[00:01:53] About this Podcast
[00:04:01] Podcast Sponsors
[00:07:48] Discussing Motivation Behind Writing “Boundless” In India
[00:15:37] Kris Gethin's Thoughts on Being “Boundless”
[00:19:02] The Missing Link in Optimizing Sleep
[00:19:59] Basic Concepts of Sleep: Light
[00:25:33] Basic Concepts of Sleep: Temperature
[00:27:34] Basic Concepts of Sleep: Silence
[00:29:08] Basic Concepts of Sleep: Safety
[00:30:43] Discussion About the Basic Concepts of Sleep
[00:32:23] Morning and Evening Routines and Diet Considerations
[00:41:46] Other Sleep Hacks and Tips
[00:50:19] Breath to Control Physiology
[00:54:31] Podcast Sponsors
[00:57:52] cont. Still on Sleep Optimization
[00:59:13] Why Sitting for Long Periods of Time Is the Death-Knell To A Healthy Life
[01:02:38] Chronological vs. Biological Ages and Extending Your Longevity
[01:20:28] Food Choices and Anti-Aging
[01:39:53] The Benefits of Fasting
[01:53:53] Benefits of Nasal Breathing
[01:56:22] Where to Start with Health Optimization
[02:03:06] Core-Bracing While Lifting
[02:04:54] Reversing Damage from Blue Light
[02:06:45] Stopping Autoimmune Disease
[02:10:16] Ben's Thoughts on Veganism and Vegetarianism
[02:16:47] “Boundless” and Connecting with Ben and Kris
[02:19:43] End of Podcast
Ben: On this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.
Kris: It's hard to be persistent and consistently invest yourself into that because you don't see an immediate return.
Ben: You've got this big fiber bolus chock-full of bacteria that's slowly making its way through the gut and just painting the entire inside of that hose.
The number one thing that I did that would reduce my blood glucose the entire day all the way up to dinner, reduce that glycemic variability, you know what it was?
Health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and much more. My name is Ben Greenfield. Welcome to the show.
Man, oh, man. What a crazy past couple of weeks it's been with the virus going around. I actually do not unlike the plethora of podcasts that seem to be streaming about the Internet. I have a podcast episode today for you about coronavirus. Although, I have been doing some panels, some articles, some guest podcasts, etc., and been keeping track of that all for you over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/VirusQA where I have a helpful Google Doc that I've been kind of assimilating for you if you want to keep track of all that. Lest, I exhaust you with more talk about coronavirus because, again, I've been at that document at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/VirusQA as well as on my Twitter feed, primarily, at Twitter.com/BenGreenfield. I've been pushing out as much helpful information as possible.
In today's episode, I want to, instead, focus on what I got up to during my recent trip to India, where, fortunately, I came back safely and managed to get back into the US before any of the travel was quarantined. And I was able to take part in some fantastic Q and As and panels over there. And the one that you're going to hear today is one of the better ones. So, we spent over two hours, not only replying to really educated and informed questions from the audience about biohacking, sleep, fitness, beauty, symmetry, jetlag, etc. But then, we also did a panel.
And the two gentlemen who you will hear along with me on this panel are Jag Chima and Kris Gethin, two guys who I actually toured India with. And we did a panel in both Delhi, which you're about to hear. And then, also, a panel in Mumbai, in which we covered a bunch of extra information. And I'll also be releasing that episode for you soon.
But, Jag himself is an entrepreneur. He's an investor. He's a big health and fitness personality who has done a lot in the health and fitness space, particularly, in Asia. Although, he's based out of London.
And then, Kris Gethin, who you'll also hear in this podcast, a new friend, a new acquaintance of mine, former bodybuilder and editor of BodyBuilding.com who was one of the best natural pro-bodybuilders in existence. And now, he does a lot of personal training with Bollywood celebrities and billionaire businessmen and a lot of athletes. He has a whole chain of gyms as well over in India.
And so, between me and these two guys, we covered a ton of stuff. Everything that you're about to hear is going to be over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/DelhiQA. That's, in case you don't know how to spell that famous city in India, D-E-L-H-I-Q-A. So, if you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/DelhiQA, you'll be able to get the robust show notes for everything that we discuss in today's show.
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Alright. Let's delve in. Again, all the show notes are at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/DelhiQA, D-E-L-H-I-Q-A.
Hello, everybody. I just got in India about three days ago and I want to say it's absolutely amazing here. The generosity, the hospitality, the friendliness of everyone, it's absolutely amazing. I wasn't quite sure what to expect. Like Jag said, first time over here, but it's great. The food is wonderful. I've been punching lots and lots of spicy peppers and feel amazing, absolutely amazing.
I guess, really, that's the message of “Boundless.” I recently wrote a book called “Boundless.” And the reason I wrote that book is because I wanted that book to be about energy because I think that that is at the root of a lot of people's issues these days, not feeling the way that a human body should feel throughout the day, having the energy that you want at your beck and call throughout the day. Most people actually hit a wall around 2:00 or 3:00 p.m., or they cannot fall asleep at night, or they cannot get going in the morning without the use of stimulants. And not that I personally don't appreciate a giant cup of black coffee when I wake up. But, this idea is that we should be able to, using a combination of both ancestral wisdom, basically, we might borrow from Chinese traditional medicine or Ayurvedic medicine, or things and practices that our ancestors were engaged in, and be able to combine that with modern science. A lot of the things we'll talk about today, a lot of these biohacks and novel molecules and things that can do things like enhanced muscle gain or enhanced fat loss. By combining the two in a smart way, by doing what has now become to be known as biohacking, we can actually tap into a lot more energy than most of us are currently walking around with. And I call that being boundless. And it really comes down to a lot more than just, say, exercising and eating the right kind of diet.
In my opinion, you got to come out from three angles. You got to come out from three angles.
Number one, you have to care for your mind. So, we're talking about things like optimizing your neurotransmitter balance. We're talking about fixing this area that a lot of people talk about, called your blood-brain barrier. Making sure that is sound so you can sleep well, so you have good cognitive function. Engaging in things and consuming things that enhances neuroplasticity or the growth of new neurons. Tending to the brain is one kind of almost like part spoke of the wheel that we need to focus on.
Next is the body. A lot of people focus on that, but it is, of course, important. Your power, strength, speed, endurance, stamina. I like to think of being boundless is almost having to synonymize it with a comic book character or a superhero, almost being the Batman of your body. Batman wasn't like the Incredible Hulk or Flash in that you just have one aspect of total body fitness, like extreme strength or extreme speed, but was able to operate with good mobility, flexibility, go for a long period of time, have decent amounts of strength, speed, be able to throw a football around with your, or I guess I should say, kick a football around with your grandkids when you're 90 years old.
The body part is important, but, of course, unless you have the central nervous system, the program up here that's in control working properly, there are a lot of very fit people who are not optimized, who do not have energy because what's up here is not functioning properly.
And then, the third spoke of the wheel, probably even more neglected in addressing the brain, will be the spirit, the soul. That's something that I've come to, especially over the past few years, develop a great appreciation for. This concept of the spiritual disciplines: fasting, meditation, yoga, silence, solitude, prioritizing love and relationships, engaging in a lot of these disciplines that we see in these Blue Zones, areas where people around the world are living in a disproportionate long period of time. Places like Sardinia and Nicoya and Okinawa. We also find a very big emphasis on the spiritual disciplines in these regions as well. And I would say that, really, we do have a lot of people, especially, I know that many of you here in the audience are involved in it. In the physical fitness culture, or in the gym culture, we have people walking around with optimized bodies or even optimized brains. But, that third part is often just shrunken up and shriveled and neglected inside of people. That's the spiritual component.
And really, I mean, I got to tell you, every single one you could walk out of here today totally full of knowledge from questions that you've asked, as well as things that we address here on this panel about the perfect diet for you and which supplements you should be taking for your specific goals, and the exercise program that's going to get you the body that you want. But, I got to tell you, at the end of the road, there's so many other people in the fitness center who feel this. No matter how perfect of a body you develop, no matter how quickly you can memorize 50 names or debit cards, you will be unfulfilled at the end of the day. You will never find true happiness and purpose and fulfillment until you also optimize your spirit and care for your soul.
But, when you blend body optimization, brain optimization, and spiritual optimization altogether, that is what I call being boundless. That's when you have boundless energy at your beck and call. Don't get me wrong. I get tired. I'm in jet lag the past three days. But, I also tap into, not just supplements that help with jet lag and engaging in circadian rhythm cues like exercising in the morning, eating in the time zone that the people we're on that are eating, properly timed breakfast, lunch, and dinner, large amounts of natural bite in the morning. But, even when I'm tired, that's when I got to tap into the soul. I've got to tap into the spirit. Specifically, for me, it's like, “What's my purpose in life?” My purpose in life is to empower people to live a more adventurous, joyful, and fulfilling life.
Until last night, I had slept nine hours since I arrived in India. So, I was having three hours a night of sleep. But, man, when my eyes pop open in the morning, I think, “I need to go out today and empower people to live a more adventurous, joyful, and fulfilling life.” That purpose statement just rips me out of bed in the morning, even if I don't have the amount of sleep or the amount of nutrients on board that I might need for that physical optimization. That's where the spiritual piece comes in.
But, once you have all these things woven together, then, you have boundless energy at your beck and call, whenever you want it, all day long. And that is what being boundless is about. That's what my new book called “Boundless” is about. And we actually didn't bring any of the books here. We had hundreds of copies down on my Bangalore event. But, what I told people down there is you can get the book anywhere in the world if you go to BoundlessBook.com/Book-Depository. BoundlessBook.com/Book-Depository. It's there. Do you want to [00:15:23] _____ front of my book in response to your question?
Jag: I'd love that.
Ben: Yeah. Alright. So, that's what it means to be boundless. We can go for the esoteric big-picture stuff that I just went over deep down into the nuts and bolts. I love it. Kris, have you read the “Boundless” book?
Kris: It will take me about a year and a half to read through this. This is not a book. This is huge. I probably would have been about 50 pounds overweight if I packed it with me, Ben. It's a phenomenal book. And I think anybody, everybody in the biohacking and health sector has gone ahead and purchased this book. It is like the Bible of biohacking, really. And it is a phenomenal book. And it will take me a while to go through it. You just came up with an audio version, correct?
Ben: Yeah, audio in Kindle. Yeah.
Kris: So, that will be easier for me to manage on long-haul flights. But, it's a phenomenal book. Just touching upon what Ben mentioned here and what it really means to be boundless. I 100% agree. Even though some of us struggle to work our pec muscles, our delt muscles, people find it so much harder with their soul muscles. If I ask anybody here who's meditated, most of you will put your hands up. If I ask any of you who meditates, I'm sure there's going to be a lot less people, because it's difficult. It's hard to be persistent and consistently invest yourself into that, because you don't see an immediate return. It's a long-term investment to get that long-term return.
Because as we do age 90, hopefully, over 100 years old, our pecs will wither away. That cognitive function will slow little. However, if you have it worst, like Ben mentioned, your soul muscles, and our purpose is going to decline. And it's that purpose, as we have seen in these Blue Zones, that helps people carry through to disproportionate ages all their life in good health. It was actually a Blue Zone here in the south of India, I believe up until in the 1940s, 1950s maybe. And now, that is no longer a Blue Zone. Far from it, because now, we actually have the westernized culture has come in. We have a lot of vegetable oils, a lot of adulterated foods. Obviously, we know what the pollution is like here in Delhi. And a lot of us, our DNA hasn't changed, but the surroundings have changed. And biohacking, which Ben really describes and goes into extreme depth within Boundless, shows how to control and biohack your biology and biohack your environment. The DNA hasn't changed but your environment has.
So, just finding a way to stay ahead of the curve, of course, we have the fundamental principles in place, the lights, the hydration, the nutrition, the rest, the sleep, the recovery. But, what else can we do to optimize once that's in place? Some people just go direct for the biohacks and they don't look at the cake before the icing. They just go straight for the icing. But, we have to optimize by bringing both and all of these together. Of course, we all want to look good. It makes us feel better and more confident, but how can we feel good internally, from the inside? Because otherwise, we're just going to get very frustrated when we know it doesn't get so good. When we get stuck, we will get frustrated.
Jag: Thank you. So, Ben, you mentioned sleep. Well, what is that missing component?
Ben: I think, these days most people have heard of sleep hygiene. Raise your hand if you're familiar with the concept of sleep hygiene. You may have heard it under a different title. But, essentially, it is optimizing variables that would help you to get the sleep that we know that humans need. I'm talking about the basic concepts of sleeping in a dark room, sleeping with cool temperatures, and not having a lot of noise. So, we hear these things, right? Light and temperature and silence are crucial to a good night of sleep.
But then, once you get into it, now we're going to get into the nuts and bolts. Once you get into the nitty-gritty of how to implement that, it becomes a matter of strategizing how to actually optimize sleep hygienes.
What do I mean by that? Well, let's start here – light. Your sleep cycle, your circadian rhythm begins when you wake up. When you wake up, the amount of natural light that you are exposed to is your body's cue to begin your circadian rhythm. And if you are not getting large amounts of natural light during the day, it's going to affect your sleep and your deep sleep cycles later on in the evening.
Now, once you know that, it can become as simple as you, finding the time when you wake up at some points between waking and noon to go for a 20- to 30-minute walk in the sunshine. Unfortunately, many of us are working in environments in areas where we don't have access to be able to get out into the morning sunlight. This is where things like biohacking would come in.
So, now, for example, they produce devices such as, there's one called the HumanCharger. And this is a small in-ear device that targets the photoreceptors within your neural tissue to actually allow you to get bright light in your ears that simulate sunlight and causes a circadian rhythm cue very similar to looking at sunlight. There's another pair of glasses that you can wear that you push a button on that actually produce sunlight for your eyes. Well, you're at your office, working on your computer during the day, that simulates what someone would do even if you're in your office unable to get out in the sunlight.
There are also forms of red light. The sun produces the full spectrum of light, but specifically, it has far-infrared, red, and near-infrared spectrums in it. And we know that these are enormously helpful for things like collagen and elastin production on the skin. We know it's helpful for hormones. We know it's helpful for thyroid. And you can get red light panels that you put in your office so that you put in your home that you can also use to do things like simulate sunrise. Alright.
So, when we're talking about sleep cycles and light, it begins with as much natural light and as much simulation of natural light as possible during the day. You'll notice that I'm wearing glasses right now. These glasses specifically block the flicker that's produced by LED and fluorescent lighting.
Now, in my home, I have removed all the LED and fluorescent light bulbs and replaced them with a bulb that actually replicates much more closely the full spectrum of sunlight. Does anybody know what kind of bulb that would be? It's just an old-school incandescent light bulb. So, I've got incandescent bulbs. They use up slightly more energy but they're far more natural for the circadian rhythm and they don't cause the type of retinal damage that some of the LED and the fluorescent bulbs do. Another example would be, I'm working on computer monitors during the day, typically, a laptop or a larger computer monitor. So, I have a software called Iris installed on all my computers. And what Iris does is it reduces the blue light from the backlit LED part of the screen and also lowers the amount of flicker that's in the screen, so when I'm working on my computer during the day and I've got that Iris software on, it will actually make it so I'm not getting bombarded by unnatural light spectrum during the day.
Now, this leads to the evening. A software program like Iris will also, for whatever area of the world that you happen to be in, as soon as the sun has set, it will shift to a more red screen. It will pull some of the blue light out of that screen. Thus, allowing you to engage in the second part of light, which would be to decrease the amount of light that you're exposed to later on in the day. Because as soon as the sun has set, your body, from an evolutionary ancestral standpoint, is not equipped to deal with the large amounts of light that we're exposed to in malls, gas stations, grocery stores, headlights from cars, backlit, computer monitors, LED and fluorescent lighting in our homes. So, what you want to do is you want to hack your environment so that you're exposed to as little blue light and artificial light in the evening.
So, for example, not only do you have that software that you can use, that Iris software I talked about, but tonight, when I go out to dinner, I will remove these glasses and I replace them with a pair that's more like an orange or red-colored lens that will more simulate. It takes a normal light and makes it look more like torch lamp or firelight or the type of light that our ancestors would have gathered around in the evening because we know from many studies that blue light, that artificial light, suppresses the melatonin production by the pineal gland. So, if you're looking at lights before you go to bed at night, then, you're going to decrease the amount of melatonin you produce and you're going to diminish the quality of your sleep cycles. Even in my bedroom and in my master bathroom, I've actually used, instead of regular incandescent bulbs, you can also buy these red incandescent bulbs. So, when I flip on the lights in my bedroom or when I get up at night to take a pee in the bathroom, I'm not getting bombarded by what my body believes is the sun. I'm not telling my body that it's morning; instead, everything is very kind of dim, red, and you feel is that your sleep cycles are far less suppressed in that type of scenario. So, you want as much natural light as possible during the day, and then absence of that bright blue light in the evening.
So, light is one component. That's example of us knowing about proper sleep hygiene, but then using biohacking and smart living and even tying in ancestral concepts like getting out into the sunlight to actually put this into practice.
So, when we talk about that second component I discussed, cold. Okay. So, I engineered in my hotel room last night with the ladder. I opened the little thing about the door, tweaking the air conditioning so it go as low as 17 degrees Celsius, which is what I wanted to sleep at. Because if you dial in your sleep temperature anywhere from 16 up to about 19 degrees Celsius, we know that the body's nervous system repair and neuromuscular repair occurs much, much more readily during a night of sleep. And you fall asleep faster and you stay asleep longer if you're sleeping in a cool environment. If you have eaten a heavy meal or you've exercised anywhere closer than three hours prior to bedtime, we know your body's core temperature is going to be elevated when you go to bed. So, what can you do about that? What I do is I take a simple cold shower before I go to bed at night if I'm in a hotel that doesn't have air conditioning or an Airbnb or a home that doesn't have air conditioning, or, if I've exercised or eaten a heavy meal prior to bed because I can use that to decrease my core temperature.
At home, I sleep on a device called the chiliPAD. The chiliPAD will circulate 55 degrees Fahrenheit cold water under my body during an entire night of sleep. When I'm traveling, I obviously don't have my chiliPAD, but there's a little hack that they've actually shown in research will decrease by a factor of three the amount of time that it takes you to fall asleep. And that's to simply wear a pair of wool or insulating socks when you go to bed. So, you just wear underwear or minimal clothing, but you put these socks on. And it sounds counterintuitive, but by wearing something warm on the feet, it actually causes a blood flow response that allows the rest of your body to cool.
You can also select cooling sheets with a thread count that keeps your body more cool during sleep. And just stay constantly cognizant of the actual temperature of the room that you're sleeping in and how warm your body is when you actually hit the sack. Okay. So, that's another example of how we can actually practically implement this stuff into our lives.
We look at silence, that third component that I mentioned. Well, when I'm traveling, I've got foam earplugs. When I am sleeping, I put my iPhone in airplane mode next to my bed stand and I have an app called Sleep Stream. And what Sleep Stream will do is it will play noise that blocks out any ambient noise – sirens, people walking by in a hotel hallway, etc. It'll drown out that noise. And furthermore, I believe it was Stanford University who did this research. Has anybody heard about white noise before? Yeah. White noise will block out a lot of other sounds, but it turns out there are other forms of noise, like brown noise and pink noise. And it turns out that if you listen to pink noise as you're falling asleep or during a night of sleep, that's the best one for optimizing how you can stay asleep and fall asleep more quickly. So, you put an app next to your bedside and you use something like Sleep Stream and you play noise like pink noise that actually drowns out ambient sound and pushes you into a sleep cycle more quickly.
If you want to take things to the next level, so you're a side sleeper and you can't sleep with headphones on, there's a pair of headphones called Sleep Phones. And Sleep Phones are soft earphones that you can put around your head that allow you to sleep on your side, but then, actually play this from your phone. Wired in through the phone that's on your bedside straight around your head, if you want to drown out even more sound while you're asleep.
Now, those are just some examples of optimizing lights, optimizing temperature, and optimizing silence. And then, there's one final component that I don't think enough people focus on when it comes to sleep. And that's safety. That's safety. Your bed, your bedroom should be to your body, to your subconscious, to your living system, that reptilian part of your brain that always sense danger. If your bedroom is a place where you are sensing danger, then, that's going to keep you from falling asleep or staying asleep. So, how do we actually practically implement this?
Well, for example, when I'm in a hotel room, I never, ever do, and this is something I used to do all the time and I'm sure many of you have done this before, you put your laptop on the bed and you flop on your belly on bed and you check email, get some work done, and maybe, as you're falling asleep, you take your laptop out again to reply some emails. Automatically, your body will associate bed with work. And while work may not seem dangerous to you, it's still something that stimulates your sympathetic fight-and-flight nervous system. You should never work in bed. You should never have your laptop in bed because if you do, your body associates the bed with being an unsafe place.
In addition, I have now begun to use when I sleep something called a gravity blanket. And what a gravity blanket does, it's a 15, 20, or 25-pound blanket that you pull over your body when you fall asleep. And it's like this nice protective cave that you've called in to. You'd be surprised at how much safe you feel when you fall asleep under a gravity blanket. And so, that's another way that you can associate your bedroom with safety. And so, making sure that you don't do stressful things in bed or in the bedroom, that's another real key to sleep hygiene that I don't think is talked about often enough. Okay.
But, what I've just talked to you about, this is a perfect example of biohacking. You take something that you know is important to sleep and when we say, “Okay. We know we have a lot of kind of what would be called evolutionary mismatches – things that we fight against in a post-industrial era, like light that does not simulate sunlight, traffic outside that might keep us awake while we're asleep at night, temperatures that might not be that nice cold outdoor temperature our ancestors might have slept in when they were in caves or tents or outside.” And we simply use smart-living technologies and biohacks to begin to fight those evolutionary mismatches and enhance, in this case, our recovery or memory consolidation and our energy levels the rest of the day because we've optimized our sleep cycles. So, that's what comes to mind when you say sleep.
Jag: Thank you, Ben. Kris, what do you have to say about that?
Kris: Well, the whole time I was here, as Ben was talking, I was just scribbling things. Okay, he's spoken about that. He's spoken about that. He's left me very little to talk about. But, actually, I haven't used, what is it, gravity blanket?
Ben: Yeah, the gravity blanket.
Kris: How do you use that? I was actually in Park City three weeks ago. And myself and my fiancée had the best night of sleep because, in the hotel, the blanket was so heavy – very, very heavy. And my sleep score the next day is phenomenal. And usually, in hotels, I don't sleep well at all. So, that's something I definitely get a link off you for because of the one that I found already came in a queen-size that I'm sure my fiancée had been pissed off because I'd be cocooned, room temperature is down, and she'd be freezing a lot without any heavy blanket.
But, there's a few other things that I noticed you mentioned about some people working. When I found on that computer [00:32:31] ______ or on their device, I noticed a lot of people don't even work but they will just scroll through socials. And they find it gives them that dopamine fix. They'll eat before bed but they'll get an even more compounded effect by just scrolling. People get this dopamine fix by scrolling through socials endlessly. It's like reality TV. And that's also going to activate the brain before bed.
And what they said is one of the contributing factors now to childhood obesity, they get exposed to the blue lights penetrating their retina, cortisol is going up, and of course, they're staying up late at night, getting this dopamine fix scrolling through social networks mindlessly. That's something that you've got to be conscious of. The one thing that I have become devoted to now in the morning and at night is I understand that my anxiety for the rest of the day is dictated on how I start my morning. So, I will make sure that I wake up with a [00:33:33] ______ in the morning and at night where I will not go near my device. And I know that you have a routine that you prescribe to in the morning as well, Ben. First thing in the morning, I'll little stretch up with something at home that's called a FeetUp. It helps me do a headstand and I'll do that for about four or five minutes without pricking my neck. I did that the first time without one of these devices. And especially, in the winter where I am now in Idaho, I'll expose myself to the red-light therapy. And that is my time to gather my thoughts. Meditation, that will then turn into the manifestation for the rest of the day. And it helps me go to sleep much better at night by forming the function of my day from the moment that I wake up. That really, really does help me.
And I'd be interested to know what your thoughts are in regards to your diet throughout the day to help people with sleep. So, I know, obviously, you mentioned fasting for a good hour or two before bed. But, what I've noticed with myself as well, even though I'm not following this particular diet at the moment, when I went on a cyclical keto approach like you do, Ben, I find that by increasing my fats and drastically lowering my complex carbs throughout the day really helped with my fats. That helped with my sleep as well. Is this something that you found?
Ben: I have a couple of thoughts. The first is just a total aside. You talked about the phone and scrolling through the feed at night. I would encourage all of you to make your phone as boring as possible in the evening. The way that I do that, this is very simple, you can Google “iPhone red light trick,” if you have an iPhone. I believe there's a similar function on the Android. Although, since I use an iPhone I don't know how to do it on the Android. But, basically, what it allows you to do is night mode that is already built into iOS on steroids. It essentially sucks all blue light out of the screen and it just makes scrolling through feeds notifications, etc., not really pop out, so you don't get the same dopamine response. Plus, it sucks all the blue light out of the screen. You use the color filter setting on your phone. It switches everything to red. So, use that iPhone red light trick if you can.
Now, regarding diet, I have a couple of thoughts on that. Number one is I do not eat any carbohydrates the entire day. I save all my carbs for the very end of the day. Now, this is useful for a few reasons. A, it keeps me in a state of fat utilization the entire day. So, rather than my blood glucose going up and down all day long, which keeps me from tapping into my body fat stores and could also have an impact on the inflammation, I'm staying in a low-inflamed stable energy fat-burning state during the entire day. And this is especially important if you're physically active because your body does have to use stored carbohydrates to be able to do things like lift weights or do cardio interval training, like high-intensity cardio interval training. You eat carbohydrates in the evening. And this is useful because, A, in many cases, dinner is kind of our most social meal of the day. It's the time that we might get out to a restaurant, the time that we might be with friends, the time when we actually don't want as many dietary restrictions. I want my sweet potato, my yam, my red wine, my dark chocolate, maybe a cocktail, etc. So, I save all the carbohydrates for the evening and carbohydrates allow you to produce serotonin, which assists with your melatonin production when you sleep. So, assuming you're not eating very heavy meal within three hours prior to bedtime, having carbohydrates at the end of the day can actually enhance sleep, assuming you've limited carbohydrates the rest of the day. And then, you simply go to bed. And for me, I'll fast 12 to 16 hours after dinner, wake up the next morning, rinse, wash, and repeat, meaning no carbohydrates, only plants, fatty acids, proteins, etc., all day long. And at the very end of the day, then, I'll have my carbohydrates.
Now, the other trick that I have for you for food prior to sleep is, especially when you're a physically active people, which I know many of you are, they will hear, “Well, it's not smart to eat a heavy meal prior to bedtime,” but they'll lay awake hungry. And we actually know that fasting inhibits your sleep quality. We know that it's very difficult, especially people who will do three, four, or five-day water fast, etc. Sleep quality goes absolutely to hell.
Now, the trick for this is there are specific things that slowly bleed in your system that not only help your body to repair and enhance something called autophagy while you sleep, which is your body's natural cellular clean-up property, but they're also not going to raise your blood glucose as you're asleep. There's a lot of things that fall in that category. I'll fill you in on all of them. So, for the longest time, what I would do was a small scoop of nut butter, which gives me the fatty acids that's necessary. It's a slow burn while I'm asleep. And then, I would put a little bit of a good sea salt in with that, because one thing that actually keeps people from falling asleep, I discovered this when I was racing triathlon. I would lay awake at night. I could hear my blood pounding in my ears. I couldn't sleep. So, I started to use a lot more natural mineral salts and trace with minerals throughout the day. And automatically, my blood pressure re-regulated. This is based on cortisol and, also, mineral loss. And I sleep a lot better. You can combine that with something like a nut butter, a little bit of sea salt. And the last thing that I would add in there is a very kind of a slower release carbohydrate or lower glycemic index carbohydrate. And actually, just raw honey which has a lot of probiotics in it, a lot of enzymes in it, and is wonderful in moderation. You put a little bit of honey in with that, too. So, I would just have a giant tablespoon of nut butter, a little bit of sea salt, a little bit of honey on there. It tastes pretty good. It's almost like dessert. And that gives you that slow bleed of energy while you sleep.
Well, since I adopted that strategy, I've completely quit doing that because I found something that works even better that just covers all those bases. And again, it just works better, in terms of appetite satiating and not getting a lot of calories right before you fall asleep in bed at night. And that is J-E-L-L-O. Okay. Jell-O is made from glycine. Okay. So, when you make jello, all that gelatin in it, it's rich in glycine. And glycine is the perfect amino acid to keep your appetite satiated and enhance that cellular clean-up process while you sleep. So, every week, I make myself. I don't buy jello. I just make myself a big [00:40:09] ______ of jello. All you need is gelatin. I warm up a little water. I dump the gelatin in there. And then, what I'll typically use is a good coconut milk or a kefir, or a really good natural milk as a base. I'll take that hot water with the gelatin that I've mixed into it. I'll pour it into the milk. And then, I'll put a little bit of stevia in there, which is a sweetener that isn't going to raise my blood sugar. So, I stir all that in. I put it in the fridge. I let it set for a little while. And I have this giant pan of jello and I'll have one big cube of that about a third of the size of my phone here before I go to bed. And it's amazing for satiating your appetite. And that glycine just heals your body while you sleep. So, that's a fantastic appetite satiating and body healing strategy before you go to bed is to have jello, preferably, a jello that you make yourself because it's so darn easy to make. It's amazing for sleep.
Kris: That is making me hungry. Well, we've met the owner of the hotel and we will just give you access to the kitchen and we'll make it for everyone.
Ben: I would love to do that.
Kris: Sounds good. I actually make the coconut, the coconut yogurt that you would prescribe on your podcast and use the jello in there. So, it should be an easy transition for me.
Ben: You can if you wanted to. If you're lazy, you could just make that coconut yogurt and then add the gelatin that you'd mix with hot water to it, and literally, have the benefits of both the probiotic and the yogurt. Because that coconut yogurt will automatically become jello if you add hot water with gelatin to it, stir it, and then put it in fridge.
Kris: Perfect. Cooking with Ben. I'll just add a couple of things to the sleep here that I wrote down that I found that's being helpful to me. And I know that you actually have a WiFi kill switch in your home. I'm sure that we've all got WiFi routers in our home. Try to be conscious. Okay, we're surrounded by WiFi wherever we go. I know that a lot of you are traveling and you're getting exposed to x-rays, gamma rays, etc. Why not switch it off during the six to eight hours that you're sleeping as well, so you're not penetrated by the WiFi? That can, obviously, be a little hack that you can implement with you, guys.
And like Ben, Jag, we wear an Oura ring. If you have a sleep tracker, it's like wearing a personal trainer. I'm sure some of you have the Fitbit. Whatever you have that can actually accurately track your sleep, whether it be a Fitbit, BioStrap or a Whoop, or an Oura ring. I just find this because it's not on my wrist and I wear lifting straps and stuff. It's like having that form of accountability. I love it. Actually, Jag hates it because he wants me to have meetings with people at 8:30 at night when I'm in bed. I may look like a party animal, I'm in bed by 8:30, no later.
And it's because I have this accountability now because I actually went to a sleep clinic in 2014. Actually, a clinic, not a sleep clinic. But, I came out of there much better than what I am. I mean, nowhere near fix, but I had mold toxicity from where I lived in Mumbai. And that led to me having about three hours of sleep every night. And it wasn't good, but I utilized it to my advantage at that time. I was writing content that was motivational. It was hardcore. And I was kind of patting myself on the back for burning a candle at both ends. But I would say that's not good. I wasn't a good person to be around. It's probably one of the contributing factors that led to my divorce, who knows?
But, looking back on that, I'm very much a different person. And one of the major contributing factors is because I've optimized my sleep now. And having something, that form of accountability that we have available to us today that we did not have just five or six years ago can be huge for you if this is a major missing component in your life. Because we kind of walk around a little bit drunk if we're down in sleep about 20%. And I'm sure you all want to optimize your day and your life and the very short period of time that we have on this earth. So, optimize your sleep with efficiency that you can carry with you throughout the rest of the day.
And a couple of things in regards to the apps that's available to us now. One of the things that's helped with me, we've got things, like you just mentioned that you use NuCalm, with a couple of other devices out there that we use. But, one that helped me is called Silent Mode. I don't know if you've used that, Ben. It's kind of like an eye patch. I actually use an eye patch [00:44:48] _____ eye mask. But, this is like an eye mask and it helps you with breathwork as well. So, it helps you tune yourself from that sympathetic into that parasympathetic nervous state in the evening. So, you'd think actually doing breath workout in the evening that's kind of rigorous would actually wake you up. But, it actually really helps me lull me to sleep. So, that's a little hack that I found. And when you're traveling, well, it doesn't matter if you're at home, but when you're traveling, you'll notice the standby lights. We've got the alarm clocks. I wouldn't suggest pulling out the smoke alarms by any means. But, color those lights up as much as you possibly can. I put a pillow on my bedside just to cover all the lights there. Have as much darkness as you possibly can in that room. Really blacken out absolutely everything, because not only do you have the photoreceptors on your eyes, you actually have the photoreceptors on your skin as well. So, this is for all those people that are very, very sensitive sleepers. This person on my left here, Jag, he'll only have four-hour sleep. Half of that will be deep and the other half will be REM. I'm very jealous of this person. But, we're not all like that.
So, we have to realize that we all have various sensitivities, so we have to kind of do whatever we can to mitigate it with these tactics. And I don't know if you use anything like this, Ben, Defender Shield have these covers on our phones that can help scramble a lot of the EMF. They actually have blankets now as well. I don't know if you actually use one of those when you're traveling.
Ben: Yeah. I have a few thoughts based on what you just said. I realized we're spending a lot of time on sleep. But, of course, these pours in the many aspects of your life. And I think these are such important things that we're talking about for variety of things that go beyond sleep. So, you talked about unplugging the WiFi router. But, you can, for about 30 bucks, get a digital wall timer. And a digital wall timer will turn off anything that's plugged into that outlet at whatever time you specify. So, you get a digital wall timer and plug your WiFi router into that and set it to, say, turn off at 10:00 p.m. and then flip on again at 6 a.m. So, for a third of your life, during the time when you're in bed, the most important time in your body should be healing and recovery and not bombarded by non-native EMF. You have no WiFi signal in your home because if you're not using the internet, anyways, at least I hope, during that time that you're supposed to be in bed and asleep. So, a digital wall timer will allow you to automatically turn off the WiFi without thinking about it.
Now, relating it to what you were talking about with the blankets that scramble WiFi, that's like a Faraday blanket that you can sleep in. They make Faraday clothing. When I traveled over here for my long-haul flight, I wore a suit that's essentially made out of Faraday fabric that blocks all this EMF. They're not very fashionable, but they work.
I do not sleep with a Faraday blanket, but what I use is essentially what's called a WiFi scrambler. It's a frequency generator that blocks the signals that would be coming from because let's say you've turned off the WiFi in your house, all the other homes and condos and areas around you that are also emitting WiFi signals. So, there's three different companies that actually make something you can put next to your bed, plugin next to your bed, and it'll block those WiFi signals. One is called the Qi, Q-I. There's another one called the BluShield, B-L-U-Shield. And then, the final one is called a Somavedic, S-O-M-A-V-E-D-I-C. They all operate on similar principles, but essentially, they're generating a frequency that's more tuned to what the Earth's natural frequency is. And that actually blocks a lot of the WiFi that you're experiencing while you're in bed at night. You just plug it in, put it in your bedroom. I had one in my bedroom and I had one in my office. And those work very well.
And then, two of the things I jotted down because, obviously, Kris and I are figuring out things. We're going back and forth. The sleep mask. You said you use one called the Silent Mode?
Kris: Silent Mode, yeah.
Ben: Silent mode.
Kris: That's just, if I'm traveling. Sorry. If I'm traveling, I'll use what's called the REMedy Sleep Mask. But, the one that's attached through the app that has the breathwork, that is Silent Mode.
Ben: Okay. Got you. So, Silent Mode is more for the breathwork. The mask that I use is called a Mind Fold. It was developed originally for psychedelic and plant medicine journeys where when you're using something like Ayahuasca or DMT, or whatever, one thing that happens is your pupils dilate. You become very light-sensitive. So, for plant medicine journeys, this company developed this mask. It just block out as much light as possible, but it works fantastically even if you're not sleeping on Ayahuasca. It's called the Mind Fold mask. And that's the one that I use. It does a better job than any other mask I've used at blocking out light.
And then, Kris, you were also talking about breathwork and I agree. I'm a huge, huge fan of using breath to control physiology. I'm often asked about stress. What are the best stress control strategies? And sure, you could take phosphatidylserine as a supplement to lower your cortisol levels. And you can mix theanine in your coffee to make coffee become less jittery. And you can buy electric devices that you attach to either side of your neck called vagal nerve stimulators that lower cortisol. There's all sorts of things you can do. There's 20 things I talked about in a book for lowering cortisol, lowering stress. But, the simplest and most effective thing is free and built-in to each and every one of us, and that's our breath.
So, for example, there are three forms of breathwork that I teach to all my clients that I use myself in my own practice. One is alternate nostril breathing, which has been shown in as little as one minute to decrease plasma and salivary cortisol levels. And it's very simple. When you find yourself holding your breath or doing shallow chest breathing from all the bullets flying out from the email inbox in your computer, you pause and you take one breath into your right nostril. Then, you cover the right nostril and you exhale through the left nostril. And you do three rounds of that, just three rounds of that. It's going to take about a minute. And that's all it takes to reduce cortisol.
Another one is box breathing. Specifically, well, for fat loss, for blood flow, for a variety of benefits, I'm a huge fan of doing these cold soak, just jumping in a cold river, cold lake, cold ocean, ice bath. I have a cold pool at home and I'll do box breathing when I'm in that stressful environment. So, that's a four-count in, four-count hold, four-count out, four-count hold. That was the first form of breathwork that I taught my kids to become more aware of their breathwork and use breath to control stress and to control their physiology. That works fantastically, I found, for periods of time when you're under physical stress. It even works when you are recovering between sets in a gym to cool you down very quickly, getting to the parasympathetic very quickly.
When I'm falling asleep, the one that I found to just lull me to sleep very easily is 4-8 breathing. Some people will do 4-7-8 breathing, which is a four-count in, seven-count hold, eight-count out. I don't worry so much about the seven-count hold. I just do four breaths in, I'm sorry, four-count in, four-count out.
Now, here is the interesting thing. We know that animals that live in disproportion in long period of time, say, the bowhead whale or the naked mole-rat, these are animals that will live a much longer period of time than the species that are closely related to these animals. They have a high amount of what's called CO2 tolerance (carbon dioxide tolerance), meaning that they hang on the high levels of CO2 in their body.
Now, if you are well oxygenated, if you're breathing well, your mitochondria are operating properly, and you're consuming foods that enhance oxygen uptake, and you're exercising, you're getting good oxygen levels. But, if you also maintain high levels of carbon dioxide, what happens is that's the signal for the oxygen to dissociate into things like muscle tissue and hard tissue. And the number one way that you can train your body to have high CO2 tolerance is to simply breathe out for a longer period of time than you breathe in. And I do this when I'm walking. For 10 steps, I'll breathe in; but, for 20 steps, I'll breathe out. I even have a small device. Very simple. It's in my fanny pack over there. It's called the Relaxator. You just it put in your mouth while you're on a walk and resists your breath out. So, you're forcing. It kind of trains you to breathe out for a longer period of time than your breathing in. And again, as you fall asleep, four-count in, eight-count out. What are you doing while? Well, you're increasing your CO2 tolerance, but also, as you breathe out, you're activating your parasympathetic nervous system because long exhales automatically send a signal to something called your vagus nerve. Your vagus nerve innervates your heart and all the other organs of your body. And one of the things it can do is flip you into a fight-and-flight response or a rest-and-digest response. And when you breathe out for a longer period of time than you breathe in, you automatically cause the vagus nerve to send a parasympathetic signal to your heart that lowers your heart rate and causes your heartbeat to become more tuned to your nervous system.
So, the three forms of breathwork I like for stress are the alternate nostril, the box breathing, and the 4-8 breathing. And it's also very useful, not just for sleep but throughout the day, to be cognizant of how much you're breathing out compared to how much you're breathing in.
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Jag: I just like to ask a couple of questions to the audience, too. How many people here are connected to the fitness industry? Fantastic.
Ben: A lot of gym junkies.
Jag: Yeah. So, traditionally, when a member goes to the gym and fitness professionals usually recommend supplements and other shortcuts to try and help them get results faster. But, sleep is one of those low-hanging fruit, but it's always been overlooked. And just to give you, guys, a quick example, there's a lot of people that I've come across who use gyms and always have an excuse that they are working long hours, and therefore, can't get enough sleep. I'm actually one of those people. I have tried to reduce the number of hours I work, so I can get more hours of sleep. However, I've actually taken advantage of some of these sleep hacks. So, even though I may be getting a short amount of sleep, the quality of the sleep, as Kris says, is a lot better. So, I find that my recovery is a little better.
Kris: Fasting, itself, do a lot.
Jag: Absolutely. That's another question which we will move on to about fasting. But, I would always suggest that you use some of these accountability tools to see if these sleep hacks actually work, like the Oura ring. So, as soon as you take active steps to make improvements, you will see a result.
But, just before I got to anti-aging, I noticed that you were sitting in an unusual position. I know it's in the restaurant last night over there having dinner. What was the reason for that?
Ben: There's two reasons that you guys might see me fidgeting up here on stage, standing up, stretching, changing positions. Throughout my entire day at work, it's the same way. A, we know that your posture, specifically, well, sitting in a traditional chair for a long period of time is associated with things like shortened hip flexors, which automatically decreases the extent to which you can use your glutes when you're walking or running or lifting later on the day. And poor glute activation is one of the biggest contributors to lower back pain, especially when combined with shortened hip flexors.
So, that's one reason, is to protect the health of my lower back, and also to just keep activated the most athletic muscle in anybody's body, which is your glutes.
The next reason is that there's this concept called NEAT, Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. Now, that's a big phrase, but what Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis is it's the number of calories you burn during the day, not necessarily when you're exercising or, say, digesting food. But, it's just a small movement you do during the day, including the amount of steps you take, that add up throughout the day. And it turns out the calorie burn and the fat loss benefits of Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis far outweigh what you get from exercise. By moving our bodies throughout the entire day, by even using things like self-quantification devices like a ring to track our step count to keep us motivated by saying, “Okay, my rule. I, Ben Greenfield, this is a rule, I take 15,000 steps a day. Period.” I push myself away from the dinner table at night, my clients at my app, I'm at 13,500 steps, I'll go call my wife and walk for 15 minutes while I'm talking to her to get that 15,000-step count.
Now, that's not a substitute for me for exercise because I actually like to maintain a nice body. I like to compete in athletic events. I go to the gym to be athletic and, also, for aesthetic purposes. But, for things like fat loss and general movement, it's my Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis that I focus on. So, for me, it's the postural component, but then it's activity thermogenesis.
And so, the other thing that I should mention is that I was with a guy in Bangalore who has seen some research specific on Indian populations in a drop in bone density related to sitting, instead of the traditional method of, say, eating or defecating, etc., which would be a squatting position. So, a lot of times, I'll do just a deep squatting position which is also fantastic for something else that I hadn't realized until a few days ago. And that is bone density. So, there is no rule. And by the way, there is no rule for any of you who are out there sitting in the audience that you need to be sitting. I'm fine if people get up occasionally or go to wall, stand, stretch, try different moves in your chair, etc. We can destroy all the hotel room chairs, find the bottoms of our shoes, and apologize to the hotel owner later on. But yeah, that's really why I'm constantly in different positions, rather than just sitting.
Jag: Correct. So, I want to move on to anti-aging. Just before I do, Kris, what is a biological age?
Kris: My biological age, I think, it's 38. 37? I'm 38.
Ben: Chronological age is 38.
Kris: Yeah. So, my biological age is the same as Ben's at the moment. My actual chronological age is 45.
Ben: No. Your chronological age is 45. Yes, it's how old you are in years. And biological age is 38. Technically, your cells are seven years younger than you should be.
Kris: Yeah. That's right. But, it wasn't always that way. Some years ago, I was doing the same sort of thing, doing the Ironman triathlon and bodybuilding at the same time. Funny story, actually. I came across Ben, not from the biohacking world. Several years before that, when I was watching all your videos on an Ironman Triathlon, he'd [01:03:34] _____ on the pieces of equipment that were probably lost on me, to be honest with you. But, how to optimize various discipline of Ironman triathlon when I first got into it. So, thank you very much for all those helpful videos there, Ben.
So, what was the question again?
Jag: Biological age.
Kris: Biological age, yeah. So, I'm 45 years old now and I'm very thankful that I get a lot of people say, “Well, you kind of look like you're reversing your age.” Because when I was here, as I mentioned, back in 2011 and I was here for a few years, my sleep was not good. I was possibly aging much faster than I was. Since I've optimized my sleep and I know that we're going down this rabbit hole again, I've actually felt better. Now I'm going through a phase of putting on muscle again. I was following various programs last couple of years that kind of took me off track. And I thought, “Okay. Well, I want to just see if my body will respond if I can put on a lot of muscle but still optimize my health and my performance at the same time.” And you know what? It's reacting very well. I didn't know if I could as well at this age, but my body is reacting well and I feel very, very good.
I just mentioned the low-level activity that Ben was talking about earlier. It's phenomenal. There's a lot of people that will use the excuse, “Well, I'm at the office. I'm too busy. I don't have time to go to the gym, have a shower, get changed, get back to the office.” But, there's so much that you can do with just low-level activity throughout the day. I have a treadmill desk at home that Jag taught me some years ago that's been phenomenal to me. So, if I'm on a conference call, if I'm doing a podcast, generally, I'm on that treadmill desk moving around. And Ben is the culprit as well that has led to me doing 50-ish squats pretty much on the hour when I'm on long-haul flights as well. But, it keeps the body moving. And if you are tracking the calories and the steps that you been in and off throughout the day, you are not even breaking into a sweat, but you're able to chew through that many more calories that you generally wouldn't if you're too busy.
Ben: A few things I want to say about this. First of all, what you just commented on regarding the treadmill workstation, very important. And there's a non-negotiable for the folks who I work with, I coach, I get on three things. They have a kettlebell in the floor of their office that they can stop and do kettlebell swings with at some point during the day, which are also one of the most amazing things. If you want to learn how to do just a double arm kettlebell swing. One of the best ways to get rid of the short hip flexors and activate the glutes are proper kettlebell swing. And a hex bar. A hex bar is basically a bar that you can load up with heavyweight. And we know that your grip strength and the amount of weight that you can deadlift is directly correlated to anti-aging and longevity. And I have the same thing. One hex bar, it's in the room that's next door in my office. And I just wander in there a few times a day and do 5 to 10 heavy lifts. It's not formal weight training session. I just pick it up and put it down 5 to 10 times.
And then, finally, what's called brachiation. Some people believe that humans originated from apes and we're used to hanging from the trees and mobilize the shoulders. Regardless of what you believe about the Origin of Species, the idea of hanging, of decompressing a lot of joints by hanging or by doing pull-ups, that's also very important.
So, the three crucial pieces of gear that I have around in addition to that treadmill workstation that you talked about, I think everybody, as long as your budget can afford it, should have a hex bar, a kettlebell, and a pull-up bar. And they should specifically be located near to where you are working, near your office where you're working. So, you can stop and use these things during the day.
Now, you talked about a biological age versus chronological age. Well, just to explain, to clarify what's meant by that, is, typically, these days is this concept of measuring how young your cells are compared to how old you are in years. Typically, some of you, what's called a telomere analysis, which is analyzing the length of the telomeres on each cell with the idea that the shorter those telomeres are or the more rapid the rate at which they are shortening, the more rapidly you're aging or the older that you are.
Now, it's a somewhat flawed measurement in that it's looking at a limited number of cells. It's questionable how correlated that is to longevity, compared to all the other variables that we could measure. And now, there are some better more accurate measurements coming out to measure biological age. And one, in particular, called a DNA methylation clock. It's not that accessible right now, but within about the next six months or so, that's what you guys will see popping up is the best way to actually measure your biological age. But, in my opinion right now, probably the most accurate way to measure it is via a telomere analysis. And there's a company called Spectra Cell in the US that I use to measure my actual biological age, which, right now, is nine years old. How do I do things like that? My telomere length to be that long. I'll give you three of my top tips. Okay. Three of my top tips for anti-aging or longevity.
One, we already touched upon, and that is fasting. I fast 12 to 16 hours every day, meaning that if I finish dinner at 10:00 p.m., I will not eat again until 10:00 a.m. minimum. If I go and have a midnight snack, then, breakfast is out the window and I will be eating again until lunch. But, fortunately, most of that time you're sleeping. So, it's not that hard, suppose you've used that jello trick that I told you about earlier. Okay. So, I do a 12 to 16-hour intermittent fast every day, 365 days a year.
Number two is I do a 24-hour dinner time to dinner time fast one to two times a month. And that's very simple. I just push myself away from the dinner table on Saturday and I don't eat again until our Sunday night family dinner. Super simple. Because for me, it's like, “Yeah, maybe a three to five-day water fast would be better. And I get more cellular clean-up, etc.” But, for me, it has to be sustainable. A three to five-day water fast does not get me excited. That's like telling somebody, just go to the gym for three hours and you get super fit. Yeah, maybe, but it's just hard to sustain.
Now, the third type of fasting that I do is based on the research of a guy named Dr. Valter Longo. And Dr. Valter Longo found that, rather than just not eating any calories at all for five days in a row, you can get very similar longevity benefits by simply eating 40% of the number of calories that you would normally consume, 40%. So, four times a year, it's almost like a seasonal clean-up for my body, I simply go five days eating 40% of the number of calories that I would normally eat. And for me, it's very simple. If I just skip breakfast for those five days, have a light lunch, and really have a pretty normal dinner, which allows me to still sleep through that five-day fasting cycle, it works out just fine. And again, all those longevity benefits. So, that's how I fast.
If you are a woman, the only caution I would give to you is that many women, especially pre-menopausal women, experience some hormone issues if they fast for longer than 12 hours. So, especially, if you're a lean and active female, I would be careful with the longer more extended fast. But, everybody benefits from some form of an intermittent fast, with guys closer to 12 to 16 hours, women closer to 12 hours. So, fasting is number one.
Now, the other two things that, I think, have made the biggest impact on anti-aging, longevity, and biological age for me, number one, is peptides. Mark my words. Peptides are going to be the next frontier of health and the anti-aging medicine. And they're huge in the U.S. right now. They're very small amino acid sequences that can directly interact with cell receptors with very specific ways. So, for example, in the bodybuilding, muscle gain industry, a lot of people for a long time have been using growth hormone. The problem with growth hormone is it targets every single cell receptor for growth hormone in the human body and can potentially be carcinogenic because it just causes pro-growth across the board. But, what if there was something that would cause an increase in growth hormone only localized in muscle tissue? Well, it turns out that you can use peptides to target just growth hormone receptors in the brain or in, say, muscle tissue or in vasculature.
So, there's one peptide called tesamorelin. Tesamorelin, we use that peptide. All it does is target growth hormone receptors in muscle tissue, so, you gain muscle more quickly. Peptides, the only problem with them right now is that they are, for the most part, injectable. You have to get something like an insulin syringe and inject them right under the skin. Now, there are of course millions of diabetics around the world doing this with insulin all the time, but it's still something to make some people, especially, not needle-phobic, a little bit uncomfortable. But, peptide is absolutely amazing.
There's one peptide and I've been using it for three years. It's called epithalon, E-P-I-T-H-A-L-O-N. And the Russians have done the lion's share of peptide research. They have shown in human research studies that a twice per year 20-day protocol of injecting epithalon decreases all cause of risk of mortality across the board and extends lifespan significantly directly by increasing, I'm sorry, by decreasing the rate at which your telomere shorten. So, that one peptide is the one that I think is at the top of the anti-aging totem pole. And I think that's made a big difference for me. There are other peptides, but that one for anti-aging is amazing.
And then, finally, I'm very protective of my DNA and cellular repair mechanisms. Remember that little naked mole rat I was telling you about as very good CO2 tolerance? It also happens that that mole rat can repair its own proteins of DNA very, very quickly because it has a high natural amount of two molecules, one called NAD and one called sirtuin. Okay. So, NAD is a fantastic supplement. It's protective of the mitochondria. It is one of the best ways to repair DNA. It has a host of physiological functions. It's a very hot supplement in the U.S. right now. People are getting NAD IVs. They are using NAD supplements or different forms of NAD as a supplement. And I used NAD daily. I also get an NAD IV once a month, and it's amazing for protecting and for repairing your DNA.
But guess what? NAD will only work to repair your DNA if you also have something else present in your body. And that is your sirtuins. You might be familiar with sirtuins because it's something that you get from blueberries, cacao and dark chocolate, red wine, and even nice, dark, purple-ish blue foods that you might consume. And when you have a diet that's got a lot of the rainbow of colors and a wide range of plant foods, herbs, spices, cacaos, red wine, blueberry, dark chocolate, and you're also using NAD, then, you've got a potent one-two combo for DNA repair. If you or your clients can't afford NAD, it's also naturally upregulated through fasting and also through consumption of fermented foods. So, there are some natural lifestyle tactics you can also engage in to increase your NAD levels. But, for anti-aging, for me, those are your top three: fasting, peptides, and NAD/sirtuins.
Jag: Thank You, Ben. So, just a question for the audience once more. Have you ever noticed people around you who look like they've age faster than their actual age?
Jag: Can I see a show of hands? Kris, what would you say would be five major causes of aging faster than your actual age? What could people do to combat that?
Kris: Well, I can't say having kids because Ben's got a couple. So, that's definitely not.
Ben: It will decrease testosterone, though. It will.
Kris: So, again, I often get this when I go home and visit my family in Wales and I see people that I went to school with. And obviously, their lifestyle. I think not having some form of purpose if these people are doing the same sort of thing, and as we mentioned before with the Blue Zones, a lot of these people, they interact. The elderly are celebrated as opposed to forgotten. And I think that's one of the contributing factors. I think it was in one of Ben's podcast with Paul Saladino and Paul mentioned that he'd created a wolf pack. And I thought, “What a good idea. What a great idea,” because I'm very much a recluse. It's funny that I'm in this industry, but I've got a very, very small social circle. I'm just a recluse, and that's it. So, I thought, “Well, I don't go out. I don't socialize. What can I do? I'm going to create this wolf pack workout.” So, in my garage, there is a hex bar. I've got the kettlebells. I've got the box, the punch bag, the tire, the hammer. And so, every Saturday and Sunday, at 8 o'clock in the morning, I have that Wolf Pack workout. It gives me one of those contributing factors of forms of purpose.
Now, doing a lot of the lengthy cardio sessions that I was doing to get ready for ultramarathon and Ironman and the Spartan and stuff like that, I was going along and slow, like 80-mile bike ride or an 80-mile run. I know that wasn't a contributing factor for my age. And my testosterone levels were dropping because I'm still doing bodybuilding and I still do. So, one of the things I found that by backing off on a lot of my exercise because exercise isn't so much for vanity purposes. For me, it's a necessity. It makes me feel better. I'm a better person if I run. It's my AA batteries in the morning. And it's therapeutic.
But, by backing it down and increasing the intensity, I found it's really helped with the aging process as well. So, I shorten my periods of my workouts. We burnt 500 calories this morning in about 26 minutes. That was great. It was perfect. It gave me the therapy that I needed this morning. And I've obviously found that some of these contributing factors that we've mentioned earlier that my testosterone levels have now increased their seven times back. Looking at the forms of the calories that I take in, the calories had information, I'm making sure that the information that I'm giving my body is better.
We deal with a lot of oxidant stress. So, doing whatever I can so it kind of balance a lot of the oxidant stress that I'm undertaking. We have, obviously, the hermetic responses that we've spoken to before. Having that hot and cold therapy, I think, really [01:18:32] ______ with me, but in an indirect way of anti-aging. Because stimulating that vagus nerve, that vagal nerve tone, going from hot to cold to hot to cold has helped me with emotionally. So much better to counter stress, anxiety, work commitments, as opposed to just losing it. Because you know, Jag, I'm quite an anxious person. But, it's calmed me so much more. And I think that has been a major contributing factor for me to reverse my aging process.
So, you guys, we're here in India where Yoga is huge and meditation. Actually, participating, applying some form of meditation and being present has been huge as well. Because me, being a former competitive bodybuilder, which Ben was as well, or eating six meals a day. And we're not always present when we're eating those meals. We're scrolling. We're reading. We're talking. We're just trying to get the calories in. But now, I take my time. I did this with Jag the other day. I said, “We're going to close our eyes for a few minutes and we're going to be thankful for this food. It wasn't like so much praying. I'm just thankful for the food for the first couple of minutes with the eyes closed, thinking how this food is going to help nourish me and my state of my cells, how it's going to make me feel, how I'm going to function when I eat this meal. And then, for the next couple of minutes, I'm actually looking at all the colors of the rainbow on that plate. And during that time, I'm telling myself, “I'm going to take my time and I'm going to take at least 10 minutes to eat this meal.” And by doing so, again, we're charging into that parasympathetic nervous system, steady, calmed, relaxed, chilled, and allowing that food to nourish myself.
Jag: So, I wanted to ask you a question about food choices and anti-aging. Now, what most of you will probably notice is when you are traveling, when you're at the airport, there's so many bad choices of food that are available to you. I was talking to Kris the other day, we're at the airport around 6:00 in the morning and there was special offers for alcohol buy-one-get-one-free. And the fast-food joints were busy as hell. It was unbelievable. I found it so difficult to try and find a sensible food tray.
Kris: Even in the lounge.
Jag: Even in the lounge. I personally, actually, carry food with me. And I notice that you had quite a lot of supplements with you yesterday. I wanted to come back to this question, too, because you've been in India for quite a while and you've seen the type of food choices that people have. Would you agree there's a lot of bad food choices out there?
Kris: And do you all agree that your food is, too?
Jag: Everyone agree. So, what are your thoughts on how to make better food choices for anti-aging? And can bad food choices make you aged a lot faster?
Ben: The number one thing to focus on, well, let me back up. If you can who measure, throughout all the fancy telomere measurements, DNA methylation measurements, etc., out the window. And the general population could affordably and sustainably measure the two things that I think make the biggest impact on health and longevity. It would be, A, glycemic variability and, B, inflammation.
Now, glycemic variability is simply the extent to which your blood sugar fluctuates up and down during the day and how long that blood glucose stays elevated. And that's actually not a hard nut to crack. We already talked about doing things like just not eating any carbohydrates until the very end of the day. Kris talked about doing 50 air squats when he's standing up and going on in an airplane. He used to loo. I do the same thing when I'm out of dinner and I get up to use the bathroom. I come back and I'm in a red face, and people think I'm constipated. And it was just me doing my air squats in the bathroom. Staying with that NEAT, that low-level physical activity during the day, doing things like lifting weights, etc., all of these things can keep your glycemic variability under pretty good control.
We also know that in these Blue Zones which we've mentioned a few times, these herbs and spices that they consume have a natural insulin-sensitizing effect that keeps your blood glucose low. So, for example, we know that a couple of teaspoons of Ceylon cinnamon per day can sensitize your insulin and keep your blood glucose levels low. We know the shot of apple cider vinegar before a meal can keep your blood sugar levels low in response to that meal. We even know that alcohol digestif or a cocktail that's rich in bitters and herbs and spices, one of the things that that does is it enhances what's called your first phase insulin response, so your blood glucose response to the meal is lower.
So, these are rules throughout the day. 40 air squats when I go to the bathroom. At some point during the day, a couple of teaspoons of Ceylon cinnamon, a shot of apple cider vinegar if I'm at home. It's so hard for me to get apple cider vinegar on the road. A lot of times, I'll make myself a pre-dinner cocktail that has apple cider vinegar in it. I ordered a cocktail at dinner last night. And always, when I'm out at a restaurant and I order a cocktail, I always get a very bitter smaller cocktail, typically, a clean-burning low glycemic index alcohol, like gin or mezcal or a little bit of vodka and a whole bunch of bitters and herbs and spices and lemon juice. And if the bar has apple cider vinegar, I'll put that in there too. And so, I'm getting all these bitters into my body before the meal to keep the blood glucose lower.
And that's something that's not that difficult to do. Most people can wrap their head around “Avoiding sugar,” “Avoiding ultra-processed carbohydrates,” and doing things during the day that keep the blood sugar stabilized. But, I think the biggest issue, when it comes to inflammation, that second component that I think is so crucial, it's rancid, processed, oxidized vegetable oils that are pretty much a staple in nearly everything, from processed and packaged foods that you would get from a gas station to the healthy food section of the airport news station to the finest of restaurants. So, what I mean by that is if we are traveling in the airport and we go to buy, let's say you go to the healthy section like the Hudson newsstand and you want to buy sugar snap peas, you turn them over, you look at the label, and it says sugar snap peas. And typically, two other ingredients are sugar or cane sugar and some form of vegetable oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, canola oil, etc. It is a huge problem in our culture these days.
We had a dinner last night. We called the chef up and I said, “I only want clarified butter or ghee, or olive oil. I do not want anything off the menu that's been cooked in vegetable oil.” And you have to do that these days because, even in Napa Valley California, five-star restaurants, they cut their olive oil, a nice fine extra-virgin olive oil half and half with canola oil. And the reason this is so important, and I think more important than the sugar component is because, let's say you were to come up to me and you say, “Ben, I've got this nice stick of cotton candy, this entire bowl of white sugar, and you can choose between having this or this basket of French fries.” I would choose the sugar ten times out of ten. And the reason for that is because, at least, I can burn it off. I'd go take a walk or hit the gym. At least, get it in that bloodstream pretty quickly. That vegetable oil is what's going to be used to make my cells and my cell membranes for the next 90 days. It becomes a part of your body. And it vastly inhibits almost every metabolic function that a human being creates.
And so, if there's anything that you can do from a dietary standpoint. for overall longevity and health, it would be to ruthlessly eliminate vegetable oils. And it has kind of turned me into an annoying person at restaurants, I will admit. But, it is that important in my health, my wife's health, my children's health. And there's a reason I'm telling you guys this, is vegetable oils are the biggest problem, and that's the biggest culprit even healthy people's diet that I would just ruthlessly eliminate.
Kris: Totally agree with that. And it's crazy to think that you will actually go to a nice high-end restaurant or hotel and to think that they'll actually use these vegetable oils and seed oils, but they do. And that's why it's essential that you not just ask the waiter, but you ask the chef to find out what they cook it at. That's why when I'm eating my chicken tikka here, which is pretty much as adventurous as I get with the Indian food, I ask no oil, not a little bit. No oil, no butter, and no salt. Butter is okay, but as mentioned, the vegetable oil is very pro-inflammatory.
I'm not a doctor. I'm not going to make any structure-function claims. But, the one thing that I do notice is that when I was a child, back in the 1940s, I didn't know anybody that had cancer and all these diseases that seemed to be increasing. Diabetes here in India is growing at a disproportionate rate. Maybe, that is a contributing factor because of the combination of your fats and a lot of those charged carbs that you have together. I would suggest that you try to separate them whenever you possibly can. But, the fact is that it's a huge components. And you've got to make sure that whatever you are eating your food in, you're going to have to burn that calorie off. But, some of it does so much more damage than that calorific value. As Ben mentioned, that's within your cell membrane for a good 90 days. And if you are compromising your immune system any way, that could compromise your immune system in a way that you're going to have to visit the doctor. And sometimes, if you have regrets, it's too late.
Ben: Now, if you mess up. So, we had breakfast here at the hotels. It would be the second time I've insulted this fantastic hotel. I'm sorry. I insulted your lights and I'm going to insult your breakfast. And the same thing, I like the nice whole food salad bar, the hot food section. Almost every hot food, anytime you open up the pot and it's stew or tomatoes or the eggs, Shepherd green, etc., almost guarantee is vegetable oil. But, let's just say you're out, you're hungry, or you find out after the fact it was cooked in vegetable oil, there are two things that you can do to protect your cell membranes. This is based on research by a guy named Dr. James DiNicolantonio in the U.S. There are two things you can kind of carry in a vegetable oil health kit to protect you. One is what I already mentioned earlier, same thing that's in a jello, that glycine. Glycine can help to protect yourselves from the damages of vegetable oil. So, you can have some glycine powder, glycine capsules that you travel with. And then, the other one is spirulina. So, about 20 to 30 grams of spirulina. Spirulina powder, sorry capsule, etc., that can also protect you from vegetable oils.
And it's not that you should use that as an excuse to eat them, but if you are in a situation where you're in just big business dinner or whatever and you got to have some vegetable oil and you can't be that person making a big fuss in the table, just have some glycine and some spirulina in your bag. When you get back to your hotel room or your house later on, get some in your system, or take it beforehand to protect yourselves. You can do some things to mitigate the damage at least a little bit.
Kris: I've got a question for you, Ben, in regards to that as well. Because, obviously, when the food that's usually accompanying that can be vegetable salad. And as we know, we actually discussed this the other day when you said some of your family that were farmers in Punjab. Twenty-five, 30 years ago, they would spray in their crops with herbicides and pesticides. So, understanding that it can be very hard for us to get organic produce here in India, are you taking anything like activated charcoal or restore, or any sort of binder to help you overcome the effects of food that could be non-GMO?
Ben: It is tricky. Insecticides, herbicides, pesticides, we know that one of the things they can do is essentially poke little holes in your gut wall. It can cause damage to the villi and also the gut lining, and other problems with that. For example, your villi is where a lot of your lactase is going to reside, which will digest lactose molecules. A lot of people think they're dairy intolerant. They just have a damaged gut because of herbicide and pesticide exposure, so they don't have enough lactase production to break down lactose. There's a whole host of issues, and allergies, and intolerances that people think they have that are essentially just related to gut damage, not to an underlying true intolerance or allergy.
Now, regarding on protecting yourself from glyphosate, it's very tricky. It's a very nasty molecule. There's one researcher in the U.S. named Dr. Zach Bush and he has found a certain, it's almost like a probiotic harvested from soil. It's called lignite. That's one of the few supplements I have my kids take every day. They get shot at lignite every day just because I don't have prevalent herbicides and pesticides. And some don't even contaminate organic produce.
Kris: So, that's under the name Restore.
Ben: Yeah. Well, the supplement used to be called Restore. They changed their name recently and it's called Ion Biome. But, I suspect, and this is not based on research, but I suspect that because that's a soil-based bacteria, that if you have a healthy microbiome and you're eating a wide variety of fermented foods, possibly even taking a probiotic, even though I think taking a wide variety of fermented foods is even more important. And I'll tell you why if I remember, too, after this, so you remind me. But, I think that that could be protective against some of the ravages of glyphosate, just because we know that that can restore the lining of a leaky gut. The reason I said about fermented foods versus probiotics, and I've recently got to change my stance on this because it just makes sense to me, even though I haven't seen a lot of research behind it, when you take a probiotic capsule, think of your gut because this is basically what it is. It's just a giant garden hose, a giant garden hose that travels through your body that's essentially open to the environment. And if you take a probiotic, you're essentially sprinkling little parts of your gut with that probiotic wherever it might happen to hit as its traveling through the gut. If you happen to be taking a probiotic that will survive the acidic nature of the stomach. And there's a very few that do. There's one in the U.S. called SEED and they wrap their probiotic in algae that helps it to actually make its way into the small intestine and even found that it can make its way into the colon. But yet, you're essentially fairy nestling, sprinkling little bits of bacteria in the intestine. Well, when you think about eating a big batch of kefir or kimchi or yogurt or sauerkraut or eat the wonderful fermented vegetables that you have here in India, you've got this big fiber bolus chock-full of bacteria that's slowly making its way through the gut and just painting the entire inside of that hose.
And so, for me, I suspect. And again, I haven't seen any research on this yet, but I suspect that if you look at the microbiome of someone who's eaten a wide variety of fermented foods, it's going to be more diverse and it's probably going to be a healthier gut than someone who's just eating probiotics. But, that's actually one of the things that concerns me about this recent carnivore diet craze, is they talk about how fiber may not be necessary. But, I have yet to see the microbiome of someone who's eating all meat diet versus someone who has a wide variety of plants and fermented foods and herbs and spices in their diet. And one of the things they say in the carnivore diet is you eliminate those foods because the plants have these natural built-in protective mechanisms in them.
But, the fact is you can deactivate a lot of those through fermentation. If you have one of the sourdough forms of a flatbread, automatically, by it being fermented in a sourdough medium, you've got lower gluten content and you have lower phytic acid content. So, you've predigest a lot of that bread already. If you have a hummus and that chickpea has been soaked and preferably after being soaked and rinsed, pressure-cooked, you deactivate a lot of lectins that could be in that hummus. And that form of hummus would be healthier for you than one that's simply made from chickpeas that have just been taken out of the bag and cooked.
So, a lot of this comes down to the plant preparation methods. And I don't think a high intake of plants is going to be very harmful for your gut or for your body if you're soaking and fermenting and sprouting and preparing them the way that our ancestors were doing. So, that's something important to think about when you're consuming food is this slow preparation versus the fast preparation method.
Kris: You'll love it when we go to Mumbai, Ben, because there's a restaurant right next to the hotel that has a very slow fermented bread.
Ben: Amazing. It's pretty cool.
Kris: I'm just going to add one thing before I give this mic back to you, Jag. But, I know that now, over the past few years, kombucha has become readily available here and people are just drinking gallons of kombucha, thinking, “This is all the fermented foods that I need. I'm just doing loads of this.” Now, I got this Ben where, for over a year, he was all about a year he was wearing a 24-hour blood glucose monitor. I thought I'm so interested. That's fascinating. So, I thought, “I'm going to do that and quantify over a period of time.” You may have seen me training with a patch on my arm to see that blood sugar response. And I was absolutely shocked and very disappointed, because I really love my kombucha as well, how quickly how high that raised my blood sugar levels. Now, I think that was a combination of the sheer amount of sugar in there and the carbonation as well. So, be very wary of other fermented things such as your kombucha.
Ben: It's a good point. Again, the last thing I'll say before you get there because I know we're going for a long period of time. I talked about glycemic variability and I also wear a continuous blood glucose monitor for about a year, just to see how certain things affected my blood glucose levels. I found out a lot of things, but the most interesting fact I will share with you, the number one thing that I did that would reduce my blood glucose the entire day all the way up to dinner, reduce that glycemic variability the entire day, you know what it was? Best thing you can do for your blood glucose control the rest of the day?
Ben: Movement helps. It's something different. It surprised me.
Kris: [01:37:18] _____.
Ben: Five minutes of cold in the morning. Cold shower, cold soak, cold dunk in a river, or lake, or ocean. Anything that gets you cold. If you don't want to get cold, I was actually just before my clients in Bangalore and I opened his freezer and he has all these cold packs in his freezer because, per my instructions, because he works an office job, he take a jump in the lake during the day, he owns a cool fat burner which is like a vest that you put on. And he just take these ice packs and he put into the vest. And it keeps your body cold for 30 or 40 minutes while you're starting your emails for the day or whatever. So, that's kind of a hack. If you're not able to get in the water but you have cold at the beginning of the day. Stabilizes your blood glucose all day long. And furthermore, if you just eat a big meal, big cheat meal, and you're just like, “Crap, I have to go to sleep tonight, but I know my blood glucose will be through the roof,” just go take a cold shower. It's fantastic in reducing your blood glucose.
Kris: Unfortunately, the showers on here is cold as they are, and it's okay. And you have to make with what you got. Now, are your supplements available, Kion supplements here available to people here in India?
Ben: No. We pretty much are fulfilling domestically. Most people who use them overseas either are just getting a whole bunch when they travel to the U.S. and check-in their bags and bring it back with them or just paying, shipping a bulk order. I wish they were, but not right now.
Kris: This is going to be a shameless plug because both of our supplements actually have ingredients in it that help with the blood sugar regulation, one your product. What was it, Ben, that has a bitter melon extract?
Ben: Yeah. Our most popular fat loss supplement, which is ironic because it's not actually burning fat, is technically a blood sugar control supplement. Because sugar, assuming that your liver is already full of calories, automatically, all the sugar gets turned to these fatty acids and gets sort of waistline. So, what this supplement does is it lowers your blood glucose response and causes more of that sugar to get sucked up by the liver and sucked up by the muscle. And it's called Kion Lean. And it's essentially just a bitter melon extract with a few different minerals that lower your blood glucose after a meal. And that's our very popular blood sugar control supplement.
Kris: I've actually used that as well in combination with the one that I have. And it's called [01:39:40] _____ and it has an ingredient that's from here. It's got gymnema sylvestre in there. And so, those are a couple of good blood sugar regulators that you could consider.
Jag: We get a lot of questions regarding intermittent fasting. And I do see, during my journey in India, especially, people who find it difficult to stay on track. There are many accountability tools that you can use to try and keep yourself motivated. And there is a lot of confusion on what breaks a fast. But, before we get to that, I want to ask you what does fasting actually do to you and how beneficial is it?
Ben: I feel like we talked about fasting a little bit already, in terms of the fact that it enhances what's called cellular autophagy. When you aren't putting much calories into your body, your cells go to clean-up mode. And we know that the cellular autophagy now has been linked to increase longevity. So, it has a direct anti-aging effect by allowing your body to detoxify and to clean-up cells more readily. It's pretty much that simple.
There are other benefits. Obviously, if you're not eating, your glycemic variability is going to be lower because you're getting fewer blood sugar fluctuations during the day. But, I think probably one of the biggest confusions with fasting, the reason more people don't do it is they synonymize fasting with calorie restriction, and the two are not the same. You do not need to be cold and hungry and drive less your entire life because you are restricting calories. Like I mentioned, I'd only do that four times a year for five days, restrict calories. But, on all the other days, I eat 3,000 to 4,000 calories a day. But, again, I've got 12 to 16 hour intermittent fast, all those calories are compressed. It is just three meals, so there's a long period time between meals, during which the blood glucose can restabilize.
From a biological standpoint, that's all that's happening. Now, of course, we know, getting back to what I was saying way back at the beginning of this panel, that in all these Blue Zones and in many other longevity hot spots, fasting is a spiritual discipline. We hear about the benefits of a Mediterranean diet and how we should all be eating [01:41:46] _____ and olive oil, and fish, and cheese. But, what they don't tell you is that there are periods of pretty significant protein restriction. There's periods of significant religious fasting, religious observation fasting. Fasting is woven into this diet which I think lends a great deal to its health effects. And in addition, fasting is a way of training your spirit. So, I'm not just training self-control, but in many cases, it can be used as a way to optimize things like meditation or yoga or prayer. In the Christian Church, when they would when they would go to prayer, when something needed to be brought before God, a lot of times it was combined with restricting calories, with fasting, with going through an uncomfortable place so you can more readily focus on speaking with God. And I think there's something to be said for these spiritual benefits of fasting as well. It's just a way of kind of, well, pardon the expression, sorry if I offend anyone, it kind of makes you learn how to shut your inner bitch and learn how to deal with hunger and focus your mind. So, there's some definite mental and spiritual benefits as well.
Kris: With the fasting, I got into that. It is funny. Up until two years ago, I hadn't missed a meal for 18 years. After the first year, I was punched because there wasn't much traveling going on at that time. I was living in Australia. But then, a year after that and year after that I put so much pressure on my shoulders. I thought, “I cannot miss a meal.” And then, I patted myself on the back for not missing a meal for 18 years. But then, several years ago, or a couple of years ago, actually, I went for colonoscopy and I had to fast for it. I've missed my meal. So, that's what I thought. Well, this is the tipping point that I need to start experimenting with controlled time-related eating, intermittent fasting.
And the way that I actually do it is very different from others. I do what I call a controlled fasting method, because my goal is a little bit different. Of course, I want to increase autophagy, but the way that I'm training right now, I keep my fasted pretty much every day for 8- or 10-months last year. It wasn't a joke. But now, I'm not fasting as much. I only fast once or twice a week. However, what I was doing and what I'm doing now is what I call the controlled intermittent fast. So, I'm actually supplementing with essential amino acids during that time and fermented glutamine during that time. It really helps. I find my gut permeability. But, I am trying to stay, I'm trying to ward off catabolism. I'm trying to stay in a somewhat anabolic state while I'm doing this, because I am still training hard. I am still trying I want to gain muscle, probably, for the next, maybe, 8 or 10 weeks, I'll follow this particular mass building, if you will, cycle. So, I do what's called a controlled intermittent fast.
I remember I used to have my clients that want to compete in bodybuilding or want to put on muscle to actually fast. But, now I do. And I find that the responses that I get from those clients is much better. They're actually cleaning house. They're taking a stress away from their digestive system. And let's face it. If you're eating five to six meals a day, that's a lot of stress, a lot of stress. So, I find that that'll really help with their gut permeability. It helped them feel overall better.
And up until I started doing this fasting myself, I honestly thought that I was going to go the way of my father where he's not fats by any means but he's got that typical beer belly without drinking beer. You know what I mean. I'm starting to feel bloated. I started hitting abs thinking, “I need to work my transverse abdominis. Maybe, I've got a weaker transverse.” But, as soon as I started fasting, I found that my gut felt that much better. I was cleaning house. So, that's one of the things that I do.
I know I wanted to just extend what Jag was mentioning earlier on how do we stay on track; how do we stay committed and disciplined with the persistence in order to apply all of these methods? Well, funny you should say that. I do a lot of things that I don't always want to do. If we were to do what we always want to do, then, chances are we're never going to be in shape, we're never going to have a health. So, that's why one of the reasons, not just for the benefit of health, that I'll have a cold shower every morning and I'll get my clients to have a cold shower every morning. That's a form of discipline. Not hitting that snooze button and getting up earlier in the morning is another form of discipline. When you get up at 4:00 a.m., then, surely you can get up at 7:00 a.m. That's a form of discipline.
And not just throughout the week but on the weekends, having that consistency within your life definitely helps. And fasting is just one of those forms that you can practice, even if you don't want it for the autophagy reasons or cleaning house, for discipline. And don't think that you're going to wither away by doing it. It's not going to happen. I don't know where [01:47:08] _____ is but he sat there a second ago. There he is, the man. He eats one meal a day. He's in phenomenal shape, carries a lot of muscle, and trains exceptionally hard. But, he does it smart. It's something that definitely should be applied as that form of discipline that has a translucent effect in other areas of your life.
Jag: Ben, what is autophagy, for the benefit of those who don't know?
Ben: It's basically the clean-up of metabolic waste products formed in the cell. Sometimes, it means that a cell is actually turning away and dying. It's a natural process because your cells actually need to die to get rid of old cells. That's one aspect of autophagy. Another aspect is simply removing metabolic waste products and repairing things like the cell wall. So, when you think about it, it's kind of related to what Kris was explaining. Think about it as though you are exercising, exercising, and exercising, and exercising all day long. At some point, you break away and you recover and you repair and you sleep, or covering, or recovering, or repairing, or sleep. That would be the time during which your body is recovering from all that breakdown that you've been doing. And essentially, that's almost like the lifestyle corollary to something like autophagy.
And it's something I'm guilty of having inhibited people for a long period of time, because I wasn't that personal trainer who would show up at the office with my yogurt, my apple, my protein bar, my chicken, my rice, my broccoli, my second protein bar, and just snack and graze all day long because I was convinced that that was what was necessary to, not only keep the metabolism all day, but also to allow the body to maximize protein synthesis and muscle gain after a workout. But, we now know that there aren't many metabolic benefits from eating more than three meals a day. Many people are doing just fine with the OMAD, with the one meal a day protocol.
There's also some interesting research that shows that, even after a hard weight training session, if you wait for a couple hours to eat, you actually got a big bump up in growth hormone and testosterone. So, the only people to whom I recommend a significant post-workout feeding are, A, for people who want to really maximize muscle gain, like a bodybuilder who's trying to put a lot of muscle, or football players trying to gain 20 pounds for the season, or someone who's doing a two-in-a-day workout. If you're working out within eight hours of your first workout, then, you should eat after your first workout so that you're adequately replenishing some of the nutrients and some of the amino acids that you need for the second workout. But, aside from cases like that, there's no need. Just be face-stuffing all day long.
Jag: Thank you. I just like to say there are quite a lot of people who message us on a regular basis and ask for accountability tools on how they can stay on track. Does anyone time their fast with an app or anything here?
Fantastic. Great. Well, I just wanted to add that I use an app. There are a lot of people there who want to kind of keep a record of their fast because it feels good. If you keep a strict of 7, 10, 15 fasts, it does feel good. So, I continuously use an app to try to measure the hours I do. I'm trying a 16-hour fast myself. And fortunately, when the days that we're busy, I'm able to kind of track and do longer, almost 18 hours a day. So, accountability tools. There's a lot of online tools are available like apps.
Kris: Can I be morbid for a second? Some people think it's morbid, but I actually have an app called Countdown. I don't know if you guys are aware of this. But, basically, if I put in here, maybe, I think that I'll live to 100 years old. But, maybe, 80, 90. You can put in the years that you feel that you will live to. And you can see how many meals that you have left, based on how many you eat per day. How many weekends you have left. How many days you have left. There's also how many times to have sex. I have got many, actually. How many sunrises to see. How many trips, based on how many trips you're going to take a year. And I find this very, very efficient for me. Of course, if I want to have downtime, that is scheduled downtime. But, it allows me to be that much more efficient and be present. Within the conversation that we're having now, within the time that I spend with my loved ones, and the time of my meals, to make sure that that meal is going to be nourishing for me because my time is going. My workouts aren't there just to show up. They're going to be quality workouts because I need to be efficient with my time. So, that's just another–
Ben: What's that app called?
Ben: Countdown. I like that. That's something that's huge in our life and huge in our own, our practice with my children, my families, gratitude practice. And writing down every single day one thing that you are grateful for. But, a constancy of gratitude throughout the day, that app's amazing for something like that. For me, recently, it's been breath. Every breath counts. Be grateful for every single breath. And this also means that even something as simple as the way that you breathe and you're exercising, every breath that you take while exercising and it dictates the benefits of that workout. I try to do a lot of nasal breathing when I work out. I try it when I walk. I try to breathe out for a longer period of time than I breathe in. I mean, I don't know how many times we breathe during the day. You could probably figure out with respiratory rate of 12 the 16 breaths per minute. But, this idea of even being cognizant of every single breath. And then, of course, as Christians alluded to, it kind of makes you more aware. I think, also, I'm grateful for every meal, every breath, every time you lay your head to sleep, everything.
Kris: Yeah. It's overlooked as well. When I started getting ready for a triathlon, I just started running, assuming that I know how to run, because we all started walking and running as kids. So, we all assume we know how to run. I couldn't believe how inefficient I was with my run. I read a book called “The Art of Running,” and then started to visualize that I had a sphere inside my stomach. If I leant forward, it would fall. To the side, it would fall. A lot of things went into that efficiency of the running that allowed me to be better. Same with swimming. You just think, “Oh, my god. I'm so unfit when you start.” Well, actually, no. It's you're inefficient. You're not [01:53:53] _____ dynamic. And it's the same with breathing. Because we can breathe in all our lives, we assume we know how to breathe. But, when you're conscious of it, you realize how shallow you are with your breath. You're not oxygenating your brain and your body as you want, as you could.
I think Wim Hof, they did some studies on him where you're able to increase your pH by about eight. So, you'd see a lot of powerlifters and strength lifters hyperventilating before workouts. And I think he actually encourages people to do that before the ice as well because then, you can acclimatize yourself to the pain that you're about to encounter throughout that set, that much more. So, there's so much that you can benefit for breath within itself. You just have to be conscious of it and practice.
And nasal breathing. I think a lot of people in India actually practice that, right? I've seen a lot of people, even in parks, even in the gyms, and stuff. So, that's great that you guys are doing it. Spread the word.
Ben: Do you guys know why nasal breathing is so beneficial? In addition to CO2 tolerance I talked about, you're filtering the air, your oxygenating the air, you're heating the air when you're breathing through your nose. But, you also breathe through your diaphragm when you breathe through your nose. And when you breathe through your mouth, you tend to breathe through your chest. Your chest has pressure receptors in it called baroreceptors. And those baroreceptors directly activate what we said cortisol.
So, by doing something as simple as breathing through your nose, you're actually activating your parasympathetic nervous system. And you can train yourself to get to the point where you can do this. There are pretty hard exercise session, deep nasal breathing. And it actually really enhances your oxygen uptake and the filtering of the air, and also your ability to be able to stay calm under stressful conditions, such as a hard exercise session. So, there's a lot to be said for nasal breathing. And there's even a popularity, at least, in the U.S. I don't know how many people are doing this here yet, but a lot of biohackers do things like mouth taping when they go to bed, force themselves to keep their mouth shut when they're asleep and engage in this nasal breathing. I did it for a little while, but I didn't enjoy it too much because my wife and I like to chat as we're falling asleep at night, say things to each other. I'd [mumbling]. So, I eventually kind of fall with the mouth breathing strips, but I think they helped me kind of learn after using them for a little while how to breathe through my nose when you kind of lean yourself off of them. But, yeah, there's a lot of benefits of this nasal breathing concept.
Jag: Thank you, Ben. So, I know there will be quite a few questions. But, just before we go to the questions, health optimization. Where do you start?
Ben: Alright. So, we talked about a lot of stuff just now. We talked about a lot of stuff. That's a question that I get a lot. Ben, there's so many things you do, like taking my mouth before I go to bed, putting on these glasses, and using the app that shows me how many times I have left to have sex. Where do I start? Here's one thing. There's a wonderful book called “The Body Electric” by Robert Becker. That kind of showcases how our entire body is essentially a battery. Every cell operates on an electrochemical gradient. A negative charge inside the cell and a positive charge on the exterior part of the cell membrane. And if we can engage in specific things that optimize our electrochemical gradient, I think that's the very first step. That's a foundational principle. Assuming you've got a healthy diet in place and you're moving throughout the day, you need to pay attention to optimizing your body's electrochemical balance and keeping your human battery charged. Okay.
One example I can give you of that is we talked about non-native EMF: WiFi, cell phone signals, 5G, 4G. One of the things that happen when you are exposed to these type of non-native EMF signals, is you get a sharp influx of calcium into the cell. Calcium is a positively charged ion that can actually affect the electrochemical balance to make a cell that's supposed to be negatively charged on the inside go from what's called a millivolt potential negative 60 millivolts to negative 20 or negative 10, or even higher than zero.
And this is why, especially for people who are hanging out around a lot of non-native EMF, after airline travel. If you've been to your office, WiFi routers. One of the best things that you can do is use magnesium as a supplement because magnesium will directly offset that influx of calcium. That's just one example. But, here's what I think the best foundational principles to start with, think of your human body as a battery.
A, we know that the earth, every time it's struck by lightning, accumulates a whole bunch of negative ions from that lightning. And lightning strike to the planet all the time, which means that the earth is chock-full of negative ions that helps restore that electrochemical balance. This means that going outside barefoot or wearing special shoes called earthing or grounding shoes that allow you to be in contact with the earth while still having your feet protected, using things like grounding and earthing technology, such as grounding mats or earthly mats that allow you to pull those negative ions from the earth, I think that's incredibly important and I think everybody should at least be going outside barefoot at some point during the day to get in touch with our Mother Earth.
Number two would be sunlight or photons of light. It could be like those red-light panels that I talked about. It could be getting outside in the sunlight like I was talking about a long time ago and just talked. But, we know that sunlight directly charges up the body with electricity as well. And we actually know now, based on newer research, that the human body can photosynthesize very similar to a plant, if you have dark compounds in your body, things like melanin. That sunlight interacts with those to actually allow you to produce ATP in the absence of calories. So, for example, if you're going to go for a walk in the sunshine or get exposed to light, you can use something like chlorella or you can eat a salad with a whole bunch of different greens in it. You can consume chaga mushroom, which is very high in melanin content. And you can actually further enhance your body's ability to be able to produce energy and maintain a proper electrochemical balance in response to sunlight.
So, we've got being in touch with the earth, being in the sunlight. Another couple of things that really help to enhance that electron flow are regular heat practice, like a sauna practice, and a regular cold practice like a cold shower. So, I think everybody should be doing some kind of a deep sweat at least once a week, preferably, a few times a week. Everybody should be doing something like a cold shower every day.
Alright. So, we have the Earth or earthing and grounding, we have the sunlight, we have heat, we have cold. And then, finally, the things that actually carry electrolytes and minerals and charges through the body are water and salt. So, consuming really good clean, pure water with a high amount of minerals in it, or putting little pinches of sea salt into that water, salting your food with a really good mineral-rich salt, this gives your body a lot of the charged particles that it needs to maintain a normal electrochemical balance. So, if you're already moving well and you're eating well, the best things you can do are grounding and earthing, sunlight, heat, cold, water and minerals. And I think that's the perfect place to start. That's going to cover 90% of your bases when it comes to optimizing your health.
Kris: I think Ben pretty much covered absolutely everything, then. But just in regards to hydration, remember, you guys have coconut water here. And it's the closest hydration food that you can have to a blood plasma. Take advantage of that. Hydrate yourself. One of the things that I've noticed, especially in the UK and here in India, people drink coffee and tea and think that's hydrating them, when in fact, it isn't. It can actually have a dilating effect.
And it isn't just the volume of fluid that you drink. And I noticed when I was living here, I was sweating all the time. I'm always sweating, anyway. I'm just drinking volumes of fluid. I was just getting bloated, but I wasn't hydrating myself. If anything, I was diluting myself of the proper mineral balance. But, having coconut water can be one of the hacks that you, guys, can apply very easily here.
And in regards to the earthing, definitely overlooked. I know it's very difficult in populated places here to find yourself some grass and be with yourself. But, there are earthing mats. I've actually brought one with me to put in a bed that I sleep on. And I've got one at home that's there permanently. I actually have what's called [02:02:33] _____ on my shoes at the moment. So, when I'm walking, I am actually getting somewhat earthed at the same time.
And where this is all going, where biohacking is going, I have no idea at the moment. But, I can only assume that a lot of them [02:02:49] _____ stacked together. We're going to have sensory deprivation tanks with photobiomodulation, with earthing, with inside. I can see that's probably going to be one of the things that we're going to see in the future.
Jag: Awesome. Thank you. And I'd love to open up to any questions. So, please, do stand and ask any questions that you may have.
Male: This is originating from one of your articles that you have mentioned in Bangalore, like deadlifting and then you could recover very quickly. You remember what I'm talking about? Okay. So, from there, when I read that, I was led to some other article that I read about being able to raise your power in a way that even under load, you could have some traction in the spine.
And this is a little more specific than what you would have wrote but are you familiar with any such? Because I can't find any way to embrace your core and [02:03:48] _____.
Ben: Yeah. Core bracing when you are lifting, that's essentially a breath strategy. You're basically trading the equivalent of the weightlifting belt by contracting a lot of your inspiratory and expiratory muscles and core muscles when you're lifting the weight off the ground starting here, standing the ribs, stabilizing everything. And then, lifting. I think one of the best ways to learn how to properly expand the ribcage and the brace is a form of training called Foundation Training. It's made popular by a chiropractic doctor named Dr. Eric Goodman in the U.S.
And that core foundation training is just a series of moves that you can do. It's fantastic for rehabilitating the low back or decompressing the discs when people sit for long periods of time. I use core foundation moves as one of the little stretches that I'll sprinkle in throughout the day. But, that teaches you how to breathe in such a way that braces your spine. And you can take that same breath work and carry it to the gym and use it with heavy lifting. So, that's what I'd recommend.
Male: Thanks, guys. Could you talk a little bit more about the strategies around reversing blue light damage? Because you've talked a lot about prevention but reversing back them. It would be great.
Ben: Like actual retinal damage from blue light?
Male: Skin damage, aging damage caused through the light.
Ben: Well, we know that collagen and elastin fibers, those can respond pretty well to red light therapy or near infrared or red light. That could be one strategy. We know that there are some peptides that can help with that as well, like BPC-157 or TB-500. We know that for the eyes, there's another Russian peptide called Visomitin that they actually use to reverse blindness from retinal damage in rodent models. Those are a few things that come to mind.
And we also know that there's a wide variety of compounds that almost act like animal sunscreen, but at the same time, can protect and repair the skin. Probably, the most potent of those would Astaxanthin. Astaxanthin is a supplement that I used to use when I was racing Ironman in Hawaii, so I'll peel my skin after sunburn. I think about 40 grams of Astaxanthin a day. So, that, along the wide variety with a full spectrum of antioxidants would probably be pretty helpful as well. So, those are a few places to start.
Male: Macu Gold Plus. This is what Astaxanthin, Zeaxanthin, and Lutein, all the three combined.
Ben: Fantastic. Did they develop that for macular degeneration?
Male: Yes, it is.
Ben: That's a good mix.
Kris: What's the brand called?
Male: Macu Gold Plus, M-A-C-U G-O-L-D, Gold Plus. It's the only one in India.
Kris: Awesome. Thank you.
Male: And I know it because my cousin, brother has that for the vision. And I use it.
Male: Can I ask a question?
Male: So, if you look at the disease pattern in the world today, majority of the diseases are autoimmune diseases, to the extent that 70% of the death in the entire world is caused by autoimmune diseases. So, can you just tell us something about how we can start looking at just trying to stop [02:07:14] _____?
Ben: Autoimmune disease, in my opinion, most of the time, and there are exceptions to this, but it comes down to the gut inflammation, like chronic stress, chronic inflammation that simply renders you more sensitive to any autoimmune type of issue. And so, I think one of the best things you can do is to incorporate a lot of the strategies that we talked about from a lifestyle standpoint today such as breathwork and monitoring vegetable oils, things like that.
I also think healing the gut and a diet that eliminates a lot of common autoimmune triggers, I mean, just like in the U.S., monocropping is an issue here, like wheat, corn, soy, etc., and all these that are destroying our planet and turns all our soil to dirt. But, it's also presenting our gut with a host of compounds that are either [02:08:07] _____ herbicides and pesticides that can cause the gut damage or large protein molecules that can cross that blood barrier and cause immune reaction with things like gluten or lectin being [02:08:19] _____ well-known molecules that can do that.
So, when it comes to the gut, there are certain things that come to heal. A lot of them that I'm a huge fan of, especially when paired with a diet that restricts a lot of those common autoimmune triggers. So, if you look at something like the paleo autoimmune diet, you're eliminating for a certain period of time legumes, corn, soy, wheat, a lot of these things that we know if someone has a compromised gut can be an issue.
Now, where I differ from the paleo diet or carnivore diet, or maybe some diets that can be helpful for autoimmune conditions is I don't think in most cases, there are diet you need to follow for life. We're talking about 12 to 20 weeks that you would follow those and you would also, at the same time, engage in practices that help to heal the lining of the gut.
Some of my favorites for that would be, for example, colostrum. We know that babies are born with a slightly leaky gut lining and one of the best things that heal that gut lining is a little bit of colostrum that comes as part of the first part of a mammal's breastmilk. And you can also buy goat milk or cow milk colostrum that you can take as a supplement. Bone broth is another perfect example. Glycine and amino acids is very nourishing to the gut. If you're a vegan or plant-based, you can do something like a chia seeds slurry, like a chia seed gel, that can achieve similar effect. There are supplements L-glutamine that can also do a really good job at helping to heal the gut. That one that we talked about earlier, the Ion Biome product that we talked about when we were discussing herbicide and pesticide exposure. That's something else that can help to heal a gut.
But, I think the one-two combo of eliminating a lot of the triggers healing the gut and then decreasing chronic stress and decreasing chronic inflammation. When you curl that stuff together, I think that's what's going to make a big impact on autoimmune issues. And, obviously, one of the reasons that autoimmune is such a big issue is so many people are walking around chronically stressed, inflamed, with compromised guts. And we need to fix that stuff using a big dent in autoimmune issues.
Male: We talked at on one point about anti-aging. So, my question is in regards to inflammations. So, we see many of the doctors like Dr. Michael Greger or [02:10:28] ____ and even Dr. Cate Shanahan and saying that eliminating animal-based food from your diet essentially help in reducing inflammations. So, where do you stand on vegetarianism and veganism?
Ben: It depends. So, animal-based products, we know from variety of studies can contribute to things like cardiovascular disease and cancer. And the reason for that is two-fold. A, the actual source of the animal itself, whether it's antibiotics and the hormones, whether it's processing and smoking, and doing things that can increase the number of carcinogens in that meat, grilling in high temperatures, blackening, etc. We know that just like plants, as I was talking about earlier, need to be prepared properly with soaking and sprouting and fermenting. The same thing should be said for animals. They need to be properly sourced and they need to be properly prepared for them not to be damaging to the human body.
And furthermore, excess consumption of meat products, and this relates to what I was saying about the Mediterranean diet and how certain periods of the week of the year, there's lower amounts of protein consumed because we know if you're constantly over-feeding with protein, you're eating large amounts of the amino acid leucine and you're getting big activation of mTOR, which can, when constantly elevated, be something that could be too pro-growth, too anabolic, too potentially carcinogenic.
So, there are issues if you're eating an omnivorous diet or an animal-based diet, if you're not choosing your animal products and preparing them properly, and also, if you're not paying attention to the amount of protein that you're actually consuming and the frequency with which you're consuming it. Now, we can also look at the environmental impact and also just the animal cruelty aspects with a lot of animal operations these days, everything from CAFO feedlots to the way that chickens are very, very quickly bred and raised. And it produces a large impact on the environment, the way we raise animals versus say regenerative farming and crop rotation and grass-fed grass-finished lots for animals.
So, the issue when we look at a veganism and vegetarianism, which can be a way to get rid of some of those issues with animal products, is we introduce other issues. We introduce issues such as we know the human body needs omega-3 fatty acids, especially from the DHA, which can be difficult to get from plants. We know the human body needs creatine, carnitine, carnosine, taurine, vitamin B12 and a host of other nutrients that can be difficult to attain on a plant-based diet unless you're, in a very intelligent way, supplementing that diet. Not to say that it can't be done. It's just that many plant-based eaters we know don't do things like soak, sprout, ferment, and also supplement in such a way that can allow that diet to be healthy.
Can you be healthy on a plant-based diet by eating it the right way? Absolutely. It's a little bit more difficult to get everything you need with a plant-based diet unless you're very careful.
So, for me, personally, I eat an omnivorous diet. So, I'm cognizant of my protein intake. I always know the source from which the animal that I'm eating actually came. But then, I also eat a lot of plants. I eat a lot you herbs. I eat a lot of spices. And I also make sure those are soaked, and sprouted, and fermented so they're not doing damage to the gut. So, I think that in most cases, many people can thrive on omnivorous diet.
And we can also get into self-quantification. There are certain people, for example, that they're under methylators and they need a higher amount of methyl groups in their diet. And for those people, they might not feel so good unless they have some of those animal-rich methyl compounds in their diet versus an over methylator who might do better on a plant-based diet. We know that certain people, for example, have, let me think another example for you, well, I guess, I could do something like a ketogenic diet as an example. And this is more about just dietary customization or there's animal versus plant-based diet. But, certain people have poor gallbladder and liver function. Certain people have an FTO gene that predisposes them to a high amount of weight gain and inflammation in response to saturated fats. Certain people have an APOE gene that it takes a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer's in response to a high-fat diet. And these would be people who, although, a ketogenic diet would work just fine for their friend or their neighbor, would actually not be a great idea for them.
So, ultimately, it comes down to the fact that, A, we must be causative of the way that our food is prepared and filling the gaps in our diet that we've chosen, either diet such as a plant-based diet and eliminate some food groups. And B, we should be aware with the individuality of our own bodies and choose a diet that's most precisely correlated to our genetics and our blood work, so we know that what we're eating is for us and not because it's coming from the most popular hottest diet book that currently is on the market.
And I think those are some of these when you think about when we're eating we can do a better job of maintaining health. And the last thing I want to say is that, no matter the diet. Again, look at these Blue Zones. There are characteristics that we see over and over again, whether you are in Sardinia, eating a Mediterranean diet, or whether you're in Loma Linda, eating a plant-based diet. And these are things like Kris was talking about, eating in a parasympathetic state, chewing your food, blessing the meal, being grateful for the meal, eating with people, not eating while you're driving through traffic, of sitting down with family.
We know that there are elements of fasting and periods of time of protein restriction or calorie restriction of those diets. Many of them include a wide variety of plants and herbs and spices. And so, if you look at these patterns of fasting and eating a parasympathetically-driven state, putting a wide variety of foods, we can only structure our diet in such a way, no matter what the source of the food is, that kind of mimics what we know it to be things that make any type of eating healthy for a human.
Jag: So, thank you, Ben. Thank you, Kris. A big round of applause to these two different health [02:16:53] _____.
So, I am sure there will be many more questions that you may have. And as I mentioned at the start, Ben has just released a new publication. Could you just remind everyone where we can get that from?
Ben: Yeah. The book, 650 pages, there's another 400 pages on the book website, [02:17:11] _____. So, for here in India, it's BoundlessBook.com\Book-Depository. BoundlessBook.com\Book-Depository.
I also coach and consult with people from all over the world via Skype. I talk to people constantly. I usually do about 20 sessions a week talking to people about everything from fat loss and muscle gain to blood work and labs to sport performance parameters, anything that someone wants to delve into with me. And so, that's not just for people in U.S. I do that all over the world. And then, I think, most of you sounds like kind of are on my podcasts on a blog, but if you want to [02:17:55] _____ or listen to me interview people way smarter than me twice a week for a good 60 to 90 minutes, that's at BenGreenfieldFitness.com.
For coaching and stuff like that, it's just BenGreenfieldFitness.com. [02:18:12] _____. Just BenGreenfieldCoaching.com if you want to use my services and get a phone call with me or how to be right on a training plan or a nutrition plan for you or anything like that, I'm happy to help out. So, that's at BenGreenfieldCoaching.com for that stuff.
Jag: I'll be interviewing somebody way smarter than me tomorrow. And Kris, we hear a lot of people ask Kris. I know that you recently started a service online. Can you tell people about Health Kik.
Kris: Yeah. I have just recently started the Health Kik. That's spelled K-I-K, HealthKik.com. We'll have a new website. It's actually the company going through a revamp over the next couple of months. So, I put out a lot of free contents, as you guys know, on my Kaged Muscle website at Bollywood.com of people that wanted additional content specifically to cover specific areas. I'm pretty much cuddling my way through at the moment. So, I've just now completed 15, 16, 17 e-books over the past seven months to put on this platform. There's a lot of free content. There's a subscription model there as well to various video series that I put up, push-pull video series from that video series. And coaching on there as well. So, yeah, that's it.
Jag: Thank you very much.
Ben: Thank you, guys.
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. So, when you listen in, be sure to use the links in the shownotes, use the promo codes that they generate because that helps to float this thing and keep it coming to you each and every week.
On my recent whirlwind media and Boundless book tour of India, I hosted, along with my friends Jag Chima and Kris Gethin, a massive biohacking Q&A and panel in New Delhi. We covered an enormously wide range of topics, including:
- How to have energy at your beck and call, all day long…
- Hidden environmental killers and how to hack your environment to remove them…
- Ben and Kris' latest updated sleep and jet lag tips…
- Eating for anti-aging and longevity…
- How to lose fat faster…
- And much more!
Jag Chima, born in England, is an entrepreneur, investor, visionary, health and fitness enthusiast, and philanthropist with business interests that include real estate, construction, finance, lifestyle, and health and fitness. Jag is the founder of The London Group, a diversified conglomerate with extensive operations in the UK, India, and other parts of the world. The London Group is comprised of companies in property consultancy, property development, estate agents, lifestyle brands, fitness education, talent management, and health clubs.
Jag has carved a niche for himself as a passionate and astute professional, with experience that started in 1998. He has also been featured on many media platforms including BBC News Asia, BBC Asian Network, and MATV. He is a sought after speaker and strategic advisor on business affairs and believes in facing fears and taking on challenges for growth and personal development. Jag recently completed a triathlon and also a 1450 km bicycle ride from Delhi to Mumbai. He is a proud supporter of The Unique Home for Girls in Jalandhar India, a home for unwanted, abandoned girls in Punjab, India.
Originally from Wales, Kris Gethin has established himself as one of the most versatile fitness entrepreneurs in the industry. Before founding Kaged Muscle, Kris competed as a lifetime natural pro bodybuilder, placing as high as second place in the Natural World Championships. As a personal trainer, his clients have included Bollywood celebrities, billionaire businessmen, and champion athletes. In between training clients, he has certified more than 800 personal trainers. Somehow, this tireless innovator found time to co-found a health club franchise called Kris Gethin Gyms. He has shared his extensive knowledge through books, newsletters, videos, and podcasts.
Now, he’s moved into the nutrition sector with Kaged Muscle, a company dedicated to creating cutting-edge, ultra-premium sports nutrition supplements for athletes of all types. All of Kris’ pursuits are consistent with his mission of helping others reach their health and fitness goals.
In this episode, you'll discover:
-Ben discusses the motivation behind writing Boundless…8:30
- It's about energy; it's what's lacking in most people
- Combine ancestral medicine w/ modern science
- We can tap into more energy than we're capable of currently
- 3 angles: Optimize the mind, body, spirit
- Book: Blue Zones by Dan Buettner
- Have a personal mission statement
- Click here for international delivery of Boundless
-Kris Gethin's thoughts on being “boundless”…15:38
- We all struggle to work our “soul” muscles
- A long-term investment to gain a long-term return
- Blue Zone in South India until 1950s; westernized culture has changed it
- DNA hasn't changed; surroundings have changed
- Eat the cake before the icing; optimize your environment before pursuing biohacks
-The missing link in optimizing sleep…19:02
- Basic concepts: Light, Temperature, Silence
- Circadian rhythm begins when the sun comes up
- Minimal amounts of natural light will affect your sleep
- Human charger simulates sunlight in the ears
- Replace LED bulbs with incandescent bulbs
- Iris software
- Expose to as little blue light in the evening as possible
- RA Optics blue light blocking glasses
- Red incandescent bulbs
- Cold shower before going to bed
- Wearing socks helps regulate body temperature in bed
- Don't associate the bed with work
- Gravity blanket
- Be aware of evolutionary mismatches
- Dopamine fix while scrolling through social media
- Cortisol levels increase, affects sleep
- Morning and evening routines:
- Diet considerations:
- Fast for one hour before bed, and in the morning
- Kris advocates for increasing fats and reducing complex carbs throughout the day
- Ben recommends restricts carbs throughout the day and a carb refeed in the evening
- Nut butter mixed with raw honey and sea salt helps sleep quality while fasting
- Ben's homemade jello (rich in glycine)
- Other hacks and tips:
- WiFi kill switch
- Oura ring
- Whoop (code: BEN)
- Apollo wearable
- Silent Mode eye mask
- Mind Fold eye mask
- NuCalm (discount applied at checkout, 65% off the first month of any new monthly subscription)
- Defender Shield phone covers
- Digital wall timer to control the WiFi router power
- Faraday blankets and clothing (code: BEN)
- Qi, BluShield, Somavedic (code: BEN), WiFi scramblers
- Breath to control physiology
-Why sitting for long periods of time is the death-knell to a healthy life…59:15
- Sitting is associated w/ shortened hip flexors
- Poor glute activation contributes to lower back pain
- Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT)
- Number of calories burned doing small movements
- Far outweighs calories burned w/ exercise
- Ben does 15k steps in addition to working out
- Drop in bone density related to sitting vs. squatting while eating, defecating, etc.
-Chronological vs. biological ages and extending your longevity…1:02:30
- Kris' chronological age is 45; biological age is 38
- Optimized sleep has reduced biological age
- Low-level activity:
- Spectra Cell telomere analysis
- DNA methylation clock
- Ben's 3 longevity tips:
- Intermittent fasting (12-16 hours each night and morning)
- 24-hour dinner to dinner fast 1-2x per month
- Eat 40% of normal calorie consumption for 5 days (Valter Longo)
- DNA and cellular repair mechanisms
- NAD supplement
- Sirtuins must be present
- Major causes of aging faster than the actual age
- Loss of purpose or meaning for one's life
- Working out too much
- Not present with the activities in your daily life
-Food choices and anti-aging…1:20:30
- Glycemic variability and inflammation are the two biggest factors
- Ceylon cinnamon
- Apple cider vinegar
- Cocktail with bitters and spices affects glucose response
- Rancid, processed vegetable oils are the biggest culprits
- You can burn off sugar, not so with vegetable oils
- Dr. James DiNicolantonio
- Glycine can protect cells from vegetable oils
- Lactose intolerance can be confused w/ a damaged gut
- BGF podcast with Dr. Zach Bush
- Ion Biome supplement
- SEED probiotic
- Slow vs. fast food preparation (fermentation)
- Be wary of things like kombucha which may raise blood sugar levels
- 5 minutes of cold therapy in the morning is Ben's best tactic for regulating glycemic variability
- Kion Lean
-The benefits of fasting…1:39:54
- Enhances cellular autophagy
- Glycemic variability lower
- Fasting is not the same as calorie restriction (intermittent fasting)
- Fasting is a spiritual and personal discipline
- Autophagy: The cleanup of metabolic waste products in the cell
- Grazing throughout the day isn't efficacious
- Countdown app
–Benefits of nasal breathing…1:54:00
- You breathe through the diaphragm
- Increased Co2
- Release of cortisol
- Mouth taping
-Where to start with health optimization…1:56:22
- Book: The Body Electric by Robert Becker
- Calcium can affect the electrochemical balance
- Magnesium supplement
- Think of the body as a battery:
- Coconut water is a great hydrating fluid
-Core-bracing while lifting…2:03:15
- Essentially a breathing exercise
- Foundation Training (Dr. Eric Goodman)
-Reversing damage from blue light…2:05:00
-Stopping autoimmune disease…2:06:45
- Gut and inflammation are the most common factors
- Breathwork, limit vegetable oils, etc.
- Heal the gut
- Kion Colostrum
- Bone broth
-Ben's thoughts on veganism and vegetarianism…2:10:15
- Source of the animal is often problematic; proper preparation
- Excess consumption of meat products
- The human body needs omega 3 fatty acids, creatine, taurine, Vitamin B12, that are difficult to obtain on plant-based diet
- Eat in a parasympathetic state, with gratitude, spiritual discipline
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