[0:00:54] Podcast Sponsors
[0:04:11] About This Podcast
[0:06:42] Human Lifespan
[0:10:05] Don’t Smoke
[0:14:19] Eat Wild Plants
[0:18:03] Avoid Processed and Packaged Foods
[0:22:36] Eat Legumes
[0:25:57] Low-Level Physical Activity
[0:29:00] Prioritize Social Engagement
[0:30:56] Podcast Sponsors
[0:32:16] Drink Low to Moderate Amounts of Alcohol
[0:37:37] Calorie Restriction and Fasting
[0:42:08] Possess A Strong Life Purpose
[0:45:01] Low Amount of Stress
[0:47:12] Engage in A Spiritual Discipline, Religion, Or Belief in A Higher Power
[0:50:18] Remain Reproductively Useful
[0:54:32] Q & A in Runga in the Dominican Republic
[0:55:55] What are the 2019 health trends?
[0:58:53] What is your view about high animal protein and how IGF-1 impacts longevity?
[1:01:42] What’s the best way to handle crinkle/crunch when bending at the knees?
[1:03:25] What are the top 3 bio hacks for human optimization?
[1:05:55] Does high-fat coffee break your fast?
[1:07:12] Top 5 Quick Tips for Raising Kids
[1:12:53] Top 3 Tips for Increasing Longevity
[1:14:54] What are your thoughts on sunblock and sunglasses?
[1:17:40] Foods in Season Diet and Longevity
[1:20:00] Top 3 Tests in Correlating Lab/Company Frequency to Monitor Your Health
[1:22:57] What type of diet would you recommend for a family of four with a budget of $100/week?
[1:25:30] Balance Between the Physical/Tangible and The Spiritual/Intangibles Elements
[1:30:31] End of Podcast
Ben: I have a master’s degree in physiology, biomechanics, and human nutrition. I’ve spent the past two decades competing in some of the most masochistic events on the planet from SEALFit Kokoro, Spartan Agoge, and the world’s toughest mudder, the 13 Ironman triathlons, brutal bow hunts, adventure races, spearfishing, plant foraging, free diving, bodybuilding and beyond. I combine this intense time in the trenches with a blend of ancestral wisdom and modern science, search the globe for the world’s top experts in performance, fat loss, recovery, gut hormones, brain, beauty, and brawn to deliver you this podcast. Everything you need to know to live an adventurous, joyful, and fulfilling life. My name is Ben Greenfield. Enjoy the ride.
It is the most fun time in the world, a time to not eat and to look at things and get hungry and lay awake in bed at night trying to meditate and do breathwork because you’re hungry. No, really, I don’t want to make fasting sound horrible. It’s actually very good for you. Fasting is one of the best things you can do for your stem cells and your, what’s called your cellular autophagy, your longevity, a host of benefits. You’ve been living into a rock if you don’t know fasting is good for you by now. And I am so into the power of fasting that I have put together a fasting bundle for you. I’ve got two bags of Kion Coffee and then one bottle of the Kion Aminos. Now, the coffee can, of course, enhance fat burning metabolism when you’re on a fasted state, especially if you like to drink a nice warm cup of coffee then take a cold shower while you’re fasted. Boom, you can watch fat melt off your waistline.
But then, the Kion Aminos, I like those and I use those. I’ve been using them during my fast this January because they maintain your muscle while you’re fasting, and they do so without spiking your blood glucose or your insulin levels. And so, you kind of get to have your cake and eat it too from a muscle maintenance or a muscle building or a tissue healing. It’s good for the gut too because all those amino acids are used to support the lining of the gut. So, it kind of does a lot of things and it’s simple, right? You just drink coffee, eat aminos and fast. That’s the bundle I have for you. You go to getkion.com. That’s getK-I-O-N.com, and that bundle is on a big sale right now. So, grab that one.
In addition, this podcast is brought to you because seasonal affective disorder is an issue these days. People are getting seasonal effective disorder. Days get shorter in the winter. You don’t see as much sunshine. And this means you’re going to be depressed. You’re going to be a really, really horrible person to be around. Life is going to suck unless you do like I do and you go Mr. Incredible on yourself and get yourself an infrared light panel. And I have been using mine every day. My strategy is I have my cup of coffee, I make it, I go down to my standing desk and I do my first 20 minutes of work in the morning, and I’ve got this big light. It’s called the Joovv. And the way that I have my work station set up is there’s one behind me and there’s one in front of me. You don’t have to get two but if you’re an overachiever like me, you can, and I flip them on and I do the one in front of me and the one behind me like a Joovv sandwich and I take all my clothes off–and I Joovv.
So, this has been the most annoying commercial intro ever but you get a unique bonus when you get one of these Joovv photobiomodulation panels for testosterone production, for skin health, for joint pain, for inflammation, for muscle recovery. The benefits goes on and on–go? The benefits go on and on. You can use it on your thyroid like close upon your thyroid if you have thyroid issues. I’m not a doctor. That’s not medical advice but there is research. So, J-O-O-V-V.com/ben and you use code BEN at checkout.
What you are about to hear is a two-part solosode. At least the first part is a solosode by yours truly. Now, in Part 1 of this episode, I am going to discuss some of the low hanging fruit that will allow you to live a long time and feel really good doing it. And when I say low-hanging fruit, I’m not referring to $10,000 low hanging pieces of fruit that require you to go to your favorite biohacking website and use your credit card to make spendy purchases that leave your neighbors laughing at you because you’re standing in your underwear in front of a giant light panel. No. Instead, these are going to be lessons that we can learn from our ancestors, generations that came before us, time-honored principles, things we can get from the Blue Zones, et cetera.
Now, the reason that I’m also including a Part 2 in this episode is that several times per year, I go and I teach at an event called Runga. That’s R-U-N-G-A. You can check them out at rungalife.com. In my last Runga, which took place in the Dominican Republic, they have these things all over the world. They’re now doing them primarily in the states and they’re kind of like these immersive events where you do kettlebell training and ice buds, kundalini yoga, adventures, lectures, bodywork, et cetera, along with amazing meals. During one such meal, I actually gave a Q&A. And the Q&A was actually focused on a lot of these principles regarding ancestral principles, longevity, et cetera.
So, I thought it would be interesting for you as kind of a bonus, kind of an addendum to what I’m about to go into with you now. So, hopefully, you enjoy this. And of course, as usual, I will create comprehensive shownotes for you. You can get the shownotes for today’s episode if you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/12ways, and you’re going to use the number 12, BenGreenfieldFitness.com/12ways because I’m going to be going into 12 basic natural ancestral smart wise, if that’s enough adjectives, tactics to enhance your longevity and feel really good. So, that’s BenGreenfieldFitness.com/12ways, 1-2 ways.
Alright, so that all being said, let’s start here. We know that demographers and epidemiologists and gerontologists, and a whole host of researchers on aging have puzzled for a long time over the theoretical question of the maximum potential for human lifespan. And along with that, there are a host of proposed practices that we can implement that supposedly help us achieve that potential. It goes back and forth and I’m working on a book on this right now on kind of how long a human being could live, whether we’re capable of the 969-year-old age of folks like the Biblical Methuselah or whether we’re closer to living a period of time such as the–there’s this Chinese lore of a guy named Li Ching-Yuen who’s 256 years old or reportedly died at 256 years old just a few years ago.
And then, there’s Jeanne Calment of France who died at 122 years recently. And currently, the oldest living person is Violet Brown from Jamaica, or she’s not the oldest, she actually just died a few months ago. She was 117. So, right now, the oldest person is 115. But ultimately, all of these people, whether you’re looking at 115 or 969, they’re all living longer than the current American who’s around 77 years old. And actually, the CDC just reported that life expectancy in the U.S. dropped for the 30-year in a row. So, ultimately, we don’t seem to be moving the anti-aging dial much yet we see this veritable laundry list of anti-aging and longevity tactics. I mean, metformin, rapamycin, pterostilbene, resveratrol, NAD. And then we get into like injections of growth hormones, testosterone, stem cells, exosomes, transferring the blood of young humans into old humans, and a whole host of things that we’re trying to do to enhance lifespan.
But really, when you step back and look at things from a natural and ancestral standpoint, sometimes I think we’re spending just a little bit too much money and a little bit too much time on these advanced tactics when there are basic and natural habits that enhance longevity. And of course you, no doubt, may have heard of the book and the concept of the “Blue Zones.” The Blue Zones is a book written by Dan Buettner. His goal while writing this book was to discover certain populations in the world with the highest number of centenarians. People live over 100 years old. And then, to teach the world how to use the lessons learned from these populations.
So, he specifically began in five different Blue Zones: Okinawa, Japan, Sardinia, Italy, Nicoya, Costa Rica, Ikaria, Greece, and then the 7th Day Adventist population in Loma Linda. He discovered a bunch his shared key characteristics that were consistent across nearly every single one of these populations. And I want to share with you some of those characteristics today and my own take on them that Buettner doesn’t get into in his book but that through some of my studying up on some of these principles, I’ve been able to find regarding some very interesting practical takeaways that you can get from these folks.
So, let’s just go ahead and jump right in. I’m going to give you the 12 strategies that you can use. And again, all the shownotes are going to be at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/12ways, 1-2 ways. So, the first is don’t smoke, which may seem obvious. Now unless you’ve, again, been living in Iraq, you’re no doubt aware of the dangers of chronic smoking in the fact that cigarette smoking causes half a million deaths each year and second-hand smoking isn’t much better. But I think that one of the things that a lot of people don’t realize is that if they have been smoking, then there are steps that you can take to undo much of that damage because we know that when you stop smoking, your body begins to respond immediately.
Six hours after you quit, the levels of the gas carbon monoxide begin to decline and your heart doesn’t have to work as hard to pump oxygen within 12 weeks. So, that’s three months. Your lung function improves, coughing, sinus congestion, shortness of breath, fatigue levels all start to decline. And during that timeframe, your lungs, hair-like cleaning structures called cilia, those start to regrow in a very similar way like the intestinal cilia can become restored and renewed after you stop eating an inflammatory diet.
After three months, your sexual performance improves. A lot of times, erectile dysfunction is associated with smoking because your testosterone level normalizes and cardiovascular function returns to normal.
And then, after about nine months, your risk of heart and cardiovascular complications fail or fall. And after one year, it’ll be like nothing had ever happened, at least to a certain extent. You can get up to about 80% to 90% of where you were at prior to being a heavy smoker, even if you are a heavy smoker. Now, there are certain things that can help with this, however.
So, for example, when you quit smoking, your adrenal glands must adapt to the lack of nicotine and other addictive chemicals are grown used to. So, I really like the use of an adaptogenic herb complex to support the adrenals, or even the use of basic supplements like St. John’s wort or ginseng, for example.
Research has also shown you can minimize the damage to your arteries from smoking by taking a taurine supplement once every day for two months. Since smoking also damages skin collagen and elastin, you should really include a diet that’s rich and were called proanthocyanidins. Those are a phytochemical. You find them in a red wine. Don’t replace smoking with copious amounts of alcohol but a glass of red wine a day, grapes, apples, blueberries, black currants, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios, all of these are big in these proanthocyanidins. And then, you also have polyphenols, particularly the ones found in kale, sprouts, and microgreens. Those help to repair the lungs alveoli and bronchiole. So, a quit-smoking diet should include high amounts of those compounds as well, and then really good attention to air filtration and air optimization using really good air filters like a Molekule or an Air Doctor.
So, the takeaway message is don’t just stop smoking if you have been smoking but include a lot of these strategies to support the process of repair and recovery. Another thing that I really like is there’s a pen called a–I believe it’s F-U-M is the way you pronounce it, F-U-M. I’ll put a link in the shownotes but it’s an essential oil vaping pen. Now, if you’ve been vaping marijuana and you want to slowly decrease that habit or you’ve been smoking cigarettes or you’ve been smoking joints, whatever, the cool thing about this pen is you can vape essential oils like black pepper, peppermint. What’s another one that I really like is a pick-me-up cinnamon and nutmeg. That’s really good. It’s actually mildly psychedelic to smoke nutmeg. But basically, this is an essential oil vape pen that gives you the mouthfeel of smoking a cigarette or a vape pen without any of the damage. So, that’s one to look into. It’s called the FUM pen. I think that’s the name of it, F-U-M. But I’ll put a link in the shownotes. I’ll hunt it down and put a link in the shownotes for you guys.
So, no smoking. That’s number one. The next is to eat wild plants. Now, aside from the 7th Day Adventist population of Loma Linda, most centenarians, they’re not vegans or vegetarians, neither are they carnivores. But most follow a predominantly plant-based diet, and that’s usually as a result of their dependency on their own home-grown or locally grown foods. Long-lived Sardinians, Nicoyans, and Okinawans consume nutrient-dense produce that they grow in their own gardens and they supplement that with small amounts of animal protein foods and a lot of traditional staples like legumes, which I’ll get into later, ancient grains like quinoa, amaranth, and millet, sweet potatoes, non-GMO corn, and then, lots of wild plants.
And perhaps most notably, the wild plants possess these natural built-in defense mechanisms that subject the body and gut to mild amounts of stress. It’s called a xenohormetic effect. So, it allows your body to better mount and builds its own internal antioxidant defenses. That’s why I’m not a huge fan of a strict, say like a, what’s called like a plant paradox diet. That’s a very popular diet right now. I think that small amounts of these mild stressors to the gut are actually quite good as a hormetic stressor, similar to cold and heat and exercise and radiation from the sunlight, et cetera.
So, these phytochemicals of the plants, not only do they induce this hormetic mild cellular stress response that make your body more resilient to other more severe stressors but they also, of course, have a lot of trace elements in them such as antioxidants and anthocyanins and resveratrol, and if you’re doing green tea and a lot of these teas and tannic compounds these folks are consuming, what’s called EGCG, epigallocatechin something, sulforaphane from broccoli, catechins from dark chocolate. There’s a lot of really good stuff when you expand your diet to include wild plants. Yes, I did just lump chocolate bars into the wild plant category. It is cacao if you’ve ever had a cacao fruit. It’s kind of wild plant.
But one really good book that I would recommend you read is this book called, “Eating on the Wild Side” by Jo Robinson where she teaches that if you like cut up or tear apart plants like kale several hours before eating them, that causes the animal or the plant to ramp up its own natural defense mechanisms that make that xenohormetic stress even stronger. Now, in contrast to the wild plant and take a red meat is typically only eating a few times a month, notably during holidays and festivals in many of the Blue Zones. Now, sheep and goat milk and eggs and fish are eaten much more often, usually two or three times a week. When they do eat animal products, they tend to eat nose to tail. They tend to eat a lot of the more glycine-rich things like the bone marrow and the bone broth. And they tend to be raised locally, grass-fed or pasture-raised, wild caught, free-range and free from any of the harmful substances that we get in a lot of westernized meat and dairy, like antibiotics and growth hormone.
So, fish, eggs, wild plant intake, and then moderated intake of red meat in animal products in general, something that you see quite a bit, a higher vegetable, lower meat intake. I mean, author Michael Pollan’s recommendation to eat food, not too much, mostly plants is something that we see quite a bit. And again, when you do consume meat rather than simply consuming the muscle portions that inevitably contain the high levels of methionine with low levels of glycine, and that could be a mortality risk factor. You want to consume the more glycine-rich portions of the animal like the organ meats and the marrow and the bone broth.
Alright. So, we know we need to take care of undoing the damages of smoking and not smoke in general, and also eat a lot of wild plants. Number three is to avoid processed and packaged foods. Now, this may seem at first glance to be pretty straightforward, but the fact is that in an era of Trader Joe’s and the healthy food section at the airport newsstand and all of the fantastic items as you’re checking out at Whole Foods, we are just bombarded with all these processed and packaged so-called health foods. But if you turn over the label and you look at a lot of these, you’ll turn over the package and you’ll get the label on a lot of these, the top two ingredients you see are ingredients that in my opinion trigger the two things that you should be most wary of if you’re trying to live a long time. Glycemic variability, which is essentially how many times your glucose fluctuates during the day, and inflammation.
And when you look at the label of a lot of these processed and packaged foods, what do you see? First ingredient, either some form of raw syrup or agave or organic cane sugar or some other way to make sugar essentially seem sexy and vegetable oil, canola oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil. You pick up the apple chips or the banana pieces or the coconut chips or coconut flakes or the sugar snap peas or anything else that are in these packaged containers. A lot of times, it’s sugar and vegetable oil. Some not as much but ultimately, if you’re eating from a package, if you’re eating a packaged processed food, you’re far more likely compared to eating a real recognizable food that your great-grandparents would have actually recognized and eaten more readily, you’re placing yourself at a higher risk of glycemic variability and inflammation. Yes, it’s convenient. Yes, they’re very tasty. Yes, they’re fun, crinkly, colorful packages and they appeal to our evolutionary desire for dense fat and sugar and calories and a fun time in a dopamine release when we’re eating foods.
But ultimately, the less that you can eat processed and packaged foods, even the so-called healthy ones, the better. And when you eat a lot of wild plants, by the way, in their natural form, it’s difficult to eat a lot of processed and packaged foods, right? It’s difficult for me to make my morning smoothie with kale and broccoli sprouts and cilantro and parsley and thyme and whatever else I happen to harvest or have available or have stored in the refrigerator, vegetable crisper. And at the same time, eat all these processed and packaged ingredients that, frankly, if you try to put a bunch of wild plants into a bag, they would just take up most of the bag, they’re not dried, they don’t have added flavors and things added to them. You get what I’m saying.
Like the more that you can eat naturally as much of a pain in the ass as it can be from a convenience standpoint, it appears the longer that you’re going to live. And it’s not that those living in the Blue Zones never let themselves enjoy guilty pleasures, it’s just that their guilty pleasures are typically antioxidant-rich treats like a good local red wine or sake or coffee or herbal tea or simple desserts like nuts, cheese, berries, grapes, and not nuts that are coated in canola oil with extra M&M’s added to them but just like raw nuts.
So, anyway, audit your diet. Try and error towards like 80% real food, 20% processed, packaged foods if you can. And I realize this may sound hypocritical for me being a guy who designs supplements and I just finished last year producing an amazing clean energy bar. But even that bar, when you look at it, it’s just a bunch of real foods. I only use honey as the preservative, like a really good organic honey, and then it’s almonds and cacao nibs and chia seeds and sesame seeds. It’s very rare that you can find a good healthy packaged or processed food like that that still fits the criteria of being a real recognizable food. But I mean, that’s one example, and I realize that’s a selfish self-serving example using the Kion Bar as an example. But it’s not like all processed and packaged food. You should be vilified, but you do need to be careful with it. And even that bar like my own energy bar, I might have four or five of those a week max. And I’m a pretty active guy. I’m not like mowing down two or three of those a day.
So, number four, let’s go on to number four. Number four is to eat legumes. And this is another interesting one. A legume is a dry fruit. It’s contained within the shell or part of a plant. The most well-known are like beans, peas, peanuts, and alfalfa. And beans, in particular, seem to reign supreme in many Blue Zones like in Nicoya, black beans are eaten in large quantities. In the Mediterranean, lentils, garbanzo beans and white beans are popular. In Okinawa, soybeans are eaten frequently. And this raises an eyebrow among many nutritionally savvy folks especially in an era of the popular Paleo diet, which frowns upon beans and legumes due to their high amount of gastric irritants and natural plant defense mechanisms such as phytates and lectins, which again are kind of elucidated in that book, “Plant Paradox.”
But the fact is legumes are high in non-meat protein and amino acids, vitamins, minerals, appetite satiating and gut supporting fiber, and slow-burning carbohydrates that don’t cause a large amount of glycemic variability. Now to me, it’s a little unclear whether the longevity gained from legume consumption is conferred from the inclusion of the slow release carbohydrates with the exclusion of blood sugar spiking, refined carbs like white flour or sugar, or whether it’s the nutrient density of legumes that makes them so special or the low glycemic index of legumes. I suspect it’s both. I don’t think everybody has to go out and make a giant vat of lentil chilli every day, but I think the biggest clue that you can take from this legume eating habit is to eat carbohydrates that are a slower release carbohydrate that are more nutrient-dense.
So, not just legumes but sweet potatoes, taro, yam, carrot, beet, parsnip, either low-glycemic index or low-glycemic load along with some of these super grains like quinoa and amaranth and millet, properly prepared, fermented, soaked, sprouted. You would be surprised at how much less gastric distress that you get when you prepare a legume or grain correctly. And we see a heavy amount of sprouting and fermenting and soaking and ancestral preparation techniques used in a lot of these longevity hotspots for–let’s say for one of these popular ones, lentils. For lentils, the practice for that is you got to soak them for eight hours and then you generally want to sprout them as well afterwards to give yourself a really good soaked and sprouted lentil.
I’ve got a whole list over on my website that I’ll link to if you go to the shownotes that kind of show you all these soak times for different things like barley and broccoli seed and buckwheat and lentils. But typically, the issue that people get with gastric distress with these types of foods that are, A, they’re not fermenting or soaking or sprouting them, or B, they have leaky gut and they need to heal their leaky gut prior to actually expanding the diet to include a lot of these foods. So, ultimately though, legumes are something that we see a lot of these Blue Zones eating and sometimes I think they’re vilified too heavily in our modern kind of like Paleo-ish culture. I think it’s a better idea to just intelligently eat these foods rather than avoid them altogether.
So, the next one is a low-level physical activity. Number five, low-level physical activity. So, centenarians in the Blue Zones tend to live very active lives but they rarely set foot in a gym or do a formal exercise program. So, instead, being active is just built into their life. They walk five to six miles a day, they farm, they garden, they spend time in nature, they do a lot of chores with their hands instead of machines, they tend to engage in spurts of high-intensity movement or structured movement by engaging in enjoyable exercise that rarely involves pounding away miles on a treadmill or inching their back under a barbell for a squat. You see a lot more yoga, tai chi, qigong, soccer, hiking, other games and social sports combined with just working with your hands.
Now, I understand that we live in an era in which this can be difficult to do if you’re not lucky enough to be a construction worker or a painter or a farmer or a gardener or something like that. But you can hack your environment using everything from standing workstations to kettlebells in your cubicle, the taking the stairs to having Pomodoro breaks to replicate the same types of ancestral gathering, gardening, and hunting-esque movements throughout your day, even if you’re relegated to a traditional post-industrial era office setting.
My wife, Jessa, spends her days hauling alfalfa for the goats and feeding the chickens and pushing around wheelbarrows full of composts and rocks and chopping wood and fixing fences and planting trees and raking and shoveling and pulling weeds and gardening, and I’m inside blogging and podcasting. But at the same time, I’m getting 15,000 steps a day minimum. I’m a lot of times walking on my walking treadmill as I’m doing consults or phone calls or even dictating emails. I take breaks all throughout the day. I do at least 50 pull-ups a day from the pull-up bar at the door my office because I just do five pull-ups whenever I walk next to that bar. It’s actually in the room next to my office. I’ve got a hex bar, deadlift set up in there to do deadlifts. I’ve got a kettlebell in my office so I can do kettlebell swings during the day.
You just basically need to be creative and hack your environment to simulate this low-level physical activity. I mean, the way you should think about it is this, unless you’re a professional athlete or when your primary goals in life is to train for and complete a triathlon or a CrossFit or Spartan or something like that, some other modern day equivalent of a warrior training for battle, visiting the gym at some point during the day should be an option, not a necessity. And research backs this up. It shows that no matter how hard you exercise in the beginning or the end of the day with your special 30 to 60-minute gym routine if you have your butt planted in a chair for eight simultaneous hours during the rest of the day, it really doesn’t do you much good. So, ultimately, figure out a way that you can incorporate low-level physical activity throughout the day and don’t fool yourself into thinking that training for a marathon or working out in the gym every day is something that folks who live a long time actually do.
Next is to prioritize social engagement. So, I recently did a podcast on the growing epidemic of loneliness. And I’ll link to that in the shownotes along with the importance of social engagement. And certainly, you’ve seen most of the Blue Zones, family, love and relationship is heavily emphasized and comes naturally because social connectedness is engrained into a lot of these cultures compared to most westernized hyper-connected digital societies. These folks tend to be more engaged with, more conscientious of and more helpful to each other and more willing to empathize to express feelings and even to wear their emotions on their sleeves.
The Okinawans have Moais, which are groups of people who lived together their entire lives, spending time talking and cooking and supporting each other. Sardinians often finish their day in a local bar where they meet with their friends for a glass of red wine. The 7th Day Adventists mingle with one another weekly or even daily during their religious practices in their observation of the Sabbath. And family is also very important for people living in the Blue Zones. Again, the 7th Day Adventists on the Sabbath days, in many cases, they are observing that holiday spent with the family and socializing and in nature.
Nursing homes and hospice are pretty rare in the Blue Zones because people are expected to honor, value, and take care of the elderly including their older family members. So, as a result, because of their pivotal role in society, elders are far more likely to have a social network and frequent visitors and trusted caregivers, and that results in less stress and more purposeful lives and a longer lifespan. So, I kind of kick this horse to death in my big podcast that I did on the growing epidemic of loneliness. So, I will link to that in the shownotes if you want to kind of learn a little bit more about how to use meet-ups, volunteering in your local community, how to create a network of friends, my favorite books for learning, how to prioritize social engagement. But definitely, understand that that’s just as important it appears as not smoking.
What if I told you that you could sit down at the end of the day in your rocking chair or your La-Z-Boy or your $15,000 full body massage chair, whatever it is that you use in the evening to sit and you had a nice popping hot cup of, the same type of golden spice latte that you might get at a Starbucks but without all the nasty chemicals in it. I’m talking about turmeric, ginger, Rishi, lemon balm, turkey tail. I don’t know why I’m talking so softly. Black pepper, coconut milk, cinnamon, acacia fiber is a prebiotic that also gives you these kinds of cool incredible dreams.
This stuff was designed to be like a nighttime sipping solution that supports your joints and soothes your muscles and helps you wake up each day feeling rested. Plus, it’s probably lower in calories and better for you than the giant bar of dark chocolate that you’re going to only eat half of and you mold through the whole thing along with that extra half glass of red wine that you had. Probably, I’m just saying. I don’t know what goes on out there. So, anyways, this stuff is called Organifi Gold, and you get a 20% discount on it or any of the other fine, fine products from Organifi. You just go to Organifi with an I. That’s Organifi with an I, and the 20% discount code that you use is GREENFIELD. That’s it. Enjoy. That simple.
So, the next habit is an interesting one. We see that these folks drink low to moderate amounts of alcohol, especially wine. So, four of the Blue Zones engage in moderate and regular alcohol consumption. Take the Sardinians, for example, they’re famous for their regular consumption of this regional red wine that’s very similar to grenache. It’s a dry wine that has two to three times the flavonoid content of other wines. You may have heard my podcast with Todd White from Dry Farm Wines. His wines are very similar like these old-world biodynamic antioxidant-rich wines that are somewhat low in alcohol.
Now, consuming wine with or before a meal can assist the body with the absorption of the artery scrubbing flavonoid antioxidants in the wine. And studies have shown that the consumption of wine as part of a Mediterranean diet can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancers. And I should throw in a quick caveat here. Remember, the Mediterranean diet includes intense amounts of fasting and elimination of red meat and high-protein intake during certain periods of time during the year. It’s not just eating olive oil and ribeye steaks and fish for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
But we find that with alcohol, regular low-level physical activity boosts these benefits even more. So, some of these habits build on each other. There is one study in the European Society of Cardiology, they found that moderate wine drinking combined with regular physical activity is a potent combination for cardiovascular disease prevention. You’ll see the Sardinian shepherds, they walk up to five miles a day to tend to their flocks. But to walk up to their flocks or their herds of sheep, they carry along these lunches of unlimited bread and fava beans, pecorino cheese, and a local wine. And I know that a Paleo enthusiast would be shocked it’s bread, it’s beans, cheese, and then alcohol. That sounds like a heart attack on a plate. You’re going to die of some horrible leaky gut syndrome. But it’s simply not the case. Those are the type of foods these people are eating. I’m just saying. It doesn’t sell diet books but it’s what they’re eating.
You’re no doubt familiar with resveratrol, which you find in wine, and that could be one thing that reduces some oxidative damage in combat to the formation of plaque that is found in the brains of many dementia patients. But I think that it goes beyond that. I think when you look at a lot of these digestive and bitter-rich wines and alcohols these folks are drinking, it reduces the first phase insulin response to–or enhances rather the first phase insulin response to a meal. So, your blood glucose is a little bit lower when you eat the meal because you’re digesting it a little bit better.
I also think that very similar to how the Finnish society sees a four to five-year increase in lifespan from their sauna habit, I don’t think it’s just the sauna. I don’t think it’s just the alcohol. It’s the fact that the sauna and the alcohol are often combined with these big social times of low stress at the end of the day where you’re drinking a glass of wine with friends or you’re in the sauna with some companions going from hot to cold, like I think that the social and the relationship part of this should not be neglected either. The good news is even if you don’t care for alcohol, that tannin-filled antioxidant-rich beverages in general like coffee and tea can give you a lot of the same benefits.
And we see Sardinians and Ikarians and Nicoyans all drinking copious amounts of coffee. And people in every Blue Zone drink tea, especially the Okinawans who nurse green tea for much of the day. The Ikarians thrive on the frequent consumption of rosemary and wild sage and dandelion tea. So, you’re getting a lot of these wild plant extracts as well. So, there’s a lot to be said for the alcohol component, and I personally have a drink every single day. I haven’t been drunk for–well, it’s been about six years since I’ve really truly been drunk. Like occasionally, I’ll have more than two drinks of alcohol and get a little bit buzzed even that’s pretty rare.
But compared to my college days where it was don’t drink all week long and then choose a weekend or a couple of days on the weekend and drink to excess, I now simply have one drink per day, a red wine or a homemade Moscow mule or a little bit of like a liquor or like one of my favorite drinks when I go to a bar is I’ll order what’s called a Ben and Jitters, Ben and Jitters which is on the rocks selection of any of the bitters that they have there behind the bar. And then you just put a shot of gin, which is a really clean burning alcohol on top of that. Sometimes I’ll have them at a squeeze of lemon, and I’ll even add like a pinch of salt under there.
But it’s amazing. It’s called Ben and Jitters, and essentially, just bitters and gin on the rocks. And it’s an amazing pre-meal digestive, burns clean, and that’s the type of thing I drink. Mostly that and organic biodynamic wine in the occasional Moscow mule, which again is like lime, mint, typically some kind of clean gin or vodka, and then ginger, and it’s a fantastic digestive especially if you can get a really good ginger. There’s even a company called Zevia that makes a sugar-free ginger beer, which is amazing and I always have some of that in my refrigerator to make a Moscow mule. And there are ways that you can drink and be healthy.
That was number seven. Number eight is calorie restriction and fasting. This one I think is one that most people are aware of these days. And calorie restriction is a reduction in calorie intake that notably is not necessarily associated with malnutrition or starvation. Long-term calorie restriction has been associated in many studies that you’re no doubt aware of at this point with better weight management, anti-aging, reduced risk of metabolic diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease and cancer.
But for active athletes and exercise enthusiasts, I know a lot of people listening to this show are people who are already potentially near a healthy body fat percentage already moving, long-term calorie restriction can have some downsides. It makes you cold. It makes you hungry, drop your metabolism, reduce lean muscle mass, and who wants to live a long life if you have low drive and you look like a poster child for an anti-starvation campaign. So, if your goal is rapid weight loss or you’re morbidly obese with very high levels of storage fat available to burn, complete calorie restriction is a good strategy to accelerate fat loss. But even that strategy should be combined with periods of time during which you provide your body with ample calories and nutrients like a weekly re-feed. Or if you’re very athletic, even a daily re-feed.
Now, I think intermittent fasting is probably the most popular, quickest, effective, and easiest way to jump into the benefits of caloric restriction without necessarily starving yourself. And that’s just alternating cycles of eating and fasting. For example, 12 to 16 hours every single night going without eating or using a compressed feeding window where you eat all your food within an 8 to 12-hour window during the day and then you’re just done eating. I also like alternate day fasting where you would eat regularly one day and then fast the next day, a dinner time to dinner time fast. And many people do that two to three times during the week. There’s the fasting mimicking diet made popular by the researcher Valter Longo in which four times a year for five days in a row, you just eat 40% of your normal daily calorie intake.
Now, I personally–this is my scenario because I’m still pretty active. I like to eat food. My wife is an amazing cook. I’m a foodie. I am not one of those guys who eats one meal a day. I’m obsessed with food. I love food. I love cooking. I love hunting and preparing the foods that I get out in the field. So, the way that I do it is I do an intermittent fast every day, 12 to 16-hour interment fast every day. One to two times a month I do a 24-hour fast. It’s just Saturday dinner to Sunday dinner fast. Then, four times a year, I do something very similar to the fasting mimicking diet. A lot of times I’m just doing a liver cleanse with the Ayurvedic stew, kichiri, some celery juice, some coffee, some tea, et cetera. That’s four times a year. That works very well for me. Intermittent fast every day, 24-hour fast, one to two times a month, four times a year I have a five-day cleansing period. That’s it. That works very well for me.
Their unfamiliar or their unlikely to be familiar or throw around terms like CRing and IFing and ADFing and FMDing, but these centenarians in a lot of these places like Nicoya and Sardinian, Okinawa, they tend to eat relatively small portions of whole foods, they consume a low to moderate calorie diet by being mindful of their hunger. They’re not consuming a lot of these calorie-dense fat and sugar-laden processed and packaged foods. You’ve probably heard of the Okinawans practicing this rule of Hara Hachi Bu which means they eat until they’re about 80% full, and there’s not a lot of night-time snacking, and in many cases, the biggest meal the day is a lunch.
All these forms of fasting work so well because it really comes on your mitochondria. Inside yourselves, your mitochondrial networks generally alternate between two states, one called fused, one called fragmented. Calorie-restricted diets and fasting promote homeostasis which induces a healthy fluctuation between these fused and fragmented states, which allow mitochondria to last longer, increases fatty acid oxidation, allows for normal free radical production and less damage occurring to the cells and the mitochondria contained within them.
If you want more on the fasting component, go listen to my podcast with Dr. Jason Fung, which is called, “The Complete Guide To Fasting,” or read his book which is also called, “The Complete Guide To Fasting.” I think, I just tell people who want to learn everything, just to know about fasting to go read his book because it’s the best one out there, in my opinion, on fasting. I’ll link to that one in the shownotes.
On number nine is to possess a strong life purpose. Research has indeed proven that people who know their life and have a clear purpose for which they wake each morning, they live longer lives. There’s an 11-year, NIH-funded study that investigated the correlation between having a sense of purpose and longevity. It showed that those who expressed having a clear purpose in life, they live longer than those who didn’t have a purpose. They stayed immersed in activities and communities that allowed them to be involved in fulfilling that purpose. The Okinawans call it “Ikigai” which is translated into “reason for being.” The Nicoyans call it “Plan de Vida,” a reason to live. I highly recommend that you know your purpose and you’ll be able to name it in one succinct sentence.
My purpose in life, personally, Ben Greenfield, is to empower people to live a more adventurous, joyful, and fulfilling life. To empower people to live a more adventurous, joyful, and fulfilling life. My son, Terran, is to create amazing art that inspires people and brings joy to their hearts. To create amazing art that inspires people and brings joy to their hearts. My wife, Jessa, is to raise two young men who will grow up to make this world a better place. Maybe, they’ll change. Maybe, when the boys are 18 or 19, my wife’s purpose in life will change to creating art that inspires people all around the world. She’s an amazing artist. You get the idea. You need to be able to name that in one succinct sentence.
If you need help identifying your purpose, I’ve got a couple of very quick tips for you. Number one, what did you like to do when you were a kid. What brought you joy when you were a kid? For me, it was a reading, it was writing, it was the outdoors, it was teaching, for which I’m doing a lot of now. Number two, what put you in the flow? What makes time go by very quickly when you’re in the zone? For me, when I’m writing, times goes by like that. Some people hate to write. My wife absolutely hates to write. Minute by minute ticks by when she’s writing. I love to write. I love to write books, articles, et cetera. Those two tips, what do you like doing your kid, what puts you in the zone.
Then, a couple of tips for you my friend, Mastin Kipp, interviewed and I’ll put a link to his interview in the shownotes. He wrote a book called, “Claim Your Power,” which is a 40-day series where you really hone in on your purpose in life using some of the strategies I have described a lot more, or you start with my friend, Mark Manson’s advice. He wrote–what’s the name of his book? How not to give a [censored], or something like that. Anyway, he says just do stuff that makes you forget to eat and poop. If you want to know what your purpose in life is, think about things that make you forget to eat and poop. I like that. The things that you don’t even realize that they haven’t taken a dump yet, because you’re so immersed in that activity.
Number 10 is to have a low amount of stress. It’s a well-known and heavily research fact that chronic stress leads to inflammation and serves as the foundation for a lot of age-related diseases. Centenarians in most of the world’s longevity hot spots do not avoid stress, but they have built-in systems that allow them to manage stress on a daily basis. For Sardinians, that might mean a glass of wine and a social dinner with family or friends at the end of the day. For the 7th Day Adventists, it could involve a quiet nature walk on Sabbath day. For the Okinawans, it might be the concept of what’s called “taygay,” which is translated as “easygoing personality,” which is based on the idea that life just unfolds at its own pace.
In Okinawa, if an event is scheduled to begin at noon, taygay might mean that people on Okinawan time begin showing up 30 minutes to an hour later, which I once experienced when I used to go to this triathlon in Jamaica. Show up on the starting line at 7 a.m., having timed your pre-race breakfast perfectly, and by 7:30 a.m., some dude was walking up, rubbing his eyes, yawning, and beginning to set up the race. Maybe the race would start at 7:30, maybe 8:00, maybe 8:30. You just go with the flow. There are some situations in which you don’t want to show up 30 to 60 minutes late, especially if you don’t want to get fired from your job, but you get the idea. You need to ruthlessly eliminate haste and hurry from your life.
I think one of the best ways to really be able to control stress is to learn to do so indigenously, meaning rather than relying on phosphatidylcholine and adaptogenic herbs and CBD and THC and all these things people are using to reduce stress and even the Headspace apps and Calm, and all this jazz. I think, everybody should just learn simple breath work tactics to reduce stress. I have a very comprehensive article on how to use your breath to internally control stress. I think you should be able to get dropped on a desert island with no technology, no supplements, and no super foods and be able to simply with your breath and your mind, control your stress. If you can get to that point, you’ve done a pretty dang good job.
Number 11 is to engage in a spiritual discipline, religion, or belief in a higher power. I think it just leads to a much more meaningful and hopeful life when you believe that there’s a story for your life, rather than believing that our experience is meaningless or without purpose, or that we’re a bunch of chunks of spiritless flesh and blood floating through space on a giant rock, then eventually dying and passing away into nothingness. A lot of people would scoff at the belief there is spirituality, there’s gods or demons or spiritual angels or souls, and even creators or these fourth dimensions that we can’t access. Research has indeed shown a connection between longevity and faith.
There was one study called, “Church attendance, allostatic load, and mortality in middle age adults.” That analyzed the relationship between religious practice, stress, and death, and controlled for all socio-economic factors like health insurance and healthy lifestyle behaviors. They found that churchgoers have a significantly lower risk of dying. Even after adjusting for age, sex, race, chronic medical conditions, churchgoers are 46% less likely to die compared to non-churchgoers who had significantly higher rates of blood pressure and higher ratio of total cholesterol, the HDL cholesterol, significantly higher mortality rate.
The data from the Blue Zones backs this up. All but five of the 263 centenarians that Dan Buettner interviewed for the book belong to some faith-based community. Research also shows that attending faith-based services like church four times per month can add four up to 14 years of life expectancy. In all Blue Zones, centenarians were part of a religious community. Buettner says in the book, “People who pay attention to their spiritual side have lower rates of cardiovascular disease, depression, stress, and suicide, and their immune systems seem to work better. To a certain extent, adherence to a religion allows them to relinquish the stresses of everyday life to a higher power.” I can put it any better myself.
I believe that a religious practice that includes spiritual disciplines like fasting, meditation, prayer, silence, solitude, worship, study, that’s magnitudes more meaningful than a salad of wild plants, or a glass of red wine, or a dose of sunshine, or stem cell injection. I think that, again, related to stress. Stress, one of the best ways to control it is breathwork. Spirituality, one of the best ways to enhance that is with fasting, meditation, prayer, periods of silence and solitude, worship with other people, and study. As a Bible-believing Christian who has found that my own spiritual practice has vastly enhanced the richness of my life, my connection with my family, and my own health, I simply cannot emphasize this highly enough. It’s a big one. That’s number 11.
Then, number 12 is to remain reproductively useful as well, pivot from a church to sex. The strategy for optimizing longevity makes logical sense. You don’t become reproductively useless. In other words, the more consistently you can send your body and brain the message that you are still a valuable contributing member of society, particularly when it comes to the propagation of your species, the longer nature will want to keep you around.
So, don’t retire, don’t quit learning new things. Don’t surround yourself with older sedentary people in a nursing home or hospice setting. Instead, continue to have sex, to have children or both. If you look at the tiny town of Acciaroli, Italy where one in eight citizens over 100 years old, they’ve studied this zone. One finding, that I’ll link to in the shownotes as to why these residents live so long, is the observation by researchers that sex is rampant, along with high consumption of the wild herbs, parsley, sage and rosemary. It’s a bunch of horny old people who have active sex lives who are eating a lot of wild plants.
When you look at the research on the proposed models of aging, mortality is often increasing in direct correlation to decreasing frequency. Later in life to which women particularly have children, or the more children that they do have, the longer that they live. This doesn’t mean that you have to go out and have children and make babies, but it does mean that frequent sexual intercourse, sending your body a message that you’re attempting to create life and to remain reproductively useful. Even consideration of the use of bio-identical hormone replacement therapy which I’m not opposed to as a method of increasing your fertility status or maintaining your fertility status, all of this I think is prudent and smart when it comes to living a long time.
There’s this one fable, I don’t know if it’s a fable, but there’s this guy named Li Ching Yuen, who purportedly lived to 256 years old, passed away a few years ago, Chinese guy. It was said that he married 23 times and fathered over 200 children. If that is true, he might be the best example of the fact that maintaining reproductive usefulness with age could be an excellent idea.
Let’s quickly review what we have learned thus far. Number one, don’t smoke. Number two, eat wild plants. Number three, avoid processed and packaged foods. Number four, eat legumes, or at least low glycemic index carbohydrates. Number five, incorporate low-level physical activity throughout the day. Number six, prioritize social engagement in relationships. Number seven, drink low to moderate amounts of alcohol, particularly wine. Number eight, restrict calories and/or fast. Number nine, possess a strong life purpose. Number 10, have low amounts of stress. Number 11, engage in a spiritual discipline, religion, or belief in a higher power. And number 12, remain reproductively useful.
I hope this has been helpful for you. Like I mentioned, I have a part two that you’re going to get to tune into right after I finish blabbing on here which is a Q & A that took place at the Runga event in the Dominican Republic.
In the meantime, if you have questions, if you have comments, if you have feedback if you have your own tips to add, if you have arguments against some of the things that I’ve just presented, then go ahead and go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/12ways, bengreenfieldfitness.com/12ways, and let me know your thoughts.
There are certainly other things you can do, stem cells and photobiomodulation and cryotherapy and parabiosis. All of these modern tactics that a lot of anti-aging enthusiasts and bio-hackers, including myself, are doing to enhance longevity, but you got to form the foundation with these basic, basic habits. I hope this has been helpful for you. Let’s go ahead and move into the next part of today’s show.
James: Hey, my name is James. I’m the editor of the podcast. Need to make a quick editor’s note on the Runga Q & A recording. The times where the audience members actually ask the questions, they were very hard to decipher what they were saying with all of the background noise, with all of the crickets chirping, and everything. So, what I’m going to be doing is just instead of trying to make their voices louder, which in turn makes the crickets louder and you can’t hear it anyway, I’m going to ask the questions myself. Then, we’ll just hand it right back to Ben. I just want to let you know what’s going on. Here we go.
Let’s do this. I’ve been told. I’ve been ordered. Welcome to the official–what year is it? It’s 2018 still. 2018 Runga Dominican Republic post pork feed Q & A. I actually had a glass of activated charcoal to try and clear my head of all the pork fat before I jumped into this 8.5 by 11 sheet of paper with lots of questions written on. I can’t believe you guys fit all these questions on one piece of paper. Admittedly, I have not looked at these, so I’m just going to choose them and hope I’m not asking a sucky question halfway through it.
Ben: Let’s start in the–what are the 2019 health trends? What are the 2019 health trends? It’s funny. I think I was telling Joe out there, Joe Destefano, about how when we go to Paleo f(x), it’s like whenever I see a Paleo f(x) for some odd reason, even though it’s a huge event in the health industry, per se, it’s just like this little niche fitness event in Austin. Whatever seems to be prevalent there seems to be prevalent in the industry in the following several months. This last year it was CBD. Now, we’re seeing CBD oil and CBD rice crackers and CBD peanut butter and CBD tinctures for dogs, and your pets, and your bird and your lizard. CBD everything. Same with keto. Keto cookies and keto candy and keto shots and keto alcohol, like you just put keto on anything. It sells like hotcakes. “What is the ketogenic diet” was one of the top searched terms on Google.
Then, the last one’s there’s stem cell boosts. I think we’ll see even more of those this year. That’s my prediction for 2019 is this whole idea of stem cells and everybody wants to get stem cells. It seems like there’s a magic way to somehow push the review button on your body. The interesting thing about them, I think I was telling, something clipped this today, is that all stem cells do is they upregulate your own signaling mechanisms in your body. They just signal your own white blood cells and stem cells and cytokines and immune factors to migrate to the area where the stem cells are circulating. This whole idea of stem cells being big, really, I think, is going to be a situation where people are not taking care of their own stem cells and indigenous cells and some of those things I talked about in the lecture the other night, even using things like cholera and spirulina and colostrum and coffee berry fruit extracts. What was the another one that we talked about? Aloe vera gel. All these things that can induce your own indigenous stem cell production or health. I think, we’ll see a lot of people just out basically getting expensive things done before they have taken care of the basics.
Then, the other one related is, I think, fasting is going to be a really big health trend. Intermittent fasting, alternate day fasting. It’s–I think for better, going to be much more popular and a lot of people are going to be like doing a yearly or quarterly five-day fast, which like I was saying the other night I really like daily intermittent fast, which we’re doing a lot of here. Does not count those of you who drank all the wine last night ’til midnight, the alcohol counts. It’s giving me a hard time. I think, those would be some of the big health trends. CBD and keto, continued stem cells, fasting.
What is your view about high animal protein and how IGF-1 impacts longevity? For those you don’t know IGF-1 is Insulin-like Growth Factor 1. Gets spiked, very similar growth hormone when you consume a lot of protein, when you consume a lot of food, in general, especially a lot of meat. Dairy is enormously helpful at raising your IGF-1, which is a good thing if you want to get swole, be anabolic, have really high drive, et cetera. But just like anything in life, it’s a seesaw balance, and excess IGF-1 will stimulate a protein called mTOR and can accelerate aging. The idea is you want the sweet spot of IGF-1, not too much, not too little. I think, the last doc that I interviewed about IGF-1 said a good number was somewhere about 130 to 180-ish. That is one thing that concerns me about the carnivore diet, in addition to the lack of fiber from not eating the animal hoof to tail. Some of the issues the lack of glycine and proline, et cetera, if you’re just eating the meats. Some of the voidedness of the bacterial content, missing on some of the polyphenols and antioxidants, that you’d find wild plants. I also think that a part of that all meat carnivore diet is excess stimulation of IGF-1 and mTOR.
So, what I tell people is if you want to maintain muscle, maintain weight, you’re a football player who wants to put on 20 pounds, eat dairy, eat meat. We know that causes growth, but we also know that, for example, there are dwarf populations are like a knock out gene for IGF-1 or growth hormone. I forget which, but they have a host of health parameters that are favored because of that. It’s too much growth. In their case, they have a markedly lower risk of cancer because, again, that’s one thing you associate with excess activity of IGF-1 is enhanced proliferation of cells that could include cancer cells. That’s why I’m not vegan but if I ever–the issue is not that meat. There has been shown to cause cancer, but they have been shown to induce a higher amount of tumor growth and feeding of blood vessels, like angiogenesis to the tumor if you have them when you already do have cancer. If I ever had cancer, the first thing I’d stop is meat and dairy, just hands down. I would go on a fully ketogenic plan rich diet if that ever happen to me. I don’t think we have a lot of people who are going to give themselves cancer, per se, but it can cause a little bit of accelerated aging. I’m a big fan of press pull upcycling. Meatless Mondays, periods of time during the year where you fast for meat, first time of the year, we’re not eating dairy, eggs, meat, fish. We’re just having vegetables and some oils. I think that’s incredibly helpful for the human body.
James: Absolutely. Okay. Let me see.
Ben: Best way to handle crinkle crunch when bending at the knees. Like an actual crinkle? Like crepitus? When you bend down and the joints are making that noise? A lot of times, that’s synovial fluid. That can be a lack of mobility, meaning that maybe the patellar isn’t tracking the way it’s supposed to, or some other parts of the joints are moving away where it’s supposed to. You can talk to Scott Dolly about that, about mobility, about reducing fascia lesions. When it comes synovial fluid, a lot of times that can be nutritional. It can be movement-based. It can be scar tissue based. There’s a lot of ways to come out of it.
Some of the things that I know can help with synovial fluid is one thing, in particular, it’s called cetyl myristoleate. It’s a type of fatty acid that you can find in supplemental form that can help with synovial fluid. Bone broth is good. Any of those glycine and proline-rich sources. Collagen, probably, has a little bit of an effect. In my opinion, most of the time, I think people eat and supplement too much for injuries when a lot of it is just mechanical. If they started doing single leg, body weight, hamstring and deadlifts and did some robust mobility work and freed up some fascia. I think, nine times out of 10, you’d fix joint issues. I think, just like anything, people want the easy way out. Ultimately, I’ll get a lot of mobility work done and then just focus on synovial fluid.
Top three bio-hacks for human optimization. Top three bio-hacks for human optimization. All comes down to the mitochondria. It all comes down to the mitochondria. Anything you do should be focused on taking care of the organelles within every single cell. I mean, you could call them bio-hacks but they simply simulate what nature does to our bodies. We know that the human body is a battery and in addition to needing good, clean, pure water, and in addition to needing a high amount of minerals in order to charge that battery, you need two other things. You need sunlight and you need to earth. Sunlight and the earth. I think that sunlight or a thing that simulate sunlight, like photobiomodulation, getting infrared, near-infrared, far-infrared light, when you have a lot of water and you have a lot of minerals on board, I love those. They call them bio-hacks now. Bio-hack light panels like we have in the bathroom here, a perfect example. I think that that’s one very useful bio-hack. Assuming that you’ve got the water and the minerals for the waves to actually charge.
Another one, like I mentioned, grounding and earthing for the mitochondria. Well, the equivalent of that from a biohacking standpoint is pulsed select magnetic field therapy. It’s called PEMF. You can get mats, like travel devices, like the FlexPulse or the EarthPulse. You get full on–more of the mats, basically, that you sleep on that will just go all night. There’s one called the BioBalance. There is another device called the Bemer. There’s one called the Pulse Centers, which is like a super powerful one that they use in the racehorse industry that you can see induce profound impacts on things like cellular inflammation. Basically, exercises your cells essentially almost like opening and closing pores in the cell membrane.
I guess that was two, right? Photobiomodulation and PEMF. The last one, even though, of course, we’re surrounded by cold water and cold showers and cold baths, and everything else like cryotherapy chambers that simulate intense amounts of cold for a relatively short period of time, I honestly think that’s a pretty useful biohacking when it comes to human health. It’s a little bit unnecessary if you do have the ability to jump in cold water and ice bath or take a really cold shower, probably. But just the general idea of cryotherapy is very helpful for nitric oxide, for blood flow, for the vagus nerve, for weight loss, for white fat to brown fat conversion. It’s just there’s a lot going for it. That’s what I would go for.
Does high-fat coffee break your fast? Anything with calories breaks your fast, anything. Butter, anything we have in there: coconut manna, coconut oil. You’re not fasting as soon as you officially have one of those. For example, what I’ve been doing is getting up in the morning just have a regular coffee and nothing in it. Then, around 9:30 or so I’ve been having a cup of coffee, or a cup of chaga with some ghee or some coconut manna or some coconut oil in it. That counts as my breakfast, but if I would have had that when I first woke up, then I’m no longer in a fasted state. My body must tap into all those calories, which often, before you know it because fat is so calorie dense. It will be a 600-calorie cup of coffee, your body has to tap in all that before it begins access some fats as a fuel or shifts into cellular autophagy or some of the benefits you’re looking for fasting.
It is better, however, because, at least, it doesn’t spike your insulin levels or your blood glucose levels. At least not spiking insulin and venturing into the realm of glycemic variability, but it does break a fast. You’re not generating inflammation is glycemic variability, but don’t feel you’re not going to lose weight if you’re trying to fasting and you’re having 600 calories a cup of coffee for breakfast.
Top five quick tips for raising kids. Holy cow. Alright, you want quick tips, I’ll give them to you. Number one.
James: Hey, Ben.
James: That’s a 15.
Sardines, anchovies, mackerel, herring, brunch wire, head cheese.
I guess, number one, big one is don’t tell your kid “no” unless they’re about to die, unless they’re about to step out and get hit by a train or something. We don’t really ever use the word, “no” unless the consequences are dire, meaning people like you let your kids eat gluten, my kids can use much damn gluten as they want. Every birthday party they go to, they can stuff their faces full. All I do is I tell them the same kind of stuff you read in “Grain Brain” or any of these other books about gluten and the effect that it can have on neural inflammation, brain fog, the performance at school the next day, their tummies, the inflammation in their guts, the fact that it can cause immune reactions, have been affecting like asthma or their skin condition. So, I just educate them about everything, involving gluten. Sometimes, they go to a party and are like half a cupcake. They come back like, “Dad, I had half a cupcake and I don’t want to have a gluten.” Now, they’re using like Gluten Guardian. They actually will just go to a restaurant and when the bread comes out, they’ll just basically take their Gluten Guardian and have a piece of bread. It’s pre-digested. But I have never ever said don’t eat bread, don’t eat cupcakes, because, of course, that would make them want to eat bread and cupcakes.
Same goes for my phone. People are “How much time do your kids get on the phone?” As much damn time as they want. They can flip on the WiFi and they can flip on the Bluetooth and they can set it on their little testicles while they play their SnapChatting games. I’m not going to say don’t do that. I simply tell them, “Hey, if you do that, you might wind up having kids that are a little bit funny, because you’re basically damaging your sperm,” or I will tell them that “Your skulls are pretty thin and that actually is going to kill brain cells if you hold it up next your head,” or I will tell them, “I like using the phone in airplane mode, but you need to remember that if you’re going to be on it before bed, you’re going to have a pretty crappy night of sleep, so you should consider how late into the into the night you use it.” Then, take my phone and go to bed or do whatever they want, but there’s never a “no.” You simply educate your child about what the consequences are of the decisions that they make. Then, let them make the decisions. With that, you do not create forbidden fruit, you don’t create bitter kids, you create free-thinking, independent kids who are able to make decisions for themselves. That’s one of the top things you can do.
There’s actually a book. I think it’s called “Love and Logic.” Love or Logic/ Love and Logic, something like that. That’s that style of parenting. That style is one.
I won’t give a long paragraph for the others but I would say make sure kids get adequate vitamin D and vitamin K, incredibly important for symmetry and beauty. Make sure they’re getting both of those fat-soluble vitamins at high amounts.
Controversial, but I say genetically test your children. I did that with mine and I found out a bunch of things that I can now use to give them a step up in life in terms of their health. They produce lower levels of BDNF than normal, so their drinking lion’s mane extract before school. Both of them don’t have the gene responsible for helping them make glutathione. They not only get glutathione, but they also have vitamin D because they have that same gene responsible for not allowing them to use the sunlight to make vitamin D. One of them, actually, the only genetic difference between the two of them, they’re identical except one has a gene responsible for over aromatizing testosterone. I’ve told them, “Terran, you’ll probably get man boobs if you eat a lot of plastic and you do a lot of pallets and parabens, use that kind of shampoo. You’ve just got to be more careful with any of that thing.”
Female: Which genetic tests do you use?
Ben: What’s that?
Female: Which genetic tests do you use?
Ben: That one was called Youtrients up in Canada.
I would say, the–gosh, let me think of another two. One is I think that in the same way that a lot of our hunter-gatherer and ancestral tribes and some of the more ferocious and/or long-lived people have traditionally exposed their babies and their children to the cold at a really early age. I think it’s a pretty good step up in life, you teach your kid how to deal with the cold when they’re young. Our kids go into cold soaks, cold baths. They do cold showers like they just understand the cold. They go out and play in the snow in their shirts, in their T-shirts. I think that that’s important too, to give a kid the ability to handle cold, not just cold. Our nervous systems, it’s their ability to regulate. The vagus nerve, their response to stress. There’s a lot more than just cold going on there.
Then the last one–is kind of low, but I pay attention to footwear. From a very early age, our kids are pretty much always barefoot, hikes, runs, wherever, except when we went indoors like to church or to school. Then, they always had Nike Freeze or the equivalent of that. Going barefoot is another one that I like. There’s a lot more. I have a book on Amazon called, “How to Grow Tiny Superhumans.” I’m just going to all the things you do to create more resilient children. Those would be if I know. Don’t say no, Vitamin D, Vitamin K, genetic testing, go barefoot or minimalist. Hell, I’ve forgotten the last one. I just told you.
Ben: Yes, cold therapy, exactly. Let’s do a few more, a few more.
If you have to give three recommendations to healthy people who want to live longer, what would they be? We went over a lot of this in the other night’s lecture but the top ones that come to mind I just started down the road, the human battery and the four things you charge it: water, minerals, sunlight, and the earth. Get out in the sun, be barefoot, or get outdoors, or, it’s a dumb ass solution, but if you have to, and you really truly have an excuse not to be on the sun there outside barefoot, use photobiomodulation and PEMF or, ideally, use both. That would be one. Take care of the mitochondria.
Number two would be fasting. Intermittent fasting, alternate day fasting, fasting mimicking diet. Any form of fasting which I already brought up as well. I will kick that horse to death. Then, in addition to taking care of your mitochondria and fasting, what I’m going to do is keep this in the physical fitness health department because they lectured a lot on the relationship, social, ancestral practices, spiritual disciplines, things like that the other night. If there was one more that you could do from a physical standpoint, and I couldn’t say cold showers.
Let me think about this.
Here’s one that comes to mind. There’s a lot of research on essential fatty acids. omega 3ss and omega 6s and their importance for the human brain, for [01:14:25] ______, for the human nervous system, for skin. Somebody asked about the creaky joints, for joints. I would say the last one be like whether you’re vegan or meat-base, make sure you’re getting a lot of really good absorbable omega 3 fatty acids because they’re very important and they tie into that whole idea of keeping the human battery charged because they’re important for the cell membrane as well. That’s what I would focus on. Mediterranean diet, [01:14:49] ______, olive oil and avocado oil and sardines and fatty fish, things like that.
What are your thoughts on sunblock or sunglasses? Fitting question since we’re in the Dominican Republic. I’m not a fan. I haven’t touched sunscreen since I got here. None of you see me wearing sunglasses either. The former, because my strategy is that whenever I’m in a spot like this I go out just long enough before my skin gets warm. As soon as my skin starts to get warm, I know I’m burning. Then, I get out of the sun. You’ll see me here just taking frequent short doses out in the sun like 15, 20 minutes. Then, I come back in.
I would stay out there longer, but I just came from freaking Washington State. As you guys probably saw, if anybody saw me in my American flag Speedo this morning, I got a big old whitish blue ass because my ass cheeks had not seen sunshine in a while. Basically, the idea is that it depends on how much sun exposure that you’ve had, but ultimately sunblock, usually you’re just blocking UVA, UVB which you get a hormetic effect from that you learn the other night. You’re blocking infrared, near-infrared, red light. I’m not a fan of sunblock.
If you have to use it like when I raced the IronMan, yes, I use it because I was doing something unnatural. I was out there 10 hours under the sun, but if I have the choice and it’s just a choice of me, I’m not being out in the sun and just being sane and not using sunblock. I’d rather not use it.
Sunglasses, again, unless I’m snowboarding in the sun, the glare is going to damage my eyes, or whatever. Out in a boat, just going through choppy water and the winds hit me in the face and salt water spraying me in the face, don’t wear sunglasses because as soon as you block the message to the protein receptors in your retina, things like–what I call it—not opsin. There’s another important. Basically, there are all opsins and proteins. But as soon as those proteins are blocked, you will stop up-regulating the production of the tanning pigment melanin. What that means is if you’re wearing sunglasses and you’re producing as much melanin, you’re more likely to get more sun damage. Sun becomes more harmful. So, I’m not a fan of wearing sunglasses unless it literally is to protect your eyes, or if you live in California because you don’t look cool unless you’re wearing sunglasses when you go there. I do, sometimes, when I go to California wear sunglasses just to look cool. But not here. We’re definitely not in California. Let’s do, what you guys think, three more questions?
James: Take it from the audience.
Ben: Yes, we could take a few from the audience instead. We should do the last three from the audience.
James: [01:17:28] ______
Ben: Well, let’s do one more from here. Then, we’ll do three from the audience. Let’s see.
The thoughts of following a diet of eating only foods in season and allowing a break from naturally occurring plant toxins for longevity. Absolutely. My podcast with Dan Pompa where we talked about feast-famine cycling in the Native American populations were eating squash and berries and bark and plants and shoots and buds and tubers and all sorts of things in the summer, in the spring. Then, when winter rolled around, they’re basically just out in the frozen tundra killing goats and sheep and caribou and elk and doing something very similar to what we just did to that pig that we spit roasted for a few hours. They just did everything, organ meats, scale meat, flesh, everything. Their body was getting press full cycling. They were getting the IGF-1 mTOR cycling, their high protein low protein, high-fiber, lower fiber.
Yes, I’m absolutely a fan of eating in season. Problem is it’s very hard for us blessed in a westernized society with just a cornucopia of food at the grocery store from all four corners of the planet to do that. We actually have to go out of our ways and think about it and actually schedule times, like schedule times when you’re going too fast or schedule times when you’re going to pick up a book like, whatever, “Change Your Schedule, Change Your Life,” or John Douillard’s “Mind, Body, and Sport,” or any of these books that go into Ayurvedic seasonal eating. You’re literally going to have, whatever, your Google calendar reminder pop up a week before and tell you “Hey, next week you make sure you don’t a lot of me in the freezer because you’re shifting into plants and herbs and spices and vegetables.” Then, it pops up again when you’re in the next phase.
Or, if you’re growing all your own food and you’re hunting your food and you’re doing most, you’re foraging yourself at farmer’s markets, that’s going to take care of itself as well, because what’s going to come to you seasonally is what will be growing around you and what the farmers have. But even in that situation, to live life by the rule. I really don’t go to the grocery store much. If you have that self-control, then you can totally eat season without forcing yourself into it and just going with what happens to be around if you’re not frequenting Whole Foods or Air One, unfortunately. No, I wouldn’t have the self-control to do if I live two blocks from Air One.
Okay. Let’s do three questions from the audience. Yes, there in the back.
James: Question: What are your top three tests in correlating lab and company frequency to monitor your health?
Ben: Top three tests in frequency. Top three tests. One I already mentioned, DNA. I know CRISPR gene thing is coming along and things could change but most scenarios you’re testing out once in a lifetime. You’re getting a good test, doing once in a lifetime, you’ve got all your ancestral data so you know how your ancestors ate. You’ve got all your health data so you know what kind of things you’re predisposed to so you know what kind of supplements or food or lifestyle habits that you can adopt to stave that off. You can download your data. You can export the raw data out of the websites to dig even deeper. I’ve exported mine for permeate ates. I found out my diabetic risk factors. I’ve exported StrateGene and I found out the exact supplements that I should take if I am ever going to have more than two glasses of wine like to block histamines. It’s just something I don’t process as much. I’d say genetic test would be one.
Number two would be once yearly, although I personally do it quarterly, I have a lot of my clients who can afford it doing it quarterly but a really comprehensive blood panel, a really comprehensive blood panel that tests for not just thyroid, but TSH, thyroid antibodies, T3, T4, reverse T3, total T4, total, T3, free T4, like everything. Doesn’t just test for cholesterol. Test for LDL, HDL, HDL particle, LDL particle, apo B. Every parameter that you can test for cholesterol and particle size. A really comprehensive blood test.
I worked with WellnessFX to create one called the Greenfield Longevity Panel. You could easily just print that out and bring in to your doctor and just say, “I want to test these things.” You have a doc and then you want to go through Wellness FX. That would be a pretty good list to start with. There’s one for men and there’s one for women.
Then, the last one. Even though they’re stool, I mean there’s all sorts differing urine and blood tests, I’d say. Probably, the last one that is pretty useful to do any time when you’re feeling less than stellar, like you feel your fatigue has changed, your drive has changed, your menstrual cycles have changed, or anything like that, the Dutch test which tests a whole bunch of hormones: melatonin, testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, cortisol, cortisol metabolize, testosterone metabolize. You could see how fast hormones are breaking down. You could see, “Well, my cortisol is not high because I’m stressed out. My cortisol is high because I’m not breaking it down properly. It’s not like my adrenal glands are turning out tons of it because I’m always stressed out. It’s simply because I have low cortisol metabolites. I’m not breaking down the cortisol enough. So, I could use some supplementation strategy to accelerate. Of course, I’ll break down.” You learn a lot more than you would with the blood test, specifically from a hormone standpoint. Those would be the three. That’s called a Dutch test.
Who’s next? Yes, sir.
James: Question: What type of diet would you recommend for a family of four with a weekly food budget of $100?
Ben: What kind I would recommend to a family of four who can only spend about $100.00 a week? I would be doing a lot of calorie-dense and nutrient-dense foods. Nut butters. Avocados and guacamoles, canned or tinned sardine, herring, smoked oyster, mackerel, any of those type of fish that aren’t super expensive that you can get just big batches of, in bulk. I would be considering, from a meat standpoint, just like once a year, buying a share, like a quarter cow, or half cow just having that for the whole year. She just don’t even need to go get meat if you have that and you have some of those small cold-water fish.
What are some others? Yogurt and dairy, it’s pretty calorie-dense. It’s pretty nutrient-dense. It’s actually very easy to even make and ferment. You can do a lot yourself for pennies on a dollar. Our food bill at our house is super cheap. Jessa makes the sourdough and I make the yogurt and she makes like the sauerkraut and the kimchi. We just have bunch of cheap ass canning jars and a few very affordable kitchen tools. We are able to make and grow most of it. It’s a big one. It’s the less you buy. You invest once in half a cow and once in a nice little vertical gardening setup or just like a few days of hard labor to build some raised garden beds and you’ve got a lot that you can grow yourself as well, which is just dirt cheap. We have pounds and pounds and pounds of parsley we give away. Leave it at church, we give it to friends. We have more than we know what to do with. We barely paid that. We paid for the seeds and the water and some of the composting. Then, just time.
Those would be some of the biggies. Just a few nutrient-dense things like dairy, milk, yogurt, guacamole, avocados, nut butters. Tubers are also pretty good as a starch, they’re really nutrient-dense. Sweet potatoes, actually, potatoes of themselves. Those are the most satiating food group that exists. More than liver, more than red meat, more than anything, potatoes are the most satiating thing you can eat. So, that’s one as well. Those are a few that come to mind. Good question. Let’s go with one more queue. Pressures on, better be good.
James: Question: How do you find the right balance between the physical or tangible elements of what you teach and the spiritual and intangible elements?
Ben: How you find balance between the spiritual disciplines of the physical disciplines, basically?
Ben: Physical discipline is being–think if we lead this to the spiritual disciplines, it’s like a lot of the Theodore Roosevelt, like all muscular Christianity movement, folks who are into buffeting their bodies because they’re like the temple. There’s a lot of crossovers there. Then, the spiritual disciplines would be fasting, silence, solitude, meditation, gratitude, prayer. Those are the biggies when it comes to the spiritual disciplines.
As far as balancing them out, I guess I never really had much of a problem balancing it from a logistical standpoint. I get up. I do my gratitude journal. I have some silence and solitude in the morning where I’m breathing. I meditate a few times a week. I pray every day. I always have some spiritual book that I’m reading, some fiction book that I’m reading, and some nonfiction book. I spread that out pretty well.
Then, the physical discipline is I can always take if I need to, and I’m not super physically active during my workday. Forty to 60 minutes to get a workout in. I think, the bigger issue comes from the idea of thinking about the importance of it. You think about doing other physical disciplines. I think I talk about this in a podcast once about the–I forget who it was who said you spend two years of your life exercising, you can live longer, but those are two years of your life you’ll never get back. Or you spend so much time buffeting your bodies, you can better achieve your purpose in life. Like I was talking about the other night, like keeping yourself healthy and vibrant and young, but you’re almost so obsessed with that that you never actually have the time left over to go out and volunteer in your local community, or to help people, or to develop your spiritual disciplines.
I think that a good way to frame it is, yes, the physical disciplines are enhancing you to be able to achieve your spiritual purpose as best you can, but at the same time, I think, for ultimate meaning and making the biggest difference in the world, you should be less concerned about your six-pack than about knowing the name of your neighbor and be able to help people out every once in a while. You get to a certain point where you’re functional and capable of being very spiritually robust. At that point, everything else past that is typically vanity.
Of course, there are exceptions. There are people that get paid to look good and be muscular and that’s how they feed their family and that’s how they bring home the bacon. Then, there are people who are, maybe, exercising. If they weren’t exercising at this point in their life, they’ll be drinking or doing drugs. Maybe, there’s been a little more time exercising than they should, but it’s better than the option at this point in their lives.
That’s my thought stream there, but I think you can definitely have both. I respect people who are of physically sound body but also spiritually meaningful and sound people. It flies the other way too. Joel Salatin has a really good book about this, about how annoying it is when you’re a church potluck, these people should be the people they really believe they’re made in the image of God, and they have these deeply important spirits and souls. You think like those would be the people most likely to be taking care of the body like a temple and it’s just like Cheetos and potato salad and Doritos. It’s just horrible canola oil casseroles. He talks about how Christians, spiritual people, they should be the best at taking care of the planet, and the best at farming and gardening and doing all these things that actually enhance the body, spirituality, and cares for the environment the way we’re supposed to. It flies both ways. There are spiritual people who do physically shitty job. There are physical people who do a spiritual shitty job. I think that the ideal is you combine the two, physically sound, spiritually sound, and mentally sound. That’s honestly the whole direction, that’s my company, body, mind, spirit. That’s why we’re doing gratitude journals, or even looking into supplementation strategies that would assist with focus and fasting and things that support the spiritual disciplines. Or we’re really thinking hard about how we can, not just be like a supplements company and not just feel like a physical fitness content company, but be able to support people in their spiritual health as well. It’s important. Thanks for asking.
Well, I think that’s good. You, guys, look full of pork and tired and ready for your lovely bed inside the palace. So, class is dismissed.
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When it comes to living a long life, demographers, epidemiologists, gerontologists and other researchers on aging have long puzzled over the theoretical question of the maximum potential for human lifespan, along with the host of proposed practices we can implement that help us achieve that potential. There is, after all, in the past decade alone a veritable laundry list of tactics we can use to make ourselves more age resistant, from nutrients, vitamins and pills such as Vitamin D, aspirin, metformin, magnesium, pterostilbene, resveratrol, blueberry extract, nicotinamide riboside and Rhodiola to lifestyle practices such as shivering our asses off, self-imposed starvation, fecal transplants, strict veganism, injecting into ourselves growth hormone, testosterone, stem cells, exosomes, the blood of younger healthy humans and speaking of younger humans, simply “having more children”.
Fact is, compared to the Biblical Methuselah, who purportedly lived to the ripe old age of 969, we don’t seem to be moving the anti-aging dial much. In fact, researchers estimate that in the U.S. today, the average adult life expectancy is still only about 77 years and, disturbingly, now plummeting due to high rates of chronic diseases (many of which are preventable with simple lifestyle changes you’ll learn about in this podcast). Currently – despite the Chinese lore of the recently perished “256-year-old” Li Ching Yuen, the longest-lived modern person in the world on actual record is Jeanne Calment of France, who died in 1997 at the exact age of 122 years and 164 days.
Yet, when we observe nature, some amount of immortality, or at least a significant amount of enhanced life extension, appears to be achievable. Take the naked mole rate, for example. The naked mole rat’s cells themselves seem to make proteins – the molecular machines that make bodies work – more accurately than us humans, preventing it from developing age-related illnesses like Alzheimer’s. Unlike humans, the way these ugly little creatures handle glucose doesn’t seem to change with age either, reducing their susceptibility to diseases like diabetes.
The naked mole rat isn’t the only animal scientists are now probing to pick the lock of long life. With a rampant metabolism and a heart rate of 1,000 beats a minute, the common hummingbird should, on paper, be riddled with rogue free radicals (the oxygen-based chemicals that make mammals old by gradually destroying DNA, proteins and fat molecules), but the tiny birds seem relatively bulletproofed against heart disease. Then there are lobsters, which seem to have evolved a protein which repairs the telomere tips of their DNA, allowing for a decreased rate of telomere shortening that most animals are incapable of.
Finally, as if rats, hummingbirds and lobsters weren’t enough to make us longevity seeking humans a bit jealous, we mustn’t forget one animal on Earth that may hold the master key to immortality: the Turritopsis dohrnii, also known as the “Immortal Jellyfish”. Most jellyfish, when they reach the end of life, die and melt into the sea, but not the Turritopsis dohrnii. Instead, it sinks to the bottom of the ocean floor, where its body folds in on itself – assuming the jellyfish equivalent of the fetal position – and regenerates back into a baby jellyfish in a rare biological process called transdifferentiation, in which its old cells somehow transform into young cells.
So is there a human equivalent of the type of immortality “powers” these animals seem to have tapped into? Many in popular anti-aging and longevity circles have suggested that – in the next several decades – we could indeed unlock the secrets to living to approximately 120 to 140 years old, and many biohackers and anti-aging enthusiasts such as Peter Diamandis, Peter Thiel, Larry Page, Elon Musk and Tony Robbins and even lil ol’ me are striving to live greater than 160 years old.
The purpose of this podcast is not to delve into the relatively advanced longevity secrets of these fringe biohackers, but instead to reveal everything you need to know about why the world’s more traditionally living longevity all-stars not only live longer but also tend to live better. They have strong connections with their family and friends. They’re active. They wake up in the morning knowing that they have a purpose, and the world, in turn, reacts to them in a way that propels them along. An overwhelming majority of them still enjoy life. They share these common behavioral and lifestyle characteristics, such as family coherence, avoidance of smoking, plant-based diet, moderate and daily physical activity, social engagement, and situations where people of all ages are socially active and integrated into the community, despite all of them being from different areas of the world and of different races, nationalities and religions.
That’s not to say that biohacking for longevity and better living through science isn’t beneficial. After spending nearly two decades deeply immersed in the health, fitness, nutrition and longevity industry, I’ve come to a growing realization that an open embrace of both the modern science and the ancestral wisdom could indeed allow one to live a long and healthy lifespan that rivals and even exceeds that of our ancestors. Perhaps that’s why my children and I engage in wild plant foraging (a longevity tactic you’ll learn more about in this podcast), but do so using a plant identification smartphone app that allows us to identify everything from mushrooms to plants with incredible accuracy, allowing us to tap into a bit of better living through science to not get poisoned or make fatal mistakes our ancestors might have while foraging; why I own a quaint and simple, off-grid, barn-style home in the forest where we grow most of our own food, yet fill that barn with tens of thousands of dollars of modern anti-aging biohacking equipment; and why the last time I disappeared into a seven day high-country elk bowhunt in the mountains of Colorado, I had a neurofeedback brain training device neatly tucked away into my camouflage backpack.
But in this podcast, rather than learning about fancy devices you can spend tens of thousands of dollars on or fringe biohacks that will get you plenty of weird looks from your neighbors, you will discover exactly how to use proven ancestral tactics to live a happy, long and fulfilled life. So you can think of today’s podcast as a cookbook for longevity that gives you all the low-hanging fruit and teaches you all the basics of living a long and happy life.
During this two-part episode, in part one, you’ll discover…
-Why you should never smoke and quit immediately if you do…10:19
- When you stop smoking, your body responds immediately
- Noticeable improvements within 90 days
- Sexual performance
- After 1 year, like nothing ever happened
- Adrenal glands need to adapt to the lack of nicotine
- Use a good air filter
- Don’t just stop; implement a strategy to aid your repair and recovery
- FUM essential oil vaping pen
-The benefits of wild plants…14:20
- Xeno-hormetic effect
- Not a fan of “plant paradox” diets
- Book: Eating On the Wild Side
- Higher vegetable, lower meat intake
-The dangers of processed and packaged foods…18:10
- First two ingredients often found in processed “health foods”
- Artificial sweetener
- Vegetable oil
- Difficult to eat processed/packaged foods when you’re eating right
- Aim for 80% real food, 20% p/p foods
-Why legumes are your friends…22:37
- High in non-meat protein, amino acids, slow-burning carbs
- Eat other carbs (sweet potatoes, carrots, quinoa etc.) alongside the legumes
- Article: Soaking, sprouting legumes
-Low-level physical activity…25:56
- Enjoyable exercise; rarely engage in high-intensity training
- Hack your environment
- Visiting the gym should be optional, unless you’re training for an event, pro athlete, etc.
- Sitting for 8 straight hours negates any efficacy from a gym session
-Why you should prioritize social engagement…29:00
- Podcast: Growing Epidemic of Loneliness
-How drinking alcohol (in moderation) can be good for you…32:15
- Podcast: Todd White of Dry Farm Wines
- Reduces risk of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers
- Mediterranean diet
- Boosts benefits of low-level activity even more (these habits build off one another)
- I haven’t been drunk in 6 years, but I have a drink every day (red wine, Moscow mule, “Ben and Jitters”)
-Calorie restriction and fasting…37:38
- Intermittent fasting (12-16 hours)
- Fasting mimicking diet (40% of normal calorie intake)
- My own practice:
- Intermittent fast
- 1-2x per month, 24 hour fast (dinner to dinner)
- 4x per year, fasting mimicking diet
- Podcast: The Complete Guide to Fasting w/ Jason Fung
-The importance of possessing a strong life purpose…42:08
- NIH funded study correlating purpose and longevity
- Be able to say your purpose in life in one succinct sentence
- Quick tips:
- What did you like to do when you were a kid?
- What puts you in the flow, or the zone?
- Podcast with Mastin Kipp
- Book: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*CK
-Lower your stress levels…45:00
- Chronic stress at the root of inflammation, age-related diseases
- Don’t avoid stress; learn to manage it
- Ruthlessly eliminate haste and hurry from your life
-Engage in a belief in a higher power…47:20
- Believe there’s a story for your life, that you fit into a bigger picture
- Study:Church attendance, allostatic load and mortality in middle-aged adults
-Remain reproductively useful…50:17
- If you want to replenish the earth, nature will want to keep you around
- Article: Old, horny Italians
In part 2, recorded from Runga in the Dominican Republic, I respond to questions from the audience, including:
-What are the 2019 health trends…56:00
-What is your view about high animal protein and how IGF-1 impacts longevity…58:53
-What’s the best way to handle crinkle/crunch when bending at the knees…1:01:50
-What are the top 3 bio hacks for human optimization…1:03:24
- All comes down to the mitochondria
-Does high-fat coffee break your fast…1:05:53
- Anything with calories breaks your fast
-Top 5 quick tips for raising kids…1:07:11
- Don’t say “no” unless their life is in danger. Educate, let them learn to make decisions for themselves
- Adequate Vitamin D and K
- Genetically test your kids
- Teach how to deal with the cold
- Footwear (lots of bare feet)
-Top 3 tips for increasing longevity…1:12:52
-What are your thoughts on sunblock and sunglasses…1:14:50
-The thought of eating a diet only of foods in season and allowing a break from naturally occurring plant toxins for longevity…1:17:38
-What are your top 3 tests in correlating lab/company frequency to monitor your health…
-What type of diet would you recommend for a family of four with a budget of $100/week…1:23:18
- Calorie and nutrient dense foods
- Invest in half a cow, vertical gardening setup
-How do you find the right balance between the physical/tangible elements of what you teach and the spiritual/intangibles…1:25:44
–RUNGA – The most intensive, special personalized wellness and performance immersion on the planet
-Book: The Blue Zones Solutions by Dan Buettner
–Fum – essential oil vaping pen
-Book: The Plant Paradox by Steven Gundry
-Book: The Longevity Diet by Valter Longo
–Kion’s Fasting Bundle. Contains 2 Bags Kion Coffee and 1 Bottle Kion Aminos Tablets. This is Kion’s Favorite Combo to Support Fasting!
–JOOVV Medical-Grade, Full-Body Light Therapy. “It’s the only light therapy device I’d ever recommend. Give it a try: you won’t be disappointed.” Use code “ben” at checkout and receive a nice bonus gift with your order.
–Organifi Gold combines turmeric with smooth coconut milk, cinnamon, ginger, lemon balm and two super mushrooms to create a warm relaxation beverage. Use discount code “greenfield” at checkout and receive 20% off your entire purchase!