[0:00] Introduction/Shock Wave Therapy
[2:18] Marc Pro
[5:29] About Dr. Cate Shanahan
[8:39] Visiting the Culinary Institute of America
[14:06] Vegetable Oil as the Brain's Worst Enemy
[21:21] Four-Hydroxynonenal & Alzheimer's Disease
[23:35] Fecal Transplant Experiment with Mice
[29:53] Consuming Olive Oil vs. Consuming Vegetable Oil
[30:55] What Happened at a Filipino Buffet in Kauai That Got Cate Seriously Thinking About Dynamic Symmetry
[37:30] What Nutrition Has to do With Beauty and Symmetry (And the Fascinating Reason Why Should Women Space Their Children Out)
[45:15] Why Men Should Take Preparation for Pregnancy Just as Seriously as Women
[51:10] What the World's Elite and Rich People Eat and Why That Leads Them to Higher Amounts of Beauty and Success
[53:50] Why the Total Amount of LDL You Possess can be Practically Irrelevant
[1:10:50] The Dietary Habits of the LA Lakers
[1:14:35] Five Easy Ways to Get Started With Deep Nutrition Concepts
[1:22:12] End of Podcast
Ben: Hello, hello. I’m Ben Greenfield. Put down that anti-wrinkle skin cream will you, because today you’re going to learn how to eat yourself beautiful. That’s right, you can eat yourself. You can probably eat yourself ugly too, but today we're going to focus on the eating yourself beautiful part, and it's with Dr. Cate Shanahan. She is brilliant. She gives meals to folks like the L.A. Lakers and the Oklahoma City Thunder Basketball Team, hasn't eaten things like bone marrow, raw milk and all sorts of crazy stuff, so we have a great, great episode but before we jump in, I want to tell you about this thing called Shock Wave Therapy I've been doing to myself.
That's right, I'm a complete masochist. I've been shocking myself. No, I haven't been doing it. Licensed medical professionals have been shocking me. No seriously, they use these painless, high frequency acoustic waves in my crotch to open up old blood vessels and stimulate the formation of new vessels, and men can do it, and women can do it, and what happens is that down there the vessels weaken as you age, so you start to lose like the intensity of your orgasm or for guys, like your size or your firmness, and a lot of people turn to Viagra or Cialis or a lot of women just like assume that they're just losing feeling as they age, so good bye. No longer is that the case.
There's this thing called GainsWave. They use this non-invasive medical treatment called Extracoporeal Shock Wave Therapy which uses high frequency acoustic waves to basically stimulate yourself back into action, last for a long time too. Some people go in for several treatments. I just did one treatment worked great for me, and you can get a hundred fifty bucks off trying this thing out. Just text the word “Greenfield” to 313131. Text “Greenfield” to 313131. Also if you want to get it done where I got it done, down in Miami, then when you go to gainswave.com and click “Find a doctor”, go see Dr. Gaines. I actually think his name is Dr. Richard Gaines, like Dr. Dick Gaines which I think is fricking hilarious. Anyways, go to GainsWave and find the doctor down there. I went to Miami. They'll give you an even bigger discount if you go to a Miami clinic. So there you go, you're welcome.
Also, speaking of shocking yourself, this podcast is brought to you by more electrical muscle stimulation. So there are EMS devices all over there, you can buy one on Amazon for pretty cheap. They like shock the muscle back into action or train your muscle or give you six-pack abs or whatever. The problem is most of these things use modern microprocessors that generate what's called a Static Square Waveform. Static Square Wave form? Ben, what's a? What this does is it contracts all the muscles at full power and holds them at full power and then releases the muscle.
That's an unnatural signal. It's harsh, it's uncomfortable, it's fatigue is not great for recovery, so what this thing called the Marc Pro uses is something called a, brace yourself, Proprietary Dynamic Decaying Waveform, so what that does is that it contracts the muscles slowly and then slowly releases them over time so fluids move in and out. Inflammation moves in and out. I put a photo on Instagram the other day of me using it on an airplane on my shoulder, so yeah, the TSA. They don't care, they got bigger fish to fry apparently that you walking out of an airplane with an electrical muscle simulation device. They need to confiscate pens from old ladies instead.
Anyways though, so yeah, you can use it on airplanes, buses, cars, bedrooms, you name it. Marc Pro, and you get a discount. You go to marcpro.com. That's with a C, not a K, for you people who read the bible. Marc Pro, MARCpro.com and use promo code Ben for 5% off. Promo code Ben for 5% off. Marc Pro, Marc Pro Plus, they got a couple of slick models. Check them out, and now onto today's fascinating discussion with Dr. Cate Shanahan.
In this episode of The Ben Greenfield Fitness Show:
“It's like a Trojan horse, it looks normal but because you don't have the protective anti-oxidants in the amounts that you need, they just will degrade with time.” “We do know that these sort of cellular transformations have been done in a lab so you can take a fat cell from somebody's hip, and convince it to turn to a bone cell or muscle cell simply by using hormones that would be present in your body at normal amounts and nutrients you don't have to do like any kind of genetic engineering or anything to get that to happen.”
Ben: Hey folks, it's Ben Greenfield, and I am holding in my hands right now one of the nutrition books that I find myself recommending most often when people ask me, “Hey, what's like one of the books I should read if I just basically want to wrap my head around?” “What kind of diet do you recommend Ben,” because frankly, I personally have never written a diet book. So this book that I'm holding right now is called “Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food”, and actually two years ago, the author of this book came on my podcast as a guest. We did an episode called “How To Use Food As Your Body's Fat Loss Language”, and during that episode, we delved into how the way your body interprets the food you eat can make you either lean or fat, depending on your food choice. We delved into a lot of the nitty gritty science behind that. Well now, she's back because she just rewrote and published a brand new updated version of that book, “Deep Nutrition”. Her name is Dr. Cate Shanahan. She works with the L.A. Lakers. She runs a metabolic health clinic in Denver, Colorado. She's trained in Biochemistry. She's trained in Genetics. She is one smart cookie. I've hung out with her, she's pretty fun too. She knows a lot about genetics and how food affects our cellular growth and our DNA, and we're going to talk about everything from how to eat yourself beautiful to why vegetable oil is the brains worst enemy and a lot more. So Cate, welcome to the show.
Cate: Thanks, Ben. It's great to be on again.
Ben: Yeah, and by the way if you're listening in and you wanna access anything Cate and I talk about today, I going to keep track of all of the show notes over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/deepnutrition2. That's bengreenfieldfitness.com/deepnutrition2. So Cate, this book, it's a beast. It’s how long? It's like 460, 470 pages long?
Cate: Yeah, it's almost 500.
Ben: How long did it take you to do the rewrite?
Cate: About a year. (chuckles) We could have actually written a whole other book, and in retrospect maybe we should have, but you know this one book now is just going to give you the entire picture. I think that it will really help people who really want to understand, you know, a clearer way the confusion and some of the noise. I think that can be out there and can get a little bit distracting for folks, and because my husband's a writer, we're hoping that you'll actually enjoy the reading, and for the first edition, we did have a couple people tell us that if they were sad when it ended because it was like they were wrapped up in the story.
Ben: Yeah, and how long did you publish the first one?
Cate: Ended 2008, so there's been a lot of science that's come out since, and we just tried to shove as much of it in there. It's also important and interesting and reinforcing of the general principle.
Ben: Yeah. Yeah, and I think that's relevant because I noticed in the beginning of the book you have a story from 2012, and I was trying to remember if that story was in the original book and I don't remember seeing it in there but it's kind of a shocking story. I think it's kind of a perfect place to start with this book. You went over to visit the CIA, not the Central Intelligence Agency, but the Culinary Institute of America and it's pretty shocking. This story that you tell about oil in that discussion that you had with the Culinary Institute of America, so can you go into what happened in 2012 when you went to their offices?
Cate: Yeah so, we were called to the President's office of the CIA in Graystone, and Napa Valley where we were living because my husband and I, we had written an article called The Canola Blob and we were warning people canola's promoted as heart-healthy but don't believe it. It's very pro-inflammatory and bad for your brain and so on and we were writing it and perk to the chefs in Napa Valley because Napa Valley is like a great place to visit because of so many restaurants but we were disappointed when we moved there because we found that most of the restaurants that use this crap oil instead of olive oil. I mean they grow olive oil there, and they were using canola instead. So we wrote this.
Ben: You mean at like Napa Valley. Isn't Napa Valley like the five-star restaurant Mecca?
Cate: Yeah. (laughs) So there's no excuse.
Ben: And they're using canola oil?
Cate: Why, right? Why?
Cate: And so it just boggled our minds, and you know, we found out why during the conversation that we had with the President of the Culinary Institute and he had sent me an urgent fax actually requesting that I stop spreading what he called wrong information about canola. And when, during the meeting with him, we talked about our different philosophies on the health of canola and he was treating us to this wonderful lunch actually, when I say us I mean my husband and I, and then there was actually a newspaper reporter over there to document the conversation and he started with of like of olive oil tasting and he was talking about that they have that. I didn't even know they had that, like so there's different kinds of olive oil and you pair it with different foods and different kinds of chocolates, and it was worth it.
Ben: Yeah, like the same as you do with wine or whisky or beer. It's like a flight but it's olive oil.
Cate: Yes, and he was talking about the olive oil and how much care they take to protect the oil from oxidation, even going to the extreme of topping the bottle with nitrogen which is an inorganic gas to remove the oxygen because oxidation is such a damaging process. And so with that opening I said to him, you know I, first of all I was impressed genuinely that he had such a deep understanding of what it is that damages oils and makes them taste bad and actually also makes them unhealthy, but why would everything that he said that applies to olive oil not also apply to canola oil because canola oil is also olive, prone to oxidation but actually even more so and they don't treat it anywhere near as gently as they treat olive oil which is a healthy oil partly because what is available to the general consumer is kind of an artisanal product of, you know, very gentle treatment with pressure, just mechanical pressure and no chemicals, but they do chemicals and heat and horrible things to canola which is why it's bad incidentally. So he agreed with that, but immediately he shifted the conversation from the facts, the health consequences and the reality to the politics which is that we don't have enough olive oil to feed the masses and he actually used the word “the masses”.
Ben: Oh my gosh. So basically, his argument was find olive oil that doesn't actually rip your body apart in the inflammatory way that you described in the book that vegetable oil does. He says that one of the reasons they don't recommend is ‘cause there just not enough to go around so they need it for basically like the rich people?
Cate: Yeah, exactly. So people who you know, can afford it. So we want to lie to everyone else and tell them that this stuff is perfectly fine. That's really wrong.
Ben: Wow, especially when you consider that the five-star Napa Valley restaurants are using it probably to cut corners and save a little bit of money when in fact, I mean, it is as you go into it deep into the book, and we'll get into this little bit, almost worse than sugar when it comes to the metabolic damage and the DNA damage it can wreak on your body.
Cate: Yeah, I would say that it is worse than sugar in the amounts that we are now consuming. It is much more of a health threat, and it's much more important to reduce the consumption of this in the amounts that we are now consuming than it is to reduce sugar. And in fact if you take vegetable oil out of your diet first, it's a lot easier to cut down on sugar because it make your brain work better and I explain how that translates to improved appetite and improved or less desire for sugar in the brain chapter in the book.
Ben: Actually you do have that full chapter on the brain, this might be a perfect place for us to actually delve into that. You've described vegetable oil as your brains worst enemy. Why do you say vegetable oil is your brains worst enemy and why did you devote an entire chapter to the “brain killer”?
Cate: Yeah, so we call it “brain killer” because vegetable oil has so many different strategies that it uses to attack the brain. We listed 7 of them and the reason the brain is particularly vulnerable to damage from a high vegetable oil diet is that the fats in the brain are these essential fats that themselves are so prone to oxidation. The more that the other tissue in the [14:56] ______ concentrated with polyunsaturated fats, the essential fats, the Omega-3, and the Omega-6 actually in equal parts. We talk a lot about, this is a side you know, we talk about how you need Omega-3 for your brain but by way you also need an equal amount of Omega-6 for your brain, and the two together comprise 30% of the dry weight of your brain. So it's a massive amount and it's more concentrated than in the other tissue, and that those fatty acids in the brain are susceptible to something called oxidative stress. Oxidative stress deranges the fatty acid that your brain is made out of, and every single brain disorder is associated with higher levels of oxidative stress. And you know the people who have this disease, they have higher levels of oxidative stress in their brains. So vegetable oil promotes oxidative stress. Vegetable oil is oxidative stress in a bottle, in fact you could say, because it's composed of all of these polyunsaturated fatty acids that are so susceptible to reacting with oxygen in our bodies, in our bloodstreams, and even in the factory where they're produced and especially in places like deep fat fires in restaurants.
Ben: Now what about if you're taking in a lot of other healthy fats, I mean, let's say you're consuming fish oil or you're consuming sources of DHA. You're eating a lot of wild caught fish, things along those lines. Would your brain not choose those type of Omega-3 fats for the make up of cell membranes and for neuronal health, and wouldn't that offset the damage for vegetable oil or does your brain kind of choose to use the fats from the vegetable oils to make up the membranes. I mean, how's this working from like a selection standpoint as far as what the brain is using from a dietary standpoint to make up the fats that it's using for neuronal health for example.
Cate: Alright yeah, great question. So your brain has no choice but to use the fats that are delivered to it, and so if you're diet has a lot of vegetable oils and you will also throw in some beneficial fats, great. It'll have a few of the undamaged fat or the fats that contain the protective antioxidants that are required for them to actually make it to your brain intact, but if you have vegetable oil in your diet and depending what else is in your diet, what else you're doing, all of those good fatty acids that were in the fish or the fish oil may get destroyed. So that, you know, it's not really all or none. It's just that a higher amount of them get destroyed and so that you are delivering relatively fewer of what you think you're delivering, and they don't just get destroyed. They don't just disappear, evaporate when this oxidative stress alters the molecular shape. They become mutant molecules that are toxins, and we describe, you know, what some of them are also in the chapter so you can understand that these are known toxins.
Ben: One of the toxins you get into is this thing called Four-Hydroxynonenal, I don't know if I'm pronouncing that correctly 4-HNE. What's 4-HNE?
Cate: So it is a secondary breakdown product of non-enzymatic oxidation, so what is all that? The oxidation reactions that occur degenerate of degrade these molecules so they change their structure and they go through several phases of degradation, and it's extremely complicated.
Ben: That's okay, we've got a lot of smart cookies listening in. You can delve into the science.
Cate: You can take one molecule of Omega-3 and you can like draw diagrams of many different compounds that it will break down into when it is non-enzymatically degraded. So this goes beyond like the Omega-3 and Omega-6 argument where Omega-3 is enzymatically altered into anti-inflammatory compounds and Omega-6 is enzymatically altered into pro-inflammatory compounds. That's a gross characterization. There's cross-over on both of them, but enzymes control the outcome of these reactions. The non-enzymatic oxidation is where we get these toxins, and there are many, many of them. So multiple arrows, could be dozens, and one of the most well studied is this thing called 4-HNE which entire scientific journals have been devoted to the various toxic effects that this thing has. It is extremely powerful promoter of oxidative stress and promoter of DNA damage. It's cytotoxic to cells and in amounts that we consume. It is cytotoxic to cells, and so when I say we consume I mean, you know, the average American who doesn't know to avoid these things and whose [19:56] ______ dressings and in their chips and, you know, the occasional French fries that they might go out to eat.
Ben: Okay so, this is actually coming from vegetable oil, this 4-HNE?
Cate: In two ways, so one it's coming from the oil in the bottle. Actually three ways, and then it's coming from because of the processing steps that occur to get the oil in the bottle. Then you heat it when you cook with it, and there's more degradation, so you get more of this transformation of the polyunsaturated fatty acids that would be healthy to us. They degrade into these toxins including this 4-HNE stuff, and then in the body, the same thing happens. So if you have polyunsaturated fatty acids in amounts that are unnatural which we now consume way too many of them, and you do not have the protective anti-oxidants which we don't because they're stripped out in the processing of these seed oils, then even though you might have perfectly normal Omega-3 in your brain and Omega-6 in your brain, both of these molecules can degrade into 4-HNE. It's like a Trojan horse, it looks normal but because you don't have the protective anti-oxidants in the amounts that you need, they just will degrade with time. This is something, oxidative stress is a process that kills everyone eventually, but it happens so much faster and with so much more disability and disease the more your diet has these vegetable oils.
Ben: You know, what I think is interesting is that how Alzheimer's is often called Type-3 Diabetes because it is related to the improper metabolizing of sugars in neural tissue and rapid blood trigger fluctuations, but you go into how the destruction of microtubules in the brain by this 4-HNE is also linked to Alzheimer's. So this can actually cause not just, for example, oxidative stress but actually cognitive damage, actually gray matter damage?
Cate: Yes, and you know what, this is part of the reason that I say it's more important to avoid vegetable oil first, right? It's important to avoid sugar and control the amount that you have in your diet, but the first thing that we should be looking for to take out of our diets are these things because the way that they affect our body is so diverse and so profoundly bad that it goes beyond anything sugar can do. So yeah, Alzheimer's, one of the cellular abnormalities that they find are, I'm going to forget this. I always get this mixed up. There's flax and tangles, right?
Cate: And so one is intracellular, one is extracellular, so it's the intracellular one that is composed of these degraded microtubules, and these microtubules are degraded faster in the presence of oxidative stress, and particularly this Four-Hydroxynonenal, and so what if they're degraded? Well these microtubules are the highways that your neurons in your head use to ferry important things from one end of your neuron to the other. In other words, like your neurons are, you know, centimeters long in the brain. They're very long, as incredibly long for a cell, and so they need to have these highways that deliver this stuff from the cell body, where the nucleus is and a lot of enyzmes are that manufacture stuff, all the way to like the end, like the toes of the cell. They go up and down through those microtubules that's like the circulatory system of a neuron, and you break them with Four-Hydroxynonenal or other things that cause us oxidative stress.
Ben: Now there are other ways that you say that vegetable oils can damage the brain, that's why you have this whole chapter called “The Brain Killer”. You go into how they can serve as these like Trojan horses that distribute toxins to the brain and other target organs using something called lipoproteins. You talk about how they can disrupt the regulation of blood flow through the brain by affecting arterial health, particularly arteries that feed a lot of our brain. You know, we just talked about how they can damage nerve-cellular architecture. You talk about how they turn our immune system against us causing white blood cell reaction and also have, and we'll get into this later, mutagenic effects on DNA. I definitely want to explore that in greater detail, but you also, in this chapter on the brain, particularly focus on the gut, and you go into how inflammatory reactions in the gut influence brain health just because of the brain-gut interaction. But as you talk about that, you actually discuss a little bit about fecal transplants, and about how people with excess weight, you know, and we've talked of this on the show before, how they're getting like poop pills to restore their microbiota. You have kind of like you're alternative to people getting, you know, fecal transplants or taking poop pills. Can you go into that?
Cate: Yes, so it's in Chapter 9, “The Brain Killer” chapter of “Deep Nutrition” that we describe a study that investigated the microbiome-brain connection. And so, what they did was they took microbes from healthy mice versus overweight, obese mice. The two different sets of microbiomes that were transplanted into two different groups of healthy mice, but these groups of healthy mice had no more microbiome 'cause they'd been blasted away with tons of antibiotics. So two different groups of mice got, that were both healthy and otherwise identical at the start of this experiment, one set got the microbiome through essentially a fecal transplant from the overweight mice and the other from the normal weight mice. And their behaviors changed drastically in, only in the mice that got the transplant from the overweight mice, and what happened was they noticed there's like lots of little mouse anxiety tests. Things that sound adorable but tragic like the mice don't freeze properly when they hear a sound, like they just, you know, they don't have like their normal alarm methods on, and they do a lot more marble burying which is a test of anxiety. The mice that got the overweight microbiome had more trouble with memory and learning tests, and so what I did when I was, like this is a really interesting study so what's with these overweight mice? Like how, what could be affecting their microbiome?
Cate: Is it a primary thing or could it be related to their diet in other words? And so, I was finding evidence that it was related to their diet because these were mice, the mice that were overweight, you know, the source of this anxiety provoking microbiome were not [26:44] ______ were induced to be overweight by their diet. So naturally, I looked into what was it, what did they eat? And it turns out that they, their mouse pellets were, they were high fat pellets that were loaded with oxidized, polyunsaturated fatty acids. So it was that food that bred the microbiome that made them fat and then carried over to make these other mice anxious, and if probably they have extended the study, they might very well have gained weight too. You know, depending on what they were eating. So to me, that is like a very profound idea because we have a lot of people running around worrying about what probiotic supplements they should be taking based on some of the studies like this, but if you don't ask, what was it in this? What are the details of this diet in this study that is creating these different microbiomes because you can breed your microbiome just by feeding it different things? It's like you're gardening it, we've heard this analogy before. Depending on what kind of food you put in there, you're going to be breeding completely different microbiome bacteria and organisms.
Ben: And so you're saying is the main difference between the obese mice and the normal mice in the studies is basically, you know, all calories and sugar and everything else aside the amount of oxidized fats that are formed between the sunflower oil and the lard in the pelleted chow that they gave the mice that became obese. So basically it was basically the oxidized fats.
Cate: Yes, and you know this is a major source of confusion in the nutrition world and just like a short aside here. I've been speaking recently with researchers who do this kind of work themselves. They have to design, if they want to really do a valid high fat diet study that is high in saturated fat, they have to specifically create the diet for the mice themselves and they do not use pellets. They use like, because the dehydration process oxidized the fats. So even though you might think lard, that's not high in saturated fat and it's not going to be oxidized. That's not true because the lard that they use comes from pigs that were fed soy and corn, and it's very high in, their fat is high in polyunsaturates.
Ben: Yeah, that's the thing that gets me a lot of times in these high-fat studies that they do that discover problems that they do in rodents. They use this, I believe it has a name. It's called MegaTrans right? Isn't that what all the actual fat that they feed these mice?
Cate: We refer to it as MegaTrans because these oxidized fats are bad for us in the same way that TransFat is, but they're worse because they also promote oxydation.
Ben: So basically when we're trying to apply those type of studies to humans we would assume that humans then are eating pelleted oxydized chow made up of sunflower oil and lard and then saying that a high fat diet would be deleterious.
Cate: Exactly, so it really depends on the details of the diet.
Ben: Yeah but it also is interesting, so you're saying is if you're to give me a shot glass of olive oil and a shot glass of vegetable oil, or let's say you were to give me a shot glass of olive oil and you a shot glass of vegetable oil and that was going to be all our calories, right? Like we were just going to take 12 shots a day, you would become obese and I theoretically would maintain normal weight because I wouldn't be getting the same DNA damage and oxidation as you would from something like an extra virgin olive oil calories being completely equal?
Cate: Exactly. We should qualify. Would I be more likely to become obese?
Cate: Some of this is gonna depend on your genetics like you don’t know exactly what these fats are going to do to a given person but they’re gonna do something bad. Like you don’t know what oxidative stress does. Some people are prone to developing arterial sclerosis and they won’t necessarily get overweight. Some people are prone to developing diabetes and they’ll really gain a lot of weight. Some people are prone to developing Alzheimer’s. Some people are prone to becoming lethargic from these things and that also promotes weight gain. So you just don’t know exactly what’s gonna happen but you know it’s bad.
Ben: Well, let’s get in to genetics a little bit, like you have a part in the book where you talked about this buffet that you went to in Kauai, one of my favorite islands by the way where you and Luke used to live, jealous. I freaking love Kauai. I go there almost every year now. Thailand used to be my Mecca. Now it’s now Kauai. But anyways, you guys went to a buffet there with a bunch of Filipinos and you have a little story in the book about that. Tell me about the story and why’d you include it?
Cate: Yeah, at this Filipino buffet I was presented with an incredible spread of exotic dishes that were made with every part of the animal and I realized that in there that there was more to meat than meat, right. So, my diet at the time which I thought was great because it’s what I learned in medical school that’s we’re supposed to eat was lots of sort of boneless, skinless chicken breast and ramen, and frozen peas, and I realized how bland the flavors were compared to what I was seeing at that buffet. And even though I didn’t have like their devilness that looked as you just over it and eat all these stuff, I was like, “Oh, I need to have something a little bit more familiar looking.” So I think I’ve found like a chicken soup or something. But it was really an eye opener and I developed a case of nutritional and cultural fomo, you know, I felt like I was missing out on all of these, like other world of flavor and potentially nutrition.
Ben: Oh you mean like soupy chunks and you talked about deep marin liver, and chicken gizzards, and pork meat braised, and I think you even talked about knuckles and sweet potato soup and all these things that we kinda delved into the last time I had you on the podcast, you know, were you talked about meat on the bone and organ meats, and a lot of the things that we would normally throw out as being these things that can help us quite significantly but you say that you think that you would have looked different or like your body would be different had you grown up eating those foods. What do you mean by that?
Cate: Yeah. I said this because shortly after that buffet I like got sick and I started to thinking more deeply about the connection between nutrition and health and I noticed that my patients who had like just more of an ideal bomb struck which we also defined were they didn’t need glasses, they didn’t need braces, they had beautiful cheek pangs and strong jaws, and they were just physically strong like their whole body were stronger. Into their 60s they’d been able to do heavy labor, like housekeeping which is really heavy labor. They have to do 14 sweeps a day that they would clean. Scrubbing the bathtubs, so it’s really hard work. And I was noticing that those people who were tackling more about what they ate at home and being these traditional foods, they tended to be the ones that had this look and had this strength to them. And so, I then looked back and in my own family history, my grandparents they had that look. That same look. The strong jaws. They didn’t need glasses, not even need a braces. Whereas, all of my siblings except for me, needed braces and also 3 out of the 4 of us need glasses. So it’s the degeneration of health that you get when you get away from this colonary traditions because it’s getting away from nutrition that we need in order to be optimally healthy and grow up optimally healthy.
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Now you actually have an entire chapter about this called dynamic symmetry and I want to delve into how what we eat actually affects our symmetry, our beauty because I found this fascinating. We touched on it the last time that I interviewed you, but I want to dive into this a little bit more about how we can, more or less, eat ourselves beautiful. Can you talk about the link between symmetry and the foods that we eat?
Cate: Yeah. So, the type of symmetry we're talking about is called dynamic symmetry and you see it everywhere in nature when something, generally when you're pressed with, it looks beautiful. So like oak trees, they grow with these spreading branches and it's just they're almost like mesmerizing to look at because they grow according to the same principle of dynamic symmetry. It's actually a ratio called Phi, P-H-I, and it reached fibonacci sequence and it helps architects built buildings that are more strong and attractive. It's a universal principle and you can get it like you can sort of visualize how nutrition relates with this by using an analogy of like a plant. Say you planted two plants and one, you give the kind of soil, the kind of sunlight, the kind of fertilizer that that particular breed of plant wants and you see that it grows normally. It grows, it’s strong, it doesn't bend over, and the leaves aren’t wilting. If it’s a flowering plant, it’ll have a nice flower. But the other one, that’s the same seed, could be genetically clone and you give it just slightly wrong soil whether, say, not enough minerals or something. You don't give it enough sunlight, the temperature’s wrong. You are not going to get that same kind of optimal growth. It's gonna may be stunted or it may be really long and skinny, it may never flower. So this is the difference that we can actually see when something gets the optimal blend of nutrients for its genetics versus suboptimal. We can see it. And the best way to measure it objectively is through this principle of geometry called Phi. And so we just devote a whole chapter to describing what that is and how that…
Ben: Principe of geometry called Phi like Phi, P-H-I, or I guess it would be P-I. I got to remember back to math slash spelling.
Cate: Yeah. So they're both like constants that appear in mathematical equations all the time, but they're different. So Pi is 3.14 and I don’t know, and Phi is 1.618 and it goes on and on and on. They’re both like rational infinite numbers.
Ben: Gotcha. Okay. Yeah, it is Phi like P-H-I?
Ben: Okay. Got it. And you described Phi, P-H-I, as beauty’s secret code meaning that what you're saying is that when we look at symmetry and the ability to actually apply mathematical equations to symmetry that this number, this 1.61 number, is called like the golden ratio like the Greeks and the Egyptians would use it in structural art and architecture to create perfectly symmetrical works of art. And what you're arguing in the book is that the human face, a perfectly symmetrical human face, relies upon that same mathematical structure?
Cate: Yes, it reflects that same mathematical structure as well and it's not just like a matter of, “Oh, okay. Now you’re pretty.” Right? So you have that benefit in life and you can decide to be a movie star or a model if you want. It's way beyond that because that same ratio also optimizes function so that movie stars didn't have to wear, most of them, didn't have to wear braces, or for not as long, and why does it matter if you had to wear braces or not to help? Well, it's a reflection of optimal geometry of your jaw structure and that before we had dentists and stuff like that. If your teeth weren’t straight, they didn’t come in straight, you could die. And another thing that happens when you have ideal geometry is that your ear canals and your sinus passages drain better. So your way less prone to infections and if you didn't have antibiotics, if you got a sinus infection or ear infection, you could die. And another thing that happens is your eyeball is, if you have this ideal geometry, your eyeball is much more likely to be able to perfectly focus light onto the back of your eye.
In other words, you won't need glasses and before we had glasses, if you couldn't see what you were doing, you would die. You couldn't survive. You wouldn't hunt, you'd be almost blind. So every single one of these things that we gauge as attractive has an implication in terms of health and it happens throughout the body. So that when you look at the pro athletes like whether they are basketball players or tennis players or swimmers or you, you’re gonna see this geometry throughout the whole body as well so that it affects the ratio of the length of the spine, for example, to the length of the lumbar spine, particularly to the rib cage and a lot of us walking around have what we call short waists where we don't have that nice, graceful length of lumbar spine that actually is really essential for athletic performance because it helps your torso rotate properly and it reduces injuries to the hips and to the lower backs.
Ben: Allows for activation of glute extension too with the glutes being the most important muscle for athletic performance in most situations, I guess, unless you’re, I don't know. I'm trying to think of a sport where you wouldn't use you're glutes. So even swimming, you use your glutes very extensively. I was actually over in Finland and I was talking with this guy, I’ve had him on the show before, this guy named Vessi and he's tried to convince the Finland swim team to begin swimming naked based off of analyses that he's done on activation of gluteal muscles in the fact that the tightness of the swimwear around the glutes can actually deactivate glute muscles and decrease the propulsion of the kick. So, the other lumbar spine is pretty dang important. You even go into in the book, I mean in this whole chapter on dynamic symmetry, how we think that we’re sexually attracted to beautiful faces and we’re sexually attracted to symmetrical bodies, but it appears that our brain actually is naturally tracking all sexual considerations aside. You actually show some EEG patterns that showed that we have blood flow to the pleasure center of our brain that gets increased and more normalized EEG patterns when we gaze upon folks who have symmetrical faces or folks who have symmetrical bodies which is probably why people with good symmetry tend to get better jobs, make more money, and have an easier time in life because of that symmetry that just basically makes people want to be around them more.
Cate: Yeah, it’s like a drug, right? Just looking at it, it literally has a drug effect.
Ben: And, of course, all this has a purpose. I was talking about this because you can actually eat yourself or your children, your offspring into a more symmetrical state which I think is super interesting and close to my heart ‘cause like my wife grew up on freaking braces and all sorts of teeth issues and jaw issues, and not to pat ourselves on the back too much, but our kids are pretty beautiful like they don't have any of these teeth issues or these jaw issues or any of these things that, my wife especially, add. And they've grown up on sardines, and egg yolks, and liver, and you got a lot of these things that you talk about in the book, but I actually want to talk to you a little bit about that, about how facial and body symmetry is influenced by nutrition and even by what a mom eats while she's pregnant. Can you go into that a little bit?
Cate: Yeah, so we have this idea in our culture that women have a biological clock that's tick tick tick tick ticking and we better pump out babies quickly before something happens and our clock expires and we can’t have kids or something. But so we don't talk about how important it is to replenish the mother's body between babies. If you just go like nine months, you have a baby and then you get pregnant again like next month, then that second baby is at a disadvantage compared to the first because mom's body was relatively depleted with some of these basic building blocks for the baby by the act of building that baby number one. And so, as a general trend, I see that if there's closely spaced children, the second, third, more and more of the deviation away from the ideal geometry. Now, this is a generalization. Some, there are actually even advantages to going second, I talk about as well so there's some modifying factors. It’s not like you're doomed if you’re baby number two and your mom only gave you the bare minimum because a lot of it is influenced, continues to be influenced, by what you eat as you are a child too. So if you could have really optimal diet there, that can potentially, you can regain some lost ground.
Ben: You can undo some of that damage. Well, but what you're saying is, and I think you call it second siblings syndrome in the book like you show a photograph on one of the pages of Matt Dillon versus his brother who’s like 18 months younger, Kevin Dillon, and how different their facial symmetries are, and then you discuss how when a mom is pregnant, it draws down maternal stores of things like iron, and folate, and DHA, and all of these essential fatty acids. And so you get children, if they’re spaced too closely together, the second child experiences deficiencies in those nutrients and that directly affect the child's bone growth, their lumbar spine, which you hit on earlier, the jaws, the teeth, a lot of the things that, for example, Weston A. Price, right? Who travelled around the world and found that as soon as you introduce westernized foods and vegetable oils of all things into other cultures, you tend to see, all of a sudden, generations with less symmetry. What you're saying is that when women don't space out their children far enough apart or don't have a high intake of these type of nutrients during pregnancy or both, you wind up creating generations that are less symmetrical and less beautiful.
Cate: Exactly, and it's something that is very, very powerful in impacting the rest of that child's life and so I just like to, I don’t want to focus on the negative, but I want to focus on the positive about how much control moms have and how that when you are actually, if you’re worried about your biological clock ticking, there's all kinds of evidence that getting these vegetable oils, you’re giving yourself 6 to 12 months of getting these vegetable oil out of your diet, and sugar out of your diet as well and replenishing your body. There's all kinds of reasoning why that would actually improve your fertility. We actually have people who have, many, many people now who’ve gone on like lower carb diets and healthy fats that have been told that they were infertile that suddenly they get pregnant. And so you're reversing your biological clock by going on this better diet and you're just definitely setting your children up for a lifetime of success, a greater chance of a lifetime of success like giving yourself a little bit of time and lots of nutrition between babies, and really making a focus. We talk so much about like saving money for college and saving money for our children but what's worth more than that is what is priceless is a beautiful, super healthy, super intelligent, strong child.
Ben: Not just women but also men. I mean you talk about why men should take preparation for pregnancy as seriously as women and about how the sperm and especially the motility of the sperm, and health of the sperm is affected by these nutritional parameters in the same way. I mean, I know it’s also affected by things like cellphones and hot tubs, of course, but this doesn’t mean, guys, that you can eat vegetable oils while your significant other is forced to consume liver pate and I say ‘forced to consume’ because most people think about that while I freaking love liver pate and so do you, Cate. We can get into why briefly but this is for men and women alike, and I think one of the interesting things about this, you get into this in the book, Cate, is how, we just talked about how beauty and symmetry could potentially give you a step up in life, allow you to make more money, get better jobs, allow other people around you to feel more pleasure when they look at you or hang out with you, but then you also talk about how some of the world's elite, some of these rich people, some of these folks who are really killing it in life, they wouldn't touch the food that the rest of us eat. This is kind of related to like what you were saying about the olive oil. How canola oil is safe for the masses and like the rich people, culinary instead of America they get the extra virgin olive oil. You also talk about, for example, president Obama's inaugural lunch and what they're eating over at the White House. What are they eating at the White House?
Cate: It’s all the good stuff and they don't even have to know that it's good because they're surrounded by chefs and the chefs are the original nutritionists. These are the people who create flavorful dishes from the most nutrient and tense of animals and plants that they can get a hold of. So actually, I just looked at what trump had for his inauguration because he's like famous for, “Oh, I eat junk food.” Right? Well, his inaugurate dinner is right in line with everyone else is where they've got like the lobster, Maine lobster, good shrimp, some kind of a fancy peanut crumble, Angus beef and with bone stock juice, and just course after course of like the best of the best kinds of foods. And even with Trump who’s famously…
Ben: Right, but not just the best of the best foods, but I mean we're talking about like fatty sour creams and artisan cheeses, and like these big fatty cuts of beef and tenderloin, and veal, and lobster tails, and chowder cream sauce, and these foods that we've been told they're going to give us heart attacks that folks who are rich and famous are consuming. And not that every president has been like the cutting edge picture of health but it is kind of interesting how wealthy people aren’t necessarily eating or drinking skim milk and eating french fries and fat-free foods.
Cate: Certainly not fat-free foods because even Trump, he doesn't have the best diet but he's going after fat and flavor and you don't see him having boneless, skinless chicken breasts, brown rice, frozen broccoli, some kind of heart-healthy spread and you've never seen any president doing that not even Clinton when he was vegan there for a little while. He didn’t have those kinds of fake spreads and he had lots of spices in his vegan food. So you just don't see anyone with means eating the way we’re supposed to or were told.
Ben: Now, of course, if we’re consuming foie gras, and fresh oysters, and lobsters, and crab, and caviar, and butter as organ meats, and cold water fish, and everything else as our main staples, some folks will say that's gonna shove the LDL levels through the roof, right? Like that's one of the main concerns is, “Hey, my LDL is above 200. I should not be doing this. I need to step back on these foods and eat more whole wheat bread and buy more kale.” but you actually go into LDL in the book a little bit and you say that LDL is basically irrelevant. Why do you say that LDL is irrelevant?
Cate: So, yeah, I think it should be in a chapter called ‘good fats and bad’ and we really explain why we've got it totally wrong with our viewpoint on cholesterol, and LDL, and unsaturated fat and where all this nonsense came from. What talk about now, doctors will talk about, is your total cholesterol and your LDL number, but what we don't talk about that we should be talking about is whether or not you're LDL particles are working, are doing their job. They have a job to do. They're not created by nature to just line our arteries with plaque. They're created by nature to deliver fats. That's what they're supposed to do and if they are working well, they will deliver fats. They will take fat from your diet and carry it around to tissues in your body that need or store fats. And if they are able to do that then it does not matter how well or how many of them that you have or how high that total LDL number is. If they are not able to do that and they cannot deliver fats, that's where you have problems and it does not matter how low your LDL number is because that fat that’s in those LDL particles is not going to be able to get out of your bloodstream and that's where [55:25] ______ because when LDL particles don't function they can't deliver and they'll just end up lining your arteries.
Ben: And it’s oxidation that would keep an LDL particle a lipoprotein from functioning?
Cate: Yes, oxidation and another process called glycation, both. So the glycation comes from sugar and we explain how that works too. But focusing on the oxidation of the vegetable oils, I saved a lot of studies by one particular chemist who has been doing just groundbreaking work on how vegetable oils oxidizing in the LDL particles go through different stages of damaging the LDL, and he even says that one of the reasons that we think polyunsaturated fatty acids is bad is because it drops LDL particles, it reduces the count of LDL particles which, as I said, is all wrongheaded thinking, but what it does is it oxidizes them beyond recognition. So they are not gone. The particle counts don't go, I'm sorry, the LDL doesn't get out of your bloodstream better because you've got polyunsaturated fatty acids. It becomes so oxidized that it's unrecognizable and we're not measuring it but it's still in your bloodstreamm and it's causing fatty streaks and arterial sclerosis.
Ben: Wow. And you talk about glycation in sugar, of course, a little bit too, but it's less, and correct me if I'm wrong here because this is what I focus on in my own life, it's not exactly the sugar itself that’s the issue but it's the amount of time that that sugar spends in the bloodstream, correct? So it's like if you're constantly spiking your blood sugar levels throughout the day with frequent snacking even if the snacking is on good foods but foods that keep on introducing glucose into the bloodstream or keep on causing like gluconeogenesis from constant feedings of whey protein, or chicken breast, or whatever, or that sugar is spending a lot of time in the bloodstream because you are not physically active, that's where glycation becomes an issue. Glycation wouldn’t really be an issue from like eating an apple after a workout.
Cate: Exactly. So yes, because it's a matter of how well you can control your blood sugar level. And so for years even on a terrible diet with lots of carbon, lots of sugar, we have hormone systems that can control and that can keep our level normal. Ultimately they get worn out and then that's when we are really become sensitive to sugar and get that glycation happens faster, and we really have to start watching our diet. But vegetable oil is bad like from the get-go.
Cate: This sugar is bad after years when your hormone systems can’t handle it anymore.
Ben: Right. So what that would mean then is for dinner I could have a bunch of sweet potatoes especially if I’ve been doing squats and deadlifts before dinner and that's gonna be just fine but, say, I dumped a bunch of canola oil on those sweet potatoes even if the glucose is getting shuttled into muscle glycogen and the liver glycogen stores, for example, the vegetable oil is gonna stick around long after and just oxidize the crap out of my body and, as we’ve just learned, also make me ugly and give me bad teeth and give my sperm a bad time as well. Alright, so you also, in a fascinating chapter about how we can actually enable fat cells to get converted into other tissues, kind of delve into the science of why calories don't always count and how fat cells really can become something other than fat cells which I find intriguing because, for me, growing up in the stereotypical personal training industry it's like once you get fat you’re stuck with the number of fat cells that you started off with or that you built and they’re always just like waiting there to grab calories and balloon up again, but that doesn't really, it's not really true. You get into, in the book, about how fat cells can differentiate into other tissue and how we can actually enable our body to be able to do that. So the first question I have for you about this, Cate, is why do you say that calories don't always count? What's your reasoning behind that?
Cate: Yes. So food is so much more than just the amount of energy it contains and that's what calories reflect. But food is also chemical information that each one of the molecules in there has potential for being a building block and also some of them interact directly with your DNA and instruct your cells on what to do next. Like if they should divide, for example, or if it's time for a cell to, cells can commit like a neat kind of suicide where they just sort of shut themselves down and disappear when they feel that they are no longer needed for that tissue and that’s what we want for our fat cells to do. We also want cancer, pre-cancerous cells to do this and so the first inkling that we had as to the power of different compounds in our foods to do this was the omega 3 and omega 6, right? So I actually met with the woman who wrote the book on this. She wrote a book called ‘The Omega Diet’ after interviewing a researcher in a lab who was studying omega 3 versus omega 6 and how it affected cancer cells. And she was fascinated because she saw the two different like piles of cells on a slide. One had been fed omega 3 and that cancer tumor cell, pile of cells was smaller and one had been fed omega 6 and that one was much bigger and so this is the information. So there’s no more calories in omega 3 fats versus omega 6 fats. They're equal or roughly equal, but the main difference is how they interact with our enzymes in our cells, in our DNA, and so this applies to every nutrient.
So sports nutritionists’ kind of like the worst field of nutrition because they're pushing sugar and their idea is that a calories’ a calorie and athletes feel energized when they get sugar so “It's going to be good!” plus Coke funds their research so sugar’s got to be good. But they're so much more to it. It's a ridiculous oversimplification when we just talk about calories and the whole calories in, calories out model and just restrict your calories, and “poof” automatically you're gonna lose weight very easily. And calories do matter, they are important, but what's more important is the information in your food that controls everything about even your appetites and your cravings. There was a study that recently came out that same amount of calories in soy versus coconut chow fed to rats, and the rats that got the soy gained something like 30 percent more weight and were obese compared to the rats that got the coconut. Same amount of calories.
Ben: Interesting. Okay, so part of this comes down to the what you're saying is if we were going to look at calories in general, and this kind of returns to what we're hinting at with the olive oil versus vegetable oil deal, a big, big part of your body's ability to be able to take calories and use them comes down to the omega 3 and the omega 6 fatty acid ratios?
Cate: That's just one example. There are so many other very important factors. Some of which we understand and some of which we don't which is why we say that the most important thing to do in terms of diet, we define a healthy diet the way we do just simply by going back to doing what we used to do before the government started telling us to avoid saturated fat, cholesterol, and all this nonsense which obliterated our respect for culinary tradition that had been what kept us alive for thousands of generations.
Ben: Got it.
Cate: So we just aim to go back to that because it's the fastest most efficient route to doing all the right thing. Just reproducing what worked before.
Ben: It’s amazing how much of a difference they can make when they're so similar. You say in the book essential fatty acids, omega 3 and omega 6, are nearly identical to the chemist who draw them on their chalk boards but to ourselves they are as opposite as night and day. And the take away from this guy, Robinson, who you interviewed about cancer and the fatty acid imbalances that might have set itself up for cancer, he basically says we need to eat more omega 3s from things like eggs, and cold water fatty fish, and plants and those are all things that people just don't eat as much of anymore compared to corn and soy, and animals that are fed corn and soy, and all the vegetable oils on the package on food store shelves and, now as we know, in fancy restaurants even.
So I mean it's simple on the face of it. It's just, it's so hard when you're eating packaged foods to have that happen and that's why, I mean, I think that if you're eating 2000 calories a day of liver pate, and eggs, and kale, and fish you can stay lean whereas your friend who's eating whatever healthy packaged food from the grocery store that's got vegetable oil and cane sugar as a primary ingredients, they’re using the same number of calories but they're still having weight issues and a whole host of other issues as well. I mean it all makes sense but it's just, it's so hard for a lot of people to wrap their heads around it still which I find is a real head scratcher personally. You go into fat cells though, which I touched on a little bit earlier, and how fat cells can leave adipose tissue and migrate to become new muscle tissue or bone tissue or brain cells. What would keep fat cells from being able to do that?
Cate: The signals in your diet that might be saying, “We need to keep building fat” and the most powerful one is the signals in your diet like the wrong kinds of fats and too much carb that are going to cause something called insulin resistance, and keep your levels of insulin really high. So insulin is the hormone that you're body uses to shove sugar into fat cells and a few other cells that are happens from receptors. And the insulin at high levels, higher than like say, what you might have waking up in the morning, is gonna be high enough to block fat burn and if cells cannot, if fat cells can't burn fat, they're not gonna empty out and that’s step one to convincing a fat cell that it's time to stop being a fat cell and either undergo apoptosis or revert to a more primitive form called like a preadipocyte which is very similar to a stem cell which can become another kind of cell, theoretically.
Ben: Okay. So fat cell can revert to a stem cell and that's called redifferentiation and that makes it pluripotent, and that means it can again redifferentiate and then become whatever other cell type is needed in body tissue like a muscle cell, for example.
Cate: Yes. Probably what happens when somebody loses weight is that many of the fat cells just simply empty out and when they lose weight in a way that’s sustainable, they stop being fat cells either by going to that apoptosis, which is the cell suicide that kill themselves, there’s no more cell or they become a preadipocyte and then possibly can, from there, go back to becoming a stem cell and become fibrocyte or even a muscle cell. We don't really know. What we do know that these sort of cellular transformations have been done in a lab. So you can take a fat cells from somebody's hip and convince it to turn into a bone cell or a muscle cell by just simply hormones that would be present in your body at normal amounts and nutrient. You don't have to do like any kind of genetic engineering or anything to get that to happen.
Ben: Yeah. And you go into, well, on the book you have six different factors that can keep this actual conversion from taking place. You just mentioned insulin and how that's going to be one thing that will keep this redifferentiation of stem cell or of fat cells from occurring and, of course, sugar goes along with that. That’s the second variable you talk about omega 6 fatty acids and inflammation, of course, are another one that you discussed. And then another couple that you go into, just for those of you listening in who want to enable yourselves to turn fat and other tissues, one is glucocorticoids, which I know go through the roof with stress and sleep deprivation basically. So you can, in the absence of any other nutritional variables just through stress and sleep deprivation, keep yourself from turning fat cells into other cells and then these mega transfats that we already talked about like high omega 6, low omega 3 fatty acids or aversions of trans-fatty acids. So read that chapter if you're listening and you want to have a very, very potent method for getting rid of fat. A few other things I wanted to ask you about though, Cate, while I have you on. First of all…
Cate: You know what, before we get to that, Ben, I just want to clarify that…
Ben: Oh, go ahead.
Cate: The vegetable oils also have omega 3 in them particularly canola. This is why we pick on canola because it's promoted as being healthy. The reason it's bad is not because it has the wrong ratio but because omega 3 fats break down just the same way as omega 6 into these mega transfats. So omega 3 is also, when it is processed the way through the vegetable oil processing process, it is actually worse than omega 6 because it is more susceptible to this oxidation. It's the first thing that will break down and become some of these toxins. So I just wanted to clarify that because that's an important point where folks talking about why vegetable oil is bad. They’ll focus on the omega 6 which is true for some of the vegetable oils but not all and it's really not just the omega 6 content. It's the fact that all polyunsaturated fatty acids in these vegetable oils, the 3 and the 6, breakdown in ways that create toxins and that's the different issue. So there's also the 3:6 ratio but that only applies to the intact 3 and 6, which would be, it would be great if we had intact 3 and 6…
Ben: And that's because the omega 3 has 3 different places for oxygen to react so it's really, really reactive.
Cate: Yes. Exactly. Well stated.
Ben: Okay. Got it. Cool. That makes sense. So even if something has omega 3 fatty acids in it, you're kind of even more screwed if it's been exposed to heat, and pressure, and a lot of the ways that they actually process vegetable oils.
Cate: Yes. Exactly and that's why it's kind of like a roulette if you're taking of a fish oil capsule because fish oils are those of omega 3s that have like 4 or 5 or 6 in some cases of the double bonds and they don’t last 30 days.
Ben: Which is why taking a bad fish oil is worse than not taking fish oil at all.
Ben: Yeah. That's why I always like smell fish oil. I make sure it's been shipped to my house that’s never gotten like warm or anything. That's really important. You want to buy it from bottles that aren’t clear or you wouldn’t want to be in like Ziploc bags when you travel. Yeah, that's all super important. I'm curious if you could tell me a little bit about the way that the LA Lakers eat because I know you’ve work with them and you have like certain snacks that they get, and you have what I know you call the pro-nutrition program that they go through, but can you go through, because I know a lot of these guys are busy. They aren’t necessarily like making liver pate, I don't think, but how would like a simple kind of snack or meal programs for an LA Laker go?
Cate: So the chef at the facility handles their breakfast, their lunches and then their post-game dinners and what we do is have a breakfast buffet. Breakfast is kind of like the worst meal for most people because we just want to have it in such a hurry and it usually ends up being really starchy and processed. So we don't take anything away. We still have like the french toast, and we'll still have waffles and pancakes, but it's just gonna be like not that front and center thing. We also have lots of other meats and even omelets and yogurt and so they got for breakfast and then, of course, when she makes waffles or french toast or anything she's gonna be using butter and other totally natural fats, and pastured eggs and well-sourced meats like this. And then for lunch they'll have mostly, they don't do a lot of salads. They just take too long. So we kind of gave up on that for most of them unless they specifically request something, but…
Ben: You mean they take too long to eat?
Cate: They take too long to eat, yes. These guys have lots of things to do. And so she’ll make like some kind of a vegetable soup or like vegetable, she’ll do like a healthy version of Chinese takeout, for example, or Thai food, and she's really doing a lot of exotic things like with quinoa and ancient greens and stuff like this and, of course, they'll be some kind of meat, but we really just do like the familiar, the foods that their familiar with that like some of them grew up on. We’ll even do a healthy version of mac and cheese, or chicken wings, or ribs.
Ben: Okay. I got to ask. What's the healthy version of mac and cheese, and chicken wings?
Cate: So with chicken wings, you just, you use pastured chicken if you can. You keep, obviously, you keep the skin on and if you're going to like make buffalo style wings, you just don't use any of that nasty vegetable oil either as for crisping up the skin or for the dip. So when she makes like a ranch dip, it'll be with real buttermilk and not like what you get in the store. And then the other one, mac and cheese, so you’ll use real cheese instead of like [1:13:14] ______ or something. Just have more cheese and the cheese are pastured, use pastured butter and relatively less. More of the cheese and all that and less of the pasta.
Ben: It's so simple like when you think about it, it’s just like those little things that add up. I mean you get into, in the book, you do like kale chips instead of regular chips, and you do like real yogurt instead of fake sugar-filled yogurt, but it’s not like you're eating that much differently, it’s just like you’re eating, kind of like you mentioned, like the rich people in the White House eat rather than that how, and part I'm not trying to like insult anybody here, but like how poor, ugly people would eat because they’ve eaten themselves into asymmetry. Like it all makes sense.
Cate: Good stand, yeah especially those [1:14:28] ______.
Ben: Okay. But, of course, not everybody is walking around buying lobster and caviar everyday. So can you go into, you got five easy ways to get started in the book, to get started with all these concepts. Five hundred pages of concepts but five easy steps that you have in the book. Can you go into those exact five steps so the people have some takeaways here?
Cate: Yeah. So probably the first thing to do is have like a big, colorful salad four days a week with some homemade dressing, at least a non-vegetable oil dressing, and then the salad, I always talk about having four total cups. It's like a rule of fours. Four days a week. Have four cups of salad and there should be four colors in there as well. So that's like one really simple rule of getting a lot of anti-oxidants and diversity.
Ben: Which I started doing after the first time I interviewed you, by the way. I always have at least four different vegetables in the fridge and I always have a salad for lunch, at least Monday through Friday, and I always just make sure to rainbow.
Cate: Oh, beautiful.
Ben: So a whole bunch of different kind of vegetables. So it's never just lettuce or just spinach or just kale. It’s like I grab, and it adds like an extra five minutes of chopping or whatever, but honestly, I kind of like it. I get into this zen mode, chopping the vegetables. They’re kind of fun. And then in the winter, I heat it in a cast iron skillet instead of eating it cold. So I like it.
Cate: Yeah. I like the chopping too. It’s easy and then look at the harder stuff of cooking. And then another really simple swap is just getting grass-fed dairy fat in your diet. So like grass-fed butter or yogurt that's been from cows that were raised on grass and you if go to a health food store, you're generally gonna find some kind of local product where they have these grass-fed butters and yogurts, and sometimes you’ll also see milk and cream and stuff like this or cheese, getting that grass-fed. That can be imported from places like Ireland or New Zealand where most of the cow still are getting grass. So real simple swap that you can still get your cheese and your familiar foods. As long as you can do dairy. That is a super, super simple thing. It's really healthy.
Ben: Which, by the way, a lot of people can’t do dairy from the other sources that have been pasteurized and homogenized, etcetera where a lot of the probiotics that help you to digest lactose have been eliminated can digest these foods that still have the probiotics active.
Cate: Yeah, and also cheese in particular because the lactose has been fermented away by the microbes that made the cheese.
Ben: Yeah, good point.
Cate: And then another really important relatively simple thing is to get bone stock. Now, if you’re not gonna just make it yourself, you can actually buy it. You can go to Costco and they tend to, most Costcos that I’ve been into lately have both chicken stock and beef stock. It's organic. I think it’s Pacific Organic, I think is the brand.
Ben: Yeah. I'm not a fan of that brand, by the way.
Cate: It’s not as good as homemade, but it will do the job…
Ben: I use Kettle & Fire Bone Broth. I think it’s way better. I don't know if you’ve tried Kettle & Fire before, but it's real. They use like the feet and the knuckles, and everything and they've got zero preservatives and just send it straight to your house. I used to buy that Pacific broth but then if you look at the ingredient label, not only is it not that great, but the bones that they use are really basic. So I don't know if you’ve looked into the Kettle & Fire stuff, but I swear by it. Now, I always have a few boxes of that in the fridge.
Cate: Oh yeah. Awesome. I have to check that out. Thanks. Yeah, so and then, what do you use that for. Well, one of the things that I like to do is kind of use it as a base for an instant lunch. So I'll just heat up the broth and then tear like deli slices of meat into the soup and throw some stuff in, that might be good in soup like I throw frozen peas in and I’ll throw in some mozzarella cheese, and just whatever. I mean soups are so easy to make and that broth sort of magically blends everything together in a way that actually taste good even if it’s the weirdest combinations.
Ben: Got it. Okay. Cool. So we got broth, we've got real dairy, we've got eating four to five salads a week that are colorful ones and couple others.
Cate: Yes. So one thing that's potentially simple, depending on your appetite is getting organ meats at least once a week and probably the easiest way to do that is like liver pate, liverwurst or bratwurst, and on my website I have a couple of resource that I recommend. One of my favorite bratwurst is from USWellnessMeats and you can order that online as well. It's actually really tasty.
Ben: I do an order from them about once a quarter because you pay for shipping. You do pay for shipping but, yeah, I mean I interviewed them on the podcast. I’ll actually link to it on the show notes, the interview that I did with them. But yeah, I order pemmican, the rib-eye, and then there like braunschweiger, and their head cheese, and like some of their like more ancestral meats, and they just come in the packaging, toss them in the freezer, thaw them out when you want to eat them. Easy.
Cate: Yeah, it’s fast food really. Healthy fast food. And then once a day, the last thing I recommend is just, once a day get some kind of probiotic rich food like whether it's yogurt, or fermented pickles, or fermented sauerkraut, or kimchi once a day. That really helps your gut health and your immune system.
Ben: I love it. I do all of those things and a lot of the stuff I learn from you and your book like it was one of the first nutrition books I read that was kind of like a little bit more, I guess like for me, advanced and I started incorporating a lot of this stuff. So I guess I have you to thank if my kids wind up growing up making a lot of money. I'll just, I'll send you a check because it’s right about the time they were born I think I read your first book so…
Cate: Oh my gosh. It's amazing. Yeah. Well, that’s the highest praise I could ever hope for. Send me a picture.
Ben: Of course, the catch 22 is that as they make more money their dad's gonna be spending it all on lobster and caviar, and trying to eat like the White House people eat so there's a catch 22. That's right. That's living, baby. Well, cool. Cate, this is a fantastic book. I'm linking to everything that we talked about over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/deepnutrition/ that's bengreenfieldfitness.com/deepnutrition/ where you can also access my first podcast with Cate which would be a perfect complement to this one because we delve into something you didn't discuss on today's podcast. So thanks for rewriting this book, adding so much, and also for coming on the podcast and sharing this stuff with us, Cate.
Cate: Thanks so much, Ben. It's always great talking to you.
Ben: Alright. Cool. Well, folks, I'm Ben Greenfield along with Cate Shanahan, signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com Have a healthy week.
Two years ago, Cate Shanahan came onto the podcast as a guest for the episode “How To Use Food As Your Body’s Fat Loss Language“.
During that episode, we delved into into how the way your body interprets the food you eat in a manner that can make you either lean or fat – depending on your food choice.
We also discussed Cate's book, which is one of the nutrition books that I find myself recommending most often, Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food. This month, Cate published a brand new, updated version of the book, and we take a deep dive into it on this podast.
In writing this book, Cate examined diets around the world known to help people live longer, healthier lives―diets like the Mediterranean, Okinawa, and “Blue Zone”. She identified the four common nutritional habits, developed over millennia, that unfailingly produce strong, healthy, intelligent children, and active, vital elders, generation after generation. These four nutritional strategies―fresh food, fermented and sprouted foods, meat cooked on the bone, and organ meats―form the basis of what Dr. Cate calls “The Human Diet.”
Cate is a board-certified family physician. She trained in biochemistry and genetics at Cornell University before attending Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. For ten years, she practiced medicine in Hawaii, where she studied ethnobotany and the culinary habits of her healthiest patients. She currently runs a metabolic health clinic in Denver, Colorado and serves as the Director of the Los Angeles Lakers PRO Nutrition Program.
Not only do the LA Lakers follower her nutritional protocol (we discuss their snacks in today's show) but I just found out that the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team has been following a Deep Nutrition style diet for 3 years, Villanova won the college basketball championship in 2016 after adopting this diet the season prior.
Rooted in her experience as an elite athlete who used traditional foods to cure her own debilitating injuries, and combining her research with the latest discoveries in the field of epigenetics, Cate shows in this new book how all calories are not created equal; food is information that directs our cellular growth. Our family history does not determine our destiny: what you eat and how you live can alter your DNA in ways that affect your health and the health of your future children.
During our discussion, you'll discover:
-The shocking story of what happened when Cate and her husband visited the Culinary Institute of America…[8:50]
-Why vegetable oil is your brain's worst enemy…[14:05]
-The little-known toxin called 4HNE and the havoc it wreaks on your brain…[18:07]
-Why cutting vegetable oil from the diet potentially just as good for the gut as a fecal transplant…[24:20]
-What happened at a Filipino buffet in Kuaui that got Cate seriously thinking about dynamic symmetry…[30:55]
-What nutrition has to do with beauty and symmetry (and the fascinating reason why should women space their children out if they want to have beautiful women)…[37:30]
-Why men should take preparation for pregnancy just as seriously as women…[45:15]
-What the world's elite and rich people eat, and why that leads them to higher amounts of beauty and success…[51:10]
-Why the total amount of LDL you possess can be practically irrelevant…[53:50]
-Why Cate says that calories don't always count…[59:25]
-How fat cells really become something other than fat cells…[66:00]
-The dietary habits of the LA Lakers that allow them to follow these same principles…[70:50]
-Five easy ways to get started with Deep Nutrition concepts…[74:35]
-And much more!
Resources from this episode:
-Cate's book: Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food