[0:01:00] Podcast Sponsors
[0:04:12] Guest Introduction
[0:07:31] How to Guarantee A Celebrity Won't Want You Around Them
[0:15:13] The Story Behind The “Billion Dollar Meal” And The “Million Dollar Smoothie”
[0:21:41] How I Treated A Problematic Erection with Fermented Beet Juice
[0:25:51] The Story Behind the Book, “I Forgot to Die”
[0:31:30] Podcast Sponsors
[0:34:48]continuation of The Story Behind the Book
[0:37:53] Why Khalil's Menu Is A Good Value
[0:45:02] Does Money Buy Happiness?
[0:53:28] Thoughts on Modern Methods of Addiction Recovery
[0:56:30] The Tucker Max Article
[1:00:00] Spiritual Disciplines
[1:06:05] Sober Living
[1:15:56] Closing the Podcast
[1:17:04] 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 and 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.
Ho, ho, freaking ho. Time this recording is coming up. Christmas is like 10 days away, hence, my Santa Claus impersonation, which I obviously just nailed. This is Ben Greenfield and the reason that I'm talking like Santa Claus or at least laughing like Santa Claus is because we have our huge, huge holiday sale going on at Kion right now. Kion is where I design amazing supplement formulations that will literally change your life. Meaning that these are things that clear your head, that give you clean-burning energy, that I've got no fillers, no synthetics, no guilty pleasures in there, it's all just super clean, guilt-free stuff, like my clean energy bar with cacao nibs and coconut flakes..
We have like the equivalent of a cup's worth of bone broth, of gelatin in there, chia seeds, sesame seeds, the works, and it tastes amazing. I just basically took everything that I like to sprinkle on top of my smoothie in the morning in terms of superfoods and I thought, “Well, why not just put this into a wonderful little bar and give that to people as well?” It's also really good frozen, sprinkle on top of ice cream. Just saying. I may or may not have been known to get some halo top ice cream that I keep in the freezer. And I take out a Kion bar, usually about half of one that I also keep in the freezer, and I chop it in little pieces and put on top of the ice cream. Holy cow. You could just stop listening to the podcast right now and go do that. Anyways, the bars are on sale. The coffee is on sale. Everything is on sale. You go to getkion.com, getK-I-O-N.com to take part in our amazing holiday sale.
This podcast is also brought to you by MVMT. Now my wife, for example, has this watch that she gets a lot of compliments on. It is the MVMT. I think it's their Lexington model. But what MVMT does is they create these fashion pieces along with sunglasses, accessories, tons of actually really perfect Christmas gifts or holiday gifts if you're still in gift shopping mode, if you're one of those people, guys. And they have made these things incredibly affordable, like their watches started 95 bucks but they look like a $400 to $500 watch. They have sold over 1.5 million watches in 160 different countries.
The whole thing was started by two college dropouts as part of a crowdfunding start-up and now they're just blown up. They have interchangeable straps for different occasions, different colors, different materials. Like I mentioned, they don't just have watches now, they have sunglasses, accessories, everything for men and for women. So, if you want to give the perfect holiday gift this season and you don't know where to start or something for the New Year, like a new watch to keep track of all the things that you decide to be on time for the New Year. You get 15% off with free shipping and free returns. Very simple. You go to mvmt.com/ben. That's mvmt.com/ben and that will automatically give you 15% off with free shipping and free returns. Enjoy your MVMT stuff.
Hey, folks. It's Ben Greenfield and I'm pretty excited because I have the mastermind behind one of my favorite culinary delights on today's show. So, here's the deal. When I go to L.A., where I'm going to be at this weekend, this wonderful kind of like a biohacking, health facility called Next Health, and when I go to Malibu, I always swing by this place called SunLife Organics. And I get this thing called the Billion Dollar Meal, the Billion Dollar Meal. The Billion Dollar Meal is just like everything, every superfood known to man, like Young Thai Coconut Meat and raw cashew butter and goat colostrum and buffered vitamin C, the out low, 10 different mushrooms like maitake and shiitake and lion's mane, whole bunch of different grains, minerals, silica for the joints, everything, a little bit of hemp milk in there, and it's just all blended together. And I usually have them throw a few extra cacao nibs and a little bit of extra coconut meat on there.
And my guest on today's show is the mastermind, not only behind that but SunLife Organics in general from the Billion Dollar Meal to the Million Dollar Smoothie. To my son River, his favorite little concoction, the Dragon Bowl. His name is Khalil Rafati, and he actually, not only has an amazing assortment of superfood creations at the SunLife Organics juice and smoothie bars that are spread across California, but he also has an amazing story. He has this book called “I Forgot to Die.” And we're going to talk a little bit about this book, which is mind-blowing because Khalil has this history of working with Hollywood movie stars and legendary rock musicians. And he did eventually hit rock bottom with drugs like heroin and cocaine.
He's going to fill us in on that and his pretty amazing and compelling story about how he turned his life around and how he got into a lot of this kind of like superfoods, and also a lot of the bio hacks that he's into now, cutting-edge health concepts, recovery for drug addicts and alcoholics. He's up to a lot. We love to hang out when we're together. And actually, Khalil and I–I think the last time we were together, Khalil, correct me if I'm wrong, but I think we were in Las Vegas eating at that steakhouse, watching the Bellagio Fountains. I think that was the last place we ate like caviar and steak.
Khalil: Yeah. And I'm going to say it wrong, but foie gras or foie gras or whatever.
Ben: Foie gras. Should people think that all we eat is coconut meat, not true. We actually–
Khalil: Not true. We had some amazing bone and grass-fed rebuys and caviar and everything.I think we ordered everything on the menu. That was really fun.
Ben: There's some carnivorey going on as well. I think when we were having that meal, you had just returned from this crazy trip where you were on these cruise ships. I think you were in Greece. And here's the diff. For those of you listening in, I'll link to Khalil's Instagram page but it's like the life of a total playboy if you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/iforgottodie. That's BenGreenfieldFitness.com/iforgottodie. I'll link to his Instagram page and his book and everything else that we talk about in today's show. But dude, how is it that you embark upon all these crazy adventures around the globe and still manage to run these wonderful smoothie bars??
Khalil: Well, my ability to travel is due to the fact that I have an amazing business partner who is much, much smarter than me and much better at me at running a company. She also happens to be my ex-girlfriend. We dated for almost a decade and we built a brand together and our best friend gave us the money to start our first location. And so, here we are seven and a half years later. We broke up three years ago but here we are seven and a half years later after starting this brand and we're all best friends and we travel together and we talk just about every day or see each other almost every day during the week.
So, my freedom comes from the fact that she's just brilliant, and her name is Hayley Gorcey, and she's brilliant and educated. She's like the opposite of me. She was born great, was born sweet and kind and loving and never did drugs and didn't drink and didn't do anything, like the opposite. But anyways–
Ben: Okay. You have a very responsible person making sure that that doesn't go south when you're gone in freaking Greece on a cruise ship.
Khalil: Yeah. Actually, it was a mega yacht, if I could sound like a complete douchebag.
Ben: Mega yacht.
Khalil: Yeah. It was–
Ben: You're a douchebag. Tell me about this mega yacht.
Khalil: It was almost 400 feet and we stayed mostly in the south of France but then we traveled by helicopter and by private jet all over Europe for about seven weeks. It was incredible. And I was the invited guest. None of this was my doing. I was the invited guest of some very, very, very fancy people, and I was making them some of our concoctions and just sort of living the life of Riley on the kindness and generosity of others.
Ben: So, you're saying that if I get really handy with the Vitamix and some superfoods, I could find myself on a mega yacht preparing juices and smoothie bowls for like princes of the United Arab Emirates?
Khalil: Actually, you're not too far off. I think so. I mean, I think in order to be around those people, because I'm certainly not one of them, I think you don't have to be anything special, and I'm obviously speaking from personal experience, but you have to be transparent and you have to have something to offer. And the big mistake that most people make in places like Malibu or L.A. or whatever is when they meet someone like that, the first thing they do is they're like, “Can I get a picture? Can I get an autograph?” Or I guess no one gets autographs anymore. But everyone wants a selfie. That's like the number one guaranteed way to make sure you're never going to be friends with that person.
Khalil: But let me get you the flipside of it. If they come in and you just don't say anything and you serve them and you're kind and you're nice and you're honest and you're forthright, after a period of time, they become interested in you because ultimately, those people become very lonely because they have to be so guarded. And if you can just not be a taker and you can really just be a halfway decent human being, sooner or later, they want to take you to a UFC fight or they want to take you on tour with them or they want to take you to the movie set. I mean, that's just been my experience and–
Ben: That's my experience too, especially with celebrities and I've had the chance to hang out with some relatively well-known people, and the last thing you do is treat them like a celebrity because that's the last thing they want to be treated like. They want to get real good advice or they want to just be able to hang out and do something fun. I'm totally not a celebrity but I can tell you one of the things that I get a lot is people just walk up and start–first thing out of their mouth is, “Can I get a selfie?” I'd rather talk about the last amazing book that they read or find out about some new supplement or superfood or bio hack or gather something interesting, and I think a lot of people just kind of go into selfie mode or almost like a celebrity worship mode.
I think I got that from my mom though because when I was a kid, she took us to a concert. My mom was just like–she would never get like–what you call it, Twitter page or starstruck. Yeah. So, I remember at one point, I was with her and we're at this–we're into like Christian rap and we went to a DC Talk concert, this band called DC Talk. I remember that sounds like. I was enamored with these guys and one of the lead singers was walking through the arena and my mom recognized him and he was standing right in front of us and my mom just started chatting with him. She knew exactly who he was and she was just chatting with him about the city and where they were going to eat and just making conversation like a real person. I'm just hiding behind my mom, went totally starstruck and realizing that everybody is just a real person once you really get down to it.
Khalil: Yeah. And not just that but fame comes along with such an incredible amount of pain and isolation. Many of my best friends now are, whether very, very famous rock stars or movie stars or super athletes and I've watched over the years how they're just accosted at every corner. Everyone wants to take a picture with them or everyone wants to talk to them about being the best surfer or being the biggest rock star or being the biggest whatever. All those people want to do is the opposite, just like you said. They want to talk about what fatherhood is like and they want to talk about the UFC fight last night. They just want to be normal.
Ben: Yeah. Absolutely. You look at guys like, may they rest in peace, Robin Williams or Anthony Bourdain. These people who seemed happy and successful and engaging and amazing on the outside, they in many cases were just like traveling the world by themselves and the camera goes on and you light up and you do your song and dance routine. But then once everything shuts down and you're back home in your hotel room or on that next eight-hour plane flight, you're just all totally freaking by yourself.
Khalil: Yeah. And I think the thing that maybe appeals to these people that I've been so blessed to fly around the world with or whatever, go to their shows backstage, I think they really like the whole Cinderella story and they like the fact that I'm so open about my darkest, darkest, darkest moments of life, which most people don't have darkness or stories or experiences that are anywhere near as bad as mine and they try to hide it and pretend like they've lived the perfect life.
I did the opposite. I did the anti-selfie. I took the worst picture ever taken of me when I was 109 pounds with scabs all over my face and teeth missing, and I put it on the cover of my book. And I did it intentionally and it freaked a lot of people out and I was told not to do it. And maybe it did scare a lot of potential readers away but I wanted to do it to make a statement that here I am at my absolute worst. I'm 109 pounds. I've got ringworm and scabies and I'm filthy and I'm dying, and here I am now. I look halfway decent now. I look like a pretty healthy dude who's in his 40s.
Ben: You've got some meat on your bones. I actually want to talk about your story but first of all, speaking of putting meat on your bones, I want to talk a little bit about these bowls too before we dive into your story in this book, “I Forgot to Die.” Whose idea was this Billion Dollar Bowl? Because you don't walk into a coffee shop a lot of times and have like a–what is it, like 30 bucks?
Ben: Yeah. So, you don't have like a $35 bowl on the menu of most coffee shops, but whose idea was this Billion Dollar Meal?
Khalil: Most of the recipes at SunLife Organics are mine. Hayley has come up with some of them, but the Billion Dollar Meal is just what I was eating every morning and people were asking about it so much and wanting to try it so much; and the same thing with the Billion Dollar Bowl, which I have most mornings now. It's just what I eat. It's basically everything that I learned from you. And by the way, as I was getting ready to do this, I didn't realize what a disciple of Ben Greenfield I am. Like putting the diffuser on with whatever, that Blue Spruce oil that you talked a lot–
Ben: It's my fault that you probably spent too much money on your personal health.
Khalil: Then your weird CBD vape thing and CBD capsules and then the chaga mushrooms in my coffee. There's more like literally 20 things that I've learned from you and learned from your podcast over the last few years I did. And the only reason that I became cognizant of the fact that I learned it all from you was because we were about to jump on a podcast and I'm just like, “This is creepy. I'm like a stalker.”
Ben: Yeah. That is a little creepy. But I love the bowl, and then also the smoothie, the Million Dollar Smoothie. Tell me about the Million Dollar Smoothie.
Khalil: Million Dollar Smoothie is a vegan-based smoothie and made with coconut meat instead of banana. So, you cut down on the glycemic index or spike in the glycemic index or whatever. Lots of chia seeds to keep you full until your next meal; maca, royal jelly, raw cacao, just everything that's amazing, but put into a so-called smoothie. And I hate calling them smoothies because they're meals, they're definitely meals. But put into a cup, pre-masticated, broken down so your body and your organs don't have to do all that work, but delivering 40 grams of protein, and all these micronutrients, and all these amazing things that are going to fuel you and make you feel amazing. That's really the idea behind all of SunLife Organics, not just the Million Dollar Smoothie and the Billion Dollar Bowl. But what can I put into my body that's going to make me feel amazing versus getting up in the morning and having a bagel with cream cheese and orange juice, and then two hours later, I want to kill myself and I'm falling asleep as I'm driving.
Ben: Yeah. Short-term pleasure.
Khalil: Yeah. Or what can I eat for lunch instead of a Reuben and a Coca-Cola and then by 2:00 p.m., I literally got such bad brain fog, I don't know if I'm coming or going. What can I put into my body that's going to make me feel amazing and energized and full of life? And not just that but from a vanity standpoint, because I'm vain and I want to look good, I don't know if I'm that much different from anybody else, but putting all of this collagen and silica and chlorophyll and all these amazing things that I've learned about from you and from other people like you, mostly from you, is you start to look incredible. Like your hair gets thicker. Your erections are better. Your skin tone is more even. Your body fat begins to go away. You talking about the–what are those things called? The Brazil nuts. Like eating the Brazil nuts and getting your selenium levels high. Did I say that right?
Ben: Yeah. Selenium, Brazil nuts, erections, you got that Alright.
Khalil: Yeah. So, all of a sudden, you start to eat for a purpose versus eating for pleasure and then you just start to–I mean I don't know, from my own personal experience, the moment I switched to eating with intention and eating real, awesome, amazing, organic foods and superfoods, my whole life changed. My depression and anxiety definitely dissipated. It didn't go away but I mean it definitely lessened. And then if I throw in the sauna stuff that you talk about and the ice baths and all that stuff like–I was going to say you've been to my house but you haven't. But I've got the same thing that Rubin has at his house. I've got the stainless-steel tub. I've got the Barrel Sauna.
Ben: Yeah. That Rick Rubin has?
Khalil: Yeah. I do all that stuff. I learned from him and I learned from you and he learns from you. And then Laird will come up with some stuff and I take a piece of that. It seemed weird and farfetched when I first started listening to you and being around these guys, like all the wild game talk and the–just boils and Brazil nuts. But here I am a decade later and I'm three times as productive as I used to be and I have such clarity and a lack of brain fog. Look, I'm not a purist. I had some pizza the other day. I'm probably going to go to hell for that.
But for the most part, when Rick Rubin was lecturing me about getting rid of gluten and not putting any gluten in my body or any type of wheat products in my body, I fought him on it and then I did it. And I found that anytime Rick Rubin tells you to do something, if you do it, your life becomes exponentially better. I did it and my belly disappeared and my face shrunk by about an inch and a half and all of a sudden, I looked 10, 15 years younger. And these tiny little changes–and I call them tiny now because it was brutal in the beginning, but these tiny little changes have turned me into a super version of myself. I am going to say it but like living my best life, but I really am. I'm living my best life and I become the best version of myself that I can be through all these weird little bio hacks that you're teaching people. It's incredible.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. Well, I like that some of my ideas are creeping their way into–I was going to say overpriced smoothies but they're actually–that was probably not to your business, any service. They're spendy but amazingly tasty smoothies that are well worth every dollar.
By the way, when you said erections, I cringed. And this is a total rabbit hole but I actually–I got very little sleep last night because I had, what probably in medicine would be termed a priapism, which is basically an erection that will not go away and gets to the point where it actually becomes painful like for hours and hours at a time. I believe what happened is there's this peptide. Very popular ones for anti-aging.
Epitalon is another. I've talked about BPC-157 and TB-500 for joints. These things all have names like Star Wars robots. And there's this one called Melanotan, I think is the name of it. It's very popular in the bodybuilding industry because it induces a very nice even tan on your skin when you inject this peptide subcutaneously, like next to the abs. But then it also, and it's even been used as a treatment for erectile dysfunction, gives you massive boners. And I really had no interest in using this peptide but I do use another anti-aging peptide called Epitalon or Epithalon, some people call it. Actually, there's a lot of research behind it. Have you heard of it before, this Epitalon?
Khalil: You told me about it.
Ben: Okay. I told you about it.
Khalil: When we were in Vegas.
Ben: Yeah. So, anyways, I order it from this peptides website and I think they sent me the wrong peptide because I injected the Epitalon yesterday and by about 10:00 p.m., I had this erection that would not go away and it's stuck with me 'til like 4:00 or 5:00 a.m. and I just laid there awake.
Khalil: Oh my God.
Ben: Yeah. It was horrible. And I'll probably get a nice tan as aside effect but just a word of warning for people who try that thing. It could be dangerous. And it probably did not help that I had like three–I drink this fermentedbeet juice that Dr. Mercola makes that he sent to me. And so, I had three cans of fermented beet juice and then supposedly some peptide for erectile dysfunction, and I certainly noticed the side effects of that.
Khalil: Yeah. And I love that you mentioned Dr. Mercola because those are–I mean, you guys are like my three cats, my oracles or whatever, like Dr.Mercola and you and Rick Rubin. I just–whatever you guys–you know, look, when you first started talking about the GAINSwave thing, I was just like, “Okay. Ben has finally lost it. This is weird. What are they talking about? I'm not going to go electrocute my penis.” And then within 48 hours, I'm like texting you, “What's the phone number? Does it hurt? blah,blah, blah.”
And I got to say, one of the most awkward experiences I've ever had, and I've had some really awkward experiences without saying a lot,like going to Beverly Hills and having some man in his 60s with the wispy ponytail pulling my pants down for him and having him essentially shock my numbed penis over and over again for–I don't know. It seemed like an eternity but I think it was about 30 minutes.
Ben: It's about 20 minutes, yeah. It's kind of like waving a jackhammer under your dick.
Khalil: Yeah. Sorry, I'm obsessing about dicks right now but here's the weird thing. It really, really worked. I mean, I never had any issues before but to wind back the clock 15 years and have it stay–because I assume that it was going to be like a couple of weeks and then the effects would dissipate, it really didn't. And so, even on some of the fringe stuff that you're doing out there, I want to say like thanks for carrying the torch out front because I never, ever, ever in a million years would have done that had you not gone ahead of all of us and carry the torch. It's pretty awesome.
Ben: Yeah. Carried the torch, or in this case, the acoustic sound wave wand.
Khalil: Yeah. Thank you for my actions.
Ben: Yeah. You're welcome. Alright. Well, I think we rabbit holed enough right there and I actually do want to get into your story, the idea behind this book, “I Forgot to Die.” You say–I think this might be on the back cover of the book or somewhere, that 33 years old. You're 109 pounds. You were convicted felon. You're a high school dropout. You're a homeless junkie living on Skid Row in Downtown L.A. So, fill me in. What happened?
Khalil: Yeah. So, I got sober and I became a millionaire.
Ben: That's it. Game over. Thanks for listening, folks.
Khalil: : No. It's so funny because that's what everyone wants to obsess on. And if you look at any article that's ever been written, it's always like, “Millionaire juice, blah, blah, blah” or “This man became a multimillionaire.” I mean, it's cool and it's on paper and it's real but it's probably on a list of 20 things that are amazing about where I am right now versus where I was. It's probably pretty near the end.
Ben: Yeah. And you are, by the way, a millionaire?
Ben: Okay. My parents ran a coffee shop growing up that one could argue to a certain extent, did have a certain number of smoothies because I spent a long time in childhood making smoothies, which is probably why I get so many ideas for smoothies. Let me just say that they did not become millionaires running a freaking coffee shop. So, that's pretty impressive..
Khalil: Yeah. There are 10 locations now and we'll do 14 million this year in sales. And so, we've had hedge funds. Vulture capitalists, I'd like to call them, come after us and try to offer us money to buy part of the company. We've had valuations as high as $60 million and we've said no every time and we have no exit strategy. I don't want to exit. I don't want to do anything other than I'm doing right now. I want to meet cool people like you. I want to have good friends and eat healthy and do exactly what I'm doing.
Yeah. And then technically, I mean in my bank account, I was lucky enough to sell a small piece of my company and technically become a millionaire, which allowed me to buy a nice little place and I'm remodeling it. It's really good. But going back to the beginning of all this like–the other thing people want to know is how did you become a junkie? How did you wind up homeless?
Khalil: And just to paraphrase, both my parents were immigrants from different countries and neither of them knew how to be parents, and they had different religions, and they didn't speak English that great, and we were living in a little town called Sweet Ohio in the Midwest. I suffered a lot as a kid. There's a lot of neglect. There was some incest and violence that I went through as a child. Then going through the Catholic school system, I just was shaped into a ball of self-hatred and shame and pain and acted out because I was desperate for attention and love and I wasn't getting it. I wound up, at a very young age, a criminal and getting arrested. I think by the time I was 16, I was arrested three times and then ultimately with dealing drugs and acting out sexually and all that stuff.
By the time I was 21, I was in big, big trouble and I left. I jumped in my car with less than $800. I keep going back and forth between $600 and $800. But it was less than $800. I jumped in my car and I drove to California because I wanted to get away from all the trouble that I was in. And the first few years, I did great. I mean, the first few years, I did just fine. I started a little detailing business and met a bunch of awesome people. And Axl, who is from Indiana, took a liking to me and he had me like detailing his cars and he introduced me to Slash, and I kind of watched over this warehouse full of cars for Slash. And then I started working for Elizabeth Taylor as a houseman.
I just kept going up and going up and going up. But what I was also really good at was scoring for people, meaning going and getting drugs. And not any of those people that I had just mentioned but other celebrities and other people in Los Angeles and in Malibu. I found that dealing drugs is a lot easier than washing cars or taking Elizabeth Taylor's parrots to the vet to get their wings clipped. And so, I fell back into my old ways and wound up getting arrested multiple times, becoming a convicted felon, serving a little bit of time. And alcoholism was something that always was rearing its ugly head. From the time I was 11/12 years old, I had been drinking, blackout drinking, taking pills, smoking weed. But when I was in my 20s and I had the money and the connections, the drugs got heavier and heavier. And by the time I was in my mid-20s, the drugs became really heavy. And by the time I was going towards my late 20s, it was heroin and cocaine, crack sometimes but usually shooting heroin and cocaine together. That was my jam. And I very, very quickly lost everything and I wound up literally living under a bridge, completely lost my mind.
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I knew you were in L.A. at that point.
Khalil: I was in L.A. You know, I didn't start out like that. I started out dating like B and C list actresses and running around with rock stars and I was in a rock and roll band and there's all that part. But ultimately, I guess to get to the point, I wound up homeless and living under a bridge in 109 pounds and my teeth were falling out of my head. I was just a walking rotting corpse by the time I hit my 30s. When I was 33 years old, by the grace of God, and it's a very long story, so I will spare your listeners but at 33 years old, I completely bottomed out for the 150th time and I went away.
There was a charity called Musicians' Assistance Program, orin my case, Failed Music
There was a charity called Musicians' Assistance Program, or in my case, Failed Musicians' Assistance Program, and they put me into treatment in Pasadena, chuck me in a halfway house. And I just had to learn how to chop wood and carry water and work and become an active member of society, a taxpaying citizen, a man amongst men, and it was very, very, very challenging and there was no family to fall back on. To speed things up, I washed cars, I washed dogs, I walked dogs, I cleaned people's apartments, I worked at two different rehabs, I saved every penny, and I started my own business being an interventionist in a sober companion. That was where the initial money came from.
I invested heavily in silver and gold because I was paranoid about the economy. This is 2004/2005. And then I opened up a place called Riviera Recovery on a shoestring and a prayer, and it did really, really well. And then I sold the silver and gold when it peaked around 1700, 1800 and that's how I got the money for Riviera Recovery. And that's when Hayley and I, we had been dating for a few years and I was dreaming about opening up my own little juice bar. There were all these vacancies here on Point Dume because it was 2011 at this time and the sky was falling like everyone was going out of business. And I convinced my buddy Rick to give us a couple of $100,000 and I had a–
Ben: Rick Rubin again?
Khalil: No. This is actually Rick Salomon. He's a professional gambler. I convinced him to loan us a couple of $100,000 and we opened up our first little place. We were about $200,000 shy of having enough money to open it. We had no shelves. We had no table. We had like a few blenders and a juicer but I don't know, man. We opened it and there was a line out the door. That was seven and a half years ago.
Ben: Was this the one in Point Dume?
Khalil: Yeah, yeah, the original one.
Ben: Okay. And that's still there, right? That didn't burn down in the Malibu fires, did it?
Khalil: No, no. I just left there. I just had the Billion Dollar Bowl and I'm sipping on my–
Ben: I'm jealous.
Khalil: Oh, dude. It was so good.
Ben: I mean, I had ghee and cacao for breakfast, a little bit of salt and a little bit of–I actually put some royal jelly in there, which by the way is amazing. For those of you who don't know what royal jelly is, that's like the colostrum of the insect kingdom. It's what the queen bee gets as her superfood. I believe it's actually spat up by the worker bees after the royal jelly has had a chance to go through the enzymatic conversion in their mouths. And when you look at the research behind royal jelly, I mean it's got hormones in it like testosterone and progesterone. It's got more flavonoids in it and then most of the deepest, darkest purple and green plants you can get. That stuff alone is amazing. When you get that along with colostrum, so you're getting like the best of the two superfoods that insects and animals respectively feed their babies. It's a very, very powerful stuff.
Khalil: Yeah. So, I had five scoops of goat colostrum in that bowl, as well as a teaspoon, teeming teaspoon of raw royal jelly. To go back to the cost, that meal that you and I had in Vegas was a couple of thousand bucks and there were four of us.
Ben: Yeah. And I was in a dirty hoodie in shorts and the restaurant made me put on pants. I literally like–I hitchhiked in from a hike on the outskirts of Vegas with my wife. We literally stuck out our thumb, got to ride in from this rock climber. And I knew you were in town and we literally just got dropped off at Bellagio and wandered in there. And I remember the first thing that happened was we walked into this. You already had like a caviar spread there and you just came up to me and told me that I could put on pants or leave. And the restaurant actually came equipped. I think you put this on your Instagram channel. The restaurant came equipped with its own pants for people like me.
Khalil: Yeah. I got videos of you putting the pants on, and more importantly, taking the pants off at the end.
Khalil: But that meal, that was a couple of thousand bucks and you only had one glass of wine. No one else drank other than your one glass of wine. That was 2,000 bucks. We didn't think twice about that and the reason we didn't think twice about that is because my friend is a high roller and it didn't cost us a penny. But if you put that in perspective, that was 2,000 bucks and we probably got a lot of nutrients because of the way that we ordered. But what's in that Billion Dollar Bowl, I mean you would have to eat five meals to get the amount of nutrients that come into that bowl.
And here's the other thing. I challenge anybody to go to Whole Foods. I'll give you the list of ingredients. Go to Whole Foods or go to wherever you guys go in the Midwest and buy all those ingredients and try to recreate the bowl for less. Then you're going to have a very, very difficult time because I know what my food cost is in that bowl and it's around $21. But I'm buying stuff in pallets. So, I'm getting it way, way cheaper than anybody else could.
Ben: Yeah. So, people are able to profit from your ability to be able to lever the superfoods.
Khalil: Yes, exactly. But I mean, I talked to Kelly Slater about this and he was like, “Dude, I tried to make it at home and it was like ridiculous. It's cheaper just to come in and get it.” It's expensive. I'm not going to lie. You're spending 16 bucks on a smoothie or 28 bucks on a smoothie or $35 on a bowl. It seems a little bit insane but yet I have no problem going to a restaurant dropping $30, $40 on myself for lunch and eating French fries and bread and catch up with corn syrup in it and sugar and all this poison that makes me feel like garbage afterwards.
So, anyway, I had the–I think we're talking about what I had today. It was the Billion Dollar Bowl. This morning, I had Four Sigmatic that I learned about on your podcast. Tero's company, Four Sigmatic. I had a packet of the chaga mushrooms with some heavy whipping cream and three shots of espresso and added some hot water to it. Absolutely incredible. Then I had the Billion Dollar Bowl, and I added that super expensive–what's that coconut yogurt?
Ben: Yeah. CocoYo I believe is the name of the brand. You can get it at some Whole Foods, for example. I think it's CocoYo, is the name of the yogurt, fantastic coconut yogurt. But as a matter of fact, I keep a big–there are things when you open my fridge that always have a home in my fridge now. One is typically some kind of a chia seed slurry in a mason jar that I can just use as a quick meal or as a base for smoothies. One is Pau D'Arco bark tea, which is kind of like a precursor to these NAD supplements that people take. Bone broth, I usually have our own bone broth or some Kettle & Fire bone broth in there.
And then I have this yogurt that Dr. William Davis told me. He wrote this wonderful book called, “Undoctored.” And in that book, he discusses a certain type of yogurt that can shut down appetite, facilitate intermittent fasting, increase your skin collagen production, increase oxytocin levels like your trust and love hormone. The sugar has a lot going for in addition to its gut healing effects. And it's like that CocoYo yogurt that you're talking about but the bacterial content is times 10. I'll put a link in the shownotes because my kids have a food podcast, taught people how to make this. They make it with me.
So, I'll link to there their podcast where they make this coconut yogurt, but you just get what's called an L. reuteri strain of probiotic from Amazon. You get a couple of cans of like an organic coconut milk or coconut cream. What you do is you mash up the probiotic tablets like 10 of them in a mortar and pestle because the probiotic tablets, they have a pretty high bacterial count but nowhere near what you can get in terms of the billion count of probiotics, speaking of a Billion Dollar Bowl, when you ferment them in coconut yogurt.
So, you mash them all up. You put them in with the coconut milk or the coconut cream in a good clean bowl. And then you put a little bit of prebiotics for the bacteria to feed on. I like to use acacia fiber. And you put a little bit of sugar in there. All you need is like a teaspoon to get the bacteria started munching on the sugar. And then I like to put some gelatin in there because it gets really thick and really–you know, sticks to your sides and coats the lining of your gut. And then all I do is I put it in a food dehydrator, or you could use an oven. It doesn't matter. You just keep it 100 degrees for a day, for 24 hours. You pull that out. It is the most amazing fermented homemade coconut milk yogurt you can get and it's got like 10 times the probiotics of anything you can get at the grocery store.
Khalil: Oh my God. I can't wait. I can't wait. I love that stuff.
Ben: Yeah. You guys just start making it. Make it for SunLife.
Khalil: Yeah. Well, no. I was thinking about that as you're saying that. But I think it's funny because you told me about that and then I think like six months later, Audrey Marcus or Aubrey, whatever his name is, talked about it on his podcast. And you literally could not get the stuff in L.A. It was gone.
Ben: Oh yeah.
Khalil: Like [00:45:00] this podcast, raised out to every health food store and it was gone. I mean now, they've replenished the stock but I love that stuff. So, anyway, so sorry, I digress but so back to my story, I mean it's obviously, there's a lot more to it and that's why I wrote the book and that's why I'm actually writing the second book because so many people want to know, how can I stay sober? How can I find God or spirituality? How can I become rich? How can I build a successful business? I didn't get that far into it in the first book. The first book is more about autobiography and it's done incredibly well. It's in Russian now, in Spanish, in Bulgarian, and it's on Audible.
But really, it was a long journey and where I find myself now with my new place and remodeling it and having awesome friends like you, it's the greatest thing ever. As I was saying earlier like the millionaire part is cool. And anyone that tells you that money can't buy you happiness has never had money or they're lying to you because I know what it's like not to have money. And I'm not even talking about my homelessness; I'm talking about living in Ohio, making $21,000 a year, miserable, wanted to kill myself, or being in California and struggling and living paycheck to paycheck. If you go from that range, that like zero to, I'd say in L.A., $40,000, $50,000 a year, you can barely rent a place if you don't have a roommate. But to go from that to 300,000 a year, you are happier. Money definitely buys you happiness and you–
Ben: Yeah. Well, money buys you freedom and time to be able to be–like money in and of itself doesn't produce happiness, like I can't hold a dollar bill and get happy. But if I have $100 to say pay someone to mow my lawn for an entire–a couple of weeks or a month and I can take that time, the hour he's normally been mowing my lawn and be outside shooting hoops with my kids in the front yard, I mean that's happiness indirectly from the money.
Khalil: Yeah. But I mean look, to go from working at a rehab for 10 bucks an hour 13 years ago to sitting in my beautiful home in Malibu with my beautiful assistant who's here helping facilitate this podcast and talking about the book that I was able to put out there for so many people to enjoy and getting direct messages and emails and Facebook messages every day from people around the world that tell me that their life has changed because they read my book. Like when I go on Amazon, I read the reviews, I literally cry because there are so many people on there that say my book changed their life or they got sovereign because of my book.
I know that's not true. I know that maybe my book was a catalyst and I'm not taking credit for anything other than the fact that I brought some light and some levity to people's lives. Well, it costs me about $50,000 to put that book out. I don't have a publisher. I don't have an agent. I don't have any of that stuff. I did that book with the help of–what's his name? It's Scribe now but it used to be called Book in a Box.
Ben: Mm-hmm. Tucker Max. Yeah. For those of you who don't know about that service, you literally hire them. They have a really good interviewer; interview you over a series of multiple phone calls or in-person interview sometimes and then they turn around and create your book. They write your book based on a series of audio interviews, which is wonderful for like the 95% of would-be authors who happened to hate to write but love to talk.
Khalil: Or how about the fact that I can't spell and I can't type?
Ben: Or that.
Khalil: So, how am I going to read book? So, these cats, they put me together with this guy named Jeremy and we did this book. And now, Jeremy and I are doing the second book together and it's the coolest thing ever but it costs like $50,000. Not their service but printing the books and storing the books and all that stuff. That costs a lot of money. This home costs a lot of money. To get up in the morning and be able to put on like the binaural beats that you talk about or the sound healing things and sit in my Clearlight infrared sauna, which I do almost every day now, which I learned about from you. That sauna cost me $5,000. And to not have to get up and go to work in the morning, that money allows me.
So, yeah, the money gives you the freedom but the money also buys you things that–or allows you to spend money on things that do bring you happiness. I guarantee you, when I jump on a plane Friday morning and I'm going to go hang out with Kelly because he's surfing in the pipeline–I think it's called the pipeline or the pipe masters or whatever it's called.
Ben: Yeah, it is the pipeline.
Khalil: Yeah. He yelled at me the other day because I called it the pipelines. But to jump on a first-class flight and go spend two weeks in Hawaii and lay on the beach versus being caught up here and all the weird drama around Christmas and getting weird awkward gifts from people and having that uncomfortable feeling and buying gifts for people that don't like the gifts that I got them. Just remembering like the true meaning of what God and Jesus Christ is all about. I don't want to go off on a Jesus Christ tangent but I'm fairly certain that Jesus Christ did not get up on a cross and die so we could get a new Xbox or get a new 4K television..
I like to get out of here and get away from the Christmas trees and the gifts and all that. I don't have kids. So, I have this luxury. But I also have a bunch of money and I have that luxury. I have got little back issues right now so I can jump on a first-class flight. I can put the seat all the way down. I can sleep on the flight. I can get to Hawaii and I'm going to stay at Kelly's house. But even if I wasn't, I can go stay at the Four Seasons. I can swing by Whole Foods and spend 500 bucks on, $40 in —
Ben: Well, we know that materials don't necessarily bring happiness even though I think that there are some like a $30 smoothie. That definitely makes you feel pretty happy. But we do know experiences do bring happiness. And that's actually something that my wife and I are really focusing on for Christmas. For example, this year, purchasing experiences rather than things. And sometimes things lead to experiences. Like our main gift for my son is kind of like a subscription service box that delivers a new science project to the house each month because he loves science. It's an experience because he'll get to build that with dad and mom and his brother and it's kind of a combination of things and experiences. But yeah, being able to go on a superyacht–what do you call it, superyacht, mega yacht to —
Ben: Yeah. To some amazing locale or fly first class.
Khalil: Yeah. The mega yacht stuff is stupid and it looks good on Instagram. Here, how about this? I want to be like you. I want to have a hot wife. I love your wife. You know that. I want to have a hot wife and I want to have two cool kids just like yours. I don't care if they're boys or girls. But in order to do that, I'm 49 years old, Ben. I live in L.A. I was invisible for decades until I had a couple of bucks in my pocket. So, again, I don't want to dwell too much on the money but the money is going to allow me to attract an appropriate mate that's going to know that I can provide sort of like a nest or a home where we can come and live together and we can have those children and we can afford those children.
I mean, I don't know. I don't want to focus too much on the money but I'm going to tell you this. I've lived most of my life without money decades and decades and it sucked. And being rich and successful feels really, really, really good. When I go and I talk to kids, I go talk at like Holmes and stuff or rehabs. When I say to kids like, “Hey kids, drugs feel great, don't they?” And they're all like, “Whoa, he gets it.” And I'm like, “You want to know what feels better? Being rich, being happy, being successful, being able to do amazing things for my mom and amazing things for my friends. That is way better high than smoking crack or shooting heroin. And that's just the God's honest truth.”
Ben: Yeah. I would be remiss though speaking of drugs and heroin not to ask you because I know you have a perspective on this about addiction recovery and about anything you might have used. For example, we've talked about NAD. I know you get NAD injections over at Next Health. I don't know if we talked about ketamine at all but I recently had the most mind-blowing ketamine experience at the offices of Dr. Matt Cooke in San Jose. I'm curious if you've actually discovered things that you've really felt to move the dial in terms of allowing people–I mean there's even neurofeedback right at the Peak Brain Institute down there in L.A.
Dr. Andrew Hill treats people and kind of reboots their tolerance to things like marijuana and drugs and works with addiction in that format as well. So, I mean, whether NAD or ketamine or neurofeedback or anything like that, do you have specific things that you've discovered or that you've studied up on to particularly help people with recovery from addiction??
Khalil: Yeah. And I own Riviera Recovery and ran it and helped a lot of people. And yes, yes, yes to the NAD. Thank God for Next Health and thanks God for Kevin and Darshan over there for introducing that to me because that NAD is some of the best stuff I've ever done.
Ben: I'll be there in six days doing an NAD treatment, literally, across the mall hallway from SunLife. So, I'm going to go have a Billion Dollar Bowl and then go do an NAD treatment at Next Health.
Khalil: I will be waiting for you with open arms and whatever bated breath means. Yeah. I love the NAD. But as far as like the ketamine treatments and the psilocybin treatments and the microdosing and all that stuff, I was self-administering ketamine therapy without even knowing that I was doing it. Most people out there were doing bumps of K at raves and going into a K hole. My friend Sean and I were injecting ourselves with ketamine for years and having absolutely transformative experiences, as well as on psilocybin, MDMA. We got very into the Terence McKenna book about combining the MDMA and the psilocybin. I think their raver is called hippie flipping or candyflipping.
Ben: Candyflipping, yeah.
Khalil: Yeah. I did all of that stuff. And I'm not going to lie, man, I got a lot of great benefits, MDMA. MDMA changed my life. MDMA took me from a very, very angry hostile young man into a much, much nicer human being.ch, much nicer human being.
Ben: Yes. And that–to interrupt you really quickly, speaking of Tucker Max, I was recently at dinner with him and he explained his entire–and he wrote a whole medium article on this that I'll link to if you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/iforgottodie. He did one single MDMA treatment and it completely changed the entire aggressive personality that he had, made him far more open, far more empathetic–the single treatment.
Khalil: Yeah. I read that article and it gave me goosebumps because I can remember it like it was yesterday, the first time I really, really went under the effects of MDMA. That was with this kid named Calum Best. Just a side note, he was George Best son. Just as beautiful kid, model kid, and super awesome. And you know my past of like being molested and having all that weird stuff happened to me. I did not like people touching me. And if anyone touched me, I'd punch him in the face. And I'm not a tough guy but I was in fights nonstop. And I'll never forget being with Calum and we were actually at a rave and we had taken some MDMA. I think taken quite a bit actually. And I'm not advocating for anybody to go take MDMA but I'm just telling you my own personal experience.
I remember we left the rave. We went back to my friend Todd's house and we laid down next to one another. And I remember my impulse of rage. I wanted to punch him. I wanted to harm him for laying down so closely next to me. And he literally was like reading my mind and he kept reaching over and grabbing me by my neck, by my trapezoid and saying, “Buddy, relax. What's wrong? Relax.” And I could feel just like a thousand million rubber bands wrapped up so tight they were ready to snap.
And as we laid there for hours–we didn't even really talk that much. We mostly laughed and just laid next to one another. There was nothing weird or sexual about it and it just–he was just such a beautiful soul and I felt safe and I fell all of those rubber bands, just unwind and unwind and unwind. When I read that Tucker Max article, it's just like, “Oh, my God, I can so relate to that.” Having said all of that at 15 years sober, I haven't drank, haven't done a drug in 15 years, I wouldn't say that I wouldn't like to go microdose on psilocybin or have another MDMA experience.
I'm not even going to say that I wouldn't benefit greatly from some of that stuff, if not all of that stuff. And I have a lot of sober friends that have had transformative experiences, mystical transformative experiences on ayahuasca and ibogaine, if I'm pronouncing that correctly. For me, the chances of me doing something like that, jumping off the table, sprinting to the nearest bar, pounding shots of Jägermeister or Jack Daniel's, and then 30 minutes later, blowing homeless guys for crack, cocaine in Downtown L.A. is pretty likely. It's just not worth it. It's not worth it.
As Hayley said to me, this is like nine years ago when we were going to Bora Bora and my buddy Garrett McNamara and Nicole had just gone there, and they had done mushrooms and they were explaining all the lights and the colors. And I told Hayley, I'm like, “Yeah. We should do that.” She's like, “You're sober.” I'm like, “Yeah, but it's not really a drug. It grows in the ground. It's not processed. It's not touched by man. There are tons of mushrooms in Bora Bora. We should just do it.” And she's like, “Do you really think that you could do mushrooms and not end up drinking or not end up back shooting cocaine and heroin? And I said, “Absolutely positively.” I gave her the biggest lecture ever. She was much, much younger than me and I really went out her throat for about 45 minutes and she sat there patiently, like a little Buddha with the patience of a growing tree. And she looked up at me with her giant blue eyes and she said at the very end when I gassed myself out, she looked up at me and she said, “What if you're wrong?”
Ben: Yeah, yeah. You could be playing with fire with your history. And I'm talking about this before on the show. My wife really is not into any of these plant-based medicines. She has done psilocybin once and done a little bit of weed with me and that is about it. And she is far more into and has actually inspired me quite a bit to really dial back any type of infatuation with anything like psilocybin or MDMA or THC or ibogaine or anything like that into instead make sure to prioritize first the spiritual disciplines; fasting, meditation, study, silence, solitude, all of these things, even breathwork, like holotropic breathwork, things that allow you to generate endogenously, a lot of the same kind of chemicals that are released from the relatively more hedonistic use of a lot of these compounds.
I truly think that even if someone hasn't been addicted to a substance in their past that they should make sure that they are able to engage in the spiritual disciplines and to take a stoic approach prior to launching into to a relatively more hedonistic use of any of these compounds. I think you have to almost prove yourself worthy to a certain extent. I think that a lot of these people who are on like their 38th ayahuasca retreat would benefit from just a few days out in the wilderness with a wool blanket and a book and a little bit of water and just like a deep fasting silence immersion. I think that they would potentially “find themselves” in an even deeper way than they might through the use of some of these plant medicines.
Khalil: Yeah. I own a yoga studio called Malibu Beach Yoga and I've had experiences in yoga and in meditation, following yoga or after doing a hot yoga class at Malibu Beach Yoga. It's right around the corner from the ocean. And going down to the ocean in February when the ocean is like in the 40s or whatever, and jumping in for 20 minutes and keeping my hands out of the water so I don't completely freak out. You can reach highs beyond your wildest dreams from meditation, from yoga, from real worshipping God, from hugging trees up in Big Sur, going to a place like Esalen.
I've had so many incredible, incredible experiences. Or how about this? Or just sex. I've had some mystical experiences during lovemaking that just absolutely blew my mind and shattered my ego and left me laying there going, “Oh, my God, I get it now. I get everything. I understand it.” I mean, there's so much goodness out there to be had without doing any of that stuff. And your wife is a goddess and you definitely don't need any advice, but man, I would listen to anything that woman said mainly just because she's so beautiful and so sweet. I love her.
Ben: Yeah. She certainly keeps me grounded. She is the yin to my yang even though she's a relatively young person herself. But yeah, you're right. I mean, I'm working on a new book right now and I was just writing about this in the book last week about holotropic breathwork. And speaking of the Clearlight sauna, I should send you this audio. My friend Niraj who's–he's Wim Hof's business partner and he goes by the name The Renegade Pharmacist online. He has an entire–I think it's an eight-week long breathwork course. But in week three, there is a 60-minute holotropic breathwork audio that you can download. It's guided to music, in breathing.
And I lay on the floor of my infrared sauna and go through this entire breathwork protocol just blasting myself with the surround sound speakers in the sauna and go to an entirely different place psychedelically, mentally, emotionally while I'm lying in a pool of my own sweat. And I come out of that thing feeling as though someone has pushed the reboot button on my body. Very similar to what you get from ketamine or MDMA and it's literally just your own breathwork.
Khalil: Yes. Wim Hof came over to Rick Rubin's house one time and I went over there with Kelly Slater and that–who's that other dude, the basketball player,really super tall guy?
Ben: Oh yeah, the Rubin's friend, Noah, Joakim Noah.
Khalil: Yes. So, Noah was there. Anyway, that's sounding like too much of an L.A. douchebag name dropper. There was a lot of really, really cool people there. I hate it when people say, “Look, I don't care about famous people. They're just regular people.” No, they're not. They wouldn't be famous if they were regular people. A lot of times, people like Kelly Slater who grew up in a tiny little town in Florida who had to surf waves that were nothing and learn how to make something out of nothing went on to be the greatest surfer that will ever live because of his discipline and his dedication. And someone like Rick Rubin who's been meditating since he was 14 years old twice a day, 20 minutes, 40 minutes at a time and has never missed a day. I mean, those people become that way because of their disciplines and because of their practices.
But anyway, so I was there and Wim Hof showed up and we were doing the sauna with the ice bath. But the way that Wim Hof was having us do the ice bath is we were actually submerging our heads under the ice as well, which I had never done before. Slater ended up, during the holotropic breathing thing, he ended up fainting, which was really incredible. I was having full-on hallucinations.
Ben: Someone showed me a video of that I think, somebody that was there.[01:05:34] ______ Rick showed me the video of the famous surfer Kelly Slater fainting during breathwork. Yeah.
Khalil: Yeah. It was one of the coolest things ever, man. And we definitely had very much an MDMA glow going when we were going in and out of the ice and going back into the sauna back and forth and all the cool cats that were there. It was a very tribal, very special, very mystical experience. And so, I'm not going to lie, there are a couple of times a year when I'm like, “Oh man, I wish I could drive to Joshua Tree with my new girl that I'm dating and take some mushrooms. But again, as my ex told me, whenever that was, nine years ago, I feel like I could get away with it but what if I'm wrong?
So, for me, no, I don't use any of those tools to help people get and stay sober. I'm an old-fashioned purist. I believe in 12-step programs. I believe in rehab as triage, and I believe in sober livings, which they're now called–they used to be called halfway houses. Riviera Recovery is still very much in business and doing amazing and helping way more people than I ever could. This guy named Jose that bought it from me. The really, really cool guy that I used to get high with is actually now the guy that runs Riviera Recovery and runs it incredibly well.
But a place like Riviera Recovery, like you put somebody in treatment for 30 days, 60 days, however long it takes, and then what I always suggest is putting somebody in sober living for a year. And that seems to be the magic combination. You throw in some 12 steps. You throw in some nutrition. You throw in some sauna. If someone's suffering from depression, I definitely get them into some type of cryotherapy or ice baths or just jumping in the ocean in the middle of winter. The NAD, it's just some of the greatest stuff.
Dude, I had a weird–I think I told you about this but I loved gambling. I loved blackjack. I loved it. And this is probably exposing too much of myself but I also love to watch Fox News and CNN, and I like to flip back and forth. I used to binge watch both of them for hours at a time and just laugh at the hypocrisy of both sides, because I'm a firm believer in the whole like–I can't remember who said it, but like if voting really mattered, if voting really made a difference, they wouldn't allow us to do it. I don't buy either side. I think everyone's full of crap. But I used to binge watch CNN and Fox News and I used to play a lot of blackjack.
I started doing the NAD. I did a few rounds of it. I went to Europe. I went back to Europe again and I started getting into meditation every day, which was weird because I struggle with the meditation stuff. And then, I came back from Europe. I did a few more rounds of the NAD, and I found myself at night not watching–very, very weird for me. And then I went to Vegas three times over like five weeks. I went to Vegas with my business partner and fancy penthouse, all that stuff. I didn't gamble once. And I remember the girl I was dating at the time. Second trip, she said, “You're not going to gamble?” And it's like, “I don't know.” Dude, I'm the guy that with my suitcase still in my hand before I check into the hotel, I'm at the blackjack table. I am now the guy that doesn't go to the blackjack table. I'm now the guy that's watching documentaries and watching YouTube stuff at night instead of watching Fox News or CNN, which was poisoning my mind and impregnating me with anxiety and fear. So, that NAD did something weird to me, man. I don't know. I'm not smart enough to understand what happened but I'm not a gambler anymore.
Ben: Yeah. It has a definite effect on the cellular receptors, many of which are crossing over with some of the addiction physiology, same for MDMA, same with ketamine. And again, some of these effects, you can achieve without the use of biochemistry or compounds that you would consume such as neurofeedback, like the Peak Brain Institute. If you're listening in, go listen to my podcast with them. He can do resets that drastically affect everything from depression to anxiety to addiction as well.
We live in a day and age where there are a lot of ways to heal yourself of the stuff. You just kind of have to know where to go. And I think neurofeedback, I think some of these plant medicines, I think some of these compounds like NAD, for example, certainly can help out with that. And your book, too. Again, the name of this book is “I Forgot to Die” which I almost, as I was writing out the pretty link for today's show which is at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/iforgottodie, I almost wrote I Forgot to Diet. Maybe that would a sequel for you, I Forgot to Diet. And it could be a photograph of you on the front at like 300 pounds instead of 109 pounds.
Khalil: Right. Yeah. I used to be 109 pounds now. I'm fat. Now, I think the second one, I think the working title right now is the magic of change or the magical power of change. I don't know. It's something cheesy like that. Or someone else like Jeremy, the guy that's helping me with the new book. I think he really likes the idea of calling it “Remembering to Live,” which is actually pretty beautiful.
Ben: I like it. I like it.
Khalil: We're going to get more into the prescriptive nature and the experiences that I had with yoga and stuff like that. I can remember like getting into yoga for the first time and being in Pigeon Pose, which is my least favorite pose. The teacher came over and she put her hand on my back and I started sobbing. She's a very, very beautiful teacher named Lydia. And I started sobbing. I don't know why I started sobbing but I started sobbing and I couldn't stop sobbing. I had that experience quite a few times actually in Pigeon Pose. I remember one of the great masters or supposed masters, Paramahansa Yogananda or Krishnamurti or somebody said that our issues are in our tissues, every traumatic experience we've ever had in our tissues.
And very much like my MDMA experience–and by the way, I didn't do MDMA and all of a sudden, I'm a great guy. I'm still a jerk. I still have a temper on me. I still drive too aggressively or whatever. But what I'm saying is I went from a violent nasty jerk to a somewhat decent guy–transformative experiences with that, with yoga, with not drinking and doing drugs for 15 years now, it’s going to be 16 years now. Sometimes it's time, sometimes it's yoga, sometimes it's nutrition, sometimes you throw in the different things like that.
But I guess the point is I went from a really, really miserable, depressed, broke loser with no chance whatsoever of making it in life to being a really happy, productive member of my society that I live in with some really amazing friends and really amazing experiences. For anybody out there that's listening, I don't care if you eat too much or if you drink too much or if you want to quit smoking or whatever it is that you're doing that's not serving you, that's not making your life and the people around you that live around you making their lives better, you can change. I promise you. I promise you, you can change. If I can change, anybody can change.
And I'm not strong and I don't have a lot of willpower. You put a pizza in front of me, it's gone. You put a bag of Doritos in front of me, it could be the size of a small building, I'm going to finish that bag of Doritos. I don't have willpower. I'm not that strong. I'm not smart. I'm not any of those things that most people think you have to be in order to become successful or happy or whatever. I'm living proof that you don't have to be smart to become successful. And I'm living proof that you don't have to be strong and have amazing willpower to stop addictive behaviors. You just got to give yourself some slack. Forgive yourself and start making small little changes on a daily basis that add up over a period of time. And the next thing you know, you'll look in the mirror a year later, a year and a half later, you won't even recognize yourself. You'll be so glowing and happy and extracting all the right type of people into your life. It's just incredible.
But you, Ben, I mean this truly and I mean this sincerely, you are one of my mentors, you and Rick Rubin. I've started listening a little bit of that Aubrey Marcus guy. And just guys like you that are out there as a resource versus Fox News or CNN or any of the other garbage that's out there, listening to you guys, reading you guys, reading your books, listening to your podcast, watching your interviews on YouTube, putting that stuff in my head has turned me into someone that when I look in the mirror now, I smile.
Ben: Yeah, yeah.
Khalil: It took me 45 years to get to this place. I'm 49 now. It took me 45 years to I could really look in the mirror and smile. And thank you to Dr. Hirsch for making a lot of that possible because my teeth were literally falling out of my head. And this dude that lives here in Malibu, this guy, Dr. Hirsch. He felt so bad for me that he literally did all of my teeth for free. I don't know why. I just didn't have the money. Who has the money to spend $3,000 per tooth on putting crowns in and stuff? This guy just–I don't know, man. He felt sorry for me or whatever but I look in the mirror now and I smile with my nice smile and live the life I get to live. And I don't miss the drugs 99% of the time. I don't miss any of that stuff. I love the life I get to live, man.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. Well, you certainly do live an interesting life. And I'm going to link to all this stuff, your Instagram page, your book, your wonderful coffee shops, your recipes, everything if folks go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/iforgottodie. Not “I Forgot to Diet, “I Forgot to Die.” Go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/iforgottodie. Khalil, I look forward to seeing you in L.A., hopefully, later on, this week and sharing a whole bunch of royal jelly and colostrum and coconut meat with you, maybe getting a wonderful IV or something and doing what strange chaps like us do. But in the meantime, thanks for coming on the show, man.
Khalil: Are you kidding me? This is my absolute pleasure. You're my favorite podcaster and I had so much fun doing this and I can't wait to see you and geek out. I'm going to be biting through my lip trying not to ask you a million questions like I always do. Anytime Ben comes into town, I always have my notes out and I always have like a bunch of questions that I want to ask him because he's a bastion of knowledge. You haven't let me down yet, buddy.
Ben: [01:16:54] ______. Thanks, man.
Khalil: Thank you, brother.
Ben: Alright, folks. So, I'm Ben Greenfield with Khalil Rafati signing out from BenGreenfieldFitness.com. Have an amazing week.
Want more? Go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com or you can subscribe to my information-packed and entertaining newsletter and click the link up on the right-hand side of that web page that says, “Ben recommends,” where you'll see a full list of everything I've ever recommended to enhance your body and your brain. Finally, to get your hands on all of the unique supplement formulations that I personally develop, you can visit the website of my company, Kion, at getK-I-O-N.com. That's getK-I-O-N.com.
The “Billion Dollar Meal”…
Take a look at the ingredients of just one of the culinary delights designed by my guest on today's podcast.
Young Thai Coconut Meat
Raw Cashew Butter
Whole Leaf Aloe
Buffered Vitamin C Crystals
Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate
Four Sigmatic 10 Mushroom Blend (Reishi, Chaga, Cordyceps, Enokitake, Maitake, Shiitake, Lion's Mane, Tremella, Agaricus Blazei, and Meshima)
Rice Bran Solubles
From the Billion Dollar Meal above to the Million Dollar Smoothie, to my son's favorite – “The Dragon Bowl” – and beyond, Khalil Rafati features an amazing assortment of superfood creations at his “SunLife Organics” juice and smoothie bars spread across California.
But Khalil hasn't always been a health freak who creates very expensive smoothies.
He went to Los Angeles in the 1990s and had it all. He was working with Hollywood movie stars and legendary rock musicians. But it wasn't long before he found his way into the sordid underbelly of the City of Angels.
At 33, Khalil hit rock bottom. He was addicted to heroin and cocaine, overtaken by paranoia and psychosis, and written off by his friends and family. He was 109 pounds, a convicted felon, high school dropout, and homeless junkie living on the infamous Skid Row in downtown L.A.
So how does someone with nothing, who feels like they deserve nothing, and who just wants to end it all turn their life around?
What's the best way out of a hole? Quit digging.
Khalil's book “I Forgot to Die” is an incredible true story of pain, suffering, addiction and redemption. How one man ultimately conquered his inner demons and wrote a new life story.
Today, Khalil is the owner of Malibu Beach Yoga and SunLife Organics, a rapidly growing chain of popular juice and smoothie bars in California.
He also founded Riviera Recovery, which is a transitional living facility for drug addicts and alcoholics.
Among the many things Khalil and I talked about:
-How to guarantee a celebrity won't want you around them…7:30
- In most cases, Khalil's travel lifestyle is very upscale; he is hired for his culinary expertise.
- “You don't need to be special; you just need to be transparent.”
- If you want to guarantee a celebrity will never be
friends with you, ask for a selfie.
- They just want to be normal.
- Oftentimes isolated from the rest of the world.
- People are enamored with Khalil's transparent approach to telling his story.
-The story behind the “Billion Dollar Meal” and the “Million Dollar Smoothie”…15:10
- Khalil is a devoted Ben Greenfield disciple
- Most recipes at SunLife Organics are Khalil's
- The recipes were just what he was eating, and people asked him what he was eating.
- Smoothie is vegan
- Eat for purpose, versus for pleasure
- Has become the best version of himself
-How I treated a problematic erection with fermented beet juice…21:30
-The story behind (or that led to) Khalil's book, “I Forgot to Die”…26:00
- Rough childhood
- Abuse, neglect
- Acted out; shame; desperate for attention
- Arrested several times as a teenager; major legal trouble by age 21
- Drove to CA with $800 to his name.
- Drove to CA with $800 to his name
- Started detailing biz; net several A-list celebrities as clients
- Began dealing drugs
- Quickly lost everything; lived under a bridge; self-induced psychosis
- 33 years old, bottomed out.
- Charity: Failed musician's assistance program
- Did menial jobs; saved funds
- Invested in precious metals
- Opened Riviera Recovery (when gold maxed in price)
- Opened SunLife Organics, capital provided by Rick Solomon
-Why Khalil's menu is a good value, in spite of the high price…37:50
- Extraordinary quality of ingredients
- Khalil can buy in bulk; can't buy on your own for less at a Whole Foods
- CocoYo coconut yogurt
-Does money buy happiness?…45:15
- Enables freedom
- Enables purchases that bring happiness (like $35 smoothies)
- $50,000 out of pocket costs for the book
- Attracts a desirable mate
- “I lived without money for decades and it sucked.”
- Tells kids, “Being wealthy, giving, being a person of influence is a better high than shooting crack.”
-Ben and Khalil's thoughts on modern methods (NAD, ketamine) of addiction recovery…53:30
-And MUCH more…
Resources from this episode:
Book: I Forgot To Die
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