Category Archives for "weight loss"
On this episode of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we discuss the top approaches to lose weight after 40.
As a personal trainer, the number one question I get from clients and potential clients is why is weight loss so hard and weight gain so easy now that I'm over 40? Most people believe it has to do with their metabolic rate. And while most of us will put on extra pounds as we get into midlife, this isn't a natural decline related to aging. Muscle mass is going down, which all of the things being even should mean that we're losing weight after 40.
However, we're obviously putting on body fat faster than we're losing that muscle mass, and that's why our weight is going up. Weight loss after 40 is complicated by several factors. In this episode, I'm going to talk about all of them and some of the things that you can do to address each one so you can shed those unwanted pounds. I call them the five pillars of weight loss after 40.
But before we get into the how to of weight loss, I want to cover a few reasons why losing those excess pounds is important. Why you want to lose weight after 40? Excess body fat is bad for your liver and heart health. If you carry those extra pounds as abdominal fat, you have what we call visceral fat. This increases your risk of health issues such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, heart disease, type two diabetes and insulin resistance. Excess body weight is also bad for your joints, too often people stop exercising because their joints hurt, which causes even more weight gain. It's a vicious cycle.
It's hard to increase your activity level when you're in pain and actually maybe even causing more damage to that joint. So losing those excess pounds is going to be important to make sure that you're not damaging joints that would otherwise be very useful to you in the future.
Being overweight causes other issues like sleep apnea, increased estrogen levels, and increase in stress hormones. All of these make weight loss that much harder. So it's time to turn the script and get back on track.
How to lose weight after 40 to reach and maintain a healthy weight for you. First, we have to understand the five pillars to healthy weight loss, they are hormones, nutrition, sleep, stress management and movement and each of them is important in their own way to helping you lose weight after 40.
Hormones, there are over twenty-seven key hormones that affect your ability to lose weight, but for the purposes of this discussion, I'm going to stick to seven that I'll group into three buckets. There are the sex hormones. And we're going to primarily talk about estrogen and testosterone. There are hunger hormones which include leptin and ghrelin, and there are energy management, fat storage hormones which include insulin, glucagon and cortisol.
Your estrogen and testosterone levels affect your body composition and how fat is distributed on your body. Because men have more testosterone, it's easier for them to lose weight and maintain muscle mass. I know it's not fair, but it is what it is. And we have to work with what we have. So women, it is going to be a little bit more difficult for you to lose weight. But that doesn't mean it's impossible. It just means we have to work a little bit smarter.
Men are going to have an easier way of it. So if you're trying to lose weight and your husband's trying to lose weight, then your husband's going to have an easier time of it. And so if you're the guy and your wife is trying to lose weight, realize you're going to be able to lose weight faster than her. It's the testosterone that's predominantly responsible for making that happen.
Leptin and ghrelin are these signaling hormones that tell your body when you're hungry and when you're full, unfortunately, the way the standard American diet is set up and the way we tend to eat, you know, always busy at our desk, in our car on the run, really interrupts this communication.
Leptin and ghrelin need time to communicate with the body to let it know what's going on. And many times we're not giving it the time to do so. Insulin has been called the queen of weight loss hormones and for good reason with glucagon, it helps maintain your blood sugar level.
If you're pounding your body with unhealthy snacks and meals. Like fried foods, chips, ice cream, you get the picture and you're not clearing out your glycogen stores in your muscles and liver, more on that later. With aerobic exercise and resistance training, insulin has no choice but to store the excess sugar as body fat.
Cortisol is a stress hormone when you're stressed out, cortisol rises, having elevated cortisol levels causes you to have a slower metabolism and store fat in your abdominal area, visceral fat. Both of these are really, really bad. So we can see how the hormones affect our ability to either lose weight or gain weight. What do we do about it? The best thing we can do for our sex hormones is to monitor our hormone levels, eat healthy and get regular exercise.
We can deal with our hunger signaling if we improve the quality of our food, if we take smaller bites and we eat slower. This gives your brain time to process those hunger cues. It's important to get comfortable with being a little bit hungry from time to time. If you really want to lose weight, you need to be able to manage that, that ability to just say, OK, I can be a little hungry. Maybe drink a little bit of water, take a little bit of time between those meals, you don't have to be eating all the time.
The whole old mantra of “eat every three hours” is what's part of the problem. You shouldn't have to eat every three hours. If you get good at managing your energy levels and eating good high-quality foods, your body will be just fine without that extra fuel.
And we can manage our energy management fat storage hormones through some simple lifestyle changes that are within the other four pillars of health. So we're going to talk about those and how you can use the other four pillars, which you have a lot of control over going forward.
Whenever people ask me who I listen to to keep up with what it takes to get and stay fit as we age, to learn new techniques and to keep motivated. On top of my list is Brock Armstrong, fitness coach and host of the Get Fit Guy Podcast. It's part of the Quick and Dirty Tips Network. So in quick, smart episodes, Brock uses step by step explanations and scientific evidence to help you move through the world with ease and enjoyment.
He covers practical topics like how to train for a 5K, how to walk your way to fitness, and how to make the most of your recovery days. And he'll share tips for applying mindfulness to your workouts, using exercise to sleep better and creating a top notch home gym. Rather you want to begin an exercise routine and don't know where to start, or you're looking to shake things up. Brock's tips will help you reach your fitness goals and create a healthy, sustainable lifestyle. Listen to new episodes of the Get Fit Guy every Tuesday. Just search for get fit guy wherever you listen to podcasts.
So the next one is nutrition, why do we eat? First and foremost, we eat to stay alive. Food provides energy and building blocks that our body needs. But if that's all it was, we could take those nutrition pills that they had in the science fiction books and shows. You know, just take a pill, we got the vitamins, we got the nutrition and we're good, right? No, we also eat for enjoyment and for social connections.
So as we do these things and we eat for the social connection enjoyment, we build a relationship with food. Now, having a relationship with food is not the bad thing, but it can be. If you're emotionally eating because you're stressed, because you're upset, because you're lonely. That emotional eating is really one of the main reasons why people overeat.
Regardless of how you choose to eat, and I mean that rather you go with the high fat, the low carb, the high carb, the low fat vegan paleo Mediterranean. You can lose weight after 40 with a few simple tactics.
The first step. And the one almost every single person skips is to track what you eat in a food diary. I know it's difficult, I know it's cumbersome, I know it's not fun, but it's something that you need to do. Now, one way you can do this and make it very, very simple. With an app or notebook, put down what you ate and how many servings you had. That's it. It's pretty simple. You're not counting calories, not doing anything.
Is this how many servings did you have of what? This teaches you a key lesson on portion size and control. And now, again, I didn't say track your calories, track the grams of protein, fat, carbs. That's because those aren't what make healthy diet healthy. In general, healthy foods are what we know they are.
OK, olive oil is better for us than margarine, we know fruit is better than refined carbs. We know that alcoholic calorie drinks, I mean, drinks are just calories without much nutritional benefit. So rather than worry about the the you know, the calories and the grams of this or that, just start trying to make better food choices.
And if you're logging these things, you're going to see I had two bags of chips yesterday. I had ice cream every night last week. Those will be easy things to start knocking off, particularly if you're understanding why you're eating what you're eating, which is what you can do with a food journal. So now once you know how much you're eating, and in some cases, like I said, the why, you begin to make better choices. Now, once you start doing that over time, that now becomes who you are.
That becomes more of a lifestyle, a healthy lifestyle. Because in the end, if you don't make what you're doing sustainable, you'll stay on that weight gain yo yo dieting and you're going to basically experience what you have so far. So the core of the nutrition piece is do a food diary, track portions, track what you ate, and then you can go back and assess why you ate, what you ate, and make better choices. That's going to go a long way.
Now as you get down the road on this, maybe you do need to look at some of those other factors like calories and grams and carbs and things like that when you plateau. But initially, all you need to do is make healthier choices and know what you're putting in your mouth every day so you can make the best decisions going forward.
The second pillar is sleep, lack of sleep is kind of like this badge of honor, just stop it, OK? It's not doing any good. You're not winning anybody's hearts and minds by not sleeping. You need seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Everybody is a little different, but all of us need between seven and nine hours of sleep.
Yes, you can get by with less. Yes, some people will sleep more, but in general, everybody needs seven to nine hours. A night of good restful sleep comes from letting your body go through all of the natural sleep patterns. That's deep sleep, very deep sleep, REM sleep and light sleep. Now you hear some people talk about a fifth, another deep, a very, very deep sleep. But generally I just break it into the four. That's a little old school, but deep sleep, very deep sleep, rem sleep and light sleep.
Now, when you're dealing with sleep now, obviously for a lot of people, there are things that are outside of their control like, you know, hot flashes and night sweats or sleep apnea. But many of the things that mess up our sleep are self-inflicted. And I see this all the time. Avoid blue light. We know that. We know that watching TV, watching on a computer, being on our phone late at night is not helping our sleep. Cut out alcohol consumption prior to bedtime so that, you know, in the general sense, those are the two things that really disrupt our sleep the most and they're easy to fix.
OK, now, I'm not going to dive deep into the sleep discussion. I will link in this show notes for this episode. You can a 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/465 and I'll have links to other episodes that I've done on sleep. Obviously with 465 episodes and sleep being such an important component of health. We've covered this a few times.
Additional Podcast Episodes on Sleep
The next pillar of healthy weight loss over 40 is stress management and this was a big one for me. Excess stress and my inability to manage it was one of the major contributors to my weight management issues. Not only did stress cause me to make for poor food choices, it put me in a chronic high cortisol mode, which meant my fat distribution made me look horrible and put me at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease. So I would I would use breathing exercises, meditation and weight training. You know, there's nothing like throwing around some heavy weights to help manage stress.
But even this wasn't enough. And I made a pretty big, drastic choice and I opted out of the rat race. I dropped out of corporate when I got laid off and I just didn't go back. Now, I know that's not possible for most people, you know, but for us, our kids were on their own. You know, they're out of, past college. Tammy was on board with this. So I made a self-love based decision to choose myself over money. And security.
Now, three years later, I'm more sure than ever that I made the right decision, so stress management is a key thing and there are things you can do to manage stress in the moment. But the best tactic I have found by far is to just jettison it. So if you've got bad relationships, as hard as it is jettison it. If you've got a bad job, change jobs if it can help but jettison it.
That's the easiest and best solution, not maybe the easiest. I take that back, but you get the idea. Now again stress management is kind of a deep topic. We've talked about this a few times on the podcast, so I'm going to link to some stress management episodes in the show. Notes you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/465. And I'll have some stress management links there. We've done quite a few shows on that as I was going through my stressful years.
The next pillar, a final pillar of weight loss after 40 is movement. Now you might have thought, OK, I'm his personal trainer. Why is movement last? And no, I didn't save the best for last. Only a small percentage of people listen to the end of this podcast. So if you're still with me, I do want to thank you. You have a very special place in my heart. So one, you know, most people are going to get the big thing, which is the understanding hormones and the nutrition. Beyond that, then sleep and stress management and then finally this this movement thing.
Now, I'm going to tell you straight out that there are four absolutes when it comes to exercise, training or movement, whatever you want to call it. I know a lot of people get put off by the term exercise or training or movement. You know, it is what it is. We have to train. We have to do something for our bodies. Now that the must, the very you must…You must strength train. You must do strength training to ensure you avoid that muscle loss we talked about earlier.
And osteoporosis strengthening the loss you're going to loss of bone density. Strength and bone density are critical for maintaining independence as we age. Strength training is a non-negotiable. You must be strength training period. You should do some form of aerobic activity for your cardiovascular health and endurance and stamina. In order to keep up and keep doing the things you love to do, you have to maintain the stamina required to do it.
If you want to keep up with your grandkids at the zoo or keep running or keep swimming or playing tennis or all the other things that you like to enjoy doing. You have to start training yourself a little bit harder, you have to push a little bit harder than just doing the thing to maintain that stamina to be able to do it on a regular basis. OK, so have some training in mind that pushes you cardiovascular so that you have the stamina, endurance to do the things you love. And then movement is life. If you're not moving your body, then you're slowly letting your body go.
OK, so walk, dance, play, make movement a part of who you are. It's not just about burning calories. It will burn calories. It will improve your sleep, it will help you manage stress and it will also help improve your hormone balance. So it does a lot for us, but it's really about how our body was designed. It was designed to move OK.
And then I guess the fourth absolute in this whole list thing is you have to enjoy what you're doing, but you don't always have to do just what you enjoy. And I know that's kind of sounds backwards, but, you know, if you start strength training and you start seeing yourself get stronger, you're going to start enjoying strength training.
I know that sounds weird, but you will if you don't enjoy running initially or walking at a pace and getting yourself winded, eventually you will. I promise that those are just natural things. Our bodies love to move. And so initially you may have to push yourself to do some things you don't enjoy.
For example, if I want to be in the aerobic capacity, the stamina to be able to play sand volleyball, I'm going to have to work on my cardiovascular. I'm going to have to do some things to keep my legs strong and keep them with the stamina they need to keep up with what I would want to do.
I'm going to have to do some training, which might not be exactly the thing I love doing, like running sprints in the sand. But I'm doing that so that I can enjoy more volleyball. I can play longer, I can have more fun. So make make movement, not just your life, make it fun, but do the things that allow you to keep making it fun.
If you allow yourself to go down, it's much harder to climb back up. And if you get yourself up, it's much easier to stay there. So do some training every day. It doesn't have to be hard training, but have a program so you can define fitness on your own terms now.
Everybody wants to blame our sedentary lifestyles for this obesity crisis we're going through right now, unfortunately, move more and eat less doesn't work. So I want you to look back at these five pillars of weight loss after 40, that's hormones, nutrition, sleep, stress management and movement. The cool thing of this is we have control over all five of them. We just have to apply patience, persistence and progression.
Now, I'm here for you, if you need any help with this, you want to learn a little bit more, you can email me at email@example.com or you can book a discovery call at 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/discovery.
It's a no sale call, it's a 15-minute call. We get on, we start talking about what your goals are and we address each of these five pillars of health and how you can modify your lifestyle to make sure that you're losing weight after 40.
The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:
|– Anne Lynch||– John Somsky||– Margaret Bakalian|
|– Deb Scarlett||– Judy Murphy||– Melissa Ball|
|– Debbie Ralston||– Leigh Tanner||– Tim Alexander|
Over the past eight years, I've followed a ketogenic diet (low carb diet) for much of the year in a way of eating I call, Seasonal Ketosis. It is a part of my ancestral-based lifestyle to promote health, fitness, longevity, and joy. Seasonal Ketosis is a form of cyclic ketogenic diet based on seasons, where I'll have a season of feasting and a season of famine each year.
This episode of the 40+ Fitness podcast is sponsored by Let's Get Checked. Let's Get Checked makes it easy for anyone to get professional testing and consultation from the comfort of their home. Go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/LGC and use the code Allan20 to get 20% off.
So, you know, it's under control here. But we, you know, living under more stringent rules. So they didn't open our curfew and they didn't give us the Saturday back. So,[00:03:38.880] – Ras
Hello and thank you for being a part of 40+ Fitness Podcast, I'm really glad to have you here today. Today's show is going to be a little different. I have talked about seasonal ketosis as the way that I eat a few times on this show and on some other podcasts, but I've never really broken down how it works and why it works and what it is, specifically for me and how it fits within my overall ancestral based lifestyle.
Now, when I started this effort to go from a fat bastard to healthy and fit. I was introduced to Paleo by a dietitian and she brought up the paleo diet, explained what it was, what I could eat, what I couldn't eat, and I loved it. So I stepped away from my high carb diet and started just eating meat, fish and vegetables. I'd never heard of the ketogenic diet or the keto diet, as it's often called, but because I was on such a low carb version of the paleo diet, it actually put me into ketosis.
So I had to figure out what ketosis was because something different was happening to me and, you know, my breath and other things you hear about. But the weight loss was dramatic. So I enjoyed a lot of benefits out of the ketogenic diet. My blood sugar got steady, I had higher energy, I had less brain fog and it felt great.
Now, over the past eight years, I've continued to follow the ketogenic diet for most of the year, and I call that seasonal ketosis. Now, most people that adopt the ketogenic diet, they do it full time and they start eating low carb and they stay low carb and they try to keep their body in ketosis all the time and they see the benefits.
They would ask, why would I ever go off the keto diet if I enjoy how I feel when I'm on it? And to answer that question, for me, it's really about balance. I enjoy beer, I enjoy wine, I enjoy fruit, I enjoy yeast rolls. And occasionally I want to have a hamburger with a bun. So I pick a specific part of the year where I would allow myself to go off of ketosis. Now, I mentioned a few shows back that I had not started my famine season on time and really kind of blew it for a while. But I am back into my famine season and I've lost 25 pounds plus and still going.
But that's, that's not all this is really about. So I use seasonal ketosis as a way to stay generally healthy, to keep my health in good check, to keep my weight in a healthy body composition range. It improves my fitness, longevity, and the joy I have in my life. So I've developed an ancestral based lifestyle. And I'm not going to get into the argument about what our ancestors would or would not have eaten. I'm not going to get into the argument of, you know, how long they lived and all that. I'll talk a little bit about that. But that science doesn't interest me. I know that there were no fruits available to my ancestors in the northern part of Europe. I know that they would not have been able to transport food all around the world, so I would not have been eating nutrients from different continents all at one time.
I would not always have access to vegetables and fruits and all this other gobbledygook. I just wouldn't there'd be periods of time when I wouldn't. So but before I really get into seasonal ketosis, I do want to talk about a few key things just so we're all on the same base. When I'm talking about ancestral living, there's a few just core tenets that I'm going to throw out there. One is understanding what ketosis is now. Ketosis is when your body is burning fat.
So that can either be the fat that you're eating or it can be body fat. And in doing so, you create ketone bodies. Now, these ketone bodies are something that your brain and your body can use as fuel. Most of the time people are running on glucose. OK, there's glucose in your blood, there's glucose, you know, in the form of glycogen, in your muscles and liver. And we use that for energy most of the time.
At least that's how it's been for at least the last probably six to seven years here in the United States now. And we've also got a lot fatter. Ketones, on the other hand, can do all of that fueling. And in many cases it's more efficient and it's cleaner. It doesn't cause as many problems for us. So our bodies actually perform better, operate better and are in better health when we're in ketosis. So that's just ketosis. Now, the ketogenic diet is also called keto or the keto Diet.
It is a low carb, high fat diet that forces your body to go into nutritional ketosis. Now you can induce ketosis with exogenous ketone bodies or MCT oil, which is a medium-chain triglyceride. But that's not what I'm after here. We want healthy food. We want a healthy diet of real food that puts us into ketosis naturally. And it's not that hard to do. You just got to get the macros right and push through. Now with me, seasonal ketosis is a cyclical ketogenic diet. Now, instead of doing just a week, I do my cycles running over months, OK.
And in fact, seasons. So I'll have a season where I'll go into famine and then I'm in a strict ketogenic diet at that point. I stay in ketosis almost the whole time and then I'll have some feasting seasons when, you know, I'll go ahead and allow myself to eat what I want. I don't have any no, no's. Now I do tend to continue to eat a little bit high fat, low carb at that time, but the rules are gone. I just eat what I feel compelled to eat and enjoy the food that I have.
Now, my approach to health, a healthy ancestral lifestyle really is about health and longevity, even though we may never actually answer that question how long our ancestors would have lived. What we do know is that child mortality was much higher. We know that they didn't have the medical Know-How of modern times and they had less access to food. And we didn't have access to what, you know, most of the experts would call healthy Whole Foods. I mean, we had what was there that was all that was there. So what we didn't how we did. That's all we had.
There were no McDonald's. There was none of that stuff. And we did a lot more physical activity every day. So whatever the evidence says, you know, if people weren't living as long, it was probably for different reasons. OK, now, during those times, there would be periods, particularly in the north, where we would have feast and famine. When we would spend part of the year eating a ketogenic diet and even some periods of fasting. We didn't have food preservation. So we would have to wake up in the morning and maybe not have any food around. So we would have to go get it. We could be traveling and walking for hours and not find that.
But what we would do is if you think about it from a seasonal perspective, we would have access to more food in the spring, through the fall. So there would be fruits, there'd be vegetables, there'd be things like that. And so we would probably put on some weight between spring and fall. We'd just be a normal thing. And it was good because body fat helps protect us from the cold, keep us warmer, and it also gives us food. I mean, when we don't have food, it provides us the energy we need.
Okay, now as we go into the winter, weight loss would be the norm as we started using that fat on our bodies to keep us alive. So if we didn't have access to food, our bodies adapted to stay alive, our bodies adapted to be able to continue to do what we needed to do. I also believe that we were opportunistic eaters and we didn't have a McDonald's or a Tim Hortons or whatever it is that you have on every corner.
We didn't drink sweetened beverages. We just had water. We ate whole foods. When we killed an animal, we ate it hoof to nose. As hunter gatherers, we ate well as we could and we fasted when we had to. So we were on the land. And I think that's one of the core tenets of this is that we knew what we should eat, what we shouldn't eat, and we got that through the tribal knowledge. So, you know, I think it's really important to understand that the things that we call food today are not food. You know, groceries, as they are today, are not as nutritious as what we had been. And we've got to fix that as a people. That's got to be a priority somewhere along the lines.
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Now, another big tenant I want to talk about is fitness. Now, we were not sedentary. You cannot survive as a hunter gatherer if you're going to sit and not do anything, you just don't. So we would have to be fit. We wouldn't be able to go to a gym for cardio and strength training, but we would have regular exposure to three primary movement modalities that were really, really important for us. We would do low intensity, steady-state or LISS, as I like to call it where we had to migrate.
So, you know, food's not always where we want it to be. And the animals were moving with migration patterns. We would have to move with them if we want to be successful hunters. So this would require sometimes days of us to walk and travel, hiking, basically, and we'd have to carry our stuff with us. So if we had shelter and coats and in different clothing and blankets and all the different things, we needed tools and weapons, we would be carrying those with us. So we would go on these long, low intensity, steady state movements.
Now occasionally we would have high-intensity interval training. And you could think of that in terms of if we were hunting or we were fending off other tribes, it would require us to have some power and some skill. So working with weapons, moving for short periods of time, quickly resting, moving again, that would be normal regular activity for us. So, yes, more movement. And then finally a strength in mobility when we killed a large animal or we stumbled across a berry patch, we would feast.
Now, that would also require, in some cases, for us to lift parts of the animal and carry it back to camp, or we'd have to squat down to pick the berries that we were going to be eating. So, again, more movement. And so you can see through this, just the lifestyle of a hunter gatherer is filled with tons and tons of movement. Now, we also would have work life balance. We would be putting in long commutes. We wouldn't be doing a lot of the things we do now.
But while we're working to survive, we would also understand that we needed to rest. We would understand that, you know, we would need flow. And what I mean by flow is, you know, flow is kind of fitting in with what's there. You know, we would know that there's ways to hunt. There's ways to to move. There's there's times that we need to go. And so we would start following a natural pattern of days, months, seasons.
You watch some of the shows where they depict people and they live by the moon, the moon and the seasons give them the information they need to survive. Now, if they faced a threat and then they had a stressor, which, you know, basically what a threat would do is the stress response. It would be acute, immediate, it'd be life or death. So they would have that cortisol hit. They'd have, you know, that adrenal hit and then it would be gone. It wouldn't be this long, drawn out months and months and months of things that we do to ourselves now.
So we would have a very low stress life in a general sense, as long as we were able to successfully hunt and move and do the things we needed to do. Our stress levels were much lower. We also did risk management. And that sounds kind of weird talking about our ancestors.
But the way you stay alive, the way longevity happens, is understanding the risks associated with your life is a primal living being. We weren't worried about calories, blood sugar, vitamin C, processed meat, dietary fiber, or if we had a healthy microbiome, those concepts weren't even in our head. But what we did was we followed a path that was set by our ancestors.
My ancestors would go and they'd say, we know we go this direction. This is the way we have to go this month at the moon. And then we would go, but we would have to also understand what we're facing. If another tribe moved in to the area, we might have to change the plan, but we would do it. We had risk management. We were paying attention. So the biggest risks to us at that time was infant mortality and tribal warfare.
And the only biohacking that we would have done was just making sure that we were aware of the risks and then figuring out ways to avoid them or deal with them. And then relationship would be very important to us. We worked and moved as a tribe. And in a tribe, it works to our benefit because it helps everyone's survival. We hunted in packs and were hard coded in our DNA to be socially engaged. So that relationship, that closeness is really, really important to the nature of ancestral living.
And then finally within ancestral living. I want to talk about curiosity. You know, we did tend to follow the same basic patterns, seasonal patterns, year in and year out. But we were constantly engaged with what was going on. In the world around us, because our survival depended on it. You know, we couldn't go in and ask Google or Facebook what the weather was going to be like or if we were going to have an early summer or a late winter or whatever.
There was no groundhog to do it for us either. We looked to our elders to advise us and then the tribe had to learn and adapt, and that's how we would survive hard times. Now, I recently started a blog to dive into these issues in more detail. But full disclosure, I'm a terrible blogger. I can brag about this being episode 455 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast. But you know, I've done several blogs over the years and I don't think I've ever gotten more than maybe 15 blog posts in any one blog I've ever started.
So they blog fade pretty quickly. You know, I hope that doesn't happen with this blog. But what I plan to do with that blog is explore a lot of these topics that I've talked about so far. So if you're interested in any of those, you might want to check out the blog. I'll do the best I can, but. What's probably gonna end up happening is I'll probably end up bringing some of those topics here to the podcast, so check out the blog as I get going on it. Probably not anything else on there now. But check it out. And that's where a lot of these topics are going to be discussed in more detail. And if you have any questions, feel free to join us on the Facebook group at 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/Group. And just ask I'm there. I mean, I'm there to participate and help you in any way I can. So if you're interested in this topic, I would like to carry on that conversation.
So for today's discussion and then I'll be gone already for quite a while. But I really want to dive into seasonal ketosis and share why I do it and the reasons that it may or may not be right for you. The first question I kind of have in my mind when I'm thinking about this is seasonal ketosis. The same thing is cyclical keto diet? You know, and technically it is it's you know, you're cycling in and out of keto. So it is a cyclical keto diet. However, when you talk to most people about this cyclical keto diet, it's a six days on, one day off, and they call that a refeed day. And I'm metabolically capable of doing that kind of keto diet, but I'm not a really good moderation type person.[00:22:02.340] – Allan
I like seeing two to five pounds come off in a week. What I wouldn't be a fan of is seeing like four pounds down, then two pounds up. And I'm pretty sure that's how the cyclical keto diet would work for me. And I don't really like that. It's progress, don't get me wrong, it's progress. But that's just not me. I'm happy knowing that I can have a few more carbs on my high activity days without going out of ketosis.
So if I'm going to have more carbs, I'm just going to work out a hell of a lot harder that week to make sure that I can keep myself in ketosis and have the carbs too. So if I want some fruit, I got to earn it from a from a carb, blood sugar, muscle and liver glycogen model. Now, there are some positives to the cyclical keto over full time keto. In many cases, athletic performance can be better and muscle growth is better.
I'm not a bodybuilder and I perform fine without the refits. I can I can do as much as I want to do. I need to do so again, cyclical keto is just not for me. But if you're someone who's looking for a way to do keto and then have that kind of that refeed that break, you might want to check that out. Now, why does seasonal ketosis make sense to me from an ancestral perspective?
And I've gone into some of this already. You know, I when I started this and I was learning about the paleo diet, I came across Mark Sissons primal blueprint. And now Mark laid out a very reasoned case for how our ancestors lived and ate. I used to character I think he named Duroc. So rather, you believe in human evolution, creationism or intelligent design, I don't think you can argue that we we're not doing things right now.
We've got to change something. The standard American diet is killing us. You know, back then we didn't eat refined grains and we didn't have junk food. You know, we were hunters and gatherers. We were, like I said, opportunistic eaters. And we ate the nutrition that our body required, essential amino acids and essential fats. They came from animals, primarily red meat and fish. That's where we got our food. Most of our food was going to come in that form.
And then based on the seasons, you know, we had short periods of the year where it was either cold or dry. We were in ketosis because there just might not be any vegetables or fruits available to us during periods of time. And then, of course, because, you know, food availability and everything, we would spend a good bit of time fasting or intermittent fasting or maybe some extended fasting, depending on the nature of what's going on in the world.
You know, if if we got a good, cold, hard freeze and all the animals are moving and there's no, you know, no vegetation at all, we got to go with the animals. We got to catch up to them. And then we got to do the hunting. So just recognize that our diet would have been very keto for much of the year. OK, now I started doing this for weight loss. That was my my core reason. And I was very much drawn to the primal paleo diet because it made intuitive sense.
Mark did a really good job, because it was maybe the first article I read, that you can't eat what you don't have access to. So you wouldn't eat processed foods at all, ever. OK, everything we would have eaten. Would have been whole food. It would have been locally and sustainably sourced and the human body was designed to be a hunter. I mean, there's no doubt whatsoever when you look at our features, look at what we can do. We were designed to be hunters, but when there are fruits and vegetables available, we're probably going to eat those. But we would not have eaten a high carbohydrate diet year-round. It's just impossible for any of our ancestors short of just some very small areas, you know, in the tropical zones where people would have eaten primarily carbohydrate diets that just wouldn't have anyone from northern Europe, anyone pretty much if you're from Northern Europe or Europe at all, your ancestors probably didn't eat a lot of fruits and vegetables.
That's just that's just part of it. Now, you can look at the current chronic diseases, obesity, heart disease, stroke, type two diabetes, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. And the health problems are associated with our food. There's something seriously wrong. In our modern world, most people have insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome. And it's it's so epidemic that it's just weird to me that this has become politicized. That, you know, we have the food companies telling our government what to tell us what to eat is kind of crazy. It's not animal products and saturated fat that are making us sick as much as those food companies want the government to tell us that it is. It's just not true. It's the fast food. It's the processed foods.
It's high, refined carbs and sugar. We're eating too much sugar. We're eating too many refined carbs. We're not eating whole food. So if the government was in our favor doing the things that it was supposed to do, they'd be focused on food quality. They would not be telling us to eat cereal and grains and refined carbs. They would be telling us to eat meat, fruits and vegetables, Whole Foods.
Now, I've interviewed experts across all spectrums of nutrition. I've had vegans on I've had carnivores on paleo, keto, everywhere in between. The interesting thing is, is every single one of them will tell you that their way of eating is the best because it is based on high quality whole food. And they'll be able to pull out the studies that show people eating their diet. Whole Foods are crushing it. They're doing great. But what's hard is that they ignore Whole Food studies that say the exact same thing about a different type of diet, because it doesn't fit their world view, it doesn't fit their paradigm.
They have a cognitive bias. So, I just really struggle when someone tells me that the quality of your vegetable matters, but the quality of your meat doesn't. It's just all meat is bad. Or and people say the same thing you know, the other way. Is the quality of the meat matters, but all vegetables are bad. You know, that doesn't make sense to me. Our bodies were designed to eat both. Quality is what matters.
That's why the paleo diet makes sense to me. I think everybody should be trying to eat more whole food. You know, the debates out about whether we would have eaten potatoes or, you know, and I don't think we would have eaten much dairy, to be honest with you, because we didn't have cows. You know, we didn't have goats.
We hunted them or something similar to them. But we didn't we didn't have any animal product like that. We weren't domesticating the animals, so we weren't doing dairy. Beans, you know, those are a little weird because yeah, there are some issues there where we have to be careful with them. But, you know, I like the primal experience of having a big, juicy steak. I just do. I love having a cup of blueberries or blackberries and the sweetness and the tartness and just, I love that.
I'm not going to give up either one of them, I'm just not. My diet is comprised of meat, fish, vegetables and some fruit. I did try the Carnivore diet for a few weeks and I started missing vegetables. I tried the vegetarian diet and then I adapted it into the pescaterian and diet to try to get my protein. And I couldn't do it. I gained weight because I was eating too many fruits and vegetables and grains, so I just started putting on weight. So there's not something that I enjoy. And, you know, when I when I do these did these little experiments, you know, I was typically doing them during my my feasting season. So, you know, was not a period of time when I had to worry about being in ketosis. I just did what I did.
I think it's important for you to understand that whole food is the answer. However, you choose to put that in a way of eating is really about you. But I will say this. If you're going to try seasonal ketosis, you do need to think about a few things. OK, one, I don't. Have any insulin resistance or diabetes or, you know, I don't have any of the the diseases or any of the issues that that people would would be suffering from, that they might be using this as a protocol. So if you have insulin resistance or diabetes, you know, or you're using the ketogenic diet for cancer, Alzheimer's disease, PCOS, or an autoimmune auto immune issue, I wouldn't necessarily cycle off of the ketogenic diet.
Those protocols are specific about staying in keto the whole time. And so that's not something where you would want to cycle out because you're just setting yourself up. If you're way above a healthy body composition and you want to use keto to lose weight, seasonal ketosis is also probably not something for you because your weight is going to fluctuate. I fluctuate 10 to 15 pounds each year as I go through these cycles. So that is, and then, of course, if you're prone to eating disorders, you know, you need to find a way of eating that you're comfortable with.
If it's sustainable for you, the cycling in and out is probably not in your best interest, you know, except for this slip up. I had recently did a covid-19 I've been able to manage my seasons stably for the last eight years. You know, going into my feasting season in late August, early September, and then coming out of it right after the Super Bowl or my birthday at the first week of February. That's my feasting season.
And then my fasting season or famine season, as I call it, will run the rest of the year. And as I said I might put on 10 to 15 pounds during the feasting season, but I ditch that weight pretty quickly and spend my famine season at my lower, lower range of my set point. Now, I love the metabolic flexibility that I have to be able to spend part of the time in ketosis and part of the time having a little bit more carbs.
When I say more carbs, I'm talking about beer and some simple carbs. You know, it's like I'll have a hotdog, I'll have a hamburger. Someone offers me a piece of pie at a tailgate, I'll eat it. So that's kind of that thing. You know, to me, the weight loss is relatively easy. Once I'm in ketosis, my body just naturally says, OK, you don't you don't need this. And some of what I'm flushing out from a weight perspective is water.
But a lot of it is body fat and it goes pretty quickly. And I'm pretty happy with that. Now, if you're interested in diving deeper into this topic, there's two ways that you can do this. I talked about the group earlier, you know, 40+ Fitness Podcast, dotcom focus group, or you can go to the Web site – 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/455. And there's a comment section under this post.
I put a post with the transcripts each week and that's why I tell you the full show notes are there. If you go there, there's a comment section, you can leave a comment there. I'm pretty passionate about the benefits that I get and the flexibility I get and the freedom I get with seasonal ketosis and my style of ancestral living. So I love talking about it. If you want to go into more detail with this, I encourage you to go check out one of those two places and let's continue the conversation there.[00:34:12.300] Allan
And I'm right about there right now. I think I'm going to push it down a little lower because my muscle mass is a little lower than it was five years ago. So I'm probably going to push my weight down below two hundred before I kind of level things out again. So I do see some fluctuations with my weight and I know that can be challenging for a lot of people.[00:36:11.350] Ras
I before we move down here to Panama, I found a pair of cargo shorts that I liked. So I bought like four or five different pair and different colors of the same cargo shorts. And so they all fit me the same way. And so I can just pretty much tell when I put those cargo shorts on how I'm doing and where I am. And as I mentioned, I eat relatively low carb during my feasting season. So I'm not crazy on carbs.
It's just I don't really worry about it. If, you know, if I'm out with folks, we want to have some beers. I don't think about it. You know, if someone offers me something that I wouldn't normally eat like a hamburger with a bun, I'm going to eat it. I'm not going to worry too much about it, but I do pay attention to my size. You know, if I didn't start noticing that I'm getting bigger, then I'll I'll tap it down a little bit.
I won't I won't go as crazy. Well, except during COVID. But…[00:37:54.320] Ras
You have to recognize that about about five or seven of that is water weight. And I flush that the first week I go back into ketosis. Right. You know, so I'll literally sit there and say, OK, I'm going to go in ketosis, you know, drop five to seven pounds in a week or two. And then it then it tapers down and I'll lose a few pounds a week and then one pound a week and then my body will get to that homeostasis, its happy weight and I just go by how I feel.
Now I've mentioned this before on another episode I was talking about this a little bit. I don't feel as good during the feasting season, you know, because the foods I'm eating or not is healthy. You know, the beer is not a health food.[00:39:11.260] Ras
But I also want to preface it. You know, I notice I do feel better in ketosis. It's just a better state for me to be in. But I'm not all that tight end up being that way all the time. You know, I'm okay to have a couple bad, you know, days where my energy level is not as high or, you know, I feel a little frumpy. I'm cool with that. It's the price I pay for the detour I took, and I just accept that.
If you're someone who's doing it as a protocol for cancer, for diabetes, insulin resistance, any other metabolic issue, then it's something you're probably going to want to stay on. It's not something that I want to cycle through.[00:40:31.030] Ras
And so I would struggle with that kind of cycle. Whereas if I'm off, I'm off. If I'm on, I'm on. And that's another thing about my personality, you know, and I talk about in the wellness chips, you've got to know yourself. You got to be self-aware. And it's one of the things I know is I don't have a dimmer switch, the light switch, maybe I'm on or I'm off.
And so it's just easier for me to say, okay, flip the switch and I just do it.[00:41:24.010] Ras
And if you're eating refined carbs specifically and sugar, you're going to have inflammation and that inflammation is going to cause problems in your joints. And so from a health perspective, I would I would be the one that would air on the side of using ketones for for energy.
If I were doing endurance athletics, an occasional carb up here and there before a race might help your performance. But, you know, I'm not sure how much additional glycogen your body is going to be able to carry for that particular event. And you're always going to want to practice what you're going to race. So you would be eating carbs as a regular probably thing each week to carb up for your long runs if you're following the standard training protocol. So you would still be eating a good bit of carbs as a part of that.
So I'm not saying one is better than the other from a performance perspective. I'm just thinking in terms of wear and tear on your body inflammation and you just weigh a little bit less, you know, in carrying less water. So, you know, yeah. All of that's going to probably, in the end, help your performance. But I don't they don't have enough evidence right now where I would say there's one superior fueling way.[00:43:55.510] Ras
The one or two times that I've actually ate something non kaido. It impacted me greatly. I was very sick so I can't really do too much cheating. I know I've got a limit. I probably can eat something that's bread or sugar, but not very much more than a bite of cake or something small because it will impact me. But as far as the endurance part of it, it has helped a lot in my running.
I'm not winning races or anything. I've never been fast either in the first place. But yeah, keto has been a real big help for me in the endurance field. But like we like you mentioned earlier and just a little while ago is that you really need to find what works for you as an individual and there's just a wide range of eating, I could give you a couple of names of some impressive vegan ultra runners. Scott Drake is probably one of the most famous vegan ultra runners.
And then to the exact opposite, Michael McKnight, just this summer or spring, actually ran a hundred miles and no calories, nothing, no food. One hundred miles. I want to say, he did it in 18 hours, if I remember right. But so he's he's definitely keto. But like you were mentioning, he is also carving up a little bit in the week leading up. So his body was fueled with carbs, but then he goes straight kitto so that his body is prepared with fat as well.
And I think that's probably how he survived it. But he's also a pretty famous keto ultra athlete.[00:46:05.330] Allan
So, you know, the what's that they say in the ad is the results you see might not be your results right into it. So I'm not going to say everybody would have as easy of a time going back and forth. I don't have any insulin resistance. I don't have any blood sugar issues. You know, my awarenesses always been fine. So for me to switch back and forth seems relatively easy, you know, but like I said, most of the year, I'm eating this way anyway.
The difference is just not paying attention to my carbs, are not being worried about the carbs. And so that's why it works. And the other side of it is I don't stress about rather on that point five or point to five as far as what my ketone levels are, as long as I'm in ketosis, I'm cool. But a lot of people are like, no, I want to see that. No, I want to be one point five or better.
And I bought a Keto Mojo not long ago to replace my other ketone meter that I lost. I guess I can't find it after I moved. I'll probably find it when I go get the rest of my stuff. But anyway, so I bought it and they introduced this new where they measure your glucose and you measure your ketones at the same time. And we do that. It gives you a different measure relative so ketones relative to glucose. And so it's an index that they've created.
And so again, it's just one of those. But again, it's that competitiveness of seeing a higher number that it seems to be pushing toward. And I'm not a big fan of that. You're either in ketosis or you're not. You're not. You know, you can say you're more in ketosis. I mean, there's just more ketones circulating in your blood. So I don't think you're in more ketosis. You just can't be more perfect.
You can't be more pregnant as you are. There are the days you might feel more pregnant than you did the day before. But you know that you're not in you know, you're not in more ketosis. You're in ketosis, you're not. And so it's for me, it's a good protocol. But I'm a little bit different in that I don't have a health issue. I do it to thin out, to lean out a bit, because if I did the feasting all year round, if I ate that way out of control, I would blow up, you know, so I know I can't do that and I have to be very cognizant of it.
I wasn't this year. I went and I stayed with it and just kind of proved my point of once I broke that that that barrier that I had my set point for my body, it said, oh, good, we'll just throw in a lot more weight. We don't have a problem with that. You gave us the fat cells years ago. We know how to use them. Just keep feeding us. And it did. So, you know, you got to turn that around.
And for me, it's when I said no dimmer switch just flipped the switch and let's go.[00:49:25.580] Ras
Now, people do that all the time and go right back into ketosis and never even know they were out of ketosis. So it's not this magical state. Where you're going to have to go through keto flu every time you go in and out, because people are going in and in some levels, most people are in a mild state of ketosis almost every morning they wake up because you've gone, you know, eight or 12 hours without eating. So your body is starting to produce ketones.
Now, is it using them efficiently as a fuel? No, because you're immediately going to put some more glucose in the system. You know, if you're very active, like you do your endurance sport and you're burning down some glycogen in your muscles and your liver. So when you do have additional carbs, some additional carbs, your body's going to use this insulin to restore that. So if you need it in the liver, if you need it in the muscles, then insulin is going to do its thing to do that.
If you didn't do any work and you're already topped up with glycogen, then it's only got one other choice and it's going to start making fat. So if that's something you're trying to avoid, you want a better body composition. I can't think of a better way to do it than keto.[00:51:09.910] Ras
The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:
|– Anne Lynch||– John Somsky||– Melissa Ball|
|– Barbara Costello||– Judy Murphy||– Tim Alexander|
|– Bill Gioftsidis||– Leigh Tanner||– Wendy Selman|
|– Debbie Ralston||– Margaret Bakalian|
In her book The Ketogenic Key: Unlock the Secrets to Lose Weight, Slow Aging, Stop Inflammation, and Prevent Disease, Lori Shemek shows us how to use the ketogenic diet for optimal wellness. Most of the health issues we deal with today are caused by poor nutrition choices. With all of the health and fitness information available, it can get really confusing. Lori helps us understand how to make keto an everyday lifestyle that gives us better health.
This episode of the 40+ Fitness Podcast is sponsored by Reel Paper. Reel paper sells toilet paper made from 100% bamboo, which grows faster, requires less water, creates more oxygen, a.k.a. less greenhouse gases, and doesn't require replanting after harvesting. Yes, sustainable toilet paper is available for you now, conveniently shipped for free to your home. We must begin treating the earth better and you can do it by going to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/tp and get 25% off with the discount code. 40plus.[00:02:55.110] – Allan
The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:
|– Anne Lynch||– John Somsky||– Melissa Ball|
|– Barbara Costello||– Judy Murphy||– Tim Alexander|
|– Bill Gioftsidis||– Leigh Tanner||– Wendy Selman|
|– Debbie Ralston||– Margaret Bakalian|
Due to recent events, I found myself in a very bad place. COVID-19 had drastically changed my everyday life, pulling out of my seasonal ketosis, decimating my exercise plan, and triggering me into several unhealthy eating habits. In fact, all of my healthy habits seemed to fall by the wayside. It was a major lifestyle change for the worse.
I knew I needed to change something. I went back to the simple things that had turned things around for me years ago. It started with a recommitment and positive self-talk. If I didn't want the fat bastard to come back (he was bearing down on me), I had to do what all successful people do. I had to pull myself up to my feet and do the simple things that were within my control.
I'm going to get a little raw during this discussion. Think of like a support group talk where I'm admitting my weaknesses, sharing my mental process, and showing you the small steps I took in a bit of a case study/success story. I hope to give you some tools to use that will give you a better chance of recovery, should you slip as I did.
This episode of the 40+ Fitness Podcast is brought to you by Usual Wines, available in convenient single serve bottles. Go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/wine and use the coupon code fitness for $8 off.
Hello and welcome to Episode 450 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast. Thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness. I'm really glad you're here and I hope that you're someone that's actually gone back and checked out the other 449 episodes we've done, which include over 275 interviews. It's kind of crazy how many people I've talked to over the years about health and fitness. And today I want to talk about something that's really, really important to me because it's a personal experience.
It's something that happened to me recently. And I'm talking to a lot of people and it's happening to them, too. And I want to give you the tools to get past this. And so I'm going to call this episode, “How to Turn Each and Every Slip Up Into Success.” And yes, even the best of us, the best personal trainers, the best fitness people out there. Every once while we make a mistake, every once in a while we slip, it just happens.
We're human and you're human, too. And so a lot's been going on in the world. And I want to kind of talk about my perspective of going through all of this with COVID, with the racial strife in the United States and obviously an upcoming election. Things are really, really crazy in the United States. And it's really hard to be on social media and do those types of things, because, quite frankly, it's just it's scary and it's frightening and it's hurtful and, you know, just all these emotions that are coming out.
I want to talk about this a little bit and give you some of my perspectives. And then after that, I want to give you some tools, some tools to help you the next time you slip. This is a process that I developed to work with my clients because like myself, many of them were struggling. And as I was finding my way out of the dark, I laid some bread crumbs to help them along the way as well. And it's been beneficial to everybody that I've talked to using this method. So I want to share it with you now.
COVID-19 hit the United States in January. I think the first case was registered up in the State of Washington around January 20th. And since then, it grew and grew and grew and obviously has grown into something much bigger, but not quite as big as they projected. So that's the good news. But the reality of it is COVID affected just about every single human being on this earth.
It's changed the way we live. It's changed the way we do almost everything we do and it's changed what we can and can't do. I'm in Panama and I can tell you Panama did not treat COVID like a joke at all. In fact, once they started getting cases in Panama and they were concerned about the medical system being able to keep up, they shut us down. And when I say shut us down, I mean, they shut down all the businesses, every single one of them, except grocery stores and pharmacies.
There was nothing else, just the pharmacy. You could go to the ATM if you needed some money and the pharmacy. And that was it. And they shut us down to a point where I was allotted two hours, two days a week to go do my shopping and that was only for necessities. I wasn't to be out there walking around, getting exercise. I was out there to shop. And so this was my Tuesday morning and Thursday morning from 7:30 – 9:30am were the only times I was allowed outside of my apartment.
Women were allotted 3 days a week. Monday, Wednesday, Friday again, all these times were based on your personal ID card. So your passport depending on whether you were a citizen or resident. Since I'm a resident, I went with my passport. So my time was set. If I was caught outside, they would you know, sometimes they're checking your ID if you're outside of those times or you're somewhere where there's obviously not a grocery store or pharmacy they would arrest you, take you in, and they were doing that for a lot of people.
They really locked us down and that went on for nearly six weeks. So they did slowly start kind of opening things up. And as I'm recording this, you know, sort of the last week of September, I mean, August I'm sorry, you know, they still we still are locked down on weekends. And that means from 7:00 pm on Friday afternoon and evening until 5:00 am Monday morning, we're not to be out and about.
So the police are patrolling. If they catch you out, they'll arrest you. We're required to wear masks. So the whole argument that a lot of people are having about masks or not to mask. They'll arrest you. So you wear a mask. So that's been Panama. We're still on a curfew, so I can't go out at night. So from 7pm to 5am, you can't be out. That's every day.
We're still in this general lockdown. We're trying to slow the spread of the disease in the hopes that a vaccine will come. And that's been my life. You know, my gym's closed down. I was locked in my apartment for four months or more, unable to go out more than a couple hours, twice a week. And quite frankly, I melted down. You know, it was a hugely stressful situation, just reading what was going on.
Even though I could focus a little bit on my clients and I could focus a little bit on my business, I wasn't able to really put my all into that because I was just really struggling with this huge trigger event in my life that scared the crap out of me when I first heard about it. And as a result, I did what most people do. I spent all my days reading articles.
And in fact, you know, because I'm a data geek. I'm an information geek. I was reading every single article I could get my hands on in my search criteria. I just basically would say COVID-19 coronavirus, but not anything that mentions President Trump. And so I removed all of that political garble that was going on because it removed all of, you know, the opinion and stuff that was out there. And it gave me the medical information, the studies, the things that were actually going on in the medical community. The discussions they were having, the treatments and the, you know, the discussions of how they were going to do you know, virus, I mean a vaccine.
I was reading up on this every single day. And the reality of that has hit me that it just really, it pushed me further down. It kept me depressed. It kept me just addled. I didn't have a solution in my own head how I was going to handle this and what it was going to mean to me, to my wife, to my family. You know, our parents are up there in ages. They're all in their 70s. And quite frankly, they're not in the condition to handle something like this.
It was just really, really devastating for me to be sitting here in Panama and think about the things I couldn't do. And even if I had gone up to the United States to be around family, I really wouldn't have been any help to them to protect them. It just would have been the same. So we decided to stay in Panama and we're stuck in our houses and our apartment.
As a result of the stress and everything that was going on, I kind of slipped. So my slip and it involved alcohol. It involved almost no movement. I did bring some equipment from the gym over to my apartment and it sat and gathered dust in the corner. The whole time, I didn't really even have any desire to work out, which was really, really strange for me. But the impact of what was going on in the world, the stress that I was feeling and just feeling incapable of doing anything about it really, really bothered me.
So the no movement, the alcohol, the eating crazy stuff, you know, here and there, the cumulative impact was huge and it was weight gain. You know, the COVID 15 is a real thing. I did my part. I gained my fifteen pounds and I felt terrible about it. But it was, you know, it was just a reaction to what was going on in my life. And it was a major slip for me health-wise. It was not something that I wanted. It was not something that I planned. Sometimes I do plan to gain some weight and enjoy myself and go have a couple of weeks of, you know, fun and crazy at an all-inclusive resort or at a football game or just on some vacation. But this was not that social media.
It was just driving me batty and, you know, as I was going through it. And then, of course, the violence and stuff that was starting to happen in the United States particularly, and all of that coming through, it was just huge. Now, with that, I did slowly start to come out of it and think about what I'm doing and why I'm doing it.
So in a sense, this was very much a wake up call for me. I was sitting around thinking, you know. Why am I so bothered by this and what is really driving my behavior? What's the lesson out of all of this? And the reality of it was a few things. One is, you know, I'm watching videos of kind of crazy violent stuff happening. And I'm you know, I'm watching a woman or a man and they're in their 50s around my age and they're getting beat up and they're not able to defend themselves, are not able to help themselves.
And I'm watching people die, not necessarily watching them die, but hearing about the deaths and realizing that they're dying. Not necessarily because they got COVID because a lot of people were getting COVID and just moving on with their lives, recovering and moving on. But there are people just that couldn't recover and they couldn't recover because they just basically weren't taking care of themselves. So, you know, the first realization that came out of this was that COVID-19 is not the Spanish flu.
You know, that we want to compare it to the last pandemic. But the reality is this is apples and oranges. We know how germs pass now. They didn't know as much back then when Spanish flu was going on. And really the only reason that we're having to deal with COVID as much as we are, because in a real sense, it wouldn't be much worse than a flu if we were all healthy. But that's the point. Our health is crap in the United States.
You know, two-thirds of people are overweight, one third are obese, pre-diabetes, diabetes is just rampant. Heart disease is the number one killer. And, you know, as I'm recording this, I was thinking, you know, people aren't taking care of themselves. And right now and like I said, as I'm recording this, you know, there have been 180,000 deaths in the United States, which is tragic. But what we don't think about is there's 480,000 tobacco-related deaths every year.
So if you count the 7 months that COVID's been around as of this point in the United States, it's killed 180,000 and 280,000 have died of tobacco-related illness. Now, I know there's an overlap there. And so what COVID is actually doing, rather, we want to admit it to ourselves or not, is it's just accelerating our death.
This episode of the 40+ Fitness Podcast is sponsored by Fastic before we had refrigeration, processing and bulk transportation, we just didn't have access to food like we do today because we're opportunistic eaters. Most of us consistently eat more than we should. And our bodies don't know how to signal to us that we've had enough. I practice intermittent fasting regularly, and it's a strategy many of my clients use to get control of food and as a happy side effect, lose weight. Fastic is an app you can download on an Apple or Android smartphone. It's a pretty snazzy app with a lot of tools to help you do intermittent fasting, right. It not only lets you track your fasting, but water consumption, steps and a lot of other things.
You can also connect with a fasting buddy to help keep you even more accountable. If you have an iPhone, go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/ifastic. For an android, go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/afastic. If you're interested in learning more about intermittent fasting, or just need some help getting started. Go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/ifastic for an iPhone. For an android, go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/afastic.
Now, we talked about aging last week and a little heads up the next couple episodes are also about aging because as I was going through my moments, I was just thinking, you know, we're aging and we need to be healthy. And so how do I teach people how to age better? How do I teach them to be healthy longer? Because we don't want to go out that way. And, you know, so, you know, we have to take responsibility for our own health.
You know, I had to take responsibility for my health and my fitness. So, you know, when I see some 50-year-old guy getting pummeled or some 50-year-old woman getting pummeled, I have to think in terms of if I were in the United States walking around and got into that situation, am I the victim that they're going to be looking to mess with or am I someone who basically looks like I can take care of myself because I'm in good health and I'm reasonably fit.
It's not that you have to look like Mike Tyson to survive in this world, but the reality is they're much less likely to victimize you, to bully you, to attack you if it looks like you might be able to hurt them back. And so I don't want to throw this out there and really upset a lot of people, but, hey, if this is you, get a little upset, you know, that's OK. This was my wake up call.
If I'm going to take care of my loved ones, I've got to be there for them. I've got to be able to do the things that are necessary, you know, and it goes beyond being able to help my wife out of a wheelchair 30 years from now. It goes to the fact that if someone sees me walking with my wife, they just see me as someone to just pass on because they don't want to attack me.
If a COVID virus or something like that, something similar to this comes again, like I am generally now, I want to be healthy. I want my vitamin D to be where it's supposed to be. I want my B vitamins and zinc. I want all those things in my food so that I'm already healthy. In fact, I stepped up my supplementation because I was locked in an apartment. I've got vitamin D, I've got zinc, you know, like it's almost like a medicine cabinet kind of thing, which I normally wouldn't do, but I just didn't want to take chances.
Being locked in an apartment, limited access to the food. I mean, I have access to food, but it's the same food. So just making sure that the varieties there I've started supplementing. And so I was able to kind of turn this around and I turned it around and I started thinking, you know what I'm doing? All I'm doing is the basic thing that successful people do. The way you get success in this world is you learn from your failures and you do that by doing three things, and that's what I want to share with you.
This is my three-step plan for recovery when you slip. So pay particular attention to this one.
OK, so the first thing is to forgive yourself. And this is the most important thing if you don't really forgive yourself and I mean really like self-love deep. I made a mistake. I screwed up. I shouldn't have sat there and drank myself silly and ate myself silly and sat on my couch reading about COVID virus, things that really weren't going to impact my life or improve my life.
And I did those things for six solid weeks. I can't do that again, but I need to recognize that there were triggers, there were things that made me do that that were out of my control, and I didn't take the moment to stop myself and stay in control. So that's on me. But I have to forgive myself. So I accept responsibility and I forgive. And from that forgive. Now you're ready to move to the second step.
The second step is what did you take away from that moment? What was the learning experience of that moment? So for me, it's when I hit a really stressful period of time, I need to move. I need to move one way or another. Rather, they lock me in an apartment where they really lock me in a room or they lock me in a bathroom. I need to move and I'm going to move next time. If something like this happens and they lock us down, I'm still going to move. I'm going to keep moving as long as I possibly can because that's really helped me.
Since I got out of this, I've been walking regularly. I've been lifting regularly when they started letting me out to do other things besides shop. So I've been doing those things. And it's meant a world of difference, having that movement in my life, doing the meditations, doing the things that are going to relieve the stress, that will keep me from the actions that are detrimental to me. So I learned a lot out of this about myself.
You know, your trainer is not perfect. I'm human and I have to accept that and I have to act on that when something bad is happening, I have to recognize the symptoms and I've got to do something about it. So I've I've changed up a few things in my morning rituals. I've gone through some training. I've done some extra work on myself, mentally, physically. And that's helped me a whole lot. Moved way past where I was.
Now the third. And again, I'm not going to say this is the most important because really the forgiving is. But if you don't act on what you're supposed to do, you set that plan. You're like, OK, I'm going to meditate every morning. I'm going to go for long walks. I'm going to commune with nature. I'm going to get as much vitamin D as I can possibly get by supplementing and getting out in the sun. I'm going to do these actions to protect myself, to make myself stronger, to make sure that I'm the person my loved ones deserve. Then that's the action and that's when you have to do it. Now, what I did as a part of my action was, you know, I stepped up and said, you know, I'm going to go ahead and launch and do a round of what I call eight weeks to WOW.
And unfortunately, as you're hearing this, we've closed out on the third round, which might actually be the last time I do this in 2020. But I went through eight weeks to WOW with the first group that went through and we were all seeing great success, which was really up-lifting. And I, basically going through that program, lost 12 pounds. And then I went through my Strong, Lean Over 40 program, which, you know, I sell it as a program which is a strongly energetic program and then basically lifting part, which would be the coaching part.
And I've been doing that now for about three or four weeks. And I'm down below my pre COVID weight. So the fifteen pounds that I gained, I've lost more than that since May 1st. And I did that because I went through that three-step recovery plan. You know, the three-step plan is to forgive, to learn and plan and then act. OK, so you've got to do those three steps before you're going to get past this, because if you don't forgive, you won't recover.
If you don't set a plan, learn something and set a plan, then you won't step in the right direction. And if you don't actually act, then you're not stepping at all. So it takes all three of these in that order for you to be successful at recovering from a slip. So if you want to go from slip to success, you take those three steps. Now, I'm going to offer you a free gift.
If you go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/slip. I'm going to have a little cheat sheet. I call it the slip to success cheat sheet and it's going to kind of walk you through those three steps and give you a little bit of insight into each one and how to apply it in your life. So go ahead and go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/slip and you can download the plan, the cheat sheet and it'll be like I said, it will kind of walk you through.
So if you're finding yourself right now sitting there saying I'm a victim of the COVID 15, you're not a victim, stop being a victim, take action, forgive yourself, set a plan and take action. And this little gift, this little cheat sheet is going to help you get on that track. So you are not a victim. We are not victims. We are in control of our future. We write our own next chapter. Our next chapter hasn't happened.
Now, we have an option right now to take out the pen that we've been writing our life with, and we get to write a new story starting today, so if you're ready to do that, to get this cheat sheet and then reach out to me and let me know what I can do to help you be successful in your journey forward. So I appreciate you being on the podcast today.
The next couple of episodes are going to be about aging. They're really good conversations. I was in kind of an aging mindset as I was going through the last month. And this is what came out of it. We ended up with a theme like that. But, you know, the world is not always positive and it's really, really hard for us to keep moving forward when things just seem to be falling.
You know, at some point, Sharknado is probably going to happen in 2020 because, you know, it's been that kind of year. We kind of laugh about, you know, we're going. But there are two hurricanes coming into the Gulf of Mexico as I'm recording this. So, yeah, it's just a really, really strange year with a lot of stressors in front of us. And having a plan is going to help. Now, the core of all of this, and I want you to start this today, is I need you to start using positive self taught and using positive thinking, have a positive outlook.
I know it's hard, but you're currently healthy. You're currently in good shape, at least more in better shape than being on the other side of the grass. You're listening to this. So just recognize that you do have control in rewriting your future and you can start today. So make that conscious decision to start and then recommit.
Go back to your why and your vision. As we talked about in the Wellness GPS, if you have those two things, they're always going to be that rock, that foundation that keeps you solid and on your feet ready to move forward. OK, so when you take that recommit, you get into it, boom, I'm in. And then you go through and you go through that three-step plan. You're going to make this happen for yourself. I have no doubt whatsoever.
The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:
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On episode 448 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we ask the question: “Is the Carnivore Diet good for you?
Dr. Saladino is the leading authority on the Carnivore Diet. He has used this diet to reverse autoimmune issues, chronic inflammation, and mental health issues in hundreds of patients. He is board-certified in psychiatry and completed his residency at the University of Washington. He is also a certified functional medicine practitioner through the Institute for Functional Medicine. He attended medical school at the University of Arizona, focusing on integrative medicine and nutritional biochemistry.
This episode of the 40+ Fitness Podcast is sponsored by Usual Wines. These single-serve 6.3-ounce bottles are perfect when you just want a glass of wine without opening a whole bottle. Go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/wine and use coupon code FITNESS to get $8 off your order.
This episode is also sponsored by Fastic. This is a wonderful app that teaches you how to do intermittent fasting right. If you have an iPhone, you can access the free at 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/ifastic. Get the Android version at 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/afastic.
You may or may not know that I am a fan of the ketogenic diet. I regularly make bone broth to get collagen and minerals from the bone and bone marrow. And I'm definitely not someone to discard the egg yolk. Ketosis is an excellent way to improve your body composition and fight chronic disease.
I've always dismissed the Carnivore Diet as an extreme elimination diet, which it is since it limits you to just animal products. But after reading The Carnivore Code, I decided to give it a try. I went three weeks with this way of eating and it's not so bad. I got off of it for two reasons:
1) I could get enough liver and kidneys and I don't feel like buying supplements was the way to go.
2) I missed vegetables. As the doctor mentioned in the show, if how you're eating is working, then maybe carnivore isn't for you.
With all of the scientific evidence Dr. Saladino presented in the book and during this interview, I'm less concerned about eating meat regularly and a little less enamored with vegetables overall, but I'm glad I tried it for a bit.
Dr. Saladino, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
Thanks for having me on. It's good to be here.
I have had someone on about the carnivore of diet before. His name is Craig Emmerich, Maria's husband, you might know him. And it was really fascinating. I've been interested in the diet, but honestly, it seems pretty extreme to me to just eat meat and organs. I've read a lot about it. I've heard a lot about it. But I think your book, The Carnivore Code, is really kind of the first book I've seen that basically power drives any other way you'd want to eat, I mean, for lack of a better word, it's like, boy, you just pulverized all the vegetables I like and you did it with science.
Well, I tried. And the goal of writing the book and we can get into what I do and why I do it, my goal is not to convince everyone to stop eating all plants for the rest of eternity. The idea with the book and I'll tell the listeners a little of my story as well in a moment, but there are really two main thesis in the book. There are two things that I'm hoping to achieve and the first is to exonerate, red meat to undo the bad science that's been done around red meat and ruminant animals, cows, bison, lamb.
These kinds of foods are some of the most vilified foods on the planet. And yet I strongly believe and I think that the medical literature strongly supports the fact that they are the most nutritious foods on the planet for humans. So what we have is this completely upside down ideology this completely reversed mainstream idea around fear of red meat. And that doesn't need to be that way. And I talk about in the book why that is and evidence for red meat being essential in the human diet.
And we can get to both of those things. The second point of the book is to explain and to suggest to offer that plants exists on a toxicity spectrum. They're rooted in the ground. They've been co-evolving with animals for four hundred and fifty million years. And so in order for plants and animals to co-exist in an ecosystem, they have had to develop defense chemicals. This is really not conjecture or opinion. This is botanical science. And these defense chemicals can harm humans. And so plants exist on a toxicity spectrum and understanding which plants are the most toxic in the least toxic is crucial for every human to achieve optimal health.
It's really just it's another tool in the toolbox for people. If people are listening to this and they are thriving, they're just crushing it, kicking, butt, don't change a thing. I respect anyone who's crushing it. And I will give anyone an electronic high five for making an intentional choice with their diet. Whatever that choice is, that's the first step, is making an intentional choice of diet, thinking about your food.
But there's a lot of people that are suffering and no one has really gone to these lengths. No one has uncovered these questions. Nobody has turned these stones over and said maybe some of these plants are harming us. Maybe this is the reason that some of us suffer with eczema like I did, or asthma or psoriasis or depression or mood issues or libido issues or weight gain that won't reverse or tons of other autoimmune issues.
And it's just exciting to be able to do to try and do those two things to say, hey, this red meat don't fear this. Very valuable for you, very critical for you, your family, your children, for their health, for your parents health, everyone. Wrongly vilified based on bad science, which is epidemiology. And the second part is you're not thriving, realize that plants exist on a toxicity spectrum.
Yeah. Now in my book, The Wellness Roadmap, I brought up a concept that I call opportunistic eaters. And what it is, is as humans, you know, if we're hungry, we're going to go for food. I think I got a little backward and so I got opportunistic eating today is pulling up to the McDonald's drive-thru. It's easy. It's quick, low cost for me from an energy perspective, I don't even have to get out of my car and there it is. Not good for me, but it gives me the energy it did what it was supposed to do, I guess. But then when I thought back to our ancestors and the way that they would look at the opportunity, I think I had it backward. And you rightfully said something in your book that that made me turn that around. You call it the Carnivore Code Hypothesis. And that would be where we would effectively favor meat, particularly red meat, over other sources of food for the nutritional value of them.
Whereas I thought it's easier for me to pick blueberries in the blueberries, not actually attacking me back. Well, we're going to find out later. Maybe that blueberry is but, you know, I feel safer picking blueberries than I would hunting a water buffalo. Now, even if you and I and a few other guys together with spears and went out there and started working, it would be a little safer, but still risk. We take every time we wanted this food. But what you brought up in the book. There's a good reason why we would take that risk.
There's a very good reason why we would take that risk and why we have taken that risk. The beginning part of the book is really about where we've come from in humans and looking at fossilized evidence of human cranial vault size, the growth of the brain. And there's pretty good evidence that one of the key, if not the critical factor in the massive growth of the human brain, was the advent of hunting in our ancestors and the procurement of meat and these unique nutrients that occur in meat.
So if you look at what's in meat and this goes back to the idea of exonerating red meat and understanding how valuable these foods are for humans. There are many nutrients in red meat specifically, but in all animals really that only occur in animal foods.
So often we're told, of these phytonutrients, quote-unquote. And I really think that's a fairy tale, that's not true when we can talk about that as well. But there are unique nutrients. There are unique nutrients that only occur in appreciable biologically available quantities in animal foods.
But we've never heard about these. So you kind of allude to this in your description. And I think most people and our ancestors were really after the calories, but it worked out when they were seeking the most calories in the largest animals and the largest repository of food, they were solving this energetics equation. Per energy invested, the return on a water buffalo is much better than a blueberry. And it just so happens that when you get that water buffalo, you are getting so many more unique nutrients that are so much more bioavailable. Because we know that in order for humans to be optimal, we need micronutrients. These are things like vitamins and minerals, and I'll talk about those in a moment. In order for our ancestors, or you or I to survive until tomorrow, we need calories.
And you can get those calories from a Slurpee or a Big Mac or a Frosty or french fries. You'll survive till tomorrow. But if you want to survive decades from now and have vital health and healthy children and multiple generations and play with your grandkids, you need micronutrients. And that is the real difference. But by seeking out the highest sources and the most efficient sources of calories, our ancestors also sought out the unique micronutrients. So what am I talking about here?
I'm talking about things like creatine, carnitine, choline, carnitine, vitamin K and B12. The list goes on and on. These are nutrients that really only occur in animal foods in any appreciable quantity. And they are necessary. They are absolutely essential for optimal human health.
But you really can't get creatine from plants. We know that it makes builder stronger, but we also know that it makes us smarter. There have been interventional experiments where they'll do trials without giving vegetarians and vegans creatine. And they get smarter. They do better on memory tasks and card sorting tasks and cognitive processing tasks.
And then there's choline, an essential nutrient for the formation of the brain to make new baby brains to make our brain strong. It really doesn't occur in appreciable quantities and plant foods, but it's absolutely abundant and very biologically available in animal foods. Carnitine, carnitine, these are unique amino acid forms that are used in the antioxidant process in the human body. Vitamin K2 is a form of vitamin K that's absolutely essential for proper calcium partitioning in the human body and higher intakes of vitamin K2, which is a series of Menaquinones, have been associated with much better cardiovascular outcomes.
But where's the vitamin K2 In-plant Foods? It doesn't exist. You can't get vitamin K2 from Plant Foods. You can vitamin K1, which is Phylloquinone. But humans are really, really bad at converting Phylloquinone to medical quinone and an intake of Phylloquinone in Plants is not associated with any of these improved outcomes from heart disease or calcification or sclerosis. So the list goes on, right? Vitamin B 12. Most people know about that, but these are all critical nutrients, trust to be optimal and they were critical for our ancestors brains to grow.
And the statement I make in the book is that I strongly believe and I think the evidence absolutely corroborates the notion that eating meat made us human. It's essential for humans to eat this. And so the investment is slightly higher danger hunting a water buffalo is going to be repaid in spades, it's going to be repaid over and over. As you get that hunt, you get that kill graciously, thankfully, and you share it with your tribe and you are nourished so deeply also by eating organs, if we can talk about.
But that's really what allowed our ancestors to thrive, that it was so easy to get the nutrition from animals. And you can survive on plant foods, but they've got these toxins and you have to detoxify them. They're good for survival. But our ancestors really would have sought out animals first. And if they had to, they would use these plant foods as a fallback. If you can't get a buffalo, you might gather some blueberries.
Now, fruit is kind of a specific thing that I'll talk about. I think our ancestors would have eaten fruit in season, but blueberries aren't available year-round. And you don't make a baby out of blueberries, you know, but you can't just you can't make a human out of the nutrients in blueberries, but you can make a human out of the nutrients in water buffalo that's got almost that's got basically everything you need.
Blueberries, It's got some calories and a few things that we can use, but not great. Now, the fruit stems, leaves, roots and seeds of plants are much more highly defended with these defense chemicals. And that, I think, would have been absolutely way down on the list for humans. If you cannot get you cannot get an animal, then you're going to eat those things to survive. But our ancestors favored animal foods. They made us who we are. And by really forgetting that wisdom today, we are forsaking our ancestral birthright to much, much deeper levels of human health.
Yeah, and kind of following along with that as we develop and you start thinking about, OK, why is a human-like a human? Because we do have some teeth that allow us to eat some vegetables, but they're not all of our teeth are animal or plant teeth. So it's obvious that we have a little bit of diversity opportunity there. But there are other things about the human body that makes it clear that we're hunters, we're meant to be carnivores. Can you talk about some of those changes physiologically that have happened as humans have evolved?
Yeah, so this is quite a fascinating story and it starts in the mouth. And really, as you go, as you said, the teeth argument always gets brought up a lot. But we clearly have teeth for both chewing fibrous material. Probably we held on to those because we needed that during times of scarcity of animals. And we have lots of teeth for biting into meat and eating animals. The digestive system of the digestive tract is one of the more fascinating parts of our physiology that distinguishes us from plant-eating herbivores.
The acidity of our stomach is much more. It's much greater. So we have a lower PH, which means a more acidic stomach than many other species, many other primates, many other herbivorous or even omnivorous species. That's a strong suggestion that as we begin eating meat, we were eating rotting meat. So we were eating carrion just to prevent our guts from being damaged by bacteria that might have been growing on the meat. We don't have to eat rotting meat today, but there's a clear evolutionary blueprint there of our ancestors eating meat that was rotting or eating meat in general and the stomach acid protecting us from it and the stomach acid also breaking down that meat.
The shape and distribution of gut regions is also very different in humans. And this is one of the other things called the expensive tissue hypothesis that probably allowed the human brain to grow so big. And we see this in other animals and other species as well. But energetically there is a ceiling on how an animal can change throughout its evolution and as a species.
And so if you want to grow a bigger brain, which uses a lot of your energy, you're going to have to trim the fat, so to speak, from somewhere else. And it looks like the tradeoff for humans was in the gut. We have a much smaller, large intestine. So there's a stomach, a small intestine and a large intestine. The small intestine is 20 plus feet, goes from the end of your stomach to the ileocecal valve, which is where your colon starts. And your colon is your large bowel and these these parts of the intestine serve different purposes. But humans have a slightly larger small bowel and a much smaller, large bowel than primates.[00:17:48.710] – Dr. Saladino
So what appears to have happened in the very compelling hypothesis is that as we were able to eat more nutrient rich foods, we were able to shrink the size of our colons because we didn't need the colons to do the massive fermentation that primates do. So if you look at a gorilla or an ape, they have both a very protuberance stomach. They have a rib angle, which is much more pointed outward than humans. Our ribs kind of go straight down and an ape goes way out to accommodate this very large colon.
The colon now for humans is really just to reabsorb the last bits of water from our stool as it passes through the small intestine. And the small intestine is where we do most of the absorption of nutrients. So there's this real change and that allowed our brains to grow big because we have smaller energy needs in our gut. We can then redistribute the caloric availability to growing a big brain in a very metabolically expensive brain. There's a fascinating fish in Africa that I talk about in the book called The Peters' Elephant Nose Fish.
People can Google this. It's a really cool looking fish. But you see the same thing here. The expensive tissue hypothesis plays out in this fish as well. It has the biggest brain of any species or fish relative to body size. So it's a pretty smart fish. And in order to do that, it has the smallest gut. So it has this trade-off between gut and brain. Again, not surprisingly, that fish is a carnivore as well. And in the fish world, Carnivore is a little different than in the human or land mammal world. But that fish doesn't eat plants, that fish eats other fish or smaller, smaller animals that it's consuming.
So that allows it to consume higher nutrient density food and have a smaller gut. And so it gets a bigger brain energetically in the trade-off. So there's all sorts of other things that suggest that we're hunters. We've got these shoulders that allow us to pitch, and no other species on the planet can throw a fastball like a human can throw a spear.
Primates can't do this. Nobody else can do this. We have these articulated fingers. We're very agile on our feet. And even the whites of our eyes are fascinating. I should have, the book is it wouldn't have shown this picture very well, but I should have put a picture in the book about this. If you look at a chimp's eyes, I didn't know this until I was researching the book The Sclera. So the part of the eye outside of the iris is brown.
And a human, it's white, and so if people look in the mirror, you'll see that center part of your eye, that's the iris and the white stuff to the side. That's the sclera. And a chimp sclera is brown. So if you look at the chimp eye, versus a human eye, it looks very different. And the hypothesis here, advanced by Bill von Hippel and others, is that humans became cooperative rather than competitive. That if I'm in the tribe with you and I'm looking to the right, you can tell which direction I'm looking because you can see the contrast between the iris and the sclera.
But if you look at a chimp, you can't really see which direction they're looking because it's all the same color. So it was advantageous for them to not signal their intentions, what they were looking at, potential mate, prey, escape route to other chimps. But humans became cooperative.
So we were hunting in groups. We were signaling danger and we were becoming this cooperative species. Well, you don't need a whole lot of cooperation to pick blueberries, but if you're hunting a water buffalo, you probably want to cooperate, right?
Yeah, let's send Derrick in there.
If you've been in the military, or you've seen these adventure movies, you know, you can communicate with somebody across the room with your eyes without saying anything. Or if someone sees danger, you can see where that person is looking immediately.
So there's all these adaptations that make us look a whole lot like hunters. There's also fossil evidence that we've been hunting. I mean, two million years ago when the human brain began to grow is when we see these fossilized remains of Shuli and tools, these by facial by facial stones, which look kind of like big arrowheads. They were used for spears and for butchering. And we start to see bones that are dated to two million years with cut marks on the bone from the butchering.
And we see hunting injuries to animals and we see mass graves where our ancestors apparently herded animals into blind corridors or drove them off cliffs to harvest them in mass. So right at the time we see the human brain start to grow. We then begin to see evidence for hunting and looking at the fossil record, we can see these changes in the human physiology, suggesting, humans are hunters. First and foremost, we're hunters.
Everybody says we're hunter-gatherers. Well, we're like hunter-gatherer. You know, we're like mostly hunting a little bit of gathering if you can't get an animal. And then the question is, what are the foods our ancestors were really gathering? It wasn't kale, I'll tell you that. You can get into it.
So since the 70s, you know, you don't eat fat, don't eat fat, don't eat fat, low fat, low fat, everything, and with paleo coming up, I guess mid two thousands and so and it was growing and then that went to Keto. So I was I was into ketosis. I was was feeling better than I've felt in forever. And then this news report comes out, you know, that red meat you're eating is going to cause colon cancer. Your chance of dying just went up dramatically. You know, I'm reading the article and I'm like this can't be true. But, you know, well, there's a study and everybody took off with that study. Can you tell us a little bit about that whole story of how that happened and why it's wrong?
Yeah. So based on what you already laid out, I'm sure the listener can imagine how evolutionarily inconsistent it would be for a food that was at the center of the human diet for the last three to four million years would be bad for us. That doesn't make any sense. OK, but there's, quote, science. So let's talk about why this is so misleading.
So what you are referring to is a 2015 IARC report from the International Association for Research on Cancer, which is a WHO/FAO type of committee on cancer. And they met to review all of the studies that they could find connecting red meat and cancer. So it wasn't an actual experiment. It was a consensus decision by a group of scientists, which can also be valuable. But, and they came out in 2015 and said red meat is a class to a carcinogen, which means that we're pretty sure it's a or maybe it was 2B, 2A or 2B.
They give gradings to the recommendations based on the strength of the evidence. And so then they said that processed meat was a 2A carcinogen and red meat was a 2B carcinogen, meaning there was a little bit less evidence that unprocessed red meat was a carcinogen and there was more evidence that processed meat was a carcinogen. So they're making these recommendations.
And you said, OK, well, how do they get these recommendations? They didn't do an experiment. They're reviewing the data. Well, they're super smart scientists, right? We should trust them. Well, in 2018 and this caused a huge hubbub in 2015. In 2018, the actual explanation of how they arrived at those decisions came out.
And when you read that, it paints a very different story. So these, there were many scientists, I think over 20 scientists that sat down and I think it was in France and they had over four hundred studies to review and they excluded all the studies except 14. So that decision is based on 14 studies. They just took everything else. They said that's not valid. It's not that experiment wasn't done well enough. It doesn't it's not an appropriate model.
They excluded all the animal studies. So there were no animal models. Right. And every single one of the studies they looked at was epidemiology. So in that consensus report, they used 14 epidemiology studies. Now, this is worth diving into because it causes so much confusion and consternation. Epidemiology is observational research. There is no experiments done. Most of us from science class imagine that all the studies we hear about on the news are interventional. You combine two chemicals, you get a color change, you take a group of rats, you give them more sugar or more fat, and you see what happens.
You take a group of humans and you give them a drug and you see what happens. This isn't what this IRC report is referring to. There have been studies done in which people have replaced carbohydrates with red meat. And in fact, those studies do not show any harm for red meat. They show decreasing CRP and no changes in other markers of inflammation. But was that an interventional study included in this decision? No. No interventional studies were included in this decision.
They were all epidemiology, which is survey-based research. And so what these researchers did was look at 14 different types of, 14 different studies. And all of these studies were either prospective or retrospective cohort study. So they take a group of people and they give them a survey. And they say, how much red meat did you eat over the last 10 or 15 years? And then they looked to see how healthy these people are and they try and correlate those two. Or they'll take a cohort of people and say how much red meat you eat now and then follow them moving forward for 10 or 15 years and see how many of them develop health problems. And at first glance, that sounds reasonable, right?
Except here's the problem. Epidemiology, observational studies can only tell us about correlation. You can't make a causative inference from that because just because somebody eats more red meat, it doesn't mean that the red meat caused the problems.
I think you had a really good example. You had a really good example in the book about divorce rate in Maine.
Yeah, there's a great website called SpuriousCorrelations.com, where people can see these sort of the hilarity that ensues when you try and connect correlation with causation. Many things correlate. The divorce rate in Maine correlates with the per capita margarine consumption over the last eight or nine years to a very, very high degree. Does that mean that as people ate less margarine, they got divorced less? No, but it makes absolutely no sense. But you can correlate these two things.
You can also correlate things like deaths by getting tangled in the bedsheets with per capita cheese consumption and the number of movies Nicolas Cage has appeared in with, I think something with pool drownings or something. You know. You can correlate all kinds of things that don't have any connection. And in the case of red meat, you've already really alluded to the problem that for the last 70 years the narrative has been fat is bad for you, red meat is bad for you. So who eats red meat over the last 70 years?
People that are rebels people that also probably are less likely to go in the sun, less likely to play tennis on a Tuesday morning, less likely go to their doctor to get a colonoscopy or mammograms, less likely to get pap smears, less likely to do other types of health behaviors. Exercise, meditate. These are just these are the types of things more likely to smoke, more likely to drink alcohol.
These are the type of things that are very hard for epidemiology to control for. But the people who eat red meat consistently do worse in the United States because they are the people who are rebels. In the book, I call them the James Dean types. And the converse is also true. Who has eaten more vegetables over the last 70 years?
Well, it's the people that I gave a high five to at the beginning of this podcast who are making intentional choices with regard to their diet. Now, they're also doing other healthy things. You don't just listen to health advice on diet, you also listen to health advice on exercise and go out in the sun and you do other things that are good for you. You're more likely to be of a higher socioeconomic status because you have the ability to do those things.
So it creates this really confounded story regarding what are these studies actually telling us. But really the narrative doesn't end here. If you look at those 14 studies considered by the IARC, are you ready for this, only 8 of the 14 to start with, 8 of the 14 did not show any association between red meat and cancer. And if people are just kind of like scratching their head right now, OK, so 8 of the 14 studies showed no association between red meat and cancer. Granted, these are epidemiology. But 8 of the 14 association, the majority of the studies, no association between red meat and cancer.
6 of the 14 showed association between red meat and cancer. But of that six, five of them, that's association was not statistically significant. So not only is epidemiology confounded by these biases and does it not allow us to make a causative inference from correlation if we do the math and the correlation is not even statistically significant, we can't even actually say that it's a real correlation.
It could be due to other errors. It's not a big enough difference. So what I'm saying is that 1 of the 14 studies, 1, showed a statistically significant correlation between red meat and cancer. And we can dig into that one study even further and say, what was that one study done? That one study was done in a population of Seventh Day Adventists, which is a religious group that shuns meat. So in that group, the people that eat meat are really going to be rebels because the rebels not only at a social level, the rebels at a religious level, and the whole Zygi, the whole environment of a Seventh Day Adventist community is a group that's mainly vegetarian.
And if you're eating meat in that community, you are definitely an outlier and definitely sort of bucking other health norms. Likely they found that the people who ate more red meat in that study were also much more likely to be obese. This is the problem with epidemiology studies. Was it the obesity that led to more cancer or was it the red meat? Well, the study can't say, which is why you have to do interventional research. And as I said, there are many studies that have been done with red meat that are interventional.
Take a group of people, give them more red meat, see what happens. They don't show any problems, no inflammation. It's very hard to study people at an international level for cancer. You'd have to give people more red meat for years and years. The epidemiologist is done for years. But at a molecular level, we can see that giving people more red meat does not. Lead to increases in inflammatory markers, which is what you would expect if it were going to trigger a cancer, it was going to do something bad if it's going to trigger a cancer.
But this is really what the notion that red meat is bad for humans is based on. Badly done epidemiology in which 8 of 14 studies showed no correlation, 5 of 6 not statistically significant. Only 1 of 14 showed a statistically significant correlation between red meat and cancer. And in that study, it was badly confounded by unhealthy user bias. The last thing I'll say here to really drive this point home is if you look at epidemiology, again it's all flawed, none of it's perfect. But you can look at epidemiology from other countries like Asia, and you don't see the same correlation that you do in the West because the narrative is different there.
There's very large epidemiology studies from Asia looking at over 180,000. Another one is 220,000 individuals followed for 5 to 15 years. And where they find the men who ate more red meat had less cardiovascular disease, the women who ate more red meat had less cancer. But they didn't think about that study at the IRC. and no one can explain that the only way then you could say is what? Red meat is good for Asians but bad for Westerners. That makes absolutely no sense. That's silly. It's possible. But that's not even that's really not a hypothesis anyone is going to entertain.
The more plausible explanation is that the narrative is different. In Asia, We know this red meat is associated with athletes. So who eats more red meat? The same people that eat more vegetables in the US, the people that are more likely to exercise, they have more financial resources. The more people, people that are more likely to do things, go see their doctor, less likely to smoke, less likely to be obese because they have more of an investment in their health.
So this is really how we get misled about red meat and cancer, red meat and heart disease, red meat and longevity. It's all the same story over and over. And I go through all of these in the book and debunk these myths one by one and give tons of references. The book has over 650 references. And I show, hey these things you've been told you've been misled. These are based on observational epidemiology. And when I have it, which is most of the time I share interventional studies with argue, which argue completely against it and say, hey, look, this is much more valid.
Very savvy listeners will know that in 2019, another study came out in the Annals of Internal Medicine that was super controversial. A separate group of researchers looked at the IARCs findings in 2018 and said, that's hogwash. You guys excluded all these studies. You didn't weigh them properly. You didn't use any interventional studies. In the Animals of Internal Medicine. Two studies came out in 2019 saying red meat is not bad for humans. We're going to look at this evidence again. Red meat is not bad for humans, but we get this like propaganda in our heads. And now we're so scared. We're fearful as humans.
Nobody wants to die early. Everybody wants to see their grandkids grow up. We don't know what to do. And I think as humans, it's been part of our consciousness for 70 years. And we suddenly are just it's very hard to get it out of our out of our out of our paradigm, out of our perspective and really look at the data. And we have Ancel Keys and originally very bad epidemiology from the 1970s to think that that's a whole separate story.
Yes, it is. Now, one of the other things I found kind of fascinating, frustrating, terrifying, was that the advice at one time was to tear your kale and let it sit for about 10 minutes. So the toxicity that would happen would be at the highest level. So we would get this hormesis this effect from the kale, and it makes it that much better for us. I can't tell you how many times I tore the kale and let it sit for 10 minutes before I ate it. Can we talk a little bit about plant toxins and why you know, that kind of hormesis might not be what we actually really need.
Yeah, so this is a little bit of a complex point, but I'll try and break it down in the simplest terms for me. Hormesis is a word that basically means what doesn't kill you makes you stronger up to a point until it kills you. Hopefully most of your listeners have seen The Princess Bride where Dread Pirate Roberts is talking to the Sicilian and they're having this battle with iocane powder and maybe people haven't. But he says, you know, he give he says he gives them two cups of water to put iocane powder in one of these cups. And it's a poison. It's obviously a fictitious poison. And I'm going to, you get to choose, you know, the Dread Pirate Roberts is talking to the Sicilian and saying, you choose which one.
And he puts it in both, right, and they both drink, and so the Sicilian dies and he goes, Oh, how did you you tricked me. He said, Yeah, I tricked you. I put it in both. I've been slowly developing this this the strength to iocane powder over the years. That's how hormones this is supposed to work. But it doesn't quite work like that. You know, a little bit of poison is supposed to make you a little stronger. But it does and it doesn't. So here's the problem. The concept of hormesis, I believe, conflated between what I call in the book environmental hormesis and molecular hormesis.
Environmental hormesis, this is a pretty well-established concept. It's the idea that a little bit of sunlight, a little bit of heat stress, like a sauna, cold plunge, ketosis. These are environmental hermetic, so not molecules, they're experiences. I could have also called it experimental hormesis, but these are things that we encounter in our life that our ancestors always encountered fasting, starvation for a short amount of time, leading to ketosis.
These are things that we've always encountered evolutionarily that cause our body of stress going to the gym and lifting weights, going for a walk, going for a jog. These are hormesis. Exercise is a experiential or environmental hermetic. A little bit of that makes you it gets a little bit of a toxin. You know, that if you lift weights too much, you're going to be sore. If you go out in the sun too much, it's going to you're going to feel it. You go in the sauna, you're like, whoa, that was intense, right?
You feel it. It causes a little stress, but what is your body do in response to that stress? It gets stronger. Anyone who's ever exercised to lose weight or lifting weights and seen their muscles grow, will realize the stress makes you stronger. Now, at a certain point, it's going to break you. If you lift too much weight, you're just going to tear the muscle or break a bone. If you run too much, you're going to stress fracture, etc. But there is a concept that a little bit of a poison makes you stronger when it comes to experience or environment.
Now we have applied this concept to plant molecules incorrectly, I believe. And the reason it's incorrect is we've forgotten that molecules come with side effects. If you look at the research on Sulforaphane for instance, which is the glucose scintillate, which becomes an Isothiocyanate, in kale when you when you rip it up, it has been shown to increase glutathione in the human body. But it's also been shown to do many other negative things that we're never told about. It's just like when any of the listeners go to the pharmacy and you get a prescription for a medication. That medication comes with a package insert, in the package insert tells you, hey, this medicine is metoprolol or lisinopril or a statin. And I hope that, I don't prescribe those medications much at all in my practice anymore. And I hope that most of your listeners are healthy enough to have avoided them.
But we all know this. If you go to a pharmacy and get a medication that comes with side effects, antibiotic, whatever, all the molecules that are foreign to human biology have this. They all have it. sulforaphane has it, curcumin has it, resveratrol has it. All of these plant molecules, we've been told are so good for us also have package inserts, but we're never handed them because they're not considered to be pharmaceuticals. But they are.
They are definitely pharmaceuticals. And many plant molecules are used and developed into drugs. Most of the chemotherapy that we use for cancer is from plants, paclitaxel, etc. There's lots of chemotherapy from plants. Well. In the case of chemotherapy, it's pretty clear the chemotherapy might kill some cancer cells, but it's also going to kill your cells and chemotherapy has very clear bad side effects. But it's the same with other plant molecules.
So if the plant molecules have a bad side effect in the case of sulforaphane that Isothiocyanate in the kale you're eating, that one has a side effect of inhibiting the absorption of iodine at the level of your thyroid and causing damage to cellular membranes and oxidizing your DNA, which can also lead to problems and cancers. And people who have eaten too much kale may also get GI effects, you know, gas bloating or other issues. And so it's pretty clear that sulforaphane or other compounds in these vegetables are also harming our gut.
But we're never told about those things. We're only told these are good for you. Eat more of this. Well, it's pretty clear those are plant toxins. We're told they're antioxidants, but they're not. They're pro-oxidants. And they cause our body to increase its own endogenous antioxidants.
But here's the kicker. You don't need any more antioxidants if you are doing the environmental hormesis, if you are doing experiential hormesis, exercise, cold plumbing, sauna, being in the sun at a healthy level, fasting occasionally. There are many good studies that I show in the book that suggest vegetables don't do anything extra for you from an antioxidant perspective. There are many studies in the book that I share in reference that show inclusion of massive amounts of fruits and vegetables don't improve markers of oxidative stress, inflammation or DNA damage.
And what they do do is cause you all these harm on the back end. They cause all this collateral damage because of the side effects. So when you're ripping that kale, you're thinking I'm getting, quote, antioxidants. Well, no. Sulforaphane is a pro-oxidant and it's very clearly a plant defense molecule. It doesn't participate directly in any human biochemistry. Sulforaphane causes free radical production, Sulforaphane causes oxidative stress. You can get it to bump up your glutathione a little bit, which is this endogenous antioxidant.
But you can also bump your glutathione, this molecular policeman in the human body by doing cold plunge, by doing sauna, by doing exercise. And then you won't have any of the side effects from the so forth thing and you'll probably have a lot less gas and your thyroid will be much healthier in the long run. So this is essentially what I'm saying here. There's a real difference between molecular hormesis and environmental hormesis, and we don't need plant molecules to be optimal.
That's been demonstrated over and over and over. And we must not forget the side effects that these molecules have in human physiology. And that, I fear, is where many people are suffering unnecessarily.
Yeah, I think one of the points I had early on when the Carnivore diet started getting a little bit more popular is just like ketosis. They come forward with an idea. And everybody thinks of the keto diet now as the bacon diet, people that are going to keep the “bacon! bacon!” And yes, you can have bacon, but not just bacon. Something else, please. A lot of people that are in carnivore are doing something very similar, like 30 days, just eating rib-eye steaks or they'll go 30 days just eating bacon. And yeah, they lose weight. They say they feel great because they do get into ketosis, but they're not getting everything they need either. There's a right way and a wrong way to do Carnivore.
Yeah. And I think it goes back to what we spoke about earlier. Just how did our ancestors do it, both out of respect for the animal and just from an environmental sort of caloric perspective. They ate the animal nose to tail. So I'm a really big advocate for this. This is understanding that you cannot just eat steaks and be on a carnivore diet in a healthy way that's going to cause a folate deficiency.
So I talked about all these micronutrients earlier in the podcast and they are found throughout the animal. A cow is not just animal meat all through the cow. A cow has a liver and a stomach and a spleen and heart and a kidney and intestines. And you know what most of us will think of it is gross. And that's one of the reasons that I'm so interested in developing some adjuncts to help people get more organs in their diet, which I'll talk about in a moment, but it's something that our ancestors have always done. And so anyone that's listening to this, that's from an ethnic background, your family probably ate heart or liver or kidney or spleen.
And, you know, maybe as a kid, you were like, I don't know about that, but it's relished by indigenous people. Liver is sacred. It's not even touched by human hands in a lot of cultures. It's the first thing you eat. If we look at the way animals who are carnivorous eat other animals, they always go for the viscera first, they'll eat the liver. And it sounds morbid, but it's like, hey, look, we're just trying to appreciate the sacrifice that animal has made for us and get all the nutrients we can. I've seen video of ORCA's eating sharks and they just eat the liver. They don't eat the animal meat. They just eat the liver out of the shark. All these animals realize the liver and these other organs are super beneficial for nutrients.
The liver is a very rich place for folate, choline, vitamin K2, Riboflavin. If listeners are unsure of this, I'll ask them the question, where do you get your riboflavin? I think riboflavin is the most commonly deficient nutrient in human populations in 2020 that no one knows about. Vitamin B2, you really can't get it from plants and you can't get it from muscle meat in enough quantity, but you can get it from the heart or liver.
So and I realize this is a very hard thing. This is probably the biggest piece for people that's challenging is how do I eat organ meats. So it's so exciting to be able to I wanted to build a company to help people do this. This company is it launched at the beginning of August and this podcast is coming out later in August. It's called Heart and Soil, HeartandSoilSupplements.com. What we do is we take organs from grass-fed grass, finished animals in New Zealand, and we desiccate them with low temperature, dehydrate them and we encapsulate them into a pill. We're basically making organ meat pills to help people get the organs. If they don't want to eat the liver.
I think the best thing is to eat real liver or not even. It's not that the pills aren't real liver. Just the best thing is to eat fresh liver or fresh heart. But if you can't do that, that's one of the reasons I'm so excited about being able to do this for people in this business at Heart and Soil is to get them desiccated organ pills. But there's a real option for people now because you can take them in a pill that's been low temperature hydrated to get the organs.
But if you're not eating the organs, whether you're eating plants or not, you're missing out on nutrients. It's not just for carnivores. They're for everyone. It's for you and your grandma and your kids. My sister has a two and a half-year-old and an eight-month-old, and both of them get these organ meat pills. She just opens them up and sprinkles them on the food, mixes it with hamburger. Neither of them can swallow a pill, but she can open the pill and sprinkle the powder onto something and put it mixed in with ground beef for Luke, my nephew and Michaela.
And it works great. And they get these nutrients. But that's what kids need and that's what adults need. Even if you're eating plants, you still are not getting enough choline. You're still not getting enough folate. You're still not getting enough riboflavin. What about zinc? What about copper? What about selenium? What about manganese or about boron? What about K2? There's so rich in the organ meats.
The other piece of this equation is methionine and Glycine. And this comes in with collagen. Collagen is thankfully specifically kind of quote, an organ meat that has become much more in vogue recently. People are all about bone broth. They understand the incredible benefits of this for skin, hair and nails health. But a lot of people in the Carnivore world don't even do bone broth. They just eat steak and you need to get the connective tissue.
So one of my favorite things to do every day is to make bone broth. I don't make it every day, but I eat it every day and I make it just by putting bones and tendons in an instant pot and then drinking that it gets collagenous and kind of jelly in the fridge. And then you're getting tendons. Well, the tendons are rich in glycine, it's an amino acid that complements with thymine and which is rich in muscle meat.
And so together these helper biochemistry run in the best way to get too much thiamine without enough glycine. And there's a real problem in human biochemistry. So but again, it all works when you eat like your ancestors. If you eat the animal nose to tail, there are no nutrient deficiencies that will develop in humans. So I will repeat that, because that's a very important statement. Eating animals nose to tail provides humans with all of the nutrients they need to thrive. End of story, full stop, period. That's it. That's why it was so easy for our ancestors if they had to go hunt and gather a blueberry, a little bit of this route, a little bit of that plant to get all their nutrients. It's really hard. I don't know if anyone's done a plant based diet, but I was vegan for seven months. I was Rovi for seven months. About fifteen years ago. I had to work so hard to get all the nutrients I needed.
Where do you get your zinc, pumpkin seeds? Well, I don't really like pumpkin seeds. Like that's the only source of zinc I could find in any appreciable quantity on a plant-based diet. So to get adequacy on a plant-based diet, you have to eat 37 different foods that are never all in season at the same time that never would have grown together at one time. You can't get all the nutrition you need from eating plants, period.
All the nutrients I mentioned earlier and even just to get basic nutrients, you have to eat twenty-five different plants that never occurred together on the face of the earth. Evolutionarily it's really hard. You want to get all the nutrients you need eating animals, eat a steak, add some liver, you're pretty much done. Add some bone broth steak and liver. Now you can add other things for variety, but you'll get everything you need. The first thing people think about is vitamin C, and I address this in the book.
There's plenty of vitamin C in animal foods that are fresh. We know that animal meat has vitamin C, animal organs have more vitamin C than the muscle meat. No one has gotten scurvy eating animal foods when they're fresh. This doesn't happen. There are thousands of people doing this. I don't believe vitamin C, I don't have scurvy, but vitamin C level is just fine. You can get vitamin C in whole foods. That's a whole other rabbit hole.
But even beyond vitamin C, you don't need fiber. I address that myth in the book. You can definitely poop without fiber and multiple poop, even better without fiber. So again, this leads us to so many of these rabbit hole, whichever one you want, but eating from the nose to tail is so critical, and that's why I think the supplements can be helpful at heart and soil or just eating the organ meats that you get from a good farm is critical along with bone broth. And the only other thing I'll say here is that a carnivore diet also doesn't have to be ketotic. I think that low carbohydrate states would have happened. I think humans would have been in ketosis absolutely frequently, but I don't think we were in ketosis all the time.
And so if ketosis is a stumbling block for you know, that in the book I talk about tier one through five carnivore diets and have a stepping stone. And in the Tier 1 diet, I outline which plant foods are the most toxic and which plant foods are the least toxic. And I think the least toxic plant foods are the fruit. They're the part of the plant that the plant wants you to eat. So things like squash or avocado or olives or berries or even apples and oranges, I think these are reasonable for most people.
And you can get carbohydrates in your diet on a, quote, animal-based diet on a Carnivore ish type diet. So don't fear this. If ketosis is scary, if you want to do a ketogenic diet, you absolutely can. I found for myself and most people, cycling in carbohydrates in the form of low toxicity fruit works best. It's probably what our ancestors would have done and things like Honey, so raw, organic honey is a great adjunct that people think about all the sugar.
I have a podcast. It's called Fundamental Health. I've addressed all this on the podcast. We talk about it in the book. You don't want to overeat fructose and fruit, but reasonable amounts look pretty darn safe for humans. You know, if you're eating less than seventy-five grams of fructose a day, which is a lot of fruit, your liver can handle it just fine. You'll be fine. That's even a very large amount. Most people don't get more than twenty or thirty grams of fructose a day.
And so reasonable intakes of fruit and honey, totally safe for humans, not type of naturally occurring sugar is not bad for us. You don't have to fear it in any way, shape or form.
Dr. Saladino, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
So I think that you need to understand food. Food is a big lever, right? So that's what we've been talking about this whole time. Understand what foods nourish your body and understand what foods harm your body or are causing problems for your body.
So that's what the book is about. And again, it's not it's not about convincing the world to stop eating plants. It's about helping people understand that animal foods, red meat critically vital for humans, very nutritious, not harmful, wrongly vilified, plant foods exist on a toxicity spectrum, can be harmful for a lot of people. Eat the least toxic ones if you need variety, color, flavor. But understanding which foods help your body thrive will be the first step.
That's critical. And then at the end of the book, I also talk about how to live like our ancestors. And we've hinted at this previously with our discussions of environmental hormesis. It's also sunlight, community, cold plunging, sauna, exercise outside, occasional fasting. These are all normal things. I think if you do those things. And then the third piece for me would be doing something that you care about finding meaning in your own life.
And I'm so grateful to be able to do this work. It's it's been a challenging road for me because so many of these ideas are so controversial. But I really believe that this knowledge needs to be out there. There are a lot of people who are being misled and their lives are suffering because of it. And so doing something that you find meaningful in your life is probably the third critical piece.
Cool. Well, thank you. And if someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the book, The Carnivore Code and that supplement company you were talking about, where would you like for me to send them?
So the book is TheCarnivorecodebook.com. That's the website. You can check it out. It's out now. It's, I imagine I really think it's going to sell really well and hopefully we're going to affect a lot of lives positively. The website for my company, HeartandSoilSupplements.com. So heartandsoilsupplements.com, you can find all those organ pills if you want to include more liver or bone marrow or heart or spleen, any of the organs in your diet. We've got them on there for you. And my website is Carnivoremd.com.
So you could go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/448 and I'll be sure to have the links there. Dr. Saladino, thank you for being a part of 40+ fitness.
It's my pleasure.
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|– Anne Lynch||– John Somsky||– Melissa Ball|
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|– Bill Gioftsidis||– Leigh Tanner||– Wendy Selman|
|– Debbie Ralston||– Margaret Bakalian|
On this episode of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we're going to have a conversation with John Assaraf author of the book, Innercise: The New Science to Unlock the Brain's Hidden Power, and creator of the free online workshop Brain-a-Thon. We will learn about how you can train your brain for a better life, including positive changes in body composition, fitness, relationships, and career.
This episode is sponsored by Usual Wine. There are times you don't want to open a whole bottle of wine. Usual Wine solves this problem with single-serve, “heavy pour” bottles. Use the discount code FITNESS for $8 your first order.
Brain Experts used to believe that by the time you turned 40, you were hardwired to be who you are, but brain research is showing that when you train your brain you can change it. The term for this is neuroplasticity. John shows us that you can even train your brain for greater success in health and fitness, and any other aspect of your life. And he does it without getting you all buried in all these complex neuroscience concepts.
Since recording our conversation, I've gone on to attend John's Brain-a-Thon and it was fantastic. I've also signed up for a couple of his other programs and I've gotten so much from them. He's really pushed me to get out of my comfort zone. I'm creating better daily habits, such as doing Innercises every day now to train my brain and the positive changes I've gotten have been awesome. The book and the workshop are fantastic resources.
John Assaraf is one of the leading experts on creating a positive mindset and a calmer brain. He has appeared numerous times on Larry King Live, Anderson Cooper, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
John has built 5 multimillion-dollar companies, written 2 New York Times Bestselling books (Innercise is now his third), and has been featured in 8 movies, including the blockbuster hit “The Secret”.
Today, he is the founder and CEO of NeuroGym, a company dedicated to using the most advanced technologies and evidence-based brain training methods to help individuals and corporations unlock and ignite their fullest potential. And if you didn't know he was nearly 60, you'd swear he was in his late 40s, early 50s.
You can listen to the podcast on the player above or read the transcript below. If you hear/read something that resonates with you, please share it on social media. Thank you!
00:03:07.080] – Allan
John, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
It was not just the theory of this is how the brain should work or should fire, this was set Innercise, exercise for your brain that actually makes this stuff happen. And, you know, you said in the book, don't do all of them at one sitting because it's too much. But I found myself as I was reading, trying to do them.
Yeah, it was exhausting when you got to the beach one, it's funny because I um, that was just a meditation I started doing for myself to fall asleep if I woke up and I was feeling anxiety and I would just imagine myself walking down a beach. And so it was just it was interesting. You started going through that. And I was watching it and reading and it was like, oh, goodness, I had to go take a nap.
I was like, so relaxing and so awesome. So, again, I really enjoyed the book. And then I went on to even go do the Brain-a-Thon, which again, was awesome. So thank you for that. I appreciate sharing that. I really appreciate you being here today.[00:04:41.960] – John
This episode of the 40+ Fitness Podcast is sponsored by Vault Health, guys, we need to discuss the elephant in the room. Most of us really struggle to manage certain health issues, especially when it affects things we don't want to talk about, like our libido and vitality. Yes, I'm talking about Low-T. Did you know that 40% of men over 40 suffer from Low-T? Low-T can cause weight gain, loss of muscle mass ED, fatigue and poor sleep, low energy and depression.
These completely dismantle any efforts you're making to be healthy and fit. If you're dealing with one or more of these. It's worth booking a free online consultation with a Vault physician at 40plusfitnesspodcasts.com/vault. Vault is all about discretion. After your free consultation, and you agree you want treatment, they'll send a phlebotomist to your home to do a blood draw. You'll get a personalized doctor review treatment plan. This can be with pills, cream or injections.
The medications are mailed to your home. There's nothing macho about neglecting your health. If you live in the United States and you're struggling, it's worth learning more at Vault Health, go to 40plusfitnesspodcasts.com/vault today.[00:16:03.350] – Allan
The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:
|– Anne Lynch||– John Somsky||– Melissa Ball|
|– Barbara Costello||– Judy Murphy||– Tim Alexander|
|– Bill Gioftsidis||– Leigh Tanner||– Wendy Selman|
|– Debbie Ralston||– Margaret Bakalian|
Dr. Arthur Agatston inventer of the South Beach Diet, has added a new twist to the wildly successful diet making it even better. His keto-friendly version should help you drop the weight for good. We discuss his new book, The New Keto-Friendly South Beach Diet on this episode.
Allan: 01:00 Dr. Agatston, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
Dr. Agatston: 01:03 Great to be with you Allan.
Allan: 01:04 Your new book. It's called The New Keto-Friendly South Beach Diet and I want to say, okay. I knew about the South beach diet, but it came out at a time in my life when I didn't really have to think about what I was eating or what I was doing, so I was familiar with it being, you know, kind of a more of a whole food protein style diet. Not dissimilar from some of the other stuff that was out there like Atkins and whatnot, but still very effective. A lot of people that I knew that did the South beach Diet really got good effect.
Dr. Agatston: 01:33 Yes, and I must say you weren't that interested the I was not that interested in diet. I was always thin until I realized I was, well I didn't realize it then, but I was addicted to sugar and I was pre what I call pre pre-diabetic even though my blood sugar is, everything appeared normal. But I, once I got off the bad, carbohydrates and sugar, I lost weight and it was I guess in my early fourth reason. I know, I love your show that 40 plus fitness because things change as we age, we get more fat, less lean body mass, less muscle and bone and exercise. The proper diet becomes more and more important as we age. Although our youth today are in big trouble with their diets. So it starts early, but it is tougher, is tougher as as as we age.
Allan: 02:35 Yeah. And I definitely want to get into some of the warning flags and things that we can look to before we get there. Because again, yeah, the doctors are going to say, Oh, you're a A1C is fine. Keep eating the way you're eating. That's not necessarily the answer. Because historically, I mean if we look back and you think about it and you, you talked about bears hibernating, but you know, in a, in a sense, human beings, we went through feast and famine ourselves, you know, and we would get into that. We get into that same season when when the bears fattening himself up and we're finding the berries and the nuts and we're, we're just gorging on that stuff. So our, our bodies were kind of pre-wired to put us into, for lack of a better word, what you call it. You were doing it like bingeing like you would eat a part of a blueberry pie and then you'd go back and eat the rest of it. I think that's just natural for us to do.
Dr. Agatston: 03:28 Yes, I love the, I do love the grizzly bear analogy. We're always either storing food for either an overnight fast when we're going to sleep or you know, in our history it was more often for times of famine and it's all mammals, but it's really almost all living. Ever since we became multicell cellular organisms, we had a, have a way of storing energy to use when there was no energy available from the environment. And so the fat storage mode where when we eat, whether carbohydrates, sugar turns into fat, other than what we're burning for our immediate needs and it's stored as fat and to some degree has starch or glycogen in our liver and our muscle. And usually we needed that not only when we slept and more eating, but we never had the luxury of three meals a day.
In most of our history. We were in a sense doing intermittent fasting, which gave us time for our insulin levels to go down when we ate our insulin levels go up, we store, we store storage in fat, and when it goes down, we burn it for energy. And that important survival mechanism has been totally upside down. When we have only the feast, we don't have famine. And so we're storing fat indefinitely and really creating physiologic problems that we never had in our natural existence. And it's most recently it's the abuse of sugar, high fructose corn syrup, which is, has been important because when it was introduced, it was ubiquitous really in everything and often a hidden killer in a sense. And our intake of sugar went up tremendously, really starting in the 1980s at the beginning of our obesity epidemic.
And people didn't realize they were consuming all the sugar and it was turning into fat being stored for a famine that never comes. And that's what really messed up our physiology, caused all the modern diseases. Yeah. We think of obesity. We think of diabetes, we think of heart disease, but it's cancer, it's depression, it's Alzheimer's. And every time we bring our standard American diet called the sad diet to another country, whether it's Dubai, Mumbai, Beijing, Tokyo, they get all the Western diseases, not just diabetes and obesity, but increased rates of cancer, again in Alzheimer's, autoimmune disease, all our chronic diseases. And when, what we often see now is when people came from more traditional diets like Asians, the Japanese had been studied carefully when they moved from Tokyo to Hawaii, to San Francisco. The rest of the United States, they, we've known for years, they get increased heart attacks, but they also get increased cancer, particularly breast cancer has been very well studied in Japanese women from Tokyo to the to the Midwestern United States. And so the cancer goes up as well as the obesity, the diabetes, and the heart disease.
Allan: 07:25 Yeah, so one of the things that you got into in the book is, okay, so you had, you know, we had the South beach diet and for a lot of people that was very useful because they went through a phase where they kind of allowed their body to change its insulin mode and effectively. Then after that short phase, they could go on and start reintroducing some of the food, say before until they kind of found that balance of a whole food diet that was basically much more nutritious for them. But you've adapted that so that the new South beach, new keto friendly South beach diet is just a little different. Can you kind of compare and contrast those and and why you use the term keto friendly versus just making it a keto diet?
Dr. Agatston: 08:05 Yes. I'm one of the first things that in the original South beach by the first phase, which was the low almost Keto phase only went for two weeks and what we know now, once it did get rid of cravings, the other thing that happens when you're low, you're low carb, low sugar, low processed foods is when you run out of your starch, your glycogen stores in your, in your liver and your muscle. You then have to get fat adapted, which means you really turn on the hormones, the enzymes that break down fat and make it useful. One of the best examples is the traditional marathon lovers who get hydrate loading on the night before the marathon and the idea was to fill their livers in their muscle with as much starch glycogen, that's the storage form of sugar if they could, because within two to three hours running the marathon, they would run out of the sugar glycogen stores and they had to burn fat and they weren't good at it, so that was called hitting the wall and they ran out of energy.
Now long-distance runners have learned to be fat-adapted and that takes one to many months and it continues. And I've had that experience myself. So instead of just the first phase being two weeks, we'd go for one to many months of low processed carb, low sugar so that we can learn to use our fat for energy. And the first fat that goes is the belly fat. And today it's interesting the long endurance runners, the people doing triathlons and even more than marathons are going low carb and they don't hit the wall, they burn their fat very well. Now for the rest of us, you know, it takes 12 hours to a day. It's individual where you, you deplete your Icogenics stores and you begin to burn more, more fat and become fat adapted and allowing for that is very important.
When I first became really strict and good, it's when I realized I, I was truly addicted to sugar and I went cold Turkey once. Once, by the way, I understood that I was truly addicted to sugar, that when I cheated, it wasn't a lack of self-discipline. And what would happen to me is I could lose my cravings on the first phase of the South Beach Diet. But when I went to the second phase, I would invariably have a fruit or maybe even a whole grain bread, but I would, or a dessert and I wouldn't sop and now we know it's not a lack of self-discipline. It's truly and addiction and many Americans, especially overweight Americans are addicted. But once I got off that addiction and stayed on sort of the traditional phase one the South beach diet, I did my first, I was, I started the diet while on vacation and I came back and I returned to my, to my boxing, which I did regularly. And I still, I recall vividly, it was a Tuesday morning in late September, hot in south Florida. And normally I would take a round or two off when I did my boxing and all of a sudden I didn't have to take around off. I went continuously for eight rounds and now I can 12 rounds, three minute rounds with a minute and a half rest.
Allan: 12:12 I do have to say this, if you haven't done boxing as a workout, three minutes is an eternity. I have some clients I do some boxing with and you know, we'll go for a minute. I've gotten one, I'm up to about a minute and a half and they're, they're done. You know, like I need a break. And so going, just even going a three minute round is saying something. But for you to have the endurance to be able to, you know, go round after round with what about a minute rest between rounds. That's, that's pretty impressive.
Dr. Agatston: 12:40 For my tender young age, I take an answer 30 seconds in between rounds.
Allan: 12:45 No, but still three, three minutes is a lot of time to keep moving.
Dr. Agatston: 12:49 Yes. And I couldn't in hot, difficult conditions, I would always take rounds off and since I'm fat adapted, I don't, I feel better physically and mentally and that much more than the cosmetics of losing my belly. And then remember I was a diet doctor. My wife used to say, Author, no more TV for you only radio. You get rid of that little belly and so, but it's much more the way I feel and since we've been, we've been more flexible with our patients. The results we see are incredible and besides the fat adption, the longer sort of phase one, the other idea is you don't have to be in full ketosis. Actually, when we're in the fat burning mode, we're often in ketosis. It's the levels we can't measure easily by current methods, but you can, you can lose the belly.
You get all the benefits without actually being in ketosis. The big advantage of ketosis, particularly for people who are diabetic, who really want to jump into something strict, is you can measure your ketosis and you can document compliance and that's, that's good for us often and our patients. But to make the diet a lifestyle, there still has to be more flexibility. We also encourage either time-restricted feeding or intermittent fasting. And we do suggest that with full keto, with fasting that you do it with a nutritionist, to health coach or your physician, your physician so that you can avoid problems such as what's called the keto flu. But so we are flexible in our approach depending on our patient, the needs, the desires and you can even be a vegetarian low carb as long as you're having whole foods and not having other process carbs. It's tougher but you can do it. And of course traditional societies that like the Asians with rice and not the Okinawans with with sweet potatoes, they were some of the, well particularly the Okinawans were some of the longest lived populations in the world, but they didn't eat snacks all day frequently. And now to the degree that sugar has shown its ugly face in all these societies, they are becoming overweight, diabetic and all the Western diseases that had been in the United States for decades.
Allan: 15:48 When you put this together, I mean cause like one of the things you said and I think that's really important is, well a couple of different things, but one that I thinks is really important is that we all are gonna have different needs. We're all going to be slightly different from a biology perspective of how we want to apply this. So there's, there is a lot of flexibility to this to say, I know, okay if I need to lose 30 pounds or I am diabetic, I'm probably gonna stay in phase one and be a little bit more strict and probably get to a point where I am in ketosis if not completely, at least most of the time I'm eating at that low of a low carb. But you have 12 rules for what you call keto friendly eating. Could you just kind of go through those rules with us? Cause I think that'll make a lot more sense to folks when they see, okay. It is really kind of flexible. It 12 rules sounds like a lot, but they're just the basics of if you're eating this way, you're going to be much more healthy.
Yes. And by the way, yeah, you got it exactly because the flexibility is we all come with different degrees of we call the thrifty gene and the tendency towards becoming diabetic ultimately. And so the rules are first minimize sugars is number one. And we might say no sugars, but you know, our parents and grandparents who had the sugar cube in their coffee was a lot different with the amount of sugar we're getting today. And so you can burn some sugar without having stored it. It's the volume that is totally off the charts today. And refined carbohydrates are absorbed more rapidly than whole grain or high fiber carbohydrates. And by being absorbed more rapidly, they, it's called the incorrect in effect, but they increase our insulin levels out of proportion to just the increase in blood sugar, blood sugar alone.
So if you give blood sugar a certain amount intravenously through the vein, the blood sugar goes up a little bit and the insulin goes up a little bit. But when you consume it, then you stimulate hormones. It's something called GIP, which causes an exaggerated increase in insulin. And that's, that's the problem with frequent feeding. And snacking, which we used to say, like everybody said, when you went to the South Beach Diet, have frequent snacks to stabilize your blood sugar, your insulin levels. That was just plain wrong. So the third rule is, is limit snacking. You want to give time for your insulin levels to drop and that's where having very low glycemic foods, whole foods or nothing for breakfast and lunch, that allows your insulin levels to go down. And that's when you can start burning fat. When your insulin levels are high, you block the burning of your fat stores.
So you can be once the, insulin levels stay high and you can't access your fat stores, you can be starving and you run to the fast-food restaurant or you have a coke that doesn't even suppress, doesn't even, doesn't even fill you up. So you want to give time for your insulin levels to drop by not snacking, having fewer larger meals, which is the next in the 12 rules or having foods that are absorbed further down in the intestine and don't increase your blood sugar and your insulin levels. We say maximize the healthy fats and one of the things is while some people I know don't like dairy cause they're sensitive to it, well saturated fat in meat, in dairy, we now know raises your large LDL bad cholesterol particles and they do not cause heart disease.
This is relatively recent knowledge but it's done. It's been repeated in several large studies. It's the small LDL particles that cause heart disease and they come from sugar and bad carbohydrates. And one other point that out the bad carbohydrates is again, it's volume. Because when you have a bad carbohydrate, you either burn it or if it's glucose, not sugar, you can store it as glycogen, as starch, but only so much about 700 calories. Then you then it turns into fat.
Allan: 20:50 Yeah. But that's part of the problem is these processed carbohydrates are process to basically make us eat more. That's what the food manufacturers are doing. If you don't eat, let's just say you're not going to eat one Pringle. You could eat one Pringle and maybe you'd love the taste of it and that would be all you needed. Your body could absorb that and you'd be fine, but invariably it's a long sleeve and you're not just going to eat one.
Yes, absolutely. And one of my favorite books by Dr. Robert Lustig from UC San Francisco, the Hacking of the American Mind, and he talks about how the food companies make us addicted. And yeah, I mean sugar. I seen another friend, Dr. David Ludwig, did a study where they gave Cokes to teenagers before they ran into a fast-food restaurant and they ate more, not less because fructose, the sugar in the cokes does not suppressed. There's not suppress your appetite. It actually increases. And again, those processed carbohydrates including sugar are absorbed at the beginning of your small intestine or you get that bad incretin effect where your insulin goes way up, and sugar is not turned into starch or glycogen in your liver. It's either burned or it's turned into fat right away. So a high sugar diet is a high-fat diet. And then we say, you know, limit the Omega six vegetable oils.
Of course, the original vegetable oils, and they're not made from vegetables. They're made from, from seeds. The first were made from cotton seeds now soybean and many other types. And they originally they were hydrogenated for shell finding and that was shown not to be healthy, to be very unhealthy. They were outlawed. But instead of going to just traditional saturated fats such as lard, butter, coconut oils or olive oils there going into nonhydrogenated vegetable oils. And Americans were never, humans, in general, were never exposed to naturally. We need small amounts of these or else they're called on your Omega six oils, which today are the vegetable oils and small amounts are fine, but when you process them and create the salad dressings, the cooking oils, we were never meant to have that many oils and it throws out our Omega six inflammatory measures to Omega three oils which are anti-inflammatory.
So where our ratio of omega six to omega three should be from one to four to five to one in most Americans its greater than 10 to one. And so you should be avoiding all vegetable oils as far as I'm concerned, it's proinflammatory but your vegetables and you know the nonstarchy vegetables, asparagus and brocolli, Brussels sprouts and green leafy vegetables, the spinach, those are all good. Yet when the problem is when we always talk about fruits and vegetables because a lot of fruits have a lot of fructose, particularly the tropical fruits, so fruits have anti oxidants that could be good for us when it's a whole fruit in the form of a Berry, but a lot of people think they're being healthy cause they're having a lot of fruits and they can overdo it because of the sugar and the fructose that makes the fruit sweet so we shouldn't be always loving vegetables and fruits and fruits together and then a wide variety of needs, poultry, seafood all very nutrient-rich and eat primarily whole foods.
The best example of this I think is the field cut truly whole grain oats versus instant oatmeal and with actually the same amount of fiber when you have the steel-cut oatmeal, the sugar or the or the starch core of the oat is surrounded by fiber. It takes a while to digest and releases the starch, the sugar into the blood stream slowly and you stimulate the enzymes further down the intestine that are good when you have processed instant oat meal. Even if you have the same amount of fiber, it's not surrounding the starch core and so it's absorbed much more rapidly. The enzymes, the hormones have direct access to the starch, it turns to sugar instantaneously and that increases your insulin levels rapidly and you're much hungrier. The studies have been done, you're much hungrier sooner than if you have the steel cut true oatmeal.
So, and that's true of eating whole foods and that means whole foods adding the fiber in separately. There's just a lot less evidence that that's helpful. And flexibility. It's more important not to be snacking and not to be eating frequently often than sometimes what you eat if you're eating in a relatively small window or during intermittent fasting. I hate to say, you can get away with more because you do increase your starch stores and your insulin, but then you have a long period of time to burn off that starch and the fat that's been consumed. So we prefer whole good foods all the time. But if you're going to be, if you're going to cheat, cheating in a short window is much better than if you're grazing and eating all day. That's disaster. There were snacking very well documented where we're eating many more times per day than we were in the 1970s and it's cause we're walking around hungry all day because our blood sugars are swinging around and our insulin levels are high and we don't have access to that big store of fat in our bellies.
Allan: 27:38 Well, and I think flexibility is important, but this is not, we're not talking about a license to just say, okay, I'm going to allow myself to have a piece of cake every night because I can, I'm only having, you know, two big meals a day and therefore I know I can have, and that's great. But if you're wanting weight loss, if you're diabetic or prediabetic or as we're going to get into in a minute pre pre-diabetic, then you have to understand, or you no you're addicted to sugar. You really have to think hard about how you can approach this and use this diet as a tool to get yourself healthy, to get yourself off that addiction because it's possible. But if you're going to start the game cheating, you probably not going to get there very fast.
And by the way, I mean that is the mistake that I frequently made without knowing. But even now, I mean, in the holiday season, if I'm acting in a fair, and this has happened and I, you know, and I eat the wrong food, the addiction comes back so quickly. And other than that, knowledge of I I can't do this or I can't keep doing this and I can get back on the wagon pretty quickly. But you're, you're, you're absolutely right. This is not a license to be cheating every night. I mean, the good thing if it's once a month or you know, somebody loves their pasta meal and there's a good amount of protein with it. And that's, that's again, depending on the individual, some people will immediately fall off the wagon and get into big trouble. Others, I always have patients who don't have the sweet tooth I have and they can have a bite or something and have a bite, you know. In Miami we have, we have Joe's stone crab and their key line pie. And I generally can that have just one bite. So I don't have it at all. And others can, including my wife. So that's knowing how each of us are as individuals.
Allan: 29:44 And that's one of the things I liked about your book was it took that into account and said, you know, because now you've dealt with thousands of patients and yourself and it's like we're all going to have to approach this slightly differently and we're going to figure out what works for us and we're just going to have to be self aware that you know, if we have this addiction, if we have this issue. One of the things you had in the book, which I thought was really, really important because by the time you go to the doctor and your A1C is over six and they're going to start now diagnosing you with diabetes, you're way down the road and you talk about some tests, some things we can look at before we even get to that point. And so these are tests I'm actually kind of interested in having done because my A1C is great. My blood sugar is great, but that doesn't mean I'm out of the woods. It just might mean that right now my body's creating a ton of insulin and it's able to shuttle all of that blood sugar away so I don't stay in a high blood sugar state. So one of them you call was, it was basically the insulin resistance test or you know, insulin. And then the other one was called the Atkinson calcium score.
Yes. The first, as far the points you've made about insulin are so, so important. So in fact, if we take in America healthy young, 20-year-olds, not overweight today versus the 1970s their hemoglobin A1C, maybe five are they're very normal. They're fasting. Blood sugars are absolutely, absolutely normal. They give a glucose tolerance test where you take a drink of 75 grams of sugar, glucose and wait two hours, their blood sugar comes down. But if you measure the insulin levels, it's taking four times normal insulin levels to keep their blood sugar normal. And that's already hacking fat into their liver, if you anybody, even teenagers, if you see a belly on anybody, a little protrusion, it means they have high insulin levels and they have excess fat in their liver. That's where it all, it all starts. So the test that we do, we call it the insulin secretion test, your insulin-resistant test.
It was actually developed by Dr. Joseph Kraft in the 1970s he died recently at age 94 and unfortunately, he did great work. Unfortunately, it was not recognized by the nutrition establishment, including the American diet. I thinks its an association. Partly, you can only measure insulin levels. In the 1960s the developers undercut the Nobel prize and hasn't been measured clinically until very recently. But he did the measurements when it was very expensive, but on 15,000 patients and he found that he called it diabetes insight too. I call it, it's kind of a medical term, I call it pre prediabetes because anybody with high insulin levels is having problems already, whether they know it or not. Including depression. There is an epidemic of colon cancer in young people, breast cancer, which are related to high levels of insulin. And so the real tests you need, which I'd like to give Kraft credit, called the Kraft test, is you take the insulin, the glucose drink, which was given in the traditional oral glucose tolerance test.
All pregnant women today get the oral glucose tolerance test, and instead of just measuring blood sugar, you measure insulin levels. And so, so many people who have bellies and some, are what do you call it? TOFI. There's thin on the outside and fat on the inside. If you look with a CT scan, cat scan of their belly, they have belly fat. Even though from the outside you would never realize it. And so you can really only tell, you could do it if you do a special MRI of the liver, but that's too expensive and not practical. The Kraft insulin secretion test, it's not expensive. The main thing is it's done over two hours. You do a fasting in some level, then you drink the glucose and then you repeat it at 30 minutes, 60 minutes, 90 minutes and two hours. And so we see patients who already have plaque in their coronary arteries, they have all kinds of chronic illness and their A1C is normal.
And so the fact is it takes years to develop. The fat is not only in your liver, it's also in your pancreas, and it's not till your pancreatic beta cells that make insulin, that synthesize insulin, become injured by the fat in the pancreas and you can't make enough insulin to keep your blood sugar normal. That's when your A1C, your fasting blood sugar goes up. And that's when we diagnose you have a problem pre diabetes or diabetes. But in fact, 10- 20 years before you can measure high insulin levels and people are suffering from again, skin problems to having cancer to heart disease when they're told your blood sugar is normal, don't worry about it. So that's, it's so important to understand. If you have a belly, you have high insulin levels, you're at risk of having heart disease, diabetes and cancer and Alzheimer's. Even though your doctor say your blood sugar is normal. So it's very important to get that word out right.
Allan: 35:43 And then the calcium score is basically going to tell us how much plaque is built up already.
Dr. Agatston: 35:50 So yeah, the calcium score I developed with my colleague Warren Janowitz. And if you're heading for a heart attack, if say you're 40 years old and you're heading for a heart attack when you're 50, 55, 60, you already have plaque in your coronary artery. And with the calcium score, it's inexpensive. In Miami, it's $99. At Johns Hopkins, it's $75 to have the test. You can,uand it's essentially no radiation. It's a cat scan that has some radiation, but you get more radiation when you, when you fly in distance. So the radiation is not an issue for cost is really not an issue. And even though your cholesterol might be normal, things can look normal.
But again, if you have a lot of small LDL particles and other problems that are hidden, you may be developing plaque and you can't tell with a cholesterol test, LDL test or any other tests. Here you're looking directly in the coronaries with a safe, inexpensive test and that tells you what your risk is of a future heart attack. But it also, it predicts all cause mortality because it indicates how the various risk factors for chronic disease are mixing in you as an individual. So the one thing that we see now is we see people whose hemoglobin A1C, their blood sugars are normal, but they have high insulin levels. They may have some other genetic markers that we look for cause you're my practices is cardiac prevention. But those tests are not so difficult to get either. But the main thing is that with the high insulin levels, the sugar and bad carbs they're consuming is turning into fat in the liver and they're overloading the liver with fat.
That causes a lot of problems. But one thing it does is it turns the normal LDL in to small dense LDL, small LDL particles that are not cleared by the, in the bloodstream easily. They don't fit into the usual receptors. They become oxidized and the oxidized LDL sticks to the vessel wall. It gets underneath the vessel wall, builds up the plaque and we again can see with the calcium score, you can see the build up of that plaque and the result of the high insulin levels years before you get chest pain or a heart attack and you can monitor it and then can prevent it.
Allan: 38:36 And I think that's huge. You know, so many of the tests and the things that we get diagnosed with, we're already sick and this is an opportunity for you to catch it much, much earlier, even if the other tests are coming out relatively clean these are really cool. I, I really appreciate this cause I was having, I mean I remember interviewing Dr. Fung and his, his book about the Obesity Code, and back then and he's like, you know, it didn't make any sense to measure insulin because you're doing it fast and you're doing it one time. But you know, here's some advancement where we're saying, well let's, let's go ahead and test the other side of this. The sugar is glucose equation. Basically using the same test, just looking at the actual insulin response, which I again, I think that's just brilliant.
Dr. Agatston: 39:17 And I yeah, I admire Dr. Fung a lot. And but you can't just measure the fasting insulin. We have people with normal fasting insulins and I'm particularly young people are at at 30 minutes after the glucose load their, I mean their insulin levels are in the hundreds, whereas their fasting glucose is normal. In older patients, you get more and more of the delay in the insulin, which indicates dysfunction of the beta cells in the pancreas that are making insulin. And that's because fat, we know that you get a fatty liver years again before you're diabetic or, or even pre-diabetic. And the fat is also going into your pancreas and interfering with the beta cells. And so you get a delay in the insulin secretion. So we can see both the degree of insulin resistance and the degree of what we call beta cell dysfunction, the pancreatic dysfunction that eventually is going to lead to the high blood sugars when you can no longer make enough insulin to keep the blood sugar normal.
And the other thing with this delay in the production of insulin is the insulin peeks hours after a meal and it stays high and that's that high insulin level that is locking in the fat after a meal. So when people get up in the middle of the night starving, even though they have all these fat stores in their belly, in their liver, in their muscle, the problem is they have sustained high insulin levels that blocks the enzymes that breaks down the fat and gives you the energy in the hibernating bear late in the fall. The bear is, they're eating the fruit that's become ripe. That's why fruit is seasonal and they are ravenous, depleting the forest of blueberries and other berries, even though the bear has already put on 400, 600 pounds of fat, but they don't have access to the fat because their insulin levels high. So they can continue to put on the fat for the winter hibernation.
Once they're hibernating and they're not consuming that fruit and the fructose in the fruit, then their insulin levels drop. Now they have access to the fat and that's how they hibernate the whole winter without eating because its that fat that is helping their brain, their kidneys, their heart to continue to function while they're asleep. So normally when we sleep every night we're not eating, so we're accessing our storage starch and fat. But what our insulin levels are high, we can't. So the blood sugar falls and we may wake up in the middle of the night starving and go to the refrigerator and have whatever sugar and carbs are there to bring our blood sugar back up. So it becomes a really vicious cycle.
Allan: 42:36 Yes it does. And so I think this is, you know, we're, we're into January here and I think, so this is kind of a great time to look at something like the Keto Friendly South Beach Diet because it's going to help you regulate your insulin. It's going to help you kind of go through a good period now where you can be thinking in terms of the bear or humans and what we would and wouldn't be eating. The rules are pretty simple. You do have meal plans in there and recipes so it's all put together very well. So again, I think this is an excellent opportunity to take something that worked. The South beach diet definitely was one of those things that people, when they follow it, it worked and you've improved it, which I think again is just wonderful.
Dr. Agatston: 43:16 Well thank you. Thank you so much. And Allan, I mean you obviously you really got it. And it's part of the book is certainly understanding the principles because even for me, who was the cardiologist diet doctor telling, putting my patients on diets for years, but I didn't understand the addiction aspect. Once I did it made such a difference for me and it is, it is for my patients. So this was not necessary eating differently. I mean it was the understanding that made me stick to principles that I already knew. So understanding the role of insulin and how it's different for all of us and understanding flexibility, understanding that America is not overweight because we all of a sudden lost our discipline or for that matter have stopped exercising. Exercise is very, very important. But what causes, what's caused the obesity and chronic disease epidemic is mainly, it's mainly the way we're eating.
Allan: 44:22 I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and sta well?
Dr. Agatston: 44:32 I would say understand insulin, keep it down, don't snack between meals, try some intermittent fasting and others is getting a good night's sleep and this enters in. Of course, if you're overweight and have sleep apnea, you may not be able to sleep proper, but we know a lack of sleep. Again, it stimulates enzymes and hormones that lead to high insulin levels and the other is regular exercise. And exercise is not going to be a solution from the calorie burning aspects. They prove that on the Biggest Loser for your, for your brain, for insulin sensitivity, for keeping up lean body mass. And you know I, you know, I love your podcast and the and being well over 40 plus that we have to keep our muscle and our bone. And you know, when we weigh ourselves, it's the weight, the BMI doesn't really mean anything because that includes, muscle, bone and fat under our skin, when we call the subcutaneous fat, it's only the fat in and around or origins.
That's the dangerous fat that we have that we have to worry about. And regular exercise, it improves our brain function, improves our sensitivity to insulin. So it decreases insulin resistance and it helps us age. We sustain lean body mass and on balance and so many things that's part of healthy aging. And I agree with you. Wellness, we use the term optimal health and it's, it's your vitality. And again, what's kept me on the changes in the diet that I made is I vitality, my ability to exercise, my ability to concentrate, get rid of the brain fog. And it's all those things. My belly was often hidden, people couldn't see it where I was wearing clothes but I knew it was there, but it's because I feel so much better with this and this type of lifestyle. So sleeping right, my exercising right and eating right.
And as you age you have to be more and more concerned about each of these elements. And so I really applaud for what you do with 40 plus as we age, we do become more insulin resistant and it becomes tougher and tougher and you have to get enough sleep, enough exercise and eat the right foods and not eat too often.
Allan: 47:18 Great. Thank you for that. So Dr. Agatston, if someone wanted to learn more about you or learn more about the book, The New Keto-Friendly South Beach Diet, where would you like for me to send them?
Dr. Agatston: 47:30 South beach diet website changed recently.
Allan: 47:36 Okay. That's good. Yeah. Just send me the link and I'll make the show notes so you can go to…
Dr. Agatston: 47:41 Agatstoncenter.Com is our office, our website. It has all of information too.
Allan: 47:48 Cool. Well you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/416 and I'll be sure to have those links there. So Doctor, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
Dr. Agatston: 47:58 Thank you Allan so much. It was really enjoyable.
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