2 Of The Biggest Juicing Mistakes (And How To Juice The Right Way).

drew canole

I met today’s guest article contributor – a big, muscular athlete named Drew Canole (pictured above) – at a seafood restaurant in San Diego.

As Drew and I sat dining on crab claws and oysters with our mutual acquaintance Sean Croxton, Drew mentioned the fact that this was actually a rare indulgence for him to be eating tasty animals.

I raised an eyebrow at this. The dude is a hulk of an athlete, after all.

“Vegan?” I asked.

He smiled and shook his head, “Nope, but I juice. A lot”.

Turns out Drew was right.

When I delved into his juicing website, I realized that he wasn’t shoving fruit-willy-nilly into his juice, throwing thirty bananas in a blender or forcing his blood chemistries out of whack with fiber-less, protein-stripped sugar water. Instead, this guy has actually cracked the code on how to juice the right way – especially for athletes and exercise enthusiasts.

Now it’s not like I know nothing about juicing. I actually have a Omega masticating juicer (which sounds horribly violent, but is actually quite safe) and my favorite juice is carrot, lemon, turmeric and ginger, with some added olive oil, sea salt and amino acids stirred in afterwards (more on those latter three strange ingredients later).

But Drew takes things to a whole new level. He is a well-known authority on the subject of juicing and the amount of energy this man has on a daily basis is astounding. He’s also managed to get himself to under 7% body fat (he used to be over 20%), massively improve his workout performance, and achieved this all through his strategic inclusion of vegetable juicing in his diet. In this article, Drew shares with us the two biggest juicing mistakes that athletes make, and three ways to juice the right way.

Take it away, Drew.

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2 Of The Biggest Juicing Mistakes (And How To Juice The Right Way)

Let’s talk about juicing, shall we?

It has become a pretty hot topic these days.

Everywhere you turn, there is a new “miracle cleanse” that is available, a new celebrity that has become a juicing promoter and about a thousand new stories of how juicing has become the answer to every problem.

Now don’t get me wrong – that’s great – and it’s always amazing to see people becoming healthier, but there are some significant problems with the normal style of juicing – problems that especially athletes need to be extremely wary of. While juicing can be healthy and you probably know how nutrient-dense vegetables can be, there are two big juicing problems that you must be warned about: “obesity traps”and “performance drains”.

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Juicing Problem #1: Obesity Traps

Although the general population has the best intentions with juicing and really do want to improve their health, they are juicing completely wrong – and what they include in their juices actually hinders their performance and balloons their waistline.

How can this be?

The main problem is that people include far too much fruit in their juices. For example, one extremely popular juicing recipe includes “Cucumber, Kale, Lemons, Apples, and Carrots”. This recipe starts out great, but then slides downhill fast because of the inclusion (and most likely main component) of apples and carrots.

Why is this a problem?

As you juice fruit, you’ve stripped away the fiber and concentrated the sugars from many, many servings of fruit into a single serving of juice. Just try it sometime. Sometime just try and see how many freakin’ apples it takes to make just a tiny fraction of apple juice.

It’s a scientific fact that the digestion of liquids (like juice) occurs significantly more quickly than digestion of solid foods. This means that all that fructose sugar you’re putting into one place and consuming in a short period of time is being digested and absorbed far more quickly than if you had eaten its solid, fiber-filled counterpart (e.g. chomped on an apple or a carrot).

Guess what that means?

Your blood fructose levels can spike quite intensely and quickly, and there are some pretty significant difference between a fructose-spike and a glucose-spike, specifically:

-After eating fructose, 100 percent of the metabolic burden rests on your liver. But with glucose, your liver has to break down only 20 percent.

-Every cell in your body, including your brain, utilizes glucose. Therefore, much of it is “burned up” immediately after you consume it. In contrast, fructose is turned into free fatty acids (FFAs), VLDL (the small, easy-oxidized and artery damaging form of cholesterol), and triglycerides, which mostly get stored as fat.

-The fatty acids created during fructose metabolism can accumulate as fat droplets in your liver and skeletal muscle tissues, eventually causing insulin resistance and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Insulin resistance can then progress to metabolic syndrome and type II diabetes.

-Fructose is the most lipophilic of the carbohydrates. In other words, fructose converts to an activated form glycerol called glycerol-3-phosphate, and this is directly used to turn free fatty acids into triglycerides. The more of this form of glycerol you have, the more fat you store (glucose does not do this).

-If you eat 120 calories of glucose, about less than one calorie of that is stored as fat. But 120 calories of fructose results in 40 calories being stored as fat. So eating high amounts of fructose is essentially the same as consuming fat!

-The metabolism of fructose by your liver can create a big list of waste products and toxins, including a large amount of uric acid, which drives up blood pressure and causes gout.

-Glucose suppresses the hunger hormone ghrelin and stimulates leptin, which then suppresses your appetite. But fuctose has no effect on ghrelin and interferes with your brain’s communication with leptin, resulting in overeating.

-Fructose goes primarily toward replacing liver glycogen, not muscle glycogen. So – unless you happen to be at a huge calorie deficit (in which case your liver may actually get some glycogen storage from fruit juice) instead of replenishing the energy stores in your muscles, you are efficiently preparing your body to store body fat – which is of course the polar opposite of what most people are trying to accomplish when juicing.

So because of all this, about the only time you should have a sweet, sugary juice would be after a weight training workout, post-workout, or in a fasted state without a lot of other added foods (e.g. for breakfast). Any other time of day, a juice comprised of fruit spells fat.

And those are the “obesity traps”…

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Juicing Problem #2: Performance Drains

Another huge problem athletes and exercise enthusiasts face with juicing is that the recipes they use are not optimized for performance. Let’s look at this on two specific levels:

1. The recipes do not have enough emphasis on vegetables and alkalinity. 

As an athlete or frequent exerciser, you put yourself through long bouts of intense exercise quite often. As you exercise, lactic acid, pyruvate acid, and CO2 build up as the use of muscle glycogen for energy increases. As your muscles become acidic, and hydrogen ions in your muscles accumulate from the buffering of these metabolic byproducts, fatigue sets in. This is a major problem for you as you go through intense training sessions or during a long competition, because this increased acidity can cause decrease the amount of time you can exercise, decrease exercise intensity, and lengthen workout recovery time.

Maintaining metabolic alkalinity has been proven to decrease overall net muscle acidity, allowing athletes to address these issues. The problem is that common juicing practitioners do not pay attention to the ingredients, and do not create alkalizing recipes. Most of the common juicing fruits discussed earlier do not actually create alkalinity in your body. So the only fruits that should really be juiced as a staple are lemons and limes, as they are some of the most alkalizing foods that exist. You can click here to view an acid/alkaline chart which shows a few more of the mostly alkalinic fruits.

2. Almost all juices do not include any protein or fats

This is another big performance drain for athletes. A diet lacking in protein causes lean muscle tissue breakdown during exercise and low levels of blood amino acids during exercise, which leads to muscle fatigue, central nervous system fatigue, metabolic slowdown, fat tissue accumulation, decreased performance and lengthened recovery time. All of these issues are quite common (even with non-athletes), and the caloric deficits from most juicing diets lead to weight loss, but a “skinny-fat” look due to the low amounts of protein and fat. Science has shown that in the general population, and especially athletes and exercise enthusiasts, a steady consumption of protein broken into small portions throughout the day is necessary for lean muscle maintenance, appetite satiation and long-term health.

Most “normal” juices also often lack any healthy fats, another key macronutrient for sustained energy, hormone precursors, cell membranes and both gut and joint integrity. Fat is what allows your body to transport vitamins A, D, E and K – all key fat-soluble vitamins necessary for cell membrane formation, steroid and hormone building, bone health and nervous system activity. These same fat soluble vitamins also assist with key metabolic functions, including the regulation of blood pressure and heart rate.

But that’s not all.

Fat also provides you with concentrated, steady, slow-release forms of energy (1 gram of fat equates to 9 calories of energy, which is double that of carbohydrates or proteins). In addition, many essential fatty acids – such as omega 3 fatty acids – have to be consumed within our diet, since they are not naturally produced by our bodies. So a diet lacking in healthy fats leads to decreased mental clarity, unsustainable energy and decreased formation of steroids, hormones and healthy cell membranes, all things that are absolutely imperative for an athlete’s success or for you to get the most out of your workout.

And sure, fructose can get converted into fat by your liver, but that’s not a healthy way to make fats.

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How To Juice The Right Way

However, not all juicing is bad.

When used properly and tailored for performance, juicing does actually have the potential to greatly improve an athlete or exercise enthusiast’s health and performance. It can indeed create an alkalized environment in your body and generate reliable, slow-release sources of energy – but only when done properly.

So here are my top three tips for juicing properly and avoiding the mistakes you just learned about:

1. Add fats to your juice recipes for healthy and long-lasting energy. A one-ounce serving of chia seeds provides the body with 5 grams of Omega 3-fatty acids. It also helps with brain health, improving mental clarity and focus. Chia seeds also provide the body with a lot of anti-oxidants, protecting you from the free radicals generated during exercise. Other examples of fats that you can add to your juice include olive oil, liquid EPA oil, MCT oil, coconut oil, cod liver oil, and even butter or ghee!

2. Include compounds that improve athletic performance. Do to the high nitrate content, beet juice can lead to significant improvements in performance. A study conducted at the University of Exerter’s School of Sports and Health Sciences measure the effects of beet juice on cycling endurance. In this study, a group of cyclists drank 500mL of beet juice for 6 days, while a control group was given a liquid containing almost no nitrates. The beet juice group was able to pedal for a full 16% longer than the control group and had significantly lower resting blood pressure after the consumption of the beet juice. In the realm of athletic competition, an improvement of 16% is quite impressive. Other examples of performance-enhancing compounds you can add to your juice include sea salt, powdered electrolytes, or marine phytoplankton.

3. Add proteins to your juice. An ideal juice doesn’t just contain alkalinizing compounds, healthy fats, and athletic performance-enhancing compounds, but also sources of proteins or amino acids that are easily digested. You can’t necessarily shove a steak into a juicer but you can certainly stir in powdered amino acids or hydrolyzed collagen into your juice.

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A Good Juicing Video

I also have a video that will show you some of the best ways you can juice (and some of the worst). It’s called “The Worst Juicing Mistake Killing Your Metabolism”, and it also includes even more unique juicing strategies to boost your energy through the roof, and get, as I like to say, get “single-digit bodyfat” lean.

Click here to watch my juicing video now.

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Do you have questions, thoughts or feedback about how to juice the right way, your own juice recipes to share, or any other comments about these common juicing mistakes? Leave your thoughts below, and either Drew or I will reply.

10 Tips For Raising Healthy, Smart and Successful Kids.

healthy kids

As a parent living in a modern era, you have the privileged ability to enable your kids to become amazing human beings who look, feel and perform with optimized bodies and minds.

But unfortunately, it’s very easy to make parenting mistakes that create a host of issues in your kids, including immune system weakness, low IQ, stunted growth, obesity, depression, attention deficit disorder and other frustrating problems that society now accept as all-too-common.

As you may know, I have twin boys.

Incidentally, my friend Ari Meisel (who originally appeared on the podcast episode “10 Top Tips for Optimizing, Automating and Outsourcing Everything In Your Life.“) is also a father of twins.

So in this podcast episode, Ari and I decided to combine our knowledge of health, fitness, nutrition, biohacking, productivity and parenting to give you our top tips for raising healthy, smart and successful kids.

Resources mentioned in this podcast:

-The brand new Udemy course taught by Ari and Ben: Double Dads: The Twin Dad’s Ultimate Guide To Raising Healthy, Smart & Successful Kids

-Magnesium Flakes

-Noise Activated Noise Machine

-YoNanas Banana Ice Cream Maker

-Coconut Macaroons

-Coconut-Chocolate-Avocado Pudding

-Coconut Popsicles

-Mindful Parenting book

-Fetch app for having other people buy stuff for you

-Thieves Essential Oil Blend

-Ben’s MRSA/Staph Story

-Oil of Oregano

-Cold Air Diffuser for Essential Oils

-Lemon Balm

-IFTTT & Zapier

-Mini kettlebells

-Mini medicine balls

-Kid’s kickboxing equipment

double dadsDuring this episode, Ben and Ari also give you a $10 discount code on their brand new “Double Dads: The Twin Dad’s Ultimate Guide To Raising Healthy, Smart & Successful Kids“, so be sure to listen in!

This new course gives parents of twins everything necessary for raising healthy and smart twins, including how both mothers and fathers should eat and exercise during a twin pregnancy, how to bulletproof your children’s immune system, twin parent sleeping tips, healthy holistic nutrition for twins, productivity and money-saving hacks, keep yourself healthy and fit while raising twins, creating socially enhanced children, and much more!

If you have questions, comments or feedback about these tips for raising healthy, smart and successful kids, then leave your thoughts below.

Blame the Bugs: How Stealth Pathogens Are Making You Fat, Tired, and Brain Dead

stealth pathogens

When most of us hear the phrase “caught a cold” or “dealing with the flu”, it conjures up images of runny noses, fevers, loss of appetite and a general sense of malaise.  But not many of us think about the fact that the same pathogens that can cause a cold or give us the flu can also make us fat.

And these pathogens not just make you fat, but also tired and brain dead.

See, it’s not the actual pathogens causing a sickness that make you feel crappy. Pathogens are simply not strong enough to do that. Rather, it’s your immune system’s response to those pathogens that makes you feel crappy, and (as you’re about to learn) fat, tired and brain dead.

The majority of people are harboring a multitude of pathogenic critters that wreak havoc on our health in a much wider variety of ways than simply a temporary infection or inconvenient runny nose.  For example – have you ever heard of “mono”, also known as Epstein-Bar Virus, and occasionally as “kissing disease”?

Epstein-Bar Virus is just one example of a large group of “stealth” microbes – pathogens that don’t create overt symptoms like a runny nose or fever, but carry along with them much more insidious signs and symptoms like fatigue, brain fog, inability to recover from exercise, mood swings, and decreased libido (to name just a few).

The goal of this article is to outline some of the most common stealth pathogens, how they impact your various body systems, and what you can do about it. If you’ve been “banging your head against a brick wall” trying to figure out why you’re just looking, feeling or performing the way you want to – and it seems like you’ve tried everything to no avail – then this article is for you.

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Why You Can Be Sick But Not Feel “Sick”

We’re all exposed to viruses, yet not everyone gets “sick”. 

Why is this?  The state of your immune system is affected by a handful of factors, including:

-Glutathione levels

-Vitamin D levels

-Hormonal Status

-Sleep quality and quantity

-Methylation status

Viruses typically operate by incorporating their DNA into ours and replicating when our cells replicate.  In short, they rely on us.

So if the above mentioned factors are in good status inside your body, these viral replications will be suppressed and the symptoms averted.  However, if you consider the toxic load on you from the environment around you,  and your daily exposure to heavy metals, pesticides, other immune-suppressing pollutants, you’ll realize how easy it is for viruses to bypass immune detection and wreak havoc on our health.

The most common stealth pathogens people harbor are Human Herpes Virus-6, Epstein-Bar Virus, Coxsackie Virus, Mycoplasma (a weird cell-wall deficient bacteria), and Adenovirus. As mentioned above, we’re all exposed to these pathogens at some point during childhood or early adult hood.  If our immune system stays robust, the viruses and bacteria will be relatively unsuccessful at creating problems.

But if these pathogens take hold of someone with a compromised immune system or someone under a large amount of physical, emotional or environmental stress, it can be an entirely different scenario.

What type of symptoms might these stealth pathogens produce?  Ever have trouble paying attention?  What about achy joints?  Have you experienced poor sleep quality or a lack of desire to stay socially connected?  While all of those signs and symptoms could have multiple causes, the stealth pathogens are common culprits.

All of those nagging symptoms described above are not caused by the pathogens themselves but by a type of molecule referred to as pro-inflammatory cytokines.  Common pro-inflammatory cytokines include interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, and Interleukin-1 beta.  These are powerful molecules that have the ability to make you feel as if you’ve been hit by a truck (or two).  In addition, these cytokines can lead to atherosclerosis, increased C-reactive protein, joint damage, leaky gut, leaky blood-brain barrier, racing thoughts and even brain cell death.  In fact, researchers have created an entire class of drugs to block the effects of one of these pro-inflammatory compounds called TNF-alpha.  Since we know that chronic, low-grade inflammation is at the heart of nearly every disease known to man, keeping these substances at a low level is important to say the least.

Of course, the obvious question becomes this: do you yourself have these stealth pathogens, microbes and viruses inside your body and if so, are they active?

The easiest way to test for them is to check your IgG and IgM (both antibodies) level to EBV, HHV-6, Mycoplasma, Adenovirus, and Coxsackie Virus.  Traditional – and even many natural, functional medicine – doctors will interpret an elevated IgM as a currently active virus and a high IgG level as a prior infection.  But this is incorrect (according to my clinical experience) and to other functional medicine experts who I rely upon for advice.

To get started finding a doctor that can run tests like this, you should consider visiting sites like:

-HealthProfs.com

-FunctionalMedicine.org

-Naturopathic.org

-PrimalDocs.com

-PaleoPhysiciansNetwork.com

 Many individuals may have such poor immune function that they are unable to mount an IgM response pathogens, so they don’t show signs and symptoms of things like colds or flus.  But this doesn’t mean the pathogens aren’t wreaking havoc on their health.  What I have seen in practice is that as your IgG levels decrease, your health and quality of life increase.

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How Stealth Pathogens Can Make You Fat

So based on this, how could a bacteria or virus actually make you fat?  

Through a number of mechanisms, actually.

For example, when molecules such as IL-6 and TNF-alpha are released, they damage hormone receptors, especially insulin.  This leads to the inability to effectively process sugars, a condition known as insulin resistance or pre-diabetes.  In other words, insulin is knocking on the doors of your cells, but the doorbell is broken.  Common signs of insulin resistance are constant hunger, sleepiness after meals, weight gain around the mid-section, difficulty sleeping, high blood pressure, and increased inflammation.

In addition, the powerful inflammatory compounds released by immune cells trigger a cortisol response in an effort to reign in any unbridled inflammation.  This constant activation of the adrenal glands—and subsequent production of cortisol—also leads to insulin resistance.  Keep in mind, this aspect of insulin resistance is independent of diet and exercise.  In other words, one can follow a strict diet of good proteins, healthy fats and low to moderate carbohydrate consumption and still develop insulin spikes and insulin resistance.  This is why it is so crucial to examine all aspects of the body that may be contributing to a large cytokine load: digestive health, systemic infections, toxicity, etc.  The take home message: Inflammation can drive insulin resistance independent of diet and exercise.

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How Stealth Pathogens Can Make You Tired

As if packing on pounds to your waistline weren’t enough, these stealth microbes can also disrupt brain and nervous system function.  They achieve this by punching holes in the blood brain barrier, the protective shield designed to keep undesirables out of our brains.  This means everything from environmental chemicals to heavy metals.  There exists a plethora of research behind the dangers of each if allowed into the brain.

In addition, the pro-inflammatory cytokines can activate the microglial cells, the brain’s resident immune cells.  During the acute phase, there isn’t much harm in this.  Long-term, however, it leads to over-excitation of your neurons and eventually cell death.  When the microglial cells are activated, it is common to experience symptoms such as anxiety, depression, memory loss, decreased productivity and racing thoughts.  Ever laid down to sleep and you can’t seem to put the brakes on your racing thoughts?  There’s a good chance that activated microglial cells played a role (interestingly, the common issue of hypothyroidism also leads to heightened activity of the microglial cells).

You already learned how a pro-inflammatory state leads to constant activation of cortisol release.  Now, we need to discuss how this can have downstream effects on other hormones, including the sex hormones.  We know that constant activation of the adrenals leads to elevated cortisol and it’s consequent negative effects, such as insulin resistance, racing heart, agitation, leaky gut, and an overall catabolic state.  Elevated cortisol also inhibits the conversion of T4 to T3, which impacts thyroid function.

More importantly, the existence of a pro-inflammatory state may lead to pregnenolone steal, in which your body utilizes the hormone precursor pregnenolone to produce cortisol at the expense of your other sex hormones.  This is one of the major reasons why it is crucial to address adrenal and thyroid function prior to addressing sex hormone function.  If your body has a hierarchy of needs, the adrenals and the thyroid are at the bottom, while the sex hormones are closer to the apex.

For example, let’s take a 32 year old female with a number of systemic infections creating an inflammatory state.  She goes in for her yearly hormone panel, which shows she is deficient in progesterone.  Her M.D. places her on progesterone replacement and decides to re-test her hormones 3 months later.  Much to their dismay, the progesterone levels have not budged.  Not one bit.

Why? Because of her pro-inflammatory state, her body is using the exogenous progesterone to create more cortisol in an effort to subdue the cytokines.  The answer is to address the infections and other inflammatory stressors before replenishing her progesterone levels.

Another example would be a male deficient in testosterone who is given testosterone shots(or cream, pellets, etc.).  While he may notice a slight increase in libido, energy, etc., he may also experience the symptoms of excess estrogen—increased fat around the chest, decreased erections, overall weakness, etc.  The reason for this is that any type of inflammatory stressor will increase aromatase activity, the enzyme that converts testosterone to estrogen.

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How Stealth Pathogens Can Make You Brain Dead

As if the above symptoms weren’t annoying enough, certain viruses have been connected to much more sinister conditions.  Many viruses, referred to as neurotrophic viruses, have an affinity for the brain and nervous system tissue.  In fact, numerous studies have found a strong association between Alzheimer’s Disease and various certain forms of the Herpes family viruses, such as HSV 1.  In addition, there exists a strong link between CMV, another Herpex family virus, and Alzheimer’s Disease.  While correlation doesn’t equal causation, the number of studies linking stealth pathogens with various neurological disorders is too great to ignore.

In addition, certain viruses have been linked to various types of cancer, including breast and prostate cancer.  On a similar note, these stealth pathogens may lead to autoimmune disease through a variety of mechanisms, namely molecular mimicry.  Basically, this means that the viral protein coat and our human cells share a similar structure, which leads to our immune system attacking one or more of our own tissues.  A classic example of this would be Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, which is closely connected to the Epstein-Bar Virus.

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What You Can Do

At this point, you should be asking:  what can I do about these stealth pathogens?  Or what can be done to prevent them from becoming active in the first place?  

Let’s begin with the broad topic of prevention.

Obviously, eradicating as many stressors as possible from your life would be a great start.  And for the stressors that are a necessary evil in your life, I suggest a daily routine of transcendental meditation, along with at least 15 minutes of walking – which is not necessarily for any calorie-burning effect, but instead for the stress-reduction properties.  From a more physiological standpoint, you also need to optimize your levels of the following nutrients:

-Vitamin D: get your blood levels to 60-100 ng/dL. You can get this test from DirectLabs, from ThorneFX or with your local doc.

-RBC Zinc: get your blood levels to 1,400 micrograms/dL or higher. You can get this test from your local doc.

-Glutathione levels: there are some labs that will measure reduced versus oxidized glutathione.  I recommend aiming to keep your reduced glutathione in the top 25%. DirectLabs will measure glutathione.

-Ensure that you have optimal levels of beneficial gut flora, such as Lactobacillus spp. and Bifidobacteria spp. This can be checked through a test such as the Metametrix G.I. Effects Profile panel 2200 from DirectLabs.  

-Optimal levels of DHEA, usually measured as DHEA-sulfate: aim for the top 25% of the range.  DHEA is critical for maintaining an optimal number and activity level of several types of immune cells. For this you can use an Adrenal Stress Index test from DirectLabs, which will also test cortisol, a valuable marker to test. 

-Sleep: both quality and quantity.  A disrupted circadian cycle disrupts pretty much every hormone that we know of, along with our immune system.  Specifically, sleep deprivation raises the levels of Interleukin-6, one of those potent cytokines we discussed earlier. You can learn about many sleep tracking tools here.  

-You can (and should) also test for IgG and IgM titers (titers are simply your immune system’s response to the pathogens) if you are dealing with constant difficulty recovering from your workouts, decreased libido, blood sugar swings or insulin resistance, brain fog or other nervous system symptoms. DirectLabs has te the IgG and IgM for Epstein-Barr and the IgG HHV-6. You can ask your doctor about these too. If you’re experiencing persistent fatigue, difficulty recovering from your workouts, decreased libido, blood sugar swings or insulin resistance, brain fog or other nervous system symptoms, consider getting your IgG and IgM titers tested to EBV, CMV, HHV-6, Mycoplasma, Coxsackie B virus, and Adenovirus.  

But what if you went through a stressful period – you lost your job or you’re in a relationship that is not nourishing to your spiritual side?  There are a number of both natural and prescription agents (outlined below) that can lower your viral titers.  The major difference between treating bacteria, yeast and viruses is the time component.

In most instances, it is important to stay on an anti-viral (such as any of the ones described below) for at least 6 months.  Of course, it is equally important to fortify the immune system during this time, so that when the anti-virals are discontinued, one’s immune system can take over the reins of controlling the viruses.  Natural agents that can be used as anti-virals include:

-Monolaurin (I recommend Ecological Formulas brand)

-Lomatium dissectum (I recommend a product called LDM-100)

-GSE (I recommend NutriBiotic)

Larrea Tridentata (I recommend Biogenesis – their product is called Larrea Plus)

Colloidal silver (I recommend Argentyn 23)

Prescription agents often used against viral infections include: Acyclovir, Famvir, and Valacyclovir.  Of course, these must be used under the supervision of a physician and monitoring of liver and kidney function.

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Summary

In the beginning of this article, I told you that microbial infections may be responsible for many of your health-related symptoms that normally aren’t associated with pathogens or immune imbalances. 

We covered how some of the most common bugs are creating an inflammatory environment in our bodies that prevents us from healing.  In addition, the pro-inflammatory cytokines (cell messengers) that are released can place a constant strain on your adrenals, leading to blood sugar imbalances, insulin resistance, imbalances in downstream hormones, a leaky blood-brain barrier, and even putting you at potential risk for future cancers.

Hopefully, the information I just presented has convinced you that the site of your symptoms – whether it is your nervous system in the form of brain fog, memory trouble, mood swings; your hormonal system in the form of pregnenolone steal and the subsequent depletion of sex hormones; or your immune system or in the form of “autoimmune disorders” like thyroid issues – may not be the actual source or cause of your symptoms.

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About the Author

Dr. Tim Jackson, DPT received his undergraduate degree in Health science and chemistry from Wake Forest University in 2003. He completed his Doctorate in Physical Therapy (DPT) from the Medical University of SC in 2009. Realizing that manual therapy and orthopedic care helped only some of his patients, he began studying functional and environmental medicine, as well as digestive health, in an effort to help others achieve wellness.Dr. Tim is educated in nutritional biochemistry, digestive health and its systemic effects, as well as functional endocrinology. He recently completed the Spine portion of the Active Release Technique methodology, a system that addresses musculoskeletal trigger points and helps to expedite the healing process. You can find Dr. Tim at www.healyourbody.org, where you can also download his free e-book “Beyond Green Allopathy”.

Feel free to leave your questions, comments or feedback below and either Tim or Ben Greenfield will reply!

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Sources

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18300070

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0025152

CMV linked to Alzheimer’s: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/20/cytomegalovirus-alzheimers-cmv-_n_3472646.html

Coxsackie B virus and heart disease: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC482880/

Viruses and Breast Cancer: http://www.infectagentscancer.com/content/8/1/32

Viruses and prostate cancer: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120731151739.htm

Cancer-causing virus and epilepsy: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130124123543.htm  

Infection linked to depression: http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/infection-autoimmune-disease-linked-to-depression-201306176397

Molecular Mimicry, Bystander Activation, or Viral Persistence: Infections and Autoimmune Disease: http://cmr.asm.org/content/19/1/80.full     

How To Become A Health Coach.

plank

I am often asked how somebody actually gets to the point where they can help people have better health – particularly when it comes to the eating part.

After all, even if you don’t have the resources to attend medical school and become a physician, we still live in an era where you can become a personal trainer, nutritionist, dietitian, or health coach and still be able to help lots of people achieve better health, live longer and feel better.

Maria-Marlowe-square1

So in today’s podcast, I interview Maria Marlowe (pictured right), who is certified through the “Institute for Integrative Nutrition“, which is the world’s largest nutrition school.

Maria graduated at the top of her class, summa cum laude, from Fordham University with a BS in Finance and Marketing. After landing a coveted finance position after graduation, she quickly decided that industry wasn’t for her, and pursued her passion for the healing power of food.

She attended the Natural Gourmet Institute to learn raw food preparation, and became a Certified Health Coach through Integrative Nutrition. She is a regular contributor to The Daily Love, Wellness Today, and Mind Body Green, and has been featured in Shape, Well & Good NYC, and New York Press. She is currently working towards her Masters in Human Nutrition and resides in New York.

In this interview, you’ll learn:

-What a health coach is…

-How to become a health coach…

-How being a health coach is different than being a nutritionist or an RD…

-What a typical day in the life of a health coach looks like (including the video below)…

-How much it costs to become a health coach…

-How much money a health coach makes…

-And much more!

Do you have questions, comments or feedback about how to become a health coach? Leave your thoughts below, and be sure to check out the Institute for Integrative Nutrition!

Your Burning Multivitamin Questions: The Ultimate Vitamin And Supplement FAQ

Thorne Fx Multi Am Pm Complex

You’re about to read a post written by Tom Nikkola, CSCS, CISSN, Pn1.

Tom is the Vice President and General Manager at ThorneFX. He has more than 13 years of experience in nutrition, metabolism, lab testing, nutritional supplements, and other aspects of health and fitness.  He has experience working with thousands of fitness-minded individuals and has written over 400 articles on health, fitness, and performance. Tom helped create the ThorneFX brand and now manages it, and was interviewed in the recent podcast episode “How To Know If Your Supplement Is Safe, Legal And Contains What It Says It Contains.

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Since Ben Greenfield first posted his article “A Quest to Find the Best Multi-Vitamin on the Face of the Planet” both Ben and ThorneFX have received a number of excellent questions and some great feedback from all the people who have been using the Multi AM/PM Complex Ben talks about in that post.

What you’re about to read will address most of your burning questions (and of course, you can leave your comments below the article if you have more questions!).

Before we jump in, I should mention that it’s a huge privilege to have Ben on the ThorneFX Advisory Board.  Ben joins Dr. John Berardi, Joel Jamieson, Bob Seebohar, Dr. Rachelle Viinberg, and Jaime Martinez as a group of educated experts in our industry who will help shape the direction of new and existing ThorneFX products and services.

Now, let’s jump right into your questions…

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General Questions

Are ThorneFX products available to be shipped for internationally?

Yes. We have warehouses in the United States and Canada, so shipping rates are more reasonable in these two countries, but we have just negotiated significantly better shipping rates for other international shipments.

We heard from a lot of Ben’s followers in the United Kingdom and Australia.  You will see much better international shipping rates in the next couple weeks.

Are your manufacturing practices third-party certified?

Yes. In addition to flawlessly completing two FDA inspections in the last three years, Thorne Research is the only U.S. manufacturer that has completed all three levels of certification issued by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) of the Government of Australia.

The TGA certification affirms that Thorne Research’s manufacturing practices are sufficient to export pharmaceutical products to Australia if that were our business.

We chose to use the TGA certification process over NSF because the TGA certification process is more rigorous and is accepted in more countries. You can view the TGA certification here.

Who is the ThorneFX line of products intended for?

The ThorneFX product line has been created for high-calibre fitness professionals and their clients, as well as top-flight athletes. Customers include personal trainers, sports nutritionists, sports dietitians, and others – and the clients they work with and advise.

Individuals who use ThorneFX products are generally healthy, on a path toward even better health, and are aspiring to optimize their health through nutrition, exercise, and good lifestyle habits.

On the other hand, anyone who has a significant, pre-existing health condition, or a woman who is pregnant should always consult with his or her health-care practitioner before beginning any nutrition supplementation program.

In any event, nutritional supplements like those in the ThorneFX product line are not intended to treat or mitigate a disease condition, so this is advice consistent with FDA guidance to the industry.

Thorne Research has more than 20,000 active health-care practitioner accounts, so the Thorne Reearch name is well-known in the health-care practitioner space.  These practitioners mainly recommend the Thorne Research product line to their patients.

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Multi AM/PM Complex Questions

What is unique about Multi AM/PM Complex?

The Multi AM/PM Complex formula contains a number of vitamins and minerals that have excellent bioactivity profiles; for example, active B vitamins like methylcobalamin (rather than cyancobalamin) and 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (also known as 5MTHF or L-methyl folate) rather than folic acid.

This premier formula also includes mineral bisglycinates. These are mineral chelates, they are only available through Albion®, and they demonstrate superior absorption properties compared to other chelates or mineral salts.

Three other ingredients are included to support energy levels and recovery from exercise and everyday stress:  green tea phytosome, curcumin phytosome, and Relora®, a patented blend of phellodendron and magnoliaextracts.

You can read a more thorough overview of the formula in our blog post How to Build a Better Multi or listen to Ben’s podcast at  Quest to Find the Best Multi-Vitamin on the Face of the Planet.

Are capsules absorbed as well as liquids or powders?

There is no research showing that powdered or liquid supplemental nutrients are any more effective than capsules are.

Trying to draw a distinction between capsules, on the one hand, and liquids and powders, on the other hand, is no more than a marketing angle. The idea being suggested is that liquids and powders are somehow being absorbed better or quicker because there is no “barrier” between these forms and the environment of the stomach.

However, this is marketing hype rather than science. The vegetarian capsules used in Multi AM/PM Complex – made by Capsugel® – are designed to break down in the stomach in the first 10 minutes following ingestion.

The stomach normally maintains a very acidic environment (a pH close to 1.0), although it can be higher in individuals who have a compromised digestive system. Capsugel’s vegetarian capsules have been tested at pH levels as high as 6.8, which is the approximate pH of the intestines and of drinking water, and have been shown to break down in about 10 minutes in those environments as well.

The difference in how well a capsule, or a powder or a liquid-based nutritional supplement is absorbed has much more to do with the forms of nutrients used and whether or not unnecessary ingredients, such as magnesium stearate, are added during the manufacturing process.

What if someone doesn’t swallow pills well?

When necessary, the capsules in Multi AM/PM Complex can certainly – and easily – be pulled apart and mixed into a beverage.

We understand that some individuals simply don’t like swallowing capsules. We get that.

But based on the 30 years we have been making products for health-care practitioners who work with patients who have a number of physical and medical challenges, this has not been a significant issue.

Is Multi AM/PM Complex safe for a woman who is pregnant?

We recommend that any woman who is pregnant or trying to become pregnant should always consult with her health-care practitioner before starting any supplementation program.

Pregnancy creates specific nutritional needs, and Multi AM/PM Complex was not designed to be a prenatal supplement. In these cases, we recommend any woman to use a good prenatal nutritional supplement, such as Thorne Research’s Basic Prenatal, both before and during pregnancy.

The Basic Prenatal multi-vitamin will actually be available through ThorneFX.com in the near future.

Was there a reason behind not including more magnesium in the product?

There are a couple of reasons we did not include more magnesium.

First, in order to add more magnesium, we would have to take something else out of the formula. Because magnesium bisglycinate is a bulky ingredient, adding an incremental amount of magnesium would mean we would need to remove a fairly significant amount of something else.

We believe the formula is more powerful as-is, than were we to remove something instead, such as the awesome extras like green tea phytosome, curcumin phytosome, or Relora.

We believe these extra nutrients are very important for active, fitness-minded individuals and athletes.

Second, many of the nutritionists and fitness professionals who advise us recommend that a larger amount of magnesium be used just before bedtime. This higher intake of magnesium supports better sleep, reduces restless leg syndrome, and helps individuals relax more in general.

It’s unlikely you would experience these same benefits if you were to take all of your supplemental magnesium in your multi-vitamin product.

Is copper harmful in a multi-vitamin?

In an excessive amount, like most other nutrients, copper can become toxic. Copper toxicity is rare and very rarely the result of supplementing with a normal amount of copper. Copper toxicity usually arises from being exposed to very high levels from excessive supplementation or from an environmental condition.

Multi AM/PM Complex includes 1,500 mcg (1.5 mg), which is a very safe and appropriate daily amount of this essential nutrient. This amount is well below the upper limit level 10,000 mcg set by the Institutes of Medicine.

Do you have more than two forms of vitamin E in the formula?

Yes. Vitamin E occurs in many forms in nature, but the only form that appropriately can be measured in International Units (IUs) is d-alpha tocopherol. In Multi AM/PM Complex, D-gamma tocopherol is also listed further down the Supplement Fact label as part of a mixed tocopherol complex.

The formula includes 48 mg of d-gamma topherol, which is an appreciable level without going overboard.

Multi AM/PM Complex does include other forms of tocopherols, but the available current research shows d-alpha and d-gamma are the most important for health.

What is curcumin and is it safe?  Also, what is unique about the curcumin you use?

Yes, curcumin is safe. It’s one of the most-studied botanicals in the world, with more than 5,000 years of use and over 3,000 published papers and studies on this one botanical!

Curcumin is a key constituent of turmeric, the yellow spice used in Indian and Thai foods.

Curcumin’s effects on the body’s metabolism are widespread, and include supporting normal levels of inflammation, promoting muscle tissue recovery after damage, stimulating fat oxidation, and modulating serotonin levels. Click here to read more about why Curcumin may be the Most Amazing Botanical in the World.

Interestingly, just today, as I’m writing this post, another technical study was published on Indena’s curcumin phytosome complex ― the one used in Multi AM/PM Complex.

This study, published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition shows that, in addition to all of the other amazing things curcumin can do, it can help relieve or reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) following exercise. Awesome! For those who are interested in higher doses of curcumin phytosome, we offer Rebound, which includes 500 mg of curcumin phytosome per capsule.

Some individuals do claim that curcumin can interfere with medications; however, this is only theoretical and has not yet been proven in any research.

What is Relora, and is it safe?

Relora is a proprietary combination of phellodendron and magnolia extracts that is an ingredient in Multi AM/PM Complex. Like many prescription products and natural products, it has not been studied on women who are pregnant, so we do not recommend it for women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant.

Acute toxicity studies on Relora have been done in animals and there is no evidence of toxicity at levels well above those that are used in products for humans.

Relora does act as a mild sedative, which is the reason it is put in the evening formula. It is intended to support relaxation and restful sleep.

Although Relora is not known to interact with any drugs, because of this action it should not be used with medications that cause drowsiness or sedation.

And there is no credible scientific evidence to suggest that Relora is a problem if one also drinks alcoholic beverages.

As with all other nutritional supplements, Relora should be discontinued prior to surgery.

Do nutrients in the formula compete for absorption with one another?

The idea of nutrient absorption competition is not new.

I remember when Life Time Fitness first introduced their multi-vitamin formulas, they were formulated with certain nutrients to be taken at different times to avoid possible competition. That was in 2002.

During the time I was responsible for LTF’s supplements, a number of enhancements were made to their formulas, including the multi-vitamins.

One change was to move away from the nutrient competition concept because it didn’t seem as well-supported as once believed.

Competition for absorption has not been proved to be an issue for optimal health. If we did think it was an issue, it would be easy to separate nutrients into the two different formulas that make up Multi AM/PM Complex, but our Medical Affairs team is not convinced this is appropriate.

Following this train of thought, it would require that individuals would need to modify the timing of eating the foods in their diet in general, because their diet is still the major source of nutrients. Combining certain foods would mean that nutrients would not be absorbed. Nobody has ever suggested that.

In addition, it is recommended that a multi-vitamin be taken with a meal for maximal absorption, so specific diets would be required when taking various formulas to eliminate the chance of nutrient competition. This is neither necessary nor practical.

In the opinion of our Medical Affairs team, based on all of the research they have reviewed, we do not see nutrient competition interfering with the effectiveness of any ThorneFX product, including Multi AM/PM Complex.

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Wrapping it Up

We are excited about the huge response and positive feedback we have received on Multi AM/PM Complex from those who have been using it the past few months.

We know there is a lot of misinformation floating around online about the use of multi-vitamin products in specific and nutritional supplements in general. So if you have a question about any ThorneFX product, please contact us at [email protected]. Depending on what your question might be, either our customer service team, or a member of our Medical Affairs team, or I will answer it for you.

If you haven’t already started using ThorneFX products, you can order Multi AM/PM Complex or other ThorneFX products by clicking here. You’ll receive 10 percent off when you order through Ben Greenfield as a ThorneFX Affiliate and Advisory Team member. If you yourself are a personal trainer, nutritionist, physician, etc. and your credentials qualify you to become a ThorneFX affiliate, you can register as a ThorneFX Affiliate here.

Thanks for reading, and leave your questions and comments below!

How To Know If Your Supplement Is Safe, Legal And Contains What It Says It Contains.

supplements

tomnikkola

How do you know if the nutrition supplements that you are using are safe and legal? 

How is the supplement industry actually regulated?

What should you look for to know if your supplement actually contains what it says it contains?

You’re going to learn the answers to these and many more questions in this podcast episode.

My guest for this episode, Tom Nikkola (pictured right) is a fitness and nutrition expert who is well-versed in the nutrition supplement industry. He was cured from leukemia when he was five. He spent years doing follow-up testing at the Mayo Clinic, and during that time, often thought of becoming a doctor.

This interest in health turned into an interest in fitness, which eventually led him to graduate from university, cum laude, with a pre-Med Biology degree. Shortly after graduating, Tom started working for Life Time Fitness, and was there for nearly 12 years working as a personal trainer, and holding various management roles, before finally leaving after holding the position of  Senior Director of Nutrition & Weight Management. During that time, Tom was responsible for Life Time’s nutrition, metabolism and weight management programs and products.

Tom holds a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) certification from the National Strength and Conditioning Association, as well as my Certified Sports Nutritionist (CISSN) certification from the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN).  Beyond his standardized education, Tom has also read hundreds of books on fitness and nutrition and currently has a personal library of about 900 published research papers and articles.

Tom now uses his insights and experience to advise and build the one of the world’s leading fitness supplement brands – ThorneFX – with a focus on producing products and services in which fitness professionals and the clients they work with can have complete trust. In today’s episode, Tom is going to walk us through everything we need to know about whether the supplements we’re taking are actually safe, legal and contain what they say they contain.

-The history behind ThorneFX

-How multivitamins are made, from idea conception to final product…

-How to know whether supplements actually contain the exact amount of product that is on the label…

-What kind of third-party certifications you should be looking for on a supplement label…

-Why fillers, binders, excipients and other additives are added to supplements – and which are safe and which are not…

-4 things you must completely avoid in any supplement, capsule, powder or tablet…

-Tom’s three favorite supplement “stacks”, and why he chooses them…

-And much more!

thorneFinal Food For Thought

These are all important issues.

And here’s why…

A woman in Hawaii recently died from liver failure due to her use of the weight loss supplement OxyELITE Pro. Following actions by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Texas-based company has agreed to recall and destroy a dietary supplement linked to dozens of cases of acute liver failure and hepatitis, including one death and illnesses so severe that several patients required liver transplants.

A recent journal of medicine presented a case report on two soldiers who were taking commercially available energy supplements and who both collapsed during physical exertion from cardiac arrest and ultimately died.

In many cases, there are reported risks of deaths actually increasing with long term use of supplements such as multivitamins, vitamin B6, folic acid, iron, magnesium, zinc, and copper and there are athletes who have been banned from competition due to their “innocent” electrolytes and sports fuels being tainted with hormones and steroids.

Do you have questions, comments or feedback about whether your supplement is safe, or any other thoughts about this episode? Leave your comments below, and go to ThorneFX to view any of the products we discuss in this podcast!

What Raw Vegans Can Teach Us About Paleo: 12 Lessons For Supercharged Living.

vegan paleo

Two years ago, my wife and I ate a strict raw vegan diet for six months.

I actually didn’t mind the tasty vegan food, the easy prep methods, and of course, the fact that I finally fit in as one of the “cool people” at Whole Foods.

But, although I had no trouble being a complete yoga champ, I had a hard time maintaining muscle and red-hot athletic performance levels, particularly for weight training and high intensity intervals (maybe it’s because I didn’t customize my diet well enough).

An ex-raw vegan herself, my guest today, Hilary Bromberg, has a very interesting take on raw veganism and where it fits into a healthy eating protocol – particularly with respect to veganism’s relevance to the Paleo diet.

I met Hilary at the recent PaleoFX conference in Austin, where she was working at the tastiest expo booth there: the Barefoot Provisions table. Barefoot Provision curates the tastiest raw, soaked, sprouted, digestible snacks and foods on the face of the planet, then delivers them direct to your door via online ordering (and we’re talking orgasmically tasty snacks like exploding coconuts raw organic super chocolate, black cherry pork BBQ jerky, and jazzy sweet mustard kale chips).

So while I sit back and bit into a wildcrafted organic pili nut, I’ll let Hilary take it away…

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Confession time: I used to be one of those self-righteous vegans.

Not only that, I was the most radical type: a raw vegan.

It started innocently enough, with vegetarianism. I was convinced that avoiding meat was the healthiest way to eat. Then I started learning about factory farms and vegan nutrition theory, and phased out animal products completely. Always drawn to the fringes, and searching for peak health, I pushed further into raw veganism.

I lived in NYC at the time, back in 2002 when Organic Avenue was a tiny raw food coop that Denise Mari ran out of her gritty Chinatown apartment. (It’s now a behemoth, with locations popping up like Starbucks.)

I’d visit several times a week, lingering over a bowl of avocado cacao pudding, waiting for the dude with dreadlocks who brought mason jars of homemade nut milk in an enormous backpack. I’d leave with crates of green Costa Rican coconuts that I’d hack open on the floor of my loft with a cleaver. I took cooking classes there, met all sorts of fringy seeker-types, and began to understand nutrition, food systems, and sustainability in a whole new way.

I’ve expanded into paleo/primal over the past ten years, but I still have enormous respect for raw veganism, and I integrate many raw vegan principles into my life every day. There are so many convergences between raw veganism and paleo — both represent bleeding-edge perspectives on health and wellness. Here are some of the most important lessons that paleo/primal folks can learn from raw vegans.

1. Forget calories. Remember hunger. And embrace healthy fat.

In order to reach a place of balance, we need to forget about counting calories, and obsessing over fat grams. If we eat according to instinct, and make sure to eat lots of healthy fats, we’ll be able to reconnect with our signals of satiety, eating only to fullness and never beyond. Raw vegans generally eat a lot of fats, but only the healthy ones. They avoid the same fats that paleo people do — canola oil, soy, margarine — and opt for coconut oil, olive oil, and plenty of fat-rich whole foods like avocados, nuts and coconut. When I first went raw vegan 12 years ago, it was hard for me to fathom that eating an avocado whole, or spoonfuls of coconut oil in a smoothie, was anything but destructive to my health and appearance. Of course, I was completely mistaken. Healthy fats are essential, and they will not make you fat.

2. Fermentation is your friend.

After decades of being relegated to fringy hippie corners, the topic of gut health has finally surfaced as something that everyone needs to pay attention to. Raw vegans have always been hugely into fermented foods, using Sandor Ellis Katz’s first book, Wild Fermentation, as a bible. Krauts, nut cheeses, rejuvelac, kombucha — these were all raw vegan favorites well before hipster bars started selling kombucha on tap. And for good reason. The microorganisms in our gut have a major impact on every system of the body, from mood to memory to motor control. You probably don’t get enough fermented foods in your diet, so check out Katz’s latest book, The Art of Fermentation, and take your health to a new level. In the meantime, try to eat as many probiotic foods as possible.

3. Superfoods are supergood.

Notice how in the past few years, there were a few foods that seemed to pop up out of nowhere, touted widely as superfoods? Goji berries, chia seeds, hemp, acai, raw cacao nibs, maca. These foods did not come out of nowhere. They were embraced by raw vegans long before anyone else had heard of them. Say what you will about raw vegans, they were ahead of their time nutritionally. These superfoods, and many others, are an incredible way to add diversity to your diet while adding all sorts of micronutrients you might otherwise never encounter. So the next time you make chia pudding or an acai smoothie, thank a raw vegan. And don’t be afraid of exotic new foods — especially if they’re unhybridized and wildharvested. They’re some of the best things you can put in your body.

4. Welcome back, coconut.

Bring on the coconut revival! Raw vegans were huge advocates of eating coconut in all its guises, long before paleo was even a thing. Flouting standard dietary wisdom that coconuts are deadly because of all the artery-hardening saturated fat, raw vegans would eat tablespoons of coconut oil a day, chow down on coconut meat, drink coconut water fresh from the source. Turns out that coconuts, far from being dangerous, are one of the healthiest foods you can eat. Full of medium-chain triglycerides and lauric acid, coconut oil is perhaps the ultimate superfood — its benefits range from weight loss to increased energy to healthier skin, better memory and cognitive function, heart health, joint health, and the list goes on and on. Embrace the coconut, and it will embrace you.

5. A good blender is vital

Before I became a raw vegan, I thought that all blenders were pretty much the same, and that smoothies were ultra-sugary milkshake-like concoctions that should probably be avoided. But then I woke up. Turns out that smoothies, if packed with nutrient-dense foods, are some of the healthiest (and easiest) concoctions a person could eat. And a high-powered blender, like a Omniblender, is essential to making smoothies that are actually smooth. They pulverize everything — from nuts and seeds to carrots and kale — into a gorgeous silken aerated puree that is not only a joy to drink, but is extremely nutritious because the cell walls of the ingredients are broken down on a microscopic level. This means better absorption. And better health.

6. Dehydration will round you out.

Walk into the kitchen of any raw vegan worth their mineralized salt, and you’ll spot an Excalibur dehydrator, most likely humming away.  Raw vegans believe that heating foods beyond 118 degrees destroys vital enzymes, so they use dehydrators to preserve food, warm it, and just make it flat-out tastier. I’ve expanded beyond raw veganism, but I still use my dehydrator constantly. It’s invaluable for making dried fruit, macaroons, yogurt, kale chips, and for the final crisping of soaked and sprouted nuts (roasting nuts can create toxic compounds). And on that note….

7. Soak and sprout nuts and seeds.

Soaking and sprouting are ancient techniques, developed by our ancestors to make certain foods, like nuts, seeds and grains, more nutritious and easier to digest. These foods evolved chemical defense mechanisms to protect themselves until the proper growing conditions came about — enough moisture to help them burgeon into sprouts. Most nuts, seeds, and grains simply aren’t easily digested unless they’re soaked, to awaken the mechanisms that say, “Hey, time to sprout!” and unleash an amazing series of biochemical transformations. The soaking and sprouting process brings natural resting enzymes to life, increasing bioavailable nutrients. The soaking and sprouting process also minimizes or eliminates nutritional inhibitors and toxic substances such as enzyme inhibitors, phytates (phytic acid), polyphenols (tannins), and goitrogens. The process takes a bit of planning ahead (and a dehydrator for the final crisping step), but it’s well worth it for the health benefits it confers. How to do it? Get pure water, soak raw organic nuts/seeds in a bowl overnight (add a bit of good salt if you wish), and dehydrate till buttery-crisp. Simple, healthy and delicious.

8. Dairy-free never tasted so good.

Raw vegans and paleo people definitely share an avoidance of dairy. Fortunately, raw vegans have developed some amazing ways to turn nuts and seeds into milks and cheeses that will satisfy any craving for cool and creamy. Want an amazing almond milk? Soak a bunch of raw organic almonds overnight, blend in a high-speed blender (see above), pour into a nut milk bag, and squeeze! You can do the same thing with any nut or seed your heart desires. Pro tip: make a big batch, and freeze in ice cube trays for an easy smoothie base. You can even speed up the process further by blending a spoonful of stone-ground nut butter with water — instant nut milk! These milks can be made more or less concentrated, depending on your tastes. Add salt, a date, a bit of vanilla, cinnamon. It’s all good. You really won’t miss the cow.

9. Beware proteins cooked at high heat, especially on the grill.

Raw vegans and paleo people definitely part ways when it comes to eating animals. But they can both agree on some good ways not to eat meat. Specifically, high heat is bad, high heat on a grill is even worse. There are some very nasty compounds that are created when proteins are exposed to high heat, and others that are formed when fat drips down into a heat source and turns to smoke. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, advanced glycation end-products, heterocyclic amines — these have all been linked to cancer. Yeah, grilled food tastes great, but try to limit your consumption, and opt for low and slow when it comes to cooking meat. Braised short ribs, brisket, pork shoulder? Bring it on. Find an awesome dutch oven (Staub is my favorite brand), and learn the joys of braising. You’ll be healthier for it.

10. Eat as close to nature as possible: organic, pastured, foraged, seasonal, unprocessed.

Before I went raw vegan, I didn’t really think that hard about where my food was from, or how it was grown. I assumed that if it was from Whole Foods, it was good for me. As I went deep into raw veganism, my perspective began to change. Raw veganism is about purity and simplicity. It’s about avoiding man-made toxins in every way possible. It’s about being in sync with nature, not at odds with it.  It’s about embracing the wild. This is a powerful approach that’s just as relevant to paleo people as it is to raw vegans. It takes time to expand one’s consciousness beyond the “supermarket” mentality into a place of alignment with nature, but it’s critical to keep pushing. So pay attention to the source. Eat clean. Go to farmers markets. Join a CSA. Learn to forage. Plant a permaculture forest. Eat according to the seasons. It’s how we were meant to be.

11. Don’t put anything on your body that you wouldn’t eat.

I used to have a bathroom full of toxic products in shiny containers, all promising the illusion of health: clearer skin, silkier hair, fuller redder lips. I bought into the convention wisdom: if it’s from a department store or a drugstore, it must be safe. Anyhow, I wasn’t eating these products, so what harm could it do? Turns out, quite a lot. Get thee to ewg.org right now, and start learning about body burden, and all the toxic chemicals in products that people use every day without even thinking about everything they’re absorbing through their skin. Fortunately, you have a choice. There are plenty of companies out there creating products that are fine for you. Raw vegans and paleo people agree: toxic chemicals have no place in your body, or on it.

12. It’s about much more than food. It’s about a healthy lifestyle. And a healthy planet.

The most important thing that I learned from raw veganism isn’t a thing at all. It’s not a quick tip, a food to eat, a gadget to buy. It’s an approach to life. Raw vegans have a deep respect for the planet, for animal welfare, for human health. They consider the impact of their actions at every level — their body, their family, their community, and the planet. It’s a systems thinking approach, a deep ecological one. It’s where we all need to be, if we hope to survive as a species. Paleo is, at heart, about being in sync with our deep genetics, honed over hundreds of thousands of years. By embracing a systems thinking approach to life, we’ll be able to get back in sync once again. Where to start? Google “deep ecology,” and you’ll never look back. It will take us a long time — as individuals and as a species — to unlearn all the unhealthy habits we’ve acquired since the birth of agriculture, but we need to start now.

Our lives depend on it.

About The Author

Hilary Bromberg — a thought leader in the field of sustainability — is Strategy Director / Principal at egg, a boutique Seattle-based brand communications firm that works exclusively with sustainable brands. She is also a founder of Barefoot Provisions — a consciously curated online store for the primal foodie.

Hilary spent most of her life in the Northeast, where she was educated by Quakers, who literally taught her how to hug trees, and then at MIT and Harvard, where she was trained as a cognitive neuroscientist, and also picked up a degree in literature along the way. fter working as a strategic consultant and searching for peak health and nutrition — eventually becoming a raw vegan and Ashtanga yoga devotee — she became disillusioned with modern civilization and moved out to a high-desert yurt in New Mexico, where she got deep into all facets of primal living.

Hilary’s obsessions include media ecology, transpersonal psychology, rewilding and primal foods. She seeks out cultural trends and deeper patterns, new models for sustainable living, the numinous and unseen, the fringy and extreme. She is happiest with dirt between her toes and (primal) bread dough beneath her fingernails.

Questions, comments or feedback about veganism, Paleo, raw foods, or Barefoot Provisions? Leave your thoughts below!

The 5 Most Potent Age Defying Secrets From The World’s Leading Expert On Anti-Aging.

Nick Delgado

My podcast guest in this episode suffered a stroke when he was 22 years old.

That’s him above, in the blue shirt, at age 23 – at 25% body fat and over 210 pounds.

That’s also him, 6 months later, still at age 23, after he dropped 55 pounds of fat and weighed in at 160 pounds.

And finally that’s also him now, at age 60 in January 2014, after adding muscle from his 20′s to weigh in at 184 pounds.

So how did this all happen?

His stroke actually set him down a path that would change his life forever. Within 5 months, he had dropped those 55 pounds, lowered his blood pressure from 200/90 to 110/70, and began developing the anti-aging system and five age defying techniques that we talk about in today’s podcast.

At age 53, using his own techniques from his anti-aging protocol, he has now shattered the world endurance record for most pounds lifted overhead in an hour (53,640 pounds). And now he plans to break the record for aging.

His name is Nick Delgado, and in this amazing audio episode, we delve into hormones, hypoxia, nutrient density, fats and oils, trampolining, telomere testing, and much much more.

Resources from this episode:

-The Delgado Protocol

-Nick’s book How To Stay Young

-CVAC Pod and the Hypoxic air generator Ben and Nick discuss

-The MindAlive light/sound device to achieve brain theta waves

-Telomere Length Testing

-TA-65 extract for telomeres

-Astragalus herb in TianChi that Ben uses

-Marine Phytoplankton for essential fatty acids

-Melatonin Cream for wrinkles

-The olive oil that Ben smears on his face every day

-The Weston A. Price / Okinawa study that Ben mentions

-Mini trampoline for lymph flow

-Finally, if you want The Purigenex Intensive Collagen System that JJ talks about in the podcast, it has only been sold to plastic surgeons, doctors and medspas for the past 5 years. But this transdermal collagen mask and serum is being made available exclusively to Ben Greenfield Fitness Subscribers for $300 below the doctor price with FREE overnight shipping! Check it out here. You can also get the Age Reversal Serum she talks about here.

Do you have questions, comments or feedback about how to break the world record for aging? Leave your thoughts below!

12 Fat-Based Alternatives To Sickeningly Sweet Sugar-Based Sports Gels.

gels

Perhaps you’ve decided that you’re simply tired of sickeningly sweet sports gels.

Maybe it’s the candy-like taste.

Maybe it’s having your brain wired on a potent combination of caffeine and sugar for hours after your workout or race.

Maybe it’s knowing that every time you dump boatloads of sugar into your body, even during the relatively insulin-sensitive state of exercise, you can still rip yourself out of fat oxidation. 

Maybe it’s all the damaging and deleterious health effects of chronic blood sugar surges that you just learned about in my last article “Rewriting The Fat Burning Textbook: Why You’ve Been Lied To About Carbs And How To Turn Yourself Into A Fat Burning Machine.

But no matter why you’re interested in lowering your intake of sports gels, there’s a problem: even though you can go for hours and hours exercising with your own adipose tissue as a fuel source, for long, sustained and relatively difficult exercise efforts that exceed 2-3 hours in duration, you still should use a quick and convenient source of extra energy if you want to minimize central nervous system fatigue and maximize activation of ATP production via fatty acids and amino acids pouring into the Krebs cycle

…and a small, portable packet of calories can be an efficient way to accomplish this.

So in a situation like this, why not just use something like the liquid Endurance Pack that I’ve talked about in the past? After all, that pack is simply amino acids, medium chain triglycerides, and a very slow release form of high molecular weight starch – so it doesn’t present any of the performance or health issues of sweet, sugary solutions. There are three reasons why liquids sometimes simply don’t work or need to be accompanied by other fuel sources:

1) Liquids needs to be carried in either flasks or water bottles, and I’ve found that when doing races such as a Spartan or obstacle course event (in which you’re often rolling or crawling on the ground) flasks and water bottles get smashed, leak, and can press up against your body in very uncomfortable ways.

2) Sometimes you need a “break” from the texture of liquids, and especially during long events such as an Ironman triathlon, you may find yourself either something to chew on, or something that has more of a gel-like texture.

3) Pre-made gels require no previous forethought, planning or mixing. You just put them in your pocket and…go.

Fortunately, when it comes to venturing outside of the realm of glucose, fructose, maltodextrin, honey and the other common sources of sugar used to form the base of most gels, there are a variety of options. So below, you will find 12 fat-based alternatives to sickeningly sweet sugar-based sport gels. If you have questions, comments, feedback, or your own additions, then leave them below this post and I’ll be happy to reply!

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Option #1: Justin’s Nut Butter

Justin’s Nut Butter Ingredients:

-Dry Roasted Almonds
-Organic Cane Sugar
-Organic Cocoa
-Organic Cocoa Butter
-Palm Fruit Oil
-Sea Salt

 

 

 

 

Justin’s Nut Butter Nutrition Label:

Justin's Maple Almond Butter Nutrition Label

My Take:

Anytime you see “cane sugar”, this means that a gel contains a disaccharide sugar comprised of fructose and glucose mixed in a 1:1 ratio – very similar to table sugar but with a possibility of slightly higher nutrient density. You can read up more on cane sugar (the sucanat version) here. Two different sugars means that you’re using two different sugar transporters in your gut, which may help absorption of the sugars. But ultimately, with only 9g of carbs – compared to 30-60g of carbs in a standard sugar-based gel serving with this many calories – this is kind of a moot point.

Justin’s uses palm fruit oil because it minimizes oil separation – and although this isn’t a completely natural oil, they do source their palm fruit oil from a sustainably harvested farm in Brazil, so it contains no trans-fatty acids and has much less damaging effects compared to the hydrogenated oils used in many similar products. You can read more about palm fruit oil here.  

Justin’s Nut Butter tastes excellent, and the cocoa is a nice touch. But note that it contains 190 calories in one gel – so if you’re accustomed to the 80-100 calories of energy in a standard sugar based gel, you’ll get a stomachache fast if you try to match this gel-for-gel with what you’re used to eating. Because of this, most folks will do just fine on ONE of these Justin’s Nut Butter servings per hour, with larger athletes or males potentially doing OK with two. In either case, I’d recommend you take it in smaller doses, like half the packet at a time, along with 4-6 ounces of water.

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Option #2: Vitalyte Chia Gels

Vitalyte Ingredients:

-Water
-Dextrose
-Maltodextrin
-Citric Acid
-Fruit and Vegetable Juice (for color)
-Natural Flavor
-ULS (Organic Cane Sugar, Natural Flavors, Stevia)

Vitalyte Nutrition Label:

vitalyte

My Take:

This gel has whole chia seeds in it, so it definitely has a bitty texture that will have you picking bits of chia out of your teeth after you use it. I find this slightly annoying, although I definitely recognize the long term energy benefits of the amino acids and fatty acids present in chia seeds.

Chia seeds have a long history as an endurance fuel. Ancient Aztec tradition held that an ounce of chia seeds could sustain a warrior for 24 hours. Today, chia is considered a superfood because it has more Omega-3’s than any other crop in the world, it has more antioxidants than blueberries, it is a complete protein, providing you with all 9 Essential Amino Acids (important for preventing muscle breakdown when exercising longer than 2 hours), and it has 25% soluble fiber. A chia seed can absorb 9-12x its bodyweight in water - and this helps regulate absorption, which can prevent sugar spikes and crashes. So despite the issue with having to pick it out of your teeth, I’m a fan of chia.

However, Chia Surge also has relatively high amounts of dextrose and maltodextrin compared to the amount of fat in the gel and overall, very few calories (75kcal) in an actual serving – so you’ll need to carry quite a few of these for a very long event. I do like that Chia Surge contains beta-alanine (which has been shown to improve sprint performance), though the amount included is pretty small compared to how much beta-alanine is used in most studies. You may also find that the lactic acid buffering combination of beta alanine and the BCAA’s in Chia Surge creates a tingling sensation – which you may find uncomfortable. A big bonus is that Chia Surge also contains Palatinose, a low-glycemic index sugar that can increase the amount of fat you use as energy.

The biohacker in me likes the stuff like chia, beta-alanine and palatinose. The 180 pounds of me just wishes this gel contained a slightly higher calorie punch so I can carry fewer of them. 

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GU Energy GelOption #3: GU Peanut Butter

GU Peanut Butter Ingredients:

Ingredients: 

-Maltodextrin
-Water
-Fructose
-Peanut butter (peanuts, salt)
-Amino acids (leucine, valine, histidine, isoleucine)
-Potassium and sodium citrate
-Antioxidants (vitamin E and C)
-Preservatives (sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate)
-Calcium carbonate
-Sea salt
-Fumaric acid
-Calcium chloride
-Pectin
-Citric acid
-Malic acid
-Herbal blend (chamomile, ginger).

GU Peanut Butter Nutrition Label:

GU Energy Gel Nutrition Label

My Take:

Compared to the other GU’s, the peanut butter flavor is less sweet and has more amino acids, more sodium, more potassium and more fatty acids.  

But if you’re Paleo, don’t eat peanuts, have a peanut allergy or are concerned about aflatoxins, this may not be a good option for you. Aflatoxins are natural toxins produced by certain strains of the mold Aspergillus flavus and A. parasiticus and are known to grow on peanuts and other crops stored in warm, humid environments. Since peanuts are highly susceptible to aflatoxin, many companies take careful initiatives to make sure that their products are safe for the market. I’m not sure if GU tests rigorously for aflatoxins, but this is one concern for me.

I have to admit that this gel tastes awesome, the calorie count (100kcal) is about perfect, the chamomile and ginger are an excellent touch for soothing your stomach, and the Branched Chain Amino Acids are a good addition for staving off central nervous system fatigue – but I’d personally rather go with a nut such as almond (e.g. Justin’s Nut Butter, Pocketfuel, etc.)

 

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chocolate9Option #4: Chocolate #9

Chocolate #9 Ingredients:

-Organic agave nectar
-Breakfast cocoa processed with alkali

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate #9 Nutrition Label:

Chocolate #9 Nutrition Facts

My Take:

This is a unique one. The only ingredients are Agave and Cocoa. Agave is mostly fructose, and the amount of fructose in it is a bit too slow to be absorbed adequately (and can be difficult to digest), which is why fructose does much better for exercise when mixed with glucose or maltodextrin. And the fructose by itself from agave can taste way too sweet. But ultimately all this is kind of a moot point since we’re primarily interested in the fats anyways.

So what the heck is breakfast cocoa anyways? According to the FDA, Breakfast cocoa, also known as “high fat cocoa” is a food prepared by pulverizing the material remaining after part of the cacao fat has been  removed from ground cacao nibs. Breakfast cocoa contains no less than 22 percent by weight of cacao fat, so it’s pretty low-glycemic index stuff. However, lest you be interested in all the health benefits of dark chocolate, the fact that the breakfast cocoa is processed with alkali means that most of the antioxidants in the cocoa are destroyed. This is also an extremely thick gel and is almost more like a paste than a gel (and nearly impossible to squeeze out if it gets cold). 

I must admit: I actually kind of like the taste of Chocolate #9. But similar to Chia Surge, you’d have to carry a lot of these gels, and you may not dig the texture.

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VFuelOption #5: VFuel

VFuel Ingredients (Peach Cobbler flavor):

-MaltoDextrin
-Water
-Dextrose
-VFuel Endurance Formula (MCT Oil, Taurine, Glucuronolactone, Ornithine Alpha-Ketoglutarate)
-Citrulline Malate
-Magnesium Aspartate
-Sodium Citrate
-Potassium Aspartate
-Organic Peach Flavor
-Potassium Sorbate
-Sea Salt
-Caffeine
-Cinnamon

VFuel Nutrition Label:
VFuel Cool Citrus Nutrition Label
My Take:

VFuel has zero amounts of fructose, so if you have a fructose malabsorption, intolerance or allergy, then it’s a good choice. Unfortunately, the very small amount of fat it has in the form of Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT), is not very significant, and it packs a relatively large wallop of carbs (23g) compared to many of the other gels I review in this post. Ultimately, I”m not sure if the VFuel Endurance Formula (MCT Oil, Taurine, Glucuronolactone, Ornithine Alpha-Ketoglutarate) contains high enough amounts of the fat-based ingredients to make much of a difference compared to the amount of sugar.

This stuff actually reminds me quite a bit of the GU Roctane I used to use during my Ironman triathlons, but with a little bit of MCT added in. However, I like that they flavor their gel using natural sources. For example, in the chocolate they use only organic, non-alkalized (that means the antioxidants aren’t destroyed), real cocoa powder and a hint of pure, real vanilla. In their peach cobbler, they we use organic natural peach flavor to get as close to the real flavor as possible, then add a dash of ground cinnamon. There are no frills, no synthetic blending of ‘flavors,’ and no additives.

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Option #6: Huma Gel

Huma Mango Flavor Ingredients:

-Mango puree
-Evaporated cane juice
-Filtered water
-Brown Rice Syrup
-Ground chia seeds
-Sea salt
-Citric acid

 

Huma Nutrition Label:

huma

My Take:

Hüma is based on the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico. Using “Tarahumara” as a name would have been far too long for our gel package, so they chopped it down to “Hüma ”.

Like VFuel, Huma still has lots of carbs in it, with the addition of a small amount of chia seeds. However, they claim that it is 100% stomach-problem free due to their blend of sugars. Sports nutrition research does indeed indicate that consuming sugar blends with a ratio of 2:1 glucose to fructose increases carbohydrate absorption by the body, compared to a single isolated sugar source. As you learned earlier, evaporated Cane Juice has a chemical composition of 1:1 glucose to fructose, and Brown Rice Syrup is 100% glucose. So together, they provide you with the “ideal” 2:1 ratio. But it’s still sugar. Sure, the fiber content of the chia seeds acts to modulate carbohydrate absorption, 

 Hüma gels have a higher water content than other gels, which makes them easier to swallow and digest, but that also means fewer calories per ounce, so they have to put more gel in the package to get you the 100 calories that I like to see in a gel – meaning a larger package. So it’s a lot of bulk for relatively few calories and a big hit of sugar. Once again, this is better than a strictly sugar-based gel, but not the best choice in my opinion.

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PocketFuel-NaturalsOption #7: Pocket Fuel Naturals

Banana Blueberry PocketFuel Ingredients:

-Dry roasted almonds
-Organic cane sugar
-Banana chips
-Dried blueberries
-Sunflower oil
-Sea salt

Banana Blueberry PocketFuel Nutrition Label:

Crunchy_Banana_Blueberry2

My Take:

PocketFuel Nut Butter blends are made from 100% natural, whole food ingredients found in nuts, seeds and fruits. Their blends are packed with many B-complex group of vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6, and folate, which function as co-factors for enzymes during cellular substrate metabolism. Because of the mix of nuts and fruits, they are also a rich source of minerals like manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, selenium and sodium.

 I’d rank PocketFuel right up there with Justin’s Nut Butter, with most of the advantages I’ve already mentioned related to gels that are comprised primarily of nuts, with relatively low amounts of sugar. These PocketFuels are larger than most other gels (about 1.8oz compared to 1.0oz) but have far more calories (~280kcal) due to their higher fat content.

From a pure taste standpoint, this is my favorite fat-based gel. I really dig that all the sugars are from natural fruits, and there are also MCT’s from the coconut oil. If I had to choose any of the gels I’ve discussed so far, PocketFuel would have to rank as one of my favorites. Dangerously addicting, however.

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peanut-butter-hammerOption #8: Peanut Butter Hammer Gel

Hammer Gel Ingredients:

-Maltodextrin
-Water

-Peanut Butter (Dry Roasted Peanuts, Dextrose, Hydrogenated Cottonseed and Rapeseed Oil, Salt)
-Energy Smart® (Grape Juice, Rice Dextrin)
-Salt
-Sodium Acid Sulfate
-Potassium Sorbate (as a preservative)
-Amino Acids (L-Leucine, L-Alanine, L-Isoleucine, L-Valine)
-Potassium Chloride

Hammer Gel Nutrition Label:

Hammer Gel Peanut Butter Nutrition Facts

My Take:

This unique flavor from Hammer is very, very similar to the GU Peanut Butter I mentioned earlier. Like GU, Hammer adds none of the “ose” sugars such as dextrose, glucose or sucrose, ranking these as recommend to avoid due to:

1) inconsistent and short-lived “flash and crash” energy; 2) very low and almost always inadequate amounts of calories that the body can assimilate and utilize for energy, with a calorically weak simple sugar concentration of 6-8% being the limit and higher concentrations necessary in a gel based format being digested less efficiently, resulting in an increased risk of digestive problems such as nausea, bloating, cramping, and diarrhea; 3) increased potential for overhydration and its host of associated problems (when you try to fulfill your body’s calorie requirements by consuming increased quantities of simple sugar-containing energy gels, you must drink copious amounts of fluids to adequately digest them).

Kudos to Hammer for, similar to GU, adding BCAA’s to this blend. Unlike GU, there is no chamomile and ginger in this blend, although Hammer does have it’s “EnergySmart” Grape Juice and Rice Dextrin in it. Since we’re trying to avoid sugars, this isn’t very relevant. Ultimately, since I’m trying to avoid many peanuts anyways, I’d be more prone to use a nut butter based on almonds.

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Artisana-Raw-Almond-ButterOption #9: Artisana Foods

 Artisina Almond Butter Ingredients:

-Organic raw almonds (California)

Artisina Almond Butter Nutrition Label:

Artisana Almond Butter Nutrition Label

My Take:

Artisina is a pretty interesting company. They not only make the almond butter featured above, but also Coconut Butter made from raw 100% Organic Pure Ground Coconut Flesh, a packet of raw 100% Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil and also cashew butter, pecan butter, walnut butter, macadamia butter, raw Organic Chocolate & Coconut Butter Decadence – all in squeeze packs, all organic and all raw.

They are Peanut , Gluten, Soy & Dairy Free. They are certified both Organic & Kosher. They do not add any extra oils, sugar, emulsifiers or preservatives. All you are getting is the good clean nutrition from the nuts. And the amazing thing about Artisana is that with no preservative, it is still completely Shelf Stable, with no need for refrigeration, even after opening, for up to 18 months.

Due to the low sugar, high fat and incredibly versatility of their fat-based sources, allowing you to choose a fat that works well for you, this one ranks right up there for me with PocketFuel and Justin’s Nut Butter. These are well worth trying, and are mind-numbingly tasty.

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YumButter GoOption #10: YumButter

YumButter Ingredients:

-Dry roasted California almonds

YumButter Nutrition Label:

yumbutter

My Take:

I love the social message behind YumButter.  Here are some of the ways they’re creating social and environmental goodness:

-Leading socially-conscious nut butter company
-14,000 feedings for children with malnutrition
-Over 4% of revenues contributed to social good in 2012
-B Corp score of 87 (other sustainable businesses score 80)
-Offset 36 tonnes of CO2 (~250% more than we create) through reforestation

But here’s my beef with YumButter (even though it tastes amazing and ranks right up there with Pocketfuel in terms of it’s tasty combination of fruits and nuts):

At about 227g, or around the size of a running flask, the packet is just too freakin’ big to carry around for anything except perhaps a bicycling century. I simply can’t stuff this in my pants at the start of a Spartan race and have it not be one big flattened mess the first time I roll through a barbwire obstacle, or have it in a pair of marathoning shorts without being extremely weighed down in whichever pocket this stuff is in.

But YumButter tastes really, really, addictively good, and I love their social message. Through their BuyOne:FeedOne model, they’ve been able to help feed over 14,000 children with malnutrition since mid-2012. That’s pretty cool.

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WinForceOption #11: WinForce

WinForce Ingredients:

-Sucrose
-Maltodextrine
-Water
-Hazelnut puree
-Coconut milk powder
-Vegetable oil blend (olive oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, wheat-germ oil, emulsifier: sunflower lecithin)
-Thickener: modified starch
-Hazelnut copra
-L-carnitine

WinForce Nutrition Label:

WinForce Nutrition Label

My Take:

I was intrigued by this one. It’s the only vegetable oil based blend of the gels that I’ve reviewed so far. Their Ultra Energy Complex is based on five vegetable oils containing Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, and is free of artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners and preservatives. In addition, the L-carnitine contained in this product has been shown to enhance fatty acid utilization and recovery.

As you can see from the nutrition label, it does indeed contain maltodextrin and modified starch, but a standard 25g gel size portion is still under 13g of total carbs.

My biggest concern with Winforce was the potential for extracted vegetable oils, which are notoriously fragile compared to coconut oils, to become oxidized or laden with free radicals. When I wrote to Winforce, they informed me that:

“All 5 vegetable oils are mixed into the product and afterwords low temperature heated to make the product microbiological long term stable. The product is not oxidized. Because of its high content of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids the product has a good influence against inflammatory.”

In addition, rather than coming from American-based GMO crops, the oils in Winforce come from:

-olive oil: Italy
-coconut oil: Philippines
-sunflower oil: Switzerland
-canola oil: Switzerland
-wheat-germ oil: Switzerland

In the spirit of full disclosure, this is a gel with which I was unable to experiment with or taste prior to writing this article, but I am planning on ordering it very soon to trial, as I’m curious to see how the blend of the different oils compares to using solely a nut butter or solely a coconut oil or MCT oil base.

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CV25 pak12. VESPA

VESPA Ingredients:

-Filtered water
-Honey
-Royal jelly (240mg)
-Citric acid
-Bee propolis (120mg)
-Wasp extract (100mg)
-Ascorbic acid

VESPA Nutrition Label:

Not available, but here’s the skinny:

-Serving size: 1 pack (80ml)
-Calories: 18
-Fat Calories: 0
-Total carbohydrates: 5g (2% of daily value)

My Take:

This is another unique one. VESPA’s key ingredient is an all-natural amino acid complex (in a naturally occurring peptide) derived from the Asian Mandarin Wasp (yes, a wasp) – and it works by shifting the muscles to metabolize a higher level of fat during physical activity, thus stabilizing and conserving your glycogen stores.

The Asian Mandarin Wasp (Vespa mandarina) is one of nature’s most potent endurance animals. It flies between 70-100 KM per day in search of food and carries half its body weight to its entire body weight in food back to the colony to feed to the larvae. The adult wasp does not eat this solid food, but instead it receives a liquid secreted by the larvae in a symbiotic relationship called “trophallaxis”.

Dang!

So this company called KAWAHARA Co., Ltd. (of Japan) developed a method for isolating this food source from the wasp, then putting it into every packet of VESPA. Note that there are only 18 calories in a whole packet of this stuff. So rather than being a source of calories, it’s mostly allowing to better tap into the other fats you may have available. So it allows you to tap into your own adipose tissue more efficiently, or tap into fats you’re getting from other sources more efficiently.

These things are spendy, so I’d use them sparingly, but I’ve mixed them very successfully with my other fuel sources (MCT oil, Superstarch, amino acids) during Ironman triathlons and it allows me to tap into the energy from those other fuel sources much better. For something like an obstacle race, I wouldn’t carry this stuff, but instead (since it will last about 4-6 hours) just take a shot prior to the race, then rely upon other fuel sources during the actual event.

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Summary

So that’s it!

I’d have to say that out of all the sources listed above, my three favorites are Justin’s Nut Butter, PocketFuel and any of the blends from Artisina. Then for the pure fat biohacking properties, if budget permits, I like a serving of VESPA taken prior to or with any of those fuel sources. If anything, you’ll at least be able to tell your friends you ditched sugar and instead had nuts and wasp extract prior to your workout.

Now it’s YOUR turn.

Which of the gels above have you tried? Which would you add? 

Do you have questions, comments or feedback about any of these fat-based alternatives to sickeningly sweet sports gels?

Leave your thoughts below! 

Rewriting The Fat Burning Textbook – Part 2: Why You’ve Been Lied To About Carbs And How To Turn Yourself Into A Fat Burning Machine.

VO2 Max Test

In Rewriting The Fat Burning Textbook – Part 1 you discovered how eating a high fat diet doesn’t make you fat, and may actually increase the amount of fat you burn as fuel at both rest and during exercise, allow you to exercise or function for longer periods of time while eating relatively few calories, massively improve your health and not limit performance in the least.

But much of that information is theoretical, and not grounded in hard, sweaty numbers. Sure, there are videos such as this that suggest high-fat diets and ketosis-adapted performance can aid with things such as fat loss and high-altitude resilience, but there is scant data related to the pointy end of human performance potential.

However, what if we could actually prove that eating a low-carb, high-fat diet for a long time, becoming fat-adapted and even avoiding carbohydrates during the one time when we’re most encouraged to consume carbohydrates (during exercise)…

…could actually turn you into a fat-burning machine without losing a shred of performance capability or causing any metabolic damage?

That, my friends, would rewrite the fat-burning textbooks.

Let’s find out if it can be done…

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Enter The Exercise Nerds: The FASTER study at the UCONN Human Performance Laboratory

As you’ve already learned – from controlling cancer to reducing your waistline to biohacking your brain – a high fat and low carb diet has been shown to massively enhance health, energy levels, and focus while reducing risk of disease. But what does a high-fat diet do to the body when you’re exercising? Does it actually cause you to burn more fat as fuel? Does it mess up your gut? Does it drain precious muscle and liver energy stores?

And most importantly: can you turn yourself into a complete fat burning machine without losing a shred of performance capabilities?

These are all complete unknowns.

Until now.

Just several weeks ago - after following a strict high fat diet for 6 months – myself and a group of other fat adapted athletes walked into the prestigious Human Performance Laboratory at University of Connecticut for a battery of unpleasant tests that would answer these questions, including:

-defecating into a collection tray so that scientists can inspect how a high fat diet affects gut bacteria and microbes…

-running at an extreme incline on a treadmill until complete volitional fatigue while bleeding lactate out the fingertips…

-taking an X-Ray radiation scan for visualization of body fat mass and skeletal structure…

-having a cannula inserted to collect blood samples throughout a day of exercising to investigate cholesterol, triglycerides, inflammation, glucose and white blood cells……

-getting a biopsy needle jammed into the muscle to extract 200 milligrams of tissue, and another biopsy needle jammed into the butt to extract samples of fat tissue…

This will all culminate with a 3 hour endurance run sufferfest on the lab treadmill, while continuing to bleed into test tubes, salivate onto cheek swabs and breathe into a gas-analyzing mask.

The results will eventually be published in a scientific paper by high-fat diet guru and researcher Jeff Volek. But I’ve been given exclusive permission by UConn researchers to jump the gun and write an blog post about the entire experience and the results. In this post, I’ll provide everything: the gory photos, the lab rat details and most importantly, whether the average exercise enthusiast can really benefit from a high fat diet.

To make things easy to understand, I’ve broken the entire study process into 13 steps.

Let’s jump right in, shall we?

uconn

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12 Steps To Turn Yourself Into A Fat Burning Machine and Prove You Don’t Really Need Carbs

Step 1: Follow A High Fat Diet For 6 Months

The UCONN study enrolled highly trained male and female ultra-endurance athletes (e.g. ultra-marathoners, Ironman triathletes, etc.) who have strictly consumed a low carbohydrate diet (defined as less than 20% of calories from carbohydrate) or a high carbohydrate diet (defines as more than 55% of calories from carbohydrate) for at least 6 months.

As you’ve probably guessed by now, I was one of the low carb guys.

In my article at “How Much Carbohydrate, Protein and Fat You Need To Stay Lean, Stay Sexy and Perform Like A Beast?”, I describe how to practically pull off a 20% or lower carbohydrate based diet. In another article, “The Great Ketogenic Ironman Experiment” article, I describe how to tweak a low-carb diet to go as low as 5% carbohydrate intake (also known as ketosis).

But in case you’re purely interested in the food porn, and how one pulls off a high-fat diet for 6 months without being married to a coconut milk subscription on Amazon, here are some sample staple meals I ate during those 6 months:

1. Beef bone marrow – one of the most nutrient-dense fat-packed foods on the face of the planet, photographed here with broiled carrots, onion and kale. Click here to read more about the wonders of bone marrow.

Bone Marrow
2. Eggs n’ avocados – this omelette, avocado and pitcher of olive oil were photographed on my hotel room bed the day I arrived at UCONN, about 24 hours prior to the onset of testing.

Eggs and Avocadoes

3. Smoothies – I travel quite frequently, and have found that hotel buffet breakfast bars often have blenders. In a case like this, I ask for things like an avocado, spinach or kale, coconut milk, butter, olive oil, seeds, and nuts, and simply have them dump it all into the blender. In a case like this, photographed at a hotel in Cancun, Mexico, the green slosh wound up in a bowl, topped with pumpkin seeds.

Green Smoothie

Is there potential for low hormones, low blood pressure or metabolic damage while following a strict low carbohydrate diet?

Absolutely.

But here are some steps I took to control that damage.

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Step 2: Test Oxygen Utilization and Blood Lactic Acid

To set a baseline for the 3 hour treadmill run that was to take place the following day, I underwent one of the most brutally intense exercise science tests that exists: a V02max treadmill protocol. This was to me on the research study waiver as “a incremental treadmill test that will continually increase intensity until you achieve volitional fatigue”. In other words: I was expected to run until I would nearly pass out and fall off the back of the treadmill. After warming up, this test usually takes about 12 minutes, with significant increases in speed and grade every two minutes.

Before each two minute stage, I took a brief stop for needle-yielding researchers to take single drop of blood from my finger to analyze blood lactate concentration. Blood lactate is the gold standard for determining when your muscles begin to produce more lactic acid than they can actually remove. Blood lactate levels during exercise are also a parameter that’s never been measured during exercise in fat-adapted athletes. Since a fat adapted person is burning less carbohydrate, they should theoretically produce less lactic acid, resulting in less burn and less discomfort during exercise – a convenient biohack indeed…

Oxygen Utilization Test_Treadmill
Preparing for hell on the treadmill.
The VO2 Max test begins.
Testing blood lactic acid.
Testing blood lactic acid.

 

For you physiology nerds – here is a .pdf download the VO2 Max Results. Notice the significant carbohydrate utilization only during the final two minutes of extremely intense exercise.

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Step 3: 24 Hour Urine and Stool Collection

It’s known that your macronutrient ratios (carb/fat/protein ratios) drastically affect the bacteria in your gut, and that influences everything from neurotransmitter production to performance to propensity for obesity (hence the current pursuit of a bacteria-based “fat drug”).

So for this study, I was not only required to collect 24 hours of urine in a fancy, orange container (to strictly monitor hydration status, and also to measure nitrogen content of my urine)…

…but I was also required to poop in a yogurt-carton sized plastic container and hand in a stool sample so that the researchers could look at bacteria and microbes from my gut. The fecal samples will be used to analyze my microbiome using (and this exactly how it was described to me by the researchers) “next generation sequencing techniques which target the bacterial 16S rRNA gene”. Apparently this is very similar to type of testing being utilized by the fascinating American Gut Project.

My trusty, 24-hour urine container companion.
My trusty, 24-hour urine container companion.

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Step 4: DEXA Scan

Believe it or not, those electronic scales you step on for body fat measurements can be notoriously inaccurate. Instead, the gold standard measurement for body composition (fat percentage, muscle percentage, and bone weight/density) is determined by using a machine called a “DEXA scanner” . That’s right: the same type of scanner used to diagnose osteoporosis can also tell you how fat you are. During my DEXA scan, I lay quietly and completely still on a table while a certified X-ray technician directed a scanning arm to pass over my body from head to toe, taking about 5 minutes to analyze my entire fat content.

You might be interested in the results you’ll find on the table below if you would like to allay any fears that a high fat diet will make you fat. I’m actually far leaner than when I was eating a low fat diet.

Warning: If you decide to get a DEXA scan to measure your own body fat, muscle percentage and bone density, you will be exposed to a very small amount of radiation by the scanner used to measure your body composition. Exposure to any amount of X-ray radiation, no matter how low, may cause abnormal changes in cells. However, the body continuously repairs these changes – and the amount of radiation is very low in just one DEXA scan The total exposure for the whole body scan is approximately 125 times less than the average radiation from a standard chest X-ray.

DEXA Scan

Here is a .pdf download of my DEXA results. Do you find it interesting that a 60%+ fat based diet still results in 5.2% body fat? Shocking, eh?

Eating fat doesn’t make you fat, folks.

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Step 5: Muscle and Fat Biopsy

Now comes the fun part – a pre-workout muscle and fat biopsy to determine carbohydrate storage, and whether a high-fat diet has left me “carb drained”. In addition to measuring carbohydrate storage, the muscle analysis can look at how my fat-adapted muscles could support a theoretically larger-than-normal level of fat oxidation. The biopsy allows for measurement of muscle glycogen, triglycerides, fiber type, markers of inflammation and immunity, and even specific expression patterns for some genes.

Here is exactly how the muscle biopsy was described to me by the researchers:

“For this procedure you will lie down on a comfortable hospital bed before exercise. We will use a local anesthetic to numb an area of your skin and thigh muscle before obtaining a small amount of muscle via a muscle needle biopsy. This is the first of three muscle biopsies that will be taken, including one immediately after exercise and one two hours after exercise.

While Lidocaine does a good job of eliminating the sharp pain of an incision, it cannot fully eliminate the dull pain associated with doing the biopsy. The biopsy needle is about the same diameter as a Bic pen. After the incisions in the skin and fascia are made, the needle will be inserted through them into the muscle. The biopsy needle will likely cause the muscle to cramp for a second. Once in place, the needle will be used to make three or four “snips” in the muscle, which will be removed from you. The total amount of muscle removed will be between 50 and 200 mg, or a total amount about the size of an unpopped popcorn kernel. After this, the needle will be withdrawn, some pressure will be put on the site to control bleeding, and the incision will be closed either with one suture. You will not notice this muscle missing, either cosmetically or functionally. There are studies where more than 400mg have been removed without problems.

After the procedure, you will have a pressure dressing applied to the site and your thigh will be wrapped with a compressive wrap. It will be tight, but should not be painful. The night of the procedure, you will be instructed to keep your knee bent as much as possible, apply ice to your thigh, avoid heat or massage, and avoid anti-inflammatory medication.

It is vital that you understand that your thigh will hurt after a muscle biopsy. The pain you will feel will be like a deep “Charley Horse” and will typically improve over 48-72 hours. It is impossible to quantify the pain for you. Everyone’s experience with pain is unique, and one’s sensation of pain is influenced by multiple other factors than just the procedure itself. The exact same procedure, done the exact same way, will be felt differently by different people. It will even vary in the same person if they have multiple biopsies over time. There have been situations where people have hurt for more than a week. The more accurate expectation is 48-72 hours of tolerable aching in your thigh. After the first night, you will be allowed to exercise in any way you tolerate.”

Want the short version? They jam a needle into your leg, cut out muscle to freeze dry, and it hurts like a mother-f&*#er. Especially later that night.

The fat biopsy (AKA cheap liposuction) was relatively similar, and described to me as follows:

“Prior to each of the three muscle biopsy procedures, we will obtain a small piece of fat beneath the skin from the outer upper quadrant of the buttock under local anesthesia using a needle. The buttock area is chosen because the participants in this investigation are lean, and this area is likely to yield greater access to fat relative to other common sites (e.g., abdomen, quadriceps, etc.). A 16 G needle (about as thick as a penny) will be adapted to a syringe filled with sterile normal saline in order to apply suction. The needle will be inserted into the subcutaneous fat and the tissue will be “suctioned” by the syringe. The needle will be repeatedly inserted and retracted a couple of times in the fat layer to obtain at least 2 mg tissue (about a drop of water) up to about 100 mg (equivalent weight of a toothpick).”

Despite promises of just a toothpick size portion of fat, this one also hurt like a mother-f&*#er. All gory photo details below.

Snipping out my thigh muscles.
Snipping out my thigh muscles.
Biopsy Needle
This close-up of my thigh gives you a good idea of the biopsy needle size.
Tissue Preservation
Freezing the extracted muscle tissue for harm-free preservation.
Liposuction
The cheap-ass liposuction. Pun intended.
Fat in Syringe
My extracted fat, in a syringe.

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Step 6: Blood Draws

I’ve always been a big fan of self-quantification, and for the past 2 years have done regular blood testing via WellnessFX to track parameters such as “What Kind Of Damage Happens To Your Body After You Do A Hard Workout, Triathlon or Marathon?” and “What Happens When You Combine Low Carb and Extreme Exercise?”. So a fasting blood sample was nothing new to me.

But it was certainly a new experience to give 12 different three-tablespoon sized blood samples at multiple intervals throughout the day, including 4 times during a 3 hour treadmill run. By the end of the day, I felt like a pincushion, and had arms peppered with so many needle dots that I looked like a relatively fit heroin-addict.

For this study, the blood test was for basic health related blood markers such as cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, insulin, and inflammatory markers, and white blood cells.

You can click here download a pdf blood testing results., which show typical results you’d see from an athlete or someone who exercises a lot: high BUN and high creatinine from muscle breakdown, high RDW (Red cell distribution width) and low alkaline phosphatase from constant turnover of red blood cells. These are not big red flags, but just a natural consequence of beating up the body day-after-day.

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Step 7: Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) Test

Your body burns a specific number of calories per day for vital organ activity, such as automatic functioning of your heart and lungs, nervous system electrical activity, kidney function, liver detox, digestion, hormone production, subconscious muscle contractions, and skin temperature. Your resting metabolic rate (RMR), is the total amount of energy you expend daily on these type of functions – without taking into account physical activity such as climbing a flight of stairs, exercising, standing up, sitting down, etc..

A resting metabolic rate test measures your carbohydrate and fat oxidation by calculating a number called an “Respiratory Exchange Ratio” (RER). Your RER is determined by the ratio of carbon dioxide (CO2) you exhale to oxygen (O2) you consume. The RER range for most living organisms ranges from 1.0 (which represents pure carbohydrate oxidation) to around or just below 0.7 (which represents pure fat oxidation).

In other words, the closer your resting metabolic rate RER is to 0.7, the more likely it is that you are fat adapted, and burning pure fat as energy. If you’re curious about where your personal numbers are at, you can pretty easily Google “Metabolic Testing NAMEOFYOURCITY” and find a test at local university, sports medicine facility or health club near you.

Below is a timeline of every RER measurement taken throughout the day of my test. Notice the column marked “RER” and the column marked “% Fat”.

Yes, you are reading correctly – from the beginning of 3 hours of hard exercise, all the way throughout, and 2 hours after, my body was at nearly 100% pure fat utilization, at one point dipping into values the machine couldn’t even calculate (eg. 105% fat burning and 115% fat burning at 1 hour and 2 hours after the run).

Fat burning machine status, achieved.

And what about burning of protein?

That actually can’t be measured via RMR test. But it can be measured via nitrogen content in urine, which is precisely what was able to be accounted for in my fancy orange urine container. Those results aren’t in yet.

screenshot_757

blood Extraction
Why not kill two birds with one stone and take some blood while testing the metabolism?

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Step 8: Cheek Swab

Next came the cheek swab, for which I was given a special tooth-pick like device to scrape the tissue from the insides of both my cheeks. Cheek cells can be used to look at membrane fatty acid composition and researchers have identified specific essential fatty acids that track closely with carbohydrate processing, free radical stress, and fat utilization – all from your mouth!

These results are also not yet in, but based on the other data, promise to be fascinating.

Cheek swab.
Cheek swab.

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Step 9: Pre-Long Run Meal

This is a point in the study where things strayed a bit from what I actually expected. See, in a “normal” situation, if I knew I were going to be pounding the pavement or running on a treadmill or doing any other form of relatively demanding exercise for 3 hours, I’d have a hefty portion of fats a couple hours prior, such as my 1000 calorie ketogenic kale shake.

Like I mentioned earlier, even a lean human body like mine still has tens of thousands of storage calories of fat to burn – but that doesn’t mean I’m not a fan of mowing down a huge fatty shake, and I’ve actually made that a habit before big workouts.

Alas – prior to spending my personal record longest time on the treadmill, I received the following paltry 400 calorie smoothie, served out of a paper cup (ironically adorned with a Dunkin’ Donuts logo):

-1 strawberry
-1 tablespoon olive oil
-0.5 tablespoon walnut oil
-17g unflavored whey
-1 ounce heavy whipping cream
-2 ounces water

I sucked this pink aperitif down in a couple seconds flat, then waited a very long and nervous two hours to begin my 3 hour treadmill run.

Strawberry Smoothie

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Step 10: 3 Hour Treadmill Run

Now comes the fun part.

I must admit I was a bit apprehensive about running on a treadmill for 3 hours. Like most folks, I can run on one of those boring black belts for about 20 minutes before I feel like blowing my brains out.

And to make matters worse, the longest I’ve ever previously run on a treadmill is exactly 1 hour and 34 minutes.

In addition, I’m a “minimalist training” guy. This means I rarely train for more than 10 hours a week and rarely run for more than 60 minutes or more than twice a week, ever. Most of my Ironman triathlon “long runs” are 2 hours in length, and extremely few and far between.

So I experienced a series of emotions during my virgin foray into running while staring the blank white wall of a lab for 3 hours, including:

1. Elation and excitement. The journey has begun! It is time to become the ultimate lab rat!

2. Extreme boredom. Glancing at the clock. 7 minutes in. Damn. Must remember to avoid looking at the clock.

3. Extreme difficulty getting motivated to run again after stopping 30 minutes in for a blood measurement. Too bad I need to do 3 more of those during the run.

4. More boredom. Staring at the red square of tape on the wall and wondering why it’s there. Music and .mp3’s not helping.

5. Slight hunger pang as an intern walks into the room with a dozen donuts and two cups of coffee. Extreme avoidance of both carbs and caffeine seem to affect one’s appetite when extremely bored on a treadmill.

6. A sudden urge for a plasma screen TV and good movie at 1 hour and 30 minutes.

7. At the 2 hour mark, a realization I was far past 50%. Just 60 more minutes of chronic repetitive pounding.

8. A growing inability to avoid clock-watching. 2 hours and 9 minutes. Must stop looking at clock.

9. More elation and excitement. Close to 3 hours. Hope that my post-workout smoothie is bigger than 4 ounces.

10. Pride and relief. Three hours. 22 miles. Note the treadmill dashboard photo below to prove it.

The worst of it was two completely worn away toenails, some serious crotch chafing, and the constant throbbing on my quad’s biopsy wounds with each step. I’ve decided to spare you from having to view those photos.

My lovely view for 3 hours. Notice my orange urine container, just in case.
My lovely view for 3 hours. Notice my orange urine container, just in case.
Why is that red tape there? It filled my thoughts for hours.
Why is that red tape there? It filled my thoughts for hours.
Stopping for a blood draw.
Stopping for a blood draw.
Proof.
Proof.

Although the data on the run is going to be pouring in for weeks to come, I want to share some preliminary results with you in the photo and table below.

But first, a quick explanation of what you’re about to see.

In regards to fat oxidation during exercise, there are a huge number of papers that have examined fuel substrate use during exercise. Some of the more comprehensive work is by Asker Jeukendrup You’d be hard pressed to find any evidence that fat oxidation rates can be increased to anything above 1 gram per minute (g/min). Period. That is simply what scientific literature accepts as the top end of fat burning during exercise. And once again, it’s important to remember that all this literature and all these textbooks are based off studies on non-fat adapted athletes who did not eat a high-fat meal prior to exercise with no fuel during exercise.

So upon hopping on the treadmill while wearing the very same mask I wore during the resting metabolic rate test, I was naturally quite curious to see the amount of fat I was oxidizing after becoming fat-adapted by eating a high fat diet for 6 months and then a pre-run high fat meal.

And as you can see in the photos and table below:

-I consistently burnt far above 1g/min of fat during the entire run, and often went above 1.5g/min, which is unheard of (notice the -0.16 g/min carbs in the photo below…I was burning so much fat the carb count registered as negative)

-My RER during the 3 hour treadmill slog showed a fat burning level higher than most modern carb-consuming people burn at complete rest.

-During the majority of hard, sustained exercise, I was burning close to zero carbohydrates.

-I continued to burn nearly 100% fat and 0% carbohydrate for hours after the run.

In the words of Dr. Jeff Volek, the head researcher in the study who e-mailed me a brief synopsis a couple weeks after my run: “Even the weakest fat burners in our cohort are above this threshold, and in fact most are more than 50% higher.”

Consider the textbooks re-written.

Monitor

screenshot_757

You’ve already seen this graph earlier. I will once again highlight the RER column and the % fat column. My body is not really relying upon carbs while I’m exercising.

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Step 11: Post-Long Run Biopsy, Meal and RMR Test

One of the key components of this study was to do another muscle biopsy as soon as I finished running (to see how much muscle carbohydrate I burnt through) then feed me a complete replica of my tiny pre-run “Single Strawberry Smoothie”…

…and finally wait another 2 hours for a final biopsy and metabolic rest test to assess rate of muscle carbohydrate repletion and how my fat burning rates responded to that post-workout meal.

These post-run steps would answer three simple questions:

1) How much carbohydrate do you burn through during a long workout if you are fat adapted?

2) Do you replenish energy levels just as well if you are fat adapted?

3) If you’re fat adapted, how much fat do you burn as a fuel in the hours after you finish a workout?

As you can see from the table above, and as alluded to earlier, I continued to burn fat at an increasingly greater level for hours after the workout (see Post-60 min and Post 120-min rows, and then check out RER, %Fat and %CHO columns).

As expected, my post-long run meal certainly didn’t throw me out of fat burning mode. When the muscle biopsy results are in, we’ll see how rapidly that meal restored glycogen, and whether I burnt through much glycogen at all – although I did have a great hotel-room suspension strap training session before I hopped on the plane the next morning, and noticed no sluggishness or lack of energy.

Post-long Run Meal

—————————————

Step 12: Final Biopsy

Did my post-workout smoothie get absorbed any differently by following a high-fat protocol?

What kind of inflammation occurred in the muscle tissue? More or less by avoiding carbohydrates?

Was there truly evidence of increased fat oxidation on the muscular level?

The only way to find out would be to go back in for one third and final scalpel incision and needle biopsy. At this point, after pooping in a yogurt container, getting chunks of muscle and fat taken out of my thighs and butt, running three hours on a treadmill and give many, many tablespoons of blood, I was pleasantly numb to the pain.

I’ll prove it. Just look at my facial expression in the photo below.

Blood and Muscle Sample Extraction
Why not maximize productivity by giving blood and muscle samples simultaneously?

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Summary

As you can see from just the preliminary data and from Part 1 of this series, there is strong evidence that:

-Eating a high fat diet doesn’t make you fat.

-Eating a high fat diet can increase the amount of fat you burn as fuel at both rest and during exercise.

-Eating a high fat diet can allow you to exercise or function for longer periods of time while eating relatively few calories.

-Avoiding high carbohydrate intake improves health and doesn’t limit performance.

-Someone needs to tell the folks a UConn to get bigger smoothie cups.

From the muscle and fat biopsies to the urine and stool samples to the cheek tissue results, the data from the FASTER study at UConn will continue to pour in, and as it does, I will report back in the comments section below.

I’m also happy to reply to any questions you have about this lab test, the process of becoming fat-adapted, eating a high-fat diet, exercising with a low carbohydrate intake, or achieving improved body composition, better health, and superior performance by turning yourself into a fat-burning machine. Simply leave your thoughts, comments and feedback below…

…and if you really dig this stuff and want to learn more about exactly how to fuel, perform and recover with ideal ratios of carbohydrates, proteins and fats, read chapters 11 through 17 of my book “Beyond Training: Mastering Endurance, Health And Life”.

Rewriting The Fat Burning Textbook – Part 1: Why You’ve Been Lied To About Carbs And How To Turn Yourself Into A Fat Burning Machine.

Blood and Muscle Sample Extraction

Lying facedown on a cold, vinyl-plastered laboratory bench, I grimaced and squirmed uncomfortably as a medical technician yanked a giant biopsy needle out of my right quad – sucking nearly 200 milligrams of my precious muscle fibers out of my leg. 

I knew my left quad and both butt cheeks were next in line to get more of my living tissue brutally extracted, so I braced myself and prepared for the next sharp needle jab.

It’s not like uncomfortable self-experimentation is something new to me, but this scientific venture of muscle and fat biopsy was an even deeper dive into the pain cave than I’d experienced in the past…

…including the extensive bloodwork and biomarker testing I did to discover the damage that back-to-back triathlons on the most difficult course in the US do to the human body…

…the strict high-fat ketogenic state I followed for 12 consecutive weeks to see if it’s possible to race an Ironman triathlon in under 10 hours without eating carbohydrates (which made wandering past any halfway decent Italian restaurant incredibly difficult)…

…and my combination of cold thermogenesis, electrical stimulation, extreme isometrics, hypoxic training, and Chinese adaptogens to train at just 25% of the normal Ironman triathlon training volume.

For this latest experiment involving giant biopsy needles, I had ventured into one of America’s top human performance laboratories to hammer on a treadmill for 3 consecutive hours while measuring fat and carb oxidation, blood lactic acid, oxygen utilization, fat and muscle composition, blood glucose, insulin (and much more) to see how successful my efforts have been to hack my metabolic efficiency and train my body to become the ultimate fat burning machine.

And now, you’re about to read the story of how I discovered the human body’s true fat burning potential, how you can turn yourself into a fat burning machine, and why you’ve been lied to about carbs.

—————————————————————

Why You’ve Been Lied To About Carbs

Open any textbook on human performance, read any magazine article on workout nutrition or review any research produced by the world’s leading exercise and diet science institutes, and you’ll see the same two pieces of standard advice churned out with robotic-like repetition:

American-style-carbs-1024x745Standard Piece of Advice #1. Before any big workout days, eat seven to ten grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight daily for optimal performance. On any other days, eat five to seven grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight.

So how many carbs is that? Let’s do the math. 7-10 g/kg of carbohydrates is about 3-4.5 g/lb. So in the 24 hours before a heavy workout day, a 150 pound male would be advised to eat roughly 450-675g of carbs. And that’s 1800-2700 calories of carbs per day – the equivalent of 38-56 slices of bread. Or 17-25 bowls of cereal. Pick your poison.

And on any average day, even a non-workout day, you’d be advised to eat around 2-3 g/lb, or 300-450g of carbs. That’s 1200-1800 calories of carbs per day. So if you were eating a relatively typical 2500 calorie per day intake, you’d be looking at about 50-75% carbohydrate based diet.

Don’t believe me? Does 50-75% seem like too much to you? Sadly, this level of carbohydrate intake is status quo for the gold standard in athletes and exercise enthusiasts.

As a matter of fact, I frequently travel as a speaker, coach and athlete, and actually began writing this article from my bedroom at the IMG Sports Academy in Florida, where children and teenagers (along with recreational, collegiate and professional athletes) come to study and train. The facilities here are amazing and immaculate, and I’m physically sitting located about 100 yards away from the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI) (where I was exercising just this morning).

The GSSI is widely considered one of the world’s top go-to resources for cutting-edge exercise and nutrition science advice – which is probably why Gatorade vending machines dot the campus here, and the majority of the kids seem to be walking around campus with a never-ending big gulp-sized cup full of sports drink.

Anyways, here’s an excerpt on recommend carb intake from GSSI’s Sport Science Exchange Journal. Note that they actually go as high as TWELVE grams in this particular article:

“Adequate dietary carbohydrate is critical to raise muscle glycogen to high levels in preparation for the next day’s endurance competition or hard training session. Accordingly, during the 24 h prior to a hard training session or endurance competition, athletes should consume 7-12 g of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight. However, during the 24 h prior to a moderate or easy day of training, athletes need to consume only 5-7 g of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight.”

Here’s another excerpt from a different GSSI article:

“Soccer players’ diets, especially in the days before hard training or competition, should include 8-10 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight (3.5-4.5 g/lb). Cereals, fruits, vegetables, breads, and pastas are good sources of carbohydrates.”

Incidentally, a serving of Gatorade has about 25-35g of carbohydrates. Just sayin’.

OK, let’s move on to Standard Piece of Advice #2…

sugar in gatorade

Standard Piece of Advice #2. Ensure that during exercise, you keep your blood glucose levels evaluated by consuming the majority of those carbohydrates are from fast-burning carb sources such as sugary drinks, gels, and bars during both prolonged activity (like a long run) and also intense activity (like weight training).

For example, from this GSSI article:

“The advice for prolonged endurance events (2.5 h or longer) is an intake of 90 g of multiple transportable carbohydrates per hour. This advice is not expressed relative to body mass because body size/mass appears to play no major role in exogenous carbohydrate oxidation.”

So what the heck does “multiple transportable carbohydrates” mean? In most cases, this refers to the standard two primary ingredients you’ll see featured in just about every sport drink and energy gel on the face of the planet: a mix of fructose and maltodextrin sugars.

From another GSSI article:

“Given that there is no known detriment to consumption of a high-carbohydrate diet (other than body weight gain due to water retention) and some research reports a benefit, it is recommended that all athletes consume a high-carbohydrate training diet, i.e., at least 60-70% of energy as carbohydrate (7-10 g/kg), and increase this to 65-85% for the few days before competition. Use of a carbohydrate supplement before and during exercise will likely improve performance of intermittent, high-intensity sprints.”

The “no known detriment to consumption of a high-carbohydrate diet” part of that statement above is very damn disturbing. You’ll learn why in just a moment.

However, at the risk of appearing to be on a completely biased anti-Gatorade rant, and to drive home the point that a relatively enormous intake of carbohydrates is recommended for performance, I’ll also point out this anecdote from the “Nutrition And Athletic Performance” position statement from the American College of Sports Medicine:

“For events longer than 60 minutes, consuming 0.7 g carbohydrates·kg-1 body weight·h-1 (approximately 30-60 g·h-1) has been shown unequivocally to extend endurance performance. Consuming carbohydrates during exercise is even more important in situations when athletes have not carbohydrate-loaded, not consumed pre-exercise meals, or restricted energy intake for weight loss. Carbohydrate intake should begin shortly after the onset of activity; [and continue] at 15- to 20-min intervals throughout the activity.”

And from the International Olympic Committee’s “Consensus Statement on Sports Nutrition” for longer exercise efforts:

“To achieve the relatively high rates of intake (up to 90 grams/hour) needed to optimize results in events lasting longer than three hours, athletes should practice consuming carbohydrates during training to develop an individual strategy, and should make use of sport foods and drinks containing carbohydrate combinations that will maximize absorption from the gut and minimize gastrointestinal disturbances.”

Are you getting the feeling that the Holy Grail of nutrition for athletes seems to be to protect carbohydrate stores at all times?

You’d be right with that feeling.

The general argument for carbohydrate consumption goes something like this:

Physical or mental fatigue during workouts (or while you’re sitting at your office) is caused by the low blood glucose that occurs as your carbohydrate fuel tank approaches empty (also known as the infamous “bonk”, which is awesomely demonstrated in this funniest running cartoon I’ve ever seen). Because it is generally (and sadly) accepted as orthodox knowledge that the human body can’t burn fat as a reliable fuel source – especially when you’re exercising for long periods of time or at high intensities – nearly every shred of nutrition science is simply looking for ways to somehow increase the size of your carbohydrate fuel tank and hack the body to allow it to store more carbs or absorb carbs more quickly.

Ironically, these efforts to encourage sky-high levels of carbohydrate intake are continued despite the fact that even the leanest of people naturally have tens of thousands of calories of readily accessible storage fat.

In fact, most folks have enough stored body fat to fuel low level activity for days and days without running out of energy. For example, a 150 pound dude at a hot, sexy and ripped at 8% body fat still carries 12 pounds of storage fat – which at 3500 calories per pound of fat can easily liberate 42,000 calories of useable fuel for exercise. You’ve got those same thousands of calories sitting around your waist, abs, hip, butt and thighs – just sitting there, waiting to be burnt.

Yet, it’s still standard advice to eat Wheaties for breakfast, guzzle Gatorade during a hard workout and to down a sugary Jamba Juice as you walk out of the gym. And this is the message being preached worldwide to kids and adults by exercise nutritionists and scientific bastions of diet research. We accept this as status quo.

Just think about it: when was the last time you ate a Powerbar before a workout? Had a big smoothie before you hit the gym? Finished up a workout and dumped some kind of powder into your blender (check the label and you’ll probably see maltodextrin and/or fructose as primary ingredients)?

Now, there is absolutely no arguing with the fact that high carbohydrate intake before, during and after a workout can certainly improve performance. So sure – there is at least some logic to the standard recommendation that you should consume a diet which provides high carbohydrate availability before and during exercise.

But while carbohydrates can help you have a better workout, go faster, or go longer, this only applies to acute, in-the-moment performance. Once you take a look (which you’re about to do) at the long-term effects of chronic high blood sugar levels, things change drastically. If the damage that you’re above to discover is worth it to you, then you are either mildly masochistic or you value performance much more than health. Perhaps you fall into the category of Olympic athletes who would dope with damaging drugs, even if they knew it would kill them. However, if you desire a long, high-quality life, you don’t want to be a washed up ex-exerciser with diabetes, or you don’t want to experience joint, nerve and brain inflammation, damage and degradation, you may need to adjust your lens.

Your lens?

That’s right.

This all depends on the lens through which you view your body and value your health, and your own personal philosophy on performance vs. health.

So what is your lens? Are you chasing performance and a better body at all costs, or are you willing to entertain the idea of thinking outside the box and defying standard practice if it means that you can achieve the same or superior levels of performance, and a better body, but with superior long-term health implications?

Before we discover the answer to that question, let’s delve in and find out what happens if you actually listen to the standard advice to fuel your workouts with massive amounts of “healthy” carbohydrates.

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What Are The Dangers Of Eating Carbs?

highbloodsugar
Click here to read the full Life Extension Magazine article on blood sugar…

After living on a high-carb, junk-food diet and then switching to the high-protein, low-fat, low-carb diet, I’ve toyed and tinkered with a Paleo diet, a raw vegan diet, an Atkins diet, and a ketogenic diet.

And the #1 prevailing characteristic that defines how good or bad I feel on any of these diets is the amount of sugar and refined carbohydrates, regardless of any of parameters (e.g. milk vs. no milk, legumes vs. no legumes, etc.)

Turns out it’s not just me.

Every month, I review dozens of clients’ WellnessFX blood lab testing results, and the same pattern pops up over and over again: The higher the sugar and starch intake, the higher the blood triglycerides, the greater the inflammation, the worse the sleep, the more difficulty controlling body fat levels, and so on. Once relatively nutrient-void, fast-release carbohydrate sources such as energy bars, whole-wheat bread, granola, cereal, muesli, pasta, etc. are replaced with more nutrient-dense and healthy fats, moderate amount of proteins, and plenty of vegetables, blood biomarkers and performance quickly begin to take a turn for the good.

The bullet points below will help you understand the risks of consuming carbohydrate levels like “7-10g/kg” (if you want more details and studies behind some of these points, read this excellent article from the Life Extension Foundation).

-Cancer: Numerous studies have found that the risk for cancer increases with high blood sugar, which makes sense, since cancer cells feed primarily on glucose. This includes cancers of the endometrium, pancreas, and colon and colorectal tumors. Tim Ferriss recently hosted a fantastic article by Peter Attia about this very issue, and how ketosis may indeed be a potential cancer cure.

-Cardiovascular Disease: High blood sugar has been shown to increase the risk for cardiovascular events, cardiovascular disease, and cardiovascular mortality—while lower glucose levels result in lower cardio- vascular risk. Coronary artery disease risk has been shown to be twice as high in patients with impaired glucose tolerance, compared with pa- tients with more normal glucose tolerance. The risk for stroke increases as fasting glucose levels rise above 83 mg/dL. In fact, every 18 mg/dL in- crease beyond 83 results in a 27 percent greater risk of dying from stroke. Incidentally, glucose can “stick” to cholesterol particles and render these particles extremely dangerous from a heart health standpoint, which is why it’s all the more important to control blood sugar levels if you’re eating a “high-fat diet.”

-Cognitive Issues: High blood sugar results in cognitive impairment and dementia.

-Kidney Disease: Surges in blood sugar drive the production of fibrous kidney tissue and vascular complications in the kidneys, which can cause chronic kidney disease. There is a direct increase in chronic kidney disease as levels of hemoglobin A1c (a three-month “snapshot” of glucose control) rise.

-Pancreatic Dysfunction: The beta cells in the pancreas that produce the insulin to help control blood sugar become dysfunctional with high blood glucose, raising the risk for type 2 diabetes. Researchers have discovered that beta cell issues are detectable in people whose glucose levels spike two hours after eating, despite those levels staying within the range considered normal and safe by the medical establishment.

-Diabetic Retinopathy: Diabetic retinopathy is damage to the retina that can lead to blindness—and it is highly aggravated by high blood sugar.

-Nervous System Damage: It’s been shown that patients with neuropathy whose after-meal glucose readings were above the diabetic threshold sustained damage to their large nerve fibers. Even neuropathy patients whose glucose readings remained well within the normal range showed damage to their small nerve fibers. Studies have shown that within any blood sugar range, the higher the glucose, the greater the damage to nerve fibers.

I don’t know about you, but I find these risks pretty damn concerning. The fact is that I want to be around to play with my grandkids, and considering that my genetic testing with 23andme has revealed that I have a higher-than-normal risk for type 2 diabetes, I doubt that shoving more gooey gels and sugary sports drinks into my pie hole is going to do my health any favors. So if I can achieve similar levels of performance and body composition with carbohydrate restriction, I’m all in.

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Zach Greenfield
You may remember my brother Zach, who got this body eating a 70% fat based diet. Click here to read his story.

Fat Loss Benefits From Eating Fewer Carbs

But let’s say you have a hard time thinking 20 years ahead to your future health prospects.

Perhaps diabetes and joint degradation seem like a long way off to you, and it’s tough to get motivated by those vague concepts. You just want to rock your workouts, feel like a million bucks and look good naked – right now. In that case, there still a multitude of benefits to controlling blood sugar and lowering carbohydrate intake.

For example, a key component of safe and lasting fat loss is your capability to tap into your body’s own storage fat for energy. This access to fat cannot happen if your body is constantly drawing on carbohydrate reserves and blood glucose for energy. In the type of moderate- to high-carbohydrate diets you’ve learned are widely recommended by prevailing nutrition science, not only does the utilization of fat for energy become far less crucial (since you’re constantly dumping readily available sugar sources into your body), but your metabolism never becomes efficient at using fat. There is a growing body of evidence proving that a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet results in faster and more permanent weight loss than a low-fat diet. Furthermore, appetite satiety and dietary satisfaction significantly improve with a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that includes moderate protein.

A study in the Journal of Applied Physiology showed that people who do twice-a-day workouts, but defy standard nutrition recommendations by not eating for two hours after the first session (thus depleting carbohydrate stores with the first session) experienced a better ability to burn fat (with no loss in performance) compared with a group that trained only once a day and ate carbohydrates afterward.

Another study, described in detail in this excellent article series on high fat diets for cyclists, deprived participants of carbohydrates then subjected them to high-intensity interval training on a bicycle – and showed better fat burning and an increase in the enzymes responsible for fat metabolism, again with no loss of performance.

And biochemistry research shows that when carbohydrate stores are depleted by almost 50 percent (e.g. by doing a workout without eating carbohydrates), there is increased stimulus for enhanced enzyme activity in skeletal muscle – which is a good thing, since it means that you can more efficiently produce ATP energy from fat calories.

If you want even more good news about carbohydrate restriction and enhanced fat burning, then read “The Art & Science of Low Carb Living”, which delves into even more thoroughly into low-carb fat-burning research and practical tips. That book happens to be co-authored by Dr. Jeff Volek – the same researcher who put me through the brutal treadmill protocol you’ll read about in just a bit.

And should you just want to look good naked, you can check out this article featuring my brother Zach Greenfield (pictured above) or you can click on any of these photos of my ketogenic, high-fat, low-carb bodybuilding friend Chaz Branham, 13 weeks into his high-fat, low-carb diet.

photo 5 photo 3 photo 1 photo 4  photo 2

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Performance Benefits From Eating Fewer Carbs

But the benefits of going low carb don’t stop at fat loss.

For example, in trained people and athletes who eat a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet (not to be confused with a low-carbohyrate, high-protein diet), a large amount of fat burning can take place at intensities well above 80 percent maximum oxygen utilization (VO2 max) – allowing for very-high-intensity or long efforts with low calorie intake and also allowing for use of fat fuel stores during long steady-state exercise, even at a relatively fast pace (so much for the “fat burning zone” giving you the best bang for your buck). With high-fat, low-carb intake, you can go hard and still burn tons of fat. In addition, this means that more carbohydrate stores will be available when you really need them, such as for an all-out, 100%, maximum effort.

You also get incredible gains in metabolic efficiency when you use fat as a primary source of fuel – especially when doing high-intensity interval training – with this one-two combo causing potent 3–5 percent decreases in the oxygen cost of exercise, which is extremely significant. Translated into real- world numbers, this increased fat utilization from carbohydrate restriction and high-intensity interval training would allow you to pedal a bicycle at a threshold of 315 watts, whereas a high-carbohydrate, aerobic-only program (the way most people train) would allow for only 300 watts. Talk to any cyclist and you’ll find out that an 15 extra watts of power is huge in a sport like cycling, and something most cyclists train years and years to achieve..

A high-fat diet also trains your body to burn even more fat during exercise, even at high intensities. Fat is released faster and in greater amounts from your storage adipose tissue and transported more quickly into your muscles and mitochondria. Your muscles also store more energy as fat and use this fat-based fuel more efficiently and quickly. Even more interestingly, a high-fat diet can cause a shift in the gene expression that codes for specific proteins that increase fat metabolism – and create very similar adaptations to exercise itself. So the mere act of shifting primary fuel intake from carbohydrates to fat begins to make you more “fit”, even if you’re not exercising.

And guess what else?

This benefit surprised me when I first discovered it, but eating fewer carbohydrates during a workout can actually help you recover from workouts faster. The repair and recovery of skeletal muscle tissue is dependent on the “transcription” of certain components of your RNA. And a bout of endurance exercise combined with low muscle-carbohydrate stores can result in greater activation of this transcription. In other words, by training in a low-carbohydrate state, you train your body to recover faster.

But sadly, whether due to government subsidy of high carb foods like corn and grain, funding from big companies like Gatorade and Powerbar, our sugar-addicted Western palates, or the constant (unfounded) fear mongering about saturated fats and heart disease, the type of research that shows these fat-burning and performance benefits of carbohydrate restriction simply get shoved under the rug.

In addition, most studies that compare carbohydrate utilization with fat utilization fail to take into account the fact that full “fat adaptation” that allows you to gain all the benefits of using fat as a fuel actually takes time – often more than four weeks – and up to a couple years. But since most studies that compare fat and carbohydrate burning are short-term, you rarely see the benefits of this kind of fat adaptation actually fleshed out in research. Instead, the average research participant begins the study in a non-fat adapted state, gets either a high fat or high carb diet, then launches into exercise. But in an ideal study, that person would have followed either a high-fat or high-carb diet for many months before getting their fat burning capability investigated.

So the textbooks and the nutrition science recommendations stick to the standard two pieces of advice you learned about earlier, and continue to preach that to be a good exerciser, to get maximum performance and to optimize your workouts, you need to be a complete carbaholic.

But what if this wasn’t true?

What if we could prove that eating a low-carb, high-fat diet for a long time, becoming fat-adapted and even avoiding carbohydrates during the one time when we’re most encouraged to consume carbohydrates (during exercise)…

…could actually turn you into a fat-burning machine without losing a shred of performance capability or causing any metabolic damage?

That, my friends, would rewrite the fat-burning textbooks.

Let’s find out if it can be done…

Tune in tomorrow to delve into Part 2, which will feature the nitty-gritty lab testing steps, the mildly disturbing photos, and the shocking results that are now rewriting the fat burning textbooks. You can click here to subscribe to my free newsletter to get an instant e-mail notification when that article is released…

…in the meantime, leave your questions, comments and feedback below and I promise to reply.

How To Easily Get Your Blood Tested Without Spending Tons of Money or Visiting A Fancy Longevity Institute.

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It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of getting your blood tested, even if it’s just once a year.

After all, if you don’t know what’s going on inside your body, you have no clue how your foods, supplements, exercise or anything
else you’re doing for your health is truly affecting you, your heart, your gut, or your hormones.

But until the past few years, accurate blood testing was only something the “elite rich” in America could get (lucky folks!) by spending 10,000 dollars or more, plus an airplane ticket, a posh hotel room, and lots and lots of time spent sitting in a doctor’s office.

However, with new technology, you can get these same fancy tests,without forking over tons of cash or visiting some fancy longevity institute.

Seriously. You can drive to a lab a few miles from your house, get tested in 5 minutes, and have the results in your email a couple days later.

How?

You can simply check out any of the tests below, and if you have questions about how to to do the tests, or which ones I recommend, you can just comment below and I will personally respond to help you (I promise). There are also some really helpful FAQ’s on lab testing here.

-Hormone Test (check on your testosterone, cortisol and much more)

 

-Thyroid Test (find out if thyroid issues are affecting your metabolism)

 

-Nutrient Test (see if you have hidden nutrient deficiencies)

 

-Blood Sugar Test (see how your diet is truly affecting sugar and fat)

 

-Cardiovascular Test (check on whether you have hidden heart issues)

 

-Wellness Complete test (all those tests above in one big mighty test)

The reason I’m writing this is to help you fix things like digestion, sleep, hormones or a sluggish metabolism…

…and it is very, very cool that anybody can do stuff like this now. Again, let me know in the comments section below if you have any questions and I’m happy to help.*

*These tests are offered in 46 of the 50 states in the U.S. They are not yet offered in New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island or Maryland. So either drive across the state line or wait a few months until these tests are available where you live!

The Sweet Potato Sex Link – The 10 Best Foods and Supplements For Your Love Life.

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I’m well aware of the fact that over 60% of the visitors to this website are women! But ladies, don’t stop reading… 

…because even though my friend Jordan Harbinger from “The Art of Charm” penned the article below primarily for guys, you can verifiably guarantee a good bit of future physical pleasure if you print or bookmark this article and send it over to the main man in your life.

And of course, you are also going to learn a thrilling new fact about sweet potatoes.

Sound good?

Take it away, Jordan!

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The 10 Best Foods and Supplements For Your Sex Life

What if I told you that there were foods that would help you meet women or make the woman in your live physically happier?

It’s a fact.

From the latest findings in neuroscience and sociobiology to nutrition and even physics, there is a scientific basis that underpins attraction and aspiration to become a better man.

Lately I’ve been doing some research into which foods and supplements are going to help out your sex life, whether it’s out at a bar or club or in the bedroom, and I’m now proud to share this information with you.

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1. Strawberries

Let’s start out with a personal favorite of mine, strawberries. I eat pounds and pounds of these every week because they’re delicious, but the good news is that they’re also good for your sex life. Yes, yes, fructose can potentially make you gain weight, but just time these bad boys after your workout and you’ll be good to go.

The reason strawberries are going to give you better sex is because strawberries help out with good circulation. If you really want to boost the libidinous properties of strawberries, you can of course try dipping them in dark chocolate, which contains methylxanthines - and these components make your body extra sensitive – every part.

Finally, for guys who are looking for more out of sex than just a roll in the hay, strawberries are loaded with Vitamin C, which can increase your sperm count.

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2. Korean Red Panax Ginseng

Here’s one that’s pretty specific, even though I don’t think Ben Greenfield has actually talked about ginseng too much before. You don’t just want any ginseng. You want a good, high quality Korean red panax ginseng. This is going to increase your testosterone production and reduce prolactin.

Testosterone doesn’t just increase your sex drive. It also has you feeling more motivated and confident, both of which are great for going out, meeting women and carrying yourself in a manner that’s going to increase your success rate with them.

For men with performance issues, it’s well documented that a ginseng supplement is going to help you out. One study showed that 60 percent of men taking 900 milligrams thrice daily for eight weeks had stronger and longer erections.

No matter why you want the boost you’re going to get, there’s no question that this is a good one to add to your daily libido-enhancing supplement list. You don’t have to take it every day. Just like many supplements, you can just pop 1000-2000mg of this 30-60 minutes prior to sex.

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3. Almonds

This is another go-to snack food for me. I like them raw, roasted, salted, unsalted, whatever. I can just eat tons of these – even though I think Ben would probably make me soak or sprout them or something like that. So what are the benefits for your sex life?

Zinc, first and foremost. Men’s Health called zinc “the ultimate sex mineral.” It’s great for your short-term sexual well-being as well as your long-term libido. One of the big reasons is that it aids in production of testosterone. In fact, a big chunk of men experiencing low testosterone levels are in fact suffering from lowered levels of zinc. So grab a handful of almonds.

Another reason to eat almonds: selenium. This is another one that’s going to increase your sperm production. So if you’re a guy looking to start a family, make sure you start snacking on almonds and strawberries.

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4. Fish Oil

Fish oil is a natural way to get Omega-3 fatty acids. It combats depression by increasing your brain’s sensitivity to serotonin.

Depression can cause erectile dysfunction. More frequently, however, we meet men here at The Art of Charm who say they have trouble going out because they’re too bummed. There are a lot of ways to deal with depression, including exercise, sunshine and Vitamin D supplements.

But one of the most common reasons for depression that’s easily fixable is a dearth of Omega-3. Getting yourself a healthy daily dose of fish oil can mean all the difference between another Friday night sitting on the couch and the best Friday night of your life.

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5. Sweet Potatoes

Ah – the moment you’ve been waiting for. I generally go out of my way to avoid eating too many starchy forms of carbs, but the one place where I make exceptions is with sweet potatoes. Not only are they less starchy than regular potatoes, but they’re also great for combatting high blood pressure.

What’s blood pressure go to do with sexual health? Well, high blood pressure is one of the most common causes of erectile dysfunction. The reason sweet potatoes lower your blood pressure is because they’re loaded with potassium. This helps your kidneys eliminate excess levels of sodium, which in turn lowers your blood pressure.

So go indulge in some sweet potatoes in moderation (and those tasty items in the photo above are sweet potato wedges with thyme goat cheese)

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6. Vitamin E

Vitamin E has actually been called the “sex vitamin.” One reason is that it helps to produce male sex hormones, namely testosterone. As stated above, testosterone is for things other than just getting your libido up. It also makes you more confident and outgoing, which makes it perfect for guys who are having trouble with both.

You can grab Vitamin E from supplements or get it from foods like almonds (another great reason to eat them), spinach, sunflower seeds, avocados, olive oil and broccoli. So chow down on that big E before you head out hang out with your woman or head out to the club and you’re guaranteed to get a boost.

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7. Sesame Seeds

You can have some tahini. You can toast them. You can sprinkle them on salad. You can even make cool raw sesame seed bars that are basically a healthy alternative to rice krispie treats. However you choose to eat them, just make sure that you’re eating sesame seeds.

Sesame seeds are another great way to get yourself some zinc. Zinc is the reason that your dad and granddad used to eat oysters. But really, who wants to eat oysters? Sesame seeds are way better and you can pound them down a lot easier.

If you’re looking for a way to snack and make it count toward your sexual and romantic food budget, sesame seeds are a great way to make it happen.

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8. Watermelon

I know, I know. I’m being really hard on you, making you eat all these strawberries and sesame seeds. It’s about to get worse: I’m about to recommend that you start chowing down on watermelon for its phytonutrients.

Phytonutrients like lycopene, citrulline and beta carotene are great for the male libido. This is because they relax the blood vessels in a manner similar to that most famous of male libido enhancer, Viagra. Watermelon is also loaded with water, so you can bump up your hydration at the same time.

And no, watermelon is not a big sugar worry. It has a super low “glycemic load”.

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9. Skin Foods

It’s a proven fact that women are attracted to men with good skin.

So how do you get good skin with your food ? Sweet potatoes, which we already talked about, are not only good for blood pressure, but also great for your skin. Squash is good for the skin and gives you a boost of the Vitamin E I mentioned earlier. Apricots, carrots and other fruits and veggies that are chock full of beta carotene will give you that youthful glow. Lycopene, found in grapefruit and tomatoes, also help you to have healthy skin.

Getting the right food for your skin is a wonderful way to get women noticing you when you head out for the night. Of course many of us know Ben Greenfield dirty little anti-aging secret – he smears olive oil on his face before he heads out for a big night on the town. And trust me – he glows with youth.

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10. A Good Multivitamin

You’re never going to have a good romantic and sex life if your body isn’t firing on all cylinders. You’re going to need a multivitamin to make that happen, and of course, Ben wrote a rather epic post on multivitamins just last week. Just don’t skimp when it comes to your multivitamin - as Ben says, go for something good, preferably made out of real absorbable ingredients, and not just chemicals that give you expensive pee.

So what are you waiting for? Go grab some almonds and strawberries, chug some fish oil, mow down on a sweet potato, smear a bunch of olive oil on your face, and then get your girl!

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Jordan Harbinger is a Wall Street lawyer turned Social Dynamics expert and coach.  He is the co-founder of The Art of Charm, a dating and relationships coaching company.  If you’re interested in The Art of Charm residential programs, apply for a strategy call with a coach.  You can also interact with Jordan on Facebook or Twitter.

And that’s it! I’m sure you’ll love how you feel after you begin incorporating these tips from Jordan, and look for Jordan to appear as a podcast guest on the BenGreenfieldFitness podcast very, very soon! Finally, leave your questions, comments or feedback about these 10 best foods and supplements below.

Ketosis Dangers: How To Maximize the Nutrient Density of a Low Carb Diet.

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I don’t think it’s any secret that I often have a giant, fat-filled, “ketogenic kale shake” for breakfast…

…and sometimes not just for breakfast, but multiple times during the day, especially on busy days. Heck, there’s been occasional days where I have had a shake for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

You’ll need a powerful blender for this one. Take a couple large handfuls of kale (preferably dinosaur kale that’s been lightly steamed and drained), and toss the kale into the blender. Then add a handful of raw almonds, 3-5 raw brazil nuts (purchased in the shell, like this), 1/2-1 avocado, a teaspoon cinnamon, 1-2 tablespoons dark chocolate powder and 4-6oz full fat coconut milk (preferably the BPA free variety like this). I’ll often also add in a handful of fresh herbs (i.e. mint, cilantro, parsley, oregano, etc. – which are fantastic for cleansing the gut and liver too).

Then push blend.

After 30-60 seconds of pulverizing, you can stir in 1-2 heaping scoops grass-fed, cold-processed whey or vegan protein powder and for a bit of added texture (yes, I like to chew my smoothie for better nutrient absorption), 1 teaspoon sea salt (I highly recommend this Aztecan stuff), and a handful of unsweetened coconut flakes with a tablespoon or two of organic cacao nibs.

It tastes magical.

And this recipe has never ripped me out of ketosis – despite it being a good 800-1000 calories if you make a big one! Here’s a video of me punishing the process of gracefully making a variation of that Ketogenic Kale Shake.

Now that shake is certainly a good example of a high-fat, low-carb meal that keeps you in ketosis – and I discuss the benefits of ketosis in Chapter 14 of my book “Beyond Training. But perhaps more importantly, the shake is also extremely nutrient dense, a characteristic of low-carb meals that is often lost in an era of simply guzzling MCT Oil or  consuming insane amounts of heavy cream and butter.

6_1_07_chairLack of nutrient density is one serious danger of ketosis, and my guest on today’s podcast is going to explain why that is, tell you the best way to achieve ketosis, and also give you the best nutrient dense foods that you must include on a ketogenic diet if you truly want to optimize your vitamins, minerals, nutrients, micronutrients and hormones.

Her name is Dr. Terry Wahls.

Dr. Wahls is a board certified internal medicine physician and clinical professor of medicine at the University of Iowa, where she teaches internal medicine residents in their primary care continuity of care clinics, sees patients in a traumatic brain injury clinic and conducts clinical trials.

But she is also a patient with a chronic progressive neurological disorder – secondary progressive multiple sclerosis – which confined her to a tilt-recline wheelchair for four years. But during this time, Dr. Wahls did not give up.

Instead she began reading the medical literature night after night, looking for her own answers about what drove disability in the setting of MS. She delved into the latest research on autoimmune disease and brain biology, and decided to get her vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids from the food she ate rather than pills and supplements.

Dr. Wahls adopted a nutrient-rich Paleo diet, gradually refining and integrating it into a regimen of rich nourishing foods, neuromuscular stimulation, and the spin on a ketogenic diet that you’re going to discover in this podcast.

bicycle And amazingly, she healed herself.

First, she walked slowly, then steadily, and then she biked eighteen miles in a single day. In November 2011, Dr. Wahls shared her remarkable recovery in this “Minding Your Mitochondria” TEDx talk that immediately went viral. Now, in her new book  “The Wahl’s Protocol“, Terry shares the exact details of the protocol that allowed her to reverse many of her symptoms, get back to her life, and embark on a new mission: to share the her protocol with others suffering from the ravages of multiple sclerosis and autoimmune and chronic diseases, but also people who simply want to maximize their performance, health and longevity.

During our interview, you’ll find out:

-The science of why ketosis works for things like nervous system disorders, improving physical endurance, or healing the body.

-How Terry used a ketogenic diet during her healing journey.

-Why Terry need to modify the ketogenic diet, and what some of the potential dangers of a ketogenic diet actually are.

-A “day in the life” of nutrient dense eating for ketosis.

-The most important things to measure if you’re going to do ketosis.

Resources from this episode:

-The Wahl’s Protocol book

-MCT Oil

-Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

-Green Pastures Fermented Cod Liver Oil or SuperEssentials (which has fish liver oil in it).

-Metametrix Ion Panel from DirectLabs

-Fasted, fat-burning, ketogenesis expert and nutritionist Barry Murray, who was interviewed in this podcast episode and is now a nutrition consultant and coach for Pacific Elite Fitness! You can hire Barry for a consult or for coaching or consulting by clicking here. He specializes in fasting, endurance exercise, low-carb, high-fat protocols and ketosis.

-My Premium podcast episode: “Insider Pro Athlete Nutrition Consult with Ben Greenfield”. In this Premium episode, you get to sit in and hear me analyze the diet of a professional athlete I work with. Click here to go Premium for $9.99/year.

If you have questions, comments or feedback about how to maximize the nutrient density of a ketogenic diet, then leave your thoughts below!

wahls_protocol jacket 8.20.2013

Easy, Step-By-Step Instructions To Ruin Your Thyroid.

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Hey, I’ve got good news today!

You know that tiny, butterfly-shaped gland sitting inside your throat?

Yes, yes – the one responsible for the metabolism of literally every cell in your body…

Well, I’ve personally cracked the code on how to absolutely ***destroy*** it.

Yes, by combining lots of cardio, some hard weight training, a busy work life, cutting sleep here and there, eating quick meals, and using a few other  techniques I’ll explain to you in just a moment, I’ve managed to do a real number on my precious little thyroid gland.

Ouch.

According to my lab results, it’s gotten low enough to screw my metabolism for a really long time, unless I do some things to reverse it NOW (all reversal steps are here – but I digress).

So how did I manage to ruin my thyroid? Below are the step-by-step, easy-to-use instructions, just in case you want to ruin your thyroid too, or you’re curious if you already have:

Thyroid Destruction Step 1: Do some really hard or long exercise.

What counts?

-Back-to-back days of weightlifting, Crossfit, or hard heart pumping sessions
-“Junk” miles while running or biking at the same ho-hum tempo pace, day after day.
-A 2-3 hour run nearly every weekend while training for your next marathon.
-Limited recovery days and for heaven’s sake, zero recovery weeks.

After all, you’ll go nuts if you don’t get a chance to go to the pain cave every day!

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Thyroid Destruction Step 2: Don’t go out of your way to eat grandpappy foods.

What the heck are “grandpappy” foods? That’s right: foods your ancestors would’ve recognized, like:

-Bone marrow, bone broth, and nourishing foods like liver.
-Wild-caught fish, pastured pork, natural eggs, and grass-fed beef.
-Fermented goodies like kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha and miso.
-Lots and lots of very, very dark vegetables and fruits.

How inconvenient. Our silly weird granpappies.

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Thyroid Destruction Step 3: Avoid natural thyroid-supporting nutrients at all costs.

Yes, please, please, please do not eat:

-Seaweed, nori, kelp or dulse for iodine.
-Brazil nuts, oysters or shellfish for selenium.
-Aloe juice, coconut oil, or boiled ginger for gut thyroid conversion.

These foods are hard to open and/or strange to eat. Avoid them.

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So, once you’ve done (or already done) everything above, how will you know if you’ve actually succeeded in destroying your thyroid?

Well, here are your best clues (and exactly what I personally experienced):

-You feel fatigued. No matter how much you sleep – if you can sleep.

-You get brain fog, just like clockwork – every afternoon. Sluuuugish.

-You get moody. You snap. Then you get depressed. Then anxious. And repeat…all day long.

-Your digestion slows down. Let the gas and bloating ensue! Maybe constipation too.

-Your skin gets kinda dry. A little hair falls out. Wounds don’t heal as fast. Aging ensues.

-And most frustratingly, it gets harder to burn fat, especially on your belly and butt.

Sound familiar?

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OK, OK, I’ll stop. YES, I am being extremely sarcastic here.

There is no way in heck you would EVER want to destroy your thyroid.

It would make you fat, undermine all your workouts, and take years off your life.

Yet, day after day I speak to athletes and exercise enthusiasts around the globewho have done just that. And trust me, the doctors are *not* doing the right tests to figure out if you actually need help. But it’s a real epidemic. And frustrating for you.

Fortunately, you CAN fix this. And you can do it on your own, without lots of money or fancy medication. I did. And I tell you exactly how in my video presentation:

“How Exercise Destroys Your Thyroid and Exactly What You Can Do About It”.

It’s an easy choice. You can wait until your body starts to fall apart like mine did, or you can get what you need to know NOW to have a shiny, happy, chuggin’ along little thyroid gland for the rest of your life.Leave your questions, comments and feedback below, and here’s hoping you enjoyed my frisky, tongue-in-cheekiness.

2 Crucial Questions To Ask Yourself About Any Food You Eat.

I was recently talking to my friend Tai Lopez on the phone.

He said, “How do you decide if you’ll eat a food or not?”

I said, “Tai, I’m not Paleo. I’m not Vegan. As a matter of fact, I don’t follow any special diet…

…but instead, I simply ask myself 2 crucial questions about any food I eat: is it nutrient dense and is it digestible?”

Take quinoa for example. It’s a grass. Or a grain, or a pseudograin, depending on who you ask. Whatever. Regardless, it’s very nutrient dense.

But lots of people don’t eat quinoa. As another friend of mine, Vinnie Tortorich says, “F*&k quinoa”.

Why? Because quinoa is coated with saponins – a nasty digestive irritant that makes quinoa far more likely to resist digestion, be pooped out by whatever animal eats it, and propagate it’s seed elsewhere.

Smart stuff.

But I personally eat quinoa. Just the other day I had a nice quinoa salad with goat cheese, flax seeds and olive oil and Medjool dates.

This is because I render quinoa digestible by soaking it overnight in a water and salt mixture, then rinsing the water-soluble saponins off in the morning. Voila! Now it’s not just nutrient dense, but digestible too! Silly quinoa, I’m smarter than you.

On the other hand, take sugar cane, the world’s most harvested crop. Digestible? Highly. Nutrient dense? Not so much – at least compared to things like quinoa, kale, wild caught fish, eggs or blueberries. So I mostly skip that one.

You too should ask yourself those 2 crucial questions about any food you eat: is it nutrient dense, and is it digestible? I get into far more nitty-gritty details in Chapter 11 of my new book “Beyond Training: Mastering Endurance, Health & Life“, but for now, use the guide to 40 easy meals below to get you started down the road of nutrient density and digestibility.

Enjoy, and leave your questions, comments and feedback below – along with scrolling to the end of this post to see how you can win over $5000 in free swag when you grab my new book.

Beyond Training diet

What do you think? Do you eat any of these meals? Leave your questions, comments and feed (ha!) back below.

And just as importantly, did you get your copy of Beyond Training yet?

If so, click here to go leave a review on Amazon. Don’t worry – I don’t expect you to have poured thoroughly through all 480 pages yet. But a quick nice thing about the book and 5 stars is damn good Karma – and the sneaky little trick is that if you’re signed into your Amazon account you can go review the book even if you didn’t buy it on Amazon.

If you didn’t get the book yet, what are you waiting for? Your last chance to collect $5000 of swag expires tomorrow. Get all details here.

The Ultimate Superfood You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

liquid-marine

You’ve probably never heard of it.

It’s at the very bottom of the food chain.

Yet it feeds over 99% of all ocean life and supports 100% of all life on the face of the planet.

If this unique superfood ceased to exist, life on Earth would rapidly die off.

According to NASA research, it is responsible for producing up to 90% of the Earth’s oxygen… (compare this to a mature tree which only creates enough oxygen for two human beings)…

Its main “job” is to turn inorganic raw material (like seawater, minerals, sunlight and CO2) into over 100′s of living edible, organic nutrients…(This includes vitamins, bioavailable minerals, all amino acids, essential fatty acids, carotenoids and more)…

marine phytoplanktonNow – imagine how you would react when you put just one dose (a total of 170 billion cells in a single dropper) of this superfood into your body. You’re about to find out.

This stuff is marine phytoplankton, and in today’s interview with Activation Products CEO and Founder Ian Clark, you’ll discover:

-What is marine phytoplankton?

-What type of nutrients are in phytoplankton?

-Aren’t the oceans polluted, and how can you eat phytoplankton without getting this pollution?

-What about bioavailability issues with phytoplankton?

-Are there different species of phytoplankton, and some type that is best?

-How is this stuff harvested?

-And much more.

During the interview, Ian mentions a discount on the Ocean’s Alive Marine Phytoplankton. Just click here and use code “GREENFIELD10″ for a 10% discount. Enjoy, and leave your questions, comments and feedback below!