Audio interview from https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2012/07/what-is-a-superfood/
Introduction: Hey folks! It’s Ben Greenfield here. I finished a pretty cool book a couple of weeks ago. The name of the book was Finding Ultra and it was written by an Ultra Endurance athlete, who I’ve actually written about over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com when I talked about how to actually pull off a plant-based diet and do it right and still be an incredibly active individual. Well, the guy who’s on the line with me right now has been a top finisher at the ’08 and ’09 Ultraman World Championships in Hawaii. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s basically a 3-day Double Iron Man. He’s also done the Epic Five Challenge, which is essentially five Iron Man triathlons in five days on the islands of Hawaii in under a week. And he’s done a lot of other things too. He’s a competitive swimmer way back in the 80s in Stanford University and is doing quite a bit in the whole realm of plant-based nutrition for athletes and I wanted to get him on today to talk about his journey and what he’s up to and how he pulls all this off on a plant-based diet. Rich Roll is on the call with me. Rich, how are you doing?
Rich Roll: Hey Ben! How’s it going? Thanks for having me.
Ben: Yeah, no problem. And you know, in reading your book you outlined quite the journey that you’ve had. You know, from your competitive swimming days at Stanford to kinda going full circle and coming back. You know, you obviously run a lot. You’re known as an Ultra runner and you’ve done triathlon too but you know you’ve got kind of a cool story in terms of what triggered you to actually start running. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Rich: Yeah, sure. You know, like you said I was an athlete in college and you know, I had a background in I guess, you know you can call swimming an endurance sport, I’m sure. We were training like four hours a day back then and putting in some pretty big volume in terms of you know, yardage and etc. But you know, when that was over, you know that chapter was closed and my life became about going to law school and you know, getting a good job and kind of, you know, moving up the corporate ladder and getting married and having kids and all that kind of stuff and that’s all great. But in the interim, you know, I really neglected my health and fitness. Just really wasn’t a part of my life equation at all and as I neared my 40th birthday it kinda started to catch up to me. I had put on quite a bit of weight and more importantly I just felt lousy like all the time. I had no energy. I didn’t have the energy to play with my kids and all that kind of stuff. I had a little bit of an epiphany and decided I needed to really address you know, how I was living, how I was eating and change it up. So, I made some pretty drastic changes that weren’t exactly overnight but you know, in a relatively short period of time. Went from kind of being pretty much a junk food junkie. I mean, my whole, sort of, approach to nutrition had been informed as a child. You know, when I was feeling all that, you know, all the time doing double workouts and the like, it’s just about calories. Like how much food can I shove down my face in the shortest amount of time and those habits kind of stuck with me later in life even though I wasn’t training 15 – 20,000 yards a day anymore and they were hard habits to break. Guess I just always lived that way but I ended up experimenting with vegetarianism and veganism, a plant-based diet, and you know, found a way to really make it work for me. And I really believe that it revitalized me tremendously. That’s really what kick started my interest in resuming a fitness regimen. It was the energy that I got from changing my diet that spawned, you know, kind of the whole move into getting fit again. So it wasn’t like I started working out and was looking for a way to improve that and change my diet. Really the diet was the precursor to getting fit.
Ben: Gotcha. So in terms of adopting a vegan diet, why did you choose that diet? What inspired you to go that direction versus doing any number of other options on the face of the planet when it comes to a diet?
Rich: You know I wish I could tell you that I read a bunch of books and made, you know, a scientific decision that this is the best for me but that’s just not what happened. I mean, in truth what happened was my wife, who, she was by no means, you know, a 100% vegan or anything like that but she always ate better than me and is a very avid yoga practitioner and she’s into all sorts of alternative modalities of eating and healing and all that kind of stuff, which was never my scene at all.
But something happened to her that really impacted me, which was that she had a cyst on her neck that had grown into… It was bigger than a golf ball. It was kinda in between the size of a golf ball and a tennis ball but it almost looked like a goiter on her neck and we went to UCLA and Cedar Sinai and had all these, you know, doctors check it out. And the unanimous opinion was that it was not malignant. It was a benign growth but it was gonna continue to grow and it was never going to go away. Like at some point in the near future it was gonna have to be surgically removed. And it was not a small procedure because there are a lot of nerves around the growth and there was some attachment to her vertebrae. And she had had a really bad experience with having her tonsils removed and ended up in the hospital for like a month on a liquid diet. It was kind of a botched procedure. So she was in no rush to go under the knife again and she decided she was gonna try to heal herself and she sought out the advice of an Ayurvedic doctor and brought home all sorts of crazy….
Ben: You said, you said, Ayurvedic.
Rich: Ayurvedic, yeah.
Rich: And she brought home all these putrid smelling, you know, herbs and strange pastes and all those sorts of stuff and was taking the advice of this doctor and stuck with this for the better part of the year, like nine or ten months. During which time, you know, myself included, her family members, everybody were saying “This is crazy” and like, “Look, we got to just get this thing cut out” and you know, “What are you doing?”and you know. I tried to support her as best I could but I also, you know, was concerned and, but sure enough, she stuck with it and it went completely away and has never returned. The Western doctors were baffled by this. So that made it, that really impacted me. It was the first time I’d ever seen somebody heal themselves in a way that was different than what I was used to and it kind of told me that if you give the body certain things that it will respond in kind. And so when it came time for me to switch it up, you know, I sought out her advice and she had done a bunch of detox quenchers, not of which I was interested in, but I was kind of desperate at the time and I needed to do something drastic. So I ended up doing like a 7-day fruit and juice, you know, fruit and vegetable juice plans with all these weird teas and stuff like that. And I ended up feeling very revitalized at the end of that and when that was over, of course, you have to resume eating food and I’m a kind of a black and white kind of guy. Like if you were to tell me like, well, “You just have to start eating better” or you know, “Why don’t you go to the gym once in a while” like, it doesn’t really work for me. Like I needed something I can wrap my brain around and the idea of being vegetarian just seems like something I could process mentally. It was like, well, you’re either eating meat or you’re not, like it’s a black and white thing. And so, it was sort of that step that I was willing to take and explore and so that was kind of my first introduction to doing this. And it was not an experiment that went well. Like I said I didn’t really do any research and it wasn’t long before I’m eating Domino’s pizzas and you know, eating French fries all the time. You know, well, I’m vegetarian, I’m healthy, right? But you know, of course, I was eating horribly and my energy levels plummeted and the weight wasn’t coming off and I was ready to sort of, bag it altogether, but I thought after six months of that I thought, well I wonder what would happen if I just got rid of the dairy and the processed foods. Maybe that would work and I almost did it as a dare to my wife ‘coz I didn’t think that it would make any difference but within seven to ten days, I felt dramatically better and the energy levels that I was experiencing were similar to what I had felt in the latter days of doing that week-long cleanse. And so I knew I was on to something that was working for me. And so from there, you know, then I began to educate myself and I’ve just continued on this path. So, you know, I really kind of stumbled into it accidentally but, you know, it works very well for me and I continue to refine it. I continue to learn. You know, I’m certainly not the be-all end-all expert on it but I try to, you know, read up as best I can and continue to, you know, make improvements on it. So, you know, would I be a better or worse athlete if I was on a Paleo diet for example? Like I can’t answer that question ‘coz I haven’t performed that experiment on myself but…
Rich: … because, because my life changed so dramatically and for the better by doing this, you sort of feel, in a weird, kind of, you know, not to get too new age-y on you. I don’t even like that but I almost feel like, you know, I wanna continue to honor that by, you know, walking this path forward with it.
Ben: Makes sense. So, you know, you’ve obviously I would imagine kinda come a long way since you first started eating a vegan diet, but at this point, can you walk us through what a typical day of nutrition looks like for you?
Rich: Yeah, sure. And I talk about this in the book quite a bit. I do a whole, like, day in the life thing and the tendency is that, usually I, you know my go-to thing really is my Vitamix blender. I end up doing, you know, two if not three, blended drinks a day. So I usually start the day with a blended drink that’s high on greens. Like I like to blend kale and some beets and beet greens with some fruit, like some berries or some pineapple or an apple, carrot, celery. Things like that. I’m not wed to any singular recipe. A lot of times it just depends on what I have in the house, in the refrigerator, you know, what’s fresh and the like. But I usually, that’s sort of the basis of my breakfast. If I’m feeling particularly run down or hungry, maybe I’ll have a bowl of quinoa with berries. Like a quinoa, which is a very high protein, plant-based food, works well as a breakfast cereal. So I’ll eat that with almond milk or coconut milk with some berries and maybe some hemp seeds or flaxseeds on it. That’s usually like, my morning routine and then you know, I’ll do a morning workout. When I come back, you know it’s about replenishing the glycogen stores and getting the electrolytes etc. So I’ll have typically you know, water and some coconut water, which is great for electrolytes and a sort of low-glycemic, high carbohydrate food, like yams or maybe some brown rice with some stir-fried vegetables or a veggie burrito or something like that. You know, lunch is usually, I usually eat relatively light. Like maybe a big salad. And I like beans. I eat lots of beans, which are also relatively high on protein. So again, you know, veggie burritos or…
Ben: You know, I imagine, you’re not just doing like, you’re not doing just like canned beans, right?
Rich: No I mean, but you know, you can buy it, a giant sack of black beans for pretty cheap. You know, in L.A., there’s the, you know the sort of, barrio markets all over the place, the Mexican markets where you can buy a lot of that stuff in bulk.
Rich: You know, it depends upon, you know, in town when I’m working, you know, I’m not averse to going to a, you know, a Mexican, you know, taco stand or whatever. I’m just getting a veggie burrito or something like that.
Rich: That’s usually what lunch is about. And then, you know, dinner is more of the same. You know, sometimes I’ll, a good thing that I do that I think is helpful for me in kinda keeping hunger at bay and you know, again if I’m at work or driving around and there isn’t you know, a viable healthy option at my finger tips, then I’ll make a blended Vitamix drink in the morning and I’ll furnace it and bring it with me where I’m going during the day. I’ll just take it off that and kinda drink that in the afternoon to keep my energy levels high. And then you know, dinner is, you know again, I like lentils, quinoa, stir-fried vegetables, you know, broccoli, spinach, asparagus, brussel sprouts. I mean, you know, it’s pretty, I think people think if you’re on a plant-based diet it’s so restrictive and like, what could you possibly be eating. But you know, there really are, you know, a tremendous number of options. I don’t get bored and you know, I’m lucky my wife’s a great cook. So, she’s always coming up with new recipes, you know, vegan lasagna with you know, eggplants and all sorts of things like that. So we try to keep it fresh and we try to keep it simple too. I mean, you know, we don’t get crazy with these recipes that are super time-consuming.
Ben: Right. And you know, it seems like you’re also not doing lots of like, you know, tofu and whole wheat bread and stuff like that either.
Rich: No. I mean, I try to, I don’t eat, and I’m not a huge advocate of soy. But I do like, you know, I’ll eat Hefei or fermented versions of soy but I try to stay away from eating too much tofu.
Rich: You know, instead of soy milk I’ll drink almond milk or coconut milk.
Ben: Now what about when you head out for like, I know you do, for example, like lots of long runs or races like Ultra running races? I mean, are you doing what you hear a lot of folks doing, you know, like the Born To Run book talked about the Tama-Mahar Indian tribe doing chia seeds slurries and tinoli and you know, these types of things. You know, what’s your go-to food for a long workout that kinda satisfies your personal nutrition criteria?
Rich: Right. I mean, I have played around with that stuff but a lot of it is time-consuming to prepare some of that stuff and quite frankly like, I just don’t, I don’t have the time, you know. Like, if I wasn’t a professional athlete and wasn’t married with kids maybe I’d spend more time like, concocting, you know, some crazy recipes to take out on long runs but you know I don’t always have that luxury. And so, you know, generally, what I would do is, I rely on Maltodextrin-based liquid nutrition for longer rides and runs so Perpetuam or Carbo Pro or Carbo Pro 1200, which I like, which has electrolytes in it but kind of a lower glycemic, you know, food source that’s easily digestible when you’re running. It’s usually my mainstay. If I’m going really long, you know, the last like hour and a half or you know, maybe sometimes two hours, I start going to higher glycemic foods and I try to stay away from sugary gels and stuff like that but you know, they have their place, especially if you’re going long and you know, you’re in that last 45 minutes or whatever and you need a kick, you know. I’m not averse to, you know, sucking on a gel or two to spike the blood sugar but I try not to rely on those too heavily.
Ben: So, for people, who may, you know, have the same age as you running around, like chomping on a carrot while you’re running 15 miles to the mountains, that’s not the case.
Rich: No, no, no. No, I mean, yeah when you’re running, I mean it’s hard to digest food, you know, and so I like to keep it liquid. I can’t, you know, be eating whole foods when I’m out running. Although, you hear about those, you know, the 100 mile races and the like where they have their aid stations are like pizza, you know. People just stop for 45 minutes and have an entire meal and then you know, head on their way again.
Ben: Yeah, do you do stuff like that at all?
Rich: No, I haven’t done stuff like that. I haven’t.
Ben: Okay. Gotcha. Seems like it would be a real gut bomb.
Rich: The only thing I’ll do is sometimes is, again when I’m going long, is you know, I’ll add a little bit of EFA oil to the Maltodextrin, like Udo’s 369 or Vega EFA oil or something like that for, you know, just some additional calories.
Ben: Right. So, you’ll just mix that in with the Maltodextrin powder like a few tablespoons or what-not of an oil?
Rich: Yeah, exactly. And I’ll put a, I mean, you know, that Malto stuff is not the best-tasting stuff in the world. You know, not like pancake batter. You know, a good tip that I like to do is I’ll freeze the bottles overnight so they thaw slowly when you’re out running. So they don’t get all goopy and hot and gross. I’ll just add a little fruit juice or something like that to kinda take the edge off the flavor.
Ben: Gotcha. Now it seems like it could be potentially challenging to eat a vegan diet. What have you found to be the most challenging components in terms of you know, finding the foods that you want or fulfilling that, you know, specific nutrient or vitamin or mineral needs, that type of thing?
Rich: I think that, I mean now, it’s you know, routine for me that I don’t find it that challenging. The only time that I, you know, find it somewhat, I wouldn’t say difficult, but a little more, kind of time-consuming is when I’m traveling or in a work context when I have to go to, you know, business lunches and business dinners and things like that. You know, I live in Los Angeles so I’m lucky that, you know, there’s whole foods are everywhere and natural markets are everywhere and a lot of restaurants, you know, cater to plant-based nutrition so it’s pretty easy to kind of order around the menu wherever you are. People are pretty open to it but, you know, I’m sympathetic to people that live elsewhere where that’s not the case and, you know, when I’m traveling I have to plan ahead a little bit. I got to find out where the supermarket is that sells, you know, the things that I need to get and I’ll, you know, go from the airport directly there before I go to my hotel room and, you know, there’s little things like that that require a little bit more thought, I guess. But you know, I’ve been able to make it work and you know, when I’m at home I don’t, I don’t see it being that challenging at all. You know, another thing is, you know, when I’m, when I’m going into town for work or whatever and I know I’m gonna be some place for lunch where I’m not gonna get what I need or it’s gonna be more challenging, you know, maybe once or twice a week, my wife and I will cook up, you know, a bunch of lentils or some beans and rice or some salad or something like that and put in big Tupperware containers in the fridge. So I can pack some of that with me and I have it in my car and you know, I can eat it before I walk into a restaurant where I know I’m not gonna be able to get exactly what I want or I’ll have to eat light because it’s a steakhouse or something like that.
Rich: You know I kinda got it down to a routine right now where it works pretty well.
Ben: Right. You know, kind of along the same lines when it comes to challenges, facing, you know, vegans and fulfilling nutritional needs, a lot of folks say that, you know, you may have a hard time getting enough fatty acids or getting enough amino acids. Have you found that to be the case and if so, do you have kinda like your personal go-to fat sources and protein sources that you use to make sure that you’re not missing out on that stuff?
Rich: Yeah sure. I mean, I think when I first started and, you know, I was very worried about, you know, am I getting my protein and you know, am I getting my, you know, all that kinda stuff that you know, I get asked all the time and it’s definitely on my mind a lot. And so I had all sorts of supplements, you know, because I was terrified I wasn’t feeding myself properly and over the years I kind of slowly weaned myself off of most of that stuff just to see what kind of difference it would make and how my body would respond. And I found that for the most part I can do without, you know, protein powders and all that certain stuff that we take. I mean, you know, when I’m training hard, I’ll take some plant-based protein powder and maybe some L-glutamine but I really don’t overdo it on that kind of stuff. In terms of getting your amino acids, as long as I’m eating a well-rounded plant-based diet and I’m conscious of making sure that I’m getting the plant-based foods that have a higher protein content, I’m fine. And I haven’t really experienced any issues with regard to building lead muscle mass or recovering in between workouts.
Ben: What type of plant foods are those for you, like for amino acids?
Rich: Like I said before quinoa, beans. Dark leafy greens are also good. Spirulina or spirulina, I don’t, people say it differently, is also like has the highest protein content by way of like any food on Earth. So, and I’ve also found that, you know, I don’t really feel like I need more than 10% of my calories to come from protein sources. Even when I’m training hard, like I’ve played around with it and I seem to do just fine whether I’m getting 10 or 20% unless I’m feeling super rundown, in which case I’ll put a little bit. But I’ve kinda come to realize that the whole protein question is a little bit overblown. You know, I mean there’s a lot of marketing dollars into pushing this idea that protein, protein, protein and certainly you’ve probably read more studies than I have so I don’t wanna speak out in school. I mean, you’re very well-versed in all these matters but just speaking from personal experience I found that I don’t need to overdo it with protein supplements as long as I’m eating, you know, a well-rounded diet.
Rich: In terms of fat, there’s a lot, there’s other books out there about plant-based nutrition, like you know, The China Study and Engine 2 diets and they all kinda preach a very low fat, low oil, plant-based regimen and that does not work for me coz I find that I, especially when I’m training, I need the added fat. So, I like avocado. I eat lots of avocadoes and lots of nuts. Hemp seeds are great.
Ben: When you say you like eat hemp seeds, do you just like pop them or do you put them in foods or a little bit of everything?
Rich: Well I’ll put hemp seeds in my Vitamix blend. You know and I’ll put walnuts, like, things like walnuts, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, sesame seeds are all pretty high in Omega 3s and so I will, you know, I blend those in my smoothie blends and drink them and that’s worked well for me. And then I’ll use, you know, I cook with olive oil or coconut oil. And I like olive oil-based salad dressings. Hemp oil is also great and like I said before the Udo’s 369 or the Vega EFA oil are also both great. So, I do use quite a bit of that stuff.
Ben: Okay. Gotcha. Cool. So it sounds like, sounds like you’re really not having too hard of a time finding some of these protein and fat sources readily available.
Rich: No, I mean, I haven’t, you know, I haven’t had, I haven’t had any real issues and you know, I’m not, the other thing is I’m not trying to adhere to some kind of label like if I felt like my body, you know, needed something that it wasn’t getting, you know, I’m not averse to, you know, eating an animal product in order to get that. Like, you know, I wanna perform well as an athlete. I wanna be healthy. But I just, I haven’t found it necessary. And I’m on, I’m coming on, you know, coming up on six years of doing this. So, you know, that could change. I can wake up tomorrow and feel anemic or something like that but so far, so good.
Ben: Now how about supplements? Are you using supplements? Like do you have certain kinda standby supplements that you use on a daily basis?
Rich: A couple and like I said I don’t overdo it. I do like, I do like taking a plant-based protein supplements post-workout. Not, not after every workout but you know, maybe a couple of times a week, when I’m training hard and you know, usually I like to combine hemp protein, brown rice protein and tea protein, which gives you a pretty robust amino acid profile. Hemp protein is great and I love it but it has some ion availability issues so I found that it works better when I combine it with other proteins. And then I’ll, I’ll take L-glutamine as well. And then, you know I like to play around with some more exotic kind of stuffs. I have a good friend. His name is Compton Rom and he’s sort of been my nutritional guru. He has a holistic health company called Ascended Health and he lives close to me and he’s always coming up with these strange concoctions. He’ll say come on over to my house. I brewed this thing up. You gotta try it. You know, you know, how you feel. And he sources ingredients from all over the world to make these crazy potions.
Rich: And so, yeah it’s fantastic. He’ll be like “Oh I just got this crazy potent resveratrol and it’s made from the finest gordo, you know, grape scans. It just came in from France. Like I wanna make you some drinks with it.
Rich: So, I’m lucky to have him to be like his guinea pig. So he likes to play around with me and I get to, you know, use some really great products. So yeah.
Ben: What’s his name? Does he have a website or does he only do this stuff as a hobby?
Rich: Yeah. No, no, no. His name is Compton Rom and his company is called Ascended Health.
Rich: His website is AscendedHealth.com.
Ben: I’ll put a link to that in the show notes for folks.
Rich: I have no, I have no, you know, financial interest in what he… He’s just a friend and he’s a PhD. He has a PhD in Microbiology and he really knows his stuff and you know a lot of the stuff he makes for me isn’t commercially available anyway but he does have some pretty cool products if you wanna check it out, like probiotics and stuff like that.
Ben: Yeah. Awesome. So, you know, just a few other questions for you coz I, I read an interesting article in which you listed some superfoods that were uncommon superfoods and I thought it would be fun to mention some of the superfoods that you kinda, you kinda turn to now and again that folks may not have heard of but that have really helped you do things like not get sick and in kinda break the ceiling in terms of your physical potential. So one thing that I have seen you mention is Nato. Do you do much Nato or did you find like, are you getting Nato a whole foods or…?
Rich: I don’t, I don’t do it that often because it’s so awful-tasting. Quite honestly. If it tasted a little bit better I’d probably be eating it all the time but it’s very much an acquired taste. It tastes like a very putrid cheese. It’s extremely healthy and it’s great for heart health and you know, preventing circulatory disease and so if you’re concerned about you know, your heart or you wanna fend off a heart attack, I highly suggest checking it out. But you might wanna plug your nose while you’re eating it.
Ben: Gotcha. Okay.
Rich: So I like that.
Ben: What about another one that I’ve seen you mention is Cordyceps.
Rich: Yeah I love Cordyceps. That’s, that’s something that Compton turned me on to and I’ve really, I’ve incorporated that as a regular supplement into my routine and it’s a very strange sort of dried fungus that grows on caterpillar larva. Only at high altitudes….
Ben: Sounds so appetizing.
Rich: …in like in the world regions of China and Nepal and stuff. And you can import the stuff and you can get it in a dried, you know, powder format and I’ve been, I’ve been combining that with plant-based proteins as a recovery drink and there are studies to suggest that it helps with oxygen uptake and oxygen utilization and I definitely feel better when I’m using it. I believe in it. I think it’s a, a very potent, a potent supplement and I think I’m benefiting from using it. So, yeah that’s definitely one to check out.
Ben: How about, how about turmeric? I’ve seen you use turmeric.
Rich: Turmeric is great. Yeah, I love that. It’s a super powerful antioxidant and it’s readily available. You know, it comes in like a very bright yellow powder.
Rich: And you know, you know, when you go, when you see FRS or something like that and it’s talking about the high antioxidant quality, I mean, if you put a spoonful of turmeric and just make a tea out of it in the morning, that’s like a thousand-fold more potent than, you know, a lot of the promoted antioxidant supplements that are currently on the market and it’s simple. You know, you can buy it in bulk and it’s cheap and it’s extremely potent.
Ben: Yeah. Yeah.
Rich: So, that’s definitely one that I think I’ve benefited from using and I use it, use that one regularly.
Ben: I’ve also been using it, a ton of that lately. Like about 1 ½, 2 grams a day. It’s good stuff.
Rich: Yeah. Yeah.
Ben: How about apricot seeds? I’ve seen you talk about apricot seeds. What’s up with that?
Rich: Yeah. This is highly controversial and I’ve talked about it in Tim Ferriss blog. There’s a little bit of a blowback on that. There was a period in the 1970s when there were some doctors who were, who were promoting the use of apricot seeds as a cancer preventative measure. And there’s, there’s Western medicine has essentially, I guess, I guess you could say they debunked it. And there’s fear because the way that it works as I understand it, is that’s when the active ingredients in the apricot seeds, which is known as Laetrile. It’s anecdotally called Vitamin B17 even though I don’t think it’s actually a vitamin. When it comes into contact with a cancer cell there’s a physiological response that occurs that from what I understand releases a, like a cyanide component that effectively destroys the cancer cell. And healthy cells don’t have the enzyme that catalyzes this so that it doesn’t have any deleterious effect on the healthy cell. There are a lot of people that say this is nonsense and that it’s actually dangerous to take this because of this cyanide component but there’s also a large group of alternative medicine practitioners, who continue to promote the benefits of this. And there are certainly people out there that claim that they have, that they have had fantastic effects by incorporating apricot seeds into their diets. So it’s certainly nothing that I would suggest somebody make a dose on, but…
Rich: … you know I’m not averse to blending these in my Vitamix and incorporating them into my diet. I’ve never experienced any problems personally from this but it certainly is, it is controversial and you know, you might wanna look into it before you just do that.
Ben: I’ve heard the same kinda silly argument about raw almonds and cyanide. So….
Rich: Right. I mean the Laetrile that they talk about is contained in almonds and you know if you eat almond butter then are you mega-dosing on that? I don’t know, you know. So anyway.
Ben: Okay. How about, you know, we hear a lot of times about coffee as an antioxidant but you talk about green coffee beans.
Rich: Yeah green coffee beans are great. They’re very anti-inflammatory and antioxidants. And the thing about the green bean is that by not wasting it there’s some, it’s been suggested that there’s a benefit in weight management because, how do I say this, the chlorogenic acid, which I believe is destroyed by the roasting process, increases your body’s ability to metabolize fats. So ….
Ben: Gotcha. Interesting.
Rich: There’s a lot of people that…. Yeah, yeah exactly. So it doesn’t, I will say that it doesn’t taste like coffee. It tastes very different than coffee but you can grind it just the same. You just grind the green beans in your grinder and you prepare it in a French Press just like you would normal coffee.
Ben: I used to work at a coffee shop and I drink that stuff all the time. It’s, it’s kind of a nice mix-up from regular coffee.
Rich: Yeah. True.
Ben: Now, testosterone. I know you, you personally don’t really use animal products but you did mention that, you know, as far as testosterone goes that there is a relatively humane animal source of being able to get it and that’s Elk Antler Velvet. Is that something you’ve kinda seen working folks in terms of testosterone?
Rich: Yeah, I have and again going back to my friend, Compton, he’s always talking about how amazing this product is and personally I don’t use it because I don’t incorporate animal products into my diet but I know people that have used it and swear by it and you know, Compton will go to his deathbed telling you that it’s a fantastic supplement to use. And essentially what it is is, it’s… They do this in Canada and New Zealand primarily but they remove the antlers from the elk and I’m told that this is a relatively humane process and that, you know, these antlers need to be removed to prevent these elks from attacking each other. Whether or not that’s true, I don’t know. There are certainly animal rights activists. They would tell you that it’s not humane whereas other people say that it is. So I want you to do your own research unto that but what they do is they take the cartilage from the antler and they dry it and ground it into a powder and it’s been, it’s been concluded in certain studies that, that incorporating this into your diet has an effect in boosting testosterone levels.
Rich: So it’s interesting. There are a lot of bodybuilders that use it, you know, if you were to Google Elk Antler Velvet, I’m sure you’ll find, you know, lots of stories, anecdotal and scientific studies as well that will go into the details of it.
Ben: Yeah. Yeah. It’s not one that I’ve personally tried but I’ve certainly seen some of those same studies. I wanna ask you about one more coz I kinda like this one. I saw you write about. It almost looks like a happy fruit, Camu Camu, for producing cortisol and increasing uptake of serotonin. What is that stuff and how do you get it?
Rich: I end up, I end up getting this in, you can get it in powdered supplement form. I think Navitas Naturals makes it. So you can take that up as whole foods and just put a tablespoon of that into your smoothie, which is what I do often, because it is difficult actually to find the fruit. But yeah, it’s a, it’s a pretty potent sort of lemon-sized, orange-ish, purple-ish fruit that comes from the Amazon. So, it is relatively exotic but it’s packed with all sorts of amino acids and phytochemicals and minerals and beta-carotene. So it’s, it’s pretty impressive. I think it has the highest natural Vitamin C density of any food in the planet. That’s what I believe.
Rich: So I believe I’ve heard that. So yeah, check that up, you know.
Ben: Nice. Obviously, for you folks listening in, Rich Roll’s a wealth of information. I’ll try and put some links in the show notes to some of the stuff he’s talked about. But his book is called Finding Ultra and actually it’s got kind of a, kind of a cool subtitle. The subtitle is Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World’s Fittest Men and Discovering Myself. I’d recommend you check it out. I’ll put a link to it in the show notes. It’s a great book. And I’ll also put a link to the previous article I wrote on plant-based diets, in which I also wrote a little about Rich and what he’s doing. So I highly recommend you check out his stuff folks. And Rich, thank you so much for coming on the call today.
Ben: Thanks, Ben. It’s great to talk to you.