October 6, 2012
Podcast from Episode #211 https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2012/10/episode-211-why-do-i-stink-when-i-workoout/
Introduction: In today’s podcast, why do I stink when I workout? Also, how to get rid of skin tags, remedies for eczema, the correct ways to do a single leg quad stretch, managing high blood pressure and high cholesterol, how long should your long run be and even more about muscle cramps.
Brock: Hey everybody! Welcome to another episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast. I’m Brock, your host or sidekick and of course, Ben is here as well.
Ben: I am. I’m fresh off of my driveway where I managed for the first time to teach my kids to ride without their training wheels.
Brock: Oh awesome!
Ben: I’m not in an ambulance right now, so I’m happy.
Brock: Wait. You’d be in the ambulance or the kids be in the ambulance?
Ben: Possibly both the way it was going. They still need to master the breaking thing so any stationary objects including people are kinda fair game as far as the stopping wall is concerned.
Brock: That’s fair enough. Actually, that’s how I learned how to skate too.
Ben: Yeah. That’s been the Ben Greenfield Fitness home this afternoon and oh, speaking of which, at the inner circle this week, for any listeners who are inner circle members or people who wanna know what goes on over there, I just recently pulled out a video camera and did a geeky health tour of my home, where I just kinda walk through all the, you know, I talk about the earth pulls for sleeping and my electro stimulation device and all these things I’ve gathered in my house, I just basically show people my home gym and the way I put together my home gym and all these little things I’ve got laying around the house. So, that was fun and anybody who’s in the inner circle can grab that video off the bar webinar section.
Brock: That’s exactly what I was gonna ask, if you need to be in the inner circle?
Ben: Yeah, you do. And our upcoming webinar, another one that folks will find interesting would be the, I’m doing a whole webinar with my wife on self-testing. We’ve been doing a lot of these self-testing protocols and I’ve kind of alluded to that in a few posts at bengreenfieldfitness.com. We’re just gonna through some of the cheap methods out there to take charge of your own medical testing.
Brock: Okay. So, it’s self-testing in terms of like you go get a blood draw or stool sample or saliva tests or something you mail it in somewhere?
Ben: Yeah, you hit your knee with the hammer.
Brock: That’s my kind of self-test.
Brock: Okay. To get these and all the other interesting and hot off the presses news flashes every week, make sure to follow Ben on twitter.com and google+ and both of those things you can find at bengreenfieldfitness.com. So, what’s exciting this week?
Ben: Well, guess what this is.
Brock: It’s something nasty, apparently. Cayenne pepper juice maybe.
Ben: Until I sucked it down the wrong tube, you were supposed to say coffee.
Brock: Wait a second. It’s like 3:30 in the afternoon, you’re having coffee?
Ben: Ah, but therein lies the rabbit’s snack coffee. It’s mid’s tea. But the reason that I sipped and was going to do a pretty sexy segue into this next study until I turned into my coughing was that caffeine prevents cognitive impairment induced by chronic psychosocial stress and or a high fat or high carbohydrate diet. Essentially, rich caloric foods as well as social stress and psychological or emotional triggers for stress were shown to be mediated by about the equivalent of a big cup of coffee in this study. And so, we’ve mentioned this a few times before on the show but caffeine kinda has this parabolic curve to it, right? It’s got this stimulatory and slightly stress relieving effect up to a certain amount and then you begin to reach that law of diminishing returns or start to stress you out and over stimulate your adrenals. But you know, more and more, as I see coffee in these studies that come out on coffee, the more I like what I see for the equivalent of a cup a day. And the advice that I’ve get it on the podcast before still holds true if you’ve kind of beaten up your adrenal glands, you’re over-trained, or perhaps, you’re extremely sensitive to caffeine, this may not be for you. But for the average person, starting off the day with a cup of coffee is a great idea as long as you don’t choke yourself to death on it.
Brock: That is the key right there. I also saw a link the other day to a study about how the coffee or caffeine can actually lower or increase your pain tolerance for a short amount of time as well.
Ben: Yup! And that’s one of the reasons that it works as an ergogenic aid and why I think it’s the equivalent of about 14 cups of coffee or so that you banned from getting your Olympics gold medal or any other national certifying body of sports achievement.
Brock: I can’t even imagine.
Ben: Yeah. Careful once you’re coming up on 13. So, a couple of other things and by the way, we should mention to folks that we’re kinda shortening the podcast to be closer to an hour so….
Brock: Fingers are crossed.
Ben: But we are answering as many questions per podcast. Anyways though, there was this study that came out a few weeks ago, back in August of 2012 at the time of this recording that eggs are bad and in fact comparable to cigarettes. Well, I will put a link to this new study in the show notes but that other eggs study basically looked at your total cholesterol, your low density lipoprotein, and your high density lipoprotein or your LDL and your HDL. Now, this new study, instead of relying on that relatively shallow cholesterol information, also looked at cholesterol particle number, the size which you can do with something called NMR spectroscopy and some of the proteins and enzymes involved with cholesterol metabolism. And these type of variables are far more correlated to the potential for cholesterol to be atherogenic or atheroschlerotic. Atherogenic be an issue in terms of its oxidation or its inflammation in your vessels or you know, your potential for cardiovascular risk from high cholesterol. And what this study found was that eating the equivalent of 3 regular whole eggs per day, that’s whole, that’s not egg whites, actually resulted in an improvement in all these factors. So, not only were eggs shown to be not as bad as cigarettes but up to 3 eggs per day led to pretty favorable changes in basically that lipid profile. So, choc one up for eggs.
Brock: Go eggs!
Ben: And of course, we may get some people wondering about me and how I taught in a post over at bengreenfieldfitness.com, about how I’m kinda stirring clear of eggs. That’s something totally different. You can get, if you really wanna geek out on this, you can get an immunoglobulin test and if what are called your IGA and your IGG numbers tend to come out really really high for eggs, it can mean that you’ve got a lot of immune antibodies circulating in your bloodstream against the protein in certain types of eggs and well, a little bit of that immunoglobulin is to be expected in anyone who’s eating eggs. Mine were kinda off the chart. So, that’s why I limit the amount of eggs that I eat and technically, I’m supposed to be eating duck eggs but I just don’t have a lot f ducks wandering in my backyard laying eggs so….
Brock: Duck eggs are delicious. They make really nice omelets cause they get so fluffy.
Ben: I thought maybe if I dress a chicken up like a duck, I might be able to get away with it.
Brock: I think so. Yeah.
Ben: All right, we’ll see if we can get that one sponsored and out on pub med. The last study that I want to mention was an interesting note in the department of human biology or study from the department of human biology that looked at meal frequency and that kinda went off the charts on this one. They looked at people who are eating 3 meals a day. That was what they call their low meal frequency day. And then people who are eating 14 meals a day, which is a lot. I have meal frequency and you actually do get a lot of bodybuilders and some people who are totally going after this elevate your metabolism through frequent snacking, getting close up to that, I remember back in my body building days, I used to think that I could keep my metabolism burning in my fat burning super high the more I snack. So, you know, you take whatever, 30 ohmens and just put them into ten 3-ohmen portions throughout the day. You just basically graze and snack all day long to keep that metabolic fire elevated. What was found, interestingly, and this kinda come full circle to what a lot of personal trainers are preaching is that the 14-meal-a day group had a lower metabolism, significantly lower metabolism and lower resting metabolic rate compared to the low frequency group. Increased satiety and reduced hunger ratings compared with the high frequency group. So, once again, better blood sugar control, glycemic improvements and more fatty acid utilization when you are not snacking multiple times a day. And I personally, kinda do like a 3 square meal a day type of scenario with one extra snack/meal thrown in that takes place typically somewhere pre or post workout. That’s my gig.
Brock: That’s a good gig!
Ben: The last thing I wanted to mention before moving on to this week’s Q and A was burning calories in bed. Not what you’re thinking. Exercises that you can do while lying down in bed. I came across a cool little video. Actually, some of the exercises, aside from the pillow bench press in one which I thought was dumb, just a jacked up pillow.
Brock: Yeah, I wanna see that pillow.
Ben: Yeah. Like try ways that you can do triceps extensions and chick curls and all kinds of interesting things while lying in bed. So, if you happen to be in a horizontal position for some reason and you want to burn calories and you don’t wanna do it the traditional way that you might do it in bed if someone happen to be in bed with you. Or in some cases, if you are in bed by yourself then you can do some of these exercises that we’ll put in a video which is squeaky clean, don’t worry. We’ll imbed that in the show notes to this episode which is episode #211. So, we’ll put that in there at bengreenfieldfitness.com along with a list of all of the things that we recommend in our responses to this week’s Q & A and those will all be over at the Facebook page under MyList.
Brock: I’m doing my own study right now. I am running a marathon on the weekend and I’m feeling sorely unprepared for it so I’m drinking 500 ml. 0f beet root juice during the show and I’m gonna do that for 2 more days before the race and see if it can get me across the finish line.
Ben: Oh but that doesn’t get across the finish line, you’ll at least kinda have fireworks in the toilet water.
Brock: Yeah, it’s already looking fun.
Listener Q and A:
Brock: Okay. In continuing effort to keep the show cruising along, let’s jump in to our first audio question.
Greg: Yes, Ben. This is Greg. I just have a few questions. I’ve recently lost some weight, about 40 pounds and I’m starting to notice skin tags in my armpit areas. Could you furnish any quick tips or any home remedy type things that you guys could think of or come up with on how to get rid of those. Done some research and tried a few things without much success and right now, the best thing I’m hearing is to go seek a dermatologist and make him have that removed but I’m looking for any ideas on how to get rid of that myself. If you guys have anything, I want to hear about it.
Ben: Okay. Skin tags. Some people don’t know what these are because a lot of folks don’t have them but you do tend to find these in areas where skin forms creases and a lot of times you do see it in folks who’ve lost a significant amount of weight. You can get these skin tags in the neck or in the armpit, in the groin and sometimes, even in the face around the eyelids. The scientific name for them is an acrochordon and basically they’re these little tags of skin that are like the size of a grain of rice and essentially when you look at it with the microscope, it’s kind of this fibrous core that usually has some fat cells and a little bit of like epidermal skin layering over top of it.
Brock: So, it’s those little things that sort of they almost look like a mole but just a little bit longer and skinnier.
Ben: Yeah, that’s a skin tag.
Brock: Ah okay, now I know.
Ben: And basically, they come from skin rubbing up against skin. That’s why you’d fine them in skin creases or in skin folds and not only for some people they can be embarrassing or unsightly but they also get irritated when you’re shaving or by some clothing or especially by jewelry, for example, like necklaces and stuff can catch on these. So, you can get them removed. We talked about something last week, like the use of laser therapy for a keloid but you can use cauterization or somewhat like a laser surgery or excision by a dermatologist for something like this. There are home remedies for these type of skin issues. If you’re looking at like herbal remedies, some things that folks have found to be helpful, one would be to dry out the skin tag and that would be using something like tea tree oil. You can dab a little bit of tea tree oil on the skin tag a few times a day and what they essentially do in many situations is just shrill up and fall off. You know tea tree oil, I get most of my essential oils, aside from oil of oregano from mountain rose herbs, that’s a good website to go to for something like tea tree oil. Baking soda, you can make a paste out of baking soda and you can put a few drops of castor oil in there and you can put that over skin tag and just cover it with a band aid and _____[16:39.3] with a baking soda and castor oil does it, cuts off the skin tag from its nutrition so, it dries out and falls off somewhat like what the tea tree oil would do. Another home remedy would be garlic which obviously is gonna make you pretty stinky which I know that we’re gonna talk about a little bit in this podcast is body odor…
Brock: Deliciously stinky though.
Ben: …but deliciously stinky with a little Italian twist. So, basically, a mashed garlic clove or some garlic oil, you know, some of the tea tree oil, you can dab that over the skin tag and that might burn a little bit but it can also have a similar effect as far as kinda mitigating this issue in the first place you know, a lot of times, it can be aggravated, the skin tags forming in skin folds can be aggravated by excessive sweat and many times, depending on the composition of the sweat, and particularly the amount of metal that you may be almost like sweating out. There is some talk in the alternative medical community about the presence of heavy metals in your body and the body sweating out things like high amounts of lead or mercury perhaps because of exposure to pollutants or heavy metals in the food supply or lots of dental work being done that that might aggravate this issue too. And there are certainly compounds out there that are considered to be like metal chelators. The one that I’m aware of that is made by the same company that makes the master amino pattern supplement, the body health that got one called metal-free and that’s just this coral chelating agent you spread in your mouth and it has a little bit of a detoxing effect. That was created by Dr. David Minkoff, the same guy who created the master amino pattern amino acid supplement that we recommended before in the show and he has a lot of history helping people out specifically with some heavy metal issues due to dental work and so that ‘d be one that you could certainly look into. I’ll try and remember to link that in the show notes but it’s basically like a heavy metal detox type of supplement just to see if that can help you with not forming these quite so much in the first place.
Brock: Yeah, I know Greg mentioned that he didn’t want to go to the dermatologist but is there any reason why that would be something you should avoid?
Ben: No, aside from your checkbook. I mean, you know, if you can put a little tea tree oil which is gonna cost you 10, 15 bucks for a nice little bottle of tea tree oil which is a good addition to your medicine cabinet anyways versus whatever your co-pay or your premium or your whatever else. You know, it kinda makes sense.
Brock: Or you can get Universal Health Care.
Ben: Or you can move to Canada, exactly.
Brock: That was a little too smug, wasn’t it?
Carlos: Hi Ben! This is Carlos from Colombia. I’m calling you regarding a problem I have after every workout, I got a very bad odor. I really get a bad odor in my clothes and my skin after I do a 45 or an hour run. I have been reading about it in the internet but I haven’t found any solution to it. Thanks.
Brock: Okay. So, I know Carlos is definitely not the only listener with this problem.
Ben: Yes. Stinky people are problems in gyms across the planet. And there are people who are more susceptible to having body odor and it can depend on your food. It can also depend on like certain medical conditions like diabetes and the amount of fat cells that you have so people who are overweight or obese are gonna tend to struggle with this a little bit more too. The scientific term for this is bromhidrosis which is just foul-smelling perspiration. So, the thing is sweat itself doesn’t stink. Sweat is basically odorless at least to humans. I think dogs can smell some of the components of sweat a little bit but the humans and our inferior noses, we really can’t smell sweat. But what we can smell are these bacteria that rapidly multiply when sweat is broken down into acids and that’s what causes this unpleasant smell. So, it’s going to be more likely to occur in areas where you tend to have more of a type of gland called the apocrine gland which is the sweat gland you’re gonna find in your crotch and your armpits and in your breasts and back behind your ear. Those are kind of the main places where you’re gonna find apocrine glands.
Brock: So, crevices, mainly?
Ben: Crevices and caves, yes. Eccrine glands are the other type of sweat glands and those are kind of all over the place like on your arms and on your legs and they’re responsible primarily for regulating your body’s temperature whereas those apocrine glands are more or less responsible for signaling and giving off this scent when those bacteria start to multiply. So, the 2 types of acid that you’re gonna tend to find that these bacteria are gonna feed on is called propionic acid and basically you get a certain type of bacteria that breaks down amino acids and the propionic acid and that’s gonna give off like a vinegar type of smell like kind of this pungent sour smell. And then you also get a different type of acid called isovaleric acid and that tends to be basically a source of body odor from a staph. Everybody has a little bit of staph bacteria on their skin and that has more kinda like this fungal cheesy smell. So, you can have different levels of these different types of bacteria depending on the types of food that you eat as well as your genetics. But those are kind of the two basic types of bacteria that are gonna cause this type of scent. Now, there are things that you can do as far as treatment options for body odor. We’ll talk about diet but before we get to diet, first of all, the biggest concentration of apocrine glands that are gonna cause this type of issue are in your armpits. Armpits are pretty susceptible to body odor, a really good reason to keep your armpits clean and just because hair can aggravate this issue, because hair slows down the evaporation of sweat so bacteria have more time to break down the sweat into these smelly substances if you kinda stray from the hippy route and shave your armpits especially if you look like Don King in a headlock. So, I would keep the armpits relatively clean. I’ve talked about antiperspirants at bengreenfieldfitness.com. I’ve written an article on some of the issues with the chemical cocktail of compounds that are added to an antiperspirant. Baking soda, a lot of times, is gonna be just as good in terms of just putting a little bit of like a totally natural deodorant on there. And if you got to bengreenfieldfitness.com, you do search for deodorant or antiperspirant, you can find some of my recommendations for deodorants that don’t really have a lot of the added ingredients to them. If you really want to go all out, you can get botox injection underneath your arms and that will really kill off those bacteria but I wouldn’t recommend that you do botox injection at all.
Brock: I’d swear to find some other way out and that’s not good.
Ben: Yeah. Spicy foods are all going to have the potential to make your sweat a lot more pungent. So, curry, garlic, just like about anything that has cumin in it or capsaicin in it. And also, interestingly, meat – red meat can also be a big issue when it comes to body odor so if you’re relying on meat for example as your primary source of protein, you may experience lots of these issues if you go closer to something like fish just because the way that the body breaks down some of the proteins and the lipids in meat can lead to some of these odorous byproducts. So, that’s something that you may wanna experiment less. So you give up like curries, onions, garlics, spicy foods and you limit the red meat and that shall help out quite a bit, you know, even if it’s just a couple of days before you know you’re gonna be doing a super sweaty workout at the gym. As far as bacteria on the surface of the skin, I personally, this was one thing that I showed off when I did a little health tour of my home in the inner circle. I personally use an antibacterial soap called Dr. Brommer’s and that is what I use on my body to basically, ever since I had that staph issue, I used that to kinda mitigate some of the effects that staphylococcus epidermis can have on the body. So, what I do is get Dr. Brommer’s soap and I add about half a bottle of the diluted oil of oregano to it and shake that up and that’s basically what I use daily as my soap and it works really really well. It’s gotten rid of some skin issues that I have on my back. I don’t even wear deodorant but I wash my armpits with that and I think it probably just kills off a lot of the bacteria in the armpits.
Brock: And so you’re not worried about killing off the good bacterias because obviously we have trillions of bacterias on us and we need a lot of those.
Ben: Yeah. Primarily, most of that has to do with the gut. But even in the gut, oil of oregano is, it doesn’t break down the bacterial cell wall of your good bacteria. It only acts on a lot of the offensive bacteria.
Ben: That was something we geeked out on a podcast before was how it actually does that but the carvacrol is the active ingredient in the oil of oregano that actually is going to have really really nice action against parasites, yeast fungus and bad bacteria. So, those are all the things that you could do and then as far as the feet go and the shoes, I use this product called cool feet from Hermon Nutrition and I’ll that before races or use it after tough workouts. I just literally sprinkle it inside of my shoes and I even sprinkle it inside of my socks before I travel on an airplane to keep my socks from getting too stinky and it’s basically just baking soda and arrow root and then some essential oils like clove and tea tree and stuff like that. So, that works pretty well for like the feet and the shoes and interestingly, if you really wanted to geek out on making your own home deodorant like and aluminum-free deodorant, baking soda and arrow root powder and essential oils are kind of three of the main ingredients that you would add in to something like that. So, the last thing you can put into that would be something like coconut oil. But there’s actually really get homemade deodorant recipe on the internet that I can link to in the show notes if anybody wants to just make your own deodorant at home.
Lisa: Hey Ben! This is Lisa calling and I just have a question regarding eczema. I’ve had eczema for a number of years and it’s gotten worse recently and I’m curious if you have any suggestions for dietary changes that may help deal with it. Thanks so much! Bye.
Ben: Well, this really is the skin episode. We’ve got stinky people, we’ve got skin tags and now we’ve got eczema. And eczema is something that my wife has actually dealt with a little bit. It’s just this inflammation on the outer layer of the skin and it’s kinda of a catch-all term. There’s a bunch of different skin conditions. It can be like skin rashes and a little bit of skin swelling and itching and dryness and even bleeding in some cases. But it’s just basically kind of an inflammation of the skin that can be related to a variety of different conditions. We talked about how diet can affect the activity of the sweat glands and your stinkiness or lack thereof and the same thing can be said for something like eczema specifically anything that causes an auto immune reaction or an inflammatory reaction can trigger dermatitis or inflammatory skin issues and the specific dietary elements that would cause something like that are the basic things that folks tend to be allergic to. That will be like gluten and dairy. That would be any type of soybean product, eggs, nuts, and in some cases, corn can be an issue and actually, coffee can be also be a little bit of an allergic trigger in some cases and lots of people with eczema may be sad but coffee can be an issue as well. So, those are some of the things that you’d want to think about potentially working out of your diet and doing kind of like an elimination diet to see how that stuff clears up eczema. It’s typically about 10-12 days that you got to have out your diet before you really notice whether or not it’s affecting your skin as far as getting some of that information cleared up. That’s why doing something like cutting bread out for a day to see how you feel isn’t quite as effective as cutting it out for 2 weeks. So, as far as some of the things that you can do at the same time, there is a couple of research studies that show that probiotics basically just consuming oral probiotics may help a little bit with some skin inflammatory conditions. Some Chinese herbal medicines have been shown to have an effect to that will be using something like Chinese adaptogenic herbs, something like tea and chi or something of that nature would also be helpful. And then as far as other elements that go over and above diet, light therapy basically doing like tanning or sun tanning, that may help a little bit with eczema, just getting the skin exposed to some UV light. Of course, you be careful that you don’t go overboard and increase your risk for skin cancer but making sure that you get out in the sunlight and you expose that skin to light. That can help out a little bit. Sometimes antigens in your environment such as carpets in your house that can be an issue too with inflammation if you’ve got like mold in your house or if you’ve got even like mites and stuff like that in your carpet. You may wanna look into whether or not moving into a new area or adding carpet to your home or something like that is associated with the onset of eczema. Those are some of the things that I would do though. The biggest thing really and the thing that’s helped out my wife the most cause I used to see that in her hands and stuff all the time before we started to cut bread and gluten and wheat out of our diets and we’re pretty clean now. You know, our dairy is mostly from just like a raw source or raw milk from a local farm. We’ve got no bread and no wheat and that seems to have helped out tremendously and we barely even noticed it. Occasionally, when we’re traveling when she’s kinda eating cheating on her diet, she’ll notice that it pops up a little bit more but I would say that I’m a big believer in the dietary element when it comes to eczema.
_______: Hey Ben! I was reading your article about this stretching and one of the last video here called single leg quad stretch side. And I’m just wondering why is it that you’ll lean yourself forward because I was thinking it’s rather unnecessary to do that and you’re kinda like lose your balance. So, I just wanna know if there’s a benefit that you can get out of it. Thanks.
Brock: All right. The single leg quad stretch, so you’re standing up, you kick one leg up so you’re holding on to it, you’re holding unto your foot behind your butt and your pulling it to your quad gets already gets stretched.
Ben: Yeah. We should link to the YouTube version of this because I have this morning stretch routine that I do or maybe we can just link to the bengreenfieldfitness.com episode where I’ll just walk people through the exact morning stretch routine that I do. Cause every morning, I go out typically outside where it’s cold so I can kinda do the cold thermogenesis thing at the same time that I stretch. I go through a series of stretches while I listen to typically some kind of like spiritual learning or devotional and for me it’s really relaxing, a way to start my day. It’s almost like my meditation. I typically hold each stretch for anywhere from 3-5 breaths and I do it because of the stress mitigating and the blood pressure lowering effects of yoga and stretching and things of that nature. I don’t do it because I think it’s going to make me a better athlete or decrease my risk of injury because there really isn’t a lot of evidence behind that but it is very relaxing and one of the stretches that I do is the stretch where you just crample your ankle up to your butt. I’m sure any of the yogist listening in probably has some special yogi term like the floating stork or something like that.
Brock: Utthita Trikonasana.
Ben: Yeah, Utthita Trikonasana. That sounded good.
Brock: I think that’s actually triangle pose but that’s the only one I can think of.
Ben: All right. So, anyways you pull your ankle towards your butt to stretch out your hip flexor. Technically, whenever you’re doing hip flexor stretch, leaning back is going to place a little bit greater stretch on the hip flexor and a little bit on the piriformis and some of the lower ab muscles. However, what I do is I pull my heel up to my butt and I lean forward so that I’m basically getting a hip flexor stretch on one leg and a hamstring stretch on the other. That’s my tricky little way to kill two birds with one stone and if you noticed in the video, we’ll put a link to that in the show notes, I still kinda lean back, I arch my back a little bit so I am getting a good hip flexor stretch and trust me, I really do feel the stretch deep in my hip flexor with that particular stretch which I think we should now officially call the floating stork.
Brock: We’re the drowning stork really.
Ben: That’s right. But yeah, I mean for anybody listening in, I’m a big big fan of starting off your day with a morning stretch routine and as Brock knows, cause I coach him in write out his workouts on training peaks. Always, every week, in the starting of the week is “here’s your stretch routine, do this everyday this week preferably in the morning” and most of the athletes that I coach have the same rule.
Brock: You know, I actually throw and use of those killing two birds with one stone. I’d throw in a third bird into there that you’re actually working on your proprioception and your balance as well cause when you throw yourself you throw your axis off by leaning forward, you also have to work on balance and proprioception too.
Ben: Yeah. I totally forgot about that but you’re right. There’s definitely a balance component and I try to do as many stretches as I can standing on one leg for that reason just to make sure that I get a bit of balance and kinda get my mind focused in the morning. So that, combined with the breathing, combined with the cold, I’m pretty much hooked that way to start my day. I think my head would explode if I just had a kinda roll out a bed and go into my day now without doing my morning stretch routine.
Brock: You know what I say to that?
Kevin: Hey Ben! This is Kevin from Albany New York. I’ve been trying to look into different ways to change my diet around to help beat some blood pressure and cholesterol issues that kinda run with my family. My mother has high blood pressure, my father has high cholesterol, and from what I’ve come to understand, it’s genetic from both sides of my family. Doctors have said that my blood pressure right now runs a little bit on the high side but hasn’t been as high as to put me on any medication but it’s very very borderline and I’d like to try and beat this out and get this under control without going on any medication. I’ve been looking into going to a ketogenic diet in order to try and beat this. Right now, I’m 26 years old, my mother was diagnosed with high blood pressure mid 20’s, my father high cholesterol on his mid 30’s and I know both of them take medication for both those things and my father follows a special diet for also a couple of conditions that he has. Anything you could add would be fantastic also know am a big triathlete, love doing the sport, and have used your Ironman dominator to get me to my first time and finish one. So thank you very much for that and any help you could give me on that would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much.
Ben: In most cases, such as in a case like Kevin’s, I don’t want this to be misconstrued as medical advice but you can, in most cases, really do some good things with blood pressure without necessarily turning to medication. Not only are some of the natural remedies a little less expensive but some of these medications can have side effects. So, rather than getting into a long list of side effects, let’s just dwell on the good and go into some of the things that you can naturally do to lower blood pressure. I’m just gonna tell you some of the supplements that can help out. Coenzyme Q10 is a really good one and there had been double blind placebo controlled trials performed with people who were taking about a 120 mg. of Coenzyme Q10 on a daily basis and that’s not a ton of Coenzyme Q10. For example, I think I’ve mentioned the liquid antioxidant supplement Nutra Rev before on the show. I’ll put a link to that in the show notes but I think that’s around 50 mg. per serving so you know, a couple of servings or something like that per day. Coenzyme Q10 though has been shown not only in that study but also in a few other studies to really have some good systolic and diastolic blood pressure lowering effects. That’s one that has not only good benefits for blood pressure but also for blood sugar control and endurance performance as well. So, that’s a good one to add in. One that my mom takes that she’s always taken to help with blood pressure and that she automatically knows a difference when she stops taking it is a garlic supplement. You gotta be a little bit careful with garlic if you’re taking aspirin or coumadin or some other blood thinning type of drugs because garlic can thin the blood similarly. But garlic supplements can have a really really good effect on blood pressure as well. So, you can get them in supplement form like garlic powder – that’s powder in a capsule form, you can just cook with garlic a lot. The advantage of the pill is just a lot of times, they’re a little bit less odorous than the garlic cloves or whatever.
Brock: Yeah, Carlos, stay away from that.
Ben: Yeah. Fish oil is another really good one that not quite as much as garlic and Coenzyme Q10 but it can have a modest effect on high blood pressure. Fish oil is bad for you though if you are eating oxidized fish oil. So, if you’re taking cod liver oil and it’s gotten warm or you’re using fish oil that’s been packaged improperly, that’s been exposed to a lot of oxygen and air, if it’s been exposed to a lot of heat, whether in its packaging or in its delivery to your home, it’s actually not good for you. I’ve got an interview in cue with a guy named Brian Peskin that I’ll be releasing here in the next few weeks on fish oil. It’s kinda scary in terms of the damage that fish oil can do if you’re not careful. So, you wanna choose a fish oil that is in its triglyceride form, fish oil that is pure, that is packaged preferably with a little exposure to oxygen as possible and that has some antioxidants added to it to mitigate some of the effects of oxidation that are going to occur regardless when you take an oil and you package it. I mean technically, best case scenario, we get our fish oil from fish like pulled out of a nice cold icy river or like in taken straight to our plate but for a lot of folks, that’s not an option. So, fish oil is kinda second best but it does have an effect on blood pressure. You just need to be careful that you don’t get a fish oil that has been exposed to pressure and heat and light and a lot of the things that can basically cause oxidation of some of those oils which can lead to heart issues, brain issues and a lot of the other issues with free radicals circulating in your blood stream.
Brock: Would that be a danger with something like sardines?
Ben: Oh sure, if it’s been exposed to heat, yeah, absolutely. So, you just need to be careful since it’s a little less concentrated than a fish oil. But any fish be exposed to a lot of heat, anything that you’re reading that’s packaged in oil, it does need to be taken care of. It’s the reason that canola oil or other vegetable oils that have been exposed to high amounts of heat and pressure are not a good idea. In addition to fish oil, hawthorn is an herb that is used in traditional herbal medicine for high blood pressure. And there was a randomized controlled trial over in the UK. That found that hawthorn extract had a pretty good effect versus a placebo in terms of significantly reducing blood pressure and the folks who were engaged in that study were also taking a blood-pressure-lowering medication and there were no dangerous interactions between the hawthorn extract and blood pressure medication. But the hawthorn lowered the blood pressure significantly compared to a group who is taking a blood pressure medication without the presence of hawthorn. So, hawthorn extract with the herb hawthorn would be another one to look into. Minerals, when they’re out of balance in the body, can have a pretty big effect in terms of causing high blood pressure. Potassium supplementation and calcium supplementation as well as magnesium supplementation have all shown statistically significant lowering in blood pressure whether systolic or diastolic or in some cases, both. You could do something like simply take a liquid trace mineral in the morning and that’d be an easy way to kinda cover your mineral bases just because a lot of vegetables and fruits and plants tend to be a little bit void in minerals just because of the use of fertilizers and leeching from the soil and not treating farmland properly. So, supplementing with a mineral can help out quite a bit when it comes to blood pressure. And then, when we go above and beyond popping pills and supplements as far as lifestyle factors, biofeedback, which is basically a technique where you learn how to gain control over your own internal body processes, that’s something that can be helpful. There’s a bunch of different ways to do biofeedback. A good way to get started and just get exposed to biofeedback or to training for stress reduction or stress relaxation would be to go over to Azumio. I’ll put a link to it in the show notes or in the MyList for the episode over at facebook.com/bgfitness. It’s a phone app. There’s a phone app called Stress Doctor. There’s another one called Stress Check. In both of those, you just put your finger over the camera lens of your phone and it takes your heart rate and also measures the amount of time spent between each heart rate and the change in that amount of time or your heart rate variability. And it trains you how to basically cause changes in your heart rate and your heart rate variability that are favorable when it comes to stress. And that can have a really really significant effect on your blood pressure and your relaxation. And it’s just a kind of a poor man’s form of biofeedback without you having to go to a fancy biofeedback practitioner and get hooked up to computer monitor with electrodes and all that jazz. And as I mentioned, stretching and yoga has a blood pressure lowering effect so, you could, for example, check out the link that I’ll put in the show notes to the little yoga routine that I do every morning and just do something like that along with some of these other lifestyle and supplementation changes. So, as far as cholesterol is concerned, as you may have heard on the show before this, it’s not necessarily an issue if you have high cholesterol. Sometimes it can be a little bit more of an issue if you do have familial hypercholesterolemia.
The big thing that you should go after is making sure that you don’t have a chronic inflammatory state in your body. It’s not that cholesterol is not able to be oxidized. Some of the things that can oxidized cholesterol or cause you to become rancid the same way that if you overcook scrambled egg, that can become rancid. You can damage the cholesterol in those. You can do the same thing. You can damage cholesterol in your blood streams same that you can do in a saucepan. Eating lots of sugars and grains can make that high cholesterol a lot bigger issue, eating foods that are cooked at high temperatures, especially anything that has oils or fats in it, that’s an issue. Eating foods that have transfats in them and generally, that’s not as big an issue nowadays. You’re getting less and less of those at restaurants and stuff but that can be an issue as well. Transfats, processed fats, generally, most of the packaged crackers and cookies and stuff like that, you wanna be careful with. Healthy, preferably raw fats are fine. Olive oil and coconut oil, organic raw dairy products like butter and cream and cheese and stuff like that is okay for this, organic and raw form if you’ve got access to something like that. Avocados, nut seeds, eggs that are not overcooked and then just like organic, grass-fed meats. All that stuff is stuff that is okay and would actually be considered anti-inflammatory and not as damaging to naturally high cholesterol levels as something like sugars and grains. You can measure how much chronic inflammation you have in your arteries with this C-recta protein test. The CRP test basically, if you got levels that are under about I mg per liter of blood, that’s good. If it’s much higher than that, and it’s combined with high cholesterol, that’s bad. So, I would measure CRP levels and see where they’re at to see how concerned you need to be about something like this. And again, I don’t want this to be misconstrued as medical advice. You might want to work more hand in hand with your physician on this but testing CRP is definitely one thing that you should look into doing and I mentioned that NMR test that you can have done for cholesterol particle size. You could go to a company like Wellness FX, for example, to do something like that and those spell all those numbers at you and also hook you up with a qualified medical practitioner. And most of the medical practitioners kinda think along the same lines as I do in terms of what you really need to worry about when it comes to cholesterol. So, mitigate some of the potential for inflammation in your body and then as far as supplements, I mentioned CoQ10. The nice is that’s also really really good defense against low density lipoprotein oxidation or oxidation of some of those cholesterol particles. A few other things that can help in terms of high cholesterol would be vitamin K and you get that from like grass-fed butter in some meats, in liver but vitamin K is one of the things that can help protect against the, basically it clears cell debris and that can really help you out if you got a lot of cholesterol or you have a lot of oxidized cholesterol. The other thing I mentioned that you’d wanna stay away from if you have stinky sweat but that can help quite a bit when it comes to basically increasing the expression of a specific receptor that is your LDL receptor and so it can make sure you don’t have a bunch of cholesterol spending a long time in your blood stream would be curcumin which is just turmeric extract so that’d be another thing that you can supplement with a dose of curcumin. So, I know I threw a lot out at you there but those are just some of the basics when it comes to the blood pressure and cholesterol issues that keep you away from going to drug route.
Brock: And sounds like it’s something that Kevin could easily share with his parents as well if they’ve obviously got these problems too. So don’t keep it to yourself, Kevin.
Ben: Yeah. Spread the wealth.
Helpful Husband: Hey Ben and Brock! Great show! Love listening and I got cool question helping my wife train for her “bucket list” marathon. It’s in 15 weeks, this coming weekend, she’ll be up to a 10-mile long run. I know the conventional way is to limit long runs to no longer than 3 hours and you get into negative returns. Only issue is she runs at a 15 minute per mile pace which obviously is gonna cap her at 12 miles. She would like to do a 20 mile just for the peace of mind and knowing she’s covered that distance long into the actual marathon, that’s why I wanna get your take on that. Would it be okay to go ahead and schedule her for 12, 14, 16, 18 and 20-milers? I’ll appreciate it. You guys have great one! . Bye.
Brock: Yeah. I know what Jack Daniels would answer if you ask him this question. So, you wouldn’t ask an elite runner to go longer than 3 hours so why would you ask an amateur?
Ben: Yeah. Of course, the thought here is that the amateur runner who’s taking longer than 3 hours run a marathon is going to be spending a lot of time on his/her feet and of course, logic would seem to imply that if you’re going to be taking 5 hours doing a marathon but you’re never spending longer than 3 hours out painting the pavement or on the asphalt, how the heck are you going to be able to run the marathon? The issue here is that you need to look at the advantages versus the disadvantages of these super long trainings sessions that might have you out there longer than 3 hours. As your run progresses, your hip flexors are going to tighten up, that’s inevitable. It doesn’t matter how good the soft tissue is or how flexible you are, in your hip flexors or you know how much you form roll your piriformis, whatever. All that’s gonna shorten up and as that shortens up, you begin to put a lot more stress on your hips, not only your hip socket but also your IT bend, which is going to attach to your knee and put a lot of stress especially on the outside of your knees. Now of you have poor quadriceps tone, it can also put quite a bit of stress on the back of your patella and a lot of the cartilage on your knees. And then, there can be a rubbing of your sacroiliac joint, kind of a greasly surface of that joint that gives the smooth service and a locking up of that SI joint that can lead to back pain. And so, you have people arriving at the starting line of a marathon with IT band friction syndrome, sacroiliac joints that are locked up or sacroiliac joint syndrome and then also the hip flexor issue that leads to pain on the outsides of the hips and potentially arthritic degeneration in the outside of the hips. So, you got all that stuff and it makes a lot more sense to figure out creative ways to teach your body how to spend time on its feet without going out for those long runs. This sounds kinda silly but one of the things that I do is I’ve got a standing workstation. And you can also do it. A treadmill workstation but it puts you on your feet all day long and it kinda used to spending time on your feet without that impact component. And I swear that helps me out a lot.
Brock: Dean Karnazes says, I’ve heard him say exactly the same thing and he’s like ultra runner extraordinaire.
Ben: Yeah. I think it helps out quite a bit to spend a lot of time on your feet during the day. From ancestral health or hunter-gatherer standpoint, you think about people who are out there on their feet for long periods of time, it’s a good way to strengthen the core and strengthen the lower body without impact. So, I like standing a lot as a way to get the body ready for a long run without going for these long long runs. I like long hikes, again, fairly low impact, you’re still getting that cardiovascular effect, you’re getting some nice exposure to nature, you’re strengthening the butt and the hamstrings as you push off and go up the hill without a lot of impact. And you can load up an MP3 player with a few good podcasts or maybe grab your I-phone or your hunting license and go for a long hike and that’s another way that you can get a long session and some time on your feet without actually having to go through the rigors of running a marathon. It’s gonna beat up your body a little less. Granted long hike is a long hike, you’d still be out there for a while, so from the time component, there’s still a time investment but there’s not quite as much of a beating up the body type of investment. And then the last thing you could consider would just be like bricks. You go on a nice long bike ride and then later on in the day or maybe afterwards, go you on a run that’s much shorter than what you normally do if you hadn’t gone that bike ride. So, bike ride free fatigue some of those muscles you still get a little bit of running in but you’re not getting all of that impact. And I guess the last thing I should mention would be two-day running and this is something that I did quite a bit last year when I was training for Ironman was, instead of doing a 90-minute or 2-hour run, I do a two-day where I wake up in the morning and do 60 minutes pretty hard and in the evening, 60-minute easy run, easy rob rick run. And I worked out really well in terms of giving my body the same feel as though I’ve been exposed to the rigors of a 2-hour training session without actually going out and beating up the body and causing some of those issues that I mentioned with the long run.
Brock: It comes down to that same old philosophy of you’d rather arrive at the start line 10% undertrained than 1% overtrained. It’ll serve you a lot better.
Ben: Yeah, exactly. Yup!
Brock: Okay! So, we actually have one more question and it’s not an audio question so I’m gonna have to read it. It comes from Matt and Matt says….
Ben: Do you remember how to do that? to read?
Brock: I’m gonna give it a shot. Matt says, “I recently attempted a 100- mile run and had to drop out half way because of quad cramping and blisters. I’ve run 50 miles at 8:36 pace and had good energy during the race and had even splits for 2 of the 25-mile loops. In fact, I was in first place in the 100 and would have been third if I hadn’t dropped out. Was it lack of calories? I only had about 200 during the entire race. When I tried to run faster, when I start to step up on a rock, both quads would cease up for several minutes. This started during the last 10-15 miles of the run and I want to add that none of these would have been possible if I wasn’t keto-adapted.” I guess so ‘cause 200 calories during an entire 100-mile run, not much.
Ben: Yeah. I actually asked Brock if we could talk about cramping on the show because for a couple of reasons, I’ve been looking into cramping and muscle spasms a little bit more recently. Just heard some clans I’ve been working with and some of that rode into me after I’d answered the cramping question on the show. You could go to bengreenfieldfitness.com and do a search for cramps and listen to some of the stuff that we ‘ve talked about as far as the things that could cause cramps such as dehydration, lack of electrolytes long term like a chronic lack of electrolytes not like an acute lack of taking salt pills, asking the muscles do more than they’re used to doing it at training session. And yes, even glycogen depletion. If you completely run out of carbs, no matter how fat-adapted or keto-adapted you are, there can be some issues if you are pushing your body up to an intensity here and there where you are going will be called glycolytic. You’re asking the muscles to contract with carbohydrate, no carbohydrate is available so they cease up and they spasm. And that’s why even in someone who’s fat-adapted, it makes pretty good sense to keep some amount of carbohydrate calories slowly bleeding in. That’s why I like to use the latest this UCAN super starch stuff. Granted I use a lot less of it than I normally use, say like during Ironman, I normally take 4 gels an hour, which is 400 calories an hour, and then a little bit of solid food at the end of each hour, like a champs or block or something like that. But now, I’m just using 2 servings of that UCAN super starch which is about 200 calories an hour. But ultimately, short answer is, yeah, carbohydrate depletion can cause cramping if you are carbohydrate depleted and try to push yourself. The other thing that I wanted to mention is something I haven’t talked about before in this show. And that is that there is a syndrome that is fairly rare but it’s basically kind of this hyper excitability issue with your peripheral nerves. It’s called cramp fasciculation syndrome or CFS. And people who have this are going to be much more prone to cramps or spasms during exercise or even outside of exercise such as leg cramps. And it’s something that I think can be an issue when folks are trying all these other things that we’ve talked about in terms of cramping and not really seeing results. The reason that I bring this up is someone who had written in the show before and was having all this cramp and they’re finally diagnosed with this issue. They tried everything else and not been able to mitigate this cramps. They finally got diagnosed and what they found was that there is some stuff that really actually helped out this cramping quite a bit, in particular, a supplement called taurine. Here’s the deal. Basically, taurine stabilizes your cell membranes which are the membrane that surrounds your muscle fibers and it controls calcium entry into the muscle. So it promotes muscle contraction and keeps calcium, too much or too high of a calcium influx from precipitating a cramp. And that’s a lot of times how a cramp can occur is too much calcium binding to the active filaments in muscle and causing the spasm. So, taurine and taurine supplementation pre or post workout can actually help with muscle cramps in some individuals and especially in individuals who are prone to hyper excitability in terms of nervous system hyper excitability when they’re exercising. The interesting thing is that if you happen to be a more muscular person who has more fast-twitch muscles, you may be someone who is more prone to cramping in the absence of adequate taurine. Slow-twitch muscles have naturally high levels of taurine whereas fast-twitch muscles do not. Taurine supplementation, especially in someone who’s naturally muscular, or naturally a little bit more built, may actually help to mitigate cramping and it’s something we haven’t talked about on the show before. And in this case, the individual who wrote me, basically, completely eliminated cramping, I shouldn’t say completely. I think she said it was about she decreased it significantly with taurine supplementation of about 5 grams per day. Now, what I should mention is that taurine occurs naturally in food. You can get it from seafood and from meat. And generally, you get a decent amount form an omnivorous diet. People who are following a strict vegan or vegetarian diet may be even more prone to taurine-depleted-related cramping. And so, once again, that’s another issue where taurine may come in to play even if you aren’t a really built person with a lot of fast-twitch muscle. I thought this was a really interesting thing and the last thing to be aware of is that, I mentioned this before; I think that Red Bull is kind of an upper and a downer because it’s got the upper – caffeine it in, and then, the downer – taurine in it. Taurine can function in your brain as an inhibitor in neuro transmitter. It can kinda have this depressant function on the brain. So, you do need to know that you might have a little bit more of a sleepy down feeling when you supplement with taurine and you can mitigate that a little bit with caffeine but if you’re dealing with cramps, this will be something to experiment with. You can just get pure taurine from gnaw foods mixed with taurine powder and a taurine capsule and I can throw a link on the MyList to this episode and also on the show notes. It could be an issue of taurine as well and so I really wanted to bring this up because it was some new information that came my way.
Brock: Do you think after supplementing with taurine for a little while, would you get sort of it after they’re used to it and you wouldn’t get that down feeling?
Ben: I don’t know. It’s tough to say. I know a lot of people would drink Red Bull a lot and find that Red Bull seems to help them out quite a bit and it never causes them to become sleepy. I’m still not a fan of Red Bull because of lot of the other nervous system stimulants that are in it and the sugar, the acid or the artificial sweeteners or what not. But that could be, Brock, but I actually don’t know. It’s one of those things where you have to use yourself as a case study of one. But I’m throwing the information out there on the table for anybody who is trying to mitigate cramps with a lot of different stuff. You may wanna try doing something like taurine.
Brock: Very cool! Well, and that wraps it up for this week and I think, fingers crossed, we may have made it under one hour.
Ben: Nice! That would be a miracle. Well, maybe we should banter for like 10 minutes.
Brock: Yeah! So, what are doing this weekend?
Ben: I’m going to Kona. I actually am gonna be down in Hawaii. So, those of you who wanna kinda get plugged in to the whole Ironman Hawaii thing, who are triathletes, you should totally tune in to the Endurance Planet podcast. We’ve got an on ground reporter down there. I am gonna be doing special sports nutrition episode live on the facebook.com/enduranceplanet page. I’ll be answering your nutrition questions about a race like Ironman Hawaii live and talking about strategies there. Well, this will be basically broadcasting probably from Lava java down there on the big island and that’ll be next Friday, the day before the actual race. For any listeners who are down in Kona, feel free to follow me on twitter.com/bengreenfield and occasionally, when I’m sitting in a coffee shop or tweet out and come over and say hi. And then, of course, I should also mention that we’ll put, as I mentioned before, links to everything that I talk about from wellness effects to these stress control phone apps to some of my recommendations for stinky people and for blood pressure and cholesterol, all on the show notes and also on the MyList for this episode, Episode#211. And you can find that MyList over at facebook.com/bgfitness. So, did I do a great job, Brock? Remember…
Brock: I think that was great! I just want to throw in…I’m actually…it’s not quite as exciting as Kona, but I’m gonna be in Victoria, busy this weekend on October 7 doing the marathon there. So, if you see me, say hi.
Ben: Get your rotten tomatoes ready for Brock and hack a few Adam as he run.
Brock: Beets! Rotten beets please.
Ben: There you go. You won’t want anymore beets by the time that race roves around. So, all right, folks, this has been Ben and Brock, signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com. Have a great week.
For personal nutrition, fitness or triathlon consulting, supplements, books or DVD’s from Ben Greenfield, please visit Pacific Elite Fitness at http://www.pacificfit.net
Oct 6, 2012 free podcast: Why Do I Stink When I Workout? Also: how to get rid of skin tags, remedies for eczema, the correct way to do a single leg quad stretch, managing high blood pressure and high cholesterol, how long should your “long run” be, and even more about muscle cramps.
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And here's that video we promised about 5 exercises you can do while lying in bed… courtesy of www.oedb.org College Hacker series:
Ben will be in Kona next week – follow all the Ironman World Championship fun at Endurance Planet's Facebook page.
As compiled and read by Brock, the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast “sidekick”.
Audio Question from Gregg @ 00:13:28
Has recently lost weight and is noticing some skin tags. Would like to know how to get rid of them himself (without going to see a dermatologist).
Audio Question from Carlos @ 00:19:35
After every workout he gets a bad odour on his clothes and skin (after 45min-1hr run).
Audio Question from Lisa @ 00:28:07
She has had eczema for a number of years but it has gotten worse lately. She would like to know if there are any diet changes that would help get rid of it.
Audio Question from XPRS00 @ 00:32:16
He would like to know why you lean forward while doing the single leg quad stretch?
~ Take a peek at my own morning stretch routine.
Audio Question from Kevin @ 00:36:09
Has been trying to change his diet (maybe ketogenic?) to beat blood pressure and cholesterol issues that run in the family. His BP is a little high but not bad (borderline). He would like to try to get it down without taking meds.
Audio Question from a helpful husband @ 00:49:26
He is helping his wife train for a “bucket list” marathon. He wants to know if she should do a 20 mile long run (LSD) even if it will take her longer that 3 hours (she runs at a 15:00/mile pace).
Matt says @ 00:54:57
I recently attempted a 100 mile run and had to drop out halfway because of quad cramping and blisters. I ran 50 miles in 8:36, had good energy during the race and had even splits for the two 25 mile loops. In fact I was in first place in the 100 and would have had third if I hadn't dropped out. Was it the lack of calories (I only had about 200 during the entire race)? When I tired to run faster, or when I had to step up on a rock, both quads would seize up for several minutes. This started during the last 10-15 miles of the run. I want to add that none of this would be possible if I wasn't keto adapted.
~ In my response, I talk about taurine.