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Dr Jonny Bowden is the co-author of The Great Cholesterol Myth and in this book he and Dr Stephen Sintra get to the truth about cholesterol levels.
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Allan (1:15): Dr. Bowden, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
Dr. Bowden (1:21): My pleasure, Allan. This is round two. I enjoy it the first time.
Allan (1:26): Yes, it is. The first time was great, and I’m very, very happy and feel privileged and honored to have you back on.
Dr. Bowden (1:33): Thank you.
Allan (1:34): We really had a good discussion about cholesterol in that one. And the name of this book is The Great Cholesterol Myth. We’re going to talk about cholesterol some more today, but I think what I took out of this book that was a little different than other, I guess, anti-cholesterol books or those kinds of books in general…
Dr. Bowden (1:55): Cholesterol skeptic books, let’s call them that way.
Allan (1:56): Skeptic books. Okay, let’s call it that. You and Dr. Sinatra didn’t just say cholesterol doesn’t matter. You took us to that next step to say, “Here’s how you can use those numbers in some way.” But then there are these other four things that are actually what we ought to be paying attention to, and we’re being distracted by this number.
Dr. Bowden (2:21): And those four things I call “The Four Horsemen of Aging”. And here’s an interesting factoid. When we did The Great Cholesterol Myth, we looked at the factors that actually promote heart disease – the real ones, not cholesterol; that’s a minor player – but the real factors, and we isolated four of them. But what I want to tell you that I think is interesting is a previous book of mine, which was originally written in 2008, called The Most Effective Ways to Live Longer, is now being revised in a revised and updated edition for 2019. And guess what? The same four factors are what contribute to early death. So not only are these four factors that I’m about to tell you major promoters of heart disease, they’re major promoters of every disease. In fact, every degenerative disease you don’t want to get, whether it be Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes, obesity, heart disease – they all have these four factors playing in some proportion or another. So these are not just about heart disease. Now I guess you want to know what the factors are, right?
Number one is inflammation. Inflammation is a silent killer. We’ve known that since that famous Time magazine cover about 20 years ago that said, “Inflammation: The Silent Killer”. Nobody knew what it was back then. Now people are talking about it, but I don’t think people really understand the enormity of the contribution of inflammatory processes to just about every disease they get. We get stuffed noses and colds – we know we’ve got inflammation. We get a splinter caught in our shins, and we know we see inflammation. We see it will get all red, but we don’t really comprehend the damage and destruction of chronic inflammation that flies under the radar. Not the stuff you see – not the abscess on your tooth, or the growth of a pimple or any of the inflammation signs that we’re all very familiar with, but the stuff that goes on under the hood – in our arteries, in our veins that we don’t see – that’s the inflammation that kills us, and that is the number one of the four things that we identified as The Four Horsemen of Aging. Inflammation.
Now we can stop right there. I’ll give you the overview. And I’m sure these are many things that you’ve covered on your shows, because these are core subjects that everybody who’s interested in health looks at at one time or another. So inflammation was number one. Number two is oxidative damage. So everything you ever heard about antioxidants – they’re all about fighting this Horseman of Aging – oxidation, oxidative damage, the kind of thing that happens inside your body that parallels what happens when you leave metal out on your front yard and in the rain – it rusts. And when you rust from the inside, you’ve got oxidative damage. So, fighting that is one of the big goals I think of any kind of “anti-aging” program, or any heart disease program for that matter. The number three is something you and I were talking about offline, which is stress. And I know we have a lot to say about stress, so let me put it in context. It’s one of the four biggest promoters of disease, magnifiers of disease, amplifiers of disease, causes of disease. It’s just an enormous factor in all diseases, especially in heart disease, and I can give you some examples of that a little bit later on. And the last one is something that people may not be as familiar with. It’s called glycation. And actually they’re not in any order, because all of these are equally destructive. The fourth Horseman of Aging is sugar, because there’s no glycation without sugar, so we might as well forget about the biochemical process known as “glycation” that ages you from the inside and outside, but let’s talk about the cause of the glycation, which is sugar. So there they are, The Four Horsemen of Aging – inflammation, oxidative stress or oxidative damage, stress, and sugar.
Allan (6:16): Okay. Now, one of the things I harp on my clients, and I probably shouldn’t harp on them because it probably stresses them out a little bit, but I explain to them that we get ourselves kind of locked into one metric. And that metric for most of my clients is going to be their weight. They want to lose some weight, so they’re focused on that one metric. And I keep saying, “If you’re eating whole foods and the scale is not moving, what are the things that are happening inside your body that are good because of what you’re doing, that you just don’t see?” I think inflammation and oxidation and glycation are all those internal things that we could go decades without recognizing that it’s killing us, but we also can go decades when we’re improving our health to just not see the needle move. What are some things that I can look for under the hood? I can go in for blood tests, other things. What are the things I can look for to know that I’m kind of on the right track with regards to those three?
Dr. Bowden (7:26): First, Allan, I want to emphasize and underline what you just said because it was profoundly true, and it’s something we forget about because we’re in such an instant gratification kind of environment. We all are programmed to want results and want to see results overnight. And the drug culture amplifies that, because we all know if you take a Tylenol, your headache is gone, so it’s an instantaneous kind of result. What you were just talking about so wisely and so correctly was the fact that there are many things that don’t show up for a decade or more. For many men – I don’t have the figures in front of me, but they are available, they’re in the National Institute of Health, you can look them up on Google – I’d say it’s for a double-digit percentage of men, a heart attack is their first symptom of heart disease. The heart disease didn’t start with the heart attack. Diabetes has no symptoms. I’m not sure what the number is. I’m not as much of a data nerd as I guess I thought I was, but a very high percentage of diabetes cases are undiagnosed because people have no symptoms, so they don’t go to the doctor. High blood sugar doesn’t have a symptom, neither does high blood pressure. And these things are destructive forces in the body. I often use the smoking example, because people get that right away. If I started smoking tomorrow, I wouldn’t get cancer on Wednesday. I might not even get it in a month or two or six, but I’m going to get it, or I’m going to have my odds of getting it increase by 80%. So, understand that there’s a latency period on a lot of these measures, and that doesn’t mean they’re not important. They’re damn important. You just might not see them as readily as you would see a change in your weight. I just wanted to underline that because you said that.
Now, what are some of the things we can look for since we’re not seeing it on the scale, for example? I always start with energy. There is not a person who has a ton of energy in the world who’s feeling bad, so energy is a good marker for how you’re doing. You can’t fake it. If you’re not getting it from some external source like a drug or a lot of caffeine or something, your energy is going to be generated naturally, and that’s a very good metric for how you’re doing. How you are sleeping is a pretty good metric. How you are feeling about life and about people is a good metric, because your brain and your emotions and different centers of fear and pleasure in your brain are all effected by your environment and your nutrition. So I’d look at those basic ones. How do I feel? How am I feeling about life? Do I wake up with any kind of energy and spring in my step, or do I wish I could sleep 10 more hours? Those are the metrics I’d look at while you’re waiting for the scale to change.
Allan (10:05): I think that’s really hard to do – the energy part of it – when you’re constantly in this state of eating sugar or simple carbs. It’s one of the beautiful things when you start understanding what healthy fats are, because they’re fats that are not going to cause the inflammation or oxidative damage. Can we recap what some of the good fats versus the bad fats are, so we don’t fool ourselves?
Dr. Bowden (10:35): I would love to do that, and I would urge everyone listening to understand the division between good fat and bad fat that I think more and more people are accepting. Even people I know that really know nothing about nutrition and you talk about fat in the diet, they say, “There’s good fat and bad fat.” It’s like everybody knows that, right? Here’s the next level of knowledge. You’ve got to understand that what we think is good fat and what we think is bad fat, is not good fat and bad fat. We have been taught that bad fat is fat from animals. Bad fat is saturated fat. Good fat is anything that doesn’t come from an animal or isn’t saturated, like vegetable oil and corn oil. Big, fat lie. Big, fat deception here.
Bad fats are damaged fats. It has nothing to do with whether they’re saturated or not. There’s been a wealth of evidence since 2010 that has absolved saturated fat from a causative role in heart disease. It’s damaged fat. It’s overused vegetable oils that get rancid and form carcinogens and trans fats and things like that that are really, really bad. And vegetable oils do not get a free pass. Just because it came from a vegetable like corn or soy or cottonseed or safflower does not necessarily make it healthy. Those fats are actually pro-inflammatory, and the Omega-3s are actually anti-inflammatory. So we need to be in a balance. We’ve got to forget everything we learned about saturated versus unsaturated. Here are two great examples. Coconut oil is a saturated fat that is really good for you. People are beginning to get that. But one of the ones they’re not yet really getting on board with enough, as far as I’m concerned, is Malaysian palm oil. That still suffers from all kinds of bad ideas from 20 years ago, and a different source of palm oil and a time when it was tainted. Modern Malaysian palm oil is a health food. First of all, it’s got all these tocotrienols, which are healthy for the brain. It’s a sustainable fat. It’s made without a lot of high heat or chemicals. It’s non-GMO. And people worry because it’s a saturated fat. It’s a great fat. I use Malaysian palm oil all the time. I use coconut oil all the time. And I use saturated fat from healthy animals all the time, like grass-fed beef and pastured pork and free-range chickens. Those are not the fats you need to be afraid of. What you need to be afraid of is too much of those fats that look all healthy and they come in those plastic things, and they’re corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil and soybean oil. Too many of those lends towards inflammation, not towards anti-inflammation. And we want anti-inflammation. So that’s the first thing about fats. What else did you want to talk about?
Allan (13:26): I guess the other side of was… And this is always the funny thing. One day I’m probably going to just say this to my doctor if he tells me to eat egg white omelets again. I’m just going to say, “It sounds like I shouldn’t try to lose weight, because I’m pretty sure that the body fat that I would be trying to lose would be saturated fat, and I don’t really want that as a fuel.” That’s one of those things that always strikes me, is why would we store fat as a saturated fat if we weren’t supposed to be eating saturated fat?
Dr. Bowden (14:04): I’d ask your doctor even more pointed questions. This is what amazes me about these guys that tell you to eat, whether they’re doctors or not doctors, anyone who continues to advise egg white omelets – my question to them is, even by their standards, and their standards are that anything that raises cholesterol is going to be bad because cholesterol causes heart disease – even by that outdated, wrong theory, we already know that eating cholesterol doesn’t change your blood cholesterol. So, why are they still telling us to throw away the best part of the egg? Even the National Institute of Health and USDA no longer consider cholesterol a nutrient of concern, because the data is in – dietary cholesterol doesn’t affect your blood cholesterol. Even the people who still believe in this cockamamie theory, why are they still advising egg whites?
Allan (14:55): I guess it’s just really hard to walk away from a paradigm you’ve been telling patients forever. Our prior generations, when they went to the doctor, the doctor told them, “Here, put this leech on you.” They would take the leeches.
Dr. Bowden (15:15): My parents’ generation would let them. My parents’ generation believed anything. Then the doctor was in the community, we knew him, they were in big, impersonal places. We had a relationship with them, and there was kind of, “Doctor knows best.” With my parents, you could not question anything that Dr. Leo said; you just couldn’t. I hope we’ve come a little further than that. They are not the keepers of the faith and the guardians of our health. They are members of our healthcare team and we need to be more proactive and stop buying into every paradigm that they give us that was given to them by the pharmaceutical industry and it’s kind of out of date right now.
Allan (15:52): Yeah. Talking in terms of pharmaceuticals, a question I’ll often get from my clients is, “Should I supplement, and what are some things I should supplement with?” I always direct them and say, “You can go get some blood tests for the basic vitamin D, vitamin B, some of these other things to kind of just see.” But in the book you do go through what I would call some of the core supplements. There are things, like you said in the book, that are going to help you have a healthier heart. The first one is Coenzyme Q10.
Dr. Bowden (16:28): If I may, let me back up one step before we go there, and just put supplements in an overall context. I’m going to guess you’re more like me than the average person, but I probably take 38 to 40 something pills a day, or potions or drinks or some combination of nutrients in different delivery systems. I’m probably taking 40 or 50 things a day, and have for most of my adult life. They’ve changed, depending on what I’m particularly trying to do and what I’m experimenting with. I’m a very committed biohacker that way. I don’t recommend to people that they start out with 40 or 50 things. They don’t need 40 or 50 things. Most of the people who I interact with on Facebook, Facebook Live, my website – JonnyBowden.com, “Ask Dr. Jonny”, our Clean Eating Magazine – they are generally well-informed consumers who really don’t want to take a lot of pills and they want to know what’s the best overall program they can be on with the least number of things they have to take. So I would like to at some point address that, and then we can go onto what you mentioned, which is I’m sure going to be Coenzyme Q10 and L-carnitine and things like that, because those are specifically chosen for people who have issues around their heart. And those were things that Dr. Sinatra has also found to be incredibly helpful over the years, but he also, I’m sure, would agree with me that you’ve got to start with your basic stuff.
Not everybody needs all the nutrients for the heart, not everybody needs all the extra support for the liver, like some people who might have hepatitis. Not everybody needs additional support for the brain. It would be lovely to take all these things, but you’d be taking about 100 things a day. You’ve got to do a little picking and choosing when you decide how to target things. All medicines might be great, but you don’t take them for every single disease. It’s the same thing with this. You want to cover your basics, which I can talk about in a minute. I can do that with four items and it’s pretty easy for most people to wrap their minds around. And then we can talk about how these additional nutrients like Coenzyme Q10 or L-carnitine might help someone in a particular situation, such as strengthening their heart.
Allan (18:38): Yes, please do.
Dr. Bowden (18:42): Here are my four basic supplements – a multivitamin, magnesium, vitamin D and fish oil. I just gave you the headline, and if you want to stop listening, that’s all you’ve got to know – a high-quality multiple, an absorbable magnesium, a good vitamin D, and a high-quality fish oil. Now, let’s get into why one brand over another or why you would make one choice over another. Multiples usually range from… I’m not going to disparage a brand, but we all know the kind – you take one every day and the big-box store has it. This is minimum wage nutrition; it’s generally the cheapest form of the nutrients – for example, magnesium oxide instead of magnesium citrate, that kind of thing. And it’s usually the minimal dosages that are really RDA. There isn’t a nutritionist alive who believes the RDAs make any sense or that they are in any way optimal levels for people to take. So, a high-quality one means one that is really well-formulated by people who know what they’re doing, and use the right dosages and the right amounts. I have brands for all of these and I’m going to tell people, because these are the ones that I use. For multiples, I’m 100% for Rainbow Light’s Vibrance line. That’s like your Lexus line. They were the first company to do vitamins from foods only, the cold food vitamins. They’re very advanced in the advisory boards that they use. And I’ve looked at their formulas. Those are the ones I recommend to friends – the Rainbow Light Vibrance line for any multiple. They make a teenage boy, a teenage girl, a young woman, young man; they make it for every stage and age in life, and they’re very well-formulated.
Magnesium. We’re going to talk later about stress, and magnesium is one of mine and Steve Sinatra’s number one remedies for stress. But what we’re talking about here is a basic. I like at least 400, if not 800 milligrams of magnesium a day. I personally prefer to drink mine. I use Natural Vitality’s Calm. It’s a drink that fizzes up, and I kind of like the whole ritual of it because actually it’s interesting where it dissolves and that’s the oxygen combining with the carbonate and making your magnesium citrate available to you. It’s kind of cool, but it’s one less pill I have to take. It’s easy to remember, and I take them in the little travel packets that go with you. So I take the Natural Vitality magnesium.
Then vitamin D – I’m not partial to brands because it’s a very easy nutrient to make, as long as you get the D3 form. And the actual dosage is going to vary. The Vitamin D council has some good recommendations for how to bring your vitamin D up, but I would recommend to everybody that they get the OH-25 vitamin D blood test when they get their blood test, because we should all know our levels. The people who I think are the most accurate and are thinking about this in the most clear way are recommending that your ideal level will be around 50. It’s not 20 or 30 the way the government says it should be. So, you want to bring that level up, and it’s very easy to do it with supplements, assuming you receptors work well.
And then the fourth supplement that I think is a must for everybody is fish oil. I am an enormous believer. My great nutrition teacher, the great late Robert Crayhon used to say, “If I could do one thing to increase the health of the American population, I’d put every pregnant mother on fish oil.” And I know, knowing him many years, that he really meant that for the entire population. But you could certainly start with pregnant women. And I’m a big fan. I just think they’re the most anti-inflammatory molecule, they undo so much damage of inflammation on so many different levels. They help with circulation, they help with the brain, with the heart. There’s a form of them that I recommend, because so many people tell me they burp them up or, “My kids won’t take them. It’s brutal hard to get them to take them, and they need it very badly.” There is a formula called Seriously Delicious Omegas. It’s an emulsified Omega-3. It’s made by Barlean’s. In fact, the children’s version just won the next year award at Expo East for the most innovative product in children’s products. It’s an emulsified Omega-3 that actually tastes a little bit like a fruit compote and it’s delicious, and you can get kids to eat it and it’s actually even better absorbed than the oil form. So, those are the four things I recommend – the Rainbow Light Vibrance brand for multiples; whatever your particular demographic is – if you’re young, old, middle-age, there’s a formula for you. The Natural Vitality Calm magnesium drink. Vitamin D by any reputable company that makes a vitamin D3. And Barlean’s Seriously Delicious Omegas for the Omega-3. That’s my four cornerstone products that I can pretty much recommend across the board, and they’re going to benefit about 99% of people. Now we can talk about some of the specifics for things like heart or liver or brain, as we’ve been talking about the heart.
Allan (23:47): Yeah. I don’t take quite as many supplements as you do. I really do base it on my blood test, on the time of the year. If I’m eating a lot of fish, then I’ll probably take less fish oil. If I’m getting outside like I am now, and it’s still 90 degrees and hot, humid here… I get out and get some good sun from my walks that are half an hour to an hour, so my vitamin D levels are smack on. When it starts getting cooler, then by all means, yes, I’ll start doing that. So, those are also the four that I would say I take the most often. I don’t take them every day, or it’s just a standard stack regularly. I do base it on what my current nutrition profile is and lifestyle and everything else. I probably need to kick up my magnesium, and we’ll get into that in a minute. But let’s jump into these others, because I hear about these, but we really haven’t spent a lot of time talking about them. Coenzyme Q10.
Dr. Bowden (24:49): Great. So, Coenzyme Q10 is called a ubiquinone, because it’s ubiquitous. It’s in every single cell in the body and it’s manufactured in every single cell in the body. The best and simplest way to think of it is a spark plug that creates energy for organs that need it and cells that need it. And there’s nowhere where it’s more needed more consistently than the heart, because the heart doesn’t get a vacation; it beats 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, constantly. It’s a huge consumer of energy. It’s like the American fossil fuel – we just consume the oil. And like many things, nature plays a trick on us and we make less of it as we get older. It’s one of the many things we make less of – collagen being another one, hydrochloric acid in our stomach being another one, testosterone being a third. And sure enough, Coenzyme Q10 is one of the things that we don’t make as much of as we get older. And of course the heart doesn’t stop needing it. So, for cardiologists like Steve Sinatra, Coenzyme Q10 is like a spark plug of energy and very, very important for our heart.
A second more insidious reason that it’s important is that statin drugs, which is what all the conservative, all the mainstream, the conservative wing of the American medical establishment is still very much in the throes of the cholesterol hypothesis. They still very much believe blood cholesterol is a causative factor in heart disease and must be controlled by statin drugs, which they think are the seventh wonder of the world. So, you are very likely to be prescribed a statin drug if you are an American going to a conventional doctor for elevated cholesterol. This is not the approach I would take or that any of my colleagues would take, but it is the approach that much of mainstream medicine takes. So if you are very likely on a statin drug, your Coenzyme Q10 is being depleted, because one of the things statin drugs do, they’re called HMG reductase, coenzyme reductase inhibitors. They inhibit an enzyme that makes cholesterol, but it also makes Coenzyme Q10. Too bad for you. So now when you need it the most, you have the least amount of Coenzyme Q10. So Steve recommends that people who are on statin drugs take at least 200 milligrams of Coenzyme Q10 a day, and that’s a lot. I recommend about 100 for everybody who’s not, just as a preventative or as a general antioxidant, 60-100. But if you’ve got issues with the heart, and God knows if you’re on a statin drug, you need more.
Allan (27:27): Right now I don’t want to go down that argument of the statins, because I had such a horrible experience with them. I’m not a cardiologist, I’m not a doctor. I had my experiences with them and it was horrible.
Dr. Bowden (27:39): I’m not telling anyone to throw their statins away. That’s got to be done under medical supervision. But I can certainly point you to the research on side effects, that they are quite considerable, they’re under-reported. This is all in the research. It’s all documented in our book, The Great Cholesterol Myth, complete with the studies that show this. They do have a lot of side effects. And in my opinion and Steve’s opinion, their benefit is way less than we’ve been told it is, and it certainly doesn’t extend to a lot of the population who are getting prescriptions for statin drugs and they really never show any benefit from them. So, I’m all for trying to see if we can decrease the number of prescription drugs we’re on. I think as a general rule that’s a good idea.
Allan (28:19): But if you’re on a statin and you can tolerate it and you’re working with your doctor, Coenzyme Q10 is going to be something you want to make sure you’re taking.
Dr. Bowden (28:27): Yeah. And by the way, that’s not controversial. Merck got a patent for a combination of statin and Coenzyme Q10, or for Coenzyme Q10 – I’m not sure which it was, but they didn’t pursue it because they didn’t think anybody really knew about it or cared about it. But it is very well-known and noncontroversial. Even your conservative doctor, if you bring it up, will admit that in fact statin drugs do deplete Coenzyme Q10. That’s not a controversial piece of information.
Allan (28:58): Okay. Now, I’ve had Dr. Know on the show and he and I got into D-ribose. I know that D-ribose is one of those helper cells for mitochondria. It helps mitochondria. How does it help my heart?
Dr. Bowden (29:18): D-ribose is a sugar, and it appears to have some energy-producing. I’m using that in the most general sense, because that’s not how science talks about it. But what people report is that it seems to help them with energy. It works with Coenzyme Q10. I guess the best way to say it is, there is a currency called ATP – that’s the cellular currency of energy. We run our economy on money, on cash, on checks; the cells run the body on something called ATP. This substance, ATP – it stands for adenosine triphosphate – is actually the cellular currency of energy. So you need ATP to blink your eyes, you need it to run the marathon, you need it to sleep. We need it right now to be talking on microphones. ATP is needed for any movement, any thought, anything that the body does. So how does it make it? D-ribose is one of the ways that it actually helps your little cellular energy factories, which we call the mitochondria, to produce more ATP. It’s like we said in the book – metaphorically D-ribose acts like a little elf shuttling the material needed to make ATP to the factories where it’s made. So, they’re a great adjunct in the creation of cellular energy, and that’s why they’re in the book. D-ribose.
Allan (30:47): Okay. And then L-carnitine?
Dr. Bowden (30:50): L-carnitine is like a shuttle bus. So, I live in LA; I’ll use the Hollywood Bowl analogy. You can’t ever really get too close. The bus drops you at the bus stop and then you take a shuttle over to the Hollywood Bowl, so that you don’t have to park there. Carnitine is like a shuttle bus. What it does is it shuttles fatty acids into the mitochondria, of which we have been speaking, which is basically the energy-production organelle in the cell. It shuttles the fatty acids into the mitochondria so that they can be used for energy. I will say there’s a good argument that most people have enough carnitine from their diet. This is not true for vegetarians, by the way, or vegans, because carnitine is not in anything but meat products. Sorry. So if you’re a vegan or a vegetarian, this doesn’t apply to you, but many people do have adequate carnitine stored. However, it has long been thought that since it plays such a central role in the transport of fatty acids into energy-burning factories in the cell, that people who are either overweight or maybe whose heart is not working at top performance levels could possibly use a little bit of extra help with that shuttle bus.
Allan (32:08): Alright. So now, the topic that’s really kind of near and dear to my heart. I guess of all the things that you can focus on for health and wellness – be it food, exercise, sleep – my current focus now is really much more on stress and stress reduction. Why is stress such a bad player when it comes to heart health? It’s one of The Four Horsemen. How did it get that title of being part of The Four Horsemen? Because there are other things – obviously the inflammation, the oxidation, and the sugar – we see that time and time again. But stress now, in your book you’re indicating, it’s just as big a player.
Dr. Bowden (32:57): You have to think of what happens in the body when you’re under stress. There’s a number of ways to demonstrate this. Here’s a fun one. Have your listeners Google the term “voodoo death”. There are documented cases of voodoo doctors putting hexes on people and them dying. Why do you think that happens? It doesn’t happen because something magically goes in the airways and poisons their food. They die from the stress of knowing, because they buy into that system. They very much believe in that whole, whatever the religious order is that allows that to happen – they believe in it and now they believe that somebody with authority has just put a hex on them, and the stress level kills them. It’s called “voodoo death”, and it’s been documented.
Everyone should understand that what we think about has a profound effect on our physiology. This has been demonstrated a zillion times. You can demonstrate it for yourself by sitting calmly and picturing something peaceful, wonderful, loving, feeling safe and protected, and watch what happens to your heart rate and your blood pressure. And then if suddenly you were to think about a horrible car accident with someone that you loved possibly in it, what would happen? You would not have moved from your chair, but your blood pressure will have gone up, your heart rate will start to elevate. If we were measuring your hormones, your cortisol would be above the roof. Your adrenaline would be pumping. So, what we think about, these stress reactions, which involve very powerful adrenal hormones – they have a profound effect on our health. They’re inflammatory, for one thing. Cortisol has an effect on belly fat, it has an effect on energy, it has an effect on insulin sensitivity – all things which we all know to be major factors and players in heart disease. We have to think, Allan, what did nature, or the genome organizing device, or God, or however you conceptualize it – why were we given these stress hormones? What were they supposed to do? When you think about it, they were supposed to get us out of an emergency. So, if we’re a caveman and we hear some rustling in the leaves and it’s a wildebeest coming to eat us for lunch – immediately our heart rate goes up, our blood pressure starts to rise, the blood starts to pump into the legs instead of the digestive system, because we’ve got our start to run like hell. They are the “fight or flight” hormones. They are meant to either let us fight and prepare our bodies for that, or let us run and prepare our bodies for that. That’s what the “fight or flight” hormones work for. They’re short-term solutions to a danger. They’re like first gear on a car; they get you out of a ditch. Here’s the problem. We’re running on the 405 North at 70 miles an hour in first gear, because those stress hormones are only supposed to be elevated for a minute here and there to get you out of an emergency. Then it’s good and adaptive stress. We live under 24-hour stress. It’s chronic stress. It doesn’t stop. It doesn’t even stop when we go to bed. And that kind of chronic elevation of these stress hormones wrecks metabolic disaster. So that’s how stress kills. It starts a cascade of events that we’re fine if we’re on short-term, like first gear, but if you drive in first gear for a long time, you’re going to strip your transmission. And that’s what happens in the body.
Allan (36:21): I like that metaphor, because I think so many of us can relate to the fact that we’re in this stress perspective and there’s nowhere to really run. I was writing a story, putting it together for the book, and I was thinking in terms of, I’ve had moments of chronic stress and I’ve had moments of the acute stress, just that moment where my boss calls me on the phone and says, “Come up to my office, I need to talk to you.” Suddenly your heart rate’s going and everything and you’re like, “I can’t go and burn this off. I can walk up the stairs or I can get on the elevator and I can go up there and see him.” Then afterwards I know I need to go to the gym and burn that off. But I was in a situation where the CEO was not really happy with me; we were constantly at odds. And every day I knew I’ve got to sit in front of this guy and I’ve got to do my job and I’ve got to just not react to what my body is screaming at me to do, which was fight or run away. Neither one of those would have been a good solution.
Dr. Bowden (37:31): Right, but that energy stays in you; it’s not like it just dissipated into the ether. It’s now running its hormonal game on you and all kinds of things are happening physiologically that are probably not the best for you.
Allan (37:45): So, if we know we’re in a situation and we can’t, in the short run, do something about it – get out of that job, get out of that relationship – what are some things you would advise people to do to manage their stress?
Dr. Bowden (38:03): I would start with deep breathing. I think I told you offline – Michelle and I started meditating last July, so we have just completed a year and a month or so of meditation. It’s taken me my entire life to be able to find a context, a way to do that. I was one of those people who found it incredibly difficult, and I could not keep my mind still and I couldn’t concentrate and do all the other stuff they tell you to do. And I found a method that works for me and I do it every day, twice a day and really, really rarely ever miss. I think even if you’re like me up to a year ago and you couldn’t do the full round of meditating twice a day or even once a day for 10 or 15 or 20 minutes – try deep breathing. Try this little thing I used to do myself for years, where it’s just like a four-minute timeout. You sit at your desk and you literally close your eyes and you lower your heart rate, and you just breathe in deeply on a count of four – 1, 2, 3, 4, and you hold just a bit, maybe another count of four, and then you exhale on a count of seven. Just long exhale. And the number doesn’t even matter; you could reverse it, but the point is to keep some number in mind, say seven, inhale on four, hold for six or seven counts, exhale. You set the timer on your iPhone for four minutes and do that a couple of times a day. It’s so little time out of your day, but it will act as a partial reset of your brainwaves, your blood pressure, your cortisol levels. It will be like a mini vacation. I think that it would be great if you could work up to an actual meditative practice, but any kind of deep breathing.
Walks in greenery seem to have remarkable restorative powers. There’s an entire discipline of psychology and it’s called ecotherapy that has to do with seeing greenery, walking around in your neighborhood. If you’re lucky enough to have trees, look at them, because there are studies even showing that in hospitals, those who have views of lawns have better metrics. There’s something about seeing greenery that really is stress-reducing.
I am a big fan of, going back to supplements – Natural Vitality’s Calm. It’s called Calm for a reason, because actually magnesium’s very, very calming. Anybody who’s ever had intravenous vitamin drips knows this, because if you have an intravenous vitamin drip with magnesium in it, you will sleep like you’ve never slept in your life. And I speak from personal experience. I used to have these drips all the time. So, I’m a big fan of taking that Natural Vitality Calm. And I like it also because for me there’s something calming in the ritual. It’s not just popping a pill; it’s pouring a spoonful of this into some mortar, watching the fizz, wait until the bubbles come up. There’s a 60-second ritual to doing it. And I’m a big believer that rituals are calming as well. I try to do my same four or five things every morning like clockwork, and it tends to be very calming and grounding. So, I think all these things can be helpful to reduce stress. Exercise certainly can help; walks can help; meditation can help; better sleep can help; and certain supplements can help, like Natural Vitality’s Calm as one example.
Allan (41:29): Alright. This is episode 343. Are there any links or anything where you’d like for me to send people to learn more about you and what you’re up to?
Dr. Bowden (41:41): I’d love them to come to the website, especially in a couple of weeks when it’s being all redesigned. There’ll be all kinds of good, cool free stuff and e-books and things like that. So just check in with my website, JonnyBowden.com. And you can follow me on Twitter @jonnybowden. Just remember, no H in Jonny.
Allan (41:57): Cool. As I said, this is episode 343, so you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/343, and I’ll have those links there. Dr. Bowden, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
Dr. Bowden (42:11): Allan, it’s my pleasure, anytime. You were just a wonderful interviewer, so passionate. You actually know so much, so your questions are so pointed. Your listeners are very lucky to have you, and I’ve been just honored to be on your show. Thank you.
Allan (42:23): Thank you.
I’ll have to admit that I wasn’t quite sure that I would get this episode out on time. As you may know, I live in Pensacola Beach and we just had a Category 4 storm – Hurricane Michael – come through and did a lot of damage. Fortunately, we were on the safe side of that hurricane and sustained almost no damage or problems around here, other than the scare of it. But my heart and prayers go out to the people who were affected in the panhandle of Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas. I know this is a devastating storm and has done a lot of damage, and I’m sure there’s going to be some loss of life involved. So again, my heart goes out to you if you’ve been affected by this. It is a time of year. We don’t typically get storms of that magnitude, so this was kind of a freak one. I hope that it’s not something that we have to deal with. I hope the season’s over for 2018 and we can move into a better time of the year.
Before I go though, I did want to reach out and ask you if you didn’t mind helping the show out a little bit with a little bit of support. There are two ways that you can support the show. The first one is that you can leave a rating and review, and if you haven’t done that already, please do take the time. On your app right there, there’s going to be a way for you to review the show. Please do that. That definitely helps us get out there, get noticed and let people know that we’re still active. And the apps see us and they want to show us a little bit more when they see that you’re engaging with us.
And then, I’ve come up with a new way that you can support the show, and it’s really cool. It’s a service called Patreon. And what Patreon lets me do is provide additional perks, if you will, for people that do want to financially support the show. I’ve set up four levels that allow you to be even more engaged and involved with the creation of the show, mentioned on the show notes among a lot of other things too, even being live with the recording when I’m doing the interviews. So, you’ll actually be there when I’m asking the questions as we go and be a part of the creation of the podcast. So, you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Patreon, and that’ll take you to our Patreon page. They make it really easy for me to give these extra perks out and for you to support the show. So go check it out. I put a little video up there to explain it a little bit better. So, please do go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Patreon and help support the 40+ Fitness podcast, and let me help even more people the way I’m trying and working to try to help you.
In Aware: The Science and Practice of Presence, Dr. Daniel Siegel teaches us how to use meditation for a better life, better relationships, and stress reduction.
Allan (1:07): Dr. Siegel, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
Dr. Siegel (1:12): Allan, it’s great to be with you.
Allan (1:14): You told a story in the book Aware how you had, I guess, someone who was a student or someone that was listening to one of your talks, and she came up. And due to where her head was, her awareness and the way she looked at the world, she misconstrued your name, Dan Siegel, to Dancing Eagle.
Dr. Siegel (1:34): That’s right. Dance Eagle.
Allan (1:37): I thought that was interesting because a very similar thing happened this morning, or a story my wife was telling me that happened yesterday. We’re traveling to Hattiesburg for a tailgating event this weekend for football. I’m going to go to the football game. And as we were planning that trip, I wanted to know if she was okay with us leaving early Saturday morning. So, I typed a text to her real quick, “Are you okay to go to Hburg (Hattiesburg) early Saturday morning?” And I sent that to her. Now, what I didn’t know and what happened was, because she had forgotten her lunch, she had gone over to Whataburger to get a burger, and they talked her into upsizing to the fries, so she was a little disappointed in herself. And she sees the text and she sees the term “Hburg” and she immediately reads “hamburger”.
Dr. Siegel (2:27): Oh my gosh.
Allan (2:33): We sometimes see reality one way and it’s not actually what’s happening. It’s just shaped by all these other things that are in our heads.
Dr. Siegel (2:41): Totally. You get primed, your mind is ready to look a certain direction when actually the things going around you are going in a different direction.
Allan (2:50): One of the reasons I reached out for your book in particular was, I haven’t talked about meditation, so I wanted to get someone on who was a real deep thinker in this topic. And I was really glad to see your book come out so we could have this conversation. You took me on a journey that I was not expecting. When I’ve looked at meditation in the past, I’ve always thought of it as more of a stress management, Zen kind of activity, but there are a lot of other benefits that we can get out of meditation.
Dr. Siegel (3:26): Absolutely. And meditation is a word that sometimes gets people confused, or they have certain emotional reactions to it. It just means some practice to cultivate your mind, to develop your mind in a positive direction, to strengthen your mind really. When you look at it that way, there are different aspects of the mind of course, like focusing attention or how you have certain kinds of intention, and you can actually strengthen those abilities. So, in the book I wanted to really review what does the science tell us of meditation, and then how can you actually learn to do what science says is really helpful for your mind, your body, your relationships? That’s why I wrote the book Aware, to put all that in one place.
Allan (4:12): I actually think the human brain is fascinating, and the way that we do things, like, Hattiesburg and hamburger. You went really, really deep on this, but to start the context of it, you gave me what I thought was a very brilliant tool to manage this practice, and you call it “The Wheel of Awareness”. Do you mind going through and briefly defining The Wheel of Awareness and how we can use that to, in a way, better structure a meditation practice? I know I’ve gone through walkthroughs with people, or the guided meditations, but this one was one of the, I guess, most comprehensive, but easy to understand methods I’ve ever seen.
Dr. Siegel (4:56): I’m so happy to hear that, Allan. My daughter will be happy to hear it too because she helped me with the drawings in the book. She’s in her 20s, she’s a meditator. It was really important for me in setting up this book, and for Maddie, my daughter as the illustrator, to try to make things as direct and clear and understandable as possible, while at the same time not leaving out anything about the incredible richness and depth of what we know from science and what you’re going to experience in your own meditation practice. So, The Wheel of Awareness is a really simple and accessible tool. It’s an idea that’s also in meditation, where you take two scientific concepts, which are really foundational in the work I do, and bringing them into one approach. Those two ideas are this – health and wellbeing come from a process that we can simply name “integration”. And integration is where different things are brought together, where you link or connect differentiated or specialized things. If you think about walking, your left leg and your right leg need to be different from each other, but to walk smoothly, you need to link them – left, right, left, right. That kind of thing. In a relationship like with your wife, when you’re going to go tailgating, you want to know, “I would like to leave early and I need to check with her to see what her needs are.” So you were right there, Allan; you were differentiating your needs. But in reaching out to her and asking her, even though she interpreted “Hburg” as “hamburger”, she was being linked to you. So you were offering an integrating experience, knowing she’s different from you. That’s the differentiation. But then reaching out with compassionate, respectful communication – that’s the linkage. So, whether it’s an integrated relationship or an integrated brain and body, that seems to be the basis of wellbeing. It’s remarkably simple, but incredibly supported by science.
The second scientific statement is that consciousness, being aware, is needed for change. When you want to intentionally try to change something, like the plans for when you’re going to the tailgating thing – you both have to be conscious of what you’re doing. So I thought, what happens if you integrate consciousness? And there’s a table in my office with a glass center, and I said, if consciousness is simply defined as having the knowing, like if I say “Hello”, you know I said “Hello”, but there’s also the sound “Hello”. If we put the knowing, called “being aware” in the hub of a table, in this case that’s called a wheel, a hub of a wheel; on the rim, we would put the knowns, like in this case the sound that we know from hearing or sight, which is basically light coming into us, or smell, taste and touch. So you have the first of four segments of the rim, which would be the outside world coming into you that you touch, you smell, you taste, you hear. Then you move the spoke of attention over, this singular spoke, and then you explore the interior sensations of the body, like the feelings in your muscles or your bones or your organs like your lungs, for example. You move this spoke over again to the third segment of the rim, which is all the different thoughts and feelings and memories, your images you might have, mental activities. And then you move this spoke over one more time to your sense of relationship, like your feeling of connection to your wife, or your friends who are going to be at the tailgating party. Those are interconnections in the relational world in which we live, and we can open up to sensing them in this fourth segment of the rim. And then in a little bit of a more advanced step, we actually take that spoke of attention and bend it around and just explore the hub itself. Pure awareness. I did this with patients and they started getting better from anxiety, mild to moderate depression, dealing with trauma and dealing with some issues just to finding meaning in life. It was really helpful. And then I did it with my students who are therapists. They found it helpful. So I started doing it in workshops, and then as a scientist I just decided to do it systematically. So I did it with 10,000 participants in workshops. I had them take the microphone, and for those who took the microphone, recorded those results, and then saw universal patterns around the planet, because I did it all around the world, and then tried to explain from a scientific point of view, what does the wheel do for us that can bring such health benefits? And then, what does it tell us about the nature of our minds?
Allan (10:07): I think that’s where at first, sometimes it’s a little easy to get lost on this. But to recap, the way I interpreted this was, if I think of a wheel – a top of a table, or a wheel – I’m in the middle and this is my current state of awareness, my current knowing. And then there’s this other stuff coming in. I’ve got what my eyes, ears, nose and everything is telling me about my world. I’ve got the information that my body is giving me about what’s going on – pains, aches, stiffness, soreness, itching or all that’s coming in from my body. And most of the meditations I’ve done had been there, and I never really turned around and say, “Let’s talk about my state of mind. What am I thinking and what do those thoughts mean? Am I interpreting from a place of goodness and good intention?” That to me was a next step. Then you get to that fourth level or fourth part of the circle on the outer rim, where now you’re thinking about what other people mean, can I emote and understand their perspectives and their communication and those kinds of inputs, awareness that’s there? And as you do this, you didn’t say this so much in the book, but I kind of felt like you start to try to expand that hub in the middle, that the hub actually would feel like it’s getting bigger.
Dr. Siegel (11:40): Yes, exactly. That’s an analogy, like if your hub is just the size of an espresso cup, it’s small. And if life dishes out a challenge, like a tablespoon of salt, and you dump it into that small container of awareness, let’s say it’s like water – it’s too salty to drink. But if you expand, just like you’re saying, Allan – if you expand that hub so it’s like a 100–gallon size, which you can do with The Wheel of Awareness practice – then when life dishes out a challenge, which is the analogy of a tablespoon of salt, you’d dump it into 100 gallons; it’s fresh to the taste. So, it’s really important that we cultivate that hub of awareness, and in the book, you learn how to do that.
Allan (12:25): You based this on what you call “three pillars of mind-training”. I think it’s really important for us to understand that, because if you use these three pillars, I really do believe this gives that practice, the energy to make it succeed. Do you mind going through the three pillars of mind-training?
Dr. Siegel (12:44): Absolutely. This is what scientists have stated are the three, and there’s probably going to be more in the future, but right now these are the three that are foundational, because they build the structure of a really solid meditation practice. The first of these three pillars is “learning how to focus attention”. You’d be surprised how accessible this is for children or adolescents or adults even, to strengthen their ability to focus attention, notice when a distraction is there, and redirect back to their intended target of attention. When people learn to focus attention, you strengthen those areas of the brain, of course, that you’re using for attentional processing. That’s the first pillar – focused attention. It lets you see with more clarity, depth and detail, because you’re stabilizing your ability to hold attention.
The second pillar is called “open awareness”, and this is where you are basically learning to sit in the hub and invite anything in from the rim. It’s a kind of “bring it on” attitude, and this amazingly has a different kind of impact on the brain, but it allows you basically to distinguish a spaciousness of awareness in the hub from the particular things you could be aware of on the rim. So instead of like the focused attention thing where let’s say you choose sight for your particular focus at that moment, or hearing, instead now what you’re doing is you’re saying, “I’m not going to choose a point on the rim. I’m actually going to rest in the hub.” And that further differentiates hub from rim, which is very important, as we can talk about in a moment.
The third pillar beyond open awareness and focused attention is, I call it “kind intention”. Other people call it “loving kindness” or “compassion training”. If you think about the mind, the mind can have a mental set, kind of an attitude, if you will, and that attitude can be angry and hostile, or can be kind and caring. When you cultivate a kind and caring attitude – we’ll just simply call it intention – it really sets the whole tone of the day. It sets your emotional responses to things, it sets your responses to yourself and others, it sets your responses in terms of how you’re going to behave. And the research is really clear. The more kindness you have in your life, the healthier your body is, the healthier your relationships are, and overall the healthier your whole life becomes. So, kindness is not just icing on the cake, and it’s not even the cake. It is the main meal. You can cultivate it. And when you put these three things together, I call it “three pillar training”, research shows it’s going to do a number of really, really positive things in your body and your brain, that if we name them, if you hear this list, you would say, “Oh my gosh. If there’s a vitamin that would give me that, I’ll take it every day.” And it’s not a vitamin, but it’s a very simple practice, just like you brush your teeth every day. You can develop a regular practice of doing these three pillar trainings, and they’re all embedded into one practice of the wheel, fortunately. So, if you run around finding different practices, you could just do one practice; you get all three of the pillars.
Allan (16:23): Yes. One of the reasons that I’ve had a renewed interest in meditation in the last couple of years is stress levels. Right now, that’s one of my core goals in life, is to do some things that help me reduce and/or manage stress. When I got into the book, as I said, it really took me in an entirely different direction to understand the true value of meditation. I really related to the story you told of Zachary as he went through, because he, like me, was working in a kind of environment where he couldn’t necessarily be himself or didn’t feel like he could be himself and be real. As a result, he had a lot of relationship issues with work and otherwise; he had pain even. And using the practice, it really did change him. I’d like for you to, if you don’t mind, go through and tell us a bit about Zachary’s story.
Dr. Siegel (17:26): Absolutely. Allan, thanks for pointing that out because first of all, in terms of your first statements, a lot of people turn to meditation because of stress. I think it’s a most common view that you hear people say is, meditation or mindfulness is a stress reducer. And while that’s true, as you’re pointing out, it is so much more, and Zachary’s story is a beautiful example of that. I started doing The Wheel of Awareness in workshops, and there was one center, Ed Bacon’s Episcopal Church in Pasadena, where Ed is the pastor. He wanted me to do a Wheel of Awareness seminar. So we did a 3-day workshop, and it was filled. We had 300 people come, and one of the participants was a fellow we’ll just call Zachary. When Zachary came, his brother brought him. He had just a little bit of a restless feeling at work, like maybe it wasn’t exactly as fulfilling as he hoped it would be. He was very successful financially, had a spouse and several kids. The family life was great. His wife was very happy with him, he was happy with her. Everything was going fine, but as he told later on, something just wasn’t quite right. And so his brother said, “Let’s see what happens. Come to this workshop.”
So, he comes to the workshop, and when he’s doing the wheel practice, two things happen in the workshop. We do the wheel several times. The first was that he had had a pain in his body, and I remember where it was in the actual person, but I don’t remember how I changed the pain in the book. Let’s just say it’s in the shoulder, chronic pain in his shoulder. May have been his knee or his hip or something. So he has this chronic pain, and during the wheel practice, as he’s going through exploring the signals from the outside world in the first segment, the inner sense of the body, becomes aware of his shoulder of course, because you go through the whole body. When he gets to exploring mental activities and opening awareness, suddenly the pain hugely decreases in intensity. And then when he bends his spoke around, something shifts and it’s kind of a tingling sensation in his body. He does the wheel a second time – same thing. And at the end he comes up to me and says, “I don’t know what happened, but I’ve had this pain for like 15 years, and it’s gone.”
And if it was just Zachary, I would have been like, “Oh my God, what a weird thing.” But this happens an every workshop I do. When you do it with 10,000 people, you get a lot of data. It turns out that there’s a whole set of research studies on this, where practices with the three pillars that some people call “mindfulness practices”, other people wouldn’t put the kindness in there for that. It’s a big debate in the field. Don’t worry about that. But anyway, we’ll just call it “mind-training practices”. They do have not only a decrease in the subjective feeling of pain, but when you put a person in a brain scanner and you look at how pain is registered in the brain before and after the meditative practice – sure enough, there are far less signals in the brain registering pain. So it’s not just like a person’s ignoring it; it’s actually less pain. That was remarkable, and that really affected him that you could do something with your mind that affected you so powerfully.
The second thing that happened was when he bent the spoke around into the hub itself and just explored the hub, he said what quite a few people have said actually. It’s hard in this context just to say it, but he experienced a feeling of love and connection to other people, and this interconnected feeling of being a part of a larger world, of nature, of life, that he had never felt before. And it brought tears to his eyes, and it gave him this, in his words, feeling of meaning that he then began to realize was missing in the kind of work he was doing. So, a year passed and Ed Bacon asked me to do the workshop again. And this fellow came with his brother to a lunch we had right before the start of the next year’s workshop. It was amazing, because we all had lunch together, and he said that that first workshop gave him such a powerful experience of losing the pain and gaining a sense of meaning and connection, that he felt he really wanted to pursue more about that and had made plans to switch to a new career, where he could involve The Wheel of Awareness and practices like that, that could get you in touch with a deeper sense of purpose in life. The second workshop had the same kinds of results for him and others as well.
And he’s not alone. People find this clarity when they distinguish hub from rim and integrate consciousness, where they realize you could live a life of meaning and connections, life with purpose, that research shows is actually a fabulous way to bring more fulfillment to life, bring a feeling of things being really powerfully significant. So, rather than what he was doing before, which was good – he was successful financially, bringing in financial resources for the family – that’s important. But he really felt something had been missing. And now, years later of course, he is pursuing this career where he can make this a part of his life, and he’s thrilled about it. Even the way he holds himself, you can tell when you speak with him, is just very different. He’s very alive, and every day feels like an incredible gift for him.
Allan (23:56): That was what resonated with me with this story, that he wasn’t necessarily looking for these as he got into the practice. But by following a set practice like you’ve put together here with The Wheel of Awareness and using the three pillars, it opened him up to release those things and find more meaning, and the pain went away. Those to me are magic, when you break it down. But it’s founded in science. I’ve had other authors on, like Dr. Tatta and his book Heal Your Pain Now. That’s one of the things he was saying, that you’ve got to get your mind as a part of the solution for the pain, and it works. But again, the book was really, really deep. It goes into the way the brain works, it talks about a lot of the science, which I thought was fascinating, because I really do enjoy kind of geeking out on some of these things. But to take this back down, The Wheel of Awareness and the three pillars – that is a basis. I was fortunate I bought the audio book, so I was able to listen along as you talked us through the practice. I know you have some of that on your website as well. If someone wanted to learn more about the book, learn more about you or get the information you have on the website, where would you like for me to send them?
Dr. Siegel (25:20): I think going to the website is a great idea. Allan. It’s DrDanSiegel.com. There you’ll find free resources. So you can go to the Resource tab and do The Wheel of Awareness practice if you’ve never done a practice like that. You could do the Breath practice first for a little bit. The videos we have up for free, and all sorts of stuff, are really intended to let people get familiar with these ideas, because just as you’re saying, there is a practice you can start doing that’s going to really help bring health and connection and meaning in your life. If you’re interested, like Allan is, and as you said, geeking out of really learning about this stuff, the way I divided up the book is, the first part you learn the practice, and that’s it. You don’t need to read the science. But the second part you learn some of the science if you want to learn it. You don’t need to learn it at all, but if you do, you realize how. And when you get into the third part of the book, how did Zachary change? Where does meaning and connection come from? I’m an educator and a clinician and a scientist and a father and all sorts of things. I really want to know how these things happen. So, if you’re up for it, in part three, you explore the life situations of five real people and how when you understand the science, you do get to a really deep clarity about why Zachary was able to change and what the wheel meant for him. And then in part four, it basically says, “Let’s see how you can weave this way of living essentially with an expanded hub. How can you bring that into your life in a regular way?” We have things called “dedicated” or “formal” practices that we do 10 minutes, 20 minutes a day. But the real integration happens when you weave the learnings from that time into how you live your whole day. That fourth part of the book says, “Let’s talk about that. Here’s how you can do it.”
My hope is that the book will be a very practical guide, including the science for people who want to dive into it, but you don’t need to dive into it, so that you know. As Louis Pasteur, the scientist, once said, “Chance favors the prepared mind.” So, even if you just get a glimpse of what the science is saying, get a feeling for it, workshop participants have told me even though they didn’t understand all of the science, and no one does, even people presenting it – you get a glimpse of it, and that glimpse gives you a clarity about what something like the hub really means and why accessing and expanding it is so helpful for you. You’re integrating your brain. Literally, you’re going to strengthen the structure of your brain. You’re going to make your immune system function better, reduce stress, optimize your cardiovascular functioning. You’re going to reduce inflammation. This blew my mind – you’re going to even optimize an enzyme that repairs and maintains the ends of your chromosomes. And when I turned the book into my colleagues who had written about that, Elissa Epel – one of them – wrote me back. She said, “Dan, this is a great book and everything’s accurate, but you left something out.” And I go, “Oh my God, I have to write another chapter. What did I leave out?” And she had written a book called The Telomere Effect with the Nobel prize winning Elizabeth Blackburn. So Elissa writes me back and she says, “You need to say that these trainings that the wheel has, slow the aging process.” So I wrote back to her and I said, “How can I say that?” She goes, “Because that’s what it does.” And this is the world’s expert on aging.
Allan (29:27): I’ve had her on the podcast. We talked about The Telomere Effect, and yes, it actually does.
Dr. Siegel (29:32): It’s amazing.
Allan (29:33): But the cool thing is – and this is a bad analogy for me to use – is that you’ve lit a fire under my butt to really ignite and start doing my meditation practice. And I know I should pick a calmer analogy, but nothing comes to mind.
Dr. Siegel (29:47): No, that’s good. We’ve got to light each other up, Allan. That’s what we’ve got to do. That’s a good analogy, I love it.
Allan (29:52): Alright. If you want to find that website, you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/342, and I’ll be sure to have a link there to Dr. Siegel’s website and to the book. Dr. Siegel, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
Dr. Siegel (30:08): Allan, it’s a pleasure. Thank you.
Allan (31:17): If you enjoyed today’s episode, would you please take just one moment and leave us a rating and review on the application that you’re listening to this podcast right now? I’d really appreciate it, and it does help other people find the podcast, because it tells the people that are hosting these podcast episodes out there on their apps that you’re interested and they know that other people like you might be interested. So please do that. If you can’t figure out how to do that on your app, you can email me directly and I’ll try to figure it out for you. Or you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Review, and that’ll take you to the iTunes where you can launch that and leave a review there. I really appreciate the ratings and reviews. It does help the podcast, it helps me, so thank you very much for that.
Also, I’d really like to continue this conversation a little bit further, so if you haven’t already, why don’t you go ahead and join our Facebook group? You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Group, and that’ll take you to our Facebook group where you can request entry. It’s a really cool group of people, likeminded, all in our 40s, all trying to get healthy and fit. I’d really love to have you out there and have you a part of that conversation. So, go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Group.
October is really shaping up to be a busy, busy month for me. As you know, we did the Ketofest a few days ago, and that turned out really good. Really enjoyed spending time with folks there, and I hope you enjoyed it if you were there. Of course, I’m putting out the extra episodes each week; I hope that you’re enjoying those. I know I enjoy the conversations. I’m recording a little bit in advance just to keep up with it, because it’s a lot of work putting on a podcast episode. And then of course there’s the work on the book. Even though we finished the manuscript and it’s going into the phases of getting it turned into a book, and now an audio book, there are still so many moving parts to that. I want you to be in the forefront of that. I want you to be on the team with me, please. So, go to WellnessRoadmapBook.com and join the launch team. I’m not going to ask a whole lot from you there, but you’re going to get a lot of bonuses, a lot of extra content, things I can’t share with anybody else, things I won’t share with anybody else. You’re going to be on my select team to be on the forefront of launching this book. I think this book is going to do a lot of good for a lot of people, and I want you to be a part of that team. So, go to WellnessRoadmapBook.com. Thank you.
With the book The Back Pain Relief Diet, Dr. Todd Sinett shows us how to stop back pain by changing the foods we eat.
Allan (1:00): Dr. Sinett, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
Dr. Sinett (1:04): Thank you so very much for having us.
Allan (1:06): The book, The Back Pain Relief Diet, I think this might be one of the more important books that are out there, because quite frankly, just about everybody at some point in their lives, particularly as we get over 40, is going to be dealing with some form of back pain. I injured myself, so my issue was more of an acute “Allan did something stupid thing”, but there are a lot of people that are suffering from back pain and they really can’t find answers to what’s going on in their lives. So, they keep doing what they’re doing and the doctor is like, “I’m doing these MRIs, or I’m doing this. Let’s try that.” Then they start getting into the pain relievers and the warming things, and just trying to get past this moment of pain, because pain is one of those things, you can’t ignore it. It’s there. But you’re approaching this from a very different perspective, in that we might be doing something that isn’t even related to our backs, but more related to our stomachs, that can actually be causing the problem.
Dr. Sinett (2:11): Yeah, it’s pretty amazing. Just to give your listeners a little bit of background on back pain or stats on back pain – 85% of the world is going to suffer from back pain. It’s the leading cause of job disability, it’s the second leading cause of missed workdays, and it’s a healthcare epidemic. The reason is that when I look at these statistics, it’s not that back pain is inevitable; it’s just that our paradigm is so wrong. Essentially the doctors are missing it. We’re completely screwing it up, and that’s the conclusion that I’ve reached.
I have a very pivotal story, which happened to my father. He was a chiropractor and he actually bent down to pick up a tennis ball one day and his back went out. And for nine months he was flat on his back as a chiropractor. He earned his living helping people with their back pain, and he was completely bedridden for nine months with back pain. And no one could help him. He went to chiropractors, physical therapists, orthopedists. They wanted to do exploratory surgery on him. He could barely get out of bed, he could barely walk, he certainly couldn’t work. He wound up seeing this doctor who examined him very differently and asked the question, “Why are you having these back spasms?” And he told my father, “Other than your back spasms, you seem very healthy, you didn’t have an injury. Back pain doesn’t come from nowhere, so we have to figure out where it’s coming from.” Back then, as long as you were thin, you could eat whatever you wanted. So my father’s diet was filled with sugar and caffeine. The doctor surmised that his diet was upsetting his digestive system, and then subsequently his digestive system was affecting his muscular system. So his back pain was coming from his diet and his digestive system. That’s not something that you ever learned in school or ever heard of. But between the choice of having exploratory back surgery or changing your diet, it’s not a very difficult decision to make. So we changed his diet; within two weeks he was 100% cured. This was way back in 1974, mind you. And it put us on a crusade to change the approach in both diagnosing and treating back pain. I’m very excited to be able to share this book called The Back Pain Relief Diet to tell people that their back pain could be caused by their diet, and subsequently could be solved by their diet. So it’s very, very exciting.
Allan (4:32): It’s always interesting to me that someone will sit there and say, “I can take this little bitty pill that’s going to effectively cover my problem.” And they don’t imagine all the food and liquids and things that they’re taking into their mouth throughout the day, and they’re completely discounting that that could have any effect on our health and wellbeing, but recognizing that that pill is going to do something substantial to our bodies.
Dr. Sinett (5:00): When I tell patients their back pain’s coming from their diet, a lot of times they’re very disbelieving because it’s not something that anyone’s really ever told you. And quite frankly, most doctors don’t even look for it or even know about it. But I say, “Have you heard of, if you have back pain, people will give you an anti-inflammatory?” And they’ll be like, “Yes.” What happens if we gave you a diet that was anti-inflammatory? Couldn’t that work the same? And the answer is, yes, of course it can work the same.
Allan (5:24): And costs a lot less.
Dr. Sinett (5:26): Exactly. And a lot less side effects.
Allan (5:28): Yes. So in the book you have the 10 basic principles of back-diet connection. I thought this was really, really cool. A lot of people say, “I eat healthy. I eat really good foods – salads and the grass-fed meats and the kale. I eat really well.” And they’re still suffering. You go through these principles that kind of explain why that’s so.
Dr. Sinett (5:56): Yeah. I’m just going to take you through the principles, if that’s alright with you.
Allan (5:59): Yeah.
Dr. Sinett (6:00): Number one – I said regardless of your diet, your diet can be the cause of your back pain. So whether you’re having coffee, a donut, soda, pasta, pizza, cake, or even if you’re having a green drink, smoothie, kale salad and quinoa – regardless of your diet, you can create a back pain. Anything that can upset your digestive system can upset your muscular system. So we have to essentially figure out what’s the diet that’s right for you, because we need to cut down on the inflammation from your gut. The next thing I’ll say is regardless of the severity of your back pain – so, whether you’re having severe back pain and can’t get out of bed, or whether you’re dealing with a nagging back pain where you’re kind of living around it or have to lift carefully or bend carefully – regardless of the symptoms, the diet could be the cause of your back pain. The third thing, which I think is vital is, before undergoing any invasive procedure, rule out diet first as the cause. As a doctor and a patient, you always want to do the least invasive thing first, and then go more and more invasive. Unfortunately I see a lot of patients in my office who have had surgeries or injections and stuff that actually hasn’t helped, before they ruled out something so simple as to change your diet. Another principle is, you’re going to know your answer within a month, and very likely you’ll know within two weeks. So, we change your diet; within two to three weeks, you’re going to know your answer of whether your back pain is caused by your diet or not.
Another principal is, causes of back pain most likely isn’t just one cause; it’s multi-factored. It can be some structural imbalance, it can be some postural imbalance, could be you worked out too heavy, but it can also be your emotions, your stress and your diet. A lot of times it’s multi-factored. Another principle is, just because a food is deemed healthy, it may not be healthy for you. So for some, let’s say kale could be this undigestible type of food that gives someone a lot of gas and bloating, whereas someone may feel better if they have a turkey sandwich on whole grain bread, as opposed to a big bulky salad. We need to not necessarily look at foods as what’s deemed healthy and what’s not healthy. You have to deem it on what’s healthy for you, which gets us to our next principle – the quality of your bowel movement evaluates the quality of your digestive system. And the health of your back can very much be evaluated based off the quality of your bowel movement. In the book we have a picture of what’s known as the “Bristol Stool Chart” that will show you how your bowel movements are because that’s an indication of how your body’s ridding itself of its waste. A lot of times if your body’s not ridding itself of its waste properly, your body’s building up toxicity, with bloating and gas in the digestive system. That will affect the muscular system. Number eight on the principles is you want to cut down on the crap, but too much of a good thing isn’t a good thing. You want to have balance in your life. Eating too many large salads, having too many green drinks, can be just as bad as having too much soda or caffeine. So, everything in variation and variety. Again, principle number nine is, anything that can cause digestive upset can create your back pain. And the last thing, which is a very important principle – variety is vital. You must mix it up. You have to have three different types of breakfast, three different types of lunches, and three different types of dinners. Every food comes with a different nutrient makeup, digestive process, digestive time. And if you keep eating the same foods over and over again, you can really upset the digestive process. Those are my 10 general principles when it comes to the back pain relief diet.
Allan (9:41): I agree with you on the front end of this. Your father had the option to go for exploratory surgery, which actually scares the crap out of me. It’s like, you can’t take a picture or an X-ray or MRI or something; you’ve got to cut me open and try to figure it out. So I do understand why he was willing to try something that even if it didn’t work, it only cost him another three or four weeks. But like you said, he was back on his feet within two weeks. What we’re doing here though is we’re actually trying to figure out what kind of foods our body needs, versus the kind of foods that cause us problems.
Dr. Sinett (10:19): Exactly.
Allan (10:21): What you have in the book is a nutrition test, where we could do a diagnostic.
Dr. Sinett (10:25): Yes. There are actually two tests. The first test is the digestive inflammation test, and that will tell a reader or a patient whether we think that your back pain could be diet-related. I don’t want to sit there and tell everyone to start changing all their diets, because what they may be doing maybe right, and their back pain cause could come from stress or a structural issue. So the first thing is the digestive inflammation test. It’s going to ask about if you’re constipated or having diarrhea, changing medication, stomach viruses, bloating, gassy, repeat meals, etcetera. Based off your scoring, we’re going to know if we think that your back pain is coming from your digestive system and your diet or not. Then once we do that, and let’s say we found that we think your back pain is coming from your diet, then there’s a diagnostic nutrition tests that can point you in the right direction of essentially four different types of diets that we think are going to be right for you, because again, no diet is right for everybody. There’s a diet for someone who’s having the pizza, the pasta, the wine, the cookies, the cakes, and the coffees. So we want to cut down on their inflammation. There’s another diet, where someone’s having too many healthy foods, so it’s called the “digestive rest”, where we’re cutting down on the raw vegetables, cutting down on the raw fish, and we’re going to more cooked vegetables and foods that don’t create so much upset. There’s also a diet called the “FODMAP diet”, and that’s someone who’s having some specific irritable bowel syndrome or symptoms that they need specific diets and specific foods that calm down the digestive system. If you calm down the digestive system, you calm down the back pain.
Allan (12:08): Okay. Now, I want to go through those, because I think anyone can relate and say, “If I’m eating crap food – the pizzas and the beer and everything else, and I’m hurting, then there’s the potential that that’s a cause.” And I can even say this myself, because I do what I call “seasonal ketosis”. So, for part of the year, I eat really, really clean, I’d be in ketosis, and I tend to be very pain-free. Then I’ll go through my season – it tends to be football season when we’re tailgating and hanging out. I want to have a few beers. If someone brings dish, I’m going to eat it. Thank you, Carol. Please bring the deviled eggs; I love those. But there’ll be other foods there that aren’t the deviled eggs and aren’t nearly as healthy for me. And I’ll notice little things like tendinitis in my elbow will start to flare up, maybe some headaches, and like you said, my bowel movements aren’t quite as comfortable or as regular as they would be otherwise. So, I think most people understand that if they’re eating garbage, then that’s a pretty simple fix. But I think it really can confuse people when they’re saying, “I’m eating everything that I’ve always been told was healthy.”
Dr. Sinett (13:22): Yeah. That’s the interesting thing. I think the real question is really, what’s healthy for you? I have really great patient stories in the book, where a patient of mine decided to go gluten-free and went gluten-free and wasn’t having any breads, was having a lot of green drinks, smoothies, salads and lean fish. And she was as gassy and bloated as can be. And when you’re gassy and bloated, that’s going to create a lot of back pain. So for her, we had to dial it back a little bit and we said, “No more raw vegetables. Let’s cook your vegetables. Have a turkey sandwich instead of that large salad. Let’s have some eggs or let’s have some whole grain bread with some whole peanut butter and jam, as opposed to a green drink in the morning.” And that was the missing link for her. That was the answer for her. Again, you want to listen to your body because there are a lot of foods that are deemed very healthy that can create a lot of gas and bloating. You want to have the variety. You want to listen to your body. And the diagnostic nutrition test is going to point you in the right direction of what diet we think is right for you.
Allan (14:30): Okay. Let’s take a minute and talk about the FODMAP diet and why that would be beneficial for some people.
Dr. Sinett (14:37): The FODMAP diet is really ideal for someone who has something called “irritable bowel syndrome”. Essentially that particular diet is targeted for someone who’s having trouble digesting specific carbohydrates. FODMAP stands for Fermanable, Oligo-, Di- and Mono-saccharides and Polyols. And it’s for people who are sensitive. What the diet does is it pulls the dairy, some of the fructose or fruits such as apples and pears, it eliminates wheat and garlic. It eliminates beans and lentils and a lot of sugar alcohols, such as honey, agave, corn syrup and alcohol. It’s a very unique diet, because it targets a specific person who does eat healthy, but again is suffering from an irritable bowel. When you find that right patient, it could be absolutely life changing of eliminating those foods.
Allan (15:28): Okay. So basically, I go through and I take the two diagnostic tests and I realize it might be my diet that’s at least a factor in this. It might not be the only factor, but I’ve got enough of the positive read on this diagnostic to know changing my diet might be a good answer for me. And then I go do the other diagnostic test that’s going to give me the eating plan that’s most recommended for me to deal with this issue. What can I expect over the course of the next two to four weeks?
Dr. Sinett (15:59): We want to see some changes. Ideally we want to actually see some positive changes. So, we want to see your body feel less gassy and bloated. And then what’s the goal? The goal is to get rid of your back pain, or your neck pain, or your shoulder pain, or your muscle aches. The goal is for you to feel better in your back. This is a back pain relief diet. And I truly believe that if you follow these diets and it resonates with you, your back pain is going to be much better.
Allan (16:24): So these are not really so much elimination diets as they are trying to find an eating way that’s going to give your body the nutrition it needs, like you said, having the variety; and then also making sure that we’re not doing anything to inflame our gut or to upset our bowl, so that we basically are as clean as we can be for what our body needs.
Dr. Sinett (16:46): You said it perfectly.
Allan (16:48): Good. Okay. The other thing in the book that I think was really cool is you actually put some meal plans in here. You didn’t just tell me to go eat Paleo and I’ll go figure it out somewhere else. You gave me a one week or two weeks, I forget. There are some of them that had two weeks and some had one week.
Dr. Sinett (17:03): The great thing is I have nutritionists at my office. We’re able to put together all the meals, menus and suggestions. So, each one has somewhere between 10 days and two weeks’ worth of food. If you’re somebody who wants to follow a regimented menu and recipe, we have that. If you’re somebody who wants to be a little less regimented and you want to follow lists of do’s and don’ts – we have that as well. The nutritionists do a great job of writing out how to go shopping, what to buy. If you’re buying chicken breasts, they’re using chicken in three different days. It’s really nice, easy and simple, because we’ve got to make it simple; otherwise people won’t use it. It’s got to be not complicated.
Allan (17:46): That’s what I liked about it. This is the whole deal where you go through, you understand why this is potentially the case by going through the principles and thinking through it, because it actually makes sense. And then you say, “What about me?” And the quizzes are there, so it’s all right here in the book. The meal plans are there for you to go ahead and give this a shot, and then you know, “I need to be more of a FODMAP-style eater, because that’s what hurt my back.” I might find myself at a picnic and there’s some beans and I go ahead and eat them, and I notice I start feeling a little achy the next day. Ding, ding, ding, ding! I know my answer – I shouldn’t have had those beans.
Dr. Sinett (18:26): Exactly. That’s what we want. This is a self-discovery journey and it’s really important. So in the back part of the book, we have a complete symptom journal. We want to have the person track their pain levels, track their meals, track their hunger levels, and really be able to help use that information so that they can get the feedback and figure out what they can get away with and what they can’t, what they should be eating, what they shouldn’t, and what the price they pay is if they go wildly off the diet and what’s going to happen to them. That all works for us.
Allan (18:58): Yeah. And that’s what I liked about it – it’s very simple. Whenever we start thinking about surgery or we’re going into the doctor over and over again and they’re really not giving us any answers, the pain pills are not going to be the answer for the long term. I think we all know that intrinsically. So we’ve got to try to find an answer that works. And it might be stress, it might be a strain. When I hurt my back, I knew exactly the moment I hurt it, so for me I knew what it was. Same thing, I know when I’m going to go tailgating, I’m probably going to get some tendinitis, because that’s just what ends up happening. I think we can know that there’s an opportunity here for us to make some, in many cases, subtle changes to our food and feel a lot better for it.
Dr. Sinett (19:41): I can’t emphasize enough my frustration of seeing day in and day out with my patients how they’re suffering and suffering. I had a patient this past week who’d been to eight different doctors, he could barely sit down. He was losing his entire quality of life, and it was because of his diet. We took an X-ray and we saw immediately on the X-ray there was gas all over his digestive system. We pointed to the gas and said, “There’s your problem.” In the book we have pictures of X-rays of what a normal X-ray should look like, and one that has a lot of digestive upset. Again, within 10 days to two weeks, he changed his diet and he got his life back. And it’s the simplest thing. I can’t urge your listeners enough to try it. I know it sounds crazy. No one is discussing the link between back pain and your diet. But why can’t you change it? Why can’t you just try it for two weeks and see what happens?
Allan (20:37): I completely agree with you there. It’s a lot cheaper than the medication, it’s a lot safer and easier on you than surgery. And it’s frustrating to go to doctor, doctor, doctor, and not get an answer for something that might just be self-inflicted, which is some of our food choices. Dr. Sinett, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness. If someone wanted to get in touch with you, learn more about what you’re doing at your practice or learn more about this book, where would you like for me to send them?
Dr. Sinett (21:07): My website is DrSinett.com. All of my books are on Amazon, and my back pain relieving product Backbridge is at Backbridge.com or it’s all available on my website as well.
Allan (21:21): Cool. This is episode 341, so you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/341. I’ll have a link to Dr. Sinett’s site and a link where you can preorder the book on Amazon. Again, Dr. Sinett, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
Dr. Sinett (21:37): I truly appreciate it, really. Thanks so much.
Allan (21:44): If you enjoyed today’s episode, would you please take just one moment and leave us a rating and review on the application that you’re listening to this podcast right now? I’d really appreciate it, and it does help other people find the podcast, because it tells the people that are hosting these podcast episodes out there on their apps that you’re interested and they know that other people like you might be interested. So please do that. If you can’t figure out how to do that on your app, you can email me directly and I’ll try to figure it out for you. Or you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Review, and that’ll take you to the iTunes where you can launch that and leave a review there. I really appreciate the ratings and reviews. It does help the podcast, it helps me, so thank you very much for that.
Also, I’d really like to continue this conversation a little bit further, so if you haven’t already, why don’t you go ahead and join our Facebook group? You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Group, and that’ll take you to our Facebook group where you can request entry. It’s a really cool group of people, like-minded, all in our 40s, all trying to get healthy and fit. I’d really love to have you out there and have you a part of that conversation. So, go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Group.
In his book, Ketotarian, Dr. Will Cole gives us a guide on keto for vegetarians and vegans. Many people believe that keto and vegetarians and vegans are two different paradigms, but Dr. Cole shows us that we can have the best of both worlds.
Allan (1:05): Dr. Cole, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
Dr. Cole (1:10): Thanks so much for having me.
Allan (1:11): The book is called Ketotarian: The (Mostly) Plant-Based Plan to Burn Fat, Boost Your Energy, Crush Your Cravings, and Calm Inflammation. And just to start out with, I have to thank you profusely for writing this book. If I see another “bacon, bacon, bacon” conversation about keto, if I had hair I would pull it out. It’s one of those things. Yes, we want high fat, but that doesn’t mean that you just do away with the fact that our body needs the nutrition from the food, and not just the fat. So, I really did appreciate your approach to, one, how you explain the process of this working, and two, you actually put it together for folks with recipes and everything else.
Dr. Cole (2:01): Thank you so much, I really appreciate that. And that’s honestly one of the main reasons why I wrote Ketotarian, was to bring something new to the conversation. Like you said, the “bacon” conversation has been done. We don’t need another conventional ketogenic cookbook or health book out there. So I think something fresh, a plant-based, ketogenic conversation has been started.
Allan (2:26): Yes, and that’s why more and more of my clients are asking about this, like, “I really don’t want to eat a lot of meat and I’m trying to stay more vegetarian or more vegan.” There’s been this conversation that’s swelled up from behind me on this. I eat a lot of plants, but it’s within the realms of knowing my macros and knowing what my body can tolerate. Could you take a few moments to explain what ketotarian actually means and how someone would consider doing something like this?
Dr. Cole (3:00): Sure. Ketotarian is a book that we’re talking about. It’s my plant-based ketogenic book. Half of the book is science and health tips and functional medicine sort of perspective, which is where I come from, and ethos of why we’re doing this. And the heart of wellness that I think has to be at the foundation for sustainable wellness is really having self-respect. Self-care is a form of self-respect, and eating healthy foods and taking care of yourself is a form of self-respect. It’s a different conversation that’s being started for a ketogenic book, but I think seeing patients I realized for someone to sustainably be successful for any way that they’re eating, it has to be coming from a place of self- respect, presence, and loving your body enough to nourish it with good foods. So that’s really the cornerstone of Ketotarian in the first half of the book, plus all the health benefits of ketosis and the health benefits of being plant-based, and all the science and research. It’s heavily referenced, as far as the scientific literature is concerned.
And then the second half of the book is recipes, meal plans, all this practical stuff and pretty pictures. There’s over 81 different vegan, keto, vegetarian-keto and pescatarian-keto, or what I call in the book Ketotarian – another play on words – plant-based, but with wild caught fish and shellfish. So people can eat one way, they can just be vegan-keto, or they can eat a mixture of vegan, vegetarian and pescatarian options. And it’s this 8-week, plant-based keto experience for people to shift their body from being a sugar burner to a fat burner, get the anti-inflammatory benefits of ketosis. That’s what they’re doing in ketotarian. So it’s a play on words. I had somebody point out to me, I kind of created a celebrity couple name out of the title of my book. So, like Brangelina, this is ketotarian. It’s this amalgamation of the best of both worlds of being plant-based and keto.
Allan (5:15): The interesting thing is, I have a lot of keto authors on here, and I have a lot of vegetarian and vegan authors on here. It’s because I don’t want to be prescriptive about what someone’s going to eat. I need them to be comfortable that this fits their lifestyle, this fits them as a person. I’ve even said that to people, that when I talk to someone who’s on the keto side, who’s really successful at it – has gotten rid of their inflammation, is healthy, or I talked to someone on the vegan side who’s healthy, they’re always talking about whole food. They’re not talking about packaged things. Some of them do go a little under the bacon side on the keto, but that all said, I think it created this “us versus them” that really didn’t have to exist.
Dr. Cole (6:02): Absolutely. It’s a very strange thing, but I think tribalism is really deep in America right now on many different levels. And I think that this is just one sort of weird aspect of tribalism where it’s completely unnecessary. The dogmatic sides of both camps is just unnecessary, because we actually have way more in common than we don’t. I think Ketotarian illuminated the fact that there are so many commonalities there. And ketogenic, that way of eating, really can be any modality of eating. It could be pescatarian, it could be vegetarian, it could be vegan, it could be more Mediterranean with the fish too. There are so many ways to do it. And then obviously we have the carnivore diet that’s coming up, which is a form of ketosis, a higher protein ketogenic approach. So you have really all these different forms of ketosis, therefore it doesn’t have to be this “us versus them”. It’s just a way of using food to our advantage, to put our body into this anti-inflammatory, fat-burning state.
Allan (7:12): One of the cool things that you brought up in the book is, this is really about being aware and mindful of the food that you are eating. So this is not just happenstance. Obviously, yes, if you eat a predominantly meat-based diet that’s not lean meats, you’re probably going to go into ketosis at some level. If you’re eating a high fat diet with bacon and all the other stuff that’s coming out of boxes that are marked “keto-friendly”, you’re going to go into ketosis. It takes a little bit more, I think, mindfulness and a more sound approach to food when you’re trying to do it from the vegan or vegetarian aspects. And you had this term you used in here called “ketotarianisms”. Could you take a minute to go through those? I think this really highlights what I’m after here, about how you start getting a lot more mindful about your food, you start focusing more on the quality, and you end up a lot healthier for it.
Dr. Cole (8:10): Yeah. So ketotarianisms are the basic tenants of this way of living and eating. It is basically when you are having a healthy fat, add a green, not-starchy vegetable, and then conversely, when you have a non-starchy vegetable, eat a healthy fat. And then eat when you’re hungry, eat until you’re satiated. These are some of the ketotarianisms that people can live. These are basic principles that really are common sense when you read them, if someone wants to keep it simple. In Ketotarian, I wanted to show all the biohacker, science stuff where people can lean into, or they want to take their wellness to the next level, but I realized there are going to be a lot of people that are reading Ketotarian that are new to this, that feel overwhelmed or, “Where do I start?” I think things like the ketotarianisms or the “keeping it simple” options in the book are really a good segue for people to lean into it and still get the benefits of these healthy, real foods without feeling like they have to go zero to 60 and understand all the science to get started. It’s really not necessary at all.
Allan (9:29): I had a client and he was telling me it’s blueberry season and he can’t help himself every time he goes to the farmer’s market. He wants to eat low carb. And our ancestors, when berries were abundant, they ate the berries. There’s nutrients in the berries that your body needs. Enjoy the berries while they’re in season, because you’re only going to get them for a few more weeks, and you’re not going to have the berries. I think a lot of us get tied up in the “We have to eat this way” or “We have to eat that way.” And there’s so much what I would call “biodiversity” of how each of us handles carbs, our insulin resistance, those types of things. One of the things that you had in the book that is a little different than the guidance I see from a lot of the keto space is that instead of focusing on total carbs, which the 20 grams of total carbs is the earmark out there – you’re going to go into ketosis if that’s what you’re eating. But you focus more on net carbs, which allows us effectively to eat a lot more high fiber vegetables. Could you talk about the net carbs? Having net carbs someone could probably get away with and still get into ketosis or get the benefits of the low carb eating. And then compare and contrast that with total carbs.
Dr. Cole (10:45): Sure. So, total carbs are the sum of all fiber, sugar and sugar alcohols and everything. Net carbs is subtracting fiber and sugar alcohols, if there are sugar alcohols in wherever you’re eating. But basically the fiber, the soluble fiber and the insoluble fiber, we’re subtracting in ketotarian, and many other ketogenic resources you’ll find in books and online too. But Ketotarian definitely does talk about how when we’re working on and focusing on real non-starchy vegetables and real plant foods, that’s when you use net carbs. You do not use net carbs whenever you’re eating junk food and boxed foods and you’re just trying to make yourself feel better by having carbs. At that point it’s not in its whole food form, it’s not in alignment fully with nature, and you can manipulate numbers, I think, for the sake of dieting that isn’t going to produce the same results as if you ate an avocado with tons of fiber, or any other vegetable with lots of fiber when it’s in this whole food form. That’s what we’re talking about when we’re considering net carbs.
So, in the book for all the recipes, I give the net carbs because it is basically subtracting all the fiber. What I allow for, or what I recommend I should say, in Ketotarian, is the first week or so – and sometimes people should do longer than a week – they should do about 25 grams of net carbs throughout the day. So every day their max should be 25 grams of net carbs or less. From there they can find their carbs sweet spot during these eight weeks of being in ketosis from this plant-based approach. Now, the max allowance in ketotarian is 55 grams of net carbs a day. I just wanted something basically average to allow people to have lots of vegetables in, but I know as a functional medicine practitioner that there’s biological variability. I realize that there are some people that will do better with a little bit less, there are some people that can get away with a little bit more. I have some people in ketosis up to 100 grams of net carbs from non-starchy vegetables, because they’re insulin sensitive, they don’t have a lot of inflammation, and they’re fine there. They’re fasting and they can get away with this. But most, I think 55 grams. Why I put it in the book is because it’s the middle of the road for most people to get the benefits here. They can implement it into intermittent fasting and time-restricted feeding, and we talk about that in the book. They can still get all these cool benefits while not restricting their plant foods.
Allan (13:33): The great thing about this is, so many of us, when we first start getting into ketosis or thinking about ketosis think we can’t have fruit. A lot of your recipes do actually have fruit in them. So this is an area where we are, because we’re going to go for the high fiber type of fruits. We are going to be able to eat more fruit with this. When I think about the number of how much food you can eat of non-starchy vegetables with that many grams of carbs – that’s pretty substantial. This is going to be the bulk of your food. This is going to be your entree, and not a meat entree. This is going to be your main source of energy and food, less so the proteins that we would normally have in a steak or something like that.
Dr. Cole (14:26): Exactly. It’s plant-centric. I think that people can pick their level of where they want to go with this. I’m not saying everyone has to be a vegan-ketogenic eater, but definitely when we bring the vegetarian options like the eggs or the ghee, or the pescatarian options with the fish or the shellfish – it’s still plant-centric. These are just different food medicines to bring into this clean, keto way of eating.
Allan (14:54): And that’s what I really liked about it – it said, “Here are the nutritional aspects of how you’re going to eat. These are the net carbs you can get.” And then beyond that, it went through and said, “If you want to make it a little easier to do this, then here’s the option for you to do the vegetarian versus the vegan, and here’s an add-on if you want to include some fish or shellfish. It’s going to have these particular benefits.” So, it’s something that somebody can really look at their way of eating and be thinking about, “How do I make this work for me?” It’s not just this fixed go. And your recipes also break that down, where there are some recipes that will have fish, some that will have eggs, and others that are completely vegan.
Dr. Cole (15:36): Yeah. And I think to your point, with your client with the berries, that’s something that I really wanted to have, this grace and lightness to food. We shouldn’t be stressing about and obsessing about our food and making food this arduous, negative thing. I wanted to recalibrate the conversation, especially in the keto world, which I think can be a little bit too obsessive with foods, and shaming, and orthorexic in a way. What I wanted to say is, “Let’s do this for eight weeks. Let’s shift the body into ketosis. Let’s get the benefits of ketosis.” But from there, like you said, seasonal ketotarian is mentioned in the book, because during the summer if you want to have more fruits and more natural carbs into your life, you normally buy seasonal fruits – then do that. Some people love that and enjoy that, but during the colder months they’re more in ketosis naturally and eating more of this primal way of cycling ketosis approach throughout the year. And some people do that cyclic approach throughout the week, where they’re doing two to three days higher carbs, the other days in ketosis. Again, this is all in the context of real foods. This, I think, needs to be talked about more in the ketogenic world, because so many of them are very dogmatic in the sense of, if you leave ketosis, you’re somehow doing your body an injustice, and that’s not the point of the ketogenic diet and it’s basically all or nothing. I don’t think it’s all or nothing. If you really say “all or nothing”, you obviously haven’t talked to patients or clients and seen biological variability, because you’ll be proven wrong all day long, hanging your hat on one way of doing anything when it comes to food.
Allan (17:28): They would have to kick me out of the Keto Club, because I do the seasonal ketosis. And that’s because there are certain times of the year where I know it’s going to be easier for me to maintain the low carb and just get a little bit tighter on things. And then there are going to be times when we’re in football season and we’re going to come up on New Year and things like that, and I’m going to want to have a beer. My brother owns a brewery, so I’m going to want to have a beer here and there. But I pick my times, I pick my battles, and I’ll go out of ketosis for a period of time. It’s something that’s natural to me, it’s something that feels good. And I don’t have any kind of metabolic problems, so it’s very easy for me to shift fuel sources, depending on how I approach food.
Dr. Cole (18:11): That’s great. That’s the goal of this eight weeks – to build that metabolic flexibility. And you’re right, not everybody has that. Some people with insulin resistance or diabetes or inflammatory problems can’t get away with that. But the goal is to build as much metabolic flexibility as your body allows you to.
Allan (18:31): Yeah. That’s the other aspect of it – some of us are going to go right into ketosis, not have a big problem with it. Others are going to suffer a little bit more, or some really are going to struggle to get into ketosis because their metabolism is a little bit racked and needs some repair. In the book, you share some tips for individuals that are struggling to get into ketosis. Would you mind sharing some of those tips?
Dr. Cole (19:00): I’m just thinking off the top of my head what’s in the book, but one is, if you’re eating a certain level of real food, net carbs or eating plant foods – I would try lowering the amount of carbs as your body adjusts. The state of ketosis – this metabolic, fat-burning, anti-inflammatory, brain-fueled state that we’re talking about here – is through carb restriction. So it’s not necessarily eating tons and tons of healthy fats, even though healthy fats can increase ketones too. But it’s really the carb restriction primarily that will do it. And then secondarily, it’s what do you fill in from that carb restriction? So, lowering your carbs more. If you’re higher net carbs, maybe lower it below 25 for a time as your body gets more fat-adapted that way.
Another tip to get in ketosis if you’re not in ketosis, is to help your body out with getting the benefits of ketosis and raising blood ketone levels with exogenous ketones. You can use MCT oil or different exogenous ketones in drinks or supplements, or you can increase the amount of circulating ketones in the body to get the benefits of it – basically get your boost of energy, help with brain function, etcetera. So if someone’s making that, they’re in this sort of metabolic purgatory where they’re not becoming a fat burner overnight. It may be they’re going through insulin resistance or other health problems, whether they’re slow to make that transition. You can kind of help your body along with some exogenous ketones as you’re making that metabolic transition.
And then some maybe lesser known ideas to help your body get into ketosis is to deal with stress levels and look at sleep, because cortisol fluctuations when someone’s in stress – that can impact the blood sugar, blood pressure, and ketone production. And looking at sleep levels, sleep optimization, which is another thing to consider. Those are some things that are maybe less commonly thought of when you’re talking about, “I’m going to go keto and get the benefits of going keto. I’m going to lose weight”, or whatever it is. You have to look at stress levels; these are important.
Another thing to consider is intermittent fasting. If someone’s not intermittent fasting, which will produce increased ketone levels as somebody is intermittent fasting, they should consider that. That’s another way to produce more ketones, get the benefits of ketosis, but it’s also the effect of ketosis. As someone becomes more and more fat-adapted, it’s a natural result of that. You’re just less hungry, your blood sugar’s more stable, you’re less irritable and hangry. So you just randomly will intermittent-fast, not because you’re trying to or you’re thinking about it, but because, “I’m eating when I’m hungry, and if I’m not hungry, I’m not going to eat.” If that involves not eating breakfast or having a lighter meal at a certain part of the day, these variations of intermittent fasting can happen too. So these are some ideas if someone’s having a difficulty, but we have other ones mentioned in the book too.
Allan (22:21): One of my favorites – obviously I’m a personal trainer, so I’m going to like the “movement” one. It’s interesting though – a lot of people will advise people starting into ketosis to actually avoid exercising. And I’ve always had the opposite opinion. While you might not want to exercise at the same intensity, the stress and the cortisol, there is some value to movement and exercise when you’re trying to get into ketosis.
Dr. Cole (22:47): Absolutely. That’s a great one. I think that movement and staying active should be a part of it. It shouldn’t just be food. I think movement is an important part of wellness. Like you said, you may adjust what you’re doing physical activity-wise, but you shouldn’t stop it.
Allan (23:06): Outstanding. Now, if someone wanted to get in touch with you to learn more about the book, where would you like for me to send them?
Dr. Cole (23:15): Everything’s at DrWillCole.com. There are links to the books, but it’s on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and in independent bookstores too. But everything’s there. I’m seeing patients throughout the week, and we have primarily a virtual clinic where we do webcam consultations for people. So they can get a free health evaluation on DrWillCole.com too.
Allan (23:41): Cool. This is episode 340, so you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/340, and I’ll have the links there to Dr. Cole’s site and to the book on Amazon. Dr. Cole, thank you so much for being a part of the 40+ Fitness podcast.
Dr. Cole (23:59): Thanks so much for having me.
Allan (24:06): If you enjoyed today’s episode, would you please take just one moment and leave us a rating and review on the application that you’re listening to this podcast right now? I’d really appreciate it, and it does help other people find the podcast because it tells the people that are hosting these podcast episodes out there on their apps that you’re interested and they know that other people like you might be interested. So please do that. If you can’t figure out how to do that on your app, you can email me directly and I’ll try to figure it out for you. Or you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Review, and that’ll take you to the iTunes where you can launch that and leave a review there. I really appreciate the ratings and reviews. It does help the podcast, it helps me, so thank you very much for that.
Also, I’d really like to continue this conversation a little bit further, so if you haven’t already, why don’t you go ahead and join our Facebook group? You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Group, and that’ll take you to our Facebook group where you can request entry. It’s a really cool group of people, like-minded, all in our 40s, all trying to get healthy and fit. I’d really love to have you out there and have you a part of that conversation. So, go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Group.
October 5th, here in Pensacola Beach. If you’re anywhere close, you should come down for this. I’m going to be teaching a cooking class on how to cook for Thanksgiving and remain keto. Also, we’re going to have talks from Carl Franklin of 2 Keto Dudes, and myself. It’s going to be a great time to meet other people in the area that are passionate about keto or want to learn more about keto. So, wherever you stand on that spectrum of either being keto and loving it or wanting to know more about keto, this is going to be a great opportunity for you to connect with people and learn a lot more about it. So I’d encourage you to go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Ketofest, and that’ll take you to the Eventbrite page. There’s a low fee, $15, to attend. That’s really just to offset some of the cost of food. I really want to help you learn about keto, I really want to make sure I get a good event out there, so I didn’t charge a lot for this. I want to make sure it’s accessible to most folks. If you’re anywhere in the area near Pensacola Beach, I’d encourage you to come down for it. It’s October 5th and it’s going to run from 4:00 until 9:00, and of course, maybe a little later than that. You don’t have to be here for the whole thing. It’s really just about learning about keto, learning how to cook keto, and tasting some of the delicious food, because dinner is included. So, go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Ketofest, and that will take you to the signup page for our little Keto Minifest. And again, Carl Franklin will be here, so it’s a great opportunity to meet him in person.
And then finally, I am still working on the book, and I do need your help. I need your help to be a part of the launch team. If you can go to WellnessRoadmapBook.com, you’ll see a little form there where you can sign up to be on the launch team. The launch team is going to get a lot of extra goodies that are not going out with the book. They’re going to get some previews, they’re going to get some bonus materials that you’re not going to get if you wait for the book to come out. I know you want to learn about the book, I know you want to be a part of it, so please go to WellnessRoadmapBook.com. Thank you.
Nicolette Richer is a Gerson Method trainer. She runs several businesses; a collection of organic cafe & juice bar called the Green Moustache now with seven locations across Canada and the Richer Health Retreat Center is a sanctuary in British Columbia, offering transformational retreats for people battling cancer, diabetes, heart disease, fatigue, depression, and many other conditions. She's also the founder of Sea to Sky Thrivers, an education and support group for people and their families who want to reverse cancer and other chronic diseases. Her mission is to empower people to take their health into their own hands, to demonstrate how food can be used as healing medicine. And show people that leading a healthy lifestyle doesn't have to be boring. It can be colorful, inspiring, and fun.
Today we talk about her book, Eat Real to Heal.
Allan (1:35): Nicolette, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
Nicolette (1:40): Thanks, Allan. It’s a pleasure to be here.
Allan (1:42): I’m really excited about your book, which is Eat Real to Heal. I’m really appreciative now because more and more I’m talking to more people in the medical profession who have begun to recognize the importance of food in our health. And I really appreciate seeing a book like this where you’re actually giving us evidence and showing us how we can use food to heal ourselves.
Nicolette (2:07): I am excited by it too because the research has been there for the last hundred years, and within the medical community, they’re only taught certain things in school and they’re not taught nutrition. Even now in 2018, most doctors don’t receive more than an hour to four hours of nutritional training. So, to be able to teach food as medicine is very exciting, and more and more health professionals are definitely working at the research.
Allan (2:34): The other thing that you got to, that we’re not going to get into too much detail here, but it is a conversation point that I’ve had with my audience here on the podcast. I’m also talking about it in my book that’s coming out soon, is that it’s actually disappointing to me that we have to use a term like “whole food” or “real food” at all.
Nicolette (2:58): I agree with you. It’s so crazy. But I’ve worked with thousands of clients, and one thing that I know is most people think that they eat healthy, but once I get into their kitchens and into their cupboards and fridges, their definition of health is very, very different from my definition and probably your definition as well. This whole concept of real food I think has been so lost over the last hundred years that people think if something’s marketed or packaged as organic or whole food or vegan or gluten-free, they think that’s healthy. They’re forgetting the origins of food – it’s the stuff that comes from your garden, the bushes, the trees and the ground.
Allan (3:36): An apple doesn’t really advertise itself as heart-healthy with a label the way a box of cereal might. I could write the word “healthy” on arsenic and give it to you, and that doesn’t mean it is.
Nicolette (3:50): You’d laugh to know that we received a letter at our restaurant in the first couple of years that we were open. We’re in Canada, and it’s the FDA. The FDA is not in Canada, so I pretty much ignored it. But it pretty much told us that we need to stop using the word “healthy” in our restaurants because there’s no way to prove that our food is healthy. And at the end of the day, our food is only whole foods, 100% percent plant-based. There are no refined foods in our restaurant at all. So I just laughed at that letter that they were trying to tell us that we couldn’t use that word.
Allan (4:20): They don’t own the word, but anyway. So in your book you go through five things to know, and I really do believe that these are the critical aspects of health and wellness, particularly with regards to food. Could you go through your five things to know?
Nicolette (4:38): Yeah. At the end of the day we have to turn back to real food, so that’s the first thing. So we need to turn back to the food that grows from a seed, and then basically it’s removed from the tree, the bush, the garden, the ground. And then maybe it’s cooked slowly or roasted or turned into a super juice or a salad, and then we eat it. So it doesn’t enter into any kind of manufacturing process, other than your kitchen, or maybe a fantastic restaurant that doesn’t use any processed food. So the food needs to be real, it needs to be whole, it needs to be unprocessed, and it definitely needs to be unrefined.
The second thing that we need to do to be able to… The work that I do is to reverse disease with my clients, so we absolutely need to look at the nutritional deficiencies as well in the body. We can get a lot of our nutrients through food. However, because we’ve been eating this way for the last 50 to 75 years, our food’s really become depleted from all the processed food, but also from the farming practices. So a lot of us have these nutritional deficiencies that we need to look at. Understanding what yours are is really important. You might need to take a few supplements to be able to restore that, but most of the supplements are really around the things that help our organs already. So it’s not actually putting more nutrients; it’s not saying you need to take glutathione, because your liver actually produces that. Or glucosamine or things like this. It’s really the basics. It’s more like the digestive acids or restoring the iodine deficiency and maybe supporting your thyroid and things like that.
The third thing to look at, which is critical, is that once you start turning to real food as medicine, your body will just take it in, absorb it, it’ll love it. But then it’s going to have a counter balance, and that is that it’s going to start to flush toxins into your blood stream, out of your tissues, out of your organs. Your body is going to be changing over, your bones are going to start reabsorbing nutrients, your organs will do that. There’s a regeneration process that happens, and when that happens, your body gets flooded with these toxins and this metabolic waste. We need to get that out of our bodies quickly because most people in our society now, their organ systems, their detoxification systems aren’t really strong enough to support them in their detoxification process once you switch to real foods and clean foods. So we need to support through detoxification as well, just so we’re not putting any extra damage on the organ systems.
The fourth thing to look at is getting additional nutrients from whole foods. We do that through juicing. Juicing currently is a trend or a fad. In a lot of people’s eyes, they think that it’s showed up in the last decade and it’s going to be gone in the next. What a lot of people don’t realize is that juicing has been around for hundreds and hundreds of years, back to when even medical doctors used to tell their patients to use a cheese grater and grate their vegetables and fruits. And then put it through cheese cloth and just twist the cheese cloth, and you would produce juice. What I tell people is that juice is like an IV bag of nutrients going directly into your bloodstream and being absorbed without having to affect your digestion. So juicing is critical, but the one thing I do want to say is I don’t promote juice cleanses. You need to have all the fiber and the additional carbohydrates and all the other things that come along with eating the food whole as well. So that’s important. But to restore those nutrient deficiencies that you can’t get through food alone or through supplements, juicing comes into it. And it’s critical, especially for my clients that are on a deadline, like they have a timeline to reverse their health so they can avoid a surgery, or if they have cancer or any other life threatening disease.
And then the last thing that people need to remember is stress. Stress and rest go hand in hand. For your body to be able to regenerate, it absolutely needs to be in a place of rest. We’re never going to get rid of stress, but definitely giving our body the time to recuperate and regenerate through really good sleep, taking a break from all these excessive exercising regimes that everybody loves doing, and just giving your body time to rest. So that means resting for long periods of time, and that also helps the body to regenerate as well. So when we do all of those five things, what we see is a really, really fast reversal of disease in a lot of my clients.
Allan (9:12): This protocol – I had not heard of this before your book, so I did learn a good bit here – is the Gerson Therapy and protocol. You basically present it as a five-week protocol to go through. Although the thing I’ve found is when someone tries something like this and it actually works, most of them don’t go back. But you present it as a five-week protocol. Could you tell us a little bit about Gerson protocol and exactly how someone would go about this?
Nicolette (9:44): The thing to remember with the Gerson Therapy is that it started off as the therapy for Dr. Max Gerson back in the early 1900s, when he suffered from debilitating migraines. He found that when he ate clean, real food, he wouldn’t get migraines. When he ate processed foods that are smothered in refined oils, salts and refined sugars, then that would trigger a migraine. So when other people learned about this and they started doing this and other doctors started prescribing his protocol to people with migraines, what they found was that people would have migraines, but they would often have other chronic diseases like tuberculosis and Crohn’s disease and hundreds of other disorders. But all of those disorders would clear up as well from this one so-called “migraine therapy” that Max Gerson had designed. So he became really curious, because most doctors are taught there is one diagnosis and there’s one treatment. For example, if you have a headache, you might take Tylenol or aspirin or something like that. But if you had, let’s say, another chronic disease like Crohn’s disease, you’d take an entirely different medicine that was designed for that. But what Max Gerson found is that his one protocol, which was clean, real, whole foods, no salt, no oil, no refined sugars – when you ate just lots of food in abundance like that, all these diseases would clear. So ultimately he saw that the body had this innate ability to heal itself, which he had never been taught in med school, amongst all the other students he went to school with.
The Gerson Therapy then of course became a tuberculosis care because there was a clinical trial done with 450 terminal tuberculosis patients, and they were quarantined in a medical hospital. They were administered the Gerson Therapy and all of them healed 100% percent from their incurable tuberculosis at the time. That was really one of the first trials that was done. Then it became known as the tuberculosis cure all around the world, and it was actually known as the Gerson-Sauerbruch method, and all the doctors all around the world practiced it and administered it to their patients when they could. Then of course people who had cancer started doing the Gerson Therapy, and Max Gerson started seeing a complete reversal in his patients who had cancer. And then when he had to flee from Germany just before World War II, he ended up in New York City. So he had to flee, set up practice again, and then he started treating people in the United States who had stage four terminal cancers, and then they started healing. So, it really became known as the cancer protocol after that, which consists of 13 juices every hour on the hour, all day long. And then three meals a day. There’s a liquid detox portion, which we’re going to get to later. And then there’s of course the juicing and the supplements. So, it’s a really intense protocol.
Now, when I got trained in the Gerson Therapy over a decade ago, it was really to work with people who had end stage cancer and wanted to try and reverse the disease. And those are the people who would come to me. Most people don’t come to me when they have a migraine. Most people are happy to live on their medications for long periods of time, and it’s only when they hit rock bottom that they would consider doing the Gerson method. And so, I designed the five-week program because for some of my clients I want to say, “Maybe just drink three juices a day. Eat all the food. If you want to take the supplements, you can, but if you find that you don’t want to order them, then don’t do that. And then at least do one of the coffee enemas a day to support your liver and your body to detoxify.” And what I started to see was that even when my clients with chronic diseases would do this very, very modified version of the Gerson Therapy, they would heal. And with some of the stories that I have, they made their doctors’ jaws drop and their endocrinologists’ jaws drop. They were able to cancel surgeries, they got pregnant after being told that they were infertile, they didn’t have to get hysterectomies and brain surgeries and all of that. I noticed that there was still value in doing the Gerson Therapy, even at a modified method, so I started the five-week program to teach this and I would take people through all five steps of the Gerson Therapy over five weeks. And the reason I chose five weeks is that I knew if I could get them through 30 days, that they would probably never go back to their previous lifestyle. And if I could just add one more week onto there, then they would probably stick with it for a lifetime. And that’s what I’ve come to realize, is that around 95% of my clients end up living this way and they actually can’t go back to the way that they used to live, because they find the foods they used to eat revolting and almost toxic in themselves, and they have no appetite for it.
Allan (14:35): It’s so interesting that a doctor would not recognize the body should have this innate ability to heal itself. If I cut my finger, there’s a full expectation that my body will heal the cut. If I break a bone, there’s a full expectation that if we set the bone, it will reheal. I don’t understand why the doctors wouldn’t somewhat recognize our body wants to be healthy and it’s going to do what it can to get healthy. A lot of the things that we call “chronic diseases” today are pretty much self-inflicted, for lack of a better word. And changing our food and going to real food is to me somewhat of a no-brainer at that point in time. I really do appreciate learning about this protocol. I learned something else in the book, about vegetables and a new way to cook them, because I’d never thought about what you call the “long and low” as a way to cook vegetables. It tends to be stir fry or eat them raw. Can you talk about the long and low and the value of cooking your vegetables this way?
Nicolette (15:32): With the long and low method, it’s interesting because when my clients cook it for the first time, they usually call me and they’re like, “It’s like eating baby food.” It’s quite soft and some of the vegetables even become a little bit mushy, almost like a stew. So people think that they’re losing all the nutritional value when they cook their foods for a really long time on a very low temperature. So that’s what the long and low method is. You don’t add any water when you prepare your vegetables this way. So you would chop up all the vegetables – let’s say onions and tomatoes and squash and colored greens and beans that you want to cook. And you would just layer those in a pot, and you don’t add any water and you put a lid on it. You want a tight-fitting lid so the steam is not going to escape. Then you put that on a stove and you turn it up to a medium temperature, and you just sweat the vegetables for a few minutes and you have the heat build up in the pot. Once the heat is built up, you would turn the temperature right down on your stove. Some stones are actually even too hot for this method. They run too warm, so you’d have to have a heat diffuser in between the pot and the element. Then you crank the stove right down to the lowest temperature and you just cook it for about an hour to an hour and a half this way. And what it does is that because the food is cooking in its own liquids, it’s reabsorbing its own liquids, and then pouring them back into the pot. So most of us only like to boil our vegetables or we’ve been taught by our mothers, let say, to boil vegetables, but all the nutrients get brought out and sucked out of the foods and into the water. We toss that water and then we basically just eat a bunch of fiber, with minimum nutrients left over whatever’s remaining.
Now, when you do the long and low method, you would never throw out the remaining water that naturally comes out of the vegetables. You would actually add it into a soup or you would use it as a vegetable soup broth or something like that. Or you just drink it or eat it with your meal. The reason this method is really critical is it not only helps to maximize the nutrient retention in the foods, but also when people come to me and they have a chronic disease, their digestion is really, really destroyed, and it’s probably been like that for a long time. So, similar to, let’s say a six-month-old baby, when you go to feed them the first time, number one, you would never give them raw foods. Most parents have to cook the foods. They don’t have the microbiome built up in their little bellies to be able to get down the food, to digest the food. That would be too much on a six-month-old baby, so you would cook the food and you would mush it up and then you’d give it to them. Then you’d let their microbiome built up over the next six months by introducing them to a diversity and an abundance of different fruits and vegetables. Then when they’re about a year old, that’s when you start to introduce some more of the harder to digest grains, and maybe the foods that people might have more of an allergic reaction to. You don’t give babies strawberries in the first six months of feeding them, and you don’t give babies nuts and seeds in the first six months. That’s because they’re too hard to digest, and as well their digestion can’t break that down and it might trigger often an allergic reaction to it. But that allergic reaction really comes down to having leaky gut, where your tight junctions in the digestive system are too open and they’re allowing these proteins to enter into your bloodstream. So by doing the long and low method, it’s actually like treating your digestion, just like you are treating a baby’s, and letting it become more robust slowly over time. That’s when you can start to introduce more of the raw foods after that.
Allan (19:15): I liked that for a couple of different reasons. One is, it’s simple. It’s one of those, you can set it, not necessarily forget it, but it can be doing its thing and you can be focused on something else at that time. If you were to do batch cooking, it’s brilliant for that, as you mention in the book. And the other thing is, with the current state of farming in the United States and other Western countries and how the soil is depleted and the vegetables we are buying, even when they’re organic, they don’t often have necessarily the nutrient profile that food had 80 years ago. So as a result, you want to do everything you can to retain as much of that nutrition as you can. And this is a great way to know that you’re not damaging the nutritional value of the food, because you’re in a healing mode. You’re also kind of making it easier on your digestive system to deal with the food, which means you’re probably going to absorb more. In my mind, it’s really a good win-win-win as a way to prepare vegetables.
Nicolette (20:11): Exactly. This is why I believe we see the healing happen so quickly, is because people are getting maximum nutritional value for the volume of food that they’re eating, compared to the standard American diet, which tends to be very, very high calorie, low nutrient food. This is the reverse. It’s actually very high nutrient, low calorie food. You eat it and really every bite of food that you put into your mouth is maximized on the nutritional level, and the digestibility level as well.
Allan (20:39): That’s excellent. Now I want to shift gears again. I’m sorry on this interview I’m bouncing all over the place with this, but I just found so much cool stuff in this book that I want to talk about. But anyway, you have a very interesting twist on goal-setting. Up until the time I read this I really had not given it a lot of thought, but it makes perfect sense. Can you talk a little bit about the goal-setting process that you have and how that works?
Nicolette (21:06): I use a lot of different goal-setting processes in the book. We have a few different exercises that people can do, and I find that they’re really effective and I think it’s the reason why so many of my clients stick to this as a lifestyle. Often when people are changing their diet and changing their lifestyle, they’re not looking at the outcome that they want to achieve necessarily. They’re just looking at the tasks that they need to do to be able to eventually get whatever results are down the line. I use a backcasting approach, and this is from my days in government, in sustainability planning. It’s that you look at the outcome that you want to have. Tony Robbins talks about this as well, and so many life coaches talk about this.
So one of the things that we do, number one, is just giving yourself permission. A lot of people don’t give themselves permission to do anything. They want to achieve these goals that they set for themselves, but they haven’t given themselves permission to, let’s say, buy organic food or even spend two hours cooking, or saying “No” to going to restaurants with friends and just inviting them over and cooking for them. They often feel an obligation to go to a birthday party for friends and drink the wine and eat the cheesecake and have the steak. So, this is giving them permission to say “No” to things like this and giving them permission to say “Yes” to doing everything that’s going to optimize their health to reverse their disease. One of the things in the book that we have is the permission exercise. So, you identify a goal that you want to achieve – let’s say it’s to do the Gerson Therapy for five weeks, or do the Eat Real to Heal program for five weeks. That’s your outcome. And even more specifically, it could be, “I want to lower my cholesterol by X number of points” or, “I want to reduce the insulin that I’m taking by X number of points” or, “I want to be migraine-free by this date.” It’s even better when it’s more specific because then you are more inclined to take the actions to get yourself there.
After that you actually have to identify the steps you are going to take to achieve that goal. A lot of us set these big, beautiful goals, but we don’t realize it’s a ton of sub goals that we need to also achieve. So it could be, “I give myself permission to buy a juicer by this date, and then I am going to get rid of all my pots and pans that are coated in Teflon and all the other coatings that are not conducive to optimal health. And I give myself permission to spend X number of dollars on a set of airtight stainless steel pots and pans.” Or, “I gave myself permission to tell my husband to f-off” is another one, because I can’t tell you how many women especially say, “Oh, I can’t eat like this because my husband needs his steak. He’s not going to allow me to buy organic food.” And that’s when I turn around and I’m like, “It’s the year 2018, ladies. You don’t need permission from your husbands to do anything, I’ll tell you that.” So giving yourself permission to tell your husband that if he wants to eat his steak and French fries, then he’s going to have to cook them himself. And this goes vice versa too. I don’t want to put men in a bad place. I definitely have had lots of male clients who have said that, “My wife needs me to make sure that the kids eat X, Y, and Z”, and often those foods aren’t healthy so there’s a battle in the household. So, you need to get that taken care of before you start this, because when you’re making a lifestyle change, you can’t have any of those additional stressors on your plate at the same time. So, this permission setting exercise just seems to work, and what I find is that some of my clients give themselves permission to do things just for fun, like, “I give myself permission to do this, but also to dance.” So, they sign up for a dance class. Doing these things seems abstract and not connected, but it’s often how you need to do the things that you really desire in life and allowing yourself to actually take steps to doing them. Then the outcome of that is actually tenfold; it’s 10 times greater than you could’ve ever imagined. So that’s one of the exercises that we do. There are a few other ones that we do that I’m happy to talk about.
Allan (25:11): One of them that I found extremely valuable… And I agree with the permission-based thing here, because I’ve used different words to say the same thing – “You can set a vision for yourself, and that’s where you want to go. And then you have your ‘Why’. And if you’re going to ask your family to deal with something or you know that you’re going to have to change your pace or do something a little bit different to make things happen, it’s going to affect them at some level. And so letting them know why you’re doing this.” So this is not just, “I’m doing this to make you suffer.” This is, “I’m doing this because I’m unwell, and this can’t be my future state. I need to be well.” And wellness is not just health and fitness; it’s happiness. There’s three legs of the stool that make wellness. So, the dance classes are an excellent example of, what are the things that make you happy? When you’re happy, healthy and fit, that’s the vision. That’s the thing that you put out there in the future that you wanted for yourself and you make that happen. You need the people around you to at least understand why you’re doing this, and they’re actually probably a big part of the “Why”. So once they hear that emotional part of what you’re after and the healing that you need, I can’t imagine that there’s a husband or a wife out there that’s going to say, “No, this is how I need it to be for myself.” I think if that is the case, we’ve got a much deeper problem there than just this wellness journey.
One of the other things you had in your goal-setting, which I thought was just brilliant, was, I guess you had a patient and she went away with the plan and then she came back the next time and she had not done anything. And you’d said that you asked her to do an exercise about the things that she would give up by being healthy. And because she was ill and she was out of work, she had some additional freedom that she had not had before. And she knew maybe just subconsciously, not necessarily consciously initially, that by getting healthy she would have to return back to work. I found it very interesting that there can be a downside to wellness that we have to deal with as well.
Nicolette (27:26): I’m a psych-kinesthetic facilitator as well, so that’s looking at the psychology and the kinesthetics of the body and how they go hand in hand, and really looking at how the beliefs that we have in the world, the subconscious beliefs, 95% of them guide our actions. We tend to think that it’s coming from our conscious mind and that we are these willful beings that make solid, rational decisions all the time. But most of us are really, truly operating from this 95% subconscious mindset that we have. I find that a lot of coaches when they’re working with clients, they focus just on the goal, and the outcomes they want to receive, and the tasks they need to do to get there. This takes it a step further. Any time that you are doing anything in life, when you are making a change, there’s always going to be that tradeoff you talked about. Most people don’t want to identify their tradeoff. Tim Ferriss talks about this. He talks about identifying your fears, so this this is an example of that.
In that particular case with my client, I asked, “What are the adverse consequences of achieving the goal that you set for yourself?” And in her case it was to be healed from cancer. And she said, “That’s weird. There are no adverse consequences to being healed from cancer. I’d have my health back, I’d have my life back.” And I said, “But is there any adverse consequence? You’re going to do this therapy, you’re going to be healthy. What would life look like after that?” She really thought about it and one of the things that she mentioned is that she’d have to tell her teenage kids that they’re assholes. Excuse me for swearing. But she’s like, “I’d have to be honest with them and tell them that they’re just jerks. And what kind of mother would I be if I told my kids that?” And I was like, “You’d be an honest mother, and then who knows what would come from that?” Another thing she realized as well is that she’d have to return back to work. She had never known what she wanted to do with her life, so she’d always just taken jobs to earn money but never been satisfied. She really felt that if she was cured from her cancer, she’d be at a loss. She wouldn’t know what to do, but she could never go back to just working any odd job. So for her, that was actually trying to figure out who she was and what she needed to do with her life and what she wanted to do with her life, and really to find her purpose.
Ultimately, that was something she wasn’t willing to do. And she realized that that challenge was far greater than being faced with cancer and her illness. And in the end she just said, “I’m really fine with dying.” And she made peace with it. She was in her 60s. She had sold her house, she had given up everything because her doctors had told her that she was going to die, which is fine too. At the end of the day, it’s a life journey for all of us. And she had one of the most peaceful, beautiful deaths that I’ve ever witnessed. But that was my first time being faced with a client who actually said, “The challenges of life are just not worth it being healed.” But I would say 99% of my clients say all of those adverse consequences are totally worth it. I even had one client who said, “If I heal from this, I’m going to have to tell the world that I’m gay.” And I was like, “Amazing. So are you still willing to heal from this disease?” And they were like, “Yes, I am.” And sure enough they did heal, and did come out and told the family and the community that they were gay. And they are in a wonderful place now. That was something that potentially could have stopped them from healing, if they hadn’t acknowledged that.
Allan (30:52): One of my first clients, we were seeing great results, so I was feeling really good about our progress. Then all of a sudden it’s like she started getting noticed. Family members started commenting, and she was not comfortable with that. She was not comfortable being the center of attention. She was used to being kind of in the peripheral. She would babysit her grandchild and she couldn’t keep up with the grandchild, so that’s part of the reason she came to me. She knew she needed the capacity to continue to babysit her grandchild, but she was not able to keep up with her and it was starting to trouble her whether she was going to be able to do this for her daughter. In the end though, all the comments actually turned her off. It literally just shut her down because she couldn’t handle the new her and the way people were now talking to her and about her. So she actually fell off and I was really sad to see it happen. But it was a learning experience for me of at least knowing as I go through with my clients to recognize when you get to the end of this journey, you’re not going to be the same person you were when you started.
Nicolette (32:00): I love that, especially because you got to go through that. I imagine that when you’re working with clients now you can recognize when there’s that self-sabotaging happening. That’s when you get to jump in and acknowledge and say, “What’s going on here?” And sometimes just understanding it and bringing it to light is… They’re sabotaging themselves because, “I’m not used to having all of this attention. I didn’t like it.” Instead of going off their therapy or the protocol or the lifestyle change, “I can stay with it, but let’s address this other part: I don’t like being in the limelight.” And that’s very different step forward that you would take in that way.
Allan (32:40): Absolutely. I could not let you leave this call without talking about the coffee enemas, because I’ve heard of these before, but you gave a complete protocol for it, and I’ll let them get the book to go through the protocol. But the purpose and what this does for us is really what I want to get into, because I had just considered the coffee enema a really good way to clean out the pipes, for a lack of a better word, but there’s a little bit more going on than just that.
Nicolette (33:09): There’s so much more going. We have a Nutrition and Detox coaching program, and one of the things that I teach our students who go through our training is how to do good research. So this is scientific research; it’s not just the “look on Facebook” research. It’s the diving deep into journal articles. But going further than that, how can you identify good studies from bad studies as well? Now, when it comes to the coffee enemas, it’s so funny because a lot of my clients will say, “I read about the coffee enemas after our session together and I heard that somebody died.” So, I want to address those first before we go into the coffee enema. And yes, there is a story that one woman did actually die from doing coffee enemas, but that’s because she was doing 13 of them a day. She wasn’t doing any of the food, the juicing, she wasn’t neutrifying. So she ended up probably suffering from, I imagine, an electrolyte imbalance. There is another case of a woman that burned herself because she put hot coffee into her rectum, and I highly advise not doing that. But as you can see, that’s about as far as the research goes.
There was actually a clinical trial done on coffee enemas. It was a doctor out of Austria. And the way he did it is he didn’t apply any of the other methods from the Gerson protocol, but he just applied the coffee enemas to his patients who were going through surgery. So he administered the coffee enemas prior to the surgery and then post-surgery. And what he saw is that when people did the coffee enemas, the test group needed less pain medications than the control group, and they healed faster. And there was a significant difference as well, so that’s important to note. What he said is that obviously there’s a further need for studies on the coffee enema. But if you can imagine, a lot of these studies cost $50 million dollars to do – do a double blind placebo, randomized control trial. So we’re still waiting for somebody to cough up the money to do that on the coffee enemas.
So, going into the science of the coffee enema and why you want to do them – people often ask if they can use something besides coffee. Unfortunately not. Coffee seems to be the one product that contains everything that you absolutely need. Another myth that I want to bust is that it’s not a high colonic. A high colonic is when basically you get a fire hose shoved up your butt, and it really washes out your colon, your lower intestinal tract, and it’s scrubbing away everything. So it’s really taking away your good flora, your good bacteria, and the bad bacteria. For some people a high colonic might be necessarily a few times if they really are in a terrible state, where they don’t even have the capacity to make the dietary changes and lifestyle changes to treat their disease. I’ve seen it beneficial for some people, but you can’t do colonics long-term without suffering consequences from them.
Coffee enema is not to clean out the pipe. What it does is it actually triggers your liver and supports it to detoxify. So when you do the coffee enema, you’re actually laying on your right hand side. The coffee gets transported directly to the liver through the hepatic portal system, hepatic portal vein. What the chemicals in the coffee do is they stimulate the production of bile, so more bile gets produced. There are also so many other systems that it supports. Your liver is responsible for over 500 different functions that we know of today. I guarantee there’s probably thousands of different functions that we still don’t know that the liver does. So it’s really meant to support the liver in detoxification and it’s absolutely necessary when you switch your diet to a plant-based, whole foods diet, and especially if you’re adding the juices to it as well. There’s going to be so much flushing of toxins from the tissues into your bloodstream and your liver has to take care of all of that. So if you’re already suffering from a weak liver and the liver is not functioning as well as it should, then it’s not going to be able to handle that influx of extra toxins. You absolutely need to do the coffee enema to support the liver. And that’s where the coffee enema is different from cleaning out the pipes, and it’s the one thing that our clients definitely will continue to do for the rest of their life. Even if they don’t do all the juices, even if they don’t eat all the foods perfectly cooked Gerson style, they will still continue to do the coffee enemas because they see how well it supports the body.
Allan (37:47): The protocol itself is very, very interesting, and if you’re looking to heal yourself, this is definitely something I would say, take a look at it and give it a shot. It’s five weeks, and typically if you’re talking to a doctor, they’re trying to schedule a surgery or some other type of treatment. This is an alternative that’s not going to cost you a whole lot because even though organic food does cost a little bit more, I find that you actually end up eating less of it than you would if you ate the regular food that you would buy, because it’s just so much more nutritious. In the book, you also get into supplementation, you get into a lot of other general things that we can do to deal with stress, to help ourselves through this whole thing. Each of the five things that we talked about at the very beginning of this podcast are detailed in there, all the different pieces of this protocol. They can help you. Nicolette, if someone wanted to get in touch with you, learn more about the book, learn more about the treatment center that you have, Green Moustache, the restaurants that you have and the coaching and things that you do – where would you like for me to send them?
Nicolette (38:48): For the health consulting – if somebody has a chronic illness and you’re faced with a surgery, or you’re on drugs and you want to get off them, or if you have heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, anything. So if somebody is saying you need to be on meds or you need to take out organs, give us a call at Richer Health. And you can reach us on our website at RicherHealth.ca. Now, if you are traveling and you happen to be in British Columbia, in any of our locations where we have our restaurants, we do serve 100% plant-based, organic whole foods, unrefined foods. So a lot of grandmother-style cooking in our restaurants. A lot of people who are doing the Gerson Therapy actually seek us out and they’ll come visit us at our locations, because it gives them a break from having to cook for themselves in their own kitchen. We can do it for you. So, you can check us out at GreenMoustache.com. And then for people who want to dive in and learn the practical aspects of doing the Gerson Therapy and doing this protocol as well, even if it’s the Eat Real to Heal – the modified Gerson protocol, then you can come and experience it firsthand. We teach it to you at our wellness center, and that’s located in Pemberton, BC. And you can find more information at RicherHealthRetreatCentre.com. We’re located in Whistler and Pemberton, British Columbia, Canada.
Allan (40:21): Cool. This is going to be episode 339, so you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/339 and I’ll be sure to have all of those links there in the show notes. Nicolette, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
Nicolette (40:37): Thank you, Allan. It’s been a pleasure listening to your podcast, and I can’t wait for your book to come out as well and have you on our podcast so we can talk more about that.
Allan (40:46): Outstanding. Thank you.
I want to leave you with just a couple of announcements. We’re fast approaching the first ever Keto Minifest here in Pensacola Beach, Florida. I’ve paired up with Carl Franklin from 2 Keto Dudes to hold a Minifest here in Pensacola Beach, Florida. This is this Friday, so if you haven’t signed up yet, you’ll want to get there and do that. There are limited seats and we’re probably going to sell this thing out. So go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Ketofest, and that’ll take you to the Minifest that we’re going to be holding. The invite is there. I’ve made it very cost-effective. Dinner is included, there’s a cooking class and talks from both Carl and myself. It’s going to be a really fun time. Get out of the cold, come on down to Pensacola for the weekend. This is Friday night; real easy, 4:00 to 9:00. Come on down. Again, 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Ketofest, and you can join Carl and I for this first Minifest, at least the first one outside of Connecticut.
Also, I need you on my launch team. We’re building that launch team up, we’re getting closer and closer. The book is coming probably around the end of November. So far my publishers tell me we’re straight on track. We’ll know a lot more once I lock the manuscript, which I’ll be doing in just a few days here. Once we’ve locked the manuscript, we start work to get the thing put into the print versions and it’ll be ready to go. So, you want to go to WellnessRoadmapBook.com and join the launch team. WellnessRoadmapBook.com. I’ll be putting new stuff out there about the book, doing all the marketing things and letting people know what’s going on. But if you really want to be on the inside and watch what happens with the publishing of a book and be a part of the conversation with me as we go, go to WellnessRoadmapBook.com and join the launch team. Thank you.