[2:13] Meet Up In Las Vegas
[3:45] Introduction to this Episode
[5:18] About Yuri Elkaim
[8:54] Yuri's Hair Incident
[17:31] Yuri's First Commandment of Energy
[24:17] What is Live Blood Cell Analysis
[26:51] The Myth Regarding Changing One's Blood pH
[40:01] Quick Commercial Break/Varidesk
[42:01] Onnit Hyper Vest
[44:02] Continuation/Live Blood Cell Analysis
[46:43] What Does It Mean to Eat Food That Provide More Energy Than The Food Actually Require to Digest
[52:29] How Much HCL to Take
[56:40] Adrenal Glands and Adrenal Fatigue
[1:06:40] Testing Your Adrenals Yourself
[1:09:37] What to Look For in a Good Probiotics
[1:12:57] Water Intake
[1:16:25] Raw Chocolate Recipe of Yuri
[1:22:29.2] End of Podcast
Ben: Hey. What's up, everybody? It's Ben Greenfield. I've got my friend Yuri on today's call. Yuri Elkaim. Elkaim? Elkaim? I don't know. I dunno how to pronounce those crazy — what? European? Jewish? Middle Eastern? E-L-K-A-I-M. Elkaim. I should probably stop trying to pronounce it so that I don't offend people. We'll ask him in the show. Before we get to Yuri however, I do have a couple of things I wanted to tell you about.
I was recently on a TV show. I have to keep it secret, but it will air, I believe, mid-November. And in that TV show, I'm wearing a t-shirt. A t-shirt that I absolutely love and it doesn't have a logo on it because they wanted to me to wear a t-shirt that didn't have a logo on it. But I am wearing — the way that I do my clothing is I just stick to specific brands. So I've got this new brand, and I'm wearing most of their clothing now for my kinda cool looking, tight fitting, fitness apparel. ‘Cause everybody knows I love me some spandex. No, I'm kidding. They don't do spandex.
They actually make apparel that's really comfortable, really soft. Even my kids like kinda snuggling up to me when I'm wearing this fitness apparel. But it also looks good. At least I think it looks good. If you think I look like crap when I'm dressed, when I'm actually wearing a shirt, you should probably stop listening to this particular commercial.
But Four Athletics is the name of the brand. Four Athletics. So go check out their stuff. They've got shirts, they've got shorts. So the idea is they use a crowd funding model to get you amazing fitness apparel at a fraction of the retail price. And they do it ethically so there's no waste, and 100% of their stuff is made right here in the US of A. So it must be good. Anyways, you go to Four Athletics, FOURathletics.com. Go there, surf around on their site. If you've actually seen me wearing clothes, it's likely that I'm wearing their stuff. So use promo code Ben, B-E-N, to get 15% off of all stuff from Four Athletics. Alright? Just do it. fourathletics.com, use code Ben, 15% off.
Also, for any of you who are a.) obstacle racing or b.) party animals who like Vegas, you should know that I am having a big meet up in Las Vegas. It's not gonna be on the strip. We're actually gonna do this off the strip, at a sweet sushi restaurant. We're gonna drink sake, we're gonna eat amazing sushi, and it's all part of the Ben Greenfield Fitness meet-up that's taking place after the Tough Mudder in Vegas.
Now this is coming up soon. This is Saturday night, October 28th. So what we're gonna do is we're all gonna meet in Vegas, do the race out in Henderson. For any of you who wanna get on a plane last minute and fly to Vegas. And Saturday, October — did I just say 28th? I think Saturday is October 29th. Anyways, it's that kinda like Halloween-ish weekend. So I'm gonna fly down and I'm gonna do the race, I'm gonna fly back in time to have Halloween with my family. I think I'm going to be Shaggy from Scooby Doo. I think that's what my children have requested.
Anyways though, 7 PM, we are gonna all meet at this place called Tide Seafood and Sushi Bar and just throw down. Information for all that, just go to facebook.com/bgfitness and check it out. Come meet up and do whatever people do when they meet up at a meet up, and race the Tough Mudder. You gotta do both, honestly. I don't wanna see you stuffing your face with sushi rolls and drinking copious amounts of sake unless you also like climbed their warped wall, and did their monkey bars, and ran through the mud, and got shocked, all the stuff you do at Tough Mudder. Alright. Let's go talk to Yuri.
In this episode of The Ben Greenfield Fitness Show:
“It's just so complex, and I think we just have to do the best we can with the knowledge we have and really listen to our body to kind of navigate our way through this jungle of confusion.” “There's a very fine line between magic and science, and magic is simply stuff we haven't been able to quantify yet. It doesn't mean that it doesn't exist.” “Sometimes I get frustrated with the health profession because you see somebody who's a specialist in one thing, and to that person, they have a hammer and everything's a nail.”
He’s an expert in human performance and nutrition, voted America’s top personal trainer and one of the globe’s most influential people in health and fitness. His show provides you with everything you need to optimize physical and mental performance. He is Ben Greenfield. “Power, speed, mobility, balance – whatever it is for you that’s the natural movement, get out there! When you look at all the studies done… studies that have shown the greatest efficacy…” All the information you need in one place, right here, right now, on the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.
Ben: Alright, folks. It's Ben Greenfield here, and I have a few little quips for you to think about, such as the following: your blood is a river; food shouldn't drain your energy, period; your adrenal glands need to be stressed, but stressed strategically; eating less can give you more energy if you do it the right way; anything that clutters your head strips you of energy and productivity; movement is a life, excess healing and repair inhibits that movement and stagnation is death; increasing energy is synonymous with increasing fertility, health, and longevity, so if you decode for yourself an energy increase, the effects are gonna be exponential. Well, everything that I just told you are just bits and pieces of what are called the “7 Commandments of Energy” that you find in the book that was written by today's podcast guest, Yuri Elkaim.
The book is called “The All Day Energy Diet” and Yuri claims — we're gonna delve into this little more and find out whether or not it's really true that you can double your energy in seven days if you actually follow some of the recommendations that he has in this diet. And he goes into everything from blood pH, to the digestive system, and adrenal systems. He talks about how caffeine can rob your energy, about stomach acid, about probiotics, about drinking when you're eating, home adrenal testing, all sorts of stuff that we're gonna cover today because the book is just jam packed, front to back, with little — it's the kind of stuff I like; little practical tips that you can use, but stuff that you really don't come across in other places.
So Yuri has actually been on the show before to talk about things like cellular energy, for example, and detoxification. And Yuri and I have known each other for a long time. I mean what, Yuri? Probably like a decade?
Yuri: Probably. And we've snuggled together while camping. Kind of.
Ben: We have snuggled together while camping. Yes. So we've hung out. We're not strangers to one another. I think the first time that I saw you, Yuri, you were running on a treadmill at a gym at like a health and fitness conference that we were both, and I found out later that like you were the guy who had, way back in the day, created like done-for-you treadmill gym workouts that people could download on to an app, right?
Yuri: Yup! The Treadmill Trainer was one of our first programs.
Ben: Yeah. You were ahead of your time, man. That was like one of the first, I think, like walk-you-through-a-fitness-workout apps I had ever seen in my life. On a treadmill.
Yuri: I know. It's pretty awesome.
Ben: You saved people from…
Yuri: We didn't catch up with all the innovation, but I guess we're one of the initial innovators.
Ben: You save people from blowing their brains out on a treadmill. People everywhere.
Yuri: Oh, totally. I saved myself 'cause I'm like…
Ben: So you were a former pro soccer player, and we talked about your story a little bit on the last episode that I had you on. So if people wanna go back and listen to that, I'll put a link to the past episode I did with Yuri over in the show notes. And today's show notes, which are gonna be jam packed, you can access at bengreenfieldfitness.com/7commandments. That's the number 7, commandments, based off of Yuri's “7 Commandments” that he has in this “All Day Energy Diet” book.
But Yuri, one thing that I really wanted to delve into so that people can get to know where you're coming from a little bit better is that you had a point in your life where all your hair fell out, which I think is a perfect place to start because I know a lotta guys don't like it when their hair starts to fall out, and I think you went through this on steroids. So fill us in on the whole hair thing, dude.
Yuri: Yeah. Just so we're clear, this isn't like male-pattern baldness that happens when you're like 50. This happened when I was 17. And to give you some context, my dad's a Moroccan, so I had a lot of hair previous to that.
Ben: Moroccans, like where you of a full-on like Napoleon Dynamite and then some, like curly black hair?
Yuri: I had luscious brown hair, if you put it that way. It wasn't curly, but it depends, I guess. Yeah. You can go either way. So I had like thick eyebrows, long brown hair. And then my last year of high school, it started falling out. And I was like, “What's going on here? This is weird.”
Ben: You mean like your eyebrows too?
Yuri: Yeah. It's actually started off, I was in the shower after soccer practice one night and I was washing my hair, opened my eyes, and then I had like a handful of hair, and I'm like, “That's not normal.” So I was thinking maybe it's the shampoo. Obviously wasn't. So the mirror after, and I noticed I had like a quarter-sized patch on my head. And next morning I woke up, I had a ton of hair in my pillow. And within the space of about six weeks, I lost all of my hair. Eyebrows, eye lashes, body hair, everything. And so, my doctor basically said I had an autoimmune condition called alopecia, but that was the extent…
Ben: Did you go to your doctor like the first day? Or did you wait until it was all gone?
Yuri: No. I can't remember exactly when, but it was definitely before it was all gone. I remember him sifting through my hair and looking at the patched. He said, “Okay. Yeah. This is what it is.” And their diagnosis, or their recommendation was like, “Well, there's really — nah. There's nothing we can do. But we can inject your hair with some cortisone if you want.” I was like, “Nah. That's quite alright.” So, yeah. It kinda ran its course and fell out within about six weeks. And I was really awkward, I mean, going through my last year of high school, where two months previous to that, this heavily coveted jock, and then two months later, people are looking at me like I'm going through cancer. So that was an interesting transition.
Ben: Was it just your hair or were there other things going on?
Yuri: Well, the thing is like it took me a long time to realize that there was other things going on. So it was really just my hair, superficially. It took me about eight years to go through the whole medical community to eventually determine that they were pretty much useless. And I went back to school to study holistic nutrition in my mid-20's, and I had, a number of my professors were naturopathic doctors and different alternative healers, and I asked them, I'm like, “Do you think this condition can be related to my diet?” ‘Cause I started to clue in that the way I was eating probably wasn't serving me that well. So I was eating a lot of breads, pastas, cereals, the way those old textbooks would tell athletes to eat. And just to give you some context, I could easily eat like toast and cheese, and cereal with tablespoons of sugar on top from morning 'til night no problem.
And that's kind of what I did, with very few vegetables or fruit for almost 15 years. And I didn't realize the toll that was taking on my body. And when I think about it, when I think back to my earlier days, 8, 9, 10, I used to have a really bad stomach aches to the point of like having to lay down and put my legs up on the wall to relieve gas, like terrible asthma up until I was in my late teens, really bad eczema, and really low energy, like half of my days were sleep. It was either between like 10 to 12 hours at nights, and/or one to two hour afternoon nap. Like at the time, I was like, “Well, it's just 'cause I'm active and…”
Ben: I was gonna say is that abnormal for a pro soccer player?
Yuri: Yeah. I mean having seen the other side? Like after things got better, it was definitely abnormal because I was a teenager practicing playing, let's say five or six times a week, but it wasn't like six hours a day type of training. Like it wasn't like ultra marathon type stuff. It was one to two hours of training or a game, and it's nothing that a healthy body can't handle. So what I realized, eventually, when I kind of got to the crux of this, basically it was like my diet was a major, major culprit of this, which as a result of the foods I was eating, my body was heavily inflamed, and I was eating a lot of foods that my body was sensitive to. And over time, my immune system kinda just went haywire. So when I cleaned things up, when I started to learn about nutrition and all this awesome stuff, like my hair [0:14:15] ______ self within probably three months, and that was a cool bonus. At that point, I was in my mid-20's. I didn't really care too, but…
Ben: So your hair grew back?
Yuri: It did! Yeah. But I kept it shaved for a long time, and obviously, you know that I've kind of lost everything again. A couple years ago, I had a vaccination for whatever reason at the recommendation of my doctor when I was taking my oldest son in for a quick check up. And she's like, “Yeah, while you're here, just get a tetanus shot.” I don't know why I did it, but two weeks later, my hair started falling out again.
Ben: What? Just like randomly she recommended a tetanus shot?
Yuri: Yeah. She's like, “While you're here, you might as well just — it's been 10 plus years, you might as well just get another shot.” And I was like, “Yeah. Why not?” I didn't even know why I didn't question that 'cause it's pretty ridiculous. So that kind of prompted things to start happening again, and kind of everything fell out but…
Ben: Same thing? Was that like an autoimmune reaction or was that more of like a metal toxicity type of a thing?
Yuri: I don't know. I've spoken to a lot of people about this, and I don't know if there's just one answer to this. I think there's a combination of things. Like there's autoimmunity, which is tied in with leaky gut. There's probably some thyroid issues, some heavy metal toxicity. So I think there was a lot of different angles of attack that could have been looked at. But for me, the hair loss was — by the time I was 24, 25, that was kind of my claim to fame. Everyone knew me as the guy with the shaved head, or the no hair. And it was fine, like I didn't really care too much about it. But the energy, for me, was the big thing.
So when I started to clean things up, the energy instead of going from 10 to 12 hours a night of sleeping and still feeling tired, I was waking up after seven hours. Like jumping out of bed, and I'm like, “Whoa. This is weird. What's going on?” Like I've never experienced this before. And I'm not just talking about having shots of espresso or anything. So for me, that was like the real big “Aha!” And by this point, I had retired from playing pro soccer, but I was still like super, super active, like still playing at a decent level, not professionally, but several a week, training on my own. So I was active every single day to the same degree I was before, and it was just amazing to see like how my body had transitioned to feeling like a thousand times better. And I was like, “Wow. If I had known this stuff when I was playing soccer, at that high level, what a difference it would have made.” Like it was just crazy…
Ben: Aw, dude. I have the same wishes sometimes when I wish I could go back and not stop off at McDonald's for a Super-Sized Big Mac before collegiate tennis practice every day.
Ben: ‘Cause that was my go-to; Big Mac Super-Size, fries, and a Dr. Pepper. And then I'd drive to tennis and I would be finishing that as I was walking into tennis. And then sometimes I'd do the Fillet O' Fish, which was another favorite of mine.
Yuri: Healthier option.
Ben: Much healthier 'cause it's fish. It's omega-3 fatty acids. Well, first of all, keep your hair short 'cause I think the universe probably has out for your hair. So I'd just stay bald if I were you, the way that you are now.
Yuri: Yeah. I live vicariously through my kids with their hair, so it's all good.
Ben: There you go. The wonderful Moroccan hair.
Ben: As I mentioned in the intro, you have seven commandments of energy in your book, and I don't necessarily wanna cover every single one today 'cause there's some other kinda like nitty-gritty things in your book that I want to delve into. But the first thing that you talk about is blood. You specifically talk about how blood is a river that carries oxygen to the cells, and so anything that compromises the health of your blood or ruins your oxygen carrying red blood cells is going to deplete you of energy.
When it comes to oxygen carrying capacity, I know a lot of people who listen in, they're interested in that not just for overall energy, but even like better performance at altitude and better performance in general as far as increased blood volume. But did you come across, as you were writing this book, specific foods or lifestyle practices that you think people might not know about or that might fly under the radar that would be the most notorious for limiting red blood cell production or limiting the oxygen carrying capacity of blood?
Yuri: Yeah. The funny thing is the reason I wrote this book is because there wasn't much being said about energy. And what was being said was really just like bland, like have more protein in the morning, blah, blah, blah.
Yuri: And this book, it flies in the face of convention. Like I was on Dr. Oz talking about this, we had to take out part of this blood segment because their board of advisors were all the medical doctors were like, “Well, we're not so sure about is.” And that's fine. The unfortunate part is that a lot of the stuff like…
Ben: On Dr. Oz, they didn't want you to talk about blood?
Yuri: Yeah. Like we talked about like potential renal acid load in the blood, and pH balance, and stuff like that. And they said, “Well, you can talk about that in relation to the kidneys, but not so much on the blood because the science is not quite there yet.” And to me, there's a very fine line between magic and science, and magic is simply stuff we haven't been able to quantify yet. It doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. And the stuff that I talk about in this book is stuff that I've experienced myself — obviously, a lot of it’s research backed as well. But obviously there's a lot of stuff that works that we can't quite explain empirically yet. And I think this blood stuff is one of them.
So for instance, the big thing that prompted me to look into the blood was I had a live blood cell analysis done probably with 10, 12 years ago. And this is basically where you go to like a naturopathic doctor, he'll take a finger prick of blood, and they'll basically show you the image on the screen under a live microscope. So you're looking at your blood like living instead of being frozen and sent to a lab, and that was like vividly one of the most shocking things I ever saw because I was like, “Well, where are my red blood cells?” And the naturopath was like, “Well, they're there. They're just all stuck together.” And I was like, “What?” ‘Cause I remembered like going through anatomy and biology in school and learning like red blood cells are supposed to look like this, and they're supposed to flow like this, and it did not look like that at all.
And I was like, “Are you telling me that this is exactly what's happening inside my blood right now, like this image of like this traffic jam of red blood cells?” And she's like, “Yeah. You see this? Here's some yeast, and here's some parasitic activity, and all this stuff.” I was like holy (censored) 'cause this is stuff that I've never been taught before kind of on the medical side, from like going through a university degree and then it was a bit more alternative and holistic when I went back to school for nutrition. But I was like, “This is fascinating.”
I realized that it wasn't so much that like we're anemic. Obviously, there's the anemia side of things where if you have red blood cell issues, that's kind of a different thing than what I'm talking about, but what I really started to recognize and kind of dive into is that the red blood cells that are in our body — like they carry oxygen to our cells — and if they're not able to move freely through the blood, then you're not gonna get the oxygen, or your cells aren't going to get the oxygen that they require. So it's very much like driving during rush hour traffic where you're not going anywhere versus driving on the highway 3 in the morning, where you're just like able to zip down the highway in no time.
So if your blood is sluggish, you're gonna feel sluggish as well. And that's really as simple as I've kind of tried to make it for people to understand because most people have never seen their blood like this. Probably, most of them won't, or just out of laziness, or whatever, won't do that with a naturopathic doctor. But it's amazing to see how, when you start to infuse your body with things like chlorophyll — chlorophyll is an amazing blood builder. It actually has the exact same chemical structure, molecular structure as hemoglobin, which is the kind of the oxygen-carrying molecule in the red blood cells. The only difference is that hemoglobin has an iron core, chlorophyll has a magnesium core. If we look at vitamin B12, which we know is a very important builder for blood and red blood cells, it has the exact same molecular structure as those other two, but it has a cobalt core.
So it's really interesting when you start to look at, well, what helps build our blood? Well, we have to look at things like greens 'cause greens are the greatest source of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll's the green pigment of plants. So when we infuse our body with greens, specifically things like green juices, or smoothies, or even more vegetables, we give our body a greater influx of chlorophyll. In addition, we're also getting a ton more phytonutrients that we normally wouldn't get in a crappy diet. But again, this is stuff you're not gonna hear from most medical doctors and stuff because they don't even look at this because energy is one of those things — it's not tangible. It's an intangible. It's a qualitative thing, whereas weight loss, for instance, we can see it on scale.
And so it's a really interesting subject matter, but the reason I say this with a lot of conviction is because we've helped over and this book alone has helped over 70,000 people. And when you see time and time again, people reporting like, “I feel like a new person within a week,” it really doesn't matter if there's science behind that. I'm not saying, “Hey, go stand on your roof and jump upside down,” stupid stuff like that. But like if there are certain elements that are somewhat controversial, it was controversial when Copernicus said that, “Hey, maybe the earth isn't flat. Maybe the sun is the center of the solar system instead of the earth.”
Yuri: Yeah. Exactly. Initially, stuff is met with controversy and, “Aw! There's no way this could be true.” But you can't argue results with thousands of people.
Ben: Okay. I wanna explore some of the things that you just talked about. So first of all, a lot of people, when they think that there's something wrong with the blood that would be causing energy issues, they do think of what you talked about, which would be anemia. Just a decrease in the amount of red blood cells that you have, or a decrease in the amount of this hemoglobin molecule that you talked about. But what you're saying is that there's something called live blood cell analysis where you can actually use a microscope to look at what your blood cells are doing in real time. And you can actually get this done anywhere or do you hunt down a specific place?
Yuri: Any kind of naturopathic doctor will most likely — I shouldn't say every clinic, but most clinics would have it. The tests will run you, depending on where you live, maybe a 100 to 200 bucks. But what's really interesting is if you can get a test, look at where you are as a baseline, and then retest a couple months later or a couple weeks later. And assuming you're following the right protocol, you'll be astounded by the change.
Yuri: And when you see how you're feeling, like you're naturally gonna feel a lot better. And when you see that reflected in your blood, you're gonna be like, “Wow. This is amazing.”
Ben: So you were saying that one thing that happens is like your red blood cells all stick together, and you can actually see this when you look through the microscope?
Yuri: Yeah. It's a phenomenon called a rouleau. So think about a stack of casino chips. That's essentially what they look like inside — like if you do this this analysis, you're like, “Why am I looking at poker chips?” That's kinda what it looks like, but they should look like donuts floating freely. So it's a very big difference.
Ben: What makes them stuck on top of each other like that?
Yuri: Well, what ends up happening is that at a very basic level when the blood becomes out of its kinda normal ideal range in terms of a pH balance, there is a negative charge around the red blood cell membranes that repels red blood cells from sticking together. So they all have a negative charge on the outside, positive on the inside. But what ends up happening is when your blood becomes less or let's just a little more polluted or a little bit less ideal, that charge can become stripped. And what ends up happening is that you have the positive component inside the cell that's now attracted to the negative component on some other cell membranes, and things can start to stack together like that. So that's typically how it happens.
Ben: Okay. So you're talking about like blood acidosis?
Yuri: Yeah. Exactly.
Ben: So with blood acidosis, I mean a lot of people will say like that you can't change the pH of your blood, or that it's a myth, I guess. It's not that you can't change the pH of your blood. I'm pretty sure, and correct me if I'm wrong, that science has generally accepted that blood's pH can change. But I think the area that tends to kinda like get more debate, especially in health circles, is whether like eating an alkaline diet is really truly going to influence the blood pH, I guess, with the argument being that the kidneys are so good at regulating blood pH that any type of like red meat or yogurt, too much of that, being acidic, or not enough greens, or something like that really isn't truly going to override your kidney's ability to be able to maintain the pH of your blood. And so people will say, well, you can't like a blood acidotic state or, what you described is like blood cells stacking together by just eating an alkalinic diet. What's your take on the whole blood pH argument?
Yuri: Well, I think that there's a slight misunderstanding because on a pH scale, 7 being neutral, our blood wants to be about 7.35, which is slightly alkaline. But I think people get kind of misled in a sense. Well, if your pH drops to 7.3, then you're gonna have problems. Well, you're gonna be dead if that happens because it's an exponential scale. So if it moves from 7.35 to 7.34, that's an exponential jump. So we're not talking about massive shifts from like 7.35 to 7.25, and stuff like that. We're talking a very, very minute shifts. And what's interesting is that — you know, it's tough to tell for sure.
I mean from the work that I've done, and the people that we've been able to help, and the studies that I've seen, something called potential renal acid load, which is basically what's happening as the kidneys are starting to filter foods as they're metabolized. And so you have certain foods that give off more of an acidic ash versus an alkaline ash. So the acidic ones are typically foods that — so the equation for PRAL, which is potential renal acid load, is protein plus (if I can speak) protein plus phosphorus minus magnesium, calcium, and potassium. So those are the alkaline minerals in question in this equation. So what ends up happening is when you have a food that has more protein and phosphorus than it does those minerals, it's considered slightly acidic or more acidic food…
Ben: Okay. So that's where like a very high protein diet would be considered to result in net acidity?
Yuri: Exactly. The most acidic things would be cheese, dairy at the top, then we're looking out a lot of the meats. And then as we get a little more neutral, we start getting into some of the nuts and grains. And then on the flip side, the more alkaline stuff, we're talking about fruits, and especially vegetables.
Ben: Okay. Gotcha. So you're not saying like the meats, and the dairies, and some of these other things like the seeds and nuts are bad. What you're saying is that those can result in a blood acidotic state based off what you call the — what'd you call it? The potential renal acid load?
Ben: Okay. So that's basically a measurement of how many minerals are in a food versus how much acidic ash that it produces?
Yuri: Yup. Based on the protein and phosphorus inside. So for instance, like kale has very little protein and phosphorus compared to the alkaline minerals that we talked about versus a piece of steak, which is gonna have high protein, high phosphorus and fewer of those alkaline minerals. So it's gonna be slightly more acidic. So the goal is not to be like, “Well, I'm gonna to be 100% alkaline,” because there needs to be some balance; and the recommendation is basically 80/20. So you wanna be 80% alkaline, 20% acidic.
Ben: Where is that recommendation coming from?
Yuri: That's basically coming from — what's actually interesting about this is that if you look at any of the research in the alkaline diet stuff, like most people recommend 80/20. I don't know if there's a rhyme or reason to that, but we tend to observe about, within the All Day Energy Diets, it's kind of like an 80/20 with 10% floating for more liberal foods and stuff like that. Again, there's no hardcore science to say that's the specific ratio. It might be 75/25 for certain people, who knows. But the whole idea is to basically get more vegetables, more plant-based foods into your body.
Ben: So basically like Michael Pollan says — what does he say?
Yuri: “Eat more plants, most of them oft .”
Ben: Yeah. Well, no. He says something about — like “Eat less food…” How does he say? “Eat real food. Mostly plants. Not too much.” I think that's what he says?
Yuri: I think it's just like, “eat less,” something like that. “Eat more plants.” Yeah.
Ben: Okay. So you're saying it's about 80/20, and so what you're arguing would be that the food can actually, based-off of what's called the potential renal acid load, change the pH of the blood or at least require the kidneys to produce, from what I understand, like more bicarbonate ions which would buffer the acid in the blood?
Yuri: Yeah. Exactly. And there's been some interesting studies that have shown that within four hours of consuming a higher alkaline meal, there's actually a shift in the pH of the urine. So it happens very rapidly, and that's why a lot of…
Ben: A shift in the pH of the urine, but is that the same as a shift in the pH of the blood?
Yuri: There's a trickle-down effect. It's tough to say if it's exactly the same proportion of change from blood, to urine, to saliva. But what's happening is over time, throughout the entire system, things are starting to improve where they need to be. Because the other thing, in addition it's… like within the body, it's like nothing is compartmentalized. So it's tough to say that it's only because of the alkaline components of vegetables that you have more energy. The other is you're getting more phytonutrients in, you're getting more water into your body, you're getting different elements of these foods that are so important for our overall well-being. And so it's tough to say that it's just one thing, or because of that one thing inside a human body.
Ben: Okay. Got it. So you could basically keep track, you could get like urine test strips, and you could test your urine and see the acidity or alkalinity of your urine if you wanted to self-quantify this, and then that would be somewhat correlative to what your blood might be doing or at least it'd give you clues as to what your blood acid alkaline state might be.
Yuri: Yeah. Exactly. I mean we have our energy greens, which is our kind of our formulated greens powder. With every order, we send people a pitch testing kit so they can test for saliva, they can test for urine. And what we'd recommend is just kind of look at, like almost like keeping a food journal, right? Track your pH over a couple days or a couple weeks, and notice how you're feeling overall and how it relates to that pH. It's not gonna be cause and effect, but there's gonna be a correlation there, that as things start to regulate to where they need to be, you're gonna feel a lot better. I mean the body knows how to kinda bring itself back into its state of homeostasis, assuming you're giving it the right building blocks.
Ben: Do you ever send people this greens powder and they have no clue what the urine test strips are for?
Yuri: We walk them through that…
Ben: I was gonna say little breath mints, little…
Yuri: Yeah. Exactly! “What the heck is this for?” Yeah. We have a little tutorial video for them.
Ben: Okay. Cool. So, yeah. I guess coming full circle here, the way that I like to think about it is even if your kidneys are doing a really good job regulating the pH of your blood and they're producing bicarbonate ions to buffer your blood, you actually do have to use minerals in order to generate a lot of those bicarbonate ions in order to shift your body back into that alkalinic state. I think that the concern for me is that if I eat too acidic of a diet, like red meat every day, dairy for breakfast, lotsa eggs, and seeds, and nuts, but leave out some of the stuff you talked about like chlorophyll-rich foods like kale, or alkaline foods like even lemon and things like that, you're just basically requiring your body to have a higher mineral turnover. You're potentially stripping your body of minerals necessary for bone health, and metabolism, and things along those lines.
Yuri: Yeah. And I think there's, I talk about this in the book and here's like another controversial area which is I recommend eating more of these plant foods in the raw state. So having more salads, smoothies, juices, stuff like that. And there's, again, like an unquantifiable life force, life energy to these foods because they haven't been bastardized. They've been pasteurized, treated, chemically altered, heated. So you have this natural energy that emanates off living things that simply doesn't exist when they're cooked. And I think, again, this is something we can't really quantify, although there's some amazing photography that shows the energy coming off, for instance, a raw piece of food, a raw broccoli versus cooked broccoli, and the difference in energy coming off that food. Again, you go to the doctor, they're like, “Oh, this is quackery.” But, again, is it?
Ben: Yeah. Are you talking about these GDV cameras? The gas discharge cameras that like the biophotons of energy coming off of food?
Yuri: Yeah. Exactly.
Ben: Yeah. Those are interesting.
Yuri: Yeah. Like I mean maybe at our current state of understanding right now, it seems like quackery; but maybe in 50 years, they'll be like this is the way it is.
Ben: I think it depends. I mean, some people are prone to like uric acid crystal formation, or gout, or even like you know build-up of goitrogens from kale, for example, or some of these cruciferous vegetables like you mentioned — like broccoli. And I think in my opinion, light cooking, steaming, blanching, stuff like that, with some of those foods for those people who might have digestive issues, in my opinion, the pros outweigh the cons for stuff like that. I had a raw kale smoothie this morning. I personally do most of my vegetables raw and then there's a few that I'll cook. Like tomatoes? I'll cook those down to improve the lycopene content because one of the reasons I eat fresh tomatoes every day is because I've done genetic testing. I've shown that I have higher than normal risk for prostate cancer, so I go out of my way to get really good absorbable lycopene. But the way that I think about it is was it like a local organic vegetable that didn't get shipped on a jet and hasn't been stored for several weeks on a grocery store shelf versus was it like a wild plant I picked from my backyard and briefly cooked that, in my opinion, still feels as though, and I know this sounds woo-woo just saying the word feels, but it feels as though it's got pretty good energy to it.
Yuri: Yeah. No, I agree. It's funny because like people have asked me like, 'cause I talk a lot about the importance of greens and they're like, “Well, I've got like a thyroid issue. Should I have kale in my smoothie?” I'm like, “Honestly? There's only one study that I've seen in all my research and from asking other people, like naturopath doctors and their research, and they specialize in thyroid and adrenal stuff, and it was a case study, actually. It was a woman in her 70's who was eating, it was upwards of like, I think it was ended up being about five pounds of Brassica vegetables per day, and that started to have negative consequences on her thyroid.
So that's more than excessive for the average person, and no one is ever getting close to that even if they don't have a thyroid issue. So I have no problem eating those foods in their raw state. But here's the thing, who's eating broccoli, or cauliflower, Brussel sprouts raw? I don't even eat them raw. I'll steam them, I'll put them in a soup, and like you said, I don't care if it loses some of its nutrient quality. I would rather have the broccoli steamed than not eat the broccoli. I'm not gonna fuss about having kale in my fresh pressed juice because there might be some goitrogens which have zero impact really on my thyroid versus all the amazing cancer-fighting, friggin' phytonutrients it has.
Ben: I think we can get pretty orthorexic, like grasping at straws when it comes to “are you gonna to your vegetables lightly blanched versus raw,” but I mean the big picture here is that you got this live blood cell analysis and you know that, not necessarily anemia, but other issues like red blood cell stacking, and you even mentioned like parasites that you could see in your blood with one of these?
Yuri: Yeasts, parasites, all sorts of little critters in there. So what is going on? If you want motivation to eat better, have a look at that. It's crazy.
Ben: Hey, it's Ben. I'm interrupting you. And, yes, this is Ben, in case you hadn't figured that out by now. I'm interrupting you to talk to you about standing up. Are you sitting down right now? Then you should stand up. Are you sitting down working, hunched over a computer? Then you should maybe stand up, or lunge, or kneel, or do anything that this little contraption that I have in a couple of rooms in my house allows you to do. You probably already know that when you stand, you burn a lot of extra calories. You burn an extra 650 calories per week. But what they don't tell you, those bastards, they don't tell you this: standing increases your production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor.
So you actually get smarter when you stand. Standing also lowers your blood pressure. It lowers your blood glucose levels. I bet you didn't know that. So it actually has a diabetes protecting effect. But more importantly, in terms of the lowering of the blood sugar, I think it enhances things like ketosis and fat burning. They did a recent study at Texas A&M that showed you have a 46% increase in productivity when you're standing.
And the cool thing is, this little thing, it's called a Varidesk, it goes from seated, to standing, to seated, to standing, to kneeling, to lunging, to anything else you wanna do with a flip of a button. Super easy to use, super portable. You can put it anywhere in your house. And they have different models, like you don't have to get their little sit-down stand. You can get their full-on workstation if you're one of those day traders that has 8 billion screens that you look into as you make copious amounts of cash. Use a Varidesk. And they can fit into any workspace, home office, corner office, cubicle corner, or even — like I mention — a full on desk replacement for a serious trader.
So you can check them out, and you get a 30-day, risk-free guarantee by them. And the place that you wanna go to is varidesk.com, VARIdesk.com, varidesk.com, and that's it. The discount and everything will just kick right in when you go to varidesk.com. You don't have to enter any special code or anything like that. How uncomplex is that for you?
And then also, the other thing I wanted to tell you about was I recently competed in the Ultra Beast World Championships for Spartan. The guy that won it, his name is Hobie Call, he has trained and I don't know if he qualified for the Olympic marathon trials. I think he qualified for the Olympic marathon trials, didn't wind up racing for the Olympics, but wound up getting to obstacle course racing. And his secret is that he trains are a lot less in terms of running than a ton of marathoners who are just as fast as him and obstacle racers who are just as fast as him train, and one of his little secret training methods is he uses a weighted vest. He does like treadmill hill repeats on a weighted vest, and he'll do like his obstacle training, and his monkey bars, and his pull-ups using a weighted vest. And push-ups, and bear crawls using a weighted vest.
And the reason I'm telling you all this is because I think the best weighted vest on the face of the planet is this one that — it's really snug. It wears like a t-shirt, like super close to your body. So the weight is evenly distributed. It's called a Hyper Vest, H-Y-P-E-R Vest, Hyper Vest. And you can get 'em in different sizes. So you can get small, large, medium, extra-large; and you can get any amount of weight that you want, and remove or add weights so that you could do anything from like burpees and clapping push-ups, to pull ups, to just like going on a run or doing treadmill sprints wearing a vest so that you too can win Spartan World Championships.
Anyways, you can get that and anything else fringe fitness-related as well as supplements, personal care, apparel, functional foods like coffee, and whey protein, and coconut oil; you name it over at Onnit, O-N-N-I-T. And all you need to do is go to onnit.com/ben10, get 10% off all the stuff over there, and I would get a weighted vest. So onnit.com/ben10, and you'll get 10% off of your next order from Onnit. So check it out, and now let's get back to Yuri.
Ben: There's a lot of controversy about live blood cell analysis. Are you aware of this, like you know how Quackwatch has stories on it, and how some people will say any red blood cell is gonna clump once it touches glass and gets taken out of the body, so pretty much everybody who gets it ever done is going to feel as though the red blood cells are clumping when they're really just fine.
Yuri: Sure. Until you see the healthier version of it, and it looks just fine.
Ben: Oh, really? So you did another live blood cell analysis after you've made these changes?
Yuri: Yeah. And it's really, I mean, I am almost at a point now where I've been doing this for like a long time, 20 years. I'm not in the game of convincing people anymore. I'm like, “Listen. If you don't wanna do it, that's cool. Continue doing what you wanna do.” There's double standards, like when you have a medical community that pushes drugs that have some very, very, scary side effects. I mean, most people don't even know — I dunno if you know this thing called the number needed to treat. It's a number that pharmaceutical companies have one every class of drug and every kind of specific drug, which is basically how many people need to take this drug before it helps one person. So for instance, the cholesterol lowering medications like the Lipitors of the world, they have an NNT of between 300 and 1,000, which means 1,000 people need to take the drug before it helps one person.
Yuri: And this is stuff that is not disclosed to the public. Your doctor's never gonna tell you this. They're gonna simply say, “Yeah, you should be on this because that's just the way it is.” So when people talk about it as quackery, I'm like, “Well, why don't we look at our medical system and the real quackery that's going on in pharma, and the fact that the medical hospitalizations and misdiagnoses are the third leading cause of death in North America.”
Ben: Preach it, brother. Preach it. I'm gonna need to rip you off your soapbox though because I have a lot more questions to ask you. So you like chlorella and you like vitamin B12 for simulating like the hemoglobin content of blood. And then you like limitation of too many acidic foods. and you have kinda like an 80/20 approach when it comes to the alkalinity versus acidity.
Yuri: Yeah. I mean like simple way to think about it is if you have a plate of food, let's say you've got a steak, just make the rest of the plate some good veggies. Maybe some sweet potato, maybe some leafy greens. It's not rocket science.
Ben: And wine, for sure.
Yuri: Yeah. Exactly. And then chocolate cake…
Ben: Chocolate cake. Dark chocolate. Raw chocolate.
Ben: We'll talk about raw chocolate later. You actually have a cool part about raw chocolate in your book. But I wanted to ask you also about the digestive system. So you talk a little bit about how you recommend eating foods that provide more energy than they actually require to digest. What do you mean by that? Would that be like celery that all the sorority girls eat to lose weight?
Yuri: Celery's actually one of those things that I think, based on like the negative calorie nonsense that was going around for a while, require more energy than it provides. Based on the amount of fiber, I guess, to break it down…
Ben: Requires more energy to digest than the actual calories that are in it?
Yuri: Yeah. So what I'm talking about is like think back to like Thanksgiving dinner. Like I remember Thanksgiving as meat eating a ton of food and falling asleep at the table. For me, that's Thanksgiving.
Ben: Yeah. Highlight of my year right there.
Yuri: Exactly. So what happens like we're eating such an onslaught of food, our stomachs are overwhelmed with stuff to work on, and that's a very extreme example. But if we look at the foods that are most complex, so our stomach, ideally, should be very acidic because it predominately breaks down protein. So if we look at something like an egg, when you take a raw egg and you put it into a frying pan, what happens? It coagulates, it comes together and it hardens. The protein matrix naturally, because it's coming together, comes — think about it like it's kind of like sticking together. So the protein itself becomes slightly tougher to digest.
That's why it's a little bit tougher to break down and digest a steak than it is a protein shake. Because if you have, let's say, a protein powder the protein powder is basically in the form of amino acids in a lot of cases versus the steak, which is complex proteins that have to be broken down into polypeptides, and then bipeptides, and then into single amino acids. And for most individuals who are, I would say, over the age of 15, we're simply not producing enough hydrochloric acid in our stomach so that our stomach is efficient enough at breaking that down. So what ends up happening is you have a, let's say a…
Ben: Did you say over 15 or 50?
Yuri: Like one five. Like I would say when I was 15, not knowing this at the time, but based on how I was eating and abusing my body with food, there's no way my stomach was working properly.
Ben: Okay. So you're not saying like the body is somehow inherently broken and shuts down when you're 15 years old. You're saying if you eat a crappy diet and even if you're 15, you're going to decrease your ability to produce stomach acid?
Yuri: Yeah. It's unfortunate because stomach acid is, if you have an underactive stomach — known as hypochlorhydria, 'cause you're not producing enough stomach acid, you're gonna feel, tired sluggish after you’ve had a heavy protein meal. You might get some belching, and burping, and a bit of gas as well. What ends up happening if you can supplement with a hydrochloric acid, like a betaine-HCL, and you do that with a protein-based meal…
Ben: That's betaine, B-E-T-A-I-N-E?
Yuri: Yup, yup!
Yuri: I mean most people feel a heck of a lot better than if they didn't have that, and that's because they're giving their body some exogenous help to get more acid in there to help break down that protein. And so when you can kind of realize, “Oh, wow. This is making a big difference for me,” then you can start kind of following a little bit of a protocol, if you will. It's really kind of starting building up your HCL again.
And the reason it's important because if you're not digesting your food properly, then you start getting larger food particles, [0:50:33] ______ , the lower parts of your digestive system, where they can search you irritate and inflame the guts; and that can lead to things leaky gut, which can open up pores into the blood and lead inflammation and immune issue, and it's a whole cascade of events. And it all starts with digestion. So starting at the mouth, you have to chew your food really well. It's almost like the benefit of having a smoothie is that the blender is like your mouth; it pulverized everything into a very easy to digest format.
Ben: I hear ya'. I mean like the best that my gut ever feels is when, and my wife hates this 'cause she's a total foodie and cooks amazing meals, but I'll have some days where I just blend everything. Like literally, I'll have a smoothie for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; and it's kinda boring, and it's not quite as good as cutting up that steak and biting into sweet potato fry, but as far as digestion goes especially if I'm hard in training and haven't eaten a lot of calories, it's one of only ways to do it. And I make my smoothies thick right, so I gotta eat 'em with a spoon and even chew the actual smoothie. But, yeah, I mean you actually get, if you're trying to eat 4,000 calories a day, say — you get more tired, you get more sleep, you get more brain fog, you need more naps when you unfortunately do like the big-ass salad for lunch with the steak on top of it or just like a giant meal with protein that you have to break down and digest versus just a smoothie.
Yuri: Yeah. It's so true 'cause if — I think most of us inherently know this stuff, and sometimes we're just, “Oh, yeah. That makes sense.” If you go to like any conference after lunch, just have a look at the audience. In the office, have a look around. People are dozing off their computers, and there's a reason for that based on what their eating, but also because of the fact that they're digestive system is just simply — it's like a rebellious child. It's like, “Listen. I'm not doing this anymore. Stop killing me and let's have a discussion.”
Ben: So you're saying you take betaine-HCL with a meal. How do you know though how much HCL to take? Like how do you get to the point where you aren't taking so much stomach acid that you're just giving yourself heart burn.
Yuri: Yeah. So you can do a simple protocol, and again, check with your doctor before doing this. So what you do is you would take however many HCL you would need a couple minutes before a meal that would induce a slight burning sensation in your stomach. Now I say slight in a sense of like you don't wanna create an ulcer here. Once you feel that slight burning sensation, that's kind of your threshold. That's kind of your upper limit. So for me for instance, it's like eight. So I was taking like eight, and I would take eight, and eight before most of my heavy protein meals?
Ben: Eight? Eight capsules?
Yuri: Yeah. Eight capsules.
Ben: That's a lot. But just before protein-rich meals?
Yuri: Exactly. So like if you're having something just like a not a heavy meat or protein-based meal, not that big of a deal. But if you're gonna have Thanksgiving dinner, definitely a ramp up for it. So I would, for instance, take eight capsules. I would get that slight burning sensation. I do that the next time I have a similar meal. And I would do that on a daily basis. You get to the point where eight capsules — you can kind of taper down to seven. And what you wanna do is you wanna get, again, to seven, slight burning sensation. Get down to six, slight burning sensation.
Ben: What's going on there when you're tapering down? Why do you get by with taking less HCL?
Yuri: Yeah. So what ends up happening is you're kind of training your system, your stomach specifically, to produce a bit more of its own hydrochloric acid. So you don't need as much externally to get in the necessary amounts. So you're able to taper down from, let's say, eight, to five, to four, to three, and eventually maybe just one or two, or maybe none at all. Again, for everyone, it's a different process. It might take a couple days for some people, a couple weeks for others. It's interesting just to kind of — and you know this more than anyone else, just to kind of experiment on yourself, and then see how your body responds, and really find what's gonna work best for you.
Ben: Okay. Gotcha. So just start with a whole bunch of hydrochloric acid with a protein-rich meal, and you do that for a few days, and then you gradually decrease the number of capsules that you take. But you would start by taking as many capsules as is necessary to like make you feel like you're just slightly acidic, and then take like one capsule less than that.
Yuri: Yup. Exactly.
Ben: Alright, got it. So you're not talking necessarily about eating like negative calorie food like celery and jicama, like miracle noodles and all these things that don't have calories, but may require more calories than that are in them to digest. You're talking about basically giving your body a step up with things like hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes to take real foods that actually do have calories and allow you to digest them.
Yuri: Yeah. I mean, I think it makes sense that a blueberry is gonna give us maybe a bit more energy than it's gonna require to digest versus a steak. I think just intuitively, that makes sense for us. Looking at things like smoothies, like giving your digestive system a slight breather by liquefying some of your meals. So you're getting a ton of nutrients and without all the burden of digestion.
Ben: Although I should throw out there that I am a huge fan of like this negative calorie salad type of approach where I will take — this is probably what I'll have for lunch after this. I'll take a bunch of miracle noodles, or shiratake noodles, like Japanese yam noodles that are basically just all colon mass. They're all just insoluble fiber, and I'll throw those on top of a bed of vegetables with like some jicama, and celery, and carrots. And you can get a huge pile-up of food in a bowl, and it's kind of funny 'cause it's like zero calories. So make sure that you gradually amp your way up to that though if you wanna be kind to your colon 'cause it's a lot going through there.
So I want to talk also about adrenals because you're big on the adrenal gland. You talk about adrenal fatigue. But adrenal fatigue to me, it seems like it's kind of a catch-all term. And what I mean by that is sometimes people's adrenals are shot due to excessive inflammation, or some people it happens when, for example, you have some type of gut issues such as leaky gut which you referred to. Sometimes it can be like a hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis issue where your thyroid gland begins to shut down due to excessive stress, or due to concentrated forms of gluten, et cetera. Like when you talk about adrenal fatigue, what's your take on it? Like how do you kinda pick that apart?
Yuri: Yeah. I mean the way I see it is like adrenal fatigue is like underactive thyroid as is like leaky gut to the medical community. If you go to a doctor and you say I have adrenal fatigue, they're like, “Okay, whatever.” They don't recognize it as a medical condition. Doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. Essentially what ends up happening is your adrenals, because of the life we live, which is high stress, high toxicity, high stimulation, all of those are kinda inputs into the adrenals. And the adrenal glands are, if you think about them, they're the size of a walnut. So the very small glands that are sitting on top of your kidneys. And over time, when we compound emotional stress, physical stress, exercise obviously being a big one with the wrong foods, inflammation inside the body, lack of things like vitamin C or certain B-vitamins that support the adrenals. All of these things are stressors on the adrenals. And over time, the adrenal glands naturally pump out cortisol and epinephrine, or adrenaline if you wanna call it that that help us deal with stress. But when you are constantly putting stress on the body, eventually they can't keep up with the demand and they fall into, “Listen. I'm just — I can't do this anymore.” “I'm a little bit tired,” if you will.
So I didn't realize that I had adrenal fatigue. There's different stages. There's stage one, two, three, and four. But thinking back when I was playing soccer, I was a goalie, so wasn't physically exhausted, but emotionally I was exhausted after every game because there's so much shouting, and commanding, and kinda coordinating the team. And you're in the game, just from a different perspective, and I'm like, I'm friggin' exhausted after standing in that for 90 minutes. And I couldn't figure out what the heck was going on, and then I have learned about this stuff and started to figure out how the body works. And I was like, “Oh. Okay. That makes sense.” Because when you have adrenal fatigue, there's a couple things that happen.
First of all, you have a very tough time recovering from emotional upset. So for instance, if you're in a fight, like an emotional fight, or a bear jumps out of a tree and scares the (censored) outta you, that's like a huge charge of adrenaline. And your body has a very tough time recovering from that. So for instance, you might feel very tired after emotional upset, you might feel very tired after just an ordinary workout, or a workout that maybe a couple months ago was a no-brainer. So you just feel more tired than you think you should be feeling based on the situation.
A couple other things might be low blood pressure upon standing. So light-headedness — you can have this light-headedness if you have low blood pressure general, but adrenal fatigue would be another reason that you might have it. So there's a few things going on here. And essentially, your body can't cope with the stress that is being imposed upon it. And that becomes a big issue because then you feel tired all the time, you're more susceptible to colds and illnesses, your body just feels achey and sore all the time. So it's just not really good.
Ben: Yeah. The more I learn about adrenal fatigue, and this is something, not to play devil's advocate too much here, but when people talk about it just being the adrenal glands, or just being like you say, the walnut-sized glands on top of the kidney, there's so much more that it seems. It's so multi-factorial. Like sometimes it can be you're tired but your adrenal glands are working just fine. However, you have poor probiotic status, or gut flora status, or you're not producing dopamine and serotonin properly. Or you're you have heart damage so you've got a bunch of electrical instability in the heart, so your sympathetic nervous system is not able to be activated to the same extent. Or again, maybe your adrenals are fine, but you've got like very high TSH and very low T3 and T4. How do you kind of address the fact that adrenal fatigue is not just about like taking adaptogenic herbs or not just about, say, focusing in just on the adrenals? ‘Cause sometimes I feel like the adrenals are like a horse that gets kicked to death.
Yuri: Yeah totally. I often tell people like how you heal anything is how you heal everything. So if you have adrenal fatigue, it's going to trickle, well, that could be a trickle effect of leaky gut. It could be a host of things. But it's also going to trickle into like thyroid issues and other things. So when you are looking to deal with one specific issue, it's like somebody looking for a liver cleanse. You're not just gonna cleanse your liver, you're gonna improve like every other system and organ in the process of doing so. So with the adrenals, taking adaptogens might help and then obviously in some cases, they do. For instance, like licorice root is well-known to increase the half-life of cortisol.
So if you've got low cortisol, which is a hallmark sign of adrenal fatigue, what that's gonna do is it's gonna increase the amount of cortisol or allow the cortisol to stay at a slightly higher level in the blood for a longer period of time. Things like maca are well-known to help rebalance hormones a little bit and support the adrenals. Ashwagandha is well-known as well. But then you also look at how do things like vitamin C which are really important for adrenal function, like it's not just vitamin C's only gonna work on the adrenals. It's gonna help everybody else out. Or the B. vitamins which are really important for these rules as well. They're gonna support blood, they're gonna support the nervous system. So again, it's very tough to have a laser-guided missile inside the body that only does one thing without impacting positively or negatively a lot of other things as well.
Ben: Yeah. That's the tricky part. I mean, I was talking to a gal last night in a consult and she was doing everything she could to lose weight. And she's like, “What's the reason I can't lose weight?” And I told her, “Well, when we step back and we look at the fact that you're not eating a lot of food and you're exercising a decent amount, it's not lack of activity or too many calories. But we could look at estrogen dominance, we could look at thyroid imbalances, we could look at autoimmune, we could look at even like organic amino acids tests to identify specific things that are making it so your Krebs cycle can't spin quite as quickly from ornithine to arginine, to any number of different amino acids. I mean, there's so many factors that you have to take into account when it comes to something like the adrenals, or something like lack of weight loss. I wanna make sure that folks listening in know it's sometimes not that simple.
Yuri: It's true. ‘Cause I mean, I think a lot of times we tend to compare the human body to like a car or a machine. I had a punctured radiator in my car…
Ben: Or a computer program.
Yuri: Yeah. And they're like, “Well, we have a punctured rad. Let's just replace the rad.” I'm like, “Okay. Cool.” And then they did that and they found something else that was wrong, but they still were able to fix that. It would be nice if it were that easy in the human body. And that's why like sometimes I get frustrated with the health profession because you see somebody who's a specialist in one thing, and to that person, they have a hammer and everything is a nail. Like I went to see — I told you about this. I went to see a chiropractor before Hawaii, and I had like this hip issue, low back issue which by the way has told results itself since then, which has been amazing. But like his prognosis for the issue was you're basically deficient in manipulation. So you haven't been cracked enough. That's why we need to put you on a three times a week cracking plan to get this back in order.
Ben: Of course.
Yuri: And that's the same advice he would give to every single person coming into his clinic, and I think that's a massive disservice. And that's why the more I learn about nutrition and health, the more I realize I really don't know anything. It's just so complex and I think we just have to do the best we can with the knowledge we have and really listen to our body to kind of navigate our way through this jungle of confusion.
Ben: Yeah. Alright. Cool. That was a great philosophical discussion that we just had. And hopefully for the listeners that we have left now, a few other things I wanna to get into.
You talk about how you can actually test your adrenal function at home, like without necessarily going out, not that it's bad to get like a DUTCH urine tests is the one that I recommend for folks now to get like a really true running, 24 hour evaluation of cortisol, and testosterone, and DHEA. It is in my opinion the gold standard. However, I've been cold lately, this is a perfect example, and I'm wondering if it's because the temperature is dropping or if it's because I might have some type of thyroid issue. So I'm doing, over the next few days, what's called the Broda Barnes Temperature Test, which is just like a simple morning oral measurement of your temperature to determine whether thyroid is functioning properly with a very easy self-quantification method. There's something else you talk about in your book that you can do that's similar for the adrenals. Can go into that?
Yuri: Yeah. So I would say this would be a before-you-call-your-doctor-do-this type of test 'cause it's going to take you 30 seconds to do it and it's free, assuming you have a flashlight. If you don't, then pick one up for a couple of bucks. So what you wanna do is — it's called a pupillary light reflex test. So what you're gonna do is you're gonna go into a bathroom, and you're gonna look at a mirror, you're gonna close the door and make sure everything's pitch black. You're gonna stand in front of the mirror, and then you're gonna take a flashlight, and you're gonna shine it at a 45 degree angle to one of your eyes. Then you're gonna watch your pupil for 30 seconds.
So here's what should happen in an ideal scenario. So when you're in pitch black, what happens to your pupils? They dilate, they open up to allow more light into your field of vision. And that's normally what happens in darkness. Now when you shine a light at your eye ball, That's a stress, and it's a sign to say, “Hey, we have enough light, so we can constrict the pupil. So that is partially instigated by the adrenals because that stress of light is going to pump out a ton of adrenaline from the adrenal glands to constrict the little muscles around your pupil. So what happens here is if your pupil stays contracted or constricted for more than 20 seconds, that is a good indication that your adrenals are okay. If the pupil starts to pulse after about 10 seconds, that's slightly okay function. If it pulses more or less immediately, so it kind of like constricts then it opens again, even with the light shining at it, then you know you've got some adrenal stuff to look at. And then you may wanna look at getting a more elaborate test to confirm that.
Ben: Why does the pupil move around like that if you're adrenally fatigued?
Yuri: Because the adrenals can't basically get enough adrenaline to those small little muscles around the pupil to keep them activated and constricted.
Ben: Interesting. Okay. Yeah. I've always thought it was like a combination of blood pressure and adrenaline, or there's another one that you get, I believe it's aldosterone, the ability to maintain normal blood pressure. And that one falls also when you aren't producing a nice enough adrenaline. I think that one might also be responsible for like pupillary contraction. But it's a simple test. I've done it before and I've done it when I've been in like hard and heavy training, and you look at it with a flashlight, and your pupil — it's kind of freaky. It starts a bounce around a little bit and you realize, “Hey, I might need to take a rest day or give my body the ability to bounce back and produce enough adrenaline.” But it’s a very simple test. You said it was called a pupillary what test?
Yuri: A pupillary light reflex test.
Ben: Okay. Pupillary light reflex test. A few other quick questions, if you have time, one thing that you mentioned in the book that I hadn't seen before was probiotics. You talked about what you should look for in a good probiotic, like specific strains and a specific, this surprised me, like a specific probiotic count. Can you give people a few guidelines as far as probiotics and probiotics choice goes?
Yuri: Yeah. I think to keep it simple, look for as many strains as possible and as high a number as possible. So I usually recommend about 10 billion CFU — colony farming units, and…
Ben: Ten billion is a lot. Like a lot of the stuff you find in Walgreens is like a million, or five million.
Yuri: A million? A billion or a million?
Ben: A million. Like you'll see very, very low, like below one billion count probiotics a lot of times in like the average health food store.
Yuri: I don't know what you guys are seeing in the States, buddy. Up here in Canada, we got some good stuff.
Ben: Do ya'? Okay. Cool. I've had a hard time like hunting down really good stuff that's close to that 10 billion count that you talk about.
Yuri: It's interesting. Yeah. ‘Cause for us, most health food stores, like I would say a lower grade probiotic would be like a billion CFUs.
Ben: Darn Canadians.
Yuri: I know. I don't know. Maybe it's the FDA. Who knows, right? And you've done a lot of work with gut health, and stool, and stuff. So what's interesting about all this research in gut health, which I really think is gonna be the future of a lot of this stuff, is it's not so much how much probiotic you're taking, it's really a combination of the quantity as well as the diversity. If you're just taking like a Lactobacillus acidophilus, like that's gonna work in one very specific area of the digestive tract, versus other strains have different functions at different areas of the system. And so you wanna be getting in a good amount. For instance, some of the probiotics that we've been using will get anywhere from like 10 to 15 strains, and they might be about 10 billion CFU each. So that's a really good kind of indicator.
Ben: So each different strain? So it's not just like 10 billion microorganisms or 10 billion CFU in the total probiotic. It's like ten billion of each strain.
Yuri: No. It's 10 billion total. So it might be like 5 million, 5 million of that one.
Ben: Okay. Gotcha.
Yuri: Yeah. But the key is 'cause they all have different functions and roles, like you wanna get a good diversity in there.
Ben: Yeah. So Lactobacillus acidophilus, you go over some others in the book like rhamnosus, bulgaricus, plantarum, casei; and then some of the bifidobacterium like bifidobacterium longum and bifidobacterium breve, which sounds like a great coffee drink.
Yuri: Exactly. I'll have the breve, please.
Ben: Yes. The interesting thing is like when I look at people's gut tests, a lot of times they'll have a whole bunch of one probiotic and then be deficient in like a host of like 20 others. And so, yeah, I'm all about variety, like sauerkraut, and kefir, and kombucha, but I think you make a good point in the book that if you're looking at the label of your probiotic, there should be like, you've got at least seven different strains listed. So it's both the number of strains and then also, as you just mentioned, the count. Like 10 billion plus for a count, or at least getting close to that.
Yuri: Yup. Exactly.
Ben: Alright. Got it. One other question before I ask you a recipe question… that is water. You talk about not limiting water intake. That's a double negative. That didn't sound right. You talk about avoiding the limitation of water intake when you're eating. Why is that?
Yuri: So if you go back to our discussion on stomach acid, if you think of — let's take a glass and let's pour fictitious stomach acid into that glass and just imagine that glass being half full or half empty, depending on how you look at it. Now fill the rest of that glass up with water. So what is that gonna do? It's going to dilute the effectiveness or the potency of the stomach acid in that volume of liquid now. So think about that in your stomach, and what's happening there is if you're drinking a lot of liquid especially water with your meal, you're diluting your stomach acid, and that's going to make it more challenging for you to, or your stomach to really do what it's supposed to do, which is to digest protein.
So if you're gonna have water, have a good amount before you start eating. ‘Cause actually if you drink one to two cups of water before your meal, studies have shown that actually decreases appetite quite significantly. So you're not gonna eat as much, plus you're gonna get water in without the impedance of food in the way. Again, think about food sitting in your stomach and then you've got water on top of it. It's gonna to be very tough for that water to get through, and it's gonna sit in there, and dilute the stomach acid, and certain gurgling. You're just gonna feel a little bit off.
So if you're drinking with your meal, take little sips just to kinda moisten your food. And what I would recommend is actually have with, or before your meal, if you're having water, have it with lemons, like squeezed lemon, and/or apple cider vinegar in the water. Both will actually help stimulate hydrochloric acid and both — sorry. Specifically apple cider vinegar helps to stabilize blood sugar levels through acetic acid, which is awesome for diabetics and pretty much anybody in general. And it's just an overall awesome health tonic.
Ben: Kombucha can do a little bit of that as well.
Yuri: Yup. Totally.
Ben: Similar acidic effect. Yeah, water — I don't really think this was true until I started to dig in to the research, and there was one really interesting study they did where they actually gave people water and then gave them, I believe it was like anti-acid right, like acid reflux medication. And what they found was that water actually made the pH of the stomach way more alkalinic, and it did so like the increase in alkalinity happened after just like 60 seconds. And when folks took an anti-acid, it didn't help much. Like it took maybe like two minutes to increase the pH. But I didn't really realize water actually has been quantified to increase gastric pH, decrease gastric acidity pretty significantly. And I used to be one of those guys who thought drinking your water with the meal was one of the best ways to kind of move stuff along and keep it digesting. But it turns out that, especially if you have digestive issues, the pros outweigh the cons versus, as you just alluded to, doing like a little apple cider vinegar tonic, or taking very, very small sips of water, or doing kombucha, or any of these other things that are actually slightly more acidic and aren't gonna influence acidity in the stomach…
Ben: Alright. I have a million, billion possibly, Dollar question for you, since you're all about the billions up there in Canada. Apparently. Your raw chocolate recipe. You have a raw chocolate recipe in the book. Can you go into your raw chocolate recipe 'cause this one looks amazing. I have yet to try it, but it looks amazing.
Yuri: Yeah. This is pretty dangerous. Okay, so you may wanna grab a pen or pencil for this. Or you can get the book and it's inside on page 108. So this will make six to eight 2×2 inch squares. So just think about whatever that size would be. So you're gonna have half a cup of cacao nibs, half a cup of cacao powder, we're not talking about Hershey's stuff like this…
Ben: Right. Kid stuff. Alkali-free, actually. That's the way to go with cacao powder. Like if you buy, do a search for alkali-free.
Yuri: Yup. Exactly. About three quarters of a cup of raw cashews, one tablespoon coconut butter, half a cup of agave nectar or honey — agave nectar, nah… depending on whatever.
Ben: Honestly, if it were me, I'd probably use stevia.
Yuri: Yeah. But the thing with the honey or the agave here is that it gives it a little bit more of a glue to come together. It's tricky sometimes when you're substituting sweeteners in sweets 'cause you need that binding substance, like the honey's really good for.
Ben: That's okay if it doesn't form in a tidy little chocolate squares 'cause it sounds to me like I'd probably eat the whole thing in one fell swoop anyways.
Yuri: Just have it with a bowl and spoon.
Ben: Go ahead.
Yuri: And then finish that off with one teaspoon of vanilla. And there you go. So what you would do is you'd put everything in a food processor or a Vitamix, whatever you want, blend it in this whole stick, you're gonna remove it, and then you're gonna basically lay it out in on a cookie sheet into a flat-ish type of set up. And then you would put those in the freezer or the fridge before serving. So it's a raw chocolate, and it's awesome.
Ben: I like it. I like it. It sounds amazing. It's definitely going on the list of things to make this week. I'll try the stevia addition and see if it holds together, or if you're listening in and if you know of a good way to make the chocolate hold together without necessarily using the evils of fructose, even though honestly, small amounts of raw honey is not gonna kill you, then leave your comment over in the show notes. The show notes for today's show are at, and don't stop listening yet 'cause I've got a free cookbook for you — bengreenfieldfitness.com/7commandments. That's the number 7, commandments. And when you go there, or if you just go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/freecookbook, Yuri, you're giving folks the actual cookbook that goes along with this diet, right?
Yuri: Yeah. So what we did is, and you were gracious enough to contribute a few recipes in this, we wanted to basically, when we released this book, we wanted to kinda hook up our readers with some more awesomeness 'cause we knew that, “Hey, there's recipes in the book, but I'd like some more.” So we created this “All Day Energy Diet Community Cookbook” where we created 67 recipes, we brought in some of our esteemed friends in our space, including yourself and a number of others, to contribute awesome recipes that all jive with the philosophy in the “All Day Energy Diet” book. And we decided to actually, it was so successful when we released it initially as a digital download, we decided to print a lot of copies this past summer. So we have a number left, and it's a full-color, beautiful cookbook. 67 recipes, and we're giving it away for free, just cover the cost shipping just 'cause we have a bunch left over. So we're gonna hook your listeners up with that, and it's awesome.
Ben: We got lucky. I love it. Cool. So what I'll do then is I'll set it up. So you guys, if you're listening in, you can go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/freecookbook and get the book. But I recommend, because I know if you're listening in, you're a smart cookie and you actually like to educate yourself, educate yourself with the “All Day Energy Diet”. Get the book because it goes into a little bit more detail about some of the stuff that Yuri and I talked about, and then I'll link to that in the show notes along with some of the other things that we discussed like live blood cell analysis, and digestive enzymes, and the free cookbook, and all that jazz. So just go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/7commandments, that's bengreenfieldfitness.com slash the number 7, commandments. All the goodness is there. Enjoy the book, enjoy the free cookbook, and leave any comments or questions that you have, and either Yuri or myself will jump in and reply. So, Yuri, thanks for coming on the show today, man. Lack of hair on your head and all.
Yuri: It's been a pleasure, buddy. Thanks for having me.
Ben: Alright. Cool, man. And avoiding any tetanus shots in the future, by the way.
Yuri: I will. Yup.
Ben: Cool, folks. Well, this is Ben Greenfield and Yuri Elkaim signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com. Have a healthy week.
You’ve been listening to the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast. Go to bengreenfieldfitness.com for even more cutting edge fitness and performance advice.
Your blood is a river.
Food shouldn’t drain your energy, period.
Your adrenal glands need to be stressed strategically.
Eating less can give you more energy if you do it the right way.
Anything that clutters your head strips you of energy and productivity.
Movement is life, excess healing and repair inhibits that movement, and stagnation (AKA rigor mortis) is death.
Increasing energy is synonymous with increasing fertility, health and longevity, so if you decode an energy increase, the effects are exponential.
These are just bits and pieces of Yuri Elkaim’s “7 Commandments of Energy” found in his All-Day Energy Book, and in today’s podcast we take a deep dive into the commandments that Yuri claims can double your energy in seven days.
Yuri is a nutrition, fitness, and fat loss expert and the NYT bestselling author of The All Day Energy Diet and The All-Day Fat Burning Diet. He is a former pro soccer player turned health crusader, and he’s most famous for helping people who’ve tried everything to lose weight and get in great shape, with little success, finally achieve breakthrough results. He is on a mission to empower 10 million people to greater health by 2018 by making fit and healthy simple again.
During our discussion, you’ll discover:
-Why all Yuri’s hair and eyebrows fell out…[9:00]
-The little-known foods and lifestyle practices most notorious for limiting oxygen carrying capacity of blood…[17:50]
-Why chlorella and Vitamin B12 match the structure of your blood’s hemoglobin…[12:12]
-Why it’s a myth that your diet can’t change your blood pH, and the specific foods that will make your body more acidic…[26:55]
-The simple protocol that allows you to determine exactly how much hydrochloric acid you need to take prior to a meal to assist with digestion…[52:30]
-How you can easily test your adrenals at home with two dollar flashlight…[66:40]
-The surprising billions of probiotics you should really be including in your diet…[69:45]
-And much more!
Resources from this episode:
–The All Day Energy Cookbook (free + S&H) – BenGreenfieldFitness.com/freecookbook