Seven Mental and Social Hacks For Staying Slim This Holiday Season.

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One solution to holiday feasting is to simply take the Spartanesque route and consume oodles of sparkling water and gum while avoiding the caloric excess altogether.

To me, that doesn’t sound like much fun. And I certainly do my fair share of eating and drinking during the holiday season.

But at the same time, we could all use a little help ensuring that the body fat doesn’t get too high by the first week of January. After all, who wants to spend the entire first month of the year battling the bulge? So in today’s guest post by author Abby Maroko, you’re going to get seven mental and social hacks to staying slim this holiday season. Enjoy, and leave your comments, questions and thoughts below the post!

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As athletes and exercisers, we are strongly connected to our bodies and physical pursuits. So of course, when the winter holidays roll around, gaining weight – especially in the form of fat, can pose a giant concern.

For others of you, you might be worried about gaining weight causing depression and/or guilt, which can drain your motivation and become all consuming, leading to skipped workouts.

I don’t want to let the fear of gaining weight eat away at you, or myself. There is too much fun to be had – and too much mingling and bonding to do, to be spending this precious time of cheer staring at your plate in indecision.

Thanksgiving is behind us, but we have a whole holiday season ahead. That is a lot of days and a lot of opportunities to eat, especially if you are hibernating inside and spending too much time in the kitchen. You are going to need a bulletproof plan to ensure that you maintain the physique you desire and the one that is conducive to your fitness goals and overall happiness over the rest of the Winter holiday season.

This is not a guide to dropping pounds. I do not encourage you to set that goal over the holidays. A more realistic goal is to maintain your body weight and physique.

In this article, I give you a look inside my arsenal of mental and social hacks for keeping your body tight, and, free from binge and overindulgence regret, keeping your happiness high this holiday season. They are an amalgamation I’ve strewn together from my expertise as a personal trainer, lifelong athlete, health coach, and student of psychology. If you’re an athlete, your athletic experiences will help you better assimilate these tips, because I use the terminology of sport and competition that only people with a seriously vested interest in their health and fitness will understand. Oh, and don’t worry, this list of tactics is a guilt-free spread, so dig in.

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1.  Go The Distance: From Your Kitchen.

What I mean: In the most respectful way, LEAVE YOUR KITCHEN when you are done eating (a later tip will help you decide when exactly you are done). As registered dietician Keri Gans advises in her weight-loss and weight-maintenance book, The Small Change Diet: 10 Steps to a Thinner, Healthier You, short-circuit nighttime eating by simply leaving the very environment which is taunting you, your kitchen. She jokes that nothing good happens in the kitchen after 10 pm. Definitely mostly true, unless you are naughty ;).

Your call to action: Step away from the leftover heaps of stuffing and pitchers of eggnog. If your friends and family are still in the kitchen, leave and take the conversation into another room with you. If it is the days after the big meal, don’t hang out in the kitchen where all the remnants are stored. When you leave behind the food, you also leave behind the desire to eat it, which can get mixed up with boredom or be unconsciously practiced out of poor habit or social mirroring, aka doing what those around you are doing, which, again, is something you don’t think much about (‘monkey see, monkey do’, especially when you are distracted by conversation.

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2.  Dissociate and distract yourself from food.

What I mean: This should be no problem for you. You are already well practiced with these strategies.
When physical discomfort rises during a workout, race, or event, you shift your focus to your mind with tricks like mantras. And, over a long training period/cycle, when you are wobbling from a long bike ride and your quads are tender to the touch, you utilize your mind by distracting yourself with activities like reading, again, to take your mind off of the pain.

You will make the same transition–from body to mind, just with food, to tackle your holiday race.
Indulging in cravings is a visceral, or gut (pun intended), action–meaning it is rooted in your body. Your blood boils and your eyes pop out when you see a gooey piece of cake on the counter.

Your call to action: Transfer the heat in your fingertips to your mind by engaging in an activity other than eating when you are finished eating. Call a friend. Read a book. Do you like to play an instrument? Do a spontaneous jam session. The holidays grant you the opportunity to do things your busy life doesn’t otherwise allow for. Take advantage of the free time and do something that doesn’t involve ingesting calories.

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3.  Work the preemptive cheat.

What I mean: Like it sounds, a ‘preemptive cheat’ is a planned indulgence. You eat something tasty when the craving hits. You eat a reasonable portion of the ‘cheat’ to prevent eating a gargantuan amount later. If you enjoy sweets, you would have a piece of chocolate before your sweet tooth totally rages. Why? The rubber band effect is at play. The harder and longer you restrict yourself, the bigger and stronger your desire pushes back. The result? You are way more likely to come crashing down from perfection into a full-fledged binge.

This tip stems from Jill Coleman, MS, owner of JillFit physiques, a health and wellness brand where she does nutrition, fat loss, and mindset coaching. A former physique competitor, she takes pride in her body and values staying lean and muscular. She is able to do this while having nibbles and tastes of semi-unhealthy or taboo foods on a regular basis, and it has worked to avert sabotage of fat loss for many of her clients. The preemptive cheat will also protect your mood, because nobody feels good after a giant binge session.

Your call to action: At your big holiday meals (Christmas, Channukah, Kwanza, whatever else you may celebrate) this year, seize the moment and eat one food or taste one dish that looks good to you when it is served. Eat it when your taste buds are yanking at your tongue for it.

This one might be the hardest one to wrap your mind around and muster up the courage to employ, because I am asking you to indulge in something you ban every other day of the year. Something you consider ‘a treat’. You don’t want to feel like you are cheating, either.

Here is my advice to you on this: reframe this as a splurge instead of a cheat. You are breaking zero rules except the ones you place on yourself. And if you are too fixated on the cheat thing, make it your guiding goal to just be nice to yourself. You put enough wear and tear on your bodies and minds every day of the year in training, and opening up this little window to splurge will reinvigorate you by giving you a break from the pressure and grind.

Strive for imperfection. Veer outside of your diet lane.

Do exactly the opposite of what you do in training, or what you are forced to do on your recovery days, and loosen the gears of your eating mindset. Be less restrictive now so you don’t come crashing down later.

Disclaimer: If you are an all-or-nothing thinker, portion sizing probably is not your thing, and this strategy will be unappealing to you. No problem. Leave it behind, and focus on strategies 1 and 2. There is plenty of ammo there to shoot down the threat of gaining weight. If you are one to attack leftovers like a behemoth, the preemptive cheat is a match for you.

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4.  Play the “What Am I Thankful For?” Game

What I mean: Thanksgiving has obviously passed, but this strategy is so powerful that we are going to carry it over from Turkey Day to the rest of the holiday season. With the additional opportunities to gather with our loved ones during winter vacations comes additional time to reflect on what we are appreciative for. Activating that feeling of being blessed will trigger the release of gratitude—or just a bunch of feel-good hormones—which will flow through your body. And–the number one result, you will have stopped thinking about food.

Your Call to Action: Take a moment or a minute to stand (please, less sitting), think, and harness what it is you are appreciative of. If family and friends surround you, just open your eyes. That will save you the effort of thinking. Also, take advantage of being enveloped by loving relationships and be engaged in them. I mean, get involved in conversations. Look at your buddies and smile at them. Laugh with them. These experiences will help prevent unwanted eating in two ways. A) By diverting your attention. They will pull your attention to other people and push your attention away from food, and B) By feeding your soul, which might be the real source of your hunger. Yes, as airy-fairy as it sounds, you might just need to satisfy emotional or social cravings, which can often get lost in translation in the body-mind conversation, making us think we need to eat more.

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5.  Pinpoint your why.

What I mean: If you have ever read the classic book, Man’s Search for Meaning, by neurologist and psychiatrist Victor Frankl, you know the importance of having a reason, a why, to keep working towards your goals. In the book, Frankl details his experiences as a concentration camp inmate during World War II, really honing in on what he observed to be the sources of fuel for those who survived (and yes, he was one of those survivors). As the title suggests, it was the incessant search for meaning that sustained lives. And, he breaks down meaning into three categories: purposeful work, love, and courage in the face of difficulty. For you readers, purposeful work is applicable. Your purpose, or aim, is twofold: to stay trim and to stay in shape; and your work will take place in two domains: food and exercise. To do purposeful work, you will need to take potent action and make smart decisions about how you eat and move. This intention-focused work will keep you on track with your fitness and physique. You will not only survive the holiday season, but you will come out of it in step with your priority goals.

Your call to action: You already know your goals of staying trim and staying in shape. Now take it one step deeper. Ask yourself this: what is the why behind my desire or need to look good and perform well. Write your answers down on a sheet of paper and keep it at your bedside. I advise you to take a gander at it when you wake up and before you go to sleep, at the very least; and then use it additional times on an as-needed basis to avert any crises when they may arise (i.e. considering skipping a workout, taking your frustration out on a piece of cake instead of the pavement or a punching bag). For example, when you are ready to walk into the kitchen, walk to your room instead and read your special note. Feeding that why into your mind in the short window of time that could make or break you will save you from any unwanted eating or exercising blunders, which could set you back and weigh you down. Amazing how a few words can reel you back into the place you need to be.

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6.  Leave no room for mistakes.

What I mean: While completing my studies to become a Health Coach at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (an online program), I learned a great way to describe something I had been practicing for years. It is a technique called “crowding out.” To do it, you eat all of the good stuff first. There is no need to explore the science behind this trick. It is pretty simple. When your stomach is filled, and your cells are nourished, by nutrient-dense foods, and—tah-dah!—you don’t have the room or the need, and thus, lingering hunger, to eat poorer foods. You omit the futile feeding and you make your body smile by giving it, again, the good stuff.

Your call to action: You are what you eat, right? So, stay away from the nutrient-poor foods and live richly, by eating nutrient-rich foods. The key is to start with the good stuff. This translates to starting your day with the healthiest foods and starting each meal with the healthiest foods.

Wondering how to choose what is healthiest? Use your knowledge, taste buds, and gut compass (yes, what agrees with your gastrointestinal tract, as well as your intuition), to figure out what the “good stuff” entails. If you are not too knowledgeable about good vs. bad foods, revert to these two pieces of advice. From Skittles: “taste the rainbow.” Only execute it in the exact opposite way this candy brand had imagined. Don’t eat candy. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables that cover the whole spectrum of color. Red bell peppers. Orange sweet potatoes. Yellow squash. Leafy green kale, swiss chard, spinach (salivating as I type). There actually are no truly blue foods (they are a shade of purple), but blue berries (making it two separate words for the sake of not being redundant). Indigo blackberries. And purple cabbage. There are so many hues of plants in between, too.

The second sage advice to sprinkle into your dishes comes from journalist and activist Michael Pollan, author of several best-selling books, such as The Omnivore’s Dilemma and Food Rules: “Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants.” And, if I can insert one more descriptor between the words ‘eat’ and ‘food,’ it is ‘whole.’ Basically, anything that came from the Earth or was raised naturally and humanely (for more information on mastering this selection process when you hit the grocery store, refer to Ben’s articles).

The most important thing is to apply these recommendations at the start of your day and start of your meals. Eating colorfully and eating lots of plants will take care of many of your nutrient needs and fill you up, leaving less room for scarfing down processed, sugar-laden junk food.

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7.  Scatter some beta-carotene into your daytime eating.

What I mean: Beta-carotene is also known as “Pro-Vitamin A” because it is assimilated into the body as either the precursor to Vitamin A, which or to function as an antioxidant. It shines through in foods as vibrant colors like green and orange. Today, I am encouraging you to be bright like the sun and go with orange, because these choices also contain natural sugar. Think carrots and sweet potatoes. By sprinkling these into your meals and/or snacks during the day, you will fend off the all-too-common and all-too-undesirable late night sugar feeds. You know, when you have just finished dinner and, as you are putting away any (potential) leftovers, you sneak into the pantry for a handful of chocolate chips or a pinch of granola—the things you were trying to avoid all day long! Avert the crisis, again, by getting your sugars earlier in the day, from natural sources, and you will end up satisfied at the end of the day. The return? Less time spent in the shadows of the dark of your kitchen, fewer calories consumed impulsively, glowing skin, and razor-sharp vision.

Your call to action: Add sweet potatoes or carrots to your meals and snacks during the day. For example, create a sweet potato hash for breakfast, mixing eggs, chopped up sweet potatoes, and any other veggies and seasonings you care for. Sticking to a more low-carb diet or fasting in the morning? Chomp on some carrots at lunch or for a snack. Do this and when you are winding down for the night, your appetite, and insulin levels, won’t spike up before you go to sleep.

Staying slim and fit doesn’t have to be so hard. It is the season of giving, so give yourself the gift of resting your mind and de-stressing. Strap yourself with these seven strong tips and you will have enough ammo to blast any chance of overeating or under-exercising you for the entire holiday season. Remember, athletes, this is a season we are tackling, so take it one day at a time. Each day you eat well and exercise well, you will have created a wave of momentum to carry into performing well the next day. I wish you all your best efforts. Luck will not be needed. Happy Holidays.

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Abby Maroko is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer. She is also a Health Coach certified by the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She is a two-time Boston Marathon qualifier and played competitive basketball for 12 years. Abby has a Bachelors degree in Psychology from the University of Michigan, where she also studied Movement Science. To contact her with comments or inquiries, send an email to [email protected] And to stay up on her latest articles on fitness, food, and psychology, as well as her adventures in fitness, visit her blog and follow her on Instagram @getamptnow.

Beyond Dehydration: Why Cramping Really Happens And What You Can Do About It.

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Last month, I read one of the best scientific treatises on cramping that I’ve ever seen. The title of the article was “Cramping In Sports: Beyond Dehydration“, and was written by today’s podcast guest, Andrew Buskard.

If you’ve ever scratched your head about why the heck you won’t stop cramping during your workouts or races, this episode is for you! During our discussion, you’ll discover:

-Why a cramp during exercise is way different than a medically associated cramp…

-What’s really happening inside your body when you cramp…

-Why the traditional theories of what causes exercise associated muscle cramping are incorrect or have been mostly disproven…

-Why neurologically related cramps are the primary cause of cramping during exercise…

-Why simply tasting something very salty can reverse a cramp…

-How your environment, your relaxation level and even your genetics can affect your susceptibility to cramping…

-Strategies to stop cramping when you have adequate electrolytes and hydration but you’re still cramping…

Do you have more questions about why cramping really happens? Leave your comments and thoughts below…

24 Cutting-Edge Interviews With The World’s Leading Experts on Fat Loss, Nutrition and Human Performance.

I’ve been keeping this big secret for awhile, but during the entire summer of 2014, I spent a ton of time interviewing an elite crowd of the world’s top experts on performance, fat loss, recovery, digestion, brain, sleep and hormone optimization.

And from Dec 15-Dec 19 (that’s next Monday through Friday!) I’m going to release ALL those interviews in what I will admit is the very first online conference I’ve ever organized (but even though I’m an online conference newbie, I’m still pretty darn proud of the content I’ve been able to collect for you in this one).

I have had the honor of conducting 24 one-on-one conversational video interviews with some of the world’s best doctors, athletes, scientists and biohackers. These talks capture their cutting-edge non-run-of-the-mill research and thoughts on performance, mental clarity and total body optimization. Each of these incredible conversations is going to be streamed online *for free* so you can watch and listen in.

And I guarantee these discussions are not coming up in your doctor’s office or average health or fitness magazine – this is groundbreaking stuff, and even includes an interview with the world famous Dr. Joseph Mercola, in which he reveals his most potent and effective daily habits, meals, and supplements for anti-aging and health.

The name of this conference is REV Yourself”, it’s hosted by en*theos.com, and it’s all about showing you exactly how to rev your body and look, feel, and perform at your absolute peak potential. All of these interviews will be streaming for free starting December 15, and even though it’s over a month away, you can take early bird action and sign up right here to get full access and all the details.

Check out this amazing line-up of experts and topics:


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How To Use NLP To Beat Food Cravings, Run Faster and Permanently Change Any Bad Habit

with Andy Murphy

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

  • You can train your unconscious brain to change your habits and actions, but to do so, you must reprogram it.
  • One extremely important part of Neurolinguistic Programming is to create a physical anchor.
  • You can use NLP for both physical performance and mental performance, but also for self-control and changing habits permanently (including controlling food cravings, as you’ll see in this video).


How To Protect And Enhance Your Sleep

with Ameer Rosic

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

  • How to start every day with some type of beverage that supports your mitochondria, such as apple cider vinegar, organic baking soda or minerals.
  • Standing and moving during the day activates specific sleep pressure proteins that allow your pineal gland to produce melatonin at night.
  • We all hear blue light is bad for you and your sleep, but blue light exposure can actually help you sleep when exposure is done in the morning.


How To Change Your Life By Getting More Done In Less Time

with Ari Meisel

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

  • Create very small, achievable intermediate goals instead of big, lofty goals – get “one small win” each day.
  • Use virtual assistants, personal assistants and automation websites to get more done in less time – and that you don’t have to be rich to do it!
  • Use the Pomodoro technique of “interval training” of your tasks, with “25 minutes on-5 minutes off”.


How To Play More And Exercise Less

with Darryl Edwards

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

  • Include the PRIMALITY components of “Primality, Restorative, Integrative, Mindful, Adaptive, Life Enhancing, Instinctive Movement, Tactical, Youthful Exuberance”.
  • Use the concepts of primal play, you can maintain levels of extreme strength and fitness without ever stepping foot into a gym.
  • Play – it not only increases levels of fitness in a fun way, but also causes a hormonal response that makes you both happier and smarter.


How To Build Strength & Cardio At The Same Time

with Doug McGuff

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

  • You can engage your anaerobic energy system to the extent that you can overload it with lactic acid and get an enormous cardiovascular effect – but you can do this with weights, not cardio!
  • Within just 12-15 minutes of super-slow, controlled and intense strength training using 5 basic exercises, you can build strength and cardio at the same time.
  • Lactic acid can actually be quite useful, and you can train your liver to actually take lactic acid and convert it into glucose to be a useable fuel source.


How To Fix Your Gut

with Dr. Alejandro Junger

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

  • Most Western doctors test the gut the wrong way, and don’t actually measure the DNA of organisms in the gut, which is the gold standard for testing.
  • Yeast and fungal overgrowth, bacterial overgrowth and parasites are three common and harmful gut issues that are commonly seen in the gut of civilized populations.
  • When the conditions in your gut are not optimal, such as lack of good bacteria, too much starch and sugar, or an unhealthy diet, you will set yourself up for being “taken over” by gut invaders.


Protecting Your Body From The Hazards Of Airline Travel

with Dr. Jack Kruse

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

  • Increasing use of technology/wifi on airplanes can cause much more damage to your body than airport X-rays.
  • Communicable disease, blood clots and risk of catching a cold can be 100x higher when you are flying.
  • There are 17 things you can do to protect your body from the hazards airline travel – from foods to supplements to biohacks.


Hidden Secrets To Becoming A Better Breather

with Dr. John Douillard

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

  • You can train yourself to achieve a deep, meditative state of alpha brainwave activation and focused relaxation during exercise.
  • Breathing through your nose during exercise is a key skill that you must learn to correctly activate your lung’s receptors to lower cortisol.
  • The secret to decreasing pain and discomfort during exercise is to use proper breathing tactics to get the ideal combination of sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system activation.


How To Become A Fat Burning Machine

with Dr. Peter Attia

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

  • It takes 1-3 months to become fully fat adapted, but when you do it, it allows you to do long workouts and get through the day while sparing your use of carbohydrates and glycogen.
  • Once you’ve achieved a state of fat oxidation, you can “cheat” on carbs and still get yourself back into fat oxidation within 48-72 hours.
  • “Bonking” during exercise is not necessarily a factor of running out of carbohydrates or glucose, and is probably instead because the brain fails to utilize glucose – and this can be fixed with adequate amino acids.


How To Challenge Your Body And Mind

with Hobie Call

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

  • If you want to do a race or an event, then push yourself to that same level in at least a few of your training sessions.
  • A treadmill plus a weighted vest, with 1:3 or 1:4 work:rest ratios is a very difficult but highly effective way to become a tougher, faster runner.
  • It’s OK to defy the norms of training – Hobie runs just 10 miles a week, but is still one of the fastest racers out there!


How To Easily Track What’s Going On Inside Your Body

with Jeff Hunt

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

  • There are 12 important things that you can pay attention to that will directly dictate knowing whether or not you’re getting the most out of your workouts, or are at risk for injury or illness.
  • When you look at an isolated single variable, such as urine color, it can tell you a little bit about your state of recovery, but putting together a cluster of recovery factors is far more accurate and informative.
  • Lack of recovery doesn’t just mean that you’re unable to workout hard – it also means you can lose your love of exercise and your passion for the sport you’re competing in!


Top Recovery Tools: the Best Ways to Recover as Quickly as Possible

with Jeff Spencer

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

  • The same strategies that work for a Tour de France cyclist can work for the traveling businessman and the busy soccer mom.
  • You can stack injury recovery techniques such as heat, then topical, then electrical or laser or mechanical stimulation, and do it all outside for benefit of sunlight.
  • The next “big thing” in recovery and injury prevention is to pay attention to your electrochemical gradients, and how the use of devices affects your cell’s ability to recover.


How To Conquer Your Fears, React Under Stress, and Master Your Life

with Jesse Elder

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

  • When you see evidence that your training is working, it’s a huge boost. So don’t just train, give yourself a chance to compete, because results beat theory.
  • Your life is meant to be lived as fully as your imagination and courage will allow.
  • Thoughts create feelings… and feelings are more powerful than most people will ever know.


How To Enjoy Real Food (Without Spending Your Life In the Kitchen)

with Jessica Greenfield

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

  • Eating real food doesn’t mean spending long periods of time in the kitchen – and much of the techniques you can use from fermentation to slow food prep can be done without you even being there!
  • One of the best ways to save time on eating real food is to batch your grocery shopping also batch your food prep into just one to two times during the week
  • Learning how to use a crockpot is one of the best things a beginner can do.


Why You Need To Do Hard Things

with Joe DeSena

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

  • From watching TV in Mandarin Chinese to carrying 70 pound rocks up hills, doing hard things can give you a long, fulfilling life by keeping you from getting soft.
  • The mental component of training is just as important as the physical component.
  • A good way to build durability is to do a hard, intense workout immediately followed by an easy, long workout.


Why You Need To Cheat On Your Diet

with John Kiefer

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

  • You can cheat every day on your diet if you time your carbohydrates, fats and proteins properly throughout the day.
  • Ice cream, alcohol and dark chocolate can each have benefits if you eat them at specific times during the day.
  • In moderation, insulin is actually a good hormone that can assist with both muscle gain and fat loss.


How To Become A Supple Leopard

with Kelly Starrett

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

  • The worst thing you can do before or after exercise is to sit down.
  • The best way to assess why you got injured is to start by assessing hydration, sitting too much, not sleeping enough and things that you may not think have anything to do with the injury itself.
  • Skin massage, raking with soup spoon or stick, dry brushing the skin and even keeping a Chinese soup spoon in your bathtub or hot tub for skin therapy is an enormously effective injury prevention tactic.


6 Ways To Get As Fit As A Navy Seal

with Mark Divine

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

  • You should try to do something that scares you at least once a week.
  • Durability includes pushing through injuries, even though we’re often told not to – and sometimes it’s OK to keep going when you’ve injured your shoulder, knee or back.
  • Stamina and endurance are sorely neglected training areas, and when not done in excess and used strategically, can result in huge fitness boosts.


The 3 Keys To Looking Good Naked

with Mark Sisson

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

  • You should lift heavy stuff 2-3x per week and you don’t even need to step foot in a gym to do it.
  • Sprint for 15-60s 1-2x per week, allow yourself to fully recover in between each sprint and go beyond running to try things like cycling, elliptical, swimming, etc.
  • A key to looking good naked is to avoid snacking and to instead turn yourself into a fat burning machine.


Practical Ways To Protect Yourself From Hidden EMF Killers

with Michael Neuert

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

  • Popular science believes that the only thing to worry about when it comes to electrical devices is heat, but the signals these devices emit go far above and beyond merely heat.
  • There is absolutely no way to truly know, measure and mitigate EMF in your home and work environment unless you use a meter to test.
  • You can shield yourself from EMF effectively by taking proper steps – including how your home and office devices are configured.


How To Cool The Brain

with Nora Gedgadaus

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

  • High blood sugar can cause neural inflammation, and it can happen even on a low carb diet if you are stressed.
  • Once you have an immune reaction that affects your brain, you’ll have that immune sensitivity forever.
  • Curcumin is an extremely potent anti-inflammatory, which works very well with resveratrol (e.g. organic red wine) and other flavonoids (e.g. dark colored organic vegetables), bioperine (e.g. organic black pepper).


How To Fix Your Adrenals

with Shawn Talbott

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

  • Humans are not zebras who just run from a lion every now and then, and there is a big difference between acute stress and being stressed out.
  • When cortisol levels are high, you shuttle resources away from producing testosterone, and adaptogenic herbs can be used to lower cortisol and increase available resources for other hormones.
  • One of the best ways to test for your adrenal function is a simple salivary cortisol test at multiple times during the day.


Biohacking Your Brain

with Steven Fowkes

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

  • Some of the best cognitive enhancing gear includes a good water filter, a HEPA filter with a negative ion generator and an infrared lamp.
  • The biggest ways to destroy cognitive performance include gut inflammation, gluten, milk protein from commercial dairy and amino acids deficiencies.
  • You can amplify your choline levels with foods such as walnuts, broccoli, cauliflower for choline, while also shutting down brain inflammation with foods such as coconut oil, cur cumin and fish oil.


How To Transition Back To Regular Eating From A Detox

with Yuri Elkaim

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

  • You can do two to four cleanses per year that coincide with the seasons.
  • Cleansing doesn’t require fancy supplements or juices, but can be accomplished 100% with real food.
  • If you don’t use it you lose it – and if you completely avoid natural sources of gluten or lactose, you may struggle heavily with them if you ever need to eat them.

Amazing, right?

It’s incredible, and I’m extremely honored, to have this much healthy living wisdom all in one place. I can’t wait for you to check out these cutting-edge, non-run-of-the-mill interviews so you can REV yourself, get the most from your body and mind, and experience what it feels like to look, feel and perform at the complete next level.

REV Yourself streams for 100% free starting Monday, December 15, 2014 at 12:00 PM PT / 3:00 PM ET, and goes all the way through December 19. Click here to register for free and get your all-access ticket today.

Four Natural Ways I Fix My Joints, Bones And Injuries Fast (Without Drugs And Surgery)

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Now that I’m doing a lot of obstacle racing (see photo above, in which I’m clambering over a wall in my last Spartan race), I’m getting a fair share of scrapes, bruises, sprains, and strains – more than I experienced when racing Ironman triathlon.

These bone, muscle and joint injuries aren’t happening because I’m weak or unprepared, but are rather just natural consequences from shoving the human body to it’s limits. Living life to it’s full extent.

Dying empty.

Whatever you want to call it.

And while my 26 Top Ways To Recover From Workouts and Injuries with Lightning Speed is a really comprehensive primer for accelerating recovery and managing injuries, I’ll readily that admit some of the things I talk about in that article can seem excessive, inconvenient or expensive. Let’s face it – it can be tough to drive to the acupuncturist every week, fly to Europe for stem cell therapy, or hunt down a good therapist with a decent cold lasering device. Instead, I’m often asked about the more practical stuff and nitty-gritty details of the easy-to-implement things that I personally do on a daily basis when I need a bit of fast fixing up, accelerated recovery, or when the athletes I coach write me for quick and easy-to-implement solutions after they’ve tweaked an ankle, knee or hip.

So rather than giving you a big, intimidating list of a few dozen things to do when you’re injured, here instead are four simple, practical and natural ways I fix my joints, bones and injuries fast (without drugs and surgery).

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1. Hot-Cold Contrast

OK, quick confession: I actually now have an endless swimming pool called an “AquaFitness” pool at my house. I keep it next to a hot tub. Both are non-chlorinated and are instead kept clean with an ozone filter and ClearChoice Enzymes.

I keep the pool at 60 degrees Fahrenheit and the hot tub at 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

Once per week, no matter what, I do a hot-cold contrast session in which I swim, tread or move in the cold water for 8 minutes, soak in the hot tub for 2 minutes, then repeat for a total of 30 minutes. To enhance blood flow and decrease inflammation, I’ll do this protocol as often as every day if I’m injured or if I’m tapering for a race.

This is just one example of what is called a “hot-cold contrast session”. This therapy has several physiological effects that can enhance recovery, including reflexive vasoconstriction to cold followed by vasodilation from heat (blood vessel “pumping”), slowing of nerve conduction velocity (which decreases pain and muscle spasming/guarding), decreased firing of the muscle spindles (which can reduce the stiffness that occurs when injured) and increased flow of inflammatory byproducts out of muscle tissue, which is especially useful in acute inflammation stages in which swelling can cause pain and discomfort.

What are some other examples of hot-cold contrast that you can implement?

-Take a 5 minute shower with 20 seconds cold, 10 seconds hot, 10 times through.

-Go to the gym and sit in the sauna for 5-10 minutes, then jump into a cold shower for 2 minutes, and do rounds for 20-30 minutes.

-Take a 20 minute hot magnesium salts bath, then follow it up with a 5 minute icy cold shower.

Want something slightly more complex? Here’s one that I assigned to one of my athletes last week. He called it the “Killer Cold Pool Protocol”, and it involves 10 minutes of cold pool immersion (use an underwater .mp3 player if you get bored) and then a transition into a hot sauna for 10 minutes of yoga “sun salutations”, followed by going back into cold pool for 10 minutes, and so on, with a goal of completing 3 rounds for a total of 60 minutes.

Afterwards, he said: “Wasn’t as bad as I thought, after the first 60 secs or so. By the 3rd “set”, I waded right in and was no issue. Amazing how much of this is psychological. Felt like a fu&%#*g beast afterwards. Haven’t felt like that in a long time.”

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2. Deep Tissue Work

So here’s the deal: I’ve written many times before about the benefits of foam rolling and deep tissue work, and extolled the virtues of book like “Becoming A Supple Leopard” and “Ready To Run” as the best resources to learn how to do deep tissue work the right way.

But once again, this particular article you’re reading now is about the practical application of deep tissue work, and exactly what I do in my own program, so here you go:

-Every Tuesday and every Friday I do a full body foam rolling session that takes about 20 minutes, starting with my low back and progressing to upper shoulders, neck, under armpits, chest, hips, hamstrings, calves, quadriceps, IT band (outside of thighs) and adductors (inside of thighs). By the time I finish, I am usually dripping with sweat, and I count this rolling session as “workout time”. I use something called a Rumble Roller, which has ridges in it that help dig into muscle tissue. See, the #1 problem I observe in the athletes I advise is that they initially think foam rolling involves about 2 minutes of messing around with a foam roller. This doesn’t count. It’s just foreplay. Instead, you need dedicated, scheduled and planned sessions of rolling around on the floor and making sweet love to your foam roller as you grunt, twist and grind.

-Every day before breakfast, I use a tiny little ball with ridges in it (called a “Beastie Ball” and made by the same folks who make the Rumble Roller). I roll each foot for about one minute, and then roll the outside of each hip for about one minute. Why these sections? I know from experience that the bottom of my feet and the outside of my hips are the two areas of my body that get the tightest when I’m in training, so I prioritize hitting those every day, and it makes a night and day difference.

-Once per month, I do a 60-90 minute full body massage or full body foam rolling session. Make it deep, make it hard, make it hurt so good.

If you can just start doing those three pieces of deep tissue work, you’re going notice your body change in – drumroll please – 9-12 months. Yep, you heard me right. Get committed. Just like muscle gain, fat loss, getting to the extreme edge of cardiovascular fitness, and any other beneficial positive change, it takes patience to change your body, and it takes that long for your fascia, ligaments and tendons to begin to adapt and become more mobile.

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3. Topical Treatments

Truth be told, about once a week some beauty or health care product company sends me some fancy bottle of some new magical potion or lotion that is supposed to instantly make soreness and injuries vanish.

As I’ve discussed in a previous podcast, not only do many of these creams, lotions, and topical treatments contain unhealthy active ingredients, but most of them simply don’t really seem to work for me at all.

So when it comes to topical treatments for muscle soreness and injuries, what does actually work?

-Every day, post-workout, I step out of my cold shower, completely dry my body, and then apply transdermal magnesium lotion (not spray) to any major muscles I’ve worked. I rub it in for about 30 seconds. Compared to magnesium spray, magnesium lotion absorbs much better and doesn’t leave me with a dry, scratchy or itchy feeling, or any white residue. The magnesium relaxes muscles and creates “tissue saturation”, which allows the mineral to travel to the body’s tissues and cells at a high dose without losses through the gastrointestinal tract. 

-If I have a muscle that has been strained, sprained or seems to be in a constant state of spasm or guarding, or a sore joint, I apply topical frankincense oil. Yes, frankincense, just like they brought little baby Jesus. The stuff works.

Incidentally, if you really need to amplify delivery of magnesium or frankincense into your muscle tissue, here’s a tip I learned last month from Dr. Jeff Spencer as I was interviewing him for my REV conference: if you happen to have an electrostimulation device (listen to my podcast with MarcPro to learn more about these) you can slap it on over whatever topical treatment you’ve just applied, wrap an ace bandage around it if that helps the electrodes to stick better, and the electrical stimulation effectively drives the topical treatment deeper into the tissue.

I think that’s a pretty cool biohack, especially considering it comes straight from the guy who is responsible for ensuring Tour De France cyclists bounce back as quickly as possibly between grueling stages.

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4. Nutrients

Finally, we get to nutrients.

If you’re into health, you’ve probably read about everything from glucosamine chondroitin to ginger to turmeric to tart cherry juice to proteolytic enzymes for easing joint pain, healing muscles faster, or decreasing inflammation. Heck, just head down the supplements aisle of your local health food store and pharmacy or do a search for “natural anti-inflammatories” on the internet and you’ll find all these and many more often recommended.

Just like I’ve done with smart drugs, sleep aids, and everything else I do as a human guinea pig health blogger, I’ve tried them all. I’ve ground up ginger root by hand, I’ve ordered shockingly sour bottles of tart cherry extract and lemon bioflavonoids, I’ve scooped powdered glucosamine and chondroitin into smoothies, and I’ve even sent my wife back to the grocery store three times in a single month to stock our kitchen back up on turmeric…

…and most of this stuff works. A little bit here, a little bit there, and you notice some significant changes in the way your muscles feel the day after a hard workout, or how “lubed up” your joints feel after a tough season of racing.

But it also gets exhausting to throw everything and the kitchen sink into your body, and to try to keep track of everything you’re supposed to be taking if you’re injured, you’re sore or you’ve really beat up your body.

It’d be nice if all this stuff was somehow compressed into a single capsule.

It turns out that all this stuff now does actually exist in just ONE bone and joint healing supplement. So now I just use that single supplement for recovery. I don’t take it every day, but when I’m injured, I’ve finished a race, or I’m really sore, I use 6 capsules in the morning and 6 capsules in the evening. The supplement is called “NatureFlex“, and it contains four different blends:

NatureFlex-Osteo-Mineral Blend: Naturally occurring minerals to assist in maintaining a proper electrolyte balance while at the same time keeping calcium dissolved in solution, preventing the calcium from depositing in your arteries and joints (this is damn important if you’re using anything that has calcium in it). This blend contains Goat Milk Mineral Whey, Di-calcium Phosphate and Acetyl-L-Carnitine

-Collagen Blend: This blend contains chicken collagen type II, the principal structural protein in cartilage that provides strength, flexibility and support, along with Lutein Esters. Unlike most collagen blends, the collagen used in NatureFlex comes from chickens free of growth hormones, antibiotics, pesticides and insecticides. This form of collagen is a whole food concentrate that has no known side effects and provides maximum absorption.

-Flex Blend: This blend contains natural anti-inflammatory ingredients that are also known for their alkalizing effects and potent antioxidant properties, including White Willow Bark, Tart Cherry Juice, Feverfew Leaf, Valerian Root, Ginger Root, Turmeric Root (curcuma longa) Acerola Cherry and Lemon Bioflavonoids.

-Enzyme Blend: Finally, you may have heard of proteolytic enyzme supplements like Wobenzymes and Recoverease. Rather than taking those separately, those same enzymes are now actually mixed in with the blends above, and include Protease, Bromelain, Papain, Amylase, Lipase and Cellulase.

So yes, it’s basically a shotgun approach.

And again, I don’t recommend dumping all that stuff into your body every day unless you’re got some pretty serious joint arthritic issues going on, but when you need rapid recovery from a nutritional standpoint, or you’re injured and you want to pull every last nutrient trick out of the closet, this stuff works and it works fast. The stuff is made about 4 hours from my house at a local organic goat farm, and you can get bottles of it here

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Summary

So that’s it. Those are my staples.

If you have questions, comments or feedback about hot-cold contrast, deep tissue work, topical treatments or nutrients, then leave your thoughts below.

Also, if you have your own fast recovery tricks that you’ve found to be particularly potent, I’d love to hear about them, so feel free to share those below too. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy living life at a slightly faster pace than the rest of the general population.

Five Simple Steps To Turning Yourself Into A Fat Burning Machine.

fat burning machine

Almost every day, I get an e-mail, comment, tweet or Facebook message about how to become a fat burning machine. And the fact is, become fat-adapted goes way above and beyond adding a stick of butter to a cup of coffee or eliminating carbohydrates from your diet.

So in today’s podcast, I’ve brought back Greenfield Fitness System’s performance nutritionist Barry Murray, who was originally a guest on the episode “The Ultimate Guide To Combining Fasting and Exercise: Everything You Need To Know. In this episode, Barry gives us five simple steps to becoming a fat burning machine, including:

-How to increase your ability to use your body’s own fat stores…

-Why it’s actually a good thing for your muscles to have fat stored in them…

-The best menus, recipes, meal plans and all the “coping” strategies you need to make the shift into fat-burning…

-The best way to time your meals for fat oxidation…

-How to structure your diet so that you can trigger the adaptations you need to increase the rates of fat oxidation…

-How to benefit from depleted training and intermittent fasting…

-How stress or inflammatory factors inhibit overall physiological fitness, and which hidden lifestyle factors keep you from becoming a fat burning machine…

-How to compete or do hard workouts in a fat adapted state…

-And much more!

Do you have questions, comments or feedbacks about these steps to becoming a fat burning machine? Leave your thoughts below, and click here if you’d like to hire Barry for a consult or nutrition coaching!

The 30 Days No Alcohol Experiment: Part 1 (What Happens When You Quit Alcohol Cold Turkey).

30 days no alcohol

It was in a podcast episode last month with James Swanwick that a crazy thought entered my mind.

During the podcast (yeah, this is a mouthful) “How Quitting Alcohol Helped Today’s Guest Lose 30 Pounds, Make More Money, Attract Better Friends And Lovers, And Got A Job Hosting SportsCenter on ESPN (And Your Formula For Reducing or Quitting Alcohol)”

…I asked James if he actually got any blood testing before and after quitting alcohol.

He said no (but he wished he had).

So after I recorded the podcast, I e-mailed the good folks at WellnessFX, and said, “Hey look – it would be an incredibly interesting experiment to take some guy or girl who is drinking alcohol pretty liberally and to test their blood biomarkers, then have them quit alcohol for 30 days, and then re-test – just to see what happens inside your body when you quit alcohol for 30 days.”

Within about 5 minutes, I got an e-mail back.

They said, “Let’s do it.”

Not only that, but WellnessFX graciously offered their flagship $198 “Baseline Package”, which includes an advanced biomarker analysis and an intuitive health dashboard to track the results.

My next task?

Find a willing, drinking victim who would not only give up alcohol for 30 days, but would do it between the celebratory holiday time frame of Thanksgiving to Christmas day and be willing to have all their health results publicly released here on BenGreenfieldFitness.com. In other words, they’d need to not only sober up cold turkey, but also be a glutton for some pretty serious self-control under intense public scrutiny.

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How To Find A Crazy Person Who Will Give Up Alcohol For 30 Days

So, knowing that most of my followers tend to err towards the edge of biohacking and self-experimentation, I posted the following on the BenGreenfieldFitness Facebook page:

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The post received 108 entries.

Of those 108 willing participants, I chose one lucky guy named Jason Sissel.

So…who is Jason? Here’s his photo and stats…

Jason Sissel

Background:

  • Former Wall St. professional
  • Left the corporate world to run own businesses (founded a pediatric cancer non-profit, investment/consulting business, software business, and to inspire others to pursue what makes them happy in life)
  • 38yrs old, 5’11”, ~180lbs
  • Sponsored ultra-endurance athlete
  • Estimates he is probably about 20 pounds overweight due to taking the entire last year off (after cycling across the USA), exacerbated by poorer-than-normal eating and drinking lots of wine and beer. Quite frankly, he got physically burnt out and let himself get in an unmotivated funk.
  • He loves motivating and inspiring people – particularly the few hundred folks who have joined his foundation to raise funds for kids in cancer treatment by doing endurance events.

Athletic Highlights:

  • Cycled across USA (self-supported)
  • 1x Ultraman World Championship
  • 1x Ultraman Canada Championship
  • 3x Ironman
  • 1x Marathon des Sables (a marathon in the Sahara Desert);
  • 1x Texas Time Trials 24hr Bike (2nd, A.G.)
  • Climbed 3 of the Seven Summits

Wow. So obviously, Jason is no joke.

You may wonder why I picked a person who is so physically fit and active, rather than some sedentary, beer-chugging couch potato. Easy: most of the readers of this blog: A) drink alcohol; B) exercise hard. So Jason was a natural choice, since his lifestyle reflects the majority of folks who are going to benefit from the results of this experiment.

OK, OK, Jason was possibly drinking more than most readers of this blog, and said in his submission:

“…for better or worse, I also love red wine and beer and usually find myself enjoying a few bottles of wine per week or a few beers while watching sports…”

A few bottles of red wine a week?

Dang. I’m a glass of wine a day guy, but couldn’t tell you the last time I punished several bottles in a 7 day time span.

Plus, Jason obviously appears not to be some kind of a flake who would derail himself halfway into this experiment at some kind of booze-infused holiday party. In other words, he freaking ran across the Sahara desert, so I figured he could last 30 days without drinking.

Here’s Jason’s current drink chart going into the no alcohol experiment:

Jason Sissel alcohol

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Jason’s Pre No-Alcohol Stats

Jason was required to keep a strict nutrition (food and drink), exercise and sleep journal for the 15 days prior to his first WellnessFX blood lab draw, and he is also required to continue these logs during the entire 30 days of the no-alcohol period.

Since he’s a bit of a self-quantifier geek, Jason was actually able to supply even more data prior to quitting the alcohol, including a resting metabolic rate test and a DEXA scan (a very accurate method of body fat testing that allows you to see where body fat is actually distributed).

And of course, we also get to see half-naked photos of Jason before and after, which he was a bit embarrassed to submit – but hey, ya gotta play by the rules, right?

In just a moment, I’m going to give you a very helpful walkthrough of all these documents, but in the meantime:

Click here to download Jason’s resting metabolic rate test (RMR) results.

Click here to download Jason’s body fat (DEXA) results.

Click here to download Jason’s full WellnessFX blood results. 

Click here to read Jason’s first blog post “Biohack: 30 Days No Alcohol” (and follow his own thoughts on this 30 day experiment)

Finally, below are Jason’s pre-30 days no alcohol front and side photos.

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32126BF9-2A98-410E-9B7C-DE822FBDE833

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The 30-Days No Alcohol Bloodwork

OK, as promised, here is my walkthrough and explanation of Jason’s WellnessFX blood results, metabolic test results, and DEXA Scan.

Below, I’ve taken a screenshot of each of the components of Jason’s WellnessFX dashboard. I should note that this was Jason’s second blood panel that he’s done with WellnessFX, and that his previous blood panel was kind of a “Cadillac” panel (WellnessFX’s Premium Panel) and tested for even more than the Baseline panel that he went through as part of the no-alcohol test. So on the screenshots below, the dots that are farther to the left are from bloodwork that Jason did in October of 2013 and won’t be taken into account for this experiment or explanation.

vitaminsminerals

OK, a few things to note here on Jason’s vitamins and minerals. The first is that his Vitamin D is low…really low. Ideal ranges for Vitamin D are 40-80 and he is at 11. It is well known in nutritional science that drinking too much alcohol can interfere with your body’s ability to absorb and activate Vitamin D.

Vitamin D only becomes physiologically active after it’s been chemically modified in the liver and kidneys. Since the liver must carry the majority of the burden of alcohol metabolism, excessive alcohol consumption puts an unhealthy overload on the liver and makes it less able to perform its other duties. This overload on the liver can eventually result in a number of disorders, including fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis. By compromising normal liver function, alcohol interferes with the conversion of both dietary (from food) and endogenous (from sunlight) vitamin D into its active forms. As a consequence, heavy drinkers will tend to have low blood levels of vitamin D.

Jason will not be adding any extra Vitamin D supplementation over the next 30 days or increasing his sunlight exposure significantly, so it will be interesting to see how cutting alcohol affects his Vitamin D.

You’ll also note that Jason’s magnesium levels are low (although this value is taken from his October 2013 results). Although quite deleterious (since magnesium is involved in over 300 different enzymatic reactions), a magnesium deficiency is actually quite common among endurance athletes. As Rhonda Patrick notes in this WellnessFX article on magnesium deficiencies, alcohol can literally DOUBLE the excretion rate of magnesium in both acute (one time) and chronic (frequent) alcohol consumption cases.

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rbcsiron wbcs

As you can see, Jason’s red blood cell count, hematocrit and overall oxygen carrying capacity is chugging along just fine, with no apparent issues with anemia, iron, etc.

However, when you look at his white blood cell count, you can see elevated eosinophils along with low neutrophils.

An abnormally high amount of eosinophils in the blood can suggest a variety of different problems, such as allergies or infections, and I often see this in individuals who are A) eating lots of foods that create autoimmune issues, such as commercial wheat, soy, or dairy; B) have some kind of a gut infection, such as bacterial overgrowth or a parasite.

Neutrophils are white blood cells that help fight infections. Low levels can indicate an immune weakness or deficiency, while higher levels can indicate increased inflammation or infection. While full-on alcoholism and high amounts of liver damage can indeed cause a low white blood cell count due to the vitamin deficiencies and low protein that accompanies liver inflammation,. a moderate consumption of alcohol should not really affect white blood cells. So I highly doubt that Jason’s level of alcohol consumption is deleteriously affecting his counts, but it will still be interesting to see how his white blood cells respond to 30 days of no alcohol.

In the meantime, if white blood cell counts are abnormal and accompanied by gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, or indigestion, I will typically recommend a Complete Gut Panel to test for bacteria, parasites, yeast, fungus and microbial status of the gut.

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bone electrolytes kidney

I’ve already addressed Jason’s low Vitamin D status, which is repeated in the bone biomarkers section of this blood panel, but here you can also see Jason’s electrolytes and kidney function. All is relatively normal here.

When looking at an electrolyte panel, however, one important variable to pay attention to is CO2, also known as biocarbonate. Bicarbonate (HCO₃⁻ ) is the main form of carbon dioxide (CO₂) in the blood. Bicarbonate acts as a buffer against acids in your blood, so a low bicarbonate suggests too much acid and a high bicarbonate too little. You can see that Jason’s bicarbonates are borderline high (at 29), suggesting that he may be bordering on a bit too alkaline. You can read up on metabolic alkalosis here, but I find Jason’s values interesting because I’d expect to see more metabolic acidosis in a heavy drinker, since alcohol has potential to create a net acidic state.

This slight alkaline state could be caused if Jason has very poor breathing patterns (shallow, chest breathing all day long), was taking a lot of bicarbonates or antiacids (like Tums, for example), engaging in heavy use of licorice-based supplements (glycyrrhizinic acid) or had a low level of potassium. But none of these seem to be the case with Jason, so this is a bit of a head scratcher for me, and I’ll be interested to see how his values change after 30 days of no drinking.

In addition, as you can see, Jason’s kidneys look fine. No issues there.

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liver

As I would have expected due to his level of alcohol consumption, Jason has elevated liver enzymes. His Alanine Aminotransferase, or ALT, is especially elevated. This is an enzyme in liver cells, and liver damage or disease causes a release of ALT from the liver cells, increasing the amount in the blood. AST and ALP are found in cells other than liver cells, while ALT is more specific to liver cells.

High alcohol intake and high body fat percentages can both increase liver enzymes. I suspect we’ll see some very favorable decreases in Jason’s liver enzymes at the end of 30 days.

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diabetesthyroid

Here you can see that Jason has high fasted blood glucose and high hemoglobin A1c (a 3 month snapshot of his average blood sugar levels). Since alcoholic drinks contain high amounts of sugar from both glucose and fructose sources, this is no surprise. In an active athlete like Jason, I’d expect to see fasted glucose levels that are below 90, but instead, he appears to have chronically elevated blood sugar levels and is relying upon carbohydrates (not fat) for energy. In Jason’s resting metabolic rate results farther below, you’ll see that this is indeed the case.

In addition, Jason has a very elevated TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone).  TSH triggers the thyroid gland in your neck to produce thyroid hormones T3 and T4, which are crucial for your body’s use of energy. The amount of functioning thyroid hormones gives your brain feedback as to how much TSH to release, so the brain will release less or more TSH as it senses is necessary. Low thyroid function can cause weight gain, fatigue, cold intolerance and brain fog.

Prior to this test, Jason was aware that he was hypothyroid, and is currently on 75mcg per day of Synthroid (Levothyroxine). This is definitely not my top pick for thyroid supplementation, as it is a synthetic form of thyroid and contains only one of the two major thyroid hormones: T4. I’m a much bigger fan of a full spectrum of thyroid hormones that includes T1, T2, T3 and T4. In the past, I’ve recommend natural thyroid replacement supplements such as ThyroGold for this reason.

While alcohol isn’t always the culprit when it comes to low thyroid function, it can certainly play a role. It has been shown to cause direct suppression of thyroid function by cellular toxicity, and indirect suppression by blunting the release of an important thyroid-related hormone called thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH). With elevated chronic use, it can also cause a decrease of peripheral thyroid hormones like T3 and T4, primarily due to it’s deleterious effect on liver and gut conversion of thyroid hormones to their active form.

My guess is that Jason experiences a distinct drop in TSH after 30 days, indicated improved thyroid function.

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inflammation

Jason hs-CRP – a primary indicator of inflammation, is just fine. If anything, I’d expect it to decrease at the end of the next 30 days to below 0.2, as alcohol is both acidic and inflammatory.

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LipidPanel

lipidpanel2

Jason has some pretty serious lipid panel “issues”.

For example, Jason’s Triglyceride to HDL ratio (one of the first values I pay attention to on a lipid panel) is very high, at 5.9 (I like to see it below 1!). Excess triglycerides can be stored in blood vessels, contributing to atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. Higher amounts of HDL can carry these fatty deposits away from blood vessels and be protective. So the ratio of triglycerides to HDL can be a valuable measure to help predict cardiovascular risk.

Due to it’s high fructose content, most forms of alcohol can shove triglycerides through the roof. Alcohol has an especially significant additive effect on the postprandial (after a meal) triglyceride peak when it accompanies a meal containing fat, especially saturated fat. This results from a decrease in the breakdown of cholesterol due to an acute inhibitory effect of alcohol on the activity of the crucial fat burning enzyme lipoprotein lipase.

Alcohol also increases the synthesis of large VLDL particles in the liver, which is the main source of triglycerides in the high triglyceride state so often seen with chronic excessive alcohol intake.

Now don’t get me wrong – I’m not completely demonizing alcohol here. Low to moderate consumption (such as a glass of red wine a day) has actually been shown to increase HDL and favorably affect blood lipids. But it appears Jason has definitely exceeded this beneficial amount.

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The 30-Days No Alcohol Body Fat

Below are Jason’s DEXA scan numbers, which he got from DEXAFit Chicago.

Although not quite as accurate as underwater weighing (hydrostatic measurement) Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) is one of the better methods for measuring body fat. This test is performed by lying in a giant scanner that passes over your entire body, and then generates a three-dimensional model that shows fat-tissue mass (subcutaneous fat and internal “visceral” fat), lean muscle mass, and total body mineral content (total skeletal mass and bone density).

One of the advantages of the DEXA scan is that it also indicates regional body fat distribution – such as fat tissue percentage in your left arm vs. your right arm, trunk, left leg vs. right leg, and perhaps most importantly, android versus gynoid fat (fat carried on the waist or apple shape versus fat carried on the hips or pear shape) .

This is important because carrying too much fat in the wrong area can make you more disposed to serious health problems. For example, seeing the ratio of android to gynoid fat distribution will give you a good indication of your susceptibility to heart attack, diabetes and other chronic diseases. Excess android fat around the abdomen and trunk and inside the abdominal cavity potentially puts you at greater risk for metabolic disorder, heart disease, and stroke.

One study based on 14 years of data from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey found that, when it comes to your risk of early death, being obese overall may not be as important as where on the body your fat is distributed. In the study, apparently thin people who were of normal weight but had a lot of visceral or belly fat were twice as likely to die early as people of normal weight with no gut, or people who had more of their fat distributed through their body, such as their ams and legs. People with lots of concentrated belly fat also had a higher risk of death than people who were simply obese all over.

Ever hear the phrase “beer-belly”? In case you hadn’t already guessed, excessive alcohol consumption is one of the most potent ways to increase your android belly fat and make you prone to all the dangers that accompany full-on obesity, even if you’re thin.

Below, you can see how Jason measures up. A full 45% of his android tissue is composed of fat, compared to only 29.5% of his gynoid tissue. Between his trunk and his belly alone, he has over 41 pounds of pure fat, with a total body fat % of 29.9!

Now granted, Jason has not been training much lately, and admits that he hasn’t trained for ultra-endurance since cycling self supported across USA (~100mi/day) last summer. At this point, he’s simply running aerobically 3-4 days per week for 30 minutes, and doing kettlebell swings, core strength and stability drills on another 3-4 days per week.

But despite having a strong history and jam-packed resume as an ultra-endurance athlete, Jason is at high risk for cardiovascular disease and other metabolic disorders. Jason is likely going to read this statement and cringe, but at least he’s serving as a warning beacon for the rest of us. Just because you run across the Sahara desert does not mean you’re healthy on the inside. You simply can’t outrun a bad diet, or excess alcohol intake.

If you’d like to read up more on body fat distribution and cardiovascular disease, here’s an excellent paper, and the helpful graphic I’ve taken from that paper is shown below Jason’s DEXA scan results.

dexa3 dexa2 dexa1

adiposity

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The 30-Days No Alcohol Metabolic Results

Jason also underwent a resting metabolic rate test (RMR) to see how many calories his body is burning at rest. During this test, you simply sit quietly and breathe in and out of a tube as your respiratory gases are measured. At 1848 calories, Jason’s metabolism is slightly low, which is no big surprise after seeing his thyroid numbers.

But check out Jason’s RER (in the second graphic below).

The RER is the ratio between the amount of CO2 produced and O2 consumed in one breath. Measuring this ratio can be used for estimating the respiratory quotient (RQ), an indicator of which fuel (carbohydrate or fat) is being metabolized to supply the body with energy.

An RER of 0.70 indicates that fat is the predominant fuel source, RER of 0.85 suggests a mix of fat and carbohydrates, and a value of 1.00 or above is indicative of carbohydrate being the predominant fuel source.

When I tested my RER after turning myself into a fat burning machine, my RER was approximately 0.66.

Jason’s RER is 0.90. He is a carb burning machine.

In other words, as we would have suspected based on his fasted glucose and hemoglobin A1C numbers from his bloodwork above, Jason is nearly unable to tap into his own body fat or to burn fat for fuel. Despite being an endurance athlete, his RER is actually well above the population norms of above 0.8.

You can read about all the dangers of chronically elevated blood sugar levels here. I would very much expect and hope for Jason’s RER to drop significantly after 30 days no alcohol, although this value could be highly related to Jason’s food intake, and not just his sugary drink intake.

rmr

rmr2

So what the heck kind of food has Jason been eating that would be affecting his metabolism so baldy? Despite popular belief that a consistent negative caloric balance can cure all metabolic issues (similar to the popular belief that ultraendurance athletes are metabolically bulletproof), Jason’s actually isn’t overeating. He’s simply eating a high amount of crappy, processed lean proteins and carbohydrates, combined with a low intake of healthy fats. Here are a few days worth of his eating going into this blood panel:

Jason Sissel diet

diet2

All that bread, cheese, grain, sugar and dairy isn’t doing Jason any favors, and is in fact likely oxidizing that big portion of morning fat from the Bulletproof Coffee he’s drinking, rendering his breakfast into an artery clogging nuclear bomb.

In a nutshell, once this 30 days no alcohol challenge is over, Jason should consider drastically changing his diet too.

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Summary

So that’s it!

In approximately 30 days, I’ll be releasing a follow-up blog post with all Jason’s new numbers, which will show the exact acute effect on your internal biology when you quit alcohol cold-turkey. Although it is possible that in 30 days, Jason may be settling down with a nice glass or two of a decent red wine or microbrew, I’m highly doubting he is going to be back up to a few bottles of red a week after reading this article.

Want to stay tuned to the rest of this 30 Days No Alcohol series? If you’re not already subscribed to my free newsletter, be sure to click here to do so and you’ll get an instant alert when I release Jason’s final results, along with any other updates along teh way.

In the meantime, leave your questions, comments and feedback below, and click here if you’d like to get your own lab testing.

Vegan Vs. Paleo: 12 Lessons You Can Learn

vegan vs paleo

Since there’s been quite a bit of hubbub about my previous two articles on my recent week of vegan eating in Israel and last week’s tweet about a vegetarian diet reducing sperm in men, I have decided to republish this helpful article on vegan vs. Paleo.

Enjoy, leave your questions, comments and feedback below, and by the way, whether you’re vegan or Paleo, check out this week’s killer Black Friday special on an Omni-Blender because you could make kale smoothies OR liver pate!

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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!

A Little Known Nutrient That Can Heal Your Gut And Blast Your Immunity Through The Roof.

NatureColostrum

It was way back in 2009 that I first discovered goat’s milk.

I had just finished interviewing Joe Stout – a food scientist at a small local goat farm called “Mt. Capra”. During our podcast (which you can listen to here), Joe filled me on some very interesting properties of goat’s milk that make it much, much different than cow’s milk, including…

…the difference in allergic reactions between goat’s milk and cow’s milk, and why the difference exists…

….what happens to cow’s milk during homogenization that makes it especially dangerous for athletes and people worried about cancer…

…why the body absorbs goat’s milk protein at a much, much faster rate than cow’s milk protein…

…how cow’s milk can cause lactose intolerance, and why this rarely happens with goat’s milk…

…and why goat’s milk “matches up” to the human body better than cow’s milk.

Over at Mark’s Daily Apple  just last week, this was recently confirmed, in an article that says:

“Lots of people seem to fare better with goat milk than cow milk, and several studies support these anecdotes:

-Goat milk is both anti-allergenic and anti-inflammatory, regulating the intestinal immune response at the cellular level.

-Goat milk possesses immunomodulatory effects and even helps the body release nitric oxide, a vasodilator that improves vascular function.

-Goat milk glycans (carbohydrates that support the healthy gut bacteria and can help the immune system) are more similar to human milk glycans than cow milk glycans; goat milk also contains novel glycans with further health benefits.”

Anyways, after that original podcast with Joe, I asked him what to do if I wanted to get all the beneficial properties of goat’s milk (and as I later discovered) much more, without actually drinking milk every day, because frankly, I’m just not a milk-guzzling kind of guy.

Joe’s response changed my life, and you’re about to discover why.

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What Is Colostrum?

Joe told me, “Simple. Colostrum.”

At this point, colostrum was kind of woo-woo for me. My wife grew up on a sheep farm so I knew colostrum had something to do with sheep’s milk, but wasn’t really sure what it really, truly was.

Joe explained to me that colostrum is produced by not just goats and sheep, but by all mammals (including humans) in the first few days after giving birth. Also known as “first milk”, it is produced in the mammary glands of females just prior to giving birth, and serves as a concentrated source of proteins, growth factors, and antibodies that are essential for early development of newborns.

Its properties have been revered for thousands of years across many cultures: in ancient Chinese medicine it was regarded as a potent health tonic, and for the Maasai people of Kenya and Tanzania it has long been regarded as a crucial part of a warrior’s diet. In Britain, dairy farmers refer to colostrum as beestings, and they used any surplus colostrum to make an extra-creamy, and very healthy, pudding.

So you can literally think of colostrum as a powerhouse of nutritional ammunition designed to get a newborn through the critical first few days of life.

Now let’s move on to a slightly more scientific definition of colostrum for you nerds out there, straight from the underbellies of the Wiki definition of colostrum:

“Newborns have very immature digestive systems, and colostrum delivers its nutrients in a very concentrated low-volume form. It has a mild laxative effect, encouraging the passing of the baby’s first stool, which is called meconium. This clears excess bilirubin, a waste-product of dead red blood cells, which is produced in large quantities at birth due to blood volume reduction, from the infant’s body and helps prevent jaundice. Colostrum is known to contain immune cells (as lymphocytes)[4] and many antibodies such as IgA, IgG, and IgM. These are the major components of the adaptive immune system. Inter alia IgA is absorbed through the intestinal epithelium, travels through the blood, and is secreted onto other Type 1 mucosal surfaces[citation needed]. Other immune components of colostrum include the major components of the innate immune system, such as lactoferrin,[5] lysozyme,[6] lactoperoxidase,[7] complement,[8] and proline-rich polypeptides (PRP).[9] A number of cytokines (small messenger peptides that control the functioning of the immune system) are found in colostrum as well,[10] including interleukins,[10] tumor necrosis factor,[11] chemokines,[12] and others. Colostrum also contains a number of growth factors, such as insulin-like growth factors I (IGF-1),[13] and II,[14] transforming growth factors alpha,[15] beta 1 and beta 2,[16][17] fibroblast growth factors,[18] epidermal growth factor,[19] granulocyte-macrophage-stimulating growth factor,[20] platelet-derived growth factor,[20] vascular endothelial growth factor,[21] and colony-stimulating factor-1.[22]

Colostrum is very rich in proteins, vitamin A, and sodium chloride, but contains lower amounts of carbohydrates, lipids, and potassium than mature milk. The most pertinent bioactive components in colostrum are growth factors and antimicrobial factors. The antibodies in colostrum provide passive immunity, while growth factors stimulate the development of the gut. They are passed to the neonate and provide the first protection against pathogens.”

Whew. I know that was a propellor-hat friendly mouthful, so let’s dig into the more practical aspects of how you can use colostrum if you happen to be one of my readers that is not a newborn or 2 day old mammal.

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Colostrum As An Alternative To Antibiotics

The immunoglobulins in colostrum have specific immune system activity against many common human pathogens such as Escherichia coli, Cryptosporidium parvum, Shigella flexneri, Salmonella, Staphylococcus, and rotavirus (yes, that nasty diarrhea disease).

Interestingly, prior to the development of antibiotics, colostrum was the primary source of immunoglobulins used to fight infections. When Albert Sabin made his first oral vaccine against polio, the immunoglobulin he used actually came from colostrum. When antibiotics began to appear, interest in colostrum waned, but, now that antibiotic-resistant strains of pathogens have developed, interest is once again returning to natural alternatives to antibiotics like colostrum.

I personally don’t take colostrum year-round (later in this article I’ll tell you why I don’t take colostrum all the time), but prior to travel or during cold and flu season I “load” with colostrum for several weeks.

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Colostrum For Immunity

Perhaps you have heard of “Proline-Rich Polypeptides” or PRP. These things have been making the news all over scholarly medical research articles lately due to their huge potential for boosting the immune system. So in addition to the infection-fighting immunoglobulins you’ve already learned about, these PRP’s offer a second level of protection.

PRP’s are tiny immune signaling peptides that have been discovered in colostrum (and also in other sources, such as blood plasma). Also known as “Colostrinin”, “CLN”, and “transfer factor”, they function as signal transducing molecules that have the unique effect of making microadjustments to your immune system, turning your immunity up when the body comes under attack from pathogens or other disease agents, and damping your immune system down when the danger is eliminated or neutralized. This is called cell-mediated immunity, and is basically a process of keeping your immune system finely tuned.

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Colostrum For Enhancing The Effectiveness of Probiotics

Because colostrum helps to heal leaky gut and make the tight junctions in your gut less permeable to foreign invaders, without colostrum, probiotics will not be as effective long term because they will pass through your GI tract and not “stick around” in your gut the way they are supposed to. In this way, clostrum is like soil for the seeds of probiotics. It gives friendly bacteria a place to grow by keeping leaky junctions in your gut more “closed”. This has to do with a protein called Zonulin.

In his recent Digestion Session Summit, Sean Croxton interviewed Dr. Datis Kharrazian and in the transcript of the interview, Dr. Kharrazian explained it this way:

what is zonulin

So basically, colostrum keeps zonulin protein from opening up your intestinal cells and keeps leaky gut from developing. Hence, your probiotics become more effective.

In addition, since colostrum also contains a large concentration of immune system factors like white blood cells (leukocytes) and antibodies, the combination of probiotics and colostrum together boost your immune system tremendously.

In addition, if you are trying to re-colonize your GI tract (raise the levels of friendly bacteria in your gut) then you should also combine colostrum with probiotics. When you have a healthy population of friendly bacteria combined with colostrum for the probiotics to cultivate, a more hostile environment is created for harmful microorganisms and there is less space for digestion disruptors to proliferate. So colostrum combined with probiotics is a very powerful one-two gut-healing combo for gas, bloasting, diarrhea, constipation.

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Colostrum For Athletic Performance

For me, athletic performance enhancement and the prevention of gas, nausea, cramps or diarrhea during hard workouts and races was a big reason to begin using colostrum, and I particularly achieve this by “loading” with 8 colostrum capsules per day for 2 weeks before hard races – especially races in hot conditions, such as Ironman Hawaii.

A gastroenterologist professor named Raymond Playford, of Plymouth University, has done some very interesting research on the gut benefits of colostrum for athletes, and has published one study entitled: “The nutriceutical, bovine colostrum, truncates the increase in gut permeability caused by heavy exercise in athletes.

When we are in intense periods of training, us athletes and exercise enthusiasts (you know who you are) often develop gut problems, also known as  “runners’ trots”. If you’ve ever had to pull over on the side of the road during a run with your head between your knees because of gastric distress, or you’ve ever had to interrupt a set in the weight room to quickly duck into the locker room, then you know what I mean.

In the video below, Dr. Playford explains how this is caused by a combination of stress and the simultaneous raising of your body’s core temperature by about two degrees, which increases the permeability of your gut wall, allows toxins into the bloodstream that wouldn’t normally be there, and is the primary reason you get gut distress during stressful exercise, especially stressful exercise in the heat. This is because heat raises the permeability of your gut wall even more.

In this video, Dr. Playfored also talks about his fascinating research on colostrum, its role in protecting this gut leakage that happens during strenuous exercise, and the fact that if you take colostrum for two weeks prior to exercise, the change in gut leakiness is almost completely prevented.

This all makes sense, since colostrum contains growth factors designed to strengthen the gut lining, which is crucial for a newborn mammal, who has a very permeable gut that needs to toughen up fast (and this is why babies or children raised on soy milk – or anyone who has ever been on a bout of gut disrupting antibiotics – should undoubtedly be considering colostrum).

Of course, it’s not just gut problems that colostrum helps to address in athletes. Other studies show that athletes who take it are as much as 20% less likely to get infections of the upper respiratory tract, for reasons you’ve already learned.fs

In this article from the Guardian, Playford expounds on the other benefits that active people can derive from colostrum, “It could be really useful to people who have to do physical exercise in hot conditions, such as soldiers in Afghanistan,” he says. “They are susceptible to heatstroke because of all the gear they have to wear and carry, and taking colostrum could reduce that very serious risk. Another group who could benefit are older people with arthritis who develop serious gut problems because of the strong painkillers they use, and those with ulcerative colitis. These patients are at risk of damage to their gut lining and the colostrum helps it to heal and reduces its permeability.”

As a final boost for athletes, colostrum also has antioxidant components, such as lactoferrin, which assists with iron absorption, bone density and has been shown to have anti-microbial characteristics and hemopexin, which scavenges the heme released or lost by the turnover of heme proteins such as hemoglobin and thus protects the body from the oxidative damage that free heme can cause. This is especially important for endurance athletes, who have high hemoglobin use and red blood cell turnover.

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Colostrum For Growth Hormone (And A Strict Warning!)

Finally colostrum also contains Insulin Like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1). Low IGF-1 levels are not only associated with dementia in the elderly, but people with eating disorders also have low levels of IGF-1 due to malnutrition, as do obese individuals.

The growth-promoting effects most people associate with growth hormone are actually caused by IGF-1, which has characteristics of both growth hormone and growth factor since it stimulates the growth, proliferation, and survival of cells such as gut tissue cells and muscle tissue cells. This is why both IGF-1 and growth hormone are often promoted for muscle building, anabolism, recovery and anti-aging.

IGF-1 also acts as a neurotrophic factor in the brain, which means that it contributes to neurogenesis (growth of new brain cells) and survival of existing neurons (known as a neuroprotective effect).

Now here’s the important part: overexpression of growth hormone by 100 to 1,000-fold in mice causes a 50% shorter lifespan, mainly due to kidney and liver dysfunction. In addition, since IGF-1 and growth hormone are “pro-growth”, excessive long-term use could eventually cause some pretty rapid cell division – which is also known as…cancer.

Author Tim Ferriss calls this a trade-off or a “faustian bargain” between longevity and performance, and you can learn more about it in this excellent WellnessFX article by Dr. Rhonda Patrick entitled “The IGF-1 Trade-Off: Performance vs. Longevity”.

So for the same reason I don’t guzzle a gallon milk a day, eat grass-fed steak for breakfast, lunch and dinner, or take massive doses of whey protein after a workout, I don’t “overuse” colostrum. I simply load with colostrum for 2 weeks prior to big workouts and races, take it when I know I’ve been exposed to the cold or flu, and then also take it (as 4 capsules in the morning and 4 capsules in the evening) during most of the winter (about November through February) when I know my immune system is more likely to become compromised.

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Summary

Of course, as I alluded to at the beginning of this post, if you’re going to use colostrum as an alternative to antibiotics, as a boost for your immune system, as a way to make your gut feel bulletproof during exercise, to enhance the effectiveness of probiotics, or as a method for increasing growth hormone and iron absorption, then I highly recommend that you use the most biocompatible form of colostrum you can get.

You guessed it: you should get your colostrum from goats.

Because of this, I’ve just put the finishing touches on designing NatureColostrum, which is human gut-friendly goat’s colostrum harvested from organic, pastured goats straight from Joe’s farm, just a few hours from my house. You can click here to grab it now.

This is literally the most biocompatible colostrum on the face of the planet, and is of course from grass-fed, free-range goats that graze on pesticide-free and chemical-free pasture 365 days a year. No pesticides, no antibiotics and no hormones are used. Ever.

Enjoy your discovery of this little known compound, and leave your questions, comments or feedback below!

The Little Known Truth About Smart Drugs And Nootropics (Audio & Article)

smart drugs vs. nootropics

The following is a guest post by Dr. Andrew Hill, Lead Neuroscientist at truBrain. Click here for a fascinating audio podcast that accompanies this article. featuring Ben Greenfield and Dr. Hill.

Dr. Hill received his PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience from UCLA in 2012, studying how attention operates in the brain. He has been employed as a Lecturer at UCLA over the past few years, teaching multidisciplinary courses on both Healthy Brain Aging and courses in Neuroscience and Psychology. Dr. Hill has published chapters on measuring and modulating human attention, and continues to research self regulation.

Prior to UCLA, Dr. Hill obtained extensive experience working with both psychiatric and developmental populations as well as gaining experience in high technology areas. He received his B.S. in Psychology/Neuroscience from UMass Amherst, and is a key adviser in the formulation of the truBrain’s cognitive blend (get 20% off on your purchase with the code BEN20).

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The Limitless Pill

In the 2011 movie Limitless, Bradley Cooper’s character gets his hands on a smart drug (NZT-48) that enables him to be cognitively super human.  

The only known side effect is that his eyes change color while he is on the drug, but that changes over the course of the movie as side effects, including withdrawal symptoms, begin to get worse and worse.  It’s a sci-fi thriller with a not-so-feel-good message about addiction and performance enhancing substances.  And goons chasing you.

Makes smart drugs sound dangerous, right?

Like any good sci-fi , this movie questions our assumption on the limits of science.  And some of what it is suggesting is not science fiction today. Smart drugs and nootropics are a current reality, being used more and more not to treat or remediate any active condition or complaint but towards boosting already typical or superior performance, in colleges, board rooms, military theatres, and by forward thinking gerontologists.

With the wide variety of compounds available today that have some research support for cognitive effects, it is important for you to understand the risks and benefits associated with usage, or at least how to choose smarter, when choosing things that affect your brain.

For example, one of the most popular misconceptions about smart drugs is that they are the same as nootropics.  This may be due to similar benefits that people use them for, but ultimately they do not share the same range of effects, mechanisms of action, safety and side effects.

So – what are smart drugs?  What are nootropics?  How do we know if something is safe or effective?  What are these drugs actually doing to my brain?  Why am I asking so many questions without answering them?  Keep reading to get this and more information you need to understand these questions, and start formulating your own answers – and your own strategies for selecting nootropics. 

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Smart Drugs vs. Nootropics

A smart drug is generally a prescribed medication or off-label drug used primarily to treat some kind of mental or cognitive disorder.

The most common are drugs such as Adderall (dextroamphetamine) or Ritalin (methylphenidate) in the stimulant class used to treat symptoms related to ADHD – although legal and illegal off-label use is rampant.  And while they may promote focus and energy in some people, others have dramatic side effect, to body and brain.  Smart drugs in the stimulant class also tend to be reinforcing, producing spikes in dopamine and norepinephrine.

This leads to tolerance and habit formation, including adverse effects on appetite, mood stability, cardiac function, stress levels and possibly many other unwanted effects – especially on younger brains such as teens and young adults.  Irritability and mood swings, anxiety, sleep issues, and other forms of emotional or cognitive regulation problems can crop up over time with stimulant use, as well.

A popular atypical stimulant “smart drug” includes the narcolepsy agents Modafinil / Adrafinil, although their effects on cognition beyond wakefulness are unproven, and side effects – while rare – can be life threatening.  If attention problems are already present the side effect risk appears to be significant increased, as well. (Kumar, (2008), Approved and Investigational Uses, Drugs. 68(13):1803-39.).

In contrast to a smart drug, a nootropic is generally a non-prescribed compound, including vitamins, herb, other supplements, natural or synthetic compound that may increase or protect cognition in some way.  The preponderance of research in the past 40 years shows some effects on focus, attention, effects on aging, and possibly cellular metabolism.

To paraphrase the definition of “nootropic” as initially coined in this article by the researcher Girugea in 1972, it is something that improves cognition without appreciable side effects, or provides from protection to the brain.

In a modern context we think of nootropics as something used not to treat any mental condition or pathology directly, but instead to provide support to peak function, protect against long term risk, and provide daily boost.  Across the field, true nootropic ingredients and full blends can now be found largely sourced from natural ingredients.  Nootropic blends are designed to leverage synergy effects suggested in the research and subjective experiences.   The goals with nootropics should always be to allow for greater and more consistent cognitive effort and flow, without the side effects of a stimulant or other harsh substance.

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How Do I Know If A Smart Drug Is Safe?

As a rule of thumb, it is the nature of science to be wrong at times.  

We’ve come a long way since we accepted that the theory behind the Earth being the center of the universe was wrong.  We understand that new research may overturn old knowledge.  So how can we truly know the risks and benefits of long term use of nootropics or smart drugs?

A red flag in understanding the harm of a substance is the body’s ability to handle an overabundance of this substance.  Small amounts of toxic substances may be beneficial in the short term, but the magic happens when we look at what is happening in the body when we get too much.  Something as simple as a cup of coffee may seem harmless, but caffeine in high amounts can cause dizziness, anxiety, and even cardiac arrest or death.  Caffeine mimics the action of the neuromodulator adenosine in the body.  This leads to higher adrenaline and cortisol levels.

Even in typical doses caffeine can deeply affect our sleep and cause heart arrhythmias for some people.   Alcohol has even worse short and long term toxicity symptoms at non-moderate doses, and some people struggle to keep their dosing moderate.  In better doses – perhaps a couple cups of coffee a day (without sugar) and a drink or so per day on average, these substance are actively health promoting, and reduce risk for many brain and cardiac diseases.  When you are picking substances and compounds, dosing should be cautious at first.

From this, a couple rules come out –

1) don’t take any compounds, substance, or blends of substances that don’t list all their ingredients out in plain amounts.  

Proprietary blends with lump-sum amount hiding buzzword-compliant list of magical ingredients known as “fairy dusting” in the supplement industry.

Don’t be fooled.

Read the ingredients.

Figure out why and what is in there, and if you want it.

2) don’t chase suspicious research chemicals without much history of use or safety profile.  

Experiment on yourself if you like, but you only have one brain – make rational and cautious choices.  There are nootropic, smart drug, and cognitive enhancers that have been around for decades – something released last week as a “Research Chemical” with a bunch of numbers and letters for a name and no human studies isn’t worth the risk to you.  Not for years.

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What About Adderall & Modafinil Safety?

Smart drugs such as Adderall can cause dangerous lows, psychosis with extreme use, rebound fatigue, and depression, even at lower use levels.  As an amphetamine, Adderall can act as a reuptake inhibitor, meaning that it can compete with other neurotransmitters for reuptake.

Specifically it is thought to block the uptake of dopamine and norepinephrine, which are associated with reward behaviors and our nervous system functions, respectively.  This causes a flood of these neurotransmitters onto multiple receptors, causing neurotransmitter depletion and overexcited receiving neurons.  This large “signal” is the reason for the focus, but also responsible for some of the side effects that go along with this class of prescription drugs.  Existing research is also a bit weak on any improvement that Adderall or other stimulants may have on short term memory or cognitive function, and some actually may impair function.

Modafinil, also known as Provigil, is an example of a smart drug that has been used like a nootropic.  Modafinil is prescribed to treat sleep disorders, but when combined with a normal functioning brain, can potentially cause increases in cognition and awareness.

Just like Adderall, the use of these drugs outside the medical field does not make them a nootropic.  Modafinil is also a reuptake inhibitor for dopamine, causing the same type of neurotrasmitter flood as Adderall.  However, Modafinil may also affect the histaminergic pathway, which deals with wakefulness and the delicate immune response of the body.  Histaminergic neurons in the brain are more active during wakefulness and slow their firing pattern as we rest or sleep.

Modafinil’s “beneficial” side effects may come from this heightened histaminergic neuronal activation, but too much activation can cause apoptosis, or cell death.  In addition, this has been shown to cause adverse skin reactions that required hospitalization since the histamine pathway also deals with our immune system.  Modafinil may increase your intelligence, but can be extremely dangerous to the health of your brain and body.

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Enter Nootropics

Nootropics, like truBrain’s cognitive blend, and a few other products on the market, have dose-toxicity levels much lower than salt, caffeine, and especially Adderall.  

There doesn’t seem to be any neurotransmitter depletion, tolerance or habit forming potential, adverse body side effects, or impaired brain function, from most true nootropics, by Girugea’s definition.  The mechanisms for nootropics lie within the structural connectivity of the brain, the optimization of blood flow and oxygenation, and the fortification of brain regions over long term consistency.  Nootropics act more as a super supplement to protecting the brain.  Girugea’s own first synthesized nootropic (in 1964) is still in use today and has been shown to have effects on mitochondrial metabolism, cell membrane fluidity, and functional connectivity in the brain.

Piracetam is this poster child for nootropics, and one of the main ingredients in truBrain nootropic blends. It is one of the only compounds used in that formulation that can not be found in nature, however it was originally derived from – and has structural similarities to – the neurotransmitter GABA.

Since Girugea bought piracetam to light in 1964, there has been lots of research to support the benefits of piracetam.  It has been shown to positively affect our cell membranes and to have neuroprotective and pro-metabolism effects on cells.  The fluidity in our membranes changes with stress and old age, as well as moment to moment as one method of regulating receptor activity. By keeping our membranes healthy we can promote the cells ability to communicate.

For example, truBrain combines other membrane oriented supplements – including choline. The cell membrane – especially in the brain – relays ongoing control signals and messages from other cells to the inner processes of the cell.  Neurons’ membranes in the axon (wiring) and soma (cell body) help generate and propagate electrical signals, sum distant signals, and even have computational and complex learning functions related to changes in membrane function.  Healthier and more active cell membranes bring us increased activity and cell communication, and hopefully better cognition.

Piracetam along with other truBrain ingredients such as magnesium, choline, and DHA, increases in brain plasticity and are designed to improve cognition and efficiency under processing load – or peak performance, versus remediation.  Nootropics may support increased cognitive potential as well as long term protection.  The truBrain team added L-Theanine and L-Tyrosine to support neurotransmitters of GABA and Dopamine, respectively.

You can use a similar or different strategy when building your own nootropic regimen, but use a strategy.  Know why you are putting an ingredient in, know how it might interact with the others, and be sure that dosing is safe.

When you are planning your nootropic or nutraceutical regimen, think in terms of nutrition support to cell metabolism and function, amino acids, natural or near-natural compounds, and avoid bad fats and harsh chemicals that give a momentary boost at the cost of later crashing or having other more serious side effects, such as excess sugars and caffeine.

And don’t forget what else you put in your mouth – additional DHA and other omega-3 fatty acids (in grass fed meats, deep sea fish) are excellent for brain health. Craft your diet like you craft your brain supplement regimen – or have both catered / curated for you in a high end product.  If you do create your own blend, think precise selection, not shotgun approach, and add slowly to your regimen.

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The Problem With Instant Gratification

As a culture, we often hear false marketing claims or create mindsets about what is possible with our health.  

We see ads that advertise a pill that gets rid of “stomach fat fast”.  Truthfully, fat is lost uniformly in the body and the fastest and healthiest way to lose weight it about 1-2 pounds uniformly a week.  So we eat poorly and don’t exercise for 2 years and then criticize our healthy workout plans and diet 1 month in when we don’t get the results we want.

The healthiest and most effective things in life are often the ones that we do routinely.  Consistency is key.  This is true if you are talking about athletic performance, academic or intellectual training, or nutrition and supplement support.  While not “necessary” like supplements or medicines, nootropic use follows this principle as well.  There is another rule, emerging.

If something is strongly “felt” dose to dose – if it gets you high, or wired, or sedated…it’s a smart drug, recreational drug, or something that may enhancing some aspect of performance (perhaps at the expense of another), but is definitely not a nootropic.  And finally, nootropics should be sustainable.

With some nootropics there is an initial loading phase followed by a maintenance phase, and while subtle, results can be felt fairly quickly on the timescale of a few days.  The contrasting quick highs / crashes of coffee, alcohol, smart drugs, and even quickly digesting carbs are definitely experienced more immediately, but have consequences that make them unsustainable for many people.

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Summary

So in summary – here are a few initial rules to help select your own nootropic or cognitive enhancing blend:

  • Know your ingredients, and their amounts.
  • Don’t spend your money on obfuscate fairy dusting or expensive blends that are full of caffeine or random research chemicals.
  • It’s not a nootropic if it has side effects.
  • Your nootropic solutions should focus on mild nutritive and metabolic support, for long term gains and protection.  Break the cycle peak and crash that you get with too many stimulants, and avoid the more serious side effects that you risk with smart drugs.
  • Nootropics don’t get you high, altered, or wired.

And don’t forget the other accessible and evidence-based brain and cognition improving methodologies we have at our disposal today: meditation, yoga, and other contemplative (attention training) practices, biofeedback and neurofeedback, diets high in good fats, and other modifiable behaviors you can implement to take control of your brain health and performance.

So take care of your brain – the tools are out there, to support health and shift performance.

Leave your questions, comments and feedback below. Also, if you want to try the nootropic that Dr. Hill helped design, grab truBrain and get 20% off on your purchase with the code BEN20.

Why Your Supplements Should Stink.

skunk

Reader Tandra recently asked in the comments section of my “A Quest To Discover The Greatest Multivitamin On The Face Of The Planet” article:

“I realize how great these vitamins are, but the AM pills smell so bad that I almost gag! What causes them to smell so bad? :(“

Sad face, indeed.

Here was my response to Tandra:

“In Thorne products, they don’t use vitamins that are coated, diluted, or masked with agents to conceal smell/taste. They instead use pure, undiluted nutrients – in a capsule, not wrapped in the coating of pharmaceutical glaze of a tablet. Vitamins in their pure forms can smell. For example, thiamine (B1) smells, frankly, a bit like sweaty socks if you smell it alone…but that’s the trade off for purity. Get a clothespin perhaps? ;) Hope that helps! Ben.”

But really, my reply only scratched the surface of why supplement ingredient sourcing matters so much…

…how vitamin and supplement companies choose their raw ingredients…

…why a nutrition label many not really tell you everything you need to know…

…why third party verification is so important…

…and much, much more.

So without further ado, I present to you one of the most insightful, educational, and easy-to-read supplement ingredient infographics you’ll ever see, straight from Thorne. It should be pretty self-explanatory at this point why I recommend Thorne so often in my podcasts and blog posts, and why your supplements should stink, but if you have any follow-up questions, just leave them in the comments section below.

On some browsers, the graphic below may seem really small. If clicking on it doesn’t magnify it for you, just click here to download the high resolution .pdf version! Also, you can click here to peruse the ThorneFX line of supplements.

ThorneFX Ingredients

The Five Best Supplements and Foods to Increase Sexual Performance.

pine-pollen

If your reproductive system is working at top-notch capacity, it’s a pretty good sign that you’re fit on the outside and fit on the inside.

So a good sex life and strong sex drive is very intimately (pun intended, of course) tied to your fitness levels.

And that is why we sometimes feature articles about sex, libido and relationships.

The following such article is written by my friend Jordan Gray, bestselling author of multiple relationship, sex and dating books, and a guy who drastically improved my own married sex life. Enjoy, leave your comments and questions below the post, and be sure to check out Jordan’s books on Amazon.

By the way, if you don’t like frank and explicit talk about sex, then you may just want to skip this article.

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I did an interview called “How To Get Fit For Sex” with Ben Greenfield a few months ago – and he asked me something that rattled around in my head for a while after our call.

At the end of our bad-ass hour long interview about how to get fit for sex, he asked me if I had experimented with any foods, supplements, or other magic potions to increase sexual performance. And up until that point, I hadn’t.

This set me on a three-month-long test to see how much I could dial up my libido, sexual performance, and erectile strength for the better.

Basically, I became a human guinea pig… for sex. Okay, I’ll admit – that sounded stranger than I intended it to.

I have certainly written in the past on how to last longer, how to dial up the sexual polarity in your relationship, how to sexually strengthen yourself, and how ejaculating too much can drain you… but this was the first time that I had tested the idea that slightly shifting your diet could positively affect your sex life.

The results, at times, were pretty intense (read: extremely, overwhelmingly intense).

Now – keep in mind that I did not have my testosterone levels checked out by a doctor at any point in this process. This was not a scientific method. I was going strictly by how sexually voracious I felt (a fancy way to say horny), how often I woke up with nocturnal penile tumescence (aka NPT, aka morning wood), and how intense and long lasting my erections were throughout the day when I wasn’t engaging in any sexual activity.

With that in mind, I did control my exposure to each substance/dietary change by only doing one thing at a time. And then at the end I did all of the things all at once (it gets pretty funny… you’ll see soon).

I’m giddy writing this article right now. Over the past three months, my sex drive (and presumed testosterone levels) had a gradual and steady increase, which then culminated in a couple weeks where it was absolutely TOO much.

With a higher sex drive, you can open your woman sexually with more ease, and have more confidence in your sexual abilities.

So without further delay, here are the biggest lessons that I learned from three months of biohacking my sex life with supplements and minor dietary changes.

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1. Remove toxins from your home environment and self-care regimen

One of the first things that I learned the importance of was removing toxins from my home and self-care regimen.

In my off-call conversation with Ben Greenfield, he told me about the importance of removing harmful chemicals from my household. Any unnatural cleaning products (whether I cleaned my stove or my face with them) would harm my sleep and therefore interfere with my testosterone production. And remember, testosterone is the sex and aggressions hormone and is absolutely critical in increasing your sex drive.

Ben’s article How To Detox Your Home deep-dives into the details and science of the matter.

So I got rid of all of the soaps, moisturizers, and others things that had parabens, aluminum, and other harmful chemicals in them that plugged up my body and interfered with my natural hormonal process. I also turned off my WiFi router and cell phone at night so that the EMF waves weren’t dancing around in my bedroom/home.

Whether it was strictly a placebo effect or not, I felt a noticeable difference in my sex drive within the first two weeks of cutting out all of the dyed/perfumed soaps and products from my house. And I was fully single during this time so I knew that the boost in libido wasn’t the rush of a new relationship that was giving me a surge in sex drive.

I truly believe that without detoxing my personal hygiene routine (I personally started using this soap and this deodorant to great effect and cut out every product from my self-care routine) the rest of the steps ahead wouldn’t have done nearly as much. The pathways to increased T-levels would have been blocked by the offending toxins and chemicals in my body.

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2. Your diet matters

Eating clean, real foods, getting regular exercise, and having a full night’s sleep all contribute to your hormonal balance and testosterone production.

I’m going to skip all of the science that I found in books like this (my favourite book on the subject), and this (my second favourite book on the subject), and give you the cliffs notes of the 30+ hours of private study that I did to find out exactly what foods lead to higher testosterone levels.

Specific foods/kinds of foods to limit your intake of: sugar, caffeine, white flour, excessive starchy carbohydrates.

Best foods to consume for testosterone production: zinc, vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin B, flaxseed oil, nettle root, celery, cucumber, kale, spinach, radish, oatmeal (rolled oats/steel cut oats), garlic, pine nuts, eggs, broccoli, blackberries and blueberries (berries in limited amounts). Incidentally, the multivitamin that Ben now recommends does actually contain most of these compounds.

The more dark and colourful vegetables you consume, and the less processed crap you eat, the happier your body will be, and the healthier your sex drive will be.

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3. Increase Your Intake Of Healthy Fats

As an add-on to the limiting of sugars, white flour, and starchy carbs, ensuring that your diet has an ample amount of polyunsaturated and saturated fats will help in your testosterone production.

Examples of recommended foods containing healthy fats? Coconut oil, raw nuts (almonds, brazil nuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds), grass-fed lean meat, avocados, olives and olive oil, and organic butter.

In the most intense phase of my diet-focused testosterone boosting I drank an organic raw egg before bed every night for a week (testosterone is derived from cholesterol… which eggs have in spades) and I woke up with insane morning wood every morning without fail. From making sure that I consumed some cholesterol and healthy fat before bed I noticed that I recovered more quickly from my workouts and my sex drive had a big shot in the arm.

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4. Some books have much more useful information than others

There are a ton of resources out there on increasing testosterone naturally, and to be honest, they’re full of fluff stories and dry-sounding science. Stuff that I’m sure is all reputable and true, but it’s insanely boring (to me at least).

The three best books that I found on the subject (that were value dense, and also had a tone of voice that didn’t totally talk over my head) were The Natural Testosterone Plan, Testosterone For Life, and Clean. You can dig into those if you feel so compelled.

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5. Pine Pollen

Remember earlier in the article where I mentioned that there came a time where I had stacked so many things that my sex drive started to become unbearably high? Well this last step was the force multiplier that took everything in high gear.

So by this point I had cleaned out/detoxed my body and home environment, limited foods that I knew were bad for me, increased my overall vegetable and healthy fat intake, and was getting better sleep more regularly.

I consulted with one of my friends who just recently turned 40 and he could pass for a jacked 30 year old. The guy is buff… as in, you can always see his veins even when he’s sitting and calmly reading a book. But he’s a vegetarian/organic loving guy who would never touch any kind of pharmaceutical drugs (so he wasn’t taking steroids or anything artificial like that). I asked him what his secret was… and he told me “pine pollen.”

I’d never heard of pine pollen before embarking on this journey, but now that I have I’m never going back.

My friend informed me that pine pollen wouldn’t take my testosterone levels PAST what was a good baseline for what my body wanted to produce, but it would feel like I had a major boost in libido because my body was likely drastically below what it wanted to be (from general poor diet or chronic stress/poor sleep, etc.)

The science behind pine pollen is still shaky at best but apparently the story goes that it is a natural phyto-androgen (which is a fancy way of saying tree sperm). It is also a complete protein, and is rich in vitamins and minerals. It is available in tablet or tincture form, but the tincture form is recommended only for men middle-aged and older, while the tablet can be taken by younger men, women, children, and the aged. Of course, anyone with a pine pollen allergy should avoid both forms.

Long story short, I started taking pine pollen tablets three times a day. My reasoning went like this “This product is probably just a natural health product that does very little, so let’s see what happens when I start off by taking the full dose… probably nothing.”

And I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The next morning I woke up with a raging erection like someone had slipped Cialis into my mouth while I was asleep.

The effects compounded over the next ten days as I continued the dosage at the full level. I told myself that I would give each phase of my T-boosting tests two weeks each (to really see if each phase made a difference), and the pine pollen phase was the only one that I had to cut short because it was too intense.

I could barely concentrate on anything. Every woman that walked by me looked amazing. Sex was on my mind constantly (and I have a relatively low sex drive normally so this was totally out of the ordinary for me).

After ten days of the fourteen day test, I cut my dosage back to half of the recommend amount and I felt much more like a human being again (and less like an animal).

The happy medium that I have found throughout this process is that I have continued to limit simple sugars, alcohol, and caffeine, make sleep a priority, eat more healthy fats, and take the pine pollen dosage just a few days per week. My sex drive has never been more steady, strong, and balanced, and I have more drive and motivation day to day.

Summary

So to wrap things up – start by cutting out the parabens and heavy metals in your self-care products, stop eating food that you know is bad for you, eat more healthy fats, get a good sleep, and if you’re going to experiment with any supplements, try out pine pollen tablets.

Questions, comments or feedback about these five best supplements and foods to boost sexual performance? Leave your thoughts below!

P.S. I didn’t experiment with any prescription drugs (like Cialis, Viagra, Levitra, etc.) during this process because that wasn’t the point of the exercise. I wanted to see if I could naturally boost my sex drive and re-balance my hormones without using drugs. I wasn’t opposed to natural health products like pine pollen, but any drug that I had to get a prescription for was off limits.

How To Find Nutrient-Dense Wild Edibles And Medicinal Plants In Your Own Backyard.

wlld plants

Ever wished you knew if you had plants in your backyard that you could actually eat – plants that might even be good for you, save you money grocery shopping, heal you, provide you with nutrient density and more?

Or maybe you just want to know how to survive in the wilderness for a few days on your own.

The fact is, if you know what to look for, you can find a wealth of edible and medicinal plants all around you. You just need to know where to look, and which plants to avoid so that you don’t poison yourself.

Not only that, but you can also survive in the wilderness with just a few primitive skills – fewer than you’d think.

In this podcast, I interview Tim Corcoran, an expert on wilderness survival, permaculture, edible wild plants and more. Tim is co-director of Twin Eagles Wilderness School · Nature & Wilderness Survival School, an organization he co-founded with his wife, Jeannine Tidwell in Sandpoint, Idaho (located about an hour from my house. Tim is a certified Wilderness First Responder, a graduate of the Kamana Naturalist Training Program, and a graduate of the Vermont Wilderness School’s five-year Apprenticeship Program.

During this episode, we discuss:

-3 wild edibles you can find in your own backyard…

-Two crucial wilderness survival skills that everyone should know…

-How you can quickly die if you don’t have the right mindset going into a wilderness survival situation…

-Why we’ve lost our sense of tribe and community and what we can do about it…

-How to go through a rite of passage…

-Why you should know Gilbert Walking Bull’s “Seven Sacred Attributes“…

-And much more!

Click here for the YouTube videos that accompany this episode, click here to grab the free e-book that Tim is offering on “Top 10 Edible Wild Plants”, and leave your questions, comments and feedback about wild edibles and medicinal plants below!

Everything You Need To Know About Essential Oils For Fat Loss, Performance, Smart Drugs, Scar Healing, Detoxing And More.

Essential Oils

Two years ago, I got a nasty staph infection.

It exploded into the flesh-eating bacteria MRSA, it took over both my arms and legs, it ate a golf-ball sized hole into my right thigh and I nearly lost my left arm.

The entire nasty story, along with shocking photos, is here.

After trying every natural remedy and topical creme on the face of the planet, I eventually got rid of the entire thing and healed myself with essential oils.

Over the past two years, I went from knowing nothing about essential oils to discovering an entire wealth of knowledge about these amazing natural remedies, and in today’s podcast episode with Dr. Sarah Lobisco, you’re going to learn everything you need to know about essential oils for fat loss, performance, cognitive enhancement, scar healing, detoxing and more, including:

What exactly an essential oil is and how an essential oil is actually made…

How essential oils work chemically within your body…

The three different ways you can apply and use essential oils…

The best essential oils for your immune system…

The best essential oil blends for stress and sleep…

The best essential oils for fat loss (and for stretch marks too!)…

Amazing ways you can use one essential oil as a smart drug and cognitive performance enhancer…

How essential oils can be used to enhance physical performance…

How essential oils can be used for cleansing and detox…

-Why not all essential oils are created equal, why some can do some serious damage to you if you’re not careful, and the exact brand that Dr. Sarah uses

My guest, Dr. Sarah Lobisco, is a graduate of the University of Bridgeport’s College of Naturopathic Medicine (UBCNM). She is licensed in Vermont as a naturopathic doctor and holds a Bachelor of Psychology from State University of New York at Geneseo. Dr. LoBisco speaks professionally on integrative medical topics, has several journal publications, and is a candidate for postdoctoral certification in functional medicine. She currently has a private integrative medicine consulting practice located in Ballston Spa, New York, where she incorporates her training in holistic medical practices with conventional medicine.

Do you have more questions about essential oil? Leave your comments and feedback below, and click here to peruse the Young Living Essential Oils we discuss in this episode.

How Quitting Alcohol Helped Today’s Guest Lose 30 Pounds, Make More Money, Attract Better Friends And Lovers, And Got A Job Hosting SportsCenter on ESPN (And Your Formula For Reducing or Quitting Alcohol).

jamesswanwick

In recent podcasts, I’ve talked a lot lately about alcohol, and what it does to the body, both good and bad.

My friend James Swanwick, who wrote the article below and is the host of the Alpha Male Club podcast, has a very interesting take on alcohol. So in today’s podcast, you’re going to learn how quitting alcohol helped James lose 30 pounds of fat, make more money, attract better friends and lovers, and got him a job hosting SportsCenter on ESPN – and get a formula for reducing or quitting alcohol.

You’ll learn:

-Why James quit alcohol…

-What happens to your body when you stop drinking, physically and mentally…

-The biggest challenges that happen when you stop or reduce drinking…

-What to do when you’re at a party or bar if you’re not going to order a drink…

-If James turned to any other vices as a replacement…

-Why James doesn’t just use a “one glass of wine a day” approach…

-And much more!

———————————–

“I am four years alcohol-free today.

What started as a 30-day challenge, turned into a four-year lifestyle change. Friends often ask me about this so I figure I’ll quickly share my story, assuming others may be interested.

I was never a big drinker. I’d enjoy a few quiet beers during the week.  Most weekends I’d go a little harder and get a good “buzz”. On a handful of occasions over many years, I would say I got “drunk”.

It was all good fun. There was no drinking to excess. I never had a drinking problem.

But I awoke with a shocking hangover one morning four years ago at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas after a particularly fun night. I walked into an International House of Pancakes for a hangover breakfast.

The IHOP menus have photos of the food you can choose – big, bright, bold colors. The sight of those scrambled eggs, bacon and pancakes on the menu and big, fat, overweight people sitting at tables next to me made me ill.

I decided then and there to see if I could go 30 days alcohol-free. It was simply a personal bet with myself to test my self-discipline. I didn’t plan to go more than 30 days. But I eventually would.

The first two weeks were hard. I went out with friends and ordered water or diet coke and they’d give me a hard time. “You’re un-Australian!” they’d say to me.

But I got through those two weeks and I was off to the races. I felt better, slept better and had much more mental clarity.

After 30 days, I’d lost an incredible 13lbs (5.9kg) of fat around my stomach. Just from stopping drinking. I had more money in the bank balance, my skin looked considerably better and I actually enjoyed getting out of bed early morning to exercise.

James (left) a few years before he quit drinking at 218lbs (98kg) and James (right), today, alcohol free, at 180lbs (82kg)

So I said to myself, “Bugger it. I feel great. I’ll just keep going and see how far I can go.” Little did I know just how far I would go.

After 60 days, I craved a cold beer. Or a red wine. Or a Bombay Sapphire gin and tonic with a dash of lime.

When it was hot outside, I started dreaming, “I would smash an ice cold beer right now!” But I breathed deeply, downed a diet coke or water and the feeling passed.

After three months, I felt terrific. I’d dropped a few more pounds of fat and was starting to put on some lean muscle in the gym. People were complimenting me on how good I looked.

I also realized that despite not drinking, I was still managing to have wildly entertaining nights out – even with my drunken friends slurring their words around me. Conversations with women became much more interesting.

When I told women I wasn’t drinking, far from them thinking I was an alcoholic in recovery, they actually told me they were impressed with my self-discipline.

You don’t need alcohol to have a good time

“Beautiful,” I thought. “I can stop drinking and still be fun, entertaining and attractive to women.”

Guys were always suspicious of my story, though. They always thought I was a recovering alcoholic who “obviously” had a problem. I just smiled.

Between three and six months I was in the zone. I felt energetic and healthy and I actually started to thrive on telling people I had temporarily stopped drinking.

But many people – particularly guys – still challenged me. They called me a “Pussy!” Or said to me, “Just have one!” Or “An Aussie that doesn’t drink?!?! F$%k off!”

I just laughed, pointed to my head and gave them my stock response, “I’m too strong in mind!” Some idiots even tried to secretly slip vodka into my soda. I had to make a point of always sniffing before drinking if they’d ordered for me.

Six to 12 months was fairly easy to be honest. And this is where I noticed the most dramatic changes.

I found that my relationships were considerably better – romantic and platonic. For example, I was constantly thinking about how I could help my friends rather than how they could help me.

I was more inclined to help people generally and was more considerate. I was calmer and noticed I made better decisions.

My work productivity soared. My business made more money.

More opportunities – like an ESPN audition to host SportsCenter – came my way. When it did, I was clear in mind, energetic, and seized the opportunity. I ended up getting that gig and hosted SportsCenter for two years.

I did, however, find I got tired at night time and went to sleep earlier. Listen, I could still burn the midnight oil until 5am during my sobriety. But I found I didn’t really want to. I felt like nothing that good really happened after 1am anyway.

So I would party hard – alcohol-free – until 1am. Most people who just met me weren’t even ever aware I wasn’t drinking. I could still be the life of the party with nobody even knowing. Then I headed home to be asleep most Friday and Saturday nights by no later than 2am.

James still James partying late  – alcohol free

I was up at 8am or 9am on weekends to hit the gym, showered, had breakfast and was ready to tackle the day by 11am when my mates were just dragging their lazy hungover backsides out of bed.

When I reached the personal milestone of one year without drinking, I found myself back in Austin at South by Southwest. I went to a pub, ordered a Budweiser, and put it to my mouth.

For James, no alcohol means more energy for exercise

It smelled good.

I had every intention of drinking that beer. But something stopped me from taking a sip. I paused and thought about it for a minute.

I decided that all the pros of not drinking outnumbered the cons. So I said to myself, “I’ll just keep going.”

So I did. I put the Budweiser down and haven’t picked up a drink since.

March 12, 2014, is four years to the day since I gave myself that initial 30-day challenge.

I’m 20lbs (9kg) lighter today than I was when I started on March 12, 2010. I’m 38lbs (17kg) lighter than when I was at my porkiest (See fat face photo above). Drinking definitely kept fat around my waist. Stopping drinking eliminated it.

This is likely due to three main things: 1. Alcohol contains a lot of carbs 2. Drinking makes you eat a lot more food, especially bad food like fries and desserts 3. Quitting drinking gives you more energy which turns you into a fat-burning machine.

I’m not for one moment suggesting you should quit drinking entirely like I did. Obviously, I am an extreme case. But my story clearly shows some of the positive benefits you can get if you do quit. Even just reducing your alcohol consumption by a few drinks a week, I believe only positive things can happen.

If I have a drink today, no worries. I’ve accomplished my goal. But I just don’t feel like having a drink.

In summary:

PROS: I feel better, look better, work better, act better, am better, have more money, have better quality of friends, really enjoy a nice ice cold water, don’t miss alcohol, realize I CAN party like a rock star WITHOUT alcohol, friends who’ve known me a long time say I’m a considerably nicer and more agreeable person

CONS: It is sometimes awkward explaining to new friends or business associates why you don’t drink. BUT…that initial awkwardness is mostly felt by THEM, not by you. And you can’t control how they feel.

If you decide you want to give it a try, trust that the pros will likely outweigh the cons. Set yourself a 30-day-goal. Or a two or three-month goal. Test it. See how you feel. See if it works for you. Or go for a year.

Or don’t do it at all. If you’re happy drinking, keep drinking! I love drinking! I love to drink a six-pack of beer and a bottle of red with the best of them.

I’m sure I’ll do it again one day. But for now, I’m happy with water and soda and feel like I am the best version of me.”

Do you have questions, comments or feedback about the health of alcohol, quitting alcohol, reducing alcohol or anything else related to today’s podcast? Leave your thoughts below and either James or I will reply!

8 Energy Boosting Desserts, Yoga For Energy, Food Labels Made Easy, A Kitchen Makeover, And More!

yuri elkaim book

A few weeks ago, my friend Yuri Elkaim (pictured above) published a book. Yuri is a bit of an outlier and renegade in the nutrition and health community. His mission is to empower everyday men and women with proper nutrition and health wisdom so they can take better control of their own health.

He also holds High Honours degree in Physical Education and Health/Kinesiology from the University of Toronto, is a former professional soccer player, and for 7 seasons acted as the strength & conditioning/nutrition coach for the nationally ranked men’s soccer program at the University of Toronto.

Some refer to him as the “health whisperer” for being to get to the heart of what matters and produce amazing health, weight loss, and fitness results where there seemed little hope.

I interview Yuri in today’s podcast, and in this episode, we talk about protein digestibility, enzyme exhaustion, why most juicing recipes are no good, and much more.

I must admit, Yuri’s new book “The All Day Energy Diet” is not the kind of book I would not normally read.

After all, Yuri – despite being an ex-professional soccer player – is bigtime into juicing, cleanses, detoxing – and I guarantee the guy eats far, far less steak than me…

…so I would *almost* classify him as a Whole Foods hippie.

But his book is, frankly, brilliant.

All day energy dietIt covers dietary concepts that I haven’t ever seen discussed in a book – concepts like:

-adjusting your blood pH with the foods you eat…

-how to test your adrenals without expensive lab tests…

-which foods literally exhaust your digestive enzymes…

-a new thing called the “PRAL” load of specific meals…

-six myths about plant protein

-how to choose the best kinds of coconut oil and butter…

-and much more.

I learned a ton from this book, and Yuri is a fellow athlete, a father, and a very smart dude, so I’m happy to tell you about his new book.

Better yet, if you click here to get the book now, you get the following ten bonuses (easily worth way more than what you pay for the book of course – $577 to be exact)…

1. The All-Day Energy Diet Community Cookbook ($29 value)

Features 67 energizing, gluten/sugar/soy/dairy-free recipes that take less than 15 minutes to make from some of the industry’s leading experts and a few of our very own customers (including two recipes by yours truly).

2. 8 Energy-Boosting Desserts ($19 value)

These yummy and healthy desserts will finally allow you to have your cake and eat it too, without the dangers of sugar, dairy, or gluten.

3. Food Labels Made Easy ($39 value)

Chances are you will still have some packaged foods from time to time. This walkthrough video and workbook shows you how to understand those tricky food labels so you don’t get taken for a ride.

4. The All-Day Energy Diet Grocery Guide ($19 value)

Get the complete list and quantities of foods you’ll need for The All-Day Energy Diet.

5. The All-Day Energy Diet Kitchen Makeover ($49 value)

Watch Yuri show you around the kitchen and see what you should and should not include your “energized” fridge and pantry.

6. The Bodyweight Energy Workout ($29 value)

Burn fat and get energized with this simple 20-minute follow-along bodyweight workout with Yuri.

7. Yoga for Energy ($29 value)

15-minute yoga routine to relax and rejuvenate your body.

8. The “Energy Sessions” audio series ($199 value)

Features 5 audio interviews with Dr. Alan Christianson (endocrine), Mitchell Stevko (sleep), me (fitness), Dr. Isaac Jones (cellular health), and Brendan Brazier (alkalinity).

9. 1-Hour “Getting Started” Group Coaching Call With Yuri ($99 value)

10. Lifetime Access To Yuri’s Private Facebook “Social Support” Group (priceless)

All these bonuses disappear Friday, by the way.

Just click here to get the All Day Energy Diet with all the bonuses listed above, and leave your thoughts or questions below! 

How To Reverse Aging With Bone Broth, Race An Ironman With Bone Broth And The Best Bone Broth Recipes.

what is bone broth

“Good broth will resurrect the dead,” says a South American proverb.

I don’t know about that, but I still drink bone broth every week for healthy skin, hair, nails, a strong gut lining, good joints, and even a bit of a liver detox.

Whether you’re injured, need to heal your gut fast, build muscle, need more natural sources of minerals and electrolytes in your diet, or simply want to drink, sip and cook with some the most nourishing liquid food on the face of the planet, bone broth really is the ultimate solution, and in today’s podcast, I interview bone broth expert and chef Lance Roth.

Creator of TheBrothery, bone broth and Executive Chef Lance Roll puts his 20-year diverse culinary career and education as a health and nutrition professional into each special batch of bone broth to create the healthiest broth on the face of the planet.

Lance actually freezes his broth and ships it around the continental US too, making for the ultimate, easy done-for-you bone broth experience, especially if you don’t have the time or resources to make your own bone broth.

In this podcast, you’ll discover:

-How bone broth can enhance liver detox pathways…

-How to make the best kind of broth, including a few of Lance’s secret ingredients…

-The important difference between broth and stock…

-Is it safe for you to ship bone broth around the country without it going bad…

-What are the tastiest things you can do with bone broth once you get it…

-How to use bone broth during an Ironman triathlon…

Each batch of flavorful, nourishing, bone-growing, muscle-building and body and gut-healing organic bone broth from The Brothery is made in small batches using locally-grown, organic produce and free-range, humanely-raised meats and poultry – so you get no harmful hormones or toxins in your nourishing broth. Click here to grab some now (you get a 5% discount on your order with code ben5!)

Leave your questions, comments and feedback about bone broth below, and feel free to share any good bone broth recipes you may have!

A Book I Should Probably Hate, But Don’t, And How You Can Get The Hard Copy Free.

yuri elkaim book

Yuri Elkaim (pictured above) is a bit of an outlier and renegade in the nutrition and health community. His mission is to empower everyday men and women with proper nutrition and health wisdom so they can take better control of their own health.

He also holds High Honours degree in Physical Education and Health/Kinesiology from the University of Toronto, is a former professional soccer player, and for 7 seasons acted as the strength & conditioning/nutrition coach for the nationally ranked men’s soccer program at the University of Toronto.

Some refer to him as the “health whisperer” for being to get to the heart of what matters and produce amazing health, weight loss, and fitness results where there seemed little hope.

And he just wrote a book.

I must admit, his new book “The All Day Energy Diet” is not the kind of book I would not normally read.

After all, Yuri – despite being an ex-professional soccer player – is bigtime into juicing, cleanses, detoxing – and I guarantee the guy eats far, far less steak than me…

…so I would *almost* classify him as a Whole Foods hippie.

But his book is, frankly, brilliant.

All day energy dietIt covers dietary concepts that I haven’t ever seen discussed in a book – concepts like:

-adjusting your blood pH with the foods you eat…

-how to test your adrenals without expensive lab tests…

-which foods literally exhaust your digestive enzymes…

-a new thing called the “PRAL” load of specific meals…

-six myths about plant protein

-how to choose the best kinds of coconut oil and butter…

-and much more.

I learned a ton from this book, and Yuri is a fellow athlete, a father, and a very smart dude, so I’m happy to tell you about his new book.

You can grab your hard copy now by clicking here.

The best thing is, you get it for free.

Yeah, free (it’s normally $25.95 retail value).

Yuri is giving away a few hundred copies of the book for free, starting tonight at midnight (a few minutes ago), so you can go grab it now by clicking here (if there’s any left). Good luck.

 If you have questions, comments or feedback about the All Day Energy Diet then leave your thoughts below! By the way the free book is a hard copy shipped to your house, not an ebook. And I’ll vouch for this dude, the book is good. Enjoy.