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The Hidden Truth Behind Toxins, Detoxification & Detox Diets.

detox

Dr. Tim Jackson – a medical ninja when it comes to nutritional biochemistry, digestive health, methylation and genetic testing and functional endocrinology – is no stranger to BenGreenfieldFitness.com.

He penned the article that first appeared here entitled “Blame the Bugs: How Stealth Pathogens Are Making You Fat, Tired, and Brain Dead.“, and also “Broken Gut to Big Butt: How A Busted Digestive System Can Make You Hormonally Fat.

And now Dr. Tim is back with a vengeance. Just when I thought I knew everything there was to know about detoxification and detox diets, Tim began dropping knowledge bombs like xenobiotics, depuration, miasm, emunctory, and even drainage (yuk!). I had to get him on the podcast to open your eyes about what’s really happening inside your body when you detox…or when you don’t.

So when it comes to detox, what you’re about to hear is like no other podcast I’ve ever done on the topic, so strap on your earphones and prepare to learn:

-Why the pH of your blood is just ONE part of proper acid/alkaline balance…

-Why detoxification can destroy you if you don’t do a few other important things first…

-The three different ways to truly test your body and see if you even need to detox…

-Which organs detox your body (it’s not just your liver and kidney!)…

-Where homeopathic medicine fits in…

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

-Dr. Tim’s Website

-Dr. Tim’s Professional Facebook Page

-ZytoScan

-Asyra Testing

-EAV Screening

-Autonomic Response Testing

-Seroyal’s “UNDA” homeopathic remedies and supplements

-Seroyal’s Dr. Dixon Thom

Do you have questions, comments or feedback for Tim or me? Leave your thoughts below.

8 Natural Sweetener Alternatives That Won’t Take You Out Of Fat Burning Mode (And 4 That Will!)

8 Sweet Alternatives

When it comes to not packing on extra pounds this Valentine’s Day, what are some sweet hacks that will tickle you or your Valentine’s sweet tooth, yet not take you out of that fat burning mode (or ketosis) sweet spot?

Which sweeteners can be used to sweeten life without throwing you into a blood sugar level roller coaster ride?

Which sweeteners will spice up your sex life?

Which sweeteners can be used to minimize muscle cramps?

And since we’re not shy when it comes to talking about poop, which sweet fruit can relieve constipation naturally?

You’re about to find out all that and more in this guest post from Danielle Brooks, nutritional therapist, clinical herbalist, author of the new book “Good Decisions Most of the Time: Because life is too short not to eat chocolate“, and owner of Good Decisions Inc.!

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The 6 Sweet Spices That Won’t Spike Your Blood Sugar

Discovering all the health benefits your spice cabinet may hold is quite fun and, in times of upset tummy, gas, or other uncomfortable health conditions, you can often find relief as close as your spice cabinet. Spicing up a dish with sweet spices adds distinct flavors and lessens your temptation to add sugar. These spices also have many health-giving properties as well.

1. Allspice

Allspice has a taste similar to a mix of nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves. You can use allspice when preparing ham, Swedish meatballs, baked goods, and desserts to add a nice touch of spicy sweetness. Medicinally, allspice has been used throughout history in the treatment of toothaches, muscle aches, and for its blood sugar-regulating effects.

So if you feel like reaching for a sweet fruit or special treat, and want to decrease the impact on your blood sugar levels, sprinkle it with cloves! Like many spices, allspice is a digestive aid, and consuming allspice with meals can result in stronger digestion, reduced gas and bloating, and decreased nausea. Not a bad spice to have in your back pocket for emergencies.

2. Cinnamon

Cinnamon has a wonderful sweet flavor and can be used as a ground powder or dried stick. This spice can be used in just about anything. From sweet dishes to stews and curries, you will be pleasantly surprised to find that a small amount of cinnamon goes a long way. Two teaspoons of cinnamon can change a tart, tongue-puckering apple pie to a sweet one. It can replace brown sugar in any dish or be sprinkled on fruit to liven up a simple dessert.

One of cinnamon’s best attributes is its ability to lessen the impact of sugar on your blood sugar levels. Cinnamon also slows the rate at which your stomach empties after meals, which also reduces the rise in blood sugar after eating. This little spice packs a powerful punch and can be added to any dish or beverage as a substitute for, or in addition to sugar, to lessen sugar’s impact.

3. Cloves

Cloves have a sweet or bittersweet taste and can be used when ground or dried. Cloves are great when used to sweeten dishes or in curries and stews. And who can’t visualize a glorious clove-studded ham? Cloves go well with chicken, can spice up an otherwise plain piece of fruit. Clove oil can even be applied to a cavity in a decayed tooth, to relieve a toothache, making this spice very valuable if you can’t get in to see your dentist right away.

4. Mace and Nutmeg

Mace and nutmeg are two slightly different flavored spices, both originating from the fruit of the nutmeg tree. This “nutmeg apple” looks similar to an apricot. When the mature fruit splits open, the nutmeg (a seed surrounded by a red, slightly fleshy covering, or aril) is exposed. The dried aril alone is called mace. The nut is removed and dried to produce nutmeg. Both have a warm, sweet, spicy flavor and are best when freshly ground.

Studies have found that nutmeg may be useful in enhancing libido. But use caution since nutmeg can also be added to milk as a sleep aid, and the last thing you want when trying to enhance libido is to fall asleep!

5. Cardamom

Cardamom is used in Scandinavian bakeries, German and Russian pastries, and in the Middle East and India. This spice can be used instead of sugar when making baked goods and with creams to make cardamom-flavored ice cream, which is mouthwateringly delicious.

You can steep the seeds in milk, water, or almond milk for use as a digestive aid to relieve gas and bloating. “Really?” you say. If you feel gassy and bloated—absolutely!

6. Vanilla Beans

Vanilla beans are more of a fruit than a spice; one inch of vanilla bean is roughly equal to one teaspoon of pure vanilla extract. Sweet and fragrant, vanilla is best when used from whole or dried beans. Vanilla is a great sugar substitute and can be added to breakfast grains, coffee, and desserts such as ice cream, pudding, and cake.

The active compound in vanilla is vanillin. Vanillin is a polyphenol with strong antioxidant activity. Some neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease are associated with formation of a chemical called peroxynitrite, which causes damage to brain cells. Because vanillin has such strong antioxidant activity, it may offset some of this oxidative damage, keeping brain cells healthy and preventing the devastating effects of diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

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The 2 Sweet Herbs That Won’t Spike Your Blood Sugar 

You can also use the following sweet herbs to sweeten and add flavor to a dish.

Vegetables are especially good with these herbs added. If you’re trying to make vegetables taste better, you can reach for an herb or spice to take your mind off the fact that you’re eating vegetables.

1. Anise Seed

Anise seed smells like black licorice and can be used whole or ground. These delicious seeds are often used as a flavoring in some cookies, candies, pastries, and even in poultry dishes. Chewing on a teaspoon of anise seeds after a meal can relieve uncomfortable gas and bloating within minutes. Also, one teaspoon of the seeds can be steeped in one cup of boiling water as a delicious sweet tea for similar results.

2. Sweet Basil

This herb is somewhat pungent and sweet. It’s a bit odd to think of this herb for use as a sweetener, but you’ll be hooked after you try it. Use fresh basil to get the best results.

Add it to dishes at the last moment, as cooking quickly destroys the flavor. You can use sweet basil with eggplant, tomato dishes, pesto, Vietnamese and Thai dishes, and salads, as well as when cooking vegetables to make them more interesting. Corn, tomato, peppers, and eggplant are divine when served with a dusting of fresh basil. Scientific studies have established that compounds in basil oil have potent antioxidant, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties and potential for use in treating cancer.

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4 Natural Sweeteners That Are Healthier Than Sugar

If all this talk of sweet herbs and spices is leaving you longing for something sweeter that will stimulate your dopamine center, roll your eyes into the back of your head, and cause an euphoric moan of delight to escapes your lips, you are now in the right category. Please note that these natural sweeteners will take you out of fat burning mode or ketosis, but at least they’re more nutrient dense than sugar or high fructose corn syrup!

Natural unrefined sweeteners give food certain qualities, tangible qualities that ooze deliciousness, as if the food you are eating contains life within it that will enhance your own life. And it does. There’s nothing like enjoying a honey-roasted pear with a touch of cinnamon. It doesn’t just feed your craving for something sweet; it feeds the body as well as your senses.

1. Raw Unfiltered Honey

Honey is made when the nectar from a flower mixes with the saliva of a bee. (Sounds delicious, no?) Depending on the quality of honey, it contains anti-microbial, and antioxidant compounds, as well as probiotic bacteria. It also contains trace amounts of vitamins and minerals. So, while you are moaning with delight, you can think of the nourishing properties of this sweetener as well.

Honey is usually sold over the counter in most grocery stores, and it is usually pasteurized, clarified, or filtered so it’s important to read the label and know what to look for. I recommend raw honey. This is honey as it exists in the beehive or as obtained by extraction, settling, or straining without adding heat (caution: some honey that has been “minimally processed” is often labeled as “raw honey”). Raw honey contains some pollen and may contain small particles of wax.

2. Grade B Maple Syrup

Maple syrup, made from the sap of black or red maple trees, is a good source of manganese and zinc and, to a lesser degree, potassium and calcium. I recommend Grade B maple syrup because it contains more nutrients than Grade A and has a thicker, richer flavor.

Manganese, known for its ability to maintain blood sugar levels, is the highlight of this sweetener. Manganese is an essential cofactor in a number of enzymes important in muscle energy production and antioxidant defenses.

Maple syrup is low on the glycemic index and can be used to sweeten salad dressing, replace honey for a different taste, or be used instead of table sugar in some baking. Maple syrup contains zinc and potassium, with calcium, magnesium, and sodium chloride electrolytes occurring in their natural ratios, making this sweetener more valuable than any GU in your back pocket.

3. Dried Dates

Dates are the fruit of the date palm tree. They are raw and unprocessed (but read the ingredient list just to make sure), and they have lots of nutrients such as potassium, iron, and vitamin A. It’s easy to use dates to sweeten smoothies, baked goods, sauces, and more by making a paste with the dates. To make a paste, simply use dried dates and soak them in warm water overnight. Then blend the dates with some of the water used to soak them to a consistency similar to honey. (When I make my own almond milk, I add some dried dates to sweeten the batch.)

I was playing around with dates and developed the following recipe from which the featured image for this blog post was dervied. I had no idea it would turn out to be the snickers bar for the health conscious. A warning really should come with this recipe as it has the perfect combination of sweet, salt and fat, which can be a deliciously addictive combination.

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Coconut Pecan Stuffed Chocolate Covered Dates, Oh My!

Makes: 30 dates

Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

For the Stuffed Dates:

¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut (plus extra for topping)

¼ cup toasted pecans

¼ teaspoon unrefined sea salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

30 large Medjool dates

For the Dipping Chocolate

2 (4oz) bars Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate

Directions

  1. Place the shredded coconut, pecans, salt, vanilla and cinnamon in a food processor. Process until mixtures begins to clump together, set aside.
  2.  Cut the dates in half lengthwise on one side and remove the pit. Stuff a small amount of coconut pecan mixture into each date and press to close. Place dates in the refrigerator.
  3.  In a small double boiler melt chocolate. Remove dates from the fridge and using two spoons, dip the cold dates in the chocolate. Roll each to cover completely and then lift out letting the excess chocolate drip off before placing on a parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle shredded coconut on top of each date. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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4. Fruit

If you need to sweeten a dish, fruit is another healthy option. Fruits, such as crushed pineapple, applesauce, strawberries, cherries, or blueberries can naturally sweeten almost any dish. You can even customize your diet by reaching for a fruit to provide your body with certain nutrients. For Instance:

  • If constipation is an issue, reach for the sweet apple. It contains sorbitol, a substance that attracts water. Apples also contain fiber and pectins, which increase the volume and viscosity of the stool. These substances make for one of the most enjoyable bowel movements ever!
  •  If you are looking for an antioxidant rich, heart healthy hit of sweet goodness reach for some sweet berries.
  • If younger skin is something you would like to nurture, cantaloupes can deliver some skin supporting nutrients and tickle your sweet fancy at the same time.

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Life Is Too Short

When we make what I call “Good Decisions” most of the time, our bodies are well equipped to handle the occasional indulgence and sweet treat. Life is too short not to have chocolate, but life is also too short to feel sick and tired all the time. Reaching for natural sweeteners instead of refined sugar, artificial sugar, or high fructose corn syrup will not only please the palate, but provide the body with nutrients as well, and are definitely very good decisions.

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Need even more blood sugar controlling solutions? Click here to check out the brand new Diabetes Summit. And leave your questions, comments or feedback for Danielle below!

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The Top 10 Mistakes Low-Carb Athletes Make And 5 Keto Recipes For Active People.

Keto book for athletes

OK, here’s the deal – I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: an extremely high-fat, low-carb ketogenic diet is not for everyone.

But since ketones are a preferred fuel for the heart and the diaphragm, and because a state of ketosis can give you extreme focus and cognitive performance during difficult mental tasks, a ketogenic diet can be extremely useful for endurance athletes like triathletes, distance swimmers, cyclists, marathoners, ultra-runners, etc.

Problem is, there aren’t a ton of resources out there about how highly active people can actually get into a state of ketosis without…

A) chugging coconut oil and MCT oil all day long, which (trust me, I’ve tried) gets boring really, really fast; or

B) experiencing some pretty extreme nutrient deficiencies from a ketogenic diet gone wrong – nutrient deficiencies that really get magnified when you combine them with crazy high levels of physical activity.

So in this article, author, triathlete, and ketogenic expert extraordinaire Patricia Daly is going to fill you in on how to do things the right way. Patricia just finished writing an amazing book called “Practical Keto Meal Plans For Endurance Athletes: Tips, Tricks And How To’s For Optimizing Performance Using A High Fat, Low Carb Meal Plan“, and she’s a wealth of information on this topic.

Take it away, Patricia.

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Maybe the title of this article scares you a little bit…

…after all, if there’s so much that can “go wrong” with the ketogenic and low carb lifestyle, is it worth all the effort? Or do you think you will never “get there” and achieve nutritional ketosis because there seem to so many stumbling blocks in your way, like talk about thyroid damage, lack of energy or extreme dietary restriction?

Don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as it sounds, and if you do a ketogenic diet the right way, you can avoid the potential health risks. It’s just important to have a basic understanding of nutrition and metabolism before embarking on this specific dietary approach, and a good way to do that is to see the kind of mistakes that people commonly make on a ketogenic diet, and also to get a few tasty keto recipes to get your creative wheels churning.

So in this article, you’re going to get the top 10 mistakes low-carb athletes make, and 5 keto recipes for active people. Enjoy, leave your questions and comments below the post, and be sure to check out the brand new book just published by Greenfield Fitness Systems, entitled “Practical Keto Meal Plans For Endurance Athletes: Tips, Tricks And How To’s For Optimizing Performance Using A High Fat, Low Carb Meal Plan.”

Mistake #1. Being Scared of Fat

The ketogenic diet is very different to the standard American or British- or any Western- diet. The main goal of a ketogenic lifestyle is to teach the body to use ketone bodies derived from fatty acids rather than glucose as the main source of energy. This is why the amount of fat you consume on a ketogenic is about 75-85+% of total daily calorie intake.

In other words, if you work out quite a bit you probably eat about 2,900 calories a day, of which about 2,300 will come from fat if you follow a ketogenic diet. Fat has 9 calories per gram, and therefore you will consume 256g of fat every day- depending on how much you train of course. To simplify this further: One tablespoon of olive oil, for instance, weighs about 14g, so all in all your daily fat intake will be about 18 tablespoons. Wow!

Although I was totally aware that I needed to focus mainly on fat when I started the ketogenic diet, I still had this mental block about it. I had been brain washed by the food industry for so long that fat is evil that it was really hard to convince myself of the opposite. And I was so used to eating carbs non-stop, doing carb loading before competitions and avoiding fat that it took me a while to get my head (and body) around this new way of eating. But it’s key to ketogenic success!
Avocado Smoothie

Mistake #2. Eating Too Much Protein

Another mistake beginners make is to replace most of the carbohydrates they used to eat with protein instead of fat. I see this happen all the time. The problem is that excess protein intake can lead to gluconeogenesis, which is the conversion of amino acids to glucose. This is not what we want on a ketogenic diet- on the contrary, we need to keep glucose levels low and encourage the production of ketone bodies from fatty acids.

Many people are surprised when they start weighing their food according to my meal plans and realize how little protein they actually need to eat on a ketogenic diet! But fat is protein sparing, which means that your need for protein decreases with a high fat intake.

Mistake #3: Carbs Creeping In

This seems very obvious! But it actually isn’t as simple as you think because carbohydrates can very quickly add up, especially if you’re keen to get your veggies, herbs and spices in. They’re also in products you’d never think contain carbs.

Good examples are any processed foods (we’ll talk about them later), shop bought salad dressings, milk substitutes (many coconut and almond milks have added sugar), tomato sauce, some meats like duck confit, starchy vegetables and even herbal tea, to name just a few. Eating out can be a challenge because many restaurants like to use sauces, dressings and dips that have added honey or other sources of sugar. It tastes nice but is not keto-friendly!

Having solid, reliable information is key to carbohydrate restriction, especially in the initial stages when metabolic changes happen.

Mistake #4: Giving Up Too Early

The quicker you go into nutritional ketosis, the more side effects you might suffer from initially. The metabolic changes can be dramatic because every single cell in the body needs to do the switch from glucose to fat metabolism. Insulin is impacted: Levels go down because of reduced consumption of carbohydrates, which has an effect on the kidneys. Insulin tells the kidneys to hold on to sodium. If insulin is at a consistently lower level, the body starts getting rid of excess sodium and also water.

This is why it’s so important to ensure you add sufficient sodium to your diet and keep well hydrated, especially in the first few days of starting to reduce carbohydrates. This will make sure you don’t suffer from any of the symptoms of the dreaded “keto flu”: shivers, foggy brain, headaches or nausea are some of the possible symptoms. It’s probably more appropriate to call them “carbohydrate withdrawal symptoms” because of the effects on hormonal and electrolyte balance.

Things that help to get over these initial obstacles are strong bone broth with good quality salt, lots of rest, no intense exercise and plenty of mineral-rich water, e.g. San Pellegrino. However, the best advice I can give is to take things slowly and not to give up when you’re feeling a bit off in the initial stages- provided you’ve done all the suggested blood tests to exclude any underlying health issues prior to starting a ketogenic diet.

Bone Broth

Mistake #5. Being Scared Of New Foods And Eating The Same Meals Over and Over Again

Many people feel overwhelmed in the initial stages of implementing a low carb and ketogenic diet. And because they have very little experience with certain new foods, they keep eating the same “safe” low-carb stuff. For instance bacon and eggs for breakfast and nuts for snacks!

Of course this means that you are eating low carb but as a nutritionist guiding athletes through the diet, my first priority is always to improve their health. And this is only possible with a nutritious, varied and individualized approach. Eating the same things over again isn’t only boring, it may also set you up for having nutrient deficiencies and developing food intolerances. This happens quite often especially if you’re a little stressed, your gut function isn’t optimal or if you’re on medication.

Food intolerances can have an impact not only on your gut health by causing bloating, cramps, diarrhea, constipation or other symptoms, but also on your immune system. My best advice is to keep experimenting with new foods, even if they seem utterly strange to you, like (for instance) chicken liver, which is way easier to find and prepare than you’d think. There’s a nice recipe for every single food (and in just a moment, you’re going to get 5 good ones to get your creative wheels churning).

Mistake #6. Eating Processed Foods

This is especially common for people who have read about the Atkins diet and seen the products that are sold online and in stores. Yes, they keep you within the carbohydrate limits that you choose and may make life a lot easier but they are also full of artificial flavours, colouring, polydextrose, sucralose and other artificial sweeteners that can mess with your mental and physical health.

My rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t be able to bake or cook a meal based on the ingredients list (because you don’t recognize half of them or wouldn’t know where to buy them), you should stay away from it. Hopefully, with an increasing amount of research to confirm the benefits of low carb and ketogenic diets for various health conditions, there will be plenty of incentives for companies to produce snacks based on real foods.

Mistake #7. Lack Of Planning (And Obsessing Too Much).

Both lack of planning and obsessing too much can be stumbling stones. If you don’t plan you’re much more likely to “fail” and give up on your lifestyle changes. You see, the problem is that when you realize you haven’t got all of the ingredients you need for a low carb recipe, you might not find them in your corner shop.

Some of the products that are staples on a low carb or ketogenic diet like coconut oil, olives, oily fish or ghee can only be bought in health shops or online. More and more supermarkets start to stock them but this really depends where you live. If you plan a bit ahead and know that you need certain things to follow the meal plans in my eBook, for instance, you won’t get stressed because you already have them in your cupboard. Planning also makes it easier to cook in bulk and therefore save time and money.

On the other hand, I often work with clients who start obsessing too much and plan every single bite they eat during the day. Obviously, it’s a slightly different story for somebody following a ketogenic diet for medical reasons, for instance in the case of epilepsy, where they diet has to be well calculated and no mistakes can be made without a serious consequence. But sometimes people tell me they’re so stressed out about dietary changes that they wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep. They worry what their next meal would look like, how they could further increase ketones or what to eat on a holiday! In this case, it’s time to take a (big) step back, relax, try some recipes without weighing and counting and maybe give it another go after a few weeks with lots of support and preparation. Stressing about food can cancel out all the positive effects of good nutrition!

Mistake #8. Ignoring Your Body’s Warning Signs

Athletes who obsess over dietary changes can get caught up in measuring blood glucose and ketones, weighing their food all the time, creating exact meal plans and they can get really scared of eating out where things are out of their control. In my experience, they are also likely candidates to ignore their body’s warning signs.

I used to be an “expert” in this: even though I sometimes didn’t feel like doing another high intensity training, I went ahead and did it because it was on my training plan. And there were foods I couldn’t stand because they tended to bloat me but I still ate them because I read somewhere that they’re really good for triathletes!

Please don’t forget that you know your body best and that no meal or training plan can beat your innate knowledge and intuition. Take warning signs seriously and don’t override them because you have it in your head to stick to a particular regime.

Low carb and ketogenic diets aren’t for everyone and if you feel worse than before- even after getting over the initial symptoms I talked about earlier- then it’s probably time to stop and reconsider.

Mistake #9. Social Pressure

This is a big one and can’t be underestimated! The amount of times I’m at a party and have to listen to “Oh come on, surely one piece of cake won’t hurt you, don’t be so extreme!”… and the last thing I want to do is going into a scientific monologue and talk about metabolism at a party. Even 3 years into following a ketogenic diet I still get comments from family and even close friends- although they all know how miraculous the diet has been for my health.

But ketogenic diets are still very poorly understood even by the medical profession. People don’t understand that you can’t follow the famous 80/20 rule where some treats are allowed in moderate amounts. You’re either in ketosis or you’re not. It’s pretty black or white, actually!

And, trust me, once you’ve been keto adapted for a while and you eat a piece of cake, you will feel pretty shoddy and not remotely in party mood afterwards…

Mistake #10. Poor Timing

And finally, let me talk about when to start lowering your carbs or attempting to go into ketosis. Please don’t do it a week before your most important competition of the season or during a time when you’re super busy at work.

In my experience, the best time of the year to make major changes to diet and lifestyle is when you’re “off season”. During my competitive years, I always took a good break in November from intensive training or competitions and focused on relaxation and restoration. Another good time is to start is before some preparatory competitions to build towards your most important race. That’s when you see how your body responds to higher intensity and if the diet doesn’t suit you, you still have plenty of time to make changes.

And, if you’re still not convinced that low carb food can actually taste absolutely delicious, try some of the recipes below (I’m sure this will change your mind)!

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Keto Meal 1: Breakfast Buns

Breakfast Buns

These buns are amazing and really good for anybody who misses bread, burger buns or something to scoop up sauces! They are delicious with some butter or ghee on each half, topped with 2 slices of Parma ham.

Ingredients Quantity
1.5 cups Macadamia nuts, unsalted 196.5
3 Eggs, organic 150
1 tsp Cider Vinegar 3.8
1/4 cup coconut milk (Tetra Pak) 63
60g + 12 tbsp Butter (1 tbsp for each half) 237.6
1/3 cup Almond flour 33
1/3 cup Coconut flour 40
1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda (Baking Soda) 4
1 tsp Rock Salt pink 5

Cooking Instructions

Makes 6 buns

  1. Preheat the oven to 160C/325F.
  2. Grind the macadamia nuts to a coarse flour in a strong food processor.
  3. Add eggs, vinegar, milk and butter. Process until you have a smooth paste.
  4. Put all the dry ingredients into a bowl and stir well. Add wet to dry and mix until you have a wet dough.
  5. Form 6 buns and bake for 25 minutes. Spread 1 tbsp of butter onto each half. Eat on the same day or freeze.

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Keto Meal 2: Almond Coconut Pancakes

Almond Coconut Pancakes

Ingredients In grams
1 tsp ground Cinnamon 2.3
1/2 cup desiccated Coconut 42.5
1 1/2 cup ground blanched Almonds 150
1/2 tsp Baking soda/ Bicarbonate of soda 2
1/4 tsp Sea Salt 2
1 cup Coconut milk canned 250
3 large Eggs organic or free range 171
2 tbsp (solid) Coconut oil 45

Cooking Instructions

Serves 4

  1. Sift dry ingredients and mix together.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk coconut milk and eggs together.
  3. Add dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  4. Heat coconut oil in a pan, pour in batter and cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side.

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Keto Meal 3: Rainbow Salad

Ingredients Quantity
2 cups chopped Butterhead Lettuce 104
1 small young Carrot, grated 60
4 sticks Celery, sliced 240
8 tbsp grated Celeriac, raw 64
2 tbsp Shelled Hemp Seeds 18
4 tsp Pumpkin Seeds 16
12 tbsp raw Alfalfa sprouts 36
240g Smoked or Grilled Trout 240
1/2 cup Avocado oil 112
2 tsp Cider Vinegar 15.2
2 tsp Mustard Dijon smooth 16
Salt and Black Pepper to taste
80g Cheese, e.g. Gruyere 80

Cooking Instructions

Serves 4

  1. Toss the vegetables, hemp/pumpkin seeds, sprouts and trout into a bowl and mix with the butterhead leaves.
  2. Mix the avocado oil, apple cider vinegar, mustard and seasoning and pour over the salad. Grate some fresh Gruyère over it. This one really pops with color!

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Keto Meal 4: Bacon Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Ingredients Quantity
3 tbsp Coconut oil 81
5 Bacon rashers, diced 100
1 clove Garlic, crushed 3
500g Brussels sprouts, shredded 500
1 Leek, thinly sliced 130
Salt and Black Pepper 4
3/4 cup Chicken Stock, homemade 188

Cooking Instructions

Serves 8

  1. Cook the bacon in coconut oil in a large frying pan over medium heat until crisp.
  2. Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside. Add the shredded Brussels sprouts, leek and garlic to the pan and sauté in the remaining oil for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the chicken broth, salt and pepper. Cover and steam for 5-10 minutes. Mix in the bacon.

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Keto Meal 5: Liver Mousse

Liver Mousse

One of my missions is to get my clients to incorporate more fat-vitamin-rich, hormone-nourishing organ meat into their diet! I know…it’s not an easy goal. This recipe is inspired by Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley.

Ingredients Quantity
200g organic Chicken liver, raw 81
1/2 Apple 100
100g Butter, at room temperature 3
2 organic Eggs 500
1/2 Small Onion 130
1/2 tsp ground Allspice 4
1 tsp Rock Salt and 1/2 tsp Black Pepper 188

Cooking Instructions

Serves 4

  1. Preheat the oven to 130C/250F.
  2. Put all ingredients into a strong blender and pulse until you have a smooth paste.
  3. Fill into a muffin tin and bake for 20-25 minutes.

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So there you have it. Pancakes and liver mousse. Knock yourself out.

Ketogenic diets can be complex, but if you do them the right way – and more importantly, if you pay attention to people like Patricia who have actually spent the time in the trenches combining high levels of activity with ketosis – there can be some significant endurance enhancing benefits.

Do you have questions, comments or feedback about ketogenic diets for active people? Leave your thoughts below and either Patricia or I will reply! Also, be sure to grab Patricia’s brand new book “Practical Keto Meal Plans For Endurance Athletes: Tips, Tricks And How To’s For Optimizing Performance Using A High Fat, Low Carb Meal Plan.

Everything You Need To Know About Hair Mineral Analysis.

Hair Mineral Analysis

I’m all about testing and quantifying what’s going on inside my body, so when Certified Holistic Health Coach Wendy Myers approached me at a biohacking conference and asked me if I wanted to have my hair tested with a hair mineral analysis test…

…I made a stop at my local barber…

…got a few strands snipped off…

…sent my hair off to Wendy’s lab…

…and was absolutely shocked at the results I got in my e-mail inbox a couple weeks later. In this episode, we talk about about the results of my hair mineral analysis, and you’ll also learn:

-Exactly what hair mineral analysis is and how it works…

-How you can discover things like adrenal fatigue, thyroid issues and nutrient and mineral deficits from your hair…

-What to do about heavy metal toxicities, and why some heavy metal chelators can actually be dangerous…

-How to tell if you’re undereating or overeating carbohydrates…

-Where natural remedies like infrared saunas and coffee enemas fit in…

-Why even pristine well water can have some serious issues…

-And much more!

Resources:

-Click here to download the results of Ben Greenfield’s hair mineral analysis.

-Click here to download the results of Ben Greenfield’s hair mineral ratios.

-Want your own Hair Mineral Analysis? Click here to go to Wendy’s website and get started.

-Copper Dysregulation podcast

-Transdermal magnesium

-APSWater.com

-Infrared Biomat

-Trace Liquid Minerals

Do you have questions, comments or feedback or hair mineral analysis? Leave your thoughts below!

The Ultimate DIY Guide To Growing Your Own Food And Living Green.

Alik Pelman

Last month, my wife and I traveled to Israel with Vibe Israel, an organization that brings international on- and offline opinion leaders in health and nutrition on a weeklong personalized experience of the burgeoning wellness scene in Israel.

I’ve already released three valuable lessons I learned on that Israel journey: “5 Things You Can Learn From The Burgeoning Health, Wellness And Nutrition Scene In Israel“, “Why You Get Cancer And What You Can Do About It“, and “The Problem With Paleo: Why It’s OK To Eat Bread, Grains, Legumes, Cheese & Milk.”.

Today, you get to listen in as I interview one of the most amazing individuals I met on the Israel trip – a man named Alik Pelman (pictured above with myself and others at his property, photo courtesy Or Kaplan). Alik completed his PhD in philosophy at the University of London and then took a break from academic life and went to learn how to grow food, becoming a professional organic farmer for two years.

Alik then set up his own self-sufficient home in the small village of Clil, in Western Galilee. I had the pleasure of visiting him in his small hut, built almost entirely from local, natural materials. This is where he grows virtually all of his food, and spends most of his working hours doing farm chores, reading, writing and hosting curious visitors like me.

In this show, you’ll discover:

-How to grow food on your roof…

-How to use sheep’s wool for insulation…

-How to make walls out of completely edible corn flour porridge…

-How to use natural oils to protect your floor and furniture…

-How to build an efficient, composting toilet that uses no water…

-How to easily rotate your garden crops for maximum yield…

-How to grow and make your own bread, from seed to loaf…

Resources from this episode:

-Alik’s video that documents all stages of growing your own bread – from seed to loaf

-Israel Homestead. pdf handout that walks you step-by-step through how he built his eco-friendly hut

-My How To Biohack Ultimate Healthy Home book

Do you have questions, comments or feedback about Alik, his life, his hut, and how to grown your own food? Leave your thoughts below!

Is Detoxing Really A Myth?

detox juice

Last week, The Guardian released an article entitled, “You can’t detox your body. It’s a myth. So how do you get healthy?

In the article, author Dara Mohammadi said:

“…detoxing – the idea that you can flush your system of impurities and leave your organs squeaky clean and raring to go – is a scam. It’s a pseudo-medical concept designed to sell you things.”

So is this true? Is detoxing just a sham?

You’re about to find out. But not here.

See, unknown to many BenGreenfieldFitness.com visitors, I really don’t do the lion’s share of my writing on this site. I instead write an article, write a newsletter, and release a short, 5-10 minute helpful and easy-to-understand audio podcast every week over at the Quick And Dirty Tips website.

So that is where Part 1 of my thoughts and recommendations based on this detoxing article appears, and also where Part 2 will appear tomorrow (Tuesday). Click here to read Part 1 of “Is Detoxing Really A Myth” (and if you want instant notification when Part 2 goes live, just click here to subscribe to the free Get-Fit Guy newsletter).

Enjoy.

Kombucha: Everything You’ve Always Wanted To Know But Were Afraid To Ask.

kombucha

I drink Kombucha almost every day. My wife usually ferments a batch with a home Kombucha fermenting kit, then adds things like blueberries and ginger to it. But there are a lot of myths and mistruths out there when it comes to Kombucha.

Call it “Kombucha confusion” if you will…

Is Kombucha alcoholic?

Is Kombucha dangerous to make yourself, and if not, how do you do it?

Does Kombucha cause Candida or bacterial overgrowth to occur in your gut?

Are all brands of Kombucha at the grocery store created equal?

How should you feel after you drink Kombucha?

We’re going to answer all these questions and more on today’s special podcast interview with The Kombucha Mamma herself: Hannah Crum.

Hannah is the founder of Kombucha Kamp, the most visited website in the world for Kombucha information, recipes and advice, and her mission is to “heal the world, one gut at a time.” Hannah is also an industry journalist & Master Brewer, directly mentoring thousands of new and experienced Kombucha brewers and providing consultation services for Kombucha start-ups since 2007.

She co-founded Kombucha Brewers International, a non-profit trade association dedicated to promoting bottled Kombucha around the world, and her Kombucha instructional video series with E-How/Expert Village has racked up over 1 million views. Hannah is also a leader and featured speaker in the Southern California Real Food movement, using the “Kombucha Lifestyle” as an introduction to other fermented foods, gut health, the human microbiome, “bacteriosapiens” and more.

Hannah ships freshly grown, full-size Kombucha starter cultures to more than 10,000 people worldwide and offers kits and Continuous Brew Packages, the ultimate in convenient homebrewed Kombucha, via her webstore. She also has a Free “Do-It-Yourself” Kombucha Guide with brewing, bottling & flavoring tips you can click here to grab.

During our discussion, you’ll learn what exactly Kombucha is, how to make Kombucha, what kind of Kombucha is best, which Kombucha to avoid, when you should and shouldn’t drink Kombucha and much more.

Click here to get Kombucha or a Kombucha Starter Kit on Amazon, and leave your questions, comments and feedback about Kombucha below!

The 30 Days No Alcohol Experiment: Part 2 (What Happens When You Quit Alcohol Cold Turkey).

30 days no alcohol

Alright folks, this is officially it. Sit back, grab a bottle of booze and get ready to be entertained. Exactly 30 days ago, I told you all about one lucky guy named Jason Sissel, who volunteered to guinea pig himself by quitting alcohol cold turkey and doing before and after blood tests with WellnessFX.

You can click here to read Part 1, in which you get to see how messed up Jason was from his daily habit of a few glasses of wine, mixed in with some beer and hard alcohol here and there. You can also click here to read Jason’s blog post “30 Days, No Alcohol Biohack–Thoughts at the Midpoint”.

And now, in Part 2, I’m going to reveal exactly what happened to Jason’s internal biology over the past 30 days. Enjoy, and leave your questions, comments and feedback below the article!

Finally, if you’d like to run your own 30 Days No Alcohol Experiment then you’ll be pleased to know that WellnessFX has arranged a 15% discount on two Baseline blood testing packages (exactly what Jason got), along with a download of a free copy of my REV Yourself ebook. That’s a huge value, and at checkout, you can even include a 20-minute nutritionist consultation for personalized recommendations you can implement immediately. Click here to get this enormously discounted blood testing package now.

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I knew these results weren’t going to be a yawner when I saw this Facebook post from Jason Sissel on December 23, exactly 30 days after he quit his daily alcohol intake:

sissellresults

Wow!

Now, let’s jump into the nitty-gritty screenshots from Jason’s WellnessFX lab dashboard (click here to download Jason’s full WellnessFX blood results).

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We’ll start with triglycerides. Before, I noted that:

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

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

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

Now check out the results below. Jason’s triglycerides plummeted from 386 to 113, with absolutely no dietary changes other than the elimination of alcohol.

Trigs

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Next, let’s look at Jason’s ApoB, a protein that can help LDL cholesterol bind to and clog blood vessels. Jason saw a significant drop in ApoB (142 to 118), indicating a significant improvement in cardiovascular health.

ApoB

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Next, let’s look at blood sugar. Before, I noted that:

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

However, now look at Jasons HbA1c values! They dropped from 5.7 to 5.4, another significant improvement in an important metabolic marker.

HbA1C

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Now comes a big one: thyroid.

I had noted before that:

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

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

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

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

Jason’s TSH drop was shocking. He went from a clinically concerning 4.73 down to a 2.44, indicating a huge shift in his thyroid hormone production capabilities. This alone has influenced me personally to be careful to limit myself to the “one glass of wine” rule as a consistent habit, and if you’re concerned about your own thyroid, you should definitely pay attention to this one.

TSH

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The changes in Jason’s liver enzymes should come as no surprise. Before, I said:

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

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

Now check out the charts below. His enzymes dropped significantly across the board. Jason’s liver is shouting an enormous thank-you. It’s amazing how your body’s primary filters can bounce back when you just give them a chance.

AspartaeAmnotransferase AlkalinePhosphatase AlanineAminotransferase

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Before, I noted on Jason’s White Blood Cell (WBC) results that

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

You can see that Jason’s eosinophil count dropped from 8.1 to 7.3, possibly indicating less autoimmune activity (a good thing!). I’m not entirely convinced that this drop in WBC’s is extremely significant, or related to the drop in alcohol intake, but it’s interesting nonetheless.

Eosinophils

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Regarding Jason’s Vitamin D levels, I originally wrote that Jason’s…

“…Vitamin D is low…really low. Ideal ranges for Vitamin D are 40-80 and he is at 11. It is well known in nutritional science that drinking too much alcohol can interfere with your body’s ability to absorb and activate Vitamin D.

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

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

As you can see below, despite no supplementation with Vitamin D, Jason’s Vitamin D climbed from 11 to 18 in just 30 days – which is extremely significant.

VitaminD

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Before & After Photos

You probably noticed above that Jason lost 8.8 pounds of body weight. If you’d like to see what that amount of weight loss looks like qualitatively in photo form, then behold the before and after photos below.

Before…

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

A476CC01-79D6-4D08-B3EE-26699D9247F2

After….

IMG_2110

IMG_2109

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Summary

Finally, here is Jason’s own post with his thoughts on the experience and his feelings on the highlights of cutting alcohol for 30 days.

After reviewing Jason’s results, I’m personally inspired to back off my alcohol intake a bit. While I enjoy my nightly glass of red wine, and see no issues with the “glass a day” habit, I am certainly going to think twice before pouring myself a second glass, and although in the past, I’d go out and have two to five drinks every few weeks or so, I am also going to be limiting that amount of partying or binging I do in 2015.

After all, I think you can have quite a bit of fun without going on a bender, and without deleteriously affecting your blood glucose, liver health, thyroid, metabolism and immune system in the way that we’ve learned by looking at Jason’s results.

Then, as I always do, I’m also going to spend the first 30 days of January doing a simple, mild detox. For me personally, this means one or two 20-24 hour fasts, along with very limited amounts of alcohol, 30 days of Metal-Free heavy metal detox spray, and finally 2 NatureCleanse Detox & Gut Cleanser each morning with 2 NatureCleanse Detox & Gut Cleanser each evening.

If you want to peruse my other detoxing articles and materials, and the rationale behind my personal yearly detox, here are the best resources I’ve created on the topic:

-Is Detoxing Really A Myth? (article)

-How To Detox For Active People (article)

-How To Detox – A Quick Primer On How To Cleanse Your Body For The New Year (Without Going To Some Expensive Resort On A Mountaintop (article)

-How To Fix Your Gut: 9 Bad Things That Happen When Your Digestion Goes Wrong, How To Hit The Reboot Button & The Best Way To Detox Your Body (article)

-Detox Special Podcast: The 8 Most Popular Detox Diets, How To Detox, A Detox Q&A, And Much More! (podcast)

-What Is Detoxification and How Can You Detox Your Body? (podcast)

Feel free to include any detox questions below this post. I’m happy to help walk you through the details, and a detox protocol would be perfect to include along with limited alcohol intake for at least one month out of every year.

And like I mentioned earlier, if you’d like to run your own 30 Days No Alcohol Experiment then you’ll be pleased to know that WellnessFX has arranged a 15% discount on two Baseline blood testing packages (exactly what Jason got), along with a download of a free copy of my REV Yourself ebook. That’s a huge value, and at checkout, you can even include a 20-minute nutritionist consultation for personalized recommendations you can implement immediately. Click here to get this enormously discounted blood testing package now.

So what do you think? Would YOU quit alcohol for 30 days? Have you done it before and if so, what happened? Leave your questions, comments and feedback below!

My Christmas Gift To You – A Short Story: “The Spirits of Sobriety”.

santa-typing

Well, this is a first. 

I am giving you the Christmas gift of a short story, written by yours truly.

No hardcore fitness non-fiction or hum-drum scientific geek-speak here. Just a quick 2000 word read about alcohol, or more appropriately, the lack thereof.

What you’re about to read is actually some creative writing that I accomplished on a handful of airplane rides last month (something about being unplugged from WiFi gets my creative juices flowing).

So grab yourself an eggnog – virgin if you’d like – sit back, and enjoy. I call this story “The Spirits of Sobriety”.

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“Seriously Dick, don’t you think this is getting just slightly excessive?”

Perched on a rickety, wooden stool in the dark corner of the pub, Dick leaned back, shrugged indifferently, took a long, cool sip of his Gerolsteiner on the rocks, and pointed a crooked finger at the pricey cocktail menu, “Actually Charles, my liver feels fantastic. Do you realize how hydrated I am right now – I mean, relative to anybody else in here? And how much money do you think I’ve saved by being sober? You see the price of these signature martinis? It’s like Starbucks on steroids, Charles.”

Charles slowly stirred his scotch with a plastic red straw and peered at Dick with a biting glance, “Dick, you’re a bore. You’re no fun. You haven’t had a drink in nearly seventeen years. For crying out loud, Dick, it’s nearly freaking Christmas and you’re going to go through yet another holiday season without so much spirit as a drop of eggnog. Loosen up, man. Remember college? Remember parties? Remember Betty?”

“Betty? Seriously? Are you really going to play that card?” Dick chomped on a chard of ice and violently crushed a lemon wedge into his water, “You really think she left me because I don’t booze?”

Charles had seen Dick’s violent outrages before, and knew it was time to leave his sober companion to lonely, friendless thoughts. He scribbled his signature on the check and stood up to leave.

But Dick kept venting loudly, “Low blow, man. Low blow. Yeah, go. Go home and drink your friggin’ life away Charles.”

Charles pulled his coat and scarf over his shoulders and strode towards the exit, “Merry Christmas, Dick. Enjoy a lonely, sober Christmas Eve as usual, you humdrum.”

Dick slouched over the table and stared aimlessly at the worn brick wall. Humdrum? Am I really that dull? Just because I don’t know the subtleties between a merlot and a cabernet?

As Dick sat silently, pondering the difference between a stout and a porter, a shooter and a cocktail, a Tom Collins and a Singapore Sling, a waitress interrupted his depressed daydreaming.

“Get you something else mister?”

He looked at her, then glanced at her nametag. It said, “Ask Me About 2-For-1 Irish Car Bombs”.

Dick shook his head and stood. He brushed aside two staggering undergraduates, pushed open the big wooden door, and stomped out into the biting cold.

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Back at home, Dick sipped a lukewarm chamomile tea and sat staring at the dying embers of the fire. All was silent. Lonely. Dark. The same as it was every Christmas for him.

The stairs creaked as he headed up to his bedroom, and quietly walked down the hallway under the flickering lights, too embarrassed to attend any of the Christmas Eve parties in the neighborhood – but too committed to temperance to let a drop of alcohol touch his lips.

He crawled into his bed, pulled on a beanie cap to keep his head warm, and stared at the peeling wallpaper before muttering, “Maybe I’ll just get sloshed tomorrow.”

Dick rolled over, pulled the covers tight, and closed his eyes.

—————————-

Sluuurp.

Dick sat bolt upright at the sound.

Splash. Slurp. Gurgle.

“What the hell?” Dick blurted and leapt to his feet.

“Black pepper and cheap leather, that’s what!”

The pitchy European accent came from the dark corner in Dick’s room. Dick could barely discern a shadowy figure standing in the corner, holding a dark bottle of what appeared to be wine.

“You really didn’t get that?” The thin wispy shadow in the corner adjusted her designer jeans, pulled down the sleeves of her tight turtleneck shirt, and slipped in front of Dick, “You really didn’t get those hints of pepper and leather?”

She waved a stained cork under his nose, and arrogantly peered at him, “Pepper. Leather. Possibly dog piss and wet fur. You getting that?”

Dick stepped back, nearly stumbling back into his bed, “W-what the hell are you?”

“Well I’m the spirit of Christmas wine, you ignorant little prick. I can’t believe you’re not getting any of those notes off this wine. Here, come.”

Before he could even flinch, she grabbed his wrist and they were suddenly outside Dick’s living room window, seventeen years earlier. Dick put his nose to the glass.

Sure enough, there he and Betty were, inside a dank apartment.

“You remember this?” The spirit asked.

Dick nodded, “She-“

“Just watch.” The spirit interrupted him, pressing her turned-up nose against the glass.

Betty was obviously furious. She was ranting, pacing, waving her arms, screaming. The younger Dick sat on the couch, head in his hands.

“What do you mean, Dick? What do you mean you’re done drinking? Just done? Just like that? We have a Christmas party tonight, Dick, tonight. You’re such a little bitch. You’re ruining a perfectly good holiday.”

The older Dick winced. He had forgotten how mean Betty had become. He watched as the younger Dick quietly fought back, “Betty, I just – I just don’t like alcohol anymore. It hurts my head. I don’t feel good. I’m done. I’m just, done.

Older Dick continued to watch. He knew what was coming next and felt a lump in his throat as he watched Betty throw a coat around her shoulders and storm towards the front door, “Well Timothy will certainly go with me. And Tim knows how to drink, Dick. He’s fun. He knows how to have a good time.”

She slammed the door. Younger Dick wiped away a tear and quietly sipped on a glass of grapefruit juice.

As Dick turned away from the window, the spirit of Christmas wine held a glass of dark red under his lips, “Care to taste? This Burgundy scored a 97 on the latest Wine Spectator.”

Dick took a sip, “Not bad, I guess. That’s what a fine French wine tastes like, huh?”

“Neeeh.” The wine spirit cackled and leered at him, “Gullible, aren’t you? That’s a two dollar merlot. You’re hopeless, you little bitch.”

She touched his wrist again and suddenly he was back in his bed.

————————-

Dick took a few sharp breaths. His heart was pounding. What a strange dream. What an asinine wine connoisseur. What a horrible memory of Betsy. He put his head on his pillow and closed his eyes.

Clink!

This time the sound came from the downstairs kitchen.

Dick rapidly reacted this time, instinctively grabbing an old wooden baseball bat under his bedframe, bounding down the stairs, and throwing open his kitchen door with a violent scream.

Before Dick was a messy spectacle of a tiny man darting about like a hyperactive elf, his head at barely the height of the kitchen counter as he juggled, poured, spiced and sprinkled countless alcoholic concoctions into glass containers of various shapes and sizes.

“Holy hell!” shouted Dick, “What are you?”

The sharp-nosed, wispy man spun around and glared at Dick, “I’m the spirit of Christmas cocktails of course,” he flipped a bottle of rum and winked, “Peppermint Mai-Tai anyone?”

Dick wrinkled his nose in disgust, “Thanks, but I’ve just had wine.”

“Well you know what they say. Wine before liquor, never sicker. Or maybe it’s the other way around. I don’t know. Here!” Before Dick could flinch, the spirit flung a shot glass at him, dashed to his side and filled it to the brim, “Schnapps! Drink!”

Dick fumbled the shot glass and impulsively poured the sickeningly sweet drink into his mouth, coughing loudly as it burned it’s way down his throat. Suddenly, the man was at his side with another shot, “Prairie fire! Drink! Cheers!”

And again, “Liquid Cocaine! Go!”

Dick’s head was already spinning. Resistance was futile. He slammed another shot. Lemon drop. Kamikaze. Slippery Nipple.

The room became a fog. Dick’s face was turning green. The little man’s sharp, biting voice was eating a headache into his skull. Dick felt the bile coming up his throat as half a dozen hard alcohols stirred in his stomach, and the shots kept coming.

Dick was halfway to his kitchen trash can and vomit was already seeping out the corners of his mouth. As the little man made some kind of joke about a cheap date, Dick buried his head into the trash and began spewing.

Everything went black.

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“Ho-ho-HO.”

The loud chuckling sounded like brash church bells inside Dick’s throbbing head. The room smelled sulfurous, as though someone had smashed a dozen rotten eggs against the wall, or farted.

“Phbbt.”

Definitely a fart. A loud, fermented fart. Dick squinted in the direction of the laughter, and the overwhelmingly pungent smell. An enormous, bearded ogre-like man sat perched on a stool in the corner of the room, his giant gut nearly spilling nearly down to his knees. He rubbed his big red nose, took a vast swig of a frosted brew, and chuckled again, holding out an overflowing mug, “Care for a l-l-lager?” he stuttered, obviously drunk;

Dick groaned as the bitter hops wafted under his nose. He suddenly felt even more sick.

The tipsy giant staggered to his feet, adjusted his giant red cloak, and stumbled towards Dick, lurching forward and spilling sticky brew on the bedroom floor. He smiled broadly and slapped a huge hairy hand on Dick’s shoulder while shoving the mug under Dick’s nose, “C’mon, take a nip o’ this from the spirit of Christmas beer.”

Dick tried to pull himself away from the towering spirit, but it was too late. The massive man forced a gulp of beer down Dick’s gullet, suffocating him with the stench of strong brew and fermented body odor.

Dick struggled to escape from the vise-like grip on his shoulder, but the giant just laughed again, his rank breath hot against Dick’s cheeks, “Live a little, my sober friend.” He gave Dick a forceful bear hug and began to laugh again, his big belly jiggling wildly. Dick desperately made one last violent attempt to escape, ferociously shoving the spirit, then realized his horrible mistake as the enormous mass of beer, hair and body odor passed out and came crashing down on him.

All went dark.

————————-

Dick awoke to the glow of winter sunshine streaming through the bedroom window. He sat up and braced for a dreaded, splitting headache.

But his head felt clear. Clean. Had it all been a dream?

He jumped from his bed and quickly tiptoed down to the kitchen, cautiously cracking open the door. The counters were pristine and untouched, the trash can neatly tucked away in the corner. He strode to the refrigerator and poured himself a glass of cold, refreshing water.

Dick tap-danced to the frosted window, and flung it open to see the neighborhood children dashing through the snow, cheering loudly as they pulled their sleds up and down the street. It was Christmas morning, and all was right with the world, without a drop of booze in sight!

Still in his pajamas and slippers, Dick dashed outside. He pranced to the corner market, skipped past the holiday wine sale, and threw open the cooler, shoveling handfuls of Perrier and Pellegrino into his basket. He even splurged on a six pack of O’Douls and as he waited in line, he tapped on his smartphone and ordered a Christmas gift subscription for Charlie to a year-long Culligan’s filtered water delivery.

As he pranced merrily out into the parking lot and back down the street, Dick winked, smiled and confidently bellowed to the neighborhood couple passing his way on the sidewalk, “I’ve got spirit, yes I do, I’ve got spirit how ‘bout you?”

He tossed a gift of Gerolsteiner to the bewildered man and woman as he skipped away through the snow, shouting back over his shoulder, “This will go perfectly with cranberry and a lemon wedge, no vodka required!”

The couple stood there for a moment, curiously inspecting the bottle, then the woman looked up.

“This may actually go well with the gin. Shall we start the party before breakfast this year?”

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So…what do you think?

Should I toss in a bit of creative writing for you here and there? Or should I stick to my day job? Leave your comments and thoughts below.

Oh, and speaking of sobriety, definitely stay tuned next week, when I’m going to reveal Part 2 of the shocking results from the “30 Days No Alcohol Experiment“.

P.S. I have absolutely nothing against alcohol. I am, in fact, off to drink a very large glass of red wine as soon as I push the publish button.

The Problem With Paleo: Why It’s OK To Eat Bread, Grains, Legumes, Cheese & Milk.

screenshot_989

A few weeks ago, while I was in Israel, I posted the photo above to my Instagram page, with the comment that…

“A Paleo person could never survive in Israel – local popped corn sprinkled with moss from the rooftop, freshly grown spelt and rye, falafel with soaked chickpeas, amazing lemons and guavas you simply bite through the skin, carob picked straight out of the desert, local raw sheep’s cheese and goat milk cheese sprinkled with fresh herbs, and omega-6 fatty acid packed tahinis blended with beets, freshly pressed olive oil and cilantro. Oh well. More for me.”

I have to admit that I stuffed my face with huge portions of nearly every food listed above when I visited a home in Galilee for a traditional weekly Jewish Shabbat feast. During that dinner, I sat next to Uri Mayer-Chissick (also known as “The Israeli Locavore”), who is a food historian and wild edible plant expert, and we had an interesting about traditional agricultural foods like bread and cheese, and the surge in popularity of the strict avoidance of these foods by those who adhere to a “hunter-gatherer” Paleo-esque diet.

Uri and I delve deeply into this discussion today’s audio podcast.

screenshot_991And this guy is the real deal. Not only does he cook amazing food, but he also leads hikes and tours of the Israeli countryside to find local wild edible plants, and he teaches outdoor cooking classes, gives food history lectures and prepares gourmet meals in nature, reconstructing historical recipes with wild plants.

When he’s not traipsing through the valley of springs in north-eastern Israel with a pot and pan in his hand, Uri lectures about food, the history of local food preservation, ways that ancient medicine used nutrition as a way to achieve balance, and the traditions of foraging, healing and cooking in the Mediterranean and Middle-East.

During our discussion, you’ll learn:

-How a Paleo diet that adheres to the philosophy of no-bread, no-grains, little to no dairy, etc. has been received in a Mediterranean culture where it seems that bread, legumes, wheat, cheese, etc. are such staples…

-How “traditionally prepared” bread is so much different than modern bread, and how you can find or make easy-to-digest bread…

-How you can prepare things like lentils and chickpeas to make them more friendly to the human gut…

-What it is it some dairy causes health problems, but some dairy is no nourishing and digestible…

-Why a rise in celiac disease is due to a difference in the way wheat is grown…

-And much more!

Resources:

-Nourishing Traditions

-The Art of Fermentation

-Goat whey protein

-Vertical gardening towers

-Vibe Israel, an organization that brings international on- and offline opinion leaders in health and nutrition on a weeklong personalized experience of the burgeoning wellness scene in Israel (I’ve already released two valuable lessons I learned on that Israel journey: “5 Things You Can Learn From The Burgeoning Health, Wellness And Nutrition Scene In Israel” and “Why You Get Cancer And What You Can Do About It“).

By the way, even though I’m not Paleo, you can click here to come hear me speak at PaleoFX 2015, which is a Who’s Who gathering of the ancestral food and exercise movement, with world-class speakers including best-selling authors, physicians, nutritionists, research scientists, professional athletes, trainers, sustainability and food activists, biohackers, and more.

Question, comments or feedback about the problem with Paleo? Leave your thoughts below!

A Day In The Life Of The Ultimate Fat Burning Weapon Inventor.

evening cold thermogenesis

Meet Eric (pictured above as he stares off into some mysterious icy wilderness).

I’ll keep this simple for you: Eric is mildly obsessed with the use of cold exposure to burn massive amounts of calories. He invented a vest that I use every week, called a CoolFatBurner. You put the vest over your shoulders, where your body carries the majority of your rapid calorie burning brown adipose tissue, and then you just sit there.

Oh yeah, one other thing: the vest is filled with cold packs.

So anyways, you may be scratching your head, you may think all this is woo-woo, you may already know about “cold thermogenesis” but you’re not quite sure how practically to do it, or you may simply want an easy way to nudge any extra holiday calories off your waistline and instead use them to generate pure, clean body heat.

Either way, keep reading, because Eric is today’s guest author, and he’s going to give you a glimpse inside the nefarious, shivering mind of the ultimate fat burning weapon inventor – himself. Enjoy.

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Howdy and Happy Holidays.

If you’ve been reading Ben’s blog or listening to his podcast for the past year, then you probably already know of the fat-burning benefits of cold thermogenesis, cold showers, keeping your house cool and wearing special gear that keeps you cold.  Along with interviewing guys like iceman Wim Hof and neurosurgeon Jack Kruse, Ben was the first person to reveal the results of my groundbreaking indirect calorimetry experiment, which shows that high intensity cold stress can boost your metabolism by 301% (gotta love burning an extra 600 calories while I play video games).
Since then, I’ve shown that wearing my Cool Fat Burner vest can boost adiponectin by 60% in two hours, raise resting metabolic rate, and activate brown fat – and keep it active for hours after removing the cooling vest. We later duplicated this experiment last August, just to further show the cold thermogenesis can maintain maximal brown adipose levels even through a hot summer season. Using the weapon of cold, we also showed that you can spot reduce stomach fat via cold-induced fat cell apoptosis.

That’s fat cell death. Goodbye muffin tops.

But we now know that the Cool Fat Burner can do a lot more than speed up fat burning. It can also directly encourage muscle growth.  This is arguably just as important as the fat burning benefit.  Why?

As of the time you are reading this, over 2/3 of Americans are overweight, with the modernized world not far behind.

But when many people try to lose weight, they end up losing muscle tissue along with that fat, sometimes losing a lot of valuable muscle that can be very, very hard to get back!  This is obviously not good.  Aside from the fact that you’ll look less healthy, be weaker and have decreased performance at most physical tasks, you may also be at higher risk for the various metabolic and “lifestyle disorders” you tried to avoid by losing weight in the first place.

And now, since you lost muscle, your workout capacity and resting metabolic rate have dropped, which means that what used to be a maintenance level of food that was burned by your own muscle is now a calorie surplus!

So your purpose in become the ultimate fat-burning machine is clear: you want to be able to burn fat, while preserving (or even building new) muscle.

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How To Burn Fat And Build Muscle At The Same Time

Cold thermogenesis can be your secret weapon in this battle that so many others struggling at the gym don’t (yet) realize.

To help maintain muscle while you burn fat, cold thermogenesis can help you:

So cold thermogenesis can not only boost metabolism, burn a massive number of calories, and help keep the fat off, but it can also help preserve and even promote muscle gains. Click on the links for yourself. The research has spoken, and it just makes sense when you think about – in the same way that exercise can be uncomfortable and eating healthy or skipping a few holiday bottles of booze can be uncomfortable, cold exposure can be uncomfortable – but the benefits of even mild cold stress are profound. Discomfort pays off.

So what is the best protocol to optimize cold thermogenesis and make all this happen?

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How To Use Cold Thermogenesis

I’ve integrated some of the most effective diet plans, workout paradigms, and cold thermogenesis breakthroughs into what I call the “Body Recomp” plan.  This plan is highly individualized and customizable, since it’s really just a set of principles that you pick and choose as you please, combining diet, exercise and cold stress in the absolute best ways to meet the goals of burning fat, building muscle, and improving health, with the speed at which you go dependent on how far you’re willing to take the diet and the cold.

Is your goal to eat 18 scoops of ice cream (dairy-free vegan coconut ice cream, of course) and partition those calories away from fat and instead shove them into muscle, all while still walking around with exemplary health markers and clinically low insulin levels?  Well, here you go:

Eventually, I’ll have the Body Recomp plan up on the new Cool Fat Burner site with free access.  Until then, I’m going to give you a few general concepts, principles, and practices you can get started with.

To begin, you must understand two simple concepts: mTOR and AMPK – one builds up and one breaks down, respectively. The table below fills you in.

Cool Fat Burner

 

The key in building muscle and burning fat at the same time is to unlock the benefits of both these processes, while avoiding the negatives of both – to build your muscles, without increasing fat storage or abnormal, cancerous cells and to burn fat and clean up bad cells without tearing down muscle.

Cold thermogenesis spans the gap.  It has been shown to accelerate fat loss and kick in AMPK, and yet the effects of both irisin and adiponectin can help preserve muscle tissue and activate mTOR.

And that, in a very basic scientific nutshell, is how you build muscle and burn fat at the same time.

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The Levels of Cold Thermogenesis

Back when the Cool Fat Burner was first created, I defined 3 distinct levels or intensities of cold stress, based on the level of cold stimulus required, the systems they activate, and the results they give you.

Level 1: Beginner / Casual Intensity:

This feels like being lightly cooled off, and would be like hanging out in a 65°F room with minimal clothing. It activates the autonomic nervous system, and causes a small increase in calorie burning (probably around 10%).  This is a low level of cold thermogenesis, and could be done for hours a day, with minimal effort.  You may even experience enhanced glucose uptake at this level.

For example, I received an email from a Cool Fat Burner user who wasn’t ready for the insulin sensitizing effects of cold thermogenesis. He said he wore the cooling vest over a T-shirt, and when he approached the 30 minute mark, he nearly passed out! When I questioned further, it turned out his mother was diabetic, and that he was 100lbs overweight and had a fatty liver.

Simply put, the customer had poor insulin sensitivity, and was pre-diabetic and cold thermogenesis caused a massive burning up of blood glucose, pulling it into brown fat and muscle tissue!

Even though I don’t encourage cooling yourself into hypoglycemic shock, this of course proves the power of cold exposure, and demonstrates why brown fat is being researched to help treat or even prevent (T2) diabetes.  It also demonstrates that you need to be careful when engaging in cold thermogenesis, because it actually works!

Level 2: Moderate Intensity

This is a deeper chill, and starts to activate brown fat and skeletal muscle uncoupling.  This will definitely increase glucose uptake and start to allow for nutrient partitioning.  The calorie burn numbers here can depend on how much muscle and brown fat you have (you’ll burn more calories when you maintain muscle while losing fat).

Also note – cold thermogenesis can maintain maximal brown adipose tissue levels even through summer, which I found when wearing a cooling vest around 1.5 hrs a day, and verified with PET scans.  So while hot weather will decrease brown fat in everyone else, you can use cold thermogenesis to maintain maximal BAT levels and fat burning even through the summer.

Level 2: Hardcore Intensity

This intensity ventures into the realm of shivering.  But before you go running for the hills, understand that there is a spectrum here – this can be a subtle, barely perceptible pre-shiver that only works in small muscle groups, and progress up to large-scale shivering shaking your entire body.

Even in the indirect calorimetry experiment, doing slight to moderate shivering, interval shivering (so-called “shiver surfing”) I demonstrated a boosted metabolism of over 300%.  This level also produces the highest levels of adiponectin and irisin.

So shivering will burn a massive amount of calories, can help preserve or even build muscle, can radically increase insulin sensitivity, causes the fastest increase in your regular brown fat stores, and cause “browning” of your subcutaneous white fat into “bright” or “beige” fat, as well as a whole host of health and life-extending benefits (some may mistakenly think that hardcore intensity would be an unpleasant experience, but they’d be wrong).

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Two Sample Days Of Cold Thermogenesis

So, using these principles and applying those various intensities of cold thermogenesis, here are two sample days from the Body Recomp plan. Example one is for clean-bulking muscle (e.g. you want to build muscle and you really don’t have much fat to lose), and example two is for fat burning without losing muscle.

Example 1 – Anabolic Day (clean-bulk muscle building):

Goals:  turn on mTOR, build muscle without gaining fat.  Enjoy cheat foods.  Increase metabolism.  Have a ‘break’ from dieting.  Enjoy satiety, experience a full stomach.  Overall ‘building up’ of the body. Yep – you guessed it – perfect for the holidays.

Meal 1: Breakfast

Breakfast-5 eggs, 5 strips bacon, assorted nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews, Brazil nuts, etc)

-~50gm protein, moderate fats, very low carb  (usually take fish oil and chia seeds and fat-soluble vitamins like Vit D with this meal)

Note: Brazil nuts have a lot of selenium, which can build to toxic levels.  Eat in moderation.

If your workout suffers from having no carbs and you’ve ruled out it’s not just psychological, then throw in some slow-digesting carbs.  Oatmeal would be an excellent choice.

Workout 1: Early afternoon, muscle-building resistance training.

New PictureNOTE:  “resistance training” is a bit ambiguous.  We know that progressive overload is needed to preserve / build muscle.  Yet it’s recently been implied that the differences in rep ranges – the classical 1-5 reps for strength, vs the 7-12 reps for hypertrophy – may not be as clear cut as we once thought.

It appears one should work a muscle at least 2-3 times a week, anywhere from the “power rep range” (typically 1-5 reps) to the “hypertrophy rep range,” (usually 8-12 reps) and still get the same muscle size growth or preservation.  So specific rep ranges may not be too important in terms of muscle size and preservation, and individual goals, can factor in here.

Note:  On a more metabolically intensive variant of the Body Recomp plan, you can cycle in extremely high rep work, complexes, anaerobic work, metabolic work, HIIT (high intensity interval training), and LISS (low intensity steady state cardio).  You can also frequently cycle the type of exercise, as well as add ‘exotic’ methods, such as resistance bands, paused reps and timing schemes, partial movements, conjugate principles, and so on, to prevent plateaus and boredom. To preserve muscle simply means you need to spend adequate time on strength-end of the strength/endurance spectrum.

Meal 2: Post-Workout Meal (carb refeed)

post workout-Chicken thighs, lentils, sour kraut & kimchee, sweet potatoes, greek yogurt, an apple (usually w/ caramel dip), and dark chocolate.

-Lots of protein adequate carbs, as well as fiber and pro/pre-biotic elements.  (if you take probiotic pills, this would be a good time to pop ‘em)

-At least 50-60 gm protein in this meal.

-Alternate post-workout meal:  Junk food / cheat meal version:  use your imagination. Just make sure you get enough protein and make every attempt to keep things Ben approved. A giant gluten-free pizza with a pastured egg and some feta cheese on top? OK. A basket of greasy, inflammatory chicken wings? Probably not.

Note: While it may only take 20 gm protein to increase muscle protein synthesis, it’s still probably a good idea to get more protein per meal, especially if you’re older, andI never get less than 40gm protein in any given meal.  I like to get .8 to 1 gm per pound bodyweight every day, divided into 3-5 meals.  I weigh between 190lbs to 200lbs, depending on current goals, so I never get less than 150gm protein a day.

Note #2: the carb refeed can boost leptin and thyroid, can help reduce muscle protein breakdown, replenish muscle glycogen, and provide a psychological break from the diet.

cold thermogenesisCold thermogenesis / Cool Fat Burner session

After this post-workout meal, I’ll go for 1.5-2hrs wearing one or both cooling vests (Cool Gut Buster along with the Cool Fat Burner)

I may not shiver during this session, because I don’t want to burn off too many calories, nor activate AMPK – I want those post-workout meal calories to go into muscle building.

The goal here is for increased nutrient partitioning and pushing the nutrients into the muscles. I’m not really trying to burn too many calories, unless I went overboard with the junk food and fear carb spillover.  Moderate intensity cold thermogenesis is enough.

Meal 3: Night Meal

night meal-Huge 2.57lb taco salad (yes, the scale was tared for the weight of the plate and fork)

-Probably at least 80 gm protein.  High protein, moderate fat, lowish carbs (no wrap or chips here).

So by the end of the day, I probably had nearly 200 gm of protein and I had a decent amount of carbs (almost all in the post workout meal).  The ‘cleaner’ version of the PWO meal had a lot of fiber, prebiotics, and phytonutrients.  The junk food version (not pictured) would be lacking in all that, unless I took fiber supplements and vitamins with it.  Lifting was done somewhere in the 1-5 or 8-12 rep range per set, trying to get a minimum of 30 reps per muscle group for the whole workout.  Cold thermogenesis was used to help catch any extra calories and hopefully push them into muscle and BAT.

So the end results would be increased muscle growth, boosted leptin and thyroid, a psychological break with the cheat meal, a full belly, and muscles that would feel pumped and full with little to no added fat, all followed by a deep, restful sleep.

Example 2 – Fat Burning Day (burning fat without losing muscle):

Goals:  Fasting or “PSMF” (“protein sparing modified fast” to maintain muscle synthesis, since muscle synthesis can continue for up to 48 hrs after a hard workout).  Huge calorie burning and fat loss.  Activation of cellular cleanup and the enhancement of health and longevity via AMPK pathways.

Note:  much of day will be spent in either an air conditioned environment (if it’s hot outside) or with heat turned down or off (winter).  Ideally wear minimal clothes.  Keep fingers, toes, ears, and nose warm.

Meal 1: Breakfast

breakfast 2Optional:  fat-based coffee

  • -Coconut oil
  • -Grass-fed butter
  • -Cocoa powder
  • -Cinnamon

Also take fish oil and chia seeds, as well as any fat-soluble vitamins here, such as Vitamin D or Vitamin K.

Note: The coffee will help to shut down appetite stimulation, and the fats will lessen gluconeogenesis of the PSMF protein-only breakfast (e.g. the ability of the proteins to turn into sugars).

protein slurry-Protein slurry.  60-80 grams of casein (and egg?) protein powder, with powdered peanut butter (or – since I know Ben is reading this – raw almond butter) and almond milk or coconut milk.  Bacon on top.

Note: Consider avoiding whey (and maybe egg) protein if you’re trying to maximize AMPK.  Whey contains a lot of the amino acid leucine.  Leucine activates mTOR.  This is good on anabolic days, not so much on fat burning AMPK days.

Remember, AMPK is involved in cellular cleanup, the destruction of harmful junk cells, and longevity. We want to maximize AMPK on this fat burning day.  So at least for the morning hours, consider keeping insulin low, mTOR turned off, and AMPK revved up as high as possible.  That means not eating whey, and possibly not even eating eggs, as they too can be insulinogenic, turn on mTOR, and turn off AMPK.

Meal 2: Late Morning / Early Afternoon Meal

pre-cool fat burner session-Pre- Cool Fat Burner session.  Huge protein smoothie.  (at least 40-50gm protein for me at ~ 195lbs)  Lots of ice, to chill the insides.

-Long, hardcore cold thermogenesis session.  I’ll go at least 1.5 to 2hrs.  At least 1 hour will be spent somewhere around shivering.  (NOTE:  it is not advised to wear a cooling vest longer than 30 minutes without medical consent)

Even after removing the cooling vests, I’ll lounge in the same cold room for at least an hour or so. So this single session alone could run upwards of 4 hours. But I’m still being productive (and yes, also playing video games) during those 4 hours.

Meal 3: Late Afternoon Meal

turkey burgersTurkey burgers on Portobello mushroom ‘buns.’  (salted stems used as ‘fries’)

High protein, low fat, no carb.

Evening cold thermogenesis.

evening cold thermogenesisTake a chill-walk, wearing the CFB (CoolFatBurner vest) if feasible.  The extra walking will serve as low intensity steady state cardio (LISS), and adding cold thermogenesis to the mix adds even more calories burned.  Go for at least an hour.

Note:  Dress lightly if possible and walk slow and casually, so as to not generate too much heat via exercise.

Meal 4: Night Meal

night meal 2-~60 gm of protein.  Cod, broccoli, and zucchini.  High protein, moderate fat (butter and almond flour on zucchini), low carb.

-At least 200 gm of protein for the day, very low fat and carb.  PSMF.  (eat at least 1gm protein per pound bodyweight on fat burning days, to help preserve muscle)

So with an already boosted metabolism, I’m already in a huge caloric deficit from the PSMF.  Add to that many hundreds of calories burned from the CFB and I should easily hit 1/2lb of fat loss this day.

What’s more, by keeping insulin low especially through morning, by depleting glycogen all day, ad by being in constant fat burning mode, I’m maximizing insulin sensitivity, improving health markers, activating AMPK, and doing some serious house-cleaning on the body’s cells.

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Summary

So that’s it!

Yeah, I know you probably have questions, so leave them in the comments section below. I’ll answer.

These two sample days were obviously opposite in nature and outcome.  Anabolic growth vs. metabolic cleanup.  Building muscle and repairing tissues vs. burning fat and cleaning up cellular junk.

So choose your goal. Then, as a famous shoe company once quipped, just do it. And yes, either strategy is 100% Ben Greenfield approved and endorsed. Have fun.

Cold thermogenesis and the Cool Fat Burner can help with both.  

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

santafat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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1.  Go The Distance: From Your Kitchen.

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

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

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2.  Dissociate and distract yourself from food.

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

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

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

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3.  Work the preemptive cheat.

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

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

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

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

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

Strive for imperfection. Veer outside of your diet lane.

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

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

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

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

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

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5.  Pinpoint your why.

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

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

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6.  Leave no room for mistakes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

with Andy Murphy

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

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


How To Protect And Enhance Your Sleep

with Ameer Rosic

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

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


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

with Ari Meisel

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

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


How To Play More And Exercise Less

with Darryl Edwards

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

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


How To Build Strength & Cardio At The Same Time

with Doug McGuff

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

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


How To Fix Your Gut

with Dr. Alejandro Junger

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

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


Protecting Your Body From The Hazards Of Airline Travel

with Dr. Jack Kruse

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

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


Hidden Secrets To Becoming A Better Breather

with Dr. John Douillard

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

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


How To Become A Fat Burning Machine

with Dr. Peter Attia

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

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


How To Challenge Your Body And Mind

with Hobie Call

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

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


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

with Jeff Hunt

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

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


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

with Jeff Spencer

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

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


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

with Jesse Elder

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

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


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

with Jessica Greenfield

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

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


Why You Need To Do Hard Things

with Joe DeSena

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

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


Why You Need To Cheat On Your Diet

with John Kiefer

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

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


How To Become A Supple Leopard

with Kelly Starrett

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

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


6 Ways To Get As Fit As A Navy Seal

with Mark Divine

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

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


The 3 Keys To Looking Good Naked

with Mark Sisson

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

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


Practical Ways To Protect Yourself From Hidden EMF Killers

with Michael Neuert

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

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


How To Cool The Brain

with Nora Gedgadaus

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

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


How To Fix Your Adrenals

with Shawn Talbott

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

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


Biohacking Your Brain

with Steven Fowkes

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

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


How To Transition Back To Regular Eating From A Detox

with Yuri Elkaim

 

In this talk you’ll learn:

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

Amazing, right?

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

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

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

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

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

Dying empty.

Whatever you want to call it.

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

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

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1. Hot-Cold Contrast

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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2. Deep Tissue Work

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

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

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

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

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

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

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3. Topical Treatments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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4. Nutrients

Finally, we get to nutrients.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So yes, it’s basically a shotgun approach.

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

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Summary

So that’s it. Those are my staples.

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

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

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

fat burning machine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-How to benefit from depleted training and intermittent fasting…

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

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

-And much more!

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

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

30 days no alcohol

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

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

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

He said no (but he wished he had).

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

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

They said, “Let’s do it.”

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

My next task?

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

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

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

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The post received 108 entries.

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

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

Jason Sissel

Background:

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

Athletic Highlights:

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

Wow. So obviously, Jason is no joke.

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

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

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

A few bottles of red wine a week?

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

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

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

Jason Sissel alcohol

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Jason’s Pre No-Alcohol Stats

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The 30-Days No Alcohol Bloodwork

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

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

vitaminsminerals

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

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

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

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

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rbcsiron wbcs

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

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

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

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

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

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bone electrolytes kidney

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

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

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

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

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liver

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

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

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diabetesthyroid

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

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

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

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

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

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inflammation

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

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LipidPanel

lipidpanel2

Jason has some pretty serious lipid panel “issues”.

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

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

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

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

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The 30-Days No Alcohol Body Fat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

dexa3 dexa2 dexa1

adiposity

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The 30-Days No Alcohol Metabolic Results

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

rmr

rmr2

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

Jason Sissel diet

diet2

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

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

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Summary

So that’s it!

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

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

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