From podcast: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/podcast/qa-422/
[00:00:37] Kion Fasting Challenge and Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
[00:06:25] News Flashes: Concerns in COVID Vaccination
[00:09:36] Colostrum is More Effective
[00:15:20] Melatonin: The Most Effective Anti-COVID Medicine
[00:20:38] Podcast Sponsors
[00:25:22] Is Nut Oil & Fish Oil Oxidized, Rancid, Or Bad for You?
[00:40:14] Can You Get Benefits from Sunlight in The Winter?
[00:49:55] 14 Ways to Find Balance in Your Life
[01:15:03] Giveaways & Goodies
[01:16:25] Closing the Podcast
[01:17:10] End of Podcast
Ben: In this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast: colostrum and melatonin for COVID, 14 ways to find more balance in your life, is nut oil and fish oil oxidized, rancid, or bad for you? How do you get sunlight for vitamin D in the winter? And, much, much more.
Health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and much more. My name is Ben Greenfield. Welcome to the show.
Jay, I feel like a hypocrite is the best way I can describe it this morning.
Jay: Interesting. I feel like that, at least, five to 10 times a day. So, I'm interested to hear bout yours.
Ben: Well, the reason is I'm supposed to announce that we have a fasting challenge going on over at Kion. Yet, I just finished devouring my morning pumpkin pie smoothie that I'm basically hooked on right now.
Jay: It is quite hypocritical, but that sounds amazing.
Ben: It's pretty hypocritical. And, I figure at this point, I should probably fill people in on the fasting challenge, but then, maybe, also, on the pumpkin pie smoothie, which, in my opinion, is even more important and joyful than a fasting challenge.
Jay: Nobody is going to want to fast.
Ben: Well, not only have I been devouring my pumpkin pie smoothie, but I was also getting some ribs ready. I'm trying a new recipe. I've been doing all these fun new recipes, just being trapped indoors, because it's frigid outside right now. So, I pulled out the pressure cooker and, the sous vide wand, and the crockpot. I'm doing all sorts of crazy stuff. But, what I'm going to try today–tell me if this is a harebrained idea, I'm going to get out the Traeger and I'm going to smoke these wonderful, beautiful beef short ribs that I got from our friends at US Wellness Meats. And, I'm going to smoke them for a couple of hours. And then, normally, after you smoke ribs, to get them just melt in your mouth, falling off the bone good, is you wrap them without aluminum foil, if you want a healthy alternative to that, these cedar wraps that you can get just off Amazon.
Jay: I thought you were going to say bacon.
Ben: Bacon would be good, too. And then, it would be hard to make a giant bacon bowl big enough to hold the wraps, though. You got to make this big enough to hold the wraps. And then, you pour–I usually use equal parts red wine, bone broth, and apple cider vinegar, and then any spices of choice over top of the ribs. And then, continue to grill them, usually, for about three to four hours till I get about 165 or so for the internal temp.
And, obviously, it takes a while. So, I'm going to try it tonight. I'm going to do the same thing. Usually, I'm going to smoke them. And, I've been marinating them all morning. I got up early this morning at 5:00 and made a wonderful marinade that I will get there literally up in the fridge right now, sitting in. Then, I'll pull him around 4:30 p.m. tonight, and smoke him for a couple of hours.
But, then, I'm going to transfer them to this new magical lovely thing I've been using in the kitchen, called my pressure cooker. I found it. I found it in a deep dark corner of the pantry. And, I was overjoyed because I just didn't even know we owned a pressure cooker. And, it makes everything from sushi rice to spaghetti squash to ribs. I've done a bit giant pork loin in there. I've done a bunch of stew meat and a London broil, traditionally tougher cuts and just made of super tender.
And, it's so easy. Literally, what I'll do is pull these ribs off the smoker. And then, all I do is pressure-cook him for 20 minutes. And, that's it. It's like eight-minute abs.
Ben: Stuff just cooks super, duper fast. It's like cheating.
Jay: It doesn't sound that crazy to me. My parents have, it's called a InstaPot. You ever heard of those before?
Jay: So, it's kind of like a pressure cooker, I think. I don't know too much about him, but they do some London broil in that thing. And, it is to die for. It is so freaking good. So, it doesn't sound too crazy for me. But, it also sounds a little bit more like an infomercial of how to break a fast and not fasting itself.
Ben: InstaPot does make a pressure cooker. The other one that I'm interested in looking into is an air fryer, but I haven't gotten into that, yet. I'll report back on how this works, but it's going to be a smoke pressure cooker, one-two combo.
And then, we're getting long in the tooth, but the pumpkin pie smoothie, I did publish the recipe to my Instagram channel. I can tell you it involves this pumpkin pie spice stuff that I get from Organifi, a little bit of the Kion colostrum, bone broth, stevia, sea salt. Then, I'll top that, usually, with some coconut flakes and cacao nibs. I've found those Keto Bricks that I get now. They have a new maple pecan flavor. I break that up into chunks and sprinkle it on top. Oh, my goodness. It literally tastes like I'm eating pumpkin pie for breakfast.
Jay: Sounds good. Can you put in erythritol or any stevia or anything else, like in the monk fruit?
Ben: Yeah, I use the Omica Organic Stevia.
Ben: Really, really good stevia. Oh, fasting. That's right. Yeah, we're doing a fasting challenge on January 11th. This was hugely popular last year when we did it. We had all different sorts of levels for fasting. Wrote this massive fasting e-book, a whole bunch of people really stuck to their fast because there was accountability and solidarity, different options to choose from. For total beginners, just a basic 12 to 16-hour intermittent fast, all the way down to alternate-day fasting. Some people did a full five-day water fast. I haven't decided what I'm going to do yet. I may just do a pumpkin pie smoothie fast, or a beef short rib smoked pressure cooker fast.
But, anyways, the details. Here's the URL to get in our free five-day fasting challenge. It's GetKion.com. That's GetK-I-O-N.com/Fasting-Ben. Jeez, that's a long URL.
Jay: It is.
Ben: GetKion.com/Fasting-Ben. We could have made that more friendly. But, anyways, I'll put a link in the shownotes to everything we talked about today, all the links, all the shownotes, everything, you can find at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/422.
Alright. Well, this is part of the show where we talk about news flashes. And, I think all of our news flashes, and if you guys want these when they're hot off the press, you can go to Twitter.com/BenGreenfield. That's where I tweet a lot of stuff, because I haven't been banned from Twitter yet for tweeting stuff like I'm about to talk about right now.
Ben: Because, everybody–I don't know if you are concerned, Jay. I'm concerned.
Jay: About what?
Ben: There are at least concerned or interested in this whole idea of a vaccination. This mRNA vaccine, which I think actually looks like a pretty cool, simple, elegant vaccine.
Jay: You're more concerned of us having it or not having it?
Ben: No. The mRNA that expresses the spike protein that you would, then, produce an antibody against. Theoretically, it sounds great, if that just goes to, say, lung tissue or vasculature, expresses the protein. And then, your body mounts an antibody defense against that. And then, in the future, when it sees it again, it's able to deal with it. That's great.
I just don't like the whole fast track part of it. I'm not going to be the first one in line. And, I'm definitely not going to appreciate it if I'm required to get it. Anytime–
Jay: The COVID passport?
Ben: It's my choice, my body, baby. I thought that was how America worked.
Jay: Sometimes, not always, not really.
Ben: Yeah. But, we could talk about the vaccine and the potential safety, or lack thereof, of it forever to–what's the word, long in the tooth? We get long in the tooth about it.
Jay: I think that's the one you use a fair amount.
Ben: Yeah. But, anyways, instead, I thought we'd focus on the bright side of things. So, I've been looking into ways that we can help, not only to prevent the flu, but other viral issues, without, say, getting vaccinated. And, I've had a few studies come across my radar lately. And, one was a combination of two different compounds that they found was far more effective than a vaccination for prevention of flu episodes. And, these were called immunomodulating compounds. And, it was very, very simple.
So, they took two different so-called immunomodulators in this study, which was just released a few weeks ago. And, one was Bifivir. It's a probiotic. It's five different strains of probiotic mixed with prebiotic fiber. It's commonly known probiotic compounds. I don't know if it's only made by a pharmaceutical company. But, you can just Google “Bifivir” and see the different probiotic strains that they used in it, and pretty much find those just about anywhere. It's usually used to reinforce the gut membrane and to help activate the immune system. Specifically, that probiotic blend is designed for. But, it's B-I-F-I-V-I-R. They use that.
And, they combined it with colostrum, which is very simple, massively available on the supplement market. You can get it from goats. You can get it from cows. They put those two together, and they found that it worked better than a vaccination at preventing flu episodes. So, that was pretty interesting.
Jay: Yeah, it's interesting.
Ben: But then, there was another study that came out after that one that also looked into flu prevention. And, what they did with this group was they didn't combine colostrum with probiotics. They just used colostrum by itself. They found it was three times more effective than a vaccination to prevent the flu, which is crazy, especially, considering that you don't have to get all the adjuvants, you don't have to worry about the potential for sparking the innate immune response without kind of gradually getting the adaptive or humoral immune response, which is where a lot of people get concerned about potential autoimmune issues later in life.
And, again, I'm not an anti-vax. I was vaccinated. My kids are vaccinated. If a vaccine is proven to be safe and effective in long-term human studies, I'm not against the concept of vaccination. I don't like a lot of the adjuvants. I don't like anything that simply targets innate immunity without allowing for adaptive humoral immunity. But, I also appreciate natural alternatives when I can find them. And, the sighting of colostrum, or colostrum plus probiotics, I find intriguing.
And then, kind of to back that up, this whole idea, because this is the way that colostrum works. It's called passive immunity by immunoglobulin transfer. You're getting these immunoglobulins from something like colostrum, from cow's milk or from goat's milk. And, what happens is you get what's called passive immunity. So, the immunological activity against infections gets passed into humans upon the consumption of those specific immunoglobulins from something like colostrum.
And so, what they also did in this very recent study was they looked at whether drinking raw milk which had the colostrum along with it could actually provide short-term protection against COVID. And, I'll link to this one in the shownotes at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/422. And, what they found, “was that if they took raw milk and colostrum collected from cows that have been vaccinated against COVID, that actually allowed for humans to be protected against COVID, and it worked very similarly to a vaccine.” But, the cow gets the vaccination. The human doesn't. And then, the human just consumes raw cow's milk and colostrum from the cow that was vaccinated. And, it's called passive immunity by immunoglobulin transfer, which is kind of a cool concept.
Jay: That's fascinating.
Ben: Yeah. So, you don't have to fuss around with the needles or the adjuvants or anything else. The poor cow does. But then, you just drink the cow's milk and you're theoretically good to go, which I found very interesting.
And then, to take this even one step further, there was yet another study that recently appeared, because a lot of people is just throwing everything in the kitchen sink at coronavirus. So, this one also looked at colostrum and, specifically, what's called the lactoferrin in colostrum, which is something that's capable of binding to iron.
And, theoretically, if you absorb iron from the environment, a lactoferrin protein could prevent viral pathogenic activity. And so, what they did was they took colostrum and they attempted to use it to treat COVID. And, they actually found that you were able to get a little bit of a response in terms of antiviral activity from, particularly, the antiviral lactoferrin compounds within the colostrum.
So, I've personally used this natural protein in colostrum for a long time as per my own personal protocol. But, the lactoferrin in it, that's the part that seems to have some really, really potent antiviral activity. And, you can also get lactoferrin just kind of packaged on its own. I like the idea of getting all the growth factors and kind of gut-supporting compounds that come along with the colostrum. But, it's very interesting how many studies have shown, either this immunoglobulin transfer from cows that have been vaccinated against COVID, and then consuming their classroom or their raw milk, combining colostrum with probiotics as another way to go for, not just COVID, but for flu, or just consuming colostrum all by itself. So, it's really interesting.
Jay: Yeah, to say the least, my guess is that the CDC is not going to approve the drinking of microfiltered raw immune milk from cows as a way to be vaccinated.
Ben: No. No.
Jay: However, if they did, that'd be a super fascinating thing. Because, just to be honest with you, I have had kind of a level of skepticism with the vaccine just because of the fast rollout, not because of really many other reasons, but just because I'm very conscientious of what goes in my body. And so, a fast rollout is just a little bit kind of I'm apprehensive. I'm a little scared with that. But, this, to me, does not sound nearly as scary because of all the adjuvants being removed. Like you said, we're just giving those to the cows. Screw the cows. We don't really care. But, it's fascinating because I could see myself going for more of this option over in actual injectable vaccine. So, fascinating research.
Ben: And, you are correct, the US Food and Drug Administration already issued two different warning letters to two different supplement companies, both of which produce colostrum, both of which had colostrum associated with COVID on their website. So, they're already kind of cracking down. But, it doesn't keep me from consuming colostrum myself.
Jay: Those are the benefits, too.
Ben: Yeah, but there was one other really, really big study in which–Well, basically, what they did was analyzed a bunch of patient data from Cleveland Clinic's COVID-19 registry. And then, they used what's called a network medicine strategy to predict disease manifestations. So, they looked at everything from malignant cancer, autoimmune, cardiovascular, metabolic, neurological, pulmonary disease, and kind of looked at the cross-reactivity between those and COVID and increase susceptibility, etc. And then, they took a whole bunch of different drugs and medicines and compounds and tested the potential effectiveness of them in that type of scenario.
So, it was essentially almost like a network model to look at all the different things that might be able to affect coronavirus or some of the coexisting pathologies that might increase susceptibility to dying from coronavirus. And, of every last thing that they actually looked at in terms of drugs or compounds that would support a lower susceptibility to dying from COVID, especially, with comorbidities, you know what the number one thing that they found was?
Jay: No, what's that?
Ben: Melatonin. Melatonin usage was assisted with a 28% reduced likelihood of a positive laboratory test for SARS-CoV-2. It's crazy.
Ben: And, it kind of varied from population to population. But, in every single population that they tried it with, it actually was shown to be efficacious, which is really interesting, considering the fact–
Jay: This is not just a correlation.
Jay: You're saying this was not just a correlation of melatonin usage, but they actually studied it experimentally?
Ben: What they did was they looked at–it's called the network medicine approach. And so, what they did was they looked at melatonin usage. So, they weren't actually taking a group and doing a double-blinded human clinical research study on, this group got melatonin, this group didn't. It was more who's using melatonin. And, they found that, in the groups that were using melatonin, they had a 28% reduced likelihood of a positive lab test for SARS-CoV-2. And then, they used what's called the PS matching user active comparator design, which is the statistical design to determine that melatonin usage was associated with reduced likelihood of a SARS-CoV-2 positive test result, compared to the use of an angiotension–what's it called? An angiotensin II receptor blocker, or the angiotensin enzyme inhibitors, which are commonly used to treat COVID. And, they found a 52% reduced likelihood of a positive laboratory test for SARS-CoV2- in African-Americans who were using melatonin.
Now, of course, dosages are going to widely vary. In many cases, melatonin is anywhere from 0.3 all the way up to 10 milligrams. Some people, like Dr. John Lieurance, who I interviewed, has those suppositories for melatonin. He's using 100 to 300 milligrams of melatonin. But, ultimately, it appears that it actually does have some kind of an effect. And, I guess the proposed mechanism of action is it somehow acting on these angiotensin receptors.
And, also, we know melatonin is a pretty potent anti-inflammatory. So, it might be affecting the cytokine response. Not quite sure, but I guess colostrum by day and melatonin by night could be a good idea, if you don't want to give vaccinated.
Jay: Super interesting. So, it sounds melatonin was a correlation. But, it sounds like they're identifying melatonin as a moderating variable. So, it is kind of demonstrating as an influencer, which is super interesting to me. And, I'd love to hear just, I think, so much is going to unfold after we get through all of this. So, all of the different studies that are running right now, and all the things that will come in the future. And so, yeah, we'll probably figure all of this thing out in about 10 years or so when it's, hopefully, gone, or, at least, it's not as bad.
Ben: Exactly. And, as with any of these, essentially, they're looking at repurposeable drugs for SARS-CoV-2. There's a lot of limitations. They're integrating data from a whole bunch of different sources to build what they call a human interactome and a drug-target network, which is common in the pharmaceutical industry. But, there's still a lot of correlated data that's not directly studied. But, they can, then, take that data and actually do a double-blinded human clinical research study on the use of melatonin, on the dosage, etc.
It's kind of like when you're doing a nutrition study. There's a difference between a questionnaire that people are filling out about their diet versus actually putting them on said diet and monitoring that very closely, which would be kind of the next step with something like melatonin. I'm getting sleepy talking about melatonin.
Jay: Boost up the caffeine.
Ben: Anyways, I hope this has been helpful for all you anti-vaxxers out there. And, I'm sure we'll get lots of supportive comments from the vaccination enthusiasts. So, anyways, shall we move forward, then, into today's goodies?
Jay: That sounds fun.
Ben: Alright. So, first of all, we got New Year's sale at Kion. So, I know 2020 was rough, as we've already kind of alluded to. But, we've got the New Year upon us. And, you can start it off right, because we are doing everything 15% off site-wide. Our muscle-building amino acids, our clean organic coffee, our beautifully-tasting energy bars full of mouth-watering, coconutty, chocolatey, salty goodness. It's all there at Kion, and the New Year's sale. You don't need a–I'm sorry, you do need a code. The code is NEWYEAR. Code: NEWYEAR at checkout. You go to GetKion.com/BenGreenfield. The sale goes all the way up through January 2nd at midnight, which I guess, if you're listening to this on December 31st, you've got a few days to get in on the goodness. But, that's a pretty, pretty massive sale, 15% off site-wide, 25% off of any of our bundles, and 25% off of any of our supplement subscriptions. So, GetKion, GetK-I-O-N.com/BenGreenfield. And, the code is NEWYEAR.
And then, also, Joovv. Our good friends at Joovv, they, as we've mentioned in previous shows, just came out with a whole bunch of new models. 25% lighter. They're sleeker. They have all the same power. They intensified their coverage area. So, you can stand three times further away from it and still get the recommended dosage. And then, they've got this new cool feature called Recovery Mode, which uses this pulsing technology to give yourselves an extra boost to recover from a tough workout, using a pulsing near-infrared light.
So, cool stuff. I don't know what kind of engineers they have working on this in their secret Batman labs. But, Joovv is constantly rolling out really, really cool new light technologies, and they're hooking all of us up with an exclusive discount. You go to Joovv.com/Ben. J-O-O-V-V.com/Ben. The code is BEN. And, that's how you get the VIP treatment from Joovv.
And then, while you're out shopping online, I got two other cool offers for you. Thrive Market. Our friends at Thrive Market who produce all of these super, super healthy keto, paleo, gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO, fair trade certified, BPA-free, you name it, half their stuff you can find on Amazon. Anything over $49 ships absolutely free with carbon-neutral shipping from a zero-waste warehouse. So, they take care of the planet. They take care of your body. It's a membership-based website, but it's only five bucks a month for a year-long membership. And, considering what you save, you're saving a lot more than that. They're going to give everybody a free gift up to $24 in value-free groceries when you order from ThriveMarket.com/Ben. They've got all sorts of wonderful, like trail mixes and dark chocolates and nuts, which we'll find out later on in this podcast episode, you do need to be careful with. I think we are going to tackle nuts later on. But, ultimately, they've even got healthy seafood and healthy wine and beauty supplies and safe supplements, and you name it. So, if you want to avoid the annoying 25% limited capacity mask-required grocery store this holiday shopping season, you can get all of your goodies from ThriveMarket.com/Ben. $24 in free groceries added to your cart over there.
And then, finally. I don't know. Jay, have you tried the fermented beef sticks yet from Paleovalley?
Jay: No, no. You asked me about it last time, and I still haven't got my hands on it.
Ben: Good. Okay, you are good.
Jay: That's my problem.
Ben: They take the beef. They ferment it. Grass-fed, grass-finished beef, they ferment it, which gives it this really, really cool flavor. Then, they concentrate, based on the grass-fed aspect, the omega-3 fatty acids, the conjugated linoleic acid. The fermentation increases the amino acid bioavailability. Other use all-organic spices, none of the conventional spices that are sprayed with pesticides or the natural flavors made from GMO corn. And then, they ship them straight to your house. They're an accessible, they are family-owned company. They source from really great farms. And, these fermented beef sticks, all their stuff is really good, but their fermented beef sticks are amazeballs.
So, you go to Paleovalley.com/Ben. That will give you 15% off. So, it's Paleovalley.com/Ben. Gosh, I'll put all of those codes for those of you who don't have the cognitive performance and short-term memory. What was I saying? Yeah, I'm going to put it all at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/422, for those of you who can't remember all that stuff. BenGreenfieldFitness.com/422.
Grace: Hi, Ben. It's Grace from Australia. I've been hearing a lot about the dangers of polyunsaturated fats lately, particularly in regards to how they oxidize easily, which could create cellular damage. Does this mean I should avoid regular consumption of nuts and fatty fish? I know that in nuts, the antioxidant properties of vitamin E could offset this oxidative damage. But, vitamin E is also susceptible to light and heat. I'd love to hear your take on this.
Ben: Well, didn't we recently tackle pretty comprehensively, I think in the last two episodes, both 420 and 421. We talked about omega-3 fatty acids. We talked about omega-6 fatty acids. We talked about fish oil. But, there are some things that we should probably clear up here when it comes to some of these questions about, do I just need to totally stop eating nuts? Or, what kind of cellular damage could occur from the consumption of, say, PUFAs from fish oil or from nuts, for that matter?
So, just the basic overview, for those of you who may have missed podcasts 420 or 421, I'm not going to insult people's intelligence by telling you that vegetable oil is bad for you. Although, it is. Basically, the idea is that, when you look at polyunsaturated fatty acids, which you're going to find vastly concentrated in Crisco and soybean oil and corn oil and canola oil and vegetable oil and margarine, but, which you'll also find, admittedly, in things like healthy bag of raw almonds or your fish oil, they're very vulnerable, these PUFAs, polyunsaturated fatty acids, to damage from heat and light and oxygen, specifically. Just the way that those types of fats are structured makes them chemically unstable.
And, if you consume them after they've been oxidized, say, they're used as a frying oil over and over again, or they're left out in a clear bottle on the shelf for months in a supermarket, which you'll find as many fish oils, for example, they can get oxidized. And, when they get oxidized outside of the human body, that's dangerous, because that induces an inflammatory reaction.
Say, oxidized soybean oil. There's one study where they oxidized soybean oil by heating it up a few times, which is very common in the restaurant industry. Then, they fed it to rodent models. It instantly caused inflammation, high blood pressure/hypertension, liver damage, type 2 diabetes. Not in rodent models, but in children, they found oxidized PUFAs caused that in human children.
So, we know that it's an issue. We also know that, in the US alone, consumption of PUFAs has increased from 3% of our total calories 100 years ago to, I think, it's coming up close to 10 to 12% right now. Our total calorie consumption comes from PUFAs. And, in most cases, they're oxidized PUFAs, like you'd get from the soybean oils, from the canola oil, from the vegetable oil, etc.
But, there's two main types of PUFAs. They have the omega-3 PUFAs and the omega-6 PUFAs. So, for simplicity's sake, you got two main types. So, the omega-3s are the ones you'd find in fish, fish oil, seafood, some plant sources like algal oils, etc. The omega-6s you'll find in nuts and in industrial oils, like corn oil and vegetable oil and peanut oil, and soy oil. And, the problem isn't just too much PUFAs. It is too much PUFAs along with way too many omega-fatty acids, along with a deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids.
So, lot of ancestral diets which we kind of evolved to live on. Those are a four-to-one to a one-to-one ratio of omega-6 to omega-3s. And, now, modern diets are ratio of 10-to-one, all the way up to, I've seen numbers as high as 50-to-one.
Jay: Way to go, America.
Ben: That's why it's an issue. And, I covered this pretty extensively in my podcast with the Harrises as well, where we talked about how not only is the omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio important, but so is the actual concentration of DHA and EPA in your bloodstream, which, if you get tested using a test like OmegaQuant, should be at about 8%. And, most people I see tested, they're at 2 to 3%. So, not only do they not have enough EPA and DHA, but their omega-6 is just off the charts. And, I'll link to that article or that podcast with the Harrises, those doctors who I interviewed about all this in the shownotes.
The other two resources that would be really good for you are Kate Shanahan has two books, one called “Deep Nutrition” and one called the “Fat Fix.” And, that also really help you wrap your head around this issue with oxidized omega-6 fatty acids.
But, there's a few kind of subtle nuances here that have been asked about. First of all, a lot of people will say, “Well, if these oxidized PUFAs are bad for you and it's so easy for fish oil to be oxidized, then, doesn't that mean that we're reducing inflammation by consuming, say, a fish oil? And, that's kind of the issue that you need to be aware of, because there's very important term. So, there's peroxidation. That's the oxidative degradation of lipids, in which free radicals in your body steal electrons from the lipids in cell membranes. And, that results in cell damage. And then, there's oxidation. And, oxidation is just a natural transfer of electrons that occurs all the time within normal human metabolism in order for an omega-3 fatty acids that you consume to actually have the effect it's supposed to have. Meaning, inducing a normalized inflammatory response. It has to be oxidized. That's what produces free radicals that act as signaling mechanisms. But, if it's peroxidation, which is what you're going to get if it's damaged by heat or by light or by exposure to oxygen before you consume it, that's where you get an issue with damage to the cell membranes. So, that's one very important thing to consider, is the difference between oxidized fish oil or oxidized any other PUFA, and peroxidized oils. So, that's one important thing to be aware of, is the peroxidation is what actually causes the cell membrane damage.
Now, the other thing is that, when it comes to what you need to be careful of when we're particularly talking about omega-6 fatty acids, a big, big part of this is what's called linoleic acid. Linoleic acid, which you're going to find in seed oils, not necessarily in fish oil but in seed oils, which is relevant to the question here about the nuts. So, at the root of all this peroxidative damage is linoleic acid. It's an 18-carbon omega-6 fatty acid. It's the primary fatty acid that you're going to find. It's 80% of the fatty acid composition of vegetable oil, seed oils, nuts, etc.
So, this linoleic acid, when it oxidizes, it develops what are called lipid hydroperoxides. And, these degenerate into oxidized linoleic acid metabolites. That's where the issue is. There's a term for this called OXLAMs, oxidized linoleic acid metabolites. And, OXLAMs, we know from multiple studies, are cytotoxic, genotoxic. They're mutagenic. They're carcinogenic. They're atherogenic. They're thrombogenic. Even the two doctors who I interviewed about fish oil in that podcast I did on fish oil, they weren't even aware of this. They weren't aware of the idea of oxidized linoleic acid metabolites. And, they were saying, “Eat as many as you want. Linoleic acid is good for you.” That's simply not the case.
I was flabbergasted. I didn't want to start a big argument with them on the spot, but the atherosclerotic and the thrombogenic actions of these OXLAMs in the metabolic dysfunction that occurs afterwards is through the roof because it leads to accumulation of these PUFAs in your cell membranes. And, that causes a host of peroxidation reactions. So, we're not talking about consuming a fish oil and then having it naturally oxidized, like transfer electrons, causing a natural free-radical response that acts as a signaling mechanism for normal inflammatory response. We're talking about actual damage to cell membranes for days and days, and even weeks on end, following exposure to oxidized linoleic acid metabolites.
So, that's the big, big issue. And, this is why you should completely avoid soy, canola, corn, safflower, peanut, all of these oils, even olive oil. And, a lot of people don't realize this. Olive oil is a source of omega-6 linoleic acid. Another thing that happens is that those OXLAMs, they interact with iron in the body. So, if you have pretty good iron status or high iron, it's going to be even bigger issue because you'll get even more of this peroxidative damage. So, it is an issue.
Very simple to know how much linoleic acid you're eating. You can go to Cronometer, which is one of my favorite food logging platforms. It's C-R-O-N-O-meter. And, at Cronometer.com, you just add in your food for a week, and you'll automatically be shown how much linoleic acid that you're actually consuming. And, if you have a lot of seeds and nuts and vegetable oils in your diet, you likely are going to see higher numbers than what you would actually want for linoleic acid.
Now, the other thing here is fish itself and whether or not fish is an issue, and it turns out that, if you look at something like salmon, for example, and there was a really interesting study on this that I'll link to in the shownotes, if you look at salmon after a variety of different cooking methods, you can actually cause peroxidative damage even to your fish. So, it's not just fish oil you need to worry about, but any marine-based food, like fatty fish or seafood. When you cook that prior to consuming it, you get a lot of these similar peroxidative type of compounds and these OXLAMs. And, one study looked at different cooking methods for salmon. And, they found that, if you're pan-frying or baking salmon, for example, which is very common–I'll often throw salmon on cast iron skillet and mix with virgin olive oil and fry that up. Well, you'd actually see a pretty significant elevation of concentration of peroxides in the salmon. And so, because of this, I think it's actually, because this study looked at other cooking methods, like steaming or boiling, for example, and they found that the level of lipid peroxidation was remarkably lower with those lower-heat cooking methods.
And so, I've actually shifted, too. Especially after all this research I was doing on the fish oil, I've shifted to either doing the pan-frying, but having it be at a super low temperature. It takes a longer period of time. You don't get quite as crispy of a skin, but it is what it is. And then, the other thing that works really well is sous vide. In sous vide, you just get this wonderful, wonderful cook on the fish. Again, you don't get a super crispy skin, which I kind of miss, but the level of peroxidative damage is far lower when you look at something like steaming or sous viding compared to frying or baking or roasting. So, it's just something to think about if you are being careful.
Now, if you're like, “Well, I don't want to live to be 120 if I can never have the crispy skin on a nice fried fish,” I get it. And, I actually talked in an article that I published on fish oil, and this is all based on research by Dr. James Nicolantonio, that there are certain things you can consume that will help to get rid of some of the peroxidative damage. Probably, the top two would be glycine. You can have a nice big cup of bone broth with your fried fish. And then, spirulina, which is, basically, like an algae that you can find in powder form, in tablet form. You can just consume some of that after you have, say, every week you want to have a nice piece of fried salmon filet and it's just you treat yourself. You can use a few hacks, actually, to limit some of the peroxidative damage.
Jay: Got to be my route.
Ben: It's kind of sort of like having your cake and eating it, too. For anybody who hasn't tried sous vide, it actually is a really, really great cooking method for salmon.
Jay: I haven't tried that via salmon. The thing I love about pan-seared salmon is indeed that really buttery crispy skin. And so, with sous vide, everything I have tried with sous vide tends not to be like that. I guess you could call it almost charred type of flavor. So, what does it do to the actual skin? Is it floppy?
Ben: Yeah, it's just chewy skin. It's not that great, but it's just a nice–I was talking about the smoked rib eyes. If I were to grill those heavily afterwards, they're going to get that nice crusty crispy outer coating. The same thing with the steak that you might sear after you sous vide it to lock in the flavor and get kind of texture on the external part of the meat, or salmon with the skin. There is a trade-off in terms of carcinogenicity and lipid peroxidation. And, you just have to ask yourself, “Well, is it worth the trade-off? And, what could I consume at the same time,” like spirulina or glycine, or even fish oil, like omega-3 fatty acids, things that would help to limit some of that lipid peroxidation.
And so, for me, I like to live. I like to go climb mountains, swing kettlebells, and have a nice rib-eye steak on the grill, and all sorts of things that are probably going to strip a few seconds off my life. And, you have to strike a balance between living a little and then also taking care of your body. That's where these little hacks come in. So, go read the article that I did, and I'll link to it in the shownotes about omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids, protecting yourself against lipid peroxidation, and a whole host of other considerations when it comes to that. I'll link to it at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/422.
And then, the last thing that Grace was asking was about vitamin D. And, it turns out that everything I've said about fish oil, like keeping it cool, keeping it out of light, keeping it from being exposed to oxygen, all of that holds true for your vitamin D supplements, too. Oxidative destruction of vitamin D can happen. And, there have actually been studies that have shown that, when vitamin D is exposed to oxygen, for example, you actually see this same type of peroxidative damage upon consumption of vitamin D3 supplements.
So, in the same way that you want your fish oil kept cool, out of the heat, out of the sunlight or any other form of light and packaged in a way that limits the amount of oxygen it's exposed to, all of that could be said also for any vitamin D supplement that you're taking.
So, speaking of vitamin D, we got a question from Taylor.
Taylor: Hi, Ben. I wanted to start by saying your podcast is absolutely incredible, and it has changed the way that I view health and longevity. My question for you today is regarding sunlight. I live in the Midwest. And, typically, in late October is when the UVB starts to decline. However, I was wondering if there is still benefit to getting out in the light even without a shirt on, I know that sounds crazy, in the November and December months in the winter. Let me know what your thoughts are on this, and thank you so much.
Ben: Yeah, this is something I've actually thought about a little bit, Jay. If I'm going for a walk in the winter, am I getting any appreciable amount of vitamin D? Is sunlight exposure in the winter enough to avoid wintertime vitamin D deficiency?
Jay: And, it will be quite different for you, actually, than it will be for me because I'm way closer to the equator than you are. You're up there near the Canadians. You get no vitamin D. You don't get much, do you, in the winter? [00:41:19] _____.
Ben: I don't get very much at all. And, I live on a North-facing slope where there's sunshine during the winter from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. So, it's very, very slight. And, it turns out that they actually looked into this. And, of course, it's going to vary based on the amount of melanin in your skin, too. If you're South Asian or African-American or something like that, it could be an even bigger issue in terms of you having low vitamin D in the winter. But, they did look at folks in the UK. A couple of years ago, they did a big study to see if sunlight exposure during the winter was enough to avoid vitamin D deficiency in population in the UK.
And, they did indeed find that 95% of white adults in the UK were able to actually get adequate amounts of vitamin D just from going out in the wintertime. And, they range from 20 to 60 minutes in exposure. And, their skin was exposed as much of the body as possible, roll up the sleeves. Even if you're wearing gloves, you can roll up the sleeves. You can roll up the pant legs a little bit, keep the face exposed. And, you can actually get appreciable amounts of vitamin D from sunlight in the winter. And, based on this study, the people that were getting out in the sunshine on a regular basis, they were able to achieve, according to this study, vitamin D status that was adequate. Of course, a lot of these studies, they're using 10 to 20 to determine whether or not you're adequate in terms of nanomoles per liter. But, this particular study actually 50 nanomoles per liter as a metric. And, they found that a very large proportion of people were able to go above deficiency status when they just got exposure during the winter months.
Now, they found a lot lower percentages in the folks who were South Asian, they call the skin type V. And, they actually were not getting that great of an amount of vitamin D in response to exposure to sunlight during the winter. So, part of this could be based on the amount of melanin that you produce as well. So, there's a lot of other factors, in addition to skin colors, the amount of skin that's exposed, the time of day, where it's best in the middle of the day, not that great at the beginning or the end of the day. Cloudy days are going to lower the UVB level. So, you're not going to get as much on a cloudy day.
But, ultimately, the cool thing is there's an app. It's called D Minder. And, what the app does is it calculates your UVB exposure depending on where you're at in the world and then tells you approximately how much sunshine you need to get in the location and the time of day. It's fed into the app, I think, based on location services. And then, you're able to go out and get sunlight based on the advice that you get from the app. So, that's one way that you can kind of know a little bit more about when you actually need to be getting out into the sunlight. And so, that's useful.
Jay: It's really great app. I actually use it pretty frequently, not as much anymore. But, it will actually give you a current estimate of your nanograms per milliliter, depending on how long you're in the sun. And then, yeah, the biggest thing, too, is that you can know when are the optimal times to go get vitamin D, because the windows in the winter, depending on where you are, can either be longer or shorter. For me, it's going to be, again, longer than what it's going to be for you. But then, someone who's in Florida or in Miami is going to have a much wider window than either of us. So, it's cool little app. Free, too.
Ben: And then, the other thing that you should bear in mind is there's this vitamin D lamp. It's called the Sperti, S-P-E-R-T-I. Last I checked you could get him on Amazon and it actually, unlike, say, a Joovv light we were talking about earlier which doesn't produce UV and UVB, just red light, this will actually allow for UVB exposure, which could also, theoretically, be a way to simulate sunlight in the winter.
It's important to realize that no matter when you're getting out in the sun, there are a lot of other sun-dependent pathways that are dependent on UV radiation that are pretty significant. I'll link to a few studies in the shownotes. But, for example, we know that there is increased activity of T regulatory cells when you get exposed to sunlight, which can directly assist with almost like this immunosuppressive effect through upregulation of cytokines. And, that may also help with things like autoimmune disorders in addition to just helping the immune system during the winter. We know that melanocytes and what are called keratinocytes in the skin release something called alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone, and that's been implicated in immunological tolerance and limitation of oxidative DNA damage. And so, that's also something that, paradoxically, could help protect you from skin cancer, which is probably why we see people who, say, do hefty amounts of tanning or sunbathing on the weekend have higher rates of skin cancer than people such as outdoor workers who are out in the sunlight frequently throughout the week. It's that upregulation of alpha-MSH that's actually protective against skin cancer.
You see a release of a special neuropeptide. It's called calcitonin gene-related peptide that, also, is associated with a stronger immune system. And, that's also something that is associated with management of autoimmune, which is why autoimmune-based skin disorders, something like psoriasis, for example, can actually be assisted by exposure to sunlight.
We know that when you get exposed to the sun, you get a release of this stuff called neuropeptide substance P. And, neuropeptide substance P is also something that can increase lymphocyte proliferation and cause a healthier immune system. And then, you also get the endorphin response same as you get from, say, a sauna. It's a natural opiate that you get released in response to sunlight exposure.
And so, all of those sun-dependent pathways for ramping up the immune system, making you feel good, helping to manage a normal inflammatory response, all of those occur in response to sunlight, vitamin D aside. So, I think that it's just smart to get out in the sun in the winter, regardless of whether it's allowing you to get adequate vitamin D, regardless of whether you still need to say supplement with vitamin D, consume mushrooms, eat fatty cuts of meat that are higher in vitamin D. It's just a good idea to get out in the sunlight. Period.
Jay: Yeah. For me, I kind of view it this way, especially in the wintertime, is that I'll go out, I'll walk in the sunlight, I'll wear minimal clothing as much as appropriate around my office building, throw a podcast in for a walk, and I'm killing so many birds with one stone. And, I think that's just an effective way of kind of looking at it. I'm getting kind of the cold thermo. I'm getting my walk and exercise. And, I'm learning with my podcasting. And then, I'm also getting some vitamin D.
Ben: Great, and circadian rhythmicity. We didn't even touch on that.
Jay: Yeah, exactly.
Ben: But, exposure to that sunlight early in the day is one of the best things you can do for natural melatonin and serotonin response later on in the day. So, those wintertime walks in the sun, they're fabulous for you. Roll up your sleeves, roll up your pant legs, expose as much skin as possible. And, it appears that if you are Caucasian, for example, you're still going to get adequate vitamin D. There are some genetic factors, actually. Some people, like me, for example, do not possess the gene that allows for appreciable amounts of vitamin D produced in response to sunlight. So, I can go out in the sunlight all summer long and my vitamin D won't get much higher than about 30. So, I still have to supplement with vitamin D or get vitamin D in my diet in higher amounts, etc. That's just something I have to do my whole life. But, man, I love all the benefits of sunlight, regardless of that.
And so, if you guys really want to geek out on sunlight, there's one study called “Biological effects of sunlight, ultraviolet radiation, visible light, infrared radiation, and vitamin D for health.” And then, another study titled, “Is Sunlight Exposure Enough to Avoid Winter Time Vitamin D Deficiency In United Kingdom Population Groups?” And then, another study called “Benefits of Sunlight: A bright Spot for Human Health.” And, I will link to all of those, along with the D Minder app and that Sperti vitamin D lamp in the shownotes over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/422.
Jake: Hey, Ben. My name is Jake and I was just wondering how you find balance. I personally struggle trying to find balance in my financial, physical, mental, and spiritual health. How do you find the time?
Ben: Oh, jeez, Jake is assuming I have balance in my life. [00:50:14] _____ what I do.
Jay: Yeah, 24 hours working all day long. That's right.
Ben: I'm self-actualized.
Jay: That's right.
Ben: I just work all day and I'm super happy. Now, I'll admit, I do love what I do: writing, podcasting, speaking, researching, consulting with people on the phone.
If I wasn't married and have kids, because I do this when my wife sat down with the boys, I'll just work 18-hour days and I'm super happy with that. I will literally get up 5:00 a.m., take a few breaks to play guitar, make a meal, whatever, but I'll just work all day. I love what I do. And, that might not be great work-life balance, but the fact is, who was I talking to James Altucher, I think was another guy I recently did a podcast with. And, I think we even talked about this on the podcast how I think it was he who mentioned that he feels guilty because all he likes to do is just podcast and invest and read.
Ben: And, he feels like he should be doing more. But, that's just what he likes to do, so he just does that. And so, I think that there's something to be said for that. There's also something to be said, just from a longevity and neuroplasticity standpoint of getting out and doing things that are mildly uncomfortable for you, that you might not want to do, in terms of learning new things or not working based on something that is rote practice and repetitive natural activity for you, and actually doing some things that, make smoke come out your ears and a brand new, just because we know that something that helps to keep you young and keep you happy. And, it's a way to spark creativity and a better enjoyment for all of the wonderful things that we're surrounded with on this planet. But, at the same time, I wouldn't beat yourself up, if you love what you do and you have trouble stopping work because you just love it so much. And, especially, if you've identified that it's not, say, escapism.
Jay: Right, or listen to the cues from others, because you may absolutely love work, but your friends are like, “But, you never make time to kind of hang out with us,” or your family does it. And, that's where it becomes problematic. So, you have to–that's balanced, though.
Ben: Exactly. But, there are certain things. I was pondering this question from Jake. And, I guess I don't know if these are related to balance, but there are definitely things that I do that allow me to free up a lot of time, despite producing a lot of content and working a lot, that I think allow me to have things my guitar time and time to cook and time to play games with the family and time to snowboard and time to bow hunt and time to do a lot of these things that I do. And, I can share with you. I actually made a list of 14 things that I do that I think feed into my productivity cycle or allow me to achieve better balance in life. So, I can go through those. If you want to hear my 14.
Ben: Number one is I eat the frog first thing in the day. Meaning, I will take whatever the thing is that I most dread doing that day. Sometimes, it's writing an article. Sometimes, it's a kettlebell workout. Sometimes, it is prepping dinner, because it's like some new recipe that I just got to wrap my head around, so I'm fumbling around the kitchen at 5:00 a.m., just thinking, “I got to get out of this out of the way before decision-making fatigue and before my willpower begins to fade towards the end of the day.”
But, I will choose whatever it is that appears to be the hardest thing that I need to do for that day. And, as soon as I finish my morning self-care routine, which is typically some breath works and journaling, reading my Bible, writing down what I'm grateful for, usually, a quick devotion with the family, I move on. The very first thing I do is, whatever it is that I know deep down inside, I will tend to procrastinate or that I kind of don't want to do, I eat the frog first thing.
And, again, sometimes it's not a hard workout. Sometimes, a hard workout. I love to do at the end of the day, to just blow off some steam. But, I always start by eating the frog. So, if you're not yet–it just makes the rest of the day easier, too, when you start off with that hard thing. And, a lot of people are aware of that.
Jay: And, it's accomplished as well.
Ben: Yeah, I eat the frog first. Next is, and I realized that I'm missing out on some things in life because of this, but I don't watch TV. Period. I rarely watch videos. That includes YouTube videos, Spotify videos, you name it, or documentaries. I rarely, rarely, rarely look at a screen, period, to do anything other than produce material. If I'm looking at a screen, I'm putting something on that screen that makes the world better, not sucking things off that screen. So, I create thousands of percentage points over what I actually consume because I find that parking one's self in front of a screen is one of the best ways to lose a lot of precious minutes during the day. That means that, if someone tells me I need to watch said documentary or I must see this or see that lecture, I use my YouTube to mp3 converter app. I convert it to audio. I listen to it while I'm out on a hike or while I'm shooting my bow or while I'm preparing a meal or anything other than parking myself in front of the screen.
So, I rarely watch any videos, documentaries, TV. I average about one movie every two months or so. And, it has to be the best of the best. It has to be, on Rotten Tomatoes, for example, it's got to be above 90%, both the audience rating and the Rotten Tomatoes rating for me to even think about watching a movie. And, again, some people are like, “Well, you're missing out a lot of pop culture and entertainment.” Whatever. I'm just telling you, that's not productive. I'm rarely in front of the screen. Period. Consuming in front of a screen, what I mean by that.
Similar to that is, and this surprises a lot of people, I don't scroll feeds at all: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, whatever. The only thing I do with any of my social media apps is produce content on them. I don't even know how to actually go and scroll through and use these apps to do anything other than produce content. I don't look at feeds. Period.
Jay: That's great.
Ben: And so, there have been a couple of times, usually, that involve after having smoked a joint that someone will show me some comedy person on Instagram and I'll watch a few videos and feel I'll never get those minutes of my life back, and that might be a total of 10 minutes over the past year that I've done something like that. But, it is 99.9% of the time, I don't scroll feeds. Period. Because I don't want information pushed to me that I never would have thought about watching until it was finally pushed in front of my face. So, it kind of correlates to that idea of, whenever I'm looking at a screen, it is to produce, not to consume.
Jay: One of the most enlightening things for me in regards to screen time and for my wife as well is that when Apple on our iPhones started producing kind of the screen time application to where you could look at how much time you're actually spending on your phone and scrolling and using different applications, it was enlightening because I was spending almost three hours a day on my phone. And so, my goal now is to spend not more than an hour, actually, on my phone. I do emails and some things like that on it, but I try to do everything on my computer if I can. And, I actually have a widget on my front screen. And, when I see it go over an hour my phone, I don't turn it off because I don't want to miss any important messages or calls from people that I need to respond to, but I pretty much just put it in a bag and keep it on loud, so that I can [00:57:46] _____.
Ben: I don't use those apps at all because I'm on my phone way more than three, four hours a day. But, again, I'm not consuming. I'm producing. So, that's the difference. So, anytime I'm on my phone, I'm making videos, making photos, making posts, editing things. And, usually, it's on a laptop when I'm doing that anyways. So, I don't lose my screen time at all. I just ensure that when I am on the screen, I am creating, not consuming.
So, related to that, pretty much all push notifications are off. And, that still shocks me that most people still have not done that. But, that's a non-negotiable for me. There are very, very few times. Last year, I wanted to get really good at my pelvic musculature strengthening, and I have this app called the Kegel Camp app, which popped up at 7:00 a.m. and noon every day to remind me to do these three minutes of Kegel exercises. That's an example where I'll occasionally turn a push notification on. But, as far as text messages, apps, Facebook, Instagram, any of that, no push notifications. Period. So, that's another big one.
Next, I only have one. So, I'm not an OMAD guy, meaning I don't fast whole day then just have one meal. But, I only have one major sit down meal a day. So, I work through breakfast and I work through lunch. Meaning, during breakfast, I'm replying to emails, catching up on little phone calls, going through my work for the day, reading research articles. Same thing during lunch. I only have one meal a day that's actually a sit down with people and eat meal. And then, the other meals are pretty much just like the same thing, day in and day out. Usually, a smoothie or some type of coffee or tea for “breakfast.” And then, lunchtime is typically–well, honestly, these days, it's leftovers from meat of the night before with some bone broth. And, that's it. I don't focus on food at all until dinner. And so, if someone says want to do lunch, if somebody says want to do coffee, somebody says want to do breakfast, brunch, whatever, it's pretty much a no unless it's a very special, say, holiday, Saturday, or Sunday, or something like that. So, OMAD, one major meal a day. How would that be, OMM 80?
Jay: Yeah, that's right.
Ben: Related to meals and eating, and this would be, I guess, number what, 6? I batch my meals. Meaning, when I make my ribs tonight, that will be enough for me for the next four meals. Or, we use a crockpot a lot. Or, if I'm going to sous vide a salmon, also, be six4 salmons, and then just have those for the rest of the week to eat on.
If I fire up the grill to smoke or to grill something, I will cook a lot in advance. So, I batch cook, and I find that just reduces the amount of time that I spend each day preparing meals. Don't get me wrong. I'm writing a cookbook right now. I love to cook. But, as much as I possibly can, I batch. And, my big ones for that, I'll leave in the pressure cooker, the crockpot, the sous vide and the smoker. And, I rarely will just make a meal or make a dish for it to be just with that meal. So, I'm always batching when I cook.
Number 7 is I take a nap pretty much every day. It's always 20 to 40 minutes max. I always use the NuCalm to do it, the N-U-Calm device. I've done multiple podcasts on that. I put it on. It loads me into sleep-like state, and I am hyper-productive when I wake up from that nap. I have compared my productivity on days where I do not take a nap and it gradually wanes from about 2:00 p.m. forward. And then, my work out that later afternoon or evening is kind of crappy. When I nap, I'm a powerhouse from 2:00 p.m. on, all the way up through about 10:00 p.m. So, that's just key for me for getting stuff done. I know that's paradoxical. It's like, “Well, why meditate? I don't have time to meditate.” I consider my nap to be a form of meditation. They've shown that NuCalm device actually does all the same things for you that meditation does, but also does all the same things for you that sleep does. And so, that's my go-to. Usually, these days, my favorite function on there is the 30-minute reboot function. So, I run that every single afternoon after lunch. And, that's it. So, I split the day in two with a nap, and I have a hyper-productive second half of the day.
So, any phone calls, any, let's say, documentaries I've converted to mp3 that I need to listen to, any podcasts, any audiobooks, I do all that while I'm walking. So, being a former Ironman triathlete and Spartan racer, etc., I was kind of proud of my level of endurance, my aerobic fitness, my fat-burning capacity. It's still pretty high, but I just save any single thing that can be done for walking until the afternoon. And, I walk. I walk every single day, usually, for an hour to an hour and a half, and catch up on gathering any information I need to gather. But, I do as much of it as I can when I'm walking, which means that, when I do hit the gym, I only hit the gym for 20, 30 minutes for the weight training or the high-intensity interval training. Everything else is just walking. And, granted I'll do Pomodoro breaks throughout the day, swings, and pushups. About the longest I'll go without doing a Pomodoro break to exercise is during an interview like this or doing a podcast. But, I walk a ton, take Pomodoro breaks here and there to do pushups or squats or whatever, and then do one brief high-intensity interval training session, usually, each day. So, walking a ton, especially, to consume information or to do any phone calls. You will never find me just standing by the kitchen table on the phone. I never take a phone call, usually, unless I'm walking.
Jay: Same here.
Ben: Related to that, and this is kind of something related to Warren Buffett who would always have his nose in a book. He asked his kids. I am constantly reading and learning. I can be doing the hardest workout on the planet listening to an audiobook. I do all my cooking listening to podcasts, listening to audiobooks. I do everything with just the old-school iPhone headphones in my ear. Usually, everything is played at two to four times speed, and I'm constantly reading and learning any book that can be consumed via audio, anything. I'm always, always, always listening, listening, listening, and constant feed of information. And, granted, there are times when you want silence and stillness in time for prayer and meditation. But, I do a lot of listening and a lot of reading. So, I always have Kindle on my phone, Kindle in my bag, audiobook or podcast at the ready. And, if I'm standing in line at the grocery store and you see me on my phone, looking at the screen, I'm banging out a chapter in a book that I'm getting through. And, that was how, for years, I was reading a book today, just literally always reading, learning. On the ski slope, on that chair lift, pull up the phone, read two more chapters, put it away, go hit the slopes back down. While I'm hitting the slopes, I'm listening to that audiobook or podcast. I love the Kindle WhisperSync feature, which allows me to listen and then read where I stop listening, and then start listening again. It picks it up where I stopped reading. I am constantly, constantly learning, which also means I miss out on some of what is out there from a music standpoint. But, I've chosen that I want to consume information and teach it. And, that's part of fulfilling my purpose in life.
I sync, and this is just basically an idea from Cal Newport, the author of “Deep Work.” He has this idea of working memory. Constantly, you never want stuff floating around in your brain. You want to keep your head as clear as possible. So, I use a simple Evernote document that captures and organizes and clarifies any information, any notes, any reminders the entire day, leaving my brain completely free to execute. So, I got Evernote on my phone, on my Kindle, and on my computer, both my computers. And, anytime I have any little thing I want to jot down goes straight into Evernote, straight out of my head, straight into Evernote. And then, later on, when it's time for me to calendar things, decide when I'm going to do what, that's when it gets transferred in the calendar. But, I constantly, a lot of times, I'll be talking with somebody else. “Wait, stop. I got to write that down. Wait, stop. I got to write that down.” But, it leaves my brain totally free to execute and it's synced across all my devices. So, I always, always, always am writing things down. And, I use Evernote to do that synced across multiple devices. It's one of the few things I pay for is my Evernote account, my whatever call it, Pro account or primary account, just because I want all the features of Evernote, the searchability features, the archiving features, etc.
Few more. I ruthlessly outsource everything: mowing my lawn, putting minerals into the hot tub, fixing anything. I outsource every last thing. You read books like Tim Ferris' “4-Hour Workweek,” Ari Meisel has got a new book, or a book called “Art of Less Doing.” A guy named Steve Glaveski has a new book called “Time Rich,” which is a modern version of 4-Hour Workweek. All of these productivity folks, they outsource ruthlessly. Even the stuff that makes me feel like I'm not as much of a man because I'm not doing it, say, chopping wood or mowing my lawn or fixing a gutter, I outsource. Because life only last for so long, I want to spend it doing the things that I'm best equipped to do, which is basically reading, writing, teaching, podcasting, speaking, and leading my family. And, I outsource everything. Any new task that comes up, I ask myself, could somebody else do this better than me? If the answer is yes, boom, it gets outsourced. So, that's another one.
Every Sunday night, I sit down. I use an app called BusyCal. And, BusyCal is just like Google Cal, except it's on my desktop. I calendar out everything every Sunday night. Meaning, I know from Monday through Saturday when I wake up exactly what my workout is for that day. I know exactly which calls I'm on for that day, which articles I need to write. But, I don't calendar at that day. Every Sunday night, I sit down and I go through everything, so that when I wake up every single weekday, I know exactly what is on my plate for that day. So, I do have a team, speaking of outsourcing, who will do things like arrange podcast interviews or arrange when I'm supposed to be working on X, Y, Z piece of content, etc. So, that's already all written on the calendar. I'm not doing the calendaring, but I'm sitting down looking at the calendar. And then, I'm also ensuring that, during that Sunday night time, I'm writing all my workouts for the week, I am writing and filling in the blanks for any blank spots in the calendar for things that I can actually accomplish during those blank spots. But, my day is highly regimented. Every single weekday from waking all the way up till the time my head hits the pillow is all mapped out on Sunday night of that week. So there is never any single hour of my entire week when I don't know exactly what is supposed to be happening that hour. And, that helps me out tremendously. So, I'm never fiddling around, wondering, “Hey, what am I going to do right now? I got a free moment.” It's always just calendared to the tee.
And then, just a few last ones. This would be 12, 13, and 14. From a spiritual standpoint, there's a really great book about this called “Practicing his Presence.” It's about being in union with God and just talking to God and feeling his presence all day long. And so, yeah, I have a morning Bible reading. I first wake up and I lead my family in meditation and prayer and devotions both in the morning, and then again in the evening right before bed. But, I also am constantly in union with God, talking with God. When I sit down anytime to check email, eat a meal, whatever, deep breath in through the nose, out through the mouth, “Thank you, God,” or, “God, I am here,” or, “Jesus Christ, have mercy on me,” or anything that keeps me in touch with God. Rather than me carving out 20 minutes here for a prayer session or 30 minutes here to read the Bible, I'm just constantly in touch with God throughout the entire day, in the same way, that I'm constantly taking breaks to do Pomodoro pushups and squats, or kettlebell swings throughout the day. My relationship with God is almost like micro-workouts. It's all-day-long that I'm in touch with God, which also helps me achieve this spiritual balance of this whole work-life balance thing. So, that's a big one. The book, “Practicing His Presence,” is really great regarding that.
And then, last couple of things regarding work-life balance is there are periods of time when you need to accept that you will go outside of your comfort zone. If I've decided that I want to publish a book by–so I'm working on three different books right now. And, I'm starting to get onto the deadline for publishing a few of them. I will accept the fact that there are times when I'm going to be working 18-hour workdays, when I'm going to be pulling all-nighters. And, don't get the impression, if you're listening, that all healthy people and healthy podcasters and all your favorite icons in the fitness industry, they have these perfect eight-hour sleep nights, eight-hour workdays, eight hours for hobbies and family and fun. It fluctuates a ton. And, there are times when I'm working 18 hours a day, giving my wife and kids a kiss and having a quick meal with them at the end of the day, going to bed, getting up at 4:00 a.m., sometimes, 3:30, and literally just banging out hours and hours and hours and hours and hours of work. And, that's just something that will happen occasionally. And, I accept the fact that even the best of the best, they don't always have balance. There are times when you just got to get shit done. And, I certainly have times like that myself.
However, that being said, and this is my last tip for you, and this just keeps me going all year long, is I work my ass off six days a week. Six days a week, I'm doing everything I just described you. And, I have one day, Sabbath, the Sunday, my day of rest, same as God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh. I work my ass off for six days. And then, I have one day that is totally free, totally blank, totally just set aside for whatever happens. And, man, that reboot at the end of every week is amazing. And, it's not like a day where I shovel my calls forward to that day that I wasn't able to get to or catch up on workouts or whatever. It's total free day for anything that I want to do. And, that's amazing to have that one day, that Sunday. And so is this concept of work hard, rest hard.
So, if I wake up on Saturday, yeah, I'll still work some Saturdays. I'll pull a 12-hour workday some Saturdays. I don't have a weekend. I have one day at the end of the week. There's no “Thank God, it's Friday” for me, nothing like that. But, that one day, that Sunday, that's where I rest super hard. And then, I get up Monday morning and get back at him.
So, those are my tips. And, I took those down and noted them down. And, I'll just leave them in the shownotes for you at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/422, if you want to go through them, just scroll through and take notes or whatever, if that's helpful. But, yeah, that's it. I'll link to some of those books, too, like “Time Rich” or “Art of Less Doing” or “Practicing His Presence.” Everything I mentioned, I'll link, too, as well at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/422. So, what do you think?
Jay: Nice, man.
Ben: What do you think, man?
Jay: Yeah, dude, what's interesting is that, I think, you and I, we have some similarities to our personality. So, a lot of the things that you mentioned are things that I integrate, or maybe I just have integrated because I listen to you too much. But, one of the things for me that's been really effective is that I'm kind of the same way, I like to work hard and rest hard. And, I choose the Sabbath as mine as well. One of the things that I try to do as well, too, and I think that you integrate this in your life, so, correct me if I'm wrong, is that, for me, I work hard and I play hard. But, it's not just that I can only allow myself to play hard on that Sunday. But, I also see my family time as playing hard, whether it's sitting around the table and talking with my wife and kids, us playing a game. My kids are really young, so we still play with Legos and blocks and stuff. And so, those are times, too, that are kind of, again, breaks from my day. And, there's plenty of days where we'll put the kids down at 7:00 or 8:00 at night, and I have to stay up until 12:00 or 1:00, which I don't like doing, because I'm much more of an early morning riser. But, that break, just to kind of engage in social relationship and love and play, it's something that re-energizes me to be able to stay up and do those things. So, that's the one thing that I make sure I'm very aware of as well, especially, with my kids being so young, that I have to have that daily connection with them in order for me to feel that sense of purpose and meaning throughout my day.
Ben: Cool. I love it, man. I love it. I'm glad that you've adopted my work-life balance for osmosis.
Jay: I try.
Ben: Anyways, though. We should, though. We should give away goodie before we end this podcast which is getting long in the tooth. And so, this is the part of the show when Jay will read your review. If you hear your review read, then I will ship you a handy-dandy Ben Greenfield Fitness goodie pack with a wonderful workout shirt, a BPA-free water bottle, a cool beanie, which will come in handy this winter. And, all you need to do is leave the show review on your favorite podcast player. And, if you hear your review read on the show, all you need to do is email your T-shirt size to [email protected] That's [email protected], and we'll hook you up. So, what do we got today, Jay?
Jay: We got one from Mather7. That's M-A-T-H-E-R-7, who titled their review, “Listen to this podcast to live a better, more holistic life.” And, Mather7 said, “I started listening to Ben Greenfield's podcast during COVID and immediately saw my life improved for the better. The topics are on point. Ben is thorough in his answers. And then, the shownotes have everything you need after the episode.” Thank you, Mather7.
Ben: I like it. And, we do work pretty hard in the shownotes. That's true. So, if you don't access the shownotes, you're missing out. Those are at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/422 for today. In the meantime, since we only have what? Three days left till the fasting challenge begins, I'm going to go eat as many ribs as I can in the next three days, and then get ready to, I don't know which fasting I'm going to do yet. Still pondering.
Jay: Me, too.
Ben: All the folks now on the Instagram, probably–
Jay: Those who are scrolling, unlike Ben Greenfield.
Ben: That's right. Don't scroll my feed. I shot myself in the foot there. Alright, folks. Well, until next time. Have an amazing, blessed, wonderful week. Happy new year, by the way. Happy new year. Plenty of new year's goodie coming out for you at BenGreenfieldFitness.com. But, until then, Jay. Later.
Jay: See you, dude.
Ben: See you.
Well, thanks for listening to today's show. You can grab all the shownotes, the resources, pretty much everything that I mentioned over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com, along with plenty of other goodies from me, including the highly helpful “Ben Recommends” page, which is a list of pretty much everything that I've ever recommended for hormones, sleep, digestion, fat loss, performance, and plenty more. Please, also, know that all the links, all the promo codes that I mentioned during this and every episode help to make this podcast happen and to generate income that enables me to keep bringing you this content every single week. So, when you listen in, be sure to use the links in the shownotes, use the promo codes that I generate, because that helps to float this thing and keep it coming to you each and every week.
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Is Nut Oil & Fish Oil Oxidized, Rancid Or Bad For You?…25:22
Grace from Australia asks: I've been hearing a lot about the dangers of polyunsaturated fats lately, particularly in regards to how they oxidize easily, which could create cellular damage. Does this mean I should avoid regular consumption of nuts and fatty fish? I know that in nuts, the antioxidant properties of vitamin E could offset this oxidative damage, but vitamin E is also susceptible to light and heat.
In my response, I recommend:
Can You Get Benefits From Sunlight In The Winter?…41:00
Taylor asks: I wanted to start by saying your podcast is absolutely incredible and it has changed the way that I view health and longevity. My question for you today is regarding sunlight. I live in the Midwest and typically in late October is when the UVB starts to decline. However, I was wondering if there is still benefit to getting out in the light, even without a shirt on. I know that sounds crazy in the winter months, but please let me know what your thoughts are on this, and thank you so much.
In my response, I recommend:
14 Ways To Find Balance In Your Life…50:35
Jake asks: Hey, Ben, my name is Jake and I was just wondering how you find balance. I personally struggle trying to find balance in my financial, physical, mental, and spiritual health. How do you find the time? Thanks.