[Transcript] – Ben’s Current Recommended Fasting Protocol, The Extreme Power Of Combining Fasting With Spiritual Disciplines, How An Addicted, Angry Weightlifter Started A Church & Became A Pastor & Much More With Shane Idleman.

Affiliate Disclosure


From podcast: https://bengreenfieldlife.com/podcast/idleman/

[00:00:00] Introduction

[00:00:52] Podcast Sponsors

[00:06:19] Who is Shane Idleman?

[00:10:01] Shane’s background and destructive lifestyle

[00:15:31] Ben's Healthy Donuts

[00:17:19] How Shane returned to God

[00:28:41] Podcast Sponsors

[00:34:23] The importance of self-discipline for spiritual growth

[00:46:59] How trials and tribulations make you a better man

[00:50:00] Shawn’s book and fasting protocol

[01:08:04] Health-related topics from a biblical perspective

[01:15:38] Closing the Podcast

[01:17:29] Upcoming Event

[01:19:22] End of Podcast

Ben:  My name is Ben Greenfield. And, on this episode of the Ben Greenfield Life podcast.

Shane: Temptation is about immediate gratification right now where spiritual disciplines are about delayed gratification in a little bit after you make the right decision. And, that's how temptation gets you is it wants you to experience that immediate gratification whether it's sleeping in or pornography. Pornography is huge for men and women now. It's all connected. It's all connected. A life that's not spiritually disciplined is falling apart in many different areas.

Ben:  Faith, family, fitness, health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and a whole lot more. Welcome to the show.

You've probably heard me talking about foot health a lot. And, there is one way that you can actually support your foot health that goes beyond just say walking around barefoot. So, the skin on the bottom of your feet has thousands of nerves that are used to control your movement and your posture. The more you feel your feet, the more you feel your ground, the better you move. And, you can train your feet to actually have nerve stimulation that allows you to feel the ground better. Not only that, but you can work on things like the space between your toes, the health of the insoles in your shoes. Even socks that assist with recovery and special nerve system stimulating balls that you can put underneath your feet and use, for example, when you're standing at your workstation during the day, when you're in the sauna, et cetera. They even have a full mat that you can stand on that helps to support the feet and the sensory system in the feet.

So, there's a company called Naboso, Naboso, N-A-B-O-S-O. I've actually interviewed the founder of this company who also wrote a fantastic book called “Barefoot Strong.” Her name is Emily Splichal, S-P-L-I-C-H-A-L. You got to listen to that episode, but we get into all these different ways to support the feet. And, she has this whole product line called Naboso that has the Neuro Ball, the Splay Toe Spacers, the Activation Insoles, the Recovery Socks, everything that you need for healthy feet, they've got it. So, if you go to naboso.com/Ben, you'll get 10 off of all their stuff. It's Naboso, N-A-B-O-S-O.co/Ben and use code BEN for 10% off. You'll be well on your way to healthy active feet that operate the way that you want them to. The feet are so important for your hip health, your knee health, all the way up to your brain and this sensory-based product line is my go-to for caring for the feet. So, naboso.com/Ben, N-A-B-O-S-O.com/Ben. Use code BEN for 10% off.

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Alright, you may have heard my podcast with Dr. Matt Dawson from Wild Health. And, Wild Health is this crazy cutting-edge network of physician practitioners around the U.S. who use precision-based medicine. Meaning, they test DNA, they test blood work, they look at lifestyle. They've incredibly comprehensive approach. You got to go listen to my podcast with Dr. Dawson and really wrap your head around everything that they do. But, it's not only the highest-end executive health program that I've ever seen, but they also work with anybody who wants the peace of mind that they actually have a doctor who cares and who uses good precision-based medicine. Meaning, they use testing, they use preventive methods. They look not just at medications or pharmaceuticals, but at diet, at exercise, at sleep routines. Most of their docs even have a really good working knowledge of things like biohacking and ancestral tactics combined with functional medicine, lifestyle-based interventions, along with personalized care and doctors who actually pay attention who care, and their concierge program, which available for high touch premium care for people like pro athletes and executives is available as well as their entire program for anybody. I mean, if you want to find a pediatrician, if you want to find a functional medicine practitioner, if you want to find somebody looking at your genetics, that's what Wild Health does. And, they've shown things like 69% reduction in inflammation in their patient database, 58% lower risk of heart disease, which is crazy. They get people off statins. They reverse diabetes.

So, if you want to check them out, go to wildhealth.com/Ben and that'll get you 20% off of any of the Wild Health physician services, 20% off and you go to Wild Health. Just like it sounds, wildhealth.com/Ben and use code BEN.

Well, folks, I met my guests on today's podcasts or at least became interested in him when I was listening as I'm prone to do to a sermon in the morning. I like to, for the very first 60 to 90 minutes of the day, listen to my Bible in one year podcast and then move on and listen to a sermon because I believe that you should feed yourself spiritually before you move on to a focus on any of the physical work or the business work, et cetera. And so, as I'm tooling around the house doing foam rolling and making coffee and getting ready for the day or whatever, it's always the Bible and then some kind of a sermon that feeds my soul.

I have multiple sermon podcasts that I listen to. I think I might have heard today's guest whose name is Shane Idleman on I think it might have been Calvary Unplugged, maybe one of the daily sermon podcast series. There's so many of them. I forget the names. But anyways, he was talking about fasting and feasting also. He actually has a book called “Feasting & Fasting: What Works, What Doesn't and Why.” And, it was really interesting to hear a guy who prioritizes spiritual health also talk in a pretty educated way about physical health and mental health and biology and lifespan and health span. It really piqued my interest because let's face it, not to stereotype or paint with too broad a brush but often you have the stereotypical cigar smoking whiskey chugging reformed Baptist pastor or maybe the evangelical preacher who puts a lot in their congregations but doesn't take care of their own body or their own temple or even know how to do so. And, this guy seemed to be cut from a different cloth.

So, I started to look into him and again, his name is Shane Idleman and he's got about a dozen different books from the “Feasting & Fasting” one that I mentioned to 40 days to reset your life for physical and spiritual renewal to a book on addiction overcoming the cravings that overcome you all the way down to books like if my people in case of national emergency read this, and another book about connecting to God called “Desperate for God.”

And so, I dove in, I read a few of his books, I listened to some more podcasts by him, it's really inspiring and I'll allow him to share his story. But, he actually had a promising career as a corporate executive and basically left all of that behind to follow a different dream that God placed in his heart. And now, he's the founder and lead pastor of a church called the Westside Christian Fellowship in Southern California, which is close to Los Angeles, and his collection of books on Amazon, which I'll link to in the shownotes at BenGreenfieldLife.com/Idleman, it's I-D-L-E-M-A-N, are just fantastic to download and have on your kindle or have as a physical copy at your house because they're just chock-full of practical and pretty easy to read wisdoms. You don't have to be a theological wizard to get through Shane's books, but they also have this focus on health, which of course, as a guy in the health industry, I really appreciate.

So, Shane, I'm really stoked. I've been working for a while to get you on the show and I'm glad we finally made it happen here.

Shane: Yeah, it's been a while that we've been planning this. And, I think you made the connection even with Victor Marx when I was on his podcast and I maybe prompted you to look into it further. But yeah, I've got a background. And, I think God uses different giftings for His purposes, of course.

And so, my background was with health and fitness. Never went to school for it. I studied a lot of the National Academy of Sports Medicine and just that was my lifestyle in my 20s. And, what you alluded to was I worked my way up the corporate ladder and started working for 24 Hour Fitness and became a district manager over multiple fitness locations. And, that's when I was overseeing personal training department, accelerated results, supplementation. And, we had certain numbers, we had to hit each month, board allocated budgets. And, I was the full steam ahead, was even called the “Steamroller.” But, with that came anger, arrogance, and addiction. And, it really took me out. It hurt a lot of things in my life with alcoholism and addiction and arrogance and angry. I was taking steroids before I got into that.

Ben: Yeah. And, by the way, to briefly interrupt you on the steroids piece, again, at the shownotes at BenGreenfieldLife.com/Idleman. I'm going to include a picture because you sent me a photo of you. I mean, you were jacked. I don't know how much you weighed there. Maybe you can talk about what you were doing from a steroid standpoint. You obviously had a little bit of that inflammatory almost bloated look that some folks will get with steroids. But, you were both overusing alcohol but then simultaneously on steroids as a personal trainer.

Shane:  At that point, I wasn't with 24-Hour Fitness just yet. And, I love it with self-esteem. I was chubby as a kid growing up and I'm just releasing it may be right before this one, a podcast I did on dyslexia. I have dyslexia, learning disabilities, reading disabilities. So, I hate reading in public, barely graduate high school with the 1.8, kind of the stupid kid in the class, make fun of chubby, and then I said, okay, somebody at the gym said, “Hey, try these little blue pills.” Dianabol or Anavar. And, try just try these and you start to get bigger and bigger. And then, as you get more self-esteem and now fighting people and getting thrown out of clubs and clubbing and just this really rebellious, I was 270 some pounds.

Ben:  270. Yeah, you're pretty big. And, by the way, I missed the steroid train back in college, I remember, because I studied exercise physiology. And, a lot of the athletes at University of Idaho also were in the exercise science program. I remember a guy sitting beside me, a big old German guy who was playing for the football team, he was actually thumbing through this catalog. It was it in German, but it was basically a collection of different steroids and chemicals. Of course, we're getting jacked. And, he tried to get me to go in on an order with him. And, not only did I not have the money at the time, but I was a little bit scared of that whole scene. So, even for me when I got into bodybuilding and extreme hypertrophy in college, I was pretty much creatine, tuna fish, and the cheapest steaks I could get from the grocery store. But, the steroids were, of course, they were there and they were available. And, by God's grace, I didn't happen to get connected to them. But, how long were you using steroids?

Shane: Yeah. And, that's what I want listeners know too. That's always the best way to go is how God created us healthy because there has effects. And, the word “steroid” is used a lot with, “I'm getting a steroid shot in my shoulder for shoulder injury.” That's a different steroid. 

Ben: Yeah.

Shane:  We're talking about anabolic, androgenic steroid. Anabolic means growth as opposed to catabolism. Androgenic means male hormones. And so, then I got into heavier testosterone, Sustanon 250, Equipose, Winstrol-V from pharmacies, from actually a veterinarian pharmacies for horse trucks, Equipose, and then, there's water-based, oil-based. But then, I got into Anadrol, which is a very strong tablet, very hard on the liver.

Ben:  Yeah.

Shane: And then, also eventually into growth hormone, which was about a thousand dollar a month shot. You had to keep it refrigerated. And then, just you begin to inject yourself. And so, I was just boy looking for affirmation. So, almost in the cost versus the benefit. Now, looking back, it was crazy because I did end up in the hospital at age 24 with myopericarditis, inflammation of the heart muscle.

Ben:  Oh, wow.

Shane:  Due to strep throat, went to there. But, I started at about age 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22. And, that's when I started working for 24 Hour Fitness, worked the way up the corporate ladder, and eventually said, “I got to stop this.” But, I continued just with this destructive lifestyle and learned a lot about, learn to read my own blood work, HDL and LDL and triglycerides, and trying to formulate what was going on. But now, I use all that information to help people because I think spiritually and physically, they affect each other. If I have a big venti and a big donut and I try to go preach, I don't feel too well. Or, if I get Panda Express and In-N-Out Burger and get a poor night's sleep, I don't feel too well. 

Ben:  Yeah.

Shane: And so, how we treat our body, I don't think people realize the connection between depression and gut bacteria and productivity. It's good to focus on longevity but also productivity. I want to be productive while I'm searching out this longevity goal. So, that's what God used. God broke me in my 20s, humbled me massively. It's in my books. I talk about it. And, that basically called The Prodigal Son home.

Ben:  Yeah.

I want to hear about how God actually entered the scene for you because we got time to talk about how you got broken. But, you mentioned donuts, so I'd be remiss not to mention that you can have donuts, folks, but you got to do the healthy variety. And, this is top of mind for me because I baked a beautiful batch of a dozen donuts yesterday and it's this super antioxidant-rich form of flour called Himalayan Tartary Buckwheat. And, I combine that with some baking powder, some collagen, some eggs, and a little apple cider vinegar. And, you stir that all up, and then you add a little bit of melted coconut oil and a little bit of a sweetener like stevia or monk fruit. You pour that into these silicone donut molds you can get on Amazon, wherever you bake them for 15 minutes. It's super easy. 

And then, I made a glaze and the glaze is just melted coconut butter and a little bit of maple syrup or you could use honey and a little bit more coconut oil, any kind of dip the donuts after they cooled in the glaze. And then, I sprinkled bee pollen and coconut flakes on those and put them into the refrigerator to set. And, I literally breakfast for me this morning. I had a couple donuts with a cup of coffee. And, as opposed to the Venti Starbucks that you mentioned and going and grabbing a fried donut from the local donut place, you can have donut, Shane. It is a lot, you just got to make them the right way.

Shane:  I mean, you just made a great point in the fitness industry that we get caught up on labels, “All natural.” It's not the item itself necessarily, it's what's in it. Partially hydrogenated oils and processed foods and the white flour. No health benefit to your body at all. Where everything you just mentioned from the bee pollen, I mean, that's one of the most complete foods on the planet Earth.

Ben:  Oh, yeah, technically the donut is as healthy as a steak.

Shane:  Absolutely. Absolutely. But, to answer your question, I was pursuing everything but God. I was one of the top paid highest producing sales counselors and managers because it was all about performance and hitting my numbers. And, that's how we were rating success. My mom was praying for me. People were praying for me. I don't want anything to do with God. I'm kind of just having fun, leave me alone. But then, my life started to fall apart. God really began to get my attention with just a broken marriage. And again, alcohol, arrogance, punching holes in the wall, just a mean angry man without the spirit of God in me.

And then, as a corporate, you probably know this, a lot of people know this in the corporate world, but in a corporation, we had same-store growth. So, I had to have a 6 to 8% same-store growth and I had to keep beating myself every month. And, I began to miss those goals and then I eventually got demoted for a season. So, from a district manager down to a manager. And boy, that was humbling. Just all of this. There's so much more to it, just issues that were happening behind the scenes and the alcoholism was taking its toll and that's why I wrote that book, “Help! I'm Addicted.” And, it was a hungover. I remember as 1999 or so and I just said, “God, I need to come back to you, I'm sorry, I've drifted like the prodigal son.”

Ben:  When you said, “God, I need to come back to you,” so were you raised in a religious or a spiritual household?

Shane:  Yeah. And, that's another controversial topic. As I say to begin with in the first place, but I believe at 12 years old, I was at a camp and the Bible talks about repenting and believing. I repented, I believed, but then the bad influences came in. My dad wasn't a Christian. And so, I just went the way of the world from Laughlin to Vegas to Palm Springs to the clubs down to Venice Beach. I mean, it was a mess. But, I always woke up in the morning convicted. This isn't right. This isn't right. This isn't right for years and kept fighting that and fighting that. And so, that's different than somebody who says, “I don't care, I love this lifestyle.” I actually didn't like the lifestyle, but I was caught in it because of the sin and the addiction.

Ben:  Yeah.

Shane:  And so, I think, to me, it was full surrender if I could choose a word, it'd be full surrender. I finally surrendered everything. God, you've got my whole life. I repent. I've been running from you. And that was a defining moment that really changed everything.

Ben:  Yeah. Yeah, it's interesting because I too grew up in a–well, I grew up in a Christian and a relatively strict conservative Christian household. I was homeschooled. I was the, well, Sunday school boy, went to church every week and memorized scriptures that my dad gave to me, and read theological books. And, it was really in college that I got tempted by the world and began to take a deep dive into alcohol primarily and a lot of partying and girls and clubs and it sounds like a lot of the lifestyle that you were living very similar. 

But, I remember I would still go to church almost every week in college and I'd be at church hungover and sitting in the pew at 10:00 a.m. after having gotten out of the club or the bar at 2:00 a.m. that morning. And, I lived that lifestyle all the way up until I got married and kind of sort of cleaned up at least by the world standards when I got married but still continued to live what I would consider to be a life relatively distance from God still going to church on Sundays when I felt like it and just being a kind of non-present absent world obsessed father and husband. And, it took my marriage nearly falling apart like, “Oh, this would have been about eight years ago” that until I actually realized, “Oh, I'm going to lose my family, I'm going to lose my wife, I'm going to lose my kids, I'm going to lose everything that I've built up to this point, and most importantly, I'm going to lose my union with God unless I actually step back and begin to prioritize primarily God and then my spouse and then my children and then my health and then finally my business and what I at that point had on a pedestal making money.” 

And so, yeah, it's kind of interesting that you can be raised Christian. You can be raised knowing the truth. You can be raised knowing all these principles that really allow you to be spiritually healthy and yet with all these other temptations that come by, you can completely neglect that and live almost a hypocritical lifestyle.

Shane:  I didn't even know that, Ben. That's pretty cool to hear your story. And, I think that's why it's so important that I said what I said earlier that God has to break us. It's not true of everyone, but a lot of us, I needed that pride broken out of me.

Ben:  Yeah.

Shane: But, there's a rebel within, a rebel within that wants to just do his own thing, especially in my 20s and just a series of who God loves, He chastens, He brings them back. And, that was a turning moment. And then, now, I start preaching. Of course, preaching is my passion, preaching the word of God, the totality of God, the absolute truth of God's word, the inerrancy of scripture. 

And, believe it or not, I haven't shared this very much but for many years, I've tried to bring in some health aspects and people would say, “Pastor, leave that at home, this isn't important, spiritual things are important.” I'm like, “Oh, yeah, okay, maybe.” But then, I came to realize they just like their Big Mac and they being 60 pounds overweight. And so, conviction. So, I said, you know what, enough of this because it helps a lot of people.

So, years ago, I started bringing back in not during a sermon necessarily but on the side. If we have health expos, I teach on health and fitness and fasting. And, I think when you start to feel better, you start to live for God better. And again, I mean, there's people in the third-world countries are on the mission field or people bedridden. I'm not suggesting that, but those of us who can make changes that it can really, really, really impact your life even spiritually. Because think about this, how important is discipline spiritually? If we're not disciplining our body physically, we're often not disciplining our body spiritually. They go hand in hand without a shadow of a doubt.

Ben:  Absolutely. I was reading a book, is actually a book on the Jesus prayer, which is a huge thing for me these days. I fall asleep now. And, when I wake in the wee hours of the morning, I mean, this was an hour for me last night between 2:00 and 3:00 a.m. And also, when I'm tempted, for example, when I travel and I'm tempted by pornography at night when you're alone in your hotel room and that's pretty easy to access and nobody's watching and my wife's not there, I rely on this prayer. It's called the Jesus Prayer. It's very simple and pairs well with breath. Actually, you breathe in and you say, “Oh, Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God,” and you breathe out and you say, “have mercy on me, a sinner.” And, you almost develop this mantra, you breathe in, “Oh, Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” And, you begin to just repeat this prayer over and over and over again. 

And, I've found that something as simple as that just seems to allow me to be able to retain my focus on God in moments of stress, in moments of sleeplessness, in moments of temptation. And, while reading that book on, it was actually called the “Jesus Prayer,” she gets into this section where she talks about the link between physical stoicism and physical discipline and spiritual discipline. I don't know if it was research that she cites as much as anecdotal data that goes into how people who are athletes or people who have a rigorous physical disciplinary protocol actually tends to be folks who report struggling less with addiction and succumbing to temptation and also people who report having an easier time doing things like devotion, prayer, meditation, breathwork, reading the Bible, et cetera, because they're just so used to overcoming, let's say, those first two really uncomfortable moments in the gym or those first super uncomfortable 30 seconds in the cold bath or that marshmallow test at the restaurant when you're not punishing the entire bread bowl as soon as it comes out. And, it's kind of the same when you wake up in the morning and you want to flip on your phone and start working or delve into the tasks in the business of the day, especially for driven individuals. It feels kind of taking that first step into the gym. There's that same resistance when you are instead dropping two knees in prayer or opening the Bible before you open your cell phone or doing something that allows you to grow spiritually.

For me, every morning, it feels the same as a workout and just never goes away. It feels the same as a cold bath and it never goes away. This slight cognitive resistance to starting off the day with something that is spiritually meaningful yet I think that the practice of things like self-denial from a food standpoint, doing the hard thing and swallowing the frog with the morning workout, getting in the cold bath even when it's cold seems to ease that transition into having some kind of a spiritual discipline. It's probably one of the reasons why the Apostle Paul says that spiritual training or physical training is of some benefit because there's, as you've just noted, some real concrete crossovers, I think, into the spiritual disciplines.

Shane: That verse in context, Paul is not saying that physical exercise is not beneficial, all he's saying is, listen spiritually and where you're going spiritually in your relation with God is the priority, and the physical will benefit to some degree. And so, people use that scripture out of context and say, “Well, look, it doesn't matter.” No, it actually matters a lot to take care of your body and to be physically active. And, the whole point that you're just saying, I haven't heard of that book or anything, but the point is as a man thinketh in his heart so is he. Be not conformed to this world would be transformed by the renewing of your mind. 

So, as you're disciplining yourself to pray and to read things that are God-honoring and to not watch the internet and things at time, these spiritual disciplines have ramifications later. And often, we don't do them because we don't feel like it right now, our feelings. And, we have to remember that feelings are the caboose of the train. They're not the engine. Self-discipline is the engine of the train and our feelings, how we feel, that's the caboose of the train. So, I think it's so important as you think is the direction you're going to go. And then, finally, there is a lot of–when I did that book on addiction, I did a lot of research. But, there's a big connection between gluttony and pornography.

Ben:  I believe that.

Shane: Because you're giving in, you're not remaining disciplined, you're giving in to these fleshly appetites. And then, as a result, the flesh gets stronger and stronger and stronger. And so, that's definitely tied in. Discipline is so important. It's a Biblical principle. It's actually a fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, content, long-suffering, self-control, controlling self. But, when we make it a work, Christianity we call works based. We don't want to make it, okay, if I do this, for example, if I fast, God's going to love me more. No, he's not, but I'm sure you're going to love Him more. There's these spiritual disciplines. They're just absolutely incredible and they benefit us in a huge way spiritually speaking.

Ben:  Let's talk ketones. It's no secret that a lot of people struggle with sugar. And, sugar is kind of a sometimes drug. It spikes your energy. It can give you a huge boost in energy and then you crash. Ketones are kind of the opposite of that; long-term stable fuel for the brain and for the body. 

I've been using ketones for over a decade. Now, I first started using them during Ironman Triathlon because they're a preferred go-to long-burning fuel for the diaphragm, for the heart, for the liver. Your brain can use ketones very effectively as well. And, despite traditionally you needing to fast and severely restrict carbohydrates to get into a state of metabolic ketosis, you can actually shift that dial. Although, you still want to look at your carbohydrate and your sugar and your starch intake, I'm not saying you need to eat your cake and do this, but you can shift that dial significantly by taking ketone esters. You can instantly drink yourself into a state of ketosis even if you're not fasted or in a state of carbohydrate restriction. And, in my opinion, if you are fasted or in a state of carbohydrate restriction, these allow you to maintain that stay extremely effectively. They crush appetite. I take a shot before a long-haul flight. I put a shot now in my bone broth with lunch to keep my appetite satiated for dinner. I like it at night to help satiate the appetite during sleep. They're called ketone esters.

Ketone IQ is made by HVMN and their Ketone IQ was created through a $6 million contract from the U.S. Department of Defense and deep partnerships with some of the top researchers in ketone science. It's a very cutting-edge drink and it tastes really good, in my opinion. I don't mind the taste at all. Some people complain about Ketone Esters. I think HVMN nailed the flavor. So, you get 20% off. You go to hvmn.com/BenG. That's hvmn.com/BenG and use code BenG20 for 20% off any purchase of Ketone IQ. It's an exclusive offer from podcast listeners, hvmn.com/BenG. Use code BenG20 for 20% off. By the way, if you're in California, you can find them in all the California Earth Bar locations located within Equinox if you're looking for HVMN. They're actually at Equinox as well. There you have it. Enjoy your ketones.

Hey, so everybody wants to boost their immune systems these days, and getting in a sauna four to five times a week actually does that; great for your immune system. And, of course, you also see all the other benefits. You get tougher. Your cells get more resilient with heat shock proteins. You get more insulin sensitive. Infrared heat, particularly, really penetrates deep into the skin, allows for better detoxification, reduce pain, better joint stability, even make happy hormones when all that infrared heat hits your body. It's almost addicting, but in a really nice pleasant way.

So, anyways, what I have is a Clearlight Sauna. Clearlight is the sauna company known for shielding against EMF. And, every one of their saunas comes with a lifetime warranty. So, they're built to last. Mine is the Sanctuary model, which is big enough for a workout or a family sweat or a bunch of folks just hanging out or whatever I want to do in that sauna. They have a variety of sizes including a one-person version that's perfect for even the smallest apartment and they have a quiz that lets you get information and have one of their 13 different models hand-picked for you in terms of the one that's actually going to work for you. And, these are big heavy well-made saunas, which means that you'd normally have to pay a little bit for shipping but I got a free shipping and a discount code for you. You go to HealwithHeat.com and use code BEN for the discount and the free shipping. That's HealwithHeat.com and use code BEN.

Alright, it's coming up. The Ben Greenfield life Coaching Team is putting on a new transformation challenge. The last one was a six-week challenge that got people crazy transformations in their body aesthetics and their weight loss and in their lean muscle gain. So, I know that body image is something that a lot of folks struggle with, but extreme fad diets and endless hours in the gym can be a total waste of time when it comes to say getting ready for spring or getting ready for summer. So, we decided to do was put together a transformation that allows you to transform your body but also works in a lot of our brain-enhancing tactics, our spirituality coaching and everything that you learn during this transformation includes decoding nutrition, using the minimum effective dose of exercise, sleeping better, prioritizing relationships for overall well-being and longevity aspects, building a community of like-minded individuals who are there cheering you along during the entire time. So, it's a transformation challenge and we're running it right now at BenGreenfieldCoaching.com/TransformationChallenge.

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For those of you who might be watching the video of this podcast may have seen me craning my neck just a little bit as Shane was talking because I was looking back at my bookshelf in my office library one shelf contains all of the books that I want to come back to that are big heck yeses to re-read every one to two years. And, one book I was forgetting the author, which is why I was craning my head, I believe it is–yeah. Okay, yeah, Richard Foster. I want to make sure I got the name right. 

So, Richard Foster's book the “Celebration of Discipline” is excellent. There's another guy named Donald Whitney who has a great book on the spiritual discipline. As a matter of fact, not to toot my own horn but in my book, “Endure,” which is a book I wrote on the spiritual disciplines, I have this whole anthology of about eight different books that I've read that have taught me all about meditation, silence, solitude, fasting, breathwork, et cetera. But, this idea of disciplining oneself physically is actually something that surprisingly despite you and I talking about it's important, Shane, it doesn't appear so much in these books on spiritual disciplines. But, I would love for more of these books on spiritual discipline to throw in a section on physical disciplines like cold plunges and breath work and heat tolerance and working out because again, of that crossover.

And, with my sons, I pray with them each morning. We gather for family, Bible reading, and meditation about 7:30 a.m. each morning. But then, I'm very intentional about tossing them in the cold pool. It sounds like I'm just abusing my children, but it's all voluntary on their part. They follow that out in the cold pool. I'm intentional about them kind of getting to the point where they're super uncomfortable with high heart rates in the sauna. I'm intentional about breathwork. I'm intentional about even when we travel before we have breakfast. Sometimes it's 100 burpees in the Airbnb. But, I know that part of that is going to make them stronger and more resilient and harder to kill so to speak from a physical standpoint, but it has direct crossover into their spiritual growth and their ability to be able to do things like resist temptation and to grow spiritually. So, I think that in Christian circles, sometimes this stuff is underrated or considered to be too much of living carnally or living in the flesh. But, in fact there's a lot of crossover in the spiritual growth.

Shane:  Yeah. And, I've got five kids, too, 18 down to 4. So, I'm going to see how many of them want to jump in the cold pool.

All these points you're making are biblical as we learn things, as we get wisdom. Breathing and meditation, we're not talking about some mystic religion, we're talking about waiting on the Lord and breathing and just spending time and turning off everything so you can hear the voice of God. And, those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.

Ben:  Yeah.

Shane: And, their spiritual strength is renewed. But yeah, you're right, discipline, I think it's because anytime I talk on this, there's always one out of 10 people that get upset because they think you're too extreme, you're making it like Christianity do all these works when it's just a relationship. Well, true, but because it's a relationship, I want to commit myself and live to the best of my ability. And therefore, that's going to require spiritual disciplines in disciplining the body in all areas because man, the flesh given full rule and reign in your life is a disaster. Think about it, how many people sleep in because of the flesh?

Ben:  Yeah.

Shane:  They go grab a 600-milligram caffeine Venti and then the bad donuts. And then, now, they want In-N-Out Burger, now I have to lay down. Now, I want my three-hour Netflix binge. So, most people are living their whole day is guided by the flesh. The flesh wants this. What we're talking about is saying, “No, stop, here's what we're going to do instead.” And, it's called delay gratification because I don't feel like it right away, but later on, sometimes within minutes, I'm so glad I got up at 3:30 or 4:00 in the morning and started reading the Bible. But, right then, it didn't feel good. 

So, we have to remember that the feelings, this is how temptation works. This will be good for some people. Temptation is about immediate gratification right now where spiritual disciplines are about delayed gratification in a little bit after you make the right decision. And, that's how temptation gets you is it wants you to experience that immediate gratification.

Ben:  Yeah.

Shane:  Whether it's sleeping in or pornography. Pornography is huge for men and women now. Their steps to that is what I talk about in other books. But, it's all connected. It's all connected. A life that's not spiritual spiritually disciplined is falling apart in many different areas.

Ben:  Yeah, it's trading short-term mouth pleasure or sexual pleasure or physical pleasure for some long-term deleterious effects on your overall life. And, I actually have a couple of thoughts based on what you were just saying. The first is that I don't talk about this too much on my podcast, but some people are like, “Well, why would you want to live your life in such a stoic fashion? Why would you want to buffet your body each week with a frowny face in the cold pool or pushing the weights around or swinging the kettlebells or doing the heat? This just seems almost a form of masochism.” 

And, I'll admit that it can be. I think that there are even some social media influencers out there and fitness experts and even probably people listening to this podcast who take things too far who push their bodies too much who are on their 20th Iron Man Triathlon and are working out two hours a day to the neglect of relationships or their spiritual walk or who have fitness and stoicism on almost too high of a pedestal. But, at the same time, yes, it does take a little bit of the pleasure and enjoyment and the tasty marshmallows out of your life's experience when you are operating in a spirit of discipline, in a spirit of stoicism, even to the extent where, like you were talking about, Shane, getting up at 3:30 or 4:00 a.m. and being slightly more tired all day long compared to maybe your friends who are sleeping until 6:00 or 7:00 a.m.

Well, there's two thoughts I have on that. One is obvious. It's that there's not a lot of impactful world leaders and world changers who are not a little bit tired all the time and who also do not have some element of disciplining themselves and passing that marshmallow test. And then, secondarily, and again, I realize that's my alienate some members of my audience who might not believe in eternal life or the message of Christianity, but I believe in a forever life. I believe in eternal bliss forevermore that we experience after we die in the presence of God in heaven on a brand-new Heaven and a brand-new Earth that's going to be absolutely amazing. 

And, you know what, if me going and doing the hard thing each day transfers over into me being better able to follow God's law and maintain my spiritual disciplines, and that then leads to me being given the opportunity to live forever, well, I tell you what, I will do cold baths and meditation and reading the Bible and praying and following God's law all day long if, again, by the grace of God and not by my own works, that amount of stoicism and discipline that I got to hold on to for 70 or 80 or 90 years is something that is giving me the opportunity to exist for infinity in the presence of God. To me, it's a pretty logical trade-off.

Shane:  Wow, there's so much. I just appreciate what you said. To piggyback off of some of it, you made a good point. What we believe, and I can show through the Bible historically, prophetically, archaeologically, scientifically, I mean, I'm a skeptic by nature. And so, with lining up with the Bible, what we believe is you're not saved because of your works, you're save because you repent and believe in Jesus, that finished work on the cross. But now, you have to not work for but you work out your salvation.

Ben:  Yeah.

Shane:  In other words, I don't want my testimony to be ruined, I don't want to live a lazy lethargic gluttonous lifestyle. That's not biblical either. And so, you made a good point about finding that balance because it is hard to find. One extreme is slothful and these people rarely, they don't accomplish much, but then you do have the other extreme where I probably gravitate towards this side for sure, probably like you and other type A driven because there is no happy medium, you're always kind of “Do I fast too much? Do I do this too much?” And, we will talk about that in a minute too, how to find that balance. And, people need to be encouraged to fall forward too. If you think I do everything perfectly, I mean, I fell on most of my fasting, I fall off. But, the key is to get back up and fight again to fall forward. That's really the key, not about perfection. You got to do this. Hey, I'm pursuing Christ and I'm going to fall in the way, but I'm going to get back up and finish the journey.

And, spiritual disciplines, it's basically — as you know, sitting is the new smoking. And so, if you turn that into spiritual comfort is actually not our friend. If we're too comfortable and hoping to talk to Gary Becker, I think is his name you mentioned him before.

Ben:  Gary Brecka.

 Shane:  Oh, Brecka, Yeah. Man, what a lot of great information. But, he's right with comfort, those who are comfortable, you sit more, you don't move as much, your body really needs to be fasting does and kicks in autophagy and telomere growth and brain-derived neurotropic factor and all these things under stress, so your body's adapting under stress. So, if there's no stress, longevity is hindered as well because your body is created to react to these stressors and to become stronger and build your immune system up and all these other areas up even better. 

And so, that's why spiritual disciplines or even physical disciplines, I should say, that to me physical and spiritual run parallel. I know spiritual is more important, but if I'm disciplined physically, I'm also going to be disciplined in the spiritual things as well. And so, just kudos to a lot of what you said, but I think it's important for people to know that we're not saying you have to do all these things but to finish the race well. And, I tell people, “Do you want to live the last 10, 15 years of your life in a nursing home or hiking and walking and maybe pass away in your sleep or maybe pass away some other way but to have the quality of life and to be it productive as long as possible?”

Ben:  Yeah.

Shane:  So, yeah, the lifestyle is harder, but think about this, those who are not disciplined, they don't care about what they eat, they don't care about, that's too hard. Well, they also live with a lot of depression because they live in the pain of either experience the pain of regret or the pain of discipline. You're going to experience one of those pains. So, yes, although being disciplined has its downsides, I guess if you want to say that you're not having as much fun, me, my wife have these discussions sometimes. She was a sugar addict, complete opposite, and so we kind of meet in the middle. But, you live with some depression. And man, I wish I would have gotten shape, I wish I could have been a better grandparent or parent for my kids. I wish I would. So, there's pain with that as well. It's not it's not being slothful and lazy and not doing anything doesn't really lead to wonderful things in the future.

Ben:  I agree. To expound upon what you were saying about how you're not perfect all the time. Man, I don't want to tell you how many times, especially with travel, Shane, where I feel I've got my spiritual walk all in order and I'm praying every morning and I'm reading the Bible and I'm meditating. And then, you travel and your whole schedule gets thrown away. You're used to maybe not taking your first business call till 9:00 and all of a sudden you got to be at the conference room, breakfast at 7:00 a.m. or you got in late the night before and you need a few extra minutes of sleep because you have a big day or a speech to give or whatever. And, it's so easy for things to start to slide especially when you travel or when life gets busy at home. And, I don't want to tell you how many times I've had to get myself and get the family back on the bandwagon. That's just the reality. Do not expect perfection if you're listening right now when it comes to the spiritual disciplines in the same way that from a physical standpoint, yeah, you're going to miss the gym sometimes because life happens or you're going to miss your sauna, cold, or whatever. You're going to miss your breathwork. That just happens. Don't hold yourself to perfection. But, the most important thing as you noted Shane is to get back on the bandwagon.

I think also that you noted this concept of autophagy of cellular cleanup and increased cellular resilience in response to healthy and moderate doses of physical stress or so-called hormetic stressors, everything from the slight damage that eating a wide variety of plants and herbs and spices might do your gut. But, the long-term resilience that can produce in your body from being able to produce its own antioxidants or the short-term rise in heart rate or rise in blood glucose, rise in body temperature in response to the sauna, or a similar physiological response to the cold that would kill you if extended but that allows you to bounce back stronger in the long run. 

Well, from a spiritual standpoint, be careful or at least know what you're wishing for because if you ask God to be spiritually strong and you ask God for spiritual resilience and you ask God for the ability to become who he fully has created you to be, oh, there are definitely going to be some trials and tribulations that get sent your way. 

But, it's kind of back to what Viktor Frankl says in “Man's Search for Meaning” from a secular standpoint or Job from the book of the Bible, from a religious standpoint, if you're happy no matter your circumstances and if when God sends, I don't know, a house fire or a relationship issue or a financial problem or one of your children having a real serious issue or a medical or a health problem, if you say, “God gives and God takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord, I'm going to be happy no matter my circumstances, and I'm going to use this as a way to refine me.” The pressure makes the diamond and the fire makes the gold and you move through that, then every single time something like that happens, you begin to become someone who's not only able to maintain your union with God and your belief in Salvation no matter what and your own spiritual growth, but you also become someone who's able to help and encourage and empathize with so many other people.

I mean, one example of that, Shane, is I have a princess gut and I've had a lot of serious gut issues in my life and have struggled in years with everything from diarrhea to constipation to SIBO to parasites to yeast to fungus, you name it. My guts taken it. It might be because I'm 25% Ashkenazi Jew, and the Ashkenazi Jewish population is known for kind of having this super sensitive gut. 

But, when someone comes to me for help with their gut, man, oh man, not only do I empathize with them, but my body of knowledge not to toot my own horn, but I'm really, really good at helping people out with gut issues because of so many curveballs God has thrown me with my own gut. So, there's kind of a silver lining there as well. And, we've alluded to it a few times Shane, but I really, and this was my initial reason for wanting to get you on, I want to talk about fasting and kind of this fast fee cycling in your own experience with fasting.

So, tell me about the book you wrote on fasting and what your own fasting protocol or I believe was almost an experiment was in writing that book.

Shane:  The one you're talking about “Feasting & Fasting,” I did bring a copy. People can take a look at. Actually, and just so people know, we're not necessarily promoting a book is they can actually download these for free on our church website. At Westside Christian Fellowship, all the books are there, free downloads, click it and you're good to go. So, I just want to help people. But, on Amazon, last I checked, doesn't let me put them on there free.

Ben:  Yeah. You can do 99 cents on Kindle, which a lot people do.

Shane:  Yeah. Alright, so we went real low on Kindle and Audible and things like that.

So, with fasting, the funny thing is in the bodybuilding world that's like, “No, do not miss a meal.” Every two and a half hours, keep the metabolic rate up. And, of course, I don't think that's really true anymore with insulin and how it's released and–

Ben:  You got to have all your Pyrex glass containers full of briken, broccoli and chicken, at least three or four times a day.

Shane:  I was up to 8,000 calories when I was at 270 on growth hormone. And, you had to make yourself eat.

Ben:  Yeah, I remember those days.

Shane: I mean, the bowl of pasta and chicken. So, anyway, so I was taught. I mean, I read it in the Bible and I would justify like, they didn't really know as much as we know now. I know Ezra fasted, Nehemiah fasted, Ester fasted, Moses fasted, Elijah fasted, Jesus himself fasted, Paul said much fasting. And so, fasting is throughout the whole Bible. And, Jesus said, when you fast not if you fast. So, that's pretty interesting.

Ben:  It's a good point.

Shane:  So, there was a lot of conviction. When I first came back to the Lord, they don't know, it's not that good for you really because you'll die if you don't eat for what was a normal, three days, six days, seven days you'll die.

Ben:  You'll die or at least you'll miss some of your gains, bro.

Shane:  Back when I was lifting, you look sucked up.

Ben:  Yeah.

Shane: I don't know what they say now, but you look sucked up. And now, you call it gear for steroids. Back then, we called it on the juice. As I get older, now wanting to retain my muscle, hello. I went from bench pressing 315 pounds 15 times to now maybe deadlift because you start to decrease.

Ben:  Yeah. And, that by the way, Shane, is an uphill battle now.

Shane:  Absolutely.

Ben:  And, people who are encouraging fasting is this concept of muscle-centric medicine, which is fantastic. Muscle is critical for longevity. The problem is there's this myth going out there that in order to maintain or build muscle, you must feed it constantly. And, in fact, it's kind of the opposite, actually. You've probably come across this research that short-term fasting can especially combined with resistance training and things like protein refeeds cause subsequent bounce back and increase in growth hormone and testosterone and hypertrophy while also giving the gut a break and allowing for some cellular autophagy to occur. So, there's a definite case to be made for intermittent fasting cycles and even periods of longer-term caloric restriction.

Shane: Yeah, like the five-day fast with insulin-like growth factor raising and everything you just said. I always went past that. I actually did a 40-day fast primarily water only.

Ben:  You did 40 days?

Shane:  40 days. I did some bone broth and I did some juice if I had to preach. And, I talk about it, it's a fasting documentary on Amazon Prime. They just posted it. I think it's called 40 days, my 40-day journey.

Ben:  Okay. I want to hear more details on this. Walk me through this 40-day fasting journey.

Shane:  You go from a guy who's totally against fasting. And then, just reading in the Bible Jesus fasted 40 days. I will follow a little bit of Alan Goldhamer stuff we've talked on email before. And, of course, they don't recommend it. We should probably say that too, disclaimer, I'm not giving medical advice here, I'm just telling you about my own personal experience. And, I think you do need to get medical advice if you're delving into waters that you're not familiar with. So, I was just ignoring it for a while and playing around with it, but I thought, “Hey, this is possible.” I lost 37 pounds over the 40-day period. We did the documentary. But, I had to preach sometimes three times a day on Easter. And so, that I would bring a Ka'Chava smoothie, maybe a 200 calories two scoops in it. So, it wasn't what they would call pure water only because in order to do that, you can't take any nutrients in whatsoever to go. I would recommend if you're fighting cancer or these types of diseases that really need you to go deep into autophagy.

And so, it was just incredible after three days not really having hunger and I was getting heavy. I was eating primarily plant-based and I got to 230 pounds and just a lot of nuts, just too many calories. And so, I understand that we shouldn't count calories like we used to and it's more about hormone levels and not as much about–calories also play a role in, I mean, if you're taking in more than you're burning–

Ben:  Yeah, calories play a bigger role than anything else despite a lot of the folks who try to defy the If It Fits Your Macros. At the end of the day, if you restrict calories and exercise, you'll lose weight. Yeah, we'd kick that horse to death on other podcasts.

Shane:  Yeah. And so, maybe we can talk in the future. I'm curious where you stand on that. But, the bottom line is I think we should be aware of what we're eating because I said, okay, mainly plant-based, got some clean meat, and was just eating too much. Yeah, I work out five days a week but I eat too much. Because I'm that late-night eater, I don't know. If I could just stop at 5:00 after a healthy big salad and chicken breasts, I'd be great, but then the chocolate, you want this, you want peanut butter. We have a lady dropped off a couple gallons of raw organic goat milk.

Ben:  Oh, man. Yeah. And, by the way, I'm the same way with late-night eating just because we have so much good food around our house. People send us the dark chocolate bars and all the different healthy ice creams. You know what saved my butt is ketone esters. I now have ketones with dinner. And, after dinner, I don't even think about food because my ketone levels are so high. So, that's my hack these days.

Shane:  Is that the little $5 liquid?

Ben:  Yeah, they're not inexpensive. But, yeah, a shot of ketone esters or even the ketone alcohol alternative, the one made by KetoneAid, having a big glass of that with dinner. And, you can measure this with a sensor like biosensor, any ketone measurement device. If you can kind of figure out a way by the time you finish dinner, that ketone levels of about 3 millimolar, you don't think about snacking at night just goes away, which is great.

Shane: Well, yeah, and I actually ordered some after you recommended it though. So, I'm anxious to try one out but I want to get more too.

So, anyway, back to the 40-day fast. And, there was a time where I said, forget it. We were at the in-law's house and I had some salad and a little bit of meat and I feel, yeah, you know how you you're going two weeks, you feel upset, depressed, and I blew it a little bit. And so, I got back on track the next day and just kept going, going, and eventually got to 193 from 230. While I was doing it though, mainly is spiritual reasons. There's a verse in the Bible, “This kind does not come out except by prayer and fasting and the spiritual disciplines.” Because if you just fast, it's a weight loss program for Christians. That's why you've got it. Instead of eating, you take it to prayer and time with God. And, what's amazing is I didn't realize how much extra time I had. Have you ever when you don't eat all day?

Ben:  Oh, at least the calculations I've done is with making the smoothie in the morning, lunch with the emails, dinner with the family. That I don't quite count because I want to be in the family with the family in the evenings, anyways. But, it comes out to about an hour and a half or two hours that if I cut out a meal or on the days I decide, I'm just going to do a fatty coffee or some ketone esters and amino acids with lunch because I want to be highly productive. Yeah. I mean, the time and the freedom of time, and also of course you combine that with the focus and the productivity from the elevated ketones and the fasting. Productivity impacts are enormous.

Shane:  I wasn't too worried about vitamins, minerals, because I took a little bit of supplementation and overall was a great experience and I wanted to do another fast. That was about a year ago and it is. I struggle. Okay. But, I began to realize studying it in the Bible, looking at all these different things, I think, a person especially as a believer should live a fasted lifestyle. I should clarify, I don't mean you got to be fasting all the time but I don't think you should just fast for 21 days juice only on January 1st and go back to bad habits after that. There's a lifestyle enjoying what God has given us, enjoying the donuts you mentioned or a birthday cake or you're either disciplining the flesh or the flesh is disciplining you. I hate to say it that way but that's the truth. I'm either bringing my flesh into subjection or my flesh is leading me. And, it's a balance. You've got that battle inside of us. 

And so, I think as we're following God, as we're asking for clarity as long as it's not, “Oh, I want to get a six-pack of abs and I want to be this super spiritual person,” if your focus is on serving God and pleasing Him in the word, you'll be guided, you'll be led to what is the right direction. So, I don't know if there's a happy medium because those who fast a lot feel like they're fasting too much and those who don't feel like they need to do it more. But, I think if you can just live a self-disciplined life–and, I think adding fasting to your weekly schedule is pretty important because that way you don't get too out of control.

Ben:  I think so too. And, just to share with people a practical boots-on-the-streets protocol, actually I'll do that in a moment, but I got to mention and I don't know if you've seen this book but I first discovered the power of combining spiritual disciplines with self-denial from a caloric or food standpoint when I read a book. It's super cheesy looking. You could find on Amazon. I think it's only a couple bucks, but it's called “Atomic Power With God Thru Fasting And Prayer.” It's by a guy named Franklin Hall. And, he gets into all of the different remedies that are healed and the impact in terms of the power of prayer when you combine it with self-denial. And, as we were talking about earlier, the link between curtailing hunger and appetite and being able to curtail things like sexual appetite or sinful appetite. And, I read that book. It was absolutely fantastic. 

But, to get back to what I do now is daily I do an intermittent fast for 12 to 16 hours. And, I got to admit, I'm a lean guy with a high metabolism. Most days, I wake up hungry and I could go make myself a smoothie right away. But, I engage in all of my morning spiritual disciplines, the prayer, the devotion of scripture reading, et cetera, without any coffee, without any food. And, I have a big glass of water when I get up. So, it's like a mini fast each day.  For women who are pre-menopausal, you want to be kind of careful with that because it can downregulate fertility and have an impact on the endocrine system. So, women deal with better 10 to 12 hours. Guys, close to 12 to 16 hours. But, I think that's fine from a daily standpoint.

And then, every quarter, I do a longer kind of getaway, similar to your 40-day fast but only three to five days where it'll be juice or bone broth or amino acids and ketones, at least 40% or less of the calories I'd normally consume. This would be almost what would be called a fasting-mimicking diet approach. And, I use that time to catch up on the giant stacks of books on the deeper sections of prayer, sometimes a solo retreat in my house, a staycation so to speak. 

And so, four times a year, spring, summer, winter, and fall. I have caloric restriction and fasting combined with prayer, meditation, spiritual reading, and a focus on the spiritual disciplines. So, it's intermittent fasting daily and then a quarterly deeper dive for three to five days, which is pretty achievable. 

And then, you mentioned about kind of balancing the caloric intake with the caloric denial. While this is where I think religion, if you want to call that, ties in pretty beautifully with these spiritual disciplines because we have one day of the week Sundays where not only is my physical activity much lower or at least less intense, it was like walking with the family, bike rides, tennis, pickleball, et cetera, but Sundays are the feast day. Sundays are the glorious double waffle breakfast with the family or big pile of eggs. And, the big lunches sometimes with friends and a big dinner party at our house and you just basically fill the body with everything it needs for the whole week, which is also great for resetting the thyroid, making sure the thyroid doesn't get downregulated from too much caloric or carbohydrate restriction. That's a day in which I don't worry at all about carbohydrates even though I'm more careful with carbohydrates on the other days. 

So basically, I would say six days of the week, I'm kind of sort of hungry most of the day and especially hungry during that intermittent fasted period and then that's the self-denial piece that we talked about earlier in this podcast. It has so many side benefits. And then, I get that one day of a week where it's rest where it's embracing almost a little glimpse of heaven. And, I get all the food I want, all the feasting I want. And then, four times a year, I can do the fasting with a deeper focus on the spiritual disciplines, again, back to what you just noted especially because I've got an extra two or so hours in the day because I'm not making or worrying about food anyways.

Shane:  Well, you just made a couple good points. And, I think that protocol, I would actually heavily endorse that protocol and encourage people to do that. And, when you take that three to five day, it's good. When you have a little bit of juice, that's why you can get a lot of stuff done with your book reading, different things, because if it's just water only, that's when you go into some pretty deep detox symptoms and things like that, which is good too. But, I want people to know, hey, I'd rather have you have two 3, 400 calories of juice every day and get through a five-day fast and have you give up on day one. The benefits are amazing. And, you mentioned the longevity or the–

Ben:  The fasting-mimicking diet.

Shane:  Yeah. Valter Longo is just an hour for me at USC. He's got a lot of great research. And then, Daniel Pompa, a mutual friend of ours, he talks a lot about that feast day. The reason the feast day is important is because your body will become accustomed to what you're doing. And, that's why people are worried about metabolic rate slowing down. That's actually why it slows down is if you keep this caloric restriction, you keep in your hormone levels from, I mean, gosh, glucagon up to insulin, up to different ones that regulate the thyroid, then your metabolic rate will slow down to meet this caloric restriction. So, that feast day is kind of throwing into the system, oh, wow, okay, we're not going to starve to death here. And, on feast days, I encourage people, I wouldn't eat as much until your stomach's going to pop like Thanksgiving. But, you've been satisfied well.

Ben:  Yeah.

Shane:  You've went deeply into these areas. And, I think that's another important six days a week. And, it's okay to feel a little hungry. Even from a Biblical perspective, there wasn't an a.m./p.m. on every corner. I mean, they would go sometimes days and not eat. And, that's why I look at everything from a creation standpoint. So, when you ask me what diet, people talk about paleo, carnivore, keto, I look at creation. How did God create us? And, he created us for seasons of feasting and famine. And so, I think if you're not fasting to some degree and you're just taking in whatever your body wants, that's why, why are all of our health-related illnesses skyrocketing? Diabetes is lifestyle-related. It's a lifestyle choice. Heart disease, obesity, even Alzheimer's, and the things how the brain is affected, a lot of these things all cause mortality. If you look at, is most of it's diet related.

Ben:   Yeah, yeah, caloric excess and hyper-palatable food.

Shane:  Excess, yeah.

Ben:  Yeah, exactly.

Shane:  And, the wrong kind of food.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. And, you talked about thyroid downregulation and we're going to kind of get into the weeds here momentarily or for just a moment. But, I think there are even ways to skirt that. And yeah, maybe Jesus and the apostles and a lot of the Old Testament prophets didn't have access to a little bit of better living through science so to speak and perhaps they didn't even care about longevity maybe quite as much as we seem to be obsessed with it. But, nonetheless, I think that ketone esters again are fantastic because they give the body a metabolically available fuel that keeps it from engaging in as much endocrine downregulation and thyroid downregulation as you'd see with pure caloric restriction. And, it also has a very, very low impact on things like mTOR and insulin pathways. And so, I think it's probably one of the better things, even better than juice for something like an extended fast being able to get by with as few calories as possible.

And then, the other thing, and this would be more for super lean people or people who would tend towards hypothyroidism or downregulate thyroid activity anyways. And, this is not to be misconstrued as medical advice, this is a total biohack, but you can actually get desiccated thyroid glandular. There are companies like Ancestral Supplements or I believe Heart & Soil has some. There's another company out of New Zealand that has one called Thyro-Gold. And, you can actually take thyroid to keep your thyroid supported in the face of caloric or carbohydrate restriction. And, it can actually help out a little bit with your body not kind of resetting the metabolic rate too low after a period of caloric restriction. So, I'm a big fan of the ketone esters and the thyroid glandulars for fasting as well.

Shane:  Yeah. And, you mentioned the ketone esters unless people might not be aware, but it's the liquid. So, if you're taking in ketones right away, it's already in your bloodstream, it's already in digestion. Your body doesn't have to now break down keto bodies in the fat and the fuel. And also, if people are interested, they can follow me on YouTube and Rumble and Instagram and Twitter. And, I sometimes do a lot of health-related from a Biblical perspective like I just did one on supplements yesterday talked about Thorne, I guess it's called.

Ben:  Yup.

Shane:  And all the different supplements out there. I also try to help people on a budget because not all of us can have infrared beds which you can just walk out in the early sun or grounding. Grounding is great, but if you can't buy anything, you can go out in the grass and in the dirt. I think that's biblical. I mean, that's how we are created because the body's letting off charges. 

And so, what I mean by I look at everything based on creation, how did God create us, what types of foods, what type of diet is best based on creation, is fasting biblical? Because you have this person say no meat, yeah, this person say all meat, both experts. So, where do you find the source of truth? If I stick with that, I really don't get too confused on. And, that's why I liked your whole aspect on your books and your website is because whether you knew it or not, it's grounded in creation like how are we created? What types of foods did God give the body to eat? It's so important.

Ben:  Yeah. And, despite there, of course, being a great deal of biochemical individuality, I think that if you really step back and if you are a creationist, for example, which a Christian listening into this show probably is the first diet known to humankind likely did not involve death or killing or animal suffering or anything of the like. And, I do believe that the human body in the way that it was originally designed can do just fine on plants and fruits and seeds and nuts and really good water and sunshine and a connection to the planet.

Yes, there must also be involved with that type of dietary approach, a great deal of fermentation and soaking and sprouting and treating things like plants and seeds and nuts in such a manner that they have improved digestibility, more amino acids, and a reduction of their plant defense mechanisms that can do damage to the gut. And, I think that also there's a need to eat a plant-based diet in these whole foods base to fashion as possible rather than kind of the ultra-processed vegan or vegetarian tofu whole wheat sandwich giant 18 apple smoothie that you see so commonly implemented these days in a plant-based diet. 

But, I think that you can do a plant-based diet, it just takes a lot of work. And, I think furthermore, this might also get into the weeds a little bit, Shane, I think the chemical composition and the environmental composition of the planet was likely far different prior to the Great Flood. And, we know this from some fossil records, the size of fruits and vegetables, the amounts of them and probably also their nutrient and chemical composition was likely superior when the Earth was first created. At least that's my belief.

And so, I don't think that we'll be having ribeye steaks and Mary's half-roasted organic chicken in heaven. I think it'll be plants and fruits and seeds and nuts that there won't be any death or animal suffering or anything of the like. Yet, fast forwarding and getting back to what you were talking about, a biblically based omnivorous approach because I do think and there's ample evidence for this in Scripture that God kind of gave the thumbs up on people eating meat and fish. And, that's just a natural part of our existence now, and that if we do so without the animals suffering to a great extent, if we do so we'll be in good stewards for this planet that it's okay and arguably a much more convenient way to get adequate nutrients and calories than eating plants. 

I think that if we're to step back and include that omnivorous consideration that two examples of really good diets, one would be a guy I interviewed yesterday in my podcast that hasn't been released yet, Jordan Rubin who wrote a book called “The Maker's Diet,” which is a diet that takes into account our stewardship of the planet and caring for this planet in the way that God's called us to while also eating a lot of organic grass-fed, grass-finished pastured raw products. And then, a very similar diet would be the Weston A Price diet, which again is a lot of ferments and vegetables and plants that have been treated properly combined with things like sourdough bread, grass-fed, grass-finished meats, pastured pork, chicken that's been raised humanely, et cetera. So, those are just two examples of diets that I think would fall into the category of something that feeds the body adequately and that also honors the planet, honors the animal, and honors God if it's comprised properly and of course eating with gratefulness.

Shane:  I'll tell you a funny story. Who'd you have on the program yesterday?

Ben:  Jordan Rubin.

Shane:  Oh, yeah, Jordan Rubin. In 2001, I met with a large publisher in Anaheim. It was my first book. And, the title was, “What Works When Diets Don't.” And, I was just coming out of the fitness industry, but I decided not to go with a publisher. That's why I can offer them free. I can do them on my own. I can bring them to events and different things. And so, I turned them down and they took “The Maker's Diet” instead with Jordan Rubin.

Ben:  Oh, that's funny.

Shane:  I ran into him once and joked about it and said, “Hey, you should thank me that they picked up your book.” But, I didn't want to be an organic farmer and do what he's doing. I don't regret it for one minute because now we give away thousands of books for free. And, that's just where God has us. 

But, anyway to your question was, yeah, I mean, if you look at we were originally created to eat and you're right, the environment was incredible. And then, actually it was right after the flood, God told Noah just like I gave you the green herbs and the plants to eat, now I also give you every living thing to eat to become fuel for your food for you. And so, maybe because there wasn't enough grass. I mean, we don't really know, all we know is you're right, from a Biblical perspective, Jesus ate fish, Jesus ate lamb I'm sure with Passover. And, John the Baptist was eating grasshoppers and wild honey. And so, we do see that now. But, the thing is for me, meat and dairy have become so toxic and dirty. You have to really make sure you're eating something that is going to give you some benefit from the inside out.

Ben:  Toxic and dirty and also the way that they're raising, any plants are raised is raping the planet, creating dirt instead of soil, and abusing animals. And, I don't want to get all judgy, but I think more Christians at the church potluck or whatever or even with the communion bread, et cetera, should take into greater consideration what the impact of the food that they're eating has not only on their bodies but the planet as a whole because we were called to be stewards of this planet. And, I think that eating mindlessly whether or not something is “healthy” is something akin to almost disobeying or neglecting that mandate because we're essentially destroying the Earth and abusing animals in the process. So, I think that really needs to be taken into consideration. It seems like something that's almost like a painful point to bring up in Christian circles though because people kind of look at you like you're some kind of a hippie pantheist.

Shane:  To your point, we're actually called to steward the environment better than anyone else we should. And, because meat is allowed doesn't mean you have to–I mean the process of how they're raised and it's pretty sad how we treat the animals. And, we can do better in a lot of areas. So, I think Christians should be fine with that. It's just a matter of choosing your battles carefully and finding out more, getting more information. But yeah, I agree that we should be good.

When you go backpacking or hiking in the mountains like I do up in the High Sierras here, you want to bring out a little trash more than you brought in. You want to keep the streams in the river and you want to just keep everything even how I fish, catch and release, fly fishing or something. You want to just be good stewards. There should be a love for God's creation. I agree 100% on that.

Ben:  Yeah. I don't have any desire to be on a spaceship to Mars anytime soon because the Earth is inhabitable. 

So, you mentioned Dan Pompa and I mentioned Jordan Rubin and I've done a few other podcasts on feasting and fasting, both the science and the historical significance of it even from a religious standpoint. And so, if you go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/Idleman, it's I-D-L-E-M-A-N, which is Shane's last name, I'll link to all of those previous shows if you want to take a deeper dive. Like I mentioned, Shane's written over a dozen books, many of which are free on the Westside Christian Fellowship's website. You can also, of course, get them on Amazon, deliver them to your Kindle, et cetera. And, I'll link to Shane's Amazon page and also his Church website in the shownotes. And, he also has a podcast. I'll make sure that I provide you with details in the shownotes on that one too. So, that's all going to be at BenGreenfieldLife.com/Idleman. And, as a bonus, I will post the crazy picture of Shane when he was a massive huge weightlifter on gear just so you can see the before and after compared to how he looks now.

Shane:  I was miserable and getting ready to get drunk that night if I remember correctly.

Ben:  Yeah. You can tell you're not super happy, but you're huge.

Well, Shane, thank you so much for coming on the show. I really like the message that you have. I like that you're teaching Christians about health and fitness. And, I like the message for fasting, which of course is something applicable to everyone. This podcast isn't just for those who go to church or those who are Christians, although I think that's a very good idea to engage in both of those things. Nonetheless, Shane, thank you so much for coming on the show.

Shane: Thank you too, Ben. What a blessing to sit and talk and help people in this area.

Ben:  Yeah, for sure. Alright, folks. Well, I'm Ben Greenfield along with Shane Idleman, author, speaker, and pastor at Westside Christian Fellowship in Southern California signing out from BenGreenfieldLife.com. Have an amazing week.

Alright, folks. It's coming up. It's right around the corner. It's the Health Optimisation Summit. Me and my entire family are headed to London for this thing and it is crazy, amazing. It's this massive expo full of the best biohacks.

You get to be ahead of the curve and see this stuff before it even hits the streets. You get entrance and access to all stages and breakout talks by an amazing variety of speakers. They've got 35 world-class forward-thinking speakers from the biohacking nutrition longevity fitness functional and preventive medicine fields. They've got next-level exhibitors and workshops, amazing VIP experiences with parties, with gadgets, with refreshments, with priorities, seating with upgraded goodie bags, and the list of speakers at this event is crazy. So, it's happening June 17th and 18th this year.

So, it's coming up quick. Jim Kwik, Vishen Lakhiani, Mimi Ikonn, my friend and dentist and former podcast guest Dr. Dominic, Dr. Jolene Brighten, Dr. Mark Atkinson, Kris Gethin, Dr. Christopher Shade, the list goes on and on. Some of the best of the best speakers, the coolest crowd and the exhibition for is absolutely mind-blowingly amazing. Plus, London is fun, great restaurants, cool people, and it's a party.

So, if you want to go to this year's Health Optimisation Summit, here's how to get in with a discount that's going to give you 10% off of all the regular and the VIP tickets. So again, it's June 17th and 18th. So, the Business Design Centre in London. And, here's your code, BenGreenfieldLife.com/HOS23. That's BenGreenfieldLife.com/HOS23 for this year's Health Optimisation Summit. Enjoy.

More than ever these days, people like you and me need a fresh entertaining, well-informed, and often outside-the-box approach to discovering the health, and happiness, and hope that we all crave. So, I hope I've been able to do that for you on this episode today. And, if you liked it or if you love what I'm up to, then please leave me a review on your preferred podcast listening channel wherever that might be, and just find the Ben Greenfield Life episode. Say something nice. Thanks so much. It means a lot. 



My guest on this podcast is author, speaker, and pastor Shane Idleman, who has written 12 compelling books with a unique perspective on health, fitness, spirituality, fasting, and many other topics, including…

…and many others.

What makes Shane's story truly inspiring is the fact that he abandoned a promising career as a Corporate Executive in the health and fitness industry to pursue a dream that God instilled in his heart following his commitment to Christ. In his words: “While I had focused on prosperity, wealth, and success, I had starved my soul. I tried everything that the world had to offer, but ultimately, I found that it offered little of lasting value.”

When asked why he thinks that his books are being so well received, Shane added: “The overwhelming response simply reflects the need that we all have for the truths found in God’s Word.” Shane is the founder and lead pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship in Southern California, 60 miles North of Los Angeles. Shane also hosts a podcast at Idleman Unplugged Podcast. You can also find Shane on the following channels:

During our show, we mention a few other podcasts I've done on feasting and fasting including:

After I discovered Shane, I started working on getting him on the show. I'm so glad we finally made it happen, and I hope you enjoy and appreciate his take on health and theology as much as I do.

During our discussion, you'll discover:

-Who is Shane Idleman?…06:19

-Shane’s background and destructive lifestyle…09:44

-How Shane returned to God…17:18

  • Shane pursued everything but God
  • His life began to fall apart
    • Broken marriage
    • Alcohol
    • Arrogance
    • Became a mean and angry man, punching holes in the wall
    • Eventually got demoted from district manager to manager
    • Caught in a lifestyle full of sin and addiction
  • Help! I'm Addicted: Overcoming the Cravings that Overcome You
  • Returned to God as a prodigal son
    • Finally surrendered everything to God
  • Ben growing up as a Christian
    • Alcohol and parties in college
    • Still going to church on Sundays
    • Non-present world-obsessed father and husband
    • Realized he was going to lose everything
  • God has to break the rebel within
  • Shane started preaching the word of God and became very passionate about it
  • Also started talking about health and fitness
    • If we're not disciplining our body physically, we're not disciplining our body spiritually
  • Ben’s experience with temptation
    • Jesus Prayer and breathing
    • Helpful way to retain focus on God in times of stress, in moments of sleeplessness and temptation
  • The Jesus Prayer: The Ancient Desert Prayer That Tunes the Heart to God by Frederica Mathewes-Green
  • Disciplined people struggle less with spiritual routines
  • The apostle Paul on physical and spiritual discipline
  • Self-discipline and feelings 
  • There's a big connection between gluttony and pornography

-The importance of self-discipline for spiritual growth…34:23

  • Books to re-read on Ben’s bookshelf
  • Ben’s praying time and physical discipline with his sons
  • Physical discipline is important for spiritual growth
  • Breathing and meditation as waiting for the Lord
  • Christianity is a relationship but requires discipline
  • Most people are guided by the flesh
  • Temptation is about immediate gratification, spiritual disciplines are about delayed gratification 
  • Ben’s thoughts on stoicism and discipline in the light of God
  • Shane is a skeptic by nature
  • We are saved by the grace of God and repentance, not because of our work
    • we work out our salvation
  • The key is not to achieve perfection, but to get up when you fall and finish the journey
  • Sitting is the new smoking
  • Podcast with Gary Brecka
  • Physical discipline goes with spiritual discipline
    • the quality of life and productivity is important
    • lack of physical discipline leads to depression

-How trials and tribulations make you a better man…47:40

  • Don’t hold yourself to perfection
  • The most important is to get back to a bandwagon
  • Trials and tribulations want to get you out of your way
  • Man's Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl
  • The Book of Job
    • God gives and God takes away 
  • Ben’s gut issues and how he deals with it 
    • Great at helping people with gut issues

-Shane’s book and his fasting protocol…50:40

-Health-related topics from a biblical perspective…1:14:35

-And much more…

Upcoming Events:

  • Health Optimisation Summit: June 17th – 18th, 2023

Join me at The Health Optimisation Summit in London! This is your chance to be part of a community of 2,500 like-minded people and learn from world-leading health speakers. You'll be able to fast-track your health journey, discover cutting-edge secrets and hacks, explore the latest tech and gadgets, and find the cleanest and healthiest supplements and nutrient-dense foods. Don't miss out on this incredible experience! Use code BENGREENFIELD for 10% off regular and VIP tickets. Learn more here.

  • HUM2N Event: June 19th, 2023

Don’t miss this incredible opportunity to learn from the best in the field and take your biohacking journey to the next level. You’ll get the chance to be involved with a private network of biohackers, a live discussion with myself and Dr. E, a live Q&A, an experiential biohacking experience, tasty food, and a chance to win some mind-blowing prizes! Learn more here.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Shane Idleman:

– Podcasts And Articles:

– Books:

– Other Resources:

Episode sponsors:

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Do you have questions, thoughts or feedback for Shane Idleman or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!

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