Introduction: In this podcast, what happens when you mix vegetarianism, religion, and fat loss? Should you not eat fruit with a meal? What causes abnormally high heart rates during exercise? How to do a weekly fast and still train hard? Are steroidal inhalers safe for exercise? What shoes are best for gym workouts? Spectrocell tests and Cortisol testing.
Ben: Welcome to Podcast # 145 from BenGreenfieldFitness.com, this is Ben Greenfield and today I am in the throes of getting ready for a group of athletes from around the world who are flying in to my hometown for an Ironman triathlon camp in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. So that should be a huge amount of fun. I’ll be releasing some videos and information from that Ironman camp but if you rate triathletes and you’re ever interested in becoming involved in one of these camps, they are real hoots. I’m looking forward to having a great time with the folks who are coming in so, any of you people who are on your way in and listening to this podcast, welcome to Spokane, Washington. Alright, we have an interview today with George Malkmus from Hallelujah Acres and I’ll let him tell you more about what that is but basically, George is a vegetarian preacher who has created an entire healthy lifestyle and a fat loss program based off a Scripture-based teachings and while this is not a religious podcast per se, we definitely do talk a little bit about it in the interview, so stay tuned for that and we’re going to jump right in to this week’s special announcements.
First of all I would like to give a huge shout out to everybody who’s been donating that $1 to keep this podcast going. We have a big donation button right there on the side where you can click to give a dollar a month to keep this podcast in operation. It’s not cheap to host the amount of bandwidth required to give thousands of podcast downloads each week so, every little bit helps and you can donate to the podcast over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com by pressing the donate $1 button and while you’re there, feel free to grab the free Iphone or free android app that I have that will deliver all these podcast news, videos, blogposts, everything straight to your phone and there’s even a handy-dandy “Ask Ben Question” right there on your phone. Those are 100% free. Also, coming up on May 19th, that is next week, that‘s a Thursday, at 3 o’clock Pacific Time, 6 o’clock Eastern time is a seminar on teaching for anybody who is a triathlete and it’s specifically designed to teach you time management techniques, training strategies, nutrition tips and other elements of maintaining a healthy, triathlon lifestyle while not neglecting your career, your family or your friends. So, that is going to be really focused on people who want to do triathlon but also want to have time for their job or their family. So that’s a USA Triathlon Seminar and I’ll put the USA Triathlon registration link right there in the show notes to this podcast, Podcast # 145. Now this is the last opportunity to create your design for the next Ben Greenfield Fitness T-shirt and there’s been a lot of interesting designs submitted. You can submit your design or ask me for graphics to help you with your design by emailing me [email protected]. If you’re a creative person and you want hundreds of people walking around wearing a T-shirt that you designed, then you can be part of that design contest. We’re going to feature all the designs and unveil the winner in a blogpost right at the last week of May. So you’ve just got a few days left to get that T-shirt design in and again I’ve got graphics if you email me [email protected] I can hook you up with graphics to help you out with the design. So with that being said, we’re going to go ahead and jump in to a special announcement and then this week’s Q&A.
Ben: Well, before we hop in to the Q&A, let me say one thing about that VIP text club announcement that you heard. We’ve now started speed coaching over at the Ben Greenfield Fitness Facebook page where on certain days, I get on for a couple hours and just respond live to your questions in rapid-fire format and the only way to find out when those sessions are is actually by being a part of that free VIP text club. You get a notice sent to your phone on the day or the weekend that the speed coaching starts and it tells you where to go and you get the inside scoop. So that being said, let’s launch into this week’s Q&A and remember, if you have a question you can use the Ask Ben Form over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com or click Ask a Podcast Question at the bottom of this page and that is where our first question comes from today.
Jeff: Hey Ben, question for your podcast. This is Jeff from Tampa, Florida. What shoes do you recommend for your athletes to workout in the gym with? For example, running shoes or basketball shoes or Vibram FiveFingers, or tennis shoes, what do you think? What do you prefer? Thanks a lot Ben, bye.
Ben: Well, this is actually a very interesting question because if you look at old photos of weight lifters or power lifters or body builders, a lot of times you’ll see them wearing combat boots or like the old-style Chuck Taylors or the Converse shoes that lace up, and there’s a reason for that and I’ll talk to you about that in a minute. It’s very good to think about what you wear in terms of gym shoes, especially if you’re lifting free weights because when you lift weights, you’re basically wanting two things to happen. First of all, all the force that your body produces underneath the bar while holding a set of dumbbells should contribute ideally to moving a weight and not be lost due to a movement back and forth or side to side in contact with the ground, and number 2, you need to be able to control the weight safely. So if you wear, say like a running shoe, which is designed for a lot of flexibility and performance but isn’t very stable, it’s pretty much similar to trying to do like a squat or a deadlift or some type of weight-lifting exercise while standing on, you know, a pillow basically. So the soles of that running shoe, which are like a pillow, those absorb and they dissipate a lot of the forces that are generated against the floor. That should, technically, be directed towards you moving the weight so that gel or air pillow is really, really good if you’re running, if you’re engaged in like repetitive motion but when you are lifting weights, say in the weight room, the shoes really don’t allow for the ideal transmission of power between whatever weight that you’re lifting and the ground. So if you’re really focused on just pure, hardcore weight-lifting, then you should think twice about a running shoe and I say pure, hardcore weight-lifting. I’m talking about if you’re going in the weight room and you’re doing thing like squats, lunges, deadlifts, I’m not talking about using say like, weight machines or doing very, very light, you know, say core exercising. So the other issue is the standing on an unstable surface issue, because what happens is that when you’re trying to do like a squat with good technique, or say like a deadlift with good technique, anything that’s moving around a lot between your foot and the ground is going to reduce the consistency of good technique. Meaning, that if your shoe is just moving a little bit in a different direction each time you do, say a squat, you’re never going to be able to execute perfect form with the squat. So again, it comes to an instability issue. Instability is somewhat good when you are running or engaged in repetitive motion. Stability is what you want when you’re actually weight-lifting and weight lifters and power lifters, they’ve been wearing these type of super stable shoes for more than 50 years. That’s why you see them wearing things like combat boots, if you see like old posters of people weight lifting or old, say like, even like Arnold Schwarzenegger posters. So those weight lifting shoes are extremely snug, they provide a lot of support, they’ve got this non-compressible wedge sole, with usually like neeya preem which helps with retraction against the floor. Most of them laced all the way down to the toes so the foot doesn’t move around much at all. In the past several decades though, really these pretty but unstable shoes have emerged as being advertised as like cross-trainers or gym shoes, you know, Nike, Reebok, Adidas, all these shoe companies have come out with weight-training shoes or gym shoes or cross-training shoes and these shoes are decent if you aren’t doing like heavy weight-lifting, squats, deadlifts, things of that nature but if you really want to get into serious weight-lifting, you’d be amazed of the difference between wearing, I mean, even if you go find a cheap pair of Chuck Taylors, the difference between wearing those and wearing your standard like Nike running shoe. So that being said, I personally don’t really lift heavy weights too much. I used to do a lot of heavy weight-lifting and I used to use really stable shoes. Yes, I did have some combat boots that I wore to the gym when I was body building because when you’re lifting lots of weight, those tend to work really, really well. If you see body builders that look like, you know, geeks at the gym, they’re not wearing those shoes or those type of shoes like combat boots to standout or to be rebellious, they’re wearing them because that’s the best type of stability that you can get when you’re lifting weights. Most cross-training shoes like the Nikes, the Reeboks, the Adidas, all of those are going to be pretty decent for your average weight-lifter, who’s just doing let’s say a few weight machines, some cable exercises and a couple of things with the dumbbell and the barbell without a lot of weight. The shoes that you wouldn’t want to wear to the gym would be something like a Vibram FiveFinger, which is that shoe that is very, very close to a barefoot running shoe that you pull over your toes, any type of racing flat or running flat that’s designed for a lot of performance and but not much stability, that also isn’t going to give you much of an advantage when you’re lifting weights. So I recommend you get a very, very stable running shoe, a cross-training shoe or a shoe specifically designed for stability in the gym or you go with one of these actual, weight-lifting shoes. A few of the good brands that are out there that still work pretty well I mentioned the Chuck Taylors made by Converse, there’s a weight-lifting shoe made by Werksan, that works really well. There’s another one made by Inzer, that’s called the Pillar Shoe, I-N-Z-E-R Pillar Shoe, and Adidas makes a really good one. It’s a $170 to get this Adidas one but it’s one that a lot of the professional power lifters use and it’s called the Adidas Adistar so hopefully that helps you out, not probably a lot more than you wanted to know about weight lifting and power lifting and shoe choice, but that’s what it comes down to.
Andre says: I heard from different sources that you should not eat fruit with or immediately after a meal”. Is this true? And if it is, why?
Ben: Well, you’re going to see this all over the place. Even Dr. Oz, the doctor from Oprah, he’s somebody who has been quoted as saying, not back in 2010, and this type of teaching has been around at least on the internet since as early as 1998, put out by chefs and culinary writers and people who are trying to make very, very strict diets and they give a few different reasons why you shouldn’t eat fruit with a meal. There’s actually 6 reasons that they give, so the first is they say, if you eat fruit after other foods, the other foods prevent the fruit from going in to your intestines. Okay, that is completely false. The foods in your stomach don’t prevent nutrients in the fruit from reaching your intestines or from getting absorbed in your digestive track. So if the other food that you ate with the fruit is very, very high in like fat or protein, that fat or protein can slow the absorption of the fruit sugars into the bloodstream so technically, having a fat or a protein with fruit, will be better than having fruit all by itself because the fat or the protein actually slows down the glycemic index or the radar which the sugar is released from the fruit. So next, the people said they are having an issue with food. They say when fruit comes in contact with food and digestive juices, the entire mass of food begins to spoil. That’s not true, it doesn’t make sense. If your food spoiled in your body every time you ate fruits, you would be constantly sick. When food spoils, that actually means that it’s rotting, that it’s getting mold, bacteria, things of that nature. Fruit does not do that, it’s just fructose, and it doesn’t spoil food so, there’s nothing scientific behind that statement. So, another reason is they say is when fruit mixes with other food in the stomach, or in the GI track that produces gas and bloating, but that’s not true either because gas is created by bacteria in your stomach and in your intestines, so the bacteria break down fiber, they break down sugar if that’s not being digested or used and they use that for energy and the byproduct of that is gas and some kinds of bacteria produce a lot of gas and some don’t produce much gas at all, and in most cases, if you have some type of digestive enzyme deficiency and you aren’t digesting your foods properly, there’s going to be more for the bacteria and you’ll have more gas. So for example, if you don’t have a lactase enzyme, you have a lactase enzyme deficiency and you’re lactose intolerant and you drink milk, then you’re going to get more of that bacteria-producing gas because your body isn’t actually breaking down the milk sugar. The only reason that that would happen with fruit or fructose is if you have a deficiency in an enzyme that’s responsible for breaking that fructose or if you have a fructose allergy and you can get a simple breath test, that of a physician or an allergist, to find out if you have a fructose allergy but for most people, that’s not true either. So next, they say that fruits are very acidic and that they can lower dangerously, the PH of your body especially if they’re eaten by themselves but the fact is with fruits and vegetables, the way that those are broken down in your body, they actually create high PH byproducts or be considered alkaline or non-acidic metabolites in your body, not acidic metabolites and so, there’s yet another kind of false that is associated, the fact that your body would become acidic by eating fruit all by itself, it’s simply not true. So well, I think that you should certainly not eat tons of fruit anyway just because all that fructose circulating your body can kind of, it’s not all that great for your liver and it gets converted to fat very, very easily. The idea that you should eat fruit all by itself, when you do eat fruit is not true and as a matter of fact, eating it with fats and protein is just sometimes better than eating it all by itself.
Craig says: I water fast, one day per week, for religious reasons. I would love to hear your thoughts on how to make this work while training for endurance events.
Ben: What Craig means by water fast is he’s not eating anything except water and there’s been many research studies that show that fasting one day per week can be very, very helpful in terms of increasing your longevity and decreasing your risk of getting a chronic disease and I would personally, if I didn’t have as high a level of activity as I currently have, I would highly consider fasting once per week. The issue is that I’m training and doing so much that I find it difficult to do but Craig actually wants to do it and one of the things that you need to bear in mind is that the day after the day that you fast, your body is going to be somewhat carbohydrate-depleted and it’s not going to do very well with any type of intense workouts sessions. So if you’re choosing, let’s say, Sunday as your fast day, then you would not want to engage in any type of high intensity interval training or weight training on Monday because you really wouldn’t be able to pull any of those sessions off at a high enough intensity to make them quality sessions. So something more appropriate for the day after a fast would be, for example like, an easy bike ride or an easy swim or you know, like cool workout or maybe some yoga. So what that means is that if you do decide to fast one day per week, and you aren’t engaging in heavy exercise on the day that you fast, and trust me you don’t want to do that because you’ll feel horrible and you all start engaging in heavy exercise the day after you fast, that means that you’re kind of, you’re lowering your level of available workout days to 5 days a week and if you’re working out for like, competitive fitness, that could be an issue. However, if you’re just going after say like, fat loss or general health, fasting one day per week, nothing wrong with it. Just don’t do heavy exercise, and perfectly not much exercise at all, even something like yoga or stretching on the day that you fast and then only light exercise the day after you fast with a moderate carbohydrate intake. Meaning that, I would actually not engage in a high carb diet the day after you fast but instead I would eat somewhere around the range of 30 to 40% carbs, so you’re not throwing your blood sugar levels too high after your fast. And then, as you increase your activity levels as the week progresses away from your fast, you can gradually increase your carbohydrate intake. So we would essentially look like this; fast day – no exercise or very, very light exercise; the day after the fast – light exercise, higher protein, higher fat diet and then the following five days, more like you know, depending on your metabolic type and the amount of carbohydrates you do well, it’s somewhere in the range of 40 to 60% carbohydrate intake. So definitely, you can pull it off and I’d love to hear how it works out for you so feel free to write in to the show or call in to 877-2099-439 and let us know how its going, Craig.
Kalley asks: My question is about heart rate, specifically when working out. I’ve been working out with a trainer for 8 months but I feel like I have an abnormally high heart rate. When I do intervals, my heart rate will jump to over 200 while jogging at a comfortable pace, one that I can easily hold a conversation during; my heart rate is around 170 to 180. Everything I’ve read suggests that this is too high, but I’m an active, healthy 24-year old. Is it possible that my hear rate is higher than normal?
Ben: Well, that’s absolutely possible. I’ve talked about it on this show before; I’ve also talked about it over at my Get Fit Guy podcast over at quickanddirtytips.com but the idea is that this whole equation of determining what your maximum heart rate is or the highest heart rate you should possibly be able to reach during exercise is based on anecdotal research that was suggested during a conference back in the 70’s by a group of cardiovascular surgeons who looked over people’s heart rates during exercise and kind of getting into the general conclusion that 220 minus age was approximately what your predicted maximum heart rate should be. The problem is, people fall all over the place when it comes to actually correlating to that equation. So, especially if you have a small heart and a small say, stroke volume or the amount of blood that your heart can pump out per beat, then you are going to have a much higher heart rate than what that equation would predict for you. There are other reasons that your heart rate could be high, certainly. Heart disease is definitely a cause of higher heart rate if you have something like coronary artery disease; your body’s going to have to work harder. There are also electrical issues, specifically one called ventricular tachycardia, which is an abnormally high heart rate and that would be something that you could get diagnosed if you went to a hospital and you did a clinical exercise test, which is called an electrocardiogram. They could look at that for you. A thyroid malfunction could cause a really high heart rate; typically more like a high resting heart rate but it could cause your heart rate to go up a little bit during exercise, too. So if there’s something going on with your thyroid glands, specifically an over-active thyroid gland or hyperthyroidism, that could cause an abnormally high heart rate as well. Your upper heart chamber, if that has any type of damage to it, that can put a lot of strain on your heart and damage can happen from a virus or from something that’s genetic that’s going on and emphysema, you know, if your lung tissue is non-elastic or if you’re a smoker, if you’re getting poor transfer of oxygen from your lungs into your bloodstream, that could also cause a higher heart rate just because your heart has to deliver that much more oxygen to your muscles and so it has to work harder. There’s a few other things that could cause an acute condition like fever, or anemia; there’re some medications that can cause a high exercise heart rate, obviously if you’re stressed out, if you’re anxious or if you’re very nervous, that can cause it and even if you eat a heavy meal right before you go on workout because your body has to divert a lot of blood to your stomach and to your gut to digest that meal. That could cause your heart rate to get really high during exercise as well, but from the way you describe it, it sounds to me like you just happen to genetically have a small heart and so your heart has to work harder in order to, not really work harder but do more pumps per minute in order to get all the oxygen that your working muscles need. So I wouldn’t worry about it too much. If you really want to make sure you’re okay, you can go get an electrocardiogram at your hospital but ultimately, using the maximum heart rate equation really doesn’t work too well. A better way to figure out your heart rate zone is to do a sub-maximal test and what that means is you would get on a bike and you would ride at, about the maximum sustainable pace that you can ride at for 20 to 30 minutes, like a stationary bike at the gym. And ensure your heart rate is that during that entire session. So you take your average heart rate during that entire session and what should happen is that your leg shouldn’t slow down, you shouldn’t get to the point where you’re huffing and puffing so hard, you can’t make the pedals turn anymore but it should feel like it’s about an eight and a half on a scale 1-10. And that would be considered the point where your muscles are burning, you’re breathing hard, and you’re at what’s called your lactate threshold. And when you’re at that intensity of exercise, that’s the point when your body starts to use a lot of carbohydrates as fuel and produce a lot of lactic acid and you can then classify that as the heart rate that you attempt to achieve, when you’re doing high intensity interval training. And for you, it sounds like that heart rate might be 200. For me, personally, it’s about 170. So it varies highly from individual to individual. Once you find out that heart rate, the cool thing is if you subtract 15 to 20 beats from that heart rate, that’s approximately your maximum fat burning or your maximum aerobic zones. So then you know the heart rate that you should be at during, kind of your long, slow fat burning sessions. And if you add, typically about 1o to 15 beats to that heart rate, that is very, very close to your maximum heart rate. So, what it comes down to is the equation doesn’t really work well for a lot of people. There are better ways to do things, and if you want more details on that test that I just described, I’m going to put a link in the show notes for you, in the show notes to this episode, Episode # 145, that shows you how to self-test your heart rate. I’m going to put that link right under Kalley’s question in the show notes to Episode #145 at BenGreenfieldFitness.com.
Issa says: What is advisable? Or when is it advisable to use Spiropent? Does it have any side effects?
Ben: Well, if you’ve ever heard of clenbuterol? It’s a bronchodilator; it’s prescribed for people who have chronic breathing disorders like asthma. They use it to make breathing easier, especially during exercise. That’s what Spiropent is, it’s Clenbuterol. The other term or name that it’s known under is Ventipulmin. But it is, what’s called a beta-2 agonist, Clenbuterol is, and what that means is that it’s very, very similar to Epinephrine and it stimulates your central nervous system; it can cause something like your bronchiole muscles to expand or to bronchodilator and that’s really, really useful for people who are having asthma attack or asthmatics who are exercising. But it’s also been very popular as a thermogenic aid or as a fat-burning aid because it increases your metabolism; it causes an increase in your aerobic capacity; it causes an increase in oxygen transportation and increases your metabolic rate, both during exercise and at rest. So that means that you’re metabolizing body fat a lot faster and that sounds really cool but it’s kind of like saying “I can make my car burn gas faster by pressing the gas pedal all the way down and putting it on neutral in my driveway”. Your engine isn’t going to last very long, and that’s what happens. Yes, Clenbuterol can be very difficult on your heart if you’re using it chronically let’s say, just like increased sports performance or aid you with exercise or fat burning. It causes an increase in your blood pressure and as I mentioned, it causes an increase as well in your oxygen transportation and both of those components put together, can make your heart work really hard. And so, you want to be really careful with use of Clenbuterol because it can cause cardiovascular attacks or heart attacks during exercise. Now in addition, it is banned for any athletes to use. So the World Anti-Doping Association, the IOC or the International Olympic Committee, they all have banned Clenbuterol. And you hear about these cyclists who win the Tour de France getting their title stripped, like the most recent one was Alberto Contador from Spain. It was because he tested positive for the use of Clenbuterol. So, the reason that something like the Olympic Committee or the World Anti-Doping Association would ban something like this is because it’s dangerous; it’s not because necessarily, it gives you an unfair performance advantage because obviously, having a nicer bicycle can give you an unfair performance advantage if nobody else had one. The issue is that it’s bad for you, it could hurt you. And so, I do not recommend it to anyone for fat loss or for improving exercise performance. The only reason you’d want to use the steroidal inhaler is for controlling an asthmatic condition and if you’re doing something like competing in triathlons and using it, then I would highly suggest that you go to the World Anti-Doping Association website and you fill out a therapeutic exemption form. Which means that if, for some reason, you get pulled aside after doing something like a triathlon and they want to test you and you test positive for Clenbuterol, you can prove that you were given therapeutic exemption for that because you have an asthmatic condition. So ultimately, I wouldn’t be using Spiropent unless you have asthma.
Nick says: You have mentioned Bioletics on the podcast before. However, I cannot ever recall you talking about Spectrocell, who offers a similar testing service. I was wondering if you’ve heard of them. Specifically they’re micronutrient test, which seems to be more comprehensive than the Bioletics test.
Ben: Well, the issue with the micronutrient tests from Spectrocell is that, that actually doesn’t test for some of the big parameters that bioletics tests for like your Omega 3 fatty acid levels or your Vitamin D levels or what’s called your glycohemoglobin levels or your hormone levels. So the bioletics test is designed to be technically, more comprehensive than that micronutrient test through Spectrocell, and Spectrocell is just basically a laboratory that a lot of organizations use for their clinical testing. So a lot of doctors will use Spectrocell to analyze blood samples or saliva samples. Bioletics actually uses Spectrocell for a lot of their procedures and Spectrocell laboratories basically, they commercialized micronutrient testing and that’s what they offer, it’s this type of testing. So micronutrient test means that you’re getting a blood test and you’re measuring specific vitamins or minerals or antioxidants or other things in your blood. This would just be doing a micronutrient test all by itself though is that it doesn’t give you as much information as getting a more comprehensive test that looks at all the different variables that can be easily adjusted by adjusting your diet. So a Spectrocell assessment is something that should be done after you’ve taken care of some of the bigger things like your Omega 3 fatty acid levels or your Vitamin D levels, but the other issue with getting the Spectrocell micronutrient test is you got to have a medical prescription for it, so your doctors write a prescription for it, which you don’t need when you get tested by Bioletics. You have to get a lab blood drawn, so you got to go to your lab and have them draw blood and it costs almost $400, versus the Bioletics test which is $250. So, I would recommend that you go with Bioletics if you’re really looking in kind of getting your nutrition dialed in. I’ve talked to Bioletics a lot before I’ve interviewed the physicians from Bioletics, highly recommend the company if you want to get tested and find out what’s going on in your body. So the Bioletics test, I will put a link to that in the show notes underneath your question and I will put a link to the actual test that I recommend you do from Bioletics, so in Episode #145 at BenGreenfieldFitness.com, I will link to that for you.
Susan says: I’m intrigued by the Bioletics testing. When I had my blood work done, I had asked for a Cortisol test which consisted of one blood draw in the morning. While I don’t know the actual results, I was told they were normal. I am concerned about all the stress I place on my body through intense, prolonged exercise and with the sudden weight gain I’ve experienced, I’m grasping at straws. Can the saliva test from Bioletics tell me anything the blood draw didn’t?
Ben: Well, this is really an issue of the medical profession not doing the Cortisol testing correctly because Cortisol levels are naturally very high in the morning; they’re very low in the evening. And a normal morning snapshot for the blood levels of your cholesterol doesn’t really tell you what your actual Cortisol levels are through the day or the levels of any of the other hormones like testosterone or another important one called DHEA. So that’s why it’s important to get a salivary Cortisol test and also, get a test in which you are testing more than once. So you’re testing throughout the day so you can see what’s happening to your hormones as they fluctuate through the day. It’s what would be called an “adrenal stress index” and basically that involves you just dripping your saliva into a tube a few different times throughout the day and it tells you the actual hormones and the hormone levels that are appearing from your adrenal gland like Cortisol and DHEA and aldosterone and all the other hormones that are involved in your circadian rhythm. So all you got was a 1 time view of Cortisol and it was actually your blood levels of Cortisol which actually aren’t as accurate a picture of your Cortisol levels as your salivary levels of Cortisol. So I will put a link in the show notes to what adrenal stress index actually is so you can see how something like that test compares to getting like a single blood draw and hopefully that helps you out a little bit.
So, we have a call-in comment from Mike, and I wanted to play this comment for you because Mike was extremely frustrated with what was happening to his knees and I helped him out a little bit and he called in so, here you go.
Mike: Hi Ben, my name’s Michael and calling with testimonial to the bullet-proof knee program. I am a runner; I’ve been doing it for a while, and in November of last year, I came up with IT band fix syndrome. I’ve been trying to do everything possible out there. I went to the sports fest in Baltimore in February this year, did a Cortisol shot months later and pain came back. After suffering many months of this, you know, I was pretty desperate so, I saw your book, that knee program. I bought it, and even though I thought the price was a little high but I figure, the price for a personal trainer, who’s going to run you about the same for a one-hour session so it was well worth the expense because the information provided got me from limping to running in three weeks. I’m going to tell you that almost six months of suffering this, I have may not one more than ¾ the amount of time. This week alone, I did 4 miles to test out, to see how my knee pain is going. I had no pain. The next day I ran ten miles, no pain. I can’t believe it. This morning, I ran twelve miles. Zero pain. And it’s almost unbelievable. So, to those out there who are suffering from IT band syndrome, you just can’t seem to get relieved. I need to tell you right now, you need to try this knee program. It is well worth the money, and it will keep you from limping to walking in just a few weeks. Just follow the program, and you’ll be a success. So thanks, Ben, for everything you do out there and keep up the good work.
Ben: Well, congratulations, Michael, on your success. For those of you who do have knee pain and you want to see that knee program that I wrote, it’s at BulletProofKnee.com and I’ll put a link to that in the show notes as well, to BulletProofKnee.com. So let’s go ahead and jump in to this week’s interview about Hallelujah Acres with George Malkmus.
Ben: Hey folks, this is Ben Greenfield and I’m here with George Malkmus and George actually is involved in something called “Hallelujah Acres” and I’m going to let him tell you a little bit more about how that actually came into being because it is actually a very interesting story and we’re going to talk a little bit more about what exactly this is because there’s a lot out there right now when it comes to things like health spas and fat loss clinics or fat loss camps and Hallelujah Acres definitely has something unique and original going on so, we’re going to talk about that today and George, I’d like to thank you for coming on the call.
George: My privilege.
Ben: So, how exactly did Hallelujah Acres get started? Can you tell me what it is and then how it came to be?
George: Yeah! 35 years ago, 1976, at the age of 42, I was pastoring a very successful Church in upstate New York. We have come from just my family of 6 to 600 members in 6 years. I mean, it was an incredible growth and God was blessing us so great and right in the midst of all this blessing, at age 42 I’m told I have colon cancer. I was devastated, not that I was concerned about dying. I was a Christian, I knew where I’d go if I ever die, but what upset me so much was I was a Christian, I was in full-time ministry for the Lord and I thought there ought to be some kind of protection or immunity, eh, Ben, and just prior to that, I lost my mom to colon cancer. And Mother was a registered nurse, and Mother, having great faith in her profession, very willingly submitted to their treatments of chemo, radiation and surgery. And when Mother was first diagnosed, it was no outward appearance she had a physical problem but once she started on that chemo, and the cobalt, it was called “mouse bait” and so Mother starts to deteriorate quite rapidly until she died. At the time of Mom’s death, I was convinced it wasn’t the cancer that killed her but the treatments. So here I am, faced with the same problem Mom had died from and I didn’t want to go the way Mom went so I went looking for an alternative way of dealing with it. In my search, I turned to an evangelist in Texas by the name Lester Roloff,who encouraged me, rather than go to the medical route, to do something as simple as change what I ate. From the standard American meat venture to dessert cook food diet, the diet I’ve been on for the previous 42 years of my life to the very diet God gave Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, a hundred percent plant-based raw foods. And he said drink a lot of vegetable juices. I made the change overnight and almost immediately I started to get well. Within days, my rectal bleeding stopped; within a year, my baseball-sized tumor vanished. And God used that cancer in my life to birth a ministry called “Hallelujah Acres”. Took some years to happen. Now I won’t go through all the details but in 1992, my wife Ronda and I opened up a little health food store and restaurant on Main Street in Rogersville, Tennessee, with a large restaurant, 11 feet wide and 16 feet in it. And we started serving vegetarian fare and vegetable juices. We didn’t have a lot of patrons in the beginning but every Saturday morning I did a free seminar on how to eliminate sickness. Gradually a few people came, they probably got well and they couldn’t keep their mouth shut. And from that humble beginning, in 1976, the day Hallelujah Acres is a worldwide ministry, we have millions on the diet. Tens of thousands have written, telling me they’ve recovered from over a hundred and seventy different physical problems, including terminal metastasized stage 4 cancers by doing something as simple as changing what they ate.
Ben: Now, what exactly happens with Hallelujah Acres? Is it a place that people go to, almost like a camp to learn how to eat or live properly? Or is it more of like a ministry where you’re doing things via books and online learning?
George: Well, it’s both. We have our headquarters here in Shelby, North Carolina, we have 46 full-time employees. I do a free seminar, the first Saturday of every month. We usually run between 2 and 4 hundred there coming from sometimes as many as 17 different states in foreign countries for that 3-hour seminar. But mind you, this is our headquarters; this is where our phone calls come in; this is where shipping of our products goes out and so many other activities take place here but we have also four lifestyle centers, where people can go and actually live in the home with a trained health minister and by the way, we have trained over ten thousand health ministers to help us take this message to the world and these trained health ministers are located in every state in the United States and in 50 foreign countries. But these lifestyle centers are located in Lake Lure, North Carolina, Plant city, Florida, Branson, Missouri and we just opened a new one recently, up there in West Virginia. And this is where the person can actually go and spend a week or two in the home with one of these trained health ministers where they first hand experience the program. They’re very popular, and it’s pretty exciting the results we’re seeing.
Ben: Now, you mentioned the fact that you’re doing a lot of vegetables, a lot of fruits. What exactly in little bit more details, kind of a dietary or nutritional philosophy that you’re following there?
George: Well, first off, very foundational is our body’s a living organism comprised of living cells designed by God to be nourished with living raw food. Every wild animal eats its food raw, carnivorous or vegetarian. Man is the only one that thinks he’s so smart that he can take what God provides in its living and raw form in nature and before he puts it in his body, he puts it on a platter and literally cooks the living daylights out of it, destroying all the life force and most of the nutritional content. And so, the very foundational is living food for a living organism and so, we promoted a diet that’s 85% raw, 15% cooked, and then we emphasized concentrating the nutrients in the raw plants by juicing them. And when we do that, according to Dr. Kirschner and his raw food juices, when we take a carrot for instance, and we eat the carrot raw and send it through the digestive system, we lose over 65% of the nutrients in the processing, and we expend a lot of energy. If we’ll take that same carrot and before we put it into our body, run it through a juicing machine which removes the fibers, it actually does the work in the digestive process. So when we drink the juice without the fibers, it doesn’t have to go through the digestive process and according to Dr. Kirschner, the percentage of nutrients or re-cellular level when we juice is 92%, compared to less than 35% where we ate the whole raw carrot.
Ben: Now, who exactly is Dr. Kirschner?
George: Dr. Kirschner wrote the book “The Raw Food Juices”. He’s a medical doctor; he’s since passed on but I don’t even know if his book is still available but it’s pretty exciting, his research.
Ben: Interesting! So, in terms of things like fats or fat-based vitamins, are you concerned about that at all? Are you getting those type of things with supplementation? Because obviously there’s some stuff that when you’re eating a vegetarian-based diet that you may lack. People talk about how you might not get enough Vitamin B12 or you might need more fat-soluble vitamins like the type you’d find in meat or fish or eggs, or that you might need extra minerals. Do you guys kind of fill in the blanks there somehow?
George: Well, 15 years ago, we hired a PhD scientist, a graduate from Cornell University and we brought him onboard to make sure there were no weaknesses in our program. And one of the first things he discovered was that, there’s no plant source for B12. It doesn’t come in the food; it comes on the food in the form of bacteria. And when we are not so clean, like as a kid we go out in the garden and we just wipe a carrot’s dirt off mostly with our hands and eat the carrot raw. We were picking up that bacteria from the soil and the body used that to manufacture B12, but we’re so clean today; we’re not getting those friendly bacteria that the body needs to make the B12 so we recommend a B12 sublingual supplement. The second thing that Dr. Donnellson realized was deficient in our diet was Omega 3 fatty acids. And so we encourage folks to do a quarter cup of flax seed ground each day or some flax seed oil, and we’re just recently recommending Pharmax Fish Oil. We really have concerns about many of the fish oils on the market today. If they’re in capsule, we’re finding often times they’re rancidbecause they’re not refrigerated but this Pharmax that we use is very pure, no mercury or any of the other toxic minerals in it and it’s very high in DHA, which is also important in the body, often times has trouble converting that from Omega 3 to the DHA. So, we supplement with the B12, we supplement with the Omega 3. The third thing that Dr. Donnellson has alerted us to is Vitamin D and there’s a lot of information out there today but we find that many folks could not get enough sunshine; if they do not get enough sunshine, they do not manufacture enough Vitamin D and this is also something that we believe most people need supplementation in. And the fourth thing where we’re finding concern is lack of iodine, and there’s a lot of thyroid problems today and we’re recommending that most people need to be checked at least, to make sure they have adequate iodine. But those are the basic 4 nutrients that we do recommend supplementation of, and this usually covers any of the missing links in our program.
Ben: Gotcha! Now what about amino acids? What do you guys do as far as those are concerned?
George: We feel we get them in the diet okay.
Ben: Okay, you just combine a lot of different foods to make sure that you’re getting enough nutrients.
George: This whole talk about complete protein is hog wash. The body doesn’t receive protein as protein; it receives it as individual amino acids and it stores them as individual amino acids and then it converts them as the body has need. And besides that, these cells are dying in replacing at the rate of about 300 million per minute and a high percentage of the protein is recycled. And so, we find it is almost impossible that the person is getting enough, the word is slipping me, carbohydrates. If a person is getting enough carbohydrates, they’re going to have adequate protein.
Ben: Just because of the amino acids that they’re getting in the carbohydrate-based food sources?
George: Yeah, right! So it’s not a concern, in fact, the big problem today is not deficient in protein, it’s too much protein.
Ben: Interesting! Now, what about the exercise component? Are you doing things like prescribing workouts or giving exercise plans? Or do you guys have a certain philosophy when it comes to physical activity?
George: I feel that exercise is as important as the diet and firstly, I’m just a couple years to my 80th birthday and I do stretching exercises, I do resistance exercises. I mean, my body is rock hard, my abs, you can hit them pretty hard and you’ll hit a rock. We also believe in aerobic exercises and my wife and I do at least 2 miles every night of power walking with walking sticks and so yes, we believe very heavily that we must stretch those muscles, we must keep those muscles strong with diet and with regular daily exercise. We find that a wonderful combination.
Ben: Gotcha! I spoke with a guy named Arthur Di Vany who’s another incredibly fit, older man and he has this philosophy that your exercise should just be basically a combination of staying somewhat active throughout the day and then throwing in these brief spurts of high intensity intervals or brief spurts of heavy weight lifting. Do you do things like that or do you primarily stick with cardiovascular-based exercise or do you have a certain thing that you found to work well for you?
George: I do no weight lifting exercises; I do weight resistance.
Ben: So what’s the difference?
George: It’s a very powerful way of building muscles. In the last 3 years since I started doing these resistance exercises, I’ve added 2 inches to my arms, I’ve added 4 inches to my chest and I’ve gained 15 pounds of muscle weight and these resistance exercises can be done quickly without a lot of time spent in the gym and it really produces wonderfully.
Ben: Can you give me an example of what a resistance exercise like that would be?
George: Well, we used what’s called a Fit10 and you can get out in Google, it’s Fit10, and all it is, is a rope thrown over the door and you control the resistance through a series of exercises; you do total resistance for 10 seconds in each exercise and then you do 12 seconds as you slowly let the rope come through your fingers, keeping good resistance on. And so you stretch the muscle with the 10 seconds and then you build the muscle with the 12 seconds and it takes 5 minutes a day, and I’ve done all of this in the last 3 years, I’ve built all these muscles and all these rock-hard abs in 5 minutes a day, using this resistance program called Fit10.
Ben: Interesting. I’ll look into that a little bit more. I always like to review fitness products for people so that’ll be an interesting thing to look into. I’m actually not familiar with that, but it sounds intriguing.
George: And by the way, it fits into a little cloth bag and you can put it in your suitcase and any place there’s a door, you can do it.
Ben: I love that idea. I love like quick-travel nutrition tips or quick-travel exercise tips so, that’s awesome. You guys have a really strong focus on spirituality there…
George: Yes, sir.
Ben: And obviously, you’ve written a book. What was that time when you wrote “How Christians get Sick” or why Christians get sick or something in that nature?
George: Yeah, that was my first book and that was written over 2o years ago and there’s over a million copies in print.
Ben: Now I want to ask you about that book in a second, but before I get to that, do you find that from a weight loss or a fitness or a fat loss perspective, that there is a spirituality component?
George: This is interesting coming from a preacher, but we’re dealing with natural laws and you know, there’s a law called gravity. Get too close to the edge of a high place, violate that law of gravity, Christian or not, spiritual or not, you’re going to splat when you get to the bottom because there’s a natural law called gravity and we all understand it. But, I believe God established a natural law as to what is proper nourishment for the physical body in Genesis chapter 1 and verse number 29 in the Bible, where after Adam and Eve were created, He places them in that garden called Eden and there in Genesis 1:29, He tells them what they are to eat for the physical body that He, God, has just created. And who would know better, what was proper nourishment for the physical body than the creator of that body, and when we violate that natural law of a hundred percent plant-based diet, and as Adam and Eve left the garden by the way, that’s when sickness began to be manifested. And we have found that a non-Christian or a non-spiritual person gets on our diet, they will get well just as fast as a spiritual person will because these are natural laws that we’ve been violating and these are natural laws we’d begin to obey when we adopt this living, plant-based diet.
Ben: What about from a stress perspective, you hear a lot about how prayer and meditation affect stress and I know it from a lot of people, stress is tightly tied to the ability or the inability to lose weight.
George: Well stress, it is so powerful and anti-health. In fact, myself personally, 10 years ago, after 25 years on the Hallelujah diet, I experienced the hemorrhagic bleed on the brain; I had a stroke. It was not a clogged artery; it was a busted blood vessel in the brain. But what had preceded that, I had been to South Africa; I had done 7 seminars in 6 days to an average crowd of 600; I had been in the air 53 hours and I came home and apparently, I overstressed, and that’s when I had this hemorrhagic bleed. And they rushed me to the hospital; they wanted to immediately airlift me to Charlotte for cauterization and introduce intervenous drugs into my body but my wife, bless her heart, knew I hadn’t had a drug in my body in 25 years; she refused any medical help; they immediately wanted me out of the hospital by ambulance, took me to my home; by stretcher, put me in my bed, and she had to sign a slip that I arrived home alive. She immediately put on what we call the “Hallelujah Recovery Diet” and within days, my memory was back; within a week, she took me to a neurologist who looked at my hospital records, talked to me and he said “You are a miracle” because I had no limitations, physically or mentally, in one week after that stroke, that the doctors said I would die from without medical treatment.
Ben: Interesting. So tell me a little bit more about this book “Why Christians Get Sick”.
George: Well, this was my first book and since then, I’ve written 4 more books, but this was written over 20 years ago when I was just starting to learn about nutrition and it is interesting, there’s not one thing that I haven’t wrote over 20 years ago, that we have found to be incorrect and it goes into the spiritual part of the whole program but, using the Bible as the foundation. And there’s over a hundred verses from the Bible in that book, and to me, it’s probably the most popular book I’ve had; I’ve had more correspondents as a result, and then we went on and we wrote “God’s Way to Ultimate Health”, which is a thorough manual, with over 300 testimonies lining the pages. Then I wrote the “Hallelujah Diet” book, that was my most recent book and that’s one that probably is going to outsell my “Why Christians get Sick” book eventually.
Ben: Now you say in your biography and in your Hallelujah Acres website that you’ve followed that Genesis 1:29 diet. What is Genesis 1:29?
George: Well, that’s the very diet I spoke about a few minutes ago that God gave Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and if you look up Genesis 1:29, you will find that God is saying “Hey, all of the herbs, the vegetables and all the fruit from the trees, these shall be your food. And that was God, the Creator of Adam and Eve, telling them what was proper nourishment for their physical body and it’s interesting; that Scripture was, God gave that information Genesis 1:29 over 6000 years ago and here we are today, when we go back to that very diet God gave Adam and Eve, almost everybody gets well; the physical problems go away, and then we don’t get sick anymore so, God had it right, right from the very beginning.
Ben: Do you think that fruit and vegetables and things like that thousands of years ago, that that diet was prescribed were more nutritious or less commercialized or mineral-depleted, compared to the way that they are today?
George: Oh, absolutely! The nutritional content of the soil is so depleted today, and that’s one of the reasons why we feel that juicing is so important because we concentrate the nutrients; also, we promote organic produce where that has no pesticides and fungicides and herbicides and poison spray on them and sometimes even, get inside them.
Ben: I have a question that I want to ask you about the Paleo diet because you hear about the Paleo diet a lot these days and it’s very focused on meat and fats and very, very adamant in steering people away from like a carnivore approach or in many cases, even eating as much fruit at all. What’s your take on something like the Paleo diet?
George: Well, I’m not that familiar with it but let me say a few things about what I’m understanding it is. Number one, we’re finding that the fructose in all fruits can be a problem, and we need to limit our amount of fruit. I was at the Shangri-La Health Resort many years ago as a lecturer and head gardener, and I saw folks go through a long, distilled water fast, and then they would break the fast with fruit. And I saw the terrible problems; the sugar in the fruit creates hypoglycemic tendencies many times and to extreme losses of weight and loss of energy. And so I emphasized the vegetables over the fruit, but as far as the meat is concerned, my research, my experience is that debate caused, of almost every physical problem we go to the doctors with today, is the consuming of animal products. There’s too high protein within them and the high fat content within them. If we eliminate animal source from our diet, which I did 35 years ago, I have had nothing from an animal in 35 years, not even cheese, the most dangerous thing we can put in our body. If we eliminate these animal products from our diet, we can eliminate almost any fear of a heart attack, stroke, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, cardiovascular problems, osteoporosis, acid stomach, heart burn, allergies, asthma; almost every single physical problem, we go to the doctor with today is caused by the consuming of these animal products.
Ben: Is that kind of, based off of the things that you’ve observed or are there studies and research that correlate to that?
George: There’s research that correlates but my, oh my, with tens of thousands of people writing to me, they tell me that when they get off the animal products, and they get on this plant-based diet, they see almost always every physical problem just simply disappearing from their body.
Ben: Well, I do really appreciate that vegan or with that raw diet that you guys emphasized, some of the things that you’re emphasizing like the Vitamin D and the Omega 3 fat intake from something like a Pharmax and some of these other supplements just because I think that it’s very tough to do, a raw vegan diet. I personally done it before, to do it and to do it right, you know, and not damage your body and it sounds like you guys are actually preaching, for lack of a better word, that the right message when it comes to the proper way to do that diet.
George: Now I do not promote a hundred percent raw. I think a hundred percent raw is a potentially dangerous diet. It’s hard to chew for a lot of people; enough raw plant foods to get enough protein. We find that the chewing of food, if we do not break open the structure well, if we don’t chew well, most of the nutrients just pass right on through the body without actually being utilized and being released. And so that’s why chewing your food is the least efficient way to get the nutrients. By going in a blender with them, we multiply the potential nutrients available by as much as 7, according to Dr. Blaylock. And then when we go further, and we choose the vegetable, that is the ultimate way of getting nutrients in say, your level because there is no fiber in there and it can go almost intravenously into the blood system.
Ben: Interesting. So, you website is hacres.com, and there’s a ton of information on there; you guys have a lot of recipes and a big learning library and I do know that a lot of people listening to this show, some of them are very adamant vegan and vegetarians and some of them are very adamant protein, carnivorous meat eaters and I think this interview will probably generate some discussions so…
George: I wouldn’t be surprised.
Ben: I’m certain that it will; these topics always do.
George: I also write a weekly electronic health tip that goes out to 92,000 subscribers every week, and if a person will go to our website hacres.com, there’ll be a yellow block with my picture there and if they’ll click that, they’ll get my weekly health tip. Next week’s health tip will be consecutive issue number 700 and so, you can see I’ve been doing this a long time and everyone of these 699 previous health tips are available in the archives, at that hacres.com site.
Ben: Awesome! The Hallelujah health tip, cool. Well, George, thank you for coming on the call today and for letting us knows a little bit more about the Hallelujah Acres and the Hallelujah diet.
George: Thank you so much for the opportunity.
Ben: Alright! Well, I’m sure you have some questions about that and maybe some comments, so go to the show notes for this episode, Episode # 145 at BenGreenfieldFitness.com. Let me know what you think and if you have follow up questions about what George had to say. I’ll also put a link to that Fit10 fitness training device that you talked about, I was able to look into it and I actually got one and I’ve been doing a few workouts with it in my office and I find it pretty interesting. It’s actually kind of cool so, I’m glad that he mentioned that and I was able to look into that. I’ll put a link to that in the show notes called the Fit10. I’ll put it underneath the interview with George there in the show notes. So, that about wraps it up for today and remember, if you have a T-shirt design, send them to me at [email protected]. Don’t forget, that next Thursday I’m teaching that triathlon lifestyle seminar for the USA Triathlon Organization and of course, if you like this podcast, you can donate a dollar right there at BenGreenfieldFitness.com to keep the podcasts coming. Until next time, this is Ben Greenfield, from BenGreenfieldFitness.com, signing out.
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