Reducing stress might just be more important than reducing calories.

Twitter Facebook Flipboard Email
Jamie Weiss 20 hours ago

Image: Fit Yourself Club

If someone invented a pill that guaranteed weight loss, you can bet that overnight they’d become more wealthy than Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates combined.

Sadly for some, such a weight loss ‘silver bullet’ is yet to materialise, so we’re stuck with doing things the hard way. And ‘hard’ is the operative word: weight loss isn’t easy, nor is figuring out what the right things to do are in order to optimise weight loss. Exercises, diets, supplements, meditation, medical treatments… There’s just so much out there, and so much conflicting information.

Max Lugavere, a nutritionist and health coach well-known for his love of upsetting the fitness industries’ sacred cows, just shared his take on weight loss – specifically, what factors he suggests affects fat loss most. His biggest takeaway? That stress can be just as much of a factor in preventing fat loss as one’s exercise regime or nutritional intake.

“Stress can significantly impact your ability to maintain a healthy weight. It can also prevent you from losing weight. Whether it’s the result of high levels of the stress hormone cortisol, unhealthy stress-induced behaviours, or a combination of the two, the link between stress and weight gain is glaring,” according to Verywell Mind.


Being stressed has two major impacts on weight loss. For argument’s sake, let’s break it down into biological and emotional impacts.


First of all, when you’re stressed, your body produces more cortisol as part of your ‘fight or flight response’. Cortisol is a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands and is responsible for things like regulating blood pressure, metabolising glucose, insulin release and immune function, among other things. High cortisol levels can cause hyperglycemia, increased abdominal fat (which is particularly hard to lose), higher blood pressure, and decreases muscle tissue and bone density among other factors.

The other major hormone released when you’re in ‘fight or flight’ mode is adrenaline. When your adrenaline high wears off, cortisol makes your body crave energy, so you’re more likely to seek out sugary or fatty foods for that quick hit of energy: that’s why ‘stress eating’ is such a thing. The nasty domino effect doesn’t stop there: if you’re stressed, you also probably don’t have the mental capacity to cook for yourself or seek out healthy options. If you’re time- and headspace-poor, you’re more likely to reach for fast foods. You’re also less likely to want to work out, or stick to a diet, you might be sleeping less and drinking less water, and so on.

Not only does stress literally make you gain weight, but it also makes you less likely to partake in the sorts of healthy activities that would also prevent fat gain. It goes to show that fat loss isn’t a zero-sum game; it’s not just a purely physical thing. That’s why it’s so valuable that Lugavere’s shining a light on all the different levers of fat loss.

“Hopefully [this is] more useful than ‘count your calories’,” Lugavere cheekily posted.

“When it comes to reducing adiposity, empower yourself with levers that make the task easier than just ‘eating less’! Maybe it’ll even become effortless.”

“None of the levers [I have] presented are magic,” Lugavere warns.

“They are tools, [but] potent ones at that. For example, staying hydrated keeps your metabolism humming and doesn’t make you think you’re hungry when you’re not, and eating high-quality protein from sources like chicken or beef keeps you satiated and nourishes your muscles which burn calories just by existing.”

Lugavere’s last words?

“With so much dogma, territoriality, and zealotry in the fitness space, I just want to cut through the noise to provide these basics, so that you can feel out what works for you and what doesn’t. Make sense?”

Read Next
Popular Australian ‘Smoko’ Beverage Optimal For Post Workout Recovery, Study Finds
American Crossfit Coach Shows You How To Pack On Functional Muscle Like A Pro

Watch the video to see how to interpret your 6 scores below. You’ll also see how you compare to the general public and top 15% of high performers worldwide.

Below are your scores and recommendations for improving your life in the most targeted and proven way possible.



How To Stay Focused

How Millionaires Schedule Their Day: 1-Page Productivity Tool

Your overall high performance score, out of 5 total points, is 3.81.

Why does this score matter?

Because the professional assessment you just took is PROVEN to strongly correlate with long-term success in your career, health, happiness, and relationships.

Our research shows that the top 15% of high performers worldwide score an average of 4.76. That’s incredible, right? How do they score that high?

Why is it that you can put them in almost any situation and they succeed?

It’s not that they are born lucky.

Successful people simply developed the right kind of “deliberate habits” that moved them forward faster than others.

Reaching high performance, then, is not about being a particular type of personality but rather routinely exhibiting a specific set of practices.

So how did you score?

Are you happy with your score, and life? What should you work on?

Let’s look at your 6 High Performance Habit scores now:

Your CLARITY score is 4.5 out of 5. What could you do to improve this score? What would happen if you had just a little more clarity about what you wanted, how to get there, and what would make you feel the most alive and fulfilled at this stage of your life? High levels of clarity make us feel confident and excited for our day. Low levels hurt motivation.

Your ENERGY score is 3.17 out of 5. Does this reflect the mental, emotional and physical level of vibrancy you need in your life? What would improve in your life if you had more energy? High levels of energy make life feel incredible and make us more resilient, happy, engaged, and likely to workout and make healthy choices.

Your NECESSITY score is 3.67 out of 5. This measures the level of emotional commitment you feel to showing up each day as your best. It’s your level of “must” in improving your life and serving others with excellence. Could you find new ways to be more driven? Low levels of necessity make it hard to turn off Netflix and get stuff done.

Your PRODUCTIVITY score is 3.5 out of 5. We’ve noticed that if you’re below a 4.6 on this one, it’s REALLY hard to achieve your dreams. What new things could you try to master your mental focus, project planning, and the daily practices of productivity? Who needs you to start crushing it every week?

Your INFLUENCE score is 3.83. This area of your life is EVERYTHING. When you don’t learn the advanced strategies for getting people to believe in you, support you, buy from you, or take the actions you suggest, then it’s hard to ever get ahead. How could you become more influential with those you serve and lead? High influence means you climb higher. It’s that simple.

Your COURAGE score is 4.17. Do the people around you truly know who you are, what you dream of, what you need? Are you living your truth, taking risks, putting yourself out there? The next level for all of us requires a greater willingness to venture into the unknown despite risks or judgment. High courage = high performance.


Research shows that these six habit categories – clarity, energy, productivity, influence, courage, and necessity – directly and strongly correlate with long-term success.

Establish strong habits in these areas and you create an extraordinary life.

If you would like assistance or continuing education for improving these scores, we have three great programs, based on how deep or advanced you’d like to go.

1. Get a complimentary copy of my book, High Performance Habits.
Each chapter has strategies and steps associated with the six habits you just scored yourself on.

2. Join me LIVE every month for high performance training.
I made your first month just $1, so there’s no barrier to entry.

Whichever you choose, it would be my honor to help you reach your next level of success.

I’ve spent 20 years studying this area, and over the last 10 years I’ve been blessed to become the world’s leading high performance coach (at least according to Success Magazine).

I’ve trained hard-working entrepreneurs worldwide, Fortune 50 CEOS, Olympians, Oprah and her team, and over 2M people online from over 190 countries.

I hope my track record shows that I deeply care about my students…

… and I know what works in helping you advance FAST.

So I hope you’ll keep in touch, open my emails, and watch my videos. I’ll send you a few videos this week to watch.

Until next time, I’m sending you a full charge of joy and motivation.

I truly honor your commitment to personal and professional development.

Talk soon,

– Brendon

#1 New York Times Bestselling Author
Top 25 Most Influential by Success Magazine
Top 100 Most Followed Public Figures on Facebook
“One of the most influential leaders in personal growth.” – Oprah Winfrey Network

About the Assessment
The High Performance IndicatorTM (often called the “HPI,” “HPI-II” or “HP-36”) is a 36-point scale used to measure the factors that matter most in predicting high performance (aka long-term success). The scale was developed by Brendon Burchard, High Performance Institute researchers and graduates from the Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. Based on research and proven performance improvement methods, the HPI is the world’s first validated assessment on high performance created and backed by a high performance coach with over a decade in the field. More information, including the full background and data of the study, can be found in High Performance Habits.
High Performance Indicator Assessment. Copyright 2017 High Performance Institute. All rights reserved.

Nerdy Ways To Lose Fat, Build Muscle & Maintain A Nice Body As You Age.

[00:00:00] Introduction

[00:01:25] Podcast Sponsors

[00:03:30] Podcast and Guest Introduction

[00:05:26] Sarcopenia: What It Is and How to Mitigate Its Effects as You Age

[00:10:39] Case Studies on The Effects of Strength Training on Longevity

[00:20:52] Maintaining and Building Muscle with Age

[00:25:07] Podcast Sponsors

[00:28:25] Nerdy Ways to Lose Fat and Stay Healthy: Keeping Blood Sugar Stable

[00:33:07] Foam Rolling in The Morning

[00:37:37] Strategic Use of a Sauna

[00:41:09] Measure HRV Based on Your Workouts

[00:43:31] Dry Fasting

[00:46:09] Training in A Fasted State

[00:48:39] Upper Body High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

[00:50:08] Different Forms of The Ketogenic Diet

[00:53:31] End of Podcast

Ben: On this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast…

It’s easy sometimes for a senior to go out and walk or hike or ride a bike and swim, and it can feel hard to strength train, but it’s such a potent age-reversal tactic.

Tom: When we store our fats, maybe, just maybe, it’s biologically set up for us in a sense that we can unravel and utilize that fat a little bit easier, or when I’m on a lower-fat day where I know the fat is coming from my own body fat tissue. So, what I recommend people try is–

Ben: Health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and much more. My name is Ben Greenfield. Welcome to the show.

Mic check, mic check, one, two, one, two. Oh, sorry, I didn’t see you there. I was just checking my mic. Yow, this is Ben. Today’s show is a little bit different. It is a focus on longevity, fat loss, and muscle gain, and how to achieve all of that with the minimum effective dose. But it’s actually a lecture by me. I say lecture. That sounds boring. A solosode by me and by my brilliant guest, Thomas DeLauer.

So, before we jump into the goodness, and don’t press fast-forward, gosh, darn it, because I have important things to say. For example, my brand-new book, “Boundless” just launched and is available for pre-order. This thing is already selling like hotcakes all around the world. Six hundred and eight pages shocks me. How many people actually want to read a book that is that comprehensive? It’s almost like “The 4-Hour Body” on steroids, with no offense meant to Tim Ferriss. It’s a big book. And it’s a hardcover 608 pages, beautiful diagrams, illustrations, a complete research-based guide to boundless energy at your beck and call anytime you want it, and thousands and thousands of dollars’ worth of bonuses on the book launch website, which is at boundlessbook.com. So, you can go check that out at boundlessbook.com.

This podcast is also brought to you by Kion. Kion is my playground for creating amazing supplements, functional foods. We have a super tasty coconutty, chocolatey, salty goodness energy bar full of clean energy. We’ve got an antioxidant-rich coffee that absolutely will knock your socks off in terms of the flavor profile, especially when you have a piping hot cup of coffee with one of the Kion clean bars. That’s a perfect brekkie. And we have fat loss supplements, we’ve got immune system boosting supplements, joint support supplements, tons of great content. It’s all yours for the taking at get–sorry, that was a motorcycle. I’m recording not at my home. I’m in Venice Beach right now making these commercials for you. And I’m not even going to edit that out because it was a pretty crazy motorcycle. There’s a good one. So, getkion.com and use 10% discount code BGF10 for 10% off site-wide. So, that’s getkion.com and use code BGF10.

Well, hello. You are about to hear a special two-part episode, featuring me and my guest, Tom DeLauer. We are going to be filling you in on everything you need to know about how to burn fat and build muscle with the minimum effective dose of training. And particularly, you’re going to get tips on how to maintain muscle mass and functional athleticism even as you age. So, you, hopefully, know who I am. Thomas has been on my show three times, three times. I’m going to link to all his other podcast episodes where we talked about everything from curcumin and inflammation, to the ultimate alcohol, mitigation guide, to everything you need to know about magnesium supplementation. We covered all that stuff in previous episodes. So, go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/tomandben. That’s BenGreenfieldFitness.com/tomandben, if you want to hear those previous episodes, or if you want to delve into the shownotes for anything that Tom and I chat about today.

So, who is this cat? Well, Tom is considered to be one of the world’s leading experts in the world of chronic inflammation and the response of the human body to a low-carb ketogenic diet. He was a 280-pound overweight corporate executive and he transformed his body. He’s been on the cover of multiple magazines. He’s completely amazing in terms of the way that he actually transformed himself and did it the whole time while being a busy corporate executive. He’s going to share a lot of those tips with you today.

But even before Tom fills you in, I want to delve into what I have for you. Now, this is a topic that I addressed in detail in my new book at boundlessbook.com, this whole minimal effective dose of training, maintaining functional athleticism and a nice body as you age. And this is important because my entire book is built around building the optimized physical and mental and spiritual state to give you boundless energy at your beck and call whenever you want it quickly and safely, and preferably without oodles and oodles of hours spent in the gym.

So, what I want to start with is this. Your muscles go through a process called sarcopenia as you age. Your muscles become smaller and weaker with age. Research suggests that a key part of that decline occurs due to the muscle’s mitochondria, the primary engines of energy production degrading over time, getting less dense, getting less efficient. Now, what they have found is that older individuals are over the improved strength by about 50% to levels that were only about 40% lower than those of younger individuals by specifically training their mitochondria. And that might not sound like a lot, but it’s a lot when you take into consideration the comparison between seniors who strength train and those who do not. As a matter of fact, muscle biopsies from strength training seniors show a reversal of the expression profile of 179 different genes associated with age. Genes that are downregulated with age get upregulated with exercise, and genes that are upregulated with age get downregulated with exercise.

So, when it comes to mitochondria, specifically, strength training can reverse the mitochondrial decline that occurs by nearly 40 years. Meaning that folks who are 70 years old can present with mitochondrial profiles similar to those who are 30 years old with a proper strength training protocol setup. Now, exercise, of course, doesn’t just affect mitochondria, it promotes the growth of fat-burning fast-twitch muscle fibers, it protects DNA from the wear and tear of aging by acting on telomeres, the end caps of your DNA. And they even did one fascinating study where they measured telomeres in twins to determine the effect of exercise on aging. And what they did was they found that telomere lengths decrease with age, which is no surprise, and this was a study of over 2400 twins.

But what they found was that the twins who were physically active had longer telomeres than their sedentary counterparts. And those who had more than three hours of vigorous physical activity per week had the same telomere length as folks who were 10 years younger than them. That means that people who don’t put heavy physical loads on their body can be biologically younger … or I’m sorry, people who do put heavy physical loads on their body rather can be biologically younger by 10 years. And because these subjects were twins, that means this effect wasn’t due to genes, but the lifestyle factor of exercise. In other words, long story short, when one twin exercises significantly more than the other, that twin that exercises has longer more durable telomeres.

They did another study in mice where they replaced slow-twitch type 1 muscle fibers with the type of strong fast-twitch type 2 muscle fibers you’d get from strength training. And then what they found was that the addition of the strong fast-twitch type 2 muscle fibers, which they turned on by activating a muscle growth-regulating gene, allowed these mice to become far less obese and far less insulin-resistant compared to just having type 1 muscle fibers, which means actually that strength training when it comes to age reversal is probably more important than chronic cardio and chronic endurance training.

Now, this is important because it’s easy sometimes for a senior to go out and walk or hike or ride a bike and swim, and it can feel hard to strength train, but it’s such a potent age-reversal tactic. And there’s one other study I want to share with you before I get into some nitty-gritty tactics here, and this looked into reports of abnormally short telomeres in the skeletal muscle of athletes with exercise-associated fatigue. So, they wanted to determine whether chronic hard exercise could negatively impact your muscle telomere lengths.

So, what they did in this study was they compared telomere lengths of powerlifters who trained for about eight years against healthy active subjects who didn’t have a history of strength training. There was no abnormal shortening of telomeres in the powerlifters. And in fact, those lifters’ telomeres were significantly longer than those of the control group and were positively correlated to the lifters’ individual records in the squat and the deadlift. In other words, the stronger you are, the longer your telomeres can be. So, that also means that when it comes to lifting, compacts, wiry, explosive, powerful muscles like those that a powerlifter has are probably even better than big, bulky bodybuilding-esque muscles.

So, let’s take this out of the petri dish and into the real world now, and look at whether strength training and powerlifting actually has made people live longer. Well, one study looked at older adults who met twice-weekly strength-training guidelines and they showed lower odds of dying overall. Research also has shown that regular exercise, of course, as we would expect, causes a reduced risk of early death, reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, reduced risk of diabetes, and reduced risk of cancer. And one study at Oxford University and over 80,000 people found that people who play racquet sports like tennis or racquetball on a regular basis reduce their risk of dying prematurely by over 47%.

And the next most beneficial exercise turns out to be swimming, which reduces the risk of dying by 28%, and then cycling at 15%. But there’s a little less research on strength training. However, they have shown the benefits of strength training on strength, muscle mass, and physical function, and the reduction in diabetes, osteoporosis, low back pain, and obesity, and a more recent larger study on more than 30,000 people on the mortality effects of older adults who met strength-training guidelines, which was at least twice weekly strength training sessions had a 46% lower odds of death. Okay, 46% lower odds of death overall, 41% lower odds from cardiac problems, 19% lower odds of dying from cancer.

So, when I look at all these studies, what does this say to me, like when we get down to the practical nitty-gritty? Lift weights, play a racquet sport, swim, ride a bike. And those would probably be like the best things that you could do as you age if you really want to get all the proven longevity enhancing benefit. So, I’m going to say it again. Strength train, play a racquet sport, swim and ride a bike. Those would be your top picks if you’re going to choose anything to live longer.

Now, the other thing I want to share with you was some of the secrets that I include in my new book that I’m going to get into in brief that I learned from a lot of older people who have shown themselves to be extremely fit and have cracked the code on how to stay fit as you age. So, one is Charles Eugster. He has since deceased, but he was a bodybuilder, he’s a public speaker, he was a rower, he was an entrepreneur, he was a fashion designer, and he was a well-decorated British sprinter. He held records in the 60-meter, 100-meter, 200-meter.

Well, we, of course, saw that he strength-trained and that he sprinted, which is really crucial for maintaining muscle mass and hormone levels as you age. He also said this regarding his diet. He said, “Variety is key. I start every day with the protein shake because as you get older, your protein synthesis no longer functions as well. I avoid sugar and eat lots of meat, especially fat. I’ve been on a fat trip lately, piles of fat. I was in the supermarket the other day and was perplexed to find yogurt was zero fat. What on Earth is that? The idea of a nutrition pyramid where at the top is a little fat and a little meat, and at the bottom is a lot of carbohydrates, is excuse me, bullshit.

Our theories of nutrition have resulted in a pandemic of obesity. Could you imagine a hunter-gatherer enjoying a low-fat yogurt? So, this dude was into a higher fat diet, and it’s likely that if you come from a Northern European ancestry like Charles, you probably would also thrive on that type of approach. Are there some people who may not do as well with like a high-saturated fat intake? Absolutely. But this gives us clues when we look at particularly the area of the world Charles came from and what worked for him. And if you want to learn more about ancestral diets, go listen to my recent podcast with Dr. Michael Smith because we talked about this stuff in that show about how to choose a diet that’s right for you.

Next, there’s Laird Hamilton. So, what I like about Laird is his best anti-aging secret that–he actually shared this on a video when I was down at his house in Kauai. He keeps learning new stuff. And if you go into his garage, it’s chock-full of unique toys that he’s invented to attack ocean waves in different ways like jet skis, and foil boards, and balanced training devices. And he’s always delving into all these different things. We see this also in a book by renowned neuropsychiatrist, Dr. Daniel Amen, and he identified four different areas of the brain that you need to challenge, the prefrontal cortex, which is improved with things like meditation, crossword puzzles, scrabble, and chess.

The temporal lobes, which would be like learning musical instruments; the parietal lobes, which would involve things like juggling and map reading and like spatial coordination; and then the cerebellum, which is activated by things like dancing, and yoga, and tai chi, and coordination games like the racquet sports that I mentioned earlier, even table tennis. So, Dr. Daniel Amen’s book, “Change Your Brain, Change Your Life,” is really good because he gets into tactics and how to activate each of those different lobes. But ultimately, in addition to eating real food, preferably with ample amounts of natural fats, tip number two is to learn new stuff constantly, just like Laird Hamilton does and still does, or dead and still does.

Next is a tip from my friend, Mark Sisson. He’s got one of the finest six-pack abs you’ve ever seen in mid-’60s. And his secret is, and this is going to be something I already mentioned, he doesn’t engage in long slow chronic cardio. He does short fast all-out sprint workouts about once a week all year long, ultimate frisbee, high-intensity treadmill intervals, hard uphill cycling. He also does–and he doesn’t do it a lot. He’s doing that like once a week. He also does intense sessions of heavy full-body weightlifting one to three times per week. And then in between, he just avoids long unbroken periods of sedentary time by doing things like treadmill workstations and relaxing paddleboard sessions. So, his whole philosophy is lift, move, sprint. Okay. So, we got eat natural fats, learn new stuff, lift, move, and sprint.

And then there’s Don Wildman. He recently passed, but I first learned about him in Vice magazine, and I’ll link to the magazine article called “The Hardest Workout in The World,” that he would actually do three times a week. And I’ve been in his basement in Malibu and done this exact workout and I can feel the lactic acid just oozing out my pores. And I would say that’s probably a little much. You probably didn’t need to go to that level, but he did occasionally do epic and scary things. He would do paddle boarding, and big wave surfing, and helicopter snowboarding. And I think every once in a while, like having some kind of adventure or epic thing that you do about once a year, that’s also a really cool way to keep you training, keep you motivated, and keep you young. So, do epic things and get them calendared on a regular basis.

Next, there’s “Art De Vany.” And he did a fabulous podcast episode with my friend, Tim Ferriss, in which he outlined his exercise strategy, which is called eccentric training, which has a potent effect on growth hormone and testosterone levels. This is also known as negative training. So, to do a negative deadlift, for example, you would set the bar at a certain height, like upon some blocks or elevated platforms. Then you’d lift the bar, you’d step back, and then you’d lower that bar to the ground as slowly over as long a period of time as you can. They even sell machines now. They’re called ARX fit machines that do this for you through like a chest press, a pulldown, a squat, a deadlift, et cetera.

And what they’ve shown is that eccentric training can double the stem cell counts in your muscles. It can cause proliferation of stem cells, and these stem cells can then exit as satellite cells, which are crucial for muscle regrowth after any exercise. And that’s what eccentric exercise does for you in addition to this potent hormone response. And Art would do this for 10 to 15 minutes every day working a different muscle group. You could also use like–if you read Doug McGuff’s book, “Body by Science,” you could do a super slow routine like this just one to two times per week. So, Art did a lot of that and he did a lot of postural training, like standing with his back to wall, arching the back, keeping the head and shoulders back against the wall, then walking away from the wall without collapsing the spine and neck. And I have over a 90-page chapter in my book Boundless on just posture and symmetry alone. But this idea of eccentric muscle training and doing it frequently was one of Art’s keys to staying young and staying strong.

And then there’s, for you ladies out there, there’s Olga Kotelko, Kotelko is her name. There was this really good book called, “What Makes Olga Run?: The Mystery Of The 90-Something-Year-Old Track Star.” And here’s one of the biggest takeaways from me. Olga did a very good job going out of her way to stay recovered and stay supple. She actually kept an old empty wine bottle beside her bed and used that to do like a foam roller style massage on her muscle, her fascia, her joints. And what I do is I have the book, “Becoming a Supple Leopard” in my living room along with all these different lacrosse balls, and foam rollers, and things like that, and I use that as like a cookbook in the morning. I set aside 10 to 15 minutes every morning and I protect that time. It’s usually while the coffee is brewing. And I use that time to free up any little muscle in my body that needs some work done on it. So, by the end of the week, I’ve spent 75 minutes staying, as Kelly Starrett says in his book, supple, staying supple.

Okay. So, stepping back and looking at these folks again. We eat natural fats and real food, constantly learn new stuff, lift, move and sprint rather than doing chronic cardio, put epic things on your calendar occasionally, make sure that a lot of your training is eccentric, like through that lowering negative load with a heavier weight. And then finally, stay supple and do some kind of foam rolling or lacrosse ball work or mobility work on a regular basis, okay? So, those are the biggest tips that we get from a lot of these fit old people.

Now, the last thing that I want to mention to you is two different strategies in addition to super slow training and kind of like that explosive powerlifting style training that I think can be very, very effective as a strategy to maintain muscle or to even build muscle with age. Now, by the way, before I give you these two tactics, if you really want to wrap your head around how to do super slow training effectively, and most of my clients do one to two of these sessions per week, read the book by Dr. Doug McGuff called “Body by Science,” okay?

And if you want to do the type of explosive bodyweight training that I do and that a lot of my clients also do, I’ll put a link to the New York Times article, “The Scientific 7-Minute Workout.” It’s a seven-minute very explosive bodyweight workout. And I’ll typically have the folks I work with do that seven-minute workout, take a brief breather, and then do it one more time. And the folks who really just love to work out, I’ll have them do it twice, okay? So, everybody is doing explosive bodyweight training and like super slow training with a real emphasis on the negative part of the lift.

Okay. And then finally, I’ve got two little hacks for you before I turn things over to Tom. Number one is they found that electrical muscle stimulation, particularly electrical muscle stimulation on your legs in which you’re literally hooking up electrodes to your legs to activate more muscle fibers than you’d normally be able to recruit activates a large number of androgen receptors and results in a very good testosterone and growth hormone response after the workout. And I again really like that as almost like a time hack or a hack that you can use when you’re injured. Now, I own something called a new fit for this, and that thing can simulate a 600-pound squat. So, you can literally do a full-body strength training session on that thing. But what I like to do for just the best approach is I put it on my legs, I do a really hard work out on my legs one or two times a month on that thing, very, very good way to make sure that you’re constantly training your central nervous system to recruit these muscles that normally otherwise would not recruit.

And then, the second thing I’m a big fan of, especially as you age, is heat stress. Heat stress prevents muscle loss by triggering the release of heat shock proteins. And these heat shock proteins have been shown to not only be associated with a steep increase in longevity but also the maintenance of muscle even in the absence of strength training. They also can cause an increase in growth hormone, blood flow to skeletal muscles, and a lowering of blood glucose along with a building of new red blood cells.

So, a regular sauna practice is, in my opinion, especially if you can get a quick cold soak after, integral and crucial to maintaining muscle and staying very healthy as you age, okay? So, let’s review before we turn things over to Tom. First of all, we know we need to strength train as we age. We also know that racquet sports, swimming, and cycling are very effective. We know that we need to eat real food, do epic things, learn new stuff, lift, move and sprint, train eccentrically, and stay supple as we age. Next, if you’re going to choose any two forms of strength training, especially as you age, as the most effective way to use your time, I recommend super slow strength training with the real emphasis on the lowering eccentric motion of the lifting phase, and also short explosive bodyweight training sessions that are done very quickly and powerfully. And then finally, if you want to throw the two best biohacks into the mix, if you were going to choose any, choose a really good electrical muscle stimulation machine and a really good sauna practice, okay?

So, I dig the idea of playing football with my grandkids when I’m 90, freediving when I’m 95, and hunting an elk when I’m 100. And I use the same tactics that I just described to you in my own protocol to keep myself young. All right, so we’re going to turn things over to Thomas for his tips, but remember, everything Thomas talks about, everything I just got done talking about, you can find at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/tomandben. And then in very great detail in my new book at boundlessbook.com.

Hey, I want to interrupt today’s show to tell you about something that I use anytime. Anytime I can’t get in sunlight, I use this to help me sleep at night. I use it to charge up my body, my thyroid, my testosterone, my collagen and elastin production, my nitric oxide production, my overall ATP production because of how profound an impact it has on the mitochondria, and that is the infrared and red light panels made by Joovv. They have a tiny handheld device called the Go that you can cradle in the palm of your hand and take anywhere in the world. They also have larger devices like the one I have at my desk, the elite panel that will cover your entire body. And if you have never yet experimented with infrared light, you’re missing out on a way to feel really good, and that includes sexual performance, sleep, energy. These things are amazing. So, you get a nice little bonus gift with any of the products from Joovv, and all you need to go is go to joovv.com/ben. That’s J-O-O-V-V.com/ben and use discount code BEN over there at Joovv.

This podcast is also brought to you by something I use to stay healthy when I travel. So, I’ll always wander up to the coffee shop at the airport, or sometimes I’ll just get a cup of hot water anywhere I can get it, sometimes I’ll just dump this stuff straight into my mouth, but it’s Chaga. So, then they take this Chaga and they mix it with stuff like Eleuthera, which is an adaptogenic herb that supports stamina and overall well-being. They’ve got rose hips and they’re very potent source of vitamin C. It’s like a deep red vitamin C bomb. They’ve got mint in there so it tastes really nice, and a little touch of stevia, and this stuff is just amazing. So, it’s Four Sigmatic. You go to FOURsigmatic.com/bengreenfield. That’s foursigmatic.com/bengreenfield and use code BENGREENFIELD to save 15%, foursigmatic.com/bengreenfield and use code BENGREENFIELD.

This podcast finally is brought to you by ZipRecruiter. We know that hiring can be annoying and very slow process like a sloth. And you try to cover the internets and put your job description out there, and these candidates roll in one by one and you pull your hair out looking through all these resumes, trying to figure out who’s the best candidate, trying to figure out who you should filter out so you could focus on the most relevant ones. ZipRecruiter takes all that headache out for you. They work for any business size, whether you’re small with one employee and you want to grow to 10, whether you have 100 employees, ZipRecruiter helps you get a quality candidate within the first freaking day, and it’s free for you always, you lucky duck. You got to go to ziprecruiter.com/green, like my last name, ziprecruiter.com/green. That’s going to allow you to try ZipRecruiter for free. So, check out ZipRecruiter, which is, as they say, the smarter way, smartest way, I don’t know, it’s smart either way, to hire.

Tom: There’s a lot of things that I learned when I was overweight, and a lot of things that I’ve learned obviously through becoming somewhat more of a, I guess you could call me a biohacker, but I don’t even really use that term for myself. The sad truth was since I was in that corporate world for so long, I needed to find ways that I could change my lifestyle in small incremental ways that wasn’t going to just make me a whole new person. I needed quick ways to sort of change how I ate or quick ways to change just my habits.

So, the whole purpose of what I want to talk about today is how busy people, how people that are stuck in just kind of the minutiae of the day can break out of that and start having some–oh no, I’d almost call it nerdy ways to lose fat, nerdy ways to get healthier. I don’t want to have this all be based upon losing weight, or getting fit, or burning body fat because I think there’s a lot more to life than that, but a lot more to just the depth in which we look at health than just that. We have to look at, okay, well, do we get an emotional ROI on the changes that we’re making that allow us to be better with our family? And does it allow us to make better use of our time because we’re thinking clearer? And I know that Ben talks a lot about blood sugar control and keeping things balanced in that sense just because it keeps you level-headed and it makes your decision-making process that much better.

Quite frankly, that’s the first one that I want to start with. It’s nothing crazy and it’s echoing some of the stuff that Ben has talked about. One of the big things that I do is in the morning, I do whatever I can to keep my blood sugar as stable as possible. So, whether that means I’m fasting, or whether that means I’m only consuming some fat and minimal protein and definitely minimal carbohydrates, any one of the likes makes such a big difference. I find for me personally, and when I was 280 pounds, that one of the biggest things that messed my days up were when I would have even a remote blood sugar spike in the morning, and then I would have some form of crash later in the day. It would just really throw me off.

And there’s so many different studies that back up, drop some blood sugar in and grail in response, and all these different hunger hormones and things that we have to pay attention to. But the simple fact of the matter is is that I think a lot of it comes down to just insulin response and taste, too. It’s like you get the taste of something that causes a blood sugar spike and you’re going to naturally want to eat later. And call me crazy, but I feel like this subconscious desire to eat that we may not even realize as a result of our blood sugar dipping a little bit actually interrupts our thought process, interrupts our thinking.

So, for me, I was in a high-stress corporate kind of private equity world and here I was overweight. And even when I was trying to make healthy changes and I was trying to eat clean, I was still eating lower glycemic carbohydrates in the morning. And for me, that just messed me up. I found that three hours later, I didn’t actively feel hungry, but I felt something interrupted my thought process, something interrupt my thinking, and it was really frustrating and I couldn’t really put my finger on it until I got more in tune with my body, and I got more biohackey and more nerdy looking at that.

So, my first bit of advice for people that are just trying to make one or two small little changes is keep protein to a minimum in the morning, keep carbohydrates to a minimum in the morning, and ingest fats that you know are going to work with your body well. Okay. A lot of people will do MCT coffee. They’ll do things like that. I have some issues with just adding MCT to coffee because MCTs trigger a catecholamine response. Now, don’t get me wrong, MCTs are great and they have their purpose, but if you are just relying on that, you have to remember that you actually get a little bit of an adrenaline spike from MCTs. That’s what it can wreak havoc on some people. If you ever wonder why the digestion issues occur with MCT, it’s because it absorbs so fast.

Now, when you have anything that absorbs that fast, you’re going to potentially trigger any kind of adrenaline or catecholamine response because it’s absorbing so fast. Studies have shown that there’s actually a resting metabolic rate increase that occurs when ingesting MCTs simply because of the adrenaline. So, that being said, MCTs have their place because they can boost your resting metabolic rate. But MCTs can also mess up sort of that mental continuity that you like in the morning. I prefer having MCTs a little bit later in the day. We can talk about that later, but that’s just some food for thought. So, maybe tone it down with maybe some ghee or tone it down with maybe more of a coconut oil versus straight-up MCT. That’s just at least what I’ve experienced.

Now, another piece that I want to talk about, and this is so funny because people don’t usually want to do this because it seems–well, men don’t usually want to do this because it seems so non-masculine, and that’s paying attention to things like foam rolling in the morning. And I’m not talking about doing this from a flexibility standpoint. One of things that Ben and I have even talked about is that you can’t necessarily just mash a muscle with foam rolling and massage into being more malleable. A lot of it takes just biomechanics, but also being able to move through a full range of motion. So, I’m not talking about foam rolling from the sake of trying to get more flexible. I’m talking about foam rolling to try to stimulate lymphatic movement.

One thing that people tend to forget is that fats often get mobilized through our lymph system, but so does obviously our lymph, and our lymph is what is allowing our immune system and white blood cells to ultimately circulate and do their job. It’s a little bit more complex than just that, but for all intents and purposes. We have to remember that when we are talking about circulating blood, we have a heart, we have a heart that beats, a heart that beats and allows us to pump blood throughout our bodies. Okay. That’s great. That means we can be sitting down totally sedentary and still pumping blood, for the most part, to our extremities and wherever it needs to go.

Now, what about lymph? Lymph does not have its own circulatory system. It doesn’t have a heart. Okay. Your lymph, which again is what’s responsible for moving so much of your fat and your lymph fluid and white blood cells, it requires muscle contraction to actually have anything move. So, it needs your muscles to relax and contract to essentially pump the lymph through the body. Now, when we take into consideration that fat is mobilized in the lymph, you can start to understand that wait a minute, it would be a good idea to get this mobilized. That way, things can circulate through the liver. They can circulate where they need to go to ultimately get processed.

It’s pretty wild. Not to mention, of course, you have sort of the fascia side of things, too. Okay. Because the fascia is where our lymph nodes sit and foam rolling actually allows oxygenated blood to nourish and hydrate the fascia, therefore, boosting the lymphatic drainage. And it’s your body’s ability to essentially flush toxins so it can help relieve pain that way, too. Especially when you’re starting to lose weight, you generally have more toxins that do get liberated. I can digress for one moment here when people talk about the ketogenic diet and they talk about the keto flu, if any of you, or experience with keto or have heard of the keto flu then you know what I’m talking about. People start the keto diet, all of a sudden, they get flu-like symptoms.

I am a firm believer that people that have a large amount of toxins and excess amounts of fat-soluble vitamins stored up in their fat get more intense keto flus as they start liberating more of these fats because then it’s liberating more of these toxins. Well, we have to keep things moving. And if we get in the habit of foam rolling, then we can actually prevent this. Now, I’m not talking large investments of time here. I’m literally talking three to five minutes of targeted mainly rolling out the last [00:36:15] _______ in trying to get the lymph nodes under the armpit a little bit more. It’s an area that quite frankly hurts a little bit when you roll it out, but it stimulates so much energy. It’s really wild, and part of me thinks that it’s the pain threshold.

There’s a lot of studies that show that brain-derived neurotrophic factor, BDNF, just boosting our neurotransmitter function in our brain and boosting nerve growth factor in our brain too comes as a result of being up against high levels of lactate. So, for example, heavy resistance training or high-intensity interval training can boost BDNF levels because you’re having to withstand this high time on to lactate. Now, pretty fascinating stuff. I think it’s really interesting, but I also think that it has something to do with pain. I really do because we have pain receptors, pain sensors in our brain. Obviously, when we get headaches, we can literally feel them.

And I think that when we allow ourselves to go through some pain, it triggers our brain to actually grow, it triggers this BDNF, it triggers this nerve growth factor, and part of it could be a lactate issue, part of it could simply be pain. That’s a little bit of my theory and sort of a hypothesis that I’ve had. But anyhow, the point is it really makes a big difference. I mean, this lymph is ultimately bathing ourselves, providing them with nutrients and oxygen, and picking up tons of unwanted substances, and we’re talking bacteria, we’re talking all these different things. So, something to just consider there.

Okay. The next thing that I want to talk about is utilizing a sauna strategically. Okay. What I don’t want you to do is get in the habit of using a sauna every day unless you have a very strict regimen that you want to follow with it. It can vary widely, but it’s all about heat shock proteins. And I’m sure Ben has talked about this before, but heat shock proteins are really fascinating things. They’re also known as stress proteins and they’re highly conserved and they’re present in all organisms and cells, in all organisms. So, they’re very prevalent. They play very critical roles in what is called the folding and unfolding of proteins. They allow proteins to essentially unfold to be able to change or adapt to stress. We have these little folds of proteins inside our cells and it’s complicated to explain, but basically, you want those folds to be able to be unfolded and folded back up at the right time.

So, when we look at it with heat shock proteins, like when we’re under stress from heat, what happens is you have an expression of these heat shock proteins and they help protect the cell by stabilizing the unfolded proteins giving the cell time to repair. So, we think saunas are great because we sweat and we detox. I don’t even know if we really detox. I mean, I’m sure there’s some fat burning that occurs and that probably causes a detoxing effect, but I think the biggest thing is it’s the hormetic effect. You’re placing the cell under stress to the point where it actually activates a specific protein, heat shock protein, to protect it and to boost your immune system, but it also creates a more resilient cell that is ultimately stronger.

And everything in life is about adaptation and stress and trying to make sure that we are constantly getting enough stress to stimulate our muscles and stimulate our body to withstand that stress. Then when we get back by contrast to normal life, things don’t seem so bad. So, if you stress your body physiologically by sitting in a sauna for a few minutes at high heat and doing some isometrics, or doing some intense workout, or doing some form of box breathing or whatever, you can make it so that by contrast, the stressors of your day just don’t seem so bad.

Now, interestingly enough, there’s a study that was published in the Journal of Athletic Training, and I found it really interesting because they took a look at 25 younger individuals and they were volunteers, and they had them sit in a heat stress chamber with or without heat. So, 73 degrees Celsius versus 26 I believe it was, and it is for 30 minutes on separate days. So, they took a look at blood samples from a subset of 13 participants. So, seven men and six women before and after exposure to heat stress. So, they wanted to see what their baseline was.

What they found was that after 30 minutes of heat stress, body temperature measured ended up increasing 0.8 degrees Celsius, also heart rate increased linearly by 22.4 beats per minute, and then we had systolic and diastolic blood pressure decreases, but we also had increases in heat shock proteins. So, we had heat shock proteins level increased by 48.7%, and ultimately, heat stress, 53.9. So, long story short, the increase in norepinephrine and prolactin increase in the plasma ended up causing the HSPs to be able to do their job and really have a massive effect on the body. So, really powerful. For those nerds out there, basically what it means is there is definitely an effect on heat shock proteins. There are multiple studies that show that heat shock proteins have powerful effects on autophagy, on just our cells resiliency.

Now, another thing is starting to measure your heart rate variability based on your workouts. This is a big thing. And I’m not going spend a lot of time on it because quite honestly, it’s not an area that I am an intense expert in. It’s just an area that I’ve been dabbling in to try to just get the most out of my life.

I run multiple businesses. I have a busy life. I have a busy family life. I have a good number of employees. And I’m not just tooting my horn here, I’m just being realistic. I’m a busy guy and it’s quickly hit me after having kids how much time shrinks on you. So, I’m constantly trying to find ways. Okay, how do I know when I’m working out at the right time, and how do I know when I should be taking a rest period? And that’s where I discovered heart rate variability and I started messing around with it and using things like the WHOOP and the Oura ring, and trying to determine basically heart rate variability is all about trying to make sure that you’re always training when you have the right recovery.

Okay. So, heart rate variability, it’s an analysis and a way to observe the action of the parasympathetic nervous branch of our nervous system. So, it’s all about restoration and recovery. While the body is stressed, the sympathetic kind of fight or flight branch in the nervous system is more active than the parasympathetic branches tuned down a little bit more. So, performance is gradually restored as you start to recover, and what parasympathetic activity rise into a level where it should be. So, what we’re trying to do is find that way to balance that, know when we’re sympathetic and know when we’re parasympathetic.

Heart rate variability does that, and that’s the simplest way. So, the trick is to have a good balance between the two nervous systems as a healthy person really has a strong sympathetic and parasympathetic. What I ultimately encourage everyone to do here to keep it simple is start wearing a WHOOP or start wearing an Oura ring and read up on heart rate variability. It has saved me so much time in terms of working out when I should be working out and taking days off when I should be taking days off, because as you get lost in the stress of life, sometimes you cannot ascertain what is stress physiologically and what is stress mentally. Mental stress will manifest in physical stress, especially if you’re just in the smorgasbord of chaos and stress in a corporate world. It just always happened to me that way. I could never tell, am I overtraining with my workouts or am I overtraining just because I’m stressed?

And another one that I really want to talk about, there’s two more things that I really want to focus on, but one is dry fasting. I say this with full disclaimer, dry fasting is intense, but dry fasting is also a way that I think you can improve your body’s resiliency and allow your cells to get a little bit stronger. I earnestly believe that I’ve had a good deal of fat loss success by implementing short bouts of dry fasting. So, dry fasting is believed to cleanse the body quicker than water fasting due to one big thing, its molecular water, okay?

So, dry fasting forces the body to obtain water from its own cells, whereas normally with water fasting, you’re providing the body with water from an exogenous source. So, damaged tissues, we’re talking fat deposits, edemas, tumors, they’re eliminated significantly faster when it comes down to dry fasting because the body starts to burn everything that’s non-essential and harmful to the body. Basically, we have our own molecular water. So, during a dry fast, the body survives on what is called molecular or endogenous water, or some call it metabolic water. This water is made up just molecularly, right? We have hydrogen and oxygen in our body.

Well, fat cells are a lot of hydrogen. So, when we’re having to make molecular water, we’re breaking down fat that has a lot of hydrogen and combining it with oxygen that we breathe to make water. It’s pretty amazing, right? So, we can make some water. Now, it’s estimated that different variations of how much molecular water we’re estimated to make per day. The simple point here is that when you do this dry fasting, it’s theorized that you’re going to recruit more fat. Now, there’s not a whole lot of scientific evidence or scientific literature published in peer-reviewed studies or journals or anything talking about dry fasting, but when you actually look at the molecular side of things, it’s just an interesting thing to look at.

Now, I say it again with a grain of salt in the full disclaimer that it’s intense. It may not be for everybody, but the reason that I say it is because you listening to this podcast are busy people and it might be a way for you to shock your body enough out of this funk that you’re in and just do a 10, 12-hour dry fast where you don’t eat or don’t drink for 10, 12 hours. Now, I can say on this podcast that you should do what works for you, but I can say from my own experience that I’ve done 36-hour dry fasts where I don’t drink water or eat new food for 36 hours, and I come out of it feeling totally fine. And I’ve done DEXA scans afterwards finding that I’ve actually dropped over 2% body fat doing that. And I’m already pretty lean, so it’s aggressive for me to lose that. Now, that’s my own experience. It’s pretty wild stuff. So, I just recommend that you at least do some research of that, and I’ve got some videos on YouTube, and I’m sure Ben’s talked about it a little bit before as well.

And the next thing that I want to talk about is really a simple one. Okay. It’s all based upon this study that was published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology. When you train in a fasted state, you really do get a lot more of a benefit in terms of fat loss. Okay. What happens is you have intramyocellular lipids, and these lipids are fats that are inside your muscle tissue, right? They serve lots of purposes. They serve to be an immediate source of free fatty acids for beta oxidation, or they serve as possibly even lubrication. They’re still investigating what all these IMTG is, intramyocellular triglycerides or intramyocellular lipids do. They’re fascinating things. But what it’s been theorized as well is that you have fat that stores in general white adipose tissue, and then it migrates over to intramyocellular triglyceride fat content as someone becomes more active.

So, in essence, you work out, you utilize some of the IMTG content in the muscle, that burns up, and then it recruits from your stored body fat and puts it into the muscle again. Well, it’s been found that when you are training in a fasted state, you utilize significantly more of your intramyocellular triglycerides than if you don’t train in a fasted state. So, it ultimately does increase fat loss. But the cool thing is it’s like there’s data that shows you have a direct increase in the fat that’s being utilized from a respective muscle. That doesn’t mean that you can sight reduce.

Now, there are some studies, I can’t remember the specific journal that show that sight reduction is plausible, simply because the thermic effect of a muscle contracting and expanding and potentially generating more heat, but it’s pretty miniscule. Okay. You can’t just sit there and do a bunch of side bends and get shredded obliques because you’re going to burn fat there. It’s negligible. But if you’re already lean, you might find that, yeah, improving your capillary density and improving blood flow to a specific area might get you a little bit leaner in that area. The other thing is you have this p70S6K phosphorylation. Now, that is going to allow the muscle to actually grow more. So, when you have this activation, the p70S6K, that allows a muscle to basically be more anabolic and get more muscle protein synthesis. So, not only do you burn more fat, but you actually absorb more of your post-workout if you train in a fasted state. Not to mention, I think you’re going to remain a lot more mentally acute doing that as well.

And one more thing as far as training goes, there is a strong benefit to training upper body high-intensity interval training. So, I love high-intensity interval training anyway. I love all kinds of training. I actually think if I can be completely honest, some forms of high-intensity interval training are overrated. I feel like there’s no good substitute for just good old-fashioned moderately high constant steady-state activity for 30 minutes or so. I feel like the fat recruitment on that is just phenomenal. But high-intensity interval training is also really, really powerful. And I recommend doing it with your upper body simply because it’s harder in short for the heart to push blood through the upper body than it is the lower body.

Okay. We have smaller arteries, we have less capillary density, so it means that it needs to essentially create more perfusion. And that’s hard. The heart has to work harder to pump blood there. So, you actually get the heart rate higher and you get more of a perceived workout, and also more of a workout in realistic to you not just perceived, by doing some high-intensity battle ropes or some rowing, or maybe some burpees. People think that burpees are tough because you’d apply metric effect. Burpees are tough because you’re having a plyometric effect on the upper body. So, again, when it comes down to just getting a quick workout and getting something quicken, if you have upper-body high-intensity interval training and you will get the heart rate nice and high, you will get it where you want, and you will get that brain-derived neurotrophic effect, it’s really powerful stuff.

Last thing that I want to leave everyone with is, of course, messing around with different forms of the ketogenic diet. I have to get out on my random horse here for a second because there’s so much research in the world of the ketogenic diet and it’s frustrating because keto is just heavily marketed, and I feel like we missed the real points with keto. I feel like so much were focused on just the fact that keto is a fourth macronutrient, ketosis is a fourth macronutrient. It’s a way to burn fat. What’s really interesting is if you experiment with different forms of keto, like keto where you alternate days with your fat intake. So, maybe one day you have a high fat intake, one day you have a lower fat intake.

I personally feel, and I’ve noticed with myself, that the days where I lower my fat content and allow my body to pull fat from my own stores, I am utilizing–I feel like I’m utilizing that energy better. I have more energy and more mental clarity on those days, and maybe it has something to do with the fact that it’s gone through a level of processing. This full disclaimer, this is complete hypothesis. Okay, I have some stuff to back it up partially, but there’s a complete hypothesis and it’s just interesting. It’s food for thought. I at least encourage people to test it out.

When we store our fat, maybe, just maybe it’s biologically set up for us in a sense that we can unravel and utilize that fat a little bit easier. So, once we are utilizing stored fat for fuel, we tend to feel better, and I’ve found this with lots of people that I work with and lots of clients and myself. If I give myself exogenous fats, then sure I’ll get energy and that can create ketones, but I feel like I don’t get as much mental boost from that as I do when I’m fasting, or when I’m on a lower-fat day where I know the fat is coming from my own body fat tissue.

So, what I recommend people try is alternate day high fat, lower fat. So, one day keep your fats where you normally would with a ketogenic diet, and another day keep your fats really low and just see how you feel, and you might also be really impressed with your body composition results because there’s this fallacy out there that we need to constantly be flooding ourselves with fats. It’s okay to be in a calorie deficit and let your body use energy from your stored fat tissue as long as maybe at the end of the week, net-net, your calories are where you want them to be for the week, right?

So, maybe on the days that your higher fat, you keep your calories a little bit higher so you compensate. There’s no way that we can possibly tell what our thermic effect or BMR is at one very exact second in time. It’s pretty hard to balance and figure that out. So, the point is is one day you can be in a deficit and one day you can be in a surplus. Your body clock doesn’t necessarily reset at midnight, doesn’t start at zero every single day. It’s just interesting and it’s something that you might want to experiment with.

I could go on and on when it comes to this stuff, but I want to be respectful of everybody’s time, and I think that if this is something that’s great for people when people are getting some benefits out of these quicker hacks, I’d totally love to do more, but I want to keep respectful of everybody’s time. So, there you have just a few ways to get the most out of your day. You’re a busy person, you’re busy and want to get on with your life and you just want to know a few hacks. So, I appreciate having the opportunity to be here on the Ben Greenfield Podcast and I look forward to helping everyone else in whatever ways. And Ben, thank you very much.

Ben: Well, thanks for listening to today’s show. You can grab all the shownotes, the resources, pretty much everything that I mentioned over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com, along with plenty of other goodies from me, including the highly helpful “Ben Recommends” page, which is a list of pretty much everything that I’ve ever recommended for hormone, sleep, digestion, fat loss, performance, and plenty more. Please, also, know that all the links, all the promo codes, that I mentioned during this and every episode, helped to make this podcast happen and to generate income that enables me to keep bringing you this content every single week. When you listen in, be sure to use the links in the shownotes, use the promo codes that I generate, because that helps to float this thing and keep it coming to you each and every week.

In this special episode that is a two-part lecture, first by me and second by my guest Thomas DeLauer, you’ll discover how to burn fat and build muscle with a minimum effective dose of training. You’ll also learn what sarcopenia is, as well as tips for maintaining muscle mass and functional athleticism, even as you age.

Thomas is one of the leading experts in the world of chronic inflammation and the response of the human body to a low-carb diet. He is noted for his personal transformation from a 280-pound overweight corporate executive to, not only being on the cover of health and fitness magazines worldwide, but also pioneering some of the mainstream awareness of autoimmune diseases and inflammation in general!

Thomas has been highlighted in over 20 magazines showcasing his transformation and has been featured worldwide on the cover of Ironman Magazine, Muscle and Performance Magazine, Natural Muscle Magazine, ICON Magazine, Platform Magazine, and Ironman Japan. His background is in sports psychology, and it is this passion for psychology coupled with a career in healthcare as a physician recruiter and owner of an ancillary lab services company that sparked his love for nutritional science and what makes the body tick.

I first interviewed Thomas DeLauer in the episode The Ultimate Guide To Quelling Inflammation: Why Your Curcumin May Not Work, Surprising Effects Of Ginger Oil, Vegan Fish Oil Options & Much More!

I then interviewed him again in the episode Does Alcohol Really Make You Fat, Which Alcohol Is Healthiest, Hidden Ingredients In Alcohol & Much More: The Ultimate Alcohol Damage Mitigation Guide.

Thomas’s third appearance was in the podcast episode Magnesium Supplementation: Everything You Need To Know About Dosing Magnesium, Timing Magnesium, Forms Of Magnesium & More!

During today’s podcast, you’ll discover:
-Sarcopenia: what it is and how to mitigate its effects as you age [6:00]
Sarcopenia is when the muscles become smaller and weaker with age
Research suggests this is due to the muscle’s mitochondria becoming less dense, losing efficiency, etc.
Strength training can reverse the mitochondrial decline by nearly 40 years
Length of telomeres can reflect that of people 10 years their junior when engaging in strength training
Strength training is more efficacious than chronic cardio or endurance training
The stronger you are, the more length your telomeres can have
-Case studies on the effects of strength training on longevity [10:40]
Study on seniors who engaged in strength training showing lower odds of dying
Regular exercise reduces risk of early death, CV disease, diabetes, cancer, etc.
Strength training, racquet sports, swimming, cycling is the killer combo for longevity
Charles Eugsteron the diet: “Variety is key…”
BGF podcast w/ Dr. Michael Smith
Laird Hamilton
Daniel Amen
Book: Change Your Brain, Change Your Life by Dr. Amen
Mark Sissondoes short fast workouts once per week (lift, move, sprint)
Article on Don Wildman’s “Circuit” workout
Tim Ferriss’ podcast w/ Art De Vany
Olga Kotelkostayed recovered and supple in her old age
Key points:
Eat natural fats and real food
Constantly learn new stuff
Lift, move, sprint rather than chronic cardio
Put epic things on your calendar occasionally
Ensure your training is e-centric
Stay supple
-Two strategies to maintain and even build muscle with age [20:50]
Electrical muscle stimulation on the legs
Heat stress
“Nerdy Ways to Lose Fat and Stay Healthy” featuring Thomas DeLauer
Boundless is now in stores! Want instant access to a chapter from my new book?

Enter your email to get Chapter 14: “F&*K Diets”—where I teach you how to find the diet that’s right for you—sent straight to your inbox.

Enter your email address here…
Enter your email address here…

Yes, I’d like to be kept up to date on the latest news and exclusive offers from Ben Greenfield.


-Keep blood sugar as stable as possible in the morning [29:50]
Fasting, keep protein and carb consumption to a minimum
Insulin response and taste affect when and how much you want to eat
Subconscious desire to eat interrupts our thinking
Ingest fats you know will work with your body well
Drink MCTcoffee with caution
-Foam rolling in the morning [33:05]
Lymph does not have its own circulatory system (like the heart)
Requires muscle contraction to have anything move
Fascia is where lymph nodes sit; foam rolling boosts lymphatic drainage
Keto Flu intensifies as you liberate more fats
Pain receptors trigger BDNF
-Strategic use of a sauna [37:40]
Heat shock proteins (stress proteins) play critical in folding and unfolding of proteins
Protect the cell by stabilizing the unfolded proteins
Stressing the body in a sauna for a short time makes other stresses throughout the day seem mild by comparison
-Measure HRV based on your workouts [41:10]
HRV is a way to analyze the parasympathetic nervous branch of the nervous system
Balance between knowing when you’re sympathetic and parasympathetic
Wear a Whoopor Oura Ring
Difficult to differentiate physiological and mental stress
-Dry fasting [43:30]
Forces the body to obtain water from its own cells
Fat cells contain a lot of hydrogen
Limited research on its efficacy
It may shock the body out of its lethargy
-Training in a fasted state [46:10]
Fat stores in white adipose tissue, then migrates into intramyocellular triglyceride fat
You’ll be more mentally acute
-Upper body High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) [48:40]
Harder for the heart to push blood through the upper body than the lower
More of a “perceived” workout
-Mess around with different forms of the ketogenic diet [50:10]
-And much more…
Resources from this episode:
– Click here to pre-order Ben Greenfield’s new book “Boundless” now and to get in on the Boundless Sweepstakes!

– Study on seniors who strength train vs. those who do not

– Study on telomere lengths between twins

– Study on abnormally short telomeres in athletes with exercise-associated fatigue

– Study on seniors who engaged in strength training showing lower odds of dying

– Oxford Univ. study on the effects of playing racquet sports, swimming and cycling

– Charles Eugster

– BGF podcast w/ Dr. Michael Smith

– Laird Hamilton

– Dr. Daniel Amen

– Book: Change Your Brain, Change Your Life by Dr. Amen

– Book: Body by Science by Doug McGuff

– Book: What Makes Olga Run? by Bruce Grierson

– Book: Becoming a Supple Leopard by Kelly Starrett

– 7-Minute Workout

– NeuFit

Episode sponsors:
–Boundless, Ben’s newest book: Pre-order now and get in on the early bird sweepstakes. (You could win a Joovv Go, a Wellness FX Customized Blood Panel, an X3 Bar, a year supply of Organifi, a $300 Kion Gift Card, and more!)

–Kion: My personal playground for new supplement formulations, Kion blends ancestral wisdom with modern science. Ben Greenfield Fitness listeners, receive a 10% discount off your entire order when you use discount code: BGF10.

–JOOVV: After using the Joovv for close to 2 years, it’s the only light therapy device I’d ever recommend. Give it a try: you won’t be disappointed. Order using my link and receive a nice bonus gift with your order!

–Four Sigmatic: I’ve been using Four Sigmatic products for a while now and I’m impressed by the efficacies of their mushroom products. I use them. I like them. I support the mission! Receive 15% off your Four Sigmatic purchase when you use discount code: BENGREENFIELD

–Zip Recruiter: As your qualified candidates roll in, we make it easy to screen & rate them, allowing you to make the best hiring decisions for your business. Try it for free when you use my link.

In my recent article, “The 2 Best Ways To Burn Fat Fast (Without Destroying Your Hormones Or Metabolism)” I went over several big common misconceptions regarding fat loss, the most notable of all myths being that no matter what you do, how much you exercise or diet, you’ll always be stuck with the same number of fat cells you’ve built earlier in your life, and the best you could hope for is that one day you’ll be able to shrink them down.

In that article, I told you why that’s a myth, how to truly “kill off” excess adipose tissue, and also gave you potent tips for battling two of the biggest contributors to a bulging waistline: inflammation and glycemic variability.

In today’s article, I’ll go over a whopping 14 more reasons you can’t lose weight, along with proven tips that will help you combat contributing variables to obesity such as high cortisol, out-of-control cravings and snacking, a sedentary lifestyle, and even being too active, so that you can burn fat fast without destroying your body.

Reason #1: Cortisol & Stress
When you are stressed, your body releases hormones such as cortisol that turn on essential functions for your survival, such as higher blood pressure and rapid decision-making, while inhibiting non-essential functions, such as immune function, digestion, and protein synthesis.

This is helpful if you need to handle an acute stressor (like a looming deadline or an obstacle race), but it is also the reason why chronic stress restricts your ability to shed that extra weight around your midsection.

Cortisol acts by suppressing insulin secretion, inhibiting glucose uptake into your cells, and disrupting insulin-signaling to muscle tissue. That means that chronic stress directly causes insulin resistance, which then leads to weight loss resistance, increased inflammation, dyslipidemia (elevated blood fat and cholesterol levels) and hypertension.

I have coached many clients, especially lean, hard-charging, type-A males, who are already controlling for many of the other factors you’ll learn about in this article but still can’t eliminate that last bit of belly fat. Once they learn how to manage stress and reduce cortisol, the extra belly fat often vanishes, much to their surprise and satisfaction (the other notorious variable that achieves a similar effect is the complete elimination of processed sugar). Even exercise, when performed in excess, can leave you chronically stressed with elevated cortisol levels. And overtraining does not just happen to athletes – you may be in this category if you are not recovering properly, you under-nourish your body, or you fail to get quality sleep.

Other daily stressors that spike cortisol include:

The death of a loved one
Relationship or personality conflicts and sexual frustrations
Termination of employment
Academic stress or continuing educational pressure
Emotions such as boredom, hunger, anger, depression, fear, and anxiety
Toxins and pollutants from your food or environment
Excessive heat, cold or humidity (including some hair-brained decision to take a 30-minute ice bath every day or blast yourself with a 90-minute hot yoga class five days a week)
Altitude or poor oxygen availability (including shallow chest breathing)
Poorly designed, restrictive or uncomfortable clothing and shoes
Psyching yourself up too frequently (like engaging in Wim Hof fire-breathing at the beginning of every decision from waking to working out to amping yourself up for an important call)
Pressure to perform and constant limelight from social media
Lack of encouragement or love from others
One of the best ways to know if you are chronically stressed is by measuring your heart rate variability (HRV). HRV is the variability in the amount of time between each heartbeat and can be used to track your nervous system health and recovery status. When the parasympathetic rest-and-digest nervous system is activated, it releases acetylcholine to induce a low heart rate and a state of relaxation. Your HRV will be highest at this point, so a high HRV indicates a low state of stress.

If you are not well-rested, the normal, healthy beat-to-beat variation in your heart rhythm falls. Abnormal variation can indicate a serious stress issue, especially if you see consistently low HRV values (my personal red flag metric is any HRV value below 80, unless I’m purposefully training myself very hard for a competition and in an overreached state) or values that jump around from day to day (70 one day, 90 another day, 60 the next day). Tracking your HRV allows you to see if you are overstressing your body, producing excess cortisol or becoming weight-loss resistant.

In the following articles and podcasts, you can learn how to track HRV quickly and effectively and interpret your numbers:

Everything You Need To Know About Heart Rate Variability Testing
A Deep Dive Into HRV: The Myths & Truths of Heart Rate Variability Testing
HRV: The Single, Next Big Trend In Biohacking And Self-Quantification And How To Use It
The Best Way To Know How Stress, Supplements, Sleep, Sex & More Affects Your Nervous System: The Latest News About Heart Rate Variability (HRV) Training
In my experience, low HRV primarily arises from a poor diet, bad breathing, relationship and work stress, overtraining, poor air quality, excessive artificial light exposure, electrical pollution from WiFi and Bluetooth signals and impure water. When I addressed each of these variables in my own life over years of cleaning up damage, I achieved a consistent HRV of 90 every day except days during which I was purposefully training hard for a race or competition.

Reason #2: Sleep Deprivation
Only about 35% of all Americans get the recommended amount of sleep every night – between seven and nine hours – and many get less than six hours.

Sleep deprivation has severe effects on the human body and weakens the immune and nervous systems so much that you become vulnerable to diseases and neurodegeneration.

When it comes to fat loss, research has shown that getting between four to five hours of sleep per night causes insulin resistance and high glycemic variability, leading to diabetes, appetite cravings, and weight gain in what would otherwise be a healthy population. Scarier yet is that all it takes to cause this type of damage is a single night of partial sleep.

Sleep deprivation is known to raise cortisol levels, reduce glucose tolerance and increase sympathetic nervous system activity. One study found that, in addition to reducing insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance, sleep deprivation produces a neuroendocrine effect by reducing levels of the satiety-inducing hormone leptin and increasing levels of the hunger-stimulating hormone ghrelin. So not only does sleep deprivation reduce your ability to metabolize glucose, but it also makes you want to consume more sugar and hedonistic, vegetable-oil-laden snack food.

This is why it is so easy to grab a second helping at the buffet or fail to stroll by a vending machine unscathed when you are sleep-deprived. To understand even more about the link between sleep and weight gain, I highly recommend you read Dr. Satchin Panda’s “Circadian Code” and Dr. Matthew Walker’s “Why We Sleep”.

Reason #3: Snacking & Post-Workout Calories
When I was bodybuilding, it was well known in the “mass gain” community that one of the best strategies to pile on the pounds was to arrive at work with a container of yogurt, a couple Tupperware containers of lean chicken with rice and broccoli (bricken!), a couple Ziplock bags of almonds, a handful of energy bars, and a pre-made protein shake.

Sure, by lifting heavy weights morning and night for a couple of hours at a time, I would convert most of this food to muscle, but this type of grazing is also a fantastic strategy to pile on fat, especially if you don’t spend your life pumping iron in a gym.

The theory that you need to eat six small meals throughout the day to keep your metabolism elevated is a myth that I am guilty of having preached to many of my fat-loss clients. But it has long since been debunked by science. While digestion does produce a thermic effect that increases your metabolism, the bump is slight.

Frequent snacking also increases glycemic variability and eliminates any gut- or longevity-boosting benefits of fasting. In fact, there is no evidence that eating more than three meals per day boosts your metabolism, helps you lose weight or aids in appetite control.

On the other hand, if you eat only two or three meals per day in what is called a compressed feeding window, your body releases more anti-aging and growth hormones and burns fat. Frequent feeding also keeps your blood sugar levels elevated and shifts your metabolism into sugar-burning mode, which does not allow your body to tap into its stored fats for fuel. So eating six small meals per day may be worse for your waistline than eating two or three larger meals spread throughout the day.

The belief that you will enter “starvation mode” if you don’t eat frequently is also false. It takes about three days of complete fasting or up to four weeks of extreme caloric restriction for your body to downregulate metabolism and thyroid activity. Research has shown that short-term fasts, such as daily and overnight 12- to 16-hour fasts, will actually increase your metabolic rate due to an increase in norepinephrine, one of the hormones that signal fat cells to break down. You don’t necessarily have to reduce your caloric intake, especially if you are an active individual. The trick is to eat less often, not eat less.

Another common myth is that you need to shove some protein and carbs in your mouth or grab a Jamba Juice immediately after a workout. The idea behind eating right after finishing a workout is to maximize muscular adaptations, repair damaged tissues and rapidly shuttle glycogen into muscle for ample anabolic growth during a limited window of maximum carbohydrate absorption (20 minutes to two hours) after training. But in every study looking at the benefits of immediate post-workout eating, participants were fed after exercising, usually to exhaustion, in a fasted state – and frankly, most of us are not jumping out of bed to exercise for 90-120 minutes with no fuel.

So unless you want to gain significant mass (like if you are a high school or college football player trying to get to the next level by putting on twenty pounds), if you have eaten at some point prior to working out, there is no need to drop everything to slug down that post-workout protein drink. Your blood levels of amino acids and stored carbohydrates will still be elevated from any eating done prior to your workout (meaning that for a 5 pm visit to the gym, your body can metabolize your breakfast or lunch for fuel).

In fact, occasionally waiting to eat a couple of hours after you exercise may be beneficial for boosting growth hormone and testosterone levels. Unless you are performing two-a-day workouts within an 8-hour window each day, there is no need to drop the barbell and hustle to your gym bag for a shiny, wrapped recovery snack. You can listen to my podcast, “The Post-Workout Nutrition Myth, Your Personal Circadian Rhythm, Hot Vs. Cold For Recovery & More!” for more on this.

Reason #4: Not Moving Enough
Whether I am standing, lunging, kneeling, sitting, leaning or in any other position I frequently adopt during a day of work, I stop every 25 to 50 minutes for a 2- to 5-minute break of activities like kettlebell swings, a quick stroll up the stairs, jumping jacks or a handful of burpees. (I’ve got some great tips/gear for getting an effective workout in just about anywhere in this article.) Heck, I even pull over my car during road trips to do 100 jumping jacks for each hour of driving, duck into the bathroom at restaurants for 40 air squats in the stall, and do elaborate stretch routines at the back of airplanes.

I don’t do this because I am a hyperactive freak who is addicted to exercise. Rather, as you have already learned, weight loss involves an expenditure of energy greater than the intake of energy through your diet.

The brutal truth is that for most people, sitting for eight hours a day does not expend enough energy to counterbalance breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, despite any exercise performed at the beginning or end of the day. Even in people who exercise, habitual sedentary behavior is associated with metabolic syndrome (MS), increased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and premature mortality.

When you are regularly sedentary for extended periods, your blood sugar levels go haywire because a low level of physical activity causes unfavorable changes in insulin-signaling, glucose transport, and lipoprotein lipase; the primary enzyme responsible for breaking down fats.

The solution?

Move more, especially when you are at work, which is the time I have noted people tend to move the least. But even in a traditional cubicle office environment, it is not difficult to duck away to the bathroom for air squats, the parking lot for jumping jacks or the stairwell for stair climbs.

Research suggests that the time spent being sedentary and the accompanying insulin resistance are partly independent of the amount of time you spend in moderate- and vigorous-intensity physical activity. Yes, you read that correctly: if you spend the majority of your day sitting down or just standing there with your knees locked out, that hour you spent at the gym isn’t doing you many metabolic favors. Sitting and even static standing may even place you at risk for heart issues because a hard workout at the end of the day then becomes an attempt to force blood through “kinked” vessels.

In this article, I teach you how to turn your office into a calorie-decimating workstation. But for now, remember this: while a formal workout at the beginning or end of the day is not necessary for weight loss, low-level physical activity throughout the day is.

Reason #5: Too Much Exercise
Not only do you not lose weight when you don’t move enough, but you also don’t lose weight when you move too much. That may not be what you want to hear in an era of self-fulfillment and self-identity through exercise, combined with hardcore Crossfitters trying to stay on the whiteboard, Navy SEALs inspiring housewives to get up at 4 am to crush the day and go to the pain cave, and a physical culture all about zero days off, no pain no gain, balls to the wall and going hard as a motherf*cker.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not opposed to going to the pain cave, consistently going to the gym and exercising more than the average person (especially if you are trying to climb your own Mt. Everest such as training for a triathlon, Spartan race, the Crossfit Games or, well, Mt. Everest).

But excessive exercise can lead to elevated levels of cortisol and inflammation, and we now live in an era of overtrained, over-inflamed folks with hormonal dysregulation and cortisol bleeding out their ears.

To gain strength, you have to tear muscle fibers by lifting moderately heavy weights, which tells your body that it needs to build more muscle in that area. To tear your muscle fibers, especially if you are already a trained individual, you have to push your muscles past their comfort levels. So to get stronger, you must lift weights beyond what you can comfortably handle.

Building endurance involves a similar approach: you must encounter exhaustion and push the borders of your stamina to build everything from red blood cells to new mitochondria. But you don’t need to do this every day. Indeed, consistent, daily, difficult training is accompanied by serious physiological complications. One study concluded that severe overtraining leads to immune system damage, fatigue, mood disturbances, physical discomfort, sleep difficulties, and reduced appetite. Even during the recovery stages of this research, fatigue and immune system deficits persisted if an individual pushed themselves to the brink of overtraining.

The fix? Take days off. Take more days off if you are older. Most hard-charging high-achievers below 40 years of age benefit from at least one day of rest and recovery, and most folks over 40 from two to three such days. This doesn’t mean couch and dark-chocolate-face-stuffing time. It just means you scratch your “I-must-make-my-body-better” itch via activities such as sauna sessions, easy yoga, a cold soak, a massage, some trampolining, a nice hike (not the one that receives a brutality rating of five stars on your smartphone trails app) and anything else that allows you to enhance your body without beating it to shreds.

Reason #6: Chronic Cardio
No gym these days seems complete without an entire room or hallway dedicated to the rat-on-a-wheel glory of treadmills, stationary bikes, elliptical trainers and – my favorite – steppers.

But cardio tends to be vastly misunderstood as a fat-burning tool, and there is even an ongoing debate between meat-heads and endurance junkies over what good or harm cardio does.

The general belief among park joggers is that running melts fat off the belly like butter, while those who eschew cardio say it can harm your heart and may even make you more fat.

In reality, the truth is a bit more nuanced than “cardio is good” or “cardio is bad.” Cardio does not directly make you fat, especially since the day-long low-level physical activity I endorse in this article could technically be classified as cardio.

But cardio is not risk-free – especially the type that involves long marathon-training death marches, multi-hour cycling sessions and the excessive, draining slog on the line-up of cardio machines at the gym. For example, legendary ultra-marathoner Micah True died in 2012 at 58 years old during a typical “easy” 12-mile run. Considering that he could run as many as 100 miles in a single day, 12 miles should have been nothing. But upon autopsy, his heart was found to be enlarged and scarred, and his death is now believed to be due to Phidippides cardiomyopathy, which is caused by chronic, excessive endurance exercise. Named for a Greek messenger who died after running more than 175 miles in two days, Phidippides cardiomyopathy is characterized by dilation of the right atrium and ventricle of the heart, elevation of cardiac troponin and natriuretic peptides and small patches of cardiac fibrosis that are probably responsible for ventricular tachyarrhythmias and sudden death.

Unless you consistently run extreme distances, it is unlikely you need to worry about suffering (or pronouncing) anything like Phidippides cardiomyopathy. But the illustration – accompanied by many other such instances that I detail in my last book “Beyond Training” – serves as an example that long bouts of cardio, while they may significantly improve your endurance, are not necessarily the best for your health or your waistline. In fact, one of the problems that many endurance athletes become frustrated over is an inability to shed fat.

The reason for this is simple: endurance training and chronic cardio create a state of extreme metabolic efficiency. When you engage in aerobic exercise, your body wants to work as efficiently as possible while producing the greatest amount of physical output. So as you perform long cardio sessions with increasing volume and frequency, your body will attempt to shed unnecessary, excess weight while storing usable energy. Do you know what type of weight is more or less unnecessary when you run, due to its need to be carried and cooled? Muscle. And do you know what’s a great source of stored, usable energy for cardio? Body fat. So when you perform increasingly grueling death marches, your body gets rid of muscle and stores fat to prepare for each bout of cardio, while also downregulating anabolic hormones such as testosterone and growth hormone, as these are paradoxical to extreme endurance efficiency. To see what I mean, perform a simple Google image search for “sprinter”, then again for “marathoner” and compare the difference – many marathoners, especially recreational marathoners, even have a visible paunch of fat at the waistline and belly.

To make matters worse, since muscle tissue mobilizes stored fat, especially when you are resting, the less muscle mass you have, the less fat you tend to burn. In addition, your body will eventually adapt to endurance cardio and continue to burn energy more efficiently, which means that when you do launch into a cardio session, you will begin to use less and less of the fat that you have stored. Unless you reach the training volume of hardcore endurance athletes like Scott Jurek, Dean Karnazes, Timothy Olson or other cardio junkies who are often performing cardio in excess of four hours a day, (which isn’t necessarily good for your heart, time management or productivity), chronic cardio won’t do much to help you reach your weight loss goals. Indeed, research suggests that aerobic exercise and cardio are only effective when you are both overweight and new to exercise.

So if you are already well trained, you should instead engage in short, high-intensity interval cardio sessions and also switch cardio modes frequently (meaning that if you do three intense cardio sessions per week, you could alternate between swimming, cycling, and running for each workout). One study found that after 20 weeks of training, the participants that performed HIIT (high-intensity interval training) experienced a greater reduction in subcutaneous adiposity (body fat) than those who engaged in steady-state endurance training (like long, slow treadmill runs). HIIT is also effective in the prevention and management of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Most HIIT sessions last about 30 minutes at the most, so you are getting a lot more bang for your buck than if you were to spend an hour tooling along on a treadmill.

Reason #7: SAID Principle
The SAID principle is one of the first principles I learned in my undergraduate exercise physiology courses. It stands for “Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands.” In other words, your body will eventually adapt to the demands you place upon it, such as running as your only form of cardio or push-ups as your only form of upper-body training. Eventually, your body will become so adapted to those demands that it burns fewer calories and experiences fewer gains in response to the stimuli.

As a result, you see fewer and fewer results from the tried-and-true exercise regime that seemed to work so well for 12 weeks.

Perhaps there actually is something to adopting the latest workout fad found in the insert of the last health magazine you read (Get The Six Day Beach Body You Deserve With These 12 Body Weight Moves!), then dropping it for an entirely new routine once the next magazine arrives in your mailbox a month later (Norwegian Volume Training For A Better Butt!).

Sometimes, the best workout plan is the one you are not currently doing. Not only that, but – much to the chagrin of type-A personalities – the best time of day to work out is often whatever time of day you are not currently working out, the best HIIT cardio length of time is anything shorter or longer than what you are currently doing, and the best sport to shed pounds is whichever sport you are not currently playing. Sure, you do want some consistency and reliable routine that keeps you motivated, but if the scale isn’t budging, sometimes randomness and variety are the answers.

The following are five specific modifications you can make to minimize the effects of endless repetition:

Modification #1: Combine exercises
If your regime includes a lot of weightlifting, you can combine many lifts into highly dynamic movements. If your current routine has you performing a set of squats and a set of shoulder presses, you can shock your muscles by combining the lifts into one single squat-to-shoulder-press movement. You can also do lunges and curls, vertical jumps and push-ups (a burpee), or medicine ball lift-and-throws.

Modification #2: Active rest periods
Rather than resting between weight training sets, do a 30-, 60- or 90-second cardio boost. For example, between sets of pull-downs or presses, run to the stationary bike and sprint for a minute. The metabolic demand of your workout will completely change (this is my usual workout mode at hotel gyms due to the potent combination of strength and cardio training).

Modification #3: Take it outside
Instead of your usual 45-minute jaunt on an elliptical, grab a set of dumbbells or a weighted backpack and hit the hiking trails. The unpredictability and undulation of a hiking trail can significantly increase physical demands and throw your body new curveballs.

Modification #4: Change the center of gravity
If you usually use a barbell for your lunges, switch it up and try using dumbbells, kettlebells or a medicine ball instead. Don a weighted vest or weighted backpack during a walk. For a cable exercise, move the cable up or down a few notches and come at the movement from a new angle. The altered weight positions and angles will force your body into an entirely new metabolic situation.

Modification #5: Work out at a different time of day
Been working out in the morning for the past few years? Throw your body for a loop and hit the gym an hour before dinner. The whole workout will feel entirely different. If you normally exercise after lunch, turn lunch into a nap session and hit the gym for an early morning workout instead. The only folks for whom this trick isn’t such a great idea are people suffering from poor sleep: exercising at random intervals throughout the day isn’t so great for your chronobiology (to refresh your memory on the importance of your chronobiology, go read my last big article on sleep.

These are just a few ways you can switch up your workouts and minimize repetition. When in doubt, follow this rule: don’t go for more than four weeks without significantly changing a specific staple of your exercise program.

Reason #8: Avoiding Cold
It might surprise you to learn that not all fat is created equal. When most people think of fat, they think of the bad fat that accumulates around the belly, waist, hips, butt, and thighs. But that’s just the tip of the fatberg (pun intended).

This bad fat is known as white adipose tissue (WAT, or white fat). WAT is stored energy that sits there waiting for you to mobilize it, providing, in the meantime, a bit of insulation and organ cushioning.

In contrast, brown adipose tissue (BAT, or brown fat) is primarily located around the sternum, clavicle and rib cage and generates heat by directly mobilizing the energy stored in white fat. This process is known as non-shivering thermogenesis (commonly referred to as “cold thermogenesis”) and occurs in BAT mitochondria when proton motive force across the inner membrane is turned into heat instead of ATP.

I have a ton of podcasts and articles on cold thermogenesis that you can check out to learn more about this process. Here are a few:

Tips For Burning More Fat With Cold Thermogenesis (And Why Icing Really Does Work)
How You Can Use Cold Thermogenesis To Perform Like Lance Armstrong And Michael Phelps
Cool New Research On Cold Thermogenesis
Conquer The Cold And Get Quantum Leaps In Performance In This Exclusive Interview With The Amazing Iceman Wim Hof
The Iceman Returns: Wim Hof On Climbing Frigid Mountains In Underwear, Eating Only Once A Day, Activating Hormones With Breathing & More
What Doesn’t Kill Us: Why Your Body Needs Freezing Water, Extreme Altitude & Environmental Conditioning
Cracking The Code Of Wim Hof Breathing, Writing A Bestseller In 30 Days, Barefoot Ultrarunning & More With Kasper van der Meulen
The Ultimate Guide To DIY Cold Thermogenesis: The Cold Tub Secrets Of Some Of The Top Biohackers On The Planet & How To Make Your Own Cold Tub Setup
The hypothalamic and stem regions of the brain cause this sympathetic (referring to the sympathetic nervous system) innervation when they are activated by a sensation of cold. Please note that it is quite cool (ha!) that BAT uses calories to create heat rather than ATP because this means that cold drains your gas tank similarly to fasting.

There is also another type of fat called beige fat. Beige adipose tissue is BAT that, after cold exposure, appears within white adipose tissue. This process is known as the browning of white adipose tissue. But functionally, there is no difference between the metabolic activity of brown fat and beige fat, so the distinction pretty much comes down to location.

The key takeaway is that brown fat is stimulated by cold exposure to burn white fat, so one of your primary fat-burning techniques should be daily cold thermogenesis. In addition to daily cold showers at 55 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, a weekly cold soak for about 20 minutes in an ice tub and frequent forays from the sauna to the cold and back multiple times, I use actual cold gear, especially in the summer when I want to enhance the formation of BAT. For example, the Cool Fat Burner Vest wraps around your upper torso and activates the BAT in those regions, while the Cool Gut Buster enhances the formation of metabolically active beige fat around the waistline.

Reason #9: Hormones
Endocrine disruption and hormonal imbalances can occur as young as your early 20s and can be caused by exposure to chemicals such as pesticides and plasticizers, external stress such as relationship or financial stress, internal stress such as viruses, heavy metal accumulation and blood sugar swings, dietary contaminants, deficiencies in critical micronutrients, lack of sleep and poor digestive health.

When this occurs, metabolism slows down, appetites rage, and inflammation manifests.

Although both men and women struggle with hormonal imbalances, women seem to have more trouble with imbalances that specifically cause resistance to fat loss. For example, the hormone estrogen is produced in the ovaries and promotes cell division, cell growth and, in excessive amounts, the formation of fat tissue. Women also naturally produce progesterone, which protects against such excessive fat growth.

Problem is, progesterone production declines much faster with age than estrogen production, so by the time a woman reaches 30 to 50 years old, she can develop estrogen dominance. At that point, fat rapidly accumulates and becomes much harder to lose. Of course, men can also experience similar age-related issues as testosterone falls and estrogen rises.

There are steps you can take to minimize the effects of hormonal imbalances, tactics that apply to both men and women. But first, you need to determine whether or not hormonal imbalances are causing weight loss resistance. Some blood tests give you a snapshot view of your hormone levels at a single moment, but you can test for hormonal imbalances that occur throughout a 24-hour cycle with the DUTCH test.

The DUTCH test is a steroid profile that measures hormones and hormone metabolites in a dried urine sample. It can be performed in the comfort of your own home by peeing on a lab stick a few times over a 24-hour period. Measuring metabolites is particularly helpful. For example, a DUTCH test performed on someone with low salivary cortisol could reveal normal cortisol production but high levels of cortisol metabolites. This would indicate that you are producing enough cortisol, but that cortisol quickly gets broken down, so it appears you have “adrenal fatigue” accompanied by very low cortisol, when, in fact, your adrenals are producing cortisol just fine.

Or you may show high cortisol on a blood test, but a DUTCH test reveals low cortisol metabolites, indicating that your high cortisol may not be due to excess stress, but perhaps from something keeping the cortisol from getting broken down, such as low thyroid activity (this is often the case in hard-charging athletes who are restricting carbohydrates). The DUTCH profile tests for free cortisol, cortisone (a metabolic byproduct of cortisol), DHEA, testosterone, estrogen and a host of other androgen and estrogen metabolites, making it the gold standard of hormone panels.

If you do find hormonal imbalances after receiving the results of your DUTCH panel, you can make some lifestyle and dietary changes to mitigate the damage:

Hormone Strategy #1: Eat more cruciferous veggies
Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage. They contain indole-3-carbinol, an antioxidant that metabolizes excess estrogen in the body.

Hormone Strategy #2: Filter your water
Heavy metals and chemicals like fluoride (which is actually a registered insecticide and rodenticide) found in drinking water can damage the endocrine system. You can eliminate these metals and chemicals by installing a drinking water filtration system, such as a reverse osmosis filter, in your home. Unless you want to add trace liquid minerals to your water afterward, be sure to get a unit with a built-in remineralizer to refortify the water with good minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium.

Hormone Strategy #3: Use glass or stainless steel products instead of plastic
Chemicals like BPA can seep from plastic bottles and cups into your drinking water. My friend Anthony Jay has written an entire book called “Estrogeneration” that specifically addresses plastic exposure, and in my “How To Detox Your Home article,” you can learn plenty more potent environmental hacking strategies that will significantly reduce your exposure to endocrine disruptors beyond BPA.

Reason #10: Toxins & Chemicals
Three-letter-acronym toxins like PCBs, DDT, DDE, and BPA have been found in extremely high concentrations in human fat tissue and cause significant metabolic damage, hormonal imbalances, and even more fat storage. Not only are toxins found in adipose tissue, but they are actually shoveled in there by your body to protect other functional tissues and the internal organs.

This is why a rapid fat loss regimen often results in skin rashes, zits, and diarrhea – as you mobilize fat, you also mobilize the toxins it contains.

The toxins then cause other symptoms if they are not dealt with via a detox protocol. In addition, if you store too many toxins and non-degradable chemicals in fat tissue, you will have a much harder time losing weight, no matter how much you exercise or how much clean food you eat or how much cold exposure you get.

Tactics 2 and 3 in the above section on hormonal imbalances are great ways to begin minimizing or sopping up toxin and chemical damage. You can also take steps to minimize uncomfortable side effects, such as irritability and inflammation, that can occur as chemicals and toxins get mobilized from fat and released back into your blood system. A full spectrum of whole food antioxidant sources can be incredibly beneficial in eliminating the free radicals and oxidants that cause cellular damage and accelerate aging. In my last big article on detoxification, you can learn how to detox your body, and in my “How To Detox Your Home” article, you can discover more about detoxing your home from invisible chemicals in air and water.

If you get some of your antioxidants from sources such as dark berries and leafy greens, then you will also get fiber in your diet. Fiber acts like a sponge and can soak up toxins from your system as they are released. For this reason, while on any fat loss regimen, you should aim for roughly 35 to 60 grams of fiber per day from organic produce, berries and a limited amount of larger fruits, seeds, and nuts.

Reason #11: Allergies & Intolerances
If you have a food allergy, then you probably already know this. Food allergies can be accompanied by severe symptoms such as throat swelling or respiratory distress – as in your friend who needs to be within a stone’s throw of an ambulance if he so much as sniffs a peanut.

An allergy occurs when your immune system misidentifies a protein as harmful and mounts an emergency response to that protein.

Some proteins or protein fragments, such as those found in peanuts or shellfish, are resistant to digestion, and those that don’t get broken down during digestion are tagged by an antibody called Immunoglobulin E. This fools your immune system into thinking that the protein is an invader, so your immune system attacks it and triggers an allergic reaction. The subsequent effects include hives, shock, severe drops in blood pressure, respiratory distress and anaphylactic reactions. As you can imagine, weight gain is not your primary concern if this happens – simply staying alive may become a higher priority.

In contrast, a food intolerance is much more subtle and can happen because of a number of physiological deficiencies, such as insufficient levels of the liver enzymes that dissolve fructose or a lactose intolerance to unfermented dairy products due to low lactase levels (the fermentation process of making, say, yogurt tends to significantly reduce levels of the sugar lactose.

Gluten intolerances are also common, although many people who believe they have gluten issues may have an entirely different problem. Most gluten-containing foods also contain gliadin. If you have what is called a subclinical sensitivity to gliadin, consuming these foods can cause an inflammatory response in the small intestines. This is more common in people of Northern and Eastern European descent. The symptoms of all these food intolerances can be similar to those of a food allergy but are not quite as pronounced. But both involve an inflammatory response, which can lead to weight gain if you consistently consume foods you are intolerant to.

Cyrex Laboratories offers what I consider to be the best food intolerance panel. Rather than a frustrating laundry list of foods you are never supposed to touch again, it identifies a targeted list of foods to remove from your diet. Cyrex’s approach to testing for reactivity to cooked, modified and raw foods sets the laboratory apart from its competitors because once a food is heated to 118 degrees or more, its protein structure and antigenicity may change. For example, the inflammatory response to cooked chicken may be far different than the response to raw chicken. As a result, Cyrex Array 10-90 minimizes the risk of missing reactivity or generating false positives in response to common foods, and Cyrex’s “Comprehensive Food Immune Reactivity Panel” – although expensive at close to one thousand dollars and only available if ordered through a physician – is even more informative as it combines testing for wheat and gluten cross-reactivity along with over 180 different food antigens.

Reason #12: Micronutrient Deficiencies
If you have spent any time trying to balance your diet, you have undoubtedly heard the term “macros,” which refers to the three macronutrients protein, carbohydrates, and fats.

While these are crucial nutrients, they don’t even begin to cover all the vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients that your body needs to function at a basic level.

Research has shown that specific micronutrient deficiencies are associated with weight gain and obesity. Among these micronutrients, the most significant are vitamin D, chromium, biotin, thiamine, and antioxidants. Deficiencies in these specific compounds can prevent fat loss via mechanisms that include altered insulin gene transcription, amplification of intracellular insulin-signaling and changes to glucose and amino acid metabolism. Metabolism and resistance to weight loss are also negatively affected by deficiencies in magnesium, boron, vitamin A, vitamin K2, and choline.

Micronutrient deficiencies can be caused by digestion issues or, because many of these micronutrients are fat soluble, fat deficiencies and malabsorption. How much of which micronutrients a person needs varies from person to person, a diversity which I first discovered in Roger William’s book “Biochemical Individuality”. For example, some people have higher rates of excretion versus retention of micronutrients, and people with tuberculosis have far greater needs for vitamin C and vitamin A. While it is unlikely that you have tuberculosis, you get the idea: different people have different nutritional requirements.

Due to this nutritional diversity, it is worth investing in a laboratory test to determine whether or not you are deficient in any micronutrients. A comprehensive micronutrient test measures a host of vitamins, antioxidants, minerals and amino acids in your blood to determine sufficiencies and deficiencies. My recommendation is the Genova ION® (Individual Optimal Nutrition) Profile with 40 Amino Acids nutritional analysis, which can also help identify nutritional deficiencies that may be causing chronic diseases, sleep disruption or cognitive decline.

Reason #13: Your Thyroid
The thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate metabolism. It secretes thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), which influence the metabolic rate of lipids, cholesterol, glucose, and proteins within the cells throughout your body. When the thyroid becomes underactive, it results in a condition called hypothyroidism, which can often result in weight gain.

What causes hypothyroidism?

In adults, it can be caused by deficiencies in iodine and selenium, but it can also occur as a birth defect known as congenital hypothyroidism. Excess stress can cause disorders of the hypothalamus that reduce levels of thyroid hormones such as T3 and T4. Long-term caloric or carbohydrate deprivation can also reduce thyroid activity. As you can imagine, when you combine hard exercise, a busy work life and lack of sleep, the thyroid takes a big hit. For example, the lowest thyroid activity I have ever experienced was when I was a skinny, carbohydrate-restricting Ironman triathlete, and the only factor saving me from the stereotypical endurance athlete “muffin top” was my extreme level of physical activity.

If you suspect you have hypothyroidism, you can get a comprehensive blood test for thyroid activity or a resting metabolic rate (RMR) test to evaluate whether your metabolic rate is too low. If you do identify thyroid-related issues, you can first, as ironic as it may seem, consider slowing down. Overtraining, as you have already learned, is one of the key contributors to weight-loss resistance. Back-to-back days of weightlifting or empty miles of the same ho-hum pace, limited recovery days and the absence of recovery weeks are all tough on your thyroid function.

Nutrient-dense, thyroid-supporting foods include seaweed and dulse for iodine, brazil nuts, shellfish and oysters for selenium and coconut oil for proper thyroid conversion and metabolism in the gut.

Reason #14: Disordered Eating
Research suggests that for some people, maintaining a regular eating schedule can improve the metabolic response to meals.

So if you are having trouble losing weight, rather than haphazardly skipping breakfast some days and eating it on others, having dinner late some nights and early the other nights or shifting from restaurant to restaurant for your lunch choices, you should establish far more consistent meal patterns.

Heck, I have had clients shed pounds by eating the same meals (a smoothie for breakfast, a salad for lunch, meat or fish and vegetables for dinner) at the same times day in and day out for a few months.

Women seem to benefit most from this type of regularity. In one study of healthy lean women, an irregular meal pattern resulted in lower postprandial energy expenditure than a regular meal pattern. In another study, lean women who ate meals on a regular schedule had better insulin sensitivity and improved blood fat levels. In yet another study of healthy obese women, regular mealtimes increased postprandial thermogenesis, insulin sensitivity, and blood lipids, putting the women in a state more receptive to weight loss.

Some folks can thrive on an erratic eating schedule. But for many people, irregular meal times depress metabolism because their bodies “expect” food at specific times. The result can be dysregulated appetite and altered metabolism. If you don’t have a structured eating schedule and you are having trouble losing weight, try eating at the same times every day for a while, and try to keep the volume and nature of the meals relatively consistent.

You’ve now learned a lot about different factors that can prevent you from losing weight. You have also learned how to reverse those negative effects to get the body that you desire. But before you go waltzing off into the sunset with your physique toolbox expecting to attain a perfect, shredded body, there is something you should understand…

…everybody is different, and so is every body.

Even if you aren’t satisfied with your physique according to what are societally subjective beauty standards thrown at you in grocery store magazines and from pop culture, it may be the case that your body has reached its ideal weight.

You may not like to read this, and it may not seem fair, but you can reach a state of healthy homeostasis, even if you have a higher-than-desired body fat percentage.

If you are doing everything right, if you have nailed every element in this article, and you still can’t seem to lose more weight, you might have to accept the fact that you have reached your healthy homeostasis, and you just weren’t designed to have veins in your abs or striated lats or skinny calves. And that’s ok – own those thick legs!

Excessive exercising and dieting with an orthorexic approach to life while beating your body to smithereens with fat loss biohacks is certainly not going to shift you into maximum fat-burning mode or shrink your waistline. In fact, it is more likely to downregulate vital components of life, such as fertility, satisfaction, and happiness.

So accept the fact that you have a unique body. Inject light levels of physical activity or mild discomfort throughout the day, stand while you work, take cold showers, avoid sitting for long periods of time, engage in deep diaphragmatic breathing, implement intermittent fasting and use the other unconventional fat loss techniques that you might not hear from mainstream health professionals. Then simply be satisfied and happy with the body you have been blessed with.

Do you have questions, thoughts or feedback for me about any of these fat loss tips? Leave your comments below and I will reply!

My New #1 Hack For Zapping Inflammation, Increasing Deep Sleep & Recovering Faster – Earthing (The Most Important Health Discovery Ever?)

[00:00:00] Introduction

[00:00:47] Podcast Sponsors

[00:03:14] Guest and Book Introduction

[00:06:11] Beginnings of Clint’s Interest in Earthing

[00:19:47] Duct Tape Proved to Be the Catalyst

[00:24:59] The Early Days of Clint’s Clinical Research

[00:33:58] What is going on in the body when grounded?

[00:45:36] Podcast Sponsors

[00:48:46] cont. What is going on in the body when grounded?

[00:53:55] What Our Ancestors Understood About Earthing and Grounding

[00:56:15] The Best Surface When It Comes to Conductivity

[01:03:59] The Length of Time Required to Become Properly Grounded

[01:10:21] A Grounded Home

[01:12:15] Whether All Grounding Mats Created Equal

[01:16:34] An Electrode Patch

[01:18:31] A Zero-Gravity Chair

[01:20:29] Closing the Podcast

[01:25:05] End of Podcast

Ben: On this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.

Clint: But I realized the next time I die, I wanted to be happy with myself. I had done more or my life was worth more and more value. And, it dawned on me that if not reducing EMF that’s causing these benefits, what’s causing the benefits was connecting to the earth alone. When you touch the earth, every cell in your body, and specifically the red blood cells, become negatively charged equal with the earth.

Ben: Health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and much more. My name is Ben Greenfield. Welcome to the show.

Oh, hello, everybody. This is a podcast about woo-woo stuff again, not that I’ve ever done that before. It’s actually not that woo-woo. It’s about electricity. You’ll see, you’ll see. I actually have a 608-page hardbound, big, beautiful, bold book coming out in January that is absolutely jam-packed with my past three years of research, particularly in the fields of biohacking, anti-aging and longevity, muscle gain, fat loss, and a whole lot more, including even things like happiness, spirituality, et cetera, along with mold, Lyme, mycotoxin, a lot of functional medicine stuff in there. I mean, this book is the bee’s knees, if I don’t say so myself. It is something that I have teamed up with my team at Kion. We’re working really hard on this. It is published by Victory Belt, and like I said, it’ll come on January. So, you just go to boundlessbook.com, that’s boundlessbook.com, and you’ll be able to get on the list to get all the goodies, all the bonuses as soon as that thing hits the streets. It’s also already available for pre-order on Amazon. So, enjoy that.

This podcast is also brought to you by Joovv. I talked about photobiomodulation in that book, the use of near-infrared, red, and far-infrared light to do things like enhanced thyroid function, and testosterone, collagen, and elastin to reduce the formation of scars, and wrinkles, and stretch marks to be used in places like the thyroid and the pituitary when targeted directly onto those specific areas of tissue. And I used to do that every single day. I’m standing, I flip the lights off because they make a little noise, but I’m standing in front of them naked right now recording this commercial, if that’s a visual for you, that doesn’t make you sick to your stomach. And it’s a Joovv light. That’s what I own. I have two of these bad boys and I sandwich my body between them and just work on my computer. Ten, twenty minutes a day is all you need. And they’re giving every one of my listeners a nice little bonus gift with any order of any of their Joovv devices. It’s J-O-O-V-V.com/ben. That’s J-O-O-V-V.com, joovv.com/Ben.

So, I recently read this book called, “Earthing,” and I’ve always been aware that getting outside barefoot, and hugging trees, and playing around rocks, and jumping in the ocean, and walking barefoot on sand help with the electrical potential of the human body, but not in as profound and as well researched the way as I really thought until I went through this book called “Earthing.” At the same time that I was reading it, I was gone and I told my kids, “Hey, I’m heading out of town. I’m going to read this book. And the book also has almost like a documentary that covers a lot of the same things that are in the book, and the documentary is called ‘The Earthing Movie.’”

And so, my kids watched the movie while I was out of town, and I read the book, and we came back, and I swear, they haven’t put on their shoes since I got back home because they’re so into this idea that the earth can heal their bodies. So, they already went barefoot quite a bit. Now, they’re rarely wearing their shoes. I’m traveling everywhere with my grounding mat now because I have this portable grounding mat that today’s guest sent me. I’m actually standing on one that’s in my office right now as well. This book just absolutely blew my mind when it comes to identifying what I think is one of the best solutions for chronic inflammation, for better sleep, for deeper sleep levels, for recovery, and a whole lot more.

The author is named Clint Ober. And obviously, I had to get Clint on the show because this really is the best book that I’ve read that covers the topic. He has a pretty interesting history that began with cable TV in Billings, Montana, actually not far from where I’m at right now in Spokane, Washington. He’ll tell his story to us here as we dive in. But he also owns a company that does a lot of research into a lot of these grounding materials and grounding mats, and things you can sleep on, even like patches you can put in your body. So, what I’m going to do is link to all of Clint’s books, to this movie, to his company, everything, if you just go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/earthing. That’s BenGreenfieldFitness.com/earthing. So, Clint, welcome to the show, man.

Clint: Well, thanks, Ben. I appreciate being given the opportunity to visit and explain a little bit about everything.

Ben: Oh, yeah. I’m really excited about this just because I coach some clients and have some folks who hire me to help them out with their sleep and their health and everything else, and I just got almost all of them now buying these grounding mats and grounding shoes and getting outside barefoot even more than I used to after going through your book, because I just wasn’t aware how deep the research goes on this stuff. So, how’d you get into this whole idea of earthing and grounding? Which I’m sure, for people who don’t know what that is, don’t worry, we’ll be explaining it to you.

Clint: Right. Well, I’m 75 and I started this research when I was 54. But what happened–well, first of all, I grew up in Montana and I spent about 30 years in the communications industry in television, cable television. And in that industry, you have to ground everything to the earth in order to maintain electrical stability and prevent charge. It’s like in the old days when you had television, you had all these lines and all the static and all of these problems in interference, electrical interference.

And so when we built the cable systems, the signals were riding on an internal cable and this will have a shield where everything was grounded. The shield had to be grounded in order to prevent static charges. But what it did is it ended up being what allows you to have perfect data today meeting your computer, your TV set, and the sound and so on. So, anyhow, that’s where it all started, but my background is I grew up on a rural environment, ranch environment, cows and cattle, whatever. When I was quite young, my best friends were Native Americans, so I have kind of an earthy background.

But I remember one of the things that my granddad told me, and it’s carried me all the way through, is when I was very young, we had cattle and we had to babysit them. So, my job as a youngster was, I was probably 12 or younger, was to ride out and just sit there with the cows. And if you see one bawling or one that has some–not acting like the rest of the cows, and then you take them out of the herd, put them over into a pen, and then you go ride the pasture and make sure the grass is not too short, make sure there’s no noxious weed, check the water, make sure that the alkalinity is okay, ride upstream, and make sure there’s not a dead animal upstream contaminating the water.

And the theory was very simple. If the pasture is pristine, then the cows will be healthy and happy. If we let them eat noxious weeds or whatever and they get sick, or something interferes with the pasture, then we have to call the vet, call the banker, toss them the keys and we’re out of here because there’s no way you can survive financially in that industry if you don’t take care of the environment that your cattle are raising. So, I grew up with that prevention concept of don’t look at the symptom, look at what caused this. So, that’s ingrained in me.

But anyhow, I spent about 30 years in the communications industry. And one day, I started getting sick, very sick, and I’d been to the dentist and had a root canal done. And about a month later, I just kept getting sicker and sicker, and then all of a sudden, I started turning yellow. And so I kept going back to the doc every week and they said they would run more tests. And this testing process went on for about a month, and finally, I got so sick I couldn’t even get out of bed, so they took me to–

Ben: And so, what were you sick with exactly?

Clint: Well, at the time, they didn’t know. But I had a root canal prior to.

Ben: Yeah. There’s a whole movie about that that I think recently got banned from Netflix. What is it, “Root Cause” movie?

Clint: Yeah. I haven’t seen that, but what happened to me was that the root canal had an infection in it and it’s settled. A lot of people, it will attack the heart or the lung. But mine went in and settled in the liver. And at the time, nobody knew. I didn’t know and nobody knew. And so, I went to the emergency room and they put me in–it took eight hours to get in, but they put me in a CAT scan shortly after I arrived because they couldn’t figure out what was wrong. And then they found that the liver was–there was a huge abscess in my liver, and my liver was shutting down, everything was shutting down. And so the next morning, the doc came in. He says, “I got some good news and bad news. The good news is we found out what was wrong. And so you know about the abscess and everything.” They actually drained it while I was in it. They stuck a big–it seemed like a 12-inch needle in me and they actually drained the abscess while I was in the CAT scan.

Ben: I can’t imagine [00:11:09] ______ with liver. I’ve had it done with an elbow abscess and it’s pretty nasty.

Clint: Yeah. So, anyhow, then the bad news was that I was only 49 at the time and they said that I was young enough to get a new liver. I don’t have an alcohol history or anything, but the problem was I didn’t have enough time. So, they suggested I go home and get my house in order. I was on every IV you can think of. At the time, the nurses would come once a day and fix all that stuff up. But anyhow, a couple of three or four days later, the doc called and he said they have a young surgeon in–this was Swedish Medical Center in Denver, and he said that they would like to do some experimental surgery and see how much of the liver they can cut out and see if there was a chance that I could survive because there was history.

This was 25 years ago, so things were a little different back then. So, anyhow, I went in and had no choice and went through the surgery, and surprisingly, I survived it. It took me about six months maybe to be able to walk a mile because if you don’t have liver, you don’t have energy. But in about six months, the liver grew back 100% in size. So, it’s not the same liver because your liver has like six different little pockets on it. It’s all one big thing, but they had to cut out seven. So, one of the lobes grew in size and replaced what was taken out. So, anyhow, I survived. But anyhow, in that process, when you realize that this could be the end, all of a sudden, everything takes on a little different view, I guess. But anyhow, one day when I was recovering–and well into my recovery, I woke up one morning and I looked out the window and I just–everything were changed. My whole being changed. I was different. And I couldn’t go back to work. I owned a big company. I had 500 employees.

Ben: And this was like the communications, the internet company?

Clint: Yes. It was a cable television service company. So, anyhow, I looked out this window one day and all of a sudden, everything was kind of more electrical, more vibrant. I had seen colors that I hadn’t remembered ever seeing before. And all of a sudden, I looked around the room and I noticed–because I’d done okay and I had about everything you can imagine. I had lots of art, lots of nice things. And I lived on a mountaintop in Evergreen, Colorado. You can see the [00:13:51] ______ and I was kind of playing king of the mountain, 49 years old, and the average male counterpart and I won.

But anyhow, the point was I realized that I could have died then and I just went through this process of–it’s kind of a cathartic experience. I realized that I didn’t own any of these things that I had accumulated and collected, spent my whole life taking care of. And then the other main thing that I went through was when you get near-death, life gets very personal and it’s between you and your maker. It’s not about anybody else or anything else, but I was disappointed in myself that I hadn’t done more with my life other than accumulate things and so on even though I had done a lot of nice things entrepreneurially. But I realized the next time I die, I wanted to be happy with myself that I had done more or my life was worth more and more value. It was a very personal thing. It wasn’t about what anybody else thought; it was just about myself.

And so what I did was I called my kids and I told them to come and get anything they wanted in the house, any of my personal belongings that they would have taken had I died. They all thought I was nuts. In fact, they even called one of the docs and indicated that I needed a psychiatrist because now I was acting strange. But anyhow, I told them, I said, “It’s very simple. I have to do this.” So, I let go of everything. I sold all my assets, gave things away, sold things, and I ended up with nothing left except two and a half suitcases, my personal items and my clothing. And I went and bought a small RV, and I set out just to get away from the city, get away from everybody and everything. And I ended up spending a lot of times in national parks.

Ben: Okay.

Clint: And again, I had this call, calling. I mean, it was the call of the nature, whatever you want to–it was just a calling, something speaking to me. So, I spent the next three or four years just driving around the United States, spending a lot of time in national parks as long as they’d let me. And then I ended up down in Key Largo, Florida. I was on the bayside, and every night, it was absolutely spectacular because you can see the sunset, the manatees, and the sharks, and all the–you can see all the sea life out there. So, anyhow, but I was standing there one night and I had this feeling come over me that–because I’d been out there for about three years. I had this feeling coming over me that I had to go do something. Then I remember going into the RV that night and I had a yellow tablet, and I wrote on it, “Become an opposite charge.” It was like something coming. I didn’t know where it was coming from or anything. It’s just feelings. And to me, an opposite charge would be going out and stirring people up, getting them charged up.

And then the second thing I wrote was, status quo, was the enemy. I had not a clue. So, I didn’t think anything about it, but I went, headed back to the West Coast. And through a series of events, I ended up stopping one night in Sedona, Arizona. And I just woke up that morning and looked outside and here was this beautiful park-like setting, and I said, “I’m not leaving here. I’m going to stay here.” So, I spent about a year and a half, two years, maybe a little longer. That’s where the story really begins because I was playing with a computer one day and it kept crashing. And I knew it was static electricity. You feel a static charge in your body and you’re touching a grounded computer back in those days, the computer would lock up and crash.

Ben: If you touch an ungrounded computer.

Clint: Yes. This is in the old days. The computers now are much better. But anyhow, this is back in ’98. So, anyhow, I had to put a piece of tape across the top of my computer or my desk, metal tape, copper tape, and then I connected it to the electrical ground. And then the electrical ground wasn’t working, so I had to fix it. So, I was in this mode of grounding in order to get rid of this static. And then later, I went out and I was outdoors, and Sedona is a tourist town, lots of people, but this tour bus pulled up, and everybody got out, walked out and in. For some reason, I was fixated with their shoes because everybody had like these brand-new white athletic shoes, and it’s like they’d been to a mall and they were on sale because everybody seemed to have the same pair.

I think it was a tour group from Japan and it was just kind of odd, and I don’t know why, but I just asked myself, “I wonder if there’s a consequence of us no longer being naturally grounded?” Because back when I was a kid, before 1960, we were all barefoot or we had a lot of the sole shoes. Then when we invented the plastics in the ’60s, then everybody started wearing these plastic sole shoes. And I really didn’t know. I had no clue. It was just an intuitive question. So, I went home that night, grabbed a voltmeter, and I went and tested–grounded it to the earth.

Ben: And you knew how to use all that stuff just from your experience in the communications industry?

Clint: Oh, yeah. No, it was second nature to me. So, I went and I was playing around, and in static, you can see that you have a huge static charge on your body every time you lift your foot off the floor in a home where you have carpets, if you have rubber sole shoes on. And the static is we’ve built static all the time and we don’t recognize it unless it’s really dry and you touch–it’s over 3 or 4,000 volts then you touch a doorknob and you’ll see the spark. So, that was very high everywhere, but it wasn’t quite in the 3 or 4,000. It was 2 to 3,000-volt range all the time, depending on whether you’re moving or not, or whether you’re sitting on the couch and getting up and so on.

But what was more intriguing was that, I said it, the 60 hertz AC, and just started looking at it and I noticed that–and I’m totally familiar with EMI, totally familiar with electromagnetic fields because in the communications industry, you have to shield everything from what we call EMI, electromagnetic interference, and that’s noise to us, and in order to have a nice clean signal. And so, I said, “You know, there’s something going on here because I don’t think it’s probably normal to have all this charge on the body.” So, I went to the hardware store and bought a roll of metal duct tape about two or three inches wide, like you would use for heating ducts and so on. And I had laid it across my bed up and down, and then I connected it to a wire, threw it out the window, connected it to a ground rod, threw the second wire out, connected it to a ground rod, connected that one to the meter, so I could test and make sure that it was ground.

Ben: The idea behind the ground rod being that that is the way that we ground just about everything, whether it’s a copper rod from going into a home, or the type of ground rod technique that you’re using, or even–I mean like some of these mats you sent me, they actually come with rods I can put outside into moist ground if I don’t want to plug them into an outlet that’s grounded. But essentially, all that rod is doing is it’s doing just as the name implies, grounding it to the earth.

Clint: Yeah. It’s like, for instance, if you plug a lamp into a socket, you’re connecting to the electrical–I don’t mean the 60 hertz electrical. If you connect a wire to the little ground port, then you’re connecting to the earth, and the earth has a negative surface charge. So, you are conducting–so it’s like an extension cord to the earth. So, anyhow, I laid down on the bed, and surely as soon as I set the meter up, then I could take the alligator clip, put it on the metal foil tape, the reading went to zero, where before it was like 4 or 5 volts of EMF charge. The static was all over the place. But as soon as you ground yourself, it all goes to zero.

Ben: So, this was a reading on your body, like you were measuring your own static electricity, and it was falling to zero when you were actually grounded?

Clint: Yes. If you pull up the sheets on a dry day in the summer and you turn the lights off and you turned up, you can actually see the sparks sometimes in your bed. Most people don’t pay attention to it because there’s enough humidity you don’t notice it. But anyhow, yeah, we had static charge on the body and then there was an EMF charge, I mean the electromagnetic field charge. These are noise. I mean, the static electricity is thousands of volts, but the EMF is just background noise type stuff. And I thought to myself, I said, “Well–“and then as soon as I grounded myself, they went to zero.

But what was most interesting was the first night, next thing I knew I woke up in the morning and the meter was laying beside me and I hadn’t moved all night. The significance of that was I was a 54-year-old cowboy. Every kind of pain in your body, skiing injuries, tennis injuries, dumb things like riding and rodeos when I was a kid, anything you could have wrong with you I probably had it. So, I was pretty in a lot of pain, a lot of issues. And I lived in Advil and black coffee. Those are the things that help cope.

Ben: That’s all you need, baby, just Advil and black coffee. I mean, I throw a little ribeye steak in there, but yeah, that’s all you need to be happy.

Clint: Yeah, exactly. But anyhow, I woke up and I said, “There’s something here because I slept better.” I had a couple of friends and I conned them into–“Let me ground you. Let me see what you think of this thing.” Every night I slept better. And then the guys that were my friends, they were neighbor-type friends, and they said, “You know, surely, there’s something to this.” And then one of them asked me, he says, “Do you think there’s any possibility this could have anything to do with arthritis? Because my arthritis is going down.” And I said, “No, I don’t think,” and I didn’t know.

So, I started researching everything I could, everywhere I could to find out about grounding the body to reduce pain and to improve sleep, and there was absolutely nothing. The only thing that was out there was, and if you’re doing surgery, you have to ground the body before they open the body up, and in order to prevent a cardio event. Yeah, there was grounding, mental in the yoga and bodywork industry. Everybody gets mentally grounded, but that’s being centered mentally, it’s not physically grounded.

And so I kept playing with it and playing with it, and then one day, I went down the University of Arizona and looked in the medical university of libraries there and tried to find out. Nothing. So, I went out to–I said, “There’s something here I got to get to the bottom of it.” So, I went to California, went to UCLA first because I figured, “Well, if anybody can figure this out, they could.” But they pretty much left me off-campus. They said I was nuts to think that you could ground the body and it would do anything. So, I ended up doing my own study with a couple of guys that I found at that university who were doing doctoral studies. They helped me to design the study.

And then I found a nurse lady that helped pull together and we took 60 people, 30 of them we grounded, 30 of them were blinded, and the results were phenomenal. We had significant improvement of sleep, significant reduction of pain, and then all kinds of other things like PMS issues disappeared, TMJ disappeared, just all kinds of issues. And so I said, “Okay. There’s something there.” So, I had enough evidence that I could give it to somebody and say, “Here, let’s figure this out.” I went back to the sleep industry and nobody wanted to talk to me there, especially the CPAP industry. That’s a different world. And so I ended up meeting an anesthesiologist in San Diego and he said, “I’d be more than happy to do a study because I don’t–” he says, “I don’t think there’s anything to what you’re doing but,” he said, “I’ll be happy to prove you’re wrong.” And I said, “Fine. Let’s do it.” And we did.

And that was on the first study, what we found was–and what he wanted to measure was cortisol, saliva cortisol. And so we measured. We took little cotton swabs, things, and they treat them every four hours for 24 hours, put them in vials, and then froze them, and then shipped them to a lab. And when it came back, the results were profound. I mean, before, everybody’s cortisol profiles were all over the place. And as soon as they grounded, everybody’s cortisol synchronized. I think that’s in the book, [00:27:55] ______ of it.

Ben: Well, what do you mean their cortisol synchronized when they were all grounded?

Clint: Well, before the younger ladies had elevated cortisol, let’s say midnight or–like if you don’t sleep at night, if you’re not sleeping at night, then you have elevated cortisol, and it’s produced by your fight-or-flight system because you’re thinking about something, you’re stressed, something’s going on. And so the cortisol becomes elevated. And then once they were grounded, then you have to look at the charts. But once they were grounded at midnight, then the cortisol all quieted way down. And everybody’s synchronized, meaning, they were in a similar range where before, [00:28:39] ______ more elevated cortisol. Those were the younger people who have high anxiety. And then the older ladies were–they had exhausted adrenals.

Ben: Okay. So, folks who had sluggish cortisol levels, they seemed to get a slight uptick, well-grounded, while other people with the high cortisol seem to see a downregulation of cortisol almost similar to like an adaptogenic effect.

Clint: Exactly. Yeah, it was really profound. And there’s a chart in the book that explains it. What was interesting was at 4:00 a.m.–and this is really significant, at 4:00 a.m., cortisol spikes. It starts climbing all the way ’til about 6:00 a.m. It’s a dramatic curve. And before, it was kind of all over the place, but once they were grounded, what was important was at four o’clock, everybody’s cortisol went up. And that’s what gives you the energy to get out of bed in the morning and hit the day. If you’re dragging yourself out of bed, your cortisol is low, or you have adrenal fatigue and so on.

But the main thing is there was no daylight, at four o’clock in the morning, there was no daylight, there was no noise, there was no other environmental cue, cueing, where everybody would say normally, biorhythms are affected by light and by all these things. So, we knew that the earth is the only thing that changes at four o’clock in the morning or about that time. That’s when your daylight is coming back around the sun. I mean, the earth is spinning, so the amplitude of earth’s electric field is starting to climb.

So, anyhow, that was a really neat finding. And so that’s that he led to a host of other studies, but I have to go back to the other study, the first study. What was really, really interesting in that study was I remember one day, we had two people that we were grounding out of 60. And I didn’t know who they were or anything prior to going to them. I was just–they were selected subjects. And so I went out and what I was to do, I had to go and measure the electric fields in their home in the bedroom where they were sleeping. And then I would put a pad in the bed under the sheet. And then I would have them lay on it or sit on and I would re-measure the electric field.

Ben: Was the pad natural grounding pad?

Clint: Yeah. It was a conductive cloth that I had bonded to a very thin layer of felt.

Ben: Okay. And you have a cable from that going into an outlet, or do the cable from that going out to a ground rod?

Clint: At that time, I was running it all out to ground rods because I was measuring against pure earth. And what was interesting was I went to one home and they had really high electric fields, EMF, in the home. And this lady had arthritis, all kinds of issues. And so she couldn’t even hold the meter. And I thought, “Well, we’re going to get really good results from this subject.” And then I went to another home across town, and this was an older gentleman similarly had all the arthritic and all of the health issues, cardiovascular, everything you could think wrong with him.

But what was significant is he had no EMF voltage in his home whatsoever. In the bedroom, he had a concrete floor and a bed with the metal bed frames touching the floor. And he didn’t have any lamps or anything near the bed. And it was an adobe wall behind him, so there was no wiring in it. So, when he laid in bed, it was just static, nothing. And I thought, “Wow, this is really going to be terrible because this person’s not going to experience any results because there’s no electric kick.” Because I thought back then it was just eliminating the electric charge and the static charge and the body was producing the results, because I didn’t really know. But then a month later, when the results came in, they both had the same results. Here’s a high EMF and here’s no EMF, but yet they both had improved sleep, significant reductions in pain, significant reductions in arthritic situations, color, energy, everything was better.

And I looked at it and I said, “There’s something wrong here because this can’t be.” So, I immediately set out to start testing environments with EMF and no EMF, magnetic field, no magnetic field, and so on. And then it dawned on me it was the earth itself that was connecting to the earth and equalizing the body with the earth. In order for that to happen, you either had electrons leave the body or electrons from the earth come to the body and hold it at earth potential. And then it dawned on me that it’s not the EMF that’s causing these–reducing EMF that’s causing these benefits, what’s causing the benefits was connecting to the earth alone. So, that’s how this whole body of work began. And that’s when I immediately shifted and started looking at grounding the body. And I knew that the earth had a negative charge.

Ben: Yeah. I definitely want you to explain to people how this would actually work. Like so far, we’ve just heard about some little experiments that you did, but I’m sure people are wondering what was happening, like what’s going on here that would actually cause someone being grounded to the earth via a rod and a cable, a mat, or being outside barefoot, or whatever the case may be, like what’s actually going on.

Clint: Well, it’s like static electricity. If you have static electricity on your body and you touch something that’s grounded, then there’ll be an arc between you and that object. And it can be electrons either coming from the earth or from that grounded object to your body, or if it’s a negative charge, then it can be electrons coming from your body to the grounded object. And so what’s happening is you’re equalizing the charge. So, yeah, how do I explain this? I could go on for hours on the studies and everything.

Ben: Well, I mean, we have time. I don’t think [00:35:00] ______ delve into the studies. I’d rather hear you explain the actual science of negative ions and how that’s affecting the body when we’re in some way grounded.

Clint: Right. I have to tell the story of meetings with Stephen Sinatra first because that’ll help this all make sense. Stephen Sinatra is a cardiologist.

Ben: Yeah. I know Stephen.

Clint: Okay.

Ben: Good guy.

Clint: Yeah, he’s a good guy. And he was a friendly guy. Back then, I had a hard time with docs because they didn’t understand anything about electrical. They knew everything about biology, but they didn’t understand the electrical side of biology. So, anyhow, I met with this doctor, the anesthesiologist, Dr. Ghaly. We got these results and he said he didn’t really understand them. He says they are obvious. So, he wanted to meet with–he knew this Dr. Sinatra, and so he said, “Let’s go meet with him and see what he has to say about it.” And as soon as I started to explain it and tell Steve that all we have to do is ground the body and we reduce pain. And he said–this is back in 2002–2001. He said, “If you’re reducing pain,” he says, “what you’re doing is reducing inflammation because you can’t have pain in your body unless you have chronic inflammation.” And he fell in love with the concept and he got involved with me and he helped with studies and he’s been involved ever since.

But anyhow, at that time, the word inflammation meant that you twisted an ankle and it ballooned up and it was red and sore and hot. When I started doing a research on inflammation, then I found that inflammation is a primarily cause from neutrophils, if you have a damaged tissue, a damaged cell, like a cut or an injury or whatever. So, neutrophil comes over and it encapsulates the damaged cell or the pathogen, and it releases reactive oxygen reactions and oxygen molecules. And these molecules, the word reactive means that it’s short in electron. And as soon as I heard that word, I said, “Okay. Now I know what’s going on,” because the immune system is the electrical. I was looking at it, [00:37:24] ______ not as an acid, but as an electrical because the cells–everything is–it was just about electrons. I realized that what’s happening here is the neutrophils are releasing these reactive oxygen, which are positively charged molecules. And they go and they rip an electron from the pathogen and destroy the structure. And that’s the end of a pathogen.

Ben: Right. And that’s how an oxygen-free radical actually beneficial for reducing pathenogen–well, I won’t even try to spit out pathogenicity. How a free radical actually destroy a pathogen is via that action, but it could have the same effect on an actual cell within the human body like a beneficial cell.

Clint: Yeah. That’s fundamentally how the immune system works. And so what’s missing here, what happened was, and it took us a long time to figure all these things out, in 1960, we invented plastics and we put them on the soles of our shoes. And so everybody is insulated from the earth. We’re no longer naturally grounded. But when you take your shoes off and you stand barefoot on the earth, the earth is negative about 20 to 50 millivolts. And what negative means is there’s an abundance of free electrons that can move and do work, move and reduce charge. And this is a natural phenomenon, and that’s why we ground everything electrical to the earth in order to maintain electrical stability because these free electrons from the earth, they come up the wire just like your refrigerator or your computer if it’s grounded.

Ben: And this is kind of weird. From what I understand in the book, the way that the earth actually gets charged with free electrons is via lightning. Is that correct?

Clint: Well, that’s part of it. You have it streaming from the sun.

Ben: Okay. So, sunlight would also be a way that the earth is charged with negative ions, lightning. Is there anything else, like wind or temperature fluctuations or things like that?

Clint: Well, it’s all relative, but it’s basically what happens is during the day, the sun at noon, I mean, it’s heating. That’s the hottest time of the day. And so it’s exciting electrons on the earth, and that’s the highest level. And so from noon ’til two o’clock, then you have all this evaporation. And so this is water molecules. They’re positive. But anyhow, so they’re evaporating. So, you’re getting this condensation, I mean, or this evaporation. Then at two o’clock, as the temperature starts to cool in the atmosphere, then there’s an imbalance in charge. The negative earth is pushing on the electrons in the cloud. The negative electrons are going to the top. The positive electrons are coming to the bottom. And so, then all of a sudden, you have–

Once there’s an equal amount of–there’s a welling up of electrons on the surface of the earth–you can’t see any of this, but it’s happening. And so as soon as there are enough electrons on the earth to equalize the opposite amount of positive charge in the clouds, then you’ll have lightning. So, the electrons–if the lightning is under the clouds, it’s coming up from the earth to the cloud and neutralizing the positive charge in the bottom of the cloud. It’s coming out the top of the cloud as negative electron is coming back to the earth.

So, anyhow, you have all of this energy recharging and replenishing the negative surface charge of the earth. But it’s a little more complicated net, but you have this global electrical circuit, and there are electrons going up and coming down all the time, and it’s just keeping the earth energized. But the lightning plays a big role because at two o’clock, wherever you’re at on the earth, it’s two o’clock, especially in the equatorial regions, there’s constant lightning. Yeah, and it’s that bad electrical charge because the earth is turning.

Ben: So, even if you’re not in the specific locale where there is a lightning storm, you would still, like hundreds or thousands of miles away, still be getting exposed to the negative ions from a lightning storm at 2:00 p.m. in an equatorial location?

Clint: Yeah, because one, the electrons, they–if you can think of it this way. Think of the electrical surface charge of the earth as a little blue marbles or something, micro-miniature marbles, and there’s a layer of these blue electrons laying everywhere on the earth. So, it can be discharged and charged. It moves around. It goes up and down depending on the time of day and all that kind of stuff, but there it is forever. This ground potential, these free electrons are everywhere on the earth. The ocean, they’re equal throughout the ocean. But anyhow, and then electrical travels at the speed of light. All these things, I mean the electrons, don’t necessarily travel that. But anyhow, there’s an equalization that takes place around the whole globe. So, it’s always there. It’s always ground. The only time there would not be a lot of ground would be in the middle of a desert if you’re standing on a sand that is very, very dry.

Ben: So, would this mean, and I don’t want to throw you off too much, but would this mean that if you did want to go outside barefoot and get as many benefits as possible from being outside barefoot, you’d either, A, go out at 2:00 p.m., or B, go out after or as soon as possible like after a lightning storm at whatever time of day it happens to be where you live?

Clint: Well, I personally don’t think it matters all that much relative to the body.

Ben: Okay.

Clint: But have you ever noticed after a rainstorm, you go out and you breathe and you–

Ben: It feels amazing.

Clint: You feel so much better, and that’s because there’s so much negative charge in the atmosphere.

Ben: Yeah. I mean, that or like swimming in the ocean, those are the two times I feel the most charged up.

Clint: Exactly. For an athlete or somebody that’s–sure, absolutely. But for the average person, no. It’s the earth has a–you see, here’s the whole concept right here is if the body has a negative surface charge–and I do have to get into the blood study somewhere down the room. But if the body has a negative surface charge, meaning that your body is negative, it’s got 20 millivolts of free electrons that can move and reduce charge, it means just like your refrigerator, your computer, or anything else electrical, you cannot have charge in a grounded object. You cannot have inflammation inflamed in a grounded object. That’s the one that’s hard for people to get their mind around.

So, what I’m saying is what happens with the neutrophil–I mean, we have to go back to the neutrophil here a little bit. For instance, if you put rubber sort of shoes on or live in a home, instead of carpets, sleep in a foam bed, then you’re above the earth, you’re away from the earth. And so now, your immune system is going to keep working 24/7 because you’re breathing pathogens, you work out, you’re building up inflammation in your body, you’ve got all these things going on. But if you don’t, the neutrophils are going to go in there and continuously in microphages and so on. They’re going to continuously destroy pathogens and damage cells and all the other things they do.

So, if you don’t have enough electrons in your body, when the neutrophil does its job, the oxidative burst to destroy that pathogen, if there’s a few leftovers after the pathogens are gone, then within 5, 6, 10 nanoseconds, those reactive molecules are going to steal an electron from something. And the only thing in the environment is probably a healthy cell. So, it’ll steal an electron from the healthy cell, damage it, then the immune system says, “Okay, there’s more damage,” so it sends another neutrophil to clean that up. And then there’s more collateral damage, continuous collateral damage, then all of a sudden, you have what they call fire or chronic inflammation, then where the body is actually oxidizing itself.

Ben: Well, I’ve got a new something-something for you. I want to interrupt today’s podcast to tell you about Liquid Death. It’s water. It’s not some crazy energy drink; it’s water. It’s called Liquid Death Mountain Water. It’s sourced and bottled in the Alps. They sent me a bunch of cans. They have these infinitely recyclable cans of stone-cold mountain water that will instantly murder your thirst. That’s why they call it Liquid Death. So, this stuff is pure, clean water from the Alps, period, and it tastes really, really good. Plus, the cans look great. It looks like you’re drinking beer. I’ve been drinking this stuff at tennis matches and my opponents think that I’m destroying them while drinking beer, but I’m not. I am drinking water. It just looks like beer. So, that’s my handicap.

So, this stuff will also, because it’s so violent, murder, kill, and destroy any form of municipal water that you like to be drinking right now. It’s just going to replace all that. It tastes really good. And they’re giving everybody an exclusive 6.66% discount on 12 packs. Why 6.66%? I don’t know, but I think traditionally, that’s the number of the beast, isn’t it? And this stuff turns you into a beast. So, it’s liquiddeath.com/greenfield. If you want to brutally murder your own thirst, then check it out, Liquid Death Mountain Water.

This podcast is also brought to you by something that simulates a massive workout in your own office in just a few seconds. So, it’s all based on the science of high-intensity interval training, but a specific form of high-intensity interval training called reduced exertion high-intensity training, REHIT. So, what research has shown is two 20-second sprints at max all-out intensity is all you need to do things like prevent metabolic disease, and to improve cardiovascular fitness, and even a maintained mitochondria proliferation, and achieve the same benefits as approximately 45 minutes of steady-state endurance, like a jog.

So, this British company named CAR.O.L made the very first patented exercise bike that walks you through this max intensity workout, then uses AI technology to learn your physiology and then automatically adjust the resistance during your rides to make sure you get max power during every single sprint. And I have one of these things now. The sprints are hard, but it’s actually surprisingly–there’s a surprisingly little barrier to entry. You just hop on it at any point during the day because you know, it’s like you warm up, you do your couple of sets that are completely dialed into your physiology, then you’re done. And they can actually replicate the lab results consistently in the real world, the results on this REHIT-style training for the first time ever with this bike. And they recently discovered that one CAR.O.L workout performed three times a week gives you even better results than 30 minutes of jogging five times a week. There’s a little time hack for you, a little life hack. So, go to carolfitai.com to learn more, carolfitai.com. It’s with the C, carolfitai.com, and get 300 bucks off with discount code GREENFIELD.

So, basically, where we’re at right now is that you started to observe all these different health effects on sleep, on inflammation, on cognitive function, on recovery, et cetera. And we know that the natural frequencies of the earth, these subatomic particles, these free electrons are the way that this is actually happening. Those electrons have a negative charge. We are actually getting exposed to that negative charge when we are either directly in conductive touch with the surface of the earth by doing something like walking outside barefoot, or when we are bringing that negative charge to us through a grounding rod or a grounded outlet and having something plugged into that like a mat or a patch that attaches to our body that keeps us grounded to earth even if we’re, say, inside?

Clint: Yes.

Ben: Okay, got it.

Clint: But the mechanism of how that charge works is the key. And that’s what Stephen, Dr. Sinatra and Gaetan Chevalier worked on for a long time because we knew what was happening but we couldn’t quite understand how it was happening, just putting a negative charge on the body. So, how did these electrons get everywhere? What happens? And so, one day we–I love it when Stephen tells the story. But one day, we were in Essex, Connecticut and he had like 13 people come to a meeting. And most of them were cardiologists or high-profile medical people, and the whole medical doctors. He drew their blood and looked at the blood before, and everybody including himself, everybody had kind of thick sticky blood, rouleaux formation.

Ben: It’s called rouleaux formation?

Clint: Yeah.

Ben: When blood is clotting like that?

Clint: Yes. It stacks up like butter chips or something.

Ben: Right.

Clint: And then some were better than others, but they all had some form of–they didn’t have this pretty beautiful blood that you would think a cardiologist would have. And hopefully, it doesn’t kill me for this. But anyhow, then what we did is we drew blood, we grounded them for 30 to 40 minutes, each one of them. All we did was put patches on the bottom of their feet and connect them to a ground rod driven into the earth or to the electrical ground of the building. And then we drew the blood again. They weren’t giving any food, nobody was eating anything, and there was no water or anything like that.

But everybody’s blood separated perfectly. There was distance between all of the red blood cells. So, that asked the question, how did that happen? So, then Gaetan Chevalier, who is an expert in this, we figured out a way to measure the electrical surface charge on red blood cells, and what we found was–and all of this information, all these studies are available at the Earthing Institute. But what we found is we increased the negative surface charge on the blood cells, red blood cells, by a factor of 2.7. It’s huge.

Ben: And that was just via grounding?

Clint: Just via grounding. And what happened was–

Ben: And what were you using to do that?

Clint: Well, we just put patches on the bottom of the feet and grounded them to–what happens is the red blood cells, when they become more negatively charged–I mean, I think every cell in the body becomes negatively charged. So, every cell has more electrons on its surface. So, now, these reactive oxygen species from neutrophils or microphages, whatever, they can steal an electron or two from a cell and not hurt it. But what happens is now, these red blood cells, they repel each other like negative magnets. You put them together and they push each other apart. So, all the blood cells are pushing each other apart.

Now, and everybody, their face turns pink after they’re grounded for 20, 30 minutes. Their fingers, everything, everybody’s color comes up. So, now, what happens is when the red blood cells–because now they can go single file into the capillaries and oxygenate the tissue, and then bring out the debris and so on. So, the mechanism of action, and this is the discovery of grounding, is that when you touch the earth, every cell in your body, and specifically, the red blood cells become negatively charged equal with the earth. It’s like here’s a red blood cell and here’s a big round planet, they both have the same electrical surface charge. So, that’s nature. That’s a phenomena of nature. But it’s also why we ground everything to the earth in order to put that charge on it, in order to prevent harm from an electrical event.

So, that’s Stephen and Gaetan I credit with that, and that is the discovery of the decade because–and that’s why we wrote on the book The Most Important Health Discovery Ever. All you got to do is go stand barefoot on the earth and they will normalize your blood viscosity and clean up the inflammation in your body.

Ben: Well, what I found interesting in the book was this stuff isn’t–it’s not necessarily new. I mean, I know you titled the book, “The Most Important Health Discovery Ever.” But can you explain what our ancestors knew about earthing and grounding? Because it seems to me that there’s pretty good evidence that this isn’t the first time humans have become aware of the power of being connected to the earth.

Clint: Yeah. You have to realize that when we wrote the book, we knew about certain cultures like prana and things like that. We tied that together. But when we wrote the book, nobody–when we would go to look and research, we couldn’t find anything. But after we wrote the book, then we started getting lots of reports, like in Germany, France, and all other. People 100 years ago, they’re doing the same thing that we’re doing. They knew that there was a benefit, but they didn’t know the science behind it. So, all we did was put the science behind it. It’s not new, but you can go back thousands of years to Hinduism, all of that.

Ben: Yeah. Well, Chinese medicine, and one of the main kidney points is actually in the bottom of the feet, and the way they treat that is by connecting the feet to the earth. I think it’s translated to growing a root. But that’s actually one of the healing methods used in traditional Chinese medicine, particularly for the kidney function.

Clint: No. Absolutely. We know all this now, and we tied it all together. And so yeah, this goes way back before there was any knowledge whatsoever. But there was another piece of it. People were all barefoot and they lived on the earth. And so they didn’t need to know about grounding because they were all automatically grounded.

Ben: Well, I don’t know if people were always barefoot. I mean, I would imagine that in a realm of thorns and sharp rocks and walk long distances without getting chafing on the bottom of the feet that people used covers or services on the bottom of the feet, but they were conductive, right?

Clint: Yes. They were [00:55:50] ______. But I think the average person, like if you go to any of the indigenous cultures, even when I grew up, all the kids were grounded, I mean, were barefoot. We were barefoot, all the Native Americans, we were all barefoot. They had moccasins and they would wear them when it was appropriate or when they needed to. But day to day and moment to moment, we were barefoot.

Ben: Yeah.

Clint: So, in that state, you have health.

Ben: Well, that’s actually something I wanted to ask you about is conductivity of surfaces because people will ask me, well, if I’m walking barefoot on asphalt, let’s say I’m jet lagged and I think grounding everything is fantastic for jet lag. By the way, it’s one of the first things I do when I get off a plane. If I’m at a hotel, I go out to the backyard grass behind the hotel and make some calls barefoot, or I’ll go for a walk to the grocery store and just hold my shoes in my hand, and sometimes on a concrete or asphalt, sometimes on grass. But when it comes to conductivity of the surface you’re on, does it matter? I mean, can you compare and contrast like dirt versus grass versus cement or concrete or asphalt?

Clint: Yeah. The best way to answer that technically, concrete is fine, dirt, grass is fine, asphalt is not necessarily and it’s not a good conductor of ground. So, it’s really concrete, or earth, or grass.

Ben: Well, what about three things? A, trees. Because those are connected to the ground, I’m curious what trees would do if you’re just like–because there’s a lot of people who are into hugging trees for health. Well, would rocks do, like if you’re rock climbing? And then also, what about water? What about those three things?

Clint: Yeah, water. I mean, rocks, if you’re climbing on rocks, you’re grounded. If you’re standing on rocks, even though you can’t measure it very well, there’s enough moisture and there’s enough conductivity in those. Anything outdoors, you’re pretty well-grounded. Water makes it quicker, easier. But water itself is not conductive, which is kind of interesting. So, yeah, just barefoot in grass, dirt, and concrete, and rocks.

Ben: Now, what about saltwater like the ocean? Because it was my understanding that if you jump in the ocean, that you are getting some of the effects of negative ion exposure.

Clint: Yeah, you’re perfectly grounded. You can’t get more perfectly grounded than jumping in the ocean.

Ben: Okay. So, it needs to be saltwater?

Clint: Yeah.

Ben: Okay.

Clint: Now, a lake is a little different because a lake, if it has a lot of minerals, it’s going to be fairly conducted. But some lakes don’t. And so they’re less conductive. Distilled water is not conductive. It’s the mineral in the water that makes it conductive. That’s why I always encourage drinking mineral water, I mean, spring water because it’s got a natural amount of minerals that our bodies are used to getting that away. But anyhow, did I answer that question?

Ben: Yeah, yeah, I think you got it. And did you say–you said trees are grounded as well, feel like climbing a tree?

Clint: It’s a different phenomenon. Certain trees, if you can feel the tree, feel the branch or feel the trunk and it feels cool, then it’s grounding. But if it’s got a lot of bark on it, you’re not really grounding electrically, I mean, electron-wise. What you’re doing is anything alive on this planet, every human being, every bug, every tree, every bird, everything, emits an electromagnetic field. Some people call it auras and whatever and so on, but we all emit these electric fields. The tree has an electric field. So, if you walk underneath of a tree or hug a tree, then your electric field–and yes, electric fields are going to couple up. They’re going to become one. The bigger of the two is going to have a resonant frequency, like the tree is going to be resonating the natural earth’s frequency, where if you have shoes on, you’re not. You’re resonating with the environmental frequencies and so on.

Ben: What about these shoes? And I actually want to get your opinion on this because I have some sandals that are called Earth Runners sandals. I have like a carbon plug built into the bottom of them. I know there’s another company called Pluggz that makes grounding or earthing shoes. If you somehow figure out a way to get metal in the bottom of your shoe or copper like a lot of these companies use, do you think that’s sufficient? Have you looked into that at all or seen any research on it?

Clint: Well, I’ve done a lot of research on shoes. In fact, I made up a nice black rubber flip-flop like the Havaianas, and I put like a one-inch plug in it, and I developed this carbon plug. And then I went to a longevity conference and I did this for David Wolfe. And we went to a longevity conference that he had in Costa Mesa. I think we ordered a container. There’s like 16,000. We sold them all out in just a few weeks, and then we ordered another container. But in the process, everybody’s kept complaining about it. “Well, hey, I want a different color. I want some bling. I want this. I wanted different sizes and whatever.” And I said, “Excuse me, folks, I’m not in the shoe business. I don’t want to be in the shoe business.” So, I walked away from the shoe. But I told everybody else, “Here’s how you do it. Go do it.”

I’ve also worked with Nike and various other people, people from Nike and so on. And it’s interesting the shoe industry, they say, “Well, this may be true and all of these things, but we’re not going to make any grounded shoes until people come running into our store and say, ‘We want a grounded shoe,’ then we’re going to make them.”

Ben: Yeah. Well, I know it’s even on Amazon, like Amazon sells like a grounding shoe strap where you can just take any shoe like a Nike or rubber shoe or anything and wrap this strap around it, and apparently, it grounds the shoe. I haven’t yet tested that or messed around with them at all, but have you seen those?

Clint: Yeah. That’s from the electrostatic discharge industry.

Ben: Yeah. It’s called the Earthling.

Clint: Yeah. Really, there’s all kinds of people doing all kinds of things out there. I encourage all of it. Not that all of it works, but if it doesn’t work, it’ll fade away. If it does work, then people will grab onto it and bring it about. But in the ESD industry, if you are a visitor to a factory where they make chips or software or electrical components, or you’re going into a cleanroom, they will make you put one of the straps in your shoe so that you don’t have any static charge on your body when you’re in that environment. So, that’s an old, old technique. People who work in the gasoline industry, dynamite industry, you have to have grounded shoes there, you have to have a grounded shoe device of some kind.

And so that works. I mean, there’s no question about it. They don’t last very long as a problem. It may only last a day or an hour, or some may last weeks. I would like to work on that but I can’t because my footwork is focused on the research, the science getting the books out and getting the movies out. And there are millions of people that want to be in the shoe business and I encourage them to do it because the most important thing you can do in this world today is ground these shoes so these kids–because all of our kids are sick today. I mean, diabetes, almost 40% of them can be diagnosed with diabetes. Diabetes is an inflammation-related health disorder. You can’t have it if you get grounded and stay grounded.

Ben: Yeah. My kids, they’re barefoot almost all the time, unless we go to the grocery store. They are building our tree fort right now with nail guns barefoot. It may be not the safest thing, but I mean that’s just the way they roll, and they’ve been doing even more since they watched this documentary on earthing. You’ve got a lot of the science and you’ve got a lot of the research in your book, but of course, I want to talk about some people who just go reading the book, which is fantastic, by the way, and people do need to read it. But I did have another question for you, and that’s how long do you need to do this? I mean, can you just go outside, touch the ground for 60 seconds in the morning, you soak up all the negative eyes and you’re good to go, or do you need like a certain amount of time in a grounded or an earth state?

Clint: No. You need a certain amount of time. I mean, there’s a lot of people out there go touch a leaf, go do this, go do whatever. It’s all kind of craziness. But you have to, first of all, think. In nature, we were always grounded. We always lived in a grounded environment. To give you an idea, let me put it in perspective. In 1960, if you went to a medical doctor or practitioner, 90% of the visits were for infectious disease, childbirth, and acute injury. Today, 90% of the visits to a practitioner are for an inflammation-related health disorder, an autoimmune disease, something is stressing the body [01:04:55] ______ autoimmune system can’t maintain health. And 10% for infectious disease and so on, or less.

So, we’ve had a dramatic shift in our health and everything that we got. Supposedly, better water, better food, better whatever, that’s all questionable and I’m not going to get into that argument. So, in nature, I mean before 1960, as kids, we were always grounded, and there was no such thing as sick kids when I was young. I mean, some kids might have some asthma and things like that, but that’s primarily when they’re indoors. When they would go outdoors or jump in a swimming pool, the asthma would disappear.

So, what I’m trying to say is it’s like the animals in the wild, they don’t have any of these issues. So, humans, your immune system works 24 hours a day. The body is a capacitor. I mean, so you are creating radicals in your body at all times. There’s a lot of the metabolic process, there are lots of other things going on, the food you eat, the air you breathe, so on. In nature, you would be grounded 24/7 and you could not have inflammation in your body. You have the inflammatory burst, the oxidation, but that is a natural process and that’s a very short-term process, but the chronic inflammation.

So, in order to get grounded, if you have pain in your body, you need to stay grounded until the pain disappears because it will. Let me tell you another story. I’m trying to find ways to get this across. If you’re young, your body is a capacitor. You’ve got lots of resources. You can go long and hard until you’re about 27. That’s when the body starts crashing.

Ben: Well, are you saying the electrical potential of the human body is going to change as you age?

Clint: No. You just have better resources. I mean, the body is hard to–it’s hard to hurt the body before age 27. And again, I don’t know how to explain this.

Ben: Yeah. That’s a host of thing, that’s endocrine function, that’s mitochondrial density, that’s a lack of time for toxins or metals to build up. I mean, there’s a lot of things that play there.

Clint: Yes. I mean, there’s a lot of things there, but let me give you an example. The people I have worked the most with are lupus and MS, and those related family of disorders. You can take a woman who has MS. That’s neutrophils, microphages oxidizing the myelin sheath that covers the nerves. And you can see their–I mean, anybody has been around anybody’s MS. But when I ground somebody, if I take a patch, an electro patch, put it in the palm of their hand and connect it to the earth, be of the electrical ground or the ground rod, then I can honestly look at that woman and say, “You no longer have MS.” And she may have had it for 10 years. I said, “From now on, you no longer have MS. What you have is you have damage now that was created by the MS.”

But we’ve put out the fire. As soon as we put the patch on the body, then the body becomes flooded with free electrons, and then it stops that oxidative process. It stops the neutrophils from oxidizing the myelin sheath. What we found over the years–I can ground somebody with MS during sleep for eight hours and she gets up in the morning at eight o’clock, nine o’clock, and she can go for a couple hours and then the pain will start coming back. So, then eventually, we started grounding them for like 16 hours a day with patches or bands or whatever, and then they could make it through until they went back to bed that night. But so it’s like if you go ungrounded for 12 hours and you go grounded for 12 hours, you got an equalization here. But the more grounded you are, the more you put out the fire of inflammation, and then the more healing can occur.

Ben: Okay. So, basically, it’s like the more the better, but what would the minimum effective dose be?

Clint: Until the paint stops.

Ben: What if you’re not in pain? What if you’re going after health or longevity? I mean, like, are you going to see a change in negative ion potential by touching the ground for 60 seconds, or are we talking about like a necessary time of at least 10 minutes or something like that?

Clint: I’ll let you answer this. How long does it take the blood to circulate?

Ben: Like one beat of the heart for the entire body?

Clint: No, the complete circulation of the blood in the body.

Ben: I don’t know.

Clint: I think it’s like 22 minutes or something like that.

Ben: Okay. All right.

Clint: So, if you want to really get your blood charged up and–because your body does act as a capacitor, and you will hold that charge but you need to be grounded for probably, I would say, 30 minutes.

Ben: Okay.

Clint: So, what’s happened is you put the fire out, first of all. Then you got the healing mechanisms are kicking in. But at the same time, you’re building up that store of electrons on the red blood cells and every other cell in the body. So, then when you disconnect or put your shoes back on, you’re going to be able to go for quite a while.

Ben: Okay. All right.

Clint: A few hours, but then you’re going to get fatigued and run down and your color is going to change. That’s a signal you get grounded again.

Ben: Now, you sent me a couple of these grounding mats, like I’m standing on one right now while we’re talking. I think it’s called the Everything Mat that just plugs into the wall, or can be run outside and put via grounding rod into the ground. And then I also have one that I’m now traveling with. It’s like a grounding or an earthing mat that I can put next to my bed. It comes with like a testing cable or a testing device that you plug into the outlet to ensure that the outlet is grounded before you plug in the mat. Now, how common is it for an outlet to be ungrounded for people who are buying a grounding mat and plugging this into that outlet in their home? I mean, isn’t it required for most homes to be grounded–for an outlet to be grounded?

Clint: Most homes that are sold, they have to have ground in the bathrooms and the kitchens. Now, homes built before nineteen–it’s state by state, city by city, but homes built before 1960, that era, a lot of them do not have ground. There was no need to have ground. They didn’t use it. We didn’t have all the electrical type devices we have now. So, a lot of those homes don’t have a ground. And off times, what happens is they remodel those homes and they’ll go in and put in new outlets, but there’s no ground wire in the back of the–I mean, in the system. It looks like there’s a grounded outlet, but when you stick a ground in, it doesn’t register as ground because there is no ground wire connected to the outlet. So, if you have that situation, then you have to use a ground rod or have an electrician come and he’ll drill a hole through the wall and put a dedicated ground rod into that outlet that you’re going to use it.

Ben: Okay. So, you plug it into any outlet that’s grounded, or you run it through the wall, and it looks like–I think all the mat you sent me came with both options. But the other question I have for you is you have this website. Your website is Ultimate Longevity. And I’ll link to that. If you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/earthing, I’ll link to that. But I mean, you can buy grounding mats on Amazon. Like, why wouldn’t somebody just go grab one of these on Amazon Prime? Is there any difference between the technology or anything like that that you’re using? I mean, are all grounding or earthing mats created equal, or how does that work?

Clint: Well, they’re not created equal, I can assure you.

Ben: And I’m not throwing you a softball here. I don’t know. I’m just curious.

Clint: Yeah. No. Well, what it is, as soon as we started marketing these products–and by the way, you have to realize, these products came into being by accident. When we were doing our studies, everybody wanted the patches, they wanted this, they wanted that, so we ended up–this is an accidental business. But as soon as we started manufacturing the products, then when Amazon came along board, then Amazon would go out and encourage everybody to knock everybody off and have it made in China and whatever and start your own business.

And we had hundreds of people come along and start manufacturing grounding products, earthing product using our name. At $100 million dollars, you would go broke with the legal process of trying to keep everybody off, so you can’t. So, it’s an unfortunate situation out there. But the Amazon is primarily where this is at, and I’m a member of Amazon and I cannot buy anything on Amazon because I don’t know how to go to the store. But a lot of the mats are not complete. The cables they have are not sufficient. A lot of them are silver with cotton, and we stopped producing that product a few years back and had to change because they didn’t last long enough.

Men, when they work out and sweat and their sweat hits the silver in the sheets, then it oxidizes the silver and destroys the silver. So, we had to quit producing this. But we spent years developing this carbon block. And in a way that it could be used, it was safe, it didn’t have off-gassing or didn’t have all the issues and the problems. And a lot of the knockoffs do have serious outgassing problems and so on. I don’t really know. It’s not that I want to be the only person in the world supplying grounding products. There are seven billion people out there. I mean, lots of people need to do this.

But right now, the best thing on the market are the products that we offer because, one, we spent years developing them, and the main thing that we are after is they have to have the function. First of all, they have to be able to ground you, and then they have to be able to do it safely. And safely is not just the electrical. I mean, all of our cords have 100k resistor in them. So, there can be no electrical event. All of these things are important. And these people that just jump into it and try to copy everything we’re doing, the black masks that they’re selling, some of them have [01:15:16] ______, some of them have this, some of them have–but again, I can’t talk about any specific one unless I measure it.

But for safety and reliability, we’ve been around for 20 years putting these things together. And the number one thing for me is safety, electrical safety, and then it has to function, it has to ground you, and then it has to do it in a form that is comfortable for you or you can use in your environment. So, I think for what we offer, the quality of the cords, the product, and we stand behind all of our products, there’s nothing out there that will compete with them.

Ben: No. When I was talking to Dr. Jeff Spencer, I think he was actually one of the first people I ever heard talked about grounding and earthing when I was at the Ironman Hawaii Sports Medicine Conference like nine years ago. That was when I first met Dr. Spencer. And he was working with Tour de France teams at the time. I think he was with Team RadioShack. He was using these patches on them every night to help them recover more quickly between stages. The patches–basically, all you do is just plug one end of the cable into an outlet and then the other end of the patch you just stick it, because I have a bunch in my office. So, I just stick this to any surface of my body after it’s plugged in?

Clint: Yeah.

Ben: So, I don’t have to have a mat?

Clint: No. An athlete’s best friend is the patches. Anybody who has their health is seriously compromised, their best friend is the patch because what the patch does is–your skin has lots of resistance. I can have up to 5 megs resistance. So, grounding the body is–it’s going to ground, but if you ground with a patch, an electrode patch, what it does, it’s like a direct contact and so electrons can actually flow faster, and it’s going to ground you faster. The patch allows you to put the ground closer to the area where you need them. So, it’s a shorter path to ground, because when you ground the body, sometimes you got a lot of inflammation. The ground will be used of fixing that inflammation before it gets to the issue that you’re trying to solve.

So, the patches–it’s like I had a triathlon athlete here yesterday, and he had shoulder issues, cramps in his legs and all this stuff. I’m putting the patches on and doing various things. And I said, “Here’s your problem.” Basically, he’s out working out but he’s not grounding himself after he works out. He’s waiting ’til going to bed or doing something, or when the pain comes up. But anyhow, you can put the patch anywhere on the body, and I don’t care what your pain is, when five minutes is gone. And so what you’re doing is you’re just taking a firehose and pouring water on a fire.

Ben: So, you could put on specific injury spot too if you want to do the patch?

Clint: If it’s an open sore, put it nearby.

Ben: Okay. I’m referring to like an orthopedic injury or something like that.

Clint: Yeah. Just put it right on. I always use two with athletes. I always put one on the bottom of the foot and one wherever the injury or the issue is.

Ben: Okay, got it. Now, tell me about this freaking chair. You’ve got like a $3500 chair on your site and this blew my mind when I looked at it. I got a chair envy. Tell me about the chair.

Clint: The chair is–it’s a zero-gravity chair. It’s made companies like human touch that make the standard zero-gravity chair. And what we did is we put the conductive material that we have on the mats, the sleep mats and the universal mat. We used the black material that we put on those and we covered the entire chair with it. So, when you sit in the chair, then you are totally grounded. I mean, you are rock-solid grounded, because it’s a huge ground plane. It’s a lot of ground. And it was designed primarily for wellness centers and spas, and we primarily sell it to the spas. But now, people are starting to buy it individually. Older people, a lot of people sleep in it. And so it’s just a comfortable chair. I went overboard because I wanted the best rock-solid chair that you could get. And everybody wants to sit in a zero-gravity chair. So, when we have a seminar or we’re at a demonstration group, group demonstration, everybody wants to sit in the chair. They don’t know it’s grounded and they just want to sit in a zero-gravity chair.

Ben: But it’s also got like heat and massage and everything else, and then the zero-gravity position is grounded?

Clint: Yes.

Ben: That’s pretty cool.

Clint: It’s a killer app for the people that can use it.

Ben: I was going to say, yeah, if you like doing nice things.

Clint: Yeah. And we use it for–well, in the salons and so on. A lot of people use it in wellness centers for drips and for all kinds of things just to make people comfortable and grounded, get the inflammation out of their body–

Ben: Yeah, yeah.

Clint: –while they’re being treated so they have better outcomes.

Ben: Well, we didn’t even scratch the surface of all the research. I mean, you’ve got like at least 20 different peer-reviewed research studies that have been conducted on grounding, and then a ton that you guys have sent me for everything, from stress and anxiety to HRV, like improvement in HRV, improvement in vagal nerve tone, improvement in blood glucose, serum electrolytes, wound, healing. So, what I did is over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/earthing for those who are a little bit more research-minded, I’m just going to put a link to all the different research studies that Clint sent over to me.

And I’ll also link to everything we talked about in today’s podcast like the movie and the book and some of the grounding equipment, Clint’s website. And there’s also–we have a pretty fat–it’s not like a discount code, it’s a bunch of bonus materials like the book and the video and a bunch of other stuff you get when you order from his website. So, what I’m going to do also is put that over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/earthing. Or if you just want to buy a mat or some patches or whatever right away, you can go to ultimatelongevity.com/ben. That’s Clint’s website, ultimatelongevity.com/ben, and that’ll automatically give you all the bonus materials if you get a mat or whatever.

But what I own right now is I’ve got the desk mat that I stand on while I’m working. And then I’ve got the earthing mat that I just fold up and take with me when I travel because it just fits right into my carry-on. And then I have some of these patches that–I haven’t even opened the patches yet. I haven’t started messing around with the patches, but I’m looking forward to getting injured sometimes, so I can actually toss them on and see how those feel. And then, of course, I’ve got my Earth Runner sandals that I just wear whenever I’m traveling or I’ve been flying around or whatever. So, this is really cool stuff, and I would highly encourage anybody who wants to take a deeper dive to read the book because Dr. Sinatra and Clint dive deep, deep into the science in the book. And we didn’t even scratch the surface of it today, but I would recommend the book as well. So, anything else you want to throw in there, Clint?

Clint: Yeah. Think of the patches as power recovery. You got to recover fast.

Ben: I’ll open this box now after we hung up.

Clint: Because that’s what we do with the athletes, like Tour de France, all of them. It’s about recovery. It’s by staying in the game. And so that’s what the patch is really all about. Other than that, I could go on for hours, but I did want to say one thing. You’re talking about jet lag?

Ben: Mm-hmm.

Clint: When you fly–and we discovered this in one of our studies. We had three nurses that lived in New York and they were flying to San Diego daily, whatever. We measured their cortisol and their cortisol was three hours off from everybody else’s. We couldn’t figure that out, and now we realized that it’s the–when you get out of a plane and you’re not grounded yet and you measure cortisol, it’s going to be three hours up. But if you ground them for 15 minutes, just have them take their shoes off, stand barefoot on the earth, then the cortisol syncs up to a normal timeframe. So, that’s what gets rid of jet lag because if your cortisol is three hours off, then you can’t function.

Ben: Yeah.

Clint: But it syncs up. I mean, the rhythms of the earth synchronize in and regulate the circadian profiles of so many things in our body.

Ben: There’s so many fixes for jet lag like ketone esters, and glutathione, and charcoal. But I mean like if there’s anything, like water, earthing, and sunlight–I mean, if there’s nothing else you do, at least those three variables make a profound difference in my opinion. And I travel a lot.

Clint: Yup. There you go. Cool. Anytime if you have any other questions, holler at me. That’s what I spend my life doing is trying to explain all this and sharing it.

Ben: Yeah, yeah.

Clint: The main thing is, take care of the kids, [01:24:31] ______ get the kids grounded because these generations, we got to get the shoes fixed.

Ben: Yeah. My kids are definitely grounded. So, Clint, thanks so much for writing this book, for being a part of this movie, for filling all my listeners in. And again, if you’re listening, just go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/earthing. If you want to shop around for a bunch of Clint’s stuff or buy a very fancy chair, you can go to ultimatelongevity.com/ben. And in the meantime, I’m Ben Greenfield along with Clint Ober signing out from BenGreenfieldFitness.com. Have an amazing week.

Well, thanks for listening to today’s show. You can grab all the shownotes, the resources, pretty much everything that I mentioned over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com, along with plenty of other goodies from me, including the highly helpful “Ben Recommends” page, which is a list of pretty much everything that I’ve ever recommended for hormone, sleep, digestion, fat loss, performance, and plenty more. Please, also, know that all the links, all the promo codes, that I mentioned during this and every episode, helped to make this podcast happen and to generate income that enables me to keep bringing you this content every single week. When you listen in, be sure to use the links in the shownotes, use the promo codes that I generate, because that helps to float this thing and keep it coming to you each and every week.

I recently read the book Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever! (and my twin boys also watched the accompanying documentary “THE EARTHING MOVIE“).

Although I already knew about the importance of having an intimate connection with the planet we live upon, this book blew my mind when it comes to identifying one of the best solutions for chronic inflammation, better sleep, enhanced deep sleep, and much more. Since reading it, I’ve been traveling everywhere with my grounding sleeping mat, wearing my Earth runners every day, and my boys have barely even touched their shoes. In the book, author Clint Ober introduces the planet’s powerful, amazing, and overlooked natural healing energy and how people anywhere can readily connect to it. This never-before-told story—filled with fascinating research and real-life testimonials—chronicles a discovery with the potential to create a global health revolution.

So obviously, I had to get Clint on the show!

Clint Ober is the innovator behind the Grounding Movement & CEO of Earth FX Inc., a research and development company located in Palm Springs, California. A series of seemingly unrelated synchronistic events dating back to his early childhood led to a groundbreaking discovery that’s being recognized as the greatest health discovery of all time.

Grounding has now become a massive international movement—causing people to shed their shoes and reconnect electrically to the surface of the Earth.

Clint first learned about grounding when installing cable TV systems in Billings, Montana in the early 1960s. A decade later, he formed Telecrafter Corporation and built it into the largest provider of cable installation services in the United States. This company specialized in the proper grounding of cable installations for safety and TV signal stability.

In the 1980s, he turned his attention to the developing computer industry and partnered with McGraw-Hill to distribute live digital news services, via cable, to PCs. This led to the development of the first cable modem and an increased awareness of the need for proper system grounding.

Following a health challenge in 1995, Clint retired and embarked on a personal journey looking for a higher purpose in life. During his travels, he noticed people wearing plastic and rubber-soled shoes that insulate the body from Earth. He wondered if no longer being naturally grounded could affect us. The question led to an experiment that suggested grounding alone reduced chronic pain and improved sleep.

Thereafter, he developed a working hypothesis: Grounding the human body to the Earth normalizes the functioning of all of the body’s systems ​—​ the body utilizes the earth’s electrical potential and free electrons to maintain its internal electrical stability, normalizing all of its self-regulating and self-healing systems. Over the past twenty years, he has supported over 20 research studies* that collectively demonstrate that grounding reduces inflammation and promotes normal functioning of all body systems.

During our discussion, you’ll discover:
-How a near-death experience led to Clint’s interest in earthing…6:10
Clint grew up in rural Montana; childhood friends were Native Americans
“If the pasture is pristine, the cows will be healthy”
Grew up with a prevention mentality: look at the cause, not the symptoms
Spent 30 years in the communications industry
Near-death experience involving an infected liver after a root canal
“The next time I die, I wanted my life to be worth more”
“Be the opposite charge”
“Status quo is the enemy”
-Why a roll of duct tape proved to be the catalyst to Clint’s most important discovery…19:40
While living in Sedona, AZ, experienced problems with computer crashing; identified static electricity as the problem
Intuitive question: Are modern shoes preventing us from grounding with the earth?
Began testing the charge in the earth with a volt meter
Grounded himself to the earth via metal tape;
Static reading on his body went to zero
Slept the night without moving (was typically in a lot of pain)
Friends reported reduced pain, lowered arthritis
-The early days of Clint’s clinical research on grounding the body with the Earth…25:45
There was very little research on how grounding with the earth reduces pain and improves sleep
Two doctoral students at UCLA helped him design the study
60 participants: 30 grounded, 30 ungrounded
Positive results on the participants who were grounded
Similar results among those exposed to EMF and not exposed to EMF
An anesthesiologist in San Diego was willing to help with the research; he was interested in saliva cortisol levels in patients
Cortisol levels went from erratic to synchronized after grounding
At 4 am, cortisol spikes until 6 am
Everyone’s cortisol went up beginning at 4 am (with no other environmental cues)
Boundless is now in stores! Want instant access to a chapter from my new book?

Enter your email to get Chapter 14: “F&*K Diets”—where I teach you how to find the diet that’s right for you—sent straight to your inbox.

Enter your email address here…
Enter your email address here…

Yes, I’d like to be kept up to date on the latest news and exclusive offers from Ben Greenfield.


-What is going on in the body when a person is grounded with the Earth…34:00
Stephen Sinatra
“When you’re reducing pain, you’re reducing inflammation”
Led to a different understanding of inflammation
Inflammation is caused by neutrophils: encapsulates damaged cell and releases reactive oxygen
Reactive: short on electrons
We’re no longer naturally grounded with the Earth since the advent of plastic-soled shoes in the 1960s
When you stand barefoot on the ground, the Earth is negative 20-50 millivolts
The Earth has negative ions from lightning, the sun
Noon is the high point for the sun exciting the electrons on the earth
Imbalance in charge beginning 2 pm (constant lightning)
You’ll feel the effects of lightning from far away locales
The air feels amazing after a thunderstorm because of the negative charge in the atmosphere
If the body has a negative surface charge, you can’t have charge in a grounded object
Clint and Dr. Sinatra’s study had the following results (via grounding):
Reduced rouleaux formation in blood cells
Increased negative surface charge of red blood cells by a factor of 2.7
Face and skin color turns pink after being grounded for 20-30 minutes
-What our ancestors understood about earthing and grounding…54:00
One of the healing methods for the kidney in ancient Chinese medicine is grounding with the earth
Our ancestors didn’t need to know about grounding; they were barefoot or wore conductive footwear
-The best surface when it comes to conductivity between the Earth and the body…56:15
Concrete, grass, and dirt are ideal; asphalt is not
Rocks are good conductors
Saltwater is the optimal way to ground; freshwater speeds up the process but is not itself conductive (unless it contains minerals)
Springwater has a natural amount of minerals
If you can feel the tree and it feels cool, it’s grounding; bark inhibits the grounding process
Earthrunners grounding sandals
Pluggz grounding shoes
Earthling grounding strap
Diabetes is inflammation-related; you can be grounded and have diabetes
-The length of time required for a person to become properly grounded with the Earth…1:04:04
-How to know whether or not your home is grounded with the Earth…1:10:45
Homes built before the 1960s were not grounded; there was no need for it at the time
Remodels of older homes don’t necessarily have grounding, even though new outlets are installed
-Whether all grounding mats created equal…1:12:15
“Ours is an accidental business”
Mass production has compromised the quality and efficacy of the mats
Clint maintains his products are the best on the market; although he wishes more would get in the business
The patches are an athlete’s best friend
-And much more…
Resources from this episode:
– Check out Clint’s indoor grounding products at Ultimate Longevity. You’ll get FREE* 2-day shipping (as long as the order is over $99) and a FREE* copy of the Earthing paperback book by Clint Ober (included with every Ground Therapy Sleep Mat purchase). Plus all orders get 3 bonus videos available online for immediate streaming or download (access link provided on order confirmation page)!

– Clint’s book “Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever!”

– Root Cause movie

– Earthrunners grounding sandals

– Pluggz grounding shoes

– Earthling grounding strap

Note from Ben: “I didn’t even have time, today, to delve deeply into ALL of the over 20 peer-reviewed research studies that have been conducted on grounding, but I do want to at least give you a comprehensive list of the vast results that have been seen in the research, so far – impressive results have been seen when it comes to inflammation, pain, stiffness, circulation, blood pressure, blood viscosity, HRV, vagal tone, cortisol, stress, anxiety, depression, tiredness, fatigue, energy, mood, blood glucose, immunity, sleep, thyroid function, metabolism, serum electrolytes, wound healing, athletic performance and recovery, and more. There have also been anecdotal reports of improvements in autism, Parkinson’s, MS, PTSD, autoimmune conditions, and pet health, just to name a few. But I’m going to put all that below! Enjoy!”

Quick View: Grounding Research Results
Initial Grounding Experiment Conducted by Clint Ober: Improved Sleep And Reduced Pain
Medical Thermography Case Studies: Clinical Earthing Application in 20 Case studies
Electrical Grounding Improves Vagal Tone In Preterm Infants
Emotional Stress, Heart Rate Variability, Grounding, And Improved Autonomic Tone: Clinical Applications
Effectiveness of Grounded Sleeping on Recovery After Intensive Eccentric Muscle Loading
Pilot Study on the Effect of Grounding on Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness
The Biologic Effects of Grounding the Human Body During Sleep as Measured by Cortisol Levels and Subjective Reporting of Sleep, Pain, and Stress
Earthing (Grounding) the Human Body Reduces Blood Viscosity—a Major Factor in Cardiovascular Disease
Earthing the Human Body Influences Physiologic Processes
The Effect of Grounding the Human Body on Mood
Effects Of Grounding (Earthing) On Bodyworkers’ Pain And Overall Quality O Life: A Randomized Controlled Trial
Changes in Pulse Rate, Respiratory Rate, Blood Oxygenation, Perfusion Index, Skin Conductance, and Their Variability Induced During and After Grounding Human Subjects for 40 Minutes
Differences in Blood Urea and Creatinine Concentrations in Earthed and Unearthed Subjects
during Cycling Exercise and Recovery
Grounding After Moderate Eccentric Contractions Reduces Muscle Damage
Effects of Grounding (Earthing) on Massage Therapists: An Exploratory Study
The Neuromodulative Role of Earthing
One-Hour Contact with the Earth’s Surface (Grounding) Improves Inflammation and Blood Flow — A Randomized, Double-Blind, Pilot Study
Grounding the Human Body during Yoga Exercise with a Grounded Yoga Mat Reduces Blood Viscosity
Grounding the Human Body Improves Facial Blood Flow Regulation: Results of a Randomized, Placebo Controlled Pilot Study
The Effect Of Earthing On Human Physiology – Part 1
The Effect Of Earthing On Human Physiology – Part 2

Inflammation can be both good and bad.

On one hand, it helps your body defend itself from infection and injury. On the other hand, chronic inflammation can lead to weight gain and disease (1Trusted Source).

Stress, inflammatory foods, and low activity levels can make this risk even greater.

However, studies demonstrate that some foods can fight inflammation.

Here are 13 anti-inflammatory foods.

1. Berries
Berries are small fruits that are packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Although dozens of varieties exist, some of the most common include:

Berries contain antioxidants called anthocyanins. These compounds have anti-inflammatory effects that may reduce your risk of disease (2Trusted Source, 3Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source).

Your body produces natural killer cells (NK cells), which help keep your immune system functioning properly.

In one study in men, those who consumed blueberries every day produced significantly more NK cells than those who did not (5Trusted Source).

In another study, adults with excess weight who ate strawberries had lower levels of certain inflammatory markers associated with heart disease (6Trusted Source).

Berries provide antioxidants known as anthocyanins. These compounds may reduce inflammation, boost immunity, and reduce your risk of heart disease.

See how we find your talent
See More
2. Fatty fish
Fatty fish are a great source of protein and the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA.

Although all types of fish contain some omega-3 fatty acids, these fatty fish are among the best sources:

EPA and DHA reduce inflammation that can lead to metabolic syndrome, heart disease, diabetes, and kidney disease (7Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source, 9Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source, 12Trusted Source).

Your body metabolizes these fatty acids into compounds called resolvins and protectins, which have anti-inflammatory effects (10Trusted Source).

Studies have found that people consuming salmon or EPA and DHA supplements experienced reductions in the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein (CRP) (11Trusted Source, 12Trusted Source).

However, in another study, people with an irregular heartbeat who took EPA and DHA daily experienced no difference in inflammatory markers, compared with those who received a placebo (13Trusted Source).

Fatty fish boast high amounts of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which have anti-inflammatory effects.


Ads by Teads

3. Broccoli
Broccoli is extremely nutritious.

It’s a cruciferous vegetable, along with cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and kale.

Research has shown that eating a lot of cruciferous vegetables is associated with a decreased risk of heart disease and cancer (14Trusted Source, 15Trusted Source).

This may be related to the anti-inflammatory effects of the antioxidants they contain.

Broccoli is rich in sulforaphane, an antioxidant that fights inflammation by reducing your levels of cytokines and NF-kB, which drive inflammation (16Trusted Source, 17Trusted Source, 18Trusted Source).

Broccoli is one of the best sources of sulforaphane, an antioxidant with powerful anti-inflammatory effects.

4. Avocados
Avocados may be one of the few supposed superfoods worthy of the title.

They’re packed with potassium, magnesium, fiber, and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.

They also contain carotenoids and tocopherols, which are linked to reduced cancer risk (19Trusted Source, 20Trusted Source, 21Trusted Source).

In addition, one compound in avocados may reduce inflammation in young skin cells (22Trusted Source).

In one study, when people consumed a slice of avocado with a hamburger, they had lower levels of the inflammatory markers NF-kB and IL-6, compared with participants who ate the hamburger alone (23Trusted Source).

Avocados offer various beneficial compounds that protect against inflammation and may reduce your cancer risk.

See how we find your talent
See More
5. Green tea
You’ve probably heard that green tea is one of the healthiest beverages you can drink.

It reduces your risk of heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity, and other conditions (, , , ).

Many of its benefits are due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, especially a substance called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG).

EGCG inhibits inflammation by reducing pro-inflammatory cytokine production and damage to the fatty acids in your cells (, ).

You can buy green tea in most stores or online.

Green tea’s high EGCG content reduces inflammation and safeguards your cells from damage that can lead to disease.
6. Peppers
Bell peppers and chili peppers are loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants that have powerful anti-inflammatory effects (28Trusted Source, 29Trusted Source, 30Trusted Source).

Bell peppers provide the antioxidant quercetin, which may reduce one marker of oxidative damage in people with sarcoidosis, an inflammatory disease (31Trusted Source).

Chili peppers contain sinapic acid and ferulic acid, which may reduce inflammation and lead to healthier aging (32, 33Trusted Source).

Chili peppers and bell peppers are rich in quercetin, sinapic acid, ferulic acid, and other antioxidants with strong anti-inflammatory effects.

Take our free 3-question diet quiz
Our free assessment ranks the best diets for you based on your answers to 3 quick questions.

7. Mushrooms
While thousands of varieties of mushrooms exist worldwide, only a few are edible and grown commercially.

These include truffles, portobello mushrooms, and shiitake.

Mushrooms are very low in calories and rich in selenium, copper, and all of the B vitamins.

They also contain phenols and other antioxidants that provide anti-inflammatory protection (34Trusted Source, 35Trusted Source, 36Trusted Source, 37Trusted Source, 38Trusted Source).

A special type of mushroom called lion’s mane may potentially reduce low-grade, obesity-related inflammation (36Trusted Source).

However, one study found that cooking mushrooms lowered their anti-inflammatory compounds significantly. Thus, it may be best to eat them raw or lightly cooked (37Trusted Source).

Some edible mushrooms boast compounds that may decrease inflammation. Eating them raw or lightly cooked may help you reap their full anti-inflammatory potential.

8. Grapes
Grapes contain anthocyanins, which reduce inflammation.

In addition, they may decrease the risk of several diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s, and eye disorders (39Trusted Source, 40Trusted Source, 41Trusted Source, 42Trusted Source, 43Trusted Source).

Grapes are also one of the best sources of resveratrol, another compound that has many health benefits.

In one study, people with heart disease who consumed grape extract daily experienced a decrease in inflammatory gene markers, including NF-kB (43Trusted Source).

What’s more, their levels of adiponectin increased. Low levels of this hormone are associated with weight gain and an increased risk of cancer (44Trusted Source).

Several plant compounds in grapes, such as resveratrol, can reduce inflammation. They may also reduce your risk of several diseases.

9. Turmeric
Turmeric is a spice with a strong, earthy flavor that’s often used in curries and other Indian dishes.

It has received a lot of attention for its content of curcumin, a powerful anti-inflammatory nutrient.

Turmeric reduces inflammation related to arthritis, diabetes, and other diseases (, , , , , , ).

In fact, consuming 1 gram of curcumin daily combined with piperine from black pepper caused a significant decrease in the inflammatory marker CRP in people with metabolic syndrome ().

However, it may be hard to get enough curcumin to experience a noticeable effect from turmeric alone.

In one study, women with excess weight who took 2.8 grams of turmeric per day showed no improvement in inflammatory markers ().

Taking supplements containing isolated curcumin is much more effective. Curcumin supplements are often combined with piperine, which can boost curcumin absorption by 2,000% ().

If you’re interested in using turmeric in cooking, you can find it in most grocery stores or online.

Turmeric contains a powerful anti-inflammatory compound called curcumin. Eating black pepper with turmeric can significantly enhance the absorption of curcumin.
10. Extra virgin olive oil
Extra virgin olive oil is one of the healthiest fats you can eat.

It’s rich in monounsaturated fats and a staple in the Mediterranean diet, which provides numerous health benefits.

Studies link extra virgin olive oil to a reduced risk of heart disease, brain cancer, and other serious health conditions (, , , , , , ).

In one study on the Mediterranean diet, CRP and several other inflammatory markers significantly decreased in those who consumed 1.7 ounces (50 ml) of olive oil daily ().

The effect of oleocanthal, an antioxidant found in olive oil, has been compared to anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen ().

Keep in mind that extra virgin olive oil offers greater anti-inflammatory benefits than those provided by more refined olive oils ().

It’s easy to find extra virgin olive oil at your local grocery store, but you can also buy it online.

Extra virgin olive oil provides powerful anti-inflammatory benefits, which may reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, and other serious health conditions.
Voting feels good.
Exercising your right to vote contributes to your total well-being. Make sure you’re election-ready, sign up to vote by mail today.

11. Dark chocolate and cocoa
Dark chocolate is delicious, rich, and satisfying.

It’s also packed with antioxidants that reduce inflammation. These may reduce your risk of disease and lead to healthier aging (, , , , , ).

Flavanols are responsible for chocolate’s anti-inflammatory effects and keep the endothelial cells that line your arteries healthy (, ).

In one study, smokers experienced significant improvements in endothelial function within 2 hours of eating high-flavonol chocolate ().

However, make sure to choose dark chocolate that contains at least 70% cocoa — a greater percentage is even better — to reap these anti-inflammatory benefits.

If you forgot to grab this treat on your last run to the store, you can always buy it online.

Flavanols in dark chocolate and cocoa can reduce inflammation. They may also reduce your risk of several diseases.
12. Tomatoes
The tomato is a nutritional powerhouse.

Tomatoes are high in vitamin C, potassium, and lycopene, an antioxidant with impressive anti-inflammatory properties (66Trusted Source, 67Trusted Source, 68Trusted Source, 69Trusted Source).

Lycopene may be particularly beneficial for reducing pro-inflammatory compounds related to several types of cancer (67Trusted Source, 68Trusted Source).

One study determined that drinking tomato juice significantly decreased inflammatory markers in women with excess weight — but not those with obesity (69Trusted Source).

Note that cooking tomatoes in olive oil can maximize the amount of lycopene you absorb (70Trusted Source).

That’s because lycopene is a carotenoid, a nutrient that’s better absorbed with a source of fat.

Tomatoes are an excellent source of lycopene, which may reduce inflammation and protect against cancer.

13. Cherries
Cherries are delicious and rich in antioxidants, such as anthocyanins and catechins, which fight inflammation (71Trusted Source, 72Trusted Source, 73Trusted Source, 74Trusted Source, 75Trusted Source).

Although the health-promoting properties of tart cherries have been studied more than other varieties, sweet cherries also provide benefits.

In one study, when people consumed 280 grams of cherries per day for 1 month, their levels of the inflammatory marker CRP decreased and stayed low for 28 days after they stopped eating cherries (75Trusted Source).

Sweet and tart cherries contain antioxidants that reduce inflammation and your risk of disease.

Inflammatory foods
In addition to filling your diet with nutritious anti-inflammatory ingredients, it’s important to limit your consumption of foods that can promote inflammation.

For example, processed foods like fast food, frozen meals, and processed meats have been associated with higher levels of inflammatory markers like CRP (Trusted Source76, Trusted Source77, 78Trusted Source).

Meanwhile, fried foods and partially hydrogenated oils contain trans fats, a type of unsaturated fatty acid that has also been linked to increased levels of inflammation (79Trusted Source, Trusted Source80).

Other foods like sugar-sweetened beverages and refined carbs have likewise been shown to promote inflammation (Trusted Source81, 82Trusted Source).

Here are some examples of foods that have been linked to increased levels of inflammation:

Junk foods: fast food, convenience meals, potato chips, pretzels
Refined carbohydrates: white bread, pasta, white rice, crackers, flour tortillas, biscuits
Fried foods: french fries, donuts, fried chicken, mozzarella sticks, egg rolls
Sugar-sweetened beverages: soda, sweet tea, energy drinks, sports drinks
Processed meats: bacon, beef jerky, canned meat, salami, hot dogs, smoked meat
Trans fats: shortening, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, margarine
Certain ingredients like sugar-sweetened beverages, processed foods, fried foods, and partially hydrogenated fats can increase levels of inflammation in the body.

The bottom line
Even low levels of inflammation on a chronic basis can lead to disease.

Do your best to keep inflammation in check by choosing a wide variety of delicious, antioxidant-rich foods.

Peppers, dark chocolate, fish, and extra virgin olive oil are just a few foods that can help you combat inflammation and reduce your risk of illness.

Start a custom weight loss program
Noom helps you adopt healthy habits so you can lose weight and keep it off. Your program is customized to your goals and fitness needs. Just take a quick assessment and get started today.

Last medically reviewed on December 19, 2019

Written by Franziska Spritzler on December 19, 2019 — Medically reviewed by Atli Arnarson BSc, PhD

related stories
17 Science-Based Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
6 Foods That Cause Inflammation
The 20 Healthiest Fruits on the Planet
13 Cholesterol-Lowering Foods to Add to Your Diet
The 15 Best Foods to Eat When You’re Sick

Why You Should Start Your Morning with Ginger

50 Foods That Are Super Healthy

Top 11 Superfoods That Can Save Your Life

10 Anti-Aging Foods to Support Your 40s-and-Beyond Body

Healthy Dinner Recipes in 10 Minutes (or Less)

Was this article helpful?

17 Science-Based Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Written by Freydis Hjalmarsdottir, MS
Omega-3 fatty acids are incredibly important for your body and brain. This article lists 17 science-based health benefits of omega-3s.


6 Foods That Cause Inflammation
Written by Franziska Spritzler
Some foods can drive inflammation and raise your risk of chronic disease. Here are 6 foods that increase inflammation in the body.

The 20 Healthiest Fruits on the Planet
Written by Brianna Elliott, RD
Eating fruit can boost your health and help prevent disease. Here are the 20 healthiest fruits on earth, backed by science.


13 Cholesterol-Lowering Foods to Add to Your Diet
Written by Kerri-Ann Jennings, MS, RD
Here are 13 foods that have been shown to lower cholesterol in studies. Some of them also improve other risk factors for heart disease.

The 15 Best Foods to Eat When You’re Sick
Written by Taylor Jones, RD
Eating the right foods can have major benefits when you’re sick. Here are the 15 best foods to eat when sick with the cold, flu, nausea or anything…


10 High-Fat Foods That Are Actually Super Healthy
Written by Kris Gunnars, BSc
Many healthy and nutritious foods were unfairly demonized for being high in fat. Here are 10 high-fat foods that are actually incredibly healthy.

6 Supplements That Fight Inflammation
Written by Franziska Spritzler
Inflammation is one of the leading drivers of many common diseases. Here are 6 supplements that can reduce inflammation, backed by science.

What’s Your Warrior?
We are a team of a million unique and powerful individuals. And we’ve got a job for every skill set. What’s your warrior?
The 12 Best Foods to Eat in the Morning
Written by Franziska Spritzler
Eating breakfast can be either good or bad, depending on what foods you eat. Here are the 12 best foods to eat in the morning.

Top 11 Superfoods That Can Save Your Life
Medically reviewed by Kris Gunnars, BSc
Some foods are healthier than others. These 11 foods are either highly nutritious or contain unique bioactive compounds that have powerful health…

Samsung Galaxy S20 5G
Always 5G ready. Always Texas. Break free from slow load times with the Galaxy S20 5G.
The 8 Healthiest Berries You Can Eat
Written by Ruairi Robertson, PhD
Berries taste great and may have many health benefits, including preventing and reducing symptoms of chronic disease. Here are 8 of the healthiest…


Podcast from https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2016/05/paleo-autoimmune-protocol/

[00:15] EXO Cricket Protein Bars

[01:35] Emulsified MCT Oil

[03:00] Kimera Koffee

[04:22] Introduction

[07:09] Who is Eileen Laird?

[08:21] Where does the phrase ‘Phoenix Helix’ come from?

[09:50] What is exactly an Autoimmune Protocol Diet?

[12:32] The minimum of 30 days of elimination diet

[16:51] What a sample daily meal plan would look like

[29:02] Why Eileen isn’t a fan of Stevia

[33:42] A surprising “substitute” for organ meats

[35:40] Three “gentle” ways to detox

[37:55] What is Dry Skin Brushing?

[40:18] How to make meals interesting if you can’t use nightshades

[42:35] Little trick about garlic

[43:39] How to transition back to normal eating after following the AIP

[49:42] End of Podcast

Ben: Hey, folks. It’s Ben Greenfield. There’s one diet that I recommend more often than any other diet on the face of the planet. I’m going to tell you about it in today’s episode, but before we talk about dieting, let’s talk about eating, and I want to tell you about something I’ve been eating lately called E-X-O. E-X-O is actually a bar, a very flavorful bar that’s got no glutens, no grains, no soy, and no dairy. It was developed by an award-winning three Michelin starred chef, the actual former head of research and development at the Fat Duck which was ranked the number one restaurant in the world during this guy’s tenure, and the actual bars are made out of, you guessed it, cricket protein powder. They have flavors like peanut butter and jelly and banana bread. They’ve been featured in Men’s Health, in the New York Times. They’re this incredible start-up based out of New York City and they actually taste really, really good.

Now here’s the deal, you can actually get a sampler pack with all of their most popular flavors, their sweet stuff and their savory stuff, and you do so when you go to exoprotein.com/ben. That’s E-X-O protein dot com slash Ben for these cricket protein bars. It’s the protein of the future. So they’re a small, they’re a nimble start-up, they sell-out all the time, so get them while the getting’s good, exoprotein.com/ben.

This podcast is also brought to you by something I’ve been using instead of coconut milk. So a lot of times I will use a full fat coconut milk in my smoothie and occasionally blend it into my coffee, but now I’ve been using this stuff that is far tastier and allows me to engage in better living through the magic of science. It’s called Emulsified MCT Oil. It comes in vanilla, strawberry, and coconut flavors. I’ve been using the coconut flavor, but basically MCTs are medium chain triglycerides. So they bypass digestion and they’re used very, very readily by your cells for energy. They’re also used by your body to generate ketones and keep you in ketosis.

Now when you emulsify MCTs, it allows you to just store them into anything, cup of coffee, tea, smoothie, you name it, without needing a messy blender, and Onnit has come up with this Emulsified MCT Oil. The nerds in lab coats over at Onnit have developed this stuff. So here’s how you can try this for 10% off: you go to onnit.com/bengreenfield. That’s O-N-N-I-T dot com slash bengreenfield. My favorite is the coconut emulsified MCT oil. So that’s the stuff I’d recommend you grab, but you can try the other flavors too. Either way, onnit.com/bengreenfield is where you get this emulsified MCT oil.

And then finally, this podcast is brought to you by something you could put said oil into, Kimera Koffee. You can check it out at K-i-m-e-r-a-k-o-f-f-e-e dot com. They’ve got folks like bodybuilders, adventurers, MMA artists, crossfit athletes, some of the most extreme athletes on the face of the planet relying on this stuff to fuel themselves every single day, along with little old moi.

They’ve got a bunch of recipes on their website too for things like Nick the Tooth’s Gorilla Coffee, which is coffee that’s blended with a bunch of different super nutrients like maca root, and almond butter, and organic coconut oil, and stevia. And their coffee itself, before you even put anything in it, has a bunch of different compounds called nootropics in it that spin the dials in your brain. They’ve got Alpha-GPC, taurine, L-theanine, DMAE, so above and beyond just the caffeine in the coffee, they’ve got a bunch of other compounds that make you smarter and improve your brain’s power output, cognition, and focus. So you get 10% of this stuff if you go to kimerakoffee.com, that’s K-i-m-e-r-a-k-o-f-f-e-e dot com, and at kimerakoffee.com, you use discount code Ben to save 10%. Alright, that’s it. Let’s jump into this episode, and find out about that diet I mentioned.

In this episode of The Ben Greenfield Fitness Show:

“One part of your immune system, depending on your diagnosis is working overtime, and some herbs and supplements stimulate one part of the immune system. So if it’s the part that’s already working overtime for you, it’s gonna make your symptoms worse, but if it’s the part that’s not working overtime, it can sometimes help you balance out.” “And what happens is there’s a few, like guard cells circulating your immune system that know which foods were a problem for you, and so that when you reintroduce them very carefully, very scientifically, if it’s a food that is a problem for you, and your body’ll let you know very quickly.”

He’s an expert in human performance and nutrition, voted America’s top personal trainer and one of the globe’s most influential people in health and fitness. His show provides you with everything you need to optimize physical and mental performance. He is Ben Greenfield. “Power, speed, mobility, balance – whatever it is for you that’s the natural movement, get out there! When you look at all the studies done… studies that have shown the greatest efficacy…” All the information you need in one place, right here, right now, on the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.

Ben: Hey, folks. It’s Ben Greenfield here, and it seems like probably about once a month, possibly more frequently than that on a podcast or in a comments section of an article I’ve written, I’m recommending that somebody, whether that somebody is having skin issues like acne, or eczema, or gut pain, or brain fog, or food allergies, or intolerances, or constipation, or any other signs of immune system issues or inflammation issues, seems like I’m recommending that they try this thing called the Autoimmune Diet.

And the problem seems is that this diet, typically it’s meant to be followed for kinda like a shorter period of time in most cases until things are kind of healed up, it can be confusing when it comes to whether you really need to use it to heal an issue, which foods are allowed and which ones aren’t, how to transition off of it back into normal eating, how long you need to stay on it, and what you do after you’ve finished up a cycle of this diet.

So I decided to get somebody who just wrote a book about this diet. It’s this handy little book that I would imagine that would literally takes you like an hour to read, and the author’s name is Eileen Laird. She just wrote A Simple Guide to the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol. Now, I read this last week and it’s exactly what it promises, super simple. It’s written like a conversation between friends and it contains pretty much everything in a tiny little book that can easily fit in your purse or your backpack.

And, so, who is Eileen? She’s a writer. She’s got a podcast called the Phoenix Helix Podcast. She writes for Paleo Magazine which, if you haven’t read that magazine yet, even if you’re not Paleo, which I’m not by the way, you can still get a lot of benefit out of that magazine. I write for it as well, and I’ll link to that on the show notes, but she’s actually worked quite a bit with reversing like joint pain and rheumatoid arthritis with this diet. She’s got a blog called Phoenix Helix, and I’ll link to that in the show notes, where she’s got recipes, and research, and stories about the Autoimmune Diet, and Autoimmunity, and the column that she writes in Paleo Magazine is called Autoimmune Answers. So, that being said, Eileen, I have a quick question for you before we jump in, where does the word or the phrase Phoenix Helix come from?

Eileen: Yeah, I’m glad you asked. So, I have rheumatoid arthritis and it hit my life like a wrecking ball back in 2012. I was super fit, I was hiking 10 miles for fun on the weekends, I was working as a deep tissue massage therapist, and within six months of rheumatoid arthritis hitting my body, I was limping across the living room and I didn’t have the strength to like wash dishes. So, how I describe it as I felt like I was knocked down so hard that I didn’t know if I would ever rise again, and I just needed images of hope and the Phoenix, of course, rising from the ashes is something that really spoke to me, and the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol is a big part of the way I was able to do that.

So, I think anyone with Autoimmune disease that’s severe, and I think most of them might know that there’s such a thing as a mild one, knows what I’m talking about. It’s just their symptoms might be different than mine based on their diagnosis, but it can just really dramatically impact your life and everyone’s looking for hope. So that’s the Phoenix, and then the Helix just symbolizes our DNA, and that we are more than our DNA. So I know that you talk about that all the time, so I’m a big fan of epigenetics, the ability to affect the expression of our genes, and that we aren’t a slave to them and we don’t have to lose hope just because we have some that set us up for a vulnerability.

Ben: It all makes sense now. Okay. Phoenix Helix. I like it. It rolls off the tongue quite nicely.

Eileen: Thank you.

Ben: It’s got a good ring to it. Okay. So, let’s start here for folks. What exactly is the Autoimmune Paleo Diet.

Eileen: So it’s a diet and lifestyle program designed to reduce inflammation body-wide, calm down an overactive immune system, and give your body a chance to heal. So that’s kind of the broad view. The details are, it’s an elimination diet at its core. So it removes a lot of the foods that are known to be inflammation triggers for people in general, that’s like the Paleo foods, and then it also removes more foods that are known to sometimes be a problem for people with autoimmune disease specifically. And so, your audience, are they pretty familiar with what Paleo is?

Ben: Yeah. They’re pretty familiar with what Paleo is, and in podcast number 350 of The Ben Greenfield Fitness Show, I talked about auto-immunity, and how the body tends to like mount an inflammatory reaction against itself in response to certain environmental factors or food factors, right, like mold, or fungus, or, you know, certain foods to which you might be intolerant or allergic. And so, yeah, folks are familiar with what the Paleo diet is, but this diet is different than the Paleo diet, right?

Eileen: Right. So, it’s harder to just be up front about that, but it can also make…

Ben: ‘Cause you eliminate more foods.

Eileen: Yeah, but it’s, like you had mentioned early on, that’s not meant to last forever, and so you start with Paleo, but then you also remove, I know some people who are Paleo are kind of Primal Paleo, so they eat high-quality dairy. The autoimmune protocol, you can’t have any dairy at all, you can’t even have ghee. It also removes…

Ben: And I know, you’re about to launch into a bunch of other things that you potentially can’t have, but to my understanding the reason is that these proteins that you’re eliminating on an autoimmune protocol are the proteins that your body would mount an inflammatory reaction against?

Eileen: Potentially. So the beauty of an elimination diet is you remove all of these potential immune system inflammation triggers for a minimum of 30 days, and that gives your body a chance to calm down, the chronic inflammatory response can go away, you start to feel a little bit better, you get a good baseline for improvements. And what happens is there’s a few like guard cells circulating your immune system that know which foods were a problem for you, and so that when you reintroduce them very carefully, very scientifically, your body, if it’s a food that is a problem for you, your body let you know very quickly.

Ben: Okay.

Eileen: And if it’s not a problem for you, then you can get that food back in your diet. And so it’s different for each person.

Ben: Why 30 days? Is there science behind that or is that just like a random number?

Eileen: There is science behind it, I think some elimination diet say 21 days of it is the minimum. I know the AIP has always been 30 days, and I don’t know that’s just because Robb Wolf kind of started promoting that and he’s big on the 30 day, you know, see how you feel after 30 days of trying something that’s good for you. It’s definitely 21 days it takes for your immune system to calm down. So if you don’t do it for a full 21 days, it’s not long enough.

Ben: That’s what I was curious about, if it was related to like gastrointestinal mucosal growth, like you know, ’cause your epithelial cells are constantly turning over in your intestine and from everything that I’ve seen, it’s, you know, somewhere in like the four to eight week range that it takes for complete epithelial cell turnover in your intestine for your gut to basically heal more or less, or to reinvent itself. That was why I suspected that it might be 30 days or approximately four weeks and I know a lot of the autoimmune protocols that I’ve seen tend to range from like 4 up to 12 weeks or so, but I was just curious if you had any other ideas about the whole like, you know, follow it for 30 days type of recommendation.

Eileen: That makes complete sense to me, what you’re talking about, and I know there’s an immune system component too.

Ben: Okay.

Eileen: Because Sarah Ballantyne has talked about that before where she says there’s different types of immune cells and some have longer lifespans than others and so it gives a bunch of them a chance to frankly die and go away, and then only the guards are circulating.

Ben: Okay, and these immune cells that die and go away would be the immune cells that contain the memory, so to speak, or the programming to attack the body’s own tissue because they can’t differentiate between the body’s own tissue and that thing that you might be allergic to, like the dairy proteins that are in butter, for example.

Eileen: Yeah. So it gives like the attackers a chance to die and then the guards still have the memory. So if you eat that food again, they’ll let you know that that’s a problem for you.

Ben: Okay. Got it.

Eileen: Does that make sense?

Ben: Yup. It makes perfect sense. So you were talking about how, unlike the Paleo diet which would allow for something like grass-fed butter, for example, the autoimmune protocol would actually only allow for something like ghee, which contains none of the dairy proteins.

Eileen: Actually, it doesn’t even allow ghee.

Ben: Oh, really? Not even ghee?

Eileen: Yeah.

Ben: Really?

Eileen: And I’m glad you brought that up because one thing I’ve learned, so I’ve been doing this for, like in this community, for about four years now, and I noticed a number of people were reacting to ghee which doesn’t make any sense based on what we know about ghee, and what I’ve learned is just the autoimmune body is just different than any other body.

And so trace, trace, trace proteins are enough to trigger an autoimmune body, whereas someone else who just, maybe, gets a little sinus congestion with regular dairy and they do great with ghee, for someone with autoimmune disease, what I have found is, it’s interesting, some people can have dairy, like no problem, and if they can have ghee, they can usually have butter, high fat cream, and sometimes even cheese.

Ben: Okay.

Eileen: And then others like me who react negatively to other forms of dairy, I can’t even have ghee, it causes me to flare.

Ben: What are some other foods that would be more, I hate to use the word ‘allowed’ ’cause it sounds so religious, but would be examples of some other foods that would be on the Paleo diet, but that wouldn’t be on an autoimmune protocol?

Eileen: Sure. So nightshades are a big group. So that things like potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, bell peppers, cayenne peppers, and a few other little herbs like ashwagandha. So that goes out for, at least temporarily, eggs are out, and nuts and seeds. And a good way to look at it is just think of them as temporarily excluded, and I think of the auto immune protocol as a great self-experiment on your body. That’s really what it is. So you’re removing these foods for a while, hopefully you’ll start to feel better. So that lets you know, “Okay. Some of these foods are a problem for me specifically.” And then the reintroduction process lets you figure out which ones those are, and then you can expand your diet again and still feel good.

Ben: Alright. Lest we lose all of our listeners just now with you excluding everything from nuts and seeds to nightshades and ashwagandha…

Eileen: I know. It’s overwhelming.

Ben: Walk me through a sample daily meal plan. Walk me through like what you would eat if you were following like the gold standard version of this program for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and maybe throw a snack in there so people can kinda wrap their head around this.

Eileen: Sure! So you’re really focusing on, it’s not weird foods at all, it’s like really high-quality meat, seafood, vegetables, some fruits, and healthy fats. So you start the day with, a lot of people love to do skillet breakfasts with some leftovers maybe from the night before. So, it might be some shredded meat and some sweet potatoes and some greens mixed in with maybe some lovely coconut oil, and some seasoning that are allowed on the AIP, but that’s a little tricky with seasonings, but there are, like herbs generally speaking are allowed. A lot of the spices are out temporarily, but you do get some of those back. But you maybe throw in a bunch of Italian herbs or Greek herbs for some flavor, I love starting the day with soup, and I know that can sound strange in the United States, but like a huge portion of the world starts their day with soup, and I find it…

Ben: I had a lot of good soup at a lot of good Japanese hotels.

Eileen: Right? Exactly! And it’s like a nourishing, really satiating, gentle way to start the day. So I make a big batch of homemade chicken and vegetable soup every week and it lasts, it feeds my husband and myself for five days. So I don’t have to cook in the morning, so I just heat it up. So that’s a really nice way to do that. And I’ve actually been able to reintroduce eggs successfully and I still prefer the soup, so that’s an example of AIP food sometimes taste even better than what you’re used to once you change your habit.

Ben: I want to hear about lunch and dinner here in a second as well, but for, let’s say for like an athlete, somebody who’s really physically active following the autoimmune protocol, do you find that they just have to step back because, let’s face it, soup is not that nutrient dense. There are some people getting up in the morning and hammering through like 90 minute workouts. For people like that, is the general recommendation to step back when you’re doing an autoimmune protocol and like just start doing like yoga and easy workouts and stuff like that? Or are there more nutrient dense options than, say soup, for something like breakfast.

Eileen: Yeah. I think it really depends on the person, like why are you doing the autoimmune protocol and where are you at in your health? So I know that, a lot of times, if an athlete, maybe, ’cause you mentioned a bunch of people who maybe could benefit from the autoimmune protocol, who maybe don’t have autoimmune disease, but they’re experiencing symptoms that are related to leaky gut and increased inflammation, and it is true that if you can take a break and just step back while you’re doing the Autoimmune protocol and relax more and do a lower key exercise during that time, that gives your body a greater chance to heal. And I do find people in that situation, if you don’t have auto immune disease, you’re more likely to be able to reintroduce almost everything after 30 to 60 days because your body just needed, needed a break, if that makes sense.

Ben: Yeah. It does make sense, and in a many cases, like what I’ll do when someone comes to me with say, like adrenal fatigue, a lot of times you tend to see a lot of immune system issues go hand-in-hand with that. A lot of excessive inflammatory issues go hand-in-hand with that.

You know the Ironman triathlete, the crossfitter, the Spartan racer who needs that one-two combo, and so what I’ll generally do is I’ll put somebody on like yoga, super slow lifting, easy swimming, maybe a little bit of like breath work, some nice walks in the sunshine and a lot of like mobility work, right, like foam rolling and all sorts of things that tend to keep that busy high-achiever athlete, fitness enthusiast’s mind and body occupied without them actually having to charge down the highway pounding the pavement and putting more stress on the body, but then I’ll combine something like that with a recommendation to use an elimination diet just to allow the body to completely clean up.

And some folks will dish out the hundreds or thousands of Dollars for really complete laboratory testing, right, like Cyrex lab tests which I personally consider to be the gold standard in food allergy testing, but some people don’t have the time or the resources to specifically like laser target and identify the specific foods that they might need to eliminate and so, kind of like covering all the bases, right, with something like this elimination protocol, I find, especially in folks who need that 30 day healing period, or who need an off season, or who need to push the “reboot button” on the body, this tends to be a very good program to go hand-in-hand with exercise recovery and not, you know, based off of what launched our discussion to this which was soup, high, high amounts of exercise, if that makes sense.

Eileen: Yeah. It totally does. And autoimmune protocol is supposed to have a lifestyle piece anyway, so you are supposed to be a prioritizing sleep, and stress management, and getting out in the sun, and so everything you just described on that exercise protocol would be perfect for just about anyone doing it. I love it. It sounds beautiful, actually.

Ben: Awesome. Okay. So let’s move on past breakfast where we’ve got the option of things like soup. Now did you say eggs, by the way?

Eileen: No, I said I was able to reintroduce eggs.

Ben: Okay. Gotcha.

Eileen: And so I could have those every day if I wanted to, but I actually prefer the soup, and then you did, I’ll say it like, so say someone is an athlete doing this anyway though, even though that’s maybe not always the best idea, but some people are gonna do what they’re gonna do, you can definitely pile up that skillet, you know. Do if you want nutrient density, definitely add some organ meats. I’m a huge fan of organ meats and lots of starchy vegetables, I know, are really helpful for people who are athletes as well as the Greens. So just, and then extra fats for the calories.

Ben: You mean like beets or parsnips or things like that?

Eileen: Yeah! Those are great choices, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, plantains.

Ben: Gotcha. How about for lunch?

Eileen: For lunch, I love a big salad because it’s just something you can whip together without having to cook and grabbing some meat from a leftover meal, or canned salmon, or canned tuna, lots of vegetables. For dressing, I tend to go pretty simple. I love olive oil vinaigrettes and, and again, just some herbs. So I can whip that up in a small amount of time and it can be pretty filling and, depending on your energy needs, you know, you just make a bigger salad and add a lot more protein.

Ben: Now in terms of the salad, one thing I wanted to ask you because, not to put you on the spot, but I’ve been doing this a lot, ’cause I have a salad like that almost every day for lunch, really. Tons of greens and avocados and I’m even careful with doing too many of the nightshades, or like the tomatoes, the potatoes, the eggplants, I don’t completely eliminate them, but I do know that, even in people who don’t have immune system issues, they can cause a little bit of inflammation, but I have been using lately insect-based proteins, like, well specifically crickets. What, do you know where those would fall into the spectrum?

Eileen: They are allowed.

Ben: Interesting.

Eileen: So you can absolutely have crickets, and they’re considered organ meat. Isn’t that funny? I was talking to Terry a while, and she said anytime you eat the whole animal, you’re eating their organs at the same time. So it’s kind of, it’s an incredible nutrient-dense food choice, isn’t it?

Ben: Cool. Yeah. I’ve been eating a lot of these just like organic whole roasted crickets that I order and I’ll try and put a link in the show notes. Oh! And by the way, for people who are listening in, I’ll also have a link to Eileen’s book as well as the other things we discussed if you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/aip. That’s bengreenfieldfitness.com/aip. Now how about, moving past lunch, what would one do for snacks during the day?

Eileen: You mentioned avocados. I think they’re just wonderful. I get a huge energy boost when I eat those. Those are one of my favorites. Another simple snack I like is toasting coconut flakes. A lot of people on the Autoimmune protocol, since we mentioned a little bit about organ meats, really get into pates and that’s something you can kind of have a bunch of single servings in your fridge or freezer and just grab with some either plantain chips or like carrot sticks for a quick dip, and that’s a huge, nutrient-dense energy boost. A lot of people feel a real zing when they eat that.

Ben: It sounds like my kids’ lunch that I packed for them this morning. My wife’s out of town right now, so I’ve been packing lunches for my kids and they’re, you know, I sent them off to school with one of the pemmican bars, right, which is like rendered fat and meat which I doubt that would be acceptable, right, on an autoimmune protocol?

Eileen: That’s a good question. So there are a couple of, like convenience foods on the AIP that make us very excited. So the Epic Bison Bacon Cranberry Bar is AIP friendly and they also have, I believe it’s a Pork Bacon Bar, that’s AIP friendly, and a Beef Apple Bacon Bar that’s AIP friendly. So those are pemmican bars, aren’t they?

Ben: They, well yeah, they have some pemmican in them, but the ones that I give my kids, it’s pretty much just like rendered fat, beef, and sea salt. It’s from the US Wellness Meats is where I order these from, just because they’re literally just like tubes of fat and my kids love them.

Eileen: Oh! That would be fine.

Ben: And they keep them satiated for a long time, so I throw those in. And then I also, they have these little stainless steel lunch boxes, right. So it’s very hypoallergenic, and there’s no plastics and I’ll generally do for them carrot sticks, some rice crackers, a bunch of avocado chunks, some type of meat, and then pemmican for a snack, and so, as you’re describing this I’m realizing that I’m kind of packing my children for school an autoimmune-friendly lunch, even though they don’t necessarily have arthritis.

Eileen: Yeah! I was just thinking, that’s an awesome lunch!

Ben: Yeah, it actually is. Oh! And there’s also, typically I’ll throw in some kind of ferment in there, right, like sauerkraut, or pickles, or something like that.

Eileen: Yeah. The only thing that would be different for someone on the autoimmune protocol is just replace the rice crackers with like plantain chips or sweet potato chips.

Ben: Oh, yeah! Makes sense.

Eileen: But, otherwise that’s an AIP lunch.

Ben: Okay. Gotcha. So, rice is something that you wouldn’t want to include on the Autoimmune Paleo Diet?

Eileen: Not during the elimination period, but a lot of people, myself included, are able to reintroduce that later.

Ben: Okay. Gotcha. And then what about for dinner?

Eileen: So dinner, I like a wide variety. I do like to cook enough that I have leftovers. So that’s important when you’re on the autoimmune protocol. There is a lot of cooking, so it’s nice to make it easy on yourself and do big batches, but I host a recipe roundtable on my blog every week where like bloggers link up about an average of 15 to 20 new recipes a week to keep people from being in a rut, but, so for me it varies. The recommendations, definitely you want to eat some seafood for the omega-3 fatty acids. So salmon, halibut, some good high-quality seafood a few times a week if you can. Organ meats a couple times a week if you can, but you can also do things like meat loafs and, you know, roast chicken and, I love the slow cooker for an easy meal, for roasts and stews, things like that, and the Autoimmune protocol is also really big on vegetables. So every meal, lots of vegetables, and your body just loves those, all those nutrients.

Ben: Now, when you’re talking about the omega-3 fatty acids, what about algae, like spirulina, and chlorella, and stuff like that that a lot of the vegans or vegetarians will use as a source of omega-3s or DHA?

Eileen: What’s a little tricky for that is if you have autoimmune disease, anything that can stimulate the immune system can be tricky depending on which way it stimulates you, and those things, the algaes, can have immune system stimulating properties. So it’s not recommended during the elimination period, but after that, you can kinda test it out. Like, so for autoimmune disease, and you’ve probably, if you had a show, I’m sure you talked about it, but there’s the TH1, TH2. It’s like your body, one part of your immune system, depending on your diagnosis, is working overtime (chuckles), and some herbs and supplements stimulate one part of the immune system. So if it’s the part that’s already working overtime for you, it’s gonna make your symptoms worse, but if it’s the part that’s not working overtime, it can sometimes help you balance out. So that’s a good experiment for the future, but I wouldn’t recommend it during the elimination.

Ben: Okay. Got it. So there are a few specifics that you get into in the book that I wanna dive into. The first would be something that I use, and that I was interested to see that you weren’t big fan of and that’s stevia. So I’m one of those guys that use a lot of it, but I have a little bottle of like dark chocolate stevia that I’ll toss sometimes into like a little bit of coffee, or into a smoothie, or something like that to give it a chocolatey flavor without the sugar, but you talk about how you’re not a fan of stevia. Can you explain why?

Eileen: Yeah, and I should say that Sarah Ballantyne is kind of in charge of the Autoimmune Protocol, and so she’s the one who did the research on to this and I am just kind of following her guidance. So, she said that the, stevia has, the chemicals that make it sweet are similar to hormones in terms of their structure and they can cause hormone shifts in the body. And so people with autoimmune disease, we are crazily sensitive to hormone shifts. It’s also interrelated to the immune system. Like for me, I have to be actually really careful with vitamin D supplements because, this may be too much information, but if I take too much, like it makes me skip a period for three months and that’s crazy ‘cause it’s a hormone, but it’s not a sex hormone, but in my body it can throw things off.

And so Sarah’s concern with stevia was that if it has a hormone effect on someone’s body, it might interfere with their symptoms, and her theory in general is you can’t cheat sugar. Like she would rather people occasionally indulge in some raw honey or maple syrup in small quantities than to kinda get hooked on stevia on any kind of regular basis. So she recommends removing it during the elimination period, but people could try that during reintroductions. She doesn’t like it for herself, but I know some people, they really love their stevia, so I think you can just, again, you know, n equals 1 test that on yourself, but not during the elimination period.

Ben: Yeah. The main argument I’ve seen against stevia when it comes to the hormonal argument is the effects on insulin and the subsequent response by the HPA axis, meaning that a lot of people would get like stevia-induced hypoglycemia where they’ll taste stevia, it’s a non-caloric based sugar source, but you still get this dump of cortisol, and adrenaline, and insulin, and a lot of times because your body does not have sugar in the bloodstream, but you’re telling it that there’s something sweet, that adrenaline and cortisol is supposed to mobilize sugar from like liver glycogen and muscle glycogen stores to bring your blood glucose up and what happens is, in many cases, after that, you get like this hypoglycemic drop. Now doesn’t seem to happen to me. It’s probably just because I’m movin’ so freaking much and I’m very insulin sensitive and I don’t seem to have those issues, but I would think that in people who are struggling with something like adrenal fatigue or who have issues with adrenaline or cortisol, it could be an issue. It’s really interesting.

Eileen: Yeah, and you’re right that the adrenal fatigue almost goes hand-in-hand with a lot of autoimmune diseases because it’s just exhausting to be under that kind of attack.

Ben: Uhmm. Yeah. And stevia, by the way, it’s a glycoside, and I do know that glycosides can be very similar in chemical structure to hormones. So yeah, I’m reticent to give up my dark chocolate stevia. I really am. But I guess that’s all I think.

Eileen: I understand.

Ben: What about other things like xylitol, or erythritol, or these other non-caloric based sweeteners?

Eileen: None of those are allowed for those reasons you were saying in terms of how the body responds to those and there’s even, and again I think you know more about this than I do, but I was under the impression that some of those other ones feed bad bacteria, on top of everything.

Ben: Yeah. If you have like small intestine bacterial overgrowth, or you have, I believe, like yeast, or fungus, or candida, even sugar alcohols can present an issue in the same way that wine or beer can be an issue if you tend to have gut problems like that. So, yeah. Unfortunately, you just have to retrain the Western palate, right, to not to have sweet things.

Eileen: Exactly and I think it happens. I mean, I know it’s not easy, but it absolutely happens in fruit tastes sweeter and you just don’t crave it as much, at least that’s been my experience.

Ben: Well, you can have, I mean I noticed as a snack that you have in the book, for example, you have a fresh berries with coconut whipped cream. So you can do things like berries and fruits?

Eileen: Absolutely.

Ben: Okay. Gotcha.

Eileen: Absolutely. You don’t want to binge on it where you’re having like 10 a day, but absolutely, I’d say a few servings a day is fine and delicious and berries are so good for you.

Ben: Uhm, yeah. So, another thing that you mention in the book is liver, which you already mentioned, of course, a little bit earlier in the podcast as well. I get this question a lot, I’m curious what you think about it, but the liver is a detoxificant, right? It’s one of the body’s filters, so by eating liver, wouldn’t you theoretically be also eating a lot of toxins? Like you up regulated your liver intake on something like an autoimmune protocol, would you not introduce yourself to more toxins?

Eileen: It makes sense that people think that, but it’s not true. So where the body stores the toxins is in the fat primarily, and the liver is filled with all of the nutrients we need to detoxify. So that’s one of the reasons it’s so recommended on the autoimmune protocol is we do want to safely detoxify our body and give our body the nutrition it needs to do so, and liver is just a powerhouse for doing that. If you want to watch out for toxins, you, if you’re, that’s why, I guess if you can afford it, you know, organic meats are ideal. If you can’t afford it, go with lean meats if you’re eating conventional meats.

Ben: Okay. So it’s really the fats in the meats and if you’re eating non-organic or you, for example, find yourself in a situation where you’re not eating like a grass-fed, organic, either organ meat or regular meat, you would want to go for as low-fat as possible because fat is where the toxins are gonna be stored.

Eileen: Yeah, exactly. And if you’re eating high quality organic grass-fed meat, that fat is actually really healthy, but, yeah, in a conventional animal, not so healthy. And my understanding is the same is true for the bones, so if you’re making bone broth, which is recommended on the autoimmune protocol, that’s a good place to invest some of your money in organic.

Ben: Okay. So the liver processes toxins, but it doesn’t store toxins is basically what comes down to?

Eileen: Exactly. Yes.

Ben: Alright. Gotcha. That’s a very important clarification ’cause you know, lot of people get concerned about organ meats and toxins.

So, another thing, speaking of detoxification, you actually talk about during the autoimmune protocol, gentle ways to detox the body. You talk about three gentle ways to detox the body. Can you get into those?

Eileen: Absolutely. So epsom salt baths are one of my favorites, and dry skin brushing is another, and if you have access to sauna, that was the third one that I mentioned. There’s some other ones that I didn’t put in the book like clay masks and clay foot baths, but the idea is to support the body’s ability to detox without pushing it so hard that it’s too much at once. And the beautiful thing about the autoimmune protocol, if you’re making nutrient-dense choices, the nutrients themselves are naturally like chealating and detoxifying for the body, but it’s nice to have these ways to help the body let it out.

So like in a sauna, if you’re sweating it out, that gets lots of things out of the body, my understanding everything from heavy metals to pharmaceuticals to plastics. So that’s a wonderful thing. Same thing with the clay. The epsom salts, I believe it’s both the sulfur and the magnesium that are helpful, and an added bonus of the epsom salts is the magnesium that a lot of us don’t get enough of, and any time we’re under stress that gets depleted, and autoimmune disease is really stressful, so you’re gonna get good bang for your buck, and if you do it before bed, it helps you sleep which is good for your body. So that’s one of my favorites for sure.

Ben: Okay. Gotcha. Yeah. The epsom salts, that was actually something, prior to reading your book, I wasn’t familiar with, was the fact that you actually can get a sulfate release, which is a lot of people use like glutathione as a detoxificant, but you get sulfur introduced into the body in the same way that you would if you were taking glutathione, or eating sulfur-rich vegetables like you know, broccoli, or cauliflower, or garlic, or onions, or something like that, when you do epsom salts or magnesium salts bath, which I suppose is why the giant hot springs that I like to go to in Montana smells, my kids say it smells like a giant fart just because of all the sulfur in it, but that’s actually a very, very good way to detox the body, or at least introduce a lot of detoxification-based sulfates into the body.

And then you talked about dry skin brushing for increasing blood flow and lymph in the body and I’m curious, just for people who haven’t done that before, what exactly does dry skin brushing consist of? What do you need for it, and how do you go about doing it?

Eileen: You can probably go to Amazon and find, just type in dry skin brush and what’ll come up, you want a brush with a long enough handle that you can reach your entire body and it’s a soft bristle that’s not gonna scratch your skin, but it’s going to stimulate your skin. And what you do is you basically brush towards your heart. So if you’re reaching down for your legs, you start at your feet and kind of go up your body. Same with your arms and from your back, you’re gonna go from the back, around to the front of the body and, yeah, the lymph vessels are directly underneath the skin and so it does a little gentle stimulation to them to get them pumping a little bit more strongly in the right direction. Lymph drainage therapy is a wonderful form of body work. If you can ever find anyone who does that…

Ben: What’d you call it?

Eileen: It’s called lymph drainage therapy. That’s actually one of the things I do in my day job, and I love it, but it’s hard to find someone who knows how to do it and so dry skin brushing is like a home technique, it’s like a mild version of the same thing.

Ben: Okay. Gotcha. You know, what’s kind of funny is my wife does dry skin brushing. I do not, but I think that I get a lot of the similar effects because I have this 10 acre obstacle course on my land that I run through once a week. So it’s typically on a Friday or Saturday, I do this obstacle course, and it involves like running through branches and getting like whipped by branches and a lot of times, I’m just in like a short and t-shirt or shorts and no shirt, and there’s like these giant logs that you climb over and you’re just scraping and literally brushing your entire body, head to toe, as you’re going over these logs and rocks and walls and I finish up and my skin, it’s almost like I’ve kind of removed the top layer of skin without, for the most part, bleeding and opening up wounds or anything like that, but it’s really interesting in that I, you know, once I finish that up and I’ll do like a cold shower, or even a magnesium bath, my skin feels different and I suspect that I might be, or maybe I’m just fooling myself, I suspect that I might be getting like a wild man’s version of dry skin brushing when I’m doing this.

Eileen: I think you are. That sounds really cool.

Ben: At least that’s my theory and I’m stickin’ to it. Okay, so another question that I have, you mentioned that you can’t use nightshades and obviously, a lot of spices, right. Like I mentioned that I’m careful with nightshades, but I do cayenne pepper. Like I love cayenne pepper, red hot chili flakes on my food. I don’t think that those are allowed on an autoimmune protocol, but how would one go about like making food interesting, right? Like making food spicy or a little bit more peppy, if they can’t do nightshades?

Eileen: Yeah, it’s a really good question because it’s a huge loss in the kitchen when you first go on the autoimmune protocol, especially if you’re used to those kinds of spicy foods.

So there’s four ways you can add heat to your food that’s AIP friendly. So one is fresh ginger. It’s one of my favorites. The more finely you grate it, the more juice gets released and therefore, stronger both the flavor and the heat and what you want to do, like a little cayenne goes a long way, right, if you’re not on the autoimmune protocol, with these things on the autoimmune protocol, you gotta think the opposite way. Like the more, the merrier, you know. If you want a lot of heat, just do a lot of ginger. Same thing with garlic. The finer you mince it, the more heat you get along with that flavor. So be really generous with your garlic. Horseradish you can make if you get access to like fresh horseradish root. You just pop it into a food processor with a little bit of water, shred it up, and what happens is it starts releasing the chemical that makes it spicy, and the longer you let that release, the hotter it gets. So you get to decide for yourself how hot it will be because as soon as you taste it and it’s just hot enough for you, you add a little white wine vinegar and that stops the enzyme process. So you can make some pretty insanely hot horseradish that way.

Ben: Cool. I didn’t know that.

Eileen: And then wasabi, which I think, if anyone is into sushi, you know, they know wasabi.

Ben: I would imagine if you get wasabi, you would have to find it without many fillers and things like that.

Eileen: Absolutely. So, and it’s, yeah, you gotta be that label reader. There’s one online called Sushi Sonic that seems to be just wasabi and nothing else, and people have told me that’s a good one.

Ben: Okay. Cool. I’ll link to that one in the show notes for folks. So we’ve basically got ginger, we’ve got horseradish, we’ve got wasabi as three good ways to introduce flavor to foods.

Eileen: Yeah. Heat especially as well as flavor and then…

Ben: What about garlic?

Eileen: Yes. Garlic, same thing. I love garlic. And the finer you mince it, the more heat it’s going to have. And then a little trick for garlic is the allicin, which is the medicinal part of garlic, it gets released within the first 10 minutes that it’s cut, but if you throw it in a pan immediately it stops getting released. So any time you’re putting garlic in a food, if you just chop that up first and let it sit on the cutting board for 10 minutes, it’ll be more medicinal for you than if you throw in the pan right away.

Ben: Interesting. All sorts of cool little tips here. Okay. So, we’ve got this concept that you follow this diet for a minimum of 30 days as you heal your gut, and I would imagine that you’re looking for things like joint pain to begin to diminish, or gut pain to start to go away, but obviously there comes a certain period of time when you may want to just like have a tomato or you begin to introduce whatever grass-fed butter, or start to eat some of these foods that might be allowed on the Paleo diet, or really healthy diet that aren’t really part of an autoimmune protocol, how would you transition back to normal eating? Meaning is there like a specific order in which you reintroduce foods? Do you choose like dairy first, then, you know, wheat after that? Or how do you exactly go about getting off the diet, I guess, after you’ve been on it?

Eileen: Great question. So the first thing is to know when you’re ready, and that’s gonna be different for each person. So some people, like you said, you want to look for an improvement in your physical symptoms, you need to have at least enough improvement to give you a baseline during reintroductions ’cause if you haven’t, if you don’t feel any better after 30 days, that’s then that’s too soon for you. Most people are gonna feel better within a few months though.

And the other thing to pay attention to is the psychology of it. For some people, like elimination diets aren’t hard, which amazes me, but I’ve talked to people who just are like, “No biggie. Restrictions aren’t a problem.” And then there are people like me who feel more and more rebellion the longer I’m on them, so you want to not like just go off crazy and eat everything at once ’cause then you’ve kind of destroyed the experiment and, instead, you want to get information. That’s really what this is about. So when you’re ready for reintroductions, you do want to pick one food at a time, and how it goes is, and I’ll tell you like which order to pick in a minute, but the process for introductions is you, say you picked, let’s say ghee. So say you made some mashed cauliflower and you added some ghee to it. So you would just have a little tiny taste of the mashed cauliflower just to make sure you don’t have like an allergic reaction right away, then you would have a full serving, and then you wait three days and see what your body does.

And if your body does nothing, then you go ahead and have ghee on maybe your meals every day for about five days just to make sure there’s no cumulative or mild response you missed, and again if your body gets does nothing then ghee is back in your diet and you’re feeling good. But if you, say, had the mashed cauliflower with the ghee and then within 12, anywhere within that three day window, you had an increase in autoimmune symptoms, or digestive symptoms, or the [0:45:40] ______ brain is big, so some people have psychology symptoms, then you know that ghee, yeah, at least for now is an inflammation trigger for you. So that’s kind of the reintroduction process.

And in terms of which foods to pick first, you wanna start with the foods least allergenic before the most allergenic. So if we pick the dairy category, ghee is the one you start with, and from there you’d go up to butter…

Ben: Okay.

Eileen: And, you know, high fat…

Ben: Basically, choosing things in the order in which they would have the most amount of those proteins in them.

Eileen: Exactly. And like, so for eggs, the same thing. Like egg yolks are, that’s where the nutrition is anyway, so you’d start with egg yolks by themselves and then, if that went well, then you would try whole eggs rather than jumping straight to whole eggs. Some other spices are eliminated on the autoimmune protocol. The seed-based spices are and most people get those back, so I’d recommend people try those before like jumping to cayenne, for example, on the spices.

Ben: Okay. Okay. Got it. And then, when you’re reintroducing these foods, if you tend to have a reaction, you would just back off that particular food and keep it out? Or would you just go back to do a complete, strict autoimmune protocol because that’s a sign you’re not fully healed?

Eileen: No, because, no. You don’t, like if you successfully reintroduce some foods, you don’t need to take those out again because you’ve learned that they’re not a problem for you. You just wanna drop the one that is a problem, and then wait till your body calms down before trying another one though.

Ben: Okay.

Eileen: Like, so if you’re flaring from, say eggs didn’t go well, you don’t want on the next day trying not to if you’re still feeling bad ’cause then you won’t be able to tell.

Ben: Okay. That makes sense.

Eileen: You wanna wait till that passes.

Ben: That makes sense. Alright. Cool. And you’ve got a full list of like foods and reintroduction protocols and everything in this book. It actually is a really, really good handy little guide and like I mentioned, especially if you’re listening in and you need to fix adrenal fatigue or you want to push the reboot button on your body, this is the diet that I find myself recommending most frequently when it comes to everything from recovering from stomach issues to over training, et cetera, especially when paired hand-in- hand with, you know, like Eileen said, a very kinda restorative exercise protocol. So it’s called “A Simple Guide to the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol”. If you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/aip, I’ll link to everything that Eileen and I talked about from crickets to magnesium, to wasabi to her book and beyond, along with her website Phoenix Helix. She’s also got a podcast by the same name, so I will give you all that stuff over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/aip and, Aileen, I wanna thank you for coming on the show today, and sharing this stuff with us, and writing this fantastic, handy, little book.

Eileen: It was a huge honor to be on your show. I’m a big fan of your podcast, so thank you for inviting me.

Ben: Awesome! Cool! Well, folks, this is Ben Greenfield and Eileen Laird signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com. Have a healthy week.

You’ve been listening to the Ben Greenfield fitness podcast. Go to bengreenfieldfitness.com, for even more cutting-edge fitness and performance advice.

It seems like at least once a month on a podcast, I’m recommending somebody…

…whether that somebody is having skin issues like acne or eczema, gut pain, brain fog, food allergies or intolerances or constipation or any other signs of immune system or inflammation issues…

…try something called the “Autoimmune Diet”.

Problem is, this particular diet, typically meant to be followed for a short period of time until things are healed up, can be confusing when it comes to whether you really need to use it to heal an issue, which foods are “allowed” and which foods aren’t, how to transition off the diet back into a “normal” eating style once you’ve finished the autoimmune diet, and that’s exactly why I decided to have Eileen Laird on the show.

Eileen just wrote the book “A Simple Guide to the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol“, I read it last week, and it’s exactly what it promises, a book simple enough that even someone with brain fog can understand, written like a conversation between friends a simple and contains all of the essential information in a package small enough to throw in your purse or backpack.

Eileen is a writer, podcast host, and self-described “autoimmune warrior”, who has reversed rheumatoid arthritis through this diet. Her blog, Phoenix Helix, receives 1 million unique visitors annually and there she features recipes, research and personal stories about the autoimmune experience. She also writes “Autoimmune Answers”, a regular column in Paleo Magazine, and is the host of the Phoenix Helix Podcast, the only paleo podcast focused 100% on autoimmune healing.

During our discussion, you’ll discover:

-What exactly the autoimmune paleo diet is…

-Why your body can attack itself and what you can do about it…

-What a sample daily meal plan would look like…

-A surprising “substitute” for organ meats…

-Why Eileen isn’t a fan of stevia…

-Why it’s a myth that the liver stores toxins…

-Three “gentle” ways to detox…

-If you can use nightshades, how you can make meals spicy…

-How to “transition” back to normal eating after following the AIP, and he an order in which you would introduce foods…

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

–A Simple Guide to the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol

–Pemmican from USWellnessMeats

–Organic whole roasted crickets

–Dry skin brush

–Magnesium salts

–Sushi Sonic wasabi

» Transcripts »

Podcast From: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/podcast/recovery-podcasts/the-thomas-delauer-podcast/

[00:00] Introduction/Oura Ring/Quip

[04:30] Human Charger

[07:50] About Thomas Delauer

[13:31] Tactics Employed by Thomas Delauer

[14:47] Thomas Delauer’s Role as a Health Care Professional

[17:28] Inflammation’s Role in the Troublesome Ability to Not Lose Fat

[20:35] White Fat Cells and Brown Fat Cells

[21:30] Lactobacillus 4 5 6: Bacterial Strains and Fat Loss

[28:32] Viome Tests by Naveen Jain

[31:06] Other Elements Used to Quell Inflammation: Prolonged Fasting and Intermittent Fasting

[33:00] Beta-Hydroxybutyrate

[33:20] Difference Between Ketosis and Fasting

[35:06] Interaction of Beta-Hydroxybutyrate and Glucose

[36:36] CrossFit and Beta-Hydroxybutyrate

[37:03] Cognition and Beta-Hydroxybutyrate

[38:20] Organifi/GainsWave

[40:47] Introduction to Curcumin

[44:34] Making Curcumin More Bioavailable

[45:45] BioPerine and the Absorption of Curcumin

[48:44] Micelles

[53:59] Lactoferrin’s Effect on Iron Metabolism

[55:41] Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Quelling Inflammation

[1:00:22] Ginger and Inflammation

[1:05:00] Curcumin and Massages

[1:05:45] Examples of When You Don’t Want to Quell Inflammation

[1:17:39] End of Podcast

Ben: Hey, what’s up folks? It’s Ben Greenfield. Before we even mess around with today’s podcast, I’ve a very special announcement for you. I just found out that the company that makes the ring that I wear, the Oura Ring for self-quantification, they just released their brand new version. This thing is sick! It’s smaller, it’s basically as small as a wedding band. Extremely beautiful, has all the same advance sleep tracking, and HRV tracking, wireless charging, the complete absence of the WiFi and the Bluetooth so it’s not radiating your body all day long, everything that you might be accustomed to from this fabulous device, including completely water-resistant and the ability to smash into pieces during workout and still have it hold up. They’ve also added amazing, amazing new features like they’ve got chronotype detection that allows you to see your sleep and get recommendations based on your personalized sleep type along with circadian alignment guidance based on where you’re at in the world. Full time, 24/7 heartrate variability measurements, they’ve got extremely personalized messages based on your long-term data that they keep in the cloud on a dashboard for you to be able to track everything. It now tracks your naps; it will track your meditation breathing; it will track your relaxation exercise, your post-exercise, recovery. The sleep tracking has gotten even more advanced and even more accurate.

Here’s the cool thing, if you’re a personal trainer or you’re a physician or you’re a nutritionist or someone who works with clients, they have a dashboard that allows you to see all your clients at once. All their ring data, their readiness, their sleep, everything. This thing is sick. Just came out. I just read a blog post with all the features. Here’s how you can check out that blog post: go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/NewOura. That’s BenGreenfieldFitness.com/NewOura and Oura is spelled O-U-R-A. BenGreenfieldFitness.com/NewOura lets you read all about the new ring and also get this special discount code that lets you grab this thing. So, enjoy this for yourself or for the person in your life who you want to buy the sickest Christmas present ever for!

And, let’s go ahead and jump into today’s show.

Ben: Hey everybody, what’s up? It’s Ben Greenfield and you need to slowly pull that stick of turmeric away from your gaping maw because in today’s episode you’re going to learn why curcumin may not work. What? Curcumin may not work! Blasphemy.

Now, anyways, really interesting episode. This guy named Thomas Delauer. This episode is brought to you by something that does work that you can put in your mouth and it’s called Quip. What’s Quip? Well, here’s something to chew on. A ton of studies now show, I actually read a really good book about this recently, I’m going to interview the author, I’ll save that for later, but your gum health and your mouth health and your tooth health drastically impact things like your gut health and the rest of your body and it’s really interesting, this link that there’s a mouth-gut-brain axis. Yeah, I just made that up. Anyway, there’s this company called Quip. I’ve got one, it’s an electric toothbrush and before you press fast forward because electric toothbrushes are not sexy, this thing is. It’s basically like if Apple designed a toothbrush. It’s got premium vibration; it has a timer feature in it that automatically teaches you how to shift to a new section in your mouth so you don’t have to remember; you can brush your teeth inebriated with this thing and still figure out how to do it perfectly. It was actually named as one of Time Magazine’s best inventions. They won a GQ Grooming Award. They made it on Oprah’s New Year’s O List. You get your first refill pack free without purchasing a big expensive toothbrush. This thing is extremely affordable and you get it if you go to GetQuip.com/Ben. That’s Get Q-U-I-P.com/Ben. You get your first refill pack free. You get the toothbrush for 25 bucks. It is an amazing toothbrush if I don’t say so myself. It’s like the Tesla of toothbrushes TM.

This podcast is also brought to you by not something you can put in your mouth, but something you can put in your ears. It’s something that I, here in New York City, where I’m recording this podcast for you, have been putting into my ears lovingly every single morning because it fools my body into thinking it is bright-light, sunshine-y morning no matter where I’m at in the world even if it’s dark, even if I’m jet lagged, even if I’d been travelling all over the globe “crossing the pond” as they say. “Crossing the pond!” Serotonin, dopamine, noradrenaline, it causes all of those to get released so it reduces the effects of jetlag but it also increases my energy level, my mental awareness, my mood. It’s a white light. Blue light actually doesn’t work in your ears, believe it or not, but you have these photosensitive proteins on the surface of your brain that white light does work on. You get 20% off of a Human Charger. How? You go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/HumanCharger. See? Aren’t you glad you asked? BenGreenfieldFitness.com/HumanCharger and enter code BEN20 to get a 20% discount. Alright, let’s go jump into curcumin and fish oil and a whole lot more on today’s show.

In this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Show:

“Believe it or not, there’s not a whole lot of science that shows what is causing the inflammation right after a workout. It may seem logical, but it’s relatively inconclusive. We don’t necessarily know what’s happening. Is it the microtrauma, is it hormonal, or is it cortisol response? What exactly is triggering this…” “So the whole idea with curcumin is, if you were to take it with bioperine, the liver is going to help metabolize that curcumin and make it so that it doesn’t get shutout by the liver. The liver doesn’t say, ‘hey, this is poison, go ahead and just excrete it.’ The liver says, ‘nah, you’re good, you get a pass.’”

Ben: Hey, folks. It’s Ben Greenfield and admittedly, I actually had never really heard of today’s podcast guest until last month when somebody sent me a link to his blog and his website and I immediately got sucked in. The dude has some killer content on a huge range of nutritional topics, some of the things we’ll actually jump into today! Things like glutamine rebounding, and bacterial strains for inflammation, and a whole host of things that, honestly, a lot of people aren’t talking about. His name is Thomas Delauer and he’s considered to be one of the leading experts in the world of chronic inflammation and also the low-carb diet, the response of the human body to a low carb diet. We’re going to delve into inflammation today and if we get a chance, we’ll also talk about low-carb a little bit as well, but perhaps, he’s most noted for his transformation. I’m going to put a picture in the show notes for you which you can access over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Inflammation.

He’s noted for his personal transformation from a 280-pound overweight, corporate executive to being on the cover of a bunch of different health and fitness magazines. You’ve probably seen him if you’ve stood around at the grocery store waiting in line to purchase your produce, and your milk, and seen some of those folks who are ripped on the cover of magazines, you’ve probably seen Thomas. He’s been on Ironman Magazine, Muscle and Performance, Natural Muscle, Icon Magazine, Platform Magazine, and even Ironman Japan.

So his background is actually in sports psychology and what makes the body and the brain tick, but he’s also deep into the science. He’s working on a project, and we’ll ask him in a second phase of trials with doctors at UCLA to identify that strain of bacteria I mentioned that could help to modulate inflammation in the body. He’s a real student of this whole concept of cellular inflammation and he also lives in California and has a wife, and three dogs, and two horses and I just found out, a brand-new, new-born son!

So, Thomas, welcome to the show and congratulations on expanding your family, dude.

Thomas: Thanks, Ben! You caught me on a day where my world has been eliminated in an entirely different light now having a new-born. So…

Ben: It’s crazy! So, that was literally today or yesterday?

Thomas: Literally, he was born on Friday.

Ben: Wow!

Thomas: He spent a couple days in ICU because he aspirated when he was born and breathed in a little bit of fluids. So, he had to stay an extra day. There was a little bit of a delay in bringing him home, but we’re all happy and healthy now.

Ben: Yeah, okay, so I’ve got to ask you being a guy as immersed in healthy living as you are, what’s the number one thing you’re going to do for your son to optimize health? Is it hide those fish oil? Is it some crazy ingredient you’re going to add to breast milk? What do you think?

Thomas: I’m going to get him mega dosed on creatine right out the gate.

Ben: Boom, creatine shakes for the baby!

Thomas: No, a lot of what I’m focusing on, mainly, is the stress free life and really the healthy fat consumption for my wife. So, that’s what it’s really going to come down to, being that of course, he’s going to naturally fed and breastfed and we’re definitely of course not doing the formula thing. So, for her, it’s a lot of really focusing on good healthy collagen, getting the right DHA in her diet so it’s going to translate directly into him in a bioavailable form. I mean, that’s the best thing we can do in terms of his brain development; the best thing we can do for him to have really the first couple of months be the most stellar they can be for him.

Ben: Awesome! So, basically fish and bone broth.

Thomas: A lot of that. Also, a lot of taking in bone marrow capsules, taking in an organ blend, really focusing on getting the liver, getting the kidney, getting those things in that we’re not normally getting from in the diet. I can go off in a tangent about the world of iron and how the proper iron balance and iron chelation in the gut, but I’m not going to go down there. But, basically, getting your iron from a fully sourced organ blend is really one of the best ways that you can get that. So making sure she’s eating things like that, as much as it sounds disgusting, you know.

Ben: I order this stuff called from Braunschweiger a company called US Wellness Meats and it’s a whole bunch of different organs like heart, and liver, and kidney, as well as this thing called headcheese from them and that’s one way I’ll get my organ meats. But, it sounds like you’re getting this in some sort of encapsulation?

Thomas: Yeah, I’m doing whatever we can. Encapsulation as far as collagen goes, and collagen you can get from powder, but also eating the right sources of meat as well. So, for her, it’s all about making sure she’s got that balance. She’s not a big fish eater, that’s the biggest hurdle we had. So, getting DHA from a source of algal oil, and things like that because that’s always been a thing. She’s just been grossed out by fish, but that is so important for the child’s development especially at this stage.

Ben: Yeah.

Thomas: So, collagen from a powder form, algal oil, DHA coming from a supplemental form, and then, any kind of organ blend whether it’s coming from a capsule or even if she can stomach it, putting a little bit of actual organ meat down.

Ben: Yeah, absolutely. Cool. So, it sounds like you’re going down the right path. It sounds very similar to, I don’t know if you’re familiar with the Weston A. Price Foundation, but they have some really good resources on holistic nutrition for children and I even interviewed one of their docs, Doctor Thomas Cowan, and we went down the rabbit hole when it comes to a lot of the things you’re alluding to. So, for those of you listening in who have a little baby at home and want to take a deeper dive into this stuff, I’ll put a link. Just go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Inflammation and you can listen to that podcast I did with Dr. Thomas Cowan where we talk about some of these type of things that Thomas alluded to.

So, Tom, you went from being, as your bio says, a 280-pound overweight, corporate executive, to being on the cover of health and fitness magazines. I know there’s probably quite a story there, but the main thing I’m curious about is what tactics you personally used to achieve that.

Thomas: Yeah! Well, when it comes down to being able to make that kind of transition, first and foremost, there’s a strong cold action that has to occur in your life really. It’s like someone doesn’t just wake up one day and say “okay, I need to be able to change my life.” I’d look in the mirror, and when people say they look in the mirror and say they don’t like what they see, but usually there’s some kind of subconscious call to action that’s also occurring, and for me, before I get into the tactics, the true story on what happened and how I was able to look at myself in a different light was my wife being diagnosed with an autoimmune condition. So, all of a sudden, inflammation, autoimmune disease, all this stuff was front and center in my life that wasn’t front and center in my life before.

So, my eyes were starting to become open to this entirely different world of health and nutrition that I had never even seen before. Even working in the health care world, it was close to me, it was what I worked with, but I had never seen the world of inflammation before. So, for me to be able to make that transition and to radically transform my life, I had to adopt a lot of different principles, but inflammation was at the forefront of that understanding. Okay, what diet principles can I employ that are going to reduce inflammation first and allow me to transform my body secondary?

Ben: Now were you a health professional at that point? When you said you were a corporate executive; what kind of executive were you?

Thomas: Actually, I did a couple different thing. For the sake of bio, I kind of abbreviated it. But, I actually owned an ancillary lab services company. So, I worked with a lot of concierge and fee-for-service physicians and if you understand the health care model and how that generally works, fee-for-service physicians and concierge physicians usually have the patient’s best interest in mind because they’re not working on being compensated based on reimbursement from the insurance and pharmacy benefit plans and things like that. They’re basically providing care on a cash basis to usually, a relatively affluent demographic, affluent patients. So, that being said, since there’s no additional level on under riding, there’s no additional level of potential kickbacks and Sunshine Act deals going on, they’re allowed to, or I shouldn’t say allowed, but they’re capable of truly providing the best care.

Now, in the business that I was in, I had established a very large network of physicians and they became very close to me; a lot of them became very good friends. So, by the time that the company was acquired, I had this huge network of physicians and that’s how I learned a lot of what I learned. So, when I say I was in the health care industry, I was not a practitioner, but I managed a large group of physicians from the admin’s side, basically on the ancillary lab services side. We provided lab services to different physicians. We provided mail-order lab services to different physicians that were working with patients on a cash basis. Does that kind of make sense?

Ben: Yeah, got it. So, you were somewhat involved in the health industry. You had access to some of these resources to find out what you needed to find out which is, it sounds like, was that you needed to quell inflammation?

Thomas: Exactly, and that’s what a lot of these docs had focused on with their patients. They were kind of on the cutting edge of this thing saying, “okay, inflammation is definitely at the root of so many chronic illnesses,” but when we take it one step further, most of the medical industry doesn’t look at inflammation from the side of cosmetic results because it’s just not what they’re focused on, it’s not their job. Their job is to get people well.

Ben: Right.

Thomas: While me, having this background prior to being overweight, I was an athlete in high school, I always had a passion for it. I started looking at this and saying, “well, wait a minute. This is a big problem for me; maybe inflammation is actually standing in my way.” If I can get rid of this underlying issue that’s going on here with my health, and perhaps I’m in a position where I can start capitalizing on other things to look my best as well.

Ben: Right. When you say for cosmetic results, basically you’re saying is a lot of people talk about inflammation as being something that might be related to an autoimmune condition or chronic pain whereas you specifically had this thought pattern that perhaps inflammation might have something to do with a troublesome ability to not lose fat?

Thomas: Absolutely. I mean, we look at how inflammation plays a role in how we absorb nutrients and how inflammation plays a role in so many other different variables all the way down to inflammation of the enterocytes where they literally can’t absorb nutrients as well. I mean, flat out, it comes down to the fact that we could be putting ourselves in these elevated heightened states of cortisol and different responses, even coming from the adrenal glands, I don’t want us to go down the rabbit hole of adrenal fatigue or adrenal insufficiency, but if we have hypercortisol levels, then that could make a difference in how our bodies utilize nutrients. So I’m starting to connect the dots here when I’m overweight saying “wait a minute, not thinking inflammation is necessarily the big reason why I can’t lose weight, but there’s got to be a problem there as well. There has got to be something that has to do with it.” So it turned into, I would be lying if I didn’t say it was an obsession at that point in time, I became obsessed with inflammation; I became obsessed with fasting; I became obsessed with the ketogenic diet from a therapeutic standpoint. Again, we can go down another rabbit hole of ketosis, maybe that’s a different topic for a different day, maybe we’ll do another podcast on that.

Ben: Yeah, we’ve talked about that a lot on the show before: the pros and cons of ketosis as well as how to…

Thomas: Yeah, as you know, there’s therapeutic ketosis and there’s this other form of ketosis or modified Atkins. But, it became extremely interesting to me and intermittent fasting was a huge, huge part of it, in conjunction with ketogenic protocols and then of course applying anti-inflammatory tactics. So, looking at things like auto-immune paleo. Auto-immune paleo diet where you’re really doing full elimination diets where you’re eliminating tons and tons of different food that could potentially trigger different immunoglobulin responses and then slowly reintroducing them to see how your body responds. In order to do that, you need to have a fairly decent pulse on you own body. You can’t just expect yourself to take away all your dairy and then introduce dairy and if you’re not in touch with your body, you’re not going to really be able to necessarily see this response that occurs. But that was step one: how do I eliminate the inflammatory foods from my diet, here’s a whole plethora of them, and then also, at the same time, applying intermittent fasting principles as well as ketogenic protocols.

So, it was a very limited diet in the very beginning, but once I learned what foods were affecting me, it was definitely not limited anymore because then you start realizing that okay grains don’t necessarily affect me but dairy does. So, how do I apply that into a ketogenic diet? These fats seem to affect me, these lectins seem to affect me. So, really it was just checks and balances at first but I would say, by large from a mind-set perspective, being able to stick to something long-term was intermittent fasting that really ended up making it easy to drop that much weight that fast.

Ben: Now return to this role of inflammation and fat loss. I’d like to actually dive into that for a little more of a scientific standpoint because I spoke with Dr. Cate Shanahan who wrote this book called “Deep Nutrition” and in that, she went into some studies, I think they were in mice, where they found a lot of issues with the conversion of white fat cells into metabolically active brown fat cells which will basically burn calories to generate heat if inflammation was present. Basically inflammation seemed to shut down what’s called CGMP signaling which was… CGMP was almost like a fat-burning turbo charger, and in a state of inflammation, that just didn’t seem to be active. Once you shut down inflammation, you actually restore the body’s ability to convert adipose tissue into something other than adipose tissue. That’s one thing she talked about but in addition to that, you talked about enterocytes a little bit ago, hinted at that, I’m curious what else you found when it comes to a link between inflammation and fat loss.

Thomas: Yeah, and we can touch on this more when we start talking about the bacterial strain that I’ve been looking at too.

Ben: Yeah, and we can jump into that right now if you want.

Thomas: So, it circles back to that a lot of times. So, when you have different strains of bacteria in your gut, of course you’re going to have a natural level of inflammation that’s occurring there. Back to what Kate had said, I’ve read a little bit of her stuff, but I’m not super familiar with white fat, brown fat conversion that you’re mentioning, but the simple point is that when you do have a level of inflammation, yes it does disrupt that, but also, if you quell inflammation too much, it actually disrupts that too. So, there’s a fine line there. The same kind of happens in your gut biome as well and this is all embryonic. I mean, a lot of people are starting to dive in to the effect of the enteric nervous system and the gut-brain axis and how it affects brain inflammation, how it affects gut inflammation, how this whole interchanging axis works. But, what I’ve been working on with UCLA and Dr. [022:16] ______ over there is a form of lactobacillus, actually called lactobacillus 4 5 6, which is a form of lactobacillus that will actually stay colonized in the gut all the way from the small intestine and all the way through the colon. And we’re showing in second phase trials now that this bacteria will actually stay fully present all the way through feces as well.

Ben: Does that not usually happen when you take a probiotic?

Thomas: No, no.

Ben: I think a lot of people aren’t aware of that. So what would normally happen with a bacterial strain that you would consume, say, orally in a pill?

Thomas: Usually once pancreatic lipase hits, it’s over. It’s usually not getting much further than your stomach and maybe a tiny bit of your small intestine.

Ben: And pancreatic lipase is something that can be released by the pancreas in response to a meal or food consumption and that’s going to be present even in the stomach before it even hits the small intestine?

Thomas: That’s correct. As soon as something hits your tongue really. So…

Ben: Got it.

Thomas: That’s a big problem obviously. There’s a lot of different products that are out there that are circumnavigating that, that are successful, they’re able to get it into at least the small intestine, but being able to colonize in the colon is where we’re finding inflammation can really be quelled in a positive way. Simply because when you take a particular kind of lactobacillus, usually they don’t group together, usually they multiply, they grow, the bacteria in your gut biome just kind of grows and does its own thing, sometimes it’ll mutate, sometimes it won’t, but what it doesn’t do is it doesn’t clump together which is a very unique strategy when it comes down to how bacteria works.

Lactobacillus 456 has shown to clump together which means that it almost clumps and forms its own little safety barrier so that the bacteria that’s in the center of this clump can survive all the way through. Now, Dr. [24:03] ______ over at UCLA has actually been travelling the world actually doing fecal samples throughout all different kinds of cultures, and testing what kind of cultures have the best past-through rate of bacteria and which ones don’t and that’s how this hole all got to be. When you look at inflammation and how it works in the gut, a lot of it has to do with the chelation of certain minerals, the chelation of different things that are happening there.

So, one for instance is iron. We have a lot of iron in the gut, and we don’t realize it and iron is a massive, massive oxidizer. So, what is happening, is iron will oxidize and take up a lot of oxygen that normally the good bacteria needs to thrive. Now, a lot of people don’t know this, but the bad bacteria, depends on whether it’s gram positive or gram negative, because gram positive can be good, gram positive can also be bad depending on the situation. Essentially, when there is not enough oxygen to go around, then that bacteria doesn’t necessarily proliferate the way that it should. So, it’s being gobbled up by iron and we have this massive iron oxidation that’s going around. So, when we look at how putting this specific kind of bacteria that can actually clump together and consume enough oxygen, it can actually starve off that iron from really oxidizing which goes down an entirely separate rabbit hole of different things that can happen in terms of reabsorption in the gut, reabsorption back into the small intestine. So, everything we’ve been working on with UCLA has all been “how can we get this so that’s it’s actually in a stable form?” Because as of right now, it’s very difficult to get at in anything other than chocolate, in anything other than yoghurt. The yoghurt market is very, very tough because you can’t exactly just go make a yoghurt and compete with dannon activia yogurt, you know what I mean? You really have to license it. So, it’s a big process. Even putting it in a capsule form is very, very tough.

Ben: So you actually have to put it into chocolate or yogurt?

Thomas: The reason why is chocolate just makes it a palatable form. It could go into a number of different things but chocolate is the way we found.

Ben: So, it’s not like there’s something special in chocolate that’s helping the bacteria to survive? It’s just the taste?

Thomas: Correct. So putting it in chocolate, putting it in yogurt, anything that’s going to have a little bit of a lipid bi-layer that you can allow it to be stable in is going to help a lot more. Also allows it to pass through the first phase of digestion a little bit better.

Ben: Is there a way you could get this from…

Thomas: In terms of particular bacteria strains?

Ben: Yeah, that specific strain.

Thomas: As of right now, no. Not that we’ve found. So, this has been something that Dr. [26:30] ______ has actually been working on. I’ve got to give him a lot of credit because this is everything he’s been working on for the last six/seven years. He’s been focusing on this, studying inflammation, studying the micro-gut biome and enteric nervous system for the last 15/20 years over at UCLA. But now, finally getting to a point where he’s saying “wait a minute, if I make some alterations to this gut bacteria and I harvest this myself, this is actually working.” So, where I come in is looking at it from the side of inflammation, looking at the side of how can this be translated to normal people because, right now it’s extremely complex. How can we take this to an audience that’s going to understand it and not necessarily be persuaded by typical bifidus and typical lactobacillus that’s in everyday yogurt. So, it’s a very hard nut to crack.

Ben: Interesting. So, this bacterial strain is something that would not normally be present naturally inside the human body or is it something that we somehow kill via lifestyle that needs to be replenished? How does that actually work?

Thomas: That’s a super good question and something I had actually asked about three or four months ago and didn’t get a solid answer on it because I asked the same exact thing in terms of what are we doing? This lactobacillus 4, 5, 6, is it something that we have hurt ourselves just simply by lifestyle, by consuming excess fats, or consuming excess sugar? Anything like that. Everything we can find, there’s no real trace of lactobacillus 456, it has to be added exogenously. Now, that’s not to say 50/60 years ago it didn’t exist, we know from looking at different studies even looking at gluten metabolism that we had different bacteria back in the 50s and 60s than we do now. So, the problem is, we have to look at some different kind of plasma and looking at different gut biomes that are coming from the 40s, 50s, and 60s in order to really look at that. Those are extremely, extremely expensive tests to do.

Ben: Okay, got it. So, have you ever heard of this Viome test where you can get a full microbiome analysis and have you done something like that?

Thomas: I have not. It’s funny that you mention that because this is the second time that I’ve heard about this in the last month. So, no. Enlighten me a little bit!

Ben: Well, basically, they use a special form of analysis. They license some technology from, I believe, Los Alamos Laboratories because they just had a boat-load of cash. The guy who runs it is a billionaire or he’s got rights to land on the moon. Just a crazy entrepreneur. His name is Naveen Jain. Really interesting guy! Actually went to his house to interview him. He lives in this mansion on Lake Washington over in Seattle and I guess what they do to identify the microorganisms in your gut is a different type of microbiome sequencing. Meaning, from what I understand, the normal form of sequencing is called 16S sequencing which is what the American Gut Project or UBiome would use and that tells you a little bit about your gut bacteria, but this other form of sequencing called MetaTranscriptome Sequencing, which is what Viome uses, apparently allows you to identify all bacteria and really all living organisms in your gut like viruses, and archaea, and yeast, and fungi, and parasites, and bacteriovagus but at a very high resolution. So, instead of just getting what would be called the genus of the species, you get the species and the strain level as well. So, you can then know exactly what metabolites are being produced and which ones are missing. Even which food groups might need to add or avoid! It’s extremely interesting and the reason why I asked is because I’m curious to go back into my Viome results now that you’ve told me this and see if I have that specific strain present at all because I did test for all strains! So, I’m just curious now.

Thomas: That’s interesting! Give me a link to that as well because I’d like to find a way to check that out myself!

Ben: Well, also for the people listening, if you just go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Inflammation, I interviewed this cat for two hours. So, you can listen in to that podcast with Naveen Jain and I’ll put it in there.

So, when it comes to inflammation, it sounds like somehow figuring out a way to reintroduce a specific bacteria such as the one you just talked about, was it lactobacillus…

Thomas: Lactobacillus 4, 5, 6.

Ben: Lactobacillus 4, 5, 6. So, colonizing the gut with good bacteria and specifically that strain, which it sounds like maybe that would eventually be available as a supplement, would be one anti-inflammatory strategy that one could use. But I’m curious when it comes to other elements that could assist in quelling inflammation. What else have you found to really move the dial?

Thomas: A few things! As far as diet and lifestyle goes, fasting is probably one of the quickest ways, that’s a very, very efficient way to reduce inflammation. The problem with fasting is that we can’t do it all the time. You take away cellular metabolism for a little bit, you take away aerobic metabolism, and the body has no choice but to start to reduce inflammation simply because it goes into protective mechanism. But again, we can’t fast forever and intermittent fasting doesn’t necessarily reduce inflammation, prolonged fasting reduces inflammation, but I would be lying if I didn’t say that’s probably the fastest way to straight up reduce inflammation.

Ben: So you just said intermittent fasting does not significantly reduce inflammation but prolonged fasting does?

Thomas: Yeah, and I have to tread lightly when I say that because it’s all how you interpret. I will say flat out that intermittent fasting should be taken as the word literally says. It should be done intermittently. The whole idea of intermittent fasting is simply a contrast diet. It’s comparatively, generally speaking, you’re going to implement a day of intermittent fasting, or two or three, throughout the course of the week, not necessarily intermittently fast every day. Otherwise, I would argue to say that it should be called intermittent eating diet because intermittent fasting means you’re implementing this level of fasting, or these days of fasting, periodically as sort of a metabolic shift of the body and by backing up and looking at scale and how much calories you’re taking in over the course of the day versus the course of the week, having a period of fasting two or three days per week is dramatically going to reduce your overall scale number of calories throughout the course of the week. Inflammation does show to be reduced after 16/18 hour fasts just because you’re having an influx of beta-Hydroxybutyrate going through the blood which is a natural anti-inflammatory. But as far as truly…

Ben: Really? That’s a ketone. So, the ketone beta-Hydroxybutyrate is a natural anti-inflammatory?

Thomas: Yeah, BHB is powerful. When you start looking at therapeutic ketosis and everything like that, that’s one of the major benefits. It’s BHB.

Ben: Okay.

Thomas: In itself it’s anti-inflammatory. Now, that’s again where people say what’s the different between ketosis and fasting? They’re actually quite similar as far as what you’re trying to get in terms of benefits. Ketosis is almost like you’re stimulating fasting through diet by forcing your body into going into ketone production while still consuming calories. Whereas fasting, you’re forcing your body to go into ketone production by starving. So, basically you’re getting to the same place. One gets you there faster, one gets you there with calories in place, one gets you there without calories in place.

So, yeah, most of the benefits, most of the peer review studies as far as fasting goes, are almost all over 24-hours. There’s very few studies that actually take a look at the 6-8 window, or even the 16-18 or even 20-hour fast. There’s starting to come now because there’s money in that and people are talking about fasting a lot, so I think we’re starting to see more and more of that, but they’re not the most tremendous studies yet. That being said, anytime you have an influx of beta-Hydroxybutyrate when there’s not glucose present, you’re doing some positive things.

I’m not a fan, I don’t want to go off in a tangent because I tend to do that sometimes, but if you have beta-Hydroxybutyrate in place with glucose, that’s not a good thing because your body preferentially is going to want to run on beta-Hydroxybutyrate. If you were to put glucose and beta-Hydroxybutyrate in one body at the same time, your body is preferentially going to utilize the beta-Hydroxybutyrate because actually more easy to use than glucose.

Ben: Right, it’s more thermodynamically favorable; takes less energy to create energy with beta-Hydroxybutyrate.

Thomas: Precisely! So, when you have glucose present at the same time, what’s going to happen? Your body is going to utilize that BHB and what’s going to happen to that glucose? It’s going to sit around and it’s going to float around through your blood stream and it’s going to spike your blood sugar and potentially keep insulin levels chronically high.

Ben: Right. Now playing devil’s advocate the one time, because I’ve tried this, the one time that would be pretty beneficial would be during a very hard glycolitically demanding race or competitive event or extremely demanding event that’s both long and glycolitically demanding. I did it before, one of these Tough Mudder Obstacle Races, I took relatively large amounts of ketone esters and I also took a relatively large amount of glucose so I had high glucose and I had high ketones simultaneously and, honestly, it was like freakin’ rocket fuel. I don’t think someone would want to do that while sitting at their desk, but from my competitive standpoint, it seemed actually to be a pretty good ergogenic.

Thomas: Totally! Where have you been all my life, man? You’re someone who actually looks at that? I had no idea that you actually dove into that because as far as I’ve seen, no one’s talking about it, and you’re dead on. The thing is, a lot of it is just how beta-Hydroxybutyrate is marketed right now. People just don’t see it as… People see it as a cosmetic aid. They’re not seeing it as a performance aid yet and you’re dead on.

The thing is, beta-Hydroxybutyrate in that same instance that you’re saying for extreme glycolytic load and being able to perform where it’s going to allow you to work pretty well is in a combination of aerobic and anaerobic activity which usually, our body is running on one energy system and it’s pretty hard to find that gray area. That’s why I always talk about CrossFit for instance, the reason CrossFit can be difficult for some people to see cosmetic results with isn’t because CrossFit isn’t effective, it’s because their bodies are having a hard time transferring back and forth between aerobic and anaerobic without limiting the ability to perform well in one given area. They’re burning themselves out aerobically so then they’re tired anaerobically and vice versa. But in the presence of beta-Hydroxybutyrate, we could actually have the solution to where you can perform well aerobically and anaerobically at the same time.

The same is also going to go for extreme cognitive load. When I’m filming for instance, when I’m filming something where I need to be very, very focused and very, very articulate, beta-Hydroxybutyrate plus a little bit of glucose is actually my friend. Am I aware that it will cause me to store a little bit of that glucose? Sure. It may convert it to triglycerides, I’m not concerned about it, I’m aware about it, but the cognitive benefit is so powerful at that point in time that it supersedes any potential negative body composition effects that would occur.

Ben: Right.

Thomas: It’s safe to say you have to be doing that a lot to start noticing a negative effect in your body composition.

Ben: Right. So the big picture there is that beta-Hydroxybutyrate in addition to not just intermittent fasting but more specifically prolonged fasting that might be longer than say 18- to 24- hours is a potent anti-inflammatory strategy but really, if you were fasting, the two would kind of go hand in hand anyway. You don’t necessarily need to go rush out and buy a bunch of ketones if you were just going to fast to get that anti-inflammatory effect, like a weekly fast or something like that.

Thomas: Correct. I would just let your body do it naturally for sure.

Ben: Okay, got it.

[Music plays]

Ben: Hey, I want to interrupt today’s show to tell you about this amazing stuff that I put in my smoothie every single morning. It’s got chlorella, moringa, spirulina, mint, beets, matcha green tea, wheat grass, ashwagandha, turmeric, yeah turmeric imagine that, speak of the devil, lemon, coconut water. It’s called Organifi Green Juice. Organifi Green Juice. It’s the best tasting super food blend on the face of the planet in my opinion. It’s been shown to lower cortisol, it can bump up your testosterone levels, increase strength, improve mental focus, better yet, it’s vegan, it’s gluten free, it’s dairy free, it’s soy free, and when you open up the little container, believe it or not, it’s not just air, it’s actually tasty, tasty green stuff. Easier than eating vegetables; easier than juicing. There’s no blending, there’s no clean up, there’s no shopping, and you get 20% off. You just go to www.BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Organifi. That’s Organifi with an “I”. www.BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Organifi and just use discount code BEN. That will get you 20% off with discount code BEN over at www.BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Organifi.

This podcast is also brought to you by GainsWave which is a new break through solution for men and women who want optimal sexual performance. They were just featured on the doctor’s TV show, I’ve been to their provider down in Aventura, Florida. What they do is use acoustic soundwaves to deliver this pulse of energy into erectile tissues and into the crotches of both males and females. It’s a non-drug treatment protocol that allows for better sex and increased orgasm intensity, ton of benefits, it breaks up plaque in old blood vessels, and makes them more elastic, it stimulates the growth of new blood vessels, and, yes, I can attest to the fact that it works like Gang Busters. So, during this holiday season, give yourself a GainsWave gift. Why don’t you. Here’s how and here’s how to get 150 bucks off your first GainsWave treatment. Just text the word GREENFIELD to 313131. That’s GREENFIELD to 313131 and you’ll get hooked up with the good folks from Gains Wave. Enjoy!

[Music Plays]

Ben: What else in addition to ketones and fasting and something like this bacterial strain would be some of your more potent tactics to reduce inflammation?

Thomas: I’ve always a big fan of curcumin. There’s probably something that’s not studied as much as curcumin when it comes down to reducing nuclear factor kappa b and having some pretty powerful effects on interleukin-1 and interleukin-6 which are some really big drivers behind inflammation. Problem is curcumin is swept under the rug a lot probably because it’s talked about so much.

Ben: Yeah.

Thomas: I think people probably say curcumin is just a fad, it’s just another curcumin. The thing is, it’s tough to say, but there’s so many different curcumin products out there that people are just talking about curcumin all the time that it kind of goes in one ear and out the other. But still continuing research day in and day out, we’re seeing new studies as far as cancer is concerned, but really the inflammation studies have been around for some of the longest and mainly has to do with that nuclear factor kappa b that’s the main epicenter for inflammation. It’s kind of a master regulator when it comes down to… People think it comes down to c reactive active protein levels, but the thing is, c reactive protein levels can change by the time of day you wake up.

Ben: Right.

Thomas: You can’t use c reactive protein levels necessarily as the end all be all, but when you look at nuclear kappa factor b and how these other regulators work, then that’s when you’re really knowing you’re dealing with something that’s effective.

Ben: So, if someone were to get tested over chronic inflammation. You hear a lot of people talk about HSCRP and that being something you’d want low, but because that fluctuates so much, you’re saying that if you were to test this nuclear factor kappa b, that that would be a better test to ask your physician for or to get tested to see if you have chronic inflammation?

Thomas: Yeah, nuclear kappa factor b is going to be something that’s directly correlated with stress and directly correlated with main drivers of inflammation. Now, it’s not to say that c reactive protein is not a good driver or biomarker because it is, but when, for example, Ben, if you were to go work out right now and come back two hours later or realistically, four hours later, and test your c reactive protein levels, there’s a good chance they’d be elevated.

Ben: Right.

Thomas: It’s just, the same with me, and that’s the problem. If you’re dealing with sedentary individuals that are not active, then that’s a fine test because their baseline, their control, is rather flat. But, guys like you and I, and probably your listeners, it would probably be volatile. You can’t just judge on that. I’ve had times where my c reactive protein levels are very, very happy and I’ve had times where they’re alarming where it would look like I’m almost in a disease state. So, nuclear kappa factor b can be tested, there’s, I’m sure you’re well versed in this coming from the ancillary lab services world, it definitely can be tested. It’s not the cheapest test in the world, but if someone is very serious about it, you can ask your physician.

Ben: Yeah, there’s a test, I do some work with Wellness FX and there’s one test that I helped them develop. Basically, it’s kind of expensive, it’s $1,000 plus, but it’s almost like a longevity testing package. Everything you’d want to test if you were concerned about longevity and that tests for all the inflammatory markers, not just HSCRP; it’s got homocysteine and of course CRP, and also your nuclear factor kappa b on there, and a bunch of other parameters. So, that’s one option, to just use a more comprehensive test like this which as you alluded to isn’t cheap, but is one option.

But, when it comes to curcumin in general and its ability to kind of make a dent in that inflammatory marker, from what I understand, curcumin is relatively or poorly absorbed. It’s not water soluble and has poor bioavailability and so I’m curious if you can get into how you can actually take curcumin and make it more bioavailable? Is it as simple as dumping curcumin capsules into a blender full of coconut oil or are there other solutions?

Thomas: To be honest, if you’re familiar with the fact that it’s actually somewhat lipophilic, so it actually has an affinity for being with fats. So, people do automatically think that means you’re going to combine it with coconut oil and you’re going to be fine, but the fact is, that’s only solving one part of the problem. Now, we have to look at how it’s going to get through the phase where it’s wanting to bind with water too.

So, curcumin is really interesting. It wants to bind with water and it also wants to bind with fat which means in order to really get solid enzymatic response where you’re going to actually absorb it, you have to be able to have both parties happy. You have to have a lipophilic side happy and also the lipophobic side happy. What that ends up doing is meaning it has to be combined in some kind of liposome or has to be combined with some kind of micellar form where it can actually combine with both water and fat to truly get into the system. Otherwise, you’re going to have to combine it with things like bioperine or black pepper, to really try to get the liver to really…

Ben: This is where you see a lot of people do… You’ll see a lot of curcumin supplements that are combined with bioperine or black pepper extract to somehow improve the absorption.

Thomas: Bioperine kind of scares me a little bit. I used to be okay with it until I found one particular article, actually I’ll send it over to you so you can put it in the show notes, but it was pretty interesting. It really does disarm the liver. We have to look at what bioperine does. I’m not saying bioperine is bad because there are definitely some powerful uses for it, but we have to look at what it’s doing to the liver. It is disarming the liver so that things can be absorbed so that things can go through that first pass of the liver without too much of an issue.

Ben: What does that mean, “disarming the liver”?

Thomas: Well, it’s a very abbreviated way of saying it. Basically what bioperine is doing is stopping that first pass to the liver or making so that it’s a little less effective so when you consume something, it’s going to go through the liver, the liver is essentially going to filter it, and when you have bioperine in place, you’re eliminating that process or reducing that process. So, the liver becomes a little bit less effective through the particular angle of what it’s digesting or what it’s breaking down. So the whole idea with curcumin is, if you were to take it with bioperine, the liver is going to help metabolize that curcumin and make it so that it doesn’t get shutout by the liver. The liver doesn’t say “hey, this is poison, go ahead and just excrete it.” The liver says, “nah, you’re good, you get a pass.” And that’s essentially what we’re talking about.

Now, if it’s doing that with curcumin, we have to wonder if it’s doing that with other things at the same time concurrently and that is when you start looking at people who are taking, I think a study was done with people who were taking anti-depressants, but any other medication and things like that, if the liver is disarmed, or the liver is giving curcumin a pass, what other compounds is it giving a pass to? Are we now opening up to all these different side effects from other drugs that we didn’t know we were going to have a place with? Now, I know better than to make claims and say that bioperine is killing us or anything like that. I do think bioperine has really good uses in small amount but some of these amounts that people are putting in into curcumin products just so that they could say that curcumin is being absorbed, I would almost wonder, and I would argue and go so far as arguing this, that the effects you’re going to get from the liver being disarmed are probably going to supersede the positive effects of the curcumin. Now, I don’t have anything legitimately to back that up, but just looking at the different signs that show what bioperine, or black pepper extract, can do in terms of the liver, it’s fairly safe to assume that.

Ben: Okay, got it. So if we weren’t going to consume curcumin in combination with black pepper, what would be the best way to ensure the best way we were getting absorption ability of curcumin?

Thomas: You’re fairly familiar with digestive things, obviously you’re very familiar with the gut biome, are you familiar with…

Ben: Yeah, I like to eat too!

Thomas: Are you familiar with what a micelle is?

Ben: Yeah.

Thomas: Okay, so, for the listeners who may not know exactly what a micelle is, when you digest fats, obviously we don’t ever really digest fats, we emulsify fats. We never break down fats all the way. Until they’re in their free fatty acid form and they’re in the lymph, they’re never really “digested.”

Now, what ends up happening is we have a thing called a micelle that comes in that further helps that emulsification process and allows it to go through the enterocyte and transfer it to the lymph. So, if you can find a way to have curcumin in a micelle or what’s called a micellized form, which is a more evolved form of a liposome, you’re basically putting curcumin inside this natural carrier that is already an emulsifier. So, when it meets with the body’s digestive juices, it’s literally just transferring the curcumin in through the emulsification process right into the enterocyte, right into the lymph, and ultimately into the bloodstream. So, you’re basically not trying to affect the liver, you’re simply trying to affect how this curcumin enters the lymph and enter the bloodstream.

Ben: Right. You’re essentially just wrapping them in a fat phospholipid that allows them to safely pass through the digestive system, kind of like that bacteria you talked about earlier, keeping it from being degraded by pancreatic lipase, the same way you’re keeping the curcumin from basically, you’re allowing it to be better absorbed by allowing it to safely pass through the digestive system.

Thomas: So, yeah, that’s one part of the equation. What you just described is exactly what a liposome is. Actually, you described exactly a liposome. So, now if you take that one step further, and you take a liposomal and a micellized form, then you get the best of both worlds. So, liposome survives the first phase of digestion: pancreatic lipase, the stomach, the small intestine or the first part of the small intestine, the micelle allows to actually go to the enterocytes. So, when you have a liposome, it’s like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole because that liposome doesn’t necessarily match up with the enterocyte. Its’ actually too big to be absorbed through an enterocyte.

Ben: Right, the enterocyte, just to clarify for people, those are your intestinal absorptive cells. Those are the simple little epithelial cells that you find in the small intestine, right?

Thomas: Exactly. So, a liposome, you see a lot of liposomal product. Liposomes are huge right now. That’s a problem, when you end up having a liposome, then it doesn’t actually absorb because it’s getting blocked, it cannot fit through the enterocyte. But when you combine a liposome with a micelle, then you’re getting the benefits of a liposome being able to get through the stomach, transfer through the small intestine without being disrupted by the gastric juices, and then having a micelle actually emulsify and get it into the actual enterocyte and into the bloodstream so it can go do its job.

Ben: Fascinating. So when you’re buying curcumin and you see something like liposomal curcumin, that’s actually inferior to what would be deemed a micellular curcumin?

Thomas: Very, very true. It’s not to say that liposomal is not good, there’s a lot of studies that have shown that liposomal is significantly better than standardized curcumin extract without anything else. They definitely want to be getting a micellar form or a micellized form.

Ben: Okay, gotcha. Now, can you bind the micelle to anything to allow it to not be degraded in the gut because from what I’m familiar with, you can still basically have issues, I believe, in terms of the interaction of the micelle with iron in the gut? Is this true?

Thomas: Now, that has to do with how a lot of companies will take just a micelle form and not ever bind it with a liposome and this is the whole idea where you have a liposome and you think of a micelle inside of a liposome. So, a liposome can survive the gut bacteria and can survive that hostile environment. A micelle by itself cannot because a micelle is not really designed to be ingested. A micelle is designed to hang out in your small intestine. So, what you’re describing, if you were to just take and ingest random micelles, you need to have that micellized liposomal form. Now, what it sounds like your describing is a technology we’ve also utilized called receptor cell mediated endocytosis which is where we take lactoferrin and bind it to the micelle. So we’ve got lactoferrin bound to a micelle and to a liposome. So, actually going back up, liposome with micelle inside the liposome, and then lactoferrin bound to it. Lactoferrin is a very powerful iron chelator, so now…

Ben: That’s a protein right, lactoferrin?

Thomas: Correct, correct. By adding lactoferrin into the mix, you’re really putting yourself in a… Well, to add insult to injury in a positive way, you’re getting a nice, little gut biome that’s occurring there simply because it’s another iron oxidizer. But, by doing that, you’re allowing it to bind with the gut bacteria naturally or bind to the oxygen, I should say, and then absorbed. So, the lactoferrin allows it to survive all the way through that small intestine whereas the micelle and the liposome is really what’s allowing it to get through the stomach and ultimately get absorbed.

Ben: Okay, interesting. The lactoferrin has an effect on iron metabolism because it almost has an anti-inflammatory effect by chelating the iron. Is that correct?

Thomas: That’s correct. We have a lot of excess iron in our bodies. People talk about anemia…

Ben: Especially men.

Thomas: Especially men. You’re exactly right. So women talk about iron as this big problem, anemia and everything like that, when in reality I’d almost argue that it’s quite the opposite. We’re starting to develop this feedback where we have so much iron, we have so much calcium in our bodies, and it’s throwing off this entire loop or root causes really messed up.

So, being able to oxidize this extra will take away the oxygen from this iron so this iron doesn’t necessarily become iron oxide and stays in its ferric state, it’s a lot easier to pass it through rather than have it get absorbed into the body and slowing down the oxygen consumption that would normally happen with good healthy things that we’d want it to happen with. We’d want it to happen with our cells, we’d want it to happen with natural things that are really occurring in our body that are allowing us to be the best we can be and not necessarily just have this massive influx of iron that’s oxidizing, slowing us down, basically acting as a heavy metal.

Ben: Okay. Got it. So, big picture is we take curcumin, extract it from turmeric, and then put it into a micellular form and then wrap that with a liposome, and then attach that to a lactoferrin protein to allow for it to get absorbed and also to quell some of the inflammatory response that iron could cause and that’s the way you would enhance the delivery of curcumin into that anti-inflammatory effect most efficiently.

Thomas: That’s the only way that I would take curcumin. Otherwise I feel like it’s a waste.

Ben: Okay. Now what about omega-3 fatty acids because in many cases, you’ll see omega-3 fatty acids kind of reported to be one of the most potent ways to quell inflammation, why didn’t you talk about those as one of your methods? Or did I just not give you a chance to go down that rabbit hole?

Thomas: Well, part of it is not having the chance, but they really work on two different areas. Now, most of my research has been in the world of docosahexaenoic acid versus EPA.

Ben: So, DHA?

Thomas: Yeah, DHA. So, if you look on your bottle of fish oil or you look on your bottle of omegas, there’s a big chance you’ll see it’s got eicosapentaenoic acid, EPA, and doc0sahexaenoic, DHA, and they’re both good but the problem is that EPA is shown to reduce that wonderful CRP which is great but we don’t know exactly what’s happening there. We know it’s reducing inflammation throughout the course of the body but we don’t precisely know where. We look at docosahexaenoic acid, DHA, the studies are a lot more conclusive as far as too many crosses factor 1 alpha, again nuclear factor kappa b. So, omegas are great, two different worlds, whereas curcumin has been known to reduce inflammation throughout the joints, in a very much cellular level.

Omegas, particularly DHA, I’m going to speak mainly to DHA because EPA is not my world, but DHA definitely has been shown to cross through the blood brain barrier and actually make up a good percentage of the brain’s weight. So, a lot of the studies show that reductions in brain inflammation occur with DHA. So it’s almost like you sort of helped put together my stack here, because that’s exactly what I do in terms of inflammation, I’ve got curcumin, then I’ve got high quality or high potency DHA, so that I can actually feel like I’m getting the body and the brain side of things. That’s what I’m all about: how to get the best performance body and brain combined.

Ben: Okay, got it. So, in terms of DHA are you just using a fish oil?

Thomas: So fish oil is great. If you’re just going to be taking a standalone DHA and you’re not doing curcumin or anything like that, then straight fish oil is great. Sardine oil is usually one of the better ones. Calamarine is great! I’ve become recently a fan of algal oil which is actually derived from an algae.

Ben: Right, almost like a vegan form of DHA.

Thomas: It is a vegan form of DHA and I hate to necessarily refer to it as that because I feel that it pigeonholes and that’s been the problem with DHA is that, or with algal oil I should say, is a lot of times it’s been marketed as a DHA supplement for vegans which unfortunately turns off a lot of people that aren’t vegans because they just subconsciously say “I don’t need a vegan product” but realistically, algal oil is absorbed very, very well and you’re not dealing a lot with the potential toxins that you are with a lot of fish oils.

Good quality fish oil is great, I’m all about that. But I’m also all about trying to get the most potent form of DHA. Algal oil is straight up DHA with very, very little amount of EPA and the fact that you can get it from a very bioavailable plant source is pretty cool.

Ben: Yeah, I got interested in that stuff back in the day. I used to race Ironman Hawaii pretty frequently and they have part of the race going through this area of Kona, Hawaii called the Energy Lab and you run through that and it’s actually a place where they create algal biofuel as an alternative to liquid fossil fuel because algae fuel is basically releases CO2 when it’s burnt, just like fossil fuel, but it basically only releases it in a certain way via photosynthesis, it’s more environmentally friendly.

When I started looking into this, it turns out it’s a pretty potent fuel for the human body as well and it’s got super high levels of these omega-3 fatty acids in it. Again, without some of the potential of rancidity. Also for me, I do a really good fish oil when I’m at home. My kids do a fermented cod liver oil and I do a form of fish oil that’s kind of blend with astaxanthin and vitamin e and some other things that keep rancidity at bay, but when I travel, I of course travel in hot environments in many cases. I’ll typically have a bag of chlorella and spirulina and algae sources and that’s what I’ll use for my DHA.

So, it’s certainly something I endorse as a good source of omega-3 fatty acid. So, that in combination with curcumin, it sounds like good bacterial profile in the gut, intermittent fasting, ketones, this lactoferrin that you talked about preferably something bound to the curcumin. One of the things a lot of people talk about though, Tom, is ginger. What are your thoughts on ginger?

Thomas: I think it’s not talked about enough. I feel like it’s probably one of these compounds that gets basically overshowed by turmeric. People think of the roots and that ginger is good for my nausea that’s… They don’t think of it as something that actually has some very powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory components. So, I’ve become very interested in ginger as well, super hyper concentrated forms of it.

My interest in ginger started in the essential oils side which, sometimes, I’m not the biggest fan of essential oils, I have my take on it, but I honestly have always loved the smell of ginger. So, it was something I was pumping into my office all the time because it helped me feel really clear.

Ben: I actually have a diffuser on my desk for essential oils but I’ve never diffused ginger. That’s interesting.

Thomas: Oh, really?

Ben: So it gives you a clear head, huh?

Thomas: It’s helped me. I love it in the morning. What I do is I take a combination of ginger and tangerine for my sort of morning essential oil cocktail.

Ben: Okay.

Thomas: Again, there’s lots of different he-said, she-said about what essential oils can do for your body and this and that, but all that aside, I just like the smell of this stuff. It’s good.

Ben: Oh yeah, I’m diffusing rosemary right now as we’re speaking.

Thomas: Nice. So, the main thing with ginger is the anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial effects in the gut really helping us out. There are some studies that are starting to show a lot of the effects when it comes down to the ginger having an effect on cancer, particularly with digestive cancers and even ulcerative colitis and stuff like that. So, when we look at how different things are digested and how ginger has an effect on free radicals in the gut, reactive oxygen species, even just in the gut, it’s pretty powerful.

In my opinion, ginger is extremely underrated. It’s just something that if you were to take the one study I was reading last week, it was actually an older study that was something like in a double blind study, those that consumed one gram of ginger after each meal lost on average 27% more weight than those that didn’t.

Ben: Really?

Thomas: It’s got an extremely, extremely, extremely powerful effect just in terms of satiation, in terms of appetite, in terms of really being able to breakdown, and it’s finally getting to a point now where people are starting to study it to the extent that people were studying turmeric 10 to 15 years ago.

Ben: That’s super interesting. I didn’t know that. You don’t think it’s having an effect on GLUT4 transporters or quelling blood sugar response, you think it’s all really related to inflammation?

Thomas: I would argue that it is related to inflammation as far as GLUT4 or even GLUT5, it’s… Ginger does have an effect on helping fructose actually get through the system a little bit better too. So, when we start talking about GLUT4 or GLUT5, that’s actually a conversation for even another day as it can actually help that active transport chain carry fructose to the liver a little bit more efficiently.

Ben: That’s great because my favorite alcoholic drink is a Moscow mule.

Thomas: (laughs) Then you’re in good shape!

Ben: So I’m helping some of that fructose get through. You know what, when it comes to ginger, correct me if I’m mistaken, but you mentioned curcumin as being one of the few anti-inflammatories that has a potent effect on the NF kappa b. From what I understand, ginger is one of the others that kind of joins curcumin as having particularly a potent effect on that marker of inflammation.

Thomas: It does. It’s not quite as powerful as curcumin is, but as far as nuclear factor kappa b is concerned, ginger is one of the only natural compounds that’s out there that does have an effect on that. They’ve noticed a particular instance in terms of inflammation that’s related to neurodegenerative diseases. So, we’ve got another instance there when it comes to inflammation. Of course we’ve got the gut, but we’ve also got the powerful brain anti-inflammatory agent.

Ben: Okay, cool. I know there are some others out there that kind of fly under the radar. There was a study, it was a while ago, but it’s just basically a study on a whole bunch of different spices that can kind of decrease activation of that nuclear transcription factor and I think fennel was in there, and capsaicin was in there, and there were cloves and cumin and garlic, but I know ginger and curcumin are kind of a thing at the top of the list as two that are particularly potent. What I like for those, especially for our audience, a lot of exercising individuals, active athletes, etcetera, they’re so useful for joint pain and I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to do high dose curcumin prior to a massage, Thomas, but it literally feels as if your muscles are melting in terms of the pliability of the fascia. I’ll take it 60 to 90 minutes prior to a massage, just a lot of curcumin, and it has a really potent effect.

Thomas: Wow, so what kind of dosage are you recommending?

Ben: Well, in my case, for curcumin, it’s up around two or three grams. So, pretty high. Occasionally I’ll combine that with a CBD or a kratom or something else that really causes the muscles to just melt and relax and my massage therapist can just dig deep, deep when I’ve had that stuff prior to deep tissue sports massage. So it’s kind of like a little hack for tissue work.

One thing I wanted to ask you about now that we’ve got this expending list of pretty anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories would be this million dollar question that I get asked a lot, which is: when wouldn’t you want to quell inflammation? I don’t pop a bunch of curcumin and fish oil and ginger for example, or algal DHA or things like that directly after a workout because I don’t want to shut down the hormetic response to exercise, what are some of the rules when it comes to using some of these more potent anti-inflammatory molecules?

Thomas: Yeah, definitely. You don’t want to be taking it directly after a workout. It’s not one of those things. You don’t want to quell inflammation after a workout. It’s pretty straightforward. You want to be able to allow that inflammatory response do its thing.

In fact, there are a lot of people who would argue that even if you’re injured, you should let your body’s natural inflammatory response take over before you even pop an ibuprofen. So, the same goes for the micro-trauma that’s occurring in a workout. Now, believe it or not, there’s not a whole lot of science that shows what is causing the inflammation right after a workout. It may seem logical, but it’s relatively inconclusive. We don’t necessarily know what’s happening. Is it the micro-trauma, is it hormonal, or is it cortisol response? What exactly is triggering this? The answer is probably a number of different things, so it’s really hard to pinpoint where do ilwe want to reduce inflammation after a workout or where do we want to let it go. So, it’s really, really difficult.

So, the safe response right now is you want to let it go for a couple of hours because that initial inflammatory response is what’s going to allow you to get through that first phase of recovery. So, my general rule of thumb is I would rather take a little bit of an anti-inflammatory compound, like high power curcumin, a couple hours prior to my workout so that I am reducing any instance of pain or injury flare ups or anything like that and allowing it to quell inflammation a little bit throughout the course of the workout but I want it to subside after my workout so I get that natural rebound effect and I actually have an influx of inflammation for a small amount of time.

Ben: Mhm.

Thomas: And then go ahead and take my anti-inflammatories a few hours afterwards.

Ben: Are there any studies that look into the exact amount of time or is it kind of just a few hours after like two or three hours?

Thomas: Everything that I have found, I’ve tried to dive really deep into this, has really shown that it’s all dependent on the type of exercises. It’s all dependent on the person. I know for a fact with me, in terms of how I feel, I just kind of measured it out myself, when I take curcumin religiously right after a workout, I feel like I don’t get the recovery that I need. Now, I’m also very much in tune with my body and I can feel that, but I also know that a lot of endurance athletes don’t get the same inflammatory response that maybe a strength athlete would get. In fact, endurance activity, when you’re not in any kind of stressed form, is relatively anti-inflammatory in itself. So, where do you draw the line? So where do you start implementing something like curcumin? When do you abstain? So, it’s always a safe bet to say give it at least a few hours so your body can allow its natural response to do its thing.

Ben: Right! From what I understand, some of the studies that were done in say vitamin C and vitamin E, antioxidant supplementation where they saw a slowed increase in lean body mass as a result of strength training and they showed a blunted skeletal muscle oxidated response to endurance training, in many cases, these folks were kind of like the three-days-a-week-for-an-hour strength training or the 40-minute-bike-session-in-the-lab type. These were not Ironman triathletes or Crossfitters or people who likely have a much greater amount of inflammation than we would might see in some of these studies and so I think, as you’ve just alluded to, the actual amount of damage you’re doing, should be taken into consideration as well.

I’m kind of on the same page as you. For the same reason unless I’m trying to put on weight or trying to put on muscle, I actually don’t eat for a while after a workout so that I get a little bit of an enhanced growth hormone response to the workout. For a similar reason, I just wait several hours or until later in the day to use something like curcumin or fish oil or any substance or antioxidant that we’ve talked about.

Thomas: Yeah, actually, you might find this interesting, I can send you the link to this too, studies have actually show that even as far as muscle anabolism goes and [1:09:52] ______ goes and everything like that, you don’t even have to eat. Your protein synthesis stays elevated for 22 to 24 hours after weight training. So this whole 30-minute anabolic window thing where you need to eat if you need to build muscle actually doesn’t even matter.

Ben: Yeah, yeah. Allan Argon has some really good writings on that about how yes you are in an enhanced insulin state within those 20 minutes or up to two hours after a workout, but the enhancement of the insulin sensitive state is actually not that significant compared to even the enhancement at the eight hour period or the 24-hour period. Ultimately when it comes down to post workout fueling is that if you’re some collegiate athlete at a swim meet and you have eight swims over the course of two days, yeah you’re probably going to want to fuel after your workouts or after your competition, but in most cases, like for a once-a-day-type of exercises, you’ll be fully refueled or restored within 24-hours post workout whether you suck down your Jamba Juice right after the workout or four hours later.

Thomas: Exactly, man. It’s a matter of finding a balance between where do you get this benefit of protein synthesis but where do you also get the benefit of riding the wave so to speak, with the heightened hormone response and also we do have to remember that if you were to remain fasted after your workout, your insulin sensitivity is going to continue to increase. It’s going to stay high after your workout for about 20 to 30 minutes then it’s going to decrease, but then as you go through the day fasted for another two/three hours, it’s going to increase probably above where it was right after your workout. So, you’re actually putting yourself in a potentially even better state if you can be very controlled with your diet to refuel a few hours later.

Ben: Yeah, yeah. So, when it comes to all of these nutrients we’ve talked about for quelling inflammation, and we didn’t even get the chance to dive into some of the things I wanted to talk to you about, so I’m going to have to put lots of links for folks in the show notes over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Inflammation because you actually have some really interesting thoughts on getting by on less sleep and managing day light savings time and this whole idea of a glutamine rebound. A lot of interesting things! I’ll have to have you back on the show or else you guys can just go to the show notes and go read some of Thomas’ blog pots but I did want to kind of come full circle when it comes to some of these topics we talked about because there is one compound, I believe it’s called PuraThrive, or is that the name of the company that makes this stuff?

Thomas: Yeah, PuraThrive is the name of the company. So, Curcumin Gold is the actual compound.

Ben: Did you formulate that?

Thomas: I worked with a company out in Pomona and helped in the formulation of that. So, we’ve licensed the patent for the receptor cells mediated into cytosis so that that formulation lets us be bound to lactoferrin so that it could absorb. So that’s where I became involved: how that could actually work and how we can take these components put them together in a form with a technology that actually allows them to be absorbed.

Ben: Okay, so, what’s the name of that stuff?

Thomas: So the name of the actual product itself is Curcumin Gold. So Curcumin Gold is what’s going to contain curcumin; it’s going to contain ginger oil, and now we’ve got the algal oil as well. So, combining those we called it Curcumin Gold simply because curcumin is the most index in it and a lot of people know curcumin and if we were to just go out and say “hey this is algal oil,” it’s again, kind of going to go down that same path of being able to speak to the vegans and not being able to speak to everyone else. But being able to take curcumin and take it to a higher level and really predicate everything with education. We want to teach people that hey this is how this stuff works. This is how curcumin really works in your body and this is some of the factors you have to keep in mind when it comes to how you absorb it.

Ben: Okay, so that’s got the ginger oil, it’s got the micellular curcumin you talked about, it’s got the algal oil, and from what I understand, I actually haven’t tried it yet, I need to get some so I can see how I feel on it, but it’s a liquid, correct? So you can add it to a smoothie or a shake or something like that?

Thomas: Yeah, or just take it straight like I do. I mean, it tastes pretty darn good. It’s got sort of a citrus-y taste to it.

Ben: Okay, cool, sweet. What I’m going to do for you guys listening in, I’ll put a link to this in the show notes. It’s called Curcumin Gold. I believe we get a 15% discount on it. I’ll put a link where you guys can get a 15% discount on that from PuraThrive and the other things I’m going to do in the show notes is, for sheer entertainment factor because it’s so compelling, is this picture I have of you, Thomas, before and after that corporate executive mode to being a magazine cover model because it’s pretty shocking honestly. I think it’s going to get a lot of folks thinking about not just dieting and exercising to get this type of body recomposition effect you were able to attain but also to delve into some of these concepts that we just kind of touched on when it comes to quelling inflammation.

It’s kind of interesting, right? We see all these fat loss supplements that are almost ephedra and central nervous system stimulants and green tea extracts and raspberry ketones and all this jazz but you don’t see a lot of people talking about… The two things I see is kind of neglected components of supplementation for fat loss would be: control of blood sugar and control of inflammation. You don’t have to jack up the central nervous system activity or the metabolism, you want to control blood sugar and control inflammation. That’s going to solve 99% of the issues when it comes to metabolic issues when it comes to fat loss in my opinion.

Thomas: Yeah, and to be completely honest, if you were to completely over-zap your CNS, you’re going to trigger more inflammation.

Ben: Right.

Thomas: So you may have this temporary effect and we didn’t get the chance to talk about this, we’ll save it for another time, I know you’re going to be out in LA, maybe we can link up in person and do some video on it too, but talking about the world of caffeine and everything like that, it’s kind of like this gray area with caffeine because you do have the components of caffeine that can be very beneficial but there’s actually long term effects of caffeine like any other central nervous system stimulant that may ultimately cause a rebound in inflammation. So we’ll talk about that in another time, but yeah, basically if all you’re doing is popping fat burners all the time, you could be putting yourself in this heightened state of inflammation later down the line which is going to stand in your way later on.

Ben: Right, it’s fascinating. Dude, I could talk to you for hours. I know we only scratched the surface as far as you knowledge is concerned. I’m glad I found out about you and again, for those of you listening in, I’ll link to Thomas and his website over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Inflammation. Good luck spelling that! Google it if you want to know how.

I’ll also link to this PuraThrive compound that’s got the curcumin, and the ginger, and algal DHA in it if you want to try it and get a 15% discount up for you guys again at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Inflammation.

Finally, if you have questions, or thoughts, or feedback for Thomas or myself, just leave them over there on the comments section and I’ll be sure to jump in and reply. Anything that’s a real head scratcher to me, I’ll try to get it to Thomas. So, in the meantime, Tom, Thomas, do you go by Tom or Thomas? What do you prefer?

Thomas: Let’s go with Thomas.

Ben: Alright, I should have asked you at the very beginning of the episode, but oh well. Thomas, thanks for coming on the show, man.

Thomas: Absolutely, thanks for having me.

Ben: Alright, folks. I’m Ben Greenfield along with Thomas Delauer signing out from BenGreenfieldFitness.com. Have an amazing week!

Thomas DeLauer is one of the leading experts in the world of chronic inflammation as well as the response of the human body to a low-carb diet. He is noted for his personal transformation from a 280-pound overweight corporate executive to not only being on the cover of health and fitness magazines worldwide but pioneering some of the mainstream awareness of auto-immune diseases and inflammation in general!

Thomas has been highlighted in over 20 magazines showcasing his transformation and has been featured worldwide on the cover of Ironman Magazine, Muscle and Performance Magazine, Natural Muscle Magazine, ICON Magazine, Platform Magazine and Ironman Japan.

His background is in Sports Psychology, although it is this passion for psychology coupled with a career in healthcare as a physician recruiter and owner of an ancillary lab services company that sparked his love for nutritional science and what makes the body tick. He is currently working on a project in the 2nd phase of trials with Doctors at UCLA to identify a strain of bacteria that may help modulate inflammation within the body. It is partially due to his involvement in this study that he has developed such an interest in the world of cellular inflammation in the first place. Residing near Santa Barbara, California, with his wife, three dogs, two horses, and soon to be first son. Thomas promotes a lifestyle of living as close to the earth as possible to obtain the best possible results while still achieving maximum performance in every possible area of life.

During our discussion, you’ll discover:

-The top nutrients Thomas plans on feeding his newborn son to enhance his health…[10:00]

-The tactics Tom used to go “from a 280-pound overweight corporate executive to not only being on the cover of health and fitness magazines”…[13:10]

-The intriguing connection between an inability to lose fat and the presence of inflammation…[18:00]

-How a special form of lactobacillus 456 can colonize the gut and cause a quelling of inflammation and enhanced fat loss…[22:15]

-Whether you would want to combine a ketone such as beta-hydroxy-butyrate with glucose and when that would be a problem…[34:12]

-Why Thomas believes curcumin should not be combined with black pepper and better ways to improve absorption of curcumin…[40:45 & 43:45]

-Why excess iron is a big problem for your gut, and how to get rid of it using something called “lactoferrin”…[53:10]

-The single herbal extract that Thomas considers to fly under the radar but that has an extremely powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect…[60:23]

-The answer to the “million dollar” question on when you wouldn’t want to quell inflammation…[65:30]

-And much more…

“Dude, you photoshopped your head on that body.” I shook my head and smiled proudly as my friend Gerad stared up at the framed photo in my office – a photo of me standing wide-legged on stage with a giant creatine-fueled grin on my face as I held a double biceps flex pose.

“You were really at 3% body fat?”

I nodded. “215 pounds and 3% body fat.”

It’s true. As a former competitive bodybuilder, I spent the first three years of my foray into the fitness industry cracking the code on burning massive amounts of fat tissue – without wasting away into malnourished, muscle-depleted oblivion. Copious amounts of time spent in advanced human nutrition, chemistry and pharmaceutical classes at the University of Idaho combined with a hefty dose of time spent lurking on bodybuilding forums chiseled my body and brain into fat-loss ninjas. Following my short-lived bodybuilding career, I proceeded to spend the next decade immersed in an equally unhealthy and body-abusing sport: Ironman triathlon, a sport in which I continued to decipher body-composition optimization in pursuit of the perfect power-to-weight ratio (including discovering and using the most successful fat burning strategy I’ve ever discovered, which I’ll reveal at the end of this article if you stick with me).

But my approach to fat loss is not just steeped in time in the bodybuilding and Ironman trenches, but also in a deep research dive into the science of what actually works for safe, effective and lasting fat decimation – strategies that go far beyond the age-old, sage advice to simply “move more and eat less”. And sure: fat loss and the attainment of a sexy, lean body begins with getting off your butt, moving more, working out, and slowly lowering the creme-filled doughnut away from your gaping maw. However, I’ve learned that when it comes to losing fat fast, staying shredded, ripped and toned year-round, and getting to the body weight you want – without two-a-day workouts and being cold and starving all the time – there are indeed potent strategies that fly under the radar: strategies that go beyond fat loss.

For example, take the flawed concept that, no matter what, you’ll always be stuck with the same number of fat cells you’ve built earlier in your life. This commonly-accepted dogma in the fitness and diet industry dictates that if you’ve ever had excess weight or bits of undesirable adipose tissue on your waist, hips and butt, then the fat cells in those areas will never actually disappear, but will instead simply shrink. Those fat cells will then hide, waiting in the wings for the next time you mess up and eat a few too many bites of steak or an extra scoop of ice cream – at which point those food calories are doomed to get shoveled directly into the eager, waiting fat cells – resulting in a constant uphill battle against the bulge.

But this simply isn’t true. I realized this when I interviewed Dr. Cate Shanahan on my podcast. Dr. Shanahan explained that if you banish just one particularly notorious biological variable that is present in most people eating a standard Western diet, then you can actually induce fat cells to not only die, but to get transformed into other physiologically useful tissues, such as muscle cells, stem cells and neural cells. So what is this variable?

It’s not excess calories. It’s not chocolate. It’s not (to the chagrin of diet-book authors worldwide) gluten. It’s not a low-carb, high-fat or a high-carb, low-fat diet.

It’s inflammation.

That’s right: inflammation – particularly from exposure to a toxin-laden environment, consumption of heated and rancid vegetable oils, and a stressful lifestyle combined with not enough sleep – can make fat cells resistant to dying and resistant to conversion into other tissues, particularly because excess inflammation creates excess insulin, and insulin is the hormone responsible for shoveling calories into fat tissue. So to achieve lasting fat loss, one potent solution is simple: shut down inflammation. Then, in the absence of inflammation, fat cells can die or get converted into other tissue. You’ll learn the best way to do that in this article, along with my other most potent fat loss tip, how you lose fat in the first place, and my Strike-Shiver-Stroll fat loss technique I do 365 days a year.

Fat Loss 101
So where does all the fat actually go when you lose weight? Most fat loss books and so-called weight loss experts, physicians, dietitians and personal trainers will tell you that fat is converted to energy or heat, but this actually violates the law of conservation of mass, which states that mass, in an isolated system, is neither created nor destroyed by chemical reactions or physical transformations. Fat also isn’t excreted as feces or converted to muscle, as many others think.

Instead, the answer to where all that fat goes, an answer provided by the latest research, may actually surprise you. It turns out that you breathe away fat. That’s right: your lungs are the primary excretory organ for weight loss. How, exactly? The rest of this section will explain that, according to the results of the study, “When somebody loses weight, where does the fat go?”

Any excess calories that you eat, including carbohydrates, protein, and even that half-stick of butter that you drop into your piping hot cup of coffee, enter the body or are converted by the body into a type of fat called triglyceride. Excess carbohydrate or protein is converted to triglyceride and stored in the lipid droplets of adipocytes, while excess dietary fat needs no conversion at all other than lipolysis (the breaking down of fat) followed by a process of re-esterification to allow it to be stored in your fat cells, also known as adipocytes. People who want to lose weight while maintaining muscle and other important tissues are, biochemically speaking, attempting to simply burn through the triglycerides stored in adipocytes. An attempt to lose weight is an attempt to metabolize these triglycerides while keeping your fat-free mass (bone, muscles, organs, etc.) intact. These triglycerides are comprised of three types of atoms: carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. They can only be broken down by unlocking these atoms through a process known as oxidation, which requires the inhalation of oxygen.

What’s incredibly interesting is that when researchers follow the path of these atoms as they leave the body, they’ve found that when 22 pounds of fat are oxidized, a little less than 21 pounds is converted and excreted as carbon dioxide (CO2) via the lungs, and around 3 pounds of the fat simply becomes water (H20). In order for that total of 22 pounds of human fat to be oxidized, the researchers calculated that almost 64 pounds of oxygen must be inhaled. That’s like holding two 30 pound dumbbells, the weight of a small child. The oxidation of fat that occurs then produces a total of 67.73 pounds of CO2 and 24.25 pounds of water. You breathe off the CO2 during normal respiration, and the water departs your body in urine, feces, breath and other bodily fluids such as sweat.

This means that your lungs are by far the primary excretory organ for fat loss! On average, a person weighing 155 pounds will exhale just under 7 ounces of CO2 if they are taking 12 breaths each minute. Now stick with me here on the math: each breath contains a little over 0.001 ounce of CO2 and about 0.0003 ounces of carbon. So a total of 17,280 breaths during the day will rid the body of at least 0.44 pounds of carbon, with roughly a third of this fat loss occurring while you’re doing nothing at all, assuming you’re getting around an 8 hours average night of sleep.

So how do you replace all that carbon you’re breathing off? I don’t know about you, but unless you have a horrible habit of munching on charcoal rocks, the only source of carbon that I can think of comes from actual calories derived from carbohydrates, proteins and fats – all of the carbon you put into your body comes from these sources.

And ultimately, this means that from as simplistic a standpoint as possible, losing fat requires that you put less back in by eating than you’ve exhaled by breathing. By substituting one hour of rest with one hour of moderate exercise such as hiking, your metabolic rate is increased by around sevenfold. This removes about 1.4 ounces of carbon from the body, increasing the daily total calculated above that is lost by the breath by around 20%, from 7 ounces up to 8.5 ounces.

Problem is, this can easily be offset with eating. A single 100-gram muffin, for example, provides about 20% of the average person’s total daily energy requirement. The disappointing fact based on this is that physical activity as a weight loss strategy is easily foiled by relatively small quantities of excess calories. So what is the most effective, albeit traditional and boring solution to this conundrum? Simple: move more and eat less.

Congratulations: you now know as much about the true mechanisms behind weight loss as the average university biochemistry student. But let’s say you’re already eating less and moving more. You’re already – theoretically at least – engaging in enough physical activity that you should be breathing off more than enough carbon, and the scale still isn’t budging. What gives? You’re about to discover exactly that: 2 reasons you’re not burning fat, you may be resistant to weight loss, or you’re piling on pounds, and exactly what you can do about it – along with how to transform yourself into a fat burning machine.

#1: Inflammation
Remember that the common belief is that fat cells never go away. Fortunately, this just isn’t the case. There is something you can do to annihilate those fat cells, and that is to rid yourself of inflammation arising from exposure to toxins, rancid vegetable oils, and a stressful lifestyle combined with lack of sleep. Not only can you banish those fat cells, you can even convert them into other tissue types, like muscle.

Now, before jumping into the nitty-gritty, it’s important to realize that not all inflammation is bad. In fact, inflammation is a natural biological reaction to different stressors that occur from day to day. When you cut yourself, the area surrounding the cut becomes inflamed as your body’s immune system and regenerative processes kick into gear, and this helps to prevent infection and to heal the cut quickly. That kind of acute inflammation is absolutely normal.

Chronic inflammation is the real bad guy. When you overload your body to the point that it over-produces inflammatory chemicals, it can cause some real damage. And there’s a lot of those chemicals. High levels of TGF-beta (transforming growth factor-beta) promote inflammation and weight gain through glucose and energy homeostasis dysregulation (poor handling of blood glucose levels). MMPs (matrix metalloproteinases, which remodel the matrix outside of cells and regulate white blood cell migration through the matrix) cause inflammation, when their blood plasma activity gets too high, through dysregulation of white blood cell migration. VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) is a key component in angiogenesis, which is the formation of new blood vessels and is correlated with obesity. If blood flow to your adipose tissue is insufficient to maintain normal tissue oxygen levels, then this means that a state of hypoxia (low oxygen) develops and the fat cell goes into a state of full-blown inflammation and insulin resistance. The enzyme NOS (nitric oxide synthase) is involved in nitric oxide production, and high production levels of nitric oxide are associated with obesity, regardless of your degree of insulin-resistance. TLR4 (toll-like receptor-4) is one of a number of TLRs that are involved in the body’s immune response to pathogenic microorganisms (invasive bacteria) and is involved in a phenomenon known as meta-inflammation<, a state of low but chronic inflammation that occurs in immune cells and fat cells. There are more chemicals, enzymes and factors involved in inflammation, but you probably get the picture: when triggered, inflammation is systemic and affects the entire body. Now, as mentioned before, inflammation can be caused by a lot of different stressors. Even psychological stress can cause rampaging, chronic inflammation. But the biggie is actually processed oil. Any kind of oil that’s been fried or cooked or treated at a high temperature, or that’s been subjected to high pressure, is gonna cause a one-two whammy of inflammation and insulin resistance. Most fats you find at the supermarket or grocery store are known as polyunsaturated oils. Polyunsaturated oils are dangerously unstable, and prone to oxidation. That oxidation promotes the production of highly toxic substances in your arteries, which, in turn, promote inflammation throughout the entire body. This means that the number one tactic for turning your body into a fat-burning furnace is to cut out those oils. These oils include safflower, peanut, and sunflower oil, and they’re found in everything from french fries and pizza to chicken wings and trail mix. Cut these oils out, and replace them with good oils like coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil. Many nutritionists claim that the greatest inflammation-inducing aspect of any diet is sugar. But sugar, fruit, glucose, fructose, sucrose, and anything else that rhymes with “gross”, they’re not actually all that inflammatory, as long as they’re being metabolized. Sure, in massive quantities, like several sodas a day on top of candy bars and chocolate milk, they’re gonna cause some serious issues (in a moment, you’ll learn how excess glucose levels can lead to an inability to lose weight). But the same cannot be said about overheated, overpressurized oils. It doesn’t take much rancid oil, even if it is being metabolized, to cause harmful inflammation. Focus on finding the oils that are hiding out in all the snacks and meals you eat, and you’ll be well on your way to cutting out inflammation. #2: Glycemic Variability Meet the elephant in the room: glycemic variability. Glycemic variability (GV) refers to oscillating blood glucose levels that occur throughout the day, including hypoglycemic periods and postprandial (post-meal) increases, as well as blood glucose fluctuations that occur at the same time on different days. It’s basically just the amount of blood sugar that bounces around in your blood system at any given point. It’s also, aside from inflammation, one of the most important variables to consider compared to other biomarkers. The brilliant surgeon and longevity physician and my former podcast guest Dr. Peter Attia said, in an interview on the eight keys to longevity, that “… the name of the game is glucose disposal. Can you maintain a low average level of glucose and a low variance of glucose and a low area under the curve of insulin?”. If glycemic variability gets out of control, and your blood sugar gets too high, your body basically has two choices: either get rid of the blood sugar as potential energy uptake into muscles or store the blood sugar in fat tissue. So, if your energy expenditure throughout the day isn’t high enough to convert the sugars you’ve consumed into potential energy in your muscles, you’re basically going to gain fat tissue, even if you're not actually eating fat. Below, you’ll find six ways to prevent that from happening, and even how to get rid of carbohydrate-related body fat you already have. But before jumping into that you should understand one important fact: sugar in your food isn’t always bad. Yeah, you read that right. As mentioned above, although sugar is demonized by waistline-conscientious health nuts and elite athletes, sugar is not the menace it’s made out to be. Basically, every form of sugar gets converted to glucose in your body, which then gets burnt as energy if you happen to be at a caloric deficit. Every single sugar, whether it’s from vegetables, whole grains, or a can of soda, mostly winds up as glucose. That means that your body can’t tell the difference between the sugar found in fruit, honey, milk, or a candy bar. So whatever diet you’re following, you’re probably consuming sugar no matter what. The problem occurs when your blood glucose levels go haywire, which happens when you consume too much sugar, you consume sugar too often, or you feed too often, regardless of the source of the sugar (e.g. whole wheat bread vs. plantains vs. Mexican Coke). It all comes down to balance. So here are my six most effective strategies for controlling your blood sugar. Strategy #1: Strength training. Research has found that when you strength train, your ability to drive glucose into muscle tissue increases, and this causes a decrease in your blood glucose and an increase in your insulin sensitivity, even when lifting weights that are a mere 30% of your single repetition maximum weight (1RM). This means you can control blood sugar and upregulate sugar transporters with even relatively light bodyweight exercise, preventing sugar from being shoveled into fat tissue. Strategy #2: Pre-breakfast fasted cardio. Research has shown that exercise before breakfast, particularly in a fasted state, is a potent strategy for controlling blood sugar (incidentally this is also an Ayurvedic medicine health strategy found in books like “Change Your Schedule, Change Your Life“). Out of the three groups in this study, one was an exercise group that trained before eating, drank only water during training, and then ate a large breakfast after training. This group gained almost no weight, and their metabolic rate increased in such a way that they also burned the energy they were taking in later that day far more efficiently. So get a little training in before having your gluten-free muffin or creatine smoothie or a handful of supplements, fats, oils and other calories that add up fast. Strategy #3: Postprandial (post-meal) walks. A fascinating Japanese study took three groups of men and had them do one of three actions immediately following a meal: sitting, standing, or walking. By the end of the study, they found that low-volume, easy walking for 30 minutes after a meal kept serum fat concentrations 18% lower than sitting or standing after a meal. So not only should you be exercising before breakfast in a fasted state, but you should also go on an easy 20-30 minute walk immediately after dinner. And yes, I personally count dancing, sex, chasing the kids, backyard badminton or doing yard chores as “walking”. Strategy #4: Standing. Yes, although Strategy #3 says that walking is more effective than standing after a meal, standing is much more effective than sitting. One office study found that standing for 180 minutes after lunch reduces post-lunch blood sugar spikes by 43% compared to sitting for the same amount of time. Another study found that alternating between standing and sitting every 30 minutes throughout the workday reduced blood sugar spikes by 11.1% on average. Even during a day at the office, you don’t have to “workout” to control blood sugar. The trick is simply not to be in one given position for the entirety of your workday and to equip your office environment to keep you physically active all day long. Strategy #5: Plants, herbs and spices. For those times when you can’t exercise, or (for whatever reason), you’re forced into one position for a workday, you’ve got an 11-hour flight, or you just want an extra bit of assistance with blood sugar management and any potential spikes in blood glucose from a meal, there are other exogenous ways to control your blood sugar: namely, plants, herbs and spices. A few quite notable such compounds include Ceylon cinnamon, gymnema sylvestre, berberine, rock lotus (shilianhua or “stone lotus”) and bitter melon extract. These are all potent, natural ingredients and compounds that can regulate high blood sugar, insulin responses, and prevent diabetes (I talk about these ingredients in more detail in this article, and many are found in the Kion supplement “Lean“). Strategy #6: Fiber. Here’s one extra tip: eat fiber to burn sugar. That’s probably not something you thought you’d ever read. Maybe the only thing you’ve ever heard about fiber is what it can do for your colon comfort, but it can also help you regulate glycemic variability. Dietary fiber, through anaerobic bacterial fermentation, breaks down in short chain fatty acids (SCFAs). A short chain fatty acid is a fatty acid with few than 6 carbon atoms, and about 95% of the SCFAs in your body are comprised of just three forms of SFCAs: acetate (C2), propionate (C3) and butyrate (C4). Acetate has been shown to have an inhibitory effect on the pathways that convert glucose to fatty acids in the liver, thus reducing lipid accumulation in adipose tissue and improving glucose tolerance, and protecting the liver against fat accumulation in rats. Butyrate, in mice, has been shown to prevent and treat diet-induced insulin resistance by increasing insulin sensitivity and thus allowing for greater glucose metabolism, resulting in a reduction in adiposity. None of that is too difficult, right? Walking, standing, sitting, a little weight training, a few common herbs and spices you can obtain at your local health food store and a touch of extra fiber. That’s all it takes to prevent significant amounts of the type of glycemic variability that tends to hold many people back from fat loss. Summary Oh, and as for that bonus fat loss tip I alluded to in the introduction? For two decades, from my days of ripped bodybuilding glory to lean triathlon speed, I have relied upon one daily, simple yet elegant fat-loss technique that has never failed me or the clients who I train for everything from the elimination of morbid obesity to stage-ready fitness competition. It's my most potent 1-2-3 fat loss technique that I call “Strike (as in ‘hunger strike' – aren't I clever), Stroll, Shiver”. it is, in all its glorious simplicity. Step 1 (optional): For an added fat-burning bonus, prior to Step 2, consume a cup or two of coffee (I'm partial to the purest stuff on the face of the planet) or green tea, which can help to mobilize fatty acids and spark your metabolic rate. But it has to be plain-jane coffee or tea — no sugar, no cream, no MCT oil, no funky butters — you get the idea. In addition, a couple capsules of a blood sugar stabilizer such as berberine or bitter melon extract, a shot of apple cider vinegar or a teaspoon or two of Ceylon cinnamon or cayenne extract in your morning beverage can enhance the fat-burning effects of this strategy even more. Just remember: no calories. If you’re concerned about losing muscle, or you’re attempting to gain significant lean muscle mass, 10-20 grams of essential amino acids can also be consumed in this window, which will provide a bit of an anabolic effect without significantly spiking blood glucose or insulin. Step 2: Wake up, and before you eat anything — before you sit down to breakfast or make yourself a smoothie or pour butter into your coffee or jump into e-mails or take a shower — do a 10-40 minute fasted aerobic session. Aside from what you’ve consumed from Step 1, do this while you’re still in a fasted state, which is going to allow your body to tap into its own fat as fuel. This means that you will preferably not have eaten anything for at least 12 hours, and ideally up to 16 hours. Choose a simple form of movement you can perform 365 days a year, 24/7 – a walk in the sunshine (bonus: morning Vitamin D and circadian rhythm alignment!), an easy yoga session, taking the dog for a stroll, riding your bike, an easy swim or even a sweat in a dry or infrared sauna (I use the full body type of sauna that you can actually exercise in). Choose anything that’s light, easy, aerobic, conversational and low-stress. This won’t cause a big release of cortisol, it’s not going to completely exhaust you for the day, it’s still going to allow you to perform a harder fitness-building workout later in the day, and it’s not going to make you feel famished and want to devour every breakfast item in sight afterwards. Step 3: Complete the session and dive straight into 2-5 minutes of anything cold. I've talked about cold thermogenesis on my podcast and this website plenty before, and any of those tactics count, including a hot-cold contrast shower, a cold jump in a river or lake, a cold bath, or even donning cold thermogenesis gear such a CoolFatBurner and/or CoolGutBuster vest (the latter can be worn for 40-60 minutes as you move on to work, commuting, eating breakfast, etc.). This step will not only help to burn white adipose tissue off your belly, but also convert it into metabolically active brown adipose tissue, which will increase your fat-burning capacity. And voila! That’s it. I stick to this strategy year-round, including Christmas Day and Thanksgiving, and it is one of the biggest fat-loss game changers I’ve ever invented and utilized. It also fits nicely into the simple category of “move more and eat less”, with a few extra hacks thrown in. OK, that's it! Do you have questions, thoughts or feedback for me about fat loss or the fat loss techniques I've highlighted above? Leave your comments below and I will reply!

quickest way to lose weight
I’ve spent much of my career studying up on how to simultaneously maintain lean muscle and low body fat percentages. For the first five years of my fitness education, I was immersed in advanced human nutrition, chemistry, and pharmaceutical classes at the University of Idaho and spent more time than I’d care to admit back in those days also lurking on bodybuilding forums as I morphed myself into college senior with 215 pounds of muscle and 3% body fat (from a 170-pound skinny sophomore in college).

The following two decades were spent racing in Ironman triathlons, adventure races, obstacle course competitions, and other endurance sports, during which I continued to decipher body composition optimization (this time with the goal of being lean and fast). I’ve also successfully coached hundreds of men and women, with all different body types, on how to turn their own bodies into metabolically efficient fat-burning machines, but now approach things from a more metabolically healthy standpoint, rather than a “nuke fat at all costs” standpoint.

The strategies I’ve learned over all those years are steeped in the safe science of what works for healthy, lasting, effective fat loss—not necessarily what’s going to help you drop 10 pounds before a weekend at the beach, your wedding, or so you can quickly hit your “goal weight,” only to gain it all back (plus some)—all of which can cause the hormonal and metabolically dysregulated pitfalls of yo-yo dieting, and the same problems caused by most weight loss gimmicks and fad diets.

While fat loss and carving a lean, sexy body often begins with simply “eating less and moving more,” I’ve learned that there’s much more to it than that, and when it comes to figuring out the quickest way to lose weight and getting the body you want, the under-the-radar strategies that go beyond dieting and exercise are often where weight loss plateaus are overcome and healthy, lasting fat loss happens.

So in today’s article, you’ll discover a distilled version of much of what I’ve learned throughout all my years of research, including two of the most important factors related to fat loss that often go overlooked, 13 reasons why your fat loss progress may be at a standstill (and what you can do about them), and much more!

But before we dive in, let’s knock some fat-loss myths out of the way first.

3 Big Fat-Loss Myths
The time I spent in the trenches of bodybuilding and endurance racing—combined with thousands of hours spent digging through research—has brought me into touch with more than a few myths about fat loss.

Having an understanding of the actual mechanisms behind fat loss will better prepare you to tackle your own weight loss journey, so let’s dive in.

Myth #1: No matter what you do, how much you exercise, or how clean your diet is, you’ll always be stuck with the same number of fat cells you built earlier in life.
This commonly-accepted dogma dictates that if you’ve ever had excess weight anywhere on your body, those fat cells never disappear, but instead simply shrink, waiting in the wings for you to eat an extra scoop of coconut milk ice cream so they can blow back up again.

But this simply isn’t true. I realized this when I interviewed Dr. Cate Shanahan on my podcast. Dr. Shanahan explained during our podcast—and also in her book Deep Nutrition and her equally excellent new book The Fatburn Fix—that if you banish just one notorious biological variable that’s present in most people’s lives, then you can induce fat cells to actually die. But before we get to this notorious variable, you also need to understand where fat goes when you burn it.

Myth #2: Fat is converted to energy or heat.
This actually violates the law of mass conservation, which states that “…the mass of an object or collection of objects never changes, no matter how the constituent parts rearrange themselves.” While we’re on the subject of what fat does not turn into, fat also isn’t excreted as feces or converted into muscle. Instead, you actually breathe away fat as this research shows (and as I explain in detail in my book Boundless). That’s right: your lungs are the primary excretory organs for weight loss via the exhalation of carbon, which is replaced by the carbon in your food.

This means that the quickest way to lose weight starts with putting less into your body from carbon sources derived from food than that same carbon you’ve exhaled by breathing. Also, by performing one hour of moderate exercise each day, your metabolic rate is increased by around sevenfold, and the NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) from daily activities such as standing, taking the stairs, fidgeting, etc. dwarfs and is more meaningful for fat loss than what you burn during exercise! In other words… moving more and eating less are the key foundational principles of fat loss, yet I’m constantly shocked by the number of so-called “active individuals” who rarely exceed 10,000 steps in a day, while simultaneously consuming an extra 1000 calories a day from a handful of almonds and trail mix here and there, sugar in their twice-a-day latte, mindfully eating “guilt-free superfoods” that are laden with excess calories, and a heaping scoop of nut butter as a late-night snack. Sounds simple enough, but it’s important to note here that “eating less” needs to be exercised with caution, which brings me to the next myth.

Myth #3: Eating fewer calories is the best way to lose fat.
The following explanation of this comes straight from Jonathan Bailor’s book, The Calorie Myth: How to Eat More, Exercise Less, Lose Weight and Live Better, which I highly recommend you check out.

“Eating less does not create the need to burn body fat. Instead, it creates the need for the body to slow down. Contrary to popular opinion, the body hangs on to body fat. Instead, it burns muscle tissue, and that worsens the underlying cause of obesity. Only as a last resort, if the body has no other option, it may also burn a bit of body fat. Why does the body hang on to body fat and burn muscle? To answer that question, let’s look at it another way.

What does metabolism want more of when it thinks you are starving? Stored energy. What is a great source of stored energy? Body fat. So when your metabolism thinks you are starving, does it want to get rid of or hold on to body fat? It wants to hold on. Next, what does your metabolism want less of when we are starving? It wants less tissue (which burns a lot of calories). What type of tissue burns a lot of calories? Muscle tissue. So when your metabolism thinks you are starving, it gets rid of calorie-hungry muscle tissue. Burning all this muscle means that starving yourself leads to more body fat—not less—over the long term. As soon as you stop starving yourself, you have all the calories you used to have, but need less of them, thanks to all that missing muscle and a slowed-down metabolism. The result? Your body stores more fat.

After our metabolism is starved, its number one priority is restoring all the body fat it lost and protecting us from starving in the future. Researchers call this “fat super accumulation.” From researcher E.A. Young at the University of Texas: “These and other studies…strongly suggest that fat super accumulation…after energy restriction is a major factor contributing to relapsing obesity, so often observed in humans.”

The most disturbing aspect of fat super accumulation is that all we have to do is go back to eating a normal amount. So if eating less isn’t the solution to that spare tire around your middle, what can you do to permanently rid yourself of extra weight?”

This may seem counterintuitive, but—as Joel Greene and I discuss in my epic two-part podcast series with him being published this week (click here to sign up for my newsletter to be notified when that amazing audio show goes live and be prepared to take notes!)—this fat accumulation combined with leptin insensitivity and extracellular matrix damage around fat cells induced by yo-yo dieting results in significant resistance to weight loss.

Two Surprise Reasons You’re Not Losing Fat
Remember when I mentioned that you can induce fat cells to die by banishing just one notorious biological variable that’s present in most people’s lives? That variable is none other than inflammation—specifically, chronic inflammation.

When you overload your body with stressful factors such as poor sleep patterns and a hectic lifestyle, and over-produce inflammatory chemicals from compounds such as ultra-processed carbohydrates and vegetable oils, it can cause some real damage and lead to a never-ending battle to lose weight.

Some of these chemicals include transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta), matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), nitric oxide synthase (NOS), and toll-like receptor-4 (TLR4), which all affect your body through dysregulation of white blood cell migration, insulin resistance, overproduction of nitric oxide, and more.

Inflammation can be caused by many stressors, including psychological stress, but the primary cause may surprise you: processed vegetable oils. Any oil that’s been fried or cooked or treated at a high temperature, or that’s been subjected to high pressure, is going to result in a one-two punch of inflammation and insulin resistance. Most polyunsaturated oils (the majority of oils you’ll find at the grocery store and in the food you eat at restaurants are polyunsaturated) are dangerously unstable and prone to oxidation. Oxidation promotes the production of highly toxic substances in your arteries, which, in turn, promotes insulin resistance, leptin resistance and inflammation throughout your body.

Therefore, the number one tactic for losing fat is simply cutting out these oils (think safflower, peanut, canola, and sunflower oils) and replacing them with healthier options like high-quality coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil. Check out my recent podcast with “The Olive Oil Hunter,” T.J. Robinson for more on sourcing healthy, high-quality cooking oils.

Next to chronic inflammation, glycemic variability (GV) is another major player in most folks’ struggle to lose weight. GV refers to the oscillating amounts of circulating blood sugar at any given point and the fluctuations of your blood sugar that occur at the same time on different days. It’s one of the most important variables to consider when attempting to burn fat.

If glycemic variability gets out of control, and your blood sugar gets too high, your body has two choices: get rid of the blood sugar by shoveling it into muscle tissue, or store it as body fat. If your energy expenditure during the day isn’t high enough to convert blood sugar into energy in your muscles, you’re going to gain fat tissue. But before going any further, you should understand one important fact: sugar in your food isn’t always bad.

Every type of sugar you consume—whether it’s from fruit, honey, milk, or a candy bar—ends up as glucose in your blood. So regardless of which diet you’re following, you’re probably consuming sugar in some form. This isn’t necessarily a problem; the problem occurs when your blood glucose levels go haywire, which happens when you consume too many calories from non-nutrient-dense sugar sources such as processed carbohydrates, consume sugar too often, or feed too often, regardless of the source of the sugar. It all comes down to balance. Here are my top seven strategies for controlling your blood sugar:

Strength training, even something as simple as pushups and pullups.
Light, easy exercise, particularly in a fasted state.
An easy 10 to 30-minute walk after a meal.
Standing. Just make sure you don’t stay in one position for the entirety of your workday.
Incorporate as many blood sugar-stabilizing plants, herbs, and spices (Ceylon cinnamon, berberine, apple cider vinegar, Panax notoginseng, astragalus membranaceus, wild bitter melon, etc.) into your diet as possible. These ingredients are discussed in more detail in this article, and many are found in Kion Lean.
Consume fiber. Fiber breaks down into short-chain fatty acids that inhibit the conversion of glucose into fatty acids and increase insulin sensitivity.
Cold thermogenesis. Adiponectin is a hormone released during cold exposure that breaks down fat and shuttles glucose into your muscles (which can lower blood sugar). You’ll learn more about cold thermogenesis below.
Walking, standing, a little weight training, a few common herbs and spices, a touch of extra fiber, and exposing yourself to cold. That’s all it takes to prevent significant amounts of glycemic variability that tend to hold many people back from fat loss.

13 Other Reasons You’re Not Burning Fat
Inflammation and glycemic variability are undoubtedly two of the most significant contributors to unwanted body fat, and controlling them with the above strategies is one of the quickest ways to lose weight.

Now, you’re going to learn 13 more reasons your body isn’t burning fat as efficiently as it should. Start with getting inflammation and glycemic variability under control, then move on to dialing in these next roadblocks.

Reason #1: Cortisol & Stress
Cause: Cortisol, which disrupts normal insulin activity, can be spiked by any number of factors, including the death of a loved one, emotional stress and sexual frustrations, excessive heat, cold or humidity, restrictive clothing, too much work, and more.

Solution: Start measuring your heart rate variability (HRV). If you see consistently low values or inconsistent values, you’re likely overproducing cortisol. The most cutting-edge way to truly see what’s going on with your cortisol levels is by testing them. My top pick for this is the DUTCH Urine Steroid Hormone Profile. Because hormone levels fluctuate constantly, this test is performed via multiple collections throughout the day (all from the comfort of your own home), making it one of the most accurate and reliable. Check out my articles “The Single Biggest Contributor To Poor Health And How To Combat It With Heart Rate Variability (HRV) Training.” for more on HRV and “Why We’re All Chronically Stressed (And How You Can Combat Stress With Food And Supplementation).” for more on reducing cortisol and stress.

Reason #2: Sleep Deprivation
Cause: Sleep deprivation causes insulin resistance and high glycemic variability, raises cortisol levels, reduces glucose tolerance, and increases stressful sympathetic nervous system activity.

Solution: Get better sleep. Check out my comprehensive article “The Last Resource On Sleep You’ll Ever Need: Ben Greenfield’s Ultimate Guide To Napping, Jet Lag, Sleep Cycles, Insomnia, Sleep Food, Sleep Supplements, Exercise Before Bed & Much, Much More!” to learn everything you need to know about sleep. To understand more about sleep and weight gain, check out the massive sleep chapter of Boundless, in which I detail each every last sleep, nap and jet-lag trick I know.

Reason #3: Snacking & Post-workout Calories
Cause: Eating six times a day and dropping everything to eat immediately after a workout (which is a myth that you can click here to read more about), increases glycemic variability. In fact, short, 12- to 16-hour fasts (intermittent fasting) will increase your metabolic rate.

Solution: Eat less often throughout the day. You don’t have to reduce your caloric intake, the trick is simply to eat less often, not eat less. For more on intermittent fasting for weight loss, check out this article from Kion: “Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss: What Does The Research Say?.”

Reason #4: Too Much Exercise
Cause: Excessive exercise leads to elevated cortisol levels, inflammation, and hormonal dysregulation.

Solution: Take days off. Most hard-charging high-achievers under the age of 40 benefit from at least one day of rest and recovery per week, and most folks over 40 benefit from two to three days. Engage in active recovery modalities like massages, sauna sessions, cold therapy, or hiking. For more recovery tips, from simple tactics anyone can do anywhere to more advanced biohacks, read my article, “23 Proven Tips For Rapid Recovery (Techniques, Gear, And Nutrition Advice To Help You Bounce Back With Lightning Speed).“

Reason #5: Chronic Cardio
Cause: Extreme bouts of cardio, such as running 50-100 miles in a single day, actually train your body to hold on to fat because your body wants to store energy for your next bout (fat), and shed unnecessary weight (muscle). So when you perform increasingly grueling death marches, your body gets rid of muscle and stores fat to prepare for each bout of cardio, while also downregulating anabolic hormones such as testosterone and growth hormone, as these are paradoxical to extreme endurance efficiency.

Solution: Engage in short, high-intensity interval cardio sessions and also switch cardio modes frequently, meaning that if you do three intense cardio sessions per week, you could alternate between swimming, cycling, and running. One study found that after twenty weeks of training, the participants who performed HIIT (high-intensity interval training) lost more body fat than those who engaged in steady-state endurance training (like long, slow treadmill runs). HIIT is also effective in the prevention and management of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Most HIIT sessions last about thirty minutes at the most, so you are getting a lot more bang for your buck than if you were to spend an hour tooling along on a treadmill.

Reason #6: SAID Principle
Cause: SAID stands for “Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands.” Your body adapts to the demands you place upon it, such as only running or only pushups. Eventually, your body becomes so efficient at that exercise that it burns fewer calories performing it.

Solution: Switch things up every 8-12 weeks. Been lifting weights? Start doing high-intensity interval training. Like using the elliptical? Grab a set of dumbbells or a weighted backpack and hit the hiking trails. For more ideas, check out my article “5 Unconventional, Woo-Woo Workouts Every Fitness Enthusiast Should Add To Their Repertoire.“, and also this article which lists five specific modifications you can make to minimize the effects of endless repetition, and finally a very good approach for those who like to lift weights: the Conjugate Training Method.

Reason #7: Avoiding Cold
Cause: The fat you know and perhaps associate with weight gain or your pants not fitting properly anymore is called white adipose tissue (WAT). Brown adipose tissue (BAT), located primarily around the sternum, when activated by exposure to cold, signals to your body to start burning WAT via non-shivering thermogenesis (a metabolic process activated by the sympathetic nervous system neurotransmitters epinephrine and norepinephrine that takes place in BAT to “warm the body” without shivering).

Solution: Develop an intimate relationship with cold, and on some days, incorporate cold to the extent you are mildly shivering. Take a daily cold shower at 55 degrees F. or lower. Take a weekly 20-minute soak in a tub of ice. Wear the Cool Fat Burner Vest or the Cool Gut Buster. I have a ton of resources on cold thermogenesis, but here’s a good one to get you started: “Tips For Burning More Fat With Cold Thermogenesis (And Why Icing Really Does Work).“

Reason #8: Hormones
Cause: Hormonal imbalances—caused by exposure to pesticides, external stress like financial stress and internal stress like high GV, dietary contaminants, lack of sleep, and poor digestive health—can slow down your metabolism and cause chronic inflammation. When hormones are disrupted, metabolism slows down, appetite rages, and inflammation manifests. Women seem to have more trouble with imbalances that specifically cause resistance to fat loss. For example, the hormone estrogen is higher in women and promotes cell division, cell growth, and, in excessive amounts, the formation of fat tissue. Progesterone, which protects against such excessive fat growth, declines much faster with age in women than estrogen production. So between ages thirty and fifty, a woman can develop estrogen dominance. At that point, fat rapidly accumulates and becomes much harder to lose. Men can also experience similar age-related issues as testosterone falls and estrogen rises.

Solution: Take a DUTCH test, which tells you what your hormones are doing over a twenty-four-hour cycle, if you are deficient in certain hormones, if your hormones aren’t being metabolized properly, or if they’re being metabolized too rapidly – all variables a common blood test can’t tell you. It can give you an accurate analysis of testosterone, estrogen, cortisol, melatonin, DHEA, and other hormones. You can then correct imbalances by following tips on your report such as eating more cruciferous veggies to balance estrogen (e.g. broccoli, broccoli sprouts and brussels sprouts), filtering your water of heavy metals and chemicals like fluoride and refortifying it with by adding pinches of a good sea salt to your food and water throughout the day, adding Aquatru “perfect minerals” or Quinton raw, unheated minerals from Water and Wellness (save 10% with code GREENFIELD) to your water, and using glass or stainless steel products instead of plastic, which contain endocrine-wrecking BPA. Check out the book Estrogeneration and my article “How to Protect Your Body from the Ten Hidden Killers in Your Home” for more information.

Reason #9: Toxins & Chemicals
Cause: Your body produces new fat cells to store chemicals like DDT, DDE, and BPA to protect other tissues and your internal organs.

Solution: The previous solutions for hormonal imbalances will work well to minimize toxin and chemical damage. Also, eat a full spectrum of whole food antioxidants to help eliminate free radicals and oxidants. Aim for 35 to 60 grams of dietary fiber per day from organic produce, berries, and limited fruits, seeds, and nuts.

Reason #10: Allergies & Intolerances
Cause: Allergies and intolerances to food cause a systemic inflammatory response and disrupt insulin function.

Solution: Take the Cyrex Array 10-90 (what I consider to be the best food intolerance panel) test to determine any intolerances or allergies you may have. Rather than giving you a frustrating and inaccurate laundry list of foods you are never supposed to touch again, it identifies an accurate, targeted list of foods to remove from your diet. Cyrex’s approach to testing for reactivity to cooked, processed, and raw foods sets them apart from competitors because once a food is heated to 118 degrees or more, its protein structure and potential for triggering an antigen reaction may change. For example, a person’s inflammatory response to cooked chicken may be far different than the response to raw chicken. As a result, the Cyrex Array 10-90 test minimizes the risk of missing reactivity or generating false positives in response to common foods. You can also order Cyrex’s Comprehensive Food Immune Reactivity Panel (even more informative because it combines tests for wheat and gluten cross-reactivity with tests for over 180 different food antigens) through your physician. Once you know what you’re intolerant to, simply avoid those foods. Another option is to do an elimination diet such as the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol.

Reason #11: Micronutrient Deficiencies
Cause: Deficiencies in certain micronutrients, such as vitamin D, chromium, biotin, thiamine, and antioxidants, can lead to issues like dysregulation of insulin and changes in glucose and amino acid metabolism.

Solution: Get the Genova ION (Individual Optimal Nutrition) Profile with 40 Amino Acids nutritional analysis to determine nutritional deficiencies. Or, cover your micronutrient bases by eating a widely varied diet rich in both plant and nose-to-tail animal sources, and taking a good multivitamin like Thorne Multi-Vitamin Elite.

Reason #12: Your Thyroid
Cause: Thyroid hormones, which regulate metabolism, can be disrupted by deficiencies in iodine (use code BEN to save 15%) and selenium, excess training, and long-term caloric and carbohydrate deprivation.

Solution: Get a good comprehensive blood test for thyroid activity or a resting metabolic rate (RMR) test to evaluate if your metabolic rate is too low. You can also consider getting a device like the Lumen (save $50 with code BEN). It uses a CO2 sensor and flow meter to determine the CO2 concentration in a single breath, indicating the type of fuel your body is using to produce energy (fats/carbs). With this data, you can understand how what you eat impacts your metabolism and also use it to improve it. If you have thyroid issues, slow down and avoid stress. Eat thyroid-supporting foods like seaweed and dulse for iodine, brazil nuts, shellfish and oysters for selenium and coconut oil for thyroid conversion and metabolism. Check out my recent podcast “An Interview With A Child Prodigy: Should You Skip Breakfast, Analyzing Your Poop, Cold Thermogenesis & Breathwork Strategies & More With Daniel Bissonnette.” for more on iodine (including little-known facts about iodine).

Reason #13: Disordered Eating
Cause: Research suggests that for some people, maintaining a regular eating schedule can improve the metabolic response to meals. This seems to be particularly beneficial for women.

Solution: Eat meals at the same time from day to day. I’ve had clients shed pounds simply by eating the same meals at the same time day in and day out for months, probably for two reasons: the less erratic eating patterns result in more metabolic efficiency, and the less decision-making fatigue around food results in fewer poor choices for a meal.

I know this all may seem like a lot and may be a bit overwhelming for those who are just starting out on their weight loss journeys. But as I mentioned earlier, start with dialing in inflammation and glycemic variability, then move through these next 13 roadblocks to fat loss as your body is able to. “The quickest way to lose weight” and “the quickest and healthiest way to lose weight” are two very different things; and if you chose the latter, you’ll finally be able to kiss the days of never-ending yo-yo dieting goodbye.

So there you have it. You just learned a ton about all of the different factors that may be preventing you from losing that pesky fat that just won’t seem to go away. But before you go waltzing off into the sunset with your physique toolbox expecting to attain a perfect, shredded body, you should understand…

…everybody is different, and so is every body.

It may not seem fair, but even if you aren’t satisfied with your physique according to society’s standard, your body may have reached its ideal weight (its healthy homeostasis) even if you have a higher-than-desired body fat percentage. And that’s OK—own those thick legs!

Excessive exercising and orthorexic dieting while beating your body to smithereens with fat loss biohacks is certainly not going to shift you into maximum fat-burning mode or shrink your waistline. In fact, it is more likely to downregulate vital components of life, such as fertility, satisfaction, and happiness.

So accept the fact that you have a unique body. Inject light levels of physical activity or mild discomfort throughout the day, stand while you work, take cold showers, avoid sitting for long periods of time, and implement intermittent fasting. Then simply be satisfied and happy with the body you have been blessed with.

I’ll leave you with an easy to remember fat loss strategy—one of the quickest ways to lose fat that I’ve relied on for decades that has never failed me or my clients. I call this potent 1-2-3 technique “Strike, Stroll, Shiver,” and it goes like this:

Strike (as in “hunger strike”—aren’t I clever?): Consume a cup or two of coffee or green tea (no sugar, cream, MCT oil, or funky butters—absolutely no calories), which can help mobilize fatty acids and spark your metabolic rate. Bitter melon extract, a shot of apple cider vinegar, or a tsp or two of Ceylon cinnamon or cayenne extract can enhance this strategy even more. Ten to twenty grams of essential amino acids can be consumed to provide an anabolic effect without spiking blood glucose or insulin.
Stroll: Do a 10-40 minute fasted aerobic cardio session. Aside from anything you’ve consumed in Step 1, do this in a fasted state, which will allow your body to burn its own fat as fuel. Choose a simple movement you can perform 365 days a year, 7 days a week, like a walk in the sunshine. The goal is to start burning fat without spiking cortisol and exhausting yourself. In the fat loss chapter of my book Boundless, I teach you how to find your ideal fat burning zone for these sessions.
Shiver: Take a cold shower or don a Cool Fat Burner or Cool Gut Buster. I’ve talked about cold thermogenesis on my podcast and site plenty before, and any of those tactics count.
That’s it! I stick to this strategy year-round, including holidays such as Christmas Day and Thanksgiving (what can I say – I’m a creature of consistency and it pays off), and it is one of the biggest fat-loss game-changers I’ve ever invented and utilized.

Leave your thoughts, comments, and questions, along with any fat-busting techniques that have worked for you, in the comments section below!