September 26, 2020
From podcast: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/podcast/lifestyle-podcasts/abel-james/
[00:01:09] Podcast Sponsors
[00:03:34] Guest Introduction
[00:07:22] E-Sports Vs. Traditional Physical Sports
[00:21:00] The Importance Of Self-Censorship In The Art We Put Into The World
[00:28:00] Writing A Poetry Book
[00:33:22] Podcast Sponsors
[00:38:43] Abel's Spiritual Disciplines
[00:44:10] Reconciling Great Achievements With The Flawed Persons Who Achieved Them
[00:48:34] Censorship And Achieving High Rankings On The Big Search Engines
[00:55:44] Abel's Current Diet
[01:02:48] The Wild Approach To Eating
[01:08:17] Closing the Podcast
[01:10:01] End of Podcast
Ben: On this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast:
Abel: One of the reasons I'm really interested in it is because we have to find these good uses for it for education and training before everyone uses it to become worse people. I've realized how upside down this world is more and more in the past couple years. There's always a way to adapt, but you have to honor that sometimes it's time to stop doing things.
Ben: We're both on Greatest in the world's 100 most influential health and fitness people and we're not there anymore?
Abel: Try to look us up.
Ben: Health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and much more. My name is Ben Greenfield. Welcome to the show.
Well, I've been put to shame. My guest on today's podcast has a much better, deeper, richer podcasting voice than I do, and he's also a wonderful musician, a renaissance man, a dear friend, a man after my own heart, the great Abel James. We had a fun conversation you're going to love.
Now, before we jump in, one of the things that you should know is that today's podcast is brought to you by a pretty cool new little immune product that we've been working on over at my company, Kion. Really cool product. It's a blend of two of the most studied and clinically proven nutrients for immune health, vitamin C, and zinc. And we have an extremely good source of vitamin C and zinc. Vitamin C to facilitate the production of immune cells and protect them from harmful molecules, oxidative stress. And then, zinc, if you have been living under a rock lately, you probably haven't heard about zinc and its effects on supporting the immune system, but man, it plays a central role in immune cell formation. A lot of people are deficient in zinc, too. Surprising. Anyways, we've come to this new product that contains vitamin C, and also, of course, you guessed it, zinc, at Kion. And you can grab it now and save 10% off if you go to getkion.com, getK-I-O-N.com. You get 10% off if you use code BEN10.
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Alright, let's go talk to Abel.
Well, folks, my guest on today's podcast is an old friend of mine. Meaning, he's not old, he's just young and vibrant, but he's been my friend for a long enough time to where I would call him an old friend. He's also a New York Times best-selling author, he is a musician. He is the host of a podcast, a very popular podcast called the “Fat-Burning Man Show,” which has been a number one podcast multiple times in the health category of Apple and beyond all over the planet for quite some time. So, he's also a little bit old school in that regard, I suppose. He and I way back in the day put together a course on Udemy. What was that course even about, Abel, before I finish introducing you? I'm now forgiving.
Abel: It's kind of like biohacking, before biohacking a little bit, before people knew what it was. So, it was just Greenfield showing off all his cool gizmos and me being a slack jaw to some of the other people who were watching.
Ben: Yeah. Basically, I don't even know if it's still on Udemy. It probably is. It would be entertaining to go back and watch it and see what we were excited about then. I think you had all sorts of crazy things. You're roasting your own coffee. I remember you wouldn't shut up about like how proud you were that you're roasting your own coffee.
Abel: So good.
Ben: You decoded green coffee beans and I think I had gotten my first ever device that I could put on my head. I think it was like a Vielight or something like that. And I was super proud that I was using cutting-edge science to stick some probe up my nose and you were concerned I think about damage to my brain. It was back in the early days. Anyways, to continue on with the introduction, although I've kind of spoiled it now, Abel James is my guest. He has been named as one of the 100 most influential people in health and fitness. He has been an influencer in the health and fitness community, particularly amongst the ancestral paleo-ish crowd for quite some time. He's really a dynamic personality, as you'll learn on today's show because he is a bit of a renaissance man. I don't know if I may go so far as to call you a polymath, Abel, but I would say a renaissance man.
Abel: Only if you call yourself one, Ben.
Ben: Yeah, exactly.
Abel: I'll call you one, you can call me one.
Ben: I don't even know what polymath means, honestly. So, I'm pretty sure that automatically classifies me as not being a polymath. However, Abel just sent me up his book, a new book on poetry that he wrote, and then an updated version of his new award-winning book, “The Wild Diet,” which is also a little bit of a fitness manual in and of itself as well. And of course, he's also a fantastic musician. Are you on Spotify, Abel? Can people find you there?
Abel: Yeah. Look up Abel James on Spotify.
Ben: Okay. Alright, cool. And I'll link to Abel, his website, his music, his books, everything if you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/designerbabies. That's BenGreenfieldFitness.com/designerbabies. And why designer babies? Because the name of Abel's book that he sent to me a few weeks ago that my kids got a real kick of actually, they thumbed through it for like a good hour at the dinner table, I got lots of questions from this book, it's called “Designer Babies Still Get Scabies.” It's a poetry book. And so, I not only want to talk a little bit about how a guy is so immersed in health and fitness, gets into poetry, and also marries that to music, but a whole lot more because Abel has some great stories. So, welcome back to the show, man.
Abel: Thanks so much, Ben. And I just want to say it's been, well, like a decade now. I think you actually first got in touch with me kind of like blind, I didn't know who you were at the time, for music. So, it's so cool, too, 10 years later with everything that's happened.
Ben: Yeah. I remember actually, you were interested in–or I knew that you were interested in music and its correlation to the brain, something I was interested in at the time, too, how music can expand and grow the brain. You and I met online, and then we went to like this back alley, San Francisco conference with maybe a couple of dozen people in some basement of like a co-working space or something like that in San Francisco put on by this random dude who was kind of getting into putting on conferences named Dave Asprey. And it was Dave Asprey's little biohacking conference. It was like me, you, Aubrey Marcus. I'm trying to remember who else, like just a few of the folks who have since gone on and launched their own little, I guess everything from biohacking to fitness to nutrition communities. It was kind of funny. That's where you and I, I think, actually met face to face because you were giving a talk about music and the brain.
Abel: Yeah. And then, after that, then the ancestral health conferences, and then masterminds, and all this stuff. We're seeing each other everywhere for a while. And then, times change and you always expect, or at least I expect things to go on forever as they are. That's something we need to work around, I think. So, now it's been, especially with these lockdowns, so much harder to see people like you, Ben, give proper hugs and like actually masterminds, really talk to each other, especially for dudes, for women too, but for dudes, we need that excuse. So, that's been interesting because as you referenced, I've unplugged with my wife a few times and we've been on the circuit, and then off the circuit. And I miss you, man, and I miss a lot of the people who we used to get together with. Hopefully, we could bring a lot of that back.
Ben: I miss you, too. Well, you got married, too, which of course [00:09:13] _____ hanging out with the bros. You got married to like a competitive video game athlete, didn't you?
Abel: Yeah. So, Alyson was one of the first–she was on one of the first all-pro, all-female video gaming teams, and she specialized in first-person shooters like Halo. So, now she pretty much runs our business and she made a good transition there.
Ben: That's crazy. And from what I understand, that can actually be a very successful career, e-gaming.
Abel: Totally, yes.
Ben: I was even reading an article the other day about how doping is becoming an issue, modafinil and microdosing with psychedelics, or they're using LSD, et cetera, that they're actually concerned or beginning to somehow do some type of testing for e-gaming. And there was another sport. I think it was like chess or something like that at universities that they were also beginning to test for because doping, not like blood doping with erythropoietin, but psychedelic or nootropic or smart drug dosing is increasingly common amongst them and poker players as well.
Abel: Yeah. Even just Adderall. And that was actually big back in the day. I remember going to college. I was very much against drugs. I had an older brother who was for drugs, and so I was kind of raised with that as a negative example, and really stayed away from especially hard drugs and Adderall, and study drugs, and things like that. But in gaming, in universities, in a lot of sports, people are going to try to do whatever they can. Alyson talked about this. I was like, “Try to compete playing video games against someone who's on Adderall, who's just been crushing for 14 hours straight like in the zone. They might win the video game short term, but then they're not going to be a health person after that.”
Ben: Yeah. The game of life can get a little bit effed up with enough amphetamine and dextroamphetamine combined with long periods of time staring at screens, I can imagine.
Abel: Yeah. Not good. But I mean, to your point, it's incredible because now, especially in this crazy world we're living in now, I would not expect physical sports to outlast the e-sports for very much longer. And you're seeing the e-sports really starting to overtake the physical sports, which is–it kind of messes with my head a little bit. I don't know if it's good or bad. It's different though.
Ben: Yeah. I actually didn't know that it was outpacing although with the way the NBA is progressing, indoor arena games televised with no crowds and UFC fights in Abu Dhabi with no screaming participants in the audience. I can imagine that group crowd sports, the way that we're used to viewing them, well, they have changed and we'll see how long this lockdown continues. But I would imagine people would be able to increasingly or with greater ease turn to e-gaming. So, that wouldn't surprise me.
Abel: One thing that we have gotten really into in the past few years is virtual reality, and that has been used and can be used for training purposes. Quarterbacks have been using this for many years. Ben, have you tried it much? You probably have, right?
Ben: Yeah. I've tried virtual reality in that. I've gone to the virtual reality movie theater in L.A. at Century City where you're immersed in your own kind of 20-minute movie that you're a part of. I've attended Peter Diamandis' A360 event, which basically was a huge collection of different VR haptic vests, haptic gloves, and pretty cool experience I think for some although I just–between that and my other VR experiences, for example, taking my kids every single freaking day to the arcade in Dubai when I brought them there because all they wanted to do was go to VR.
I just have something that slightly twists in my stomach when I have a giant device attached to my head generating electricity indoors in stale air trying to live a life on a screen when I could otherwise be experiencing something outdoors that is real, and I get it. I had dinner with Andrew Huberman a few months ago in L.A. and he was talking to me about his neurology lab at Stanford where he's using virtual reality to cure fear. He's putting in people down swimming with great white sharks and jumping off cliffs. And I see that as a good application. I see training surgeons. To do VR surgery is a good application, but I see the cons outweighing the pros at least for me of VR for pure entertainment's sake.
Abel: Totally, and I hear that. And we've been playing with it and we've had at least a half dozen different headsets. Some of them tethered to powerful computers and things like that. And when you have the six degrees of freedom, which you probably had in Dubai and some of the more–if you go to a place that has virtual reality, most of them have room-scale where you can walk around and it's changing with you. But what I wanted to bring up that's really interesting was the fact that even if it's just a visual image up against you like a boxer or someone coming at you in virtual reality, it feels viscerally real.
Ben: Oh, yeah, it does. I did the boxing game. You know what my very first experience was was I was with author Neil Strauss, and he had just gotten the Oculus Rift. He was super stoked about it and he's showing me the dinosaur game. And when the T-Rex came at me and lunged at me, I felt its saliva spray in my face. I'm like, “Holy shit, this is real.” I don't know how I felt that sensation. And I finished, and I removed the headset, and he was standing there smiling with a little water squirt bottle because he had sprayed my face right when the T-Rex had lunged. So, I was a little bit confused about what was going on. But yeah, it can be incredibly realistic and I'm curious what kind of device that you experiment. I would imagine being married to Alyson, you guys probably have access to some of the topnotch stuff, or at least you know what's topnotch?
Abel: Yeah. We've dabbled. The one that's like the highest quality that we've used is the HTC Vive. I think ours is the Pro. There are so many different permutations, but we have the Untethered Oculus, the cheaper variety headsets, a couple of those. And those don't have the six degrees of freedom room-scale thing. And so, what that means is you can turn your head and the scene will change and you can look around. But if you move your head like up and down, if you crouch, if you walk forward, it's not going to change accordingly. I believe it's that that really makes it feel realistic for people, or at least for me.
It's so funny when I started playing some of these boxing games and some of these target practice or archery games and things like that, I wondered how useful the training would be. Are we training bad habits, or whatever? But before I could even think about any of that, there's someone upon you like trying to punch you in the face, dodging it, and I'm crouching down, and I'm sweating as if I'm actually sparring with someone. You know how you're totally gassed after like 90 seconds, 2 minutes, whatever? I got that out of one of the first times I ever used like a boxing VR game in the six degrees of freedom. I found that extremely powerful because, yes, it can be used for good, but more likely, it's going to be used to control people more or make them buy more stuff, or subtly influence the way that their mind works or their brain patterns. And also to your point, all of the EMFs and the lights and staring into lamps is not good for you. So, it's definitely there are growing pains right now, but I think one of the reasons I'm really interested in it is because we have to find these good uses for it for education and training before everyone uses it to become worse people.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. And apparently, I was reading an article, and I'll hunt it down and link to it in the shownotes. There are some people now combining LSD, mushrooms, MDMA, et cetera, with some of these virtual reality experiences to enhance the psychedelic experience.
Abel: That sounds like a CIA wet dream like MK Ultra and steroids.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. I mean, having experienced plant medicines in the context of really good music, a Mindfold mask, or even in some cases, some light therapy devices. I could actually see that being pretty interesting, or at least if nothing else, a fantastic experience. Although I haven't ever experienced something like that personally, I think that would be very interesting, the combination of psychedelics and virtual reality.
Abel: Yeah. I think it's just you have to be careful, right? Because like when you read a tweet, there's not that much data exchange between people. When you throw on a headset though and you put yourself in that environment, you're going to have dreams about it. It's that real. So, especially for kids, before we normalize all of this, I think we want to be careful with it. One thing that really impressed me with the state of the technologies, the cameras are a bit better than the headsets right now, and the resolution is ahead of it by a few years it seems.
And so, I went to my brother's farm up in Upstate New York, and he has bees, and he's growing all these different things. And because of the resolution, you can get right up in there. And so, I filmed a lot of 360 from the beehive, and also kind of like explaining how he grows things and looking up closely in the soil. You just can't really do that so well with an iPhone video as you can in VR with a high rate of resolution, and a refresh rate that's appropriate, and good color, and all the rest of it. So, there's definitely a learning curve and it's freaking two to four gigabytes of–what is it? Two to four gigabytes a minute, I think, for that footage in particular.
Ben: Have you put any of that online, any of the filming that you've done for virtual reality experiences?
Abel: Yeah. I've put some. And actually, a couple years ago, we were like some of the top creators on some of those sites. But because it's such a new and expensive area, a lot of these companies and platforms just come and go. So, like for us, we have over 400 or 500 VR experiences that we've created, but most of them are on hard drives because there isn't that–like we threw some of them up there on Vimeo, but that doesn't have spatial audio. The audio doesn't sync up perfectly with the footage because they don't have the tech there. And then, YouTube does, but they don't pump any of your videos and they don't show them to anyone because people aren't wearing the headsets yet.
Ben: Yeah. So, if you were to go and view one of these immersive experiences, like let's say traveling through a beehive, you would need the actual VR headset in order to really appreciate the video itself?
Abel: Yeah. It's definitely the highest degree of appreciation with that and immersion and experience, but with a phone that you can also turn around the 360 space, most phones are able to do that now, that's also a really cool experience. Once you realize that your video isn't stuck in the frame anymore and you can look up, and you can see the moon or the stars, you can look down, you can see the dirt, but just by moving your phone, that's also a really cool thing to try that most people don't even realize their phones can do.
Ben: No. I'm finding all sorts of features on this freaking huge ass iPhone 11 Max that I have, and I thought the Max–don't laugh, I bought it because I like to read Kindle books on my phone and I have no clue about any of the other features on this phone aside from it's a large enough screen for me to get through a book on an airplane without having to travel with two devices, my Kindle and my phone simultaneously. So, I should probably dig into some of the features of this or take some kind of an iPhone 11 course to learn about this supercomputer I carry in my pocket, and probably, significantly underutilize.
I want to talk about poetry. And I'm sure I just probably put half of our audience to sleep as soon as I mentioned the word poetry on a largely fitness-based podcast. However, I am very, very curious about what inspired you to write a book called “Designer Baby Still Get Scabies,” this book of poetry. What got you into poetry?
Abel: Well, it's a way for me of venting frustration often and a way of capturing memories. When I was just a kid, I was just enchanted by music and it swallowed me up. And at the time, I also rubbed shoulders with and had the opportunity to learn from some incredible teachers more in like the English department. They were some of my favorite teachers who also did creative writing and what have you. So, I started writing songs and poetry way back when I was probably 10 or 11, and I'll do it in cycles. Sometimes I wake up and a bunch of stuff comes out, and a lot of it is–here's what I realized, Ben, is that if you can wrap an idea up and rhyme it, especially rhyme it in a little bit of a clever way, then you can get away with saying almost anything. And there's a lot of risk here, but if you're willing to make a line somewhat creatively oriented, or make it show up as if it is art, then it's accepted by people in a different way. So, you and I speaking on this podcast or on mine, I do a lot of self-censoring because I realize that there are families watching with their children, and there are people who have different political beliefs, and there are people who come from different backgrounds, all of it.
Ben: Right. Which is, not to rabbit hole too much, that's actually difficult for me because I am, and a lot of my audience knows, I am a conservative Libertarian Christian who lives on the border of North Idaho. There are, based on that as you can imagine, a variety of topics from vaccination to religion to my really true, open, honest feelings on this pandemic that we're living through and beyond that I'm careful not to voice too dramatically on my show or too forcefully on my show, not because of fear per se, but because when I see the amount of vitriol and divisiveness that occurs if I get close to those borders, I realize that the amount of good that I can do helping people learn about the spiritual discipline such as gratitude, and meditation, and connection with family, being outdoors, nature therapy, fitness, caring for one's body, preparing amazing meals, et cetera, all of that I think helps deliver a lot of value into people's lives. And if I turn myself into an extremely divisive, whatever, like an Alex Jones-esque character on my podcast, sure, I might be able to get some wheels spinning in people's heads in other directions. I guess the best way I can describe it is that's not a hill I want to die on.
Abel: Yes, exactly. So, if you do have a hill that you might want to die on, then it's not always best to shout that to everyone, right? It's not always best, like all these different media are used in different ways. And so, if you put something in a song, people might listen to the lyrics, their subconscious will. Subliminally, you'll get access to their brain and that sort of thing. But if you really want to get someone head-on, there's a different way to approach all this. So, I think with poetry, one of the reasons I chose that is because it is unpopular because if you look at the title of my book, and the cover of it is like, if that book is not for you, you're never going to buy it, you're never going to read it. You know what I mean?
And some of the poetry is kind of oriented like that where if it's not for you, you're going to know it pretty quick, but if you do have an open mind and you have some sort of appreciation for song, satire poetry, or even just kind of like a group creation, this is something that our grandmother, who recently passed at 97, really passed down to us in the family. She had a whole bunch of kids, raised them on a farm. And it wasn't unusual for people to, a few times a year, at weddings, at funerals, at parties, for us to write silly little rhymes for each other, to write little bits of poetry, to play Bluegrass songs and folk songs, and sing them for our grandmother. This is very, very normal, and in fact, important to offer health and bonding and community.
And so, realizing that a lot of people don't have that experience, I want to push that forward and also challenge other people out there, who may feel like I did, painted into a corner for me in health in that world and a lot of people. I'm sure you go through this, Ben, too. They want you to just be this one thing, and only say these certain things, and never say anything that ruffles feathers or what maybe you truly believe deep down. And so, that's just a wonderful place to–for me, especially in 2018, 2019 censorship shadow banning, lots of people in power saying things I totally disagree with, just so much frustration, channeling that into something creative, and hopefully, even getting some smiles on people's faces or making them giggle a little bit is just the best use of that energy in my mind.
Ben: Yeah. In my opinion, in reading your book, the poetry book specifically, it seems like there's a lot of bitterness and almost like angst woven into it.
Abel: Yeah. I think that's fair.
Ben: And a lot of it is short, like your poem. I'm going to open up the book now. Okay. So, there's one called “The president doesn't. We all pay taxes, the president doesn't. We thought it was democracy, but it wasn't.” Boom, that's the whole poem, or another one is the fed, “We did not vote for the federal reserve. Where did these crooks ever get the nerve to print our money and tweak the yield curve? Time to take back what we deserve.” Those are things that if you said them at a dinner party and they weren't as you've so astutely noted in poetry format would probably start some pretty heated arguments and might even in the format of poetic lyrics. So, I'm curious, did you go through some kind of, I guess, a triggering event that would cause you to have some kind of a desire to stick it to the man, so to speak, in terms of calling out–I mean, this book, you call it America as the plunderful, you call it the elites, you call it the president, you call it the feds, you talk about microchips and how you're nervous about that.
Was there anything that happened to you before writing this book that built up some kind of angst?
Abel: Yeah. I think the leadership vacuum–I'm sure you're like this, too, Ben, where you're looking around and it's like, “Alright, who's got it dialed in? Who's doing something cool? Who's saying something interesting?” And I don't want to make this political, but the transition from what the–
Ben: You know what, yeah, the fact that we're talking about this means we're going to have to be mildly political, I think.
Abel: Exactly. But just if we only look at like politics society, if we only look at people as public speakers and communicators, that is worse now than it used to be. And it doesn't matter, Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, anything in between. It feels worse now than it's ever felt. And I started feeling that. Well, being on the reality TV show was interesting because when you start working with big companies in media, you realize how much–
Ben: And to interrupt you real quick, I didn't mention that in my introduction for you, but you were the, I believe, one of the winning personal trainers on a very popular health and fitness TV show. What was it called?
Abel: “My Diet Is Better Than Yours.“
Ben: Yes. Okay.
Abel: So, being on that was very interesting. And my wife was on a reality show before that years ago and coached me and she's just like, “Listen, they're going to put you in a room and not feed you food, and pit you against each other, and try to trick you, and do all this stuff, and then try to make you look like an idiot on national television, lining you up for character assassination on day one.”
Ben: Mm-hmm. I experienced the same when I was on the Spartan reality TV show for two years, “Steve Austin's Broken Skull Challenge,” and a variety of other, kind of more competitive TV shows. The five minutes that you see is a full day of filming. They are often taking a facial expression or emotion that you make in one scenario, and then copying and pasting that into an entirely different scenario. Even prior to filming, in one case, for the stone-cold Steve Austin Show, I had to go into a special area, get mic'd up, make a bunch of different sounds that they wanted me to make, and then they would, during the competition, then take and copy and paste those sounds that I was making and dub them over whatever was actually occurring during the show. They essentially make up fantasy stories using clips that they string together. And I don't think every show is like that, but a lot of these reality fitness TV shows, what you're seeing is not typically what's actually occurring in the background.
Abel: That's exactly right, and that's such a subtle and weird point that a lot of people don't really understand until they look into at some. But trust us, guys, this is how TV is made. This is not how podcasts are made. That's why I love podcasts as a medium because it's basically just long-form conversation. If you want to chop it up, you can, but we hardly ever do. It's like stuff–
Ben: Right. We're not doing the whole MPR. We could.
Ben: Why don't you make a little music and then I'll transition us into a different room. No, but you're right, yeah. And now, Abel and I meet up a year later. Abel, it's a year later. How are you doing? But yeah. These long-form podcast conversations, they are brutally honest and open. And I agree, people crave that kind of transparency these days.
Abel: Yeah. And so, I think it was partially feeling for me, to get back to your original question there, like I was slightly pigeonholed, completely overworked. They tried to exploit us, but it didn't work, but that took like all the energy we had for a while. And for the first year, really, we did well financially and we're able to pay ourselves that year and took a little bit of time to reevaluate where we want it to go with everything, and even be like, “Do we still want to do the podcast? Do we still want to be writing books? Where do we want to go?” And we literally moved from Austin to Colorado our whole lives. We've been living on the road for a long time, but that was a big, big move for us because we had to find reliable internet, a community we want to settle down in, and the perfect situation in the mountains, which thankfully, after all these years, we have found, but we're still partially in boxes, we've been kind of a mess for a while.
So, while all this was happening, I realized it was becoming more and more important to really exercise all those different parts of who you are and what you want to create, whether or not it's going to be profitable, or going to make you more famous, or get you ahead in your career, or whatever. We had a minute to decide, not very long, like months really, just to take a step back, unplug, spend no time on social media, like not have any interference there, spend lots of time in the woods and really focus on doubling down on our spiritual work, which is one of the hidden things that happen in our lives that both my wife and I and our families have been into for a long time. I know your family as well, Ben. I'm sure in slightly different ways, but that's something that we really–when we disappear, we're spending a lot of time on that.
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You did disappear for a while, I got a little worried, and this was after the TV show. Admittedly, I was like, “Dude, did the TV show just burn him out?” Because I didn't see you as much at conferences or even in the limelight, so to speak, and I just assumed when you moved to Colorado, you got a little bit more into your music. And then, when this poetry book arrived, I thought, “Well, maybe he just shifted into a lot more poetry.” But it sounds like for you, part of this was just needing an escape after having gone through the cryptocracy of what something like being on a fitness TV show created.
Abel: Yeah. I think that's really accurate and fair. And we've done it before. When the podcast was really big back in the early 2010s, I took some time off with Alyson and we moved around and all that. So, we've done it before, but this time, it did feel different. I think because we moved. And another aspect of all this was it was cool going to those biohacking conferences, ancestral health conferences, Paleo f(x) when there are 50, 100 people there, right? A totally different dynamic than when they throw us up on stage in front of thousands of people and we're all mobbed, so mobbed that we can't–like you and I, Robb Wolf, Mark Sisson.
Ben: Yeah. It got crazy. Obviously, Paleo f(x) didn't happen this year, but it got really weird, like it went from being able to attend this small event with a small number of speakers, relatively didactic format, some cool people on the expo floor showing off their samples, et cetera, to where I would show up to Paleo f(x) and couldn't walk through the hallway without–and I'm not saying this to sound narcissistic.
Abel: It's true. I've been there. Seriously, I've seen it.
Ben: Yeah. Mobbed by people, unable to speak to any, but people literally getting in your face like throwing their arm around you to do a selfie without you even agreeing to do something like that, or literally, just like shoving you into a corner and be like, “Look, I have this growth on my arm. I really got to biohack this growth on my arm. I need you to help me right now, and I also want you to sign these four books.” And yeah, it got kind of weird for me, too.
Abel: Yeah. So, there was that dynamic, too, where we just felt like, you know what, let's go to some national parks. Let's really figure out where we want to live and settle down and spend some time doing this because it doesn't feel right right now going out and being this public and this like–the thing that happens, and I understand how and why, especially now that I've been on both sides of this, nothing against the people who are coming up to us, that's wonderful stuff and we really appreciate it. But as a human being, especially like once you're on TV and you get that mobbed thing, it does something to you and you're dehumanized or you feel dehumanized. And that's a really weird dynamic and one that we all have to grapple with if we don't want it to destroy us.
Ben: Mm-hmm, yeah. And you talked about the spiritual work and how when you went into the mountains and took a break for a while that you did a lot more of the spiritual work. What does spiritual work look like for you?
Abel: I love that question. It's not as organized as probably for some other people in the sense that it's not–we don't identify with a particular church, but my wife was raised Mormon, I was raised Protestant, and there are many things that we keep in practice from Christianity. Certainly not all of it, but there are a lot of things there. So, definitely, western influences, but a lot of eastern and indigenous influences as well. And so, one of the things that I got really into here in Colorado and traveling around Utah is, why are all these trees so clearly manipulated by humans? Like, what happened here? There are arbor glyphs all over and you can see that some of the trees, pieces of the cambium layer of the bark were harvested. You can see other ones were decorated in swirls hundreds of years ago, but these trees are still around because some of them live for 600 plus years.
And it turns out a lot of these are medicine trees from the Ute tribe. And spirit-based trees, shamanic trees, some of them were built or created and manipulated over many decades to tell spiritual stories. Many of them now lost to time. But spiritual study for us is the study of symbolism and meaning more than anything else, which sounds pretty obtuse. It's not necessarily a traditional western way of looking at it, but it's one of the reasons that the poetry book came out the way that it did in my songs, and my words come out the way that they do because when you study the symbolism behind even like what an eagle means, or a coyote, or a raven to indigenous tribes, sometimes those meanings are consistent across the world, and sometimes the way that they did things, but certainly, the way that they worshipped the stars and kept track of the stars.
So, it's also brought us to this expansive research of the world where we came from, why we're here, what the universe is up to, which sometimes clashes with the traditional media narrative of climate change and what governments want to do in the future compared to where we're going as consciousness, as humanity. All these things, it gets pretty meta and difficult to talk about in English, but I think when you look at what some of these things mean and really study the history of symbols, a lot is revealed about what the media and what politicians are trying to do to us. It becomes more clear what direction they're trying to pull us in and I don't believe it's a good one.
Ben: How would one be able to actually learn more about how to study that type of symbology? Were there certain books that you relied upon, for example?
Abel: Yes, so many books, so many books. We looked into ancestral health, indigenous leaning books. There are some like medicine cards, medicine wheels. There are so many books written about that. Even just looking into–
Ben: That's not the name of the book, medicine cards, that you look for a book about medicine cards or about medicine wheels?
Abel: And some of the books are upstairs. I'd be happy to send you a link to it if you–
Ben: If you send me a list, if you remember, too, at some point after this podcast, if you send me a list, because what I can do is put those in the shownotes at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/designerbabies if people want to learn a little bit more about that symbology, just because I'm supremely curious about that myself. A Cal moose wandered into our yard a few days ago and I have not seen a moose in six years here. And I said to Jessa, “Well, that I think is interesting. I'd like to look into the symbology of meese or moose, or however you say it.” We learned about how it indicates foreshadowing, and forethought, and planning, and that that would be a good time to actually sit down and assess plans for one's life or plans for the future. And I find those type of things incredibly interesting and would love to learn more, but really haven't sat down and found a good place to start book-wise.
Abel: Yeah. I'll send you a couple. There are some excellent ones. Sometimes just looking at ancient decks of cards and ancient art will reveal a lot of the study of symbols as well. But I would say, try to look into the history of wherever you live and what the beliefs are and were of the people who lived there for thousands of years before we did because it seems to me that much of this history has been covered up or not taught to us on purpose. And we're taught to believe, or at least think in some way or feel in some way that there are these idiot barbarians who knew nothing of the world and were just savages, and we replaced them because they didn't deserve to be here, and that could not be further from the truth. From what the research that I've done and some of their spiritual beliefs, that could not be further from the truth.
Ben: Interesting. Yeah. And I was recently actually reading an article about that, about how early humans actually settled in America. And apparently, it was like twice as long ago as we actually thought. And of course, the idea is that it was still a land bridge linking from Siberia to Alaska where the crossover occurred. But apparently, Americans or human beings have been in America for a very long period of time, or at least a lot longer than we have thought that they were.
So, this is also funny because my kids and I were chatting last night at the dinner table about the celebration of Christopher Columbus and Columbus Day, and how interesting it is that we celebrate someone who actually resulted in a lot of abuse to humans when he arrived in the Americas, and yet at the same time, discovered the new land and how do we approach that topic of people who have done great things in the past, but who also may have been a little bit effed up themselves, how do we laud them and commit the great things that they've done to memory while still at the same time acknowledging that maybe they weren't perfect people.
Abel: We're indoctrinated to think that the world is binary, that people are good or bad, especially when you look at history. We could never understand the context. There were good things and there were bad things. And it shouldn't be like leave the racist statue there or tear it down forever. Those don't have to be the only options, right? It's important that we recognize the nuance here, and also learn from our history before we repeat it because–and also, it's very important to realize that what we're taught in schools and what we get from our education is very self-selective, or it's got giant blind spots, and it's really on us to work on our weak spots and go exploring for those wacky things.
And Ben, you're a great example of that. You do the work, you do the research, and you have that curiosity. Probably a lot of it came from being homeschooled or like kind of just being more independent-minded. And me as well, I wasn't homeschooled, but I had a lot of independent studies and great teachers coming up. And if I hadn't, I'm not sure that I would have that intellectual curiosity, but that's really what you need and what you need to nurture in yourself and in your kids to really keep learning about all of this.
Abel: It's incredible. And just one more thing on the symbology thing. If you think it doesn't matter, look at a dollar bill and tell me again that it doesn't matter because there are symbols used by almost every large institution out there, and they do have meaning. And when you look into what that meaning is supposed to be, it becomes a lot more interesting.
Ben: Yeah. The dollar bill symbology alone, that's super interesting. And I think a lot of people don't realize–I don't even remember all the–it's like the sunrise and the eagle. Off the top of my head, I don't remember all the symbols on the dollar bill. But you are right, it's built into our culture pretty significantly. So, send me some of those books and I'll put a link to them in the shownotes.
Abel: I will.
Ben: Just a couple other things, and I also want to ask you about this wild diet approach that you have because it's been a long time since we've talked about that. But before we jump off the political bandwagon, I'm curious, for you as a health influencer, if you've had to deal with a lot of the same censorship that a lot of the rest of us have had to deal with lately. There are some big folks, like Dr. Mercola is one of the first guys who come to mind, who has been heavily censored by Google, by Facebook, by YouTube. Another friend of mine who runs a podcast called London Real, he recently interviewed David Icke and got pulled off of YouTube for–is it David Icke, David Icke, however you pronounce that. But yeah, for some of the inflammatory rhetoric there regarding I believe 5G and coronavirus and vaccinations.
And it's been very interesting seeing how Google search engine results have dramatically changed over the past two years. In that, most of the results that you get when you pull them up are results from primarily websites that are fed by ads that are driven by, for example, revenue going to pharmaceutical companies, for example, or a complete absence of alternative health remedies, or alternative cancer remedies. And honestly, if you want to do a bit of home, hippie alternative health remedy, whatever–my kid has a scar, but I don't necessarily want to, whatever, buy glue sutures on Amazon. I want to know if there's some kind of an essential oil that might help this to heal better.
You literally have to go to like the third page of the search results on Google to find what you're looking for now or use a different search engine like DuckDuckGo or Qwant. And I haven't had a whole lot of my articles censored because most of my stuff is about, whatever, bench pressing or running faster your abs.
But I've seen a lot of people get hit pretty hard by this, and I'm curious how you've experienced that on your end.
Abel: Dude, we got crushed, crushed.
Abel: Because our whole business this whole time has been built around organic traffic, doing things the right way in a meritocracy where you build a reputation, and wonderful backlinks, and good content that looks to itself, and you practice good, SEO hygiene and whatever on your site. Stay on top of your websites, you deliver the truth, and you link to studies when appropriate and all the rest of it, yeah. So, in 2016 or '17, the wild diet was the number seven diet in America on Google, and our traffic was in the multi-millions. And then, they turned it off. Like, 90% of it is all gone. And also, on the social media accounts two years ago, none of them have grown. Each one has like 40, 50,000 or something like that. They have all lost followers ever since despite putting out many, many shows and continuing to put out our content. I mean, the censorship was so bad that I didn't even realize that Robb Wolf had disappeared from all my social channels. He was talking about shadow banning censorship and all this stuff really hard, he shut down his podcast. I had no idea even though I follow him everywhere because he was buried and I couldn't find him.
So, I've had dozens, maybe hundreds of people over the past year or two being like, “Hey, are you still doing your podcast? Are you still doing anything?” And I'm like, “Oh, you mean the 100 plus shows I've been putting out the past couple years? Yes, yes, we're still doing it. But we're that buried. And so, I don't know exactly, like we didn't get a memo. They didn't tell us this is going to happen, or why, but it's not a good sign. And it's one of the reasons that I started to do the more artistic stuff, too, because it's like if you're getting no benefit from putting out and writing more articles about those very important things right now like we could be writing about very important things. But if no one's going to see them, then you've got to readjust and focus on doing some other work.
So, it's been really an adjustment for us because taking away all of the organic traffic for us, like when someone types in our name and then we're connected to them. If you take that away, now all of a sudden, we've got to pay for it, we've got to like pay Facebook or pay some other company to get access to our own community of subscribers, who don't otherwise see any of our stuff. So, we have to lose money and pay our enemies in order to keep going, and that's a spiritual adjustment. I've realized how upside down this world is more and more in the past couple years and there's always a way through, there's always a way to adapt, but you have to honor that–you have to adapt, right? You have to honor that sometimes it's time to stop doing things.
Ben: A lot of folks are shifting to, for example, DuckDuckGo or Qwant, or shifting their browser from Chrome to a different browser such as Brave, many of course are getting off of social media. It's very interesting. You even see a guy like Joe Rogan, for example, make a shift from YouTube over to Spotify. And I've wondered whether or not he's also seen some of the writing on the wall in terms of some of the potential for the guests that he has producing inflammatory enough content to where his channel could get banned on YouTube. And so, yeah, I think it's an increasingly concerning issue, and yeah, that's sad to hear how much it affected you and your business. And I heard a lot of other people who literally went from a very, very high search engine rankings and doing quite well in their business to completely getting shut down by Google's active censorship.
Abel: And they don't say why, but the flat Earthers are fine. All those people out there saying that the Earth is flat, they're not going after some really ludicrous and ridiculous things, they're going after us first. And so, this is not played out yet. You know what I mean? Like, that's a really bad sign for what's coming next, but I will say, from the top down anyway, that's a bad sign, but I will say right now we live in a centralized internet where YouTube and Facebook and these centralized giant companies need to spend all this money on server farms and all the staff to run all this stuff. But in the background brewing, there are other technologies and alternatives, and really pissed off thinking people right now who are building it a decentralized way to get our information and content out there based on the block-chain perhaps, like theta is a really promising technology that I've geeked out on for the past few months.
But basically, if you can build a decentralized internet where we're serving–our computers are sharing resources, uploading and downloading, surfing video and other content to each other, then it cannot be censored from the top down, no matter what they think. And that's a double-edged sword. I'm not saying that that's going to solve all of our problems, but it certainly will, hopefully, bring back a little bit of the meritocracy to this because whoever is setting the rules right now and picking the winners, it's shady, it's super shady. And I looked for your Wikipedia page before this, Ben. I couldn't find it. Mine's been deleted. Vinnie Tortorich's has been deleted.
Ben: Yeah. I think I did have a Wikipedia page for a while. I don't really monitor that too much, but you couldn't find it.
Abel: It's not there anymore, just like mine.
Ben: Huh, that's interesting. Now, I'm going to have to look for my Wikipedia page after this podcast. You've got me all nervous.
Abel: See if you can find us on the Greatest. Can't find it there either.
Ben: Really? We're both on Greatest in the world's 100 most influential health and fitness people and we're not there anymore?
Abel: Try to look us up.
Ben: Hmm, wow.
Abel: That's been really interesting to me. I'm like, “Where exactly have we been scrubbed from and who's been put there instead?” Because the Kardashians are on that influential page. I don't remember them being there on the same page as us.
Ben: Hmm, interesting. Well, I mean, big picture for audience is just be careful. As you're using Google, YouTube, et cetera, the results that you get are not necessarily unbiased results spat out by an AI search engine, but are now being to a certain extent censored by a human being or a group of human beings and it's a little bit concerning.
Abel: And co-opted, too, you know?
Abel: So, anyway, I think a lot of us thinking people, we see this happening right now, and we're aware that at least to some degree, we're in this environment. And that's going to be okay. That's going to be all right because you're doing this not for the money. You're fantastically interested in like all these things and you're a nerd like me, you love reading the books and doing the research, and they're not going to get rid of us. Even if people can't find us, they won't forget about us because we've been doing the work for so long.
Ben: Right. And if you do forget about us, look out, world, because then all of a sudden, we'll hit you with a book like “Designer Baby Still Get Scabies” three years after you haven't heard anything from us, and all of a sudden, make some waves.
Alright. Well, Abel, you also of course have this book “The Wild Diet” that we've alluded to a few times. And we did a podcast before on it, and I'll link to that podcast in the shownotes at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/designerbabies. But I would love to hear an update. I'm curious for you. I love practical examples for you living out in Colorado, having learned everything that you learned about eating on the wild side, so to speak, or following this wild diet, what it looks like for you right now the way that you're fueling your body.
Abel: Yeah. I've been surprised by how much I haven't changed the way that I really think about a lot of this, but in practice, sometimes it shows up differently now than it would have about 10 years ago when I put a lot of this together. And so, back then, I was in my mid-20s and I wanted to eat a lot. I had like massive hunger that I do not have anymore. I think that that's interesting and I see eating less, especially for longevity, certainly body composition and other things like that as long as you're recovering appropriately, I see eating less is a big win. I see it as a step in making your metabolism a little bit more efficient.
And so, when I do my training, like my main run that I do once or twice a week, we start at 8,000 feet where we live up in the mountains. And I run up the mountain, do hill sprints up to like 10,000 feet, and then five, seven miles later, come back down. And I don't bring any water, I don't have any food that day. I usually do it around 3:00 or 4:00 p.m. And 10 years ago, I would have laughed at that. That would have been ridiculous. How could you ever suffer through that sort of experience? But after really focusing on intermittent fasting, fueling with clean fats, I don't know what exactly–there are different words for those fats now than there used to be, different people listening.
But anyway, the natural fats, the ones that are stable, that aren't rancid, that aren't going to kill you. Focusing on that, always paying attention to protein. Sometimes I'm surprised by how hungry I get when I forget to reach that threshold of protein for the day. I would say one thing that has really changed for me in the past 5 or 10 years is I was very skeptical of supplements 10, 5 years. I'm still very skeptical, but I was skeptical of all supplements, kind of the longer back you go. And certainly, when you look at the deficiency in vitamin D, the deficiency in zinc and vitamin C–most people are deficient in most things. When you look around, you really test it, including people in health.
And so, for me, with the lockdowns with my wife, it's been harder to get fresh veg, too. That's another piece. And so, I've found that if I dial the supplementation in, then my hunger goes way down. I'm not craving as much nasty food. I don't want to eat as much. We still eat quite luxuriously, but generally speaking, it's one meal in the evenings, maybe a small half meal before that or after that, lots of bone broth, eating nose to tail is something that I think a lot of people have missed or they didn't get fully into back in the ancestral health craze, and then they skipped over it with the keto. And now, carnivore is bringing that back, which is good. If you're eating nose to tail, that's the way to do it.
Abel: And then, it's really the supplementation of greens and other powdered shelf-stable things like collagen protein was not largely available 5 or 10 years ago. There was like great lakes and a few others doing gelatins, things like that. But now, there are some really wonderful, more on the prepared food side on the supplements that are shelf-stable side, greens, proteins, and various things like that that I think make this lifestyle a lot more achievable for the people who aren't as into it as us. So, I think that's really promising.
Ben: Yeah. And frankly, my take on the whole, I guess micronutrient deficiency status or need for supplementation comes down to the fact that, A, not only are we living in a post-industrial era where we do have things like monocropping of wheat, soy, and corn that has depleted the soil of many minerals and nutrients in addition to a wide range of toxins and pollutants that have increased our need for support, for our antioxidants, or our methylation, or our detoxification pathways, et cetera. But that aside, if you look at human history, humans have always supplemented, and so have animals on everything from oils to tinctures, to leaves, to roots, to even plant medicines, literally, since the dawn of time.
The fact that we now have encapsulation technology that allows us to put that into bottles doesn't make it any different. And if you were to test a human being 500 years ago, if that technology were available, we would have seen deficiencies in vitamin A, or deficiencies in vitamin D, or pre-type 2 diabetes, or any other number of factors that we're simply able to identify now. But the supplementation then was different. It was a little bit more intuitive and a little bit more based on folklore and what had been passed down from generation to generation, and now it's more based on lab results and research. But I don't think that supplementation is something that is new for humankind. I think it's something that we've been doing for a long time. It's just more convenient now, honestly.
Abel: Yeah. I think that's a great way of looking at it. And certainly, fermented cod liver oil and things like that, the tinctures, using roots and herbs. This is really how I got into a lot of this is because when–my origin story or backstory was I got really sick when I was an infant and had a temperature for many days that we could not kick. And so, they pumped me full of all sorts of antibiotics, which I'm still allergic to to this day, so I can't take them. So, my mom, who's a nurse at the time, went deep into research about herbs, holistic medicine, alternative health, and became an author and speaker herself and raised us with these smelly tinctures and bombs and all that. So, that's really where we're coming from. And I hated it growing up because it made us so weird, and I rebelled against it, and I just love it more than anything now.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. It's interesting. And by the way, I whipped out my phone a couple of minutes ago and I did google Ben Greenfield Wikipedia and Ben Greenfield Greatest, and you're right, neither of those websites exists anymore. That is super interesting.
Abel: I feel like you should have a Wikipedia page at this point, don't you? I mean, like, when do we–
Ben: Well, that's the thing is I feel like at some point, I did. I don't know.
Abel: Yeah. I'm pretty sure you did.
Abel: And Vinnie did, and we did. I haven't even looked at how many people this has happened to. I just figured I'd look before I came on your show.
Ben: That's interesting. Congratulations on getting me to actually take out my phone during a podcast and google myself. It has been quite some time since I've pulled off that chump move.
Okay. So, the other thing that I wanted to get into were a few of your recipes, one in particular that you have in this book that I think would be perfect icing on the cake, so to speak, for today's show. And that is the choconut cookie recipe. The choconut cookie recipe looks fantastic, just to give people a little bit of a flavor, pun intended, of how you can eat healthy and have it taste amazing because my kids made a variation of this. There was one ingredient on here that they subbed trying to find it. I think it was the coconut palm sugar. I think they may have even used Swerve for this one. But yes, super chewy good cookies. I like my cookies chewy. And you have multiple cookie recipes. So, I would imagine you guys make cookies. So, just fill the audience in on the wild approach to cookies.
Abel: Yeah. It's part of the deal because I think there's this whole–people throw this at you, they throw it at me, that they think that we're fitness bunnies and we're only eating cardboard lettuce. And if you're going to do this for a lifetime, especially with kids and significant others and loved ones, you're going to have to find a way to make it fun. So, if you're making your food, even if it's cookies, with real food ingredients, then you can get away with almost anything because you know how much sugar's in there. The kids know how much sugar they're throwing into those things.
And for me growing up, one of my best friends, we were captains of the basketball team together, on the weekends, we'd make pancakes together, like from scratch, and just throw a bunch of stuff in there and find out what happens when you have too much vanilla or too much sugar, not enough flour, and all the rest of it, or when you don't put an egg in or you do. And so, our approach is really, we love it when people sub-ingredients, but we have these cookies or breads, or even pizzas and tacos and other crazy stuff like that that we encourage people to make despite the fact that most people are trying to be healthy, lose weight, or work on their body composition.
And we're here to say that there's a way that you can do that and your kids are a great example of you get in the kitchen, you take a few of these ingredients. Sometimes you start with a recipe, but a lot of times, we don't, we just kind of improv. And that's where the fun is, because you don't always have the ingredients that are in the recipe. Who is coconut palm sugar? That's one of the reasons we put it in there was kind of just like we want people to sub, we want them to not have that and be like, “Hmm, what am I going to put in?” I mean, coconut palm sugar is a lovely, tasting ingredient and it is unique in its own way, as is honey and molasses, the blackstrap variety and maple sugar and maple syrup.
And you can use any one of those that you'd like, but you have to–there's no free lunch. You know how much sugar's in it, you know the carbs and you've got a feel for all that. And then, at the same time, it is a cookie, right? So, even if we make our own pizza, we're not going to crush the whole thing, or a sourdough bread, or whatever. Sometimes I'll crush half.
Ben: Speak for yourself.
Abel: Yeah. Sometimes I'll crush half, but usually, here's the big thing that happens when you make food, especially with your family at home. There's a big difference between like grabbing a pizza or a big thing of sourdough from the store and crushing through it compared to having made that with your hands with your family. You're not just going to eat everyone else's pizza before they do, right, because you all made it together. Suddenly, this is a spiritual moment. It's a moment of sharing, and creation, and gratitude, and it's by getting your hands dirty, I think, especially as a community and as a family that you start to realize how important all of this is. And then, you start to perhaps eat your cookies in a better mindset instead of being stressed while you're eating and just like, “Ah, I need a little sugar boost right now.” You're just like, you take a step back, you take a deep breath, and you're like, “This is a damn good cookie.”
Ben: Yup, yup. And this one is just shredded unsweetened coconut, coconut palm sugar, sea salt, coconut oil, vanilla extract, eggs, dark chocolate chips, and walnut pieces. That's simple. And I mean, when you know that you can eat the cookie dough pretty guilt-free, it's a good cookie, you'll get a kick out of this.
Abel: Especially when it's cold. Oh, man, you freeze that dough, whoa.
Ben: Oh my gosh. Did you know my kids have a cooking podcast?
Abel: Yeah, I did know that. They've had that for a while, right?
Ben: Yeah. They've had for two years. It's the Go Greenfield Show. And so, I'm going to give you a little preview of what tonight's dinner is because on Fridays, they do a lot of their food prep for their episode. So, they're doing an episode on unconventional ingredients and our dinner tonight is chicken liver ravioli.
Ben: Chocolate chip cookies made with cricket protein powder, but they actually got the crickets and made the cricket protein powder themselves. So, this isn't like store-bought cricket protein powder. And then, wild plant pesto from the wild metal, the wild mints, the dandelions, et cetera, growing around our house, but instead of olive oil, they're using camel hump fat in the pesto. So, that is our dinner is liver ravioli, camel hump fat pesto, and cricket powdered protein chocolate chip cookies.
Abel: Your kids are the best. That is amazing.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. So, we certainly are into the wild stuff here at the Greenfield house, too, when it comes to the wild food prep methods. So, this book “Designer Baby Still Get Scabies,” that one people can get on Amazon, right?
Ben: Okay. Cool. “Wild Diet” as well?
Abel: Yes. Well, that on Amazon, it's getting harder to search for us, but you'll find us eventually.
Ben: That's okay and sad, actually. But then, for you guys listening in, guys and gals, what I'm going to do is Abel is going to send me some of his resources on symbology. I'm not going to let you forget, Abel, and I'm going to put those in the shownotes at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/designerbabies. I'm going to link to my previous episode that I did with Abel. And if I'm super googly wiggly today, which it seems like I am, I'm going to hunt down our Udemy course, and what the heck, just for old time's sake, I'll put a link to our old school Udemy biohacking course, one of the originals with me and Abel that you can find in the shownotes as well. That's all going to be at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/designerbabies. I could actually talk to Abel for a very long time because we probably got into like one-tenth of the stories that he has and the kind of stuff that we would love to riff on, but alas, time has slipped away. And so, Abel, we're just going to have to have a round three at some point.
Abel: Hey, let's plan on it, and you're going to come back on my show. And anyone listening, Ben has a recent episode coming out with this school year that I think is going to be really appropriate, especially for those of us trapped at home with kids.
Ben: Awesome. I love it. And yeah. And I'm going to have to go see if that Udemy course got scraped or not. We'll see. I don't know. I'm going to blame it on you if it did though.
Abel: Yeah. It's definitely my fault.
Ben: Alright, folks. Well, thanks for listening in. And I'm Ben Greenfield along with Abel James signing out from BenGreenfieldFitness.com. Have an amazing week.
Well, thanks for listening to today's show. You can grab all the shownotes, the resources, pretty much everything that I mentioned over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com, along with plenty of other goodies from me, including the highly helpful “Ben Recommends” page, which is a list of pretty much everything that I've ever recommended for hormone, sleep, digestion, fat loss, performance, and plenty more. Please, also, know that all the links, all the promo codes, that I mentioned during this and every episode, helped to make this podcast happen and to generate income that enables me to keep bringing you this content every single week. When you listen in, be sure to use the links in the shownotes, use the promo codes that I generate, because that helps to float this thing and keep it coming to you each and every week.
Abel James is a New York Times Best Selling Author, musician, and online creator. He’s the host of the award-winning Fat-Burning Man Show—rated as Apple’s #1 Health Podcast in eight countries with over 50 million downloads and 2,000+ 5-star reviews.
A “Coach to the coaches,” Abel has worked with thousands of people across the world to optimize performance, mindset, health, and longevity. He is named one of the 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness by Greatist and has been featured in various documentaries, ABC TV, Entertainment Tonight, People, WIRED, South by Southwest, and more.
Abel’s hit podcast is named as one of the “Top 3 Health & Fitness Podcasts of All Time” by Huffington Post and has won 4 awards in independent media, including “People’s Choice” in Health & Fitness at the Podcast Awards. Also a recording artist, multi-instrumentalist, and voice actor, Abel has won several awards including “Outstanding Achievement in Songwriting” in R&B by The Great American Song Contest.
Hailing from the middle of nowhere in New Hampshire, Abel enjoys playing guitar and piano, writing, reading, sketching, running, hiking, and discovering delicious foods with family and friends. He lives with his wife, Alyson, and a rambunctious yellow lab in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. His new book of irreverent poetry, Designer Babies Still Get Scabies, a #1 International Best Seller in Humor, is available now.
During our discussion, you'll discover:
-E-sports vs. traditional physical sports…7:20
- Abel married a professional e-gamer
- “Doping” is increasingly an issue with e-gamers; Modafinil, psychedelics, LSD, etc.
- Chess players tested for performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs)
- E-sports are beginning to supplant physical sports in popularity
- Virtual reality (VR) has been used by physical athletes for a long time
- Peter Diamandis' A360 event
- Andrew Huberman lab at Stanford using VR to cure fear
- HTC Vive Pro VR device with the 6 degrees of freedom room scale
- Neil Strauss introduced Ben to a dinosaur game
- Oculus VR device
- Psychedelics & Virtual Reality
- Abel's VR Tour of his brother's farm in upstate New York
-The importance of self-censorship in the art we put into the world…21:00
- Abel began writing poetry as a kid
- Share what's on your mind in a constructive way (don't turn people off for no reason)
- A controversial message presented as art (poetry, music, painting, etc.) will be received differently
- Constructive use of pent-up energy within us (Are you willing to die on this hill?)
- Book: Designer Babies Still Get Scabies
-What triggered Abel into writing his poetry book…28:00
- Absence of leadership on the political and social spectrum
- “Reality” TV isn't all that real
- Big reason why podcasting is such a popular medium; open and transparent, no manipulation of reality
- Biohacking conferences increasingly stressful due to celebrity status and huge crowds
- Took time to unplug, focus more on spiritual work
-Abel's spiritual disciplines…38:45
- Don't affiliate with a specific denomination
- Western and Eastern influences
- Trees clearly manipulated by humans; medicine trees from ages past
- Book: Native American Prayer Trees of Colorado – symbolism in trees from indigenous tribes in the American Southwest
- Symbolism and meaning is at the core of the practice
- Books about symbolism
- Understand the history of the place you live, going back thousands of years
- Earliest evidence for humans in the Americas
-Reconciling great achievements with the flawed persons who achieved them…44:15
- History is not binary
- Learn from history, both what to do and what not to do
- Our education is self-selective
- Incumbent on us to discover the truth on our own
- Every institution uses symbology; understanding the symbology makes it far more interesting
-Censorship and achieving high rankings on the big search engines…48:35
- Abel's business was hit hard after being removed from Google top rankings
- Did it the right way to bring in organic traffic; now have to pay Facebook, Google, etc. for the top rankings
- Brave browser
- Internet is currently highly centralized
- Alt tech is building a decentralized internet
-Abel's current diet…55:45
- BGF podcast on The Wild Diet
- Book: The Wild Diet
- Eating less is a big win; makes metabolism more efficient
- Intermittent fasting
- Natural fats
- Pay attention to proteins
- More open-minded toward supplements
- Nose to tail
- Cod liver oil
-The Wild approach to eating…1:02:50
- Use all-natural ingredients, especially in cookies
- Difference in family dinner vs. grabbing a pizza from the store
- Moment of sharing, creation, gratitude
- Realize the importance of each other; eat with a more relaxed mindset
Resources from this episode:
– Abel James:
- Fat Burning Man Show
- Designer Babies Still Get Scabies
- The Wild Diet
- BGF podcast on The Wild Diet
- VR Tour of his brother's farm in upstate New York
- VR Tour of Yellowstone
- VR Tour of the beyond strange American Stonehenge
- Improv Music Video for VR demo
- Native American Prayer Trees of Colorado
- US Games Medicine Cards & Book
- The Power of Myth
- The Book of Runes
- Signs and Symbols: An Illustrated Guide to Their Origins and Meanings
- The I Ching or Book of Changes: A Guide to Life's Turning Points
- Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers
– Other resources:
- Ben's Udemy Course: The Complete Guide To Activating High Performance
- HTC Vive Pro VR device
- Oculus VR device
- Peter Diamandis' A360 event
- Andrew Huberman's VR fear lab at Stanford
- Article: Psychedelics & Virtual Reality
- Article: Earliest evidence for humans in the Americas
- TV show: My Diet Is Better Than Yours
- Brave browser
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