Introduction: In this episode of the Ben Greenfield fitness podcast: The Menstrual Cycle and Athletic Performance, How To Get Your Kids To Grow As Tall As Possible, How To Handle House Guests Who Don’t Eat Healthy, Can Ketosis Cause Dental Plaque, 5 Ways To Naturally Fuel For A Soccer Match, and much more.
Welcome to the bengreenfieldfitness.com podcast. We provide you with everything you need to know for total performance, fat loss, recovery, digestion, sleep, brain, and hormone optimization. So whether you’re an Ironman triathlete, or you just wanna shed a few pounds, get ready for non-run-of-the-mill, cutting edge content from bengreenfieldfitness.com.
Brock: Is that blood drippin’ down your arm?
Ben: I am bleeding indeed.
Brock: Good lord!
Ben: We were talking about this earlier. I actually took – I had my wife to take a photo like a photo with my smartphone which is…
Brock: Oh, should we put that in the show notes?
Ben: No. I’m uploading over the Instagram. So people can see. But both my shoulders are bleeding right now because I’m using this new backpack that I bought. It’s made by this company called Kifaru and you send them your specs, like your height, and the curvature of your back, like you get this custom-pack designed and I’m messing around with the fit on the pack, and I think I mentioned this on another podcast, somewhere. It may have been this one last week.
Brock: The going on the big archery adventure thing?
Ben: Yeah, now I remember what it was. It was the Obstacle Dominator podcast. We were talking about our top workouts of the week and I mentioned how one of my workouts now as I’m putting an ungodly amount of weight in the backpack and then hiking uphills. And so I did this workout this morning, and have a bunch of weight in there and just didn’t really have – I don’t quite have the pack delve in right now. They say you’re suppose to have about 30% of the weight on your shoulders, and 70% on your hips, and apparently, I have too much on my shoulders because…
Ben: … or maybe just too much weight in the pack.
Brock: Or just too much jiggle maybe.
Ben: Yeah, so…
Brock: It should be held really tight against you.
Ben: My problem has always been too much jiggle.
Brock: Too much jiggle…
Ben: Yes! So…
Brock: Ben’s jiggle calls the boy to the yacht.
Ben: If you wanna see my jiggle, and my bleeding shoulders, go to instagram.com. Our Instagram channel in my opinion is actually pretty dang cool, like my post before this one was a bacon bloody Mary.
Brock: Oh, I saw that. Oh man! I’m not drinking right now because I’m getting ready for the DC Marathon but that made me wanna have a bloody Mary so badly.
Ben: You know, you don’t have to drink. You can just eat the bacon right out of it. So, check out instagram.com/bengreenfieldfitness and you can see all of the photo goodness of bleeding shoulders and bacon bloody Marys over there.
Ben: Brock, are you ready for the news flashes this week?
Brock: News flash! News flash! News flash! I’m always ready for news flashes. I love this part.
Ben: If you’re a regular listener, you feel like we’re always reminding you about these things, just know that we always have new listeners to add that might need to know this. So, just for you to know, these news flashes are usually found over twitter.com/bengreenfield and just a little inside baseball for you if you’re listening. What I do every week, everyday is, I go to 30-40- different articles. I use this program called feedly. It allows me to get through articles really, really fast. I read the ones that are interesting, I garner as much information as possible from them, and I have a virtual assistant, and I send all of my notes and things that I’d like to tweet about over to her and then she schedules them for – to appear over the course of next week or so. And then, on the show, what we do is we pick the most interesting ones and we tell you about them. Usually by interesting, I mean, gross and/or controversial. So…
Brock: Yeah. Or the ones that everybody have asked like a ridiculous amount of questions on facebook and twitter when you posted it.
Ben: Exactly. So if you’re not following twitter.com/bengreenfield and you don’t get enough new flash fix from this podcast, go over there. Anyways though, the first thing that I tweeted was about catch-up sleep, and by catch-up sleep I do not mean the condiment…
Ben: Like mayonnaise and mustard sleep.
Ben: What I tweeted was not that I endorse sleep deprivation but it turns out that catch-up sleep can actually help tremendously. This was based on a study done this month in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology, and what the title of the study was called Metabolic and Hormonal Effects of Catch-Up Sleep in Men with Chronic, Repetitive, Lifestyle-Driven Sleep Restriction.
Which I think describes just about everybody.
Brock: So it’s just working too much, not sleeping enough.
Ben: Uhuh! So it took all these guys who had six months history lifestyle-driven restricted sleep. Meaning basically burning the candles on both ends and so what they did was they measured these guys’ insulin sensitivity, their blood sugar, their leptin and ghrelin – which re hormones that are indicative of appetite regulation or disregulation, their testosterone levels, their luteinizing hormone levels which is actually one of the things, one of the hormones that’s a pre-cursor, it’s like a signal to your testes to make testosterone. So they measured all these stuff from daily fasting blood samples. Now, what they did was they studied these guys in their sleep-restricted state. But then what they did was they gave them 10 hours of catch-up sleep on the weekend. So they gave them the Saturday and the Sunday sleep-in that frankly a lot of people do. And they found that…
Brock: That’s a really nice gift. I wish somebody would give me 10 hours of sleep.
Ben: It’s a wonderful study, yeah, here sleep 10 hours. And this was actually – it wasn’t two nights, it was three nights so I suppose it would have been Friday, Saturday, maybe Sunday as well. But anyways, three nights of catch-up sleep improved these blood markers in men who had this six months of chronic repetitive sleep restriction. And so, plausibly you know, what they say in the study is that if you are in a situation from a lifestyle standpoint where you’re not getting as much sleep as you actually want to, you can fight off some of the metabolic health effects of say like, week-day sleep restriction by just planning some catch-up sleep on the weekend. So, it’s not ideal but it can kinda mitigate some of the damage. I thought that was interesting.
Brock: That is interesting and a little – it gives me a little glimmer of hope. I’m not completely destroying myself.
Ben: That’s right. Okay, so here’s another interesting one and this was looking into soreness. And specifically what this study which was in the European Journal of Applied Physiology this month looked into was the idea that if you’re going to do something like run a marathon or do an ironman triathlon or do some other physical performance, the idea in most cases is that you must, if you want to mitigate a lot of the soreness that you’re gonna wind-up getting after an event like that, you know, the walking downstairs, like you got a stick stuck up to your butt, phase of the post-marathon days. Then you need to simulate to some extent the amount of volume that you’re going to experience during that event itself. And so the idea here is that if you don’t wanna be sore after a big event like that, you need to include some high volume training because the theory is that high volume muscle-damaging exercise protects against the potential, detrimental effect of soreness from your actual event. So what they looked at in this study was whether or not you get the same protective effect against soreness when you did lower volume exercise instead of higher volume exercise. The way they set-up the study was kinda interesting. They took a bunch of guys and they randomly assigned a bunch of them to a lower volume set of squats, 5 sets of 10 squats and then they took a group and they assigned them to a higher volume set of squats – 10 sets of 10 squats and for anybody who’s in squats before, there’s a pretty big difference in the way you feel with 5 sets vs. 10 sets. And then what they have them do is complete baseline measurements from muscle soreness and also creatine kinase which is a measurement of muscle breakdown, and then they have them do a running time trial. And then two weeks later, both groups repeated the baseline measurements and did the follow-up testing. So what they’ve found was that in terms of protection against soreness and production of inflammation after that hard running time trial, the five sets of squats gave as much protection against soreness as the ten sets of squats. And what they concluded in this study, and this is just a quote from the final sayings and the abstract, is that this study “demonstrates the protective effect of lower volume, exercise-induced muscle damage on subsequent high volume exercise induced-muscle damage being transferable to endurance running.”
So basically, the short story is that you can get away with protecting yourself from the effects of or from the soreness that a marathon or an ironman might induce by doing some weight training and not necessarily by doing like the high volume running that some people use. The long story however if you wanna read up on this was written about in a really comprehensive article on the Sweat Science blog at Runner’s World because I know someone I just said may have been a little bit difficult to grasp. Anyways though, the idea here is that you don’t need to do high volume exercise to keep yourself from getting sore from big events. Does that make sense?
Brock: It does. It does, and in my experience I’ve felt that you do the longer volume kinda stuff and you’d get sore. You end up just getting sore more often. It’s not like you actually feel better, you just end up damaging yourself several times.
Ben: Yeah. The theory here is called the repeated bout effect. It’s the idea that if you do a demanding workout that makes you sore, then you’ll be less likely to get sore the next time you do the same workout. And this study is showing is that that repeated bout effect is not necessary to do in high volume. You can do it in low volume. So anyways, we’ll put a link to the more comprehensive trickies of that study over on the show notes. And the show notes for today by the way, alright, bengreenfieldfitness.com/310. Brock and I slave over these show notes, so make sure you check them out if you want helpful links.
Brock: I broke a sweat over these ones.
Ben: That’s right. Speaking of breaking a sweat, let’s talk about the menstrual cycle which was the last thing I wanted to mention that I tweeted about and we also have a goodie for you in the end of this podcast. We’ll tell you about in a second, related to this. Anyways though, really good article about how the menstrual cycle affects athletic performance. And what this article goes into is that there are two key hormones – estrogen and progesterone. And after the onset of menstruation, both of those hormones stay pretty low for most of the first part of the menstrual phase which is called the follicular phase, and then you get this big spike in estrogen before ovulation. And during the second phase of the menstrual cycle called the luteal phase, both estrogen and progesterone rise. And based off of this fluctuations in hormones, there are differences in terms of the amount of say carbohydrate that you’re able to use and access or the amount of flexibility or laxity that you have in certain ligaments. Or even your ability to exercise at higher intensities and be able to recover adequately. For example, for endurance performance like if you’re gonna go out and do a half marathon or you’re gonna go out and do a triathlon, what they found was that 1-2 days before ovulation when estrogen is highest and progesterone is lowest. That is when endurance performance is going to be the highest about 1-2 days before ovulation if you want to say like, I don’t know, time in ironman triathlon or perhaps call up the race director and explain to them when you’re having your period and that you…
Brock: So my cycle is about to kick off.
Ben: If you just can move this race back about 1-2 days, that’ll be great. Actually, one of the things that are going to the article as well is how – for some of the Olympic athletes, they actually have birth control pills that though give them to synchronize their cycle with major championships to allow them to kinda like time things so that during the major championships, they’re not for example, right in the middle of menstruation or for even better for endurance performance they’re about 1-2 days before ovulation. Anyways, it’s a really interesting article and there are two things related to this. First of all, we’ll link to the article in the show notes. But then at the end of this podcast, we’re gonna play you the raw and uncut version of an excerpt from my book Beyond Training in which I go into how female athletes should customize their diet. Now every week I’ve been sitting down and recording about an hour or so of my book and we published this to the Ben Greenfield fitness app. Now, the Ben Greenfield fitness app is totally free. It gives you access to all the podcasts but then we also have things like the audio book chapters of Beyond Training and what we call premium content which is like extra interviews, PDFs, videos, stuff like that.
So anyways, listen in to the end of this podcast, if you like what you hear, you can go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/premium and download more. So, that’s one thing related to the menstrual cycle and female athletic performance. So go read that article. The other thing is that this Monday, I’m really seeing about a – well a really, really good tweaks of this as well, like a thorough article that goes into each phase of the menstrual cycle and what kind of exercise you should be doing in each phase.
Ben: The main thing is – ‘cause I know we have a lot of endurance female athletes who listen in. So about 1-2 days before ovulation, when your estrogen is highest that you’re going to have your best performance. So, there you go.
Brock: So, what is working now?
Ben: Okay. So let me…
Brock: What is workin’ now?
Ben: Let me put a little content – I’m wearing right now, I’m wearing toe socks. Have you seen this before? Toe separator socks?
Brock: Uhmm, yes. Yeah.
Ben: They’re what are called Toes Spreader Socks. The ones I’m wearing are made by the company…
Brock: Are they happy toes?
Ben: Yeah, they’re called Happy Feet Socks.
Brock: Oh, happy feet socks.
Ben: And what they do is – well here’s why I’m wearing them. For the past couple of months I haven’t been wearing minimalist shoes like Vibram Five Fingers for example or like the Score shoes that I wear, and the reasons that I bruised my heel in a race. I stepped on a rock, I bruised my heel like kinda tore the heel, so I’ve been having to wear like built-up shoes with heel protectors on them, and because of that I know that my toes have been more compressed in those toe boxes, and my feet need a little bit of TLC before I can return injury risk free to a more minimalist approach, these more minimalist shoes. So I’m wearing these happy feet socks, they’re just like toe separators. It’s one of the things I recommend to anybody who’s making a switch into like regular shoes to minimalist shoes. And the fact is all month long I’m constantly finding new little tweaks like this, little biohacks, little pieces of gear, and anti-aging strategies, and my wife constantly getting new recipes and meals, and healthy kid tips and stuff like that. And so about every quarter we do what’s called our What’s Working Now Show in which we sit down with all of our inner circle members and go in to all of these stuff that, for example you and I don’t get much of a chance to talk about on the podcast, Brock. Things that are…
Brock: ‘Cause the show is only an hour and a half long, so…
Ben: Yeah, or we talk about things that are more embarrassing or you know, for example my wife isn’t on the show with you and I, so she’s got her own stuff that she talks about. Anyways though, so we’ve got our upcoming What’s Working Now show coming up on March 3rd which is next week. So, if you wanna get in on those workshops, and everything we do inside the inner circle, you just go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/innercircle and you can be a part of that and see some of the past What’s Working Now shows and some of the content that we have in there formed. All sorts of good stuff.
Another thing is that speaking of my wife Jessa, she and I are both gonna be speaking at Paleo FX.
Brock: I didn’t know Jessa was speaking. Awesome!
Ben: Yeah. She’s presenting on Whipped Up Homemade Heavy Body and Face Lotion.
Ben: Yeah. She can learn how to make whipped-up lotion. Now, I’ve actually been recruited to not only present on ancestral fueling methods but I’ve also got a potentially offensive what’s called a Pecha Kucha presentation. You know what Pecha Kucha is?
Brock: I do. It’s one of the short things you have to lend your ears to. Seven and a half minutes?
Ben: Twenty slides in twenty seconds. So I’m going to try to show this…
Brock: Twenty slides, twenty seconds each.
Ben: I’m gonna try to offend as many people on the paleo community as possible in the course of the twenty slides in twenty seconds each, yeah. Six minutes and forty seconds I think that comes out to. So, if you wanna go to Paleo FX, a) it’s in Austin, which rocks b) I’m gonna be there, Brock’s gonna be there, my wife is gonna be there, a ton of other folks are gonna be there – physicians, nutritionists, biohackers, professional athletes, you name it. It actually is one of my favorite conferences of the year, so if you haven’t yet registered for Paleo FX and you want like one conference to go to, this is one that I want to really recommend. So, check it out at bengreenfieldfitness.com/paleofx15 and if you go there then what happens is, what Paleo FX does is they give us some referral revenue based on us referring you over their website.
Ben: So it’s a really good way to support the show when you go to like the links that we give you during the podcast. Don’t just go to the Paleo FX website unless you just hate Brock and I and you wanna see the show disappear. ‘Cause anytime you follow our links, we get nickels in the podcast hat. So, there you go.
Brock: We use it to buy extra bacon while we’re at Paleo FX.
Ben: For our bloody Marys.
And then also just in case you can’t make it to Austin or in case you can make it to Austin, you wanna throw somethin’ else in. There’s a conference in New York that I’m speaking at that I think is gonna be pretty good. I actually know it’s gonna be good. It’s about hacking productivity, enhancing cognitive performance, learning how to use like the latest and greatest apps for productivity, learning how to get to zero emails in your inbox. It’s just like really practical stuff, it’s called the Less Doing Conference – it’s just a great name. And that one you can get in at – if you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/doless you can get in to the Less Doing Conference which is in New York, May 1st through the 3rd. So… Oh! There’s one other thing – The New Media Expo. We’ve talked about this before but this is a conference for anybody who creates content online like bloggers, and podcasters, and content creators. I’ll be there presenting on podcasting but there’s also a Spartan Race in Vegas like the day after the conference. So, if you wanna go to a conference and then do a Spartan race too which is a great one two-combo because you get all…
Brock: Sit on your butt for a couple of days and then go kick your butt.
Ben: Yeah! You get recovered and tapered, you get carb loaded on alcohol, and then you go race. So, that one’s called The New Media Expo. You can check that out at bengreenfieldfitness.com/nmx. And over on the show notes we actually have a code. We can get 20% off your registration for that one. So, we’ll put a link to all these stuff at bengreenfieldfitness.com/310.
Listener Q & A:
Tony: Hi Ben, Tony Auton, Redondo Beach, California. My question is related to my 14 year old son, he’s become quite the athlete, wants to play football when he gets to high school. And so I was looking for nutritional advice and biohacks to help a child reach their maximum height potential. Any thoughts on this? Thank you. Love the podcast.
Brock: Tony wants to have himself a basketball player. He wants an NBA star taking care of him as he ages.
Ben: You know, what I do with my kids is I’ve got the inversion table, and I hang them from the inversion table but then I have them hold dumbbells in their hands when they’re hanging, uhm, no I’m just kidding.
Brock: I thought you’re gonna say you attach the dog to their wrist and get him to run in the other direction.
Ben: Alright. So I know since we got a bunch of smart cookies listening in, we can jump into like how a kid would get tall in the first place so that you can kinda understand the way that this works. But it mostly starts – there are some hormonal considerations here as well. But it mostly starts with bone, and kids and people in general have these things called growth plates, their epiphyseal growth plates. And they include like cartilage and boney, and fibrous components and all of those act together to help with bone growth. And there are different things that can affect the development of those growth plates in children or hamper the development of those growth plates in children.
Brock: Like smokin’?
Ben: Like smoking if your child…
Brock: Like smokin’ and drinkin’ coffee.
Ben: Yes. If your child smokes and drinks coffee – and that actually is when my kids ask for coffee, I explain to them. I say – “hey, you know what, I’m fine with you having coffee…” This is the way I present everything to my kids. I educate them and then I give them the choice and I explain to them “… but the problem is the caffeine if you have growing bones can affect the growth of those bones. It can decrease the – some of the things that your body needs to grow those bones. So if you start drinking coffee like dad does in the morning before your bones have grown all the way, then you’re going to be shorter when you grow up.” And they don’t touch coffee, they run very fast away from coffee ‘cause they wanna be as tall as like, you know, what kids doesn’t wanna be tall… uhm, you know, this is the same reason that I told them about alcohol. Right, when mom and I are drinking wine and then they wanna have wine, I explain to them why you have this thing called a liver and it’s growing inside it’s really important organ. It’s extremely important for detoxification and for helping your body get rid of anything that you might be taking in that you got to get rid of, and it’s really, really important for helping you to be healthy. But if your liver is still growing, and you drink a big glass of wine like mommy and daddy do at night, then you might have a liver that doesn’t work very well. So it’s a better idea to wait until your liver is all done growing which is 18-21 years old depending on which state that you live in, and then you’ll be able to drink alcohol. So, you know…
Brock: Your kids actually told me when we’re having breakfast in Kona and they saw me eating pancakes, and they told me that I shouldn’t eat those ‘cause I was gonna be stupid when I grow up. (chuckles)
Ben: Well, I do explain the concept of brain fog and brain inflammation, and gluten to them, and it’s funny because – and again, I tell them – hey, you can – when we go to a restaurant, that’s fine, you can eat the bread but here’s what gluten does and here’s how it might affect your performance in school the next day, etc. and at times they tend- they just – they, you know, I give them the choice but I educate them.
I think that’s a good way to go with kids rather than saying – Eh, don’t eat this and don’t eat that, and you know, whatever. I was explaining this on a podcast the other day – I know this is a complete segue but like cursing, right, I have explained to my kids whatever single curse word on the face of the planet means. And I’ve explained to them what intelligent vocabulary is, and when words like that would be appropriate and when words like that wouldn’t be appropriate, and then I give them the choice. Like they know for example that, they know what the F word means and they understand that that is an offensive word in many situations and that’s also a word that can – it can be a bad way to describe love, right? And so, they understand that there are better words to choose than that word. But they also, you know, it’s not like I just say – Oh! Never say that word. It’s dirty and it’s bad, alright, that’s not the way to explain things to kids. So anyways though…
Brock: Okay. So let’s cut of the F* out of this rattle.
Ben: So, some of the things that can affect the growth of epiphyseal growth plates. One is that calcium and what’s called 125-hydroxy vitamin D act together in close coordination to increase the growth of the epiphyseal growth plates. So anytime that you’re looking at one-two combo of calcium and vitamin D deficiencies in kids or growing adolescents, that’s one really, really big whammy against growth. Vitamin D is of course achieved through sunshine but the fact is it’s not very well absorbed unless you have this triad of vitamin D, vitamin K2, and magnesium. So if you want to be sure that you give your kid really, really mineral-rich sources of magnesium. If you can’t do that, then you need to include like for example, a multivitamin that has magnesium in it. My kids kinda bounce back and forth between two different multivitamins. They have this – it’s called a kid’s calm liquid multivitamin, that’s one that they take. And that actually has a specific compound in it that can help tremendously with brain development as well along with a bunch of different omega 3 fatty acids. There’s another one that they use, it’s called a Smarty Pants, and this is more like a gummy vitamins ‘cause it’s harder to travel with liquid multivitamins vs. like solids. And the smarty pants one has fish oil, it’s got EPA and DHA in it, it has choline in it which is really important for brain development, and then it’s got a lot of these other kinda like mineral precursors in it that help.
Brock: Isn’t it choline what they put in Red Bull?
Ben: Uhm, taurine is what they put in Red Bull.
Brock: Oh, taurine, yeah, yeah. Oops! That would not be a good thing to give your kids.
Ben: Vitamin K2, grass-fed butter, a lot of fermented foods will support bacterial formation in the gut which can help with K2 and then egg yolks, organ meats, things along those lines. Cate Shanahan talks about this a little bit in her book Deep Nutrition about how a child’s facial symmetry and beauty are distinctly correlated to their intake of fat-soluble vitamins. And so any child who has a deficiency in specifically vitamin A, vitamin D, and Vitamin K – is not only set-up for the suppression of the proper growth of the growth plates but also asymmetry in facial characteristics. Very interesting and that’s a great book to own anyways if you have a kid to make sure that you give them every advantage in life because this, you know, whether or not it’s fair, beauty and height have a very significant impact on success, right, on income, on races, on promotions, on the way that people perceive you, on popularity. It’s just the way that based off of the evolutionary and survival mechanisms that we are hardwired, right, we want the bigger, stronger, more beautiful people to survive. That’s just – I mean, I know that sounds like totally… uhm… whatever.
Ben: Nazi-esque and unfair but it is the way to certain extent that humans are hardwired.
Brock: That’s exactly why this is the Ben Greenfield fitness show not the Brock Armstrong fitness show ‘cause Ben is 3 inches taller than me, so, that’s it.
Ben: But we don’t know who’s more symmetrical ‘cause Brock always has facial hair.
Brock: Yeah, I hide my a symmetry.
Ben: So anyways, the fat-soluble vitamins – vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin K are very important, magnesium is very important, calcium is important but that does not mean that a child necessarily needs to drink milk because they can get lots of calcium from things like sesame seeds, and dark leafy greens, and even like a lot of the properly prepared grains, you know, quinoa, amaranth, millets, a good fermented like sourdough, like you can get calcium from sources other than dairy. It’s not that I’m against dairy for kids. Dairy is a great way to help a small mammal grow into a large mammal, it’s just that if your only option is a commercial dairy or dairy that’s been pasteurized and homogenized which separates the protein from the fat globules and allows a lot of those proteins to pass undigested into the bloodstream and cause things like acne, and auto-immune issues in kids. So much you have access to have a really good like organic raw dairy that hasn’t been subjected to pasteurization and homogenization, then it’s better to look at other calcium sources for kids, and again understand as long as magnesium and the fat-soluble vitamins are all there in decent amounts, your child doesn’t need a ton of calcium from dairy-based sources. So those are some of the things as far as the fat-soluble vitamins, as far as the minerals like magnesium are concerned. Now, you also wanna look at of course on activity. Now you know, I workout with my kids quite a bit and one of the things that’s important is vascularity. So blood supply to epiphyseal plates can really assist with the activity of the osteophytes and what’s called osteogenesis or bone formation, and so any child that is moving more that is allowing for the increased vascularity, is gonna give themselves a hand-up as far as that osteogenesis is concerned. In terms of the influence of inactivity on the epiphyseal growth plates, there is some hypothesis out there that physical activity can have a protective effect on the epiphyseal growth plate but very little research is actually been conducted on the role of inactivity like whether or not being sedentary would directly cause a child to have like a stunted growth. What’s more likely, and this is what research is a little bit more conclusive about is that you do see a lower bone density in the children who have that lack of load bearing and considering that you go into your later years of life, if with the bone density that you have in your early years of life, it’s pretty dang important that the child be given situations in which they’re bones are loaded. So, somehow it’s really weird. Legend of Zelda and uhm… what are the other games that kids are playing these days? Candy crush?
Brock: I play Legends of Zelda. That’s not these days, I think they’re playing Minecraft.
Ben: Yeah, exactly. Anyways though, so that’s that, they don’t build bone density. And then of course with activity you get an increase in growth hormone, and insulin-like growth factor –two other hormones that are very important for normal growth. So when we look at activity and lifestyle factors that go above and beyond the nutritional factors that I just mentioned, what you would be looking at is preferably load bearing that is not excessive in children. So most of the research points to somewhere in the range of 10-20 reps as far as a good rep for resistance training in kids who still have growing growth plates like kids who are kind of under that 13-14 year old age range, who are at least like pre-pubescent. So, not – like load their bones and joints but heavy, heavy loading like 2 failure, 5 reps, 8 reps, 10 reps, that can actually inhibit the growth plates formation, it compresses the growth plates. In the same way that excessive endurance training can inhibit the growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor levels. So you don’t want excessive endurance training because of the hormonal effect on growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor, you also don’t want excessive loading due to the inhibition of the growth plates, the compression of the growth plate. So in an ideal scenario you want a kid to be able to get movement without complete exhaustion, right, so they’re not getting into a catabolic state, and then loading without failure. So, and returning back to like my instagram page, I’ve been posting the workouts that I do with my kids to instagram. So we do some box breathing, and then we do some warm-ups and some dynamic movement, and then I actually do a lot of 5×5 type of workouts with my kids but I don’t use a load with them that takes them to failure.
We focus on really good form, and I stop them at 5 reps because I find that once we get up to like 10, 15, 20, they just focus more on the number and on like hammering out reps. But when I keep the reps low, they really focus on form. I don’t keep the reps low though because they’re getting to failure by 5. I don’t usually use heavy weights with them so like if my kids are doing dead lifts, we’re doing like 40-50 lb dead lifts which is not really, really heavy for a kid but allows them to maintain really good form for 5 reps. And then we’ll go to some mobility, we’ll do like some opposite arm, opposite leg extensions, we’ll do some lateral shuffles, we’ll go like climb the rope, and then come back and do another set of dead lifts for example. So anyways though, excessive loading and excessive endurance would also inhibit the growth plates. And then finally, of course growth hormone is the big, big one here, you know, as the name implies. And if you – I was looking through muscle and fitness magazine yesterday when I was at the gym and it’s crazy how many supplement advertisements there are for growth hormone enhancers especially when you look at the research and see that very few of these in the absence of like high amounts of heavy weight lifting, and exposure to anabolic stimulus. How many of these are completely ineffective? And it’s crazy how much people spend on these growth hormone derivatives when the two things that increase growth hormone to the greatest extent are a) lifting. So yes, lifting is going to help your child. It’s just you wanna make sure you don’t do the excessive lifting like keep things in a weight range that would allow them to do 10, 15 , 20 reps even if you just having them do 5 reps. And then the other thing is that – sleep is the other huge increase of the growth hormone. So giving your child enough sleep is incredibly important. We’re a huge fan of really not using alarm clocks in our house. We try and get our kids to bed early enough to where we don’t need alarm clock to blast them out of bed in the morning. Right now we don’t have blackout curtains like in the kids’ bedrooms, they kinda get a little bit of natural exposure to light to wake them up. I’m actually in the process of adding blackout curtains to their bedroom however, and then I’m putting one of the sunrise alarm clocks in their room ‘cause in the summer, you know, you can get light around at 5:30 AM. So I’d rather my kids not be waking up that early but what I’m doing is putting blackout curtains in their bedroom so it stays really dark but then I’m setting the sunrise alarm clock so it gradually introduces natural light into their room over the course of about 10-15 minutes starting a little while before they need to be getting up and kinda getting ready for school, and all that jazz. So we’re really big proponents of sleep, and yes my kids have the blue light blocking glasses that they wear at night. I bought them those off of Amazon and they don’t mind that ‘cause dad got his dorky glasses and we all looked like complete nerds walking around the house. Mom laughs at us, we have yet to get on board with the glasses but she also – she’s one of those people that just sleeps like a log anyways so, I don’t – anyways, she’s one of those people. But those are some of the biggies. I know this was kind of a long answer but hopefully that points you in the right direction as far as enhancing growth. So minerals like calcium and magnesium, fat-soluble vitamins, resistance training without going too heavy, endurance training without going too long, sleep and yeah! I think those are some the biggies, and then dairy in moderation if you can find a good stuff.
Carrie: Hi Ben, this is Carrie from Tampa, Florida. And I love the podcast so keep up the good work. But my question is, how do you handle house guests that don’t share your dietary habits? I’m finding harder and harder to cook for other people, having to tell house guests to be sure to stop at the store and get whatever you’re gonna want. That I have to tell them that I don’t have a toaster, I don’t have orange juice, I don’t have bread, I don’t have a wife to cook sourdough bread for me, so anyways, it’s starting to be a real problem. I just kind of avoid having any kind of company. So, tell me how do you handle it? Thanks!
Brock: First of all, I gotta say – good questions, everybody! Seriously, like we’re getting some good stuff lately.
Ben: Yeah! So this is interesting. So first of all, I am a fan of having people over. Having things like dinner parties, bringing people into your home. The home that I grow up, and my parents had over literally almost every night we had college people over, we have homeless people over, we have this huge like – not lavish dinner parties but you know, the big pot of spaghetti, your chili, your soup type of dinner parties at our house.
Brock: We had cousins and stuff come and stay for like months on end too like they just come and move in for a few weeks or a few months and it’s great!
Ben: We had like foreign exchange students from Spain, in Japan… our home are just constantly full and it really is interesting for me. I grew up a little bit of like a social outcast in that respect and then when people would come over, I would literally get annoyed. I would go to my room and read like that was just the type of kid I was. I would just go through – I would stay until up to 4 AM in the morning reading fantasy novels and my parents have to coax me to drop word of world craft and come out of my room to interact with our guests. And eventually I got out of that phase but I still, even when I got older I had to kind of coax myself into understanding how important it is to – as the name of the book come about to recommend says – never eat alone, right, go out of your way to develop relationships because frankly, I’m completely happy staring at a candle and having a salad and you know, when I’m at a conference, right, and not even like talking to anybody. It’s just kinda the way that I am, I’m a hardwired introvert. But there’s two books that are really good that are out there right now. Relatively new books – this one is Never Eat Alone is by Keith Ferrazzi. It’s called Never Eat Alone and Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time. And what he goes into is how – there’s something that distinguishes highly successful people from everyone else in the way that they use the power of relationships, and he explains how he has connected with like thousands of colleagues, and friends, and associates on his contact lists and done much of these through like dinner and eating, and lunches, the social power of food. And then there’s another really good book out. And I’ll link both of these in the show notes over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/310. It’s a new one, it’s written by my friend Jason Gaignard and it’s called Mastermind Dinners: Building Lifelong Relationships by Connecting Experts, Influencers, and Linchpins. And Jason has this really interesting kind of a business. He puts on his dinners called Mastermind Dinners where he’ll just bring together a bunch of key influencers like 5-10 key influencers and they all sit around on a dinner table and have dinner together and produce these meaningful relationships that last a really long time and it’s all done around food. So it is really cool how food can bring us together and I think that both of those books are really good if you’re one of those people who use to be convinced to have more house guests or have more dinners. But like Carrie says, many times you will have people over who don’t share the same dietary concerns and habits as you do. My take on this is pretty simple. It’s the same way that I raise my kids and that is that you eat what is in the house. We do not have any of the junk foods or the – like Carrie says, the juice, the breads, etc. at our house. And since we live out in the freakin’ mill of a forest, there aren’t a lot of options. You can’t walk down to the grocery store and get yourself a bag of potato chips.
Brock: Pop over to the…
Ben: That’s right! So the thing is that I am – this may not sound very nice, Carrie but I would say is that if you’re eating healthy ancestral food that is not steep in the commercial fastfood macaroni and cheese- esque, you know, pizza type of lifestyle that a lot of people are eating and your house guests are not appreciating or eating or enjoying that food, then there’s something wrong with the way that you’re preparing it. And the reason that I say that is we have house guests over quite a bit and most of the time, the meals that we are serving are extremely ancestral from books like Nourishing Traditions or any of these like, there’s a publisher called Victory Belt – they’re the same publisher that published my book Beyond Training. And they put out a ton of cookbooks like Gather, and Paleo cookbooks.
And we’re not paleo, right, but a lot of those meals are really, really good like Mark Sisson’s company – the prime of publishing company, they’ve got a lot of really good books on fueling, and eating, and making these really nice tasty dinners. If your dinner is freakin’ like salad with sardines on it with maybe some nori wraps or something like that. That’s not – that maybe something that some of us listeners dig for lunch but it’s not gonna be a good way to introduce your house guests to healthy ancestral food. So I would say, you need to learn how to prepare food in a more tasty and well presented way so that your house guests actually appreciate it because there is no reason that people cannot eat and enjoy these stuff. We have house guests that eat what we eat for breakfast, you know, they’ll have eggs, and bacon with us for breakfast. Who doesn’t like eggs and bacon for breakfast?
Brock: Crazy people.
Ben: Crazy people and vegans.
Brock: And vegans, yeah.
Ben: In which case we couldn’t have like this awesome kale smoothies with dark cocoa nibs, and chocolate powder and almond butter for breakfast. And you know, for lunch we’ll have – you know, well, a lot of times frankly lunch is leftovers but then we’ll also have – like my wife will make this awesome coconut crepes and we’ll wrap like lunch meats and salamis and cheeses, and homemade mayonnaise and things like that, and have the crepes with some fresh vegetables and some sprouts that are grown out on the kitchen counter in the sunshine and then you know, for dinner, we’ll have like wild-caught salmon and roasted vegetables and some kind of like a nice homemade sourdough bread with some butter slathered on it. And I mean, in my opinion, if you’re cooking that way and your house guests are still wanting to bring over to your house juice, bread, and a toaster, then there’s something wrong with. You need to go get their brains checked out.
Brock: You need new friends.
Ben: Yeah. So ultimately I would say if you’re house guests don’t like the healthy foods that’s in your house, then you better get to work educating yourself and becoming better at making food that people just love to eat ‘cause it is an art, right, it is an art and it is something that you have to learn. You have to go out of your way to learn and it is a labor of love but once you learn how to prepare healthy foods in a really good tasty ancestral way, man! People are gonna wanna love – they’re gonna want to come to your house, they gonna love to come to your house. You’re not gonna have to convince your house guests to eat healthy, they gonna want to eat healthy, and they’re gonna live inspired, so that’s what we focus on. You know, when people come over, we give them real, healthy food and just like the way we raise our kids, there is no other option, right, like you eat that food or you know, that’s fine you can have some water and go to bed hungry if you don’t like it. So…
Will: Hello Ben and Brock! Love the podcast. It’s Will here from Vancouver. I just have a quick question about ketosis and dental plaque. I’m fat adapted, I like to keep myself in a mild ketosis as it helps with my ADHD and few other things. But I have noticed that I seem to be producing more dental plaque and I just was wondering if there’s any relationship. Thanks for everything. Bye.
Brock: That’s cool that he’s managing his own ADHD with some mild ketosis. Congratulations, Will! It worked!
Ben: There are some good studies out there in terms of like enhanced, focus and cognitive performance when you don’t have rapidly fluctuating blood sugar levels, and even when you have ketones available as a fuel for a neuronal activity. The interesting thing here is that you would think that when you cut out carbohydrates that you’re going to have less issues with your teeth simply because there is less sugar and…
Brock: Eat all the sugar kicking up your teeth all the time.
Ben: Yeah, exactly. Just because sugar is relatively acidic and when you expose the tooth surface to acid, that can cause demineralization which is the initiation of what’s called the caries- the dental caries process. And so, you get like progressive demineralization of the tooth structure and that can eventually result in destruction of dental tissues and the development of abscesses and all the other things that happen when we constantly subjects teeth to acidic substance – sucrose is the real culprit by the way with this, you know, many thing you’d find in table sugar. Fermentable carbohydrates in general can also be an issue, you know, a lot of that stuff gets absorbed by the bio film in your teeth and that can cause your bacterial plaque to produce a lot of acidic compounds and so when you look at fermentable carbohydrates typically they are the sweeter, more starchy carbohydrates.
And so, once you drop off that amount of acidity as you would by nature you’re taking in a few carbohydrates, then you get better mineralization, even re-mineralization, and more support for the teeth unless issues with that especially when the sucrose intake is low. Usually what you find people complaining about when they restrict carbohydrate intake is that ketosis causes three different molecules-three different types of ketone molecules to get to produce acetoacetate and beta hydroxybutyrate and those two can be used for energy by most body tissues but then there’s this third ketone called acetone that can be used by the body and it’s typically excreted in the urine and then exhaled by the lungs, and that can cause halitosis that can cause this kind of like keto breath and usually…
Brock: Isn’t that the same thing that happens when you drink alcohol?
Ben: Uhm, it’s somewhat similar but typically you’d have to have a lot of acetaldehyde produced from alcohol consumption so you’d either have to be for example like Asian, so you’ve got lower levels of alcohol dehydrogenase or you’d have to be drinking so much of alcohol that you’ve got a lot of acetaldehyde produced. In most cases for many people, that’s 3 plus drinks before you start to get to the point where you can get some acetone smell on the breath. Jimmy Moore talked about this a little bit when I interviewed him and you can go to bengreenfieldfitness.com and do a search for ketosis to listen to literally tons of interviews I’ve done on ketosis with folks. But inactive people who have been in ketosis who are efficiently burning fatty acids and then utilizing those ketones by the diaphragm, and by the kidneys, and by the heart as a fuel, typically that acetone breath is a little less of an issue, and in many cases people will start on a ketosis based-diet, they get a little bit of that acetone breath and then the more active they are, and the more they’re adhering to that fat burning – uhm, well, how should I put this – well, basically the people who are more active and in ketosis tend to have less of the acetone breath than the people who are inactive and in ketosis. Does that makes sense?
Ben: Just ‘cause they’re utilizing those ketones more effectively.
Brock: Yeah, they’re not just floating around, they got good use for stuff.
Ben: Yeah, exactly. So, when we look at this plaque issue or – he says it’s kind of a dental plaque. Sometimes it can be a little bit more of a slime in the teeth, that kinda depends. This is something that I’ve seen come up before and one of the proposed mechanisms for this and this would be more of like a high protein diet than a high fat diet which is why something that’s a little bit puzzling to him but some people who are doing like the very, very low carb thing like they’re doing more protein than they are fat to replace those carbohydrates. Now, when you look at plaque that’s formed on the teeth of people who are on a low carb, high protein diet, the pH gradient is different. The overall pH of the plaque is influenced by the ammonia that’s produced as a by-product of amino acid breakdown, okay? So higher protein causes more amino acid breakdown and that can cause the plaque to have a higher pH. Now higher pH of the plaque can favor what are called gram-negative organisms, and those can actually produce a little bit of an offensive odor and they can also change the way that the plaque feels. The thing is – this is something you’d normally experience on more of like an Atkins based-diet than a ketosis based-diet. So that’s one thing that kinda puzzles me about this plaque thing is, this is something that I would more expect with with like the high protein diet. But the other hypothesis here that I have is that many times when you’re on a ketosis based-diet and you’re eating fewer carbs, you get less salivary production and you get less mucus production. So you can get dry mouth, and dry mouth can actually cause tartar and plaque buildup. If you don’t figure out a way to keep your mouth hydrated or to consistently introduce water into the mouth. And so for this reason, I would recommend that one of the things that you may wanna try is one of these WaterPiks. You’ve seen a waterpik before, Brock?
Brock: Yeah. I used to have one when I was a kid.
Ben: Yeah. So once a week, both my wife and I do a waterpik. We put a few drops of oil of oregano in our waterpik, and this was recommended to me.
I don’t visit a regular dentist, I visit one of these fanchy-smanchy biological like holistic dents. They don’t use heavy metal, they use compounds that are more compatible with the human body, they don’t use a lot of chemicals. When I went in for a teeth cleaning though couple of years ago, they said – hey, you need to start using a waterpik if you use a waterpik, I don’t know why they told me this ‘cause it’s a good way to put themselves out of business like you don’t need to come in to have your teeth clean as much. So I got a waterpik like that weekend and I haven’t been to the dentist since. Anyways though, I use this waterpik once a week, I put the oregano in it and just basically go through each of the teeth with waterpik and it takes like 5 minutes. And then the other thing that I do once a week is I swish with coconut oil. So I put like a teaspoon of coconut oil on my mouth and I do what’s called oil pulling where you just like swish for 15, 20 minutes and then through your mouth. Those are couple of things I do for oral care but if you – but if this an issue related to dry mouth, you could get a waterpik and just use that like every night instead of brushing your teeth or as – the waterpik actually comes with one of the attachments that goes on the end of it ‘cause it’s like this basin of water that basically is directed via a tube at a high pressure into your teeth, but one of the handles that come with it is a brush and inside that brush is a little hole where the water comes out, so you can brush and do water picking at the same time. So you can just do that as an alternative to brushing your teeth every night. And try that out and see if that helps to keep your mouth hydrated and results in a little bit less of this plaque issue. So, worse comes to worst you could always get your teeth remove and get the dental implants and have that cool little glass of water that you keep next to your bed at night that you put your teeth in. Just like grandma and grandpa. I remember the first time I walked into my grandma’s bathroom, I saw her teeth floating in a cup, but I was just like – I was mortified ‘cause there was like body parts floating in water in my grandma’s bathroom. And I had plenty of questions for my parents after that but Will, hopefully you don’t need to get to that – that point.
Brock: Hopefully not dentures. Just get veneers. Go Hollywood!
Julian: Hi Ben! I have a question about fueling field sports specifically soccer. I was wondering how you would fuel it, what nutrition or any supplements. I know you talked a lot about that U-Can stuff, and energy gels. So if your soccer assumed two 45 minutes halves with the 20 minute half time in between, so I guess yeah, nutritionally how to it during, at the half time, and afterwards. This could also apply to other sports – basketball, football. And then you talk a lot about triathlons and endurance efforts but I’m just thinking maybe you can talk about field sports. Thanks!
Brock: Yeah. I’ve never really thought about it. I go play hockey quite often in 3 periods of 20 minutes with 5 minute break usually between it. And I just eat a lot of food before and then tons of wings and beer after. Done!
Ben: (laughing) Done!
Brock: Done! There you go Julian!
Ben: You know, it kinda depends, right? I know a lot of people are listening in probably at this point who may have kids ‘cause we talked about kids earlier, and we talked about increasing growth in kids and what we do with our kids with food and stuff like that so we might as well kinda stay on that vein and I should mention that if you have kids and you’re listening to this and are playing soccer, there is no research that shows that children benefit from exogenous sources of fuel for any event that lasts less than 75 minutes. And the reason for that is that kids have higher fat oxidation capabilities compared to adults. Kids actually have enzymes that are more active in their bodies that can inhibit their ability to tap into storage muscle glycogen and liver glycogen as a fuel. And the hypothesis here is that by having this carbohydrate conservation mechanisms during exercise, kids are able to tap into that carbohydrate more efficiently for growth at other points during the day. So kids have this inherent ability to be able to tap on their own fatty acids as a fuel and for anything that lasts less than 75 minutes, they actually don’t really need fuel. They still need some water, you can give them some electrolytes to help drive that water into the – you know, from the gut into the bloodstream a little bit faster, but ultimately if you’re looking at kids, all these Oreo and a little –what’s the name of the little juices that you poke the straw into?
Brock: The old juice box things.
Ben: Yeah, the old box things are like that – that stuff is actually not really necessary for a kid doing something.
Brock: All they need is love and encouragement.
Ben: And a little bit of water, so. Anyways though…
Brock: A little bit of whip ass, too.
Ben: A little bit of whip ass. So as far as adults, I don’t know if it’s because adults at some point from childhood up to adulthood get ripped out of the ability to tap into fatty acids as a fuel because of Cheerios and Fruit Loops and frequent trips to the pancake you know, feed or whatever but like, you know…
Brock: The IHOP?
Ben: The IHOP. That’s the word I was looking for. I was close with the pancake feed.
Brock: It was really close, yeah.
Ben: Anyways though, so adults technically have more proof of propensity during exercise to become hypoglycemic compared to kids. And so, for Julian like fueling for a soccer match or if you’re fueling for football or basketball or whatever, you may be able to benefit from exogenous sources of fuel and they may provide you with little bit of a performance enhancing aid. The problem is that the stereo typical way to do this is via…
Ben: Gatorade like a 6-8% carbohydrate-based solution or power bars that are made with GMO wheat and GMO corn and a lot of preservatives, or very sugary-based compounds that are acidic not just for the teeth which we just got talking about but also the body as a whole or can cause like for example, fermentation in the gut. So there are ancestral, you know – “ancestral” at least more ancestral ways to fuel these type of things. Because during soccer match or football or basketball, you do have frequent, what are called glycolytic surges where you’re tapping into storage carbohydrate and done over and over again during a very long match. When we talk about football games, we’re talking three hours, right? You’re going to reach glycogen depletion unless you do something about that. And I personally, I play tennis. I have a tennis match this week and I’m playing number one singles right now for my local men’s team and my tennis match this weekend is probably gonna be a doozy, like that would be 2 to 2 and a half hours this Sunday afternoon of some hard core sprinting and I won’t go out there in a ketotic state because there’s just so much more surging and sprinting than what I experience for example in like an ironman that I just feel better if I’ve got some exogenous source of fuel. And there’s a few different ways to achieve this. I’m gonna throw some ideas at you because there’s more than one way to skin a cat and some of this stuff is like 601 and half of the dozen of the other. But here are some ideas for you. The first is that you can make your own sports drink and bring it with you and it’s got far less preservatives, colors, artificial compounds in it, etc. compared to a commercially-available sports drink. One of my favorite ways to do this, is you can get chia seeds, got about 60 calories or so in a tablespoon of chia seeds, and so you’d use about 2-3 tablespoons of that for each hour of fueling that you desire, and then you add in about a tablespoon or so of raw honey which is chockfull of amino acids, immune boosting compounds. I’m a big fan of finding yourself like a really, nice, good raw local honey. And then you put some sea salt in there for minerals and electrolytes typically a couple of pinches of sea salt, and then you can mix all that together in a water bottle. Chia seeds, honey, and sea salt. I like 2-3 parts chia seeds to one part honey, couple pinches of sea salt, and then actually in a mix like that I prefer coconut water compared to regular water just ‘cause coconut water can hydrate you so much better during hard core activities. And you got to shake it a few times before you drink that as you go to field, you know, shake it up, drink it down and keep in water bottle. Mix this pretty well. But that’s one thing, that I really, really like is the chia seeds, raw honey, sea salt mix. Another way that you can go is – I have an article about fat-based energy gels. We’ll put a link to it in the show notes but I researched 12 different gel companies that are relying more upon fats like coconut oil andmedium-chain triglycerides oil, and things that spike the blood sugar little less result in fewer of the issues with carbohydrates and acidity compared to standard carbohydrate-based gels, and there are a bunch of them. You know like Win Force and Justin’s Nut Butter, and Pocket Fuel. And many of these companies are doing more fat-based energy gels. And you would do about 1-2 of those each hour, and each time you take one of those gels, you wash it down with a little bit of water. That’s another really, really good way to go as far as more natural way to keep energy levels elevated.
Another one that I really like if you wanna go more of the solid route is you get one of these energy bars that’s more based on fat or that is less based on wheat, corn, oats and soy.
So some of the good brands out there that I like is Onnit makes one called the Hemp Force bar, you know, if you like solids. I’m personally a fan of solids, it’s just the way I’m wired like I like to chew on something you know, as I’m switching over sides like during a tennis match. So for example this weekend, I’ll have the Hammer Bars just ‘cause that’s what happens to be on the pantry at that time, Hammer makes the Spurs like a – I use the one called the Hammer Vegan Bar, it’s made by Hammer Nutrition. We’ll put the link to that in the show notes as well. But it’s got a little bit of a chocolate coating on it and it doesn’t have like soy, and wheat, and corn, and things along those lines. That’s another good bar. BonkBreaker – you’ll find this on a lot of ironman courses these days. It’s a gluten-free lactose-free bar. Dairy-free as well, burns really clean, decent source to energy, tastes good, that would be more acceptable than like a power bar, or clip bar for example. And then if you wanna go with more of like the meat route, Epic Bar is a really good company, they even have one that’s made out of organ meats like liver, and we talked about like getting kids – their fat-soluble vitamins, I mean like – they’re actually tasty. I ate some at the Ancestral Health Symposium this year. So Epic Bar has some really good solid sources of bars. And then there’s this company called US Wellness Meats that makes a pemmican and pemmican is like rendered fat and that also if you wanna do more of like a Native American playing old school across during your soccer match, you can do pemmican. So let your hair out and get that meaty smell on your breath and run around chewing on a stick of pemmican during your soccer match or at least on the sidelines. So pemmican’s another choice. So we’ve got energy bars, we’ve got fat-based energy gels, we have like chia seeds, honey and sea salt, and then you could also go with like pre-mix fuels. I have a whole post, I’m not even going to get into detail ‘cause we’re kinda drowning on on this one but I have a whole post at bengreenfieldfitness.com called how many carbohydrates, protein, and fat should you eat before, during, and after a workout? And in that post, I go into how to take things like a super starch like U-Can is a company that makes this super starch. It gives you a really slow release of carbohydrates and you mix that with some MCT oil which is a form of fat that by-passes digestion and go straight into your cells to burn fats and generate ATP, and you mix that with some amino acids like an amino acid powder or an amino acid capsule and some electrolytes. Brock and I actually shot a video when I did ironman Canada a couple of years ago where he just shot a video of me dumping all the stuff into a blender, U-Can, MCT oil, amino acids and electrolytes, and that’s what I use to fuel myself for that race. You just blend it all together and dump it in the water bottles. So that’s another way to go if you wanna kinda like mix your own fuel together and just kinda again another like little inside baseball thing for you, I’m working with a company right now where we’re trying to figure out how to get all that stuff , like a really good high molecular weight starch, some coconut or MCT oil, some amino acids, and some electrolytes and figure out how to get all that into almost like kinda little gel pack that you can mix in a water bottle that you could – the formulation is pretty complex, so it’s taking a while to figure out how to get all those ingredients to play nice, but hopefully at some point in the next year we have some something like that available for folks to use, and kinda get all that stuff without having to go to the four corners of the earth to buy it and then put it all in a blender.
And then the last thing, I’ve been using a lot of this lately. This is what I use when I did like Kokoro, the SealFit Training – I use this stuff made by a company called Natural Force.
Brock: Oh, the Iskiate!
Ben: Yeah, they’ve got this…
Brock: Or Iskiate.
Ben: Yeah. They call it the Natural Stack. So kinda like how Gatorade has its pre-, during, and post workout fuel. This is like the paleo/ancestral version of that. So pre-workout is this stuff called raw tea, and it’s basically like beet juice and there’s like some green tea extract in there, uhm, I’m trying to remember all the ingredients. It’s got maca, cranberry, cinnamon, grape seed, Yohimbe bark, it’s sweetened with Stevia. So it just gives you this big boost in natural vascularity, right, it’s kinda like Viagra for your workout. So you do that first, you do that 20-30 minutes before and they’ve got this thing called the Natural Stack. Where you can order it and just get all three of these and then they’ve got the Iskiate Endurance which is for during and that is basically chia seeds, bee pollen, and coconut palm sugar, and that’s sweetened with Stevia as well. And it has also what’s called royal jelly in it which is – just what it sounds like – it’s royal and it’s jelly.
It’s actually a – I believe that’s …
Brock: It’s bee pollen.
Ben: Yeah, it’s basically a bee pollen-related extract. And then for after you finish, they have what’s called recovery nectar. And by the way, I first discovered these guys at their booth down at Paleo FX and it was just, you know, it’s amazing, it’s good stuff. And the recovery nectar is coconut water with hemp protein, and then there’s spirulina, chia seeds, maca, and Goji berry added to that. They’ve even got like some natural immune system support in there like devil’s claw and maitake mushroom. It’s really good stuff. I’ll be totally straight-forward with you, it’s not cheap. Like this stuff as far as for sports nutrition goes, it’s some of the spendy stuff you can buy but if you just want, this is kind of a done for you approach. I do like the Natural Force stuff and I’ve been using that quite a bit lately, too.
Brock: Our friend Tamsyn Lewis used that one when she won Ironman UK.
Ben: No, I think she use Wind Force.
Brock: I thought she is using the Iskiate.
Ben: She may – you know, she may have been. I don’t know, I have to ask her. Anyways though, my Natural Force – we’ll put a link in the show notes ‘cause we get a 10% discount, so it knocks a little bit off of the price. So anyways though, I’ll put kind of a synopsis of all those so, I’m not saying any one way is best but those are some of your options as far as really natural ways to fuel activity. So…
Brock: I stand by my wings and your post-talk again tradition… (chuckles) No worries, no stomach upset. Well, quite a bit of stomach upset.
Ben: So, but a big smile on your face. A big greasy smile on your face.
Brock: Big greasy smile.
Ben: And chicken skin on your teeth.
Brock: Yes! Speaking of big greasy smiles, let’s put a big greasy smile on somebody’s face that left us a nice iTunes review!
Ben: That’s right, if you go to iTunes and you leave us a review, we will put a handy-dandy Ben Greenfield fitness gear pack and emails you if we read your review on the show. So if you hear your review read, just email [email protected], let us know your address and your t-shirt size, we’ll get all that out to you and of course if you wanna buy that stuff yourself, the tech shirt, the beanie, or the water bottle, and support the show. It’s a cool way to support and get a bunch of cool stuff sent to you. It’s bengreenfieldfitness.com/gear, most of it is used, it comes from my garage, and it has cat hair on it but – hey! You know…
Brock: You don’t have a cat.
Ben: And cigarette smoke but. Uhm, anyways though, we’ve got a review here that we’re gonna read for you.
Brock: It’s called Not Afraid of Controversy by Kleinbc. “I love that Ben is willing to take on controversial subjects like vaccination. Without people questioning the recommendations and propaganda (yes, it’s propaganda. Have you seen the ads?) of our government, are we really better off? Just look at the food pyramid. There was that was supposedly backed out by solid science, but all it did was make people sicker. Should we all be willing to completely trust our government and pharma? Or should we question it even if it looks like the evidence is solid. Because of a recent podcast, everyone suddenly thinks Ben is anti-vaccination, but if I remember correctly, he chose to at least partially vaccinate his children.”
Ben: Uhm, true fact.
Brock: Uhmm, “So, he’s not anti-vaccination but rather pro-choice and pro-make an educated decision. If you aren’t willing to hear the other side then you are doing yourself a disservice. There is likely some truth in what his guest had to say.” Some truth. “But there is some benefit to vaccinating. The truth is, we don’t really know if we are better off vaccinating because there’s no long term double blind studies looking at the total effects of vaccines.”
Ben: Preach it, brod. That was less of a review than it was a commentary. (laughter)
Brock: That was totally. We just like Kleinbc get up on a soap box in my voice there for a second.
Ben: But I mean…
Brock: Let me just say, those were not my words. That was Kleinbc. Not that I disagree.
Ben: Ultimately though, let me say this – we’re willing to think outside the box on the show and I mean, you know, here’s the deal, I don’t think a lot of people are gonna write in angry that I gave you some choices to go with other than Gatorade. You know, some people will write in angry that I gave you some other choices to go with other than vaccinations a couple of weeks ago ‘cause frankly, I will admit that is a little bit more serious issue than Gatorade, potentially. But ultimately, please know that I will continue to put out advice or information that may go against the grain on this podcast because progressive, forward thinking is how we make ourselves better, how we discover new ideas, how we get outside the box, how we discover new technologies, etc.
So, I have no issue bringing that stuff and I do appreciate the review that mentions that – hey, it’s not that I’m all of a sudden like anti-vaccination, I just wanna make sure that people have all the information that they need to make an educated decision. So…
Brock: And personally I did not agree with very much of what she had to say, but I’m happy that she and other people like her are out there are putting some pressure on the government and the pharmaceutical companies to do a better job just to make it better. Just – we can’t argue with that.
Ben: That’s right.
Brock: There’s got to be a better way to do it and they’re not gonna do it unless we put some pressure on.
Ben: That’s right. So anyways though…
Brock: That was my soapbox there.
Ben: Love it! I know this is turning into a monster episode but yes, we do have more for you. If you stay tuned after the show, we’re going to play the raw uncut version of how females can change up their diets to make athletic performance better, and of course you can get all of our premium episodes over at bengreenfitness.com/premium along with my audio book version of Beyond Training. You can grab the links for everything that we just gotten talking about over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/310, and I believe that wraps things up.
Brock: I believe!
Ben: I do believe!
Okay, now let’s jump into some news for female athletes, and three reasons why exercise can make females fat. In my podcast episode called Why Women Gain Weight When Training For Endurance and What You Can Do about It, I responded to a question from a woman named Liza, who wrote in and said – I have a question about weight gain during marathon training. I’m a 28 year old, female, training for my 4th marathon. I run anywhere from 50-70 miles a week at the height of my training, I eat very clean, I also weigh lifts 2-3 times per week. I’m 5 foot 6, around 130 lbs. Whenever I train intensely for marathons, I end up gaining about 10 lbs. I don’t think this is all muscle and I don’t think it’s due to over-eating since I track my food quite assiduously, and usually end up about 700 calories in the whole everyday. I’ve become concerned about this weight gain. I was tested for hypothyroidism which was negative. And when I mentioned my weight gain to my physicians, they seemed dismiss it since I’m not overweight. Is there any way to explain this weight gain despite steep calorie deficits? I eat a low carb, high fat diet, and that was for about a month in December when work prevented me from training at all. I end up losing 10 lbs in a month then regaining it almost immediately once I resumed my training. I’ve been able to make massive time improvements despite this weight gain, but it leaves me feeling bloated, and large in my “normal” clothes. I’ve heard of several others, mostly women, gaining weight during marathon training and I’m wondering what the explanation for this could be especially when that person is OCD about calorie intake as I have then.”
Well, Liza is not alone. This is a huge problem among athletic females especially those engaged in endurance exercise or chronic levels of high training combined with calorie depletion. In my response to Liza, I explained why many female athletes gain weight or become unhealthy, and it due to a combination of three factors. Number 1 is excessive cortisol. As the body churns out cortisol in response to repetitive training stress, sodium retention and subsequent fluid retention and bloating can occur. Number 2 is progesterone depletion. With excessive training stress, the body shuttles precious levels of the hormone precursor called pregnenalone into cortisol production instead of progesterone production. That’s called a pregnenalone steal. Since progesterone facilitates the utilization of storage fat for energy, this decreases the body’s ability to tap into its own fat for fuel. And number 3 is estrogen dominance. Estrogen is a hormone that promotes cell division, cell growth, and in excessive amounts, formation of fat tissue. Estrogen dominance can be created by stress, poor sleep, and mineral imbalances. In addition to some of the other factors you’ll learn about in the lifestyle section coming later in the book, of course all of these three issues are magnified by high amounts of training. In addition since progesterone protects women against the pro-growth effect of estrogen, the drop in progesterone and the rise in estrogen creates a weight gain double whammy. So if you’re a female athlete training long, hard, or heavy, and you don’t want just to stop training, what can you do about this? Well, in addition to implementing every single one of the stress control strategies that you already learned about earlier in this book, as well as eating a higher fat diet to allow for adequate steroid and hormone production, you should include the following nutritional strategies.
Number 1, decrease exposure to all estrogen raising factors in your diet and that includes excessive amounts of coffee. I recommend no more than 2 cups per day of caffeinated coffee. Also, be careful with unfermented soy sources like tofu and soy milk, non-organic meats, commercial dairy sources, sugars and starches. Number 2 is to help your liver deal with excess estrogen through natural detoxification. This can be accomplish with 2-3 cups of green tea per day and a high intake of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage along with adequate fiber consumption like a daily kale shake. Number 3 is to use a supplementation protocol that allows your liver to naturally detox high levels of estrogen. Now, I’ll go over some of those things in the gut cleanse, and detox chapter but few other things to pay attention to, one would be a vitamin B or an antioxidant supplement or multivitamin that has those compounds in it. Next would be some source of hops for example, integrative therapeutics has an AM/PM perimenopause formula which Dr. Sara Gottfried recommended in my podcast episode entitled The Cause of Being a Badass: How To Cure Your Hormones. Next is to use a natural anti-inflammatory high in curcumin. I like about 1-2 grams of curcumin on a daily basis, and then some type of detoxification compound for the liver. One of the more powerful ones especially for estrogen dominance is called di-indolylmethane or DIM, and you’d take about 200 mg of that a day. Now, the high amounts of stress to which you’re exposing your body or actually training your body to store fat, lower metabolism and retain water, but some of the advice that I just gave includes ways you can mitigate the damage. Now of course the opposite scenario can unsure as well in female athletes a loss in body weight accompanied by drop in low density, a loss of your period, and severe hormonal depletion. Now this is a scenario I most often see in women who have been living like Liza for a long period of time and eventually hit the wall with adrenal fatigue and complete energy depletion. The low progesterone continues but it’s matched by an eventual drop in estrogen too, a drop in cortisol, and hormone fatigue. In this case when chronic levels of training are combined with low calorie intake, your liver and your adrenals get tired, you become insensitive to important hormones like leptin and insulin, your sleeps suffers, your body weight drops, and you begin experiencing low thyroid symptoms and menstrual disregulation. In other words, you become skinny fat. Now, this may sound sexist or unfair, but compared to male, females are simply less capable of running from a lion everyday, day in and day out. So if you’re going to fight your biology, and try to do it anyways, you better do an excellent job eating adequate calories, detoxing your liver and getting as much rest, recovery and sleep as you can by caring for your body with high amounts of nutrient-dense foods, getting lots of sleep, and implementing all the important recovery tips that I outlined in chapter 8. You can keep many of these issues from recurring but you must listen carefully to your body because especially as a female, you are fighting an uphill battle. Now interestingly, women can use the fact that they are significant gender differences in fuel selections during exercise. For example, one of the most common methods used to determine how much fats and how much carbohydrates you use for energy is a measurement called the respiratory exchange ratio or RER, and that measures the ratio of carbon dioxide produced to oxygen consumed. A lower RER means a higher fat metabolism, and a higher RER means a higher carb metabolism. Now studies have shown that during low to moderate intensity exercise, women have a much lower RER, meaning they burn way more fat compared to men. Now this could be one of the reasons why as the time of exercise becomes longer, female performance tends to become closer and closer to male performance. When corrected for difference, the time gap between say, a top female and male ironman triathlon finisher is actually much smaller than that between a top female and male 100 meter sprinter. Apparently because of your naturally higher capabilities to burn fat as a fuel, you ladies are actually pretty good going long. So, are there any practical fueling or training tips that can be fleshed out from this fat? Well, while there’s not a ton of research to back this up. I highly suspect that women are gaining a great advantage in maintaining long term training out by a) limiting the volume of extremely high intensity, carbohydrate-utilizing, exhausting training sessions like crossfit whads, long track sprint intervals, or tough workouts like tabata sets done multiple times a week.
And limit those to just 2-3 days per week maximum especially if you’re engaging in other longer energy-depleting stressful training sessions like triathlon or running, or marathon training. Now since women are even better than men at fat oxidation and endurance, their focus should primarily lie in strength, power, speed, mobility, and balance which I went over in chapter 5 in great detail. With limited amounts of high intensity metabolic conditioning, and fat fueled long aerobic sessions, b) engage in moderate amounts of low volume movements throughout the day including walking, standing work stations or treadmill work stations, gardening, and easy aerobic sessions that are fueled by high amounts of fat intake from coconut or MCT oil, nut butters, etc., and c) eating enough carbohydrates to support normal fertility and health without any excessive emphasis placed on fasting or constant ketogenesis. As I eluded to earlier in this book, you can check out the article Carbohydrates for Fertility and Health by Stephanie Roper if you want more details on that. I’ll put a link to that over at beyondtrainingbook.com/chapter14. Finally, if you wanna understand more about how, where you’re at in your menstrual cycle, changes the way that you feel and perform during exercise, I recommend a book called Running For Women by author Jason Karp who is also interviewed in an Endurance Planet episode on Female Athlete Fueling and I’ll put a link to that over at beyondtrainingbook.com/chapter14 as well. Now in that book and in slightly less detail in the Endurance Planet podcast, they tackle many topics that I think you should review if you’re a woman including the impact of the menstrual cycle on hydration, body temp, metabolism and function, how and when to train during your menstrual cycle, pregnancy and menopause, avoiding the risks of the female athlete triad which is disordered eating, osteoporosis and menstrual irregularities, how to use sex differences to your advantage, and much more. And finally ladies, be cautious like I mentioned with fasting and resist the temptation and focus on keeping your body in fat burning mode through long periods of time spending calorie restriction. We’ll talk more about fasting strategies especially for females, later on in this chapter.
Visit bengreenfieldfitness.com for even more cutting edge fitness, nutrition, and performance advice.
Feb 25, 2015 Podcast: How To Get Kids To Grow As Tall As Possible, How To Handle House Guests Who Don’t Eat Healthy, Can Ketosis Cause Dental Plaque, and 5 Ways To Naturally Fuel For A Soccer Match.
Have a podcast question for Ben? Click the tab on the right, use the Contact button on the app, click Ask a Podcast Question at the bottom of this page, Skype “pacificfit” or use the “Ask Ben” form… but be prepared to wait – we prioritize audio questions over text questions.
- Not that I endorse sleep deprivation, but it turns out that catch-up sleep can actually help tremendously.
- Is “simulating your race” the best way to ensure you’re not as sore afterwards? Not really. Low volume works too.
- How the menstrual cycle affects athletic performance – good read.
March 3, Tuesday, 7pm Pacific/10pm Eastern: This month’s Inner Circle workshop is our quarterly “Winter 2015 What’s Working Now Show”, in which you get to join Ben and Jessa as they talk about the latest workouts, fitness gear, nutrition supplements, recipes, anti-aging strategies, biohacks, healthy kid tips, and more – along with your questions and answers!
March 6-9, 2015: Come on the Spartan Cruise with Ben Greenfield and family! Use code BEN10 to save 10% when you book this cruise to a private island in the Bahamas for the ultimate tropical Spartan Race. This cruise includes free travel for kids and a kid’s Spartan race, along with a sprint Spartan for the adults, tons of partying, beautiful beaches and new, exclusive island challenges.
April 13-16, 2015: Ben is speaking at New Media Expo, where the world’s top bloggers, podcasters and content creators teach you how to make money by creating content online, and how to enhance your blog, your podcast, your videos and any other media you create online. Better yet, you can come and attend the conference, then join Ben at Spartan Vegas on April 17! Click here to register for New Media Expo and use code “bgreenfield20” to get 20% off the current pricing.
April 24-26th, 2015: Come hear Ben and Jessa speak at PaleoFX 2015. The can’t-miss conference that is the Who’s Who gathering of the Paleo movement, with world-class speakers including best-selling authors, physicians, nutritionists, research scientists, professional athletes, trainers, sustainability and food activists, biohackers, and more (including Jessa’s “Whipped Up Homemade Heavy Body and Face Lotion.” and Ben’s potentially offensive Pecha Kucha presentation).
May 1-3, 2015: Ben is speaking at Ari Meisel’s Less Doing Conference, the year’s top conference for learning about things like how to manage your email inbox, hack productivity, enhance your cognitive performance, learn how to use the latest and greatest phone apps and productivity software, free up as much time as possible, and much more! Click here to get more details and to book a free productivity call with Ari.
Grab this Official Ben Greenfield Fitness Gear package that comes with a tech shirt, a beanie and a water bottle.
And of course, this week’s top iTunes review – gets some BG Fitness swag straight from Ben – leave your review for a chance to win some!
As compiled, deciphered, edited and sometimes read by Brock Skywalker Armstrong, the Podcast Sidekick and Audio Ninja.
How To Get Kids To Grow As Tall As Possible
Tony says: He is wondering if you know of any tips, nutrition advice or biohacks that can help his 14-year-old son reach his full height potential. He has become quite the athlete and wants to play football in high school.
How To Handle House Guests Who Don’t Eat Healthy
Carrie says: She wants to know how you and Jessa handle having house guests who don’t share the same dietary concerns and habits as you. She is finding it harder and harder to cook for other people. She gets tired of telling house guests to bring things like juice, bread, a toaster and that sort of stuff when they come to visit.
Can Ketosis Cause Dental Plaque?
Will says: He likes to keep himself in mild ketosis because it helps with his ADHD and other things but he has noticed that he is getting a lot more dental plaque. Is that related to ketosis or is he imagining things?
In my response, I recommend:
5 Ways To Naturally Fuel For A Soccer Match
Julian says: He is wondering how you would fuel for a soccer match. Any supplements or gels? UCAN? The game has 2 x 45min halves and a 20 minute half time. He knows you talk a lot about triathlon fueling but what about field sports? Football or even basketball?
In my response, I recommend:
-Frequent glycolytic surges combined with rapid fueling…
-Chia seeds + honey + sea salt in water bottle (prefer coconut water).
–Natural Force Raw Tea before, Iskiate Endurance during and Recovery after. “BEN10” will get you 10% off all supplements there.
-UCAN + MCT oil + amino acids + electrolytes as described in this post.
–Fat based energy gels at 1-2/hour.
-“Acceptable” energy bar (e.g. Onnit Hemp Force, BonkBreaker, Hammer – 15% discount code 80244 at HammerNutrition.com, Epic Bar, Pemmican, etc.).