October 27, 2022
From podcast: https://bengreenfieldlife.com/podcast/qa-449/
[00:00:35] Podcast Sponsors
[00:05:44] Water Kefir versus Kombucha
[00:11:03] News Flashes
[00:11:42] How Caffeine Boosts Endurance
[00:27:03] Podcast Sponsors
[00:32:10] Human Skin Stood Up Better to the Sun Before There Were Sunscreens and Parasols
[00:40:15] Was all that “red meat is bad for you” stuff overhyped?
[00:45:29] Four secrets from the world's longest happiness study
[00:50:30] 50 Ways to be Ridiculously Generous—and Feel Ridiculously Good
[00:54:50] What do you recommend feeding your pets and animals?
[01:01:32] Q: Recommendations to improve fatty liver
[01:10:20] Q: Plant and leafy greens intake. Do the pros outweigh the cons?
[01:19:53] End of Podcast
Ben: In this episode of the Ben Greenfield Life show.
The best caffeine alternatives and things that make coffee work even better, why you need a skin callus, the flawed red meat study, four keys to happiness, and much more.
Faith, family, fitness, health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and a whole lot more. Welcome to the show.
I've been drinking this stuff at lunch. Usually, I have bone broth with lunch, but I switched to this stuff. Super interesting. It's called Haelan. Haelan is spelled H-A-E-L-A-N. It might be Haelan. I don't know, Haelan, whatever, it tastes good. I think it's Haelan. Anyways, it's called Haelan 951. This is basically soy. And, I know all of you like soy. You're not supposed to consume that.
Now, understandably, there's lots of conflicting information out there. The short answer is yes, you should be consuming soy, but only if it's the right kind, which is pretty rare because genetic engineering and poor soil, and improper harvesting means most modern-day soy has some serious issues. And, try and save modern-day soy 10 times fast. I dare you.
I did a podcast with Dr. William Li from the Angiogenesis Foundation. We usually talk all about soy benefits, but this Haelan stuff, get this. It's a concentrated nitrogen-fermented beverage made from organic soybeans grown in the mountains of Mongolia. They have proven the species to be anti-angiogenic, meaning it doesn't feed cancer, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and anticarcinogenic, enormously rich in vitamins and minerals, and a complete protein source. All your essential amino acids. People use this stuff now for energy, for better sleep, for detox, for longevity, for meal replacement, really great anti-cancer benefits as well. Now, it's fermented and it's soy and so it doesn't taste that good. I'll just come around and tell you. But, what they do is they ship out this mint powder that you mix with it that makes it actually taste really good. I just drink it on ice with this mint powder with lunch and it's really, really amazing stuff and I feel really good on it. But, I have a peace of mind that I'm drinking anti-cancer every day with lunch.
So, you get a special discounted package over there and free shipping on a bunch of bottles of this stuff. Here's how. Remember this for spelling because it's a little difficult. Haelan 951, H-A-E-L-A-N-9-5-1.com/Ben. I'm going to say that again. Ready? H-A-E-L-A-N-9-5-1.com/Ben.
Howdy, howdy, howdy, ho, folks. I am hiring. That's right, I'm hiring. Ben Greenfield Life is looking for an IT specialist. What that means is I need somebody who can help me out with technical and web development support software systems, optimal performance of the websites, platforms, the users, the team. I'm really looking for somebody has a few years working in the IT field who knows things like e-mail service provider, Shopify, WordPress, Klaviyo, backups, you name it, and who also is preferably interested in things like health and fitness and biohacking. Sauna, Slack, Zoom are three of the programs that we use to support the team at Ben Greenfield Life, and preferably whoever applies for this position has some pretty good interpersonal skills and can work across a wide variety of teams and customers and external vendors. And also, just be a total tech-head who can fix stuff that goes wrong from a technical standpoint.
If you are interested in this job that includes technical support, web development, technology maintenance and much more, and you want a salaried position full-time that can be done from anywhere in the world, you can apply at BenGreenfieldLife.com/ITJob. That's BenGreenfieldLife.com/ITJob. And, we are hiring soon. We're filling this position quick. So, if you're interested, BenGreenfieldLife.com/ITJob.
Let's talk about magnesium. So, magnesium is an essential mineral, [00:04:10] _____ 300 vital functions in your body, yet 60% of us are deficient. Now, I started working with this company to actually get you magnesium in a very tasty manner. There are these wellness ingestibles from a company called HigherDOSE, and I helped them develop three different products: Detox Drops, High-Dration Powder, and Chill Chews. They're all designed to pair with the HigherDOSE Infrared Red Light and PEMF devices like their Sauna Blanket and their Infrared Face Mask and their Mat. You take this stuff, you pair it with their products and you enhance the detox, enhance the effects. You can add the detox drops to your water before workout or a sauna session. Bunch of hyper-clean ingredients binds to toxins, nice minty flavor. I love that one. I had it in my coffee this morning actually.
Then, they have the hydration powder. That's an electrolyte-rich formula. It's got magnesium, a potent blend of B vitamins, a bunch of other goodies in there specifically to support a sauna session, so you just shoot this stuff back before you go into sauna. Then, they have Chill Chews. These are magnesium gummies. You eat them at night, they help to balance your body and relax your mind. They're super good. They're low-sugar. I'll just got a handful of them. I don't know how I'm supposed to eat. The bottle probably says scrub a handful of them and go to bed and it's amazing and they taste really good.
So anyways, this company HigherDOSE done some great stuff and I've consulted with them and helped them out with their menu so to speak, so this stuff is huge thumbs up for me because I hope to help them with it. So, you go to HigherDOSE.com/Ben to get 15% off of any of their stuff today, HigherDOSE.com/Ben, or you can just use promo code BEN and that will get you 50% off.
Jay, hello, hello.
Jay: Hey, man.
Ben: I got a question for you right off the bat here because I've been busy, busy in my kitchen. Not too busy, but somewhat occupied. I'm making a fermented fizzy little drink on my kitchen counter right now. It's called Water Kefir. Have you heard of it before?
Jay: No, I just thought you were going to say kombucha. So, I was caught off guard with water kefir.
Ben: No. Screw kombucha. Kombucha is 2014. No. Well, a lot of people don't like kombucha because it is made from a tea starter so it's got caffeine in it and some people want to avoid the caffeine. And honestly, for some people, kombucha seems to aggravate candida and yeast. A lot of people have candida or yeast, which is pretty common. It kind of gives them small intestine bacterial overgrowth and bloating and —
Jay: Because of the strains that are found in kombucha?
Ben: I think it's the bacterial strains because the strains in kefir are a little bit different. So, kefir's got yeasts and lactic acid bacteria and billions of different organisms in it. But, a lot of the research on it shows that it actually reduces ton of different digestive system disorders including limiting candida growth, which is interesting. It actually fights a lot of these pathogenic microorganisms. Not only candida, like salmonella, E. coli, clostridium difficile. But, it is super nutrient dense. It gives you liquid slippery poops that are amazing.
Jay: Oh, always need those.
Ben: Yeah, it's got no caffeine in it. And, unlike dairy kefir, which a lot of people might be familiar with kefir as being the fermented dairy drink, you don't make it with water. The way I make it on my kitchen counter is I just have a giant vat. I got kefir grains. Even though my dad and my brother make kefir and they offered me their grains, I actually wound up having some grains from a company called Cultures For Health because it's just regular kefir or kombucha. You can share your mother for kombucha or you can share your, what do they call them? They call them grains with milk kefir. Maybe they do. Anyways, you can share them. You can also buy them.
So, what I've got are these giant glass vats up in my kitchen counter and I started my first vat by taking the grains and soaking them for a couple of days in water and molasses, and sugar, and a little bit of citrus juice, which apparently helps out a little bit, a little bit of a lime juice is what I used. And then, after that fermentation was called the first fermentation, I strained all the water off and started a second batch with the leftover kefir grains and then with the kefir water that I'd strained off. You can mix it with a ton of stuff. You can mix it with ginger. You can mix it with pomegranate. You can mix it with anything. But, I mix mine with some tart cherry juice just because I happen to have some tart cherry juice. And then, that's on the kitchen counter. I'll ferment another three to four days to get nice and fizzy and carbonated. And then, I'll bottle it and it's just basically like water kefir. And, it's obviously something you can buy at the grocery store for $5.99 a bottle. But, I mean it costs pennies on the dollar to make. And, it only takes me a few hours and I figure my times worth $5.99 an hour. So, well worth it. Yeah.
Jay: Debatable, debatable. But, I do —
Ben: Debatable, but it's fun. It's fun. Not everything has to be monetizable.
Jay: That's true. That's true. Good point. So, the question is, and I'm sure people are going to ask this, how's it taste?
Ben: I don't know. Well, I took a little sip when I poured it out to do the charges. It tastes the way it's supposed to, but I like it carbonated. So, I'm going to ferment it a whole bunch more to get nice and carbonated.
Jay: Nice. Yeah, yeah. For kombucha, for kefir, for all of the fermented drinks, it's like I can deal with them. I will look past the taste, if you will, because of the health benefits. Even with as much as I've drunk of all of these, I have never gotten used to the flavor or enjoy it. For me, it's still kind of like, “Ah,” kind of just like get it down because I understand it's beneficial, but I've never really liked it. Do you actually like the flavor of that stuff?
Ben: Yeah, I do. Well, the weird thing is I don't like beer but I actually do like kombucha although I don't drink it because it gives me some tummy upset because I think of the candida yeast factor, but kefir I really like. I first found it at a grocery store once. There's a brand, I think Kevita, and they had one that was kind of like a master cleanse, a little bit of, I think it was cayenne pepper, maybe a bit of ginger or turmeric, and I think maybe a sweet and a little bit of maple or something like that. Almost like that master cleanse formula. They were trying to replicate that, but with water kefir. And, I remember liking it and I bought it a few times since then. But, when I saw my dad and my brother make it, I was like, “Gosh, I got to get on this water kefir bandwagon and try this out since it's in the family now.”
Ben: Yeah, there you have it. My wife makes sourdough bread, but I've got the kefir game mastered, baby. Maybe.
Jay: There you go. Look at all that fermentation in your home. You guys are going to have amazing gut flora.
Ben: Alright, ready to talk about some other stuff including more about caffeine?
Ben: Let's do it.
Jay: Yeah, I'd love to talk about caffeine.
Ben: Well, first of all, this is the part of the show where we go over a bunch of the news flashes and get into some of the nitty-gritty behind them. I put out probably about 20 different studies a week on Twitter, and on Instagram, and on Facebook. And, I'll link to all these if you go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/449. But, sometimes we like to talk about some of the more compelling ones on the show before we turn to our live audience because you can join our Q&A shows live if you follow me on Twitter at Twitter.com/BenGreenfield. Usually Wednesday mornings a couple times a month we go live. So, later on, we'll take on some live questions.
And, the first thing I want to talk about today was caffeine. Not just caffeine but some things you can combine with caffeine to make it work better. And then, some of the latest research on caffeine, which we know is a really great performance enhancement and mental enhancement aid, probably one of the more popular drugs in the world for that. But anyways, there was a new study that came out on the increase in endurance performance, just came out this month, increasing endurance performance via the consumption of caffeine. And, of course, the conclusion wasn't surprising; caffeine ingestion, improved performance during high-intensity whole-body exercise. But, what was interesting was the way that it actually worked. It was described in the study as exercise-induced reduction in voluntary activation and contractile function.
So, a friend who's actually been on the podcast before, Alex Hutchinson, he wrote an article about this study in Outside Magazine. And, I'll link to that article, but there's been a lot of hypotheses in the past, hypothesis I suppose I should say in the past about the way that caffeine works so well as a performance enhancement aid. I mean, to the effect that I think there was a time when it was banned. Correct me if I'm wrong, Jay. If you recall, this was banned by the World Anti-Doping Association.
Jay: I actually didn't realize that.
Ben: At least in certain amounts. I think it was like 400 milligrams or more. But yeah, I mean, it's so, so potent, especially if you don't consume any for about 2 weeks, then you put it back into your system. I mean, it's absolutely astounding in terms of attention and vigilance and physical exertion.
So anyways, the theory that predominated for a while was that caffeine blocks the receptors that detect the presence of adenosine, which is the molecule associated with fatigue as it builds up in the brain. The so-called sleep drive that you get as the day goes on and on is because you get more adenosine in the system. And, if you haven't been sucking down too much coffee, little less caffeine to keep that adenosine from working properly. So, the idea for a while was that caffeine blocked this fatigue buildup in the brain, so you didn't get sleepy.
And then, there was another, basically a theory that it enhanced fatty acid uptake, which is also true to give muscles a little bit more energy. And, that may also be one of the levels that it works on. And then, this newer study is actually suggesting that there's an additional factor and that's related to oxygen levels in your blood. So, the study that I was just talking about what they were looking at via electrical stimulation was the voluntary activation of these muscles. You basically electronically stimulate a muscle and the force produced by the shock allows you to calculate this voluntary activation. And so, the more tired you get when you exercise, the weaker the signals from your brain become. And then, with caffeine, what they found was those signals never decline, what's called the voluntary activation from the brain to the muscle never declined. But then, what they also found was that caffeine was allowing for a really significant amount of oxygen to be flowing into the arteries of these folks who were on the caffeine. So, it turns out that it's not only blocking adenosine receptors, increasing the ability to use fatty acid as a fuel, but also decreasing any resistance to a signal that's sent by the brain, this whole voluntary activation thing. And then, finally, increasing the ability of the muscles to uptake oxygen.
And so, you hear about the discovery of coffee from a guy's goats, I think way back in the day eating coffee beans, and this guy seeing his goats have tons of energy and eventually fermenting that same bean to make coffee. Well, I mean, it turns out that those goats probably could have won the Tour de France because I mean this caffeine just works so well on so many levels.
Jay: That's it, holy grail.
Ben: Yeah. So, reading about this got me thinking, well, gosh, this is great. We all know caffeine's pretty good, but what if you don't like it? Or, what if you want to get some of these effects and you want even better effects? So, I thought it'd be interesting to tell folks about three things that I think can make coffee work better or that act as a pretty good alternative to coffee, or that can basically be something you combine or go back and forth with in addition to coffee. I'm kind of using coffee and caffeine simultaneously here.
Ben: So, the first one was actually formulated by a friend of mine who's been on the podcast before. His name is Shawn Wells. It was kind of funny. We're actually talking yesterday and then I've been thinking about this stuff yesterday. And then, he text me out of the blue, which is kind of funny. But anyways, caffeine, when it gets metabolized in the body, gets metabolized actually into three different things; one called paraxanthine, one called theobromine, and one called theophylline. That's what it gets broken down into.
Now, paraxanthine is something that you can actually take all on its own. It's a central nervous system stimulant like coffee is, but it's got way higher potency with lower toxicity and less of an effect to make you anxious or jittery. So, a lot of people compare the way that you feel on paraxanthine to modafinil, like that limitless drug the so-called Provigil that a lot of people will use. It's an off-label anti-narcoleptic agent. But anyways, paraxanthine has this really cool feel-good wake-promoting effect. And, a lot of people who don't want caffeine or who would want alternative to caffeine, this and combined with caffeine but I think that it works better. It's obviously a little bit, well not obviously but folks should know it's a little more expensive, a little bit harder to get your hands on. But, paraxanthine spelt with X, P-A-R-A-X-A-N-T-H-I-N-E, paraxanthine, it's got some really robust effects as far as the wake promotion ability of it. But, unlike something like modafinil, you also have a real, real kind of feel-good effect when you're on it.
A long time ago, Shawn had sent me a little bottle of the capsules of paraxanthine, and I don't know if those are available to purchase anywhere. There's one energy drink company I know of called Upgrade that makes packaged paraxanthine energy drinks. And, they had sent me some of those sometime back. And, I liked those quite a bit. I haven't been using paraxanthine that much. I'm sure you can buy on Amazon. But anyway, so paraxanthine is interesting. Have you tried that one before, Jay?
Jay: No, no. I think I've heard of it before, but I've never tried it.
Jay: I love my caffeine from coffee, man. So, I just don't divert too much.
Ben: I don't know. They call it caffeine evolved. It's at least worth a try if you like to experiment with stuff that give you energy. So, paraxanthine is one interesting one to look into. And, that drink again, it's called Upgrade. But, I'm sure there's got to be some other sources of it on Amazon or people can go to the shownotes at BenGreenfieldLife.com/449. Let me know where you like to get paraxanthine if it's something you use.
But then, the next one, like I mentioned, caffeine gets broken down into a few different molecules, including paraxanthine. But, another one that gets broken down into is theobromine. Now, theobromine, you're probably familiar with as what's found in chocolate. Theobromine crosses the blood-brain barrier. It binds to adenosine receptors just like caffeine does to improve things like mood and vigilance. But, theobromine actually has this really cool feel-good effect. It has almost this bliss-inducing effect. It's one of the primary components of chocolate or cacao, which is why chocolate can kind of pick you up a little bit both mentally and physically.
But, the interesting thing about theobromine that caffeine or coffee doesn't have going for it quite so much is it's a really, really good smooth muscle relaxant and cardiac stimulant. Okay. So, you get these positive effects in pleasure, but you also get this relaxation and smooth muscle. I mean, that's one of the reasons that caffeine can induce a little bit of a bowel movement in the morning, but it's not the caffeine so much as it is the theobromine. And furthermore, the theobromine gives you the alertness without quite as much jitteriness.
So, this is interesting because, first of all, if you don't want to get full on into all the wakefulness-promoting benefits of coffee, but you still want kind of that feel-good smooth muscle, relaxing, bowel movement inducing, cardiovascular health effect. You can actually drink cacao or use theobromine instead. And so, case in point, I use this stuff called MiCacao. It's this dehydrated cacao nibs and cacao shells you can mix with hot water like tea. Unlike say hot chocolate, like Swiss Miss hot chocolate, it doesn't have sugar, it doesn't have any calories in it, it's just the stuff that has theobromine in it that when steeped in, what I use as a French press steeped in the hot water from a French press gives you tons of concentrated theobromine. And, what's also cool is you can combine, it's kind of like turkey and cranberries, you can combine caffeine with theobromine. That's very simple. All I'll do is I'll just make coffee in a French press, but I'll go half coffee beans, half ground coffee beans, and half cacao nibs, and cacao shells from this company, MiCacao. So, that's another one that I really like.
Jay: And, it just takes the edge off of like the jitteriness that you can get from caffeine because it kind of mellows it out a little bit.
Ben: I don't find that it seems to take the jitteriness off as much. What I was saying about that was if you were to just drink cacao all by itself, you get some of the effects of coffee without the jitteriness. We combine it with the coffee, it's not as though you get a drop in the jitteriness of the coffee. I'll tell you in a second what you can do for that. But, what you get is this really nice feel-good bliss effect, and then the smooth muscle relaxation is even better when you combine the caffeine with the cacao derivative. Does that makes sense?
Jay: Yeah, it makes sense. Yeah.
Ben: Yeah. So, we got paraxanthine, we got theobromine, and then the last one, and I think more people probably know about this one is L-theanine. And L-theanine is the one that if you take it at the same time as coffee, A, it makes coffee or caffeine last longer, but it's like this slow bleed into the system, which is super good to know for people who have taken that genetic test that shows if you're like a slow coffee metabolizer and they just get all jittery from coffee. Well, if you put a little L-theanine in with your coffee, it helps out a lot with that effect.
And, the other interesting thing is they've studied the effects of drinking caffeine with and without L-theanine on cognition and mood and they found that the cognitive enhancing and mood-promoting effects of coffee or caffeine are enhanced when you add L-theanine to it. L-theanine is very, very easy to find. And, you can buy bulk L-theanine powder on Amazon, but the dose, the average cup of coffee is about 100 milligrams. And, you can put about 100 milligrams of L-theanine powder in the coffee. It doesn't taste bad or anything, it's got in my pan pretty neutral flavor. And, that's a really, really great way to upgrade your cup of coffee in a pretty inexpensive manner that I haven't talked to a single person who has used L-theanine like about 100 milligrams of their coffee and not reported that they think it's a much, much better experience.
Jay: Dude, yeah. It's my go-to every single day, man. I know I've said that on this show before, but I'm one of those people. I have never been tested to see whether or not I am a slow metabolizer, but I think I am simply do the fact that I get caffeine jitters if I have too much. But, if I throw L-theanine on there, which I do almost every day, those just seem to dissipate or disappear completely. It's an interesting molecule for sure.
Ben: Yeah. I know a lot of people ask me because I have like Kion, we do coffee. We have really good flavorful organic coffee if I don't say so myself and a lot of people are, “Why don't you just start mixing L-theanine in there with the coffee beans?” Problem is once you start mixing stuff with the coffee beans, I think you do, I'm just huge on the flavor of the coffee, and it does bastardize the coffee just a little bit. I just any —
Jay: I think it does.
Ben: Anytime you add something, there might be ways around this like, gosh, is that one guy, Ian Mitchell who I have had on my podcast before, I think he's doing Dave Asprey's coffee. And, Dave has a coffee. I haven't tried it before. I think it's called Danger Coffee. He's putting minerals and things like that in. I haven't had the chance to taste it yet. I haven't, but Ian apparently has some really good process for being able to infuse stuff into coffee beans or coke coffee beans without affecting the flavor. And, if that's the case, theoretically, he could do something like that with L-theanine and coffee beans. But, I haven't even looked into it. I don't know how it would affect margins and things like that and anyways though. But, it's simple enough to just get the powder and add it.
Jay: Yeah, yeah. And, I would say go that route because I've tried at least two, maybe three brands that they pre-grind their coffee beans and then just mix the L-theanine in. And, to me, it completely derails the flavor of the coffee, especially if you're used to doing like I do, which is I grind my beans fresh every single morning about 20 seconds prior to pouring hot water over it. And so, I think it's probably a mixture of those beans have been ground for quite some time plus the L-theanine is already mixed in. And, I've just found that flavor-wise and I mean the feel-wise maybe it's okay, but the flavor-wise just not a fan.
Ben: Yeah. And, I think that pre-ground can affect the flavor. And, we looked into this like at Kion and we use the nitrogen flush packaging there and it seems like the packaging can help out with that a little because basically when you pre-grind it, you're just exposing more of the bean to oxidation. And so, the packaging becomes all the more important in a situation like that. And then, we're pretty keen on a really, really good packaging process at Kion. But, even then, if I have to choose between Kion Ground versus Kion Whole Bean, I'm still one of those coffee connoisseurs who argues for the superiority of the whole bean. But, we do have ground. I like to use ground when I travel or if I'm not going to have time to grind but otherwise, yeah, I'd go for whole bean.
Alright. So, people just learn more about coffee and caffeine, and theobromine, and paraxanthine, and they probably ever wanted to, so we'll probably stop there. But anyways, that's the skinny on caffeine. And, it's again, I think it's just amazing. If I had to choose any molecules, a smart drug, that would be the one.
Alright, so not to gross you out, but if you don't want to accidentally take a laxative or do an enema and have what could potentially be the worst day of your life, then listen to this. If you're currently taking a magnesium supplement, the chances are you're flushing it down the toilet. And, I mean that literally, because the most common type of magnesium is actually a laxative. So, if you take it, you're literally pooping and peeing it out, which is kind of weird because 80% of the folks who are magnesium deficient could actually be making their deficiency worse by taking magnesium. I haven't heard one medical practitioner refer to what happens when you take the wrong magnesium product as constirrhea, kind of this weird combination of constipation and diarrhea. And, the magnesium deficiency is, I mean, it's a big deal. Your metabolism suffers, you can't lose weight, your blood pressure goes up, and the worst part is your sleep suffers tremendously. You can also get constipated.
So, the solution is to not use these magnesium supplements to just drain you and drain your intestines, and to instead use magnesium that's actually well absorbed. This stuff that I use is called Magnesium Breakthrough. It's seven different forms of magnesium, unique forms your body can actually absorb. And, what they're going to do is this month, the company that makes it, BiOptimizers, they're going to include free bottles of their full line of digestive health products on select orders, what supplies last. So, you get free products to try this to support your digestive system. And then, they also have the Magnesium Breakthrough, which further helps your digestive system. And, it's a pretty good deal if you ask me.
So, the offer is available at MagBreakthrough.com/Ben. That's M-A-G-Breakthrough.com/Ben. Same magnesium I've been using. I Love it. Code BEN10 gets you 10% off of any order. No more constipation, no more diarrhea, no more poor sleep because magnesium is super-duper helpful to address all those things and many, many others, so enjoy. MagBreakthrough.com/Ben, enter code BEN10.
What mattress do I sleep on? Well, I'm picky. I'm very picky. I wanted a mattress that blocks EMF, that increases deep sleep cycles based on my actual measurements, that actively cools my body even if I can't use one of those fancy bed top cooling thingamajigs, accelerates recovery, something my wife likes and I like, something that doesn't off-gas a bunch of chemicals, something that is designed using your health in mind and nothing else, no fancy bells or whistles or Wi-Fi or gadgets or springs or anything. Okay, this is like sleeping on the most natural surface imaginable. They've even done what's called dark film microscopy on people's blood cells when they sleep on this mattress and actually allows your blood cells, your freaking blood cells, to return to a natural free-flowing state that allows your bloodstream to optimize the oxygen flowing through your body, improves your body's nighttime recovery cycle, improves your sleep quality.
Sleep is so important to me. You know that. I'm super picky. I don't just sleep on stuff because people give it to me, I sleep on stuff because I do the research. And, this mattress is top of the top. Essentia. E-S-S-E-N-T-I-A, you go to myessentia, M-Y-E-S-S-E-N-T-I-A, myessentia.com/BenGreenfield. Use code BENVIP. That'll get you an additional $100 off your Essentia mattress. So, myessentia.com/BenGreenfield and use code BENVIP.
Let's talk about ketones. I get tons of questions about drinkable ketones. I did a podcast with the folks from a company called HVMN, they make this stuff called Ketone IQ. And, they had sent me a bunch to try. And essentially, it's like this cheat code on ketosis because you drink them and you achieve the same level of brain and metabolism-boosting ketones as you get if you were fasting or engaged in excessive carbohydrate restriction. Both of which here and there can have their health benefits. But, by drinking the ketones, you generate almost 30% more energy, more efficiently than sugar alone. So, it allows you to do more with less. Like when I used to use these things when I've raced Ironman Triathlon, meaning ketone esters, I would be able to consume a quarter of the normal amount of carbs that I'd normally have to consume to get me through a whole race.
So, Ketone IQ had a $6 million contract from the U.S. Department of Defense, and partnerships with a bunch of researchers in ketone science. And, they created this truly kind of cutting-edge drink. It was really called Ketone 1.0, now it's called Ketone IQ, gives you a ton of energy with no insulin spikes, no caffeine jitters, no mid-afternoon energy crashes, you don't really think about food at all after you have one of these. Sometimes I get annoyed because I'll have one and then wind up at a restaurant and not be as much of a foodie as I usually am because I'm not hungry. It works out well.
So, they're called ketone esters. Visit HVMN.me/BenG and use code BENG20 for 20% off any purchase of Ketone IQ, HVMN.me and use code BENG20 for 20% off any purchase of this Ketone IQ stuff. That's an exclusive offer for you.
So next, I wanted to touch on an interesting article that I don't think is going to be a huge news flash to anybody, but it was on a website called The Conversation. And, I'm into looking into natural effects of sunlight. And, I'm just generally how it can be close to nature. And, this article is interesting. It talked about how we used to, as human beings, be better able to withstand radiation from the sun, which I think is kind of interesting. So, I think it was when I interviewed a guy named Matt Maruca who makes those blue light-blocking glasses, he talked about how he had learned from Jack Kruse, who's also been on the podcast about the benefits of building up a skin callus, called a skin callus, which seems like it would make anyone in the beauty industry just recoil and horror at the idea of putting callus on anywhere except the back of your hands. But anyways, the skin responds to routine exposure to the sun by becoming thicker, like the epidermis becomes thicker. It adds more layers of cells. And, for a lot of people, the skin gets darker, that whole tanning effect, because of this protective pigment that gets created called eumelanin.
Now interestingly, eumelanin is not created in as high an amount if you're blocking the exposure of the retina to sunlight. This means that you don't tan as well if you're wearing sunglasses, which I think a lot of people don't know. You'll rarely see me wearing sunglasses. One of the reasons for that is because you absorb more damaging ultraviolet radiation when you're wearing sunglasses. It's not like so much more that if you got a trade, your cool look for the tanning effect that you're just absolutely screwed. But, I'm just not a fan of wearing sunglasses unless I'm out skiing or on a boat all day or something like that. But anyway, so eumelanin also absorbs damaging ultraviolet radiation. So, it makes the skin dark, but it helps to absorb a lot of the damaging radiation.
And, there was this study, it was called The Evolution of Human Skin Pigmentation. It came out a few months ago in, what journal was it, some skin journal. No surprises there. But, what they found was that the evolution of human skin pigmentation has come along quite a ways in terms of the skin color of a lot of our ancestors being much darker, probably because not only were they outdoors more, but they weren't using as many skin protectants and skin coverings. And so, they essentially had skin that adapted to regular exposure to sunlight to the extent to where they were more protected against radiation, lower risk for skin cancer and sunburns. And basically, the skin wasn't undamaged. They probably still had a little bit of a leathery wrinkled appearance that you'd see in someone who's been in the sun all the time. But, this melanin upregulation can actually protect a little bit from some of the wrinkles and some of the damage that actually does occur due to the radiative effect.
Now, this article does go into the fact that there was a time when people began to start protecting themselves from the sun. They probably figured out, “Oh, this giant light in the sky can kind of mess you up if you spend too much time in it. And, these sunburns hurt. They hurt like heck.” So, they developed parasols, and umbrellas, and hats, and tents, and muds, and coconut oils, and different pastes and minerals. And eventually, we came along and developed the chemical cocktail that today we call sunscreen. But, the reason I wanted to highlight this article is that I personally went from being a sunscreen themed who was sponsored by sunscreen companies back when I was racing Ironman Triathlon. And, I was that guy who's just white all the time, but not white because of my skin color, white because I had sunscreen all over me. To becoming more aware that you need vitamin D and that you can harness it from sunlight and not slathering sunscreen on every time I'd go out in the sun, to getting to the point where last year I wore sunscreen twice out of 365 days of the year. And, there were a few other days where I put coconut oil on my skin, which has a natural SPF of 6 to 8. I had a fantastic tan. My skin felt great, I never got burnt, and I think it's because I gradually worked myself up to the point, year after year to where I put on a little bit less and a little bit less sunscreen.
And, my rule, my only rule I have with sun exposure is, A, I never burn. Meaning, I either won't go out long enough to burn, or I'll stay away from the sun during the times of day when I be at a higher risk of burning, or if there is a high risk of burning, which would have been just two days. Last year, I was out in the sun for 10 hours, I will put on sunscreen. On days where I get a little bit less exposure, I'll put a little bit of that coconut oil on. But, besides my rule that I just don't let myself burn, which I think is pretty reasonable, I just went through last year without having any fear at all of the sun and I feel as though this idea of building up a skin callus and training your body how to make its own protective melanin is something that might well save you some money on sunscreen, but perhaps also increase your exposure to beneficial light from the sun and decrease your exposure to potential carcinogens from sunscreen.
So, I don't know if I just gave a whole bunch of people skin cancer and harmed a lot of sunscreens companies by saying that. And again, there's a time and a place for sunscreen. I mean, how I have sent people many times, like the environmental working group website to go find healthy forms of sunscreen. There's the Badger Balm I think makes some. And, there's a lot of decent sunscreen companies out there. A guy I interviewed, Nick Norris, I like his company Protekt. That was one that I used on one of those days when I did wear sunscreen. And, if you are going to wear sunscreen, I think the face with the thinner levels of skin is the one place to protect. But, I just thought it was an interesting article. I'll link to it in the shownotes at BenGreenfieldLife.com/449.
Do you wear sunscreen much, Jay?
Jay: Yeah. Great question. So, I basically only wear sunscreen one week out of the year because we have a recurring like we've done this, jeez, for probably 20-plus years of vacation that we take just as a broad family out to the beach and we stay on the ocean. So, it gets in here in South Carolina, gets pretty hot, pretty bright. And so, that week I will. And, even then, I utilize a zinc-based sunscreen from that company Native. I think they do a pretty good one. It seems to be pretty clean ingredient.
Ben: Yeah, they're a good brand.
Jay: Yeah, yeah, like Native. But, that's about it. I never thought about it as a skin callus. I think that makes total sense from a vernacular standpoint. But, for me, I'm pretty much just like anytime I can get outside and get some sun, I do it. But, I am never out long enough without sunscreen to get burnt. So, I think to your point, it's very similar to what you do. It's like I'm not avoiding the sun and when I do, I don't put on sunscreen unless I'm out at the beach. Like we'll be out for 12, 13, 14 hours at a time. And, a lot of that time, still it's pretty light. And, if I can stay under any form of shading like an umbrella or something, I'm going to do that out of the beach but then get my son as well. It's kind of just go in and out, in and out. And, I'm pretty sensitive enough at least in terms of feel sensation-wise. I know when my skin is getting a little bit tender and I'm like, yeah, I'm at the point where I probably should either put on more sunscreen or I should go back under some level of covering. And, I think it just takes time. I think people, unfortunately, like they just say, “Oh, well, you know what, I can just get as much sun as possible. Let me just go out there.” And, they do it and they get burnt and then the rest of their, whatever, vacation or week off is ruined because they're in so much pain. So, I think it's knowing myself.
Next, while we're talking about sunscreen, we might as well talk about something else that's popular and has lots of controversy about whether or not it's healthy or unhealthy. That's red meat. Red meat. I don't think we need to spend too much time on this because I know all of our listeners love steak or what do they call it, tofu steak. I was at a restaurant the other day and they had, wasn't tofu steak, it was — gosh, they had like a vegan menu and a meat. It's actually really good restaurant. It's called Mizuna Restaurant. Really great farm to table restaurant in Spokane that I brought some of my friends to. But, it's kind of funny. I like the green menu and the brown menu. And, the green menu just got all plants on it. Gosh, I'm blanking. It wasn't a tofurky. Oh, I remember it was, it was meatless meatloaf, meatless meatloaf. And, whenever I see that, I'm just like, “God. Well, why you ought to pretend it's meat, just call it loaf.”
Jay: Yeah, I know.
Ben: Vegetable loaf or seitan loaf I think is made out of the Seitan tofu stuff, which I think is an odd name. But, just pure gluten tofu S-E-I-T-A-N. So anyways, though —
Jay: Keeping you away from it, that's what they're trying to do.
Ben: So, whether you're a meatless meatloaf person or a meat meatloaf person, this is interesting. So, you've no doubt been familiarized with this global burden of diseases study, even though you may not know it by that name. It was published in The Lancet in 2019. It was the one that basically said that a diet high in red meat was reported to be responsible for 900,000 deaths, which is kind of odd because the 2017 analysis, like two years earlier only attributed 25,000 deaths to red meat. And, red meat was actually the least important of 15 different dietary risk factors that they recorded. So, if you do the math over two years, somehow a red meat intake risk of death increased 36-fold. And so, there's a little bit interesting statistics at play here.
And, what happened was that they got called out on it, The Lancet journal got called out on it most recently by the World Cancer Research Fund. They joined a group of noticeably large group of scientists calling out this study raising concerns about the questionable statistics used in the study, the inadequacy of the ability to be able to replicate many of these studies. And essentially, their statement summed it up. What the World Cancer Research Fund said was, “Following our review of the evidence related to unprocessed red meat, we concluded that red and processed meat are causal contributors to the development of colorectal cancer,” which I think is reasonable, by the way. I think it's processed not unprocessed. And then, they said, “Nevertheless, neither us nor other international organizations recommend complete avoidance of meat. In many diets worldwide, red meat is an important source of several nutrients. Removing meat from such diets is impractical and unrealistic, and carries a risk of nutritional deficiency judged to outweigh future cancer risk. The absence of an explicit rationale for the assumptions underlying the global burden of disease study estimates is troublesome, unsupported by the evidence, and unrealistic.” So, there you have it.
Jay: There you have it.
Ben: And again, they did a good job differentiating between the birdies, beef sticks, or whatever they are at the gas station and a nice grass-fed, grass-finished chunk of red meat from your local farmer or whatever. So basically, the sourcing matters, and also understand that there's a lot of funky business that goes on behind the scenes. We don't have to get into it. There's whole documentaries made about, I don't know, Bill Gates and whatever. I don't get caught up in a lot of that. But, what I can tell you is that you can't throw it all under the bus, how powdered eggs that you get from the college cafeteria and a giant aluminum foil-lined bin are different than eggs you gather from chickens in the backyard. Again, any food, the sourcing matters. But ultimately, this just backs up the fact that when you see the headlines that say “Red meat is going to kill you,” you got to dig just a little bit deeper and you got to understand a lot of scientists don't agree with that claim.
Jay: Yeah, I know I'm just kind of repeating myself here from previous podcasts what I've talked about this. But, I think this is why it lends itself, unfortunately, to a lot of distrust to the nutritional science community, to the nutritional research community is because you have some of these things and it's almost like, “Were you trying to intentionally fool us? Were you trying to manipulate the data and causes us to be somewhat cynical?” Or, I'll say it causes me to be somewhat cynical. I don't want to put words in other people's mouth. But yeah, it seems like there's always two sides to the story when it comes to nutritional science and research. And, yeah.
Ben: He's making the money. But anyways, I think we're probably preaching to the choir. But yeah, I just thought I'd bring that up. That was interesting.
Alright, so I'm more and more into feel-good things these days. I'm reading a great book right now, “The Good Life: Lessons from the World's Longest Scientific Study of Happiness.” The book just came out randomly showed up on my doorstep that books seemed to do these days. And, I guess the book didn't surprise me. It was a good reminder. This book was about the importance of relationships and meaningful human connections. Because when you isolate for all the other variables of longevity that they found in this study, it was basically relationships in all form; friendships, romantic partnerships, families, coworkers, pickleball partners, book club members, Bible study groups, you name it. This was the one thing from the longest Harvard study on happiness that has ever been done leads to, as the book says, a good life.
And so, they looked at all these different variables. There were some other things that were interesting like they found that authenticity just being yourself instead of who the world expects you to be, which is a common deathbed regret. That's something that also contributed. So did service; charity, being involved in local community, helping other people even when nothing comes back to you. Openness was another big one. Just like being radically honest and transparent. I think all these are fantastic. And honestly, all of them are conducive to better, healthier, long-term relationships.
But, this idea of social connections being so, so important, as backed up by other articles that I've talked about in the past, analog relation, not necessarily digital metaverse relationships, your friends on Facebook, but actual, hardcore flesh and blood relationships. It protects your brain. It protects your body. And, it was the number one contributor to a long life. And, I'm bringing that up for two reasons. A, just to make sure people are aware in case they never get a chance to check out this study and never get a chance to read the book, just make time to spend with friends. Carve out time to spend with friends and family members. And, it's not that hard. I mean, my team knows, my scheduling assistant knows. We set aside four evenings every month to have people over for dinner. A lot of times it's more than that. Sometimes it's like 8 to 10. Did I say mornings? I meant evenings. I feel I just said mornings. I did say evenings.
Jay: I think you did say mornings.
Ben: I don't know. Yeah. So, we don't have people over for dinner in the morning even though that'd be fun. We have pancake parties at the Greenfields. But, we have dinner parties. And then, family counts too, right? So, we have our family dinners every night. We have our family meditations and hugs in the morning, family meditations and hugs in the evening. We carve out time, intentionally carve out time in the same way you intentionally carve out time for one-on-one dates with a spouse or one-on-one dates with a child. Or, my wife and I will even intentionally carve out and schedule time for sex. I mean, if you make it intentional, this idea of making relationships happen and you don't necessarily do it because you're going to live a long time, you do it because you're going to love people, and a side benefit is living a long time and a good life. It's really, really beneficial.
And, despite me saying that and telling people, I just summed it all up for you, I think people should read this book, “The Good Life,” because there's something about knowing something is good for you. And then, the thing I like about this book is it's got lots of really great anecdotes from old people about how they carved out time for relationships and how they found that the time spent with their kid on a fishing boat was way more important than all the money in the world. And, it's just a book that, as I'm reading it, this is one of my bedtime books, one of my nighttime books. And, I have by the bed stands great book written by Robert Waldinger and Mark Schultz, who I think were part of the Harvard Research study. Or, they were the scientists who helped to coordinate that study. So anyways, the longest happiness study shows that the key to a good life is relationships. Again, I think most people know that, but it's just so important to be reminded about it.
Jay: Yeah, and it's great. And, you need to be reminded on it. And, the main reason is because in the health and wellness fitness communities and domain, the focus tends to be very much on the self and how can we improve ourselves. And, it tends to somewhat not focus on community development and interconnectedness and relationships and social life. Sometimes it's kind of talked about because it seems like it's a good filler throw that in because yeah, yeah, we kind of see the studies of how relationships can be helpful in regards to overall health and well-being, but it's not the primary focus. And, for me as a psychologist, it's quite easy to make this kind of the thing that I talked to a clientele about or patients about is making relationships and community the focus because we are inherently relational and communal beings. And, if we disregard that solely for the self, it's not to say not to work on the stealth but if we disregard that aspect, then there's a huge void there. There always is with people that I find that don't focus on this aspect. So, great, great stuff.
Ben: And, kind of related to this, there's this idea of going out of your way to be generous for people as being one way to connect with other human beings. This is the last thing I want to mention before we take a few questions from our Twitter audience. This article was just so great. It was a simple reading. I think it was an eight-minute read, Get It Done, youcangetitdone.com, posted 50 ways to be ridiculously generous and feel ridiculously good.
I'm not going to read all 50. I'm not going to list all 50. But, just to give you a little bit of a flavor of a few of these that are just so simple, find a little free library near you and they even link to where you can find them all, littlefreelibrary.org and donate a book. If you see a couple and they're trying to take a selfie of themselves while on a romantic date or trip, be that person who asked them if they would like you to take the photo for them. Offer to help and then extra credit you can ask, “How did you two meet?” Send a bouquet of flowers to a random person you don't even know. This one's kind of interesting. Start your day by sending out one e-mail specifically designed to help somebody else without directly benefiting you at all.
Another one was, this one's pretty simple, you buy a coffee or meal for a stranger, like standing in line behind you at a restaurant or a coffee shop. It's got one link in there where you can turn a photo from your smartphone into a postcard using a website called postgramapp.com and send a postcard to somebody like an analog, postcard that arrives in their mailbox. People still have mailboxes these days. Gourmet ice cream delivery. How to buy gifts for total strangers. There's a lot of good ones there. Did you read it, by the way, Jay? Did you check this one out?
Jay: I did, yeah. Well, I love stuff like this.
Ben: Any favorite slip out to you?
Jay: Yeah, the one that I thought was really interesting that stood out to me because I was like, “This would be kind of difficult and I don't know how I would handle it” is buy a gift for a total stranger. So, I was like, “Oh, man, that's kind of tough for me,” because I'm a pretty social individual. But, just buying a gift for somebody and giving to them, I could see how they'd be quite generous and then maybe it would really light up their day. But yeah, it could be kind of tough. But yeah, there was a lot, lot, lot in here that I really enjoyed.
Ben: Well, a lot of people share their wish list publicly on Amazon. You can go to people's profiles on Amazon, you can see their wish list and you can buy them something. And, it makes it super simple, just click on the thing and buy it, and gets delivered to them.
Jay: I didn't realize that was a thing. Interesting.
Ben: Yeah. Number 45 was pretty good. I like number 45 the best. Leave a rate review for your favorite podcast, 5 stars.
Jay: Nice plug.
Ben: Yeah. Anyway, so I would challenge everyone. So, here's my challenge before we turn to our Twitter questions. Go read this article. So, I'll link to BenGreenfieldLife.com/449. Let's say we've got, let's say, a thousand people listen to this podcast. I think more than that listen. But, let's just say a thousand people listen. I'm horrible with metrics. I don't even know how many people listen to this podcast. I hope at least a thousand. But anyways, let's —
Jay: More than a thousand.
Ben: Alright. So, let let's say a thousand people listen to this one today, in particular. If a thousand people went out and chose one thing off of this list and did it, just imagine what the exponential benefits of that would be. So, that's my challenge. Everybody listening, you have to drop what you're doing right now, but make a little note to yourself, write in your hand if you're like my mom with a Sharpie or take a note on your phone or bookmark it or whatever. But, go choose one and just do it, even if just buy somebody coffee. So, that's my challenge to folks. Let's make this world a better place today and go and do it mostly so we can all live a long time because we now know that that will help with that and try it out. So, I'll link to that in the shownotes.
And, let's go ahead and take some questions. What do you think, Jay?
Jay: Let's go, man.
Ben: Okay. So, this is the part of the show where if you have a question, I'll bring it up on whatever they call it the stage and I'll answer your question. Now, I think there was a guy who was asking, it was Jack, I think Jack or Josh, was it? I think the last Q&A, they didn't get their question answered because I ran out of time. So, you know what I'm going to do is I'm going to bring Jack up first. Jack, go ahead.
Jack: Ben and Jay, third time is the charm. Thank you, guys.
Ben: Oh, so it was you?
Jack: It was me. Yup.
Ben: Cool. I remembered correctly.
Jack: The funny thing is I have class during this time, so it's hard to try to run to the bathroom when the teachers talking and try to get on Twitter Spaces really quick.
Anyway, college kids love listening to your thing. I'm from SMU and part-time for when I try to pay college tuition, I take care of dogs. And, I notice that every time I have a dog and the owner gives me their kibble or whatever, the dog never wants to eat the food. And, I always go, “What the heck? Why isn't the dog eating the food?” And, they're like, “Oh, he grazes or whatever.” And, I know that's not how dogs work. Anyways, I end up feeding them raw beef and they eat it till the very brink. So, my question is, do you guys have animals? But, I know you have a few. What are some of these principles that you guys share on how to feed animals, not just humans?
Ben: Yeah. Yeah. Well, believe it or not, wolves don't eat carrots. So, let's dive into that. I mean, in short, the very, very quick and brief answer your question is that our dogs eat what's called the BARF diet, which sounds nasty but actually, it means two things. Either stands for bones and raw food or stands for biologically appropriate raw food. And, this started way back in the day when they had racing greyhounds and sled dogs and high-performance animals and are trying to figure out the best way to feed them, turns out no surprises here, but uncooked meat, usually muscle and organ meat often blended up with a little bit of whole or crushed bones, a little bit of fruit, occasional vegetables, some raw eggs and some dairy, almost kind of a liberal carnivore diet, but for dogs, it is something that seemed to enhance performance pretty significantly.
Now, no surprises here, most vets and then most of the American Veterinary Medical Association, they're not on board with that, and for the same reason that the American Medical Association isn't on board with the raw diet for humans because they say the meat contain a lot of deadly pathogens that could cause your pet to become sick. Gosh, I don't know how many wolves are dropping dead of Giardia, but I really highly doubt that that's a problem. They also say that potential a dog might break its teeth or get an internal intestinal puncture from bones. And, we don't really give our animals much bones. And, we'll grind up egg shells and things like that for a little extra calcium. But, we are actually somewhat careful with the bones. And, you also got to realize that as with any dietary shift, humans who shift to a carnival diet, they get diarrhea, sometimes for weeks. Same thing with your dog, it'll mess up their bowls a little bit and you don't want to give your dog like raw beef for breakfast and leave it in the house for the day and not expect something to go south if they're not accustomed to that type of diet.
But, you can find some really, really great so-called BARF diets for pets online where you'll use a food processor. And, you can process up a little bit of fruits and vegetables, say maybe a little bit of carrot and some apple. But then, you add your beef, you add a little bit of egg, you add some egg shells, you can blend this all up and you feed it to the dog. And, there are some companies that'll do almost a dried version of a raw dog diet where you're just basically looking for grain free or another like paleo-friendly dog food where you can still buy it in a bag, but it doesn't have all the grains and the vegetable oils and all the stuff that's notoriously bad for any biological organism in general in the dog foods. You don't necessarily have to prepare all this yourself, but yeah, I mean, you can go to a butcher, you can get all the bulk muscles and organs and stuff that they're going to get rid of or not use anyways. You can bring that home, you could freeze it, you can food process it, and you can pretty much make your pet their own raw food. And, that's how we feed our dogs and they respond fantastically to it and then they're healthy and they have lots of energy.
And, I've spoken to very few people who have had any regrets besides a little bit of the expense. And, even that's not that bad once you do the math from transitioning from dry food to raw food. So, we go with the BARF diet. How about you, Jay? I forget, do you have a dog?
Jay: No. I do not. I have no pets, just two little boys. But, I've had pets basically all my life but we just haven't, here in the past few years, have any pets. But, I do have an interesting story of my grandfather who lived on a very large-scale farm and they had a lot of herding dogs and sheep dogs. And, what was really interesting about that is I always noticed as a kid, they had plenty of cows as well and they would butcher cows and they would give a lot of the meat scraps and stuff to the dogs as their meal along with other food that came directly from the farm. And, it was interesting looking at the energy and the vitality that these dogs always had and people always commented on them. And, I look back in retrospect and think, “Oh yeah, that's interesting.” People always commented on how great these dogs' coats were and then how also how long they lived. So, they saw that these dogs that were eating basically kind of just that ancestral diet, if you will, that maybe dogs were more meant to have. They were performing better as actual work dogs, and then they also were living longer.
So, yeah, it's an interesting thing. I do not have dogs or any other pets for myself, but I could see that if I did, I would likely go that route just seems to make sense.
Ben: Yeah. So again, look up the BARF diet, the BARF diet. And, there's a couple companies that I think one is called Farmer's Dog. There's one called Nom Nom. A few of these companies, actually it's kind of like ButcherBox for your dog, that type of thing, they'll actually ship this stuff out. So, there are some done for your services, which are obviously going to be a little bit more expensive. But heck, maybe we should look into one of these companies to promote the podcast and give our listeners a discount or something. So, if anybody knows a company that owns or the folks that own like Farmer's Dog or Nom Nom dog food or something like that, we'll get them on board and hook you guys up with a discount if we can.
So anyways, though, so yeah, just feed your dogs the rocky diet, put raw eggs in a blender, toss some beef in there, maybe a little bit of raw liver, and within no time flat, your chihuahua is going to be a mighty wolf. Alright, Jack, I hope that was helpful.
And, what I'm going to do now is bring up Josh. So, Josh, go ahead.
Josh: Hey, Ben and Jay. I'm a long-time listener and big fan of your Kion product. That wasn't plugged, by the way. I just had a question regarding maintaining a healthy liver and kidneys. I recently got some blood work done and I was told I had fatty liver. The doctor kept asking me about if I was a drinker and smoker, which I'm not. I live a very healthy lifestyle. I eat a whole foods diet. I work out five or six days a week. So, I was just wondering if you had any suggestions about supplements or just anything I could do to improve my kidneys and my liver.
Ben: Obviously, we could talk for hours about supporting the kidney health and the liver health via variety of different mechanisms. And, there's a lot of stuff that's just pretty straightforward like don't drink too much alcohol and avoid excessive exercise without recovery, which can elevate liver enzymes and drink enough water and stay hydrated. And then, you can even get a hold of the Doctrine of Signatures thing and you could look at companies like Ancestral Supplements where you can consume grass-fed kidney and grass-fed liver, which based on the slightly woo, but I think somewhat reasonable suggestion that like supports like that that might be another useful way to support those organs. You can avoid excessive protein intake. You can avoid high intake of pharmaceutical compounds and even many ayurvedic herbs that seem to be associated with liver problems, especially when taking in higher amounts.
And, I would say a few things that kind of fly under the radar when it comes to liver care, elevated liver enzymes, kidney care, poor glomerular rate in the kidneys et cetera. The first would be that in Chinese traditional medicine, I think they have a really, really good approach, particularly to renal health. There's a lot of Chinese formulas that are really, really good for renal health. Some of the bigger ones that they'll use in Chinese traditional medicine for renal health, some of which have crossover effects for liver. One is astragalus. And, astragalus is it's an herb, sometimes called adaptogen. But, it's a root-based herb that you can get in a powder or supplement. Astragalus is absolutely fantastic for supporting renal function. And, that's one to look into. Interestingly rhubarb extract is another that in traditional Chinese medicine seems to work pretty well for supporting the kidney. There's another one called Radix, R-A-D-I-X. It's a major medicinal herb used in Chinese traditional medicine. That would be another one to look into.
And then, a lot of people are familiar with this cordyceps extract, which is a fungal extract used in many cases for sports performance enhancement. But, that one seems to be really supportive of renal function as well. And so, I mean, doing something like that and then just consuming a lot of really, really good clean pure filtered water would be an approach that a lot of people might be unaware of when it comes to renal health. When it comes to kidney health, I think that, you know what, I should mention that in this traditional Chinese medicine, a lot of times they'll combine a lot of these stuff, and then they call them tonifying formulas. Tonifying formulas. And, they have different names.
And, there's a guy here who's actually been on my podcast before who I've interviewed, Dr. Toby Hallowitz, who's a Chinese traditional medicine trained practitioner. And he, in the passage just whipped up all sorts of crazy powders for me to support different organs. And so, if you have a good, well-trained Chinese medical practitioner and you can have them do powders and formulations for you in the same way that a compounding pharmacist would, a lot of them will combine a lot of these things for renal health, which I think is a reasonable approach.
Now, for the liver, I think my go-to guy for liver health is actually a guy named Dr. John Douillard out of Boulder, Colorado. I really like him because pretty much any client who comes to me and needs to do a liver cleanse, I'll have him do his short cleanse, which is a five-day cleanse, or as longer two-week cleanse, which is called the Colorado cleanse. You can get these on his website. I'll link to them in the shownotes as well. He has a really great podcast called Safe Liver Cleansing, which is really, really great. He has a really good reasonable approach. It doesn't involve a bunch of expensive supplements, but he uses five primary herbs and a lot of his detox as his turmeric, one called guduchi, G-U-D-U-C-H-I, amalaki, which is also known as gooseberry might be familiar with that one, barberry, and then one with a really, really long name but it's in Indian ayurvedic medicine. It's pretty much the most liver-supportive herb that exists. And, they've shown almost restoration of liver cells in terms of liver cell recovery in heavy drinkers and a significant drop in liver enzymes. This one is called bhumyamalaki, B-H-U-M-Y-A-M-A-L-A-K-I. It's ayurvedic approach.
So, John uses a real ayurvedic approach and he's got this short cleanse in the longer Colorado cleanse. I'm a huge fan of that. And, a lot of times I'll have people go through one of his cleanses and top it off afterwards with just regular consumption of I think one of the better-formulated liver supports supplements out there called Liver Sauce. Liver Sauce, great name, made by Dr. Chris Shade at Quicksilver Scientific. I think we have a discount code for it somewhere. If I find it, I'll tuck it into the shownotes.
Anyways though, so Dr. John Douillard, D-O-U-I-L-L-A-R-D, I'll stand behind any of his stuff, any of his cleanses, any of his detoxes. He just does a really good job. He's a really great guy. We're really well-trained very reasonable approach. And honestly, a lot of his cleanses is from a limp standpoint and a liver and gallbladder standpoint are also going to be supportive for kidney function also.
And then, finally, I came across this because I was helping out a client recently who's actually having some issues with, it's pretty significant, psoriasis and fibrosis issues with the liver. And, we talked a little bit about peptides. There is one peptide out there, with these peptides being the future of medicine in terms of real targeted way to go after certain organ groups. And, there's this one called HMGB1 that's got some research behind it for significant attenuation of liver inflammation and suppression of fibrosis. And, there are companies like CanLab, C-A-N-Labs that do peptides, Dr. Matt Cook at BioReset Medical, Dr. Craig Koniver, Koniver Wellness is a really great job with peptides. He even prepackaged them for you and sends them in their syringes. You don't have to remix them and formulate them and do all the reconstitution, everything. They just arrive already in the syringes because a lot of these peptides are injectable. But, it's interesting that there is one peptide. I haven't taken this peptide. I haven't really gone deep, deep into the long-term research on it if long-term research even exist. I just have to clarify that.
But, anyway HMGB1 is 1 to actually look into especially for more significant liver issues. So, that's another one I'd check out. And, I don't know, Jay, you got anything to add?
Jay: You did a pretty good job there. I would say the one thing —
Ben: Oh, gee, thanks.
Jay: I know, I know. I'm so good at my platitudes. So, the one thing that I would mention which is always something that should be in the back of your mind for any type of health and wellness but especially for kidney health. And, this would also apply to a liver health is just making sure that you're maintaining good appropriate blood pressure because that is going to have probably one of the most significant impacts on overall renal functioning. So obviously, there are plenty of things that we can do to best manage blood pressure. But, as a psychologist, I do feel compelled to say that stress is a key component that people need to look out for. And, they don't really put two and two together when they start to see difficulty with renal problems. But, it could be very much related to blood pressure, to a lack of dysfunction, and overall baroreflex, which is your homeostatic mechanism for managing blood pressure. And so, there's different things that you can do. Obviously, I talk a lot about biofeedback. It's a really great approach for baroreflex sensitivity. But yeah, just one just in case that was not addressed, I would say look into that one as well.
Ben: Okay, got it. Perfect. Cool.
You know what, I have a counsel with one of my clients coming up here in a little bit, but I think I got time for one more question. I think I got time for one more question. So, let's do this. What the heck? I just got to decide who. I'm going to go with Gil Ekstein.
Jay: I bet it's Gil.
Ben: Gil. Did I say Jill? Yeah, probably Gil. My apologies. Alright, Gil, what you got?
Gil: Yeah, Gil. Thank you so much. Hey, guys. I appreciate you both. And, my question today is about plants intake, especially leafy greens. Ben, I've been following you for a long time and I'm a huge fan. And recently, I came across the work by Paul Saladino. I've been listening to a lot of his content lately and also the podcast that you guys did together a few years ago, and also the Q&A about this book. And, I love his content and I know you have a lot of respect for him.
What really surprised me about his idea about plants intake and our misses is I heard you've been talking about this a lot, but I heard that his point is that the cons outweigh the pros when it comes to plants intake, especially leafy greens, and also that the environmental hormesis that you've been talking about a lot is much better since it results in the same side effect and the same benefit as side effects. So, I want to ask you what's your current opinion about this, especially about plant intake and leafy greens? Do you think the pros outweigh the cons? Do you think that if someone feels okay consuming plants, it's probably not doing so much harm? Just wanted to hear your opinion about this. Thank you so much.
Ben: Alright, pretty cool accent Gil has, but I like that.
Alright, I think many people are familiar with my opinion on this or perhaps even more familiar with it after explaining what I feed our dogs. I have no doubt that human beings can survive just fine on a well-comprised nose to tail carnivore diet, maybe with a little bit of extra minerals thrown in and some ground up eggshells, the same type of thing I put in a dog's diet.
At the same time, there are a lot of nutrients, and flavonols, and polyphenols, et cetera that have been heavily researched in plants for decades. Perhaps I think one of the best introductions to this idea would be William Li's book, L-I, “Eat to Beat Disease” where you realize how many anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory, and generally pro-health benefits that you get from plants exist when you're eating a more omnivorous diet. I also think that there are a lot of social restrictions that arise when you're eating a purely nose-to-tail carnivore diet that make it a little less fun when you're over somebody's house for dinner and you're the guy eating the extra piece of steak or you sit down with your family and you're not eating anything on the table and people kind of feel maybe a little bit awkward. Is he judging me for shoving these green beans into my mouth? And yeah, even some things like wine and coffee and some of these beverages that not only seem to be associated with enhanced health but also joy. You miss out on those.
Now, the fact is that, yeah, if you have a compromised gut and you have thyroid issues, so you can't eat a lot of goitrogenic type of foods like cruciferous vegetables. Or, if you have gut distress when you get exposed to even the tiniest amounts of gluten or you're unwilling to do the soaking and sprouting and fermentation necessary to deactivate a lot of the natural plant defense mechanisms that we find in plants. Well, in that case, you might have to go through a process where you spend several weeks and up to several months avoiding vegetables and grains, and in some cases, even fruits, if you have some kind of a fructose intolerance or small intestine, bacterial overgrowth or fermentation issue in the gut or something like that.
But ultimately, my take on the pure strict carnivore diet is that it's a healing diet because you're eliminating a lot of things that can throw your gut for a loop. You're simplifying everything and you're just basically giving your body the nutrients it needs with no bells and whistles or frills or anything that could potentially cause some digestive distress or immune system reaction or anything like that. But, as far as a long-term diet that's allows you to be healthy and happy and that's sustainable forever, I just think that a nose-tail carnivore diet, even though you could technically get by on it, is a little bit boring and frankly, it's not necessary to avoid all these elements of God's Great Kingdom that when prepared properly aren't that hard in the body. It's just when you're an idiot and you're just buying quinoa from Costco and dump it into a pan and heating it up and eating it and then complaining gut distress, well, yeah, it's got like soaps on it and saponins and soap-like irritants. Dude, number to the gut, you're supposed to soak it and rinse it, preferably even sprout it.
And so, I think that a lot of people don't take into account the necessity of slow fluid preparation. And, I've said this before, I'll say it again, they'll shut up. And, the same way you don't jump out of a tree branch with a knife in your teeth like a pirate and jump onto the back of an elk with giant swords coming out of its head and wrestle it to the ground and stab it and then sink your teeth into its heart. You just don't do that. No, I mean, you shoot it safely and then you skin it, and you often dry age the meat, and then prepare it, and cook it, and salt it, and do all these things to make it edible. Well, the same thing with plants. Just don't go pull stock a weed out of the ground, some farmers filled by your house and start chewing on it and expect your gut not to have a little bit of difficulty dealing with that. Now, you got to take the weed and you got to grind it, and you got to mill it, and then you got to soak it, and then you got ferment it and you got to bake it. And eventually, you could make a nice lovely loaf of, whatever, fermented sourdough bread right out of it. But yeah, I mean, if you're an idiot and the way that you consume food, you're not patient, you don't form an intimate relationship with the preparation methods, then yeah, I think that arguably vegetables and grains and the like might even be harder on the body than poorly prepared meat.
So, that's my take. Jay, you want to back me up in the lovely way that you do or you just want to go tofurky on it?
Jay: Yeah, I'm going to be the advocate for tofurkey. Yes. No, I will not do that.
It comes down to, for me at least, and I think that everybody if you want to try it, just try it. Give it time. You don't want to just do it in a day and say, “Yeah, no, screw this, I'm not going to do it,” but give it a go. And, when I say give it a go, I'm talking more about a carnivore diet because most people listen to this are probably more omnivorous than anything. But, what I would say there is that, again, for a sustainability perspective, it being socially restrictive but also behaviorally sustainable, it's a very difficult one. I've had plenty of clients in the past who have chosen to go that route as far as an elimination diet goes, and it's been quite effective. It's been really good for them and they slowly reintroduce things back into their diet, find out what they're still sensitive to, and then you kind of work on it from that perspective. But, I've had other individuals who have tried to go full-on nose-to-tail carnivore, great that they're giving it a go.
But then, they have almost this rebound effect to where it's like, “Oh, man, I'm quitting this. I hate doing this. It feels so restrictive.” And then, they add in just stuff that they obviously should not be doing, just junk food, overly processed food, and it's just this ugly rebound. So, they kind of have gone from eating a relatively healthy diet, omnivorous healthy diet, whole foods diet to a carnivore diet to then rebounding to something that was worse than both of them combined. And again, I'm not saying everybody does that, but I think from a behavioral sustainability standpoint, like eating a carnivore diet, on paper at least, seems way less behaviorally sustainable than it does an omnivorous diet especially if you're eating a diet with vegetables that have been prepared, as you mentioned, in a very intelligent manner instead of just flippantly eating vegetables off to the side of the road like you mentioned.
So, yeah, I think that it comes down to knowing thyself in this matter. But also, if you're going to try it, try it the right way, learn about it, educate yourself, and don't just jump into it either way out the research and the time and prep.
Ben: Yeah, I think we should coin a new term instead of behaviorally sustainable. We'll make up a newer behavioable. It's just not super behavioable. Yeah.
Jay: That's it, in Webster's dictionary.
Ben: Here we go. It's coming in. And, by the way, somebody did send in a tweet during our show. This is going to be an aside and then we'll probably need to end soon because I do have to go and hop on this call. Twitter Handle Arena Manifesto, the man in the arena says you can give your dogs bones by making bone pate. I've never even thought of that. I don't know if I have quite the time to research bone pate, but if anyone heard this, go to the shownotes at BenGreenfieldLife.com/449 when this podcast comes out and share your recipe for how to make bone pate, which actually sounds interesting. Maybe that'll be in my next cookbook. And, we'll give it a try, we'll bone pate.
And, you know what, I don't even know if we have time to read a review, but I'll tell you what, if you guys go do the generosity, if you can remember everybody, a thousand of you, all 1,000 of you, please go and read that article in generosity and do one of those things, preferably number 45, if you know what I mean.
Jay: Especially if you want free gear.
Ben: That's right. So, BenGreenfieldLife.com/449 is where all the shownotes reside. I love you all. I love you too, Jay, by the way, you're very behavioable.
Jay: I love you too, Ben. That was so sweet. I know. I try to be behavioable.
Ben: Alright, folks. Well, till next time. I'm Ben along with the great Jay T. Wiles signing out from BenGreenfieldLife.com. Have an amazing week.
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50 ways to be ridiculously generous—and feel ridiculously good: 50 Ways to be Ridiculously Generous—and Feel Ridiculously Good…46:05
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Q: What do you recommend feeding your pets and animals?…55:50
Ben and Jay Recommend:
Q: Recommendations to improve fatty liver…1:02:10
Ben and Jay Recommends:
- Reduce alcohol consumption
- Allow recovery between workouts
- The Doctrine Of Signatures
- Ancestral Supplements to support liver and kidneys (10% discount auto-applied at checkout)
- Avoid high protein intake
- Avoid Ayurvedic herbs associated with liver problems
- Chinese tonifying formulas for renal health:
- Clean filtered water
- Dr. Toby Hallowitz, Chinese herbalist. Will combine formulas specific to renal health
- Ben's go-to guy for liver health: Dr. John Douillard Colorado Cleanse
- Dr. John Douillard's Safe Liver & Gallbladder Cleansing
- Dr. John's Liver Blend
- Dr. Chris Shade's Quicksilver Scientific Liver Sauce (use code GREENFIELD10 to save 10%)
- Peptide HMGB1
- Dr. Matt Cook
- Dr. Craig Koniver
- Maintaining good blood pressure
Q: Plant and leafy greens intake. Do the pros outweigh the cons?…1:10:53
Ben and Jay Recommends:
- Humans can survive on a nose-to-tail carnivore diet, though there are pro-health nutrients in plants
- Eat to Beat Disease by William Li
- Carnivore diets are socially restrictive, as well as difficult to maintain
- If you have a compromised gut, thyroid issues, or if you don't have time to soak and sprout, then a pure, strict carnivore diet is a healing diet
- If you are healthy, or have healed your gut, it isn't necessary to avoid properly prepared grains and plants
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