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.

————————————–

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.

——————————————

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.

——————————————

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.

——————————————

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.

——————————————

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.

——————————————

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!

23 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 in 28 days, on November 17th, 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 23 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.

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 25 of these interviews will be streaming for free starting November 17, and even though it’s 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:


Andy Murphy Pic
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, November 17, 2014 at 12:00 PM PT / 3:00 PM ET, and goes all the way through November 21. Click here to register for free and get your all-access ticket today.

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.

 

 

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

drew canole

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

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

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

“Vegan?” I asked.

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

Turns out Drew was right.

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

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

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

Take it away, Drew.

—————————————-

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

Let’s talk about juicing, shall we?

It has become a pretty hot topic these days.

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

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

—————————–

Juicing Problem #1: Obesity Traps

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

How can this be?

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

Why is this a problem?

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

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

Guess what that means?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And those are the “obesity traps”…

————————–

Juicing Problem #2: Performance Drains

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But that’s not all.

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

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

——————————-

How To Juice The Right Way

However, not all juicing is bad.

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

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

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

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

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

——————————-

A Good Juicing Video

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

Click here to watch my juicing video now.

——————————-

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

10 Tips For Raising Healthy, Smart and Successful Kids.

healthy kids

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

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

As you may know, I have twin boys.

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

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

Resources mentioned in this podcast:

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

-Magnesium Flakes

-Noise Activated Noise Machine

-YoNanas Banana Ice Cream Maker

-Coconut Macaroons

-Coconut-Chocolate-Avocado Pudding

-Coconut Popsicles

-Mindful Parenting book

-Fetch app for having other people buy stuff for you

-Thieves Essential Oil Blend

-Ben’s MRSA/Staph Story

-Oil of Oregano

-Cold Air Diffuser for Essential Oils

-Lemon Balm

-IFTTT & Zapier

-Mini kettlebells

-Mini medicine balls

-Kid’s kickboxing equipment

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

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

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

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

stealth pathogens

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

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

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

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

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

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

——————————

Why You Can Be Sick But Not Feel “Sick”

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

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

-Glutathione levels

-Vitamin D levels

-Hormonal Status

-Sleep quality and quantity

-Methylation status

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-HealthProfs.com

-FunctionalMedicine.org

-Naturopathic.org

-PrimalDocs.com

-PaleoPhysiciansNetwork.com

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

——————————–

How Stealth Pathogens Can Make You Fat

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

Through a number of mechanisms, actually.

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

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

————————————-

How Stealth Pathogens Can Make You Tired

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

———————————

How Stealth Pathogens Can Make You Brain Dead

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

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

——————————–

What You Can Do

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

Let’s begin with the broad topic of prevention.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Monolaurin (I recommend Ecological Formulas brand)

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

-GSE (I recommend NutriBiotic)

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

Colloidal silver (I recommend Argentyn 23)

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

——————————

Summary

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

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

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

———————————–

About the Author

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

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

———————————–

Sources

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How To Become A Health Coach.

plank

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

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

Maria-Marlowe-square1

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

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

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

In this interview, you’ll learn:

-What a health coach is…

-How to become a health coach…

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

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

-How much it costs to become a health coach…

-How much money a health coach makes…

-And much more!

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

Your Burning Multivitamin Questions: The Ultimate Vitamin And Supplement FAQ

Thorne Fx Multi Am Pm Complex

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

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

—————————————-

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

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

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

Now, let’s jump right into your questions…

—————————————-

General Questions

Are ThorneFX products available to be shipped for internationally?

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

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

Are your manufacturing practices third-party certified?

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

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

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

Who is the ThorneFX line of products intended for?

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

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

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

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

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

—————————————-

Multi AM/PM Complex Questions

What is unique about Multi AM/PM Complex?

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

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

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

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

Are capsules absorbed as well as liquids or powders?

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

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

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

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

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

What if someone doesn’t swallow pills well?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is copper harmful in a multi-vitamin?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is Relora, and is it safe?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The idea of nutrient absorption competition is not new.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

—————————————-

Wrapping it Up

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

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

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

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

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

supplements

tomnikkola

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

How is the supplement industry actually regulated?

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

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

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

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

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

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

-The history behind ThorneFX

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

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

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

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

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

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

-And much more!

thorneFinal Food For Thought

These are all important issues.

And here’s why…

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

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

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

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

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

vegan paleo

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

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

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

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

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

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

———————————————-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Fermentation is your friend.

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

3. Superfoods are supergood.

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

4. Welcome back, coconut.

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

5. A good blender is vital

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

6. Dehydration will round you out.

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

7. Soak and sprout nuts and seeds.

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

8. Dairy-free never tasted so good.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our lives depend on it.

About The Author

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

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

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

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

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

Nick Delgado

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

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

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

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

So how did this all happen?

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

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

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

Resources from this episode:

-The Delgado Protocol

-Nick’s book How To Stay Young

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

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

-Telomere Length Testing

-TA-65 extract for telomeres

-Astragalus herb in TianChi that Ben uses

-Marine Phytoplankton for essential fatty acids

-Melatonin Cream for wrinkles

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

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

-Mini trampoline for lymph flow

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

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

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

gels

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

Maybe it’s the candy-like taste.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

———————————-

Option #1: Justin’s Nut Butter

Justin’s Nut Butter Ingredients:

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

 

 

 

 

Justin’s Nut Butter Nutrition Label:

Justin's Maple Almond Butter Nutrition Label

My Take:

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

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

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

———————————-

Option #2: Vitalyte Chia Gels

Vitalyte Ingredients:

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

Vitalyte Nutrition Label:

vitalyte

My Take:

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

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

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

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

———————————-

GU Energy GelOption #3: GU Peanut Butter

GU Peanut Butter Ingredients:

Ingredients: 

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

GU Peanut Butter Nutrition Label:

GU Energy Gel Nutrition Label

My Take:

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

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

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

 

———————————-

chocolate9Option #4: Chocolate #9

Chocolate #9 Ingredients:

-Organic agave nectar
-Breakfast cocoa processed with alkali

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate #9 Nutrition Label:

Chocolate #9 Nutrition Facts

My Take:

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

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

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

———————————-

VFuelOption #5: VFuel

VFuel Ingredients (Peach Cobbler flavor):

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

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

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

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

———————————-

Option #6: Huma Gel

Huma Mango Flavor Ingredients:

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

 

Huma Nutrition Label:

huma

My Take:

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

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

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

———————————-

PocketFuel-NaturalsOption #7: Pocket Fuel Naturals

Banana Blueberry PocketFuel Ingredients:

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

Banana Blueberry PocketFuel Nutrition Label:

Crunchy_Banana_Blueberry2

My Take:

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

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

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

———————————-

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

Hammer Gel Ingredients:

-Maltodextrin
-Water

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

Hammer Gel Nutrition Label:

Hammer Gel Peanut Butter Nutrition Facts

My Take:

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

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

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

———————————-

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

 Artisina Almond Butter Ingredients:

-Organic raw almonds (California)

Artisina Almond Butter Nutrition Label:

Artisana Almond Butter Nutrition Label

My Take:

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

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

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

 ———————————-

YumButter GoOption #10: YumButter

YumButter Ingredients:

-Dry roasted California almonds

YumButter Nutrition Label:

yumbutter

My Take:

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

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

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

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

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

———————————-

WinForceOption #11: WinForce

WinForce Ingredients:

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

WinForce Nutrition Label:

WinForce Nutrition Label

My Take:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

——————————————–

CV25 pak12. VESPA

VESPA Ingredients:

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

VESPA Nutrition Label:

Not available, but here’s the skinny:

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

My Take:

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

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

Dang!

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

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

———————————————-

Summary

So that’s it!

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

Now it’s YOUR turn.

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

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

Leave your thoughts below!