Introduction: In this podcast episode: Organic farming methods, how to eat and drink before a long run, if Nutella is good for you, running on a treadmill vs. running outside, recovery from overtraining, oral magnesium supplementation, the latest news from the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research and tons of information on preparing for an Ironman triathlon.
Ben: Hey podcast listeners, this is Ben Greenfield and man we have a lot to cover in today’s show. We’re actually going to start today with the special announcements and in the special announcements because it did arrive on my doorstep this week, I’ll be talking to you about some of the latest research from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. I will be talking to you a little bit about some information on a special promotion during the Ironman championships down in Hawaii for you triathletes out there, and a couple other brief announcements. Today’s interview is really interesting. It’s with a gentleman named Winston Kao down in Florida. And the guy has literally grown 14 foot tall tomato plants. He’ll talk about how he does that during the interview. We also have a jam-packed Listener Q and A. Probably could have made this show one of the Listener Q and A only type of shows but we’re just going to do it all in one show. Might be a little long today but hey if you’re out on a run or a bike ride or maybe you’re at the gym, this is a perfect way to get smarter while you’re getting fitter. So let’s go ahead and start off with this week’s announcements from www.bengreenfieldfitness.com.
As you listen to the questions this week, remember you can ask me a question by emailing [email protected]. And you can also call to the toll free number 8772099439 and there’s an option on that call in number to leave a message for the www.bengreenfieldfitness.com podcast. I’ll put that number in the Shownotes but you can also just email your question. I like the call in questions because I like to hear your voice. It makes it that much more personal. So we’re going to start off with a question from Listener Scott.
Scott asks: You provided some great responses in last week’s podcast regarding pre and post workout nutrition for fat loss and sprint triathlons. I’m wondering what recommendations you have for fueling and hydration prior to runs. I’ve been working on increasing my run distance and am up to 8 miles with a 9 minute mile pace. I’ve been following your Shape 21 meal plan, so what I eat prior to running varies based upon what the plan recommends for breakfast. I usually wake up, eat breakfast, drink 16-24 oz of water, then let my stomach rest at least an hour. I’ll then go on a run and typically have a berry shake or cinnamon-banana shake from the Shape 21 recipe plan after my run, followed by more water. You mentioned avoiding fats and protein for breakfast prior to a race or endurance form of exercise. What suggestions do you have? Thanks, Ben.
Ben answers: It’s really interesting that you should ask this question, Scott. I was actually talking to one of my clients last night on the phone and she was saying I feel so horrible when I go out on my morning long run. I’m not sure what to do. I said what are you having for dinner the night before and she said salad and salmon. I said what are you having for breakfast in the morning? She said well I’ll have a little rice cake before I go out. I said what else? And silence. There really wasn’t much else other than a small cup of coffee. The truth is you shouldn’t be using your long runs for fat loss. Ok? Just because it’s very hard to train for performance when you’re running and to train to basically eat away at your body’s storage energy at the same time. So here’s how you actually eat and drink for your long run. The night before, there’s no rule that says you got to pasta load, you got to eat a bunch of carbs. I actually don’t recommend it. You don’t need those insulin levels going into your night’s sleep because you are going to be more likely to create some adipose tissue. You can get away with doing the whole vegetables and meat thing in the evening. I know that’s one of the thing in the Shape 21 plan Scott, is that a lot of those evening meals, because it’s meant to enhance fat loss are more vegetable and lean protein based. However, in the morning you need to eat about 2 hours before that long run. That’s about how long gastric emptying takes and if there’s food in your stomach during that run it’s going to divert blood from your working muscles and you’ll have that much less oomph to put into your run. So I would recommend two hours before you do a primarily complex carbohydrate based kind of blah meal. We’re talking about steel cut oats with maybe just a little bit of honey. We’re talking about a couple of pieces of whole grain toast. We’re talking about something like quinoa or amaranth or millet or any of those hot cereal alternatives that you can cook up, that you can batch cook and have ready about two hours before. Sweet potato works, yam works. Even a baked potato works. But that’s what you’re looking at doing if you’re going to avoid carbs for your evening meal. Now with that being said, right before you go out on the run you can bump up the sugar levels just a little bit with a gel. I’m partial to the GU brand of gels but what you want to do during your long run is take in a gel about every half hour. That’s kind of for an average sized person and you may think that that’s a lot of sugar to be consuming during exercise but if you really want to feel great, you want to feel fantastic, you want to run some great mile splits during your run, you actually have to keep the sugar levels elevated just a little bit. So you can’t have your cake and eat it too. You can’t lose fat and run fast at the same time. Now if you were going to have carbs with dinner instead, for instance have a side of whole grain gluten free pasta or you were going to have a baked potato on the side with a steak, which is actually one of my favorite pre-race meals… you can do that and then you can get up in the morning and just have that gel right before you head out. So if you don’t like getting up two hours before you run, that’s option number two. Just have carbs with dinner and have a little bit of sugar right before you head out on the run. So, great question Scott. I hope that helps. Oh, I almost forgot. Hydration. As far as hydration goes, if you really want to feel good during that run, you’re either going to have to pick a loop that goes by your house that allows you to sip water about every 20 to 30 minutes or take in the equivalent of about 10 to 15 ounces of water an hour. You’re going to have to carry a little water bottle with you as another option. Or you plan your route as a route that goes by water fountains or gas stations or places where you can get a little bit of water. So a few different options there. I really wouldn’t recommend running for more than 90 minutes without having access to some form of hydration though. In the morning when you get up, if you just drink 10 to 15 ounces as well, that should be fine for helping you along. Now the next question is from an anonymous listener.
Anonymous asks: I have a question in regards to my training and energy levels. Lately I have been feeling incredibly tired and really have no motivation to go to the gym to lift or do my triathlon training. I will finish work and have to force myself to go do a workout instead of just going home and going to sleep. I know I’m not getting enough sleep, but are there other factors that could be adding to this? I’m falling asleep at work too. I can prevent this by getting some caffeine in my system but try to limit this if I can. I’ve read that over training can lead to loss of motivation, but I don’t know if that’s a reason. In the second half to this question, I have a few more races before my last race (I’m assuming you mean triathlons) on October 17th, would it be a good idea to take some time off after that race? I’ve heard that after long training cycles that athletes should take some time off or light training to recover, but I’ve never done this. What are your thoughts? Thanks a lot and I appreciate all your advice and help.
Ben answers: I’m sorry to the anonymous listener, I really did truly lose your name. I know you gave it, but I lost it. I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart. Now, the first part of your question about overtraining or other factors that could be leading to you feeling incredibly tired and having no motivation. Yes, both of those are symptoms of overtraining, as is insomnia, as are stomach issues or diarrhea. You put all that stuff together and you probably are training too much. Now I have seen some cases where athletes are over-trained. They’ve just been doing the same routine over and over again, they’re tired of it and they’re not motivated to do it. They’ve just gotten done with the race or some hard training and they kind of had the big high in adrenaline right afterwards and now they’re on their low. So that can happen and that doesn’t necessarily have to be overtraining. But if you are over-trained, then these signs or symptoms are pretty severe. Pretty big load of cortisol and really a true, truck complete lack of energy. Now it’s likely that you’re not over-trained and let’s hope that you’re not because when you’re over-trained, that can take up to 6 months of very, very light activity to come off of. Let’s assume that you’re overreached and by the way you describe it, I would guess that you probably are overreached more than over-trained and overreached means that you’re right at the edge of being over-trained but if you back off a little bit, you take a few light days, you do some recovery, you actually bounce back stronger than you were before and it’s a strategy that I’ll use when I’m putting together people’s programs sometimes. I’ll get them close to the edge, I’ll overreach them and then pull them back and let them absorb all that fitness. So, some of the things that you can do to recover from overreaching – you can get a couple of nights of sleep where you’re trying to sleep about 8 to 10 hours. Now during those nights of sleep, to enhance your deep rapid eye movement sleep, you can employ something like melatonin. 3 to 6 mgs of melatonin helps quite a bit. Don’t operate heavy machinery but do hit the sack afterwards and it’ll help you sleep. GABA. I take something called Somnidren GH when I need a really good night of sleep. It’s a GABA, kind of a growth hormone precursor and it really helps your body doze quite soundly and wake up feeling very refreshed. I’ve even combined that with melatonin before. This isn’t something that you do all the time, but if you really need to recover well and you know you’ve got a couple of nights or even just one night where you can get some serious sleep, just do it. It’ll help you out quite a bit. As far as your training, taking some days off or some very light days where you’re doing non-muscle tearing type of activity, non-weight bearing type of activity like cycling or the elliptical trainer or swimming would also be beneficial to you to reduce the amount of inflammation that’s occurring in your body. Magnesium can help quite a bit to reduce some of the calcium leakage that’s occurring at the muscular level and what I’ll do on a recovery day is I’ll try and get a massage if I can and I’ll actually bring the massage therapist a magnesium oil that they can use on me. If I’m not getting a massage then I’ll just spray some on my legs and my arms and rub that in myself, ok? Or you can have your wife or your spouse or a friend rub it in. So, a little bit of TLC is a lot of times all it takes to bounce back, but yes. Know that you are experiencing some of the signs and symptoms of being overreached. Let’s hope you’re not over-trained and if you are over-trained, then you would be looking at the same type of protocol I just described but literally for months and months and months. And most people think they’re over-trained but they’re really just overreached. Now as far as taking some time off after your race, yeah absolutely. I’m actually on my third day right now after my almost last triathlon of the season. I’ll be down to the Clearwater World Championships but I just finished doing a race called the Grand Columbian Triathlon and a half Ironman on Saturday. I’ve just kind of been sitting around since then. Stuffing my face, going on a walk. Hopped in the water once and went for a very light swim. But just a little TLC. It helps you physically and even if you don’t need it physically, it helps you mentally. I can tell you right now just sitting here recording this podcast I really, really feel like exercising and sometimes that isn’t the case, but today I’m ready to rumble. Just because my body’s had some time off. Let’s go ahead and move on to a question from Listener Chuck.
Chuck asks: Hey Mr. Greenfield (that’s right this is the guy that calls me Mr. Greenfield), I remembered another question I have but it’s completely unrelated to the other. Is Nutella alright to eat occasionally? I know it’s not the same as peanut or almond butter by any means but it is made from Hazelnuts so I assume it’s not horrible for you. What are your thoughts?
Ben answers: Chuck, I actually did have a handful of hazelnuts with my lunch today and they are a great source of your Omega 3 fatty acids and fiber and a good source of the monounsaturated fats as well. Now if we look at the Nutella, about two tablespoons of that is going to give you 200 calories. So it’s actually kind of around the caloric equivalent of peanut butter and the primary ingredients are roasted hazelnuts, skim milk and cocoa. There are also some soy bean products in there and they put a partially hydrogenated peanut oil in as well as a regular peanut oil, and an artificial flavoring called vanillin. I would occasionally have Nutella in my house. It will get spread on toast every once in a while, occasional little spoonful into some oatmeal. It does have a nice flavor. You do have to be careful with it. For example, when I utilize peanut butter, I just get peanut butter that you look, turn around the back of it and all it says is peanuts. Now more frequently I’ll use almond butter and you turn around the back of that and usually it’s just almond butter. Sometimes some added salt. Primary ingredient in Nutella and I actually don’t think I even just said this when I was listing off the ingredients, is sugar. It’s the number one ingredient in there. So it is going to be a little bit more inflammatory, a little bit sweeter, a little bit higher glycemic index than peanut butter or almond butter. If you were to use Nutella I would want you to treat that the same was as you would any cheat food. Try to consume it before, during or after exercise only or on one of your cheat days or your re-feeding days and not as a staple in your diet. So Nutella is not the worst thing you could put into your body but it does have a lot of stuff in it in addition to just hazelnuts, skim milk and cocoa. So, be forewarned that you can’t put it on the same pedestal as a peanut butter or an almond butter because it is higher sugar and it would have what’s considered to be a higher net acidic load. So the next question comes from Listener Tonsy. Tonsy is a guy who had asked me about exercising in pollution a few weeks ago. He says…
Tonsy asks: Thanks for answering my question Ben. I run in a 400 m track now that’s away from everything, it’s in the middle of a horse-track that I sometimes run on but that also passes under the most congested bridge in all of Egypt, so I’m kind of iffy about that. As for running on a treadmill I always notice that my HR rises much easier on a treadmill than anywhere else and hitting higher speeds makes my HR go through the roof. Is this something that needs adaptation or what? After training on a treadmill for a while, would I find that the speeds I can actually hit outdoors are higher than those I run at on the treadmill?
Ben answers: Well what a treadmill can do is it increases typically the cadence of your running. And if you’re not used to running at a high cadence typically of about 90 or higher and you’re used to kind of plodding around outdoors and not getting that mind muscle reaction to fire more quickly when you’re running, a treadmill will tax your cardiovascular system just a little bit more. Typically your body does get used to that and an adaptation does occur, but when you’re training your neuromuscular system and your cardiovascular system simultaneously you can feel, you can perceive that you actually have a higher level of exertion. And sometimes you actually do. Now I don’t know if you’re actually running faster on the treadmill than you are outdoors since you didn’t shoot any speeds over to me. But your feet are probably moving faster and usually about probably four to six weeks, enough neuromuscular adaptation has occurred for you to feel like you’re running at about the same exertion level on the treadmill indoors as running outdoors. Now what I do like to use the treadmill for is to actually help people out who do tend to overstride when they’re running outside, who do tend to heel strike when they’re running outside because it helps them move their feet faster. It helps give them a higher cadence which is good for running. Now the problem with the treadmill is if you take somebody and you train them on a treadmill for say a marathon and they go out and they actually run the marathon, they’re really going to start to break down after about an hour and a half or two because there’s very low ground reaction forces that occur on the treadmill compared to running outside. And so your muscles tend to get a little bit more torn up so to speak when you’re running outdoors. That’s why you shouldn’t train solely on a treadmill if you’re actually training for an event. If you’re just training to burn calories, you’ll be fine. No difference between that and say the elliptical or the bicycle in terms of actually being something that would burn calories. But as far as placing a little bit bigger joint load, there is going to be a difference between the treadmill and running outdoors. So good question. Next question is from Listener Lou, and Lou says…
Lou asks: Thanks Ben for posting the video of Carolyn Dean (and Lou is referring to a YouTube video that I put on the website about a week ago with a doctor who’s a fairly well known natural doctor, about an hour long interview where she talked about a lot of important things). She talked about the importance of magnesium. You also talked about it in some of your shows. I would like to know what is a good oral supplement type to take? Thanks.
Ben answers: Lou, when Carolyn Dean was interviewed on this show, and you can do a search on the www.bengreenfieldfitness.com website for “Carolyn Dean” if you want to actually find that interview – she talked about something called an angstrium mineral source, because she felt it was better absorbed as a magnesium source than some of the other magnesium sources out there. There are all sorts of different types of angstrium based magnesium if you were to search for them in Google. Now the reason that I don’t have any experience with the angstrium based magnesium is because I personally and with most of my clients use a protocol of transdermal magnesium, and I’ll put a link to the transdermal magnesium that we actually use in the Shownotes to this podcast, but what we’ll do is spray a few sprays of that onto the arms and legs before and after a workout. That typically gets you up to about 100 to 200 mgs a day. And then also in addition to supplementing with fruits, with vegetables, with seeds and with nuts, I recommend a product called Mt. Capra Mineral Whey and I’ll put a link to that in the Shownotes as well. But what Mt. Capra Mineral Whey is it’s mineral extracted from a whey protein product from actually organic goats. And it’s got a magnesium profile, calcium, all your basic minerals. That’s something that I’ll just stir into a glass of water or into just a little bit of juice or occasionally into my oatmeal and that adds just a little bit more of the oral based minerals as well. So, what I use with my clients is a transdermal magnesium combined with magnesium from natural sources like food or from that mineral whey. So good question, and then if you want to listen to more of Carolyn Dean’s personal recommendations, listen to the podcast with her that we did a few weeks ago. Just search for that on the Shownotes. Now the next couple of questions are very triathlon specific, and so again if you’re not into triathlons you may want to skip over these and go straight onto the interview with Mr. Winston Kao. But the first question comes from Listener Andrew.
Andrew asks: Just purchased your 36 week ironman training plan. Looks great. (I’m assuming Andrew got that over at Training… well I’ll just put a link to it in the Shownotes where he got it.) I just have a few questions I was hoping you could answer. On the first day of the plan you mention strength training sessions in the gym, but in looking over the plan I don’t see any scheduled. How would you recommend I integrate strength training into the plan? Do you have some general guidelines in terms of how many days per week and duration? On days when I strength train, do you recommend doing so directly before or after a run/bike/swim workout? Also, are strength training sessions something that I should plan on phasing out after week 10? And finally, on days where multiple workouts are on tap in your 36 week plan, is the intention that one be completed in the morning and one later in the day? Ironman Coeur d’Alene 2010 will be my first Ironman, so any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for the help, Ben.
Ben answers: Well Andrew, in that particular plan, there are not specifically written out strength training sessions, but those general strength training guidelines that I give in that first week – you’ll notice if you scroll through the plan – are actually repeated in a few different places through the plan where I tell you well switch to this for your strength training, switch to this for your strength training, etc. But let me lay it out a little bit more specifically for that particular plan. Now, what you want to do is right now at this point, kind of in the offseason or the preparatory season, you want to actually do strength training sessions that are focused on something called hypertrophy. And hypertrophy is an increase in the number or size of your lean muscle fibers. It’s what you would consider to be lean muscle mass building, a little bit of tearing down, a little bit of post-workout soreness, a little bit more stimulation of the muscle fibers. Not something you want to do during race season but something that comes in quite handy when you don’t have the hard swimming, biking and running sessions going on. What you want to choose are basic squat, bench press, dead lift, the type of moves that are multi-joint and you want to choose a weight that’s about 75 to 80% of your max and generally anywhere from three up to five sets of 12 repetitions in the weight room. And this would be all the way through the first 10 to 12 weeks of your training program. You can vary those up, one day you can do regular dead lifts, the second day of the week you could do single arm dead lifts and on the third day of the week you could do dumbbell instead of barbell dead lifts. And one week you could do your bench press with a stability ball and one week you could do it on an incline bench and one week you could do it on a decline bench. And one week you could do single leg squats, one week you could do barbell squats, one week you could do goblet squats. There are a lot of different ways that you can do it, and actually if you go to www.pacificfit.net, my triathlon training website and you coach on triathlon, there is a link there on the left side that takes you to an exercise photo and video page, literally just hundreds of different exercises and me performing examples of those exercises. Now moving on from that base training or that offseason phase, when you’re getting to be a little bit closer to your in season conditioning, you would want to reduce both the number of sets that you do and the number of reps that you do so you’re not tearing up the muscles quite as much but you would want to maintain the amount of that you’re using or increase the weight slightly. So you can still do the same type of exercises, but now you would want to do for example, two to three sets of 8 to 10 repetitions rather than 3 to 5 sets of 12 repetitions or higher. And then when you’re moving even farther forward in the actual race season and especially in the taper before the race, everything is very quick, very explosive, very powerful, you use about 40% of what you would actually be able to lift as a maximum but you lift it very quickly so very fast type of jumping, explosive plyometric type of moves in the weight room. And then during the race season, what helps is to actually go back to that hypertrophy phase but just do it once per week so you maintain some of your muscle mass. That would be an example of what’s called periodize your strength training. So as far as your other question, you said… well on days when multiple workouts are on tap, is the intention that one should be completed in the morning, one later in the day? Not necessarily. It depends on your lifestyle. You definitely get a little bit more benefit out of splitting multiple day workouts up or multiple times per day workouts up because you’re able to focus a little more during a workout knowing that you haven’t just finished one 45 minute workout and you’re moving on to another, but if you just have the time to get up at 6am and do a couple of workouts then that is actually just fine. There’s no rule that you have to split them up. Metabolically it’s a little bit better, sometimes mentally it can be a little bit better. But no rules. Oh you had one other question. On days when you strength train do you recommend doing so directly before or after a run/bike/swim workout? No. When you can try and separate the strength training. If you have to do them together, then do your swimming, biking or running first and do your strength training next because swimming, biking, running is going to be important in terms of not doing those in a tired state where you’re more likely to get injured during that chronic repetitive motion pattern. And then the final question, and I wasn’t positive that I wanted to answer this in the podcast but after thinking about it, because I get so many questions like this, I’m just going to answer it in the podcast so that you guys can get the answer.
Christian asks: Hi there Ben, I wanted to get back to you to thank you for answering my question in the podcast #58. The advice has been very helpful. I got vitamin D, digestive enzymes, probiotics, liquid magnesium and have been using since the podcast and it has helped a tremendous amount. I just finished the Grand Columbian Triathlon (Hey Christian, me too.) and my recovery is so much better than the Coeur D’Alene Triathlon was. I actually placed second in my age division. So my next event is Wildflower half Ironman next year, then Ford Ironman Coeur D’Alene. It will be my first half Iron and first Ironman. I am very interested in meeting with you to find a program that would best work for me. I’ve noticed you have a 36 week training program and a 25 week program for Ironman. I am unsure of what I need to do through the winter to set me up for next year. I have been strength training 3x week and I swim 2x week, bike 3x week and run 1x week. I haven’t run much do to the IT band problem I was having. It has gotten much better with regular massage and chiropractic appointments. I plan to increase my running to 3x week if I can. I know there is a build and taper to doing half Irons and Ironman events. I would like to improve in all areas of the triathlon and be faster. I’ve been told I don’t need to really train till march for ironman due to my current ability. However I don’t feel that is correct. I need to find out where my weak points are and how to strengthen them in time for next year’s events. I tend to over-train a lot. I have a hard time taking days off. I’m hoping with a structured program I will have better training sessions and recover better. I’m not sure where to start though. Please get back to me on what the first step is to getting started. Thanks again for everything.
Ben answers: Ok, the reason I’m responding to this on the air is because I get about 10 emails like this every week. You’ve got two options Christian. If you want a coach, I can coach you. And if you go to www.pacificfit.net and you click on Triathlon training, and you follow the link there to my personal coaching page and click on the page of Washington State, click on the link that goes to Ben Greenfield. I can coach you. I don’t know if you’re local but I coach people from all over the world online and I also coach people face to face, here locally. I do have a physiology lab, biomechanics laboratory, I do bike fitting, I do swim lessons, I do run gait analysis. I do all of that. And that would be kind of the gold standard coaching package for getting a customized training program to get you ready for Ironman. Here locally, there are about 12 to 13 people that are doing a program like that, just getting ready for Ironman Coeur D’Alene. I also train the sprint triathletes, I also train… I train everybody. I train 50 year old women who come to me and they just want to lose the 20 lbs they’ve gained in the last five years. So it kind of scans the gamut. But Christian, you do have the option of doing just personalized coaching with me and right there on the website you can see what it is, I can tell you right now on the air, it’s 250 a month to do that type of personalized face to face coaching. That has the online program involved with it as well. So your other option is probably going to be – up until today I would say get the 36 week training program or the 25 week training program. The new Triathlon Dominator package that just came out that I just talked about in the introduction to this package, man. That would – the whole reason I created that was because I’m sick and tired of seeing people try to do Ironman, give up on their families. I’m sick and tired of the annoyed letters that I get from wives, even from kids who want to see their daddies – and these aren’t the athletes that I’m coaching. These are people who write in and comment on the podcast – there have been some I deleted. Just people who almost hate triathlon because people spend so much time giving up their lives and their careers and their families to train for it. I wanted to be able to help some of the people that I can’t coach. I do get a lot of inquiries and a lot of people do sometimes end up on a wait list and I wanted to put all this information out there in just one big package to help people who have questions like you. So if you don’t want an actual personal coach, and you don’t want to talk about something like that, just email me if that is what you want… then go to the triathlon webpage or go to www.triathlondominator.com, the new webpage that was just created. It comes out in 16 days and I mean it’s everything. It’s literally the full meal deal and I know that I’m also going to get some angry letters from people who have gotten triathlon training programs from me in the past for the same price as this one is with literally 1/8th of what’s included in it, but I’ve been working on it for a while and I wanted to make it available and just know that the pricing that’s on there, that’s special pricing. That’s for Oct. 10, that’s going to be available at that price. Click in there anytime between the starting cannon and the last finisher crossing the finish line at the Ironman World Championships and it’s going to be available to you. So there you have it. I guess I got a little marketing in that last question. Sorry about that. So we’re going to go ahead and move on to this week’s featured topic.
Ben: Hello podcast listeners, this is Ben Greenfield and I’m here with Mr. Winston Kao. And Winston, you don’t mind if I call you Winston, do you?
Winston Kao: No, please do.
Ben: Could be easier than Mr. Kao. He’s a biologist, he’s an agro-researcher, a consultant and the inventor of the Go Beyond Organic farming technology which he’ll tell us about. And with over 23 years of research, he’s pioneered advanced soil based micro organism technology, water restructuring technology and he’s developed a method to even neutralize sea water so that sea water could be used in agriculture to enhance health and nutrition of crops without actually burning the crops due to the high salt content. He’s developed a method to break down rock dust rapidly for the purpose of soil mineralization which I understand has caused tomato plants to grow over 12 to 14 feet tall and cause broccoli to be harvested over 11 times from the same plant, caused experimental orange trees to produce 1200 to 1400 oranges for three years consecutively. He’s done work in organic methods of hydroponics. And just a real pioneer when it comes to organic growing and Dr. Kao… Mr. Kao, not a doctor. Winston Kao, thank you for coming on the show today.
Winston Kao: You’re very welcome.
Ben: I’d like to hear about this Go Beyond Organic farming technology and what you’ve actually developed.
Winston Kao: Ok, well let’s get down with some basics and that is the soil depletion. Most people know that soil is depleted, but most people don’t realize that soil depletion pretty much came to its pinnacle of truly non-returnable point by 1920. So soil depletion really means the minerals in the soil has gotten so low that they now influence the soil based microorganisms and basically microorganisms have starved to death. So this is where the point of fertility of the soil has been lost. So, this is the point where I start picking up…
Ben: So, are you saying that it was lost in the 1920s or that it began in the 1920s?
Winston Kao: No, it was totally lost by the 1920s and tail end of 30s.
Winston Kao: Yes, and then so of course after that, we got the second world war and we start pouring in petrochemicals as fertilizers, so that bought us to the 50s which actually took what little was left and farther locked that in the soil. So it was farther unavailable. So this is why back in the 1920s, big chemical packages were 200 lbs, that people would heave and roll around all day long. Today you go to a Home Depot and Lowe’s they’re doing 90 lb cement sacks. They’re doing 50 lb, 45 lbs, 55 lbs. People are getting weaker and weaker and sicker and sicker because soil depletion had occurred totally by 1920.
Ben: And what the soil was depleted in were the things that are necessary for our growth, our development and our health.
Winston Kao: That is correct. PH balance, everything. Minerals is the key to everything. And so, this is where I pick up my research, I took one look at the agricultural practices and I go oh my goodness, the petrochemical is completely unacceptable. Everybody knows that, but people going back to this organic farming idea and I’d like to point out that the original organic farming and the old American farming practices are really unsustainable farming practices. The American Indians had to move every 7 years and the white man had to move every 5 years. This is how they crossed east coast to the west coast. Farmers in America used to be proud to say I destroyed how many plots of land as I moved toward the west. They used up, they depleted the soil. So basically, the 5 year or the 7 years as far as I’m concerned – that’s not sustainable. Now let’s take a look at the opposite side of the globe. The Chinese and the Japanese. Their own organic farming practices where they work with mother nature, they hardly ever do any crop rotation. Yet they manage to plant the same plants on the same piece of soil for a minimum of 10,000 years. That’s sustainable. So that’s where I start. So I take a look at what does mother nature do to prepare her soil so that it is full of minerals and life is wonderful. She uses a technology called the Ice Age and for 100,000 years she moves the glaciers over the land, grinds up rock and stones and ice over the surface and deposits at the end of 100,000 years 10 to 12 feet worth of finely ground rock powder. This rock powder then can provide the planet with another 10,000 years of inter-glacial periods. And now we’re at the end of the 10,000 years of the inter-glacial period. So of course, adding more petrochemicals, dumping our toxic waste, mixing toxic waste in fertilizer and all the other crazy practices that humans do, we spent up what was little left for us anyway. So, the whole thing here that I’m talking about is we need to start going back looking at nature does ecological things and mimicking and copying it. So one of the things that I take a look at as far as what do I have to address… one, I have to address minerals. The second aspect I have to address is water structure. Now man also destroyed water structure by cutting rivers up, making them straight, putting dams in them. So this cuts the structure of the water so now water, when it is used tends to get fungus… like people don’t want to water their plants in the night time. Certainly they don’t want to water on the leaves during the night time because fungus will grow on the leaves and you have this kind of a problem more and more especially in California and the desert climate places, this is a very big problem. Actually it’s a big problem throughout the whole world at this particular juncture. So water structure is a very important thing. And of course these things both relate to each other as far as minerals, water structure and microbes. They are all interrelated to each other. And you must control all three factors or you don’t have fertility. So, let’s start out with something very simple so people can understand when I talk about water structure. And the proper time to water plants. Now, most farmers water plants nowadays in the daytime. The first thing you’re going to do when you water a plant in the daytime is you’re going to lose 85% of the water through evaporation. That’s a very wrong thing to do. And especially when water is tight and scarce, throwing away 85% of the water into the atmosphere is singularly unintelligent. So the correct time to water your plants is in (inaudible) time, when the sun sets and before the sun rises. The vectors, which is the direction of where the flow goes during the night time, you have dew… so the vectors come downwards toward the ground. But if you water at this time of the day, the water doesn’t evaporate. It actually penetrates deep into the soil, loosens the mineral. When it turns around in the morning and starts to rise up, it will pick up sugars and starches and other enzymes the plant has secreted deep into the soil. It will pick all that up, rise it up to the surface. Now the plant gets the minerals and the enzymes and the sugars that are brought up with the water, in addition to water it has nutrition. And then the sun rises and you have evaporation and life goes on.
Ben: So when people are watering their backyard gardens and more and more people have those these days or farmers are watering their crops, in relation to where the sun is at about what point – about what time during the day would someone actually want to water?
Winston Kao: As soon as the sun sets.
Ben: Pretty much as soon as it sets?
Winston Kao: As it’s starting to set, probably about one hour before actual sunset moment – from that point where you still can see, from that point until all the way until basically 5, 6 o’clock in the morning before the sun rises again. You usually water into maybe an hour into the sunrise, that’s pushing it. Basically an hour before and an hour after the sun rises and the sun sets is just the correct time to water or it’s the most efficient time to water.
Ben: Ok, that’s interesting. As we’re going through these and people are listening, is there a website or a place they could go to be learning more about this?
Winston Kao: Yes, certainly. You can go to my www.gobeyondorganic.com. And you have my phone number so you can make contact with me and get more data. Right, which was basically I talked about where water can be made to be pro-life or water can be made to be anti-life. Now just explain a little bit clearly, let’s take distilled water from the rain. The rain has a frequency when it hits the ground, you see in 30 minutes of a good decent rain everything turns beautifully luscious green. It has a very high level of pro-life frequency within rain water. No matter how much well water we throw up, it’s just never quite as good as a good decent rain. That’s because the well water is missing the frequency that the water has. Now let’s say life water, reverse osmosis water. This is 90% of water that Americans drink. It is 90% of all the water filtration systems that Americans use and this is the biggest anti-life water that you can possibly drink. It’s highly acidic to start off with and it loves to grow black fungus.
Ben: See, I was under the impression that reverse osmosis was a good form of filtration.
Winston Kao: Was a what?
Ben: I thought that reverse osmosis was actually a healthy form of water filtration?
Winston Kao: Oh I believed that once upon a time too. But no, that is not true. And anybody can prove this to themselves. It’s an eight week experiment. You just pour a distilled glass of water, city water and the reverse osmosis water and just set the three glasses with a little cellophane cover and set it next to a window sill and watch what grows. You will see distilled will turn green, the city water will turn green but not the reverse osmosis. It will stay clear. It will stay clear one, two, three weeks but around the third or the fourth week, pick up the reverse osmosis water and look from the bottom of the glass upward. And you will see that a black layer starts to grow there. And eventually some 6 to 8 weeks down the road, eventually that black layer will start to break up and the green water will start turning green like the other two waters. But that’s just the point to prove that you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to find out that there’s something very wrong with reverse osmosis water. But the point here is that it takes anti-life water and those of you who are drinking reverse osmosis water want to start looking for much better quality water than reverse osmosis water. Carbon filtered water, UV, ozone added to the filtration system is the good way to go. But that’s another subject.
Ben: Ok, I personally have a carbon filter in my home but I wouldn’t have known that a reverse osmosis would have been that subpar. Sorry to interrupt you though, you were talking about the health of the water.
Winston Kao: Health of the water. Easily handled. You get an electromechanical water conditioner. You run the water through it. When it hits the tree leaves it will no longer allow the water to grow black fungus on the trees. It hits the ground and it helps the organisms to grow better, healthier, so now you’re making better compost, better soil. The microbes come back and I have a rule of thumb when I do consulting to farmers. I don’t allow them to buy any earthworms. The reason for that is when you spray the right microbes, you use the right water and you do it correctly, the earth worms will show up on their home. Roughly speaking an earthworm has like 300 egg potential – 300 worms per one big great egg sac. And so 300 times 300 times 300 is already off your calculator. The right condition will bring in horrific volumes of earthworms (inaudible). That’s a great indicator. Don’t buy earthworms. If you do the job right, they’ll show up. And so, you have water, change the structure, soil based microorganisms is the next thing that is very, very important to get and there are many kinds of soil based microorganisms. I have one that… live earth or in the garden, there’s many different – you’ll see on the website that’s for human consumption – what we call in the garden. So agriculture has different names. Septic tanks has different names for different applications. But nonetheless, they are basically the same thing. I also have problems to clean up rivers, lakes –same thing, roughly speaking – same type of microbes. These probiotics – a broad spectrum and multi-family, multi-specie probiotics which we see some chicken, the humans, the rivers, lakes, soils, compost piles and even septic tanks. They’re the (inaudible) digestion for everybody.
Ben: Gotcha. And so with these organic farming technology methods, you talk about the water and about the probiotics that you have, are there other problems with commercial farming technologies that you in particular wanted to talk about today?
Winston Kao: Yes. The other things we just touched upon was the glaciers that mother earth runs across the planet and depositing rock stacks. Now, since we don’t have the time to wait for another 100,000 years to go by, we as the individuals need to put rock dust down on our soul. Now rock dust is like this great big mixture of river rocks. River rocks are particularly better because they have a structure of all kinds of rocks within river rocks. And you can buy rocks sometimes from expensive slate cutters or tombstone cutters. They’ll cut and leave these really, really fine – what they call (palms) the leftover of the fine dredges. And you can get it from three to 10 dollars a ton. Or you can buy for 40, 50 bucks a 50 lb bag, you can buy rock dust. But it’s very, very important to understand the size of the rock dust that you buy. If (inaudible) rock dust which is usually measured in 30 mesh, you’re going to need at least 10 to 20 tons of rock dust to be put per acre on your land which is a lot of rock dust.
Ben: Even if you’ve got a small backyard garden, that sounds like a lot of rock dust.
Winston Kao: That’s a lot of rock dust, so what you can usually get… 200 to 300 mesh rock dust. Now at least that’s immediately available and the remaining will basically break down the next 5 to 10 years. And if you really want to do it big style, get that rock dust ground down to 800, 1200 mesh. Now that’s virtually immediately usable and you don’t have to talk about 5 or 10 or 20 tons per acres… maybe half a ton per acre and voila you are in business. It’s incredible stuff. This is the other reason why I also use sea water and you will see people selling sea salts or using sea water and you can use a maximum of maybe up to 3000 or 4000 parts per million of sea water on your irrigation soil and especially if you use my water conditioner, you can use 3000 to 4000 frequently and safely because the water condition will change the (inaudible) of the salt to be non corrosive so the salt is still there, the minerals are there. We use everything, the plants love it. They stay green, they don’t burn. They don’t do a leaf curl. Salt basically, once you have more than 900 parts per million, it starts to curl your leaves and dry up the tips of the leaves. You have a water conditioner, you can get up to 2000, 3000, 4000 and sometimes I have pushed it up to 8000 to 10,000 parts per million but I usually spray that just before rain and stuff like that. But nonetheless you can get away with a lot. That’s what I usually do and this is how I get tomato plants. Nowadays I’ve gotten tomato plants to 20 feet. One plant will produce about 2000 tomatoes per plant.
Ben: My goodness.
Winston Kao: I have achieved it and so have many other people. This is not real rocket science.
Ben: For myself as a nutrition consultant, and just watching a lot of the debate that goes on about the fact that healthy food is something that a lot of people avoid because of its expense, it seems that these types of methods would potentially bring the expense down. If a tomato could produce that many thousands of tomatoes, I talked about some of the other things I was reading about in your bio about the broccoli that you harvest 11 times from the same plant and the orange tree that was producing 1400 oranges for three years. Are these types of things, just from a political perspective, able to be implemented on a national basis to bring down the cost of people obtaining healthy food or would you recommend that we implement these in the local communities?
Winston Kao: Oh they will obviously have to be implemented in local communities in backyards first. Because let’s face it, we’re going to be stepping on the big farmer, big fertilizer companies, right? And they got all the political clout so this will always be politically incorrect for sure.
Ben: Now for people who may be concerned about this or someone who doesn’t really understand, this is different than genetically modifying a food. The practices that you’re talking about are different than that, right?
Winston Kao: That’s right. I’m talking about standard heirloom seeds, non hybrid seeds or if they’re hybrid that the hybridation is specific as a flower pollen cross-breeding – that’s the definition of hybridization. There are other hybridizations where they do it in test tubes, where they use the tips of the cells in order to hybrid plants. That’s borderline genetic engineering. Although technically speaking it’s not genetic engineering. When you step into genetic engineering that’s when you start cross breeding fungus and fish and pig genes and human genes into the plant. Now you’ve crossed into genetic engineering. Genetic engineering meaning multispecies cross into the same one thing. Most Americans unfortunately don’t recognize that they’re eating a minimum of 70% genetically modified organisms. 70%, that’s a low conservative number. Probably more like 80, 90%. So if you’re not eating certified organic food, you’re eating genetically engineered food at a high percentage and just to give our listeners some reality, what exactly is a genetically modified organism? Well for starts, corn, soy, wheat, papayas. Those strange looking broccoli that doesn’t look like broccoli but doesn’t look like cauliflower either, those are your genetically engineered food. They’ve got multi… so let me give you an example of wheat just for example. Wheat would have of course the wheat plant itself, it would have flounder which is a fish in the North Pole to get its cold gene. It would have ergot. Now ergot is a fungus. It’s also known as wheat rust. It’s the same stuff that we use to make LSD out of back in the 60s with. They have that fungus gene inside of your wheat and let’s say you’ve got Monsanto is a person that’s making this particular genetically engineered organism so they will put their herbicides – round up, so they have roundup ready. Roundup will actually be grown and created within the plant itself and in order to make sure that if you bought your seed from Monsanto, you don’t run over to 3M and buy 3M products, they will put other things into it that assure that in order for the plant to flower or do the next stage you’ve got to use their pesticides or their other programs, otherwise the plant won’t work.
Ben: Yeah, that’s what I’ve heard. We had a GMO talk here on the show a couple of weeks ago from the book The Seeds of Deception, I believe it was called. It was all about these GMO foods and the degree to what Monsanto actually manipulates and has control over the food supply.
Winston Kao: And you can’t even save your seed. It’s actually illegal. And even if you are an organic farmer and your next door neighbor plants this seed and the pollen blows over to you and they come over and check your seeds and they find in your seeds now your organic seeds have genetically engineered contamination, they’re now going to sue you for royalties for not paying them who contaminated your organic food royalties because now you’re stealing from them according to Monsanto. Of course they have legions of lawyers to come after you and also indefinitely deep pockets to send the lawyers after you to collect their money. You can go into the Internet and find out many farmers are being sued by Monsanto and various genetically engineered companies for stealing their products when in fact their pollen had contaminated their fields and they’re accusing them for stealing their genes and not paying royalties.
Ben: Now a lot of people that listen in to the show – they may not be a farmer per se, but people want to take charge of their health and people are interested in maybe making their existing background garden more healthy, re-mineralizing the soil, using some of these organic farming methods that you’ve invented or even starting their own garden. So if you were going to just walk into someone’s backyard garden and give them the list of things that they would need to do to produce vegetables and fruits that are not only healthy but that are producing the increased amount of produce that you’re talking about, what would be the steps that people would take? The practical things that they could do.
Winston Kao: Well, the very practical thing is call me. I have all of this that you said, written out point by point and it will also suit various different people’s wallets. Because water conditions are a little costly. So some people may skip that temporarily and substitute ways to make things go better even though it’s not the real thing. There are many other methods of doing it. So, I have… fortunately there are other people who are on the same page who are making fertilizers that are truly healthy. And this is another show talking about certified organic foods. There are – believe it or not – three high quality petrochemicals when properly blended with humus and humix and all the compost materials produce extremely high quality fertilizer. But they’re not legal for the certified organic industry. Another sabotage…
Winston Kao: Oh, it is… I didn’t lay the laws. Some fool thought that all petrochemicals are bad. But that’s not a true statement. We use pharmaceutical petrochemicals but we blend it with a humix and the carbon and other sugars and suddenly these become highly nutritious stuff. You feed it to the microbes. They don’t roll over and die. They do very well. They make good soil and with incredible growth rates with incredible high levels of nutrition. So not all petrochemical fertilizer is actually bad. But it’s a typical generality. Generalities are always going to get you into trouble. And that’s one of them. I’ll give you another example. In certified organic farming, it’s mandatory that you use soft rock phosphate as your source of phosphate. Well I don’t like to use naturally occurring soft rock phosphate. Why? Because it naturally has too much strontium 90 radioactive material, ok? It has too much comium and they use various different industries’ waste acids. So you’ve got all the heavy metal platings from the plating industry all mixed into the soft rock phosphate. But that’s required. In order to get this wonderful phosphate which is a primary carrier of nutrition to all the plants, more than humans, you got to use this toxic stuff. And I won’t use it. But it’s required. It’s the law. So certified organic has problems. This is why really your own backyard is where you have to start and so what I have done is I have made very simple programs, slightly complex and then of course the more professional programs for professional organic farmers. I’ve made it simply enough so you can just make a phone call, buy some basic ingredients and you can immediately start growing this year and have good crops this year. You don’t have to wait 4, 5 years for your soil to be built up to get good composition. None of that has to occur.
Ben: So in addition to these things that people can go beyond organic and read more about, find out about, order and just have accessible to add to their own backyard gardens, you also have done some work in the field of hydroponics and more specifically organic methods of hydroponics. Can you explain what hydroponics are in the work that you’ve done in that field?
Winston Kao: Definitely. Hydroponics – the word hydroponics – hydro is water, ponics means work. Water work. And traditionally hydroponics has been soil less gardening. So they had no soil in it and they just shoot nutrients, usually petrochemical nutrients onto the hydroponics. So most of your foods that you see in the supermarket are commercialized hydroponics. Very, very toxic industry. So toxic that the farmers have to go into space suits and self-breathers to walk in and the security is unbelievably high. That’s how your hydroponic tomatoes are. So we’re definitely not talking about that type. The extreme opposite side, my hydroponics actually does in fact use soil. Still water works but hydroponics has the potential to grow between 9 and 25 times more food for the same period than on regular soil. And the only reason there (inaudible) feeding your plants at least once a day or in the commercial world they feed it in 3 times a day. But in my system, because we’re using some form of soil, the water retention is much better than soil-less hydroponics which the water just goes right through it and the plants get to catch it and as soon as the water turns off, that’s it. Mine holds the water so you only need to water once a day, a couple three, four minutes and it’s all automated. So we make special media which I will teach people how to make and we use similar things of the soil-less people would use. Perlites and vermiculites and some coconut shells. But we’ll add rock powders and other things to the media so it’s resembling more soil than not. And then as I was mentioning just before we got cut off, we use heavy amounts of foliar seeding. You see, we’re taught that plants mostly absorb their food through their root system. This is singularly an untrue statement. Plants primarily absorb food through their leaves. As a matter of fact, 80% of the nutrients of a plant goes through a leaf and only 20% of the nutrients go via root system. Another thing I wanted to cover so that people really understand is it’s not from the top side of the leaf. It’s from the bottom side of the leaf. We’re going to cross into a field where university professors are going to be screaming bloody murder because they totally don’t believe in this, and that is calcium, magnesium and all these minerals actually do break down into gaseous form. And under every single leaf on the planet, the stomas or the mouths where the plant actually breathes are faced downwards. There’s virtually no stomas on the top side of the leaf except for cactuses. Aside from those plants in the middle of the desert, everybody else has stomas on the bottom side of the leaves. So they’re… gaseous vapors is coming up from the compost, from the soil, rising up – and that’s what they’re catching to feed the plants. So knowing this, agricultural industries these days are doing tremendous amounts of foliar feeding and that’s what people need to focus on. That’s 80% part of the equation. And eventually this will be coming down into the schools, maybe 100 years down the road but you can do it today.
Ben: Is that really the problem? Is the problem with our current farming methods what’s being taught in the university level and agriculture departments? Or is it what’s being taught from farmers to their sons to their sons and just being brought down from the generations based off of this idea that the initial farming methods were more than nomadic farming methods?
Winston Kao: No, it’s actually the university people who are funded by the petrochemicals people and if you check into the university funding, you will find that most of the funding are funded by the pharmacy industry and petrochemical industry who fund the university, who then controls the curriculum of what goes on and what is taught. This is why we have doctors who are not permitted to cure, but only permitted to treat and farmers who only use toxic pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers to grow and you can talk to plenty of professors and they’ll flat out to tell you, it’s impossible to grow without pesticides and petrochemical fertilizers. I like to point out that hasn’t always been true for human history. But they will say that with a straight face and totally believe it, wholeheartedly, that you can’t grow anything without pesticides. That’s not possible in their viewpoint. I don’t use even soap water, cayenne pepper or garlic juice –I don’t even need to use that. Why? Because I have the minerals there. And when you have high enough minerals, you have high enough sugar content in your plant therefore you have high enough nutrition and high enough immune system – the plants can defend themselves and they simply don’t get sick.
Ben: So how do you implement change? What’s it going to take to actually turn America into a country that can produce healthy vegetables, healthy fruits in a quantity that makes them affordable for the general population?
Winston Kao: Well the change is occurring. I think we are in a cross over between the old civilization and a new civilization. I think speaking politically, there’s more chaos in America politically speaking than we have seen in 200 years and the last time in 200 years it was pretty bloody. Hopefully we don’t get into the bloody end of it, but we’re definitely going to have a changeover and I believe as the changeover goes into what I call the dawn of the new millennium, these technologies will be wholeheartedly embraced by everybody and it’s already the trend can already be seen. You see many of the supermarket people are starting to stock up with organic food. Yeah, they may be a little more expensive but at least it’s starting. 10, 15 years ago you couldn’t buy anything organic. They’d just laugh at you.
Ben: That’s true. I guess I kind of take for granted some of the changes that we are seeing. It’s slow isn’t it?
Winston Kao: Yes, it’s slow but it’s definitely happening and the crazy things we see politically, that’s like a bad nightmare. It will eventually blow over and go away. And so, look at the positive side. As individuals, you can grow food and let me tell you a little four feet by four feet little garden can produce a tremendous amount of food when you start applying hydroponics. I have a little 280 plants in a 10 foot by 10 foot area. 280 plants. This is hydroponics. So for every square foot in the 10 by 10, there’s like 26 plants. There are (inaudible) stacker and it stacks all the way up. One square foot you can have 20 something plants there.
Winston Kao: So this is hydroponics. And even if you just take a look at what equipment you can use, there’s hundreds of designs of hydroponic equipment that you can use and you can get even if you’re broke, you get empty buckets and cut them and turn them into hydroponic pots. The bottom part becomes the reservoir, the top part is soil. And you just pour the solutions down the pipe and it goes to the bottom of the bucket and you only need to water your plants once a week. And you’ll have incredible bumper crop growth on a balcony. So everybody can do this. Just look at my website, call me, and there’s plenty of data out there. Go hunting on the Internet and you’ll find lots of people are out there teaching people how to do soil-less gardens, patio gardens. The tech is out there.
Ben: People just have to make the change. That’s what it takes, for people to really re-invent the way that they think about food and the way they get food and the way they grow food. I think it’s a great service you’re doing with your website and I’m going to put a link to that in the Shownotes and of course, once they go to that website, you were talking about people calling you but your number will be there on your website as well, correct?
Winston Kao: That’s right. If they’re listening to us now, there’s a number which is 7274472344. Or just go to the website and email me at [email protected]
Ben: Fantastic. Well, Mr. Kao, I’d like to thank you for coming on the show today and talking about this, helping to open people’s eyes and I look forward to actually going to your website and starting to implement some of your advice in my own garden here in my own backyard. So thank you for coming on the show.
Winston Kao: You’re very welcome Ben, it was my pleasure.
Ben: Alright, well have a wonderful week and this is Ben Greenfield and Winston Kao signing out from www.bengreenfieldfitness.com.
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