Introduction: In this episode, a doctor who heals cancer with nutrition and detox, supplements to take before a fasted workout, body fat scale accuracy, how to fuel a bike ride to work, do electrical stimulation devices work, what to do if you get too skinny when you exercise, advice for a vegan who’s doing 3 ironman triathlons in 1 week, to eat or not to eat before a workout, and how to be a triathlon coach.
Hey, folks, Ben Greenfield here. I’m going to act as though I’m not trying to hurry through today’s podcast because the snow is freshly falling outside and my snowshoes are leaning against the wall in the garage completely unused. So, this is going to be a snowshoe day, snowshoeing is actually a great form of exercise, it can burn about 800 calories an hour and it’s got this kind of relaxing vibe to it as you trump through the fresh white snow. It’s usually kind of quiet, anyways, nice time. So, we have today in this interview a doctor named Dr. Josh Axe. I happen to use one of his cook books, his real food diet cook book as a favorite standby in the kitchen. Love some of the stuff that he’s doing and I am going to be interviewing him not only about this Exodus Health Center that he runs where he has alternative methods of helping people heal from cancer but also about what he does in his life as a Wellness Physician and how he does it. He’s also a triathlete himself, interesting guy. So, we’ve got that interview, we’ve got Q&A, so we’re going to go ahead and jump right in to this week’s content from BenGreenfieldFitness.com
First of all, I’ve received many questions from many listeners in the past about food allergies, how to test for food allergies, how to know if you have them and what exactly is the best way to find out if you shouldn’t be drinking things like cow’s milk or consuming dairy or eating wheat and gluten or even having things like eggs and soy? So, what I’ve done is I’ve finally taken matters into my own hands and actually made food allergy testing available directly from my website and I’m going to put a link to that in show notes. It’s over at my website pacificfit.net but I’ve found a very good test that’s going to screen you not only for all the major food allergies but it also tests you for a lot of the common things that we tend to find in people who have nutritional malabsorption or problems with intestinal function going on, such as yeast infections, different types of food intolerances, not just allergies, digestive hyperactivity, inflammatory bowel disease, chronic disease, thyromyalgia, even things like round worm, toxoplasma in the intestine, tapeworm. The list goes on and on, might even gross you out to even hear me saying those types of things. But, ultimately this is kind of like the gold standard screen to find out everything you’ve ever wanted to know about your gut. So, I have put a link to that test in the show notes and it’s also over at pacificfit.net so be sure to check that out, brand new offering in terms of a way to really know what’s going on with your gut. The other special announcement for today is actually two special announcements; the first is that I will be speaking in Sacramento, California, on the weekend of January 22nd, that’s a Saturday evening and I’ve put a link to the details for that in the show notes to this episode, Episode #128. And I’ve also included a link to the new Ben Greenfield Fitness Inner Circle, this weekend is the webinar with Jessa and myself, we are running out of slots inside the Inner Circle. It’s almost completely full but if you’re able to get in sometime in the next couple of days, get in to the Inner Circle, 17 dollars and you’ll be able to access the monthly webinar with Jessa and I. The first one’s coming up this weekend, I’m going to be giving away tons of tips on staying really kind of fit and trim and lean while you’re travelling and my wife’s going to be showing you some stuff you’d be basically crazy not to have around your kitchen if you’re really serious about wanting to eat healthy. She’s going to be bringing out food substitutes and some of the tools that she uses, so check that out. I’ll put a link to the new Ben Greenfield Fitness Inner Circle in the show notes and let’s go ahead and move on to this week’s listener Q and A.
Ben: Alright, folks, to get started, if you email me a question, then you probably are scratching your head about why it may or may not have been answered in this podcast and the reason is that I’m really not answering email questions anymore. To ask a question you must go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com and leave your question there on the Ask Ben form which is embedded in any of the show notes. So, if you go to Episode #128, today’s episode, and you scroll down to the Listener Q and A section, there’s an Ask Ben form right there. Now, the other way that you can ask me question is the way that this first listener did via Twitter by following Ben Greenfield and asking your question there.
Chunky Bear Cub is the handle for twitter and he or she says: Do you think anything before a fasted morning workout and how does it affect the fast?
Well, there’s a few specific items that you could consider taking before a fasted workout and the reason we’re talking about fasted workout is, that’s come up a few times in previous episodes where I talked about getting up in the morning and doing anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes of cardio on an empty stomach to really accelerate fat burning. Well, there are definitely few things that you can do to help that process along. One would be caffeine and basically what caffeine can do is it assists with increase in the metabolism of circulating free fatty acids. So, its primary benefit during exercise is kind of the effect it has on free fatty acids metabolism. So, by having your body burn fatty acids as a fuel, it spares the use of carbohydrate and this is good when you’re out doing say a marathon because you’re going to be dipping into your carbohydrate stores just a little less actively, but it’s also good when you’re exercising on an empty stomach because it’ll help you tap into your fatty acid stores just a little more actively. So, caffeine will be one thing you can do. I always, before my fasted exercise session, drink a cup of black coffee and that’s it, about 8 ounces of black coffee or so. I do mine in a French press and that’s the way that I get my caffeine in. I don’t go swallow a bunch of Ephedra pills or anything like that, that’ll really get your heart rate raising and can do some nasty things to your blood pressure but a cup of coffee before a fasted morning workout works wonders in terms of helping that process along. The next thing would be amino acids. If you’re really concerned about losing muscle, if you happen to be a slight person to start with, if you’re fighting against trying to maintain enough muscle on your body, you don’t necessarily want to be cannibalizing too much protein during an unfed cardio session. And while an aerobic 30 to 60 minute cardio session is pretty harmless when it comes to dipping into your protein stores significantly or dipping into your soft tissue, in terms of your lean muscles significantly, if you’re really concerned about that you could actually take amino acids prior to a fasted workout. And while amino acids are fairly void in terms of calories, they do elevate the blood levels of your protein building blocks and they kind of send this message to your body not to be breaking down or going into a catabolic state during an unfed exercise session. And amino acids typically come in like a powder or a capsule form, the one that I’d use is the essential amino acids from Bioletics, I’ll talk about it a little bit later in this podcast too, but like a powdered essential amino acid dropped into a glass of water. I would not recommend putting it in your coffee but essential amino acids can help out quite a bit, if you’re concerned about lean muscle cannibalization. In my case, when I lift weights I tend to put on muscle very quickly so I don’t worry too much about the amino acids before a fasted exercise session but it’s something to bear in mind if you’re that person who is really skinny and slight to start with and is a little bit worried about going into a catabolic state or cannibalizing lean muscle tissue. The next thing you could look into would be like a beta-alanine and beta-alanine really what that is, is it helps increase the size of the blood vessels and it improves the delivery of nutrients into a muscle area by improving blood delivery to an area. And it’s a pretty popular supplement; some people get a little freaked out when they take it because it does cause this tingling sensation and where is it has an unprecedented, well not necessary unprecedented, but definitely an effect on sports performance that you really can’t argue with, in terms of the research behind it being able to really help stave off neuromuscular fatigue and improve your ventilatory threshold, it can basically just help you to go harder. And the reason that you would want to take something like this for a fasted exercise session, would be to improve blood delivery and help you to go or kind of wake up and be able to exercise a little bit harder in the morning. The flipside to that is that if you’re really feeling that surging energy from the beta-alanine, you might end up going a little bit too hard and kind of bunking during the session. And the other issue is, that beta-alanine delivery occurs even better when it’s consumed with a simple carbohydrate, meaning that if you’re taking it fasted or in an empty stomach, it’s not going to get quite as much of a release. So, with beta-alanine, if you’re going to take it, you know I take it though before my afternoon cardio intervals or weight lifting sessions. I don’t take it before that fasted morning cardio but it definitely wouldn’t hurt. And then, the last thing would be L-carnatine. L-carnatine is basically essential to the utilization of fatty acids in your body for energy, it kind of binds fatty acids and forms this molecule called acylcarnatine and it allows the molecule to get burnt in terms of fuel in the mitochondria a little bit easier so an L-carnatine supplementation can really help a fat loss and that’d be another thing that you could take before an unfed cardio session. You can literally get L-carnatine in supplement form. It’s just L-c-a-r-n-a-t-i-n-e, L-carnatine. And interestingly the way that I get it, it’s in like a night time sleep aid supplement that I take. There’s a supplement put out by a company called Millennium Sports, if you’re one of the athletes that I coach, you already know about that ‘cause you get a 50% discount on anything from Millennium Sports, but this is a stuff called “Somnidren-GH”, it’s got like magnesium, L-carnatine, some other stuff that kind of put you to sleep, improves fat burning, helps elevate hormone levels, kind of cool stuff but that’s the way I get my L-carnatine. So, sometimes I’ll take that before bed and then wake up and get my unfed cardio session in, with a little bit of caffeine. So, hopefully that answers your question in terms of logistics of this whole thing. I don’t want to sound like I’m a complete drug addict but that’s my response to you.
Jason says: I’ve been tracking my weight body fat percentage and muscle mass on a body fat scale and after hitting a low point, my body fat has started to go up even though I’m eating at or below my metabolic rate. Can body fat percentage on a scale fluctuate or do I need to start modifying my diet?
Ben: Body fat scale can fluctuate tremendously on one of these body fat scales ‘cause they’re based on what’s called “bioeletrical impedance.” And what that means, is that they pass this small, totally harmless electrical current through your body and what happens is the current passes more quickly through fat-free tissue, like say muscle, than it does through fat tissue or bone tissue. And so the amount of resistance to that electrical current relates to how much fat-free mass you actually have on your body and that does not give your body fat percentage, that simply results in an element called your “body density.” And then, from there the body fat scale takes into account your age, weight, etc., feeds that into an equation along with the body density that it’s approximated from that electrical current and then, comes out with a prediction of your body fat. This can be highly variable, especially depending on your state of hydration, because as this electrical current passes through your body, your level of hydration is going to affect the speed at which it travels. And so, if you are say more dehydrated or more hydrated on one day than the next day, your body fat percentage is going to bounce all over the place. I’ve measured people before, like before and after a workout and they’ve been like 3% higher after workout than before. So, the only way to really accurately use anything, any type of body fat monitor, whether it be a hand held or a scale that measures you through this electrical current or through this bioeletrical impedance is to make sure you’re in an identical state of hydration from test to test. And if you’re not, you’re just not going to be getting accurate numbers so the way that I would do it, is I would make sure that you kind of have the same pre-bed habit, you know, hydrate, you’re getting up in the morning and you’re doing that body fat test like directly before or after you go to the bathroom and after you have, for example, a glass of water. So, you’re doing the same thing every single day to standardize the test and that’s the only way to really do it very accurately. A couple of things to think about would be to make sure that you clean off the foot pads on the body fat scale and dry them every time you test to make sure there’s no extra water or things on there that could be impeding the electrical current. You can clean it with alcohol, if you don’t want to worry about extra water droplets on there after you wash it. Your skin temperature can affect that electrical current a little bit too, so if you can keep the room temperature fairly constant, that will help out. Try not to do it after you exercise, it is going to be a little bit more accurate before you exercise and then make sure again that you’re in that adequate state of hydration and preferably the same amount of hydration every time. So, great question as far as the body fat percentage and body fat scales go.
Nick says: To get my cycling miles up for the triathlon season, I want to cycle to work. It is about 35 miles each way and will mean that I have to leave home at about 6 a.m. I was wondering what nutrition I should be looking to take on board immediately, before and during the cycle?
Ben: You know what, it would kind of depend like if you’re trying to dial in your weight, you could get up and you could ride the first 10 to 15 miles or so, just on an empty stomach and then you could start to fuel after that and that’ll help you to kind of take advantage of something we just talked about a little bit earlier and that’s that fasted exercise state. If not, simple carbohydrate easily digested, for example, like a banana as you hit the road and then you generally want somewhere in the range of about 200 to 250 calories an hour during that ride both there and back. Obviously, you’re going to want to go for easily accessible foods, so don’t try and make yourself a bowl of oatmeal on the bike. But, you can do, if you want to go with engineered food, you can use gels or sports drinks in water bottles. If you want to get with more holistic food, you can do dried fruit which you need to be a little more careful with ‘cause that can bring a lot of water into the large intestine if it’s a very fiber containing dried fruit like a fig and a date and leave you in a toilet for the first few hours when you get to work. So, be careful with the dried fruit, in moderation only. The other thing that you could do is like boiled baby potatoes, those work really well. You can salt those a little bit if you have trouble with cramping during the ride. Other whole real food sources would be, for example, like nuts and seeds if you do well with those, if you’re able to digest those. And there are a lot of really nice little whole food bars that are basically a little bit more holistic than say like a power bar. One is like the Coco Chia bar, Hammer Nutrition makes good solid holistic energy bars, so some of those would be pretty good as well. So, hopefully that helps you out. And then just make sure that before you hit the road to head home on the bike for that next 35 miles, that you preferably grab kind of a snack in late afternoon at work to keep you going.
Kelsey says: I’ve been reading about EMS systems and thought I’d see if you would enlighten me on them. There are several different models and features that can get pretty pricy. Are they actually beneficial for injuries, recovery or warm ups? Is it hard to place the electrodes? Does it take a lot of time? Are the more expensive models worth the extra money?
Ben: When Kelsey says EMS, she’s referring to “Electrical Muscle Stimulation” and we actually did an interview with the gentleman about Electrical Muscle Stimulation devices that was Podcast #71. I’ll put a link to that in the show notes since I’ve interviewed that gentleman I actually have gotten a device for myself. I use one called the “Compex Sports Elite.” It’s more expensive than some of the other Compex devices and the main difference you’re going to get is you go up and down the line in terms of expense is the actual control panel that you control these electrical stimulations with, tends to get a little bit more fancy. So, you can like, press a program and just kind of sit back and let the program run its course like you can do a muscle strengthening program or a massage program or a recovery program. And the less expensive devices tend to give a little less control over the amount of stimulation or the intervals in which the stimulation occurs. As far as kind of practical use to these things, first of all, it can be tough to place the electrodes accurately. You almost have to have a little bit of a background in anatomy or be really good with following a diagram, like a picture, to place the electrodes properly and there’s going to be a little bit of trial and error when you put electrodes from an electrical stimulation device onto your body in order to get them into the right spot. It can actually be dangerous if you’re using one of these things for like a strength or a power type of electrical current delivered to the muscle tissue which would be designed to actually make the muscle contract hard enough to make it stronger. If you got those electrodes lined up improperly, you can actually injure yourself and do some damage to your body. So, you need to be very careful with that. Not quite as much of a problem when you’re really going with like the light type of electrical muscle stimulation you’d use for say like recovery or improvement of blood flow. As far as taking a lot of time, yes, it does take a little bit of time to get set up. It’ll generally take you about 5 minutes or so to actually get all the electrodes in place and kind of sit back, find a place to chill while you go through anywhere from like a 20 to a 60 minute series of electrical stimulation. Then you got another 5 minutes of taking everything off and putting it away. It’s not something you just kind of do on a whim. You kind of have to plan out your session with these things. Ultimately, if you’re plagued with injuries, if you’re kind of having difficulty recovering, if you’re finding you get stiff a lot, these things can help out with blood flow, with removal of inflammation, they can help with keeping a muscle awake, so to speak, or activated. So, for example, prior to a run you can out a couple of electrodes on your butt, to make you use your butt muscles a little bit more when you run , if that’s something that you’ve tend to have a hard time doing.. I’ve used them before on my calves, to improve blood flow to my calves, so I elevate my calves, put some ice on my calves and then also put these electrical stimulation electrodes on to improve blood flow and remove all inflammation after a run. Definitely a wide range of ways that you can use them and yes, you could even like put them on your ab muscles and make your ab muscles contract repeatedly until they’re tired. Or, you could save yourself a thousand bucks and just suck in your stomach a bunch of times while you’re driving your car around but either way, they’re kind of a cool thing to have around. I would kind of classify them as an exercise or rehab novelty to haveon hand because they aren’t cheap, you’re going to be spending anywhere from a 500 to a 1000 bucks on most of these. But, if you’ve got that kind of money to burn, they’re kind of a cool tool to have around and just another piece of ammunition in your recovery or workout toolbox.
Joel says: My problem is that when I train I shed weight. I’m thin and lean by genetics and even if I’m up on my caloric intake, high volume exercise drops my body fat real low. How can I compensate?
Ben: Well, one of the things that kind of presents itself as a problem to what would be called a hard gainer or a person who has a hard time putting on weight or even putting on muscle is kind of the opposite problem and that’s wasting away to nothing. We’re going to skip the most apparent part here and that is eat more because I am going to encourage you to make sure that you’re eating lots of calories and lots of good calories. Now, definitely read my book: “Holistic Fueling for Iron Man Triathletes” that talks about how to get thousands of calories into your body without actually doing damage to your body, I’ll put a link to that in the show notes. But, it’ll also be looking into optimizing your actual absorption of the foods that you are eating and what I mean by that is that there is definitely gastro intestinal disorders that can exist that could influence your nutrient absorption as well as deficiencies in certain enzymes. So, for example, some people have parasitic or yeast infection that cause inflammation on the digestive tract and that can really limit nutrient absorption. Some people don’t break down their food well enough which also limits the ability to absorb food as it passes through the small intestine or absorb nutrients from food. So, for example, you might have a deficiency in like a protein digesting enzyme or a fat digesting enzyme or like any of the carbohydrate type of amylases or lactose, lactase deficiency. So, I’d look into grabbing a digestive enzyme and maybe a probiotic supplement to make your sure that you’re digestive health is up to par and that you’re getting the most out of the foods that you are eating. If you wanted to like screen yourself for allergies, food intolerances, etc., you could check out that kit that I mentioned earlier in the show. There are some prescription or even over-the-counter drugs that can interfere with nutrient absorption, for example, acetaminophine can lower your level of antioxidants, a lot of antibiotics can decrease your absorption of Vitamin B and some other minerals as well as kill off some of the beneficial bacteria in your small intestine. And I would be careful to chew your food very thoroughly and eat it slowly so that you’re getting the most out of the foods that you are eating so less of it’s just passing through your digestive tract undigested. And the other thing that you may want to look into is if you are taking supplements, a lot of times capsules are going to be a little bit better absorbed than tablets, they release their contents a little bit faster than tablets do. So, if you’re taking like multi-vitamins and things like that, try and take them in capsule form rather than like a tablet form. That’s why a lot of times these capsules, where you got to take 6 of them to get your multi-vitamin in, are better because they include a lot of components in that capsule that help the vitamin to be digested versus like a Centrum multivitamin tablet from Costco. So, look into some of those elements and up your caloric intake, just make sure that if you up your caloric intake, you’re not doing it by eating a hamburger in 3 bites and not taking care of your gut. If you take care of your gut and eat high calories and chew your food thoroughly altogether, you have a lot easier time keeping weight on.
Kyle says: Ben, this summer, I’m planning on doing the equivalent of 3 Ironman Triathlons in a 1 week period with the run portion on the last 2 days being an Ultra Marathon that I have yet to choose. I am a vegan. Any tips for recovery between the times when I’m swimming, biking and running?
Ben: Wow! This is going to be quite the endeavor especially he’s a vegan, it’s going to be even tougher ‘cause you are limited in the things that you can consume and I’m sure you’ve already thought of that. Very first thing that comes to my mind is that as a vegan and as somebody who’s throwing down an insane amount of exercise within a week, is that you’re going to want to keep yourself in an anabolic state as much as possible. You heard me talked about amino acids before, I would be taking in amino acids every time you get down to recover and I would also be dumping some other things into your body that are going to assist with fighting against inflammation. So, I would use a whole amino acid combined with a proteolytic enzyme, something like Recover-Ease. I would be using compression; not only compression socks but I would get your hands in one of these fancy, spanking, brand new full on compression suits that you wear like a compression top and a compression tight so that you get as much recovery as possible in between these sessions. I would be using a topical magnesium underneath that compression gear, so that you’re assisting with inflammation from that stand point as well. Obviously, you’re going to be taking in a lot of carbohydrates, a lot of sugar based sources during the exercise sessions, so, I would use the time in between to really amp up the fat and the protein intake as much as possible from your vegan fat and protein sources. I would also check out an article that I recently wrote over at the Rock Star Triathlete Academy on recovery and some of the tricks you can use to get your body recover. It’s a free article that I wrote over there after I finished Ironman just to see how quickly I could get my body to recover. I went over a ton more tips on that article but if you go to RockStarTriathlete.com and do a search for Ironman recovery, you could grab that article and that’d be a good one for you to read as well. If you could, I’m sure the audience would love to hear about your experience once you finished, so if you get a hold on me once you finish this thing and maybe we can get a little bit more information on you or from you about how you did and what you did to get through 3 Ironman Triathlons and an Ultra Marathon in 1 week. So, good question.
Josh asks: You mention a variety of supplements on your podcasts from amino acids to fish oils to magnesium to coenzyme Q10 to greens to many others. Would you be willing to list all the supplements you take and what each one is for?
Ben: Well, it’s kind of a big task to take on doing that. If I were going to bring everybody to like a Nutrition 101 school in the podcast ‘cause we take a couple hours to do that, so, I’m going to do is first of all, I’m going to tell you that when I first started the podcast, I anticipated getting questions like these and I did a podcast, Podcast #10 which all link to at BenGreenfieldFitness.com in the show notes to this episode. It’s called Pill Popping. And it just talks about like supplements and what I take or what I was taking at the time that I recorded that and why. You’ll want to check out the link to the supplements page that I’m going to give you beside that and also a recent video post that we did over at the Rock Star Triathlete Academy. Now that one’s not a free one, I don’t know if you’re a member of the Rock Star Triathlete Academy, Josh, but in that one I kind of climb out of bed and walked people through my morning supplement routine. But basically, just to give you kind of brief 30 seconds of what I do, I wake up in the morning and I have a cup of coffee and I’ll do like a fasted exercise session. I’ll finish that up and with breakfast, I’ll typically take Vitamin D, I’ll take a fish oil, I’ll take a coenzyme Q10 and the reason I take the Vitamin D is because that’s a vitamin that is a hormonal precursor and is active in a ton of different functions within your body. I’ll take the fatty acid, the fish oil to help with my intake of Omega 3 fatty acids which are a great anti inflammatory fatty acid and again very crucial in a lot of different activities in your body. And then, I’ll take a coenzyme Q10 because that is really important for any active individual and really anybody in general who wants to maintain a nice high cellular metabolism to take because that’s a component of cellular metabolism. So, I’ll take those with breakfast and if it’s in the middle of like a race season or a triathlon season I will also take cordyceps mushroom extract, I like to take that in the morning with breakfast and that assists with what’s called adrenal activation of lung tissue. In the mid morning, I’ll typically have like a green’s drink. It’s got like 32 different super foods in it and that’s just to cover my bases from an immune system stand point all the way to a performance standpoint, antioxidants. That’s kind of a shotgun approach to health but I never get sick when I take a green supplement in the mid morning. Before bed at night, I take a magnesium supplement usually I’ll do Natural Calm or I’ll use a Topical Magnesium and kind of fill in the blanks there before an exercise session if I’m really amping up for a big, fast race. I’ll do a creatine and beta-alanine before an exercise session both of which are going to help me produce more force, more power, get a little bit extra blood delivery. Afterwards, I’ll typically take some type of amino acid supplement, so I usually take some type of a proteolytic enzyme supplement and occasionally depending on how hot the weather is outside, sometimes I’ll do some electrolytes throughout the day as well. Only thing I think I forgot to mention there was that I cycle through a testosterone based supplement called Optimale from Bioletics and if you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com and do a search for testosterone, you can kind of hear why but I cycled through that about 4 weeks on, 1 week off, 5 days on, 2 days off. So, that’s it and if that’s really intimidating to you to take all that stuff, just take Bionics. Bionics is just kind of like a pill that has all that stuff in it at once. I’ll put a link to Bionics in the show notes, too. That’s stuff is expensive but again if you just want to have it all done for you at once, take Bionics and I’ll put Bionics in there and also a video with Mark Allen, who kind of explains why he takes Bionics.
John says: You mentioned in one of your podcasts that you don’t eat 2 hours before bed and don’t eat before you work out in the morning. I tried this but then I was listening to you or Get Fit Guy podcast where you mention that you should eat before you work out. I’m just wondering which I should do.
Ben: Okay. Basically, what it comes down to is that on the Get Fit Guy podcast, I was putting that out as like a primer for pre-imposed workout nutrition. And what I find is that it’s a bigger problem especially when I’m personal training and people show up for the work outs, a much bigger problem is when people show up at the gym with zero energy on board and have a crappy work out, way bigger problem than people who show up at the gym burping up pizza. So, pre-workout nutrition to give you energy to have a high quality workout is really important. Now, once somebody understands that, then we’ll start to take in the more advanced concepts, like the ones we teach on the show that are like, get up in the morning and do an unfed exercise session to help you lose weight or burn fat more quickly. Short flies in the face of what I’ve taught about pre-workout nutrition as a basic primer but unfortunately, everything doesn’t fit into a tiny little box. So, it’s kind of like basically these rules is if you have a high quality, hard exercise session, eat something to get you through that session. If you’re just working out to burn fat, you don’t mind feeling a little bit low in energy, you’re staying aerobic and preferably you’ve just rolled down in bed in the morning, don’t worry about going and eating a big breakfast. It’s fine to just get up, exercise, get out of the way then go have breakfast. So, kind of a short answer that paints with a broad brush but that’s the basics.
Dave asks: I’m a 44 year old triathlete up until recently I’ve done the majority of my running in the morning. I’ve now joined the group that does training on a track in the evening. For my morning runs pre run nutrition is not been an issue. Now I’m faced with running after a day of eating. I’m unsure of what foods to avoid during the day of the track workout and how to time my pre run fuel. I’ve found myself caught between not enough and too much food. I have a sensitive stomach and I’m prone to gastric distress. Any suggestions will be appreciated.
Ben: Number 1, if you have a sensitive stomach and you’re prone to gastric distress, then I’d hope that you’d already thought about limiting things like gluten and dairy and soy in your diet because if you’re not, then you’re basically giving yourself gastric distress or putting yourself a high risk of it. So, that’s number one, just make sure that you’re kind of avoiding those foods throughout the day. Anyways, what I would do is eat carbohydrate rich meal about 2 to 3 hours in the mid afternoon before you head out to that track session. So, we’re talking about like a yam with a handful of pumpkin seeds, so you’re getting a little bit of protein and fat but it’s a primarily a carbohydrate based meal. And then, right before that exercise session, suck down like an energy gel, have half a banana, have a little bit of fruit juice or sports drink, just a little bit of carbohydrate to kind of amp up your levels of energy for the session. And if it’s a long track session that’s taking more than 45 to 60 minutes, you may want to consider having another gel or a little bit more sports drink on hand to get you through it. But ultimately, what I would do is carbohydrate rich meal, 2 to 3 hours prior and then make sure that you are bringing something with you to the track and if you’re prone to GI distress, you should be limiting gluten, dairy, soy, things of that nature anyways leading up to the day of the track workout. Only other thing I’ll mention is on those track workout days, you may not want to go with like a huge salad for lunch. A lot of times that fiber can mess with your stomach so for that day you may want to do something like a bowl of quinoa with a sane portion of roasted vegetables and a little bit of protein on the side and not worry about going overboard in terms of leakage. In my response to you and the question before you, definitely read an article that I wrote called the “Post Workout Nutrition Debate.” I’ll put a link to it in the show notes to this episode, Episode # 128 and you can just click on the link and go read it. It’s got a lot more comprehensive answer to your questions.
Mark says: I’m just finishing my triathlon coach course in Australia. I would like to run a full time coaching business online. Any tips?
Ben: Mark, I’ve written a book called How to be a Triathlon Coach, where I’m doing part some of those tips. The book is at TriathlonCoachGuide.com. I will put a link to that in the show notes and in that book I basically tell you a lot of what you need to know in terms of the ins and outs of being a triathlon coach and running a full time triathlon coaching business online. So, that being said we are going to shift gear, move forward, have a special message and then a very interesting interview with Dr. Josh Axe.
Ben: Hey, folks, this is Ben Greenfield and I have a guy on the other end of this call who’s probably one of the most progressive physicians in the country, in terms of what he’s doing and the cutting edge nature of the stuff that’s he’s putting out. Now, you may or may not have heard of him, but he actually has a popular radio show and he’s a pretty coveted national speaker as well. He is a doctor, he is what’s called the wellness physician and he has a really cool story that I’ll let him share a little bit more with you but this guy’s name is Dr. Josh Axe. I have his book on my desk that I discovered just a few weeks ago and I’ve been very impressed with. It’s basically a cook book called The Real Food Diet and the guy has just firing on all cylinders when it comes to putting out information that’s very beneficial and goes outside the run in the mill stuff that you’ll see a lot of times coming from traditional medicine. So, Dr. Axe, thank you for coming in the call today.
Josh: Well, hey it’s great to be here, Ben. Thanks so much for having me on the show.
Ben: Now, before we get into you and what a wellness physician actually does, tell me about your radio show and if people want to jot this down, where they could go to listen in if they want to do so.
Josh: I do a radio show, a podcast here out at Nashville, that’s where I’m from and they can go to draxe.com, simply draxe.com, hook on to radio show. We’ve got a lot of podcast. We’ve actually did a lot of interviews as well with a lot of different health physicians around the country and yes, you can find that online on draxe.com along with newsletters, videos and other things like that.
Ben: Cool. Well, I have to say that Axe is a pretty cool last name. My wife saw your book sitting in our kitchen, she’s like “Is that guy’s name really Axe?” and I’m like, “Yes, Guess so.”
Ben: So, anyway, let’s talk a little bit more about Dr. Axe. Why did you actually choose to be a wellness physician and how does that kind of differentiate from just a physician?
Josh: Well, I’ll tell you, I’ve always been trying to find what the cause of health conditions are and really get to the root of the problem and I’ll tell you even growing up I’ve been more into natural health. And so, I actually started off when I was younger, worked as a personal trainer for years, went to the University of Kentucky and then I went from the University of Kentucky, I went to Chiropractic College and I also worked as a Nutrionist for years as well. So, I’ve always been in this kind of an awe of the body, how amazing it is and wanted to figure out how do we get this body well but do it naturally. I’ll tell you, I just experienced some things in my own family that kind of made me turn away and go to more a wellness based approach rather than a medical and treatment approach. And it comes more to like my grandmother, she was the type of person where she would pick 30 some pills a day, at one point she was on 18 different medications. From memories of growing up with my family, my grandmother, every 2 hours she’d have to take a pill and I never saw her get healthier ‘cause it seem like every pill she was on, she just kept getting sicker and sicker and worse and worse. And so, I just kind of subconsciously saw that over my life and thought, you know what, it seems to me that when I was eating healthy and exercising and doing those things, I felt better, my health was better. And so I started going that direction pretty early on and then also, really one of the biggest things that really just fuels me and really what’s given me a passion then to teach people how to be healthy with their bodies is a story of my mom. And my mom about 16 years ago was diagnosed with breast cancer. I’m almost fairly active at that time; she was actually even my gym teacher at school with this woman instructor, and we thought she was pretty healthy, but at 41 years old she comes home and was diagnosed with breast cancer. And, at that time we lived in that medical system, so we went to all the traditional medical treatments. My mom went and she had a mastectomy, she went through rounds and rounds of chemotherapy. I remember as a kid, going into the bathroom and seeing chunks of hair on the sink. I remember looking at her and thinking she much must have aged 20 years in 2 weeks and just saying to myself, “I never want to see her go through that again”. And this went on for months until finally, then, one day she came home and said, “Hey I’m cancer free and healthy” and we were like Praise God, we’re so happy and then we thought it was it. But I’ll tell you for the next 10 years after going through chemo, she was really sicker than ever, no energy, no quality of life and this was about 6 years ago, I get a call, I’m actually working in Orlando, Florida at that time, I was working as a Nutritionist and she calls me to tell me that she’s just been diagnosed with lung cancer and the oncologist want to go in and do a surgery and then start doing radiation. She calls in and she says what do I do and I said I’d be home, I flew home and I sat down with her and I said, “Mom, I think we need to take care of you all naturally,” and she said okay. So, we started taking care of her all naturally, we started juice. I was doing it with loads and loads of raw vegetables; we put her on mostly a raw diet aside from doing some things like wild salmon and some organic chicken. But, juicing a lot of vegetables, we’re doing wild berries; we had her go into specific supplements to help her, cardio private care, massage therapy, rebuilding peace in her life with these. And we started doing all these things naturally and we went back to the physician and actually one other symptom she was having then, she’d been having an average of 1 bowel movement a week for over 2 years. And you can just imagine how toxic her body would be, but after about one week she actually starts throwing up this black and green stuff. After 2 weeks, she starts having bowel movement every day, by the end of 2 months she was going 3 times a day. And we went back to the oncologist after about 3 ½ months and she had a CT scan done and came out, they said this is amazing, it’s a miracle that there’re like the tumors have shrunk in half and they’re like we don’t know what you’re doing but keep doing it. We kept following all this natural protocol, after a year later, we went back and the tumors were almost completely gone and right now it’s been about 6 years and she’s in the best shape of her life. She was actually here about 2 weeks ago and ran a 5K race, she actually got 2nd in her age group and she’s about close to 58 years old and that’s just doing amazing health. And it was because, you know a lot of the principles that you teach and that I’m teaching is it’s really being natural with your body and doing things, just doing things to promote health long term.
Ben: Well, I know that this may be a fairly expansive question but you mention some of these strategies that you implemented with your mom and you also have this Exodus Health Center which I would like you to tell people about.
Ben: But I want to get a little bit more into detail about this type of strategies and why you feel something like eating natural or why you feel something like getting somebody to, something as simple as go to the bathroom more than once a week and actually do something like what you saw in your mother.
Josh: Yes, just Ben when I talk about these principles, I’m not claiming that, you know, doing these things cures everything.
Josh: But I’ll tell you what it does to her and you know I’ve seen people, worked with people who’ve been able to work off around 20 medications by working with some of their other physicians. You know, I’ve seen people who have lost over a hundred pounds and you name it, just like being healthy. But I think, you know, there’s about 3 or 4 principles that I call the Real Principles that I think if everyone follow it would make a huge difference. And number 1 thing, that I think people need to do before they do anything else, is they need to set a real goal. They did a study at Harvard pretty recently and they actually track Harvard business graduates for 10 years and they’ve found at Harvard the number 1 determining factor of someone who’s going to be successful or not, was if they set written goals. And so they actually had all these Harvard grads and found that there was 3% of the group that set goals, 14% who didn’t set any goals and then I want to say another 83% or something like that who didn’t set any goals at all. They found the 3% of people that had written goals were making 97% more than the other, than all the others combined. I’m sorry, ten times more than the other 97% combined. So, number 1 thing that I had people do that come into my clinic is I ask them what is your real goal. Is it to lose 20 pounds? Is it to get a faster time on your 10K? Is it to reverse your heart disease? Work off your medications. So, that the number 1 thing we do is we set up a goal. I have them get out a big permanent marker and write down what their goal is and then put that up in their bathroom mirror, so that’s step number 1. After that, it’s eating real food, you know, there’s certain things that will love to go to your body, a Twinkie that was made up in a laboratory somewhere, it’s not real. I think, you know, people will argue should I be a vegetarian? Is meat bad? Is it good? Should I go no carb, low fat? I don’t honestly think any of that is really that important. I think the most important thing is that we’re eating real food. You know, there are Eskimos who ate mostly whale blubber who lived to be a hundred years old. There’s vegetarians I’ve seen that lives over a hundred years old, there’s people like the Hunzas and different hunters and gathers who follow more on a Paleolithic, which is more similar to what I eat and then lives over a hundred. So, I think that number 1 thing people need to do is start eating real food, like vegetables and fruits, beans, nuts and seeds, organic made and if we ate real food that would make a major difference in health. And this is one of the things I really appreciate that you teach on your site, Ben. I was looking through a lot of your articles and listening to your podcast. I just love your site and what you’re doing but the other thing is doing real exercise. You know, I have people calling my radio show fairly often and they’ll say things like or ask them if they exercise, they’re like, “Well, I exercise but there are definition of exercises that maybe walking up the stairs, you know, twice at work.” And I’m like that’s not real exercise, you got to get out and sweat a little bit; you got to move, you got to work those muscles and so, those are really the first 3 real principles.
Josh: And I think if anyone has followed those he’d be a lot healthier.
Ben: Got you. Now to back up, you talked about eating real food and I think that there’s probably not a lot of people that would disagree with you about that.
Ben: But what about these things that we’re going to find in health food stores anyways like you know, people pick up, say like, protein for example, whether be a whey protein or rice protein or P protein, whatever the case may be. Do you have red flags that you look for when you pick up something that’s in a box or in a package where you can say, okay this is close enough to real food where you can probably get away with eating it,
Ben: Or you shouldn’t eat this even though it’s marketed as a health product?
Josh: Yes, I think Ben, that’s a great question. Actually, I just came from a, before I jumped on the line here, I just came from whole foods here at Nash while I was teaching a shopping class. So, I would look up to going up and down all the isles and teach to do how to read ingredients, labels. And so, here’s basically what I’ve taught them today, what was this is that when you’re looking at an ingredient, there are certain things that you want to stay away from and specifically a list of five things. Number 1 is anything that says hydrogenated is bad, so hydrogenated oils, if it’s, whether put on a package feed or anything else you want to stay from that. The other thing is sugar, try to stay low on the sugar side, stay away from white flour and wheat flour products. The other thing would be any sort of additives like food colorings, preserves, MSG (Monosodium glutamate). And then the last thing is any artificial sweeteners like sucralose and splenda and aspartame. When I look at protein powders today, I always think you’re best doing with the real thing, Ben. You know, you can throw some raw eggs or cooked eggs, so eating eggs or chicken, grass fed beef and I think that’s number 1. If someone is going to do a protein powder, I think the less process, the better. I think a lot of the whey protein and the isolated protein, you know, I don’t think those are very good for people. I think they are probably pretty hard to digest. And specifically the number 1 thing I have to look for, is make sure there are no artificial sweeteners in the protein powder you’re using because those are neurotoxic. Now, I’ll tell you, here and there I use protein powders not a lot. There’s a protein powder I personally think it’s called Raw Protein it’s from a company called Garden of Life and it’s made up of sprouted brown rice and peas and beans and so I use that. That’s typically what I personally use.
Ben: Got you. Yes, there’s a similar product called Living Protein, that’s put out by a, that’s living fuel puts out that one.
Josh: Living fuel, yes I’ve seen that and that’s another good one.
Ben: Okay, cool. Now, you talked about real exercise as well and kind of getting people to move but if you go beyond that and you get to somebody who’s already exercising, do you have a particular fitness program that you would recommend? That you would say would be more effective than others, like are you a big resistance training guy or are you into cardio vascular intervals? What do you feel works really well for folks?
Josh: You know, Ben, what I’ve found for myself in everything that I talked and I preached or things that I personally do and so I’ve actually been a triathlete for years. When I was at the University of Kentucky, this is about 9 or 10 years ago on their triathlon clubs so I was really into triathlons before I did more weight lifting but I’m at the point now is if someone wants to get real results, really effective, someone who wants to decrease their body fat and just get their body ripped fast, the best thing to do in combination is doing weight training with burst training also known as Interval Cardio or Interval Training. So, it’s training like a sprinter rather than training like a marathon runner. They actually did a study at the University of Wales and they had 2 groups of people. They had one group do what they called burst training where they did 20 minutes of cardio and the cardio that was; they did 30 minutes bursting, sprinted 30 seconds, rested 30 seconds and then sprinted 30 seconds and they did that for about 20 minutes. They had another group for 40 minutes do slow long distance cardio and, so they didn’t double the exercise but they found that the air of the group that did the burst or interval training loss 3 times more body fat than the long distance cardio group. So, if someone’s going into the gym, they’re going to lose a lot more body fat and get better physical shape if they are again on the treadmill or lifting or even the spin bike, go on hard 30 seconds and an easy 30 seconds and then hard. So, training like a sprinter rather than a long distance marathon runner, that is the best way to get results fast. So, I do a combination of weight training and, so, I usually go in the gym like today I went to the gym and I did 30 minutes of weight training followed up by 20 minutes of the burst training and that’s a typical workout for me.
Ben: Got you, that’s interesting. There’s a protocol that I’d sometimes send to follow on the off season for triathlon and it’s more on the martial arts type of a pushups, full body moves, Turkish get-up, single leg dead lifts, that type of thing.
Josh: Oh, yes.
Ben: But it always finishes, for example, last night was a 10 by 25 second sprint on the treadmill where you just,
Josh: Oh, yes.
Ben: You leave the treadmill on that high speed and you know make sure no small children are nearby who’re going to hop on the thing and you just kind of walk around in between each sprint. But, yeah folks, I mean if you’re listening in, I totally agree with Josh that if time is limited especially if you want the quickest results possible, resistance training plus cardio burst definitely a way to go. Now, speaking of sports, you’ve worked with some professional athletes.
Ben: You’ve been the physician for some athletes. Now, when you’re working with athletes like that, do you have a particular philosophy or treatment/strategy that you use? I mean, do you put all these guys on the same diet? Or do you use certain types of medicines or supplements with all of them? Or what do you do when you’re working with a pro-athlete?
Josh: Well, I’ll tell you. I’ve worked with a lot of different athletes and specifically I’ve worked with a lot of swimmers and last year I went to Nationals with University of Michigan and so I worked with swimmers like Ryan Lochte and Peter Vanderkaay, Cullen Jones, just a lot of these Olympic level swimmers and specifically what I did on, some of the work I did with them was nutrition and then I did some muscle work and some chiropractic. And so, we would actually just work on their joints, would work on strengthening muscle and then also nutrition. I gave them a lot of nutritional advice and now, I’ll tell you, with working with some of the Olympic level athletes who were very careful with supplement. they really don’t take many supplements because you know they’re tested so stringently, not that the supplements would put them over but they don’t just take anything because they don’t want to risk anything being in a supplement. I’ll tell you, nutrition wise, I’ll tell you it’s kind of funny because the person who was originally working as a nutrionist for them was having them drink pasteurized chocolate milk and have them add a bunch of sugar to it. And you’re like; I’m like our Olympic level athletes here and someone’s telling them to drink sugar water.
Josh: And I’m like, this is the exact thing you don’t want to be eating at you know, after your work out. And so, what we’ve started doing, I’ve started changing, I’ve put them on what’s called the BerrySmoothie. It’s like, Peter Vanderkaay, I’ve talked to him quite a bit and he’s out more of a long distance swimmer. I think he got the silver medal or possibly the bronze in the 15th of a mile swim. So, this guy’s a machine but after his workout, what I recommend he do is switch from the pasteurized chocolate milk and switch over to a berry smoothie. So, there were 3 things in this berry smoothie to help him recover quickly. Number 1 was berries. Berries are loaded of antioxidants and so he did a blueberries and strawberries. And those antioxidants help him recover fast ‘cause they were very high in nutrients and vitamins. So we have him start with that and it was a good form of sugar that we got, for his muscles quickly so we have the fructose there. Number 1 thing, berries, along in that smoothie, he also put in coconut milk and coconut milk has a sort of fat called Medium Chain Fatty Acids and they are actually great for your body in burning fats, in losing weight. So, we got him in the coconut milk as the kind of like a liquid in there, and the other thing we had him do is either raw protein powder or we had him do raw eggs. And so, he’ll just do some eggs in there with some protein powder. And that’s what he uses for recovery and really you know we could tell the difference. And so, that was a typical recovery drink. Now, with other athletes, if someone has an injury, I recommend they do proteolytic enzymes like Bromelain. Bromelain is an enzyme found in pineapple that helps reduce inflammation. So, the big thing’s reducing the inflammation, so, Bromelain works great. Also, fish oil has a Omega 3 fat that have someone do like a table spoon of a quality cod liver oil everyday and then also try to add some anti-inflammatory herbs in their diet like garlic and ginger.
Ben: Yes, I think that’s a great advice. You know, speaking of the coconut milk, you know, I’m looking in your book at the cereal recipe and most people think cereal is okay.
Josh: Oh, yes.
Ben: You know I take some special cake and throw berries in there and it’s all good but when you’re cereal is sliced almonds, flax meal which is actually easy to find in most stores nowadays.
Ben: Or you just grind flax seeds, blueberries, cinnamon and coconut milk and for most people that blows their mind that you can make cereal as easily as that and get zero grains in tons of these benefits that you’re talking about. I find it interesting that you mentioned that these Olympic athletes were on things like pasteurized chocolate milk. I did a call a couple of months ago, with a not to be named nutritionist who works with many professional sports teams nationwide. Now, he’s super stoked about this call. I thought it was going to be just awesome material that I could give out to my audience and it was a bunch of crap.
Ben: I mean it was all stuff that would end up giving these athletes increase risk of heart disease and increase risk of diabetes as they grow older. This person was totally clueless and I didn’t even release the call. It was, I just deleted it because I couldn’t release it in good conscience and I really didn’t feel like turning the call in to a big argument between me and this person. So, I just got rid of it but yes, it’s kind of sad that a lot of this stuff flies under the radar at least for now.
Ben: So, if we could switch for just a second and talk rather than about athletes, about people who are just having a hard time losing weight, who may be on a weight loss plateau or resistant to losing weight. You know, I get people that come to me all the time who are kind of at that stage where they’re like I’ve tried every diet, I’ve tried every exercise plan under the sun, what’s wrong with me. So, if I can be you, if someone came to you and they were in that state, what do you do? Where do you start your detective work and what do you do with someone who seems to have “tried everything and can’t lose weight?”
Josh: Well, first thing I have people do is fill out a general health history and I’m looking for several things. I’m looking for number 1, I have people write down, when they come down to my clinic, what they eat on a daily basis. And so, that’s number one ‘cause here’s the thing, a lot of times I hear people tell me I eat healthy, I eat healthy but then I find out their definition of eating healthy is following the old food pyramid which is eating 10 grams of grains a day. So, they’re eating 10 bowls of oatmeal, which I’m not saying that oatmeal is bad but that’s going to be a lot carbs, a lot of calories there. And so, I typically you know, so first I did some detective work there so I ask people to write down what they eat on a daily basis. The other thing I have them write is maybe some of their different exposures, so different things like moles and heavy metals make up the silver fillings in someone’s mouth can mix mercury into their bodies. So, it could be more of toxicity issues, so I start looking for that. Also, I have them write, write down what their activity levels are and if you ever think I also what to see what stress levels are and sleep levels are. You know, I’ve had people come into my clinic and said I can’t figure out why I’m so tired and I’m sitting there like well you just wrote down you sleep 4 hours a night. Maybe that’s why you’re tired, you know and I think you know, in some of the stuff maybe it’s just obvious to me ‘cause I’m used to doing this for awhile but overall, so there are some things. And, another thing that I do in our office is we look at the spinal nerve system, we look at X-ray and there can be different things that someone had like a scoliosis, which is a severe curvature of the spine or different other problems with their muscles, ligaments and joints that could keep them from being where they need to be, you know we’ll work on that. But, here’s a kind of a protocol, so once I look at all these things with somebody, the first thing we do is we’ll change their diet. And I’ll tell you if someone hits a plateau and is having a hard time losing weight as fast as they want, typically they’re sneaking in some sort of bread or doughnut or some sort of sugar in somewhere and that’s keeping them from losing weight. So, I have them follow what’s called My Healing Food Diet and if anyone wants a copy of this, this is on my website go to draxe.com, click on Tools and then Healing for that to print out of all the foods that someone should be eating but basically, Ben, it’s these five foods and basically it’s a lot of what you teach already but it’s vegetables that number 1 food you should be eating. Number 2 do some berries, number 3, beans, number 4, nuts and seeds and number 5 organic meat and specifically doing the organic meat in the vegetables in the highest amount. That will help someone to lose weight the most, so I recommend a big double portion like, for instance, I ate a salad today that was probably the size of 5 or 6 salads with a little bit of chicken and some hummus on it and that’s a great meal. In the hummus, it’s mostly beans there; you got loads of vegetables, a little bit organic meat, and if someone wants to lose weight, that’s an ideal thing to eat for lunch, dinner meat and vegetables, for breakfast maybe doing something like some eggs and an apple or doing a berry smoothie like I mentioned earlier, like the Olympic level athlete, I have them do that berry smoothie and that’s good for everybody. So, that’s a typical diet, exercise like it’s what we talked just about the weight and the burst training in combination. And here’s the last thing, supplements are very important. I see a lot of people out there today taking these junk supplements. So, not only do you want to eat real food, but you got to take real supplements and if you’re picking up your supplements at Wal.. don’t want to mention any places, but drug food stores and the grocery store, that stuff is junk. Actually, one of the number 1 ingredients people will find in all these supplements today is something called magnesium stearate and its table chalk versus if someone took a Centrum multivitamins, they could probably build to a chalk board and literally you can write on a chalk board with the Centrum multivitamins because it’s mostly table chalk that’s the filler in there. So, people got to start taking real supplements, things that are highly synthetic and so I’m going off a little bit of a tangent here but I just see this, a lot of my calcium supplements, more and more people are taking calcium supplements today. The problem is the calcium comes from rock, it comes from limestone. You know, I don’t think God necessarily intended us to go out there and start chopping on rocks. It’s like that’s not the form of calcium we’re meant to be getting. And so, all the studies today are showing that all this increased calcium is causing calcification of our arteries. So, it’s actually causing heart disease today and so, what I do is recommend, okay, try and get, number 1, try and get your calcium from other sources. Get your calcium from things like green leafy vegetables. Get your calcium from raw dairy products and broccoli and vegetables and beans. And so, get your calcium from real foods and then, hey, do some real supplements. There are supplements out there, some good brand, I know I use Garden of Life quite a bit, there are brands like New Chapter, Living Fuel got some better stuff as well. But, making sure all the vitamins and minerals are taken from whole vegetables and fruits, that’s kind of what you want to be looking for in your supplements.
Ben: Got you. Now, when you get somebody who comes into you, do you ever look at things like mineral deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, and things of that nature? Do you do like saliva and blood testing or anything like that?
Josh: We will. I have, actually an office I work with that’s kind of right next to me and so we will do that. There are actually several things we can look at. One of the big things we look at is something called organic acid. I’m not looking at vitamin-mineral deficiency. I look at something called lipid peroxide which actually tells me someone’s antioxidant levels. I look at the Omega 3 to 6 fat ratio, so I look at the omega 3 fat. And then, last thing we’ll look at is any sort of food allergy, well, food intolerances like an IGG antibody test. And so, those are some things we look at from a nutritional perspective.
Ben: Okay, cool. Well, in terms of kind of your gold standard, top 3 tips for somebody who just wanted to transform their body, transform their health, they’re sitting around listening in this interview and they want to make some changes but you know, they’re already maybe a little bit active, maybe trying to eat healthy but they want to kind of take that next step. What would you give in terms of your top 3 tips for people who kind of want to take that next step forward and go above and beyond when it comes to their health and their body?
Josh: Okay. Sure, Ben. Well, a few things and one of these things can be found in my book, so the Real Food Diet cook book. I have a chart in there that’s called A Super Food Chart and so it goes over the 30 of the top super foods on the planet. So, if someone really wants to uplift their well being, eating super foods is a great thing. When I say super foods, these are foods that have been found to have more vitamins, more minerals, have more health benefits than other foods. I have a list there of 30 super foods and these things like blueberries and like kale. Actually, kale is one of the most nutrient dense foods in the planet. So, maybe getting a list of super foods and again, you can get of that of my book or you can just generally write down some foods yourself. But, specifically, typically going to be berries and vegetables. So, start eating more berries, green leafy vegetables and cruciferous vegetables. So, I’d write down an action plan to start eating more super foods. Step 2, I’d start burst training. And so, burst training, if you’re doing a lot of long distance cardio in the offseason again, whether you’re a triathlete or not, doing the burst/interval training, there’s some great benefits for both. And so, add some burst training in your exercise routine. And the last step would be, start setting goals. Again, this is so important that someone has a goal and start following and writing, write down a strategy to get there ‘cause what can happen, and I’ve seen this all the time is when someone says okay, I want to lose weight. And that’s kind of all they do ‘cause they didn’t have a goal or a plan. And so, when you write down you want to lose 20 pounds, again I suggest everybody write this down or type it out in big permanent marker and put it up on the bathroom mirror, say I want to lose 20 pounds, okay what am I going to do? Okay I’m going to eat this for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Or I’m going to eat these super foods everyday and then I’m going to do burst training and my weight training, I’m going to do that Monday, Wednesday, Friday. So, someone has a plan, lays out a strategy. But again, those 3 things I talked about for the most part is setting real goal, eating real food and super foods and doing real exercise like burst training. If people do that, again, it will make a massive difference in their health.
Ben: Cool. Yes, I like how you had a lot of practical information like this in the cook book like one of the things you have that like glycemic index versus glycemic load chart.
Ben: And it kind of reminds me of a funny story. I remember my wife came home from the office one day and she was laughing because one of her friends was really tracking the glycemic index of all the foods that she ate. And my wife was eating baby carrots and this girl was eating crackers, and carrots have a glycemic index of something like 75.
Ben: And crackers are down around whatever like 60 or something like that. And the girl’s like well you should eat crackers instead because those baby carrots have such a high glycemic index, they’re going to throw off your blood sugar levels. But if you look at the actual glycemic load, which is the amount of calories in the food combined with glycemic index, carrots are out like 7 and crackers are still up at like 60. So, you have little things like that all throughout your book which I really like. So, it’s called the Real Food Diet and it’s written by Josh Axe from joshaxe.com or actually is it joshaxe or draxe.com?
Josh: It’s draxe.com. If you want to get some book or check out the articles, videos get a copy of the diet, just go the draxe.com, draxe.com. And it’s funny to say that because some of the diets and the things that I hear people come up with today, it’s like I’ve never known anybody who’s gotten fat from eating too many baby carrots.
Josh: You know, it’s just not going to happen.
Ben: Yes, it’s a funny stuff. So, anyways, folks, Dr. Axe would highly recommend you check out some of the stuff that he’s putting out. And, Dr. Axe, I’d like to thank you for coming on the call today.
Ben: And sharing some knowledge with folks.
Josh: Well, awesome, Ben. Well, hey, it’s been great being part of the show and also I just want to commend you for everything you’re doing. Well, actually while I was flipping through your site, I saw a picture of you using the body built. Man, you’re a rip, so I’m like I need to start doing what you’re doing, too.
Ben: Well, yes. I used to be a rip-freak but not so much anymore. I’ve cannibalized most of that with my obsession with triathlon.
Ben: Anyways, I did go bench press last night.
Ben: So, I’ll take that my claim to fame, my pecks are sore.
Ben: Alright, folks. Well, thanks for listening and this is Ben Greenfield and Dr. Axe from BenGreenfieldFitness.com signing out.
Ben: Well, folks, to get a link to Dr. Axe’s cookbook head over to the show notes and to get a link to really anything we’ve talked about in the podcast today, the show notes are always rich with tons of content and extras for you. So, you can grab those and you can also have the ability to ask a question over there at BenGreenfieldFitness.com. Couple other quick notes, be sure to leave a ranking in iTunes, if you haven’t left a ranking in iTunes yet, really helps the show out. Look forward to upcoming podcast with a complete engineer nerd when it comes to knowing everything there is to know about these things that could help keep your body cool during exercise as well as an interview with Tim Ferris coming up here in a couple weeks. And then finally, be sure to check out if you are an endurance athlete, the brand new enduranceplanet.com. It should speak for itself when you go over there but you should definitely check it out enduranceplanet.com. So, until next time this is Ben Greenfield from BenGreenfieldFitness.com signing out.
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