Category Archives for "health"

How to be more human with Tony Riddle

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As we age, most of us lose a lot of functional fitness that makes humans apex predators. This happens for many reasons, but it isn't something you have to accept. You can learn to move better and as our guest, Tony Riddle titled his new book, Be More Human.


Let's Say Hello

[00:03:29.590] – Allan

Hey, Ras, how are things going? 

[00:03:31.850] – Rachel

Good, Allan, how are you today?

[00:03:33.670] – Allan

I'm doing good. I recently finished my coursework for the Precision Nutrition Level One and waiting for my certificate to come in. I set up on monthly payments, so it's kind of one of those things where because it's not cheap, but they offered monthly payments, I'm like, okay, I'll do monthly payments. And considering how long it usually takes people to get through that course, they said, okay, expect it to take three or four months, and you have to get about that many payments in before they'll even let you say that you're certified. So I think I have to wait until the end of this month. It's already July to wait till the end of this month, and I make a payment on the 29th. And so a couple of weeks from now, when this goes live, I'll get that payment in, and they should send me my certificate, and then I'll be precision Nutrition Level One certified.

[00:04:33.620] – Rachel

Nice. Congratulations.

[00:04:35.290] – Allan

Thank you.

[00:04:36.140] – Rachel

What did you think about the class? Did you learn anything interesting or anything?

[00:04:40.600] – Allan

I did. For a lot of people, when they're thinking about this, they think about, I don't want to log everything I eat, and it's so hard to track this, or, oh, they want me to do away with this or do away with that. And Precision Nutrition is a lot more holistic things I've said. So it kind of fits my model of thought is one, eat whole food.

[00:05:08.230] – Rachel

Yeah, right.

[00:05:11.870] – Allan

Eat whole food. And then just take some time to start understanding portion sizes.

[00:05:17.330] – Rachel

Oh, yeah, that's a good one.

[00:05:20.030] – Allan

And then it's sleep and making sure that you're staying hydrated. And those are the kind of the four core principles of it. And guess what you don't have to do when you understand portion sizes? You're getting adequate sleep, you're staying hydrated, and you're eating real food. You don't have to track calories. You don't have to really worry about tracking macros, because guess what? You can't overeat whole food.

[00:05:49.010] – Rachel

Oh, cool.

[00:05:50.040] – Allan

Think about it.

[00:05:51.030] – Rachel


[00:05:51.380] – Allan

If I said, okay, here's what you got chicken or beef or fish as a protein, and maybe you want to do vegan or vegetarians, like, so you get your protein together, and you get your vegetables and fruits together and then try to overeat it.

[00:06:06.030] – Rachel

Oh, gosh.

[00:06:07.050] – Allan

Try just try to overeat meat. Okay.

[00:06:13.950] – Allan

I'm really trying to cut a little bit more weight to get ready for the tough mudder, which is going to be in another month and a half from when this goes live. And so I've started really trying to get myself into ketosis and pushing through on that. And right now I'm going through something where anything I eat that has carbs in it pops me down, and I'm like, I'm right on that line. It's like, right over the line or right under the line. And I wouldn't be too terribly troubled about it other than I'm not cutting body fat right now, because I drop out of ketosis when I eat any carbs at all. So I'm actually, at least for the last 48 hours, full carnivore.

[00:06:58.930] – Rachel


[00:07:00.090] – Allan

And I can tell you so I had steak for breakfast. I had eggs for lunch. I say breakfast, I ate it like noon, but I had my breakfast at noon. It was steak. I had eggs for lunch, which was about 3:30, and then for dinner at about six, I had another steak. So I'm talking about eating maybe about a pound a steak. So a big 16 ounce steak and then three eggs is what I had for lunch. So kind of a light lunch and then another steak. So I ate about another pound of steak for dinner, and I couldn't eat anymore. I got some leftover steak here. I'm like, well, I don't want to go to waste, so I'll wrap it up and save it for tomorrow. I could not have eaten any more than I ate. And if I added up the calories, I'm pretty sure I was really low on calories. I mean, because a pound of steak, I don't know. But 2 lbs of steak and three eggs, you guys can look it up and kind of figure out how many calories I had that day. That's all I ate. And I stayed satiated full all day long.

[00:08:06.310] – Rachel

I would imagine that sounds fulfilling. Wow.

[00:08:10.200] – Allan

Whereas I could eat a whole loaf of bread without even batting an eye, literally buy a whole load of French bread and just sit there and eat it, and then I'd be hungry ten minutes later, 2 hours later, I'd be starving. So you look at the nutritional density of your food, and that's really kind of where the fundamental difference comes in. Whole food is nutritionally dense, and you get full before that, whereas a lot of other foods that are processed or even somewhat slightly mildly processed, they're just more calorie dense. And that's where the weight gain comes from.

[00:08:48.200] – Rachel

because they're just not satiating, they just don't fill you up.

[00:08:51.340] – Allan

So that's kind of some of the core principles between precision nutrition and there's a huge component of behavioral change. A lot of what they're talking about is how we build habits, how we change behaviors. And so that's kind of the secret sauce to the precision nutrition process. It's not just telling you what to eat or naughty. It's basically saying, beyond that, we have to build these habits. We have to build these things. And they don't just happen. You don't just decide. So there's a big behavioral component of making sure that happens, and within it is like they break it down. It's like sometimes you're dealing with elite athletes that want to really hit a physique target or something like that. So it gets very specific into some of the things that you would deal with, with someone who needs to lose a lot of weight versus someone who's really just trying to cut another 3 lbs without losing any body muscle mass and stuff like that. So there's a lot of that in there, too. It's kind of what I would say outside of my core demo. Most of us are not trying to win physique contests, but that said, it's a really good certification.

[00:10:07.070] – Allan

So anyone that is certified out there, I would look at precision nutrition as a way of understanding the nutrition aspects of personal training and then being able to offer that as a more holistic service.

[00:10:18.890] – Rachel

That sounds awesome. Sounds like a great class.

[00:10:21.990] – Allan

So what's up there?

[00:10:23.620] – Rachel

Good. You know, summertime brings some really fun stuff. Right now, we've got two massive mulberry trees on our property that are dropping mulberries like crazy. It's ridiculous. They're all over the ground. And my dogs love it. They get a free snack every time they go outside, but it also brings in other animals. And I just saw red fox the other day. So the little fox family living somewhere in our wooded subdivision is coming to snack on the mulberries that are on our property, and it's been a real treat.

[00:10:54.940] – Allan

Now, the thing about foxes, we see these cute, cuddly little pictures of foxes, and we see the pictures, and we see the cartoons, and they seem like they're just these lovable little animals.

[00:11:07.950] – Rachel

They're adorable.

[00:11:08.870] – Allan

They're adorable. But some of them are really, like, not adorable. So you could get a good fox or a bad fox, but they're dangerous. They're wild.

[00:11:16.450] – Rachel

They are.

[00:11:17.260] – Allan

And they could go after your dog. They could go after you. So, yeah, you got to mind your Ps and Qs when you walk. Okay?

[00:11:25.960] – Rachel

Yeah, I keep an eye on my dogs, and I do let them out, and I'm always looking first before I let them out just to make sure there's nobody in our yard. With fox, we've had deer run through. We've had groundhogs coming through as well. So we've got a whole fun menagerie of wildlife in our property.

[00:11:46.040] – Allan

But it's like Noah's Ark.

[00:11:47.750] – Rachel

It is. It really is. Yes. But it is always fun. It's fun to see.

[00:11:53.610] – Allan

All right, are you ready to talk to Tony Riddle?

[00:11:56.790] – Rachel



[00:12:22.930] – Allan

Tony. Welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:12:25.390] – Tony

Thanks, Allan. Great to be here, man. Thanks for the invite.

[00:12:28.770] – Allan

Your book is called Be More Human, which I love. Be More Human: How to Transform Your Lifestyle for Optimum Health, Happiness and Vitality. And I think one of the reasons that your title and this book resonated so much with me is a lot of what I've done to improve my own health and Fitness has included a lot of the things that are in his book, including we moved to a small island, Caribbean island off the coast of Panama. And so while I do live in a town, I'm very close to the jungle, and I'm closer to nature and everything than I've ever been in my whole adult life. I can literally go out and be in places and not see a person walking for over an hour. And it's

[00:13:16.880] – Tony

just kind of a dream.

[00:13:18.020] – Allan

It is special, I know, but a lot of this in the book doesn't require you to travel thousands of miles and move into the jungle to experience a lot of the benefits that I get being here. And so I want to talk a lot about this, what's in the book here, because I think this is a really special way to get healthier, connect with the Earth.

[00:13:47.770] – Allan

You say that you're be more human, but I'm like, be who you're supposed to be. Be the person you want me to be.

[00:13:55.390] – Tony

Yeah, you're human. What the universe uniquely assigned you to be. Get into the understanding of that, what your own human potential is, or purpose, we could even call that. And I think we get so distracted from that in our everyday environment because we're simply not getting our needs met within those environments. And that's largely what the book is about. It's not about demonizing the urban environment or the lifestyles in the city or the city itself. It's trying to dismantle, deconstruct those ways of living that aren't serving us and then reconnect into ways of living that enable us to thrive in any environment. That's the point. To become the connected, empowered being that we entered with. We're all in a tiny, wild, connected, empowered beings. It's what we land with. And over time, unfortunately, we get pulled off the path. But really, for me, it's about every day should still be a get, a need and most fundamental needs that then enable us to thrive and really tune into, well, what's this human's potential here? How do I be more human?

[00:15:08.590] – Allan

And I like the way you put it in the book, because it really puts it in a really good context, is that we create our own human zoo. And then you introduce the term rewilding, which you see a lot of people are going to initially kind of have a cringe moment when they think about going back to the Stone Age, living in caves or maybe tents with stone tools. Can you go a little bit more into what this rewilding getting out of our human zoo is all about and why it's so important?

[00:15:45.730] – Tony

Yeah, when I first started this kind of path, there was this language of zoo human versus wild human. And first of all, it's a bit of an insult to call someone a zoo human. And at the same breath, we can't really connect to being what a wild human is, and even indigenous cultures don't want to be perceived as being wild right there. But again, looking at the indigenous template of what it is to be, there's some incredible kind of moments where I've had these deep insights in nature because it's taken me to unplug myself from the urban environment to really tune in to how sophisticated it all is, right? And, you know, if you look at indigenous cultures, how incredibly wise and understanding those cultures are to that landscape of which they're custodians, really, we could look at the what is it, the study I brought up in, there like, four to 5% of the world's population is indigenous, and yet look after 80% of the world's biodiversity. So then it's like, well, what is it that we're doing then, if that's 4%? And so firstly, there's the biodiversity. There's the question of that. What is it that we're doing within the environment?

[00:16:59.740] – Tony

Is it because we're so separate from it? So I guess that's where I'd go with the wild understanding of it, that we are part of nature, not separate of it. We're interconnected in that sense. And then the zoo human in my mind is the fact that we've become disconnected and unplugged from it and that we see ourselves separate. So there's the ego versus eco conversation. So a lot of the work for me is disconnecting from an ecosystem and reconnecting to an ecosystem, again, not by demonizing the urban environment or the environments of which we choose to live in. It's the habits, perhaps, that are in those environments. So we could be looking at movement, perhaps, what does movement looks like in nature? That would be a wild or organic way of moving versus what does it look like in the human zoo? What does it look like in our everyday urban setting? So we could even put movement down to let's look at one study of the Hadza, for instance, to give us an example of cultures that have been living the same way for tens of thousands of years. The Hadza are just as sedentary as we are.

[00:18:11.500] – Tony

As in they sit for ten and a half hours a day, as in we sit for ten and a half hours a day. But there's something very different. Well, we have a chair, whereas they're sitting practices of floor sitting. Therefore, there are multiple different rest positions we can be choosing on the ground, which ultimately will lead to one primary position, which is a squat. And that squat position enables me to recognize the same body weight on my feet in the base of support of my feet to which I would stand. So squatting is the same weight, same areas of the feet that I load when I'm standing. But it's a rest position. And we see squatting as kind of an exercise protocol or strength conditioning protocol, but ultimately, beneath it, there's a rest position that we can communicate, be around the fire, eat, poop give birth in, right? And if we then look at the chair, perhaps in that conversation, or the sofa, where we may spend ten and a half hours of our day committed to, in a way, it compromises or is the saboteur of the way that we stand. So suddenly we find ourselves locked in the hips or stagnation occurring in the hips.

[00:19:27.850] – Tony

Then the pelvis and the lumber become incredibly unstable because the hip joints aren't mobile enough. So the core element, the core we love talking about, becomes unstable. The mid back becomes compromised, our chest starts to collapse, our head position starts to shoot forward and all those postural changes aren't conducive with standing and we spend a large portion of our day in that position. So that could just be well, that could be a zoo posture versus a wild posture. And in terms of wild, I would say what is it to be this wild, connected, empowered being? Well, it could just be just simply the way we move through a landscape or interact with it. How upright we are, how open we are. Is our posture connected and our joints working how they should be? Are our feet connected how they should be? Are they? Nourishing. The behaviors of the ankle, the knee, the hip stabilizing, the lower back, we could then put sleep in that box because we all love the topic of sleep, right? And there are so many studies in what would be the human zoo or the human laboratory even, because most of the studies are in the laboratory which help us understand what we need.

[00:20:37.540] – Tony

8 hours sleep a day. We must get 8 hours sleep a day. And to the point people are stressed about getting 8 hours sleep a day because they've heard the news that if you don't receive 8 hours sleep, then you have a sleep debt or you'll have a number of symptoms based on the fact you haven't accumulated over 8 hours. And they are diabetes, obesity, inflammation. And yet, when you look at these indigenous cultures, there's a great study in the book again, Professor Siegel from university in California, he looks at three different geographic locations or three independent tribes. So different geographic locations, independent tribes, hadza are in there again and they all have the same time asleep. It's like 5.7 to 7.1 hour, no 8 hours at all. But no one is asleep for 8 hours or 5.7 to 7.1 hour in a solid state. It's this sleep wake cycle. And if you strip it back and think, well, that makes sense, right? Because in nature can be quite hostile. If it's been the same sleep or the same environment they've been inhabiting for tens of thousands of years, then that might have been hostile if they were all asleep for 8 hours.

[00:21:57.870] – Tony

So in that time, would we be here today? Would those cultures be here today in those hostile environments? If they went to the land of nod for 8 hours. So in that sleep wake cycle, what they're doing is they're waking, they're tending to fire because you have to have a fire, they're fixing tools, they are even known to smoke party or whatever it is. But when they break away from the study and they look at the hatza, for instance, and they assess for 220 hours, they study them, 33 members of that one tribe, 220 hours, they only ever sleep for 18 minutes together. They're all doing this all different sleep wake cycles. So where is the obesity, the chronic inflammation, the obesity? It's not there. They're in incredible shape. And if some of the studies, when you look at them, because we have this idea about longevity, that they're only living till their 40s, some of these tribes know they can live beyond 70. That's not the case when we look at it. It's quite an interesting model to unpack just looking at how does it look in nature and how does it look in the environments of which we're inhabiting and then what is it that's different?

[00:23:14.390] – Tony

So what is different in that sleep habitat? It's like lighting, right? There's no turn the light on to create sunrise at sunset. So we know then that through the studies around melatonin and light pollution and blue light spectrum, they've become the saboteur of melatonin which is this incredible hormone that we only really associate with sleep, but it has antioxidant properties, anti inflammatory. It's also the main regulatory system of our digestive system around Glenn, Glenn and Leptin which then regulate whether I've had too much food wherever I need to eat, right? And then insulin, right? So there's this link to pancreas and the insulin. So then we have a inflammation, diabetes and obesity all in a conversation around melatonin and lighting all of a sudden. So is it the 8 hours sleep or is it the environment of which we're choosing to so then my question is how do we rewild that environment? And that's the context of rewilding a zoo or zoo environment as simple as the bedroom. We could look at that one environment if we're looking to spend 8 hours in it. So what can we do? We could change the lighting. You can now bring in circadian lighting which offers the same biological darkness which is like starlight, moonlight and firelight.

[00:24:35.540] – Tony

So it brings in amber tones and anything they suggest between 60 and 600 hundred lux will inhibit a blue spiritual light or will inhibit melatonin. Then what else is different? The temperature. There's also studies that suggest that if the temperature could also be a saboteur of melatonin so it's about getting the temperature down in the evening. So if you think of it again about being in the outdoor environment, if you've ever camped, you know that once the sun goes down, it gets cooler at night. So we know this cooling down of temperature too. And then there's something else which is the materials that perhaps we're breathing in and out in that environment. So in nature, again, it's an organic experience. So we're only ever really inhaling, or let's call it consuming through everything, our ears and nose, our senses, our taste, everything organic. So how do we make that expression more organic? And it's probably one of the points in the book. Everything else is free, really, the points I put in the book. But this is one where you stuff out of that bedroom environment to replace it with more organic material that might be the bedding or things like breathing.

[00:25:43.810] – Tony

We can change breathing mechanics. We now know that for nasal breathing there's a change of relationship between parasympathetic and sympathetic and then the information that we receive, right? So we all have one of these now that's quite bright on my phone. There's some fantastic studies around just fields of vision. So that's quite bright for that alone the light will inhibit melatonin. It's the suppressor of that we recognize that now, the saboteur of that, but also the fact that the visual state is so concentrated and that's associated more sympathetic, which is like fight and flight, whereas an open visual field is more associated with parasympathetic. So you have one condition where we're staring at a blue light which will suppress melatonin. The second one we end up with really hypervisual state, which is sympathetic fight and flight before sleep. The next one is then dopamine because we're typing and swiping, which again isn't conducive with sleep. And studies suggest that up to 400% melatonin from just typing and swiping. And then it can just be the information we were receiving. So is the information up regulating? Am I perhaps the difference between the fire and the indigenous tribes around the fire is perhaps romance, comedy, imparting wisdom, whereas this can be quite toxic and we've even normalized emotional bullying over social media, right?

[00:27:08.240] – Tony

It's okay to drop this comment and that's incredibly abusive to one person that they might receive before sleep. Or it could be a movie you're watching which is incredibly violent. That would be the equivalent of being around the fire with your tribe in this really down regulated state and being invaded or something, right? Or in a moment a predator comes in. So then you switch to what would be fight and flight, right? That would be a reaction to it. But we have that in our possession the whole time. So when you see it like that and you understand, it's much easier to think, okay, I get it now. It's not really about the length of sleep. The length of sleep is almost symptom relief. It's a symptom. What's the cause? It could even be the bedroom of which you're sleeping in could be the cause of the very conditions that are leading you to suppress melatonin are leading to inflammatory disease, diabetes and obesity. Just simple factors like that. And we can address it relief or we can look at the cause and the cause change the environment.

[00:28:17.150] – Tony

Now, one of the things that's fascinating about you is you're an endurance runner and your runs barefooted. And I can tell you the other day it was raining and I had wore because I was planning to meet my wife out and I had wore my leather boat shoes, brand new leather boat shoes and I didn't have an umbrella. And I was like, okay, I can't walk home in these. I'm going to have to walk home barefoot. And so I put them in a plastic bag and I put them in another bag and then I started walking home barefoot. And when stepping in a puddle, when you can't see the bottom is a little kind of scary but sharp rocks. I seem to be able to find every single sharp rock between two points. How does someone get into barefoot running and do it in a way where they're not hurting themselves? Like I said, I think you can condition your foot and obviously it gets stronger. I know that because I spent a lot of time walking around barefoot. But to me, running barefoot is a little scary.

[00:29:17.590] – Tony

Yeah, I mean, there's a mind aspect to it, right, as well as obviously the physiological. But there's also a technique. I think we sometimes neglect the technique, but there's a study in the book from University of Liverpool, which is Chris Dart, and they look to the strength side the physiological changes that can occur by people returning just back to barefoot footwear, like Vivo Barefoot, for instance. In this particular study was Vivo Barefoot and within six months they'd improve 60% foot strength and 40% balance just by returning that. So if we think of that being the foundation of your superstructure so the first phase could be well, you could change to more minimal footwear. That's one step because then you're still getting the shape of the foot because ultimately you want to look at what's the shape of a foot versus the shoes that I'm wearing. So if you were to take a piece of paper, draw around your foot on the paper and you'd find the toe area like the foot, this area is much use. My dirty feet wide and the heel is much more narrow, right? Whereas if you then grab your footwear and you draw around it you might find that the toe box is actually much more narrow.

[00:30:29.550] – Tony

It's aesthetic so it's more aesthetically pleasing. But it's, again, the saboteur to how that foot is designed and to move and nourish the rest of your posture and the way that we move above it. So if the shape of the foot is compromised there's 26 bones, 33 articulation joint actions like 100 muscle, tendon, ligaments, 29 muscles. And then it's made up of tendon ligaments and then there's 200,000 receptors, like receptors like the equivalent of your hands that reside in a foot. I mean, it's. Phenomenal engineering, but that then feeds and nourishes how your joints and behaviors are above it to make you more efficient and minimize the risk of injury. But let's say Alan decides I'm going to take my shoes off, I'm going to walk over a hard surface which has hard stones on it. If I was to ask you to jump up and down barefoot on a really hard surface, what gives, Alan? Is it you or is it the hard surface?

[00:31:32.390] – Allan

I'm going to have to it's not going anywhere.

[00:31:35.450] – Tony

Not going anywhere. Or we'd be hitting hard on hard and one of those surfaces will have to break. Right? So what happens is that if you were to jump up and down on a compliant, really soft surface, we become can, more stiff and more rigid because the surface is doing this. So come 1969, it was normalized all of a sudden to wear more rubber. And then we have more rubber, but we also have a narrow toe box. So we create a narrow shape for the toes to go into. Then we put rubber underneath it with a heel, which raises it and pushes the foot into the footbed even more. So we create a stiff, rigid foot which becomes narrow in the toe box. And the whole point of that super wide foot is not just the loading points, leverage and pivoting. There's specific actions that have to occur in the foot that are based on leverage and balance. And this ability to even grip with the foot, when the foot becomes incredibly stiff and rigid in that shape, when you try and return back to walking over a stony path, you're then going back to that hitting hard on hard and stiff on stiff.

[00:32:42.830] – Tony

And it can feel like.. Until you would have to learn how to break the foot up. So again, going back into one way is to return back to minimalist barefoot footwear. So you can start to allow the foot to open up. There's a minimum layer between you and the earth. It's zero. Drop your feel stuff underneath you, but you won't be getting so much that which creates more tension. The more of that response, the more rigid intent you get, adding to more hard on hard expression. And the other thing I've put some practices in the book is to rewild the feet, which are practice like toga we call it like yoga for your feet. And that's then about opening the feet up and getting more expression into them and ultimately softening them so they can become the compliance over the stiff surfaces. And then eventually what happens, the more and more familiar you normalize it. And what you find is that you become more sensory aware, more sensitive. And I don't mean sensitive in that ah ah ah, I mean sensitive. I really learn that you'll learn how to become, again, soft when you need to be, stiff when you need to be.

[00:33:59.350] – Tony

We have the most sophisticated suspension systems within us. That's the point. And that's why those 26 bones, 33 articulations, 200,000 receptors are there and over 100 muscles, tendons ligaments or 29 muscles and the rest tendons, ligaments that make that 100 up. That's why it's there. But it's there also because it feeds and nourishes all the other mechanics above it. So that's where I'd go with feet. But then you then have well, the chair, so the chair will then the seat is sitting for ten and a half hours, then compromises the posture above it. So it's like a two pronged thing. Running for me is not just barefoot. Running isn't just about feet, it's about getting the appropriate posture and becoming much more upright and aware of that posture. And the whole point there is that our head should be up above, but we lead with the heart. The chest is the lead segment, not the head. The moment the head goes forward from typing, swiping and couching and slouching, I call it, what would happen is when you're running so that if your head is far forward of you, you have to have your foot further out in front of you, otherwise you'd simply fall over.

[00:35:08.880] – Tony

Imagine you're upright like this and we're running along. The moment the head drifts forward, you'd have to put your foot further out, otherwise you'll fall over. So the head would get to a point of tipping point. But if we can become much more upright, you can get to the point where your feet are pretty much landing underneath you and it means there's a lot less contact time. So you just catch the ground beneath you. And the idea is that leading from your heart and keeping your head up, we're literally just falling in this direction and you just keep pulling your feet softly from underneath you. And pulling is a great term, I understand that from a genius called Nicholas Romanoff who developed the Pose Method. And this idea that we think we have to push when we run and ultimately if you just keep doing this, you just pull your feet from the ground. And the idea is by pulling, you're not driving your feet down or pushing, you're trying to pick them up. And I would pick them up with sensitivity again like this, softening and you don't need to worry about putting them down, it will just happen naturally, just pick up.

[00:36:08.100] – Tony

So if you keep your head up, your chest up bead with the heart, nasal breathing also helps because again, the study suggests that there is through nitric oxide that we inhale through the nose it's stimulated will benefit vasodilation and bronchial dilation if we'll become more efficient with our lungs of breathing and we can lower our heart rate and our blood pressure just by nasal breathing. There's also 42% less vapor loss by nasal breathing, which is mind blowing, especially for me, for an endurance athlete. But it keeps us in that calm state. Again, so I think with breathing we can be relaxed with the right posture, we can deal with the forces appropriately. We're not creating longer levers or loading areas of the feet. We're not designed to load. And just by either wearing minimal footwear or allowing the feet to understand what's beneath them, again, it helps feed our movement brain to make the right calculations on what muscles, tendons and actions should be applied for that one locomotive pattern. And I say that one because walking is the same. It's like walking with an upright posture down regulated through breaths, less striding, actually trying to keep your feet underneath you, but thinking about rolling through the feet and becoming visually aware of the environment as well.

[00:37:27.860] – Tony

Because we bring the head down, the head starts to chase and we create longer levers. Otherwise again, we'd be falling over. And the less contact time, the more efficient. Again, because it requires less muscle action, you're on the ground for less time, basically posture, relaxation and the timings and the rhythms of that.

[00:37:53.340] – Allan

And the key takeaways I get from this, again, being over 40 actually over 50 now is balance, because falls become a big deal, particularly as we get over 60. So anything you can do to improve your balance, which this will do, is good. And as you mentioned, being more efficient means you're going to be capable of going faster and doing more work. So when you're out training, you're going to get more done and you're going to see better improvements because your efficiency and your capacity to do more, because your heart rate isn't racing as high, because you're not in that fight or flight state. So there's lots unpacked there that makes this really interesting. Now the other thing, and people won't know this, listening to a podcast, but you're sitting on the floor. And so sitting on the floor, it's one of the things if you hand a kid a book or a toy, immediately they're going to run over and they're going to sit on the floor. And then somewhere along their lives, probably around great school age, we start beating that out of them and then eventually they're going to be on couches and chairs just like the rest of us.

[00:38:56.440] – Allan

I found that sitting on the floor, when you're with a kid, it changes the whole relationship with that child. And I build relationships with my granddaughter. Initially she was terrified of me and I built a relationship by walking over and sitting on the floor and starting a Sponge Bob cartoon on my computer. And she came over and sat next to me and we watched SpongeBob for about an hour. And my ability to be able to sit on the floor for that amount of time, I shifted, I moved. You can't really just sit. You got different postures you have to do because your body is just naturally going to tell you to do that, which is actually part of the value. In there, you had actually like, I think, six different ways of sitting that you want to shift between. And I think actually, in my opinion, a lot of those just naturally happen. But can you talk about sitting and having a floor sitting and having a floor sitting practice?

[00:39:52.130] – Tony

Yeah, we've been a ground living floor sitting family for, I think, since lower. And really they're our eldest, so they're 13 and twelve to about 10 13 and ten. It's about around about nine years, I guess now eight or nine years. I used to have a Pilates studio and big practice, like six practitioners and people would rock up at the studio, they take their compromising, narrow toe box compliance shoes off, put them in the rack, and they would have no doubt been driving to the plate. Studio sitting would then come in and jump on the Reformers and the Cadillacs and try and dismantle all the harm that was being caused, the symptom relief from the environment, the cause, which was the footwear in the chair, because they've been sitting for ten odd hours. So I had this kind of eureka moments would pop off. It's like, wow, okay, this is like so what does that look like? Again, it came really through the barefoot running and understanding that, well, there's a natural running posture. Where do we see that? With indigenous cultures against natural running posture. It can be seen there. And again, these incredible tribes, running tribes are running the same.

[00:41:06.460] – Tony

They all look the same when they're running and have the same posture. What's different? Again, there's no footwear and there's no chair involved. That's how they've managed to maintain the same posture. What are the sitting postures look like? But it works out. You can strip it back. And you may see this as you've alluded to with kids. You see them sitting on the ground, you'll see them transition from one shape to another. And those rest positions that are in the book, there are six different series, a series of each. So there's a squatting series, a side sitting series, a long sitting series, and so on a kneeling series, each one of those rest positions is like a prerequisite or will complement the way we stand. Because that's ultimately what we used as a baby to toddler, to young adults to stand up. Right. And then what happened is at some stage a chair was pushed underneath us and then we start to sit in a chair for longer periods of time in a classroom environment with a hierarchical system, with a teacher at the front. And we're told to sit still and be quiet. And we may have had an hour then to go out and play.

[00:42:12.410] – Tony

And then that hour became lunch break and then play became PE physical education, which then involves stretching and doing all the stuff. But before the chair kid, you don't see any children, any toddlers stretching. They're just incredibly fluid and this ability to move on the ground. And what we've noticed through ground sitting and being a floor sitting families is our kids. That's how they've remained. We unschooled as well. There's no school in that conversation. So the only time we're sitting, it's unavoidable. It could be in a car or a plane or train or occasional cinema, but other than that, it's ground sitting. And their postures are incredible, right? Their framework is incredible. Their athleticism has remained incredible. They haven't had to relearn how to once they stand up from a chair. So again, I think it's understanding that there's beneath our upright, wild, empowered posture, there are these sitting postures and those sitting postures help nourish, that upright posture.

[00:43:17.710] – Allan

I love that concept of a sitting family and the reasons I think back to how much money I have spent on couches and chairs over the course of my life.

[00:43:32.870] – Tony

We use bolsters and stuff like that because you still want to create like a dining expense. Our dining room table is a low table and we have ground sitting, like little bowls, like yoga cushions and stuff like that on the ground. People come, they still have some experience as a dining experience that's not going to work for everyone. So my advice is always that look at the everyday environment. Can I spend less time on the couch? Can I set a timer and maybe kneel or squat? And you do get signals, and for some at the beginning it will be uncomfortable, but it's playing with the edges of that discomfort. Until some of those postures become a little more comfortable, they won't become so comfortable that you'll spend ten and a half hours like you could in a chair. Because nature's way is you'll get signals to tell you to move. And the beauty of that is there's a chemical metabolic cost for movement taking your everyday work. If you work from home, put your laptop down like, I'm on this call, I'm on the ground, I've been side sitting and I've been sitting crosslegged, I've been kneeling and I've been squatting already, all on a call.

[00:44:39.840] – Tony

And we're like 40 minutes in. I just have, whilst having a conversation, 40 minutes of mobility and strength work that ultimately is going to help me remain mobile in my hips and strong in my core, keep my head and chest upright, which then has an overlap in the way that I stand, I walk and I run as a 47 year old endurance athlete. Is that important? 100%. And we're all endurance athletes. That's the point. Underneath it, we are. Right? That's where we're at. And unfortunately, some of the habits within habitats aren't enabling that. And if you want to become more efficient, minimize the risk of injury, then get on the ground and just get back into understanding how those behaviors are on the ground and how that will then feed into how your posture will thrive. And there's a guy yehudi in my book, I mentioned to him, he's like 82 now. And he first came wanting to learn how to walk. And he had this stooped posture from working and collapsed in the chest and stiff in the hips and stiffing the ankles, and over time went through toga rewilding feet, rewilding footwear, vivo, barefoot, got him on the ground, ground sitting.

[00:46:00.170] – Tony

And then later on in time, the reason it turned out he wanted to learn how to walk because he wanted to climb Everest to base camp, everest base camp with his wife for his 50th anniversary. But his commute now looks like this. He walks to the tube in barefoot footwear. The tube is our underground train. He then gets on the underground and mostly people will go, do you want to seat? Because he's like 80. But no, I'm okay. And so here he hang off the bars above, so it hang on to the rails above while the train is moving. So he gets grip strength in, he opens his chest up, enables his whole respiratory system by enabling that upper posture through hanging. And then when the train stops or even squats whilst people get on, when the train goes again, the doors closed, he surf. So he's now balancing whilst not holding on to anything and surfing the train. And that just again, it proves that it's never too late, even Allan, because sometimes we look at this, we are past that. I'm never going to be able to sit back on the ground again.

[00:47:03.560] – Tony

Here we are, a dude in his 80s. That's what he's doing. And that's his practice. And he also works from home and he has a standing desk. And he also has a sitting desk. But he also has a lot of his practice on the ground that will help dismantle and deconstruct some of the poor qualities that come from sitting in a chair. But also enhance the way that he stands at his standing desk and will improve the posture of which he chooses to stand. Because standing tap desks get a lot of praise. But if I'm not posturally aware and I still have inefficiencies in movement within the ankle and the hip and I'm not flexible or upright in the mid back, which comes through sitting in a chair, then that's just as detrimental to stand with poor posture as it is sitting with it.

[00:47:50.510] – Allan

Now, one of the other areas of movement that I want to get into because I think this is another area where we kind of move from child to adult and we start casting away the things that we did. That was that quote. When I was a child, I played as a child and play as adults. Okay, I play tennis or maybe play basketball. But as you got in the book, I started thinking because you said this, it's like those sports that we play, they're usually unilateral or they're front and back or there's some aspect to them, where it's repetitive movement that we're doing. And while it's movement, which is great, I'm never going to poopoo movement at all. It's not really building us to be a better human. Can you talk about how we should play, how play would be if we got out of our zoo?

[00:48:46.090] – Tony

Yes, very specialized, the way that we observe those sports. Right. They're very specialist. And underneath it all, we're all generalist movers. So again, in the book I've put a study by Peter Gray. He wrote a fantastic book, Free to Learn, and we're an unschooling family. So it's around homeschooling and unschooling. But within it, again, three independent tribes, three different geographic locations. And he asked ten leading anthropologists, what does childhood look like in nature? And firstly, their responses. They're the most well adjusted, well rounded individuals they've ever met, which we refer our colonial minds like savages or whatever, comes to the most well rounded, well adjusted. And that's not from a lens of cultural appropriation. It's cultural appreciation. It's like, wow, okay, what's different? And children are playing from infancy through to their teenage years and they are left to play without adult intervention, without the adult supervision. So it's from infancy through to teenage years, all different ages, playing and mixing together. And they play at being everything. So they've played being the plants, the rocks, the animals. They've played at being the adults. Foraging, hunting, tracking, fire, building shelter, building. It's all in there.

[00:50:10.340] – Tony

So that the idea is that they walk into adulthood and still what would be a playful state of mind? And in adulthood we could then question, well, are those tribes that we're talking about operating with a playful state of mind? And when asking Bruce Perry, who I interview, and he's again mentioned in the book and from what said is that this Pen and tribe that he spent some time with in the Benjelli tribes is that these tribes are moving through a landscape in this meditative state, in a real parasympathetic state. What we call like flow state, they're in it. And flow state I refer to is just being placed. It's just an extension of that. And then the ability to move your physicality in that environment. Because if you're playing at being everything, you are, everything, you'll be the animals within that environment. We have this amazing ability to impersonate any animal, yet we have difficulty even moving with our own locomotive patterns. And there is this understanding how does it compare through childhood to what it would look like in nature? And so again, we enter a school system where we're very playful and we have play as the background within that, where we're moving around on a playground, a playground.

[00:51:33.300] – Tony

And we're expressing, but it's still supervised by adults. And there's now fear involved with that, that children might fall off something or hurt something. So we then start to worry about perhaps being sued. So then we change even how high kids can climb and practice climbing or jumping or balancing. And these are the fundamentals, like balance, climbing, jumping, lifting, throwing, defending, running, swimming, right? They are generalist movements. And even the imagine the amazing skills of foraging where you're down on the ground and Lowgate walking and grabbing things or have to crawl under something or over something or balance up in something or climb something. That's a generalist mover. And kids have that. If you actually let your kids just thrive in an environment, you'll be amazed at their capacity to move. But yet we go into a classroom environment where that's stripped back and we're told to sit. We then get into a PE physical education that's very specialist. And the specialist lens means that it doesn't often suit every child. We also have the age, massive age differences. So the eldest in the year versus the youngest in the year, who's going to be picked, who's going to be strongest and who's going to come away feeling inadequate.

[00:52:55.050] – Tony

The youngest kids, the bigger kids, are much stronger. They're taller. They're picked by whoever's in charge of that class. Then we have things like footwear. Again, like the basketball studies, like basketball footwear. Think of the forces that are involved in basketball. It's very playful, basketball. It's a really great practice. It would become even greater if we looked at foot function because those basketball boots we're talking about getting incredibly narrow in the toe box. The performance and behavior of the feet is compromised. That means the knee has to be the lower back. So if we then brought in that Professor Chris Dort study and said, well, what if we didn't put compromising footwear on those children to begin with and they maintained 60% of that foot strength and their balance, what potential would be there? Or we could say, what potential has been lost by wearing compromising footwear over time and then putting specialist sports through these young bodies that are, again, as you suggest, right, it's in the book. It's this understanding that they're very linear, those practices, like pushing, pulling one plane. Whereas actually, when you look at play, it's multi direction. And there's something else phenomenal that I observe through it and observing my kids.

[00:54:20.070] – Tony

It's through that tribal experience of the kids are being everything. It means that you can step outside your experience. So even if you get stuck, we get stuck, right? People get stuck in depression or could be mental health, for instance. But if you don't lose your playful state of mind, you can imagine yourself in a different position. You can play out being something else. So whereas in nature it might be I don't know, whatever we're playing out in a natural experience versus what we might be playing out in the human zoo might be Harry Potter, Dobby or all these characters. At least there's an opportunity to imagine yourself outside of that. So there's other things that empathy, compassion, that can be delivered through that. I had a big workshop it was with a yoga community and it's called Yoga Connects and I was asked to take a class at the festival and there's a large number of yogis came in and I said firstly we're going to just roll your maps up. Put them away. Take your footwear off and we will just come into the space and we walk around the space and meander around the space.

[00:55:29.550] – Tony

I said, Well, I'm not going to teach you yoga, I'm not a yogi, but I'm going to teach you something about connection and it's going to come through play. And all of a sudden I had these yogis in the room brushing shoulders and then bouncing off one another. Next body part, next body part. Then mirroring one other's movements, then dancing head to head, looking into one another's eyes and then mimicking each other as if they're working in a mirror. And suddenly what can become even in yoga, which is the same planes on one map, performing the same movements over and over religiously, suddenly the expression changed. This amazing vocabulary of movement started to unravel in a very short window of time. Because it's like Play hydration we call it, you can suddenly start to reconnect to something we've become quite divorced from.

[00:56:15.710] – Allan

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

[00:56:26.570] – Tony

So that trifecta for me is breath work. Looking at different modalities of breath that helped me change my state, my state of mind, my being, my very being. And that might be from nasal breathing to tempos of breath. Simple practice on the hour, every hour could be simply 4 seconds up through the nose, 6 seconds out. I call it a rebooting breath so that the day doesn't get away or the experience doesn't get away with me. I can stay in check and I can keep bringing it back to the breath. It's incredible powerful. It drops us into a more restful state and just enables us to stay more present and be present in the moment. The other one of course, is nature immersion. The study suggests just 20 minutes in a natural setting. It could even be the park really. But the more natural or more biodiverse, the better the emotional state would be. I would suggest just 20 minutes is enough to lower heart rate, blood pressure, and the more diverse, like forest, you start to get things like phytincides, which are the compounds that plants like terpenes are almost like aromatherapy that's given off by plants and they're antifungal and antibacterial.

[00:57:41.580] – Tony

And when we inhale that, our body starts to produce natural killer cells which help them fight things like viruses and even tumors, right? So we have lower in heart rate, blood pressure and amazing kind of ability to improve our immune system just by being in nature. So that's breath work. I would say nature immersion and then movement. Just finding those opportunities become more of an opportunist. Go back into that playful state of mind of how you might move, get out of the chair, get onto the ground, start moving around. Think of that as a mobility practice. If you work from home, you have an amazing opportunity to move more within that environment. Just we're so conditioned to think we have to sit and do the work. And that might also mean on the commute, can I run down the stairs instead of getting the lift? Or the escalator? Can I balance on curbstones or something? Just think of that. And along with nature immersion, we could say that nature immersion also involves cold immersion, like cold water therapy and getting into cold water. And that also has an ability to completely change our section altered State of Mind.

[00:58:45.360] – Tony

In two minutes, you're done. And you can literally maybe not be like the person getting in the water, but you'll be in love with the person getting out. It can really change things in a very short window of time. So they are my three, really. I call it Tony's trifecta.

[00:59:00.650] – Allan

Tony's trifecta. Love that.

[00:59:07.170] – Allan

All right, well, Tony, if someone wanted to get in touch with you or learn more about the book, Be More Human, where would you like for them to go?

[00:59:17.910] – Tony

You can hit my website, which is www.tonyriddle.com. I'm also known on Instagram as @thenaturallifestylist, and there's lots on there. So in the link bio there, you'll be able to find links to my book, up and coming workshops, upcoming retreats and experiences. I have a big retreat going in, in end of August, which is a rewilding retreat. So it's on an incredible estate. It's an opportunity to not just rewild movement, but also be involved in the landscape there and have that experience so that Tony Trifecta is in full there. It's a great place for that. And also have a look out for the 100 Human Experience, which is a weekend events that I hold with 100 people. We have 100 people come and there's breath work, movement, cold immersion, ice baths, ecstatic dance, cacao ceremony. It's like a really just an incredible experience. So all of that can be found, really, either on the website or on my Instagram account. They're good places to head, really. There's a number of tutorials there. And if you're interested in the barefoot stuff, there's a documentary. We just wrote one best documentary for the British Independent Film Festival.

[01:00:34.150] – Tony

It's called One Man 2 Feet Three Peaks. And that's up on YouTube. There's some great stuff there. That's a record that I broke running the three biggest peaks, highest peaks in the UK. And normally the idea is you drive between them. I decided to run the whole distance and I covered the mountains barefoot as well. So it was breaking a men's running record, but also breaking it being barefoot, which is quite something.

[01:01:01.710] – Allan

It is. Thank you, Tony. I'll make sure to have those links on the show notes for this episode. Tony, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

Post Show/Recap

[01:01:17.350] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[01:01:19.090] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. That was a really interesting interview, and I really like the term rewilding. Yes. I'm not so sure. I'm a big fan of his wild human or zoo human.

[01:01:34.130] – Allan

I like that. I actually think that is well, because we don't want our kids to get dirty. They stick their hands in the dirt and we want to wipe it off. We don't want to get dirty. A lot of us don't. We want clean. We want sanitary. We're concerned about all this stuff. Hand sanitizer, avoiding everything concrete, this, rubber that, gloves, masks, all of it. We do so much to separate ourselves from our environment. Sunglasses. Something as simple as sunglasses is separating you from the sun. And so, yeah, I get it. If you're walking on Pensacola Beach, it's so bright white with the sun.

[01:02:32.430] – Allan

You can be blind for 20 minutes until your eyes adjust. I get it. But we do so much to separate ourselves from our environment, and that's frankly unnatural.

[01:02:45.330] – Rachel

Well, that's why I like the term we re wilding so that we do take an extra step into nature, which I love. I'm always outside running on the trails and checking out what is all out there. But the other part of the conversation was, you've said this in the past, too. We look at our ancestors, hunter gatherers. They were active. They weren't lounging on sofas and lazy boys like we are today. But also, you brought in the child aspect of it, looking at what our children are doing. They're just running around playing without even thinking about whether their watch just saying they're productive or not. They're just out there enjoying what they're doing.

[01:03:25.790] – Allan

Right. And the whole time we were on the conversation, tony was basically sitting on the floor. He had a lower desk, and so I could tell he was sitting on the floor. He was kneeling. He would move his leg. He would shift side to side as he was talking. You can't tell that's happening when you're listening to it. But the whole time he was sitting on the floor. And as a result of our interview, which I think ran almost an hour, he was moving, and that's positive movement. But all that said, we don't get down enough. We don't get up, and we don't get down. We're in chairs, we're in couches. We spend our office hours in a desk. We might be lucky enough to have an adjustable desk or something like that where we can at least stand part of the day. And that's better is good. It doesn't have to be perfect.

[01:04:24.510] – Rachel

Yeah, but it was interesting. I didn't even think about having a sitting on the floor type desk, like you just said, he was doing in his interview. We don't get down on the floor very often unless we drop something and have to kneel down to find it.

[01:04:46.270] – Allan

You have the people that joke about, well, I don't get on the floor anymore unless I have a plan on how to get up.

[01:04:52.810] – Rachel

Right? Yeah, it's so true.

[01:04:55.230] – Allan

And we can joke about it, but the reality is that's functional movement and let's say you wanted to go camping. Well, what are you doing? You're squatting, you're getting down. You're starting a fire, because you can't start a fire standing up. You're getting in and out of your tent, which, unless you are kind of really doing something special, you don't walk into your tent. You get on your hands and knees and you crawl. You're not sleeping on a pillow top bed. You now have, at best, a blow up, but a lot of times not the best you could do is make sure you don't have a rock or a root under your lower back to the right spot to lay. And then you have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. You're crawling back out of the tent and walking around. And so it's just these things that we say, okay, I would love to be able to do this, I'd love to be able to do that. I want to be able to carry my own kayak. I want to be able to go camping and enjoy myself. There's movement patterns that you're going to be doing that you should make a part of your regular life.

[01:05:59.780] – Allan

So when you're camping, this is not an unusual thing. This is a part of your lifestyle. It's the way you intended to live when you go camping, when you do these other things. Yeah, if you're on the floor and you're sitting for an extended period of time doing something, it could even be watching a television show, you're sitting there and your watch is not going to tell you, oh, you move this many squirms in that many ways, and your watch isn't going to do that. There's no metric for it other than you notice that it just gets more natural. It feels better. There's not these grunts and groans or pains or aches. You're building mobility from the very fact that you're on the floor and your body is forcing you to squirm around because you can't just sit. You're going to want to move your leg to the side. You're going to want to shift the other leg. You're going to move from one butt cheek to the other butt cheek. And then maybe you want to go ahead and get up into a kneeling position. And while you're in the kneeling position, instead of both knees on the ground, you want one knee on the ground.

[01:07:07.920] – Allan

And then you're just moving around through these ranges of motion. And that's one of the things he has in the book, is he literally has those laid out of. Okay, this is a set. This is a set. This is a set. And so you can say, I'm going to spend some time in a kneeling position, I'm going to spend some time in a sitting position. I'm going to spend some time in a squatting position. Because if you get your mobility right, the squat, as he mentioned, is a rest position. I know that sounds really weird, but without having your butt sitting on something other than maybe your heels, that should be a resting position. But we've kind of beat that out of ourselves with decades of sitting. We're not able to do that. You can look at videos and see if you've ever been to particularly Asia, but mostly across Asia and somewhat in Africa. I've seen this where literally, yeah, they squat down almost, butt to grass. And that's a resting position. They're just sitting there now. They're also most of the time when I see them doing that, they're smoking.

[01:08:14.490] – Rachel

Oh, gosh.

[01:08:15.720] – Allan

But which we'll talk about in a few weeks with Dr. Romero. But that's the whole point though. That's their resting position. So instead of just standing around or sitting in a chair, they just plop down and they're in a very comfortable rest position because the joints are now all the pressures off the muscles and the joints. You're just in a natural lay there, sit there position.

[01:08:38.250] – Rachel


[01:08:38.700] – Allan

Yeah. There's a lot of little things we can do, and this book has some really good guidelines of how you can get started rewilding yourself. But to me, it's really just about finding function. It's about getting back to what, you know should be your natural approach.

[01:08:56.310] – Rachel

That sounds great. Interesting conversation.

[01:09:00.270] – Allan

I was pleasantly surprised with the book and with Tony because knowing some of his friends, I was expecting a totally different book from the be more human aspect of that. But no, it was a great book. And if you're concerned about mobility, flexibility, strength, all those functional fitness things we talk about right now, this is one of the best books you can buy to become more functionally fit.

[01:09:26.280] – Rachel

That sounds great.

[01:09:27.610] – Allan

Alright, well, Rachel, I'll talk to you next week.

[01:09:30.170] – Rachel

Great, thanks. Take care.

[01:09:31.930] – Allan

Okay, you too. Bye.

[01:09:33.410] – Rachel



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

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Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


June 14, 2022

How to optimize your health with Emily Gold Mears

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

Emily Gold Mears, author of Optimizing Your Health: An Approachable Guide to Reducing Your Risk of Chronic Disease, was a practicing lawyer prior to moving into the area of research analysis in science and medicine. She's a citizen scientist, biohacker and, health and science advocate and activist.

Her research is focused on the intersection of functional medicine and allopathic medicine and the critical requirement for all individuals to become their own healthcare advocate.

On this interview, we dig into many of her science-backed findings.


Let's Say Hello

[00:02:38.830] – Allan

hey, Ras, how are things?

[00:02:41.040] – Rachel

Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:02:42.900] – Allan

I'm doing all right. I just got back from a fairly long walk, and I'm trying something different. I've actually given myself a challenge this month, and it's a good one. I think it's sustainable. It's something I can do. A lot of people will think I'm insane. You're a distance runner, so you look at it and say, oh, well, I do that in a weekend, but I'm challenging myself to do 500,000 steps in 30 days.

[00:03:16.510] – Rachel

And what would that equate to in miles?

[00:03:18.700] – Allan

It will equate. Well, right now I'm thinking, that okay. I didn't break it down. The whole I'll look at that. I actually don't know that number. But to kind of give it to you in context is, okay, 10,000 steps for most of us works out to just under 5 miles.

[00:03:36.570] – Rachel


[00:03:37.690] – Allan

So what I'm going to have to do to hit my number is about just under 17,000 steps per day. So you're talking about steps and you should get at least ten. So this is really I'm not saying steps above that. It just means that consistently I have to be well above the 10,000 if I have a slow day. And so it's got me thinking, okay, so how do I structure this and make sure in the past I've had moderate days and long days. It's just now that I'm getting myself ready for the Tough Mudder because that's really only numbers we're recording this. It's less than three months away. So as this goes live, we're really looking about two and a half months. So as I go into this challenge, like, okay, I've got to get myself into the basic condition of just being able to go and go consistently. And so I figured, yes, the whole trip thing I'm doing for the Tough Mudder shouldn't be more than nine and a half, maybe 10 miles. And it's going to have obstacles. So there's additional physical stuff. It's not a lot of running because if there's 25 obstacles within that 10 miles, I'm stopping quite frequently, almost never running much more than a mile.

[00:04:54.110] – Allan

And one of the obstacles they have is called the mud mile. So you're really just walking through a muddy trench for a mile. Not fun, but it is what it is. But it's just kind of one of those things. So I don't expect I don't need to worry about so much about the distance of any or being able to run any kind of speed or anything. But it was just okay, I want to keep consistent. I want to have a goal, and then I'm thinking about and I'm in the process. So Cisco's Live, you may have heard that maybe you heard an ad right before this episode went live. We'll see if I get everything planned out and it works. I actually want to run a challenge like this for everybody that's listening. So probably, yeah, for the month of July, we'll run a 30 day challenge where it'll be maybe, I think, pick 5000 steps per day, 10,000 steps per day, or let's bump it up to 16,667 steps per day on average. And then that way again, just on average over the course of a month to try to either get what would be, I guess at that point, not quite 500,000, but 300,000.

[00:06:05.630] – Allan

And I think that one works out to 150,000 steps. I didn't keep up with the miles because I'm like, okay, I'm not going to count the miles because it's a step challenge. So right now I have this step challenge, and I'm playing with this app and I may use an app or I may use a Google sheet, I'm not sure, but I'm considering putting that out there as a kind of a month long challenge starting in July. So you may have heard an ad before this show, and if you did, yeah, this is me kind of going through the planning stages of that. So you'll hear more next week. But yeah, I've been looking at that, getting into my training, just doing my thing.

[00:06:46.520] – Rachel

That's awesome. You know, I love your challenges. I enjoyed the squat challenge. And what else did you have? Another one?

[00:06:53.440] – Allan

Yeah, I've done the squat challenge. I've done a burpee challenge. I know, alcohol challenge. I've done a functional fitness challenge. And I think there might have been a couple more out there that I did. So yeah, the challenges were great. Very time intensive. I'm doing every single day. I'm there, I'm answering emails, I'm in that. And so it just got to be a point where it's like, okay, if I'm going to do a challenge, I have to use it to pay bills because I'm spending all my time doing this and I'm not doing the things that pay the bills. It got to be a problem. I couldn't I was doing it every month. I was doing a challenge and I was like, okay, I actually have to do work. I can't keep doing all my time and working this hard for on a challenge. So I did have to stop doing them only because I couldn't pay the bill. So if I do a challenge, they're probably a little price tag to it, but it's not going to be this crazy thing and you break it down for the number of days and the interaction and other things that are in there.

[00:08:03.460] – Allan

The value, it's nothing really. And particularly if we did the sugar challenge, if you just stop spending your money on sugar, you pay for the challenge. 1000 sold. So there's been a lot of challenges out there, and I'll probably rerun those at some point, but it probably will have a small price tag to it.

[00:08:24.100] – Rachel

That's great. The great thing about being in a group, like you have a little community on your Facebook group that do these challenges and it's fun. It's great to have the accountability. It kind of makes you stick with it. If you pay a few Bucks, then you've got skin in the game. So there's a lot of benefits to that. I think that's fantastic.

[00:08:43.160] – Allan

Yeah. And the step challenge, there's actually cost on my side. So this is not free to me that I'm just saying, okay, I'm just here's emails and my time. Actually, if I do this step challenge, the way I'm thinking about doing it, it's a substantial investment for me. So I would need people doing it and paying a little bit just to make it happen.

[00:09:02.630] – Rachel

Sure. That sounds awesome. Really great.

[00:09:05.140] – Allan

How are things up there.

[00:09:06.540] – Rachel

Good. It's beautiful weather. We're enjoying the time we can outside.

[00:09:11.530] – Allan

She's wearing a tank top. She's wearing a tank top.

[00:09:14.080] – Rachel

I am finally.

[00:09:15.390] – Allan

I wear a tank top. Every time we interview. I'm wearing a tank top and she's wearing a tank top.

[00:09:22.090] – Rachel

I'm Michigan pale. That's the pale white skin because I haven't been outside too much. But yeah, it's great. Great weather. And I mentioned my son graduated. We'll be moving him out. We're planning and buying furniture and doing all that to get him out. So very exciting times here. Very busy.

[00:09:40.700] – Allan

Okay. Are you ready to have a conversation with Emily?

[00:09:44.060] – Rachel



[00:10:25.510] – Allan

Emily, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:10:28.290] – Emily

Thank you, Allan. Thank you for having me.

[00:10:30.510] – Allan

Now your book is called Optimizing Your Health: An Approachable Guide to Reducing Your Risk of Chronic Disease. And as I got into the forward and forgive me, I forget who wrote your forward, but he was really impressed with your diligence and your investigative and your curiosity and thoroughness. And I have to say, every single bit of that came out in this book. He nailed you with that. This could have been 18 books. It's not that long. So it's approachable. Approachable is in there for a reason. It's not 18 books long. You've literally taken 18 different books that I may have read over the last six years. And you put everything into a concise, beautiful chapter. And all the chapters interrelate because our life is a system. We're holistic. We're not just one system, but you've put it together in a way that you could read one chapter. So if you're like, look, I want to know more about supplements or I want to know more about this cold thermogenesis. There's a chapter there that you can go there and really, it gets deep, but you just make it easy to swim.

[00:11:44.360] – Emily

Well, thank you for saying that. I mean, my objective was to do exactly how you described. I happen to love research and love reading. And I've read several books on almost all of the topics that I hit. But what I tried to do was to take the salient aspects of each of those individual topics, break it down so that it was digestible and accessible to the everyday health consumer. So they may not be as inclined to read five books on sleep or four books on nutrition. I thought, all right, I'm going to take the most important aspects and break them down.

[00:12:22.170] – Allan

And you did a beautiful job.

[00:12:23.730] – Emily

Thank you.

[00:12:24.680] – Allan

Now, the first thing I want to talk about, if this isn't top of mind, after the last two and a half years of every single person out there, then I don't know where you've been, but it's about the immune system. This is such an important system that gets ignored a lot, and there's a lot out there. And I think from my perspective, we always talked about germ theory, and if we can kill the germ, we can save the person. But in the book, you introduced a thing called terrain theory, which was somewhat new to me. I think I've probably read about it somewhere sometime. Can we talk a little bit about what is our immune system? What is it doing for us? And then how does germ theory versus terrain theory really kind of blend into that conversation?

[00:13:13.510] – Emily

Sure. So our immune system is really quite remarkable, as is all of the other systems in our body. It's really brilliantly designed. And the immune system is broken into two different factors. There's the innate system, which is what produces the killer cells or the T cells, and that fends off pathogenic attackers. Usually that moves in when it senses something is wrong and it does its job. If it can't effectively do its job on its own, then the adaptive immune system steps in. That's part two, and that works on memory or what we've all heard antibodies, and those are B cells. And the key to all of this is that first the innate system works, and if it can't complete the job, then the adaptive comes in, and the key is to turn it off when they're done fending off the attacker because the problems result when it doesn't get turned off. And that's when the cytokine storms occur, which we've all heard about.

[00:14:15.070] – Allan

So what exactly is terrain theory versus germ theory? Because when thinking of just killing the germ and solving the problem. But this might be a little bit more complex than that.

[00:14:25.370] – Emily

So germ theory is attributable to Louis Pasteur long time ago, and it is the most widely accepted theory all the conventional doctors rely upon germ theory, and basically it says germs invade the body and cause disease. And the focus of this theory kill all the germs, which in my opinion may be an overzealous approach because we're made up of germs, and you have to be very selective in which Germs you kill because you don't want to kill the good ones along with the bad ones. And terrain theory also a very old theory, but not as widely accepted, despite I think it's logic base. And that's attributable to a man named Antoine Bashamp. It's also referred to as cellular theory, and it is focused on the concept that our internal health is responsible for how we react to invaders whether or not we will get sick. And the theory goes on to state that disease is the result of a weakened immune system, and therefore, the approach should be to optimize your immune system to create really good resilience so that you can fend off as many invaders as possible.

[00:15:45.070] – Allan

And then the final topic I kind of wanted to get into with regards to the immune system, because, again, it's just all these things, you turn it on. If you have a good, strong immune system, you're in good shape. I did get covid, and I got over it, but I got covid before I could get the vaccine based on where I live and my age. But I have a strong immune system and it got me through it, and I'm good. Same with my wife. Obviously, when these things are happening, there's an inflammation response, and we want that to be acute and done, solve the problem and move on. If we don't, we end up with something that you document in the book. I've read it before a few times called inflammaging. So can we talk about what inflammation is doing if it sticks around and becomes chronic and what is inflammaging?

[00:16:34.340] – Emily

Okay, so inflammation is an immune response, and we all have it, and we would actually die if we didn't have acute inflammation. By way of example, if you cut your arm, the result is inflammation. Your body wants to cure that cut. And so it rushes to the site of the injury and creates inflammation as a healing process. And ideally, it then turns off. So we need acute inflammation. The problems begin when the acute inflammation is not turned off and turns into chronic inflammation. And chronic inflammation is the precursor of all chronic disease and truly all bad things. So inflammation is a term. I love the term. I'm not sure who coined it, but it's a great term, and it really relates to age related inflammation, and it's a low grade, constant inflammation. As we age, our immune cells become less effective, and we have a harder time fighting off pathogens. Both our T cells and our mitochondria begin to lose function.

[00:17:42.070] – Allan

Right. Some of the other chapters you get into leaky gut and how that's going to cause some inflammation. We talk about toxins and how that's going to cost them. So it's not hard to imagine that inflammation is going to be a regular part of our lives if we have these exposures and these things we're doing. And so as we mentioned earlier, one of the reasons I kind of like almost taking these two theories of the Germ theory and the terrain theory together is to think in terms of, yes, sometimes we have to fight the bug, and our immune system has to do that. But if we're doing the right things to have the right body and the right strong immune system, we're in a better position to do that in a good way versus setting ourselves up for a problem.

[00:18:27.310] – Emily

Exactly. I mean, we'll never be able to resist everything because that's just unrealistic. So of course we will be invaded by certain germs, and ideally, we want to be able to fight them off as best as we can. And I believe that's done by achieving resilience.

[00:18:46.150] – Allan

I like that word.

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[00:20:49.770] – Allan

So the next one I want to get into, and I know it seems like I'm jumping around a bit, and I am, but it's because with 18 chapters, there's a lot to get into here. So I did pick and choose and I picked and choose some things that I thought right now might be really important for someone that's looking at improving it and then really kind of almost interested in these newer things because I think we all know if you eat well, if you sleep well, if you exercise, if you manage stress, and all those are in your book, if you're doing those things, then now you're saying, okay, what's next? What am I going to do next? And one of the interesting ones is talking about breathing.

[00:21:31.830] – Allan

Why is breathing so important?

[00:21:34.350] – Emily

Well, how we breathe directly impacts our overall health, everything. Our stress, our cardiovascular system, our neurological system, our hormones. It affects our sleep, our endurance, our immune system. If they're all impacted by either proper or improper breathing. And many of us don't breathe properly. We breathe through our mouth as opposed to through our nose, and we breathe shallowly through our chest as opposed to deeper in our belly. And it makes a giant difference. How to breathe.

[00:22:09.330] – Allan

Now in the book, you went through several different methods of breathing. I was familiar with box breathing and of course, Wim HOF and some of the others, but there's a lot in there. Can we talk about these techniques for breathing and why they can be valuable for us?

[00:22:28.020] – Emily

So as we age, we lose lung capacity and lung function. And as we go on about our daily business, we don't focus on breathing. And so it has to become a priority and a habit to do so properly. And there are a lot of different methods. And by the way, breathing has been a focus of yoga and Chinese medicine for centuries. They realized quite a long time ago how very important that it is. Box breathing, I go into because in my opinion, that's the easiest to adopt. You'd breathe in for a count of four or five and you hold for a count of four or five, you exhale for a count of four or five, and you hold the exhale. And if you're particularly anxious or something has happened, it stressed you out. If you lengthen your exhale, they have shown that that will calm your nervous system and that's kind of an easy, harmless way to calm yourself down.

[00:23:29.310] – Allan

I used box breathing when I was working in corporate. My boss called me up to his office. It was never a good thing. There was never a good okay, come to my office. I'm like, oh, this is good. I was in the elevator. It was the only time I ever took the elevator was when he called me up there. I would walk the stairs. Otherwise I would get in the elevator. Just so I had more time to do some box breathing before I walked into his office. So I can definitely tell you that the breathing techniques that you have in the book, maybe not Wim HOF, because that's kind of a specialized type thing, but they will help you with anxiety. They will lower your stress level, and they'll teach you a little bit more about the difference of how breath feels when it gets deep and when it goes out. And also that you don't necessarily have to be afraid of not breathing. Your body is going to do it automatically. But I can tell someone that wants to try box breathing, for example, you might want to start with 3 seconds because that hold when you've breathed out.

[00:24:31.520] – Allan

Sometimes it's a little uncomfortable if you're not used to it. But again, all these breathing methods that you have in the book are really great for someone to practice. There was one thing you had in there that I appreciate that I had never seen before. And first I was like, I don't know if I want to do that, but it's called a tape called Sauna Fix, and it's basically where if you realize you're sleeping and maybe breathing through your mouth or snoring and you don't have an obstruction, you can tape your mouth shut to teach you to breathe more through your nose.

[00:25:04.290] – Emily

Yeah, it does sound barbaric. And I think I had to discuss this at length with my Editors at the publishing company because they were concerned about me, including this, which, by the way, I have a Disclaimer. I am not a doctor, and everyone should consult their healthcare practitioner before trying anything. You need to be in a certain state of health before you try some of these lifestyle adjustments. But I tried the tape method on my son. He snores and is a mouth breather. And the result of that is that he wasn't getting effective sleep. He would wake up tired and groggy. And it turns out that a lot of people either have obstructive sleep apnea or they snore, and that prevents oxygen from getting to your brain. So you don't have as restful of a night's sleep. So what this does is tape, and you can use any tape. I just included that in the resources because I wanted to include it.

[00:26:00.160] – Allan

But you could literally say duct tape. Don't use duct tape. Right.

[00:26:04.630] – Emily

That seems a little extreme. It's true. And my suggestion I can't remember if they made me take it out or not. It's possible that they did was to start slow, which I think one should do with everything. And that is around the house during the day, not while you're going to sleep, but you practice. You put either the sound effects, it's the shape of your mouth or a little piece of tape. And you get used to breathing through your nose because it's a really important habit to establish. And it's probably best to start during the day. And if it works and you're not too uncomfortable with it, you can do it in the night time until you've established a habit where you automatically will breathe through your nose and not through your mouth.

[00:26:44.400] – Allan

Yeah. I had a dentist on Dr. Haas not long ago, and he talked about mouth breathing in his book and how it's bad for the PH and the microbiome in your mouth, which you got into microbiome in the mouth. Like I said, this is a very complete and comprehensive book that I could tie back to just about every interview I've ever done. But yeah, you mentioned that. You did say and you also mentioned don't try these breathing techniques while you're driving. Don't try them while you're in water, because that's important. Breathing is important to keep us alive, and we could pass out. But at the same time, teaching yourself to breathe through your nose rather than your mouth is really important. And I've seen it over and over again so again, that's why I wanted to get into this is just as people are looking at the next level, so you're doing the right things with your food, with your sleep, with your movement, with your stress management, and you're saying, okay, what's the next thing? What's the next thing for me? It could very well be a breathing practice. It will help you sleep better, and particularly if you are snoring or things like that, if you can learn to breathe through your nose, avoid that, you're going to sleep better and everything's going to work better.

[00:27:58.830] – Allan

So the next topic I want,

[00:27:59.960] – Emily

I include Wim HOF.

[00:28:01.660] – Allan

Yeah, you do. Go ahead.

[00:28:03.880] – Emily

And the only reason I did, because that's on the extreme spectrum of breathing. But he's such a fascinating individual. He really is. His story, his background, what he does. I've seen him speak in person a couple of times, and I just thought I couldn't do a chapter on breathing without him, including him. But having said that, people need to do that with care and caution, despite his objective that respiratory control will improve your resilience.

[00:28:34.590] – Allan

From experience of what he's gone through and some other people I know that have worked with his methods, then the answer is absolutely yes. But he's, in effect, level nine, and most of us are starting at level four. So breathing is a technique, the box breathing, and that works for you. Some of these other breathing strategies, they work for you. After you've done this for a while, you can consider a Wim HOF kind of thing. And then when you're looking into Wim HOF, another thing that's going to come up to is getting cold, because he's invariably famous for climbing a mountain in just shorts and boots, running a marathon. I guess he was in the snow barefooted. He does some pretty crazy things that could be great for you if you're at the right place. But for a lot of people and for a long time now, there's been this kind of move on the edge. I want to call it biohacking edge because for most of us, we're in this mainstream and then these bio hacking things are going on that people are trying. This seems to be one of those things that's going stepping towards the front, it's starting to hit mainstream.

[00:29:44.390] – Allan

You can go to a gym now and find a dip pool to do cold thermogenesis. What is cold thermogenesis? And why is this something we should consider for our health?

[00:29:57.330] – Emily

Well, this is a great way to reduce your inflammation when your body is exposed to extremes in temperature. There's a concept that I find fascinating called corniesus. And what that means is if you are exposed to extremes really of anything cold, hot exercise, your body adapts. Now, it has to be a short period of time. It can't be an extended time because you can do harm if you do any of these things for an extended period of time, but short burst of cold. There are people who get into a cold plunge or they swim in cold oceans. But a very easy starter method is when you take a shower, you turn the water from a tolerable temperature to an intolerable temperature, a cold temperature for the last 30 seconds of your shower, and then you can build upon that. Now I do that, though I continue to find it highly unpleasant. It does give you a burst of energy, and the studies state that it does reduce your inflammation.

[00:31:02.010] – Allan

Now another thing that it does is it has the potential to create a thing called Brown fat. Now, babies are born with Brown fat. That's how they manage to stay warm as babies, because they don't carry as much general fat overall, at least for the most part, because they need to be a certain size to make this all work. But most of us are with the white fat. We're trying to actually get rid of this white fat because it's unsightly and it's heavy and it's not serving us. There's no energy usage. It's just this thing hanging on me that I want to get rid of. What is the difference between Brown fat and white fat?

[00:31:39.550] – Emily

Well, quite simplistically. Brown fat is more metabolically active, which is why you want Brown fat, not white fat. It increases your metabolism and is a better type of fat.

[00:31:53.500] – Allan

Okay. Basically, we talk about cold thermogenesis some of the basic benefits that we're taking away from this conversation is that it's going to lower inflammation and it's going to potentially increase your metabolism. And so those two things mean if you're trying to lose weight, it's going to help. And if you're trying to get healthy, lowering the inflammation is going to help.

[00:32:14.320] – Emily

Yes, I think it's supposed to help you sleep better, too. And who couldn't benefit from some additional methods to improve their sleep?

[00:32:23.490] – Allan

Cool. Now the next one I want to get into because it's a question I get all the time. What supplements should I be taking? And I like that in your book, you were pretty clear that we should be trying to get our nutrition from food. I appreciate that. But then there is a time and a place for supplementation. So why and when should we be looking to supplements?

[00:32:49.770] – Emily

So this is a favorite topic of mine because most doctors will tell you just get your minerals and vitamins, central fatty acids and amino acids from food. And at one point in history, we probably could have done that effectively, but we can no longer do that. Our soil is so depleted of minerals and our food supply is so very tainted that we have to look to supplements in order to compensate. But I've learned the hard way, which is kind of how I learned everything, doing everything wrong and then learning, which allows for the lesson to remain. But the supplement situation I used to read articles that would talk about they would recommend a supplement, and they would say, take this supplement and it will improve your mitochondrial biogenesis. And I would think, well, I'd like to get some more mitochondria. I better take that supplement. And I was so susceptible to everything that I read that before I knew it, I was up to about 50 or 60 supplements a day. And I thought, all right, wait a minute. I need to do further research and get a clear understanding of how all this works.

[00:33:59.140] – Emily

And I learned along the way that everything is synergistic. The old adage that the knee bone is connected to the thigh bone is really true. Everything that we do, everything that we eat, everything that we take, we may take it for a particular purpose, but oftentimes we're unaware of how it's affecting the rest of our biology. So, for example, during COVID, everybody was recommending zinc. Take zinc because it's antiviral. And yes, zinc is antiviral and that it's an important supplement to take. But one shouldn't take anything without first testing, because if you take too much zinc, zinc is synergistic with copper. And when your zinc levels rise too high, it can throw your copper out of balance. This is something that I had to search for, and it wasn't readily available information. And that's true for everything. D and K should be taken together. A lot of these vitamins and supplements, they work synergistically together. Some of them work opposite. But above all, my kind of rule of thumb that I learned the hard way is it's not a good idea to take any recommended supplement until you test yourself. It is worthwhile to get blood tests to test your mineral status, your vitamin status, pretty much everything, because at worst, you'll be supplementing with something that you already have a sufficient amount of.

[00:35:32.700] – Emily

But you also may be doing some harm. You don't want to overdo these things. So it's good to find out what your baseline is before you add anything.

[00:35:43.170] – Allan

Yeah, every day I think if you walk into a Walmart or you walk into a GNC or you look online, these supplements, there are hundreds of thousands of brands, and this and it's like, okay, so you literally walk there's just a wall, a wall of supplements. What's wrong with that? If someone started saying, okay, well, I know I need a vitamin A. Not getting enough vitamin A. My eyes are not what I want them to be. Someone said, take some vitamin A. And I walked into the Walmart. Am I getting good vitamin A? How would I know? Synthetic versus natural, where it came from, how it was made, what are some tips of us trying to figure out these supplements and which ones we should be taking and shouldn't.

[00:36:29.870] – Emily

So chances are you're not getting good vitamin A. And the reason for that is there appears to be many different brands, but the reality is I think there are five big corporations that own all of the supplement brands, which people don't know about that. And there are synthetic brands or vitamins which are made from things like coal and tar and formaldehyde and many other chemicals that you really do not want to be ingesting. And that is in addition to the exceptions and the fillers and all these other added binders and things that you don't need. And they do that to compensate because you're often not getting the dose that reads on the label. It's not in the capsule or the pill, and they fill them up with these other things that at best are not doing you any favors, but at worst could be harmful. So people think that natural is a better approach. But unfortunately, while it should mean that there are no added synthetics, it doesn't mean that the law that governs a label with the word natural only requires that 10% of the supplement contains plant derived ingredients, allowing the other 90% to be synthetic.

[00:37:49.950] – Emily

So what I advise is there's a couple of different things. One, there are some doctor only brands that only doctors are allowed. You can only get them through your doctors. I think pure encapsulations may be one designs for health is another. I list a lot of them in the research chapter, Chapter 19. But there are definite brands that you can rely on with a little bit more confidence. But then there are labels. There's the GMP certification, which stands for good marketing practice, QAI Quality Assurance International. There's USDA organic, which is a great label, and fish oil, which a lot of us are told to take. Pretty much all of us are, and it is important to take. But the problem is a large amount of fish oil supplements are ranced. And so you can go online. There's a website called the International Fish Oil Standards, and you can search for the brand that you bought or you were told to buy and determine its toxicity level. So there are ways to combat the nefarious consumers practices.

[00:39:02.310] – Allan

But I want to go back and say what you said at the beginning is we should be trying to get our nutrients from food. And if we do think that there's an issue that we would need to supplement with something or we're interested in supplementation for one reason or another. Like you said, zinc vitamin D was another very popular thing for people to consider back when code was the strongest. And maybe now as we start going into apparently another season of it, you might want to look at vitamin D, but get yourself tested, find out what your vitamin D level is. I will say that from what I've read, most people are deficient from vitamin D because we just don't get outside with enough sun exposure and we're not getting enough from our food. But that said, you don't know till you test.

[00:39:51.720] – Emily

Exactly. And then, of course, there's absorption issues. You can take high quantities of all of these, and if your gut isn't optimized, you won't be absorbing them.

[00:40:02.310] – Allan

So again, going back to take care of what you eat, take care of your movement, take care of your stress. It's a system. It's a big system. And you give us a lot of opportunities here to understand why things are the way they are. And then some things particularly I love at the end, you give those just the high level actions do these five to seven things. And if you really want to optimize your health for this particular area. So I love those quick actionable tips, which is why I ask my next question.

[00:40:33.030] – Allan

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

[00:40:41.160] – Emily

So as I just briefly mentioned, and this has taken a while for me to come to this, I think the number one thing that everyone should focus on is to fix their gut. When one has gut dysfunction and most of us do have gut dysfunction, it affects every other system in our body. And it's hard to optimize the other systems when your gut is not tip top. So first and foremost, get your gut as optimized as possible and other things will fall into place. But probably the other two things that I focus on are effective sleep habits. And it sounds a lot easier than it is. And as I mentioned in the book, there are a lot of different things that you can do to improve your sleep habits, but it makes a difference. I think we all know that if you wake up and you haven't had a good night's sleep, you're less productive and you're not quite as cheery. So I think it's really important to get good sleep. And then the third one, there's so many, it's hard for me to limit it to just three. But the third one would be nutrition.

[00:41:48.630] – Emily

And nutrition is tricky. It really is, because there is no greater conflict in any area of science than there is in the nutrition space. But if you can eliminate processed foods and try and eat as clean up a diet as possible, organic where necessary, which is not all foods, you can go to the EWG website to find out which foods you really need to get. Eat organic because they're spray with so many pesticides, and that will make an enormous impact on your happiness and your well being. We are what we eat. And sadly, it took me most of my life to appreciate that I never did before. And when I changed my eating habits dramatically, it had such a positive impact on every aspect of my life that I would definitely have that my top three.

[00:42:43.710] – Allan

Thank you, Emily. I appreciate that. If someone wanted to learn more about you and learn more about your book, Optimizing Your Health, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:42:54.990] – Emily

Well, my book is sold wherever books are sold online. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Target, Walmart, and I have a website, emilygoldmears.com, and I have an Instagram, and I have Facebook all the same name, making it easy, at least for me, so that I don't forget.

[00:43:12.510] – Allan

You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/542 and I'll be sure to have a link there. Thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:43:22.770] – Emily

Thank you, Allan. It was a thrill to speak with you.

Post Show/Recap

00:43:32.170] – Allan

All right, Rachel, how did you like that conversation?

[00:43:35.120] – Rachel

Oh, that was really awesome. Any time I get the chance to hear how I can optimize my overall health, I'd like to try any tip I can get. And this is an interesting discussion.

[00:43:46.710] – Allan

And it is Emily is a very interesting individual because, well, she's an attorney. She's not a doctor. And she didn't approach this from the perspective of trying to be a better doctor or figure out a way to have conversations with people. As a personal trainer, this was something that was really important to her. Her health was really important to her. And the answers that she was getting weren't adding up. And as someone who's kind of wired like that, my father is an attorney and my stepmother's an attorney. I was an accountant. We want to see everything lined up. Everything needs to kind of function and make sense. And it was I guess the same thing with me is like, okay, I'm over 40, and I used to be able to do these things that would get me healthy and fit. And now I go in and I buy a magazine like I did 25 years ago. And the stuff that's in that magazine is not even close to what was in the magazine. And then I'm getting through and I'm like, I just paid $4 for this magazine, and 75%, 80% of it is just ads for supplements and this and that.

[00:45:04.690] – Allan

And there were eight articles and five of them were also ads for something. And I'm like, so I read this whole magazine cover to cover, and I learned nothing. And I was buying books, and it was kind of the same thing. I just bought this book. And all it really is is an ad for this guy and his service for me to go over to wherever spend thousands of dollars at his little fat for him. And I'm like, okay, there's got to be more of this. So that's why I went through my journey. That's why I'm selective about the guests I bring on the show. So Emily, even though, again, not a doctor wired very much like that, this has to make sense. And so within her book, what she's basically done is gone through each of the systems of our body. And she's talked about, okay, what's there? And what is the thing that I'm reading? What are the studies that are out there. And it's exhaustive the amount of time and effort. She probably spent years and years self-educating and collecting all these resources to then be able to put this out there.

[00:46:15.460] – Allan

And it's a reference book. I mean, it was a full at this point in time reference book of what we know about our bodies and how to optimize our health.

[00:46:25.800] – Rachel

That's pretty amazing. Is there any big key takeaway that really jumped out at you?

[00:46:32.120] – Allan

Well, there's the germ theory versus terrain theory, and I think I'm not going to say versus. I said versus in my notes when I was writing about this and talking to her. But reality is, I think they're both overlying theories that say the same thing. Germ theory basically says if you can avoid a germ or at least maybe even immunize yourself from a germ, then you won't get sick or you won't get as sick of finding out. And so the CDC says, okay, wash your hands. Best advice they did give, wash your hands. Why? Because that keeps the germs off of your hands. And if you touch your face, which there's a second thing they said, don't touch your face. But if you do, if you wash your hands, then you're not exposing your face. Now if you touch your face again, wash your hands again. But those things, the germ theory tells you those things. And that's what they followed. It was like, okay, here's how you avoid this. Then once they had the vaccines like, okay, now you could get the vaccine, and that should reduce the likelihood you're going to get it or reduce the severity Stuff's coming out.

[00:47:39.740] – Allan

I'm not going to talk about other than to say, maybe not, but it is what it is. It's all following germ theory, and it was what we were taught in school, and it all made sense at the time. But terrain theory is where we're talking about the capacity of your body to fight this thing off. So if you're thinking in terms of, okay, I have a strong body, and here comes this bully that I'm now going to have to get into a fight with. If you're strong and your immune system is strong, you win that fight. It might take you a while. You might get a little beat up. You might be sick for a while, but you beat it. I had covid I had a good, strong immune system. I beat it. Okay? My wife did it. And so if you have a strong body, that now what happens, though, is if you're fighting another bully, so that bully could be cancer, it could be diabetes, it could be heart disease or any other type of chronic disease. And then the second bully steps in, well, now you got two. And I don't know about you.

[00:48:48.120] – Allan

If you've ever been in a fight with two people, chances are you're not going to win that fight. Okay. And so that's where terrain theory kind of comes in and says, okay, the stronger you make your body holistically, your whole body, everything about you. So this is your health, this is your fitness, this is your happiness. This is the whole bundle of wellness. The better you are, the more well you are, the better your immune system is going to function. And so you don't have other bullies. It's like, okay, we've gotten rid of them. We've gotten rid of the diabetes, we've gotten rid of the heart disease. We don't have these things now we're in a better position to fight the bully, the single bully, when they show up. So that's where the terrain theory kind of comes in. And I think it's really important. So the reality of it is it should probably be a little bit of both, but the one you have the most control over day in and day out is your body.

[00:49:47.690] – Rachel

For sure. Yeah. I've known several people to have had a hip replacement, knee replacement. And every time that they've shared their journey with me that all of these friends have said that their doctors told them that they were strong and athletic before the surgery and they were more likely to recover better after the surgery. And in every case of my friends, that was held true. So the stronger you are before something happens, the more likely your ability to get through it faster without side problems or other complications.

[00:50:26.830] – Allan

When I walked into therapy for physical therapy after my shoulder surgery because I kept training, I didn't take months off and keep myself in a sling or worry about, well, if I move my arm that way, it's going to hurt. It just hurt. And I was like, okay, I'm going to move and I'm going to do my things. Now I couldn't do any pushing movements, so no overhead presses, no side laterals, no bench presses, no push ups, none of that. Almost none of that. When I went in, I had nearly full range of motion under control, which I think I'll talk about with another person, but another interview I've done recently. And if you're moving and you have full range of motion with your body, you're moving your body through full range of motion, then you've got a good base. And so when I went into therapy, my therapist was like, wow, we don't usually see someone your age that's capable of moving like this after an injury and surgery you just had. So we're much further along. Now, what did that mean? In the grand scheme of things? It meant that my therapy progressed very quickly.

[00:51:40.640] – Allan

I was into strength training a lot faster. I was back in the gym sooner. And at $375 a pop for each of those therapy sessions, which I was on the hook for 20% off, I cut a lot of those out. So the projection for my therapy was that I would be going three days a week for six weeks, and I only needed four weeks of therapy.

[00:52:05.750] – Rachel

That's awesome. It's fantastic.

[00:52:08.080] – Allan

So that's money in my pocket, it paid for more than my gym membership and my personal trainer combined. Just by being in a better position coming out of that surgery and going into physical therapy, my medical bills were lower. I was kind of shocked on a solid 375 an hour because I didn't know that's what it was going to be. But it came out through my insurance and they're like, okay, you've got to make your deductible, which is more than I more than did that. And with the surgery. But then so we come into this, I'm thinking, okay, I just got to pay 20% of this and 20% of 375 three days a week. It starts adding up pretty quick. But those are the things, the better your body's condition, the better you're ready to deal with issues stronger you are. If you fall, the less likely you are to break.

[00:53:02.600] – Rachel


[00:53:03.120] – Allan

Yeah. That's just how it is.

[00:53:07.450] – Rachel

That was awesome. That was interesting. And she also mentioned breathing. Are you guys both discussed breathing and box breathing and how used it to go speak with your people at work?

[00:53:22.030] – Allan

Yes. I breathe a lot different here because I don't have the stress I had there. So I haven't found myself in a situation where I've had to do that type of breathing. The breathing I do now is like I said, I go for these walks and it's sunny as I'm walking. My mouth is closed. I'm not breathing through my mouth as I'm doing my walks. I'm just going at a pace where I'm comfortable. I'm breathing through my nose. I'm watching the beautiful surf. I've got a good bit of sun hitting my skin. Also got eaten up by chitras today. Yeah. So I'm not going back on Public Beach. Sorry. This is the third time in a row that the Chitras have just eaten me alive. So anyway, if you come here, we'll tell you where the Chitras are so you can stay away from them.

[00:54:15.550] – Rachel

Good idea.

[00:54:16.930] – Allan

But yeah, breathing is really important. And there's a lot of advice in there. And there are ways that when you find something like this, a book like this is good because the breathe of not breath of the topic, there's bits and pieces of everything in there. So cold thermogenesis, supplements, she gets into a lot of things in there. And so to be able to go through and say, okay, I want to learn a little bit about this, a good bit about this. She's got a good paragraph on it being a good chapter on it. And she's telling you, okay, I read this book, I read that book there's reference this study. So she's kind of giving you the platform for saying, okay, I think this cold thermogenesis is important for me. It's one of the next things I want to not me personally because no, I get cold. But if you just say that to yourself this is interesting to me. It's a good platform to get the basics down, to understand what the current science says and then from there you can expand your knowledge and practice.

[00:55:25.440] – Rachel

I love it. Sounds like a great book to help have on the shelf.

[00:55:28.700] – Allan

It is a really good book. I think we had Alan Aragon on last week and that was probably one of the best training for performance eating for performance books. Eating for performance books I've ever read. This is a good companion even though the two of them go together and say you write that you write that just looking for books. I would say if you want a library that really helps you dive in deep to these two different areas. So physical training and what you eat for physical training and then the other things you do to just optimize your overall health again, optimizing your performance, optimizing your body fat composition and here you come over here optimizing your health. They fit together very well.

[00:56:16.950] – Rachel

Perfect. That's great.

[00:56:19.360] – Allan

All right. Well, Rachel, I guess I'll talk to you next week.

[00:56:22.440] – Rachel

Sounds great. Take care.

[00:56:23.960] – Allan

Okay. You too.

[00:56:25.030] – Rachel

Thank you.


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Another episode you may enjoy


How to optimize your nutrition with Alan Aragon

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

One of the most common questions I get is: “How do you optimize my nutrition for…”.

Whether it is for weight loss, building muscle, or performing better, there are many factors. In his book, Flexible Nutrition, Alan Aragon answers this with what science tells us.


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Let's Say Hello

[00:03:03.680] – Allan

Hey, Ras.

[00:03:04.890] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. How are you today?

[00:03:06.630] – Allan

I'm doing all right.

[00:03:07.920] – Rachel


[00:03:09.310] – Allan

Been a busy week. We had that flood here in the gym, and so we've been trying to work on the roof and keep that going. So that's been pretty massive. And then, of course, they took the holiday break, took a couple of days off, and it rained for two solid days. Which was great. No, it actually ended up being great. We were like in a rainforest and a tree, like almost like a Treehouse thing. And it wasn't really technically a tree house, but it felt like it based on where it was on the Hill and then just sit there. I read two fiction book novels.

[00:03:42.650] – Rachel

How nice. What a nice change.

[00:03:46.140] – Allan

Yeah. I mean, I don't hardly ever read fiction anymore because I'm constantly reading nonfiction. In fact, I think I've got a book I've got to read today. But, yeah, it's kind of crazy. I sat down, I brought two books with me because I just wasn't sure how far I would get into the first book, and I ended up finishing both of them.

[00:04:05.070] – Rachel

That's awesome. Would you recommend either of what you read?

[00:04:09.160] – Allan

Well, one of them, yes. I suppose. I don't know if you get on Amazon and prime and the Netflix kind of stuff, but on Amazon Prime, there's a show called The Man from High Castle.

[00:04:22.730] – Rachel

Oh, I've heard of that.

[00:04:24.050] – Allan

Okay. And it was a really good series. And so this was the book that basically was the basis for that television show. And obviously when you have a television show with all the episodes and all that, there was a lot more into the plot of the show than there was in the book. But it was really interesting because particularly since I knew the characters from the show to get into their head, because now this was told from basically the Omnipotent perspective where you're in his head, each of these characters head. So that was good. But it's a good book. It's interesting. And then the other one was called Bocas del toro. But oddly enough, none of the action in the book actually happened in Bocas del toro.

[00:05:15.050] – Rachel

So I wonder what the inspiration was for that name.

[00:05:18.660] – Allan

Well, that's where the guy ended up. The main protagonist, I guess, of the book. He ended up in Bocas del toro at the end of the book, but it was kind of he said it was based on some actual facts and things that had happened to people. So you have to assume that this was a person that actually dealt with this.

[00:05:38.330] – Rachel

Cool. Very cool.

[00:05:40.260] – Allan

So how are things with you?

[00:05:41.800] – Rachel

Good. I actually just finished a book myself. I read this book probably once a year or so. I just finished reading The Old Man in the Sea by Hemingway.

[00:05:51.730] – Allan


[00:05:52.340] – Rachel

It's a classic tale. It's a quick read. And I've been thinking about why I was so drawn to it. And it's about endurance. It's about a man holding onto this fish for as long as he could and after several days of holding the line. But one of the things in the very beginning of the book that amuses me so much is that the old man is in Havana in the, gosh, when was that? Prior to the 1950s, I think. And he liked baseball like a lot of Cubans did. And probably still do. But his favorite player was DiMaggio and he was talking with one of his friends about baseball, and he said he needs to watch the Tigers of Detroit as well as the Indians of Cleveland, who have changed their name recently to Guardians. But it was just interesting to hear him talk about the Detroit Tigers, which is our team. So it was just really a fun little twist at the very beginning of the book, but great book. I would always recommend it.

[00:07:01.930] – Allan

Cool. Well, you ready to have a conversation with Alan Aragon?

[00:07:05.820] – Rachel



[00:07:53.730] – Allan

Alan, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:07:56.610] – Alan Aragon

Hey, Allan, thank you so much for having me. It's great to be here.

[00:08:00.210] – Allan

Now your book is called Flexible Dieting: The Science-based, Reality-tested Method for Achieving and Maintaining your Optimal Physique Performance and Health. I've read a lot of books. You're probably my I want to say close to 330th interview over the time I've been doing this podcast and I read every single book and there's at least I would say 100 citations that I earmarked or just made notes of that I want to go back and read because this was so well researched, so well organized and put together in a way that when you get through it and you would kind of admit this yourself, there's points where it feels a little trudgy because there's science and it's hard not to. But when you get done, you're like, this is what science is supposed to be, not some of the stuff we've been doing for the last few years, not what nutrition science has been doing for the last several decades. This is how you do science. And I really appreciate the way you put this book together.

[00:09:16.990] – Alan Aragon

Oh, cool. Yeah. Well, thank you. The book's title is kind of misleading. I was asked to do the book and then I said to myself, you know, this is my opportunity to leverage the powers of a large publishing house to write the ultimate evidence-based nutrition book that covers how to optimize body composition and athletic performance and just go fully science-based with that and try to make it readable for the mass audience. And so calling the book Flexible Dieting, it sounds like some almost like a pop diet book that has some sort of a hook. But then when you go through it, it's like gosh, if I wanted to learn about all the macronutrients, if I wanted to learn about different ways to enhance various sports, and if I also wanted to kind of learn what flexible dieting is that's in there, too, among a million other things? It's an interesting book, man. I commend you for getting through it. It's like an encyclopedia.

[00:10:38.330] – Allan

Well, it is and it isn't. Yes, it is. It is. From the perspective of when I have a question about when is the best time for me to take my protein? I have a chapter on that. I've took a couple of chapters. Whether I'm dealing with performance, whether I'm dealing with strength, whether I'm dealing with fat loss, whatever my goals are, I literally now have a reference book to go back and say, okay, at least from a baseline of what science was in 2022. So this is one of those books where I'm sorry, but in about five to ten years, you're going to have to I think you've tied yourself into a second and third edition or something like that. I think there's a rule. Yes, but at least what we know today. Yes. We're going to start with because it is important flexible dieting, because that's the hook, if you will. But that is a part of the fact that there is so much information out there, and there are what a lot of people call the hard and fast rules, the rigid. You must do this. You must do that. And a lot of us really struggle with that.

[00:11:51.820] – Alan Aragon


[00:11:52.720] – Allan

And what we're talking about is the continuum of dietary control. Could you kind of go over what that is and why that's really important for us to understand because particularly weight loss or muscle gain and they're kind of on other sides of each other. But if we're really looking at changing ourselves and we want to eat the right way, common sense would say, well, find a rigid plan and just do it, grind it out, even if you don't like it. And that's going to get you the best results. But for a lot of people, that's not true.

[00:12:26.650] – Alan Aragon

Yes. Diets are all effective as long as you stick to them. And the $64 million question, well, in Elon's case, the $44 billion question would be how do you stick to a diet? And so what I feel is the magic answer to that is you have to find an approach that works for you. You have to find methods that work for you as an individual. And this is going to be different from everybody. It just varies from person to person. And there are certain immutables. Like, for example, if you wanted to lose weight, you have to impose a net caloric deficit by the end of the week, technically, not necessarily by the end of the day. If you want to gain weight, you have to sustain the opposite hyper caloric conditions or caloric surplus conditions. And as is the major public health issue of obesity, there is a problem with the general public eating too much by the end of the day, the week, the month, and you can take anybody on the planet and give them a script and say, hey, follow this 100% and they are going to lose weight as long as that script imposes a caloric deficit.

[00:14:09.650] – Alan Aragon

Now, the minute that deficit gets swallowed up or just gradually stamped out over time, then the diet will stop working. And so flexible versus rigid dietary control, that concept attempts to capture the difference between on one far end, handing somebody a specific menu with very specific foods and the timing of the foods and the exact grams and gosh, even whether the foods are organic or not, you hand them that script and you say, okay, just follow this. And on the very far end of flexible control would be telling somebody, Eat less of this stuff and maybe more of that stuff and you'll be fine. So somewhere along that continuum is the proper approach for the individual. This is the most non hookish hook ever. But flexible dieting is really the flexibility of the approach that you take to accomplishing the goals. Because honestly, some people do really well with rigid dietary restraint. You tell them, okay, this is what you need to eat. And then they're just most comfortable doing it. And they're comfortable and they actually have fun plugging numbers into a God forsaken app. You know what? That is that particular individuals psychographic, if you will, and that's perfectly fine for them.

[00:15:59.590] – Alan Aragon

Whereas if you take somebody who hates that idea and you tell them, okay, you're going to need 100 grams of protein, 200 grams of carbs, and 60 grams of fat a day. Here's your app, plug it in. Here are the allowable foods. And then just make sure you accomplish this every day. If they don't like to do that, they'll honestly, they'll last like two weeks doing that, and then they'll just throw their phone out the window and say, screw this, I'm going to try Keto or Paleo, see how that works. Flexible dieting. The approach as sort of an overarching principle is that everybody needs to establish their own personal approach to dieting. And the concept of rigid dietary control versus flexible dietary control is sort of a sub concept where rigid control involves dichotomous concepts like good and bad foods. And you have to either be precise or it's all or nothing. And flexible dietary control is the idea where it's not black and white, there's not absolute good and absolute bad foods, particularly when you think of how they fit into a diet. You can create a good or a bad diet, but the good diets can still contain a margin of in quotes, naughty foods, bad foods.

[00:17:34.630] – Alan Aragon

So, yeah, it can get a little bit intricate when I attempt to explain flexible dieting. But yeah, that's it one thing flexible dieting is not. And this is what everybody kind of gets wrong because of how the diet culture ten years ago propagated this idea. But flexible dieting, and if it fits your macros, those are not the same thing. People just kind of conflate those terms, which is false, because if it fits your macros, A IIFYM is not a diet to begin with, and B IIFYM is not what people have been led to believe it is, which it was propagated as a junk food diet or eat whatever you want as long as you hit your macronutrient target. So that's not flexible dieting. Counting macros is not necessarily flexible dieting, but everybody calls it that because a rumor got started and then it just spread across the Internet. And then that was the end of that. And I watched it happen. And I knew with the flexible dieting research and the literature what that attempted to get across. And it has nothing to do with counting macronutrients. It has everything to do with not seeing dietary approaches as an all or nothing thing with good or bad foods and flexible dieting as a protocol.

[00:19:11.170] – Alan Aragon

It really just says, look, if you're one of these people who likes to be more rigid with the type of restraint they apply to the diet, then good that's you if you're somebody who likes a more qualitative or habit based approach and you don't want to crunch numbers and you don't want to weigh stuff and measure stuff all day long, great. And that's the approach that you take. Keeping in mind, regardless of your approach, if you want to lose weight or body fat, the approach you take has to default you to eating less calories, or somebody will correct me fewer calories by the end of the week, month, year, et cetera, in order to lose weight.

[00:20:01.690] – Allan

One of the reasons why the IIFYM kind of concept really took off, I think, is one you're on a message board. So anything on the message board or Twitter, the fewer characters you use, the better. So it's quick and it answers a question like, well, here, but it doesn't answer it exactly. There's another concept that you've got into in the book that I really do. I think this will take a lot of people further down into understanding this concept of flexible dieting because I think at times we might sit there and say, I really kind of want to have a beer with my dinner or I'm going out with friends on Saturday and I know we're going to go to my favorite Italian place. And so you start looking at what your food plan is and how you're planning on going about your day. It's the concept of discretionary calorie allowance, and I like that because it keeps you aware of the goal line. It just doesn't tell you what every step you have to take is.

[00:21:09.070] – Alan Aragon

Yeah, that's true. And the concept of discretionary calories is basically it's organized moderation, I guess you call it. It's moderation with a plan. So how do we execute moderation? This is an observation. It's not, amazingly, there hasn't been any controlled research comparisons of one approach to moderation versus another approach to moderation, but it's been a long standing observation over the decades that up to about 20% of total calories can come from basically whatever you want. And as long as the other minimum 80% of the diet is from wholesome stuff, whole foods, minimally refined foods, the inquote good stuff, clean stuff, I guess you could call it. Then you will be perfectly fine, and you will get as good results as somebody who attempts to be 100% perfect with their diet all the time. And it may even be more sustainable to keep a diet going in the long term if you allow this 10-20% margin of Yolo foods or foods like desserts, alcoholic beverages, deep fried stuff, and things that would normally be taboo on a stereotypical clean diet. So as long as 80% to 90% of the diet is wholesome, then you're doing great.

[00:22:59.770] – Alan Aragon

And then that 10 to 20% discretionary calorie allotment will provide you a respite or a margin of sanity. If you want to let your hair down once in a while and eat some fun stuff or some naughty stuff, and then you can sustain the program a lot better than thinking you have to just kind of grit your teeth through the whole thing for weeks and months until you reach your goal. And it just doesn't work like that. I want to throw in a little wrinkle here for folks kind of confused about the idea that we need to add naughty foods into the diet. If you're the type of person who doesn't like those kinds of foods, if you're the type of person who just hates the idea of eating cakes, candy, cookies, ice cream, alcoholic beverages, fried foods, et cetera, then you don't have to. Eat 100% Spartan if that's what makes you happy. And that's what you want to ride into the sunset with. But we have to be aware that the vast majority of us are going to be able to sustain the diet for a lifetime more successfully if we allot discretionary calories.

[00:24:28.010] – Allan

Yeah. And the cool thing is you are paying attention to your nutrition, so you're getting the nutrition your body needs, and you're keeping your calories in line with what you need to hit your goal, whether that's to lose weight, gain weight, all of that's in line because you know what you're supposed to be doing and you're staying within kind of this flexible, okay, pivot here. I need to be a little bit more rigid. I can be more rigid because my wife's not here for the next two weeks. So I can be really rigid if I want to. Where she's going to come back and want to socialize and go out to dinner and do things. So there I know for the next two weeks I'm probably going to have a lot more of those discretionary calories hitting my palate. And as long as that doesn't trigger me and cause me to kind of say, okay, one beer becomes two and then two becomes four. As long as I'm not triggered by what's going on, then that can be a really good way to sustain this. Now I'm looking at my notes, and this is sad because this is more about me.

[00:25:28.720] – Allan

It says a lot about your book, but it just looks like a hodgepodge of things. I was having so much time reading the I'm like, I want to talk about everything. But the core of it is there were a couple of concepts that were in the book that I've never talked about here. We've talked about the importance of eating protein and getting enough protein, but I've never talked about the reason why we need enough protein. And that relates to protein turnover, muscle protein turnover, and the fact that being over 40, our ability to maintain and retain our muscle and maybe even gain muscle is that formula is changing for us as we age. And so the importance to me, the importance of protein goes up substantially over the age of 40. I think that's what was one of the thoughts that was in my head. And then in the book, you talk about the protein intake hierarchy of importance. Can you talk about those and again, one, why is protein what is this turnover thing that's happening? Why do we need protein? And then how do we get our protein? What's the hierarchy of intake? Okay, a lot of ideas.

[00:26:47.030] – Allan

I know, but it was like as I was reading, I was like, this is so good. And I kept doing it. So pardon the question not being a question, but I'm asking for an essay.

[00:26:59.390] – Alan Aragon

That's cool. It's funny, because when I answer these questions, it hits a point in my answer where I'm somewhat self aware that, oh, gosh, I've been rambling for about five minutes now for one question.

[00:27:11.210] – Allan

I'm totally cool with that. You guys need to take a potty break and come back in the middle. That's also good. It's here at the podcast. You can hit pause.

[00:27:19.910] – Alan Aragon

Great. Yes. Dear audience, you may take a break. Yeah. The concept of muscle protein turnover. You have two sides of this cycle. One side is muscle protein synthesis or the build up side, and then muscle protein breakdown, which is the catabolic side. So this cycle is a perpetual thing that goes on in the body on a 24 hours basis. And so when muscle protein synthesis is equal to muscle protein breakdown, then you're basically just maintaining your muscle, which is a good thing. And then you've got muscle protein synthesis exceeding muscle protein breakdown, and then you've got muscle growth. And then you have the loss of muscle when the breakdown side of the cycle exceeds the synthesis side. So that's kind of the idea of muscle protein, what we call turnover. And so for the older population, there is a phenomenon called sarcopenia, and there's even a related phenomenon called sarcopenic obesity, which is sort of a combination of pathology. So sarcopenia is an age related loss of lean body mass. And sarcopenia is underneath the umbrella of a larger phenomenon called frailty, which happens with advanced age, with just a general loss of function that's related to undue weight loss, specifically the loss of lean tissue mass throughout the body.

[00:29:11.450] – Alan Aragon

And under frailty, we've got the loss of muscle tissue, which is sarcopenia. And this is a major problem in the aging population. And a lot of people don't realize that getting enough protein is crucial to successful aging. And that's because as people age, there's not only a tendency to not move around as much, but there's also a tendency to not push and pull and squat as much. So non-exercise activity goes down. Exercise activity goes down as well. And this can be a gradual sort of insidious thing that sneaks up on people where they're just sitting a lot more, lying around a lot more and just not moving as much and certainly not making formal visits to the gym or the track or the field or the pickup basketball game. And what happens is a phenomenon called disuse of the muscle tissue. And there's an interesting thing that can happen where you can take young people and put them on bedrest, and their muscle structure and function will just start to resemble somebody who has aged muscle or almost sarcopenic muscle because you can create muscle that resembles muscle, that is of somebody of an advanced age if you just impose disuse on the muscle.

[00:30:57.990] – Alan Aragon

And so this can happen at the macro level where you're just looking at muscle mass. And it can also happen at the micro level where you impair the so called muscle protein synthetic response, the MPS response to feeding. So in bedridden muscle muscle protein synthesis in response to protein feeding is actually lowered after a relatively short period of disuse. And in older people, this just happens more gradually. And it happens over time because of a gradual progression of disuse. And there are other factors too involved with aging muscle and the deterioration of its structure and function. So protein's role is to make sure that you minimize these age related muscle losses. But just as importantly, protein intake synergizes with resistance training to create an environment that prevents a physiological environment that is not the interior decoration of your home office, but it creates this physiological environment, the combination of protein intake or enough protein intake and resistance training. That combination will prevent muscle loss and can even oftentimes cause muscle gain in folks who really need it. The good news about preventing sarcopenia is that it is possible and it is even possible to reverse the earmarks of Sarcopenia.

[00:32:55.730] – Alan Aragon

And anybody at any age can just start performing resistance training, as long as you do it safely and gradually enough. And then you can get muscle structure and function back. And protein plus resistance training is the recipe for that. And there are other factors, too. You can't just do it on no calories. You have to be eating enough calories, because the recipe for muscle growth really is enough protein, enough calories, and then make sure your resistance training. So that is the role of protein and the importance of it. When we're talking about muscle protein turnover and how it relates to aging and with the older population, their dietary habits are really kind of crappy in terms of achieving enough total daily protein. So it usually begins at the first meal of the day where a significant amount of protein or any real amount of protein at all is basically neglected. And then lunch has a moderate ish amount of protein, and then dinner will contain a substantial hit of protein. But by the end of the day, you're really looking at sort of like one and a half meals that have enough protein to total by the end of the day in order to make sure that this particular population is getting enough protein, let alone are they resistance training.

[00:34:32.770] – Alan Aragon

So let's imagine they are resistance training. There are still challenges to getting enough protein in the older population because the total amount that you need to consume is usually about 50% to 100% more than what's typically ingested. And it's not the easiest thing to tell somebody who's in his fiftys. Sixty s, seventy s. Hey, bro, you need to double your protein intake and you need to start weight training.

[00:35:03.090] – Allan

I have that conversation all the time. So yeah, okay. That's why we're having this conversation. Now, your publisher, because you brought it up. I'm familiar with your publisher because I've had lots of their authors on they tend to be in the Keto space. They tend to be in the low carb space, from my experience. And you did start talking about Keto. So I was actually when I got this book, I was like, oh, flexible dieting. And then this being a predominantly Keto publisher, maybe they're branching out and that's good. But I was almost expecting a Keto book, to be honest with you. So I was kind of surprised we didn't get into Keto. But then you did. And then I was not surprised why we didn't get into Keto, particularly if you start looking at what the goals are here, which is to gain muscle, to increase strength, to improve endurance. As you said in the subtitle, was it optimal physique performance and health? And you pretty much did in the book talk about how Keto works within all of those realms. Could you kind of go through that with us?

[00:36:13.920] – Alan Aragon

Yeah, sure. And before I go into that, I just realized I needed to quickly answer the hierarchy of importance with protein. So with respect to protein intake, there is a hierarchy of importance that's worth touching upon. And of most importance with protein intake is total daily amount. That's tier number one. And then the next tier down is the distribution or the pattern of protein doses throughout the day. That's of secondary importance to the total amount that you have by the end of day. And of least importance, there is the timing of protein relative to the training bound. And so, Interestingly, we could go into an hour on each one of those tiers.

[00:37:07.140] – Allan

Yeah. And you do. And that's the cool thing in the book is you literally do talk about the science behind, because I get the question, should I be doing a protein shake after my workout? Do I have that 1 hour window? All those questions are actually answered in your book with citations, lots of citations, lots of evidence, lots of science. Again, you've answered the question and you answered over and over, depending on what the goals of the person training are. So the hierarchy is important, but the core of it is get enough, get enough throughout the day, and then the rest of it will take care of itself, particularly for those of us over 40, if our training volume is not professional caliber, those other two tiers actually mean a little bit less than they would otherwise, in my opinion. But the sign says get enough. That's the first tier. Get that done. And for a lot of us, that's a struggle because it's in our food. But many of people are trying to do multiple things at once, trying to lose weight, trying to eat a certain way, trying to live our lives, and having ready protein when packaged snacks are a little bit easier.

[00:38:24.030] – Allan

Sometimes not so easy. But you do dive into this deep. That's why we're scratching the surface here and get into the book, because the science is there. The advice is there. The actual grams are there. It's all in there.

[00:38:40.720] – Alan Aragon

Yes. If anybody listening to this episode wanting to know, well, then how much protein do I take? I can give you a gram number, but do you know how to translate those grams into chunks of food? Well, some of you do. And for those who do the gram amount, that kind of encompasses what most people require to optimize their total daily protein intake is somewhere between .7 to 1.0 gram/lb in quotes, ideal body weight or target body weight. And I say that because if somebody is obese and they base their protein intake on their total body weight, they will be consuming an unnecessarily high amount of protein in a lot of instances. So protein targeting would be based on target body weight or goal body weight. So that's zero, .7 grams to 1.0 target body weight. So for those of you listening who are dying to know what's the sweet spot? Total daily protein. Well, that's it.

[00:39:52.660] – Allan


[00:39:54.410] – Alan Aragon

Okay. So on the keto.

[00:39:55.710] – Allan

Yeah. Let's jump into keto.

[00:39:57.200] – Alan Aragon

With keto. Keto is an interesting thing because it works very well for weight loss. And the caveat to that statement is it works very well for a temporary period for most people who try it. And that's because there appears to be a general inability to sustain strict keto, which by most definitions is 50 grams or less a day of carbs. Most people cannot sustain that for the long term. And the people who try to, their carb intake ends up roughly tripling over the course of a year of attempting keto. So it ends up tripling from the original assignment of eating less than 50 grams a day. And so that is the main issue with keto is that it works really well for fat loss and weight loss. And the way that it works for those things is that it removes a lot of options, a lot of food options. And the options it removes usually are foods that are hyperpalatable carbon fat combination foods that are very easy to over consume. And so when you remove those options, you simply are defaulted to eating less total calories by the end of the day, end of the weekend of the month.

[00:41:35.570] – Alan Aragon

And so there's a lot less variety in the diet. There's a lot less opportunity to overeat in the diet. There's a lot less motivation to sit there and overeat your fatty piece of meat. So that's how keto works. Of course, the problem is most of the majority and I can't put an exact number on what that exactly means. But more than half of the subjects who get on keto end up reaching the upper limits of keto by six months, certainly by twelve months. So for those of you who are on keto and have been on it for a few years and love it, and that's the way you do it. I don't care, man. That's great. You found what works for you. That's wonderful. But my issue with keto is when people go around saying that keto is the best keto superior, keto does special things, and it's actually a double edged sword to keto. When you look at long term health and when you look at the optimization or the protection of cardiovascular health, because with keto being a high fat diet, you're looking at 65% to 85% of the diet coming from fat, then you better be pretty Dang careful about the type of fat that you're eating because that's the predominant source of calories in your diet.

[00:43:04.050] – Alan Aragon

And if all you're eating is land animal fats all day mixed with there are other crappy kind of vegetable based fats as well, then you're setting yourself up for dyslipidemia and then the development of cardiovascular disease and then potentially cardiovascular events. So it can be a double edged sword but the thing about keto and the good thing about keto is while you're on it, you're probably going to be losing weight.

[00:43:36.170] – Allan

And I kind of put this in that continuum of dietary control as keto fits in the kind of the rigid range. And it is something that you do have to manage because from a nutritional perspective, if you're not eating certain vegetables, as you mentioned, if you're eating certain foods and excess to try to make that happen because keto didn't get the nickname of being the bacon diet for no reason, people were like, oh, sure, you can eat all the bacon you want. And that's not really the right way to do keto. And keto is a way of eating. I use it. I use it as a tool. It's a temporary tool. Like I said, for a period of time I can get over into the rigid mind frame and mindset, and it works fine for me. But when it comes to wanting to put on muscle to get stronger, keto might not be the best approach for us. And surprise, endurance athletes might not do well on keto either.

[00:44:32.690] – Alan Aragon

Yeah, that's definitely true. And that definitely is what the research evidence shows. So the collective literature on keto and performance is that it's a bad bet for that. But that's not too far fetched when you consider that athletic performance is really a carbohydrate based thing. It's based on the availability either from what you ingest around training or from what you store in your muscles. So glycogen being the stored form of carbohydrate, if you are under fueled from a carbohydrate perspective, that will always compromise the potential for maximally performing. Now there are alter endurance athletes who try to lowball their carbs, and that's fine. But they are more the exception than the rule in terms of the elite in that area and even the ultra endurance athletes who have done really well and claim to be low carbing when you look at their actual programs, they're consuming carbs throughout the race, so they just happen to be consuming less than what's normally recommended by the major organizations. So keto is something that if you have a lot at stake in terms of trophies or medals or endorsements and stuff, then you're not going to be a keto athlete who is compromising or jeopardizing his or her potential for maintaining that elite status.

[00:46:22.910] – Alan Aragon

It just doesn't happen. Now, if you're a weekend warrior or a regular guy just trying to look good at the pool or the beach or at the high school reunion, then under carving is not an issue. If you want to do good at the weekend soccer game, you might be compromised a little bit by being on keto, and you might not make the score the most amount of points out of the rest of your buddies. But it's not that big of an issue. Where keto becomes an issue with athletics is at the elite level and the professional level, you're not going to see many pro athletes at all even going near Keto because it's a liability.

[00:47:07.430] – Allan

Yeah, I think where you kind of hit the road, the rubber hit the road for me when we were talking about endurance was I think a lot of us look at endurance and think of it as a, oh, I'm going to start with this pace and I'm going to run that pace for the entire part of the race. But for most people that have done any competing at all, they know there are periods of time when you're going to try to go a little bit harder, a little bit faster. For a lot of us that are just recreational athletes, that's once you see the finish line and it's right there, you're going to try to sprint to the end. And the reality of it is you may not have the kind of gas you wanted to have during some of those sprints or faster bits of work because you don't have the muscle likage and necessary to make it happen.

[00:47:52.130] – Alan Aragon

Yes, that's correct. And it's those moments that separate the top finishers from those who don't place. It's the so called race winning moves being climbing uphills either running or cycling, passing that ending sprint towards the finish line is going to be a high intensity effort. And so those who are under carb simply do not have the biochemical reserves required to power those race winning moves. And, yeah, it can make the difference between winning and losing.

[00:48:32.870] – Allan

Now, there was one other thing that you had in the book that I could not leave without talking about because to me, this solved kind of a question I had because you're trying to work with a client or someone's trying to work with themselves. And they're like, well, I'm trying to chart my calories and my macros and my food. And like you said, they've got that app. And they're like every day, every day they're in the app. And then in the end you're like, okay, well, How'd you do today, How'd you do today, How'd you do today and one bad day, then kind of can become this bad cycle, particularly for individuals who've struggled in the past. So if you've gone through something and you struggle and fail, you work and fail, and now you're trying this again. But this quick single digit adherence rating system, I think this could be the key for a lot of people that have struggled with that start and fail cycle that they go through every time. So if you get nothing else from this flexible dieting book, I think this system is key. Could you tell us about this system?

[00:49:44.290] – Alan Aragon


[00:49:44.700] – Allan

How it works?

[00:49:46.190] – Alan Aragon

Yeah. This is something that I put together and started implementing back in 2005, 2006. And it first appeared in the self published book I did in 2007. And I used to call it the calendar method, where you just write a number down from one to ten where you're basically rating your performance or your adherence or compliance to the program, with ten being perfect. And so when the calendar is up on your wall and you're seeing a bunch of eights and nines and tens, and inevitably you see progress at the end of the month. So you are marching towards your goals. Whereas if you see just a bunch of five, six, and seven s littering up the month, then you have a sense of self accountability and a sense of awareness of why your progress is not happening. And so this real quick self grading system on a scale of one to ten, how good did you do? The fact that it takes like 1 minute to think about and write down the number was kind of a big win because people, well, clients who hated taking detailed records, they loved this method as long as they could be honest with me and honest with themselves about their performance.

[00:51:12.120] – Alan Aragon

On a scale of one to ten, it just took them 1 minute or less. It took them 10 seconds to think about how they did and write down the number and send it over. And nobody's going to be sending over nines and tens and then at the end of the month wondering what the hell happened. It just doesn't work like that. When you can establish a certain level of trust with yourself or with your clients, then they really can't. Once they're familiar with the program, they know whether they're following it or not. A lot of times with people that they're very honest about why they're failing at programs, they're like, I know what to do, I just don't do it. And you know what? That's true. So let's see if we can establish some accountability here that you can either have with yourself or with your coach or your practitioner, your dietician, your trainer, and let's just do a self grading system. I call it the accountability rubric, where it's one to ten. And over the years towards the 2010, I developed a way to make that rubric, that one to ten scale a little bit more concrete.

[00:52:36.840] – Alan Aragon

So it's more of a checklist. It evolved into being a checklist where there's ten specific points or tasks that you need to have completed throughout the day in order to grant yourself that number. And if you hit all ten of those things, which could be drink enough water, get enough sleep, get enough protein, eat two to four fruits a day, two to four servings of vegetables a day down the line, ten things, ten healthy things, then give yourself the ten if you got all ten and so on and so forth. And so that made the accountability rubric a little bit more real and a little more concrete for people to kind of think about. But at the same time, it still took about 25 seconds to look down the list and see whether you hit all those checkpoints, and then you can take a look at the month. If it's littered with eight, nines, and ten s, you're going to be reaching your goal. I'm glad that you found that system helpful, and there's a bunch of different things like that in the book that I hope that the readers will resonate with at least one of them.

[00:53:51.510] – Alan Aragon

But yeah, this is something that I've used pretty extensively in my practice.

[00:53:58.810] – Allan

Cool. Even doing it for yourself. It's just to say if I want to start implementing a new habit, a new action, I want to get better sleep, more sleep. It's a one to ten. It's a simple thing. You wake up in the morning, how is my sleep? And guess what? They still sell paper calendars. You can still buy them. You can still have one of them, and you can still sit there and look and say, okay, if I'm not doing better than a six or seven, what's going on? You can catch yourself pretty early in the month. As you start seeing that slide, it's like, okay, what am I doing here? That's not helping me do this, because I know this action gives me the result that I want. Like I said, I really appreciate that tool. And there's like you said, a lot of that just good stuff in there. I told you before the call, I could spend two, three days talking to you about this.

[00:54:55.420] – Allan

Thank you

[00:54:57.490] – Allan

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

[00:55:08.330] – Alan Aragon

The first one, this might be really cliche Allan, but get enough sleep, get enough good quality sleep. And per the scientific literature, it is a low probability that you're going to be optimizing your health if you consistently dip far below 7 hours. And I know a lot of healthy people and people who are just very vigorous getting five, 6 hours a day. But that's them. And that's how they're wired. And that's how they're built. And per the scientific evidence, they're not in the majority. So statistically, at the population level, you would want to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night or at least try to. And if you're not one of these people who can and you feel amazing with that 6 hours a day, great, fine. But just know that statistically people sleep is optimized at seven and up. And so that would be the first. The second thing would be, for God's sake, lift stuff if you can. And it doesn't have to be Olympic lifting and powerlifting and bodybuilding and flexing in the mirror between sets like you and me, people can do activities that do involve resisted joint movements that aren't necessarily at the gym.

[00:56:42.770] – Alan Aragon

They're not necessarily in the weight room where you're fighting for spots with the gym Bros. A lot of people are intimidated by the word resistance training. They're just picturing barbells and dumbbells flying around. But any kind of movement that you can just involve your joints with resisted movement. There's a million resources and ways to do it. You can go outside and do it. You can go to a park and do various things. It doesn't have to be at the gym. Get resistance training in your life. Get enough sleep. Make sure you get resistance training as a foundation, as a non negotiable part of your training. Some people think that all you need to do is go for a bunch of walks throughout the week and you're good. Well, okay, as good as walking is, that's not going to save you from sarcopenia. That's not going to save you from the ravages of aging. That's not going to allow you to age, amazingly like Allan Misner. So what people need to realize they have to do a certain amount of pushing and pulling and maybe some squatting or some at least leg extension and hip extension and things to stimulate the lower body on a resist basis, whether it's more primal and organic type of movement outside or whether it's in the gym.

[00:58:08.330] – Alan Aragon

So I'll be number two. The third one, eat the foods that you personally like most. Forget about whatever diet book is telling you are the super foods that everybody needs to eat. That's just a load of baloney, really. If you take a survey of all the centenarians in the world and super centenarians, they all eat different foods. They all have a different list of favorite foods, and almost all of them list a bunch of crap they include in their diet every day too. But yes, stick with the foods that you enjoy personally, because there's psychological and physiological signature reasons why you gravitate towards those foods. And we as humans are not completely devoid of any instinct. We have a feel for what we like, and there's good reasons for that. So you will be able to stick to your diet long term if you stick to the foods that you like within a healthy eating pattern. Right? I'm talking about foods within the food groups and you should be getting the food groups. So those would be my three if I could boil it down to three. And I guess maybe if I may add a little sub thing under the eat the foods that you like.

[00:59:35.220] – Alan Aragon

Eat them in the pattern that fits your personal preference and schedule. There's a lot of color blue going around about when you should eat your foods. How much should time restrict the eating window? Can we only eat from 08:00 a.m. to 04:00 p.m. in order to maximize? That's all majoring in the minors. That's not going to make somebody freaking awesome at 70 compared to maintaining their exercise program and a decent overall food selection of the foods that they love. When you eat your foods in the day, that should be determined by how you prefer it. Do you like to eat dinner at 08:00 P.m. Instead of 06:00 P.m.? Cool. Eat it now. Do you like to have a pre bed snack? Great. Have that. Do you like to skip breakfast? Is that how you function best?

[01:00:31.400] – Alan Aragon

Cool. Skip the hell out of breakfast. It's not going to make or break you. There are very silly books going around saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and you have to stop eating, x foods or stop eating carbs that you have to make sure you don't eat like 3 hours before bed. That's a load of crap, Allan. And I can't emphasize that enough how trivial that advice is in the big picture.

[01:00:59.390] – Allan

Thank you.

[01:01:00.100] – Alan Aragon

My advice is do what you can stick to within the context of an overall healthy selection of foods.

[01:01:09.800] – Allan

Great. Thank you for that. If someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about your book Flexible Dieting, where would you like for me to send them?

[01:01:18.410] – Alan Aragon

AlanAragon.com. And then we've got the various links to my stuff. So I have a research review as well, a monthly research review for the nerdy types who like to really dig into the details. And then I've got my book Flexible Dieting, that's going to come out on June 7, but it's available for preorder, as you and I are speaking.

[01:01:46.430] – Allan

But this episode is going to drop on June 7th. So, yeah, the book is available now wherever you want to get books. You can also go to his website alanaragon.com, if you go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/541 I'll be sure to have links there. So, Alan, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[01:02:05.030] – Alan Aragon

You got it, Allan. And you as well. Thank you so much.

Post Show/Recap

[01:02:15.930] – Allan

Hi, Rachel. How was that interview?

[01:02:18.070] – Rachel

Oh, my gosh, it was great. It was really interesting because right at the very beginning you drew me in with the title of the book Being Flexible Dieting. But the $64,000 question, how do you stick to a diet? Isn't that the question of the year?

[01:02:34.560] – Allan

Yeah. Well, he went to a publisher and sometimes publishers want to change the name of a book. You might think this is the name of the book. So there was discussion about flexible dieting in the book. In all fairness, it was a part of it part of the conversation, which is an important part of, like you said, sticking to a diet. But really, what this book is about is about nutrition for performance or physique.

[01:02:59.760] – Rachel


[01:03:00.760] – Allan

And health. So it was science based, meaning he went to the science, the studies that were out there. He didn't pick a side of a conversation and say this is what it is based on his beliefs. He literally went through and said, okay, what is out there? Everything that's out there. And then based on what's there, can we draw a conclusion? And in some cases, he didn't really feel like we could. But for a lot of it, he literally would go through and say, okay, based on all these studies, this is what it says. And this is the bet if you want to perform well at strength training, this is what you eat, literally giving you the calories, giving you the macro breakdowns, all of it. The flexible dieting comes around and, okay, that's all good and fine if I know what I'm supposed to eat, but can I stick to it long enough to see that performance improvement? And that's where the flexible dieting comes in of saying, okay, if you're getting the nutrition you need and you've got a little bit of buffer calories in there that you have maybe 90, ten, you say, so 10% of my calories.

[01:04:13.530] – Allan

So I'm going to eat 2000 calories as I'm trying to cut weight of that. Or 200 calories can be, for lack of a better word, crap. It could be chips. It can be a candy bar or maybe half a candy bar, depending on how many calories are in it. But you see where you can go and say, okay, I don't have to eat perfect all the time to see these things. If I go in and I at least know that I'm getting the nutrition that I need, that's the first one. And then second, I'm not just overeating because of these lack of a better word, empty calories. And then the way I would say it is, enjoy the heck out of it. So don't make it just any old candy bar. Make it your favorite candy bar, or make it something higher class, higher end stuff. Don't just drink just any beer. Make it a beer that you're really going to enjoy. That kind of mindset makes it a lot more sustainable.

[01:05:15.120] – Rachel

Well, the other thing that really attracted me was that he said that your calorie deficit doesn't have to be a daily thing as long as you have a calorie deficit over the week or the month or the year that it takes for you to get to your goal weight, if that was the main goal. But yeah, you don't have to be really rigid with your eating rules day by day. So I like that approach.

[01:05:39.610] – Allan

Yeah. Even though there's a lot of things about the human body that are built into the rhythms of a day or a month or a year, the reality of it is there's nothing magic from the calories in a day. You can gain weight in a day. You can lose weight in a day, but you're not going to lose a whole lot, and you're not going to gain a whole lot. If you do notice the scale move any at all really much on a day to day basis, that's mostly just water shifting around. You went pee one more time than you did the day before, you weigh less simple. And so I think the key of what he's talking about there is just know that there's sort of a target of what you're burning doing the work that you're doing. And you don't have to create an accounting system like it's General Electric. You can go through and say, I know these foods. I know this is how my body reacts to it. I know what a serving size looks like. I know about how much. And for many of us, we do eat the same foods as staples on a fairly regular basis.

[01:06:53.050] – Allan

So if you know, okay, this is my dinner. I have it probably once a week. You don't have to look it up every time. You don't have to say, okay, what are my macros? What are my calories? You just know. I'm getting a third of my protein in this meal. I'm getting half of my carbs in this meal, and I'm getting 35% of my calories in this meal. And if you just know those kinds of things, it's just plug and play and enjoy your food and then occasionally flexible. If something happens and you need to be flexible, then just let it go. You're not destroying yourself in a day.

[01:07:27.830] – Rachel

Yeah, right.

[01:07:29.160] – Rachel

The other thing I really enjoyed was the part about protein and how usually people 40 and over or maybe even 50 and over or even 60 and over have a strange relationship with protein in their diet. It seems like they skip it for the morning and maybe have a tiny bit at lunch and then throw it all at dinner hour when it seems more appropriate to spread it throughout the day.

[01:07:51.510] – Allan

It's easier to get if you spread it. That's absolute truth and unfortunate. Food guidelines, foods that's available, they're highly dense in carbs and not the nutritionally dense carbs, but bread. So there's pizza, there's hamburgers, all those foods. And you say, okay, what's the protein? And they have some protein. But you look at the protein in the cheese and the pepperoni, assuming you even got that on there. How much protein is in a pizza? And I'd say, probably not a lot. I haven't looked it up, but I would say less than 20% of the total calories is coming from protein breakfast cereal. Maybe there's some in your milk if you're even drinking regular milk, because maybe you're doing the soy milk or maybe you're doing the oat milk and you start looking at the protein of that and the protein that was in the cereal. And you're kind of like, okay, 75% of my calories are coming from carbs, 20% from fat, and now 5% protein. So it's almost devoid of protein.

[01:09:06.690] – Rachel


[01:09:07.490] – Allan

And most of us should be eating more protein than we are. It's hard to shift over until you actually make a concerted effort to get protein into every meal.

[01:09:20.170] – Rachel

Well, yeah, exactly. I don't think we don't pay that close attention to how we eat, our habits of our eating. And if you're in a habit of having cereal for breakfast or a sandwich or something at lunch, you just don't notice that you're not getting the adequate amount of protein probably. The other thing he mentioned, too, was the ratio for how many grams of protein per body weight. He mentioned that it's not the body weight that you're at, it's at your goal body weight for the purpose of weight loss, which that is something I don't know that I paid attention to. I don't know that I've heard it like that before.

[01:09:59.850] – Allan

Well, yeah, because what they would typically base it on is they would say your lean mass. So what you're thinking in terms of this, let's say you're at 30% body fat and you want to get down closer to say 20 or 15. Okay. Then you're going to want to lose the body fat. And if you were to do that, you lose that amount of body fat to get down to, you're going to be closer to your lean body mass weight. So realizing now you're carrying less fat. So the way you are is closer to lean body mass weight, particularly if you're like a bodybuilder and you're trying to get down into the single digits, you're carrying very little fat and most of the mass that you have is your lean body. So that's where that number comes from is really just a function of saying rather than think about it from lean body mass. Because for a lot of us, that's hard. Unless you go get a DEXA scan and they tell you your body mass is this amount of fat, you don't know. So it's easier to just base it on where your goal weight would be and just use that.

[01:11:08.140] – Allan

Now that's going to overstate it a little bit from the numbers, but it's not significant. Again, if you're just thinking unless you're trying to go from 50% body fat to 40%, then if 40% is your target, you're going to probably be overeating some protein because that's not really a lean body mass. But you see, for most of us, it's like we want to get down to that 20 to 15 range. So that's where that number is coming in.

[01:11:35.080] – Rachel

Yeah, that was great. It was a great discussion. Really interesting.

[01:11:37.930] – Allan

Yeah. This goes down is so far my favorite book in 2022.

[01:11:43.270] – Rachel


[01:11:44.020] – Allan

If anyone is really looking at improving their performance, I would strongly encourage them to read this book because it's going to give you a formula for how you can eat to optimize your performance. And whatever you're trying to do, get stronger, run further, faster and just look better.

[01:12:02.260] – Rachel

Awesome. Great discussion.

[01:12:04.400] – Allan

All right. Well, I'll talk to you next week.

[01:12:06.330] – Rachel

Great. Take care.

[01:12:07.510] – Allan

You too.


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

– Anne Lynch– Eric More– Leigh Tanner
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– Eliza Lamb– Judy Murphy– Tim Alexander

Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


May 24, 2022

What your mouth has to say about your health with Dr. Kami Hoss

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

You may have heard that your dental health reflects your whole health. It's true. On episode 539, we discuss Dr. Kami Hoss' book, If Your Mouth Could Talk: An In-Depth Guide to Oral Health and Its Impact on Your Entire Life.


Let's Say Hello

[00:02:36.910] – Allan

Hey, Ras. How are things going?

[00:02:38.870] – Rachel

Good. How are you today, Allan?

[00:02:41.010] – Allan

I'm a little frustrated. Just a little.

[00:02:43.300] – Rachel

oh dear. Oh, gosh. How come?

[00:02:45.880] – Allan

Okay. Now, you know, not long ago, I guess it's been a little while now. We went through that pick the music for this podcast, right?

[00:02:54.270] – Rachel

Oh, yeah.

[00:02:54.860] – Allan

And I went on a site where you were supposed to be able to get royalty free license, free music to play and use.

[00:03:05.170] – Allan

Okay. And what I did, to be fair, I didn't have to because this site offers these things for free is I went in and I donated on PayPal a little bit of money, not a lot to all three of them. I said, if I'm considering your song, then I'll pay all three of you because I downloaded your song. And now because I'm posting my podcast on YouTube, I'm getting Copyright infringement letters from a company that works for the guy I bought the songs from or got the songs from.

[00:03:40.340] – Rachel

Oh, my gosh.

[00:03:41.000] – Allan

I've emailed him. I've tried to refute it. And the risk I have is if I keep trying to refute it, then YouTube will just take my channel now.

[00:03:52.570] – Rachel


[00:03:53.260] – Allan

And so it's one of those things where they're giving him the benefit of the doubt. And my only opportunity to really fight it is to go in with the death deal. I'm either going to win or I'm going to die.

[00:04:08.200] – Rachel


[00:04:08.810] – Allan

And he's doing it, pinging every show now as it comes out. And they're going through and finding these obviously on YouTube, there's billions of videos. So they're scrolling through those videos. They're finding that song in my show. And I got a nasty email once a week now, and I can go and refute it, but they almost immediately are just sitting there ready to say false. And they're not looking at the evidence I'm sending them because I show them that it's on a particular site. I can show them the licensing from that site, and I can show them the YouTubers. I mean, I'm sorry, the PayPal receipt where I sent these guys money. This guy money. So I'm really frustrated. So here's what I want to ask. If anyone in the audience I usually don't try to talk in the plural, but I know there's a lot of you out there. If any of you are musically inclined, maybe in a band or something, and you want to come up with something that I can use for a new theme song for the show, please get in contact with me. Okay, allan@40plusfitnesspodcast.com, it needs to be uplifting.

[00:05:16.240] – Allan

It needs to be cool and vibey. You know me and you don't know where I'm at. You've listened to maybe some of the songs that I've used in the past and what got voted up this time, which I'd love to keep because it's what you wanted to listen to as an intro and an outro for the show. But I just don't want to keep putting up with this guy hitting him, because if at some point the podcast on YouTube could ever or would ever monetize, he's going to be the one monetizing it. So the whole other rest of the podcast gets nothing because he's claimed to this 30 seconds or so or even two minutes or so of music that I got legitimately off of a share site. He put it out there, I got his email, he got paid, and now he's trying to come after my revenue. Whether it's not if I were making revenue or ever do ever to monetize that site, he is going to be the one that gets all of that. So I'm like it's frustrating.

[00:06:15.950] – Rachel

That's crazy.

[00:06:17.310] – Allan

Well, it is the fact that the guy is not responding in a fair way. I have his email because I paid him on PayPal. I have his email, so I emailed him directly. He's not responding to me. So I'm going to send him a couple more emails. But if you are musically inclined to play the different instruments, maybe put something together for me, then I would love to feature a listener's music on the show, give you full credit for doing that for me. So if you can just get in touch with me, allan@40Plusfitnesspodcast.com and let's connect and let's make this a project. Let's have some fun with it.

[00:06:55.550] – Rachel

Yeah, that would be awesome. It'd be great to have our own listeners music. How cool is that?

[00:07:00.050] – Allan

Yeah. So hopefully we can work that out. I mean, there's a lot of you out there. The podcast gets about 5000-6000 downloads per episode. I know some of you are really in the music and good at music. So if you've got something for me, I want to hear from you.

[00:07:13.410] – Rachel

Awesome. That sounds great.

[00:07:15.380] – Allan

How are things up there?

[00:07:16.970] – Rachel

Great. Beautiful weather, beautiful time to be outside, enjoying the trail and getting ready to plant our garden. Just having a good time this spring.

[00:07:26.230] – Allan

So the ground is not frozen anymore.

[00:07:28.480] – Rachel

Not right now. No. It's actually pretty good. We're getting a lot of Sunshine. The weather is warming up. We're just getting the soil ready because it is still definitely too early to plant. But yeah, we're just planning out our garden and getting ready to get moving.

[00:07:45.010] – Allan

What does the Almanac say?

[00:07:47.170] – Rachel

Yeah, don't plant anything until the beginning of June.

[00:07:49.870] – Allan

Okay. All right.

[00:07:53.150] – Rachel

Better safe than sorry.

[00:07:54.580] – Allan

All right. Well, are you ready to have a conversation with Dr. Hoss?

[00:07:57.680] – Rachel



[00:08:29.770] – Allan

Dr. Hoss, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:08:32.570] – Dr. Hoss

Thanks for having me.

[00:08:34.210] – Allan

You know, in over six years of doing this podcast and this being episode 539 of the podcast, I've never had a dentist Orthodontist. We've never talked about oral health. And I'm like so to see your book, I was really excited to get an opportunity to have a conversation with you because we hear a lot about, well, if you have mouth disease or periodontal disease, then there's a higher probability you're going to have heart disease and there's a connection there. So today we're going to kind of get into some of that.

[00:09:05.030] – Dr. Hoss

Let's get into it.

[00:09:06.140] – Allan

Yeah. And then I'm really excited about it because again, I think it's just one aspect of our health. That's really important. And, of course, when was the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. When was the best time the second best time is right now. When was the best time for us to take care of our oral health was when we were babies. But when is the second best time is What We Can do right now?

[00:09:29.280] – Dr. Hoss

You got it.

[00:09:30.030] – Allan

That's where I want to go. The book is really good, though, if you've got grandchildren or children and you want to make sure you're giving them the best opportunity for a healthy mouth, a healthy life. The book is really good about giving you that guidance and giving you the things you need. So I really appreciate this opportunity to have this conversation with you.

[00:09:49.220] – Dr. Hoss

Likewise. Thank you so much for having me.

[00:09:51.910] – Allan

Now, the name of your book is If Your Mouth Could Talk, an In-Depth Guide to Oral Health and the Impact on Your Entire Life. And as I mentioned earlier, this is about what our mouth is doing for us or to us. And some of those things are there's going to be a little bit of water into the road onto the bridge? We're going to have to deal with that. But we are in a place where we can start taking control of our oral health. And this book gives you a lot of that. So thank you. You went through a lot of this in the book, and there were studies about all these chronic diseases that we're dealing with, heart disease, Alzheimer's, cancers, on and on, diabetes, on and on. There's a link to our mouth and not just what we're eating, because I think that might be part of it, too. But there's a link to our mouth health and these other chronic diseases. Can you kind of go through a little bit of that and that connection and why that might be so?

[00:10:49.110] – Dr. Hoss

Yes, of course. Again, thanks so much for having me. I'm so excited to be talking about this. So like you said, you've been doing this for so many years, and I'm the first dentist really talking about oral health connection to the physical health and chronic diseases and longevity. And that's not surprising because unfortunately, because how our teaching institutions were established 200 years ago, that dental schools and medical schools have always been separate over the last two centuries, we used to know it. The early Egyptians and the Greeks, they were aware of the connection between oral health and physical health. In fact, they wanted to check someone if they were healthy, they would ask them to open their mouth. They would look at the mouth. They kind of had a good feeling for what was going on beyond the mouth. But over the last two centuries, unfortunately, we've forgotten this because of the education process and then insurances. They don't cover dentistry. And then we've been taught as a dentist, I'm a dentist. I'm an orthodontist and then to facial orthopedics. As you know, my wife is a pediatric dentist. We have a very large group practice with oral surgeons and with general dentists and with hygienists and with all sorts of other specialties.

[00:11:55.930] – Dr. Hoss

And so I've had the pleasure, but also the experience of working with all these different specialties, seeing kids and adults and young and elderly go through oral health issues. And I think it was time that I put this together. So a few years ago, I actually first wanted to write this book about the oral connection to the physical health of the chronic diseases that you're mentioning, because I thought the biggest disconnection that people have. Right. They really don't connect it together. As you mentioned, more and more studies are coming out. If you ask me what chronic disease is connected to our health.

[00:12:29.240] – Dr. Hoss

Let me just tell you the one that I don't know yet.

[00:12:31.490] – Dr. Hoss

Because almost everything else is right. It's easier just to more and more are found. Over the last 20,30 years, we've had just a flood of information and clinical studies correlating oral health to almost everything. Like you mentioned, many types of cancers and heart disease and pregnancy complications and diabetes and Alzheimer's and dementia and all sorts of things. So there are two really main connection. There was a long answer to your question, but there are two primary connections. I want your listeners to think about this. Your mouth is the opening to your body. Think about this. If you had an infection on your arm, a big infection the size of your mouth or on your leg.

[00:13:10.210] – Dr. Hoss

That connection would be very easy to know that, oh, my God.

[00:13:12.660] – Dr. Hoss

If I don't take care of this infection on my arm or leg, I may lose my arm or leg or I may have chronic problems, right? I may have organ failures, I may die. That connection is very easy. But when you have an infection in the mouth, I. E. Dental infection, cavities or gum infection, periodontal disease, people don't connect those two things, which is really incredible. And again, my profession is to blame really as much for that because we don't go around and educating people because we don't get that education in schools. We all get to learn how to fill cavities and straighten crooked teeth. So there are two ways primarily that your oral health impacts chronic disease. These two ways are your mouth is filled with microbes. In fact, we have more microbes in our bodies than we have human cells. We have about 30 trillion human cells and somewhere around 100 trillion microbes. And our mouth is filled with billions of microbes, somewhere between 5 billion to 100 billion. So if you have an infection in the mouth, those bacteria or the toxins can enter the bloodstream. And where does the blood go?

[00:14:15.420] – Dr. Hoss

Everywhere. So it can go to the heart and cause a local infection or cause systemic inflammation, go to the brain, the joints, anywhere in the brain, and then cause problems or the inflammation in the mouth in response to the bacteria can cause chronic inflammation that can cause also systemic health issues.

[00:14:36.250] – Allan

Now in the mouth, one of the things that kind of came out of my reading your book was kind of an understanding that we all kind of knew well, we all know there's a gut microbiome. It's getting more and more pressed that's the hot kid on the block right now, take care of your gut, take care of your health. But our mouth actually has its own microbiome.

[00:14:55.840] – Dr. Hoss

In fact. What do you think the gut microbiome comes from? The mouth. Right. This is such a wonderful question, by the way. So when a baby is born, when the baby is in the womb, there's no microbes involved, right. The baby gets the first dose of its microbiome traveling through the birth canal. And that's why when babies have had the moms have had natural vaginal birth, they just have a better mix of microbiome to begin with. Right. And then they get more additional microbes through breastfeeding and obviously passing between the parents and the siblings and all the caregivers and all that. The first place that these microbes get seated is in the mouth. And every time we swallow all those microbes, we're swallowing millions of microbes. Every time we're swallowing to our gut. And that's where the gut microbes come in. So you're 100% right. People have at least started talking about the gut microbiome and how important that is to our overall health. But I think the disconnection, again, is where the gut microbes come from. It's the oral microbiome, which is the collection of all the buildings of microbes in your mouth. And so if you don't have a healthy oral microbiome, that whole ecosystem is out of balance.

[00:16:06.260] – Dr. Hoss

And then you get unhealthy gut microbiome and all of these, everything the body is connected to everything else. But unfortunately, because dentists and physicians, we have different worlds and we have our own specialties we all forget this connection. And so you're 100% right. The microbiome, our microbes has evolved alongside us for millions of years, and it's key to our survival and it's key to our health, to our immunity, to our digestive system, all sorts of things.

[00:16:35.390] – Allan

Now, for most of us, when we think about oral health, Besides coming to visit someone like you on a regular basis, we're thinking about brushing our teeth, flossing, mouthwash, that type of thing.

[00:16:48.010] – Dr. Hoss


[00:16:49.070] – Allan

But in many cases, what we're doing is actually causing more harm than good.

[00:16:54.220] – Dr. Hoss

In many cases, in fact, you would think in the last 30 years, with all the advancements in science, technology and medicine, our mouths would be healthiest ever. Right. But actually, they're the unhealthiest ever. More than 50% of adults over age 30, by the way, these are CDC numbers. And more than 70% of people age 65 have gum disease. I think if we didn't do anything, we would be in a better position than using anything oral health that we currently use. So I actually started my book with the first sentence of this is not a book about brushing and flossing because I really wanted to make sure that people because I think that's all we are educated about. When we go to the dentist, just brush your teeth for your teeth and you should be good to go. Right? But I just told you that's just not the case. We're very unhealthy as a society. As you know, unfortunately, as Americans, we do many things right. But our health is not one of them. That's why I love being on podcasts like yours, because I feel like this is our passion, yours and mine to get this message out to everybody, we want to make sure that we look at your oral health more than brushing and flossing.

[00:18:01.550] – Dr. Hoss

And like you said, let's take the mouthwash, which was an example that you said. Let me just give you this very simple, the most common mouthwashes that people use, first of all, they use it because they want to mask their bad breath. And where is this bad breath coming from? Is because you have terrible, poor oral health, gum disease, right? Again, if you had that infection on your arm that was starting to produce this terrible odor, you wouldn't just pour like something that smells good over it, right? You would go take care of the infection. But what we do with our mouth, we use these very strong, potent antibacterial antiseptic mouthwashes that literally on the bottle sells, kills 99.9% of germs twice a day. So let me ask you a question, if I told you, hey, I found the best cure for all the diseases, take this antibiotics twice a day indefinitely to prevent disease.

[00:18:53.780] – Dr. Hoss

This is going to kill 99.99% of the germs in your body. You would tell me, call me, you're crazy. I just told you, gut microbiome is so critical to our but we do that in our mouth and we don't even think about it. I literally met a person three weeks ago. That when I asked him, what do you use for oral health? Because he has this terrible oral health and he said, I use this mouthwash that kills 99.99% of germs. I won't say the name. And then on the other hand, he uses probiotics. So he tried to put billions of microbes back in his mouth. When I told him one of them is just killing all the microbes and the other one is just full of microbes. You never really thought it through just because he just saw the ad for one and then the other. And just like, hey, I'm going to try to do everything I can. So our oral health is at worst it's ever been. And it's partially due to diet. It's partially because our diet has just changed so much since the agricultural revolution and then the Industrial Revolution.

[00:19:47.820] – Dr. Hoss

Everything is processed foods and nothing close to what it was intended to do, but partially is because of the oral care products that we're using. It's just a terrible marketplace right now.

[00:19:56.950] – Allan

Yeah. And they do a really good job of marketing. I had read a story one time about why our toothpaste foams and it foams because that showed people it was working.

[00:20:09.610] – Dr. Hoss


[00:20:10.320] – Allan

And so it wasn't that it was valuable. It was just that became the famous tagline for that product.

[00:20:17.210] – Dr. Hoss

In fact, the two things that companies do manufacture So-called oral care products, companies with toothpaste and mouthwash to make you think it's doing something. There are two things. One, they make a foam, like you said, because more foam, you feel like you must be cleaning doing something. Right. In fact, too much foam is terrible because you can't even see what you're doing anymore. A very little bit of foam using a very natural foaming, like Tiago or something not like SLS or something that's really damaging or soft tissue that could be toxic when you swallow all those things, which most manufacturers use. But that's on the phone because they just trying to tell you that they're working, which is actually doing the exact opposite. The other trick they use is they put a very strong Mint flavor, like something like peppermint oil. Essential oil, which is terrible. Essential oil is another thing that they may have other properties, but they don't belong in your mouth. And so a very common one is peppermint oil, which is really very dangerous for children, in addition to being terrible to the microbiome because it's a very important antibiotic bacterial essential oil.

[00:21:19.430] – Dr. Hoss

But what it does is you feel like you have the foam and now your mouth smells like this minty for at least 30 minutes. So it makes you feel like it's doing something. So those are the two things that I think you should just put aside when you're thinking about what oral care products you want to use for yourself and your children.

[00:21:37.130] – Allan

Now one place where I think it kind of surprised me, I guess, for a lack of better word was seeing how much the mouth can interrupt our sleep. So sleep disordered breathing. And I think many of us would know that because if we're over 40, I would say a large percentage of us probably snore. Some people even have sleep apnea or something you actually introduced me to now is upper airway resistance syndrome. Can we talk about those? Because for a lot of folks, they're going to go to the doctor and they may have a sleep issue, they may get diagnosed, go to a sleep clinic, and the doctor is going to say lose weight. But some of this is already kind of a little bit dawn because our mouth is already where it's going to be. Can you talk about how the mouth, the teeth, and then how that all relaxed our sleep.

[00:22:30.500] – Dr. Hoss

Yeah, great question. In fact, if you notice, the longest chapter in my book is about the breathing and the sleeping chapter, because I think you're right. People don't like why is a dentist talking about sleep? I don't understand. So here's what it is. So when I talk about oral health, I'm talking about two different areas. One is the microbial health. And my goal is to educate the public. Let's move from killing the microbes and disinfecting our mouths and sterilizing our mouths to cleaning, protecting and supplementing our mouth. Right. That's really what I want to be. From the microbial perspective, we want to protect and nurture our microbial community. That's in your mouth called the oral microbiome, which leads to our gut microbiome, all of that. So we can talk about that at some point later again. But the other side of it is the growth and development of the mouth. Now, contrary to what most people think, your mouth is not just this little area where you have your teeth, right? Your upper jaw, called the maxilla, goes all the way under your eyes. The bones under your eyes is still part of the maxilla, part of your cheekbones.

[00:23:38.770] – Dr. Hoss

It forms the bones of the nasal cavity. And then the lower jaw, of course, houses the tongue. And it's the rest of your face. So other than your forehead, your eyes, everything else in your face is your mouth. And so your mouth impacts your airway. Of course, it's the upper jaw with the nose and the lower jaw with the tongue. And so it has a dramatic impact on your breathing. Right. And during the day, of course, breathing, I don't have to tell you, oxygen is critical for everything, right? It's the number one nutrient that we need. It's even more critical in a child, especially the first five years, because their brain is exploding goes from 2020 5%, the maximum size at birth to 90% of its size by age five. So during those five years, the growth of the mouth is critical for their airway, breathing, oxygen intake and sleep. What happens during sleep is if you don't have good Airways, if you're not breathing incorrectly, that gets even worse at night because your muscles relax. So the tongue goes and blocks the airway. And as you mentioned, half of the people snore, which means really, we're all affected because either snore yourself or your partner snores, which keeps you up at night and many other problems.

[00:24:50.080] – Dr. Hoss

And snoring, even though we always joke about it when I meet my friends, that's the number one thing that they joke about with their partner. They always blame the other partner. Of course, it's never done that. They snore. But snoring is the first step of this downhill thing. First of all, it could be a sign that you already have something, like you said, UARS or sleep apnea, which they're all at the range between when you say sleep disorder breathing, which is really all the breathing issues that cause you not to have a good night's sleep. It really starts with snoring, which basically is a vibration of your soft tissues with your nose and your mouth because you're supposed to breathe with your nose. Now, why am I talking about the nose even though I'm a dentist, is because your palate, which is the roof of your mouth, is also the floor of your nose. It's the same bone. So when your mouth is small, your airway is small, you can't breathe your nose right. When your mouth is small, your tongue doesn't sit against the palate. So it goes and blocks your airway and you can't breathe at night.

[00:25:44.920] – Dr. Hoss

So really we should be the dentist community should be the leading the charge against sleep apnea and sleep disorders. And we should work hand in hand with sleep physicians. Right. They can make the diagnosis. We can make the dental appliances that help with breathing. And as you very well said, it the best time to do this is when you have a child and they have airway breathing issues. And that's why you should see a pediatric dentist when your baby is born immediately, because it literally starts from even health of pregnancy impacts these things. But really the latest you should see a pediatric dentist is right at birth before the baby is coming in because let's just say your baby has a tongue tie. Now, the tongue doesn't move around. That means it doesn't sit against the palate, which means the baby can't swallow, they can't breastfeed. Then they're going to start breathing through their mouth, cause mouth breathing. When you start breathing through your mouth, the nasal airway doesn't get stimulated. So the mouth and the nose don't grow correctly. And so as you can see, these little things start becoming really big problems over time during childhood because your mouth, the bones have not formed and they're still growing and the sutures have not used as orthodontists as pediatric dentists, we can actually fix problems, right?

[00:27:00.990] – Dr. Hoss

We can actually permanently fix it. We expand the upper jaw, we bring the lower jaw forward and we permanently fix airway issues. In adults like me and you, we can still fix it, but it usually involves wearing something up to bed, right? Yes, you can do some surgical treatments, but I'm not a big fan of it for majority cases. But some of the common things is obviously we can lose weight or become more healthier in general. But if those things are not working, then you need to wear an oral device that kind of keeps your jaw and your mouth open during night time so you can sleep better or you can wear a CPAP, those devices and some of those things, of course, it's different for everybody. They're like 100 devices that are out there that could work differently for different people. And so really, people need to visit their dentist and or sleep position and find something because it doesn't matter what you do. You need to breathe. I need to breathe. As we said, you can't really joke around with oxygen and take every single cell in your body will suffocate if you're not breathing correctly, which again, it gets exaggerated when we're sleeping.

[00:28:02.280] – Allan

Yes. And the reason I brought this up is sleep is so fundamental to our overall well-being and health. If you're not sleeping well, you can eat well, you can exercise, you can do pretty much everything else you want. Still not going to be optimized now. So if you are struggling with snoring or sleep apnea, go see your dentist and your sleep specialist and have some conversations because I think that's something we'll all want to look at because like I said, like you said, it's happening. There's so many of us exploring very common.

[00:28:34.730] – Dr. Hoss

And because of the obesity epidemic, this has gotten worse and worse right in the last 20 years. By the way, I just did want to say that not every dentist, unfortunately, and every physician is airway focused or sleep trained. It's just a small fraction of them, unfortunately, are it is not a requirement. But in 2017, the American Dental Association recommended that every dentist does a sleep screening or airway screening during every dental exam. But we just don't because there's one thing for them to recommend. It's one thing for the dentist to go back to school and actually get trained and educated about this. So when you do go to your dentist, make sure that they're trained and they know bad sleep and airway.

[00:29:14.150] – Allan

Now, I'll admit I'm like everybody else and so I'm out there and I'm like I want to do better for my health. I'm going into this health food store and they've got all this different stuff, toothpaste, mouthwash.

[00:29:32.460] – Dr. Hoss

I know about it.

[00:29:34.610] – Allan

But this is a health store. So they have this clay. It's basically dirt is what it was. And they flavored it cinnamon, which I don't know if that was good or bad. But in your book, you go through and talk about some of the ingredients that we're going to see in our dental care products, like you called one of them the mouth Rageous ingredients. And then the mouthstanding ingredients kind of plays on building words. So some of these are really bad for us and we probably shouldn't have them in our health care or oral care. And some are probably really good for us. Can you kind of go through and talk about some of the good ones and some of the bad ones?

[00:30:14.910] – Dr. Hoss

I'm happy to do it. Like you said, I know when I go to the grocery store and I see that toothpaste aisle, I'm like, how does a person supposed to make that decision? We as dentists, I'm on the board of UCLA Dental School, and we get little to no education, almost none in dental school about oral care products. You would think your dentist knows what's in a toothpaste. Our education and knowledge of it is just as much as you'd be surprised. We just know, like, okay, maybe Fluoride. I've asked 20 dentists, what's in a toothpick fluoride. What else is there? I don't know. How does the fluoride work? I don't know. If you don't want to use Fluoride, what else do you use? I don't know. Like you go to a natural health store and you're like, I don't know, maybe this is just good and that people will make it. They have no idea because they're not oral health experts. And so, of course, people don't know what to use. Dentists don't know what to use. So the manufacturers just kind of do their own thing, and then people end up buying something that has the boldest claim or has the nicest packaging or for the kids has the best flavoring.

[00:31:17.070] – Dr. Hoss

Nothing based on science and fact and clinical research and something that's safe and effective. Those two things are critical. For kids, playfulness is even important because we want to make sure they build positive associations. But safe and effective and effective. These are the two things that are always like anything we put in our bodies. We want to make sure it's safe and effective food. Like you said, I think many of us are educated about reading what's in our food or educating about what's healthy food, what's organic, what's natural, what's whole food, what's fermented, all of those things. But when it comes to oral care products, because nobody has this information, I thought I got to put this in the book. So people have a reference. So what's mouth sounding good? What's mouth rage is terrible and you should never put it. By the way, what other food do you put in your mouth twice a day, every single day, other than your toothpaste and mouthwash? Nothing. Right. So this is such an important thing. Right. Let me just tell you, with the toothpaste and the mouthwash, all our products that you put in your mouth, they get absorbed through your mouth, through the mucosa, through the mucosa membranes.

[00:32:19.550] – Dr. Hoss

And then, of course, it goes through the blood, goes everywhere in your brain. Of course, we swallow some of it. There's no way that you're not going to swallow. So that's why these ingredients in your oral care products are so important, not just for the health of your mouth, but for the health of your body. So let's go over a couple of the very important ones. One is Fluoride, can we just start with the most controversial toothpaste ingredient or mouthwash ingredient on Fluoride? Okay. So Fluoride is a drug is a medication. It's FDA regulated one. It's currently in the United States, the only compound that is approved for anti-cavity. By the way, in other countries there's another ingredient, which is my favorite, and I'll tell you about it in just a second. So fluoride. Fluoride, how does it work? You're enamel your teeth are made out of this, by the way, your teeth are alive. And that's another thing that I want everybody to remember because I think we treat the mouth like we have to just have these 20 or 30 dead objects in our mouth and we need to sterilize them and Polish them from the outside twice a day and get it to the dentist so they can really Polish it good twice a year.

[00:33:18.480] – Dr. Hoss

But our mouth is alive. Our teeth are alive. They have internal cells and nervous system and all of that. And so we want to give it nutrients and everything. So fluoride is a drug. In fact, anything that comes with fluoride, any toothpaste or mouthwash FDA has a warning sign on it. You are mandated by putting that that says warning, keep it away from children under age six, something like this. By the way, if you swallow it over what we need to use it for, toothpaste, you need to call the nearest poison control center. This is an FDA regulation. So of course that means that if you fluoride at high levels is toxic to your body, right? It's not me saying it. Now, fluoride does work the way you get cavities. When you eat something acidic or sugary, your PH of the mouth, which is the acidity of the mouth, which is really something important everybody should learn about. It's usually a neutral round seven, but then it drops when you eat something. When it reaches around 5.5, those enamel crystals called hydroxyapatite, 97% of your enamel is made of this mineral phosphate mineral called hydroxyapatite.

[00:34:29.300] – Dr. Hoss

It a little bit of a dissolved away in that acidic environment into the saliva. When then the saliva Bates the teeth after 30 minutes or so, then these minerals get deposited back into the teeth called demineralization of the teeth. So when there's a balance between this demineralization and rhymeralization, you don't get a cavity. But if you eat too much bad food or feed it too frequently, there is too much demineralization, not enough rhymeralization to get a cavity. Okay. And so what fluoride does? Fluoride mixes with hydroxyapatite forms this new mineral called fluorapatite. And that fluorapatite is stronger to acidic attacks because it doesn't get dissolved until the acid reaches 4.5. And then 4.5 to 5.5 difference is a big difference. And that's why fluoride works. So there's definitely fluoride works, but because it has all these potential toxicities, I don't recommend it for majority patients, especially with younger children, because dental fluorosis, which is one of the side effects of too much fluoride, usually happens in kids and because it's such a common thing in our society now. So if you have young children and they're not prone to getting cavities and they're not a high risk child, which means they don't have genetic problems, again, genetic things are just 10% of the situation so for majority of the kids, you can replace that fluoride.

[00:35:46.980] – Dr. Hoss

Don't just remove the fluoride and don't put anything. But you can replace it with something else called hydroxyapatite, which is the synthetic version of what's already naturally in your teeth. And that is around since 1970s. It's been tested and tested and tested and tested. It's completely safe. And it reminisces. It just as good or better than fluoride. In fact, it's been already approved in Canada since 2015 for Anticavity. In Japan, they've been using it for about 30 years. And so in US, I'm hoping FDA is going to catch up with some of these other countries. We're going to hopefully approve it. But right now, it's already available in some products. And so don't just remove fluoride. Replace it with this. Now, if you're a high risk person, which means you get cavities, you have a dry mouth, your PH is low. Whatever. I go through this more in detail in my book. You should use some fluoride. And so you can also even mix it with hydroxyapatite, because also for older people, you don't swallow as much. You're swallowing reflexes that develop. So, again, for the average of fluoride, for maybe 20% of the population, older people and higher risk people, and for younger people and lower risk people, I would use hydroxyapatite, specifically Nano hydroxyapatite, which mimics the natural enamel which naturally wipes the teeth.

[00:37:02.550] – Dr. Hoss

It reminds the teeth, it reduces sensitivity. It even buffers the teeth against cavities and acidic attacks. That's one another ingredient you asked me for. Like, but as you can.

[00:37:13.280] – Allan

That's good. No, it is. It's great. There was another one that was kind of surprising to me was when you got into some of the sugar alcohols that we're trying to obviously brush your teeth with sugar. But we like that we like that bubblegum flavor, right?

[00:37:29.560] – Dr. Hoss


[00:37:30.190] – Allan

So we want something a little sweeter, something a little bit more of a taste. And so it's going to be sweetened. Yes. But not all of the sugar alcohols are the same.

[00:37:38.140] – Dr. Hoss

Exactly. Not all sugars are the same. Right. By the way, I hate this name. Sugar alcohol. I wish somebody would. It because, by the way, it has no sugar and no alcohol. That's just what I repeat this. No sugar and no alcohol in this sugar alcohol. So I don't know, whoever came up with his name is like just terrible, terrible naming. So just like everything else, if I ask you, hey, is food good or bad? You say, well, tell me what food. There are foods that are fantastic or foods that are terrible. Is mouthwash good or bad? There are mouthwashes that are fantastic. They're alkalizing mouthwashes. They use really great ingredients. But most the ones that you see, there are these fluorescent colors or neon colors, and you can't keep them terrible. It's the same thing with sugar alcohols. They're like cheaper ones, like sorbitol, which is very common. And the only reason they are used because they're very cheap. They're not as good because the bacteria causes cavity. They can still ferment and use that as food and then they can excrete acid and cause cavity. So my two favorite sugar alcohols, again, I hate that name.

[00:38:38.830] – Dr. Hoss

That are naturally present in fruits are xylitol and erythritol. And those both have been really especially xylitol. Xylitol has been extensively studied. There was a study that just came out that looked at over 200 studies on xylitol and concluded that it acts like a prebiotics. And just quickly, the difference between probiotics and prebiotics and probiotics is bacteria. Prebiotics is food for the microbes. So prebiotics are compounds that naturally produce, like, for example, in breast milk, the third most common ingredients is prebiotics already. So nature already does this, right? And so we want to mimic nature. And so prebiotics inulin is another great probiotics that it doesn't kill the Microbes your mouth, it feeds the good bacteria and stores the bad ones, but also xylitol and erythritol, like you mentioned, they have great taste because at the end of the day, we want to make sure that we encourage people to use it. And that way it gives them a great flavor. At the same time, it provides the food for the good microbes. It also raises the PH because it stimulates salivary glands to produce saliva. So it works in different ways to make sure that we keep our mouths healthy.

[00:39:54.660] – Allan

Right. And there's a lot in the book on how to go about doing this. You have a product don't use a product line with super mouth or yeah.

[00:40:03.390] – Dr. Hoss

So we're launching this company called Super mouth. And this is why, again, like you said, we go to the grocery store and we have no idea where to buy, what to buy for ourselves, what to buy for our kids. We go to the dentist. The dentist doesn't know what to do. So how do we do this? What's the solution? The solution is this. You would go on this website, Supermouth.com in July 31st and you would just say, hey, my name is this is my age and these are some of my risk factors. We ask just five or six questions per house family member and then we become your Proactive oral care advisors. So every three months, every six months, every family member will get a box customize oral care products for that individual. That's based on super acronym, Super. Everything will be super. They're completely safe for us. They're unified. They work together as a system. So you don't get like this person that I met three weeks ago that uses antibiotics and then uses probiotics at the same time, right. The P is playful. Again, we want to build positive associations with your aura character.

[00:41:00.350] – Dr. Hoss

They're based on superheroes and villains in movies and augmented reality and storytelling. They're effective e super, because at the end of the day, if they're not working right, I just talked to a good friend of mine, were having breakfast this morning and his wife, when she was pregnant, she got seven cavities after pregnancy because she avoided, quote unquote, conventional aura care products. But they weren't effective. So it was terrible. If we're going to remove something like fluoride, let's just do a pregnancy. What are you going to replace it with? So our oil care products are completely safe and effective during pregnancy and early childhood and beyond. And at the end of the R stands for Reputable because we want you to come to us dental experts, oral health experts, for your information, not Google or social media and random people that you have zero to a little knowledge about oral health. Yeah.

[00:41:51.920] – Allan

Or the tagline kills 99.9%.

[00:41:55.000] – Dr. Hoss


[00:41:57.050] – Allan

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

[00:42:05.400] – Dr. Hoss

I love it. I love it. I would just say I think the three things is because people know about eating healthy. Like if I asked average person, I'm sure you would agree. How do you stay healthy? I think the average person would say, well, eat healthy and exercise. Those are the two messages that we've always heard. But my job and my passion and my goal is to add a third one to that. And the third one is to take care of your mouth, take care of your mouth from the microbial perspective, and take care of your mouth from the protein development perspective, from airway perspective. So that would be my passion. Eat healthy, exercise daily and take care of your mouth.

[00:42:39.050] – Allan

Awesome. Well, they say the smile is a gateway to the soul. So I agree with you there. If someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about your book. If Your Mouth Could Talk, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:42:51.560] – Dr. Hoss

So you can buy my book from your favorite bookstore in barnes & Noble, Amazon. But you can also go to our specific website about the book themouthbook.com. My dental practice is also thesuperdentists.com, so those are a few places that you can get information about me, my practice and the book.

[00:43:09.210] – Allan

Cool. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/539 and I'll be sure to have links there. Dr. Hoss, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:43:20.000] – Dr. Hoss

Thank you very much. It's been a pleasure.

Post Show/Recap

[00:43:29.250] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:43:30.750] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. Well, wait a minute. I just got to say what an interesting conversation this was. When you first said you were going to have a dentist on, I was like, what we're going to learn about that? But we learned a lot. And I actually learned that the bacteria in our mouth is very important and I'm killing it with my mouthwash. I had no idea.

[00:43:50.920] – Allan

Yeah. Well, most of the products that we use consumer products, they have a really good marketing company that's going to tell you what you need to know. And what you need to know is that you need a sterile mouth. And it sounds reasonable. When someone tells you that you have a microbiome on your skin, that there's billions, trillions maybe of bacteria crawling all over your skin, it gives you the heebejeebes.

[00:44:21.030] – Rachel

It really does.

[00:44:22.250] – Allan

You're sitting there looking at your arm. It's like, where are those critters? Yeah, I don't want to touch anybody because they got the heebejeebes. The point being is that, yes, we have these microbiomes, a lot of this stuff. We're still figuring out how do these interact with each other, how do they survive together? And what are we doing that's harming them? Because antibiotics, don't get me wrong, they are one of the best medical inventions ever. But they are like a nuclear bomb.

[00:44:54.160] – Rachel


[00:44:55.470] – Allan

Taking out everything. And we're making better nukes, better and better antibiotics as we get more bodies get resistant to the easy ones, and then those bugs are now resistant. We have to go harder and we have to go heavier. And it's a bigger bomb and a bigger bomb. And then your ability to regrow, that is extremely limited because these bugs, in many cases, don't even exist anymore. Everybody has killed them and there's none. So it's not like you get in the soil. We don't do that. Don't let your kid get their hands dirty. Oh, my God. Don't put your hand in your mouth. We were eating mud pies.

[00:45:38.790] – Rachel

Yes. And drinking out of the garden hose.

[00:45:41.940] – Allan

Yeah, sure. But no, it made us healthier. Who knew? And so, yeah, there are microbiomes throughout the body, and they're there as a part of our immune system. They're there to help us stay healthy. And mouthwash, it's a good marketing term. It sounds like you're doing the right thing. I want good, fresh, clean mouth. And you're over cleaning it is effectively the answer.

[00:46:10.680] – Rachel

That was a big surprise. Although I'm not surprised about fluoride. I think a lot of people know that a lot of times our city water is fluorinated. Then you've got the fluorine and the toothpaste. And if you're over time taking in too much fluoride, that can become a problem. So it was interesting that he had an alternative for that.

[00:46:29.860] – Allan

Yes, there are some alternatives and some things. Xylitol is one. It's a sugar alcohol. Again, you don't have to swallow it. You just need it on your teeth. And the other was this I had not heard of before, but Nano hydroxyapatite, and they call it Nano HAP for short. You can look it up. It's available. It's going to be in his product. So realize he's going to be selling dental products, too. So probably toothpaste and things like that, because these toxins, like fluoride and whatnot, they're a cumulative thing. And so if you're having your kid brush their teeth twice a day and they're swallowing too much fluoride, and getting it in their water, there's this build up at a potential. So it's his opinion that children should not be using fluoride in their water, in their toothpaste. But that said, if they are prone to cavities, then they need something to protect enamel. So the two things you look for are how do we reduce the acidity and how do we help the teeth build back stronger the way fluoride would? And so there are these alternatives, and it's worth looking into to help your child not have that much fluoride.

[00:47:52.720] – Allan

There's probably too much maybe drinking having your kid drink filtered water, because I think some of these filters can remove the fluoride from the water and then you can look at the toothpaste and maybe take some there. But if you're going to do that and they need something to help with the hardening of the teeth, then you're going to look at it. And the other thing that we didn't talk about is we're an adult show, not an adult, but we're talking about it and being healthy over 40. But with children, grandchildren, things like that, if they're not taking care of their baby teeth, they're going to have problems with their adult teeth. And I know I always thought, well, they're going to lose it, so who cares? It does matter. The mouth affects your health, but the mouth, as you're growing up, affects what your mouth is going to be when you get older.

[00:48:43.710] – Rachel


[00:48:44.970] – Allan

There's zero reason for anyone to have to have teeth extraction, except for the fact that it was a kid. We didn't take care of little problems that later became big problems. So your mouth is not big enough to handle your wisdom teeth. I'm not much of a talker other than being on a podcast, but I have my wisdom teeth because I have a big enough mouth that it was never a problem. Yeah, but it's part of that is genetic. But the other part of it is just taking care of your teeth when you're young. Sure. I never did anything silly other than smash my face and kill one of my teeth. So I have my issues, but not to the point where I didn't have enough mouth for the teeth that were going to come in.

[00:49:35.100] – Rachel

Well, healthy habits need to start at a young age. And if we can teach our children and grandchildren how to care for their teeth and they'll have healthier habits as adolescents and as young adults.

[00:49:46.360] – Allan

But then on our side, yes, the best time for us to have taken care of our teeth for children, the best time you can take care of your teeth right now. That's what we've got. So if you're having some issues with periodontist. Right. But if you're having some issues, it's worth getting it looked into because there is a correlation there there is a heart disease and some of these other lifestyle diseases, there's a correlation. The reason I wanted to have this on was predominantly for the heart disease, So some of this was also eye opening to me Because I was thinking, wow, they've tied this to diabetes, to cancers, To Alzheimer's disease, all these different lifestyle. We're now starting to realize our lifestyle diseases. So while the cause might not be the dental issues, there's an association. And so if we're not taking care of our mouth, we're probably not taking care of our health. So it's a red flag, at the very least, for you to say, okay, why am I having these dental problems? What can I do about it? And is this a lifestyle thing that's causing this versus there's people that brush their teeth Twice a day, Three times a day, they still have issues with this.

[00:51:04.430] – Allan

And so there is a care regimen, there is a hygiene. And that's in his book. He's really good about walking you Through The proper dental hygiene thing, and it includes getting the acidity of your mouth down, which can be the choice of foods. It can be a mouth spray or something like that, but it's getting that acidity down. And then the second aspect of it Is just making sure that you have strong, healthy enamel in your teeth. Your teeth are living things, and they need to be cared for. You can think of them like plants. You have to take care of them or they're going to go away. So that's really why I wanted to have someone on like him, Because it's really the first what I'd say good book or book out, though, I was like we could talk about health in relation to dental health and overall health and what that relationship is. But this is a care manual. I mean, literally, this will teach you how to take care of your teeth, your children's teeth, if they listen to you and your grandchildren's teeth. It's a really good manual for you to go through, get an understanding of the relationships and the things that are good for you.

[00:52:10.440] – Allan

Build a good hygiene and you'll have a better mouth.

[00:52:14.000] – Rachel

That sounds great. I think I need to take a look at that hygiene Because my mind is blown about the whole 99% of killing all the bacteria in your mouth as being a problem. So, yeah, I'd like to see what he's got for us to take better care of our mouths and therefore better care of our health. That sounds really interesting.

[00:52:32.700] – Allan

Well, the name of the book Is Dr. Kami Hoss, and the name of the book is if your mouth could talk.

[00:52:38.830] – Rachel


[00:52:40.750] – Allan

All right Rachel, I'll talk to you next week.

[00:52:43.180] – Rachel

Sounds great. Take care, Allan.

[00:52:44.960] – Allan


[00:52:45.630] – Rachel

bye bye.


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Many of us think of weight loss and exercise as being joyless, in fact taking away the things and foods we love. In her book, The Joy Choice, Dr. Michelle Segar shows us there is a better way to get healthy and fit. By choosing the joy choice.


Let's Say Hello

[00:02:35.410] – Allan

Hey, Ras.

[00:02:36.530] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. How are you today?

[00:02:38.070] – Allan

I'm doing okay. How are things up there?

[00:02:40.600] – Rachel

Really good. Really proud to announce my son just graduated from College. He's got a job lined up with General Motors, which we're very proud and excited for him. And so this month we're working on finding him an apartment to live in and he'll be about fledged in another month or so. We're pretty excited to be one step closer to that empty nesters part of our lives.

[00:03:03.900] – Allan

Congratulations for him and you because I know as a parent these days you're engaged.

[00:03:10.280] – Rachel

Yes, I am.

[00:03:11.510] – Allan

When they're going through the College years.

[00:03:14.530] – Rachel

Yeah. I'm pretty happy to be done with that Bill. I'll tell you that right now. And he is, too. Yeah. He's very excited to be done with College and starting this next chapter of his life, and we're very proud.

[00:03:25.990] – Allan

That's cool.

[00:03:27.020] – Rachel

So how are things with you?

[00:03:28.520] – Allan

Well, we had a new house guest come in. A holler monkey.

[00:03:35.650] – Rachel

Oh, my goodness.

[00:03:37.400] – Allan

And so this holler monkey, we're about 2 miles away from where any of the holler monkeys would hang out. I've never heard or seen a holler monkey this far into town. Heard stories. Now, of course, once it happens, like, oh, well, this happened a few years ago kind of thing. But, no, this dude was literally coming across the wires, and, of course, Buster has to fend the habitat. So he's barking like crazy trying to get to this monkey. I'm trying to keep him away from the monkey and just try to figure out, okay, how do I get the monkey to shoo or go away? But I don't want to also don't want them to get hurt. I don't want to get hit by a car and so many things going through my head, and then all of a sudden, the monkey zap, touched a wire they weren't supposed to touch and just fell. This is from the second story, probably, I would say a good 25ft drop and just lands on pavement. I hear speck when he hit the ground. I ran over there. He's stunned. I take a picture, and I go online. I message Tag, the guy that does our local humane society kind of stuff, Papa Gato.

[00:04:53.050] – Allan

And so he brings a woman over. But before he gets over there and really before I get my post all the way down and go back out, this monkey's woke up, goes across the street and climbs up an almond tree. And so he's up in the tree. So Papa Gato goes and gets his trap. We put a couple of bananas in there, and we set the trap up. Well, the monkey stayed in that tree for almost two whole days.

[00:05:20.310] – Rachel

Oh, my gosh.

[00:05:21.690] – Allan

Stayed overnight. And then it was late the next afternoon that he finally, I guess, get climbed down and just took off because I didn't see him slip out. I would go out there every couple of hours and check on him just to see if he was in the tree. He would move from side to side. So I knew he was generally okay. Somehow, another he came down. He just ignored the bananas we had out there for him, and they just took off. And so hopefully he's going to be okay. He'll find his way back to where he needs to be. I hear these male monkeys will get kicked out of their troop, and then they just have to go find a place to be that's not where their troops at because they're not welcome there anymore. So I think he just strayed and got himself on the wrong side of town.

[00:06:06.490] – Rachel

Oh, my goodness. What an adventure.

[00:06:09.980] – Allan

Then he got shocked and it was so interesting because we had a guest up there on the balcony when this is all happening, he's just looking around like, oh, my God, what's going on here? And then all of a sudden the monkey gets electrocuted and he's messaging his wife and his daughter said, don't come back yet. Don't come back yet. You don't want to see this. I thought the monkey was done when he hit that concrete and electrocuted, I thought, oh, that poor monkey. But he was able to climb up the tree and spend a day up there, I guess heal a little and then decided it was time for him to move on because there was no water on that land where he was. So he was going to need to go somewhere just to get water. But interesting weekend.

[00:06:54.680] – Rachel

Yeah, for sure. Holy cow.

[00:06:57.650] – Allan

All right. Well, are you ready to talk to Dr. Segar?

[00:07:02.300] – Rachel



[00:07:52.090] – Allan

Dr. Segar, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:07:55.150] – Dr. Segar

It's great to be here.

[00:07:57.170] – Allan

Now I'm going to say joy is one of my favorite words. And I have a question that's going to come up later about wellness, and it includes happiness. But after I wrote the book and after I've asked this question hundreds of times, I kind of wish I'd use the word joy instead of happiness because I think that's really the word I was after. So your book is called, The Joy Choice: How to Finally Achieve Lasting Changes in Eating and Exercise. And, you know, I think anybody that's tried to change one or both of those knows it might be the most challenging thing they've ever done. I know for me it was. And while I didn't call it the Joy Choice at the time, most of what you're talking about here, it just resonates with me very well because it was effectively what took me over eight years of trial and error to figure out. And they can get this book and get a lot of the details of how to do it in a much shorter time.

[00:08:59.750] – Dr. Segar

The reason why so many people haven't figured it out yet and that it might have taken you eight years is because we've been taught an opposite approach that really gets in our way. It clouds and contaminates our thinkings and our emotions about eating and exercise and really derails what we're hoping to achieve. So that's why it's so hard. And I think the biggest thing is for people to really understand it's not their fault. It's because the whole formula that we've been taught, not the whole the majority of what we've been taught over the last three to four decades has been based on science, but it hasn't necessarily been based on how we can best sustain a behavior within our complicated lives.

[00:09:52.790] – Allan

Yeah. And you got into some of the science on that, which was fascinating. And we've seen it in other areas I have in Health and Fitness, where they'll take one study and they'll say, okay, this is the study, and then we're going to drive everything else off of this one study. And the one I'm talking about in particular that was in your book was you were talking about how long it takes to build a habit. And granted, we can say based on that study, 66 days potentially, but the standard deviations, for someone it was two weeks, and for someone else, it was almost a whole year on average. Okay, 66 days. And we drive a lot of the way we approach this on a study like that. So it's no wonder that you're not one of the people that happens to be on the right end of the 66 days. It might take you longer. It might take you a different approach, which is what you get into with the Joy choice.

[00:10:57.290] – Dr. Segar

I'm not sure that's even the most strategic question that we could be asking to focus on how long is it going to take me to form an automatic habit? As you know, in the book, there's a lot of concerns I have about telling people that they should be forming habits for healthy eating, exercise, and I'm sure we're going to get into that in a little bit. But the idea is that focusing on the process instead of the outcome, what do I need to do consistently to actually be able to stick with this long term? That's focusing on the process. That's the goal. That's what's going to get us where we want to go. So that's really the best of the question we should be asking is what do I need to do? What is most likely to get in my way, and what can I do to overcome or prevent those things?

[00:11:49.940] – Allan

Yeah. And we definitely will get into that. There was a concept you had in the book that I thought was brilliant, and it's called the motivation bubble. And the reason I think that it's great is because I think when someone actually understands this concept, it's like that happens to me every single day. It's not just every single time I try to lose weight or every time I try to start an exercise program, I build this motivation bubble. That bubble pops as soon as something gets around it. And we've got these. Can you talk about the motivation bubble because we go in with the best of intentions and we're excited.

[00:12:35.810] – Dr. Segar

Right? Well, we usually decide we're going to change our eating or start exercising more for a very specific reason. Either we're excited for a trip we're going to take or that magazine cover or our doctor gave us really scary news and we start and we're in this and we're full of motivation because we've decided we're going to do it. But the motivation is like a bubble. And as we know, bubbles are very fragile and we might blow a really big bubble, but it doesn't take much for that to bump up into anything else. Anything that bumps into it is going to burst it. This is how we've been taught to initiate behavior change in this fragile bubble of motivation without a lot of strategy, without understanding the types of things that are really going to get in our way. And bubbles burst. And that's why I use it. And that analogy came organically out of an interview, and I've just been using it ever since.

[00:13:40.670] – Allan

Yeah. Now there are some of us, like your husband, who is able to create habits, and you can call him a habitor, is what you call them in the book. And then there's people that are not habitors, and we call them you call them unhabitors. Can you talk about those two people? And why is it difficult for certain individuals to be able to form habits? And other individuals might just say, okay, naturally, here's my habit, and I start doing it three weeks later. I'm just doing it every day. What's the difference?

[00:14:12.890] – Dr. Segar

Well, before I answer the question, I think we need to create the context. And what people care about is they have some North Star they want to achieve. They want to be healthier, they want to have a better sense of well being. And in order to achieve those north stars, we need sustainable behavior change, because if you make a change and don't stick with it, you're not going to be able to achieve those goals. So sustainability is this fundamental thing we need. But sustainability is really the symptom of something else, and that is consistent decisions day in and day out. Now, I don't mean identical decisions. I just mean a sense of consistency in our choices that favor doing the behavior. There's a couple of ways to create consistent decisions. One is through our unconscious automatic thinking, which would be via habit formation, and the other is through our conscious thinking. So let's pause on our conscious thinking and focus now on habit formation, which is offloading our choices to exercise or eat in certain ways to our unconscious and automatic decision making. And let me just say, habits are great. I'm thankful for my flossing habit.

[00:15:33.690] – Dr. Segar

I'm thankful that I have a habit to feed my dog in the morning because it will starve otherwise. So I'm thankful I don't have to think about those things, but those are very simple things, and there are personality differences that I'll get into in a minute. But if we think about different behaviors like exercise, flossing happens in the bathroom. There's not a lot that's going to get in the way or disrupt it. But when it comes to physical activity, we've got places to get to. We've got transportation, we've got potentially changes. We've got other people whose logistics were in charge of there are so many different things that can get in the way and make it very complicated. Habit formation happens via what's called the habit loop, which is a queue for behavior like I brush my teeth and the cue is brushing, and I automatically think reach for the floss. I floss, and then there's some type of reward, and that fuels a process in our brain that automates it as soon as we get that queue. And again, for flossing, it's pretty simple in the bathroom. But step outside of the bathroom into the chaotic, crazy life of hubbub that many of us live, and that cue is going to get disrupted.

[00:16:50.760] – Dr. Segar

Now, getting back to your question about habitors versus unhabitors. Habitors are people like my husband, and God bless him, he lets me use him as an example. There's nothing wrong. Habitors are awesome, and I love them dearly. But what's most important is that we understand which we tend to be. And a habitor tends to be someone who is very disciplined, who has a very organized schedule that doesn't lend itself to a lot of disruption, and that makes it easier to form habits even for complex behaviors like exercise. But unhabitors and I happen to be one of those, one of the lucky many millions. I think more people are unhabitors because unhabitants tend to be less organized. We tend to have more hubbub and unexpected in our lives. We may manage many people's lives and pets, whether at home or at work. And so there's a lot of room for the unanticipated to just fly in and disrupt any habit loop that we might be trying to create. So that's the big difference. Does that make sense?

[00:18:05.740] – Allan

Yeah. The way I like to talk to people about it, a lot of it's going to depend on how you do your self awareness, and as you sit down with your self awareness understanding. Okay, am I the kind of person who can get into a Porsche and get this done? And I've got no disruptions. I got nothing in the road in front of me. It's a straight road, and I can just haul versus someone who's now got kids and other things. So now I'm driving in a minivan and I can't go as fast, and the road is curved, and maybe there's a whole lot of road construction in school zones and everything else going on in our lives. It's going to keep us from getting as far as fast and understanding that then allows you to take the approach one with patience, understanding that your life is not completely 100% of your control, which is what the joy choice really, when it comes down to it, is where the real value comes in is I don't have to Super manage my life. I don't have to worry about that I'm in a sports car. I can be in my minivan and be very happy with the progress that I'm making.

[00:19:06.890] – Allan

That's kind of the way I put where I'm at. The way I like to approach this with what you're talking about is once we know who we are, it's a lot easier to make some decisions. And then once we know how to approach it, we make better decisions.

[00:19:21.470] – Dr. Segar

You know what it's about fit and match. And let's step outside of exercise and healthy eating just for a minute, and let's think about what other areas in our lives we know that where we learn that we're fit is so important. We might, when we're younger, want to date and pick the raciest coolest person. But when it comes down to who we want to spend the rest of our life with, that person might have very different characteristics to fit us. Or if we think about schools, the fit with who we are and what kind of learning context teaching we need will determine whether we have a successful and a positive experience. So it's the same when it comes to changing our behavior. Are the strategies we're trying to use a fit with who we are in personality and our life context, or are they not? But we haven't been taught to ask that question.

[00:20:24.470] – Allan

Yeah. Now in the book, you talk about the decision disruptors and you use the acronym Trap. I love acronyms, too, because they help us remember some things. And these are really important because if you can recognize these traps, then you're in a much better place because so many times these traps get us. And by the time we recognize that, we've gone off the trail, our motivation bubble has popped and that day is effectively, in our minds, ruined before we ruin our day. If we catch ourselves in that moment, which is we'll get into the pop in a minute. But we start with understanding where the traps are. Can you talk about what Trap stands for and what these potential disruptors are?

[00:21:10.920] – Dr. Segar

Yes, and I call them decision disruptors, because what this book is about is what we really haven't been taught for the most part and what to do when our healthy eating or exercise plan bumps up with an unexpected conflict because the societal dogma has been all or nothing thinking, which really, if your plan is disrupted, the only alternative in that paradigm or that binary is nothing. And so people do nothing. And so the goal of the book is to help people at those challenges, those choice points, those momentary decisions about what to do and so things that disrupt those decisions, that tend to be internal in our heads that we might not be aware of are temptation, rebellion, accommodation, and perfection. And while these traps are active and often they're often unconscious. So one of my favorite quotes of all time it has to do with this is from Dan Siegel, and he says, name it to tame it. So if we can name the trap that is staring us in the face, we can really remove a great deal of its power to control our decisions, which is what we're focused on in the book.

[00:22:30.330] – Dr. Segar

So the first one is temptation. And temptation is just this visceral feeling. We have to we want that chocolate cake. It is in front staring us down. It's seducing us or, wow, the couch and that beer is calling us to watch more something on Netflix. Right now we're watching The Good Place, which is really funny. So temptation, when we hear that word, we know what it means. But what we might not know is what new theories based on how our brain works proposed. And that is that it's our past experiences with the chocolate cake and the couch and the beer that is really exerting pullovers. It's not what's in front of us. It's our history of past memories of participating these activities and what it felt like and what it sounded like and the emotions we had and the people we were with. And when we understand that, then we can name it. Oh, that isn't just that chocolate frosting listening in the light. It's how I felt when my mom made it for my birthday every year. And when we can notice that. I mean, I already know you started off this conversation with self awareness.

[00:23:54.370] – Dr. Segar

Self awareness is what people need to be able to notice those things. And so when we understand how the brain works when it comes to these temptation choice points, then we are much more empowered to take charge and not succumb to something that we might not want to succumb to. So do you want me to go to the second one?

[00:24:17.440] – Allan

Yes, please.

[00:24:18.090] – Dr. Segar

Okay. So the second very common disruptor that I've seen in my coaching clients is rebellion. And in my last interview, the podcaster asked me, why would people rebel against something that they themselves have planned to do? Well, there's a really great reason why. And the reason is because we have been socialized to initiate an eating plan or to start a new exercise regimen out of shoulds because we think we should do it because our doctor told us to, because our company told us to, because we think we're overweight, whatever the reason. And when we initiate a behavior change out of that mentality, which is the most common way actually to initiate a change in this area, it makes us feel like we're not free to choose the things we want to choose. And it's human nature. And theory support us that human beings are motivated to reclaim their freedom when they feel like it's been taken away. So if you think you can't have pizza because it's not on your eating plan, well, guess what we're motivated to do? We're motivated to say screw you plan. I'm going to have it anyway. So that's rebellion.

[00:25:38.780] – Dr. Segar

I bet you've seen that a lot in your work.

[00:25:40.780] – Allan

Is that I do. My very first client was doing great, seeing results. Everything was wonderful. I was excited. She was telling me these wonderful stories or interactions with her granddaughter. And I was thinking, okay, she's on a really great track. So she's experiencing the benefits of what's going on and things she had told me before. She hates exercise and everything. And I'm like, well, you know, we're going to do some and we're going to do. And so we were going along. And I think similar to what you'd said in the book, it's like when she started rebelling and then disappeared, it was my fault. It really wasn't her fault. I should have recognized early on that she was starting to struggle with the shoulds, even though she was seeing the benefits. I was focused on the benefits and thinking this has to motivate her when the reality was she was having an internal conflict with the shoulds and eventually just realized I was the bad guy, if you will, of the should. And every time she thought of me or thought about being on the phone with me, there was a should that kept coming out and that was too much pressure on her.

[00:26:56.700] – Allan

And so she just decided to rebel and disappear, ghost me. And because we weren't, again, not a family member or friend or somebody I was close to, when she decided to ghost me, she's gone. I think the one that you talked about was more on the perfection side, but I think as a coach, I should have recognized the warning signs. And now, having read your book, seeing this trap, listening to what my clients are telling me and understanding, hey, you don't have to do this. There's no shoulds here. Let's talk about it. And let's see how we can get past this trap because I missed it.

[00:27:37.550] – Dr. Segar

Until we recognize it, we all miss it because we haven't been taught to name it and categorize it. And I want to say something that people that coaches and personal trainers are doing is having their clients take the trap quiz on my website and then going over it with them to see, oh, is rebellion one of your traps? Yes or no? Is it temptation? And it can be a diagnostic for a coach to use with their clients. I personally found it really helpful. But let's move on to the next trap, which is accommodation. And this one is a little counterintuitive. People don't think about this as intuitively as they would think about rebellion or temptation. And it basically refers to whenever we come up against the needs of someone else or work needs, we just instinctively unconsciously drop what we had planned to do for our physical activity or our healthy eating because we say to ourselves, and again, most of this stuff has to do with self talk or unconscious processes that we're not aware of. We just said, oh, I have to join the celebration. I'm going to forget about my plan. I don't even want to eat that cupcake.

[00:28:53.820] – Dr. Segar

But if I don't eat it, it's going to hurt their feelings. And so that's accommodation for eating, where you just kind of decide what I've been doing doesn't matter. I just need to be in the celebration with everyone. Now the reality is there's a ton of ways you can participate in the celebration if you don't have all or nothing thinking. But if you do, then the only option is eat the cupcake. And from an exercise perspective, we see this a lot. And I'm sure you see this all the time. When people have some kind of planned exercise and our work needs, our email inbox, those urgent things are non urgent, but mounting things never go away. And so if we always feel that what our work is more important than our own walk or selfcare, then we're letting accommodation get in the way. And I want to say, people assume that people like you and me, who might be proponents of active lifestyles and self care, that we don't struggle at all with these issues. But I know I do all the time. And this has been a hugely busy time with the book launch.

[00:30:12.430] – Dr. Segar

And I have had to consciously make joy choices day in and day out about my walking because I have a lot more to do right now. And so I'm sure you experienced that too.

[00:30:25.690] – Allan

Yes, that was kind of the interesting thing. As we went through the traps, I was like, okay, well, yeah, that happened. So temptation got me. And then accommodation perfection. I had a hard time finding examples of rebellion for myself. I just kind of looked through, I said, okay, I haven't taken your quiz. So I'm interested. As soon as we get off this call, I'm probably logging in and taking a quiz. But the accommodation was a big one, because what I found was I wanted to work out every afternoon during my lunch hour. And so I would just have it in my mind that as soon as I took my lunch, that was when I was going to go to the gym. Invariably, a meeting would get scheduled. My boss would call, something would be going on, a report. I have to get out today, something I've got to get done. And so I would say, okay, well, I'll just do this instead. And then that day I get my workout. And what I finally found was, okay, what I have to do if I want this to happen is I literally have to block out my calendar as if that's the most important meeting of my day.

[00:31:25.640] – Allan

It's with my boss, myself, but it's with my boss, my real boss, me. And it's not something I can cancel. And so when I made that non negotiable meeting on my calendar, no one else could book a meeting coming up about a half an hour before that meeting, I actually turned my email off, so I wasn't hearing the Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding leading up to that hour. And then when my hours was up, I put my clothes on and I go and maybe my work boss would call. And so I'd say, okay, what do you need? Come on up to my office. I was walking up to his office in my workout closed. He's like, what's going on? He's like, well, I was on my way to the gym. Here I am. What do you need? He said, well, I need this. I'm like, okay, well, I need an hour to get my workout done, and then I'll have it over to you. Cool. And now, would I have done that before? No, because I didn't have the awareness, self awareness that I was letting that accommodation trap happen until I realized, okay, I keep missing workouts because I'm accommodating these other things.

[00:32:26.480] – Allan

And again, I didn't have a label for it exactly. But I just understood that if I didn't take that time back, I would always lose it.

[00:32:35.450] – Dr. Segar

What the book would address in that scenario is, let's say you walked upstairs to talk to your work boss, and what he needed you to do was going to take 25 minutes, and you had another meeting on the hour that you had to take. So the alternative is that instead of saying, oh, I didn't get that hour, what else can I do? In the 35 minutes that I have left, I can't go to the gym like I plan to because I'm not going to get all sweaty. So that's what we're trying to help people learn is how do you navigate in flexible ways? That unexpected thing that did cut into your hour, despite your great strategies of blocking off that time in your calendar, right?

[00:33:24.010] – Allan

Yeah. Now, the last one you had was perfection. And I actually think I know for myself this one's, the one. If I could have solved this one, it probably wouldn't have taken me eight years to figure this all out, because a lot of us suffer from this. And in many cases, it's the perfection trap that then really almost sets off everything else. I mean, all the other traps happen because we're already caught in the perfection trap.

[00:33:52.020] – Dr. Segar

Yeah, I'm smiling really big right now because you couldn't have said it more perfectly. Perfection is the most common one. It's what our society has taught us, socialized indoctrinated, us to do, and it does set the stage, because if perfection is the bar, then of course you're going to rebel and eat the whole piece of cake because there's no in between. You're going to succumb to temptation because you can't have it. You can't have it, and then you're going to rebel against that darn diet anyway. So perfection, you are right. I call it it's so big, I call it a Dragon. It's the all or nothing Dragon. And we have literally been so it's not our fault we have all or nothing thinking or perfectionistic approaches because our society has evolved in a way to teach us. But that is the old behavior change story. It's outdated and misguided many of us. And the great news is the new science offers us a whole new story of behavior change. And it will have a happy ending because it's based on what a body of science shows work. And I don't want to leap into the solution because you're guiding me along.

[00:35:12.140] – Dr. Segar

But perfection is the old story of behavior change and it is outdated.

[00:35:19.550] – Allan

Now with perfection and I think this is really where the breakdown of all this comes together is everybody believes that the reason they're failing is because they lack self control. And regardless, it's almost as if, okay, well, if I had more self control, I wouldn't fall for these traps. But that's not really the case because we don't have a lack of self control. It's not a failure, as you mentioned earlier, it's like we're not broken. We're wired the way we're wired. And it's not that we need more self control, we just need to go into what you call the choice points with our head up and being aware.

[00:36:04.970] – Dr. Segar

That's exactly right. We need to understand that the choice points right now and right now is the place of power because they accumulate over time. And that's why the perfect, imperfect choice or option is the solution, because right now we might make a choice that's imperfect, but it keeps us on the path. And the next now we might hit the Bull's eye, but the next five, we might make another perfectly imperfect choice, but we're still staying consistent. And that reinforces himself and keeps us getting the benefits over time. That continuously reinforced why we're doing it in the first place.

[00:36:51.770] – Allan

So the approach that you take to do the joy choice is called Pop. Again, another acronym. Again, they'll remember this, okay, trap is Temptation, Rebellion, Accommodation, Perfection. And then Pop is the approach that you take to get out of these traps. You recognize the trap. To do that, we've got to do a few things. And that's what the Pop is about. The story you told in the book about one of your clients using this technique I think was really good and I'd like to use that here. And that was the woman who decided, okay, I'm going to do a pool workout five days a week. It's going to be my bridge between my work day and my evening. And in theory, when you say that to a personal trainer, it's like, that sounds brilliant. That should work great until Alex got involved. Yeah, go ahead.

[00:37:51.210] – Dr. Segar

She comes home from work, her in laws are visiting, and she's thrilled to enact this perfect plan. And she hears screaming up in the window and looks up and sees her young son crying because she is in his happy place without him. And he's distraught. And she's like, oh, no, I've been gone all day. But I really want this, my time, this movement, listening to my music in the pool and helping me transition from brain heavy day to heart full evening with my family. And her old way of thinking would have been either I have to choose between meeting Alex's needs, which is not being in the pool and going and getting him or going out of the pool to comfort him, or fully meeting his needs and dropping my pool workout. But we had had a session, and she remembered that instead of letting this is what I say. Instead of letting the circumstances or life burst your bubble, you can pop your plan. And when we say we're going to pop our plan, we are taking ownership of our thinking and the situation. And again, we are not aiming for perfection here. So what did she do?

[00:39:16.660] – Dr. Segar

She popped her plan and pop stands for pause. This is where she said, oh, my gosh, accommodation is staring me in the face. Alex needs me. I'm yearning to go to him, but I know that I can name it and I can say, oh, this is what's happening. I have some control over it. Now, let me get my attention back on the pop process. Then she opened up her options and played with the options. Well, what could she do? She could take a walk after work with her family. She came up with another option that I can't think of off the top of my head. Or she could bring Alex into the pool and play around, walk with him, and basically do a modified pool workout with him. Still getting her physical activity and meeting Alex's needs. And of course, that was like the Ding, Ding, Ding. And she P, she picked the joy choice, which was staying in the pool, worked out to give her the transition she wanted. But instead of doing it alone, Mommy time with music, she decided she would do it and be active with Alex so that she could fulfill these two different what had been conflicting but had a mutuality that she could choose.

[00:40:38.180] – Dr. Segar

So she picked the joy choice, which is what we do at the end of the pop process.

[00:40:43.410] – Allan

Right. And the advantage was this. And this is the kind of added benefit that really wasn't built into her original model. But it worked was she had the in laws get Alex ready for the pool, which gave her, like, five to ten minutes to do the kind of the unwinding thing that she intended to do while she was in the pool. She got her head straight, got herself that transition from work to heart. And then Alex is in the pool with her. It wasn't the workout she intended, but she still got movement in, as you said, the perfect imperfect. And she got it done. And as a result, she was in control. But she had to get that pause. She had to recognize the trap, and then she had to make the decision that was the right decision in the moment for her. The joy choice.

[00:41:31.490] – Dr. Segar

That's right. That's the beauty of it is the joy choice lets us meet the many roles and responsibilities that give our life meaning and still take care of ourselves. And there's a new definition of success. And that's another reason why it's the joy choice, because we are successful when we do something instead of nothing. And she was so proud of herself, and that was the beginning. Once we do it one or two times, it really does become intuitive. And the beauty of it is that once we start doing it with exercise and eating, we actually can do it. I do it in all areas of my life because it's a way for me to regroup and be flexible and pick the most optimal choice for that particular challenge.

[00:42:23.980] – Allan

Yeah. Now, the way this would apply for, like, one with temptation. You talked about in the book, how if you walk by the cafe and you see that croissant, chocolate filled croissant, and it's glistening and it's calling your name and it's a loud voice and you're really struggling to walk away from this cafe and you find yourself in line magically. And then you realize, okay, again, pause. Why am I in this line? And you realize, it's not the chocolate croissant. It's the last time you were at that cafe with your friend, you guys had a wonderful conversation. You had that chocolate croissant. And the blend of the moment is now in your memory. So one of your executive functions has tied into this and said, this croissant is kind of a reminder of kind of a reliving of a great moment in your life. You talk about the chocolate cake your mother made. This is kind of another one of those things. Now, you can recognize that this is temptation.

[00:43:25.810] – Dr. Segar

Absolutely. And when we recognize that it puts it in perspective, it takes away. It's not the dark force that's drawing us in. I mean, if we think about eating the cake as the dark force, then we've already succumbed to it right before we ate it. So once we recognize, oh, Geez, this is what's going on. This is what's going on in my brain. It's not that when we remove the tension that it's this evil thing that we shouldn't have that's off the plan or that we feel that we should do and want to rebel against. We really put ourselves in control. Again, it's a decision. And it doesn't mean that people will decide not to have the croissant, but they're going to do it understanding the meaning it has for them without tension. But they're going to make a conscious choice instead of an unconscious reaction. Or they might say, you know what? I really want that chocolate croissant for all the reasons above, but I don't need to eat the whole thing. I actually would be really satisfied and proud of myself to eat half of it, wrap the other half up, and maybe I'll have it for dessert, or split it with my family after dinner, or I'll save it for the next day.

[00:44:41.410] – Dr. Segar

Learning how to be flexible is the key to sustainability. I mean, the research clearly shows this.

[00:44:48.170] – Allan

Yeah. Especially if you find that you're an unhabitor and you can't sit down and just say, I'm going to do this and stick with it. If you've struggled in the past with that, it's very likely you are an unhabitor. It's likely that you fall into these traps. And if you really go back and think about it, you'll start to see the patterns, and you just have to stop and recognize that pause and recognize when you're repeating that pattern and make another choice.

[00:45:17.530] – Dr. Segar

Absolutely. And it is, again, it's really important for people to recognize am I more like Michelle's husband Job, who's a habitor in all areas of his life, or am I more like Michelle and a little disorganized and a little comfortable keeping dishes in the sink and sometimes feel like, oh my gosh, how am I going to do all these things? So self awareness and fit is really the structure we need to set us up for success long term.

[00:45:49.930] – Allan

And so in the book, you give us a lot of tools as we start going through this process, because we can say it pop and go through it and we can talk about examples. But the reality is that you get good at this or get better at this by practice.

[00:46:08.290] – Dr. Segar

Like anything, like anything. Like any new things, we need to give ourselves Grace when we don't do it, quote, unquote as well as we hoped we would or thought we should anytime we learn something new, it's a learning process. And giving ourselves Grace is like we should give other people Grace when they're learning how to do something. That's a really important part of this, too. And that's part of why it's the joy choice, because it's all about being forgiven forgiving. It's about being imperfect like we are honoring that and making sure that our strategies for physical activity and healthy eating match with the imperfect lives that many of us live.

[00:46:59.470] – Allan

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

[00:47:08.770] – Dr. Segar

I think understanding that we need self-awareness is the fundamental element. Without self awareness, we can't know what we need, we can't know what we want. So first and foremost, we have to have the intention of becoming more self aware. Then when we decide that we want to do something toward our happiness or wellness, we want to make sure that what we're choosing to embark on is the right thing at the right time. So, for example, if someone now, this is different for different people. And this is why self awareness is really key to understand this. So for example, if someone just has a baby, they have a brand new newborn baby and they're like, I've got to get fit right now. They have a newborn that's a week old, that doesn't sleep through the night, and that person decides they're going to start working out every day or whatever. I would say that is probably the wrong thing at the wrong time. And the workout has to be perfect. Now, exercise is a great way to facilitate your sleep. But if you add something to grandiose onto an already overwhelming situation. So that's where fit of what we're doing when is really important.

[00:48:26.610] – Dr. Segar

So I just want to take a step back and say physical activity is great for new moms. It's the overarching plan that they create that would be important. And of course, walking with your newborn is a great way to be active. But that's just an example. You said, how do you do it? You want to make sure that what you're doing is the right thing for the right time. And then the third thing is, I think considering whatever you're doing as a process of learning, where one day you're going to have a couple of steps forward, you're going to hit the bullseye, and the other days you might have to make joy choices. And that the goal isn't perfection, it's staying on the path through doing something instead of nothing.

[00:49:10.510] – Allan

Great. Thank you. If someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the book, The Joy Choice, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:49:19.150] – Dr. Segar

Well, the book should be everywhere. So they can go to their local bookstore. They can get it online through booksellers online. If they want to take the quiz and learn more about the book, they can go to my website, which is michellesegar.com

[00:49:35.590] – Allan

awesome. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/538 and I'll be sure to have links there. Dr. Segar, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:49:45.910] – Dr. Segar

Thanks for having me. It was really fun to talk with you.

[00:49:48.950] – Allan

Me, too. Thank you.

Post Show/Recap

[00:49:57.470] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:49:59.090] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. With an interesting conversation you had. There's a couple of things I'd like to talk about. But first, I'd like to talk about setting or creating habits. It sounds like it's still a good thing to do, but not everybody is able to create habits quite as easily as everyone else.

[00:50:14.010] – Allan

Yeah, there are people that they decide they want to do something, they're going to start taking a multivitamin or they're going to change something the way they do something. And then pretty easily after that, they're just doing it. They're not even thinking about it anymore. For most people, for a lot of people, works fairly well. If you do it long enough, it's different for everybody. You may have heard numbers out there, like 21 days or 66 days or whatever. And the reality is that the science that's out there, while there was an average of 66 days to make an action automatic or feel automatic where you weren't thinking about doing it, you just did it. 66 was the average. But the spread on that was really wide. Some people less than two weeks, other people almost a year. And so you can't just say 66 days. But for a lot of people, if you get to doing a simple thing over and over, eventually it just becomes a habit. You get up in the morning, you brush your teeth, you put the coffee on, you walk the dog. There's simple things that become like a ritual when you do them.

[00:51:31.890] – Allan

But big caveat, it really only works for simple things. When you want to do something like food prep or something like that, that's a whole series of actions. Then you have to go deeper than a habit because habits not going to get you there like that. There are habitors, like she said, like her husband, that once they start doing something, it does. So if you're doing Sunday meal prep, Saturday grocery shop, maybe Sunday morning grocery shop, and then Sunday meal prep, yes, that can become like a normal thing on your schedule that you get to doing and feel like a habit. But most of us are not going to feel comfortable that that's an automatic thing. And then anything that gets in the way pop, we're out of it. And we may not even go back the next Sunday and do it because we stopped doing it this Sunday before.

[00:52:27.630] – Rachel

That's a good point. Which brings me to the other thing that I think is more useful is that Traps acronym that she had for the decision disruptors. And the reason why that was such a light bulb moment, I love the phrase decision disruptors because we are all trying to make good decisions. We're trying to eat healthy and be active and stuff. But just things tend to get in the way. And her acronym of Traps kind of outline some of those things, some of those reasons why it's hard for us to stick or make these better choices.

[00:52:59.730] – Allan

Yeah. The temptation one is fairly common. And you'll see, so you go to work and a vendor brings Donuts.

[00:53:08.500] – Rachel


[00:53:09.410] – Allan

And you had no intention of eating the Donuts. You're even doing intermittent fasting. So you haven't eaten since dinner and you weren't going to eat until lunch. And you walk in the break room and there's those doughnuts, and you find yourself grabbing one of the doughnuts without really even thinking about it. And there you are. The rebellion is one that I don't see as often, but I see it from time to time. Accommodation is probably one of the most important ones because it's something that particularly women who are caregivers to their children, they take priority. Taking them to soccer practice, picking them up from dance, and just shuttling your kids around Burns up so much of your time that it's really hard to take time for yourself. And then Unfortunately, I think a lot of women will feel guilty taking that time away. I want to go for a run, but that's 45 minutes that I'm not here with my child.

[00:54:15.870] – Rachel

My guilt is strong, and it's definitely a driver in a lot of our decisions. But what I tell people is I tell people you can't fill from an empty cup. You need to take the time for yourself and take care of yourself before you can care for others adequately. But yes, I can definitely see that one. And the last one she had being perfection. That's a big one, too.

[00:54:40.090] – Allan

Yeah. She's absolutely right there, because so many of us are all or none.

[00:54:47.680] – Rachel


[00:54:48.930] – Allan

And I'll admit when I learn about myself, when I think about myself and I've done that self awareness thing that I had to do, I recognize, though, that I do pretty much have to be all on or I'm off. I need to push towards that. But it also creates those other problems. And I've worked with people like this. I have a client right now that's going through some of this, and he wants to eat keto, but this is going on. This child graduated from this that one's going here and there's this party that he has to go to. And so he finds himself off keto, and it just creates this cycle of and unfortunately, guilt, which he shouldn't feel. We villainize food, and so we feel like we've let ourselves down if we are not perfect. And the reality is if we know that perfect isn't possible.

[00:55:55.390] – Rachel


[00:55:57.610] – Allan

Particularly for us, it's like something's going to come up. I can't think of a year that I've gone through that there wasn't a holiday or birthday, right?

[00:56:05.520] – Rachel

Yeah, there's always something, isn't there?

[00:56:09.370] – Allan

So at some point you're going to go to a party or go to dinner. At some point, somebody's going to bring Donuts to the break room and you're going to end up eating one. That's fine. The point that she was getting at was don't let that be what beats you, right. The joy choice in her book. It's about finding your path where you feel good about your decisions. And so if you can get rid of that concept that these are bad foods and good foods and bad food, then you kind of get to where this is all at and we're going to have another guest on in a few weeks. And his name is Alan Aragon and he's got an excellent book as well. And it goes really deep into some of these same concepts of ways that you can look at just doing better than you're doing now. And then he talks about this concept of discretionary calories. The way he puts it together is if you're eating your calorie level, Then it's okay if up to 20% of your total calories is coming from stuff that you would put in a bad food list.

[00:57:35.850] – Rachel


[00:57:36.360] – Allan

So if you decide, okay, I want to have a Coca Cola And you're like, okay, that's sugar. I don't need that sugar. But I can fit that in my calories for the day. And because I know I'm getting good nutrition otherwise, that 80%. Then I know, okay, I can have the Coke and still stay under my calories, then that's fine. And so it's just trying to get away from the perfect is really important. So looking for tools, looking for things that are going to help you just kind of go through this and then it's hard, don't get me wrong, it's probably the hardest thing to do Because it's the mindset of change. So different things we talked about in this interview. There's even more in the book those tools and things that you can do. So I encourage anyone that's struggling with mindset, struggling with this willpower motivation, habits stuff. This is a good book Because it's just down to Earth stuff. It's science based. So she did go back into the science, looked it up. But at the same time, it kind of gives you a way to get through this without feeling like you've failed every single time you're not on plan.

[00:58:54.980] – Rachel

That's wonderful. That sounds like a really useful book and I love that it offers tools to help people get through these really tough traps like she had mentioned and these other tough situations. I think that's fantastic.

[00:59:07.490] – Allan

All right. Well, Rachel, I'll talk to you next week.

[00:59:10.100] – Rachel

Great. Take care.


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Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


How to improve your health and fitness through self-reliance with Clint Emerson

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

Clint Emerson is a retired Navy Seal. In his book, The Rugged Life: The Modern Guide to Self-Reliance, he shows us how to be more self-reliant and improve our health and fitness as a result.


Let's Say Hello

[00:02:34.450] – Allan

Hey, Ras, how are things?

[00:02:36.260] – Rachel

Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:02:38.260] – Allan

I'm doing all right. Tammy got on an airplane about 15 minutes before we started recording this to fly out for a vacation trip that she's taking with her friend. It was one of those pre-covid trips that got canceled. And so now it's like she's now on the list and got to go. So she's going to be enjoying herself for two weeks, and then I'm going to be responsible for Lula's, which will be interesting. No, I've done it before for her to go back to the States for things. It's just going to stick for two weeks and it's a slower period right now, but just some additional moving parts in my life, but otherwise everything's going well.

[00:03:18.560] – Rachel

Good. Glad to hear it.

[00:03:20.650] – Allan

All right. Well, are you ready to talk to Clint Emerson?

[00:03:23.960] – Rachel

Sure. Sounds great.


[00:03:51.790] – Allan

Clint, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:03:54.460] – Clint

Hi. How are you doing, buddy? Nice to be here.

[00:03:56.700] – Allan

So your book is called The Rugged Life: the Modern Guide to Self Reliance. And I think a lot of folks will sit there and probably wonder, well, why on Earth would Allan have somebody talking about self-reliance and homesteading and all of those types of things on a health and fitness podcast? But in my mind, self-reliance and health and fitness are like intertwined. They're like hand in glove. You can't really have one without the other in a grand sense of things. I guess you can be healthy and fit without having some of these things. But I think some of the things that you get and we'll get into that in a few minutes from living a little bit more of a rugged life actually enhances your health and fitness.

[00:04:43.750] – Clint

Yeah, exactly. You just nailed it. Like I always say, on the crisis side or with 100 Deadly Skill book series, first and foremost, your human performance is everything. To be able to get yourself out of trouble, to get your family out of trouble, you've got to have at least the heart, the lungs and the strength to get yourself away from whatever that threat is. And it could be natural disasters, man made events, you name it. It's out there. And rugged life really is stretching out. It's what you do as a lifestyle, the things you do everyday that can one give you far more fulfillment. And you get a Huger sense of satisfaction when you're doing it yourself. And most of the things that whether it's hunting, building, fishing or farming or whatever it is, those are physical activities. You're going to probably get in better shape than just visiting the gym for an hour to each day. So I think you hit it dead on is that living a more rugged life will exponentially increase your health, both mentally, physically and emotionally.

[00:06:02.830] – Allan

Now, in our world where, yeah, I've got a gem half a mile away from my home, we can call Uber Eats and they'll deliver just about anything you want. Netflix is on, Hulu or whatever your streaming service, or maybe you got more than one of them. We have everything pretty much at our fingertips. We don't have to lift a finger to do anything. And I think it probably might have been even about 20 years ago when the Internet was really just getting started someone wanted to do the experiment to see if they could stay in their house for an entire year and never leave. And way back then, back in the late 90s or so, this guy was able to do it early 2000s, late 90s, was able to literally stay at home for an entire year and not get out. Now, for many of us, we are in a situation with COVID where we weren't permitted if we lived in the city, particularly to get out. Now, I kind of kicked myself when we came down here at Panama, I didn't choose the rugged life. We chose something a little bit easier, an apartment in town, which meant we were pretty much trapped in our apartment in town with the lockdowns they did here, which were a lot more stringent than the United States.

[00:07:15.610] – Allan

Our friends who lived out and about on different Islands, generating their own electricity, catching their own water, living a little bit more of a rugged life than we were. They had a lot more autonomy, a lot more freedom. So that's kind of one of the reasons why I think the rugged life now appeals to me a little bit more than it might have before is seeing it firsthand. My friends were actually able to get out in the sun for more than 2 hours twice a week and walk around and do things. But for the normal person, what is this rugged life that we're talking about? And why would it be something that someone would want to do when there are so many easy ways to live our lives today?

[00:07:55.750] – Clint

Yeah, man, you had a bunch of great stuff. I think. First I'll start by answering the question with the pandemic certainly taught us all that being a little more self reliant can be very valuable. It can be important. It can just allow a certain level of independence and freedom that you can't get if you are reliant on all these other things that you mentioned. So I would say first and foremost, you don't have to dive 100% into the rugged life. I've built the book so that you can just dip your toe if you want. You living in an apartment in an urban environment can do a lot, even with limited space, to increase your self reliance and actually fend for yourself, whether it's these vertical gardens now, I mean, you can grow just about anything inside your apartment in the corner with very little maintenance. It's just time, right? Just wait for things to grow and then, you know, you've got it. Or if you decide you dip your toe a couple of times and you like all these different little projects that you're doing and you're realizing, Holy, Holy crap. This is actually not just is it giving me something in return, but the hard work that goes into it just feels so much better than using an app, right?

[00:09:14.610] – Clint

I mean, you don't get any satisfaction except the fat pill that shows up to your doorstep by using all the different Uber eats and whatever else is out there, having your groceries delivered to your door. Yeah, that's pretty cool. But what if you could just grow some of those things yourself and that's just a piece of it, right. If you're not into the farming aspect, then maybe it's the hunting. If you're not in the hunting, and maybe it's just being your own handyman, being your own power grid, be your own homemaker. I mean, I was surprised at how many household products, especially in the hygiene and the hygiene and grooming side of the house, that if you just got beeswax and some coconut oil, you can make shampoos, pomades and conditioners. Right. So the other piece to this whole thing with the rugged life is it's more like a family experiment if you get the whole family involved. I feel like it brings everybody together because we are so stuck on technology these days. You have an entire family sitting in a living room. It's on Netflix, like you mentioned, but everybody is still on their own personal devices and there's no solid family time.

[00:10:29.480] – Clint

So rugged life, at whatever level you want to kind of live it. You will find out that whether it's one project or a dozen projects, when the whole family is involved, you're just going to all be so much more healthier. You're going to get that camaraderie going again. And you're not just a bunch of individuals living in the house together.

[00:10:54.430] – Allan

Yeah. It's interesting being down here. I run into a lot of people that they do this thing. They say, okay, look, this is so cool. There's this island, I'm going to go out there. It's just land. It's just raw land. It's jungle. We're going to clear a little bit of it. We're going to build a house. We're going to use solar, we're going to use water catchment. We're going to do these different things like composting, and we're going to have a garden. And this just goes on and on. And what happens, though, invariably, is that they move down here, they make that happen. They build their dream house. And then as a couple, one or both of them kind of decide after a period of time that this was not what they signed up for. They miss some of the creature comforts that they had because they kind of went a little too far into the woods. The jungle, if you will, before really going through and analyzing. Okay. Is this really me? Is this really me long term? Is this a project that I'm going to do and then get bored with? In your book, you had what you call the top ten are you sure about this thing? Could you go through some of those to help someone kind of see because it sounds so cool off the grid, doing this thing, growing my own food, chickens, you know, the whole bit. It's a lot of work.

[00:12:25.270] – Clint

You are correct. It is, yeah. Some of the top ten is basic questions like, do you like vacations? Because guess what? As soon as you bring in animals, you're not leaving because you got to take care of them 24/7. Right. You are going to live to take care of animals that in rich parent are going to take care of you. So going on a vacation becomes very difficult. You really have to like the people that you and your family. Right. You all love each other, of course, but you have to like each other because you're going to be working as a team like you never have before. And you're really going to see people's strengths and weaknesses, and everyone's going to have to adapt. But ultimately, you just hit it again. It's very romantic to think that, hey, yeah, we're going to go buy a chunk of land in the mountains, and we're going to build a cabin. We're going to have this awesome fireplace every night. And I'm going to be butchering these big steaks. And it sounds all great. It really does. And everybody should aspire to do it. But there is nothing easy about it. And that's why it's the rugged life. It can be very hard work at times, but the return on that hard work is far better than what you get from going to the grocery store, though. That is convenient. And so there's a balance. If convenience is at one end of the spectrum and then the rugged life is at the other. Right. Anything rugged isn't going to be convenient. Anything convenient isn't really going to be all that rugged. So you just got to find that happy medium for you and your family.

[00:14:10.500] – Clint

And that's why I do not suggest just jumping in 100% because you might find out that you hate it. I definitely push the hey, take some of the projects in the book and see if it's something that appeals to you. And the other biggest piece to all of it is that you're going to fail and you're going to fail over and over again. You may spend a lot of time getting the perfect soil, mix it with the compost going, then everything to make the perfect vegetables. And then those things never grow or they die or a predator comes along and eats them for you before you even get a chance.

[00:14:50.470] – Clint

Right. So there's a lot of frustration, a lot of fail. So you have to be prepared for that and be the kind of person that's going to go you know what? I'm not giving up. I'm going to keep going. I want to keep going until I get this right. And so if you're that kind of person and you enjoy learning, then you should give it a shot for sure.

[00:15:10.550] – Allan

Now, the cool thing about this and that's what I like is while you talk about that continuum of convenience to the rugged life is you can pick and choose your battles. You don't have to be in a cabin in the middle of the woods. Like you said, it can be something as simple as saying I'm going to do a few of these things for myself. And I like that concept of saying, okay, I can pick and choose now, one that I like to pick where I would pick. If you're really thinking about your health and fitness so that, you know the food you're putting in your mouth is there's nothing better than you being responsible for growing that food, particularly with vegetables. Vegetables. It can be simple as a vertical garden. It can be herb garden, it can be tomatoes. And I like your idea of upside down tomato growing right there. Can you go through some of the considerations of why we would want to grow our own food? And then if we're going to grow our own food, what do we want to think about as far as the approach and what we do?

[00:16:12.030] – Allan

Because it sounds simple. Put a seed in the ground. And having been in a family where we did a garden, we had three acres for basically, I think it was six of us, it was a lot of work. What are some considerations and things to think about if you're going to start growing your own food and where are some lines, like if I'm going to try to grow food for my whole family versus just have some additional good quality food for me on my plate each night?

[00:16:38.720] – Clint

Yeah. I think a good starting point is always what climate zone do you live in? Right. So if you have this dream of avocados. Right. And you're going to grow them and you're going to have as many avocados per day because it's a superfood and it's awesome and you can heat it 24/7, which I can you really have to start with climate zone. Right. And this is old school Farmers Almanac type stuff. Where you go, all right, where do I live and what am I going to have the highest success rate of growing that actually benefits my health. And so that's going to narrow the list really quick. So that's where I would start is the research and also talking to local farmers, going to some of your farmer markets and talking to everybody, selling any of the vegetables and fruits they have going there. And getting educated is like the biggest number one step so that you increase your success. Next, once you figure out what that is, it's a good idea to start indoors. Right. You can set up a basic lighting bank and get the seeds, the kick start they need with a little bit of soil.

[00:17:57.090] – Clint

And once they actually start to grow, you actually see them break the surface of the little pods that you put them in. Then you can basically put them outside using just common language. You're taking something that started growing and you're going to transplant it to outdoors. And it's a very fragile moment, but it'll be fine making sure the soil outside matches the soil that they're in. And then now they're outside in sunlight and on their own. And you're going to have to obviously give some care and maintenance. You're going to have to do research on pest control, any of the other predators that might want to nibble on whatever it is you're growing and basically put up whatever fortifications you need, which a lot of times just chicken wire over your garden will keep out the birds and any of those little ground animals like rabbits that want to come in and get a free meal. But I think the biggest piece is really doing the research in terms of what's going to give you that highest level of success in the area in which you live. And you really got to pinpoint it, especially like where I'm at Texas.

[00:19:07.730] – Clint

North Texas is far different than South Texas. And what you can grow in one, you can't grow in the other, even though you're in the same state.

[00:19:16.430] – Allan

Yeah. You have a really cool map in the book that kind of breaks it down into zones. Obviously, I'm a lot further south than any of your zones, and we can do avocados here. One of the interesting things is when you plant that, you have to set your expectations. You won't have avocados for ten years and then you won't have avocados at all if your dog digs up the plant.

[00:19:39.590] – Clint

Exactly. And that's a great point, because people do on that same point. They think about like Apple tree or an Orange tree or a peach tree. But you're still talking several years before you really get to the good fruit that tree produces. And like here in Texas, the pecan industry is huge. Right. And monetizing acreage, let's say you've got a couple of acres and you can put 50 to 100 trees, but a pecan tree is going to start producing pecans for ten years. Right. Like I said, it's still that you have to do that amount of research and put it in and then also regulate expectation. Right. Expectation management is a big part of all this, like you just pointed out.

[00:20:29.690] – Allan

But the advantages are this. You know what's in your food, if you use pesticides, you know it, if you use something in it, you know it, you know the seeds, whether they're heirloom or there's some of something else. But you know the food because you were in hand. And I can tell you when you grow your own food, it actually tastes better because you have a pride of ownership while you're eating that food that you just don't get when you walk into a restaurant or have Uber Eats deliver it to you.

[00:21:01.190] – Clint

Yeah, no doubt.

[00:21:03.470] – Allan

Okay, again, you can do all of this if you live in the right climate. You can do all your food. It can be plant based and it can be awesome if you can grow enough and you need to, again, make sure you are growing enough if that's what you're going to do. But for a lot of folks, we are meat eaters, so on the board. So we're going to want a little bit of meat in there too. And that's where things like raising your own animals, you talked about some considerations there as far as vacations and other things you got to do hunting and fishing, which there are also some general considerations about that. Why would we want to raise our own animals, do hunting and fishing? Why would we want to go through the effort of doing that? And then what are some things we need to think about to go through that process? What that's all about?

[00:21:54.170] – Clint

Yeah, harvesting anything like you pointed out, is going to be healthier in the long run. But it's also important to note it might not be cheaper. I think a lot of folks think that, hey, I might save money by having chickens. Well, not at first. And it's going to take a while to get an egg for as cheap as you would buy an egg at a grocery store. It takes a while to get there because you have to invest. But something like chickens are somewhat easy. And it's important to note you have egg chickens and you've got meat chickens. The egg chickens obviously good at laying eggs almost all year round. You might have to put some lighting because they lay eggs based on the sun. And then you've got your meat chickens, which don't really produce very good eggs, but man, they're good to eat. There's even one breeded chicken that you literally have to Butcher it at about eight to twelve weeks because it gets so fat its own legs will snap. So there's a lot the thing about rugged life is each chapter is novels on their own of information that could be written, no doubt about it.

[00:23:07.580] – Clint

But growing your own meat, yes, it locks you at home, but you know where it's been, what it's eaten and what it's doing 24/7. So the safety and eating it, the health benefits in eating it are all just automatically there when you've been doing it. And what I've also pointed out in the book is if the farming aspect of harvesting your own meat isn't your thing, then hunting certainly is the other option, because then it doesn't require you to be stuck at home raising these animals, whether it's chickens, goats, pigs, you name it. So then you can go Hunt. And with hunting it's popular. Bow hunting has become more popular these days, so a lot of variance to going and hunting, but that has its own skill and set of patience and work that goes with it. There is some investment, but I would say buying a rifle and ammunition is cheaper than raising or keeping pigs, for example. If you don't do it right, they can destroy everything. And the same with goats. People see these goats when they go to yoga, climbing on them and like, oh, I want one. But what they don't know is those things will eat the tires off your car if you leave them there long enough with your vehicle.

[00:24:38.030] – Clint

But overall, once again, knowing where your meat is, looking out for it 24/7, butchering it and serving it to yourself. I mean, that goes back to where our country was 200 some years ago, where every man, woman and child were self reliant. And they had all of these skills in the book and then some because it was just a way of life. And by drawing from a couple of these things here and there, you might find out that you like it as well.

[00:25:15.360] – Allan

Yeah. A couple of things that you can consider. In my opinion, if you don't want to go, like, full on with all of this stuff, is it's very common for folks to go in with a farmer. They know everybody goes in with the money, they buy calves, and they know where that's being raised. And there's kind of like a co op, if you will. So it's one way to kind of get around of you having to buy the land and you having to run the animals is that someone who's more skilled at that. But there's a great opportunity for you to learn those skills. Also, with the hunting and fishing is often you can get into groups. I know we would go hunting back in the day. They'd run dogs. So you'd have the guys running their beagles. And we'd all set up in different spots. And then you get done and it's like, okay, the dog that did the chase, he's going to get his first pick. And then the guy who shot the deer is going to get his pick. And then, yeah, the rest of us, if we didn't happen to hit that day, we're getting a little bit of something there.

[00:26:15.210] – Allan

So it's an opportunity to kind of get those things. I can say the hunting and fishing is hit or miss if you're going by yourself, but there are opportunities for you to get involved and try some of these things. And maybe to me, the biggest challenge of a lot of this, if you haven't done it before and you have a lot of great advice in the book, is the butchering of the animal, which is something that many people haven't experienced. But once you start getting into it, it's like, okay, now I understand where my cuts of meat come from. I know what this animal's life was like. And you're right, it's kind of intense, but it's a good intense to know the quality of your food and to know where it's coming from and to know that you had a hand in either making it or killing or catching it.

[00:27:05.210] – Clint

Yeah, you are dead on. And for people that want to try, kinda like the easy route, but it's also somewhat difficult. Homesteading World rabbits have been very popular. And because you can in a very short period of time. And I point out in there rabbits, they do hump like rabbits within a short period of time. With six rabbits, you can turn that into 46 kits or so. And then before you know it, you've got enough meat to eat five days a week for a family of four. And it's just exponential with rabbits. And they're smaller and easier meat to manage, especially if you don't have the land. But yeah, there's a lot of options. You make some great points doing things as a group. And the co op options, both with eggs, milk and meat, are all out there and available these days.

[00:28:05.390] – Allan

Yes, I'm going to tell this story probably shouldn't, because it's just kind of embarrassing. But I'm going to say I'm going to tell you anyway. I had a friend and they raised rabbits. That was their thing. They raised rabbits and they had the kids, the cages for themselves set up. And you try to check the rabbit to know if it's a boy or girl, and it's really hard to tell. And so they thought they had these two boy and a girl, and they put them in the cage and they were fighting. So they assume now, okay, they must both be boys and they're fighting. So the father wanted us to kill one of the rabbits. He picked one of them. He said, go kill the rabbit. And so we go out there, we grab the rabbit, and he hands it to me and I go to grab the rabbit. I'm holding it against my chest, and the rabbit just kind of rests its chin right there on my neck.

[00:28:54.090] – Clint

And you're like, I can't do it.

[00:28:55.540] – Allan

Yeah. And so a little tear starts coming down my eye. I'm 15 years old. My friend turns around, he looks at me and he looks at me for just a second. Then he gets a tear in his eye. And his father drives up about this time in his truck and he looks at the two of us. He says, damn it, build another cage.

[00:29:15.930] – Clint

Yeah, that sounds about right. That's what I said. It's easy, but also could be difficult because killing a rabbit. Yeah. They're so soft and cuddly. It's the last thing you want to kill. And they know that, too, about themselves,I think.

[00:29:32.960] – Allan

Okay, this one did because that chin on the chest, on my shoulder, that was enough to say, okay, this one gets a second chance.

[00:29:42.030] – Clint

That's awesome.

[00:29:43.010] – Allan

But I think that's the other thing that I wanted to kind of get to with this is that you start having a newfound respect for the food that you're eating. So the concept of waste, the concept of just going out and doing something for the sake of doing it. You really get a sense of what the cost of this is, not just from a financial perspective of what we're dealing with, but just knowing that what you're doing is about survival, about you doing the right things for yourself. Again, I think you approach this with a very different mindset. Maybe you do eat less meat because the emotional cost of raising the meat for you is a little bit higher. And as a result, you're eating less red meat and maybe a little bit more vegetables, a little bit more plant based. And in the end, that turns out to be a more helpful choice for you.

[00:30:37.590] – Clint

Yeah, I think you're right. You're investing more than just money. When you go down this path, there's time and effort, then there's on the receiving end, whatever it is you're deciding to grow or harvest what it's given back to you. And so there's this relationship that forms with a lot of what you're doing, and every aspect of it becomes valuable, and you don't want any of it to go to waste. I think with people just do one little thing here and there, holistically they will kind of start to grow up in a different way than what we're used to, because these modern conveniences and technology, I think we all know it and we see it all the time that these things are necessary evil. And I mean, look at us now. It does give us these great capabilities. I'm communicating from Texas to Panama like live feed right now. And that aspect is just incredible. Right. But at the same size really makes us lazy and complacent. Like I said, 200 years ago, everybody knew this stuff, and now it's very rare, and it took a pandemic for people to wake up and go, oh, yeah, it might be a good idea that I know how to make something as simple as hand sanitizer.

[00:32:01.900] – Clint

Right. We all learned it really quick when the shelves got empty, along with toilet paper, which is really odd. But now that we're somewhat through it, this is an opportunity to really embrace it and start trying new and different things. And hopefully that's the kind of impact the book has on everyone. Yeah.

[00:32:24.340] – Allan

And I think other folks are going to look at it and say, okay, there's also the aspects of inflation and where my food is coming from. You look at some of these industrial plants where they're bringing in meat or eggs or whatever, and it's just horrific to see some of the stuff that they do to these animals. And to know that you can do this in a different, more sustainable way, I think is really a big step. Plus, again, not initially, but over time, just depending on what goes on in the world, being self reliant, having the sustainable source of something, whether it's vegetables, food, whatever, meat or whatever and being able to Hunt for yourself, being able to fish for yourself, those things is going to give you a way of having control. When inflation is out of your control and you just have to pay what the market costs. When you want to have a steak or have some fish or have some eggs, you just pay what the market is versus if you are doing your own thing and get to a point of sustainability, it's now just about you taking care of the animals and them taking care of you, as you said earlier.

[00:33:39.090] – Clint

Yup, you've nailed it. I mean, it's a crazy world and I'm not a fear monger by any means, but reality is reality. You come out of a pandemic, you've got Russia invading countries, you have interest rates already going through the roof. The economy is screwed because of supply chain issues. Supply chain issues aren't getting fixed because other countries are still dealing with the pandemic which slows things down. And recovery is just going to take a while. The economy is always kind of like this accordion and the impact of today, we may not recover for a couple of years down the road. And so being more self sufficient and self reliant.

[00:34:23.250] – Allan

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

[00:34:33.990] – Clint

it's a good question. Number one, having a routine that looks after you first, right? I always have to tell myself, look out for myself first each day. And that's only because if I let the day get a hold of me, then I may not actually do anything for myself. And when I say that, I mean you get up and you work out, right? And get that workout under your belt. It's also the same as, hey, I get my coffee, the MCT oil and collagen in my system right off the bat as well because I'm looking out for myself first and then, okay, sit down and organize your mind, right? So I'm a big list guy. So get those lists and keep your mind healthy and get the clutter out and down on paper. And then start tackling those tasks in the order of priorities in which whatever it is you're dealing with for the day. And then of course, you have to power yourself. So make sure you're taking in the things that fuel the body and fuel the mind. I like the intermittent fast. I feel like it's done. Everyone is different about that kind of stuff.

[00:35:49.190] – Clint

But for me, waiting till around lunch time to really start taking in calories seems to work. And then I pretty much eat somewhat healthy from lunchtime till about six or seven. And then that's it. I think regulating and getting into a routine and then implementing what can I do that's healthy for the mind, healthy for the body, healthy for the spirit and then just integrate that into my day. Then boom, it becomes automatic after some time, and then before you know it, you realize, wow, I feel a hell of a lot better than I did a year ago. And that's how it should be, right? Every year you get older, you should be able to go, I feel better than I did last year. Hey, you know what? I feel better than I did last year, even though I'm getting older and it seems to be working. But I don't know. I'm no expert.

[00:36:43.930] – Allan

It's working. Clint, if someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about your book, The Rugged Life, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:36:53.350] – Clint

Yeah, my entire ecosystem is @clintemerson.com super simple. You can pre-order or order the books right now, right there. And I really do appreciate your time and any of your listeners that go check clintemerson.com out or my Instagram page. I thank you ahead of time.

[00:37:12.140] – Allan

All right. Well, thank you so much, Clint, for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:37:16.870] – Clint

No, thanks for having me, buddy. You got a great thing going.

[00:37:19.520] – Allan

All right. Thank you.

Post Show/Recap

[00:37:27.590] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:37:29.270] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. Wow. I'm telling you, you're speaking my love language here. We talk a lot about home studying at our house up here.

[00:37:36.650] – Allan

Yeah, I see a lot of videos. I know that your husband is a Hunter and a fisherman and just kind of the whole idea of the whole concept of going out in a hut on a Lake and cutting a hole in the ice and sitting there, not my thing. I'll take my kayak out here in the water and cast out or fish from a beach. But I think the thing that I wanted people to take away from here is understanding the source of your food and taking that on as a personal challenge, to be more involved in the food. It's good for you. And it's great for the younger generations who in some cases have no concept whatsoever of what this stuff is and potentially how bad some of it can be. I would never encourage anyone to really go spend a whole lot of time diving into this, because it's not pretty how animals can be mistreated and terribly raised. So the more you're able to get involved, the more you're able to create sustainable opportunities for yourself. It doesn't have to be a huge thing, a small herb garden, a small this or that, going in with a few friends and finding a co op.

[00:38:58.810] – Allan

And you mentioned a few cool things.

[00:39:01.100] – Rachel

Yes, we do a lot of gardening at our house, and I say we very generally I do not have a green thumb. It's all my daughter and husband, they're way more skilled at this type of thing than I am. But we choose our vegetable gardens based on how we eat, and we tend to eat a lot of peppers and tomatoes. We do a lot of herbs. So we choose some pretty easy things to grow. And we put some in the ground, some in pots, like herbs can decorate your kitchen. It would look lovely and smell lovely to have some good herbs in your kitchen. And then on top of that, if gardening isn't your thing, our local community has an area in town where you could for a low price of just $20 in the entire summer. They'll give you maybe a ten by 20 or so square foot area where you could grow whatever vegetables you are so inclined to grow. So if there's no room on your property, there's a place to go. And also my brother and sister in law, they have been doing a co op where for a weekly fee, they get handed a bag of vegetables, which is really fun from their local farm because you never know what you're going to get.

[00:40:10.720] – Rachel

So you can get really creative in the kitchen if you're getting some vegetables that you may not normally Cook with. So there's a lot of affordable options if growing isn't your thing. So that's what to look into.

[00:40:23.490] – Allan

And the reality of it is there's some work involved. I grew up and we had three acres, and so that was a chore. And then after you get the food, you have to think in terms of you don't want it to go to waste. Like, we had plum trees and there was like three or four plum trees and they would all come ripening at the same time. I can personally tell you from experience, don't eat a lot of plums at one time. Plums are prunes, okay? They're just moisture prunes, and they will do the same thing. So what you end up doing is saying, what are the preservation techniques that I can employ to keep this food and have it for later? So you talk about tomatoes and you can tomatoes. You learn how to use the Mason jars and hot water and creating pressure and put the caps on and letting it sit and hear that pop. And you're like, OK, we're good. Same thing with the preserves that we did for, like I said, the plums, we would do that also with blackberries. The BlackBerry preserves went very, very fast, though.

[00:41:35.190] – Rachel

That would be delicious.

[00:41:36.650] – Allan

They were. But that's the whole point. We knew where our food was coming from, the chickens and Ducks and turkeys that we raised. We knew what they were eating, we knew where they were. And so that gave us some ownership there and changed behaviors because it wasn't the simple thing of throwing things out and not utilizing them because you knew the cost and you knew what was involved with the fishing and the hunting. It was like, okay, we know where our meat is coming from. And we know sometimes we're going to be lucky and have a good harvest, if you will. And then other times we're not. And we have to look at what's going on. Why aren't there as many deer? And maybe it's a good thing we're not getting a big harvest this year Because if there's not enough deer for us to see the deer, Then maybe we don't need to be hunting the deer as much. So it allows you to get more creative with understanding the environment you're in and hunting and fishing and growing your own, raising your own. I think those are just huge opportunities for us to become more self sufficient.

[00:42:41.610] – Allan

And Clint book, again, it is about being resilient, it's about being self sufficient. And it goes a lot deeper. He teaches things about welding, solar panels, water. So all the things that you would say if I was really going to homestead and figure stuff out for myself. And is it a complete manual for how to do this? No, but it is an excellent source. If you're saying I really want to start figuring out I want to buy that cabin in the woods and move there. I want to buy that house, that property down there here about Bocas del toro, where I can own my own island for less than $200,000 And I can build a sustainable house with solar water catchment and all that. This will give you some general ideas about what's involved in doing that and kind of coming to the conclusion. And I really cut out to do that Because so many people move down here and say, yeah, this sounds great until we go three weeks without rain. Or we go three weeks with rain.

[00:43:46.830] – Rachel

Yes, like you just did. Oh, my gosh. Yes. Well, it's good to try some of these little things and absolutely buy the book because it's good to read about and do your research before you invest a whole ton of time. Because you're right. Failure happens. We evicted two groundhogs last year that ate a good chunk of our garden before we could. And it's just these type of things happen. So it's good to try these experiments every now and then and see what happens.

[00:44:15.450] – Allan

Okay. Well, Ras, that's all I really had for this week. What about you?

[00:44:19.750] – Rachel

Sure. No, that's great. Take care.

[00:44:22.440] – Allan

You too. Bye.

[00:44:23.400] – Rachel

Thanks. Bye bye.


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Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


April 19, 2022

How to do nothing and improve your health and fitness with Jessie Kanzer

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

Often we push ourselves to do more, forgetting that the best path to wellness might be to do less. Today we are joined by Jessie Kanzer to discuss her book, Don't Just Sit There, DO NOTHING: Healing, Chilling, and Living with the Tao Te Ching.


Let's Say Hello

[00:03:20.710] – Allan

Hello, Ras.

[00:03:21.910] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. How are you today?

[00:03:23.780] – Allan

I'm doing well. How are you?

[00:03:25.560] – Rachel

Good. Spring is finally here in Michigan, at least today. We had some weather over the weekend. We are expecting more weather this weekend in terms of snow. But today is nice.

[00:03:39.540] – Allan

We talked about hormone changes last week, sort of like right now.

[00:03:44.410] – Rachel

Yes, absolutely. Michigan is going through the change right now.

[00:03:53.330] – Allan

But it's a spring change. So it's sort of like puberty and not like menopause. But that said, it's still kind of traumatic increase me. I think the interesting thing is I've got my nutrition kind of ratcheted down and everybody on the island knows, okay, Allan's not doing these things. He's not eating these things. Kind of funny because we will go out to dinner every once in a while and people are like, okay, well, Allan's not going to eat that. Allan's not going to eat this, which is actually kind of it is kind of funny to be sitting there and people watching me eat or watching what I order more interested in what I'm ordering than what I'm eating. But here's one of the interesting things that hasn't happened before. And this is you start thinking about getting older and how things are different because they are they can be very different as you age. I am sleeping. I'm sleeping a lot because I say I don't set an alarm. Right. And I mean that I don't really set an alarm. I think I said it one day about a couple of weeks ago, there were a couple of girls that had to catch like a

[00:04:57.740] – Allan

07:00 boat out. And they're like, can we get breakfast early? And I'm like, sure, there's one of yogurt and all that. Okay, I'll get up, I'll fix them up to go. They actually had time to eat it there. But it was just one of those. That's the only time I set alarm now. So what's happening is I'll still go to bed. Typically kind of normal this time. I'm up to about 09:00, maybe 9:30 now. But I'm sleeping 10,11, 12 hours a night, almost every night. And it's just kind of this weird. Like this morning I woke up at eight. I went to bed at nine, and I'm like and I'm asleep. It's not like I go to bed at nine and I'm up for a little while hanging out, looking at my phone. I put my phone on the white noise sound machine and I lay down and I go to sleep. I'll wake up a few times at night for the bathroom. And literally this morning got up at 8:30. I mean, really between eight and 830, I just rolled up, looked at the clock.

[00:06:00.810] – Rachel

My goodness.

[00:06:03.090] – Allan

Okay, well, on my side. I don't know that this is going to adversely affect this recording, but my power just went off. So welcome to the third world. Now, again, I do have a generator, I mean, a little battery. So I think I'm still online and everything. So we're going to finish our hello. And then we're going to get into our final segment. So if you don't know how this all works, which I'll just share this behind the scenes stuff, this is how a third world country works. Power goes out from time to time for no apparent reason whatsoever. And then it comes back on. But that aside, Rachel and I get together about once a week and we record our hello segment, and then we take a break and then we record the segment that you hear after the episode I'm going to do now is I'm going to finish this recording and then start the new recording for us to do that final segment. So that's the behind the scenes stuff. That whether you wanted it or not, you got live on this episode.

[00:06:58.070] – Rachel

Sure. Have fun.

[00:06:59.440] – Allan

Yeah. We'll talk to you soon, Rachel.

[00:07:01.020] – Rachel



[00:07:29.320] – Allan

Jessie, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:07:31.980] – Jessie

Thank you so much for having me.

[00:07:34.200] – Allan

Now, your book is a very interesting title, Don't Just Sit There, Do Nothing: Healing, Chilling and Living with the Tao Te Ching. And I know when I was reaching out to your publicist came off as a why would a fitness guy want to do an interview on a book, Don't Just Sit There, do nothing. But this is an important book. And I'm glad you wrote this because I think this is gonna be a great tool for a lot of people to get past one of the things that I think is one of maybe one of the biggest health issues that we're personally facing now today, especially today in the modern world. And so I really do think this is a really important book for people to wrap their minds around that we don't have to be doing all the time.

[00:08:28.570] – Jessie

Yeah. Thank you for saying that. I mean, you know, it's interesting. I spoke to the CEO of the Spartan Up program. He does those races.

[00:08:41.130] – Allan

Joe De Sena.

[00:08:43.230] – Jessie

Yeah, exactly, Joe De Sena. I spoke to him kind of when I was launching the book and in an interview. And whereas he was coming at me kind of with the opposite philosophy. Right. Like, you get it done kind of philosophy. What I showed, I think, was that there is a place where the get it done philosophy and the do nothing philosophy meets. Because, of course, you can't live in any extreme for a prolonged period of time without suffering negative consequences. And because so much of our world tout doing and achievement and accomplishment. I believe that the jokey. Of course, the jokey title of Don't Just sit there do nothing. That is actually where our attention needs to go now so that we can create balance in our lives.

[00:09:37.310] – Allan

Yeah. Because one, I'll openly admit I was ten minutes late getting on this call. And you've got the patience that you learned as you put together the information to put this book and just raising your family and living your life. The first thing I want to get into is this concept that is really hard for me because I pride myself, I always have prided myself with being an overachiever. I want to get more done. It's kind of a compliment. I only sleep 4 hours. I only sleep 3 hours. And all the things that are going on. And there's a quote you had in the book. It's a little bit longer than I would normally read. But I want to read this quote because I think it's really important for someone that's trying to figure out what we're here for to understand. And the quote goes like this, do not be afraid to lay down your load for a minute. You can pick it up anytime you wish. Separate yourself from the endless goals and grievances. It will recharge you like nothing else. Spend a breath, then two, then an hour flowing without worry and doing what needs to be done without overthinking it and bask in existence itself. This is the ultimate freedom.

[00:10:57.470] – Jessie

Thank you for sharing that.

[00:10:59.690] – Allan

And it's true. Anytime that I'm frantic, anytime that I'm panicked, I'm a wreck. I'm not nearly the quality that I need to be to be the overachiever. And so it's one of those if you rush in, that's great. It looks like you're doing something. But the looking like you're doing something often isn't doing yourself justice.

[00:11:31.430] – Jessie

That's exactly right. This practice of doing nothing, I use quotations because of course we're never doing nothing. Honestly, if you're alive, your body breathes itself, your cells are recharging themselves. Stuff is going on at all times. The one thing about this existence is it's always in motion. There is actually no complete stillness. And what this recharging that I'm talking about, this taking the time to just be really brief on a busy day. It could be as brief as a few deep breaths. But taking the time to recenter yourself, then reconnect you with a flow of life. Because there is a flow. When you enter that flow and when you are doing stuff from the flow, the doing becomes easier. So it's not like pushing the Boulder up the Hill. It's just going with the stream sort of. And what I've noticed is a lot of the problems with our very overly busy society and all of this barrage of information we constantly get and our brains become overextended. Our minds become overextended and we are exhausted before we even get started in a way. So when we take the time to reconnect and we take the time to block out all that external noise and just kind of connect with the power, with the inner guidance we have within us.

[00:13:04.060] – Jessie

Each person has within them, even when we are doing it's more easeful so that all of the stress kind of goes away and we do or some of the stress, I should say, goes away and we do the next right thing and then the next right thing. And step by step, you live your life. You do the things you need to do, but you're not overly stressed and frantic and crazy about it all.

[00:13:29.630] – Allan

Yeah, it's interesting to me because what I'll get is I'll get a client comes up and says, okay, I need to lose X pounds. We'll just throw that out there and they'll have a reason. Sometimes they have a deadline. There's something coming up. They want to be ready for this or that. They've been carrying this for too long. So they need to do something now. And the first question is, what do I do? Because we get fascinated with a result. What is my life going to be like if I'm in this Pant size or dress size? What is my life going to be like, if I'm no longer carrying this extra weight. If the scale says something tomorrow that's fantastic. What is my life going to be like? And I think in that look to the journey that looked to the results, we lose sight of the journey. And you talk about this actually a good bit in the book, because much of the struggles, much of the things that you went through, you look back and you said it was the journey I remember. The results were great.

[00:14:46.350] – Jessie

Right. Of course it's great that I have this happy life now and I'm a fulfilled person, and that's all wonderful. But it's interesting because my book just said they're doing nothing came out recently. And I have a lot of people telling me because I share a lot of myself in there, and I have a lot of people saying that's so brave or you accomplish so much, et cetera. And there's this push to celebrate this accomplishment, which I think is wonderful, but I'll be 100% honest. I like myself now, not any more than I liked myself three years ago when I started the book, because by the time I began this work of putting down my own lessons and all of the stuff I learned by following Eastern philosophies like the Tao Te Ching, and by reconnecting with my core, by the time I got to writing it, I already knew that it's not the end result that matters. And I think it's so funny and it's wonderful and sweet, but it's so funny that people celebrate the achievement. But if they actually look in the lessons that I'm teaching in the book that every failure is part of the achievement, every mistake, every fall, our entire journeys are as important as any accomplishment, any goal, any achievement that you reach.

[00:16:10.330] – Jessie

And I fully celebrate that journey now of struggle that I had. I'm really grateful for it, because that's what made me who I am. So I would really urge people who are focused on certain goals to remember to focus on the now on the journey and see what they can. That's where our greatest lessons come from. And sometimes our greatest lessons come from the bottom as well before we even get going.

[00:16:37.720] – Allan

Yeah. I was having a conversation with a client yesterday, and he was telling me he loves running, but he hates going to the gym and lifting weights. And so we spent some time talking about kind of the underlying reason that he might feel that way, and then another way that I feel like as he goes into the gym that he should be looking at that time. And a lot of the things we got into were the things that he enjoyed about running, he was experiencing in the gym, he just wasn't aware, he wasn't in the moment to recognize, oh, I can move my body and I can push more weight than I did last time versus being able to maybe run a little bit further or a little bit faster than he did last time. The same feelings are there. They're just coming in a different way. And if you're not open to them, you don't really experience them and you don't really recognize what you're going through. And a lot of it you talk about flow in the book. Can you get a little bit into flow? Because I think part of really getting into the journey is when you recognize that flow is the journey.

[00:17:55.650] – Jessie

Yeah. And actually, I think that flow is very interesting to athletes because anybody who follows any kind of sport sees a difference. We know there's a difference between, say, a Michael Jordan or an Alex Honnold, the climber. Like, there's a difference in the people who are able to exceed their physical limitations to do certain magical things that we get to watch. But the reality is everybody, in order to accomplish something they've never accomplished before, needs to enter the flow state. And then the real gift is the flow state itself. So what happens in the flow state? And it was identified earlier in the 1900, therapists identified the actual characteristics of the flow state. And it doesn't have to be a physical activity. Some people I actually enter the flow state when I write as an example, and some people do it when they paint. But what happens in the state is whatever it is that you're doing consumes you so greatly that you lose for the time that you're doing it. You lose your ego, you lose the judge, the constant judge that's looking at yourself and judging and thinking overthinking, and you kind of become one with the motion, with the flow of the activity that you're in.

[00:19:21.310] – Jessie

And it's a really beautiful experience, obviously very recharging. And this is why I say the Tao Te Ching. This ancient philosophy is very full of paradoxes, because in a way, it's the flow state that helps us reach stillness. But here we're talking about stillness of the mind. And when we become one with the doing, that is ultimate stillness. And it's a very ironic because of course, we become one with the action, but it's becoming one and becoming very present. And what happens is then is that monkey mind kind of goes away for that short period of time.

[00:20:01.160] – Allan

Yeah. And the way I look at it is, okay, you go into a gym and they have the music blaring sometimes. There's people in there, they're talking, they're doing weights or they're all about. So you're not in a confined by yourself space. But when I'm really in the flow of lifting. So during a lift, I don't hear anything. I don't see anything. I'm literally at that moment trying to envision myself inside my body, inside the muscle. And any other feedback that I'm getting my eyes or whatever is really just geared on is my head, my body, my frame, everything where it's supposed to be at this point in the lift. And so for me, the flow state is actually so present that I'm unaware of pretty much anything else. So you're talking about the monkey mind. When you get into flow, say you're only aware of what you're actually doing at that point in time, physically or mentally, but you're in that moment. And it's such a powerful moment. But this book, in your book, they're taking us through a process of trying to find ways to relax, slow down and find that space more often.

[00:21:20.310] – Jessie

Right. So I am a big fan of whatever activity can get you in the flow state as well. And one of the chapters, as you know, talks about finding that activity for yourself, because I do think it's of the utmost importance to be able to find enjoyable ways to be in the present. So it's not always another. I don't want spirituality or mindfulness to become yet another to do thing on a person's list. And the magic of when you're able to enter that flow state, the magic speaks for itself once you're able to reach it. And I say in the book that everyone's reached at some point or another, you just have to sometimes look back on your life and see what that is for you. It's that awareness. And in fact, don't just sit there, do nothing is divided into three parts. The first is identity, which is understanding who we really are beyond just the personality and the body. And number two is the awareness that you and I have been speaking of is understanding sort of the energy flow around us, of ourselves, what we bring to situations, to the world, what others bring into our space.

[00:22:37.020] – Jessie

And then number three is the creation. So it's interesting to me, creation meaning like creating the life you want, achieving the goals you want. And it's interesting because I think most people go straight to the creation. They're so right. They come and they say, how long till I can be this many pounds or look like this? We always as human beings, we're so obsessed with instant gratification that we rush to the creation part. But really it's these other journeys, these other investigations of ourselves that are needed in order to have a full joyous journey to whatever we want. So it's not just there is no snap your fingers and then you're a certain weight or a certain goal is achieved. It's not like that. And there's a reason for that.

[00:23:28.000] – Allan

Yeah. I kind of equate it with the first thing you do when you're going to walk in and try to build a house is start and grab a hammer and nails. You've missed some steps.

[00:23:40.890] – Jessie

Exactly. So what I do, don't just sit there, do nothing but what I also do for myself. Because, look, I'm a human of this world. I am very human. I also want everything I want yesterday. So what I do is remind myself constantly of the beauty of the now, the very imperfect now, not some perfect future scenario. Because of course, there really never is. That right. There's always going the movement forward. There's never really a static moment where you've arrived and that's it. And forevermore. That's not how we work. So I always remind myself and bring myself back. And whether it's with breathing, whether it's with the flow state, whether it's just a mental exercise, the ability to bring myself into the present, to practice the mindfulness, I remind myself that this is where it's at. The journey is where it's at. I don't want to get to the end of my life and have missed the whole thing.

[00:24:44.050] – Allan

Yeah. And the one thing that I find really interesting and I want people to really wrap their mind around this is the fact that you're reading these books, the fact that you're listening to podcasts, you have something huge going on for you right now. You've made some internal changes of self love and self appreciation and now self awareness to make some drastic changes. Now that will they be drastic in the means of I want it now? No. But you've already made a huge change just by listening to this podcast. Just by reading this book.

[00:25:21.850] – Jessie

Such a good point. Once you open your mind to possibility. Because I think of myself as a lifelong spiritual searcher, I'm never going to stop my quest for more information about personal development, more information about growth and anybody who is on that journey. And of course, if they're listening to your podcast, if they're reading, don't just sit there, do nothing. They're on that journey. I say you're there already because. Yeah, sometimes changes happen slowly. They're not always overnight. But when you open yourself up to new possibilities, new ways of thinking, to quote Wayne Dyer, he's a great spiritual teacher who passed some years ago that I was a big fan of he said, change your thoughts, change your life. It's not a change that happens in one instance, but you're on that journey of change and improvement and love and all the good stuff that we want.

[00:26:27.890] – Allan

Now some people will say they don't want to live forever, and a lot of people do want to live forever. But in a lot of the books that you read, a lot of the studies they go through and say, okay, well, why are certain people living to 100 years old or other? So you've heard about the blue zones and all those types of things. And one of the cores that's in there that I think is missing in the modern world for a lot of us is the concept of finding purpose. Individuals who live longer, live better lives because they have a purpose. And you talked about how you were on a particular career path, and then you had your car crash moment.

[00:27:06.600] – Jessie


[00:27:07.380] – Allan

Can you talk a little bit about that?

[00:27:09.300] – Jessie

Yes, for sure. A literal car crash moment. So just a little backstory. I am an immigrant. I came from the former Soviet Union. The country is now Latvia. But when I was born there, it was just a giant blob of Soviet Union. And I left there when I was seven. We were refugees, and my family went through a bunch of different countries before we sought asylum in America. And a lot of my early life is defined by this sort of loss of self, loss of identity, and just molding myself to what was around me so that I could be accepted, so that I could belong, so that I could find friends and fun, etcetera. And then also at the same time pleasing my family, so pleasing those around me, being the good immigrant child. So eventually that catches it up with you when you're living not for yourself, when you haven't connected with your own desires, with your own purpose, as you've mentioned, it catches up with you because you're not living an authentic life. And so I was in College, straight A student, kind of walking the path of goodness according to what my immigrant society wanted for me in business school, internally, I was really suffering.

[00:28:32.390] – Jessie

I had an eating disorder. I was depressed. I suffered from anxiety, panic attacks. And as soon as I graduated College and I had so many interviews with all the big banks lined up. But as soon as I graduated College, I got into a major car crash. And that was my really rock bottom moment because I was, of course, struggling emotionally with all of these kind of secret struggles. I think my mom was aware of them by then, but nobody else was. And then my body was broken physically. And in that moment, why it was such a beautiful downfall for me is because I realized I can't live this way. I have to figure out who I am, what I want. And how I want my life to look. And that was a very life changing moment because in my literal downfall, I reached for information, I reached for the Tao Te Ching and other spiritual teachings and my own health. And that became more important to me than the discomfort of letting people down. So my own truth became the most important guiding light of my life.

[00:29:39.770] – Allan

And I've had a couple of those car crash moments. One of mine was when the Challenger exploded in 86 and I was a sophomore in College, majoring in physics. That made me rethink some things. And then with my layoff in 2017. Now I'm a personal trainer living on a Caribbean Island. If you'd ask me, before 2017, that was not in the plan, that was not there. And I guess what I would just put forward is we probably have these car crash moments every day, every week, every month. They just aren't as rock bottom as you want. They're not actual car crashes. How do we go about recognizing when our spirit, for lack of a better word, our oneness who we are, is need something but the judges outside of us, the people have different expectations of, how do we recognize that disconnect and kind of steal ourselves for doing something different?

[00:30:42.390] – Jessie

Well, I love this quote that the universe speaks to us in whispers, and then it speaks to us and shouts. So when you go through enough shout moments, those car crash moments, it becomes more important to you to start listening for the whispers because I don't want to learn from strings of bottoms. I want to be able to learn and communicate with my life and with myself throughout, like you said, on a weekly, on a daily basis so that we don't have to wait for those car crash moments. And by the way, I also refer in Don't sit there do nothing to the pandemic, a society's car crash. And unfortunately, our societies often do wait for those car crash moments before changes just take place. But that's a whole other topic, of course. And I wholly believe that change on the big scale happens one individual at a time. When enough of us sort of awaken, the world will change as well. And the way to do that is to develop a constant communication, to understand, first of all, the understanding, just the awareness that life is speaking to you, that's really important. I don't believe in luck.

[00:32:00.180] – Jessie

I don't believe in coincidences. I believe that life communicates with us and it gives us feedback all the time. And there's a part of us, there's a center within us that knows and understands that. But often we cannot hear it, and we can't hear it because of the noise of the outside world and the messaging that we've allowed to enter within us. And, you know, I read recently that today in one day, the average person takes in more information than just a couple of hundred years ago, people did in their entire lifetime. But we're the same humans, right, with the same brains. So that's just to show how much we have coming at us. And there's nothing wrong with you for being overstimulated, for being confused, for being tired, because there is a lot coming at us. So then it becomes on us to create moments of stillness, moments of flow, moments where we shut everything else out so that the only thing we care is our own breath and our own spirit and our own inner power. And when we do that enough, we are able to recognize that communication, that constant communication with source energy, with the universe, with life.

[00:33:22.560] – Jessie

Call it what you will. I don't really care what your religious beliefs are, because it's not about that. It's about establishing a really good level of communication with you could call it life itself if you don't believe in a higher power. But there is that line of communication, and we need to be able to hear it. And that's just a daily practice.

[00:33:46.430] – Allan

Yeah. Because you're not going to get your purpose from anybody else. Unfortunately, you're not going to get it from a podcast like this one. You're not going to get it from a book. Your purpose is your purpose. And you have to be listening to yourself. And to do that, you have to be quiet.

[00:34:02.910] – Jessie

Right. And I love that you said that when you lift weights, all the noise disappears. So that's a good reminder to us that it doesn't need to be a literal quiet. It needs to be an internal quiet. And whatever gets you there. And guess what? If you don't know what gets you there, that's just like most people. And that's fine. And some days I don't know what's going to get me there. And it's just a beautiful experiment. When you look at life as this beautiful experiment, you kind of take all the pressure off because also enlightenment. I like to think of it as lightening up a little bit. We also take ourselves Uber seriously. Finding your purpose doesn't have to be this heavy thing that you carry. It could be finding your purpose today, for the day, for the week. And then when you start being more and more aligned with your inner calling, with your inner knowing, before you know it, you're living your purpose. And it's not always that put in a box or put into words like my purpose being a or, you know, when you're living your purpose because you feel fulfilled.

[00:35:08.850] – Allan

Absolutely. Now, every health and fitness coach out there has probably heard this quote from Lao Tzu. A journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step. Now, what most of us haven't heard is the next line in that verse, which is people often fail in their tasks just as they're about to accomplish them.

[00:35:29.930] – Jessie


[00:35:32.890] – Allan

This is really important because you may have heard the parable of the guy, the gold miner who was digging for gold, and he decided he wasn't going to find the gold, so he sold the gold mine and a guy dug like a foot deeper and biggest find in history. 1ft it was just 1ft. Can we talk a little bit? Because, yes, starting is extremely hard, so it's finishing. Can we talk a little bit about that?

[00:36:09.140] – Jessie

Yes. It's the chapter in my book that I talk about that is called journeying, actually. You are so right. So first of all, I think most people know that quote, the journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step. But I'm not sure if a lot of people know that it comes from the Tao Te Ching, which when I tell people, they're often floored, because that's from 6th century BC. And it's funny to me that human nature has been changed all that much. Right. We've always had a fear of starting. And yes, the other part of the equation is, of course, seeing something through to the end, not giving up too early. And people often fail in their tasks just as they're about to accomplish them. And then it says, so give as much care at the end as in the beginning, then there will be no failure. And I love that because what is failure really? Failure is only failure if you quit. Otherwise, it's a teaching moment from life, from the universe, from yourself. And sometimes and I would actually venture to say a lot, maybe most of the time things don't turn out exactly as we had envisioned, but that doesn't mean they can turn out much better than what we plan for.

[00:37:36.550] – Jessie

But we have to allow for the flow to be different. I think that human beings tend to want to control things so much that they miss the bigger picture sometimes. And I say in the book, when if you look at your life, have you perhaps quit too soon, whether it's on a venture, whether it's on your health goals, whether it's in a relationship, just when maybe it would have gotten good, but you decided to quit. But the other side of it, I would say, is sometimes quitting is the right thing to do. When your goals like in my case, before my car crash moment, when your goals are not aligned with yourself, change, of course, is absolutely the correct choice there. So again, this goes back to that connectedness with your inner self, because your inner self knows. Your inner self knows if you check in with it, just hang on longer, just keep going. And sometimes you do throw in the towel before too soon.

[00:38:42.200] – Allan

Yeah. And I think we all go into these like, okay, so I'm going to go on this diet or I'm going to start this exercise program or I'm going to do this thing, take a new course, to learn something new, to do something different. And the problem comes in is not that we can't do it. It's that we don't believe we can do it. And one of the things you had in the book is another quote from your book. I think I could probably sit here and just read the book is we cannot wait for proof in order to believe in our visions. And I think too many people are waiting for proof that they can lose the weight, that they can get healthy, that they can solve their health problems, that they can learn something new. We're over 40, so we're not supposed to we're the old dogs. We're not supposed to be learning new things. But you can. People are doing it every day, but you don't have to wait for that proof. How does someone listen to themselves, listen to their inner voice in a way that says, okay, I need to get confidence from this.

[00:39:50.420] – Allan

Because in reality, if you're waiting for someone else to give you the go ahead to give you that confidence, you're not going to be happy with the results. That's what I've seen. How does someone reach inside and find that self belief?

[00:40:07.730] – Jessie

Sometimes you have to fake it till you make it. And I say this jokingly, but in my section on creation, we talk a lot about there are steps right to getting what you want. And again, I will say what you want with a little bit of space around it, because often in my experience, things end up looking a little different and that's okay. Or there's like another step that I hadn't foreseen and that's okay. I also find that when you commit so fully to a path, you're often given some obstacles to overcome or some tests. The hero's journey always has tests on it. But to me, I kind of divided the steps of creation into three smaller steps. So one is intention, two is embodiment, and three is releasing the goals, releasing the end results. And so intention is what we're talking about of making your goal, making your vision a more clear one, because a lot of people walk around without a real vision for their lives. And for me, like, for someone like me, because I have become quite a flexible person, my vision changes sometimes from day to day. Or I allow my vision to alter, but I always have a vision and intention.

[00:41:32.250] – Jessie

And the second part is what we're talking about here. The second part of embodying it now, what embodying it means is acting as the person who already got what they wanted. And that's the really hard part. Yes, you need to believe before there's proof that's where we all get tripped up. Because it's like, yeah, when I see that I can do it, I will give my all to it, but it actually works the opposite. And the how. There's no magic bullet for the how, but I do in this case, I will go against my own title. And I'll say that sometimes in the doing, the belief comes. I've seen that for myself. So I also watch my kids closely. I have a five and a seven year old, and kids are a lot better at a lot of these spiritual lessons than we are because they haven't been taught out of them yet.

[00:42:27.820] – Allan

We haven't been out of them.

[00:42:29.330] – Jessie

Yeah, exactly. The world hasn't. And if you ever watch, how do they play pretend? They are so invested they're not thinking. Yes, my five year old loves to pretend. She's a teenager. She's 13, she's going to high school, whatever. And obviously in some level she knows that is not true. But she has no problem pretending for like 3 hours straight. I'm a teenager mom and she talks differently. And I love it because what stops us from doing it? Sure, I know on some level, for example, I have not yet lost the weight. I have not yet reached my level of fitness. But why can't I pretend for the hour that I'm in the gym for the hours that I set aside to run? Why can't I pretend that I'm already that person? Why can't I play with it and play that game of pretend and just start doing it? Because our brains don't really know the difference between pretend and reality. If we tell our brain enough times that I am this, you'll start to believe it. So you got to play with it. It's really adapting, in my opinion, a playful attitude and allowing yourself to pretend that you already are what you want to be, allowing yourself to believe in it, even if it seems ludicrous.

[00:43:48.810] – Allan

I saw this. It actually came over. It was a business podcast and the guy said it and I've kind of adapted it, but it's the same thing. And his thing was be do have. He said so many people start with the do. And he says, that's not how you do it. You start with the Be and Be being is okay. If I'm someone who is this person is healthy and fit, then that's who I am. And then what does the person like that do? Well, okay. They set aside time on their calendar and they show up at the gym, they shop and they buy whole foods, they Cook for their family so they know what they're eating. Yes. They still go out and have a drink with their friends every once in a while. Yes, every once in a while. Okay. They're going to take a holiday and they're not going to do their workouts. But a person who is reasonably in the position you want to be, if you're doing the things that they do, eventually you will have what they have. And so that's the whole principle of the Be do have is very similar to what you're saying is that if you fake it till you make it, but you still have to do the work, you got to do both.

[00:44:57.130] – Allan

There's a middle section, like you said, the doing.

[00:44:59.970] – Jessie


[00:45:00.900] – Allan

But you got to slow down and see it first.

[00:45:04.050] – Jessie

Right. And when you embody the person that you want to be, you'll naturally do the things they do. Like you said, the person who is already fit. Well, yeah. They leave time for exercise. That's what they do. And the releasing part, I think, is also very important because, again, this is where instant gratification needs come in. Releasing your timeline and your goal is important from time to time. It doesn't mean that we don't have a framework in which we operate, but releasing the rains that hold everything so tightly, so that you realize that if you aren't, for example, whatever weight you set for yourself on the day you set for yourself, but you're getting there, that's good enough. You don't need to have 100% control over everything as long as you're doing that step by step journey we spoke of.

[00:46:01.070] – Allan

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

[00:46:12.390] – Jessie

this is you're asking me to define? Good question. So I define wellness and success and all of those big words that I think we all strive for as the feeling of purpose, fulfillment and joy in your body, in your life, in your situation. And that doesn't mean happiness 100% of the time, but that means that you know, you are where you're meant to be. It's that feeling. And I think we spoke of this feeling a little earlier when we have those car crash moments or those smaller car crash moments that realize we're off course, is that ability because we still have them. Even if you are living the life you want to live, you still have moments like that. And it's also wellness to me, is that conversation, that communication with life where you're able to course correct as you go along. It's that faith in yourself. And can you tell me again, the second part of the three?

[00:47:21.380] – Allan

What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:47:27.650] – Jessie

I'm actually going to use the Tao Te Ching for this one. Perfect. The three main teachings of the Tao Te Ching, which are really helpful to me for my wellness and my health. And of course, I look at health as both a mental and a physical well being. And I know you do as well. So the three kind of cornerstones of the Tao Te Ching are simplicity, patience, compassion. So to me, simplicity is simplifying all of those messages that we talked about that are bombarding us non stop, simplifying daily, even if it's for moments a day, to that conversation within yourself. That one voice, that one inner guidance constantly simplifying our craziness, our crazy mind, our crazy schedules, simplifying it as much as we can to our own inner guidance and our own physical well being, because I do strongly believe that we are in this body for this lifetime. And we must take care of our vehicle. And I'm a very spiritual person, but I will tell you that I'm also a fit person, not because I'm so great. And clearly I wasn't always because I suffered from an eating disorder for many years, but I take my health very seriously because this is my vehicle to have my spiritual growth in in this lifetime.

[00:48:55.390] – Jessie

So when I simplify everything, I understand that all I need to do is take care of my mind, take care of my spirit, take care of my body, and I'm good. And then the number two is patience. And that's what we've already discussed is the patience to get to where you want to go and not to rush things and to understand that the journey is as important, if not more important than the destination. And the last is compassion. Starting with compassion towards yourself. When you practice compassion towards yourself, when you forgive yourself for falling off the wagon, for example, if you're on a health journey or overcoming addiction, when you have compassion for your very humanness, you're able to forgive yourself instead of beating yourself up, you're able to continue. You're able to forgive and continue. And when you give that to yourself, you give that to others naturally. And so you live in a more natural state of ease.

[00:49:58.250] – Allan

Thank you for that. Jessie, if someone wanted to learn more about you or learn more about your book, Don't Just Sit There, Do Nothing. Where would you like for me to send them?

[00:50:08.510] – Jessie

My website. Jessiekanzer.com, JESSIEKANZER.com has all of that information on there. But of course, don't just sit there, do nothing is available everywhere books are sold, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Target, even. But the information on my website has a lot of free resources as well. I have a free ebook, I have bonus chapters you can actually read. The first two chapters, don't just sit there, do nothing for free. And I also have all my upcoming events on there. So I'm teaching at Omega Institute, which is in Rhinebeck, New York in May. But as well, I do virtual panels and workshops from time to time. So all of that is on jessiekanzer.com.

[00:50:51.350] – Allan

You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/534. And I'll be sure to have links there. Jessie, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:51:02.030] – Jessie

Oh, thank you so much. And I am 40 plus, by the way. I forgot to mention that, but I'm 40 and a half at this point, so I'm with you guys.

[00:51:09.430] – Allan

Welcome to the club.

[00:51:10.890] – Jessie

Thank you.

Post Show/Recap

[00:51:19.530] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:51:21.170] – Rachel

Hey, Allan, a lot of that discussion with Jessie has a lot of correlation with my running habits, especially the flow state. It was interesting to hear her discuss flow state in a way that I never would have thought about it before.

[00:51:37.710] – Allan

Yeah. I mean, if you've ever played an athletic sport or ever done something like running consistently. So you got to get past that. It sucks part. But when you get to a point, for lack of a better word, performance where you actually are very comfortable doing what you're doing, there's an opportunity for flow state. And for most of us, our experience goes back to athletics. It goes back to sports. That's when we feel the flow state the most because there's a performance improvement, there's an enhancement to what's going on that we feel. And it's very real. I mean, you literally are doing better at that point, but we're capable of doing this with just about anything that we have some competency for. So it can be making cookies, it can be knitting, it can be at work, it can be at play, it can be at learning. I'm right now studying for my performance enhancements specialty. And there are points in time when I'm sitting there studying and it's like, okay, this stuff is really coming in. I'm understanding it. I'm doing well on the tests, pre-tests anyway. And it's just a function of the focus, the attention, and then the comfort that flow state kind of gives you.

[00:53:08.930] – Allan

And so the real specialty here is if you can slow down enough, as you said, do nothing. But even in short spurts, if you can do nothing to allow your body and your brain and everything to kind of just relax, flow state becomes a lot easier.

[00:53:28.050] – Rachel

Oh, yeah. It's interesting. She mentioned that we have such busy lives. She's true. It's so true. We're barraged with information all over the place. It's kind of frightening how much information passes through our eyes and into our brains on a day to day, hour to hour basis. And it is hard for people to be still and appreciate the silence and the quietness. And then, like we had talked about earlier in our personal lives, when everything seems to be going crazy, the car is in the shop, the kids are sick, something broke at the house. There's all these problems going on because our brain I like to use the analogy of a tornado. My head is just swirling with information, and it's hard to grasp on something to identify a problem and solve it. But if you can get into a flow state where your brain is still and you can appreciate the silence, then you can identify and solve problems probably a lot more efficiently than if you're freaking out about it.

[00:54:29.800] – Allan

Yeah, because we talked about this a little bit during the episode so many times. You want the tool, you want the strategy or tactic. How do I do this? Okay. And we're immediately into strategies and tactics instead of the pulling back in and the saying, okay, well, one, why is this important? Okay, why is this important? And is this important right now? Okay, so something's going on at your house, and it's like, okay, great, great. You know, there's a problem is this something I have to deal with now.

[00:55:08.790] – Rachel


[00:55:09.970] – Allan

And the only way you do that is to come back to your commitment, come back to your why your vision, a whole bit of it. Why are we doing this? Where are we going? And then the self awareness. Okay. I know this is going to bother me until I get this thing fixed. Is there something I can personally do to make it bother me less? Can I actually shift my brain and say, you know, I got to take care of the kids first, and I'm not going to call the repair man and argue with him about needing a window of opportunity for him to be at my house because that's when it works. Like, okay, fine, you can't make it today between four and five. Done. I'm out. Take care of the kids, get the car out of the shop, call the repairman in the morning, figure something out. But it's really hard to do that when the faucet is calling you. And so it's that self awareness of okay, yeah, that's going to bother me. But if I look at the bigger picture, the bigger journey, the who I need to be, the where I need to go.

[00:56:22.810] – Allan

Am I even going to remember that trip, trip, trip a year from now, five years from now.

[00:56:30.370] – Rachel

What I've recently told the kids, both of my kids are College age, by the way, and so their problems are a little different than my problems in life. But I tell them, do these problems require the baggage and the emotion that you're assigning to it? Is it really that important? And like in your analogy of a home, if the faucet is dripping, is that something that needs to be tended to immediately? No, because there's not a burst pipe or something that's bigger or worse. But if you could just take it down a notch, not panic about it, not fret about it and not worry about it and just assign the debt task to it and it'll get done. And like you said, it'll be forgotten in days from now, weeks from now, it'll be all over.

[00:57:15.390] – Allan

Yeah. But I'm going to be the first to admit that is hard. That step right there is really hard, which is why having the foundation, the why, the vision, who are you and who are you going to be? And so a big part of what her book is about is really getting to that self awareness. It's really getting to who you are and who you deserve to be and who you want to be. And making all those things line up in a way that makes sense for you. And is Jessie where she wants to be in her life? And the answer is no, but she's closer than she would have been if she hadn't taken this approach. And we all love those quotes. And so you kind of go through a lot of those quotes that they came from this book, not from her book, but the book that her book is sort of based on, which is she's taking that ancient wisdom, if you will. And it seems pretty weird. Okay. Someone 3000 years ago was actually going through the same emotional issue that I'm going through. And they didn't even have Twitter.

[00:58:32.210] – Allan

and so you're like, okay, well, they had wars, they had famine, they had struggles. They may have been slightly different struggles, but the human nature to approach everything as a disaster was still there. And so for someone to say, okay, is it a disaster? No, it's not a disaster. Actually, stopping and doing nothing gives me the opportunity to put it in its place and really come up with a structure that works for me for solving that problem if it needs to be solved at all.

[00:59:07.930] – Rachel

Sure. Yeah, I love that. And you guys discuss at the end that we do have concept as well. And not skipping any steps to get to the end to the outcome.

[00:59:19.130] – Allan

Yes. Because again, if you don't believe it, it won't happen. It just won't. If you don't believe that, you can lose the weight you want to lose. It's not going to happen. I tried everything. Nothing's going to work. Well, you have to believe that the next thing you do is going to work and you do that from okay, sit back, have a reason, a why, have a vision of what that is really an emotional one. And then a structure of who I am and what has stopped me in the past. And then a plan, and most people go at this with the tool, throw a hammer at it. Okay, well, it's a screw. Okay, great. And then the next time you try it's a nail and you got a screwdriver in your hand because you didn't stop to define the problem and we all do it. Everyone is just as guilty as everyone else of doing these things, because this is the hard part. This is why we struggle and we've always struggled. And that's why books like this, writings like this, exist most of the time. Those lessons were meant to be handed down to our children, to our students, things like that.

[01:00:36.700] – Allan

These were teachers. These were what we would call the intellectuals that were putting together the content of making us a better society. And so they became writings later. They were often oral at the time, and sometimes they were written. And then once they were written, then there was a printing press and then there was more of these ideas. Now there's the Internet and there's more of these ideas. The ideas are great, but you got to go back to you, you've got to go back to that very beginning of this has to be about you and what works for you and you're unique. As odd as that sounds, with over 8 billion people, there's no other single person exactly like you. What you need at this point in time is very different than what anyone else needs. The only way you're going to get that information is to be really quiet and still and listen because your inner voice is going to help you get there.

[01:01:34.890] – Rachel

Yeah, we have a saying in our family that goes way back generations and apparently my great grandparents and grandparents used to say to their kids, remember who you are and what you represent and it just gives you pause for thought. If my mom was heading out on a date or some such thing, my grandparents would tell her, remember who you are and what you represent and it's just a simple reminder to focus on yourself and what values and morals and things that you hold important to you. And remember that when crazy things happen or you need to make some decisions in life, remember who you are and what you represent.

[01:02:19.910] – Allan

Love that. So, Rachel, next time we're going to get an opportunity to talk about your race.

[01:02:26.490] – Rachel


[01:02:27.590] – Allan

As we're talking right now, you haven't quite done it. You're close, but good luck with that.

[01:02:32.960] – Rachel

Thank you.

[01:02:33.390] – Allan

And we'll talk next week.

[01:02:35.170] – Rachel

Thanks so much. Take care.


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