00:01:23.330] – Allan
We've got to take one day. And I know they're doing, you know, shutdowns again. And as we're going through this. And so I know it's really hard on folks right now. But, keep your chin up. Keep focused on New Year's coming. You can get through this where you've gotten this far. You can get through this. I just, you know, put your sights on what's important to you, your family, your health. And if it's your fitness, find ways to do it at home.

[00:01:47.750] – Rachel
Mm hmm. That's right. We didn't come this far to come this far. So we can just keep it up and we'll get through the holidays and into next year. It'll be great.

[00:01:56.650] – Allan
So how are things up in Michigan?

[00:01:58.630] – Rachel
Cold, like, if I could, we haven't seen a ton of snow quite yet, but I know some places around us are getting it. So I'm I'm looking forward to the snow because if it's going to be cold, it might as well be pretty. And running in the snow is pretty entertaining for me as well. So I'm looking forward to that.

[00:02:18.810] – Allan
Just watch for the ice. Particularly early in the season and late in the season where you get that melt and then refreeze and then snow on top. Just mind your footing.

[00:02:29.980] – Rachel
That's right.

[00:02:31.900] – Allan
Our guests today are actually pretty cool. I've met both of them at Ketofest and talked to both of them at Ketofest. And I've had both of them on the podcast before, Dr. Eric Westman and Amy Berger. So why don't we go give them a chat?

Interview

[00:03:28.840] – Allan
Amy, Dr. Westman, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:03:32.080] – Dr. Westman
Thank you.

[00:03:32.920] – Amy
Thanks. Thanks for having us.

[00:03:34.180] – Allan
Well, Amy and I have to say welcome back because I have had you on before, so it's really good to see you two again and to be talking to you. You know, we've met at Ketofest and spent a little bit of time talking, so I'm very familiar with your work. And I was really excited to see the new book, End Your Carb Confusion: A Simple Guide to Customize Your Carb Intake for Optimal Health.

[00:03:55.000] – Allan
And it's kind of a it's a keto book obviously, when we talk low carb, most people are going to get into ketosis at some level. But this is this is something I think that makes it simple. So many carbs. They want simple rules. But you actually took the process and said, hey, we're not going to give you a cookbook, we're not going to do it. We're just going to say, look, here's how you understand what carbs are doing to you.

[00:04:18.580] – Allan
And here's a layout of a plan. And I think having that plan walks them through. It's like these are the foods you can eat. These are the foods you stay away from and you give the reasons why. I just think that is so very well put together. Book to end carb confusion.

[00:04:34.300] – Dr. Westman
Thank you. You know, we have been working in the low carb space and yes, I'm known as the keto Guy. As a researcher, I helped to validate the low carb diets over the last twenty years. And but I also realized there are a lot of other ways to go about things. And I'm in a clinic treating people grounded. And I think that's helped me understand that there are a lot of ways, there are a lot of carbs that some people can eat.

[00:05:03.010] – Dr. Westman
But in fact, I have a brother who can eat all of these carbs and he's never gained weight. So using kito diet in the clinic and the book, I would say it's keto and more. And we never say you have to do keto and we help you find out whether you do need it or not. And I have tried to bring in really the science not just from my own research, but the science on low glycemic diets, the science on just the lower carb types of diets that have come out well over the last twenty years.

[00:05:36.580] – Dr. Westman
But yes, I am an author on the new Atkins for a new You and keto clarity. And but this is my first solo venture. I'm trying to bring in all of the information I've learned from other researchers as well. I look to Christopher Gardner at Stanford, David Ludwig at Harvard, and the common theme is sugar is the bad guy, not fat.

[00:06:03.490] – Dr. Westman
And so knowing that I'm in a clinic still and busy, I teamed up with Amy Berger, who is a professional writer, I'm not. I'm a researcher and a scientific writer. And so Amy had a way of articulating the same ideas in a very readable format. So you're not going to be reading a lot of my words. They're also Amy's and she's been in this space for just about as long as me, not in the research world. But so I'm really trying to bring the knowledge that I've gained into a readable form.

[00:06:38.560] – Dr. Westman
And this, I hope, is for the general public to read. It's not, you know, low carb. Or I'm going to lock you up in a low carb prison. It's understanding how can my brother eat one hundred and fifty carbs a day and still be healthy? You know, it's understanding that.

[00:06:57.460] – Allan
Yeah. And Amy and Dr. Westman. Yes. That's the one thing I would say about this book is it didn't bury me in the science because a lot of books do. It was very clear. And I think, you know, for someone who's looking at this space and has just gotten scared or confused and again, don't they don't understand why can my significant other eat that way and not gain a pound? But I look at a donut and, you know, so it's very well done. I really appreciate it.

[00:07:29.440] – Allan
Let's take that conversation about sugar a little bit further, because for decades, just stay away from fat, stay away from fat, stay away from fat. And the food companies were really nice about making the food taste good by just replacing the fat with sugar. And that's been horrific on our help. Can you explain what exactly is going on in our body when we're ingesting too much sugar?

[00:07:53.590] – Dr. Westman
Sure. You know, we really rediscovered or gone back to one hundred years ago when this was all well understood. It's like we came through a period of time where it all got messed up, the focus on fat and the food. And so the understanding, of course, is deeper now. But it's been known for a long time that if you eat or drink sugar, you raise the blood sugar or glucose more specifically, and then that causes an insulin response in the body.

[00:08:24.070] – Dr. Westman
And it's glucose insulin response, we now understand, is the root cause for the atherosclerosis or the heart disease, the stroke, the kidney disease and diabetes. Of course, diabetes is defined as an elevated blood sugar. So patients again, I teach this in a clinic in North Carolina where I have to have a lot of different people understand what we're talking about. And they understand that if you drink sugar, like sweet tea, it raises the blood sugar. And why we've forgotten that is a whole other story.

[00:08:59.590] – Dr. Westman
But we start the book by talking about how things aren't perfect now. The focus on fat does not solve our problems. And the real reason is what sugar does in the body, sugar and insulin, glucose and insulin.

[00:09:15.050] – Allan
You know Amy, as I was into the book and we got into we got into the discussion of glycation, I think that's that was some of the, I guess, a wake up word for me. You know, when your blood gets sticky, bad things are going to happen.

[00:09:27.640] – Amy
Yeah, that's it's kind of an oversimplification, although kind of like you said, I mean, the subtitle of our book is A Simple Guide to Customising. You know, Eric and I both are frankly stunned at how complicated a very simple way of eating has been made out to be the last few years. So we we purposely wrote this book to appeal to a very broad audience, you know, maybe to be appealing to the people on Twitter and Facebook and Reddit that eat, sleep and breathe keto and low carb all the time.

[00:10:03.430] – Amy
But also, this is the book to give to your mother or your cousin, the one that has obesity or has diabetes. But they're never going to do a keto diet. They're never going to learn about Amthor and Autophagy and all this stuff. They just want to feel a little better. And anyway, with the with the glycation, you know, we we try to explain everything without the scientific jargon and the gobbledygook. It's all written in plain English.

[00:10:29.290] – Amy
And we explain why glycation is basically for people that don't realize that diabetes is really a vascular disease. It's a blood vessel disease. Cardiovascular disease is the number one actual cause of death in people with Type two diabetes. And this is why people with diabetes have so many problems with the eyes and the kidneys, because these organs or these tissues have tiny tiny, very, very fragile blood vessels, and when your blood is, for lack of a better word, very sticky with sugar and viscose, think of it like instead of water flowing through your veins.

[00:11:04.350] – Amy
Now you've got molasses trying to flow through your veins. Your heart's trying to pump this sticky sugar. And not only is a blood sticky, the blood vessels are mocked up and gonked up with sugar. The whole system is just more fragile. And this this is the root of many of the problems that people with diabetes have. But something that we really harp on in the book that is like a huge mission for me to help educate people about is that even when your blood sugar is normal so you don't have diabetes or prediabetes, your blood sugar can be totally normal.

[00:11:40.050] – Amy
But you might have a lot of these problems because you have really high insulin. The reason your blood sugar is normal is because that insulin is keeping it in check. So whether or not your blood sugar is normal, you still might be living with this long list of issues that come from these metabolic problems driven by by consuming too much carbohydrate.

[00:12:01.590] – Allan
Now, there's a phrase you used in the book, and I've used it and I've heard it before. Some of us can tolerate more carbohydrates than others. And you use the term carbohydrate threshold. Can you talk through that and why that's important for us to understand for ourselves so we can actually have a plan. Because I think so many people go in and say, well, you know, initially this was always advertised as the bacon diet because everybody was all excited they were going to get to eat bacon again.

[00:12:28.920] – Allan
And then, you know, then it was the butter in your coffee diet and then it was the MCT oil and now it's exogenous ketones and it's, you know, but simplifying it. We've got to take it back down and understand this is going to be somewhat of an experiment of N = 1 where you're the subject and it's what you can eat, what you can tolerate. That's going to be the most important thing. So can you talk about that concept of carbohydrate threshold and how it affects how we would approach the adapt your life way of eating?

[00:12:58.170] – Dr. Westman
This is a scientific genetic predisposition that we're talking about and we can put people in the right direction. So we have a questionnaire you complete to see if you're going to be someone who has more carbohydrate intolerance or a lower carb threshold to achieve good health or you have a higher carb threshold. And so we have a checklist of items to look at, but it's not perfect. There is some trial and error there. And we've explained that. And this is what I do in my clinic.

[00:13:30.610] – Dr. Westman
I'll start people out at if they're trying to lose weight at a very low carb level and then help people to introduce carbs, if they want to find their threshold. And we are shying away from the high tech use of ketones and blood measurements and breath. And you know, the watches, the digital watches that are non-invasive and you get ketones then, I think it would be reasonable but we don't ask anyone to do high tech measurements.

[00:14:02.250] – Dr. Westman
It's predicting what direction you should be in and then monitoring how you do. And so it's a genetic predisposition. I mean, it's as if what helped us survive in famines when there was no food around is now a liability so that those who are good storers of the extra energy are the ones who have the lower threshold of carbs. So you're going to hold on to it more. Of course, the more active you are, the more carbs you can have.

[00:14:31.800] – Dr. Westman
That's the the family member I have who is very active, can eat more carbs and is very healthy. But the threshold is really important in terms of the metabolic health and we help people find that out. And when I kind of step back, this is one of the first books to embrace a wide range of carbohydrates in the diet, acknowledging and recommending a wide range. But it's a lot lower than has been recommended if you're doing high carb types of diets in the past. But the carb threshold is really important and we are not using high tech ways for you to figure that out.

[00:15:11.200] – Amy
If I could just chime in quickly. I think we do have a range, but even our highest recommendation compared to a standard type Western diet is lower. But I think the reason, Dr. Westman, is an obesity medicine specialist and I think we talk a lot about weight, but in that checklist we have where people can help and determine what level they should be starting at. Weight is only a tiny piece of this. There is so many issues that you can be dealing with, even if you're at a quote unquote normal weight.

[00:15:42.390] – Amy
I hate that phrase, but a normal weight if you're not carrying excess body fat. But we do start depending on your medical situation, we start most people out at the very lowest level. Because when your carb intake is that low, like Dr. Wiseman was saying you don't have to measure your ketones, you don't have to measure your blood glucose. You're going to be in ketosis. You're going to be fat burning at that level. Everybody will. And then who can also be fat burning and be healthy at a higher level is variable.

[00:16:15.650] – Amy
But the reason we tend to start most people out at the lowest level is because it's the easiest way to do it. There's not a lot of guess work. You will be either ketogenic or burning fat at that point without weighing and measuring your food and calculating the macro. I mean, I love food. I love to eat. I refuse to turn my meals. I'm never going to open a spreadsheet when I sit down to the dinner table. Other people love to do that. And if you want to, great. But the plan that we've designed is designed so that you don't have to do any of that.

[00:16:48.410] – Allan
Yeah, it's it's funny because some of the science that would come out in the past, they would say we're gonna have a low carb group and a high carb group and then, you know, a lot of people in keto space would argue and say, oh, well, that's that's not keto, that's not low carb. And I'm thinking, well, if they were eating two hundred and fifty grams of sugar per day before, one hundred grams of sugar actually feels pretty darn low.

[00:17:13.820] – Amy
It's all relative. Yeah.

[00:17:15.360] – Allan
Yeah. So and then one of the funny things would come out of a lot of those studies would be, well it's unsustainable. You know, so they're thinking, OK, no one can go down to twenty five grams and stay there for the rest of their lives. But there's people who've been doing it for decades. So yes, you can. Can you talk about the three levels of the adapt your life eating style so people can have a general idea of what each of those entails?

[00:17:40.110] – Dr. Westman
Yeah, maybe I'll talk about the levels that you give, the detail on the different foods. I mean, that's that's another great thing about having a nutrition expert as a co-author on the book we make a good team. So again, it's kind of a rough these are cut points of numbers that are not written in stone. I can't imagine that there's an equation like Einstein that says this number represents this for everyone. But there's a phenomenon that we repeatedly see, and that is the lower the carbs, the more percentage of people will be in ketosis or have the metabolic effects of the ketosis.

[00:18:25.790] – Dr. Westman
And so we have kind of, the other main point is we use total carbs, not net carbs, because it's more precise. It's it's more scientific. The net carb is a whole other kind of distraction. So we start at about a 20 total carb per day sort of approach. And actually, it is very sustainable, as you say, if you learn how to do it right. And then we found that in other studies have used carbs up to about 50 per day.

[00:18:53.520] – Dr. Westman
And again, this is kind of a general rule of thumb. And then we have stories of people who are using these different levels in the books, in the book. And then for those who are very active, they're younger they might be cyclists doing competitive cycling. They are able to be healthy at a much higher carb level. And we again, the numbers not important is just a higher level, but with sugar being the bad guy now, not fat and the food, we have estimated that from clinical experience and studies, some people can have up to one hundred, one hundred and fifty grams of carbs per day and be healthy.

[00:19:34.580] – Dr. Westman
I mean this and so this kind of explains the person that you see, how can they eat all that and why you don't see what they're doing in terms of other lifestyle things and the metabolic flexibility or the carbohydrate tolerance is the big factor now. It's not fat anymore. In fact, I would just want to comment. We don't really make any comment on fat being bad. And so you can eat bacon on this kind of diet, too, even if you're not.

[00:20:03.260] – Dr. Westman
OK, so all we've got to sanitize the the idea that fat is is bad, then you're not going to read that. So we're resetting what someone should understand about food without even paying much attention to the old stuff that got us off track.

[00:20:22.430] – Amy
I think something that's unique about our book, though, is that we also don't demonize carbohydrate. I mean, look look around the world, there are quite literally billions of people that eat rice they eat beans, they eat food, they eat potatoes, and they're healthy. They're lean, they live well into old age. And so for us to say that cantaloupe is poison or black beans are killing you is kind of ridiculous.

[00:20:46.880] – Amy
And so but it depends on your health situation. You know, certain foods that might be perfectly suitable for one person are not suitable for the other person who has PCOS or diabetes or hypertension or whatever. But I think that's that's unique in that we acknowledge that you can actually eat carbohydrate, you know, and we also other than just recommending, OK, depending on where you're starting from, here's the carbohydrate level we recommend.

[00:21:17.300] – Amy
I think, something that's also different and that hopefully people are hungry for, no pun intended, is that we explain how to gradually increase your carbohydrate intake if you choose to. Like we were saying, you can live at twenty or thirty grams of carbs for your whole life if you want to. But let's say you you do a strict ketogenic diet. You lose two hundred pounds, you reverse your type two diabetes, you reverse that, everything's great.

[00:21:45.500] – Amy
Now what do you need to stay super strict keto forever or can you have that occasional sweet potato, can you have the occasional piece of fruit? And the answer is for most people probably, yes. And we we walk you through how to reintroduce that stuff slowly and systematically so that you don't regain the weight and you don't trigger a recurrence of all those health issues. But we're very clear that you don't have to increase the carbs. But if you want to, here's how to do it in a way that is most likely to work for you long term.

[00:22:18.980] – Allan
Well, I practice a thing I call seasonal ketosis where I do get strict keto for a period of time, usually starting in February after my birthday. And I'll go pretty much until August in more of a strict keto way of eating. I call that my famine season and then rolls around football season and, you know, Thanksgiving, Christmas and my birthday, like I said, and then I go into my feasting season. So, you know, if I had to give it a classification, I would say I'm in level one for much of the year.

[00:22:49.250] – Allan
And then when I'm ready to let loose, I'm in level three, but I'm still generally low carb at level three. But, you know, that's that's why I liked what you were offering there, because it does kind of give us that that flexibility to say if I'm meeting my goals, my health is good, I can I can let a little bit more carbs in and I can check and see how that's working for you, because you can always step back down to that level one if you need to. So, again, I really appreciated the way you put that forward.

[00:23:21.840] – Allan
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[00:23:51.480] – Allan
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[00:24:31.030] – Allan
Now, whenever anything gets cool, there's a profit to be made, companies are going to step in. So when fat became a problem, they start advertising low fat. When sugar became a problem, they started advertising low sugar. And when keto came along, paleo did it now, keto, they're suddenly going to be coming out with these keto friendly products and they're everywhere and they they have the right macros. So it's like, OK, this should be good. What one of the problems that we really have when you start looking at these commercialized keto products?

[00:25:03.850] – Dr. Westman
Amy, you want to take this one on first?

[00:25:06.490] – Amy
Well, yeah. So it's like you were saying earlier or I don't know if this is maybe before we started recording. Those things are great as a transition step. If you're not prepared to give up your cookies and your cake and your pie and your ice cream, better to have the keto version made with almond flour and arithmetical and coconut flour. And for some people, that'll work perfectly long term. For other people, because it's keto, it tends to be very high in fat, like it's made with coconut butter and oils and cream cheese.

[00:25:38.350] – Amy
But it also a lot of these products contain a lot of sugar, alcohol and a lot of added fiber, not intrinsic fiber, but fiber that they add for bulk or texture. And so these products are allowed to be labeled as either keto or very low in net carbs. And the problem is that some people's bodies react to sugar alcohols, these sort of non sugar sweeteners almost as if they're sugar, not not quite as extreme as regular sugar, but they're still having a blood glucose and insulin response.

[00:26:09.100] – Amy
And so not only are you having that response, but you're combining it with an item that's very, very high on fat. So these sort of, quote unquote, ice creams and keto cakes and stuff are one of the biggest reasons we see for fat loss not happening the way people want it to or for just things not progressing the way someone would want to. And I'm not opposed to these things, but you have to go by a result. If these things are a regular part of your diet and you're not happy with the results you're getting, that's one of the areas you would look to to maybe cut those things out.

[00:26:44.690] – Amy
It's kind of like let me put it this way, when you were saying, like in the 80s when everything was low fat and it was loaded with sugar. Oh, I can eat the whole box because it's low in fat. People are doing that now with the heat. Oh, it's low carb. So I can eat the whole pint of ice cream. It's low carb. I can eat the whole box of cookies. Low carb does not mean low calorie.

[00:27:04.340] – Amy
And I know we hate the C word in our community, but just because something's low in calories, you still have to deal with that food, just because it's low in carbs, that food, energy, those calories still have to be put somewhere.

[00:27:18.080] – Allan
Yeah, and I appreciate you mentioning sugar alcohols because I've never been a huge fan of those. I think when you are you're trying to go low carb and you want to make it something that's generally sustainable. We don't allow our bodies to reset our palate. You know, we're used to eating all the sugar. And so we like things sweet. You know, ketchup has a lot of sugar in it. People don't recognize that because you barely taste that sweetness, because we've been, you know, I guess for like, we were programmed. You know, they put more sugar in and we eat more and they put more sugar and we eat more.

[00:27:49.130] – Allan
Sugar alcohols, in my opinion, don't really give us that opportunity to really begin to taste the sweetness in Standard Foods. But that being said, I was I was standing in line with you, Dr. Westman, at keto Fest, and you said we need to do something, something we don't have to be perfect, but we just need to do something. And it's like, again, I take that back and say, you know, if you need a bridge, you know, these commercialized products or the sugar alcohols might be OK.

[00:28:17.150] – Allan
But you need to put that in context of where you where your instate is, where you want to go. So thank you for that, because that was that was pretty profound standing at a dinner line with you, Dr. Westman.

[00:28:27.470] – Dr. Westman
Well, you know, progress, not perfection, is kind of a general theme when you're helping someone that has a long journey and not only the sugar alcohols, I need them for the true carb addict to keep them away from sugar, sugar addiction being the most common carb that people are addicted to. But the other thing that I see in these products is they'll add the oils or to make the macros right. But then you well, at least when I drink them, I get stomach trouble.

[00:29:04.490] – Dr. Westman
So I don't think these have been well tested. And certainly they haven't been in the clinical trials of keto so we're trying to go back to the real food idea. Don't add in these other products. And certainly if you're drinking something that gives you a stomach issue, that's not keto, that's the product.

[00:29:25.790] – Allan
Yeah, well its a big thing. I tell people you know, one of the big tips for weight loss is don't drink your calories. So if you're adding fat to your coffee, you might like it that way. But in a general sense, you're adding calories to, you're drinking them. So it's not filling you up as much as you would think it would.

[00:29:43.730] – Dr. Westman
There are all these new things new that have not been tested. You know, the idea of putting oils in the coffee and in medium chain triglyceride, it will raise your ketone level momentarily. But if you have then five of those over the course of the day, you're going to be stopping your endogenous fat burning. So, and you want ketones to come from your body fat if you're trying to lose weight. And so we explain that in the book that the way you look at these things is different, depending on what you're trying to accomplish.

[00:30:20.990] – Dr. Westman
And I see a lot of people who really don't need the keto metabolism, but they're doing it because it's fashionable and then, you know, six months later, well, what do I do now? Well, they didn't need it in the first place or maybe one month later. And so that's how we can help you figure out with this book what carb threshold still is going to be healthy for you. So, you know, let's say you drank the keto Kool-Aid, but you really don't need it.

[00:30:48.530] – Dr. Westman
We're going to help you figure that out. And on the other hand, if you're scared about keto, that's OK, we may actually end up convincing you or reassuring you that you can eat carbs, you can have fruit, you can have some bread and still be healthy. So we're trying to demystify it and also take the fear away of it. This the end of carb confusion and it might be able to end your carb fear or keto fear as well as a title.

[00:31:18.050] – Allan
And one of the things you had in level one that I understood is, you know, we're going to have to if we're going to be less than 20 grams of carbs, that's pretty much going to negate fruit from that level. But what was interesting was you also negated nuts and cheese. And I was like, oh, well, you know, fat head pizza, you've got it. You know, it's just a cheese bomb. So, you know, everybody in keto eats cheese, right?

[00:31:43.160] – Allan
That's the big thing we take away is the bacon and the cheese, but you also say we probably should be cutting back on the nuts or eliminating the nuts and the cheese while we're in this phase one. Can you talk about that?

[00:31:55.120] – Dr. Westman
Yeah, those are probably the most common reasons that the kind of casual keto you read on the Internet, learn it from a friend, why it doesn't work for people. So if you do have a carb issue a carbohydrate intolerance, insulin resistance is the same same term prediabetes, then calories will matter and trigger foods can make you eat more of them so you overcome the calorie and carb limits. So implicit in our approach and remember, this is an approach that's been used over a hundred and fifty years.

[00:32:33.390] – Dr. Westman
So it's really not all that new. But a common mistake is over consuming nuts, the cheese, the cream in the coffee or tea. So we do have and explain to why those things need to be limited. Fortunately, it's not hard to limit them once your appetite is gone. So it's not as an extreme. Oh, I can't give that up because as long as we as long as we've gotten started and your appetite is down, it's easier to make those adjustments.

[00:33:02.040] – Dr. Westman
But those are common mistakes that we see. I'm doing keto, but it's not working, thats too many nuts, too much cheese and cream.

[00:33:11.300] – Amy
And to be clear, those foods are suitable for a ketogenic diet. It's just if your goal is fat loss, those foods are just they call a hand to mouth or hand to mouth disease. You sit down with a bag of almonds and you're supposed to have an ounce. And before you know it, the bag is gone. And and the thing is also with nuts, I personally find they don't even fill me up. I can have half a bag of nuts and still feel like I barely ate anything.

[00:33:38.010] – Amy
So nuts are actually not permitted at al on the lowest level of our diet. Cheese is permitted, but the total quantity is limited. And again, it's not you know, those foods are high in fat but low in carbs, but they're just so easy to massively overdo. And that's really why they're limited. And they are reintro, nuts and seeds are reintroduced on level two. So, you know, if you're someone that is very, very sick or very, very overweight, starting out, make it your goal to get to the point where you can progress to level two and maybe reintroduce those things.

[00:34:14.220] – Amy
But yeah, that's yeah, that's I mean, that's really the rationale. Just because something is low in carbs doesn't mean it's going to be the best thing for you to eat.

[00:34:25.350] – Dr. Westman
My clinical experience is quite a privilege and I've been involved in research and taking care of patients. And and it's also humbling because I'll have people come back and they look me in the eye and say it's not working. So I have to figure out why and help people. Usually it's we get a lot of information at first. And there's one little thing that didn't seem that big and all that. But still, you have to understand what we're explaining and presenting is something that really works.

[00:34:57.930] – Dr. Westman
And it's been hammered through years of clinical experience and people looking in the eye saying, hey, you know, fix me. So this isn't just some off the shelf kind of rearrangement of foods, which I see, again, is another theme where you could be on the bookshelf and there are 15 different books and you don't know which one to start with. We're talking about one that has been vetted through clinical and personal experience for for a long time.

[00:35:30.750] – Dr. Westman
So you can have that confidence. In fact, we were discussing in writing the book. Do we include scientific references even? And finally it came down to we don't have to. We don't we don't have one scientific reference in this because it's all proven. It's all you have to have a study that shows the sun's coming up tomorrow, you know, I mean, so, again, we want to make it simple, not distractor with the glit.

[00:35:58.620] – Dr. Westman
In fact, books that have hundreds of references. I think sometimes they're protesting too much. But, you know, look at all the science, but no this is practical. It really works. And it comes from our experience with real people.

[00:36:12.540] – Amy
And frankly, nothing, at least in my opinion, nothing that we say in the book is all that controversial. Nothing really needs to be backed up. Oh, well, here's a study that shows this crazy thing we're saying. Nothing, we're not even demonizing some of the things that others in the larger low carbon and keto space really worry about, like artificial sweeteners, not not the sugar alcohols, but things like sucralose and aspartame and saccharin, like Splenda, Sweet'N Low, that stuff.

[00:36:42.930] – Amy
Because that really doesn't have the same metabolic effect as the sugar alcohols, it's almost negligible. Those things we don't fearmonger about the what they call the seed oils. If you're on a budget and you can't spend eight dollars for a bottle of avocado oil, salad dressing, it's OK for you to get the ranch dressing with the soybean oil. You can go to the discount store and get the the ground beef for three dollars a pound. It doesn't have to be grass fed.

[00:37:08.080] – Amy
All that great stuff. The food quality local farms is fabulous if you can afford it. But this plan, Dr. Weissman's patients are the entire spectrum of financial resources, of educational level of socioeconomic status. This approach has to work for every single one of them, every race, every ethnicity, whoever walks through that clinic door, this needs to work. And so we're kind of like, we take all comers, whether you're a millionaire and you have a personal chef or you're going to go to the fast food drive thru and get the boneless burger, guess what? This is going to work as long as you stay within your carb limit.

[00:37:51.060] – Allan
Yeah. And so the way I looked at this, I was like, this is like if you're if you're keto curious or low carb curious. This is a this is a good book to introduce you to it because it's not super deep in science. I mean, it's backed up. I promise you. I've seen the studies that back up everything that Dr. Westman and Amy are saying in this book. So it's there. And then if you're someone who's done keto and then plateaued, I think this is going to give you a lot of answers for why what you're doing right now might not be working for you.

[00:38:22.860] – Allan
And it's a lot of the things we talked about today. It's not understanding your carb threshold. It's getting into the the recipes, you know my feed and Facebook is every other every other post in my Facebook right now from keto is some kind of sweet how to make a pie, how to make a tart, how to make a cookie, how to make a cake, how to make you know. And so, yeah, if you're if you're filling up with that kind of stuff, there's probably reasons why you're getting too many calories.

[00:38:48.750] – Allan
And like you said, Amy, while a lot of people in the community don't want to count calories, you don't have to. But if you're eating calorie dense food, you're eating probably eating more calories than your body really needs. And if you're not losing weight, you're definitely eating more calories than your body probably needs. And we don't like to hear that in the Keto community. But guess what? Both camps are a little bit right. And if you put them together, you have a really good plan.

[00:39:16.590] – Allan
And in your book, End Your Carb Confusion, I think you do an excellent job with the experience you have putting that in there. So thank you so much again for letting me profile this book. I do have one final question for each of you. So I'll start with you, Amy. I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:39:39.210] – Amy
Three strategies and tactics. It depends on how we define happiness, health and all that, I and you know, you sent this question ahead of time and I didn't give it that much thought. I because I guess I thought it was more defining them than how to do it.

[00:39:55.440] – Amy
I mean, whatever you need to do to be able to participate in life the way you want to, whether it's having the mobility to go do the physical pursuits you want to do, or whether it's feeling well enough mentally and emotionally to interact with people the way you want to and enjoy the hobbies you want. I don't think six pack abs are not required for any of that. So don't let health and pursuit of some kind of optimal physique come at the expense of your mental and emotional health, because I see that all the time in our community.

[00:40:31.650] – Amy
And it's what's the point of looking great if you're miserable all the time on the inside? So I would say eat and socialize and move in such a way that you are able to do all the things you want to do physically and and intellectually.

[00:40:49.660] – Allan
Thank you, Dr. Westman, and I'll ask you the same 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?

[00:41:01.550] – Dr. Westman
I love that and, you know, I've often wondered what the doctor's role is, and doctor means teacher back in the root word, and I've often thought that the health side of things that the doctor really is just an adviser, and I'm trying to get people to live as long and as happy and as healthy a life as they can help to optimize that very consistent with your definition. And going beyond our book. It's mind body, spiritual wellness. And so we talk about nutrition.

[00:41:40.940] – Dr. Westman
Getting nutrition right helps you in that direction. In so many ways. It just by changing the foods, I see people rediscovering all these other aspects of their lives that were thrown off just because of the food. So we start with nutrition and then I think being physically active and happy and then emotionally, spiritually community helps with that a lot, too. So it's more complicated than we can dive into in this book, but those are the principles that we use when we approach this book.

[00:42:15.290] – Allan
Thank you.

[00:42:15.980] – Amy
Yeah, that's if I just just real quick, if I can kind of piggy back, because I almost forgot, in the book, we do mention that. You know, once you start to feel better physically because, you know, a lot of people have brain fog and low mood and this shift in diet has this cascading effect that once you actually start feeling better and you have more energy and you're thinking a sharper, it's easier to re-engage with those other aspects of your life with the physicality and the spirituality and all that other stuff that maybe you literally weren't able to do because you were so limited by your physical health.

[00:42:53.880] – Allan
Great. So, Amy, Dr. Westman, if someone wanted to learn more about the book, End Your Carb Confusion or what you guys are doing, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:43:03.170] – Dr. Westman
End Your Carb Confusion is available at any any bookstore, Amazon or Barnes & Noble or any bookseller coming out very soon or this week. And then the deep dive. I've actually started a adapt to your life academy, where if you really want to get into detail beyond the book and this is a custom made simple course that we have available now. It's called AdaptYourLifeAcadem.com. And then Drwestmanonline.com is a resource to help figure out where to go based on the things that I understand are most helpful on the Internet. End Your Carb Confusion is available now.

[00:43:50.570] – Allan
Amy?

[00:43:51.590] – Amy
Yeah, right now my website is, we had a little glitch, so it's www.tuitnutrition.com. But you actually have to put the w w w dot if you just put tuitnutrition.com at the moment it won't come up. And I'm also on YouTube. My YouTube channel is the same tuitnutrition and that's my handle on Twitter.

[00:44:13.520] – Amy
And Dr. Westman is also on Twitter. And adapt your life, look for that on YouTube as well. They have I mean, hundreds and hundreds of hours of interviews, not just with Dr. Westman, but Ken Berry and all kinds of experts and doctors and nutritionists and trainers that have been interviewed by the company. So lots of stuff there, too.

[00:44:34.100] – Allan
Great. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/464 and I'll be sure to have links, all the links mentioned here today. Dr. Westman, Amy, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:44:45.650] – Amy
Thank you.

[00:44:48.700] – Dr. Westman
Your welcome.


Post Show/Recap

[00:44:51.940] – Allan
Raz, welcome back.

[00:44:53.410] – Rachel
Wow, that was a great interview, Allan. A lot of good stuff in there today.

[00:44:57.880] – Allan
Yeah. You know, whenever I get to talking to someone about Keto, you know, sometimes it can get really technical. And I think a lot of people get scared away by something that sounds so, so strict, something so difficult. And a lot of times you're thinking about, well, how do I keep my carbs below 25 grams when I love bread and I love biscuits and I love potatoes and I love, you know, vegetables and fruit and ice cream and cakes and all the other stuff.

[00:45:24.280] – Allan
I mean, you know, we're buried in carbs. You walk into a grocery store and quite literally, the entire middle of the grocery store is just a big stack of shelves of carbs in boxes, bags, cartons. It's insane. So, you know, what they've come up with, with their adapt approach. And, you know, it just makes it a little easier to understand what's in the food you're eating. Everybody wants an easy button.

[00:45:52.720] – Allan
And, you know, it would be great if we could just, like, make it easy and just say it's it's this or it's that. A lot of times I run my challenges and we find that place, you know, or I have I have the lose a size challenge thing that we go through. It's eight weeks. Or I mean its in 28 days. And then I have my other weight loss program. It's eight weeks and we kind of just stage through there to find where people are comfortable.

[00:46:19.520] – Allan
We push a little bit more and we push a little bit more. You know, it's it's sometimes easier to start with the hard part and then kind of ease back and find your place. But we all have our threshold. And I think that was a really important concept.

[00:46:32.440] – Rachel
Yeah, that was really important because actually I've been playing around with my carb levels lately as well and trying to switch up my diet a little bit because I've been at a plateau. So I know it's time for a change. But it was really interesting to see how people just naturally have different levels of carbs that they can manage without feeling the bad side effects or that or messing around with the blood sugar levels. So that's a really interesting but hard to get to a point.

[00:47:01.720] – Allan
Yeah. You know, self experimentation is one of those where you try something. You've got to give it time and see if it works, you know. So it's you know, it's one of those things where you're going to be investing time a lot of time. So in some cases a lot of time because you're going to say, OK, for four weeks, I'm going to eat this way and then I'm going to do some measurements. And when I look at what happened and see if it's working, if it's working, I stick with it.If not, maybe I ratchet it down a little bit more. Maybe I do something different. You can't add too many things in there or you don't know exactly what it is that's doing the good stuff or the bad.

[00:47:36.520] – Allan
So finding that Mark, you know, and if you want to get technical with it, you know, you can do the glucose meters and the ketone meters. I'm a big fan of my keto mojo when I'm, you know, really trying to get down into ketosis, particularly in the early stages of it. So I'll do the keto mojo and I'm checking my blood sugar, I'm checking my ketones, and then I'm just finding that spot. I've been doing this now for eight years.

[00:48:00.970] – Rachel
Wow.

[00:48:01.480] – Allan
I kind of know, you know, OK, if I eat this way, this is what's going to happen to my body. And almost invariably it does. Now, that said, as I've gotten older. I've noticed that my carb tolerance has gone down, so, you know, if I try to eat more carbs just to find my line, my line has been slowly edging downward over time. And as a result, when I go into my feasting mode, I actually put on more weight faster than I did the first few years that I did this.

[00:48:30.730] – Allan
So I have to still kind of I can't go completely crazy out there eating all the carbs, but I do have to pay a little bit of attention to what I'm doing or I can go a little overboard on it. But I think it's just knowing yourself, given that self-awareness is really, really important in the tools, any tool you want to use, they try to make it really simple.

[00:48:50.350] – Allan
Try this than that and what you can and can't eat. But simple is good for most of us. It'll work just fine. But if you're somebody who needs a little bit more hard data, there are ways to do that.

[00:49:02.050] – Rachel
Yeah, I've got one of those meters myself and I'll be getting that out pretty soon once I settle in and a couple of swaps that I want to make. You know, I've been eating similar foods. I eat a lot of eggs, brussel sprouts, a lot of beef, a lot of chicken. I feel like I'm in a rut with my food. So it's time to switch it up. And and once I do that, then I'll get out the meter and see how it how it feels or how it works.

[00:49:25.930] – Allan
It's the worst tragedy in the world was the sacrifice of Brussels sprouts. We can't get them down here. And so we had two bags of them that we were going to bring down, I guess, technically smuggling, because you're not supposed to bring vegetables and fruits into the country. But we had them in our bags and bags were coming up overweight because the max weight the couple would carry is 50 pounds. We just could not get our weight right. We just couldn't get it to work. So we were like, OK, this has to go.

[00:49:57.070] – Allan
And well, we let go of a lot of stuff before we let go of the Brussels sprouts. But that was kind of the last thing is, oh, I've got to leave the Brussels sprouts. It was either that or the beef jerky and deer jerky. And I'm like, no, the deer jerky is going. I'm sorry brussel sprouts.

[00:50:13.300] – Rachel
Yeah.

[00:50:13.600] – Allan
Yeah. So I had to make that sacrifice, but I hated leaving those in the hotel room when we checked out.

[00:50:19.210] – Rachel
Such a bummer.

[00:50:22.600] – Allan
And I didn't even get to eat that many Brussels sprouts when I was up in the States, which was another sad thing is that most restaurants aren't serving it. So unless you cook it for yourself, it's really again. I don't want to make I don't want to depress myself. I've got.

[00:50:36.580] – Rachel
Well, that's right. That's right. You just got to make a list of all the things that you can eat and enjoy eating and then you won't miss so many other things.

[00:50:45.850] – Allan
Yeah. And then I think the other thing that I just want to kind of emphasize from this conversation we had was, you know, when I was standing in the food line, at keto Fest with Dr. Westman, it was you know, it just kind of one of those moments when he said, you know, we just need to do something.

[00:51:03.160] – Rachel
Right.

[00:51:03.850] – Allan
The word keto, if that scares you, then it's not keto, its just low carb. I'm just lowering my carbs a little bit to see if that helps me on my weight loss journey, helps me feel and look healthier. You say you're lowering your carbs. And if that means that the way you're doing that is eating Atkin bars and, you know, canned tuna, then that's the way you're doing it. If it means that you're just looking for lower carb options ketchup and, you know, maybe even some of the fake pastas and making, you know, fake biscuits and things like that, that's fine. If that's what helps you get that start, you just have to take that first step.

[00:51:42.100] – Allan
We're after progress, not perfection.

[00:51:44.560] – Rachel
Right, right. You know, I like to tell people just just move that needle, just just move it slightly and make some simple swaps, you know? And, you know, if you do measure your carbs and you eat whatever one hundred grams of carbs a day or something slide that down to ninety, slide it down to eighty five, I mean, you don't have to make these huge cuts. Why make a huge cut that will make you want to binge later or that you can't live with that makes you unhappy just as long as you move that needle just slightly. I think it would make a big difference.

[00:52:15.520] – Allan
Yeah. Sometimes it's as simple as saying instead of eating the banana and putting that in my morning smoothie, I'm not going to put the banana in there. I'm just gonna put the berries, you know, the protein powder and then put some ice and blend it all up. And that's going to be my breakfast. And I'm just not going to put the banana in there and try it, you know, so that cut 100 grams of calories, a hundred calories out of your meal at most, which is mostly sugar.

[00:52:43.330] – Allan
You know, you're cutting that out. And so it's it can be simple stuff like that. And I'm in no way saying don't eat bananas, that they're unhealthy. But just like Amy said, you know, we're not villainizing any food. We're just saying being aware how your body reacts to it is really what this math is all about. That's how you solve this weight loss problem, is understanding food for your body. It's unique to you. People all over the world are eating rice and beans, as Amy said, but, you know, we we need to find what food fits us best for, what our particular goals are now.

[00:53:22.120] – Allan
And that can change over time. You know, someone right now that's not very active probably doesn't need a lot of carbs. But if you're doing the exercise, then your body can handle that. Insulin is just a really cool thing. We demonize that a lot of times in the keto space, but we need insulin to protect our brain, to get the blood sugar out of our our body, you know, get it out of the blood and store it.

[00:53:47.290] – Allan
Now, if we're burning it, which means, let's say you went outside this morning before breakfast and you ran for two or three miles. You're going to have used up leg, muscle glycogen predominantly in your leg muscles, which are larger muscles. So they hold a good bit of glycogen and the liver and you're going to keep, and that's going to keep your blood sugar, insulin and glucagon they're going to keep your blood sugar level through that whole process at that point.

[00:54:12.730] – Allan
At that point, yes. You can go ahead and have a little bit more carbs with your breakfast because you've given it somewhere to go besides body fat. A lot of people try to do it on the other side with calories. And you say, well, oh, I ran three miles, I burned 400 calories. That means I can have a Snickers bar.

[00:54:31.450] – Rachel
Right! Oh, no, no. Yeah, I go for the food is fuel at that point. And as a runner right now, I'm running pretty consistently four to six miles every day or for five to six days a week. And then on the weekends I'll do a longer run, maybe 10 or 13 miles. And you can tell that on those days, like my nutritional needs on a 4 mile day, is far different from my nutritional needs on a 10 or 13 mile day.

[00:54:58.990] – Rachel
And that's something else to keep in mind, too. So when you do plan out whether or not you have that banana in your smoothie, just think about what your exercise has been for that day or the next day.

[00:55:09.880] – Allan
Yeah. And the plan they kind of put in here, their adapt plan, they call it. It basically is a lot easier than counting calories. I can tell you, if you're just counting carbs, that's all you're doing is one number, it's very easy to count your carbs. It's very easy to look that stuff up on the Internet if it's not on the label, which, you know, you shouldn't be eating a lot of things with labels. The actual real food doesn't have labels or they don't have to market it.

[00:55:32.320] – Allan
You know, chicken doesn't need a marketing. You see the chicken, you know what the chicken tastes like, you buy the chicken and that's the way it's supposed to be. Which is kind of a little funny side story. Our dog loves chicken and rice mixed in with kibble with the dog food. We've started doing that down here. But she doesn't know what a chicken looks like. So when she sees these chickens are running around the road because they're all over the place down here, I'm thinking myself, she doesn't know that that's what she's having for dinner.

[00:56:02.440] – Allan
And if she did, what would it change her behavior? Because she just ignores them. And I'm like, thats your favorite food.

[00:56:07.450] – Allan
If she only knew

[00:56:08.680] – Allan
That's your favorite food in the whole world and you don't even know it. We've never fed you cat, but for some reason you instinctively want to chase the cat. But there's a funny little funny little side story there. But so, yeah, you know, you don't have to think of it as keto. They say it's somewhat of a keto book. I called it somewhat of a keto book, but I don't want you to think that. I think it's just really finding that place, though. How many carbs can I tolerate based on my activity and my biology and my genetics and going from there to find an optimal way for you to eat?

[00:56:44.260] – Rachel
Yeah, that sounds like a really great book.

[00:56:47.650] – Allan
All right, Rachel, anything else we need to go over before we get off the call here?

[00:56:54.460] – Rachel
Now, that was a really good interview. I'd like to take a look at that book as well.

[00:56:58.720] – Allan
Yeah. And this would be a good book to buy now as we as we get into, because we're coming really close to, you know, the Christmas season, Hanukkah, end of the year with New Year's and all of that. And it tends to be a time when we overindulge, particularly in the sweets. So kind of having a good idea of, you know, these levels of carbs and starting to pay some attention to it. This is a good time to do it.

[00:57:23.530] – Allan
So you're not putting on pounds that you been thinking about January, trying to take off.

[00:57:29.320] – Rachel
Good points.

[00:57:30.020] – Allan
Don't put them on there in the first place. Then you don't have to lose them again.

[00:57:33.340] – Rachel
That's right. That's great.

[00:57:36.010] – Allan
Have a great week, Rachel. I'll talk to you next week.

[00:57:37.330] – Rachel
Thanks. You too. Take care.

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Another episode you may enjoy

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December 7, 2020

What we don’t know about Covid with Dr. Tom Cowan and Sally Fallon Morell

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube
The Contagion Myth

Our guest today is Dr. Tom Cowan, who previously practiced medicine in San Francisco, California, and was a founding board member of the Weston A. Price Foundation. He is joined by Sally Fallon Morell, who is best known as the author of Nourishing Traditions, and she is a founding president of the Weston A. Price Foundation and editor of the foundation's quarterly magazine.

Transcript

Let's Say Hello

[00:00:49.670] – Allan
Raz, how are you doing?

[00:00:52.070] – Rachel
Great, Allan, how are you today?

[00:00:54.320] – Allan
I'm doing well. I'm cold. Yeah, and by the time we issue this one, I'll be on my way back to Panama. And I can just say that, for me, I would say 40 is the new 70. And what I mean by that is it's 70 degrees out. I feel like it's 40 degrees. So it's been nice that we got really lucky on our trip. And it's not been really cold anywhere we've gone. But when the temperature drops below 70, I'm like, no, just no.

[00:01:31.010] – Rachel
Yeah, yeah. We've been feeling some cold weather up here. I've been laying layering up a little bit more on my runs. So, yeah, it's changed season for us getting cold.

[00:01:41.720] – Allan
Yeah. Our guests today are kind of interesting. It's a really interesting concept where we're going to be talking about 5G. We're going to be talking about the coronavirus. And I just want to put this out before we really get into the context of all of this, as I am not a doctor and I'm not going to give you any medical advice whatsoever in this show. Dr. Cowen is a doctor. He was a medical doctor, but he's let his license lapse because he couldn't get anybody that wanted to buy his practice. So he just let it lapse. And he's retired effectively. He's approaching health from a different perspective. So just recognize that the people talking on this show, none of us are actual doctors. So we're not meaning any of this to be medical advice. If you have questions about this, we encourage you to do the research.

We encourage you to go out and talk to your medical professionals and then make the decisions that are that are right for you because we are talking about something that is is actually kind of it's interesting when you think about it in concept, but it's a little bit controversial. But I wanted to bring this concept up for you because I think it's just really important to have the full picture as you're making decisions. And, there's a lot of discourse on this and some of it's informed and a lot of it is not. So with that, we'll go ahead and get into our interview.

Interview

[00:03:37.150] – Allan
Tom, Sally, for both of you, welcome back to the 40+ Fitness Podcast you both have been on one time before. And so I'm really happy. We did your Cosmic Heart book a few years back.

[00:03:52.180] – Tom Cowan
Thank you.

[00:03:53.020]
The interesting thing about that book, that book in particular, Tom, is I can actually remember where I was when I had that aha moment in that book where I was like, this is can be transformative. And so I just want to say that that was one of the books that sticks out in my memory. And I've had almost 300 people on the podcast.

[00:04:17.260] – Allan
And so but that's one of the books and one of the moments I remember walking to get the keys to my house because I'd gotten locked out and my niece was working at a restaurant about a mile from our house. So I was walking to get keys because I'd locked myself out of the house. Seems to be a recurring theme in my life, but she happened to have keys to the house. I was walking back there and I was listening to yours, the audio book, and it was just a really enjoyable read.

[00:04:40.950] – Allan
And it kind of turned my thinking on a lot of things. And this book is doing the same thing. It's kind of turning some things I had or I thought I knew on their ear. And so this really got me to thinking I might not know as much as I thought I knew, which is kind of another recurring theme in my life where I know the more I know.

[00:05:06.760] – Tom Cowan
I've done it myself.

[00:05:11.260] – Allan
So thank you both for the opportunity to talk about this book, because we're going through a time that at least for anyone alive, we've never experienced before, we've never experienced anything like this where people around the world are getting sick and they're getting shut in. And it's creating all kinds of problems for us.

[00:05:33.490] – Sally Fallon Morell
And it's all predicated on the notion that this illness is contagious.

[00:05:42.550] – Allan
Right. And so your book is called The Contagion Myth. And, like I said, when I got into it, I was like, OK, in my whole life, we were taught bacteria and, you know, viruses. And then a few years ago, I think it kind of turned on its on its ear and said, no, don't wash your hands and use those antiseptic things. You know, this stuff. I don't use that because you need some of that bacteria, you need some of that virus that makes us healthy.

[00:06:14.920] – Allan
And so, you know, much like eggs, what do you eat, eggs or not eat eggs? Do you do saturated fat and ideas back and forth and back and forth and back and forth. And you're proposing a theory that's very different from the germ theory that I I grew up knowing. Can you talk a little bit about, you know, what's wrong with germ theory and with this whole coronavirus to covid-19 thing? Why why are we getting that wrong?

[00:06:45.270] – Tom Cowan
Yeah, so basically the idea of the germ theory is that originally the people who proposed it said we were sterile organisms, which means that from, as I like to say, from the skin on in, there was no bacteria or they didn't know about viruses at all. And if there was a bacteria in you, it's because it was a pathogen, meaning it came from the outside and then, quote, infected you and made you sick. The first thing I would point out about that is that would make human beings different from essentially every other thing in nature.

[00:07:27.150] – Tom Cowan
For instance, if you have a compost pile and you put dead squirrels in it, which maybe don't belong in a compost pile, you'll get fungus and bacteria to eat the squirrel. And as far as I know, nobody says that the compost pile has an infection. Another example we use is if you come upon a dead dog and there's maggots on it, nobody thinks the maggots killed the dog. Another example is if you cut down trees in the forest and then the trees die and are sitting in the forest floor, if you said bacteria and fungus are bad, so I'm going to get rid of them. And so you antifungal an antibiotic, the whole forest, you would never decompose the trees, you would never recycle that and you'd end up with a dead forest. So the fact of the matter is, whether people believe it or not, is the role of bacteria in nature is to recycle that which is diseased and dying or maybe dead. And that's just the observational fact. And there's no particular reason why that should be different in us. And one can't say because there's bacteria pressing in your throat that that means they're causing the disease any more than you can say because there's firemen at a fire that they caused the fire.

[00:08:53.580] – Tom Cowan
So there isn't a scientific method of determining whether something is the cause, something meaning a bacteria or a virus. And if you could permit me, I think I have an analogy that will make it make sense for people, if that's OK.

[00:09:12.660] – Allan
Sure.

[00:09:13.440] – Tom Cowan
Imagine I had the hypothesis, which is reasonable, that the calf pay careful attention to the words I'm using here. The caffeine found in coffee beans raises people's blood pressure, right? That's my hypothesis. That's what I got out of epidemiology. In other words, a lot of people got sick in a certain place. Then the sickness seemed to spread or the nursing home, or my Uncle Harry went to a party and then he got sick. These are all epidemiological observations which we then have to prove with real science whether such and such is the cause of that problem. Right? That's how science works. So the epidemiology is is the caffeine in coffee causes high blood pressure.

[00:10:04.770] – Tom Cowan
So if I said, Allan, I'm going to grind up the coffee beans, put them in a capsule and have 10 people eat it and it raises their blood pressure, would you agree that the caffeine in the coffee made their blood pressure go up?

[00:10:18.900] – Allan
It would be it would appear so. I mean, that was the one thing. But I don't know if we controlled for everything, but in a general sense, I would say yes.

[00:10:26.940] – Tom Cowan
Let me change your mind a little bit unless you somehow think the only thing in a coffee bean is caffeine. Then you have no idea which of a hundred different substances in the coffee bean actually made, you have high blood pressure. So my conclusion was now we know that coffee beans cause high blood pressure, but we don't know it's the caffeine. So let's go a little further than we put the coffee through a drip filter like people who make coffee. And you you throw away the grounds.

[00:11:00.450] – Tom Cowan
Right? And you have liquid coffee and you know that the caffeine is water soluble. So then you have somebody drink that and their blood pressure goes up. Do you now know that the caffeine caused high blood pressure,

[00:11:14.970] – Allan
OK, to not be tricked again? I would say no. There's also some other things in that coffee brand has been liquefied. So not going to catch me twice.

[00:11:25.380] – Tom Cowan
Now, the next step, I do some laboratory procedure to extract the caffeine. Right? And then I prove to you that the only thing you could do this with chromatographs and different laboratory techniques. I prove to you, Allan, that the only thing I have now is pure caffeine. Then I give it to people and it makes their blood pressure go up. Have I now proven that it's the caffeine in the in the coffee beans?

[00:11:55.610] – Allan
I'm real close to saying yes.

[00:11:57.560] – Tom Cowan
And I would agree with you. You got it. That's how we understand causation. That's how we understand isolation. Now, here's a statement at this point. And according and I'm saying this based on what the CDC is telling us in a July 2020 bulletin they put out. I'm also let me read you something from European surveillance. This was a group of virologists who are tasked with making a test for the coronavirus.

[00:12:31.700] – Tom Cowan
They say, quote, the ongoing outbreak of the recently emerged novel coronavirus poses a challenge to public health laboratories as virus isolates are unavailable. Later, they said, we aim to develop and deploy robust diagnostic methodology for use in public health laboratories without having the virus material available. The CDC says, quote, There is no isolates of the Sars-Cov-2 virus available. Therefore, they never got the caffeine. That's what they're saying. We asked that the lead authors of the six papers that are most referenced for having isolated and characterized this virus, some of them, the title of the paper is Isolation and Characterization of the Virus.

[00:13:29.630] – Tom Cowan
And we asked them, did you isolate the virus? And they said no. We have no pictures, we have no isolates of the virus available. Now, I can tell when I look at the picture because pure virus looks like pure virus. And if there's one virus and a whole lot of cellular debris, then that's not purified or isolated. And the whole point is, unless you isolate, you can't demonstrate that that's the thing that causes disease, any more than giving coffee beans proves that it's the caffeine.

[00:14:10.540] – Tom Cowan
And since they've never isolated, they have no proof that it causes disease. In fact, when they inoculate that into animals, none of them got sick. That's just the facts, even if it wasn't isolated.

[00:14:24.220] – Tom Cowan
Now, the other thing you can't do is you can't devise a test that says I can find a unique piece of this virus unless you've isolated it first. It's like me saying, I found a piece of metal under your chair and I know it's from a flying saucer and you would say, how do you know that? And you would hope that. I would say because I saw a flying saucer. I analyzed the flying saucer. I know what it's made of. And I know that piece of metal could have only come from a flying saucer. If I say to you, Allan. I've actually never seen a flying saucer. And I don't really know if that piece could have come from your chair or an airplane or a helicopter or something you would think. Tom, there's something wrong here. You can't make a test for finding a piece of something which you've never analyzed.

[00:15:28.860] – Tom Cowan
And I'm not like making this up. This is what the CDC is telling us. So literally at this point, nobody has proven even the existence of this virus, let alone whether it's pathogenic. Now, to finish your question, this is the same story that's been going on for one hundred and fifty years. And whenever they do isolate a virus or bacteria, which has been done and can be done, lo and behold, they find that it doesn't cause disease. So they isolated the caffeine. They gave it to the people and they find out it doesn't make your blood pressure go up. It must have been in the grounds or something else.

[00:16:17.820] – Tom Cowan
Now, as far as I can see, because we now have I'm working with sort of 14 groups of doctors and two of them are from MIT and two from Harvard and PhDs. And none of us can find a reference that says these isolated bacteria or virus cause disease. And that's where we are in 2020.

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[00:17:59.630] – Allan
OK, it's a spin on anything I've ever studied or learned in the past.

[00:18:05.980] – Sally Fallon Morell
Allan, I might add no one has done contagion studies either. Now, when we had the Spanish Flu, which killed 50 million people, the US Public Health Service did contagion studies. They took people who were sick and had a group of people who are well, and they had the sick people cough and breathe on the well people. They injected their bodily fluids and their blood into the well people. They tried every possible way to make these well people sick from the people with the flu.

[00:18:42.860] – Sally Fallon Morell
And it was one hundred percent failure. They could not make a single well person sick by exposing them to the sick people. So the Spanish flu was not contagious in spite of what they say. And of course, they were mystified. They had no explanation for this. Now, we do have an explanation, but they need to do that today before we lock down the whole world and make people wear masks and stop school and stop gatherings and stop people from going to church or singing in choirs.

[00:19:12.980] – Sally Fallon Morell
We need to do at the very least, even if you haven't isolated this virus, you need to do contagion studies. And we haven't done them.

[00:19:22.260] – Allan
One of the things that you guys talked about in the book as far as the contagion studies, with the Spanish flu, they had people cough on other people, like you said, is like you stand over that, I don't know, would they even consider doing that in this day and age? I mean, is that ethical?

[00:19:42.340] – Tom Cowan
So here's the interesting thing. One way to answer that question is there's three models you can use to test in infectivity or contagion. One is humans. Two is animals. Three is tissue culture. In other words, you can take tissue from a kidney or an egg or a rabbit or embryo or something and put the virus or something you think has the virus on it. So here's that sort of Gordian knot that we're in. A) you can't do human studies because that's unethical. B) there are no animal models for a viral infection for say, polio and HIV and for coronavirus. In other words, for some mysterious reason, none of the animals get sick. It's only humans. So that doesn't work.

[00:20:43.010] – Sally Fallon Morell
And before coronavirus, Tom and I have found two studies where they tried to make the animals sick. One was mice and one was hamsters. And they did not achieve that. Go ahead, Tom.

[00:20:57.190] – Tom Cowan
And the third one is these tissue cultures, which means they take on purified snot essentially and inoculate that on a tissue and then they starve and poison the tissue. In other words, they take away the nutrients, and they add, they do it with kidney tissue and they add kidney toxic drugs. And then the tissue breaks down and then they say that proves it's contagious. But I am now in possession of a study recently published where they actually tried this on three different human cell lines and none of them got a psychopathic effect, which means none of them were affected by purified stuff from somebody with Sars-Cov-2.

[00:21:44.770] – Tom Cowan
So those are the three ways. So the first way we can't do because it's not ethical, the second way doesn't work because for some unexplained reason, animals are not models, which is an interesting word for this infection. And the third doesn't work for unexplained reasons. And so there you go. So what's the evidence? The evidence is that frankly, at this point, I don't know what it's I can't follow it because I don't see it.

[00:22:19.810] – Allan
Well, you know, and you talked about this a little bit in the book, as a kid, my brother came home and he said, “Hey, I've got chickenpox.” And he hugged me, as he was saying. And now my brother and I, we fought like cats and dogs growing up. So there was zero reason for him to be hugging me other than he wanted to give me his chickenpox, which he did. I mean, in my opinion, based on that, I mean, he hugged me and two or three days later, I'm breaking out with chickenpox. Everybody in our house got chicken pox that hadn't had it before. So all of us kids got it. That feels like contagion.

[00:22:58.780] – Tom Cowan
So let me dissect that a little bit. Remember that epidemiology, in other words, I got sick and then you got sick or everybody in Wuhan got sick or the nursing home got sick or any epidemiological observation you can make? Every scientist, every virologist, every medical doctor who knows the field would say that is not proof of viral causation. Period. So. now we have an observation, which I would agree we should investigate to see if there is a virus involved there.

[00:23:38.870] – Tom Cowan
I agree. And the reason we should is because chicken pox virus, unlike HIV or unlike the Sars-Cov-2 virus, you can actually find and purify and isolate. And you can find it in your brother, you can you can find it in you, and that's not proof. That's just an interesting further observation. So the proof then is we isolate the virus, expose people who haven't got it. Just to the virus. And what happens is they don't get sick.

[00:24:18.200] – Tom Cowan
Now, you could say, well, why did you get sick? First of all, it is an interesting mystery, right? But all I can say to start with is, Allan, if you can show me a study saying the isolated chicken pox virus has made any animal or person sick, I will change my tune because all 14 of us have looked and we can't find it. So here are some possible theories.

[00:24:47.690] – Tom Cowan
So why do we have viruses in the first place? Well, it turns out very detoxification strategy. In other words, if you're poison in a certain way, and that could be DDT, glyphosate, electromagnetic fields, emotional poisoning, starvation or any nutrient deficiency, your tissues react by the DNA or the RNA and chickenpox case. Its DNA breaks down into the body, packages that up in these little particles.

[00:25:21.830] – Tom Cowan
And because DNA essentially is an antenna with a resonance, it then resonates and sends a signal to other organisms in its environment. Hey, we've been exposed to a new toxin. Here's a way to adapt to that new situation. It's like, what trees do you poison a tree or beetles infect a tree and they send out chemicals through their roots to tell the other trees to make a defensive response. That's what we do. In other words, viruses are simply the mechanism of adaptation because the other model that we're told about, which is you have a mutation and that's spread through the population by survival, is way too slow.

[00:26:11.520] – Tom Cowan
Imagine as the mutation that helps them get rid of DDT. How long do you think it would take before their progeny filled up Boston. Like ten thousand years, in which case there's no more DDT. So that's not how it works. We also know that if you put DNA into a beaker of water and then you put a different beaker of water with with free nucleic acids, which is what a virus is, and you shine a light on the first one, you come back the next day and the second beaker will make an identical copy of the same DNA.

[00:26:54.060] – Tom Cowan
In other words, how does that work by some sort of resonance, like tuning forks, like why know if you put 20, 20-year-old girls in a cabin and they all menstruate at the same time? Is that a virus? Is that contagious or is actually life is more complicated and based on energy that has a resonance that we all feel. We feel when we go into a room with happy people, we feel better. If we go into a room where there's sickness and despair, we feel worse.

[00:27:29.470] – Tom Cowan
Is that a virus? So there's a lot of things that are passed between people. And I can't emphasize enough that when we do the science and isolate the virus and give it to your brother, it doesn't make him sick. It's not the virus. There's something spread. It's not the virus.

[00:27:50.880] – Sally Fallon Morell
However, your brother could have communicated to you, we are coming to the end of our childhood. We are entering a new phase of life. This is a good time to do some housecleaning, get rid of some stuff through our skin. And your body said, “Hey, yeah, that's a good idea. I'll do it too. Right now. This is a good place to do it.” That's the resonance concept.

[00:28:18.630] – Tom Cowan
And the reason why Sally is absolutely correct about this is because when we do real science and find out what the prognosis is of children who have been through chickenpox versus not in every case we find out that children who've been through chickenpox have less cancer, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and a whole lot of other things. So this is a communication strategy to help us adapt to our world. And we have made a misconception and called it a pathogen

[00:28:55.140] – Sally Fallon Morell
And to adapt to do certain types of cleansing activities at certain times.

[00:29:01.210] – Tom Cowan
Yes.

[00:29:01.670] – Sally Fallon Morell
You know, all boys go through puberty at a certain time. All girls do too, all children do. And that's just nature has a timetable for changes in the body, and I think these typical childhood illnesses are part of that timetable, they're getting you ready for your next stage in life.

[00:29:25.760]
Measles is even more interesting because they have never found a measles virus. If you find the measles virus, there's a 100,000 euro prize for you. So what is it that seems to be contagious? We agree that a contagion is the explanation that comes to mind first, but in actuality, life is much more complex and much more wonderful, really. And yes, measles parties work, you know that the message gets around among the children. “Hey, this is a good time.” It's just like in a tribe. I think these transitions happen more at the same time with people who are really living together all the time.

[00:30:16.210] – Allan
Now, you know, we're recording this a little bit before it goes live, and I haven't flown back to the United States yet, but one of the requirements from Panama is that I have a PCR test, a negative PCR test, to be exact, within 48 hours of my flight. And the airline will not let us on the plane if we don't come up with that piece of paper certifying that we've tested negative. But there's a lot of problems with the PCR tests.

[00:30:45.580] – Sally Fallon Morell
Yeah, they're very dangerous. For one thing, very invasive. They're being carried out by people who don't have any training. And you have to ask why? Why can't they just do a swab from your mouth or your nose? Why do they have to go all the way back? Through the sinus passage to the membrane that separates your sinus cavity from the brain. And then, OK, so let's just say they get a positive, what does that positive mean? It does not mean they found the virus. It may mean they found a piece of DNA that they think is part of the virus. It also may mean that the way they've carried out the test is always going to get a positive. Those tests can be set. The number of amplifications you do can be set to always get positives or always get negatives. In fact, there was a big problem in Florida. People were sending in these swabs and they were coming back 100 percent positive because of the way they had calibrated the test.

[00:31:47.230] – Allan
And that's one of the things I'm really concerned about is, you know, you hear about this professional football player gets the test, so he thinks he's not going to be playing on Sunday and Monday. He gets the test. He tests positive. They give him another test on Wednesday and it's negative. They give him another test on Friday and it's negative. So he can play on Sunday. But he didn't get to practice all week because because he.

[00:32:08.530] – Sally Fallon Morell
Well, and they could have sent it to a different lab, you know, that they know gets more negatives. It's just like I know I have a dairy farm and we know which lab gives us better results on our milk, lower counts or whatever. And but I'm concerned about how invasive and painful these tests are. Now, you can also do a blood test, which is for antibodies. That test is equally useless really doesn't tell you anything. But I would see if you could do the blood test instead of this.

[00:32:41.440] – Allan
They don't give us an option as the country wrote the law and it was within 48 hours, which is really difficult because a lot of labs don't turn around that fast. And so we're hopeful we'll find a lab that will allow us to get it. And we think we do. We've got an appointment on a Sunday, strangely enough, to get this done. And so if it happens, great. You know, but we had all kinds of travel problems getting here. So I'm sure if it goes well and smooth, I'd just be shocked. But I'm just I'm concerned about that false positive.

[00:33:14.680] – Sally Fallon Morell
Yeah. Go ahead, Tom.

[00:33:17.200] – Tom Cowan
Well, first of all, I would say there is no such thing as a false positive because a false positive means you've standardized it against the isolation of the virus. And since that's never been done, there is no false positives. False positive means would mean that the test is has a certain meaning and there is no meaning. Now, I would strongly encourage people not to believe what I just said, but I would actually read the package insert because the package insert on the FDA test says this test is not to be used to diagnose the virus or prove causation. The test on the Roach test, the package insert says this PCR test cannot be used to diagnose a viral illness. And the inventor of the test said you can never use this test to diagnose a viral illness or demonstrate causation

[00:34:16.990] – Tom Cowan
So given that which is just the facts of the package insert and what they're required to say, there is no meaning to the test. that's why one set, one says 80 percent that false positive. Another says six or 13. None of those numbers have any meaning at all because it's never been standardized against the isolation of a virus. So we don't know what we're testing for. And just a final thing. They say that the PCR test is unique to a piece of the virus, but the World Health Organization has now disclosed that that piece they're testing for in their test is actually found on human chromosome number eight. Which means it's testing to see whether you're a human being, or a papaya, or a popa, or a goat, or a sheep, because many of those have also tested positive.

[00:35:17.620] – Tom Cowan
Now, you can say, if it's testing for a piece of human chromosome number eight, why doesn't everybody test positive? And the answer is because you can put the number of cycles at 30 and then about four to five percent or so of the people will be positive. You can put it up to eight to 40 cycles and then 80 percent of the people will be positive. And that's not because there's any difference. It's just because you've looked harder. And so this becomes a very powerful tool in the hands of people who want to say, oh, there's more cases. So that test has 40 cycles. Oh, we gave you a vaccine and now we've got rid of it. And so now the test has 30 cycles and all that's changed is the number of cycles and got a different result. Because they're testing for a piece of protein or DNA on human chromosome number eight.

[00:36:22.840] – Sally Fallon Morell
It's so tragic, the incompetence of our public health. Profession. And this outbreak, it just boggles the mind because they have used an invalid type of test for this, the numbers are meaningless. And Tom and I are not arguing that this is just a bad case of the flu that's been poorly treated or counted as Covid or whatever. We are not arguing that we think this is a serious disease, life-threatening disease. We believe it's caused by electromagnetic radiation, mainly with the roll out of 5G. And we need to be looking very carefully at every person who gets sick. We need to determine whether they're sick by their symptoms and not the tests.

[00:37:14.370] – Sally Fallon Morell
There's a whole bunch of questions we need to be asking. Where were they, what their exposure was? Are they already electrically sensitive? Do they have any metal in their body? We need to be doing real, true epidemiology and we're not. And so we just have no idea how many people are sick or is it going up or down or or anything. Where are these illnesses? Where are the true illnesses? Where are they just positive tests? And it's really criminal, the incompetence of the public health officials, and yet they have shut down the whole world.

[00:37:57.020] – Allan
On the 5G because, you know, we know if we put something in a microwave, it's going to be affected by the electromagnetic waves. And we know if we get out in the sun too long, we'll get a sunburn. And it's possible that that skin being burned could then mutate and cause a skin cancer. So we know radiation or electromagnetic waves can cause problems, cellular problems, DNA problems.

[00:38:26.210] – Sally Fallon Morell
Lung problems particularly.

[00:38:31.100] – Tom Cowan
Allan, by the way, I don't know that you actually know that the DNA can be mutated.

[00:38:35.660] – Allan
OK. Yes. I don't have any evidence other than…

[00:38:41.210] – Tom Cowan
All you know is some people who get burned, show up with cancer later in their life. That's all you can say.

[00:38:48.710] – Allan
Yes. OK, fair enough.

[00:38:51.220] – Sally Fallon Morell
You've got to be very careful with Tom.

[00:38:57.940] – Sally Fallon Morell
The truth is, we just don't know. We don't have any clues as to why certain people are getting sick and why others are not getting sick. And I live out in the country. I have a very boring life. I don't go very many places and I don't know anyone, seriously I don't have any friends or relatives who have gotten sick. And then I have people tell me, oh, you're being, you know, not very sympathetic, I know four people who've died of this. These are just observations, kind of meaningless observations.

[00:39:36.130] – Sally Fallon Morell
And by the way, we're not minimizing this. In fact, we and I believe it's going to get worse and worse until we start looking beyond this non-existent virus and into what are the likely causes.

[00:39:52.420] – Allan
One of the things you brought up in the book that I had actually never heard of before is this concept of exosomes or what these exosomes are, that they resemble almost exactly what a virus structure would be like. Can you describe what exosomes are and how they're like viruses or what what they what they represent?

[00:40:16.190] – Tom Cowan
An exosome is exactly what I described before, so the whole question is the theory of how viruses make you sick is they come from the outside. They inject their DNA or RNA into your cells. That it replicates. And then it's somehow some day later, it buds out. And now you have a thousand where you used to have one. And then it goes out of the cells and goes to another person in the whole thing goes again.

[00:40:49.230] – Tom Cowan
But the problem is we don't actually know whether these are coming from the outside. Or as I said before, you poisoned a tissue and it responds by packaging up some genetic material and some proteins. And it essentially spews those out of the tissue and then it communicates with the rest of the body and even potentially other people, even potentially other organisms, as there has been a new poison in town. And here's what you need to make a defensive reaction.

[00:41:25.530] – Tom Cowan
Those things coming from the inside of our tissues are called exosomes. They're not similar to viruses. They're not like viruses. They are exactly the composition of viruses. They have been isolated and purified and they have been shown not to cause disease, but to be communication strategies.

[00:41:48.900] – Tom Cowan
So essentially what's happened here is we have a misconception. The misconception is these things, they're called viruses have come from the outside to infect us when the reality is they're exosomes coming from the inside as detoxification and communication strategies. And when you analyse them, you find they have the same receptors, they have the same ACE protein inhibitors, they have the spike protein. They have all these things which we're alleging to be part of this virus. But they're all breakdown products from our own cells.

[00:42:32.310] – Sally Fallon Morell
It's been a wonderful 20 years as far as paradigm shifts are concerned, because no one is talking about bacteria being bad anymore. Now, we know that we have a biome we can't live without bacteria. They are 80 percent of what they call our immune system. We are covered inside and out with helpful, friendly bacteria, which we call the biome. So this is a huge shift, just in the last 20 years. We need the same shift when it comes to viruses. We just assumed when scientists found these things, they just assumed that they were bad, just like they assumed that bacteria were bad, the wrong assumption. And now we need to have this paradigm shift when it comes to viruses. We have a virome and that virome greatly increases when we're sick or starved or poisoned. And the purpose of the virome is to protect us and help us. It's going to take a while. Just like the bacteria shift took a while.

[00:43:43.920]
I had to laugh the cover of Discover magazine. I read Discover because to me it's always the epitome of conventional science. It's nothing radical or iconoclastic there. And the cover was about the wonderful bacteria in our guts. And they make us feel good chemicals and they do all these things. You would not have seen that twenty years ago or even five years ago in Discover magazine. So I hope I live long enough to see Discover magazine have a on the front page. The Wonderful Virome or something like that. It will take a while.

[00:44:25.830] – Allan
Now, obviously you can't help but follow the press on this because it's 24/7 these days. And so there's there's just so much out there. But a few things that I did run across that are I think are really important is that if you look at the cases of who's getting really, really sick, it's people who were already sick. It's people who were obese, and it's people with low vitamin D So they're depleted in vitamin D or deficient in vitamin D. Seem to be three qualities of the people that end up in the worst shape for dealing with whatever the illness is. And so you go through and this is where I like the practical aspects of this, the things that we can do to protect ourselves. So it's possible we might still get sick, but what are the things we can do to perhaps prevent getting sick or if we do get sick to weather the storm a little bit better?

[00:45:26.260] – Sally Fallon Morell
Well, I think first you have to realize that we are electrical beings, we have a kind of electrical circuitry in our bodies, and most of that circuitry is not the nerve cells, it's the water in our bodies. The water is structured against our cell membranes, against the tissue membranes and it becomes what's called an exclusion zone. And the water is has a charge to it and that functions as a wire in our bodies. So even our cells have all these little networks of structured water and it's like a network of wires in our body.

[00:46:05.210] – Sally Fallon Morell
So you want those wires to be a good and strong and well insulated. So they're not so much affected by electromagnetic radiation from the outside. And the number one thing to do is eat lots of saturated fats. I know that raises eyebrows, but the saturated fats are what your cell membranes need to create this hydrophilic surface, to be strong and not tear or be permeable or anything like that.

[00:46:36.470] – Sally Fallon Morell
Most definitely. And most of these people who are suffering from obesity and, you know, preexisting conditions, I doubt they're eating a lot of saturated fat. They are eating junk food, which is polyunsaturated fat or trans fats. They're not eating the natural fats like butter, tallow, lard and so forth, that our bodies need to have this good, strong, well-insulated circuit. So that's number one.

[00:47:04.640] – Sally Fallon Morell
We talk about getting plenty of B vitamins, plenty of vitamin C in the diet, plenty of vitamin D, but the D needs to be balanced with vitamin A and vitamin K, so all of that is in the food chapter.

[00:47:18.950] – Sally Fallon Morell
At the same time, we need to clean up our environment, especially our houses, especially where we sleep. So that means not having your cell phone in your room, turning off the Wi-Fi at night, if you can actually turn off the electricity in the wires in your bedroom at night. That's helpful. One really easy thing to do is not have an electric clock right by your head when you're sleeping. So there's a list of things that we give for food, for your environment, for your water.

[00:47:51.000] – Sally Fallon Morell
Tom has some very interesting thoughts about drinking well-oxygenated water. You know, when these people get sick, they need and they're put in the hospital with all kinds of electric equipment all around them, around their heads. They might be put on ventilators, are given the worst kind of food, the worst kind of water. If someone gets sick with this disease, they need to get out of the city, get out of that environment, go to places as electrically neutral as possible and have good water, well-oxygenated water, good food, you know, all of these things that we're recommending. Unfortunately, that's not happening.

[00:48:37.290] – Allan
Tom, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:48:49.040] – Tom Cowan
Eat good food, including lard. That's the most important food right now for the all the fat soluble vitamins. The pig has to be from pasture, though, like a real pig, a fake pig, eat good food, be out in the sun, connect with the earth and get rid of all wireless devices.

[00:49:11.780] – Allan
Sally, I had to find wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:49:20.390] – Sally Fallon Morell
Well, in addition to what Tom has said, and I completely agree with him on all of these, by the way, lard from pastured pigs is our best source of vitamin D. There's is a thousand IUs of vitamin D and a tablespoon of that kind of lard. That's the right kind of fats also. But in addition to what Tom is saying, I would say raw dairy products, especially raw liquid milk, fluid milk, because it's such a wonderful source of glutathione, which is a huge help in detoxification.

[00:49:51.560] – Sally Fallon Morell
Clean up your bedroom, get a good night's sleep, spend time outside, do things that you like to do. I know sometimes we have to do a lot of things that we have to do, but as much as possible, you should be doing things that you like.

[00:50:08.670] – Tom Cowan
And there's one more thing that's actually, I think, more important than any of those other things. Sally may not agree, but if right now, if I was to say what the most toxic element in our environment is, it would be fear.

[00:50:25.690] – Sally Fallon Morell
No, I agree, I agree.

[00:50:27.340] – Tom Cowan
And the reason people are afraid is because they are worried about dying. And the reason they're worried about dying is because they think the most important part of them will die. And I'm here to tell everybody that that is a horrible delusion. And for those who need to look into that, I would suggest you spending a lot of effort trying to find out what is a human being, what is a living thing, and do we really die, at least the part of us that we're most interested in? Because if we don't and there's nothing to be afraid of.

[00:51:14.380] – Allan
Well, thank you, Tom, Sally, if someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the book, The Contagion Myth, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:51:25.450] – Sally Fallon Morell
Well, they can start with my blog, NourishingTraditions.com. Among other sources, including Tom's my art at my blog called Is Coronavirus Contagious. That's one of the main things that started us on this journey that we've taken. So I'm constantly updating. I updated that blog with others and Tom and I are just about to do another one. So that would be one place. And then the Weston A Price Foundation, westonaprice.org is also providing a lot of information in our journal and on our website.

[00:52:09.830] – Tom Cowan
For me, it would be drtomcowan.com.

[00:52:14.770] – Allan
Great, thank you both for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:52:19.330] – Tom Cowan
Thank you.

[00:52:20.230] – Sally Fallon Morell
Thank you.

[00:52:21.970] – Tom Cowan
Take care, Allan.


Post Show/Recap

[00:52:29.530] – Allan
Welcome back, Rachel.

[00:52:30.970] – Rachel
Hey, Allan, how are you?

[00:52:32.290] – Allan
All right, well, so what did you think about that conversation?

[00:52:36.340] – Rachel
Oh, wow, there's a lot to talk about there, but I'd like to talk about the good stuff first. And why don't we start with how science changes, that science doesn't always stay the same all the time?

[00:52:49.240] – Allan
Yeah, it does. And you could you could go back and say at one point, people thought witches were what made people sick. And sometimes they thought the world was flat. And they approach things from that perspective. And the scientists often that would come out with something different, something novel were persecuted.

[00:53:11.290] – Allan
And it still happens today. You know, there's a doctor in South Africa whose last name is Noakes, Dr. Noakes. And he was he was coming out and saying that, you know, this whole fat-phobia thing is a problem, that there's absolutely nothing wrong with people eating saturated fat, absolutely nothing wrong with people eating high fat. And the medical profession in South Africa was all over him. They wanted to revoke his license for the things he was saying on Twitter, saying he's basically giving bad medical advice against what the basic protocols, the standard of care was. And he fought them for years and legal. And finally, you know, again, presenting enough science-backed information to a judge was found not guilty effectively and was allowed to keep his medical license. But he fought for years.

[00:54:03.040] – Allan
And, you know, so sometimes science is just we change our paradigm. I mean, we can go back to just the conversation we had with Dr. Fung. You know, the paradigms of what cancer is have changed. And that's science. You know, they think they know what they know. And then they find something new and we dive a little deeper and we learn something. So, you know, I'm not going to say that Dr. Cowan is right and I'm not going to say that is wrong.

[00:54:29.230] – Allan
I'm just going to say that there's enough going on there that you just you know, you can look at it and you can start to draw inferences. But we're just going to need more work because with 5G, no one's done long term studies. It's new. It's a new thing. We're faced with new technologies all the time. You know, if was a horse-drawn carriage, you could probably get out of the way if it's a car traveling 65 miles per hour. Splat.

[00:54:59.740] – Rachel
Yeah, big difference.

[00:55:01.000] – Allan
You know, so technology has its benefits, but oftentimes there are downsides to the technology. And it's just something for us to wrap our heads around. As we go about our lives, as there's always going to be these new ideas. And there's nothing wrong with the idea. No one's saying he's absolutely right. Even Dr. Cowen says he might not be absolutely right, but he just doesn't buy into the germ theory. And he was just saying, let's talk about 5G and what it means. Let's talk about how there might be another answer to why these things are happening.

[00:55:38.290] – Rachel
Absolutely. Yeah, it's definitely worth researching some more, studying some more. You never know how the tides will change. And in fact, I do remember studying EMFs when I was back in college. This guy was probably 35ish years ago. And that's long time for science and something as interesting as EMFs. But when we studied it and I was an environmental science major, so this is part of my programming. It should continue to be studied and it might even take another 35 years before we figure out or be able to put our finger on something having to do with EMFs.

[00:56:17.350] – Rachel
But it's just one of those long list of things that we could maybe consider for our own personal health and wellbeing. But it's just, like I said, just one of those very many things we need to consider.

[00:56:30.040] – Allan
Yeah. You know, I remember at points in time they've said, you know, OK, don't get out in the sun is completely dangerous. You're going to get skin cancer. That's going to kill you if you get out in the sun. And now we're turning around and saying, well, how you're not getting the vitamin D you need. And that's causing some issues. You're not keeping your circadian rhythm balanced because you're not getting enough blue light, enough sunlight. And so it's just kind of one of those things to say that there are things out there that hurt us that, you know, we don't see, we don't know.

[00:57:03.730] – Allan
And we learn a little bit and then people change and the science changes. And the only thing that really stands in the way of true progress is when large companies or large industries are able to get in there and find a kind of meddle with the stuff. Because, you know, in a sense, the here's a symptom, here's a pill works out very well for the pharmaceutical industry or here's an illness. Here's an illness, here's a vaccine is the same general math. But it's even more compelling because you're not to wait for them to get sick, you just have to have an illness strong enough that people care to take a vaccine. So I'm not an anti-vaxxer by any stretch of the imagination, but even the things they're doing there with these new vaccines and things that are coming out now is those are novel. Those are new. And we've never used an RNA vaccine on people before.

[00:58:01.230] – Allan
And they're testing it and they're finding it generally safe. There are some side effects and, you know, there's going to be limited quantity. But, you know, I want to see I want to see more. I want to see, you know, if, you know, 100 million people have taken this vaccine and are generally tolerating it, then maybe it's Okay. And if it's working, you know, the preliminary data that came out was fantastic.

[00:58:25.560] – Allan
But, you know, in the end, we don't know. It's a novel technology that we're mass producing and doing. And that's kind of you know, that's kind of I am Legend, Will Smith movie kind of material. Not to be so dystopian, but you have to make these decisions on your own based on what you believe and in your heart and the research that you've done.

[00:58:52.890] – Rachel
Mm hmm. Well, there's a reason why vaccines usually take five or more years to develop. It's because of all the study that goes into it and the the number of people that they can test it on. Being that coronavirus has this entire world in a pandemic right now. There's a lot of pressure and we can't continue to live sheltered in our homes with restaurants and things closed all the time. Like our economy is having problems, schools are having problems. I mean, the coronavirus is caused a huge problem that just has a huge ripple effect.

[00:59:25.590] – Rachel
And people are dying. Literally, I don't know what the current count is, but we have over a million people across the world that have had coronavirus. And I forget where we are, 200 thousand, I think, in the United States have died from it. So, I mean, I can understand the rush with the vaccine. And I am optimistic that there is a lot of smart people doing the best science that they can in a short period of time. But there's a reason why science takes time.

[00:59:54.960] – Allan
Yeah, and so we'll see. But I would just say I'm glad that they're seeing some progress there.

[01:00:00.640] – Rachel
Yes.

[01:00:01.230] – Allan
I'm actually happier on the treatment side of things that the treatments are there, because in the end, I think that's actually how you beat this is that, you know, there would be certain people that just won't have an opportunity to get the vaccine before they're infected. So having a good treatment protocol, having good testing protocols or better testing protocols is going to be where we're going to we're going to win this.

[01:00:24.990] – Allan
And you're right, my gym is still closed. When they came out with the protocols for how I can open the gym, it's not something that's feasible. You know, my gym is too small for me to have that many people in the gym, to have my equipment spaced out two meters when the entire length of my gym is probably, I don't know, 12 meters.

[01:00:58.050] – Rachel
Tiny.

[01:00:58.680] – Allan
Yeah. I can't I can't spread out now. And so we have to just limit the number of people in the gym. And then they said, my employees have to be tested every two weeks. And that's just not practical for for me to pay for my employees to be tested every two weeks just for this. So the gym will probably remain closed for a while. And I hate that.

[01:01:19.980] – Allan
Because that is a part of health and fitness. That's part of wellness. And that's being completely ignored because it's seen as a higher risk. But it is a segment of the economy that's going to continue to hurt until they really get a grapple on this thing. So I am hopeful that what they're doing is going to work. And it's worth again at the same time, not necessarily nay saying everyone who believes something different than yourself, just to realize that there might be some validity to it.

[01:01:50.970] – Allan
And hopefully people can wrap their heads around it that are smarter than me and do some work in that area to actually determine if it is or if it isn't. And not to get the PETA people mad, but it's like put some put some rats or mice in 5G and let them go and live their lives and then put some rats in the same basic environment without the 5G. So there's no other confounders. They're eating the same amount, they're eating the same food, they're doing the same thing, the same environment all the way across. And just see, is there a difference in the lives of these mice and that would just give you one more data point to share is or isn't, but, you know, and hopefully someone's doing that. but we're rolling out new technology and doing different things. It's a crapshoot at this point.

[01:02:42.060] – Rachel
Sometimes it is. Yes. Yes, it is.

[01:02:45.210] – Allan
But that's what it takes for us to get out of the crap. And, you know, I guess we take that shot.

[01:02:50.130] – Rachel
Mm hmm. And then let's also go back to the preventative measures. You know, we should all be living a healthier lifestyle as best we can and living a healthy lifestyle, being active, eating good foods and being outside and getting fresh air. I mean, all of these things can be hugely beneficial to our bodies, whether we're talking about cancer prevention, coronavirus prevention, any other disease that's out there, you know, we can take good care of our bodies. Maybe we can put it off for a while.

[01:03:19.950] – Allan
Yeah, and that's the deal is lifestyle is going to decide, you know, who's capable of making it through this and who's not. In most cases, that's what they're finding, is it's lifestyle issues that are the confounder that's causing people to really suffer with this thing. So start working on it. If you're obese, lose some weight. If you're a smoker, quit for the love of God. And if you're not eating well, you know, take that time. If you're not getting out, moving enough, get some sunshine. You know, even though now we're getting into the winter months and it's harder to get vitamin D, maybe you need to supplement. But, you know, making sure that you're getting the nutrition your body needs to be healthy. That's the challenge.

[01:04:00.830] – Allan
So if we're into this for wellness, that's a huge part of it being well means getting past these things the right way. It's great. We're going to have vaccines, treatments and all of that. Prevention is number one. We had Dr. Rob and Dr. Lou on not long ago, and it's been pretty clear. Stay out of hospital if you can, because this is more dangerous than some of the other places you might end up being.

[01:04:29.430] – Allan
And so just just realize that you're you have one thing you can control in this world right now and all the crazy stuff that's going on, you can control you. And you can control what you eat. You can control your movement. You can control how often you wash your hands, who you expose yourself to, all of those things. And so where you have control, this is this is the time to show that restraint, to show that control.

[01:04:54.810] – Rachel
Absolutely. Yeah. There's enough signs right now that shows that masks are working, social distancing, that six feet or more of separation is working.

[01:05:03.510] – Allan
OK, we're going to call that physical distancing.

[01:05:06.210] – Rachel
Right, right. Right. Yes. The physical distancing. Yeah, that's definitely worth working for. Sure. Good ventilation being outside has shown this summer. I mean, we did bring down the curve this summer with all of our outdoor activities. So there's a few things that we know works. And until we can get it under control, at least we can work on some of those preventative measures just to stay safe.

[01:05:33.840] – Allan
Absolutely. All right, Rachel. Well, I'll talk to you again next week.

[01:05:38.430] – Rachel
Awesome. Talk to you soon.

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Another episode you may enjoy

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November 30, 2020

How to keep your health instincts from making you sick with Dr. Rob Barrett & Dr. Lou Francescutti

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Dr. Rob Barrett and Dr. Lou Franchetti are a Ph.D. from the world of social science and an M.D. from the world of medicine, they combined forces to bring this emerging human crisis to light. In their book, Hardwired: How Our Instincts to Be Healthy are Making Us Sick, they share fascinating facts and little told stories to weave together real life cases that describe how our ancient evolutionary drives are propelling us toward ill health and disease.

Transcript

Let's Say Hello

[00:00:53.780] – Allan
Raz, how you doing?

[00:00:55.670] – Rachel
Good, Allan, how are you today?

[00:00:57.560] – Allan
I'm doing all right. We are we are doing the traveling around the country and we're just dodging left and right to try to avoid this covid thing. People around us are starting to get tested positive. And so far our testing has been negative. And I have a thermometer that I now carry around with me and we check our temperatures. And so, you know, trying to do the right responsible thing, wearing masks in public and doing those things.

[00:01:23.000] – Allan
You can have your position about all of that. But the reality of it is, do you really want to take your chances and get it?

[00:01:29.690] – Rachel
Right.

[00:01:30.500] – Allan
You know, if I got it, I would say, OK, I got it. And I'd hunker down somewhere for two weeks and then I'd say, OK, I'm probably going to be fine from here on out. But I know a lot of people don't have that. And if you're around someone who's ill, you really have to think about what your behavior is potentially doing to them.

[00:01:47.270] – Allan
My daughter staying with her mother this week because it's closer to her workplace and her mother got tested positive. So, you know, not that either I'm done anything wrong. It's just I got exposed in some way or another and now they have to deal with that. And now I have to somewhat deal with that and go get tested again just because of the exposure. So, be aware that that stuff's out there and it's going to get probably a lot worse before it gets better.

[00:02:17.510] – Allan
And even though there's vaccine coming out and the testing and things that'll have to go on with that, that's a ways off for all of us. It can seem kind of pretty exciting when they make an announcement like that, like, hey, we've got this thing. They don't have this thing that they have this this potential other thing that they have to start building and manufacturing and apparently keeping below a certain temperature, below freezing, which most freezers don't do today.

[00:02:44.000] – Allan
So there's a lot of logistics. A lot of things will have to go on before we can actually say we're out of the woods on this. So just be safe. And that's what I'm trying to do as we travel through the United States is, make sure that I'm staying safe, get myself tested when I can. And if I get exposed, then go get tested again. You know, that's going to be our life going forward for a little while.

[00:03:05.570] – Rachel
Yeah, I suspect that's the case for a lot of people. You know, Mike deals with this for work. Covid is an important part of his health and safety responsibilities for his work. So but we do see time and time again how mask wearing and hand washing has been, really helpful with keeping the count down. And I know the whole world is actually going through a whole new wave of it. And this one is going to be really hard, especially in places like where we live in Michigan, where it's going to be cold and we're going to spend a lot of time inside.

[00:03:35.810] – Rachel
But, again, if you just take a few of those extra steps and wear your mask and wash your hands, it really can do a lot to protect you. And like we've also talked about, Allan, being healthy, you know, just taking the extra step and taking care of your physical health will also be a huge part of the process of keeping you healthy in the long run.

[00:03:57.320] – Allan
Absolutely. Well, let's go ahead and jump into the interview then.

Interview

[00:04:31.490] – Allan
Dr. Rob, Dr. Lou, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:04:35.600] – Dr. Rob
Thanks for having us.

[00:04:37.510] – Allan
So the book is called HardWired: How Our Instincts to Be Healthy are Making Us Sick. And, one of the things I have to say about this book is it's very unusual that I will read a book and learn more than one or two things because it had so many guests on in health and fitness. And honestly, most books are just repeating something I've read somewhere else.

[00:05:00.610] – Allan
And occasionally someone will pop in with some new ideas, some new thing I've never heard. But I got to the first chapter and I'm like, oh wow, I didn't know that was that bad. And it's the next chapter. And like, hmm, that's very interesting I've never heard about those people before. And then the next one. Oh, so that's what was going on with me. It was just like every chapter I'm like just kind of a new thing in my head. And so really, really great book.

[00:05:26.240] – Dr. Rob
Yeah, thanks very much, part of that was was by design, we when Dr. Lou and I sat down and realized that we're both asking the same question, why do we do the things that we do but from different standpoints, Dr. Lou, being an E.R. physician. So he sees that in the medical world and me seeing that mostly in the social science world, when we started to look at the intersection of those two, we started to discover all of these amazing facts, as you say, and stories that can be told about how these things play upon each other and affect us in our everyday life.

[00:06:01.250] – Dr. Rob
So I'm glad you found that we were actually, as we as our journey was over many years writing this book, our journey was the same. We were shocked at how much our social world is now directing our health, our biological health as well. And that was that's one of the true takeaways of the book.

[00:06:21.640] – Dr. Lou
You know what, the aha moment for Rob and I when we were doing a previous interview was that humans, as well, designed as they are, are running on outdated software.

[00:06:34.180] – Dr. Lou
So the software we're running on served us well for the previous million years. But the fast-paced environment of today's world leaves our brain confused as to what to do. And Rob explains quite nicely that we have too much choice, too much choice in food, too much choice in social media, too much choice in everything. And with that choice comes the consequences of bad decisions that are driven by something that's hardwired into us. I mean, dopamine drives humans.

[00:07:07.240] – Dr. Lou
You get rewarded for water, you get rewarded for food. Finding water, finding food and having sex and having sex is the greatest dopamine release in your brain. And that's because humans want to be around for a long time. But if you have access to too much food, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, we have to sort of ask ourselves, why is this obesity epidemic all over the world? It's not just in North America.

[00:07:34.390] – Dr. Lou
It's all over the world. And we really believe that we're not wired properly. And so what we need to do is patch our software to make sure we can live in these modern times.

[00:07:45.540] – Allan
Yeah, you know, one of the first things you got into in the book was, quite frankly, was terrifying. I worked in the oil and gas business and so we were safety, safety, safety. And, you know, we any anything that went wrong, like you just you took a step wrong, you know, walking up the steps. You were supposed to write up a paper of a near-miss. And, you know, so safety was just drilled into us. In fact, it was actually a part of our bonus. If we had safety events above a certain threshold, we didn't get that portion of our bonus, which made sometimes me question a lot of the reporting.

[00:08:21.750] – Allan
And as an auditor, that's, you know, part of what I was like, OK, how are we doing this? Right. What what astounded me was that the same problems I would see we were seeing in the oil field. With health and safety are happening in our hospitals, and I think the stat that kind of blew me away was 440000 deaths per year due to a mistake.

[00:08:48.620] – Dr. Lou
There was a study that came out of Hopkins that basically said hospital related injuries were the third leading cause. And it's not as if as a health care provider, I go to work wanting to hurt someone. But it's like you said, oil and gas are so far ahead and taking safety seriously that the health care industry, unfortunately, still doesn't believe this is a major problem.

[00:09:11.970] – Dr. Rob
Yeah, it's interesting, we put in some really interesting numbers around preventable error in hospitals and one of the kind of the little math stats that we put in there that was really fascinating for Dr. Lou and I, as well is if you look at comparing hospitals and modern hospital to, say, the Iraq surge in 2007. So we remember the Iraq surge was one hundred and sixty thousand troops that went to Iraq and they experienced a death rate of nine hundred and four servicemen and women. In that same year, 35.1 million people visited modern US hospital. And if you use that number of roughly four hundred thousand preventable errors and deaths, then really it was more dangerous to visit a modern U.S. hospital in that same year than it was to serve in Iraq during the deadliest year in Iraq.

[00:10:04.020] – Dr. Rob
That is just astounding. And now one in four people that visit a modern hospital are at risk of experiencing a preventable error in hospitals.

[00:10:15.180] – Allan
Now, part of the solution of this is obvious. Don't go to the hospital, but you need to go to the hospital. If you have an acute issue, if you're having a heart attack or a stroke or something like that, you absolutely need to quickly get to a hospital. What else can we do to help prevent us from being a part of that statistic?

[00:10:36.520] – Dr. Rob
Well, I mean, one of the things that we look at is why are these happening? What's the nature of these errors that are happening? And it's really not a lack of understanding of medicine anymore. Of course, there's always room for improvement there. The technological advances is really not that we don't have these available. Sure, there are some cognitive biases that play into diagnostic error, what have you. But really, these are non-technical errors, non-technical errors and what we've learned a lot.

[00:11:07.090] – Dr. Rob
And we use we use the comparison in the book as well as aviation safety. Aviation, the same thing, same thing. They looked at these aircraft that are so sophisticated now that really the types of errors that we're seeing are of a non-technical nature. And that's the area that's the main domain that we need to improve upon. But as the book suggests, our hard wired parts of ourselves mean that we're very social creatures. And that means that we have to dance and play around in groups, even in very serious settings like the hospital as well.

[00:11:40.510] – Dr. Rob
And some of that group dynamic and that interplay, that psychology of being part of the group. Some of the hierarchies that are built into the hospital system mean that it's sometimes difficult for us to communicate effectively. So there's leadership issues, there's communication issues. And Dr. Lou sees that a lot more than than I do, obviously, on a day to day basis in the in the hospital environment.

[00:12:05.170] – Dr. Lou
Allan, in emergency department, there's three documented biases that emergency physicians have that lead to error, and that leads us into a similar situation in industry condition known as procedural, intentional noncompliance so that people do bad things knowing they're doing bad things.

[00:12:27.460] – Dr. Lou
And so you have to try and figure out, well, why would somebody take a shortcut when they know they shouldn't be taking a shortcut? Well, if it's the end of an eight hour shift, then they're exhausted and they just want to get out of there. They'll come up with a diagnosis and confirm in their mind that that's the right diagnosis. When if that patient had been seen at the beginning of the shift, maybe that wouldn't have happened.

[00:12:52.000] – Dr. Lou
There was really good study done out of the UK where they had staff wear red badges and green badges and their red badges were people that were fatigued and the green badges were people that were fresh. And the patients had a choice of who they wanted to take care of them. And they always chose the person that had the more sleep and that was relaxed. So when you said, what can people do? First thing is make sure your health care provider washes their hand right in front of you before they touch you.

[00:13:20.050] – Dr. Lou
And if they refuse to, then don't allow them to touch you. Raise a stink. And the other thing is ask them how long they've been up and if they've been up, you know, for a 36 hour shift and they're proud of it, ask for another health care provider. Two simple things. And bring an advocate for yourself as well. You know, you need someone that's going to help you advocate through the system. And unfortunately, if seniors go into health care facilities, which they're more prone to, most of the time they're still, a little maybe too respectful of the health care profession. And don't question what's going on.

[00:13:54.310] – Dr. Lou
Well, we know that Institute of Medicine study done in the States showed that 35 percent of all health care dollars spent in the US are totally wasted, totally wasted. So there's more than enough money in the system to develop a better system. But like you said earlier, and the ideal thing I always say is we should try and get rid of the patient so you don't have to use health care in the first place.

[00:14:16.870] – Allan
Yeah. So avoid the hospital when it's appropriate by staying healthy by a lot of things we're going to talk about here is if you keep yourself healthy, you're in the hospital less. And if you're in the hospital less then you don't have to worry about it as much. But then when you are advocate for yourself, ask those questions.

[00:14:32.810] – Allan
I got what I like. So I was just shocked that there was there was not a check balance or something to say that they had to wash their hands between seeing patients. I just, I don't know. You assume some of these things are just going to happen, because if anyone knows what they're doing, it's the guy that's walking in there with the white coat. But we need to ask more questions. We need to we need to be on the medical team with the doctor.

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[00:16:22.880] – Allan
I don't think anyone right now doesn't know that willpower is a finite resource, and if we get fatigued, sometimes willpower just gets weaker. That's why it's easier to eat ice cream after dinner than it is. You would not necessarily eat it for breakfast because you know better.

[00:16:40.220] – Allan
But you talk about actually taking some of these tactical indulgences. And as I was talking to a client today and he said he just he just loves candy corn and he's lost 150 pounds and he's like, but I love candy corn. So this time of year when it rolls around, I'm going to buy myself a small bag of candy corn. And he says that keeps him on track for a whole quarter. And he says then he knows around Thanksgiving, Christmas, he'll give himself another little treat.

[00:17:07.640] – Allan
Can you just talk about why tactical indulgences are a great way to bolster our willpower or at least help us through those times?

[00:17:15.770] – Dr. Rob
Yeah, for sure. Well, if we start with the idea that, we do have this hard wiring. So if we're stuck with this hardwiring for now, that means we have this reward system in our brain that's constantly turned on. It's constantly wanting reward all the time. So we can either try to fight it or we can try to we can try to work with it somehow. And if you're trying to fight it, you end up, this idea of building resilience all the time doesn't necessarily work.

[00:17:41.360] – Dr. Rob
It becomes more and more difficult. So the idea of these tactical indulgences means that you are allowing yourself to feed the reward center of your brain, but in more perhaps and more positive, ideally in more positive ways as well, taking a little breaks. So willpower is almost like the gas in your car. You can run out of it, you can burn through it and run out of it. You have to keep adding it. You have to keep replenishing it as well.

[00:18:06.620] – Dr. Rob
So there was a great experiment that illustrates this, and it was the cookie and radish experiment. And what they did was they had people have either some cookies or some radishes in a control group, and then they had to do some math problems afterwards, some really challenging math problems. And they found that the ones that had the cookies did a lot better and they were able to last a lot longer with the math test. And that's because they were able to free up some of that willpower by this some small indulgence that allowed them to not have to sort of double up on their willpower. Like, eat these radishes while other people are having cookies and then go into this tough math experiment.

[00:18:44.450] – Dr. Rob
And that was kind of a doubling up of willpower. So we have to be able to allow ourselves and this flexibility to have these small indulgences. And we've we see that even in athletes. And that we we talk about that in the book. And this is very fitting for the theme today as well. So in elite athletics, obviously, athletes are extremely disciplined. They are among the most disciplined people on the planet to be able to get through these excruciating workouts.

[00:19:15.470] – Dr. Rob
But between those workouts, they allow themselves downtime and they maybe have a race and then they watch a corny movie. They eat some indulgent food. They allow their their brains and their bodies to be able to have this tactical break before they have to start again. And that allows them to refresh the system, to add that willpower back into the gas tank. So it's a very, very powerful tool. And it's one that that a lot of people don't necessarily understand how to use. And if we are truly hardwired, we have to work with that reward system. We can't work against it.

[00:19:51.770] – Allan
It's interesting you said that because with the covid pandemic, everything that's going on, a lot of football games in the pros are getting shifted around. And so, it's interesting that we're interviewing this guy and said, you were supposed to have a game and then you didn't have a game. And now it's been 16 days since you having a game. What did you do? And he said, I sat with my wife and watched a movie and had some wine, like that was something he would never have done during the season. But because he had that break, he just used that opportunity to basically have an indulgence.

[00:20:25.130] – Dr. Rob
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And it's really, really important. And we so we see that in top performers all the time. I've talked to people who are executives as well. Maybe some of your listeners relate to this where they are. They have to be on all the time. They have to be on their game. And then they go and travel, you know, on an aircraft somewhere, maybe overseas. And that that break to be able to sit down, put on the headphones, watch a crazy movie just to relax.

[00:20:52.340] – Dr. Rob
And they say that it almost resets them. It's that refreshing way of resetting your brain and then you can go back to your A-game again afterward. So these are these are feeding our reward system. It's the same dopamine pathways that we're feeding, but we're trying to feed them in more positive and conscientious ways.

[00:21:13.230] – Dr. Lou
Allan, sort of related to that is people don't appreciate the importance of volunteering. So volunteering your time releases something within you and people that volunteer are, it's estimated, 40% happier than people that don't volunteer. So your listeners, if they're not currently volunteering right now, they should try it and see if it makes a difference in their lives. I mean, happiness is 50% genetic. You either have it or you don't. 10% of it comes from having more money. But we know that 40% of it comes from volunteering and strong social support network. So people should not underestimate the power of volunteering.

[00:21:59.060] – Allan
Yeah, and that rolls right into the Rosetto Effect. This was fascinating. I guess. Rosetto was a town in Italy and especially long-lived folks, and they moved to like it was Pennsylvania. Right. And they set up another town called Rosetto. And it was all these people were immigrants coming over and staying in that one town. And they didn't have heart disease. And it was fascinating. And they started studying them. And then two generations later, all that's gone. And you calling that the Rosetta Effect, could you talk a little bit about that?

[00:22:34.160] – Dr. Rob
Sure. I mean, Dr. Lou may want to talk about the clinical side of that, but what I think what to start off, it's very interesting case because, yes, the population, despite their lifestyles, first of all, they worked. They were hard working. They lived and worked in mines that worked in mines they didn't have especially great diets. They drank gallons of wine. They so the typical behaviors that you might associate with having a fantastic cardiovascular system weren't necessarily there.

[00:23:10.010] – Dr. Rob
But yet they were noticing that they were lacking a lot of coronary artery disease or coronary diseases. So they wanted to look into the effect of that. And the traditional medical analysis of them wasn't necessarily yielding an answer. So they had to look at other areas. And one of the most fascinating and seemed like the determinant factor was the sense of community that they had. So Dr. Lou mentioned volunteering, and it's that social support, that network that seems to be absolutely critical to our health.

[00:23:43.280] – Dr. Rob
And we know that intuitively. If you feel that, you know, your family or your friends have your back, you sense that, that if you were to fall on hard times or whatever you need to pick up the phone and call them that they would be there to help you in a second. That intuitively feels good. It's a stress lowering mechanism in your life. And so that was one of the most fundamental findings of that.

[00:24:11.030] – Dr. Rob
And it's a great case for the book as well, because it does illustrate that nexus or that point between our biological medical selves and our in our social world and how our social world is so very important.

[00:24:26.420] – Dr. Lou
Tying into Rob's comments, that's why the UK has a Minister of Loneliness, that's why the United Arab Emirates as a Minister of Happiness, because the literature is now starting to show us that loneliness is worse for your heart health than smoking. That's pretty powerful when you stop and you say that somebody's loneliness is worse for your health than smoking. And so, volunteering is part of a strong social support network as part of it. And this all ties in with the increase in suicide rates that we're seeing as well. That ties in with a lot of social media factors that hopefully we'll talk about. But, you should be saying to yourself, come on, guys, you're trying to tell me that loneliness and volunteering are these are such basic things that don't cost anything. You're absolutely right. They don't cost anything. But the impact they have on you is phenomenal.

[00:25:22.370] – Allan
I think I read in your book it said that loneliness actually changes the shape of your heart. The left ventricle.

[00:25:31.830] – Dr. Rob
Yeah. We do talk in the book about the changes in our body. There's one that is a an effect almost like the broken heart effect and that is a that's a clinical presentation. And Dr. Lou may know a bit more about it, but it's a clinical presentation which is like having a heart attack. And that can happen in times of a very high acute stress. We see it they call it a broken heart effect because you see it oftentimes with the death of a spouse, you're going through that that that horrible grief that is so very stressful for you.

[00:26:11.240] – Dr. Rob
And that can actually play out in the actual way that you're that your heart is working. And the the the the widow and widower effect is very real, where the risk of dying after the death of a of a long time spouse is very high within the first year or two, much higher than the general population as well.

[00:26:36.120] – Allan
Now, I told you I had worked in the oil and gas field, and as you might imagine, when that when the market's good, everything's great, and when the market's bad, everything's really bad. And so I went through about three years of just continuous layoffs until finally my name was on the paper with along with everybody else. It turned out to be a blessing because I said I was I'm not definitely not going back to that kind of lifestyle.

[00:27:05.670] – Allan
You brought up something called allostatic load, which is basically, I guess, an accumulation of stress. And I have to believe that was my problem because I got to a point where everything hurt. Everything just bothered me.

[00:27:20.610] – Allan
I really felt like I had no resilience to stress and I really feel like that's what it was. Yeah. Can you talk about allostatic load and what causes it and what we can do about it?

[00:27:33.250] – Dr. Rob
Yeah, yeah, so we talk about allostatic load and allostasis, we're talking about the cumulative stresses that impact us on a day to day basis and chronically as well as you say, it's that it's the idea of that wear and tear that happens on the body over time with all of those stressors that can be psychological, it can be social, and it can be physical as well. Doing night shifts and all this kind of stuff all adds to this sort of wear and tear. So we want to be able to manage that, of course. And if we go to we obviously we start to venture too far into the stress side of that of a so-called bell curve. If we if the middle is the optimum, then then we're constantly living with stress. It's a chronic stress condition and that will obviously bring us down over time.

[00:28:20.500] – Dr. Rob
And the same thing, if we're under stress as well, that that can be a challenge, a different type of challenge. But we want to kind of stay in the middle and really we talk about having almost like a flow state. You're staying right in the middle. You're on your game. You're optimum. But your body and your brain are essentially evolved to be able to manage this type of stress.

[00:28:42.950] – Dr. Rob
And what we're seeing and we talk about in the book, Hardwired, is that we are in a super saturated ecosystem, essentially, that is creating so much stress that we're having a very difficult time staying in that happy place right in the middle, that optimum. And so now we're walking around with all of this weight of the world, stress on our shoulders, and it's having a real health effect in terms of our actual physical health as well.

[00:29:09.700] – Dr. Rob
And Dr. Lou probably sees that that all the time in terms of stress in the clinical environment.

[00:29:15.560] – Dr. Lou
Yeah, let me let me just add onto that and back up a little bit, so if that stress is present in a pregnant female, that stress actually has an impact on the fetus, so much so that it can change the genetic structure of that if that fetus it's called epigenesis and so that in combination with adverse childhood events. So that's child abuse, child neglect, child malnutrition will stick with an individual and manifests itself later in life with increased cancer rates, increased diabetes rates, increased asthma rates, increased obesity rates.

[00:29:52.550] – Dr. Lou
Just about every chronic disease can be linked back to adverse childhood events. And the stress, especially in a pregnant female, is directly transferred to the fetus. So, you know, as far as I'm concerned, the most important members of our society are obviously pregnant females and kids. You know, in the first 18 months of life, what happens to a child in the first 18 months of life regarding adverse childhood events is going to be with them for the rest of their lives.

[00:30:22.280] – Dr. Lou
Some of your listeners may wonder, why am I still behind the eight ball? Well, you know, if you were to go and do a little bit of a forensic analysis of your upbringing, a lot of the reasons why you are who you are today, can go right back to when you were in your mom's uterus.A

[00:30:43.100] – Allan
lot of people and I fit this list at one point I've tried to move away from it. I don't carry my phone with me unless I have to. So right now, I'm recording this in a spare bedroom and my phone is in the living room. And my wife, she couldn't stand that. If her phone was in the living room, she's in the living room. And because she uses the video games and the social media almost, she feels like a stress release for me. It's the exact opposite. I feel stress every time I get on social media.

[00:31:17.330] – Allan
But you brought up the term called Nomeophobia. First time I'm hearing that word. Can you explain nomophobia and then kind of why? You know, obviously we didn't have social media when we were designed. And it's a new thing, a really new thing. I know some folks out there might not realize it, but we were all born. If you're over 40, social media didn't exist when we were born. Kids are being born into it now, where there are on social media playing these video games before they really even look like they should be able to hold a phone.

[00:31:50.030] – Allan
Can you talk about this? Because this is this is actually, I think, becoming this is going to be big. This is this might be, in my opinion, going forward, one of the biggest health risks that we have in front of us.

[00:32:00.560] – Dr. Rob
Yeah, absolutely. So, yeah, nomophobia is is it kind of fun word, but it's basically a fear of being without your phone. It's that panic. Where's my phone? And you're padding your pockets and you're looking for your phone and you know, so but is that fear of being with or without it? It's not it's not necessarily a fear of losing it, it's a fear of not checking it all the time. So so it's funny, the spouse thing, there's about 20% of the population would rather not see their spouse for a week, then go without their phone for a week. That's a sad statistic.

[00:32:33.000] – Allan
It is.

[00:32:34.100] – Dr. Rob
Yeah. And about 90% of the people out there will check their phone and look at their phone before bed. And there's all sorts of, you know, things that happen in your brain with a light that comes off the phone that, the blue light that affects you with melatonin. But really, it has to do with the social side. And it's that ability to not disconnect yourself from what's happening on the phone, the content on the phone as well.

[00:32:56.390] – Dr. Rob
So we especially see this in young people. So about 90% of them sleep with their phone like right beside them in bed. And about one in five people will, especially younger people, will wake up in the night to check their social media because it's so arousing for them to do that. So there's a couple of things. One is that, as are our brains, get a very positive reward from looking at our phone.

[00:33:21.770] – Dr. Rob
So we get this, as Dr. Lou had mentioned, this dopamine reward center in our brain. It lights up when we look at our phone. Every time you pull your phone in your pocket, you look at you're getting hit of dopamine. There's other things that they've come out with some of the research too. So oxytocin, which is the cuddle hormone, the love hormone that you would have between a mother and a baby, between a couple that have been together in a long, loving relationship, that that oxytocin, the feel good hormone is also released as well.

[00:33:51.950] – Dr. Rob
But we also know that very heavy social media users also have higher rates of depression. So you have this sort of positive thing that's happening. But in the long run, in the big picture, it's quite a negative one. And a lot of that, again, has to do with the hardwired part of our brain. That has to do with us being in groups and wanting that social reward. So, we're social creatures, we want that social reward to happen. And so all of these likes and everything else that we get on social media stimulate our our brain. And we can't get away from it. We can't get away from it.

[00:34:28.810] – Dr. Rob
But at the same time, a lot of times social comparison in itself doesn't make us feel great. We compare ourselves to others. And it's sort of that, you know, comparing yourself to the Joneses sort of thing, the neighbors. And when you compare yourself, you can't help but look at the things that are in social media that you might not have, that you wish you had. And a lot of times it makes us feel a little bit negative about ourselves.

[00:34:56.140] – Dr. Rob
Dr. Lou talks about that all the time, about how that, you know, that that the ability to appreciate yourself and that self-love is still very important.

[00:35:05.480] – Dr. Lou
It's a matter of then coming and doing a reality check so you can create whatever persona you want online. It's very simple to do right. So what you do is you create this image of yourself and your family and your life. But reality is that's not what it's like. And the reason you do that, as Rob said, is you want to belong to part of a group. Right. That's how we've survived as a species for so long. And so when you get the like, you get the dopamine hit. When you get, you know, people retweeting you, you get the dopamine hit.

[00:35:34.520] – Dr. Lou
But, you know, it also brings out the worst in us. All you have to do is take a look at Twitter and sometimes what happens with Twitter. And it's like people check their filters at the door. And if it's on your mind and you should have slept on it and you don't and you tweeted and you can't pull it back. And so that just perpetuates a cascade of things. And for our young adolescents, belonging is so important. That's why they constantly feel that they need to be present, because if somebody makes a comment and they don't respond, then everyone else seems to gang up on them.

[00:36:09.560] – Dr. Lou
And I don't think it's a coincidence that suicide rates amongst our adolescents have shot up by 35% in the last little while. I see kids in our emergency department on a regular basis that are self-mutilating and attempting suicide that I've never seen before. I teach at the university and whenever they pool or university students, suicide is on their on their mind. Mental illness is on their mind.

[00:36:35.750] – Dr. Lou
We're raising a generation that's not going to live as long as we did. That's the first time in history that we're losing traction. And part of it is the opioid crisis. And so you start taking all these things together. And I think the book is a wake up call to everybody, to our politicians, to our policy makers, to our teachers, to our doctors, to our podcasters, to our influencers. We've got to sort of put things on hold for a second and say, hey, wait, it's not as if we don't have enough money and we're not spending enough money, but we're just not doing it so that everyone benefits from it.

[00:37:13.610] – Allan
At one point in time when I got Facebook, I was like, I'm only going to have people on Facebook that I really know. And I would go through a process about once a year if I had more than 150. And I think that actually it was ironic that that's also the number you said we have connections in our lives, about 150 real connections. And so if the number got over 150. Being a numbers guy, being an auditor, an accountant, I love even numbers like a 50 or two hundred or whatever. So I was at that 150 number and I pare back down and pare back down and it would get harder as I went along and then, OK, maybe I can let it go up to 200.

[00:37:53.210] – Allan
I might have three hundred and fifty Facebook friends right now. And I bought an application that that takes all the political posts and hides them. It takes all of the fluff stuff and just hides it. And any word I want to put in there. So if I just decided for a day I didn't want to see anything about covid, I could hide it and I wouldn't even see it. It puts my timeline in order. So it's not Facebook playing that algorithm to dance in my head. It's in the order it was posted. And I can go back to the last post I saw and know that I've seen my whole feed and there's no reason for me to be on Facebook anymore because I've seen everything that's there.

[00:38:31.610] – Allan
Then I put the phone down. I don't let Facebook send me any other videos or other things they think I want to see because they're playing into this whole dopamine, get you on there, keep you on there, and then just keep feeding you the content. It's a formula and they've got it down really, really good.

[00:38:48.140] – Dr. Rob
Yeah, absolutely. The other thing that happens, too, is we especially with the 24/7 news cycle and obviously the political, you know, conflict on both sides of the fence there. And we get caught in this sort of fight or flight response all the time. We're always whenever we pull our phone out, we're looking at the news. It's activating that part of the brain that is really stuck in almost that very prehistoric evolutionary fight or flight stage.

[00:39:16.130] – Dr. Rob
And there's all sorts of chemistry in our body that then gets affected by fight or flight. The cortisol levels and everything else is, you know, we're bathed in this and that is very detrimental to our health and our fitness and everything else in our routine. And then in the young people, too, if they're stuck in fight or flight, either because of screen time or because they're getting caught up in some of the political drama and they're confused and afraid about the world, then everything starts to become a threat and they lose that ability to sit back and use that sort of executive function of the brain and say, hey, I can filter this and I can make sense of it in a more rational way.

[00:39:59.150] – Dr. Rob
They get stuck in that fight or flight. And what you end up happening is they start to become. Hyper-reactive to the world around them, and if you're hyper-reactive, then once again, you get on social media and you see the back and forth of the arguments going on in social media. And you start to become very reactive to that and you start to take a side and you start to get involved in that.

[00:40:22.180] – Dr. Rob
So it's almost a self-fulfilling prophecy. This this fight or flight is very difficult to get out of. And so, as Dr. Lou said, the generation that is now coming up, the young adolescents, the kids, the adolescents and the emerging adults, the ones that are the college and university age. Those are the ones we're seeing the effects of this now that we're talking about in the book.

[00:40:50.140] – Allan
Yeah, but I would say it's even happening for people over 40. I'm seeing it more and more and just the people I interact with, something will blow up and that's not who this person is. I was sitting with them at a restaurant and we were having dinner. That's not something they would say. But something here is driving them to an extreme behavior. And again, it's the stress of the whole thing. They want to be right. I guess they want to be right. But it just that blow up and it's really kind of bizarre to see that kind of behavior in someone who wasn't on social media 15 years ago.

[00:41:27.880] – Dr. Lou
Yeah. So one of the things that I would suggest for your listeners is that they become familiar with the concept of emotional intelligence so that they have a really good understanding of their emotional intelligence. And there's plenty of good books out there that you can buy and do this assessment and get a printout of what your emotional intelligence is like. And then the next most important tool that they need to have in practice and get good at is the art of having a crucial conversation.

[00:41:57.700] – Dr. Lou
Most people don't know how to have a crucial conversation. And unless you can get a really good check on your emotional intelligence so that you know, when you're about to enter a crucial conversation, otherwise you'll end up with road rage. Like road rage is a perfect example of emotional intelligence gone wild and inability to have a crucial conversation. Because once you get into that situation, it's like Rob said, humans will do three things. You'll either freeze and try and camouflage and blend into your surroundings. You'll turn and run or the hair on your back is going to go up and you're in a full fight mode.

[00:42:39.490] – Dr. Lou
And I see this every shift in emergency, somebody gets their face punched out because they looked at somebody the wrong way or said the wrong thing. And it's pretty frightening. Good advice I can give your listeners as you're driving and somebody cuts you off, lay off the horn, ignore them. You don't know what's going on in that individual's life. You don't know what happened to that woman that day.

[00:43:02.260] – Dr. Lou
You don't know what happened and you don't know what they're on. You know, with this opioid and meth epidemic that's out there, somebody will kill you just for the sake of killing you. So I don't want to frighten people, but just have a really good check on your emotional intelligence. And if you do get into a conversation where you sense it's not going to be a good one, just say, hey, listen, we're about to have a crucial conversation and let's follow these certain rules.

[00:43:31.180] – Allan
Absolutely. I appreciate that,

[00:43:33.550] – Allan
Dr. Lou. I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:43:43.120] – Dr. Lou
Well, it all depends. So most of your listeners probably are at the advantage that they have a roof over their head, they have some sort of income, and they have the ability to want to get better. I would say the first advantage would be let's make sure everyone has a roof over their head. Let's make sure everyone gets as educated as they can so that they can find a good job, keep a good job, find a good mate and create a nice, strong family that's healthy for you.

[00:44:12.190] – Dr. Lou
The other thing is we have to understand that we're in far more control than what we think we are. And I think the last one and Rob can remindthem, I think the last one is to just understand that we're running on outdated software. And that's why life is so difficult for all of us. And, the sooner we understand that we have to work even harder at it and develop our own strategies and our own sort of patches to make sure that software is operating in the twenty-first century and not to be afraid of saying I'm lonely, things aren't working, I'm not happy, I need help.

[00:44:47.920] – Dr. Lou
That's the first sign of getting better is saying that you want to get help and stop comparing yourself to others because you'll always find someone that's worse and you'll always find someone that's better.

[00:44:58.330] – Allan
Thank you,

[00:44:59.530] – Allan
Dr. Rob, I'll ask you the same 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?

[00:45:10.020] – Dr. Rob
All right, I'll just build off of what Dr. Lou was saying there. I think that we talk about in the book is and I think the book's purpose, really, as Dr. Lou was saying, is a great word, is a wake up call. Really, it starts with with understanding. So it's understanding ourselves and our bodies. And that's always what we want to do in fitness and health, is that how do how does my body work? How do I get better at everything?

[00:45:31.500] – Dr. Rob
So really, this book is about understanding. It's like a health enlightenment, really. So we talk about the whys. So Dr. Lou's always said, you know, why, why? Why can't I get healthy, why can't I lose weight or why can't I stick to this diet that I'm supposed to be? And, you know, as a doctor, he gets those questions all the time. And really this book is to try to help you understand the whys.

[00:45:52.830] – Dr. Rob
And you've mentioned it right off the bat, that this you know, there's some really interesting facts and figures and understanding yourself. I think that's the first thing is understanding ourselves. And we do that in health and we do that in fitness right off the bat, that the next thing I think is really understanding what parts of us are hardwired in. What what what does that software, Dr. Lou was saying that we're running on, that we need to respect, that we need to understand. And knowing that, for example, the reward system in our brain, how that reward system works. Can we, as we talked about, feed that in more positive ways that frees up some of that capacity that we have to be able to live a healthier life and not get dragged down. And I think the final thing we've touched upon it is real social connection. That is the potentially the the biggest thing that can change your life today almost immediately is having real human connection.

[00:46:52.770] – Dr. Rob
I know it's tough and covid, but that means, you know, having a kind of connection with immediate family, those who you see every day, spending more time with them, walking in nature with them, having more quality time with them, and not just typing on phones in terms of how you communicate with others, but having real face to face conversations with them as much as you can. That social connection bit, and Dr. Lou mentioned it to the loneliness aspect, is probably one of the biggest takeaways from the book.

[00:47:22.140] – Dr. Rob
It not only gives you good health, it gives you happiness as well. So one of the longest studies in the world out of Harvard University, which they started in the 1930s when they looked at, in this case, it was men over the course of their lives, those from fairly privileged backgrounds and know from and those from less privileged backgrounds. They found that at the end of their life course, they essentially said, it wasn't the money that made the big difference. It wasn't the great job that that that was that made the big difference in my life in terms of happiness, even though they thought that was going to make them happy. It was the social connections and the strong social networks that really, really mattered. And those that had the strongest social networks had the greatest health biometrics when they tested them.

[00:48:07.230] – Dr. Lou
One thing that listeners should understand is that you're given two ears and one mouth. So you should always be listening twice as much as you're speaking. And that's a very hard thing for most of us to do. But if you want to connect socially with others, you have to become a really good listener, like a really good listener. And the best way to do that is to repeat what you heard back to the individual so that they understand you're really listening. And the other advice is St. Francis of Assisi said use words, but only if necessary. So in other words, don't yap too much.

[00:48:42.360] – Allan
There you go.

[00:48:42.900] – Allan
Thank you for that, Dr. Rob. Dr. Lou, if someone wanted to learn more about the book, Hardwired or anything else that you guys are doing, what would you like for me to send them?

[00:48:54.660] – Dr. Rob
We each have websites. So, my website is DrRobertBarrett.com And Dr. Lou's is drlou.ca.

[00:49:13.140] – Allan
Excellent. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/462 and I'll be sure to have links there. So Dr. Lou, Dr. Rob, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:49:24.690] – Dr. Lou
My pleasure.

[00:49:25.200] – Dr. Rob
Great.


Post Show/Recap

[00:49:32.080] – Allan
Well, welcome back, Raz.

[00:49:34.180] – Rachel
Hey, Allan. Wow! That was a lot of information in that interview

[00:49:39.760] – Allan
We jumped around and the book is really good because it has a lot more than I was ever able to cover in any kind of podcast. But there were those few highlights where I was like, I need to get into this. I think I mentioned during the interview it's just like every chapter running into something I'd never read before. Stats, I didn't know.

[00:50:02.230] – Allan
Don't go to the hospital, find ways to avoid being hospitalized. Work on yourself because being hospitalized increases your risk of death. Significantly. Which I was just, again, shocked and appalled a little bit. But, it is what it is just, now we know advocate for yourself and try not to go to the hospital if you can avoid it.

[00:50:26.650] – Allan
And I don't mean to not do something that you need to get done to prolong your life or to improve your life. But just realize that you're taking a risk and you have to be proactive as a participant in your health care.

[00:50:40.630] – Rachel
Mm hmm. Yeah Going under the knife is not an easy decision. But, we've always heard my mom's a nurse, so we have a lot of health professionals in my family. And that's always the last thing. That's what the doctor tells you. Going under the knife is always the last thing. And so if there's anything we can do to prolong that or change our lifestyle or nutrition or whatever, that might help keep you out of the hospital.

[00:51:04.330] – Allan
Absolutely. And then I think one of the other cool things that I got into there and, I do this because I do seasonal ketosis, but they called it, what was it?

[00:51:15.070] – Rachel
Tactical indulgences.

[00:51:16.000] – Allan
Tactical indulgencies. Yeah. It makes sense. And I have a lot of clients that talk about that. And, you know, with seasonal ketosis, I have a period of time when I'm allowed to go do the things I like to do. I have some beer, enjoying myself, watching, you know, football, that kind of thing. But I do make sure they're good beers, you know?

[00:51:36.670] – Rachel
Make it worthwhile.

[00:51:37.630] – Allan
It's worthwhile. Right. I'm not just going to sit there and throw down with a national light beer brand, pick your pick poison. But I'm going to go have a nice IPA. I'm going to find a local brew and I'm traveling, that kind of thing. But it is a tactical indulgence. It's a period of time. I know when I'm doing it and I know when I go back that I'm back to who I was and who I am.

[00:52:01.420] – Allan
That's the thing. So, you know, a lot of that is about knowing yourself. And that's why I don't just do it for one meal or one day. I make it a period of time, that's a set period of time because I'm an all or nothing kind of person. I'm not going to have the capacity to sit there and say I'm going to have two beers and then be done. I'm going to have beers till you know, we're done doing what we're doing, so it's a football game. I'm just going to sit there and enjoy myself not driving afterwards so boom, have some fun. I think I think that's a really cool concept to think about in as far as your self-awareness is how do I react to certain things and do I need that reward?

[00:52:42.940] – Allan
I have some clients and they've told me it's like every once in a while they want to do that thing. And I think that's cool, especially when you compare that with the Rosetto Effect, which is spending time with each other. And it's one of the examples I use quite often is, if your significant other invited you to Hawaii, you're going to have a Mai Tai. You're going to eat the pineapple, even if you're keto. You're going to enjoy those things and you should, because that's a part of putting joy into your life. And that's a big, big part of long of longevity. And that's how when I say I'm defining wellness, I include that. I probably should have used the word joy instead of happiness. But to me, they're somewhat synonymous. If you have enough happiness, I think it's called joy.

[00:53:31.110] – Allan
I think that's the key, surrounding yourself with people that you care about, having a purpose and spending time with people because, we're social animals. You need that social, and I've said this before. I hate that they use the term social distancing because that's not what we need to be doing. We need social adherence. We need to be close to each other socially. Now, we might need to physically distance, which is the case if I'm testing positive, I'm not going to subject someone to covid just to be close to them, but I am going to physically distance.

[00:54:09.600] – Rachel
Mm hmm.

[00:54:14.730] – Allan
It's really, really important when you're looking at wellness

[00:54:17.250] – Rachel
For sure, they mentioned the Rosetto Effect and having the social support group and how that is so critical for somebody's happiness. And that's really hard right now with covid. And a lot of places throughout the year have had to quarantine. We had to shelter in place in Michigan where a lot of states did. It's hard. And even now, getting outside with normal groups is really difficult and limited. It's hard.

[00:54:46.200] – Allan
It is hard. It is hard. We talked about social media on the show. Social media is not necessarily the answer to being socially connected. I think it can be as simple as picking up the phone. You know, Zoom is an excellent tool. We're using it for this interview or this discussion. So I can see Rachel right now. We're right here. And even though I guess we're probably driving distances, we're recording this about a little over two hours away. You know, we can have this kind of conversation and we could have this conversation even if I were still in Panama. So I think that's what makes this technology pretty powerful, is you can still visually connect with someone. You still be engaged with someone, and you don't have to necessarily physically be in the same room with them. So we do have that. But, you know, when you can call your mom, visit your mom, you know, go see your dad, spend some time with them, have a beer with them if it's a tactical indulgence.

[00:55:47.772] – Rachel
Yep. Yeah, we've done a lot of that this summer, actually, since the weather's been so nice, we've been able to organize activities outside. So we'll sit out on the back patio at my parents or my in-laws house and just spend time and it's it's safer outside. You can social distance easily. And the weather's been great for that, although it's going to be much harder to do the same thing this winter when it's going to be as cold as it gets up here in Michigan. Not quite the same.

[00:56:17.310] – Allan
I don't understand why you moved that far north.

[00:56:20.730] – Rachel
I miss Florida sometimes. Let me tell you it mostly in the winter. But Zoom is the next best thing. And that's how we're going to have our Thanksgiving. It's how we're going to have Christmas. And our birthdays have been consumed this year and it's the next best thing.

[00:56:36.750] – Allan
Yeah. Well hopefully again they've got the vaccine together and they're working on that and you know, provided it doesn't turn into the movie Legend, you know, super zombies running around everywhere because they've got the innoculation. Hopefully all that will start to work out and buy, you know, particularly by this time next year covid will be somewhat of a memory. But still one. So, you know, I'm not one to push for an end of 2020. And a lot of people like, oh, this is the worst year ever. I think they had it worse and some of their like 1818 and 1918. And if you kind of look back at history, this, we were actually in pretty good shape when you break it all down.

[00:57:23.010] – Allan
But, I'm not one to let days go. I'm going to make every day count and enjoy every day. I'm not going to say let's get to 2021 and any time sooner than we need to get there, you know, enjoy your day and find joy in every little thing. If you don't have a gratitude practice, get one on. Sit down for just five minutes each day, if you want to journal it, that's awesome, too. But find those things that bring you joy and then spend more time doing that, even if it's a little five minute increments.

[00:57:54.120] – Allan
Spend more time doing the things and socializing with people and being with people that bring you that that that thing, and that's going to be so much so much more benefit for your longevity than me even telling you what to eat or me telling you how to exercise. It's really about putting it all together in a balanced lifestyle that makes sense for you.

[00:58:18.030] – Rachel
Yeah, yeah. Happiness is such an important part. And whatever it takes to bring you that joy every day, it's important to really search for that, to go after that and not just let it happen. Happiness just doesn't happen. Sometimes you need to go for that. And for me, I like to exercise. I love my run clubs. I've got a really positive relationship with social media, mostly because I follow runners who are always inspiring and motivating. But it's important to take some time out of your day to do that one or two things that really helps you find overall happiness and joy.

[00:58:53.850] – Allan
Absolutely. All right. Well, Rachel, anything else we need to go over before we sign off?

[00:59:00.450] – Rachel
No, this is a great interview. I think I might need to read that book.

[00:59:04.050] – Allan
It is a good book. Like I said, every chapter was something special in that book. I learned a lot from the book and having done almost 300 interviews for me to learn something new, not just once or twice, but practically every single chapter, this really is something that I think is well worth the time and effort to read. Fantastic. Well, thank you so much. All right.

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